Reading Round-Up: December Edition

It’s almost 2021! This is my last reading round-up for 2020, and pretty soon this year will be just a memory. Though 2020 brought lots of changes and more than a few blessings to my family, I know that’s not the case for millions of people all over the world.

Reading has always been a great escape, and my belief is that books have been more important than ever during the past nine tumultuous months. I hope you’ve enjoyed my reviews and that you’ve been inspired to read and review a few books of your own. I look forward to continuing my reviews in 2021 and I hope you’ll join me.

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A Noël Killing (A Provençal Mystery Book 8) by [M. L. Longworth]

The first book I read this month was A Noël Killing by M.L. Longworth. I was looking for a Christmas mystery, and though I hadn’t read the first 7 books in the Provençal Mystery Series, I took a chance on this one. I enjoyed it. It’s a traditional mystery, as opposed to a cozy mystery or a thriller, and the setting in the south of France made it feel exotic. You can read my four-star review here.

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The Getaway: A Magical Christmas Story by [Bibiana Krall]

Next up was The Getaway: A Short Read Christmas Romance by Bibiana Krall. If you know someone with a humbuggy heart this year, give them this book to read. If it doesn’t bring a smile to their face, nothing will. It’s a quick read (as the title suggests), it’s got everything I look for in a Christmas story, and it wraps up with a note from the author that makes the tale even more endearing. Read my review here.

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Two books down, five to go in the Harry Potter series! Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets was a great read, and my husband grabbed it up as soon as I finished it. There was really only one thing I didn’t understand in the story, and that was the presence of one particular character. But as I say in my very short review, that really didn’t matter, because the book was a treat to read. Why did I wait so long to start this series?? Read my review here.

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Mistletoe and Mayhem: Yuletide at Castlewood Manor by [Veronica Cline Barton]

Mistletoe and Mayhem: Yuletide at Castlewood Manor, Book 4 in the My American Almost-Royal Cousin Series by Veronica Cline Barton, was a fun Christmas read that I devoured in a few hours. If you are a royal watcher and you like cozy mysteries, this is one for you. Read my review here.

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The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding: A Hercule Poirot Short Story (Hercule Poirot Series Book 33) by [Agatha Christie]

It seems there are two versions of Agatha Christie’s Christmas short story The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding, a shorter one and a longer one, and I have to say I don’t know which one I read. Whichever one it was, it was throroughly enjoyable. I love a good Hercule Poirot mystery, and this one was fun. Poirot is hired to (discreetly, as always) spend Christmas at an English manor house where he hopes to recover a ruby that was stolen from a prince who had placed himself in a, ahem, compromising situation. What ensues is a mystery that is finally solved after a key clue is found in the Christmas pudding. Read my review here.

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Menace at the Christmas Market: An English Village Murder Mystery (Murder on Location Book 5) by [Sara Rosett]

Menace at the Christmas Market by Sara Rosett was a great short mystery. Though it’s not the first book in the Murder on Location series, I found that it was easy to follow. I was brought up to speed instantly with the main character and her job as a location scout in England for a Jane Austen documentary series (I want that job!) and her relationship with Alex, another recurring character in the series. This is a quick read that has all the satisfying elements of a longer novel—murder, red herrings, and a great setting. Highly recommend! Read my review here.

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A LITTLE TASTE OF MURDER: A Brightwater Bay Cozy Mystery (book 1) (Brightwater Bay Cozy Mysteries) by [Carolyn L. Dean]

This was the 60th book I read this year, and my goal was to read 59 books. So…mission accomplished! And bonus—it was a great book AND the first in a series! A Little Taste of Murder by Carolyn L. Dean was an intriguing Christmas mystery with a gorgeous setting (the Pacific Northwest), wonderful and well-drawn characters, and some engaging red herrings. I didn’t figure out whodunit, and I love that in a mystery. Read my review here and put this on your TBR list if you love a good cozy!

That’s all, folks! Happy New Year!

Until next time,

Amy

Book Blogs to Follow…

…because we don’t have enough to do.

This week I’m going to keep it short because we’re all busy. But I do want to share four bookish blogs that I think you’ll love. My advice? Bookmark them and come back to them when things aren’t so hectic, because it’s fun to browse through their pages and find all kinds of great books and great authors.

And so here they are, in alphabetical order:

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Blur, Blurred, Book, Book Pages

A Blue Million Books

This is author Amy Metz’s blog. She doesn’t do book reviews, but she features tons of interviews, guest blogs, book spotlights, excerpts, and more from a huge number of authors. You’re very likely to find something to tickle your fancy on this blog. Amy is the author of the Goose Pimple Junction mysteries, and I can tell you they’re excellent. So while you’re looking for your next favorite author at A Blue Million Books, check out Amy’s books, too!

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Christmas, December, Background

2. Aunt Sairy’s Book Reviews

I came across this fairly new blog recently when Sarah, the owner of the blog, reviewed my book The Worst Noel in such a way that brought tears to my eyes. It’s that beautiful (click here to read the review for yourself). All of Sarah’s reviews are heartfelt, honest, and thorough without containing any spoilers. Sarah reads and reviews mostly cozy mysteries, so if you’re looking for a good cozy to read, you’re bound to find one on her blog. And bonus: you get a behind-the-scenes look at life with her dog, Havoc, who sounds like a big, cuddly bear.

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Cocoa, Whipped Cream, Cookies, Read

3. Discovery

A treasure trove of bookish delights begun by the folks at Reedsy, this site includes a blog (under the
“Blog” tab) with such posts as “45 Best True Crime Books of All Time,” “30 Best Memoirs of the Last Century,” and “The Essential Guide to Reading the Sherlock Holmes Books,” among many other topics. But it also includes (under the “Discover” tab) a gazillion books that you can search by genre, keyword, and/or date added to the site.

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Winter, Snow, Landscape, Book Hut, Cold

4. Dru’s Book Musings

Dru Ann Love, as her name suggests, is a beloved member of the mystery community. She’s an avid reader who also quilts, writes poetry, and works full-time. How she manages to blog the way she does, I have no idea. But I’m glad she does, because there’s always something new to discover on her site. She features new releases, cover reveals, her own reviews, and the “Day in the Life” series of guest posts (written by the characters in upcoming books!!).

I hope you’ll take some time to peruse all these blogs. They’re great fun for me to browse, and I always come away from them with a list of new books and authors I’d love to learn more about.

Do you have a favorite book blog you’d like to share? I’d love to hear your suggestions!

Until next time, wishing all of you a merry Christmas,

Amy

Candied Citrus Peel

Years ago, my aunt started baking and giving away loaves of stöllen for Christmas.

What’s Stöllen?

Stöllen is a delicious, yeasty bread (sometimes called “Christstöllen) that is traditionally made at Christmastime. It is chock full of nuts, fruits, rum-soaked raisins, and marzipan and covered in powdered sugar. Like any homemade bread, it takes a little bit of time to make, but it’s easy and oh-so-worth-it.

My aunt would make this bread every December, and every other year when we visited for Christmas, she would give us a loaf. Alas, my aunt (and the rest of my family) lives in an area where the weather can be very unpredictable starting in November, so we had to stop planning Christmas trips to see everyone.

We also had to learn how to live without stöllen during the holiday season.

That would not do.

So I started making it myself. I’m not going to reprint the instructions here today, but here’s a link to the recipe I use. You’ll note, if you read the recipe, that the authors recommend making your own candied citrus peel (I also recommend a read because it’s a fascinating look at the history of the bread).

Candied Citrus Peel

I use the recipe for candied citrus peel that the authors link to in the stöllen recipe. It’s easy and delicious. In fact, each year the little sister of one of my son’s friends asks, “When are the Reades making those orange peel things?” Note to that little sister: you’ll be receiving some in a few days.

My son and I made the candied citrus peel today and I documented the process with photos. We used one red grapefruit, one lemon, one lime, and three oranges.

Wash your fruit first!

Slice the top and bottom from each piece of fruit.

Score the peels so the fruit is divided into fourths (just to make it easier to remove the peel), then remove the peel.

Save the fruit for juice or cooking!

Slice each piece of peel into 1/4″ wide strips.

Boil the strips in plain old water for 15 minutes.

Drain the strips, rinse them, drain them again, and repeat the boiling/draining/rinsing/draining sequence TWO more times.

Once the fruit is draining for the last time, mix 2 c. of sugar and 1 c. of water in the pot.

Bring it to a boil and boil for 2 minutes to dissolve the sugar.

Add the peels and simmer for about an hour, stirring occasionally.

While I wait for the peels to finish simmering, I pour some granulated sugar into the food processor and give it a whirr for a minute or so. Pour the sugar into a Zip-loc-type bag.

After the peels have simmered for an hour, scoop them out a few at a time and let them drain…

before tossing them in the sugar.

Take the peels out of the bag and lay them on a baking rack to dry. Repeat with the rest of the peels.

Save that leftover syrup! It makes a mean Tom Collins!

You have to let the peels dry out for a day or two, then use them up or freeze them. Eat them, give them as gifts, chop them up in stöllen, or use them in any other way you can think of!

I wish you happy cooking! Stöllen is a fairly new tradition for our family (within the past five years or so)—what holiday traditions do you have?

Until next time,

Amy

First Tuesday Recipes for December

This is my final recipe post for 2020 and I’m going all-out with a holiday baking edition. So no matter what holiday you celebrate, or even if you don’t celebrate, gather your ingredients and get ready to make some delicious goodies to share this season.

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Peanut Crisp Bars

(with thanks to my mom)

1/2 c. sugar

1/2 c. light corn syrup

1 c. peanut butter

2 c. crispy rice cereal

1/2 c. butter

1/4 c. brown sugar, packed

1 T. milk

1/2 t. vanilla

1 1/4 c. powdered sugar

In a large saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup, and a dash of salt. Cook and stir until sugar is dissolved. Stir in peanut butter and then stir in cereal. Pat mixture evenly into a greased 8×8″ or a 9×9″ square pan.

In a small saucepan, melt butter and brown sugar. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat; add milk and vanilla. Stir in powdered sugar and beat with an electric mixer until smooth.

Spread butter mixture over cereal mixture; chill. Cut into bars.

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Cherry Bonbon Cookies

(with thanks to my dad)

For the cookies:

1 1/2 c. flour

1/8 t. salt

1/2 c. butter, softened

3/4 c. powdered sugar

2 T. milk

1 t. vanilla

24 maraschino cherries, drained well and patted dry

For the glaze:

1 c. powdered sugar

1 T. butter, melted

2 T. maraschino cherry juice

additional powdered sugar

Make the cookies:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a mixing bowl, combine flour and salt. In another mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Add milk and vanilla to the butter mixture and beat well. Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat until well blended.

Divide dough into 24 portions. Shape each portion around a cherry, forming a ball. Place cookies on an ungreased baking sheet.

Bake for 18-20 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on a baking rack.

Make the glaze:

Combine 1 c. powdered sugar, butter, and cherry juice until smooth and a little runny. Add more cherry juice if too thick.

Drizzle glaze over cookies; dust with additional powdered sugar if desired.

***

Coconut-Macadamia Nut Bars

Bottom layer:

1 c. flour

1/2 c. packed brown sugar

1/2 c. butter, softened

Top layer:

1 c. packed brown sugar

2 T. flour

1/2 t. baking powder

1 1/2 c. shredded coconut

1 t. vanilla

1 c. diced macadamia nuts

2 eggs

Combine ingredients for bottom layer in a medium bowl. Beat well and press into 9×9″ pan. Bake for 12 minutes.

Mix ingredients for top layer until well-blended. Spread mixture over hot bottom layer and bake for another 20 minutes.

Enjoy!

Until next time,

Amy

P.S. If you don’t already subscribe to my newsletter, click here! Every month I include a bonus recipe in the newsletter, along with news and deals!

We Are the World Blogfest #WATWB

It’s the last Friday in November, and time for some good news to take you into December with a smile. The post I’ve chosen to share this month was brought to my attention by my friend Carol Thompson and is great news for anyone interested in keeping our marine habitats clean, but it’s especially exciting for me because the story comes from Ocean City, New Jersey, which is just a few miles from my home.

The story is about a program to incubate shellfish, and in particular clams, for the dual purpose of cleansing the ecosystem in the bay waters of the Atlantic Ocean and of building “habitat castles” that will help protect the low-lying barrier island from flooding. The incubator is also used to teach local students about shoreline ecosystems and marine management.

Click here to read the story.

Here’s how #WATWB works: On the last Friday of each month a number of bloggers participate in a worldwide blog hop in which each blogger highlights a story that spreads good news, happiness, and hope.

Your cohosts for this month are Lizbeth Hartz, Inderpreet Uppal, Shilpa Garg, Damyanti Biswas, and Roshan Radhakrishnan. And if you want to read more uplifting articles, please visit the WATWB Facebook page here or the Twitter home page here to find links to other stories.

Want to join? Click this link to sign up and help spread some happiness!

Reading Round-Up: November Edition

I didn’t read as many books as I would have liked during November because I was participating in NaNoWriMo (a novel-writing challenge, for those of you who are unfamiliar), but I did manage to sneak in a few reads. Add your own November reads to the comments below!

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The Secret French Recipes of Sophie Valroux by [Samantha Vérant]

First up this month was The Secret French Recipes of Sophie Valroux by Samantha Vérant. If you know me, you know why the title of this book intrigued me—I thought I would be reading scads of French recipes. But alas, there are only a few recipes in the back of the book, and those are not ones I’m likely to make.

Anyway, this was a romance. Let me start by saying I’m not a romance reader unless there’s a mystery to solve, too, and there wasn’t much mystery in this one. The beginning of the story is a little too dramatic to be believable, but who am I to say? I’ve never lost a job at a Michelin-starred restaurant. Once the main character moves to France, the story gets better. I think readers will find themselves getting hungry while they read this book and they are DEFINITELY going to want to travel to France. Read my review here.

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It’s time I let you all in on a shameful secret.

Until this month, I have never read any of the Harry Potter books. I have, likewise, never seen any of the Harry Potter movies.

I read this book because the Harry Potter books are among my niece’s favorites and she was appalled (read: disgusted, horrified, speechless) that I hadn’t read them yet. I promised her I would read Book 1 before Thanksgiving so we could discuss it together (it may have to be over the phone thanks to COVID, but we’ll still discuss it).

In short, the book is AMAZING. I can’t wait to read the second one. I would love to spend just ten minutes inside J.K. Rowling’s imagination and discover where she learned to tell stories like this. You can read my review and 7 million others here.

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I had never heard of Kahlil Gibran’s book The Prophet until I read a review of it on someone else’s blog (thanks, Debby Gies!). And what a book. First published in 1923, The Prophet is a collection of short essays that make up a story. The essays (there are almost 30!) cover every topic from good and evil to crime and punishment to eating and drinking to prayer to children to joy and sorrow and everything in between. The beautifully poetic essays are full of spiritual lessons and brilliant metaphors for human life and behavior. If I could give this book ten stars, I would. Read my review here.

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THE BODY IN THE TRANSEPT a cozy murder mystery full of twists (Dorothy Martin Mystery Book 1) by [JEANNE M.  DAMS]

The final book I had time to read this month was The Body in the Transept by Jeanne M. Dams. This was a thoroughly enjoyable cozy mystery, complete with English setting, a widowed main character, a much-loved cat, and plenty of suspects. I did manage to guess the killer, but the operative word there is “guess.” I was totally wrong about the motive and that was part of what made this book so much fun to read. I highly recommend it. Read my review here.

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Remember, every Wednesday afternoon at 1:45 Eastern, I and the other two authors who make up the BookEm channel on YouTube debut a new episode! This week I’m in the hot seat, talking about the importance of hobbies and introducing you to a few new-to-me reads! Join me here at 1:45 if you can. If you can’t join me then, drop by to watch the video at your leisure anytime after that!

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I wish all of my American friends a happy and safe Thanksgiving! And to the rest of you, have a great week!

Until next time,

Amy

A Hidden Gem

As many of you know, I have been working (forever, it feels like) on Book 2 in the Libraries of the World Mystery Series. In the first book, Trudy’s Diary, protagonist Daisy Carruthers uses collections from the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, to solve the mysteries. In Book 2, Dutch Treat, Daisy has taken a sabbatical from Global Human Rights Journal in Washington to work for one semester as an associate professor at a small college in New York City. As you might expect, the New York Public Library collections play a key role in this book.

I’ve done a great deal of research for Dutch Treat and a lot of that research has been about the main branch of the New York Public Library (the one on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street).

But the New York Public Library has more than just the main branch. In fact, it has 88 branches. And many of these are old—old enough to have been heated with coal in the early part of the twentieth century.

And how do you think the heating system worked when the library was closed?

Easy. Custodians were employed to keep the heating systems running overnight and on weekends. Those custodians and their families lived in apartments on the top floor of each library.

How cool would it be to live in a library??

This week, I’m sharing an article from Atlas Obscura that highlights one of the old custodian apartments: the one from Fort Washington. There are some interesting photos and some anecdotes from people who remember the custodians who took care of the libraries.

Enjoy!

Click here to be redirected to the article.

Until next time,

Amy

First Tuesday Recipes for November

To paraphrase Jane Austen, it is a truth universally acknowledged, that fall is a great time for comfort food. And to celebrate this time of year, I’ve got three cozy, warm recipes for you this month.

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Cream of Mushroom Soup (with thanks to my father)

1 pound button mushrooms, caps and stems separated (you can probably use more exotic mushrooms if you’d like, but I’ve only tried it with button mushrooms)

1/2 c. butter

1 t. lemon juice

1 sm. onion, chopped

1/3 c. flour

3 c. chicken stock (use vegetable stock to make the soup vegetarian)

1 t. salt

1/4 t. pepper

1 c. heavy cream

1 handful fresh thyme

Trim tough ends from mushroom stems and discard; coarsely chop stems and set aside. Slice mushroom caps thinly.

In a 4-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat, melt butter. Sauté sliced mushroom caps with lemon juice until mushrooms are tender, stirring frequently. Using a slotted spoon, remove caps from butter and set aside.

Reduce heat to medium-low. In remaining butter, sauté onion and mushroom stems until onion is tender. Add flour and and stir until blended. Cook mixture for 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Gradually stir in stock. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is thickened.

Using immersion blender, blend mixture until smooth. You can also use a regular blender and blend the mixture in batches, being careful because the mixture is hot.

Stir in salt, pepper, cream, reserved mushroom caps, and thyme. Cook until soup is completely heated through.

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Apple Cider Chicken

1/4 c. flour

1/2 t. salt

1/4 t. pepper

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

3 T. butter, divided

3 cooking apples, peeled, cored, and sliced thickly (Granny Smiths work well)

1/4 shallots, finely chopped

1 T. fresh thyme (or 1 t. dried)

1/2 c. apple cider

1/2 c. chicken broth

3 T. heavy cream

Combine flour, salt, and pepper in a large shallow bowl. Dredge chicken in flour mixture.

In a large skillet, melt 2 T. butter over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook, turning once, for 5 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Transfer chicken to a plate and keep warm by tenting it with foil.

Melt remaining 1 T. butter in same skillet over medium heat. Add apples, shallots, and thyme. Cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes or until lightly golden.

Add apple cider and broth; bring to a simmer. Return chicken (and any juices on the plate) to pan; reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer until chicken is heated through, about 10 minutes. Place chicken on platter; keep warm. Add cream to skillet; stir until heated through. Spoon sauce over chicken.

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Apple-Cinnamon Cheesecake

1 1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs (about 10 full sheets)

5 T. butter, melted

1 1/4 c. sugar, divided

1 lb. cream cheese, softened

1 t. vanilla

2 t. cinnamon

4 eggs

2 oz. apple juice (or 1 oz. apple juice and 1 oz. brandy)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine graham cracker crumbs, butter, and 1/4 c. sugar in a medium bowl. Press mixture on bottom and about 1/2″ up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake for 8 minutes. When you take the crust out of the oven, place the pan on a large piece of aluminum foil and wrap the foil tightly around the pan, making sure the foil goes partway up the side of the pan. Allow crust to cool slightly.

Decrease oven temperature to 300 degrees.

Using a handheld mixer, mix cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Add eggs one at a time and beat well. Add juice (or juice and brandy). Mix for 3-4 minutes on medium speed and pour into prepared crust.

Prepare a water bath for the cheesecake. If you need instructions on how to do that, click here for a quick tutorial.

Bake cheesecake for 65-70 minutes or until center is almost set. Allow to cool completely in fridge before serving.

Enjoy!

Got any recipes you’d like to share? Email me at amymreadeauthor[at]gmail[dot]com and I’ll put them in a future post.

Until next time,

Amy

Reading Round-Up: October Edition

It’s been another great month of reading! I hope you’ll take a look at the titles I share this month and add your own to the comments.

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Murder on Astor Place: A Gaslight Mystery

The first book I finished this month was Murder on Astor Place, Book 1 in the Gaslight Mystery Series by Victoria Thompson. This is an historical mystery set in New York City around the turn of the twentieth century and features main character Sarah Brandt, ex-socialite-turned-midwife who is compelled to help solve the mystery of a young woman’s death shortly after meeting the girl under stressful circumstances. I am going to read every one of the Gaslight Mysteries! Read my review here.

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Alice by [Bibiana Krall]

Next up was Alice by Bibibana Krall. If you receive my newsletter, you may remember that Bibiana is one of the authors who makes up the BookEm YouTube team, of which I am a part. With that being said, Bibiana writes paranormal stories in a way that makes me feel like I’m right there, watching the scenes unfold in front of me. Read my review of this remarkable paranormal tale here.

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The Woman in Black (The Susan Hill Collection)

If you like ghost stories, this one is for you. The Woman in Black by Susan Hill was apparently made into a movie some years ago, but I had not heard of it until just last week. I read this story with nary a care for food, drink, or sleep, much like the main character, Arthur. This tale will give you the chicken skin and make you reconsider going outside at night. I highly recommend this for lovers of all things scary. Read my review here.

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And next was something a little different (actually, very different). For my book club this month, we read A Walk on the Beach by Joan Anderson. Written as an ode to the author’s friendship with a remarkable woman she met on Cape Cod one fateful autumn, this is a beautiful tale of wisdom, zest for life, and the importance of being active and engaged. I gave this book five bright stars. Read my review here.

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The Guest List: A Novel by [Lucy Foley]

I was intrigued by Lucy Foley’s The Guest List because of a blurb I read about it some months ago, and I found it to be a thrilling look at some of the secrets people keep and the things that drive them to commit unspeakable acts. With that being said, I would only recommend this book to someone who doesn’t mind a close-up look at those unspeakable acts, because some of them are pretty gritty and nauseating. Read my review here.

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Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson was the October choice for one of my book clubs. As I write this post, I haven’t yet attended the discussion, but I think it’s good to reflect on the book before listening to the opinions of others. So my review of this book about white Americans and their relationships with and to Americans of African descent is here and I hope you’ll take a minute to read it. This is a hugely important book on an even more important topic, and I think everyone should read it. It’s scholarly enough for high school and college students, yet written in a style that’s easy enough for everyone else to read.

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You're Not Doing It Right: Tales of Marriage, Sex, Death, and Other Humiliations by [Michael Ian Black]

I had so many mixed feelings about this book, and in the end I gave it three stars and would not recommend it. The author, who is a comedian and actor, was new to me. His brutal and (admittedly, sometimes very funny) shameless honesty was really something to behold, and his obsession with sex and genitalia were off-putting, at best (he seemed never to have gotten beyond adolescence). And let me just say that if my husband ever talked about me the way Black talks about his wife, I’d give him the boot. Read my review here.

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So what have you all been reading? Care to share?

Until next time,

Amy

Author Spotlight: Phyllis Entis with Something Different

This week my guest is author and friend Phyllis Entis, who has a new book coming out soon. You may recall Phyllis from earlier posts about her mysteries (see here and here), but she’s here today to tell us about a completely different project.

TAINTED: From Farm Gate to Dinner Plate, Fifty Years of Food Safety Failures by [Phyllis Entis]

TAINTED: From Farm Gate to Dinner Plate, Fifty Years of Food Safety Failures will be released on December 2, 2020. The book draws on Phyllis’s many years of work in the food safety industry and as a mystery author and promises to be a fascinating look at food contamination and how government regulations have failed consumers. I’ve already pre-ordered my copy.

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Take a look at the blurb you’ll find at online retailers:

“Salmonella in eggs. Listeria in deli meats. Melamine in milk. Cyclospora in lettuce.

In a world where irrigation water is contaminated by run-off from cattle feedlots and where food processors cut corners, the food preparation skills we learned from our parents and grandparents are no longer good enough to keep us safe.

Using a variety of foodborne disease outbreaks, often illustrated with the stories of individual victims, Tainted explores the ways in which food becomes contaminated. Some of the stories – such as the deadly 1993 Jack in the Box outbreak – will be very familiar. Others will not.

In this update to her 2007 book, Food Safety: Old Habits, New Perspectives, Phyllis Entis draws on nearly five decades of experience to explain how our regulatory systems have failed us, and to talk about what can be done to protect consumers from unsafe food.”

***

Phyllis has graciously provided an excerpt of the book to illustrate the power of storytelling combined with science.

Chapter 3 – Betrayal

Sarah Lewis and her entire family attended a celebratory dinner at a local restaurant on May 29, 2010 to mark her sister Stacey’s college graduation. The next night, Sarah’s world turned upside down.

Already feeling unwell on the evening of May 30th, Sarah went to bed early. She awakened during the night, suffering from vomiting and severe diarrhea. The next day, Sarah’s mother, who lived nearby, took her to an urgent care facility. Twenty minutes later, she was admitted to hospital and was later diagnosed with salmonellosis.

Badly dehydrated and in enormous pain from her inflamed bowels, Sarah was moved to the hospital’s ICU. While there, she developed severe tachycardia (abnormally rapid heartbeat), and was moved to the critical care heart unit, where she spent three days.

When Sarah was finally discharged in time to attend her daughter’s preschool graduation, she thought the worst was behind her.

About 2½ weeks later, she was back in the hospital, still suffering from severe dehydration. She was released after five days.

The antibiotics Sarah took to combat her Salmonella infection stripped her digestive system of its normal population of protective bacteria, resulting in her becoming infected with Clostridium difficile (C. diff), a bacterium which causes severe diarrhea and cramping. A fourteen-day antibiotic regimen took care of the C. diff; however, the Salmonella was more resilient. Four months later, Sarah still was on five to ten different medications daily to combat the infection and control her symptoms.

Sarah Lewis was the first recorded California victim of a Salmonella Enteritidis outbreak that sickened more than 1,900 people across the United States.

The restaurant where Stacey’s graduation banquet was held had purchased custard tarts from a local bakery. Ordinarily, the bakery used a pasteurized liquid egg mixture to make the tarts. However, on the day they prepared the dessert items for the graduation dinner, the bakery ran out of pasteurized egg mix and used fresh, raw shell eggs instead. Eggs that most likely had come from Iowa.

***

If you’ve ever had food poisoning, if you ever ordered something in a restaurant that just didn’t taste right, or if you’ve followed any of a myriad of cases in the international media in recent years about the safety of our food supply and various outbreaks of illness caused by food-borne bacteria, I think you’ll find this an interesting book.

If you’d like to pre-order your own copy, please click on any of the links below.

Amazon: mybook.to/TAINTED2020

Apple: https://books.apple.com/us/book/x/id1534605439

Barnes & Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/2940164268374

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/Search?Query=9781005420079

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1046579

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Author Bio

A graduate of McGill University and the University of Toronto, Phyllis Entis received her introduction to the field of food safety at the hands of Canada’s Health Protection Branch, where she spent the first seven years of her professional life immersed in Salmonella, Staphylococcus, E. coli and other bad actors from the microbial world.

Entis left government work to co-found (with her husband) QA Life Sciences, a company specializing in rapid testing methods for foodborne bacteria. For the next twenty-two years, she worked closely with representatives of Health Protection brand, the US Food and Drug Administration and various state agencies to gain official sanction for the use of rapid testing methods in government and industry settings.

Following the sale of QA Life Sciences, Entis became a freelance consultant and writer. Her first book, Food Microbiology – The Laboratory, was published in 2002 by the Food Processors Institute. It was followed five years later by Food Safety: Old Habits, New Perspectives, which was released by the American Society for Microbiology Press in January 2007.

Since 2007, Entis has written about food safety issues for several publications, including Food Safety News, The Bark, and her own food safety blog, eFoodAlert. She has also found the time to write and release a 5-book mystery series, The Damien Dickens Mysteries.

In TAINTED, Entis has combined her decades of experience with the story-telling skills honed during her career as a mystery writer to revamp and update the wealth of information contained in Old Habits and to produce a food safety narrative that is both educational and accessible.

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I hope you’ll reach out and connect with Phyllis!

eFoodAlert blog: eFoodAlert.com

Author website and blog: phyllisentis.wordpress.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com/PromptProse

Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/eFoodAlert/

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/phyllis-entis-1697a849/

Amazon: www.amazon.com/Phyllis-Entis/e/B001JRZM1K/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/1750852.Phyllis_Entis

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/phyllis-entis

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Thanks, Phyllis, for being my guest today on Reade and Write. Congratulations on your upcoming release. I’m eager to read it.

Until next time,

Amy