Showing posts with label Mystery. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mystery. Show all posts

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Dream A Little Scream ( Dream Club Mystery Book 2) - Mary Kennedy, Author



Kahlua Brownies

(Author Mary Kennedy sent 200 pounds of these
to the troops in Iraq over a 3 month period)

½ cup butter
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ cup Kahlua

Step 1
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour an 8-inch square pan.
Step 2
In a large saucepan, melt 1/2 cup butter. Remove from heat, and stir in sugar, eggs, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat in 1/3 cup cocoa, 1/2 cup flour, salt, and baking powder and kahlua. Spread batter into prepared pan.
Step 3

Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes.  16 servings

Dream A Little Scream - Review by Martha A. Cheves

Ali and Taylor Blake are sisters.  Ali owns a candy Shop in Savannah, Ga called Oldies But Goodies.  Taylor arrived in Savannah a few months ago to find the vintage candy shop, just a couple of blocks off the Historic District, struggling.  Between the two sisters, changes were made, they invested in some marketing, added a cafe menu, and things were looking up.  They had bone from the red to the black and felt sure their changes would keep it that way.  That is until they agreed to host a book signing for cookbook author Sonia Scott.  The turnout was great and everything was going just as planned until Sonia starts complaining that her chest feels so tight she can hardly breathe.  Apparently she is allergic to cats, and Ali owns two.  But when Sonia's employee Olivia explains that it was something besides the cats, something much worse.  And when her EpiPen turns up missing, nine-one-one was called.  Apparently, Sonia is allergic to more than cats.  She is also allergic to nuts of any kind.  But everyone who made snacks for the signing knew this and would never have put nuts into their dishes, or would they.

Taylor and Ali are part of a group they call The Dream Club.  They meet weekly in the apartment above the shop, and they serve sweet tea, coffee, and a delicious array of pastries.  She calls the Dream Club members their "beta testers," and she adds the most popular items to the cafe menu downstairs.  With what has just happened to Sonia, it's time to call an emergency meeting of the club's members, which were all present at the signing anyway, to see if they could put their heads together and solve yet another mystery.

Dream A Little Scream had so many twists and turns that each time I thought I knew who the culprit was I found myself doubting my ability to determine the good guys, or gals, from the bad.  And I must say this is the norm for Author Mary Kennedy.  I've read just about everything she has written and am always hoping for more.

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Death in Paradise - J. E. Trent, Author


How to Boil an Egg That is Easy to Peel
  1. Don't put eggs in pot until water is boiling. This is key. If you put eggs in water and bring to a boil the eggs will be hard to peel.
  2. Boil water. 
  3. Put eggs in and cover. 
  4. Let boiled 11 to 13 minutes.
  5. Put eggs in pan of cold water and let sit 5 miniutes. 
Boiled eggs will be easy to peel now. 


Death in Paradise - Review by Martha A. Cheves


As Jessica walked up the stairs leading to the front door, she could feel his presence.  Even though he wasn't there, she felt his spirit, and a warm feeling rushed over her as she walked through the front door.  Jessica felt the mana to her core.  The house was like he always kept it.  Neat, but nothing fancy  It was typical Hawaiian style, with rattan wicker furniture and a canoe paddle hanging on the wall in the living room.  The decor was an early vacation rental, except for the front door, which had a Mako shark carved into it.  Since the mana of the shark was important in Hawaiian culture, her dad figured it was a good omen for the place.

Mike Murphy had taken his plane out only to have it crash in the lava pits.  His daughter Jessica went to work for the Los Angeles Police after leaving the islands.  The death of her father had her, as well as her two sisters Pua and Jasmine.  He was always one for safety and checked his plain from end to end before flying.  So, how could this have happened.

After going home to the island Jessica found there were several reasons that may have caused her father's death.  The biggest one was a man named Mr. Lau.  He was a Chinese billionaire from Macau and he had been buying up property all over Hawaii in the hopes combining his property Ming with Murphy's Aloha Village and creating a gambling casino when gambling became legal in Hawaii.  Problem was, Mike Murphy refused to sell.

This book is a fast moving novel that is filled with VERY believable and possible happenings.  It digs into corruption of not only the police but those higher up too.  The characters are believable due to Trent making them 'human' with problems of everyday life.  It also give you some of the history of the islands.  I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed this book and am looking forward to reading book 2 in the Sam and Jessica Crime Novels.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Fatal Lies (Lies Mystery Thriller Series Book 2) - Andrew Cunningham, Author


ANDREW'S FAMOUS CARROT CAKE
His only claim to fame!
(and he stole it from his mother, who stole it from a neighbor…)

1 1/4 CUPS OIL
1 1/2 CUPS SUGAR
2 CUPS FLOUR
3 EGGS
2 tsp CINNAMON
2 tsp BAKING SODA
2 tsp VANILLA
1 tsp SALT
1 BAG COCONUT (7 oz)
2 CUPS GRATED CARROTS
20 OZ. CAN CRUSHED PINEAPPLE (INCLUDE JUICE)

MIX ALL TOGETHER AND BAKE AT 350 FOR 1 HOUR IN GREASED 9X12 PAN


FROSTING:

6-8 OZ PACKAGE OF CREAM CHEESE
CONFECTIONERS SUGAR
1 STICK MARGARINE/BUTTER
VANILLA

BLEND CREAM CHEESE AND BUTTER/MARGARINE, THEN ADD CONFECTIONERS SUGAR UNTIL IT'S SO SWEET YOUR TEETH DROP OUT (ABOUT 1/2 A BAG OF SUGAR).  ADD VANILLA TO TASTE.

**Walnuts can also be added to recipe, but since they make my ears tickle, I don't use them.

Fatal Lies (Lies Mystery Thriller Series Book 2) - Review by Martha A. Cheves

Sabrina, if you are reading this, I am dead, and it means they killed me.  I've spent my life having nothing to do with them, but if they finally put an end to this miserable existence they caused, then I want them to pay.  Maybe my last act in life will help provide Veronica with the life I was never able to have.  The key is for a safe deposit box in your name and mine.  The address of the bank is on the pouch the key is in.  The contents of the box will explain everything.  I'm sorry this is so cryptic.  I just want it far away from Veronica and her children.

Sabrina Spencer spent six years of her life in prison for killing her abusive husband.  After being released, she, with help from the love of her life Del, has become one of the nation's hottest mystery writers.  Her life in prison is the past and a life she no longer wants to relive nor deal with, but when the daughter of a woman from her prison days contacts her with a message that was to be delivered should she die, a whole world of deception and mistrust opens up for Sabrina and Del.

I have to admit that I read this book several years ago and loved it so much that I've just finished reading it again.  It keeps you on the edge of your seat as you try to determine who is out to kill Sabrina and Del only to find the plot twist like a winding road.  I loved it and am looking forward to reading Book 3 in this series Vegas Lies.  Author Andrew Cunningham has become one of my favorite authors!

Monday, January 13, 2020

Murder on the Menu - Silver Sisters Mystery - Morgan St. James & Phyllice Bradner, Authors


Vegan Tahini Brownies

2 flax eggs (2 tablespoons ground flaxseed )
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup dairy free chocolate chips

Instructions
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and spray a loaf pan* with cooking spray. You can also use a larger pan, such as an 8x6 or even an 8x8 if you double the recipe.
In a small bowl, whisk together the ground flaxseed and water to create two flax eggs. Set aside to thicken.
In a mixing bowl, stir together the tahini, coconut sugar, maple syrup and thickened flax eggs until smooth.
Add in the cocoa powder, baking soda and salt and stir until combine.
Lastly, stir in the chocolate chips.
Pour the batter evenly into your prepared loaf pan and bake the brownies for about 18-25 minutes.

(Feel free to use whatever pan you have on hand or double the recipe for larger baking pans. Just be sure to adjust the baking time depending on the size pan you chose and whether you like your brownies more gooey or chewy!)

Murder on the Menu - Review by Martha A. Cheves

She spent the previous few days preparing for her move and getting psyched-up for her new career.  In between filming her last Flirting With Food episodes, hours were spend researching vegan and vegetarian recipes that she could tweak and propose to Chef Jambon.  Little by little Godiva and the oldsters had come around as her departure time drew near.  Everyone, including Caesar, wished her the best of luck in her Oregon adventure.

Chili Pepper has been offered a chance to apply for the job of her dreams.  Seems a childhood friend from Juneau, Roscoe Bean, has moved to Portland and become friends Chef Jordan Jambon who has just made Bon Appetite's list of the Top 20 Chefs in the country,  and he wants to interview her for his soon to open restaurant Herbivore.  And that's isn't all.  Chef Jambon has rented a beautiful, old house that has the kitchen of every chef's dreams.  The house also has 4 extra bedrooms which he rents out and one of them could be hers.  Chili's knew that Roscoe was one of the renters but was surprised to find that another old friend from Juneau - Ozzie was also a renter.  So, when she passes the interview and is offered the job, all she has to do now is go back to California and break the news to her Aunt, Grandmother, Uncle and her boss Caesar.

Ah, the good life, so Chili thought.  That was until one of the roommates was murdered, which brought the Silver Sisters to the rescue.  And as it turns out, there wasn't just one murder but several.

I've read all of the Silver Sister Mysteries and have loved every one.  I know murder isn't supposed to be 'light hearted' but with the characters in this series, you can't help but feel a touch of humor in the writings of Morgan and Phyllice.  Their character names are priceless.  You've just met Chili Pepper but you'll also meet her mother and aunt - Goldie and Godiva, as well as her grandmother Flossie Silver and her uncle Sterling Silver.  And then there's Chili's TV boss Caesar Romano.  So, like I said, this is a light hearted mystery that will keep you lightly on the edge of your seat while you try to help the sisters solve the murders.  I myself found the ending to be a surprise.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Haunt the Haunt, Walk the Walk - Rose Pressey, Author


Marshmallow Ghosts

4 cups mini marshmallows (1 bag)
14 oz white chocolate chips or candy melts
1-2 tbs shortening
1 tube black gel frosting

In a large microwave safe bowl, melt white chocolate chips and 1 tbs shortening on high for 30 seconds. Carefully remove from microwave and stir. Continue in microwave in 20 second bursts, stirring in between each burst, until chocolate is melted and smooth. Add a little more shortening as needed to thin chocolate for easy use.
Let chocolate cool for a couple minutes, but not completely. Lay out sheets of waxed paper on counter top. Add marshmallows to cooling chocolate and mix well to evenly coat marshmallows.
Drop chocolate covered marshmallows onto wax paper and gently shape into ghosts. Let cool completely.
Use black gel frosting to add eyes and mouths to ghosts.



Haunt the Haunt, Walk the Walk - Review by Martha A. Cheves

Devil's Moon was one of the most haunted places I'd ever known.  It had more than its share of ghosts.  There were plenty of scary stories to keep everyone intrigued and an abundance of ghosts to be spotted everywhere in town.  I'd quickly figured that out when they kept popping up all around me.  Sometimes the spirits even followed me during the tours.  Of course that freaked a lot of people out, and I was a little scared of them myself.  Especially since I didn't know what they wanted or why they were following me.  There was also a new development in my paranormal adventures - ghosts were now sending me text messages.  I know that sounds crazy, but it's true.

Oh yeah.  I'm Ripley Van Raden or Rip to my friends.  I moved back to my hometown to take the position of head librarian, but also used the opportunity to start my tour around town.  My tours always start in the cemetery where the ghosts are plentiful.

Not long after moving to Devil's Moon we had a murder in town.  That's when I met the hunk of a policeman, Brannon.  We hit it off from the beginning.  You see, he is into the paranormal too.  I also met the library ghost Annie who was the librarian many years before me.  She is the one who first started texting me.  But lately, I've started receiving text messages from someone else.  I've also being followed by someone that I've never seen before.  Could they be one and the same?

Oh yeah again.  I forgot to tell you that there was another murder in town and this one really has me scared for my own life.

Haunt the Haunt, Walk the Walk is Book 3 in the Haunted Tour Guide Mystery.  I've read all of the books in this series so far and can tell you that Rose Pressey has me wanting more.  She keeps you guessing as to who the murderer really is but keeps the story 'light' along the way.  I personally can't wait to read Book #4 - Walk this Way, Haunt this Way.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Payback (Revenge is Fun Book 3) - Morgan St. James, Author

Chocolate Decadence
(Just one of the girl's favorite dishes)

For the raspberry sauce:
2 1/2 cups fresh raspberries or thawed frozen unsweetened raspberries
1/2 cup superfine sugar
1/4 cup framboise or other raspberry-flavored liqueur (optional)

For the cake:
1 lb. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
10 Tbs. (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 Tbs. sugar
1 Tbs. all-purpose flour
1 cup heavy cream, whipped


To make the raspberry sauce, place the raspberries, sugar and framboise, if using, in a blender or in a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Puree until smooth. If you prefer a seedless sauce, pass the puree through a sieve.

To make the cake, position a rack in the middle of an oven and preheat to 425ºF. Butter an 8 or 9-inch springform pan or a layer cake pan. Line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper or waxed paper cut to fit precisely. Butter the paper and dust with flour; tap out any excess.

Place the chocolate and butter in a large heatproof bowl or the top pan of a double boiler. Set over a pan of gently simmering water but not touching the water. Stir occasionally until melted and combined completely. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.

Place the eggs and sugar in a bowl. Using an electric mixer set on high speed, beat until light, fluffy and tripled in volume, 5 to 10 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and beat in the flour. Using a rubber spatula, fold one-third of the egg mixture into the chocolate to lighten it, then fold in the remaining egg mixture, taking care not to deflate the batter. Pour and scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.

Bake for exactly 15 minutes. Let cool completely to room temperature. Do not refrigerate or the cake will stick to the pan. Invert the cake onto a flat serving plate and peel off the paper.

Cut into small wedges and serve each wedge atop some of the raspberry sauce. Top with whipped cream.



Payback (Revenge is Fun Book 3) - Review by Martha A. Cheves

"I was pretty far away, but it looked like she was going toward her car when - and I swear this is what I saw - that idiot just speeded up and smacked right into her.  Saw the body fly up in the air even though I was a ways away.  Whoever it was kept driving like the wind.  Outta sight in a flash."... Kate was standing beside us.  She whispered, "I'm afraid that's the woman I was supposed to meet.  She left before I got there.  She called me.  I'll tell you what happened, but I think we still have to cover ourselves.  Follow my lead in case anyone is watching us."

Meet Cameron Harsen, Kimberly Martin and Kate Steele.  They were all part of a marketing arm of the Federal Association of Corrections Reform (FACR).  All three made a fortune when they uncovered a massive embezzlement ripoff.  Kim stayed with FACR and became the Director of Marketing and married the US Attorney General.  Cameron started her own advertising company.  And Kate formed a website she called FraudBusters, plus she has a movie in the works that will show the world how these three made it to where they are today.

This book is full of mystery, suspense, plus as always with this author, humor.  These three women seem to just fall into trouble, even without looking for it.  But when someone Cameron used to work with is murdered and the US Government has an informant within their wiretapping headquarters, the girls take action and bring the bad guys, and gals, to justice.  I loved the story, as much as the way it's written.  This book is a stand alone but for the fun of it, go back and read the first two books in the series, Getting Even and Ripoff, to bring these characters into their true lights.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Vengeance on Tyneside - Eileen Thornton, Author



Hungarian Goulash
(A special dish from Agnes)

Serves 4
Pre-heat oven to 275F (140C)

1lb braising steak cut into cubes
1 large onion, chopped
Slight dash of garlic granules or 1 garlic clove crushed.
Tablespoon cooking oil
1 tablespoon plain flour
1 tablespoon Paprika - or a little more to taste
14oz tin tomatoes
Salt & Pepper

Heat oil in flameproof casserole then add the cubes of meat, turning frequently to brown on all sides.
Lower the heat and add the chopped onion and cook for about 5 minutes - Stirring occasionally
Add the garlic, the flour and the paprika and stir to soak up the juices.
Then add the tin of tomatoes, season with salt and pepper and bring everything up to simmering point.
Cover with a lid and transfer to the oven (Middle shelf) and cook for about two and a half hours.

Serve with boiled rice.


Vengeance on Tyneside - Review by Martha A. Cheves

Perhaps she was allowing her over-active mind to take control.  She had done that twice before in recent months and both times it had almost taken her to the point of being murdered.  Maybe this time she should walk away.  But when she heard the cry again, she knew she couldn't do that.  Someone needed help.  Looking around, she realized the sound was coming from the row of rubbish bins lined up by a wall, not too far from where she was standing... having reached the rubbish bins, she took a deep breath before peering behind them.  For a moment, despite having prepared herself for the worst, Agnes was stunned at the sight of a young woman lying there.  Her hands were clutched to her chest, desperately trying to stem the flow of blood streaming from her body and pooling on the concrete ground beneath her.

Agnes Lockwood has just returned from a trip to the coast.  Her plans are to meet with DCI Alan Johnson for a nice quiet evening.  Well, she soon finds out that the nice quiet evening won't be so quiet after all.  She ends up finding herself in the middle of not one murder but 3 plus an attempt.  What do these people have in common?  Can she and the DCI find out and stop them before more occur?

This book had me fooled from the beginning.  I had four suspects.  The person I had as my major suspect turned out to be innocent.  That narrowed it down to three.  I was close but still didn't come up with the real killer.  And Author Eileen Thornton didn't disclose the killer until the last few pages.  If you like a good suspense, this is one you don't want to miss. 

This book also left with an opening for the next book, which I hope makes it my way very soon.


Friday, April 12, 2019

My Life For Her - Robert J. Saniscalchi, Author


Colombian Avocado Salsa

1/3 cup Chili (aja dulce, fresh, seeded and chopped)
1 ½ tsp. Habaneros (fresh, finely chopped)
6 Tbsp. White vinegar (distilled)
2 hard-boiled eggs (large, coarsely chopped)
1 ½ cups Avacados (firm, ripe, coarsely mashed)
1 cup Tomatoes (ripe, chopped)
1 cup White Onion (sweet, chopped)
¾ cup Cilantro (fresh, chopped)

Purée chiles, vinegar, and 1 teaspoon salt in a blender. 
Transfer to a bowl and stir in remaining ingredients.

Chill until ready to use.

My Life for Her - Review by Martha A. Cheves

With so many commuters bustling about, it was difficult to catch sight of the supposed drug dealer, but Tex spotted him as he slipped onto the train at the last minute.  As Rob followed him to the seats closest to the front door, Tex lowered his voice to a whisper and said, "That dude's either a crooked cop or a member of the cartel.  Worse, I think he's onto us.  We've gotta get rid of him, before our cover's blown."

Rob looked toward the rear of the car.  "Yeah, the dude gives me a bad feeling too."

Tex was silent as the attendant came around to check their tickets, but then he whispered, "Listen, Doc, if he comes into this car, we'll get up and head to the one in front.  You go through the door first, and I'll wait for him behind it."

"Then what?" Rob asked.

"Then... Well, I think I can handle it from there," Tex said with a grin.

Rob Marrino, is a 31 year old Vietnam Vet who is now a Pikeville, NJ policeman.  Life has had its up and downs as he and his wife Beth Anne deal with wartime memories and paranoia.  They have settled down quite well with Beth Anne working at the hospital while their two children are in school.  Then the bottom falls out when Rob does a high speed chase with a car that not only contains 2 Colombian drug runners but more drugs than the Pikeville police have ever seen.  It gets even worse when one of the  dealers is shot and killed with the surviving one promising Rob that he will pay for his interference.  Those words come back to haunt him when his worse nightmare comes true and he, along with a fellow Vet, end up in Columbia.

This book is so intent!  It's filled with action and narrow escapes.  I would like to see this one made into a "Made for TV Movie."

Monday, March 18, 2019

These Haunts are Made for Walking - Rose Presley, Author



Potato Soup

3 lbs. new red potatoes, washed and cut into chunks
2 qts. water
4-6 strips of uncooked, lean bacon
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup cheddar cheese
1/2 cup milk
1 - 1 1/2 Tbsp. flour
Salt & Pepper to taste

Remove as much fat from the bacon as possible and cut into small pieces.  Place potatoes, water and bacon in a large pot and bring to a boil over high heat.  Lower heat and cook until potatoes are tender.  Mash the potatoes leaving a few small chunks here and there.  Mix milk and 1 Tbsp. flour until smooth and pour into potato mix.  Bring to a boil to thicken.  Add another 1/2 Tbsp. of flour if needed.  Stir in cheese, sour cream and salt and pepper to taste. 

Comment:  The whole secret to this dish is boiling the bacon with the potatoes.  It cooks the flavor throughout the potatoes giving the dish a delicious smoky taste.

These Haunts Are Made For Walking - Review by Martha A. Cheves

The next morning was my first day as head librarian in Devil's Moon.  I'd been back in town for a couple weeks before I'd had to start work at the library.  That had given me time to start the haunted tour.  As soon as I'd moved back to town I'd decided to fulfill a lifelong dream - start a haunted tour.  This town was crawling with ghosts.  Well, not literally crawling, but you know what I mean.  So by day I was the mind-mannered librarian and by night I was the queen of spooky.  At least that was what Tammy told everyone.  I was ok with that description.

Ripley Van Raden has moved back to her hometown after a breakup with her ex-husband-to-be.  She has always loved the feel she got when surrounded by books, so what better job than being head of the library.  She would also be working with her best friend Tammy and a woman named Leslie.  Tammy would be enjoyable but after meeting Leslie Ripley knew things just weren't going to be that great.  She isn't sure but thinks it may be because Leslie possibly wanted the job as head librarian herself.

All goes well until the evening of her first day on the job.  The "Bookworms" book club came for their monthly meeting to discuss the book they are reading.  The outcome of the meeting put a true damper the day that started out so smoothly.

Oh yeah, there is also a 'library' ghost that not only can Ripley see but one who also sends her text messages.  This combined with the ghost tour ghosts, give Ripley a very interesting life.

This is a fun book to read full spirits, murder and a touch of humor.  Now I'm ready for Book 2 - A Walk on the Haunted Side.

Monday, December 24, 2018

A Merry Mersey Christmas - Brian L. Porter, Author


Classic Hot Toddy

¾ cup water
1 ½ ounces whiskey
2 to 3 teaspoons honey, to taste
2 to 3 teaspoons lemon juice, to taste
1 lemon round
1 cinnamon stick (optional, for garnish)

In a teapot or saucepan, bring the water to a simmer. Pour the hot water into a mug.
Add the whiskey, 2 teaspoons honey and 2 teaspoon lemon juice. Stir until the honey has disappeared into the hot water. Taste, and add 1 teaspoon honey for more sweetness, and/or 1 teaspoon more lemon juice for more zing.

Garnish with a lemon round and cinnamon stick (if using). Enjoy!

A Merry Mersey Christmas - Review by Martha A. Cheves

Unable to contain himself, Andy Ross took hold of his wife, one hand on each shoulder, and pulled her to him, gave her a short but loving kiss and whispered in her ear, "Someone just killed Santa Clause!" 

"Andy, don't play silly buggers with me.  Come on, what's happened to drag you out at this time of night?"

"I just told you.  Someone killed Santa," he looked her in the eyes and Maria could tell he was deadly serious.

So, why would someone kill the most loved person in the world?  Who would kill the most loved person in the world?  Of course this Santa is really Daniel Thomas, a mall santa that someone decided to give the gift of a knife in his neck.  But again I ask - why?

This short story will take you into the usual murder mystery that Andy Ross and his Specialist Murder Investigation Team are known for solving, but it also takes you to a kinder side of the team that you don't normally see.  It shows both sides of the writing art that evolves from Author Brian L. Porter.  And if you like this short story, you'll love the other books in the Mersey Series.  I sure have.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The Mystery of the Lost Avenger - Linda Maria Frank, Author



ORZO AND MUSHROOM CASSEROLE ALA LINDA

Cook up a box of orzo pasta, al dente. Fluids will be taken up when added to casserole.
Sauté 4 pkgs of mushrooms (choose the ones you like, a mixture is good) in 1 stick of butter. Brown lightly. Add 2 cups of white wine and reduce the mixture to a thick soup.
Arrange a large casserole by layering 1 bag fresh baby spinach, the mushrooms and the orzo.
Liberally lace with shaved parmesan cheese.
Sprinkle bread crumbs you have browned in butter on top.
Bake at 400 until bubbly. Add more wine if necessary.

You can add strips of barbequed chicken, shrimp, steak or salmon to this to make a hearty one-dish meal.


ENJOY!

The Mystery of the Lost Avenger - Review by Martha A. Cheves

Charlotte Wheeler suspected that sabotage was happening at the Grumman plant.  She was able to figure out the faulty hinges for the Avenger's bomb bay doors were being randomly replaced for the good hinges, by someone who had access to the plant.  Charlotte and her buddies checked all the planes and prevented the faulty parts from being switched.  They did their best to stop the saboteur, things got rough and Charlotte was attacked one night while she was waiting to catch him in the act.

Charlotte Wheeler was a WASP during WWII.  She not only helped build the planes, she also flew them to their destination where they were turned over to the fighting pilots.  She was scheduled to fly one of the bombers out but noticed a problem with the bomb bay doors.  While she went to check on something the plane was given to another WASP to deliver.  Her name was Brenda McPhee and she never made it to her destination.  Her plane disappeared.

Many years later Annie, who is Charlotte's great grand-daughter, finds out that the plane has been found and there was a letter inside that was written by Charlotte.  Through further research and the help of her boyfriend Ty, Annie decides to solve the mystery of the downed plane and who the saboteur was.

As with all of the Annie Tillery Mysteries, this one kept my interest.  It not only had some history, it also had a great mystery and of course a ghost.  Looking forward to reading the next in this series.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

PS: I Love You: A Paranormal Romance - Maggie Tideswell, Author


Honey Cake (Amber's favorite)

1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 teaspoon orange zest
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup white sugar
1 egg
1/8 cup milk
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup water
1/3 teaspoon lemon juice


Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9 inch square pan. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and orange rind. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and 3/4 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the milk, mixing just until incorporated. Stir in the walnuts.
Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool for 15 minutes, then cut into diamond shapes. Pour honey syrup over the cake.
For the Honey Syrup: In a saucepan, combine honey, 1 cup sugar and water. Bring to a simmer and cook 5 minutes. Stir in lemon juice, bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes.


PS:  I Love You: A Paranormal Romance (Roxanne's Ghost Saga Book 2) - Review by Martha A Cheves


He should have brought his tools with him.  Without their aid, he couldn't hear the whispers clearly enough.  Turning, he looked back at Ben's house on the hill, debating whether he should go back to fetch them or not. The portal might shift in the time it took him - they were not absolutes carved in stone - and he'd miss the opportunity.  He'd have to make do without the tools and channel his powers of concentration that much harder.

Slowly walking toward the headstone because it seemed the logical place for the portal to be, he kept his mind open and blank, receptive to any words that might fall into it like seeds into fertile ground.  He sensed someone talking.  Choosing a spot roughly equidistant between the three headstones, he sat down and crossed his denim-clad legs, his hands open-palmed on his knees.  

As in book one of this series, Jessica is still at the home that had belonged to Ben and Roxanne where she had gone to take up the position of the Nanny to their daughter.  In this second book Jessica is tortured by the missing Roxanne's sisters, especially the twin who has her sight set on taking Roxanne's place in her marriage to Ben and becoming the mother of their child.  And the tale continues from there.

This book is one that kept me going as I tried to make the connections between Roxanne, Daisy, the sisters and Ben.  And when the connection did come through, it was one that I never guessed making it a total surprise!  If you like a good love story, if you like a good paranormal story, if you like a good combination of both - this is a must read book.  I loved it!  But, read book one - Goodbye, My Love - 1st so you have the full story from the beginning.  You won't regret it.


Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Read and Gone (A Haunted Library Mystery) - Allison Brook, Author






Double-chocolate brownies
Carrie often makes double chocolate brownies for family occasions
12-16 brownies


INGREDIENTS
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2  cup sugar (I prefer Sugar in the Raw)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 3/4 –1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (I prefer Ghirardelli chocolate chips)
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  •  1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
  •  

DIRECTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees; grease and line 8” square pan with parchment paper
  2. Stir eggs with sugar, vanilla and butter.
  3. Mix flour, baking powder and salt and stir into egg mixture.
  4. Add chocolate chips and nuts to mixture.
  5. Spread mixture evenly in pan.
  6. Bake 20-25 minutes. Test with toothpick. Brownies done when toothpick comes out slightly moist.
  7. Let cool, then cut into squares.

Note: if you like, you can melt the chocolate chips before adding them to the mixture.


Read and Gone - Review by Martha A. Cheves

Jim sat down at the kitchen table while I made up a plate with slices of turkey and ham.  I also warmed up a huge piece of lasagna in the microwave.  He ate quickly and neatly as usual.  My father was a thief, but he believed in good clothes and good manners.  When he asked me to serve him more, I knew he probably hadn't eaten since yesterday.  "Coffee?" I asked.  "Please, Black, two sugars."  "As always," I murmured before I could stop myself.  I was annoyed that I'd kept his habits close to my heart.  He shot me a grin.  "You remembered."  "Why are you here? I asked as I slipped a French roast pod into the Keurig.  "I need your help, Caro."  "Do you know Benton Parr, the jewelry?"  "I've met him since he's on the Library Board with Uncle Bosco.  And I've spoken to him a few times on the phone.  He's giving a talk Tuesday evening on 'Gems: How to Tell the Real from the Fake."  "Benton Parr's a thief!"  I started to laugh but immediately froze when I caught his furious expression.  "We nabbed seven million dollars worth of perfect loose stones.  My retirement fund.  Parr took the lot for safekeeping.  I've tried contacting him several times this past month, but he refuses to answer my emails and calls.  I'm afraid I need to ask you to act as a go-between and retrieve my share of the stones."

Carrie Singleton has had her father come in and out of her life for as long as she can remember.  She spent her childhood being ashamed of him while he served time in and out of jail.  Now, just a few days before Christmas, he has shown up at her home wanting her help to recover jewels that he and another man have stolen.  Who does he think he is?  She should just tell him to get lost, which she hopes he will do soon but not before he is attacked and hospitalized, leaving her to take care of him while he's in town.

The first book in this series, Death Overdue, was a very enjoyable read.  Carrie moved to her father's hometown and found herself a job working as the Program and Entertainment Director for the local library.  She also found herself becoming the major factor in solving a murder.  In Read and Gone, Carrie is again involved in several murders as well as the search for the jewels her own father helped steal.  The question is, was he involved in the murders too?

This book takes you around many curves.  There are many suspects to choose from, keeping the reader running from one to the other until the end.  I must say I was surprised.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Never Say Goodbye - Richard Parker, Author

Releases August 14, 2018

TOM FABIAN DEVILLED EGGS

Makes 8 (16 halves)

Ingredients

8 eggs
3 tbsp chipotle mayo
Healthy sprinkle of smoked paprika (better depth of flavor than ordinary paprika)
Healthy sprinkle of garlic powder
1 tbsp chopped fresh chives
Sprinkle of salt
Sprinkle of white pepper
(Tsp of English mustard if you want them even hotter)

Directions

Boil eggs for 10 minutes. Tip away hot water and add cold. When they're cool, peel off shells and cut each egg in half
Scoop out yolks and put into a bowl. Add all ingredients and mix thoroughly with a fork. Spoon or pipe back into each egg half. Sprinkle eggs with a little of the smoked paprika to decorate.



Never Say Goodbye - Review by Martha A. Cheves

"Whiting hadn't made any connections between the four victims.  Each one had been murdered in a different area of the city."  Metcalfe consulted his note.  "First was female - an affluent black law student, second was a white, mail, middle-aged taxi driver.  Third a white teenage girl who worked in a supermarket and the fourth a geriatric white female, Janet Wells.... "But no witnesses."... "no.  First victim was attacked in a car park at night, second under a railway bridge, third in the garden.  Janet Wells was the first victim of a break-in.  As far as we know, the attacker wasn't interrupted on any occasion."  

DCI Alec Metcalfe has just updated Detective Tom Fabian of the latest information on victims that seem to be randomly chosen.  Each is stabbed several times, hopefully killing them, before they are stabbed with a knife to the face mutilating their facial features.  None of the victims knew each other nor had anything in common.  So, why were they chosen?

This was another of those books that took me all the way to the last few chapters before I was informed as to who and why!  I had one suspect at about 70% into the book but found that I was totally wrong and totally shocked as to who and why.

If you want a great suspense, murder mystery, I have to recommend Never Say Goodbye .  It held my interest to the extent that I finished it in under 5 nights!  Yep, that good.

Monday, July 30, 2018

A Very Mersey Murder (Mersey Mystery Series Book 5) - Brian L. Porter, Author



Scouse
(The best scouse this side of the Mersey)

Serves: 3

400g beef (preferably a tough cut like chuck or even flank)
30ml oil
salt and pepper
1 large onion, diced
1 stock cube (preferably Knorr®)
500ml hot water
2 bay leaves
a few sprigs thyme
4 large carrots, cut into 15mm chunks
6 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped into 2 cm chunks
pickled red cabbage, to serve

Method
Prep: 15 min.  Cook: 2 hrs. Ready in 2 hrs 15 min.

Dice the meat if not already done into whatever size you prefer, remembering the size will shrink slightly.
Heat the oil in the pan to a medium temperature and add the meat. Season very well at this early stage with salt and pepper. Stir and turn until just brown all over. Do not drain. Add the onions and continue to stir on a medium heat for around 10 minutes; the onions must not brown.
Add the stock with the water (or 500 ml of good homemade stock) and bring to the boil. Add the bay and the a few little twigs of thyme, stir, cover and when bubbling, reduce to medium heat. You want the stock to bubble but not violently for 1 hour.
Uncover and add the carrots and potatoes, turn up the heat until bubbling throughout and reduce slightly. Leave for another 45 minutes to 1 hour with the lid off the pan so it reduces. When the veg has been cooked through but retains some firmness, the best way to check is to see if it falls easily off the end of a fork without cracking or breaking, then it is normally done perfectly.
The stew should reduce once the veg is added and the lid, but you may need to add more water or perhaps turn the heat up to ensure the liquid is as thick as good gravy.
Taste and season again if necessary. Serve in a bowl with the red cabbage and plenty of juice on the top. Really delicious.

Serving suggestion - Yummy with a nice bottle of real ale!
Tip - Really important that dish is well seasoned!



A Very Mersey Murder - Review by Martha A. Cheves

A woman is brutally raped and murdered, her body left close to the old disused lighthouse in Hale.  Then came a second and finally a third murder.  All being committed by who the police feel is the same person.  One was a barmaid, one worked with animals and the third was a policewoman.  These murders happened thirty-nine years ago with no arrests being made and the case assigned to the cold case files.

This is the information Detective Inspector Andy Ross has just given to his people that make up the Merseyside Police Specialist Murder Investigation Team.  His biggest concern regarding this cold case is that there have been two more recent murders that are very similar to those from thirty-nine years ago.  The first being a barmaid and the second being a veterinary student.  If the person doing the killings now continues to follow the original murders the third will be taking place within just a few days and that person will be one of their own... a police woman.

I've read every book this award-winning author has written.  His Jack the Ripper series kept my nerves tied into knots from beginning to end.  I've read this series - Mersey Mystery - and I will admit that the 1st book was good, the second was better and as I read the third and forth they got even better but I must say that book five takes me back to the Ripper series!

As I read murder mysteries I judge their ability to fool me by how quickly I can come up with the guilty party.  If I have at least the person figured out by around 20% into the book it is a good book.  If it takes me 50% to decide who it might be, that is a very good book.  And 75% marks the book as an extremely good mystery.  But when it takes me all the way to the end and the author has to finally inform me as to who the murderer is I rate that book one of the best.  For me this book fits in with the Best.

Now I'm waiting on book 6!  But if I were you, start with the full Mersey Mystery Series which can be seen at http://getbook.at/MerseyMysteries .


Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Snow Drive - Bobby Nash, Author


Easy Taco Soup

Ingredients:
ground beef
taco seasoning
water
whole kernel corn
black beans
pinto beans
crushed tomatoes
tomato sauce
onions
salt
pepper
cheese
sour cream
salsa

Cook beef and onions until no longer pink. Drain the grease. Add crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, taco seasoning, salt, and pepper. Mix well. Add water to fill pot. Bring to a boil. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered until heated through or beans are soft to your taste. Stir occasionally until ready. Serve with cheese, sour cream, and/or salsa topping.

Snow Drive - Review by Martha A. Cheves

"Last year, Oliver Simcoe asked me and Tommy Yates to join one of his engine trials.  His company designed a new engine that was supposed to be more fuel efficient for less pit stops, more environmentally friendly, which makes for great P.R., and faster because every driver wants to win.  I was reluctant.  I hate these type of trials.  Would never do another if I had a choice, but Oliver was persuasive.  The money wasn't bad either.  We bought a new car and trailer with what they paid for my time. The engine did what it was supposed to do, but there were some bugs involved that bothered me so I voiced those concerns.  The engine tended to overheat faster than it should have.  On the track, in a race that lasts a couple of hours, that can lead to disaster.  A blown engine out there could get somebody killed, maybe even several somebodies.  I couldn't sign off on that, not until they fixed those problems.  That's what I told them."  

NASCAR owner and driver Grant Chambers has found himself and his son Chase being the target for too many 'accidents.'  Lucky for him, his security company was none other than Snow Security, and one of it's employees just happens to be Abraham Snow.  So when the latest accident almost cost Chase his life, Grant called in the team to solve the problem before whoever behind the accidents succeeded.

The first name on the list was that of Oliver Simcoe.  The man who threatened to put an end to Grant and his company after he reported problems with Oliver's new engine to the other drivers as well as NASCAR resulting in them being pulled until further investigations found the problems or cleared the engines.  But... Snow finds that after talking to other at the track, the problem might be a little closer to home.

I love this series of books.  They are actually two books in one.  The first is the investigative story while the other is Snow's ongoing story.  After being shot and almost dying, Snow retired as an undercover agent that was on the track of Miguel Ortega.  The agency had at first believed it to be just one man but now believe it is a group of men using the same name to keep them off track.  After his retirement, Snow moved back to Georgia and thought his cover was in tact.  Turns out he has been found and there is another hit out on him.

I'm looking forward to reading the next in this series where I understand Snow comes out of retirement and becomes actively involved, again, in the search for this group calling them selves Miguel Ortega.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Murder On Tyneside (Agnes Lockwood Mysteries Book One) - Eileen Thornton, Author



Slow cooker - Beef and Veg with a splash of red wine! (a large splash)
Serves 4

1lb Braising Steak - cut into cubes
1 Large Onion Chopped
2-3 Carrots Sliced
Frozen Peas
New Potatoes
Tablespoon Plain Flour
Dried Mixed Herbs
Beef Stock Cube (dissolved in half-pint hot water)
Salt and pepper for seasoning to taste

Add a small amount of cooking oil to a large pan and brown the meat
Add the chopped onion and cook for a few minutes before adding the carrots and peas.
Stir in the flour and the mixed herbs
Add the stock together with a the wine. (I said a splash, but let’s be honest,  about half a pint is better. 
Add salt and pepper to taste.
At this point you can add the potatoes - unless you would prefer to boil them separately - and bring to simmering point,
Pour the stew into the Slow Cooker. Cook for about 4 - 5 hours set on low or 3 - 4 hours on high.
Add more wine or water if necessary.


Murder On Tyneside - Review by Martha A. Cheves

Alan sighed, as he turned back to face into the room.  He had a case to solve.  But where did they start with this one?  Using his fingers, he counted off what the police knew.  One: there was a body.  Two: the victim had been shot and thrown from this window.  Three: there was no blood found in the room.  Four: the Scene of Crime Officers team had found no trace of blood in the entire building.  Five: According to the curator, the windows and doors were all locked before he went home that evening.  Yet the murder must have taken place here.  Why would anyone carry a dead body up here only to throw it from this window back down onto the street?  It just didn't make any sense.  And then there was the question of how they got in.

Agnes' mind was also working on the crime and how it took place.  She too decided to tick off the events on her fingers.  First there were robberies.  Then a woman, who happened to be staying at the hotel, was murdered, though her body was not found at the hotel.  Third, today they find that another guest could possibly be involved  in one- or even both of the crimes.  So what would be next?  She sighed.  This was as close as she had ever come to investigating a real crime and she wasn't going to be put off by the detective working the case, even if he was trying to keep her out of harm's way.  But where did she go from here?  What would be number four on the list?

Agnes Lockwood had been away from Tyneside for a number of years.  After the death of her husband she has decided to take some time and visit some of her childhood memories.  Agnes had chosen the Millennium Hotel for her stay.  It's views were beautiful and everything was up to date.  After checking in she decided to take a short walk around.  When she returned to the hotel she was surprised to find loud voices and a visit from the police.  Apparently someone had broken into one of the guest rooms and stolen an expensive necklace.  And this was just the beginning.

Chief Inspector Alan Johnson was assigned to the theft at the Millennium Hotel.  As soon as he saw Agnes, he recognized her from their childhood.  As children he had had a crush on her that ended when she and her family moved away.  Well, maybe some of the crush was still there.  In the back of his mind he seemed to hope so and even invited her out for a dinner of reminiscing.  That is when they found the body that appeared to have been thrown out of the window above.

I read for this woman several years ago and loved her work then.  And she didn't disappoint me with her writing of Murder on Tyneside.  Her technique of allowing you to follow the characters as they actually 'think' things through makes her writing different from most books I've read.  She includes the suspense, drama and mystery but also keeps the reading light with short chapters that makes it easier to keep turning every page to see what happens next.  I will admit that I had an idea of who the culprit would be but she made it difficult to be sure as she twisted the story to lead me in other directions.  Can't wait for Book #2

 
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