education pathways

Murder is the Main Course–cooking up suspense!

Murder is the Main Course

by Shawn Reilly Simmons

Murder is the Main CourseAction explodes in Murder is the Main Course as Penelope, head chef on the set of The Turn of the Screw, enters the walk-in freezer in darkness only to encounter a hanging body. Has she discovered a suicide or a murder? This mystery by Shawn Reilly Simmons continues with non-stop intrigue in a tale you won’t want to put down. Characters include an assortment of actors, cooks, waiters and law enforcement. Although the cast of characters is large, it is easy to remember the individual characters. The setting is small town Forrestville, Indiana, where everyone knows everyone else and history is important. Grab a copy of this cozy mystery and get ready for suspense.

I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Henery Press for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Mystery, General Fiction (Adult)

Notes: #4 in the Red Carpet Catering Mystery Series; could be read as a standalone

Publication:  May 2, 2017—Henery Press

Murder in the Dark–at the “Last Great Party”???

Murder in the Dark

by Kerry Greenwood

Murder in the DarkI read Murder in the Dark intermittently in the midst of traveling and chaos, but I always looked forward to returning to it and was never disappointed. Invariably, the character of Phryne Fisher as a sleuth is delightful.  In this book, the regulars of the series play a role, but a minor one, as little action occurs in Phryne’s home setting, but at an old rented estate where a rich and magnetizing  brother and sister are holding what they bill as the Last Great Party of the year. Phryne has been invited to stop a threatened murder of the host. She has also been personally warned away from the affair.  Anyone who knows Phryne understands that such threats only serve to ensure her attendance.

These mysterious warnings are entwined with other puzzling events once the weeklong party begins. Phryne must use her deductive and social skills to solve the mysteries. She also enlists the help of a variety of people she encounters, both servants and other guests. The resolutions of the mysteries are surprising and not without action scenes. I love that Phryne spends her spare time at the event reading an Agatha Christie novel.

I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Poisoned Pen Press for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 4/5

Category: Mystery, Historical Fiction

Notes: 

  1. heavy doses of drug use, sex, and gender transposition
  2. #16 in the Phryne Fisher Mystery series

Publication:   May 2, 2017—Poisoned Pen Press

Memorable Lines:

“Dot has a talent for being happy.”

Phryne didn’t believe in rigid routines. They robbed the day of spontaneity.

Her childhood had been so poor that Phryne still got a vague thrill when she turned on a tap and hot water came out.

Animals Do Too! How They Behave Just Like You–Parents and Teachers, take note of this one!

Animals Do Too! How They Behave Just Like You

by Etta Kaner

Animals Do TooAnimals Do Too! How They Behave Just Like You is a wonderful picture book that can be read on so many different levels and in many different ways. Preschoolers would enjoy the basic predictable story pattern that compares their action to that of an animal (e.g. “Do you like to dance? Honeybees do too!). The young elementary student will enjoy the scientific description of what the animal does that is like what the child does and why. The slightly older student would enjoy reading the book independently.  At the end of the book is an illustrated glossary of all the animals in the book with a short description of each. No review of this book would be complete without kudos to the illustrator, Marilyn Faucher. Her illustrations of both people and animals are colorful, engaging, and fun. They will make you smile!

I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Kids Can Press for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Children’s Nonfiction

Publication:  May 2, 2017—Kids Can Press

The Mysterious Reappearance of the Blogger

As you know if you have read many of my reviews, I LOVE a good mystery. I did not, however, set out in May to create one of my own by my sudden disappearance from digital media–email, blogging, even What’s App. I didn’t even plan on taking a “social media break” as some do from time to time for various reasons. For weeks now, I have been literally and digitally out of touch because of lack of connectivity through traveling, failing digital infrastructure in northern New Mexico, and exhaustion!

I’ll post a few pictures to show what I have been up to. I will not post any to depict the hours spent trying to deal with various issues with MVD, Verizon, and other business concerns in the U.S. When you have been out of country for a while these issues pile up, are interrelated and clamor to be handled all at once.

First a trip to the U.S./Mexico border with our two dogs. A few hours after we hit the road, we were sideswiped by a semi. Really nice man, same insurance company as ours, but we lost almost two hours of precious daylight. If there is one rule of thumb about driving in Mexico, it is DON’T DRIVE AT NIGHT.  We had to drive from the middle of Mexico to the northern part of New Mexico with no sideview mirror because our insurance stipulates that it must be repaired in Mexico.IMG_4858IMG_4879The border! Now to find our hotel and get the dogs arranged for the night.

Next day–Eagle Pass to Roswell with no alien encounters

Then on to Albuquerque where we got to see these lovely ladies compete in volleyball (silver medal winners), visited with family, and picked up a new bike for my husband. Four more (cold for my husband on the bike) hours later we finally make it HOME!

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Follow this up with trips back to Albuquerque for servicing and paperwork on the bike and up to Pagosa Springs, Colorado, for Plan B on establishing a better Internet connection.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On May the 16th we should be on the road for a motorcycle trip, but Chama is unseasonably cold, and motorcycling in cold weather is just not fun. By cold, I mean FREEZING:IMG_4899

On May 20th, with temperatures above 50º we left on a three day ride to Tyler, TX. These were long days in the saddle. At the end  of the day I just wanted dinner and a bed!

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After a great visit with John’s family and a tour of the famous Tyler Rose Gardens and Museum,

we headed to Arkansas to ride the Ozarks for 3 days

followed by 3 more days of riding to get back to northern New Mexico. We unfortunately caught a respiratory infection requiring some recuperation time after we got home.

Mystery solved–from disappearance to reappearance. Adventure is fun, but it’s always good to be home again–even if where you hang your hat is in several countries.

Brew or Die–new Nashville P.I.

Brew or Die

by Caroline Fardig

Brew or DieBrew or Die is a fast-paced, multi-layered, cozy mystery. I had a blast reading this one. The main character, Jules, has just gotten her PI (Private Investigator) license which means she officially has two jobs now. She is manager of the Java Jive Coffeehouse, owned by her best friend Pete, and she will now work for her friend Maya who owns an investigation agency. In this tale she is attracted to three different men while juggling two investigations. Jules is one busy red-head with an impulsive disposition.

I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Random House (Alibi) for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Mystery

Notes: #4 in the Java Jive Mystery Series—worked well for me as a standalone

Publication:   April 25, 2017—Random House (Alibi)

Memorable Lines:

“You, on the other hand, are always tangled up in your investigations, shoulder deep in them most of the time. You have to deal with your feelings and think about how your actions are going to affect everyone around you. And somehow you always manage to come out on top. That’s real strength.”

This time there wasn’t the crippling depression and the overwhelming urge to consume every piece of chocolate within my zip code.

“I didn’t invite you in,” I said, pretty much done with all males and their testosterone for the foreseeable future.

30 Days in the Land of the Psalms: a Holy Land Devotional

30 Days in the Land of the Psalms: A Holy Land Devotional

by Charles H. Dyer

30 DaysA devotional is such a personal kind of writing. Readers bring their backgrounds to the process. Then the Holy Spirit uses the author’s words, guiding their thoughts and providing inspiration for understanding and change. As a reviewer, I read 30 Days in the Land of the Psalms: A Holy Land Devotional daily to capture the devotional experience.

The author, Charles H. Dyer, has a lifetime of experiences in the Holy Land, having led many tours as a licensed guide. He also has outstanding academic credentials, and I am sure he knows more about the Bible than I ever will. He excels at analyzing the structure of each psalm. I discovered at the end of my reading that I had noted many more memorable passages than usual. Dyer’s format is to draw the reader into the psalm with a description of the area the psalm would have been written in or about and some historical background. Next he talks about the format of the psalm in terms of the repetition that is so important in Hebrew poetry and why it was written the way it was. Lastly he includes a section, “Walking in Our Land,” which applies the psalm to the reader’s life.

While 30 Days in the Land of the Psalms: A Holy Land Devotional has many good points, it did not offer personal inspiration for me. I have two major criticisms. As someone who has led forty tours in the Holy Land, he could have included more photographs and they could have aligned better with the point he was trying to make. Also, his efforts to make the book sound like a tour fell flat for me. An example is his writing in several chapters as if someone had posed a question, “I am glad you asked that question.”

I found 30 Days in the Land of the Psalms: A Holy Land Devotional to be an acceptable devotional, but not sufficiently interesting to encourage me to purchase other devotionals by this author.

I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Moody Publishing for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 3/5

Category: Devotional

Publication: May 2, 2017—Moody Publishing

Memorable Lines:

Whether we’re facing life’s struggles or rejoicing in God’s blessings, it seems we can always find a psalm that matches the mood of our spirit. And that’s what make the book of Psalms a songbook for all occasions.

The enemy might be somewhere just outside the city, but God is still seated calmly on His throne in heaven—and nothing takes the God of heaven by surprise.

We can’t always choose our circumstances, but we can choose how we’re going to respond. David had enemies, but during those times of trouble he also experienced God’s loyal love. And remembering how God had worked in the past gave him confidence that God would continue to bless the rest of his life. He rested in the presence of God.

Pride (the attitude that I can do it all myself) and impatience (thinking I want it all now) bring us into conflict with God…while humility and a sense of patient trust place us in proper relationship to Him.

Guacamole–perfect for a fiesta or an everyday treat

title_croppedAlthough various regions claim to be the “avocado capital,” I can attest that Michoacán, México, deserves the title! Not only was the oldest evidence of the tree found in México, but you only have to take the highway to Uruapan to be surrounded by hectares of avocado orchards and warehouses. We are talking big business and a delicious and healthy product.

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Basic guacamole topped with tomatoes, onion, and cilantro

I make guacamole a number of different ways, depending on my mood and available ingredients. It is so easy. Just combine the ingredients, mash with a fork, and serve.  For me the staples of guacamole are: avocado, lime juice (preferably fresh), and salt. Other tasty additions in any combination you desire are diced onion or tomato, fresh cilantro, and powdered cumin or coriander. I love it best with salted tortilla chips, known in México as “totopos,” but it is also good with fresh veggies, as a salad on a bed of lettuce,  or as a side, topping, or garnish with anything Mexican. How do you like your guacamole?

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The basics–ready to go!

 

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New avocado trees getting their start

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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