• Bookish Bakes: Chocolate Friendship Cake, inspired by The Friendship List by Susan Mallery

    Bookish Bakes: Chocolate Friendship Cake

    This one was inspired by Susan Mallery’s The Friendship List. I was part of the book blog tour this past Tuesday. It was a lovely book about two lifelong friends getting out of their sad comfort zones and rediscovering life and love. With two lifelong best friends of my own, I couldn’t not be inspired by this book. I have so many food memories with my friends, from pancakes every morning after a sleepover to drinking melted chocolates to brownies to mall pretzels. Even though we did plenty of things that didn’t involve food, it’s still an important piece of us as a trio. Chocolate is one thing we were never…

  • Book Review: Umbral Ten by Douglas Murphy - a fantasy novel, first in the Khaldaia Chronicles

    Book Review: Umbral Ten by Douglas Murphy

    Title: Umbral Ten Author: Douglas Murphy Publisher: Self-published Publication date: April 21, 2020 Genre: Fantasy Summary: When mage Theodosia wakes in Starkwind Monastery with no memory of what happened after a routine ceremony to renew a sacred tree began, she finds herself in the company of five others in a world that no longer makes sense and that now has a blood red moon in the sky. Hoping to find passage back to the mainland, they head to the small town they had all initially passed through, only to find a radically different world, and a town that now needs their help when a mage from Theodosia’s past arrives with monsters in tow. Last month…

  • Book Blog Tour: Review - The Friendship List by Susan Mallery, a women's fiction novel featuring two lifelong friends

    Book Blog Tour – Review: The Friendship List by Susan Mallery

    The Lily Cafe is thrilled to participate in the book blog tour for The Friendship List by Susan Mallery, available today!. Title: The Friendship List Author: Susan Mallery Publisher: Harlequin – Romance Publication date: August 4, 2020 Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance Summary: Ellen and Unity have been best friends all their lives. Now, as grown women, Ellen is close to sending her 17 year old son off to college and Unity is still grappling with the death of her husband 3 years before. When Ellen overhears her son talking about not going away to college because he’s worried about her, she takes it as a sign she needs to get her life in order and show him…

  • Lemon Meringue Cake - making a yellow cake, lemon custard, and Italian meringue frosting using ratios

    Bookish Bakes: Lemon Meringue Cake

    On Monday I posted a picture of a slice of this cake accompanying my Kindle featuring my then current read The Baron of Magister Valley by Steven Brust, so I thought I’d share my ratio recipe for the lemon meringue pie. If you give me a choice between cake and pie, I’ll almost always pick cake. For whatever reason, pie is not one of my favorite things. Once in a while I crave a chocolate pie or, if it’s the fall, I’ll opt for one or two pumpkin pies. Very rarely will I pick a lemon meringue pie, though I would agree they’re quite tasty, especially if you like lemons. So,…

  • Book Review: Vanessa Yu's Magical Paris Tea Shop by Roselle Lim - a delightful women's fiction novel set partially in Paris

    Book Review: Vanessa Yu’s Magical Paris Tea Shop by Roselle Lim

    Title: Vanessa Yu’s Magical Paris Tea Shop Author: Roselle Lim Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group Publication date: August 4, 2020 Genre: General Fiction Summary: Just like her Aunt Evelyn, Vanessa can see people’s future just by looking at their drink. Believing herself to be cursed, especially since fortune tellers are destined to never marry, she has spent her life suppressing her abilities. Until one prediction rattles her and Evelyn whisks her away to Paris so she can teach her while she opens her new tea shop. Vanessa has never felt more cursed than when she meets charming Marc Santos, who shows her the city and the food. If only she can get her gift under control. Or…

  • Italy is a Lovely Place to Read About

    This thought came to me as I was reading a book that’s partially set in Firenze, Italy and partially in a fantasy setting based on Firenze. Whenever I picked it up, I couldn’t help but think back on the, apparently, many books I’ve read that have taken place in Italy. I guess I really like Italy? I’ve been once, a long time ago. My family took a tour through part of Europe and traveled through Venice, Milan, and Verona. I enjoyed most of it, but became mildly sea sick on the canals of Venice and almost drenched in Verona after baking in Venice and Milan. Since then, I’ve found myself…

  • How I’m Coping With the Pandemic

    About 4 months ago, our school district shutdown and we started school from home. About a week after that, our mayor, and then our governor, shut down the county and state, respectively. About a month and a half ago, reopening in our county began. It wasn’t looking good, but it wasn’t horrendous, either. I was actually getting quite excited about all the things I might be able to do in July. Like go to the beach or take my kids to the zoo. Basically anything to get them out and about, at least a little. I had been cautiously optimistic that the numbers would stay low, that it would be kind…

  • The Lily Cafe Digest #11 - catch up on my posts from the past 4 weeks and enjoy some from bloggers I follow

    The Lily Cafe Digest #11

    Is it already time for another Digest? Yes, it is! This was a short 4 week round, but July has some big dates for my family, so I’ll be taking the next 2 weeks off. The past four weeks just flew past. My son virtually graduated from Kindergarten, which was different, but still really nice. The teachers had each student record their favorite memory from Kindergarten and it turned out most of my son’s class, including him, really loved math. Mostly, though, I’m astounded by just how quickly he picked up reading. A year ago we were struggling with letter sounds. Now he randomly reads words all over the place.…

  • What I Learned After Reading 3 Mysteries Set in the UK - I enjoy mysteries and love all the charming small towns in the UK, but 3 in a row might have been a little too much

    What I Learned After Reading 3 Mysteries Set in the UK

    I’m a huge fan of fantasy, but I also enjoy a handful of other genres. Like mysteries and thrillers. My absolute favorite book series for the past 15 years has been a cozy mystery series, The Coffeehouse Mystery series by Cleo Coyle, which is kind of funny because I don’t even drink or like coffee. Anyways, I’m a little haphazard when I schedule out my book reviews. I always read the books in the order they’re scheduled. I schedule them based on publication date as I mostly read ARCs these days, otherwise I give the author a fairly set time frame for when they can expect a review from me, so…

  • Book Blog Tour – Review: The Bitter and Sweet of Cherry Season by Molly Fader

    The Lily Cafe is thrilled to participate in the book blog tour for The Bitter and Sweet of Cherry Season by Molly Fader. Title: The Bitter and Sweet of Cherry Season Author: Molly Fader Publisher: Harlequin – Graydon House Books Publication date: June 6, 2020 Genre: Women’s Fiction, General Fiction Summary: Hope is just looking for the safest place she can find for herself and her ten year old daughter, Tink. With a bruise on her face and a cut on her lip, she needs somewhere to hide and keep her daughter safe from their recent past. Peg is Hope’s aunt, a relative she has never met. Peg runs a cherry orchard along with her business partner…