Archive for August, 2009

The Trojan ProjectThe Trojan Project – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat

‘A strange light appears in the night sky above the Cherviots. A mist descends, shrouding the hills and valleys. Is it a natural phenomenon or something more sinister?’

Sarah had planned to be at a friends house for the night and her two daughters were to stay with a neighbor until her husband Pete returned to pick them up. He and three of his field workers had gone up to Top Meadow to check on Pete’s sheep herd. But, unknown to Pete, his daughter Jose came down with a sore throat and Sarah decided to stay home with her children.

Sarah had tried to call Pete to tell him that she was with the children but couldn’t get through. The only sound coming through her cell phone was static. Apparently the hills were blocking the signal. Sarah wasn’t that concerned knowing that Laura would tell Pete that the kids were with her at home. But as the hours passed, Sarah started to worry about Pete absence. It was getting late and he always called when knew he would be delayed. As she stood outside their home watching for his headlights to come up the road, she noticed a strange light hovering over the valley. As the light died out a green mist rolled in. Fear rose in Sarah as she stood watching. Everything was so still and quiet. Nothing was moving, not even the cows in the field. As Sarah’s fears increased she went in to check on her sleeping daughters. They had slept through the whole phenomenon but to ease some of her worry and fear she decided to spend the night in their room. Surely, by the time morning came, Pete would be in their own room sound asleep.

The next morning Pete was still missing. Sarah phoned her friends and neighbor in hopes that someone would know something about, not just Pete, but also the lights from the night before. But her calls were unanswered. In hopes of finding someone to ease her fears for Pete, she loads the girls into her car and headed down to the valley. She hadn’t gone far when she runs across Dave. Dave had been with Pete the day before and informs her that Pete, as well as everyone else from the valley, is dead. While telling her his story, Sarah started noticing that his flesh was melting from his body. His dying words to her is a warning to not touch anything nor anyone.

In Sarah’s attempt to find someone to help her and explain what has happened she drives to the next town to speak with the police there. Andy, the young constable on duty, actually believes she has lost her mind as she describes what she has seen. But when his superior comes in and hears about the death of Dave, who is one of his best friends, he heads to the valley to check it out for himself. As Sarah and Andy wait for his return, the military show up with full protective suits and weapons. And when they asked for Sarah by name, something tells Andy that he should take Sarah’s story seriously. He also fears for her safety with these men and tells the Sergeant that Sarah had gone back to her home and that the woman and children there with him are his own wife and kids. As the military unit leaves, he convinces Sarah that their life in in danger and they must leave immediately before they come back.

Follow Sarah and Andy as they are chased by the military all the way to London. See what happens when two unexpected people show up in London after surviving the light and mist. And find out exactly what The Trojan Project really is, who created it and why.

When I was a child, my family moved to Utah. I remember two nights that a neighbor came to warn us of the lights in the sky. The first night she knocked on our door around midnight. She was yelling and crying, trying to tell us there was a burning ball of light in the sky. The next night she came to tell us there was a burning rod of fire in the sky. Both nights we all went outside to see these lights for ourselves. And both nights we saw exactly what she saw. I can remember being scared but I couldn’t take my eyes off the lights as they moved across the sky. Later we were told the lights were experimental air crafts being tested by the military. I never really believed that story, but after reading The Trojan Project, I think I believe it now .

Great book. It will make you stop and wonder what really goes on behind our backs and how much is covered up forever.


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De Marco Empire – Reviewed by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat

‘It was mid July 1985, Katie and her best friend Lucy were getting ready for a night out to celebrate Lucy’s twentieth birthday. They had been saving up for weeks and were going to the opening night of a prestigious new club in the city called “La Pregheira”.’

Katie and Lucy had been friends for years. Lucy’s brother Matt had been Katie’s boyfriend since high school. Everyone, including Katie herself, expected them to marry one day and start a family. But Matt was still finishing his education to become a lawyer and due to his needing to study, wasn’t able to attend the opening of La Pregheira with the girls.

Upon reaching the club, Katie and Lucy discovered they should have bought tickets in advance. The line was tremendous and they would never make it in for the opening. Lucy came up with an idea to pose as temp employees just long enough to get inside. It didn’t take the manager long to see through this little scam but she was so impressed with the two girls that she hired them, giving them the night off to enjoy the club.

The club owners Antonio and Gianni De Marco were in attendance for the opening and when Antonio spotted Katie, he felt drawn to her. He was there with Sasha but that didn’t stop him from pursuing Katie. When he broke off his engagement with Sasha to be with Katie, her temper flared. And when Antonio proposed to Katie, Sasha swore she would have her revenge.

Matt is heartbroken after loosing Katie. He doesn’t trust Antonio and his brother Gianni. People have a tendency of either dying or disappearing after crossing the brothers. But Katie is blinded by her love for Antonio and refuses to heed his warnings.

Antonio insists that Katie will no longer work at the club but does agree to allow her to go into the import furniture with Nina after her husband is arrested for drug smuggling. Between the two of them, their business flourishes with Katie becoming a very self proven business woman. So after four long years, Antonio finally pins Katie down to setting a wedding date.

The wedding day starts as a beautiful, wondrous occasion until someone kills Antonio. Katie, upon finding Antonio, picks up the gun that killed him making her the the prime suspect.

The De Marco Empire is a book of page turning, non-stop action. I really didn’t want it to end and I’m hoping McCartney will write a sequel.

De Marco Empire

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Uncle Si’s Secret – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat

Creating Cedar Valley Residence was a dream come true for Belinda Jones and her brother Bernard. They had spent five years making sure each room and suite was perfectly decorated to create a feeling of comfort and welcome. Now it was time to add a new addition, which would create space for more residents and allow Belinda and Bernard to start turning a profit in the near future.

Cedar Valley residents were a hodgepodge of ages and personalities that had all become family to Belinda and Bernard. One special resident was Miss Shirley, who had appeared a year before with a bewildered look on her face, broken glasses perched on her nose, no identification and a pile of cash in her purse. Even after putting ads in the newspaper, talking to the police and tacking fliers on telephone poles, no one knew who she was nor where she had come from. The doctors assured Belinda that Miss Shirley had temporary amnesia and that she would probably come out of it at some point in time. So when Miss Shirley asked for a meeting with Belinda to inform her that her money had run out and she would be moving, Belinda was rightfully concerned. Miss Shirley also told Belinda that she was missing her favorite Chinese print scarf, which Belinda felt had probably been misplaced and would turn up later. But as more residents informed Belinda that they too have missing items, her concern started to grows. Does she really know her residents? Could one of them be a thief? She had to get to the bottom of this thief mystery before it really started hurting business.

Belinda had always thought she would enjoy becoming a detective and had actually helped solve a few minor crimes in the past. So to add to her task of catching the person responsible for items missing from Cedar Valley, she’s approached by Olive Norris. Mrs. Norris comes in hope that Belinda will find enough evidence to free her son Kirby who was arrested for the murder of his wife. The case against Kirby appeared to be an open and shut case. Items of clothing and the gun used to kill Lana Norris were found in Kirby’s car. After meeting with Kirby and hearing his story, Belinda believes in his innocence and decides to take the case. But after another murder is committed, plus an attempt on the life of someone dear to Kirby, Belinda begins to wonder if she has taken on more than she can handle and can she solve this case before anyone else has to die.

Uncle Si’s Secret is full of secrets. M. M. Gornell kept me guessing throughout the whole book. Every time I thought I knew the identity of the thief and the murder, Gornell would surprise me with a new twist proving my theory to be wrong. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Uncle Si’s Secret and I think you will too. I will give you a small clue. The thief will really surprise you. It sure did me.
Uncle Si's Secret

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Country Bob’s Cookbook – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat

In Country Bob’s Cookbook you’ll find recipes for everything from Wingettes to Country Bob’s Chip Dip in the Appetizer section. There is Sour Cream Slaw Dressing and Cucumber and Tomato Salad in the Salad section. And Foil-Wrapped Chicken and Grilled Chicken-in-a-Pocket in the grilling section. Most of the dishes are made using Country Bob’s All Purpose Sauce, which I’ve used and love. The flavor blends of this sauce adds the perfect touch to anything from baked beans to meatloaf. And I can’t wait to try their recipe for Country Bob’s Steak Taco in the main dish section.

I made One of the above cake in Country Bob’s Cookbook and have to admit that I did make 3 changes. I used butter instead of the margarine and I used black walnut flavoring instead of the butternut. My reasons? I always bake with butter and I had no butternut flavoring so I substituted using the black walnut. My only other change was that I baked mine in a tube pan instead of 3 cake pans. Again, my reason? I just like to bake cakes in tube pans. But I still ended up with 3 layers. I simply slice my cake creating 3 layers. The cake is not only beautiful but the taste is wonderful. And the recipe for Country Bob’s Butternut Cake, as well as all of the recipes I’ve found in this book, are simple.

If you would like to see a picture of my cake, visit my site http://stirlaughrepeat.blogspot.com

Country Bob's Cookbook

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A Corpse in the Soup – Reviewed by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat

Some one is sabotaging the cooking show of America’s favorite Chef. Food testers are coming down with food poisoning, the Baked Alaska is blowing up and the paprika is as hot as Hades. But who would do this and why?

When I was young I enjoyed playing the board game “Clue.” What made this game so much fun were the characters. So now I want to introduce you to the characters of A Corpse in the Soup. Let’s see if you can determine “who done it” in this story of colorful characters.

Godiva Olivia Duboise – writes a syndicated column titled Ask G.O.D. Resides in L. A. And loves to solve other people’s problems. Married, widowed, left very rich.

Goldie Silver – identical twin of Godiva. Owns and operates the Silver Spoon Antiques in Juneau, Alaska. Even though she is identical in looks to Godiva she is actually a “mirror” twin. While Godiva’s clothes come straight from the designers, Goldie’s come straight from the Salvation Army. Godiva has a fleet of expensive cars in her garage while Goldie drives an old clunker.

Chili Pepper – Daughter of Goldie and Red Pepper (Goldie kept her maiden name for the shop). Sous-Chef on her father’s Alaskan cruise ship the Aurora Borealis. Gets a call from Godiva inviting her to attend the taping of “Flirting with Food” where Godiva is chosen to be a food tester and ends up in the hospital with food poisoning.

Flossie Silver – Mother of Godiva and Goldie. Sterling Silver – Uncle of Godiva and Goldie. Both Flossie and Sterling are retired vaudeville magicians. And they, like Godiva love to solve other people’s problems.

Chef Caesar Romano – Star of “Flirting with Food.” Cooked and served the shrimp that put Godiva in the hospital with food poisoning. Swears someone is sabotaging his food. Ends up becoming Godiva’s biggest fan and admirer.

Chef Biff Wellington – star of his own cooking show and known as the “Aerobic Chef”. Will be competing against Caesar Romano in the annual competition of “Gourmet Gladiators”. Hates his competition and swears that he will be this year’s winner.

Candy Vanderloop – ex-assistant to Chef Caesar Romano, now working with Chef Biff Wellington. Has a big crush on Romano. Finds out that Wellington is a real pain to work with and for.

Chris Cross – office assistant to Chef Biff Wellington. Has his own problems working with and for Wellington. Teams up with Candy to create their own show.

Now, with names like these you know this is going to be a very funny, entertaining book. But this is also a murder mystery so one of these characters must die. In fact the victim is murdered and found face down in a bowl of soup.

Goldie sums it up quite well with her words… “All I wanted was a quiet buying trip. Instead, my sister gets poisoned, then dates the guy who poisoned her, who hires my daughter, then he gets arrested for killing his rival, we try to help out and almost get carved up by a wacko writer and our savior is a sweet little girl who turns out to be a kamikaze Black Belt. This could only happen in L.A.”

A Corpse in the Soup

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The Pot Thief Who Studied Pythagoras – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat

‘The two best things about being a shopkeeper are that your income isn’t limited to some corporation’s idea of what a salary should be, and you get to set your own hours. The two worse things are that you don’t have a salary to depend on ever month, and… well, it doesn’t really matter what the other worst thing is if there’s no money coming in.’

Hubert Schuze owns a Native American pottery shop in Albuquerque’s Old Town. Hubert’s close friends and his not so close friends call him a ‘pot thief.’ In 1980 Congress passed the Archaeological Resources Protection Act which prohibits the removal of buried pots on public lands, thus putting a supposed halt to Hubert’s treasurer hunting and a crimp on his income.

When Carl Wilkes of New World Antiquities walked into Hubert’s store, he came with an offer that was hard to turn down. He wanted Hubert to “acquire” one of only two intact Mogollon water jugs ever reported found. This particular jug Wilkes wanted Hubert to acquire was on display at the Valle Del Rio Museum at the University of New Mexico. And when Wilkes offers $25,000 for the acquisition, Hubert decides to give it some thought. That is until he’s visit by Agent Guvelly from the Bureau of Land Management. Guvelly proceeds to accuse Hubert of taking not the jug that is in the University museum but the other jug that was on display in Bandelier.

I’ve never been to Albuquerque, much less it’s Old Town, but through my reading of The Pot Thief I feel that I’ve just gotten back. The history of the area’s Native Americans, the pottery and Pythagoras himself, made this a very educational book. The story it’s self is filled with murder and tension, but it also has humor which makes it a light hearted book to read. And the conversations carried on by Hubert and his best friend Susannah, as they discuss how to solve the mysteries of who stole the jug from Bandelier, who murdered the man in room 1119 and who placed a dead man in Hubert’s store, are such “practical” conversations that you can’t help but laugh.

The Pot Thief was an extremely entertaining book and I highly recommend that you read it for yourself. And the ending…. I can only call it “creative, poetic justice.”
The Pot Thief

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Spice Up Your Life – The Flexitarian Way – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat

I can’t say that I’ve ever found a “healthy” cookbook that made me actually want to try it’s dishes. The pictures grab my attention but the ingredients are always the same. Veggies, veggies, veggies. Don’t get me wrong, I love vegetables but when I find myself thumbing through a health conscious cookbook I’m usually turned off by the lack of taste. I want healthy foods that have spunk and bold flavors. And that’s exactly what I’ve found in Bindu Grandhi’s book Spice Up Your Life.

This book enticed me so much that I’ve already cooked two of her dishes. Her Chicken with Spiced Cashew and Almond Sauce is out of this world. The sauce made from cardamon, cashews, almonds, half & half, saffron and chili powder has a rich taste with just a little heat. It compliments the chicken to the point that I found myself wanting a 2nd serving. Her Bananas with Coconut and Honey explodes with taste.

I’ve already marked other recipes I want to try, with my first one being her Corn Flour Toast. This bread “batter” is made with corn flour, sweet onions, cumin and chili powder.

So, if you are like me and want healthy food with a “kick” you must try the dshes in Spice Up Your Life.Spice Up Your Life

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