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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

A Whole Latte Murder by Caroline Fardig

Setting: Nashville, TN
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Alibi
Release Date: November 8, 2016

Juliet Langley's developed a knack for finding bodies. In A Whole Latte Murder, once again she stumbles her way into a murder. This time, the victim is one of her neighbors. During an attempt to return a customer's scarf, Juliet finds her neighbor in the bathtub with a toaster. Juliet's new beau, Detective Ryder Hamilton, asks her to stay out of it as he's newly promoted to the homicide division and wants to do his job perfectly, but even he can't help but ask Juliet to put her snooping skills to the test and find out a few things.

When one of Juliet's employees disappears, she and her best friend Pete dive in to see what's happening in their community. With her growing concern for Ryder's safety, the fact that he's working long hours, and multiple disappearances or murders, Juliet can't rest until a killer's found.

I've been following the Java Jive Mystery series from the start and love watching the characters grow and change. A Whole Latte Murder finds Juliet facing new challenges. She wants Ryder to be happy, but she also worries about him chasing down murderers for a living. On the other hand, he's just as concerned by her ability to stumble into murders. This creates a new conflict for the couple, and I enjoy the realistic approach to their struggles.

Cozy mysteries are my preferred subgenre, so I'm always thrilled when I find one that I can't put down. That's the experience I get from Caroline Fardig's books. I become engrossed with the plot, characters, and mystery at hand. This one kept me guessing, which made it even better in my opinion.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Colonial Spirts: A Toast to Our Drunken History by Steven Grasse

Genre: Cookbook
Publisher: Abrams
Release Date: September 13, 2016

Buy a copy of Colonial Spirits: A Toast to Our Drunken History and have it in hand for this year's Thanksgiving celebrations. It's a stunning tribute to both the Nation's history and our ancestors.

In Colonial Spirits, Steven Grasse begins by looking at the foundations of alcoholic beverages. He talks about the items used to make liquors, beers, and wines, such as barley, spruce tips, and even a chicken. Yes, I did say chicken, and I admit that's one recipe I don't ever see myself trying.

There are recipes I immediately had to try and absolutely loved. The Orchard Mimosa (OJ and hard cider), Fish House Punch, and non-alcoholic Strawberry Rhubarb Lemonade are three I had to make. Despite my husband's dislike of rhubarb, even he admitted that was an excellent lemonade.

Throughout the book, learn how to make wine, beer, and a variety of punches, cocktails, and hot mulled beverages. There are recipes for flavored syrups, shrubs, barley water, and beverages used to treat illnesses. You'll also find neat recipes for things like Rose Water Toner for the skin. This is a comprehensive book that is going onto my keeper shelf.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Pop Goes the Weasel by M.J. Arlidge

Genre: A Detective Helen Grace Thriller
Publisher: NAL
Release Date: October 2015

My apologies for the gap between reviews. After trying to find a solid replacement for the client who decided to quit the world of SEO and web analytics, I ended up taking a job outside the home. It's been a new experience trying to balance my remaining writing clients, book reviewing, and adjusting to a commute and training.

In Pop Goes the Weasel, Helen Grace is back. This time, she's up against a sadistic killer who literally tears her victim's hearts out and then leaves them for the victim's loved ones to find. It all starts with a happily married family man who's found in an area where prostitutes are known to work. No one can figure out why he was there or why he was killed.

For Helen Grace, it's clear the killer is angry. Until she can figure out why, she'll struggle to find the killer before another victim is found.

Once again, M.J. Arlidge draws you in and holds you captive in a twisted murder case. It's said in the description that the killings are reverse Jack the Ripper, and I'd say that's a fair take on these killings. They are pretty brutal and graphic at times.

Charlie's back after her loss and she and Helen are definitely having issues. This adds a dynamic layer to the personal relationships. I've always been a fan of Charlie's, but I also enjoy Helen, and I was eager to see how it played out.

I do really enjoy the Helen Grace series. It has the gritty detail and brash attitudes that I enjoy in the crime series The Fall that stars Gillian Anderson. If you enjoy that show, you're going to love M.J. Arlidge's series.