Be glad in the Lord and rejoice! Psalm 32:11

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Christmas Countdown! 30 Days Until Christmas!!! Reviews of "One Week In December" and "Holiday Grind"

Wow, here it is November 25th…just 30 days until Christmas. Anyone feeling stressed yet? (weak grin!!)

My plans are, as of Monday, to try and post a new holiday book for each day until Christmas. I’ve got a teetering stack here next to the desk, so I think I’ll make it! Be sure to check back and see what I’ll post each day!

Well, got to get the pies made today, and the turkey ready for tomorrow. I want to wish each and every reader a Happiest of Thankgsgivings!

Meanwhile, here are two delightful holiday offerings that might get you in the Holiday Spirit!

To call Holly Chamberlin’s novel, “One Week In December,” a holiday tale would be correct, as it is set during the week of Christmas. But it is also a family drama, a romance, and a mystery of a sort – all in one!

Becca Rowan has traveled to Maine to spend Christmas with her family, but celebrating the holiday is not what Becca has in mind. Her foremost singular thought, the thought that had been her obsession for over a year, is that this will be the year that she claims her daughter as her own, and nothing will stop her.

Not even if the news will tear her family apart.

A 16 year old when her daughter was born, Becca had been encouraged by her family to give her baby to her older brother and his wife to raise as their own. She agreed not to tell Rain that she was her mother until she turned 21, but now older, and she thinks wiser, Becca longs to break that promise and raise Rain as her own. She know that her announcement to the family would be shocking, but the absolute outrage and disbelief Becca encounters is shocking to her. Her brother is livid, his wife is heartbroken, her parents are confused and her other siblings are disappointed that Becca would even consider doing this.

As Becca reflects on her decision and how it would affect everyone she loves, she meets Alex, her father’s friend and next-door neighbor. She feels a sudden connection with the gentle sculptor, and finds as she gets to know him, that she feels comfortable revealing her deepest feelings and secrets. And slowly but surely, Becca begins to learn the true power of love and that sometimes sacrifice is the greatest showing of that emotion.

“One Week In December” is one of those novels that will remain in your heart long after you read it. Holly Chamberlin has done a masterful job of crafting a tale that touches the heart and soul of her readers.

No place does Christmas better than New York City, and with the season drawing near coffeehouse manager Clare Cosi is getting in the mood for the season. But her holly jolly holidays may turn blue when she discovers Santa has been gunned down in a nearby alley. And Clare may be spending the holidays in the pokey if she doesn’t clear her own name in the red-suited old elf’s murder.

In the eighth edition of Cleo Coyle’s Coffeehouse Mysteries, “Holiday Grind,” sassy barista Clare Cosi finds herself once again faced with solving a murder while brewing up some of the most delicious coffee in New York City.

Clare was extremely fond of Alfred Glockner, the part-time charity Santa who would stop by the Village Blend to warm up on cold days. And when she finds him brutally gunned down, Clare finds more than a few clues that leads her to believe that Alf’s death was more than a mugging.

For a while, Clare herself is considered a suspect, but is cleared with a little help from her boyfriend, NYPD Detective Mike Quinn. But Mike is too busy with a case of his own to help Clare track down Santa’s killer, so it’s up to Clare to try and find out who would snuff out Jolly Ol’ St. Nick, but would her curiosity cause her to become the next holiday tragedy of the season?

Cleo Coyle (which is the pseudonymn for the husband/wife writing team of Marc Cerasini and Alice Alfonsi) once again offers a lively cup of perfectly brewed mystery that is sure to delight fans of the Coffeehouse Mysteries. In addition to the fast-paced action, this well-crafted story also offers a holiday treat in the form of delicious coffee and dessert recipes guaranteed to make mouths water! Coffee, candy canes and a cozy mystery…what a luscious combo for the holidays!

From Cleo Coyle’s website – www.coffeehousemystery.com

Cuppa Joe Mocha Drops

Servings: Makes 2-3 dozen, depending on size


3/4 cup butter (1-1/2 sticks), softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup brewed coffee +
1 tablespoon instant coffee crystals (or 2 teaspoons
espresso powder)
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour (measure after sifting)
½ cup unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sweetened flaked coconut (optional)

(1) Make batter: Using an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar.
When blended and fluffy, mix in remaining ingredients. (I love the
taste of coconut in these cookies but you can easily leave it out or
substitute 3/4 cup of your favorite nut, chopped.)

(2) Drop & bake: Drop cookies by spoonfuls onto a baking sheet,
greased or lined to prevent sticking. For a softer, chewier cookie bake
at 350 degree F for 12.15 minutes. For a crisper cookie exterior, bake at
300 degree F for 18.20 minutes. Enjoy!

(3) Optional mocha frosting: In a nonstick saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons
butter over medium-low heat, add 2 tablespoons cold, brewed coffee and
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa. (Do not boil or you may get a scorched
taste.) While stirring, add 1-1/2 cups powdered sugar until mixture is melted
and smooth. (This is the right amount of powdered sugar; just keep stirring
over heat and it will all melt.) Remove from heat and work quickly with pastry
brush to frost cooled cookies. Note: Frosting hardens fast! You can always
reheat, stir, and add a bit more coffee to soften again.


....Petty Witter said...

I'm doing my first ever book challenge which, as you might have expected, has a holiday theme. Thanks for the reviewing of these books, they give me some idea of what is available out there. I just hope our library is able to get hold of them.

Good luck with your book-a-day.

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

Sharon this posts looks wonderful! The books look great and the treats look yummy!I tried to get on your blog a couple days ago but it kept going to a different page. Glad to see I can get on now. :)

Janel said...

I don't have Holiday Grind yet, but I've seen the list of recipes and they sound fabulous! I can't wait to get that book.

Sheila Deeth said...

I've just read my first Cleo Coyle book and I loved it. I'll be watching your posts for Christmas books. Thanks.