4/24/14

Murder Upon A Midnight Clear {My Thoughts}

Murder upon a Midnight ClearMurder upon a Midnight Clear by Juli D. Revezzo
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Book Info
Kindle Edition, 160 pages
Published November 19th 2013 by Raven Queen Publications
ASIN B00GSC8MMM
edition language English
other editions None found
Source:Personal Kindle Copy
Book Buy Links
AMAZON
B&N

BOOK SYNOPSIS
'Tis the season ... for death.

Murder reminds Detective Helene Collias of Holly PD that crime doesn't respect holidays. And the last victim she ever expected to find in her case files is the sister of her old flame, Sean Grant. Ordinarily, Helene's psychic gifts give her an edge but this time, that gift has short-circuited. Could her lingering attraction to Sean be blurring her abilities, or is something more sinister at work?

My Thoughts
The month of December is supposed to be a time of family gatherings to celebrate Christmas and ordinarily for Sean Grant and his sisters that would be the case but this year the murder of his sister Chelsea has he and his youngest sibling Bianca caught up in a police investigation and in the sights of a psychotic killer whose plans for the Grant family are not finished!

Helene Collias is put in charge of investigating Chelsea Grant’s death, when she finds out her high school crush Sean Grant is the young woman’s brother old memories come to life and when the pair come face to face much to her chagrin the flames kindled in their youth are once again fanned for Helene. It takes a bit of time but Sean connects the dots also and his thoughts also turn to matters besides his sister’s demise causing him both guilt as well as hope for the future as he never had the chance to explain to Helene why he never sought her out after their interrupted moment of passion during their Senior cruise.

If you are looking for a bit of light reading set amidst the Christmas holidays this certainly is not going to fit that need, however if you are looking for a well thought out murder mystery with a side of steamy romance to ease some of the tension faced by the main characters than you have found exactly what you were looking for.

The book may be less than 200 pages but believe me you will find that the way it is constructed there is more than enough to keep you busy while you are enjoying how the story rolls out to it’s satisfactory conclusion. The mixture of paranormal elements lends just enough of an extra twist to keep things from becoming too routine.

[Personal Kindle copy given an honest review]
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4/23/14

Spaghetti Bake-RECIPE #12

My hot out of oven photo and after digging in to serve
Courtesy of Simply Recipes on FB
Baked Spaghetti (adapted to available ingredients)
 Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 1 hour, 45 minutes Yield: Serves 8 to 10. 
Save time on prep by chopping the onions and mushrooms while the sausage is cooking, and grating the cheese while the pasta is cooking.
 INGREDIENTS 
3/4 lb vermicelli pasta or thin spaghetti
 1 lb bulk sweet Italian sausage 
1/4 pound shiitake or cremini mushrooms, roughly chopped 
1 medium onion, chopped, about 1 1/2 cups 
2 cloves garlic, minced
 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes 
3 cups or 24 ounces of marinara or meatless tomato sauce* 
1 1/2 cups water 
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning 
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley 
1 Tbsp olive oil plus more for greasing the casserole dish 
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
 2 eggs, beaten
 1 cup ricotta cheese 
2-3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

METHOD
 1 Put a large pot of water on the stove on high heat. Add salt to the water, about 2 Tbsp for 6 quarts of water. While the pasta water is heating, continue with the next steps.
 2 Break up the sausage into clumps into a large sauté pan. Turn the heat on, to medium. Slowly cook the sausage, breaking it up into smaller pieces with the a wooden spoon. The slow cooking will help the fat render out. Cook until the sausage is cooked through, no longer pink anywhere, and lightly browned. Remove the sausage from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside. Drain the fat from the pan (not into your sink or you may clog it!)
 3 Add the chopped onions and mushrooms to the pan. Increase the heat to medium high. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions become translucent and the mushrooms have given up some of their liquid. Add the minced garlic and red chili pepper flakes, and cook a minute more.
 4 Add the marinara sauce and the 1 1/2 cups of water to the pan with the onions and mushrooms. Add the sausage back to the pan. Add the Italian seasoning and chopped parsley. Bring to a simmer and reduce the heat to a very low simmer on the lowest simmer setting on your stovetop. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes or so while you make the pasta.
 5 By this time your pasta water in step one should be boiling. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook, uncovered, at a rolling boil, for 5 to 6 minutes, al dente. Note that the pasta will continue to cook and absorb some of the sauce when it is in the casserole dish in the oven, so the pasta should be al dente. When ready, drain the pasta and rinse in cold water.
 6 Place the cooled pasta in a large bowl. Toss with olive oil, then the Parmesan, then 2 beaten eggs. It's easiest to do this with your (clean) hands.
 7 Preheat your oven to 350°F. Rub the inside of a 13x9 inch casserole dish (a Pyrex dish works great) with olive oil. Spread 1 cup of the sauce over the bottom of the casserole dish.
 8 Place half of the pasta in an even layer in the casserole dish. Cover with half of the sauce. Then dot the sauce with all of the ricotta cheese. Sprinkle half of the Mozzarella over the ricotta layer. Layer again with the remaining pasta, the remaining sauce, and the remaining Mozzarella.
 9 Cover with foil and bake for 40 min at 350°F. Remove the foil and bake an additional 20 minutes uncovered. Remove from oven and let rest for at least 10 minutes before cutting into squares and serving.
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Kind of like lasagna only with spaghetti, what would you add or leave out?


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4/22/14

Passion's Sacred Dance-The Hashad Wars #1 {My Thoughts}

Passion's Sacred Dance (Harshad Wars)Passion's Sacred Dance by Juli D. Revezzo
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Book Info
Kindle Edition, First Edition, 229 pages
Published July 23rd 2013 by The Wild Rose Press
ISBN 139781612179971
edition language English
other editions None found
Source:Personal Kindle Copy

Book Buy Links
AMAZON
B&N

BOOK SYNOPSIS
Battling mounting debt, Stacy Macken is determined not to lose her historic art gallery. When Aaron Fielding appears and offers to help, she fights to keep the attraction sizzling between them from clouding her judgment. He may be her savior in disguise--but can she trust him?

Aaron intrigues her with tales of the Tuatha dé Danann, god-like warriors who protect humanity from the monsters seeking their destruction. If Aaron can prove what he claims, she would give up anything to help--even the gallery he claims is sacred ground. But with her property set to stage the next epic battle, she needs answers. An old family diary will confirm the ancient legend is true, if only they can find it in time.

If the battle is lost, the enemy will take control of Earth for the next five hundred years. Stacy and Aaron's budding love might only complicate things.

My Thoughts
The vehicle of imparting information through the characters conversations coupled with the flashbacks/dreams that Stacy describe to Aaron thrust the reader directly into the story while at the same time the unfolding of the romantic aspects of Aaron and Stacey’s relationship add spice as well as interest to keep one engaged with them as this fantasy with a modern day setting takes place.

The beauty of the mythology mixed with the weaving of past and present create a unique tale that one cannot help but savor slowly, as reading too fast you tend to miss out on the smaller details that help to construct the what and why as it happens.

I found myself however unable to sit and read through as made the mistake of starting on a weekend which meant multiple interruptions so finished in bits and pieces what could normally have sped through in hours of one day.

This is a smoothly paced story that mixes myth and reality perfectly with the romance of Aaron and Stacy along with quite a bit of paranormal elements to add even more enjoyment to this first book in a series.
[Personal Kindle copy given an honest review]
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Places to find author:
GR WEBSITE BLOG PINTEREST FB TWITTER


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