My Husband’s Wife

My Husband’s Wife by Jane Corry

So I was checking this book into the library and as I flipped through the pages to see if there was any damage, I read a bit and then of course had to check it out myself.

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So the book is told in two points of views. It starts in 2000, when Lily and Ed MacDonald have just married. Lily is a solicitor with a past she longs to run far away from, remaking herself.

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New me!

Ed is an artist that seemed romantic and kind-but controlling, narcissist, and in love with another woman.

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They are very, very unhappy.

Guy you suck!

And to make things worse Lily’s job moves her to working with criminals as she goes to do an appeal for a Joe Thomas, convicted for murdering his girlfriend. Lily is working long hours, which annoys Ed, and to make things even worse- Lily feels something for this enigmatic man.

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Four doors down lives nine-year old Carla Cavoletti and her mother. Her mother is tiny and beautiful and a mistress to Larry. They moved from Italy to get away from something and Carla hates being here. All the kids pick on her, she is different, and she has no friends.

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One day she comes home early, injured, and her mother is out. The teacher is going to force her to go back when Lily comes home and agrees to watch her. Carla loves spending time with Lily and Ed-Lily who is kind and helpful and Ed who sketches her, making her feel beautiful and a star.

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Soon every Sunday she is staying with them, as her mother works on the weekend. Lily likes having her there, a child to buffer the fights between her and Ed and take their minds of their woes.

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But things change when Lily finds out a horrible secret her husband has kept from her-and when she stumbles and reveals another, Carla and her mother’s life changes too.

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15 years later Carla returns to England a beautiful, svelte, law student. She and her mother have been living under the thumb of her grandfather and she has returned to England to make Larry, Lily, and Ed pay for what became of her life.

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She inserts herself into the MacDonald life and intends to turn it all on its head.

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Then Ed is murdered…

WhoDoneIt?

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Thoughts After Reading:

The first few chapters moved slow and I almost stopped reading but then it sucked me in and I had to finish it!

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I wouldn’t say this is a good book, but very intriguing. Ooch! What an ending!

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For more mysteries with artists, go to The Blood Stained Pavement

For more mysteries, go to The Case of the Goblin Pearls

Dao’s Egg Rolls

Happy Chinese New Year!

Thoughts Before Cooking:

So I have been bugging my friend Dao for years about teaching me to make eggs rolls. We finally were able to match up our schedules and this is her recipe, just in time for the Lunar New Year!

Dao’s Notes: Here is the recipe (but add to it as you like). Honestly I eye ball everything but I’m trying to break it down so you can make it at home. 

Ingredients:

Egg Roll Filling

  • 1 Cabbage, finely chopped
  • 3 Onions, finely sliced and diced
  • 6 Carrots, peeled and grated
  • 1 Package of Glass Noodles
  • 1-2 Packages of Egg Roll Wrappers
  • 1/2 Cup of Oyster Sauce
  • 1/2 Cup of Soy Sauce
  • 1-2 Tablespoons of Salt and Pepper
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 lb of ground turkey (or meat of your choice)

Egg Roll Paste

  • 1-2 Tablespoons of All Purpose Flour
  • Water

Dipping Sauce

  • Cilantro, chopped finely
  • Red Thai Pepper, chopped finely (The more you add the spicier it will be)
  • Peanut Butter
  • 1 Lemon
  • 1-2 Cups of Sweet Chili Spring Roll Sauce
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Water

Egg Roll Directions:

  1. Soak the noodles in hot water at least an hour before, so they can soften.
  2. Drain the water and cut the noodles a inch to 2 inches long.
  3. Combine all the ingredients and mix well.
  4. Make the paste by combining the water and flour, but make sure it isn’t too runny.
  5. Take an egg roll wrapper and lay it diagnolly, like a diamond.
  6. Spoon some of the egg roll mixture into the middle.
  7. Fold bottom corner over filling, roll snugly halfway to cover filling.
  8. Fold both sides in, creating like an envelope and roll, sealing edge with paste. It is very similar to rolling a burrito.
  9. Fry the egg rolls in oil, making sure the wok or pot is deep enough so they are completely covered.
  10. Fry until egg rolls are brown and crunchy, lay on paper towl to drain oil.

Sauce:

  1. Heat up 1 cup of water for one minute in the microwave and then add 1-2 tablespoons of peanut butter, mix until melted.
  2. Add cilantro, chili peppers, lemon, Sweet Chili Spring Roll Sauce, salt, and pepper.
  3. Mix well.

Enjoy!

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Sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo goood! I wanted to eat them alll!

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For more Chinese New Year/Lunar New Year recipes, go to Chicken Cashew Wrap

For more holiday posts, go to Matcha Green Tea Blast Smoothie

The Case of the Goblin Pearls

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The Case of the Goblin Pearls (Chinatown Mystery #1) by Laurence Yep

So this year I have a bonafide Lunar New Year/Chinese New Year recipe as my friend Dao taught me to make egg rolls. So as that will be posting at the end of the week, I needed a book to match.

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I had seen this series at the library and was intrigued by it, so when the time came, I saw no better time than now to read and review it.

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This is a children’s book, that’s why it is posting on Wednesday instead of Tuesday. The book is set in Chinatown in the ’90s, and oh wow is it full of ’90s stuff. I enjoyed it as I have been to Chinatown a ton of times when I went to college in the Bay Area. It is always cool when you watch or read something and you have been there.

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Anyways, the Lunar New Year is coming and this year it is extra special as Auntie Tiger Lil is coming. Auntie was a movie star back in the ’30s and 40s and has been hired to promote Lion Salve, and be in charge of its float in the Chinese New Year Parade.

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Lily, (named after Tiger Lil and our main character) is excited, especially after she watches the Tiger Lil films and loves thenm. Her parents are also thrilled as they are in awe of Tiger Lil.

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Less enthused is Lily’s brother Chris, who is a big drag. He hates the Chinese New Year Parade,  hates Chinatown, he just hates everything. Chris feels like everything is derogatory, “tourist chinese culture”, but when our main character later tries to get involved in her roots, he makes fun of her even more. True he is her brother, and brothers and sisters can get into it, but it was just annoying to me. I feel like I have been plagued with people like that my life.

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This jerk!!

Anyways, Auntie Lil works hard on the parade; she hires actors, Linda Chin (a girl from Lily’s school) has her mom create the elaborate costumes, but then everything is threatened with cancellation. There is a gang of kids who have been robbing Chinatown, and many fear that the parade will be the next one.

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However, Mrs. Wong-one of the owners of the Happy Fortune Company and real estate mogul, where Linda’s mom works, decide to continue. They even have these giant pearls, the Goblin Necklace, that their daughter will wear on the Lion Salve Float. Take that gang!

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Boom

Linda brings in the amazing costumes, that her mother and friends made. Linda reveals that her mother was eager to work and so quick because the Happy Fortune Company is a sweatshop and the Wongs owe them back pay.

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The day of the parade comes but not without problems as one of the actors hired has sprained her ankle. With such short notice, the only person who can fill in is Lil. She has to wear a cylinder, Lion Salve costume.

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Lily unhappily joins in the parade, befriending fellow salve dancer, Norm. She also meets Mrs. Wong’s daughter Tiffany who is wearing the Goblin Pearls. Also on the float is the biggest Chinese actor of the time Clark Tom.

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Although, he isn’t all he’s cracked up to be. He is pretty drunk and spills wine all over Tiffany’s dress and the pearls. Mrs. Wong gets upset with the dress being ruined-while they are trying to clean the stain out, a man comes and steals the pearls.

OMG gasp

Auntie Tiger Lil gets angry and goes after the guy with Lil following in her Lion Salve costume, and what ensues is a hilarious chase scene that I cannot properly write-that ends with Lil rolling in her cylinder and a dance with her and Auntie Lil. It is so funny, I couldn’t stop laughing.

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Unfortunately, they don’t stop the criminals-but they do steal the show and are on all the news cameras. Afterwards, the police come and they give their statements with Lil finding one of the pearls and presenting it to the police.

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A CLUE!!!!

Mrs. Wong shrugs her off, saying it is a fake bauble from something else. Instead, Lil places it in her pocket and joins Auntie Lil for the after party banquet. They watch the parade footage, and instead of it being as nice as they thought, it does come off rather embarrassing for Lil. She decides to hightail it to the bathroom.

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She just disappeared.

In the bathroom, Lil gets attacked by the guy from the gang earlier. He wants the pearl, she picked up-but Lil is confused as it a a fake, why would they want it? Lil actually manages to outsmart him, and trap him in the bathroom. She goes for the police, but when they return he is gone-having smashed the bars on the window.

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It turns out that Norm, the actor Lil befriended in the parade is an Assistant District Attorney and starts putting the pieces together. The pearls in the parade were a fake as pearls would have been destroyed by the wine, yet Mrs. Wong didn’t care about them-she was more worried about Tiffany’s dress.

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The Wongs must be behind the theft-faking the pearls being stolen for the insurance money-a plot that was ruined when they realized they missed a pearl and Lil had it. If she turned it over to the police, the jig would be up. They decide to go after the Wongs, but they have disappeared.

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Lil is upset for Linda and the unfairness of everything and wants to looking in the factory to see where the Wongs could have run off to. Auntie Lil tells her to leave it alone, but Lil has seen so many of the Tiger Lil films, she decides to go after the Wongs like her namesake will. Will she get the proof and help her friend? Will it be a horrible mistake? Has Auntie Lil given up, or does she have a few tricks up her sleeve?

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Thoughts After Reading:

My initial take away, is that I would love to watch those Tiger Lil movies. Now is the time Yep-go to any studio and I am sure they would jump on it. I would do it set in the 30s, historical fiction murder melodramas. It would be AWESOME!!

Please!

Second, Chris is an annoying jerk.  Every culture, subculture, sub-sub culture has a Chris and I hate it. They are sooo annoying and you can’t win-you try and do things reflect your culture, whine whine. You don’t, whine whine. Annoying.

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Besides that, this book was a ton of fun. I liked the characters, the storyline, and I look forward to checking out the rest of the series.

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For more Children’s Books, go to The Shadow Garden

For more book reviews, go to I Love You More

Slow Cooker Easy Lentil Soup

January is National Soup Month

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January is national soup month, so it is time to share a soup recipe! This soup was originally Slow Cooker Easy Vegan Lentil Soup, but I didn’t make it vegan, and omitted a few ingredients, so I decided to change the title. This recipe is from Gina-Michele.com and I found it on pinterest. 

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Ingredients:

  • 1 15-oz Can of Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 16-oz Bag of Dry Lentils
  • 2 Large Sliced Carrots
  • 2 Cups of Baby Spinach
  • 1 Medium Onion, Diced
  • 8 Cups of Low Sodium Vegetable Stock or Chicken Stock (if you aren’t vegan)
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Directions:

  1. Put all ingredients, except spinach, in the slow cooker.
  2. Cook on low for 6-7 hours.
  3. Add spinach 10 mins before cooking time is complete.

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Slow Cooker Easy Lentil Soup

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Thoughts After Cooking:

This is so good and so easy to make. I LOVED it and know I will make it again and again.

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For more soup recipes, go to Easy Tomato Soup

For more slow cooker recipes, go to The “Best” Green Bean Casserole

For more Pinterest recipes, go to Baked Tomatoes With Mozzarella & Parmesan

I Love You More

I Love You More by Jennifer Murphy

Picasso Lane is 12 years old when her father is murdered at their summer beach house. Her mother Diana is the chief suspect until the police find the biggest surprise of their lives-Mr. Lane had two other wives.

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But is it a surprise? The women say they had no knowledge of each other, they had never met-but Picasso remembers them coming to the house-being a part of a “women’s committee”.

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Hmm…

Apparently they all planned the murder, but then backed out. Or did they? Did one of them do it?

HMMM

Hmm…

As the police investigate-Picasso tries to make sense of it all. Who was her father, what does this mean? Which lady did him in? Or was it all three?

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Thoughts After Reading:

So I decided to read this because it reminded me of this movie I saw years ago on Masterpiece Mystery. Same scenario of the women teaming up to kill their husband, wanting to back out, and then you trying to figure who did it. However, I did not care for this book.

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I think the author was trying to be like Harper Lee in To Kill a Mockingbird and use a child protagonist who is beyond their years but the style didn’t agree with me. For me, it was just too weird how intelligent and advanced Picasso was for a twelve-year old. And it wasn’t written as she is thinking of the past, but living in the past. As I said, I didn’t care for this book.

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For more mysteries with “secret families”, go to Death by Marriage

For more mystery reviews, go to The Fever

 

The Fever

The Fever by Megan Abbott

So this book’s idea came from a strange phenomenon that afflicted high school girls in Le Roy, New York. They had random tics, seizures, clicking, etc. It’s weird because I was alive at this time. In 2012 when this happened in March, I was in my sophomore year of college. But I have zero remembrance of this. I remember it being the diamond jubilee of Queen Elizabeth (because of The Great Mouse Detective), President Obama was reelected (the first presidential vote I participated in), the Greek bailout, Vladmir Putin won office, George the turtle died, protests in Egypt, the shooting in the Dark Knight theater, and of course everyone believing the world would end-but even though this made national news, it sparked zero remembrance with me.

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So Deenie Nash is a great student who lives with her single father, Tom Nash, a teacher at her high school and her brother Eli, hockey star.

Tom Nash is nice, but he doesn’t know how to parent. He feels guilty about their mother leaving them and never returning to see them, and lets them do whatever they want. He’s caught women going in and out of Eli’s room but does nothing.

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Eli is a stud and works his way through all the girls throwing themselves at him. He and his father never think of Deenie ever wanting to do something like that. But of course, they can think that way-but Deenie does think about it. She gets the HPV vaccine as her two best friends do. And she gets with her coworker, Adam.

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Deenie’s two best friends are Lise and Gabby, who are complete opposites in every way. Lise grew up with Deenie since they were kids. She used to be pudgy, but has lost weight, has the perfect bod that makes every guy go crazy, and has become quite the popular lady.

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Gabby became friends with Deenie later in middle school. While Lise is fluff and fun, Gabby is dark and serious. Her parents were in an abusive relationship, Gabby was often stuck in the muddle and a witness to when her father slashed up her mother’s face.

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Recently, something has shifted in their friendship. The girls were the three musketeers, but lately Gabby has seemed different-upset-and she hangs out with this weird witchy girl Skye.

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Everything about their little town changes when one day in class Lise starts having a seizure, her tongue rolling, and clicking.

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The girls are worried, and to make things worse it grows! Gabby is afflicted along with others.

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WHAT!

What could be causing it? Could it be an STD? Could it be the vaccines? Could it be there is something in the water? Poisons? Toxins? Asbestos?

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Hmmm…

Soon the whole town is flipped upside down as they are all at a loss as to what is causing this and ready to burn anyone who cold be the reason at the stake.

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They tend to become one of these.

But the real reason is closer to home than Deenie knows, but will she be able to find out before she is afflicted too?

suspicious  Hmm

Hmm…

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Thoughts After Reading:

It was a very interesting build up although the characters never acted logical and the parents were worse. They were like Gossip Girl, Riverdale, and One Tree Hill parents all rolled into one.

Sabrina the teenage witch salem dum di dum dum dum

The end was okay. I mean it was obvious who the one causing it was, but still it was built up quite nice.

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For more Young Adult Mysteries, go to Suitors and Sabotage

For more mysteries, go to The Inn at Half Moon Bay

The Inn at Half Moon Bay

 

The Inn at Half Moon Bay: A Gothic Novel by Diane Tyrrel

So this review is borrowed from my sister blog JaneAustenRunsMyLife It’s not that I’m lazy, its just why do the extra work if my sister blog has done it already?

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Kelly Redvers is a redheaded beauty and engineer that has accomplished all she has wanted in her field and is looking to do something new.

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The idea of becoming an innkeeper, has captured her fancy and she has begun looking for a place. When she first looks at the Magic Mermaid Inn, she’s not interested, but the longer she looks at the place, it gets into her heart and she has to have it.

“Sprawled across a bluff overlooking the sea, the Magic Mermaid Inn embodied the simplicity and ambiance of times past. Cozy and inviting, the Queen Anne farmhouse and its surrounding cottages enchanted Kelly Redvers into purchasing the property, in spite of her better judgement…”

Kelly moves down and begins taking over the Inn with help from Addie and Bill O’Malley, the former owners, who treat her like their long-lost daughter.

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Kelly begins the usual innkeeper things, but then hears that a beautiful red-haired guest stayed at the inn in the past and disappeared…she tries to find out more, but it seems like each path is just a dead end.

HMMM

Hmm…

 

Kelly also gets to know the hotel staff and regulars. For staff we have Anita and Arturo, housekeeping and chef, who are Mexican and tend to speak more Spanish than English. Anita draws Kelly’s interest as she seems to be hiding something. Kelly comes upon her and Nick McClure having a secret conversation and a lot of money changing hands. Anita also knows something about the missing girl, as she started out a guest but became a part of the housekeeping staff alongside her.

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Hmm…

The other person on staff is Nick McClure, the handyman. He is extremely annoying as he works slow, doesn’t listen to Kelly but does what he chooses, and disappears for days-not telling here where he is going or what he is doing.

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Kelly hates him at first, but then becomes attracted to him as well. It turns out there is more to him than meets the eye as he is half Native American-his grandmother a medicine woman-the other half being English aristocracy. He also is a lead in the volunteer search-and-rescue team. Kelly wonders about having a relationship with him…but then discovers that he used to have a relationship with the girl who disappeared, Alicia St. Clair.

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The guests involve all kinds of people from singles to families, young and old. One is Paula Watson, a divorced mother of two that comes A LOT! She says it is because she doesn’t have enough space at her apartment, but is she lying? She is also very interested in the missing girl, helping Kelly search for clues about her. Is it just curiosity or does she have some other “deeper” interests?

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Paula sets out to win Nick, but on their big night she gets too drunk to be together, insisting that someone drugged her. That’s not the only strange thing, the wineglass that Kelly gave to Paula was originally poured for her…

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Hmmm…

 

 

Another guest is Eli Larson-smart, handsome, a gazillionaire-but engaged. He insists its over and wants to be with Kelly, trying to engage in a relationship before he’s broken the one he currently is in.

 

Eli is over the top in huge romantic gifts, just showering money on Kelly and ruthless in getting what he wants. They do start a relationship, but Kelly starts to feel unsure about him. He was coming when the missing girl, Alicia, was there and she realizes she really doesn’t know that much about him, who he really is.

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Hmm…

Grendel is a permanent guest, as he rents out one of the cottages. He is a doctor and works at a local clinic, using the laboratory for some experiments. He likes Kelly, but she just isn’t into him. Grendel becomes a good friend, giving her romantic advice, warning her about things she doesn’t know about Nick and Eli, and always assists her as he lives there. Can she trust him or is he lying about everything? He also was there when Alicia was, could he have been involved?

HMMM

Hmm…

Then there are the couple that sold the Inn, Addie and Bill O’Malley. They used to have a red-haired daughter, but she passed away. When Alicia came, she reminded them so much of their daughter that they took her under their wing. Could Alicia have wanted nothing to do with them and one of them killed her? Is that why they are so interested in parenting Kelly? Are they really as harmless and sweet as they seem?

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Then strange things start happening to Kelly. Someone breaks into her cottage multiple times, the wine is drugged, creepy notes are left, someone leaves a note about a cryogenics lab, her clothes are gone through, weird/creepy gifts are sent to her, the power is cut, etc.-could it be one of those people? And what about Eli’s ex-fiancé? Could she be behind it?

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Hmm…

Kelly is running out of time and better quickly figure out who to trust before she becomes the next victim.

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Thoughts After Reading:

So this is what my sister blog thinks and I have to agree:

So I was really excited about this mystery as it was gothic, spooky, and sounded great.

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However, I very quickly became annoyed with the main character Kelly. She gets involved with Eli as he “plans to break up” with his girlfriend. Come on Kelly, get with it! He’s lying to you! And you know nothing about him other than he is rich and charming. You are smarter than that.

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The other thing I had a problem with was her choices in men. I didn’t like Eli, Nick, or Grendel.

  • Eli was obviously a lying cheater who wanted what he wanted and could not be trusted-and it is “her fault” he wants to be with her while in a relationship because she is so “beautiful”. Eeyuck! Plus when she dumps him, he becomes a baby. Ugh!
  • Nick was lazy, annoying, and a bit controlling. Plus he bets Kelly about whoever scores first gets dinner paid by the loser. Oh wow, what a prize this guy is. Yuck!
  • Grendel was too involved and a bit of a busybody always watching and sticking his nose into Kelly’s buisness. He keeps telling her what to do about her romantic choices and its none of your business Grendel. Besides what kind of name is that? Who thought the monster Beowulf had to kill would be a great thing to name a child?

With men like these, I would choose no one!

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So I was really disappointed, and the only reason I kept reading was I needed to know the conclusion of the mystery. Once we got past the “love triangle”, and the jerky guys and were nearing the end I got really into it. It was really creepy and there was a great twist.

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So most of the book was a dud, and there was no admirable romantic lead-the end was good but it wasn’t enough to save it. I’d give this book a hard pass.

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For more reviews borrowed from JaneAustenRunsMyLife, go to The Phantom of the Opera

For more Gothic Fiction, go to Wuthering Heights

For more stories with a theme of red hair, go to The Red Headed League

Yogurt and Fruit Parfaits

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Happy New Year!

I hope you all have a blessed year!

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

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Yum

This recipe comes from the adorable Rachel Ray and the Food Network.

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Ingredients:

  • 3 Cups of Vanilla Nonfat Yogurt
  • 1 Cup of Defrosted Frozen Strawberries or Juice
  • 1 Pint of Fresh Blackberries, Raspberries, or Blueberries
  • 1 Cup of Good Quality Granola

Directions:

  1. Layer 1/3 of the yogurt in the bottom of 4 tall glasses.
  2. Combine defrosted strawberries and juice with fresh berries.
  3. Alternate layers of fruit and granola with yogurt, until glasses are filled to the top.
  4. Serve immediately to keep granola crunchy.

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parfait

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Thoughts after making:

This was delicious, just like donkey says, in fact so good, I forgot to take a pic!

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For more Rachel Ray recipes, go to Grilled Sausages, Potatoes, & Carrots with Salsa Verde

For more Food Network recipes, go to Roasted Carrots

For more breakfast recipes, go to Egg and Spinach Hummus Toast

For more New Year’s Day posts, go to Carrot Oatmeal Muffins

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

So in 2019 I published 111 posts!

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Cheers!

Out of those 111 posts, I’ve reviewed 63 mysteries. Which you should definitely check out.

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On the case!

And the following stand alone mysteries:

And the following short stories:

And the following Children’s books:

And the following little extras: 

With cooking I reviewed 47 different recipes:

Breakfast:

Drinks:

Soup:

Entrees:

Side Dishes:

Desserts:

Extras:

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This blog was viewed 30,068 times last year.

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The busiest day of the year was October 26th with 496 views and the post “Jughead Jones in The Giant Tonsils That Swallowed Riverdale” from Jughead Jones Digest

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The top five posts of this year were:

5) What to Do When You Run Out of Cupcake Liners from 2018

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4) “Apple Orchard Bars” from Fudge Cupcake Murder by Joanne Fluke 2016

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3) Wookie Cookies from 2016

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2) Fries Quatro Queso Dos Fritos from 2018

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

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So what will the next year hold?

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

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In other news, this year marks an important anniversary for mystery lovers. This year is the 100th anniversary of the publication of The Mysterious Affair at Styles and the beginning career of an amazing detective.

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