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Book Review: One Taste too Many by Debra H. GoldStein A Review by Veronica Jorge

January 22, 2019 by in category Book Reviews, Book Reviews by Veronica Jorge, Write From the Heart by Veronica Jorge tagged as , , , ,
One Taste Too Many | Debra Goldstein | A Slice of Orange

One Taste Too Many (A Sarah Blair Mystery)

First in a new series!  

by Debra H. Goldstein

Kensington Publishing Corp.  2019   ISBN 9781496719478

They say that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. It’s also an effective way to take him out—permanently!

Every clue points to Emily, a chef on the rise, and it doesn’t help that the dead man is Bill Blair…her twin sister Sarah’s ex-husband. Throw a third woman into the mix, Jane, the woman Bill was seeing who claims that Bill’s family inheritance belongs to her, including Sarah’s cat, and you’ve got a recipe for murder.

In the midst of a major Food Expo and fierce, (shall we say deadly?), chef competition aspiring careers will be made or broken. Emily’s lawyer Harlan, and Peter the police chief, all life-long friends, match evidence and wits to discover the identity of the real murderer and get Emily off the hook.

In One Taste Too Many, Debra Goldstein will put your sleuthing skills to the test. If you think you can run with the best of the pack; whether Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Agatha Christie, or Jessica Fletcher of the television series, Murder She Wrote, Debra will throw you for a loop each time you think you’ve solved the case.

Intriguing and entertaining, you will bury your nose in the book trying to pick up the scent of each new clue.  But like a sophisticated recipe, you won’t be able to guess the secret ingredient. And like the expert storyteller that she is, Debra will keep you turning the pages until she reveals the culprit. It’s not who you think!

A Sarah Blair killer recipe| Write from the Heart | A Slice of Orange

P.S.  I tried the killer recipe included at the end of the book (‘killer’ as in taste, not the one that did poor Bill in. That’s why I’m still here).  I didn’t get it to come out the way it was supposed to, but it’s light, refreshing, and delicious. And if I might add…one taste is to die for!

See you next time on February 22nd.


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A Captivating Cozy: Debra Goldstein’s One Taste Too Many

December 18, 2018 by in category Book Reviews by Geralyn Corcillo, Things That Make Me Go Mmmrrh . . . by Geralyn Corcillo tagged as , , ,

Reviewed by Geralyn Corcillo

A Captivating Cozy| Geralyn Corcillo

What are your holiday plans? Are you looking forward to wrapping up in a comfy blanket, putting on your favorite pair of fuzzy socks,and tucking in to a cozy mystery? If so, then I have a delightful treat to tellyou about! Award-winning mystery writer Debra H. Goldstein is launching a new series and the first book is available starting TODAY!  One Taste Too Many has all the classic earmarks of a cozy and a few riveting surprises as well.

One Taste Too Many | Debra Goldstein | A Slice of Orange

Meet Sarah Blair, the twenty-eight-year-old law firm receptionist who’s never achieved her dream of becoming a private eye. Her over-bearing ex-husband derailed her ambitions then cheated on her and divorced her–and good riddance to him! So, we meet Sarah on her own and starting over, living in a tiny apartment with her cat. Life is going along just fine until her ex shows up dead at the local food expo after hours. The cute cop on the case thinks Sarah’s sister Chef Emily is the culprit, and Sarah’s dead ex’s mistress decides to try to steal Sarah’s cat – all just to get an inheritance Sarah herself may have been cheated out of! Sarah engages her lawyer boss to take Emily’s case, but all sorts of conflicts arise regarding wills and land development deals and it becomes difficult to know who to trust. Sarah’s not even sure if her own sister is being honest with her. Someone else gets murdered at the food expo, and Emily’s goose really looks cooked. Can Sarah save her sister and her cat, all while flirting with the cute cop and keeping the job she so desperately needs?

This book tells a page-turner of a tale that will have you biting your nails and rooting for Sarah all the way. Is she perfect? Not at all. But her foibles and struggles make her character so relatable and her story that much more engaging. The supporting characters in this cast make every scene into one more enticing step to the solution of the mystery. And about that solution? I could not figure it out! I kept THINKING I knew who it was. At one point, I was pretty darn sure. But I was wrong, wrong and wrong again. The identity of the murderer knocked me for a loop and took me TOTALLY off guard! But in retrospect, all the pieces fit–yet somehow Goldstein distracts you from seeing the clues.

In this book, Goldstein weaves a truly mysterious narrative revolving around a heroine you will want to follow through the series. Cozy up with One Taste Too Many and get ataste of this delightful new series! Available starting TODAY!    

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December 2, 2018 by in category Jann says . . . tagged as , , ,

Debra H. Goldstein & One Tastes Too Many | Jann Says . . . | A Slice of Orange



Debra H. Goldstein & One Taste Too Many



Debra Goldstein | Jann Says . . . | A Slice of OrangeJudge Debra H. Goldstein is the author of Kensington’s new Sarah Blair cozy mystery series, which debutes with One Taste Too Many on December 18, 2018. She also wrote Should Have Played Poker and 2012 IPPY Award winning Maze in Blue. Her short stories, including Anthony and Agatha nominated “The Night They Burned Ms. Dixie’s Place,” have appeared in numerous periodicals and anthologies including Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, Black Cat Mystery Magazine, and Mystery Weekly. Debra is president of Sisters in Crime’s Guppy Chapter, serves on SinC’s national board, and is president of the Southeast Chapter of Mystery Writers of America. Find out more about Debra at www.DebraHGoldstein.com .

Jann: Today we’re chatting with cozy mystery author and Judge, Debra H. Goldstein. We’re going to spend some time today getting to know her, Sarah, and RahRah.

Jann: Maze in Blue, your debut novel, received a 2012 Independent Book Publisher award. What was that like for you?

Debra: Maze in Blue was published by a small company (which ceased operations shortly after the IPPY Award). The company did very little PR and I was such a newbie that being published, attending conferences and being a panelist, and doing book talks and signings was already a heady experience. When I found Maze won an IPPY award, I was over the moon because it was recognition that my passion had value.

Jann: Your second book, Should Have Played Porker, released in 2016. What were you doing during the time between these two novels?

Debra: One thing I was doing was my full-time job as a sitting federal Administrative Law Judge. Somehow that took a lot of my time as did family obligations. In terms of the writing, after my first publisher went out of business in mid-2012, I still had more than six months of scheduled conferences and speaking engagements. I tried to interest agents and editors in doing some with Maze in Blue, but was told to “write something new.” Should have Played Poker was the something new I spent 2013 and the beginning of 2014 writing. When I finished the book, I queried agents and pitched it at conferences with little luck until Killer Nashville. After hearing the first two pages, the editor from Five Star indicated a willingness to read the entire manuscript. A week later, she purchased Poker, but it was so late in the year that the 2015 catalog was full. That’s why it was released in 2016. In the meantime, I wrote short stories and began One Taste Too Many, the first book in what will now be Kensington’s Sarah Blair series.

One Taste Too Many | Debra Goldstein | A Slice of OrangeJann: Congratulations on the 3 book contract with Kensington Press!! On December 18th, One Taste Too Many, the first book in the Sarah Blair cozy mystery series, will make its debut. Who is Sarah Blair—tell us about this amazing character.

Debra: I love Sarah Blair. She isn’t the perfect protagonist, but could be any of us.

Married at eighteen, divorced at twenty eight, Sarah Blair has nothing much to show for the last decade but her feisty Siamese cat, RahRah, some clumsy domestic skills, and a desire to succeed at her law firm receptionist job. Sarah knew starting over would be messy and a far cry from the life of luxury she led during marriage, but things fall completely apart when her ex drops dead, seemingly poisoned by her twin sister’s award-winning rhubarb crisp.

With RahRah wanted by the woman who broke up her marriage and Emily wanted by the police for murder, Sarah needs to figure out the right recipe to crack the case before time runs out. Unfortunately, Sarah is a cook of convenience who makes things like Jell-O in a Can. That’s why for Sarah, whose idea of good china is floral paper plates, catching the real killer and living to tell about it could mean facing a fate worse than death—being in the kitchen!

Jann: RahRah looks fabulous on the book cover for One Taste Too Many. Did you plan to have a cat in the story from the beginning or did RahRah do a walk-on as you plotted?

Debra: Cozy mysteries often include cooking, crafts and cats. When I began plotting One Taste Too Many, I realized there were a few areas I wasn’t very proficient in – cooking, crafts, and cats. Consequently, I researched each of these and decided Sarah would be a cook of convenience who lacked any craft skills and had a cat named RahRah. The more I played with the cat, I knew having RahRah simply be a walk-on character wasn’t fair to him (in other words, he talked to me and told me he needed to be a prominent figure in the series). The more I wrote, the more RahRah developed. He’ll be making an appearance throughout the series.

Jann: What about book 2 and 3? Can you give us any hints about them?

Debra: Book 2, which will come out in October 2019, is called Two Bites Too Many. In that book, Sarah will once again be forced into solving a mystery when it appears the police believe her eccentric mother murdered a prominent member of the community. In book 3, tentatively titled Three Treats Too Many, competing restaurants and dishes are bad enough, but murder complicates everything.

Jann: What kind of writer are you? A page a day or a burst writer?

Debra: I envy people who can write a certain number of words per day. I can’t. I write in spurts or bursts. Often, I go days without writing, but I have come to realize plotlines are percolating in my sub-conscious. When I finally write, it flows, and I lose all track of time.

Jann: What’s the best writing advice you ever received?

Debra: Having been orphaned twice, the best advice I received was “write something new.” If I hadn’t taken this advice and had simply kept trying to find a home for the books that were meant to be the first in a series and are now standalones, I wouldn’t have written the new Sarah Blair series I’m so excited about, my writing wouldn’t have improved, and I would never have had almost forty short stories published since 2012, including “The Night They Burned Ms. Dixie’s Place” (Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine – May-June 2017) which was a 2018 Short Story Agatha and Anthony finalist.

Jann: Do you listen to music when you write?

Debra: Each of my books have been written with show music inoNE the background.

Jann: What sound or noise do you love?

Debra: I love the sound of show music. I can’t carry a tune, but listening to the lyrics is what makes the music work for me.

Jann: What profession other than your own would you love to attempt?

Debra: I was lucky to have a legal career that included time as a litigator and a judge before I decided, a few years ago, to give up my lifetime appointment to follow my passion for writing. The only other career that might be fun, and which I get to do aspects of when I do a book talk, is comedy.

Jann: Debra, it’s been great spending time with you today. Wishing you and yours a fabulous holiday season. Looking forward to reading One Taste Too Many!!





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A New Mystery by Linda O. Johnston

May 6, 2018 by in category Pets, Romance & Lots of Suspense by Linda O. Johnston tagged as , , ,

New Mystery | Linda O Johnston | A Slice of Orange


A New Mystery

The official availability of my new May release is in 2 days–May 8.

Pick and Chews | Linda O. Johnston | A Slice of OrangeWhat is it? It’s, PICK AND CHEWS, the fourth in my Barkery & Biscuits Mystery Series for Midnight Ink.

As I’ve mentioned before, I have four books being published this year, one mystery and three romances.

PICK AND CHEWS is about Carrie Kennersly, a veterinary technician, who buys a friend’s bakery and turns half into a barkery, where she sells healthy dog treats that she’s developed.

Does she have a romantic interest? Of course! Everything I write contains a romance, as well as elements of mystery or suspense or both. In this case, Carrie’s guy is a veterinarian at the vet clinic where she still works part-time, Dr. Reed Storme. Reed has been telling her to back off from helping to solve murders because it’s too dangerous for her. But… well, in PICK AND CHEWS he backs off from that position a bit because he’s the one who’s the main murder suspect.

So, what’s next this year? Well, as I mentioned before, the first in my K-9 Ranch Rescue miniseries for Harlequin Romantic Suspense, SECOND CHANCE SOLDIER, was published in March. Its sequel TRAINED TO PROTECT will be an October release.

And then, in November, my last Harlequin Nocturne, VISIONARY WOLF, will be published. It’s the ninth in my Alpha Force series about a covert military unit of shapeshifters—and the last, since the Nocturne line is ending this year.

So—yes. Three romances, plus one mystery, in 2018. I celebrate them all!




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Introducing Rita Calabrese in The Secret Poison Garden

April 28, 2018 by in category Apples & Oranges by Marianne H. Donley tagged as ,


Rita Calabrese | Maureen Klovers | A Slice of Orange


A Slice of Orange is please to introduce you to Rita Calabrese, the sleuth in Maureen Klovers’ new culinary cozy mystery The Secret Poison Garden.  The mystery is available for pre-order and will be released on June 14, 2018.  We have an excerpt from the book and Rita’s recipe for pasta all’arrabbiata, angry style sauce servered on strozzapreti—“strangle the priest” pasta.




The Secret Garden | Maureen Klovers | A Slice of OrangeRita Calabrese is the guardian angel of the bucolic Hudson Valley hamlet of Acorn Hollow—and of her lovable but exasperating famiglia.  She’s always fortifying her down-on-their-luck neighbors with secret deliveries of home-grown vegetables and ravioli alla zucca, sneaking cannoli into her gruff husband’s lunch, and meddling in (or, as she would say, “improving”) the lives of her three grown children.

But now, on the eve of her sixty-sixth birthday, Rita’s looking for a meaningful second act—and finds as a reporter for the local paper. Her profiles of Acorn Hollow’s eccentric citizens, including the soft-spoken biology teacher with a secret poison garden, soon make her the toast of the town.  But when the beloved football coach is murdered and Rita’s investigation uncovers not only a messy love triangle, but also rumors of her ne’er-do-well son Vinnie’s involvement, she finds her newfound journalistic zeal on a collision course with her fierce maternal instinct.


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The Secret Poison Garden

Maureen Klovers


Rita has recently discovered that her oldest son, Marco, is having an affair and her youngest son, Vinnie, is a suspect in the death of the town’s beloved football coach, and she communicates her anger through her cooking….


Rita could not remember the last time she had been so furious with her children. Furious, and disappointed. Tears rolled down her cheeks as she chopped a large yellow onion. Each time her enormous knife hit the butcher block surface with a satisfying sharp, quick chop, she remembered yet another time her children had infuriated her.


There was the time that Vinnie and Gina had repurposed the wise men and animals in nonna’s presepe—the one that had been lovingly carved by nonna’s nonno—for a Jurassic Park tableau. She shuddered to think of the dinosaur scales they had drawn on the camels in green permanent marker.


There was the time that Vinnie had built a skateboard ramp off of the roof of the garage while she was at bridge club—and broken his ankle right before what was supposed to have been Rita’s first trip to Italy. Instead of traipsing through the vineyards of Tuscany, she’d spent the next two weeks waiting on him hand and foot.

Chop, chop, chop.

The onions were now reduced to little slivers. Her eyes no longer stung with their potency, but the tears kept coming nonetheless.

Rita scraped the onions into the frying pan, and the pan—a seething, searing-hot mixture of bacon fat and butter—crackled its angry response. “My thoughts exactly,” Rita murmured.

No, this time was different. All of the previous times had involved just Vinnie, or occasionally Gina and Vinnie. But never, ever Marco. About the worst thing he had ever done was to ruin his dinner with a few extra cookies.

Marco had never even cheated on a test, so it seemed completely out of character for him to cheat on Susan. Then again, the widow had warned her, hadn’t she? No one is ever who he or she seems.

Rita had initially thought to make a simple penne with marinara sauce for dinner, but such a meal was no match for her mood. Tonight, she thought grimly, is a night for pasta all’arrabbiata. Arrabbiata literally meant “angry.” Her mother and nonna had made pasta all’arrabbiata for two reasons: either to signal that they were angry—and the angrier they were, the longer they left the red chili pepper in the sauce—or to make their husbands come un leone so that they could fare un maschio. Rita still blushed when she recalled their words; she thought of her father and nonno as sweet, harmless old men—hardly “lions.”

Hopefully Sal would not misinterpret the meal, since she had no desire for a lion in her bed tonight. All she wanted was to make Vinnie sweat—literally. She dumped a palmful of blazing hot chili pepper flakes into the pan and gave Marco a call.

“I saw Courtney D’Agostino today,” she shouted over the roar of the food processor as she puréed the tomatoes.


“Coming out of the Sunshine Café. She looked terrific. I wonder who she was meeting.”


His nonchalance was maddening. If he was wracked by guilt, he certainly was hiding it well.

“Ma, I’ve got to go. I’ve got a patient.”

“Of course you do,” she huffed. “Say hello to Susan for me,” she added darkly. “She’s a sweet girl.”

Marco sounded baffled. “Yes, she is. Later, ma.”

Rita stabbed the “off” button and rooted around in the cupboard for some penne pasta, then changed her mind. She was more than arrabbiata today—she was arrabbiatissima.

And the only way to make pasta all’arrabbiata even more arrabbiata was to make it not with the traditional penne but with strozzapreti—“strangle the priest” pasta. Curly and slightly irregular, her nonna claimed that it was so dubbed because it was beloved by gluttonous priests who would eat so many that they would practically choke to death.

When Sal and Vinnie trooped through the door half an hour later, Rita served them plates piled high with steaming strozzapreti pasta and some very hot arrabbiata sauce—so hot that Sal nearly choked after his bite.

“Did you have a good day, cara?” he asked suspiciously as he reached for his water glass.

“No,” she said, glaring at Vinnie.

“Anything on your mind, ma?” he asked nervously, pushing the pasta around on his plate.

Without answering, she countered, “Anything on yours?”

“Uh, no. Just work, you know, the usual. Everything’s good.”

“I’m your mother, Vinnie.”

He shot a perplexed look at his father, who raised his eyes to the ceiling and shrugged.

“Yeah, I know, ma.”

“If you’re in trouble, Vin, I can help.”

“Ain’t got no trouble, ma. I swear.”

They ate the rest of the meal in silence.



All’arrabbiata (“angry style”) sauce derives its heat from chili peppers. Italian grandmothers traditionally made this sauce by simmering a whole chili pepper in the pot, but using chili pepper flakes more evenly distributes the spice.

While this sauce is traditionally served with penne pasta, try it with strozzapreti (“strangle the priest” pasta). The name packs an angry punch just like the sauce…and the long, hearty strands are delicious!

¼ cup olive oil

1 yellow onion, chopped

½ carrot, diced

6 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups pancetta (Italian bacon), diced

6 anchovy fillets

4 lbs. very ripe San Marzano tomatoes, peeled, seeds removed, and chopped

1 tbsp. sugar

1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

¼ cup fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces

½ tbsp. dried oregano

2-3 teaspoons chili pepper flakes

In a medium saucepan, on low heat, combine olive oil, onion, carrot, pancetta, and anchovies.  Cook until onions are translucent. Then add garlic for an additional 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Pour this mixture into a slow cooker.

Boil water in your largest pot. Once water is at a rolling boil, turn off heat and immediately place all tomatoes into pot.  After one minute, remove and wait until these are cool enough to handle.  Peel tomatoes by hand (the hot water should have made the skins wrinkly and easy to remove). Discard skins. Cut tomatoes in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds.  Purée half of the tomatoes in a blender and dice the other half.  Then place both the diced and the puréed tomatoes in a slow cooker.

Add sugar, vinegar, basil, oregano, and chili flakes to the slow cooker. Turn on low heat and cook for eight hours.


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