by Kathleen Costa
& Kathi Daley
This week we have 3 more Christmas mysteries by Kathi Daley-Fourth Victim: A Writers’ Retreat Mystery and The Christmas Letter: A Tess and Tilly Mystery in another post, and Reindeer Roundup in this post along with a Christmas guest post by Kathi. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win either a print or kindle copy of Reindeer Roundup, and a link to purchase it from Amazon.
Reindeer Roundup: A Zoe Donovan Mystery by Kathi Daley
Review by Kathleen Costa
It wouldn’t be Christmas without a delightful cozy mystery from Kathi Daley! The first of five Christmases in Ashton Falls was in 2013 with Christmas Crazy which sent Zoe and friends off to uncover the killer of a Santa Claus. In 2014 Christmas Cozy has victim Holly Jolly, a local history teacher, found at the high school’s Christmas Tree lot. Santa Sleuth in 2015 threatens to put Christmas celebrations on hold when a body is found in Zoe’s BFF’s restaurant. In 2016 Zoe finds bakery owner Candy Cane dead in the Candy Cane Caper. This year Reindeer Roundup sends us on another entertaining holiday mystery. Whether there is snow falling, tree trimming, gift wrapping, or baking the family favorite desserts, Kathi Daley always gives us a clever mystery to challenge our minds and a delightful family to capture our hearts.
I knew shopping could be dangerous, but Santa and his elves? Zoe has so much on her mind from her soon-to-arrrive little girl to her mother-in-law injured in Paris to Zak out of the country helping said mother-in-law, and preparing for the Christmas holidays that she doesn’t see the elf…crash, boom, and bang on the head. Everything is all right, baby and all, but she was very curious about finding several messages left on her phone by a former high school classmate wanting her to call immediately. Something about strange emails, and the voice messages seemed very ominous. Ominous is right…deadly right! If only Zoe had been able to reach out, she might still be alive. So, now it is personal.
Fans, like me, greatly enjoy the realistic, yet very entertaining, style of Kathi Daley’s stories set up with marvelous ‘Oh, my’ beginnings, “I didn’t see that coming!” endings, and in between, a reasonable and methodical investigation with the clues slowly revealing connections, various motives and opportunities, and along the way we readers have fun trying to figure it out. Dating sites? Alarming emails? Curious behaviors? Murder! All excellent and intriguing subjects. However, Kathi’s well-written stories are more character driven than action-packed, although someone always winds up in peril. Zoe is defined by her family, and the connections are key to her existence. We are allowed into her family as she raises teenagers and opens her heart to friends and family. Although she may not be the law, she knows its importance and works alongside, not circumvent, the sheriff to uncover the truth. There’s always a little danger involved, but it’s the people who make this series popular.
Reindeer Roundup earns 5+/5 Reindeer Rescues and Christmas Cheer!
By Kathi Daley
I grew up as an only child in a household without a mother. Dad did his best to create traditions that would see me into adulthood. Every year we’d head down to Main Street to look at the window displays and have dinner. And every year my grandmother would make potato cheese soup, and we’d get together to share a meal, tell stories, and sing carols.
The traditions my dad created during my childhood have stood the test of time, but as life has evolved and the people I share my life with have come and gone, I find that the ‘must do’ activities I focus on each year have changed as well.
My husband Zak came into my life four years ago. He is Mr. Decoration. Not only does he love to decorate but each year he tries to outdo himself. This year we even have reindeer.
Then three years ago my family increased again when our honorary children Alex and Scooter came into our lives. Alex loves to go ice skating during Hometown Christmas, and Scooter enjoys spending time on the sledding hill. As I did when I was a child, the family continues to view the windows on Main Street and enjoy a family meal.
Each addition to my family has come with new traditions. This year I am preparing to welcome the newest member of our family, baby Catherine, who will bring a new element to our lives and new traditions as well.
Food and cozy mysteries often go hand in hand, or should I say fork in hand?
Kathi Daley likes to provide an all-around experience for her fans, and therefore, she has a recipe exchange group on Facebook, and in several of her series, she includes recipes submitted by her fans. Connected to this Zoe Donovan series and writing as Zoe herself, she penned cute introductions about Christmas and compiled easy-to-follow recipes in her Ashton Falls Cozy Cookbook. This cookbook is an absolute must for Kathi Daley and Zoe Donovan fans. She includes over fifty recipes with several already my family’s favorites: Appetizers (Crab and Artichoke Dip); Muffins and Sweet Breads (Zak’s Easy Sticky Buns); Soups, Stews, Chili, and Chowder (Mountain Man Beef Stew); Mains and Sides (Ellie’s Ground Beef Stroganoff); and included below from Desserts and Sweets two favorites (Zoe’s Snowball Cookies, Zoe’s Pumpkin Snickerdoodles). This cookbook has everything needed for any holiday menu from a Christmas morning brunch to a book club afternoon tea to a big family holiday dinner.
Do you have your own cookie exchange party to attend like Zoe and Ellie? Try these easy-to-follow delicious treats, but make sure to bake extra for family and the friends that will undoubtedly make their holiday appearance.
Zoe’s Snowball Cookies
2 cups softened butter
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
4-1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
2 cups chopped walnuts
Refrigerate at least 1 hour.
Roll into 1-inch balls and place on ungreased baking sheet.
Bake at 400 degrees until set but not brown.
While still warm, roll in powdered sugar.
Let cool and roll in powdered sugar a second time.
Zoe’s Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
1 cup butter at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1 large egg
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3-3/4 cups flour
1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
For the coating:
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
Dash of allspice
Whip together butter and sugars until creamy. Add pumpkin, egg, and vanilla. Mix well. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. In a separate bowl, mix the sugar and spices for the coating. Roll chilled dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in coating. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet at 400 degrees until lightly brown (around 12 minutes).
Daley, Kathi. Ashton Falls Cozy Cookbook (Kindle Locations 656-665; 679-695). Kathi Daley Books. Kindle Edition.
Be a Big Kathi Daley Fan!
Are you a fan of Zoe Donovan, too? Through the twenty-seven books, Kathi Daley has developed her characters well showing growth, maturity, and a strengthening of the relationships between Zoe and her friends, family, and her love, Zak. It is like revisiting family with each and every new book. The series is set mainly in Ashton Falls and the surrounding Washington State area, but fans have been whisked to the tropics in Maui Madness (2014), up north in Alaskan Alliance (2014), across the ocean to Ireland in Shamrock Shenanigans (2015), and to the Canadian Rockies in Holiday Hangover (2017). Although exploring the different settings is entertaining and adds to the nuances of the mystery, it is the characters that make this series a delight to read.
To enter to win either a print or kindle copy of Reindeer Roundup, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “reindeer,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen December 23, 2017. U.S. residents only for the print copy. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address. PLEASE STATE IN ENTRY WHETHER YOU WANT PRINT OR KINDLE.
Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & short stories in our mystery section.
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