Charms and Chocolate Chips – Bailey Cates

Having skipped book 2 (because my library didn’t have it) I jumped right into book 3 and loved this one as well. There were obviously some details in the first couple of chapters referencing things that happened in book 2, but it didn’t make the book difficult to read. Which is one of my favorite thing about cozy mysteries!

Charms and Chocolate Chips cover image

Katie Lightfoot is still working with her Aunt and Uncle at Honeybee’s Bakery, dating Declan, and now volunteering at a wildlife foundation. It is this foundation where a friend is found murdered, and the threat now seems to be on Katie. An area of swampland is of interest to a few different individuals, and the foundation is trying to protect it, and the wildlife that lives there.

A surprise visit from Katie’s mother also lets us see that relationship mend, as well as the relationship between her Mom and her Aunt.

We learn a bit more about magic in this story, and Katie is much more comfortable with who she truly is. She is beginning to realize how powerful she really is, and her friends and family are realizing it as well.

And I am on to book 4! Also going to the library today to see what other books I can pick up 😊 What are your favorite cozy mysteries?

Brownies and Broomsticks – Bailey Cates

Another weekly trip to my library to trade in books for new ones, and I found 4 cozy mysteries from the Magical Bakery Mystery by Bailey Cates. I finished this first installment in less than a day, and have already started book 3. They did not have book 2, so I figured I would just wing it anyhow and grab all of them that they had.

Brownies and Broomsticks cover image

I was not sure how I felt about a cozy mystery that included Witches, but I was quickly sucked in by the great characters and descriptive writing.

Katie Lightfoot moves from Ohio to Savannah, Georgia to open a bakery with her Aunt Lucy and Uncle Ben. Little does she know that her Aunt Lucy has much to share with her about the fact that she is a Witch, as well as her parents, who chose to not let her know about that side of her life.

Her first week in Savannah has her reeling from that revelation, confused about the intense anger between two handsome men who are both showing an interest in her, and the woman murdered in her car outside of Honeybee’s Bakery.

Unwilling to let her Uncle Ben take the wrap when he is pegged as a suspect, Katie is quickly on the trail of the murderer, much to the chagrin of Detective Quinn. It’s Katie’s persistence, and Quinn’s finally acceptance of what she is learning before he does, that gets Uncle Ben off the hook.

There were two recipes at the end of the story, one for Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies, and one for Cheddar-Sage Scones. A quick scan let me know I had all the ingredients for the Scones, so I whipped up a quick batch. I only had a couple bites of one as I am sure it’s not approved Weight Watchers food 😊 It was savory, and would definitely be a great addition to any meal or for an afternoon snack. The only thing I substituted was instead of dried sage, I only had ground sage. I should have doubled the ground sage, as it didn’t have quite enough sage flavor for my liking!

Cheddar-Sage Scones

Cheddar-Sage Scones

2 ¼ C all purpose flour

1 Tbs baking powder

½ tsp salt

1 tsp dried sage

6 Tbs butter, cut into 1-inch pieces and chilled in the freezer for 15 minutes

2/3 C grated sharp cheddar cheese

1 egg

½ C milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Set aside ¼ C of flour in a small bowl. In a medium bowl, combine 2 C flour, baking powder, salt, and sage. Add chilled butter and cut into flour by rubbing with your fingers or using a pastry blender until the consistency of rough cornmeal.

Add the grated cheddar to the ¼ C flour and toss to coat. Shake to remove extra flour and add to pastry mixture, tossing with your hands to evenly distribute the cheese.

Whisk together the egg and milk. Add to flour mixture, stirring lightly with a fork until ingredients are moistened and just hold together.

Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead 20 times. Add more flour to the surface if needed. Pat into an 8 inch circle, slightly higher in the center than on the edges. Using a very sharp knife, cut 8 equal wedges. Place scones on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, slightly apart from one another. Bake for 12-14 minutes, until golden brown.

Button Holed – Kylie Logan

Another great first installment in the cozy mystery genre by Kylie Logan! Josie Giancola has just opened her button shop, being a leading expert in the country on buttons. Finding the hottest actress in the industry dead in her shop, along with a couple odd break-ins, and Josie is working the case.

Button Holed cover image

There are any number of suspects, and Detective Nevin Riley needs the help only Josie can provide; tracking down the origin of a rare button found under the body of the deceased. Dodging her ex-husband, as well as the thugs who seem to be following her, has Josie racing against the clock to find the murderer, before they finish her off for good.

Coming up tomorrow, another first installment by a new author, along with the recipe I tested out from the story!

Old School Book Favorites!

I was a voracious reader growing up; I would read a book in a day, easily, and quickly collected quite the collection of books in my preteen and teen years by going to the grocery store with my Mom. They had a section of paperbacks, and I got one on every trip. The fact that I had the book read before I went to bed that night did not please her any, but I always reread my books. I lost so many of those paperbacks when they were stored in my parent’s basement and they had a water issue. To replace them now is near impossible as these older books are very expensive.

If you have followed me for a while you know that William W. Johnstone was my favorite author as a teen, and I could not read his horror stories fast enough. I honestly cannot believe my Mom bought them for me, considering what the covers looked like. Go Mom! “Rockinghorse” sent me down a path that literally had me typing a letter to him on my sister’s typewriter, telling him how much his story inspired me, and that I wanted to become a writer. It led to several back-and-forth correspondences, and I am so blessed that he sent me a couple autographed books which are among my prized possessions. As well as the letters I received from him. He went on to write many Western series, which have always been on the best-sellers lists.

Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators were another set of books I always checked out of the school library. I read the series several times, but unfortunately now, they have become collector’s prizes and to even get a hard cover book is very expensive.

Encyclopedia Brown anyone? How I loved those stories. And who could ever not read Beverly Cleary? She got me through some tough teenage angst! And my favorite elementary school book was “The Adventures of the Black Hand Gang”. A picture after every 2-3 page story for you to figure out the clues. That one will set you back over $30.00 if you try to buy it now. I have my beat-up-worn-out-copy in my library.

Adventures of the Black Hand Gang Cover Image

What are your favorite books that you cannot let go of?

Wicked Weaves – Joyce and Jim Lavene

This is the first book in the Renaissance Faire Mystery cozy series. I picked up the first 3 books at my library last weekend. It took me longer than it should have to read this first story, and I will get through the next two much quicker!

Wicked Weaves cover image

I really liked the story-line here, as well as the characters. Jessie works at the Renaissance Faire (their spelling, not mine) every summer in her town, and is apprenticing with local craft artists for her dissertation for her PhD. This summer she is working with Mary Shift, a basket weaver who has quite the storied past.

After Mary’s husband, who she has not seen in 10 years, is found dead outside her shop, Jessie and her new boyfriend Chase work to help Mary and untangle the mess that she seems to have gotten herself into.

This story was a lot of fun, and typical of the cozy mystery genre. There wasn’t anything here I didn’t like, and I am excited to get started on the next book, where Jessie apprentices with the local glassblower.

Do you read cozy mysteries? I would love to hear what some of your favorites are!

What I’m Reading…

Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders.

It took me two short chapters to get what was going on, and although I love the storyline; I am still trying to get my bearings.

Much of this book is written using excerpts from other books, and the rest is the various persons stuck in the “bardo”, including Willie Lincoln who died at 11 years old.

I will post a full review when I finish; and those of you who have followed me know I love everything Abraham Lincoln. I read a great review of this book: now I just need to get my feet under it.

And honestly; I am questioning why I haven’t written my own Lincoln book yet.

Have you read this, and what did you think?

Meet Author Sam Westhoek!

PLEASE RIGHT-CLICK ON THE LINKS TO BE TAKEN TO THE VARIOUS PAGES! 🙂

Sam Westhoek waited until the midpoint of his life to start writing in earnest.  He felt it best to first experience our world to its fullest.

TJ Weeks - head shot

His various travels have taken him to: farms and cities in Europe; amidst lush humid bayous on the Gulf Coast; across the grandeur of hills and plains in Texas; atop arid mile-high mountains in California; slogging through insidious moon dust in the Arizona and New Mexico deserts; under the variegated curtains of the aurora borealis in Iceland; through tropical fields on the island of Terceira in the Azores; and horseback riding amidst the aspens in the high country of Colorado.

Through it all, Sam has loved and lost, and learned to love again.  He has currently settled in the middle of the country, in the middle of the state of Missouri, with his wonderful wife—his best companion.  All five of their children have started their own lives, so again there has been loss and gain.  Sam has been an encouraging force for writers in his community, hosting events for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) for the past few years.

He hasn’t settled on one particular genre in which to spin his tales, so don’t be surprised to find him published in a niche you least expect.  His favorite genres are sci-fi, fantasy, historical fiction, and even poetry.  His stories strike a chord with a wide range of ages.  Turn a page and find something new each time.

Do yourself (and Sam) a small favor by taking a few minutes to sample each of the works in his growing repertoire.  The Previews are free.  If you use Kindle Unlimited, you can read his works for free.  Conversely, you could invest in the craft and bless yourself with a copy of one of his ebooks or paperbacks.  What a nifty symbiotic relationship!

Oh, and if You like a particular work, tell a Friend.

AND IF YOU ARE NEAR THE AREA; DO NOT MISS THIS!

20180317 - Author Meet & Greet at OS Library