Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday {#61}: The Chocolate Cure by Roxanne Snopek







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





First off, isn’t that the cutest cover? I would love to have it as a print to hang on my wall. Anywho, I’ve been having so much fun with this series and the fictional town it’s set in.
 

Title: The Chocolate Cure
Author: Roxanne Snopek
Publisher: Tule Publishing
Release Date: January 12, 2017
 
No more chocolate! No more meddling! No more men!
 
New Year’s resolutions are great. Announcing them in a crowded bar, with a chocolate martini in her hand? Not Maddie Cash’s finest moment. It’s time this new realtor got serious about her life and this time, she means it.
 
But when hospital volunteering lands her at the bedside of bruised and battered Mick Meyer, who has no knowledge of Maddie’s reputation – and no memory of the kiss he begged from her during that long, pain-filled night, her best-laid plans are put in jeopardy. It’s not just his sweet tooth that’s tempting her.
 
The hunky bush pilot with the concussion has an old family property to unload. Making this sale could be Maddie’s professional salvation. But when Mick turns on the charm, she’s in danger of forgetting all her best intentions… on chocolate… on meddling… and especially on





 


 
 
What are you lovelies waiting on?

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Reading Through Nora Roberts Challenge


 
I’m revamping and updating my Reading Through Nora Roberts Challenge. I’m not really changing anything challenge-wise, just cleaning up the post, switching the comment box over to Disqus, and adding new graphics.
 
So on to the challenge info…
 
How did this challenge come about, you ask? Well, years ago, I read a Nora Roberts book—I can’t even recall the title—and for some unknown reason, I decided to avoid her books like they had the plague.
 
At the start of 2014, I was walking through a bookstore and the cover of Dark Witch  caught my eye. The cover called to me and I just had to pick it up. When I spotted Nora Roberts was the author, I nearly put it back down but it seemed the book had a hold on me and soon I was the owner of a Nora Roberts book…the first Nora Roberts book I had purchased in ten years.
 
On the drive home from the bookstore, I had a bit of an argument with myself. It went something like this: ‘You know you’re not going to read it. The cover was all nice and shiny and it had that new book smell, that’s why you picked it up. It’s a Nora Roberts book, you know you probably just wasted your money. That book is just going to sit on your shelf and collect dust.’  
 
That night I made a pot of tea, sat down in my comfy chair, and decided to give Dark Witch  a go. And guess what, lovelies? I was hooked from the very first page. I couldn’t put it down and stayed up until the wee hours of the morning finishing the book.
 
Then I got to thinking, if I liked this book, perhaps I should give her writing another try and it actually prompted me to start my own personal reading challenge, ‘Reading Through Nora Roberts’.
 
There is no set time limit to this challenge. I plan to read them whenever I take a fancy to pick one up or when one arrives for review. And there’s no set format that I’m sticking to, the books can be print, e-book, or audiobooks. When I finish one, I’ll post a review. Depending on the book, the reviews could be mini reviews or long reviews. And I’m going to be realistic, there’s probably going to be some of her books I won’t like and some will probably be DNF’s.
 
I’m open to recommendations so feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments or send me an email. If you want to join in on the challenge, just leave a link in the comments or on one of the monthly challenge updates I’ll post.

 
 
Number of Books Read: 8
 
Gabriel's Angel (audiobook)
 
 The Cousins O’Dwyer Trilogy
 
Inn BoonsBoro Trilogy
1-The Next Always (audiobook)
2-The Last Boyfriend (audiobook)
3-The Perfect Hope  (audiobook)

Stars of Mithra Series
1-HiddenStar  (audiobook)
 
 
 
 

 

Monday, December 19, 2016

A Christmas Bride by Hope Ramsay



'Tis the season in Shenandoah Falls and the first time Willow Peterson has been home in years. But she's determined to fulfill the wishes of her recently deceased best friend and restore Eagle Hill Manor to its former glory-all in time to host the perfect holiday wedding. She just has to get the owner of the historic inn to hire her. Unfortunately, that means dealing with Scrooge himself...
 

After the death of his wife, David Lyndon has a bah-humbug approach to Christmas. But as December counts down and the wedding planning is in full swing, it's harder and harder to stay immune to the charms of Willow, especially when he sees how much joy she brings his eight-year-old daughter. After a simple kiss under the mistletoe turns into something more, David is hoping he can turn the magic of the holiday season into the love of a lifetime.

 

Series: Chapel of Love #1| Publisher: Forever | Genre:  Contemporary Romance| Source: Publisher| Rating: 4 Cups

Hope, healing, renewal, romance, and a dash of Christmas magic made this such an amazing book.

 

Here’s what’s going on. Willow’s been away from her hometown for quite a while. Returning after her world was turned upside down and branded as a ‘troublemaker’—something she never wanted to be known as—Willow’s struggling to figure out what to do with her life. Since the death of his wife, which happened to be Willow’s best friend, David Lyndon has been struggling with trying to raise his eight-year-old daughter, find some way to enjoy Christmas, figure out a way to get rid of the inn that was his wife’s project, and still run for office to appease his political family. Although when Willow starts showing interest in the inn and the goddaughter she’s more or less ignored, David starts paying attention to her.

 

Willow and David were two of my favorite characters. They’re both wounded and hurt and they have a lot of healing to do. I really wanted them to help each other heal, grow, and figure out what they wanted to do with their lives. And what made them both so interesting is the fact that their families are polar opposites. Her mother is a vegan hippie always up for a good protest and David comes from a long line of wealthy politicians always up for rubbing elbows with those who can help further their careers.

 

Children in romances can either make or break the book and, thankfully, Natalie made this book. I really enjoyed watching Willow grow close to Natalie. The little girl is in need of someone on her side. Of course, she has her maternal grandmother, but, since the death of her mother, she’s been missing someone that will sort of step into that roll. I also enjoyed watching David figure out how to be a father to Natalie. I mean, he loves his daughter, but because he was more or less raised in a family that never showed loved, he doesn’t know how to comfort or show his daughter what she means to him. So it was nice to watch him figuring it out.

 

There were so many secondary characters in this book. Most of them I enjoyed, some I wanted a house to land on them. They were just hateful things that I really wanted to see be put in their places. Sadly, it didn’t happen.

 

Overall, I really loved this one. Hope Ramsay is such a delight to read and A Christmas Bride is an amazing start to a new series.



 
What makes a Christmas romance stand out to you?
 

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Audiobook Review: Gabriel's Angel by Nora Roberts



All Gabriel Bradley wanted was solitude. But when a very pregnant - and very beautiful - woman ended up at his remote cabin during a blizzard, desperate, alone, and on the run, the modern-day Scrooge couldn't turn her away. For Laura brought him the gifts of passion, hope, and life - he needed only the courage to reach for it.

 

Publisher: Brilliance Audio | Narrator: Todd Haberkorn  | Length: 6 hrs and 38 mins | Genre: Contemporary Romance | Source: Publisher | Ratings: Story: 2.5 Cups Performance: 3.5 Cups

 
Challenges Read For: Reading Through Nora Roberts

Have you ever had a book you’re just not sure of? Well, that’s what’s going on here. I mean, it wasn’t a bad book. Unrealistic? Yes. Was I head over heels for it? Nope. Did I enjoy it? Parts of it.
 
The just of the story is that Gabe rescues a pregnant woman from a blizzard. He’s staying at a remote cabin trying to avoid people while dealing with the grief of losing his brother. Laura is running from her ex-in-laws who are determined to take her baby once it’s born to replace the son they lost. So, Laura and Gabe are stuck in the cabin together and soon bond over the birth of her son. Then to protect both Laura and her child, Gabe decides to marry her and take them back to his mansion. Mixed in with all of this is Gabe finally finding inspiration to paint again and Laura questioning everything everyone does and then pouting about it.
 
So, I liked Gabe. He’s sort of broody but mores in the artistic/painter type not the dark-walk-along-the-moors-looking-for-the-ghost-of-your-ex-lover type. He’s a very solid guy and, even though he’s got his own emotional mess to deal with, he’s still willing to step-up and help out Laura and her son.
 
Laura was just down right annoying. I mean, there were times, few and very far between, when I thought that Laura was starting to turn into a likable character but those hopes were quickly dashed by the way she constantly questioned everything that Gabe did or thought. And she would sort of go off for no reason at all. She would come up with these random thoughts then accuse Gabe of doing it. Laura was just too much for me.
 
The romance just wasn’t solid for me. There was an attraction, but I didn’t feel an actual romance developing. To me it seemed that Gabe, while he honestly wanted to protect Laura and her son, it almost seemed as though he fell for her to help him get through his grief. And Laura, I think it was just a matter of finding someone that would help her hide from her ex-in-laws. It never seemed true to me.
 
Overall, this one was just okay for me. It’s not one of her stronger short stories. And I had a few problems with the way everything was just sort of done and dusted in the blink of eye such as legal problems that just disappeared overnight.


I really enjoyed the way Todd Haberkorn narrated the book. It was my first time listening to him and I found his voice to be riveting. And I even enjoyed his female narrations.  What I had trouble with was the audiobook itself. The volume was really low on this one, even with it turned up to the max.



 
 
What’s your favorite Nora Roberts book?

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday {#60}:It Happened in Scotland by Patience Griffin







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


Scotland…need I say more? I’ve really been having so much fun with this series. I can’t wait to see what happens next.
 



Title: It Happened in Scotland
Author: Patience Griffin
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: January 3, 2017
 
Christmas in the sleepy Scottish fishing village of Gandiegow this year is a time for quilting, patching up broken hearts, and rekindling an old flame...
 
 After pulling herself out of a three-year fog of grief over the loss of her husband, Joe, Rachel is bringing their five-year-old daughter to see his hometown of Gandiegow and visit with his grandfather. But Rachel wasn't planning on running into Joe's cousin, the man who made her have second thoughts at the altar...
 
 Brodie has come home to help his grandfather's fishing business, but he'd prefer not to see Rachel. Although she did break his heart six years ago, the grip she has on him hasn't faltered. If they can stop butting heads long enough and learn to overcome the past, they may find new love in the new year...

 






 


 
 
What are you lovelies waiting on?

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?