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review 2016-10-20 01:56
Behind Chocolate Bars (Chocolate Covered Mystery, #3)
Behind Chocolate Bars - Kathy Aarons

No as good as the first two books in the series.  It felt like Michelle lost some of that individuality that made her stand; she lost some of her wise-cracking nature and felt a lot more vanilla.  It also felt like a lot more chocolate descriptions that could have doubled as marketing copy.

 

The mystery was good though and I like the direction the author has gone with Detective Lockett.  Aarons isn't rushing the romance - if anything it's moving at a snail's pace - but I do think the whole sub-story line with Leo was rushed and I don't think she did any favours to PTSD with the way she neatly wrapped it all up in a bow at the end.

 

Generally I enjoyed the read, if not as much as I did the first two books.  I'll definitely read the next one.

 

This storyline takes place in the weeks coming up to Halloween and culminates on Halloween night; since my original book for Set on Halloween square for Halloween Book Bingo 2016 hasn't yet arrived (damn you postal services!), I'm using this as my substitute.

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text 2016-10-18 09:57
Reading progress update: I've read 4 out of 288 pages.
Behind Chocolate Bars - Kathy Aarons

Ok, I've given up on waiting for my Set on Halloween book for bingo to arrive.  I'd planned on reading A Graveyard for Lunatics: Another Tale of Two Cities by Ray Bradbury  and I even paid for expedited shipping to get it here faster, but it's been almost 3 weeks now.  Yesterday, this book arrived as part of my Book Buddy Swap box and it takes place on Halloween, so substitution made.

 

Thank you mystery book swap partner!  :D

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review 2016-10-04 18:40
Behind Chocolate Bars (A Chocolate Covered Mystery #3) by Kathy Aarons
Behind Chocolate Bars - Kathy Aarons


Best friends and business partners Michelle and Erica have a monstrous to-do list as they prepare for the annual West Riverdale Halloween Fair. Their shop, Chocolates and Chapters, will have a booth at the event, where Michelle will serve spooky delights while Erica displays an assortment of spine-chilling books.

Thank goodness the teenagers from Erica’s comic-book club are chipping in to help. But one of their volunteers winds up in trouble after a woman’s body is found in an abandoned house—with the teen’s superhero key ring close by.

The teen swears he didn’t do it, but he’s obviously hiding something—leaving Michelle and Erica with a witch’s cauldron of questions. Soon they discover that the dead woman was tricking a whole bunch of people out of more than just treats. Now these two friends must go door-to-door if they hope to unmask a killer…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I never used to be very fond of food/pet mysteries but the older I've gotten the more I've grown to like them and understand what makes them so likable.

Of course with Halloween being around the corner who can resist a sweet holiday related read filled with both tricks and treats?

I really feel like readers of any age can enjoy Behind Chocolate Bars. From teens to adults this book has it all for all ages.

I was happy that Aarons makes it easy for first time readers of the series to follow along, I love her town and her cast which are fun and fantastic I love her writing and personality.

Aarons has a great way of bringing a scene together that keeps you plenty entertained. Behind Chocolate Bars is a fun quick witty mystery filled with bounds of fun for all of us.

A great book choice for one of my Halloween reads!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                

 

 

 

        

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Krissy's Bookshelf Reviews received a digital copy in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts, comments and ratings are my own.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Krissy's Bookshelf Reviews received a digital copy in exchange for an honest review from Berkley Publishing

 

 

 

 

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If any of Krissy's Bookshelf Reviews has been helpful please stop by to like or let me know what you think! I love hearing from followers! Thank you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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review 2016-09-11 12:51
Review - Prison Ramen - 5 out of 5 stars
Prison Ramen: Recipes and Stories from Behind Bars - Gustavo "Goose" Alvarez,Clifton Collins Jr.,Samuel L. Jackson

You might ask what the hecks wrong with me; managing to review two books in as many days, after months of nothing. Well, part of that is down to Prison Ramen being structured in an easy, bite-sized way.

 

These short stories are, for the most part, each an important life lesson and an eye opener as to how cheap life can really be in some of the American prisons. One of the two-pagers is a section from a film script, but mostly these are real accounts. Some are snippets of the joy that people manage to find in the most adverse situations (the makeshift birthday cake was inventive) but a lot of them are melancholy and one particularly made my heart hang heavy.

 

Not a book to be read if you want escapism (deliberate pun there) or entertainment, but some real thoughts that... you never know... might stop someone from doing something stupid someday... because some of these pages are heartbreaking.

 

I leave you with one of the recipes which is worth keeping in your arsenal... The Belushi... useful also for diabetics on a serious sugar crash, and similar is taught to us in First Aid.

 

Lifesaving Coffee

 

Once at the L.A.County jail, I saw a man lying on the floor, shivering and sweating like crazy. You could tell he was a big-time addict by looking at his arms. Another inmate brought him this special drink - the Belushi. About 30 minutes later, after finishing it, he was calm and composed enough to walk over and thank the man.

 

I asked the lifesaving coffee maker why he called it a Belushi. He explained that John Belushi was a great comedian who died of a drug overdose. I guess having a sanity-saving, sugar filled coffee drink named after you isn't a bad way to be remembered. It's loaded with sugar and helps with the symptoms of heroine detoxing.

 

*) 1 Tablespoon instant coffee granules

*) 1 tablespoon sugar

*) 3 tablespoons French vanilla creamer

*) 1 cup boiling water

*) 1/2 full-size (52 gram) or 1 miniature Milky Way bar

 

Place coffee in large mug. Add the sugar and creamer. Add the water and stir well. Then add the Milky Way and drink immediately while the candy bar melts.

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text 2016-09-11 08:25
Reading progress update: I've read 20%.
Prison Ramen: Recipes and Stories from Behind Bars - Gustavo "Goose" Alvarez,Clifton Collins Jr.,Samuel L. Jackson

The first thing that got me was that the foreword was by Samuel. L. Jackson. Apparently, this looks legit. It's not much, basically a long paragraph on the page, which is an indication of what is to come throughout the book. Short snips of compressed stories that reveal the humanity behind incarceration.

 

It then moves into the introductions. Here's Gustavo "Goose" Alvarei's intro which also explains how come some famous people have been involved in this one...

One hot day in August, there was a prison riot at the California Institution for Men in Chino. I was halfway through a six-year sentence, the father of young children and I wanted nothing to do with extending my time in that hellhole. But the race riot that unfolded that night was inescapable.

I was with a group of Southern California Hispanics, outnumbered and trapped in the last surviving dorm. Fires raged all around us. More than one hundred angry men were doing everything possible to break down a secured door. Their only desire was to maim or preferably kill us. We were pretty much doomed - we knew it, they knew it. The only thing I had left in that shithole worth fighting for were the pictures of my kids taped to my locker shelf. So we prepared ourselves for the massacre, lacing up and wrapping towels around our necks to protect our jugulars. There were two Christian brothers in our dorm just praying. It was pretty grim.

And then, as the door began to give way and the rioting inmates were just about to storm in, two older guys ran to our aid. They were OGs - Original Gang members of the Crisps - and they stood between us and the bloodthirsty attackers.

They must have argued for two hours, until finally the rioting inmates backed down. The lines of race and gang affiliation are deeper in prison than anywhere else, so the fact that these African American guys defended us - Hispanics - against their own brothers is practically unheard of.

Since fires were still raging, and the door to our dorm was now jammed, we and our, "enemies," were both trapped. They were outside in the prison yard, freezing and huddled up. I noticed one of the OG men passing them the little bit of food he had, from his locker. At that moment, I felt it only right to try to return a small portion of a big favour. I gathered all the homies and we began to cook all our Ramen and commissary. We made huge spreads, jugs of coffee, and snacks. We shoved all the blankets and mattresses we could fit through the door they had once attempted to break down to kill us. Most of them were just kids, barely in their twenties, living and following the same lies we were.

Shortly after this, I received a visit from my childhood friend Clinton. Growing up in the mean streets of West L.A. who would have thought that many years later we'd still be friends? We came from the same housing projects, but grew up in different worlds. Cliff was never deep in the game like many others, but he was always in the mix. Squabbling, getting shot at, holding his own in street fights like the rest of us. Then he'd bounce the spot and go to an audition. I'd get snatched from the spot and go to juvenile hall. This went on for many years - casting calls for him, county jails for me, movie deals for him, state and federal prisons for me.

Through it all, we maintained our friendship through letters, phone calls, and visits, always holding the dream that one day we'd collaborate on something. I pitched this idea to Cliff when he visited me after the riot and now it's a book in your hands. Take it from someone who knows what he's talking about - you can change your life from wherever your are right now.

 

There's even a section from Slash from Guns'n'Roses fame, who spent a few days behind bars early on in the bands career. There's a short recipe, "Slash's Jaywalking Ramen" which is basically scallions (spring onions) and a small amount of cooked pork mince added to chicken flavour ramen, which is apparently still a favourite on the tour bus. His advice... "To those of you who don't bother with those minor infractions and choose to ignore tickets, beware. There might be a stinky holding cell waiting for you. Word to the wise: Pay your jaywalking tickets.""

 

Roger Avary, screenwriter of Pulp Fiction, Silent Hill and Beowulf. He was up on a manslaughter charge. This from Wikipedia...

On January 13, 2008, Avary was arrested under suspicion of manslaughter and DUI, following a car crash in Ojai, California, where a passenger, Andrea Zini, was killed. The Ventura County Sheriff's department responded to the accident after midnight Sunday morning on the 19-hundred block of East Ojai Avenue. Avary was released from jail on $50,000 bail. In December 2008, he was charged with, and pleaded not guilty to, gross vehicular manslaughter and two felony counts of causing bodily injury while intoxicated. He later changed his plea to guilty on August 18, 2009. On September 29, 2009, he was sentenced to 1 year in work furlough (allowing him to go to his job during the day and then report back to the furlough facility at night) and 5 years of probation. However, after making several tweets about the conditions of his stay on Twitter, Avary was sent to Ventura County Jail to serve out the remainder of his term. On July 10, 2010, after spending eight months in jail, Avary was released.

His recipe is, "Avery's Jailhouse Hole Burrito," which he ponders could potentially have killed him.

 

There are human stories in here, including about how some inmates started gardens, growing their own veg until, "It all ended on the day someone took tomato plant leaves to make a toxic tea, poisoning another inmate. It was tough to watch officers pulling out our crops."

 

This is the kind of a book that, pardon the pun, I can really get stuck in to.

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