Showing posts with label Marilyn Levinson. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Marilyn Levinson. Show all posts

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, 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.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

And Don't Bring Jeremy - Marilyn Levinson

Cauliflower Casserole
(A Marilyn Levinson Special)

1 medium head of cauliflower
1 red pepper
1/2 large onion
4 mushrooms
4 eggs
1/4 cup of milk or yogurt
2/3 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
3 tablespoons of slivered almonds
1/4 cup of bread crumbs
to taste:
fresh cilantro, cut up
fresh parsley cut up
red pepper flakes
1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese

Cut the cauliflower into small pieces. Discard core. Cook in microwave until still firm. (Shall we say al dente?) If done the day before, refrigerate cauliflower.  Spray a deep casserole with oil. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cut up and sauté the red pepper, onion, and mushrooms in olive oil, and set aside.  Beat eggs In mixing bowl. Add milk or yogurt, the cheese, breadcrumbs.   Mix together, then add the sautéed veggies and cauliflower.   Mix together, then add slivered almonds, fresh herbs, salt, pepper, and pepper flakes.   Mix and cover with Parm. cheese, a 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg and cinnamon.   Bake covered 40-50 minutes.

Be creative! Use broccoli instead of cauliflower, basil instead of cilantro, or a different kind of cheese. 

And Don't Bring Jeremy - Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish

I turned around to see what Eddie wanted.  
“We— Mark and Danny and me—well, we were thinking of going out for pizza before the game tomorrow.  At Gino's.  Want to come?”  
"Sure, why not?  I'll check with my mom and let you know."  I shrugged my shoulders, trying to shake the uneasy feeling that just took hold of me.  What was wrong?  
"Great.  Meet us there at twelve.  Bring your bicycle. Then we'll ride over to the field early and practice before the rest of the team comes”  
I suddenly knew.  “All right."  In spite of myself, Mom's drilling me to try to include Jeremy whenever I could won out.  "But is it alright if I— “ 
"And Adam—“
His voice cut across my question. "And don't bring Jeremy. Okay?"

Sixth grader Adam and his older brother Jeremy are new to the neighborhood, and Adam is finding it hard to make friends. When Adam joins a Little League baseball team, his mother sees to it that Jeremy, who has disabilities and no interest in baseball, is placed on the same team. Because Jeremy is awkward and always doing something to embarrass Adam, Adam is ashamed to have people know that Jeremy is his brother. When Eddie Gordon, the coach’s son, befriends Adam, he makes it very clear that he wants no part of Jeremy. 

Adam and Eddie spend more time together, and Adam finds himself saying nothing when Eddie calls Jeremy names and picks on him. Jeremy tells Adam that Eddie has done some bad things, but Adam defends Eddie. And then Eddie accuses Jeremy of ruining the sets for the sixth grade’s play. Adam learns a few home truths about Eddie Gordon and just how strong the bond between brothers can be.

When I started reading this book I felt the pain that Adam and Jeremy both felt. This book brings to light the emotions and difficulties children who have siblings like Jeremy must face.  Even though this is a book written for children/young adults, to me it is one that needs to be read by all young people who have a slower sibling. It needs to be read by all parents that have a child with any kind of handicap. It needs to be read by every teacher.  Actually... this book needs to be a #1 seller and read by everyone, young and old, whether you do or don't have dealings with a disabled or challenged child OR adult. I really feel it will help you to see that person in a totally different light. This isn't a hard book to read. I read it in 2 nights but learned a life's worth of knowledge.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Murder in the Air - Marilyn Levinson, Author

Johanna’s Fruit Mousse

1 cup crushed strawberries or peaches (if using peaches, remove peel)
 3/4 cup sugar (if canned or frozen fruits are used decrease sugar to at least 1/2 cup)
 dash of salt
 1 cup heavy cream, whipped
 2 egg whites, stiffly beaten

Mix fruit, 1/2 cup sugar and salt and chill thoroughly. Fold in whipped cream. Beat egg whites until stiff, then beat in gradually remaining 1/4 cup of sugar. Told into fruit cream mixture.  Pour into large bowl and place in freezer. Takes about 4 hours to get firm.  Makes about one quart.

Murder in the Air - Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish

Lydia Krause is present when the discovery of a body puts a stop to all work on the Twin Lakes' newest addition that includes a miniature golf course and putting green. The body is removed and sent to the lab, which estimates it was in the cellar between fifty and seventy-five years. There is no ID, but they determine that the remains are that of a male between thirteen and seventeen years of age.  As to what happened to him, why and how he ended up in the cellar is anyone's guess.

Lydia’s boyfriend Detective Sol Molina, who referred to her as "Miss Marple after her help in solving murders that took place in Twin Lakes a few months earlier, warns her to stay out of this investigation. And stay out is exactly what she plans to do. She has more important things to occupy her time, such as her job and attending the eighty-fifth birthday party for a friend and neighbor Daniel Korman. But that changes when Daniel visits her, hinting that he might know something about the body though apparently he isn't ready to share his suspicions. At his birthday party, Daniel announces his engagement to his beloved Evelyn, upsetting many members of his family. Daniel is a very wealthy man, and they see Evelyn as someone out for his money. Then the unexpected happens. The day after Daniel's party he is rushed to the hospital writhing in pain. Hours later he is dead.

Does someone want Daniel dead before he marries Evelyn? It appears that two of his three children are up to their ears in debt and could use his money.  But they don't know he has already changed his will leaving most of his money to Evelyn, to go into trust for his kids after she passes. That could prove to be a danger to her life.  

With all that is going on around Lydia, there is no way she will let her friends down and not try to get to the bottom of this situation, even though Sol doing his best to keep her from investigating.  She is one spunky 59-year-old lady. This is the second book I’ve read in this series. My first was A Murderer Among Us, which hooked me on the characters of Lydia and Sol. These books are light reading mysteries that are hard to put down. And despite the many books I read, I still had a hard time coming up with the truly bad guy until the end.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

A Murderer Among Us - Marilyn Levinson, Author

Blueberry Cake
(This is an easy cake to make with blueberries or apples)

1 stick butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup of flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla
dash of salt
1 pint of blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix all ingredients except the blueberries.  Spread dough in a greased 9 x 9 pan.  Top with blueberries.  Bake 40-50 minutes. 

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

"You're Warren Mannes, and you've no business handling anyone's money." 

Though she hadn't raised her voice, people sitting at nearby tables sensed something sensational was happening and paused in mid-conversation to gap and listen.  Lydia, usually so in control, was enraged - too outraged - to watch her words.  "You went to prison for stealing millions of dollars from people who gave you their trust.  Innocent people, whose lives you destroyed.  Not to mention that company you took down!" 

He gripped her arm.  "Stop it!  You've confused me with someone else." 

She jerked herself free.  "Oh, no, I haven't!"

"Lydia, get a hold of yourself!"  Peg hissed grabbing her other arm.  "You're spouting nonsense."

"I wish I were."  Her baby sister's face flashed in her mind, causing Lydia to winch in pain.  Here stood Warren Mannes, decked out in expensive clothes and a salon haircut, enjoying a lifestyle paid for with stolen money, while Allison lay dead in her grave!

After the passing of her husband, Lydia Krause moves to Twin Lakes, a five minute drive from her daughter, Merry, and her family.  The gated over-55 community is the perfect place for her to live out her retirement.  She'll be near Merry and her two granddaughters, yet close enough to the city to visit her younger daughter, Abbie.  But out of the blue pops Warren Mannes AKA Marshall Weill.  Six years earlier Lydia attended his trial and heard victims testify that Mannes had stolen their life savings.  Lydia's also convinced he sent her baby sister to her grave.  And here he is, acting as Financial Advisor to the Twin Lakes HOA.

After exchanging angry words with Mannes' wife, Lydia heads to the bathroom to calm down.  She overhears the retching sounds of someone being sick.  Out of a stall comes Barbara Taylor, a woman she met a week earlier.  Lydia helps Barbara to her car, and ends up driving her home and staying the night.  In the morning, Lydia returns home to find her beautiful Lexus has been badly damaged.  The hood is crumpled, a headlight smashed, and the windshield has been cracked in several places.   After calling 911, Lieutenant Detective Solomn Molina shows up and informs Lydia that her car was involved in a serious accident involving the death of a pedestrian.

This turns out to be just the beginning of Lydia's problems.  Now she's Suspect Number One for Claire Mannes' murder.  And where does Merry go those many days Lydia babysits her daughters?  Abbie has a secret of her own that will take her far across the Atlantic.  Another Twin Lakes resident is murdered, an attempt is made on Lydia's life, and all the while she's aware of her growing feelings for Detective Molina.

Now and then I find a writer who gives us, not the super macho main character, but the more down-to-earth, common, everyday main character who you feel you can actually relate to and who just might be your next door neighbor.  This is what I've found in Marilyn Levinson's style of  writing.  Her books are suspenseful but light-hearted at the same time.  I can pick up one of her books and finish it in three or four days.  It only takes that long because I have things to do in between reading.  I can't wait to read more of her work.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Murder a la Christie - Marilyn Levinson, Author

Honeyed Walnuts
(A favorite of Lexie)

1 cup finely chopped walnuts
3 Tbsp. honey
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine walnuts, honey and salt in a bowl.  Toss to coat, and spread in a single layer onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Bake, tossing occasionally, until toasted, about 15 minutes.  Let cool.

Murder a la Christie - Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish

"Write that book if you dare, but you won't live to see it in print!"  I stared at the two older women - the usually subdued Gerda Stein, her face flushed with anger, and my dear friend Sylvia - but neither seemed aware that I'd entered the kitchen.  Sylvia shook her head in dismay.  "I've no wish to upset you, but your father's story is the keystone of my book.  He was a Nazi, Gerda, and responsible for killing thousands of innocent people."  "I know what my father was!"  Fury made Gerda's German accent more pronounced.  "But I told you about him in confidence.  Not so you'd write about it and expose him to the world!"

Sylvia and Gerda are members of the Golden Age of Mystery Book Club led by Professor Lexie Driscoll.  The group will be discussing the works of authors such as Agatha Christie.  Lexie's walks in on Sylvia and Gerda's heated discussion just before the club's first meeting.  Hopefully the two will tone down their anger enough to get through the discussion and even contribute a bit.  This isn't to be.  When Sylvia starts to complain of stomach pain, the meeting is brought to a halt.  Sylvia dies, and Lexie suspects she's been poisoned.  She finds herself following Christie's methods of solving the murder of not one but several of the club's members.  Could someone be living out Christie's book And Then There Were None?

I loved this Author's style of writing.  It was like reading an Agatha Christie book in the way it kept me guessing.  I would come up with a suspect that actually had a motive only to change my mind when I found one that had an even greater motive.  I kept remembering the Christie books I'd  read in the past, and the murderer seemed to always be the one person I didn't suspect.  This made it hard for me to put this book down until I found the guilty person.  This was truly a fun read.

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