Thursday, January 31, 2013

Road Trip - Mari Sloan, Author

$1000 Split Second Cookies
(Mari's favorite cookie)

Sift: 2 cups plain flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
Cream: 2/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup soft margarine
1 egg
2 tsps. vanilla
Combine the dry mixture with the wet mixture. Roll into a large ball then divide that ball into four equal parts. Roll each part into a long roll, then flatten each roll with the heel of your hand, leaving an indentation on the top of each roll. Fill each indentation with your favorite jelly, fancy or plain according to the occasion. Be inventive! Place the flattened rolls 4" apart and 2 " away from the edge of a cookie sheet, and bake at 350 degrees until light brown. When cool, cut into strip cookies and dip in granulated sugar if you want. Enjoy a cookie loved by all of the children I have ever known and my own personal favorite.
Road Trip – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish
"Molly was the only person who knew what really happened in the cave and Anna realized she was never going to tell. When asked, Molly met her eyes with a dark, glazed look and walked away. Not one more word was ever said about J. D. by her; not about J. D. or the man he had killed – the itinerant preacher serial killer Charlie Callahan, whose hobby had been collecting and mummifying human heads. They both disappeared. Neither came back, and the residents of Beaufort Falls didn’t care. Gone, they made a better story, and one that grew each time the wind rustled the limbs of the ancient water oaks that lined the road to Sicily." -- From Road Trip.
After the murder of their mother, brother and the death of their father, Molly and her sister Tessie were taken in by Anna Johnson a one-time social worker. Anna adopted Tessie but Molly refused her offer to adopt her. She had always felt as though she wasn’t a real part of the family and it showed in her actions both at school and out. And when she met Charlie, who introduced himself as her uncle and told her that her real father lived in California and had sent him to fetch her, she made up her mind to leave just shy of her 18th birthday and find out just who she really was. Then she runs into the little man at the cemetery. He’s naked, seems lost and Molly can’t help but take him under her wing naming him Al. After finding an old truck in the junk yard, getting it running, hitching up an abandoned pink trailer, the 3 head west only to find their little group growing as they go… Roger the ‘Apple-Cheeked Bandit,’ Harry who has no idea who he is, Tu the Oriental prostitute who has been paying off her family’s debts and then there is the ‘black cat.’ Each member of the group seems to be carrying their own problems but together they make up a pretty good team. That is until Tu is grabbed by gang members who have been sent to retrieve her and something makes one of the members disappear, I think it might have been the cat. Disaster seems to follow in the wake of this caravan no matter where they go. Why? Is there something unnatural about someone in the group? Who is Charlie really and why does he carry around that canvas bag? Who is Al and where did he come from? Who is looking for Tu? Who is Harry and will he get his memory back? And who let that black cat into the group?!
Some time back I read Mari Sloan’s book Beaufort Falls and loved it. It was one of those books that you just have to force yourself to put down. Road Trip is even better. As each character was introduced I knew there had to be a connection but couldn’t seem to guess what it might be. The connections finally started to come together but then a new character Rick was introduced and it was Rick that put the whole story together. This book has drama but with humor. It’s so well written that even if it’s farfetched, you can still picture every event and character as they unfold. Mel Brooks needs to check this one out.

Monday, January 28, 2013

The William S Club - Riley Banks, Author

Australian Meat Pies
(A Banks Special)
2 tablespoons of oil
2 medium onion, finely chopped
2 clove garlic, minced
1 kilogram minced beef
4 tablespoons plain flour
4 teaspoons mustard (dry or jarred is fine)
½ cup of ketchup or tomato sauce
2 tablespoons of worcestershire sauce (optional)
4 cups beef stock
1 teaspoon mixed herbs
8 sheets ready-rolled shortcrust pastry
8 sheets ready-rolled puff pastry
egg yolk, lightly beaten
Makes 16 individual pies or 4 family pies.
Preheat overn to moderately hot. Heat oil in a pan and cook onion and garlic over medium heat until cooked through.  Add minced beef to pan and cook through until browned. Add flour, mustard, ketchup, herbs and worcestershire. Cook for 1 minute.  Add stock and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and let simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes or until the mixture has reduced and thickened. Remove from heat and allow mixture to cool.
Cut the shortcrust pastry to fit the base and sides of your tin. You can use pie tins, muffin ties or other tins here. Individual pies are best but you can use this recipe to make a family size pie. Divide the cooled meat mixture between the pastry shells. Brush the edges with beaten egg yolk. Cut tops for the pie from the puff pastry using a slightly smaller bowl or plate than you did for the bottoms. Place over the top, press edges to seal and trim away excess pastry. Brush top of pastry with egg yolk. Using a sharp knife, make two small slits in top of each pie.
Place in over and bake for 15 minutes or until golden.
Serve pies hot with ketchup or tomato sauce. Can also be served with mashed potatoes or fries.
The William S Club - Review by Martha A Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish
Damon’s grandfather pulled a heavy brass key from around his neck. For as long as he could remember that key had hung there, a visual reminder of a lifetime of secrets. ‘I want to know the moment she boards the plane,’ his grandfather said. Damon nodded. Not like he had any other choice. Fresh rain pelted the double glazed windows as the key clinked in the lock, echoing across the Spartan dining room. The house had become more mausoleum than home. Behind the wooden door lay a metal door; the kind used by bank vaults. It protected a flight of stairs that led to the basement. Not that Damon Harvey had ever been down there. The basement was forbidden to all but The William S Club. As a child, Damon spent hours pondering what lay behind that door. Now he didn’t care. Let them have their secrets. As long as they left him alone.

What began as a derogative term to explain the tight, inner circle of firstborn Harvey men became a badge of honor worn by each consecutive William Sydney Harvey including Damon’s older brother, BJ – Bill Junior – older by a whole minute and a half. But The William S Club were not without their secrets, the biggest one hidden in the basement. Only one brave man had discovered that secret; Paul Baker, a former employee of Harvey Enterprises. And Paul paid the ultimate price for his discovery – he lost his wife, his daughter and his freedom, spending twenty years in prison for a crime he did not commit. Now out of prison, Paul is determined to find his daughter, Victoria, and prove his innocence. But finding Victoria will be harder than he thinks. She changed her name and fled Australia the first chance she got, distancing herself from her father’s criminal past and her mother’s apparent suicide. Paul has no idea his daughter is being used as bait to draw him out or that Victoria, or Charlotte Burke as she is now known, is a guest on the Harvey’s wine and dine press trip. There is only one way Paul can save his daughter’s life – retrieve the documents his wife hid. But first, he must find them.

When I agreed to read The William S Club I didn’t realize that one of its tags was erotic, which isn’t my cup of tea and since I don’t read other reviews nor comments before reading a book I’ve found myself reading something that just doesn’t fit my suspenseful mind. Well, The William S Club is a book that can claim the tag of erotic but I have to say from the very beginning the suspense grabbed me and wouldn’t let go. I was so hooked that I decided I could live through the erotica which actually came a little later in the book. I found myself reading every page in the hope of finding out just what the Harvey men were hiding. What was so precious that they not only killed outsiders for but family members too. It took me to within the last few pages to find my answer and I was completely surprised. I had ventured many guesses but none were correct. Their secret was something so different that I would have never been able to come up with it on my own. This is a true suspense novel with some erotic sex along the way.



Friday, January 18, 2013

Time Out - Mary Allen Sochet, Author

Latkes in honor of Moishe.
1 pound potatoes
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup olive oil

Accompaniments: sour cream and applesauce

Preheat oven to 250°F.
Peel potatoes and coarsely grate by hand, transferring to a large bowl of cold water as grated. Soak potatoes 1 to 2 minutes after last batch is added to water, then drain well in a colander.
Spread grated potatoes and onion on a kitchen towel and roll up jelly-roll style. Twist towel tightly to wring out as much liquid as possible. Transfer potato mixture to a bowl and stir in egg and salt.
Heat 1/4 cup oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Working in batches of 4 latkes, spoon 2 tablespoons potato mixture per latke into skillet, spreading into 3-inch rounds with a fork. Reduce heat to moderate and cook until undersides are browned, about 5 minutes. Turn latkes over and cook until undersides are browned, about 5 minutes more. Transfer to paper towels to drain and season with salt. Add more oil to skillet as needed. Keep latkes warm on a wire rack set in a shallow baking pan in oven.
Cooks' notes:·Latkes may be made up to 8 hours ahead. Reheat on a rack set over a baking sheet in a 350°F oven, about 5 minutes.
·Grating the potatoes, soaking them briefly in water, and then squeezing out the liquid (as we've done here) keeps the batter from turning brown too quickly.
Time Out – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish
I never thought
it would turn out this way.
Growing old,
fat, wrinkled, gray.
Going to funerals
way more than weddings.
Watching our friends’ children die.
When we were kids
back in the North Country,
we would twirl our way
up Broad Street,
heading home
from the movies
and Confession
on Saturday afternoons.
Everything seemed
so easy, so clear
The movies ended happy every after,
The priest gave
short penances.
Three Hail Marys
One Our Father.
A piece of cake
As I read Time Out I couldn’t help but relate to many of the memories Author Mary Allen Sochet brought to my own mind. She talked about her life with Marvin, with his ability to never be on time, how he stood up for his rights and the rights of others, and how this standing up even landed him in jail at the age of 75. You see, Marvin was a ‘baby boomer’ that grew up during the times of flower children, hippies and the Viet Nam War. Through her writing I can picture the protests, changes in time, the changes in values and the changes in ourselves as we grow old. I can see these because I too am a ‘baby boomer’ that lived through these times. Some were happy, some were sad and some were simply bad.
Time Out is a series of poem ‘stories’ that trace the author’s life from the beginning to the end with her beloved husband Marvin. In Time Out, Mary Sochet expresses her own way of coping with the ups and down of life and the death of a loved one. It’s one of the most touching books I’ve read in some time.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

One Rainy Summer - B. J. Robinson, Author


Squirrel, Rabbit, Shrimp, Sausage, Chicken Jambalaya
From the Kitchen of B. J. Robinson.
One rabbit or four to six squirrels
Two cups long-grain white rice
One onion
Two bay leaves
½ tsp. cayenne pepper
Salt to taste or salt substitute
½ tsp. Worcestershire Sauce
½ tsp. Kitchen Bouquet
Tony Chachere's to taste
1 clove garlic
1 bell pepper
One large pot
Brown or sauté meat in a small amount of oil. Wash rice and add two cups with four cups of water. Dice onion and garlic and add. Add other seasonings to taste. Add others or delete ones you may not like. This is a catch-all recipe for a one-pot meal and types of meat may be substituted. You can combine smoked sausage and chicken or use only smoke sausage or only chicken. Sausage and shrimp or shrimp only is delicious. I think you could use this recipe with most any meat and be happy with the outcome. The recipe is flexible and adds variety to meals with meat of choice. You may also add a small amount of barbecue sauce or tomato sauce if you like it. Basically any seasoning you like may be used for seasoning to taste.
When my four children were young, I cooked many huge pots of jambalaya. It's so easy cooking everything in one pot. Cover with a lid and let simmer until all the water cooks out of the rice. I usually cook it on medium for a few minutes and when most of the water has cooked out, I turn the burner to two and finally to off and let the last small amount of water cook out while the burner is turned off. I have to be honest. I am a cook who doesn't really measure when I cook jambalaya. I use a sprinkle of that and a pinch of this, but I tried to estimate for your benefit. You can use boneless skinless chicken, but I used a whole fryer when I cooked it with chicken. Have fun. Be creative. Make it your own recipe. Surprise your famly with a new one-pot meal that is quick and easy to prepare. I cooked it on the stovetop, but you could probably use a crock pot or an oven casserole with some experimenting. I use long-grain white rice, but you could substitute brown rice. Now, I'm hungry for some good ole Louisiana jambalaya.
One Rainy Summer – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish

Quietly, I dragged a chair over the soft beige carpet, took my seat, and pulled aside the curtain. Granny stood at the bottom of the ladder with a man a full head taller, and the two of them headed for the woods on the side of the house. He held her hand, pulled her along after him, and focused a flashlight on the wooded trail that led to the canal. Granny, don’t you know you’re too old to be sneaking out windows and climbing ladders? What in the world’s going on? Granny was a grown woman. Why was she sneaking around with this mystery man? What was going on? Why was my honest, respectful, Bible-reading granny slipping out her bedroom window in the middle of the night like some teenager breaking curfew? I was determined to find out, so I jumped back into my bed and grabbed the heavy volume of Walden. No time to waste. Something was going on, and I knew this book and Granny’s journals held the answer. I made up my mind that this was one puzzle I’d stick with and solve.

After her father's death, Hope and her mother went to live with her Granny in the beautiful Sunshine State of Florida. She loved it. Her best friend Matthew lived next door and the two of them spent hours in the woods, swamp and along the canals and lake. So when she spotted Granny sneaking out one night she knew it would be her job, with Matthew’s help, to find out the secrets that Granny had been keeping. Her first clue was found inside her Granny’s volume of Walden where she had hidden a picture of herself and a handsome man from earlier years and written notations within the margins of the pages. Her biggest clue came when she and Matthew were out searching for the man Granny had slipped out with. After finding him she discovered him to be the same man in the picture hidden in the book. So, who is he and why must they slip around to see each other. Who are they hiding from?

Hope ends up opening up more doors than she ever expected when she learns the true identity of Granny’s special friend Sandy. She also finds that the person Granny is apparently hiding Sandy from is Hope’s own mother. Now she has to find out why.

One Rainy Summer is a book of true love and God’s way of making everything turn out just the way it was supposed to. If you don’t believe in ‘things happening for a reason’ this book just might make you believe. The trust in God that Hope, Matthew, Granny and Sandy have for bringing happiness and love to everyone is written in a beautiful way. And as the story unfolded I couldn’t help but feel the love of the characters as well as the love God bestowed on each of them. A truly beautiful book.
B. J. Robinson makes her home in the Sunshine State, Florida, where she lives with her husband and pets. She's blessed with children and grandchildren, and Jesus is her best friend. Visit BJ Robinson at and check out her available books through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Sony, Kobo, and

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