Thursday, June 30, 2016

Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad with Summer Veggies

I’ve really been getting into playing around with Summer salads. Last week, I featured the Tomato, Cucumber, and Avocado Salad, so this week I thought I would share one of my favorite pasta salads.


This recipe is super simple to make, which is what I like in the Summer and if you keep it on ice, it will be a big hit a cookouts.
Pasta (cooked to al dente)
1 Packet of Kraft Ranch Dressing*
1 Cup of Mayo*
½ Cup of Bacon Bits
1 Large Yellow Zucchini
1 Pint of Tomatoes (any small tomato will work)
Blue Cheese Crumbles
*Not a fan of Mayo, skip it and the ranch dressing packet and use your favorite ranch dressing instead. I’m a fan of Ken’s Steakhouse Ranch Dressing.

1-Cook pasta to al dente and allow to drain.
2-In a medium bowl combine mayo, ranch dressing packet and bacon bits. Stir together.
3-Cube the zucchini and dice the tomatoes. Shave carrots with a veggie peeler and run a knife through them. Add your veggies to the bowl and mix until combined.
4-Add pasta to the bowl and mix until combined.
5- Top with blue cheese crumbles and serve.

Do you have a favorite Summer Salad?

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday {48}: Don’t Tempt Me by Lori Foster

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


I adore Lori Foster’s writing and not only does this cover look yummy, the description has me drooling to read this book.

Title: Don’t Tempt Me
Author: Lori Foster
Publisher:  HQN Books
Release Date: July 26, 2016
Love comes along when it's least wanted
Jason Guthrie has no time for entanglements—between helping out his widowed brother and teenage nephew and getting his hometown back on its feet, his days are spoken for. But his nights are another story… And when his lovely new neighbor, Honor Brown, reluctantly accepts his help in remodeling her house, Jason finds himself wishing his handyman skills could knock down the defenses she keeps building around herself.
Martial arts teacher Sullivan Dean knows real danger when he sees it—even when it takes the form of the gorgeous blonde helping her friend move in across the street. After putting his wayward past behind him to focus on teaching control to troubled kids, Sullivan has learned to avoid party girls like Lexie Perkins. But Sullivan can't seem to keep his hands off the real woman behind that flirty charm—or keep his heart from landing at her feet…

What are you lovelies waiting for?

Friday, June 24, 2016

Black Rose by Jenna Ryan

Will the bayou with its mysteries protect them or pull them down into its depths?


Proprietress of the Rose Noire salon and New Orleans native Mia LeMay has secluded herself in the French Quarter—a place safe for those with secrets—for as long as she can remember. But when Mia is witness to a murder, fear and desire morph into one when agent Rick Ryder barges into her cloistered world.


With Mia as his guide they enter the glades of Louisiana looking for a killer, but find more mystery and specters in the swampland. The darkness is a lure to Mia and Rick as they discover attraction in the shadows that are a welcome cover for a killer. Together, as they start to fall in love, nothing is what it seems—least of all the ghosts of their pasts.


Series: Shadows #1 | Publisher: Harlequin E-Shivers | Genre: Gothic Romance | Source: Review| Rating: 3.5 Cups

Challenges Read For:  Blogger Shame

Two strangers must work together to bring down a killer, if the bayou doesn’t kill them first.
After witnessing a murder outside her salon, Mia LeMay finds her life in danger. When Rick Ryder shows up claiming to be the federal agent sent to protect her, Mia takes him at his word. Now Mia finds herself being dragged deep into the swampland with the killer hot on their heels.
It’s only when she starts falling in love with Ryder that she discovers who he truly is.
This one was nearly a DNF. I went into the book expecting it to be purely gothic given that it was in the Shivers boxset. What I got was something more along the lines of a thriller with paranormal elements. I ended up putting this one down several times before actually picking it back up to finish it.
Mia and Ryder were both enjoyable characters. They were strong characters but they both had their flaws and they both made some questionable decisions along the way. Ryder was a bit mysterious. He lied about who he was and he’s hiding something. It felt that his character was a bit more fleshed-out. Mia was one of those what-you-see-is-what-you-get type of characters. She was easy to like but she felt a bit flat.
The murderer was thoroughly creepy yet I’m not clear on his motives. Seeing as this is the first short story is a series, I’m hoping to see more about the murderer’s motive.
The romance between Mia and Ryder seemed a bit out of place and off kilter. There was a touch of chemistry and attraction between them but because the suspense aspect drove the storyline—and it was a novella—, it just seemed to come in at awkward times. A killer was following them and they were staying in a dodgy, sleep-with-one-eye-open establishment yet they had time to have an all-night shag fast just seemed a bit out of place.
I went into this book expecting a full-on gothic romance. I’ve read several other novella’s from the Shivers line and they have all had that strong gothic feel. This just didn’t deliver that. It had paranormal aspects but it was far from that spine-tingling gothic atmosphere that I was looking for.   
What made me return to this novella was the thriller aspect. The suspense kept me on my toes and really made me want to see the outcome.
Overall, I think I would have enjoyed this one if I had went into it knowing it was more of a paranormal thriller rather than a gothic romance.

Are you a fan of gothic romances?

Have you tried Harlequin’s Shivers line?

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Audiobook Review: Old Haunts by E.J. Copperman

The ghosts haunting Alison Kerby's Jersey Shore guesthouse are sad. Maxie wants to know who murdered her ex-husband, and Paul pines for his still-living almost-fiancee. The only one who isn't missing her ex is Alison-because The Swine just arrived on her doorstep...

Series: Haunted Guesthouse Mystery  #3| Narrator: Amanda Ronconi |Publisher: Audible | Length: 10 hours 1 minute | Genre:  Paranormal Cozy Mystery| Source: Publisher | Rating: Performance and Story 4.5 Cups

Challenges Read For: Pick Your Own Genre: Contemporary

I’m addicted to this series and I have to say, this one has been my favorite thus far.
Here’s what’s going on. Alison’s resident ghosts are hoping to convince Alison to snoop around in their past. Maxie wants help investigating the murder of her ex-husband Big Bob, which happens to coincide with Luther Mason hiring her for the same reason. Paul wants help finding Julia McKenzie, the woman he nearly proposed to. And Alison has her own problems. Her ex, she calls ‘The Swine’, just showed up at her door looking for a place to stay. To top it all off, she still has the senior tour group to entertain.
There’s so much going on in this one yet it was all handled brilliantly without feeling like a jumbled mess.
Alison is starting to get more comfortable with her skills as a private investigator. She’s taking on cases, other than the ones her ghosts bring her and finally starting to hone her own skills as an investigator yet she’s smart enough to know when to bring in help. As she’s searching for clues into Big Bob’s death, we see her venturing out a bit more piecing things together.
I liked that I was finally able to see who Maxie is, both when she was alive and now that she is a ghost. Maxie’s not going to be for everyone. She’s a bit childish and annoying, yet I find that I always end up liking her. So, it was nice to see more about how she was when she was alive.
It was a bit disappointing that I didn’t get to see more of Paul. I was able to learn more about the woman he was in love with, yet Paul it still a bit of a mystery. Hopefully, more will be revealed about him as the series progresses.
The Swine, Alison’s ex-husband, finally made a lengthy appearance. He was trying to convince Alison to give him another chance and using their daughter to do it, so he wasn’t very likable. I was waiting to see the real reason for his visit.
There is a slight love-interest thrown in with Luther, Alison’s client. He’s a biker, he owns his own bike shop. He’s not really Alison’s type, but since he hired her to look into Big Bob’s death, they grow closer as they investigate different leads.
I loved the mystery in this one. I had a feeling who it was about half-way through but I still enjoyed watching it unfold. I also loved that the investigation pulled Alison into the world of bikers. It was also entertaining to watch Alison deal with another town’s police force. There were a few red herrings thrown in and an arrest of an innocent party so Alison really did have her hands full.
There’s also a side investigation where Alison is searching for Paul’s former love. Surprisingly it didn’t take away from the overall plot but added an extra bit of depth.
Once again, Amanda Ronconi does a brilliant job narrating this book. She knows how to add just the right amount of snark to each of the characters while bringing them to life.  
Overall, I loved this one. It showed character growth and the mystery was entertaining. And some of the questions book one left me with were finally answered, even though this is book three.  

Haunted Guesthouse Series

The Thrill of the Haunt
Inspector Spector
Ghost in the Wind


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday {47}: Read to Death by Terrie Farley Moran

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


I love a good cozy mystery and this one looks like it will be a great read.
Title:  Read to Death
Author:  Terrie Farley Moran
Publisher:  Berkley
Release Date:  July 5, 2016
The national bestselling author of Caught Read-Handed revisits Fort Myers Beach, Florida, where the proprietors of a local bookstore café occasionally take a stab at solving murder...
At their seaside Read ‘Em and Eat bookstore café, Sassy Cabot and Bridgy Mayfield offer fresh scones, great books, and excellent detective work…
With their book club season wrapping up with The Florida Life of Thomas Edison, Sassy and Bridgy decide to take their group on a day trip to the beautiful Edison and Ford Winter Estates. Hiring driver Oscar Frieland, who's known for his colorful stories  and love of the café's Robert Frost fruit tartlets, the bibliophiles set off for a day of sunshine and history.
 After a lovely excursion, the club returns to the café for lunch and a book discussion, but the group falls silent after Oscar is found dead in his van. The sheriff's deputies have some questions of their own for the group, and if the ladies don't find some answers soon, the next book they read might be from a prison library.

What are you lovelies waiting for?

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Recipe Box: Tomato, Cucumber, and Avocado Salad

I’m always looking for a cold veggie dish for Summer and I stumbled across a Tomato, Cucumber, and Avocado Salad from Tasty while scrolling on Facebook.

I liked the premise of the salad, but I wanted to try out a bottle of Citrus Vinaigrette that was a Friday Freebie from Kroger. So, I modified the recipe a tad bit. I opted to swap out the onions in exchange for radishes, left out the parsley, and decided not to make my own dressing.

1 large Avocado—diced
1 Pints of Cherry Tomatoes—halved
1 English cucumber—sliced into cubes
3 Large Radishes—diced
Feta Cheese
1 12 oz. bottle of Maple Grove Farms of Vermont Citrus Vinaigrette

In a large mixing bowl, combine avocado, cherry tomatoes, cumbers, and feta cheese. Drizzle half a bottle of Citrus Vinaigrette and mix until veggies are covered. Just before serving, sprinkle on a dash of sea salt and top with croutons of your choice (I like using herb and butter, Texas Toast croutons).

Do you have an avocado recipe you enjoy?

Monday, June 20, 2016

Cover Reveal: LOVE BETWEEN THE LINES: An Adult Coloring Book for Book Lovers

Fall in love all over again with this adult coloring book featuring 45 hand-drawn illustrations inspired by romance novels from bestselling writers. 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, and K. A. Tucker

Buy Links:
I’m so excited to reveal the cover of LOVE BETWEEN THE LINES! I’m seriously addicted to adult coloring books and I love more of them are featuring romance books.
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. You can find her at or

Social Media:

Thursday, June 16, 2016

DIY: Craigh Na Dun Fairy Garden

I’ve been wanting to do some sort of a fairy garden for a couple of years now but I couldn’t really decide on a theme and then I stumbled upon a few sheets of slate-type rock that I had in my back garden and, finally, an idea popped into my mind. An Outlander-inspired fairy garden! Sounds fun, right?


Now that I had an idea, I needed to figure out what I wanted to put in my fairy garden. At first, I thought about using succulents for the simple fact they’re easy to care for. Although they just didn’t have that wild Scottish Highland look that I was going for so I visited my local garden center, that just so happened to have an entire section devoted to fairy gardens, and found these wild looking 2 inch plants from a company called Ittie Bitties.


Next, I had to find a planter. Honestly, this was actually the hardest part. I wanted something stylish that looked a bit Celtic, had a drain hole in the bottom, preferably ceramic or terra cotta, was of medium size, and would work well indoors. After four stores, I actually found a lovely glazed ceramic planted made by Trendspot inc. at Wal-Mart. The only downside was that it didn’t have a base, so I ended up buying one those plastic ones to use until I can find something else.


Now I was ready to start putting my Craigh Na Dun fairy garden together. I actually found this to be relaxing. And, surprisingly, it went by rather quickly. I had the entire thing together in less than 30 minutes.

Here’s what you need:
Most of the supplies should be easy to find at your local store and garden center. Some items you’ll need to gather from your own backyard.
From the Store or Garden Center
1 Medium Planter               Indoor Potting Soil
4 or 5 Miniature Plants       Persevered Sheet Moss (found in the craft aisle)
Items to gather from out and about  
Gravel for the bottom of your planter
5 or 6 ‘Standing Stones’ (I used a sheet of thin slate-type rock that I broke into pieces)
Small river rocks or other small stones to place around the top of your planter

Step 1-Fill the bottom of your planter with 1 inch of gravel.
Step 2-Add in potting soil leaving about 1 ½ inches from the top
Step 3-Assemble your standing stones in the middle of the planter making sure they are deep enough they will not tumble over.
Step 4-Arrange the potted plants around the standing stones until you’re satisfied with the design.
Step 5-Remove your plants from the pots, gently loosen the soil around the roots and plant in your planter.
Step 6-Cover the soil with the Persevered Sheet Moss and add a few river rocks or pebbles for decoration.

Now, it’s time to add Claire and Jamie. Dinnae fash if you’re not crafty. This only requires scissors, glue, and a bit or sellotape.


Materials needed:

2 Sheets of Cardstock      Printer
Pocket Jaime and Claire  (Click Here for the printableSuperglue
Scissors     4 Toothpicks     Sellotape





1-Print out the two images of Jamie and Claire on cardstock

2-Cut out the images

3-On the back of the images, tape on two toothpicks.

4-Glue the images together back to back

5-Roll out about 10 inches of sellotape, place the image on top of it and fold the tape over the image so the both sides are covered.

6-Trim off excess tape leaving about 2mm around the edges.


A few tips:
1-When buying your plants, ask how often they water them. I’ve noticed that sticking to the same watering schedule (ie once day, twice a day, etc.) as the nursery often helps the plants to thrive.
2-Spritz the plants once a week to ensure they are evenly moist.
3-Make sure they are in bright, but indirect sunlight
4-If you have a flowering plant, be sure to pick the spent blossoms to ensure more blooms.
5-Trim off the dead leaves with a pair of cuticle scissors.
6-If placing outside, place in a shielded spot as the wind can destroy these tiny plants.

Have you made a fairy garden?

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday {46}: Dressed to Kilt by Hannah Reed

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


A Scottish cozy mystery with an adorable title? Count me in. This one looks so amazing.
Title:  Dressed to Kilt
Author:  Hannah Reed
Publisher:  Berkley
Release Date:  July 5, 2016
The national bestselling author of Hooked on Ewe is back with a mysterious murder that leaves the Scottish village of Glenkillen shaken and stirred...
 Winter is leaving the residents of Glenkillen snowbound, but Eden isn't about to let the weather dampen her spirits. With only a little time left in Scotland, she's determined to make the most of it—starting with attending a fancy whisky tasting with local looker Leith Cameron. But her classy date turns into a major party foul after a woman is found drowned in one of the vats of alcohol.
 Eden immediately steps in as a Special Constable to help solve the case, but her investigation turns sour when she realizes that the killer could be somehow connected to her own Scottish heritage. Now, in order to find the proof she needs to put the murderer behind bars, she'll have to take a shot at unearthing her family's past—before she herself winds up buried...

What are you lovelies waiting for?

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Audiobook Review: Highland Wedding by Hannah Howell {Narrated by Ashford MacNab}

The vivid scar that spans Sir Iain MacLagan's cheek is a daily reminder of the wife he lost - and of the enemy that still stalks him. Commanded by Scotland's king to remarry in order to unite two powerful border clans, lain reluctantly weds Islaen MacRoth, a woman whose delicate appearance belies a playful, seductive nature that proves dangerously attractive to a man who has vowed never to jeopardize his heart, or his loved ones, again...


Raised with eleven boisterous brothers, Islaen has little time for foolish romantic notions. Even so, she hoped for more than a forced marriage to a man who shares her bed, but not her life. Step by step, Islaen sets out to wear down Iain's defenses.


Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.| Narrator: Ashford MacNab | Length: 11 hours and 58 minutes | Source: Publisher | Ratings: Story-3 Cups, Performance-1 Cup

So I struggle with Hannah Howell’s books and I’ve never really found one that really hooked me although I found Highland Wedding to be enjoyable. It has the forced marriage trope and I do so enjoy watching the dynamics of a forced marriage unfold.


The meeting of the characters at the start is a bit different for your standard historical romance and it may throw some readers off, but I rather enjoyed the odd start. Both Islean or Iain are flawed, she’s not really comfortable with herself and he allows his fear to turn him into a jerk most of the time. His fear is reasonable yet he doesn’t handle himself that well. What I really enjoyed was watching Islean come into her own and seeing how she and Iain grow closer.


What I struggled with in the plot was the chemistry between Islean and Iain. There’s an attraction there but it seemed undeveloped and not fleshed out.


I didn’t really enjoy the narrator. I found her to be boring and I had to force myself to listen. I really wish she would have been able to liven this one up.


Overall, it was an okay story but the narrator could have been better.   


What’s your favorite romance trope?