Friday, May 28, 2021


Cozy Food Friday!

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

This week's recipe is from


I've had so much fun sharing recipes, I wanted to share another.

Here's a simple one.



photo property of


¾ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing pans. Or use baking/cooking spray

¾ cup superfine sugar

3 eggs, beaten

5 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1½ cups self-rising flour

pinch of salt

4 to 5 tbsp strawberry jam

¼ to ½ whipped cream (optional) 

confectioners' sugar for dusting

fresh strawberries for top of cake (optional)

photo property of


   Preheat oven to 350 degrees 

   Grease (or spray) two 8-inch round cake pans and line with parchment paper

   Cream the butter and sugar together in a mixing bowl using a wooden spoon or hand mixer until the mixture is until light and fluffy

   Add eggs, one at a time, mixing after each egg

   Mix in lemon juice 

   Sift the flour and salt together in a separate bowl and slowly fold into mixture with the wooden spoon. Divide the mixture evenly between the prepared pans. Smooth the surface, and tap pans on counter to release any bubbles

   Place the pans in the center of the preheated oven, and bake for 25-30 minutes, until the cakes have risen and golden brown, and beginning to pull from the sides of pans

   Remove from oven and let stand for 3 minutes

   Loosen cakes from around the edge using a table knife. Turn out onto a clean dish towel, remove parchment paper, and invert the cakes onto a wire rack (tops of cakes up)

   When completely cool, turn out the cake, top side down to a clean kitchen towel, then transfer to a cake plate, again with the top up  

  Spread the strawberry jam on the top of one cake. Spread whipped cream on top of jam (you can use as little as you'd like of these ingredients or use all of both). Top with second cake.

   Dust the top of finished cake with confectioners sugar (and fresh strawberries)

photo property of

Is this a perfect slice of summer or what?


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

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Thursday, May 27, 2021

I read and review a lot of books. This means I can often get behind on deadlines (that I set for myself).

So, there are times that I write "cozy-sized" reviews.
They're much shorter than I like to write, but I can get them out there quicker for you, and for the authors.

I hope you still get the feel of what I thought of the following books.


by Krista Davis

Entertaining maven Sophie Winston must cut to the core of another murder investigation when members of an international tour group begin dropping like flies all over Old Town, Virginia...

With Old Town's DIY Home Decorating Festival in full swing, Sophie's swamped, juggling a bumper crop of artisans, antique dealers, and decorators for the busy street fair. Still, when her best friend Nina suddenly needs a ride from the airport, Sophie is happy to help...until she sees Nina disembarking in a state of disarray. It's obvious the trip to Portugal soured somewhere along the way. But after one of Nina's traveling companions turns up murdered the following day, Sophie knows something is truly rotten...

Though the crime scene is staged to look like an accident, Sophie isn't fooled and peels off to conduct her own investigation. Her only clue is a strange image the victim scratched into the soil before dying. Could it point to a cryptic killer in Old Town? A bitter travel adversary? Or a cursed artifact smuggled back from the trip? As the mystery grows, so does the body count, and if Sophie doesn't pluck the murderer soon, her best friend may be the next to fall...

My Review

Author Krista Davis serves up an incredible mystery in, 

Like the wonderful installments before, this book is one I couldn't put down. Packed cover to cover with mayhem, menace, and mystery (of course!), I was totally surprised during the reveal. I was way off! That's why I'm always ready to enjoy anything the diva has to serve. 

The most forbidden thing about the Domestic Diva Mysteries
 is not reading them!


by Kylie Logan

Jazz Ramsey is just getting used to the idea that her on-again-off-again beau, Nick, might actually be a permanent fixture, when she gets an alarming call in the middle of the night from his mother, Kim: there’s a dead man in her backyard. Kim has a long history of drinking and a vivid imagination, so when Jazz’s human remains detection dog, Wally, finds no evidence of a body, Jazz thinks she can breathe easy.

But when the body of a middle-aged man, Dan Mansfield, is discovered in a nearby park, and a photo of Nick and his mom is found in his pocket, Jazz has to admit that something isn’t adding up. Kim claims not to know who Dan is, but the cops find out soon enough: he’s a recently paroled convict who served thirty years for murder. And when Jazz traces his crime back to a bar fight with an antiques dealer, she ends up with more questions than answers.

Meanwhile, no one wants her poking around—not Nick’s mom, nor the Motorcycle-riding ex-con she connects to Dan, nor Nick himself, who seems worried about Jazz’s safety, but also about what she might find. But Jazz has never been one to take no for an answer, and she won’t give up now—even if it means risking her own life.

My Review

Not quite the "cozy" mystery I thought it would be, that I am use to from author Kylie Logan, A TRAIL OF LIES was an intriguing story that left me breathless by the end. The author packed a lot into the 320 pages of this mystery, and had me turning the pages quicker and quicker as I reached the I-never-saw-it-coming conclusion.


by Eve Calder

It’s nothing but sugar and spice at The Cookie House, but elsewhere on Coral Cay everything isn’t so nice.

Pastry chef Kate McGuire is loving life on the laid-back island of Coral Cay, Florida. As junior partner in a bakery renowned for luscious desserts—especially her cookies—life is pretty sweet. So when an old friend arrives and announces a spur-of-the-moment beach wedding, that’s just the icing on the wedding cake.

But the groom vanishes right as a television crew descends on the town to film a hot, new realty show. Is there a connection? Is her friend Desiree somehow involved? Or did groom Judson simply get cold feet? The bride and groom were paired better than warm cookies and cold milk, so Kate doesn’t buy it.

As the show’s cast runs amok on the island and the investigation into Judson’s disappearance heats up, Kate and her pal Maxi, along with town dog Oliver, will brave the rambunctious world of reality TV and a wedding weekend gone awry, in an all-out effort to find the missing groom.

My Review

Eve Calder bakes up quite a mystery in 

This book had a good pace that kept me interested throughout. Likable characters, an interesting plot, and more twists & turns than chocolate chips in a cookie, you won't want to put this delicious  mystery down.


I hope these cozy-sized reviews helped you to choose a new book or two (or three)!


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

Follow my blog by submitting your email in 
upper right hand corner of this page (on the side bar).

Reading from your phone? Scroll to the bottom of your page and click "View web version". Then follow the above directions.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021


Today I'm joining 
Berkley Mystery
 in celebrating the release of  
Book 1 in the Tita Rosie's Kitchen Mysteries
by Mia P. Manansala

One of BuzzFeed’s Highly Anticipated Mystery Novels of 2021!

The first book in a new culinary cozy series full of sharp humor and delectable dishes—one that might just be killer....

When Lila Macapagal moves back home to recover from a horrible breakup, her life seems to be following all the typical rom-com tropes. She's tasked with saving her Tita Rosie's failing restaurant, and she has to deal with a group of matchmaking aunties who shower her with love and judgment. But when a notoriously nasty food critic (who happens to be her ex-boyfriend) drops dead moments after a confrontation with Lila, her life quickly swerves from a Nora Ephron romp to an Agatha Christie case.

With the cops treating her like she's the one and only suspect, and the shady landlord looking to finally kick the Macapagal family out and resell the storefront, Lila's left with no choice but to conduct her own investigation. Armed with the nosy auntie network, her barista best bud, and her trusted Dachshund, Longanisa, Lila takes on this tasty, twisted case and soon finds her own neck on the chopping block…

Using The People In My Life As Inspiration

By Mia P. Manansala

 “Is your main character you?”

I’ve gotten some form of this question in most of the interviews I’ve done for my debut novel, ARSENIC AND ADOBO. I think it’s a fairly common question for any writer of fiction, but particularly for me, a Filipino American woman from the Midwest writing a protagonist that is also a Filipino American woman from the Midwest, people are curious about how much of myself I put into the character of Lila Macapagal.

And the honest answer is...yes and no. I will admit that her character started as a thought exercise, basically me imagining who I would’ve become if I had been raised in a very different setting than the one I grew up in. I was born and raised in a working-class, majority Latinx neighborhood of Chicago. While my protagonist and I both lived in multigenerational households, she has a large extended family and connection to the Filipino community that I never had. I’ve always been fascinated by the “Nature vs. Nurture” question, so wondering who I would’ve become if I’d been raised in a very different environment was fun, and Lila quickly took on a life of her own and became her own person.

Lila is a small town girl and has major “big fish in a small pond” syndrome--she imagines a more glamorous life for herself and moves to Chicago for college, but finds out that maybe she doesn’t have what it takes to make it in the big city. Her parents passed away when she was young, so she was raised by her aunt and paternal grandmother, two strong, resilient women in their own ways. Tita Rosie (Tita means “aunt” in Tagalog and is not part of her name) is immensely kind and understanding, but not outwardly affectionate. She shows her love through food and service, which is something my father did. Lola Flor (Lola means “grandmother” and is not part of her name) can be critical and exacting, but behind her harsh words and judgment is the love she has for her family. Like my maternal grandmother, whose household I grew up in, she wants the best for her family. That means high standards and constantly pushing you to do better and achieve more. “Good enough” is not a phrase that exists in her vocabulary.

But are these characters exactly like my dad and grandmother? Of course not. For me, I drilled down to the essence of who these characters were and used the stronger/more extreme parts of my family’s personalities to help inform these characters and make them feel real to me. I don’t want anyone in my life to be able to point to a character and say, “Oh that’s just so-and-so.” I want my characters to stand on their own and feel real to readers because I took care to make them feel real to me.

As for the Calendar Crew, my favorite characters to write, no, they are not based on any one person. They are an amalgam of all the aunties I’ve known in my life, as well as stories I’ve heard from friends. Aunties are a large part of Asian culture, but I’ve also heard from readers from Jamaican/Nigerian/Puerto Rican/etc. backgrounds that are like, “They sound just like my aunties!” For anyone not familiar with the term, “aunties'' are not just your blood/family, but women of a particular generation in relation to you. So while the Calendar Crew are Lila’s godmothers, they are also aunties because they’re of her mother’s generation. Oddly enough, Tita Rosie, who is her literal aunt, doesn’t really fit in what most people would consider the auntie category. However you define them, I’m glad that so many people connect with these characters and that aunties seem to be universal.

So there you have it. I hope you enjoy ARSENIC AND ADOBO, as well as Shady Palms and all the people who populate it!

Mia P. Manansala (she/her) is a writer and book coach from Chicago who loves books, baking, and bad-ass women. She uses humor (and murder) to explore aspects of the Filipino diaspora, queerness, and her millennial love for pop culture.

A lover of all things geeky, Mia spends her days procrastibaking, playing JRPGs and dating sims, reading cozy mysteries, and cuddling her dogs Gumiho, Max Power, and Bayley Banks (bonus points if you get all the references).

Her debut novel, ARSENIC AND ADOBO, comes out May 4, 2021 with Berkley/Penguin Random House and is the first in the Tita Rosie's Kitchen Mystery series.

Find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram: @MPMtheWriter

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

Follow my blog by submitting your email in 
upper right hand corner of this page (on the side bar).

Reading from your phone? Scroll to the bottom of your page and click "View web version". Then follow the above directions.

Sunday, May 23, 2021

I know I have done this a lot in the past 10 months or so, but I'm going to take a break until Wednesday.

There's nothing wrong, but I could use a few days to get a few other things done.

Take care of yourselves and I'll see you back here
Wednesday 26!

Saturday, May 22, 2021

In today's author spotlight, 
I shine my light on fantastic author
Ginger Bolton

"I like donuts and I like coffee. I like reading and I like writing. I like lots of things, actually..." ~ Ginger Bolton




May 25, 2021!

October 26, 2021!

"People gather in donut shops to drink coffee and eat delicious treats, and also to spend time with neighbors and friends. What if a murder occurred in a small town? Wouldn't patrons who spend time enjoying each others' company in the town's favorite coffee shop gossip about the tragedy and the possible culprits?

And the people who own that shop would hear things that might lead them to a murderer. Anything could happen...

Usually, when people ask where I get my ideas, I say, "Everywhere." That's true, but the idea for a donut shop run by people with connections to a police department came from Cops & Doughnuts. You can read their wonderful story at" ~ Ginger Bolton


Written as 
Janet Bolin





"I may have too many hobbies. I love reading, writing, sewing, knitting, crocheting, and going on long walks with my dogs. I believe I want to make quilts. Sometimes I try to teach myself (not very successfully) how to play the piano.

A few years ago, I discovered embroidering using software and high-tech sewing machines. I'm not certain that everything I own simply must be embroidered, but creating the designs is really, really fun. And they'd go so well on crazy quilts...

I live way out in the country, a long drive from stores that sell supplies for people who like to create and embellish their own textiles and garments.

Sooooo....I invented Threadville, a village where everything I might want for my projects is on one short street, and I created Willow Vanderling, who is thrilled to own a machine embroidery boutique selling the gorgeous threads, fabrics, software, and machines that I wish I could find just down the block.

From time to time, Willow and her Threadville friends may need to take time out from their creative work to solve a murder or two. I hope you'll join them..." ~ Janet Bolin


Want a chance to chat with Julie Buckley live?
Head over to the beachbumbookworm's channel on YouTube, Today, Saturday May 14 at 2:00 pm est, where the author will be the special guest of 
YouTuber and cozy mystery fan, Tiffany. 

I hope to be there for the fun, and I hope you will too!
While you're there, subscribe to beachbumbookworm and click notifications so won't miss one of Tiffany's videos. 
As always, please leave a comment and 
let me know what you think!

Follow my blog by submitting your email in 
upper right hand corner of this page (on the side bar).

Reading from your phone? Scroll to the bottom of your page and click "View web version". Then follow the above directions.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021


I'm so happy to be a stop on the blog tour for
Book 5 in Deputy  Mysteries
by Ginger Bolton

In the fifth Deputy Donut Mystery by Agatha Award-nominated author Ginger Bolton, Emily Westhill, owner of the best donut shop in town--alongside her retired police chief father-in-law and her tabby cat Deputy Donut--is gearing up to man the donut tent at the annual Friday the 13th fair...

Selling her corn fritters at a carnival, Deputy Donut Café owner Emily Westhill faces off against a murderer who doesn't play fair...
Emily and her assistant, Nina, are looking forward to manning the Deputy Donut tent at the Faker's Dozen Carnival in Fallingbrook, Wisconsin--a festival held on Friday the thirteenth to celebrate good and bad luck. But Emily has barely dropped the corn fritters in oil when bad luck boils up. First, their bucket of confectioner's sugar disappears--and then while a mime creates a distraction, a magician robs their cash register.
After the carnival, their misfortune continues. Emily discovers that someone has broken into artist Nina's loft and vandalized a large painting in progress with the bucket of stolen sugar, which is now on the head of the mime, who seems to have been suffocated. Emily would bet Nina was the intended victim, but the cops think Nina silenced the mime. Now Emily must catch the killer white-handed--before someone else kicks the bucket...



1 lucky reader will win a
Print copies of the First Four Book in the Deputy Donut Mysteries! 

(See Rafflecopter form below)

USA only

Enter using the Rafflecopter form at the end of this post.

Winner will be chosen after May 26 at the end of the tour

This giveaway is through Great Escape Book Tours

This fifth installment of the Deputy Donut Mysteries, BEYOND A REASONABLE DONUT, by Author Ginger Bolton, is my favorite to date.

It’s clear that author Bolton has nurtured this series. The growth of the characters is evident. Don’t get me wrong, the characters have been wonderful from the beginning. But, they have evolved since the first book into a group of people I would love to have in my life.

The characters aren’t the only thing to have evolved. BEYOND A REASONABLE DONUT is the best of the best in this series. The story is solid, with all of the elements expected in a cozy mystery, amped to a new level. With finesse, the author filled my head with misleading clues, and had me self-doubting myself right up until the reveal.

If you’re a fan of the Deputy Donut series, you so not want to miss BEYOND A REASONABLE DONUT! If you haven’t read the series, what are you waiting for?! 

About Ginger Bolton

Ginger Bolton writes the Deputy Donut mystery series—coffee, donuts, cops, danger, and one curious cat. The first four books in the series are SURVIVAL OF THE FRITTERS, GOODBYE CRULLER WORLD, JEALOUSY FILLED DONUTS, and the latest, BOSTON SCREAM MURDER. JEALOUSY FILLED DONUTS was chosen as the Woman’s World Best New Cozy Mystery of the week and was named as one of Dollycas’s Best Reads of 2019. BEYOND A REASONABLE DONUT will be on store shelves May 25, 2021. When Ginger isn't writing or reading, she's crocheting, knitting, sewing, or generally causing trouble. She’s also fond of donuts and coffee. As Janet Bolin, Ginger wrote the Threadville Mysteries—murder and mayhem in a village of crafty shops.

Author Links 

Purchase Links
Amazon   -   B&N   -   Kobo   -   Google Play   -   IndieBound 


May 17 – I'm All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
May 17 – Novels Alive – GUEST POST
May 18 – Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
May 18 – Valerie's Musings – REVIEW
May 18 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEWS, EXCERPT
May 19 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW, EXCERPT
May 19 – Diane Reviews Books – GUEST POST
May 19 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW, EXCERPT
May 20 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW
May 20 – Laura's Interests – REVIEW
May 20 – Christy's Cozy Corners – CHARACTER GUEST POST
May 21 – View from the Birdhouse – REVIEW
May 21 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
May 21 – Baroness' Book Trove – REVIEW
May 22 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
May 22 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews - REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST
May 23 – Celticlady's Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
May 23 – Sapphyria's Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
May 24 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
May 24 – Literary Gold – CHARACTER GUIEST POST
May 25 – Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic – GUEST POST
May 25 – Maureen's Musings – SPOTLIGHT
May 26 – Melina's Book Blog – REVIEW
May 26 – BookishKelly2020 – SPOTLIGHT

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

Follow my blog by submitting your email in 
upper right hand corner of this page (on the side bar).

Reading from your phone? Scroll to the bottom of your page and click "View web version". Then follow the above directions.