Saturday, July 20, 2019

Weekend Book Reviews

Murder Lo Mein by Vivien Chien is the third book in the Noodle Shop Mystery series.  Lana is settling into her job as manager of her family's Chinese noodle shop.  The restaurant takes part in the local best noodle contest with high hopes of winning.  After one of the judges receives a threatening fortune cookie, he dies soon after.  Lana cannot resist being pulled into the mystery.  I enjoy the characters - especially Lana - as well as the setting of this series.  I look forward to the next installment.

The second book in the Chef-to-Go Mystery series by Denise Swanson is Leave No Scone UnturnedDani is glad to see classes starting back at the local university so her lunch-to-go part of her chef-to-go business.  Things at the university town seem to be out of control with multiple car jackings and a murder.  The book also tackles the issue of homelessness and veterans.  Normally I find things like that annoying, but the author handled it very well.  The issue was discussed on both sides and did not come across as preachy at all.  It added depth to the plot yet did not stray away from what makes cozy mysteries enjoyable.

The Hidden Corpse by Debra Sennefelder is the second book in the Food Blogger Mystery series.  Hope has transitioned from reality cooking show contestant to successful food blogger.  To further her new career she takes part in a food photography course taught by a local man whose wife is missing.  When the missing woman's body is found along with Hope's elderly neighbor in the neighbor's burned home, Hope decides to investigate.  The story and mystery are strong.  My only complaint is that Hope is a weak character.  She spends very little time on her job as food blogger.  I also wish she were smarter overall.  Hope is supposedly use to small town life but seems to have forgotten that nothing in a small town is a secret or even taken at face value.  I enjoyed it overall and will read future books.

disclosure:  I received these e-books through NetGalley but was not otherwise compensated for these reviews.  All opinions are my own!

Friday, July 19, 2019

Furry Friday

I jokingly call this picture - A Boy & His Cat.  I tell Toby that he is my little boy.  His best friend is Ezekiel the cat.  I caught them hanging out on the back deck last week.

I had to take the pictures through the back door.  One crack of the door would have made both of them come running to me.  Ezekiel just appeared in our yard.  I have no idea where he came from, but he does great with dogs.  Not only does he adore Toby, but he loves my parents' dog as well.  

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Weekend Book Reviews

The Best of the Best Rice Cooker Cookbook by Beth Hensperger offers 100 recipes for your rice cooker.  I found several recipes that would help me better utilize my rice cooker.  The best recipes to me were the basic ones for cooking different types of rice.  I was not certain that some of the hot cereal recipes would work in my specific rice cooker.  The author gave thorough and clear instructions for each of the recipes and will be a useful addition to my kitchen. 

Phillip Schmidt and Todd H. Bol's book Little Free Libraries & Tiny Sheds features 12 examples to build.  Everything from standard to artsy to whimsical is shown through both the projects and the multiple photos of finished libraries and sheds. Step by step instructions are given to help beginner builders feel confident.  This is a fun and inspiring book!

Kawaii Origami by Chrissy Pushkin is full of creative origami projects.  My favorite was the tiny trash can.  The pictures are amazing and bring the book to life.  The projects are for advanced origami makers or those with a better grasp of directions.  Once I was shown how to do a few of the folds, it was much easier.  With a bit of patience this would be a great book for any origami lover.

disclosure:  I received these e-books through NetGalley but was not otherwise compensated for these reviews.  All opinons are my own!

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Garden Plants

I planted some dollar store flower seeds and was pleasantly surprised at how well they have grown.  I have zinnias and sunflowers.  My plan is to collect the seeds and expand the flower garden next year.

I bought some lime and red zinnia seeds.  I planted them in a raised bed, but the baby chicks got into it right after I planted.  I was happy to find a couple of seeds survived and grew.  I will definitely be saving seeds from this variety.

The banana peppers are growing well.

The popcorn fell victim to a recent storm and the animals.  Next year I will put fencing around it.  I still think that I will be able to harvest several ears.

Finally the bay tree is putting on piles of new growth.  It is exciting to see how well it is doing.  I love having fresh bay leaves to use in cooking.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019


Every morning before it gets too hot I go sit in the yard to crochet a bit so Toby can play.  Since our yard is fenced, he is allowed to run free when we are home.  Still he is happiest if someone is outside with him.  We have a little routine where I work and he plays.

One day last week his play involved digging a hole.  I am guessing he was after a mole, but he gave up on that area.  Before he moved to another part of the yard I caught a great photo of him in action.

He was very serious about sniffing out whatever was hiding in the dirt.  Oftentimes stuff in the yard is more interesting than anything on television.

Monday, July 8, 2019


Wanda the mama turkey has four teenagers now.  They are no longer the tiny chicks from a few months ago.  They wander a bit on their own but are never too far away from her and the three males.

Thankfully these four little ones stay inside the fence.  We lost half of the incubator baby turkeys as they wandered farther and farther away.  They were seen by several people going into the branch (creek) on a neighboring property.  Unfortunately there are several fox dens there, and a mama fox most likely used them to feed her babies.  

Some animals stay in the fence area, and others do not.  Honestly it does not seem to matter if they have a bird mama or not.  Hopefully these four will continue to stay in the safe area and raise their own babies in a year or two.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Weekend Book Reviews

Drawn and Buttered by Shari Randall is the third book in the Lobster Shack Mystery series.  Tourist season is drawing to a close so things are slowing down at The Lazy Mermaid, a lobster shack.  Interest is renewed by the arrival of a giant lobster which is stolen overnight.  The lobster turns up unfortunately near a dead body.  Allie finds herself in the middle of another mystery while her Aunt Gully gets an offer that seems too good.  The mystery is good, and spunky Aunt Gully is easily my favorite character.  This book stands alone, but I recommend reading the entire series.

The eighth book in the Witch City Mystery series by Carol J Perry is Final Exam.  Lee is busy with her job at the news station in Salem, but she still has time to check in with Aunt Ibby's 45th high school reunion preparations.  When an old car containing a body is pulled out of the water, the two things become even more entangled.  The story flowed well even with the multiple story lines.  I like the Salem setting of this series.  I have read previous books in the series, but this one can be read and enjoyed on its own.

Chocolate a la Murder by Kirsten Weiss is the fourth book in the Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum Mystery series.  Maddie owns a paranormal museum even though she is not convinced any of the paranormal things are real.  She features a magic of chocolate exhibit to take advantage of the town's Wine and Chocolate Days.  One of the items is a haunted chocolate whisk.  She begins to rethink her beliefs when two people at a local chocolate shop are found murdered.  The paranormal theme is a background story rather than the entire focus of the book.  It is written well and without being gimmicky.  The mystery is strong offering several suspects.

disclosure:  I received these e-books through NetGalley but was not otherwise compensated for these reviews.  All opinions are my own!