Tag Archives: Julie Hyzy

My Musing ~ All the President’s Menus by July Hyzy

All the President's MenusAll the President’s Menus by July Hyzy is the 8th book in the “White House Chef” mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime, January 2015

It’s an old adage that too many cooks spoil the broth. But when a tour of the White House kitchen by a group of foreign chefs ends in murder, it’s Olivia Paras who finds herself in the soup. . .

Due to a government sequester, entertaining at the White House has been severely curtailed. So executive chef Olivia Paras is delighted to hear that plans are still on to welcome a presidential candidate from the country of Saardisca—the first woman to run for office—and four of that nation’s top chefs.

But while leading the chefs on a kitchen tour, pastry chef Marcel passes out suddenly—and later claims he was drugged. When one of the visiting chefs collapses and dies, it’s clear someone has infiltrated the White House with ill intent. Could it be an anti-Saardiscan zealot? Is the candidate a target? Are the foreign chefs keeping more than their recipes a secret? Once again, Olivia must make sleuthing the special of the day. . .

In the latest adventures with Ollie and her friends find visiting chefs in her kitchen during a sequester when her own staff was cut short. Not to anyone’s surprise, Ollie finds herself in the middle of conspiracy, intrigue and suspense as her gut feeling tells her something is amiss and as always I love watching it all come together through the author’s narrative, which puts me right there in the middle of the action along with Ollie. The more I read, the more the suspense ratcheted up several notches in this fast-paced drama that had me speeding towards the finale as I had to know how it will all end. A good job, well done that boasted a great cast of characters, engaging dialogue and insights into the workings of a White House kitchen. This was a terrific read and I look forward to new possibilities with Ollie and her friends in their next adventure.

Short and Quick Reviews

Crime RibCrime Rib by Leslie Budewitz is the second book in the “Food Lover’s Village” mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime, July 2014

I love the pace and the comfortable tone of this light fare filled with delicious food to savor and a mystery to solve. The main characters are back and this one kept me glued to the pages, as I had to know who did what to whom.

Cookies and ScreamCookies and Scream by Virginia Lowell is the fifth book in the “Cookie Cutter Shop” mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime, July 2014

This was an enjoyable read that entertained and kept me engaged from beginning to end with a good mystery that quickly became a page-turner.

Grace Against the ClockGrace Against The Clock by Julie Hyzy is the fifth book in the “Manor House” mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime, July 2014

This is another great read from Julie Hyzy in a series that continues to shine with a cast of characters that have their own idiosyncrasies that plays in this strong showing.

A Vision in VelvetA Vision in Velvet by Juliet Blackwell is the sixth book in the “Witchcraft” mystery series.  Publisher: Obsidian, July 2014

This series gets better and better with each book and I’m glad. This was a great read and fun as well. I enjoy the interaction and dialogue among this great cast of characters. A good mystery that quickly became a page-turner. I look forward to the next book in this magically delightful series.

Terminal CityTerminal City by Linda Fairstein is the 16th book in the “Alexander Cooper” thriller series. Publisher: Dutton, June 2014

I love this book. The suspense kept me turning the pages and the banter between Mercer and Coop and Coop and Mike kept me entertained. I also love how Linda uses NYC as the backdrop and with this one gave us an inside look at Grand Central Terminal. Keep up the good work and I look forward to the next adventures with Mercer, Coop and Mike.

Home of the Braised by Julie Hyzy

Home of the BraisedHome of the Braised by Julie Hyzy is the seventh book in the “White House Chef” mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime, January 2014

With the pressure of an upcoming state dinner that could make or break the president’s foreign policy, White House executive chef Olivia Paras has precious little time to focus on her wedding plans—or to catch a murderer.

Tensions are running high as the White House staff adjusts to a new chief usher and prepares for a high-stakes state dinner, where everything must be perfect. But as the date for the event approaches, things go disastrously wrong when the secretary of defense is found dead in his home, seemingly killed during a break-in.

At the same time Olivia’s fiancé, Gav, is looking into the mysterious murder of an old friend. Is there a connection? Despite an increase in security following the secretary’s death, Ollie learns the president is in imminent danger at the dinner and must do everything in her power to get to him—before it’s too late.

I don’t know how she does it, but with each consecutive book that Julie writes, I fall more in love with her characters and her work. She continues to deliver a well-written story that pulled me in immediately and never let up until that final page was read. In the latest adventures, Ollie and Gav happen upon a murder scene that is teemed with conspiracy, mistrust and betrayal and it will take our White House chef a head butt to wrestle away from the enemies.

This fast-paced and adrenaline-rushed drama was a great mystery with plenty of suspenseful and intensifying moments. The multiple deaths, the threats to Ollie, Virgil and his snickety ways, her kitchen duties and Ollie and Gav’s recent engagement all played a role in the outcome as the drama progressed to an ending worthy of our heroine. I enjoyed this one very much as we saw the determination in Ollie as she found herself fighting enemies from the beady-eyed rodents to rouge agents. I also loved that we finally learned the connection that Virgil has and still his behavior has caught their attention. My favorite part of this book was the surprise that was waiting for Ollie. This is the best book ever and I can’t wait to see what new adventures lie in wait for Ollie and her team.

Grace Takes Off by Julie Hyzy

Grace Takes OffGrace Takes Off by Julie Hyzy is the fourth book in the “Manor House” mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime, July 2013

A trip to Italy’s Tuscan countryside is a dream come true for curator and manager of Marshfield Manor, Grace Wheaton. At least until her boss—and benefactor of this whirlwind excursion—becomes the target of a murderer.

When Grace and her boss, Bennett Marshfield, turn up at the Italian villa of one of his oldest friends, they’re troubled to discover that most of his friend’s impressive art collection—including a prized bronze skull crafted by Picasso—is fake. Someone has been selling the real deals and replacing them with skilled forgeries.

Unfortunately, Grace and Bennett have to fly home the next day, so there’s no time to investigate. But their troubles are hardly over. On the plane, Grace catches a woman trying to poison Bennett. The woman, of course, isn’t talking, but by the end of the flight, there are two dead bodies. Now Grace has to wing it to find a mile-high murderer—especially since she suspects Bennett is still in danger.

This was a very enjoyable read. Grace jumps into action when she see someone trying to poison Bennett’s food while on a flight home. Fearing for his safety, Grace begins an investigation involving the occupants on that ill-fated flight and once that can of worms gets opened, everything that was believed comes into question. This story had a good plot that had me quickly turning the pages to see how it will all end at the conclusion and what a tangled web was weaved when the it was all said and done. Grace is a strong and determined heroine who does what have to be done and if it means get involved to protect a loved one, so be it. The best part is that Grace got help from an unexpected ally that I hope to see more of. I can’t wait to read the next book in this pleasantly appealing series. The ending left us with possibilities that I can’t wait to see explored.

Fonduing Fathers by Julie Hyzy

Fonduing FathersFonduing Fathers by Julie Hyzy is the sixth book in the “White House Chef” mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime, December 2012

White House executive chef Olivia Paras has enough on her plate. But after gaining new information about her father’s death, the First Family isn’t the only family Olivia is concerned about.

Olivia has always believed that her father was an honorable man—until a trip to visit her mother reveals that he was dishonorably discharged from the army. Olivia is even more shocked to learn that he was brutally murdered because someone at his company suspected him of selling corporate secrets. Refusing to believe that her father was a scoundrel, Olivia won’t rest until she proves his innocence.

Enlisting the help of her boyfriend, Gav, Olivia must reach out to her father’s colleagues to discover the truth behind his murder. What she’s about to discover may not only put her at risk, but threaten national security as well.

OMG! This is an awesome read. I don’t know how she does it, but Julie had done it again by delivering a story that I could not put down. The suspenseful nature of this hard-hitting story kept me in tuned to the fast and furious pace of this riveting drama as Ollie searches for answers about her father’s death. With each page turned, the tension escalated as this exceptionally written mystery moved towards its momentous conclusion. With a great backdrop of DC, terrific dialogue and a great cast of characters, this is the best book thus far in this delightfully entertaining series that include bonus recipes.

What’s Cooking With Olivia Paras by Julie Hyzy

Working in the White House is never boring. As a matter of fact, I enjoy my job as Executive Chef there so much, I actually prefer working to taking a vacation. But this time, I need to get away. Gav and I have decided to fly back to Chicago to visit Mom and Nana. The time has finally come, I think, for my mom to tell me exactly what happened the night my father died.

My mom and grandmother haven’t ever met Gav before, but I’m sure they’ll like him. They have to. I’m finding myself quite caught up with this man, in way I’ve never experienced before.

We only plan to stay a few days and when we get back to Washington, D.C. I have a very special assignment. Even though I have a few days off, the First Lady asked me to come in to work with their son, Josh. He’s a wonderful little boy, and ever since we were kidnapped together, he and I have a special bond. I’m delighted to come in if it means working with that kid. He’s great.

In the kitchen, Bucky and Cyan are fine. Virgil is still an enormous pain in my backside. Doug, who has taken over the chief usher position (temporarily, please let it be temporarily!) now that Paul is gone, isn’t exactly helping matters. He and I seem to be on a collision course. And Sargeant…what can I say? Things are better with him lately. I wouldn’t go so far as to term our relationship “good,” but it is a little better. Facing death together will do that for you.

Back to the trip: Truth be told, I am a little nervous about approaching my mother to talk about my dad’s death. She’s been pointedly close-mouthed about it since it happened… and that was more than twenty-five years ago. Back then I was very young. No one told me anything. There’s no doubt that I could have found my father’s death certificate on my own, but my mother always begged me not to. That makes me believe there’s a lot more to this story. And that’s what FONDUING FATHERS is all about. I think it’s time I knew the truth, don’t you?

Meet the author
Julie Hyzy writes the White House Chef Mystery series as well as the Manor House Mysteries, the newest of which, Grace Among Thieves, came out in June. Julie saw one of her fondest wishes come true in January 2012, when she hit the New York Times Extended Bestseller list. Julie has three daughters, a patient husband, and lives in the Chicago area.

Books are available at retail and online booksellers.

A Day In The Life Of Grace Wheaton by Julie Hyzy

Contrary to popular belief, the last thoughts I have before going to sleep at night and the first ones I have in the morning are not about Jack. Not any more, at least. At one point in my life (admittedly, not all that long ago), I believed that Jack and I had a chance to move beyond friendship into a real “relationship,” but life doesn’t always work out the way you plan, does it? To be fair, Jack has been through a lot—both thirteen years ago and again just recently—he needs time to heal. My author, Julie, brought his background to light in Grace Interrupted and neither Jack nor I have been the same since.

But I digress. My last thought/first thought these days is about Bootsie, the sweet little tuxedo kitten I adopted (right about the same time Jack went into isolation… coincidence?). Every morning I wake up with Bootsie snugged in behind my curled-up knees, most times with her cute black and white chin resting on my leg. She’s the best thing that’s happened to me and my roommates in recent months, what with all the murders at Marshfield Manor. I have to tell you, facing killers is terrifying. I hope I never have to do anything like that again!

Every morning, after feeding Bootsie and getting myself together, I head out to Marshfield where I absolutely adore my job as curator and manager of the manor. My favorite part of working there is spending time with the owner, Bennett Marshfield. Except for my roommates and my acerbic assistant, Frances, no one knows that there may be more to our relationship than meets the eye. Oh… I don’t mean like that! Bennett has taken an avuncular interest in me. Fitting, because he may actually be my blood uncle. We don’t know for certain and I don’t know that we’ll ever find out.

But more about my day…
Can I share a secret? I’m concerned. Treasures have been disappearing from the mansion over the past week or so. We’ve had a group here filming a DVD documentary about Marshfield over that same timeframe, but our security staff has been watching them very closely. I can’t imagine them stealing without being noticed. Nor can I imagine any of our tourist-guests getting away with it. And yet, every time we check, another priceless item vanishes. It’s a mystery.

Bennett believes that his stepdaughter, Hillary, is behind the thefts. I hope not. She’s been here for a little more than a week as well, so the timing fits. Hillary may be desperate for financial support (and desperate for a man, if her flirting is any indication) and she does have access to the entire estate, but stealing Bennett’s treasures would hurt him deeply. I don’t want to believe she would do that, although—from past experience—I know it’s entirely possible.

I’m deeply troubled by the fact that we’re being robbed so methodically and I’m determined to get to the bottom of this. I’ve vowed to bring the thief to justice, whether it’s one of the DVD crew, or Hillary, or someone else I haven’t even considered yet.

The title of this new adventure is GRACE AMONG THIEVES. I’m just relieved that this time we aren’t dealing with a murder at Marshfield!

Whoops, hope I haven’t spoken too soon…

** Thanks to the Julie, I have two (2) copies of GRACE UNDER PRESSURE to give away. Contest open to residents of the US only. Contest ends June 22. Leave a valid-email address with your comment. Book will be shipped directly from the author. **

Meet the author
Julie Hyzy, a New York Times bestselling author, pens the Manor House Mystery series for Penguin/Berkley Prime Crime, including Grace Under Pressure, Grace Interrupted, and the newest, GRACE AMONG THIEVES. Julie also writes the White House Chef Mysteries. Read more about Julie on her blog http://juliehyzy.blogspot.com (updated regularly) or on her website www.juliehyzy.com (updated every six months or so).

Books are available at retail and online booksellers.

Grace Among Thieves by Julie Hyzy

Grace Among Thieves by Julie Hyzy is the third book in the “Manor House” mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime, June 2012

As curator and manager of the Marshfield Manor, Grace Wheaton is delighted to be part of the estate’s magnificent history, but no one told her solving murder was in her job description.

When Grace’s former professor calls to warn her that there have been a rash of thefts at various historical sites, Grace isn’t surprised—because Marshfield Manor has been targeted, too. She wonders if it has something to do with the film crew roaming the grounds, digitally immortalizing the manor, but then she gets distracted by an incident much more dire: the shooting of one guest and the murder of another.

Grace does her best not to go looking for trouble, but with a murderer on the loose, she can’t seem to leave the dirty work to the cops—especially since the killer still seems to be lurking around town, waiting to finish the job of making Grace history.

Someone is stealing items from Marshfield Manor and things go from bad to worse when a guest is murdered and another shot. Grace captures the killer on film and soon becomes a target herself and will have to use long dormant skills to slice this case open.

Julie has done it again; she’s written a great story that showcases the strength and moxie of Grace Wheaton as she investigates thefts and another murder at Marshfield Manor. The author did a good job in fleshing out this mystery with plenty of diversion that kept my attention as I could not put this book down. This was an excellent read and I can’t wait for what happens next at Marshfield Manor in this enjoyably pleasant series.

Affairs of Steak by Julie Hyzy

Affairs of Steak by Julie Hyzy is the fifth book in the “White House Chef” mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime (Penguin), January 2012

White House executive chef Olivia Paras just wants to create first-class cuisine for the First Family. Unfortunately, dangerous politics keep spoiling her recipes.

Assigned to work with her arch nemesis, Peter Everett Sargeant, the White House sensitivity director, Ollie must find a venue for an event to honor the secretary of state. Instead they find one of the First Lady’s assistants and the chief of staff, both murdered—and Ollie and Peter may have witnessed the killer making his getaway.

News reports suggest that the assistant and chief of staff were having an affair, but no one on the staff believes the rumor. Now, with their jobs—and their lives—in jeopardy, Ollie and Peter must depend on each other to learn who killed their colleagues and why—before they become the next victims of a merciless assassin with a secret agenda.

Ollie is back and teamed with the one person who grates her nerves, Sargeant, when their discovery leads to complications involving a wayward relative, a top official and national security. Ollie tries to stay out of it, but she’s dragged into this case when she herself becomes a pawn in someone’s game and she’ll have to quickly douse out the fire before she gets burned. What a great read. This well-written and action-filled drama kept me in suspense from the moment I picked up the book. The author did a great job in hiding the killer among the cast with a surprising twist in the caper. Like fine wine, this series gets better with age and I look forward to more adventures with Ollie and the gang in this charmingly appealing series.

FTC Full Disclosure – The publisher sent me a copy of this book