Thursday, February 19, 2015

Good Reads: Swan Dive

Swan Dive (An Elliott Lisbon Mystery #3)Swan Dive by Kendel Lynn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Swan Dive is the third book in the Elliott Lisbon mystery series. It is a well written and professionally edited full length novel. While it could be read as a standalone, I suggest reading the series in order to have a full understanding of the characters and their motivations.

In her capacity as the director of the Ballantyne Foundation Elliott is attending a ballet, the Nutcracker Suite, when the lead ballerina is found dead in her dressing room. Elliot is tasked with assisting the police with their murder investigation and is soon embroiled in the world of dance, cooking competitions and botanical poisons.

The plot of Swan Dive is complex, circuitous and fast paced. Once I began reading I didn't want to put the book down. I was put off a bit by Elliott keeping so much evidence and information from the police. It bordered on obstruction.

The ending is a HFN and I look forward to reading future books in this series.

ARC provided by Henery Press via Netgalley.


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Good Reads: When Lies Crumble

When Lies Crumble (A Carter Mays Mystery Book 1)When Lies Crumble by Alan Cupp
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When Lies Crumble is the first book in the Carter Mays mystery series. It is a well written and professionally edited full length mystery novel.

When a young socialite is left standing at the alter by her fiancé; she hires Charlie Mays to find him. What was at first a missing person case quickly becomes dangerous for Charlie and his client.

This plot is original and fast paced. I could have used more character development, especially of the main character, Charlie Mays. I had a hard time visualizing him and very little background was given for his character.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed When Lies Crumble. The first book in a series can often get bogged down, but the focus on a strong plot made this an absorbing read for me. It ends with a HFN with no cliffhanger.

ARC provided by Henery Press via Netgalley.

Monday, February 16, 2015

The Frugal Kitchen: Vegetarian Pasta Puttanesca

I made this dish today and it was so easy and yummy that I had to share.

INGREDIENTS

1 14 oz. can of diced tomatoes, undrained
1 onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, finely diced
2 Tbs. fresh basil or 1 tsp. dried
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/4 cup of roughly diced pitted kalamata olives
2 Tbs. capers
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 package of pasta

Heat the olive oil in a heavy sauce pan, then add onion.  Cook until transparent, adding garlic, capers and pepper flakes for the last minute of cooking.  Add tomatoes, basil, and olives.  Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, for at least an hour.


Cook pasta according to package instructions, drain, then add to the sauce.  Mix together well and serve.  This is a vegan dish if you do not top it with parmesan, but I do like the cheese on mine.


Please excuse my horrible photo, but I hope you enjoy this dish.

God bless,
Pam

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Valentine's Day Emoji Pillow

Here is a little peek at my daughter's Valentine's Day present.  So, if you know her, shush.

I am making an emoji pillow out of fleece and felt.  This is a super easy project and shouldn't take more than an hour or two to complete.  Today I cut out the pieces in about 15 minutes and will sew them on the sewing machine tomorrow (45-60 minutes).

YOU WILL NEED

1/2 - 1 yard of yellow fleece
fat quarter of red felt
fat quarter of black felt
polyester or wool stuffing
thread to match fabrics (or fabric glue)


Find a round object the size you want (I used a trash can) and trace out two circles on the yellow fleece.   Hand draw or print out and trace, two heart shapes on red felt.  Hand draw a half circle mouth shape on black felt.  Cut out shapes, then using matching thread or glue secure eyes and mouth in place.  Place circle pieces right sides together and sew or glue them together with a 1/2 inch seam allowance.  Leave enough of an opening to stuff the pillow.  Hand sew or glue the opening shut.

Pieces laid out prior to sewing.

Have fun with this project.  There are quite a few emojis to chose from and that would be suitable for birthdays and other holidays.

God bless,
Pam

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Good Reads: MacDeath

MacDeath (An Ivy Meadows Mystery, #1)MacDeath by Cindy Brown
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

MacDeath is the first book in the Ivy Meadows mystery series. It is well written and professionally edited.

The heroine, Ivy (Olive), is a professional actress in a local, small performance of Macbeth. She pays her bills by holding down "real" jobs. When the leading man is found dead on opening night she is convinced that he was murdered. With the help of her private detective uncle, she sets off to solve the crime.

Sometimes the first book in a series can be hard reading because the necessary introduction of characters can bog the plot down. But Cindy Brown handled the challenge very nicely. The characters were fully developed and the plot moved along briskly.

I recommend MacDeath and I look forward to reading more books in this series.

ARC provided by Henery Press via Netgalley.


The Frugal Kitchen: Vegetarian Chili

What better to eat on a cold February day than chili?  We had this vegetarian version over the weekend, but it could be put together in advance, then cooked in a slow cooker on a work day.

INGREDIENTS

1 onion
3 garlic cloves
2 carrots
3 Tbsp.  olive oil
1 large can diced tomatoes with juice
1 regular can beans, drained
2 Tbsp. chili powder
red pepper flakes to taste
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. sugar

Dice onion and carrots to the same size and finely dice the garlic.


SautĂ© until transparent in olive oil over medium heat.  Add garlic and red pepper flakes for the last minute of cooking.



  Add tomatoes, beans, chili powder, salt and sugar to pot.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, then cover and reduce heat to a simmer.  Cook for at least two hours, then serve with grated cheese or a dollop of sour cream on top.


I hope you enjoy this simple to make, but tasty chili.

God bless,
Pam

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Good Reads: The Deep End

The Deep EndThe Deep End by Julie Mulhern
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Deep End is a very well written and professionally edited murder mystery. Once I started reading I couldn't put it down.

The heroine is a country club wife, barely existing while under the thumbs of her philandering husband and manipulative mother. Only her art gives her hope. When she discovers the body of her husband's mistress she becomes the prime suspect in a series of murders. She decides she must solve the murders in order to prove her innocence.

At times I was annoyed with the h's passivity, but she did begin to grow stronger as the plot developed. The secondary characters were interesting, especially the two men that become romantic interests.

The plot was full of twists and turns. It held my interest and at times contained a quirky humor. I didn't figure out who the murderer was until it was revealed.

I highly recommend The Deep End and I look forward to reading more books by this author.

ARC provided by Henery Press via Netgalley.