Thursday, December 4, 2014

Murder, Served Simply by Isabella Alan: Guest Author, Review & Giveaway

An Amish Christmas
By Isabella Alan

I love Christmastime. I love the twinkle lights wrapped around bushes and trees outside, the hubbub of shopping for that perfect gift, and the time spent with family friends near and far. So when it came to write the third novel in the Amish Quilt Shop Mystery Series, I knew it had to be a Christmas book.

The Amish don’t celebrate many holidays, but they do celebrate Christmas. Just like us English (non-Amish) folks the Amish have Christmas traditions. Their traditions vary from family to family and Amish district to Amish district, but here are some quick facts about an Amish Christmases I’ve learned.

* The Amish don’t have Christmas trees, but they do decorate their homes with pine and greens from the garden.

* The Amish do exchange small gifts at Christmas. Many of these are handmade, but store bought gifts are becoming popular too.

* A favorite Amish Christmas treat is flavored popcorn. Caramel corn is the far and away most popular flavor.

* The day after Christmas, December 26th, is a holiday for some Amish districts and is called “Second Christmas.”
* The one-room schoolhouses will traditionally have a Christmas program for the children’s parents.
* There is no Santa Claus in the Amish world. The focus of Christmas is on the birth of Christ.
Check out Murder, Served Simply to find out how I incorporate these Amish Christmas traditions in the novel while a murderer is on the loose in my tranquil Amish town of Rolling Brook, Ohio.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! Isabella
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.
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Giveaway: Leave a comment by noon eastern on Wednesday, December 10th for your chance to win a copy of Murder, Served Simply. (US entries only, please.)
About the book: 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….
 Tortie Shorties
Book reviews that are short and sweet...just like Truffles!
The previous two books in the Amish Quilt Shop Mystery series have been favorites of mine so I've been very excited for Murder, Served Simply knowing that it would be set at Christmastime. It's the best one yet in the series, and that's really saying something because they have all been superb.
Poor Angie is beside herself when her parents arrive in Rolling Brook with her ex-fiancé in tow, who makes it very clear that he is out to win her back. But the show must go on as Running Stitch is a stop at the town's progressive dinner. (I had never heard of this custom and just loved it: each shop in town hosts a different course of the meal, and participants are taken from place to place in a horse drawn sleigh!) The dinner concludes at the Swiss Valley Hotel and Barn where a controversial play is to be performed. The lead actress, Eve, left the Amish community to pursue an acting career in New York, and has been shunned by her family. On opening night Eve falls from the scaffolding and dies on impact. A closer inspection of the scene shows that the rope was cut. Who's the killer: a member of the acting troupe or of Eve's very own family? Angie sets out to solve yet another murder while trying to hide her intentions from her parents.

This book is a total page turner as I found myself completely invested in Angie's life. The final revelation, while not totally unexpected, was still quite shocking and heartbreaking. Set aside an afternoon during your busy holiday season to lose yourself in Angie's won't regret it.


  1. Hello Melissa. I do think this will be a good Christmas book. Thanks for the give-away. Very good review. Thanks!
    Maxie > mac262(at)me(dot)com <

  2. I love her books and I'm sure this will be a wonderful one, to be sure.

  3. This is one of my favorite new series, too. How could her parents bring along the ex? The Progressive dinner sounds fun.

  4. I really like this series and look forward to seeing how Isabella incorporates these and other Amish Christmas traditions in the book. Thanks so much for the chance to win!

  5. I would love to win! Thank you!

  6. I would love to read this book—thanks for the opportunity to win a copy!

    skkorman AT bellsouth DOT net

  7. I love holiday themed cozies; thank you for the chance to win it :)

  8. Sounds cozy. LOL Our town has a tradition similar to this but it takes place in the early summer as a Jubilee festival. Every shop has it's doors open and you go from one to the next. No horse drawn carriages though. The town is small enough you can walk it comfortably. Thanks so much for a chance to win this book.

  9. Very interesting facts about the Amish

    Cats of wildcat woods

  10. I had always assumed that the Amish didn't celebrate Christmas----now I know differently.

  11. Sounds like a good read.


  12. What an interesting post and feature. Thanks for this giveaway. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

  13. Murder, Served Simply sounds very interesting and perfect for the Christmas season. I can't wait to read it. Please enter me in the contest. myrifraf(at)gmail(dot)com

    Thank you!

  14. Isabella Alan / Amanda Flower is one of the great authors. I've read several of her books under either name and know this one has to be another got to read ones. Thanks for the chance to enter your giveaway. robeader53@yahoo(dot)com,

  15. I love holiday themed books, thanks for the Amish facts and the chance to win.

  16. Murder, Served Simply sounds unique and intriguing. Thanks for this lovely post. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  17. Thank you for your generosity. I love to read about cultures different than my own.

  18. Love the Amish stories. Would like to give this one a try. thanks.

  19. Very interesting to hear about these Amish traditions. Think I would miss my CHRISTMAS Tree, but the flavored popcorn sounds terrific. I've always liked popcorn on the tree, but often wondered why flavored popcorn shows up so much more frequently during the holidays. Ronnalord(at)msn(dot)com

  20. Would love to read more. Thank you for the chance.

  21. This sounds like an interesting book. My sister loves stories about the Amish, so I should suggest this series to her as well.

  22. I love cozy mysteries and one that takes place in an Amish quilt shop in Ohio with a murder centered around the celebration of Christmas sounds good to me. Thanks for this giveaway opportunity.

  23. This book sounds like it would be fun to read.
    Neat to learn as you read too :)
    Purrs Georgia and Julie,
    Treasure and JJ

  24. I love reading about the Amish. Thanks for the giveaway


  25. Looks like a great cozy mystery.


  26. That cover looks like Bernadette drew it. lease don’t enter me.

  27. This looks like a great read...Amish, mystery... what could be better?!
    Kelly Y
    kelly *at* dkcountryarts *dot* com

  28. I'd like to read this sounds neat...

  29. Replies
    1. Forgot to leave email address

  30. Sounds interesting, liked learning about the different traditions. pp92596 at outlook dot com

  31. I haven't read any books in this series, and I'd love to!! I see reader's saying how wonderful this series is every day!! Thanks for the chance! chatcozy1 at gmail dot com

  32. I LOVE Christmas books! And I LOVE books about the Amish! Sounds absolutely awesome!
    ladycristant at aol dot com.

  33. Thanks for the great reviews!
    We would love to read these books...

    Noodle and crew

  34. Isabella, I would love to add Murder, Simply Served to my collection of books to win. Thank you for a generous opportunity

  35. Love this series and look forward to this book

  36. I've not read many holiday cozies.. but this one sounds like a good read. Thanks for the chance.
    jandeplus3 (at)

  37. I would love to to lose myself in Angie's world! cute story...
    dkstevensne AT outlook DOT com

  38. It sounds like a great mystery. I love the Christmas theme. Thanks for having the giveaway.


  39. This sounds like a good read.

  40. Thank you for the opportunity. Bobbipad at