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:

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


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

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.


8 Responses to “This Book Is Making Me Hungry + Review — The Cherry Cola Book Club”

  1. judy hall February 20, 2015 at 9:04 am #

    I liked The Cherry Cola Book Club but had to work late and could not make the the Page Turners meeting. It was an easy entertaining read.


    • rbclibrary February 20, 2015 at 11:46 am #

      Glad you liked it Judy. Pat did too, but no one else did. We missed you! Have a good weekend.


  2. Karen Collier February 20, 2015 at 6:27 pm #

    The premise sounds interesting. Sorry to hear it didn’t work out for you guys. But that cake! It looks really yummy. I’m tempted to try that recipe one of these days.


    • rbclibrary February 20, 2015 at 7:58 pm #

      Karen, some of our best discussions come about when we don’t like the book! I heard from another member that wasn’t there that she liked it. So the final verdict was 6-2 against. But the cake . . . .


  3. Carole February 21, 2015 at 10:01 am #

    Oh, but the cover is so inviting, Beckie! I’m so disappointed to hear that this wasn’t a winner.


    • rbclibrary February 21, 2015 at 11:38 am #

      I know, Carole. I was really hoping it was going to be a good book. Just mediocre though. There are so many other excellent books out there — I would give this one a pass. We did have 2 members that thought it was entertaining. Hope you are staying warm!


      • Carole February 21, 2015 at 12:17 pm #

        You’re right about there being other excellent books out there, way too many for me to read in this lifetime! Before I got involved in reviewing for Christian authors, I used to read a lot of cozy mysteries and police procedurals, especially those set in the British Isles, and I really miss them. I greatly enjoy Christian fiction, but wish I could find a balance that allowed for both.

        We’ve had some really cold temps this week, but no snow/ice. I’m a fan of winter because i enjoy our wood stove so much. I imagine it’s been pretty cold in south Georgia too!


      • rbclibrary February 21, 2015 at 8:01 pm #

        Today was beautiful with highs in the 60s. A change from yesterday’s 30s. Allison graduated from Young Harris College last May. Wednesday the high was 18 and the low 3 there. I am sure she is glad she has made her way to middle Georgia!

        I love cozies and British mysteries too and try to fit them in when I can. That’s why I like to review for Kregel/Lion Hudson. I have read several good British mysteries through them. Have you read the Drew Farthering series by Julianna Deering? The style harkens back to the classic age of mysteries.


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