Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Murder Comes by Mail

A new murder mystery by A.H. Gabhart is on the shelf at your local bookstore (or online, whichever you prefer.)  This is Book 2 of the Hidden Springs Mystery series.  These books can be read separately and out of sequence because they are more of a continuation of the same characters and locale with another murder being done.  Deputy Michael Keane continues to solve the whodunnit with the same intelligence and savvy that he used in the first book entitled Murder at the Courthouse.  If you are not familiar, Deputy Keane came home to Hidden Springs after serving as a big city cop for some years.  He felt the desire to return to small town law enforcement and embrace the lifestyle and values that he found there while growing up.  As usual, the grass is not always greener!
The author, Ann Gabhart, writes a strong character in Michael Keane and expertly merges his big city experience with his heart for the small town he loves.  Sheriff Keane sees beyond the obvious and has an uncanny sense (gut feeling?) for seeing hidden details in the unsolved crime.  This makes for excellent crime solving and exciting reading; as in, hard to put down this book!  Book 1 in this series was a good read, and if anything, this second book is even better.  The author writes a villain that is the epitome of a psychopath.  As murders continue to be done, the perpetrator makes it obvious to Michael that this spree has a personal connection.
 Murder Comes by Mail takes us back to Hidden Springs while reacquainting us with the townspeople that we met in Murder at the Courthouse.  Michael's Aunt Lindy is back, as well as the crew at the Sheriff's office, Betty Jean.  Also Hank Leland, editor of the local paper, Hidden Springs Gazette.  In this book,  Deputy Michael saves a man from jumping off the Eagle River bridge.  He utters something to Michael that puzzles him and then pictures of dead girls begin to arrive at the Sheriff's office.  Michael begins to believe the man he saved from jumping over the Eagle River bridge is doing the murders.  To make it worse, if possible, Michael has a connection to each girl that is murdered.  It becomes obvious that the killer has it out for the Deputy.  I can't tell you more without spoiling it for you, so I will stop here!
A.H. Gabheart has a knack for expertly crafting personalities and  relationships between characters and bringing out the details of daily life.  Her writing is believable and easy to read, at the same time absorbing.  I honestly could not put this down about 2/3 of the way through the book.  It simply becomes spooky and macabre.  I finished this one night when I should have been sleeping, rain pouring down and before I finished I was hearing every bump in the night and some that weren't there!
This is an excellent read and needs to be added to your summer reading list.  In fact, I will be back soon to give you my recommended list and this will be on it!
I give Murder Comes by Mail five stars and recommend you get your copy asap and read it up!
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, in exchange for an honest review.  These words are my opinion.
You can find out more about this book and others at Baker Publishing Group.  Read more about this author and her books at Ann H. Gabhart.

Thanks so much for being here!  I will be back soon with my Summer Reading List, so please come back and check it out!
See you soon,

Monday, May 23, 2016

The Elements of Pizza

Unlocking the Secrets to World-Class Pies at Home      

This isn't just pizza; it's gourmet that you truly can make at home.  Ken Forkish has written the master book on homemade pizza. He is the owner of Ken's Artisan Pizza in Portland Oregon and is the James Beard award winning author of Flour Salt Water Yeast.  He visited Italy, spending much time in the area around the Bay of Naples, where he says "great pizza as we know it has been happening for about 150 years..."  
The beginning chapters of the book are informative reading as he takes you through the Soul of Pizza, Pizza Styles, Great Crust, Methods.  It gave me an understanding of pizza I did not have before.  Don't skip that part.  This is not about a bread dough recipe used for pizza.  He achieves perfect crust with a scant minimum of yeast and longer rise time.  It is delicious.  The recipes are easy to use and have conversions from grams to teaspoons and cups.  He recommends you buy a kitchen scale that measures in grams if you don't already own one.  I used his conversions and my pies were delicious.  Most scales have both.
I made several of these pizzas and they were all good.  It is the best crust I have eaten.  And I like pizza a lot.  He separates the book into dough recipes and pizza recipes. He even has a gluten free crust if you prefer it. The book has sections featuring Italian Inspired in which he includes Margherita Pizza, including the history of that name, Carbonara Pizza, Pizza Bianca.  The New York Inspired chapter includes New York Cheese Pizza, Pepperoni, Mushroom and Onion Pizza (I made that one) and Meatball Pizza.  He also gives us Artisan, Flatbread and Vegetable Pizza recipes.  I made Adam Kuban's Love Supreme Bar Pizza as well as the Hawaiian Pizza.  It was all good.  The pizza recipes have suggestions for which dough recipes best suit the pizza recipe you are making.  This book has everything you need to make world-class pies at home, just like it says.  Check out his site at Ken's Artisan.
I give The Elements of Pizza five stars!  If you like to make your pizza at home, this is the book you need to do that.  Complete, easy and delicious!  I received a complimentary copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.  These words are my opinion.
Thanks for being here, see you soon!


Monday, May 9, 2016

The Quieting

Suzanne Woods Fisher's newest book, just released May 3rd, is Book 2 of The Bishop's Family series.  The Quieting is a continuation of developments that begin in The Imposter, Book 1, as well as adding in some new developments in the lives of Stony Ridge residents.  I am just beginning my foray into this author's books and I must say, if what I have read so far is any indication, I will be reading everything she has published.  I told her that, when I met her a week or so ago at her book signing for The Quieting.  More about that later.
This book has grandmother, Tillie Yoder Stoltzfus, (Mammi) sweeping in to correct, organize and tie up with a bow, her families' lives.  Her son David is widowed and has children that are nearly grown and beginning to think about what they want to do with their lives and who they want to spend them with.  His family also includes several children approaching their teen years.  Mammi arrives from Ohio with her granddaughter Abigail for a long stay while she works on "fixing up" the Stony Ridge Stoltzfuses affairs.  Oh, and she wants to choose a husband for Abigail.  That is why she brought her along for the ride!  The resulting complications are a mix of serious, soul-searching and some humorous revelations while always bringing home a life lesson for the Stolzfus family members.  Add to this the local church which is faced with unrepented sin and a power struggle.  It is obvious that God is very much a part of daily life and his wisdom is sought by the residents of Stony Ridge.
Suzanne has a talent for developing realistic Amish characters with many of the same problems that we all have.  This brings an authenticity  to her writing that makes it absorbing and easy to read.  I am finding out that the Plain folk share many of the same struggles that we, as Christians, are faced with daily.  There are spiritual nuggets dropped in the story at just the right time for what was taking place and  they added wisdom to my own spiritual understanding as well. Suzanne brings her characters alive with real life situations and complex plots that leave the reader anxious to turn the page to see how it all ends up.  She has a background in the Amish community which gives insight to her writing that you may not find elsewhere.
I was able to meet Suzanne at a book signing for The Quieting and I was honored to be able to share a few moments with her.  She was gracious and it was obvious to me that she loves writing and finds joy in her readers enjoying her stories.  She takes pleasure in interacting with her readers and you can find her on social media frequently.  Reach her at Suzanne Woods Fisher. She is also on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.
Her stories are realistically written which results in a "plain good" book that you will want to read.  I give The Quieting five stars and highly recommend that you get your copy asap.  This is one you will want to have a cup of coffee with or an iced tea on the patio.  Prepare to give yourself over to the book!
Below is a picture of Suzanne and me at one of her signings at the Gospel Book Store, Berlin, Ohio.  I so enjoyed meeting her and she signed both books for me, The Imposter and The Quieting!  I received a complimentary copy of The Quieting from the publisher, Revell, in exchange for an honest review.  These words are my opinion.

Thanks for being here!
I feel like a made a new friend!