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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  1. Oh boy, you would be a very popular hostess with all those goodies Daryl! And the questions should get a great discussion going!

  2. Thanks, Lucy/Roberta. I do love all these kinds of goodies. I do very well at a snack party! With wine and good discussion. Nothing better!

    Daryl / Avery

  3. All of this looks delicious! You'll have a stimulating and appetizing book discussion!

    1. Thanks, Peg! An appetizing book discussion. Cute :)

      Daryl / Avery

  4. What a lovely spread, Daryl! Your book club is lucky indeed and that includes getting to read Final Sentence.



    1. Thanks, Daryl. Like I said, snacks and more snacks when it comes to reading and chatting! :)

      Daryl / Avery

  5. Daryl/Avery - You've got great ideas here for a Cookbook Nook book club meeting (or a Cheese Shop Mystery meeting). I love the savory cheese cookie idea served with wine--what a nice, inventive change-up from cheese straws. That's what I'd choose for my book club meeting for Final Sentence!

    Happy eating and reading!
    ~ Cleo

    1. Thanks, Cleo, so glad you like. These were the easiest cookies to make. Truly, Jenna could have made them in a snap! :)

      Daryl / Avery

  6. Daryl, all of these cookie recipes look luscious, especially the Mexican wedding cookies. And I LOVED Final Sentence!

    1. Hi, Linda, I'm thrilled that you loved Final Sentence. Thank you! I adore the Mexican wedding cookies. Each one of these cookies, actually. They're so totally different! Enjoy.

      Daryl / Avery

  7. Love that picture of you. So cute! I bet the cookies would be a huge hit -- and perfect for all of your books, actually! A lovely change from sweets.


  8. Love that picture of you. So cute! I bet the cookie