Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday {#59}:The Ice Beneath Her by Camilla Grebe







“Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.
 




I’m starting to get back into psychological thrillers and I spotted the advert for this one in a magazine and it caught my eye.
 



Title: The Ice Beneath Her
Author: Camilla Grebe
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Release Date: December 27, 2016
 
Winter's chill has descended on Stockholm as police arrive at the scene of a shocking murder. An unidentified woman lies beheaded in a posh suburban home—a brutal crime made all the more disturbing by its uncanny resemblance to an unsolved killing ten years earlier. But this time there's a suspect: charismatic and controversial chain-store CEO Jesper Orre, who owns the home but is nowhere to be found.
 
 To homicide detectives Peter Lindgren and Manfred Olsson, nothing about the suave, high-profile businessman—including a playboy reputation and rumors of financial misdeeds—suggests he conceals the dark heart and twisted mind of a cold-blooded killer. In search of a motive, they turn to brilliant criminal profiler Hanne Lagerlind-Schön. Once a valued police asset, now marooned in unhappy retirement and a crumbling marriage, she's eager to exercise her keen skills again—and offer Lindgren and Olsson a window into the secret soul of Jesper Orre.
 
 But they're not the only ones searching. Two months ago, Emma Bohman, a young clerk at Orre's company, chanced to meet the charming chief executive, and romance swiftly bloomed. But almost as quickly as the passionate affair ignited, it was over when Orre inexplicably disappeared. Then one staggering misfortune after another followed, leaving Emma certain that her runaway lover was to blame and transforming her confusion and heartbreak into anger.
 
 Now, pursuing the same mysterious man for different reasons, Emma and the police are destined to cross paths in a chilling dance of obsession, vengeance, madness, and love gone hellishly wrong.





 


 
 
What are you lovelies waiting on?

Monday, December 5, 2016

A Texas Cowboy's Christmas by Cathy Gillen Thancker and recipe for Pumpkin Pie



Molly Griffith is ambitious and only wants to give her little boy the opportunities she never had. Which means moving to Dallas, no matter what Chance Lockhart says! Though being with the handsome rancher does make the idea of small-town life more tempting…

 

Molly has always gotten under Chance's skin, and now that he's bonded with her little tyke, he can't imagine Bullhaven Ranch without them. But the single mom is so focused on her big-city fairy tale, she could miss Chance's offer of the most important gift of all—the love and support of a real family.

 

Series: Texas Legacies: The Lockharts | Publisher: Harlequin Western Romance| Genre: Contemporary Romance  | Source: MLM Media| Rating:4 Cups

This was such a cute and heartfelt little romance that should be on everyone’s Christmas reading list.
 
So, here’s what’s going on. Molly and Chance know how to get under each other’s skin. They drive each other insane and Molly has decided that she’s had enough when Chance tells her three-year-old son Braden that he can ask Santa for an entire family of bulls. Although confronting Chance only leads to Chance spending more time with Molly and her son and that’s causing problems because Molly’s intent on moving to Dallas. But Chance will do anything to convince them to stay.
 
This one gave me the warm and fuzzies that all good Christmas romances should.
 
Chance was amazing. He’s determined, hardworking, kind, loyal, and protective of those he loves. And I absolutely melted watching him take care of Braden. He came from money but he’s determined to make his own way. Molly’s a bit hard to like at first. Everything she does and every move she makes is about gaining one-step up the social ladder. She so determined to be a social climber that she sort of misses what’s going on around her. Although the book progresses, Molly’s reason being doing this is explained and, while I wasn’t head over heels for her, I started to like and understand her a bit more.
 
Chance and Molly were great together. Of course, they wanted to murder each other a few dozen, but that only added to their chemistry. Their relationship was a little rocky at times but I was really rooting for them.
 
Overall, I really liked this book and I’m eager to check out more in the series. Molly won’t be on my top ten—or even twenty—favorite heroines list, but Chance definitely made it to my favorite heroes list.

 
 
I’m always looking for a new pie recipe to try so I would like to thank Cathy Gillen Thacker for providing us with her Pumpkin Pie recipe.
 
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 large eggs
A 15 oz. can pure pumpkin
A 12 oz.  can evaporated milk
1 unbaked 9 inch pie shell  (deep dish)
 
 
Mix sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger and nutmeg in small bowl.  Beat eggs in large bowl, and mix in pumpkin, evaporated milk, and sugar-spice mixture.
 
Pour into pie shell.
 
Bake in preheated 425 degree oven for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake another 40-50 minutes or until knife inserted in middle comes out clean.  Cool for 2 hours.  Serve immediately or refrigerate.  Top with whipped cream before serving.
 
Serves 8, so if you have a big crowd, you may want to double or triple the recipe.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

A Child Under His Tree by Allison Leigh and Recipe for Fudge Drop Cookies



Tis the season for second chances…and secrets!
 

Forget the mistletoe maneuvers. Kelly Rasmussen isn't planning on having that reunion kiss with Dr. Caleb Buchanan any time soon. Things had long ago gone south for these former high school sweethearts. Except for that one night six years ago—which resulted in an explosive secret Kelly's kept till this very day.

 
Now career and family have brought them both back to Weaver, Wyoming. Their unavoidable clashes—and instant chemistry—make them realize this town isn't big enough for the two of them. Or three of them—counting Kelly's son. Because there's something about that little boy… For one thing, he has Caleb's eyes…


There’s nothing better than yummy cookie to nibble on while reading a good book so I would like to thank Alison Leigh for this lovely recipe. I can’t wait to try it.

 

Series: Return to the Double C Ranch| Publisher: Harlequin Special Edition| Genre: Contemporary Romance  | Source: MLM Media| Rating: 3.5 Cups
Kelly Rasmussen left her hometown six years with a secret and had no intentions of returning. Although when her mother—whom she hadn’t spoken to since she left town— suddenly dies, Kelly finds herself suddenly back in her mother’s house and face-to-face with the man she would give anything to avoid. Caleb Buchanan never expected to see his high school flame sitting in the exam room as the mother of his patient. He’s even more surprised to find that those old feelings are still there and stronger than ever. He knows he wants to start over with Kelly, but the past has a way of haunting them both.
 
Okay, so I rarely read a blurb before accepting a book to review. I normally just go by the title, or the cover, or sometimes both. Well, it sort of bit me this time. I’m not saying that this was a bad book—hey, I gave it a 3.5 Cup rating—I’m just saying that if I had known this was a secret baby book, I would have checked it out before accepting it because it’s not really a trope that I’m wild about.
 
So, Kelly’s life wasn’t the best when she was growing up. Her mother showed her no love and constantly told her she ruined her life, then the man she was madly, head-over-heels in love with—yep, that’s Caleb—broke her heart when he decided he wanted to marry someone else.  To get even with him, she decides to have a night of wild truck sex, then walk away. Although truck-sex night left her with a little parting gift in the form of her son, When she discovers she’s pregnant, rather than telling Caleb, she decided to flee town. When she does finally come in contact with Caleb again, she still keeps the fact that Tyler is his son from him.
 
There’s just something unredeemable about a woman that keeps a father in the dark about his son. And I was really hoping that somewhere in the plot something would come to light and give me a better understanding about why she did what she did but the reason that she gave—that Caleb and his family would step up and take care of her and her unborn child—just didn’t fly with me.
 
Okay, so while I liked Caleb—he’s actually the reason I continued reading this book—he wasn’t perfect either. I mean, he broke up with Kelly to propose to another woman, who turned him down—yeah, I think that’s called karma. Anywho, I never understood the reason behind this and, once again, nothing was explained about why this happened. But there was just something about Caleb, I mean, he goes into the hospital nursery at night and rocks babies that need a little extra love and attention. Le sigh… He’s great with Tyler and, even though she keeps snapping at him, he’s trying to make things right with Kelly.
 
The romance was a little odd at times. These characters obviously have a history that left them both weary and wounded and they’re both battle scarred because of it. There’s still a chemistry and attraction between them and it’s obvious that Caleb wants more but Kelly is constantly pushing him away. Even towards the end when they are together as a couple I never really felt that Kelly wanted to be there or let go of the hurt.
 
My big problem with this book is that the vital events from the past and the reasons behind them were never explained. Given what was going on between the characters, a backstory really should have been added.
 
Overall, while I had problems with the book and neither character was perfect, I still enjoyed watching Caleb grow close to his son.

 
There’s nothing better than a yummy cookie to nibble on while reading a good book, so I would like to thank Alison Leigh for this lovely recipe. I can’t wait to try it.
 
 
 
Fudge Drop Cookies
 
1 ¾ C sifted all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
¼ C sifted unsweetened cocoa
2 eggs
2/3 C vegetable oil (Canola works well)
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp almond extract
1 C granulated sugar
 
 
Glaze
 
2 C sifted confectioner’s sugar
¼ C sifted unsweetened cocoa (can be omitted if you prefer a plain glaze)
2/3 TBSP milk
Dash salt
Dash almond extract
 
 
Sift flour with baking powder, salt and cocoa and set aside. In medium bowl, beat eggs slightly. Stir in oil, extracts and sugar until combined. Beat in flour mixture until smooth, then refrigerate at least 30 minutes. Drop chilled dough in slightly rounded teaspoons about 2” apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in 400° preheated oven 8 to 10 minutes. Remove to wire rack and cool. Make glaze: In medium bowl, combine all ingredients, stirring until smooth. Spread tops of cooled cookies with glaze and enjoy! Makes about 3 dozen
 

Monday, November 28, 2016

Audiobook Review: A Scone to Die for by H.Y. Hanna



When an American tourist is murdered with a scone in Gemma Rose's quaint English tearoom, she suddenly finds herself apron-deep in a mystery involving long-buried secrets from Oxford's past.

Armed with her insider knowledge of the university and with the help of four nosy old ladies from her local Cotswolds village (not to mention a cheeky little tabby cat named Muesli), Gemma sets out to solve the mystery - all while dealing with her matchmaking mother and the return of her old college love, Devlin O'Connor, now a dashing CID detective.


But with the body count rising and her business going bust, can Gemma find the killer before things turn to custard?


Series: Oxford Tearoom Cozy Mysteries # 1| Publisher: H.Y. Hanna | Narrator: Pearl Hewitt  | Length: 6 hrs and 53 mins | Genre: Cozy Paranormal Contemporary Mystery | Source: Author | Ratings: Performance 3.5 Cups  Story 4.5 Cups

 
When Gemma Rose returns to her hometown in the Cotswolds, she never imaged that an obnoxious American tourist would be murdered in front of her teashop with one of her scones. Now Gemma’s in the heart of a murder mystery that has roots in a mystery out of Oxford’s past. And to add to the conflict, the lead CID detective just so happens to be Devlin O’Connor, Gemma’s former flame.
 
This was such a cute cozy mystery.
 
So, Gemma’s returned home and she’s dealing with the fear of being stuck living with her parents for the rest of her life. She’s also dealing with her mother trying to fix her up different guys. Then on top of everything she’s dealing with a murder investigation that brings her straight into the path of her ex-boyfriend.
 
I really liked Gemma. She has a lot going on but she maintains a wonderful attitude.
 
The murder mystery was interesting in the way that it was tied in with a mystery from Oxford. While I had a feeling who the murderer was, I was still interested in watching the mystery play out and seeing how Gemma went about investigating things.
 
There’s a slight attraction lingering between Gemma and Devlin but there’s also a lot of animosity. And while Devlin can be perfectly charming when he wants to be, he’s also very growly and rude and times.
 
For this being the first book in a cozy mystery series, I was pleased that it wasn’t bogged with facts that author thinks the reader should know. Instead of an info dump and who’s who, vital pieces of information has been worked into the story bit by bit. While I feel like I got a good sense of who Gemma is, there’s still somethings that I’m curious about so I’m planning on reading the prequel in the near future to see if things become clearer.
 
Overall, I really enjoyed this one. The mystery was solid, the plot was well-paced, the humor was well-balanced, and the characters were fresh, charming, and unique.



 
Oxford Tearoom Cozy Mystery Series
0.5-All-Butter ShortDead
1-A Scone to Die for
2-Tea with Milk and Murder
3-Two Down, Bun to Go
4-‘Till Death do us Tart
5-Muffains and Mourning Tea
 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday {#58}: The Worthington Wife by Sharon Page







“Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.



I loved An American Duchess so I’m eager to see what The Worthington Wife is going to offer.
 


Title: The Worthington Wife
Author: Sharon Page
Publisher: HQN
Release Date: December 27, 2016
 
 
Lady Julia Hazelton is the most dazzling among 1920s England's bright young things. But rather than choosing the thrill of wanton adventure like so many of her contemporaries, Julia shocks society with her bold business aspirations. Determined to usher the cursed Worthington estate into a prosperous, modern new era, and thus preserve her beloved late fiancé's legacy, the willful Julia tackles her wildest, most unexpected adventure in Cal Carstairs, the reluctant new Earl of Worthington.
 
The unconventional American artist threatens everything Julia seeks to protect while stirring desires she thought had died in the war. For reasons of his own, Cal has designed the ultimate revenge. Rather than see the estate prosper, he intends to destroy it. But their impulsive marriage—one that secures Julia's plans as well as Cal's secrets—proves that passion is ambition's greatest rival. Unless Cal ends his quest to satisfy his darkest vendetta, he stands to ruin his Worthington wife and all her glittering dreams.




 


 
 
What are you lovelies waiting on?

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday {#57}: The Phantom Tree by Nicola Cornick







“Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

 This one caught my eye and I’m intrigued by it. It’s a blend of mystery with a some twisted history. I’m a Tudor nut, so I’m eager to see how this one plays out


Title: The Phantom Tree
Author: Nicola Cornick
Publisher: HQ
Release Date: December 29, 2016
 
 
My name is Mary Seymour and I am the daughter of one queen and the niece of another.”
 
Browsing antiques shops in Wiltshire, Alison Bannister stumbles across a delicate old portrait – supposedly of Anne Boleyn. Except Alison knows better… The woman is Mary Seymour, the daughter of Katherine Parr who was taken to Wolf Hall in 1557 as an unwanted orphan and presumed dead after going missing as a child. The painting is more than just a beautiful object for Alison – it holds the key to a past life, the unlocking of the mystery surrounding Mary’s disappearance, and the enigma of Alison’s son. But Alison’s quest soon takes a dark and foreboding turn, as a meeting place called The Phantom Tree harbours secrets in its shadows…






 


 
 
What are you lovelies waiting on?

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Love Between the Lines, An Adult Coloring Book for Book Lovers by Christina Collie


Fall in love all over again with this adult coloring book featuring 45 hand-drawn illustrations inspired by romance novels from bestselling writers Colleen Hoover, Anna Todd, S.C. Stephens, Abbi Glines, K. Bromberg, Jodi Ellen Malpas and more. Sit back, grab your pens and markers, and get ready to explore LOVE BETWEEN THE LINES.

 

In the pages of this book you will find:

 

· Designs to help you relax and reduce stress

 

· Hidden images and book quotes

 

· Each design printed on a separate page

 

· Elaborate drawings s as well as quickie pages for when you just have a few minutes to color

 

Illustrations inspired by the works of:

 

Anna Todd, Jodi Ellen Malpas, Colleen Hoover, S.C. Stephens, Abbi Glines, K. Bromberg, Claire Contreras, Jillian Dodd, Amy Harmon, Tiffany King, R.K. Lilley, Molly McAdams, Tara Sivec, Alessandra Torre, Mia Sheridan, J. Sterling, Katy Evans, Emma Chase, S.L. Jennings, K.A. Linde, Beth Ehemann, Tarryn Fisher, Karina Halle, Helena Hunting, Leisa Rayven, Madeline Sheehan, Harper Sloan, and K. A. Tucker

 

Publisher: Forever Romance | Release Date: 11/08/2016 | Source: Publisher

Buy Links:

This was such a fun coloring book and I simply loved that it contained images relating to some of my favorite romance books. Yes, it’s an adult coloring book for book lovers! How awesome is that?
 

So, let me tell you a little about the book. First off, I love that this is a square book— there’s just something about the square books that I enjoy and, to me, they seem to offer more coloring space. The paper is a nice, crisp white and the texture of the paper is nice and smooth but there’s just enough tooth to it to grab watercolors. The weight of the paper is a lightweight cardstock but it holds up nicely under all mediums that I used. So, there’s a lot of ink on the pages because of how busy some of the drawings are and I have to say that ink, thankfully, doesn’t smear. Also, the images are only printed on one side so you can use markers without worrying about destroying what’s printed on the back.
 


The images are fabulous in this one and, honestly, even if you’ve not read the books featured, they are still going to grab your attention. Each image has a quote from a particular romance book or a bookish saying and the pages range from simple images that can be colored in a 30 minutes to images that could take days to work on.
 

I used several different mediums: gel pens, Sharpie markers, prismacolor pencils and markers, normal Crayola colored pencils, Staedtler fineliner markers and pencils, and Royal and Langnickel watercolors.
 
Each medium I used worked like a charm and the color laid down brilliantly. Although, as I’ve mentioned before, if you’re using markers or watercolors be sure to place a few sheets of paper behind the page you’re coloring to use as a blotter to catch the colors that seep through.
 
I really liked the durability of the paper. I never had a problem with the paper flaking or balling up when I used watercolors or shaded over the pencils with gel pens.
 
Overall, I really enjoyed this one. And the only problem I did have with this one was that there were so many fun designs, I wasn’t sure which one I wanted to color first.  

About the Author:  Christina Collie is a twenty-eight-year-old Tennessee native who began doodling images inspired by her favorite books almost four years ago before launching Doodles by Christina. Since then she has doodled over 50 images and has sold prints around the globe. Outside of being a huge bookworm, she enjoys watching LSU football, playing with her dog Nola, and hanging out on her best friend's farm. This is her first coloring book.
Social Media:



 
 
Gift Alert
This would make the perfect Christmas gift

Thursday, November 10, 2016

The Thrill of the Haunt by E.J. Copperman



As Alison’s reputation as “the ghost lady” grows, so does her business—and not always in a way she’d like. Tourists may be flocking to her guesthouse for a chance to glimpse her resident spirits, but her special abilities are also bringing unwanted private investigation cases to her door. And she has no choice but to take a case when the local homeless man is found murdered under mysterious circumstances, just hours after asking for help in exorcising a specter.

 

If that weren’t enough to deal with, Alison’s other PI case soon turns fatal, as the mistress she was spying on for a jealous wife turns up dead as well. The cases seem like they couldn’t possibly be linked, but with a mountain of clues, motives and suspects—both living and dead—Alison will have to think fast before someone else checks out for good…

 

Series: Haunted Guesthouse #5| Publisher: Audible | Narrator: Amanda Ronconi | Length: 9 hours 23 minutes | Genre: Cozy Paranormal Contemporary Mystery | Source: Audible | Ratings: Performance 4.5 Cups  Story 4 Cups
 

The last few books in this series have been a miss for me, thankfully, this one was a hit—in fact, it was nearly a homerun. (yeah, I know, I have no idea where the baseball analogy came from, but let’s just roll with it!).
 
All Alison wants to do is focus on her guesthouse and her budding relationship with Josh.  Although when a woman shows up wanting Alison to investigate her husband for possibly cheating then a homeless veteran, who wanted Alison’s help dealing with a ghost, is murdered Alison, thanks to a deal she struck with one of her resident ghosts, has no choice but to take on the cases.
 
Throughout this series, Alison has always had a bit more on her plate than she could handle but she’s always managed to handle it gracefully but now she’s reached her limit and being known as the ‘ghost lady’ has finally pushed her over the edge. She’s still cleaning up from hurricane Sandy, trying to figure out what to turn her game room into, dealing with a guest wanting to cleanse her guesthouse of the spirits that haunt it, and someone has been scrawling warnings in red pen all over her house. There’s also two murder cases that she’s been roped into investigating. Plus, she’s having guy problems. So I understand why she’s reached her limit, although I wasn’t thoroughly behind the way she was treating Paul and Maxie.
 
I was really glad to see that Josh, Alison’s love-interest, is back. He’s such a fresh, fun character, and he knew Alison when she was a kid. He owns a paint store so he and Alison share the same interests and they have an interesting past. In the last few books, their relationship was starting to grow into something solid. In this book, they’re starting to have a few problems, mainly Alison hiding things from him. Although Alison doesn’t really want to tell her new boyfriend that she sees ghost.
 
So there were two mysteries in the book and two deaths and I have to say they were brilliantly handled. Rather than one taking away from the other, they added more depth and insight. I had an inkling about certain things that turned out to be true, but there were so many added twists that I didn’t see coming but, looking back on the clues, it all added up and made sense.
 
The ghost are such a huge part of this series and, while I’ve always liked Paul, in the past I’ve struggled with Maxie. She was childish and annoying although it seems like she’s finally starting to grow up.
 
Once again, Amanda Ronconi was a fabulous narrator. She truly does bring each character to life.
 
Overall, this one finally went back to what I love about this series. Even though some of the secondary characters kind of took a backseat, I really loved the direction of this novel. The romance and the mysteries were both solid and I loved seeing Alison a little unhinged because it showed her in a more human light. I also loved seeing Maxie’s growth.


 Haunted Guesthouse Series
The Thrill of the Haunt
Inspector Spector
Ghost in the Wind