Friday, January 30, 2015

Cozy Food Friday!

That means it's time to share a recipe from 
another great cozy mystery!

Today I'm featuring a recipe from the cozy mystery 
Book 4 in the Novel Idea Mystery series
Lucy Arlington

The New York Times bestselling Novel Idea Mysteries make their return with Lila Wilkins, literary agent and “murder magnet” planning a book signing garden party. But things aren’t coming up roses when she ends up trying to weed out a dangerous killer…

The owner of A Novel Idea Literary Agency is thrilled when former local boy and popular television show host Damian York returns to Inspiration Valley, North Carolina, to launch his new gardening book. But Lila is less than excited about the hubbub when she sees the mounting to-do list on her desk. Between planning York’s gala and sprucing up her yard for another event, she’s spread too thin—especially after she finds a skull buried in her flowerbeds.

As Lila’s macabre discovery leads to other secrets hidden in Inspiration Valley’s past, a member of the local garden club is found slumped over her prize roses—murdered with a garden spade. Now it’s up to Lila to dig through old mysteries and new clues to unearth a murderer before someone else is found pushing up daisies…

Along with today's recipe, 
author Lucy Arlington/Susan Furlong
is giving away this amazing prize package!

Book Tote
Apron with Lucy Arlington Mysteries logo
Tea Towel
Oven Mitts
Baking Utensils 
2 Recipe cards
1 signed copy of 
I'm jealous I don't get to enter this one myself! 

Use the Rafflecopter form 
at the end of this page to enter
This give away is open to 
US and Canada only

On to the yummy recipe! 

In Played by the Book, Lila, who is busy planning a book launch gala for one of her authors, feels overwhelmed by her to-do list. (As well as her latest sleuthing adventure.) Her son, Trey, takes to the kitchen to whip up a little comfort food. Here’s what he makes:

Trey’s Mac-n-Cheese with Bacon and Tomatoes


 1 (8-ounce) package of penne pasta (elbow pasta or other like shapes are fine)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
½ cup half-and-half
1 ½ cups milk
1 cup shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded Gruyere or Swiss cheese
½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
5 slices of bacon, cooked
1 tomato, sliced thinly
¼ teaspoon of ground nutmeg (optional)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Prepare pasta according to package instructions. (Best if cooked al dente.)

Cook bacon until slightly crisp, and cut into pieces. 

Melt butter in a large pot, whisk in flour and cook the mixture while constantly whisking. 

Whisk in half-and-half and milk. Continue to whisk until the mixture thickens.

Slowly stir in all cheeses and mix until smooth. 

Remove the mixture from the heat and add salt, pepper, and nutmeg if desired.

Fold in pasta until all the noodles are completely covered. Stir in bacon pieces.

Pour the mixture into an 11x13 baking dish. 

Top with tomato slices and additional Parmesan cheese. 

Bake at 350 degrees until bubbly and golden brown. 

Yields: 7-9 servings

NOTE: All photos, with the exception of the first, are from Google images.
Your finished dish may look different from those shown here.

Is anyone else really hungry right now?

Before moving on to the Rafflecopter entry, Please, keep reading and check out my installments of 
Book Beginnings on Fridays
The Friday 56

Book Beginnings on Fridays is a meme hosted by Rose City Reader
Share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading

Keeping my Cozy Food Friday theme going with 
PLAYED BY THE BOOK by Lucy Arlington
Book 4 in the Novel Idea Mystery series
My Book Beginnings for this week..

I was completely engrossed in reading my latest proposal, a cozy mystery set in a charming English hamlet, when a couple of specks of dirt fell across my paper. I looked up just in time to see a blue ceramic pot coming down fast. 

The Friday 56 is a meme hosted by Freda's Voice
Rules: *Grab a book, any book. *Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader (If you have to improvise, that's okay.) *Find any sentence, (or few, just don't spoil it) that grab you. *Post it.

Continuing with PLAYED BY  THE BOOK
My Friday 56...

"You mean you're not going to make it?" The question came out louder than I intended. I drew curious stares from every direction.

"I'm afraid not. I'm sorry. We've made a major breakthrough..."

I blocked out his words, shutting my eyes and attempting to stay calm.

by Lucy Arlington
My Review
There are books that I love from the very first page. PLAYED BY THE BOOK is one of those books. I was drawn in to the story immediately and savored turning every page. Well, not the last page because that meant this wonderful read was over. Only a few pages in I laughed out loud when during a conversation, Lila's boos said, "You scratch their backs and they'll scratch yours." and Lila, whose point of view the story is from, thinks to herself, "Oh yeah, well, my back isn't itchy." LOL Loved it!

 The main character in the Novel Idea series is Lila. I really enjoyed her character and look forward to spending time with her again, as well as her family and friends when the next installment is released. (Do we really have to wait a year?) 

From the finding of the skull in Lila's flower bed, the murder of a garden club member, to the exciting conclusion, (Quoting Ms. Arlington's own words from a scene from this book), PLAYED BY THE BOOK had "twists and turns so unexpected that they kept me spellbound until the last page." I couldn't have said it better myself. 

Readers may or may not know that the first three books in this series were written under the pen name, Lucy Arlington, by authors Ellery Adams and Sylvia May, both of whom created the series. They have turned the writing duties over to the wonderful author, Susan Furlong.  I mention this to assure fans of this series not to worry. Ms. Furlong has flawlessly transitioned into the role of Lucy Arlington and PLAYED BY THE BOOK is every bit as awesome as the first books in the series. I'll go so far as to say, she her voice has improved upon an already outstanding series. 

And make sure to check out the preview of PEACHES AND SCREAM by Susan Furlong which can be found at the end of the book. PEACHES AND SCREAM is book 1 in the new Georgia Peach Mystery series, due out July 2015!

Pre-order now for February 3 release

Author Lucy Arlington/Susan Furlong
The Novel Idea Mysteries is a New York Times bestselling series of cozy mysteries, including Buried in a BookEvery Trick in the Book, and Books, Cooks, and Crooks and, now, Played by the Book all written under the pseudonym of Lucy Arlington. The writing team of Ellery Adams and Sylvia May, two friends who collaborated on the series, first conceived of Lucy Arlington and her literary agent sleuth. Together, the duo penned the first three books in the series. As time passed and their personal writing workload grew, the two passed the series to another author: Susan Furlong. In addition to now writing as Lucy Arlington, Susan Furlong is the author of another upcoming cozy mystery series for Berkley Prime Crime, The Georgia Peach Mysteries. To learn more about Susan, visit her website at

As always, please leave a comment and 
let me know what you think!

Follow my blog by 
clicking on the link in the 
upper right hand corner of this page.

On to the giveaway


NOTE: If you use both the "Follow on Twitter" and "Not on Twitter" entries, your "Not on Twitter" entry will be removed and in future giveaways readers will be disqualified. 
"Not on Twitter" is only for readers who do not have Twitter accounts. 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

From yesterday's blog

1. Nothing to Fear but Ferrets
2. Bite the Biscuit
3. Beaglemania
4. Never Say Sty 
5. Chihuahua Chaos

Wednesday, January 28, 2015


Do you like to solve puzzles?
Do you love to win prizes?
If you said yes to both questions,
you're in the right place! 

It's easy.
Below are five scrambled cozy mystery titles.
Unscramble the titles and enter your answers into 
the Rafflecopter form below.

The more titles you guess correctly, 
the more chances you have to win!

Giveaway is open to US and Canada

This week's Thrusday Mystery Mashup 
is being hosted by author
Linda O. Johnston!

Linda giving away a copy of the first book in her 
Superstition Mystery series

Is it Luck? Or is it Destiny?
Rory Chasen never thought superstitions were real—until her beloved fiancé is killed after walking under a ladder. To find closure and the truth about superstitions, Rory takes her dog Pluckie to a town called Destiny, where superstitious beliefs are a way of life. 
Rory’s visit to Destiny takes an unexpected turn when Pluckie saves Martha, the owner of the Lucky Dog Boutique. While Martha recovers, Rory reluctantly agrees to manage the pet shop for her. But when Martha becomes the prime suspect in the local bookshop owner’s murder, Rory can’t believe that the sweet old woman would do it. Convinced the real killer is still roaming Destiny’s streets, Rory resolves to crack the case before Martha’s luck runs out.
Let's get to unmashing those cozy titles!

1. Otinngh Ot Rafe utb Erresft 

2. Tibe Eth Tiicubs

3. Gelaambeani 

4. Envre Asy Yst 

5. Hicaahhuu Ahcso 

Please only leave your guesses 
through Rafflecopter

Learn more about
Linda O. Johnston

As always, please leave a comment and 
let me know what you think!

Want to follow my blog? 
Click on the link in the 
upper right hand corner of this page!


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Book 3 in the Elizabethan Mystery series
Amanda Carmack

 The author of Murder at Westminster Abbey and Murder at Hatfield House is back with an absorbing and surprising new Elizabethan Mystery…

1559. Elizabeth has been on the throne for six months, and life in England seems newly golden. But for the Royal Court, murder and betrayal are foretold in the stars.... 

Kate Haywood, the young queen’s personal musician, has been keeping busy playing for a merry round of summer parties where famed astrologer Dr. John Dee and his fantastic horoscopes are all the rage. However, Elizabeth’s favorite stargazer fails to predict the discovery of a skeleton in the queen’s garden—and that the victim’s identity will call his own innocence into question.

When the doctor’s pupil is the victim of a second murder, the concerned queen enlists her trusted Kate to clear the accused killer of wrongdoing. But will the stars align to light Kate’s path through a tangled thicket of treachery to save Elizabeth’s prized astrologer and protect the queen from those who threaten her reign?

My Review

I was sent this book to review and it is the first in this series that I have read. I don’t know that I would have picked it out for myself. Actually, I know I wouldn’t have. Historical mysteries aren’t something I normally read. That being said, I’m very happy I was given the chance to read MURDER IN THE QUEEN’S GARDEN. It was an enjoyable detour from my normal modern day cozy mystery reads.

This was a very well written, interesting mystery, with much intrigue and a great plot. Every chapter had me wondering what was around the corner.

Ms. Carmack has created a very likeable character in her series lead, Kate Haywood. Kate is personal musician to Queen Elizabeth and a trusted member of the Queen’s court. She is also quite smart and strong for a woman of this time period.

If you are a fan of historical mysteries you will really love this book. If you haven’t tried historicals, and you’re looking for something a little different, give MURDER IN THE QUEEN’S GARDEN a try. 

Pre-Order now for February 3 Release


Book 1 in the Chocolate Whisperer Mystery series
Colette London

Hayden Mundy Moore is an expert on everything chocolate, helping clients develop new products and revamp recipes until they're irresistible. But sometimes, a dash of murder finds its way into the mix. . .

Hayden Mundy Moore has bushwhacked through African jungles and haggled in exotic markets to find the finest cacao beans and the most flavorful blends. It's thrilling work but rarely dangerous--until a colleague turns up dead at the exclusive chocolate-themed Lemaître resort spa in San Francisco.

Adrienne Dowling's heart attack is blamed on an accidental overdose of the secret ingredient used in Lemaître Chocolates' new line. Hayden can't believe that conscientious Adrienne would make that mistake. And between chocolate body scrubs, cocoa mud baths, and a non-stop frenzy of chocolate-based treats, Hayden starts to suspect that she, not Adrienne, was the intended target. Finding a killer among the rival chocolatiers and potential suspects won't just be satisfying--it might save her life. . .

My Review

Okay, a cozy mystery based on chocolate? Of course I'm going to read it!

This first in the Chocolate Whisperer series was a pretty good start. I enjoyed the characters and the premise of the story. I will absolutely read another in this series. However, the story could have been a little stronger. There were a few inconsistencies.

Colette London will have a wonderful series here once she tightens up a few things.

I would recommend you give this book a chance so you too can see just how fun this series could be.

Available Now


Book 6 in the Candy Holliday Mystery series
B. B. Haywood

In the quiet coastal community of Cape Willington, Maine, Candy Holliday is a local farmer who dutifully tends to her blueberry fields—and steps in to solve the occasional murder . . .
When Candy organizes a cooking event for her local newspaper, the town’s most prominent citizens turn out to witness the popular cookbook author Julia von Fleming serve as a guest judge. But when Julia comes close to consuming a poisoned pickle, she begins to suspect someone in Cape Willington is trying to kill her—and Candy is completely jarred to be among the suspects.
But the first taste was just a sample, and soon more jars of poisoned pickles begin to pop up around town. In the face of a pickled poisoning spree, Candy will have to track down the culprit to make sure her own name stays well-preserved. Along the way, she’ll pull the lid off a briny barrel of blackmail, thievery, and revenge that’s been souring their seaside hometown for years…



From the cozy coastal charm, to the delightful cast of characters (More Herr Georg, please B.B.!), the Candy Holliday Mystery series has been one of my go to series since I started reading cozy mysteries several years ago. I was an instant fan with the first book, TOWN IN A BLUEBERRY JAM, and I have read every book in the series since.

TOWN IN A SWEET PICKLE is the sixth installment and one of my favorites (after the first two). It was filled with action and fast paced chapters. So much happened in this story, it made my head spin (in a good way)!

I also love all the celebrations Cape Willington is famous for. This time it was a cooking contest which was a lot of fun, well it was until poisoned pickles turned up. While bad for the characters, it was a good thing for us readers because it led to a great mystery.

Author Haywood also brings out a continuing sub-story that has been building since the first book.

Readers will also enjoy the delicious recipes and helpful canning tips that are included.

I really enjoyed my time with Candy, her father, and friends and look forward to my next visit to Cape Willington.

Pre-Order now for February 3 Release

As always, please leave a comment and 
let me know what you think!

Follow my blog by 
clicking on the link in the 
upper right hand corner of this page.