Run Run As Fast As You Can

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Run Run As Fast As You Can (Emma Frost Mystery #3) by Willow Rose

Thoughts Before Reading:

So a quick note for those who have never read Willow Rose’s work. In her Emma Frost mysteries, she likes to switch between modern day (2013) and something that occurred in the past; in the end the two winding together to resolution. To help with the confusion, I will put this:

In the post whenever we change times.

She also goes way out there. So these mysteries are not for the faint of heart.

Plot Synopsis:

Run, run, run as fast as you can.
You’ll never catch me, I’m the gingerbread man.
I ran from the baker and his wife too.
You’ll never catch me, not any of you.

So this novel begins in 2013 when Simone Beaumont, mother of nine month old baby is heading out to her mother’s group. She is about to take her baby out of the car for the event they are doing, when she is kidnapped.

Ten years earlier, Thomas lives across the street from his love, Ellen. She doesn’t know he exists as he is a stalker, but of course in his mind every look, motion, thing she does is a symbol for their growing love. He sends her notes and flowers; but one day things change. A man comes to the door and kisses Ellen.

Emma has just returned from Eastern Europe and barely recovered from her recent escapade: girls being sold into the sex trade, a TV show host being a crazed psychopath, and a woman making dolls out of human flesh to fill the loss of her daughter’s disappearance. She has been helping Officer Morton search for the surviving girls from the sex ring in the hopes of reuniting them with their parents. On these trips, she has gotten very close to Officer Morton, the two deciding to to date when they have a free moment.

Smirkity smirk smirk

Lisa, is also a member of Simone’s mother group. She is a germophobe, control freak, and sociopath. She’s been having a lot of anger problems, and when a plumber doesn’t follow her plan and makes her furious, she kills him, cuts him up, and serves him for dinner.

Meanwhile, Simone has woken up, but finds herself trapped in a room full of bats. Her captor let’s her out, but warns her to run as fast as she can; chasing after her with a shotgun.

Back in 2003, Ellen has become very serious about the man she is dating, the two about to be married. But this won’t stop Thomas, he has decided to up his game in hopes of winning his love back.

Sophia, Emma’s friend and neighbor, stops by Emma’s house to let her know the news about Simone. She wants Emma to use her investigative skills to find out what is going on. Sophia thinks that Simone’s husband might be behind the disappearance as they recently fought. He is a police officer, so Sophia thinks that if he did do it the cops won’t do anything about it.

In 2005, Ellen is married and having a baby, but Thomas has not given up. He watches her, sends flowers, gifts, etc.

Always watching

In modern times, they find Simone’s body in her car, shot in the back several times.

What?!

Meanwhile, Lisa has decided she will run for mayor of Fanø Island. Even though others laugh and such at her, it only makes her more angry and determined.

In 2009, Thomas is watching Ellen and her husband fight over the gifts and flowers sent by Thomas. They don’t notice the kids playing outside and when their daughter’s jump rope gets stuck on a tree and starts to choke her; Thomas sees it and runs across the street to help her. When he does Ellen and her husband are grateful…until they realize he is the stalker.

Lisa goes to see Simone’s husband Tim and bring him some food to comfort him. Tim lets out that they were fighting because one of the secretaries at work kissed him. Lisa figures out which one did it and sets out to get rid if her as she enjoys the thrill of killing.

Susanne is taken next and found in the same predicament. Stuck with bats, released and told to run as fast as she can.

Back in 2009, Ellen and her husband call the police. They detain Thomas as the family move away, forever lost to Thomas.

See ya!

One more of the women in the mothers group is killed and they start putting the pieces together. Who is killing them and why?

How does Thomas connect to the whole thing?

Hmm…

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Thoughts After Reading:

I didn’t like this.

The two stories didn’t really connect well.

This doesn’t really make sense.

I also thought the Lisa character was weird and her story also made zero sense. Didn’t they match up the fork she used to kill the mayor with the one she killed Thomas with? I mean there would be blood from both murders on it.

I know seriously.

This one is one that I would definitely not waste your time on. The next one is worse (to be, ugh, reviewed in the future)

For more Emma Frost mysteries, go to Miss Polly Had a Dolly

For more kidnapping, go to Death Threads

For more mysteries featuring stalkers, go to The Shadow Hunter

For more mystery reviews, go to Secrets Can Kill

The Utterly Perfect Murder

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“An Utterly Perfect Murder” from Long After Midnight by Ray Bradbury

“The idea had come to me for some reason on my forty-eighth birthday…I will arise and kill Ralph Underhill.”

Douglas has decided that thirty-six years after he’d been bullied and mistreated he is going to kill the guy that made his boyhood so unhappy.

He boards the train and remembers how Ralph Underhill beat him up so he was so covered in bruises. But yet Douglas still wanted to be him, be his friend.

Ralph traded his Tarzan action figure for Douglas’ baseball glove and even though Douglas knew the glove was worth more and that Ralph cheated him, Doug still hoped they would be friends.

Then Douglas decided to just ignore Ralph, and wait for the day Ralph would come and tell Douglas how much he missed having him around and how much he needs him. But he never comes.

Nothing is working!

So now Doug is going to kill him.

He travels down to see Ralph and knocks on the door.

But when he sees Ralph, it is no monster from his childhood…

But a wrinkled, balding, sick old man.

What?

Doug was going to shoot him. And with the pistol he brought, but looking at the guy…he decides against it. Instead he goes to his old home and throws rocks against the window; calling to himself like he always hoped others would come call on him.

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Thoughts After Reading:

I thought it was great.

I think he captured real feelings and emotions in this. After all, who hasn’t felt that way, wanted to take down their old bullies?

I thought the twist at the end was great, Douglas has the gun and is ready to kill what hurts him-but then realizing that Ralph wasn’t hurting him it was his own bitterness. And true happiness would be to can only come when he gets rid of that-not Ralph.

For more by Ray Bradbury, go to The October Game

For more short stories, go to A Scandal in Bohemia

For more bible verses, go to The Oath

Baked Potato Soup

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Thoughts before cooking:

This recipe comes from The Cat Who…Cookbook. It is inspired by the soup eaten by Polly Duncan and James “Qwill” Qwilleran. It sounded good, fast, and easy to make-so of course I wanted to try it out.

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tablespoons of Onion, finely chopped
  • 5 Tablespoons of Butter
  • 5 Tablespoons of Flour
  • 1 14-oz can of Chicken Broth
  • 1/3 Cup of Cheddar Cheese, grated
  • 1 Baked Potato (6-7 inch baker), cold, cut into bite-sized pieces.
  • 2 Cups of Half-and-Half
  • 1 Cup of Milk
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 1/8 Teaspoon of Black Pepper
  • 6 Slices of Bacon, cooked, broken into bits (Or use Bacon Bits)
  • Cheddar Cheese, to go on top

Directions:

  1. Sauté the onions in butter.
  2. While stirring, slowly add the flour and then the chicken broth.
  3. Cook until it thickens.
  4. Add the cheddar cheese, stirring until it melts.
  5. Then add the potato, leaving the skin on the pieces.
  6. Finally stir in the half-and-half and the milk.
  7. Season with salt and pepper.
  8. Top each serving with crumbled bacon and cheddar cheese.

Thoughts after cooking:

I loved this soup!

It was so delicious I just wanted to eat more and more.

The only problem is that when you add the milk and half and half you have to stir constantly so it doesn’t burn.

I took a picture, but it didn’t come out well. The color makes it hard to photograph unless you have a really special camera. Oh well.

For more recipes from The Cat Who…Cookbook, go to Nature’s Own Cocktail

For more soup recipes, go to Crazy Cantina Chili

For more potato recipes, go to Scandinavian Spuds

For more recipes, go to Kielbasa Bowtie Pasta

Secrets Can Kill

Where I live, school starts tomorrow, so I thought what better way to get “back to school” than with a school centered mystery.

Secrets Can Kill (The Nancy Drew Files #1) by Carolyn Keene

So I know most people started with the original Nancy Drew books, but I never grew up reading those. My first introduction to Nancy Drew was The Nancy Drew Files. And of course, the TV show.

In fact, I was first introduced to Nancy Drew by accident. I was looking for a Sweet Valley High book to read and someone had mis-shelved a Nancy Drew Files. 

I first was interested in Nancy Drew when I picked up a copy on accident, as it was mis-shelved with Sweet Valley High. 

Why not try it out?

I read it and loved it and immediately wanted to read the whole series.

Unfortunately, when I started reading them, they were out of print and the library only had a few books in the series. It then became a treasure hunt as I tried to find copies in thrift stores and library book sales.

Background Information:

So this series began in the ’80s and have some updates from the original series. Nancy Drew originally was a 16 year-old, high school, amateur detective, but in this version she has been aged up to 18, and a high school graduate.

She still lives in River Heights, IL and is in a long distance relationship with Ned Nickerson, who is a student at Emerson College.

Yes that is Rick Springfield. He played Ned in the Christmas episode which you can check out on Netflix or youtube.

Her friends are still cousins Bess Marvin and George Fayne; Bess being the beautiful blonde shopaholic who is always eating and George the super athlete in every way. Instead of a blue roadster, in this book she gets a blue mustang convertible.

One of the best things I love in this series are the clothes, the author (as Carolyn Keene is a pseudonym), always gives great detail to what she wears. I’m totally going to add a special section at the end.

One other thing that this series does a little differently is that every book cover has a handsome guy on it, someone who appears in the book. Some people hate that, but I always think of it as a fun guessing game as we try and figure out which of the characters it is.

Hmm…

Another thing this book series does, is that since it is a “case file” there is a little information sheet at the very beginning. Sometimes the suspects mentioned turn out to be who did it, while other times the person whodoneit is someone Nancy never saw coming.

ASSIGNMENT:To pose as a student, go undercover, and investigate a series of thefts at Bedford High.

CONTACT: Daryl Gray, a gorgeous senior with sexy, blueberry colored eyes and an instant attraction to Nancy.

 SUSPECTS: 

  • Jake Webb, a genuine creep who seems to have something on half the kids at school.
  • Walt “Hunk” Hogan, the tough football captain who’s acting strangely paranoid.
  • Carla Dalton, who hates Nancy on sight. Mere jealousy–or something more sinister?
  • Hal Morgan, the class “brain” who Nancy catches cheating on a test.

COMPLICATIONS: There’s more going on at this school than meets the eye. Much more. If Nancy isn’t careful, she could get herself into serious trouble…She could get herself killed.

Nancy thinks this will be a simple job, a few rooms at the school have been broken into, one or two things were stolen. The police can’t do anything as the fingerprints don’t match any of the adults, and the offenses are so minor.

The principal turned to Nancy to pretend to be a student and search who did it, as it is most likely a student. She bought new clothes, will take some easy classes, etc. However, things take a dark turn quickly.

After her shopping trip with Bess she discovers a VHS on her porch. When she puts it in to watch, she sees HERSELF!

What?!

Someone videotaped her, which means whoever she is out to investigate, knows who she is.

The next day, Nancy gets into a race with a handsome guy. When she goes to see the principal and report for her job, it turns out that her contact to know who she really is, is the guy she was racing!

He’s cute!

Daryl Gray is cool, handsome, rich the student body president, and drives a porsche. He and Nancy spend a LOT of time together, and things start heating up between them…

Smirkity smirk smirk

Nancy starts investigating and discovers that they call the strange happenings in the school “the ghost”.

As she searches further she discovers this case involves a kleptomaniac, hidden injuries, false test scores, blackmail, cut brake lines, and espionage!

Nancy figures out who the is responsible for the break ins, but when she goes to confront them the next day-they turn out to be dead! Will Nancy solve the mystery or turn out to be next?

Outfits-

This book doesn’t have as many as later ones do. There is one that caught my eye, when Nancy goes to the dance near the end of the novel. I always imagine her in something like this:

And let’s not forget the cover, I love the purple leather jacket and would totally wear that of I could find one.

Thoughts After Reading:

Loved it! From beginning to end. It had a great twist I didn’t see coming as well.

Nancy’s next case:

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:

Nancy’s next case:

When she investigates a rock star’s mysterious disappearance, Nancy once again finds herself probing perilous secrets! Her only lead takes her straight to Bess’ new boyfriend. What is he hiding? Finding out my kill her friendship with Bess. But not finding out may kill the kidnapped rock star–with Nancy and her friends next on the hit list.

Can Nancy survive the dark side of the rock scene? Find out in DEADLY INTENT–Case #2 in The Nancy Drew Files,™ available now!

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

For more private investigators, go to Sam the Cat: Detective

For more female private investigators, go to B is for Burglar

For more ’80s mysteries, go to C is for Corpse

For more undercover mysteries, go to The Hyde Park Murder

For more espionage, go to The Manchurian Candidate

Sam the Cat: Detective

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Sam the Cat: Detective (Sam the Cat Mysteries #1) by Linda Stewart

Sam is a cat, but not just any cat, he’s a private investigator. He takes on cases in the animal kingdom, trying to emulate the great fictional bests.

On the case!

Everything changes when a cute blonde, cute blonde cat that is, walks in one day asking for his help in discovering who is robbing the building her master lives in.

The case seems problematic and full of trouble, but Sam can’t resist a pretty face. Sam is on the case and will have to use all his contacts to figure out who this thief is. Is it human or animal?

Thoughts After Reading:

I loved this book! I thought it was fantastic how the author took the noir drama and made it a kids book.

Sam was a great character, a Sam Spade Phillip Marlowe type of detective.

I love that the main character is a cat as well. Mysteries and Cats just seem to go together.

For more mysteries centering on cats, go to How to Wash a Cat

For more children’s books, go to The Secret of the Three Teardrops

For more books with a private investigator, go to A Scandal in Bohemia

For more mysteries featuring burglaries, go to The Cat Who Ate Danish Modern

Kielbasa Bowtie Pasta

Thoughts Before Cooking:

Sometimes you need something that is fast to make, cheap, and be able to serve a large group of people. When that happens, I like to pull this recipe out.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Box of Bowtie Pasta Noodles (You can substitute with any pasta noodles)
  • 1 Kielbasa Sausage, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1 Cup of Chopped Red Bell Pepper
  • 1 Cup of Chopped Green Bell Pepper
  • 4 Tablespoons of Chopped Red Onion (Can substitute with yellow onion)
  • 3 Teaspoons of Butter
  • 1/4 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon of Pepper

Directions:

  1. Cook pasta according to the package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, saute the peppers and onion in the butter, until tender.
  3. Add the sausage, salt, and pepper; cook and stir until sausage is heated through.
  4. Drain pasta and add to the skillet.
  5. Toss to coat.

Thoughts After Cooking:

I love this recipe. Delicious, fast, and great.

I recommend it!

For more pasta recipes, go to Two-Cheese Roasted-Veggie Pasta

For more recipes, go to Nature’s Own Cocktail

The Manchurian Candidate

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The Manchurian Candidate by Richard Condon

Thoughts Before Reading:

So I have heard of The Manchurian Candidate before, although I had never read the book or seen either movie. It is just one of those things that becomes a part of our language, “Manchurian Candidate” being another term for someone unwittingly being brainwashed.

I really wanted to see the Frank Sinatra version, but felt I should read the book first.

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Plot Synopsis:

So the book begins with Sergeant Raymond Shaw receiving a the Medal of Honor for saving his whole platoon after they were captured during the Korean War.

Yay!

However, we go through a flashback and it is revealed that when the platoon was captured, they were actually taken to Manchuria, and brainwashed by the Communists to believe that Sgt. Shaw saved them. In reality, he becomes a sleeper agent for them, controlled by the Queen of Diamonds. When he sees the card he is activated, given his mission, and obeys orders of which he soon forgets.

He is controlled by his mother, Eleanor, who is prepared to use him to set up a puppet government through his stepfather, Senator John Yerkes Iselin.

Meanwhile, a member of said platoon, Major Bennett Marco has been suffering from some horrible nightmares. He keeps having the reoccurring vision of Shaw killing their comrades, while being observed by Chinese and Soviet Union intelligence officers.

He doesn’t think anything of it, until one of his other platoon mates tells him he has been having the same dream.

Major Marco is now facing a mystery and sets out to discover the truth of what really happened.

Will he discover the plot in time and stop it? Or will he be too late for the Manchurian Candidate?

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Thoughts After Reading:

I just did not like this book.

Try as I might I could not get into these characters. I just couldn’t stand them.

And it had such a cool setup with the espionage and the mystery. That makes it even worse for me as it just did not deliver.

For more espionage, go to The Princess Plot

For more not in a series mysteries, go to The Yellow Room

For more mystery reviews, go to How to Wash a Cat