Too Good to Be True

Too Good to Be True (Sweet Valley High #11) by Francine Pascal

Ah, Sweet Valley. Nothing takes me back to be preteen years faster than looking at this book series I was completely obsessed with. When I first became interested in them, they were out of print which just made me want them more!

As a kid I really liked the series and wanted to even live in their idyllic Californian world, and I thought the stories were fun and interesting. But as an adult I know they weren’t the best written books. Most of them are cheesy, silly, or sometimes don’t make sense; but these were the ’80s-’90s versions of Gossip Girl or One Tree Hill except with a different type of drama.

So the story follows twin sisters, Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield. Both are juniors, blonde, 5’6, and size sixes. Elizabeth is the smart, responsible one who dreams of being a journalist or writer. Jessica is the fashionable, social butterfly, cheerleader that dreams of parties and popularity.

They live in Sweet Valley, near Los Angeles, and attend school with their friends. The first book focused on the two girls, but the later ones were divided into two stories: one about a friend or relative while the other is about the girls. The later series got a bit darker and was done in short series, two or three books that went together. The topics ranged from drugs, sex, school dances, serial killers, sports, werewolves, princes, vampires, kidnapping, stalkers, etc. You know normal teenage girl stuff. 😉

Yes as the series progressed the writers changed, and while I didn’t like some of the alterations I still continued to read and collect (still do so today) the novels. What can I say? They are such a big part of my childhood they bring on a tsunami of nostalgia.

So what does that have to do with us? Well quite a few of the books in the series were mysteries, supernatural, had psycho characters, or other themes that fall in line with this blog.

So the novel series is similar to the Nancy Drew Files where you have a little teaser at the end like a preview, and the book picks up from there. In the last review I didn’t think I’d be reviewing another Sweet Valley High until book #13, but I forgot book #11

So let’s see since Secrets, we had Jessica being controlled and abused by her dream guy, Bruce Patman, discovering he is nothing but a nightmare; had the sisters compete to have a girl join or not join their sorority; Jessica went out with a much older man; Todd got a motorcycle; Elizabeth cracked her head riding the motorcycle and went into a coma, along with having a personality change; Roger Barret becomes a sport star and tries to go after Lila Fowler; and Jessica tried to keep the school “slut” from joining the cheerleading squad. Wow.

What?!

So that leaves us with number 11:

TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE

Suzanne rose from the couch and wound her arms about Mr. Collins’ neck. She could feel his muscles tensing as she pressed up against him

Suzanne, stop it,” Mr. Collins warned. She parted her lips and tilted her head back, willing him to embrace her. He was so close. His heart was beating much too quickly…

Trembling with the effort, Mr. Collins pulled free from her. “Get your things,” he ordered. “I’ll wait for you in the car.

She stared at him for a long, incredulous moment. How dare he reject her? Her eyes narrowed to razor-thin slits. “You wanted to kiss me. I know you did.”

Mr. Collins shook his head. “Believe me, I’m doing you a favor.”

But Suzanne scarcely heard what he was saying. Rage was boiling inside her. Oh, he’d pay for this. She’d make him pay. “You’re the one who’s going to be sorry Roger Collins!” she hissed.

Mr. Wakefield’s old college roommate, Tom Devlin, and him got back into contact. Devlin is a diplomat and has been all over the world, but has returned to New York City. His daughter, Suzanne, proposed  an idea of having her and one of the twins exchange home’s for a week during their spring break as Suzanne has always longed togo to California. (Although they are rich why not take a family vacation? Whatever).

Whatever…

But only one Wakefield daughter can go, and of course resident drama queen, Jessica pitches a fit when she loses the coin toss to Elizabeth. But Jessica can’t be out-tricked for long, and makes Elizabeth feel insecure in her relationship with Todd, getting her to switch places.

Suzanne, or Suzy as she asks everyone to call her, arrives looking glamourous as ever. She even has a dazzling English accent from her time abroad.

Even though Suzy is wealthy, lived all over, and had everything-she is kind, caring, and doesn’t mind lending a helping hand in everything-cleaning, cooking, etc.

She’s almost too good to be true,” Enid said…

Is she?

At the school picnic things go a little strange. Suzanne who is an amazing swimmer, medal-winning, starts drowning-causing Mr. Collins to have to swim out and save her. Suzy is so grateful, but Mr. Collins acts weird.

Meanwhile, in New York Jessica is having a less than thrilling time until Suzanne’s gorgeous boyfriend agrees to take her out-using his and Suzanne’s tickets.

Back in Sweet Valley, Elizabeth, Todd, and Suzanne drive by Mr. Collins’ house as Elizabeth needs to drop off some stuff for the school paper, The Oracle. Why she needs to go to his house, or even knows where he lives, I don’t know. Weird things you didn’t question as a preteen.

Suzanne delivers the papers for Elizabeth, getting a “drink of water” from the  garden hose and splashing her body, showing off her body.

Really, an “accident”.

One day Elizabeth is supposed to babysit Teddy, Mr. Collins’ son, but Todd scores some awesome tickets to the Lakers’ game. Suzy agrees to fill in for Elizabeth, promising to notify Mr. Collins but doesn’t, surprising him instead.

Yes, Suzanne is too good to be true. Underneath that beautiful exterior she is rotten to the core. She tries to seduce him, trying to add another conquest in her life, but Mr. Collins won’t take the bait. And he rejects her.

She walks back to the Wakefields and tears her blouse, messes up her hair, etc. When she gets there she accuses Mr. Collins of attacking her. Will Suzanne’s evil plan work? Or will everyone see through her careful facade?

Hmm…

Like the Nancy Drew Files, one of the best things I love in this series are the clothes, the author always gives great detail to what she wears. I’ve decided to add a special section for this in these reviews too.

Outfits-

When Jessica wears the black crepe from Suzanne’s closet.

Thoughts After Reading:

Rereading it I realize there are some things that are just not quite kosher here-in the relation to each other. Elizabeth going to Mr. Collins house multiple times, the Devlins not caring about underage drinking, Suzanne’s boyfriend trying to rape Jessica but they don’t tell her parents it charge him, and more. But anyways in the end they reveal that Suzy is evil and all works out, Mr. Collins is reinstated (although wouldn’t there be a bigger investigation into what was said), and Suzy goes back to NYC (she doesn’t face ay charges either). Jessica returns lying about the great time she had, when it was awful (how come we never see how this affects her? It’s like the writers don’t think about what would happen logically). Then we have poor Steven…

The Next Book in the Series:

Another thing I loved about these mysteries is that they were designed like radio shows and TV episodes. They always made sure to leave you with a little preview of what will come next:

On the other hand, her recent experience with Suzanne had taught her that appearances could be deceiving. It was best not to form judgements based on superficial evidence.

“You can’t be sure of anything until you talk to Tricia,” Elizabeth said gently

Steven was close to tears. “I’ve tried. But-but she says nothing is wrong. Liz, I know she’s hiding something. I can see it in her eyes. And it’s driving me crazy!”

What terrible secret is Tricia keeping from Steven? Find out in Sweet Valley #12, WHEN LOVE DIES

***SPOILER ALERT***

We will not be reviewing that book and since they say it in the title, I will reveal the end. She dies. It is very sad.

The next Sweet Valley High book we will review will be Kidnapped. 

For more Sweet Valley High, go to Secrets

For more book reviews, go to The Demon of River Heights

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Detection Predilection

So I found this one in a Jughead Double Digest an had to share:

For more Archie Comics, go to Reggie in The Big Boom

The Demon of River Heights

The Demon of River Heights (Nancy Drew Girl Detective Graphic Novels #1) by Stefan Petrucha

When this came out it was a new decade so that meant new updated look to Nancy Drew. In this Nancy is an absent-minded detective always forgetting things like putting gas in her car (a prius as she is very environmentally friendly) and charging her cellphone.

Bess is curvy and beautiful, and a mechanical genius.

And George is a super athlete and a tech whiz (?).

I don’t know where they were going with that…

This came out in conjunction with the Nancy Drew, Girl Detective series and focuses mostly on mysteries that happen in River Heights, ILL.

So the plot presented here is a new one, in which two art students are making a movie in River Heights based on an urban myth about a local demon.

When the students go missing, it is up to Nancy and friends to find them.

Thoughts After Reading:

I really enjoyed the graphic design and I liked the at-home mystery.

For more on Nancy Drew, go to Deadly Intent

For more graphic novels, go to Dracula (Graphic Novel)

For more demons, go to Just Because You’re Paranoid, Doesn’t Mean a Demon’s Not After You: Storm Front

Slow Cooker Enchilada Casserole

I’m Mexican

I thought it would be fun to share.

So I love enchiladas. When I saw this recipe I thought it sounded good…except they mix red sauce with chicken. We NEVER, EVER, EVER do that in my house. Red sauce with meat, green with chicken. NEVER, EVER, EVER, EVER, EVER exchange it.

So I was very wary, but I thought I’d try it. It comes from The Magical Slow Cooker.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 lbs of Boneless, Skinless, Raw Chicken Breasts
  • 1-28 oz Can of Red Enchilada Sauce
  • 10 Corn Tortillas
  • 3 Cups of Grated Cheddar Cheese
  • 1-3.8 oz Can of Olives

Directions:

  1. Put the chicken and sauce in the slow cooker.
  2. Cook on high 4 hours or low 8 hours.
  3. Shred the chicken with two forks in the slow cooker.
  4. Cut the tortillas in to strips, add to the chicken and sauce.
  5. Stir.
  6. Add 1 cup of cheese and half the olives.
  7. Stir again.
  8. Flatten mixture and add rest of cheese and olives.
  9. Cook on low for 40-60 mins longer.

Thoughts After Cooking:

What did I think? I didn’t like it.

Ugh!

Red Sauce with Chicken is just gross. I didn’t like it and recommend skipping it.

For more Pinterest recipes, go to Peanut Butter Banana Oat Smoothie

For more Mexican food, go to Chorizo Breakfast Burrito

For more casseroles, go to Spanakopita Penne Bake

For more crock-pot recipes, go to Slow-Cooker Bread

The Company You Keep

The Company You Keep (A Kendra Clayton Mystery) by Angela Henry

I received this book free on BookBub. Lately those books have been a miss so let’s see how this one goes.

Plot Summary:

Kendra Wilson tried to leave her hometown, but found herself stuck there and working. She lost her job as a teacher due to cutbacks and instead spends her time split between working as a GED instructor and as a waitress at her uncle’s restaurant.

She loves both places, but wishes she could teach full time. Also her uncle’s restaurant is great but there is an annoying mean, boorish server-Joy and her uncle’s eclectic, high strung, dramatic girlfriend (I love her wigs and outfits, it makes me think of Iona in Pretty in Pink)

Kendra’s problems start with her best friend Bernie, who is dating a cad and jerk-Jordan Wallace. He’s just after her for money and someone to take care of him. They are waiting for him to pick Bernie up from the Literary Center’s Annual Recognition Program. His car was in the shop so he borrowed hers.

Jordan

Bernie says she’s done this time-Kendra has heard that before. Everyone knows how Jordan has been cheating on Bernie, especially with Vanessa Brumfield, their old mean girl from high school.

Jordan you are such a jerk.

The two go to the rental house that Bernie owns and has been renting to Vanessa (and she of course providing to Jordan along with herself.) Bernie goes to get her car and Kendra then goes home.

Later she is awoken by a phone call, Bernie telling her that Jordan is dead! Found dead in Vanessa’s house.

The two call the police, but Bernie ends up being the number one suspect. Kendra believes her to be innocent, but then discovers there is a whole lot more to Bernie than she realized!

I thought I knew Bernie, but I was wrong.

In fact, Kendra discovers that about all the company she keeps-Joy the waitress, Bernie, Bernie’s sister-in-law Diane Gibson, even her uncle: are hiding a lot more than she realized and all hated Jordan. There are lots of possibilities as to who could have killed Jordan but they all seem to point to Bernie.

Kendra wonders if Vanessa might be involved in all this, finding her “disappearance”, later claiming to be on “vacation”, very suspicious. She tries to investigate her and even goes out with Vanessa’s soon-to-be ex-husband, an extremely handsome lawyer. Kendra really falls for him, but it turns out someone doesn’t want them to together.

One of the two has a stalker that is determined they stay single for them. Will Kendra find out the truth and outwit this psycho? Or will she be joining Jordan in eternity?

Thoughts After Reading:

I really enjoyed this book and the characters. I thought Kendra was funny and extremely interesting and that the plot was well written and well paced.

The only thing I didn’t care for was Kendra dating someone that may or may not have murdered someone (never get involved with a suspect!!!) but otherwise I really enjoyed it. I can’t wait to see what is next in her investigations.

For more BookBub books, go to Weak Flesh

For more stalkers, go to The Wife Between Us

 

Zucchini and Tomatoes

I love zucchini and tomatoes, so this seemed a perfect recipe for me.

This comes from The Kellogg’s Cookbook.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 Cup of KELLOGG’s Complete Wheat Bran Flakes
  • 2 Teaspoons plus 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Grated Lemon Zest
  • 4 Medium Zucchini (about 1 1/4 lbs), well washed, trimmed, and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch thick slices.
  • 3 Medium Tomatoes (about 3/4 lbs), peeled, cored, seeded, and cut into wedges.
  • 1 Tablespoon of Fresh Lemon Juice
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Place the wheat bran flakes in a resealable bag. Seal the bag and using a rolling pin, crush the flakes into a fine crumb.
  2. Set aside.
  3. Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a small frying pan over low heat. Add the crumbs and cook, stirring constantly, for about 4 mins, or until lightly colored.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in zest. Set aside.
  5. Heat the remaining tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.
  6. Add zucchini and saute for 5 mins or until almost tender.
  7. Add tomatoes and lemon juice, along with salt and pepper.
  8. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 3 mins, or until hot.
  9. Remove from heat and transfer to a serving bowl.
  10. Sprinkle the crumbs over the top and serve.

Thoughts After Cooking:

No picture, I forgot to take one.

It was really good except the crumbs. They were too sweet and didn’t really add to the recipe.

For more Kellogg recipes, go to Cheese Potato Crisps

For more from the Kellogg’s Cookbook, go to Rice Krispies Cookies

 

Lowcountry Boil

Lowcountry Boil (A Liz Talbot Mystery #1) by Susan M. Boyer

So I first became aware of the Liz Talbot Mysteries with the third book, Lowcountry Boneyard. I was a book reviewer for a blog, we didn’t get paid but I did get free books to read, like that gum commercial.

I tried to get the rest of the series but the libraries didn’t have it and I thought about buying it but I really wanted to read it first. I finally got my hands on the first book, so here we go!

Liz Talbot left Stella Maris Island, her hometown, for college and marriage and has hardly been back. Her high school sweetheart, Michael Devlin, married her evil cousin Marci Miller (seriously she has some screws loose), and then she married, Scott Andrews, turned out to e a narcissistic conman.

She is divorced and now runs a successful private investigator team with her ex-brother-in-law Nate Andrews. (It is obvious he has feelings for her but Liz doesn’t see it and still carries a torch for her high school sweetheart).

Everything changes when she sees the ghost of her high school friend, Colleen Stevens. She warns her to come back to the island as her grandmother, Gram is dead.

At first Liz thinks her grandmother died by accident, but soon she and her brother. Blake Talbot, Police Chief, decide there was something more happening.

Liz inherits her Gram’s house and Colleen, a guardian spirit who is connected to the island. As long as Liz remains on the island, Colleen is there to guide and protect her-but if Liz doesn’t stay then terrible things will happen.

As Liz says goodbye to Nate and her other life, she sets out to make Stella Maris her new home and solve who killed Gram.

She finds herself in a wasp nest of developers, fighting city council, blackmail, hired guns, domestic violence, choosing between her old flame or starting something new, and more! Will she find out the truth, or end up joining Colleen in the spirit world?

Thoughts After Reading:

It was a great read. I love how classy and ladylike Liz is, as a Southern woman should be, along with how tough and resourceful she is.

This novel is great read as it gets intense in the middle and I was flipping pages trying to get to what happened next.

I loved it and can’t wait for book 2!

For more private investigators, go to The Case of the Invisible Dog

For female private investigators, go to Innocent in Las Vegas

For more Southern mysteries, go to Design for Murder

For more supernatural mysteries, go to Christina’s Ghost

This Time There Had Been Flowers Scattered Over the Woman’s Body. Roses. Sweetheart Roses!

Today is the fourth anniversary of my blog Mysterious Eats.

We’ve reviewed all kinds of books, mysteries, short stories, recipes…

That’s a LOT…

The traditional gift for a fourth anniversary is flowers or fruit. I settled on sweetheart roses from Let Me Call You Sweetheart by Mary Higgins Clark

Happy Anniversary and a very special thanks to all my readers!

For more anniversary posts, go to It Was Brain-Tanned Leather, As Soft As a Horse’s Nose, and the Color of Butter Melting in the Sun

For more on Let Me Call You Sweetheartgo to Let Me Call You Sweetheart

For more on Mary Higgins Clark, go to I’ve Got You Under My Skin

The Crown Conspiracy

The Crown Conspiracy (The Riyria Revelations #1) by Michael J. Sullivan

Hadrian Blackwater and Royce Melbourn are two of the greatest thieves you could ever go against. Their duo goes by the name Riyria, that name being known throughout the land.

RiyriaRevelationsHadrianRoyce

At the beginning of the novel, the two are heading to work on a job when they are stopped by some thieves. All they have to do is say who they and they scare the others off like rabbits.

They head off to try and rob Archie Ballentyne, the Earl of Chadwick, by breaking into his impenetrable tower.

Meanwhile, Archie Ballentyne has been waiting for Marquis Victor Lanaklin. Archie has unsuccessfully been trying to woo his daughter, Alenda, as he is after the Lanaklin lands. He has managed to intercept some of her private love letters to the rebel Degan Gault, and wants to use them as leverage with the father. In order to keep them safe he has locked then in his study in the crown tower, a gigantic tower with only one entrance, the only one who can open it being Archie.

But when he goes to show the letters, they are MISSING! They have been stolen, along with the Marquis’ carriage. Who could have done this? Riyria.

RiyriaRevelationsHadrianRoyce

Riyria return back to their pub and deliver the goods to Alenda, receiving their payments. But just as one job is finished, there appears there is another who wishes their services.

Hadrian goes to meet with the man, Baron Delano DeWitt. He has a job that needs to be done tonight. Sadly, Baron DeWitt has committed the biggest mistake anyone in that region could, he looked upon the wife of the master swordsman, Colonel Pickering. Colonel Pickering will duel anyone who stares at his wife, and with his skill he is impossible to beat.

Colonel Pickering’s only weakness? His special rapier that he cannot fight without. Baron DeWitt has stolen the sword and hid it in the castle’s chapel and he wants Riyria to smuggle the sword out of the castle before they search and  find it. Now Riyria has a rule about accepting rush jobs, they don’t. But Hadrian isn’t really a thief, he has a warrior’s heart. He likes things to be fair or to fight for something “right”, justice, etc.

He has felt a little disheartened at stealing things for royals, then notifying the party they stole from to get payment to steal it back. This is a job that will mean something. Plus the pay is really good.

Royce was raised on the streets and has been a thief as far back as he can remember. He has no qualms about what they do, and because of what he has been through he is also extremely suspicious. He does not want to take this job, but Hadrian convinces him it is worth it as they will get 200 gold tenets.

That night they sneak into the castle and into its chapel. They go to search for the sword but find the king, dead.

As their minds grasp the situation, a dwarf starts screaming out that they killed the king. Guards swarm on them and they end up locked up in the dungeon. Yes, someone murdered the king and framed them. But who? And why?

Alric Essendon wakes from a tumble with a maid to discover he is the new King. He is furious over the death and prepares a horrible punishment as his revenge.

Meanwhile, Hadrian and Royce await their fate in the dungeon; Hadrian wishing he hadn’t tried to take the job and Royce wishing he had talked Hadrian out of it. To their surprise they receive a royal visit from princess Arista Essendon.

Arista questions them, and Hardrian tells her the story, claiming they did not kill her father. And to their surprise, she believes them.

Arista is not like other women. Her father sent her to University and she studied the lost art of magic. She had been given a warning about the threat upon her father’s life but unfortunately didn’t heed it. Now she wants to hire the two to kidnap her brother.

Hadrian and Royce are surprised, but Arista explains that she thinks someone is after the Essendon line and wants to kill her brother as well. She wants them to smuggle him out of the castle and go to Gutaria Prison, the secret ecclesiastical jail. They they will meet the wizard, Esrahaddon, who will be able to guide her brother. They think it is odd, but faced with death, they take the job.

What other choice do we have?

Arista has a complete plan in place. She will send two monks in to administer the last rites and have the two unchained to pray. They will knock the monks out, switch clothes and meet her in the kitchen where she will have Alric.

Everything goes off without a hitch as they head off to the prison to find Esrahaddon, the wizard. As they continue their quest they run into a monk with a photographic memory that survived a massacre; a hidden prison that not only is built into a rock wall but once you enter cannot leave; the great wizard Esrahaddon who has been alive for eons; and secret church and government plot to answer the legend of the god Novron’s son and unite all the kingdoms under one rule!

Meanwhile, Arista tries to rule in her brother’s place but finds treachery very close to home. They try to brand her a witch and kill her.

Will this ragtag group be able save the throne? Or will they be outwitted and destroyed by these agents of Novron?

Thoughts After Reading:

I started reading this book, and I could not put it down. It is that amazing!

Luckily, my book had one and two in it as I quickly consumed it, and then searched for the rest in the series.

It is an amazing book trhat I highlyt recommend for Lord of the Rings fans or anyone who likes fantasy with a little mystery thrown in.

For more fantasy-mystery, go to Gates of Thread and Stone

For more magic and sorcery, go to The Emperor’s Edge

Peanut Butter Banana Oat Smoothie

The recipe is actually Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie, but as I have one that is almost the same title I added oats to this to distinguish it from the other.

I found this on Pinterest and it sounded good (you know me and smoothies) and I had the ingredients. The original site is Daily Smoothie,  I think with a name like that, the will be popping up again on my blog…

Ingredients:

  • 1 Frozen Banana
  • 1/2 Cup of Almond Milk (I don’t like almond so I use regular)
  • 3/4 Cup of Greek Yogurt
  • 1/2 Cup of Oats
  • 1/2 Tsp of Cinnamon
  • 4 Tbsp of Peanut Butter

Directions:

  1. Combine all in blender and mix well.
  2. Add a dash of oats on top.

Thoughts After Making:

It was delicious. I loved the peanut butter and I loved the smoothie. It was delicious and I recommend it.

For more Pinterest recipes, go to Creamy Sour Cream Lemon Pie

For more from Daily Smoothie, go to Peanut Butter and Jelly Smoothie

For more smoothies, go to Blueberry Banana Protein Smoothie

For more peanut butter, go to Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Smoothie

For more drinks, go to Banana Peanut Butter Smoothie

Design for Murder

Design for Murder (Death on Demand #2) by Carolyn G. Hart

It has been a while since we reviewed a Death on Demand, so let’s do a quick review. Annie Laurence, from Texas, tried to be an actress in New York, but when she didn’t ht it big she headed to Broward’s Rock of South Carolina where her beloved uncle lived. When he died, she inherited his mystery bookstore, Death on Demand.

She was followed by the wealthy billionaire, Max Darling, who she met in New York and fell in love with. She left him as she felt they were too different, but Max won’t let true love get away. He opens up a private investigators business on the island. Meanwhile, in the last book, Elliot Morgan was murdered and a whole list of suspects were involved-with Annie being number one. She and Max solved the case and since then life has been good.

Until…Annie is hired to do a Mystery Night for historic Chastain’s garden and historic house show. The Historic board is championed by tyrant Corinne Pritchard Webster who likes everything her way. She didn’t want to add this mystery night, but was outvoted, the board hiring Annie to plan it.

Corinne is a snake, but Annie is thrilled to create her own murder mystery play with clues! This is perfect as it takes her mind off her fight with Max about wedding plans.

Annie receives a note from Cordelia with her outline for the murder mystery, which infuriates Annie as she spent hours planning something else. But when she presents it to the board she discovers it wasn’t sent by Cordelia, but that someone pretended and sent a mystery to embarrass Cordelia.

After that Annie works extra hard on an English style murder mystery that has no resemblance to anyone whatsoever and her booth for the night. Before you know it, the day has come and it is time to stage it all. As Annie does a once-over of the grounds she spots the body in the wrong place. When she goes to move it-it turns out to not be a mannequin but a real body. Cordelia! But which of the many people who hated her murdered her?

Could it have been Lucy Gaines, the once fiancé of Corrine’s brother, the relationship Corrine broke up. Soon after Corrine’s brother died and Lucy never married or had children. She also was stuck working and dealing with Cordelia everyday. Did it finally get to her and she killed her to get back at the life that could never be?

Mayor Webster, Corinne’s husband, has been alienated from her for years. In fact he developed a relationship with one of the local teachers. Could he have murdered her to get his money, freedom, and a new girl?

Or her…

Corinne bought off her niece, Gail’s, “unsuitable” boyfriend and has been crushing her spirit. Could she had snapped and finally stopped her aunt from being involved?

She has taken all paintings and works made by local and museum artist Tim Bond. She has a contract that they are owned by the museum and selling them not to Tim’s New York show, but loaning them out to other museums. This will ruin his career. Did he kill her to get everything back? Or was it his girlfriend Sybil Giacamo who hates Corinne and wants to help Tim, her lover?

You know artists have artistic temperament

Roscoe Merrill got drunk when out of town on business. He slipped up on his marriage and Corinne just happened to see him. She holds that over him and threatens to ruin his perfect marriage. Did he kill her to end the blackmail? Or was it his wife who killed Corinne  to ensure no one sees their marriage as anything less than ideal?

Dr. Sanford has been practicing on that area to work exclusively with a doctor in his specialized field. He has plans to increase the hospital and increase his work. Corinne wouldn’t let him change anything in the hospital. Could he have done it, so that he continue his love?

Is it?

Edith Ferrier gives so much to the community and wanted to have the position of president of the historical society as it is her favorite thing. Corinne wouldn’t give up her power, even though Edith would do a better job. Was this the last straw after constantly being crushed? Did she snap and kill her?

Unfortunately, the only one who the police are focusing on IS Annie! Will she be able to solve the case or be sipping her future mint juleps in jail.

Thoughts After Reading:

It’s so good, and always get me.

A real page turner!

For more Death on Demand, go to Death on Demand

For more Design for Murder, go to So Many Books to Review, So Little Time

For more Historical Socities, go to Death by Cashmere

For more Southern mysteries, go to For Whom the Bluebell Tolls

Easy Northumberland Pan Haggerty

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

Thoughts Before Baking:

So every 17th I try to make an Irish recipe in honor of the day. Usually I make some Irish Soda Bread and something else to go with it. The last two years I have done sweeter recipes, so this year I decided to go with something savory and made out of an Irish staple: Potatoes.

I was planning on doing one recipe, but discovered I purchased the wrong potatoes. I scoured the internet and found this one on The Spruce Eats.

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz of Butter, divided
  • 9 oz of Onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 4-6 Potatoes, Peeled and very thinly sliced
  • 4 ounces of Cheddar Cheese
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Directions:

  1. Slice the onion.
  2. Peel and cut the potatoes.
  3. Heat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  4. Over medium heat, melt 1 oz of butter in a large, oven safe, frying pan.
  5. Gently cook the onions until soft, but not browned.
  6. Melt half of the remaining butter.
  7. Remove pan from heat.
  8. In the pan, arrange a layer of potatoes.
  9. Add a layer of onion.
  10. Sprinkle on a layer of cheese.
  11. Season with salt and pepper.
  12. Repeat steps 8-11, until all ingredients are used and the top is layered with potatoes.
  13. Place the pan over medium heat and cook on stovetop for a few minutes, or until the bottom layer of the potatoes are brown.
  14. Dot the surface with the rest of the butter and place in the heated oven, baking for 30 mins.
  15. Remove from oven and increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees F.
  16. When the oven’s temperature has risen, return the pan to the oven and cook for 15 more minutes.
  17. To serve, loosen the edges of the potato cake from the frying pan with a spatula.
  18. Flip the pan over onto a  plate or breadboard.
  19. Cut into wedges and enjoy.

Thoughts After Cooking:

So I didn’t have an oven safe pan, after cooking on the stove I flipped it into my pie pan. So I had mixed feelings about this. The potatoes on top and bottom cooked very well, and were delicious. However, the ones in the middle didn’t all cook through.

I sliced my potatoes extremely thin, so I don’t think that was the problem. If I were to do this again, I would do less potatoes; maybe 2 or 3. Or try it with the yukon gold or red potatoes.

But the parts that were cooked, were so good. Yummy:

For more Saint Patrick’s Day posts, go to Irish Blueberry Scones

For more potato recipes, go to Grilled Sausages, Potatoes, & Carrots with Salsa Verde

For more holiday posts, go to Creamy Sour Cream Lemon Pie

Creamy Sour Cream Lemon Pie

Happy Pi Day

Thoughts Before Baking:

As you see above, today is Pi day so I decided to post a pie recipe.

I’ve made a sour cream lemon pie before, but this is a new recipe. This one comes from The Chunky Chef.

Ingredients

Pie Crust:

  • 2 Cups of All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 3/4 Cup of Shortening
  • Ice Water

Filling:

  • 1 Cup of Sugar
  • 4 Tbsp Cornstarch
  • 1 Cup of Milk
  • 2 Lemons Juiced (about 1/2 Cup)
  • 1 Tbsp Lemon Zest
  • 3 Large Egg Yolks, Lightly Beaten
  • 4 Tbsp Cold Butter, Cubed
  • 1 Cup of Sour Cream
  • Whipped Cream (Optional)
  • Lemon Slices (Optional)

Directions:

  1. In a mixing bowl, mix up the shortening and flour. Add in water a tablespoon at a time until dough is more malleable. If you add to much and it is too liquid-y, then just add a bit more flour to firm it up.
  2. Line crust with foil and place beans, rice, or pie weights (as pie dough will rise) and bake for 8 mins or until browned. Set aside to cool.
  3. In a heavy bottomed saucepan, add sugar and cornstarch. Whisk to combine.
  4. Slowly whisk in milk and lemon juice.
  5. Heat over medium heat, stirring often, until mixture is thickened and bubbly.
  6. Reduce to low, and cook 2 mins longer, stirring often.
  7. Remove from heat.
  8. Lightly beat eggs in a small mixing bowl. Whisking continuously, add a small amount of the hot lemon mixture, then add the mixture to the hot saucepan.
  9. Heat pan on medium heat until it comes to a gentle boil, and cook for 2 minutes.
  10. Remove from heat again and add lemon zest.
  11. Continue to cool, but don’t stir.
  12. Cool mixture for 30-40 mins and then fold in sour cream until no white streaks remain.
  13. Spoon mixture into the pie crust and spread out evenly.
  14. Cool in the refrigerator for 4 hours (or more). To serve, top with whipped cream and lemon slices.

Thoughts After Baking:

I made this for Thanksgiving last year and it was sooooo good! It was eaten immediately. I only got one slice! 😦

For more on lemon pies, go to Sour Cream Lemon Pie

For more pie recipes, go to Blueberry Sour Cream Pie

For more pinterest recipes, go to Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Smoothie

For more desserts, go to Braided Candy Canes

I’ve Got You Under My Skin

I’ve Got You Under My Skin (Under Suspicion #1) by Mary Higgins Clark

Laurie Moran’s doctor husband was shot in the park while he was out with his son Timmy. After the killer shot him, he told Timmy “I’m coming for your mom next, then you.” All Timmy remembers from of the man was his intense and scary blue eyes.

Five years have gone by and Laurie has raised her son with help from her retired police officer father, Leo Farley. Laurie is a television producer who has had a few bombs recently.

This time she is sure she has a winner, a Unsolved Mysteries like TV show where all the people from the case reenact what happened in cold cases, having them be looked over and maybe solve it-with viewer’s aid.

And she has the perfect case to start them off, the murder of Betsy Bonner Powell, otherwise known as The Graduation Gala Murder. Twenty years ago, four close friends graduated from college and Robert Powell and Besty Bonner Powell decided to throw a huge gala for the four of them-Claire Bonner (Betsy’s daughter and Robert’s step daughter), Nina Craig, Alison Schaefer [Kimball], and Regina Callari.

The morning after the party, Robert went to deliver his wife her early morning coffee, as he did every morning, and found her dead-smothered to death. He, the housekeeper Jane, and all the girls were heavily questioned, being under suspicion for twenty years.

Robert Powell is very ill man, not long for the world, and he agrees to the show and to putting up $250,000-tax free. That added to the TV show’s $50,000 they are paying each woman-every single one will take home $300,000 for just a bit of rehashing-and maybe even clear the suspicions surrounding them.

Hmmm…very tempting

Alex Buckley, famous defensive attorney, especially for the way he questions witness on the stand, will be the host and will question each of the graduates, Jane, Robert Powell, and the family friend George Curtis.

As they all gather everyone wonders and questioned which of them did it?

Claire was very close to her mother, even commuting to Vasser to live at home. Her mother was so beautiful and commanding and she so plain. Did she kill her mother because she resented Robert Powell coming between them or was she jealous of her mother?

Hmm…

Nina’s mother, actress Muriel Craig, was dating Robert Powell. One day they went out to a restaurant Nina saw her friend Claire and her mother Betsy also dining out. When Betsy met Robert that was it, they married not long after. Muriel was furious at this and always blamed her daughter for ruining her chances-did Nina snap and kill her-thinking it might finally shut her mother up?

Alison was from a poor family and a scholarship student who worked hard for everything she got and her scholarship to college. She married four months after the murder to longtime friend Thomas “Rod” Kimball. What could be her motive?

Hmm…

Regina’s dad heavily invested in Robert Powell’s hedge funds, losing everything and committing suicide. Did she get revenge by killing Betsy?

Jane used to work with Betsy when Betsy was a usher at the theater. Her life increased wonderfully after Betsy hired her on, or did it? Did she have a reason to kill her?

Hmm…

Robert Powell-he loved Betsy with all his heart and never remarried. Is he really the grieving widower, or was he the one who killed her?

And George Curtis, helpful family friend-or does something more lie under that facade?

But that is just the surface, each one has a secret-and a deeper motive for killing Betsy.

Hmmm…?

Claire could use the money and she hates Powell with vengeance, that being her only reason to come back. Powell molested her from the time she moved in until she fled after her mother’s murder. Claire had been trying to work up the nerve to tell her mother what was happening when she overheard the two, and discovered her mom knew and allowed it. Was Claire a part of the deal always, the real reason he left Muriel for Betsy? Claire had just found out before the gala, did she snap with anger and smother her mother?

Nina is just an extra and is stuck with her mother after Muriel almost burned her apartment down falling asleep while smoking. Life with her mother has been hell ever since Robert Powell left Muriel as every day she was verbally abused and yelled at for messing that up. She agrees to come to get the money and get rid of her mother-moving her out and as far away as possible. What no one knows is that besides the constant berating of her mother Betsy always rubbed in her face as well-even going as far as writing a slight on the invitation and to her face at the party. Did she finally snap under the pressure and silence her?

Alison’s dreams of becoming a doctor and researcher were dashed when she lost the scholarship that she had worked so hard for and couldn’t afford to pay for graduate school on her own. Rod signed on a great football contract and asked her to marry him, promising to pay for her schooling. However, shortly after they were married Allison lost her dreams again when Rod was injured and lost his contract-the two ending up working in a pharmacy and Rod having to use crutches or a wheelchair. She agrees to come to get the money and go back to school. While all know she lost her dream no one knows that Betsy was the cause. Betsy wanted to join a socialite club and in order to get in she had Robert donate a ton of money to the school and used her influence to give the rich daughter of the socialite the scholarship to seal her entrance into the club. Alison was furious as the girl who won it was lower in grades, had dropped out, could afford to pay her own way, and was not deserving of it at all. Alison also sleepwalks when stressed and angry, could she had found her way into the room that night?

Regina had a horrible divorce where she didn’t come out with much. She is a struggling real estate agent, competing with her wealthy ex for care and attention of her son. With the money-she could provide things for her son herself, and not have to worry about money. But she has a dark secret too. When her father committed suicide he left a note (which she stole to protect her mother) saying that Betsy manipulated him to invest the money. The two had been having and affair, she and Robert knew all along that the investment would fail, and planned this all to take his money and save themselves. Because of that she lost her dear father and home, a loss she felt no stronger than on her graduation. Did she finally snap and get revenge!

From the day that Jane moved into the house she fell head over heels in love with Robert. She also grew to hate Besty and her “queenly” ways. Did she do her in to get a chance at Robert?

George and Betsy had a two-year affair, which at the end of it Betsy threatened to tell his wife all unless he paid her off. George knew that paying her off wouldn’t end it but just begin a constant flow of payments-but he knew if Isabelle found out she would leave him and his life would be over. Did he kill her to protect his wife?

And Robert, how much did he know? How much was he a part of? And did he kill her too?

Meanwhile, Robert’s driver discovers most of the girl’s secrets and starts blackmailing them, and blue eyes resurfaces-hanging close to Laurie and planing on finishing his threat-during the graduation gala filming.

This had an amazing buildup! I was listening to it on CD while driving about and became so caught up in it I had to check the book out to read whodunit.

However, I did wish the deeper secrets were revealed, to all the characters which I wish they, as the “motives” for murder are so weak without them.

But otherwise a real page turner! And I’m looking forward to the next book in the series.

For more Mary Higgins Clark, go to The Man Next Door

For more mysteries in retrospect, go to Let Me Call You Sweetheart

For more blackmailing, go to The Cereal Murders