Today I’m a stop on the blog tour for the release of Vikki Walton’s new book, Cordial Killing, the second cozy in the Backyard Farming Mystery series. I’m very excited to participate on this tour and have lots of treats to share with you besides my review, including a recipe, a giveaway, and fun graphics.
Cordial Killing (A Backyard Farming Mystery) Overview
Anne is excited for the opening of the Brandywine Inn. Kandi and Hope are her partners in the bed-and-breakfast in Carolan Springs, Colorado, where they also provide homesteading and herbal workshops for guests. As soon as the guests arrive, it’s plain that the five old college chums have bad blood between them. When Anne finds a threatening note, it’s clear that someone is out for revenge. Then they find a guest dead. At first, the death appears to be natural, but suspicions begin to grow. When a blizzard threatens the Inn, will it trap them all with a killer and no way out? Cordial Killing is a classic who-dun-it with a twist. Set in the fictional small town of Carolan Springs, you will enjoy an armchair getaway into beautiful Colorado.
If you’re interested in reading this book, you can get a copy here. I’ll also have a dedicated author page for Vikki Walton on my blog for future reviews and author content at Vikki Walton on This Is My Truth Now.
Vikki’s first words were “I get it!” This attitude became her life-long mantra to always go after what she wants. It also helped her realize her desire to help others get what they really want out of life. After spending years as a registered interior designer, Vikki began to write. While writing for periodicals, Vikki found herself on assignment interviewing publishers in Colorado Springs. It wasn’t long before the natural beauty of Colorado captured her heart.
After moving to Colorado, Vikki worked with nonprofits. However, she soon realized she needed more autonomy in her work. Vikki started her own business as a nonprofit consultant and grant writer. She has helped nonprofits across the U.S. to receive millions of dollars for their work. Yet, she realized doing one thing wouldn’t satisfy her for long.
Vikki became a Work Quilter™ combining her many passions to create multiple income streams. She started speaking and teaching adults on myriad and diverse topics around her knowledge, skills and passions. She’s taught and spoken on Creative Writing, Design for Heart and Home, Fundraising Fundamentals , Suburban Homesteading, Permaculture, How to Get What You Really Want, and of course, Work Quilting. Two words that continually appear on instructor and speaker feedback forms are “engaging” and “knowledgeable.”
Born in Chicago, Vikki lived outside of Paris for a few years as a small child. That may account for her love of travel. She moved to Wichita with her parents before going on to live most of her life around the San Antonio, Texas area. She is the founder of #girlswantago and you can connect through Facebook or www.girlswantago.com
Vikki is also an experienced, professional global house and pet sitter. Vikki’s favorite genre is mystery so it wasn’t long before she had begun her first cozy mystery series. Incorporating her love of suburban homesteading, or as some call it, backyard farming, Vikki’s first book is Chicken Culprit. You’ll most often find Vikki out hiking with her dog, outside gardening, traveling abroad, house or pet sitting, or writing her next book.
My Book Review of ‘Cordial Killing’
My rating: 4.33 of 5 stars
If ever there were a reason to pick a book purely on title alone, this would be at the top of my list. There are so many meanings, but anything with an actual cordial recipe is one I must sample. Earlier this year, I read the first book, Chicken Culprit, in Vikki Walton’s series, A Backyard Farming Mystery, and chatted with the author afterward. I enjoyed the book and looked forward to seeing what else would happen in this fun Colorado town. Walton’s second book, Cordial Killing, is better than the first, and is something I’d recommend to cozy fans and mystery lovers.
I did not grow up on a farm nor do I know much about all the things you can do in your own backyard to grow things. Of course we had a vegetable garden and lots of flowers and trees, but this series makes the whole concept quite cool! In this second book, a charming house is converted into a bed and breakfast. It’s opening weekend, but Hope, Anne, and Kandi could never have suspected a second murder would occur in their small hometown. Four women and a doctor descend upon them for a weekend getaway, but they haven’t all seen one another in many years. Former doctors and lovers only end up with one thing in common — someone’s gonna be killed and it’s definitely related to someone’s hurt feelings from medical school. But trying to weed through all the clues is what makes reading it such fun. Throw in a ghost, a runaway, a vape, and a few secret affairs, you know it’s gonna get dicey!
From the get-go, I saw great improvement between the first and the second book. While part of it is due to an author having more freedom after the initial book in a series, there’s also a lovely jump in writing style, character development, and story execution. I enjoyed getting to know all the characters in this one. At first, I thought… they’re all named Elizabeth Taylor (inside joke — you have to read to understand it) and I’m gonna lose track of who is who. But by a third into the story, the personalities are clear and the scenes are dramatic. It’s easy to stay on track and connected with the story and suspects.
Walton weaves a good balance between the main mystery and side stories. As we see the lives of the three b&b owners move on after the murder in the first book, we learn more about their pasts, their needs, and their friendships. Anne, as the main character, is someone I’d like to meet and know. Hope is a great doctor and has perfect life advice. Kandi, while sometimes bordering on the obnoxious, is intended to be that way. I suspect Walton’s planning a nice growth arc for her, which makes seeing the changes all that more valuable. I disliked her in the first books, I’m waffling in this second book, and I can only guess what will happen in the third one. But I will definitely be reading it because Walton’s created a fun series with lots of room for expansion, intrigue, and clever action. Take advantage of this series as it’s early on so you can stay abreast as each new book is launched. You might also learn some great recipes, techniques, and skills.
Marie’s Elderberry Cordial Recipe
- Quart canning jar with lid
- Funnel (large mouth)
- Wooden spoon
- Label or masking tape
- Cheesecloth (optional)
- Strainer (optional)
- Decorative Bottle (optional)
|Elderberries||1.25 cup dried or 2 cups fresh||For fresh, remove from stems.|
|Brandy||3 cups||Can also use other alcohol but brandy is most commonly used.|
|Honey||¼ to ½ cup (or to taste)||Vegans or those who don’t have access to good local raw honey can substitute maple syrup. Acquiring local honey will provide your cordial with its own unique flavor.|
|Cinnamon stick||One||Flavor along with Antioxidants and Anti-Inflammatory properties|
|Rosehips||¼ cup||Extra Vitamin C|
|Ginger||1-2 tbsp grated fresh ginger||Flavor along with Antioxidants|
- Place elderberries (and any optional ingredients, if using) into quart jar.
- Cover with brandy.
- Add honey.
- Stir with wooden spoon or put lid on and shake.
- Place in dark, cool space (usually a cabinet will do) for three to four weeks.
- If desired, strain with cheesecloth and using a strainer, put into a decorative bottle.
- Or you can leave ingredients in jar.
- In winter take 1-2 tbsp daily for immune-boosting. If ill, take 3-4 tbsp (basically a shot glass) a few times a day until symptoms improve. This cordial can also be used as a base for poor-tasting tinctures such as osha.
- Can last for a year with fresh berries and longer if made with dried berries—if you have it that long!
Elderberry is a wonderful plant to have in your yard or on your property. It has many medicinal benefits and uses. The elderberry plant most commonly associated with immune-boosting and flu-fighting properties is the dark berry plant (Elderberry Sambucus Nigra). Elder flower is also used in elixirs, teas and food. Elder was the International Herb Association’s Herb of the Year in 2013. It’s usually harvested in September.
This Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. The debut book, Academic Curveball, in my new mystery series, Braxton Campus Mysteries will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. I read, write, and blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge –and multiple Readathons. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.