Showing posts with label Think With Your Taste Buds. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Think With Your Taste Buds. Show all posts

Friday, December 8, 2017

A Deadly Fundraiser - Talk Radio Mysteries Book 4 - Mary Kennedy, Author



RHUBARB CAKE
(A Maggie Special)

2 extra-large eggs, room temperature
½ cup plus one tablespoon sugar
½ cup plus one tablespoon flour
1 – 2 tablespoons chilled butter
1 cup chopped fresh (or frozen rhubarb)
¾ tsp good quality vanilla extract
¼ tsp almond extract

Chop the rhubarb.
Beat eggs until light and fluffy. 


Gradually beat in sugar until thick. Add vanilla and almond extract. Beat in flour (don’t overbeat) 
Pour into greased 8 inch baking pan.   Arrange a layer of rhubarb on the top.  Top with dabs of butter.  The cakes do turn out better if you make one at a time, rather than doubling the recipe. I don’t know why.   Of course they can bake together.  Bake at 400 degrees for 20 – 25 minutes.
When the cake is cool, dust with icing sugar.  The sweetness counteracts the tartness of the rhubarb.


A Deadly Fundraiser - Review by Martha A Cheves, Author of: Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; and A Book and A Dish

When Christopher Morgan, the owner of Mayfair, passed away he left instructions that the house be preserved and donated to the Preservation Committee as a center for the art.  The Historical Society, along with the Preservation Committee decided to open the 1930's mansion for a "gala" to raise money for the planned Center for the Arts.  Cyrus Still, the station manager at WYME, liked to support community causes.  But it looked like Maggie and Vera Mae were the only WYME folks to show up from the station.

Maggie has a radio call-in show called On the Couch with Dr. Maggie.  She closed her psychology practice and moved to Cypress Grove to become a radio talk show host.  Vera Mae is the producer of her show and is in charge of scheduling guests and manning the phones as people call in to ask questions of the guests.  So, when this event took place, it was a good way to meet people and hopefully promote the show.

To allow everyone a chance to see the mansion for the last time before it was remodeled for the Center, the committee decided to have a scavenger hunt.  Maggie and Vera Mae were joined by a reporter pal, Nick Harrison, to search using the clues provided by the committee.  Things were going great until they went to the basement where many years before, housed a real 'speakeasy.'  While searching for their next object, Maggie placed a hand on the wall.  To her surprise, the wall slid open exposing a hidden room and a body.

I've read many of Mary Kennedy's books and she gets better and more entertaining with each.  Her books always give you a handful of suspects while keeping you in suspense as to which one was guilty.  As always she left this book with the possibility of another and I'm impatiently waiting for it to appear.

Monday, November 20, 2017

A Daughter's Promise - Fran Lewis, Author

  1. .


Good Old Fashioned Pancakes
(A favorite dish of my Mother)

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 1/4 cups milk
1 egg
3 tablespoons butter, melted

2 over easy eggs

Directions
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Make a well in the center and pour in the milk, egg and melted butter; mix until smooth.
Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot topped with the over easy eggs

A Daughter's Promise - Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of: Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; and A Book and A Dish

"Six years ago I was able to drive a car and go shopping by myself.  I was even able to eat in a restaurant and have lunch with my children and my sister.  I took my own medications, I ran the journal for my organization.  I even went around to collect money for ads to promote different businesses in my neighborhood.  I had o trouble remembering where I was going and when I was supposed to get there."

"Then all of a sudden I began noticing little things.  I could not remember where I put my glasses or my car keys.  I could not remember why I walked into a room, or what I was looking for.  I began overdosing my meds because I did not recall taking them.  If that was not bad enough, I could not remember what I had eaten for breakfast, or that I was even hungry.  I forgot to get my blood tested each month, thinking I'd had them done the month before.  I never remembered calling the doctor for the results, because I did not recall taking them.  Worst of all was my ability to drive a car, because my independence was about to come to an abrupt halt.  Everything about my life was about to change, and there was nothing that I could do to control or stop it."

You have just been introduced to Ruthie and thousands of others like her.  She as well as all of the others have Alzheimer's disease.

As I read this book I found myself comparing some of the signs to my own life. Many times I've gotten up to go into another room to get or do something and as soon as I walked through the doorway I find that I have totally forgotten why I even got up.  I find myself forgetting names of people I've know forever, people I used to work with, the names of streets I've been down many times and the names of movies I watched the night before.  These 'signs' do worry me but I feel that in my case this 'forgetting' is due to being so active.  I justify this by the fact that I can remember so much from the past.  My childhood friends - names, parent's names, streets, and all.  I can remember movies that I saw years ago and which theater I went to and who I went with.  I tell myself that way back then was a much slower time for me whereas now I stay busy and forget things.  At least that's what I hope is causing my memory losses.

In A Daughter's Promise, Author Fran Lewis breaks down the beginning as well as the end of this terrible disease.  And she knows everything 'first-hand' because she became the caregiver of Ruthie who was her mother.  She fills you in on what to expect, not only as the patient but also as the caregiver.  She helps you understand what the patient is going through both physically as well as mentally.  And she also helps you understand what the caretaker goes through both physically as well as mentally.

Whether you know a person with Alzheimer's disease or not, this is a book that needs to be read by everyone!  You may one day find yourself being the caregiver or even the patient and this book will help you know whats in store for you.


Tuesday, November 14, 2017

'Til Death (Rockwell Return Files) - Jason Anspach, Author



Alice Rockwell's Perfect Pot Roast

1 (3 1/2- to 4-pound) boneless beef chuck-eye roast, pulled into two pieces 
kosher salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 medium onions, halved and sliced thin
1 large carrot, chopped medium
1 celery rib, chopped medium
2 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press
1 cup beef broth, plus 1 to 2 cups for sauce
½ cup dry red wine, plus 1/4 cup for sauce
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1 sprig plus 1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
ground black pepper
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar


1. Sprinkle pieces of meat with 1 tablespoon salt and and let stand at room temperature 1 hour.

2. Heat oven to 300 degrees. Heat butter in heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium heat. When foaming subsides, add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and beginning to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Add carrot and celery; continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes longer. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in 1 cup broth, ½ cup wine, tomato paste, bay leaf, and thyme sprig; bring to simmer.

3. Pat beef dry with paper towels and season generously with pepper. Tie each piece of meat into loaf shape for even cooking.

4. Place meat on top of vegetables. Cover pot tightly with large piece of foil and cover with lid; transfer pot to oven. Cook  on middle rack until beef fully tender, 3½ to 4 hours, turning halfway through cooking.

5. Transfer roasts to cutting board and keep warm. Strain liquid through mesh strainer into 4-cup liquid measuring cup. Discard bay leaf and thyme sprig. Transfer vegetables to a jar. Allow liquid to settle 5 minutes, then skim any fat off surface. Add vegetables and beef broth as necessary to bring liquid amount to 3 cups. Blend until smooth. Transfer sauce to medium saucepan and bring to simmer over medium heat.

6. While sauce heats, remove twine from roast and slice against grain into ½-inch-thick slices. Transfer meat to large serving platter. Stir chopped thyme, remaining ¼ cup wine, and vinegar into sauce and season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon half of sauce over meat; pass remaining sauce separately.

'Til Death (Rockwell Return Files) - Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of: Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish

S. Rockwell, Private Investigator
Returns and the Unexplainable Welcomed


When you think of 'returns' you normally think of someone sitting behind a counter helping people get their money back for items they either don't need or simply don't want.  At least that was how I've always looked at it.  That is until I read 'Til Death.  This is what I learned from reading this book:

'Returns' was the acccepted term used for dead folks who came back, usually due to sufficiently important unfinished business.  Who made the determination on who Returned or not was still a hot topic among theologians.

Sam Rockwell's PI business was to help these 'Returns' out so they could finish up their business and move on to better places upstairs.  He didn't deal with a large number of returns, but the few times a Return actually made his way into the office, they weren't exactly asking him to save the world.  Most cases were as simple as an executive returning to share the code for his wall safe with his business partner.  And that was the case until his mother calls to tell him his father had been murdered and his help was needed to find the killer.  Oh yeah, his father was a Return.  He told the people upstairs that he had information that was given to him to safe keep away from the Russians who would use it to destroy the US.

This book is so different from any I've ever read.  It has murder, suspense, and best of all humor.  Sam's task of finding out who killed his father and then who killed the killer, puts him up against some really rough people.  But you can't help but laugh as he deals with the Returns that pop up now and then, mainly his own father.  When I got to the end of 'Til Death I saw that book 2 was out.  It's titled 'Til Death: Second Impressions.  Yes I ordered it and can't wait to see where the Returns take Sam next.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Short Stories From The Spiral Galaxy - Lawrence Johnson, Sr,


 Inline image 2


Mini Cheesecakes


8 Mini Graham Cracker Pie Crust
2 package Philadelphia cream cheese
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 can topping

Place cream cheese into a medium size mixing bowl
Slowly incorporate sugar into cream cheese
Blend eggs with cream cheese mixture one at a time
Add vanilla extra 

Heat oven to 350 degrees
Pour mixture into pie crust shells
Place on cookie sheet
Bake for 30 minutes or until center is no longer wet

Remove from oven and let cool before adding your favorite topping. 

Short Stories From The Spiral Galaxy - Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat, Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish


Terror On Telderan 

Rayna took a deep breath and lifted her head slowly.  "earlier I told you that as High Ruler I only have access to an astral-numerologist however, the Grand Apex has been told by the Oracle that Rotart's attempt to terra form Telderan will have catastrophic results.  The planet will spiral out of control then ultimately out of this galaxy and...onward...toward the Milky Way Galaxy.  It will eventually rip through space and smash directly into your beloved planet Earth."


Murder on the Eros Star 

The Eros Star is an entertainment and pleasure ship that travels throughout the galaxy.  Jada was working a case on the Eros Star.  When she got close to solving it someone pumped poisonous gas into her quarters.  She was alive but sedated.  The doctor feels that she will be ok but he is not 100% certain and the assailant is still on the loose.

Intergalactic detective Da'Quan was on his way to the yearly Festival of Life on the Planet of Lazon when he received word that his assistant Jada had undergone an attempt on her life.  With his plans now changed, Da'Quan   speeds to the Eros Star to not only find the perpetrator before he tried again and succeeded. 


Planet of Doom 
Da'Quan is an Intergalactic Detective. His ship (the Spirit) crashes on the planet Akanon aka The Planet of Doom. Actually, his ship was forced down by a race of deranged androids who are about to go out into the galaxy and take over. Da'Quan meets up the town's people on an island (the androids are afraid of water). The locals help Da'Quan repair his ship but he needs to go to the big city where the crazy androids are to get spare parts. There is another problem. Da'Quan sent out a distress signal right before the crash so his assistant Jada is on her way and he has no way to communicate with her, no way to warn her about the beam the androids used to drag his and hundreds of other ships to crash on the surface. Da"Quan eventually finds a way to use their weapon against them. 



These stories take you right up to the events that take place as earth goes into destruction and the plight its people take to survive on other planets.  You’ll be introduced to new aliens and discover they too have crime, law and order and a force to enforce these laws.  They kept me spell bound and holding my breath all the way through as I’m sure they will you too.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

The Brede Chronicles - Book 1 - P. I. Barrington, Author



Parmesan Ham Mix

1 can evaporated milk
2 eggs slightly scrambled
2 cups cubed ham (cubed 1" pieces)
1 cup fresh sliced mushrooms or small jar of of mushrooms
1 - 1 1/2 cups Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons dried parsely
1 tablespoon pepper
1pkg Penne or Cavatappi

Cook pasta in large pan of water. Heat evaporated milk in large saucepan. When heated to boiling, add eggs, then warm again to boiling. Add ham & mushrooms bring to boil again and add Parmesan cheese, parsely. Pepper to taste. Drain the pasta & put back into large pan then add the sauce mixture, stir well and serve.


The Brede Chronicles - Book 1 - Review by Martha A Cheves, Author of: Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish

Elektra Tate who, abandoned, grew up in the streets of New Cairo, probably all human thereby reducing her to the lowest strata of society; the proscribed citizens.  She lived as a child in Garbage City, the filthy area reserved for the poorest of the poor of New Cairo.  Garbage City resulted as overpopulation of the country escalated unrestrained in recent centuries causing its citizens to take refuge anywhere they could.  Her current abode was an ancient tomb in one of New Cairo's cemetery cities that even the residents of Garbage City avoided.  And then she meets.....

Alekzander Brede whose earth father and amphidian mother's marriage produced him with full citizen rights on each planet and most planets in between.  Any other rights he did not have he merely took.  There were others like him; perhaps not exactly the same mix but close enough to make them all humanoid, enhancing the economic state of New Cairo.  It also gave him a taste for earth women, the more human the better.

I've never been fond of futuristic books and I can't say that I've ever read a book that made me dislike one of the main characters as much as I found myself disliking Alekzander Brede.  His character is of a cruel man who enjoys hurting Elektra Tate more than anything else he does in life.  There were times I would wish the author would kill him off and bring in a better, more likable character.  Well, that didn't happen and I knew it wouldn't because this is the 1st book in a series of books titled The Brede Chronicles.  So, how is she going to make me like him, must a little?  Well, she did, but not until the end of the book and by the end I mean the last 2 pages!  And she did this in a way that I'm anticipating the reading of Book 2 and will impatiently be waiting for it to come out.

This book is FULL of action and a very hard book to put down!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Snow Storm - Bobby Nash, Author




Bobby's Chicken Strip Recipe
(My recipe for chicken strips, perfect for a day at the track or a picnic while reading your favorite novel. - Bobby)

I package boneless, skinless chicken breast tenderloins (or breasts you can slice into strips).
1 stick butter
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese 
1 cup fine bread crumbs

Pre-heat oven 0 o 350 degrees.
Line baking pan with aluminum foil.
Spray with cooking spray of your choice (for non-stick)
Melt better in bowl (I use the microwave)
Mix Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs in separate bowl
Place chicken in butter to coat
Place buttered chicken in Parmesan cheese/bread crumb mix.
Coat fully.
Place on tray.
Repeat until all chicken is coated.
Add light salt and pepper.

Bake for 16 minutes on 350 degrees.
Turn over at 16 minutes.
Add light salt and pepper (to taste)
Bake for an additional 16 minutes on 350 degrees.

Remove and let cool. 

Snow Storm - Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of: Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; and A Book and A Dish

I got a call from a lawyer friend of mine.  I helped him track down some folks a few times and whenever he could, he tossed some business my way.  This one didn't seem like anything out of the ordinary.  This lady split with her husband and then she up and moves away, taking their now teenage daughter with her.  The dad, Anthony Mann needed someone to help find the kid so he could get in touch... I found the ex.  She changed her name, which was weird and set of a few alarm bells.  The daughter changed her last name as well.  At first I assumed the mother had remarried and the daughter had taken the new guy's name, but she never remarried.  Mom works for a manufacturing outfit based out of Texas and travels a lot for the job.  She owns a small home in Florida, but also keeps an apartment in Atlanta.  My guess is that's where the daughter's living these days.  I found out she was accepted to Georgia Tech.  I've not been there yet.  Something about this whole thing didn't sit right with me so I did a little digging into both the lady and her ex-husband before I did anything else.

Samson Brooks wasn't just someone Snow had worked with while undercover, he was also a close friend.  So, when he filled him in on his search for Katie Masters and informed him that her real name was Katie Manelli, Snow's ears perked up.  Turns out that she is the granddaughter of Antonio Manelli, one of the biggest mob leaders in the country.

As Brooks and Snow go to Atlanta to pick Katie up and take her to a safe place, they meet trouble of the mob kind. The problem is this mob isn't part of the Manelli family, but of their biggest rival the Roarke family.

In Snow Storm, you'll find bullets flying and plenty of action as Snow, Brooks, Snow's brother and grandfather all try to keep the two families from killing each other as well as Katie and her mother Pamela.  It has a few twists and turns that kept me reading not sure this could be accomplished.  I must say, this isn't a very lengthy book but it is one that I really enjoyed.  It also left me with enough information about Book 3 that I'm looking forward to diving into it soon.  I'll give you a hint - Daniella Cordoza will apparently be brought back into the story.  If you don't know who she is, read Book 1 - Snow Falls and you'll see why I'm excited about her appearance.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Sabotage at RKO Studio (A James Murray Mystery) - Christopher Geoffrey McPherson, Author



In the five James Murray Mysteries, the lead character makes it clear loudly and often that his favorite pie is cherry. So I thought it would be fun to share a recipe from the same period as the novels: from the 1930s, here is a vintage cherry pie recipe from Julia Lee Wright's "Recipes You'll Enjoy" cookbook.

Cherry Pie
(A James Murray Favorite)

3 cups tart pitted cherries
2 cups sugar
3 tbls flour
butter
pie crust

Combine cherries with enough sugar to sweeten, flour to thicken. Line pan with pastry. Pour in fruit mixture and dot with butter. Cover with pastry that has been rolled out thinner than lower crust; cut design in top to allow steam to escape. Tuck edge of top crust under edge of lower crust and pinch together with fingers or with tines of a fork. Bake in hot oven (450 degs F) for 15 minutes, reduce the temperature to moderate oven (350 degs F) and continue baking until fruit has cooked.

Sabotage at RKO Studio (the second James Murray Mystery) - Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of:  Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; and A Book and A Dish

... his time was running out.  There were just a few days left until the Thursday night premiere of King Kong and still no sight of the missing spider scene.  Luckily for him, the studio was otherwise humming along, the seemingly innocent "accidents' pretty much over.  No more fires, no more shredded costumes, no more missing miniature dinosaurs.  But then, the damage had already been done, hadn't it?  All productions were back on schedule.  Now, if James could only figure out what happened to the missing scene, he'd be set.

James Murray has gone to work at RKO Studio to write the screenplay for his mystery "Murder at Eastern Columbia." The rights for the movie had been bought by the studio and it was up to him to get it in shape to start the movie.  This was all fine except for a few minor problems.  One - his mind just wasn't into writing a screenplay.  Two - someone was sabotaging activities at the studio and his boss 'Cooper' has instructed him to investigate.  And three - his mind is on writing his next book.  As it turns out the two and three are becoming combined as he writes his next book about the events that are taking place at the studio.

As I read Sabotage at RKO Studio I was lost as to the reason for the events taking place at the studio.  It appears that it sits on top of an oil field so that could be the reason.  Then James meets a woman on the  streetcar who seems to get upset when he talks about the 'accidents' and leads me to believe she may have something to hide but I could see no connections.  So yes, I was baffled by the outcome of this one.

This book turned out to be a different, yet fun read.  You read the story as the events take place but you also read it in the novel form as James writes his next book.  Interesting, especially the end.


Friday, September 1, 2017

Death Overdue - Allison Brook, Author - Pre-Order Now!



Eggplant Salad


My mother used to make this when I was growing up. Since then I’ve added touches of my own ~~Marilyn Levinson


1 eggplant
2 T olive oil
2 t vinegar
¼ onion
½ red pepper
clove of garlic
2-3 T of sundried tomatoes or a small tomato cut up
fresh or dried basil
fresh or dried parsley
salt & pepper to taste


This is a mid-eastern dish. While many like to roast the eggplant over a flame, I prefer to bake it in the oven at 350 degrees after washing it and stabbing it a few times with a knife. Turn the eggplant over after 12-15 minutes  and continue to bake to complete the process. When the eggplant is soft to the touch, remove it and let it cool before preparing the salad. I usually put it in the refrigerator after it’s cooled and complete the process the following day.


Dice red pepper, sundried tomatoes, garlic and onion in a food processor with the oil and vinegar. Slice the eggplant down the middle, scoop out the flesh and add to food processor. Discard seeds and skin. Add basil and/or parsley, salt and pepper to taste. Don’t over-process. Some people like a smooth salad while others prefer a chunkier texture.

Serve as a vegetable or an appetizer with crackers. You can add whatever herb you like. Enjoy!

Death Overdue - Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish


Carrie Singleton is back in Clover Ridge, Connecticut, spiked purple hair and all.  She’s staying with Great Uncle Bosco and Aunt Harriet, who offered her a home when her own mother wouldn't. As for her father—for all Carrie knows, he might be back in jail. But it’s time to move on. The job Uncle Bosco has wrangled for her in the Clover Ridge Library is boring and makes no use of her library science degree. Besides, much as she’s grown to love her aunt and uncle, she simply can’t stay in one place very long. She’ll soon turn thirty, and she’s held five jobs in as many states. it’s time to go.


The library director’s offer to be Head of Programs and Events comes as a shock. It would mean drastic changes in Carrie’s lifestyle. No more purple hair. No more black Goth outfits. No more running carefree.  She would have responsibilities. Others would be depending on her. She would have to grow up and fast.
The ghost of Evelyn Havers appears and urges Carrie to take the job. Evelyn worked in the library until her death a few years ago. At Carrie's first scheduled event, a retired homicide detective is murdered while talking about a cold case he claims to have solved. Carrie believes the two murders are linked. With Evelyn’s help she sets out to find the murderer.


Allison Brook is one author that I can't get enough of.  I've read everything she has written, I think, and have enjoyed them all.  When I started Death Overdue, I decided I knew who the murderer was after about 60 pages.  Yep, I was wrong.  I wasn't surprised when the truth finally came out, but by then I had about 6 suspects.  Finishing this book has left room for many more books to come. I can't wait to read them.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Hide and Seek - Richard Parker, Author



Chunky Chicken Satay - serves 2

I've always loved this dish but my issue with it is that it's tiny.  I use 2 inch cubes of chicken thigh meat for this but feel free to use generous cubes of chicken breast. - Richard

Measurements don't need to be exact.  Adjust for your own taste and texture preference.

Marinade

1 lemon squeezed plust zest
5 tbsp vegetable oil
4 tbsp sesame oil
2 heaped tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp Chinese five spice
2  cloves of garlic crushed


Peanut Sauce

1/2 cup creamed coconut
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
Drop of warm water.

For marinade combine all ingredients and marinade chicken for a few hours - no longer as lemon juice will break it down.

For peanut sauce add warm water to creamed coconut and combine remaining ingredients. Add more warm water or oil to get correct texture.

Skewer chicken and grill until meat is white.  Dip and enjoy!


Hide and Seek Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of: Stir, Laugh Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish

Lana heard her boy scream and shot to the back door.  The'd taken her eyes off him for only a few moments but when she entered the sunny yard there was no sign of her child.  She bolted to where he'd been sitting and found the stranger's bare legs scrambling over the fence with a sack containing Cooper dangling from his fist.  She could see Cooper twisting inside.  He was hoisted up and out of reach and her panicked wail energized is.  If she didn't act fast, the stranger would drop over the fence to the private lane on the other side.  She restrained his ankle firmly with both hands and started trying to lug him back.  Lana grabbed his clammy calf and then slammed her body against his shoe to trap him there.  Digging her nails in, she bit the skin above his heel.  She heard him cry out and she clamped her teeth down as hard as she could.  She wanted to shout that she'd murder him before she'd let him take Cooper but she wasn't about to loosen her teeth on his ankle.

Lana saved her son that day but the fear that wouldn't leave her took it's tolls on her, changing her life forever.  No longer did the home she and Todd had scrapped ends to buy seem safe.  Their move to a fourth floor apartment helped some but she still checked every window and every door at least three times before going to bed.  Her obsession also took her to an internet site called Right Where You're Standing.  It used GPS to direct you to local murder scenes.  Here she did a search seeking only those where children had been taken and murdered. She had high hopes that site would find her find the perpetrator who tried to take her son.  It's now almost a year later and the police appeared to have given up their search leaving her to be the only one to pick it back up.  What she didn't know was the involvement her husband Todd had taken on with his own investigation.  His form of involvement was one that could prove to be very deadly, not just for himself but for Lana too.

Hide and Seek is a book that will not only have you watching your own children but it will also become a book that you'll keep telling yourself "just one more chapter."  Well, that "just one more chapter" turned into another and another for me.  It takes you on a very winding road that is actually full of surprises!  The trials that Lana goes through are more than most of us could endure.  And no, I'll not give you clues, other than to say that if you like a book that will keep you on the edge of your chair, you'll want to get your hands or Kindle on this book ASAP.


Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Skeleton in the Closet (Southern Ghost Hunter Series Book 2) - Angie Fox, Author



Mississippi Mud Brownies

Brownies:
1 cup butter
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups white sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 pinch salt
½ cup chopped pecans
1 (10.5 ounce) package mini marshmallows

Frosting:
½ cup butter
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup milk


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9x13 inch pan.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt 1 cup of butter. Remove from heat and stir in cocoa until smooth. Mix in the white sugar, eggs and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Mix in the flour, then fold in pecans and marshmallows. Spread evenly into the prepared pan.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until brownies start to pull away from the sides of the pan. Let the brownies cool in the pan. Try not to eat them (yet).

To make the frosting: In a medium saucepan, melt together 1/2 cup of butter and 1/3 cup of cocoa. Mix in confectioners' sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla until smooth. Gradually beat in the milk, a tablespoon at a time until icing is a nice spreading consistency.

Spread icing on top of brownies. Devour.


The Skeleton in the Closet (Southern Ghost Hunter Series Book 2)- Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of: Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; and A Book and A Dish

Ellis leaned an arm over the back of the couch.  "I need your help, Verity."  Oh my.  "This isn't a habit I want to encourage," I said even if I could talk Frankie into helping me.  It took a lot of his strength to show me the other side.  "I'm not a professional ghost hunter."  "You're good at it," he pressed.  "I almost got us killed last time."  He'd hired me to clear out some ghosts in a property he was renovating.  It hadn't exactly gone smoothly.  "I've never talked to such a new ghost."  I didn't even know if she could be found.  "And aren't you the one who agreed I shouldn't be doing this?"  He shook his head.  "You're right," he conceded.  "At some point, this has to stop.  But not tonight.  We need to know what happened in that library.  You don't have to talk to her.  I'll take any witness you can find.  The building has got to be haunted,:" he said.  "I've heard stories since I was a kid."

There has been a death at Sugarland and Ellis Wydell, who just happens to be a policeman, the older brother of Verity's ex-fiance and her new love, needs her help again in solving the murder.  Verity, along with the help of Frankie, has helped Ellis in the past and is apparently in need of her abilities to see ghosts and her ghostly contacts again.  Oh yeah, Frankie "The German" is the spirit of a 1920s gangster that was tied to Verity's land after she emptied his funeral urn out onto her rose bushes and soaked them down with water.

Sugarland is noted for it's Civil War battle where a cannon ball was fired into the wall of the library but never exploded.  Each year the 'Jacksons and the Wydells put on displays and reenactments of the battle.  This year Ellis' mother decided to have the events filmed by an historical productions company so the world would know the city's true history.  But what is the truth?  Who were the victors - the Jacksons or the Wydells?  Getting to the truth will put Verity and Ellis' lives in danger and make Verity's almost-mother-in-law hate her even more, if that's possible.

I recommend that you read Southern Spirits - Book 1 of this series first.  I did and am glad I did.  Not only was it a unique book and story but it also gave me insight as to what happens in book 2.

I read a lot of books and once in a while I run across an author like Angie Fox who writes a story that you not only read but you also hear and see everything that happens.  I felt like I was 'reading a movie.'  I could actually see the events at they took place.  I could see the characters and feel their feelings.  This is the work of a very well written story that has murder, mystery, suspense, ghosts, and yes, a bit of humor.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Dead Man's Image - Edna Curry, Author



Hershey Brownies

1 stick (1/2 c.) margarine     
1 cup sugar
4 eggs 
1 16 can Hershey’s chocolate syrup
1 cup flour    
1/2 cup choped nuts, if desired
    
Cream together shortening and sugar, add eggs and chocolte, mix well.
Stir in flour. Pour onto greased 10x 16 inch brownie pan. Bake at 350* for
25-30 minutes.


Frost with a can of chocolate frosting and cut into bars.

Dead Man's Image - Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of: Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish

It was just after dark when they turned off the interstate onto a winding, two-lane blacktop.  He grinned.  He knew this road, it had plenty of hills, curves and lakes.  In fact, there was one spot in particular that was dangerous.  That spot was a sharp curve overlooking a steep valley of the St. Croix River.  It would be perfect.  No one would suspect that it wasn't an accident.  As they neared the dangerous curve, he stayed fairly close to the red Chevy.  He wasn't taking any chances on losing them.  He stepped on the gas to get closer, then as they rounded the curve, he suddenly raced alongside and forced the little Chevy off the road.

Lacey Summers is a licensed private investigator but when the phone rang and it was a man asking her to take a case regarding his death, she was curious but also a bit lost.  He explained to her that he was a long-haul truck driver who had just returned home to find his picture in the paper.  He had been murdered.  She tried to tell him that all he had to do was go to the police department, show his ID and they would see that they have the wrong name for the body.  Then he explained to her that the woman who saw a man dumping 'his' body gave a description to the police and the dumper and dumpee both looked alike!  What the trucker couldn't believe after sneaking into the funeral home with Lacey was that the dead man looked identical to him.  Who was he and why was he killed?

I must be losing my touch or authors are simply adding more twists to the story.  About 1/3 through the book I had it all figured out.  I knew who did it and why.  I took my theory all the way to the last couple of chapters.  Boy was I surprised to find out that I was completely wrong.  This book took me on some winding curves that led me to a big surprise as to who and why.

Turns out this is book 2 in the series and you can bet I'm going to go back and read book 1 Yesterday's Shadow and then head for book 3 Dead in Bed.  This author is good!





Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Diamonds Aren't Forever - Connie Shelton

This book will be released 8/14/2017.  You can pre-order at all major online retailers for just $.99 but on 8/21/2017 the price will go up to $4.99 so get your order in now!

Coca Cola Cake
(A Pen special)

2 c. sugar
2 c. flour
1-1/2 c. small marshmallows
1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. oil
3 T. cocoa
1 c. Coke
1 t. baking soda
1/2 c. buttermilk
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 (325 for glass pan). Grease a 9 x 13 baking pan. Sift together the flour and sugar in a large bowl, add marshmallows. Stir together and set aside. In a saucepan, mix together the butter, oil, Coke, and cocoa. Bring to a boil, then add to the dry mix and blend well. Dissolve the baking soda in the buttermilk and quickly add it to batter. Add eggs and vanilla, mix well. Bake 45-50 minutes. Test for done-ness with a toothpick.

While the cake bakes, make the frosting:
1/2 c. butter
3 T. cocoa
6 T. Coke
2 c. powdered sugar
1 t. vanilla
1 c. chopped pecans

In saucepan, combine butter, cocoa and Coke. Bring to a boil, then pour over powdered sugar in a bowl and blend well. Add vanilla and pecans.

Remove cake from oven when done and pour frosting over it immediately. Let the frosting soak into the cake. Cool completely before cutting.

Diamonds Aren't Forever - Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of: Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; and A Book and A Dish

The whole story spilled out.  The necklace going on loan to the Philpont Museum for a show on the royal jewels of Europe, the robbery six months ago where three armed men took the night guards by surprise and were able to bypass the museum's supposedly state-of-the-art security system.  The police working the case for the few months but leads petered out quickly.  Penelope's desperate hope that the private investigator might have better luck, not being constrained by the complexities of a bureaucracy.  Dick Stone's call yesterday that he had located her piece and would deliver it today.

Penelope Fitzpatrick put all of her faith in Dick Stone.  He has found the necklace that her grandfather had made many years before for the last tsar of Russia.  He has now returned it to Pen who decided the best place for this million dollar necklace was in her safety deposit box at the bank.  That was the day that she thought this nightmare would end only to find that it had just begun.

Author Connie Shelton held my attention as 72 year old Pen is joined by 3 other ladies that became the 'Heist Ladies.'  Their travels to find the man known as Dick Stone, which is only one of his many names, takes them to the Cayman Islands where 'Mr. Stone' posing under another alias is working his next mark.  They follow him to Zurich where he is to meet with a shady jeweler.  And on to Nice where one of the largest jewelry exhibits was to be held.  It was also the location where plans for one of the largest jewelry heists were being made.

As I read Diamonds Aren't Forever I pictured this little 72 year old lady and her 3 companions in my mind.  I admired her spiff and determination.  This was a book that was entertaining, humorous at times, and very enjoyable.



Thursday, July 27, 2017

Sex, Lies, and Snickerdoodles - Wendy Delaney, Author



Soft Snickerdoodle Cookies

1 cup butter 
1 12 cups sugar 
2 large eggs 
2 34 cups flour 
2 teaspoons cream of tartar 
1 teaspoon baking soda 
14 teaspoon salt 
3 tablespoons sugar 
3 teaspoons cinnamon 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

See How It's Made
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Mix butter, 1 1/2 cups sugar, 1tps of vanilla extract and eggs thoroughly in a large bowl.
Combine flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl.
Blend dry ingredients into butter mixture.
Chill dough, and chill an ungreased cookie sheet for about 10-15 minutes in the fridge.
Meanwhile, mix 3 tablespoons sugar, and 3 teaspoons cinnamon in a small bowl.
Scoop 1 inch globs of dough into the sugar/ cinnamon mixture.
Coat by gently rolling balls of dough in the sugar mixture.
Place on chilled ungreased cookie sheet, and bake 10 minutes.
Remove from pan immediately.  Makes 24 cookies



Sex, Lies, and Snickerdoodles - Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of: Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; and A Book and A Dish

'Steve's cell phone rang and he stopped and pulled it from his pocket.  "Hey, Captain."  His gaze sharpened, then he turned his back to me.  Steve had kidded me about being a human lie detector ever since I participated in a university study as a favor to my former sister-in-law, the clinical psychologist.  Even before my perceptive abilities had been documented, he'd made a point of sheltering his face when he didn't want me to read his body language.  But since the Port Merritt PD captain was calling his one and only detective on his day off, anyone in the room should have been able to see that something very bad had happened.

"Tell him not to touch anything," he said.  "I'll be there in ten."  "What's happened?" I asked the second Steve disconnected, my voice a squeaky blend of breath and apprehension.  He pocketed his cell phone.  "Russell Falcon has been found."

In Trudy, Madly, Deeply (Book 1) of the Charmaine (Char) Digby series, we followed her as she became an investigative assistant for the coroner's office.  We got to know Detective Steve Sixkiller as she solved the suspicious death of a family friend and several other elderly patients whose hearts mysteriously stopped.  And who could forget Char's mother the 'actress' who is in the market for her next husband.  Author Wendy Delaney brings all of them back plus a few more in Sex, Lies, and Snickerdoodles (Book 2).

In this episode Char argues with Steve, insisting that the death of Russ Falcon was a murder.  Steve isn't saying it was or it wasn't.  Actually, he isn't saying anything leaving Char to come up with the evidence and motive on her own.  Her main target is the husband of one of Russ' flings.  But did he do it?  She believe so, even if Steve doesn't seem to think she is right.

Reading Book 2 in this series I wasn't sure who killed Russ or even if it was a murder.  I knew who I suspected but had no motive, which lead me to think that maybe his death really was an accident.  I have to admit that I had the correct character but never did have the motive until the end.  So, read this book and let me know if you came up with the same suspect that I did.  Now I'm looking forward to reading There's Something About Marty - Book 3 in this series.

 
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