Showing posts with label suspense. Show all posts
Showing posts with label suspense. 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.


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, 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.

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!

Saturday, February 24, 2018

A Mersey Mariner - Mersey Mystery Series Book 4 - Brian L. Porter, Author



Portuguese Chicken with Ratatouille
(An Alexandra Rose Specialty)

1 tbs honey
1 tbs lemon juice
1 tsp tomato purée
4 tsp Piri Piri Seasoning 
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, scored
For the Ratatouille:
1 tbs olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 courgette, diced
1 small aubergine, diced
1 red pepper, diced
200 g (7 oz) tin chopped tomatoes
½ tsp Garlic Grinder 
1 tsp Basil 
1 tbs tomato purée
Salt and pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 200°C, 400°F, Gas Mark 6.
Mix together the honey, lemon juice, tomato purée and Perfect Shake Piri Piri Special Blend in a shallow dish, add the chicken and coat well. Place the chicken on a baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes.
For the Ratatouille, heat the oil in a large saucepan and fry the vegetables for 4-5 minutes. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Bring to the boil. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

Serve with the chicken and crusty bread.

A Mersey Mariner - Book 4 - Review by Martha A Cheves, Author of: Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish

"Mister Gray, what on earth's wrong with you man?"  Gideon shouted at the young man.  "Sorry sir, but he's dead, sir, dead as a doorknob."  "Who's dead, man?  Come on, pull yourself together and talk sense," Gideon said to the young man, who was visibly trembling.  "The man in cabin six, sir.  The Spaniard, Mister Gaspar.  He's just lying there on his bunk sir, staring up at the ceiling with a terrible look on his face.  He's dead, sir, I'd stake my life on it," Gray said, his voice croaking with emotion as he relayed the information to his captain.

The Alexandra Rose had sailed into the Mersey Estuary which was shrouded in dense, dank fog.  Due to weather reports it would be anchored there until the fog rose, which would be a couple of days.  The passengers are a bit unhappy for the delay in landing and now they have to contend with a death.  A death that will surely turn out to be something other than natural.

Author Brian L. Porter has taken me on a ride that goes from the Alexandra Rose with its crew and passengers to the Amazon where the search for a natural cure for cancer is taking place.  As I read, I'm sure there has to be a connection, but what?  As the deaths start mounting up, so does my puzzlement as to the connection.  It appears to be two whole stories within one book.  Then... he brings it together, taking me by surprise and making me wonder why I didn't see it earlier.

As always, Porter has written yet another book that will have you turning the pages as he keeps you in suspense of the actual plot and who the bad guys actually are.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Keep Her Safe - Richard J. Parker, Author



Richard Parker’s Golden Rum Chicken Wings

I’m pretty obsessed with chicken wings. They’re the ideal accompaniment to a home movie night. I’ve experimented with every way of cooking them - marinating in advance, flour coating, baking etc but this, for me, delivers the best results. - Richard

You’ll need:

10 chicken wings per fry
Corn oil
Garlic powder
Sea salt
Dried oregano
4 cups smoky barbecue sauce
Couple of slugs of golden rum
Carton of sour cream

Don’t season wings beforehand. Deep fry them for 8 minutes. Drain and break one to check meat is white. Sprinkle with garlic powder, sea salt and dried oregano.

Add rum to smoky barbecue sauce and stir in. Adjust to taste. The more the merrier!

Drop the wings into a deep plastic bowl, pour over rum sauce and toss.

Serve with sour cream for dipping on the side and open a chilled beer.

Keep Her Safe - Review by Martha A. Cheves

Order now - This book releases 1/11/2018!

The figure was halfway through, their bulk bent over the ledge and partially concealed by the curtains their body was bulging out.  Maggie lunged for Penny.  She scooped her out of her crib and clasped her tight as the figure's weight landed on the carpet and shuddered the floorboards.  As they stood, the hood of their dark blue poncho glistened from the rain.  Maggie yelled.  An incoherent warring that came from deep inside her.  She hoped it would briefly startle them.  The figure froze, and Maggie saw blue surgical gloves clutching a carving knife.  Her shoulder butted hard into the door frame as she reversed from the nursery.  Fingers seized her bob of dark hair.  Maggie twisted her head, clutched Penney to her chest and crouched as she made for her open bedroom door.

He, or is it a she, is called the 'Babysitter.'  The Babysitter has found a way to commit murder without getting 'blood on their own hands.'  How - simple - you kidnap a child and have the mother of that child do the killing for you making her the murderer, not you.  And when she has done the dirty work for you, you simply have her killed by another mother.

Boy did this book take me through the wringer!  It would make a perfect movie, especially if it were released around Halloween.  The 'Babysitter' will scare the heck out of you while making you believe this is something that could really take place.  And as for the ending - I was totally surprised and shocked to find the motive behind all of the murders.

If you like a good mystery that will keep you on the edge of your seat, don't miss Keep Her Safe.

Friday, December 8, 2017

A Deadly Fundraiser - Talk Radio Mysteries Book 4 - Mary Kennedy, Author



RHUBARB CAKE
(A Maggie Special)

2 extra-large eggs, room temperature
½ cup plus one tablespoon sugar
½ cup plus one tablespoon flour
1 – 2 tablespoons chilled butter
1 cup chopped fresh (or frozen rhubarb)
¾ tsp good quality vanilla extract
¼ tsp almond extract

Chop the rhubarb.
Beat eggs until light and fluffy. 


Gradually beat in sugar until thick. Add vanilla and almond extract. Beat in flour (don’t overbeat) 
Pour into greased 8 inch baking pan.   Arrange a layer of rhubarb on the top.  Top with dabs of butter.  The cakes do turn out better if you make one at a time, rather than doubling the recipe. I don’t know why.   Of course they can bake together.  Bake at 400 degrees for 20 – 25 minutes.
When the cake is cool, dust with icing sugar.  The sweetness counteracts the tartness of the rhubarb.


A Deadly Fundraiser - Review by Martha A Cheves, Author of: Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; and A Book and A Dish

When Christopher Morgan, the owner of Mayfair, passed away he left instructions that the house be preserved and donated to the Preservation Committee as a center for the art.  The Historical Society, along with the Preservation Committee decided to open the 1930's mansion for a "gala" to raise money for the planned Center for the Arts.  Cyrus Still, the station manager at WYME, liked to support community causes.  But it looked like Maggie and Vera Mae were the only WYME folks to show up from the station.

Maggie has a radio call-in show called On the Couch with Dr. Maggie.  She closed her psychology practice and moved to Cypress Grove to become a radio talk show host.  Vera Mae is the producer of her show and is in charge of scheduling guests and manning the phones as people call in to ask questions of the guests.  So, when this event took place, it was a good way to meet people and hopefully promote the show.

To allow everyone a chance to see the mansion for the last time before it was remodeled for the Center, the committee decided to have a scavenger hunt.  Maggie and Vera Mae were joined by a reporter pal, Nick Harrison, to search using the clues provided by the committee.  Things were going great until they went to the basement where many years before, housed a real 'speakeasy.'  While searching for their next object, Maggie placed a hand on the wall.  To her surprise, the wall slid open exposing a hidden room and a body.

I've read many of Mary Kennedy's books and she gets better and more entertaining with each.  Her books always give you a handful of suspects while keeping you in suspense as to which one was guilty.  As always she left this book with the possibility of another and I'm impatiently waiting for it to appear.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

'Til Death (Rockwell Return Files) - Jason Anspach, Author



Alice Rockwell's Perfect Pot Roast

1 (3 1/2- to 4-pound) boneless beef chuck-eye roast, pulled into two pieces 
kosher salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 medium onions, halved and sliced thin
1 large carrot, chopped medium
1 celery rib, chopped medium
2 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press
1 cup beef broth, plus 1 to 2 cups for sauce
½ cup dry red wine, plus 1/4 cup for sauce
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1 sprig plus 1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
ground black pepper
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar


1. Sprinkle pieces of meat with 1 tablespoon salt and and let stand at room temperature 1 hour.

2. Heat oven to 300 degrees. Heat butter in heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium heat. When foaming subsides, add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and beginning to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Add carrot and celery; continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes longer. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in 1 cup broth, ½ cup wine, tomato paste, bay leaf, and thyme sprig; bring to simmer.

3. Pat beef dry with paper towels and season generously with pepper. Tie each piece of meat into loaf shape for even cooking.

4. Place meat on top of vegetables. Cover pot tightly with large piece of foil and cover with lid; transfer pot to oven. Cook  on middle rack until beef fully tender, 3½ to 4 hours, turning halfway through cooking.

5. Transfer roasts to cutting board and keep warm. Strain liquid through mesh strainer into 4-cup liquid measuring cup. Discard bay leaf and thyme sprig. Transfer vegetables to a jar. Allow liquid to settle 5 minutes, then skim any fat off surface. Add vegetables and beef broth as necessary to bring liquid amount to 3 cups. Blend until smooth. Transfer sauce to medium saucepan and bring to simmer over medium heat.

6. While sauce heats, remove twine from roast and slice against grain into ½-inch-thick slices. Transfer meat to large serving platter. Stir chopped thyme, remaining ¼ cup wine, and vinegar into sauce and season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon half of sauce over meat; pass remaining sauce separately.

'Til Death (Rockwell Return Files) - Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of: Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish

S. Rockwell, Private Investigator
Returns and the Unexplainable Welcomed


When you think of 'returns' you normally think of someone sitting behind a counter helping people get their money back for items they either don't need or simply don't want.  At least that was how I've always looked at it.  That is until I read 'Til Death.  This is what I learned from reading this book:

'Returns' was the acccepted term used for dead folks who came back, usually due to sufficiently important unfinished business.  Who made the determination on who Returned or not was still a hot topic among theologians.

Sam Rockwell's PI business was to help these 'Returns' out so they could finish up their business and move on to better places upstairs.  He didn't deal with a large number of returns, but the few times a Return actually made his way into the office, they weren't exactly asking him to save the world.  Most cases were as simple as an executive returning to share the code for his wall safe with his business partner.  And that was the case until his mother calls to tell him his father had been murdered and his help was needed to find the killer.  Oh yeah, his father was a Return.  He told the people upstairs that he had information that was given to him to safe keep away from the Russians who would use it to destroy the US.

This book is so different from any I've ever read.  It has murder, suspense, and best of all humor.  Sam's task of finding out who killed his father and then who killed the killer, puts him up against some really rough people.  But you can't help but laugh as he deals with the Returns that pop up now and then, mainly his own father.  When I got to the end of 'Til Death I saw that book 2 was out.  It's titled 'Til Death: Second Impressions.  Yes I ordered it and can't wait to see where the Returns take Sam next.

 
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