Tag Archives: Isabella Alan

My Musing ~ Murder, Handcrafted by Isabella Alan

Murder, Handcrafted by Isabella Alan is the fifth book in the “Amish Quilt Shop” mystery series. Publisher: Penguin Random House, June 2016

Murder, HandcraftedAmish 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. . .

This is one series that I will miss but I’m happy that I got to know Angie, Jonah, James and the rest of the people of Rolling Brook, Ohio. This was a well-written story that pulled me in immediately and was hard to put down as I had to know what happened next. A dead body and the possible sighting of Bigfoot starts this evenly paced light drama where once again, Angie is caught up in all the action when her best friend becomes the prime suspect. It’s with dogged pursuit and determination that Angie begins her investigation seeing clues to clear her friend. I love how the author set-up this mystery where all the characters played a pivotal role that enhanced the telling of this tale. Boasting a wonderful and lovable cast, engaging conversations and a comfortable tone, this was a very enjoyable read and the best in this delightfully charming series.

My Musing ~ Murder, Served Simply by Isabella Alan

Murder Simply ServedMurder, Served Simply by Isabella Alan is the third book in the “Amish Quilt Shop” mystery series. Obsidian, December 2014

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.

Isabella is a great storyteller and this one is the best in the series thus far, particularly with the arrival of Angie’s parents. Mixing holiday festivities, a matchmaking mother, an ex and current boyfriend and of course murder delivers a fast-paced and light drama that was a delight to read. I love that the author kept me in tuned with the story as I had to keep reading to know what happens next and boy did I enjoy all that featured in this charming tale. The mystery was well-executed and those involved created a balance story that didn’t want it to end. A great read and I look forward to more from Isabella.

Sheriff James Mitchell and the Competition by Isabella Alan

Murder Simply ServedThe February day I saw Angie Braddock take a spill on the ice outside the Holmes County courthouse almost a year ago, I knew I was in trouble. The clumsy yet adorable Texas girl took my breath away, but I never thought I’d see her again. She was visiting her Amish aunt in Rolling Brook, and by the size of the diamond ring on her left hand, she wasn’t planning to stick around.

Fast forward six months, and she left Dallas and her deadbeat fiancé behind to move to the Amish county in Ohio where I serve as county sheriff. What were the odds? We got off to rocky start since I thought she might have committed a murder, but thankfully, she turned out to be innocent. Since then, we have gotten along just fine despite her way of sticking her cute little nose into official police business.

At least I thought we were getting along fine until she told me her ex-fiancé, Ryan Dickinson, was coming to Ohio for Christmas. Talk about putting a damper on holiday cheer. I can’t say I welcome the visit. Angie promised me it wasn’t her idea. It was her mother’s. Somehow her mother being behind it makes it that much worse. I know the Braddocks want their only child to move back to Dallas and marry Ryan. That’s not going to happen if I can help it.

I would never let on to Angie that I am nervous about Dickinson’s visit. I’m a cop, and it’s my duty to be cool under pressure although I’m more comfortable with a high speed chase than I am with romance.

Nevertheless, I’m not going down without a fight. Dickinson had his chance with Angie, and he blew it. It’s time to show that Texas boy how we roll in the Buckeye State.

I just hope I don’t have another dead body to contend with too, but knowing Angie’s luck, there might be one or two…

You can read more about Sheriff Mitchell in Murder, Served Simply, the third book in the “Amish Quilt Shop” mystery series, published by Obsidian. The first book in the series is Murder, Plain and Simple.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 6 p.m. eastern on December 19 for the chance to win a copy of MURDER, SERVED SIMPLY. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.

About the author
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.

Follow Isabella on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest

A Day at Miller’s Amish Bakery with Rachel Miller by Isabella Alan

goatmemeWork from sun up to sun down. That is the Amish way. That is what every day is like for my family but not today. My husband is the owner of Miller’s Amish Bakery on Sugartree Street in Rolling Brook, a small town in Holmes County, Ohio. It is a popular bakery, and he’s been planning to expand, which is why this day is different than most and why I’m sitting at home trying to quilt but spending most of my time worrying. Aaron, my husband, is in the barn tending to the animals. He’s not usually home at this time, but we both thought it was best if we let Mattie, Aaron’s younger sister, take care of the bakery this afternoon. Aaron is a shy man, even for an Amish man, and does not welcome prodding questions. I’m sure Mattie is answering plenty of those today.

You see, Aaron wants to open a baking factory on Sugartree Street and bought the land to do it, but the Township Trustees won’t let him. It’s all because Trustee Wanda Hunt got it into her head that the factory will ruin our little township when in fact it will bring more business to Rolling Brook. And now Wanda is dead! Her body was discovered at the Rolling Brook Amish Auction, and now because of the dispute that my husband had with Wanda, the police think he or I killed her!

I’m sorry to be going on like this. It’s not the Amish way to complain. I need to remind myself that this is a test and Gott will take care of my family.

Thankfully, we have Angie Braddock, my best friend, to help us. It is funny for me to say that my dearest friend is an outspoken Englischer from Texas, but in the short time she’s lived here, I’ve come to love and trust Angie. I’m leaning on her now to help me through this.

I can tell by the way the sun is dipping away from my kitchen window that afternoon is almost over. My children will be home from the schoolhouse soon. I have four boys and they will be a welcome distraction. All I can do is hope Gott takes care of this, and knowing Angie, she’s already volunteered to help him.

You can read more about Rachel in Murder, Simply Stitched, the second book in the “Amish Quilt Shop” mystery series, published by Obsidian. The first book in the series is Murder, Plain And Simple. Books are available at retail and online booksellers.

giveawayIsabella Alan is celebrating the release of Murder, Simply Stitched with a special giveaway! Enter to Win an Amish Charm Bracelet from author Isabella Alan (aka Amanda Flower)! Click HERE to Enter! Giveaway is limited to U.S. and Canadian residents

Bonus giveaway
Comment on this post by 6 p.m. EST on June 16, and you will be entered for a chance to win a copy of Murder, Simply Stitched. One winner will be chosen at random. Unless specified, U.S. entries only.

Meet the author
Isabella Alan is the pseudonym for Amanda Flower. 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, and her children’s mystery, Andi Unexpected, was an Agatha Award Nominee for Best Children’s/YA. Amanda is an academic librarian for a small college near Cleveland.

Follow Isabella on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest

Follow dru’s book musing on Facebook for book giveaways, contests, posting about discounted books and some of my reading musings.

Murder, Simply Stitched by Isabella Alan

Murder Simply StitchedMurder, Simply Stitched by Isabella Alan is the second book in the “Amish Quilt Shop” mystery series. Publisher: Obsidian, June 2014

When Angela Braddock enters her quilts in an Amish auction, she never expects one of her neighbors to end up going, going, gone.

Angie is finding her niche as the new owner of her late aunt’s Amish quilt shop, Running Stitch. But as the summer is winding down, so is business. To bolster support for the shop, Angie decides to sell her quilts in the Rolling Brook Amish Auction, including some of her aunt’s most prized works.

The quilts promise to be a hit—but the gavel comes down on the lively event when Angie stumbles upon the body of township trustee Wanda Hunt behind a canning shed. The cause of death: a poisoned blueberry fry pie from Rachel Miller’s bakery table. Now Angie’s closest friend is a murder suspect. With Angie taking the lead, she and the other women of her aunt’s quilting circle set out to patch together the clues and stop a killer set on shredding the simple peace of Rolling Brook.

This was a wonderfully crafted story that I did not want to end. Angie and her friends are on the case when one of their own becomes a prime suspect. This was a good mystery that grabbed my attention from the start that I could not put down because I had to know how it was all going to end. The author did a great job of pulling it all together with plenty of suspects and some intriguing twists that kept me glued to the pages. Boasting a great cast of characters, entertaining and humorous dialogue and a comfortable tone, this was a great read and I can’t wait for the next book in this delightfully appealing series.

Murder, Plain and Simple by Isabella Alan

Murder, Plan and SimpleMurder, Plain and Simple by Isabella Alan is the first book in the new “Amish Quilt Shop” mystery series. Publisher: Obsidian, September 2013

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.

I like it. Angie’s homecoming is marred when she finds a dead body in her shop and when she becomes the prime suspect, what else is Angie to do but put the pieces together and find a killer?

This very enjoyable read had everything from a well-designed plot that kept me enthralled in all facets of discovery; a strong heroine determined to make it on her own; a supporting cast that stands on their own; the smoldering of a romance that is yet to come and a good ole mystery that you can sink your teeth into. The author did a good job with presenting plenty of suspects that kept me guessing and it wasn’t until that aha moment when I knew exactly who the killer was and I couldn’t wait to see if my hunch was correct. I’m looking forward to reading the next book in this delightfully charming debut series.

Isabella Alan is the pseudonym for Amanda Flower

FTC Disclosure: I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher with the request for a review.

previously posted on the Cozy Chicks blog

At Running Stitch With Angie Braddock by Isabella Alan

Murder, Plan and SimpleClip-clop, clip-clop, rattle was the sounds that came through Running Stitch’s, my Amish quilt shop’s, open front door. I recognized it immediately. An Amish buggy. Without looking up from the cutting table where I was cutting surplus fabric in fat quarters, I knew it was a market buggy drawn by two horses with a heavy load in the back. Perhaps the buggy was making its way to the Amish auction that would be later in the day.

Oliver, my French bulldog, watched the buggy roll by at the front door but didn’t venture out. There were birds out they, and Oliver feared birds.

I chuckled to myself that I knew the type of buggy so quickly. I had only been in Amish country permanently for a few weeks, but it already felt like home, much more than my high rise, elegant, city life in Dallas ever had. Maybe I was a country girl at heart. That only made me laugh harder.

“Hmm,” a voice said. “You best not be laughing to yourself while you’re alone in the shop. You don’t know who might happen by and hear you. Folks are already suspicion of your fancy boots.” Anna Graber, an Amish woman who had been my Amish Aunt Eleanor’s best friend, eyed my prized cowboy boots, the one thing from my old life in Dallas that I held onto with a tight grip.

I grinned. “I like to give folks something to talk about.”

Anna snorted as she settled into the rocking chair by the front window. “You are good at too. Did you hear the latest that is making both Amish and Englischers tongues wag?”

“No. And I’m afraid to ask.”

She removed the bar quilt she was piecing from her quilting basket and said nothing more.

“Well! What is it?” I wanted to know.

She threaded her needle. “You said that you were afraid to ask.”

“That’s just an expression. It doesn’t mean that I didn’t want to know.”

Anna pulled a stitch through the fabric. “You Englischers and your expressions. Why don’t you mean what you say? You’d have a much easier time.”

I sighed. “Anna, what’s the rumor? I would like to know, please.”

She smiled. “That the sheriff is sweet on you.”

I put my scissors down, feeling a knot in my stomach take shape. “I take it back. I don’t want to know.”

“Too late,” she said with a little too much pleasure if you asked me. “You will have to deal with it now.”

“Not if I can help it,” I muttered. I clicked my tongue at Oliver. The little black and white Frenchie waddled over to me. “This is the only guy I need in my life.”

Anna made a disbelieving sound but thankfully dropped it… at least for the moment. I knew the rest of the Amish quilting circle would take my singleness up as their next project. I was doomed.

You can read more about Angie in MURDER, PLAIN and SIMPLE, the first book in the new “Amish Quilt” mystery series, published by Obsidian.

Thanks to Penguin, I have one (1) copy of “Murder, Plain and Simple” to give away. Leave a comment to be included in the giveaway. Contest ends September 4; US entries only per publisher’s request.

super september finalIt’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.

af quiltEnter to Win an Authentic Amish Quilt from author Amanda Flower! Click HERE to Enter!

Meet the author
Amanda Flower is the author of mysteries for children and adults. She has three novels releasing in September 2013: A Plain Disappearance and Murder, Plain and Simple (Amish cozy mysteries), and Andi Unexpected, a mystery for children ages 8-12. Murder, Plain and Simple she wrote under the pen name Isabella Alan. Amanda is an academic librarian for a small college near Cleveland.

Follow Amanda on Social Media at: Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest
Follow Amanda’s alter ego Isabella on Facebook

Books are available at retail and online booksellers.

Plainly Murder by Isabella Alan

plainly murderPlainly Murder by Isabella Alan is the prequel (and short story) to the new “Amish Quilt Shop” mystery series. Publisher: Obsidian, August 2013

Welcome to Rolling Brook, Ohio, a quaint Amish community where life is less tranquil than it seems.

Angela Braddock has come to Rolling Brook to lend a hand at her Aunt Eleanor’s traditional Amish quilt shop. But when Eleanor’s quilting circle mourns the loss of their oldest member, Evelyn, they make a startling discovery about a tragic event in Evelyn’s past. More than a decade earlier, during a barn raising, Evelyn’s son Eric fell from the roof and died. Evelyn had always insisted that Eric was pushed, and now a clue in an old quilt convinces Angie to dig up the truth…and discover one of Rolling Brook’s darkest secrets.

The gift of a quilt leads to a history that people want to forget until Angie at the request of her aunt tries to deliver the item and discovers a long buried secret that threatens a family. This was a good read and a nice introduction to Angie Braddock and I enjoyed the set-up to the upcoming new “Amish Quilt Shop” series by Isabella Alan, which I’m looking forward to reading.