Posted in Cozy Wednesday Crafty Cozy Challenge Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways Guest Posts Reviews 2016 What An Animal Reading Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday with Isabella Alan – Author of Murder, Handcrafted – #Review / #Giveaway

cozy wednesday 2013 640

I love when Isabella Alan/Amanda Flower stops by for a visit!! 

Amanda Flower photo

Bigfoot Came to Town
By Amanda Flower / Isabella Alan

When it came time to write the fifth Amish Quilt Shop Mystery, Murder, Handcrafted, I was convinced that I had the perfect hook. Bigfoot. That’s right; I wanted to put a Sasquatch in my Amish mystery. As far as I know, I am the first author to do this. It isn’t, of course, the most obvious direction to go when writing an Amish novel. However, I knew it would be a perfect addition to the world of Rolling Brook, which already had Angie the well-meaning quilt shop owner and sleuth, Oliver the French bulldog afraid of birds, Petunia the head-butting goat, Nahum the rogue Amish hermit, and Willow Moon the New Age tea shop owner. With that gang, Bigfoot would fit right in, or so I thought.

9780451475039Not surprisingly, I had a problem; my agent and editor both thought I’d finally gone off of the deep end. They asked me if I was “sure” I wanted to do this in a tone of voice that told me that they weren’t sure of it themselves. I begged and pleaded and finally they relented and said I could give it a try. Worst case scenario, I would have to write Bigfoot out, which would be more work for me than anyone else. What I love about my editor and my agent is they agreed because they trust me and my instincts when it comes to my books, especially those quirky humorous twists that I love to add.

In the final novel, Bigfoot is a subplot that is interwoven with the mystery. The main plot revolves around the murder of an electrician who is working at the home of Angie’s parents. Angie has to investigate because the murder impacts her parents and because she can’t keep her nose out of any murder investigation in Rolling Brook if she tried. One of the eye witnesses, who was near the scene close to the time of the murder, claims to have seen Bigfoot nearby. The question remains, was a Sasquatch or a very real human killer? That’s what Angie is determined to find out, much to the chagrin to her longtime boyfriend Sheriff James Mitchell.

By the time the book was finished, my agent and editor were happy with how I used Bigfoot in the story and agreed it was just what the series needed. I hope you will enjoy the end result just as much!

Happy Reading!

About The Author

Amanda Flower, a four-time Agatha-nominated mystery author, started her writing career in elementary school when she read a story she wrote to her sixth grade class and had the class in stitches with her description of being stuck on the top of a Ferris wheel. She knew at that moment she’d found her calling of making people laugh with her words. Amanda is librarian for in northeast Ohio. She also writes as USA Today Bestselling Author Isabella Alan.

Author Links:

Website            Pen Name Website

Facebook     Twitter

Goodreads     Pinterest

Purchase Links
Amish Quilt Shop Mystery Series (writing as Isabella Alan)

Writing as Amanda Flower


Prose and Cons: A Magical Bookshop Mystery – Coming in December.

 

9780451475039
Murder, Handcrafted (Amish Quilt Shop Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
5th Book in Series
Setting – Ohio
An Obsidian Mystery
Published by New American Library
An Imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451475039
E-Book ASIN: B015DLUS4S
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

 

Amish quilt shop owner Angie Braddock crosses wires with a killer in the latest from the national bestselling author of Murder, Plainly Read

Spring has arrived in Holmes County and Angie couldn’t be happier. She’s got great friends, a thriving business, and is in the perfect relationship with Sheriff James Mitchell. The only thing raining on her parade is her mother drafting her into a massive home renovation project—and using their sudden mother/daughter bonding time to comment on Angie’s ticking biological clock.

The house’s repairs and upgrades between the Amish craftsmen and their Englisch counterparts are proceeding well until a tremendous shock comes to the workers when the electrician is found dead on site. With the sheriff suspecting foul play, it falls to Angie to root a killer out of the woodwork. . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Another amazing read from Isabella Alan.

Angie Braddock life is so good, you just know something is going to go wrong. That’s is just what happens when her dad starts a huge kitchen redo and injures himself. Angie asks her friend Jonah to take over the remodeling while her dad heals but the Amish man ends up in the middle of a murder investigation when the electrician for the job is found dead outside her parent’s home. Angie knows it is up to her to find the real killer and proving Jonah’s innocence sure sparks her resolve. Hopefully she can do it without making her boyfriend, Sheriff James Mitchell too upset or getting herself right in the killer’s sights.

I love, love, love this series. I love the way Angie and James’ relationship is progressing even when getting a major push from her mom. I love Angie’s relationship with Jonah. Friends since childhood, their relationship could have gone several ways. But it has grown into a platonic true friendship and certain people just have to deal with it. I also love the way the author’s knowledge of Amish life is told in these stories. There are some conflicts between the Amish and the Englisch but Angie plays the perfect co-between so most things can be resolved.

Where this story tops previous installments in the unexpected character the author introduces. BIGFOOT!! in Ohio!! Could it be??? No spoilers here! You are going to have to read the book yourself!!

As always, Ms. Alan gives us a great mystery that kept me guessing right up to the end. It was filled with plenty of action too.

An awesome story with fantastic characters, humans and their 4 legged friends.

I am so upset this is the last book in the series. I definitely wanted more trips to Holmes County. Thank you to the author for leaving us with a happy ending.

perfect 2016

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

GIVEAWAY
Thanks to the publisher I have 2 copies to give away!
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

This year I am trying to build my Twitter following so for this giveaway 4 Bonus Entries will be awarded by following me on Twitter. @dollycas

Leave a comment for Isabella for 5 Bonus Entries.

Subscribe to Amanda/Isabella’s newsletter for 4 Bonus Entries.
http://amandaflower.com/

If you publicize the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End June 22, 2016 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Posted in Cozy Wednesday Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways Guest Posts Reviews 2015

Cozy Wednesday with Isabella Alan – Author of Murder, Plainly Read – #Giveaway

cozy wednesday 2013 640
Amanda Flower, I mean Isabella Alan is here today,
well they both are!!

Can you tell I am excited??
Welcome to Cozy Wednesday and WELCOME ISABELLA!!

Amanda Flower photo

October to Remember
Amanda Flower / Isabella Alan

 

October is here! It seems that I have been preparing for this October for a long time. By a complicated turn of events, I have three books releasing this month from three different publishers. Of course, they are all mystery (that’s my thing), but they are all very different books too. I thought it would be fun to tell you why I’m excited about each one and why each book is special to me.

MURDER PLAINLY READThe first of these is Murder, Plainly Read, the fourth novel in the USA Today Bestselling Amish Quilt Shop Mystery Series, which I write as Isabella Alan. In this mystery, my protagonist is solving a murder committed on a library bookmobile. In addition to being a mystery author, I’m a librarian. For a long time, I’ve wanted to mix my two occupations into an Amish mystery. The start of this novel really began when I was invited to do a ride along in the Holmes County District Library’s bookmobile a few summers back. The bookmobile services mostly Amish patrons, and as an undercover librarian on the bookmobile, I was able to see how important the library is to the Amish community in the county. I knew the moment that I stepped on the bookmobile I was going to have to set a mystery on one. I even told the library director so.

The second book is Andi Unstoppable, the third middle grade mystery in the Agatha Award-nominated Andi Boggs Series. This book was so much to fun to write because I got the idea from my brother. My 12 year old sleuths, Andi and Colin, solve a ghost story while on a birding assignment for their science class. Yep, you read that right, a birding assignment. My brother is an avid birder. He’s always on the lookout for new birds to see and will travel great distances to see one he’s never spotted before. I wanted to share a little bit of my brother’s birding culture (because it is truly a culture of its own) with the world. I thought it would be most fun in children’s book, and I threw in the ghost story because kids like ghosts, right?

The third and final book is Amish Christmas at North Star. WaterBrook/Multnomah, which is an imprint of Random House, was putting together an Amish Christmas novella collection and asked me if I wanted to join the authors Cindy Woodsmall, Mindy Starns Clark, and Katie Ganshert in writing it. They are all great authors, so I jumped at the chance. However, I wasn’t sure how it would work out since they were all romance authors and I am a mystery author.

On a conference call with the three other authors and my editor for this project most of the talk was about the romance for the four novellas, which made me even more nervous. I enjoy reading romances. Some of my best friends are romance authors, but I wasn’t prepared to try my hand on one with so many big time romance authors in the collection. When there was a lag in the conversation, I interjected, “Can I kill somebody?”

I don’t know what the other authors thought, but the editor responded immediately. “Of course, we want a mystery from you. You can kill someone.”

What a relief that was to hear.

I’m so excited to share all three of these stories with readers, and even though they are different stories set in different worlds with different characters, they still very much my stories. So as usual readers can expect witty dialogue, hijinks, and lots of fun!

***********************

Amanda Flower, a three time Agatha-nominated mystery author, started her writing career in elementary school when she read a story she wrote to her sixth grade class and had the class in stitches with her description of being stuck on the top of a Ferris wheel. She knew at that moment she’d found her calling of making people laugh with her words. Amanda is an academic librarian for a small college near Cleveland. She also writes as USA Today Bestselling Author Isabella Alan.

Social Media Links

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MURDER PLAINLY READMurder, Plainly Read:
An Amish Quilt Shop Mystery

Cozy Mystery
4th Book in Series
Setting – Ohio
An Obsidian Mystery (October 6, 2015)
Published by New American Library
An Imprint of Penguin Random House
Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451475022
E-Book ASIN: B00S75RYYU
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

 

In the latest from the author of Murder, Served Simply, an Amish man checks out permanently, but quilt shop owner Angie Braddock’s got this mystery covered…

With so much to do between running her shop and spending time with her new boyfriend, it’s amazing Angie is able to help organize the Rolling Brook library’s annual book sale. Luckily she’s working alongside brash librarian Austina Shaker, a lady who isn’t afraid to make waves to get books to her patrons—even the Amish. Unfortunately, this draws the ire of cranky Bartholomew Beiler, an Old Order Amish bishop, who publicly vows to ruin Austina.

And she certainly might be ruined after Belier is found dead in her bookmobile. Now Angie must employ the help of her loyal quilting circle—as well as her beloved French bulldog, Oliver—if she hopes to prove Austina’s innocence before the real killer books it…

INCLUDES QUILTING TIPS

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I have loved this series from the very beginning. Murder, Plainly Read is an excellent addition.

Angie is involved in not only the Rolling Brook library’s annual book sale but the grand opening of The Miller’s Amish Pie factory’s as well. She also needs to run her own quilt shop. Thankfully she has good help there because when Bartholomew Beiler is found dead in the bookmobile and Austina Shaker, the bookmobile librarian, is charged with his murder she has to add FIND THE REAL MURDERER to her long list of Things To Do!

Because Angie’s aunt married an Amish man she is a little more accepted in the Amish community than most Englischers. Not by all but many of them welcome her into their homes and businesses. Bartholomew Beiler is the bishop for an Old Order Amish sect and they are not as open or welcoming even when Angie explains that she is trying to help them.  These characters are so well written and so real. It is so interesting getting to know all of them. I enjoyed the new characters and my favorites were all back too, including a certain goat that has stolen my heart.

Angie jumps into solving the mystery with both feet and we get to tag along right with her. She does raise my blood pressure when she follows the clues and puts herself and her bulldog Oliver in peril. The author has stitched together quite a mystery. She not only keeps the reader guessing until the final reveal but has us in stitches with some delightful humor too.

I read this book at in one sitting. The was no way I could put it down. Now I am excited for Murder, Handcrafted coming this summer.

a perfect escape

5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

GIVEAWAY
Thanks to the people at Penguin I have 2 copies to give away!
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

Leave a comment for Isabella for 5 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

If you publicize the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End November 4, 2015 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Posted in Thoughts

Special Guest Isabella Alan – Author of Murder Served Simply (Giveaway too!)

special guest blue

It has been a busy week!
Today I am excited to have Isabella Alan,
also known as Amanda Flower drop by for a visit!

Amanda Flower photo

An Amish Christmas

By Isabella Alan

 

I love Christmastime. I love the twinkle lights wrapped around bushes and trees outside, the hubbub of shopping for that perfect gift, and the time spent with family friends near and far. So when it came to write the third novel in the Amish Quilt Shop Mystery Series, I knew it had to be a Christmas book.

The Amish don’t celebrate many holidays, but they do celebrate Christmas. Just like us English (non-Amish) folks the Amish have Christmas traditions. Their traditions vary from family to family and Amish district to Amish district, but here are some quick facts about an Amish Christmases I’ve learned.

• The Amish don’t have Christmas trees, but they do decorate their homes with pine and greens from the garden.

• The Amish do exchange small gifts at Christmas. Many of these are handmade, but store bought gifts are becoming popular too.

• A favorite Amish Christmas treat is flavored popcorn. Caramel corn is the far and away most popular flavor.

• The day after Christmas, December 26th, is a holiday for some Amish districts and is called “Second Christmas.”

• The one-room schoolhouses will traditionally have a Christmas program for the children’s parents.

• There is no Santa Claus in the Amish world. The focus of Christmas is on the birth of Christ.

Check out Murder, Served Simply to find out how I incorporate these Amish Christmas traditions in the novel while a murderer is on the loose in my tranquil Amish town of Rolling Brook, Ohio.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! Isabella

***********************

National Bestselling Author Isabella Alan is the pseudonym for Amanda Flower. Amanda Flower, a two time Agatha-nominated mystery author, started her writing career in elementary school when she read a story she wrote to her sixth grade class and had the class in stitches with her description of being stuck on the top of a Ferris wheel. She knew at that moment she’d found her calling of making people laugh with her words. Amanda is an academic librarian for a small college near Cleveland.

Order Murder, Served Simply

Amazon http://tinyurl.com/kvjljcc
B&N http://tinyurl.com/kcy6h68
CBD http://tinyurl.com/lqygkku

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Murder, Served Simply:
An Amish Quilt Shop Mystery

3rd in Series
Cozy Mystery
An Obsidian Mystery (December 2, 2014)
An Imprint of New American Library
A Division of The Penguin Group
Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451413659
E-Book File Size: 1517 KB
ASIN: B00JJXUZM2
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

Amish quilt shop owner Angie Braddock has a lot on her plate this Christmas. But things only get worse after someone develops a taste for murder…

Angie’s parents are visiting Rolling Brook for Christmas—but unfortunately, her ex is joining them. Luckily, Angie has no time to dwell on her romantic troubles as she prepares her store, Running Stitch, for the town’s traditional progressive dinner, featuring a sleigh ride stopping at each shop for a different course of the meal.

The meal ends with an Amish-themed Christmas play at the Swiss Valley Hotel and Barn. But the performance is cut short when an actress falls from the scaffolding to her death. After the sheriff suspects foul play, tensions between the Amish and Englisch heat up, as do rivalries among the acting troupe. Now Angie and her quilting circle must stitch together clues before they’re the ones running for cover…

INCLUDES QUILTING TIPS!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I love this series more with each new story.

Angie’s parents arriving to spend the holidays was great even though they brought her ex with them and that her mother still expected them to patch things up and have Angie move back to Texas.  But Angie has gotten stronger and made a home and friends in Ohio. One very special friend but will their new relationship be tested by Ryan’s arrival?

Several years ago I was part of a progressive dinner so I loved that part of the story. Sadly we didn’t travel to each stop by sleigh, that would have been so awesome.  In the story it was a great way for Angie’s parents  and Ryan to meet the people of Rolling Brook.

The Amish-themed Christmas play was the catalyst in this story because the actress in the leading role had been Amish and left for the Englisch way of life to follow her dream in New York only to return to star in this play. Could someone from her Amish life have something to do with her death or was it someone from the troupe? Alan takes us down some cold and slippery slopes as we follow the clues with Angie.

The characters a very fleshed out. You can tell the author has taking a lot of time researching and developing them and their personalities. Amish people generally keep to themselves and their orders. We only get to meet them if we visit their shops and farms. Isabella Alan shares their way of life with us in a very identifiable and engaging way. She only brings the Englisch folks to life in a way that the interactions between themselves and with the Amish feel very real and true. Angie goes between both worlds and because of her aunt’s influence she seems very comfortable doing so.

The story had a more serious tone than Murder, Simply Stitched but it was such a fantastic read.  I had a very hard time putting it down even to eat dinner. Trying to relate to a mother whose child leaves a way of life behind. A way of life that basically demands that child be forgotten. Then to have them be so close only to have them die before any chance of communication was possible just ripped my heart apart. It made me want to hug my kids and call them just to tell them I loved them.

There are lighter moments like the way the pets play with each other. The Christmas theme runs throughout the entire story. Angie’s mother takes on the project of decorating Angie’s house for the holidays. You won’t believe what she does but that entire part of the story will have you giggling. There is also a major announcement that sets the readers up for the next installment to this wonderful series.

I am so looking forward to my next visit to Holmes County!

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Thanks to the people at Penguin I have 2 copies to give away!
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

Following the new Google+ Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book Fan Page will earn you 3 Bonus Entries.

Leave a comment for Isabella  for 5 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

If you publicize the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End January 2, 2015 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Posted in Giveaways Reviews 2014 You Read How Many Books Challenge

Review/Giveaway – Murder, Plain and Simple by Isabella Alan

murder plain andsimpleMurder, Plain and Simple:
An Amish Quilt Shop Mystery

1st in Series
Cozy Mystery
An Obsidian Mystery (September 3, 2013)
Published by The Penguin Group
Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451413635
E-Book File Size: 807 KB
ASIN: B00BDQ3B56
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

When Angela Braddock inherits her late aunt’s beautiful Amish quilt shop, she leaves behind her career and broken engagement for a fresh start in Holmes County, Ohio.

With her snazzy cowboy boots and her ornithophobic French bulldog, Angie doesn’t exactly fit in with the predominantly Amish community in Rolling Brook, but her aunt’s quilting circle tries to make her feel welcome as she prepares for the reopening of Running Stitch.

On the big day, Angie gets a taste of success as the locals and Englisch tourists browse the store’s wares while the quilters stitch away. But when Angie finds the body of ornery Amish woodworker Joseph in her storeroom the next morning, everything starts falling apart.

With evidence mounting against her, Angie is determined to find the culprit before the local sheriff can arrest her. Rolling Brook always appeared to be a simple place, but the closer Angie gets to the killer, the more she realizes that nothing in the small Amish community is as plain as it seems….

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I really enjoyed this debut from Isabella Alan. One of the things I miss most since my accident is not being able to create all the quilt designs in my head. It is books like this that make things a bit easier. I quilt vicariously through the characters in the book.

While our protagonist visited her Aenti often she is still an outside and an Englischer. It would take time for everyone to adjust under normal circumstances but with the question of the shop’s true ownership hanging over her head and the man questioning it dead in the store room things are far from normal. Her Aunt’s friends rally around her but there are others in the community both Amish and English that believe she really killed the man.

Alan has surrounded Angie with some great supporting characters including her dog, Ollie, who happens to be deathly afraid of birds. There are also the friends she made on those summer visits who are now all grown up and these friends really add depth to the story and maybe a bit of romance in the future. Then again her mother hopes Angie will sell the store and come back to Texas and marry the man she broke up with. We just have to wait and see what happens 🙂

The author has patched together quite a mystery too.  There are several threads to follow before the real murder is caught and everything is all sewn up. She kept me guessing all the way.

I am very excited to read Murder, Simply Stitched. It comes out June 3 and Isabella Allen will be her for Cozy Wednesday on June 18.

just you and a friend4 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Find out more about Isabella Alan (Also Know As Amanda Flower) on her webpage here.

 

I am giving my review copy away!!

Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

If you publicize the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End June 6, 2014 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

CLICK HERE FOR ENTRY FORM

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”