Mobsters & Molasses Cookies!! Cold Fury series by @TMGoeglein #Review
Series Review & a Recipe
I had to beg Amy over at Lady Reader’s Blog Tour to review not just Ember’s and Ash but a full series review on Monday just so I could do a Mama’s Kitchen Mondays review and a recipe! This post has all the info for all three books plus reviews for each book separately, a recipe for Grandmother Rispoli’s Molasses Cookies and a giveaway!
After thinking long and hard about the reviews I have to say one thing stands out for me as a reader who does not have issues re-reading books but the books in the pile of “will read over and over again just because they rock?” well guys, the Cold Fury series is one of them. Is it perfect? Naaaa there are things that bugged me a tiny bit in book two, but then I read book three, Ember’s and Ash and was “ohhhhhh I get it now!” So my overall statement is the Cold Fury Series is a set of books I look forward to sitting down and reading again, back to front one after the other and chugging it all down with an espresso and a couple of molasses cookies.
by Ted “T.M.” Goeglein
Published by Penguin
on July 24, 2012
Genres: Action & Adventure, Coming of Age,Crime, Mystery, Thriller, Young Adult
Buy Links: Amazon • Barnes & Noble • Goodreads
Jason Bourne meets The Sopranos in this breathtaking adventure
Sara Jane Rispoli is a normal sixteen-year-old coping with school and a budding romance–until her parents and brother are kidnapped and she discovers her family is deeply embedded in the Chicago Outfit (aka the mob). [cont.]
Now on the run from a masked assassin, rogue cops and her turncoat uncle, Sara Jane is chased and attacked at every turn, fighting back with cold fury as she searches for her family. It’s a quest that takes her through concealed doors and forgotten speakeasies–a city hiding in plain sight. Though armed with a .45 and 96K in cash, an old tattered notebook might be her best defense–hidden in its pages the secret to “ultimate power.” It’s why she’s being pursued, why her family was taken, and could be the key to saving all of their lives. Action packed, with fresh, cinematic writing, Cold Fury is a riveting and imaginative adventure readers will devour.
My box of cookies is empty and my coffee pot is left on fumes. All I can say after finishing this series is… wait.. there has to be more!! It is like eating the last two Girl Scout Thin Mints and you realize it is going to be almost another year before you get another case for the freezer.
Cold Fury is a fast paced read which throws you straight into the nitty gritty past of Chicago, as well as bringing it all to the future for one gal, our protagonist Sara Jane Rispoli. A typical junior girl in high school. She is concerned with boys and normal school problems. Growing up as many do in a very tightly structured family who have been baking for Chicago since the early 20th century. Little did she know her family was part of the mob with a history going back to the time of Al Capone and some weird curse and the girl has been training as a boxer (deep breath)
Did you just squeal a wee bit?
OH do not even tell me that kind of combination doesn’t get you all worked up!! I was so excited to read this series after hearing others talk about it. I married into the modern mob on the pacific coast. Obviously nothing like Sara Jane’s world but it always gets me excited to hear about that. I also am a huge fan of gangster movies. This was like reading a modern day young adult mixed in with a bit of noir-style story telling, some funny moments (ok a lot of funny moments) and topping it off with a possible paranormal secret weapon (I cannot tell you or even give you a hint! Let’s just say I have been caught with Cold Fury!)
The world building was amazing. Sure, it was based on actual places but I was able to see and feel exactly what the characters were feeling. I held my breath, felt my panic rising, cringed and gasped along with all the action. This is such an amazing start to the series. I read this from start to finish and forced myself to use book two as a reward for finishing work the next day. Yep, I am comparing this to bacon or chocolate, people.
Nothing says serious like Bacon & Chocolate!
My one issue is tagline. Jason Bourne Meets the Sopranos? Nope, nada… not even! Comparing it like that is selling the story short. Sara is no Jason and the Chicago family … well they were not clichéd versions of mobsters. They were the real deal. Sara Jane is an incredible heroine, a great friend, a damaged teen (like any other) and even with her being love-struck she manages to make the decisions which need to be made. I have to say I was not completely sold when I read the synopsis for the series. But after being poked and told I would fall in love with it I took the plunge and man.. come on in the water It’s warm and I have cookies straight from the oven which I promise no real rats were harmed in the making of these cookies! Now calm down, these are bad ass ninja rats that were trained … oh go read the book! You will not be disappointed. In fact read the whole series!
Flicker & Burn
Series: Cold Fury #2
by Ted “T.M.” Goeglein
Published by Penguin
on August 20, 2013
Genres: Action & Adventure, Law & Crime,Mystery, Survival Stories, Thriller, Young Adult
Buy Links: Amazon • Barnes & Noble • Goodreads
The thrill ride that began in Cold Fury kicks into high gear in Flicker & Burn, as the threats to Sara Jane Rispoli come at her from all directions. She continues the desperate search for her missing family, but this time she’s on the run from creepy beings with red, pulsing eyes and ghostly white skin chasing her through the streets of Chicago in black ice cream trucks – they can only be described as Ice Cream Creatures. They’re skeletal and … [cont.]
While Sara Jane battles these new pursuers, she learns painful lessons about the phenomenon that possesses her, cold fury. At the same time, she’s uncovering buried secrets about the misdeeds of her family – old murders and blood vendettas – that might be connected to the disappearance of her mom, dad, and brother. The mysteries, violence, and constant state of chasing or being chased could be the undoing of her relationship with handsome Max Kissberg. Despite the love growing between them, Sara Jane can’t tell him the truth about her life, and fears for his safety.
Not only do the Ice Cream Creatures display the grisly amputated finger of her mom to prove their viciousness, and not only does Lucky, the Outfit Boss of Bosses, whistle in Sara Jane for a sit-down with deadly consequences, but her gorgeous cousin, Heather Richards, enters the scene, as well. All that matters to Sara Jane is saving her family and keeping everyone she loves alive and safe. But the forces she encounters, both external and the ones crackling inside of her, fight her every step of the way.
Flicker & Burn started off where we left off. I really have a hard time writing series reviews especially when I am in love with the series as much as I am with this one. Flicker & Burn let me down a bit compared to book one. Not because of the lack of action or history woven in with Sara Jane still trying to find her parents while keeping the local leaders of the mob from finding out they were gone. Because of the type of action involved it got hard to suspend the belief needed at times. Asking a friend who had read it, “What the heck? Come on!” She told me to read a bit more and it would make more sense. She was right. It was absolutely epic! Plus who can resist when big scary guys in ski masks plus androgynous creepy ninja clowns with red eyes are stalking you!
The villains are … bizarre. This is why I was thrown for a loop. So much made sense in the first one I was confused a bit by this crazy situation. If you get to this point, don’t give up, this much I do want to tell you. If you start reading and thinking this is possibly a paranormal read…. keep reading. You find out just what Ghiaccio Furioso (Cold Fury) is. Sure there is a bit of fringe science thrown in with a touch of creepy ice cream truck action too! You gotta admit the idea of driving around in your dad’s 1965 Lincoln Continental is really a bad ass idea. Kind of like owning a hearse is (I always wanted a hearse..thought it would be the coolest car in the world to own when I wa sin high school).
I think I would feel OK against the
crazy creepy red eyed ninja clowns Ice Cream Creatures if I was in this bad boy! What more can I say! The mystery is solid and Sara Jane kept me on my toes through out the whole book. The action is described wonderfully, the setting was a wonderful blend of the “doors” of the past through the present. Capone’s lost vaults came to life. Being a girl growing up S.E. of Seattle, I related to the whole exploratory excitement which comes with it. The creepy Ice Cream Creatures were the odd ball and though a new plot device which was needed I almost wonder if we were suppose to be as distracted as Sara Jane was. Hmmm, wait is that a guy in a sports coat?
Sara Jane turns 16 and still has not ate any ice cream and I don’t blame her, would you?
Embers & Ash
Series: Cold Fury #3
by T.M. Goeglein
Published by Penguin
Genres: Action & Adventure, Law & Crime, Mystery, Survival Stories, Thrillers, Young Adult
Source & Buy Links: Lady Reader's Blog Tours
Amazon • Barnes & Noble • • Goodreads •
Sara Jane Rispoli is on the wrong side of the Russian mob, but closer to finding her family than ever. And she's willing to do whatever it takes to finally end this terrible journey even if the price is her own life.
The very cold fury that has seen her through the worst of her troubles is now killing her; she knows the cure, but she can't sacrifice the deadly electricity until she's rescued her family. But when she finally does rescue them, it's not the happy reunion she pictured. And the torment doesn't stop there, not even when she finally discovers Ultimate Power. Only destroying the Outfit completely can end this terrible nightmare.
Old enemies return to seek vengeance, double-crosses abound, and even more mysteries are uncovered as we rocket toward an end no one saw coming.
Opening up this book I felt a sense of depression. As much as I needed to know what happened next, I didn’t want the story to end. I expected it to be just as full of action as the last one. I wanted Doug to be OK, I needed Sara to final be reunited with her family and I had to see everything come out OK, because books are suppose to have “Happily Ever Afters”, right? Well guess what, my little chickaroos, this is Chicago and the wind does not always blow the direction it should blow.
Sara Jane is now faced with making sure she gets control of her Cold Fury. She has managed to decipher much of her grandfather’s journal and knows the danger of leaving it unchecked. She may have gotten rid of some of her enemies but now she is faced with a different color red, and it is not a clown wig. But these Reds have learned a bit of the tricks of Mr. Kreamy Kone and it does not involve some jacked up ice cream and becoming a cracked out, sharp toothed creepy as heck androgynous ninja clown!
Sara Jane has been so focused on saving her family she sacrifices relationships, dreams, and even the future she could have had .. in the end everything is destroyed… almost everything. Is it a HEA ending? Perhaps a tiny bit but it certainly did not end as I thought it would. It had me gasping just as much as the others, in fact more so! But.. I cried at the end. BIG TIME! Why? Because someone died? Well maybe a little, but mostly because the story was over. This is a story which I will read again and again. It was such a blast. When a book becomes an experience instead of just a few hours of entertainment, it is a book which I as a reader will recommend to everyone. This series is just that, an experience. I am so glad I got to read them one right after the other. I could not wait for a year to hear what happens next, I probably would have been sending Penguin threatening letters. Heck I may have been threatening to withhold the molasses cookies from the boss!
So, why molasses cookies? Well for those of you who don’t know, molasses was used to make hooch during prohibition. In Chicago Al Capone was the head of the mob and one of the kingpins in America with his illegal alcohol distribution. Sara Jane learns just how much a part her family is of not only the enterprise but also the infamous Saint Valentines Day Massacre. Sara Jane’s family has a secret and it is not just the recipe for their famous cookies. Great cover for shipping in molasses. But ummm, the ovens? You know how things are not really what they seem in many of my reviews? Well sometimes an oven is not JUST an oven! “wink wink-nudge nudge*
Molasses Cookies - Una Ricetta di Ottarnina Rispoli
- ¼ cup of 100% Canadian Molasses (If you cannot Grandma's Dark works too)
- ¾ cup of shortening
- 1 cup of brown sugar (packed)
- 1 egg (lg)
- 2 cups of flour
- 2 tsp of baking soda
- 1 tsp of ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp of ground cloves
- ½ tsp of ground ginger
- ½ tsp of granulated sugar (for rolling)
- All ingredients need to be at room temperature.
- In a medium bowl, sift together the dry ingredients; flour, baking soda, salt, and spices. Sift twice and set aside.
- In a large bowl cream the shortening and brown sugar till smooth (about 10 minutes on medium with a stand mixer).
- Add the molasses and the egg, mixing till smooth and evenly brown. (It will have the tendency to separate and marble so keep it on low after it is even).
- Add the dry ingredients a large tablespoon at a time and mix on medium low till the cookie dough is an even and light brown in color.
- Press the mixture into a ball and refrigerate for at least one hour. (Covered lightly with a clean dish towel or loose plastic wrap).
- Check your oven for any stray enforcers, siblings or eavesdropping evil-crazy-people before turning it on to preheat at 375 degrees F.
- Let the dough rest on the counter when you start preheating your oven.
- Place ¼ cup of granulated sugar in a bowl. Break off small pieces of dough and roll between your palms till you have ½" balls.
- place a few in the bowl and roll them around til they are coated on all sides.
- Place the cookies one inch apart on parchment lined baking sheet.
- Bake at 375 F Degrees for 7-8 minutes or until the cookies darken and the tops are cracking, but still soft to the touch.
- Don't over bake or they will come out crumbly like a gingersnap.
- Remove from pan carefully to a cooling pan very carefully as they are still soft and can break easily.
Molasses was once used in the United States as the primary sweetener in cooking and baking. According to the Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink, New England colonists also used molasses “as an ingredient in brewing birch beer and molasses beer and in distilling rum.” In the early 1700s, “rum made in New England became an essential element in a highly profitable Triangular Trade across the Atlantic. The colonists exported rum to West Africa in trade for slaves; the ships brought the slaves from Africa to the French West Indies, trading them for more molasses and sugar; these products were then shipped to New England to make more rum….When the cost of refined sugar dropped at the end of the nineteenth century…molasses lost its role as an important sweetener in the American diet.”
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