Daughter of Fire ~ A Review

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This is my second review of this book. The internet gremlins stole the first one, a very long one, I might add.

I cannot get this book out of my head!
I used to read more fantasy than I do nowadays, so I hesitated all of a minute when I had the chance to get this book as an ARC. (Thank you to Ylva for the opportunity)
The cover is gorgeously eye-catching, one that would make an excellent poster.

We are introduced to Aeryn’s world and interact with it, through her eyes and experiences. We feel ill when she does, writhe with the power of uncontrolled magic with her and feel her confusion and fear as her world is turned upside down. The world-building in this story is excellent. We are sucked in at once and there’s nothing to distract us from the story. In fact, I came to resent the fact that I had to cook and do dishes. Didn’t my family care I was engrossed in a phenomenal story? Ha! No…they didn’t.
Aeryn’s world is turned upside down and we are right beside her as she tries to make sense of her travelling companions that are still mysteries to her as they part company. We are as unsettled as she is, as new to everything as she is and we ARE Aeryn. Have I mentioned this book will pull you in?

The ending is a sticking point for many reviewers, but I understand why this book closed the way it did. When a manuscript is large, it’s not always easy to find a stopping point that serves both story and readers.
But this ending rocks Aeryn’s world, and ours.
It literally took my breath away. Like, I had to remind myself to breathe.
I cannot wait to see what Aeryn does with this new knowledge in the next book, which I understand will follow this one shortly.

If I have to pay for it, I gladly will.

I will read this one again and again. It’s that good. I suspect I’ll find new things to gush about on my next reading.

Get this. Prepare for an ending that is not the end while you prepare to get the next book. Because you’ll want to know what happens next.

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Wanted: Belly Rubs

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Photo by Adam Kontor on Pexels.com

So I’ve already introduced you to the main character of my new book ‘Body In The Bush’, now let me introduce you to another important member of the cast.

Some characters come to me already formed, needing only a few details to be “fleshed out” as it were. Anais was like that. Her Aunt Anne, who you’ll meet next, was more or less like that. She needed a few more details that her neice did. But one character came galloping at me, ready to play ball and beg for a belly rub.

Here’s what my initial notes say for Frodo: Anne’s German Shepherd. Fiercely protective but is a big fan of Anais since being bribed with Timbits. Likes chasing tennis balls, car rides in the passenger seat of her Jeep, belly rubs and Anais’ partner, Lorne.

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Photo by Adam Kontor on Pexels.com

(You didn’t think I wanted the belly rubs I mentioned above, did you?)

Frodo was initially only supposed to be a drooling, non-judgemental companion for Anais, but he is already becoming so much more. He even has a role in solving the crime.

Lately, he’s been begging for a turn at the blog, but we’ll see.

Have you ever had a pet that took over more real estate in your heart than you expected?

What The Heck Is A Timbit?

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 A ‘timbit’ is that part of the doughnut punched out to make a hole, and marketed separately. They were introduced at Tim Hortons coffee shops in 1976. As widely flavoured as their bigger cousins and are a favourite of kids and dogs alike. Frodo (Anais’ aunt’s dog) likes the ‘plain’ ones. To him, they’re edible toys, topped only by tennis balls.

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Do you have a pet? Are you a dog, cat or gerbil ( or snake, rat or fish) person? Does your pet have a favourite treat or toy? Let me know in the comments below!

Tim Hortons ~ An Iconic Part of Canada

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Early in Body In The Bush, Anais finds that Tim Hortons has finally come to Sitka Cove…

Wait, do you know Tim Hortons? No? Well, read on to learn about an important part of Canada’s history.

Tim Hortons (aka Timmies) – A fast service chain of cafes that specialized in coffee and doughnuts. The doughnut shops were started by a Canadian hockey player, Tim Horton and Jim Charade with the first store in Hamilton, Ontario back in 1964. Today, there are nearly 5000 shops in at least 14 different countries and it is common knowledge, in Ontario at least, that in many cities you’ll find one Tim Hortons coffee shop at every intersection. The northernmost place in the world that you can purchase Tim Hortons coffee is Iqaluit, Nunavut.

On a personal note, my mother had a history with Tim (the hockey player).

The logo at the top of this post is the original and has since been changed multiple times. If you want to know more about the chain, including the good work it does in communities across Ontario, a web search will provide all sorts of details.

Paging Detective Quinn…

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Anais Quinn stood out in Ottawa.

She never really felt comfortable there, and she had a good reason. She’s from Sitka Cove, you see. Where is Sitka Cove, you ask? It’s in Northern Ontario, population 41,000,  on the shore of Lake Sitka. The community was formed as a fishing village back in the late 1800s, incorporated as a town in 1960. The economy is mainly fishing, but there’s growth in logging and a nickel mine half an hour away. It’s a place full of promise and history. A place where nearly everyone does something out in the ‘bush’ (what others call ‘the forest’). But more on Sitka Cove later, you’re here to find out about Anais.

She has dark brown hair, so dark that it sometimes looks black, with natural red highlights, just a bit longer than shoulder length, frequently worn in a pony-tail to keep it out of the way. She always seems to be battling it and talks about cutting it, but never does. Her aunt Anne, whom you’ll meet later, gets up early almost every morning to make sure Anais eats something, offers to braid her hair for her, to keep it out of the way. Anais is 5’ 6” tall, no shortie there.

She drives a 2019 Jeep Renegade, that her Police partner lusts after. You’ll meet Lorne in a few days. You can see why Lorne likes the Jeep so much…

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Anais is an Aries, born March 25th, and allergic to shellfish. She prefers jeans, button-down shirts and her leather jacket over anything else. She’s not really into jewelry, even though her ears are pierced. She wears a gold box-link chain her Aunt gave her for Christmas one year. She dabbled in photography in Ottawa, but now that she’s back home, she is taking pictures of the bush and animals when she’s not wearing her shield. It’s a trope that all cops love doughnuts. Anais’ favourite sweet treat is butter tarts. If you’ve read yesterday’s post, or you’re Canadian, you’ll already be familiar with this pastry. It’s a Canadian invention comprised of a pastry shell filled with a sweet concoction of sugar, butter and egg. You may find this treat elsewhere in the world, but we invented it, and we’re darn proud of it!

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Since Anais and I think more people ought to know how to make these gooey, yummy snacks, here’s how you do it!

Ingredients

FOR THE PASTRY

  • 2 ¼ cups flour, pastry flour is best to use but all-purpose will do
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup shortening, Very cold and cut in cubes
  • 1/2 cup butter, Very cold and cut in cubes
  • 6 tbsp ice water, approximately, enough to bring the dough together

FOR THE FILLING

  • 1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • ½ cup raisins, substituting, pecans, walnuts or chocolate chips also make good variations

Instructions

TO PREPARE THE PASTRY

  1. Pulse the cold butter and shortening into the flour sugar and salt using a food processor until the shortening or butter is reduced to pea-sized pieces.
  2. Sprinkle the water over the surface and toss with a fork until the water is just incorporated into the dough. Do not overwork the dough; handle it only enough so that the dough stays together.
  3. Form the dough into two rounds about an inch thick.
  4. Wrap in plastic wrap and let rest in the fridge for about a half-hour.
  5. Roll out on a lightly floured surface. Cut into rounds with 4 inch cutter. Fit into muffin cups. Chill in the fridge or freezer while you prepare the filling. Cold pastry heading into a hot oven will always be flakier.

TO MAKE THE FILLING

  1. Combine all filling ingredients except raisins.
  2. Mix well.
  3. Sprinkle raisins in a single layer in the bottom of the pastry-lined muffin cups.
  4. Fill 2/3 full with syrup mixture.
  5. Bake on bottom shelf of oven at 425 degrees F for 12 to 15 minutes.
  6. Cool completely on a wire rack and remove tarts from pans.

Notes

There is considerable debate about whether the filling in a butter tart should be runny or firm. Preferences vary, especially geographically but if you want a firmer, less runny filling simply add an additional egg, increase the brown sugar to 3/4 cup and decrease the corn syrup to 1/4 cup.

(Anais is of the ‘firm’ camp, and no raisins, please!)

 

A Culture’s Language And Murder

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During a discussion about a stellar British mystery (Breathe by Cari Hunter), my better half suggested that I might want to include a translation page of sorts for my readers of Body In The Bush who aren’t familiar with Canadian terms or aspects of our culture that make us unique. I thought it was a great idea, and I’m kicking off that series today. As an aside, the series may occasionally be interrupted by reviews or bits of murder mystery knowledge, but I’ll continue the ‘Canadiana’ as long as I can think of things. So, let’s discuss…

Butter tarts – A Canadian invention comprised of a pastry shell filled with a sweet concoction of sugar, butter and egg. You may find this treat elsewhere in the world, but we invented it. How does it relate to Body In The Bush? Butter tarts are Anne’s and Anais’ favourite treats.

So tell me, what’s your favourite pastry-related treat?

The Wives ~ A Review

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I read this book in two sittings, staying up far past when I expected to.
Despite the fact that I have a friend who was once a “second wife”, I don’t understand being okay with sharing one’s spouse. But the beauty of this book is that the reader need not understand polygamy to enjoy this book.
I was sucked into a world that was well-paced and intriguing, a world I thought I understood. But the ride turned twisty and there was no way I could go to sleep without reading all the way to the end.
But I wasn’t prepared for a blow-to-the-gut twist that has kept this book at the forefront of my mind. In fact, this might be one of those unforgettable ones. Even more remarkable, for me, is that this book comes from Harlequin…a publisher I don’t normally read. But this mystery was so good that I couldn’t put it down.

Must-read is an overused phrase, but you MUST READ this. Don’t assume you know what’s happening, because you’ll rob yourself of the thrill, the impact and the shock.

READ THIS