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Hobby Reads

Because everyone's hobby is having fun!

Chocolate Lasagna by Lisa Jackson

Whenever I have an impromptu family dinner, I usually make chocolate lasagna for dessert as it’s a fave and easy to throw together.  Well, except for one time when I picked up regular pudding rather than instant—uh, that doesn’t work at all.  So take note.   Anyway, I found this recipe on the Internet about two years ago and it’s been a hit with my family—especially the grandkids—every time.  There are variations I’ve tried—such as graham crackers for the crust or adding in Nutella or peanut butter to the filling but the basic recipe is wonderful.  I don’t know who originally came up with it, but here’s the recipe I use:

Chocolate Lasagna
Author: The Kitchen Snob

 

Ingredients

36 Oreo cookies (regular, not double stuffed)
6 tablespoons butter, melted
8 oz cream cheese, softened Continue reading “Chocolate Lasagna by Lisa Jackson”

Review of Dead In the Water

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Dead In The Water

Mattie Winston Mysteries, Book #8

Annelise Ryan

5 Stars

30324949Synopsis:

Deputy coroner Mattie Winston is starting to feel like she’s in way over her head . . .

As the single mom of an energetic toddler and an investigator working for the medical examiner’s office in small-town Sorenson, Wisconsin, Mattie is used to her life being a juggling act. But now that she’s moved in with Detective Steve Hurley and his teenaged daughter Emily, and has started planning their wedding, her home life is looking more like a three-ring circus. And with her boss and friend, Izzy, suddenly having a health crisis, she could not be more grateful for the newest staff member in the ME’s office, Hal Dawson.

All too quickly her gratitude turns to shock when a floating body found trapped against a dam turns out to be Hal, but the cause of death…

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Kneaded to Death (A Bread Shop Mystery #1)

carlalovestoread

Kneaded to Death (A Bread Shop Mystery #1)byWinnie Archer

Expected publication: February 28th 2017 by Kensington Publishing Corporation

4 Stars

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Review of Death by Chocolate Lab

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Death By Chocolate Lab

Lucky Paws Petsitting Mystery, Book #1

Bethany Blake

5+ Stars

30324914Synopsis:

Pet sitter Daphne Templeton has a soft spot for every stray and misfit who wanders into the quaint, lakeside village of Sylvan Creek. But even Daphne doesn’t like arrogant, womanizing Steve Beamus, the controversial owner of Blue Ribbon K-9 Academy. When Steve turns up dead during a dog agility trial, Daphne can think of a long list of people with motives for homicide, and so can the police. Unfortunately, at the top of the list is Daphne’s sister, Piper—Steve’s latest wronged girlfriend.

Certain that Piper is innocent, in spite of mounting evidence to the contrary, Daphne sets out to clear her sister’s name—and find Axis, Steve’s prize-winning chocolate Labrador, who went missing the night of Steve’s death. Aided by Socrates, her taciturn basset hound, and a hyperactive one-eared Chihuahua named Artie, Daphne quickly runs afoul…

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Great-Grandma’s Chocolate Espresso Cake by Andie J. Christopher

In this first book in the new One Night in Miami series, readers meet the quirky Cuban/Irish Hernandez family. Alana Hernandez, the baby sister of the family, knows the second-best way to former Navy SEAL Cole Roberts’ heart. And, on Valentine’s Day, this chocolate espresso cake would be just the ticket. www.AndieJChristopher.com

Cake Ingredients:
2 cups flour
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 tsp salt
3 tsp baking soda
1 large egg Continue reading “Great-Grandma’s Chocolate Espresso Cake by Andie J. Christopher”

Review of Kneaded To Death

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30324816Synopsis:

Everyone swears by Yeast of Eden, the Mexican bread shop in town. But tonight, the only thing on the menu is la muerte . . .

Struggling photographer Ivy Culpepper has lots of soul-searching to do since returning to seaside Santa Linda, California. That is, until the thirty-one-year-old enters a bread making class at Yeast of Eden. Whether it’s the aroma of fresh conchas in the oven, or her instant connection with owner Olaya Dias and her sisters, Ivy just knows the missing ingredients in her life are hidden among the secrets of Olaya’s bakery . . .

But Ivy’s spirits crumble when a missing classmate is suddenly discovered dead in her car, riddled with stab wounds. Even more devastating, the prime suspects are the Dias sisters themselves. Doubting the women could commit such a crime, Ivy embarks on a murder investigation of her own to prove their innocence…

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The Hope Chest that Inspired Hope Chest Of Dreams by Lisa Jones Baker

When I was a little girl, my mother’s hope chest fascinated me.  Not because it was fancy; it’s not, but rather because of what loomed inside.  Her wedding veil.  Love letters from my father.  Grandmother’s special linens.  What intrigued me most was that my father made it himself and presented it to her just before they married.  The beloved possession rests upstairs beneath the wall quilt of my great grandmother’s beautiful, ornate, delicate handkerchiefs that were sewn together by my great aunt, June.

Intrigued, I researched the origin of the hope chest, aka Hope for Marriage, and learned that the pieces, constructed from different types of wood and often lined with cedar to protect the contents from insects, fungus, and moths, are often referred to as dowry chests.  Typically, they’re used to store special things such as linens, quilts, and china that are handed down in the family.  Single girls are, many times, gifted a hope chest before marriage.

Hope chests are routinely placed at the foot of the bed and have existed since the times of pharos.  In fact, Egyptians used them for storing valuable documents during long, treacherous, oceanic voyages.  But to me, my mother’s hope chest carries what only dreams are made of.  Something mystical and intangible.

It’s a rare, blessed treasure that prompts my imaginative mind to wander back to the days when my parents fell in love and had no idea how many times their children’s and great-grand children’s fingers would touch the heirloom.  My mother’s hope chest will be passed down to me, and I will place their wedding picture on top while the beloved quilt with its own compelling stories looms in the distance.

In my HOPE CHEST OF DREAMS series, Rebecca, Annie, and Rachel will experience their own stories with William, Levi, and Jarred.  And eventually, their hope chests constructed carefully and artfully by creative genius Old Sam, will be filled with great symbols of love that they will cherish and pass down to their daughters.  To me, these characters and stories are personal, a natural inspiration and connection to my mother’s hope chest.

My parents aren’t rich, but what they have, money can’t touch.  And the sentimental piece constructed by my father over fifty-nine years ago plays its own special role in my parent’s forever journey of true love as well as their nearly six decades of marriage that continues on earth as long as they both live and will pick up when they join in heaven.  And maybe someday, a couple in our family will treasure the hope chest over fifty-nine years, and inherit my parents’ abounding Christian love and happiness that’s a wondrous, generous, rare blessing from our Creator.

 

Three young Amish women, each gifted with a hand-carved hope chest, find that one by one, with patience and faith, their most blessed dreams for the future can come true…

Annie Mast and Levi Miller were best friends until his father was shunned by the church. Now, ten years later, Levi has returned to Arthur, Illinois, for a brief visit, and he and Annie discover their bond is as strong as ever. Spending as much time together as possible, Annie finds herself dreaming of a future with Levi. And Levi is soon dreaming of building a home on a beautiful local hillside—to live in with Annie. Yet their longings are unlikely to become reality…

Levi is part of the English world, and while Annie cannot see herself there, she knows she must reveal her heart’s truth to him. And Levi, strongly reminded of his Amish roots, knows he must heal the bitterness of the past. And together, with love on their side, they just may find their way to an answered prayer…

PowerPup Breakfast by Bethany Blake

Pet sitter Daphne Templeton has a soft spot for every stray and misfit who wanders into Sylvan Creek. But even Daphne doesn’t like arrogant, womanizing Steve Beamus, the controversial owner of Blue Ribbon K-9 Academy. When Steve turns up dead during a dog agility trial, Daphne can think of a long list of people with motives for homicide, and so can the police. Unfortunately, at the top of the list is Daphne’s sister, Piper—Steve’s latest wronged girlfriend.

Certain that Piper is innocent, in spite of mounting evidence to the contrary, Daphne sets out to clear her sister’s name—and find Axis, Steve’s prize-winning chocolate Labrador, who went missing the night of Steve’s death. Aided by Socrates, her taciturn basset hound, and a hyperactive one-eared Chihuahua named Artie, Daphne quickly runs afoul of Detective Jonathan Black, a handsome and enigmatic newcomer to town, who has no appreciation for Daphne’s unorthodox sleuthing.

Can a free-spirited pet sitter, armed only with a Ph.D. in Philosophy and her two incompatible dogs, find the real killer before she becomes the next victim?

PowerPup Breakfast

I’m calling this a breakfast, but it’s great to serve at any meal. It’s full of nutrients. If you have the time or inclination, make the chicken stock yourself. It’s even healthier that way. You can also adjust this recipe to make bigger quantities and freeze portions in plastic bags. It really makes sense. If you’re going to the trouble of cooking chicken, beef, and barely, you might as well make a lot. Continue reading “PowerPup Breakfast by Bethany Blake”

Death in Advertising by Laura Bradford

The Girl with Book Lungs

Setting: Metropolitan St. Louis

Characters

  • Tobi Tobias: Sharp, savvy, and sometimes sarcastic narrator. Tobi is an advertising executive whose business has been struggling
  • Andrew and Gary Zander: Brothers and business owners. Clients of Tobi
  • Mary Fran: Tobi’s neighbor, friend, and owner of the pet shop where Tobi works on weekends. Mother of Sam.

Plot: Things are looking bleak for Tobi and her business. Out of the blue, a new client walks in and Tobi has the chance to reignite both her business and her client’s business, as well. But all of Tobi’s hard word may have been for nothing. At a photo shoot for a new brochure showing off her client’s closet organizational systems, a body literally falls at Tobi’s feet, making her kill slogan for Zander’s Closet Systems eerily prophetic.

Pacing: Good

Predictability: Pretty low! As everything came together, I had a hunch, but I only pieced things together…

View original post 667 more words

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