Showing posts with label Wednesday Elf. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Wednesday Elf. Show all posts

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Killing Season by Faye Kellerman – Book Review

A really good book is one you cannot put down.  An excellent book is one you literally cannot stop reading! In my opinion, Killing Season by Faye Kellerman is such a book. 




Synopsis


Sunset in New Mexico - Pixabay
The setting is New Mexico – a small town close to Santa Fe.  Benjamin Vicksburg was barely 14 when his 16-year-old sister went missing. Her body wasn't found for a year. She had been kidnapped and strangled. 

Ben, his parents and younger sister had all suffered the anguish of not knowing what happened. Later, the family also becomes friends with another local couple whose teenage daughter Katie went missing and she has never been found.


As the story begins, Ben, now seventeen, has committed himself to finding the monster who abducted and strangled Ellen. The police continue to investigate, but there is nothing new. But Ben, who is a math genius, sees patterns that don't fit and conducts his own investigation. As he gathers data, he discovers clues to other similar unsolved murders. 


As Ben's senior high school year begins, he becomes friends with the new girl in school, Ro Majors. They bond over the fact that Ro lost a sister to cancer around the same time Ben lost Ellen.  Ro ends up helping him with his research, and together they discover 3 other unsolved cases of teenage girls whose murders were almost identical to Ben's sister. And then.... they go on a hike in an area Ben has figured out is a logical place to find where the killer might have buried Katie, and they find her grave.


The police are not happy that Ben is investigating on his own, even though the police detective who was lead investigator on Ellen's case likes Ben and is as anxious as the family to solve her case. 


As Ben gets closer to discovering who the killer is, his obsession marks him as a threat. The police want him to stop investigating, but Ben is worried about Ro and about his little sister Haley and her best friend Lilly. The little girls are now going on 15 and Ro is 17, all in the age-range the killer targets. 


Learning the truth may not be enough to keep Ben and those he loves from this relentless killer. 


Summary



I have never been as absorbed in a book to the point of ignoring everything else until I finished as I was with this one. Killing Season is so well written and captures your attention from the beginning. I enjoyed it very much. 

I have been reading books by Faye Kellerman since 1986 when she began the 26 books in her Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus series. I've always enjoyed those books, and now am enjoying her stand-alone thrillers. Killing Season is the first one I have read that wasn't in the series I have been following and, as much as I liked the series, I like this one even more. Kellerman has done an outstanding job capturing this mystery fan's attention. 


Note: Faye Kellerman is married to Jonathan Kellerman, also a writer, and together they are the parents of Jesse Kellerman, who has had several books published on his own and has co-authored several other books with his dad, Jonathan.  A real writing family.  


Links to other Kellerman books reviewed here on ReviewThisReviews:



*Killing Season Book Review written by Wednesday Elf






Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Saturday, June 18, 2022

Reviewing Wordy Gifts for your Favorite Bookworms

Bookends are the perfect Wordy gift for all the bookworms in your life.

*Intro photo is of Luxe Crystal Acrylic Bookends A-Z by Vandue on Etsy.

Bookend Gifts


What would be a more appropriate gift for the libraries of readers and writers than word-related bookends? 



READ is the perfect word for bookworms ~ lovers of books of any age.


Paul of Oregon creates beautiful bookend sets that he hand cuts with a scroll saw from 1/2” thick, furniture grade Birch plywood.  His bookends are then sanded and finished with satin interior non-toxic paint.


This heavy duty two-piece set of bookends has a bottom surface protector which will extend under a few books for enhanced book support. This set, and many more designs in words and in intricate shapes of animals and sports activities are available in Paul's Etsy Shop he calls ScrollMaster Designs



An appropriate gift for your writer friends would be this set of WRITER bookends. Handmade and designed by Knob Creek Metal Arts of Louisville, KY, the bookends are solid steel and heavy enough to hold up your reading collection. Sold in a set of two pieces, they are finished in a black powder coat.  Dimensions are approx. 6 1/2" t x 6 1/2" w x 4" d. 



A darling set of bookends for a child's book collection is one that is personalized with your child's name. For a little girl's room, this Butterfly Bookends set is so adorable. Or choose from many sets, all with cute designs, from the Etsy Shop of Nelsons Gifts.  Jon and Roseann Nelson specialize in personalized nursery and home décor.


Cooks are bookworms too, with cookbooks being their favorite genre. So a set of bookends with the word COOK is an ideal gift idea for your favorite cook. 



This set from Amazon is made with quality steel and is very durable and able to hold many large and heavy books such as you often find in favorite cookbooks.  These bookends have a powder-coated surface, so it is smooth and anti-rust, with a non-slip base. 


Summary


So, choose a Wordy bookend set as a gift for your bookworm friends and family. 


Related Links:




*Wordy Gifts for Your Favorite Bookworm was written and compiled by Wednesday Elf










Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Saturday, June 4, 2022

National Cheese Day - A Holiday Review

National Cheese Day is celebrated each year on June 4th.


They say that the art of cheese making is so ancient that it predates recorded history. It is such a popular food staple that it can still satisfy any craving even after thousands of years. 

Interesting Cheese Facts:


  • Among the healthiest cheeses (which are better for lactose intolerance) are feta and goat cheese.
  • Cottage cheese (including ricotta) contain a muscle-building protein ~ up to 11 grams in a single serving.
  • For people with hypertension, Swiss cheese is a good option as it is naturally lower in sodium.
  • Did you know that cheeses are more flavorful at room temperature?  Just let them stand for one-half hour before serving. 

  • There are seven types of cheese:  

    1.  Fresh
    2.  Aged fresh
    3.  Soft white rind
    4.  Semi-soft
    5.  Hard
    6.  Blue
    7.  Flavor added


The most popular cheese is mozzarella. And it is a good source of calcium. Try the tip below for a tasty and healthy snack when you are not enjoying it on your favorite pizza! 


Image Source: Pixabay

Tip: Melt some part-skim mozzarella on sliced tomatoes and basil to boost your calcium intake for the day. 


Other Cheese Holidays


  • January 20 – National Cheese Lover's Day
  • April 12 - National Grilled Cheese Day
  • April 17 – National Cheese Ball Day
  • October 15 – National Cheese Curd Day

  • February 13 – National Cheddar Day


Cheddar the Cat: Photos from Kimberly Austin Daly

*National Cheddar Day reminds me of a happy personal story:  My daughter has a very friendly neighborhood cat who regularly visits their home. He is an orange tabby named Cheddar! Cheddar recently got lost during a severe thunderstorm and the owners and my daughter posted descriptions and pictures of Cheddar on Facebook to locate him when he didn't come home. After 3 days, the postings resulted in locating Cheddar, who is back with his family and his favorite neighbors (my daughter & son-in-law). 


Summary


So, enjoy your favorite cheese in chunk, slice or dip form. Or baked in a favorite cheese dish (macaroni & cheese), added to grilled burgers to make a cheeseburger, or in dozens of different ways. Even a cat with a cheese name! :)


Mark June 4th on your calendar to be sure and celebrate National Cheese Day. 


National Cheese Day
June 4

Source: Pixabay


For related reviews about cheese, click on ReviewThisReviews:Cheese


*National Cheese Day review written by Wednesday Elf


A Cookbook for Cheese Lovers ~


Found on Amazon





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Saturday, May 28, 2022

Review of the 5-Cup Mr. Coffee Mini Brew

My new coffeemaker



I have had many Mr. Coffee coffeemakers over the years and always bought the 12-cup size. Since I am now the only coffee drinker in the house, when it came time to replace my old coffeemaker I decided to 'downsize'. Thus, I purchased the 5-Cup mini brew Mr. Coffee


My purchase decision was based on four things:

Mr. Coffee 5-Cup Mini Brew

  1. Only one coffee drinker living in my house.
  2. The fact that I've noticed I now (usually) only drink two cups of coffee each morning instead of the 4 or 5 I used to drink. 
  3. This coffeemaker brews just 5 cups (25 oz.) instead of the larger 12-cup size, which is just the right amount for two 12-ounce cups of my mug-size cups of coffee at a time. If more is needed, or you have coffee-drinking company, it is quick to brew another pot.
  4. The small size of the Mini Brew coffeemaker fits so much better on my kitchen shelf, taking up less space.



Features of the Mr. Coffee Mini Brew




  • Since I was going to a smaller coffeemaker, which is less expensive than the larger 12-cup version, I decided to splurge on a 'programmable' one. It has some nice features.
  • Brew Later. You can set it ahead to automatically turn on, letting you have fresh-brewed coffee ready when you get up.
  • Auto Pause.  Allows you to grab a cup while the coffeemaker is still brewing if you cannot wait (which I seldom can first thing in the morning!). 
  • As with the larger versions, this Mr. Coffee Mini Brew has an easy to view water window, handy for filling the coffeemaker. 
  • Most important ~ it has a 2-hour auto shut-off feature. It automatically turns itself off if you forget.


The Important 2-hour Auto Shut-Off Feature



Let me tell you how important this feature is in ANY coffeemaker. Years ago I had a non-programmable, standard Mr. Coffee coffeemaker. It worked fine, except you had to remember to turn it off when you were done drinking coffee for the day.


Hubby & I would leave for work after coffee and breakfast and drive 18 miles to the office. At work, the coffee pot in the break room would remind me of my own coffee pot at home. Three different times I was suddenly so convinced in my mind that I had not turned off my coffee pot that I had to call my neighbor and ask her to run over and check my coffee pot. Once I DID leave it on.  After the third time of this 'did I, did I not' turn off the coffee pot, I gave up and bought a programmable one that shuts itself off! It is well worth the piece of mind to have this auto shut-off feature, even if you are now retired and home all day most days. 


Summary


I am very pleased with my new 5-cup programmable Mr. Coffee Mini-Brew coffeemaker


*Review of the Mr. Coffee Mini Brew Coffeemaker is written by Wednesday Elf





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Saturday, May 21, 2022

World Otter Day Review

World Otter Day is celebrated every year on the last Wednesday in May. It is considered a Global Awareness Day and is celebrated in over 20 countries all over the world. 


This holiday began in 2014 by the International Otter Survival Fund (IOSF).  The UK began this event and it is considered a 'world' event because otters exist on all continents except Antarctica and Australia. 


Each of the 13 species of otters are at risk due to declining natural habitats, along with a few other reasons. On this awareness holiday, nature preservation groups provide educational and research programs to protect otters. 


The River Otter vs. the Sea Otter


River & Sea Otters (source: Pixabay)

There are two kinds of otters, the river otter and the sea otter. Differences include: 


  • Size - Sea Otters are much larger than River Otters
  • Fur – Sea Otters have much denser fur needed for extra warmth in the colder oceans, compared to rivers and streams where River Otters live. 
  • Swimming style – River otters usually swim belly down and often lounge on the river banks. Sea otters often swim with their belly up and very seldom go on land.
  • Motherhood – River otters often have 2 or 3 pups per litter and keep their young safe by their side. Sea otters usually only have one pup at a time and keep their pup nestled on their stomach as they float until they are old enough to swim on their own.


Otters are very social animals, and can be seen playing with family members by sliding around on their bellies and teaching each other how to catch food. 


See them in the wild or in a zoo near you. If you would like a reminder of these adorable animals, Amazon has darling plush toy otters and Etsy gives you a wide range of Otter-Related merchandize.  Two examples are presented below:


Sea Otter
Plush Otter


From Aurora World's Miyoni line of realistically styled plush animals comes this cute sea otter. He measures 10 inches tall and comes in a playful pose like the sea otters who float on their back.  Soft and huggable plush. 




Otter Potholders

Otter Potholders

This is a set of two handmade potholders with a design of otters. The potholders are 8 inches square, and are washable and heavy so you won't burn your hands when you use them. They are handmade in cotton fabric by Carol of WildernessTies on Etsy. 





Summary


These mammals are 'Otterly' adorable and a favorite in the animal world. So get ready to celebrate World Otter Day every year on the last Wednesday in May.


Sea Otters at Morro Rock, Morro Bay, California (Pixabay)


*World Otter Day Holiday is reviewed by Wednesday Elf







Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Saturday, May 14, 2022

Key Lime Pie – Recipe Review

REAL Key Lime Pie. The way they make it in the Florida Keys from fresh Key Limes. The name comes from their association with the Florida Keys.




Recipe


Main Ingredients: Pie shell, Key lime juice, egg yolks, sweetened condensed milk 


Start with your crust....



You can use a shortcrust pie shell, but usually Key Lime Pie is made using a graham cracker crust.

Photo by Ariana Suárez on Unsplash

Mix together 16 crushed graham crackers with 3 tablespoons of sugar and one-fourth (1/4th) lb. of margarine or butter.  Press the mixture into a 9-inch pie plate. Bake crust in a 350 degree preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, or until lightly browned.  Let cool.


For the Pie Filling....


Take 4 large egg yolks and, using an electric mixer, beat egg yolks until thick.  To the eggs slowly add one 14 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk. Then, on low speed, slowly add one-half (½) cup of fresh Key lime juice (about 10-12 limes).


Pour the blended filling mix into the baked pie crust.  Bake again in a 350 degree oven for about 12 minutes.


Pie Topping....


Photo by Nathan Lemon on Unsplash


Never use meringue on a Key Lime Pie. If you desire a topping, use a dollop of 'real' whipped cream. Top the whipped cream with a cherry or a curl of Key Lime peel.


My First Key Lime Pie Story


We were living in south Florida on the Gulf Coast when we were first introduced to real Florida Key Lime Pie. I was working part-time for a landscape and lawn care service company. One day our crew was doing lawn care at a large estate when the owner asked if they would pick up a large bunch of limes that had fallen from her Key lime tree following a storm. They asked her what she wanted them to do with the limes and she told them to 'just take them'. So back to the office came the crew with a bunch of Key limes, and shared them around.


Naturally I had to use my share to make my very-first ever Key Lime Pie. I wasn't much of a cook at the time, but the recipe was easy to follow. Well, the pie turned out delicious, but somehow I expected the filling to be green ~ like the limes. I didn't realize that lime juice looks just like lemon juice, despite the dark green skin on the limes. Silly me. :) But, if you've ever had lime pie, you will notice a big difference in yummy taste when using real Key Limes! There really is no substitute! 


Photo by Nathan Lemon on Unsplash


For More Recipe Reviews, 

click on ReviewThisReviews: Recipes


*Key Lime Pie Recipe reviewed by Wednesday Elf.






Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Saturday, May 7, 2022

The Bone Island Trilogy – Book Reviews

 A Trilogy by Heather Graham, the author of the Krewe of Hunters series and the Harrison Investigations series.



This trilogy takes place primarily in Key West. The name Bone Island comes from the first explorers who visited the island around the beginning of 1600. They found the bones of deceased native tribes and called it the 'Island of Bones' or Cayo Hueso.  


Bone Island Trilogy



Ghost Shadow


The Bone Island Trilogy begins with Katie O'Hara who is drawn into a years-old murder when David Beckett returns to Key West. David, a photographer and film maker, had been gone from his island home for many years, working in his craft around the world. His fiancé had been murdered and some suspected that David was guilty of the crime. He returns home to deal with the paperwork involved following the death of his grandfather and perhaps to find a way to clear his name. Katie becomes involved in the mystery surrounding the decade-old murder, despite warnings from her spectral friend Bartholomew, an 18th century ghost. 


Ghost Night


While filming a slasher movie, two actors are murdered on Haunt Island, a remote island in South Bimini. Two years later, survivor Vanessa Loren meets up with Sean O'Hara in Key West where plans are underway to film a documentary about the storied region, including the unsolved crime that haunts Vanessa. As they begin filming along the coral reef, the discovery of authentic pirate treasures deepen the mystery. Spectral help is needed once again before more murders occur.


Ghost Moon


Officer Liam Beckett of the Key West police force finds an old man has died in his home. His granddaughter, Kelsey Donavan, returns to her former Key West home to catalog her grandfather's collections of artifacts and antiquities. But the old family home ~ Merlin House ~ gives Kelsey the feeling she is being watched. Is the house haunted; are the ghost stories true? Liam vows to protect Kelsey and discover the truth. 


Characters in the Bone Island Trilogy


Photo Credit: Pedro Lastra on Unsplash


This trilogy has continuing characters that are either related or have been good friends since childhood. They are all 'conches' – the name given to those who were born and raised in Key West. There is Katie and Sean O'Hara ~ brother & sister, David and Liam Beckett ~ cousins, Jamie O'Hara ~ Katie & Sean's uncle who runs a popular bar and restaurant where Katie does 'Katie-okie' 4 nights a week and where most of the friends congregate regularly, and several couples who make regular appearances throughout the trilogy. 


Then there is Bartholomew Miller, the most interesting of all the characters. You see, Bartholomew was a 'privateer' during the time pirates and privateers wreaked havoc in the Caribbean. He plied the seas for England for years and finally found a home on Bone Island. His home at the time is the house Katie now lives in, so Bartholomew shares the house with her. Katie has been able to see ghosts most of her life. Later, the ghost attaches himself to her brother Sean, and eventually to Liam. Bartholomew plays a part in helping solve the crimes and strange goings-on that occur throughout the Bone Island Trilogy.


Summary



I just recently discovered that there is a prequel  to the Trilogy – Ghost Memories - and it's all about Bartholomew!


I enjoyed this trilogy very much and recommend it to readers who enjoy mystery stories that are also 'ghost stories'. 


More Series by Heather Graham





*The Bone Island Trilogy book reviews written by Wednesday Elf.


+Intro Photo by Lynn Danielson on Unsplash 






Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Crafty Kitchen Critters Review

Animal décor for the kitchen




Animals are loved by almost everyone, so it is no surprise to see someone's favorite animal displayed as a design on many items.  Kitchens are an easy and fun place to show off your love for the animal of your choice, as there are so many areas that lend themselves to this type of décor.


Since I am a crafter, I love to show off the clever creations by my fellow crafters.  On many handmade sites, especially Etsy, one can find any animal that appeals to you. Whatever you need, from kitchen towels to potholders to signs and more, this 'kitchen critter' guide will give you a place to start.


Farm Animal Décor


Many kitchens are designed with a country décor and animal lovers can easily find items with images of any or all of their favorite farm animals.


Cow Farmhouse Kitchen Canisters

Cows are probably at the top of the list when it comes to animal décor in a country kitchen.  
I have noticed that sheep are also loved by many. 

Pictured above is a cute set of cow canisters for your kitchen. Created by Crystol of Missouri, these cow canisters consist of a soap jar, sugar jar, flour jar, utensil holders and S & P set. They can be found (individually or as a set) in her Etsy shop she calls CrystolsCountryKraft

Cats and Dogs


Flour Sack Kitchen Towel

If you want an animal décor in your kitchen that is not country-themed, cats and/or dogs are most likely the next big favorite.

For owners of Labrador Retrievers, this is the most adorable kitchen towel I ever saw. Handmade from Etsy and found in the shop of Boss Babe Productions.  Design printed on a flour sack kitchen towel.


Woodland Creatures


Woodland Animal Napkins

After farm animals and cats & dogs, comes any number of nature's woodland creatures.

Looking through the choices on Etsy, for instance, it is easy to see that the fox is very popular.  Depending on where you live, woodland animals in décor favorites range from large animals such as bears and moose, to the smaller squirrels, frogs, and especially owls. There is no end to the variety available. 

This featured set of cloth napkins is handmade by Linsey for her Etsy Shop Naughty Cat Apparel


Sea Animals


Manatee Potholders

In coastal communities, and especially in states such as Florida, sea life becomes a popular choice for animal décor in the kitchen.

Spruce up your kitchen 'sea' décor with this pair of handmade potholders with a design of manatees. These potholders are made by Carol for her Etsy Store 'Wilderness Ties'


Summary


Hand-Painted Wood Mini Signs

I have presented just a few of the many, many animal designs available to decorate your kitchen. Whichever animal is your favorite, you will find just what you are looking for to complete  your décor. I have focused on those items that are handmade because I love anything 'crafty', but there is no limit to animal décor anywhere you look. 


*Crafty Kitchen Critters review written by Wednesday Elf


**Intro Image of Floral Farm Animal Kitchen wood spatula - laser engraved. Product of  TreeSunCrafts on Etsy.



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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