Series Review: If I Run

When Casey Cox finds her best friend stabbed to death, she doesn’t try to defend her innocence. She runs. Her decision creates an explosion of media interest, questions, and confusion. It looks like she is fleeing justice. Will anyone realize she’s fighting to stay one step ahead of injustice?

If I Run

Continue reading “Series Review: If I Run”


New and Upcoming Books I’m Excited For

We all have favorite authors we follow closely, anticipating their new book releases. It’s especially exciting when a new book in a series releases, and you can finally get resolution to the cliff hanger at the end of the previous book–or, if there was no cliff hanger, spend more time with your favorite characters. I thought it would be fun to share four of the books I’m looking forward to this fall.


Continue reading “New and Upcoming Books I’m Excited For”

Author Interview: Sandra Orchard

Remember I promised you a cool interview with Sandra Orchard? Here it is! Sandra was kind enough to follow through with this interview even though she was on her way to be with her grandson who had an extremely serious accident. (Check out her Facebook page to learn how to pray for little Jed.)

If you missed my review of Sandra’s novel, A Fool and His Monet, check it out now! 🙂

Sandra Orchard Banner

If I was going to write a mystery, the art crime specialty division wouldn’t be the first thing I reached for! What made you aware of/interested in writing about it?

I read a newspaper article about the detective who founded Montreal’s art crime unit, which led me to research the FBI’s Art Crime Team and read the biography of its founder. I sensed immediately there was lots of fodder for potential mysteries. I’ve even read a couple of biographies and blogs of (former) art thieves.

What’s your favorite thing about museum-quality art and why?

The sense of stepping back in time and experiencing a different era or ethos.

What non-fiction (or fiction!) book(s) would you recommend to someone who wants to learn more?

Priceless: How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World’s Stolen Treasures 
by Robert K Wittman.

There are many others, but that is a good place to start.

If Serena time-traveled to the civil war, what role do you think she’d play in the war?

Hmm, she’d probably be a spy or scout.

What else would you like readers to know about yourself and your Serena Jones books?

My next Serena Jones novel, Another Day, Another Dali, is dedicated to my grandson Jed who inspired a character in the book. That dedication was written long before the tragic accident that recently left him struggling for survival. Prayers for his recovery would be greatly appreciated. The novel releases in October.

A great big ‘thank you’ to Sandra for being here today. I’m going to have to check out that book she recommended! What about you? Do you enjoy art? Does the idea of being an art crime detective intrigue you?

Book Review: A Fool and His Monet

Fool and His Monet, ASpecial Agent Serena Jones is trying to calm her jittery nerves following a painting recovery when she receives a panicked call from her best friend. Two valuable paintings are missing from the storage vault at the museum her friend works for. Serena dives headfirst into the mystery. Getting the paintings back to the museum turns out to be a tall order. The trail is months cold, and Serena has big distractions–like a stalker who might be trying to take her out and a slew of guys trying to impress her.

I purchased this book on a whim. Usually I dismiss anything art related, but I recently spent a week going to museums with a friend of mine who loves art. After several days of geek outs over Degas, Monet, and Van Gogh, I couldn’t help but noticed this book at a local homeschool conference. It took me a chapter or two to orient myself when I started reading. I don’t read a ton of mysteries, and at first I wasn’t sure what to make of Serena’s quirky commentary on life. Turns out, it’s Serena’s unique perspectives that make this story delightful. She’s tough without loosing her femininity, observant, and delightfully clueless about guys.

If you enjoy lighthearted, quirky, fast-paced mysteries, this is a no-brainer for your to-read list.

One of the galleries at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art

Stay tuned for an interview with author Sandra Orchard.

P.S. Please take time to pray for Sandra’s grandson who had a bad accident and is fighting for his life.

Book Review: The Mystery of the Indian Carvings

Mystery of the Indian CarvingsYoung Julie is troubled by her mother’s death and her dislike for her new stepmother, who doesn’t want Julie around for the summer. Instead, Julie is being sent to live on an island with relatives she doesn’t know. To make matters worse, her first weeks don’t go well. Her uncle rarely shows his face, her aunt is plagued by anxiety, and her cousin seems to hate her. Julie begins to think her time on the island will be short lived.

I thoroughly enjoyed taking a step back from the intense, emotionally wringing tales of young adult, new adult, and adult fiction to enjoy the simple clarity of this middle grade story. The Mystery of the Indian Carvings is fast paced and perfect for it’s target audience. Tween readers will get a thrill of adventure and solid lessons about trusting God, just like I did when I read Repp’s Mik-Shrok series as a tween.

If you have younger siblings or are the parent of readers age 8-13, this is a great book to share with them.

Book Review: The Case of the Tabloid Tattler

Tabloid TattlerKitten has a startling secret and an important request. She knows how to write and would like a real name to replace ‘Kitten.’ Keith, the detective who took her in, takes an understandable several minutes to accept this dumbfounding fact about his adopted cat. After he recovers, he dubs her Mia. Soon, Mia has made herself a member of Keith’s detective team, assigning herself the roll of undercover spy. Someone is leaking private information to tabloids. It’s either the housekeeper, cook, maid, or maintenance man. Mia has her suspicious, but she doesn’t have long to prove them.

This is an adorable book for young readers who enjoy series like The Boxcar Children and The Pony Pals.

Book Review: Deception

Ollie Chandler has his problems, but he’s a good detective. When a bizarre new homicide case comes up, he realizes that his shortcomings may have caused a bigger problem than he could ever imagine. The mystery leads him along a circuitous trail, causing him to suspect his closest friends…and even himself. Can he get to the bottom of the Palentine case without losing his life? Will he put his trust in Christ before it’s too late?

This was definitely my favorite book in the Ollie Chandler series. It’s totally different from the first two books and works well as a stand alone. I would call Deadline and Dominion issues fiction. Deception is definitely a full-out mystery. If you’re like me it will leave you guessing till the climax and wishing there was more after it ends. However, this IS NOT a book for younger readers. My recommended age range would be 16 and up because it covers some heavy issues like abortion, AIDS, racism, alcoholism, etc. It’s not emphasized as much in Deception, but it is there. This makes the book (and series) challenging and deep for older readers, but not the best choice for younger teens. 😉

Book Review: Death Cloud

Death Cloud At fourteen years old, Sherlock Holmes thinks he is facing a boring vacation in exile. His brother Mycroft sends him off live with his eccentric Aunt and Uncle and study beneath an American tutor named Amyus Crowe. Instead of boredom, he finds himself confronted with his first mystery, a new friend, and relentless enemies. Even if he manages to escape with his life, Sherlock’s life is changed forever.

In my personal opinion, the adventure element in this book (and book two of the series) far outweigh the mystery element. But, it’s Sherlock Holmes, and you can’t go wrong with Sherlock Holmes when you’re doing a mystery theme. Besides, 240 people classified it as a mystery on Goodreads, so we’re all good. 🙂 I really enjoyed the fast action of this story, and the glimpse of Sherlock as he might have been as a boy. I tend to doubt this version of young Sherlock is quite what all you BBC Sherlock fans imagine, but I bet you’d enjoy the book anyway. After all, the author is English and, judging from his author bio, seems to have a thing for BBC TV shows.

P.S. If the weird and slightly grotesque bother you, this book might not be for you. There’s nothing over the top, but it’s worth the warning.

What is your favorite Sherlock Holmes story, whether from the original books, old movies, BBC Sherlock, or side shoots like this.