Monday, June 27, 2016


Wind Chime Cafe

When single mother, Annie Malone, purchases a quirky Main Street cafe on Heron Island, she thinks she's finally turned her dream of opening her own restaurant into a reality. Hearing rumors that a developer is about to build a five-star resort on the sleepy Chesapeake Bay island, she plans to transform the cafe into a premier upscale bistro. But Navy SEAL, Will Dozier, has no intention of selling his grandparents' property to a developer. Back on Heron Island for the first time in ten years and secretly struggling with PTSD, Will decides that a fling with the new girl is the perfect way to help him "get his head straight." The last thing Will expects is to fall in love...with his hometown and with Annie. But Will's life and career are in San Diego with the SEALs. Can Annie's love and the healing magic of the island be enough to convince him to stay?

MY REVIEW:  "Wind Chime Cafe"--what a lovely contemporary romance from author Sophie Moss. I was truly captivated by the setting of Heron Island in Maryland's Chesapeake Bay. It's one of those places that you want to preserve and protect and then revel in all the charms it has to offer. I became quite involved with the lead characters, Annie, Will, and Annie's adorable daughter Taylor, and I enjoyed the "extra flavor" added to the story line from the entertaining secondary characters. While dealing with PTSD and other very sensitive and compelling issues, the author manages to balance the dramatic elements of the story line with romance and humor--and such delicious food! With beautifully descriptive writing, this well-paced story draws you in, and you will hear the gentle music of the wind chimes as they sway and sparkle in the breeze. Annie Malone makes a bold move toward a brighter future for herself and her young daughter, Taylor, when she purchases a little cafe in downtown Heron Island. While the cafe has a long way to go before it becomes the chic bistro Annie envisions, the promise of an upscale resort coming to the island brings hopes of booming business. The little building on Main Street will be both a home and a source of income. Will Dozier, a native of Heron Island, has managed to stay away from home for the last decade. His career as a Navy Seal has given him a home base in San Diego, California, and he likes it that way. Back on the island to settle his grandparents' estate and find a suitable new owner for the family home and property, he doesn't plan to stay long, but that's before he meets Annie and Taylor. Against his better judgment, he becomes involved with the beautiful single mother and her sweet little girl, and he soon discovers that he and the child share a tragic bond--they both suffer from PTSD. The more time Will spends in his old home place, the more determined he becomes to make sure the property will be sold to the right owner--one who will care for the home and the land as it has been cared for by five generations of Will's family. The trouble is, his place is the prime prize for the developers of the new resort. If Will doesn't sell, the development won't go through, and people like Annie who set their future hopes on the sale will be greatly disappointed. If he does sell, a way of life could be lost forever along with the natural beauty and ambiance of the island life. Will and Annie both have secrets and issues from their past which will come back to haunt them, and the newfound attraction and emotional attachment blooming between them will be put to the test. Is it just need and desire, or is it something much more? No matter what choice Will makes, what does the future hold for Will, Annie, and Taylor? Can Will and Taylor find healing, and can Annie overcome her greatest fear--confronting Taylor's father? Sophie Moss has written a wonderfully romantic tale, and I look forward to more visits to Heron Island. As a bonus, the author has included a recipe for "Della's Sweet Rolls", irresistible confectionary concoctions that tempt the reader throughout the book!

Review Copy Gratis Author



Wind Chime Wedding (A Wind Chime Novel)

Second grade teacher, Becca Haddaway, is weeks away from walking down the aisle with her high school sweetheart when she learns that the Heron Island Elementary School is about to be shut down. In the midst of a whirlwind of wedding planning, she launches into a last-ditch effort to save it. But the one man who can help her is determined to make her question every decision she has ever made—including the man she’s about to marry.


Former Navy SEAL and son of the current Maryland governor, Colin Foley, is finally starting to feel whole again after losing his leg on a career-ending deployment in Afghanistan. After struggling for months to figure out what to do with his post-military life, he’s found a new mission—opening a rehab center for wounded veterans on the peaceful Chesapeake Bay island. All he needs now is a woman to share his new life with…and he knows exactly who he wants. With a little help from the island’s magical wind chimes, can Colin convince Becca to change her mind before it’s too late?

ALSO BY SOPHIE MOSS: Seal Island Trilogy

The Selkie Spell (Seal Island Trilogy #1)

In this modern-day fairy tale romance, American doctor Tara Moore's life is transformed when she travels to an enchanted Irish island and discovers she has the power to break a 200 year old curse. At first, Tara laughs off the villagers' speculation that she is descended from a selkie--a magical creature who is bewitching the island. But when a ghostly woman appears to her with a warning, Tara realizes it was more than chance that brought her to this island. Desperate to escape a dark and dangerous past, Tara struggles against a passionate attraction to handsome islander, Dominic O'Sullivan. But the enchantment of the island soon overpowers her and she falls helpless under its spell. Caught between magic and reality, Tara must find a way to wield both when a dangerous stranger from her past arrives, threatening to destroy the lives of everyone on the island.

The Selkie Enchantress (Seal Island Trilogy #2)

In this modern-day fairy tale romance, Irish islander, Caitlin Conner, has been in love with professor of Irish folklore, Liam O'Sullivan, for as long as she can remember. But just when he's starting to look at her as more than a friend, a mysterious woman arrives on Seal Island and captures his heart. As Caitlin discovers the truth behind the woman's lies, she realizes Liam is trapped in a dangerous enchantment and the only way to break the spell is to uncover a secret Irish fairy tale that has remained hidden for hundreds of years. But when the petals of a white rose grown in winter start to fall, the legend is set in motion. And Caitlin must find a way to change the ending before the last petal falls.

The Selkie Sorceress (Seal Island Trilogy #3)
American detective Sam Holt has a knack for finding people who shouldn't be found. When his last case almost killed an innocent woman, he swore off detective work forever. But when that same woman asks him for one last investigation--to find her husband's long lost mother--Sam cannot refuse. Clairvoyant Irish artist Glenna McClure will do anything to stop Sam, even if it means teaming up with a powerful sorceress who she knows she cannot trust. But when the petals of a mysterious night-blooming rose begin to turn black, Glenna realizes that an even darker force is at work. To protect the people she loves, Glenna will have to face a terrible curse that has haunted her all her life before the final petal fades to ash.


Image of Sophie Moss

Sophie Moss is a USA Today bestselling author of four full-length romance novels. She is known for her captivating Irish fantasy romances and heartwarming contemporary romances with realistic characters and unique island settings. As a former journalist, Sophie has been writing professionally for over ten years. She currently lives in San Diego, California, where she's working on her next novel. When she's not writing, she's walking the beach, testing out a new dessert recipe, or fiddling in her garden. Sophie loves to hear from readers. Email her at or visit her website to sign up for her newsletter.

"SYDNEY BRIDES"--captivating contemporary fiction from author Kandy Shepherd proves you can have it all--dreams do come true! Featuring full reviews for your enjoyment!

The billionaire's Christmas proposal…

Billionaire Dominic Hunt's Christmas ball is a chance for hard-working party planner Andie Newman to make her name. She's intent on convincing gorgeous Dominic that decking the halls is the way to transform his brooding reputation, but he has an alternative idea—a festive proposal!

After Dominic unexpectedly helps Andie with her own emergency, she says yes! The engagement is meant to be just for show, but as Dominic and Andie are surrounded by the magic of Christmas, they find their fake feelings are becoming all too real…

MY REVIEW:  With a Santa's bag full of storytelling skills, author Kandy Shepherd spins a delightful holiday tale in "Gift-Wrapped in Her Wedding Dress". Elements of a classic Christmas story are intriguingly blended with a charming and poignant contemporary romance that proves the bigger the hero is, the harder he falls when he meets that one special woman. Real-estate mogul Dominic Hunt may be a billionaire, but money can't buy him real happiness or erase the troubling memories from his youth. Natural ability combined with street smarts and a burning desire to overcome past hurts has brought him success, but his guarded nature has unfairly earned him a public image as an uncharitable miser. He has always preferred to keep his generosity a secret, but now he needs a more favorable image in order to secure a highly-coveted business deal. A fund-raising charity event, held at his own home, seems like an ideal way to improve his public and professional image and at the same time, help those less fortunate. He will need help pulling all this together, and party planner Andie Newman can use the media attention to pump up her new business. Andie is beautiful, smart, kind, and devoted to her family. Sparks fly between Dominic and Andie from their initial meeting, but having been burned in the past, he has a policy of no involvement with employees. Andie, who is still mourning the loss of her first love, definitely does not plan on a relationship with her temporary boss. Despite their immediate attraction, which they must fight, they also have very different outlooks on many issues, and Dominic's secrecy adds tension to the situation. When Fate steps in and offers them each a great challenge, they must take a leap of faith and rely on one another to bring about the biggest wish of each of their hearts--but have their hopes and dreams come to include love and a future together? Andie is a lovely and worthy heroine, but it is the hero, Dominic, who captivated me from the beginning of this story. A big man, with a rough-and-tumble handsomeness to go along with his professional finesse, Dominic nonetheless still retains the vulnerabilities of his boyhood and the tribulations of his young adulthood. Despite his hard times, he never really became a hard-hearted man--he just needs the right woman to trust. "Gift-Wrapped in Her Wedding Dress" is a wonderful example of the reasons why I have been a lifelong lover of category romance: the author is awesome, the characters are engaging, and the story line is compelling--there is something for everyone in category romance.

Book Copy Gratis Author

Crown Prince's Chosen Bride (Sydney Brides #2)

The people's princess!

Chef Gemma Harper is on a dating break, so the last thing she needs is gorgeous stranger Tristan tempting her into a fling…especially when he's revealed as the crown prince of Montavia! 

Gemma knows forever isn't possible with duty-bound Tristan, but swept off her feet by this charismatic prince, she's determined to make every moment count. And when Tristan throws out the royal rule book, a happy-ever-after could be within Gemma's grasp…if only she's brave enough to say "I do!"

MY REVIEW:  Author Kandy Shepherd continues her delightful “Sydney Brides” contemporary romance series with Book 2, “Crown Prince’s Chosen Bride”. Gemma Harper is a talented chef and a partner in the successful party-planning business, “Party Queens”. Nearing the age of thirty, she is coming out of her self-imposed six months break from dating. Leaving behind the heartbreak of broken romance and moving forward into a happy, prosperous future is her new plan of action. Just as she is confident of keeping her rules for romance, a mysterious, very attractive new client makes use of the Party Queens superlative service to plan a business reception. Tristan Marco is not what Gemma expected, and he is equally taken by the beautiful auburn-haired chef. After their first meeting, Tristan arranges a surprise date. During the course of their time together, Gemma is stunned to learn that Tristan Marco is actually Tristan, Crown Prince of Montavia. Gemma already had trust issues, and now she has broken her own rules and fallen for someone whose handsome charms easily deceived her heart. Tristan never expected to meet someone as captivating as Gemma, but he has royal duties he cannot ignore—or can he? Is it possible that a royal can choose his own commoner bride and live a life of true and lasting happiness? Those who believe in “happily ever after” will enjoy this charming modern-day fairy tale from wonderful storyteller Kandy Shepherd.

Book Copy Gratis Author

The Bridesmaid's Baby Bump (Sydney Brides #3)

The billionaire bachelor's baby! 

When party planner Eliza Dunne meets billionaire Jake Marlowe at a wedding, she decides to finally give in to the sparks that have always fizzed between them! 

The connection is so intense that Jake can't resist Eliza—but with the divorce only just final after his unhappy marriage, he's not ready for anything serious. But when Eliza tells him her shocking news—she's pregnant with his baby!—he has one certainty: he wants to be at the center of his new family, as a husband and father…

MY REVIEW:  The "Sydney Brides" contemporary romance series from author Kandy Shepherd comes to a wonderful conclusion with Book 3, "The Bridesmaid's Baby Bump". I have really enjoyed getting to know the three friends and business partners known as "The Party Queens". While they are most definitely modern career women whose unique skills made their business a success, they are still very much women whose hearts have yearned for that special, once-in-lifetime, forever kind of love. "The Bridesmaid's Baby Bump" is the story of Eliza Dunne, the "smarts" of the party-planning business, and Jake Marlowe, a self-made billionaire entrepreneur. Eliza has been the bridesmaid, and Jake has been the best man, at the other two party-planners weddings to friends of Jake. While the attraction between Eliza and Jake has been sizzling for some time, it remained unfulfilled due to the long-drawn-out end to Jake's unhappy marriage. When they are finally able to act upon their fantasies of each other during a brief interlude, they try to tell themselves, and one another, that their time together is just a one-time thing. However, hearts will have their own way, and so will the hand of Fate. When Eliza finds out she is pregnant, she doesn't want Jake to know--but a baby is a growing secret that can only be hidden for so long. Both Eliza and Jake have some serious issues of trust from their childhood experiences and also their adult romantic relationships. Both of them are career-driven and hadn't planned on the "baby bump", but maybe that new little life is just what both of them need to bring them each the happiness they deserve. They just have to figure themselves out first, and then, just maybe, a bright new future is shining for the three of them together. This is a very well-written romantic story which will involve the reader and have them rooting for the happily-ever-after. Author Kandy Shepherd is always a great storyteller, and she excels here at showing both sides of the relationship and makes the concerns of both characters equal and very real. I highly recommend the "Sydney Brides" series for lovers of heartfelt, engaging contemporary romance.

Book Copy Gratis Author  

Kandy Shepherd
Kandy Shepherd left a fast-paced career as a magazine editor to write award-winning romantic fiction.

Kandy lives in a small farm in the Blue Mountains near Sydney, Australia, with her husband, daughter and a menagerie of four-legged friends.

She believes in love-at-first-sight and real-life romance—they worked for her!

"THE HOLLYWOOD HILLS CLINIC SERIES"--an inside look at "doctors to the stars" also features compelling contemporary romantic fiction from top authors--like the fabulous Lynne Marshall

When hotshot Doc James Rothsberg started the clinic, he dreamed of a world-class facility, catering to Hollywood's biggest celebrities. Now he knows that providing the care of the entertainment world's A-Listers means anything can happen--and it usually does.

His Pregnant Sleeping Beauty (The Hollywood Hills Clinic #6)

Rescuing the runaway

When paramedic Joseph Matthews rescues a vulnerable pregnant woman left in a coma, he vows to be there for his Sleeping Beauty. Even though after his ex-wife's betrayal everything about innocent Carey Spencer evokes bittersweet memories...mixed with unexpected desire.

As Joseph helps gorgeous Carey recover and build a safe new future for her unborn baby, can he gather his courage to give them the happy-ever-after they deserve?


It started at a wedding…
Since her recent lifesaving—and life-changing—operation, Charlotte Johnson has steered clear of romance…but brooding Jackson Hilstead is too delicious to resist! Surely some harmless flirting with the sexy army doc can't hurt?

Charlotte knows Jackson has his own emotional battles to fight, but she believes they can be stronger together. So when she accepts his invitation to a family wedding, Charlotte hopes it's a sign that one day she'll be walking down the aisle…with Jackson by her side!

Lynne used to worry she had a serious problem with daydreaming, then she discovered she was supposed to write the stories in her head. A late bloomer, Lynne came to fiction writing after her children were nearly grown. Now she battles the empty nest by writing stories which always include a romance, sometimes medicine, a dose of mirth, or both, but always stories from her heart. She is a Southern California native, married for almost thirty years, has two adult children she is super proud of, is a dog lover, cat admirer, a power walker, and fellow traveler on this wild road called life!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

He's the Boss...the "Cake Boss", that is--Buddy Valastro brings his signature style and joy for food and life to three terrific titles showcasing the the heartfelt story of the Valastros, their family and friends, and the living legacy of their landmark bakery

 Stories and Recipes from Mia Famiglia 

Cake Boss: Stories and Recipes from Mia Famiglia  by Buddy Valastro 

In this heartfelt memoir, master baker and star of the #1 hit TLC show, Buddy Valastro tells his inspiring story—and recounts his family’s warm memories from a lifetime of living, loving, and cake making.
Television viewers have fallen in love with Buddy Valastro, master cake maker, and his funny and fiery family, proprietors of Carlo’s Bake Shop in Hoboken, New Jersey, on the smash hit TLC series Cake Boss. Now, to coincide with Carlo’s 100th anniversary, cake designer extraordinaire Buddy Valastro brings together his passion for baking and his high-energy family stories in the pages of this charming, heartwarming book—complete with 25 recipes and tips that will make every reader the “cake boss” of their own kitchen.Buddy’s beautifully designed cakes are the stuff of legend—and so is the remarkable story of his father, a beloved pillar of the community and himself a talented baker who set the stage for his family’s rise to the pinnacle of their industry. Cake Boss recounts the story of Buddy’s life and of his family’s bakeshop, originally established in 1910 and now a Hoboken, New Jersey, landmark and culinary tourist destination. Here also are twenty-five recipes for Carlo’s Bakery’s most sought-after pastries, pies, cupcakes, and cakes, an irresistible combination of time-tested old-world recipes and modern creations, all founded on a rock-solid “old-school” baking foundation and classic techniques.This is the incredible true story of how Carlo’s Bakery came to be, how one hard-working family realized their patriarch’s dream of making their beloved bake shop a household name. The special bond and loving dynamic of the Valastro clan make this an uncommonly touching and truly inspiring memoir. 

MY REVIEW:   An engaging and involving memoir, "Cake Boss: Stories and Recipes from Mia Famiglia", by Buddy Valastro, is told in a warm, personal style just as though Buddy were speaking directly to the reader. Carlo's Bake Shop in Hoboken, New Jersey, is the family-owned and operated bakery extraordinaire which has achieved legendary status in its more than one century of making the sweetest of dreams come true for its many loyal customers. While the cakes and confections produced by the bakery fulfill the fantasies of the most fanatic foodies, it takes the lifelong hard work and devotion of the family and friends who work as a team to ensure the consistent quality and customer service for which Carlo's Bake Shop is noted. The heartfelt story of the Valastros, their family and friends, and the living legacy of their landmark bakery made a natural transition to TV with the hit show, "Cake Boss", on The Learning Channel (TLC). Included along with magical memories and appealing photos are recipes for the bakery's most popular pastries, pies, and cakes: "Classic Biscotti"; "Pecan Wedges"; "Cannoli"; "Ricotta Pie"; "Banana Cream Pie"; "Crumb Cake"; "Carrot Cake", and more. Spend some time with "The Cake Boss" and his family, and you might just hit the road to Hoboken.   

Review Copy Gratis Simon & Schuster      

 Bake Like The Boss--Recipes & Techniques You Absolutely Have to Know

The Essential Cake Boss (A Condensed Edition of Baking with the Cake Boss): Bake Like The Boss--Recipes & Techniques You Absolutely Have to Know   by Buddy Valastro 

Bake Like the Boss! 

The Essential Cake Boss is a perfect slice of Buddy Valastro’s beloved bestseller Baking with the Cake Boss—a sweet collection of Buddy’s core recipes and techniques; the building blocks of Buddy’s show-stopping desserts; and many of his most popular, signature creations. You’ll learn to work with baking and decorating equipment, bake perfectly moist cupcakes and cakes, and work magical effects with frosting and fondant. Gorgeous photos let you follow Buddy as he shows how to create his artistic flourishes and decorations. The Essential Cake Boss also features charts that let you mix and match cake flavor, frosting, and liqueur syrup to create your own trademark cakes.  

Bursting with delicious, tried-and-true recipes, handy tricks of the trade, and stories told in Buddy’s inimitable voice, The Essential Cake Boss is a rare treat— a fun, accessible guide to baking that inspires home bakers to new culinary heights, all in a gloriously designed, fully illustrated book worthy of the Cake Boss’s unique artistic vision.  

MY REVIEW:   "The Essential Cake Boss" may be a condensed version of master baker Buddy Valastro's "Baking with the Cake Boss", but it is filled to the brim with mouthwatering recipes and expert baking methods and helpful hints. While you may never achieve the level of food artistry of the "Cake Boss", you can elevate your level of baking skill and culinary knowledge. You won't just be in awe--you'll be truly inspired. Sections such as "Basic Baking Techniques", "Decorating Techniques", and "Working with Fondant" are magically mixed together with recipes for cookies, cakes and cupcakes, and frostings and fillings. Try to resist the appeal of these tempting treats: "Double Chocolate Chip Cookies"; "Pignoli Cookies"; "Christmas Tree Cupcakes"; "Raspberry Dream Cake"; "Old Fashioned Italian Rum Cake"; "Red Velvet Cake", and more. Fully illustrated from cover to cover, this slim volume contains a wealth of baking and decorating techniques. Practice makes perfect, and the test products are scrumptious.  

Review Copy Gratis Simon & Schuster   

 Recipes for Get-Togethers Throughout the Year

Family Celebrations with the Cake Boss: Recipes for Get-Togethers Throughout the Year  by Buddy Valastro 

Make every gathering with your friends and famiglia extra special with these great new cookies, cupcakes, cakes, and other delicious, gorgeous desserts—and 100 other original recipes featuring the Cake Boss’s signature twist on favorite family foods! Besides being a master baker and fantastic cook, Buddy Valastro is a great host. He knows the key to every successful family dinner, gathering, or party: a fabulous cake as the starring attraction together with great food! Clear, step-by-step instructions and photos will guide you through recipes perfect for all generations and for every occasion—birthday parties, anniversary parties, summer barbeques, and feasts for the major holidays.  

As he does in every book, Buddy brings his characteristic warmth and flair to Family Celebrations with the Cake Boss, sharing personal stories alongside cooking, baking, and decorating tips. His charisma as well as his delicious appetizers, dinners, and desserts make this an indispensable cookbook for every holiday and special occasion. Whether you’re cooking for six or sixty, these delicious dishes from the Cake Boss will make your next family gathering an event to remember! 

MY REVIEW:   "Cake Boss" Buddy Valastro brings his signature style and joy for food and life to "Family Celebrations with the Cake Boss: Recipes for Get-Togethers Throughout the Year''. Featuring fantastic food for all occasions--topped off by unforgettable desserts--this photo-filled book will have you returning to the kitchen again and again to create memorable celebratory meals for family and friends. Each recipe comes with its own story, making the preparation and enjoyment of the finished dishes all the more special. You and your loved ones will appreciate the irresistible appetizing appeal of recipes like these: "Antipasto Salad"; "Apple-Oatmeal Cookies"; "Sesame Chicken Fingers"; "Blueberry-Lemon Pancakes''; "Roasted Rib Eyes with Horseradish Butter"; "Cherry-Glazed Holiday Ham''; "Eggnog Ice Cream"; "Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus"; "Smoked Salmon Risotto"; and much more. Organized by holidays, special occasions, and "just because" days, this cookbook offers traditional favorites and new discoveries that will add so much flavor and fun to your get-togethers with family and friends.  

Review Copy Gratis Simon & Schuster 

With love and appreciation on FATHER'S DAY for all Dads, Granddads, and the special "like a dad" fellows in all of our lives

June is a month of change. School is out. Summer begins. The heat is on. Our Farmer's Markets here in the States are beginning to bloom with gorgeous produce and other seasonal offerings. At any given time, somewhere in the world, garden goodness is ripe for the picking! We celebrate Father's Day in June, and it's a great time to enjoy fresh food full of flavor. I grew up without my Dad, but I had the most wonderful male role model I could want, and that was my beloved grandfather. His name was Tazewell, and his nick name was Taz. My nick name was Little Taz. Yep, we were close. I was a "Paw Paw's girl". I only had my grandfather for nineteen years, and he was the light of my life. He's been gone for over thirty years, and I miss him more than I can say. My favorite Summer memories are of the times I spent with my grandparents working in our garden. My grandfather was a natural "master gardener". He grew the best tomatoes that I have ever tasted! One of a Southerner's favorite meals is a slice of juicy, ripe homegrown tomato on a fresh, hot butter biscuit! I used to love to help my grandfather plant the tomatoes. Dig a little hole, add some water, drop in the little plant, pat the dirt down, add a little water, repeat. On and on we went, row after row, until we were done. It was never work to me, it was just a special time shared with my Paw Paw.

I have always loved to cook, and I began preparing the meals for my family when I was just ten years old. By that time, my grandmother was no longer able to grocery shop and cook our meals. She taught me how to cook, and we managed pretty well. My mom and grandfather worked full-time and I went to school. We each did what we could to keep it all together. My grandfather's favorite pie was mincemeat, and I decided to make him a pie one Christmas. It was a beautiful mincemeat pie with a golden, fluted-edge crust. I wanted to be just like my grandmother, so I sat my pie on a chair on the back porch so that it would cool quicker. My grandfather could hardly wait for a taste of that pie. It was a wonderfully clear and cold December day with a bright blue sky. Not a cloud in sight. A great day for birds! When I went back to get my prize-worthy pie, birds had completely pecked away the carefully fluted edge of the pie crust. They left a perfect ring of crumbs around the pie pan. I was devastated! My grandfather loved to tease me, and he told me that since there were no dead birds in sight, the pie was probably safe to eat! I cried, but he gave me a hug and took over that pie. He brushed off the top and cut away a narrow ring around the edge. Over the next few days, he managed to consume the whole pie. No one else would touch it! He told me many times that it was the best mincemeat pie he ever ate. It was the only one I ever made!


A man who takes care of his family with his wealth is a provider. A hero is a man who takes care of his family in all circumstances, especially when wealth is unavailable or unattainable. A man with a compassionate heart, strong principles, honor and humor will always be heroic to those who love him. Money cannot buy those qualities. What makes a man most attractive is a quiet confidence, a definite masculinity, that shows itself in thought and action. Handsome men are sometimes merely "pretty", nice to look at, but not always substantial in personality. My grandfather was a modest man, quiet and classy, funny, immaculate, mannerly, polite, and well-liked by everyone he met. He was the most responsible person that I have ever met. He was an excellent provider and protector, always looking out for our family. He was an amazingly astute judge of character, and I never knew him to be wrong. He was a medium-sized man, but he left huge shoes to fill. They remain unfilled to this day. I would love to hear about your fathers, grandfathers. "like a dad" special friends, and the men in your life who are memorable role models.

Super Hero Sandwich 

1 long loaf crusty Italian bread (1 lb. or more); 2/3 cup olive oil mayonnaise; 1 tbsp. minced garlic; 1/2 tsp dried Italian seasoning; 1/4 teaspoon pepper; 1/2 pound fully cooked ham, thinly sliced; 1/2 pound thinly sliced cooked turkey; 1/4 pound thinly sliced hard salami; 1/4 pound sliced provolone cheese; 1/4 pound sliced mozzarella cheese; 1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced; 1 large firm tomato, thinly sliced; 1 medium green pepper, thinly sliced into rings

Cut bread in half lengthwise; slightly hollow out top and bottom. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, garlic, Italian seasoning and pepper; brush on cut sides of bread top and bottom. On the bottom half, layer half of the meats, cheeses, onion, tomato, and green pepper. Repeat layers. Replace bread top. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap; refrigerate for up to 24 hours. Slice into wedges to serve.

Savory Southern-Style Green Beans & Potatoes
1/2 lb. bacon, uncooked, cut in bite-sized pieces
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
3 cups (approximately) of fresh or frozen cut green beans,
2 medium red potatoes, unpeeled, medium-diced
Chicken stock, to cover
1 tsp. sugar 
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

If using fresh green beans, remove the ends and snap in half or cut; rinse and set aside. Add the bacon directly into a large saucepan and cook over low heat until it begins to brown. Add the onion and cook until softened, stirring occasionally. If using fresh or frozen beans, saute them in the cooked bacon and onion for a bit first, and then add the potatoes to the beans. Pour over enough chicken broth to cover. Add sugar, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and let them low for 20 minutes, or until potatoes and beans are tender.

1 jar (16 ounces) chunky-style salsa or picante sauce
2 cups water 
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup brown sugar 
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 large onion, sliced (about 1 cup)
1 trimmed beef brisket (3 to 4 pounds)

Stir the salsa or picante sauce, water, molasses, sugar, vinegar, Worcestershire and onion together in a 5-quart slow cooker. Add the beef, trimming to fit, if needed, and turn to coat. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 to 9 hours, or HIGH for 4 to 5 hours, or until the beef is fork-tender.

Tender Grilled Corn-on-the-Cob with Garlic-Cheese Butter

corn on the cob, husks and silk removed

1 stick (1/2 cup) real butter, softened 1/4 cup grated Parmesan Cheese 1/2 tsp California-style garlic salt (with dried parsley)

HEAT grill to medium-high heat. RINSE corn under cold water; wrap individually in foil. GRILL 15 to 20 min. or until tender, turning occasionally. MIX remaining ingredients in a small bowl; spread liberally onto corn. STORE leftover garlic-cheese butter covered in refrigerator (it's great on other vegetables and grilled bread).

Tomato & Mozzarella Salad

6 lg. tomatoes, sliced 1/2 inch thick
8 oz. Mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
1 red onion, thinly sliced
12 whole fresh basil leaves
3 tbsp. olive oil
3 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1 clove garlic, minced
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. dried oregano

Arrange the tomato slices, Mozzarella, onion, and basil in overlapping layers on a platter. Combine the dressing ingredients, mixing well. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and let marinate in refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours. Yield: 8 servings.

Fresh Corn Relish
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups fresh corn kernels
1 red onion, chopped
1 small cucumber, coarsely chopped
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
3 tablespoons sugar
salt and pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in skillet over medium and add corn. Cook until the kernels begin to lightly char. Add onions and peppers and continue to cook for 1-2 min. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Add remaining ingredients, mix well, and store in refrigerator. This can be eaten cold or heated.

Summer Squash Skillet

1 tablespoon olive oil
½ cup chopped onion, yellow or red
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
3 medium zucchini, medium-sliced
3 medium yellow squash, medium-sliced
2-3 ripe yellow or red tomatoes, chopped
1 teaspoon sugar
salt & pepper to taste
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

In a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, sauté the garlic and onion in the olive oil until the onions being to turn translucent, stirring constantly so the garlic doesn’t burn, about 3-4 minutes. Add the zucchini and squash, tossing well with the olive oil mixture. Sauté over medium heat for 3-4 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes and sugar. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Continue cooking and stirring about 2 to 3 minutes until the zucchini and squash are tender and the tomatoes have softened. Toss the hot mixture with the Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

4 eggs
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups sugar
1 cup pecans, chopped
4 cups grated carrots
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Cream Cheese Frosting:

1/2 stick butter, softened
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 box powdered sugar (1 lb.)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For Cake: Combine sugar, baking powder, flour, cinnamon and baking soda in a bowl. Add in the eggs and oil. Mix until just blended and then add the carrots and pecans. Bake at 350 degrees F for 35 to 40 minutes or until done.

For Frosting: Mix cream cheese and butter until smooth, add sugar and vanilla and blend well. Spread on cooled cake.

Fresh Tomato Pie

Pastry for a 1-crust 9-inch pie, unbaked
evaporated milk

4 cups sliced firm ripe tomatoes; 1 1/2 teaspoons salt; 1/8 teaspoon pepper; 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon dried leaf basil; 1/3 cup mayonnaise; 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese; 1 large clove garlic, smashed and minced

Line pie plate with pastry; flute edges and brush shell with evaporated milk. Bake at 450° for 5 minutes. Fill the baked pie shell with sliced tomatoes and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and basil. Combine mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese, and minced garlic; spread over the layer of tomatoes. Bake at 350° for 35 to 45 minutes, or until tomatoes are cooked and pie is done.

Mama's Summer Salad 

one red ripe tomato; one yellow ripe tomato; one cucumber; one bell pepper; one onion; 1/2 cup cider vinegar; 1/2 cup sugar; 1/2 cup light cooking oil; salt & pepper to taste

Cut vegetables into bite-sized chunks and mix together in a large bowl. In a small bowl, dissolve sugar with vinegar. Blend in oil. Add salt & pepper to taste. Pour dressing over vegetables and stir well. Cover and chill. Flavor improves overnight. Stir salad well before serving.

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

3 cups all-purpose flour; 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder; 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon; 1 teaspoon baking soda; 1/2 teaspoon baking powder; 1 teaspoon salt; 2 cups white sugar; 3 eggs; 1 cup vegetable oil; 2 teaspoons vanilla extract; 2 cups shredded zucchini; 1 cup chopped walnuts; 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease and flour two 9x5 inch loaf pans. In large bowl, combine flour, cocoa, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt, mix well. In separate bowl, combine sugar and eggs, beat until well blended. Add oil and vanilla; beat until combined. Stir in zucchini. Add flour mixture; stir just until moistened. Stir in nuts and chocolate chips. Spoon evenly into loaf pans. Bake in preheated oven for 55 to 60 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove bread from pans; cool completely on wire rack.

Bacon & Cheddar Breakfast Muffins
2 cups biscuit/baking mix
2/3 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup canola oil
1 egg
1 small pinch dried red pepper flakes
1 small sweet onion, chopped
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
8 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
In a large bowl, combine the biscuit mix, buttermilk, oil, egg, and red pepper flakes just until moistened. Fold in onion, cheese and bacon. Fill greased muffin cups three-fourths full. Bake at 375° for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes; remove from pan to a wire rack. Serve warm. Refrigerate leftovers. Makes about 12 muffins.

Chocolate Butterscotch Clusters 

1 6 oz pkg semisweet chocolate chips
1 6 oz pkg butterscotch chips
2 Tbsp peanut butter
4 cups Rice Krispies

Melt the chocolate and butterscotch along with the peanut butter in a large saucepan over medium low heat, stirring constantly until the mixture melts. Remove from heat. Stir in Rice Krispies. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto wax paper. Cool until firm. Store in a container.

The "Samuel Craddock Mysteries" from author Terry Shames--highly recommend reading-- Samuel Craddock, the former chief of police, steps in to fight crime in the fictional town of Jarrett Creek, Texas

A Killing at Cotton Hill

The chief of police of Jarrett Creek, Texas, doubles as the town drunk. So when Dora Lee Parjeter is murdered, her old friend and former police chief Samuel Craddock steps in. He discovers that a lot of people had it in for Dora Lee. The conniving rascals on the farm next door want her land for nefarious purposes; her estranged daughter could be seeking vengeance; her grandson wants money for art school; and then there's that stranger Dora Lee claimed was spying on her. Does Craddock still have what it takes to find the killer? In this debut novel, the strong, compelling voice of Samuel Craddock illuminates the grandeur and loneliness of the central Texas landscape and reveals the human foibles of the residents in a small Texas town-their pettiness and generosity, their secret vices and true virtues.

The Last Death of Jack Harbin
The shocking murder of a wounded veteran challenges the investigative skills of ex-chief Samuel Craddock.
Just before the outbreak of the Gulf War, two eighteen-year-old football stars and best friends from Jarrett Creek, Texas, signed up for the army. But Woody Patterson was rejected and stayed home to marry the girl they both loved, while Jack Harbin came back from the war badly damaged. The men haven't spoken since. Just as they are about to reconcile, Jack is brutally murdered. With the chief of police out of commission, it's up to trusted ex-chief Samuel Craddock to investigate. Against the backdrop of small-town loyalties and betrayals, Craddock discovers dark secrets of the past and present to solve the mystery of Jack's death.

Dead Broke in Jarrett Creek
Jarrett Creek is bankrupt. Gary Dellmore, heir apparent to the main bank, is dead, apparently murdered. Samuel Craddock thought he was retired but now he's been asked to return as police chief. Dellmore supposedly had a roving eye, although his wife says he was never serious about dallying. Still, Craddock wonders: Did the husbands and fathers of women he flirted with think he was harmless? What about his current lover, who insists that Dellmore was going to leave his wife for her?

Craddock discovers that Dellmore had a record of bad business investments. Even worse, he took a kickback from a loan he procured, which ultimately drove the town into bankruptcy. Many people had motive to want Dellmore dead.

Then the investigation turns up another crime. As Craddock digs down to the root of this mess, many in Jarrett Creek are left wondering what happened to the innocence of their close-knit community.

 A Deadly Affair at Bobtail Ridge: A Samuel Craddock Mystery
In the course of their developing friendship, Samuel Craddock has learned to accept that his neighbor Jenny Sandstone’s personal life is strictly secret. But when her dying mother tells Craddock that Jenny is in danger, he is confronted with a dilemma. He wants to respect Jenny's privacy, but he is haunted by the urgency in the dying woman's voice.

When Jenny is the victim of a suspicious car accident, Craddock has no choice but to get involved. He demands that she tell him what he needs to know to protect her and to solve the mysteries surrounding the strange events that began taking place as soon as Jenny’s mother passed away.

Forced to confront the past, Jenny plunges into a downward spiral of rage and despair. She is drinking heavily and seems bent on self-destruction. Craddock must tread lightly as he tries to find out who is behind the threats to her. But only by getting to the bottom of the secrets buried in Jenny’s past can he hope to save her both from herself and from whoever is out to harm her.

"She was a dangerous girl and people think she'll be a dangerous woman."

Nonie Blake is back home from a mental institution where she has spent the last twenty years, and people in Jarrett Creek are worried. Maybe too worried, for within a week of her return, Nonie is murdered.

Chief Samuel Craddock thinks the only possible suspects are members of her tight-lipped family. Ever since Nonie tried to kill her sister when she was fourteen and was sent away to the institution, the family has kept to itself.

Clues are scarce and Craddock is stumped. So he checks with therapists at the mental hospital to see whether they can add anything useful to his investigation. But he discovers that she has not been there for ten years. Now Craddock has to find out where Nonie has been all this time.

Soon Craddock finds himself dealing not only with murder, but layers of deception and secrets, and in the midst of it all—a new deputy, one Maria Trevino, sent by the sheriff to beef up security in the small Texas town.

An Unsettling Crime for Samuel Craddock

When the Jarrett Creek Fire Department is called to douse a blaze on the outskirts of town, they discover a grisly scene: five black young people have been murdered. Newly elected Chief of Police Samuel Craddock, just back from a stint in the Air Force, finds himself an outsider in the investigation headed by the Texas Highway Patrol. He takes an immediate dislike to John Sutherland, a racist trooper Craddock’s fears are realized when Sutherland arrests Truly Bennett, a young black man whom Craddock knows and respects. Sutherland cites dubious evidence that points to Bennett, and Craddock uncovers facts leading in another direction. When Sutherland refuses to relent, Craddock is faced with a choice that will define him as a lawman—either let the highway patrol have its way, or take on a separate investigation himself. Although his choice to investigate puts both Craddock and his family in danger, he perseveres. In the process, he learns something about himself and the limits of law enforcement in Jarrett Creek.

A Reckoning in the Back Country

A neurologist from San Antonio vacationing in Jarrett Creek goes missing. When Acting Police Chief Samuel Craddock investigates, the doctor's wife claims her husband has been kidnapped, though no ransom demands have surfaced or any other evidence.

The next day two boys hunting squirrels find his mangled body in the woods, and Craddock suspects a wild dog attack. Rumor has it that dogs bred for fighting have been let loose and run in packs in the wooded acres west of the lake. The more he looks into it, the more evidence he finds that the area where the doctor's body was discovered has been the scene of dog-fighting contests.

But Craddock is leery about asking too many questions. In the past, Texas lawmen have turned up dead while investigating this lucrative gambling practice, and he senses that the dogs could be set on him.

A Risky Undertaking for Loretta Singletary

A FAVORITE SERIES CHARACTER FINDS HERSELF IN HARM'S WAY. After using an online dating site for senior citizens, town favorite Loretta Singletary--maker of cinnamon rolls and arbiter of town gossip--goes missing. Chief Samuel Craddock's old friend Loretta Singletary--a mainstay of the Jarrett Creek community--has undergone a transformation, with a new hairstyle and modern clothes. He thinks nothing of it until she disappears. Only then does he find out she has been meeting men through an online dating site for small-town participants. When a woman in the neighboring town of Bobtail turns up dead after meeting someone through the same dating site, Craddock becomes alarmed. Will Craddock be able to find Loretta before she suffers the same fate? Finding out what happened to Loretta forces him to investigate an online world he is unfamiliar with, and one which brings more than a few surprises.

Terry Shames

From an early age, Terry Shames wrote stories based on the small town in Texas where her grandparents lived. Her Samuel Craddock mysteries, A Killing at Cotton Hill and The Last Death of Jack Harbin are set in a fictional version of the town that sparked her imagination. Terry lives in Berkeley, CA with her husband, two rowdy terriers and a mature cat.

Celebrate 100 Years of America's National Parks with author SCOTT GRAHAM'S "NATIONAL PARK MYSTERY SERIES"

Yellowstone Standoff (National Park Mystery Series) by Scott Graham

"Graham's intriguing third National Park Mystery takes archaeologist Chuck Bender to the Thorofare region of Yellowstone…The threatening behavior of the park's predators is worrisome enough, and the discovery of a murdered researcher lifts threats to a whole new level."

"Bears and wolves in Yellowstone's backcountry don't hold a candle to the danger posed by the people sent there to study them. [Yellowstone Standoff balances] potential danger and shady characters."

"One part mystery, one part mysticism, and one part mayhem—Scott Graham's Yellowstone Standoff is all parts thrilling."
CRAIG JOHNSON, author of the Longmire Mysteries

"Yellowstone Standoff takes man versus nature—and man tangled up with nature—right to the brink of wild suspense."
MARK STEVENS, author of Lake of Fire

"What an extraordinary ride! You know when a reader says they couldn't put the book down? Yellowstone Standoff is one of those rare books…a tour de force."
WIN BLEVINS, author of The Darkness Rolling

"With sweeping landscapes, engaging characters, and a twisted plot, Scott Graham’s Yellowstone Standoff is a must–read mystery that’s hard to set down."
MARGARET MIZUSHIMA, author of Killing Trail: A Timber Creek K-9 Mystery

Book three in the National Park Mystery Series, Yellowstone Standoff takes readers deep into the backcountry of a wildly popular national park. When Yellowstone National Park's grizzly bears and gray wolves suddenly and inexplicably go rogue, archaeologist Chuck Bender teams with his old friend, Yellowstone Chief Ranger Lex Hancock, to defend the suspect members of a group scientific expedition. Soon, Chuck finds himself defending the lives of his family as an unforeseen danger threatens in the storied national park's remote wilderness.

Canyon Sacrifice



Each book in Scott Graham’s National Park Mystery Series takes place in a US national park. The next book in the series will take place in Rocky Mountain National Park (titled Mountain Rampage) followed by a mystery set in Yellowstone National Park and later Yosemite National Park. Mystery-lovers will experience the breathtaking wild places of the US—and the thrill of a riveting story unfolding in iconic, often familiar, landscapes. 






"Graham has created a beautifully balanced book, incorporating intense action scenes, depth of characterization, realistic landscapes, and historical perspective."

"This riveting series debut showcases Graham's love of nature and archeology, simultaneously interjecting some serious excitement. Graham is to be commended for weaving together several cultures into one story. Recommend to readers who enjoy Tony Hillerman, Nevada Barr, and C.J. Box’s Joe Pickett series."

"A gripping tale of kidnapping and a style similar to mysteries by Tony Hillerman."

"Graham has created a story [of] richness and depth...Graham's comfort and familiarity with his subject make the story an enjoyable read."

"A riveting mystery...Graham takes readers intimately into the setting, his knowledge of the places he writes about apparent at every turn."

"A terrific debut novel..."
C.J. BOX, New York Times bestselling author of Stone Cold and Breaking Point

"The real star of this engrossing mystery novel is the Grand Canyon itself. Scott Graham clearly knows the territory. In addition to some fine plot twists guaranteed to keep you guessing to the end, Graham delivers a glorious portrait of one of the most compelling landscapes on earth, a place that can kill just as easily as it thrills. This is a topnotch read."
WILLIAM KENT KRUEGER, New York Times bestselling author of Tamarack County

"One of the most engaging mysteries I've read in a long while! In archaeologist Chuck Bender, Scott Graham has created a flawed, all–too–human and memorable investigator who had me rooting for him to the end. The setting is magnificent and fascinating—nothing less than the Grand Canyon with its centuries–old secrets. The plot is fast–paced and filled with suspense. Canyon Sacrifice delivers it all and then some."
MARGARET COEL, New York Times bestselling author of Killing Custer

"Bring an extra–large bowl of popcorn while you read Sacrifice in one sitting."
C.M. WENDELBOE, author of Death on the Greasy Grass

"In this gripping, imaginative mystery set in Grand Canyon National Park, ancient Anasazi culture collides with the modern world in the most unexpected of ways. Like Tony Hillerman, Scott Graham uses his deep knowledge of the region to fashion a thrilling, compulsively readable story."
FRANK HUYLER, author of The Blood of Strangers

"As unpredictable and twisty as a switchback trail plummeting into its depths, Graham's thriller sucks you into the mysteries of the canyon and the story of an unsuspecting family whose lives will never be the same."
TED BOTHA, author of The Girl With the Crooked Nose

"Graham deftly weaves a first–rate mystery through the caves and canyons and winding roads of the Grand Canyon. If you've been, you'll immediately be drawn into the story. If you've never been, this may be your motivation to buy the ticket! I can't wait to read which national park he tackles next!"
TRICIA FIELDS, Hillerman Prize–winning author of Scratchgravel Road

"Stunning setting, intriguing plot and likeable characters make this debut novel a bookseller's dream."
ANDREA AVANTAGGIO, owner of Maria's Bookshop

Scott Graham has explored the Grand Canyon all his life. He has backpacked into the canyon’s farthest reaches, and rowed his own eighteen-foot raft down the canyon’s notorious Colorado River rapids. He is an avid outdoorsman and amateur archaeologist who enjoys rock climbing, skiing, backpacking, mountaineering, river rafting, and whitewater kayaking with his wife, an emergency physician, and their two sons. Graham’s book, Extreme Kids, won the National Outdoor Book Award. His five nonfiction books have been reviewed positively by many publications, including the New York Times. Graham lives in Durango, Colorado. Learn more about Scott Graham at