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Book Review: Sir Chocolate and the Sugar Crystal Caves by Robbie Cheadle

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I’m in absolute awe thinking about the creativity within the Cheadle family. Their culinary and literary talents are fantastic. In one of their newer books, Sir Chocolate and the Sugar Crystal Caves story and cookbookRobbie Cheadle and her children take us on an extraordinary journey to the sugar crystal caves which are in danger of melting. Sir Chocolate and Lady Sweet save the day showing us how much they love the world they live in. I need to try one of these recipes in the fall… all the creations look delectable. The stories are adorable. It’s the perfect way to bond with children on a lovely weekend where you stay in to have fun! Come check out all the fun with this book on the Children’s Book Readathon on my blog this week. Thanks!

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For more great creations from Robbie, check out past posts:

Book Review: Sir Chocolate and the Strawberry Cream Berries by Robbie Cheadle

Children’s Readathon – Robbie Cheadle’s Biscuit Art Sailing Boats

Children’s Readathon – Robbie Cheadle’s Fondant Art

 

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. 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: Sir Chocolate and the Strawberry Cream Berries by Robbie Cheadle

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What an adorable concept for a children’s book series involving imagination, cooking, and art. If you’ve never heard of the ‘Sir Chocolate’ series, you’ve got some catching up to do. The debut book, Sir Chocolate and the Strawberry Cream Berries, written by Robbie Cheadle (and her children), is a perfect addition for any family or home. And what’s even more special is this author won a poll on my blog for the Children’s Book Readathon I’m hosting in August 2018. Robbie’s books are being highlighted the week of 8/25 thru 8/31. All month long she’s shared recipes, new short stories, and tons of fun! I’m sharing a review of the first book in the series this week as a preview for anyone who might still want to participate in the last week when we read one of her newer books.

In this wonderful story, we meet Sir Chocolate and his home, Chocolate Land. When some friends run into trouble, they learn how to work with a possible enemy and turn the concerns into a new friendship. What a great lesson for kids! The pictures are absolutely gorgeous. Don’t read on an empty stomach — have some candy and chocolate nearby! This really sets the stage for several other books that show us the adventures and foods involved in creating this wonderful village and setting. I’m in awe of the author’s talent and creativity, but inspired how it’s a family affair. Kudos to the Cheadles!

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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 novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. 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.

Book Review: Playing with Bonbon Fire by Dorothy St. James

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Why This Book 
I belong to a cozy mystery group that offers a few giveaways to read ARCS each month. I won Playing With Bonbon Fire by Dorothy St. James and picked it up in between my Agatha Christie Readathon books this week. I adore cozy mysteries, have a sweet spot for chocolate, and am growing more interested in living in the southern part of the US. Good combo, eh?
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Approach & Style 
It took me 3 hours to read a hard copy of this ~335 page novel, the second in the Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery series. It is told in 1st person point-of-view with the perspective focused solely on the main character, Charity Penn (see more on her later). It has a typical cozy feel with easy flow from chapter to chapter, dialog, and descriptions. I usually read books in order, but this had a rush due date to deliver a review, so I couldn’t go back to the first one. I think it’s important to read this series in order, as there are details about the character in the first book that would have been helpful, but still, it was a quick and fun read.

Plot, Characters & Setting 
Charity Penn, known simply as Penn because she dislikes her first name, inherited the chocolate shop from her maternal grandmother. She was abandoned my her mother at birth, delivered to her rich but seemingly difficult or abrasive father and his family. She grew up feeling alone and isolated, but is starting to develop a better relationship with her half-sister, Tina. Penn hasn’t quite adapted to cooking and running the bonbon shop, but she has support from her late grandmother’s friends and wants to make the woman proud. In this caper, Tina sends ex-boyfriend, Bixby, to help sing with his band at the town’s festival, as it will help cement Penn in a more admired role. The town hasn’t quite warmed up to her yet, and her grandmother’s other children don’t believe she’s really one of them or should have inherited the shop. All she wants is to find her mother who disappeared years ago. Bixby suddenly fights with another band at the festival over rights to a song, and then the current song owner winds up dead. Penn’s mother’s history is tied up in this mystery and it all comes to a head in a big scene at the end of the book. She now knows who her mother is!

Key Thoughts 
It’s a good example of a typical cozy mystery with a few standout moments, including the connections and mysteries surrounding Penn’s family (both her mother’s and her father’s sides), the bonds she has with a few of her late grandmother’s friends helping to transition the store, and the romances she could potentially have with some of the men in the town. I like Penn’s personality and style and she seems to have a fair balance of when to push and when to back away in terms of investigating any crimes. I like that there’s only one or two recipes so we don’t lose too much page space to non-story items. I also enjoyed the descriptions of how she works in the bakery preparing food and securing the chocolate beans from a remote South American jungle.

The mystery was medium-complex with a few red herrings and several paths to trace before landing at the true culprit. It kept me guessing most of the way through and even had me traveling down a wrong path. One of the issues I had was not knowing a few people’s ages, so I could never be sure if they were a candidate to be Penn’s mother and/or date someone else. Of course people can date someone a generation older or younger, but it’s not that common in a cozy mystery so I was trying to line it all up. That said, when the details came out, it was believable, but a tad rushed. We stumble upon the criminal and learn some secrets, yet we don’t quite get all the details surrounding the why/how from ~35 years ago when a song was created… but it mostly all fits together. I think it just needed a bit more detail and explanation, but that could be coming in the next book in the series. I’m open-minded!

Summary 
I’d give the book 3.5 stars and would recommend it as a solid read. I see a lot of potential in the series with the family drama and the chocolate shop, but the ending came a bit too quickly, so there is some room for growth. All in all, I’m glad I read this one and will definitely read more in the series and from this author.

 

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. 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.

Author Alert: Diane Mott Davidson

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As part of our Author Alert series, we’re now on our third week and I’ve completed 400 reviews on the ThisIsMyTruthNow blog site. This week, I’ve selected… Diane Mott Davidson!

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Diane Mott Davidson (1949 – Present) writes cozy mystery fiction. To learn more about her, you can check out her profile on Goodreads, Fantastic Fiction, Wikipedia, Facebook and Harper Collins publishing website. Though she doesn’t write novels anymore, you’ll occasionally see a fun post or recipe.

diane

Book Series – Goldy Bear Schultz Culinary Mysteries

This is truly one of my favorite cozy mystery series and I am sad that it finished in 2013. I didn’t know it was the end of the series and finished reading #17. It felt like it had come to an end, but I assumed it was just a nice conclusive book. Then I checked out some articles on line and learned it was the last one. How sad!

It takes place in a small town outside of Denver, Colorado, where Goldy Bear is a caterer who ends up solving crimes. When she marries Tom, she becomes Goldy Bear Schultz. Each book is usually 25% recipe and 75% mystery story. Always humorous and fun, they range from strong mystery to very lightweight. Easy reads in about 4-hours.

Key Characters

Goldy: Primary sleuth. Mother to Arch. Best Friend to Marla. Wife to Tom. And mentor / boss / mother figure to Julian. She’s been almost killed a few times, and almost killed her ex-husband (Arch’s father) who physically and mentally abused her.

Marla: Goldy’s best friend who follows her to Aspen Meadow, Colorado. Rich divorcee. Helps with the sleuthing from time-to-time. Searching for her next husband. Julian’s aunt (although not known at first).

Tom: Aspen Meadow Police. Falls for Goldy and they eventually marry. They want to start a family together. Step-dad to Arch. Tough but good guy.

Arch: Goldy’s son from her marriage to ex-husband. He’s a teenager for most of the book, learning how to deal with his mother’s antics. Good kid, always respectful and caring with family and friends.

Julian: Marla’s nephew. Had some family issues and ended up coming to work for Goldy during his college years. Brilliant cook. Very sweet guy who has some dating issues.

  1. Catering to Nobody (1990)
  2. Dying for Chocolate (1992)
  3. The Cereal Murders (1993)
  4. The Last Suppers (1994)
  5. Killer Pancake (1995)
  6. The Main Corpse (1996)
  7. Grilling Season (1997)  — least favorite
  8. Prime Cut (1998)
  9. Tough Cookie (2000)
  10. Sticks & Stones (2001)
  11. Chopping Spree (2002)
  12. Double Shot (2004)
  13. Dark Tort (2006)  — most favorite
  14. Sweet Revenge (2007)
  15. Fatally Flaky (2009)
  16. Crunch Time (2011)
  17. The Whole Enchilada (2013)

Diane also wrote a cookbook full of Goldy’s recipes and general life musings. You can see more at:  Cookbook. Though I’ve never cooked any recipes, the desserts sound amazing. And to think… you too can eat the murder weapon from some of her crimes!

Link to the Diane Mott Davidson page where you will be able to return in the future to see when I post new reviews and book thoughts. For now, I’ve posted reviews on all 17 books in the series.

About Me

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. Once you hit my site “ThisIsMyTruthNow” at https://thisismytruthnow.com, you can join the fun and see my blog and various site content. You’ll find book reviews, published and in-progress fiction, TV/Film reviews, favorite vacation spots and my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge.” Since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life… see how you compare! Each month, I will post a summary of a trip I’ve taken somewhere in the world. I’ll cover the transportation, hotel, restaurants, activities, who, what, when, where and why… and let you decide for yourself if it’s a trip worth taking. Feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Tell me what you think. Note: All 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.

Review: Chopping Spree

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Chopping Spree Book Review
4 out of 5 stars to Chopping Spree, the 11th book in the “Goldy Bear Schultz Culinary” cozy mystery series, written in 2002 by Diane Mott Davidson. Don’t you just love the titles? This was a good book in the series, as it focused on Julian, my favorite character, and it took place in a mall. Goldy’s always in the middle of things, and this one took it to new levels. She gets herself into the worst situations, but they are always amusing and educational. She’s almost run over in this book, a somewhat new way to die for mysteries… A definite read in the series!

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write 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 also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can 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. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

View all my reviews

Review: Sticks & Scones

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Sticks & Scones Book Review
4 out of 5 stars to Sticks & Scones, the 10th book in the “Goldy Bear Schultz Culinary” cozy mystery series, written in 2001 by Diane Mott Davidson. When the book is about scones (which I absolutely love), Shakespeare (which is a favorite), and a castle that’s been torn down in England and re-built in Colorado (how cool is that), the book had a very small chance of going wrong. And it didn’t! It was a good mystery, eccentric but fun characters and very tasty-sounding recipes. I never make any of them for two reasons: (1) too many cookbooks to choose from already on my shelves and (2) I rarely use a recipe to cook. I kinda skim it, get the basics and then do whatever I want to do. It’s worked in all but two occasions. Both were in baking. Sometimes the ingredients only work together a certain way. I digress… this was a good one in the series. I enjoyed the whole premise of Hyde Castle and would love to build a place like that myself!

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write 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 also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can 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. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

View all my reviews

Review: Tough Cookie

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Tough Cookie Book Review
4 out of 5 stars to Tough Cookie, the 9th cozy mystery in the “Goldy Bear Schultz Culinary” books, written in 2000 by Diane Mott Davidson. This was one of the stronger books in the series, but it didn’t start off that way. When I first began reading the book, I was put off by the death and initial suspect. Goldy sells some skis to another guy, as her catering business was temporarily shut down due to some kitchen issues, which eventually cause an accident. A convoluted connection is made with the death given that person had something to do with someone from Goldy’s past and her ex-husband… blah blah blah… I thought it was going to be a weak plot. But that’s just what initially happened, as tons of suspects showed up creating a very complex plot. Sometimes you have to forgive the way the death happens and how the main character is connected… as in a book series, the person can’t always be the first to find the victim, or it gets too overplayed. Once I accepted that piece, then I was good with the actual mystery piece.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write 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 also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can 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. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

View all my reviews