Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten New Books on My TBR

Today's Top Ten Tuesday topic from The Broke and the Bookish is Top Ten Books that I've Recently Added to my TBR.  I really count my TBR as the physical books I own so these are 10 books that are actually sitting on my shelf waiting for me to pick them up.  I'm not even going to talk about my To Read shelf on Goodreads or everything that's on my Kindle!

1. Duty to the Dead by Charles Todd - I love World War 1/20s era books and am always looking for more.  I love Phrynne Fisher but while I loved the first 2 Maisie Dobbs books the series kind of stopped working for me.  I'm hoping this will be great.

2.  Headhunters on My Doorstep by J. Maarten Troost - I loved Troost's Sex Lives of Cannibals and to a lesser degree his 2nd book Getting Stoned with Savages.  I'm excited to read his "Real life Treasure Island Tale".

3.  Tempest in a Teapot by Amanda Cooper - I love teapots and I love cozy mysteries and this combination just sounds fun!

4.  An Expert in Murder by Nicola Upson -  I love Josephine Tey's Brat Farrar and of course The Daughter of Time is fantastic so I love the idea of a mystery series featuring Tey herself as the detective.

5.  Scandal in Skibbereen by Sheila Connolly - I enjoyed the first book of this Connolly series set in Ireland and I'm looking forward to seeing where this book goes. I'm hoping more mystery, less setup.

6.  The House on Tradd Street by Karen White - Someone recommended this book to me ages ago given my penchant for old houses and ghosts and I just recently got hold of a copy.  I'm very much looking forward to it.  The setup sounds fantastic!

7.  When Did I Get Like This by Amy Wilson - I'm in the mood for funny parenting books lately and this one mentions dinosaur chicken nuggets on the back and while the Tornado refuses to eat meat of any kind at the moment I know where she's coming from as I may have served a sandwich with Nutella for lunch a time or two.

8.  A Batter of Life and Death by Ellie Alexander - So I don't technically have this one yet but I loved the first one in this series and am really looking forward to this one.

9.  The House at Riverton by Kate Morton - I loved The Forgotten Garden when I read it a few years ago and swore I was going to hunt down Morton's other books.  Which I did and then proceeded not to read them.  Then my friend Tina from Novel Meals reviewed this one on Goodreads a few days ago and it jumped back to the top of my TBR.

10. Wouldn't It Be Deadly by D.E. Ireland - It's a cozy mystery featuring Eliza Doolittle!  It just sounds so fun!

So what's new on your TBR?

Monday, March 30, 2015

The Dead Play On - Review

The Dead Play On (A Cafferty and Quinn Novel) by Heather Graham

Rating: 3.5 Stars
Source: NetGalley

Description:  Musicians are being murdered in New Orleans and only their instruments are missing.  When saxophone player Tyler Anderson gets a flash of his friend Arnie's final moments while playing Arnie's sax he knows that Arnie was one of the murdered and not an overdose like originally suspected. Tyler turns to his friend Danni and so she and Quinn are deep in the music scene of New Orleans and just possibly the next target.

Genre: Mystery
Why I Picked This Book:  I've really enjoyed Heather Graham's Krewe series so I thought I'd give this one a try.

My Impression:
Pro:  I expect a fun story with a strong sense of place from Graham's books and I wasn't disappointed.  This very much felt like it was taking place in New Orleans without being too over the top.  The mystery itself is interesting and the story has just the right amount of creep factor. I liked Danni and Quinn really having to learn to work together and that Quinn had to stop just trying to protect Danni and start trusting her instincts.  I also loved Arnie's parents as well as Billie and Bo Ray.  They all came off as really just nice people which helped temper the creepiness.  The pacing was very good and while I guessed the bad guy fairly early on I was never not entertained by the unmasking process.

Con:  There are a lot of characters in this book.  I think since this is a continuing series the cast can be bigger than it is in the Krewe books.  There were a few times I had to remind myself who someone was and there was a character that showed up towards the end that I had no idea who he was. It didn't affect the story so it wasn't a big deal but it was a little jarring.  Also, this took me a little longer to get lost in than her previous books.  The writing seemed a little stiffer and I was more aware of the "He said, she said, etc." than usual.

Overall: Even though this was the 3rd book in the series I had no problem jumping in especially with figuring out the setup between Danni and Quinn.   Because this is a series the romantic relationship is already taken place so this read more like a mystery than a romance to me.  There were some mild scenes but nothing much.  I have a feeling that earlier books would tilt more to the romance side.  There were a few annoyances in the book but they were all minor and this was a book I always looked forward to getting back too.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Yes, definitely.  While I like her Krewe series a bit better I'm looking forward to reading more of the Cafferty and Quinn books.

Would I Recommend this Book?:   I'd definitely recommend this author and while this wasn't my favorite by her it was still a lot of fun.

Challenges Met? Reading Road Trip - Louisiana

Sunday, March 29, 2015

This Week in Reading - March 29

It's Sunday Post time!  This is hosted by the awesome Caffeinated Book Reviewer and gives us all a chance to recap our week

What I Got:

Deadly Desires at Honeychurch Hall by Hannah Dennison - So there was some happy car dancing about this one.  I was checking my email when I had stopped for gas the other day when I saw the email asking if I wanted to review this one.  Umm yes please!  Murder at Honeychurch Hall was one of my favorite mysteries last year so I'm really excited about this. (Publisher)

Gummi Bears Should Not Be Organic by Stefanie Wilder-Taylor - I've read 3 of her books and really enjoyed 2.  Plus the title of this one makes me laugh.  I like her attitude on parenting and life in general and she's generally very funny.  (NetGalley)

When the Balls Drop by Brad Garrett - Garrett was the brother in Everyone Loves Raymond and I've thought he was funny in everything I've seen him in which honestly hasn't been all that much so I'm curious about this. (NetGalley)

A Fright to the Death by Dawn Eastman - This is a cozy mystery series I've been wanting to try so I was really excited to get on the blog tour for this one.  (Blog Tour)


Reading:  Great Expectations by Charles Dickens which is my Reading Assignment Challenge for this month and I need to seriously get reading!  Also, Mademoiselle Chanel by C.W. Gortner for a blog tour later this week.

Listening: Nothing yet but am planning on starting audio books again this week.

Watching:  All Star Academy on Food Network but not much else since we've been out of town most of this week.

Off the Blog:

We had a great vacation.  One day we went into Hattiesburg and went to the little zoo they have there which was nice and ate a fantastic lunch.  If for whatever reason you're ever in the Hattiesburg, MS area I highly recommend Crescent City Grill.  Other than that lots of playing with the Tornado and even a little bit of reading.

Since we've been home it's mostly been trying to get everything back together what with grocery shopping and laundry.  This week has flown by!  While we had a great spring break I'm looking forward to getting back to routine.

I'm horribly behind on blog visiting and comment replying but I'm trying to catch up!

On the Blog:

What Happened This Week:

What's Coming Up:

Monday: The Dead Play On - Romantic Suspense Review
Tuesday:  Ten Books I Recently Added to My TBR
Wednesday: Scent of Triumph - Blog Tour Review
Thursday: Mademoiselle Chanel - Blog Tour Review
Friday: Friday Linkups featuring my current book
Saturday: Cookbook Challenge Linkup

Have a great weekend and happy reading!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

My Cookbook Wishlist

I was going to talk about my collection of cookbooks today but I just got back into town Thursday night and today (Friday) wasn't a day for digging into my bookcases so instead I'm going to talk about my Cookbook Wishlist.  I love cookbooks and have an easier time buying them than other genres because cookbooks don't apply to my rather massive TBR.  Plus flipping through a cookbook while watching a show off the Tivo is one of my favorite ways to spend an evening. Because that's the kind of party girl I am.  So here's my current wishlist and if you have any opinion on them please tell me so I can hit Order on my Amazon cart or delete them out:

1.  Sheet Pan Suppers by Molly Gilbert - I've seen several reviews of this one and they've all been glowing.  Plus, roasting is one of those cooking methods I love but so rarely do for reasons I can't explain.

2.  Mary Berry's Baking Bible by Mary Berry - I was addicted to The Great British Bake Off that was on PBS recently and loved Mary Berry.  It doesn't hurt that her scones looked amazing.

3.  Paul Hollywood's British Baking by Paul Hollywood - Basically ditto to the above.

4.  The Pollan Family Table by Corky Pollan, Tracy Pollan and Lori Pollan- I'm cheating a bit on this one because I actually have it from the library right now but it's definitely one I want to own.  Especially if all the recipes are half as good as the Bistro Burgers with Caramelized Onions we had had for dinner tonight!

5.  The Four and Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book by Melissa Elsen - This was featured on one of the food blogs I follow and they had their all butter pie crust which is heaven.  Really I don't need to rest of the pie the crust is so good!

6.  Back in the Day Bakery: Made with Love by Cheryl Day - I have their first book and love it even though really all I make regularly are their chocolate chip cookies which are my favorite of the 2 dozen or so recipes I've tried.  (Have I mentioned my family is a bit boring when it comes to sweets?)

7.  Good Food, Good Life by Curtis Stone - Between his appearances on The Chew and All Star Academy Curtis Stone is starting to replace Bobby Flay as my chef crush.  Plus this book just sounds yummy!

8. Kevin Dundon's Modern Irish Food by Kevin Dundon- My husband and I both have a lot of Irish in us so periodically I try and experiment with Irish recipes.  I like the idea of these being modern as so many that I've found are a bit on the heavy side.

9. The Complete Cook's Country TV Cookbook - This is from the maker's of Cook's Illustrated but tends to be a little less complicated.  I love Cook's Illustrated and my go-to meatloaf recipe is from them but I used to have a subscription to Cook's Country and would love to try out this book.

10. LudoBites by Ludo Lefebvre - My husband and I watch The Taste together and I enjoy Ludo's antics almost as much as I love listening to Nigella Lawson talk.  I'm dying to try out his food!

So what do you think?  See any I must get or any that I should avoid at all costs?

I'm linking up with Weekend Cooking hosted by Beth Fish Reads

Friday, March 27, 2015

Friday Linkups - The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy

It's Friday linkup time!  I'm linking up with the Book Blogger Hop hosted by Coffee Addicted Writer, Book Beginnings of Fridays hosted by Rose City Reader, and the Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice.

This Week's Book Blogger Hop Question:
Which books have you read in the past month that still have you thinking back to the storyline and characters?

My Answer:
Good question!  My immediate answer is Behind Every Great Man by Marlene Wagman-Geller which I've talked about quite a bit since I read it.  Death and the Redheaded Woman by Loretta Ross and The Unpredictable Consequences of Love by Jill Mansell are 2 where the characters have really stayed with me.  I'm especially looking forward to the next mystery from Loretta Ross.

This week's book is the latest Julia Quinn, The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy.  Julia Quinn is one of my favorite romance authors and Iris is a character I've really enjoyed in previous books.  I'm a little scared because the reviews have been mixed and this series hasn't been quite as fantastic as previous Quinns have been for me but I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

The Beginning:
Pleinsworth House
Spring 1825
To quote that book his sister had read two dozen times, it was a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.  
Sir Richard Kenworthy was not in possession of a fortune, but he was single.  As for the wife....
Well, that was complicated.

My thoughts:
Well any book that starts with a book reference is always off to a good start in my opinion.  Given the title I'm very curious about why the wife issue is so complicated for Sir Richard.

The 56:
"Then may I lead you out?"
She glanced over at Sir Richard.  He winked.

My Thoughts:
I read a little bit of this page and they're at a ball where Iris is getting asked to dance quite a bit.  I'm very curious about what's going on.  I suspect Sir Richard is behind something somehow though I don't know how or why!

So what do you think?  Keep reading?  Do you have a favorite author whose recent books haven't been quite as great as you expect them to be?

Thursday, March 26, 2015

A Day in the Life - 3/19/15

I'm linking up with Trish over at Love, Laughter and a Touch of Insanity for A Day in the Life Blogger Event.  The linkup is actually tomorrow but I'm posting today.  I recorded March 19 because we've been out of town for most of this week.  This is a fairly typical day for me.  The 9 to 12 changes sometimes but the rest is pretty standard.  Exciting I am not!

2:15 - The Tornado wakes up after upsetting his water glass all over him.  I get him changed into dry pajamas and make sure his bed is dry which thankfully it is.  I get him tucked back in and head back to bed.

2:45 - I look at the clock and realize I've been tossing and turning for 30 minutes.

6:00 - At some point I had thankfully fallen back in sleep.  The Tornado wakes up and climbs in bed with me saying he wants to snuggle.  This morning snuggle is code for asking questions but eventually he quiets down.

7:30 - Paul texts to ask if he can drive to school.  This is his first morning driving but it was supposed to rain so we had told him he had to check with us because if it was pouring and really wet he wasn't going to be driving.  The roads are a little wet but not too bad so he's on his way.

7:35 - J leaves for work.

7:40 - I finally come to the surface to realize that it's now 40 minutes past when I wanted to get up and roll out of bed.  I head down and make coffee and check my email on my phone while the machine is going.  The Tornado is still sound asleep so I decide that instead of using this time to get some blog work done I'm going to appreciate this rare treat of a quiet morning and watch TV while I drink my coffee.  I turn on yesterday's The Chew and curl up on the couch with my coffee.

8:10 - The Tornado comes downstairs and snuggles up next to me.  We sit for a few minutes and then he wants to watch his morning show.  I turn it to Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and do some review cross-posting.

8:25 - He's now awake enough to eat breakfast (we're not morning people) so I make him his breakfast (oatmeal), then make his lunch for school.  You know those really fun looking Bento box lunch ideas where the kid eats something new every day?  So not my kid.  He gets his usual lunch of a cheese sandwich, goldfish (but only the ones in the green bag), and 2 Hershey kisses.

8:35 - His lunch box is on the counter.  I go pick out his clothes and lay them out then remind him to do his jobs before I go upstairs to get ready.  I wash my face, brush my hair, put on make up, etc.  I don't have to go anywhere today and it's a cleaning day so clothes are yoga pants and a tshirt.

9:00 - The Tornado has eaten breakfast, gotten dressed, put the dog up and made his bed but didn't put his bowl in the dishwasher.  We're running late so I ignore that and get his shoes and socks on and then out the door to school.

9:25 - The Tornado is now successfully dropped off. I get home to an empty house as Emma had to go into school early to make a test.  I sit down to do a little blog work before I get going.

10:20 - What was supposed to be half an hour of blogwork turned into almost an hour.  I talk myself into a 10 minute barre3 workout before starting the stuff that needs to get done today.

10:30 - Finish workout and get stuff together for cleaning.  Clean upstairs, fold a load of laundry, unload dishwasher, rotate laundry, clean family room and kitchen table.

12:15 - Make and eat lunch.  Input calories into my phone app.  Straighten up kitchen and put cleaning supplies away.

12:45 - Go pick up the Tornado from school.  Realize in carline that I forgot to take my allergy medicine this morning because my eyes are starting to itch like crazy.

1:10 - Get home.  I check the mail and got an ARC that I've been looking forward to (thanks Bea for letting me know about this one!).  Go through the Tornado's backpack and have him put it up.  Get him a snack and let him pick a show (we seem to be in a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse mood lately).

1:20 - Take allergy medicine before the eye itchiness makes me lose my mind.  Go put up laundry and realize I forgot to clean ceiling fan in master bedroom.  Do the Pinterest pillowcase trick.  Rotate laundry.  Move chairs out of dining room.  Vacuum and dust.  Give the Tornado 5 minutes more to play school bus on the lined up chairs and then put them back in the dining room.  Put vacuum cleaner and dusting stuff up.  J calls in the middle of this so I talk to him for a minute.  I resist the urge to go hide with my Kindle for awhile and also add clean dining room carpet to To Do list.

2:30 - Allergy medicine thankfully has kicked in so my eyes have stopped itching.  The Tornado gets out his Legos and I sit down at the computer to get some blog work done.  I go to NetGalley to download an approval that came through earlier today and try to resist checking the new titles.  Start review for Serbian cookbook and for a blog tour that's happening on Monday.  I'm also answering questions.  Lots of questions.  Between me being sick and other general craziness of the last few weeks the Tornado is out of the habit of playing on his own.

3:00 - Print out recipe for dinner and then assemble parts and get them in the crockpot.  We're having Honey Bourbon Crock Pot Chicken and later I'll make the Pioneer Woman's Mashed Potatoes later.

3:30 - Crockpot is going and I take a page out of Gretchen Rubin's Better Than Before handbook and straighten up my desk.  I take up the pile of books that's been sitting there and use the moment to read a little on the Kindle.  The Tornado finds me and I end up reading a book to him.

4:00 - Emma comes running in and changes for work than runs out.  I'm very grateful that I don't have to drive her around anymore.

4:15: I wasted a few minutes flipping through my calendar and realized that I don't have a book fora  blog tour that's coming up in a couple of weeks.  Shoot a quick email to another tour participant.  Then the Tornado and I pick up his Legos.  Paul comes in and we talk about how driving to school went than the Tornado and I do a few puzzles.

5:30 - I go peel potatoes and put them onto boil while the Tornado plays some more.  Paul leaves for soccer practice and once again I'm grateful I don't have to drive the older ones anymore.

5:45 - J comes home.  The Tornado picks out a show to watch - once again Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.  I finish making the potatoes, heat up the naan and make the sauce for the chicken.

6:15 Dinner - the chicken is pretty good.  I use chicken breasts instead of thighs and leave out the sesame seeds.  I do need 3 tablespoons of cornstarch to thicken up the sauce but everyone seems to like it.

7:20 - I finish getting the kitchen cleaned up and do a little blog visiting while the Tornado heats his dessert of Hershey kisses.

7:30 - I read the Tornado a story.  Paul comes in from practice and heats up his plate from dinner.

7:50 - Go take a bath and read a few chapters of my current print book (Hideaway Cove by Anna Sullivan)

8:30 - Come downstairs and talk J into working on a puzzle.  We've been trying to do things other than watch TV at night.  I thought this would be a fun chance to talk and stuff.  It turns out we are serious puzzle solvers.  There was no talking but it was fun.  Emma gets home from work around 9 and we talk to her for a minute.

9:45 - Stop the puzzle for the night and have some cake

10:15 - Head upstairs and get in bed.  Time for Kindle reading.

11:50 - I realize I've read the same paragraph 4 times and have no idea what it says.  It's bedtime!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Two Short Reviews

Every once in awhile I come across a book where there's just not that much to say about it.  Recently I've come across two so instead of doing two separate posts I thought I'd combine them.

First up is Around the World in 50 Years: My Adventure to Every Country on Earth by Albert Podell.
I love travel books and the basic premise of a man visiting every country in the world definitely had my attention.  This books starts off with Podell and 5 other men setting off to set a record for the longest automobile journey and then continues for Podell's travels over the next 47 years.  The stories are crazy and entertaining.  I've learned that smuggling things into Egypt is not a good idea and places that are active war zones should be avoided. While this was an entertaining read it didn't quite click with me.  I think my main problem was lack of context.  This was a string of stories under a chapter heading with whatever country they were in.  I would've liked this book more if there was more of a connecting narrative and listed time periods.  It had a floating disconnected feel to it that kept it from really grabbing me.  All in all it was an entertaining read but just not quite what I wanted it to be.  3 Stars.

Then comes Hideaway Cove, a contemporary romance by Anna Sullivan and the 2nd in the Windfall Island series.  This is another one I expected to love.  There's family secrets and a 70 year old mystery.  Really all I need is an old bed and breakfast and I'd be in heaven.  However, this is another one I just couldn't quite connect with.  While I liked Jessie and admired her determination to protect her son she's not a character that really grabbed me.  She's too defensive and her guard is too high.  Holden "Hold" Abbot is also an interesting character.  He's a nice guy but focused on getting to the bottom of the Stanhope mystery.  However, when he comes to Jessie he's too driven and too focused on getting her to become involved with him.  It crossed the line for me from him being interested in her to him being interested in what he couldn't have.  The final straw for me was when the father of Jessie's son showed up.  The issues with him and his family as well as some of the other townspeople along with not really connecting with the characters or the romance just kind of killed this one for me.  There were too many complications and not enough connection.  I did like the writing and I think this author has a lot of potential.  I'm really curious about the first book in the series and hope to get to it soon as I really liked what I saw of that couple in this book.  2.5 Stars

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday - Top Ten Books from my Childhood

Today's Top Ten Tuesday topic from The Broke and the Bookish Top Ten Books from my Childhood that I'd Love to Revisit.  I actually did this last year when I reread The Secret Garden.  This was one of my favorite books as a child and I read it countless times.  I was really pleased to find that I enjoyed it just as much as an adult!  Here's 10 other books I'd love to revisit!

1.  The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin - I think I discovered this book in 4th or 5th grade and I can't even remember how many times I read it.  To make it even better my daughter discovered it when she was much younger and read it dozens of times.  While I remember a lot about this one I'd love to revisit it.  I'm sure there is some great detail that I've forgotten.

2.  Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott - I don't know if I tried Little Women too young or what but I never quite had the same affection for it that so many people seem to have.  Eight Cousins was by far my favorite Alcott.  I read it to absolute pieces and I'd love to revisit it.

3. Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle - unlike the previous two books I remember virtually nothing about this book even though I know I read it multiple times. I know I didn't read any of her other books so I'm hoping to catch up soon.

4.  The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner - The Boxcar Children was the first real series I ever got hooked on and this was before there were so many new ones.  I'd be surprised if this has aged well but I'd love to revisit the first few.

5.  Jo's Boys by Louisa May Alcott - While Little Women wasn't for me I did enjoy Little Men but my absolute favorite was Jo's Boys which featured only a little bit of Jo and lots of the boys that she and her husband took in for their school.  It was lots of fun!

6.  Are You There God?  It's Me Margaret by Judy Blume - so I read this at the regular age you're supposed to be when you read this book and I remember liking it okay but nearly as much as other people seem too.  My primary memory is being confused about the whole belt concept when they were getting their "woman" supplies.  I feel like I need to reread this to see what all the fuss is about.

7.  Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan - I loved this book when I was a kid.  I remember vividly Sarah using colored pencils with the children and talking about the colors of the sea.  I think it'd be interesting to read this one with adult eyes.  I'm sure there's all kind of things that I missed as a child.

8.  The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare - While I enjoyed this one as a child this is another one that I think would be really great to read with adult eyes. I don't remember much about the actual story so I think this would be great to go back and revisit.

9.  Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson - This was actually a book my dad read to me at bedtime when I was a little girl.  I have a vivid memory of listening to the story and could pick out the exact edition but I remember almost nothing about the story itself.

10. Any of the Hardy Boys books - While I did read a couple of Hardy Boys books I was primarily a Nancy Drew reader.  I've read a few reviews of Hardy Boys lately (Greg over at Greg's Book Haven has had some great ones) and it sounds like the Hardy Boys have way more fun than Nancy Drew!

What childhood favorites would you like to revisit?

Monday, March 23, 2015

Delayed Death - Blog Tour Review + Giveaway

delayeddeath (2)

Welcome to my tour stop for Delayed Death by Beate Boeker. This is the first book in the Temptation in Florence cozy mystery series.
This tour runs March 23-April 3 with reviews only. Check out the tour page for more information.

 About the Book:
delayeddeathDelayed Death is Book #1 in the Temptation in Florence Series, a cozy murder mystery romance series with a strong dose of humor and romance.

The title of the series comes from the lingerie store that the protagonist, Carlina, owns and runs, Temptation, on one of Florence, Italy's, premier shopping streets. The Temptation in Florence Series follows the life, adventures and loves of Italian-American Carlina, and of her extended eccentric Italian family, many of whom live in apartments in the same building in central Florence.

The family's eccentric members and their whims and wishes are a never-ending source of amusement for Carlina. While often treated like the family's Cinderella, Carlina is also a sexy, saucy, funny thirty-two-year-old woman.

When a crisis occurs, right at the beginning of Delayed Death, and Carlina gives in to her domineering cousin's wishes, Carlina sets herself on a collision course with police Commissario Stefano Garini.

Delayed Death costs only $0.99. For a limited time, you can also download it for free at the retailer Kobo or at Smashwords with the  voucher FY29F 


Some reviews:

  • "This is cozy mystery writing at its finest." - Jane Ormerod
  • "She has created a marvelous little world full of zany characters and fun plots and subplots." - David H. Bailey
  • "Delayed Death is a hilarious murder mystery with unexpected twists and turns." - bookworm
  • "Great series - Each book is better than the last one!" - mystery lover
  • "She has me hooked and wanting more." - night reader
  • "This Indie series is handsomely presented, well-written, true to the genre, and well-edited" - C. Martinelli
  • “I can’t get enough of Carlina and her fabulous family – you’ll love them, too!” - D.A. Sarac

My Review:

I love a good cozy mystery but I'm not always a fan of the cutesy side of cozies.  However, every once in awhile I find a cozy that is just so much fun that the cutesy just really works and I think I've found that in Delayed Death.  It reads a bit like a contemporary romance with crazy characters and lots of banter.  However, mystery itself is very good and there's an endless list of suspects and motives.  I really had no idea of the who until close to the end and I was entertained the entire time.  If you like dark and gritty this probably not the book for you.  However, if you are looking for a fun mystery or are usually a romance reader but are wanting to read something a bit different this would definitely be a great choice.  I'm looking forward to seeing where this series goes and seeing more of Carlina, her beautiful store and her wacky family.

Author_Picture_Beate_Boeker_at_waterAbout the Author:

Beate Boeker is a USA Today bestselling author with a passion for books that brim over with mischief & humor. Several of her contemporary romance novels were shortlisted for the Golden Quill Contest, the National Readers' Choice Award, the 'Best Indie Books' contest, and the RONE Award. In 2013, she hit the Amazon bestseller list in the category "international mystery & crime" with “Delayed Death”, the first in the series “Temptation in Florence”.
By day, Beate is a global marketing manager with a degree in International Business Administration, and her daily experience in marketing provides her with a wide range of fodder for her novels, be it hilarious or cynical.
Widely traveled, she speaks German, English, French, and Italian and lives in the North of Germany together with her husband and daughter.
While 'Boeker' means 'books' in a German dialect, her first name Beate can be translated as ‘Happy’ . . . and with a name that reads ‘Happy Books’, what else can she do but write novels with happy endings? You can contact Beate via her website www.happybooks.de

Contact Beate:

Website | Newsletter – to learn about brand new releases! | Facebook | Twitter @BeateBoeker | Tsu | Goodreads author page | Amazon

Each tour stop is giving away one ebook of A New Life by Beate Boeker. Fill out the rafflecopter for each blog you visit and comment on (one entry per day). 
Open worldwide
Ends April 9, 2015

a Rafflecopter giveaway
This event was organized by CBB Book Promotions.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

This Week in Reading - March 22

It's Sunday Post time!  This is hosted by the awesome Caffeinated Book Reviewer and gives us all a chance to recap our week!

What I Got

The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor by Amy Reade - this is for a blog tour next month and I'm excited about it.  I love ghost stories and this one involves refurbishing a plantation house outside Charleston, SC which is one of my favorite cites. (Blog Tour)

Second Chances by Stacy Finz - I really enjoyed the first one in this series and though I haven't technically read the second yet I couldn't resist picking up the third. (NetGalley)

Nothing like a Cowboy by Donna Alward - I loved Alward's The House on Blackberry Hill so even though I'm not a huge cowboy fan I thought I'd give this a try.  (NetGalley)

Plantation Shudders by Ellen Byron - There's a mystery in a plantation turned bed and breakfast.  You know I can't resist these things.  (NetGalley)

The Canterbury Sisters by Kim Wright - The blurb mentioned Jojo Moyes and the story involves woman taking the ashes of her recently deceased mother along with seven other women on a 60 miles pilgrimage to Canterbury Cathedral.  I love these kind of ensemble cast stories. (NetGalley) 

Making Your Mind Up by Jill Mansell - I know nothing about this other than it's by Jill Mansell and I love the previous book of her's that I read. (NetGalley)


Reading:  The Dead Play On by Heather Graham and Great Expectations by Charles Dickens for The Reading Assignment Challenge.

Listening:  Nothing.  With spring break coming up there really isn't time to start another audio book so I'll wait until we get back to download a new one.

Watching:  I've been catching up on NCIS and NCIS: New Orleans.  I forgot how much I liked both those shows.

Off the Blog:

Our spring break starts this week so I'm taking the Tornado, Paul and Emma off to visit my grandparents in south Mississippi.  It's always lots of fun.  They have lots of land and dogs and the older kids go off and explore the woods and the Tornado and I run around.  J has to stay which is too bad but he'll have a nice quiet week at home.  Since I'll be out of town I won't be doing much blog visiting but I hope to catch up when I get back.
Paul officially got his license so I'm completely out of the driving the older kids around business.  It's very nice especially considering that Paul frequently works the morning shift which means one of us had to get him to work at 6AM on a Saturday or Sunday which was not fun!
Other than that we don't have too much going on.  The inside work has been finished up at the rental house and J has some outside projects to tackle over there.  Hopefully we'll get a tenant soon.  
It's finally started to warm up which means it's time to start thinking about my garden!  I'm hoping to get the beds cleaned out when I get home and will start figuring out what I want to plant.  I can't wait to have fresh tomatoes!

On the Blog:

What Happened This Week:

Saturday: Serbian Cooking - Cookbook Review

What's Coming Up:

Monday: Delayed Death - Blog Tour Review
Tuesday: Top Ten Books from my Childhood I'd like to Revisit
Wednesday: Two Short Reviews - Hideaway Cove and Around the World in 50 Years
Thursday: A Day in the Life Blogger Event Linkup
Friday: Friday Linkups featuring my current book
Saturday: My Cookbook Collection

Have a great week and happy reading!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Serbian Cooking - Cookbook Review

Serbian Cooking: Popular Recipes from the Balkan Region by Danijela Kracun and Charles McFadden

I always love to try foods from different places and so when I saw this cookbook on Serbian food I couldn't resist.  It helped that I know virtually nothing about Serbian cuisine.  This was an interesting little book that gave me a peek at Serbian food.

The book is broken into 3 chapters - appetizers, entrees (which also includes side dishes), and desserts.  There are just over 50 recipes and include things like  Cold Cuts Platter, Plum Dumplings, Chicken Paprikash with Peas, Lentil Soup, Baklava and Tulumbe (kind of a danish/pastry sounding dessert).  The recipes are fairly simple.  The ingredient list is fairly short and the instructions aren't overly complicated.  The ingredients all seem to be things you could find at most good grocery stores and the only pre-made ingredient called for is phyllo dough.

While the baklava and vanilla pastry call to me I think the first thing I'm going to try is this delicious sounding vinegar-y bacon laden potato salad.

8 slices smoked bacon
2 pounds boiled potatoes with skin
6 scallions, sliced
1 sprig fresh rosemary, chopped
2 sprigs fresh thyme, chopped
4 sprigs of parsley, chopped
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
salt and fresh black pepper

Preheat oven to 375.  Before you put the slices of bacon in the oven, place them on a rack that is put on a baking pan.  That way you will get rid of the excess fat from the bacon and it will be crispy.  It will take about 20 minutes to be done.  When the bacon is cool, crumble it.
Peel the skin from the boiled potatoes and slice them.
Slice the scallions and chop the herbs.
Make the dressing by mixing the oil, vinegar, salt, fresh black pepper and herbs.
Mix everything together, except the bacon; then add the crumbled bacon on the top.

I think this will be heavenly with a crisply breaded chicken cutlet.  The simplicity of the recipes make it easy to add a touch of interest into your weekday meals.

I'm linking up with Weekend Cooking hosted by Beth Fish Reads

Friday, March 20, 2015

Friday Linkups: Murder on the Orient Express

It's Friday linkup time!  I'm linking up with the Book Blogger Hop hosted by Coffee Addicted Writer, Book Beginnings of Fridays hosted by Rose City Reader, and the Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice.

This Week's Book Blogger Hop Question:
Do you read more on a rainy day or a gorgeous sunny day so you can be outside?

My Answer:
With a small child I don't do as much day reading as I'd like but I'd have to say rainy day.  Being in the South most of our gorgeous days are accompanied by high heat, insane humidity and mosquitoes.  Plus I'm normally working on my garden or other outside project.  I love curling up in a comfy chair by a window on a rainy day and reading!

This is one of my favorite Agathas and is also one of her best known.  When I started rereading the Poirots this was one I was most excited to revisit.  It's so detailed and multi-layered that I pick up something new each time I read it.

Book Beginning: 
"It was five o'clock on a winter's morning in Syria.  Alongside the platform at Aleppo stood the train grandly designated in railway guides as the Taurus Express."

My Thoughts:
This is fairly typical of an Agatha beginning.  It's more about setting the scene than yanking you into the story.  I've read this book before so I know I'll enjoy it but I do love how she paints the picture of the important looking train sitting ready to go on a cold grey morning.

The 56: 
"Exactly, M. Poirot.  That blow was almost certainly struck with the left hand."
"So that our murderer is left handed? No, it is more difficult than that is it not?"

My thoughts:
I love watching them try to figure out what happened.  There's so many clues and theories that it's such a fun mystery!

So have you read this one?  What do you think?  And if you haven't, would you keep reading?

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Better Than Before - Review

Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everday Lives by Gretchen Rubin

Rating: 4 Stars
Source: NetGalley
Description:  Gretchen Rubin of The Happiness Project is now turning her eyes on the habit of habits.  Why do some habits stick but others don't?  And what can we do to make better mindful decisions regarding our own habit development.

Genre: Non-Fiction

Why I Picked This Book: While I was underwhelmed with Rubin's 2nd book - Happiness at Home - I did get quite a bit out of her 1st book.  I was curious to see what she had to say on the subject of habits.

My Impression:  As I would expect from Rubin, Better Than Before is meticulously researched and at times almost painfully so.  It took me a chapter or two to get connected to the book because of all the studies and theories that she quoted. But once she started talking about the different types of motivators I was intrigued and became fascinated with the concept.  She asked a lot of questions that really made me think about my own actions and what motivates me as well as questions that made me evaluate my priorities.  I really liked that this wasn't a list of suggestions I should incorporate into my day but more of a framework to decide what I wanted to add to my day and than figure out the best way to go about it given my personality and motivations. She frequently ended the chapter with a list of questions so that the reader can better figure out how the chapter applies to them.  This isn't an easy warm blanket and cup of tea read.  This is a read you need to do with a notebook at hand so that you can take notes and make reminders.
Rubin doesn't come across as likable and with as many times as she mentions lecturing her friends for clutter or staying up to late I'm kind of relieved that I don't know her personally.  However, this isn't a book where I had to like the narrator.  I respect her opinion and her reasoning makes a lot of sense.  I look forward to focusing on my own habit creation and becoming better than before!
My one concern is that through reading this book I realized that I'm what Rubin considers an Upholder which is her motivator as well.  Since the methods that apply to Upholders apply directly to her it did seem to focus a bit more on that type.  I do question if the book would be quite as useful to someone of the other motivator types.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Yes, I actually need to reread this one with my notebook and pen!

Would I Recommend this Book?:  Absolutely!  If you have any interest in changing aspects of your behavior or understanding your motivations more I think this would be a valuable resource.

Challenges Met?

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Agatha Christie Challenge: Poirot - Part 2

By the time the next four Poirot's are released he has become an incredibly popular detective.  The problem is that Agatha's publishing company is now expecting more from her and pressuring her more both for more books and for content.  On Goodreads Black Coffee is actually counted as the 7th Poirot but I'm not counting it here as it was part of a series of Christie plays that were later turned into books by another author.
For my review of the first four Poirot books visit this post.

The Big Four (1927)
This most recent reading of The Big Four is the first time I've read it close to reading Passenger to Frankfurt so it was the first time I noticed how similar these books are though they were written 45 years apart.  The main difference is that The Big Four is well plotted and menacing while Passenger to Frankfurt is to put it nicely - confusing.   We find Poirot and Hastings reunited and up against an International group of powerful criminals.  This is a little different from most of Christie's books because while they are hunting one criminal (the elusive #4) they are investigating a series of only barely related crimes.  While this isn't one of my favorites it's a fun and very vintage-y feeling read.  3.5 Stars

The Mystery of  the Blue Train (1928)
Supposedly this one is a book that Agatha buckled under publisher pressure to change the ending.  Reportedly she was always dissatisfied with it because of that.  The timing may also have influenced her feelings towards it as this was the first book she wrote after her mother's death, her divorce and her mysterious and very public disappearance.  Despite Agatha's feelings I actually like this mystery.  The daughter of American millionaire who is travelling with incredibly valuable jewels is found murdered on the Blue Train with her face disfigured.  It is proven almost immediately that despite the face disfigurement it is in fact the millionaire's daughter.  To the rescue come the famous Poirot and heiress Katherine Grey.  Grey is a fantastic character - she is intelligent, kind and with a fully developed sense of humor.  The suspects are immediately very clear and Poirot is more of a passive investigator who periodically will steer the police a particular direction.  It does take a bit of an unexpected turn in the last 30 pages which I suspect is the ending Agatha resented so much.  It's an enjoyable read but the ending is not as tight as a usual Agatha book.  4 Stars

Peril at End House (1932)
The retired (again) Poirot is enjoying a seaside holiday with his good friend Captain Hastings when a bee zips by his head.  Except it isn't a bee it's a bullet and the bullet pierced the brim of the hat worn by the young and very pretty Nick Buckley.  That's not her first narrow miss it's actually her fourth and Poirot and Hastings are quickly drawn into a web of tangled motives, secrets and lies.  On my first reading of Agatha's books this was definitely one of my favorites.  The characters are glamorous and there's always something happening but it doesn't really hold up to multiple readings.  There's too much that balances of coincidence and Poirot is much more secretive than usual so it feels a bit too much like a trick played on the reader.  This was written during a huge burst in productivity for Agatha (4 novels and 3 short story collections in 3 years).  While it's very readable it's definitely not Agatha's best. 3 Stars

Lord Edgware Dies/Thirteen at Dinner (1933)
After the rather lackluster Peril at End House Agatha is back in full form with this one.  Lord Edgware is found murdered and his wife, the famous actress Jane Wilkinson, not only was the last person to see him but also had asked Poirot to figure out how to get rid of her only a few days before.  The catch is that she has an unbreakable alibi leaving Poirot, Hastings and Japp to ask how she could be in 2 places at once.  Reading this one I'm not surprised we're heading towards some of Agatha's famous books - Murder on the Orient Express and And Then There were None to name a few.  The plotting is incredibly well done.  Reading this after you know the solution is like a treasure hunt looking for the clues that she so artfully wove into the story.  This is one of those that really should be better known.  4 Stars

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday - Top Ten Books on my Spring TBR

It's time for Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  Today's Top Ten Tuesday topic is the top ten books books on my spring TBR.  There are so many books that I want to read right now that it's hard to just come up with 10.  I have old review books, upcoming review books and TBR books and of course I want to read each and every one!

Upcoming Review Books:

1.  French Coast by Anita Hughes (pub. 4/7/15) - The cover is just so pretty!  I love the idea of the French Rivera with a dash of fashion and drama.

2.  Still the One by Jill Shalvis (pub. 4/7/15) - I'm still mourning the end of the Lucky Harbor series but I'm looking forward to trying this one from her newest series.  I have high hopes!

3.  Be Afraid by Mary Burton (pub 4/28/15) - I think because I spent all December reading romances and the last couple of months knee deep in cozies I've been craving romantic suspense - heavy on the suspense.  This look like it shout fit the bill!

4.  Body in the Birches by Katherine Hall Page (pub 5/12/15) - I discovered Katherine Hall Page's Body in the series when I was in college and inhaled all that I could find.  I'm looking forward to a revisit with Faith Fairchild and seeing what dead body she's stumbling over now.  She has a serious case of Angela Lansbury-itis but they're fun to read!

Old Review Books:

1. Finding Hope by Stacy Finz (pub. 1/6/15) - I really enjoyed the previous book in the series and was excited to see the character that this book centered around.  

2. Murder at the Book Group by Maggie King (12/30/14) - I've seen some mixed reviews for this one but I'm hoping I enjoy it.  I love cozies that center around bookish things so this one is hard to resist!

3. His Kiss by Jill Shalvis (8/28/14) - I was so excited to get approved for the last trilogy in Shalvis's Lucky Harbor series but I still haven't even started it!  I think I'm stalling because this is not a series I want to end!

Off my TBR Pile:

1.  Read it and Weep by Jenn McKinlay - I love her library series and have gobbled up the first 3 but got distracted and haven't picked up this one yet. 

2. Whiskey Beach by Nora Roberts - After reading Shadow Spell last week I'm anxious to get back to Nora Roberts.  I've had this one sitting on my shelf since it first came out and am excited to get to it.  The blurb sounds amazing!

3. Kitchen Counter Cooking School by Kathleen Flinn - I actually bought this one new because the recommendations were so glowing.  That was at least 2 years ago.  It's still unopened!

So those are the 10 I'm hoping to read this spring!  What's on your wishlist? 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Shadow Spell - Review

Shadow Spell (Book 2 in the O'Dwyer Trilogy) by Nora Roberts
Rating: 4 Stars
Source: Paperbackswap

Genre: Romance
Why I Picked This Book: It's a Nora Roberts set in Ireland.  I cannot resist!

My Impression:
I read the first book in this series (my review of Dark Witch) last year and was kind of meh about it.  I loved the setting but didn't really connect with Iona and Boyle who were the first couple.  So even though I knew this was a friends to more story and I had really liked Connor and Meara in Dark Witch I put off reading this one for a year.
When I finally picked Shadow Spell up I was a little nervous.  Had my reliable Nora Roberts lost her touch?  Was this going to feel like a rehash of previous books?  I shouldn't have worried.  I was sucked into the story pretty much from the first page.  So much so that I didn't realize that Connor and Meara don't really interact for the first 100 pages   Normally this would be a pretty big downside in a romance but in this one it really works.  We really get to know Meara and see her family issues and understand her feelings and reactions a little better.  We also get to understand Connor better and see that he's not quite shallow fun loving guy he's portrayed to be.  Also, I kind of want to go hawking.  We also get a refresher course on all the drama that's going on and the war between good and evil that the 6 are facing.
Then after a near death experience there's a spontaneous kiss and the romance takes off.  Once this romance takes off it's amazing.  I'm half in love with Connor myself and I really relate to Meara.  She's tough and incredibly brave but at the same time caring and kind with a good solid sense of humor.  I really loved seeing her relationship with her mother and her relationship with not just Connor but Finn and Branna. It's not hard to believe that these 4 people have been lifelong friends.  I really enjoyed the way Meara and Connor work together.  He wants to protect her but also listens to her and respects her opinion and her abilities.They get angry with each other and then they talk about it and trust each other.
The battle with Cabhan is ramping up in intensity and the pace of the book reflected that but there were plenty of lighter moments mixed in.  I thoroughly enjoyed this one and am now very curious to see how the 3rd book plays out.  Branna and Finn have quite a lot against them.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Well, yeah.  Roberts is still on my auto-buy list!

Would I Recommend this Book?:  If you like romance and Irish settings this is a good one.  This isn't my favorite Roberts book but I enjoyed it much more than the first in the series.

Challenges Met? Alphabet Soup (S), TBR Challenge

Sunday, March 15, 2015

This Week in Reading - March 15

It's Sunday Post time!  This is hosted by the awesome Caffeinated Book Reviewer and gives us all a chance to recap our week!

What I Got:

It was a kind of quiet week around here.  I've got some requests still pending but a few came throughl

Redemption Bay by RaeAnne Thayne - Her first book in the Haven Point series - Snow Angel Cove - was one of my favorite Christmas books last year so I'm excited about the 2nd book.  Especially since it features the not present but often spoken about Ben.  (NetGalley)

Scent of Triumph by Jan Moran - This book involves family, rebuilding and perfume all set around World War 2.  I'm really looking for to it.  This is for a blog tour next month (Publisher)

Murder Comes Calling by C.S. Challinor - There are murders in a secluded English community AND a Scottish barrister.  I couldn't resist.  Plus I already have the previous one on my Kindle (NetGalley)

The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy by Julia Quinn - Quinn is an auto-buy author for me and I've been excited for this one once I saw that Iris was the heroine.  I'm a little nervous since the reviews have been somewhat mixed for this one but a bad Quinn is still a Quinn so I'm still looking forward to it!  (Paperbackswap)


Reading: Lord Edgware Dies by Agatha Christe and Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin.  I'm almost done with the Agatha so I'm thinking of picking up The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy next.

Listening:  I just finished Yes Please by Amy Poehler (review below) and loved it.  Then I switched over to The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley which is the first in the Flavia de Luce series.  While I was really enjoying it I have a hard time transitioning to a different audiobook immediately.  Does anyone else have that problem?  I'll probably try it again in a week or 2.  What I heard was good so I'm looking forward to getting back to it.

Watching: I watched the 2nd CSI: Cyber which I enjoyed much better than the first.  Thankfully there were no babies in this episode.  I finally caught up on Stalker and am concerned that it ended on a cliffhanger but it's not certain that it's going to be renewed.  I hate when they do this!  There should be rules!  I'm also getting my genealogy geek fix with Who Do You Think You Are.  Julie Chen was last week and Josh Groban is tonight.  So excited!

Off the Blog:

We've been trying to get our rental house turned around and ready to be rented out again which is no fun.  There's nothing like spending all day cleaning and painting a house that you don't actually live in!  Luckily we're in the tail end of the inside work now so I can come back and work on the house we actually live in!  Most of the time the rental house thing isn't a big deal.  We have a property manager who handles everything so it's pretty hands off but when the tenant moves out it requires a lot of work and it has to get done as quick as possible.   So keep your fingers crossed for us that we get a new tenant as soon as possible!  

I've still been using Barre3 and am still loving it.  It's basically pilates type workouts with a ballet twist.  I have a hard time with really high impact workouts so this works well for me.  So far I've done a different workout everyday and liked all of them!

Oh and Paul introduced me to doesthedogdie.com.  You can type in any movie and it will tell you if the animal dies or is injured in any movie.  This will save me a lot of worry in the future!

On the Blog:

What Happened This Week:

Monday: Shadow Spells - Romance Review
Tuesday: Top Ten Tuesday - Ten Books on my Spring TBR
Wednesday: Agatha Christie: The Next 4 Review
Thursday: Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin - Review
Friday: Friday Linkups with my current book
Saturday: Serbian Cookbook Review

Have a great week and happy reading!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

The James Beard Cookbook - Review

The James Beard Cookbook

James Beard is one of those names in cooking that I'm so familiar with but know nothing about the person or even the food behind it.  I'm familiar with the award and can say with appropriate reverence that this guy won a James Beard or that Marcus Samuelsson has several James Beard awards.  I also know that Anthony Bourdain isn't particularly fond of the James Beard House after listening to that chapter in his book Medium Raw.  And that about sums up my knowledge.
So I was really excited when I saw that Open Road was republishing several of Beard's cookbooks and decided to give The James Beard Cookbook a try.

I'm not normally a fan of those giant encyclopedia cookbooks.  I had The Joy of Cooking on my shelf for years before I finally got rid of it when I realized I had opened it precisely twice and never cooked from it.  To me this book didn't have the same feel.  While it's definitely a resource the tone of the writing had a personal feel and there weren't thousands of recipes.  There'd be a basic recipe for pork chops with explanation as to why you're doing what you're doing.  Then paired with that basic recipe would be suggestions of sides and several variations so that you can customize to your personal tastes.  The ingredients were all easy to find and all the recipes hinge on good fresh ingredients and solid technique versus something fancy and over the top.

While flipping through the cookbook I decided the recipe I was going to test was chocolate chip cookies.  My family is really boring when it comes to dessert and chocolate chip cookies are about the only thing they'll eat.  I've made at least a dozen different types of chocolate chip cookies and Beard's recipe was different than any I've tried before.  For starters it didn't use any baking soda - only baking powder.  There was only 1 egg and it called for 3 tablespoons of milk.  I must admit I was doubtful.  So once everything was put together I tasted the dough and these cookies almost didn't get made.  Oh my it was tasty.  But I pulled myself together, took a deep breath and made myself make the cookies.

And I apologize for ever doubting James Beard.  These cookies are delicious!  They're a little different than most chocolate chip cookies.  They're sweeter and lighter and fluffier and I could eat them by the gallon.  Since this is a review book I'm not copying the recipe but I did find it on Cookbook Archaelogy.  I left out the nuts because my family is weird but these would be great with walnuts or pecans.

The only thing I didn't like about this book is that the chicken recipes all involved whole chickens.  I'm from the boneless skinless chicken breast generations and whole chickens scare me.  However, there were so many really yummy sounding recipes that this wasn't a big deal.  I can't wait to make the meatloaf and several others from this book!

Whether you're a beginner or accomplished cook I think The James Beard Cookbook would be a great addition to your cookbook library.  I'll definitely be buying a copy in print for my own collection.

I'm linking up with Weekend Cooking hosted by Beth Fish Reads

Friday, March 13, 2015

Friday Linkups: Shadow Spell

It's Friday linkup time!  I'm linking up with the Book Blogger Hop hosted by Coffee Addicted Writer, Book Beginnings of Fridays hosted by Rose City Reader, and the Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice.

This Week's Book Blogger Hop Question:
What is more important to you when you are deciding to read a book?'

My Answer:
While I love a pretty cover and a good title will make me give a book a second look what really makes me want to read the book is the blurb.  If that doesn't grab me than the other 2 don't matter.  The only exception is when it's an author whose work I love.  Then all it takes it the author's name on the cover.

Nora Roberts is one of those authors.  I've read everything she's written and some are really bad (I'm still trying to get some of her books from the 80s) but most of the time they're the ultimate in comfort reading.  When I read the first in this series I was a bit underwhelmed so I was a little hesitant to start the second.  But I'm loving it!  Plus it takes place in Ireland and there's not much that will make me pass up an Irish setting.

"Autumn 1268
Mists spiraled up from the water like breath as Eamon rowed the little boat.  The sun shed pale, cool light as it woke from the night's rest and set morning birds to their chorus.  He heard the cock crow, so arrogant and important, and the bleating of sheep as they cropped their way across the green fields."

My thoughts: 
The book starts on a flashback as most of the book happens in present day.  We didn't get to know much about the original brother in the first book so I'm glad to see a little more of him now.  Having a little boy myself make this part a little heart wrenching.

From Page 56: 
"A fine thing it was to give someone the lingering glow of memories.  Connor did his best to do the same with his final client of the day - but nothing would quite reach the heights of Taylor and his da from America."

My thoughts:
I'm a bit past this part but I liked the quote.  In the first book Connor comes off as a good guy but a little shallow.  The first part of this book kind of fleshes out his character so that we understand him better.

So what do you think?  Keep reading?  And what makes a book make it off your TBR and actually onto the Currently Reading?