Book Review: Bookmarked For Death by Lorna Barrett



By Lorna Barrett

In the second book of the Booktown Mystery series, Tricia hosts a book signing at her bookstore, Haven’t Got a Clue. The guest of honor is New York Times bestselling author Zoe Carter. With this special guest, her nasty tempered niece who is her manager, all the members of her Tuesday Night Mystery reading club, and a delicious cake from Nikki’s patisserie, the evening promises to be an exciting event. How exciting no one can imagine.

Everyone wonders what happened to Zoe when they can’t find her at the end of the evening. It seems like a true mystery has begun when Tricia finds Zoe strangled to death, sitting on the toilet, with a bungee cord around her neck. A bungee cord that came from Tricia’s stockroom… Her mean-spirited niece had left earlier after they had a public spat during the book signing. She’s the likely suspect, yet Sheriff Adams can’t wait to make Tricia’s life miserable as she did in the first book. She closes down Haven’t Got a Clue for an inordinately long period of time. She won’t listen to any of Tricia’s suggestions. Tricia decides with the help of her sister, Angelica, that they will have to solve the murder even though it puts the two of them in danger.

To make matters worse, Canadian geese have flocked into town and are leaving their icky sticky droppings everywhere. Everyone is disgusted, including the tourists, who gripe at every turn because it is nearly impossible to avoid stepping in the stuff. People are becoming sick with Salmonella poisoning. How can they get rid of the geese before the tourists decide to never come back?

On top of that Tricia’s relationship with Russ, the editor of the town newspaper is circling the toilet, too. Will the murder be solved? Will the geese move on to poop somewhere else thus saving the tourist industry which is vital to Stoneham’s economy? Will Tricia and Russ get everything worked out? The only way to know is if you read the book.

I enjoyed this book as well as much as I did the first one. It was clever and funny. Also full of surprises. If you have read the first book, you’ll enjoy the second one. I would give this 5 of 5 stars as it was an enjoyable, relaxing fun read.

Cozy up with a good cozy and enjoy!

Smart tips on health for people on the go


Summer vacation is long over. The children are back at school and the grown-ups are back to rush hour traffic and busy work days. The lazy days of summer are gone for another year. Deadlines, appointments, time schedules, and extracurricular activities keep people on the run. How then with all of the rush-rush do people keep up with healthy nutrition? Here are some ideas for people and children on the go:

#1 – Don’t forget breakfast! After getting a good night’s sleep, it is important to “break your fast” – which term has been condensed to the word breakfast. Even though the word ‘fast’ is in the word breakfast, it doesn’t mean to swallow food whole in under a few minutes. Eat too fast and there is a possibility of getting heartburn. And, believe it or not, by eating too quickly the odds of gaining weight are increased. Skipping breakfast is a bad idea. The energy needed to begin the day comes from breakfast. There is an old saying, “Eat like a king for breakfast, a prince for lunch, and a pauper for dinner.” Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Try out these ideas:
Prepare in advance. – Make a pot of oatmeal and heat up smaller portions throughout the week. Like hard-bolied eggs? Make them ahead and enjoy a couple in the morning. Crack the shell, toss on a little pepper, and enjoy as you fly out the door. Cut up enough fruit to last a few days and serve up some of that. Pour juice and cereal while toasting bread. Try getting up 5 minutes earlier than usual so that breakfast can be eaten sitting down.

Breakfast on the go. While sitting down to eat is the most beneficial, there are some mornings when there won’t be enough time to sit down and eat. For those days, try these quick ideas:
– Pop a slice of bread in the toaster while getting ready. Top it with peanut butter, avocado, or cottage cheese and enjoy it while doing other activities. (Don’t eat when driving. It is unsafe for the eating driver and others on the road. Chances are that to save one’s clothes from spills, a driver will focus on that instead of the road and accidents can happen. Who wants to show up for an important presentation with a large stain on the front of the shirt?)
– Instant oatmeal or other hot cereals take 2 minutes to cook in the microwave. Add some milk, fruit, and almond slices for a complete and satisfying meal.
– Make a yogurt parfait – mix berries, flaxseed, or a favorite whole grain cereal into low fat yogurt and voila! A yummy healthy start to the day.
On the worst of days when you don’t even have two minutes, pack a banana or apple and eat it on the walk across the parking lot and into the office.

#2 – Smart snacking. When hunger strikes it is easy to run to the vending machine and grab the junk food there for something to eat. Chugging down a soda, a candy bar, or greasy chips may make you alert for a short while, but then bam! The let down may make a person feel worse. With a little planning, you can give your body the real energy it needs and give your body long-term health benefits. It is true that good nutrition increases productivity, improves your focus, and offers long-term health benefits.
Plan ahead. Allow for a meal or snack every 3 to 4 hours to keep your energy levels steady. Project what the day may look like and pack what you need.
Skip the junk food. Junk food can actually drain your energy, in addition to increasing body weight and possibly fats and cholesterol in the blood stream. Think of the money that will be saved also. (Put the money that would have been spent on junk food in a jar and in no time there will be a nice cash fund. Reward yourself with a movie or a new book, etc.)
Power snacks. String cheese with an apple and a bit of peanut butter (Yes! Peanut butter on an apple is yummy.) make a great snack and give good quality nutrients and the fuel needed to power the day. Put complex carbs (veggies, whole grain bagels, to name a couple things) with a protein like eggs or lean meat or dairy and the energy needed for the day’s activities will be there.

Keeping things simple relieves some stress, promotes health and wellbeing, and can save money. To your health!

Love and Forgiveness

Love is an act of endless forgiveness.
~ Jan Karon in Light from Heaven

October Hallowversary #Contest #Giveaway – 2 prizes to be awarded!



Yes, I did say ”Happy Halloversary.” Two years and 11 days ago (borrowing and twisting President Abraham Lincoln’s famous Gettysburg address) Mama Vicky, along with her intrepid daughter/general manager Daphne, inaugurated/ launched my blog – Mama Vicky Says. I entered the 21st century and the computer mainstream by blogging. I realize that Mama Vicky isn’t a fantastic or unusual name for a blog, but honestly I couldn’t start a blog and think at the same time. So there you have it.

I chose the word “Halloversary” because I am combining two special events into one big online party. Since October is the month of Halloween and the inception (It plays with your brain.) of my blog, I am inviting one and all to visit my blog – – this month.

The day after Halloween I will give out a pretty awesome basket, if I say so myself, of new, mystery gifts (valued at $30) along with a $20 gift card, just for visiting and leaving a comment on my blog. The gift basket will be awarded to the winner. There will be a smaller Halloversary gift for the 2nd name chosen. They will receive a $10 gift card.

The last time I had a blog contest I asked visitors to list at least one of their greatest blessings. I received the most wonderful responses. This time around, in order to keep with the theme of party, please either comment on what is your favorite holiday and why, or what was your favorite anniversary and what made it so special? You don’t need to share anything deep or intimate. It is perfectly okay to keep it simple.

The party starts tonight when the bell tolls the bewitching hour of midnight. Invite your friends to join the party if you would like. I am looking forward to hearing from you all.

Open to U.S. Residents only. Ends on October 31st at 11:59 p.m. PST. Thank you.

Good luck to all. Party on (as Bill and Ted often said in
Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure)! Blog you later.

Book Review: Murder Is Binding by Lorna Barrett


Murder Is Binding
by Lorna Barrett

It has been a long while since I have read a cozy mystery book. Daphne found this title and the 2 following by this author at a thrift store. She knows I enjoy a good story, especially one about books and bookstores. My dream for ages has been to own a bookstore where I would offer homemade treats and sell some of my craft items. But I digress. (I seem to do that quite a bit.)

Tricia is a former Manhattan socialite who is now divorced and makes a home in a small town in New Hampshire. It is a tourist town that has bookstores of various genres as the main attraction. Tricia has opened a shop dedicated to mystery books which she has named Haven’t Got a Clue.

Trouble begins when Angelica, her obnoxious older sister comes to town. Angelica is bossy, loud, wealthy, opinionated with terrible taste in men. She immediately becomes chummy with the sole realtor in town. Tricia has the lease for her store through him, but she finds him to be a bore, a braggart, and a suspect in the murder of the next door bookseller.

On top of dealing with her sister, the owner of the cookbook store is found dead with a kitchen knife in her back and a valuable cookbook from the 1700’s missing. The town news writer puts an article in his newspaper that is scathing about the murder and makes a strong implication that Tricia did the dirty deed. Sheriff Adams is determined to prove that Tricia is the culprit and Tricia is determined to prove she is not guilty.

Despite these unpleasant and serious occurrences, all is not lost. A handsome man is attracted to Tricia and vice versa. Angelica, pain that she is, is an excellent cook and makes delicious meals for Tricia. No complaints there. Tricia loves her cat Miss Marple and her loft above her bookstore.

Things go from bad to worse when the missing old cookbook is found in Tricia’s store. Someone is also putting tracts about a nudist colony in the books Tricia and the other booksellers are selling.

The sheriff still thinks Tricia is guilty and won’t help her so she has to go it alone if she wants to prove her innocence. This was a delightful easy and fun read. I have already started the author’s second book in the series so you know that I enjoyed the book enough to read the 3rd book too. The author gets a 5 of 5 stars for Murder Is Binding.

A simple formula for life


May I leave you with a simple yet far-reaching formula
to guide you in the choices of life:
Fill your minds with truth.
Fill your hearts with love.
Fill your lives with service.
~ President Thomas S. Monson

Some common superstitions about your health

7 years of bad luck??!!!

7 years of bad luck??!!!

In the month of October superstitions start to surface. Things like don’t let a black cat walk in front of you, don’t walk under an open ladder, break a mirror and you’ll have 7 years of bad luck. With this in mind, let’s tackle a couple of common myths that you have probably heard since childhood.

Here we go:
Cracking your knuckles will cause arthritis. We’ve all probably heard this one. Actually habitual knuckle-cracking may cause soft tissue damage than can lead to osteoarthritis. So stop cracking your knuckles! Aside from possible damage, the sounds of knuckle-cracking is like nails on a chalkboard. Nails on the chalkboard don’t bother me, knuckle-cracking does. Not all arthritis is osteoarthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that is more debilitating and deforming.

Here’s another old wives’ tale. Cold weather causes colds. Colds seem more prominent in cold weather. But it has nothing to do with the temperature. People are indoors more in closer proximity to each other. Close contact with a person who has a cold is what spreads the virus. Forget about feeding a cold and starving the flu. Recovery is aided by good hydration and rest.

Reading in the dark ruins vision; carrots improve it. If this were true I’d have the sharpest eyes on the planet. Straining to see in the dark will tire your eyes, but it won’t ruin your eyesight. Squinting a lot can cause a tension headache. Carrots do contain beta-carotene which is an important nutrient for healthy eyesight. Beta-carotene can be found in other veggies so you don’t have to munch carrots like a rabbit. So the dark won’t ruin your eyesight, but with the lights on, you’ll be able to read your book easier.

Drinking water upside down will cure the hiccups. I want to know how a person drinks water upside down without the water going up one’s nose. I tried it and not only could I not drink the water, but I didn’t cure my hiccups and made a mess on the floor. Hiccups occur when the phrenic nerve that sits below the diaphragm. When it is irritated it fires off impulses that make one hiccup. The best way to curb one’s hiccups is to hold one’s breath briefly as this has the potential to calm down the phrenic nerve.

One more tip: Never book a room on the 13th floor of a hotel! ha-ha

Some fun trivia facts about candy corn, pizza and bears (oh my!)


Every now and then it is fun to learn some trivia facts. I love learning tidbits of info on things I may have never even thought about. And when the conversation dies and the party you are at is getting boring, you, armed with trivia facts, could singlehandedly save the party. You’d be a hero! Or when you run out of things to say on your first date, you can impress your date with your fund of knowledge. This could even lead to a 2nd date. Hey! You might even help your team win a round of Trivial Pursuit. They will be so glad because of the victory, you’ll be in popular demand the next time around. So with that in mind, read on to learn the facts of life (not those “facts of life,” you dirty bird! Though I did hear a DJ this week on the radio discuss some interesting survey facts about male anatomy. I will not share those tidbits. This is a family friendly board. I just wonder who comes up with these survey ideas.)

Did you know that there are 3000 types of mosquitoes in the world, 600 types which live in the USA? They hover around water and love to munch on picnicking people while the people are munching on their fried chicken.

This next item is a bit on the gross side, but being in the medical field, I can talk about it without fainting. There are one million germs/bacteria in one gram of feces. That is a huge amount considering that 1 gram is 0.0353 ounces. So please, please please wash your hands thoroughly before preparing food for the next potluck! I don’t want Montezuma’s Revenge.

Bears make an interesting topic, don’t you think? Did you know that there are 8 species of bears? Can you guess how long the tongue of the sun bear is? And does the sun bear stay inside on rainy days when it can’t see the sun? I can’t answer this question, but I can tell you the length of the sun bear’s tongue is a mere 9 to 10 inches long. (The better to lick you with, my dear.)

Sumo wrestlers consume 10,000 calories a day. That could explain why they become about the size of bear. Just a side note on the Sumo wrestling arena: Should a wrestler lose his obi, you know the thing that looks like a diaper, during a match, he is disgraced and is immediately disqualified. Now back to real bears – the grizzly bear must consume 20,000 calories a day to live.

October is National Pizza Month! And who doesn’t like pizza? The first time the word pizza was recorded was in 997 AD. It was found in a Latin text in southern Italy. Pizza was a local food item in Italy and was brought to our sunny shores (Hey! Has anyone seen the sun bear?) by immigrants. New York City often has the 1st of a new item. So in 1905 the first pizzeria named Lombardi’s opened there. It is still there. Since pizza is such a yummy item, can you guess how many pizzas are sold in a year? And how does that number translate into per person consumption? Three billion pizza pies are sold in the USA every year. Now, that’s amore! (I wish my tablet would allow me to accent words in their proper places.) I can tell you that my family has helped in its own modest way with the number of pizzas sold. Now, the per person breakdown – a person will have eaten and enjoyed 6000 slices of pizza in their lifetime, 46 slices per year, which equals 23 pounds a year! Can you imagine that? I sure can. I am currently sitting on those 23 pounds of past Pizza Hut meat lover’s pan crust pizzas. Blast those immigrants who brought pizza to America. Look what they have done to my tuckus!

Now it is October so how about some important October trivia? On Oct. 4th in 1957 the Russky’s beat our country in the space race by launching the 1st artificial satellite called Sputnik. (Moons are considered to be a planet’s satellites – nothing artificial about those.) Isn’t Sputnik a great sounding word? Sputnik, Sputnik, Sputnik. On Oct. 16th of 1923 Walt Disney founded guess what? The Walt Disney Company. He was accused of being a Nazi sympathiser. I don’t know if that was ever proven. I do know that I love riding the Matterhorn and Space Mountain at Disneyland.

On Oct. 23, 2001 Apple released the iPod.

Let’s not forget that the month of October ends with Halloween. So here are some interesting Halloween trivia. Americans spent between $2.1 and $2.6 billion dollars on Halloween candy each year. That translates into 600 million pounds of candy. I also participated in helping our economy for Halloween by purchasing candy. The evidence of my help is now centered around my midsection. I am very patriotic. I do what I can to support this great nation.
The next little factoid blew my small mind. M&Ms have 20+ ingredients in them! Really? And I just thought they were sugar candy shells filled with yummy chocolate. They melt in your mouth not in your hand. I have figured out how that works. You pour them into the palm of your hand where they rest for a fraction of a second before they are shoved in one’s mouth. There is no chance for them to melt in your hand!

Do you remember those commercials about Tootsie Pops where the announcer asked how licks it takes to get to this center of a Tootsie Pop? I am sure you have tried to do the count, as have my children and I. We lost track. However, someone was able to complete the challenge. The answer is 364 licks. That’s a lot of licking.

Last and the least deals with that nasty candy called Candy Corn. I am amazed that people actually eat that stuff! G-g-gross! But for those who partake of this confection, there is data for you. Forty-three percent, and how the researchers figured this out beats me, eat candy corn with the skinny side first. Whichever end it is eaten from it’s all gross to me. To each his own.

So there you have it folks, enough trivia to be the life of the party wherever you go. Beats wearing the lamp shade and dancing on the tables at the office party. Unless you don’t mind being talked about for the rest of your life.

And as Billy Bob Thornton’s character in that awful movie “Sling Blade” says, “That’s all I have to say about that.”

Have a great week! Blog you later!

Book Review: The Domino Effect by Davis Bunn


The Domino Effect
by Davis Bunn

The theme of this novel centers around the stock market and CMF, one of the largest banks in the nation. Though there are several important characters in the book, the main focus is on Esther Larsen, the whiz kid math genius who is the senior analyst in the trading sector of CMF. Esther is a single woman carrying hurt from the past in her soul. Her older brother is dying, having given up on life. She has lost her faith and the only thing that keeps her going is her love for her job.

Esther’s immediate boss is Jason, an aggressive, mean trader, one of the best in the business. Jason finds the deals and Esther’s team of analysts crunches the numbers to determine the risk of the deals. Jason and his team of similarly mannered traders plan a huge trade that will require the bank to give Jason $2 billion to finance the trade expecting to get a very high rate of return. Esther’s report reveals that the venture is just too risky. He threatens her into silence. The bank finances the deal and the bank makes a huge profit, this time.

The problem is that this trade is on paper only and would not be sanctioned by the Security Exchange Commission. Had it failed the bank would have lost a boatload of money. This is only the tip of the iceberg. Esther discerns that there is more afoot, something only she perceives based upon her years of research and experience. The problem is that she is only one person. Who would listen to her?

She and her team have been labeled as the “Downer Group.” The head of the bank is listening less and less to her data. She knows that trades like the one Jason has made are happening everywhere on a global level. If these trades begin to fail countries will go bankrupt.

Honestly, the stock market has always been a mystery to me. I only know that a green arrow next to a company’s name means they have made a profit. A red arrow means they have lost value. I also don’t understand what the folks yelling and waving papers on the floor of the NY Stock Exchange are doing exactly. The author explains things about how the stock market works which were kind of hard to understand. I did learn quite a bit, yet I have to admit that some of it was over my head. Just as the stock market is a wild ride so is the story in this book. How does Esther get people to listen to her? Will her voice of warning be enough to help those who may lose their life’s savings? The thought that this kind of thing could be going on in real life is pretty frightening.

I would like to thank Bethany House Publishers for sending The Domino Effect to me to read for free in exchange for an honest review. I really enjoyed it and learned something at the same time. I would give the book 4 of 5 stars.

Believe in yourself

Believe you can and you are halfway there.
~ Theodore Roosevelt