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November 2015

Back to the 70s with Julie Mulhern

It’s Thanksgiving, and I would like to give thanks for all of the authors out there! Thank you, for your hard work and determination. All you do does not go unnoticed!

Introducing Julie Mulhern:

In October, I added another new (to me that is) author to my list of recommended authors. Julie Mulhern is the author of The Deep End and Guaranteed to Bleed (The Country Club Murders Book 1 and Book 2).And Book 3, Clouds in My Coffee will be out in the Spring. Who doesn’t like to read about socialites and country clubs? Did anybody say anger, murder and infidelities? And then add the fact that it is set in the 70s!

The Deep End:

Synopsis:

It’s 1974 and Ellison Russell’s life revolves around her daughter and her art. She’s long since stopped caring about her cheating husband, Henry, and the women with whom he entertains himself. That is until she becomes a suspect in Madeline Harper’s death. The murder forces Ellison to confront her husband’s proclivities and his crimes—kinky sex, petty cruelties, and blackmail.

What others had to say: 

Intriguing Plot, Fascinating Characters…

“Part mystery, part women’s fiction, part poetry, Mulhern’s debut, The Deep End, will draw you in with the first sentence and entrance you until the last. An engaging whodunit that kept me guessing until the end!” Tracy Weber, Author of the Downward Dog Mysteries.

My Thoughts:

I really loved this book and the fact that it was set in the 70s. The characters were well developed giving the reader the opportunity to get to know them, their friends, and their families. The plot was well defined with lots of twists, including anger, murder, and infidelity. And of course, it was suspenseful, the whodunit wasn’t really apparent until Julie wanted you to know. I loved the fact that there were secrets and they remained secrets. This makes it more realistic because everyone has a secret or two that they want to take to the grave with them. hmm!


Guaranteed to Bleed:

Synopsis:

With his dying breath, Bobby Lowell begs Ellison Russell, “Tell her I love her.”

Unable to refuse, Ellison struggles to find the girl the murdered boy loved. Too bad an epically bad blind date, a vindictive graffiti artist, and multiple trips to the emergency room keep getting in the way.

Worse, a killer has Ellison in his sights, her newly rebellious daughter is missing, and there’s yet another body in her hostas. Mother won’t be pleased.

Now Ellison must track down not one but two runaway teenagers, keep her promise to Bobby and elude the killer—all before her next charity gala committee meeting.

What others had to say: 

“In this excellent follow-up to her debut The Deep End, author Mulhern continues to depict the trappings of a privileged community… Readers who enjoy the novels of Susan Isaacs will love this series that blends a strong mystery with the demands of living in an exclusive society. Watching Ellison develop the strength of character to break through both her own and her society’s expectations is a sheer delight.” – Kings River Life Magazine

My Thoughts:

I believe I started my review of the Deep End the same way, but I have to say it again;  I absolutely loved this book! Julie did a great job of building the characters. There was a lot going on throughout the story, giving the reader a chance to make assumptions as to who was guilty, and it wasn’t until near the end that I guessed the outcome! Again, I love the setting in the early 70s…. no cell phones or computers… 🙂 As true for The Deep End, Guaranteed to Bleed was extremely entertaining and was very difficult to put down. Job well done, Julie!

 

About Julie:

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Julie Mulhern is the USA Today bestselling author of The Country Club Murders.

She is a Kansas City native who grew up on a steady diet of Agatha Christie. She spends her spare time whipping up gourmet meals for her family, working out at the gym and finding new ways to keep her house spotlessly clean–and she’s got an active imagination. Truth is–she’s an expert at calling for take-out, she grumbles about walking the dog and the dust bunnies under the bed have grown into dust lions.

Julie always wanted to be a writer. She spent her childhood creating pen names and dreaming of exotic, mysterious, romantic places. To that end, she went to Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia (because, when you’re from the Midwest, the South is both exotic and romantic). There she earned degrees in politics and French. She even spent a year living in Paris. But the Midwest beckoned and she returned home. Now she lives with her husband, two daughters, and a dastardly dog. It might not be exotic or mysterious, but it is romantic.

In addition to mysteries, Julie writes historical, romantic suspense. Her first romance, A Haunting Desire, was a finalist in the 2014 Golden Heart® contest and is available now.
Look for A Haunting Need in the early spring of 2016.

In Closing, I will say that I Definitely loved both books, and will IMpatiently wait for the third (Clouds in My Coffee) And, hopefully, more after that!

I highly recommend this series, and Julie has graciously offered a copy of the Deep End to a randomly chosen commenter! Thank you, Julie!

Please leave a comment; Have you read this series already and would like to share your comments? Is Julie Mulhern a new author to you and you would like to add this series to your TBR? Or you can leave a comment and just say hello! Even though you are prompted to leave your name and email, I promise I will not send you tons of email! Unless of course you want some! 🙂

You can connect with Julie Mulhern via her website: Julie’s Website or Amazon for Julie Mulhern

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and don’t forget to:

Live, Love, Laugh, and by all means, READ!

Sharon

 

 

 

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Listening to Sixties on Six while driving from New York to San Antonio

Last week I promised I would do some research and post about some of my favorite sixties music. On my drive from New York to San Antonio, I listened to XM/Sirius Sixties on Six. I found myself smiling a lot! Here are a few of my favorites.

Burt Bacharach: Walk on By

I love this man’s talent. He has  lots and lots of songs that just reach in and touch the soul. . Although this was recorded for Dione Warwick, the YouTube below, Courtesy of Bruce Kennewell is the instrumental version. Close your eyes and listen! It is so very beautiful.

Walk On By

The Beatles: All My Loving And All You Need is Love

I cannot write about sixties music without including at least one Beatles song or my stepdaughter, Diane Aguanno Knox, would be very upset. I am sure that everyone remembers the Beatles first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show on February 9, 1964. Don’t you? It was the first song most Americans ever heard the Beatles sing. Also, noteworthy is All You Need is Love…. It starts with the French National Anthem.

Elvis: Suspicious Minds

And Elvis Presley returns. Suspicious Minds became number one in 1969 and is the song that brought back success, following his 68 Comeback Special. There are so many songs by Elvis, it is impossible to just choose one.

Barbra Streisand: People
This is one that not only has beautiful instrumentals, but the lyrics are amazing. “People who need people, are the luckiest people in the world”. Why is it so difficult to admit we need people in our lives? I actually have vivid memories of saying; “I can do this on my own, I don’t need anybody.” But if truth be told, I have never been alone.” I have had people ask me how I managed to raise three boys alone. My answer; Support from family and friends. I would be lying if I said it was easy. It is very hard to ask for help, or just support in general. There is always that fear of  rejection. Overcoming the fear is the answer because “people who need people, are the luckiest people in the world.” There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that this is true!

OK, so I think I am going to break my promise just a little because one of my all time favorites didn’t start recording music in the U.S. until the early 70s. And I have to say that choosing just five (because of how long it takes) was very difficult.

Rod Stewart: Maggie May

In 1961, Rod Stewart went to a Jazz Festival. He met an older woman that took his virginity in a beer tent. According to his 2012 Autobiography he states, “How much older, I can’t tell exactly,” “But old enough that she was highly disappointed by the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it-brevity of the experience.” 10 years later he wrote “Maggie May,” a highly fictionalized experience of the early sexual encounter. It became his first huge hit and remains his signature song to this day.

I wanted to include videos for all of the songs I included here today, however, I do not want to break any copy write laws. However, I did include one because it is the instrumental version that I wanted to highlight. If you want to hear any of the others, you can do so by searching the song title and artist. Enjoy!

Even if you weren’t born during this time, I bet you have some 60s favorites. Leave me a comment and tell me what you like or perhaps dislike.

As always, Don’t forget to:

Live, Love, Laugh….. and by all means READ!

Sharon

Loaded Baked Potato Soup

I won’t lie to you! This soup is not for dieters! However, it is a full meal in itself, and oh so good! I just felt I had to share. I found a basic potato soup recipe online and then decided to do my own thing with it. For me, it is definitely a winner.

Loaded Baked Potato Soup

4 baking potatoes

12 slices bacon

1 Cup Shredded Carrots

1 Cup Chopped Celery

1/2 cup chopped green onions (I included the bulb of the green onion)

2/3 cup butter

2/3 cup all-purpose flour

6 cups milk

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

5 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese

1 Container sour cream (8 ounces)

  1. Bake potatoes approximately 1 hour in a 400 degree F oven. Let cool, remove them from the skin, chop into bite size pieces. (use skins for an appetizer at another meal or discard)
  2. Fry bacon, crumble and set aside.
  3. With a very small amount of bacon fat, sauté the carrots, celery and green onion. (I added a little salt and pepper to this step, but not necessary.) Set Aside.
  4. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Stir in the flour to make a roux. Cook about 1 minute, stirring constantly. Gradually pour in the milk while stirring until all the milk has been added. Bring heat to medium and keep stirring until the soup mixture starts to thicken.
  5. Add the Cheese, salt and pepper. Stir until cheese is melted into the sauce.
  6. Add the potatoes and veggies. Stir well and continue to heat for about 15 minutes, allowing the flavors to blend.
  7. Mix in the sour cream until well blended with the soup.
  8. Add the bacon. (adding the bacon at the end gives it a crisp bite. If you would rather not have it crispy, add it with the potatoes and veggies.

Serve immediately with additional cheese, onions or sour cream if desired.

p.s. This soup is even better as leftovers he next day!

Good Tuesday Morning!

During  my drive from NY to TX, I listened to music from the Sixties. This period is especially near and dear to me because I was in high school in the mid sixties. I found myself smiling a lot during the drive. Some of the music is downright corny, but then there are some classics still enjoyed by many folks today.

Now I must confess, I wanted to research and share some of the songs that made me smile; However, time just got away from me. Since I have been back, I have created a to do list each day and feel lucky if I can complete half of it.

Okay, so here’s the deal; I am gonna do some homework and share some of my favorite and maybe even some not so favorite sixty tunes next week! So please stay tuned!

Before I go I must say a very big Happy 240th Birthday to the United States Marine Corps. I am proud to have a son who is a Veteran of this amazing branch of our US Military. The Few, The Proud, The Marines! Ooh-rah Marines!

Picture taken in 2007

Sgt. Jeffrey A. Golnek
Sgt. Jeffrey A. Golnek

Wishing everyone a great week, and don’t forget to:

Live, Love, Laugh…. And by all means… READ!

Sharon

Goodbye October, Hello November

Because I am traveling, I wrote this post last Friday and scheduled it to post on my regular posting day.  I thought I would summarize my month of October on my blog instead of Facebook.

Is it really November already? October gives me ten months of being caffeine free. There were a couple of times when I thought; hmmm I could sure go for a diet coke. But, I didn’t!

I had a good reading month, completing 6 books from 5 authors, all new to me this year, with the exception of Susan Fleet. My favorites, in no particular order;  Scrapbook Of The Dead (A Cumberland Creek Mystery Book 5) by Mollie Cox Bryan, The Deep  End, Book 1 and Guaranteed to Bleed, Book 2 of The Country Club Murders by Julie Mulhearn, and Missing, Book 6 of the Frank Renzi Series by Susan Fleet. All four are Five Star books. Do venture over to Amazon to take a peek. And for a full review of the Frank Renzi Series by Susan Fleet, take a look at last Tuesday’s blog post.

October in the North Country was lots of fun. It has been some time since I had a chance to watch the trees turn color. They were amazing with the reds, oranges, and yellows. Of course, the Fall brings pumpkin patches, apple orchards, and cider mills. And having Madelynn, born the day before Halloween 6 years ago, a Halloween birthday party is a must. And it was lots of fun.

Naturally, the fall is a time to bake goodies and make homemade soups to warm the belly. There was a lot of cooking and baking going on here in the Aguanno household this October. At the end of this post, I will share a link to another blog, where you can find the best ever Apple Upside-down pie. It includes the crust, the pie filling, and the most amazing salted caramel sauce ever! If you have a copy of Short and Tall Tales, by Amy Metz, then you already have this recipe; If you haven’t read it then I highly recommend this book. 🙂 But for now, you can get the recipe at Killer Crafts and Crafty Killers. Go for it, you won’t be sorry! And it’s a blog you may enjoy as well.

I am doing lots of driving this week, so I will have limited time online. Hoping everybody has a great week, and as always:

Live, Love, Laugh, and by all means…… READ!

Sharon

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