Monthly Archives: December 2017

Operation Sunset: A Thriller By Leslie Wolfe

Operation Sunset: A Thriller
Operation Sunset: A Thriller









A villainous Russian psychopath filled with overwhelming greed for power and money has an unimaginable plan to destroy America; and possibly the world.  Alex Hoffman has chased him for years.  She has a knack for seeing what no one else can see.  However, this time she must succeed in finding and eliminating this evil or the consequences are unthinkable.  Failure is not an option.  My book review of Sunset Operation: A Thriller follows.


In Operation Sunset: A Thriller, Leslie Wolfe created a roller coaster ride of excitement, thrills, chills, suspense, and a scenario which so easily happen in our world. With a heroine who is almost a genius in stepping in the villain’s shoes and seeing the game of a villain extraordinaire, Operation Sunset: A Thriller grabbed me immediately and did not let go.

I found the characters full-bodied and realistic even though they are almost superheroes. In creating Alex, Wolfe gives the reader a heroine who is also human. All families are not blood-related, and this investigation team is definitely a family. I could feel their closeness and their awe of Alex’s talent. The suspense Wolfe wove into this storyline is palpable. I found myself almost gripping my chair as they race to save America and ferret out the identity of the villain. Alex has chased the elusive man known to her only as “V” for years. He has always been one step ahead as he spreads mayhem, murder, and unsavory deeds across the world.


Hi Everyone




Well, Christmas has come and gone once more.  I cooked too much, ate too much, and slept too long after lunch.  Our family had an excellent Christmas Lunch, great conversation, and awesome family spirit.  I hope you and your family had a meaningful Christmas as well.

As you have probably noticed I have classed up my Home page and hope you like it.  Let me know your opinion.  2018 appears to be another busy year with books and book reviews.  I need to get back into the swing of things and make some headway on the books I need to read.  I also need to work on the “dreaded income tax stuff.”  That’s one job I hate and do not look forward to all the receipts, papers, and tearing of hair.


New Category Added to Categories List on Right

I have added a new category to the list;  Everything Instant Pot.  I bought an eight quart Instant Pot in November and received the six quarts as a gift.  I now have the mama and baby Instant Pot.  I have not used my stove since I bought the instant pot in Nov. until Christmas eve.  My large turkey would not fit in the eight-quart Instant Pot, boo hoo.  I will occasionally be posting successful recipes for the 6 and 8 quart Instant Pot.  


Sunny North Carolina is very cold.  Yesterday it was 32 degrees most of the day.  I hope you are faring well in the winter weather.   I must go now and read a few more pages of my latest book for review.  Bye for now.

Vera 12-29-17


North Carolina, State, Usa, Flag, Map, America



Two Hearts One Stone By Josephine Blake



A Valentine’s Novella












Josephine Blake‘s, novella Two Hearts One Stone, is a fast-paced romance during the Valentine Season in Churchgrove.  Henry Moscow’s the town grouch, never a smile’s seen on his face;  he’s always seen with a frown of disapproval.  Churchgrove’s decorated for Valentines Day.  With pink everywhere, Henry feels sick to stomach; what an absolute waste of time!  After all, Henry doesn’t believe in love or Valentine’s Day romance.  Even his beautiful daughter, Giselle cannot change his mind about Valentines Day.

When the annual courtship auction begins, Giselle enters the festivities.  Henry sees a line of young women, waiting for the men to bid.  All are young except for the last woman in line, Miss Hadisham.  A middle-aged conservatively dressed widow, Emily Hadisham, owner of the only dress shop in town.  She stands in the mist of the town beauties.  When no one bids for her, Henry can not allow her the humiliation; he immediately offered $50.00 for the pleasure of her company at dinner.

As a result, an adventure begins for Henry and Miss Hadisham.  Come with them, as Miss Hadisham melts Henry’s hard heart and his outlook on life.  My romance book reviews of Two Hearts One Stone follows.


Although a short novella of 62 pages, Josephine Blake included everything needed to entertain the reader.  A light, quick relaxing read, I enjoyed watching Henry and Miss Havisham’s romance unfold.  Novellas by their nature do not give the author time to develop the characters or plot as their parent, the novel.  However, Blake did an excellent job of constructing the romance and bringing it to a successful conclusion.

With characters which were believable, plotting in line with the length of the book and a credible premise, I read Two Hearts, One Stone straight through.  The pace of the story, consistent throughout the book, did not bog down or lag.











Lacy Dawn’s father relives the Gulf War, her mother’s teeth are rotting out, and her best friend is murdered by the meanest daddy on Earth. Life in the hollow is hard. She has one advantage — an android was inserted into her life and is working with her to cure her parents. But, he wants something in exchange. It’s up to her to save the Universe. Lacy Dawn doesn’t mind saving the universe, but her family and friends come first.

Rarity from the Hollow is adult literary science fiction filled with tragedy, comedy and satire.

“The most enjoyable science fiction novel I have read in years.”

Temple Emmet Williams, Author, former editor for Reader’s Digest


The Wrong Bride By Natalie Dean and Eveline Hart


Brides And Twins Book 3

The Wrong Bride
The Wrong Bride










Will Henry see the love and happiness his twin, Z, has found with his mail-order bride, Bonnie?  Will decides to court one Bonnie’s sister.  But fate steps in and Will is faced with a life-changing decision when the wrong bride flys out of the stagecoach.  Kasia, sent by her mother to take his intended place, is heartbroken.  Will’s dumbfounded and Bonnie’s amazed at the tale Kasia tells. Kasia has a secret she reveals which changes everything.  My western romance book reviews of The Wrong Bride follows.


The Wrong Bride is an excellent story of Will Henry and the bride he did not expect. Will Henry lost his fiancée and his heart never healed. However seeing the happiness of his twin, Z and his Polish wife Bonnie, Will decides to court one of Bonnie’s sister. Bonnie’s thinks Elzbieta would be perfect for Will; so begins a letter courtship between Will and Elzbieta. Expecting Elzbieta to arrive ready to marry, Will is dumbfounded when another woman gets off the stagecoach; Kasia is in Bonnie’s arms crying up a storm.


Inspired Heart by Caroline Johnson


Clean Mail Order Bride Western Romance




A short light read Inspired Heart’s a sweet western romance by author Carolina Johnson.  Rebecca’s a young widow left with nothing except two gold twenty dollars pieces, a watch, and her wedding band.  Left to rely on her landlady’s kind heart, Rebecca can’t find work.  Placing an ad in the Matrimony Times as a mail order bride, Rebecca receives a proposal from Ryan Wilder in Texas.  After an attack from her landlady’s nephew, Rebecca takes the little she owns and heads to Ryan in Texas.

When bandits attach the stage-coach outside Ryan’s hometown, Rebecca loses her memory.  What follows is an adventure of a lifetime for Rebecca. What will happen to Rebecca with this newest disaster?


Eden’s Gate By Charles Roberts


Eden's Gate
Eden’s Gate










Married to southern tobacco plantation and slave owner Lionel Hawthorne, Lavinia Williams comes to love her slave family. Left by her husband to run the tobacco plantation Lavinia cares for her slave family and farms. When Lavinia discovers blue-eyed slave Henny, she sees Lionel’s betrayal.

Born into an abolitionist family, Lavinia slowly realizes the cruelty and injustice of slavery. The line between love and hate’s small as Lionel’s betrayals mount through the years. However, can she betray the man she loves to give her slave family their greatest wish? My book reviews of Eden’s Gate follows.



Where do I start with this book review?  I hope my less than skillful reviews of Eden’s Gate create a desire to know more. Eden’s Gate is an epic drama of life in 1853 Southern Virginia, the industry which drove the economy, and the infancy of the abolition movement. Following Lionel Hawthorne and his wife Lavinia, author Charles Roberts skillfully shows the life of slavery. Far from the romantic notion of balls, gentle manners, and soft days of plenty, Roberts digs under the false idealism.  As a result, Charles Roberts shows the reality of slavery and the desire for freedom.


20 Short Ones: 20 Short Stories By Dan Salerno



20 Short Ones: 20 Short Stories by Dan Salerno
20 Short Ones: 20 Short Stories, Cover











20 Short Ones: 20 Short Stories, filled with stories of hope, redemption, and in some cases forgiveness, the reader finds a relaxing and inspirational read.  Each story’s short, however, all are complete.  Exploring human relationships and the human heart, Salerno crafted a glimpse of romance and friendship.

My Christian fiction book reviews of 20 Short Ones: 20 Short Stories follows.


In 20 Short Ones: 20 Short Stories, the reader finds 20 stories which are short in length and long in content.  Filled with hope and expectations of good things to come, 20 Short Ones: 20 Short Stories a feel-good read.  Each story is complete unto its self.  This book does not focus on one religious group but features several from Catholic to Jewish and ones in-between.  Salerno is an equal opportunity author.


A Bark In The Night By M. K. Scott

The Talking Dog Detective Agency Book 1

A Bark In The Night
A Bark In The Night










Nala, preschool teacher, decided to try her hand at discreet private investigations during summer break. After all, P. I. work has to be better than demanding parents and whining children. However, Nala did not know she would have a partner; one with four legs and the ability to talk, known as, Max part German Shepard and part “who knows.”

With a mother demanding grandchildren, a father who protects and serves, talking dog Max, and a love interest in the newest addition to the police force, Nala’s life is far from dull. Come along as Nala begins an adventurous career in discreet private investigations. My cozy mystery book reviews of A Bark In The Night follow.


A Bark In The Night by author M. K. Scott is the hilariously funny tale of the trials of Max and amateur P.I. Nala. I laughed and laughed reading this book. Without a doubt, Max is the star of the story. Full of opinions, odd doggy attitudes, smart-aleck insights, and transparent, manipulative maneuvers, Max will grab your heart just as he did Nala’s. Every good P. I. needs a Max, especially if you are new to the game and the dog has been around a time or two.

Although the cases take a back seat to Max and Nala, I found myself enthralled with the storyline and the characters.  The authors filled this story with good feelings; a tight family who has its quirks, a woman determined to find her niche and succeed, and a dog in need of a loving master and permanent home with a job to perform.  Giving the reader all of these and more, you will love this sweet, feel-good story.


At Bobby Trivette’s Grave By Donna D. Vitucci


At Bobby Trivette's Grave
At Bobby Trivette’s Grave










A profound, intense novel, At Bobby Trivette’s Grave, follows two families through guilt and grief.  Teenage Dru’s in love with Bobby Trivette.  Both from families with issues, they follow the usual pattern of teenagers growing up and falling in love in a small town.  However, their story takes a massive detour of grief and guilt when Bobby’s killed in an auto accident.   Dru’s grief will cause both families to take a look at their lives and the reason for how they lived, as well as, face their despair and guilt.

My contemporary fiction book reviews of At Bobby Trivette’s Grave follows.


I am not sure where to start with this review.  Firstly, let me say, author Donna D. Vitucci‘s, a talented author, however, At Bobby Trivette’s Grave was not the book for me.  That said, I must also commend the author for a well-written and well-developed bookVitucci created a deeply emotional story-line as she dove into the life of two families in small-town Paris, Kentucky.  Secrets abound, along with regrets, and lives wasted.  One action by each changed the entire structure of their lives.

In At Bobby Trivette’s Grave, Donna Vitucci demonstrated the futilely of carrying guilt and the destruction it causes.  For me, the pace was a little slow for the first half of the book.  However, it picked up in the middle.  Vitucci gave detailed emotional background on the characters and developed them skillfully.  Even though this book was not for me, I much appreciate the skillful refreshing writing, creative original story-line, an in-depth look into small-town Paris’ families.  For the right audience, this book will be a winner.


Forgive Me by Jennifer Youngblood and Sandra Poole

Second Chance Book 1

Forgive Me
Forgive Me










Delia has everything any woman could want.  She has wealth, a prominent place in society, and a loving fire-breathing lawyer husband.  However, Delia is far from happy.  Pulling herself out of the muck and mire of her deprived and impoverished white trash past, Delia finds her demons have caught up with her.  You can only run so long, and Delia is at the end of the course when her daughter Sybil and her granddaughter, Mattie, move to her old hometown.  A place Delia has tried to bury and erase.

Sybil, unknowingly, has stepped into a powder keg of rage, mystery, and secrets, along with romance in small-town Tick Ridge.  My mystery romance book reviews of Forgive Me follow.


Forgive Me is a story full of dysfunctional family dynamicsJennifer Youngblood and Sandra Poole filled this story with shame, guilt, betrayal, secrets, and mystery.  This story is a roller coaster ride of emotion from the first pages.  I felt I had been rung-out by the time I finished this awesome book.  Facing a past which she had tried to put behind her is devastating for Delia.  For Sybil facing what her life has become and standing up for herself is just as traumatic.

Delia and Sybil discover redemption is not easy to find nor are second chances.  Delia has it all;  wealth, a loving husband, and social position, yet her past haunts her daily with all its trauma and devastation.  Following Delia through this story is emotionally draining.  It’s a rocky journey loaded with insecurities and pitfalls which added tension and intrigue to the storyline.  Youngblood and Poole slowly revealed the secrets Delia held for decades.  As a result, Delia’s past had me in tears.  Sybil thought she had it all when she married the love of her life.  As the year’s pass, she found she’s just barely treading water and sinking fast.   Although not an easy journey, Sybil slowly gains insight into her life.


The Opposition By Alicia Bryant



The Opposition by Alicia Bryant
The Opposition, cover











The Opposition is an intense legal drama in civil court, but also an excellent romance.  Sophia Grant, up and coming lawyer with a large Chicago firm, finds herself presenting her best friend Michael in a five million dollar lawsuit.  Michael, a talented engineer, accused of selling trade secrets, is beside himself.  Brilliant, yet nerdy, Michael and Sam set out to prove his innocence.

Opposing counsel in the case, Sam Hayes, is handsome, quiet, smart, sincere, and just plain yummy.  Sophia and Sam have an instant attraction which grows as they each work for their clients in this suit.  Ethically they cannot be more than friends, yet, the lure steams in the background.

Grab a comfortable seat, my contemporary women’s fiction book reviews of The Opposition follows.


Firstly, let me say, I enjoyed this legal romance story.  Following the case from start to finish was enlightening as the reader gets a close up look at the civil legal system.  Character driven, the story’s unique and will appeal to anyone who enjoys a romance with substance.

Secondly, author Alicia Bryant included twists and turns in the plotting.  I was not expecting the final unexpected twist and revelation.  The pacing of the story was in line with the length of the story and did not lag or bog down.


Instant Pot Petite Pork Shoulder Roast





I purchased an Instant Pot from Amazon during their huge sale and I felt I must post this excellent recipe. I cooked this for supper tonight, and it was terrific.

1. 3 lb petite pork shoulder roast
2. 1/4 to 1/3 cup of onion
3. 1/4 cup of garlic
4. 1 1/2 cups of chicken broth
5. 1 big carrot
6. cornstarch to thicken the gravy

Cut roast in half, rub with a piece of garlic; then salt and pepper

1. I seared both parts of the roast on all four sides then removed roast, place in a dish/bowl or plate.
2. Seared onions & carrot and then add diced garlic; cooking garlic for about a minute
3. Added the chicken broth into Instant Pot
4. Put the roast into IP (instant pot) along with any juice in the dish/bowl or plate.
5. Set to pressure cook for 45 minutes.
6. NPR (natural pressure release) for 20 minutes and then quick release
7. Thickened gravy with cornstarch and water and served

It was fantastic and we have leftovers for tomorrow.

My hubby doesn’t like a lot of spice such as rosemary, thyme, or garlic, so I have to cheat a little and add small amounts. It still makes the food better, and he can’t tell it’s in there. Oh, and he hates carrots, so the carrot was for me, and it also added extra flavor to the gravy.

I must admit I seared the roast on my stove as I seared a long time in the instant pot and was getting nowhere. The instant pot said hot, but it was taking forever to sear. However, I seared the onions and garlic in the Instant Pot.

I hope you enjoy this roast as much as we did.


I leave for California next week. However, I have posts which are scheduled to publish as usual.



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