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Debra Sennefelder Writes Murder Wears A Little Black Dress

Debra Sennefelder

Debra Sennefelder Has Murder and the LBD on Her Mind!

General Introduction

Debra Sennefelder did a great job with this first installment in the Resale Boutique series. I liked this better than her food blogger series, which you can read about here. Kelly is trying to put her life back together. On Long Island of all places! Seems like a typical small town who doesn’t like it when one of their own leaves for big city and comes back with their tail between their legs. A ‘thrift’ store may have some crazy people who would kill for a specific item, but no one would expect the bodies to keep piling up over one dress! Didn’t seem to lucky going back to Lucky Cove, did it?

The Review

The Characters

  • Kelly is a fun character. She’s tough and yet scared. Smart yet unsure. And annoyed because of the inheritance of a cat. She definitely has the attitude of someone from the big city. She needs to learn to tone down her attitude a bit, else she will be driven out of town!
  • Gabe and Pepper are quite a pair. You’d never guess they were related the way they both treated their friend. They definitely don’t see her the same way. Pepper definitely is a great older broad who is set in her ways, and has no problems telling others that she is the way she is, and won’t change just for them. And Gabe is a sweetheart of a guy. I hope Debra Sennefelder sticks with him the way I think she is going. Please keep it friends, no romance, thank you very much.
  • Liv I would like to get to know a bit better. She was there for many of the key scenes, but I didn’t quite get a feel for her.
  • The best (or worst) are her relatives, Ralph and Summer. Some pretty cruel people here. Not ones you want in your family, but you know they do exist, it’s a matter of whether you deal with them or not. You know, their character personalities kind of fit their names. Go figure!
  • The minor (or story specific characters) I felt were well developed, and there weren’t so many that readers would get confused.

The Setting Descriptions

I liked the setting descriptions. They were well paced out, not too full as to skip over them, but enough detail that you could envision them.

I want to find this consignment boutique! I liked how Debra Sennefelder described the shop by what was happening in the shop, not just giving us a description.

Again, like with many authors, I wish I could get more of a vision of the entire town.

The Dialogue

I liked the banter here. The characters felt like they had their own voices. And they had their own brains. Not everyone was thinking the same, like some writers do. It was fun to see the arguments happen. And the panic happen. And poor Kelly with her concerns about her future, and fighting with everyone about it.

The Pace

There was a good roller coaster ride going on here. There was tension and yet breathers. Many of the chapters had those last sentences where you just had to read another one. There were times I didn’t want to put the book down to go to bed. And I have to admit, I did take a bit longer lunch break than usual to keep reading.

The writing was smooth. I felt the backstory sprinkled throughout was well placed. I didn’t see real confusion with Kelly’s history. Every time I felt like I had a question, boom! There was the answer.

The Plot

There was so much murder going on, I don’t see how Debra Sennefelder kept all the clues and red herrings straight. They were all there, for sure, but oh man! 

Not sure about the subplots, though. I don’t know if they should all be resolved because it’s a series or not. But with no subplots really left as cliffhangers, I’m not sure if it will keep other readers waiting for the next book.

I have to admit, at one point I did consider the actual killer, but immediately dismissed it as stupid. Like it didn’t make sense. There’s no way it could have happened that way. But it did! And it was explained well, so it was no longer stupid. Nice job!

Debra Sennfelder Author Information

Do you want to know more about Debra Sennfelder? Check out her website here. She moves pretty fast too on coming up with new ideas, trying to create two series at the same time.

The Food Blogger Series

  • The Uninvited Corpse – March 2018
  • The Hidden Corpse – March 2019

Resale Boutique Mysteries

  • Murder Wears A Little Black Dress – January 2019

The Verdict

I give Debra Sennefelder a 4 out of 5 stars. It’s not a 5 yet, but I think her writing has improved rather quickly, else she’s just really into this particular concept. I eagerly await the next installment.

Food Emergency! Dial 0 for Help

Food Emergency!

My Story

This last week I had a food emergency. Not a “finances emergency” where I had no money for food. It’s not a “by the way, all ten of us are coming over for dinner” type of emergency. Not even an “I have nothing to eat in the house” emergency. A weather emergency. Like, I couldn’t get out of the house emergency.

Why Would You Have a Food Emergency?

Weather can create havoc when it comes time to cook. It’s too cold or hot to leave the house. You are trapped by snow or rain. Or worse, a melting sun. 

We aren’t even talking about the electrical problems emergency. Let’s not even go there. That’s a totally separate post.

There are always times when you need to eat, but don’t have all the fresh ingredients for a meal. The fridge is bare of freshness.

Maybe you’ve been eating out every day for the last month, and forgot how to cook? Naw!

Or you flat out don’t want to make something fresh for dinner. You are lazy and don’t want to use your brain. Happens to me ALL the time!

What is a diyhomegoddess to do?

Have Food Emergency Supplies for Any Event

You might not ever need this, but it’s always good to have something in the freezer. What happens if you need a quick meal and you don’t have time to think about it?

  • “Mom, I am supposed to bring cookies for a bake sale tomorrow”.
  • “Mom, I’m starving. I need to eat before I faint!”
  • “Honey, I invited the boss over for dinner. I don’t need anything fancy, I just want to schmooze a bit so I get that promotion”.

A Food Emergency Freezer

You might be like me, and have a small freezer. After all, I have a tiny kitchen, so I need a tiny refrigerator to match. But there is always room for some emergency food. Here’s what I always have in my freezer, for any food emergency.

Staples

  • A chopped white or yellow or red onion. Do it in a small dice, so you always have a couple of tablespoons of onion if needed. Before you ask, the stores do sell chopped frozen onion, but you can DIY it cheaper. And get dicing practice on the side. I’ve tried other veggies like carrots and celery, but they are mush when they get thawed, so you need to cook them from the frozen state, and deal with the excess water.
  • Ice cubes of tomato paste. The reason for this is there are many recipes calling for 1 or 2 tablespoons of tomato paste. So you open a 6 ounce can of tomato paste, use like 1/4 of it for the recipe. What do you do with the rest? Toss it? Nope! Put 2 tablespoons of tomato paste in each ice cube tray spot , freeze, then put the cubes into a zip lock bag. You will always have tomato paste at the ready. The other options are  buying one of those tubes to tomato paste (looks like toothpaste concept) or get tomato powder from a spice shop. My favorite is spice shop is here.
  • You can do the same ice cube trick with coconut milk. Usually it’s the same problem. You only use a part of the can in any recipe, unless it is uber coconut heavy.
  • A pound of salted butter for spreading on those lovely rolls you have.
  • A pound of unsalted butter for baking.
  • Tortillas to make an emergency quesadilla.
  • SOME shredded cheese like Mozzarella, Gouda, or Cheddar. Mind you though, these should never be eaten ‘raw’, use them in recipes only.

Meals

  • Individual Servings, or pairs, or family sized servings of homemade:
    • Chili (with or without beans)
    • Spaghetti sauce (with or without meat
    • Beef Stew 
    • Your Favorite Soup
    • HINT: This can be leftovers from meals (great for individual serving emergencies) or just make an batch and throw it directly in the freezer when cooled. The only suggestion this diyhomegoddess has is if you are making a full batch to put in the freezer, don’t put any pasta in there if you add some. Wait till it is being heated up. That will deflect the mushy mess.
  • A simple casserole. Chunked cooked chicken breast. Sautéed veggies (might I suggest the holy trinity). Cream of mushroom soup and Lipton’s onion soup mix. Toss in some rice. Sprinkle bread crumbs on top maybe? Warm it all up in the oven for about 20 minutes. If you use an aluminum foil baking pan, you can recycle after, no dish to scrub!
  • Do you make homemade lasagna? Make two batches and pt one in the freezer when cool.
  • Something to just keep in the freezer is a bag of frozen rolls. They are ready to cook, and make the house smell really good!

Deserts

  • Some poached pears or other fruit. These will make a good emergency dessert with the ice cream I know you have in the freezer. Here’s a recipe for poached pears here.
  • Cookies! Every time you make a batch of cookies throw one dozen in the freezer. After a couple of baking sessions, you will have a good variety. You will always have emergency cookies for that kids bake sale he told you about the night before, or you have friends coming over to chat for the afternoon. Everyone will think you spent days making cookies. As long as you thawed them out fully, no one will ever know. It will be a secret between us diyhomegoddesses.
  • A layer cake, sans frosting. Thaw it out, and grab one of those tubs of frosting I know all you diyhomegoddesses have hidden from me.

And Voila!

There you have it. Food emergency avoided! 

What kinds of food do you like to keep in the freezer for a just in case moment?

Lena Gregory Writes A Cold Brew Killing

Lena Gregory

General Information

Lena Gregory Kills the Diner Scene

Lena Gregory is definitely a prolific writer, and a quirk at the same time. The story was interesting. It’s a cute idea. The poor cold brew taste no one wants to try! Oh my!

It is a cute story, like the original cozy mysteries. Lots of comedy and antics, some of which maybe a bit over the top. But it is a fun read for this diyhomegoddess.

The Review

The Characters

The characters were well developed. Fun guys and gals. Not too many characters in this story. I liked how the backstory was tossed in. Especially at odd times, not the classic, but when you least expect it. It made it more memorable.

Lots of characters, but there weren’t any thrown in for filler sake, or to just add as a red herring. All were needed.

Gia seemed a bit of a wild horse here. Some very silly actions to try to find the killer. They were fun, but not sure if they should be in here. You’d think with all these adventures, she’d get in some serious trouble. Maybe she did in the prior books, and I just don’t know about them.

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Traffic Flow in Your Room

TRAFFIC FLOW

Traffic Flow in Your Room

My Story

I have no traffic flow to my rooms. Any diyhomegoddess who doesn’t have flow, needs to change it up now. I have this habit of putting all my furniture against the wall. Why? Because I’m a klutz, and don’t want to be tripping over everything. Plus my family likes to leave things lying around anywhere. The coffee table will block the view of that book on the floor.

But if you think about it, the best setup for a formal party is to have food in sprinkled places with access on both sides, drinks in another area, tables in the middle, with plenty of walking space all around.

What To Do

According to several websites, you should have a traffic flow to your rooms. The best one I found is a website about apartments. Yes, it’s called Apartment Therapy. It’s a good website. I promise. You can link to it here.

Here is a Few Quick Tips

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Shari Randall Writes Curses, Boiled Again!

Curses, Boiled Again by Shari Randall

General Introduction

Shari Randall has come up with a fun book here. There’s no such thing as a brand new book idea, just putting your own spin on an idea already out there. This author does it in spades. A restaurant, a food festival, and reality television? I’ve seen plenty of combinations for two of these, but all three? Not too many at all.

The one thing missing from this book is a lobster roll recipe. I got to find one, since this book made me hungry for one!

The Review

The Characters

Allie Larkin is a fun character. I automatically felt for her with the injury crushing her dreams for the moment. She is fully developed, and I enjoyed her bit of a scatterbrained attempt at solving the murder. She feels more realistic that way.

I love Aunt Gully, because she is a feisty broad. And she’s caring of others. The right personality for a restaurant.

The sister Lorel is one I love to hate. She seems too perfect for me, too put together, has no clue the insecurities she creates. Reminds me of my own sister. Doesn’t everyone have one of these in the family? I hope in the sequel she gets accused of the murder! Sorry Shari!

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VALENTINE’S DAY – LOVE YOURSELF

valentine's day

Love Yourself On Valentine’s Day

Do you celebrate Valentine’s Day? What does one do if they have no significant other? Or even if they do? And what is Valentine’s Day?

l am of the opinion a diyhomegoddess should celebrate herself on Valentine’s Day. Why? Because she can, and who else loves you better than yourself?

History of Valentine’s Day

What is the history of Valentine’s Day?

Catholics claim St Valentine was someone who married soldiers against Claudius II rules of having soldiers single. Or there was a man named Valentine in a prison, fell in love with a woman jailor, and sent her the first valentine. Pagans state there was a festival for fertility called Lupercalia on February 15th and women’s names were placed in an urn, bachelors drew a name, and they courted for the next year, with many getting married.

Valentine greeting date back to the Middle Ages, but it is said the first written one didn’t appear until after 1400.

People started sharing valentine cards in the 1800s.

Find more information about the history here.

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Leslie Karst Writes A Measure of Murder

General Introduction

A Measure of Murder

Another cozy mystery that has cooking as a subplot! I love it! And it’s got great humor. And well written.

Sally tries out for a chorus singing one of Mozart’s famous pieces. Something she always wanted to sing. On top of running a restaurant left to her by an aunt. And helping run her father’s family restaurant. Fortunately, or unfortunately, the two restaurants are not similar, one is more casual, one is more sophisticated. And on top of this, she gets involved in a murder. Again. And I tried THE SPAGHETTI CARBONARA RECIPE, which was wonderful!

Anyway, about the review.

The Characters

Sally is a woman of middle age, who is going through what most women of middle age go through. Leslie Karst was smart and didn’t gloss over it. It became part of her character, like it should. 

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Antique or vintage?

Antique or Vintage?

Antique or Vintage

Most people, whether they admit to it or not, like a good antique. There’s just something about seeing something old, something of fabulous craftsmanship, that makes us take notice. A diyhomegoddess needs to know the difference between an antique and a vintage piece.

My Story

I am one of these people who actually prefer vintage items over antiques. Yeah, there is a definite beauty in antiques, but I’m a 40s-60s gal myself. My home is filled with vintage pieces, pieces that are made to look vintage, and the occasional antique. At least I THINK they are vintage over antique?

The Real Scoop

Some people think something is an antique if it is over 50 years old. That would include a lot of collectible items. Even this diyhomegoddess would be considered an antique by that definition. But a reputable antique dealer says it has to be at least 100 years old to be considered an antique. That’s the definition for right now. Whew! I’m just vintage.

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