Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz

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This is my first acquaintance with author Anthony Horowitz.  I can say that I will be seeking out more of his work and hope it’s as engaging as this book. How did I miss this guy when he has written so many successful English series such as Foyle’s War?

This murder mystery featuring fictional detective Atticus Pund was appealing on it’s own but wait……there is another story line and mystery about the publishing company for Alan Conway, author of the Atticus Pund books.

The book opens in present time with Susan Ryeland, editor for Conway’s books, telling the story.  She is given the last manuscript from Conway but the last few chapters are missing.  This will change Susan’s life and not for the better I can tell you.

You are immediately immersed into the ninth Atticus Pund book which is set in rural England, the time period is the 1950’s.  It’s such noir writing, reminds you of Agatha Christie with the sleuthing.

After a tragedy (spoiler so I can’t say here) we are back to Susan’s world in modern times visiting London and the rural English countryside.  The characters and motives from both stories are intertwined.  It’s a classic whodunit with some great twists.

I liked the mention of other books and movies throughout this story, some of which I book marked to request form the library.

A few food and drink references:
Champagne, fish and chips, sandwiches, Victoria Sponge cake, grilled sardines, salad and wine. Eggs and toast fingers. English breakfast with two eggs, bacon, sausage, tomato and a fried slice. Homemade quiche and bean salad. Smoked salmon with salad and artisan bread. A bottle of wine, Nacho Cheese flavored tortilla chips and a jar of hot salsa dip. Pub food and ales.

I wanted to make the Victoria Sponge cake but after our vacation, I think I better cut back on high caloric treats.  It’s for the best, really (I’m telling myself this).  So I went for a favorite, this passes for pub grub in my neck of the woods.

A grilled Mahi Mahi sandwich with all the trimmings. Lettuce, tomato, onions, lime on toasted Cuban bread. Served with black beans and rice and ale. Oh. Yeah.

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Linking up with Joy’s British Isles Friday, Heather for the November Foodies Read, Girlxoxo for the Monthly Motif Challenge and Deb’s Souper Sunday at Kahakai Kitchen.

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The Mountain Between Us. A tale of survival, love and regret….

mountainI have been absent on my reviews and participation due to a death in our family.  Everything stops and momentum is changed when someone leaves us.  This book I am sharing now came at a good time. I think so anyway.

So, to the book.  Earlier this month I saw a movie trailer for The Mountain Between Us and thought I’d like to see it….but I wanted to read the book first.  I always want to read the book first.  This is a tale of survival, love, regret and chances missed.

This story was engaging and I had a hard time putting it down. People are stranded at an airport and obviously frustrated.  It starts with Dr. Ben Payne recording notes into a small recorder about cases he’s working on.  Ashley Knox sits beside him on the floor so she can share the outlet to charge her computer.  They chat and then they part ways for the night since flights are cancelled during a snowstorm.  Soon they arrange to share a private flight in a two-seater plane.  The plane crashes it the Utah mountains and here is where the story really develops.

It seems they are lost, no way to tell which way to hike toward civilization yet they can’t sit and await rescue.  The pilot hadn’t filed a flight plan so no one knows where they are.  Both Ben and Ashley are injured and honestly, you’ll think things can’t get much worse.  Fabulous story with a twist at the end.

Without giving spoilers I will say a food item mentioned is soup.  It’s vegetable soup in the book but I present you with a Tomato Basil soup.  Grilled cheese and tomato soup.  What more could you ask for, great pairing.

Fresh Tomato Basil Soup

4 cups fresh tomatoes, chopped (or use a large can of Tuttorosso tomatoes).
Chop 6 fresh basil leaves.  1 cup vegetable broth or tomato juice
1 cup half-n-half or milk (Almond milk works!)
2 tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper, to taste

Combine tomatoes and juice in a saucepan. Simmer 30 minutes.  Now puree mix in food processor or use immersion blender.  Add basil leaves.  Return to saucepan and add milk and butter.  Serve with grilled cheese!

Linking up with:

Beth Fish Reads for her Weekend Cooking Series.
Girlxoxo for the 2017 Monthly Motif Challenge.  For August the theme is seasons, elements and weather.
Deb at Kahakai Kitchen for her Souper Sunday series. The linkup for this week may be found HERE.
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A Year Between Friends: Crafts, recipes and best of all….friendship.

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A Year Between Friends: 3191 Miles Apart is a lovely book filled with craft ideas, recipes, letters and best of all – friendship.

Molly Wizenberg wrote the forward and it’s a great beginning.  She explained how she discovered a blog called  Port2Port where Maria (MAV) was an author.  This was over 10 years ago.  Molly and Maria were fans of Stephanie Congdon (SCB) on Flickr.

The ladies began collaborating with photo projects and craft ideas. They have been corresponding for quite some time and the result was deep friendship between Maria and Stephanie.

This book is divided by the months of the year. They each take photos of their respective locales – Maria who goes by MAV is in Portland Maine and Stephanie (SCB) lives in Portland Oregon.  In addition to photos there are recipes and letters.

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My dear friend Mary Margaret lives in Alaska and I live in Florida.  About as far away as friends can be and still be in the USA. This book reminded me of our deep friendship and how the miles didn’t matter a lick.  I can still call her and talk to her as if I’d seen her a day ago.  This has been going on since the late 1970’s. (Yes, I am a senior citizen 🙂

What a lovely display of friendship this book is.

From Amazon:  Maria Alexandra Vettese and Stephanie Congdon Barnes share a love of art and design, handmade pleasures, and a well-lived domestic life. Almost a decade ago, they began their first year-long project together, posting a photo from each of their mornings on their blog, 3191 Miles Apart, named for the distance between their homes in Portland, Maine, and Portland, Oregon.

The inspired recipe from this book is soup. But we haven’t been eating much meat lately and so, while I planned on chicken soup….I diverted to a veggie chili.  Very different but one of the biggest components in this book features healthy eating.

I made a black bean chili with finely chopped zucchini, green onions,tomatoes, mushrooms and a little bit of water. Once everything started thickening up I added about 3/4 cup of brown rice.

The plus of our healthier eating (and additional walking) is the weight loss.  My husband has lost 22 pounds while I have lost 12 pounds. Yes, I keep up with him eating and drinking yet my weight loss has been considerably slower.  🙂  Oh well!

Good book with great recipes and craft ideas.  You will love flipping through it.

Linking up with Deb at Kahakai Kitchen for her Souper Sunday series. The linkup for this week may be found HERE.

Also linking with Beth Fish Reads for her Weekend Cooking Series.

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