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Topic: Sticks and Scones discussion

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Subject: Sticks and Scones discussion
Date Posted: 7/15/2012 5:49 PM ET
Member Since: 11/14/2009
Posts: 6,680
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First off I'm going to say I've never lead a book discussion on line before, so don't hesitate to jump in and add ideas.  It won't hurt my feelings ;-)

I chose this book simply because I've read the author before and I like scones, so I didn't think I could go wrong.    I haven't made the scones yet.  It's been 90-100 degrees every day and I can't convince myself to turn on the oven.  If any of you want to make any of the other receipes (I think some of you are also in the cookbook review)  jump in and tell us about how it. 

Question1.

How important is the setting to the story?          This story takes place in the Colorado, with some wilderness.  Some of the events take place in ways and places that needed that.  There needed to be big open spaces and the creek for the shooting.  On the other hand, the author managed to move an European castle across the ocean in for that setting.

 

 

Subject: Spoiler Alert!!
Date Posted: 7/15/2012 9:21 PM ET
Member Since: 7/10/2011
Posts: 2,353
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I have to say at the start that Diane Mott Davidson is my favorite author.  I have learned that she puts things in the story early that become important later on.  Reading the books in order, her son grows a little older each book, has new interests, and the back story with her, Tom, the Jerk and Marla is advanced as well.

In this story, the castle holds all the secrets, so the setting was vital to the story.  I knew when the murder holes were mentioned that this would come back later.   The focus on English households in the medieval time frame with the fencing demonstrations was a way to have her son Arch involved.

I made Queen of Scots Shortbread on page 177 on Saturday and finished the book today.  I made it before I read about Goldy making it, so was fun to see her description of patting out the dough and fluting the edges, just like I had done the day before.  These were really good, flaky and buttery, not too sweet.  When she says to let them cool before moving them, she means it.  One of mine crumbled as I was transferring it to the rack, so I let the others sit another five minutes before trying to move them.  My husband scarfed them up, he loves shortbread cookies.

I haven't made the scones, but it seems similar to the recipe I usually use with whipping cream.  Definitely going to make the Chocolate 911 cookies!!  I meant to do so before now, but re-reading the book brought it back to my attention.

Barb S. (okbye) - ,
Date Posted: 7/16/2012 2:00 AM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2011
Posts: 5,767
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The castle was essential to the story but Colorado was irrelevant. In fact I never even thought about where it was set until I noticed it said something about Denver somewhere near the middle of the book and I was a little surprised. I kept picturing the midwest, I guess because of the snow. 

I made the scones a couple days ago, using dried blueberries instead of currants. They turned out good except I messed up mixing the blueberries in. Following the directions I was looking at this ball of dough and wondering how you possibly folded blueberries into it and decided to try using the food processor. That chopped up my blueberries but that worked out just fine. I have no idea how you would get them in there otherwise with those directions, if I made them again I would add the fruit to the dry bowl before the liquid. I may try the 911 cookies, sans frosting. 

Date Posted: 7/16/2012 10:26 AM ET
Member Since: 12/27/2010
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I agree with Barb "The castle was essential to the story but Colorado was irrelevant" .

I think the location could have been anywhere that has snow, winding country roads and wilderness. There are a lot of areas in the US that this could have been set in. I understand this is a series? It could be that Colorado has more significance in other books.

I have not baked anything yet. Like Deb mentioned, the heat has been bloody hot these last few weeks and I can't bring myself to bake. We do not have central air so it would be painful to turn the oven on right now! Low to mid 90's all week............. 



Last Edited on: 7/16/12 10:26 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/16/2012 5:55 PM ET
Member Since: 7/10/2011
Posts: 2,353
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Yes, it is a series of books.  Goldy lives in a small town north of Denver.  Sometimes the winding roads have been a part of the story.   The mountains and hills seem to play a part here and there, with being able to see crime scenes from other vantage points.  One of the books has a hiking trail near a home, and is integral to that story.  You are right, it just as easily been set in the NC mountains as Colorado, but the castle setting was key for this novel.

Subject: Setting
Date Posted: 7/17/2012 11:04 AM ET
Member Since: 6/26/2012
Posts: 174
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I think the setting is important, and while I love that it is set in Colorado, I suppose it could be set in any snowy town.  Living in Florida and never really seeing snow, it was hard for me to wrap my head around how cold it really must have been there.  I kind of wish she would have said temperatures a time or two....

 

This is so much fun, thanks for including me.  Are we going to do another cozy?  I have one in mind.


Charlene

Date Posted: 7/17/2012 12:31 PM ET
Member Since: 11/14/2009
Posts: 6,680
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We can do any books that have an interest.   My only limitation is that I don't know how to set up a voting list.   I know that sounds lame, but it is the truth.

Queston 2.  Agatha Christie said she didn't like romance in her mysteries.  How did the 'romance' issue.....Goldy worried that her husband was having an afair with the woman he had loved years ago while in high school fit into the story.

 

Barb S. (okbye) - ,
Date Posted: 7/17/2012 1:42 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2011
Posts: 5,767
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I'm with Agatha, lol. Then again I don't really like romance in anything. Just not my thing. I didn't really see that as a romance issue, it was more like another, smaller, mystery. She kept it more on an intellectual level, but it could have easily slipped into romance if she was so inclined. I didn't think it was a big part of the story but I might have felt differently if I had read the series and knew the characters and their story better, it looked like Goldy had been through a lot prior to this book that may have made the ex subplot more relevant but as a stand alone it was pretty much a second string plot. 

 

Setting up a list is easy. Hover over the My Account tab until the menu opens, then go through My Lists > Book Lists > Create A List. Click on create a list and give it a title, that's about it. Just make sure it is set to open so everyone can add to it. 

Date Posted: 7/17/2012 6:27 PM ET
Member Since: 7/10/2011
Posts: 2,353
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Barb, I agree, it was kind of a mystery within a mystery.  Davidson doesn't write "romance" into her novels, more like real life people in real relationships.  Yes, Goldy has been through a lot, I won't tell too much so it won't ruin it for those that want to start this series from the beginning.

Charlene, just be sure that the book you choose has enough copies in the system for all of us.

Deb, it's easy, you can do it!! 

I love cozies, and would love to keep it going.  I would like to suggest that next time we start with the first book in the series, or pick a whole series to read in order.  I really would rather read in order so the back story makes sense and I don't stumble onto spoilers for earlier books.   I had already read all of the Goldy series, so didn't mind going back and re-reading again.

Date Posted: 7/18/2012 9:29 PM ET
Member Since: 11/14/2009
Posts: 6,680
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I've tried that posting business of future books, but I just can't do it.   I've tried several sets of directions but it is beyond me and my computer.  

Question 3 Since we are on the topic, for those who have read Diane Mott Davidson before, do you think this book stood on it's own?  If you've never read this series before do you feel there were unanswered questions?

 

Date Posted: 7/18/2012 11:01 PM ET
Member Since: 7/10/2011
Posts: 2,353
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I think the book could stand on its own, but knowing the characters better from previous books was helpful to understanding some of the dynamics between the characters.

Deb, would you like me to make a cozy list for you?

Date Posted: 7/19/2012 5:23 AM ET
Member Since: 11/14/2009
Posts: 6,680
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If you can start a cozy list that would be good.  I know some people above have said they had ideas.    I am also using the questions you gave me.    I am sort of a feeble leader here.   :-(

Date Posted: 7/19/2012 5:25 AM ET
Member Since: 11/14/2009
Posts: 6,680
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I am reading the books out of order, and trying to piece the intervals together.   I do think this book had less of the rich former wife of the jerk involved....can't think of her name.....was it Marla?   I liked her character in previous books.  

Date Posted: 7/19/2012 7:46 AM ET
Member Since: 7/10/2011
Posts: 2,353
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Marla is a hoot, she has more of a role in some of the other books.  If you only read one other, read Catering to Nobody, it gives all the background.  The Jerk is very violent and Goldy is really afraid of him.  That doesn't show well in Sticks and Scones, it just seems that she doesn't want to be around him, but there is much more to that part of the story.

I'll be happy to do a cozy list for you, and I'll create another thread for it.

Barb S. (okbye) - ,
Date Posted: 7/19/2012 4:28 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2011
Posts: 5,767
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You're doing great Deb :)

I think it was fine as a stand alone book. There wasn't anything I was confused about, when it was necessary she gave a brief reference to past issues, like she mentioned a couple times in just a sentence or two that The Jerk had been violent to her and was a prolific cheat. 

Marla is great, I would probably read a book that she was the lead in. I doubt I would read any of this series again though, a little too much religion for me. When her husband was shot and it was prayer everywhere I almost gave it up but luckily it passed and wasn't so 'in your face' the rest of the book. 



Last Edited on: 7/19/12 4:30 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/19/2012 5:59 PM ET
Member Since: 7/10/2011
Posts: 2,353
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Barb, don't let that deter you, it isn't a part of most of the books.  Only one other has the church as a central part (The Last Suppers) when it is involved in the murder.  It is a great series, love it!!

Date Posted: 7/20/2012 2:21 PM ET
Member Since: 11/14/2009
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I made the scones, and if I make them again, I'll use more sugar.  They taste a little bitter to me.

I agree that religion doesn't play a big part in these  books. 

Question 4.    This book is written in the first person.  Does this help or limit the story telling?

Date Posted: 7/20/2012 7:41 PM ET
Member Since: 7/10/2011
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I would rather read books in third person.  This one I don't seem to mind as much.  It is limiting in that you only see the narrator's point of view.  On the other hand, you get to see the thought processes of the narrator.

Barb S. (okbye) - ,
Date Posted: 7/20/2012 10:07 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2011
Posts: 5,767
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I don't really consider that in evaluating a book, I like all the persons equally, lol. There's benefits and drawbacks to all situations, I can enjoy uncovering a story along with the teller or seeing the whole picture from the outside equally well. It's much more about the writer's skill than how they choose to portray it to me anyway. 

I don't mind the concept of religion in a book, or churches or going to church or anything like that, I think it was the way she was praying to god asking for her husband's life, like she really believed it mattered if she did, that was bugging me. She mentions at one point about having him put in a prayer circle. That kind of thing throws me off. I know people do it, I know people believe it, I just choose to stay away from that kind of thing. She stopped once he was out of danger though. I will confess I do have a stereotypical view of very religious people and I don't enjoy them. I used to be one when I was a teenager, maybe it's a reminder of a time that I now consider to be unfathomable as to how I let myself become that. Maybe it's a reminder of a me I greatly disliked and wish never happened. It's not something I come across often in the books I read. Most characters are cynical and jaded like me :) 

Date Posted: 7/21/2012 8:34 AM ET
Member Since: 6/8/2005
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I´m about 1/3 of the way through the book now, and I have to admit that I enjoy seeing references to prayer and religion in it.  IMHO they are pretty much just passing references and not at all "in your face," but it´s nice to see a reference to God, church activities, etc.   It´s an important part of life for a lot of people, and yet it is so often treated (in books, movies, t.v. shows, etc.) as if it didn´t even exist -- or else is ridiculed.  No, not everyone practices a religion, but a lot of us -- most of us pretty "normal" people and not the "fanatics" often parodied or satirized -- do. 

Date Posted: 7/22/2012 7:08 PM ET
Member Since: 11/14/2009
Posts: 6,680
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Robin, I didn't realize some people were still reading it.   I hope we are vague enough to avoid ruining the book for you.

Question 5.  Is the author equally invested in the character and the plot?   Or put another way, Is there more telling of the mystery or more character development?  Were the characters believable?  Or did they exist only to tell the mystery.

Barb S. (okbye) - ,
Date Posted: 7/23/2012 4:40 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2011
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I think they were pretty believable. Some of their character was told in hints of past things that would have been in the other books but they were told well enough that they explained the characters but not so detailed they slowed the story down. I would imagine they weren't too repetitive for people who had read the series up until then but couldn't say for sure, they didn't seem like they would be. That allowed her to show the characters a little more completely with fewer scenes which is helpful. And since I knew these issues had been addressed in previous books I just took her word for it when she said things like she was experienced having a cheating mate, it didn't need as much explanation as if it were just a single book. I think it was pretty equal between the characters and the story. I may just think this because I don't read that many mysteries anymore and I read a lot of crime dramas but it didn't seem that much like a mystery, it seemed like a crime drama. It wasn't a terribly mysterious case, just unraveled like most crimes do. Maybe there just isn't that much difference between a mystery and a crime drama? 

Date Posted: 7/23/2012 6:28 PM ET
Member Since: 7/10/2011
Posts: 2,353
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It seems to me that the author is equally invested in plot and character.  The characters are believable for me.  I am continually amused at how overprotective Goldy is of Arch.  It isn't so much a thing in this book (only the one scene with him and the fencing demonstration), but she does insert herself into the things he is doing in other books with very embarrasing results for poor Arch.  The way she berrates herself for stupid actions (like letting in the guy who wasn't really a glass repair guy and getting knocked out) makes her a very real person.  I know when I do something stupid, I kick myself for days.

Barb S. (okbye) - ,
Date Posted: 7/23/2012 7:28 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2011
Posts: 5,767
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I didn't really think about her being overprotective of Arch before but he does seem pretty immature for his age. It could be because she is overprotective or it could be why she's overprotective, could go either way. 

Date Posted: 7/23/2012 9:24 PM ET
Member Since: 11/14/2009
Posts: 6,680
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The only character I can't buy into is Julian.   He is too perfect for a 19 year old.  (I think he is about that old)   I have a l9 year old Eagle Scout son, and I'm pretty sure he wouldn't be that thoughtful, kind and motivated.     

Sometimes I get the sense that this book ......as do most......just had little side stories in order to get the word count needed for the editor.  I've done NaNoWriMo and I know that is what I do to get my word count up there.

I'm editing to ad that  I did like the story.  I think my comments are coming across like I don't, and I'll just attribute it to the heat and humidity.   ;-)



Last Edited on: 7/23/12 9:25 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
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