Thursday Thoughts

  • The book you are writing is better than you think it is.
  • The book you are writing is more important than the next book.
  • If you write, you are a writer.
  • You can do this.
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November Book Giveaway!

Open book on wooden table.
Designed by Freepik

My birthday is next month, so I’m giving you a gift! But this time, I’m really being careful not to tell you what it is, but to make you guess. I’ll reveal it ahead of time, though, I’m not going to make you wait right up until the very end.

clues.jpg

  1. This author grew up in California then moved to China.
  2. This is her first published book.
  3. It’s published by Simon & Schuster.
  4. This is a YA sci fi/dystopia.

Right, that’s all the clues I’m giving you today. You’ll have to check back if you want to win! And how do you win? I can hear you asking!

  1. Follow my blog
  2. Like this post
  3. Comment and tell me one other post that you read

For an extra chance to win, follow me on Twitter @Cindy_Bohn and tell me your username. That’s it! Only people who follow the rules will be eligible to win. For this contest, I will ship anywhere. You must enter by November 4th. Winners will be announced November 5th. Good luck!

Top 10 Tuesday – Audiobooks

I have really become a fan of audiobooks. A couple of years ago I wasn’t so sure about them, but the more I listen, the more I love them. Nothing makes an annoying or stressful car ride better than a great book. And when I’m working at home, a gripping story can make the hours fly by. Here are some I recommend.

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10 Mystery Audiobooks You Need to Find

  1. Moriarty by Antony Horowitz – This one was good, nothing extraordinary, until about halfway through it became one of the best books of year! The ending completely took me by surprise. Great narration on this one.
  2. No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith – My favorite in this long series is the first one, but any of them are good. The African narrator adds so much to the story that I imagine reading it in her voice when I read the print too!
  3. Silks by Dick Francis – Francis is one of my favorite mystery/thriller writers and I’ve loved all the audio versions. This one is set in a courtroom.
  4. A Lady in the Smoke by Karen Odden – I’ve already reviewed this Victorian mystery here, but it’s worth mentioning again. The setting really adds to this book’s appeal. Review here.
  5. The Woman on the Orient Express by Lindsay Jayne Alford. This one has an unexpected ending that made it a totally unpredictable ending. Review here.
  6. The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie – It’s not her best, but it is the first. I listened to the one narrated by Hugh Fraser and he does an excellent job with each of the characters.
  7. Behold, Here’s Poison by Georgette Heyer – This one may be hard to find, but I love her mysteries. They’re full of crazy characters and have a touch of old-fashioned romance.
  8. The Heiress of Linn Hagh by Karen Charlton – A great narrator made this one work for me. Captures different English voices and I got a picture of each character as I listened.
  9. The Dispatcher by John Scalzi – As much science fiction as mystery and completely original. I loved the main character and his story.
  10. The Murder of Mary Russell by Laurie R. King – This one took characters I thought I knew and changed everything completely! Bold and dramatic and completely engrossing.

 

There, now you have 10 more titles to look for if you’re already a fan of audiobooks, and if you’re not, well, here’s 10 reasons you should be! Tell me what you’re listening to in the comments.

What Hides Beneath – a Review

standalone-sunday

Standalone Sunday was started by Bookslayer and you can find more here. It’s for titles that are not part of a series.
35833852I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. 

Title: What Hides Beneath

Author: Julie L. Canfield

Setting: Virginia modern day

Synopsis:

Hidden beneath a lump of clay and dirt is a very rare art work crafted by a Japanese warrior. Two museum curators, who specialize in Asian art say it is valuable but renowned appraiser, Annette Williams claims it is worthless and her words carry weight in the art world. So which is it?
Pete White, an insurance investigator disappears from the museum where he is researching the treasure. Did he uncover its true value or find it’s a fake?
Lieutenant Detective Philip Samyn wonders why he is assigned to investigate a low priority robbery from a museum. Is his boss trying to push him to retire? he never thought his last case would be a missing laptop. That’s not how he envisioned leaving the force.
His investigation proves we never see the complete picture. There is always something hidden beneath.

Review: This book was a lot of fun! I don’t check in with Net Galley regularly, but when I saw this one I thought it sounded like one I would enjoy. I liked the description and the setting in an art museum.

I was right. I did enjoy it. I’ve never read anything by this author, but she does a good job setting the scene and drawing the reader into the action. I liked the characters too.

I do have a couple of complaints though. For one thing, she skips around with POV so that I was not sure who the real main character was. I think it was Alison, the curator who discovers a muddy vase. But you could also say it was Annette the appraiser or even the police officer investigating the case. I guess it doesn’t have to have a MC; it could be several people. But I kept expecting one of them to take over more.

Besides that, I felt there were a few plot holes. It takes a while to really build to where I just couldn’t wait to see what happened next. But it was an easy read and I liked the ending. I recommend this one and I’d like to read more by this author. Now I want to go visit an art museum and look for hidden treasures!

The old opened book is christian Psalter
19st century Psalter. Isolated over white with clipping path

Birthday Cake Recipe!

This isn’t a cooking blog, but I thought I would share the recipe for Jack’s bday cake. It was super yummy.

Texas Sheet Cake
2 c. flour
2 c. sugar
1/2 ts. salt
2 sticks butter
1 c. water
3 Tb. cocoa
2 eggs, beaten
1 ts. soda
1/2 c. buttermilk (or use 1 1/2 Tb. vinegar plus milk to equal 1/2 c, let sit for 5 minutes before adding to recipe)
1 t. vanilla
1 t. cinnamon

Combine flour, sugar, salt, and cinnamon. In a saucepan, heat butter, water and cocoa to boiling. Pour over dry ingredients. In another bowl combine eggs, soda, buttermilk, and vanilla. Add to batter and mix well. Pour into a greased and floured jelly roll pan (15x10x1 – must have an edge). Bake for 20 minutes at 350. Start the icing the last 10 minutes while cake is baking.

Icing:
1 stick butter
3 Tb. cocoa
1/2 c. milk
about 2 c. powdered sugar (the recipe calls for “1 box confectioners’ sugar”, so I always have to guess)
1 ts. vanilla
1/2 c. chopped pecans (optional)

Mix butter, cocoa, and milk in saucepan. (I always reuse the saucepan I used for the cake.) Heat just until butter melts. Remove from heat and add powdered sugar, pecans, and vanilla. Mix well. AS SOON AS THE CAKE COMES OUT OF THE OVEN frost with icing. This will cause the icing to soak into the cake, creating a fudge-like cake that’s almost like a candy.

This cake tastes best warm, but is still yummy at room temperature. You can serve it with good vanilla ice cream to make it even better. It is BY FAR my favorite chocolate cake. Ever.

What are you reading?

Happy weekend! 😃 What are your plans? I’m celebrating my kid’s birthday 🎂. They’re 23. We are going to get takeout BBQ and have presents and cake. 🎁

Last night I finished my Net Galley book, What Hides Beneath. It’s a mystery set in an art museum. An employee’s discovery of  a hidden treasure in a storeroom leads to a burglary and murder. I’ll post a review soon, but it was good.

Next is Shadows in the Jungle, a non-fiction book about World War two set in the Pacific. I’m also really liking my audiobook of  Nation by Terry Pratchett. It’s not a Discworld book, it’s a stand alone, so if you’ve been looking for a way to give Pratchett a try, this would be a great place to start.

What are you reading?