Showing posts with label Martha A Cheves. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Martha A Cheves. Show all posts

Monday, June 4, 2018

The Acorn Stories (Acorn, Texas Book 1) - Duane Simolke, Author



Chicken Cashew at Chuck’s China Town
Recipe by Duane Simolke

Ingredients:
Boneless, skinless chicken breasts, marinated in Teriyaki sauce.
Vegetable oil, just enough to brown the chicken.
Finely diced carrots and onions.
Garlic or garlic powder.
For more spice and a Texas twist, add jalapeno slices or cayenne pepper.
At least 2 ounces of cashews.
Salt and pepper.

Marinate the chicken overnight. Dice it and brown in a frying pan with the carrots, onions, and seasonings. Add more Teriyaki sauce as it cooks. Chicken should be cooked through and tender. Just before it’s all ready, toss with the cashews.
Serve over rice or pasta.

If you don’t have cashews, peanuts work fine.

The Acorn Stories - Review by Martha A. Cheves

My name is Aragon Carsons, and I'm just going to state some facts.  People tell me a little more than they should.  Well, a lot more than they should.  Actually, people tell me way too much.  Or they say too many things where I can hear them, which is just the same as telling me, as far as I'm concerned.  Do they really think I won't share what I heard with anybody?  I mean, stories like these can't just sit on a shelf in somebody's brain.

The more I think about it, the more sure I am that my neighbors want someone to tell their Acorn stories, that they don't want to be just a small part of a small town in a big state in a big country.  People aspire to leave something behind other than babies, a mortgage, and a nasty rumor or two.  And they certainly want someone reliable tell it, like what my grandmother did when she chronicled the early folks of Acorn.  

So maybe I'll serve you up a few slices of Acorn pie.  There are enough words in my kitchens, enough stories in my cupboards - I'd like to work closets into this paragraph, but I certainly wouldn't want to strain a metaphor so early in my narrative - that I could find ingredients for several pies.  But I'll be choosy an pick out some of my favorites.  

And that is exactly what Aragon does in The Acorn Stories

When I was young we lived in a small town outside of Atlanta.  Everyone knew everyone and everyone knew everyone's business.  Way back then we even had what was called 'Party Lines'.  These were phone lines where several houses had the same phone line with each having a different number of rings so you would know when the call was for you or someone else.  But... if you quietly picked up the phone you could listen to all the gossip running around the neighborhood.  This book reminds me of that time.

The residents of Acorn didn't have the party line but they did spread the gossip.  As I read each 'story' I found myself remembering people from my past that would fit perfectly into Acorn.  Even if your town is small, it's large in its problems and these problems seem to become the talk of the town.

I loved this book and the memories it brought back.  So, if you remember the 'Party Lines' you can't help but enjoy this book.  If you are a bit younger than I am but live in a small town, you'll enjoy this book.  And if you're from a large town, read it and enjoy what you have missed out on.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Silently in the Night - Graham Clayton, Author



Double Chocolate Ghost Cookies

1 cup butter
1 1/2 cup white sugar
2 tsp Vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 Ghost pepper (fresh)
2 cups flour
2/3 cup of cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
2 cups of dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup of dry roasted unsalted almonds or 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Beat together butter, eggs, sugar, vanilla & Ghost pepper (remove seeds & finely dice & smash up the Ghost pepper) until fluffy.
Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda & into butter mixture until completely blended, fold in chocolate chips & nuts.
Drop rounded teaspoons of the dough onto ungreased baking sheets.

Bake 8-10 minutes, cool cookies on the baking sheet for 2 minutes before removing to cooling rack. Eat & enjoy.

Silently in the Night - Review by Martha A. Cheves


#1
She had ridden without lights for an hour and a half, fearful of barking dogs as she approached the house.  He'd been lying comatose on the sofa, induced by the barbiturates in the casserole.  She'd donned latex gloves and inserted a flexible rubber tube down his throat and loaded him up with a full bottle.  Enough to kill him without him recovering consciousness.  Then she'd put the note on the floor; the note which she'd spent an age producing, copying from examples of his handwriting she'd taken with her.  She'd kept it simple:  'Life is hopeless without her.  No point in going on.'

#2
James bit his lip.  It would be true to say that this time he felt fear.  He was about to meet a ghost; the ghost, in fact, of his cousin who had died at birth and apparently grown up in the neverworld of the hereafter.  It was, he thought, quite bizarre.

#3
Simon pointed his floater to the east and set the controls to 'cojoin'.  The orbicular machine moved across the lunar landscape without further bidding and Simon tried to relax.  He really was too tall for the floater, his bent knees almost shielding the control panel, but a job was a job and he needed the money if he was going to escape the dark side of the moon and return to the relative comfort of Earth.

Above I've given you just 3 samples of the types of short stories you'll find in Silently in the Night.  All are short and a bit on the dark side.  You'll find everything from ghosts to aliens to murders and all are filled with suspense and mystery, many without happy endings.   These stories might just keep you awake at night if you read too many before going to sleep.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Over My Dead Body (Father Frank Mysteries Book 2) - James R. Callan, Author



Callan's Oatmeal Cookies

Start with
            ¾ cup of butter
            ½ cup granulated sugar
            1 cup brown sugar
            1 teaspoon of baking powder
            ¼ teaspoon baking soda
            1 teaspoon cinnamon
            ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter until smooth. Add the sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and ground cloves and beat until mixed and smooth.
            2 eggs
            1 ½ teaspoons of vanilla
Now, mix in the eggs and vanilla until well mixed and smooth.
Next, if you have a good mixer, use it.  Otherwise mix by hand.
            1 ¾ cups of all purpose flour
            2 cups of rolled oats
After all of the above is well mixed in, then add and mix only enough to distribute the nuts and cranberries.
            1 cup pecans or walnuts
            1 cup of dried cranberries or Craisins
Use a teaspoon to put small mounds of dough on a cookie sheet and bake in a 375 degree oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.  Some like the cookies softer and some like them crisper.  You decide, or make a pan of each.

This will make about 5 dozen cookies, depending on the size of the cookie you bake.  If you have a  large enough mixer, you can double this recipe, cook half of it and put the remaining batter in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator.  Then, you can bake the rest tomorrow, yielding hot, fresh cookies on both days, with only one mixing.  Happy eating.



Over My Dead Body - Review by Martha A. Cheves


Mike shifted his focus to the priest.  "This big company, uh, Lockey Corporation, got a court order to condemn Mr. Cranzler's land to make way for a new shopping center.  He was very upset at losing his place.  His brother..."  He looked at his notebook.  "Ah, Randall Cranzler, found Sydney Cranzler dead this morning in his house.  The M.E. determined the deceased took an overdose of -."  He glanced at his notebook again.  "Digitoxin, a medication he used for his heart.  In fact, the pill bottle was completely empty, and tests showed his body was loaded with it, probably twice as much as needed to kill him.  Plus, the deceased left a suicide note in the printer output tray, saying he didn't want to live to see them bulldoze his house." 

Syd Cranzler was one of Father Frank's parishioner at the Prince of Peace Church.  When Detective Mike Oakley broke the news to the Father and Georgia Peitz, neither believed suicide was even possible.  Mike, on the other hand, believed what the M.E. had determined - Syd took his own life.  And after dealing with a representative from the Lockey Corporation, with his pushy tactics of trying to get the contracts signed for the shopping center, both Father Frank and Georgia were even more convinced they were right.  Now they had to prove to Mike that it was a murder, not a suicide.

I followed Georgia and Father Frank's leads in the hope of determining if it was murder and if so, who the murderer was, as well as who else was pushing the sale of the property.  As it seemed, Syd was the only property owner that didn't want the sale.  The others were all impatiently waiting on Syd's contract to be signed.  Then came the real problem.  After his death, the property was turned over to a new owner and the buyers now had to convince the new owner that this was best for everyone.

As close as I followed, I was still in for a surprise.  Bet you will be too.  And now that Father Frank has my attention, I'll be going back to read Book One, Cleansed by Fire.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Getting Even - Morgan St. James, Author



SLOW COOKER CHICKEN and MUSHROOM STROGANOFF
   Serves 4

Prep time: Approximately 5 minutes
Cook time: See below


Ingredients
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
8 ounce sliced mushrooms
1 8 ounce cream cheese, softened
1 (10½) ounce cream of chicken soup
1 envelope (1¼ ounce) dry onion soup mix
salt and pepper to taste
fresh parsley, chopped for garnish
1 pound large egg noodles for serving
Instructions
1.    Place the chicken in the bottom of a lightly greased slow cooker. Add the mushrooms. In a medium sized bowl add cream cheese, cream of chicken soup, and dry onion soup mix. Mix until incorporated and spread on top of chicken and mushrooms.

2.    Cook on low for 4-6 hours or high for 3-4. Serve over noodles and top with fresh parsley and salt and pepper.

Getting Even - Review by Martha A. Cheves

Kimmie, babe,  
I hope you're not upset that I took some of your stuff for my new pad.  I helped myself to a little spending money, too.  It was so cool that you left the password for the bank accounts by the computer, I own you.  It's sure been fun. 
Love ya always

When Kim returned home from five days at the Pacific Northwest Technology Conference where she was awarded the title "Woman of the Year", she had no idea that her whole world was about to fall apart.  That meant her job, her boyfriend and even her bank accounts.  Life as she has known it is no longer.  But, as always, life goes on, and so does revenge or in Kim's case 'getting even.'

Getting Even is an introductory book to Kim and what I hope will be some of her trusted friends in this series of books.  It is a quick, fun read and now I can't wait to see what kind of trouble she gets herself into in 'Ripoff'.

I think I've read everything Author Morgan St. James has written and I've never been disappointed and feel sure I never will.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

White Witch - Larry D. Thompson, Author



Miss Scarlett’s Rum Cream Pie

5 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup dark rum (may add a little more)
1 env. Unflavored gelatin
½ cup cold water
1 ½ cup heavy whipping cream
1 block of unsweetened chocolate
Chocolate cookie crumb crust – 9” (2 store bought shallow crusts or 1 large homemade crust)

Soften gelatin in ½ cup cold water for 10 to 15 minutes.  Heat gelatin to a boil (but do not boil), stir to dissolve and set aside to cool until just warm.  Beat egg yolks and sugar until light, stir in gelatin.  Gradually add rum beating constantly.  In a separate bowl whip cream.  Fold the pie mixture into the whipped cream, spoon into crusts.  Chill until cold.  Garnish with grated chocolate on top.

Chocolate cookie crumb crust

25 original Oreo Cookies or your favorite crisp chocolate cookie
5 tablespoons unsalted melted
1.      Finely crush the cookies in a food processor or in a plastic bag and roll the sealed bag with a rolling pin. You do NOT need to remove the filling from the Oreo.

2.      Stir the cookie crumbs and melted butter together with a fork. Press crumbs into the bottom of the pie plate.

White Witch - Review by Martha A. Cheves

Will, Manny, and Rodney met at the front of the Ritz promptly at ten and were met by a green hotel shuttle.  When the driver opened the door, he said, "Morning, gentlemen.  Looks like a beautiful day for golf.  You ready to take on the White Witch?"  "White Witch, what White Witch?" Rodney asked.  "That's the name of our golf course.  Named after Miss Annie Palmer.  Folks around here used to call her the White Witch."  "I saw some attractive young ladies drinking a White Wich cocktail in the bar last night.  She have her own brand of liquor, too?" Manny asked.  "No, suh.  She's been dead for about two hundred years.  If you don't mind, I really prefer not to talk about her.  Let's just say she's just a legendary figure in these parts.  Ask around.  Someone will tell her take, just not me."

Will, Manny and Rodney work for a company named Global American Metals.  Global has been given a permit to mine bauxite in Jamaica but the permit came with a cost in the amount of a bribe of $500,000.  Their CEO Alexa Pritchard has assigned Will Taylor as head of security and the more he hears about the mines and the destruction they will be doing to the rain forest, the less he likes working for Alexa.

As it turns out, the land to be mined was granted to the Maroons by King George II back in the 1700s.  But, the only proof of this is a treaty that must be proven as an original in a court of law.  This is something Alexa will fight to prevent from happening, no matter what the cost.

This book had me flipping pages.  After reading the Prologue I found myself going to the internet to research the information I would be reading.  My questions were: Was Annie Palmer the "White Witch" and her plantation Rose Hall real?  Was she a real witch?  Did she actually do the things she was accused of doing?  Is there really a group of people called the Maroons?  Was the land really granted to them by King George II?  And, were they able to keep their land?

As I found my answers to these questions and more, it made reading the book even better.  This book is one that will teach you some Jamaican history while keeping you engrossed in a great story.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Oney: My Escape From Slavery - Diana Rubino & Piper Huguley, Authors


Martha Washington's Famous Candy Recipe is a delicious no-bake treat. Martha didn't have a fridge or microwave, but Mt. Vernon winters were cold enough to put it out to chill.
Their open fire served as their microwave. A bit of elbow grease did the job of our electric mixers. 

Yields36

Chilling Time1 hr


Ingredients
3 cups pecans
2 cups coconut
4 cups powdered sugar
1 stick butter at room temperature
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 jar maraschino cherries, drained and pat dry
2 cups chocolate candy melts
Instructions
Place pecans and coconut into a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.
Using an electric mixer, cream sugar and butter together until light. Add milk and the chopped nuts and coconut and stir until well mixed.
Roll between your palms into small balls, forming each around a maraschino cherry. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet. 
Chill in refrigerator for 1 hour.
Place chocolate melts into a glass bowl and melt in the microwave. Heat on high for 30 seconds, stir, and repeat until all chocolate is melted and smooth.
Dip each ball of candy into the chocolate allowing excess to drip back into the bowl. 
Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and allow to harden.



Oney: My Escape From Slavery - Review by Martha A. Cheves

It was up to me to figure when to leave the Washingtons for the last time.  Not in the morn.  I helped dress Lady Washington as usual.  Not in the afternoon.  I repaired hems as usual.  Not afore dinner.  I set the table as usual.  The hour finally came - while they ate dinner.  I will never forget the date - May 21, 1796.  Nothing heavied my heart - not remorse, not guilt, not sadness upon fleeing my master and mistress.  Raw thirst for freedom overcame all that.  I walked straight past the Washingtons and out the front door.  When I shut it, I left them - and my forced bondage - behind me.

Oney Judge is a slave that was owned by Martha Washington.  She served the lady well and was treated well.  But when she found what her future fate was to be, she knew it was time to run.  And she did.

Lady Washington had received several slaves from her late husband.  They were hers to 'use' as she needed but not to sell.  They would have to be passed on to others in the family.  This apparently was part of the endowment that came along with marriage during this time in history.  In the book she appeared to be fond of Oney and treated her a lot like she would her own granddaughters.  She allowed her to learn to read and write and bedded and fed her well.  Then came the time when her true granddaughter was to marry and Oney was to be passed on.

Reading this book I wasn't sure if it was history or simply a story, so I did some research and here is what I found:

Oney "ona" Judge, known as Oney Judge Staines after marriage, was a mixed-race slave on George Washington's plantation, Mount Vernon, in Virginia.  Beginning in 1789, she worked as a personal slave to First Lady Martha Washington in the presidential households in New York City and Philadelphia.  In 1796, there was an advertisement in the Philadelphia newspapers documenting Judge's escape to freedom from the President's House on May 21, 1796. His nephew, Burwell Bassett, Jr., traveled to New Hampshire on business in September 1798, and tried to convince her to return.

After reading this, plus much more, I found that this book is based on history and knowing that, it made reading even more interesting and enjoyable.  If you're a history buff, you can't help but love this book.



Tuesday, March 27, 2018

'Til Death: Second Impressions (Book 2 of the Rockell Return Files) - Jason Anspach, Author



Cioppino

INGREDIENTS

¼ cup vegetable oil
2 large onions, chopped fine
Salt and pepper
¼ cup water
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried oregano
⅛ - ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, drained with juice reserved, chopped coarse
1 (8-ounce) bottle clam juice
1 (1 1/2-pound) skinless halibut fillet, 3/4 to 1 inch thick, cut into 6 pieces
1 pound littleneck clams, scrubbed
1 ¼ cups dry white wine
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound mussels, scrubbed and debearded
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
Extra-virgin olive oil

1. Heat vegetable oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onions, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper; cook, stirring frequently, until onions begin to brown. Add water and stir until  onions are tender. Add in garlic, bay leaves, oregano, and pepper flakes, tomatoes with juice along with clam juice. Bring to simmer and then reduce heat to low, cover, and let simmer for five minutes. 

2. Submerge halibut in broth, cover, and gently simmer until fish is cooked through. When cooked, plate the halibut and set aside (covering with foil will help keep warm).

3. Bring clams, wine, and butter to boil in a 12-inch skillet over high heat (cover with lid). Steam until clams just open and then add them to the dutch oven.

4. Add mussels to the now empty skillet, cover, and cook over high heat until mussels have opened. Add mussels and cooking liquid from skillet to dutch oven, but leave any grit behind! 

5. Stir parsley into broth and season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide halibut among serving bowls. Ladle broth and portions of clams and mussels over halibut. Drizzle with olive oil and serve immediately.


'Till Death:  Second Impressions - Review by Martha A. Cheves

Frank Rockwell, Sam's deceased father, had made his way down as a Return - ghost - from the Pearly Gates Administration Building in order to see his wife Alice one last time.  He was given clearance by claiming to hold plans for an atomic super weapon that jeopardized the world if discovered by the Soviet Union.  Though he told Sam the plans were legitimate, they weren't where he promised they could be found, and Sam took the ordeal as another of his father's "jokes." 

Sam, who runs S. Rockwell, Private Investigator - Returns and the Unexplainable Welcomed was about to say something to his mother when a deafening BOOM violated the air.  He was flung forward and could feel a brief but intense heat at his back as he fell.  His mother Alice was knocked backward and landed on her bottom inside the house as shattered glass and debris rained down on the driveway and lawn.  His father's Cadillac lay twisted and flaming, like a burned carcus of a blown out Panzer tank.

So, was the possibility of the plans for real or is there someone out that that simply believes they are?  Find out as you follow Sam, with the help of his fiance Amelia and a certain angel named Eamon track down a rouge Return and defend America against a Soviet Agent.

I've read Book 1 in this series 'till Death and found it to be amusing and humorous at times.  It was full of twists and turns.  I couldn't see how Book 2 could get any better.  I was wrong.  This book has grown into slight humor, more suspense and murder, more 'Returns', and more enjoyment.  Now I can't wait to red Book #3 'til Death: The Man Who Balked.

Monday, March 5, 2018

The Five Manners of Death - Darden North, Author



Stuffed Pepper Soup

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes
Makes: 8 servings (2 quarts)

2 lbs ground beef
6 cups water
1 can (28 oz.) tomato sauce
1 can (28 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained
2 cups chopped green peppers
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
Pinch or two of garlic powder
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. beef bouillon granules
1 tsp. pepper
2 cups cooked long grain rice
(Optional): chopped fresh parsley 
(Optional): 8 oz. finely shredded chedder cheese (Apply after cooking)

In a Dutch oven over medium heat, cook and stir beef until no longer pink; drain. Stir in water, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, chopped green peppers, brown sugar, garlic powder, salt, beef bouillon granules, and pepper. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer uncovered until peppers are tender– about 30 minutes. Add cooked rice; simmer uncovered 10 minutes longer. If desired, sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley and shredded cheddar cheese.

Nutrition Facts per cup without cheese: 337 calories, 14 g fat ( 5 g saturated fat), 70 mg cholesterol, 1466 mg sodium, 30 g carbohydrates (13 g sugars, 4 g fiber0, 24 g protein

The Five Manners of Death - Review by Martha A. Cheves

What are the five manners of death?  They are:
Homicide
Suicide
Natural
Accidental
Undetermined

It appears that someone in Jackson, Mississippi, is following suit with each of the manners of death.  As each person dies, Dr. Diana Bratton finds herself, as well as her aunt Phoebe, more and more involved.  The tangle of lies begins to unravel after a body buried 50 years earlier is discovered on the Ole Miss college campus during a construction project.  According to Aunt Phoebe, she never knew the deceased.  Diana learns of the deception after seeing a 1966 yearbook from Ole Miss in her aunt's belongings.  Aunt Phoebe not only knew dead Rusty Reynolds well but she also knew several of the newly deceased.  So, what could possibly be the connection between 50-year-old skeletal remains and more recent deaths among the same a circle of friends from that era in college? 

I've read everything written and published by Author Darden North and have to say that with each novel he gets better and better.  "The 5 Manners of Death" has to be his best yet and I hope will become a long time series.  Every time I thought I had come up with a connection between the Ole Miss students from 50 years earlier and the contemporary deaths, I found myself to be wrong.  I incorrectly pegged the whole motive and killer all the way to the very last pages.  The cover drew me to this book. I immediatley wanted to pick up, start reading, and NOT put it down until finished. 

Keep them coming Dr. North!

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

The Boy and the Sea - Orna Gadish, Author



Potato & Salmon Cakes
(The Kids will love this dish)

500g cold cooked mashed potato
213g can pink salmon, drained, any bones and skin removed
2tbsp chopped fresh parsley
Grated zest 1 lemon
2tbsp plain flour
2tbsp vegetable oil


Place the mashed potato in a bowl. Flake the salmon into the potatoes, add the parsley and lemon zest and season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Mix well.  Shape the mixture into 8 small cakes with damp hands. Dust in flour. You can make the fishcakes in advance and chill at this stage until ready to cook.  Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan and fry the fish cakes for 4-5 mins on each side over a medium heat until cooked through. Serve with salad.

The Boy and the Sea - Review by Martha A. Cheves

I've read many children books and they all seem to carry a special message but this book was a little different.  It takes you from childhood to old age and gives a simple explanation of what is involved with each stage of aging.  I loved it and don't just recommend it as a child's book but a book that adults should read too. It's a very special book for that carries a valuable message.   

Saturday, February 24, 2018

A Mersey Mariner - Mersey Mystery Series Book 4 - Brian L. Porter, Author



Portuguese Chicken with Ratatouille
(An Alexandra Rose Specialty)

1 tbs honey
1 tbs lemon juice
1 tsp tomato purée
4 tsp Piri Piri Seasoning 
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, scored
For the Ratatouille:
1 tbs olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 courgette, diced
1 small aubergine, diced
1 red pepper, diced
200 g (7 oz) tin chopped tomatoes
½ tsp Garlic Grinder 
1 tsp Basil 
1 tbs tomato purée
Salt and pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 200°C, 400°F, Gas Mark 6.
Mix together the honey, lemon juice, tomato purée and Perfect Shake Piri Piri Special Blend in a shallow dish, add the chicken and coat well. Place the chicken on a baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes.
For the Ratatouille, heat the oil in a large saucepan and fry the vegetables for 4-5 minutes. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Bring to the boil. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

Serve with the chicken and crusty bread.

A Mersey Mariner - Book 4 - Review by Martha A Cheves, Author of: Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish

"Mister Gray, what on earth's wrong with you man?"  Gideon shouted at the young man.  "Sorry sir, but he's dead, sir, dead as a doorknob."  "Who's dead, man?  Come on, pull yourself together and talk sense," Gideon said to the young man, who was visibly trembling.  "The man in cabin six, sir.  The Spaniard, Mister Gaspar.  He's just lying there on his bunk sir, staring up at the ceiling with a terrible look on his face.  He's dead, sir, I'd stake my life on it," Gray said, his voice croaking with emotion as he relayed the information to his captain.

The Alexandra Rose had sailed into the Mersey Estuary which was shrouded in dense, dank fog.  Due to weather reports it would be anchored there until the fog rose, which would be a couple of days.  The passengers are a bit unhappy for the delay in landing and now they have to contend with a death.  A death that will surely turn out to be something other than natural.

Author Brian L. Porter has taken me on a ride that goes from the Alexandra Rose with its crew and passengers to the Amazon where the search for a natural cure for cancer is taking place.  As I read, I'm sure there has to be a connection, but what?  As the deaths start mounting up, so does my puzzlement as to the connection.  It appears to be two whole stories within one book.  Then... he brings it together, taking me by surprise and making me wonder why I didn't see it earlier.

As always, Porter has written yet another book that will have you turning the pages as he keeps you in suspense of the actual plot and who the bad guys actually are.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

The Ka - Mary



FLOATING BANANA WALNUT SURPRISE

2 cups All-purpose flour
1 cup   Mashed bananas
3/4 cup Sugar
2 Eggs
1/4 cup Shortening
2 tsp    Baking powder
1/4 tsp Baking soda
1/2 tsp Salt
1 cup Walnuts

Beat sugar, shortening and eggs together until light. Add mashed bananas. Sift flour with baking power, salt and baking soda. Stir into creamed mixture, beating until smooth. Stir in walnuts. Pour into greased 9x5x3 inch loaf pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 60-70 minutes. Cool before serving.


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

Chione was in awe making her way around the immense dimly lit chamber.  Magnificent history spoke from the etchings.  Her heart quickened.  She wanted to read and learn who had been laid to rest in the burial chamber of this opulent tomb, yet the unfinished tasks at the first tomb took priority.  Tauret's tomb would not allow her to focus her attention elsewhere until the mission of that discovery could be satisfied.

As far back as I can remember I always wanted to be an Archaeologist, but I had one really big problem.  I'm very claustrophobic.  So I now rely on old things above ground and reading about those below ground.  In The Ka, Chione took me not only to the Valley of the Queens, she also took me on a journey where history, in a sense, sometimes repeats itself. With all its history and vivid detail, the author must have spent vast amounts of time doing research.

Chione, along with a group of archaeologists embark on a finding that will take them deep into the earth and all of this has come about due to the dreams and visions Chione has seen.  But it seems that this group of archaeologists are not as normal as they believe they are.  They have been brought together to do something more than uncover history.  They, too, are just as special as Chione and as time goes on, they will see for themselves just why they were all brought together. 


So, I now have one question for you.  Do you believe in reincarnation?  If not, you might after reading The Ka.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Keep Her Safe - Richard J. Parker, Author



Richard Parker’s Golden Rum Chicken Wings

I’m pretty obsessed with chicken wings. They’re the ideal accompaniment to a home movie night. I’ve experimented with every way of cooking them - marinating in advance, flour coating, baking etc but this, for me, delivers the best results. - Richard

You’ll need:

10 chicken wings per fry
Corn oil
Garlic powder
Sea salt
Dried oregano
4 cups smoky barbecue sauce
Couple of slugs of golden rum
Carton of sour cream

Don’t season wings beforehand. Deep fry them for 8 minutes. Drain and break one to check meat is white. Sprinkle with garlic powder, sea salt and dried oregano.

Add rum to smoky barbecue sauce and stir in. Adjust to taste. The more the merrier!

Drop the wings into a deep plastic bowl, pour over rum sauce and toss.

Serve with sour cream for dipping on the side and open a chilled beer.

Keep Her Safe - Review by Martha A. Cheves

Order now - This book releases 1/11/2018!

The figure was halfway through, their bulk bent over the ledge and partially concealed by the curtains their body was bulging out.  Maggie lunged for Penny.  She scooped her out of her crib and clasped her tight as the figure's weight landed on the carpet and shuddered the floorboards.  As they stood, the hood of their dark blue poncho glistened from the rain.  Maggie yelled.  An incoherent warring that came from deep inside her.  She hoped it would briefly startle them.  The figure froze, and Maggie saw blue surgical gloves clutching a carving knife.  Her shoulder butted hard into the door frame as she reversed from the nursery.  Fingers seized her bob of dark hair.  Maggie twisted her head, clutched Penney to her chest and crouched as she made for her open bedroom door.

He, or is it a she, is called the 'Babysitter.'  The Babysitter has found a way to commit murder without getting 'blood on their own hands.'  How - simple - you kidnap a child and have the mother of that child do the killing for you making her the murderer, not you.  And when she has done the dirty work for you, you simply have her killed by another mother.

Boy did this book take me through the wringer!  It would make a perfect movie, especially if it were released around Halloween.  The 'Babysitter' will scare the heck out of you while making you believe this is something that could really take place.  And as for the ending - I was totally surprised and shocked to find the motive behind all of the murders.

If you like a good mystery that will keep you on the edge of your seat, don't miss Keep Her Safe.

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.

Friday, December 1, 2017

In the Weeds - Mark Ozeroff, Author



Potato Leek Soup
(Mark Ozeroff's favorite Recipe from the Old World
)

2 large leeks
3 T. butter
4 cups chicken broth
Salt and pepper
1 med. onion, chopped
4 med. potatoes, cubed
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
Chives, optional

Slit leeks and wash THOROUGHLY. Chop and sauté leeks with onion in butter for 5 minutes, stirring. Add broth and potatoes, simmer for 15 minutes. Blend slightly and add cream. Serve hot or cold with chives.


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

I sat on Bian's bed, staring out the only window in the tiny room.  She'd been looking west, toward the Everglades.  The fleeting patches of sun a couple days ago probably would have seemed familiar to her, perhaps like her memories of Vietnam.  Here, she'd known nothing but strangers, uniforms, and pain.  But perhaps a familiar sight, and a memory of home, drew her toward the unknown.

I left her room and descended the stairwell, just as she must have done.  I turned left on the landing toward the exit and found myself looking at the eastern edge of the Everglades.

I dropped to my knees to get a child's perspective, and could clearly see a gap in the vegetation, the start of a trail.  I stood and followed it, then closed my eyes.  Burrowing as deeply into the mind of a young girl as I could, I took a fresh look down the trail.  To a hurting and exiled orphan, this must have looked like a path to freedom.  I took my bearings, like the pilot I was, then marched back to the orphanage.

This young child, aging around 4, was brought from Vietnam to the US to start a new life.  She had been burned over thirty percent of her body and one of her legs had been amputated below the knee.  She is lost and looking for someone or something that might make her feel that she is safe and cared about.

This young child will also be what brings Vietnam veteran "Slats" Kisov, back to a new start of his own.  Slats flew an O-1 for the Air Force as a 'spotter' who would fly low enough to spot the enemy and report their position to the pilots flying the F-4 Phantoms.  After being shot while on a mission, he was eventually sent home to what should be a normal life.  It didn't take long for Slats to find his life was going to be far from normal.  When you combine PTSD, pot, a girlfriend who used to be the sheriff's wife, the fact that the sheriff is a member of the Klan, and a hurricane that should have taken his life, you find a man with a really mixed up life.  Just the kind of life only a child can smooth out.

This book is full of Vietnam War history.  I've know several who served during this terrible war and when asked about events as I read them, they assured me that what I was reading was true.  All the way down to the orphans that were brought over, some in very sad health.  Reading about some of the events we were never told here in the states, it broke my heart to know what these men went through.  So when Slats took his flying ability to an illegal level, I actually worried about him making it through the dangers of his actions.  I've read hundreds of books and have to say that this one is written in a fashion that made me feel like I was listening to a real person as he told me about his life.  It's very believable and well worth reading.

 
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