Wednesday, 4 February 2015


Title: Whispers From The Dead
Series: Serenity's Plain Secrets
Author: Karen Ann Hopkins
Release Date: 6th January 2015

**Some language and romantic sexual content.**

BLURB from Goodreads
Some Amish communities aren't so cozy.
Whispers From The Dead is the powerful and thrilling sequel to Lamb to the Slaughter in the Amish mystery series, Serenity’s Plain Secrets. Sheriff Serenity Adams and Daniel Bachman are once again partnered up in a criminal investigation, when they travel to a northern Amish settlement that has been riddled by arsons for the past two decades. Serenity quickly discovers that there is a lot more going on than just barns being set on fire in the touristy community of Poplar Springs. And this group of Amish has their own secrets to hide. Serenity begins to unravel an extensive criminal underworld that threatens to destroy everything that the simple people of Poplar Springs hold dear, and once again puts her own life in jeopardy. And even though Serenity tries desperately to avoid it, things begin heating up between her and Daniel, making her wonder if true love and happiness are really within her grasp. 


I'm really looking forward to reading this one as I loved the first book in this series which was called Lamb To The Slaughter. I think its fair to say I have high expectations for this book. Karen Ann Hopkins has also piqued my interest in the culture and ways of the Amish. She manages to show you the good and the not so good about being Amish in a totally non judgmental way.

Karen Ann Hopkins is one of the few authors I immediately sign up for reading and reviewing, without at least checking out a cover or blurb.  So far I have loved reading all of her books. My mum who doesn't mind me saying is 77 yrs old and has read Karen's Temptation Series and the first book of the Serenity's Plain Secrets series too, and loves them as much as I do. The only series by Karen that we are yet to try is the "Wings Of War" one, and even though my mum isn't really into paranormal she wants to try that series too! We were gifted a fee e-copy in exchange for our honest reviews and posting the reviews as part of the Blog Tour. Unfortunately my mum is awaiting cataract surgery so her eyes aren't too good she is still battling on and reading "Whispers From The Dead". These books are so addictive! 
The cover is a scene from the book, the snow features in the book and so do those burnt barns. The burnt blackened barn really stands out on the cover surrounded by the snowy isolated landscape and winter blue/white sky. Would the cover make me pick this book up from a store shelf? Yes, I'd want to know what had happened to the barn, and who was responsible too.
So at the end of "Lamb To The Slaughter" we learnt that another Amish community had sent a message asking for Serenity's help in find out the arsonist who is targeting Amish barns. As Serenity is due some vacation time she accepts and Daniel Bachmann, the man who helped Serenity be accepted and speak to the Amish community of Blood Rock offers to accompany her and provide an extra set of eyes as well as helping cover the divide between Serenity, the cop Englisher and the Amish. At first Serenity doesn't want Daniel's help, she even sets off to the Poplar Springs Amish community alone, but soon realises she needs his help to understand the Amish and their different ways again. Serenity begrudgingly gives in to Daniel helping when he turns up. Serenity does need Daniel to help bridge the divide between Amish and Englisher cultures. Serenity is staying in a sort of "holiday cabin" that the Schwartz family have so when it's suggested that Daniel should stay with another family she impetuously explains she needs Daniel near to her to discuss her investigation with. Soon enough it's not just the Amish barns that are smoldering! Will Serenity ever admit how strong her feelings for Daniel are? Serenity is beginning to wonder if she could be genuinely be happy with Daniel but puts her emotional feelings aside as she begins her investigating.
At the very beginning of the book, the prologue shows us a young Amish mother Hedy and her youngest child Cacey in their home being visited by a young Amish man named Jotham. Hedy is married to Rowan Schwatz and she is happily married. As a youngster she had dated Jotham, but broke things off with him when Rowan Schwatrz caught her attentions. Hedy soon "dates" Rowan and they are quickly married. Soon after the marriage, Hedy is pregnant and gives birth to a boy she names Gabe. Jotham is wanting to find out if Gabe is his son. Hedy is mulling over how she can tell Jotham the truth when there is a gas explosion. Hedy does not survive the blast but Jotham shields her youngest child and they survive. Jotham is badly scarred but carries those scars with no ill will as he saved Cacey.
Then the book jumps to present day and the barn burnings. Serenity is actually more welcome to Polar Springs by the Amish as Sheriff Brody Gentry naturally doesn't like an outsider coming into the community to interfere. The sheriff is also very bitter about a fire in 1997 that claimed the life of his own grandson and his girl friend. Sheriff Brody thinks that the Amish know more than they are saying so he blatantly refuses to help find the culprit responsible for the latest fires.
Poplar Springs is similar to Blood Rock with it's clear division of ways of life and cultures, but on a larger scale. Poplar Springs was once a large place with lots of jobs and trade and money to go around. Sadly the town has gone quieter with less work available and in turn less money. Poplar Springs rely's on tourists coming to the area and bringing their money to spend. Where as the Englishers were once the rich in the community of Poplar Springs and the Amish just plodding along in their quiet way but still being poorer, it has now all changed with out of work, downtrodden Englisher's living in a trailer park rife with crime and drug taking, and the Amish businesses rising in importance bringing in the tourists with their money to spend.
I could seriously go on and on about this book, but I don't want to give you any clues you need to read the book and read your own clues and come up with your conclusions as you go along. I had many suspects for the barn fires as I read through the book. I also enjoyed the relationships between Rowan, his brother Asher and Jotham. I found the heat, smoldering, and love between Serenity and Daniel irresistible. I enjoy reading their love story running through the books, as well as whatever crimes Serenity is investigating too. This one was packed with action and drama. I was addicted to reading this book, I usually only read in bed at night (being busy with other chores etc during the day) but I even found myself picking my tablet up to read this one during the day. I became fond of the characters. My favourite's were the Schwartz children, 12 year old Mareena actively mothering her younger siblings 9 year old Lucinda and 5 year old Cacey. The comparisons that Serenity makes between Naomi Beiler from her old case in Blood Rock who she didn't manage to save and the young girl Mariah Fisher who is somehow entangled within this latest investigation.
There is also humor within the book, I found Todd's amusing comparison of Daniel and Serenity to Superman and Lois Lane! This book truly takes you through a whole range of emotions. At one scene containing Jotham I felt my eyes brimming with heartfelt tears and sympathy. Right at the very end of this book, Serenity receives a call from Blood Rock explaining things have not exactly been running smoothly, thankfully it's something that can wait until she has the rest of her vacation time snuggled and loved up in the Schwatz cabin with Daniel. 
So did I enjoy the book? I savoured every word on every page, there really is something going on all the time, even small events end up being relevant and part of the investigation. Like the Englisher youths that Serenity bumps into when she first arrives in Poplar Springs, she overhear a conversation that later helps within her analysis of the situation.Would I recommend this book? I really urge you to try this series, it is such a first rate read. 
Would I want to read another book in this series? Without a doubt, I'm already awaiting the next book in this brilliant series. Would I want to read other titles by Karen Ann Hopkins? Absolutely, I intend to read Embers, book one in the Wings Of War series.


Title: Lamb To The Slaughter
Series: Serenity's Plain Secrets
Author: Karen Ann Hopkins
Release Date: 14th March 2014

BLURB from Goodreads
Lamb to the Slaughter is a story about the intertwining lives of three unlikely people in an Indiana Amish Community and the devastating results when a rebellious teenage girl is found shot to death in a corn field during the harvest. 

Serenity Adams is the newly elected young sheriff in the country town of Blood Rock, and besides dealing with the threatening behavior of her predecessor, she now has a dead Amish girl on her plate. 

At first glance, the case seems obvious. The poor girl was probably accidently shot during hunting season, but when the elders of the Amish community and even the girl’s parents react with uncaring subdued behavior, Serenity becomes suspicious. 

As she delves deeper into the secretive community that she grew up beside, she discovers a gruesome crime from the past that may very well be related to the Amish girl’s shooting. 

Serenity enlists the help of the handsome bad-boy building contractor, Daniel Bachman, who left the Amish when he was nineteen, and has his own dark reasons to help the spunky sheriff solve the crime that the family and friends who shunned him are trying desperately to cover up. 

Serenity’s persistence leads her to a stunning discovery that not only threatens to destroy her blossoming romance with Daniel, but may even take her life in the end.

Goodreads Link



Karen Ann Hopkins resides in northern Kentucky with her family on a farm that boasts a menagerie of horses, goats, peacocks, chickens, ducks, rabbits, dogs and cats. Karen's main job is home schooling the kids, but she finds time to give riding lessons, coach a youth equestrian drill team, and of course, write. She was inspired to create her first book, Temptation, by the Amish community she lived in. The experiential knowledge she gained through her interactions with her neighbors drove her to create the story of the star-crossed lovers, Rose and Noah. 

Karen grew up about a mile from Lake Ontario in Upstate New York. She was bitten by the horse bug at the age of five, and after diligently taking riding lessons for several years, was rewarded with her first horse at the age of eleven. The feisty horse's name was Lady, a Quarter Horse-Thoroughbred cross, who became Karen's steadfast companion. Through the years, the constant force in her life was horses. Eventually, she found her place as a riding instructor herself. Before accepting her fate in the barnyard, she worked a short stint as a paralegal, traveled abroad, and guided tourists on horseback riding tours in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. 

Karen is currently working on her Amish mystery series, Serenity's Plain Secrets, along with the YA paranormal/fantasy series, The Wings of War. Karen is also excited to announce the Temptation series has been optioned for TV by Pilgrim Studios

Karen's Books

TEMPTATION,BELONGING, FOREVER: YA Temptation Series, Harlequin Teen

LAMB TO THE SLAUGHTER: Adult Mystery, Serenity's Plain 
Secrets Series No. 1, Amazon E-book

WHISPERS FROM THE DEAD: Adult Mystery, Serenity's Plain
Secrets Series No. 2,Amazon E-book, 
Releases on December 16, 2014

EMBERS: YA Paranormal/Thriller, Wings
of War Series No. 1, Amazon
E-book, Releases October 21, 2014

You can visit Karen Ann Hopkins at her website:

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