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

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Dream A Little Scream ( Dream Club Mystery Book 2) - Mary Kennedy, Author



Kahlua Brownies

(Author Mary Kennedy sent 200 pounds of these
to the troops in Iraq over a 3 month period)

½ cup butter
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ cup Kahlua

Step 1
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour an 8-inch square pan.
Step 2
In a large saucepan, melt 1/2 cup butter. Remove from heat, and stir in sugar, eggs, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat in 1/3 cup cocoa, 1/2 cup flour, salt, and baking powder and kahlua. Spread batter into prepared pan.
Step 3

Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes.  16 servings

Dream A Little Scream - Review by Martha A. Cheves

Ali and Taylor Blake are sisters.  Ali owns a candy Shop in Savannah, Ga called Oldies But Goodies.  Taylor arrived in Savannah a few months ago to find the vintage candy shop, just a couple of blocks off the Historic District, struggling.  Between the two sisters, changes were made, they invested in some marketing, added a cafe menu, and things were looking up.  They had bone from the red to the black and felt sure their changes would keep it that way.  That is until they agreed to host a book signing for cookbook author Sonia Scott.  The turnout was great and everything was going just as planned until Sonia starts complaining that her chest feels so tight she can hardly breathe.  Apparently she is allergic to cats, and Ali owns two.  But when Sonia's employee Olivia explains that it was something besides the cats, something much worse.  And when her EpiPen turns up missing, nine-one-one was called.  Apparently, Sonia is allergic to more than cats.  She is also allergic to nuts of any kind.  But everyone who made snacks for the signing knew this and would never have put nuts into their dishes, or would they.

Taylor and Ali are part of a group they call The Dream Club.  They meet weekly in the apartment above the shop, and they serve sweet tea, coffee, and a delicious array of pastries.  She calls the Dream Club members their "beta testers," and she adds the most popular items to the cafe menu downstairs.  With what has just happened to Sonia, it's time to call an emergency meeting of the club's members, which were all present at the signing anyway, to see if they could put their heads together and solve yet another mystery.

Dream A Little Scream had so many twists and turns that each time I thought I knew who the culprit was I found myself doubting my ability to determine the good guys, or gals, from the bad.  And I must say this is the norm for Author Mary Kennedy.  I've read just about everything she has written and am always hoping for more.

Monday, May 4, 2020

Vegas Lies ("Lies" Mystery Thriller Series Book 3) - Andrew Cunningham, Author


ANISETTE COOKIES
(Andrew Cunningham - My wife’s mother—the greatest baker in the world--used to make them every Christmas)

2 ½ Cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
2 eggs
½ cup milk
1 teaspoon anisette
1 cup sugar
½ cup shortening

Cream shortening, add eggs one at a time. Beat well. Add flour, salt, and baking powder (all sifted together). Add milk. Add anisette.

Put on greased pan (each one about a heaping tablespoon size). Cook 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees.

Glaze:

Mix confectioner’s sugar and milk to make a thick glaze
Dip the top of each cookie into the glaze

While the glaze is still wet, cover with sprinkles or nonpareils

Vegas Lies - Book 3 - Review by Martha A. Cheves

Emma began to cry.  Lucy nuzzled up against her in an effort to comfort her friend, but there was no comfort, just abject fear.  If his hand being there had been so unpleasant, what would the other thing be like?  Slowly the crying subsided, only to be replaced with anger.  No, she wasn't going to let that happen to her.  It would be far worse than death.  She was going to find a way to escape, and if she couldn't, she was going to die.  

Five young teenage girls from the small town of Vista, Oregon disappeared in the same night.  At first it was thought that the five friends, who were coming home from a movie, had run away together, escaping the stifling atmosphere of small-town America.  But once it was determined that they were all reasonably happy, fairly well-adjusted young people, the focus shifted to the unthinkable.

Peep was Mo's partner.  Even though they didn't live together, they had been a couple for about five years.  Peep was in Las Vegas for a trade show.  Sabrina and Del are on their way to Las Vegas for a BookExpo.  Sabrina, a best selling mystery author, hates the publicity that follows her but had agreed to take the trip and had also promised Mo that she and Del would meet Peep for dinner the night of their arrival.  For some reason Peep never showed up.

As Author Andrew Cunningham combines the stories of the missing teenagers as well as the disappearance of Peep, the tension grows.  Where is the connection between the missing girls and Peep?  Can they all be found before it's too late?  And who is behind the disappearances?  These, plus many more questions popped into my head as I read, yet another, suspense filled book in this series.

So, if you enjoy a good page turner, full of twists and turns, don't miss out on this book.  It's one that kept me up late at night reading just to see what happens next.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Death Orchid: Hawaii Thriller Book 2 - J. E. Trent, Author



Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

1 small package small elbow macaroni

1 cup mayonnaise (best foods is best)
1 tablespoon finely minced onions
2 tablespoons finely minced celery
1 small carrot finely minced
salt and pepper to taste.

Mix together and enjoy!

Death Orchid: A Sam and Jessica Novel (Hawaii Thriller Series Book 2) - Review by Martha A. Cheves

Ivan Volkov's plan was for Jessica Kealoha to die a violent death while he watched it on his laptop computer in the air-conditioned comfort of his hotel room.  He had stalked Jessica for a week after he landed on the island.  The first thing he did was to attach a custom-built GPS track to her Jeep after he had followed her to the grocery store.

Fifteen minutes after picking up Aimee, Jessica turned off the highway and headed down the hill toward lower Keauhou.  Noticing her speed, she stepped on the brake pedal to slow down before the curve in the road ahead.  Nothing happened, except a sharp pang in her gut caused by the fear of not being able to stop.  She pressed the electronic parking brake switch with the same results, nothing.  They were headed down one of the steepest roads in Kona, Kam lll.  She and Aimee were most likely going to die if she couldn't get the jeep stopped before the bottom of the hill.

Jessica is a retired detective from California who has moved back to her home on the Islands.  She never expected to find herself in the position of having a hit put out for her by some of the most feared people in the world - the Russian Mofia. 

This book is full of action and will keep you turning the pages just to see what will happen next.  Plus, Author J. E. Trent writes with a quality that I rarely find.  He writes short chapters which, to me, makes reading much easier.  This book is also filled with vivid descriptions of the Islands, making you feel like you're there seeing them for yourself.  I've loved every book I've read by this author.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Murder & Mayhem in Goose Pimple Junction - Amy Metz, Author


Better Than Sex Cake

1
box chocolate cake mix
2 medium eggs
1/4 c water
3/4 c oil
1 pkg 10.5 oz tub caramel
4 pkg heath bars
1 pkg whipped topping

Directions
1. Bake cake as directed on box
2. Let set for 5 - 10 minutes or until warm
3. Poke holes with fork or knife
4. Cover with caramel, let set for 3 - 5 minutes
5. Top with cool whip and cover with Heath bars (crumbled) or Heath chips


Murder & Mayhem in Goose Pimple Junction - Review by Martha A. Cheves


"But Squirt, the man had evidence.  He told me so, right before I killed him.  I laughed at him at the time.  Laughed right in his face; thought he was bluffing.  He said he took precautions and one day the world was going to know what a yellow-bellied coward I was.  It wasn't until after I killed him that I found the note in his pocket.  It said, 'Maye, if you're reading this I must be dead.  Look in the chest, Maye.  It's all there.' Of course I threw the note away and his woman never knew about it.  But I know he was telling the truth.  He had something, some kind of proof.  I'm afraid it's going to surface some day and ruin all y'alls lives.  Look in his house.  Promise me, Squirt, that you'll find and destroy the eidence before it destroys our family.  I don't want y'all saddled with my dirty deeds for the rest of your life.  Promise me...find the evidence John Hobb hid, and promise me you'll destroy it."  "I promise, Papa," the young man said, followed by a sob from his throat.

Tess Tremaine is a recent divorcee that was looking for a new place to start a new life for herself.  She found that new life in a small town called Goose Pimple Junction.  All goes well for her as she starts to get to know the people, with one exception and that exception is the language.  She found that just because you meet someone, which is called 'howdied' doesn't mean you've really met them until you 'shook.'  Or when someone tells you to 'get your straw out of my Kool-Aid' it means to mind your own business.  And you'll never guess what you ordered when the waitress calls out for the cook to 'Burn one, take it through the garden and pin a rose on it.'  That one is really quite simple.  It's a hamburger with lettuce, tomato and onion.  These are just some of the life changes Tess must get use to if she expects to find her life in Goose Pimple Junction.  She also has to solve a mystery that seems to revolve around a key that she found in her new home.

This book switches from the 1930's to the present with happenings way back then still taking a hold on the town and its residents.  The language, both past and present kept me laughing, as did some of the names but when I read the acknowledgements for this book I learned that the happenings from the 30's were actually true.  The present, not so much but both still made for a very enjoyable read.  I found myself hurting for some of the characters of the past but for the most part, laughing when it came to the now day characters.  Now I'm ready to read Book 2 in this series which is titled Heroes and Hooligans in Goose Pimple Junction.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Soul Food Spirits (Southern Ghost Wranglers Book 1) - Amy Boyles, Author


Quick Yeast Bread

2 tablespoons yeast (or 2 x 7g pkts)
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups warm-hot water
14cup cooking oil

Put 4 cups of the flour, yeast, sugar and salt into large bowl.
Pour in hot water and oil and mix until combined- it will be sticky.
Add the remaining flour in increments until dough is no longer sticky.
Knead for about 5 minutes until dough is elastic and smooth.
Place dough back into bowl and cover with a damp teatowel and let it rise until double its size- about 1/2 hour.
Punch it down and divide dough into two pieces.
Roll pieces long enough to fill two well oiled loaf pans and leave to rise until dough has reached the rim of the pan.
Bake at 400F for 40 minutes.

Rub hot breads with water and wrap in a teatowel to'sweat' to soften the crust.

Soul Food Spirits (Southern Ghost Wranglers Book 1) - Review by Martha A. Cheves

"Blissful, you're suspended."
My heart popped out of my chest and hit the floor with a thud.  "I'm sorry, what did you say?"
Then Anita, the woman who had bested me for my dad's job by sleeping with his superior, who spoke to me like I was three years old, who had the audacity to put a picture of her with my father on her desk, slowly opened her mouth and enunciated every single syllable.
"Blissful.  You.  Are.  Suspended."  Her eyelids popped open.  "I've got the paperwork already filled out.  You are now officially not a member of the Ghost Team.  You have been suspended."


My dad's death a few months ago left an oozing wound in the establishment he helped create - The Ghost Team.  With the help of secret funding from the government, my dad, Vince Breneaux, created a crew of highly capable, clairvoyant agents whose single mission was to seek out rouge spirits, those hellbent on attacking and plaguing the living, and sent them on to the other side - the light, as we call it.  Naturally, since my father had been director of said team, when it came to promotion time, I was a shoo-in.  But, as I said, Anita got the job instead of me and she has had it out for me from day one.  Now she has decided to suspend me.  And the only way I can hopefully prove my worth is to the beautiful town of Haunted Hollow and bring in one of the most feared spirits ever - Lucky Strike.  Even my father couldn't bring him in and send him to the light.

Blissful's first day there turns out to be a disaster when she decides to have lunch at the Soul Food.  It seems that one of the spirits in the establishment takes a liking to her and starts up a conversation.  Since Bliss can see her but the other customers can't she decides to carry on a very 'light' conversation with her. But as it turns out, the more they talk the more visible the spirit becomes.  This causes everyone in the restaurant to see her with most of them taking pictures of both Bliss and the spirit with many being posted to the internet.  So much for trying to stay in town without being noticed.

This book was a joy to read.  It's filled with humor as well as tons of ghosts - both good and bad, or so they appear.  And the same can be said for some of the living residents too.  I enjoyed Book 1 so much that I can't wait to read book 2.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Fatal Lies (Lies Mystery Thriller Series Book 2) - Andrew Cunningham, Author


ANDREW'S FAMOUS CARROT CAKE
His only claim to fame!
(and he stole it from his mother, who stole it from a neighbor…)

1 1/4 CUPS OIL
1 1/2 CUPS SUGAR
2 CUPS FLOUR
3 EGGS
2 tsp CINNAMON
2 tsp BAKING SODA
2 tsp VANILLA
1 tsp SALT
1 BAG COCONUT (7 oz)
2 CUPS GRATED CARROTS
20 OZ. CAN CRUSHED PINEAPPLE (INCLUDE JUICE)

MIX ALL TOGETHER AND BAKE AT 350 FOR 1 HOUR IN GREASED 9X12 PAN


FROSTING:

6-8 OZ PACKAGE OF CREAM CHEESE
CONFECTIONERS SUGAR
1 STICK MARGARINE/BUTTER
VANILLA

BLEND CREAM CHEESE AND BUTTER/MARGARINE, THEN ADD CONFECTIONERS SUGAR UNTIL IT'S SO SWEET YOUR TEETH DROP OUT (ABOUT 1/2 A BAG OF SUGAR).  ADD VANILLA TO TASTE.

**Walnuts can also be added to recipe, but since they make my ears tickle, I don't use them.

Fatal Lies (Lies Mystery Thriller Series Book 2) - Review by Martha A. Cheves

Sabrina, if you are reading this, I am dead, and it means they killed me.  I've spent my life having nothing to do with them, but if they finally put an end to this miserable existence they caused, then I want them to pay.  Maybe my last act in life will help provide Veronica with the life I was never able to have.  The key is for a safe deposit box in your name and mine.  The address of the bank is on the pouch the key is in.  The contents of the box will explain everything.  I'm sorry this is so cryptic.  I just want it far away from Veronica and her children.

Sabrina Spencer spent six years of her life in prison for killing her abusive husband.  After being released, she, with help from the love of her life Del, has become one of the nation's hottest mystery writers.  Her life in prison is the past and a life she no longer wants to relive nor deal with, but when the daughter of a woman from her prison days contacts her with a message that was to be delivered should she die, a whole world of deception and mistrust opens up for Sabrina and Del.

I have to admit that I read this book several years ago and loved it so much that I've just finished reading it again.  It keeps you on the edge of your seat as you try to determine who is out to kill Sabrina and Del only to find the plot twist like a winding road.  I loved it and am looking forward to reading Book 3 in this series Vegas Lies.  Author Andrew Cunningham has become one of my favorite authors!

Monday, January 13, 2020

Murder on the Menu - Silver Sisters Mystery - Morgan St. James & Phyllice Bradner, Authors


Vegan Tahini Brownies

2 flax eggs (2 tablespoons ground flaxseed )
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup dairy free chocolate chips

Instructions
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and spray a loaf pan* with cooking spray. You can also use a larger pan, such as an 8x6 or even an 8x8 if you double the recipe.
In a small bowl, whisk together the ground flaxseed and water to create two flax eggs. Set aside to thicken.
In a mixing bowl, stir together the tahini, coconut sugar, maple syrup and thickened flax eggs until smooth.
Add in the cocoa powder, baking soda and salt and stir until combine.
Lastly, stir in the chocolate chips.
Pour the batter evenly into your prepared loaf pan and bake the brownies for about 18-25 minutes.

(Feel free to use whatever pan you have on hand or double the recipe for larger baking pans. Just be sure to adjust the baking time depending on the size pan you chose and whether you like your brownies more gooey or chewy!)

Murder on the Menu - Review by Martha A. Cheves

She spent the previous few days preparing for her move and getting psyched-up for her new career.  In between filming her last Flirting With Food episodes, hours were spend researching vegan and vegetarian recipes that she could tweak and propose to Chef Jambon.  Little by little Godiva and the oldsters had come around as her departure time drew near.  Everyone, including Caesar, wished her the best of luck in her Oregon adventure.

Chili Pepper has been offered a chance to apply for the job of her dreams.  Seems a childhood friend from Juneau, Roscoe Bean, has moved to Portland and become friends Chef Jordan Jambon who has just made Bon Appetite's list of the Top 20 Chefs in the country,  and he wants to interview her for his soon to open restaurant Herbivore.  And that's isn't all.  Chef Jambon has rented a beautiful, old house that has the kitchen of every chef's dreams.  The house also has 4 extra bedrooms which he rents out and one of them could be hers.  Chili's knew that Roscoe was one of the renters but was surprised to find that another old friend from Juneau - Ozzie was also a renter.  So, when she passes the interview and is offered the job, all she has to do now is go back to California and break the news to her Aunt, Grandmother, Uncle and her boss Caesar.

Ah, the good life, so Chili thought.  That was until one of the roommates was murdered, which brought the Silver Sisters to the rescue.  And as it turns out, there wasn't just one murder but several.

I've read all of the Silver Sister Mysteries and have loved every one.  I know murder isn't supposed to be 'light hearted' but with the characters in this series, you can't help but feel a touch of humor in the writings of Morgan and Phyllice.  Their character names are priceless.  You've just met Chili Pepper but you'll also meet her mother and aunt - Goldie and Godiva, as well as her grandmother Flossie Silver and her uncle Sterling Silver.  And then there's Chili's TV boss Caesar Romano.  So, like I said, this is a light hearted mystery that will keep you lightly on the edge of your seat while you try to help the sisters solve the murders.  I myself found the ending to be a surprise.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Haunt the Haunt, Walk the Walk - Rose Pressey, Author


Marshmallow Ghosts

4 cups mini marshmallows (1 bag)
14 oz white chocolate chips or candy melts
1-2 tbs shortening
1 tube black gel frosting

In a large microwave safe bowl, melt white chocolate chips and 1 tbs shortening on high for 30 seconds. Carefully remove from microwave and stir. Continue in microwave in 20 second bursts, stirring in between each burst, until chocolate is melted and smooth. Add a little more shortening as needed to thin chocolate for easy use.
Let chocolate cool for a couple minutes, but not completely. Lay out sheets of waxed paper on counter top. Add marshmallows to cooling chocolate and mix well to evenly coat marshmallows.
Drop chocolate covered marshmallows onto wax paper and gently shape into ghosts. Let cool completely.
Use black gel frosting to add eyes and mouths to ghosts.



Haunt the Haunt, Walk the Walk - Review by Martha A. Cheves

Devil's Moon was one of the most haunted places I'd ever known.  It had more than its share of ghosts.  There were plenty of scary stories to keep everyone intrigued and an abundance of ghosts to be spotted everywhere in town.  I'd quickly figured that out when they kept popping up all around me.  Sometimes the spirits even followed me during the tours.  Of course that freaked a lot of people out, and I was a little scared of them myself.  Especially since I didn't know what they wanted or why they were following me.  There was also a new development in my paranormal adventures - ghosts were now sending me text messages.  I know that sounds crazy, but it's true.

Oh yeah.  I'm Ripley Van Raden or Rip to my friends.  I moved back to my hometown to take the position of head librarian, but also used the opportunity to start my tour around town.  My tours always start in the cemetery where the ghosts are plentiful.

Not long after moving to Devil's Moon we had a murder in town.  That's when I met the hunk of a policeman, Brannon.  We hit it off from the beginning.  You see, he is into the paranormal too.  I also met the library ghost Annie who was the librarian many years before me.  She is the one who first started texting me.  But lately, I've started receiving text messages from someone else.  I've also being followed by someone that I've never seen before.  Could they be one and the same?

Oh yeah again.  I forgot to tell you that there was another murder in town and this one really has me scared for my own life.

Haunt the Haunt, Walk the Walk is Book 3 in the Haunted Tour Guide Mystery.  I've read all of the books in this series so far and can tell you that Rose Pressey has me wanting more.  She keeps you guessing as to who the murderer really is but keeps the story 'light' along the way.  I personally can't wait to read Book #4 - Walk this Way, Haunt this Way.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Glastonbury - Brian L. Porter, Author


Somerset chicken

6 boneless chicken breasts, skin on
salt and freshly ground black pepper 
75g/2½oz butter, plus extra to serve
3 tbsp olive oil 
2 onions, peeled, sliced
4 tbsp plain flour 
2 tbsp wholegrain mustard
2 dessert apples, peeled, cores removed, sliced into batons
110g/4oz button mushrooms,  sliced
250ml/9fl oz chicken stock 
300ml/10½fl oz cider 
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh sage 
250ml/9fl oz double cream 
300g/10½oz cheddar cheese, grated
6 baked potatoes, to serve
butter, to serve

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
Season the chicken breasts with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Heat a large frying pan until smoking, then add half of the butter and oil. Fry the chicken breasts in batches, skin-side down first, for 1-2 minutes on both sides, or until golden-brown all over.
Transfer the chicken breast to a deep-sided roasting tray and roast in the oven for 25 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through (NB: the chicken is cooked through when the juices run clear when the thickest part is pierced with a skewer.) Keep warm.
Return the pan to the heat and add the remaining butter and oil. Add the onions and cook for 4-5 minutes, or until softened but not coloured. Stir in the flour and the mustard and cook for a further 1-2 minutes. Add the apples and mushrooms and cook for a further minute, then pour over the chicken stock.
Bring to the boil, then add the cider and return to the boil. Cook for 1-2 minutes, then lower the heat, add the sage and stir in the cream. Simmer for a further 5-6 minutes, then season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Pour the sauce over the chicken so that it is completely covered.
Preheat the grill to high.
Sprinkle the cheddar cheese over the chicken and place under the grill for 4-5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted, golden-brown and bubbling.
To serve, place a baked potato topped with a knob of butter on each serving plate. Spoon the chicken alongside and serve.



Glastonbury - Review by Martha A. Cheves

The same sun that brought light to the day in Stratford-on-Avon broke through the curtains that had held back the night in Joe's room, some eighty-three miles, or 134 kilometres distance from Capshaw's mansion.  The room felt warmer than it had for the last few days, and Joe himself felt a cheerfulness that came from a good night's sleep.  The previous evening's conversation and the brandy had helped, but somehow Joe knew the presence of Lucius Doberman had made a difference to his overall mood.  He wasn't sure exactly how the learned professor was going to make a difference to their quest in solving the riddle posed by Capshaw and Graves; he just instinctively knew that he would.

Joe Cutler is the owner of Strata Survey Company.  He and his employees Winston Fortune and Sally Corbett have been hired by millionaire Malcolm Capshaw to find non other than the sword which was fabled to be owned by King Author.  In other words, the Excalibur.  Capshaw has provided them with a map that is 'supposed' to show the general area of where the sword was buried.  He has also supplied them with a noted historian professor who goes by the name of Walter Graves.

So, does King Author and his sword Excalibur really exist or is this just a wild goose chase?  Or - is it truly just a myth?

Except for a clue and hint here and there, this author kept me in the dark until the end.  It has more twists and turns than a roller coaster.  And if I read the end of the book correctly, there will be a second book coming out with some of the main characters and of course a story full of suspense.

Glastonbury Order Link 

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Vengeance on Tyneside - Eileen Thornton, Author



Hungarian Goulash
(A special dish from Agnes)

Serves 4
Pre-heat oven to 275F (140C)

1lb braising steak cut into cubes
1 large onion, chopped
Slight dash of garlic granules or 1 garlic clove crushed.
Tablespoon cooking oil
1 tablespoon plain flour
1 tablespoon Paprika - or a little more to taste
14oz tin tomatoes
Salt & Pepper

Heat oil in flameproof casserole then add the cubes of meat, turning frequently to brown on all sides.
Lower the heat and add the chopped onion and cook for about 5 minutes - Stirring occasionally
Add the garlic, the flour and the paprika and stir to soak up the juices.
Then add the tin of tomatoes, season with salt and pepper and bring everything up to simmering point.
Cover with a lid and transfer to the oven (Middle shelf) and cook for about two and a half hours.

Serve with boiled rice.


Vengeance on Tyneside - Review by Martha A. Cheves

Perhaps she was allowing her over-active mind to take control.  She had done that twice before in recent months and both times it had almost taken her to the point of being murdered.  Maybe this time she should walk away.  But when she heard the cry again, she knew she couldn't do that.  Someone needed help.  Looking around, she realized the sound was coming from the row of rubbish bins lined up by a wall, not too far from where she was standing... having reached the rubbish bins, she took a deep breath before peering behind them.  For a moment, despite having prepared herself for the worst, Agnes was stunned at the sight of a young woman lying there.  Her hands were clutched to her chest, desperately trying to stem the flow of blood streaming from her body and pooling on the concrete ground beneath her.

Agnes Lockwood has just returned from a trip to the coast.  Her plans are to meet with DCI Alan Johnson for a nice quiet evening.  Well, she soon finds out that the nice quiet evening won't be so quiet after all.  She ends up finding herself in the middle of not one murder but 3 plus an attempt.  What do these people have in common?  Can she and the DCI find out and stop them before more occur?

This book had me fooled from the beginning.  I had four suspects.  The person I had as my major suspect turned out to be innocent.  That narrowed it down to three.  I was close but still didn't come up with the real killer.  And Author Eileen Thornton didn't disclose the killer until the last few pages.  If you like a good suspense, this is one you don't want to miss. 

This book also left with an opening for the next book, which I hope makes it my way very soon.


Saturday, May 25, 2019

A Walk on the Haunted Side - Rose Pressey, Author


Devil’s Moon Pies
Makes approximately 12

COOKIE DOUGH
6 oz. unsalted butter
1/4 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1/4 cup Steen's cane syrup
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs, ground fine
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tbsp. whole milk

MARSHMALLOW
4 tsp. powdered gelatin
1/2 cup water, ice cold, plus 1/4 cup at room temperature
4 tbsp. light corn syrup
3 tbsp. honey (clover or wildflower)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 large grade-A egg whites

CHOCOLATE COATING
1 lb. bittersweet chocolate (61%–70% cacao)
2 tbsp. vegetable oil or canola oil

PREPARATION
For the cookie dough:

Cream butter, brown sugar, syrup, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, for 1 minute.
In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients and mix with a fork. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture and mix on low speed; slowly stream in milk. Continue mixing until the dough comes together. Press dough flat, wrap it in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Turn out chilled dough onto a flour-dusted surface, then roll it until it is ¼ inch thick. Stamp out cookies using a 3-inch round cookie cutter. Place cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake 10 to 12 minutes. Remove sheet from oven, and while the cookies are cooling, start your marshmallow.

For the marshmallow:

Sprinkle gelatin over ½ cup ice-cold water, and set aside.
Combine ¼ cup room-temperature water, corn syrup, honey, and sugar in a small pot, insert candy thermometer, and simmer until mixture reaches 240 degrees. When the thermometer reaches 200 degrees—but not before—place egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, and whip on high.
Once the sugar mixture hits 240, remove it from heat, and stir in the bloomed gelatin. Then, while egg whites are whipping, slowly drizzle the hot sugar mixture down the inside of the bowl to avoid spattering the hot syrup. Continue whipping for an additional 8 minutes, until the mixture stiffens. The pan will still feel warm to the touch but no longer hot.
Flip over half of the cooled cookies. Lightly coat a spoon with nonstick cooking spray, and spoon approximately a quarter cup of marshmallow onto each flipped cookie. Use the remaining cookies as tops; gently push down until you can see the marshmallow come just to the edge. While making the chocolate coating (see below), allow cookies to chill in refrigerator for at least 15 minutes.

For the chocolate coating:

Melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a small saucepan of simmering water. Stir until chocolate has melted, then remove bowl from heat and let it cool slightly. Once the chocolate is no longer hot, but warm, slowly whisk in oil in a steady stream. Allow chocolate to cool at room temperature for about 5 minutes before proceeding with assembly.

Assembly:

Submerge chilled cookies in the chocolate, using 2 forks to gently lift the sandwiches out of the bowl. Let stand until shell hardens.



A Walk on the Haunted Side - Review by Martha A. Cheves

The old house stood on a small hill surrounded by oak, pine, and magnolia trees and overgrowth.  The Italianate-style structure had red brick with black shutters.  Of course most of the shutters were falling off or missing.  As far as I knew, no one had lived there since the 1970's.  I'd heard a lot of rumors about the place, but so far I didn't know fact from fiction.  There was something mysterious about the house.  Poking around by myself had seemed like a good idea earlier in the day.  Now that it was closing in or darkness, I was having second thoughts.  Even if there was a ghost, I was used to dealing with them.  I inched up the staircase, reminding myself to breath.  It was as if I was disturbing a presence that was in the house.  Not only that, but it felt like there were eyes on me with every step I took.  I stopped in my tracks.  A female ghost stood in front of me.  She was so close that I could almost tough her.  I'd seen ghosts before, but this one was by far the creepiest that I'd ever seen.  She had blood dripping from her head, claws for hands, and her eyes glowed green as she stared right at me.

Ripley Van Raden has returned to her hometown of Devil's Moon.  By day she works as the town's librarian.  By night she gives ghost tours.  Yes, she can see the ghosts when they want her to, but most of the time she gets an image of a dark figure or feels the 'chill' when a ghost is in her presence.  She even has one that has befriended her.  Her name is Annie and she was one of the original librarians in Devil's Moon.  She has passed on now but has learned to communicate with Ripley using text messages.  Local police officer Brannon Landon also has the ability to see ghosts, when they want him to see them.  This has given Ripley something in common with the officer.  But they soon find out that they have a bit more in common when Ripley finds a body at the cemetery one night while giving one of her ghost tours.

This is the second book in the Ghost Hunter Cozy Mysteries.  I read the 1st book titled These Haunts are Made for Walking and thoroughly enjoyed it.  Author Rose Pressey provides you with mystery, suspense, murder, humor and ghosts all in one book making the stories appealing to all.  And yes, it did have a surprising ending.  I'm now looking forward to reading book #3 Haunt the Haunt, Walk the Walk.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Death on Tyneside ( Agnes Lockwood Mysteries Book 2) - Eileen Thornton, Author



Cottage Pie (4 persons)

1 lb minced beef
1 large onion (finely chopped)
1 tablespoon tomato puree
1 tablespoon plain flour 
Beef stock cube dissolved in half-pint hot water
Frozen mixed vegetables medley (small cut) Enough to suit the cook!
Red wine 
Cooking Oil 
Potatoes boiled and mashed.
Grated cheese
Salt & pepper.

Heat a small amount of cooking oil in a large saucepan.
Add minced beef, making sure it breaks up well.
When mince has browned slightly, add the finely chopped onion and mix thoroughly.
Add the flour and mix to soak up the juices.
Top up the beef stock with enough red wine to make 1 pint and add to pan. Stir well.
Then tip in the frozen vegetables
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Simmer for about an hour stirring occasionally to stop it from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
While mince is cooking, boil the potatoes and mash them thoroughly.
When mince is cooked, allow to cool, then tip into ovenproof dish
Cover with mashed potatoes and top with the grated cheese.
Place in the centre of a hot oven and cook until piping hot throughout. (About 30 minutes) Cheese will have melted and turned a golden colour.

This is an age-old recipe, but the wine makes all the difference. 
Adding the frozen veg to the mince, means you don’t have to cook anything extra - it’s all in one dish.
Can made early and frozen if using a freezer-safe dish.



Death on Tyneside - Review by Martha A. Cheves

"You want to be involved in solving this murder case.  Hasn't it sunk in yet how close you came to being murdered yourself, the last time you poked your nose into a murder inquiry?"

"Alan, I know I very nearly got myself killed a few months ago."  Agnes took his arm and they restarted their walk down the corridor.  "But I got through that.  Look at me.  I'm still here - alive and well, and ready to be involved in this case.  If the body had been found by someone else, then I might have stayed out of it.  Might,"  she repeated, wagging her finger at him.  "But it wasn't.  It was found by me.  And now I want to see it through."  She stopped walking and swung around in front of him.  "Alan, please, I need to see this through."


Agnes Lockwood has returned to Tyneside after spending a few weeks visiting her sons in Australia.  This is where she was from and the ties were pulling her back.  Or was it Chief Inspector Alan Johnson who was connected to those ties?  The two had gone to school together and Alan had always had a crush on her.  Now, after marriages and many years, they met again and Alan finds his feelings are still there and stronger than ever.  

In her first visit, she and Alan had eaten dinner and were walking back to her hotel when they found a body laying on the sidewalk.  The investigation into this murder almost got Agnes killed.  Now she's back and finds herself in the middle of yet another murder.

I've read everything Eileen Thornton has written and must say that she grabs me from the beginning and all the way through to the end.  She fills her writings with twists and turns that keep you guessing and flipping the pages to see what happens next.  I love her work and can't wait for Book 3 of the Agnes Lockwood Mysteries.

Friday, April 12, 2019

My Life For Her - Robert J. Saniscalchi, Author


Colombian Avocado Salsa

1/3 cup Chili (aja dulce, fresh, seeded and chopped)
1 ½ tsp. Habaneros (fresh, finely chopped)
6 Tbsp. White vinegar (distilled)
2 hard-boiled eggs (large, coarsely chopped)
1 ½ cups Avacados (firm, ripe, coarsely mashed)
1 cup Tomatoes (ripe, chopped)
1 cup White Onion (sweet, chopped)
¾ cup Cilantro (fresh, chopped)

Purée chiles, vinegar, and 1 teaspoon salt in a blender. 
Transfer to a bowl and stir in remaining ingredients.

Chill until ready to use.

My Life for Her - Review by Martha A. Cheves

With so many commuters bustling about, it was difficult to catch sight of the supposed drug dealer, but Tex spotted him as he slipped onto the train at the last minute.  As Rob followed him to the seats closest to the front door, Tex lowered his voice to a whisper and said, "That dude's either a crooked cop or a member of the cartel.  Worse, I think he's onto us.  We've gotta get rid of him, before our cover's blown."

Rob looked toward the rear of the car.  "Yeah, the dude gives me a bad feeling too."

Tex was silent as the attendant came around to check their tickets, but then he whispered, "Listen, Doc, if he comes into this car, we'll get up and head to the one in front.  You go through the door first, and I'll wait for him behind it."

"Then what?" Rob asked.

"Then... Well, I think I can handle it from there," Tex said with a grin.

Rob Marrino, is a 31 year old Vietnam Vet who is now a Pikeville, NJ policeman.  Life has had its up and downs as he and his wife Beth Anne deal with wartime memories and paranoia.  They have settled down quite well with Beth Anne working at the hospital while their two children are in school.  Then the bottom falls out when Rob does a high speed chase with a car that not only contains 2 Colombian drug runners but more drugs than the Pikeville police have ever seen.  It gets even worse when one of the  dealers is shot and killed with the surviving one promising Rob that he will pay for his interference.  Those words come back to haunt him when his worse nightmare comes true and he, along with a fellow Vet, end up in Columbia.

This book is so intent!  It's filled with action and narrow escapes.  I would like to see this one made into a "Made for TV Movie."

Saturday, March 9, 2019

The Haunted Heist (Southern Ghost Hunter Mysteries) - Angie Fox, Author



Sugarland Peach Cocktail Syrup

2 cups water
2 cups sugar
1 ripe peach
Pinch of salt

You only need one peach for this syrup so pick a good one. It should give a little to pressure, but not be soggy at all. Rinse it off slice it into big wedges.  Add the wedges to a medium pot with the water and sugar. Put this over medium-low heat until the sugar is dissolved. No need to bring it to a boil or anything. By the time it’s hot, the sugar should be dissolved.  Once the mixture is hot, you should be able to just pick out the peach skins which you definitely don’t want in the syrup. They should come right off!  The key to making this syrup really nice is to pulse it well in a blender. This emulsifies the peaches and makes a really smooth syrup.  Be sure to let the syrup cool off a bit before blending it!  Once the mixture is blended and cool, you can store it in the fridge for up to two weeks. It might separate a bit in the fridge, but just give it a shake before pouring it and it’ll be great. 

Drink Options
You can use this easy peach cocktail syrup in SO many drinks.
For starters:
2-3 oz. bourbon + 1 oz. peach syrup + dash of orange bitters + club soda
2-3 oz. gin + 1 oz. peach syrup + tonic
2 oz. tequila + 1 oz. peach syrup + 1/2 lime + 2 oz. lemonade + salted rim
2 oz. peach syrup + 8 oz. club soda or sparkling water

You get the idea. It’s incredibly versatile!

The Haunted Heist - Review by Martha A. Cheves

Frankie had the power to show me the supernatural world.  With his help, I'd been able to see and interact with some of the ghosts here in town.  We'd saved my house; we'd solved a murder.  Two of them, actually.  We'd made some positive changes in Sugarland, not that he cared about helping anyone but himself.  And I had been trying to free him.  It was just that nothing had worked yet.

So who is this Frankie that has the power to take Verity Long into the supernatural?  Why is she trying to free him and from what?  These are just some of the fun questions that you can find the answers to by reading the Southern Ghost Hunter Mysteries Series.  I will tell you that Frankie lives in a trash can and Verity lives in a house she inherited from her grandmother.  But the fun part was learning how Frankie ended up in the trash can and why Verity is living in a house with no furnishings.

From the very first two books in this series - Southern Spirits and The Skeleton in the Closet, I found myself caught up in the suspense of a murder with a touch of humor.  I've laughed at the very odd pet that lives with Verity and how Frankie tends to get her into trouble in a world that most would never dream of visiting.  I feel for her as she struggles to make ends meet after her almost mother-in-law took everything away from her.  I feel joy for her as her feelings for Ellis grow.  And I hold my breath as she risks her own life to bring justice to those who need it.  This is a series that I hope will never end and I'm really looking forward to reading Book 4 in the series - Deader Homes & Gardens.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

The Songbird Girls - Richard Parker, Author



DUCK CONFIT - Serves Four

Ingredients

4 Duck breasts.
Tbsp Freshly chopped thyme
3 Cloves garlic finely chopped.
Salt.
Freshly ground black pepper
Three jars of goose fat.

Method

Sprinkle duck breast skin sides with plenty of salt and pepper Turn over and rub with more salt, sprinkle over thyme and chopped garlic. Cover with clingfilm and leave in refrigerator overnight.
Melt goose fat in a pan or slow cooker and turn heat down low.
Add a little oil to a skillet and seal duck breasts both sides.
Drop into the goose fat so they're completely covered and slow cook for four hours. 
Turn off heat and leave fat to set. You can leave it like this for a couple of days if necessary.
When ready to serve just remove breasts from fat, shake off excess and reheat in pan until hot.

Serve with red cabbage and potatoes cooked in the goose fat with a fat glass of red.

The Songbird Girls - Review by Martha A. Cheves

When steel struck the back of her head, Polly's brain briefly took her to a safe place.  She thought she was sitting at home in her armchair, the lounge quiet except for the clock ticking.  The sensation of the cushion beneath her seemed so real but consciousness and reality surged quickly back... She tried to scream, to alert the man who had got out of the Toyota but a hand was over her nose and mouth and her panicked exclamation was held inside her head.

Three years ago Detective Inspector Tom Fabian had put Christopher Wisher, infamous London serial killer, behind bars.  He'd murdered nine people.  Mutilated them in a way only he understood.  Wisher had confessed to the murders and each had his signature - a bird laying near the body with its neck broken.  This was withheld from the public so when Polly's body was found with the signature bird and Wisher in prison, Fabian could only believe this was a very well informed copycat.  And when Wisher passes on a special item to Fabian, he finds his life will be changed for a long time.

Have you ever picked up a book, started reading and decided you know the outcome after just a few pages?  That is what I thought about The Songbird Girls.  I just knew I had this book figured out from almost the beginning.  I was sure up until the last couple of chapters.  Boy was I wrong!  This book took me totally by surprise and I must say that I've finished the book and still don't know the ending.  This book is leading me into the next book that I hope will be out very soon!  I must see what I've missed and who is truly behind the story.  So, Richard Parker, please hurry and give us all the next book in this series.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The Mystery of the Lost Avenger - Linda Maria Frank, Author



ORZO AND MUSHROOM CASSEROLE ALA LINDA

Cook up a box of orzo pasta, al dente. Fluids will be taken up when added to casserole.
Sauté 4 pkgs of mushrooms (choose the ones you like, a mixture is good) in 1 stick of butter. Brown lightly. Add 2 cups of white wine and reduce the mixture to a thick soup.
Arrange a large casserole by layering 1 bag fresh baby spinach, the mushrooms and the orzo.
Liberally lace with shaved parmesan cheese.
Sprinkle bread crumbs you have browned in butter on top.
Bake at 400 until bubbly. Add more wine if necessary.

You can add strips of barbequed chicken, shrimp, steak or salmon to this to make a hearty one-dish meal.


ENJOY!

The Mystery of the Lost Avenger - Review by Martha A. Cheves

Charlotte Wheeler suspected that sabotage was happening at the Grumman plant.  She was able to figure out the faulty hinges for the Avenger's bomb bay doors were being randomly replaced for the good hinges, by someone who had access to the plant.  Charlotte and her buddies checked all the planes and prevented the faulty parts from being switched.  They did their best to stop the saboteur, things got rough and Charlotte was attacked one night while she was waiting to catch him in the act.

Charlotte Wheeler was a WASP during WWII.  She not only helped build the planes, she also flew them to their destination where they were turned over to the fighting pilots.  She was scheduled to fly one of the bombers out but noticed a problem with the bomb bay doors.  While she went to check on something the plane was given to another WASP to deliver.  Her name was Brenda McPhee and she never made it to her destination.  Her plane disappeared.

Many years later Annie, who is Charlotte's great grand-daughter, finds out that the plane has been found and there was a letter inside that was written by Charlotte.  Through further research and the help of her boyfriend Ty, Annie decides to solve the mystery of the downed plane and who the saboteur was.

As with all of the Annie Tillery Mysteries, this one kept my interest.  It not only had some history, it also had a great mystery and of course a ghost.  Looking forward to reading the next in this series.

 
Design by Wordpress Theme | Bloggerized by Free Blogger Templates | coupon codes