Back for more deliciousness? Pies, cookies and today, Brownies!
Who doesn't love a rich chocolate brownie? I did a little searching for you all on Pinterest and found a couple of to die for Brownie recipes! Here is a recipe from Julia Childs. Rich, delicious chocolate and easy!
Here is one to die for The Knock You Naked Brownies. Now I admit I don't usually like recipes that use mixes and such, but I tried these and they are ridiculously good!
Finally, I realize not everyone loves chocolate... I know gasp! My husband is one of those people. So I am including a non chocolate recipe for you all. How about the Blondie Bars with Maple Sauce! Yum!
Okay, now that you are all wanting to run into the kitchen and bake, I need to remind you of all the fun going on at The Spring Carnival. Check in and get in on the challenges and giveaways! Don't forget to enter my Food Cover Challenge.
Finally, How about another food book review since I am sticking with a theme of everything delicious! I have a cute little cozy mystery for you today!
Brownies and Broomsticks (A Magical Bakery Mystery#1) by Bailey Cates
Katie Lightfoot's tired of loafing around as the assistant manager of an Ohio bakery. So when her aunt Lucy and uncle Ben open a bakery in Savannah's quaint downtown district and ask Katie to join them, she enthusiastically agrees.
While working at the Honeybee Bakery—named after Lucy's cat—Katie notices that her aunt is adding mysterious herbs to her recipes. Turns out these herbal enhancements aren't just tasty—Aunt Lucy is a witch and her recipes are actually spells!
When a curmudgeonly customer is murdered outside the Honeybee Bakery, Uncle Ben becomes the prime suspect. With the help of handsome journalist Steve Dawes, charming firefighter Declan McCarthy, and a few spells, Katie and Aunt Lucy stir up some toil and trouble to clear Ben's name and find the real killer.
Mass Market Paperback, 323 pages
Published May 1st 2012 by Signet
Three stars: A bakery cozy with plenty of good eats.
Katie is ready for a fresh new start. Her heart needs to mend after a broken engagement. When Aunt Lucy and Uncle Ben decided to open a bakery in Savannah, Katie jumped at the chance to help out. She has spent the last few years working long hours as an assistant manager in a bakery, so she is more than prepared to help start The Honeybee Bakery. Just when things are looking sunny side up right before the grand opening, a rather nasty woman, who has a great deal of clout, is murdered right in front of the bakery. The worst part is that she and Uncle Ben had been arguing right before she was found dead, and now Uncle Ben is the prime suspect. Katie is determined to help clear Uncle Ben's name and save the bakery. What she doesn't know is that her Aunt Lucy has a few magical secrets to share. Can Katie save her uncle and The Honeybee Baker?
What I Liked:
- I enjoy cozy mysteries set in sweet shoppes and bakeries the most. I was happy to settle into the charming confines of The Honeybee Bakery. The delicious sweet treats served up daily made my mouth water and I wanted desperately to head there and spend an afternoon sipping coffee, chomping down treats and reading eclectic books from the book corner. I was happy to find two yummy recipes at the end of the book that I will have to try!
- I adored Mungo the little Cairn Terrier who shows up at Katie's door. He is a special magical dog and he ends up being Katie's familiar. He was super cute, and he just made me smile!
- I liked the inclusion of witches and magic into the book. Katie comes from a line of witches and is unaware of her hereditary magic until her aunt clues her in. From that point on, there are plenty of spells and magic. I liked learning about all the witchy stuff. If you like your cozy mysteries to have a dash of magic, this is a good one to try.
- I appreciated that there was plenty of mystery and I enjoyed unraveling the clues to help catch the killer. There were several suspects and motives and it was fun guessing who the culprit was.
- I was relieved that the majority of the story lines wrapped up neatly. The murderer is caught and many wrongs are righted. There were not a bunch of lingering questions. I always appreciate when I get a neat resolution.
And The Not So Much:
- I didn't like that this book tried to include a love triangle. I personally didn't really feel drawn to either of the male suitors, and I hated that the two were enemies. There was too many scenes where the two prospective love interests would meet and Katie would be caught in the middle of their long time feud. These scenes felt like a lot of male posturing and chest beating I was not a fan of this at all!
- A great deal of time is spent focusing on the witchcraft and the murder mystery and at times, it felt like a bit of information overload when it came to both of these topics.
- This lacked a bit of cozy for me. I would have loved more discussions on baking and recipes, and more time spent in the bakery. I was pleased that there were two delicious recipes at the end, one for peanut butter chocolate brownies and cheese scones, but I am selfish and I would have loved a couple of more, like the cornmeal maple donuts!
- This is a small quibble, but I was looking forward to all the Southern charm of the Savannah setting and I was disappointed that the city itself was not a bigger part. In fact, this book could have been set anywhere because there is very little discussion on Savannah. I am a big fan of cozy mysteries that incorporate the town/city as a major part of the book, and sadly that was not the case with this book.
- Even though I liked Katie, at times, I thought her character got a bit obnoxious and too pushy. She was always sticking her nose into police business and being chastised for it, and I thought that her uncovering some of the clues was a bit unbelievable, but that is the formula for a cozy mystery so I should expect it.
Brownies and Broomsticks was a pleasant introduction to a new bakery cozy series. It also has just a pinch of magic. It was a quick read and everything wrapped up neatly. Beware that there is a bit of a love triangle. If you are looking for a light, sweet read for summer check this out.
"Change is inevitable, they say. Struggle is optional. Your life's path deviates from what you intend. Whether you like it or not. Whether you fight it or not. Whether your heart breaks or not. "
"I'd held my whole life----that fate was what you made it. That people control their own destiny. And that even if they can't always control the things that happen to them, they get to decide their own reactions."
I borrowed a copy of this book. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.