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

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 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.

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!

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.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

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



Alice Rockwell's Perfect Pot Roast

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

S. Rockwell, Private Investigator
Returns and the Unexplainable Welcomed


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

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

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

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

Monday, November 13, 2017

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


 Inline image 2


Mini Cheesecakes


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

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

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

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

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


Terror On Telderan 

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


Murder on the Eros Star 

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

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


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



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

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Snow Storm - Bobby Nash, Author




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

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

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

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

Remove and let cool. 

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, September 18, 2017

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



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

Cherry Pie
(A James Murray Favorite)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Friday, September 1, 2017

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



Eggplant Salad


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


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


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


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

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

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


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


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


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

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

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



Mississippi Mud Brownies

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

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


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

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

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

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

Spread icing on top of brownies. Devour.


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

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

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

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

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

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

 
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