5/21/19

Memorial Day Cookout Menu from Appetizers to Desserts


It seems like it was just Labor Day and the kids were venturing off into a new school year--but, the calendar says that we are almost finished with another school year and it is time for Memorial Day weekend.  
grill with different kinds of meat

Many of host cookouts and gatherings to welcome summer during this time along with our activities honoring the men and women who have died while serving in the U.S. military.  After hosting many gatherings over the years--I thought I would share some of my go-to recipes ideas from our Memorial Day cookout menu.   Here are some dishes from my favorite summer cookout menus!

Pinnable image of a Memorial Day cookout menu


Memorial Day Cookout 
Appetizer and Side Dish Ideas

This is my fastest, easiest, potluck salad recipe--and always a guest on my cookout menus!


These are the perfect, healthy offering for a gathering.  Even the kids can skewer these kabobs onto pretzel sticks for dipping.


This recipe is a Greek themed take on the traditional mayonnaise-based pasta salads our moms have made for years.

My daughter makes the best guacamole--and we love to serve it with tortilla chips or even cut up veggies for parties and gatherings!


Memorial Day Main Dish Ideas  

We love to serve a variety of seasoned mini burgers--it lets guest try new flavors without committing to one large burger!


Loaded Black Bean Veggie Burgers
These are my favorite meatless "burgers" for cookouts!


I always try to serve a chicken option when we host a cookout--and this one is one of my favorites!


Memorial Day Dessert Recipe Ideas

Quick, easy, bite sized dessert options are always a hit at our cookouts.


These are easy to prepare--and easy to serve--making them perfect Labor Day cookout desserts!


Cookies are easy to prepare and store long before a cookout--and they don't require plates and cutlery for eating!


I will add some grilled corn on the cob--and our Memorial Day menu will be set! Now I just need to go shopping and get the backyard ready for guests!!

Enjoy your holiday!



Hell on Heels Book Series Spotlight & Book Tour Giveaway


This morning, I have a paranormal romance series in our book spotlight.  Check out the urban fantasy books of the Hell on Heels series, learn about the author & enter for a chance to win a prize in the book tour giveaway at the end of this post.


Heart of a Hunter
Hell On Heels Book 1
by Tamela Miles
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance  

Life has never been kind to teen, Elle Connor. With a troubled home life, the gritty, violent streets of Los Angeles have become her home. She never questions her superhuman abilities until she encounters, in a fight or die situation, a guardian angel Tagas, who reveals her holy origins as one in a long history of demon hunters. She also has her eye on her attractive classmate, Brandon.

Problems arise when Elle finally realizes that life as a hunter is fraught with tragedies and is deeply lonely. Elle is presented with a choice - follow her calling from God as a hunter or live a "normal" life with love. Can Elle tip the scales in favor of what's good or will she become just another casualty in the eternal war between good and evil?


Dark Deliverance
Hell On Heels Book 2

Elle Connor's life is as grim as she had always feared. Years of demon slaying have left her with nothing to show for her trouble. She's convinced a "normal" life was never meant for her.

Patrick Holt wants nothing more than to be away from the holy wars and has lived quietly for years as an average human. The trouble is that he's anything but average--he's a fallen hybrid angel. 

When Tagas the guardian angel pairs them up to investigate the brutal slayings of young women in Los Angeles, Elle wants nothing to do with Patrick. As Elle and Patrick begin to understand each other, irritation is forgotten and fiery passion ignites between them. "No ties" is how they both live, but Elle soon begins to long for much more. As they become sucked deeper into the mysterious killings, Elle fears that, in this battle, Hell will win.


Hell Hath No Fury
Hell On Heels Book 3

Elle and Patrick have settled into a life of peaceful domesticity with their infant daughter after years of battling in the holy wars. However, Hell's agents haven't forgotten about them. When Pyro unleashes his torment in the worst way, Elle and Patrick must find a way to save their child and hold onto each other in the face of incredible evil. Will Hell have the last word in a battle that forces Elle to return to the darkness inside herself?



Tamela Miles is a California State University San Bernardino graduate student with a Bachelor of Science degree in Child Development and a former flight attendant. She grew up in Altadena, California in that tumultuous time known as the 1980s. She now resides with her family in the Inland Empire, CA. She's a horror/paranormal romance writer mainly because it feels so good having her characters do bad things and, later, pondering what makes them so bad and why they can never seem to change their wicked ways.

She enjoys emails from people who like her work. In fact, she loves emails. She can be contacted at tamelamiles@yahoo.com or her Facebook page, Tamela Miles Books. She also welcomes reader reviews and enjoys the feedback from people who love to read as much as she does.


Follow the tour HERE for exclusive content and a giveaway!







Awakening Cocijo Book Spotlight & Book Tour Giveaway


This morning, we have a metaphysical novel in our book spotlight!  Check out Awakening Cocijo, learn about the author & enter for a chance to win a prize in the book tour giveaway at the end of this post!


Awakening Cocijo
by Thomas Juarez
Genre: Metaphysical Fiction

Chaotic skies reveal untold prophecies. A storm rises. Can a boy quell the fury of a god?Join the Zapotec on a journey through time and across generations.
Referring to themselves as the cloud people, their fierce warriors conquered and ruled the Oaxaca for centuries. Witness rites, rituals and incantations aimed at appeasing the divine in an attempt to gain favor; favor that would grant them greatness. So, where did it all go wrong? Why would such powerful gods allow their disciples to be conquered? These answers and more would be offered many centuries later by their descendants. Descendants of a civilization whose glory can only be revived by the awakening of the most powerful deity in Zapotec lore: Cocijo, the god of lightening and rain.


Thomas (Tom) Juarez is a retired United States Army soldier with about twenty-one years of active federal service. Hailing from Wetumpka, Alabama, Tom currently enjoys his military retirement with his wife in Sterling, Oklahoma.


Follow the tour HERE for exclusive content and a giveaway!






5/20/19

All the Dirty Secrets Book Spotlight & Book Tour Giveaway


Today, we have a mystery in our book spotlight!  Check out All the Dirty Secrets, the 4th book in the Jake Carrington thriller series by Marian Lanouette, learn about the author & enter for a chance to win a prize in the book tour giveaway at the end of this post.


All the Dirty Secrets
A Jake Carrington Thriller #4
by Marian Lanouette
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Pub Date: 5/14/19

It’s a shocking blast from the past when homicide detective Jake Carrington finds himself investigating the last woman he’d suspect of murder . . .

Recovering from a stab wound to the gut, and dealing with the news that his sister’s killer might beat the system, Lieutenant Jake Carrington needs some downtime. But that’s cut short by a very sensitive case: the murder of the police commissioner’s wife. The crime scene—a dive hotel, complete with provocative, incriminating photos—suggests the victim was having an affair. But Jake finds that hard to believe—as hard to believe as the #1 suspect . . .

Jake hasn’t seen his high school sweetheart, Melinda Mastrianni, since the day his sister, Eva, died. He’d turned down Eva’s request for a ride so he could go see Melinda, and the guilt has never left him. Now Melinda’s a local photographer, mostly shooting weddings and graduations. Definitely not the kind of pics that led him to her doorstep. But when Melinda disappears, and more prominent women turn up dead, Jake will have to navigate through a twisted blackmailing scheme to find out if the girl he once knew is long gone—or if she’s a killer’s next target . . .

Tense and authentic—a suspenseful page-turner!” --Leo J. Maloney on All the Pretty Brides


All the Pretty Brides
A Jake Carrington Thriller #3

Homicide detective Jake Carrington has an engagement that can’t wait—with a killer.

Haunted by the murder of his sister, Lieutenant Jake Carrington struggles to control his personal demons as he stands over the brutalized body of a young woman found dead on the railroad tracks. The victim disappeared on July 6th, the fifth woman in as many years to go missing on that date. The fifth happy bride-to-be. The only one whose body has turned up.
Soon the killer is sending personal messages to Jake. They refer to an unidentified brother he believes Jake hates as much as he does. With his partner distracted by turmoil at home, Jake is on his own. Drawn deeper and deeper into a murderous family feud, his mission is to find out who the killer’s brother is—and stop him before another innocent woman’s life is cut tragically short.
Tense and authentic—a suspenseful page-turner!”
Leo J. Maloney



All the Hidden Sins
A Jake Carrington Thriller #2
When it comes to crime, homicide detective Jake Carrington plays for high stakes . . .

Assigned a missing persons case, Lieutenant Jake Carrington investigates a local Mob boss. The trail goes cold, but the Mafioso isn’t taking any chances, and soon the heat turns up from another quarter. Turns out there’s more than one dangerous suspect . . .
Kyra Russell is drop-dead gorgeous and Jake is only human. But despite their mutual attraction, Jake’s suspicion deepens when he learns about her gambling problem—an addiction that cost her both husband and son. Even more disturbing is Kyra’s day job. She runs a crematorium—and it’s tied to the Mob. Now Jake will have to navigate a firestorm of treachery to get to the truth . . .

All the Deadly Lies
A Jake Carrington Thriller #1

Homicide detective Jake Carrington takes murder personally…

The victim was bludgeoned, stripped, and left for dead. Shanna Wagner deserves justice—and there’s no better cop than Lieutenant Jake Carrington to find her killer. The brutality of the crime reminds Jake of his sister’s murder seventeen years ago, and the remorseless man responsible, now up for parole.
Then another woman is killed—and Jake goes dangerously close to the edge. He’ll have to face his personal demons and focus his formidable skills if he hopes to stop a vicious murderer from striking again—and hold on to his career, and his life . . .



A self-described tough blonde from Brooklyn, Marian Lanouette grew up as one of 10 children. As far back as she can remember, Marian loved to read. She was especially intrigued by the Daily News crime reports. Tragically, someone she knew was murdered. The killer was never found. Her Jake Carrington thrillers are informed by her admiration for police work, her experience in running a crematorium, and her desire to write books where good prevails, even in the darkest times. Marian lives in New England with her husband.

Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!










No Saving Throw Book Spotlight & Book Tour Giveaway


Today, I have a cozy mystery in book spotlight.  Check out No Saving Throw, learn about the author & enter for a chance to win a $20 Amazon gift card or print book in the book tour giveaway at the end of this post.


No Saving Throw
by Kristin McFarland
Genre: Cozy Mystery
A supremely geeky murder mystery perfect for Whovians, gamers, and Muggles alike.

"A cozy shop, a tricky murder, geek humor, and gaming lore galore―what’s not to love in No Saving Throw? This book is a winner, and I can’t wait to take another turn!" –Leigh Perry, author of The Family Skeleton Mysteries

"Enjoyable debut....Readers will hope to see a lot more of the plucky Autumn." –Publisher's Weekly

Autumn has everything she could possibly want: Loving friends, a successful business, and a gaggle of gamers in her store every day.

Welcome to Ten Again, a tabletop gaming store that attracts nerds of every kind and fosters a community Autumn’s pretty proud of―a community that also keeps business afloat. And now that Autumn's in the running for a grant, Ten Again’s future is looking bright.

That is, until one of Autumn’s gamers is mysteriously murdered. With everyone in the mall as a suspect and accusations flying, Autumn is going to have to do some sleuthing of her own to save her shop and her gamers from a fate more dangerous than having no saving throw.

A nat 20! No Saving Throw is a fun, tight mystery that perfectly encapsulates the difficulties gamers face at being taken seriously. Protagonist Autumn Sinclair will stop at nothing to save not only her store, but also the geeky community it fosters.” ―Alex Erickson, author of the Bookstore Café Mysteries



Kristin McFarland has a Master of Arts in Journalism from Indiana University, which launched her on a short-lived but very exciting career as a newspaper reporter. After graduate school, she worked for five different newspapers around the country, writing about politics, crime, arts, environmental issues, crack addicts, prostitutes, and parades. She eventually wised up and decided that making up political fights and crime scenes would be a lot more fun than reporting on real ones. Today, she lives in southern Indiana, where she spends most of her time daydreaming about fictional lives and/or thinking about wool.


Follow the tour HERE for exclusive content and a giveaway!