Showing posts with label bookclub. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bookclub. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Book Club Week! Party-Perfect Artichoke Dip #bookclubweek #bookgiveaway

by Leslie Budewitz

Welcome, readers – whether you’re bookclubbed or not!

Leave a comment for a chance to win a signed copy of BUTTER OFF DEAD!

When DEATH AL DENTE, my first mystery and first in the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries, came out in August 2015, I went to my first book club meeting as an author. What a treat! The Mystery Book Club at Glacier County Library in Cutbank, Montana (population 2,987) welcomed me with a scarecrow chalkboard sign, custom bookmarks, a read-alike display—and in a terrific compliment I did not expect, the food from my book.

In the two years since, every book club I’ve attended, in a library or a private home, has served the recipes from my book. And that’s perfect, because each Food Lovers’ Mystery features a festival—a summer kickoff called the Festa di Pasta, a steak grill-off, and a foodie film festival—and the recipe section is designed so that readers can recreate the festival food at home. And in my Spice Shop Mysteries, Pepper and her pals meet every Tuesday for movie night—an excuse to eat and chat. And yes, I share their recipes.

Because what’s the point of reading foodie fiction if you can’t taste it yourself?

After that first book club experience, I’ve been careful to include finger food and other treats a hostess can easily make and serve. Filet with Huckleberry-Morel Sauce might work for some book clubs, but if yours is like mine, Huckleberry Chocolate Mousse and Spiced Glazed Nuts are better choices!

Here’s the scoop on my latest, BUTTER OFF DEAD (July 2015):

From the cover: “As the national bestselling Food Lovers’ Village mysteries continue, the merchants of Jewel Bay, Montana try to heat up chilly winter business with a new film festival. But their plans are sent reeling when a dangerous killer dims the lights on a local mover and shaker …

In an attempt to woo tourists to Jewel Bay and cheer up the townies, Erin Murphy, manager of the specialty local foods market known as the Merc, is organizing the First Annual Food Lovers’ Film Festival, popping with classic foodie flicks and local twists on favorite movie treats. But when her partner in planning, painter Christine Vandeberg, is found dead only days before the curtain rises, Erin suspects someone is attempting to stop the films from rolling.

To make matters worse, Nick—Erin’s brother and Christine’s beau—has top billing on the suspect list. Convinced her brother is innocent and determined that the show must go on, Erin must find who’s really to blame before Nick gets arrested or the festival gets shut down. And as the anniversary of Erin’s father’s death in a still-unsolved hit-and-run approaches, her own beau isn’t so keen on her leading role.
But the closer Erin gets to shining a spotlight on the killer, the more likely it becomes that she’ll be the next person cut from the program…”

The Billings Outpost called it “A tasty treat. ... The character development is top notch, and Erin is a truly likable heroine.”

BUTTER is the third in the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries, but readers assure me it stands alone, and say they weren’t at all confused by starting with the third in the series. (Even better, some then read the first two!) I think any of the three makes a great choice for a book club because of the mother-daughter theme running through the series, the struggle over visions for the family business, which will be familiar to many readers, and the setting in NW Montana, near Glacier National Park.

And, of course, the food.

A few questions to spark the discussion in your book club:

1. Erin and Christine create the Food Lovers’ Film Festival to stir up a dash of mid-winter fun. Do you have a favorite food-related movie? Is there a food-related scene from a movie that sticks in your memory and always makes you laugh—or cry, or get hungry? Have you ever been inspired to recreate a dish you’ve seen in a movie?

2. A theme of BUTTER is the drive to collect. Do you have the collector gene? What’s the oddest collection you’ve seen? The most intriguing? The thing you tossed years ago that you wish you’d saved?

3. For years, Tom Murphy’s unsolved death has haunted his family—and it turns out, others in the community as well. Did the resolution surprise you? What does the incident say about perception, misunderstanding, and grief?

And a question for you:
I’ve been in a book club where the group chose the books and another where that month’s hostess chose the book. How does your club choose? Pros and cons? What book that you loved would you not have discovered without your book club?

Leave a comment, including your email address, by eight a.m Mountain, Thurs, Sept. 17, to be entered for a chance to win a signed copy of BUTTER OFF DEAD. If you’d like bookmarks for your book club, send me your land mail address and how many you need, at leslie at lesliebudewitz dot com

And besides the mousse and nuts, your book club might enjoy Erin’s Huckleberry Martinis or Margaritas, or her Jewel Bay Critter Crunch, both from BUTTER OFF DEAD.

This recipe isn’t in any of my books yet, but when Mr. Right and I are asked to bring an appetizer, this is our go-to. People always compliment me—but he’s the one who makes it! A secret of success: We bake it just before we leave home, and wrap the dish in a towel so it’s still warm when we arrive.

Mr. Right’s Party-Perfect Artichoke Dip

1 cup marinated artichokes (1 jar), in oil, chopped
1 cup shredded Parmesan
1 cup (scant) mayonnaise

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix ingredients in an 8 or 9 inch glass pie plate or square glass baking dish.

Spread smooth. Bake for 30 minutes, until golden brown. Serve warm with a basket of baguette slices, tortilla chips, or toasted pita chips. (Oops! I was so excited to eat the goop---as we call any dip at our house---that I forgot to take a picture of the baked dip before we'd eaten 2/3 of it. I promise, you'll understand after one bite.)

Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries—and the first author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction. She lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat Ruff, a cover model and avid bird-watcher.

Connect with her on her website or on Facebook.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Celebrity Brownies for Bookclub Week!

by Peg Cochran

Welcome to my book club!  Have a seat and make yourself comfortable.  Help yourself to something to drink—we have coffee, tea, lemonade and some chilled white wine over on the sideboard. Tonight I am serving Celebrity Brownies—a recipe that comes from my friend Barb Newburg.   Their delicious richness will make you feel like a star!

We have a fun evening planned—girl-talk, a little gossip and a lively book discussion so settle back, relax and enjoy. 

 Celebrity Brownies

 1 20-oz. or 24-oz package brownie mix


½ cup butter
1 lb. powdered sugar
2 to 3 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla


1 cup bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate chips
½ cup butter


9 x 13 inch pan

Mix brownie according to directions on package for cake-like brownies.  Pour mixture into pan and bake.  Cool.


Beat ½ cup butter with electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Gradually add 2 cups powdered sugar, beating well.  Add 2 tablespoons milk and vanilla and mix well.  Frosting should be spreadable.  If frosting is too stiff, add third tablespoon of milk and mix well.

Spread frosting over cooled brownies.


Combine chocolate pieces and butter and cook, stirring, over low heat until melted.  Let cool slightly then pour chocolate mixture slowly over frosted brownies.

Refrigerate for 20 to 30 minutes.  Store at room temperature.

Makes 24 bars.

Use a brownie mix to make your basic brownies

Cream butter until light and fluffy and beat in powdered sugar, vanilla and milk

 Spread butter cream frosting on prepared brownies

Drizzle melted chocolate/butter combo over frosted brownies. 
Refrigerate for 20 to 30 minutes

Yummy Layers!

Welcome to our book club!


Tonight we’re discussing my book Unholy Matrimony from my Lucille Series.  These books are humorous cozies that touch on deeper themes like family, faith and friends.  
Here are a few discussion points for your book group.

My main character, Lucille Mazzarella, believes family is everything.  To Lucille, family includes friends as well as second cousins once removed.  How do you define family?  Do you call really good friends of your parents' aunt and uncle?

Lucille's faith means the world to her, and she's determined to see her daughter married before she gives birth and the baby baptized in the church.  How do you feel about these things?  Are they important to you?  Is Lucille hopelessly antiquated or do you think she has a point?

To Lucille, food is synonymous with love and caring.  Cooking for her family means she cares.  Do you cook for your family or do you show your love in other ways? How?

Flo has been Lucille's best friend since second grade.  They've stuck together through thick and thin.  The path hasn't always been smooth, but they've always been there for each other.  How do you feel about your friends?  Are you willing to forgive and forget if they let you down?  Or does that mean it's over?

If you find these questions intriguing, you might enjoy my Lucille Series--Confession Is Murder and Unholy Matrimony.  The third book is in the works!

I also have a culinary mystery series called Gourmet De-Lite.  My protagonist, Gigi Fitzgerald, delivers homemade gourmet low-calorie meals to her clients.  I think she would caution you that these brownies are for special occasions only!!

My blog, I'm also on Facebook and Twitter @pegcochran!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Book Club Week: Final Sentence by Daryl Wood Gerber

From Daryl aka Avery:

Welcome to book club week. I hope you'll find a wealth of new books, authors, and recipes to devour.

I've moved so many times around the country that it's been hard to find a book club where I fit in. I started a book club in Charlotte, North Carolina. We were all agreed that we would read mysteries each week, but quickly that changed, the group grew, and we were reading mainly literary fiction. A very interesting transition (away from mystery). But fun!  Since moving back to Los Angeles, I've found myself enjoying talking to book clubs via Skype. I love when the entire group has read either a Cheese Shop mystery or a Cookbook Nook mystery and they hammer me with challenging questions!! [I write two series, one under my real name, Daryl Wood Gerber, and another under my pseudonym, Avery Aames.]

No matter what, book clubs are good for stimulating the little brain cells.

If you're not familiar with the nationally bestselling Cookbook Nook mysteries, the series features Jenna Hart, an avid reader, a foodie, and an ex-advertising executive, who returns home to Crystal Cove, California to help her aunt open a culinary bookshop and café.  The shop doesn't just sell cookbooks. It also sells culinary mysteries (like the ones by Mystery Lovers Kitchen authors) as well as literary fiction, like Chocolat or Like Water from Chocolate. There are a number of bookclubs that browse the shop. One club, featured in the third in the series (which is not yet out; neither is the second - that's coming in March) is a club dedicated to all things Wizard of Oz. How cool is that! Until now, I had no idea that there were book clubs dedicated to themes.  Here's a link to an excerpt from FINAL SENTENCE.

Is your book club dedicated to one genre, or do you mix it up? What's your preferred food for the club? Do you like books about food?

Here are a couple of questions to get you going if you decide to read FINAL SENTENCE at a book club event.

  1. Family is the most important thing in the world to Jenna.  How did it affect you to find out about Jenna’s husband and mother passing away in the same month? 
  1. A theme of the book could be how one moment can change your life forever.  How has this twist of fate affected you personally?  How did it affect Jenna?

Here's the link to a full array of questions.

At the book club I ran in Charlotte, we made sure we had cookies and coffee. Sometimes we served a range of appetizers and wine.

Here is one of the easiest recipes around for a savory cookie, featured in FINAL SENTENCE. They've got a zing!! and they'll last a long time - IF you can keep yourself from eating them. I serve them with a little jam. It's like a cheese appetizer. They taste great with a crisp pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc.

(makes 30-36 cookies)

1 cup flour
4 ounces butter, softened
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (4 ounces), at room temperature
1 teaspoon water (if needed)

Cut butter into flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and cayenne pepper. Mix in cheese.

Chill. Roll onto a board using a rolling pin (and a dusting of extra flour to keep from sticking).

Cut with cookie cutters or (easy) into squares.

Place cookies on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake at 400 degrees for 8 to 9 minutes, until lightly browned.

Serve with jam, if desired.

FYI, Jenna might be a foodie, but she's not a cook. She never really learned, so in the first book of the series, she's trying her hand at cooking. Five-ingredient recipes is the trick. This one has seven. She dared to try it, but you'll notice she went the easy route and rolled out the dough, then cut it into squares. She might try using cookie cutters next time. :)

Also, note, if anyone wants to make these gluten-free, just substitute the flour with your favorite GF flour and add 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum to the recipe. 

By the way, have you heard of the Book Club Cookbook? It's filled with all sorts of good recipes from books you've probably read in your book clubs, recipes directly from the books. Yummy!  Check it out.  [I've got another cookie recipe on their website.] 

* * *

Here are a few other links to previous appetizer and/or cookie recipes that I've posted on Mystery Lovers Kitchen, all of which are easy to prepare. Many of these are featured in the Cheese Shop and Cookbook Nook mysteries.

Mango chutney and Brie

Mascarpone and Stilton Torte

Mexican Wedding Cookies 

Coconut Chocolate Cloud Cookies

Maple Leaf Rag Cookies

Savor the Mystery!!


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Next up: 
Days of Wine and Roquefort, preorder here
Inherit the Word, preorder here

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