Cold weather, hot homemade soup, and a great read. We’re doing it Chris Pavesic style. Recipe included.
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-1/2 inch cubes
3 cans (14-1/2 oz. each) reduced-sodium chicken broth
3 cups water
4 medium carrots, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
1 teaspoon minced fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper or to taste
Nonstick cooking spray
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon margarine
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon dried parsley for parsley dumplings (optional)
Large nonstick skillet/Dutch oven
1. In a large nonstick skillet coated with nonstick cooking spray, brown chicken. Add the broth, water, vegetables and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, for dumplings, mix the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt (add dried parsley if desired) in a small bowl. With a fork cut in the margarine to resemble coarse crumbs. Mix in the milk. Set aside.
3. Bring soup to a boil. Drop dumplings by tablespoonfuls into the boiling soup. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in dumplings comes out clean (do not lift cover while simmering).
Chris Pavesic continues the amazing story of Cami Malifux with Book 2 of the Revelation Chronicles.
Escape from a world of darkness into a magical realm of limitless adventure.
In Starter Zone Cami kept herself and her younger sister Alby alive in a post-apocalyptic world, facing starvation, violence, and death on a daily basis. Caught by the military and forcefully inscribed, Cami manages to scam the system and they enter the Realms, a Virtual Reality world, as privileged Players rather than slaves. They experience a world of safety, plenty, and magical adventure.
In the Traveler’s Zone magic, combat, gear scores, quests, and dungeons are all puzzles to be solved as Cami continues her epic quest to navigate the Realms and build a better life for her family. But an intrusion from her old life threatens everything she has gained and imperils the entire virtual world.
Lieutenant Eve Dallas fights to save the innocent—and serve justice to the guilty—on the streets of New York in Connections in Death, the gritty and gripping new In Death novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author J.D. Robb.
Homicide cop Eve Dallas and her billionaire husband, Roarke, are building a brand-new school and youth shelter. They know that the hard life can lead kids toward dangerous crossroads—and with this new project, they hope to nudge a few more of them onto the right path. For expert help, they hire child psychologist Dr. Rochelle Pickering—whose own brother pulled himself out of a spiral of addiction and crime with Rochelle’s support.
Lyle is living with Rochelle while he gets his life together, and he’s thrilled to hear about his sister’s new job offer. But within hours, triumph is followed by tragedy. Returning from a celebratory dinner with her boyfriend, she finds Lyle dead with a syringe in his lap, and Eve’s investigation confirms that this wasn’t just another OD. After all his work to get clean, Lyle’s been pumped full of poison—and a neighbor with a peephole reports seeing a scruffy, pink-haired girl fleeing the scene.
Now Eve and Roarke must venture into the gang territory where Lyle used to run, and the ugly underground world of tattoo parlors and strip joints where everyone has taken a wrong turn somewhere. They both believe in giving people a second chance. Maybe even a third or fourth. But as far as they’re concerned, whoever gave the order on Lyle Pickering’s murder has run out of chances…
Starting a new In Death book always feels like going home to visit family you see twice a year – because that has been the release schedule for the past few years and when you’ve been reading the same series for a decade a new release is like a family reunion.
I read the new release as soon as I can, which is usually through the library. I put in a request for the ebook and the hardcover on release day and wait to see which one comes up first. This year it has been the hardcover. If I was set on reading the ebook version through the library I would wait another four or five months.
This review is of the hardcover version.
I classify In Death books as being either character driven or case driven. Connections In Death is case driven. There is a healthy amount of main character Eve Dallas’ drool-worthy husband, Roarke, in the story, and a gathering where we get to party with most of the series beloved characters.
If you’re new to the series I think you should know that all of the books have graphic scenes in them, either in the bedroom, at the crime scene, in the morgue, and at times in the field. You should also know that the series takes place in the future and the technology is part of the charm.
The pacing of this book was addictive and before I knew it I finished the book in a few sittings. This was our bright-eyed Dallas, tugging on every lead, seeing information no one else could. That’s why she’s the lieutenant.
The action sequences are easy to follow and we had a few in this one. There’s solid motive for Pickering’s staged OD, a satisfying investigation, and a perfect conclusion. If there’s one trick I think Robb missed, it would be that I would liked to have seen Dr. Rochelle Pickering after the case is solved. It’s a tiny thing compared to how the city they live in is enriched by what Eve Dallas and her team accomplished in the course of the investigation.
Connections In Death gets a solid five out of five stars from me. If you like futuristic homicide mysteries, give this series a try. Then we can talk about who we think the candy thief is. I have a couple of theories, like that it has to be someone in homicide.
A guest post by Emma Lane where she shares new ideas for applesauce flavors and an excerpt from her regency romance, “The Duke and Miss Amabel Hawkins”.
Such a gorgeous fruit. A fruit bowl on the dining room table lends a nice fragrance to the room; apple bobbing and caramel apples are for Halloween. Did your mom ever make fresh apple sauce? Nothing like the stuff they sell in the grocery store, is it? At my little Herbtique Shoppe here in Western NY, we sell Gourmet Chunky Rum Apple Sauce. The recipe is a state secret, but here are some hints to make the most of this delicious fruit.
Select both soft and firm apples, ie Courtland is soft, Greenings are firm. One will cook down first leaving the other ‘chunky’. Stir frequently. Burned apples are not delicious and the soft ones cook rapidly.
To peel or not to peel: We leave the peel on at home. Commercially we don’t. Both are good. Taste before you add sugar. Most times it isn’t necessary.
Blend flavors: Buy as many different kinds of apples as you can. Not only is this tasty, but it’s way fun as well. As you peel, take a bite now and then to compare flavors.
Flavorings: You are probably familiar with cinnamon to taste. A very small dash of nutmeg and cloves is good too. Vanilla is a winner. One cap and then taste. Other flavorings are great too-here is a good place to experiment. Let your eye roam over the choices at the grocery store. My son swears root beer would be great; he could be right. Be careful with maple syrup; it gets too sweet fast.
Baked apples are wonderful when you use a touch of flavoring with your brown sugar—vanilla is one of my favorites but you might find others.
Regarding the RUM: If you are making apple sauce, add at the last minute with whatever flavoring you have chosen. It gives it a sort of butter taste. I am about to experiment with BRANDY. You might try it too.
A neighbor just hinted to me that apple added to salsa is good. Can’t wait to try.
Canning apple sauce takes expert knowledge. Please do not try it if you haven’t done quite a bit of reading. PH is a biggie. We use lemon juice and a ph meter.
Enjoy the apple harvest. There are so many ways and I didn’t even mention: apple pie, apples and cheese, cocktail apples, home dried apples, apple pan dowdy, apple crumb cake, apple butter, etc, etc. Dried apples and apple pie are delicious any time.
After you’ve mulled over all the apple opportunities may I suggest a peek into one of my Regency releases?
Can an arrogant duke overcome his prejudice against a beautiful but managing female in time to find true love and happiness?
Miss Amabel Hawkins acknowledges her unusual upbringing, but she thinks James Langley, the Duke of Westerton, might be a tad unbalanced when he protests her efforts to right his badly managed properties. The duke, who has been away on the king’s business, demonstrates no respect for the beautiful but managing Miss Hawkins. Amabel has taken refuge at Westerton, fleeing from a forced marriage to a man who claims to be her relative in order to gain control of her young brother’s estate.
The Duke arrives home to find his estate under the firm control of a beautiful but managing female. His suspicions are fueled by his recent task of spy-hunting and he wonders if Amabel Hawkins is just who she seems. While a dastardly spy lurks, a wicked man poses as her cousin threatening to take over the guardianship of her young brother. Amabel might be falling in love, but she knows for certain the duke would never approve of a meddlesome woman, and she decides to flee his estate. Will the duke finally realize the true value of the woman he loves or will his prejudice ruin his chances forever?
EXCERPT Fatigue and the effects of the brandy on top of the ale now gave his gait a distinct wobble. He chuckled, amused at his condition.
As he reached for the portrait of great Uncle Barney, he lurched into the back of the red leather sofa in front of the cosy fire. “Deuce take it,” he exclaimed when a rounded arm rolled into view. He spotted the gentle curve of a hip and walked around to the front, where he spied a tumbled haze of dark curls hiding a face. It is indeed a female—a sleeping female.
Who was she? The gown was too rich for his household staff. Curious, he knelt beside the sofa.
“Only one way to find out,” he whispered and moved one dark curl. He sat back, satisfied when a handsome face swam into view. She sighed and rolled over, revealing a generous figure and a pair of rosy lips. She might be Sleeping Beauty—but not one of my relatives. He leaned over and kissed those tempting lips.
As he lingered there, she sighed and came partially awake. He could not resist. He deepened the kiss and sounds of satisfaction like yum and umm came from those delicious lips. Her hand stroked his face, then reached around his head to pull him closer. Delighted with this turn of events, the Duke of Westerton complied enthusiastically and extended an arm around a slender waist. How much of the ale and brandy had he imbibed? Dizziness overcame his senses as he slid down on the floor and knew no more.
Emma Lane is a gifted author who writes under several pen-names. She lives with her patient husband on several acres outside a typical American village in Western New York. Her day job is working with flowers at her son’s plant nursery. Look for information about writing and plants on her new website. Leave a comment or a gardening question and put a smile on Emma’s face.
Sci-fi is one of my pet genres that doesn’t get stroked nearly as much as I’d like because I get seduced by tairens, dragons, fairies, and other fantasy characters much more often. I’m glad that didn’t happen this time because I would have missed out on a five-star book.
I found The Consortium Rebellion series through an annual literacy fundraiser called Buns & Roses. Each table is hosted by an author, whom we get to have tea and chat with. This is my second year attending.
When the list of authors hits my inbox I read their bios and look at their book offerings. You know I was thrilled to see sci-fi on the list, from a new-to-me author, and that the book had good ratings on Amazon and members of one of my Goodreads book clubs recommended it.
I dove in.
Polaris Rising started as a book I read for Buns & Roses and turned into so much more when it delivered excellent world building that hasn’t been done to where you wonder if you’ve already read the book and interesting characters who captured my attention.
Space travel is common in Polaris Rising and humans dominate the universe. The main character, Ada, is a daughter of a ruling family in the consortium, who flees an arranged marriage and has to stay ahead of everyone trying to drag her back to her father and the man she gave up her position and security to avoid. She’s empowered, smart, and sassy. Totally fun to read. Her knowledge of spaceships is impressive and was a major reason I was invested in the story.
Plus, there’s a romance! Marcus Loch is one of those rough-around-the-edges heroes you want to tame, but not all the way.
Mihalik gave me a slow-burn romance that I loved and which enhanced the rest of the story. There are sexy times, in good proportion to what the main characters are going through.
The book is excellent, even if there are some questions I didn’t feel were answered. I can’t go into them without spoilers, but I can say that having those questions unanswered didn’t take me out of the story or lower my rating.
Meeting Mihalik was a big highlight at Buns & Roses. She was as much fun to hang out with as she was to read.
Temperatures are in the low 40’s and expected to drop to freezing tonight! A bowl of minestrone and a good book are a perfect way to welcome in our first freeze.
The lovely Vonnie Hughes is joining us with a recipe and a look at her romantic suspense, Lethal Refuge.
Minestrone Soup Recipe
1 tbsp. butter
4 slices bacon, chopped or ½ lb. gravy beef (chuck or skirt steak work well), or minced/ground
1 onion, chopped
½ lb. fresh tomatoes or 1 jar/can, chopped
1 carrot, scraped and chopped
1 potato, peeled and chopped
2 sticks celery or other seasonal vegetable, chopped
½ cup haricot beans that have been soaked overnight
3 tbsp. macaroni
3 tbsp. rice
3 tbsp. spaghetti
½ tsp. salt
Pepper to taste
Melt butter in a frying pan. Add bacon or meat and fry until crisp. Stir in onion and tomatoes.
Carefully pour mixture into a slow cooker or pressure cooker. Fill pot halfway with water. Stir in remaining ingredients.
Cook 2 hours in slow cooker or 15 minutes in pressure cooker.
Here’s a little from my latest romantic suspense. I hope you enjoy it.
Who can you trust if you can’t trust your own mother? Through the clammy fog, Celie Francis hears the chilling message. “I know who you are, Celie. I know where you live.” And in the terrifying aftermath she reconnects with her dysfunctional family in ways she had never imagined.
Abused and abandoned as a child, Célie Francis knows better than to trust anyone. But after she witnesses a murder, she’s placed in the Unit “New Zealand’s witness protection program” where she’s expected to trust strangers with her life.
It’s psychologist Brand Turner’s job to ease witnesses into their new identities, not to protect them, but Célie stirs feelings in him that are far from professional. When it appears someone is leaking critical information that could endanger Célie, Brand will do anything to protect her. But first he has to convince her to trust him.
Adrift in a frightening world, Célie would like to believe the handsome psychologist is everything he seems, but as witnesses are murdered and danger swirls around them, Célie must decide – can she trust Brand with her life?
Vonnie Hughes is a multi-published author in both Regency books and contemporary suspense. She loves the intricacies of the social rules of the Regency period and the far-ranging consequences of the Napoleonic Code. And with suspense she has free rein to explore forensic matters and the strong convolutions of the human mind. Like many writers, some days she hates the whole process, but somehow she just cannot let it go.
Vonnie was born in New Zealand, but she and her husband now live happily in Australia. If you visit Hamilton Gardens in New Zealand be sure to stroll through the Japanese Garden. These is a bronze plaque engraved with a haiku describing the peacefulness of that environment. The poem was written by Vonnie.
A hot one night stand after her best friend’s wedding could not turn into her wildest fantasy come true. Could it? Their best friends haven’t been hiding a connection to a parallel world or the fact that they’re sharing a psychic bond that will change everything they know is true and real. Right?
Restaurant critic Lucy Shannon’s ex-fiancé put her heart in a blender and punched the puree button. A couple years of therapy later she knows how to enjoy herself for a night when the right ranch foreman asks.
Stan Spellman has seen one or two happily married couples but his heart has never been stolen. Lucy’s a safe bet since she lives hours away from the ranch.
They’ll find out what they unlocked the moment they were introduced; a soulmate bond and their own set of extraordinary gifts.
The bond will bring them together however it has to.
Buy Desert Sunrise today and immerse yourself in this twisty, sexy fantasy romance.
Thanks for celebrating Lucy and Stan’s news! Many, many thanks to Victoria Cooper Art for bringing them to life.