Blueberry Infused Water, Fresh & Frozen

So for my birthday last year, a friend of mine bought me a infuser type water bottle. So of course as the weather got warmer, I decided it was time to crack it out.

 

Ingredients:

  • A Handful of Blueberries, Fresh or Frozen
  • Ice
  • Water

Directions:

  1. Put the blueberries in the water bottle or pitcher.
  2. Add ice and water; infuse and drink.

Thoughts After Making:

It was alright. It didn’t really add any taste to it. Maybe if I had added something else. I don’t know.

For more blueberries, go to Blueberry Muffin Smoothie

For more drink recipes, go to Watermelon Infused Water

For more recipes, go to Garlic and Herb Roasted Potatoes

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Gates of Thread and Stone

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Gates of Thread and Stone (Gates of Thread and Stone #1) by Lori M. Lee

Kai has grown up in the Labyrinth, a poor section of town. She was found at age eight, unconscious on the docks, saved by eighteen-year-old Reeve who decided to adopt her and raise her as his sister.

Life is hard in this section of the city; low pay, bad food, not the greatest surroundings, kidnappings by a shadow figure “the Black Rider”, etc. But as long as they have their family, Kai is happy.

Kai, while not sure who she is, also has something that sets her apart from others, she can control time (at least for a little bit). Not sure why or what that means, she tries not to use it and bring attention to herself, but instead live a normal life.

One day when Reeve goes missing, Kai sets off to find him and save him; not caring what obstacles and challenges she has to face.One day Reeve doesn’t return home from work, and Kai wonders what could have kept him. When he doesn’t come back the next day, she becomes worried.

She questions her friend Avan, a shopkeeper, but he hasn’t heard anything. When Reeve’s boss reveals he sold him to the Black Rider, Kai decides the only thing she can do is go after him and save him.

Avan joins her as they take a path never explored before, through the void, forbidden forest, and having to cross gargoyles.

When they manage to reach the other side, they discover that the Black Rider is an immortal, one of many, called Irra or Famine. He is not stealing people, but freeing them from being help captive by who Kai thought was a benevolent ruler of her country. Reeve is not here as Irra did not take him, but Kal Nihu or Conquest, Irra’s younger brother (and also an immortal).

Irra agrees to help them in return for Reeve’s information as an insider of the Nihu’s court. He trains Kai and Avan as the only way the two can get back in the city, would be to participate as cadets in the games, fighting to win a spot as a sentinel, one of Kahl Nihu’s elite team.

As Kai trains for battle, she discovers there is more to her than just having an ability. There is more to her than she had ever dreamed of and soon it will be revealed and she will have to make a choice.

Will Kai be able to save her brother and their family? Or has she taken on a problem much bigger than she can handle?

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Thoughts After Reading:

I loved this book. I thought it was amazingly well done and not only captured your interest, but kept you turning page after page to discover what the conclusion of the tale is.

This was fantastic, the character of Kai and the love she has for her family is so well-written and easy to connect to.

And they were amazing in this book!

The story has a little bit of everything: elements of classic fairy tales (the snow queen); overthrowing a dictator, great action/fighting scenes; magic and science fiction; a love triangle (hopefully Mason is chosen) and more-something for everyone. It was well paced and well developed. I strongly recommend it and can’t wait to read the next book in the series.

For more fantasy-mystery novels, go to Emilie and the Sky World

For more Science Fiction-mysteries, go to The Andromeda Strain

For more kidnapping, go to Capital Bride

Death Wears a Beauty Mask

Death Wears a Beauty Mask by Mary Higgins Clark

Thoughts Before Reading:

Mary Higgins Clark wrote this book way back in the ’70s, but never finished it as she wasn’t sure how to end it. She shelved it and went on to write what would be her first book and bestseller, Where Are the Children?

Years later, she took another whack at it s here we are.

Janice Broad hasn’t seen her older sister, Alexandra, in forever. They used to be so close with Janice raising her after their mother died. Then Janice moved to New York City and started her modeling career and their time together grew less. When Janice moved to the LA area for college their time shrinked smaller still.

Now Janice is married and she and her husband, District Attorney Mike Broad, are heading to spend a week of their honeymoon in London and then a week with her.

Yay! Sisters back together.

When they get to the airport, Janice isn’t there. Nor is she at her apartment, and no one knows what happened to her.

They start questioning the men who are hounding her-first Grant Wilson, her agent. Alexandra was the face of a new line, Beauty Mask, but had been having troubles. The company producing Beauty Mask was making them do constant redos, over and over again. Alexandra looked bad and tired.

Grant had been after Alexandra to marry him but she kept saying no. He thinks that she will be sing yes soon, but then she just disappeared. Now he needs her redo the Venice shoot or else the company goes belly up as Beauty Mask won’t pay up without perfection. He says he has no clue to where she is. Could it be he did something because she kept refusing him?

They then see Larry Thompson, photographer. He has known Alexandra from way back. He hates Grant Wilson and never wanted Alexandra to sign with him. He says ever since she’s joined his company, Wilson has just overworked her and worn her out.  Larry tries to make it be that they are just friends, but he seems more interested, and to me extremely bossy, then just as a friend. He is also known to have a very short fuse. Could he have exploded on Alexandra? Or been angry if she could have refused him?

Mark Ambrose is the man who owns the plane that chartered the models and Beauty Mask. He too was another man interested in Alexandra and she too spent time in Venice together. He was supposed to give her a ride to her apartment, but then Alexandra disappeared. Hmm…what happened in Venice or the airport that made her change her mind?

Hmm…

As the couple investigates, they get in a car accident, who did they talk to that felt uneasy?

Then they find out Alexandra got the time wrong and was in the same cab as them and went back to the apartment. But when they get there they found out she has been strangled to death, her face covered Beauty Mask.

But when they do the autopsy, they discover that it isn’t Alexandra, but Lisa Markey, Alexandra’s friend. What happened to Alexandra. Is she alive? Dead? Where is she?

Thoughts After Reading:

Good, really well written until the reveal that the only reason the person was trying to kill Alexandra was because they wanted beauty mask to fail to make money.

That’s it?

A bit of a letdown for me.

But other than that I thought it was really good. I liked that she didn’t go overboard on the characters. But kept the cast short and focused.

And there was this cute little salute to her other novel as if you listen to what Alexandra hears on the news, there is a little snippet about Clark’s first book Where Are the Children?

At one point the detective says I should have known who it was because _________, and I was like facepalm! Duh, I should’ve known too!

For more Mary Higgins Clark, go to Where Are You Now?

For more modeling mysteries, go to The Turquoise Trail Mystery

For more disappearing sisters, go to The Night Sister

For more mysterious honeymoons, go to Death by Honeymoon

Garlic and Herb Roasted Potatoes

Thoughts Before Cooking:

I pinned this a long time ago and am finally getting around to it. This comes from the McCormick website.

I was just making it for me so I changed a few things around…hope it goes well.

Oh well

Ingredients:

  • 1 Teaspoon of Oregano Leaves
  • 1 Teaspoon of Paprika
  • 1 Teaspoon of Thyme Leaves
  • 3/4 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Garlic Powder
  • 2 Red Potatoes Quartered, for one I did 2 Yukon Potatoes
  • 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Mix oregano, paprika, thyme, salt, and garlic powder in a small bowl. Set aside.
  3. Toss potatoes with olive oil in a large bowl.
  4. Sprinkle seasonings mixture over potatoes.
  5. Toss to coat well.
  6. Spread potatoes in a single layer on a foil-lined baking pan.
  7. Bake 30-35 mins or until potatoes are tender and golden brown.

Thoughts After Cooking:

I thought they were good but a little dry.

I had to add lots of butter and a bit of pepper.

For more Pinterest recipes, go to Blueberry Muffin Smoothie

For more McCormick, recipes, go to Fajitas

For more potato recipes, go to Cheese Potato Crisps

For more recipes, go to Slow Cooker Pinto Beans

 

Floral Depravity

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Floral Depravity (Bridal Bouquet Shop Mystery #3) by Beverly Allen

Audrey Bloom has been working hard on her business, trying to keep it prospering, especially as her cousin and business partner’s Olivia’s due date is drawing closer and closer.

I’m so stressed

So why would Audrey take on a huge job for a medieval themed wedding, especially as she doesn’t know very much about Medieval customs?

But whether she has a lack or not, Audrey is committed. But not as much as the bridal party and guests. The bride is a Medieval Reenactor, part of the SCA, and wants as true as can be medieval wedding. Everyone is out in the middle of nowhere and as accurate as possible.

However, shortly after the wedding is done, the bride’s father is found dead! Being a man that is not very well-liked, possible suspects are everywhere.

Hmm…

Audrey finds herself deputized by the sheriff and on the case to discover who hated him the most.

But while questioning the wedding party, she discovers a most unexpected guest! Her estranged father! It appears there is much more to this case than originally thought.

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Thoughts After Reading:

While I originally loved the other books, this one was not as great. I figured out who the murderer was immediately and thought the rest of the novel wasn’t very well constructed.

However, I hope that will be remedied in the next book and look forward to it.

For more Bridal Bouquet Shop Mysteries, go to For Whom the Bluebell Tolls

For more by Beverly Allen, go to Bloom and Doom

For more mysteries about weddings, go to Capital Bride

For more mysteries involving estranged fathers, go to The Boscombe Valley Mystery

Conspiracy

“Conspiracy” by Harold Swanton from Murder by Experts

A reporter is in a bad mood. His girlfriend has been cheating on him and now he is being sent to a town that is clearly going to be flooded to report on it.

As he is driving to the town, he passes the girlfriend’s apartment and gets an idea. This flooding is definitely going to happen, and when it does this town is gone-washed away. Why not kill his girlfriend and let the river wash the body away?

He heads to the girlfriend’s apartment and does the deed, but as he is, the water comes and the building starts swaying. He becomes disorientated and then he realizes that there is a man that witnessed everything.

He runs after them, but both are stopped and knocked out by a telephone pole hitting the water.

When he wakes up, he is in a hospital having been rescued. And to his surprise the other man is also in the room-but blinded from the accident.

He feels he is in the clear, but then a women’s murdered body is found and the man remembers having witnessed a man killing a woman.

The reporter is given the task of taking him to get more of the story when it turns out the man is not blind-he faked the whole thing!

He has a gun and plans to kill the reporter as he murdered his wife and doesn’t want any witnesses.

Imagine the irony! Both having killed their women and worried about being witnessed!

This reporter isn’t going down and manages to drive his way out and getting the gun from him and shooting him. So now he’s got his girlfriend killed, a great story, and feels fine about having killed the man-or does he?

For more posts on reporters, go to Loose Screw

For more short stories, go to The Hitchhiker

Slow Cooker Pinto Beans

I love beans. They are good for you, you can do all kinds of things with them, and they cost barely anything.

But every time I try to make them on the stove they come out half done and half hard. So I decided to try a crock pot and went out to find a recipe. I got this from Mom’s Kitchen Handbook.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb of Dried Pinto Beans (2.5 cups, rinsed, and picked over for tiny stones)
  • 7.5 Cups of Water
  • 1 Teaspoon of Crushed Red Pepper
  • 2 Teaspoons of Salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon of Black Pepper

Directions:

  1. Pick over the beans, removing small stones.
  2. Rinse the beans in a colander
  3. Put beans, water, red pepper, salt, and black pepper into the crock pot.
  4. Cover and cook on low until the beans are tender (7-9 hours).

Thoughts After Cooking:

These were amazing! And I loved every moment of eating them.

For more crock-pot recipes, go to Black Bean and Turkey Stew

For more recipes, go to Blueberry Muffin Smoothie

 

Patterns in the Sand

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Patterns in the Sand (A Seaside Knitters Mystery #2) by Sally Goldenbaum

It has been a whole year since the tragic murder that took Angie’s life, and all the knitters are looking forward to a happy, murder-free, knitting summer.

The first surprise is when the knitting shop is broken into by a young woman. She was found asleep in the storefront window on top of the yarn display there.

It turns out this woman is yarn artist, Willow Adams. Izzy had invited her to come, but never expected to come upon her like that.

She is very flightily and vague, staying with Nell in their guest house, but leaving every day to roam about the shops, galleries, and studios.

But then Aiden Peabody, gallery owner, artist, and wealthy member of the community is found murdered!

The whole town is in shock, the knitters even more so when it appears that Willow is the prime suspect.

What?!

The knitters set out to catch killer and clear Willow’s innocence.

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Thoughts After Reading:

I couldn’t stand this book.

Ugh!

They kept going on about how Willow couldn’t kill anyone and wanted to help her; the only problem is they DON’T know her. Just because she is an artist it doesn’t mean she can’t be a killer or a liar. We don’t KNOW her, she could be ANYTHING!

Their whole argument was that she’s is such a talented artist, she couldn’t hurt a fly. But then, the one who turns out to be the “real murderer” was an artist.

For more Seaside Knitter Mysteries, go to Death by Cashmere

For more knitting mysteries, go to The Postman Always Purls Twice

For more mystery reviews, go to Weak Flesh

The Hitchhiker

“The Hitchhiker” from Suspense by Lucille Fletcher

You’ve probably heard this story before. It has been told many times and was even a Twilight Zone episode. No matter how many times one hears it, it still remains creepy.

Ronal Adams is traveling from Brooklyn, New York to California for a job. He decides to drive that way, instead of flying. His mother worries about him, but he assures her he will be just fine.

As he travels all is normal, but then he sees a hitchhiker. No matter how slow, or fast, or where he drives, the hitchhiker is always there.

He picks up a female hitchhiker, hoping that having her there will help but she doesn’t see the hitchhiker, leaves, and he still is chased by the hitchhiker.

Finally he stops and calls his mom-reaching out for something anything to prove he is sane. But he can’t reach her. It turns out she went into shock and had to go to the hospital when her son died in a car crash on his first day of leaving for California.

Ronald realizes and stops for the hitchhiker finally.

For more short stories, go to The Boscombe Valley Mystery

For more book reviews, go to Weak Flesh

My Number One Comfort Food

Sometimes life is hard. Things happen and we turn to the one thing that helps…

Nope!

Food!

No I’m not saying to eat food instead of dealing with your problems or just eating away you feelings, etc. I’m saying we all have a comfort food we turn to when we are hit with the hard times. What’s mine? Apples and peanut butter.

Something about the sourness of the Granny Smith combined with the sweetness of the peanut butter is just such a great combination. How can you be unhappy eating it.

What’s yours?

Weak Flesh

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Weak Flesh by Jo Robertson

Thoughts Before Reading:

I got this book for free off BookBub and thought it would be this really interesting mystery.

The book is set in 1901. Pretty, voluptuous Nell Carver has no want for attention and is involved with many men.

One of them has murdered her and left her body in the Pasquotank River.

Marshal Tucker Gage is trying to solve the case, with the unwanted help of Nell’s best friend, and the girl he is very attracted to, Megan Bailey.

Thoughts After Reading:

Turns out I was wrong.

It started off strong, but then just turned into a “bodice ripping” romance novel. The mystery was really interesting until it was totally obvious who the killer was.

Not my cup of tea at all and I wish I hadn’t wasted time reading it.

Don’t read it!

For more historical fiction mysteries, go to A Talent for Trouble

For more not in a series mysteries, go to Alias Grace

For more BookBub books, go to Death by Marriage

For more mysteries, go to Tragic Toppings

Blueberry Muffin Smoothie

Yummmm! Smoothies! I love drinking smoothies, especially in summertime. Summer is hot and I’m so busy with Summer Reading at the library it is great to make one the night before and drink it on the drive over.

When I saw that it was a blueberry muffin smoothie I was very intrigued. Would it really taste like it?

I found this recipe on pinterest and it comes from Iowa Girl Eats. 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cup of Milk
  • 4-6 oz Vanilla Greek Yogurt
  • 1/2 Cup of Frozen Blueberries
  • 1/2 Cup of Frozen Banana
  • 1/4 Cup of Raw, Uncooked Oats (I used Quakers)
  • 1/2 Cup of Ice Cubes

Directions:

  1. Add all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Thoughts After Reading:

When I first tried it I thought it tasted good, but not very muffin batter-y. But I put it in my fridge and the next day drank it. The oats had changed after being soaked and it made the smoothie much thicker. I wouldn’t say it tasted like blueberry muffins, but definitely blueberry batter. Kind of like eating raw cookie dough, but in a good blueberry smoothie.

For more smoothie recipes, go to Triple Green Protein Smoothie

For more pinterest recipes, go to London Fog Smoothie

For more drink recipes, go to Watermelon Infused Water

For more recipes, go to Basic Chicken Salad