Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Good Read: Designed To Death

Designed to Death (Faith Hunter Scrap This Mystery, #2)Designed to Death by Christina Freeburn
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Designed to Death is the second book in the Faith Hunter Scrap This Mystery series. It was as well written and edited as the first book with a completely new murder mystery to solve.

The main character, Faith, is still trying to hide from an incident in her past that makes her paranoid about being blamed for a crime she didn't commit and causes her to be a commitmentphobe. Another murder near her grandmothers' scrapbooking store places her back under the scrutiny of the community and the two men in her life. Faith feels she has no choice, but to help solve the murder to protect her family and herself.

The secondary characters are an eclectic mix of small town America eccentrics. They provide a fun, light element to the mystery.

Faith comes across as being more fearful and conflicted in this book, which was a bit off putting for me. I tend to like my heroines with a bit more spunk and self esteem.

I recommend this book and I am looking forward to reading the next book in this series.

ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Good Reads: Killer Image

Killer Image (Allison Campbell Mystery #1)Killer Image by Wendy Tyson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The cover of the book is quite misleading. It gave me the impression that I would be reading a light hearted mystery set in the fashion world. Instead I was treated to a well written, but dark mystery.

Allison (the heroine) is a rigid, image consultant haunted by a mistake she made years ago while working as a psychologist in a facility for emotionally disturbed teenage girls. When she is asked to help change the image of a difficult, but vulnerable teenager she surprises herself and those around her by accepting the case despite having a no children rule at her business.

Suddenly her teenage client is being framed for murder, Allison's reputation is being attacked and the reader is drawn into a fast paced mystery. Many dark elements are involved in the murder investigation: satanic rituals, family secrets, the ugliness of divorce, aging parents and pedophilia. Allison must protect her client and herself from all of these elements.

The character development and their history was nicely done. Each character seemed to have a secret they were hiding and something in their past that haunted them. This made for multi faceted and engaging plot development. I wanted to know these people and give them my advice!

Beside the mystery there are elements of romance and personal development. One thing that bothered me was the quick resolution of conflict. A character that had deserted Allison for two years suddenly apologizes and all is immediately forgiven. In another scene it is revealed that the people that Allison trusts the most have all been hiding personal information from her and she quickly gets over her feelings of betrayal. It would have made for better reading if there was a more realistic and slow growth of acceptance on the part of Allison. Watching her work her way through her feelings would have made future books more interesting.

I highly recommend Killer Image and I look forward to reading more of the Allison Campbell Mystery series. It does not end with a cliffhanger and has a HEA.

ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley.

The Frugal Kitchen: Homemade Cake Flour Substitute

I absolutely do not want to keep seldom used specialty items on the pantry shelves.  Cake flour is something that I may use once a month, at most, and I don't want to have it go bad before I can use it up.  I have found a homemade substitute for cake flour that is easy to make.

In a cup measure place 2 Tbsp. of cornstarch in the bottom, then fill to the top with all purpose flour.  You are basically replacing 2 Tbsp. of the flour with cornstarch.  Sift well and you will now have the equivalent of 1 cup of cake flour.

This replacement cake flour results in a light, soft cake.

God bless,

Monday, August 19, 2013

Back To School

Today was the first day of school here in Florida.  We went through the usual shopping for uniforms and school supplies.  But we had thought ahead and had picked up many items in advance while they were on sale.

There should be some very good sales this week as stores try to unload their extra school supplies.  Walgreens had some amazing prices and corresponding coupons, making it possible to pick up supplies for pennies rather than dollars.

Look for discounted items at big box stores that were intended for college students outfitting dorm rooms.  Microwaves, furniture, mini refrigerators, sheets and other bedding, even decorative items will be discounted.

When school uniforms are on sale pick up uniforms for next year by buying a size up from this year.  Khaki and navy blue are basic for school uniform bottoms.

Don't forget to go online to look for store coupons.  Target has a good variety of store coupons on the website every week.  I never shop there without printing out a couple of coupons before each visit.

Remember, one of the best ways to save money is by planning ahead and taking advantage of sales and coupons.

God bless,

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Good Reads: Moosewood Restaurant Favorites

Moosewood Restaurant Favorites: The 250 Most-Requested, Naturally Delicious Recipes from One of America's Best-Loved RestaurantsMoosewood Restaurant Favorites: The 250 Most-Requested, Naturally Delicious Recipes from One of America's Best-Loved Restaurants by Moosewood Collective
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Everyone should own a Moosewood cookbook and this is a perfect one to start or complete your collection. It contains the favorite recipes served at the Moosewood Restaurant in Ithica, New York since the 1970s.

Each recipe uses ingredients easily obtained at your local grocery store and can be completed in a reasonable period of time. The variety is great! I can see myself cooking my way through every recipe in this one.

I was provided with an ARC and unfortunately every fraction in the ingredient section is missing its denominator. Makes for some guessing on my part.

ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Good Read: No One Lives Twice

No One Lives Twice (Lexi Carmichael Mystery, #1)No One Lives Twice by Julie Moffett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have been on the hunt for mystery/suspense novels with smart, independent heroines. I picked up this book by chance and began one of the funniest mysteries I have ever read.

Lexi Carmichael, the h, is a hoot. She is an admitted geek and social failure. Lexi has accepted her life and has embraced her geekdom. Then she is drawn into an international intrigue by her best friend. Lexi's job at NSA and her fellow geek friends help her in her attempt to solve the mystery and save her friend.

Two hot government agents and other secondary characters add a romantic interest to this novel. Lexi is oblivious to how her intellect and physical appearance is attractive to the opposite sex. Her social cluelessness is amusing and appealing.

I highly recommend this book.