Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Good Reads: The Red Queen's Run

The Red Queen's RunThe Red Queen's Run by Bourne Morris
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Red Queen's Run is one of the most intelligently written and emotionally gripping mystery novels that I have read this year. It starts with a chilling reference to a real murder that took place in academia and then smoothly moves us into the fictional heroine's fears regarding her own co-workers.

When the heroine, Red, receives a phone call telling her of the murder of her boss, the Dean of Journalism, at the university where she works, she is horrified. She is named as his temporary replacement, soon finds herself trying to identify his murderer and in a relationship with the investigating detective. The plot is fast paced and gripping.

I highly recommend The Red Queen's Run to any mystery lover. It ends with a satisfying HFN. I look forward to reading more from this author.

ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley.


Monday, December 1, 2014

Good Reads: Shadow of Doubt

Shadow of DoubtShadow of Doubt by Nancy Cole Silverman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Shadow of Doubt is the first book in the A Carol Child Mystery series. It is a well written and professionally edited mystery novel.

Carol Child is a middle aged, divorced, single mother, radio news reporter with an FBI agent boyfriend. She is on the edge of being fired by her much younger boss, so when her next door neighbor becomes a murder suspect, Carol jumps in to solve the murder and get an exclusive news report for her radio station.

The first novel in a series can be a bit boring while the author establishes the characters, their backgrounds and the plot for the reader. I found this to be true of Shadow of Doubt, but once the background was established the plot became fast paced and interesting.

While a HFN was established at the ending the crime had not been completely solved which led to a very dangly cliffhanger. I look forward to reading future books in this series.

ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley.


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Frugal Kitchen: My Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Cranberries are BOGO (buy one get one) at most grocery stores now and will be even cheaper after Thanksgiving.  Am I the only person that runs to the grocery store on Black Friday?  One year I found fresh turkey on sale for 23 cents a pound.  Needless to say, we ate a large amount of home canned turkey that year!

Cranberry sauce was often served as an accompaniment to game meats or with rich dishes.  It's great over ice cream and whipped up in smoothies.  Here is a recipe for my favorite cranberry sauce.


INGREDIENTS

1 bag fresh cranberries
1 orange
1/2 tsp. orange rind
a pinch of salt
1/2 cup white sugar



In a pot add the juice of one orange, 1/2 tsp. finely grated orange rind (use a micro grater/rasp) and cranberries.

Micro grater
Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to a simmer.  When the berries have all popped add sugar and salt, bring up to medium heat,  and stir frequently until thickened (about 5 minutes).

Berries starting to pop
Place in a canning jar or other container.  Keep refrigerated until ready to eat.  Will keep for about a week in refrigerator.  This recipe can be doubled, triple or even quadrupled.  Enjoy!

God bless and Happy Thanksgiving,
Pam

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Frugal Gadgets: OXO Scrubber

I'm not usually a gadget lover, especially in the kitchen.  I prefer my tools to be multifunctional, but every once in a while I find a one use tool that make my life easier.

Cooking with cast iron pots and pans sometimes leaves me with a difficult clean up.  Just recently I read about a great scrubber by OXO that seems to be made for cleaning cast iron.  It's gentle enough to not ruin your pan's seasoned surface, but tough enough to scrub off stubborn cooked on food.

OXO is one of my favorite brands for kitchen tools because I have arthritis and this brand was originally developed for people with weak hands and problems gripping tools.




The bristles and scraper are plastic (nylon), but short and rigid.  Perfect for those difficult scrubbing jobs.  The handle is nice and thick to make it easy to grasp.  Not expensive either; I will put a link below, so you can see the price.

God bless,
Pam



Good Reads: No Test For The Wicked

No Test for the Wicked (Lexi Carmichael Mystery, #5)No Test for the Wicked by Julie Moffett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

No Test For The Wicked is the fifth book in the Lexi Carmichael mystery/romance series. It is extremely well written and professionally edited.

High school wasn't good for Lexi, cyber investigator, the first time around and when she has to pose as a high school student to investigate hackers at a prestigious private school the second time isn't much better. Especially when the terrorists show up.

I love Lexi's character and watching my favorite nerd girl growing as a person. In fact, the funniest and loveliest moments in this book are when she is feeling her way through her interactions with others. I was a little disappointed at the lack of appearance of some of the secondary characters. The break with Finn has been glossed over in the last two books, which really doesn't fit in with his Lexi obsessed and strong willed character in earlier books.

The plot was suspense filled and fast paced. It was a believable scenario and I love how it paralleled current events. The ending was poignant, but filled with hope, so I guess I would qualify it as a HFN.

I am a major Lexi Carmichael fan girl and I highly recommend this book and series.

ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley.


Good Reads: Death By Blue Water

Death by Blue Water. A Hayden Kent MysteryDeath by Blue Water. A Hayden Kent Mystery by Kait Carson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Death By Blue Water is the first novel in the Hayden Kent Mystery series. It is a well written and professionally edited mystery novel.

Hayden, a paralegal and frequent diver, wakes up one morning after nursing a migraine, soaking wet, in her bathing suit, at a marina and not remembering anything from the night before. Soon she finds herself the main suspect in a murder. Since law enforcement doesn't believe her story she sets off to investigate the murder and clear herself.

The plot was original and interesting and the character development was good, but what I liked best about Death By Blue Water was the author's ability to make each scene come alive. I could easily visualize the diving scenes, almost feeling as though I was there.

The only problem I had was that Hayden came off as being a bit unstable and, sometimes, not that bright. It was hard for me to view her as a competent amateur detective.

I recommend Death By Blue Water, especially if you like heroines that are amateur investigators. The book ends with a HFN.

ARC provided by Henery Press via Netgalley.

Friday, November 14, 2014

The Frugal Kitchen: Goulash

This is a midwestern favorite; so easy and economical.

INGREDIENTS

1 lb. ground meat, I prefer beef
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
1 onion, diced
2 large or 3 small garlic cloves, finely diced
1 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
1 bay leaf
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 cup water
1 cup macaroni
1Tbsp. olive oil


Brown the ground beef in a heavy pot, use oil if your beef is lean.  Add diced onion and garlic; cook until transparent. At this point you can move ingredients to a crock pot/slow cooker.



  Stir in canned tomatoes, sauce, seasonings and water.  Cook covered on low for 1/2 hour, then add macaroni and cook covered for 20 minutes.  If using a crock pot cook on low all day, then add macaroni and cook until done.



This is a great cold weather, comfort food.  The recipe feed four regular eaters or three big eaters.  It doubles and triples well.  Enjoy!

God bless,
Pam