Murder at Hobcaw Barony

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Murder at Hobcaw Barony (Eleanor Roosevelt Investigates #3) by Elliot Roosevelt

The third book in this series, Eleanor Roosevelt finds herself in the charming home of Bernard “Bernie” Baruch’s Hobcaw Barony. When she gets there she is surrounded by famous movie stars and producers; Humphrey Bogart, Joan Crawford,  Tallulah Bankhead, Darryl F. Zanuck, Robert Partridge, and Colleen Bingham.

It appears nobody is a friend of Partridge as he has burned a bridge with everyone. So it is no surprise when he winds up dead, being blown up.

Now which one did it? And will Eleanor figure it out before she has to return home.

Thoughts After Reading:

I did not like this book at all.

That’s the problem when you use famous people in your story instead of made up ones, we know who isn’t going to die or be the murderer. As we only have three made up characters it is easy to see who will die and who is the killer.

Predictable and boring. I’d skip if I were you.

For more Eleanor Roosevelt Investigates, go to The Hyde Park Murder

For more mystery reviews, go to Death by Darjeeling

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Sugar Puffs

Thoughts Before Cooking:

I had a friend who loved this cookie recipe so much, that I made them for her birthday two years in a row.

This recipe comes from The King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion: The Essential Cookie CookbookSugar. Yep another recipe from that fantastic cookbook.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cup of Confectioner’s Sugar (Powdered Sugar)
  • 3/4 Cup (1.5 sticks) of Unsalted Butter
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt (Extra-Fine Preferred)
  • 1.5 Teaspoons of Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 Cup of Cornstarch
  • 1 Cup of Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
  2. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.
  3. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, cream together sugar, butter, salt, and vanilla.
  4. Add the cornstarch and flour, stirring to make a cohesive dough.
  5. Drop the dough by tablespoonful onto the prepared baking sheets.
  6. Bake the cookies for 25 mins (I recommend 30) or until they are lightly golden brown.
  7. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to cookie rack to cool.

Thoughts After Baking:

These were delicious. I recommend them.

For more King Arthur Cookie Cookbook recipes, go to 1-2-3-4 Peanut Butter Cookies

For more cookie recipes, go to Chocolate Crinkles

For more sugar cookies, go to Aunt Neal’s Old-Fashioned Tea Cakes

For more dessert recipes, go to French Strawberries

Death by Darjeeling

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Death by Darjeeling (A Tea Shop Mystery #1) by Laura Childs

Thoughts Before Reading:

I came upon the book Steeped in Evil at the library and decided to check it out. After I had started it, I realized it was part of a series and of course you know what that means. We have to go back and start this mystery series from the beginning.

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Former advertising executive, now owner of a tea shop, Theodosia “Theo” Brown is busy with preparations for the Lamplighter Tour, a walking tour into the best homes and gardens of Charleston.

Theo has two shop employees Drayton Conneley, tea expert, perfect blenderer, and her right hand man; along with Haley, perennial college student, baker, and waitress; and Earl Gray, rescued mutt.

A wrench is thrown in the works when businessman Hughes Barron who is attempting to buy out historical homes and raze them for other means is murdered during the tour.

And not just murdered, poisoned! And Theo’s newly blended lamplighter mix is the vehicle the murderer choose.

Theo finds the investigation honing in on her, only to switch to Haley’s best friend Bethany as she was seen in a heated argument with the deceased, and was the one to serve him tea. Theo sets out to clear Bethany’s name and her tea; finding out that Barron is rife with enemies; from environmentalists to spurned ladies, to crooked business partners, it seems like everyone had a reason to kill him.

And Theo must watch out, she’s just been warned by the killer, back off or else she’s next.

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Thoughts After Reading:

It wasn’t very good.

I hate it

It spent a lot of time developing the characters and their many backstories, but very little time on the actual mystery. And the ending reveal was abominable.

For more mysteries featuring poison, go to The Sign of the Four

For more on tea, go to Aunt Neal’s Old-Fashioned Tea Cakes

For more Southern mysteries, go to Crazy, VA

For more mystery reviews, go to A Case of Identity

A Case of Identity

“A Case of Identity” from The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

This is a really interesting case as it is one that Sherlock solves, but doesn’t “solve” as he can never reveal the truth to the client as she wouldn’t believe it.

One day Sherlock is remarking to Watson he hasn’t had an interesting case. However, there may be one in the future, near future, as in the girl who is pacing outside their door.

“I have seen those symptoms before,’ said Holmes, throwing his cigarette into the fire. ‘Oscillation upon the pavement always means an affair de coeur. She would like advice, but is not sure that the matter is not too delicate for communication.”

This new client is Miss Mary Sutherland. After Holmes amazes her with his deductive abilities, she introduces her case.

She is here to seek help in finding a Mr. Hosmer Angel.

Mary’s father died not to long ago, and shortly after her mother remarried a Mr. Windibank, fifteen years her junior and five years older than Mary, and they sold the Sutherland plumbing business for £4700. Mary has £100 annual that she receives from her uncle Ned.

She lives at home, earning a side income of £60 at typing, and has a genial relationship with her mother and “father”. She signs over her her £100, as she wants to help at home and can do well off her side income.

Mary used to go out and have fun while her father was alive, but Mr. Windibank never let’s them go anywhere. When they receive tickets to the gasfitter’s ball, in memoriam to her late father, Mary rebels. She decides to go, while her stepfather sulks off to France. She attends the dance with her mother and their old foreman, Mr. Hardy.

There she met Hosmer Angel. They continued to spend time together, as he asked her for walks, courting her. But then one day, her stepfather returns and no more is seen of Mr. Angel.

The two wrote letters and became engaged. However, he will not come around when her father is home.

He was a shy man, retiring, gentlemanly, soft voice, he had weak eyes like Mary and wore tinted glasses.

When her stepfather left, Hosmer Angel returned. They planned to get married and Hosmer made her swear on a bible that whatever happened she would always be true. Mary was worried about stepfather but her mother said to forget it. Mary was still worried as it felt underhanded and wrote to her stepfather, only to receive the letter back.

The day of the wedding Hosmer Angel placed Mary and her mother in a cab , following behind them. But when they reached the church, he had VANISHED!

Her mother and father were very upset and told Mary to forget him. He was just a cad and it wasn’t like he had borrowed money or married her and took off. But Mary can’t forget. She must know where her love is.

She advertised for him in the paper, but nothing. No one knows him and she has not heard from him again.

Where is he?

Sherlock agrees to the case and Mary leaves him to think on it.

Now Sherlock has picked up on many clues, one of which being the letters she received from her Betrothed, Hosmer Angel, were all typewritten, even the signature. Very odd.

He then writes two letters-one to a firm in the city, sand the second to Mr. Windibank.

The two wait for the reply.

The next day, Mr. Windibank answers the note and arrives at Baker Street. Sherlock discusses the case, the letters, etc-Mr. Windibank making a lot of bluster that he would like to catch the guy who did this to his daughter. But then Sherlock reveals who the guy is, Mr. Windibank.

Yes, Mr. Windibank was just a gold digger. He married the widow for her money and was also enjoying the money of the stepdaughter. He tried to do everything he could to keep her from marrying and taking her money with her.

First he never let her out or to any events, but soon Mary grew tired of this and rebelled. Windibank knew it was only a matter of time until she went somewhere and met someone, and he decided the only one she would meet would be himself.

He got his wife to help him and disguised himself. He wanted to distract Mary and knew the best way to hook her was to get her promise of undying love. And on the day of the wedding he entered the carriage on one side, exiting through the other to “vanish”. With such an event, he knew that Mary would never stop trying to look for her “fiancé” and that her heart would be stolen forever.

Thoughts After Reading:

The sad thing about this is that Mary is unlikely to believe him, so he decides to give that view up. But poor girl, how sad that her stepfather and MOTHER would conspire against her like that? I think this is one of the sadder stories in Sherlock Holmes. And now she will spend her life thinking and having her heart stolen by that jerk. And him, nothing he did was really against the law, but how horrible. Sherlock threatens to beat him with a whip for his treachery, but Wiindibank hurries away-fast. Too bad, I would have liked him to get his just desserts.

For more Sherlock Holmes, go to The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle

For more by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, go to The Red Headed League

For more from The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, go to A Scandal in Bohemia

For more short stories, go to Punishment Without Crime

Creamy Parmesan Spaghetti

Thoughts Before Cooking:

Since Wednesday was Valentine’s Day, I decided to post a very special recipe-one of my valentine’s favorite food.

I made this for him on our anniversary last month and used the recipe provided by The Recipe Critic

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz Spaghetti Noodles (I used Angel Hair)
  • 1 Tablespoon of Butter
  • 3 Teaspoons of Minced Garlic
  • 1 Cup of Heavy Cream
  • 2/3 Cup of Shaved Parmesan Cheese
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Directions:

  1. Cook spaghetti noodles according to the box’s directions.
  2. Drain and set aside.
  3. Add butter to skillet and melt over medium heat.
  4. Add garlic and stir until fragrant (2-3 minutes).
  5. Transfer spaghetti to pan and stir in garlic butter.
  6. Add cream and parmesan cheese to pan and coat the noodles.
  7. Add salt and pepper to taste-top off with Parmesan cheese.

Thoughts After Cooking:

It was delicious and he just loved it.

It was easy and so great-you should try it for yourself.

For more pasta recipes, go to Spinach Pasta Salad

For more recipes, go to Cucumber Hummus Sandwich

This Pen for Hire

I wonder if  the same thing happens when you spell it Jaine Austen, because if it is then this author has killed 16.5 of them.

No wonder dating is do hard these days.

But enough joshing. Before we get to the review let’s take a moment and address the day:

Happy Valentine’s Day

Whether you love it or hate it, I hope you have fantastic day.

Now on to the review:

This Pen for Hire (Jaine Austen Mystery #1) by Laura Levine

Thoughts Before Reading:

I have read a few of the Jaine Austen Mysteries, really only the ones that are a part of the three Christmas stories involving the Hannah Swensen Mysteries and the Lucy Stone Mysteries. And what did I think of them?

I thought the ones I read were horrible and that the character of Jaime Austen was awful and badly written. I couldn’t stand it:

Another thing that really bothers me is that the author named her character Jaine Austen but she has nothing to do with Jane Austen. It isn’t a remake of her her works, Jaine isn’t a fan of Jane, etc. Nothing in similar except that they are both writers, but as Jane Austen was amazing, Jaine is just a hack.

I just don’t get it.

Plot Synopsis:

Jaine Austen is a freelance writer and does everything from resumes, to personal ads, to jingle, etc. Whatever comes her way she takes on.

However, her newest client has asked for something far different and harder to write-love letters. Geeky Howard Murdoch is in love with the blonde, vivacious, and ambitious aerobics instructor, Stacy Lawrence.

Jaine takes the challenge, and through some careful wording and suggestion she actually manages to help Howard score Stacy. They have a date planned for Valentine’s Day.

Yay!

However, this fairy tale story ends horribly when Howard goes to pick Stacy up and finds her bludgeoned to death by her thigh master, with Howard looking to be the prime suspect.

Jaine is shocked and horrified that her letter, and half truths in it, has implicated Howard and destroyed his credibility. She decides to search for the real killer. This won’t be easy when it turns out that Stacey is hated by practically everyone she’s come across.

Thoughts After Reading:

I HATED IT! Why did I waste my time reading it?

It was horrible! A boring story, an unintelligent character, just disappointing and a total yawn.

How could this author have been a writer for Three’s Company and The Love Boat? This book was horrid.

They make the cops incredibly stupid as well. I mean really? They think Howard killed her and he barely knows her? He isn’t even that strong! And when he has no motive but every one else who is in her life does?

Jaine gets involved with a guy and asks for his alibi, and that’s that. Really? He could be lying! You are so stupid and a horrible investigator.

For more Valentine’s Day posts, go to The Cat Who Could Read Backwards

For more mysteries with love letters, go to Paper Roses

For more mysteries, go to Larceny and Old Lace

Cucumber Hummus Sandwich

Thoughts Before Cooking:

Here is a healthy, low-calorie sandwich that is tasty and easy to make. I used to eat this al the time when I was at University. I hope you all enjoy it.

Ingredients:

  • Cucumbers, peeled and sliced
  • Hummus
  • Bread (I use Whole Grain)

Directions:

  1. Toast bread.
  2. Slice the cucumber.
  3. When bread is toasted, spread each slice with hummus.
  4. Lay cucumber on bread, and place a bread slice on top of the other.
  5. Enjoy!

Thoughts After Reading:

You can add as much or as little cucumber as you like-and make the slices as thick or thin as you prefer. Either way it is delicious!

For more sandwich recipes, go to Garlic, Tomato, Basil Grilled Cheese Sandwich

For more low-calorie dishes, go to Two-Cheese Roasted-Veggie Pasta

For more vegetarian meals, go to Eggplant Tomato Bites

For more recipes, go to Tortellini Soup with Italian Sausage & Spinach

Larceny and Old Lace

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Larceny and Old Lace (A Den of Antiquity Mystery #1) by Tamar Myers

Recently divorced Abigail Timberlake is the owner of the antique shop Den of Antiquity. Everything changes for her when her Aunt Eulonia Wiggins, a fellow dealer, is found murdered.

 

A lot of things don’t add up though. The murder weapon was an antique bell pull, something Aunt Eulonia would never own.

Aunt Eulonia priceless lace has been stolen

And, someone has threatened Abigail’s son!

Abigail is on the case.

Thoughts After Reading:

I hate this book.

I can’t stand the main character, she just is so argh.

I love the catchy titles, but that is just not enough for me.

For more mysteries involving antique shops, go to The Cat Who Turned On and Off

For more mystery reviews, go to Crazy, VA

Tortellini Soup with Italian Sausage & Spinach

Thoughts Before Cooking:

So I have been wanting to make this tortellini soup recipe for quite some time now. I actually have two pinned on pinterest, and chose one of them.

This recipe comes from The Yellow Bliss Road blog.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon Vegetable Oil
  • 1 pound ground Italian Sausage
  • 1/2 cup diced Onion (about 1/2 medium sized onion)
  • 1 tablespoon minced Garlic
  • 1-28 oz can Crushed Tomatoes
  • 1-32. oz. box of Vegetable Broth (chicken works too)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped Basil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 9-ounce package refrigerated tortellini
  • 2 cups packed fresh spinach
  • Parmesan Cheese

Directions:

  1. Heat a large, heavy bottomed pan over medium-high heat.
  2. Heat vegetable oil and add diced onion.
  3. Saute until onions are soft.
  4. Crumble Italian Sausage and garlic with the onion.
  5. Cook until sausage is no longer pink.
  6. Stir in crushed tomatoes, vegetable (or chicken) broth, basil, salt and pepper.
  7. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and cover.
  8. Let soup simmer for 20-30 minutes.
  9. Add tortellini and spinach and simmer for about ten minutes, until pasta is tender.
  10. Serve with shredded Parmesan.

Thoughts After Cooking:

I thought this soup was amazing.

Even my boyfriend who can’t stand my “healthy food” loved it.

For more The Yellow Bliss Road Recipes, go to Crostini

For more soup recipes, go to Baked Potato Soup

For more tortellini recpies, go to Broccoli & Tortellini Salad with Pesto

For more pinterest recipes, go to Spinach Pasta Salad