backyard farming

Book Review: Honey Homicide by Vikki Walton

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Honey Homicide: A Backyard Farming MysteryHoney Homicide: A Backyard Farming Mystery by Vikki Walton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Honey Homicide is the third book in Vikki Walton’s ‘A Backyard Farming Mystery’ series. I’ve read the previous two and wanted to read this one, so I stayed current on the series. I enjoy learning all about beekeeping and other farming activities, so it’s a nice change of pace from other books I’ve been reading.

In this caper, Kandi and Anne are trying to help their friends survive a string of burglaries, fires, and corruption occurring somewhere in the town. It takes place in Colorado, and there are some pot growers who may or may not be behaving properly. When the cops get involved, and a few bodies start showing up, something is definitely out of sorts. Anne tries to manage her friendship with the sheriff only to find he’s accused of the crimes this time! Who do you trust? For Anne, she’s slowly falling in love with him, so she’ll do what’s necessary to protect the man.

Walton’s characters are cute. She has a nice balance of dialog and narrative to tell the story. I like getting to see the improvements on the inn. And it’s great how everyone works together to solve the crime and help each other survive in the town. Of the three so far, the second is my favorite, but this has fun elements with the bees and the police corruption. I’m looking forward to the next one.

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About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I 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 – words and humor. 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.

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Book Review: Cordial Killing by Vikki Walton (Blog Tour Stop!)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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About the Author

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.”

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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.

Enter a GIVEAWAY contest to win a gift card!.

 

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My Book Review of ‘Cordial Killing’

Cordial Killing: A Backyard Farming Mystery (cozy mystery)Cordial Killing: A Backyard Farming Mystery by Vikki Walton

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.

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Marie’s Elderberry Cordial Recipe

Items Needed

  • Quart canning jar with lid
  • Funnel (large mouth)
  • Wooden spoon
  • Label or masking tape
  • Sharpie
  • Cheesecloth (optional)
  • Strainer (optional)
  • Decorative Bottle (optional)
Ingredients Amounts needed Comments
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.
Optional
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

Instructions

  • 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!

Notes

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.

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About Me
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.

Book Review: Chicken Culprit by Vikki Walton

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I am a frequent cozy mystery reader and often search out new series. When Vikki Walton‘s new ‘Backyard Farming’ mystery series fell into my lap, I jumped on the chance to read the first book, Chicken Culprit: (Backyard Farming Mystery Series) (Cozy Mystery). Walton is a new author for me, but one I enjoyed getting to know. In this caper, a ~40ish woman moves to a small Colorado town known for homesteading. As the story evolves, we learn she has a lot more connections to it than we originally thought — always makes for a good mystery. I’ll leave it at that so the suspense grabs you enough to check it out. I give this debut caper 3.5 out of 5 stars and will gladly continue reading the series.

 

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Walton notes a sort of tongue-in-cheek approach to the story, which I definitely see in the style and humor. At first, it threw me off a little but I settled into the tone eventually welcoming the approach as an easy and enjoyable read. The main character has a strong personality and doesn’t hide her concern over some of the interesting / wacky neighbors she meets, including a potential chicken killer, then a real killer, and a girl who says ‘like’ as often as any Valley Girl I’ve met before. (And that’s quite a few!) I like to learn when I read a cozy mystery, hence why it needs a catchy theme. This is my first farming book where I can gain some useful information if I ever move to the country (a distinct possibility!).

I can’t speak too much about the characters without giving away critical information, but there are several fun twists which I didn’t expect. There’s a bit of culture and life-experience more than I’ve seen before in a cozy, but I liked it a lot. I found the banter between the sheriff and the main character, Anne, amusing. Sometimes I think he’s a meanie, other times, he has potential. All-in-all, there’s a good level of diversity and range in the characters. Walton has a few things to work out with the setting and relationships in the book, but it’s off to a promising start.

Kudos to a new series. I look forward to checking out more.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I 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 – words and humor. 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.