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Malicious Mischief – Katy Railroad Mystery Book Review

Malicious Mischief is truly a delightful book. Set in Missouri on the Katy Railroad, it felt like taking a trip back in time. I could feel the rumble of the tracks, hear the train whistle and smell the smoke.

Author Lora Young is a member of the Kansas City West chapter of the American Christian Fiction Writers. I have shared many delightful hours with Lora as we carpool to writers meetings. Since she let me read an early manuscript over a year ago, I have loved this story and am so glad she has published it. Isn’t the cover gorgeous?

The heroine of Malicious Mischief is Delia Eastman, who is caught between pursuing her own dreams and defending her father.

Rivalry between the steamships and the railroads turn their sleepy Missouri River town into powder keg. Increasingly violent vandalism on the railroad brings Delia face-to-face with Endy Webster, a handsome trainmaster whose investigation into the crimes leads him to the door of a prominent steamship owner—Delia’s father.
As Delia tries to clear her father’s name, she keeps tangling with Endy. Though he is intelligent and charming, she suspects Endy knows more than he’s telling. Delia reluctantly agrees to partner with him to solve the mystery.

The railroad rivalry provided a fascinating mystery. The romance, however, was what stole my heart. Their banter and the quirky twists of the cozy mystery made this very, very fun. I truly enjoyed this historical novel filled with interesting characters, detailed mystery and superb writing.

It’s available in paperback and Kindle. Click here to purchase Malicious Mischief on Amazon.

One of greatest joys of being a writer is making friends, like Lora and the other writers here at the Pages From Stages blog, as well as our dedicated readers. The other great thing is getting to read their works. Even though our blog here will be taking a bend in rail, I am excited to see what new writing will lie ahead.

Happy reading and God bless you,
~ Susan Mires

Book Review: The Insanity of God

Nik Ripken isn’t his real name. The missionary wrote this book under a pseudonym to protect his identity and that of believers around the world who face death and torture by naming the name of Christ.

After reading The Insanity of God my view of the world and of what it means to follow the Lord has been forever altered.

Ripken and his wife served in relief efforts in Somalia in the horrific years of warfare and government overthrow. Ripken said he had learned that hell was the absence of God. And when he stepped into Somalia, where the name of Christ was not uttered and evil given full reign, he felt like he had entered hell.

The first half of the book describes the couple’s mission in Africa. The harshness and cruelty of this land and a personal tragedy raised many troubling questions for Ripken. The title of the book draws from this experience as he grapples with issues that don’t seem to make sense. He and his wife began to investigate how Christians live out their faith in difficult, seemingly impossible situations. Through the second half of the book, they travel the globe and share the stories of faithful Christians.

These accounts both inspired and shamed me. Often, I have the idea that God’s desire is to “bless” me and I get whiny when it doesn’t come through. Many other believers, though, know much better what Jesus meant when he warned that the world would hate them.

Ripken said he’d been hoping to find a program or procedure to reach Muslims and non-believers. But in the furthest, most dangerous corners of the world, he found a Person: Jesus Christ. And He is at work.

All we have to do is watch the news to see this reality as Christians in the Middle East suffer persecution and death. As their faithfulness is a model for us, may we be faithful to pray for them. And to pray for their persecutors, for the saving name of Jesus to be proclaimed to those who are held captive to sin.

On a personal level, I have come to appreciate afresh the privilege of holding a Bible in my hand and of joining with brothers and sisters in Christ to worship and also put some of my “troubles” into perspective.

I highly recommend The Insanity of God but don’t say I didn’t warn you about how it might rattle your world.
Susie-3994-EditPS 72
~ Susan

Summer Reading: A Heart Most Worthy

A Heart Most Worthy NovelI’ve heard so much about historical author, Siri Mitchell, but had never read any of her novels until this week and was completely delighted. The novel I just read was called, A Heart Most Worthy.

It is the story of three young Italian ladies who all work for Madame Fortier’s gown shop in downtown Boston. The year is 1918…near the end of both World War I and the Great Italian Emigration, as well as the year that ushered in the Spanish influenza that infected 500 million people world-wide. For those who love history, this story has a rich backdrop to the lives of these three ladies.

Julietta is a headstrong girl who pursues a man with a mysterious past. Annamaria, always so compliant and eager to serve her parents and siblings, falls for a man from the wrong family. Luciana, must keep her true identity a secret in order to save her life. Each of these girls long for a happily, ever after…but will they find it?

What was interesting about the novel was its point of view. Currently, authors are encouraged to write a story from a first person or a third person limited point of view. In the former perspective, the reader follows only one character throughout the entire novel. In the latter, the reader may follow several characters, but only experience the story from one character’s perspective per scene. In both points of view, the author can’t interject, provide unknown information or address the reader.

However, at the prompting of her editors at Bethany House, Mitchell was encouraged to use an ominous point of view. This really made the book feel like a classic nineteenth century novel. I found that I enjoyed it very much. It added to the charm and the uniqueness of the novel. I’m not sure just any author could pull it off so well and I applaud Mitchell for taking a risk.

If you haven’t already picked up this book, I highly recommend it. I look forward to reading more from Siri Mitchell in the future.

Cherie Gagnon– Cherie

What have you been reading this summer?

Eat Ice Cream for Supper

Our theme this week is fireside reading. I have hundreds of fiction books on my shelves and not one of them came to mind as the book I wanted to share today. I’ve spent the past three snow days in front of the fire trying to write, not read. As Friday drew closer, I knew I needed to find a book to share.

Then I remembered Eat Ice Cream for Supper. It’s written by our own Kathy Gronau! Even if I didn’t know Kathy as a dear friend, I would have to tell you that this is a book we should all have. It’s an easy read and it’s also a hard read. There’s a little romance and too much tragedy. There’s the sad reality of death and the huge promise of life. Through it all, Kathy’s voice and honesty speak from the pages of this book.

Eat Ice Cream for Supper is the story of Kathy and her husband, Orin, as they each battled the cancer monster. Between the covers of this book, you’ll find real and practical advice on everything from what you’ll feel and need to do when you get that life-changing diagnosis to dealing with the grief of death. Kathy’s knowledge as an RN and her respect for the medical field gently guide the reader through the foreign territory that comes with diagnosis.

At the end of each chapter, there are suggestions for the friend of someone with a terminal disease, making this book one we all should read. Helpful advice that we all can learn from in order to best support and help someone who is in a battle for their life.

When I first met Kathy, I could tell she spoke very honestly. She wasn’t one to tell you what you’d like to hear and this made me nervous. Then I got to know her and her honest way of speaking is what I appreciate the most. As I read this book, her voice wrapped around me. If someone close to me was sick, I’d want her to hold my hand through the journey.

While it is impossible for her to do that with each of us, the wisdom, encouragement, and hope Kathy writes about can be a wonderful source of help. Not once did I get lost in the medical jargon or the technical terms. Rather, she weaves the facts with sweet memories. Kathy offers advice on putting a medical team together and dealing with the never-ending paperwork.

At this moment, I don’t have an immediate family member who is dealing with cancer, but we all know how quickly that can change. Unfortunately, I do know too many families who are dealing with this reality or some other terrible sickness. Eat Ice Cream for Supper is a book for anyone to read.

Thank you, dear Kathy, for sharing yourself and your story with us.


Believing God

I recently took advantage of several  free book offers from one of my favorite non-fiction authors–Beth Moore.  Because I often choose books by their titles…Believing God, was the first one I opted to read.  And WOW!!  I’ve not completely finished it…there are days I’ve needed to pitch my tent on one of the concepts. Five statements…five…that have challenged, rebuked, broken my heart, encouraged and blessed beyond anything I would have ever expected.

In a nutshell:

1. God is Who He says He is

2. God can do what He says He can do

3. I am who God says I am

4. I can do all things through Christ

5. God’s word is alive and active in me.

At first glance, which one of these statements would you find the  most difficult to believe?  

I challenge you to read this book, and BELIEVE GOD!! 


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