North by Northanger (Or, the Shades of Pemberley)

 

North by Northanger (Or the Shades of Pemberley) [Mr. and Mrs. Darcy Mystery #3] by Carrie Bebris

Thoughts Before Reviewing:

So this post is brought to you by JaneAustenRunsMyLife, my sister blog. I just took it and reworked it to focus on the mystery over Jane Austen. I’m not lazy, but as she has already done it, why not borrow it?

So it has been a while since we reviewed a Mr. & Mrs. Darcy mystery so quick review-

So in Pride and Prescience Mr. & Mrs. Elizabeth Darcy are roped into a paranormal mystery when Caroline Bingley gets married and starts acting strangely. Is she being possessed? Or is she being gaslighted?

Hmm…

Then in book two, Suspense and Sensibility, the Darcys are roped into another mystery when the young man, Henry Dashwood (Elinor and Marianne’s nephew), engaged to Elizabeth’s sister Kitty starts acting weird. Is he possessed by his great-grandfather’s spirit or just a rake?

Hmm…

In that book Elizabeth also discovers she is pregnant, which brings us to…

Plot Summary:

 

The Darcys are pleased at the news of their upcoming child, but at the same time Mr. Darcy is scared out of his mind as his mother died in childbirth. But childbirth isn’t what is foremost on Elizabeth’s mind. You see Elizabeth is sensitive to the supernatural and is convinced that Pemberley has a ghost, and not just any ghost…Lady Anne Darcy, Mr. Darcy’s mother.

Elizabeth doesn’t feel as if Anne is vindictive or angry, but feels her presence nonetheless. She has lived the year with everything exactly how it was, but has decided that the time has come to start doing things how she wants it. She decides to shift the writing desk from its corner so that she can look out the window. When she does a letter from Anne Darcy to Elizabeth falls out!

{An excerpt]

Pemberley

20 January 1796

Dear Mrs. Darcy,

Should this letter reach your eyes, it is because I no longer live to deliver its message in person. I know not who you are-what name you bore before taking that of Darcy. I know only that by addressing this letter to you, I write the woman who has wed my son. For that reason alone I entrust to you the stewardship of something most precious…I had at Fitzwilliam’s birth a…an heirloom from my own mother-I want it now, but it has become lost. If only I could find it, I would trust that I will be safely delivered. But I hid it too well, beyond my own reach. You-you must look if I cannot, for I want you to have it when…If you are my niece, my namesake Anne, know that I guarded myself from my sister, not from you-…Search for me…My daughter, the only one I may ever have, start with the knowledge that love conquers all. I am-

Your mother, 

Anne Darcy

This baits Elizabeth’s curiosity. What was the object? Why couldn’t Lady Anne find it? Where is it?

Treasure?

They visit Mr. Bingley and Jane and are headed home by way of Bath, to meet the famous Dr. Severn, the man Darcy wants to have assist Elizabeth in her birth. He supposedly is the best in the nation, and very hard to get. They also unfortunately run into Lady Catherine in Bath.

They also receive a note from a Captain Frederick Tilney:

Edgar’s Buildings

Bath, 6 October

Dear Mr. Darcy,

My discovery of your name in the Pump Room book prompts me to write. Though we are strangers to each other, I believe our families are acquainted. My late mother, Mrs. Victor Tilney, enjoyed the friendship of one Lady Ann Darcy, whom I believe to be your mother.

Though I understand Lady Anne has also passed away, I would take great pleasure in meeting her son. Unfortunately, my military duties obligate me to depart Bath this very day. However, I plan to return to my country home in Gloucestershire by 18 October, and shall remain there for some time. I would consider myself honored to receive you and Mrs. Darcy at Northanger Abbey as my guests for a se’nnight whenever you make your return to Derbyshire.

I hope your response names the date upon which I will enjoy the pleasure of your company. I am

Yours most sincerely,

Captain Fredrick Tilney

The Darcys are also intrigued and decide to go visit on their way home. They head to Gloucestershire but find it  and Northanger Abbey not as impressive as Catherine Morland did.

Bleh…

The weather is cold, gray, dismal, and stormy. The servants are strange and act like no servant they have ever known. They are given the late Mrs. Tilney’s rooms which haven’t been used in ages and there is jewelry and all her stuff in it. Their servants have disappeared and the housekeeper has no knowledge where they are, the food gross, their host never appears, the halls are cold and drafty, and the Darcys want to leave but are forced to stay the night.

After dinner, the housekeeper takes them to their host and the Darcy’s see a very bandaged, fat man, with only one eye and his mouth are exposed. Captain Tilney apologizes for not being able to greet them or sit at dinner. He has no qualms that the rooms are full of things and thoroughly questions grills them about Lady Anne, her friendship with Mrs. Tilney, and if they have any correspondence.

 

The Darcy’s are completely flummoxed as they didn’t even know of the friendship let alone bring anything with them.

Darcy and Elizabeth find themselves feeling extremely weirded out by everything and they decide to leave ASAP.

The next morning they leave, carefully maneuvering themselves out of any faux pas. They find their servants-who had taken ill (sounds like were slipped a Regency mickey). They stop for the night and then are come upon by a constable, as they were sent an anonymous note that the Darcy’s stole jewelry and riches from the Tilneys. They then are both arrested for theft.

WHAT!

What???!!!!!!!! But he’s Mr. Darcy??!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I know, right?

The constable searches Mr. Darcy’s cane and finds it opens up and reveals that it has the Tilney jewels in it.

Darcy tries to convince them it isn’t his cane but one that looks like it as his cane has an imperfection in the grain-this one does’t it is a replica, but they don’t believe him.

They then return to Northanger Abbey to speak to Captain Tilney about everything and when they reach the Abbey they see that Captain Tilney is not there but Mr. Henry Tilney. The Darcy’s want Captain Tilney to share what happened that night, but he can’t. He’s dead.

WHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATTTTTTT?????!!!!!!!!!

And that’s not all. Fredrick’s been dead for a while.

And that housekeeper they met? She doesn’t exist. She matches no description of any housekeeper that has ever been employed there and the most recent housekeeper was fired six weeks ago.

WHAAAAAAAAAAATTTTTTTT?????

And the house has been shut up for a while.

Mr. Darcy

WHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAATTTTTTT!!!!!!!?????

What is going on???

Is it ghosts? Or is there a human trying to frame the Darcys?

The local magistrate is being a bit of a jerk, enjoying the power he has over someone like Darcy and won’t release him. Darcy sends word to his solicitor, who unfortunately has been sent to France to take care of his cousin, but Elizabeth does the only thing they can do to free Darcy, call Lady Catherine.

Lady Catherine comes, throws her weight around, and this guy is no match for her. She gets Darcy released and he’ll be back later for the trial. But unfortunately, Darcy isn’t just released he is released into Lady Catherine’s care and she is coming to Pemberley with them.

This is going to be hard.

Mr. Tilney comes to speak to Mr. Darcy and Mr. Darcy shows them the letter they received from Captain Tilney and it is dated the day before he died in his own hand. However, when Tilney questions the Darcy’s the man could not be Fredrick (as he was dead on that date) but also the eye was the wrong color.

Hmm…

So who did this and why? What was their scheme? If they wanted the jewels why hide them in the walking stick? What could they have gained from delaying the Darcy’s and getting them caught up in this? Just trying to ruin their good name?

Tilney tried to get the lawsuit dropped, but the magistrate is just salivating over this and he will not do so. Ugh. The Darcys leave for Pemberley, while Mr. Tilney plans on remaining at Northanger and continuing the investigation there and getting the estate handled. So that is mystery number two, you guys are keeping track right?

Mysteries:

  1. What is Lady Anne Darcy’s treasure and where is it hidden?
  2. Who was the man pretending to be Captain Tilney and why did he and the housekeeper frame the Darcys?

 

So Lizzy, Darcy, and Lady Catherine return to Pemberley and find it polluted. Yes a pest infestation has taken root since they have been away. A giant rat called Wickham.

I’m so disappointed.

Lydia immediately accosts Elizabeth for money, and Darcy catches Wickham with a servant girl, Jenny.  Not the welcome home they had wished for. Elizabeth finds living with Lady Catherine to be extremely difficult, no surprise there, and tries to find ways of coping. Elizabeth has been curious over the correspondence with Mrs. Tilney and thought maybe there would be a clue to help find the missing heirloom. She asks for the correspondence to come downstairs from the attic, and discovers that there are NINE trunks!

They have the yearly Harvest Feast, and Elizabeth develops a slight nosebleed. The local midwife helps her, and talks to her about Lady’s Anne’s last pregnancy. She reveals that the object Elizabeth is looking for is a small Madonna and Child ivory statuette.

A CLUE!!!!

Darcy finds her and becomes so worried about the blood, calling for the horrible doctor. Dr. Severn’s arrival makes Elizabeth have to clean up her room, and all the trunks are removed without her being able to finish going through them.

This is going to be hard.

Later Elizabeth has even more fun talking to Lady Catherine and finds out that the statuette was from back in the day when the family was Catholic. Lady Catherine wants it back, but Elizabeth refuses to give it to her if she finds it, intending to keep it. It is a battle of wits as both are searching high and low, in and out, and all over Pemberley.

Treasure?

Elizabeth wants to read Lady Anne’s letter again but it has disappeared. Only later to reappear. That isn’t he only thing that is strange-is Elizabeth just having the pregnancy forgetfulness, is someone sabotaging her, or is there a spirit at play here?

So we have three mysteries:

  1. What is Lady Anne Darcy’s treasure and where is it hidden?
  2. Who was the man pretending to be Captain Tilney and why did he and the housekeeper frame the Darcys?
  3. Why is Elizabeth’s items disappearing a reappearing? Is it a ghost? Pregnancy brain? Or a malicious person?

Hmmm…

Thoughts After Reading:

This was extremely enjoyable and a very good mystery. I loved it.

For more Mr. & Mrs. Darcy mysteries, go to Suspense & Sensibility (Or First Impressions Revisited)

For more Carrie Bebris, go to Pride & Prescience (Or a Truth Universally Acknowledged)

For more things borrowed from JaneAustenRunsMyLife, go to Skinny Chai Tea Latte

For more Northanger Abbey, go to The Strength of Their Attachment

For more paranormal elements, go to Paper Valentine

For more treasure hunts, go to High Sea Adventure

Paper Valentine

Happy Valentine’s Day!

So I posted the recipe Tuesday as I had a mystery that fit perfect with the holiday:

Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff

The city of Ludlow is gripped by a serial killer, the Valentine Killer.

Hannah Wagnor is having a hard summer. Her best friend Lillian was murdered and her ghost is haunting her, urging Hannah to investigate and get revenge.

She also can’t stop thinking of bad boy Finny Boone, who she knows has a heart of gold.

Everyone is in a panic, and Hannah makes a decision, the only way to get rid of her ghost is to find the killer. Will she discover the truth, or will she be the next victim?

Hmmm…

Thoughts After Reading:

This was not good.

The main character is practically non-existent in the personality department and none of the characters are interesting-but rude and cruel.

Bleh…

For more Valentine’s Day posts, go to Let Me Call You Sweetheart

For more young adult book, go to Not If I Save You First

For more ghosts, go to The Phantom of the Opera

For more serial killers, go to The Man Next Door

Lowcountry Bordello

Ready for our final Christmas mystery?

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Here we go:

Lowcountry Bordello (Liz Talbot Mystery #4) by Susan M. Boyer

It’s Christmastime in Stella Maris and P.I. Liz Talbot is preparing the last few things she needs to complete for her wedding, only days away. She’s interrupted when her cousin and bridesmaid, Olivia, calls to say that she discovered her husband’s dead body.

OMG gasp

When Liz heads out to Charleston to meet with Olivia they discover the body is “missing” and Olivia’s husband is alive and well. Liz thinks it is all in Olivia’s imagination, that is until a dead body matching the description is found not too far away.

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Hmmm…

Even though she is swamped with wedding details and the upcoming Christmas holidays, Liz decides to investigate. Things take an even more surprising turn as Liz discovers the house in which Olivia found the dead body is not only Olivia’s aunt’s house but also a bordello.

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I know, right?

When it turns out that the person murdered was about to blow the whistle on it, Liz finds the case brimming with suspects; five mistresses, six johns, and an illegitimate relative that’s always wanted his due. To make matters even more difficult, Olivia is arrested for the murder and if Liz doesn’t solve the case before her wedding, she’ll be out one bridesmaid and her best alive friend.

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Thoughts After Reading:

Susan M. Boyer has done it again. I’ve never been a big fan of mysteries in which one of the main characters was a spirit helping aid the detective, nor Southern mysteries; but Boyer’s incredible storytelling and writing is able to push past any reservations I might have. Not only is Boyer’s mystery amazing with its colorful and endearing cast of characters, but also provoking and challenging as we have multiple crimes and multiple suspects; with surprises and twists at every turn of the page.

WhoDoneIt?

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, finding it practically impossible to put down. Even when I wasn’t reading the book, part of my mind continued to contemplate, guess, and wonder what the reveal would be. Boyer has created another masterpiece and I am looking forward to the next one in the series. I give this book a five out of five stars!

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For more Liz Talbot Mysteries, go to Lowcountry Boneyard

For more by Susan M. Boyer, go to Lowcountry Bombshell

For more Christmas mysteries, go to And Only to Deceive

For more private investigators, go to The Key to Midnight

For more female private investigators, go to The Case of the Invisible Dog

Lowcountry Boneyard

So I was given an ARC (advanced reader’s copy) of this book in exchange for an honest review. I read it withoutI read this book first before book one and two, but decided to not change anything but leave the review the same.

Lowcountry Boneyard (Liz Talbot Mystery #3) Susan M. Boyer

I am an avid reader of mysteries, but have never been a fan of the supernatural mystery genre. I have often found them redundant, (as they seem to be the same story told over and over again); have the ghosts, ghouls, vampires, zombies, etc being the one to do all the actual work instead of the investigator or police officer; or used as just another venue to tell a supernatural love story. Most of the time when I read a synopsis involving the help of the dead, I pass it by.

However, Lowcountry Boneyard (A Liz Talbot Mystery), by Susan M. Boyer, intrigued me and once I started reading it, I found it extremely hard to put down.

Liz Talbot is a private investigator, placed on a case to look into the disappearance of heiress Kent Heyward. Assisting her is her boyfriend, and partner in business, Nate Andrews, and dead best friend from high school turned ghostly guardian, Colleen.

Liz is going to need all the help she can get as this case takes her into a world of the wealthy, involves a family with long reaching arms, and a dark secret that those involved would do anything to stop Liz from discovering.

I really enjoyed this book as the mystery was amazing. The characters are realistic in their approach to the case, not discovering the answer immediately, but going through a lot of threads until they find the one that leads to the right answer. This one had a wide collection of possible suspects and theories, leaving mystery lovers enthralled as they try to discover what really happened to Kent Heyward.

Liz Talbot is an endearing character with her Southern charm, ladylike ways, intuition, and stubbornness; all cumulating in the perfect P.I. She is equally matched with Nate Anderson, partner and lover, whose cool logic balances out her more impulsive personality. I also enjoyed the spirit of Colleen, who role as guardian has the right amount of restrictions on what she can and cannot do, allowing Liz to not diminish in her ability to solve cases, yet have a bit of help when she needs it.

After reading this novel, I am inspired to read all that came out prior, and stay on the lookout for those to come. I’d give this novel a five out of five.

For more Liz Talbot mysteries, go to Lowcountry Bombshell

For more by Susan M. Boyer, go to Lowcountry Boil

For more private investigators, go to The Key to Midnight

For more female private investigators, go to The Case of the Invisible Dog

For more disappearances, go to Kidnapped!

Lowcountry Boil

Lowcountry Boil (A Liz Talbot Mystery #1) by Susan M. Boyer

So I first became aware of the Liz Talbot Mysteries with the third book, Lowcountry Boneyard. I was a book reviewer for a blog, we didn’t get paid but I did get free books to read, like that gum commercial.

I tried to get the rest of the series but the libraries didn’t have it and I thought about buying it but I really wanted to read it first. I finally got my hands on the first book, so here we go!

Liz Talbot left Stella Maris Island, her hometown, for college and marriage and has hardly been back. Her high school sweetheart, Michael Devlin, married her evil cousin Marci Miller (seriously she has some screws loose), and then she married, Scott Andrews, turned out to e a narcissistic conman.

She is divorced and now runs a successful private investigator team with her ex-brother-in-law Nate Andrews. (It is obvious he has feelings for her but Liz doesn’t see it and still carries a torch for her high school sweetheart).

Everything changes when she sees the ghost of her high school friend, Colleen Stevens. She warns her to come back to the island as her grandmother, Gram is dead.

At first Liz thinks her grandmother died by accident, but soon she and her brother. Blake Talbot, Police Chief, decide there was something more happening.

Liz inherits her Gram’s house and Colleen, a guardian spirit who is connected to the island. As long as Liz remains on the island, Colleen is there to guide and protect her-but if Liz doesn’t stay then terrible things will happen.

As Liz says goodbye to Nate and her other life, she sets out to make Stella Maris her new home and solve who killed Gram.

She finds herself in a wasp nest of developers, fighting city council, blackmail, hired guns, domestic violence, choosing between her old flame or starting something new, and more! Will she find out the truth, or end up joining Colleen in the spirit world?

Thoughts After Reading:

It was a great read. I love how classy and ladylike Liz is, as a Southern woman should be, along with how tough and resourceful she is.

This novel is great read as it gets intense in the middle and I was flipping pages trying to get to what happened next.

I loved it and can’t wait for book 2!

For more private investigators, go to The Case of the Invisible Dog

For female private investigators, go to Innocent in Las Vegas

For more Southern mysteries, go to Design for Murder

For more supernatural mysteries, go to Christina’s Ghost

The Chocolate Chip Mystery

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The Chocolate Chip Mystery by John McInnes

Thoughts Before Reading:

Well I thought I would try something new, and start reviewing Children’s books on Wednesday instead of putting them with the regular novels on Tuesdays.

Peppino visits the ice cream store, Max, every day after school. He works with the owner, Max, and also helps care for the dog that choose the ice cream parlor to be its home, Fat Dog.

One day Max becomes disheartened and when Peppino asks, it turns out that the building is going to be destroyed to be a office building. What will Max do?

The postman tells him of a ice-cream store that is for sale and the two go check it out. It turns out to be the Gravely store! Max doesn’t want that it is haunted!!!

He goes to see Mr. Gravely to ask about the store and Mr. Gravely is a tall, skeletal, man dressed as an undertaker! Creepy.

He tells him that his uncle used to run an ice-cream store, but it had to be given up as funny things kept happening. Hmmmmmmm?

They fix the store all up nice, but no one is coming. They think it might be because the story of it being haunted is turning people away.

Then to add to it, the ice-cream is disappearing, only Chocolate Chip though.

Peppino offers to stay and see what might be the cause of it. That night he sees a ghostly figure!

It turns out tat Max is sleep eating! That solves the mystery and problem, but what about the other one?

Peppino comes up with a fantastic idea, to market the parlor as a horror one.

Max’s Haunted Ice Cream Store

This Week’s Flavor:

GHOST AND GINGERSNAP

The store is all decorated as Max and Peppino dress up in costumes,. Soon all kinds of people come to visit and all ends well.

Yay!

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Thoughts After Reading:

Adorable. Such a cute book, I loved it!

For more Supernatural mysteries, go to The Winter People

For more ghosts, go to The Barter

For more reviews, go to Spring Breakdown

The Cat Who Could Read Backwards

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I was trying to find a book to post on Valentine’s Day but didn’t have anything. At least not until I read this book when Qwill goes to a Valentine’s Masquerade ball. It was just in time and fit the holiday.

I thought it only fair to borrow this from my sister blog as she is all about the Cat Who Book series.

 

CatWhoWroteABlog

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“Qwilleran pondered the complexities of the art beat.” (pg 103)

So in the first book of the amazing series we are introduced to James (Jim) Qwilleran–known as Qwill to his friends. An ex-newspaperman who has achieved many honors–Sports writer, police reporter, war correspondent during WWII, winner of the Publishers’ Trophy, and author of a book on urban crime. However, he has recently recovered from bad times, a horrible divorce and bout of alcoholism, and is trying to get back on the straight and narrow and on a newspaper.

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He applies to the newspaper The Daily Fluxion and gets assigned to the art beat.

GERMANY-BRITAIN-FILM-ATKINSON

Qwill is in shock as he has no idea why he of all people would be assigned that area. He knows nothing about art and the more he tries to learn about it the more he ends up becoming confused. I myself study Art History, and understand…

View original post 2,007 more words

The Winter People

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The Winter People: A Novel by Jennifer McMahon

Thoughts before Reading:

I received this book in a contest, my only payment being an honest review.

Read it today!

Let me just start off and say that I found this to be a phenomenal book. Absolutely amazing. I started reading, intending to only start the novel, but found myself buzzing through it I just had to find out the end.

Cantstopreadingupallnight

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Plot Synopsis:

So the story is split between two different times. First we have Sara Harrison Shea from the turn of the century, living in West Hall, VA. Young Sara is raised by her father and Auntie, a healer, who teaches her things others, including the minister, would not approve of.

Not-Good

Everything changes one day when her husband goes hunting.

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Since then West Hall has been a strange, spooky place.

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Disappearances are common in the town, along with myths and legends.

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The most mysterious being the tragic death of Sara Harrison Shea, who was found disturbingly dead just a few months after the death of her daughter.

Horrible!!!!

Horrible!!!!

In present day; Ruthie and little Fawn live with their widowed mother Alice on a country farm. Much to Ruthie’s disgust and dislike, Alice has always forced them to live their lives off the grid, no internet, no connections, etc.

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One morning Ruthie wakens to find her mother gone.

What'sHappening?BigBangTheory

Just disappeared out of the blue, something her controlling and protective nature would never do.

doesn'tmakesense

As she searches for clues to where she might have gone to, Ruthie discovers Sara Harrison Shea’s secret diary.

Obsessed

Katherine has recently lost her husband when he died in a car accident.

Aw...

Aw…

Already saddened over the death of her child, she is even more distraught to discover her husband had a secret.

What?

He’d been coming to West Hall, VA for a while, but why? No one he knows is out here and why would he lie about it?

Idon'tthinkso Idontseeit

As she moves to West Hall to investigate, she discovers a connection between her husband, Alice, and Sara.

Uh-oh-dexter-9352138-275-155

There are others who are after the diary Ruthie holds, and its great secret.

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It was a great book.

Read it today!

Read it today!

Incredibly well written, superb storytelling, fantastic characters and incredible suspense. I just loved it.

fantastic

I won’t say anymore because I don’t want to ruin it, but aw! So great!

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For more supernatural mysteries, go to Grave Peril

For more on disapperances, go to Cookie Dough or Die

For more widows looking for answers, go to The Italian Wife

For more historical fiction mysteries, go to Ticker

For more not-in-a-series mysteries, go to Sleeping Beauty

Schooner’s Summertime-Only Strawberry-Raspberry Pie

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Thoughts Before Baking:

I love pie!

castiel-i-need-pie

So when I find a recipe that isn’t chocolate, I just have to try it out.

So I know that this pie is a “summer” pie because of the fruit, but I live in CA. We have summer fruit all year long.

Lordoftherings LifeisGood

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Ingredients:

  • 16 oz-(3 Cups) of Fresh, Ripe, Strawberries; washed, hulled, and sliced in half
  • 6-8 oz (1-1 1/3 Cups) of Raspberries; rinsed and set out in a single layer on a towled area
  • 1/3 Cup of Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2-3 Tablespoons of Cornstarch ot white flour
  • 1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon of water
  • For dough use the one from the Apple Pie Recipe or buy a premade one.

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Make the dough or roll out the premade one in your pie pan.
  3. Combine the berries, sugar, and vanilla.
  4. Add cornstarch or flour and mix gently until blended. Do not break the raspberries.
  5. Fill dough in pie pan.
  6. Cut remaining dough to into ten 3/4 inch strips and create a lattice.
  7. Brush top with egg.
  8. Cook 45-50 mins

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Thoughts After Baking:

My niece wanted to make the pie with me, so instead of doing the crust from my Apple Pie recipe, I decided to buy the a premade one.

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I bought the pillsbury dough which did not turn out well. The dough was hard and dry. When I tried to follow the cooking directions,  it almost burned at 40 degrees. And then it tasted disgusting, like plastic.

horrible

The pie filling was good, not super sweet but that is okay. However, you need to eat this pie fast. It does not hold up well for the next day.

Not-Good

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For more Black Sheep Knitting Mysteries, go to Chicken, Asparagus, and Tomato Pesto Pasta

For more pie recipes, go to Sour Cream Lemon Pie

For more desserts, go to Orange Chocolate Cake

For more recipes, go to Pigs in a Blanket

Oven-Crispy Creole Seasoned French Fries

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With Superbowl Sunday coming up, I decided to share a tasty recipe that is sure to be a hit. I also just want to take this moment to share my support for South Carolina Panthers, go team!

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Moving on…

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Thoughts Before Baking:

So this recipe comes from this Food Network magazine. In the magazine they call it Emeril Lagasse’s Oven Crispy French Fries with Paprika-Parmesan Salt, but I decided that was too long for a title and renamed them.

I love fries!

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And I decided that I would give these slightly healthier ones a try. As I didn’t want to spend money buying creole seasoning when I only need one tablespoon, I decided to make my own. It only cost like 30¢ that way.

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Creole Seasoning Ingredients (from Epicurious)

  • 1/3 Cup of Paprika
  • 3 Tablespoons of Dried Oregano
  • 3 Tablespoons of Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons of Dried Basil
  • 2 Tablespoons of Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon of Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon of Granulated Onion
  • 4 Teaspoons of Dried Thyme
  • 4 Teaspoons of Granulated Garlic

Directions:

  1. Mix all the spices together in a bowl.
  2. Store in airtight container for three months.

 

 

French Fry Ingredients:

  • 2 Large Baking Potatoes (about 1.5 lbs), scrubbed well
  • 1/4 Cup of Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon of the above Creole Seasoning, Emeril’s Original Essence Seasoning, or other Creole Seasoning
  • Salt
  • 1/2 Cup of grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon of Sweet Paprika (I couldn’t find any so I used regular)
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Garlic Powder
  • 1/4 Teaspoon of Onion Powder

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F
  2. Pat the potatoes dry and cut them lengthwise into 1/2 inch slices. Turn each slice flat and slice again lengthwise into 1/2 inch slices.
  3. Place the potatoes in a large mixing bowl and add olive oil, creole seasoning (or Emeril’s seasoning), and 1/4 a teaspoon of salt.
  4. Toss well to combine.
  5. Transfer the fries to a large baking sheet, arranging them in lines and not allowing any to touch.
  6. Roast the potatoes for 15 mins.
  7. Turn them over and roast another 15 mins or until brown and crispy.
  8. While potatoes are cooking, combine cheese, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
  9. When potatoes are crisp and brown, sprinkle with mixture.
  10. Serve Hot.

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Thoughts After Baking:

I thought these fries were really good, but the sheet needs to be greased or else the fries all stick.

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I also thought the fries were better without the paprika-parmesan salt. But other than that, they were really delicious.

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For more holiday posts, go to Best-Ever Blueberry Muffins

For more recipes, go to Italian Wedding Soup

Regency Ginger Cookies

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Thoughts Before Baking:

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

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

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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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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

Pride & Prescience (Or a Truth Universally Acknowledged)

So I was about to review this book, when it hit me, why do it when my big sister blog already has it covered?

So here we go with an Austenian fused mystery, and perfect for October with it’s supernatural elements!

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Pride & Prescience: Or a Truth Universally Acknowledged by Carrie Bebris

So as I’m sure you are aware, whether from reading my post Happy Birthday Pride & Prejudice; or perusing your local bookstore/library; there are a lot of sequels to Pride & Prejudice. But unlike those that write about the Darcy children, or married life of Lizzie & Darcy, this one is a mystery.

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Yeah, at first I wasn’t sure about it, but when I started reading it, I actually enjoyed it. I solved the mystery quickly, but it was very well written and worth reading. There were a few things I didn’t like, but I’ll save that until the end.

So are you ready to take on this mystery?

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So the book begins at the after-the-wedding-next-day-breakfast. Jane was just married to Bingley, and Elizabeth to Mr. Darcy. Elizabeth is happy about how everything went, and even more…

View original post 4,892 more words

Peppermint Bark Chocolate Cupcakes

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So the book I reviewed this week was The Missing Mah Jong Player.

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While this book contains no recipes, one of the characters owns a cupcake store, so I felt it was the perfect time to include a recipe I created.

Thoughts Before Cooking:

I love anything minty chocolate and we had a plethora of Ghirardelli Peppermint Bark, so I thought I would test something out.

Now I love making everything myself and don’t care for using boxed things, but I was baking a ton of cupcakes for a party, in a limited amount of time and used a cake mix from a box. If you make a favorite chocolate cake recipe and just follow my little extras it should be just as good, if not extra.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 Box of Chocolate Cake Mix (If not from scratch, I usually use Duncan Hines)
  • 1 Teaspoon of Peppermint Extract
  • Cupcake Liners
  • Ice-Cream Scoop
  • About 10 Ghirardelli Peppermint Bark Squares
  • Chocolate Frosting (If not from scratch, I usually use Duncan Hines)

Directions:

  1. Either follow a recipe for a cake from scratch or the directions on the box of cake mix.
  2. When adding your wet ingredients, add a teaspoon of peppermint extract to the cupcake batter.
  3. Using an ice-cream scoop, place the batter into the cupcake liners.
  4. Bake according to box directions.
  5. While cupcakes are baking, chop up the peppermint bark into tiny pieces. Make them as small as possible, sprinkle size.
  6. When cupcakes are finished let them cool, otherwise the frosting will melt.
  7. When cupcakes have completely cooled down, frost them.
  8. After you have frosted the cupcakes, sprinkle the chopped peppermint bark along the tops of the cupcakes.

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Thoughts After Cooking:

I LOVED THEM! and everyone else did too. They were absolutely amazing. I’m just sorry that they were snapped up so quick that I wasn’t able to take a picture.

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For more desserts, go to Special Ingredient Chocolate Chip Cookies

For more recipes, go to Chicken, Asparagus, and Tomato Pesto Pasta

Glazed Murder

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Glazed Murder (Donut Shop Mystery #1) by Jessica Beck

This is the first book in the Donut Shop Mystery novels. In this we are introduced to Suzanne Hart. Suzanne lives in the small town of April Springs. She was married to an actor, Max, who was a huge jerk and pretender. He cheated on her, and that was the end for Suzanne. Good-bye Max.

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As soon as the divorce was final, Suzanne bought the old railroad depot and changed it into a donut shop. She doesn’t even know why she picked donuts, but that’s what she wanted to do.

Life is very different as she had to move in with her mom, she has to get up at one in the morning in order to make all the donuts, and is trying to get her business off the ground. It doesn’t leave her much time for socializing, :(.

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She is helped out by a college student, and friend Emily. And she has her best friend Grace, who makes due with Suzanne’s alternate hours.

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One day as Suzanne is heading into work, she finds a dead body.

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Making her donut shop a crime scene and her the main suspect in his murder!!

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The Chief hates Suzanne and won’t look at any other person as the killer but her. This puts Suzanne on the case as she needs to find out who killed her customer and clear her name.

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Luckily the Chief isn’t the only one investigating. Hot, North Carolinian, State, Detective, Jake Bishop has been called in and it looks like he is interested in Suzanne for more than just her alibi. 😉

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Thoughts After Reading:

I didn’t really like this book. I thought it was alright, but the mystery was too easy to solve. It was pretty obvious who the killer was from the moment they were introduced.

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I also thought the characters were two one-dimensional. On a whole I didn’t enjoy it, BUT, BUT it is the first novel and it wasn’t as horrible as Lane Changes. It has the potential to be better, which means that I am going to give the second novel a try.

This book includes lots of recipes for donuts, but I never gave them a try. The main reason because I don’t want to prepare them and see how horrible they are for me. I want to be able to continue to eat and enjoy them.

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For more mystery reviews, go to The Dollhouse Murders