Thursday, August 18, 2011

Book Review--Key Lime Pie and English Trifle


English Trifle and Key Lime Pie by Josi S. Kilpack. I picked up English Trifle at a writing conference because I love to read about places I've never been. Add a little mystery into that and I'm sold. I loved the book so much that when I found Key Lime Pie on an excursion I could actually spend money on, I picked it up without thinking twice.

Sadie is probably one of my favorite characters in a mystery novel. I love her nosiness that always seems to get her in trouble. She doesn't mean to, but . . . It makes for a good laugh yet at the same time gets your mind turning to try to solve the mystery before Sadie does.

English Trifle was set in England and I really enjoyed getting to taste Great Britain from Sadie and her daughter's perspective. I didn't realize this was a series until I had begun reading it, but it's done in a way that they don't need to be read in order. I would recommend this one who enjoys a good, light mystery with different culinary flavors. It's a definite :) :) :) :) :).

In Key Lime Pie , Sadie went to Florida, another place I've never been. I liked again getting to see the area through Sadie's eyes. I learned fun facts about a few different states that I didn't know and thought I had solved the mystery, but didn't. It's always fun to find a book where you're not quite right in how you think it ends. I would recommend this one to anyone who has a sweet tooth and loves a good mystery. It is also a definite :) :) :) :) :).

The next best thing about Josi's books are the recipes. I loved the idea of having the main character a food fanatic (even though I'm not) that always is finding new recipes along the way and sharing them as well. A few of them sounded good enough I might even try them. That's saying something.

Take a look at Josi's website (where she has all her recipes), blog and let me know what you think. Here are blurbs on both books and an interview Josi was kind enough to do for us!

England:

High Crimes at High Tea

  • Visit Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London, and the London Zoo
  • Take the Jack the Ripper tour — creepy!
  • Sample authentic English scones and crumpets
  • Discover a dead body

What begins as a holiday trip for amateur sleuth and cooking aficionado Sadie Hoffmiller and her daughter, Breanna, turns into a bizarre mystery. First comes the discovery of a dead body in the sitting room of an English manor belonging to the family of Breanna’s boyfriend, who is also heir to the family title. When the body comes up missing, Sadie and Breanna are stranded at the estate until the police can clear them to leave.

Armed with a jogging whistle, her personal recipe collection, and an unfailing sense of American justice, Sadie begins her own investigation to find the killer. But when she seems to encounter one dead end after another, Sadie wonders if anyone is telling the truth — or if the case is really as hopeless as it appears to be.

Layer by layer, Sadie uncovers a mouth- watering mystery with an English flair. Included are Sadie’s favorite new recipes for American English Trifle, High Tea Lemon Cookies, Coconut Macaroons, Wake ’Em Up Breakfast Casserole, Sausage Rolls, Crumpets, and Sadie’s Scrumptulicious Scones.


When Sadie Hoffmiller s new friend, Eric Burton, receives word that his missing daughter s body may have been found in Florida, he immediately packs his bags. Sadie is determined to stay home and prove to everyone that she is not a busybody.

But when she senses Eric is hiding something, Sadie is compelled to take action. Before she knows it, she’s in the heart of Miami, trying to piece together a trail littered with broken relationships, mysterious strangers, and forged documents that might just provide Eric the answers he’s been desperately searching for–or reveal a truth he might not be ready to face.

Sadie must also face a difficult question: Where is her heart leading her? Onward into Eric’s adventurous arms? Or back home to the stable and steady Pete Cunningham? If only love was as easy to follow as a recipe.

Once again, Sadie finds herself in the company of some colorful characters and some good ol’ southern cooking. But despite the drama and intrigue, all Sadie really wants is to go home . . . as soon as she does just one more thing.


When did you decide to become a writer?

Short answer: About a week before I started submitting my first book.

Long answer: Up until I wrote my first book I had never thought about becoming a writer, let alone a novelist. I’d never had a teacher tell me I was talented, I’d never really written for anything outside of what I needed to do. I’d gotten A’s in English through high school (which made up for the Ds in math) and taken just one year of college; during which I took all the writing classes I could. After that I got married and started a family and never thought about writing until, while on bedrest with a pregnancy, I started writing a short story because I had run out of other things to do and the idleness was making me neurotic. That story grew and grew and ignited something within me that I didn’t know was there. Even when I had this 300 page story I didn’t think about publishing—publishing was just SO big. I mean, to be a novelist? I was a mom, I was a homemaker. How could someone like me publish a book? However, I’d had a great time writing that book and after the encouragement from friends I jumped into it and a year and a half later I had my first published book. For me, writing was a bend in the road I didn’t see coming, but boy has it become a journey since then.

Looking back I can see that years of reading “taught” me a lot about fiction—what I liked, what I didn’t like, and the basic structure of fiction. Then the passion was struck, and I sought out to learn what I didn’t know I didn’t know.

What Inspires you?

I seem to find inspiration everywhere. People, place, food, TV shows, trivia, relationships, people watching, other books, etc. There is just so much in the world to see, feel, hear, taste, and shake a fist at that it seems tidbits of stories jump out at me all the time. The trick, of course, is to them make those tidbits into something worth writing that will be worth readers reading. In regard to Sadie, she was my attempt to prove some people wrong but she quickly grew into something else as she attracted a lot of little tidbits to herself and became very real to me.

What would you like your readers to get out of your writing?

The first thing I hope they get is good entertainment. I write clean and I try to keep the story gripping enough to keep the reader’s attention. I hope, at the end, they feel a sense of satisfaction, that the story ended the way it should have ended and that they thoroughly enjoyed the story. There are themes I love to have noticed, like the value of relationships, the power of integrity, and good conquering evil, but if people simply enjoy the story, I’m satisfied.

Who was your favorite character to develop?

Sadie has been my favorite character to develop. She started out much different than she is and became more sassy as the story grew. She’s changed in small ways, and yet is a “good” person. Her quest for truth isn’t about anything other than genuinely caring about people. As the series continues, it’s more and more of a challenge to keep her who she is, and yet allow her to continue her own development and become stronger in the process.

Advice for aspiring writers:

First, ask yourself why you want to write. Money isn’t a bad motivator, but most writers I know have a day job for many years as they wait for their career to take off and so if money is your only motivation, you will likely burn out before it feels like you’ve succeeded. If you want to change the world, that’s a good motivator too, but remember that there are 50,000 books published in the US every year. A lot of them are trying to change the world. The motivation, therefore, that everyone needs is to love it. If you love to write it can work, but if the love of it isn’t there, then you’ll make yourself crazy with unfulfilled expectations.

Second, drown yourself in writing experiences. Write anything you can, read about writing, attend writing conferences, become part of a writing group, enter writing contests, and show the people in your life that this is real by treating it as such. Writing is not easy but if it enriches your soul and gives purpose to your life, then pursue it with fervor and embrace the challenges it presents with a can-do attitude. I don’t know anyone who had a publisher knock on their door and say “I hear you like to write?” you have to be the one to put yourself out there; only then can you be discovered.

What can we expect from you next?

I’m just finishing up book seven in the Sadie Hoffmiller Culinary Mystery Series. It’s titled Banana Split and takes place on the island of Kauai. As soon as I finish, I’ll be diving headfirst into book eight. I’m putting out two books a year right now and it keeps me running. I have a side project I’m working on with some friends, but, for the most part, Sadie is dominating my writing life. We’re looking to do ten books in the series, then evaluate where we’ll go from there.

Where can we purchase your book?

You can find me on Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, and Deseretbook.com. You can also request copies through your library, which is a great way for my books to discover new readers.

2 comments:

  1. I love Josi's books too! Such lovely reviews and interview. Did you go to the Storymaker's Conference? Perhaps I met you. :) if not it's nice to meet you.

    Christy

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  2. Absolutely fantastic blog!!! Glad I found it! Love it!!!

    Lola x
    http://lola-x.blogspot.com

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