Friday, July 29, 2011

A Deadly Hand - Carol Costa, Author

(a favorite dish from Carol Costa)

4  Boneless. skinless, chicken breasts
1 can artichoke hearts
1 package sliced fresh mushrooms
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sour cream
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Drain artichoke hearts and chop.  In bowl mix all ingredients expect chicken.
Place chicken in casserole dish.  Spread muxture on top of chicken.

Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for one hour or until chicken is done

A Deadly Hand – A Dana Sloan Mystery – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat and Think With Your Taste Buds – Desserts

“Slim pickins,” he said, letting his body slide into the reclining position against the sturdy dumpster.  He reached into another pocket of the filthy overcoat he wore and pulled out a pint-sized bottle of wine.  He held it up to the light.  It was almost empty.  Shrugging his thin shoulders, the man drank from the bottle, draining it in a few swallows.  Then, he struggled to his feet and pitched the bottle into the dumpster.  Turning around, the derelict suddenly realized that he was no longer alone in the alley.  A stocky figure dressed in a dark overcoat and a wide-brimmed hat had joined him.  “Hey, buddy,” the bum called out.  “Can you spare a dollar?”  The newcomer stopped and took a piece of currency out of his overcoat pocket and waived it at the derelict with a black-gloved hand.  Delighted by this gesture, the derelict stumbled forward to meet his benefactor.  With his eyes fixed on the currency, he didn’t notice that the stranger had taken out another object from another pocket.  The derelict was still concentrating on the currency, intent on making it his.  He made only the slightest sound of disbelief as the bullet entered his stomach…Satisfied that his prey was dead, the shooter stood back and looked down at the stranger who had just been murdered.  Then, the gloved hand reached into a pocket once more and withdrew the final item.  One by one they were dropped onto the lifeless man’s body.  Five playing cards from an ordinary deck were now a part of the murder scene.  The cards were the Ace, King, Queen, Jack and the Ten of Spades…a Royal Flush.’

Dana Sloan is an investigative reporter for The Globe.  Her boyfriend is Detective Al Bruno.  The combination of an investigative reporter and a police detective make for a very touchy relationship.  Dana’s boss Sam comes to her with his belief that his mentor and friend, retired reporter Leona had been murdered and not died of natural causes while living in the Peaceful Pines retirement home.  After talking to the director of the home, and   confirming that Leona was murdered, Dana decides to go undercover working as a receptionist for Peaceful Pines.  Bruno, who is busy trying to turn up clues as to who the “Royal Flush Killer” might be, doesn’t have time to listen to Dana’s suspicions.  Not even when the murder of a political figure’s wife seems connected to her investigation. 

While running on a shaky relationship to begin with, Dana is hit extra hard when Bruno ends up arresting her when he finds she has given refuge to his number one suspect in for the Royal Flush killings.  So, who is right?  Dana believes he is totally wrong in his suspicions and Bruno feels the same about hers.  Will this become a no win situation for both of them?  I’ll give you one clue…they are both wrong.

As I read A Deadly Hand, I was tossed from one suspect to another and like Dana and Bruno, I too was wrong.  This was an ending I simply didn’t see coming.  This is my kind of mystery!

251 pages
Avalon Books (Hardback)
Worldwide Mystery (Mass-Market Paperback)
ISBN# T978-0803497993

Thursday, July 28, 2011

My Life For Her - Robert Saniscalchi, Author

Blue Berry Pancakes

1) Two cups of Bisquick
2) Half cup of milk
3)Half cup of seltzer water
4)Two large eggs
5) One tablespoon of sugar
6) I cup fresh blueberries

Stir ingredients until blended.
Pour slightly less than one quarter cup fulls onto hot greased griddle.
Cook until edges are dry. Turn; cook until golden.
Top Off with butter and warmed maple syrup.

Can be served with eggs, bacon or sausage on the side.
My Life, For Her – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat and Think With Your Taste Buds – Desserts
‘Rob called Roy, “Beth Anne is missing!  She left the Hospital to meet us at the game and never showed.  Where the hell could she be at this hour?”
“Calm down Rob,” Roy replied, “I’m sure there must be a reasonable explanation for all this worry. She must have broken down on some back road.”…
Rob walked over to his car.  “Roy, I don’t know where the hell she is!  It’s not like her at all, missed the game and no calls.  Did she just disappear or decide to leave us?  I don’t understand why she would do that.   It just doesn’t make any sense.”…
They walked around checking for her car.  It wasn’t long before they found it.  Rob opened the door with his set of keys, the engine started with no problem.  Why was it still in the parking lot – it didn’t make sense.  The panic grew inside him; his hands were trembling as they checked around the whole hospital perimeter.  It was getting late and they still found no sign at all of Beth Anne.’
Rob Marrino is a happily married man with a wonderful wife, Beth Anne, and two beautiful children.  After serving as a field medic in Viet Nam, and with the encouragement of Beth Anne’s uncle Roy, Rob joined the police force in their home town of Pikeville.  Pikeville was the perfect place to live, raise a family and serve on the police force.  It was small, quiet and virtually crime free.  Then all hell broke out when Rob was cruising in his restored Mustang and was passed by a vehicle being chased by the a state trooper.  As Rob joined in the chase and knew things were kicking up a notch when he saw the gun being fired out the window at the trooper’s car. 
What turned out to be one of the biggest drug busts in the small town’s history also turned out to be one of the biggest nightmares in Rob’s history.  What he would end up facing was far worse than anything he had ever faced while serving in Nam.  Why?  Because it was happening to his own family, mainly Beth Anne. 
In My Life, For Her, Rob, along with his best friend Tex, is taken back into the jungles to defend what is his.  The two attempt to accomplish a feat that the government had failed in doing.  This becomes a time that all of their Viet Nam training kick back in with hopes that they will escape with their lives as well as the lives of others.  My Life, For Her was a book that kept me turning the pages and cheering for a miracle.
147 pages
ISBN# 9781451266825

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Renaissance - Sarah Tate, Author

Low Fat Chicken Curry
(A specialty of Sarah Tate)

Makes 2 servings
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
1 birds eye chilli
1 thumb ginger
2 chicken breasts
2 tbsp fat free yogurt
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp turmeric
1 tsp salt
½ tsp garam masala
1 tin tomatoes
1 tsp vegetable oil

peel the onion, garlic and ginger. chop the top off the chilli but leave the seeds in. put onion, garlic, ginger and chilli in magimix and whizz until finely chopped. Place half the onion mix in a bowl and mix in the yogurt. Cube the chicken and add to the yogurt mixture. Leave for 1/2 hour.
Meanwhile, in an oven proof saucepan heat smallest amount of oil you dare and add the rest of the onion mixture. Fry gently for 3 mins, stirring now and again. Add all the spices and salt. In the
magimix (no need to clean after onions) whizz the tomatoes. Add the tomatoes to the pan and cook on lowest heat uncovered for 1/2 hour.
Add the chicken and yogurt to saucepan stir and cover. Cook in preheated oven (180'c) for 40 mins. Thats it. Serve with rice.

Sarah Tate

Renaissance – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat and Think With Your Taste Buds – Desserts
‘My marriage had just fallen apart.  It wasn’t like I didn’t see it coming.  So why was I in complete and utter shock?  The warning signs had been blasting out at me in fanfare for the past…oooooh, six years, or so?  Why the hell didn’t I hear them.  What was wrong with me that I ignored it all for so long?  It was a hell of a wake-up call, discovering my fifty-four year old husband having cyber-sex with a twenty-four year old girl he’d met online.  I suppose I should be grateful to her in a way.  She gave me the shove I needed to finally take action and end a marriage that had been dead in the water practically from day one, if I’m honest.  But I hadn’t expected the tirade of emotions that would come when I finally discovered that it was him, and not me, who had gone astray.  Even until the very end, I had always (stupidly) believed he really did love me.  OK, I know, he had a funny way of showing it.  It’s one thing to make a declaration (or in his case, millions of declarations) of love.  It’s quite another to actually mean what you say and follow your words with honest and genuine actions.
Sarah Tate found herself in a position that so many other women (and some men) find themselves in and struggle to survive through.  Some make it and some fail.  Sarah was one of the lucky ones who simply wouldn’t give up.  What is Sarah’s problem?  She is ending her marriage to the man she thought she would spend the rest of her life with.  But to her surprise, she will not only have the responsibility to support and care for their 3 children but she will also be left with bills, taxes and commitments that he acquired by using her name.  So the struggle begins and so do the side-effects. 
In her book Web of Lies – My Life with a Narcissist, Sarah Tate opens her life to the world as she goes through an emotional roller-coaster with her husband Bill.  She becomes aware that he really isn’t the person she met, fell in love and started a family with.  In Renaissance she takes us, in detail, through the two year struggle to keep her own sanity as well as create some sort of normalcy within the lives of her three children.  A lot of this even takes place while still in the marital home with the husband living in the basement.  She takes you through the trials experienced as she breaks free from the toxic relationship that has threatened so many times to take her under.  The problems experienced while trying to explain to her two oldest daughters as to why their daddy isn’t in the home and why he doesn’t bother to visit.  She explains the importance of support not only through family but through friends and even therapy.  She takes us through the 5 steps to recovery – Euphoria, Disquiet, Denial, Despair and finally Release. 
In today’s time, the divorce stats are tremendously high and getting higher every day.  As I read Renaissance, I found myself relating to so many of Sarah’s problems and feelings of helplessness.  Whether you are or were married to a narcissist or not, I feel that just about anyone, male or female, can find something in common with Sarah and hopefully through reading Renaissance you will be able to see that you are or were not alone in your struggle and that her strength will help you to make the right choices for your own situation.
319 pages
ISBN# 978-1456388171

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Seventh Messenger - Carol Costa, Author

 Bean Cheese and Egg Casserole
(a Carol Costa favorite)

1 16 oz. can cut green beans
1 can condensed cheddar cheese soup
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
2 Tbsp. chopped pimento
6 hard boiled eggs, sliced
1/4 cup buttered bead crumbs

Drain green beans, reserving 1/2 cup of liquid.  In a bowl blend the liquid into the soup.  Stir in onion and pimento.  Spoon half of the sauce into a 1 1/2 qt. casserole dish.  Alternate layers of beans and eggs on top of sauce, reserving a few egg slices to garnish.  Cover with remaining sauce and sprinkle with bread crumbs.  Bake uncovered in a 400 degree oven for 10-20 minutes.  Garnish with egg slices and serve.

The Seventh Messenger – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat

‘Like obedient children the people formed a circle around Benjamin.  He closed his eyes and raised his hands to pray, but instead of the comforting words that the group expected, an agonized cry forced itself from Ben’s mouth and he fell to the floor.  Suddenly Benjamin seemed to go into a convulsion.  As the people gasped in fear, Mary ran forward to help her husband.  Her efforts to grab hold of him failed as he was rolling around thrashing his arms and legs and moaning and yelling words that could not be understood.  Mary was frightened and began to cry.  Then, as suddenly as the convulsion started it ended.  Ben lay quietly for a few seconds and then with the help of Jacob and Silas rose to his feet.  His face was streaked with tears and fresh tears were spilling from his dark eyes… Finally, he spoke.  “I was seized by the Spirit of the Lord, so that His truth could be spoken through me.  For the Lord revealed to me that Michael Mills is indeed a false profit, a heretic, and I, Benjamin Franklin Purnell, am the true Seventh Messenger.  It is I who will lead God’s people to the Millennium.  It is I who will lead you out of the strife of these awful times and into the light of peace and prosperity.  Michael has blasphemed and we have followed him, and God’s displeasure has silenced our voices and made us afraid to venture into the sunlight.”

Benjamin Franklin Purnell, along with his wife Mary, had joined the religious group that called themselves “Flying Rollers.”  But after the conviction of their leader Michael Mills for raping several of the group’s young girls, another leader was needed.  With his gift for talking, preaching and steering people to his way of thinking, Benjamin became that leader.

Benjamin moved his people to Benton Harbor, Michigan in 1903 and created what he would call “The House of David.”  The facilities grew with the addition of an amusement park, zoo, hotel, restaurant and even its own baseball team.  And as The House of David grew, so did the treasury which allowed Benjamin and Mary to live true to the names the people gave them which were King Benjamin and Queen Mary.

To become a member of the colony, applicants turned over all earthly items of value to The House of David.  They were to eat no meats and married couples were to live as brother and sister.  In other words, no sex was allowed.  But Benjamin was the king so his own laws didn’t necessarily apply to him.  He created what he called the Inner Circle which was made up of girls no older than 16.  These girls were to live under the roof of his home and he in turn would “purify them.”  After the age of 16 they would be sent to work in other areas of the compound.  Most of the girls kept their “purification” to themselves but one who found herself pregnant decided to bide her time while committing herself to the destruction of King Benjamin. 

The Seventh Messenger has been one of the most intriguing books I’ve read in a long time.  When I read that the story was inspired by the true story of Benjamin Franklin Purnell I had to check it out for myself so I Googled the name and found events and places just as they are depicted in the book.  I don’t remember the downfall of The House of David being publicized here in the south but I do remember another colony that did make the papers here for doing a lot of the same things.  It’s wonderful that a person can bring men, women and children to God but when they do it with selfish desires, it hurts those who are doing it just for the good of God.  This is a great book and I highly recommend it for interesting reading.  I totally enjoyed reading this book!

227 Pages
Anaphora Literary Press
ISBN# 9781463561024

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