Friday, October 17, 2014

Cozy Mystery Blog Tour: Author Guest Post (with Recipe!), Review and Giveaway: A Midwinter's Tail (Magical Cats #6) by Sofie Kelly

Kathleen Paulson is snowed under running her library and caring for her extraordinary felines, Owen and Hercules. But when a fund-raiser turns deadly, she’ll have to add sleuthing to her already full schedule....

Winter in Mayville Heights is busy and not just because of the holidays. Kathleen is hard at work organizing a benefit to raise money for the library’s popular Reading Buddies program. She has her hands full hosting the event. And when a guest at the gala drops dead, her magical cats, Owen and Hercules, will have their paws full helping her solve a murder.

The victim is the ex of town rascal Burtis Chapman, but she hasn’t lived in the area in years. And though everybody is denying knowledge of why she was back in town, as Kathleen and her detective boyfriend, Marcus, begin nosing around, they discover more people are connected to the deceased than claimed to be. Now Marcus, Kathleen, and her uncanny cats have to unravel this midwinter tale before the case gets cold.

Most of the celebrations in my family begin or end around a table. I like to cook. My daughter likes to bake. So it’s not really surprising that the characters in my books eat a lot. In fact, in the latest Magical Cats mystery, A Midwinter’s Tail, chocolate truffles play a major role in the story.

The recipe I get the most requests for though, is Kathleen’s brownie recipe. They’re a favorite of her best friend, artist and tai chi instructor, Maggie Adams. Did you know some food historians trace the first brownie to Chicago’s Palmer House Hilton, while others credit Lowney’s Cook Book, written by Maria Willet Howard?

This recipe is always changing because I’m always tinkering with the ingredients. White chocolate chips? Delicious. Peanut butter chips? Not so much. Crushed candy canes? Very messy.

These brownies have even been made with pea puree for a school project. Yes, they were good. Put enough chocolate chips in and anything tastes good! Use good quality cocoa and chocolate chips for the best result, although I wouldn’t turn up my nose at brownies made with generic versions of both.

By the way, if you have any tasty brownies variations, I’d love to hear about them.

Maggie’s Favorite Brownies

½ cup flour
¼ cup cocoa
⅛ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¾ cup white sugar
2 eggs
⅓ cup margarine
2 Tablespoons of water
1 ¼ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ cup toasted, slivered almonds (optional)


Grease an 8 by 8 inch baking pan. Preheat oven to 325°F.

In a small bowl whisk the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. In a medium saucepan, mix margarine, sugar, and water. Cook over medium high heat just until mixture boils. Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup of the chocolate chips until the chocolate melts and the mixture is smooth.

Add eggs one at a time. Mix well. Stir in vanilla. Slowly add the flour mixture and stir until well mixed. Add almonds and the remaining ¼ cup of chocolate chips.

Spread the batter evenly in the pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the brownies begin to pull away from edges of pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool and cut into 16 squares.

Sofie Kelly is the pseudonym of young adult writer and mixed-media artist, Darlene Ryan. Sofie/Darlene lives on the east coast with her husband and daughter. In her spare time she practices Wu style tai chi and likes to prowl around thrift stores. And she admits to having a small crush on Matt Lauer.

I am a huge fan of the residents in Mayville Heights.  I love Kathleen and her main squeeze, Marcus, and I absolutely adore Hercules and Owen, Kathleen's magical and adorable cats.  They add SO MUCH to every one of these stories, and give it just the right amount of magic to keep the story alive and fun.  

A Midwinter's Tail has the perfect setting with a thrilling mystery.  It's everything that this series has built itself up to be and so much more.  It was quite honestly my favorite book so far!  If they continue to get better with each one, then I'm waiting on pins and needles for book #7!  

Rating: 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  All conclusions reached are my own.  

Thanks to the awesome ladies at Penguin, I have 1 paperback copy of A Midwinter's Tail by Sofie Kelly to give away to one of my lucky readers!  Just enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win, and be sure to keep checking back for more awesome giveaways!  

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Sofie Kelly said...

What a great review! Thank you.

Good luck in the draw, everyone.

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