Friday, January 6, 2017

Dear Abby - The Return -- With Resolutions!

Dear Friends,

I'm back!  I missed chatting with you here.  How was your holiday?  I had a lovely time.  Here's my Christmas card picture for 2016:

I had a wonderful Christmas with my family.  I got treats, toys, and lots of lap time!   Here are a couple of pictures from Christmas day.  My human Grandma is helping me try on a Santa hat in this picture:

... and here I am with my new toys!   I played with them for a few minutes before deciding they function very well as pillows.  I love to cuddle with my soft toys.

I even made time to write a few New Year's resolutions: 

1. Take quiet time to reflect upon life.

2. Always be ready with a warm kiss.

3. Nap whenever you can!

4. And, of course, do your best to avoid thunderstorms!

I have some themes ahead for this year.  I'm debating between two for upcoming blog posts.  I'll make a decision and ask for your participation next week.

I'd love to hear from you!  Did you have a nice holiday season?  Did you - or your pets - make any resolutions?  You can leave me a message in the comments, below.


Abby xoxoxo

Book Review and Giveaway - Fudge and Jury by Ellie Alexander

Book Synopsis
Welcome to Torte–a friendly, small-town family bakery where the pastries are delicious…and, now, suspicious.

It’s almost spring in Ashland, Oregon, and the town is preparing for the Shakespeare and the annual Chocolate Festival. Business is cookin’ at Torte, and the store is expanding as Jules’ team whips up crèpes filled with mascarpone cheese and dark chocolate. Torte stands a chance of being this year’s confectionery belle of the ball! Life couldn’t be sweeterunless murder taints the batter.

Evan Rowe, of Confections Couture, makes a chocolate fountain that would put Willy Wonka to shame, and his truffles are to die forliterally? Yes, the world-renowned chocolatier has just turned up dead…right after sampling a slice of Jules’ decadent four-layer chocolate cake. Now all eyes are on Jules as she tries to find the mysterious ingredient in her own recipe. Can she sift out the truth before another contestant bites the buttercream?
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Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble


My Review

Fudge and Jury is the fifth book in Ellie Alexander's A Bakeshop Mystery series.  It is set in Ashland, Oregon.  Juliet Montague Capshaw - Jules for short - prepares sumptuous treats for the annual Chocolate Festival that coincides with the town's Shakespeare Festival.  Unfortunately, a chocolatier dies after tasting one of Jules' cakes.  


Fudge and Jury is a charming mystery set in the picturesque Pacific Northwest.  I loved the town, as depicted in this novel, and found the characters very likeable and engaging as well.


This is my first Bakeshop Mystery book, but I had no problem catching up with the characters and storyline.


The characters are well developed and the mystery is well written, with a storyline that moves along at a steady pace.


Foodies will love the baking details in this book!  I loved details like this description:


"The Swiss buttercream had a bright coffee finish and just the right balance of bitterness to sweetness.  It spread on the cakes like butter.  Next, I filled a piping bag with more buttercream and started the painstaking task of piping a delicate trim around the border of each cake.  Then I used a closed star tip to hand-pipe individual tiny stars on the sides of the cakes.  The look was both rustic and chic.  When we transported them to the Chocolate Fest I would decorate the tops with Oregon berries and greenery.  It would give them a pop of color and tie in with my forest theme" (pp. 24 - 25).


Fudge and Jury is full of this type of mouthwatering descriptions and details!  Add that to the mystery, the character driven plot, and the charming town, and you have a perfect cozy mystery for a weekend read. 


Author Bio

Ellie Alexander writes the bestselling Bakeshop Mystery series for St. Martin’s Press, set in the Shakespearean town of Ashland, Oregon and featuring a romantic, artisan pastry chef, Juliet Montague Capshaw.

Ellie is a Pacific Northwest native who spends ample time testing pastry recipes in her home kitchen or at one of the many famed coffeehouses nearby. When she’s not coated in flour, you’ll find her outside exploring hiking trails and trying to burn off calories consumed in the name of research.


Connect with Ellie

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

One lucky reader will win a copy of this book.  Open to U.S. and Canada.  Enter with the Rafflecopter form, below.  A winner will be drawn 1/14/17 and notified by email.  Winner must respond within 48 hours.  The book will be mailed directly to the winner by the author or her publicist.

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I received a copy of this book from TLC Book Tours.