Tag Archives: Ashton Lee

This Book Is Making Me Hungry + Review — The Cherry Cola Book Club

20 Feb

The Cherry Cola Book Club by Ashton Lee was Page Turners’ selection for February. Sad to say only one of our members liked it. The book had the feel of a cozy mystery — really quirky characters and a small town setting — but alas, no mystery was to be had. The author instead endeavored to create women’s fiction involving a book club dedicated to saving the local library. Great premise; poor execution. The characters came off as caricatures and the plot strained believability. And nothing seemed to happen. One bright spot was the inclusion of food — lots of it. The characters ate more than they discussed books! One of the recipes included in the book is for Cherry Cola Chocolate Cake. Yum! So here is the recipe and a little about the book. It is the first in a series, but sadly, we will not be reading subsequent books.

13613777Set in a small town in Mississippi, The Cherry Cola Book Club is the touching and sometimes hilarious story of a young, upbeat librarian who has been given an ultimatum to increase the library’s circulation dramatically — or risk having to close its doors.

Maura doesn’t just start a book club; she gets involved in unique and unexpected ways with her library patrons. She entertains and advises them, she has potluck dinners, and life in the town begins to imitate art. The patrons begin to relate their own lives to the work of writers like Margaret Mitchell and Harper Lee. In moving and personal ways, Maura helps them deal with such subjects as long-lost love and a brush with death, offering advice on nearly everything — including romance. No topic is off limits. Along the way, Maura raises the profile of the library — but will it be enough?

10259841_510797262379055_5560824650821427051_nAshton Lee was born in historic Natchez, Mississippi, into a large, extended Southern family which gave him much fodder for his fiction later in life. His father, who wrote under the pen name of R. Keene Lee right after WWII, was an editor and writer in New York of what is now called pulp fiction. As a result, Ashton inherited a love of reading and writing early on and did all the things aspiring authors are supposed to do, including majoring in English when he attended The University of the South, affectionately known as Sewanee. While there, he studied Creative Writing under Andrew Lytle, then editor of the Sewanee Review, and a member of the Southern Agrarians in the 1920s.

Ashton lives in Oxford, MS, enjoying the amenities of a university town that many writers have called home. Readers can like Ashton Lee at: facebook.com/ashtonlee.net.

62f26471-0c6d-4218-bf20-90991cda3e64Cherry Cola Chocolate Cake (courtesy of Betty Crocker)

Ingredients

1 jar (10 oz) maraschino cherries, drained, 1/4 cup liquid reserved
1 box Betty Crocker™ SuperMoist™ devil’s food cake mix
1 cup cherry cola carbonated beverage
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 container Betty Crocker™ Whipped vanilla frosting
1 cup marshmallow creme
24 maraschino cherries with stems, well drained, if desired

Directions
Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pan). Spray bottom only of 13×9-inch pan with baking spray with flour. Chop cherries; set aside.

In large bowl, beat cake mix, cola beverage, oil, eggs and 1/4 cup reserved cherry liquid with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds, then on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Stir in chopped cherries. Pour into pan.

Bake 34 to 42 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely, about 1 hour.

In small bowl, mix frosting and marshmallow creme until smooth. Frost cake. Top each piece with 2 cherries with stems. Store loosely covered.

February Book Club Picks

2 Feb

This month both my book clubs picked novels set in Mississippi. By The Book is reading The Color of Justice by Ace Collins and Page Turners is reading The Cherry Cola Book Club by Ashton Lee.

Have you read either of the books? What did you think? If you haven’t, consider joining us. We’d love to hear your thoughts.

 

7700361964

Justice, Mississippi, is a town divided. White and black. Rich and poor. Rule makers and rule breakers. Right or wrong, everyone assumes their place behind a fragile façade that is about to crumble. When attorney Coop Lindsay agrees to defend a black man accused of murdering a white teenager, the bribes and death threats don’t intimidate him. As he prepares for the case of a lifetime, the young lawyer knows it’s the verdict that poses the real threat—innocent or guilty, because of his stand Coop is no longer welcome in Justice. As he follows his conscience, he wonders just how far some people will go to make sure he doesn’t finish his job?

2014

To some, the result of the trial still feels like a fresh wound even fifty years later, when Coop’s grandson arrives in Justice seeking answers to the questions unresolved by the trial that changed his family’s legacy. When a new case is presented, again pitting white against black, this third generation Lindsay may have the opportunity he needs to right the wrongs of the past.

But hate destroys everything it touches, and the Lindsay family will not escape unscathed.

 

13613777Set in a small town in Mississippi, The Cherry Cola Book Club is the touching and sometimes hilarious story of a young, upbeat librarian who has been given an ultimatum to increase the library’s circulation dramatically — or risk having to close its doors.

Maura doesn’t just start a book club; she gets involved in unique and unexpected ways with her library patrons. She entertains and advises them, she has potluck dinners, and life in the town begins to imitate art. The patrons begin to relate their own lives to the work of writers like Margaret Mitchell and Harper Lee. In moving and personal ways, Maura helps them deal with such subjects as long-lost love and a brush with death, offering advice on nearly everything — including romance. No topic is off limits. Along the way, Maura raises the profile of the library — but will it be enough?