Suitors and Sabotage

Suitors and Sabotage by Cindy Anstey

So here at MysteriousEats.wordpress.com I wouldn’t call us lazy, but if my older sister blog JaneAustenRunsMyLife.wordpress.com has already reviewed or posted something, we just copy and paste it minus the Austen-y things as we concentrate more on the mystery.

So, my sister blog reviewed this mystery and I’ll be honest, I just copied and pasted it with a few deletes. If you want to read the whole post, you can hop over there. Otherwise, check this out.

Gracebridge Manor in Fotheringham, Kent -1817

Miss Imogene Chively has returned from her London season a success, or so her family believes. Imogene did not enjoy the parties, being on display, etc.

Hopefully, she will not have to go back as she has a suitor- a Mr. Ernest Steeple. He’s very, very interested in her and about to visit and stay a few weeks. Imogene is a very shy and not looking forward to him coming, but at least she will be home.

She an her friend Miss Emily Beeswanger (what a name!) are relaxing outside the ruins of the nearby castle, when Imogene’s dog puts himself in danger. They try to get him back, but he won’t listen! But in the end they are assisted by a handsome young man.

Hmm…

After he saves their dog, the man introduces himself as Benjamin “Ben” Steeple, the younger brother of Ernest. He has accompanied him, and the two arrived early. Mr. Chively, Imogene’s father, is monopolizing Ernest, so Ben decided to check out the castle ruins. Ben is studying to be an architect and could not pass up the opportunity to check it out.

Benjamin joins the ladies for a picnic and Emily sets her cap for the charming, flirtatious, dashing man. Emily went with Imogene for the London season, but did not have anyone interested in her. She’s feeling like a failure and this handsome man seems to be the answer to her wish to be married.

Or him

Imogene’s dog, Jasper, takes off into the old ruins, again, and Ben helps save him for Imogene. They end up bringing part of the castle down and destroying their clothes in the process (not like they are naked bit that those clothes can never be fixed to be in their previous condition ever again). Ben goes to change before dinner and encourage his brother. Ernest is over the moon about Imogene but feels disheartened as he is trying to spend time with her, but has only been spending time with the dad. He’s worried he won’t have anything to converse with her, so Ben tells him to talk about the artist, Joseph Mallard William Turner.

Ben tells Mr. Chively that Ernest likes economics and Mr. Chively spends the whole night talking his ear off about banking and interest. Ben, however, spends the night talking to Imogene and Emily and enjoys conversing with both women. He’s a major flirt and loves charming the ladies.

Imogene finds herself feeling uncertain as she is in a place she has never been before. She knows that Ernest likes her…but all this attention-could Ben have feelings for her too? Are two brothers fighting over her? But then Emily points out all the attention Ben has been giving her and the way he has been treating her. Could this be worse than she thought, could he like both Imogene and Emily?

 

After the two talk, Imogene becomes convinced that Ben is just flirting and charming both of them. Imogene is a little saddened at that, but Emily will not give up. She wants Ben and practices her best flirtations in order to win his heart.

The next morning, Ernest is taken off by Imogene’s father to go fishing, while Ben gets to spend the morning with her. He is doing his best to extol his brother’s virtues, but finds himself holding her hands longer than necessary and thinking more about her than his brother.

I know, right?

Wow, Ben, really? Your brother’s girl! You know he’s into her. And he’s your BROTHER!!!!!

Besides the Beeswanger family, and the Steeples, the Tabards are also staying with the Chivelys. Mrs. Chively, Mrs. Beeswanger, and Mrs. Tabard were very close friends, and relatives. Mrs. Tabard passed away and since then Mr. Tabard has been a ghost of the man he once was. His son Jake has become an incorrigible prankster-pairing up with Imogene’s older brother Percy.

Ugh

So Imogene finds herself in a quandry, on one hand-Ben makes her feel special as her family doesn’t care about art and he loves her drawings and wants her to give him lessons as he can’t draw!

Squeal!

But then she and Ernest finally have a chance to spend time together. Ernest tries to talk about art, but can’t. He admits he knows little of painting and that he is a…reader. Not of poems or essays…but…literature. 

Squeal!

Imogene finds herself falling for Ernest and Ben, but she can’t have both so which brother will she choose?

But before Imogene’s heart can tell her the path to take-some strange things start happening. Her jewelry is found in Ben’s room, then a burr is under his saddle and almost kills him, the castle starts falling down as well, and more. Someone is after Ben, but who?

 

To further complicate this midsummer nights comedy of errors; Ernest and Ben both like Imogene, Emily likes Ben, Jake seems to be interested in Emily, and Imogene doesn’t know which man she wants.

Here we go again…

And who is doing all these mysterious things? Could it be Percy or Jake, taking their “jokes” too far? Could it be Emily, who is after Ben-maybe trying to dissuade him from Imogene? Or could it be Ernest who wants to take Ben out of the running for Imogene’s heart?

Thoughts After Reading:

This book was pretty enjoyable for the most part. I thought the beginning and middle were really good. The parts that kind of turned me off was when the story began to drag on with the constant back and forth of Imogene trying to decide on a guy.

It really bothered me too how both men laughed off Imogene’s fear. I mean come on guys, there is too much happening for it be an “accident”. Seriously dudes.

There is also a weird part when Imogene accuses Ernest of doing all these things to Ben and Ben becomes furious. She is in shock about how “unreasonable” he is and hopes to never see that “unreasonable” side again. Ugh, girl please-you just accused his brother of trying to kill him. If someone said that to me about my sister I would have flipped a table at them. How dare you!!!

But really, whether you will love or hate this book will boil down to one thing-which guy you like better.

For more historical fiction, go to Weak Flesh

For more young adult mysteries, go to Airhead

For more not-in-a-series-mysteries, go to An Anonymous Girl

For more stolen jewels, go to Archie Andrews: Not So Private Eye

Midnight in Austenland

So I wanted to write a post on this book, but my sister blog already did it. So I thought I would just reblog it on my site! Thanks sis for doing the work for me. 🙂

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Day 10) J is for Jane Austen: Choose a book based on, a sequel to, or a retelling of one of Jane Austen’s works

So I know I said I wasn’t going to review one of Austen’s works as that isn’t really fair as I talk about her books all the time.

reading Jane Austen

But I never said anything about a retelling!

Go on... Go on…

So I’m going to review my absolute favorite out of all the books I have read so far.

Austenland

Midnight in Austenland (Austenland #2) by Shannon Hale

So I one day I was going through Goodreads and looking at if any authors I liked had published anything new. I really enjoyed reading Shannon Hale, and thought Austenland was pretty good except for a few things, so when I saw that she did a sequel I decided to check it out.

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I got the book and started reading it…but then I couldn’t…

View original post 3,821 more words

Cherry-Pistachio Tea Cakes

So of course whenever I do a Jane Austen mystery, I have to pair with something Regency, Jane Austen, or tea party related.

This recipe comes from a Food Network Magazine. 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cup of Pistachios
  • 1/3 Cup of Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon of Baking Powder
  • 1/4 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 2/3 Cup of Powdered Sugar, plus more for dusting
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 6 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, Melted
  • 12-24 Medium Cherries with Stems

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
  3. Pulse the pistachios, flour, baking powder, and salt in a food processor or blender until finely grounded.
  4. Whisk the powdered sugar and eggs in a large bowl, then whisk in the pistachio mixture until just combined.
  5. Stir in the melted butter until just incorporated.
  6. Spoon 2 tablespoons of batter into each muffin cup.
  7. Bake until slightly puffed and just beginning to set, about 8 minutes.
  8. Place 1 or 2 cherries in the center of each cake and continue baking until the cakes feel springy and the edges are lightly browned, 10-12 minutes.
  9. Transfer to a rack and let cool 10 minutes in the pan, then remove from pan to cool completely.
  10. Dust with powdered sugar.

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Thoughts After Baking:

So instead of using fresh cherries I used frozen ones.

Yeah, they did not turn out right. The cake part was good, but the cherries kind of leaked in them.

As soon as cherries are back in season, I am going to remake them and update this post. I’m sure these will be fantastic.

For more Food Network Magazine recipes, go to Garden Pasta Salad with Bocconcini

For more tea party recipes, go to Harvest Pumpkin Scones

For more desserts, go to Strawberry Milkshake

For more dishes featuring cherries, go to Chocolate Covered Cherry Delights

For more cupcakes, go to King Arthur Carrot Cake or Cupcakes

Cream Puff Murder

cream puff murder

Cream Puff Murder (Hannah Swensen Mysteries #11)

So Hannah’s mother, Delores, is planing a huge party to celebrate the release of her newest Regency themed book. She has ordered special gowns for her daughters to wear to the event. The only problem? Hannah’s dress is much, much too small.

well that's just great anchorman

Only one thing left for her to do: Diet.

Diet

While she hates working out, she decides to join her sister, Andrea, in her new exercise regime at the newest gym, Heavenly Bodies. Now why is Andrea working out? Well even though she looks great, with Ronni Ward, three time bikini queen and always after men married or single, Andrea has been feeling insecure.

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And she isn’t the only one Ronni is upsetting. Almost every female in Lake Eden is upset with Ronni’s return and her putting the moves on their men.

Hate her that's so raven

But Hannah has other things to focus on: such as creating the perfect dessert for her mother’s party, and getting in shape to fit the dress.

gotthis

As everyone involved has agreed that Hannah’s cream puffs are the perfect choice for the party; Hannah does a few trial runs on flavors. Mike sees them and buys them for Ronni’s party as he thinks they will be just perfect.

Really Mike?

Really Mike? Really? Buy something from one girlfriend for another?

The next day Andrea and Hannah head to the gym, using their member key to get in really early. After they have worked hard, they decide to head to the jacuzzi for a reward.

fantastic

Andrea continues her workout a bit longer as Hannah goes first. There she finds a huge mess from Ronni’s party. Food and drink stuff, both of which are not supposed to be in the pool/jacuzzi area.

Come on, guys. You didn't even clean up?

Come on, guys. You didn’t even clean up?

But then as Hannah looks further, she finds a dead body. Ronni.

StarTrekTheOriginalSeriesHesDeadJim

She’s been Murdered.

Murder

Almost the entire sheriff’s department is suspended as they either had a relationship with her, like Mike, or was a friend, like Bill. With only two newbies left and having to bring in outside assistance; Hannah decides it is up to her group to solve the crime. She, Norman, Andrea, Michelle, Delores, and even Carrie set out on the case.

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Thoughts After Reading:

This is one of the few Hannah Swensen Mysteries I actually enjoy.

thenannygasp

I know, a real shocker. I liked this because the end wasn’t predictable. Fluke leads down a path that causes you to think is the end is totally obvious. It has to be this person, it just has to. They are the only one who makes sense.

its-so-obvious-captain-obvious

Fake information is  even given by another character to steer you away from who you think it is, but it makes you think even more that the person you are thinking of is the killer.

You_know_thats_right

But then at the end when you have the reveal, you are completely amazed as you discover you were looking in the wrong direction the whole time.

yougotme

And it isn’t one of those weird, completely out of left field endings either. This one made total sense.

loveitSupernatural

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So that was the good. Now let’s look at the bad.

IDon'tlikeit

Hannah and Mike’s Relationship

Really Mike?

Really Mike?

So there is this love triangle between Mike, Hannah, and Norman. And I really don’t know why it is there. Norman loves Hannah and Mike loves having a good time. Mike is a horrible boyfriend as he doesn’t want to commit himself, but have fun with other ladies as well. Norman on the other hand is perfect. Why can’t Hannah see that already. I mean, argh, it just makes me so upset to have to read about how she can’t decide when the answer is clearly in front of her face.

SlapCharactersWithBook

So let’s begin out Mike is a loser countdown:

A) Hannah: “[Mike’s] not mine. I’m not even sure he is partially mine, not when Ronni’s living in the apartment across the hall from him.” (pg. 6-7)

If he “isn’t” yours, and so eager to bounce to the new babe in town; why are you even with him? Just dump the chump already. He’ll move on quickly.

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B) Mike: “Sometimes I wish you’d taken me up on my marriage proposal. Then I could eat like this every night.” pg. 66

  1. First of all, Mike only proposed after he heard Norman was going to. Norman built Hannah her dream house. Mike ran out and bought a ring just because he didn’t want Norman to “win”.
  2. Second, Mike hardly ever takes Hannah out; instead making her always cook for him, and usually late even though he knows she gets up early in the morning to bake.
  3. Third, he states the only reason he is sad that Hannah turned him down is because she can’t cook for him every night. Really? Why is there a contest again?

yuck_pirates_of_the_caribbean

C) Norman: “I love you too. And I know telling you what to do is a lost cause. You never listen anyway. I’ll see you in about forty-five minutes with steak and salad and two types of cookies.” pg. 76

When Mike hears that Hannah is going on a diet, he tells her that will be good she needs to lose weight. Norman asks why she needs to change when she is already beautiful. Mike tells Hannah read this book, investigate like that, blah, blah, blah; Norman shares his advice and then lets Hannah choose whatever she wants. When Mike calls to take Hannah “out” she always ends up cooking for him, with Norman he takes her to the restaurant or brings the restaurant to her.

He's perfect.

He’s perfect.

D) At Midnight Mike Calls and Wakes Hannah Up Having Her Meet Him in The Freezing Parking Garage and Having Her Bring Him Coffee.

Mike doesn’t want a girlfriend he wants a maid and assistant. And he knows she wakes up at like four in the morning and works all day. He’s suspended, he can wake up at four talk to her then and then go back to bed. He’s a jerk. Let her get her beauty sleep!

ohnoyoudidn't

E) Mike: “I just wanted you to know that there was nothing between Ronni and me. I know it looks bad, but there wasn’t…She needed a friend, a shoulder to cry on. I guess she was using me, but I didn’t mind being helpful…She was always calling me to come over for something and I went because…well…we had a lot in common since we both worked for the Sheriff’s department…I know it is going to come out that I slept at her place a few nights. We’d be watching a movie or something, I’d fall asleep on her couch. She never woke me. She’d go to bed and let me wake up on my own the next morning.” pg. 169-170

Really Mike? Really. So Ronni was your “friend”, the same way Shawna was your “friend”. In fact if Shawna hadn’t also been murdered; he would be messing around with her too.

And all these “she invited me over” crap? In every book 90% of the time Mike invites himself over or shows up on Hannah’s doorstep, like he’d be any different with Ronni.

He’s a jerk so cut him loose!

duh

F) Norman Makes Her a Low-Calorie Breakfast After Spoiling Her with the Incredible House, A Roaring Fire, Soft Bed, Plush Towels, and Two Cats.

Hannah stays the night at the master suite while Norman takes the guest room. It is an incredible and ritzy place. Then to top it off, he makes her an absolutely scrumptious breakfast, carefully measuring everything out so that he doesn’t ruin her diet.

likeit

G) Mike: “Hannah…Where have you been? I’ve been calling you every hour since midnight!

Hannah: He’d called her at midnight. Again. Mike wasn’t concerned that she hadn’t had a full night’s sleep since Ronni was murdered. He’d probably wanted her to meet him in the garage again with a thermos of coffee and cookies so that he could give her more instructions on investigative procedure.” pg. 282

Hannah you said it. That is all he wants.

How rude

H) Mike: “I should have known someone would tell you, but I didn’t think you’s run to Norman on the rebound…It didn’t mean anything, Hannah. It was just…convenient, you know? She was right across the hall from me and…these things happen. You’re an adult. You know that.” pg. 283

ohnoyoudidn't

So first you lie, lie  about your relationship with Ronni? And then you try to excuse that behavior by saying it “just happened” and “that’s what adults do”?

stupidestthingever

NO! NO! And NO! Good-bye.

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I) Nancy: “Keep your eyes open Hannah. If you find a man who doesn’t think he is the hero, grab him and give him a hug because he’s the only realist in the room.”

Hannah: “[To Norman] Do you think she modeled the Duke of Oakwood after you?

Norman: “After me?…What are you talking about, Hannah?…The Duke of Oakwood is about as far from my character as you can get.” pg. 333

Norman is fantastic. Pick him. Then the two could be the Tommy and Tuppence of the midwest. Besides that, he really loves her.

Tommy-and-Tuppence-1923

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For more Hannah Swensen Mysteries, go to Carrot Cake Murder

For more mystery reviews, go to The Harlot’s Tale

Regency Ginger Cookies

cookies

Thoughts Before Baking:

So what could go better with a supernatural, Austen inspired novel, than some cookies in Regency style?

Pride&Prescience

Not much! So this recipe comes from Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder.

chocolatechipcookiemurder

When I saw it was Regency inspired I thought I might give it a go. Hopefully they won’t taste bad.

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Ingredients:

  • 3/4 Cup of Melted Butter
  • 1 Cup of Brown Sugar
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 4 Tablespoons of Molasses
  • 2 Teaspoons of Baking Soda
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 2 Teaspoons of Ground Ginger
  • 2 1/4 Cups of Flour
  • 1/2 Cup of White Sugar in a Small Bowl

Directions:

  1. Melt butter and mix in brown sugar.
  2. Let mixture cool and then add egg.
  3. Add baking soda, molasses, salt, and ginger. Stir.
  4. Add flour and mix it in.
  5. Chill for at least 1 hour
  6. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  7. Roll the dough into balls, rolling them in the white sugar.
  8. Place them on a greased cookie sheet.
  9. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until brown.

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regencygingercookies

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Thoughts After Baking:

So I’m sure you have noticed my earlier writing that I hoped they would taste good. You see I don’t like molasses. I hate how it tastes and smells.

So how did I like it? I loved the cookies. They tasted a bit like gingerbread, but not quite; lighter and fluffier. I loved them and will most likely make them again in the future.

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For more Hannah Swenson Recipes, go to Butter Berry Cookies

For more cookie recipes, go to Dark Choco Almond Butter Cookies

For more desserts, go to Strawberry Shortcake