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

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.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

White Witch - Larry D. Thompson, Author



Miss Scarlett’s Rum Cream Pie

5 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup dark rum (may add a little more)
1 env. Unflavored gelatin
½ cup cold water
1 ½ cup heavy whipping cream
1 block of unsweetened chocolate
Chocolate cookie crumb crust – 9” (2 store bought shallow crusts or 1 large homemade crust)

Soften gelatin in ½ cup cold water for 10 to 15 minutes.  Heat gelatin to a boil (but do not boil), stir to dissolve and set aside to cool until just warm.  Beat egg yolks and sugar until light, stir in gelatin.  Gradually add rum beating constantly.  In a separate bowl whip cream.  Fold the pie mixture into the whipped cream, spoon into crusts.  Chill until cold.  Garnish with grated chocolate on top.

Chocolate cookie crumb crust

25 original Oreo Cookies or your favorite crisp chocolate cookie
5 tablespoons unsalted melted
1.      Finely crush the cookies in a food processor or in a plastic bag and roll the sealed bag with a rolling pin. You do NOT need to remove the filling from the Oreo.

2.      Stir the cookie crumbs and melted butter together with a fork. Press crumbs into the bottom of the pie plate.

White Witch - Review by Martha A. Cheves

Will, Manny, and Rodney met at the front of the Ritz promptly at ten and were met by a green hotel shuttle.  When the driver opened the door, he said, "Morning, gentlemen.  Looks like a beautiful day for golf.  You ready to take on the White Witch?"  "White Witch, what White Witch?" Rodney asked.  "That's the name of our golf course.  Named after Miss Annie Palmer.  Folks around here used to call her the White Witch."  "I saw some attractive young ladies drinking a White Wich cocktail in the bar last night.  She have her own brand of liquor, too?" Manny asked.  "No, suh.  She's been dead for about two hundred years.  If you don't mind, I really prefer not to talk about her.  Let's just say she's just a legendary figure in these parts.  Ask around.  Someone will tell her take, just not me."

Will, Manny and Rodney work for a company named Global American Metals.  Global has been given a permit to mine bauxite in Jamaica but the permit came with a cost in the amount of a bribe of $500,000.  Their CEO Alexa Pritchard has assigned Will Taylor as head of security and the more he hears about the mines and the destruction they will be doing to the rain forest, the less he likes working for Alexa.

As it turns out, the land to be mined was granted to the Maroons by King George II back in the 1700s.  But, the only proof of this is a treaty that must be proven as an original in a court of law.  This is something Alexa will fight to prevent from happening, no matter what the cost.

This book had me flipping pages.  After reading the Prologue I found myself going to the internet to research the information I would be reading.  My questions were: Was Annie Palmer the "White Witch" and her plantation Rose Hall real?  Was she a real witch?  Did she actually do the things she was accused of doing?  Is there really a group of people called the Maroons?  Was the land really granted to them by King George II?  And, were they able to keep their land?

As I found my answers to these questions and more, it made reading the book even better.  This book is one that will teach you some Jamaican history while keeping you engrossed in a great story.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Oney: My Escape From Slavery - Diana Rubino & Piper Huguley, Authors


Martha Washington's Famous Candy Recipe is a delicious no-bake treat. Martha didn't have a fridge or microwave, but Mt. Vernon winters were cold enough to put it out to chill.
Their open fire served as their microwave. A bit of elbow grease did the job of our electric mixers. 

Yields36

Chilling Time1 hr


Ingredients
3 cups pecans
2 cups coconut
4 cups powdered sugar
1 stick butter at room temperature
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 jar maraschino cherries, drained and pat dry
2 cups chocolate candy melts
Instructions
Place pecans and coconut into a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.
Using an electric mixer, cream sugar and butter together until light. Add milk and the chopped nuts and coconut and stir until well mixed.
Roll between your palms into small balls, forming each around a maraschino cherry. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet. 
Chill in refrigerator for 1 hour.
Place chocolate melts into a glass bowl and melt in the microwave. Heat on high for 30 seconds, stir, and repeat until all chocolate is melted and smooth.
Dip each ball of candy into the chocolate allowing excess to drip back into the bowl. 
Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and allow to harden.



Oney: My Escape From Slavery - Review by Martha A. Cheves

It was up to me to figure when to leave the Washingtons for the last time.  Not in the morn.  I helped dress Lady Washington as usual.  Not in the afternoon.  I repaired hems as usual.  Not afore dinner.  I set the table as usual.  The hour finally came - while they ate dinner.  I will never forget the date - May 21, 1796.  Nothing heavied my heart - not remorse, not guilt, not sadness upon fleeing my master and mistress.  Raw thirst for freedom overcame all that.  I walked straight past the Washingtons and out the front door.  When I shut it, I left them - and my forced bondage - behind me.

Oney Judge is a slave that was owned by Martha Washington.  She served the lady well and was treated well.  But when she found what her future fate was to be, she knew it was time to run.  And she did.

Lady Washington had received several slaves from her late husband.  They were hers to 'use' as she needed but not to sell.  They would have to be passed on to others in the family.  This apparently was part of the endowment that came along with marriage during this time in history.  In the book she appeared to be fond of Oney and treated her a lot like she would her own granddaughters.  She allowed her to learn to read and write and bedded and fed her well.  Then came the time when her true granddaughter was to marry and Oney was to be passed on.

Reading this book I wasn't sure if it was history or simply a story, so I did some research and here is what I found:

Oney "ona" Judge, known as Oney Judge Staines after marriage, was a mixed-race slave on George Washington's plantation, Mount Vernon, in Virginia.  Beginning in 1789, she worked as a personal slave to First Lady Martha Washington in the presidential households in New York City and Philadelphia.  In 1796, there was an advertisement in the Philadelphia newspapers documenting Judge's escape to freedom from the President's House on May 21, 1796. His nephew, Burwell Bassett, Jr., traveled to New Hampshire on business in September 1798, and tried to convince her to return.

After reading this, plus much more, I found that this book is based on history and knowing that, it made reading even more interesting and enjoyable.  If you're a history buff, you can't help but love this book.



Tuesday, March 27, 2018

'Til Death: Second Impressions (Book 2 of the Rockell Return Files) - Jason Anspach, Author



Cioppino

INGREDIENTS

¼ cup vegetable oil
2 large onions, chopped fine
Salt and pepper
¼ cup water
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried oregano
⅛ - ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, drained with juice reserved, chopped coarse
1 (8-ounce) bottle clam juice
1 (1 1/2-pound) skinless halibut fillet, 3/4 to 1 inch thick, cut into 6 pieces
1 pound littleneck clams, scrubbed
1 ¼ cups dry white wine
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound mussels, scrubbed and debearded
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
Extra-virgin olive oil

1. Heat vegetable oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onions, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper; cook, stirring frequently, until onions begin to brown. Add water and stir until  onions are tender. Add in garlic, bay leaves, oregano, and pepper flakes, tomatoes with juice along with clam juice. Bring to simmer and then reduce heat to low, cover, and let simmer for five minutes. 

2. Submerge halibut in broth, cover, and gently simmer until fish is cooked through. When cooked, plate the halibut and set aside (covering with foil will help keep warm).

3. Bring clams, wine, and butter to boil in a 12-inch skillet over high heat (cover with lid). Steam until clams just open and then add them to the dutch oven.

4. Add mussels to the now empty skillet, cover, and cook over high heat until mussels have opened. Add mussels and cooking liquid from skillet to dutch oven, but leave any grit behind! 

5. Stir parsley into broth and season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide halibut among serving bowls. Ladle broth and portions of clams and mussels over halibut. Drizzle with olive oil and serve immediately.


'Till Death:  Second Impressions - Review by Martha A. Cheves

Frank Rockwell, Sam's deceased father, had made his way down as a Return - ghost - from the Pearly Gates Administration Building in order to see his wife Alice one last time.  He was given clearance by claiming to hold plans for an atomic super weapon that jeopardized the world if discovered by the Soviet Union.  Though he told Sam the plans were legitimate, they weren't where he promised they could be found, and Sam took the ordeal as another of his father's "jokes." 

Sam, who runs S. Rockwell, Private Investigator - Returns and the Unexplainable Welcomed was about to say something to his mother when a deafening BOOM violated the air.  He was flung forward and could feel a brief but intense heat at his back as he fell.  His mother Alice was knocked backward and landed on her bottom inside the house as shattered glass and debris rained down on the driveway and lawn.  His father's Cadillac lay twisted and flaming, like a burned carcus of a blown out Panzer tank.

So, was the possibility of the plans for real or is there someone out that that simply believes they are?  Find out as you follow Sam, with the help of his fiance Amelia and a certain angel named Eamon track down a rouge Return and defend America against a Soviet Agent.

I've read Book 1 in this series 'till Death and found it to be amusing and humorous at times.  It was full of twists and turns.  I couldn't see how Book 2 could get any better.  I was wrong.  This book has grown into slight humor, more suspense and murder, more 'Returns', and more enjoyment.  Now I can't wait to red Book #3 'til Death: The Man Who Balked.

Monday, March 5, 2018

The Five Manners of Death - Darden North, Author



Stuffed Pepper Soup

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes
Makes: 8 servings (2 quarts)

2 lbs ground beef
6 cups water
1 can (28 oz.) tomato sauce
1 can (28 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained
2 cups chopped green peppers
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
Pinch or two of garlic powder
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. beef bouillon granules
1 tsp. pepper
2 cups cooked long grain rice
(Optional): chopped fresh parsley 
(Optional): 8 oz. finely shredded chedder cheese (Apply after cooking)

In a Dutch oven over medium heat, cook and stir beef until no longer pink; drain. Stir in water, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, chopped green peppers, brown sugar, garlic powder, salt, beef bouillon granules, and pepper. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer uncovered until peppers are tender– about 30 minutes. Add cooked rice; simmer uncovered 10 minutes longer. If desired, sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley and shredded cheddar cheese.

Nutrition Facts per cup without cheese: 337 calories, 14 g fat ( 5 g saturated fat), 70 mg cholesterol, 1466 mg sodium, 30 g carbohydrates (13 g sugars, 4 g fiber0, 24 g protein

The Five Manners of Death - Review by Martha A. Cheves

What are the five manners of death?  They are:
Homicide
Suicide
Natural
Accidental
Undetermined

It appears that someone in Jackson, Mississippi, is following suit with each of the manners of death.  As each person dies, Dr. Diana Bratton finds herself, as well as her aunt Phoebe, more and more involved.  The tangle of lies begins to unravel after a body buried 50 years earlier is discovered on the Ole Miss college campus during a construction project.  According to Aunt Phoebe, she never knew the deceased.  Diana learns of the deception after seeing a 1966 yearbook from Ole Miss in her aunt's belongings.  Aunt Phoebe not only knew dead Rusty Reynolds well but she also knew several of the newly deceased.  So, what could possibly be the connection between 50-year-old skeletal remains and more recent deaths among the same a circle of friends from that era in college? 

I've read everything written and published by Author Darden North and have to say that with each novel he gets better and better.  "The 5 Manners of Death" has to be his best yet and I hope will become a long time series.  Every time I thought I had come up with a connection between the Ole Miss students from 50 years earlier and the contemporary deaths, I found myself to be wrong.  I incorrectly pegged the whole motive and killer all the way to the very last pages.  The cover drew me to this book. I immediatley wanted to pick up, start reading, and NOT put it down until finished. 

Keep them coming Dr. North!

 
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