Tag Archives: Amanda Flower

Top 10 Tuesday — Characters Like Me, Because It Really Is All About The Books

7 May

I found this week’s Top 10 Tuesday prompt — Characters That Remind Me of Myself — a bit daunting. I lead such a boring life, that it would never make it as a book. 😉 I really struggled to come up with the requisite 10 to fill this post, until I started thinking about what consumes a lot of my thoughts — books! I read them, talk about them, blog about them, sniff them . . . . Anyway, I came up with a list of characters that are surrounded by books too. I really wouldn’t want to trade places with any of them because of their issues, and the fact that some regularly stumble on dead bodies or engage in nefarious activities! And while my husband may say our home is starting to look a lot like a bookstore or library, I do not work at either. But I am a book pusher  enthusiast who makes sure everyone has the opportunity to get their hands on the story that is just right for them. Whether you like cozy mysteries, suspense, romance, women’s fiction, or time-slip novels, I hope you find a book you just need to read!

For more fun with doppleganger characters, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

A Dozen Book Pushing Characters

(aka booksellers or librarians)

Bruce Cable — Camino Island by John Grisham

Violet and Daisy Waverly —Crime And Poetry by Amanda Flower

Annie Laurance Darling — Death on Demand by Carolyn Hart

Callie Randall — Hidden Among The Stars by Melanie Dobson

Helma Zukas — Miss Zukas And The Library Murders by Jo Dereske

Madeline, Janet, and Carrie — The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay

Rick Denton — Remembering Christmas by Dan Walsh

A. J. Fickry — The Storied Life of A. J. Fickry by Gabrielle Zevin

Claire Malloy — Strangled Prose by Joan Hess

 

Which character is like you?

Audiobook Mini-Review: Prose And Cons

24 Oct

In Cascade Springs, New York, Violet Waverly and her grandma, Daisy, are the proprietors of Charming Books, where the power of the written word is positively enchanting…
 
October in Cascade Springs means tourists are pouring in for the annual Food and Wine Festival, and Daisy hopes to draw those crowds to the store. She asks Violet and the local writing group, the Red Inkers, to give a reading of the works of Edgar Allan Poe in the shop’s back garden to entertain the revelers. Everyone eagerly agrees.
 
Yet their enthusiasm is soon extinguished when Violet discovers one of the writers dead during the event. After the shop magically tells Violet she’ll need to rely on Poe’s works to solve the murder, she enlists the help of her trusty tuxedo cat, Emerson, and the shop’s crow, Faulkner. But they must act fast before someone else’s heart beats nevermore . . .

 

Amanda Flower, a USA Today bestselling and Agatha Award-winning 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. Her debut mystery, Maid of Murder, was an Agatha Award Nominee for Best First Novel and her children’s mysteries, Andi Unexpected and Andi Under Pressure, were an Agatha Award Nominees for Best Children’s/YA Novel. Andi Unstoppable won the Agatha Award for Best Children’s/YA Novel 2015. Amanda is a librarian in northeast Ohio. Visit her at http://www.amandaflower.com.

 

My Impressions: 

I loved my return trip to Cascade Springs, NY and the magical bookstore Charming Books! The cooler temps and cozy mystery Prose And Cons made my morning walks a treat. Author Amanda Flower has certainly created a charming setting, fun and quirky characters, and a real puzzler with Prose And Cons. I love a mystery that keeps me guessing, and this one’s ending was a complete surprise. I never suspected whodunit! In addition to the mysterious goings on in the village, Violet discovers long-held family secrets. Main character, Violet, is an intelligent and intrepid sleuth, who is assisted by her houdini-feline Emerson, and an insistent bookshop that literally throws the clues at her. There’s also a hunky chief of police I am cheering on for a future romance for Violet. And for fans of literary-themed cozies, Prose And Cons cleverly combines classic literature and clues to the murder. The first person narrative is complemented by the reader of this audiobook — I felt I was in the midst of the action. Prose And Cons is the second book in the Magical Bookshop Mystery series and can be read as a standalone, but you really need to start at the beginning. Book 3 releases in a few months — I can’t wait to find out what Violet faces next.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

(I purchased the audiobook from Audible. All opinions expressed are mine.)

Audiobook Mini-Review: Crime And Poetry

17 Oct

Rushing home to sit by her ailing grandmother’s bedside, Violet Waverly is shocked to find Grandma Daisy the picture of perfect health. Violet doesn’t need to read between the lines: her grandma wants Violet back home and working in her magical store, Charming Books. It’s where the perfect book tends to fly off the shelf and pick you . . .

Violet has every intention to hightail it back to Chicago, but then a dead man is discovered clutching a volume of Emily Dickinson’s poems from Grandma Daisy’s shop. The victim is Benedict Raisin, who recently put Grandma Daisy in his will, making her a prime suspect. Now, with the help of a tuxedo cat named Emerson, Violet will have to find a killer to keep Grandma from getting booked for good . . . 

 

Amanda Flower, a USA Today bestselling and Agatha Award-winning 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. Her debut mystery, Maid of Murder, was an Agatha Award Nominee for Best First Novel and her children’s mysteries, Andi Unexpected and Andi Under Pressure, were an Agatha Award Nominees for Best Children’s/YA Novel. Andi Unstoppable won the Agatha Award for Best Children’s/YA Novel 2015. Amanda is a librarian in northeast Ohio. Visit her at http://www.amandaflower.com.

My Impressions:

I am always up for a cozy mystery! I love quirky characters, charming locales, and a puzzling mystery. I chose Crime And Poetry by Amanda Flower to make the minutes and miles pass quickly on my morning walks — it was a great choice! I had previously read her juvenile mystery fiction and one book in her Amish cozy series and knew I would find a humorous and entertaining read. But I have to say that Crime And Poetry exceeded my expectations. While it had all the elements I look for in a cozy, it also featured a magical bookshop that not only finds the perfect book for patrons, but aids main character Violet in her quest to find whodunit! I loved, loved the characters, including the adorable Houdini-cat and the loquacious blackbird. Violet solves the case and finds closure for a tragedy in her past. She discovers her place in the village of Cascade Springs and has two hunky guys vying for her attention. Very satisfying! The narrator of the audiobook was perfect for the first person style, having a wonderful sense of timing and inflection.

I liked Crime And Poetry so much that I downloaded book 2, Prose And Cons as soon as The End was pronounced. If you are a fan of cozies, you’ll love this one too.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

(I purchased this book from Audible. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Top 10 Tuesday — Bookish Bookshops

16 Oct

Ok, I know that the title of my Top Ten Tuesday post is a bit redundant, but I have a reason for this somewhat silly title. Today, bloggers are supposed to share the bookstores and/or libraries they would love to visit. A very bookish bucket list. 😉 There are a number of real life bookstores that I would absolutely love to visit. Powell’s in Portland comes to mind. But those destinations will have to wait. So I thought I would share the bookstores I have already visited, however fictionally. Yes, my list consists of bookstores that reside in books, hence bookish bookshops. Some of the books are cozies in which bookstore owners double as mystery solvers, while others share stories beyond the covers of books and walls of stores.  Have you visited any on my list? I’d love to know what you thought.

Be sure to head over to That Artsy Reader Girl to find out just where other bloggers want to visit.

 

Top Bookish Bookstores

 

Bay Books — Camino Island by John Grisham

The Book Depot — Strangled Prose by Joan Hess

Charming Books — Crime and Poetry by Amanda Flower

Death on Demand Bookstore — Death on Demand by Carolyn Hart

Island Books — The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

Magic Balloon Bookshop — Hidden Among The Stars by Melanie Dobson

Oak Tree Bookstore — The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald

 

What bookish location do you want to visit?

 

Book Review: Andi Under Pressure

30 Dec

737025Twelve-year-old Andora ‘Andi’ Boggs and her new best friend Colin Carter couldn’t be more excited to attend the prestigious science camp at the local university in Killdeer, Ohio. Unfortunately, Discovery Camp’s curriculum appears to include much more than just chemistry and biology. From day one, the university is plagued by a series of pranks—missing markers, loose crickets, and stolen scales. Campus security blames the mysterious janitor Polk, but even though Andi agrees he’s acting suspicious, she can’t believe the gentle old man would do anything illegal. Then one prank goes too far and their chemistry professor is injured by an explosion in the lab, upping the stakes of the investigation. Andi and Colin must unravel the secrets behind the chemistry department and Polk’s dark past before danger closes the camp for good.

Amanda Flower, an 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. Her debut mystery, Maid of Murder, was an Agatha Award Nominee for Best First Novel. Amanda is an academic librarian for a small college near Cleveland. She also writes mysteries as Isabella Alan.

My Impressions:

I love a mystery. My first experience with mystery novels was, of course, Nancy Drew. I loved becoming part of a team uncovering clues to solve a case. For a new generation, Amanda Flower has created Andi Boggs and her case-solving adventures. In book 2 in the series, Andi Under Pressure, the young sleuth and her partner, Colin Carter, look into the mishaps at a summer science camp. The slightly nerdy duo are tenacious in their quest for answers.

Andi Under Pressure is perfect for girls. The heroine is a math and science whiz finding her way in a new town and family. Andi’s parents were killed in a plane crash, and she and her sister must now make a home with her aunt. Readers will have a lot to think about besides the mystery — what makes a family and what is important in our closest relationships. The pitfalls of being the new kid are explored as well.

So if you are looking for a book to please the mystery-loving child in your life, be sure to check out Andi Under Pressure.

Recommended.

Audience: kids ages 8-12.

(Thanks to Zonderkidz for my review copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To purchase this book, click on the image below.

Book Review: A Plain Death

3 Jul

676970_w185Welcome to Appleseed Creek, the heart of Ohio’s Amish Country, where life is not as serene as it seems.

While her Cleveland friends relocated to Southern California and Italy, 24-year-old computer whiz Chloe Humphrey moves with some uncertainty to Appleseed Creek to direct technology services at a nearby college. Her first acquaintance is Becky, an ex-Amish teenager looking for a new home.

While driving Chloe’s car, Becky collides with a buggy, killing an Amish elder. But what looks like an accident is soon labeled murder when police discover the car’s cut brake line.

Now, Chloe must take on the role of amateur sleuth to discover who the real intended victim was before the murderer makes a second attempt. Becky’s handsome Amish-turned-Mennonite brother, Timothy, a local carpenter, comes in handy along the way. With God’s help, they’ll solve the mystery that’s rocking this small community.

34897648_xc41Amanda Flower, an 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. Her debut mystery, Maid of Murder, was an Agatha Award Nominee for Best First Novel. Amanda is an academic librarian for a small college near Cleveland. She also writes mysteries as Isabella Alan.

Author Interview

My Impressions:

A Plain Death was on the shortlist of books nominated for the mystery/thriller category of the Inspy Awards. It was my very great honor and pleasure to serve as a judge in this category. The decision was hard — all the books nominated were excellent! Here are some of my thoughts on this novel.

Chloe is off to her first real job as the tech director of a small college in the heart of Ohio Amish country. Before she even reaches the rural community of Appleseed Creek she rescues young Amish woman, Becky Troyer, from two local thugs. Her determination to enter the Amish community is met with a mixture of welcome and hostility. Undaunted, Chloe sets to solve the mystery surrounding damage to Amish property and the death of a beloved Bishop, while becoming more and more involved with Timothy, Becky’s brother.

A Plain Death combines several genres — Amish, cozy mystery, and Christian fiction — to create a very satisfying read. Great characters, picture perfect setting, and a mystery that keeps you interested, this novel has it all. A quick read, A Plain Death is a welcome addition to your vacation reading. I liked that the author distinguishes between the various Amish sects. There really is no stereotypical Amish community. They all have their differences in spiritual and cultural rules and restrictions. The characters are seeking to know God in the light of and despite their past experiences and upbringing.  God’s grace is a strong theme in Flower’s novel.

If you like a small town setting, an interesting mystery and some fun, quirky and endearing characters, then pick up A Plain Death. This novel is book 1 in An Appleseed Creek Mystery series. Book 2, A Plain Scandal is also available. Book 3, A Plain Disappearance is due out in September 2013.

Recommended. 

(I received a copy of this novel from the publisher for the judging process. The opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To purchase a copy of A Plain Death, click on the image below.