Best books of 2017

The biggest bookseller in the world is Amazon so when the best seller list comes out, people pay attention.  Here are three of the best books of 2017 in the mystery, thriller and suspense genre as listed on Amazon..

Amazon's top pick with 1,432 almost all five star reviews:
The Dry by Jane Harper
After getting a note demanding his presence, Federal Agent Aaron Falk arrives in his hometown for the first time in decades to attend the funeral of his best friend, Luke. Twenty years ago when Falk was accused of murder, Luke was his alibi. Falk and his father fled under a cloud of suspicion, saved from prosecution only because of Luke’s steadfast claim that the boys had been together at the time of the crime. But now more than one person knows they didn’t tell the truth back then, and Luke is dead.
Amid the worst drought in a century, Falk and the local detective question what really happened to Luke. As Falk reluctantly investigates to see if there’s more to Luke’s death than there seems t…

Cactus on an island?

Who knew cactus would grow on a Caribbean island? Certainly not me with my geography challenged brain. I've visited many of the more popular islands but I can't remember ever seeing cacti. If you have a chance to travel the several hours (nine from Phoenix) to visit Aruba you may see images similar to the one I'm including here.

Aruba is a Dutch Caribbean island off the coast of Venezuela. Due to the location it has year round temperatures staying in the 80's Fahrenheit. If you have the stamina you could walk the entire island from top to bottom as it's less than twenty miles long and approximately six miles wide. Of course it has beautiful beaches but on the rocky side (where there are no tourist hotels), you will definitely see different scenery.  With humidity vastly different from that of mid to southern Arizona, I expected plants that need moisture, so it was a pleasant surprise for me to see cacti everywhere.

It's almost as if no matter where you go - the…

Cowgirls - the better artists?

I recently posted about cowboy artists, not to be outdone, the cowgirls provide a strong presence in the art world.

From March 23, 2018 through May 13, 2018 the Desert Caballeros Western Museum in Wickenburg, Arizona are featuring art by contemporary women artists. Cowgirl Up! is an annual exhibition of Western genre artwork in a wide range of techniques.

If you are lucky enough to be present for the opening weekend, Frontier Street in in Wickenburg will include catered dinners, dancing, live auctions and artists quick draw. Work will be available for sale during the exhibition.

Even if you aren't ready to make a serious purchase of original artwork, the event is worth taking the drive to beautiful, historic Wickenburg and the museum itself is always a treat.

Here are just a few of the women artists who will be featured.

Happy Trails,
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Jayne's Restaurant Review - Mod Pizza

If the restaurant name includes the word pizza then you can count me in!  Mod Pizza is a chain of "quick cook" pizza oven restaurants which can be found across the U.S.  There are three locations in Arizona but, as it happens, I dined at a location in Virginia.  I expect the experience is the same regardless of where you are.

When you enter a board posts suggestions for your pizza but you can easily create your own as you walk through the line. The design your own concept is a popular one which can be found in places such as Chipotle. Guests select which toppings to included and the completed pizza then goes into a brick oven and is one in less than ten minutes.

I had a half white/half red pizza with grilled chicken, gorgonzola, herbs and mozzarella cheese. My friend had a red sauce with lots of veggies.  Mine was much better!  Overall, the pizza was good but I wouldn't rush back to Mod Pizza.  My theory is that if I'm going to consume that many calories for my pizza…

Crazy Criminals

It's hard to believe crimes can keep getting crazier but they do. I wonder if there is a competition to see who can violate the law more.  Here are a few from 2017 from Rolling Stone ( December 20, 2017 story by Joe Veix)

The Joker Runs Wild
In March 2017, 31-year-old Jeremy Putman dressed up as The Joker (to be specific, the Heath Ledger interpretation) and wandered around Winchester, Virginia – a sleepy town outside Washington, D.C. – while, police say, carrying a big sword. This kind of distressed locals, who perhaps felt threatened by the menacing clown with the sword, and the local emergency dispatch center received multiple calls about the cosplayer.
Police arrested him – not for the sword, but for wearing a mask to conceal his identity, which is apparently illegal in Virginia. Putman's lawyer claims that he actually wasn't carrying a sword, and that he was merely "walking around town minding his own business."
Man Farts At Detective Until He…

Beer and Loathing

The only time you may see me drink beer is on a very hot Arizona day, when the beer is exceptionally cold and the country music is blasting. Nevertheless, I know there are others who do enjoy a cold brew and this recipe is for you.

3/4 oz Aperol
1/2 oz fresh grapefruit juice - you can use canned if necessary
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice - definitely use fresh squeezed
1/2 oz honey syrup - separate recipe
2 dashes grapefruit bitters
Garnish - grapefruit twist and mint sprig

Fill a glass with ice cubes and crushed ice.
Combine the Aperol, grapefruit juice, lemon juice, honey syrup and grapefruit juice bitters in a cocktail shaker.
Shake well and strain into the glass.
Top with the Pilsner and garnish

Honey Syrup
Heat equal parts honey and water in a saucepan.
Stir until the honey is dissolved

Happy Trails,
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Book Review - Stillhouse Lake (Stillhouse Lake Series Book 1 by Rachel Caine

This is not a cozy mystery and does have a few graphic scenes but the only reason I couldn't sleep at night was because I couldn't stop reading it. At the time I am writing this review the book has more than 7000 reviews almost all five stars. I cannot disagree with those reviewers because I will also be giving it five stars.

I don't want to give away any part of the plot which included many twists and turns but the general story is that of a mother who finds out her husband was a serial killer and how it impacts her life, her children and anyone near to her.  It is also a story of how social media and the news media can destroy lives without knowing the truth.

The writing was brilliant and grabs your attention from the first page. I loved this line from the main character's first person inner dialogue when thinking about her children:

"...I love these kids. I love them so much it steals my breath and squeezes me flat, and at the same time, it makes me feel weight…