Monday, January 20, 2014

Review and Giveaway: The Home of the Braised

Home of the Braised (White House Chef Mystery - Book 7) by Julie Hyzy

Publication Date: 01/07/2014
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Berkley Prime Crime
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 304
ISBN-10: 0425262383
ISBN-13: 978-0425262382

(Received for an honest review from Berkley Prime Crime)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Indiebound

Julie Hyzy on the WEB: website, blog, twitter, facebook, goodreads

Books in the series

State of the Onion (2008), Hail to the Chef (2008), Eggsecutive Orders (2009), Buffalo West Wing (2011), Affairs of State (2012), Fonduing Fathers (2012), Home of the Braised (2014)

Coverart: Click the Image for a larger, clearer view of the covers in this series.

Excerpt from, Home of the Braised, courtesy of Amazon's Look Inside feature.


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 fiancĂ©, 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…


Author Julie Hyzy once again thrills readers with behind the scenes White House drama, in her latest book in the White House Chef series, Home of the Braised. Readers are treated to plenty of foreign policy, as well as, kitchen politics in this novel. Fans of series will also enjoy more about White House Chef, Ollie's personal life, as she attempts to marry Secret Service agent Gav. With plenty of dead bodies and a State Dinner in the offing, readers will find plenty to keep them interested. A great addition to the series. 

What I liked:

Julie Hyzy's White House Chef series is a well written series that takes the reader behind the scenes at the White House. One of my favorite parts of the series is all the tidbits and information that Hyzy gives readers about how the White House kitchens take care of not only the president but any dinners and special guests that may be present. Hyzy lets the reader in on how much food it takes to cater a State Dinner, what kind of things are served and how the president's personal chef adds to the mix. I love all that behind the scenes stuff, very interesting.

Another thing that is interesting about this series is the kitchen politics that take place. The president's personal chef Virgil is the bane of Ollie's existence. In this addition of the series, Home of the Braised, Virgil is thwarting Ollie's plans for one of the biggest State Dinner's to come along in a long while. Take a possible hostile country in residence and Ollie's impending wedding on the rocks, and add in a few murders and it's a recipe for a great cozy mystery. Hyzy really makes the relationship between Virgil and Ollie seem just as important as the whodunit.

The mystery aspects of this novel were very well written. Hyzy always has a knack for straddling the fence between a cozy mystery and a full blown mainstream thriller. Her plots are complicated and not easy to figure out, there is plenty of drama, but there is still a lightness about the story that lends itself toward the cozy genre. In Home of the Braised there were a lot of bodies hitting the floor, with five dead, Ollie has her hands full trying to figure out how all of this ties into a plot that may put the president's life in danger. The suspects aren't you're average killers and there is certainly more to why Gav's friend and others meeting at the church were murdered. I didn't figure this one out until the bitter end. A very good mystery!

What I didn't like: 

There wasn't much I didn't like about this one. The conspiracy plot was a little out there, but not so much that I didn't buy it. There are certainly some bumbling culprits out there and it's plausible that they could think up something like this.  

Bottom Line:

This is a great book! You can't go wrong if you are looking for a mystery that isn't your average fare for cozies. It has some bite and though some of the plot was a little convoluted, it still held my interest. I didn't figure it out right away and that was a plus. Ollie's personal relationships with Virgil, Gav and the other members of her staff like Bucky, add a lot to the plot and the behind the scenes White House drama is fun and interesting. A great addition to this series!

Home of the Braised is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

About the Author:

New York Times bestselling author Julie Hyzy writes the White House Chef Mysteries, including Fonduing Fathers and Affairs of Steak, and the Manor House Mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime. She has won both the Anthony and the Barry awards for her mystery fiction.

Giveaway Details:

The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of Home of the Braised by Julie Hyzy.

~ You must be an email subscriber to participate.
~ US addresses only.
~ The deadline to enter this giveaway is Midnight EST, February 3rd.

1. Please leave a comment describing what you think the President's family eats?
2. Please fill out the FORM.


Charlotte said...

What ever they want the chefs to prepare for them.

Linda Kish said...

I think they probably eat fairly healthy most of the time with the occasional pizza thrown in.

Susie R said...

I know the First Family loves their kitchen garden, but they do have teenager so I am sure burger and fries are in the mix somewhere

Carol N Wong said...

I know that in every season except winter, they have plenty from the garden. I don't know if they froze any of it for winter. The First Lady is encouraging eveyone to eat healthy so I would say that they would probably get an "A+" from a nutritionist!

Barbara T. said...

They probably eat lots of veggies and very little meat or dairy with fish and maybe a little chicken.

Rita said...

I think they eat healthy. Lots of chicken, fish and vegetables.

Sue Farrell said...

I think that the first lady insists that they eat healthy most of the time--but allows a slurge ever so often on junk foods.

lag123 said...

I would bet they eat a lot from their garden.
lag110 at mchsi dot com

cyn209 said...

I like to think that that the President & his family eat healthy.....
thank you for the giveaway!!!

Elizabeth Schroedle said...

For the most part, I think they eat lots of fruit, vegetables,fish and chicken. I bet though that every once in awhile, the chef makes them homemade macaroni and cheese or steaks with baked potatoes. If they eat pizza, it's probably loaded with veggies.

bn100 said...

probably healthy stuff

Michelle F. said...

They can have whatever they want! I'm sure they try to eat healthy, but can have treats now and then. I know the President eats hot dogs because when he was here in Toledo he stopped at Rudy's Hot Dog restaurant.

Nancy Luebke said...

One thing I know that the President likes is broccali.

Karin said...

Steak, Lobster, Prime Rib, Lots of ice cream!, etc.

holdenj said...

I'm sure that the First Lady makes sure those girls eats plenty of fruits and veggies, especially with her health initiative.

Linda Rima said...

Food. ;) First Lady has veggi gardens, but don't know they thos veggies or not.