Sunset Reads: Damian & Layla

Sunset Reads: Damian & Layla (Sunset Reads #2) by D.C. Triana

            In Sunset Reads: Damian & Layla, by D.C. Triana, we return to the publishing company, prospering under the blissfully married Cristina and Will. But in this volume the focus is shifted from them to their friends: Cristiana’s friend from childhood, Layla; and Will’s Special Forces colleague. Layla has fallen for Damian, and he shares her feelings; but instead of creating a relationship Damian abruptly leaves, breaking Layla’s heart.

Years have passed and FBI Agent Damian has returned as a new threat has risen against Will and Cristina. Gus Schwartz, a computer genius, and his company Skyline Enterprises has been revolutionizing industries, along with ransacking their financial accounts. They need compelling evidence to prove that he and his employees are purposefully committing these crimes and Damian will be going undercover to infiltrate the crew at their latest job, Sunset Reads. Damian is eager to help out his friend, but surprised to discover she has just been appointed Public Relations Director. He is as equally surprised to discover that he still has feelings for her and that she in return wants nothing to do with him.

Layla had hoped to never see or spend another minute thinking about Damian, but finds that will be an unrealistic goal, as he will be working in her department. To make matters worse, she becomes the center of this ring of intrigue; finding herself dodging bullets, becoming a Mata Hari, and forced into having constant FBI protection. With all of this happening, the question isn’t will they save the company: but will they survive?

I really didn’t enjoy this novel as I felt it paled In comparison to its predecessor. In Sunset Reads: Will & Cristina; there was a lot of development into the lives of the characters, along with the “life” of the company. We became attached to the characters and the company as we followed their stories, growth, and how the company and publishing world affected them. Cristina was a writer who went through many difficulties, finding a home with Sunset Reads and with Will’s mother. For Will, he had to contend with an abusive stepfather, his drive in Sunset Reads being a way to protect his mother and preserve her legacy. We see how he has to woo Cristina to win her favor; along with having to woo the public in order to have the company prosper. Because of this direct connection, the threat to them and Sunset Reads is felt as acutely with the reader as it is with the characters.

This was not the case with Sunset Reads: Damian & Layla. We are not given a lot of background into who these characters are or their paths that made them the people they are today. They fail to be relatable, so when their situation gets suspenseful or stressful it isn’t as evoking of emotions in the reader.

Damian and Layla also have no direct connection to Sunset Reads, so the level of urgency isn’t the same and their attention isn’t as focused in protecting it. For Layla, she has barely begun working at Sunset Reads, we never see her actually doing her job, or see what threat these hackers and grifters pose against her directly. The same applies to Damian who is supposed to be investigating as ordered by the FBI and in order to aid his friend; but hardly even focuses on the situation; choosing to spend his time investigating Layla’s body. The “threat” against the company is hardly present in the story, mostly being a tool to throw Layla and Damian together or to incite their feelings.

This book doesn’t really build a relationship between Layla and Damian as they go from dislike, Layla of Damian, speedily to desire and then “love”. There isn’t a lot of growth in them or why the relationship will work now when previously Damian stalled it. The emotional relationship is not really seen, the emphasis being on the physical relationship instead.

As a companion in the series Sunset Reads I found it to be lacking. I expected a more rounded tale of characters and plot, giving this one out of five stars.

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This Doesn’t Happen in the Movies

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This Doesn’t Happen in the Movies (Reed Ferguson Mystery #1) by Renée Pawlish

Thoughts Before Reading:

I belong to a site called BookBub in which you can be rediredted to get  Kindle books cheaply or for free. This was one that was on the free section of the site.

I picked this book because every facet of it intrigued me. The cover was interesting in its 1940s noir feel, the title with it instantly bringing to mind a character who loves film (espechially noir) as much as me; and the synopsis sounded great. Now did it live up to its expectations?

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Reed Fergurson loves old film noir. He’s favorite is The Big Sleep starring his hero, Humphrey BOgart.

On the case!

In fact, Reed wants to be just like his hero, that he has decided to start his own detective agency.

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As he lives in Colorado, he doesn’t have to be licensed. Now Reed may dream of being the next Sam Spade or Phillip Marlowe; but hasn’t hit it big on a case really. He spends most of his time watching old movies or sitting around reading detective novels.

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Unfortunately, Reed’s dad doesn’t view things the same way.

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He thinks of Reed as playacting and wants him to concentrate on a “real” job.

So Reed is hoping that he will get a “real” case to prove that it is a “real job”.

One day a beautiful blonde walks ito his office. She is straight up a femme fatale out of his movies. Her name is Amanda Ghering and she wants Reed to find her dead husband. She’s willing to pay anything.

Right off Reed smells something fishy, but agrees to investigate. As he has his first case, he is raring to go.

Amanda Ghering’s husband, Peter, traveled a lot and was quite the wanderer. However, that lead dries up quicjly as none of those women appear to be involved.

Reed also hears conflicting information and begins to follow Amanda, knowing that there is a whole lot more to the tale than what she is saying.

When Reed gets his life threatened,that seals the deal for him. He’s in this to the final stretch.

He follows Amanda to a resturant where she passes a comic book to a waiter, who passes it along to another woman.

After a bit more investigating, and presue on Amanda, Reed discovers that he’s been made a patsy. Amanda was behind the dosappearnce/murder of her husband. She hired this group of avenfers of womeb’s rights and injustice, the X Women, by lying and saying her husband is abusive and controlling. When they discovered the lie, they let her husvand go, and ge has been missing since.

Reed tries to help aid Amanda, but she has pissed off the wrong people. These women will not be treated as such without a fight.

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Thoughts After Reading:

I did not like this mystery which made me sad as I thought it was going to be a winner. I mean I love classic noir, ’80s music, comics; etc. But this was just boring and badly written. And don’t be using Spider-man if you don’t even know who he is or how he acts.

I really didn’t care for Reed as he was boring and lazy, I mean we read more about him eating  than his actual investigating.

The side characters were too numerous and annoying. The goofball brothers, ugh please no more.

Pretty much a fail for me. 0 out of 0 stars..

Psycho

Psycho

Psycho (Psycho #1) by Robert Bloch

Thoughts Before Reading:

So I am a huge fan of Alfred Hitchcock and one of my favorite films is Psycho (1960).

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I could go on and on about it, but my sister blog, janeaustenrunsmylife.wordpress.com, already reviewed it.

 So as I had become obsessed with Psycho, when I spotted the book Psycho II at a book sale I bought it.

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I had never read Psycho, but if the movie was that fantastic, then I thought the book must be and the sequel.

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I did not like the sequel. It was no a good book at all. And ten years later I decided it was time to try and actually read the first novel that the film is based on. Now this won’t be a comparison, as that is a job for my sister blog fromprinttoscreen.wordpress.com

So here we are with Psycho.

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Plot Synopsis:

So the book starts off with Norman Bates, a 40-year old man who lives with his mother. Their property is massive ans inckudes a huge farnhouse fr the two of them, and then a motel lower down the hill.

Norman has an unahappy life with his mother, being the one to take care of her, while she is sick, abusive, and not fun to be around. The only bright spot for Norman is his books, through them he is able to escape his everyday existence.

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So Nornan is having a regular day, when he hears a sound that means someonw is there to check in.

We then switch to Mary Crane. Mary Crane has bot lived the life she wished for. She was planning to go to college but canceled that when her father died in a car acident and she decided to help at home. Her boyfriend left her when he was sent by the army to Hawaii, where he met another girl. Then her mom became sick and Mary paid for Lila, her sister, education. She works at Lowery’s real estate office as a secretery but that is not what she wants. She wants to be married with children.

After her mother’s death and the sale of the house, they had some extra money and Lilia convinced Mary to go on a cruise. There she met SamLoomis, a divorced hardware store owner who inherited his ather’s debts with the buisness. They fell in love, but Sam doesn’t want to be arried now. e wants to wait a few years until the fiances are better. Mary doesn’t, but decides to wait.

When a biyer walked in and bought his daughter her dream house for $40000 in cash; Mary just snapped and stole it instead of depositing it like she was supposed to.

She travels to Sam, but decides to stop for the night instead of coming right over. Her stop? The Bates Motel.

Norman seems sweet and tells Mary that he will make them a snack. They do and talk about their issues.

Now here is what I thought was slightly weird. Norman in the film was adorable, kind-hearted looking, and like a cute little boy. I could see talking to him as he seemed safe, and in need of a friend. In this he is a bit creepy. 40-year old man with his mom, I don’t think so.

Mary decides that her plan is a horriblw one and is planning to return to Fort Worth, TX. Before she leaves, she decodes to take a shower, to wash off her sins.

While in the shower she is attacked and killed.

Norman has been drinking, depressed at their conversation as he knows that Mary is right. His life is hard and unpleasant and he should do something about it. He also has a thing for Marion and wants to be with her.

Norman discovers Mary’s dead body and figures that his mother is the one behind the attack. He then cleans up the mess, tossing everything in Mary’s car; and all that into the swamp.

Sam is writing a letter to Mary, when Lila shows up on his doorstep! She comes to him looking for Mary, relating what haooened and how Mary is missing. She is followed by Lowery’s private investigator Arbogast.

Hearing this news about Mary, Sam starts having seconf thoughts about the marriage wondering how he fell for such a woman. And does she know her as well as ge thought he did?

Arbogast traces the steps of where Mary could have gone and discovers the forgotten drive that leads to the Bates Motel.

He questions Norman and asks to talk to his mother. He lets Sam and Lila know, asking them to wait for his next cakk.

Norman relunctantly agrees to Arboghast meeting thre mother,but when Norman’s mother meets Arboghast she slices Arnoghast;s throat. Another body for the swamp.

Norman knows more will be coming, abd against his nother’s wishes, he ides her in the fruit cellar.

Sam ad Lila have been waiting for Arbohghast but no call comes. Lilia becomes worroe and impoatient and the two gp to the Sheriff toask fpr his help. There thet find out tht orman’s mother id dead and buired. If she is dead then who is in the house?

The Sheriff complies and heads out to question Norman. When he returns he lets the two know that Arboghast isn’t there, the mother isn’t there, and Mary isn’t there. he believes that Arboghast took off for Chicagi and just forot to call.

Lilia doesn’t believe in that and tells Sam she is heading out to the motel.

Lila and Sam pretend to be a couple trveling, but NOrmsn knows something uis up; espechially with Lila looking so much like Mary.

The two split up and start investogatong. Mary heads ro the house while Sam decides to distract Normab. It wokls for a while but Mormn knocks Sam out and heads to the house after Lila.

Sam wakes yp hen the Sheriff finds him. He recieved a call about Arboghast that made him suspicious and he ame out here tplook for Sam and Lila. They both hear Lila screaming and head up to the house.

Ghost of the Hardy Boys

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Ghost of the Hardy Boys: An Autobiography by Leslie McFarlane, (the first Franklin W. Dixon)

I have never really been a fan of the Hardy Boys, except when they intersected with Nancy Drew. The Nancy Drew Casefiles had a cross over The Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys: Super Mysteries; along with the TV show The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries. The books, the few I read, never captured my attention. However, when I found this book, I decided to check it out and learn more about the creation of the Hardy Boys.

But first:

Happy 115th Birthday Leslie McFarlane!

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McFarlane started as a Canadian writer, trying to strike it in the publishing world. He works at a newspaper during the day, and at night putts away at the keyboard trying to write stories and have them published.

He works at a midwestern newspaper, while still trying to get his work published. One day he came upon an advertisement by Stratemeyer looking for a writer. It promised good money, so McFarlane decides to answer it.

He receives an outline for a book about two boys, Dave Fearless and his best pal as they go on all kinds of adventures, but the book was to be written not by McFarlane but a Roy Rockwood.

Yes, Stratemeyer has an amazing idea in that he will have all these series written, but not by real people but pseudonyms. If an “author” leaves, they can always be replaced with no one noticing.

MacFarlane gets paid enough that he leaves his job at the paper and heads back to his hometown. But even though Dave Fearless is paying the bills, MacFarlane hates the character with a passion.

However, one day he is given an outline without the snippet for the next book. He doesn’t think much about it, but it turns out that Fearless is toast. Instead, Stratemeyer has a new idea, a crime-solving duo The Hardy Boys.

From here begins MacFarlane’s career as Franklin W. Dixon. With him he breathes his own life and ideas into the characters, creating pieces that would remain with them throughout the years and their many rebranding for new generations.

Thoughts After Reading:

I Lobed it. MacFarlane is hilarious and so genuine in his writing. It feels as if he is taking directly to you and he holds nothing back. Loved it!

For more Non Fiction, go to High Road to the Stake: A Tale of Witchcraft

For more biographies, go to Agatha Christie: The Woman and Her Mysteries

Dracula (Graphic Novel)

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Dracula by Michael Mucci & Bram Stoker

Thoughts Before Reading:

Years earlier, my friend wanted a Dracula costume, but not the one from the films but the one from this graphic novel.

He didn’t have the book so I couldn’t give him the contact info of the person who could make it for him. Instead he was a knight.

Years later, I was shopping for a friend’s birthday and I spotted this graphic novel and knew it would be perfect.

As I was looking at it, I couldn’t resist reading it:

And I loved it!!!

Ploy Synopsis:

The book starts off with Jonathan Harker going to Transylvania to meet with Count Dracula, helping him as he is moving to London. Count Dracula is friendly but has some strange rules regarding his house, never eats, and soon Jonathan realizes he is locked in the house.

And Count Dracula is more than meets the eye.

Meanwhile, back in England-Mina Murry stays with her best friend Lucy Westenra and anxiously awaits to hear from her fiancé Jonathan. But it has been so long since she has heard from him. Will she ever get a letter or will he come home again?

Meanwhile, her friend Lucy has a strange disease attacking her in which she needs constant transfusions. And there are some weird marks on her neck. Lucy’s former boyfriend, Dr. John Seward, has to use his blood, her fiancé Arthur Holmwood, former boyfriend Quincey Morris, and has to call in his former doctor and professor: Abraham Van Helsing, for help.

Van Helsing starts looking into it, and concludes it is Vampires.

Jonathan is found and comes back to England. Using his knowledge-Van Helsing, Harker, Mina, Dr. Seward, Morris, and Holmwood all team up to take the beast down.

Thoughts After Reading:

This was fantastic!

I loved the art

I loved the pacing of the story and everything else about this book.

And I never realized that Jonathan Harker was so tough. In the movies he never really does anything as he is always recuperating or doesn’t know what to do. In this he was pretty hardcore going after Dracula. And so wa Mina, she was one tough lady and a great character.

For more classic novels, go to The Sign of the Four

For more supernatural mysteries, go to The Winter People

For more graphic novels, go to Fangs But No Fangs

For more vampires, go to Grave Peril

The Tell-Tale Heart

“The Tell-Tale Heart” from Ten Great Mysteries by Edgar Allen Poe

This is one of those stories, no matter how many times you read it, it will always be as creepy and thrilling as the first time you read it.

One of things that makes it so spine-tingling is that it is told in first person, allowing the reader to become the character, and our hearts to beat in unison.

I can’t review it with proper justice, it is one you have to read.

A man rents out a room from an older man and is intent on stealing from him. Every day the man watches him, and eventually the lodger decides to kill him. When he goes in to kill him, he hears the heart beat get louder and louder, a crescendo.

After he kills him, he cuts the body up and chops it into pieces and buries him under the floorboards.

But is it that easy? The heart, he can hear it-it calls to him.

For more on Edgar Allan Poe, go to The Murders in Rue Morgue

For more on The Tell-Tale Heart, go to Murder He Wrote: Edgar Allan Poe

For more short stories, go to The Veldt

Pride & Prejudice & Zombies

Getting in the Halloween spirit with Zombies! I don’t need to write my own post, but just borrow from my sister blog. Check out what she has to say about this.

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Day 26) Z is for Zombie: Choose a Zombie Retelling of a Classic Novel

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Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies #1) by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith

When I saw what Z stood for I knew that this was going to be the book I was going to review for it. First of all I have read very little Zombie themed books as that is just not really what I am in to. And secondly, pass up a chance to talk about Jane Austen?

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So I remember when this book was first released. It was right as the teen book world was moving out of wizards (Harry Potter) and Vampires (Twlight, Vampire Diaries, Vampire Academy, etc.), and was searching for a new thing to fill this niche. They settled on Zombies.

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But not just Zombies. They decided to take it one step further and pair…

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High Road to the Stake: A Tale of Witchcraft

High Road to the Stake: A Tale of Witchcraft

Highroad to the Stake: A Tale of Witchcraft by Michael Kunze

Thoughts Before Reading:

I had to read this for my class on Early Modern Europe, but didn’t.

I know. Since I couldn’t return it I decided to just hold on to it and read it later.

Plot Synopsis:

This book is the account of the Pappenheimers family. This unit of five-father Paulus; mother Anna; sons Jacob (sometimes called Michel), Gumpprecht, and Hoel (sometimes called Hansel). They were a lower class family that moved around like gypsies.

An arrested thief named them as his conspirators in murdering pregnant women and called them witches. They were arrested and taken to Munich.

There they were tortured and accused of committing over hundreds of thefts and murders, basically any unsolved crime.

Michael Kunze gives a deatailed account of life in the 17th century, and a detailed account of the horror of the witch hunts and trials.

Thoughts After Reading:

I have tried to read this book five times and barely make it out of the first few chapters.

Ugh

It is so dense and I just can’t connect to the work. I’m not sure if it is his style or maybe the translation, but after the fifth time trying to read it; I just kissed it goodbye.

For more nonfiction, go to The Girl in Alfred Hitchcock’s Shower

For more books featuring witches, go to The Witch Hunter’s Tale

For more books I read for class, go to The Midwife’s Tale

For more book reviews, go to Beyond the Grave: A Choose Your Own Ending Mystery Adventure

Beyond the Grave: A Choose Your Own Ending Mystery Adventure

Beyond the Grave: A Choose Your Own Ending Mystery Adventure

Beyond the Grave: A Choose Your Own Ending Mystery Adventure (Up2u Adventures #1)

Thoughts Before Reading:

When I was looking at books to get my niece I thought this would be a great choice. The fact that we got to choose our own ending made me think of the Choose Your Own Adventure series that I grew up with.

I thought it might even be better as it seemed that you were actually in the story before you made a choice. I always hated how of you choose wrong in the first question the story was over before it even began.

So let’s see how this went.

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Plot Synopsis:

Dylan and Michael are teamed up for their class project on doing a report on a famous town person. Michael doesn’t like being teamed up with Dylan at all because of his hobby, rubbling gravestones.

Now In personally don’t think that is that creepy at all, as lots of people do that, but Michael think it is strange.

So they start searching out famous people from the past. Michael wants to do the report on a newspaperman called Snoop, however Dylan found something more interesting; Snoop’s story.

Snoop did a whole series on Dr. Naper, the town’s own Dr. Frankenstein.

He was caught trying to experiment on creating life. And he is buried in Dylan’s favorite cemetery.

Dylan decides that the best way to get an A+ is to not only include the pictures that Snoop took, but a grave rubbing of Dr. Naper’s headstone.

Dylan decides that the two should head out there. Only problem is that he isn’t allowed to be there. Only way to do it, sneak out there after dark.

Always watching

What happens next? You decide!

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Thoughts After Reading:

I didn’t like how you weren’t able to choose until the very end and that your decision didn’t really have an effect. I like the Choose Your Own Adventure series better.

For more young adult mysteries, go to Spring Breakdown

For more ghosts, go to The Chocolate Chip Mystery

For more mad scientists, go to Ticker

Dying for Chocolate

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Dying for Chocolate (A Goldy Bear Culinary Mystery #2) by Diane Mott Davidson

Thoughts Before Reading:

So it has been a while since I have reviewed A Goldy Bear Culinary Mystery. Let’s review!

So Goldy was in an abusive marriage and left her husband, John Richard, gynecologist. He’s rich but hates giving her any money. In the last book, Catering to Nobody, her ex-father-in-law was poisoned while she was catering an event. This caused her catering to be closed down and her to be on the case. While investigating, she also caught the eye of police Officer Tom Shultz.

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Plot Summary:

So a lot has changed since Halloween night when Goldy solved her first case and brought her catering business back.

So John Richard has been driving by the house constantly, and with his temper it is better to be safe than sorry, so Goldy took a position with her best friend Marla’s sister, Adele Farquhar and her husband General Bo.

They hired Goldy to be their live in cook, and she can continue to cater as well. Arch is also starting school at the elite Elk Park Prep. While it is expensive, it does provide a much better education and Arch needed to go somewhere else after the impropriety and death of his last teacher.

His past teacher…

While Goldy is still seeing Officer Tom Shultz, but she has also started a relationship with her old flame Dr. Phillip Miller, a local psychiatrist.

Goldy gets asked to meet with Phillip’s sister, Elizabeth, before Goldy does a catering event and Elizabeth questions her about Phillip. “You know, you know, you know…” But Goldy doesn’t know. What could be troubling her that Goldy should know?

After the catering, Goldy has a date with Phillip. She follows him to the cafe they were going to, but Phillip starts driving extremely fast down the snow covered hill. Goldy tries to help him, but then a bus comes and there is a huge crash. Phillip’s dead.

Officer Tom Shultz comes and helps Goldy, questioning her and calming her down. When Goldy questions how he got there so fast. It turns out he was heading up the mountain as they had just received a call:

You gotta come help me, I live in Aspen Meadow Country Club. You gotta come help me, my life’s in danger.”

The person hung up before they could get any more information.

Tom takes Goldy home amd asks about her employers. General Bo is kind of weird. He was this big deal in the army and was forced to retire. He still writes papers and does experiments on fighting terrorism and C4, and lots of dangerous stuff like that.

Julian is the boy on scholarship that is living with Anne and General Bo. He comes from a family that owns a small candy shop. He is studying to be a doctor and ever since Goldy has come he has been horribly rude and mean to her. He likes Arch though and helps him out.

Julian was seeing Dr. Phillip and now with his death seems to be lashing out even more.

Later, the officers come to question Goldy. It turns out that Phillip has just come from the eye doctor and Goldy thinks that maybe it has something to it. The police question her on whether she or Elizabeth killed him.

Seriously, again?

To make things even better, John Richard comes and starts blaming everything bad in his life on Goldy, threatening her. Luckily General Bo comes on the scene and dispatches him. He may be off, but he cares at least.

To top that off, someone is writing horrible reviews about her food, not even addressing things properly (obviously this food critic knows nothing about food), and because of it someone is suing her for stealing their name (they are the Three Bears Catering Service), and she has just found out that Phillip was seeing another woman.

What?!

The other woman, Weezie Harrington, is the same one that Goldie is going to cater today.

She wants a “love dinner” to bring back the “spice”; but her husband has enough “spice” he just wants to share it with every woman who isn’t his wife. He tries with Goldy, but she is not having that at all.

Goldie doesn’t try to investigate Phillip’s death, but when she discovers that the police are looking more at her than trying to find the “real killer” and she is attacked while having lunch, she decides that it is it. She is on the case.

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Thoughts After Reading:

I thought this was really good. Once again Davidson hit it out of the park.

I liked how Arch and Tom’s relationship grew. So cute how he taught Tom his secret code for when he is in trouble.

I did’t like her dating Phillip. What is wrong with her? I mean Officer Schulz is fantastic. I knew Phillip was a jerk, and then when it was discovered that he was doing a paper on her and dating to experiment/work with her.

I knew Julian was angry because he wanted to cook. It was obvious. And that as sweet to see their relationship grow and now he will be her assistant.

So the whole secret baby, I thought it was Marla. The way she talked about their relationship and the big age difference, I totally thought that Marla was really her baby. but then when they started talking about Julian’s birth parents, I knew it was Julian.

And I didn;t see that the father was Brian or that Adele was psychotic. That ending cliffhanger when they kidnap Arch was thrilling. I won’t ruin it, check it out for yourself.

Read it today!

For more Goldy Bear Culinary Mysteries, go to Catering to Nobody

For more mysteries involving caterers, go to A Taste of Fame

For more mystery reviews, go to Emilie and the Sky World

The Veldt

“The Veldt” (originally published as “The World the Children Made”) from The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury

Thoughts Before Reading:

Usually I post short stories on a Sunday, but as it was originally published on September 23, 1950, I thought I would post the review on that day.

Happy anniversary!

I first read The Illustrated Man, over fifteen years ago and completely fell in love with it, devouring it from beginning to end. I thought it was phenomenal and utterly creepy.

Hold me!

This story is so well written, just reading the name sends shivers down my spine.

Now as you read the synopsis, the story may sound slightly familiar to you fellow ’90s kids, as this is what the DCOM (Disney Channel Original Movie) Smart House was based on.

Plot Synopsis:

The story is set in the future and the houses are full of all kinds of technology and gadgets that people don’t have to do anything for themselves.

You ask for something, the house makes it and it appears. You have devices that paint for you, read to you, etc.

 The walls can change to mimic anything you wish, and what the children, Peter and Wendy Hadley, in this home keep asking for is the African Veldt.

And it is starting to scare the parents, Linda and George. They don’t know why, but something is…wrong. When they see the far off lions eating something, with the vultures waiting their turn it frightens them, but why?

Lately, the parents and children have been having some issues.The parents have decided that the children have become too spoiled and need to do things for themselves instead of having the house do it all for them, things like tying their shoes themselves, brush their own teeth, take their own bath, etc.

They call in their friend, a psychologist. David McClean, who quickly diagnosis the problem.

“You’ve let this room and this house replace you and your wife in your children’s affections. This room is their mother and father, far more important in their lives than their parents. And now you come along and want to shut it off. No wonder there’s hatred here. You can feel it coming out of the sky. Feel that sun. George, you’ll have to change your life. Like too many others, you’ve built it around creature comforts. Why, you’d starve tomorrow if something went wrong with your kitchen. You wouldn’t know how to tap an egg. Nevertheless, turn everything off. Start new. It’ll take time. But we’ll make good children out of bad in a year, wait and see.”

The kids don’t like it:

But the adults are all convinced they will get over it. Will this prove to be a great solution? Or will the parents be unable to stop the Veldt?

Thoughts After Reading:

I loved it!!!!

It was chilling, thrilling, and had a great and terrifying end.

I suggest you read it right away.

Read it today!

For more by Ray Bradbury, go to The Utterly Perfect Murder

For more short stories, go to The Red Headed League

For more science fiction, go to Emilie and the Sky World

Little Betty & Veronica: The Buried Treasure Mystery

This comes from Betty and Veronica Double Digest No. 96. The story is called Little Betty and Veronica & the Buried Treasure, but I’m not sure why. It isn’t really about them, but about Archie. Why didn’t they just call it Little Archie & the Buried Treasure?

For more Archie Comics, go to Archie Andrews: A Real Foul Ball 

For more Betty & Veronica, go to Betty and Veronica: Stranger Than Fiction

For more treasure hunts, go to How to Wash a Cat

For more mystery reviews, go to Emilie and the Sky World

Emilie and the Sky World

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Emilie & the Sky World (Emilie Adventures #2) by Martha Wells

So Emilie is back in another adventure.

Her previous journeys brought her into the center of their world and introduced her to things she never imagined would have existed.

Emilie has finally been able to reach her cousin and gives her all the news, just as their interviews and adventures are published in newspapers all over. But before they can enjoy it, Professor Abindon, an old colleague of Professor and Lady Marlendes, warns them he she has come across something strange and deadly in the sky. There is a disruption in the air aether current.

But as they look into it, they realize it is another ship!

Could it be the one that was lost up there years ago? But impossible, there is no way they could still be alive.

Emilie is going to join the crew again and as they all prepare for the expedition they discover a surprise. Emilie’s uncle has come to take her away. As he screams ugly accusations; Emilie is defended by all.

They leave, but when they’ve started their journey they discover that they have a stow away. It is Emilie’s younger brother Efrain. It must run in the family.

Ugh

When they arrive on the ship it is absent of all people. Strange like the bermuda triangle.

They then find a flower-like creature and the whole group is transported to another world or dimension.

Now Emilie, her brother, and this plant like creature have to find the rest of the crew, return somehow to their ship, and battle a creature who is trying to posses a host and take over the galaxy.

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Thoughts After Reading:

I loved it. I thought it was compelling, interesting, and well put together.

The only thing that bothered me was that Emilie goes on and on about her older brother Erin, but he doesn’t appear in the book. It would have been perfect of he was a part of the stranded air crew and that was why he never come back.

So far there isn’t another book, but I would love to see a third installment.

For more Emilie Adventures, go to Emilie & the Hollow World

For more books centering on disappearances, go to The Missing Housewife

For more steam punk, go to Ticker

For more science-fiction books, go to The Falling Machine

Triple Green Protein Smoothie

I swear I have the never ending package of spinach.

Now I like spinach, but ever since I made the Spinach Pasta Salad I haven’t been able to use it fast enough. I don’t want it to go bad, but what else can I make that is different and post-worthy?

So I scoured the internet and found three spinach smoothie recipes. This is the last one.

Finally

This comes from Amy’s Healthy Baking

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cup of Cubed Honeydew
  • 1/2 Cup of Plain NonFat Greek Yogurt
  • 1-2 Tbsp of Water
  • 1 Cup of Spinach, Loosely Packed
  • 1 Cup of Kale, Loosely Packed (If you have no kale or don’t like it, you can substitute with an additional cup of spinach)
  • 8-10 Ice Cubes
  • Sweetener (to taste)

Directions:

  1. Add the honeydew, yogurt, water, spinach, and kale to blender, pulse until smooth.
  2. Add ice cubes and sweetener, pulse until smooth.
  3. Serve.

Thoughts After Cooking:

What did I think of this smoothie?

It was so gross! I don’t know if the honeydew wasn’t sweet enough or the combination of the greens with the plain greek yogurt, but it was horrible.

I would not recommend making it or drinking it.

For more smoothie recipes, go to Blueberry Spinach Smoothie

For more drink recipes, go to Power Smoothie

For more spinach recipes, go to Spinach Pasta Salad