FTC Disclosure: I received a free Netgalley of the books from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
It is my great pleasure to welcome Amanda Flowers to the blog today.
Uses for Maple Syrup
By Amanda Flower
The Final Tap, the second mystery in my Living History Museum Mystery Series, is set during a maple sugaring festival on Barton Farm, a fictional living history museum in Northeastern Ohio. As part of my research for the novel, I learned all about the maple sugaring and maple syrup, and I also learned some interesting uses for maple syrup along the way.
Here are some my favorites
- Making candy. By boiling maple syrup and pouring it into molds you can make sweet candy treats that melt in your mouth.
- Sweeten your tea or coffee. Instead of reaching for the sugar bowl, try a dollop of pure maple syrup to sweeten your favorite drink.
- Make snow candies. When it’s really cold out and you have a lot snow, drizzle maple syrup into clean snow. It will harden and make glasslike maple syrup candies. This is especially fun to do with kids.
- Create a yummy side dish. Boil baby carrots with maple syrup and butter for a dish that just might make your children eat their veggies.
- Make a facial scrub. Some research shows maple syrup can combat acne and other minor skin issues. Use only pure maple syrup and mix with other organic ingredients like oatmeal and yogurt to make your own facial scrub.
- Sweeten breakfast outside of pancakes. Drizzle maple syrup on Greek yogurt and granola for a great start to your day.
- Bake with maple syrup. Substitute maple syrup for white sugar. The ratio is ¾ cup of maple syrup to 1 cup of white sugar.
- Make maple butter. Mix with butter for a sweet addition to your morning toast or English muffin.
- Use as ice cream topping. Take your ice cream sundae in a new direction with maple syrup as topping instead of hot fudge or caramel.
This is just the tip of the iceberg of what can be done with this versatile sweetener. So remember, next time you reach for the sugar consider giving maple syrup a try, and if you want to know how maple syrup can be used in a mystery novel, check out The Final Tap.
Amanda Flower, a three time Agatha-nominated mystery author, started her writing career in elementary school when she read a story she wrote to her sixth grade class and had the class in stitches with her description of being stuck on the top of a Ferris wheel. She knew at that moment she’d found her calling of making people laugh with her words. Amanda is a librarian in Northeast Ohio. She also writes as USA Today Bestselling Author Isabella Alan. THE FINAL TAP is the second novel in her Living History Museum Mystery Series. www.amandaflower.com
Thank you Amanda. I never knew there were so many uses for maple syrup. I hope I remember about the snow candy the next time is snows here in Colorado.
The Final Tap
by Amanda Flower
The Final Tap has characters to love and hate, an interesting setting, and historical flavor to go along with a juicy, twisty, murder mystery.
~Sissy, Bubble Bath Books
Characters that continue to evolve, a fabulous setting, and a top notch mystery. I recommend this one highly.
~Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book
Author Amanda Flower taps into the perfect combination of history and modernity, as well as personal drama and professional character. I enjoy the escape her writing provides.
~The Girl with Book Lungs
I want to live on Barton Farm. That’s it. Ms. Flower’s descriptions take me back to my childhood.
Well, I’ve found yet another cozy mystery series to add to my must-buy list! I really enjoyed the setting – a working historical farm…
~The Book’s the Thing
This historical whodunit is a sure hit and will have you on the edge of your seat guessing who the killer is until the very end.
~Shelley’s Book Case
Flower combines powerful characterization and strong family values with a puzzling mystery amidst a unique background.
~Cozy Up With Kathy
This is a well written book that kept my attention from the very beginning. If you like history and you love a good cozy mystery, then this is the series for you.
~Melina’s Book Blog
I have enjoyed this series so far, from the historical aspect, to the education side, and even how I am always surprised at who the killer turns out to be, it is never anyone I have suspected..at least not yet.
Author Flower’s writing continues to grow more amazing with every book she writes. If you haven’t read one of her books, you’re missing out on incredible storytelling.
~Lisa K’s Book Reviews
…this book showcased superb writing, a very unique story line, a new twist on the typical cozy setting and characters you want to love and hate!
March on Barton Farm can only mean one thing: maple sugar season. To combat the winter slump, resilient director Kelsey Cambridge organizes a Maple Sugar Festival, complete with school visits, pancake breakfasts, and tree tapping classes. Kelsey hires curmudgeonly maple sugar expert Dr. Conrad Beeson to teach the classes, despite misgivings over his unpleasant demeanor. It’s a decision she ends up regretting when, before the first tree can be tapped for sap, Dr. Beeson turns up dead.
The maple sugar expert’s death threatens to shut down not only the Maple Sugar Festival, but also Barton Farm itself. Kelsey must solve Dr. Beeson’s murder to escape the increasingly sticky situation.
About This Author
Amanda Flower, a two-time Agatha Award-nominated mystery author, started her writing career in elementary school when she read a story she wrote to her sixth grade class and had the class in stitches with her description of being stuck on the top of a Ferris wheel. She knew at that moment she’d found her calling of making people laugh with her words. She also writes mysteries as national bestselling author Isabella Alan. In addition to being an author, Amanda is an academic librarian for a small college near Cleveland.
Pen Name Website: http://isabellaalan.com/
My thoughts: I’m a big fan of historical fiction and living history sites. Amand Flowers’ Living History Museum series gives us not only a great mystery but some insight into what it take to keep such an organization up and running.
It was interesting to read the Civil War history that Flowers sprinkles throughout the book. That combined with all the wonderful things (not county murder) that happen on Barton Farm, gave me a craving to visit Barton Farm itself or at least some place like it.
They mystery is well developed, engaging the reader from the beginning. I have to admit the reveal caught me by surprise.
In addition to a well-crafted mystery, we get some more insight into Kelsey’s personal life, including her love life. Kelsey is a wonderful character and I’m looking forward to reading more about her.
The Final Tap is the second in the series, but works well as a stand-alone. There are some references to the first book, The Final Reveille, but they are not distracting. If you haven’t read the first book, I do recommend that you grab a copy because it is as an enjoyable a read as The Final Tap.
Overall, this is a good cozy mystery read and I highly recommend that you add it to your list of must-reads.
Be sure to check out the other stops on the tour and don’t forget to visit the tour page for a chance to win a print copy of The Final Tap.
May 9 – Bubble Bath Books – REVIEW
May 10 – The Girl with Book Lungs – REVIEW
May 11 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW
May 12 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW
May 13 – Shelley’s Book Case – REVIEW
May 13 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW
May 14 – Off
May 15 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW, GUEST POST
May 16 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW
May 17 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW, GUEST POST
May 18 – Classy Cheapskate – REVIEW
May 19 – Queen of All She Reads – REVIEW
May 20 – Book Babble – REVIEW
May 21 – Booklady’s Booknotes – REVIEW, GUEST POST
May 22- LibriAmoriMiei – REVIEW
May 22- Island Confidential – INTERVIEW
A Batter of Life and Death by Ellie Alexander
FTC Disclosure: I received a free e-copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Goodreads Summary: Welcome to Torte-a small-town family bakeshop where the coffee is hot, the muffins are fresh, and the cakes are definitely to die for…
It’s autumn in Ashland, Oregon-’tis the season for a spiced hot apple cider with a serving (or two) of Torte’s famous peach cobbler. It’s also the perfect time for Jules Capshaw to promote her family’s beloved bake shop by competing in The Pastry Channel’s reality show, Take the Cake. The prize is $25,000. But as Jules quickly learns, some people would kill for that kind of dough. Literally.
Then, just as Jules dusts off her Bavarian Chocolate Cake recipe and cinches up her apron, the corpse of a fellow contestant is discovered-death by buttercream. What began as a fun, tasteful televised adventure has morphed into something of a true-crime detective show for Jules and everybody else on set. Who could have killed Chef Marco, and why? Can Jules sift out the killer before someone else gets burned?
My thoughts: This is the second installment in the Bakeshop Mysteries and it has already made it’s way on to my “Must Read” list of cozy mysteries.
I enjoy mysteries centered around food, especially baking. But what makes this such a great read are the characters (I love Juliet) and the plot that Ellie Alexander has woven. There are plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader guessing. Even better – beyond the mystery there is a whole town full of characters that the reader will enjoy getting to know better. Recipes are included at the end, which is a good thing, since you are going to want to try some of the ones mentioned in the story.
The bottom line is that this is just simply a solid good read. Once you read one in the series you are going to want to read more. Fortunately, book three – On Thin Icing was published on December 29th.
This is one of my favorite Swaps. What would be better than a chance to get new books and meet new people.
I was paired with the lovely Emma at Traveling Through Life One Coffee at a Time.
Both Emma and I like historical fiction, so this was a really good pairing. I can’t wait to dig into the books that she sent me.
The Love That Split the World was on my wish list. And Jennifer Donnelly is one of my favorite authors. The Foreign Correspondent has a very intriguing cover. I can’t wait to dig into all these great books. Now, if everyone will just leave me alone long enough to get some reading in, life will be grand!
An Unhappy Medium
by Dawn Eastman
I enjoyed the character of Clyde’s Aunt Vi who provides zombie makeup, meddling, and much comic relief. The best thing about An Unhappy Medium is that you will never guess whodunnit. I dare you to try!
~Sissy, Bubble Bath Books
Dawn Eastman scores again as we dive right back into the lives of the Fortune family in Crystal Haven.
~ MELISSA’S ECLECTIC BOOKSHELF
What a fun story. I love the paranormal element.
This is a really fun series with lots of humor without it getting too slapstick but manages to keep the mystery front and center. The Fortune family is definitely a family I want to get to know better!
~I Wish I Lived In a Library
This is my first book to read by this author but I will be going back and getting all her books. She is very gifted and the story was incredible.
I enjoyed this read. It was funny in the right places and suspenseful just when I needed it.
~A Chick Who Reads
This is a fun cozy mystery that had me staying up late just to finish it. I enjoyed going back to Crystal Haven to see what is up with Psychic Clyde and her crazy family.
~A. Holland Reads
Have you ever read a series that just made you happy just reading it? This is one of my happy place book series. I mean, here we are on book 4 and the books just keep getting better.
~Musings and Ramblings
This book really pulled me in from the start. I always enjoy Clyde and Mac, Clyde’s nephew Seth, the two dogs, and the whole psychic, eccentric Fortune family.
~The Bookwyrm’s Hoard
I really love the paranormal aspect of this series, and how Clyde was coming into her own with her talents.
~A Chick Who Reads
An Unhappy Medium:
A Family Fortune Mystery
4th in Series
Publisher: Berkley (April 5, 2016)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
E-Book ASIN: B011IUSQXI
Psychic Clyde Fortune and her zany family are back in the fourth in the national bestselling series from the author of A Fright to the Death.
Former cop and novice psychic Clyde Fortune finds herself in a race for justice when a Zombie Fun Run turns deadly…
All of Crystal Haven, Michigan, is psyching up to participate in a Zombie Fun Run organized by Clyde’s nephew Seth, but Clyde is fretful about the undead festivities. For one thing, her sister, Grace, has unexpectedly returned to town after fifteen years. For another, Clyde has the nagging feeling that something is about to go wrong…
When one of the zombie runners is found murdered and then Grace disappears, Clyde realizes her grim premonition is dead-on. Now, she and her police detective boyfriend Mac must find a ghoulish murderer before someone points the finger at Grace. And when a tangled web of family secrets and old grudges combines with a mysterious case of stolen diamonds, even someone as quick-witted as Clyde might not be able to outrun a killer…
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Dawn Eastman lived in Michigan for many years, in a house full of animals, unusual people, and laughter. She now lives in Iowa with her family and one extremely bossy small dog. She is the national bestselling author of The Family Fortune Mystery Series, which features psychics, animal communication, quirky characters and murders.
FTC Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
My Thoughts: This is a series I really enjoy. I know you must think you hear me say that a lot. I’m a librarian and a total book geek. I manage to read on average around 400 books a year. And believe it or not the percentage of series that I consider “a must read” or a “go to read” when you are in one of those reading slumps is actually rather small. A Fortune Family Mystery is one of those series.
Ms. Eastman has created a delightful town – one I would like to visit someday – filled with some great characters. Of course, Clyde is my favorite, followed closely by Seth. They are dog lovers, so they are close to my heart. Clyde’s mother and her Aunt Vi are a tad annoying, but in that “you are my family and I love you any way” sort of way.
An Unhappy Medium is the fourth installment in the series. The books just keep getting better. The mystery is well plotted and does keep you working to solve it before Clyde does. But what I really like about this story is that we get to learn more about Crystal Haven and we also get more insight to Clyde’s family, especially her sister, Grace. Overall, this is a great, fun, fast paced read. I highly recommend it for anyone who enjoys cozy mysteries. You can read this one as a stand alone, but I think you will find that you like the characters so much you will want to go back and start from the beginning.
Thanks to the author/publisher I have one print copy to give a way. Sorry – U.S. addresses only.
Leave a comment for the author, along with a way for me to contact you if you win. You have until midnight of April 17th.
Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the tour.
April 4 – Bubble Bath Books – Review, Giveaway
April 5 – Melissa’s Eclectic Bookshelf – Review, Giveaway
April 6 – fuonlyknew – Review, Giveaway
April 7 – I Wish I Lived in a Library – Review, Giveaway
April 8 – Texas Book-aholic – Review
April 9 – Girl Lost In a Book – Review, Giveaway
April 10 – A Holland Reads – Review, Character Interview, Giveaway
April 11 – Musings and Ramblings – Review, Giveaway
April 12 – A Chick Who Reads – Review
April 13 – The Bookwyrm’s Hoard – Review, Giveaway
April 14 – Booklady’s Booknotes – Review, Giveaway
April 15 – Shelley’s Book Case – Review, Giveaway
April 16 – Laura’s Interests – Review, Giveaway
April 17 – Cozy Up With Kathy – Review, Character Interview
Braking For Bodies
by Duffy Brown
This fast-paced charming whodunit is sure to get you into the spring mode. The cast of characters are so welcoming and the story keeps you interested from the very first page.
~Shelley’s Book Case
As with every Duffy Brown book she has a way of weaving humor into her mystery and this one doesn’t disappoint I found myself laughing out loud more than once…
This one had a lot of twists and turns in it that kept me guessing till the very end, and let me tell you, the ending was a huge surprise.
~Melina’s Book Blog
A laugh riot from beginning to end. This is a cozy series you won’t want to miss.
With a fantastic plot that had me from page one, BRAKING FOR BODIES as a fast, funny mystery that had me on the edge of my seat with anticipation as well as laughing practically through the entire book!
~Lisa Ks Book Reviews
…sit back, relax and enjoy a great cozy mystery by one of the best in the genre right now.
~A Chick Who Reads
Braking for Bodies:
A Cycle Path Mystery
2nd in Series
Publisher: Berkley (April 5, 2016)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
E-Book ASIN: B011IVP3ME
Evie Bloomfield puts the pedal to the metal—in the latest Cycle Path mystery from the national bestselling author of Geared for the Grave.
Moving from Los Angeles to small, picturesque Mackinac Island to work in a bike shop might seem crazy, but Evie knows it’s the best decision she’s ever made. That’s not to say she’s gotten rid of all her stress; after all, the upcoming Lilac Festival has everyone in town riding in circles.
But things really go downhill when a ferry full of tourists—including Evie’s friend Fiona’s former boss, the editor of a sleazy rag in LA—arrives on the island. No one knows why Peephole Perry came all the way to Mackinac, but things aren’t looking good for Fiona when Peep is found dead. Now Evie has to gear up and get a grip on the truth if she wants to clear her friend’s name…
About This Author
While others girls dreamed of dating Brad Pitt, Duffy Brown longed to take Sherlock Holmes to the prom. Today she conjures up who-done-it stories for Berkley Prime Crime and has two series, the national bestselling Consignment Shop Mysteries set in Savannah and the Cycle Path Mysterieson Mackinac Island.
FTC Disclosure: I received a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
My thoughts: This second book in the Cycle Path Mystery series was a delightful read. I have not yet read the first book (Geared for the Grave), but I was able to follow along easily. What I really enjoyed about this book was the upbeat and humorous tempo. Evie and Fiona remind me of Lucy and Ethel, but I’m not really sure which is which. They make a great team. The story is very engaging with plenty of twists and turns. I’ve been reading a lot of “heavy” books lately and this was a great change of pace. If you like light hearted mysteries, then I highly recommend that you grab a copy of this book.
Thanks to the author, I have a great tote bag to give away to one lucky reader. Just leave a comment for the author (and a way to be contacted) by midnight of April 14th for a chance to win.
Be sure to check out the other stops on the tour:
April 4 – StoreyBook Reviews – Spotlight, Giveaway
April 5 – Shelley’s Book Case – Review, Guest Post, Giveaway
April 5 – Community Bookstop – Review, Giveaway
April 6 – Melina’s Book Blog – Review, Guest Post, Giveaway
April 7 – fuonlyknew – Review, Giveaway
April 8 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – Review, Guest Post, Giveaway
April 9 – A Chick Who Reads – Review
April 10 – Booklady’s Booknotes – Review, Giveaway
April 11 – Brooke Blogs – Review, Giveaway
April 12 – A Holland Reads – Review, Giveaway
April 12 – I’d Rather Be At The Beach – Review, Giveaway
April 13 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too ! – Review, Giveaway
April 14 – Book Babble – Review
Book Beginnings on Friday is now hosted by Rose City Reader. The Friday 56 is hosted at Freda’s Voice. Check out the links above for the rules and for the posts of the participants each week. Don’t dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.
The Key to Extraordinary by Natalie Lloyd
Book Beginnings on Fridays
“It’s a known fact that the most extraordinary moments in a person’s life come disguised as ordinary days.”
The Friday 56
*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
(If you have to improvise, that’s ok.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it)
“And then I felt a cold hand grab the neck of my hoodie and yank me backward. I screamed, and dropped the flashlight.”
Goodreads Summary: Everyone in Emma’s family is special. Her ancestors include Revolutionary War spies, brilliant scientists, and famous musicians–every single one of which learned of their extraordinary destiny through a dream.
For Emma, her own dream can’t come soon enough. Right before her mother died, Emma promised that she’d do whatever it took to fulfill her destiny, and she doesn’t want to let her mother down.
But when Emma’s dream finally arrives, it points her toward an impossible task–finding a legendary treasure hidden in her town’s cemetery. If Emma fails, she’ll let down generations of extraordinary ancestors . . . including her own mother. But how can she find something that’s been missing for centuries and might be protected by a mysterious singing ghost?
The Skeleton Garden:
A Potting Shed Mystery
4th in Series
Publisher: Alibi (March 15, 2016)
USA Today bestselling author Marty Wingate’s Potting Shed series continues as expert gardener Pru Parke digs up a Nazi warplane—and a fresh murder.
Texas transplant Pru Parke has put down roots in England, but she never dreamed she’d live in a grand place such as Greenoak. When her former employers offer Pru and her new husband, former Detective Chief Inspector Christopher Pearse, the use of their nineteenth-century estate while they’re away for a year, she jumps at the chance. Sweetening the deal is the prospect of further bonding with her long-lost brother, Simon, who happens to be Greenoak’s head gardener. But the majestic manor has at least one skeleton in its closet—or, rather, its garden.
Working on renovations to the extensive grounds, siblings Pru and Simon squabble about everything from boxwood to bay hedges. But when the removal of a half-dead tree turns up the wreckage of a World War II–era German fighter plane and a pile of bones, the arguments stop. That is, until a rival from Simon’s past pays a surprise visit and creates even more upheaval. It’s suddenly clear someone is unhappy their secrets have been unearthed. Still, Pru’s not about to sit back and let Simon take the fall for the dirty deed without a fight.
Praise for Marty Wingate
“Marty Wingate plants clever clues with a dash of romantic spice to satisfy any hungry mystery reader.”—Mary Daheim, bestselling author of The Alpine Yeoman
“Classy, clever, and utterly charming . . . Brew a pot of tea and settle in with this immensely enjoyable mystery.”—Rosemary Harris, author of Pushing Up Daisies and The Bitches of Brooklyn, on The Garden Plot
“Put the kettle on and settle into a well-crafted village mystery with a delightful new sleuth.”—Connie Archer, bestselling author of Ladle to the Grave, on The Rhyme of the Magpie
About the Author
Marty Wingate is a Seattle-based writer and speaker who shares her love of Britain in her two mystery series. The Potting Shed books feature Pru Parke, a middle-aged American gardener transplanted from Texas to England, and Birds of a Feather follows Julia Lanchester, bird lover, who runs a tourist office in a Suffolk village. Marty writes garden articles for magazines including Country Gardens and theAmerican Gardener. She is a member of the Royal Horticultural Society, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and the Crime Writers Association. She leads garden tours to England, Scotland and Ireland, spending free moments deep in research for her books. Or in pubs.
Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Marty-Wingate/e/B001JS1AIS
FTC Disclosure: I received an advanced E-copy from the publisher via ChatterBox and NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.
My thoughts: The Potting Shed Mystery series is a new series for me. Though this is the 4th book in the series, it was easy to follow the story without having read any of the previous books.
I truly enjoyed this book and would like to read the others in the series. The characters are very likable, even curmudgeonly Simon. The pace is a bit slower than some mysteries, but it works very well for this story. I enjoyed how the story included events and information from WWII mixed in with current day events.
There was a touch of humor that added to the story as well. Sonia the duck and Pru’s attempts at cooking helped lighten the atmosphere quite a bit. I was able to “solve the mystery” before the end of the book, but it took me a bit longer than some mysteries do.
This was one of my Spring Break reads, a good choice for my leisure time reading. I highly recommend this book for anyone who enjoys mysteries, English gardens, stories set in WWII.
Be sure to check out the other stops on the tour:
March 15 – A Blue Million Books – INTERVIEW
March 16 – Queen of all She Reads – REVIEW
March 17 – Reading Reality – REVIEW
March 18 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT
March 19 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT
March 20 – off
March 21 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW
March 22 – Community Bookstop – REVIEW
March 23 – Island Confidential – INTERVIEW
March 24 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW
March 25 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST
March 26 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT
March 27 – off
March 28 – Student of Opinions – REVIEW
March 29 – Cozy Up With Kathy – GUEST POST
March 30 – Carole’s Book Corner – REVIEW
March 31 – Booklady’s Booknotes – REVIEW