Hobby Reads

Because everyone's hobby is having fun!

Blender Whole-Wheat Pancakes by Jennifer Beckstrand

Note from Rose: I got this recipe from an Englisch friend who makes these pancakes in a blender. That way, you don’t have to grind the wheat separately. Since we Amish don’t use electricity, I have included the blender recipe first and the non-electric recipe second.

1½ cups buttermilk
1 cup whole-wheat kernels OR if you aren’t using
a blender, 1½ cups whole-wheat flour
3 Tablespoons cornmeal Continue reading “Blender Whole-Wheat Pancakes by Jennifer Beckstrand”

Joanne Fluke Bake Off Recap! Including Flash Giveaway!

Hey Everyone! Due to some technical difficulties, our Joanne Fluke Bake Off video did NOT go off without a hitch. That’s okay though! I’m going to recap for you what audio you missed in the video and hopefully I can capture the essence of it all.

1. Steve and Adam introduce themselves and discuss their “off-the-cuff” strategy of how they were approaching the video. Run-through? These guys are professionals; they didn’t need any of that!

2. After some deliberation, Steve and Adam started off with the Chocolate Chip Crunch Cookies from CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE MURDER made by our very own John Scognamiglio. *Note: the tasters did not know who made which dessert before the testing* Nods of approval and words of “delicious” and “I’m a big fan of chocolate chip cookies” were muttered and both judges agreed on the delightfulness of the cookies.

counter-top Continue reading “Joanne Fluke Bake Off Recap! Including Flash Giveaway!”

Murder at Rough Point by Alyssa Maxwell

Penny Richards is a historical fiction writer with a strong interest in history. To contextualize her work, it can be fascinating to learn more about the time and place in which her novel is set. Her protagonist, Emma Cross, is a distant cousin of the Vanderbilt family. The Vanderbilt clan has long been synonymous with opulence, philanthropy, and glamour. The family’s story is a compelling one—one of making a fortune and rising to the social elite.

The family’s tale begins with Cornelius Vanderbilt, one of nine children from a Dutch-American family of modest means, living on Staten Island. After dropping out of school at age 11, Cornelius succeeded in founding a shipping and railroad empire and brought his family to celebrity status, remembered as historical legends.

He brought his company up from one single boat, to a trading monopoly, making him the second richest man in American history after John D. Rockefeller.

The family’s enormous Fifth Avenue mansions in New York were the largest of their kind, in good company with their other sprawling mansions, like The Breakers in Newport, Rhode Island and the Biltmore House in Asheville, North Carolina. They were known for financing architectural feats, even taking a great part in the building of the modern Grand Central Station. Before his death, Cornelius Vanderbilt allotted 1 million U.S. dollars to found the prestigious Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. With inflation, this original 1 million would today be equal to 20 million dollars.

Such grandeur and status allows for a look into a glittering, elusive past of the Gilded Age. Our protagonist Emma Cross, however, hopes to transcend the chains of status that rule Newport, Rhode Island, by proving herself as a successful sleuth.

About the book:

In glittering Newport, Rhode Island, at the close of the nineteenth century, status is everything. But despite being a poorer relation to the venerable Vanderbilts, Emma Cross has shaped her own identity—as a reporter and a sleuth.

Fancies and Fashion reporter Emma Cross is sent by the Newport Observer to cover an elite house party at Rough Point, the “cottage” owned by her distant cousin Frederick Vanderbilt, which has been rented as a retreat for artists. To her surprise, the illustrious guests include her estranged Bohemian parents—recently returned from Europe—as well as a variety of notable artists, including author Edith Wharton.

But when one of the artists—an English baronet—is discovered dead at the bottom of a cliff, Rough Point becomes anything but a house of mirth. After a second guest is found murdered, no one is above suspicion.

About the author:

Alyssa Maxwell has worked in publishing as an assistant editor and a ghost writer, but knew from an early age that being a novelist was what she wanted most. Growing up in New England and traveling to Great Britain fueled a passion for history, while a love of puzzles of all kinds drew her to the mystery genre. She lives in South Florida in the current year, but confesses to spending most of her time in the Victorian, Edwardian, and post WWI eras. In addition to fantasizing about wearing Worth gowns while strolling manor house gardens, she loves to watch BBC and other period productions and sip tea in the afternoons. You can learn more about Alyssa and her books at, and friend her on Facebook at and


Nom Nom Nom. The Kensington Publishing Bake Off!

Join us on Tuesday September 27th for a Facebook Live broadcast as our esteemed judges CEO Steve Zacharius and General Manager Adam Zacharius taste our creations.

The live video will air between 12:00 and 1:30 PM EST. Stay tuned to our social pages for the official time. facebook | twitter | instagram

Bakers will be creating the following recipes in tomorrow’s Bake Off!

Ooey Gooey Chewy Cookie Bars- Cherry Cheesecake Murder
Chocolate Chip Crunch Cookies- Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder
Fudge Cupcakes – Fudge Cupcake Murder
Mini Cherry Cheesecakes – Cherry Cheesecake Murder
Banana Cream Pie- Banana Cream Pie Murder

Continue reading “Nom Nom Nom. The Kensington Publishing Bake Off!”

It’s Your Party, Die If You Want To by Vickie Fee

Booth Talks Books

Nothing says woman’s business retreat like a ghost hunt, pagans dancing naked around its-your-partythe fire and the dead body of a community member whose had an affair with just about every man in town. Dang Vickie! What was in your tea when you were writing this? It’s Your Party, Die If You Want To is a non-stop trip of having your mouth hanging open and I loved it!

Small towns are amazing because there is always something going on and everyone knows about it. Dixie Tennessee is just like any other small southern town except a lot more scandalous. Liv McKay, a party planner and her friend, Di Souther, the local mail carrier are in the perfect professions to know everyone’s business in a more intimate way. And can I just say the names, Liv and Di for murder mystery characters are brilliant! I love that to the moon…

View original post 613 more words

New Releases For Week Of September 25th


Here is a list of some of the new releases for the week of September 25th, 2016.  Hope you find some selections for your weekly reading.  Enjoy and happy reading.

28439435Christmas normally descends on Lake Eden, Minnesota, as gently as reindeer alighting on a rooftop—but this yuletide season the only thing coming down Hannah Swensen’s chimney is a case of murder . . .
The holidays have arrived, and Hannah and her good pal Lisa have agreed to provide all the goodies for the town’s annual production of A Christmas Carol. But before anyone can say “Bah, humbug!” a Santa-sized sackful of trouble ensues. Like the fact that Lisa’s husband will be playing Mr. Claus to his ex-girlfriend Phyllis Bates’ Mrs. Claus. Or that before the curtains even go up Phyllis is found dead in the snow—wearing a costume that the real Mrs. Claus would put on the…

View original post 2,805 more words

Pumpkin Stew by Lee Hollis

½ cup flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
2 pounds stew meat cut into one-inch cubes
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, chopped
2 to 3 cloves garlic, chopped Continue reading “Pumpkin Stew by Lee Hollis”

Honey Lozenges by Jennifer Beckstrand

Note from Rose: This recipe basically uses honey and herbal tea. You can use just about any kind of herbal tea you want. Some of my favorites are Echinacea— immune system, eucalyptus, or camphor—relieve congestion, and licorice—chest and throat soother. I made Josiah peppermint-honey lozenges. Peppermint is an expectorant and a decongestant.

2 cups water
5 herbal teabags
Powdered sugar Continue reading “Honey Lozenges by Jennifer Beckstrand”

Preheat those ovens, bakers!

On September 27th, Joanne Fluke’s new Hannah Swensen holiday story, CHRISTMAS CARAMEL MURDER, hits the shelves. That gives us the perfect excuse to let our sweet tooth do the talking.

To celebrate the book’s release we’re making a mess of our kitchens and bringing you the first Hannah Swensen Bakeoff. We’ve challenged our team to make their favorite Joanne Fluke dish, and we will be sharing their results with you live on our Facebook page!

Which Hannah Swensen recipe will reign supreme? Will the Fudge Cupcakes or infamous Ooey Gooey Chewy Cookie Bars take the cake?


Join us on Tuesday September 27th for a Facebook Live broadcast as our esteemed judges CEO Steve Zacharius and General Manager Adam Zacharius taste our creations.

The live video will air between 12:00 and 1:30 PM EST. Stay tuned to our social pages for the official time.

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