Showing posts with label Martha A Cheves. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Martha A Cheves. Show all posts

Thursday, September 27, 2018

PS: I Love You: A Paranormal Romance - Maggie Tideswell, Author


Honey Cake (Amber's favorite)

1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 teaspoon orange zest
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup white sugar
1 egg
1/8 cup milk
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup water
1/3 teaspoon lemon juice


Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9 inch square pan. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and orange rind. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and 3/4 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the milk, mixing just until incorporated. Stir in the walnuts.
Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool for 15 minutes, then cut into diamond shapes. Pour honey syrup over the cake.
For the Honey Syrup: In a saucepan, combine honey, 1 cup sugar and water. Bring to a simmer and cook 5 minutes. Stir in lemon juice, bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes.


PS:  I Love You: A Paranormal Romance (Roxanne's Ghost Saga Book 2) - Review by Martha A Cheves


He should have brought his tools with him.  Without their aid, he couldn't hear the whispers clearly enough.  Turning, he looked back at Ben's house on the hill, debating whether he should go back to fetch them or not. The portal might shift in the time it took him - they were not absolutes carved in stone - and he'd miss the opportunity.  He'd have to make do without the tools and channel his powers of concentration that much harder.

Slowly walking toward the headstone because it seemed the logical place for the portal to be, he kept his mind open and blank, receptive to any words that might fall into it like seeds into fertile ground.  He sensed someone talking.  Choosing a spot roughly equidistant between the three headstones, he sat down and crossed his denim-clad legs, his hands open-palmed on his knees.  

As in book one of this series, Jessica is still at the home that had belonged to Ben and Roxanne where she had gone to take up the position of the Nanny to their daughter.  In this second book Jessica is tortured by the missing Roxanne's sisters, especially the twin who has her sight set on taking Roxanne's place in her marriage to Ben and becoming the mother of their child.  And the tale continues from there.

This book is one that kept me going as I tried to make the connections between Roxanne, Daisy, the sisters and Ben.  And when the connection did come through, it was one that I never guessed making it a total surprise!  If you like a good love story, if you like a good paranormal story, if you like a good combination of both - this is a must read book.  I loved it!  But, read book one - Goodbye, My Love - 1st so you have the full story from the beginning.  You won't regret it.


Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Read and Gone (A Haunted Library Mystery) - Allison Brook, Author






Double-chocolate brownies
Carrie often makes double chocolate brownies for family occasions
12-16 brownies


INGREDIENTS
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2  cup sugar (I prefer Sugar in the Raw)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 3/4 –1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (I prefer Ghirardelli chocolate chips)
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  •  1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
  •  

DIRECTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees; grease and line 8” square pan with parchment paper
  2. Stir eggs with sugar, vanilla and butter.
  3. Mix flour, baking powder and salt and stir into egg mixture.
  4. Add chocolate chips and nuts to mixture.
  5. Spread mixture evenly in pan.
  6. Bake 20-25 minutes. Test with toothpick. Brownies done when toothpick comes out slightly moist.
  7. Let cool, then cut into squares.

Note: if you like, you can melt the chocolate chips before adding them to the mixture.


Read and Gone - Review by Martha A. Cheves

Jim sat down at the kitchen table while I made up a plate with slices of turkey and ham.  I also warmed up a huge piece of lasagna in the microwave.  He ate quickly and neatly as usual.  My father was a thief, but he believed in good clothes and good manners.  When he asked me to serve him more, I knew he probably hadn't eaten since yesterday.  "Coffee?" I asked.  "Please, Black, two sugars."  "As always," I murmured before I could stop myself.  I was annoyed that I'd kept his habits close to my heart.  He shot me a grin.  "You remembered."  "Why are you here? I asked as I slipped a French roast pod into the Keurig.  "I need your help, Caro."  "Do you know Benton Parr, the jewelry?"  "I've met him since he's on the Library Board with Uncle Bosco.  And I've spoken to him a few times on the phone.  He's giving a talk Tuesday evening on 'Gems: How to Tell the Real from the Fake."  "Benton Parr's a thief!"  I started to laugh but immediately froze when I caught his furious expression.  "We nabbed seven million dollars worth of perfect loose stones.  My retirement fund.  Parr took the lot for safekeeping.  I've tried contacting him several times this past month, but he refuses to answer my emails and calls.  I'm afraid I need to ask you to act as a go-between and retrieve my share of the stones."

Carrie Singleton has had her father come in and out of her life for as long as she can remember.  She spent her childhood being ashamed of him while he served time in and out of jail.  Now, just a few days before Christmas, he has shown up at her home wanting her help to recover jewels that he and another man have stolen.  Who does he think he is?  She should just tell him to get lost, which she hopes he will do soon but not before he is attacked and hospitalized, leaving her to take care of him while he's in town.

The first book in this series, Death Overdue, was a very enjoyable read.  Carrie moved to her father's hometown and found herself a job working as the Program and Entertainment Director for the local library.  She also found herself becoming the major factor in solving a murder.  In Read and Gone, Carrie is again involved in several murders as well as the search for the jewels her own father helped steal.  The question is, was he involved in the murders too?

This book takes you around many curves.  There are many suspects to choose from, keeping the reader running from one to the other until the end.  I must say I was surprised.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Cassie's Tale - Brian Porter, Author



Slow cooked lamb shanks with roasted root vegetables recipe
(Perfect recipe for cold winter nights like when Cassie was found)

1 tbsp olive oil
4 lamb shanks
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 large carrot, finely chopped
2 celery sticks, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
4-5 thyme sprigs
1 chicken stock pot
500ml pomegranate juice
450g Tendersweet or Chantenay carrots, trimmed
300g frozen peas
handful mint leaves
3 tbsp pomegranate seeds (optional)

Cooked slowly, this easy lamb shanks recipe makes a great alternative to a Sunday roast or Easter lunch. Simmered in sweet, tangy pomegranate juice, the lamb shanks become meltingly tender and the sauce develops a rich, meaty flavour. Serve with mashed potato for a traditional feel, or some simple couscous for a hassle-free side.

Preheat the oven to gas 3, 160°C, fan 140°C. Heat the oil in a large casserole dish over a medium-high heat, add the lamb shanks and brown all over, turning with tongs. Once browned, remove the shanks to a plate and set aside.

Add the chopped onion, carrot, celery, garlic and a pinch of salt to the pan and fry for 4-5 mins until softened. Return the lamb to the pan, add the thyme, stock pot and pomegranate juice. Season to taste and bring to the boil, then cover, transfer to the oven and cook for 2 hrs.
Remove from the oven, turning the shanks over in the liquid so they cook evenly, and add the carrots. Return to the oven for a further 1 hr 30 mins or until the shanks are tender and the carrots are cooked through.

Transfer the shanks and carrots to a plate and discard the thyme sprigs. Set the casserole over a high heat on the hob and simmer for 10 mins or until the sauce has slightly thickened and reduced.

Stir in the peas, then return the shanks and carrots to the casserole. Allow to simmer for 3-4 mins until the peas are cooked and the everything is heated through. To serve, garnish with the fresh mint and pomegranate seeds (if using).

Freezing and defrosting guidelines
The cooked lamb shanks can be frozen if making ahead. Follow the recipe to the end of step 3. Leave to cool completely then transfer to an airtight, freezer-safe container, seal and freeze for up to 3 months. To serve, defrost thoroughly in the fridge overnight before reheating. To reheat and serve, place over a medium heat, stirring occasionally until the dish is heated through then continue to reduce the sauce and add the peas as in steps 4 and 5.



Cassie's Tale - Review by Martha A. Cheves

Cassie was found one rainy night when a lady named Linda heard cries and whimpering coming from the direction of the garden of a house she was walking past.  She stopped to try and discover where the noises were originating from and actually climbed the wall into the garden and there she discovered the source of the crying - a tiny, wet and bedraggled, shivering little pup with nowhere to go to get out of the rain.  Barely twelve inches long, she was a grey haired, little terrier with a long tail that curled upwards and with white 'socks' on the bottom of her paws.  After being passed to what was thought to be her 'forever' home, Cassie ended up being rescued yet again and ended up being taken in by Brian, Juliet and their 'pack' of four legged bundles of fur. Cassie's Tale is her story from her first rescue to date.

I've had dogs my whole life and when I read Cassie's Tale it brought back memories of each individually.  Cassie is so full of spirit with antics that make her unforgettable.  When I read about her being a ball thief and how she would take a ball away from dogs as large as a Rottweiler, Doberman or West Highland Terrier, it makes me think about my own West Highland who does the same.

When I read about her cow pat rolls, I remembered my poodle named Peaches who would head straight for the cow pasture when I took her camping with me.  She always looked for the biggest, freshest one she could find.  Thank goodness I also camped near a stream.

When I read how she was found, I remembered Tipsey who was living in a storage facility with nothing to eat and no place to get out of the summer heat.

And then she reminds me of my Soul Mate Jesse who chooses those he likes and when.  Fortunately for me, he really loves me and stays at my side always.

All-in-all, if you're a dog lover you can't help but enjoy this beautiful book about Cassie and her ups and downs.  If you aren't a dog lover, who knows, after reading this you must might become one.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Never Say Goodbye - Richard Parker, Author

Releases August 14, 2018

TOM FABIAN DEVILLED EGGS

Makes 8 (16 halves)

Ingredients

8 eggs
3 tbsp chipotle mayo
Healthy sprinkle of smoked paprika (better depth of flavor than ordinary paprika)
Healthy sprinkle of garlic powder
1 tbsp chopped fresh chives
Sprinkle of salt
Sprinkle of white pepper
(Tsp of English mustard if you want them even hotter)

Directions

Boil eggs for 10 minutes. Tip away hot water and add cold. When they're cool, peel off shells and cut each egg in half
Scoop out yolks and put into a bowl. Add all ingredients and mix thoroughly with a fork. Spoon or pipe back into each egg half. Sprinkle eggs with a little of the smoked paprika to decorate.



Never Say Goodbye - Review by Martha A. Cheves

"Whiting hadn't made any connections between the four victims.  Each one had been murdered in a different area of the city."  Metcalfe consulted his note.  "First was female - an affluent black law student, second was a white, mail, middle-aged taxi driver.  Third a white teenage girl who worked in a supermarket and the fourth a geriatric white female, Janet Wells.... "But no witnesses."... "no.  First victim was attacked in a car park at night, second under a railway bridge, third in the garden.  Janet Wells was the first victim of a break-in.  As far as we know, the attacker wasn't interrupted on any occasion."  

DCI Alec Metcalfe has just updated Detective Tom Fabian of the latest information on victims that seem to be randomly chosen.  Each is stabbed several times, hopefully killing them, before they are stabbed with a knife to the face mutilating their facial features.  None of the victims knew each other nor had anything in common.  So, why were they chosen?

This was another of those books that took me all the way to the last few chapters before I was informed as to who and why!  I had one suspect at about 70% into the book but found that I was totally wrong and totally shocked as to who and why.

If you want a great suspense, murder mystery, I have to recommend Never Say Goodbye .  It held my interest to the extent that I finished it in under 5 nights!  Yep, that good.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

The Doctor's Tale - Claire Applewhite, Author



Creamy Tuscan Garlic Chicken

1½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 cup heavy cream
½ cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
½ cup parmesan cheese
1 cup spinach, chopped
½ cup sun dried tomatoes

INSTRUCTIONS
In a large skillet, add olive oil and cook the chicken on medium high heat for 3-5 minutes on each side or until brown on each side and cooked until no longer pink in center. Remove chicken and set aside on a plate.

Add the heavy cream, chicken broth, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and parmesan cheese. Whisk over medium high heat until it starts to thicken. Add the spinach and sundried tomatoes and let it simmer until the spinach starts to wilt. Add the chicken back to the pan and serve over pasta if desired.

The Doctor's Tale - Review by Martha A. Cheves

Did anything I did make a difference?  I didn't know what I believed anymore.  I saved the life of a desperate woman with no future, and impulsively ended the lives of two others.  While I climbed the steps to my apartment, one thought ran through my mind:  I ended three lives.  At that moment, I could not ignore my over-whelming doubts.  Had medical school been the worst decision of my life.  Was I meant to become a physician?  Like a dead animal, the pungent odors of Division Sixteen festered in my mind.  Over and over, I heard Freeman's cruel wisecracks, the drone of Skelton's lectures, and Mrs. Raines' desperate pleas.  If I did not become a physician, what else would I do?  "Plan B" did not exist.  Could I face another day?

You've just met Thomas Anthony Spezia, Intern at City Hospital.  He made the decision to become a doctor after repairing the broke wing of a bird when he was just a child.  Now he finds himself facing some of the worse decisions he has ever faced.  How does a doctor make the decision of helping someone live as opposed to allowing them to die?  Which choice will allow you to live with yourself?  Which is best for the patient and which is best for you?

The Doctor's Tale is full of life and death.  It takes you on a journey that only a doctor can understand, and only then after many years of experience.  The events that take place had me wondering how I would have reacted if faced with the situations that many doctors are faced.  It has made me stop and think about my own doctors.  I've always seen them as my healers but never given much thought to me being just one of their patients.  Me being just one of their problems.  And me being just one of the decisions they must make every day.  This book was a real eye opener.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Snow Drive - Bobby Nash, Author


Easy Taco Soup

Ingredients:
ground beef
taco seasoning
water
whole kernel corn
black beans
pinto beans
crushed tomatoes
tomato sauce
onions
salt
pepper
cheese
sour cream
salsa

Cook beef and onions until no longer pink. Drain the grease. Add crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, taco seasoning, salt, and pepper. Mix well. Add water to fill pot. Bring to a boil. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered until heated through or beans are soft to your taste. Stir occasionally until ready. Serve with cheese, sour cream, and/or salsa topping.

Snow Drive - Review by Martha A. Cheves

"Last year, Oliver Simcoe asked me and Tommy Yates to join one of his engine trials.  His company designed a new engine that was supposed to be more fuel efficient for less pit stops, more environmentally friendly, which makes for great P.R., and faster because every driver wants to win.  I was reluctant.  I hate these type of trials.  Would never do another if I had a choice, but Oliver was persuasive.  The money wasn't bad either.  We bought a new car and trailer with what they paid for my time. The engine did what it was supposed to do, but there were some bugs involved that bothered me so I voiced those concerns.  The engine tended to overheat faster than it should have.  On the track, in a race that lasts a couple of hours, that can lead to disaster.  A blown engine out there could get somebody killed, maybe even several somebodies.  I couldn't sign off on that, not until they fixed those problems.  That's what I told them."  

NASCAR owner and driver Grant Chambers has found himself and his son Chase being the target for too many 'accidents.'  Lucky for him, his security company was none other than Snow Security, and one of it's employees just happens to be Abraham Snow.  So when the latest accident almost cost Chase his life, Grant called in the team to solve the problem before whoever behind the accidents succeeded.

The first name on the list was that of Oliver Simcoe.  The man who threatened to put an end to Grant and his company after he reported problems with Oliver's new engine to the other drivers as well as NASCAR resulting in them being pulled until further investigations found the problems or cleared the engines.  But... Snow finds that after talking to other at the track, the problem might be a little closer to home.

I love this series of books.  They are actually two books in one.  The first is the investigative story while the other is Snow's ongoing story.  After being shot and almost dying, Snow retired as an undercover agent that was on the track of Miguel Ortega.  The agency had at first believed it to be just one man but now believe it is a group of men using the same name to keep them off track.  After his retirement, Snow moved back to Georgia and thought his cover was in tact.  Turns out he has been found and there is another hit out on him.

I'm looking forward to reading the next in this series where I understand Snow comes out of retirement and becomes actively involved, again, in the search for this group calling them selves Miguel Ortega.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Murder On Tyneside (Agnes Lockwood Mysteries Book One) - Eileen Thornton, Author



Slow cooker - Beef and Veg with a splash of red wine! (a large splash)
Serves 4

1lb Braising Steak - cut into cubes
1 Large Onion Chopped
2-3 Carrots Sliced
Frozen Peas
New Potatoes
Tablespoon Plain Flour
Dried Mixed Herbs
Beef Stock Cube (dissolved in half-pint hot water)
Salt and pepper for seasoning to taste

Add a small amount of cooking oil to a large pan and brown the meat
Add the chopped onion and cook for a few minutes before adding the carrots and peas.
Stir in the flour and the mixed herbs
Add the stock together with a the wine. (I said a splash, but let’s be honest,  about half a pint is better. 
Add salt and pepper to taste.
At this point you can add the potatoes - unless you would prefer to boil them separately - and bring to simmering point,
Pour the stew into the Slow Cooker. Cook for about 4 - 5 hours set on low or 3 - 4 hours on high.
Add more wine or water if necessary.


Murder On Tyneside - Review by Martha A. Cheves

Alan sighed, as he turned back to face into the room.  He had a case to solve.  But where did they start with this one?  Using his fingers, he counted off what the police knew.  One: there was a body.  Two: the victim had been shot and thrown from this window.  Three: there was no blood found in the room.  Four: the Scene of Crime Officers team had found no trace of blood in the entire building.  Five: According to the curator, the windows and doors were all locked before he went home that evening.  Yet the murder must have taken place here.  Why would anyone carry a dead body up here only to throw it from this window back down onto the street?  It just didn't make any sense.  And then there was the question of how they got in.

Agnes' mind was also working on the crime and how it took place.  She too decided to tick off the events on her fingers.  First there were robberies.  Then a woman, who happened to be staying at the hotel, was murdered, though her body was not found at the hotel.  Third, today they find that another guest could possibly be involved  in one- or even both of the crimes.  So what would be next?  She sighed.  This was as close as she had ever come to investigating a real crime and she wasn't going to be put off by the detective working the case, even if he was trying to keep her out of harm's way.  But where did she go from here?  What would be number four on the list?

Agnes Lockwood had been away from Tyneside for a number of years.  After the death of her husband she has decided to take some time and visit some of her childhood memories.  Agnes had chosen the Millennium Hotel for her stay.  It's views were beautiful and everything was up to date.  After checking in she decided to take a short walk around.  When she returned to the hotel she was surprised to find loud voices and a visit from the police.  Apparently someone had broken into one of the guest rooms and stolen an expensive necklace.  And this was just the beginning.

Chief Inspector Alan Johnson was assigned to the theft at the Millennium Hotel.  As soon as he saw Agnes, he recognized her from their childhood.  As children he had had a crush on her that ended when she and her family moved away.  Well, maybe some of the crush was still there.  In the back of his mind he seemed to hope so and even invited her out for a dinner of reminiscing.  That is when they found the body that appeared to have been thrown out of the window above.

I read for this woman several years ago and loved her work then.  And she didn't disappoint me with her writing of Murder on Tyneside.  Her technique of allowing you to follow the characters as they actually 'think' things through makes her writing different from most books I've read.  She includes the suspense, drama and mystery but also keeps the reading light with short chapters that makes it easier to keep turning every page to see what happens next.  I will admit that I had an idea of who the culprit would be but she made it difficult to be sure as she twisted the story to lead me in other directions.  Can't wait for Book #2

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.


Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Goodbye, My Love - Book 1 - Maggie Tideswell, Author




Traditional South African bobotie recipe
Serves up to eight people, but you can adjust it to make the recipe smaller.

Ingredients
1 fairly thick slice crustless bread (white or brown)
375 ml milk
25 ml oil
10ml butter
2 onions, sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
25 ml curry powder
10ml salt
25ml chutney
15ml smooth apricot jam
15ml Worcester sauce
5ml turmeric
25ml brown vinegar
1 kg raw mince
100 ml sultanas (don’t replace with raisins – they are too sweet; sultanas are much better for this recipe)
3 eggs
pinch each salt and turmeric
bay leaves

Cooking method
Soak bread in milk. Heat oil and butter in large pan and fry onions and garlic.
When onions are soft, add curry powder, salt, chutney, jam, Worcester sauce, turmeric and vinegar and mix well.
Drain and mash bread and reserve milk. Add bread to pan together with mince and sultanas.
Cook over low heat, stirring, and when meat loses its pinkness, remove from stove. Add 1 beaten egg, mix well, then spoon into a greased, 28 x 16 cm baking dish and level the top.
Beat remaining eggs with reserved milk (you should have 300ml, or a little more) and the salt and turmeric.
Pour over meat mixture and put a few bay leaves on top. Stand dish in a larger pan of water (this is important to prevent drying out) and bake, uncovered, at 180 degrees celsius for 1 hour or until set.
Serve with rice, coconut, chutney, nuts and bananas.



Goodby, My Love - Roxanne's Ghost Saga Episode 1 - Review by Martha A. Cheves

Ben dragged a breath deep into his lungs when he turned to Daemon.  "Okay, let's assume you find Roxanne and bring her home.  What form is she going to have?"  Millicent shared a look with Daemon.  "What do you mean?"  she asked.  "What I mean, Millicent, is simple.  Will she be as she was when I saw her last, or will she be a skeleton, or scarred and burned beyond recognition, or a puff of insubstantial smoke?  What form are you bringing her home in?"  He glared at his sister-in-law.  "Roxanne is dead, Millicent!" he bellowed.  "Get that into your head.  Roxanne is dead and she cannot come back, not as I knew and loved her.  Can;t you understand that?  I just want to remember he as she was, without you tarnishing my memories of her."

Jessica James has an appointment to meet with a Dr. Ben Arnold who has an Autistic child.  Her position will be the child's nanny.  From the looks of things Dr. Arnold wants to send her on her way and find someone else.  But, due to a 'pack' of dogs that greeted her she will end up having to stay at least for the night.

As the night goes on, Jess is faced with a mattress that seemed to be talking, an owl that appears to be watching over her, a physic who wears a dress, and three sisters that have come to the house insisting that  Ben's wife Roxanne isn't dead and they will be bringing her home.  On top of all that, Jess has started having her own visions of a woman named Daisy.  Did I forget to mention that this all takes place on Friday 13th?

When I started reading Goodbye, My Love I wasn't sure I would make it through to the end.  I don't really care for romantic books and this one was starting out on that line with full force.  But, I decided to give it a little longer and sure am glad that I did.  The romance turned into a full force mystery with a lot of paranormal mixed in.  Every page drug me deeper and deeper into the story, not sure what was going to happen next.  This book took me to the end and gave me no ending.  Just a promise of another book that will keep me going even deeper.


Thursday, June 28, 2018

Sink or Swim - Stacy Juba, Author



Quick and Easy Chocolate Creamy Graham Cake

Ingredients:
2 packages of French Vanilla instant pudding
1 small Cool Whip or whipped cream container
Box of graham crackers
Canned chocolate frosting
3 ½ cups of milk
Instructions:


Blend milk with the pudding mix.  Add all the whipped cream and stir until well blended. Set aside. Layer graham crackers on bottom of a square pan. Spread the pudding blend over the crackers. Top with another layer of graham crackers. Cover with chocolate frosting. Add sprinkles. (optional) Store in fridge and let set for a couple of hours.


Sink or Swim - Review by Martha A. Cheves


Under the show's set-up, twelve contestants had competed in four teams.  The crew awarded marks based on skill and neatness, with team members pooling their numbers to win privileges like movie nights or dinners in the officers' mess.  Every Monday, a low-scoring contestant walked the plank and went home on a rendezvous ship.  Cassidy had lasted until the final cut. 

Cassidy Novak was one of the contestants on the reality show Sink or Swim.  She didn't like losing at anything, especially when there was a million dollars at stake.  But lose she did coming in at second place.  Her dream of opening a chain of gyms with her as the fitness instructor has come to an end.  The only thing she can do now is go to her dull life in Garrett and hopefully make enough money to pay her bills.  But... life was to never be the same again.

As with all the cast members, Cassidy had received her share of fan mail.  There were those from her admirers and even a gift here and there.  Then she spotted the Raggedy Ann doll, just like the one her father had given her before he ran away from Cassidy and her mother never to be heard from again.  And then came the 'love' letters expressing the love and devotion of someone who signed everything with the name Miles.  As time goes on, Miles becomes more than a want-to-be lover.  He becomes her stalker.

This book has several twists and turns.  As Cassidy received a hint as to who this person might be I started believing she might be right.  All of her suspects had the perfect opportunity and reasons but which one was it?  I was surprised to the end!


This is a very enjoyable book to read.  I found myself wanting to read 'just one more page' before going to bed.  Can't wait to read more by this author.


Monday, June 4, 2018

The Acorn Stories (Acorn, Texas Book 1) - Duane Simolke, Author



Chicken Cashew at Chuck’s China Town
Recipe by Duane Simolke

Ingredients:
Boneless, skinless chicken breasts, marinated in Teriyaki sauce.
Vegetable oil, just enough to brown the chicken.
Finely diced carrots and onions.
Garlic or garlic powder.
For more spice and a Texas twist, add jalapeno slices or cayenne pepper.
At least 2 ounces of cashews.
Salt and pepper.

Marinate the chicken overnight. Dice it and brown in a frying pan with the carrots, onions, and seasonings. Add more Teriyaki sauce as it cooks. Chicken should be cooked through and tender. Just before it’s all ready, toss with the cashews.
Serve over rice or pasta.

If you don’t have cashews, peanuts work fine.

The Acorn Stories - Review by Martha A. Cheves

My name is Aragon Carsons, and I'm just going to state some facts.  People tell me a little more than they should.  Well, a lot more than they should.  Actually, people tell me way too much.  Or they say too many things where I can hear them, which is just the same as telling me, as far as I'm concerned.  Do they really think I won't share what I heard with anybody?  I mean, stories like these can't just sit on a shelf in somebody's brain.

The more I think about it, the more sure I am that my neighbors want someone to tell their Acorn stories, that they don't want to be just a small part of a small town in a big state in a big country.  People aspire to leave something behind other than babies, a mortgage, and a nasty rumor or two.  And they certainly want someone reliable tell it, like what my grandmother did when she chronicled the early folks of Acorn.  

So maybe I'll serve you up a few slices of Acorn pie.  There are enough words in my kitchens, enough stories in my cupboards - I'd like to work closets into this paragraph, but I certainly wouldn't want to strain a metaphor so early in my narrative - that I could find ingredients for several pies.  But I'll be choosy an pick out some of my favorites.  

And that is exactly what Aragon does in The Acorn Stories

When I was young we lived in a small town outside of Atlanta.  Everyone knew everyone and everyone knew everyone's business.  Way back then we even had what was called 'Party Lines'.  These were phone lines where several houses had the same phone line with each having a different number of rings so you would know when the call was for you or someone else.  But... if you quietly picked up the phone you could listen to all the gossip running around the neighborhood.  This book reminds me of that time.

The residents of Acorn didn't have the party line but they did spread the gossip.  As I read each 'story' I found myself remembering people from my past that would fit perfectly into Acorn.  Even if your town is small, it's large in its problems and these problems seem to become the talk of the town.

I loved this book and the memories it brought back.  So, if you remember the 'Party Lines' you can't help but enjoy this book.  If you are a bit younger than I am but live in a small town, you'll enjoy this book.  And if you're from a large town, read it and enjoy what you have missed out on.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Silently in the Night - Graham Clayton, Author



Double Chocolate Ghost Cookies

1 cup butter
1 1/2 cup white sugar
2 tsp Vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 Ghost pepper (fresh)
2 cups flour
2/3 cup of cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
2 cups of dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup of dry roasted unsalted almonds or 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Beat together butter, eggs, sugar, vanilla & Ghost pepper (remove seeds & finely dice & smash up the Ghost pepper) until fluffy.
Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda & into butter mixture until completely blended, fold in chocolate chips & nuts.
Drop rounded teaspoons of the dough onto ungreased baking sheets.

Bake 8-10 minutes, cool cookies on the baking sheet for 2 minutes before removing to cooling rack. Eat & enjoy.

Silently in the Night - Review by Martha A. Cheves


#1
She had ridden without lights for an hour and a half, fearful of barking dogs as she approached the house.  He'd been lying comatose on the sofa, induced by the barbiturates in the casserole.  She'd donned latex gloves and inserted a flexible rubber tube down his throat and loaded him up with a full bottle.  Enough to kill him without him recovering consciousness.  Then she'd put the note on the floor; the note which she'd spent an age producing, copying from examples of his handwriting she'd taken with her.  She'd kept it simple:  'Life is hopeless without her.  No point in going on.'

#2
James bit his lip.  It would be true to say that this time he felt fear.  He was about to meet a ghost; the ghost, in fact, of his cousin who had died at birth and apparently grown up in the neverworld of the hereafter.  It was, he thought, quite bizarre.

#3
Simon pointed his floater to the east and set the controls to 'cojoin'.  The orbicular machine moved across the lunar landscape without further bidding and Simon tried to relax.  He really was too tall for the floater, his bent knees almost shielding the control panel, but a job was a job and he needed the money if he was going to escape the dark side of the moon and return to the relative comfort of Earth.

Above I've given you just 3 samples of the types of short stories you'll find in Silently in the Night.  All are short and a bit on the dark side.  You'll find everything from ghosts to aliens to murders and all are filled with suspense and mystery, many without happy endings.   These stories might just keep you awake at night if you read too many before going to sleep.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Over My Dead Body (Father Frank Mysteries Book 2) - James R. Callan, Author



Callan's Oatmeal Cookies

Start with
            ¾ cup of butter
            ½ cup granulated sugar
            1 cup brown sugar
            1 teaspoon of baking powder
            ¼ teaspoon baking soda
            1 teaspoon cinnamon
            ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter until smooth. Add the sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and ground cloves and beat until mixed and smooth.
            2 eggs
            1 ½ teaspoons of vanilla
Now, mix in the eggs and vanilla until well mixed and smooth.
Next, if you have a good mixer, use it.  Otherwise mix by hand.
            1 ¾ cups of all purpose flour
            2 cups of rolled oats
After all of the above is well mixed in, then add and mix only enough to distribute the nuts and cranberries.
            1 cup pecans or walnuts
            1 cup of dried cranberries or Craisins
Use a teaspoon to put small mounds of dough on a cookie sheet and bake in a 375 degree oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.  Some like the cookies softer and some like them crisper.  You decide, or make a pan of each.

This will make about 5 dozen cookies, depending on the size of the cookie you bake.  If you have a  large enough mixer, you can double this recipe, cook half of it and put the remaining batter in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator.  Then, you can bake the rest tomorrow, yielding hot, fresh cookies on both days, with only one mixing.  Happy eating.



Over My Dead Body - Review by Martha A. Cheves


Mike shifted his focus to the priest.  "This big company, uh, Lockey Corporation, got a court order to condemn Mr. Cranzler's land to make way for a new shopping center.  He was very upset at losing his place.  His brother..."  He looked at his notebook.  "Ah, Randall Cranzler, found Sydney Cranzler dead this morning in his house.  The M.E. determined the deceased took an overdose of -."  He glanced at his notebook again.  "Digitoxin, a medication he used for his heart.  In fact, the pill bottle was completely empty, and tests showed his body was loaded with it, probably twice as much as needed to kill him.  Plus, the deceased left a suicide note in the printer output tray, saying he didn't want to live to see them bulldoze his house." 

Syd Cranzler was one of Father Frank's parishioner at the Prince of Peace Church.  When Detective Mike Oakley broke the news to the Father and Georgia Peitz, neither believed suicide was even possible.  Mike, on the other hand, believed what the M.E. had determined - Syd took his own life.  And after dealing with a representative from the Lockey Corporation, with his pushy tactics of trying to get the contracts signed for the shopping center, both Father Frank and Georgia were even more convinced they were right.  Now they had to prove to Mike that it was a murder, not a suicide.

I followed Georgia and Father Frank's leads in the hope of determining if it was murder and if so, who the murderer was, as well as who else was pushing the sale of the property.  As it seemed, Syd was the only property owner that didn't want the sale.  The others were all impatiently waiting on Syd's contract to be signed.  Then came the real problem.  After his death, the property was turned over to a new owner and the buyers now had to convince the new owner that this was best for everyone.

As close as I followed, I was still in for a surprise.  Bet you will be too.  And now that Father Frank has my attention, I'll be going back to read Book One, Cleansed by Fire.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Getting Even - Morgan St. James, Author



SLOW COOKER CHICKEN and MUSHROOM STROGANOFF
   Serves 4

Prep time: Approximately 5 minutes
Cook time: See below


Ingredients
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
8 ounce sliced mushrooms
1 8 ounce cream cheese, softened
1 (10½) ounce cream of chicken soup
1 envelope (1¼ ounce) dry onion soup mix
salt and pepper to taste
fresh parsley, chopped for garnish
1 pound large egg noodles for serving
Instructions
1.    Place the chicken in the bottom of a lightly greased slow cooker. Add the mushrooms. In a medium sized bowl add cream cheese, cream of chicken soup, and dry onion soup mix. Mix until incorporated and spread on top of chicken and mushrooms.

2.    Cook on low for 4-6 hours or high for 3-4. Serve over noodles and top with fresh parsley and salt and pepper.

Getting Even - Review by Martha A. Cheves

Kimmie, babe,  
I hope you're not upset that I took some of your stuff for my new pad.  I helped myself to a little spending money, too.  It was so cool that you left the password for the bank accounts by the computer, I own you.  It's sure been fun. 
Love ya always

When Kim returned home from five days at the Pacific Northwest Technology Conference where she was awarded the title "Woman of the Year", she had no idea that her whole world was about to fall apart.  That meant her job, her boyfriend and even her bank accounts.  Life as she has known it is no longer.  But, as always, life goes on, and so does revenge or in Kim's case 'getting even.'

Getting Even is an introductory book to Kim and what I hope will be some of her trusted friends in this series of books.  It is a quick, fun read and now I can't wait to see what kind of trouble she gets herself into in 'Ripoff'.

I think I've read everything Author Morgan St. James has written and I've never been disappointed and feel sure I never will.

 
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