Bogged Down by Murder

Title: Bogged Down by Murder (Nothing Shady Ever Happens in Shady Valley, Book 1)

Author: Kathy Cretsinger

Genre: Christian Mystery and Suspense

Available: Amazon


Bogged Down by Murder (Nothing Shady Ever Happens in Shady Valley Book 1) by [Kathy Cretsinger]City girl, Daisy McQueen, inherits her grandmother’s farm in the mountains of East Tennessee, Shady Valley to be exact. Daisy owns a company, Smart Living, that teaches people how to live healthy, and she is used to city life. Shady Valley only has one small store and one restaurant.

Daisy finds a dead body in her cranberry bog, and she is the number one murder suspect. Harry Greer helps her with her investigation without realizing Daisy is one of the richest women in the world with her company, Smart Living.

Hunters are secretly entering her property from the Appalachian Trail at night. Harry wants to protect her, but Daisy wants to teach the people in Shady Valley how to eat and live healthy.

Someone wants her dead.

Positive Elements:

The need for quality friendships and faith in God are shown.

Negative Elements:



A character mentions a relationship with God is important; a character reflects on past church attendance; a character prays.


A body is found in a bog; it is insinuated a man was shot; animals are poached; a character is kidnapped and threatened; it is mentioned a character dies in war; a house is broken into; a character is injured.


Characters are accused of murder; characters kiss.


Four Stars.


Bogged Down by Murder is a cute, sassy, and quirky read. The questions of whodunit and why plague the main character as she deals with teaching others to eat healthily in a town where everything is fried, running her business, and romance. The answers are unexpected, and the faith element, while subtle, is woven in well. Clean, fun, and cute, those who like culinary and small-town mysteries and suspense will enjoy Bogged Down by Murder.

* I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.


Samara’s Peril

Title: Samara’s Peril (Ilyon Chronicles, Book Three)

Author: Jaye L. Knight

Genre: Fantasy

Publisher: Living Sword Publishing

Pages: 519

Available: Amazon and the author’s website


samara's perilWhen news arrives that Emperor Daican has been in contact with his chief war strategist, it signals potential doom for the country of Samara. Determined to intervene, the resistance in Landale, headed by Lady Anne, embark on a covert mission in hopes of unearthing further information. However, a shocking discovery leads to complications no one could have foreseen.

Armed with their newfound knowledge, they set out for Samara to warn the king. War is inevitable, and they must face two desperate battles—one on the walls of Samara’s great stronghold, and the other on the battlefield of Jace’s heart, where victory might only be achievable through great sacrifice.


Positive Elements:

There is a strong pro-life message.

Negative Elements:


Spiritual Elements:

Characters pray and are encouraged to pray; there is a strong salvation message; sacrifices are made; the Bible is quoted.


A character’s past is mentioned; a man trips and falls on his own knife; it is mentioned that a woman was molested (no details are given); a girl is beat up; there is an attempted rape (gets no further than implying the action); characters get in fights; a character is tortured; a character sacrifices Himself for another; characters are injured in battle.


Characters kiss; a character is falsely accused of attempted rape.


5 Stars.


The continuation of an epic series, Samara’s Peril is filled with emotion, faith, heartbreak, action, and dragons. I love Jace’s journey, and the rawness with with a certain redemption scene is wrought is nothing short of masterful. Samara’s Peril is a book that sticks with you long after you’ve read the last page.

10 Reading Suggestions for Kids of All Ages

reading suggestions

*The comments for this post have been turned off due to the amount of spam I was receiving. If you have a question about any of the listed books, please feel free to contact me.

No matter the age, wholesome books are hard to come by, and Christian books are even harder to find. Below is a list of books for each age category beginning at elementary age. Every book on this list is either Christian or a wholesome classic.

Parents of younger readers, you know your child best. Keep in mind that, while the age determined suitable for each book is listed, there are more tender readers whom may not be ready for some of the books.


The Double Dabble Surprise (Cul-de-Sac Kids Book #1) by [Lewis, Beverly]
The Double Dabble Surprise, Book One in The Cul-de-sac Kids
1. The Cul-de-sac Kids by Beverly Lewis – fun books filled with mysteries and lessons about faith, friendship, and forgiveness.

2. The Bobbsey Twins by Laura Lee Hope – a classic series about two sets of twins who solve mysteries around the U.S.

3. The Boxcar Kids by Gertrude Chandler Warner – another classic series about siblings solving mysteries around the U.S.

4. The Astrokids Series by Robert Elmer – a Christian series about kids in space.

5. Bible Kidventures by multiple authors – adventures in Bible times from kids’ point of views. Best for the older elementary ages.

6. Little House on the Prairie Series by Laura Ingalls Wilder – a classic series based on the life of perhaps one of the most well-known pioneers of all times.

7. Knight of Arrethtrae Series by Chuck Black – allegorical stories about knights in the King’s service who embark on courageous quests and learn about faith, sacrifice, and hope. Readers beginning at the fifth grade level can read this series, which can be enjoyed by older readers of all ages.

Kingdom’s Dawn, Book One in The Kingdom Series
 8. The Kingdom Series by Chuck Black – another allegorical series, this time featuring on the life of Christ, the End Times, and the Rapture. Suitable for readers fifth grade and up due to some of the intense scenes. There is nothing graphic, but evil is well-portrayed and may scare younger readers. Can also be enjoyed by readers of all ages.

9. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis – an allegorical tale about Christ’s sacrifice. Suitable for readers fifth grade and up.

10. Adventures in Odyssey Passages by Paul McCusker – allegorical stories from the Bible. Suitable for readers fifth grade and up.

11. Hank the Cowdog Series by John R. Erickson – a cowdog and his less-than-astute fellow ranch dog find themselves in hilarious action-packed adventures. Suitable for third grade and up.

Jr. High:

The League and the Lantern
1. The League and the Lantern (Book One) and The League and the Legend (Book Two) by Brian Wells – adventure meets middle-school aged kids with a knack of getting in trouble. Fun and filled with history. These books are still two of my high school-aged sister’s favorites.

2.  The Young Underground Series by Robert Elmer – a series about World War II. Filled with history, faith, action, and adventure.

3. Mysteries of Middlefield by Kathleen Fuller – kids who are Amish detectives learn the importance of truth and honesty as they investigate mysteries around their community. This series is primarily written for girls.

4. Adventures Down Under by Robert Elmer – a series about a family’s adventures in Australia. Filled with history, faith, action, and adventure.

5. Hunter Brown Series by Christopher Miller – an allegorical trilogy best suited for seventh grade and up due to some of the spiritual warfare.

The Book of the King (The Wormling 1) by [Jenkins, Jerry B., Fabry, Chris]
The Book of the King, Book One in The Wormling Series
6. The Wormling Series by Jerry B. Jenkins and Chris Fabry – an allegorical series that readers sixth grade and up will enjoy.

7. Books by Grace Livingston Hill – clean, Christian romances written for girls that are light on romance and heavy on faith.

8. Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien – perhaps the most well-known epic fantasy tale of all time. Can be read by itself, but for easier understanding of the complex world-building and history, read The Silmarillion and The Hobbit before LOTR.

9. Dragon Keepers Chronicles by Donita K Paul – a series about dragons, adventure, and faith with a bit of romance mixed in.

10. The Door Within Trilogy by Wayne Thomas Batson – yet another series that can be enjoyed by readers older than the junior high category. After all, who doesn’t enjoy epic tales of faith, adventure, awesome swords with cool names, dragons, sacrifice, and a fierce battle between good and evil?

High School and Older:

Resistance, Book One in the Ilyon Chronicles
1. The Ilyon Chronicles by Jaye L Knight – an intense and raw series with faith, action, hope, sacrifice, courage, and dragons. This series is technically written for new adults (ages 18 and up), but readers in high school can read it as well.

2. The Songkeeper Chronicles by Gillian Bronte Adams – takes place in a world where music can change the tide of war and characters ride griffins and lions. Few authors can weave words together the way this author does. Readers in upper junior high can read this series, but since it does feature some raw moments (not graphic but still intense), this series lands in the high school category.

3. The Ravenwood Saga by Morgan L. Busse – unique, action-packed, and filled with faith, but it does contain dark elements as one of the characters does, in a sense, engage in spiritual warfare.

4. Keeper of  Shadows by Bridgett Powers – a cursed assassin finds himself helping his target, but at what price? This book is filled with faith and can also be read by those in junior high, but there are some intense scenes that feature evil and spiritual warfare.

5. Oath of the Outcast by C.M. Banschbach – another intense read that is the beginning of a promising series. Do keep in mind that characters do go through torture, though nothing is explicitly described. This book also deals heavily with good verses evil.

6. The Chronicles of Sarco by Joshua A. Johnston – a science fiction series with an intriguing plot.

7. The Weaver Trilogy by Lindsay A. Franklin – this is for YA readers, but older readers will also enjoy the witty characters and clever plot.

Beast by [Schroeder, Chawna]
8.  Beast by Chawna Schroeder  – technically, this book could be in the junior high category, but older readers will better understand it’s incredible allegorical plot that takes the reader from despair and confusion to finally realizing their worth in Christ.

9. Wars of the Realm Series by Chuck Black – this is one of those series that completely blows you away. Focusing primarily on spiritual warfare and redemption, this is one of those read-again series that will keep you coming back to it no matter how large your TBR pile is.

10.The Staff and the Sword Series by Patrick W. Carr – perhaps one of the most well-written characters to ever grace the pages of a fantasy book is featured in this series full of action, romance, deception, and danger.

Christmas Stitches

Book Title: Christmas Stitches: An Historical Romance Collection: 3 Stories Thread Hope and Love Through the Holidays

Authors: Judith Miller, Nancy Moser, Stephanie Grace Whitson

Publisher: Barbour

Pages: 448



3 Talented Seamstresses, 3 Christmas Romances

Return to Christmases of yesteryear with three seamstresses who use their talents to succeed in the late 1800s. But can love also be stitched into their lives?

A SEAMLESS LOVE by Judith MillerChristmas Stitches
1894 – Pullman, Illinois
Hannah Cushman possesses a special talent for embroidered fancywork and design which secures her a position in the Dressmaking and Millinery Shop in the Pullman Arcade near Chicago where she encounters childhood friend Daniel Price. Daniel is disappointed to learn Hannah is being courted by a detective with the Pinkerton Detective Agency. With two men vying for her attention, will Hannah seek God’s direction or ignore the warning signs He sets before her?

MENDING HEARTS by Stephanie Grace Whitson
1899 – Nebraska
Rachel Ellsworth expects her stay with two maiden aunts in a conservative Mennonite village to be temporary–until a letter breaks her heart. Raised Methodist and encouraged to pursue fashion, design, and watercolor painting, Rachel finds temporary solace in quilting and in helping care for two motherless children. But when she and the children’s widowed father begin to notice one another, Rachel must face the idea that giving her heart to Levi Herr will mean giving up the arty things that have always defined her.
PIN’S PROMISE by Nancy Moser
1900/1906 – Summerfield, England
Penelope (Pin) Billings and Jonathan Evers have loved each other since they were children, promising to one day get officially engaged. Both have distinct talents: Pin for sewing dresses and teaching others to sew and Jonathan–a doctor right out of school–in helping the people of the village. As adulthood nears and the time to fulfill their promise seems right, a tragic event pulls them apart, making both question their future. Will they discover they are stronger together than apart?

NOTE: “Pin’s Promise” is a prequel to Nancy’s Pattern Artist Series.


Positive Elements:

Characters are willing to learn from mistakes; characters sacrifice for others.


Negative Elements:



Spiritual Elements:

Characters pray; a story about mythological Greek characters is told.



A character is thrown over a fence; a character is tied to the bed; a girl is slapped.



Characters kiss; minor characters get drunk;  it is mentioned that a character was molested (no details).



4 Stars



Christmas Stitches is a cute and fun read! The authors’ different writing styles added to the charm of this fun book that will get the reader in the mood for Christmas. My personal favorite was Mended Hearts by Stephanie Grace Whitson – Whitson did so well on the characters’ personalities, and on growing their faith.

The Story Peddler

Title: The Story Peddler (The Weaver Trilogy, Book One)

Author: Lindsay A. Franklin

Publisher: Enclave Publishing

Pages: 336



Selling stories is a deadly business.

Tanwen doesn’t just tell stories–she weaves them into crystallized sculptures that sell for more than a few bits. But the only way to escape the control of her cruel mentor and claw her way from poverty is to set her sights on something grander: becoming Royal Storyteller to the king.

During her final story peddling tour, a tale of treason spills from her hands, threatening the king himself. Tanwen goes from peddler to prey as the king’s guard hunts her down…and they’re not known for their mercy. As Tanwen flees for her life, she unearths long-buried secrets and discovers she’s not the only outlaw in the empire. There’s a rebel group of weavers…and they’re after her too.



Positive Elements:

Braith shows uncommon mercy and kindness to the lowlier subjects in her father’s kingdom; Tanwen, when told her comrades’  histories, does not judge them for it; secondary characters are determined to protect Tanwen, doing everything they can to rescue her.




There are two usages of “blasted”; characters drink wine; it is mentioned that a secondary character has a mistress.




Tanwen and a little girl get slapped around; characters are at and get hit by arrows; some of Tanwen’s stories mention individuals getting killed; a captain is ordered to be beheaded; guards are killed; it is mentioned that soldiers are ambushed and slaughtered; a secondary character is wounded during a fight scene.



Spiritual Content:

It is mentioned several times that goddesses are believed in and subsequently worshiped. Tanwen learns about the Creator, who is prayed to by a secondary character.




Braith is kissed twice, and Tanwen is kissed once.




4.5 Stars




The Story Peddler is a fun, engaging read. Franklin does excellent in world building, and I immediately wished for Book Two to be out so I could read more. Reading from first person (Tanwen’s) POV made it even better. I can’t wait for the next book in The Weaver Trilogy!


Title: Numb

Author: John W. Otte

Publisher: Marcher Lord Press (now Enclave Publishing)

Length: 395 pages



Save the girl… or his soul?

Crusader is numb. He feels neither emotion nor pain, a divine gift that allows him to be the Ministrix’s best assassin. Whether it’s heretics from within or heathen from without, Crusader is the sword in the True Church’s hand. And if he remains obedient to his superiors, he will be able to let go of his guilt.

But then he’s ordered to kill Isolda Westin. It shouldn’t be a problem. A target is a target. When Crusader sees Isolda’s image, though, something strange happens. He experiences a moment of panic, a wave of emotions, the first he’s felt in as long as he can remember.

In that moment, he realizes he can’t fulfill his mission. He can’t kill Isolda Westin, even if it means he’ll be condemned as an enemy of the Ministrix.

Soon Crusader and Isolda are on the run. Will they be able to learn why the Ministrix wants Isolda dead? Or will they both face the harsh justice of the “True Church”?

Positive Elements:

Isolda is determined to keep secret the location of a hidden base, thereby keeping safe her friends. Crusader chooses to protect rather than carry out his orders. A secondary character speaks briefly about a choice he had to make: destroy innocent colonists or defy orders (he chose the latter).

Spiritual Content:

A faction called the Ministrix sees itself as the “True Church”, and hunts down those who disagree or believe otherwise; it also has twisted Scripture (which is pointed out in the book), and refers to God as wrathful. Isolda and a secondary character explain that works do not secure salvation. Isolda is mentioned as the daughter of the King (God); she is also seen praying.


Crusader shoots several people, and is shot and shot at himself. He also uses his knife to carry out assassination orders. Isolda shoots at Crusader, as does a secondary character. There are battles, a fistfight or two, and reflection on how an innocent colony of people were destroyed by the Ministrix. Another minor character is also knifed in the back. As far as actual blood spilled, it is minor, and none of the injuries noted are detailed upon.


One usage of he**. There are a few usages of “moron(s)”.

Other negative elements:

It is mentioned briefly that Isolda’s mother and one of the Ministrix officials had an affair (that resulted in Isolda).


Crusader and Isolda kiss.


5 Stars


Numb, despite being science fiction, opens your eyes to the sad reality that some still think works can get them to Heaven. With it’s interesting plot and complex characters, Numb is a must-read.