I’m excited to participate in the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour introducing APPLE CIDER SLAYING! This first book in the brand new Apple Cider Shop Mystery series by Julie Anne Lindsey, is as cozy as books come. I was instantly transported to the orchards as protagonist, Winnie Mae Montgomery, helps her Granny Smythe prepare for the first Annual Christmas at the Orchard. Winnie is determine to save the orchard from financial ruin and uses all her marketing savvy to bring in customers year round. I couldn’t help but become invested in seeing how she was going to accomplish it nor could I help becoming anxious when it seemed they would lose everything.
Ms. Lindsey does a commendable job creating lovable characters and adorable felines. Who can resist the rescue kittens named Kenny and Dolly? Or the handsome new Sheriff in town? Winnie is especially admirable. She is kind and loving, and her work ethic should be a standard to hold in high regard. Not only did she attend community college to finish her marketing degree, she works as a waitress at the Sip N Sup, plus works at the orchard to help her granny. Winnie also dreams of opening her own cider shop at the orchard, which takes planning and tenacious determination to find a way to make it happen.
The author’s descriptive voice captures the sights, sounds, and flavors of not only the orchard, but the locals who live in the Blue Ridge Mountains of West Virginia. She peppers the pages with humor while creating a tightknit community of folk in Blossom Valley. They epitomize what a community should be. The story had a good pace with lots of action and the murder mystery held twists and turns that kept my attention. I didn’t even have the villain on my suspects list but the clues are there and it was fun to go back and see how I missed it. A suspenseful reveal had me turning pages faster and faster until I read the very last page. A well-done first in a new series that is one of my new favorites this year!
Granny Smythe is known for her delicious apple treats. All the mentions had my mouth watering! Blossom Valley is also known for community gatherings and one of the favorite desserts brought is Hank’s Mom’s Dump Cake. Oh my goodness, talk about easy to make – this recipe uses only four pantry-staple ingredients! But more than that, it’s really yummy. I love any dessert with fruit and with the cake topping, this becomes more of a cobbler-style treat and honestly, I prefer this texture over cakes prepared traditionally. Super moist, thanks to crushed pineapple, this is perfect served with a big ol’ scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream. And best of all, you can easily tailor flavors to fit your own tastes… there are multitudes of combinations of cake flavors and pie fillings that I can’t wait to try. Ms. Lindsey says she prefers chocolate fudge cake mix with cherry pie filling while her kids like angel food or white cake with strawberry filling. I’m thinking apple filling with spice cake sounds pretty yummy too.
Apples are at the core of the family business run by Winona Mae Montgomery and her Granny Smythe. But this year’s crop is unseasonably ripe with murder . . .
ONE ROTTEN APPLE
Blossom Valley, West Virginia, is home to Smythe Orchards, Winnie and her Granny’s beloved twenty-five-acre farm and family business. But any way you slice it, it’s struggling. That’s why they’re trying to drum up business with the “First Annual Christmas at the Orchard,” a good old-fashioned holiday festival with enough delicious draw to satisfy apple-picking locals and cider-loving tourists alike—until the whole endeavor takes a sour turn when the body of Nadine Cooper, Granny’s long-time, grudge-holding nemesis, is found lodged in the apple press. Now, with Granny the number one suspect, Winnie is hard-pressed to prove her innocence before the real killer delivers another murder . . .
A special thanks to Julie Anne Lindsey for providing five print giveaway copies of APPLE CIDER SLAYING. Contest ends November 8, 2019 at 11:59 pm PST and limited to U.S. Please use the Rafflecopter box located below the recipe to enter. The contest is administered by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours and the winner will be announced on this page as well as notified by email (so check your spam folder!)
There isn't anything simpler than dump cake, and it's guaranteed to bring folks running. So, next time you're in a hurry to whip up something sweet, grab these four ingredients from the kitchen, and you'll be the hit of the party.
- 1 21-ounce can of cherry pie filling
- 1 16-ounce can of crushed pineapple
- 1 boxed white cake mix
- 1-1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) of butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix cherry pie filling and pineapple together in a medium bowl.
Pour into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.
Sprinkle cake mix over fruit.
Add pats of butter evenly across the top of the cake mix.
Bake 45 to 60 minutes, until top is brown and bubbly.
Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped topping.
You can use any combination of canned pie fillings and cake flavors to suit your fancy. Granny loves cherries and chocolate cake. Dot prefers peaches and yellow cake. Winnie likes pineapples and cherries. White cake and strawberry filling is also a hit. The recipe's so simple you might as well try them all!
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I was provided an advance copy. All thoughts and opinions are my own.