Book Notes Review: To Slip the Bonds of Earth by Amanda Flower

Disclaimer: Thanks to NetGalley and Kensington for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

 

 

Book Cover for To Slip the Bonds of Earth

To Slip the Bonds of Earth

A Riveting Mystery Based On a True History
by Amanda Flower

 

From the Publisher

While not as famous as her older siblings Wilbur and Orville, the celebrated inventors of flight, Katharine Wright is equally inventive – especially when it comes to solving crimes – in USA Today bestselling author Amanda Flower’s radiant new historical mystery series inspired by the real sister of the Wright Brothers.


December 1903: While Wilbur and Orville Wright’s flying machine is quite literally taking off in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina with its historic fifty-seven second flight, their sister Katharine is back home in Dayton, Ohio, running the bicycle shop, teaching Latin, and looking after the family. A Latin teacher and suffragette, Katharine is fiercely independent, intellectual, and the only Wright sibling to finish college. But at twenty-nine, she’s frustrated by the gender inequality in academia and is looking for a new challenge. She never suspects it will be sleuthing…

Returning home to Dayton, Wilbur and Orville accept an invitation to a friend’s party. Nervous about leaving their as-yet-unpatented flyer plans unattended, Wilbur decides to bring them to the festivities . . . where they are stolen right out from under his nose. As always, it’s Katharine’s job to problem solve—and in this case, crime-solve.

As she sets out to uncover the thief among their circle of friends, Katharine soon gets more than she bargained for: She finds her number one suspect dead with a letter opener lodged in his chest. It seems the patent is the least of her brothers’ worries. They have a far more earthbound concern—prison. Now Katharine will have to keep her feet on the ground and put all her skills to work to make sure Wilbur and Orville are free to fly another day.

My Thoughts

Characters

Katharine Wright is the younger sister of Wilbur and Orville Wright. In To Slip the Bonds of Earth, Flower brings this little-known figure to life in this lively historical mystery. Katharine is a Greek teacher in Dayton’s Steele High School, runs the home she shares with her brothers and widowed father, and oversees her brothers’ bicycle shop when they are in Kitty Hawk working on their flying experiments. She’s an intelligent, independent woman. She isn’t afraid to speak her mind and is often frustrated by the constraints placed on her because she is a woman. I love this character.

Mystery

Word is out that the Wright Brothers have achieved the unthinkable-they’ve flown an airplane. Now competitors want to get their hands on brothers’ flight plans before they are patented. Wilbur takes them to a party rather than leave them unattended at home, where they are stolen. When Katharine’s chief suspect is found murdered, it is up to her to solve the case, recover the plans, and clear her brother’s name. There are plenty of viable suspects, legitimate motives, but only one solution.

Amanda’s website

 

Publishing Info

Publisher: Kensington
Genres: Fiction/Mystery & Detective/Historical
Pages: 288
On Sale: 03/26/24
ISBN: 9781496747662

Book Notes Review: Crime and Cherry Pits by Amanda Flower

Crime and Cherry Pits
Farm to Table Mysteries #4
by Amanda Flower

 

Shiloh Bellamy has her hands full. She’s a vendor at the prestigious Cherry Farm Market in Traverse City, Michigan, and she’s determined to clear her cousin Stacey of a murder charge.

In this fourth installment of Flower’s Farm to Table Mysteries series, Shiloh continues to seek ways to expand Bellamy Farm’s financial footing. In Crime and Cherry Pits, she’s landed a coveted spot at the Cherry Farm Market in Traverse City, Michigan, thirty miles from her hometown of Cherry Glen. She continues to grow as an entrepreneur, constantly challenged by the demands of running a family farm. Her personal life grows as well as she makes decisions about long-term love. She still has a rocky relationship with her father, Sully, and things have gone south in her relationship with her cousin Stacey. This small family of three is threatened with disintegration because of fighting over her grandmother’s estate.
The mystery is a solid one. Someone killed Professor Dane Fullbright in front of a crowd. The suspects are numerous, all with viable motives. Against Sheriff Milan Penbroke’s wishes, Shiloh keeps asking questions, and puts herself in the crosshairs of a killer.

4/5 stars

Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Cozy mystery
Pages: 312
ISBN: 978-1728273051
Pub date: 02/20/24

Disclaimer: I own the book

Book Notes Review of Dating Can Be Deadly

 

Book cover for Dating Can Be Deadly two goats pulling at a quilt with a skull on it.

Dating Can Be Deadly

An Amish Matchmaker Mystery #5
by Amanda Flower

In Dating Can Be Deadly, childhood friends Milly Fisher and Lois Henry are pulled into another murder mystery when a quilting contest turns deadly.

Dating Can Be Deadly Summary

Readers are back in Harvest, Ohio, this time for the county fair. Millie Fisher is, for the first time, entering a quilt into the quilting contest. Lois Henry, Millie’s lifelong best friend, is there to meet a man (potentially husband #5) she connected with on a dating app. But when the head judge for the competition is murdered, Millie and Lois make finding the murderer their top priority.

Thoughts on Dating Can Be Deadly

I love the pairing of Millie Fisher, a widowed Old Order Amish woman and Amish matchmaker, and Lois Henry, an over-the-top Englisher. The contrast between Millie, with her quiet demeanor, demure prayer cap, Amish dresses in dark colors, and Lois, with her spikey purple-red hair, bright colored patterned clothing, chunky costume jewelry, heavy use of eye shadow, and a bag Mary Poppins would envy for the amount of items it contains is one of the best things about the novel. Even though they are as different as night and day, their lifelong friendship is strong. They model what true friendship looks like-accepting of each other, even though they may not understand each other (esp. Millie when it comes to Lois’ English ways) or agree 100% of the time.
The small village atmosphere encompasses both English and Amish communities, and the friction as well as the friendships are well-written into the novel. While the Amish way of life is a strong part of the series, it isn’t a whitewashed way of life. Flower’s characters reflect both the good and bad of members in both cultures.
Characters from Flower’s Amish Candy Shop Mystery series also make appearances. It’s fun to see which ones make cameo appearances.

The plot is also strong. Flower excels at planting red herrings and plot twists, and I found myself going back and forth between several viable suspects. This one kept me guessing until the final reveal.

There are four other books in this series, and while you can read this as a standalone, I would recommend reading the other books in the series first. You can read a sample from Dating Can Be Deadly here. If buying the book is too much of a commitment, then check out a copy from your local library. However you obtain your books, get a copy and read Dating Can Be Deadly.

Publishing Information

Published by: Kensington
Imprint: Kensington Cozies
336 Pages, 4.11 x 6.79 x 0.86 in
ISBN: 9781496737489
ON SALE: 10/24/2023
FICTION / MYSTERY & DETECTIVE / AMATEUR SLEUTH

Thanks to #NetGalley and #KensingtonCozies for providing an electronic copy for review. Thanks to the author for providing
a hard copy for review. All opinions are my own.

Book Notes-Blueberry Blunder

 

Book cover for Blueberry Blunder-spotted pic wearing a yellow hard hat, blueberries in crates and boxes, framed out warehouse in backgroundBlueberry Blunder
Amish Candy Shop Mystery #8

By Amanda Flower

About Blueberry Blunder

Amanda Flower’s USA Today bestselling Amish Candy Shop Mysteries combines a fascinating look at Amish life with the sugar rush of candy making, a quirky whodunit, and a hint of romance between chocolatier Bailey King and her law enforcer boyfriend. This eighth installment raises the charm even more, as filming begins for Bailey’s new reality TV show just in time for a big blueberry festival to jam up the small town of Harvest, Ohio.

Bailey King, star of TV’s Bailey’s Amish Sweets, is building her dream candy factory in Harvest, Ohio. But no sooner is the frame of the new building up than she finds the dead body of a surly contractor who has a long list of enemies—including people in the Amish community. To add to the drama, Bailey is being filmed by a crew for her upcoming show. . .

When Bailey’s TV producer pitched a reality show about building the factory, Bailey was shocked that the network picked it up. She’s not shocked that many of the Amish working on the jobsite refuse to be on camera. However, local community organizer Margot Rawlings is ecstatic—because the filming coincides with Harvest’s First Annual Blueberry Bash. Margot believes the media attention will make Harvest the most popular destination in Holmes County. But now, the county may become known for all the wrong reasons . . .

Bailey will have to sift through a crowd of angry villagers and thousands of blueberries to solve the murder, save her new venture, and protect her Amish friends. At the same time, she and her longtime boyfriend, Aiden Brody, are making big decisions about their future together—a future that may be in jeopardy if Bailey is the next pick on a killer’s list . . .

Thoughts

Aiden has returned to Harvest to hang out his shingle as a private investigator. This time Bailey and Aiden work together to solve the murder of local contractor Wade Farmer. Sheriff Jackson Marshall, whose nasty personality has been hinted at throughout the series, makes his appearance in Blueberry Blunder and his reputation is well-earned. There are multiple suspects with plenty to gain with Farmer’s death. Numerous twists and turns send a reader down multiple paths while trying to solve the case. The murder isn’t the only issue raised in the book.

Bailey’s cousin, Charlotte King, is engaged to be married to Deputy Luke Little. Charlotte was shunned by her family after she left the Amish. Now that her marriage is close, Charlotte wants her family at her wedding, but her father is unmovable. When Charlotte left her ultra-strict order, she also ceased to be a member of the family. Charlotte is still grieving that loss, and the reader begins to understand the cost Charlotte has paid to pursue living life on her terms. We also meet Luke’s parents, and they are a trial unto themselves. From DC, neither understands the choices their son has made-in where he lives, in what he does, or the fact his fiancée is former Amish. In other words, both are marrying outside of their expected social circle and neither set of parents is happy about it.
I enjoyed reading all the books in this series, and Blueberry Blunder was no exception. If you like murder mysteries with humor, well-developed characters in a simple, yet complex setting, and a puzzling mystery, then give this series a try.

Other Books in the Series

Peanut Butter Panic

Lemon Drop Dead by Amanda Flower

Marshmallow Malice by Amanda Flower

Candy Cane Crime by Amanda Flower

Botched Butterscotch by Amanda Flower

Toxic Toffee by Amanda Flower

Premeditated Peppermint by Amanda Flower

Publishing Information

Kensington Books-Blueberry Blunder

336 Pages, 4.12 x 6.75 in

  • ISBN: 9781496734631
  • ON SALE: 05/23/2023
  • FICTION / MYSTERY & DETECTIVE / AMATEUR SLEUTH

Copy provided by the author.

 

Book Notes-In Farm’s Way by Amanda Flower

Book cover for Amanda Flower's book In Farm's WayIn Farm’s Way
A Farm to Table Mystery
by Amanda Flower

When the husband of Shiloh’s best friend becomes a murder suspect, Shiloh starts investigating to clear his name.

Wallace Field is the owner of Field’s Brewing Company, located in Shiloh’s hometown of Cherry Glen, Michigan. Even though the brewery is relatively new, it’s grown quickly and Wallace has plans to go national. But before he can do that, he needs to find a new brewmaster for the brewery. The purpose of tonight’s event is to name a new brewmaster. Shiloh was invited to the reveal party by her best friend, Kristy Garcia Brown. Kristy’s husband, Kent, is one of the bartenders at the Field’s Brewing Company and one of two finalists for the brewmaster’s job.

Other attendees at tonight’s event are members of MOBA, Michigan Organic Beer Association. Wallace is a member, but there is no love lost between Wallace and fellow MOBA members, as Shiloh learns when she overhears a conversation between two members. Wallace is suspected of cheating—stealing others’ recipes for home brewed beers and passing them off as his own.
The brewmaster position is up for a vote. The voters sampled two cherry flavored beers-one developed by Kent and the other developed by Jason Brennan. Wallace declared Jason the winner, to the shock of nearly everyone there.
The next day, Shiloh discovers Wallace’s body at an ice fishing competition. She’s determined to stay out of the investigation, but when Kent becomes a strong suspect in the murder—because he was the last one to see Wallace alive—she needs to get involved.

Thoughts on In Farm’s Way

In Farm’s Way is the 3rd book in the Flower’s Farm to Table series. Shiloh Bellamy is still struggling to get the farm on firm financial footing. She’s in the process of certifying the farm as organic, but her father doesn’t encourage her efforts. Shiloh must also contend with her rocky past. I’ve enjoyed watching her confront her obstacles and move past them as she reinvents herself and the family farm. The series as a whole is a fun one, and one I’ve enjoyed reading.

Other books in the series:
Farm to Trouble
Put Out To Pasture

Other books by Amanda

Thanks to #NetGalley for providing a copy of #InFarmsWay