Sunday, March 1, 2015

Suspendered Sentence ~ Laura Bradford ~ Guest Post and review along with a giveaway

 I want to welcome Laura Bradford author of the popular Amish Mystery Series to WV Stitcher today sharing secrets about her favorite book.

   Shhhh… Don’t Tell, Okay?
    By Laura Bradford
   (author of SUSPENDERED SENTENCE    

Often times, at an event, I’m asked which of my books is my favorite. 

It’s a great question, but it’s also one of those ones that always makes me a bit nervous to answer. After all, if my books are like my babies, isn’t signaling one out akin to favoritism?


But books are books. Everyone has a book they like more than others—a book that resonated on a different level somehow. 

Take for example, A CRY IN THE NIGHT by Mary Higgins Clark. I’ve read a lot of mysteries in my day, but to me, that book stands out as a favorite read. For me. I liked the main character (Jenny McPartland), I felt her joys and her fears, and I felt her terror. As a reader, I’ve connected with a lot of characters over the years, but none like I did Jenny.

So if I can pick a favorite book as a reader, I should be able to pick one out as a writer, yes? I mean, surely there’s a book (or two) that I’ve written that holds a special place of honor in my mind… After all, some books represented milestones, others introduced characters that touched my heart in just the right way at just the right time (like Mary Higgins Clark’s did for me when I was fourteen).

To that end, I sat down and tried to select my favorite book from the twenty I have released so far. And you know what? I couldn’t pick one. It was just too hard. My books really are like my babies.

Then I decided I could separate my babies by series—that way each one was represented. Selecting a favorite from each was still hard, but one naturally floated to the top in each case. I present those to you now…

Back in 2005-2008, I wrote a series called, The Jenkins & Burns Mysteries. In their first life, they were trade paperbacks. In their second life, they were book club mass market paperbacks, and now—in their re-incarnated state (complete with new titles) they are E-books. There were three books in that series.  My favorite in that series would be the first, JURY OF ONE (now called, DEADLY READINGS). As my very first novel ever, it was a dream-come-true.

In 2009, I started writing the Southern Sewing Circle Mysteries under the pen name, Elizabeth Lynn Casey. As of next month (when WEDDING DURESS releases on April 7th), I’ll be up to ten books in that series. In that time, I’ve grown mighty close to the characters in this series. They’ve made me laugh, they’ve made me cry, and they’ve shocked me a time or two. Needless to say, choosing one of the ten (so far) is tough to do. I’ve loved them all for one reason or the other.  But since I said I’d choose one, I’ll go with LET IT SEW (# 7). Everything about that book just came together. I loved working with a character who had Alzheimer’s, and I loved the sub-plot involving a real-live Grinch (who got her comeuppance in the end).

I veer off here for a quick moment to mention four contemporary romances I wrote for Harlequin American. They were not part of a series, but rather individual books. For the purpose of picking a favorite, I’ll select one from the four.  Two of the four were nominated for a RT Reviewers’ Choice Award in 2010 and one actually won! I loved those stories, of course, but my favorite of the four released in 2012. STORYBOOK DAD is the story of a woman with Multiple Sclerosis and her path to love. This book will forever hold a special place in my heart because, I, too have MS, and I’ve received so many letters from MS’ers about this book and its impact on them. 

Now, switching back to mysteries, we’re down to my newest series, the Amish Mysteries. First, let me say, I love everything about these books. I love the research they’ve allowed me to do, the characters who have claimed a piece of my heart, and the storylines that resonate with me, one after the other. SUSPENDERED SENTENCE, the 4th book in the series, just released this week and I have to say, this is my favorite in the series (so far). The plot intrigued me from the very first nugget and ran me through a gamut of emotions from sadness, to anger, to shock. Even now, a full year after having first turned it in to my editor, I still find myself thinking about the characters most affected by this story line.

And, since it’s my newest release, I thought I’d share a little teaser to see if that initial nugget pulls you in just like it did me:

Nineteen years ago, Sadie Lehman simply up and disappeared during her Rumspringa in the Amish community of Heavenly, Pennsylvania. Led to believe her daughter had gotten caught up in the English world by the girl’s peers, Waneta clung to hope that one day Sadie would come back.
Yet while Waneta prayed for a reunion, Sadie’s friends hoped for something very different—that Sadie’s body would never be discovered.

See why I love this one? 

So there you go. I picked favorites among my book babies.

You won’t tell, will you?


Image result for laura bradford amish mysteryLaura Bradford (aka Elizabeth Lynn Casey) has wanted to be a writer since she was ten years old. Today, she is the author of several mystery series, and a handful of romance novels. She is a former Agatha Award nominee and the recipient of an RT Reviewer’s Choice Award.  SUSPENDERED SENTENCE is her twentieth traditionally-published release. In her free time, Laura enjoys making memories with her family, baking, playing games, and catching up with friends. 
To learn more about Laura and her books, visit her website:
If you’d like more daily interaction, check out her author page on Facebook:
And, on occasion, she Tweets (but not well): @bradfordauthor .

  • Series: An Amish Mystery (Book 4)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley (March 3, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425273024
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425273029

The national bestselling author of Shunned and Dangerous returns to the Amish community of Heavenly, Pennsylvania, where shop owner Claire Weatherly has come to appreciate a simpler, more peaceful way of life. But dark secrets are about to complicate things—and lead to murder…

After the Stoltzfus barn catches fire, Claire is awed by the response of the community. Hundreds of Amish men gather together to raise a new barn for the family in a matter of days. But in the midst of the work, a human skeleton is unearthed. Found with the remains is half of a friendship bracelet last seen on Sadie Lehman, an Amish teen long believed to have left her strict upbringing for the allure of English ways.

Now Detective Jakob Fisher—once a member of the Amish community himself—is determined to solve the young woman’s murder. With Claire’s help, he must dig into the past and bring to light long-buried secrets—secrets that someone is willing to kill to protect…

My take on this book:
I love Amish fiction and when you throw in a good mystery well all I can say is I find myself in reading heaven. When an Amish barn catches on fire it doesn't take long for a barn raising to take place, but while digging around to create a new foundation human bones are found, along with a few pieces of jewelry. Turns out that the remains belong to Sadie Lehman, an Amish girl whom everyone assumed left the area twenty years ago during her Rumspringa. Detective Jakob Fisher, an Amish man turned police detective is determined to find out.

How have I missed this series? This is such a well written Amish mystery that I actually read it in one sitting. In the beginning I felt like the crime was going to be  pretty cut and dried but that wasn't the case at all, instead the author throws in a twist that casts light on an accidental death that might not have been which really revved up the  plot. I loved the town of Heavenly, PA. The name alone made me want to read the story. While Suspendered Sentence is actually the fourth book in An Amish Mystery Series by Laura Bradford she provides enough background information for the characters so that I had no problems slipping right into the story. With that said I want to go back and read the first three books just because this book was an unputdownable read. Fans of Amish fiction are going to love Suspendered Sentence, but honestly anyone who enjoys a good mystery, well written easy to understand and connect with characters along with a budding romance will want to read it as well. On a scale of one to five I would easily give this book a six because it's just that good!

Follow along on the tour:
March 2 – WV Stitcher – Review, Guest Post
March 3 – The Gal in the Blue Mask – Review, Interview
March 4 – Babs Book Bistro – Review
March 5 – Tea and A Book – Review, Guest Post
March 6 – A Chick Who Reads – Review
March 7 – Mystery Playground – Interview
March 8 – Girl Lost In a Book – Review
March 9 – Back Porchervations – Review 

Miramont's Ghost ~ Elizabeth Hall ~ TLC Blog Tour with review

  • Paperback: 334 pages
  • Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (February 1, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1477820469
  • ISBN-13: 978-1477820469

Miramont Castle, built in 1897 and mysteriously abandoned three years later, is home to many secrets. Only one person knows the truth: Adrienne Beauvier, granddaughter of the Comte de Challembelles and cousin to the man who built the castle.
Clairvoyant from the time she could talk, Adrienne’s visions show her the secrets of those around her. When her visions begin to reveal dark mysteries of her own aristocratic French family, Adrienne is confronted by her formidable Aunt Marie, who is determined to keep the young woman silent at any cost. Marie wrenches Adrienne from her home in France and takes her to America, to Miramont Castle, where she keeps the girl isolated and imprisoned. Surrounded by eerie premonitions, Adrienne is locked in a life-or-death struggle to learn the truth and escape her torment.
Reminiscent of Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, this hauntingly atmospheric tale is inspired by historical research into the real-life Miramont Castle in Manitou Springs, Colorado.

My take on this book:
Miramont's Ghost grabbed me from the prologue, and I couldn't help but wonder about Adrienne and what her story was. Well the beginning chapters introduces us to Adrienne a young girl who can see visions, and those visions are often secrets that others don't want told especially her Aunt Marie. When Marie moves Adrienne from France to America the young girl's life takes a horrible turn.

This story was really quite different from what I expected it to be. I was fascinated by the fact that it is based on a real place Miramont Castle. It really is a fictionalized tale of how a place can become haunted, because of the things that occur within. While parts of the story plodded along for me, I was compelled to learn what ultimately happens.The ending was something I really didn't expect and kind of left me wishing for something different. Overall  I really have mixed feelings about Miramont's Ghost, while the author was able to evoke emotion they were often sad and dark. I did feel deep empathy for Adrienne and wanted better for her but sadly it wasn't to be. She was also able to make me feel hate and disgust for Julian and Marie. I enjoyed the historical aspects and reading this story really makes me want to learn more about Miramont Castle. I would caution there are a few sexual situations in the story. Miramont's Ghost isn't a happily ever after tale, instead its a haunting tale that left me feeling sad for the main character.

Elizabeth HallAbout Elizabeth Hall

Elizabeth Hall spent most of her life in the mountains of Colorado, working as a teacher, writer, and radio show host. She now lives in the Pacific Northwest, where she writes and plays with fiber.

Elizabeth Hall’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:
Tuesday, February 3rd: Bookchickdi
Friday, February 6th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Monday, February 9th: Life is Story
Tuesday, February 10th: History from a Woman’s Perspective
Thursday, February 12th: Musings of a Bookish Kitty
Friday, February 13th: Book Nerd
Monday, February 16th: 100 Pages a Day
Wednesday, February 18th: Bibliophilia, Please
Monday, February 23rd: Reading Reality
Tuesday, February 24th: Luxury Reading
Thursday, February 26th: Peeking Between the Pages
Monday, March 2nd: WV Stitcher
Tuesday, March 3rd: Ageless Pages Reviews
Thursday, March 5th: Jenn’s Bookshelves
Monday, March 9th: Bibliotica
Wednesday, March 11th: Sara’s Organized Chaos

The Ghost of Stonebridge Lane ~ Roberta Hoffer

  • File Size: 2086 KB
  • Print Length: 79 pages
  • Publisher: Dragonfly Publishing, Inc. (March 25, 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English

Christian Jones Arnook and his mother travel from Alaska to Indiana to meet a wealthy great-grandfather he never knew existed. A ten-year-old boy full of curiosity, Christian immediately checks out the house and the surrounding area. Spooky events at every turn lead him to one startling conclusion: the estate is haunted and all strange activity seems to start at the old stone bridge. [Book I of The Stonebridge Ghost Tales | Juvenile Fantasy (Rated G) Illustrations by Madison Gaines | Released in 2014 by Dragonfly Publishing, Inc.]

My take on this book:
Ten year old Christian Jones Arnook lives in Alaska with his mother. When a letter arrives asking them to come to Indiana to meet his great-grandfather he can't help but be excited because up to this point he has never been out of Alaska. When he gets to his great grandfather's estate the first thing he thinks is that it is spooky, and after he starts to explore he quickly realizes that there is more going on than meets the eye. When he learns of a family secret that reaches back to the Civil War will he be frightened or will he embrace all that his great-grandfather is willing to share with him? One things for certain this trip will certainly change Christian's life forever!

The Ghost of Stonebridge Lane by Roberta Hoffer is an easy to read chapter book that will certainly appeal to younger readers but I must say I was hooked as well. Ms. Hoffer's storytelling ability has a way of entwining you into the lives of her characters, providing plenty of background information about them as the story unfolds. She allowed me to understand Christian and his mother's losses without bogging down the story, instead it was in a get to know you style that allowed added depth to the characters! I really enjoyed the family feel of this story, and the easy relationship that Christian has with his mother. Of course young readers are going to want excitement and the author provides plenty! From the gargoyles standing at the entrance to the estate, to the mysterious soldier that only Christian saw in the photo, the author builds up enough suspense to grab the imagination as to what might be going on. I loved the splash of historical detail the author included in the story. A  good read that is filled with adventure,mystery, a paranormal element that is a bit spooky without being overly so, and a wholesome family feel that really allowed me to connect with the characters. If you have a reluctant reader in your family this book just might be the spark to ignite them to read! I can't wait to read the next book in the series!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Lift The Flap Bible

  • Age Range: 2 - 4 years
  • Series: Candle Tiny Tots
  • Board book: 16 pages
  • Publisher: Candle Books; Brdbk edition (October 1, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1781281300
  • ISBN-13: 978-1781281307

What's under the flaps? Find out in this collection of eight very simple Bible stories in a large cased board book format. Each story is told across a double-page spread and there are flaps on every page. Bright, quirky illustrations full of wit and color from Louise Anglicas are perfect for this engaging introduction to Bible stories.
Stories are: Noah and the Ark, Moses and the Bulrushes, Daniel and the Lions, Jonah and the Great Fish, Born in a Stable, Boy with Loaves and Fishes, The Lost Sheep, and Man Lowered Through the Roof.

My take on this book:
Candle's Tiny Tots Lift the Flap Bible is perfect for youngsters aged 2-4 because the bright colors and vivid illustrations will catch their eye, but it's discovering what's under the flaps that going to grab older childrens attention and imagination as they explore what's under those flaps! The first thing I noticed about this sturdy little book is that the outer corners are a bit rounded which is a great safety feature for younger children. The board book seems very sturdy, and the pages are very easy to grab and turn. I have actually opened the flaps numerous times as I have read the book and the flaps always close securely making this a book that will withstand repeated use. Written in a very simple manner that covers two pages each of the eight Bible stories are a wonderful way to introduce youngsters to some of the most popular stories in the Bible. As I read this little book to my special young friend I had her to name each of the animals  she encountered on the pages furthering her interaction to the story. From Noah and his Ark to the Stable  Candle's Tiny Tots Lift the Flap Bible is a wonderful way to spark the imagination and introduce your favorite youngster to the Bible.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review.