Showing posts with label supernatural. Show all posts
Showing posts with label supernatural. Show all posts

Friday, July 6, 2018

What Hunts Me (Ghost Killer Book 3) - Margaret Millmore, Author



Baileys Dip

-1 (8 ounces) of cream cheese, soften to room temperature
-1/2 cup of powdered sugar
-1/4 cup of Baileys Irish Cream liqueur (you can add a bit more if you'd like a creamier consistency)
-1/3 cup mini chocolate chips
*Combine cream cheese, sugar, Baileys and beat with a mixer until smooth and creamy
*Stir in chocolate chips

Serve with wafer cookies or salted crackers


What Hunts Me (Ghost Killer Book 3) - Review by Martha A. Cheves


He grabbed me by the shoulders and dug in.  I could feel the talon like nails breaking into my skin and scraping my collar bone, and pain reverberated through my body.  Drunk or not, I was still a ghost killer and still damn strong.  Raising my arms up and out, I broke free, but not before he tore a chunk of skin and T-shirt off my shoulder.  I flipped out of reach and started to run, but he was fast and on me in a matter of seconds, landing solidly on my back, and then I was face down in the dirt of the vacant lot across from the tavern and the motel.  He grabbed me by the hair, and the next thing I knew my head was slammed to the ground, over and over again.  Blood trickled into my eyes and then nothing, just blackness..... 

George Sinclair is a very powerful Ghost Killer.  Since acquiring a diary that was written by his great grandfather, who was also a ghost killer, George has found himself following a being that his great grandfather had buried many years before.  This being is wreaking destruction on everyone that gets in his way as he searches for the broken stones from what used to be a Muttata.  By gathering these stones the Muttata will put itself back together and give him total control over some of the worse demons and ghosts ever to roam.  

George is joined by another powerful ghost killer named Billy.  Their job is to follow the route George's great grandfather traveled in hopes of gathering the stones and preventing the destruction that will be bestowed on the whole world.  The problem is, this being seems to always be just a few steps ahead of them.  

After reading all three of the Ghost Killer Books, I must say that I'm surprised someone hasn't picked these books up as either movies or at least a TV series.  These stories are right up there with those of the Walking Dead.  They held me with every word, waiting to see what was going to happen next.  Now I'm waiting on Book 4.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.


Sunday, April 23, 2017

Just a Touch Dead - Jordania Sydney Robinson, Author



Hazelnut Brownies
(A Bridget Special)

box of 16 Ferrero Rocher chocolates
250g pack salted butter, plus extra for greasing
250g golden caster sugar
225g light muscovado sugar
100g cocoa powder
4 large eggs
100g self-raising flour
85g ready-chopped hazelnuts
4 tbsp Frangelico or Fratello hazelnut liqueur (or Disaronno)

Unwrap the chocolates, place on a tray and pop in the freezer. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Lightly grease and line the base and sides of a 21-22cm square tin with baking parchment.
Put the butter, sugars and cocoa into your largest saucepan and gently melt together, stirring regularly so the mixture doesn’t catch. Once the sugar granules have just about disappeared, take off the heat, tip into a bowl and leave to cool for 5 mins.
Use a whisk or wooden spoon to beat the eggs, one by one, into the mixture. When they’re completely incorporated and the mixture is smooth and shiny, stir in the flour, hazelnuts and liqueur. Tip the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 35 mins.
Remove the tin from the oven and use a cutlery knife to mark the top of the brownies into 16 squares (don’t cut through, it’s just as a guide). Use a teaspoon to push a little dent in the centre of each portion and add a frozen Ferrero Rocher chocolate into each dip. Return to the oven for 3 mins, then remove and leave to cool completely.

Once cool, cut into 16 squares. Will keep for 3 days in an airtight container.

Just a Touch Dead - Review by Martha A Cheves, Author of:  Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish

My long, pillar-box-red hair fanned out around my head like a vibrant halo, my fringe artfully covering one eye.  It looked great, really thick and shiny.  Why couldn't I get it to look like that normally?  I looked closer.  No, it wasn't my hair, or it wasn't just my hair, it was a rapidly spreading pool of blood from the back of my head colouring the pavement.  Huh.  But at least my white Christian Dior trouser suite was blood free.  I'd have died it that'd had any bloodstains on it.  Oh, wait.  No, I couldn't be dead.  If I was dead I wouldn't be floating around watching.  I'd just be, well, dead.  Right?

Meet Bridget Sway.  She has been hit by a bus but she isn't really dead.  At least that's what her 'angel' Charon has told her.  She is simply on a 'day trip' giving the doctors a chance to pump her body full of drugs so it won't hurt so much when she pops back in.

Charon had her board a bus filled with a group of crying people.  Something just wasn't right but she agreed to go along for the ride.  Then Charon explained to her that the other people on the bus were actually dead.

This book grabbed me from the beginning.  It's actually a short book serving as an introduction to Bridget Sway.  It has a touch of humor, while giving you a touch of the dark side of what Bridget finds in the afterlife.  For me - I have developed the desire to read the next book in the series... Beyond Dead.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Love is the Bridge - Denise Weeks, Author



Roasted Sesame and Honey Chex® Mix

3 cups Chex cereal (any variety)
3 cups checkerboard-shaped pretzels http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/roasted-sesame-and-honey-chex-mix/~/media/Images/Shared/RecipeParts/Savings/SavingsIndicator.ashx
3 cups sesame sticks http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/roasted-sesame-and-honey-chex-mix/~/media/Images/Shared/RecipeParts/Savings/SavingsIndicator.ashx
1 cup mixed nuts http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/roasted-sesame-and-honey-chex-mix/~/media/Images/Shared/RecipeParts/Savings/SavingsIndicator.ashx
3 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
1/4 cup honey http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/roasted-sesame-and-honey-chex-mix/~/media/Images/Shared/RecipeParts/Savings/SavingsIndicator.ashx
2 tablespoons sesame seed, toasted, if desired http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/roasted-sesame-and-honey-chex-mix/~/media/Images/Shared/RecipeParts/Savings/SavingsIndicator.ashx

In large microwavable bowl, mix cereal, pretzels, sesame sticks and nuts.
In 2-cup microwavable measuring cup, microwave butter on High about 30 seconds or until melted. Stir in honey and sesame seed. Pour over cereal mixture; stir until evenly coated.

Microwave uncovered on High 5 to 6 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes, until mixture just begins to brown. Spread on waxed paper to cool. Store in airtight container. 


Love is the Bridge - Rview by Martha A. Cheves, Author of:  Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish

The phone rang redly, sucking all the air out of the room.  For a moment, Paige felt paralyzed.  Then her hand went determinedly towards the sound.  She grabbed the phone off the coffee table and flipped it open.  She couldn't live in fear of answering her own phone.  Without even checking the caller ID, she brought it to her ear.  "Hello?"  The metallic voice.  But now its edges had softened, and it was more than a mellow yellow butter with an aluminum aftertaste--like a canned soda that'd been in the sun too long.  "--the apparition cannot form, not yet.  Ectoplasm cannot cross the barrier between the worlds.  To show itself takes protoplasmic energy, more than it can gather now.  But soon.  THA DEITE ENA PHANTASMA."

Paige has been receiving strange phone calls for some time now, both at her work as well as her personal phone.  The messages are always strange and sometimes seem to be encrypted.  But she isn't the only one receiving strange messages.  It seems her friends are receiving them from her even though she hasn't sent messages to any of them.

Alan owns a jingles company.  He met Paige when she did as commercial jingle for him.  He was attracted to her as when he received a distress text from her he knew he had to check it out.  When confronted with the text, Paige insists she didn't send it and since Alan is some sort of a computer nerd she ends up feeling that he is her phone stalker.  Even so that won't explain how the sound systems finds a way to take on its own voice and talks to Paige and Alan.  Sounds to me like a ghost from the past.  But what would make a ghost want torture them.

As I read Love is the Bridge I, like Paige, blamed Alan for everything that was going on in her life.  He had written a program that apparently was thinking for itself, which allowed it to connect to any computer source it wants, including bank accounts.  Was I right or was I wrong?  You'll have to read the book to find out for yourself.  I'll only tell you that the story fed my theory almost to the end.


Thursday, June 30, 2016

He's Married - Maggie Tideswell, Author



Beef Bourguignon 

Prep:
15 min
Cook:
3 hr 45 min

Ingredients

Marinade:
5 cloves garlic, smashed
3 fresh bay leaves
2 carrots, peeled and halved
2 ribs celery, halved
1 large onion, peeled and quartered
One 750-ml bottle red wine, such as Burgundy
4 pounds beef chuck, cut into 1-inch chunks
Stew:
Extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
8 ounces slab bacon, cut into lardons
1 pound cremini or white button mushrooms, quartered
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
2 ribs celery, cut into 1/4-inch dice
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 large onion, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/4 cup tomato paste
3 to 4 cups beef stock
3 fresh bay leaves
1 bundle fresh thyme
1 pound red bliss potatoes, quartered
1/2 bunch fresh chives, finely chopped, for garnish
Crusty bread, for serving

Directions

For the marinade: Combine the garlic, bay leaves, carrots, celery, onions and wine in a large bowl or container. Add the beef; cover and let sit in the refrigerator at least 4 hours or overnight. (This is a really important step: it makes a huge flavor difference.)

For the stew: Remove the beef from the marinade. Strain the veggies and bay leaves from the marinade and discard. Reserve 2 cups of the marinade.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Coat a large, wide pan or Dutch oven with olive oil and bring to medium-high heat. Sprinkle the beef with salt and toss with the flour; do not flour the beef until you're ready to brown it. Add the flour-coated beef to the hot pan, but be sure to not crowd the pan; you will need to work in four batches. Brown the meat well on all sides, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from the pan to a baking sheet.

After the first two batches, deglaze the pot with 1/2 cup of the reserved marinade, scraping up any browned bits. Drain the liquid into a small bowl. Add more olive oil to the pan to coat and cook the remaining two batches of meat. Add the meat to the baking sheet. Deglaze the pan with 1/2 cup marinade, scraping up any browned bits.

Add the bacon and cook until it gets brown and crispy, about 5 minutes. Toss in the mushrooms, carrots, celery, garlic and onions, and season with salt. Cook until the mixture starts to soften and becomes very aromatic, about 10 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the remaining 1 cup marinade and deglaze the pan, stirring up any browned bits, 1 minute. Add the beef. Stir to combine and cook until the wine has reduced by half, 1 to 2 minutes. Add enough of the beef stock to just cover the surface of the beef. Toss in the bay leaves and thyme bundle. Cover the pan, bring the liquid to a boil and put in the oven.

Cook the beef for 2 hours. During the last hour of cooking time, add the potatoes. Cover the pan with the lid and put the stew back in the oven to cook for an additional hour.

Remove the pot from the oven and skim off any excess grease from the surface of the stew. Garnish with the chives and serve with crusty bread to sop up all the sauce.



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

Her stomach knotted painfully and her fingers automatically found the black stone around her neck. Black, to match her shoes.  Dane saw the movement and touched the stone with his index finger. “Is this a superstition?” He grinned and winked at her. “It won’t save you, you know, once I get you alone.”  Between his chuckle and the cold stone against her sternum, her situation couldn’t be worse.
She hadn’t thought much beyond the wedding ceremony and reception, and then only in terms
of the honeymoon Dane had been so secretive about. Her going-away dress had topped the list,
and then she’d worried about what to pack if she didn’t even know where they were going.
The wedding night and sex for the first time hadn’t come into it.  She had better think about it now, because this was it, it was about to become a reality.  They had never been alone together, not really. In the frenzy of wedding arrangements, there had always been people around with the potential of interruption. This was the first time they were truly alone.

Eloise and Dane are married.  They love each other, at least Eloise thinks they do.  But how.  They have only known each other a few weeks.  It was almost a meet, date a few times and tie the knot.  And now it's their wedding night.  They are headed to the Honeymoon Suite and Eloise knows what that means.  But that simply can't happen!  See, Eloise has a secret that only she and her doctor know about.  There is no way Dane will still love and want her after he finds out!  

Then Eloise returns to the place of her wedding in the Hottentots Holland Mountains.  It looked the same but not quite as Gothic as the rainy night of the wedding a week earlier.  That is until she runs into Hugh Fleming and when he suggested that he knew she would be back she felt a bit of uncomfortable fear which will only increase as the horrors of the lodge begin to take place.

This is an erotic book but also a horror mystery.  It keeps you on edge until you discover where the events from the past are coming from and when you determine if they are actually repeating themselves or if its all in Eloise's head.  A really interesting book.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

What Haunts Me - Margaret Millmore, Author




Spinach and Artichoke Dip
(Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse but George likes it too)

Prep Time:
20 min
Inactive Prep Time:
--
Cook Time:
30 min
Level:
Easy
Serves:
6 to 8 servings
Ingredients
2 (10-ounce) packages fresh spinach, well rinsed and stems trimmed
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup chopped yellow onions
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup 1/2-inch cubes rindless Brie
1 cup grated Monterey Jack
1 (6 1/2-ounce) jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
4 strips bacon, fried crisp, drained and chopped
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
Assorted chips for dipping (pita chips, tortilla chips, bagel chips)

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9-inch round chafing dish and set aside.
Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add the spinach in batches and cook until wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove and refresh under cold running water. Squeeze to remove all excess water and chop. Set aside. In a medium pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add the garlic, salt, pepper, and cayenne, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, to make a light roux, about 2 minutes. Add the milk and cream in a steady stream, and cook, stirring constantly, until thick and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the cooked spinach and lemon juice, and stir to incorporate. Add the cubed and grated cheeses, artichoke hearts, and bacon, and stir well. Remove from the heat and pour into the prepared dish. Top with the Parmesan and bake until bubbly, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve hot with chips. 


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

“I noticed a woman of about thirty standing just off the sidewalk on the grass.  Her appearance was right out of the 1940's; her dress hung below her knees with padded shoulders and semi-tailored waste line, Mary Jane shoes, hair neatly done up in side rolls.  Yet, it wasn't the vintage apparel that stood out so much; it was that she was untouched by the light rain that was coating everything and everyone around her.  Of course, it was also the Harry Potter glasses that she wore, and the fact that she seemed to be intently focused on John.

For no other reason but instinct, I raised the umbrella and gently jabbed it at her as we walked past.  A look of horror filled her face, and then she swirled away into a grey mist, just like the ghost, or whatever he was, had done when I was a kid at Bobby's house.  Now that I remembered it all, it occurred to me that John didn't have a lisp...anymore.”

George is a normal young man in his 30's.  His mother had died when he was young, he was raised by his father, went to school, ended up becoming very successful in the real estate field and even bought himself a nice home on the top floor of a building that housed only one other person who was an elderly lady named Justine Wilkinson.

After getting over a bout of the flu George found his life changing before his eyes.  He was seeing 'ghosts' that were haunting people and making them ill.  He also discovered that he could poke them with a pencil and they would, for the lack of a better word 'die.'  Then came the memories of his childhood.  Apparently he was able to do this as a child but for some reason didn't remember it until now.  These memories and the events now taking place in his life are wreaking havoc on his life and he doesn't know how to make it stop.


George is a GK or ghost killer.  They come in all power stages and ranks with him being one of the best.  But he ends up with a mission that has to be handled before the bad ghosts take over.  This book is the perfect beginning for a TV series.  If you like the Walking Dead you'll really love What Haunts Me.  I'd love to see this picked up by a producer, yes it's that good.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Dead Medium - Peter John, Author


Margaret's Bakewells
(Her favorite!)

Pastry
300g plain flour
125g unsalted butter
30g sugar
1 egg

Filling
225g butter
225g sugar
225g ground almonds
3 eggs
The grated zest of 1 lemon
50g plain flour
jar cherry jam

Topping
200g Icing Sugar

Method
As my mother always told me, there's no need to flounce around the kitchen when it comes to making shortcrust pastry. Throw the flour, butter, sugar and egg into bowl and mix well. I use the big Kenwood mixer Alf brought me for my birthday last year but a bit of elbow grease will do the job just fine. If the mixture feels a little loose just add a smidgen of flour. If it's too tight, a dribble of water or milk will help. Once you're happy with your short crust, dust your counter with flour and tip the pastry on to it. Find a rolling pin, mine is usually in the top drawer next to the sink, and roll out the pastry to fit whatever tin you have to hand. I use a round tart tin. It's just a bit smaller that those old vinyl albums they used to sell down the high street years ago. I've still got a few. Everything's on those compact thin gummies now. People say they sound better but I prefer my Pat Boone with a little crackle. Anyhow, once your pastry is in the tin perforate the base with a fork as many times as you can fit and stick it in the oven, 20 minutes should do it. I usually preheat mine at 200c (Gas mark 6).

While that's baking you had best get on with the filling. Grab a bowl and beat the butter and sugar together until it's all fluffy. Throw in the ground almonds, then the eggs. I find it's best to do them one at a time, beating as I go. If the mixture begins to split, Don't panic, just add a smidgen of flour. This next bit is important, I got this wrong once and it was an awful mess. Stop with the beating and gently fold in the flour and lemon zest.

You should have taken your pastry out of the oven by now, let it cool before spreading cherry jam across the base. leave 2 cm gap around the edge. Grab your filling and spread it over the jam. Bung the tin back in the oven for another 20 minutes or until set and golden-brown, I turn mine down to 180 c for this bit. Once baked make sure it's completely cooled before doing the next bit.
For the icing tip the icing sugar into a bowl. Add a little water and keep stirring until you get a think fondant, adding water as needed. Pour the fondant over the cake and wait for it to set. If I'm feeling adventurous I pipe melted chocolate across the fondant while it's still loose and then drag a knife across it to form a marble pattern which looks rather effective but is not essential; it tastes just fine without it.



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

George's hand on her shoulder silently comforted her.  She would have usually pulled away from him and given him the sharp end of her tongue but at that moment she didn't.  It wasn't fear that held her temper.  Even though she hated to admit it, his presence reassured her.  His touch anchored her, preventing her form drifting into the darkness above.  Had she been alone she might have reacted to the bewildering feeling that was overwhelming her.  The fear made her shy away from the darkness but also drew her toward it.  The temptation to let go felt familiar, it almost felt like a sense of belonging.  It was as if the darkness marked a path she was meant to travel, a passage home.  

May Elizabeth Trump spent her young years in a orphanage, her adult life being a recluse that saved every penny earned, and now she can speak to those who have passed as well as those who are still living.

Penny Saunders lives in the same town as May but has passed leaving her only child Chloe in a bad financial position.  Chloe must now pay for her college education as well as the upkeep on the family home that Penny has spent her life trying to hold on to.

Then comes the idea that will involve Margaret, May's only 'friend', and her Thursday Night Club, which is a group of 4 ladies who dabble in the 'psychic business.'  With May as the medium they can line up clients of ghosts who want to talk with those left behind and charge the living, allowing Chloe an income so she can continue with her education as well as keep the house.

One important piece of information that I haven't told you.  May is dead therefore being the Dead Medium.

This book is full of humor, ghosts, and some uncertain beings that are called the Soul Stalkers who May has been warned about by a ghost named George.  But... even though she never cared for a living soul when alive, for some reason May is drawn to Chloe and feels the need to help her in any way possible.  This story kept my finger busy as it turned page after page.  I couldn't wait to see what the next page and even sentence had to add.  And the ending - that was a total surprise.  It also left a very large opening for another chapter in the Dead Medium which I hope Author Peter John brings forth very soon.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Silent Prey - T. M. Simmons, Author



English Toffee
(My sister-in-law, Pat, gave me this recipe and it's great for easy Christmas gifts. It's also perfect for the holidays, since it's full of calories! - T.M. Simmons)
 
Ingredients:
 
1 lb. butter
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans, split in half
1 lb. Hershey's Chocolate Bar (plain)
(Pat said that she used two 5 oz. chocolate bars and it was plenty of chocolate.)
 
Melt butter, sugar and vanilla on medium high heat.
Add ½ of the pecans and cook until 320 degrees on the candy thermometer. The mixture will be a light caramel color and have a slight burnt smell. Do not overcook.
Pour onto a flat piece of aluminum foil.
 
Melt chocolate bar and spread over the toffee with a flat knife.
Top with remaining pecans.
 
After cooled, you can break into pieces and put into cute little boxes for gifts. Yum!
 

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

She raced through the blowing snow, savoring the feel of the cold and wind.  Glorying in feeling... being once again.  Enjoying the fact that traveling was so easy, so quick.  Her feet flew over the snow, and merely thinking of a remembered place brought her to it.  No need for heavy clothing to impede movement or slow her down.  Even the tangled underbrush didn't present obstacles.  She had no recall of how long the non-existence of her grave had lasted.  Only slowly were the memories returning.  Most of them, at first, were the painful ones.  Children's beautiful chubby faces losing their plumpness and fading into skeletal skulls with only a layer of skin stretched over them.  Their cries fading near the end as their mother tried unsuccessfully to share her scant remaining body heat.  Finally, the thankfulness that they suffered no longer and her longing to join them.

In Silent Prey Simmons brings us Nenegean, who for some reason has left her grave and is wreaking havoc on the Northwood.  For some strange reason she steals children.  Then there is Dr. Channing Drury who has come to the Northwood from Texas to possibly join Dr. Silver in his practice.  Keoman Thunderwood is from the Ojibway tribe and is a Mide, or for most of us a medicine man.  As the electricity starts to fly between Channing and Keoman, she finds herself defending Nenegean where Keoman sees her only as a demon that must be done away with.  Channing reasons that Nenegean doesn't harm the children she takes but there are other children being taken that are being harmed so Nenegean believes she is protecting them from the real demon.  Keoman sees her as a being that has no feelings so she can't possibly 'think' anything through but only takes them because of the loss of her own when she lived many years ago.  No matter which is right and which is wrong, there are children that are being harmed and something must be done to keep them safe.

I've read everything this author has written and after reading each book I tell myself this is the best, it can't get any better... wrong.  Every book is always better than the last.  As I read Silent Prey I tried to understand the motive of Nenegean and when I finally did understand I tried to decide who the real demon was.  Well, as always, she kept me guessing until the end!  This is one heck of an author and I will always follow her books and impatiently wait for the next.


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Devil's Pawn - Marilyn Levinson, Author




Marilyn’s Gazpacho

According to Wikipedia: “Gazpacho is a soup made of raw vegetables and served cold, usually with a tomato base, originating in the southern Spanish region of Andalusia.” That said, soups and stews lend themselves to personal interpretation. Here is my version of gazpacho, with careful attention to taste and prep time.

24 ounces of tomato or V-8 juice
4 tomatoes
2 cucumbers or 3 kirbys, seeded and peeled
1 red pepper, cored and seeded
½ - 1 Vidalia Onion (to taste)
2 -3 garlic cloves (to taste)
2 tablespoons of olive oil (optional)
A few sprigs of fresh parsley
A few sprigs of fresh cilantro
Salt & pepper to taste

Cut up tomatoes, cucumbers, red pepper, onion, and garlic into small pieces and put into food processor, one ingredient at a time. Add oil, parsley, cilantro,  salt and pepper. When mixture is coarsely chopped or smooth according to your taste, pour mixture into large bowl. Stir in juice. Cover and refrigerate for a few hours. When serving, offer cut-up pieces of scallion and croutons for topping.



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

He pointed to a chair, but I remained standing near the doorway.  His office gave off negative vibes that kept me on my guard.  I didn't much like this relative who had shown up out of the blue at the high school I'd been attending back in Pennsylvania.  He’d had the right credentials and looked enough like my dad to convince me he was my father's older brother.  Since I'd just lost my immediate family, I had no choice but to come live with Raymond Davenport and his wife in upstate New York.

Simon Porte has lost his mother, father and younger sister.  He has no family until his Uncle Raymond shows up to take him into his home and make him the son he and Aunt Mary had never had.  At least that's what he thinks is the case. But after living with them for a short period of time he finds Uncle Raymond a bit strange. Even a little frightening.  But what can a 15 year old do? Run away? Where to? There’s no one to take him in.  And to make matters worse, he discovers he has a great-aunt named Lucinda who looks like the witch in some of the story books he and his sister Lucy used to read.

A young girl Simon taught to swim in the day camp where he works is murdered. Could someone in his 'strange' family have something to do with this girl's death?


Author Marilyn Levinson has entertained me in the past with her creative writing, but this book has to be the best yet.  I sat up late at night just turning page after page.  Hopefully she'll writes a sequel to this character which I can't wait to read.  This is truly a 'Give me More' book.

Read more books by Marilyn Levinson by going to her Amazon site.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Ghostly Justice - Bev Irwin


Golden Peach Pork Chops Recipe
(Bev's favorite Slow Cooker Dish)
 

Ingredients
1 can (29 ounces) peach halves
5 bone-in pork loin chops (1 inch thick)
1 tablespoon canola oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
1/4 cup cider vinegar


Directions
Drain peaches, reserving 1/4 cup juice (discard remaining juice or save for another use); set fruit and juice aside. In a large skillet, brown pork chops on both sides in oil; transfer to a 3-qt. slow cooker. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and cloves. Add the tomato sauce, vinegar and reserved peach juice. Pour over the chops. Arrange peach halves over the top. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until the meat is tender.

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

***I watched until they turned the corner at Colburn Street.  Then the energy vanished and a profound sadness filled me.  Even playing the piano held no joy that day.  I have to talk to her.  But how?  I gave up trying to contact the living years ago.  It became so tiresome – appearing in front of them, touching them, talking to them, yet never being noticed.  Until now.  Every day, I watch for her.  Every day, I try to make contact.  Every day I plead for her to look up at my window again.  Two weeks have passed now.  And every day, she hurries past; her gaze focused on the street ahead.  I must talk to her.  Daira is the first person I’ve been able to communicate with since the day I was murdered.***

 
Daria Brennan is your typical 15 year-old, or at least she thought she was until she discovered that she could see ghosts.  Her first sighting was of a young woman in the upstairs window of an old house she passed every day going to school.  At first she thought it might be her imagination since the house was empty.  The woman who lived there had fallen and been taken away to recuperate in a rehab center.  Maybe someone had broken into the house.  Whatever it was she knew that every time she walked past the house she felt a chill.. [1]  Then came the voices.  Someone calling her name when there was no one there.  This became more frequent after she and some friends broke into the house to have a place to be together. 

 
As the visits to the house grew more frequent, so did the voice in her head begging for her help.  The ghost she was seeing and talking to turned out to be Amanda the daughter of the old lady who owned the house.  She had died 40 years earlier and Amanda needed Daria’s help t her remember how and why.  As Daria researched Amanda’s death she found that the police had ruled it as a suicide.  But as Amanda’s memory started coming back she knew it wasn’t suicide but murder. Daria was the only one to help her prove it and to help her put the person responsible away.


Ghostly Justice was a really enjoyable mystery.  I had no problem coming up with who murdered Amanda but I had a problem guessing how he would be caught.  I also had a problem guessing why Daria and Amanda looked so much alike.  Daria was born 40 years after Amanda’s death but their birthdays were the same month and day.  Had to be a connection but what?  I really enjoyed this book and there are a couple cuss words, not really bad ones, but I can see this being an enjoyable read for ages teen to 90.  I loved it and hope to hear there will be other chapters in Daria’s life that will be put to words.
 
 

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Ghost Hunting Diary Volume III - T. M. Simmons, Author




Southern Fried Chicken and Gravy
(One of T. M. Simmons' favorite dishes)

1 cut-up chicken
3 cups flour
2 tbls. corn starch
1 tbl. baking powder
½ cup canola oil
1 can condensed milk
Salt and pepper

Lay chicken in sink and sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper to taste. (If you want, you can freeze the back for noodles later rather than cook it.)
Combine flour, corn starch and baking powder. Shift together.
Heat oil in large iron skillet to high heat.
When oil is ready, dredge chicken pieces in flour mixture and add to oil. (Save flour mixture for gravy.) Cook each side until nicely browned, then lower heat to medium low and finish cooking, turning often so chicken doesn't burn.
When done, remove chicken from skillet and drain on paper towels.
Pour off excess oil until there is only a thin layer in the bottom of the skillet, leaving in any small pieces of chicken or skin that came off during cooking.
Turn heat back up to medium high and sprinkle 3-4 tbls of flour mixture into oil.
Stir until flour begins to brown.
Turn heat down to medium and pour in one can of condensed milk, stirring as you add it. Add water if gravy is too thick.
When gravy is thickened, turn off heat and serve it with your fried chicken and mashed potatoes. Yum!


Ghost Hunting Diary Volume III – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish

***Billy and Lucy York had been to Goshen Cemetery once previously with two other ghost hunters. From what they told me, I wanted to visit this historic graveyard myself.  I wasn’t deterred by the rumors and tales abounding about Goshen, nor by the fact invitations to a few other paranormal investigator friends to join us were turned down flat.  Word about evil entities and how dangerous Goshen could be had spread through the paranormal community for years.  Perhaps I should have been more forearmed, but hindsight is perfect vision.***
 
Reading this Author’s diaries has been quite fascinating to me and as soon as I finish one, I can’t wait to read the next.  Her experience in the Goshen Cemetery would have scared the heck out of me but what happened as they were leaving would have probably given me a heart attack. 
 
As her diary went on through other outings, I was drawn to wishful thinking when she told about her short chat with a Dr. Griffith who was examining her ‘horseless carriage’ one night while she was visiting a friend.  That’s one event I think I would have enjoyed after my heart rate slowed down just a bit. 
 
The Ghost Hunting Diaries all take you into what most of us can call the unknown.  For T. M. Simmons, it has become the purpose of her life to deal with those who haven’t passed over yet and to encourage them to make the decision to leave their ‘unlife’ for a peaceful one on the other side.  But all isn’t fun and games when it comes to ghosts.  Some are humorous and enjoy playing jokes while others are quite evil and enjoy wreaking havoc on those around them.  And some are simply demonic and quite dangerous.
 
This is the third Ghost Hunting Diary that I’ve had the pleasure of reading and as I said, I can’t wait to dig into Volume IV.  If you like a good ghost/sprit story, you won’t want to miss T. M. Simmons’ own personal accounts of being a paranormal investigator.  They have sparked my interest.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Dead Man Hand - T. M. Simmons, Author


Granny's Gumbo

A lot of Cajun dishes start with a good roux. True Southern women make their own roux, from cooking equal parts shortening and flour in a large, deep cast-iron skillet for half-an-hour, stirring constantly, until it's a nice dark brown. Men do this, also, since my husband always makes his own roux. However, there is roux mix for sale in lots of stores; some powdered, some in pint jars already cooked (which I like the best). So take your pick, but you'll need about a pint of roux.

Ingredients:

Roux:
½ cup shortening
½ cup water
Stir together and cook in large cast-iron skillet for half-an-hour, stirring constantly

Other Ingredients: 
1 whole chicken
1 lb. smoked sausage
1 lb. crawfish tails (found in the frozen seafood section, if you don't have your own leftovers from a crawfish boil, as we do)
1 lb. medium shrimp (if desired; if no crawfish available, use at least 2 lbs. of shrimp)
1 stick butter or margarine
2 bunches green onions (chopped)
2 large green bell peppers (seeds removed; chopped)
Salt and pepper to taste
Zatarain's Creole Seasoning (to taste, but taste often, can be salty if overused)
Louisiana Hot Sauce (to taste)
Gumbo filè
White rice

Cover the chicken with water and boil, adding more water as needed. Cool. Skin and de-bone, keeping the broth for the gumbo. Tear the chicken into bite-sized pieces.
Melt the butter/margarine in a large skillet. Sauté the onions and bell peppers for about five minutes.
Cut the smoked sausage links on an angle into 1/8 inch thick slices.
Bring the chicken water back to a boil.
Add onions, bell peppers (along with the butter/margarine from the skillet).
Add the de-boned chicken, smoked sausage, crawfish tails, and/or shrimp.
Add the roux mix according to directions. If you use the powdered mix, mix it with the chicken broth, not water. Add more water if necessary. The mixture should be medium thick and a nice, dark brown.
Add salt, pepper, spices, hot sauce (to taste and taste after each add).
Simmer low for at least an hour.
Cook enough rice for six people.
Serve gumbo over rice, along with filè for more seasoning

This makes a scrumptious meal with cornbread



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

“I left it open,” he said in a frantic voice. “Who shut it? We have to get back in there!” I glanced overhead. The transom was closed. The thud of Danny’s shoulder drew my attention, and the door shattered off its hinges. He dragged me after him – straight over under the poor woman’s hanging body – and ordered, “Wrap your arms around her and try to hold her up some.” Stifling my distaste, I did as Danny said. He climbed onto a chair he’d already pulled over beside the woman. Thank the Universe I still had on my coat, so it absorbed any still wet blood… except where my hands touched her bare legs. I also tried to ignore something else I’d only read about in research, never experienced. The poor woman’s bowels had evacuated. Somehow Danny managed to get the rope loose from her neck. Her weight staggered me, but Danny quickly took the burden off me when he climbed off the chair. For an instant, he stared down at the body lolling in his arms, then appeared to control himself and carried her over to the bed, where he laid her down.

Alice is a writer. She is also the proud owner of a home full of paranormal residents. She and her Aunt Twila and friend ‘Granny’ have become quite well known for their ability to talk to ghosts and make them understand that if they won’t go through the light then they will behave or be banned to places where they can’t bother humans. For her own residents she has come up with what she calls ‘The Howard and Alice Ghost Agreement.’ Howard, being her Head Ghost has been put in charge of the other paranormal cohorts within her domain.

Alice received a call from Twila telling her they were to travel to Red Dollar, New Mexico, stay at the Red Dollar Hotel and bring the ghosts there under control so the hotel could sell. It appears the ghostly residents have been causing trouble whenever the real estate agent brings potential buyers by. Furniture has been thrown around, doors slammed, the signs destroyed, all scaring anyone off from wanting to buy. Their job is to create an agreement for the hotel ghosts. So off take Alice, her dog Trucker, her cat Miss Molly and Granny to spend a few days in the beautiful Red Dollar Hotel.

For the travelers, trouble starts in the beginning. There is a storm that has set in delaying Twila’s flight. They get to the hotel only to find a woman hanging in one of the rooms leading Alice to the conclusion she had been murdered since her hands had been removed. A ghost that had appealed to Alice before leaving home suddenly appears again at the hotel. She encounters a ghost that is not only smelly and dirty but also has a mean streak, especially when it comes to cats. Alice’s police ex-husband shows up for what she feels is no reason. And then there is True who was shot in the back of the head after winning the hotel in a poker game over 100 years before. True refuses to pass over and ends up reliving his shooting every night. All of this plus the discovery of a possible black conven working the area have the little group a real fix.

Dead Man Hand is a book I couldn’t put down. The more I read and the closer I got to the end, the more I wanted it to just keep going. I didn’t want it to end. I’ve enjoyed it so much that I must go back and read Dead Man Talking and Dead Man Haunt, the first and second books within this set. Author T. M. Simmons keeps you going with her style of writing.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Bitten - Dan O'Brien, Author

 
Rich and Squidgy Chocolate Cake
(A O'Brien Special)
 
Ingredients:
2 cups flour
1 cup softened butter (or margarine)
1 cup milk
2 eggs
2 cups cocoa
1 1/2 cups sugar
 
Directions:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 320°.
2. Cream the butter with 1/2 cup of the sugar.
3. Add the eggs a little at a time. If the mixture begins to curdle, simply mix a little flour into it.
4. Once all the egg has been folded into the mixture, add the flour about 1/2 cup at a time until the batter is smooth.
5. Place the cocoa and the remaining sugar into a separate bowl and pour 1/4 cup of boiling water into it. Stir until fully combined.
6. Add the cocoa paste to the cake batter and fold gently until combined.
7. Add a little of the milk and stir gently. Repeat until there is no milk left.
8. Pour batter into a greased cake pan, and bake for 1 hour or until a knife no longer comes out wet. (The mixture may still stick to the knife when it is done - but it should a have a fudgy appearance.)
Serve with cream.
 
 
Bitten – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat and A Book and A Dish
 
“Agent Lauren Westlake.  Yes, I know about you Agent Westlake.  What are you an agent of I wonder?” posited the woman quizzically.  “Right.  So yeah, anyways.  About the creature?”  The woman folded her hands across her lap and sat back.  “There are many creatures in this world, Lauren of the Lake Tribes of the West.  My question is what are you an agent of?  We all represent something in this world.  What do you represent?”  Lauren looked at the woman strangely, feeling claustrophobic.  “I am an agent of the federal government,” she replied mechanically.  The woman was not convinced with the answer.  “That is to say you are an agent of a rock, Lauren of the Lake Tribes of the West.  Would you like me to read your life?”  “My life?  Lake Tribes of the West?  I thought you had information about the creature.”  “I have information on a great many things, Agent Westlake.  What information do you have for me?  Nothing in this life is free.  A cycle of reciprocity, surrounded and envelopes us, even if we do not see it.”  Lauren gripped the edge of the chair, lifting her body.  “I think there has been a misunderstanding.  I thought you had something to tell me…”  The woman waved the agent down with a quick movement of her hands.  “Let me begin then.  I am called Hecate.  I serve as the guide from this world.  Not the only guide mind you, but a guide nonetheless.  I am an agent of wisdom and of truth.  And you, daughter of the Lake Tribes of the West, what are you an agent of?”
 
Federal Agent Lauren Westlake had been in Locke, Minnesota for just a few days and she is now conversing with a another crazy woman.  The first was Madeline Leftwich who for years sat every night at the train station waiting on her mother to pick her up.  Now Madeline is dead and the particulars of her death are what keeps Lauren in her seat as she listens to the puzzling comments coming from Hecate.  Madeline, as well as another woman found at the lake, had both been murdered by what appears to be the same ‘person.’  Both were mutilated with patches of skin removed.  After catching a glimpse of what Lauren believes to be the murderer, she is convinced it isn’t a person she’s perusing but a monster of some type.  From what she saw, it’s large and it’s hairy.  Definitely not human.
 
Dominic McManus has had his own encounter with Hecate.  She has given him hope for the future.  She has ‘read his life’ and assured him that there will be someone coming that will help him.  But Dominic sees his time running out and needs help fast.  Could Lauren possibly be the one he’s been waiting on? 
 
While reading Bitten, I felt as if I was reading a possible script for one of the supernatural shows on television involving vampires and werewolves.  I also felt that it might even be a script for Criminal Minds.  This book would fit both.  The questions I kept asking myself as I read were – is this monster a werewolf?  - is Dominic the monster?  - could it really be just a crazy maniac?  And then I would tell myself – if this book were made into a movie I would spend more time hiding my face from the screen as a got the heck scared out of me.  Bitten is a true thriller!

 
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