by Kathleen Costa
This week we have a review of a fun gardening mystery by Wendy Tyson, along with a fun holiday guest post by her, and a gardening tip and recipe! Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of Seeds of Revenge, along with a link to purchase the book where a portion goes to help support KRL, and a link to purchase it from Amazon.
Seeds of Revenge: A Greenhouse Mystery by Wendy Tyson
Review by Kathleen Costa
I am very aware of the countless rave reviews for Wendy Tyson’s Greenhouse Mystery series, and am thrilled to finally join in with others to voice my excitement. Although I started with the third most recent release, the synopses and revisiting of key details in the backstory or character connections made sure I never suffered from a newbie handicap. First published in 2016 with A Muddied Murder, Wendy brings us Megan Sawyer who has given up her Chicago-based law career for the peace and quiet of Winsome, Pennsylvania, to take care of her grandmother and help open a store and café featuring products from Washington Acres, her grandmother’s organic farm. Bitter Harvest, released in early 2017, has Megan celebrating the business’s success after one year, but she can’t get away from the murderous drama. The newest November release of Seeds of Revenge is where I entered the excitement. It is all delightfully entertaining which includes the ins and outs of organic farming, managing a herd of goats, and running the businesses, but Megan also falls into various murders from a zoning commissioner to a pub owner to an estranged father. During the subsequent and often imperative investigations in which family or friends always seem to be directly entangled, she is assisted by those same family and friends, and also the hunky Scottish veterinarian turned boyfriend Daniel “Denver” Finn. This is ‘growing’ to be a Top Ten favorite!
I very much enjoyed Seeds of Revenge, thought more of a cozy with an edge. I was immediately hooked with Megan’s character as she starts off by acting the good Samaritan and picking up a stranded motorist on the side of the road during a terrible winter storm. We meet Becca Fox, the niece of Winsome favorite Merry Chance, who is setting up her business in her aunt’s nursery for the upcoming Christmas holidays. Becca is “The Love Chemist,” who makes naturally scented love potions using pheromones, what she calls the magic ingredient. Dropping Becca off at Merry’s home, Megan is shocked at Becca’s reaction upon seeing Paul, her estranged father. She is extremely agitated, not wanting to have anything to do with him, and accusing him of having murdered her mother. Sure, there are many families that have conflicts and misunderstandings, but when Paul is found dead, Becca is still the number one suspect. And when she shows signs of mental instability, law enforcement believes it is an open and shut case…Megan’s not so sure, of course, and the subsequent investigation is a very well written engaging page-turner: Fox family secrets, connections to the Sawyer family, multiple murders, along with issues surrounding the farm and navigating through the relationship with Denver. I loved it!
Additionally there’s always something to say about the extras that so many cozy authors provide for us fans. In the Greenhouse Mysteries, we get some Gardening Tips and a delicious easy-to-follow recipe. In A Muddied Murder the practical tip addresses expanding your garden’s growing season and a recipe for Bibi’s Farmer’s Market Pasta Primavera. In Bitter Harvest the gardening tip shares natural pest control ideas for your tomatoes plants and a recipe for Alvaro’s Rustic Potatoes au Gratin. Unfortunately, due to a production timing issue, Seeds of Revenge does not include a tip and recipe. I reached out to author Wendy Tyson, and she graciously has provided KRL readers with an exclusive gardening tip and recipe along with sharing some of her own holiday memories. Thank you very much, Wendy!
Seeds of Revenge earns 5/5 Vials of the Sweet Aroma of…Revenge!
Like, Visit, and Follow…Oh, my!
Along with penning the three-book Greenhouse Mystery series, Wendy also writes the four-book Allison Campbell Mystery series that I would describe as a “cozy with an edge.” The series begins with Killer Image, first published in 2013, to the recent summer release of Fatal Facade. As an image consultant, Allison Campbell helps to reinvent people’s images in the wake of scandals, mayhem, and murder.
Facebook–Wendy Tyson Author
Gardening Tip: Herb Gardens
Cold weather doesn’t mean the end of the growing season, especially for herbs. Consider potting your garden herbs for use indoors over the winter. Certain herbs, like chives, mint, thyme, oregano, rosemary, and parsley, do particularly well in a sunny spot indoors. Herbs can be planted together in the same pot, but make sure you pair plants with similar needs. For instance, rosemary tends to like drier soil, unlike chives or mint.
Recipe: Savory Stuffed Peppers
I love to experiment in the kitchen. I especially love to test out recipes featuring vegetables and fruits picked from our garden or found fresh at the market. I made this colorful dish for a potluck supper recently using vegetables we bought from a local farm. The flavors came together beautifully, and the sharp cheese gave the dish just enough zip. Try it with different cheeses—perhaps gruyere or sharp cheddar—or mix up the vegetables based on what’s in your refrigerator. This dish pairs nicely with wild rice, sautéed greens (or a green salad), and fresh, crusty French bread. Serves four as a main dish, eight as a side dish.
4 large red bell peppers
1-2 tbsps. olive oil
1 1/2 tbsps. butter and a ½ tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 pound white mushrooms, chopped
2 med zucchinis, diced
4-6 ounces of sharp provolone cheese, shredded
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Split the peppers in half, stem to bottom. Remove seeds and stems. Place the peppers on a cookie sheet, open side up, and sprinkle olive oil over tops. Bake for about 10-15 minutes and then carefully turn them over and cook for another 10-15 minutes. They should be slightly caramelized along the rims and bottom without losing their shape. Remove from heat and set aside.
Add butter to a skillet and melt over medium heat. Add the olive oil and the onions. Cook the onions until translucent and slightly browned. Add mushrooms and zucchini. Cook until tender, adding salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat.
Place two or three teaspoons of shredded cheese in bottom of each pepper. Add one-eighth of the vegetable mixture. Top with an additional two teaspoons of cheese or more, to taste. Add pepper to taste. Place the pan back in the 375-degree oven and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes, until the cheese has melted. Serve warm.
by Wendy Tyson
The winter holiday season is my family’s favorite time of year. We live busy lives, but we always manage to work in a few favorite traditions.
About two or three weeks before Christmas, we head to our favorite tree farm in Vermont. It’s a sprawling, hillside farm where they have a fire going outdoors and they offer s’mores, hot cocoa, and cider to the kids. People bring their dogs, and there’s always a feeling of celebration in the air. We trek up the steep path that leads to the acres of trees, pick out ours, and cut it down. At home, we decorate the tree with white lights and ornaments handmade by the kids or given to us by family. My godmother gives me a bell ornament each year, and these have a prominent place on our tree.
Closer to Christmas, my boys and I begin our cookie-making tradition. Chocolate chip, pumpkin, chewy ginger (our favorite), and sugar cookies are always on the list. We freeze them in batches to share with friends, colleagues, and neighbors during the holidays. Everyone in the family takes part, and sometimes my mother will join us as well.
Perhaps my favorite holiday tradition is our Christmas Eve gathering. My mother’s family has been doing this for more than sixty years, since well before I was born. It began as a Feast of the Seven Fishes, but over the years, it’s morphed into a less seafood-oriented menu. Extended family from all over the United States and even other parts of the world often join us, and everyone contributes something to the table. Last year my husband and I had the honor of hosting for the first time, and we had more than seventy-five people at our home. It was fun to see my boys interact with cousins they rarely see and to hear the family stories and folklore that keep memories of our loved ones alive. I hope it’s a tradition that continues far into the future.
To enter to win a copy of Seeds of Revenge, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “revenge,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen December 9, 2017. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.
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