Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Review: Dark Horse by Tami Hoag

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; First Edition edition (August 27, 2002)
  • ISBN-10: 0553801929
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553801927

  • Young Molly comes to Elena and asks her to investigate the disappearance of her sister Erin.  reluctantly, she agrees and immerses herself more into the world of international horse competitions and finds money, death and lies.  While she slowly rejoins the world of the living after a traumatic event, things play out in an ugly way.

    There are a LOT of potential bad guys/villians to watch for, but maybe it gets too complicated.

    A solid story and engaging but I couldn't help feeling that while Elena regained part of her life back, poor Molly was left with horror.

    Terri

    Monday, November 25, 2013

    My First Thanksgiving


    Dear Readers,

     

    I thought I would tell you about my first Thanksgiving at my husband Frank's family dinner:

     

    Now they have a very large family and I was Frank's second wife so long before me the holiday meals had a certain flow to them. Apparently they call around and ask you what you want to bring because everyone makes dishes etc... for the meal. At that time some of them had bigger homes and little children and of course the grandparents, great grandparents and some cousins, aunts, uncles plus various friends always come to Thanksgiving Dinner.

     

    Now usually someone like Frank's mother and sister would make the turkey, stuffing, hams and a sister-in-law was famous for her rolls. So when I was asked what I wanted to bring and knowing how I loved to bake. I wanted to impress them with my culinary skills. (My first husbands family either took us out to eat or we ate at grandma Jenny's house), my own mother would bring things but grandma Barker always had the honors of cooking and most of it was done prior to our arrival.)

     

    Back to wanting to do something different from my regular baking I said I would bring all the pumpkin pies. When my husband found this out he asked me "Pam are you sure you want to try to bake these pies?" I said of course it can't be hard and I love pumpkin. He smiles and I was in my moment. So baking day comes along (keep in mind Frank and I were on a tight, tight budget) anyway I went to the store bought several cans of pumpkin and I some ready made pie shells. (This to me was homemade). I took my pumpkin pie filling home and my ready made pie crust passing up the store bakery with my nose in the air. I just knew I would wow them all with my pies. What could go wrong?

     

    Well I open the can's prebaked the shells, let them cool dumped in the pumpkin pie filling and viola I baked them for another fifteen minutes. Pulled them out and loaded them in my Tupperware carriers and off we went to Thanksgiving Dinner.

     

    Well my brother in-law cut a slice of my pie and made a face most people reserve for lemons....and asked loudly, clearly "Who baked these pies." I answered and now I let Frank make anything he wants because I am not ever allowed to bring the pies again. I had not added any spices, the pies had shrank away from the shells quite a bit and I took a taste of my pie that day because I thought his relatives were creating drama. Pretty sure I had lemon face too!! Now days I bring Frank.....LOL

    So if you have a member of the family who is not a cook tell them this story!
     
    Pam

    Friday, November 22, 2013

    The Weekend


    Hi Everyone,

     

    On my end Thanksgiving plans are still up in the air. LOL I do know Melissa's family is staying home and she is fixing a Thanksgiving feast for them. Now for a little chuckle she told me about what she told her husband (Travis) she told him she was going shopping for a ham and all the rest that they like for Thanksgiving. Melissa hates turkey so she told Travis (because he loves turkey) that if he wanted her to fix a turkey. He would have to go to the store and pick out a turkey (and here's the chuckle) he needed to pick one out that came with instructions. LOLOL.

     

    I figure she will be calling her dad for his stuffing recipe (he keep all recipes in his head). Proof of this is that for years the girls wanted to know his cheese dip recipe. He always just smiled and acted like he didn't hear them. (Frank acts like this a lot.) LOL Anyway, Mishell made a special trip over to our house after work this week to get his cheese dip recipe. This came about because our granddaughter Hailey who is a sophomore in high school put her foot down and said.

     

    "Mom your cheese dip is NOT as good as grandpa's and I want grandpa's cheese dip tonight. Okay are you all ready for this? Well kept secret for years as I didn't even know. He doesn't like people in the kitchen when he cooks.

     

    It's one can of Campbells Fiesta Cheese Soup, one can of Campbell's Cheddar Cheese Soup and Velveeta boxed cheese. Melt and serve. You can add hamburger if you want nachos.

    LOLOLOLOLOL

     

    All these years this was the well kept secret and it took a granddaughter's wish to get it out of him.

     

    Mishell texted later and wanted to know if you add milk. He said NO it will make it too thin. BUT you can add milk after it's been out and thickened a while so it won't make it so thick!

     

    LOLOLOLOL
     

    So to answer my own question my weekend plans are to try to cross stitch. I KNOW I will read and to try to worm a recipe or two out of Frank and I think if Melissa asks for his stuffing recipe because Chase loves it I might be able to pull this off. LOL

     

    Hugs,

    Pam
     

    Thursday, November 21, 2013

    Review: 1888 by Charlie Revelle-Smith



  • File Size: 736 KB
  • Print Length: 450 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007Y61EPS


  • This book tells the story of the Jack The Ripper killings in Whitechapel from the POV of a lot of different people.  Suspects, victims, witnesses.  Each have their own stories and connections woven into the tale.  The tone and settings give a vivid feel for Whitechapel of the time and the people that lived within it.  And then of course, he gives his own solution with one of the lesser known suspects.

    I am fascinated by The Ripper and have read many books, non fiction and fiction on the subject.  This one, I liked a lot because each person had their own story and place in an even bigger framework.  And the author is very good at putting all the players in a vast board. 

    Terri

    Wednesday, November 20, 2013

    Review: Sleepy Hollow


    TV is having more and more paranormal/horror type shows this season.  One of which is Sleepy Hollow.  I wasn't sure what to think of it, but I gave it a try watching the first 6 or so episodes. 

    The gist is Ichabod Crane was a spy for General Washington and involved in some stuff that was supernatural and now has awakened over 2 centuries later where events set in motion then are coming to fruition now and The Headless Horseman (Now one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse) is just the beginning of frightening events.  He is teamed up with Abbie Mills, a lieutenant in the Sleepy Hollow police department and the two of them have special roles to play in the times to come.

    Okay, there is GREAT chemistry between Ichabod (Tom Mison) and Abbie (Nicole Beharie) and that was the thing I liked most of what I watched.  Funny fish-out-of-water gags as well, as Ichabod adapts to some modern inventions etc...  AND I have no problem with suspension of disbelief as to all the supernatural stuff going on.

    But that said, I really had a hard time with Ichabod being able to work as a 'consultant' for the police and their ability to ignore all the supernatural elements to what is going on.  But okay, I was still hanging in.  Then I found myself laughing during stuff that was supposed to be scary and I decided to give myself a break.  Maybe I will go back later on Netflix, but for now, I just find it too silly.

    But for those who are fans - it is official - a second season has been announced.

    Terri

    Apple Pie


    Today on a morning talk show they said that America voted that "Apple Pie" is the number one dessert. I don't like apple pie. My question is...

    "What is your number one dessert?"

    I think mine is peach cobbler. I actually have laid off sweets more than ever this year. BUT I do like anything pumpkin so fall is more of a challenge.

     

    With the holidays coming up I am looking more forward to stuffing and cheese ball. Lately though I haven't been all that hungry. I really think I am not going to go crazy this year. For me I probably won't even go back for seconds. For me the holidays have become more stress than fun.

     

    I don't much care for big gatherings anyway but I do love seeing the grandchildren. However this year I think I could skip the whole thing. I know I must be crazy....

     

    Love,

    Pam

    Tuesday, November 19, 2013

    Selfie Pictures


    Selfie Pictures:

     

    I heard on a talk show this morning that the word for the year is "Selfie." I have been known to take a selfie but don't send many of them to friends or family. I just can't seem to get the hang of how to do it. I have noticed how old I look this year and that may be one reason I am not sending our selfie pictures.

    My husband takes a good picture of me. Daughters not so much and they are always snapping pictures.  Having not dyed my hair for months this morning I realized how more gray I have become......

    Realizing that I am starting to look like my male relatives might have something to do with it. Eyes are smaller, face is bigger and hair - lordy it's become almost a daily ritual to do away with unwanted hair.

     I have not figured out how to turn back the hands of time. I think this is the reason for no selfies as nobody needs to see all my flaws. LOL

     

    Pam

    Friday, November 15, 2013

    Dead or Alive


    DEAD OR ALIVE:

     

    Today I am thinking about all the jobs people do that nobody else wants to do....I started out with the usual such as housekeepers. Cab you imagine some of the things they have had to clean? Or some of the people they have cleaned up after? I moved to garbage collector especially on frigid or hot days.  How about the person who has to style hair, wigs hair pieces for the dead? Now this led my thought process to those who have to dig the graves.

     

    Follow me for a minute as I then became the writer that I am. Because somebody has to mow the lawns at the cemetery. I used to live next door to a tombstone business. By this I mean that the retired gentleman used to open his shop and make headstones for the families of the dead. I was twelve when we lived next door to this place and you guessed it my bedroom window faced the side of his business. Of course then I went to bed and had nightmares every night. Now I see it for the goldmine for my imagination.  Come along with me as my imagination starts to work overtime.

     

    It occurred to my what if...side when I moved to thinking about yet another profession for the dead. What about a personnel shopper for the dead? The family and of course this would be mostly affluent families would hire someone to personal shop for the eternity outfit. A last tribute and send off. She or he would be paid well and what if the dead person doesn't like the eternity outfit?

     

    The personnel shopper could be haunted by the dead person until she makes it right. Can you imagine her digging up a coffin and getting caught? How would you explain.  " I'm being haunted?" Or what if she is truck from behind and wakes up in the dead woman's clothes? Her clothes are gone and the coffin is empty.

     

    Now you know how my mind works.

     

    Pam

    Wednesday, November 13, 2013

    Movies


    Today let's talk about books that have series. I want to see some of my favorite mystery series on the big screen or on television.  First and foremost I want would love to see Carolyn Hart's Max & Annie bookstore mysteries made into a series of movies. I don't think we have enough bookstore mysteries and these would make an endearing addition. Speaking of bookstores and movies what about the bookstore mysteries that have a ghost in them? Wouldn't that be great fun to watch?

     

    I'm not done with my Hollywood and television wishlist of movies and series shows. I want to see Monica Ferris's stitch shop mysteries. I have to see Goddy in a series an Betsy. This would also probably recruit more readers and stitchers by way of plots and characters. Of course I can't leave out Lorraine Barrett's and Lorraine Bartlett's Series. The booktown series just makes want to grab a snack and start watching. Then the Victoria Square Series has my heart and what a great premise for Hollywood.

     

    Now while I am dreaming I am dreaming of EJ Copperman's ghost series. I actually think this would make a great family movie/s series. They could come out once a year. You couldn't ask for a nicer author except maybe Jeff Cohen shusssh don't tell EJ I said that.

     

    BTW backing up for a minute. It's Carolyn Hart's series that gave me the writing inspiration. When the late Monette Cummings gave me my first Carolyn Hart Mystery I wanted to write like her when I grew up. BUT when I grew up I found Lorraine's booktown series and I literally sat down and cried because I KNEW she had my gratitude for writing this series. (It came at a very bad time in my life) and I will forever be grateful she penned this series.)

     

    Historical fiction/mysteries have come a long ways. I love love love Carola Dunn's Series. I also can't brag enough about Emily Brightwell's Series. Mrs. Jefferies makes me want to time travel back be a part of that household. Of course I can't leave out Kerry Greenwood because her series actually is a tv series. At least by way of Netflix and I have devoured them.

     

    I would love to add to my wishlist the Joanne Fluke Mysteries but I don't think they would sit well time after time with  viewers because of the love triangle. It does get on everyone's nerves and all of the books later I don't rush to buy the next one anymore. This is my blog for today. What does and doesn't work for me.

    Pam

    Finished Two Books


    Dancing with Statues

    Miguel is a lawyer who comes to Northern Ireland to take statements and do research re. a terrorist bombing years ago for The Tribunal investigating it.

    Laura is a school teacher who had a pretty dull existence caring for her father who has not left the house since his wife's suicide a few days after the bombing.

    Miguel and Laura connect and they both start healing from the past and moving forward with their lives.

    An engrossing and enjoyable journey.



    And:

    The story of a working Australian Cattle dog and a day on the ranch when things get out of hand with a rogue bull and she fights for her life and that of her friends. Charming!


    Terri

    Tuesday, November 12, 2013

    I'm Back


    I'm back,

     

    Okay here is what I forgot to add to the first blog. First I dressed in a black sweater top and black jeans. I went to put on my socks and I couldn't find my black socks, my skull socks, my black socks with the red and pink hearts on them. YEP I had to wear white ones and to add to this crime I wore white tennis shoes. I don't plan on going any farther than the mailbox today. I had to brush Pepper's hair and couldn't find the pet brush. I went to look for my own hairbrush and realized it was in my hand. I wanted to wear my black and silver earrings. Couldn't find the back to one of them so I am wearing red earring and it wasn't until I had them in that I realized I could have used the backs to the red earrings on the back of the black an silver earrings.

     

    All of these things actually led to doing the laundry and of course more coffee. I also forgot to mention I bagged the trash and made the bed this morning. Needless to say that if you read the first blog you know I am posting this one while watching The Price Is Right where a woman just won 10,000.00 I think I would get a cleaning lady if I had that money.LOL

    I would also go on a shopping trip for socks and shoes. Okay and probably new coffee mugs as quite a few of mine are chipped. Also new eye glasses and new pet and human hair brushes.

    I think this finally covers my morning.

     

    Pam

    The Everday Life


    The everyday life:

     

    FYI Terri and I will be revamping our blog. This will probably mostly take place over the course of the next few months. Anyway I have been taking notes on what you would like to see more of on our blog. We are listening and please speak up what you would like to see and read more of on this blog.

     

    Now in conjunction with this frame of mind. Here is a peek into my everyday life.

    Today I got up took my diabetic numbers. Took my ADD meds and made myself a cup of French Vanilla Coffee. I dressed, saw my husband off to work after HE walked the dog. it was 25 out there and I wasn't going to take a walk this morning. Since I didn't walk instead I took everything off the countertop and scrubbed them down. Also using those Clorox Wipes that look like baby wipes. LOL.

    Then I did the dishes after the challenging task of cleaning the automatic can opener. I don't know about you but I remember when my mom and grandmother used a toothbrush to clean the can openers. Well not me this morning. Nope you guessed it I used Clorox Wipes.

     

    After that I settled in for CBS This Morning and saw topics such as bullying on the Dolphins Team, I watching all the Typhon devastation updates. There were other news stories but I hadn't had enough coffee yet to retain everything.

     

    After that I went over my plot points I have a notebook with a list of plot points for my current book. So far I am up to 32 plot points. This is not enough for a 250-300 page book. I will continue to add and remove points as the story unfolds. My working title of the book is "STITCH ME A MURDER"

     

    After I read over plot points I gathered up the laundry and started washing clothes. Two people and we always have a lot of laundry. I don't know why or how but I did decide a few weeks ago that I wasn't going to do laundry everyday. So I do the laundry on Monday, Tuesday and either Friday or Saturday.

     

    After this I had a breakfast sandwich for breakfast and this one was bacon, egg and cheese. Had more coffee and then finally turned on the computer. I checked email and that is when I got the bright idea to write this blog. LOLOLOL

     

    After The Price Is Right I will go into my office and write until I break for lunch. While some may argue this point I stand by that while writing related plot points, research and other writing related tasks are not writing therefore in my world they must remain separate.

     

    This is my corner of the world so far today. Oh and I am currently reading EVERY TRICK IN THE BOOK by Lucy Arlington. So far I love this book.

    I'm cross stitching a pattern that is Halloween PUT SOME ZOOM IN YOUR BROOM by Sue Hillis.  Have a great day!

     

    Pam

    Review: The Cure by Athol Dickson

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Bethany House (July 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764201638
  • ASIN: B005Q6MG28

  • Riley Keep is a homeless alcoholic and has been for a long time. Since a massacre in the jungle where he and his wipe had been missionaries. But even on the streets he hears rumors of a cure for alcoholism in his hometown in Maine. He and his friend make their way back, hoping for a miracle. Only there is a cure, and Riley takes it and tries to build a new life out of it. Only, things in the town go from bad to worse as desperate people demand it.

    The book is more than just a search for the cure. It examines the greed to exploit such a cure (announced price per dose $5,000) as well as the greed to possess it and get a new beginning to life. It also examines, Riley's choices and their unintended consequences and the matters of responsibility and self healing. As they say, an alcoholic can stop drinking but the problems that led to the drinking are still there. 

    Terri

    Monday, November 11, 2013

    Review: Mrs. Jeffries Takes Stock - Emily Brightwell


    Title: Mrs. Jefferies Takes Stock

    Author: Emily Brightwell

    Victorian Mystery Series

     

    Inspector Witherspoon has a complex case to solve. It seems a group of investors including Inspector Nivens have been duped. They thought they were investing in a mining company. Word came back there was nothing being done as the company was in Colorado in America. Worse the suspect is the murdered man named "Jake Randall" and the money is missing.

     

    Inspector Witherspoon has other problems of which include a nasty cold and he's decided to trim the fat in the household budget. Mrs. Goodge is fit to be tied as she has to cook for everyone and her sources. Mrs. Jefferies and the other household staff are more than cook and house keeper-manager they are also unbeknownst to the inspector helping him solve this murder cases.

     

    Everyone takes part in helping solve this case but it isn't an easy one to solve. Nothing adds up and then Mrs. Jefferies puts her thinking cap on and little by little a picture starts to emerge of a cold blooded killer.

     

    I think the moral of this book is..."Be careful have you treat other for one day you many hang for your actions."

     

    As always in this series Emily Brightwell has penned a highly entertaining mystery. I love this cozy historical series as each book can be read as a standalone or part of the whole series. You won't be disappointed.

     

    Pam

     

     

    Review: The Master

    Freddie, a volatile, heavy-drinking veteran who suffers from post-traumatic stress
    disorder, finds some semblance of a family when he stumbles onto the ship of Lancaster Dodd, the charismatic leader of a new "religion" he forms after World War II.
    Cast:
    Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams, Laura Dern, Ambyr Childers, Rami Malek, Jesse Plemons, Kevin J. O'Connor, Christopher Evan Welch, Madisen Beaty
    Director:
    Paul Thomas Anderson
    Genres:
    Drama, Indie Dramas, 20th Century Period Pieces, Period Pieces, Blu-ray
    This movie is:
    Cerebral
    I watched this movie because I love Phillip Seymour Hoffman and I have to admit, he did a superb job.  As did Joaquin Phoenix.  The problem is I loathed Freddy and had little sympathy for his character.  The new "religion" was definitely a cult and the processing sessions interesting but not enough for 2 and a half hours.  It was okay and I was rather disappointed.

    Terri
     

    Friday, November 8, 2013

    Today in History: Bram Stoker was born (11/8/1847)

    The only thing more famous than Bram Stoker himself, was his iconic creation:  DRACULA.


    The vampire legends and stories had been around for a long time, but it was Abraham (BRAM) Stoker who took the legends along with a bit of history in the form of Prince Vlad III of Wallachia (Vlad the Impaler) and spun a tale that would never be forgotten.
     
    The character is terrifying, the setting gothic, the other characters memorable (with Van Helsing becoming a powerful icon in his own right).
     
    The movies started in 1922 with Nosferatu and took many popular actors to great heights in horror annuls.
     
    We had Lugosi:


    and Lee:

     
     
    Even Langella:
     
    and Oldman:


    No matter what form he took, people had their favorites.  Besides movies we had tv, the most current of which features Jonathan Rhys Meyers:



    But even with all those, we have more books than we can count.  Many featuring Dracula, Mina, Van Helsing or other characters such as Quincey Morris.  They are scary, sexy and people never seem to get tired of them.

    Then there are other vampires, Way Way too many to even guess at.  New books being published all the time.  Some terrifying (Salem's Lot), some reluctant (Forever Knight, Barnabas Collins), some Romantic, and some.....Sparkly (sigh).  But always more of them, continuing to feed our bloodlust and just plain lust at times.  We never seem to get enough of them.

    Bram Stoker wrote other stories and most people have never read them.  Because the book Dracula was larger than life, and it struck a cord within us that we still love after all this time.

    Thank you 'Bram - I for one am glad you did!  Happy Birthday.

    Terri
     
     
     

     
     
    
    

    Review: A Deadly Cliche' by Ellery Adams


    Title: A Deadly Cliche'

    Author: Ellery Adams

    (A books By The Bay Mystery)



    Olivia Limoges is walking her dog on the beach as she does every morning. Today she finds a child's sand pail covering something and as she gets close enough to remove the pail she finds a the head of a dead man.

    This is just  the first of many murders and it's soon discovered that the link to these murders is that the murderer is leaving a calling card of clich├ęs.

     

    The books by the bay writer's group soon put their head and hearts together and try to find answers for the why and soon it is apparent there are many hidden layers to the murders.

     

    Meanwhile Olivia has a mystery of her own. She receives a letter telling her that her father is still alive. She hires her own investigator and if isn't enough her friend Laurel is going through a home and career crisis.

     

    Plus Olivia finds herself more and more attracted to Chief Rawlings. Round all of this out with a hurricane and a new project Olivia and her dog Haviland plates are full of more than trying latest recipes.

     

    Ellery Adams has penned not only a talented series but she has created characters with depth. Each character brings something to the table whether it is a food table or a writing table they are all interesting and you will grow to love each character for themselves.
     
    Pamela

     

    Monday, November 4, 2013

    Guest Blogger - Alice Duncan


    How’d it Get to be November Already???

     

    Life is positively flying past, and I don’t approve. Life doesn’t seem to care if I approve or not, so I guess it will continue to fly. Sigh.

     

    However, there are two or three interesting bookly things going on in my world. First, ANGEL’S FLIGHT is now a certified audiobook, read by Darlene Allen, and I’ll be giving away copies in this month’s contest. Here’s the cover and the link in case you want to buy it rather than wait until the end of November to find out if you won a copy:

     


    Buy it!

     

     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    Also, I got a box and a half of ARCs (advanced reading copies) for SPIRITS REVIVED, Daisy Gumm Majesty’s seventh adventure, and I’ll be giving some of those away, too, at the end of the month in my contest. Here’s the cover:

     


     

    And there’s yet another audiobook in the works! CACTUS FLOWER, an historical romance novel that always makes me laugh (so be warned) will be released in audiobook format soon. My old buddy Jim Hull narrates this one.

     

     
     

    Other than that, life is still full of dogs, although it’s not as full as it used to be, thank HEAVEN. My three foster wiener dogs are now in Albuquerque, awaiting the New Mexico Dachshund Rescue Adoptathon, which will be held on November 9, at the Petco on San Mateo. So if you want to be a good guy (or gal) and adopt a used dachshund, be sure to stop by. I’m planning to be there. It will be nice to get out of Roswell and in a real city! And it’ll be good for the dachshunds in our care, too. Here’s the full skinny:

     

     

     

    And that’s about it from here. If you’d like to enter my November contest, during which I’ll be giving away free copies of ANGEL’S FLIGHT, the audiobook, and free copies of the SPIRITS REVIVED ARC, please send me an email with your name and home address. Let me know if you want the audiobook or the ARC. Send it to me at alice@aliceduncan.net and I’ll throw your name into one of two special contest doggie dishes. Then, on November 30, Bam-Bam will draw names from both bowls, and the winners will either be sent a coupon for the audiobook (via email) or an ARC (at their home address). You can read about both books on my web site: www.aliceduncan.net .

     

    I think that sounds more complicated than it actually is. Oh, well. Thank you!

     

    Review: The Golden Peacock by Lauren B Grossman

    Rainee is an award winning novelist who has writer's block.  After finding an ID card from the Holocaust museum, she intrigued by a woma...