Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Lemon Tart Extra

So, I made my own lemon tart from the recipe in Josi's book. It was really delicious, especially nice as a cool summer treat. I didn't use a tart pan, but it turned out anyway!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Lemon Tart by Josi S. Kilpack

Lemon Tart by Josi S. Kilpack

Sadie Hoffmiller keeps an eye on her neighborhood. She know who comes and goes, and at what time. So when two police cars pull up in front of her next door neighbor’s house she needs to investigate. Anne Lemmon was her dear friend, and she wants to find out what happened to her. Then she discovers that Anne was murdered. Sadie is shocked by the tragedy, but determined to discover just who committed the crime. Even if the detectives feel that she is getting in the way.

Lemon Tart is a culinary mystery befitting of Sadie’s enjoyment of all good food. She uses her delicious recipes more than once to weasel her way into getting information of her neighbors about Anne’s death. Sadie’s curiosity and nosiness gets her into more than one dangerous situation over the course of the book. I have to admit that sometimes she annoyed me in this way, but what can you do? She’s a stubborn old lady turned amateur sleuth--she’s bound to do stuff she shouldn’t. Despite it all I really liked her and her quirky ways. All those little dangerous moments make for an engrossing and fast-paced read. I hope that if this book is cracked open while dinner is in the oven that it doesn’t burn. Sadie would be very sad to realize that her page-turner ruined your dinner.

I was a little surprised by the fact that Lemon Tart didn’t have any LDS characters or overt LDS themes. The book is base on strong moral principals and is clean, but it can be easily shared with those that are of a non-LDS persuasion also.

Josi Kilpack Author's Website

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Princess and the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George

The Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George

Galen marches home from a war that has raged his land for more than a decade towards that only family he has left. He’s never met them, but his mother has told him stories about his aunt and uncle in Bruch. They are the caretakers of the King’s gardens and put him right to work. He hears rumors from the palace of strange happenings with the princesses, but when the princesses get extremely ill, solving the puzzle may mean the difference between life and death.

Rose wishes that she could explain to her father why all her sisters dancing slippers wear out so often, and where they disappear to every night. No matter how many guards he sets he can never find out what is going on, and Rose and her sisters can never tell him. For they inherited their mother’s debt to King Understone—to dance in his court each night. Then Galen determines to solve the mystery of their curse, and for the first time in a long time Rose has hope.

I really loved this book, but I knew I would from the instant I saw Jessica Day George’s name and the pretty princess on the cover. It enjoyed it so much that I immediately wanted to read the book over again once I finished it. It has a strong engaging plot, and I really loved Galen’s character. The other reviews I’ve read have complained that the sisters aren’t characterized very well, but there are twelve of them. I think George did a good job for the constraints of the book, but I think Galen is the most developed character. So yes, I also think it was really unique that Galen likes to knit, though I have seen this phenomenon before. My own brother learned how to crochet (from our cousin that was a boy) and really enjoyed making hats. I lived in a ward in southern Utah where we would hold quilting activities on occasion and the men would join in to tie the quilts when they were on a frame. My Dad totally loved doing this!

So, go read this book if you haven’t read it. I think boys would even like it. I love the cover, but boys would never pick it up on account of it. So, go be sneaky and disguise the cover somehow and trick a guy into reading it. Tell them it’s about a soldier who comes home from war. It really is wonderful!

Jessica Day George Author's Website

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Methods of Madness by Stephanie Black

Methods of Madness by Stephanie black

One horrible night Emily Ramsey lost both her sister Tricia and her fiancé Ryan. Tricia was found dead at the side of the road, a victim of a hit and run, and her fiancé disappeared into thin air. Now three years later she has decided to marry Zach Sullivan, a gentle school teacher, who has captured her heart. She tried to shake the fear that something will go wrong, but that is hard to do when Zach’s ex-girlfriend, Monica, appears and starts trying to win him back.

Then she receives a photograph of her old fiancé covered in blood. At first she thinks that Zach’s ex-girlfriend is playing a mean trick on her, but when Monica turns up dead in the back of her shop, Emily is the number one suspect. She tries to discover the answers to this mystery before she gets arrested or ends up dead when the killer comes for her.

Stephanie Black has woven another engaging mystery in which nearly every character is suspect. This book kept me second guessing who the culprit was with each new chapter, even the main character, Emily, wonders if she might have blacked out and done something horrible she can’t even remember. Especially, when evidence start appearing in her apartment to frame her, either she is going crazy or someone crazy is after her. Not only do you get one twisty ending, but two as you discover the truth behind Ryan’s disappearance. I think Black’s writing keeps getting better. I like the premise behind Fool Me Twice better, but this was still a really enjoyable read. I can’t wait to read what this author comes out with next.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Saving Madeline by Rachel Ann Nunes

Saving Madeline by Rachel Ann Nunes

"As a public defender, Caitlin McLoughlin dreams of someday locking the bad guys in prison instead of defending them. But prosecuting jobs are scarce, and Caitlin’s future seems bleak. When her current client is about to walk away from a brutal crime, she risks her career to make sure he doesn’t hurt anyone else. Yet what if her choice means sacrificing her career and the means care for her mentally disabled sister?

Then Caitlin meets Parker Hathaway, charged with kidnapping four-year-old Madeline. Just another criminal, another job, Caitlin thinks. But Parker tells a far different story. Can Caitlin believe him, as her heart urges? Is she willing to put everything on the line to defend her client—a man who claims to be protecting the child he loves? Or is her trust better placed in the handsome deputy district attorney with his undefeated record in court?

Caitlin’s pursuit of the truth swiftly thrusts her into a maze of unanswered questions and unexpected heartache.Meanwhile, time is running out for Madeline. If Caitlin doesn't find the proof she is looking for soon, there may not be a future for any of them" *(summary from author's website)

Rachel Ann Nunes had presented the market with another issue-driven romance, inspired by a news story about a man, who kidnapped his own child to protect her from her mother’s drug abuse. The girl was taken away from her father only to die a few days later from ingesting an unattended bag of drugs.

This story follows a similar thread, except the main characters Parker and Caitlin need to prove that Madeline’s mother has been using drugs to provide him a defense for kidnapping his own daughter. A task that is harder than they thought it would be considering her shady past history, and Caitlin begins to doubt that Parker is telling the truth about his wife. Parker is ready to give up everything to save his daughter, and you sympathize with his predicament along with the hard choices that it forces him to make. I liked that Caitlin was a good attorney, hard and cold when she needed to be, but warm and human at the same time. Overall, I really enjoyed this story and wanted to know what happened to the characters at the end. I was especially intrigued by the legal bent, and touched by the author’s desire to tell the story of children who lived in dangerous homes because of drug-use.

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Amaranth Enchantment by Julie Berry

Lucinda Chapdelaine works in her uncle’s jewelry shop, trying to avoid the wrath of her nasty aunt. She didn’t always live the life of her servant. She remembers living a fine life before both her parents died, but for now she helps her aunt and uncle keep the shop. Then the Amaranth Witch comes to the shop with beautiful but unique gem that she wishes to be made into a necklace. Yet, before the gem can be returned to the Witch a charming street boy steals it from Lucinda. The Witch, Beryl, offers Lucinda her old home back, freedom from her aunt, and friendship if she returns the gem. Only the street boy has sold it to the Prince, who wishes to give it to his betrothed. Lucinda must take many risks to get it back so she can finally return to her home.

This story is an original fairy tale and not a retelling, though it does feel a bit like Cinderella in some parts. In fact, there is more than one character gets a Cinderella ending in the book. I found Beryl strange at first, and she is sort of strange. She comes from a different world, and she’s not quite human but not quite fairy. I don’t really know how to describe her. Sometimes I liked her, other times I didn’t. Either way I thought that this really was an entertaining story to read. It is another one that I’ll re-read just to enjoy the ride again. It is a must read for those who love the whole fairy tale scene. This book has the handsome prince, a mischievous but redeemable thief, and a clever determined heroine with a stubborn animal side-kick.