Thursday, 29 August 2013

Night Film: A Novel by Marisha Pessl

Night Film
A Novel
by Marisha Pessl

Hardcover, 624 pages

Wow! This has got to be my favourite book this year. A mystery with so many layers, you will savour every page. And you get a lot of pages for your buck, topping at over 600.

The official synopsis:
On a damp October night, the body of young, beautiful Ashley Cordova is found in an abandoned warehouse in lower Manhattan. By all appearances her death is a suicide—but investigative journalist Scott McGrath suspects otherwise. Though much has been written about the dark and unsettling films of Ashley's father, Stanislas Cordova, very little is known about the man himself. As McGrath pieces together the mystery of Ashley's death, he is drawn deeper and deeper into the dark underbelly of New York City and the twisted world of Stanislas Cordova, and he begins to wonder—is he the next victim? In this novel, the dazzlingly inventive writer Marisha Pessl offers a breathtaking mystery that will hold you in suspense until the last page is turned.

Vibrant, fascinating characters, a completely fresh and intriguing sleuthing team, and enough twists and turns to keep you guessing until the last page. And possibly even after that. Seriously, you will want to think about the book, talk about the book and make sure your best friends all get to read it so you can talk about it with them.

MARISHA PESSL grew up in Asheville, North Carolina, and now lives in New York City. Special Topics in Calamity Physics, her debut novel, was a bestseller in both hardcover and paperback. It won the 2006 John Sargent Sr. First Novel Prize (now the Center for Fiction's Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize), and was selected as one of the 10 Best Books of the Year by The New York Times Book Review. The author lives in New York, NY.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Kelley Armstrong - Omens

The Cainsville Series
by Kelley Armstrong

Hardcover, 496 pages
Welcome to Cainsville!

Kelley Armstrong is best known for her internationally bestselling Women of the Otherworld series and hot on its heels is another fantastic series starting with Omens - our first look into Cainsville and what lurks therein. 

Olivia Taylor Jones is the daughter of a wealthy family; beautiful, educated, and busy doing volunteer work until her marriage to equally suitable CEO, James Morgan.

This bubble is ripped apart almost immediately by an avalanche of reporters and speculations on her heritage. A fine way to find out you were adopted. And may be the birth daughter of serial killers.

In the frantic need to find out who she is and what all this means, Olivia sets out on a new life path. One in which she must fend for herself and use what little life experience she has to find out who she really is - and who her parents really are. 

This novel has it all - mystery, thriller, romance, and a creepy town that just starts to unfold in this debut book of the series. Once you read this one, you'll be longing for the next. 

Photo credit: Kathryn Hollinrake
KELLEY ARMSTRONG is the bestselling author of the Women of the Otherworld series, the Nadia Stafford crime series, and two bestselling YA trilogies, Darkest Powers and Darkness Rising. She lives in rural Ontario.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

The Bread Baking Babes get a little Nutty!

We all like to get a little nutty from time to time. And a coffee cake in the house, nestled under the glass dome, is as great a welcome as anybody could have. Especially if there is nice, strong espresso to go with it.

Jamie challenged us to make this delicious yeasted confection but, after reading her post, I suspect it was more of a challenge for her than for me! For some reason everything came together easily for me and my trusty stand mixer and I had a good time assembling the jellyroll style logs into the angel foodcake pan and baking this baby up. I stuck with the original recipe and ground my nuts in a food processor. After reading some other posts, I think this is an important step. Finely ground nuts absorb more of the meringue and make spreading and rolling easier.

If you are feeling a little nutty this month, bake up the Nut Roll Coffee Cake! You'll be glad you did.

 A message from Jamie, our Bread Baking Babes Hostess of the Month!
You too can bake along with us and be a Bread Baking Buddy. Simply bake this Cinnamon Nut Roll Coffee Cake, blog it – don’t forget to mention being a Bread Baking Buddy and link back to this blog post! Then send me the link (please include your name and your blog’s name) by August 26th to jamieannschler AT gmail DOT com with August Bread Baking Buddy in the subject line and I will add you to the roundup.


You will need a stand mixer or beaters to whip egg whites for the meringue filling and a 10-inch (standard) tube pan.

For the dough:

2 packages (1/4 ounce/7 g each) active dry yeast
¼ cup (@ 65 ml) warm water (110°F to 115°F)
16 Tbs (225 g) unsalted butter, melted
½ cup (125 ml) warm 2% fat/lowfat milk (110°F to 115°F)
4 egg yolks
2 Tbs sugar
¾ tsp salt
 2 ½ cups (350 g*) all-purpose flour, more as needed

For the filling:

3 egg whites
1 cup + 3 Tbs sugar, divided
2 cups ground walnuts (I usually use pecans but choose what you like)
2 Tbs 2% fat/lowfat milk
2 tsps ground cinnamon

The day before, prepare the dough:

In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast in warm water. Add the butter, milk, eggs yolks, sugar, salt and flour. Beat until smooth – the mixture will be sticky. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

The day of baking, prepare the filling:

In a small bowl, beat the egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in 1 cup sugar, about 2 tablespoons at a time, on high speed until the sugar is incorporated and dissolved.

In a large bowl, combine the walnuts, milk, cinnamon and remaining sugar; fold in the meringue.

Prepare the Coffee Cake:

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease a 10-inch tube pan.

Divide the dough in half. On a well-floured work surface, roll each portion into an 18 x 12 –inch (45 x 30 cm) rectangle. Spread half of the filling evenly over each rectangle within 1/2 –inch (1 cm) of the edges. Roll each up jelly-roll style, starting with the long side; pinch seam to seal.

Place one filled roll, seam side up, in the greased tube pan. Place the second roll, seam side down. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 – 45 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes before removing the coffee cake from the pan to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Eat as is or drizzle with glaze or dust with powdered sugar.

The Bread Baking Babes

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Linwood Barclay - A Tap on the Window

A Tap on the Window
by Linwood Barclay

Trade Paperback,  512 pages

Cal Weaver is a broken man. No longer a cop, the private investigator finds his reason and humanity crumbling down around him after the death of his teenage son. His wife is in a world of her own pain, constantly sketching pictures of her lost child, while Cal clings to the idea of finding out who was the catalyst in his son's death.

One rainy night he picks up a hitchhiker. It's a small town and she recognizes him. This is enough to sway his better judgement and let the wet teen into his car.

From there he finds himself in a baffling body switch and missing persons case in which his own innocence is questioned.

Something is greatly wrong with the town he lives in, and the more he discovers, the more convoluted and corrupt things seem.

Cal has to find out the truth and bring it to light before the body count rises. Nobody is innocent, and nothing is what it seems.

A great puzzle of a book by the master of the mystery thriller. 
Put this on your reading list! 

Photo credit: Michael Rafelson
LINWOOD BARCLAY, former columnist for the Toronto Star, is the #1 international bestselling author of nine critically acclaimed novels, including Trust Your Eyes, The Accident, Never Look Away, and No Time for Goodbye, which has been optioned for film. He lives near Toronto with his wife and has two grown children. The author lives in Oakville, ON.

Saturday, 3 August 2013