Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Hell and High Water by Keenan Powell (TLC Book Tour)

 Maeve Molley is a lawyer in Alaska who has been suspended from practicing for three months.  Now that the three months have come and gone, Maeve is not sure that she wants to continue to practice the law.  Instead she takes a job at a resort on an Alaskan island as a dishwasher to give her time to think. A murder occurs on the first evening of her new job.  With wild weather rolling in, everyone is trapped on the island together.  The police put Maeve in charge of the investigation as they can’t get to the island.  As she starts to piece it all together, a picture of retribution starts to form.  Who is the murderer and why?

 Hell and High Water is an engaging mystery for this time of year.  I was intrigued by the mystery, setting, and the characters and couldn’t stop reading.  Part of why I was pulled in right away was a mother thinking about her young son, Danny and how he liked to dress as Batman.  My son Danny was also a good-natured small boy that loved to dress as Batman.  Danny’s story takes a turn south and intersects with the Catholic abuse crisis.  I was horrified as a mother and as a Catholic.  I do wish though there would have been time to explore more of the mother’s story.  She placed a lot of blame rightly on the priest, but it sounds like poor Danny had a rough childhood with a drunken, neglectful mother that was maybe a prostitute.  This set Danny up as a perfect victim for the priest.  This part of the story is set up at the start of the novel and then you learn more about Danny’s fate and the priest’s role as the story progresses.  I liked the honest look into how the priest abuse cycle affected so many throughout time.  It made me really sad and I’m still thinking about it.

 Maeve is an interesting character.  She is not a perfect person, and I liked her journey.  This is the third novel in the series and the first I’ve read.  I’ll admit that there was another part of the story that didn’t quite click with me as this was my first book to read.  There is an investigator named Tom that has worked with Maeve in the past.  He spends the entire novel trying to get to her to help her out and confess his love.  Unfortunately, when you first meet him, he is having a one-night stand with someone else and a series of unfortunate not very believable events occur.  I think I could have deleted his entire storyline.  If you are a series reader, this probably would mean much more to you.

 Overall, Hell and High Water is an intriguing mystery set in Alaska.  I especially enjoyed that the mystery kept me guessing until the end.  I love being surprised.  I want to read the first two books in this series.

 Book Source:  Review Copy from Level Best Books as part of the TLC Book Tour.  Thank-you!  For more stops on this tour, check out this link.

About Hell and High Water

• Paperback: 282 pages

 • Publisher: Level Best Books (March 31, 2020) 

 Alaskan attorney Maeve Malloy isn't sure she's cut out to be a lawyer. All she wants is to be treated like everyone else. Hiding her past, she takes a kitchen job at a remote lodge while she sorts out her life. The day after she lands at Fox Island, a tourist is killed and a rampaging bear has trapped her and the lodge's guests inside. The locals cops can't get to the lodge because of a storm so they ask Maeve for help. Her cover is blown and she's thrown back into investigating the who, why, and wherefore of the murder before a killer among them can strike again.




Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

About Keenan Powell

Keenan Powell is the award-nominated author of the Maeve Malloy Mystery series. Her first publication were illustrations in Dungeons and Dragons, 1st edition, while in high school. 

Art seemed to be an impractical pursuit – she wasn’t an heiress, didn’t have the disposition to marry well, and hated teaching – so she went to law school instead. The day after graduation, she moved to Alaska, where she continues to practice law. 

In 2009, there was a string of homeless deaths which the Alaska Medical Examiner had ruled were the result of natural causes. While attending a legal seminar, she learned of a little-known law that permits the medical examiner to declare death by natural causes without performing an autopsy. These deaths and that loophole inspired her to write Deadly Solution. 

She won the William F. Deeck-Malice Domestic grant which led to a three-book deal with Level Best Books. Deadly Solution was published in January of 2018 and was nominated for a Lefty, Agatha, and Silver Falchion. 

When not writing or practicing law, Keenan can be found connecting with readers on social media, chatting with fellow mystery authors in the Bouchercon and Crime Bake community, oil painting, or studying the Irish language. 

Find out more about Keenan at her website, and connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

The What to Eat When Cookbook by Michael F. Roizen, MD, Michael Crupain, MD, MPH, and Jim Perko, SR, CEC, AAC (TLC Book Tour)

 I don’t know about you, but I am always looking for another good cookbook.  It’s even better if the cookbook can help me to eat healthy delicious food.  Being in my forties now and having a mostly sedentary job, this has become particularly important.

 The What to Eat When Cookbook starts with Section 1, “The When Way.”  The quote it starts with is perfect, “Eat only when the sun is up; eat earlier, less later.”  I do make this biggest mistake and eat the most at the end of the day for supper.  This book states that we should be consuming 80 percent of your daily calories before 3 PM.  My Great Grandparents had it right, their large meal of the day was at lunch with a very small supper.  I think the large problem with this right now is having kids who are hungry for a full dinner after 3 PM.

 The book also stresses the three P’s, “plan, prep, and plate.”  It rightly states that many of our unhealthy choices are because we go with what is easiest with our busy lifestyles.  If we plan out our meals a head of time, we will be more successful.  We mostly do this at my house, although we have been known to slip in pizza when are too tired to make dinner. 

 There is also a great chart of what are “YES!” foods and what foods to limit or try not to eat at all.  I thought this was a very handy guide.  It also has a great list on how to get started including recording what you eat for five days to note your patterns, swapping the no foods out, having a large salad ready to eat when you are hungry, etc. 

 Chapter two gives a great list of items to keep stocked in your kitchen at all time including spices, oils & vinegars, produce, meats, nuts, seeds, & grains, dairy, canned & packaged goods other, and tools.  There is also a great chart of ingredient conversions between pounds and cups for cooking certain ingredients.  I also love that there is a great section about sanitation.  I used to teach microbiology and environmental health, so I love that!  There are basics on preparing and cooking. 

 The majority of the book is filled with interesting and tasty recipes.  There are beautiful pictures, prep and cooking times, the amount of servings, the serving size, health information (calories, etc.), ingredients, detailed instructions, helpful tips, and an overall summary of the recipe.  I really liked this.  In particular having the health information right on the recipe really helps when you are on a diet. 

 Our favorite item from this cookbook is really a cooking hack, one recipe discussed getting Salmon burgers at Costco and simply frying them in olive oil with salt.  We picked them up and they are my husband and my favorite now.  My husband likes to make them into sandwiches, and I like them just plain with some salt.  We usually just eat regular salmon, so it is nice to have a different way to get a healthy meat into our diet.  We also tried about a braised mustard chicken and liked that as well.  My husband particularly liked that it was different than are usual chicken dishes and he really liked the onions.

 The one problem with this cookbook was that it was hard to find ingredients for some of the recipes at our small, rural grocery store.  Our kids unfortunately are also not taken with the healthy recipes (besides the Salmon burgers, which they like), but I can see this in particular becoming a favorite as the kids get older.

 Overall, The What to Eat When Cookbook has great recipes, but also great tips on how to eat healthier. 

 Book Source:  Review Copy from National Geographic as part of the TLC Book Tour.  Thank-you!  For more stops on this tour check out this link.

About The What to Eat When Cookbook

• Hardcover: 304 pages  

• Publisher: National Geographic (October 20, 2020) 

 This inspiring cookbook/strategic eating plan--sequel to the wildly popular What to Eat When--offers 125 delectable recipes geared to longevity, weight loss, and success. 

 In their acclaimed lifestyle guide What to Eat When, Dr. Michael Roizen and Dr. Michael Crupain revealed when to eat foods for healthier living, disease prevention, better performance, and a longer life. The key, they assert, is eating breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper. Now, in this mouthwatering sequel, they deliver 125 recipes to put these lessons into practice. From a fiber-rich pasta dish loaded with healthy and fresh tomatoes and a creamy lemon dip and homemade crackers to satisfy your snack cravings to a salmon burger you'll love to eat for breakfast (yes, breakfast!) and a healthier, decadant chocolate mousse--a treat that also offers hormone-boosting ingredients before you hit the gym. Each dish is paired with practical information about the nutrients and benefits of the ingredients, plus expert cooking tips, what portion size to eat when, and helpful subsitutions. Covering breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert--and the best times to eat all four--this highly anticipated sequel to Roizen and Crupain's best-selling eating guide offers a plethora of meals that will get you through the day, and extend your life by years! 

Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About the Authors

DR. MICHAEL ROIZEN is the Chief Wellness Officer at the Cleveland Clinic, Chief Medical Consultant on The Dr. Oz Show, author of four #1 New York Times best-selling books, and originator of the popular He is board certified in anesthesiology and internal medicine. He's been recognized with an Ellie, an Emmy, and the Paul G. Rogers Award from the National Library of Medicine for Best Medical Communicator. 

DR. MICHAEL CRUPAIN is the Medical Director of The Dr. Oz Show. He is board certified in preventive medicine, a fellow of the American College of Preventive Medicine, and part-time faculty at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Prior to joining The Dr. Oz Show, he directed food safety testing at Consumer Reports. He is an Emmy award-winning producer and sat on an USDA advisory committee. 

JIM PERKO is the executive chef for the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute and the Center for Integrative and Lifestyle Medicine. A graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, he has apprenticed for the American Culinary Federation 1976 US Culinary Olympic Team and cooked for scientists on the 1977-78 US Antarctic Expedition. Perko is the founder of the national award-winning program Food Is Knowledge.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

One by One by Ruth Ware


Title:  One by One

Author: Ruth Ware

Read by:  Imogen Church

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio

Length: Approximately 13 hours and 8 minutes

Source: Review Copy from Simon & Schuster Audio.  Thank-you!

One by One was an excellent thriller that worked quite well as an audiobook.  Tech start-up Snoop is having a company retreat in a remote chalet in the French Alps.  The group has a hard decision to make about potentially taking a large offer to sell the company, which will greatly profit each of the shareholders in the company.  After an avalanche, the group is stuck in the chalet and suddenly people are dying one by one.  Who is the killer and why are they killing? 

Imogen Church is an excellent narrator, and this story really played out well as an audiobook. Especially as the climax of the novel came to a head, I just couldn’t stop listening to this book!  The book alternates the story between two narrators.  One works at the Chalet and the other is a shareholder at Snoop.  This allows perspective from both inside and outside of the Snoop group. I liked the two workers at the chalet, Erin, and Danny.  The other characters were pretty unlikeable, but I really liked those two.  The killer became very apparent well before the end of the book, but the book allowed time to understand why the killer did what they did and the aftermath. 

Favorite Quotes:

“I stop, thinking of Topher and his cushioned, monied existence--the way he has had everything handed to him on a plate, the way he's never had to scrap for anything, never had to swallow a snub from a boss, or pick up a stranger's dirty underwear, or do any of the myriad demeaning, boring jobs the rest of us take for granted.

They are arrogant, that's what I realize--maybe not Liz and Carl quite so much, but all of them to some degree. They are protected by the magic of their shares and their status and their IP. They think that life can't touch them--just like I used to do.”

Only now it has. Now life has them by the throat. And it won't let go.”

Overall, One by One was a good thriller and audiobook.  It’s the perfect type of book for this time of year.