Secrets

Secrets (Sweet Valley High #2) 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 these weren’t the best written books. Most of them are cheesy, silly, and sometimes don’t make sense; but these were the ’80s-’90s versions of Gossip Girl or One Tree Hill.

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 miniseries, 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, had supernatural elements, psycho characters, or other themes that fall in line with this blog. So we get to review them!

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 book Double Love, the sisters competed for the same guy, Todd Wilkins. Todd really liked Elizabeth, but Jessica did all she could to stop the romance. A bunch of other stuff also happens with the football field being involved in a big tug-of-war between companies, Elizabeth and Jessica afraid their dad is having an affair, Elizabeth and Jessica’s brother dating a girl from the wrong side of town, Jessica pretending to be Elizabeth and damaging her reputation, dances/parties, etc.

This book picks up after Elizabeth played a trick on Jessica, getting her dunked fully clothed. So here is where our story begins…

SECRETS

It wasn’t fair, Jessica raged, tears streaming down her face. Enid was going to the fall dance with Ronnie, and she was sure to be named queen. Ronnie was so blind with love that he’d swing a million votes her way.

Jessica sighed. She just had to win. If she were queen, Bruce Patman would finally notice her. She’d never wanted anything so badly in her entire life. She’d do anything to make it happen.

Out of the corner of one wet eye, Jessica glimpsed a piece of paper sticking out from under the bed. It looked like a letter.

Dear Enid,” she read with a sudden voracious interest. A smile crept slowly across her features as a plan shaped itself in her mind.

Time to put my evil plan in motion…

Jessica is mad that her sister got one over on her and had her dunked in front of everyone. But she doesn’t think on it too long as she has something more weighty on her mind. She has been in love with Bruce Patman for years but he never paid attention to her. She has watched him go through every A-list girl except herself! Her latest attempt to snag him is to win Fall Queen, as Bruce is nominated Fall King. If the two are crowned, they will have to go to the following dances and school activities together-and he will fall madly in love with her.

The dance is two weeks away and Jessica can’t wait!

I’m so excited!

Elizabeth has noticed that her best friend Enid Rollins has been so down lately. The decide to do a marathon baking session to cheer her up-but no dice. Finally Elizabeth just asks her and Enid unloads. Enid has a secret-a big secret. She has a police record.

When her parents divorced two years ago, she got involved in drinking and drugs. She and her boyfriend, George Warren, hit a boy while driving. The kid turned out to be okay-but the two were arrested, given 6 months probation, and put through drug counseling. Enid was changed by it and George was sent away to a private boarding school.

Enid is worried about her boyfriend Ronnie Edwards finding out. He said a lot of stuff in the last book that makes Enid certain that if he discovered her secret he’d dump her right away.

In my open she would be much better without him. He’s a rude, jerky, jealous, control freak, and abusive.

Enid has been writing to her friend George these past years and is afraid that Ronnie will see it as cheating on him. She shows the letters to Elizabeth, but it is nothing more than average friend encouragement and support. Elizabeth promises to keep the letters a complete secret.

Meanwhile, Jessica and her friends are talking about Ms. Dalton the French teacher. Jessica’s best friend Lila Fowler hates Ms. Dalton as not only is her father dating the 25-year-old teacher (really? 25), but her boyfriend, Ken Matthews, has a giant crush on her. She starts a rumor that Ms. Dalton and him are having an affair.

Jessica returns home later in a bad mood. She tried to charm Bruce Patman-but received nothing. She wants to hang out with her sister-but she’s gone again off with Enid. Enid who hates Jessica. She starts thinking of everything that is wrong and goes in her sister’s room-as her’s is painted an ugly brown (bad idea by Jessica) and too messy (she hates cleaning). As she sits there she spots a letter, and a terrible, awful idea is born.

Later Enid, Ronnie, Elizabeth, and Todd are double dating when Elizabeth and Todd notice something is off with Ronnie. The couples split ways with Enid and Ronnie heading to the classic make-out spot. Ronnie acts totally different and all over Enid-and then breaks their date to the dance.

When he tries to go farther than Enid wants, she manages to get loose-but then it all comes out. Ronnie knows all about George and her past.

“The letters. Liz must have told him about the letters.”

Jessica leaves for a party at Lila’s hoping to snag Bruce Patman there. Elizabeth calls up Enid, but she won’t have anything to do with her. Elizabeth stays home wallowing in confusion, while Jessica heads out.

Jessica is super disappointed to find out Bruce already has a date to the dance and puts her eyes on now dateless Ronnie.

Elizabeth confronts the question of how this could have happened, discussing it with her favorite teacher-Mr. Collins. Mr. Collins tells her to look for the key thing-motivation. Why would anyone want to do this? Break up Enid and Ronnie?

Hmmm…

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 the twins wear. I’ve decided to add a special section for this in these reviews too.

Outfits-

When Jessica goes to Lila’s party-but imagine in burgundy:

The dance: I see Jessica in this…

And Elizabeth in this:

Thoughts After Reading:

As a teen I loved it! From beginning to end. As an adult, I still enjoyed it-good pacing and the better writing than later books in the series.

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:

Just then Bruce sailed past, nearly colliding with her as she stumbled backward in an attempt to escape Winston’s murderous feet. He swept her with a long look that sent an electric shock tingling up her spine. There was a hint of invitation in his smile, and more than a spark of interest in his sexy blue eyes. Some of her misery faded. Could it be?…

Can Jessica play Bruce Patman’s game and win? Find out in SWEET VALLEY HIGH #3, Playing With Fire.

Of course we won’t because that isn’t a mystery. I don’t think I will be reviewing anything until book #13, Kidnapped. When I get there I’ll do a quick recap-and then continue.

For more young adult fiction, go to Christina’s Ghost

For more books were letters play a key role, go to This Pen for Hire

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Waffle Maker Grilled Cheese

Thoughts Before Cooking:

I have a waffle maker and was interested in what else I can make in the waffle maker. I’m not sure where I found this, but I thought why not try it out?

Ingredients:

  • Bread
  • Butter
  • Cheese

Directions:

  1. Turn your waffle maker on.
  2. Butter one side of the bread.
  3. When waffle maker is ready, place a slice of bread, butter face down.
  4. Add cheese and top with bread, butter side up.
  5. Put top of waffle maker down.
  6. Let cheese melt then remove sandwich and eat.

Thoughts After Reading:

Yummy, easy, and a much faster clean up.

For more Grilled Cheese sandwiches, go to Garlic, Tomato, Basil Grilled Cheese Sandwich

For more sandwiches, go to Cucumber Hummus Sandwich

For what else you cando with a waffle maker, go to Waffle Quesadilla

The Enemy We Know

The Enemy We Know (A Letty Whittaker 12 Step Mystery) by Donna White Glaser

Letty Whittaker is a psychologist and recovering alcoholic, trying to help others. One of her patients “Carrie” and her discussed a plan to get away from her abusive husband.

When “Carrie” takes off, her abusive husband, Wayne, comes to the clinic and threatens her, fleeing when the police come-Letty just barely being able to be okay.

Oh no!

But now-Wayne claims that Letty attacked him and she’s being disciplined as there is no “proof” of her story.

Letty starts to fall into despair, when to make things worse-gross and cruel gifts keep coming her way. Wayne finds out about her alcoholism and threatens to reveal it to her boses and have her lose her license.

Then Wayne is found murdered and Letty is the prime suspect!

Thoughts After Reading:

This book was awful.

Ugh!

The clinic turned on Letty saying she made it up-believing the crazy guy who is need of help for his domestic violence over their trained psychologist?

Seriously!

And to top that off-her coworker was worried about her and snuck in the back of the cubicle and overheard everything! Why doesn’t she say something?

And then they have the guy who threatened her come back every week. Who are these people?

Plus Letty needed some real help. Seriously.

DO NOT READ!!!!!!

For more reviews, go to The Case of the Invisible Dog

Given the context of this book I wanted to add this:

Are you being abused?

It’s abuse when someone who should care about you does or says things that hurt you or make you feel afraid, helpless or worthless. Here are only a few examples:

  • Slapping, hitting, punching, choking, grabbing, shoving, kicking you or your kids, your pets
  • Threatening you, your kids, friends, family or pets
  • Hitting, kicking, slamming walls, doors, furniture, possessions
  • Forcing you to have sex
  • Calling you names, swearing at you, yelling
  • Controlling all the money, even money you earn
  • Blaming you or your kids for everything
  • Putting you down, making you feel like nothing you do is ever good enough
  • Treating you like a servant or slave
  • Controlling where you go, what you do, what you wear
  • Controlling who you see, who you talk to
  • Humiliating you in front of other people
  • Refusing to let you leave the relationship

If you are in danger call 911, a local hotline, or the U.S. National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 and TTY 1-800-787-3224.

A Much Expected Murder

“A Much Expected Murder” by Gail Ingram, from Tales of Fatima

Basil Rathbone, yes the Basil Rathbone who played Sherlock Holmes in many movies, is getting ready after a performance when he and his secretary Lavender are warned by a brute of a man with a gun to “leave Mrs. Dawson’s case alone”.

As Rathbone is not involved with any case, he agrees. After the man leaves he receives a phone call from a Mrs. Dawson in need of help.

Hmm…

Rathbone meets with the woman who asks for his assistance as her husband has something bothering him and she can’t tell what it is. Rathbone goes to speak to the man, and discovers that he is convinced that his wife is murdering him. She had a young chemist help her with a poison that was undetectable and killed her first husband, and now she is killing him. But how does he know she murdered her first husband? Why he was the chemist.

The brute returns and attacks Rathbone for reneging his promise. Rathbone then goes to see his detective friend and he discovers that Mrs. Dawsonn never had a first husband. Then what is going on?

Wen they return to the house they discover they are too late, Mr. Dawson is dead.

Hmm…

And then to complicate things, the brute is there at the house! He is the doctor and an old friend of Mrs. Dawson, in fact her old lover.

He tells Rathbbone that Mr. Dawson told him his suspicions about poison and they are pretending he is dead to catch the killer. They made up a story of the first husband as to distract Rathbone. As they are in the house they stumble upon Mr. Dawson. They try to talk to him but he is dead-throat cut.

WHAT!

They call the police and try to figure out who did the deed? Mrs. Dawson for the money? The Doctor for Mrs. Dawson? Mr. Dawson’s crazy sister who constantly speaks of death?

Thoughts After Reading:

Great story. Loved it! And Basil Rathbone amazing!!!

For more short stories, go to The Old Plantation

For more on a husband’s murder, go to Death by Honeymoon

Blueberry Banana Protein Smoothie

So another smoothie! Yay!

Yay!

This was found on Pinterest and comes from Amy’s Healthy Baking,

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup of Frozen Blueberries
  • 1/2 Frozen Banana, Sliced
  • 3/4 Cup of Greek Yogurt
  • 3/4 Cup of Vanilla Almond Milk (I use regular milk as I don’t like almond milk)
  • 2 Cups of Ice

Directions:

  • Blend all until smooth.

Thoughts After Cooking:

It was delicious.

I love blueberries.

For more Pinterest recipes,go to One-Pot Creamy Tomato Tortellini Soup

For more smoothies, go to Healthy Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

For more drinks, go to Banana Peanut Butter Smoothie

The Case of the Invisible Dog

The Case of the Invisible Dog (Shirley Homes Mystery #1) by Diane Stingley

After falling to strike it big in Hollywood, and two awful relationships, Tammy Norman has headed back to her hometown in North Carolina.

Desperate for work she takes a job with a Sherlock Holmes obsessed private investigator (who also believes to be a descendent of the real Sherlock Holmes), Shirley Homes.

At first Tammy spends her days doing nothing and getting paid well. Then a case comes their way. Every night a man is kept up by a barking dog, but neither he or his neighbors own one?

What’s starts out as a benign case turns to murder with Tammy wondering if she and Shirley have gotten in waaaay over their heads.

Thoughts After Reading:

This was soooo awful.

Ugh!

It was stupid. It makes fun of Sherlock Holmes and fans.

The characters are so awful.

Don’t read it. It was boring and the end was unsolved and made no sense. I can’t stress enough, do not read it.

For more private investigators, go to Wolverine Noir

For female private investigators, go to Innocent in Las Vegas

One-Pot Creamy Tomato Tortellini Soup

January is National Soup Month!

To celebrate, let’s eat some soup!

I love tortellini and a month ago Raley’s had a super sale, 2 packages for $5. I bought 4 and put three in the freezer for later.

I have made a tortellini soup before and saw this one so thought I would try it it out. It comes from pinterest, but originally Gal on a Mission.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Medium Onion, Diced
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, Minced
  • 1 Teaspoon of Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Tsp of Dried Rosemary
  • 28-oz Can Diced Tomatoes
  • 15-oz Can of Tomato Sauce
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Dried Oregano
  • 4 Large Basil Leaves or 1/2 Teaspoon of Dried Basil
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon of Pepper
  • 4 Cups of Chicken Stock
  • 1/2 Cup of Heavy Cream
  • 20-oz of Three-Cheese Tortellini
  • 1/2 Cup of Shredded Parmesan Cheese + extra for garnish
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Fresh Basil (Optional) to garnish

Directions:

  1. Place the onion, garlic, rosemary, and olive oil in a 6-quart soup pot or dutch oven.
  2. Sauté over medium heat for 5 mins or until onions are translucent.
  3. Add in the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, oregano, basil, salt, pepper, chicken stock, and heavy cream.
  4. Stir to combine.
  5. Simmer for 20 mins.
  6. Place the tortellini into the soup and cook for 12-15 mins or until the tortellini are tender and cooked through.
  7. Stir in parmesan cheese.
  8. Serve and garnish with cheese and basil.

Thoughts After Cooking:

It was delicious!

Another yummy soup recipe.

For more Pinterest recipes, go to Banana Peanut Butter Smoothie

For more soup recipes, go to Crock-Pot Potato & Kielbasa Chowder

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

Deadly Intent

Deadly Intent (The Nancy Drew Files #2) by Carolyn Keene

Background Information:

It’s been a couple of years since we reviewed one of this mysteries, so let me do a bit of 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 schooler, an 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.

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.

Hmmm…

Another thing this book series does,  as 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 whodonit is someone Nancy never saw coming.

ASSIGNMENT:Find a missing rock star-Bent Fender’s lead guitarist, Barton Novak, who disappeared suddenly after telling Nancy he had something important to tell her.

CONTACT: Roger Gold, Bent Fender’s drummer, whose father is a friend of Carson Drew’s.

SUSPECTS: 

  • Ann Nordquist, the group’s agent. She may have decided that ten percent isn’t enough. Maybe she’s going for it all.
  • Harold Marshall, the producer of Fender’s hit records. Could he also be producing pirate editions of those same tunes?
  • Dave Peck, a friend of Ned Nickerson’s, with a mysterious new job, and lots of cash to flash around.
  • Alan Wales, Bess Marvin’s new boyfriend, who’d give anything to be a success in the rock world. How far is he willing to go?

COMPLICATIONS: How do you prove there has been a kidnapping when there’s no ransom note? And how do you investigate a case when all the clues lead straight to your best friend’s boyfriend? But Nancy has to hang in there. Barton’s life is in danger-and before the case is over, so is hers!

Nancy has just finished her last case Secrets Can Kill, and is ready for some fun and relaxation. Her father, Carson Drew,  was college roommates with Sy Gold, who’s son is Roger Gold-drummer for Bent Fender. Carson is working on the band’s contract and in return, Nancy: George, Bess, and Alan all get to see the concert for free.

They hang out with the band before the show, talking about music and the like. Alan gets his dream wish as he plays with the group. Barton tells Nancy that he needs to talk to her about something strange he has discovered. They have to go and get ready, but Barton tells her they will talk after the show.

Hmm…

The band bursts back into the room with the shocking news that Barton has disappeared. Was he kidnapped or did he just take off again from the stress of fame?

The rest of the band think he just took off, but Roger is convinced that it is different this time. This concert is a special one, Rock for Relief, for handicapped kids, just like his sister. Roger knows he wouldn’t back out on this one. Not to mention he’s totally been into the music, so focused on the contract as he feels they are losing out on royalties.

Alan goes on stage in Barton’s place while Nancy does a bit on investigating. She discovers that two “roadies” no one knew took off with a large box-a box big enough to hide a person. Nancy also finds a wallet that matches one of the roadies rings, with a big L-shaped dragon. She then gets knocked out.

She wakes up with the concert over and the wallet missing. But even with that that she is on the case.

The next day Bess and Alan go to the label that carries Bent Fender to see if they will pick him up too. Nancy heads over with her father to speak to Ann Nordquist, the group’s agent. She is a very nice woman, just recently returned from China. She reassures the two that there is no cutting or dipping being done on her end. She thinks that Barton just didn’t understand the process it takes for the money to get into a  musician’s pocket.

Hmm…

Nancy then goes to see Harold Marshall, the producer, who is an angry bear of a man. He claims that it was all a stunt to sell records Bent Fender, just like Abbey Road and the rumor that Paul McCartney was dead. He also tells Nancy that there is no way they are signing wannabe no talent Alan.

Like that will happen.

Nancy knows that whoever attacked her was dead serious and there is a lot more to this case than meets the eye. She’s definitely not giving up. Even weirder, Alan does get signed onto the label, and Alan saw Barton in Marshall’s office with his famous paisley scarf made by his sister and he confirmed that he was hiding out.

Hmm…

Nancy is confused at what is going on but then gets a note from Carl Rutland, a security guard, at the music hall. He found Barton’s paisley scarf-which means Alan was lying. But why?

Hmmm…

Ned calls Nancy and is very concerned about everything, joining her to help keep her safe.

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

Nancy and George are worried about Bess, and try to track her down but miss her along the way. They do discover something fishy going on with Marshall’s secretary Vivian, she’s messing around with the masters of the records-the originals.

Hmm…

After this point it is cause for more research and Nancy and George go to Jefferson Market Library.

They find out more about pirating records, China of course being the country that never follows copyright laws. The same country that Ann just returned from.

Another surprising twist, Ann has been dating Carson, could her father be dining a killer?

What?!

Later that night at the club. Bess and Nancy get in a fight as Nancy questions Alan. Bess is determined to stand by her man and not Nancy.

You’ve barely been dating while have been friends forever with Nancy.

After the fight, Nancy and Ned head out and go for a walk. They run into Dave Peck, someone Ned knew from Emerson, but was expelled from stealing from the record store he worked at. He has a Chinese connection and makes a lot of cash, somehow.

Hmmm…

The next night they are at the Bent Fender concert, when the lights fizz out and Bess is kidnapped. Now the stakes are higher than ever as Nancy needs to solve this case now! Before Bess and Barton end up dead.

Outfits-

George Fayne’s concert outfit, imagine this in all black:

Thoughts After Reading:

Loved it! From beginning to end.

Nancy’s next case:

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

Nancy’s next case:

Nancy thinks a romantic ski vacation with Ned will solve their problems, but she’s in for a big–maybe fatal–shock! First comes a new case–matching wits with a dangerous killer. Then George falls in love with the chief suspect, a tight-lipped ski instructor with a murky, murderous past. A midnight chase down a stormy, sleet-covered slope may help Nancy put an end to the terror. Or will it become a lethal pursuit that puts an end to Nancy Drew?

Find out in MURDER ON ICE–Case #3 in The Nancy Drew Files,™ available in September.

For more Nancy Drew Files, go to Secrets Can Kill

For more disappearances, go to The Secret Adversary

For more kidnappings, go to Gates of Thread and Stone

Carrot Oatmeal Muffins

1920sparty

Happy New Year!

I hope you all have a blessed year!

breakfast

So it is time for our tradition of New Year’s Day breakfast food recipe!

Thoughts Before Baking:

So I don’t like the titular dessert and looked for something else to try in this book, settling on Carrot Oatmeal Muffins.

I hate eating oatmeal-like for breakfast with milk or hot water. Ugh, so gross. So any time I find a recipe that uses up oatmeal in baking or smoothies, I love to try it.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/3 Cup of Flour
  • 1 Cup of Quick-Cooking or Old-Fashioned Dry Oatmeal
  • 1 Tablespoon of Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Baking Soda
  • 1 Teaspoon of Cinnamon
  • 1/2 Cup of Brown Sugar
  • 3/4 Cup of Finely Shredded Carrots
  • 1/2 Cup of Raisins (optional)-I didn’t do this as I hate cooked raisins
  • 1/2 Cup of Milk
  • 1 Beaten Egg
  • 1/3 Cup of Melted Salted Butter
  • 1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract

Directions:

  1. Grease or spray with nonstick cooking spray a 12-cup muffin tin, set aside. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour and oatmeal.
  3. Sprinkle the baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon on top. Mix them thoroughly.
  4. Stir in the brown sugar. Mix until until all is blended.
  5. Shred the carrots if you haven’t already done so. A fine shred is best. You want them to cook in the time it takes the muffins to bake and turn golden brown and delicious.
  6. Add the shredded carrots and raisins if adding them, to your bowl and mix them thoroughly.
  7. In a separate small bowl, combine the milk, beaten egg, melted butter, and vanilla. Give it a good stir so that everything is well combined.
  8. Dump the contents of the small bowl into the larger bowl. Gently stir just until the dry ingredients are moistened and no dry “pockets” remain.
  9. Fill the prepared muffin cups 3/4 full.
  10. Bake for 20-25 or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffin comes out clean.
  11. Set the muffin pan on a cold burner or a wire rack for 10 mins. After they have cooled for 10 mins, put them on a rack to cool.
  12. Makes about 12 muffins.

Thoughts After Reading:

Fantastic. I loved them!

For more Hannah Swensen recipes, go to Christmas Lace Cookies

For more muffin recipes, go to Breakfast Puffin Muffins

For more breakfast recipes, go to Pão de Queijo

For more Joanne Fluke recipes, go to Vanilla Crackle

For more New Year’s Day posts, go to Best-Ever Blueberry Muffins

In other news, let’s have a quick year review.

So last year I published 124 posts!

Out of those 124 posts, I’ve reviewed 73 mysteries. Which you should definitely check out.

And the following stand alone mysteries: Alias GraceThe Andromeda Strain, Candy from a StrangerChristina’s Ghost, Death Wears a Beauty Mask, The Mystery of Jessica Benson, The Night SisterThe President’s DaughterWeak Flesh, The Wife, and Wuthering Heights

And the following nonfiction: The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small TownOscar Wilde’s Last Stand: Decadence, Conspiracy, and the Most Outrageous Trial of the Century, and Supernatural Horror in Literature

And the following short stories: The Black Velvet RibbonThe Boscombe Valley Mystery, A Case of Identity, Conspiracy, Definitely, A Crime of PassionThe Hitchhiker, The Jigsaw Puzzle, Marionettes, Inc.,The Old Plantation, Punishment Without CrimeStowaway, Voices in the Coalbin, and Zero Hour.

And the following Children’s books: Garfield in The Case of the Mystery Mail and High Sea Adventure 

And the following little extras: Archie Andrews: Not So Private EyeHe’s Dead, Jim, and Little Archie: Man of the House

That’s a lot!

With cooking I reviewed 49 different recipes:

Yum

Breakfast: Chorizo Breakfast BurritoEggs in Purgatory, and Pão de Queijo

Drinks: Banana Peanut Butter SmoothieBlueberry Earl Grey Tea SmoothieBlueberry Infused Water, Fresh & FrozenBlueberry Muffin SmoothieCinnamon Roll SmoothieHealthy Pumpkin Pie SmoothieLondon Fog FauxccinoLondon Fog SmoothieStrawberry Infused Water, and Watermelon Infused Water.

Soup:Black Bean and Turkey StewCrock-Pot Potato & Kielbasa ChowderCrock-Pot Sausage, Spinach, and White Bean SoupFrench Onion SoupHearty Lasagna Soup, and Tortellini Soup with Italian Sausage & Spinach

Entrees: Basic Chicken SaladBasic HamburgerChilaquilesCreamy Parmesan SpaghettiCreamy Tomato Spinach Pasta, Cucumber Hummus Sandwich, FajitasGarlic, Tomato, Basil Grilled Cheese SandwichOne Pan Italian Sausage and VeggiesSlow Cooker Pinto Beans, and Zucchini Boats

Side Dishes: Cheese Potato CrispsFries Quatro Queso Dos Fritos, Garlic and Herb Roasted Potatoesand Hasselback Potatoes.

Desserts: Baked Apple SlicesBasic ShortbreadBraided Candy CanesChocolate WhoppersChristmas Lace CookiesFlag CakeFresh Mint Chocolate Chip CookiesIrish Blueberry Scones, and Sugar Puffs.

Extras: Cottage Cheese ToastMock Clotted CreamMy Number One Comfort FoodSimple CharosetSlow-Cooker BreadWaffle Quesadilla, and What to Do When You Run Out of Cupcake Liners

This blog was viewed 20,314 times last year.

Thank you all who viewed my work

The busiest day of the year was November 24 with 551 views and the post One Pan Italian Sausage and Veggies

The top five posts of this year were:

5) Apple Orchard Bars from Fudge Cupcake Murder by Joanne Fluke (2016)

4) Spanakopita Penne Bake (2017)

3) Fries Quatro Queso Dos Fritos (2018)

2)”The Tell-Tale Heart” from Ten Great Mysteries by Edgar Allen Poe (2017)

1)”The October Game” from Long After Midnight by Ray Bradbury (2016)

So what will the next year hold?

You’ll just have to follow me to find out!