Showing posts with label book review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label book review. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Snow Falls - Bobby Nash, Author



Snow Ice Cream
(This is a simple recipe if you live in an area where it snows).

Snow
Sugar
Vanilla extract
Milk

When the snow starts to fall, place a large, clean bowl outside to collect the snowflakes. When full, all you have to do is stir in the sugar and vanilla to taste then stir in just enough milk for the desired consistency. It will begin to melt quickly so once you make it, serve it and enjoy. Perhaps you can even enjoy it while reading a Snowy adventure.

(I remember eating this when I was a kid. Martha)


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

Abraham Snow wasn't the superstitious type.  That said, but spending so much time undercover, always under the threat of being found out, had made him sensitive to his surroundings  It was little more than intuition, a hunch that started as a tickle at the base of his brain.  He had learned to listen to those hunches.  More than once they had saved his life.  Standing in the middle of the lobby of that beautiful five-star hotel, surrounded by enough security to protect a small nation, that familiar warning make itself heard.  Whatever it was that set him on edge wasn't readily apparent.  Maybe his subconscious had picked up on something that his conscious mind hadn't yet detected.  He couldn't explain it, but there was danger lurking nearby.

Like his grandfather Archer Snow, Abraham Snow was one for excitement that took him deep undercover for any job he undertook.  But all things must come to an end so when someone sells him out to the target he was trying to get close to, his life almost came to an end, leaving him no choice but to head to his grandfathers' home for a little R&R.

What Snow didn't expect was the hotel his grandfather's family business was protecting to be hit by a sniper.  Their target being no one other than Owen Salizar, owner of Salizar Biotechnix.  A man the U.S. had been after for some time for laundering cash and supporting multiple terrorist groups and militant governments in exchange for business favors.  So far they haven't had enough proof to shut him down.

This book took me one night to read.  It is a short book but it's also one that was packed with action and I had a bit of trouble putting it down until finished.  It is book one in a series and left me wanting to know more about the man that almost killed Snow, as well as the sniper who went after Salizar.  You can bet I'll dig into book two in the near future.


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

A Mersey Killing - Brian L. Porter, Author



Lancashire Hot Pot
(A Brian Special)

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
325g chopped onion
675g cubed leg of lamb meat
1kg potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
30g butter
475ml chicken or lamb stock

Prep: 20 min., Cook Time: 2 hrs. 
Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat. Saute onion until soft and deep golden in colour. Remove from pan and set aside. Add lamb to pan and fry (in batches if necessary) until a rich chestnut brown in colour, 12 to 15 minutes. Drain fat and reserve.
Preheat oven to 190 C / Gas mark 5.

Spread 1/2 of the potatoes in the bottom of a 22x33cm (9x13 in) baking dish. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Place browned lamb and onions on top, then sprinkle with thyme and season to taste. Cover with remaining potatoes, season to taste and dot with butter. Pour stock over all.
Bake in the preheated oven for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Cook's note:

If hot pot is drying out while cooking, add more stock as needed. If it is browning too quickly, cover with aluminium foil.

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

When an old wharf and dockside warehouse renovation uncovers the skeletal remains of a murder victim, Detective Inspector Andy Ross and his team are given just over a week to determine who the remains belonged to or drop the mystery as a cold case.  After all, it had been a cold case for over 30 years now so how could they possibly determine who the victim was much less who the killer was.

Judging by their research the body had to have been there from around the 1960s.  Dental records from that far back were slim in help without a name to go with the teeth.  The victim did have a break in the leg but again, there were probably hundreds of kids who broke their leg in the same area of this break.  This was becoming a helpless mystery that may never be solved, that is until two brothers walked in to see if the remains might be those of their sister who disappeared in 1966.

Apparently she and her boyfriend had made plans to go to America in hopes of him pursuing a career in music.  He and the two brothers, along with another young man had formed a band that simply wasn't going anywhere.  They were called Brendan Kane and the Planets and Brendan was the boyfriend.  When the group broke up Brendan decided to go solo but knew he, just like the Beatles, he would only make it big if he went to America.  Then one day he and the sister, Marie, disappeared.  Hopefully they were in America living a comfortable life but the brothers had a bad feeling that Marie never made it to America and was instead dead.

So, is the body that of Marie?  Or could it be the body of Brendan?  As the team put their clues and facts together they find themselves faced not only with the bones from the past but also with a murder that takes place just within a few days of finding the remains and yes the two are very well connected.

I've read everything written by Brian L. Porter and he has never left me disappointed but always wanting more and this book was no exception.  I must admit that I had a clue after a certain character appeared within the book but still would have never guessed the final ending.  This book kept me turning the pages as the action moved smoothly between the 1960s and the 1990s in such a way you were led from one era to the other without noticing the changes in time, making the whole story a seamless roller coaster of memories of times past.   So keep writing Mr. Porter. You have a fan for life in me.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Terror in a Teapot - Morgan St. James & Phyllice Bradner, Authors



Flossie's Fabulous Noodle Kugel

8 oz. pkg. of Wide Egg Noodles
1/4 lb. Butter (melted) (margarine substitute optional)
1 cup Golden Raisins
3 Eggs (beaten) (4 eggs optional)
4 heaping Tbsp. Sour Cream
4 oz. Cream Cheese (softened and rolled into tiny balls)
1/2 cup Sugar (to taste) mix with a small amount of cinnamon for taste and color
1 cup Milk (a little more if you like it more moist)
Package Cornflake Crumbs (optional)

Mix all ingredients with cooked noodles that have been rinsed in cool water.  Put in 8 x 10 (or similar size) Pyrex pan that has been greased with a little butter or margarine.  Top with packaged cornflake crumbs (optional) and bake in preheated 350 degree oven for about an hour.  Cool and cut into squares for serving.  (You can double the recipe and freeze some, too.)
(Based on a recipe from the authors' mother, Rosetta.)


Terror in a Teapot - Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish

Goldie Silver
- Owns an antique shop in Juneau, Alaska
Godiva Olivia DuBois - Author of the famous relationship column Ask G.O.D.
Caesar - Famous TV chef - or is he?
Flossie Silver - Female magician.
Sterling Silver - Male magician.
Two Ladies from the Russian Orthodox Church - church ladies.
Father Innocent - Retiring Priest.
Rimsky - Father Innocent's helper.
Father Augustine - Priest that will take over for Father Innocent.
Two very ugly ladies - Very possibly not 'ladies.'
Boris & Igor Dumkovsky - two very mean Russians.

Now, just what can all of these people have in common?  Well, Goldie and Godiva are twin sisters.  Caesar is Godiva's boyfriend, Flossie is the mother of the twins and Sterling is their father's brother, known to them by the affectionate name of 'Unk.'  

But where is the connection between the 'family' members and the other characters?  It all has to do with The Seven Deadly Samovars, or Tea Pots if you live in America.  It seems the Tea Pots were shipped from Russia to Goldie's shop but were lost in transit.  The Church Ladies had ordered one through Goldie as a retirement gift for Father Innocent.  When they are finally discovered they seem to live up to their name 'Deadly.'  People start dying, Tea Pots start missing and the mystery starts spinning as the twins do a little detective work to track down the missing pots and find the killer or should I say killers.

This book, as all Morgan St. James and Phyllice Bradner books, gives you suspense, humor and a special surprising twist at the end.  I can't get enough of their writings and hope they come out with yet another Silver Sisters Mystery very soon.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Jilted by Death - Lynette Hall Hampton, Author


Barbecue Cups
(My grandchildren love this recipe and
I thought maybe my readers would, too -
Lynette)

l lb. ground beef - browned and drained
1/2 cup barbecue sauce - whatever you like. I use Sweet Baby Ray's
2 Tbsp. onion - chopped fine
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 can of biscuits
3/4 cup. Shredded cheese - I use cheddar

After draining beef, add barbecue sauce, onion and brown sugar.
Place each biscuit in a greased muffin tin. Press dough up sides, to the top of tin to form a cup.
Spoon mixture into cups and sprinkle with cheese.
Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes or until dough is brown.


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

"This is Willa," I said into the receiver.  "And I can be your worst nightmare," a deep muffled voice said.  "Stay away from Reba Wilkinson.  No more lunches with her, if you know what's good for you, Preacher Lady."  The receiver slammed in my ear and I slowly hung up.  I was stunned, confused, and a little afraid.  I looked around my office and shivered.  Whoever this person was, he knew that I had spent my lunchtime with Reba, and he didn't like it.  But why would anyone care?  The visit had been fruitless.

Willa Hinshaw has only been the associated minister at the First United Methodist Church for about three weeks when everything seems to start turning upside down.  First came the canceling of a wedding for the daughter of one of the town's leaders to an up-and-coming attorney.  The daughter seemed to have run off with her childhood sweetheart causing much grief for her family, not to mention the loss of money it had cost her father to put this event together.  Then came the call to Willa from the daughter telling her she had made a mistake and was afraid for her safety.  She begged Willa to come and get her at a motel several miles away from Liverpool.  And when she read the note left with the motel clerk saying it was all a mistake and that she was ok, Willa wasn't convinced.  Thus starts her search for the real truth, as well as the threats made to her if she continued to keep digging into matters that don't concern her.

Then comes the ransom note.  Someone is determined to destroy the Poole family through their daughter Lee Ann and the Swanson family through their son Justin.  But why was a question no one seemed to have the answer to.

Lynette Hall Hampton has become one of my favorite authors.  Her stories are simply beautiful as well as mysterious.  Her style of writing is one that keeps me in the dark through many pages.  In Jilted by Death, I thought I knew the killer about 3/4 of the way through but the more I thought about it the more I felt I was wrong.  So, when the killer was finally revealed I was surprised but also not surprised.  I can't wait to read more works of art from this author.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Convenient Marriage - Maggie Tideswell, Author


Mini Chocolate Kahlua Pots
(A Maggie Tideswell Special)

100g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
150 ml single cream
2tablespoons Kahlua liqueur
4 glasses or ramekins


Place chocolate in a large bowl.
Heat cream just until it comes to the boil, then pour it over the chocolate and leave to stand.
Whisk until smooth, then add the Kahlua.
Spoon into the glasses/ramekins.
Leave in the fridge for 1 hour
Serve with crème fraiche and top with a coffee bean.


Convenient Marriage – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish

‘Joshua skimmed down the page, not registering what he was reading, when a tiny advert squashed between Lost and Found and Obituaries jumped to his attention.  It simply read:

Husband needed.
Call Holly Turnbull 021 768 9223
No pranks please

Joshua read it a second time before he scrubbed both hands over his face, his elbows crumpling the newspaper on the table.  What was the world coming to, if women had to resort to dailies to get them a man?  he wondered.  Would this poor, misguided soul even want the kind of man who was like to respond to this silly ad?...  Surely this Holly woman didn’t think she was going to get a bona fide offer of marriage from this tiny advert, did she?... He waited for his laptop to boot up, then typed ‘Holly Turnbull’… Holly turned out to be a journalist and not bad to look at either.  He was impressed, even though it seemed odd that a woman like her would advertise for a husband.  Oh, well, each one to her own.  She would do nicely in his newly formed plan.’

Joshua Jordan has found a way to push Nicole, his fiancée of four years, into making the final commitment by scheduling a wedding.  He will give her an ultimatum of time and if she doesn’t find it within herself to meet the deadline, he will take this Holly woman up on her marriage proposal for just long enough to bring Nicole to her senses. 

Holly Turnbull didn’t actually place the ad for a husband in the daily paper, her three best friends and roommates did.  Holly’s ex-husband Donald has refused to allow her to see their two boys for long enough.  The girls believe that with a husband, Donald will have no excuses for not allowing her to see the boys.  The girls also believe Donald’s wife Gwen is the one that is really behind him not allowing Holly to see her kids.  So when the marriage proposal comes in from Joshua Jordan, Holly sees that this just might be the answers to her problems with Donald.  But with the proposal comes something that no one would have guessed... Moragh.  Moragh is a spirit from the past who starts sending Holly messages demanding that she ‘tell her story’ and to her surprise, the story starts at the very home belonging to Joshua.

This book has it all… murder, mystery, love, hate, ghosts, spells and the supernatural.  The tale is so twisted that you think you have it all figured out only to find that you’re wrong.  The characters are strong and if you believe in ghosts, very believable.  I really didn’t want this book to end but to just keep on going.  Convenient Marriage is a very entertaining book.  I loved it.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Seasons in Purdah - Anjuelle Floyd, Author



Chocolate Hazelnut Cake

(I love chocolate. I am also diabetic.

This recipe is great for anyone who is watching the sugar intake and/or trying to lose weight and wants to eat more healthily, but like I, has a sweet tooth, or two.)
Anjuelle Floyd



Ingredients:

Cake
 
1/2 cup chopped pitted dates 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, “natural” or Dutch-process 1 teaspoon instant coffee granules 1/2 cup boiling water 1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts, plus 2 tablespoons for garnish 2 slices firm white sandwich bread, crusts trimmed 1/3 cup all-purpose flour 1/4 teaspoon salt 2/3 cup sugar, divided 2 tablespoons canola oil 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 large egg 3 large egg whites, or 2 tablespoons dried egg whites, reconstituted according to package directions
 
Glaze

  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) chocolate, finely chopped (1/3 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar

Preparation:

1. To prepare cake: Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9-inch round cake pan with cooking spray. Line the bottom with parchment or wax paper.

2. Combine dates, cocoa and instant coffee in a small bowl. Add boiling water and stir until the cocoa has dissolved. Cover and let stand until the dates have softened and the mixture has cooled to room temperature, about 20 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, spread hazelnuts in a shallow baking dish and bake until fragrant and lightly toasted, 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate and let cool.

4. Grind bread into fine crumbs in a food processor. Measure to make sure you have 1/2 cup. Transfer to a large bowl. (No need to wash the workbowl between steps.)

5. Place 1/2 cup of the hazelnuts in the food processor. Add flour and salt; process until the nuts are finely ground. Transfer to the bowl with the breadcrumbs.

6. Scrape the cooled date mixture into the food processor. Add 1/3 cup sugar, oil, vanilla and whole egg; process until smooth, stopping several times to scrape down the sides of the workbowl. Scrape the mixture into the bowl with the breadcrumbs and nuts. Mix gently with a rubber spatula.

7. Beat egg whites with an electric mixer in a clean large mixing bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining 1/3 cup sugar, beating until stiff, glossy peaks form. Add one-fourth of the beaten whites to the batter and whisk until blended. Fold in the remaining whites with a rubber spatula just until blended. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, spreading evenly.

8. Bake the cake until the top springs back when touched lightly, 25 to 35 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Coat the rack with cooking spray and invert the cake onto it to cool completely.

9. Meanwhile, to prepare glaze: Combine cocoa, chocolate, corn syrup and instant coffee in a medium bowl. Add boiling water and stir with a wooden spoon until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth. Stir in vanilla. Gradually add confectioners’ sugar (to the chocolate mixture), beating with an electric mixer, slowly at first, then gradually increasing speed, until the glaze is smooth and thickened. (The mixture may seem lumpy at first, but it will smooth out.) Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature until the mixture is set, about 30 minutes.

10. To finish the cake, place it bottom-side up on a serving plate. Place several strips of wax paper under the bottom edge to protect the plate from drips. Spoon on glaze and spread it evenly over the top and sides of the cake with an icing spatula or knife. Arrange the remaining 2 tablespoons hazelnuts around the top outside edge. Discard the wax paper before serving.


Seasons in Purdah – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish

 
“James’ entry into Sahel’s life had at the very least unleashed an ability to communicate with those living on other levels of life. Through holding James’ hands, Sahel had entered James’ thought space and experienced the images punctuated with the smells and sounds of his memory. It was a powerful talent, one that, during the ensuing days, had put Sahel at ease and peace with her vulnerabilities, not simply as a person without physical sigh, rather an individual who wanted to love and to be loved. Sahel’s lack of sight had opened portals leading to a source of connection with others, a wellspring that provided a sense of purpose bathed in compassion. It also bestowed an awareness of the need for boundaries.”

Sahel Ohin Denning had a degree in psychology but as it’s been said in many ways – a doctor can’t seem to heal himself. As for Sahel, due to an accident she lost her sight but not her emotions. She found herself feeling some of the same feelings her patients had felt giving them reason to seek out her help. But how could she help others when she couldn’t even help herself. These emotions led her to do the unthinkable. She attempted suicide. Had it not been for her husband Titus’ early arrival at home she would have succeeded. Titus is a heart surgeon and blames himself for her loss of sight. Their best friend Carl is a neurosurgeon who feels surgery will allow her to regain her sight. But to his dismay, Sahel and Titus refuse the surgery. Sahel then meets James who asks one question of her … “Do you believe in reincarnation?”

Through her lack of sight Sahel finds herself being able to communicate with James’ fiancé who committed suicide after the death of her father. James is able to communicate through Sahel with his beloved letting her know how much he loves her and that he forgives her for what she has done.

But James himself is dying and wants to reunite with his beloved at the end with hopes of her helping him cross over into her world. Through Sahel’s help, this is accomplished but with much strain on Sahel’s her own health, pushing her to have the surgery she doesn’t want.

Seasons in Purdah is a beautiful story of three people who love each other with all their hearts. Sahel, Titus and Carl grew up together and were best friends but both men loved Sahel and she loved them equally, yet in different ways. After dreaming of a life during another time and place and then learning that Titus as well as Carl had the same dream at the same time, Sahel, when Sahel is attempting to answer James’ question “Do you believe in reincarnation?” seeks understand the question as well as its answer. She must clarify whether the reality of her life. Is her life an aspect of Titus and/or Carl’s dream(s) or are their lives but an aspect of her dream? Is Sahel experiencing a life she has already lived? Or is she living one of the many lives that awaits her in the future? Or is she dreaming this present life from a life based in the future?

And so, what do you, the reader, believe?

After following the three of them through the trials of life and the trials of their‘dreams’ I must give it a second thought before I can answer.

Seasons in Purdah is a very beautiful, loving, yet intriguing story that would make a great ‘Lifetime’ movie for television.

 
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