Blogroll: Cozy Mystery Book Reviews

Review: Still Life in Brunswick Stew

 

Title: Still Life in Brunswick StewSTILL LIFE IN BRUNSWICK STEW
Author: Larissa Reinhart
Series: Book 2 of the Cherry Tucker Mysteries
Publisher: Henery Press
ISBN: 978-1938383403
Reviewed by: Tess Tipton
Purchase from Amazon

This book finds Cherry Tucker in the middle of an investigation into the death of her best friend Eloise. It seems that Eloise has ingested way too many cups of famous Brunswick Stew at the local arts and crafts festival. Cherry, who is a struggling painter and Eloise ,who makes Raku pottery are sharing a booth, much as they have shared their lives since elementary school.

Cherry takes us thru small town after small town in search of the REAL answer to the death of her dear friend. We find Cherry investigating not only the poisoining, but also a fight between land owners who also happen to be related to one an other. We encounters a stubborn teen-ager, a feisty senior citizen who is Cherry’s granddad’s latest flame, a hunky cop, (aren’t they all), and a business man who may or may not be all he seems to be.

Larissa writes with a fast paced style that caught my attention quickly. Her 3rd book in the series, Hijack in Abstract comes out in November, make sure it’s in your stack of TBR, I know it will be in mine!

 

Announcing the WINNER of our PIN IT to WIN IT Contest

8c51738240e8e4702d4cd03e792b5ae3And the winner is…Kathy Main! She won this week’s Pin It to Win It Book Hunt Contest for Christina Freeburn’s CROPPED TO DEATH. Kathy’s Pinterest board shows the coolest grandmothers – from sweet to sassy! We loved it, but don’t just take our word for it. Check it out here: http://pinterest.com/tink1216/cropped-to-death/ 

PRIZES! not just praise – Congratulations to Kathy who will receive $50 Visa gift card, 3 Henery Press eCards, a Henery Press coffee mug, an ARC of our latest release, plus a spotlight right here on our blog.

 Honorable mention goes to both Gena Rasmussen and Connie Schulz – love those grandmas…

 Thanks to everyone who participated. What a blast to look through all the boards! Faith’s scrappy world really came to life through some truly creative pinning. We hope you had just as much fun as we did perusing and pinning! 

Blogroll: Invisible Ink

Wearing a Mask? You’re Not the Only One

MALICIOUS MASQUERADE giveawayI like stories where no one is who they seem, probably because these stories reflect the nature of my own soul, of humanity. As Donald Miller writes in Blue Like Jazz, “The problem is not out there; the problem is the needy beast of a thing that lives in my chest.”

It is indeed a personal problem, widespread and universal. We struggle against it every day as we try to find truth in the details of our lives. Almost all art forms, throughout all of history, reflect this struggle. [Read more...]

Blogroll: Cozy Mystery Book Reviews

Looking for Tour Hosts: Portrait of a Dead Guy Book Tour with Larissa Reinhart

portraitofatourWe are thrilled to announce that we are organizing a book tour with Larissa Reinhart, author of Portrait of a Dead Guy. This tour will run in April (exact dates to be confirmed) and will promote the first book in this series.

In Halo, Georgia, folks know Cherry Tucker as big in mouth, small in stature, and able to sketch a portrait faster than buckshot rips from a ten gauge — but commissions are scarce. So when the well-heeled Branson family wants to memorialize their murdered son in a coffin portrait, Cherry scrambles to win their patronage from her small town rival. 

As the clock ticks toward the deadline, Cherry faces more trouble than just a controversial subject. Between ex-boyfriends, her flaky family, an illegal gambling ring, and outwitting a killer on a spree, Cherry finds herself painted into a corner she’ll be lucky to survive.

Please remember:
1. Review copies are available as ebook copies only. Naturally ebook review copies are available US/Canada and internationally.
2. Due to Larissa’s writing commitments the only two options will be review and/or interview. There will be no guest blogs. If you choose “interview” you will be responsible for providing interview questions.
3. Please indicate your preferred day. However please be aware that we may not be able to accommodate your selected day. However, we will try our best.

Please fill in this form to register your interest for this tour.  If you have any questions please leave a comment or email us.

Blogroll: The Cozy Chicks

Welcome to Dru’s Cozy Report. Today’s read are not “exactly” cozies, but recent mysteries that I had the pleasure of reading.

FRONT PAGE FATALITY
Front Page Fatality by LynDee Walker is the first book in the new “Headlines in Heels” mystery series. Publisher: Henery Press, January 2013

Crime reporter Nichelle Clarke’s days can flip from macabre to comical with a beep of her police scanner. Then an ordinary accident story turns extraordinary when evidence goes missing, a prosecutor vanishes, and a sexy Mafia boss shows up with the headline tip of a lifetime. As Nichelle gets closer to the truth, her story gets more dangerous. Armed with a notebook, a hunch, and her favorite stilettos, Nichelle races to splash these shady dealings across the front page before this deadline becomes her last.

This is a good start to an exciting new series featuring Nichelle Clarke who is a gutsy news reporter whose simple investigation turns into a risky exposé that saw our heroine tackle the police, a mobster and a competitive co-worker. I love the concept of this well-written mystery that pulled me in immediately and kept me guessing as this captivating drama came to its explosive conclusion. Led by a believable cast of characters that was diverse in their role where everyone was suspect, this was an enjoyable read and I can’t wait for the next book in this appealing series.

Visit LynDee at http://lyndeewalker.com

FTC Full Disclosure – The publisher sent me an ARC of this book in hopes I would review it. Book will be available January 29.

Hen House Holiday Sale!!

Ho Ho Ho!  It’s a Hen House Holiday Sale on the entire Henery Press Mystery Collection thru Jan. 13th.

Holiday-Sale-20122-500x289

Save up to 80%, so load up that kindle or nook little chickens…

DINERS, DIVES & DEAD ENDS on Sale 99¢

Amazon     Barnes & Noble     Kobo

DINERS, DIVES & DEAD ENDS

PORTRAIT OF A DEAD GUY on Sale 99¢

Amazon      Barnes & Noble     Kobo

PORTRAIT OF A DEAD GUY

LOWCOUNTRY BOIL on Sale 99¢

Amazon      Barnes & Noble      Kobo

LOWCOUNTRY BOIL

CROPPED TO DEATH on Sale 99¢

Amazon      Barnes & Noble     Kobo

CROPPED TO DEATH

LAST DINER STANDING on Sale $2.99

Amazon      Barnes & Noble     Kobo

LAST DINER STANDING

OTHER PEOPLE’S BAGGAGE on Sale 99¢

Amazon      Barnes & Noble     Kobo

OTHER PEOPLE'S BAGGAGE

 

Blogroll: Cozy Mystery Book Reviews

A Very Cozy Christmas: Susan M. Boyer

 

Let’s welcome Susan M. Boyer, author of Lowcountry Boil.

* * * * *

Our Traditional Christmas Dinner

My husband, Jim, and I are blessed with a large family. The holidays are full, and scheduling a challenge because of all the sub-groups of family. We celebrate Christmas with my side of the family twice—once with immediate and once with extended family. Jim is one of eight siblings, most of whom have taken the “go forth and multiply” thing to heart. You can imagine the crowd. By the time we celebrate Christmas at home with our children, no one wants to look at a turkey or a ham. Over the years, we’ve put together our own traditional Christmas menu.

Using a super-secret process, Jim roasts a beef tenderloin outside in his grill. To keep it company, we make béarnaise sauce, mashed potato casserole, corn pie, green beans, yeast rolls, and a family favorite, tomato pie. The desserts may vary, but there’s always a cheesecake and something chocolate. Jim likes heavier wines than I, so we usually serve both a cabernet and a pinot noir with the meal.

I love this “recipe” for tomato pie because it’s both delicious and versatile. When we first started making it we used ten-inch pie plates. But we’ve discovered it works great in muffin pans for individual servings, and also in bite-sized pastry shells for an appetizer to take to parties. For Christmas the past few years we’ve used the muffin pans, so I guess we’ll call these tomato tarts.

Did you notice how I put the word recipe in quotes above? This is because I never use recipes. I’m one of those cooks who uses a dash of this and a little of that, and probably has never made a dish exactly the same way twice. This stresses my sister-in-law to no end, as she is forever asking me for recipes. I try to give them to her off the top of my head. She measures everything precisely, and gets really nervous when I say things like, “Just put a little in and taste it,” and “It helps if you sip a glass of pinot noir while you cook.”

From the best of my memory, this is how we make tomato tarts. If it isn’t exact, I don’t think you’d ever be able to tell it. This recipe makes 12 individual, muffin-size tarts.

Tomato Tarts
Ingredients
1 large sweet onion
1 stick butter, softened
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 teaspoon agave nectar (you can substitute honey)
3 Refrigerated pie crusts (We use Pillsbury, but my grandmother would not approve. If you really want to, you can make them from scratch.)
3 cans fire-roasted tomatoes, drained
2 cups mayonnaise (We use Duke’s, naturally, because it’s a rule in the South. But Hellman’s would work just as well. I can only tell you this because my mamma doesn’t read blogs.)
4 cups shredded 6-cheese Italian blend (We use Sargento Chef’s Blend or Publix house brand.)
2 tablespoons Italian seasoning blend (We use Emeril’s.)
Sea salt
Black pepper

Step One: Caramelize the onion
1. Thinly slice, then chop the onion
2. Place 3 tablespoons of the butter and the canola oil in a cast iron frying pan and turn on medium-low heat
3. Rotate the pan to mix the butter and oil as the butter melts
4. When the butter is completely melted and blended with the oil, add the onion to the pan.
5. Sprinkle onion with sea salt—don’t ask me how much, just sprinkle some on there.
6. You want the onion soft and an even brown. This will take 20-30 minutes. Stir every few minutes and watch carefully. If it gets too brown, it will be bitter. About half-way in, add the agave nectar or honey.
7. When the onion is caramelized, set aside.

Step Two: Prepare crusts
1. Chill your muffin pans.
2. Flatten and bring crusts to room temperature.
3. Cut circles of crust. My muffin pans have 12 muffin cups, 3” across and 1” deep. Yours may or may not be the same size, but here’s the trick: You need to make circles of crust that are the bottom width plus 2 times the height—in my case, 5” circles. I have a small metal bowl just the right size. I’ve never found a biscuit cutter big enough.
4. Butter the tins and place a strip of parchment paper across each cup that reaches all the up the sides and over the top a bit.
5. Press circles of crust into chilled tins. Form the crusts to the pan, crimping the edges.
6. Refrigerate pan.
7. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Step Three: Prepare Filling
1. Mix drained tomatoes, onion, Italian seasoning, and additional sea salt and pepper as desired.
2. Set aside.
3. Mix mayonnaise with cheeses.

Step Four: Assemble and bake
1. Spoon tomato and onion mixture into prepared crusts. Fill about ¾ full.
2. Generously top with mayonnaise mixture. You can use a pastry bag for this if you like. I just spoon mine on. (You may have some topping left over—I never get it to come out exact.)
3. Bake at 400 for 10 minutes, then lower heat to 350 and continue baking another 10-15 minutes.
4. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes.
5. Use pastry strips to lift tarts from pans and serve.

Merry Christmas, everyone! I hope your holidays are filled with family, love, laughter, and good food.

About Susan M. Boyer

Susan M. Boyer has been making up stories her whole life. She tags along with her husband on business trips whenever she can because hotels are great places to write: fresh coffee all day and cookies at 4 p.m. They have a home in Greenville, SC, which they occasionally visit. Susan’s short fiction has appeared in moonShine Review, Spinetingler Magazine, Relief Journal, The Petigru Review, and Catfish Stew. Her debut novel, Lowcountry Boil, was the 2012 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense recipient and an RWA Golden Heart® finalist.
Visit Susan at: www.susanmboyerbooks.com

Giveaway

Now for a giveaway. We’re giving away a copy of Lowcountry Boil. To enter:
- complete the form below.
- giveaway ends on December 11, 2012 at midnight.
- giveaway is open international
- winners will be contacted via email

Blogroll: Scrapping Is Heart Work blog

Scrapbooking mystery is beautifully composed by Cynthia McCloud

 

A first for me and this blog — I read and reviewed a scrapbooking mystery!

Here’s my review of “Cropped to Death” by Christina Freeburn, a fellow writer, West Virginian and scrapbooker.

“Cropped To Death” is a cozy mystery that exceeds expectations. The author, Christina Freeburn, writes what she knows: scrapbooking and small-town West Virginia life. As a West Virginian who scrapbooks and runs a scrapbooking retreat for women, I was excited to get my hands on an Advance Reader Copy. The 290-page book, published by Henery Press, will be on sale Nov. 20, but you can pre-order it now from Amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com. [Read more...]

Blogroll: Scrapping Is Heart Work

Scrapbooking mystery is beautifully composed by Cynthia

A first for me and this blog — I read and reviewed a scrapbooking mystery!

Here’s my review of “Cropped to Death” by Christina Freeburn, a fellow writer, West Virginian and scrapbooker.

“Cropped To Death” is a cozy mystery that exceeds expectations. The author, Christina Freeburn, writes what she knows: scrapbooking and small-town West Virginia life. As a West Virginian who scrapbooks and runs a scrapbooking retreat for women, I was excited to get my hands on an Advance Reader Copy. The 290-page book, published by Henery Press, will be on sale Nov. 20, but you can pre-order it now from Amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.

Not only does the heroine, Faith Hunter, work in a scrapbook store, the clue to the murderer’s identity and motive is found hidden in a scrapbook layout. Faith’s coworker is accused of cropping her cheating husband out of the picture permanently. The evidence is damning and no other suspects are considered. However, Faith feels compelled to prove her friend’s innocence because of what happened to her in the past, when she was a U.S. Army JAG Specialist. Scrapbookers will recognize the hobbyist terms but even nonscrapbookers will be able to tell from the context what Faith is talking about when she’s teaching a scrapbooking class or helping customers.

[Read more...]

Blogroll: Cozy Mystery Book Reviews

Review: Lowcountry Boil by Susan M. Boyer

 

Publisher’s Summary: Private Investigator Liz Talbot is a modern Southern belle: she blesses hearts and takes names. She carries her Sig 9 in her Kate Spade handbag, and her golden retriever, Rhett, rides shotgun in her hybrid Escape. When her grandmother is murdered, Liz high-tails it back to her South Carolina island home to find the killer.

She’s fit to be tied when her police-chief brother shuts her out of the investigation, so she opens her own. Then her long-dead best friend pops in and things really get complicated. When more folks start turning up dead in this small seaside town, Liz must use more than just her wits and charm to keep her family safe, chase down clues from the hereafter, and catch a psychopath before he catches her.

Our Review: PI Liz Talbot has returned to Stella Maris, South Carolina, following the death of her grandmother. Liz is intent of finding the killer, even if her police-chief brother doesn’t want her to get involved. However soon its not just her grandmother that has been murdered, with more dead bodies turning up and Liz has to use everything in her power to try to find the killer, before more of her family is harmed.

Lowcountry Boil is a 2012 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense, and is a finalist in the 2012 Romance Writers of America® Golden Heart® contest, and it’s not hard to see why. Susan M. Boyer has crafted a charming mystery, with characters that will delight mystery readers, as they follow the adventure of Liz and Rhett, her golden retriever.

I like how Susan M. Boyer has mixed it up with Liz’s brother being the police chief. All too often there is a tendency in cozy mysteries to have the policy chief/detective to a romantic interest of the amateur sleuth, and this isn’t the case here. It’s great to see a new dynamic in the sleuth’s life.

Lowcountry Boil is a very strong debut. It has all the elements of a great cozy mystery series: charming characters that a reader can relate to, a stunning whodunnit and of course the adorable sidekick in Liz’s golden retriever, Rhett!

I can’t wait for more books in this charming southern series.

Buy from Amazon

Title: Lowcountry Boil
Author: Susan M. Boyer
Series: Book 1 of A Liz Talbot Southern Mystery
Publisher: Henery Press
ISBN: 978-1938383045

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