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.

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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?

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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.

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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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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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Matcha Green Tea Blast Smoothie

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Happy New Year’s Eve!

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As tradition, we always end the year with a drink!

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This year it is a smoothie I borrowed from JaneAustenRunsMyLife.

Smoothie

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Ingredients:

  • 1 Tsp of Matcha Green Tea Powder
  • 1 Cup of Milk (your choice)
  • 1/2 Cup of Plain Sorbet
  • 1/2 Cup of Frozen Vanilla Yogurt
  • 1 Cup of Ice

Directions:

  1. Place ingredients in blender and blend.

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Thoughts After Making:

It was delicious, just like the ones they make at Jamba Juice (but cheaper)!

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For more drink recipes, go to Strawberries and Cream Oatmeal Smoothie

For more smoothies, go to Apple Pie Smoothie

For more from JaneAustenRunsMyLife, go to Matcha Latte (Hot or Cold)

For more holiday posts, go to King Arthur Fudgy Brownies

For more New Year’s Eve posts, go to Banana Peanut Butter Smoothie

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So be sure to drink responsibly! Unless you are making this smoothie-then drink as much as you want, LOL! Have a safe and fun New Year’s Eve!

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The Cradle Will Fall

The Cradle Will Fall by Mary Higgins Clark

Katie Callahan DeMaio is a widowed county prosecutor. Katie has a rare condition in she loses too much blood on her period, causing lightheadedness, blackouts, etc. One day she is driving home from work and this causes her to crash.

But she survives. However, she and her sister decide its time to take care of it. They plan to do an operation when she has recovered a bit, her becoming a patient of the Dr. Edgar Highly. She is given medication, but doesn’t take all of it and awakes in the middle of the night-seeing a man move a dead body?

Meanwhile, celebrated physician and miracle birth, Dr. Edgar Highly, is facing a very large problem. One of his patients is unhappy with his care and going to go to her former physician. He has to take care of her quick, or else his experiment will be uncovered.

Dr, Highly kills her in his office and prepares to take her dead body to her house…but did someone spot him in the window?

Hmm…

Katie hears of the suicide and starts investigating, will she uncover the truth or be the next victim?

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Thoughts After Reading:

I LOVE this book!!!

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I can read it over and over and each time it gets me. It is a fantastic book, one of Clark’s best!

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For more by Mary Higgins Clark, go to We’ll Meet Again

For more mysteries go to Lowcountry Bordello

King Arthur Fudgy Brownies

Thoughts Before Baking:

So I had originally wanted to post a Christmas mystery, but I just didn’t have very many-I’ll have to step it up next year, so you are all getting a recipe instead.

Christmas is coming and I continued my yearly tradition of baking cookies for certain families as their Christmas gift!

I thought that instead of making three dozen of one cookie, I would do three different cookies. That way I would be sure to have something everyone would love. So of course I did Rice Krispies Cookies, as everyone loves them.

The second cookie I decided on the Crispy, Chewy Matcha Green Tea Cookies

With the third cookie I decided to consult my The King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion: The Essential Cookie Cookbook and settled on Fudgy Brownies.

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Yes Brownies are cookies, they are called bar cookies.

From the Cookbook: “Many of us here at King Arthur decided that our perfect brownie should be fudgy but not gooey, and rich enough to satisfy on its own. It should be assertively flavored and able to stand up to hot fudge sauce and vanilla ice cream. Also, it needs to have a crisp top layer-as one of the kids said, “Just like the ones from a box.” The following recipe fills the bill. Chocolate Chips will provide tiny molten pockets of chocolate within the greater brownie landscape. Add them if your desire for fudginess is limitless.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 Cup (1.5 sticks) of Unsalted Butter
  • 2 Cups of Sugar
  • 1 Cup of Dutch Process Cocoa Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Baking Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
  • 3 Large Eggs
  • 1 Cup of Unbleached Flour
  • 1 Cup of Chopped Walnuts or Pecans
  • 1 Cup of Chocolate Chips

Directions:

    1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
    2. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch pan
    3. In a medium microwave safe bowl, or medium saucepan set over low heat, melt the butter.
    4. Add the sugar and stir to combine.
    5. Return mixture to heat, or microwave, briefly until it is hot, but not bubbling-it will become shiny when you stir it. Heating the mixture the second time will dissolve more of the sugar, which give the brownies a shiny top.
    6. Stir in cocoa, salt, baking powder, and vanilla.
    7. Whisk in the eggs, stirring until smooth.
    8. Add the flour, nuts, and chocolate chips-stirring until smooth. 
    9. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan.
    10. Bake the brownies for 29-32 mins, or until a cake tester/knife is inserted and comes out clean or with only a few amounts of crumb clinging to it.
    11. The edges of the brownies should be set, but the center still soft.
    12. Remove brownies from the oven and cool on rack before cutting and serving.

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Thoughts After Reading:

These brownies are AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!

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I wanted to eat them ALL!!!!!!!

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Merry Christmas!!!!!

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For more from the King Arthur Cookie Companion, go to Sugar Puffs

For more brownies, go to The “Best” Brownies

For more Bar Cookies, go to Lemon Bars

For more cookies, go to Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix in a Mason Jar

Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix in a Mason Jar

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Have you ever wanted to make cookies, but want the work to be mostly done for you? Have you ever loved those mason jar cookie dough starter gifts but don’t want to shell out $20 for something you can easily do at home? Well then, this recipe is great for you.

When I was eight I received one of those cookie dough in a jar starter and thought they were just so cool. Years later, I wanted to make them for my coworkers as they are easy and in expensive, and I thought I would share how to do it with you.

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This how-to comes from D***Delicious

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Ingredients:

  • 1 Pint Sized Mason Jar
  • 3/4 Cup of All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 Tsp of Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Tsp of Baking Soda
  • 1/8 Tsp of Salt
  • 1/2 Cup of Old-Fashioned Oats
  • 1/3 Cup of M&Ms or Chocolate Chips
  • 1/4 Cup of Brown Sugar, Packed
  • 1/4 Cup of Sugar

Directions:

  • In  the mason jar, (using a funnel if you have one), layer flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, oats, M&Ms or chocolate chips, brown sugar, and sugar. Be sure to pack each layer down tightly.
  • Add a ribbon or cloth, or both.
  • Add a note or tag with the following instructions:
    • To Make Cookies
      • 1/4 Cup of Butter or Margarine, melted
      • 1 Beaten Egg
      • 1/2 Teaspoon of Vanilla
    • Directions:
      • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
      • Empty jar of cookie mix into a large mixing bowl, mix well.
      • Add in butter, egg, vanilla, and mix until blended.
      • Roll into 1-inch balls and place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.
      • Bake for 12-14 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.
      • Cool on cookie sheets for about 5 minutes and then transfer to wire rack.
      • Makes ~1 dozen cookies.

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Thoughts:

I love this. It is so easy to do and makes a cute gift, especially if you pair it with cocoa.

Iloveit love

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For more cookie recipes, go to Crispy, Chewy, Matcha Green Tea Cookies

For more from  D***Delicious, go to Crock-Pot Sausage, Spinach, and White Bean Soup

For more Chocolate Chip Cookies, go to Eggless Cookie Dough

For more desserts, go to Glazed Sugar Cookies

Lowcountry Bordello

Ready for our final Christmas mystery?

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Here we go:

Lowcountry Bordello (Liz Talbot Mystery #4) by Susan M. Boyer

It’s Christmastime in Stella Maris and P.I. Liz Talbot is preparing the last few things she needs to complete for her wedding, only days away. She’s interrupted when her cousin and bridesmaid, Olivia, calls to say that she discovered her husband’s dead body.

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When Liz heads out to Charleston to meet with Olivia they discover the body is “missing” and Olivia’s husband is alive and well. Liz thinks it is all in Olivia’s imagination, that is until a dead body matching the description is found not too far away.

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Hmmm…

Even though she is swamped with wedding details and the upcoming Christmas holidays, Liz decides to investigate. Things take an even more surprising turn as Liz discovers the house in which Olivia found the dead body is not only Olivia’s aunt’s house but also a bordello.

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I know, right?

When it turns out that the person murdered was about to blow the whistle on it, Liz finds the case brimming with suspects; five mistresses, six johns, and an illegitimate relative that’s always wanted his due. To make matters even more difficult, Olivia is arrested for the murder and if Liz doesn’t solve the case before her wedding, she’ll be out one bridesmaid and her best alive friend.

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Thoughts After Reading:

Susan M. Boyer has done it again. I’ve never been a big fan of mysteries in which one of the main characters was a spirit helping aid the detective, nor Southern mysteries; but Boyer’s incredible storytelling and writing is able to push past any reservations I might have. Not only is Boyer’s mystery amazing with its colorful and endearing cast of characters, but also provoking and challenging as we have multiple crimes and multiple suspects; with surprises and twists at every turn of the page.

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I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, finding it practically impossible to put down. Even when I wasn’t reading the book, part of my mind continued to contemplate, guess, and wonder what the reveal would be. Boyer has created another masterpiece and I am looking forward to the next one in the series. I give this book a five out of five stars!

cluelesstravistwothumbsup!

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For more Liz Talbot Mysteries, go to Lowcountry Boneyard

For more by Susan M. Boyer, go to Lowcountry Bombshell

For more Christmas mysteries, go to And Only to Deceive

For more private investigators, go to The Key to Midnight

For more female private investigators, go to The Case of the Invisible Dog

Crispy, Chewy, Matcha Green Tea Cookies

Stuff happened this week that kept me from my computer, you know the holidays! So I am borrowing from my sister blog.

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So today I had originally planned to review Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe the movie, but unfortunately bad Jane Austen films scare me too much.

Just, kidding. I just haven’t had a chance yet. So then I decided that I would review YULETIDE audiobook, but the review isn’t completed and I need it to be as good as the audiobook. Nothing subpar!

As I haven’t finished that, I decided to instead share the Matcha cookies I mad last night as a Christmas gift to a few people.

So this recipe comes from Kirbe’s Cravings.

Ingredients

  • 2 3/4 Cups of All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 Tsp of Baking Soda
  • 1/2 Tsp of Baking Powder
  • 1 Cup of Butter (Softened)
  • 1.5 Cups of White Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Tsp of Vanilla Extract (I ran out, so substituted with Maple Syrup)
  • 2.5 Tsp Matcha Green Tea Powder

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
  2. In…

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The Blood Stained Pavement

So we should be reviewing a Christmas mystery, but…

Tuesday

And I have been reviewing short stories from The Tuesday Club Murders AKAThe Thirteen Problems.

I typically review short stories on Sundays, but decided as these are the Tuesday Club Murders, I’ll be posting on Tuesday! So we are taking a quick break from Christmas to review this

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“The Blood Stained Pavement” from The Tuesday Club Murder by Agatha Christie

PLOT SYNOPSIS:

So Miss Marple is an elderly woman who has lived in her village St. Mary Mead all her life. But even though she grew up in a small town, she has the observational skills of a hawk.

So one night there is a gathering at Miss Marple’s home: Miss Marple; Raymond West, Miss Marple’s nephew and a writer; Joyce Lempriére, an artist; Sir Henry Clithering, former commissioner of Scotland Yard; Dr. Pender, the elderly clergyman of the parish; and Mr. Petherick, solicitor.

They are enjoying themselves, when Raymond starts talking about unsolved mysteries.

Joyce decides they should start a club and meet every Tuesday and present a mystery. One they know the answer to and call it: The Tuesday Night Club. 

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Our fourth mystery is shared by Joyce Lempriére, artist, and is one of my favorites in the collection.

This happened five years ago, when Joyce was visiting Cornwall, in a little village called Rathole. Joyce was getting ready to paint a scene when it was interrupted by a car and couple.

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A man and a plain women get out, but thankfully get back in and move the car up. Unfortunately, as they do, another car drives up in the spot-ruining the view Joyce wished to paint.

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The woman-in bright red chintz frock and large straw hat gets out but drives a bit up. Then Joyce overhears the three people greeting each other as the man in the couple, Denis, knows the scarlet woman, Carol, and introduces her to his plain wife-Margery.

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Joyce doesn’t mean to, but as she paints she overhears their conversation. They all decide to go bathing, swimming in the USA, but disagree on how to get to a famous cave. After much deliberating, Denis and Margery would boat around and Carol would walk around the cliffs and meet them there as she hates boats.

Hearing them talk about painting, made Joyce want to as well-as she has grown hot and dissatisfied with how her painting has turned out. She decides to take a break and return after a swim.

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She returns that afternoon, noticing that the group from earlier must have returned as well as she notices a dark blue swimsuit and a red on hanging out to dry at the Inn the group was staying at.

Something is off about her picture, and Joyce isn’t sure what…

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When she looks up she notices a Spanish man in seafaring clothes and paints him into her picture. After she captured him on the canvas, he came over to speak to her and tells her a story of when the Spanish attacked in the 15th Century, speaking of blood-blood being spilt on the pavement and no being able to wash the stain out.

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As he was talking Joyce continued to paint and realized that as she painted she painted in blood stains, drops of blood on the pavement…blood that it seems only she can see as her companion can not.

Shiver

Joyce quickly starts to put her things together as she needs to leave that spooky space, she and her companion are interrupted by the man from earlier, Denis. He asks them if they have seen Carol, while his wife clears the clothes from the balcony.

Both Joyce and her companion say they have not seen Carol, and the man yells up to his wife that Carol isn’t here and they need to get to Penrithar-driving off in the car.

Meanwhile, Joyce goes to the street and looks for the blood she saw but finds…nothing.

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Her companion sees her looking for the blood and shares an old Cornish saying: “If anyone sees those bloodstains that there will be a death within twenty-four hours.”

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As Joyce was heading to the cottage she was renting she spots the red hatted and clothed Carol coming down the cliffs…red like blood.

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It would have been a bit of fancy, except two days later Joyce read about a “Sea Bathing Fatality”. Mrs. Margery Dacre, wife of Captain Denis Dacre, drowned at Landeer Cove. They were staying at the hotel when she went swimming, while her husband golfed as he felt the water was too cold. When she didn’t return he became worried, and he and his friends went searching for her. A week later they discovered her body, and that she had a bad blow on her head, probably hit her head on a rock swimming. The estimated time of death came out to be 24 hours after Joyce saw the swimsuit.

Shiver

So of course this The Tuesday Club Murders, but how was Margery murdered and why?

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Thoughts After Reading:

I love this mystery as it has the spookiness of what Joyce saw paired with the logical truth of what Miss Marple figures out. I could see this as the basis of a film.

Iloveit love

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For more Agatha Christie, go to Ingots of Gold

For more from The Tuesday Club Murders, go to The Idol House of Astarte

For more Miss Marple, go to The Tuesday Club Murders

For more short stories, go to The Strength of Their Attachment

 

 

Glazed Sugar Cookies

Merry Christmas!

For our first Christmas recipe we have a sugar cookie from the cookbook Christmas Cookies.

Cookie Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup of Butter Softened
  • 1 Cup of Sugar
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
  • 3 Cups of All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/4 Teaspoon of Salt

Glaze Ingredients:

  • 1 16-oz Package of Powdered Sugar
  • 4-6 Tablespoons of Hot Water

Royal Icing:

  • 1 16-oz Package of Powdered Sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons Meringue Powder
  • 6 Tablespoons Hot Water
  • Liquid Food Coloring (Optional)
  • Edible Gold Dust
  • Clear Vanilla Extract

Directions for Cookies:

  1. Beat butter and sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy.
  2. Add egg and 1 teaspoon vanilla, beating until blended.
  3. Gradually add flour and salt, beating just until blended.
  4. Divide dough in half; cover and chill for 1 hour.
  5. Roll each portion of dough to 1/4 inch thickness on a lightly floured surface.
  6. Cut dough into desired shapes with a 3.5 inch cutter, and place on lightly greased baking sheets.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees F for 8 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned.
  8. Remove to wire racks to cool.
  9. Dip cookies in glaze; place on wax paper to dry.
  10. Decorate with Royal Icing.
  11. Combine 1/4 Teaspoon gold dust and 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract with a small paintbrush.
  12. Working quickly, brush on gold accents, add 1 drop of clear vanilla extract at a time, as needed, to moisten gold dust.
  13. Sprinkle on more gold dust if desired.
  14. Yields about 16 cookies

Directions for Glaze:

  1. Whisk powdered sugar and hot water until smooth. Yields 1 1/3 cups.

Royal Icing:

  1. Stir together the powdered sugar, meringue powder, and hot water until smooth.
  2. Add in food coloring, if desired.
  3. Pour into a decorating bag or zip-top freezer bag.
  4. Snip a tiny hole in the corner of the bag and decorate if desired.
  5. Yields about 3 cups.

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Thoughts After Baking:

So first of all, I didn’t decorate these, I had 3-5 year olds do it so they don’t look as nice as they would have, if I had done it. They were delicious, and the kids loved them.

joker-yum

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For more Christmas Cookies, go to Braided Candy Canes

For more Sugar Cookies, go to Sugar Puffs

For more cookie recipes, go to Eggless Cookie Dough

For more desserts, go to The “Best” Brownies