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

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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

Dying for a Date

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Dying for a Date (Laurel McKay Mysteries #1)

Laurel McKay is a divorced mom of two. Laurel had been with her husband since high school and after his betrayal of leaving her for another woman, Laurel has found it difficult to trust or date again.

However, her best friend Liz convinced her try her hand at a matchmaking site, The Love Club, and get out there again.

Tonight is her first date. She heads out to the restaurant and meets up with Garrett, an accountant. He seems nice, although a little boring. Afterwards, Garrett walks Laurel to her car only for her to discover she left the keys and cell phone in the car.

She asks Garrett to borrow his phone, heading to his car. After she makes her call, Garrett attacks her, and Laurel grabs the first thing she can-his cell phone-and pops him in the nose.

Laurel leaves and heads back into the restaurant to await AAA, all the while bemoaning her date and feeling as if she never wants to date again.

She stops at a McDonalds for a coffee and heads home for the night. The next day she heads to the headquarters of The Love Club to let them know about Garrett. When she talks to the secretary she discovers that Garrett was murdered the night before, from being hit in the head.

Seriously?

Laurel is positive that her wap in the nose could not have killed him, but that doesn’t stop her from becoming a suspect.

Because she was his last date, and last planned meeting, Laurel has to come down for questioning. There she meets Detective Hunter; a very attractive, single dad, who’s daughter happened to have a scuffle with her son at their last soccer game. A very embarrassing moment as Laurel fought with him during that game, and now she has to hope he believes in her innocence.

Detective Hunter has an open mind and warns Laurel that she could have been killed and might still be on the hit list. Detective Bradford, Hunter’s partner, on the other hand, thinks Laurel is a stone cold killer and is set to prove it.

Laurel never wants to date again through The Love Club, but she has paid for the service and had already requested a few more dates. She decides to have a lunch date with a doctor named Jeremy. Jeremy is sweet, a tad bland, but Laurel decides to agree to another date to give him a chance.

Barbara Bingham, Laurel’s mother, is constantly trying to set her up with different guys. This time is no different as she has an agent from her company, Peter, is who she thinks is perfect for her daughter. When Laurel goes to pick her son up from his time with grandma, she meets Peter and sees that he is kind and sweetly entertaining her son.

Hmm…

Laurel’s ex comes back into the picture unexpectedly, and upsets everything. He tries to hint that they should get back together (as if) and tells her she needs to stop dating. Weird.

Laurel goes shopping for her upcoming date and prepares for it. Jeremy takes her to one of the fanciest restaurants and orders Dom Perignon champagne. They begin talking, when Jeremy gets a call. He leaves to answer it.

Laurel sits waiting, drinking, to pass the time. Every time she takes a drink, the waiter refills.  Soon Laurel is starting to feel a little sick and heads to the restrooms, stopping outside and spotting two gentlemen, one who looks like Jeremy. She then heads to the bathroom, pulling herself together and nodding off.

When she wakes she returns to her table only to see that the room is pretty deserted and everyone is occupied by the windows overlooking the river. When she questions what has happened it appears that someone drowned in the river. Laurel tries to find Jeremy, thinking that he might be down trying to help out. As she tries to find out more information she runs into Detective Hunter.

He questions what she is doing there and she tells him about her date and how he disappeared. She tells him that she won’t be seeing his rude self anymore in the future. Detective Hunter agrees, as Jeremy is dead.

Yes Laurel has had not one date die, but two. This puts her high on the suspect list, even though there is no clear motive. With Detective Bradford set on pinning the murders on her and Detective Hunter having no other options but to look at her as number one suspect.

Laurel decides to take matters into her own hands. She recruits her mother, best friend Liz, and coworker Stan to follow, research, and track down the killer before she finds herself wearing prison stripes.

So who could the killer be? Is it someone who doesn’t want Laurel to date? Such as her husband who was heard saying that he would kill anyone who was with her? Plus he as a contractor, so he has access to the weapons that killed the men.

Could it be her boss Earl? He is interested in her as more than just an employee and hates the fact that she is dating. To add to his creepy interest, he also has a file on Jeremy.

Hmm…

Could it be Jeremy’s partner in the practice? He is harsh, rude, and has a gambling addiction; embezzling funds from the company. Did he kill Jeremy to keep him from finding out?

Then Peter asks Laurel out. Is it safe for them? Or will there be a third dead body?

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***Spoiler Alert***

Thoughts After Reading;

I thought it was it was cute and a good mystery. I had narrowed it down to two suspects, and while I guessed correctly who the real killer was there were several twists and turns which delighted me.

The only thing I didn’t like was that the author described every article of clothing that her main character wore, which I thought drew one out of the story.

I also didn’t like how the detectives focused solely on her as it seemed she had a good alibi. I mean with Garrett, there is the restaurant workers, AAA, McDonalds, etc; and with Jeremy the waiter and the women who came into the bathroom.

I really liked the conclusion. I thought the way they wrote Laurel’s mom saving the day was fun and just a great ending to the story.

For more mysteries with Serial Killers, go to Miss Polly Had a Dolly

For more mysteries with blind dates, go to Sunset Reads: William & Cristina

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

The Girl in Alfred Hitchcock’s Shower

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The Girl in Alfred Hitchcock’s Shower by Robert Graysmith

Thoughts before Reading:

Today is a very special day.

Today, in 1960, Psycho was originally released in theaters.

I LOVE THE FILM AND ANYTHING Alfred Hitchcock.

I saw this book in the dollar tree and bought it because it had “Alfred Hitchcock” on the cover. This book involves his film Psycho which is one of my favorites!

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Plot Synopsis:

Alfred Hitchcock’s film Psycho had a lot of issues and complications in the filming. One issue was filming the shower scene.

Having a bathroom was enough of a hassle with the MPAA, but filming in the shower caused even more difficulties. Not to mention how to make it look real and scary.

Hmm…

Eventually all that was worked out and all that was needed was a body double for Janet Leigh, another difficult task as she has a body that wasn’t easily duplicated.

Hmm…

Ex-playboy bunny and redhead, Marli Renfro, was finally chosen and participated in the shoot.

Twenty-Eight years after Psycho came out, Leigh’s body double was murdered by her next-door neighbor, Kenneth Dean Hunt, in the same fashion as the film.

Over twenty years later, Robert Graysmith asked the question: What if Renfro was really alive? After all Leigh had two body doubles: one for the shower and one for lighting. What if the other double died and everyone got it wrong? He decided to search out for the truth.

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Thoughts After Reading:

I didn’t like the book as I didn’t enjoy the writer’s style. I thought that it was repetitive, boring, and he just went on and on about Renfro’s body.

I really didn’t want to hear about him constantly describing her nude form. I mean he was really obsessed with it.

For more Non-Fiction, go to Agatha Christie: The Woman and Her Mysteries

For more mystery reviews, go to Everbody Loved Roger Harlan

The Silver Deer

The Silver Deer by Rita Balducci and Gail Herman

I know these are supposed to go in a certain order, but the problem I have is that no site gives the same numbers associated to these books. I decided to just forget doing them in “order” and post.

Am I right?

Lady Barbie and Lady Midge are in their carriage an headed to a visit with friends, Lord Henry and Lady Eve. They are looking out the windows at the rainstorm when they spot a silver deer!

What?

Just then the rain causes the coachman to lose control and they crash with the carriage getting stuck in the mud.

A carriage comes by with the Lady Ann, daughter of the famous, wealthy, and powerful Lord Richard. They help get the carriage out and head to their castle.

Barbie and Midge try to ask Ann about the Silver deer, but then she is strangely sent into a coughing fit. She extends them an invitation to stay and sends someone to let Lord Henry and Lady Eve know about the change of plans.

After a restful nap, Lady Midge and Lady Barbie dress for dinner and greet the party assembled. Once again Barbie tries to talk about the Silver Deer, but Ann changes the subject again. 

A minstrel comes and plays a song for the feast:

I love the merry spring weather

That is coming here so soon.

The flowers grow quickly,

By the light of the sun and the moon.

The forest is so cool and dark,

Its path roam far and near.

Who knows what magic it does have,

Who knows of the silver deer?

But before he can finish, Ann changes the subject by requesting a different song.

What is this silver deer, and what does Ann know and is not telling?

For more Barbie books, go to The Secret of the Three Teardrops

For more Children’s books, go to Sam the Cat: Detective

For more historical fiction, go to The Falling Machine

Blueberry Spinach Smoothie

So why am I posting a recipe on a Tuesday instead of Friday? Well, Friday marks an anniversary that relates to the mystery I am reviewing this week. I also still have spinach left over that I’m trying to use up. I decided to try another spinach smoothie, this one from Alaska from Scratch.

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 Cup of Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1 Ripe Banana (optional)
  • 2/3 Cup of Frozen Blueberries
  • 1 Cup of Spinach Leaves
  • 1/2 Cup of Milk or choice of dairy (coconut milk, soy milk, almond milk, etc)
  • 2 Teaspoons of Protein Powder (optional)
  • 1 Teaspoon of Honey (optional)

Directions:

  1. Blend all together.

Thoughts After Making:

I loved it! It was delicious and you couldn’t taste a bit of the spinach with all the blueberry.

Although, in comparing the two-I think I like the Power Smoothie a little bit better.

For more drink recipes, go to Power Smoothie

For more smoothie recipes, go to B is for Blueberry Smoothie

For more recipes, go to Spinach Pasta Salad

The Red Headed League

“The Red Headed League” from The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

One day Sherlock is approached by a man with red hair who has a very unusual problem. A Mr. Jabez Wilson is the owner of a pawn shop. It used to be prospering but since then has fallen on hard times. He now only has one assistant, a bright young man named Vincent Spaulding, who is willing to work for the low wage even though he deserves much more. Spaulding loves photography and has his own developing room in the cellar.

Hmm…

Two months earlier, on April 27th, his assistant bemoans his lack of red hair and shows Wilson an advertisement he found in the newspaper.

TO THE RED HEADED LEAGUE:

On account of the bequest of the late Ezekiah Hopkins, of Lebanon, Pennsylvania, U.S.A., there is another vacancy open which entitles a member of the League to a salary of £4 a week for purely nominal services. All red-headed men who are sound in body and mind, and above the age of twenty-one years, are eligible. Apply in person on Monday, at eleven o’clock, to Duncan Ross, at the offices of the League, 7 Pope’s Court, Fleet Street.

Wilson was not one to got out and had never heard of anything like the red headed league, but his assistant had. It was founded by a millionaire who was red headed and has created a fund to give money and assist other red heads.

Apparently the league is only confined to London, as this American first started his business there, and they only accept those with real red hair, bright and blazing not auburn or any dark shades. The work is light and it means an extra £100 a year.

Wilson decides to try out, but is disheartened at seeing all the other red-headed men. He wants to back out, but his assistant won’t let him and on he goes. He gets picked to continue and gets his hair practically ripped out as they must test that it is really red.

He is chosen and given £4 a week for just copying out the Encyclopedia Britannica.

He gets going all the way to Attica, but then it all ends.

He goes to the league and finds a notice upon the door.

THE RED HEADED LEAGUE IS DISSOLVED

Wilson tries to track down the people, but the landlord says they were just renting it until his offices were redecorated. When Wilson goes to the address provided for the offices he finds a factory and that no one had even heard of the league or the people involved.

Sherlock Holmes believes he has figured the case out. Will he catch the Red Headed League Red Handed?

Thoughts After Reading:

I loved this story.

It was fantastic, thought provoking, and altogether a great story. And the conclusion,

You should defintely check it out.

Read it today!

For more by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, go to A Scandal in Bohemia

For more Sherlock Holmes, go to The Sign of the Four

For more short stories, go to The Utterly Perfect Murder

For more mysteries with private investigators, go to Secrets Can Kill

Power Smoothie

Well after last week’s recipe of Spinach Pasta Salad I had a ton of spinach left over. From there I have decided to try anything I could to use it up, including testing out a spinach smoothie from Tastes Better From Scratch.

Will the taste of blueberries be able to overpower it, or will the spinach surpass everything?

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cup of Orange Juice (I don’t like orange so I substituted with Apple Juice)
  • 1/8 a Cup of Whole Grain Oats (I didn’t have any so I used Quick Oats)
  • 1/4 Cup of Greek Yogurt
  • A Bit of Vanilla Creamer
  • 1/2 Banana
  • 3/4 Cup of Frozen Blueberries
  • 1.5 Cups of Baby Spinach Leaves
  • 1/2 Cup of Ice

Directions:

  1. Add all the ingredients in your blender and blend. If too thick, add more juice or water.

Thoughts After Cooking:

I don’t really like using bananas in my smoothies because all the smoothie tastes like is banana.

So I added some more blueberries and a little more yogurt. After that I thought it tasted wonderful!

You didn’t taste the spinach at all or the oats. In fact, I think I’ll be making this tomorrow morning as well.

For more smoothie recipes, go to B is for Blueberry Smoothie

For more spinach recipes, go to Spinach Pasta Salad

For more drink recipes, go to Nature’s Own Cocktail

For more recipes, go to Baked Potato Soup