Posted in Giveaways Spotlights

SPECIAL GIVEAWAY – Coconut Layer Cake Murder (A Hannah Swensen Mystery) by Joanne Fluke – #Spotlight #Giveaway @KensingtonBooks


coconut layer cake murder
coconut layer cake murder
Coconut Layer Cake Murder (A Hannah Swensen Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
25th in Series
Publisher: Kensington (February 25, 2020)
Hardcover: 352 pages
ISBN-10: 1496718895
ISBN-13: 978-1496718891
Kindle ASIN: B07R5QGZWC

Bakery owner Hannah Swensen is leaving Lake Eden to help a friend in sunny California. But an unexpected phone call swiftly brings her back to a cold Minnesota winter . . . and murder . . .

 

When Hannah learns that her sister Michelle’s boyfriend, Detective Lonnie Murphy, is the prime suspect in a murder case, she goes straight from a movie studio sound stage to the Los Angeles airport.

 

Back in frigid Minnesota, she discovers that proving Lonnie’s innocence will be harder than figuring out what went wrong with a recipe. Lonnie remembers only parts of the night he went out to a local bar and ended up driving a very impaired woman home. He knows he helped her to her bedroom, but he doesn’t recall anything else until he woke up on her couch the following morning. When he went to the bedroom to check on her, he was shocked to discover she was dead.

 

Hannah doesn’t know what to believe—only that exonerating a suspect who can’t remember is almost impossible, especially since Lonnie’s brother, Detective Rick Murphy, and Lonnie’s partner, Chief Detective Mike Kingston, have been taken off the case. Before everything comes crashing down on Lonnie like a heaping slice of coconut layer cake, it’ll be up to Hannah to rack up enough clues to toast a flaky killer . . .

About the Author

JOANNE FLUKE is the New York Times bestselling author of the Hannah Swensen mysteries, which include Double Fudge Brownie Murder, Blackberry Pie MurderCinnamon Roll Murder, and the book that started it all, Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder. That first installment in the series premiered as Murder, She Baked:  A Chocolate Chip Cookie Mystery on the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Channel. Like Hannah Swensen, Joanne Fluke was born and raised in a small town in rural Minnesota but now lives in Southern California. Please visit her online at www.JoanneFluke.com.


Joanne Fluke and the people at Kensington Books
are giving away 1 Coconut Cake Candle, a copy of Coconut Layer Cake Murder
and a mass market paperback copy of Chocolate Cream Pie Murder!!!

 

The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

Follow Kensington Books on Twitter for 2 Bonus Entries!

LIKE Kensington Publishing on Facebook for 2 Bonus Entries!

Add this book to your WANT TO READ shelf on GoodReads for 3 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

If you share the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End March 3, 2020, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

Giveaway sponsored by Kensington Books. 

Posted in Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge Reviews 2019 TBR Pile Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Wedding Cake Murder (Hannah Swensen Mysteries) by Joanne Fluke #Review

I have gotten way behind on this series.
I always try to read at least one at the end of the year when I have fewer reviewing commitments.
Hopefully, I will catch up soon.


Wedding Cake Murder (Hannah Swensen Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
19th in Series
Setting – Minneapolis
Publisher: Kensington (February 23, 2016)
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1617732168
ISBN-13: 978-1617732164
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1617732184
ISBN-13: 978-1617732188
Kindle ASIN: B00Y6RB46W

Everyone in Lake Eden, Minnesota, may have had their doubts, but at long last, Hannah Swensen is getting married!

Hannah is thrilled to be marrying Ross Barton, her college crush. And her excitement only grows when she learns he’ll be able to join her on her trip to New York City for the Food Channel’s dessert chef contest. They get a taste of the Big Apple before Hannah wins the Hometown Challenge and the producers bring all the contestants to Lake Eden to tape the remainder of the show. It’s nerve-wracking enough being judged by Alain Duquesne, a celebrity chef with a nasty reputation. But it’s even more chilling to find him stabbed to death in the Lake Eden Inn’s walk-in cooler—before he’s even had a chance to taste Hannah’s Butterscotch Sugar Cookies! Now Hannah has not only lost her advantage, she’ll have to solve a mystery with more layers than a five-tiered wedding cake…

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

The last book in this series, Double Fudge Brownie Murder, was a little off for me, so I was a little nervous about reading this one, but I love these characters so I dove right in. Sadly, Hannah has cast both Mike and Norman aside and it really going to marry Ross. Shockingly, both her past loves vow to remain friends and even become part of the wedding party. I have always been Team Mike so I was heartbroken. Truthfully, Ross seems shady, I was hoping he was the victim or the killer.

Aside from the wedding, Hannah and Michelle are participating in the Food Channel’s Dessert Chef Contest and Ross is going along to New York to film interviews and background for the hometown station. He uses his clout to upgrade the group’s flights and hotel rooms. When Hannah wins the first round, the contest moves back to Lake Eden, a big event for the entire town. That is until one of the judges is found dead in the walk-in cooler at the Lake Eden Inn. With the other judges and contestants on the suspect list, Hannah is sleuthing out a killer, while trying to win the biggest cooking contest of her life and still be standing to take her vows.

__________

The first half of the book is introducing the chefs and the judges, prep through the first round of the contest, and Hannah’s mother and grandmother taking over the wedding planning. All Hannah had to do was pick out her dress and show up for the wedding. Of course, she did have her hands full with other things. I did enjoy several of the new characters. The judges were not as realistic as on the actual cooking shows we see on television but they fit in well with the plot as did the other contestants. The cast regulars continue to gather to go over evidence and theories, but there still seems to be a strong connection between Hannah and her former loves.

The mystery portion is well-plotted with several twists have and after this many cases, everyone knows Hannah is investigating. She does continue to leap into situations without a clear plan, which brings some tense moments. I did not sleuth out the killer myself until Hannah did, and it was kinds a surprise for both of us. 🙂

About a third of the book is yummy recipes for cookies and desserts that are featured in the story. The author includes them at the end of chapters and I sometimes feel they should all be at the end to not mess with the flow of the story but I have become accustomed after this many books to skipping them over and reviewing them when I complete the book when I can scan the ones I want to try into my recipe folder on my computer.

This series continues to be one of my faves. I am anxious to get caught up and see what Hannah gets herself mixed up in next.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

JOANNE FLUKE is the New York Times bestselling author of the Hannah Swensen mysteries, which include Double Fudge Brownie Murder, Blackberry Pie MurderCinnamon Roll Murder, and the book that started it all, Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder. That first installment in the series premiered as Murder, She Baked:  A Chocolate Chip Cookie Mystery on the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Channel. Like Hannah Swensen, Joanne Fluke was born and raised in a small town in rural Minnesota but now lives in Southern California. Please visit her online at www.JoanneFluke.com.
*This book was from my private collection.
Posted in Giveaways Spotlights

#Spotlight / #Recipe / #Giveaway – Chocolate Cream Pie Murder (A Hannah Swensen Mystery) by Joanne Fluke @KensingtonBooks


This is one of my favorite series!
I am a little bit behind but doing my best to get caught up 🙂

I am thrilled to shine the spotlight on
Chocolate Cream Pie Murder and thankful
for Kensington sponsoring the giveaway and providing the recipe for me to share!

Chocolate Cream Pie Murder (A Hannah Swensen Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
24th in Series
Setting – Minnesota
Kensington (February 26, 2019)
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1496718860
ISBN-13: 978-1496718860
Kindle ASIN: B07DBQYT2W

Not even Lake Eden’s nosiest residents suspected Hannah Swensen would go from idealistic newlywed to betrayed wife in a matter of weeks. But as a deadly mystery unfolds in town, the proof is in the pudding . . .

When The Cookie Jar becomes the setting of a star-studded TV special about movies filmed in Minnesota, Hannah hopes to shine the spotlight on her bakery—not the unsavory scandal swirling around her personal life. But that’s practically impossible with a disturbing visit from the shifty character she once believed was her one and only love, a group of bodyguards following her every move, and a murder victim in her bedroom. Now, swapping the crime scene in her condo for her mother Delores’s penthouse, Hannah and an old flame team up to solve a case that’s messier than an upended chocolate cream pie. As suspects emerge and secrets hit close to home, Hannah must serve a hefty helping of justice to an unnamed killer prowling around Lake Eden . . . before someone takes a slice out of her!

Chocolate Cream Pie

This pie is a pudding pie with whipped cream and does not bake in the oven.

The Crust:

8-inch or 9-inch prepared crushed chocolate wafer or crushed Oreo pie crust.

Hannah’s 1st Note: You can also use a prepared crushed cookie pie crust, a graham cracker pie crust, or a shortbread pie crust.  You can even use a regular pie crust as long as you bake and cool it first.

The Chocolate Filling:

6 large egg yolks (save the whites to make your favorite meringue cookies)

3/4 cup white (granulated) sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

3 cups light cream (Half n’ Half)

1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips, finely chopped (measure AFTER chopping)

1/2 stick (4 Tablespoons, 1/4 cup, 1/8 pound) salted butter

The Whipped Cream Topping:

1 and 1/2 cups heavy cream

1/4 cup powdered (confectioners’) sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Decorations: (optional)

shaved chocolate

chocolate curls

maraschino cherry halves

butterscotch or caramel ice cream topping to drizzle on top

____

Place the egg yolks in a medium-size saucepan, off the heat.

Whisk the egg yolks until they are well combined.

Add the white, granulated sugar and the cornstarch.  Whisk everything together, off the heat, until the ingredients are well incorporated.

Turn the stovetop burner on MEDIUM-HIGH heat and add the 3 cups of light cream (half and half) SLOWLY, whisking continuously while the mixture is heating.

Whisk and cook until the mixture is slightly thickened.  (This will take from 3 to 4 minutes.)

Stirring constantly, boil mixture for 3 minutes.

Hannah’s 2nd Note: This is much easier to do if you have a hand mixer turned to LOW speed, but you’ll have to make sure that all areas of the saucepan are being mixed.  If you miss an area, your chocolate filling may scorch and you’ll have to start over!

Whisk in the finely chopped mini chocolate chips and the half-stick of salted butter.  Keep your whisk moving the entire time!

Lower the temperature of the burner to LOW and continue to whisk until the mixture is as thick as pudding. This should take about 5 to 6 minutes.

When the chocolate mixture has thickened, remove the saucepan to a cold stovetop burner and let it sit for five minutes.

Use a heat-resistant rubber spatula to transfer the contents of your saucepan to the pie crust of your choice and smooth the top with the heat-resistant spatula.

Cover the surface of the chocolate layer with plastic wrap and place your partially completed Chocolate Cream Pie in the refrigerator to chill for at least 2 hours.  (Overnight is even better, too.)

To Make the Whipped Cream Topping:

Hannah’s 3rd Note: If you’re tired or in a hurry and want a shortcut, simply thaw a small tub of Original Cool Whip and stir in butterscotch ice cream topping or caramel ice cream topping. It will hold its shape better than homemade whipped cream and you can put it on your chilled filling an hour or so before your guests arrive, rather than whipping the cream at the last minute!

Using an electric mixer, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form.

Turn the mixer off and sprinkle the powdered sugar on top of the whipped cream.

Mix on HIGH until the powdered sugar is mixed in.

With the mixer running on HIGH, sprinkle in the half-teaspoon of vanilla extract and mix it in.

When everything has been thoroughly incorporated, shut off the mixer and take out the bowl with the whipped cream topping.  Give it a final stir with a rubber spatula and set it on the kitchen counter.

Get the pie crust with its chocolate filling out of the refrigerator and set it next to the mixer bowl with the whipped cream topping.

Peel the plastic wrap off the chocolate filling and use the rubber spatula to transfer mounds of whipped cream to the surface of the chocolate filling.

Work quickly to dot the entire surface of the chocolate filling with whipped cream.  Continue transferring the whipped cream until the mixer bowl has been emptied.

Using the rubber spatula, spread the mounds of whipped cream together to cover the entire surface of your Chocolate Cream Pie.  Make sure the whipped cream topping goes all the way out to the edge of the pie crust.

Using the flat edge of the rubber spatula, press it against the surface of the whipped cream topping and pull it up quickly.  This should cause the whipped cream to form a point on top.  Make “points” over the entire surface of your Chocolate Cream Pie.

Choose the decorating topping you wish to use on top of the whipped cream.  You can use more than one topping to really make it look fancy.

If you choose shaved chocolate, use a sharp knife to “shave” the edge of a bar of sweet chocolate.  Place the shaved pieces in a bowl and, using your impeccably clean fingers, sprinkle the shaved chocolate over the surface of your pie.

If you choose chocolate curls to decorate the top of your pie, simply run a sharp knife down the long edge of a bar of sweet chocolate.  If you don’t lift the knife blade, it will form a curl of chocolate.  Use these chocolate curls to decorate the top of your Chocolate Cream Pie.

Maraschino cherries are always colorful on top of a pie.  Cut the Maraschino cherries in half vertically and transfer the halves to the surface of the whipped cream topping, rounded side up.  Make a large circle of cherry halves around the edge or a design of your own making using the cherry halves.

If you choose butterscotch or caramel ice cream topping, simply drizzle it all over the surface of your pie in a pretty design.

Refrigerate your Chocolate Cream Pie for at least 2 hours before serving.

To serve, cut your Chocolate Cream Pie into 8 pieces and remove the pieces with a triangle-shaped spatula.  Place each piece on a dessert plate and serve with a carafe of strong, hot coffee or tall glasses of milk.

Yield: This pie will serve 8 people . . . or 7 if you invite Mother.  She’ll tell you she couldn’t possibly eat more of something so rich, but you won’t have to twist her arm to get her to agree to a second helping.

________

About the Author

JOANNE FLUKE is the New York Times bestselling author of the Hannah Swensen mysteries, which include Double Fudge Brownie Murder, Blackberry Pie MurderCinnamon Roll Murder, and the book that started it all, Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder. That first installment in the series premiered as Murder, She Baked:  A Chocolate Chip Cookie Mystery on the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Channel. Like Hannah Swensen, Joanne Fluke was born and raised in a small town in rural Minnesota but now lives in Southern California. Please visit her online at www.JoanneFluke.com.

Thanks to the publisher I have 3 copies to give away!

The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

Follow Kensington Books on Twitter for 2 Bonus Entries!

LIKE Kensington Publishing on Facebook for 2 Bonus Entries!

Leave a comment for the author for 5 Bonus Entries.

Add this book to your WANT TO READ shelf on GoodReads for 3 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

If you share the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End April 5, 2019, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent
Posted in Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Just For Fun Challenge Reviews 2015 You Read How Many Books Challenge

Devil’s Food Cake Murder by Joanne Fluke – My June Just For Fun Read

just for fun 2015
I am continuing my quest to get caught up the Hannah Swenson Mysteries.devil food

Devil’s Food Cake Murder (A Hannah Swensen Mystery)
14th in Series
Cozy Mystery
Setting – Minnesora
Publisher: Kensington
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages (February 1, 2012)
ISBN-13: 978-0758234926
E-Book ASIN: B006QOTOQA
Hannah Swensen has to admit life is pretty sweet. Things are going well in the romance department and her bakery’s delectable confections are selling as fast as she can bake them. Even her good friend Claire is head over heels with her new husband, Reverend Bob Knudson. If only they could find time to take their honeymoon!

When Bob’s childhood friend, Matthew Walters, comes to town, it seems like divine intervention. Matthew, like Bob, is a Lutheran minister with a stubborn sweet tooth. Since he’s on sabbatical, Matthew is happy to fill in for Bob while he and Claire take that long-awaited honeymoon. It sounds like the perfect plan–until Hannah finds Matthew face-down in a plate full of Devil’s Food Cake, a single bullet in his head. It will take some sleuthing to sift out the killer, but Hannah is sure of one thing: even the most half-baked murder plot can be oh so deadly. . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I was so excited to start this book because the author left us with a bit of a cliffhanger last time. We start with Reverend Bob and Claire off on their honeymoon since they have found another minister to fill in. Matthew just happens to a childhood friend of Bob’s so he feels his church is in good hands. He was doing a fantastic job until Hannah finds him dead, with a single bullet wound and in a mess of Devil’s Food Cake.

I love the series and all the characters. Hannah has two men vying for her attention but they also have another woman on their radar now and that is very upsetting to Hannah. I have a bit of a problem with this. Hannah has been stringing both men along for quite some time while she decides which one she wants to settle down with. This time it seems maybe she does not feel strongly enough about either of them. I like that she is getting a little dose of her own medicine and that was fun to read. I wouldn’t mind her giving both of them the boot.  Again there is a bit of a shocker at the end of this story as this romantic triangle takes a very surprising turn.

The mystery was good but not overly complex and I did figure it out a little early. That being said I did enjoy the time Hannah spent with Grandma Knudson. She seems like quite a woman and we quickly learn not much gets by her.

This is one of my favorite series but this wasn’t by favorite story in the series. The book is filled with a bunch of tempting recipes and it is always good to visit Lake Eden.

I am looking forward to the next book Cinnamon Roll Murder  and the next movie too! Plum Pudding Murder is coming to the Hallmark Movie Channel this holiday season.

still at the beach but not as tranquil

3 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Find out more about Joanne Fluke and her books on her webpage here.


*This book was from my private collection.

Posted in Just For Fun Challenge Literary Escapes You Read How Many Books Challenge

My January Just For Fun Read – Apple Turnover Murder by Joanne Fluke

just for fun 2015It’s a new year and a new start for the Just For Fun Reading Challenge!

This is a group I host over at GoodReads. The group is open to new members until January 31, 2015. So click the link above and join us and
read 1 book Just For Fun each month!

My January Just For Fun Read


Apple Turnover Murder (Hannah Swensen Mysteries)
13th in Series
Cozy Mystery
Setting: Minnesota
Publisher: Kensington (March 1, 2010)
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0758234896
Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0758247452
E-Book ASIN: B004J4WNMQ
goodreads-badge-add-plus

It’s June in Lake Eden, Minnesota, and for Hannah Swensen, that means bridal showers galore, plus a massive fundraising event in need of confections – not to mention a killer who never learned that charity begins at home…Early summer brings plenty of work for Hannah, even before Mayor Bascomb’s wife drops by The Cookie Jar to place an order…for eleven-hundred cookies! Stephanie Bascomb is organizing an elaborate three-day event to support local charities, and though it’s a worthy cause, Hannah almost flips when her business partner, Lisa, suggests setting up an apple turnover stand. Hannah’s never made a turnover – but, pushover that she is, she places her faith in Lisa’s mother-in-law’s recipe and agrees to be a magician’s assistant in the fundraiser’s talent show…Dozens of pastries and one hideous purple dress later, Hannah has to admit that stepping out of her comfort zone has been fun as well as profitable. The only snag is the show’s host, community college professor Bradford Ramsey. Hannah and her younger sister Michelle each had unfortunate romantic relationships with Ramsey, and when the cad comes sniffing around between acts, Hannah tells him off. But when the curtain doesn’t go up, she discovers Ramsey backstage – dead as a doornail with a turnover in his hand…Now, to protect her reputation and Michelle’s, Hannah must get to the bottom of the professor’s bitter end. There are plenty of scorned suspects, including an ex-wife who feels cheated in more ways than one, and a prominent local who may have been using Ramsey to avenge her own randy spouse. But who was unstable enough to snuff out Professor Love? A killer who’s flakier than puff pastry – and far more dangerous…

This is one of my favorite series and I was thrilled to hear that Hallmark Movies & Mysteries is making a movie featuring the first book in the series starring Allison Sweeney (Days of Our Lives and The Biggest Loser) and Cameron Mathison (All My Children).

Hallmark Channel is looking to repeat the success of its Good Witch films with another original movie franchise, Chocolate Chip Cookie MurderAlison Sweeney has been tapped to star in the franchise for Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, with the first movie set cookiemurderto premiere this spring. Based on the New York Times bestselling series of books by Joanne Fluke, Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder centers on Hannah Swensen (Sweeney), shop owner of the Cookie Jar where much of the town’s gossip percolates along with the strong coffee. When a mysterious murder occurs, Hannah turns into a culinary detective and finds herself trying to solve the crime while getting caught in an unexpected romantic mystery of her own.

The casting comes on the heels of Sweeney’s starring role in one of Hallmark’s highest-rated original movies ever, Second Chances. She’s also set to star in and executive produce previously announced Radio Hype, which is currently in development for at the channel.

Hallmark Movie ChannelChocolate Chip Cookie Murder marks Sweeney’s first major acting gig following her October exit from Days Of Our Lives after almost 22 years as Sami Brady. Sweeney would continue her 13-season run as host of The Biggest Loser if the veteran NBC reality series is renewed.

Source: http://deadline.com/2015/01/alison-sweeney-stars-chocolate-chip-cookie-murder-hallmark-1201344562/

The nice thing about reading just for fun is that you can pick a book off your huge TO-BE-READ stacks and enjoy it with no pressure of a review.

I have loved every book in this series and when I finished this one I wanted to grab the next one right away. My reading schedule didn’t allow that but there is always next month Just For Fun Read and it maybe Devil’s Food Cake Murder. It seems to be calling out to me!

Happy Reading Everyone!

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent