Category: books, reading

Hannah Reed’s new series is off to a fine start with Off-Kilter.

Scotland has its lochs, heather, sheep and beautiful landscapes. It is also home to the small town of Glenkillen.

Aspiring romance author, Eden Elliot, arrives for a research and writing trip and finds herself wrapped tightly in the tartan of a murder mystery.

A fellow American she met on the plane, Vicki MacBride, seems to be the focus of the investigation. It seems her father has left everything in her name, even though her younger half siblings have kept the farm and family business going. Hard feelings accusations and mysterious happenings point inspector Jamison and his assistant back to Vicki at every crossroad.

Eden is convinced Vicki is innocent, but can she prove it?

Well worth reading, I give it 4+ stars.

If you are not familiar with Hannah Reed’s cozy mystery series about beekeeper Story Fisher, I suggest you make a bee line to get it and read a honey of a tale.
OK, puns aside.
Reed take the reader through a twisting maze of clues and suspects to find who committed murder. The victim is found on her estranged brothers farm. Is he the obvious suspect? The local law enforcement thinks so.
Story finds herself believing otherwise, getting herself and friends involved in some very strange events.
Honestly, I could not figure this one out, right up to the end!
I was given his book by the author to read and post an honest opinion. It’s well worth reading, 4+ stars. An enjoyable read and some tasty recipes included at the end.

If you are looking for a well paced, character driven novel, Lynn Austin’s Return to Me has just what you want!
This book is not like reading, it is seeing a movie in your mind of the Jews return from Babylon and early efforts to start rebuilding the temple.
Austin brings her characters and their complexity to life, Iddo and Zechariah, faith filled men on a mission, Lael, the young and confused girl, Dinah the unhappy matriarch work through everyday trials and confusions as God works in their lives.
Totally fascinating and highly recommended!

It’s not your ‘everyday’ romance! Mary Connealy takes a story line and moves it along like the avalanche that begins this tale of suspicion, intrigue and mystery in post Civil-War Texas.

Following Dr. Dare Riker and the young widow, Glynna Greer through the maze of questions and surprising answers in a search for truth with a spice of romance thrown in.
Can the would be assassin really be Glynna’s son?

I give this book 4.5 stars and would recommend it to my lady friends and those gents I know who enjoy a good western tale as well.
I received this book free to read and give an honest opinion.

As you might know, I read a lot of other blogs. This particular one by author Ann H. Gabhart, features some things close to my heart. My daughter Tara and St. Jude Hospital. Here is a little tease:
“But before we head out on a new trail, we’ve got a few more birthday noise makers to blow and one more story to share.

Did you ever have your own bicycle? I didn’t. I had a hand me down that needed tires, my inspiration for Jocie’s old bike in Scent of Lilacs. Tara left this story in a comment on a post here, but I wanted to share it again.

“My best birthday memory. As a second child I spent a lot of time in hand me downs. Clothes, shoes, bicycles. My older sister had a very different style than I did, so her old blue bicycle with a banana seat was not my favorite. Every trip to town for groceries would see me at the Western Auto adjacent to the grocery store, riding around and around a little yellow BMX bike. Every year, I participated in (and rocked!) the St Judes Bike-a-thon in our tiny, tiny town and I wanted nothing more than to NEVER have to ride that hand me down blue bike again to do so. I have NO idea how many miles I logged on that little yellow bike just riding up and down the aisles until Mom was done at the grocery store.”
I would love it if you go over to Ann’s blog and read the whole story.

You might like to check out some of Ann’s books and her knowledge of the Shaker religion while you visit there too.

I would like to point out, Tara might have preferred to use her motorcycle to log St. Jude miles as the years progressed, but that yellow BMX covered many, nt just for St.Jude, it was well known on the byways around Sunrise Ridge for several years.

It’s Super September!

super september
Yes, it is a super month for author friend Amanda Flower/Isabella Alan! With three new books coming out this month, she still took time to write a guest post to share here. She wants to tell a bit more about what we can expect in the future for Andi Boggs and friends. Andi is the star of her new series for young adults. I loaned my copy to two young friends who were delighted with this book. Christmas is coming, if you have a teen reader, this would be a great gift!

What does future hold for Andi and residents of Killdeer, Ohio?
By Amanda Flower

When I wrote Andi Unexpected, I knew I wanted it to be a series. As a child, I loved reading series and following my favorite characters through several if not dozens of novels. As an adult, series, especially mystery, are still the books that I gravitate to as a reader. Even though I knew I wanted Andi Boggs to star in a series, I didn’t know what the series would look like because I was so focused on the first book.

However when the deadline for the second novel started to loom over my head, I thought about it a lot because I wanted the series to have shared themes and an overall story arc. I can’t say too much because my editor hasn’t even read the second book yet, but I can share some broad ideas. Overall Andi Boggs and her sister Bethany will continue to deal with the death of parents and adjust to life in a rural town. Their young aunt Amelie will adjust to being a parent of a middle schooler and high schooler, and Colin and Andi will rely on each other more to solve their cases. Another aspect that will repeat in the novels is some historical element related to an event in Killdeer or a person that lives there. I love local history, so I have had great fun making up local history for a fictional town.

When I was in seventh grade all Ohio students were required to take Ohio history. Now, that may sound like a boring subject, but for whatever reason my twelve year old self found it fascinating. I got a kick out of learning about the Western Reserve, the Underground Railroad, how many presidents came from Ohio—eight if you’re curious. That love of Ohio history never went away. In fact, one summer during college I worked as an historical interpreter at a living history museum in the state. I wove Shaker style baskets and told tourists what it was like to live in Ohio during the pioneer days. It was a fascinating job, and you can bet I will write about that experience some day. Perhaps in another series. So many ideas, so little time…

It’s SUPER SEPTEMBER! Amanda Flower (also writing as Isabella Alan) has three novels releasing in September 2013. To celebrate, she is giving away an authentic Amish Quilt hand-stitched by Amish in Holmes County, Ohio.

Enter to Win an Authentic Amish Quilt from author Amanda Flower! Click here to Enter!

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Follow Amanda’s alter ego Isabella on Facebook

Sometimes, it is funny how my mind works.
It all started today, when my daughter, Tara Banks, posted this on her blog. I highly recommend that you click the link and read the post.
Reading it brought back a lot of memories. Mother used to make these ‘toad in a holes’ on her big square griddle, and in later years we would whip them out to hungry kids while camping.
Enjoying many a sunrise on the river or at the beach, Hubby and I used a cast iron skillet for the delicious morsels. Sometimes on the trusty Coleman stove and more often over an open fire nest to the coffeepot. Kids waited patiently, or not for their plates to be filled.
The thought of those camping trips reminded me of some books we bought long ago. Dian Thomas produced “Roughing it Easy” and “Roughing it Easy 2”. I went to look and sure enough I do have them! Worn and well used.
That led me to a search on Both books are still available.
If you are a seasoned camper or are thinking about it for the first time, there are many fun and interesting ideas to make your trip more enjoyable.

Years ago, I learned this adage: If you don’t feel close to God, who moved? Can a cat, sent by God, help bring people back into God’s grace and appreciate His mercy?

In ‘The Cat That God Sent’, author Jim Kraus brings Petey, a stray cat, into the lives of the Church of the Open Door in the small town of Coudersport PA. to help answer that. Pastor Jake Wilkerson, homeless young woman, Tassie, Dr. Emma, the local vet, Speedy Davis, the local hermit, as well as many others are reached by things that happen, associated with Petey.

Events unfold that bring out the dark secrets in several lives, and proves that God did not move.

The book moves well, keeps the reader interested and ends on a note that made me want a sequel.

I received this book free from Abingdon Press to read and provide an honest personal review. I chose to give it 5 stars and would recommend it to others.

I recently read Nancy’s book Unbreakable, which made me really think about some things in my own life. I am so pleased to be able to give you a little information about her and some of what is going on with her writing career. Don’t forget to go over to her newsletter, read it and sign up for a chance to win a copy of her newest book when it comes out!
Nancy Mehl’s first novel was published in 2001. Since then thirteen books have followed, including an omnibus edition, Cozy in Kansas, which contains three of her previously published Ivy Towers’s mysteries. Book three in the series, For Whom the Wedding Bell Tolls, won the American Christian Fiction Writers Mystery Book of the Year award in 2009. The first book in her Road to Kingdom Series, Inescapable, released in July of 2012. It was followed by Unbreakable, which came out in February of 2013. The last book in this series, Unforeseeable, will hit bookstores in September. She is currently working on a brand new a Mennonite-themed suspense series for Bethany House Publishing.
Nancy’s main writing interests lie in mystery, although her Mennonite novels, The Harmony Series and The Kingdom Series, lean more toward the romantic suspense genre. “There’s a touch of mystery in everything I write,” she says. “The truth is that the lines between suspense and mystery are closer than most people realize. I think the mystery influence will always show up in my books”
So far, Nancy’s novels have all been set in Kansas. “I love Kansas,” she says. “We’re a lot more interesting than people think. Using Kansas in my novels is easy. We have everything – big cities, small towns, rolling hills, rich farmland, culture, history, odd locations (look up The Garden of Eden in Lucas, Kansas!) and a friendly hometown feeling. “We also enjoy all four seasons. This allows me to set my stories in different weather conditions. Winter is my favorite season. Throw lots of snow in a story and your plot can suddenly go in an interesting direction.”
Nancy lives in Wichita, Kansas with her husband Norman, and her very active puggle, Watson. She has one grown son, Danny, who is an award winning graphic designer. Danny lives with his beautiful wife, Shaen, and their son, Aidan, Nancy’s first grandchild, in Missouri. Besides writing, Nancy spends her time with a volunteer organization, Wichita Homebound Outreach. WHO is actively involved in the lives of low-income, elderly people in the Wichita area. Nancy is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America. She and her husband attend Believer’s Tabernacle.
Readers can learn more about Nancy through her Web site: She has a newsletter located at:, and is a part of another blog, The Suspense Sisters, along with several other popular suspense authors. She is also very active on Facebook.