August 20, 2014

Book Review - Eclair Murder by Harper Lin



Eclair Murder is Book 2 in the Patisserie Mystery. If you would like to read my review of Book 1 - Macaron Murder, you can read my review here 

A month after returning home we meet Clemence again putting her heart and soul into her families patisserie creating some new flavours and favourite classics 

Taking some time out from the testing kitchen Clemence decides to take her dog, Miffy, for a walk. At the park she bumps into Arthur, her neighbour who saved her life the month before. While taking their dogs for a walk, when Miffy gets away towards a bush she is found eating an eclair. 

With the eclair is a man in his 40s unresponsive. Clemence now has another murder case on her hands, and on a closer look the eclair has come from her families patisserie again.

Join Clemence while she tries to save her  patisserie employee from being wrongly commited of the murder and find out who the real killer is and why they chose the Pistachio Eclair to poison.

Everyone is a witness but this case will be a little harder for Clemence to work out compared to the Macaron Murder in her apartment building.

I am really enjoying this series and although the stories have a similar background the author ensures there is enough variance to still capture the reader. 

As with Book One, Macaron Murder, this novel has a few different recipes for sweet and savoury eclairs, including the famous Pistachio Eclair (minus the poison of course) for you to enjoy. 

I am excited to see what Book 3 will endure for Clemence




August 19, 2014

Character Interview and Review - Anniversary Killer by Alexandra Allred

Anniversary-Killer-Hi-Res-Cover

Genre: Fiction/Mystery & Detective/Women Sleuth
ISBN e-book:  978-1-61213-262-4
Available from: Amazon, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, and TWCS PH
 Summary:
Anniversary-Killer-3D-Book-StackOne o’clock and all’s . . . well, not so well, but what’s new in the world of Allie Lindell? Almost a year to the day, Mickey Callahan’s business partner was found dead from a single gunshot wound to the head and nothing but questions surrounding his murder. Now, Mickey is convinced that the same people are out to get him. After a sloppy kidnapping attempt, no one takes him seriously until the body count starts to grow. While the part-time sleuth and full-time mother of two had promised to stay away from murder and mayhem for a while, Allie can’t resist the mystery that practically ignites in her own backyard. The Allie Lindell saga returns with the third book in the series and more drama than ever as Allie continues to struggle to remember the love of her life and partner while trying to keep her head above water as she wades through the underworld of gambling, race horses, and murder.




About the Author:
aallredAlexandra Allred is a former national and professional athlete turned adventure writer turned humorist and novelist. She’s often been called the next Erma Bombeck with a grudge. Her annual Christmas letters, which have frequently made the news, could make the Grinch weep with joy. For a taste of holiday glee, see http://www.allredgreetings.blogspot.com Allred is a writer of fiction and nonfiction alike, but is most proud of the Allie Lindell series. Several close friends from her sports background and personal life have been the source of inspiration for the books. And just like Allie Lindell, Allred grew up with a father who taught her the love of reading a good obituary column. Allred writes for Waxahachie Daily Light newspaper, continues to testify in Washington D.C. on behalf of children with asthma and our need for clean air, and she’s never too far from her gym in Midlothian, Texas. You can always drop her a note at www.alexandratheauthor.com.
Connect with the Author:


Praise for Anniversary Killer
"Another humorous Allie story, and it was nice to see her sister joining the gang."  - Andrea Goodreads Review
978db-2twcs-blog-tour-banner

I really enjoyed Anniversary Killer by Alexandra Allred and decided to choose Allie to interview. Allie is a very hard working mum and I would love to welcome Allie to Sweet Little Pretties. 

Sweet Little Pretties - Although you have said you wouldn't get involved in another 
murder. Did you miss that aspect of your life prior to the incident at the Callahan's?

Allie -  That's a loaded question because while I'm in the moment, spending time 
with the girls, it is really about sticking to our schedule, making people happy, not 
pulling my hair out. I know what I am SUPPOSED to say here. I know what would 
sound best but ... here's the truth. I love my girls and my life and my family and 
my home. I know how lucky I actually am. But then, something like this ... what 
happened with Mickey pops up and you think, 'Well, I'll just go have a peek.' You 
want to see what everyone else is looking at, right? But then, its not enough. In 
my case, my best friend is begging me to find out what's going on. As a crime beat 
reporter, she loves to have me be her ears and eyes and it is so hard to resist. 
At least, this is how it seems at the time. I think, 'It can't hurt to just go look.' And 
I do. And I get hooked. Before I know it, I have questions that I want answered. 

Seemingly innocent, simple answers. Where was your dog when the house burned 
down? Isn't it weird that the night you were abducted and taken back to your house, 
your dog just happened to be spending the night at your girlfriend's house? How do 
you explain a dead body in your burned down house?

When I was hunting the answers to these questions, it really didn't seem like I was 
abandoning the promise I made about not getting involved. I was just getting a few 
answers. With Jenny helping to babysit and keep the girls on schedule, it didn't 
seem like I had strayed off course too much. Then, pow! I'm locked in a burning 
horse stall, facing certain death and ... you bet. I am rethinking everything and 
wondering how this happened! How did I let things get so far out of control?

Sweet Little Pretties - How did your life change while you were having a little break 
from solving murders?

Allie -  I love being home with the girls. Even though I joke about having to read The 
Berenstain Bears over and over again -- I love it. Sometimes I try to skip a page 
because I've read the story so many times and Krissy just quietly reaches over and 
turns the page back. "You missed one, Mommy." Ah. Yes. Sorry. But I know these 
are the best times of our lives. When I am in that moment, when the house is quiet 
and Krissy is nestled down against me, I love it. I do.

Sweet Little Pretties - How did you feel seeing your little girl go running towards 
the fire? It could have gone completely wrong in an instant, you seemed to collect 
yourself quite quickly

Allie - I remember that day well. I can still see her running as fast as her little legs 
would carry her toward the house. But I also know her and could see everything 
laid out before me. Even though she was still running and even though you, as a 
mom, still have that STOP! moment, it was all well in hand. Just a week prior, we 
had gone to the Columbus Zoo and she had taken off toward the ducks at the pond. 

She could have fallen in the water or, more likely, been attacked by the swans. 
When she first began to run off toward the pond, we foolishly thought there was 
a barrier around the pond. Nope. As soon as we saw she was full on toward the 
water, Rae Ann ran after her and quickly caught her. Even with Rae Ann in hot 
pursuit, I had that STOP! moment and did nearly scream out loud. (Never mind 
there were about ten other parents simultaneously screaming at their own children 
for the same reason).

I do not want to sound as though I am poo-pooing a burning house but given the 
distance and the situation, I was actually more alarmed about the swans at the zoo 
than Krissy making it over the bridge.

In hindsight, I wish I had stayed in the car but I also know no one was ever truly in 
danger. But ... yeah ... that is one in which I do wish I had a do-over moment. I have 
a lot of those.

Sweet Little Pretties - Whilst recovering from the possibility of loosing your daughter 
in an instant you still decided to take on the role to find out more information and 
become involved in the process?

Allie - Did Rae Ann put you up to these questions?? As I told her (and Sandy was 
there as witness!), it really wasn't that bad. I just had that initial mom freak-out 
moment but it was all well in hand and mostly, I didn't like that she took off running. 

I think we've pretty much stopped that little game of hers. Not so long ago, there 
was a terrible story about a little boy being killed on Halloween day because he ran 
into the parking lot, so excited about candy, and was struck by a car. After that, we 
squashed the whole run-as-fast-as-you-can-with-wild-abandon!

In regards to continuing on, yes, I cannot deny it. With babes well in hand, I 
pressed on to see what was happening. It is a need to know that I can't really 
explain. Since I was a child and my father spoke to me about murder and mystery 
and digging for truth, I have always been the one to take an extra peek at things.

Sweet Little Pretties - Allie, you put not only your family but your body on the line in 
this mystery. Would you make the same decision if you had this case again?

Allie - Ok, seriously. Rae Ann is paying you, isn't she?
Hmmm. Of all my cases, this would be the one in which I would have to say, no. I 
would not make the same decision because of my girls. I was foolish. I really was. 
And sometimes it is moments like this that really make you step back and take 
stock of your life. I was in way over my head and almost paid too dear a price for it. 

Luck and the love of my sister saved my rear end! After that case, I spent a lot of 
quiet time with the girls. We did the tree park and the blue park, we fed the ducks 
and watched more Disney and did a bunch of those things I thought I was losing my 
mind over and I loved it.

I don't know. Maybe that was exactly what I needed. Ok. Scratch that. I didn't need 
it but it sure made me put things into perspective.

Sweet Little Pretties - Do you think you will be taking on any more cases in the 
future knowing how it affected the people around you?

Allie - Oooh. Excellent question. I can't say too much about it but in a case coming 
up I was able to help a grieving mother in a way no one else could. Her son was 
murdered. She knew it. She felt it. But no one else believed her. She could not get 
the police or anyone to look in to a case that had been dubbed a suicide. She had 
pushed for further investigation and was oh-so-sweetly told to go away. Basically, 
they let it be known that they thought her a mom driven crazy with grief. When 

Sandy did an initial follow-up call to the chief of police, he told Sandy that the 
mother was delusional because she was so grief stricken and just couldn't face the 
facts.

I was able to bring about a case that got two police officers fired, two more people 
before a grand jury and the truth about her son, though very difficult for her to hear, 
revealed to the world. He was murdered and at long last, justice was served.

A few weeks later, the mother delivered a hand-written note to my daughters telling 
them what I had done for her son. I will treasure this card forever and know that one 
day my daughters will know that I always tried to make a difference in the world and 
while I don't always go about it in the most conventional manner, I seek truth and I 
help people.

If I can learn to strike the balance between helping others, making a better world 
but always remember I'm a mom first .. well, I'll keep you posted. That's the end 
game!

Sweet Little Pretties - Allie, Thank-you so much for having a chat with us today. I 
am so glad to get further insight into why you love what you do but also your family. I wasn't paid by Rae Ann I believe you are a very strong woman and can not wait to see where life will lead you next. 

August 18, 2014

Spinach and Feta Mini Quiches




Looking for a quick and easy lunch, dinner or even a snack? 

These spinach and feta mini quiches are perfect straight out of the oven or even cold

To make my quiches I use Pearl the KitchenAid but you can easily make these in various different appliances or even by hand

Spinach and Feta Mini Quiches

Pastry

225 grams of Plain Flour
1/4 Cup of Cold Water (I use direct from the fridge)
50 grams Butter, cubed

Spinach and Feta Filling

100 grams of fresh spinach leaves
30 grams fresh feta, cubed
3 Eggs
Dash of Milk

Pastry Method

1. Mix all ingredients into your Kitchenaid or mix master and mix until butter is smooth and pastry has formed. 
2. Wrap in cling wrap and place in the fridge for 20-30 minutes. 
3. Once time has passed sprinkle a small amount of plain flour on a clean bench and roll out your pastry to roughly 2mm
4. Using a circle cookie cutter, scone cutter or even the top of a mug cut out 12 circles and place into a lightly oiled muffin tin.
5. Preheat oven at 200 degrees

Spinach and Feta Filling

1. In a small fry pan on medium heat add spinach leaves for 2 minutes 
2. Add fresh feta to the spinach leaves and mix for 30 seconds - keep stirring with a wooden spoon so the feta does not melt completely 
3. Using the whisk attachment for your Kitchenaid, Mix Master or even a fork whisk 3 eggs and a dash of milk until light and combined
4. Fold through spinach and feta mixture
5. Using a Tablespoon carefully spoon mixture into pastry which has been placed into the muffin tin
6. Place in the oven for 15-20 or until golden

Makes 12 mini quiches 

August 17, 2014

10 Books to start baby's first collection



There are a few friends having babies or just announced they are pregnant. Whilst I don't have any children of my own I believe books are a great present for welcoming a new baby.

I have previously brought books for baby showers and it is amazing seeing them engaged in the book over the next couple of years. 

I thought I would put together my Top 10 books to start baby's first collection 

1. The Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle (my all time favourite children's book)

2. Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell

3. Who Sank the Boat by Pamela Allen

4. Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox 

5. There is a Hippopotamus on my roof eating cake by Hazel Edwards

6. The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson

7. Peter Rabbit Collection by Beatrix Potter - There are so many Peter Rabbit books out there but they are all gorgeously illustrated

8. Where is the Green Sheep? By Mem Fox 

9. Dr Suess Books - so many Dr Suess books to choose from including Oh the Places You'll go and Green Eggs and Ham 

10. Possum Magic by Mem Fox 

The great thing about starting baby's first collection is the fact you know these will be cherished for years and you can also write a personally message in the book as a keepsake.

There is a great selection of children's books available

One day I will be able to share my collection I have stored away that I collect for my baby's first collection

What was your favourite book growing up? 

August 16, 2014

Limited Edition Cadbury Chocolate - Strawberries and Creme & ToffeeBrittle



We had the extremely hard task of trying two of the latest Limited Edition Cadbury flavours. When I say we I decided to let my husband be part of todays post. 

He is my chief Chocolate Master - I normally leave him in front of the blocks of chocolates in the supermarket and there is always excitement when a new flavour comes out by Cadbury. 

You can imagine the excitement when I opened a parcel recently with two new limited edition flavours, which he had not see before in the shops, he was beside himself and needed (maybe begged) to be part of this post. 

Cadbury have two new glorious flavours which are classic twists including Strawberries and Creme and Toffee Brittle. 

The Limited Edition packs are available in Peel and Reseal packages and are available in the perfect size of 120 grams for RRP $2.00



Dairy Milk - Strawberries & Creme

From the moment you open the packet the smell is simply amazing! The chocolate is smooth and creamy with a strong Strawberry Flavour. 

As with the name the filling is Strawberry Cream which is thicker than the normal creme filling in the Cadbury range, which is fantastic as strawberry is one of my favourite flavours with chocolate.

My chief Chocolate Master gives the Strawberries and Creme flavour 4 out of 5 milk chocolate blocks 



Dairy Milk - Toffee Brittle

Crunchy Almonds in Milk Chocolate - Did that get your attention???

Chunky pieces of almond toffee pieces, it is a flavour packed chocolate. Don't be too concerned about the chocolate being too hard for your teeth as the texture is simply delightful

My chief Chocolate Master gives the Toffee Brittle flavour 5 out of 5 milk chocolate blocks

Strawberries and Creme and Toffee Brittle are available in Supermarkets now!

Please note we received a block of each flavour to taste and review. 

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