Tuesday, August 27, 2013

AUTHOR ANNA CAMPBELL--ravishing Regency romance--rich in historical detail--passionate and poignant



What a Duke Dares (Sons of Sin, #3) 


 
 

A REPUTATION AT RISK

 

What woman in her right mind would say no to marrying the dashing Duke of Sedgemoor? Miss Penelope Thorne, that's who. She's known Camden Rothermere since they were children-and she also knows she'd bring nothing but scandal to his name.

 

Cam can hardly believe Penelope turned down his proposal. But if she wants to run off to the Continent and set the rumor mill ablaze, he can't stop her. Then her brother's dying request sends him to bring home the one woman he thought he'd finally gotten over.

 

The only way they'll both get back to London without their reputations in tatters is to pretend they're married during the journey. That means kissing like they mean it and even sharing a bed-until it becomes hard to tell where the game ends and true desire begins . . . 



MY REVIEW:   "What a Duke Dares" is Book Three in the sensational "Sons of Sin" series from author Anna Campbell. The duke is question is Camden Rothermere, Duke of Sedgemoor. In his youth, Cam was the Marquess of Pembridge, whose questionable paternity haunted the family name--his mother's affair with his "father's" brother made either man his likely sire. His mother was great friends with the mother of the Thorne clan, and Cam was especially close to Peter Thorne and his sister Penelope, known as "Pen". When Cam came of age, the only girl he was inclined to marry was Pen--not for love--he didn't believe in love--but for practical purposes and familial expectations. Pen, whose own family had its share of scandals, didn't share Cam's views on marriage, and to his utter disbelief, she turned down his proposal. Almost a decade later, their paths will cross again. On his deathbed, Pen's brother Peter makes Cam promise to retrieve Pen from Europe and return her to their home and family. Neither Pen nor Cam has ever married, and the relationship which grew from childhood friends to young adult acquaintances begins to show an added element of heated sparks. Is it possible that what began so long ago has now come full circle and will no longer be denied? Pen has always loved Cam--loved him so much that she couldn't marry him when she knew his own lack of love would be unbearable when combined with the societal disapproval carried by both families. Cam has seen Pen bloom and grow from a slender, long-legged girl tagging along with him and her brother to a pretty young woman who had the audacity to refuse his offer of marriage. How can he now convince this exquisite grown woman that their futures belong with each other? It won't be easy, but when a duke dares what he dares...anything is possible! A wonderfully involving romance, made all the more readable by appealing and compelling characterizations. A delight for lovers of historical romance from the awesome Anna Campbell.

 

Review Copy Gratis Grand Central Publishing
 


A Rake's Midnight Kiss (Sons of Sin, #2)
IT TAKES A LADY

Brilliant scholar Genevieve Barrett's secret identity as the author of her father's articles is her greatest deception-until her father's handsome new student arrives on their doorstep. Genevieve recognizes him as the masked intruder who earlier tried to steal a priceless gem from their home. Keeping the seductive stranger's identity hidden is a risk, but she's got secrets of her own to keep.
TO CATCH A THIEF

Sir Richard Harmsworth fakes a rakish facade to show society that he doesn't care about his bastard status. Yet haunted by his unknown father's identity, Richard believes the Harmsworth Jewel will prove he's the rightful heir. Intent on seducing the stone away from its owner, Richard finds himself face-to-face with a beauty more breathtaking than any jewel. But even as she steals Richard's heart, Genevieve will be in greater danger than her coveted treasure . . .
MY REVIEW:
Author Anna Campbell continues her emotionally compelling "Sons of Sin" series with Book Two, "A Rake's Midnight Kiss". Sir Richard Harmsworth learned long ago to present a pleasant facade in order to endure the poisonous barbs from society's sharpest tongues. Called a bastard from his mother's supposed dalliance while his father was away on a diplomatic mission, Richard had nonetheless inherited the title of baronet. It came without respect, however, and Richard had determined that recovering the lost family heirloom, The Harmsworth Jewel, would give him a credulity that society could not deny. After determining the possible hiding place of the jewel, he verifies its location by breaking into the owner's home. Met by a blonde beauty brandishing a gun, Richard makes his escape after a delightful tangle of words with the gorgeous lady. As bright as she is beautiful, Genevieve Barrett is the daughter of a scholarly vicar who takes credit for the articles his daughter writes. A brainy bookworm with little worldly experience, Genevieve is stirred by the confrontation with the masked stranger, and the tantalizing scent of his cologne lingers in her memory. Shortly after their encounter, a new student arrives at the vicarage, expressing the intent of studying her father's work. Mr. Christopher Evans is charming, clever, and intent upon disturbing Genevieve's equilibrium. Something about the man unsettles her, but she must not let herself be distracted from her goal of establishing her own academic reputation. When she realizes that Christopher is the man who broke into the vicarage, she keeps the awareness to herself. She has yet to learn the reason for his criminal intentions, and she is also taken aback by her own very personal reactions to this all-too-attractive pretender. Richard's guise as Christopher Evans brings him closer to obtaining the Harmsworth Jewel than he's ever been, but after Genevieve steals his own heart, what does he really want in life? In spite of herself, Genevieve is captured by Christopher's warmth, wit, and wanton flirtation. Could there be more happiness and fulfillment in her future than she ever imagined? When all secrets are revealed will love be the greatest truth of all? Written with Anna Campbell's trademark passion and poignancy, and enlivened with delicious banter and intriguing story line turns, "A Rake's Midnight Kiss" is highly recommended for lovers of ravishing romance.
Review Copy Gratis Grand Central Publishing
Days of Rakes and Roses (Sons of Sin, #1.5)

A SONS OF SIN novella from bestselling and award winning author, Anna Campbell.


Lady Lydia Rothermere has spent the past decade trying to make up for a single, youthful moment of passion. Now the image of propriety, Lydia knows her future rests on never straying outside society's rigid rules, but hiding away the desire that runs through her is harder than she could have ever dreamed. And as she prepares for a marriage that will suit her family, but not her heart, Lydia must decide what's more important: propriety or passion?


Simon Metcalf is a rake and adventurer. But for all his experience, nothing can compare to the kiss he stole from the captivating Lydia Rothermere ten years ago. Simon can scarcely believe he's about to lose the one woman he's never forgotten. The attraction between them is irresistible, yet Lydia refuses to forsake her engagement. With his heart on the line, will Simon prove that love is a risk worth taking?
Seven Nights in a Rogue's Bed (Sons of Sin, #1)
WILL A WEEK OF SEDUCTION . . .


Desperate to save her sister's life, Sidonie Forsythe has agreed to submit herself to a terrible fate: Beyond the foreboding walls of Castle Craven, a notorious, hideously scarred scoundrel will take her virtue over the course of seven sinful nights. Yet instead of a monster, she encounters a man like no other. And during this week, she comes to care for Jonas Merrick in ways that defy all logic-even as a dark secret she carries threatens them both.

. . . SPARK A LIFETIME OF PASSIONATE SURRENDER?


Ruthless loner Jonas knows exactly who he is. Should he forget, even for a moment, the curse he bears, a mere glance in the mirror serves as an agonizing reminder. So when the lovely Sidonie turns up on his doorstep, her seduction is an even more delicious prospect than he originally planned. But the hardened outcast is soon moved by her innocent beauty, sharp wit, and surprising courage. Now as dangerous enemies gather at the gate to destroy them, can their new, fragile love survive?
MY REVIEW:
Author Anna Campbell begins her "Sons of Sin" series with "Seven Nights in Rogue's Bed", and quite a beginning it is! The rogue in question is Jonas Merrick, a seemingly rich and reckless illegitimate son of the late Viscount Hillbrook. Jonas, scarred in bullying incident from his youth, hardened his heart along with his muscles and fought his way into power, becoming a broker for the idle rich. As his own fortune grew, so did his desire to ruin the man who had viciously slashed his face with a blade, leaving him forever acutely aware of his facial disfigurement. His greatest goal in life is to bring down William Merrick, Lord Hillbrook, his own cousin who inherited Jonas' father's wealth and estates as his legal heir. Seeking to ruin Hillbrook, Jonas engages in card play with Hillbrook's wife, Roberta. Of course, she is no match at cards for the determined Jonas, and his price for payment of her debt to him is for her to spend a week in his home and in his bed. However, his plan is thwarted when the woman who comes to pay the debt is not Roberta, but her sister Sidonie Forsythe. His ire at being duped is soon overcome by his fascination for the lovely and innocent Sidonie. She is not turned away by his scarred face, and she speaks her mind to him. The more time he spends with her, the more his heart begins to stir along with his desire. Sidonie discovers that Jonas is more man than beast, and she finds herself enthralled by this compelling and passionate misfit. Both Jonas and Sidonie have deep secrets, and the danger of treachery threatens to destroy their newly found relationship. Sidonie must return to her own life and see to the welfare of her sister and nephews, but will Jonas be able to let her go? Can these two hearts which now beat as one find a way to defeat their enemies and triumph in love? Anna Campbell is a master of sensual, suspenseful historical romance, and reading one of her books will never be enough. I look forward to the next two books in the "Sons of Sin" series. Highly recommended!

Review Copy Gratis Grand Central Publishing
ANNA CAMPBELL
Anna Campbell

Anna Campbell lives on the beautiful east coast of Australia. She has four times been voted Favorite Australian romance writer by the Australian Romance Readers Association (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012) and her work is published in 16 languages. She has written nine multi award-winning historical romances set in the Regency period for Avon and Grand Central Publishing Forever. Her most recent release is WHAT A DUKE DARES, book 3 in the "Sons of Sin" series. Look out for book 4, A SCOUNDREL BY MOONLIGHT, in late April 2015. Anna blogs with the Romance Bandits - www.romancebandits.com You can find out more about Anna and her books at her website: www.annacampbell.info 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AnnaCampbellFans

Monday, August 26, 2013

REMEMBERING LEGENDARY CRIME WRITER ELMORE LEONARD--books became hit films and the acclaimed TV series "JUSTIFIED"

Elmore Leonard created a character and wrote a short story which inspired FX's "Justified," the acclaimed series starring Timothy Olyphant as Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens. Leonard was inspired to write more about the no-nonsense lawman after visiting the "Justified" set.  The novel "Raylan" covers three connected stories in about 300 pages. Leonard was a big fan and an executive producer of the show, which has strived mightily to stay in line with the style and sensibility of Leonard's famous crime fiction work. "I love it," he said. "I think it's great."



Raylan (Raylan Givens, #3)

RAYLAN  by Elmore Leonard

The revered New York Times bestselling author, recognized as “America’s greatest crime writer” (Newsweek), brings back U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens, the mesmerizing hero of Pronto, Riding the Rap, and the hit FX series Justified.


With the closing of the Harlan County, Kentucky, coal mines, marijuana has become the biggest cash crop in the state. A hundred pounds of it can gross $300,000, but that’s chump change compared to the quarter million a human body can get you—especially when it’s sold off piece by piece.

So when Dickie and Coover Crowe, dope-dealing brothers known for sampling their own supply, decide to branch out into the body business, it’s up to U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens to stop them. But Raylan isn’t your average marshal; he’s the laconic, Stetson-wearing, fast-drawing lawman who juggles dozens of cases at a time and always shoots to kill. But by the time Raylan finds out who’s making the cuts, he’s lying naked in a bathtub, with Layla, the cool transplant nurse, about to go for his kidneys.


The bad guys are mostly gals this time around: Layla, the nurse who collects kidneys and sells them for ten grand a piece; Carol Conlan, a hard-charging coal-mine executive not above ordering a cohort to shoot point-blank a man who’s standing in her way; and Jackie Nevada, a beautiful sometime college student who can outplay anyone at the poker table and who suddenly finds herself being tracked by a handsome U.S. marshal.


Dark and droll, Raylan is pure Elmore Leonard—a page-turner filled with the sparkling dialogue and sly suspense that are the hallmarks of this modern master.


MY REVIEW:  


I have a "Justified" obsession. From the very first glimpse of the original TV promos for the FX TV series, "Justified", I was a goner. When I finally got to actually watch the show--have mercy!!! Timothy Olyphant fits the character of Raylan Givens the way that Raylan’s Stetson fits his head! Perfectly! I must say that Timothy looks mighty fine in that hat, and he wears the hat, it doesn’t wear him. “Justified” is just about perfect in every way–an outstanding cast and astounding writing and overall production values. Dark, gritty, and impossible to look away from! Raylan is a dedicated lawman, a deadly crack shot, and his own worst enemy. Having said all that, I must also say that before I finished the first page of "Raylan", by Elmore Leonard, I realized that I was going to have to separate my enjoyment of the series from the very different experience of reading the book. Elmore Leonard is a highly esteemed crime writer who blends quirky characters and bizarre humor with tightly-written suspense story lines. The character of Raylan Givens was first introduced in "Fire in the Hole", which was followed by "Pronto" and "Riding the Rap". Those three books have been on my wish list for some time, and I jumped (jumped really high and hurt myself) at the chance to read and review "Raylan". The book's title lead me to believe that the focus would be more in-depth on the character of Raylan. While there where glimpses of the wry wit, savvy lawman instincts, and self-troublemaking elements that are very much a part of the character, there just isn't enough Raylan in "Raylan". However, there is a uniquely told twisted tale with enough turns to make you feel like you are riding on the back roads of a Kentucky hollow. Watch out for those "pot"-holes! Also, don't mess with Granny! For me one of the most praiseworthy aspects of Elmore Leonard's writing is that anyone can be bodaciously bad. Age and gender don't matter--anyone can be "bad to the bone". Whoo hoo! What a hoot! No wonder I'm obsessed. Thank you, Mr. Leonard!


Review Copy Gratis Amazon Vine
 
 
 
 
Pronto (Raylan Givens, #1)
 
 
 
The feds want Miami bookmaker Harry Arno to squeal on his wiseguy boss. So they're putting word out on the street that Arno's skimming profits from "Jimmy Cap" Capotorto—which he is, but everybody does it. He was planning to retire to Italy someday anyway, so Harry figures now's a good time to get lost. U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens knows Harry's tricky—the bookie ditched him once in an airport while in the marshal's custody—but not careful. So Raylan's determined to find the fugitive's Italian hideaway before a cold-blooded Sicilian "Zip" does and whacks Arno for fun. After all, it's a "pride thing"...and it might even put Raylan in good stead with Harry's sexy ex-stripper girlfriend Joyce.
 
 
 
 
 
Riding the Rap (Raylan Givens, #2)
 
 
 
 
 
Now that his mom's gravy train has derailed, gambling, debt-ridden Palm Beach playboy Warren "Chip" Ganz has decided to take somebody rich hostage—with the help of a Bahamian ex-con, a psycho gardener/enforcer, and the beautiful, if underfed, psychic Reverend Dawn. The trouble is they choose bookmaker Harry Arno as their victim, and Harry can scam with the best. The BIG trouble is ace manhunter U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens is sleeping with Harry's ex-exotic dancer ex-girlfriend, and Joyce wants Harry found. And since nearly everyone has guns, locating and springing the captive bookie most probably can't happen without some measure of lethal difficulty.
 
 
 
 
Fire in the Hole: Stories
 
 
 
 
In this superb short fiction collection, Elmore Leonard, “the greatest crime writer of our time, perhaps ever” (New York Times Book Review), once again illustrates how the line between the law and the lawbreakers is not as firm as we might think. In the title story, the basis for the hit FX series Justified, U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens meets up with an old friend, but they’re now on different sides of the law. Federal marshal Karen Sisco, from Out of Sight, returns in “Karen Makes Out,” once again inadvertently mixing pleasure with business. In “When the Women Come Out to Dance,” Mrs. Mahmood gets more than she bargains for when she conspires with her maid to end her unhappy marriage.

These nine stories are the great Elmore Leonard at his vivid, hilarious, and unfailingly human best.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

AUTHOR JANICE CANTORE--former police officer adds authentic details to inspiring and suspenseful crime fiction


 
Critical Pursuit
 
 
 
Officer Brinna Caruso has built a reputation at the precinct as the cop to call when a child goes missing. For Brinna, it's personal because she was once one of them. Brinna and her K-9 search and rescue dog, Hero, will stop at nothing to find a missing child, no matter the stakes, Detective Jack O'Reilly isn't ready to return to his homicide duties, after losing his wife to a drunk driver. He's on the downside of his career, and bent on revenge, when he's assigned as Brinna's partner. While on patrol, Jack struggles between his quest for personal justice and his responsibility to those around him, especially his partner. Skeptical of Jack's motives, Brinna isn't sure she can rely on her new partner, whose reckless abandon endangers the safety of those around him. But when a man surfaces with an MO similar to the criminal who abducted Brinna twenty years earlier, Brinna and Jack must cast aside previous judgments and combine efforts to catch the kidnapper, and finally allow Brinna the peace stolen from her as a child.
 
 
 
MY REVIEW:
 
 
 
If you enjoy police procedurals with strong female leads, then you will enjoy the well-paced story line of "Critical Pursuit" from author Janice Cantore. Brinna Caruso was abducted as a young girl. Molested, and left to die in the desert, her nightmarish experience and subsequent rescue led her to a career in law enforcement. While her regular assigned duty is that of a patrol officer, she frequently assists in the search and retrieval of lost or kidnapped children. Her partner is her service dog, Hero. When Brinna comes under scrutiny for an officer-involved shooting in which she killed a young man in self-defense, her K-9 duties are temporarily sidelined. She is assigned a new partner, experienced officer Jack O'Reilly. Once respected as a "top cop", Jack has suffered an emotional and spiritual downslide since his wife and unborn child were killed by a drunk driver almost a year ago. He is half-alive, often wishes he was dead, and questions why God would take the life of his wife and child and let the drunk driver who killed them escape with his own life intact. His strongest motivation for staying alive is not his law enforcement career and sense of duty, but the revenge which sears his soul. Brinna lost her faith when she was raped and left for dead in the desert. Even though she is surrounded by well-meaning people of faith, including her own mother, Brinna cannot reconcile the existence of God with the horror she herself experienced and also witnesses in the lives of the young children she has sworn to save. At first, she finds Jack to be strange and melancholy, living up to the stories she has heard that he is "burnt out" and mentally unstable. Brinna and Jack admit to each other that neither of them wanted the other as a partner, but because of their professional dedication, they agree to carry on with their temporary partnership. Eventually, they form a tentative friendship, and respect grows as they spend time together on the job. The man who kidnapped and violated Brinna has long been thought dead, but now cases similar to his method of operation are surfacing once again. As Brinna and Jack work together to locate the monster and bring him to justice, they are also their own questions of faith. They each have issues in their past which they must face and then let go, but will they be able to move past their grief and fears? Is the criminal they seek the man who abducted Brinna, or is he a new threat? If Brinna and Jack replace their doubts with faith, and their fears with hope, what will their futures hold? Look for the follow up book, "Visible Threat", in which Brinna Caruso and Jack O'Reilly are partnered once again.

Review Copy Gratis Tyndale House Publishers
 
 
 
JANICE CANTORE
 
 
Janice Cantore
 
 
 
A former Long Beach, California, police officer of twenty-two years, Janice Cantore worked a variety of assignments, including patrol, administration, juvenile investigations, and training. She’s always enjoyed writing and published two short articles on faith at work for Cop and Christ and Today’s Christian Woman before tackling novels. A few years ago, she retired to a house in the mountains of Southern California, where she lives with three Labrador retrievers, Jake, Maggie, and Abbie. Janice writes suspense novels designed to keep readers engrossed and leave them inspired. Accused is the first book in the Pacific Coast Justice series, featuring Carly Edwards. Janice also authored the Brinna’s Heart series, which includes The Kevlar Heart and A Heart of Justice. Visit Janice’s website at www.janicecantore.com and connect with her on Facebook.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Book Review: "The Good House" by author Ann Leary--will have you rooting for a perfectly imperfect heroine to find her way out of the bottle and sail toward a clear horizon


The Good House



Ann Leary's The Good House tells the story of Hildy Good, who lives in a small town on Boston’s North Shore. Hildy is a successful real-estate broker, good neighbor, mother, and grandmother. She’s also a raging alcoholic. Hildy’s family held an intervention for her about a year before this story takes place—“if they invite you over for dinner, and it’s not a major holiday,” she advises “run for your life” — and now she feels lonely and unjustly persecuted. She has also fooled herself into thinking that moderation is the key to her drinking problem.

As if battling her demons wasn’t enough to keep her busy, Hildy soon finds herself embroiled in the underbelly of her New England town, a craggy little place that harbors secrets. There’s a scandal, some mysticism, babies, old houses, drinking, and desire—and a love story between two craggy sixty-somethings that's as real and sexy as you get. An exceptional novel that is at turns hilarious and sobering, The Good House asks the question: What will it take to keep Hildy Good from drinking? For good.


Now a New York Times and National Bestseller!

Funny, poignant, and terrifying. A classic New England tale that lays bare the secrets of one little town, this spirited novel will stay with you long after the story has ended.

“Fresh, sharp and masterfully told. Hildy’s tale is as intoxicating as it is sobering.” —People Magazine (People Pick)

"Leary...gleefully peels back the pretensions that so often accompany portraits of ye olde Americana." —USA Today

"By the end you'll be flipping pages, trying desperately to piece together what happened as much as the narrator is doing herself." —Jodi Picoult

“One of the best works of Massachusetts fiction in recent memory.” —Boston Magazine

"So alive, I swear the pages of this wickedly funny and moving novel are breathing." —Caroline Leavitt

"I opened The Good House and was instantly sucked in; I read the whole thing in one sitting and was sorry when it ended." —Kate Christensen

"Hildy is an original, irresistibly likable and thoroughly untrustworthy…a genuinely funny novel about alcoholism." —Kirkus, starred review

"Sure to please fans of women’s fiction featuring women of a certain age such as the novels of Jeanne Ray and Elizabeth Berg." —Library Journal

 
MY REVIEW:

Ann Leary, the author of "The Good House", is spot-on in her description of alcoholism and its effects on the drinker and those around them. If you have ever loved an alcoholic, or ever known one as a friend or coworker, then you will recognize much truth in the author's storytelling. Even more striking for me, I actually have "known" the characters in this book, except that my people live in a small town in the mountains of VA, not a small seaside community on the coast of MA. The narrator of "The Good House" is Hildy Good, a top-notch realtor entering her sixties with a drinking problem intertwined with the requisite personal issues accumulated through decades of denial. After a stint in rehab, Hildy feels she has a grip on her problem--she just needs to control her alcohol consumption, not give it up. When a beautiful young woman, Rebecca, and her family move to Hildy's community, Hildy finds an unexpected friend. Hildy can trace her ancestry back to the Massachusetts of the 1600s, where one of her ancestors was tried and hanged as a witch. Hildy can "read" people due to her astute powers of observation and her many years of dealing with the public and their idiosyncrasies. She lets people think that she can read minds because it amuses her and suits her purposes. She just can't get her own mind to accept the fact that she must give up alcohol, and in true alcoholic tradition, she blurs reality in her thoughts to excuse and erase her own actions. Her marriage ended because her husband was gay, and her relationships with her grown children are anything but smooth. Then there's Frank--her old flame and lifelong friend--who wants more than friendship from Hildy. When local scandals leave no one untouched, Hildy finds out just how connected she is the people in her community, and it's time for her to choose her future path. Will she force herself to face her alcohol addiction? Is there a second chance for happiness for Hildy and Frank? Author Ann Leary will have you rooting for her perfectly imperfect heroine to find her way out of the bottle and sail toward a clear horizon.

Review Copy Gratis Amazon Vine


ANN LEARY


Ann Leary


Ann Leary is the author of the memoir An Innocent, A Broad and the novels Outtakes From a Marriage and The Good House. She has written fiction and nonfiction for various magazines and is a co-host of the NPR weekly radio show Hash Hags. Ann tries to compete in equestrian sports and is a volunteer EMT. She and her husband, actor Denis Leary, and their family share their small farm in Connecticut with four dogs, three horses, two cats and a resident ghost.


Friday, August 16, 2013

TWO TEA-RIFIC TITLES--a review, a recommendation, and a recipe too

Teatime for the Firefly

TEATIME FOR THE FIREFLY  by Shona Patel 


My name is Layla and I was born under an unlucky star. For a young girl growing up in India, this is bad news. But everything began to change for me one spring day in 1943, when three unconnected incidents, like tiny droplets on a lily leaf, tipped and rolled into one. It was that tiny shift in the cosmos, I believe, that tipped us together - me and Manik Deb.
Layla Roy has defied the fates. Despite being born under an inauspicious horoscope, she is raised to be educated and independent by her eccentric grandfather, Dadamoshai. And, by cleverly manipulating the hand fortune has dealt her, she has even found love with Manik Deb - a man betrothed to another. All were minor miracles in India that spring of 1943, when young women's lives were predetermined - if not by the stars, then by centuries of family tradition and social order.

Layla's life as a newly married woman takes her away from home and into the jungles of Assam, where the world's finest tea thrives on plantations run by native labor and British efficiency. Fascinated by this culture of whiskey-soaked expats who seem fazed by neither earthquakes nor man-eating leopards, she struggles to find her place among the prickly English wives with whom she is expected to socialize, and the peculiar servants she now finds under her charge.

But navigating the tea-garden set will hardly be her biggest challenge. Layla's remote home is not safe from the powerful changes sweeping India on the heels of the Second World War. Their colonial society is at a tipping point, and Layla and Manik find themselves caught in a perilous racial divide that threatens their very lives.

 
    
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TAKING TIME FOR TEA  by Dina Rosen


Well-known tea author Diana Rosen shares her fabulous menus, recipes, and suggestions for relaxing and celebrating common-life experiences over a cup of tea specially selected to fit the occasion. Celebrations include a private moment of early morning tea, a large group gathering to celebrate a graduation, and an airport tea send-off for family members. Well-known tea author Diana Rosen shares her fabulous menus, recipes, and suggestions for relaxing and celebrating common-life experiences.


MY REVIEW:


A deceptively slim little volume, "Taking Time for Tea", by Diana Rosen, is actually brimming over with delightful tea tidbits and tasty treats. Ms. Rosen's tea expertise and love of subject are blended with insights into the production of tea and gentle reminders to be as good to yourself as you are to others. There are also a number of suggestions for themed tea parties. My favorite was "Irish Breakfast on a Rainy Morning"--an Autumn morning with the sound of the rain beating on a cottage roof. A mug of hearty black tea, sweetened with milk and a little sugar, is accompanied by warm, freshly-baked soda bread, butter, and marmalade. The recipe for the "Irish Breakfast Soda Bread" sounds wonderful, and I mean to try it very soon! Prepare yourself a tray loaded with a pot of your favorite tea, delicious little sandwiches, cookies and other nibbles, and settle in to read this beautifully produced and very enjoyable book.

Review Copy Gratis Storey Publishing


DIANA ROSEN

Image of Diana Rosen


As a passionate enthusiast of fine specialty tea, I've explored its history, customs, and charms in several books, amplified by two trips to India. Next on the agenda, Japan and China!

In the meantime, I write! Of my 13 books (so far) six involve tea, and other topics include coffee (yes, I'm bi-beverage), ice cream, Social Security, Incense and with the delightful Deborah Felder, 50 Jewish Women Who Changed the World (but enough about me.) I'm a facilitor for freewrite classes, coach and editor for other writers, and contribute prolifically to various web sites on food, beverage, and lifestyle topics.

I play mah jongg at the slightest invitation, and host locals and tourists at the incredible historic landmark, the Los Angeles Central Library, as a docent. Whenever you visit LA, come see us! www.lapl.org

In between time, as a lover of my adopted hometown, Los Angeles, I enjoy all its cultural icons: movies, theatre, museums, Art Deco and Beaux Arts architecture, and an occasional premiere or two.


***************************************

A recipe from me to you...


AUNT GRANNY'S TEA CAKES

1 cup butter (no substitutes), softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract**
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

powdered sugar for topping


In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine flour, baking powder and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture (the dough will be soft). Drop by teaspoonfuls 2 in. apart onto greased baking sheets. Bake at 375 degrees F for 7-8 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. Remove to wire racks to cool. Place on a serving plate and sprinkle lightly with powdered sugar.


**can use other flavor extracts like lemon, orange, rum, etc

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Book Review: THE ORCHARDIST: A NOVEL by Amanda Coplin--exquisitely-wrought story line and unforgettable characterizations will leave an indelible imprint

       

The Orchardist
Set in the untamed American West, a highly original and haunting debut novel about a makeshift family whose dramatic lives are shaped by violence, love, and an indelible connection to the land.

"The Orchardist is like one of its characters: 'an egg encased in iron'-an elemental story filled with the perfection of the natural world. Nearly everybody in the book compels your admiration, either for their courage or for the heavy work they do, all the time and without complaint, even when wicked men are hunting them. Transfixing. I love this book straight through."-Salvatore Scibona, author of National Book Award Finalist "The End"


You belong to the earth, and the earth is hard.


At the turn of the twentieth century, in a rural stretch of the Pacific Northwest in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains, a solitary orchardist named Talmadge carefully tends the grove of fruit trees he has cultivated for nearly half a century. A gentle, solitary man, he finds solace and purpose in the sweetness of the apples, apricots, and plums he grows, and in the quiet, beating heart of the land-the valley of yellow grass bordering a deep canyon that has been his home since he was nine years old. Everything he is and has known is tied to this patch of earth. It is where his widowed mother is buried, taken by illness when he was just thirteen, and where his only companion, his beloved teenaged sister Elsbeth, mysteriously disappeared. It is where the horse wranglers-native men, mostly Nez Perce-pass through each spring with their wild herds, setting up camp in the flowering meadows between the trees.


One day, while in town to sell his fruit at the market, two girls, barefoot and dirty, steal some apples. Later, they appear on his homestead, cautious yet curious about the man who gave them no chase. Feral, scared, and very pregnant, Jane and her sister Della take up on Talmadage's land and indulge in his deep reservoir of compassion. Yet just as the girls begin to trust him, brutal men with guns arrive in the orchard, and the shattering tragedy that follows sets Talmadge on an irrevocable course not only to save and protect them, putting himself between the girls and the world, but to reconcile the ghosts of his own troubled past.


Writing with breathtaking precision and empathy, Amanda Coplin has crafted an astonishing debut novel about a man who disrupts the lonely harmony of an ordered life when he opens his heart and lets the world in. Transcribing America as it once was before railways and roads connected its corners, she weaves a tapestry of solitary souls who come together in the wake of unspeakable cruelty and misfortune, bound by their search to discover the place they belong. At once intimate and epic, evocative and atmospheric, filled with haunting characters both vivid and true to life, and told in a distinctive narrative voice, The Orchardist marks the beginning of a stellar literary career.

MY REVIEW:

On the very first page of "The Orchardist", Amanda Coplin stole a piece of my heart with her description of Talmadge, the title character of her debut work. I could see him immediately, and his image accompanied me throughout the story line. He became someone I knew. The author's exquisitely-wrought story line and unforgettable characterizations will leave an indelible imprint with this riveting tale of the Pacific Northwest. Set in time as the nineteenth century moves forward into a rapidly changing new world, the orchards themselves are timeless, repeating their cycle of rest and reproduction over and over again. Talmadge leads a mostly solitary existence, tending the fruit of his orchard and keeping his memories close to his heart. The land is his constant companion, holding the final resting place of his mother and the secrets of his sister Elsbeth's disappearance as a young girl. Talmadge watches the years come and go, harvesting his apples, apricots and plums, the peacefulness of his days enlivened with the annual arrival of horse wranglers who camp nearby each Spring. He sells his harvest in town, has few friends, and takes quiet comfort in the safety of his routine. One trip to the market proves to be life-changing when two half-wild pregnant girls steal some of Talmadge's fruit. He lets them run, not offering pursuit, and they later seek him out at his homeplace. They find shelter there, with the quiet, homely man and his beautiful, bountiful trees, and all of their lives are forever changed. However, a devastating threat to their happiness comes in the form of violent men who set in motion a tragedy that propels Talmadge into a harsh reality. When Talmadge opens his heart to two young women in need, he opens himself up to a world of trouble, but this odd, gentle man is quite a man indeed. You will think of "The Orchardist" often after you read his tale, and many of you will wish that there was a Talmadge in your own life. A highly recommended read. I look forward to more great reading from talented author Amanda Coplin.

Review Copy Gratis Amazon Vine


AMANDA COPLIN


Amanda Coplin


A native of Washington State, Amanda Coplin has been a Fellow at The Fine Arts Work Centre in Provincetown, Massachusetts, as well as Ledig House International Writers' Residency Program in Ghent, New York. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


Visiting Tom:  A Man, a Highway, and the Road to Roughneck Grace
VISITING TOM  by Michael Perry  


What can we learn about life, love, and artillery from an eighty-two-year-old man whose favorite hobby is firing his homemade cannons? Visit by visit—often with his young daughters in tow—author Michael Perry is about to find out.




Toiling in a shop Perry describes as "an antique store stocked by Rube Goldberg, curated by Hunter Thompson, and rearranged by a small earthquake," Tom Hartwig makes gag shovel handles, parts for quarter-million-dollar farm equipment, and—now and then—batches of potentially "extralegal" explosives. As he approaches his sixtieth wedding anniversary with his wife, Arlene, Tom, famous for driving a team of oxen in local parades, has an endless reservoir of stories dating back to days of his prize Model A, and an anti-authoritarian streak refreshed daily by the four-lane interstate that was shoved through his front yard in 1965 and now dumps over 8 million vehicles past his kitchen window every year. And yet Visiting Tom is dominated by the elderly man's equanimity and ultimately—when he and Perry converse over the kitchen table as husbands and as the fathers of daughters—unvarnished tenderness. 


MY REVIEW: 


As much as I enjoy reading fiction, every once in a while a true story will come along that is better than fiction. Such is the case with "Visiting Tom: A Man, a Highway, and the Road to Roughneck Grace" from author Michael Perry. "Visiting Tom" is a real slice of American Pie, a tart cherry pie topped with farm-fresh sweet whipped cream. Tom Hartwig and his wife of six decades, Arlene, still live in the Wisconsin farmhouse in which Tom was born. In their eighties, they are as full of spirit as they are stories, and by now, they are two halves of one person. Tom is a natural-born mechanical genius and a builder of cannons and maker of black powder to fire his homemade artillery. Visitors to the Hartwig farm are greeted by the sight of a fully functional cannon, a fact which intimidates the likes of traveling salesman and other uninvited guests. The Hartwig farm is split by a government-enforced four-lane highway, an ever-present intrusion upon daily life which the Hartwig's have endured with admirable perseverance. The author writes with humor, heart, and wryly astute observation. The affection between Perry and the Hartwigs is obvious, and while the men are quite different, they share a great bond. Observations on wives and children, the land, the government, and life in general are funny, touching, and simply profound. There are a few photos in the book, and I would have loved to see quite a few more--each picture is a story in itself. Author Michael Perry also writes articles and essays, performs as a humorist and radio host, and tours with his band, "The Long Beds".

Review Copy Gratis Amazon Vine   


MICHAEL PERRY


Image of Michael Perry  

Michael Perry is a New York Times bestselling author, humorist and radio show host from New Auburn, Wisconsin.

Perry’s bestselling memoirs include Population 485, Truck: A Love Story, Coop, and Visiting Tom. Raised on a small Midwestern dairy farm, Perry put himself through nursing school while working on a ranch in Wyoming, then wound up writing by happy accident. He lives with his wife and two daughters in rural Wisconsin, where he serves on the local volunteer fire and rescue service and is an amateur pig farmer. He hosts the nationally-syndicated “Tent Show Radio,” performs widely as a humorist, and tours with his band the Long Beds (currently recording their third album for Amble Down Records). He has recorded three live humor albums. Michael Perry is a New York Times bestselling author, humorist and radio show host from New Auburn, Wisconsin.

Perry’s bestselling memoirs include Population 485, Truck: A Love Story, Coop, and Visiting Tom. Raised on a small Midwestern dairy farm, Perry put himself through nursing school while working on a ranch in Wyoming, then wound up writing by happy accident. He lives with his wife and two daughters in rural Wisconsin, where he serves on the local volunteer fire and rescue service and is an amateur pig farmer. He hosts the nationally-syndicated “Tent Show Radio,” performs widely as a humorist, and tours with his band the Long Beds (currently recording their third album for Amble Down Records). He has recorded three live humor albums including Never Stand Behind A Sneezing Cow and The Clodhopper Monologues, is currently finishing his first young adult novel, and can be found online at www.sneezingcow.com.

Perry’s essays and nonfiction have appeared in numerous publications including The New York Times Magazine, Esquire, Backpacker, Outside, Runner’s World, Salon.com, and he is a contributing editor to Men’s Health magazine. His writing assignments have taken him to the top of Mt. Rainier with Iraq War veterans, into the same room as the frozen head of Ted Williams, across the United States with truckers and country music singers, and—once—buck naked into a spray-tan booth.

In the essay collection Off Main Street, Perry wrote of how his nursing education prepared him to become a writer by training him in human assessment, and he credits singer-songwriters like Steve Earle and John Prine with helping him understand that art need not wear fancy clothes. Above all, he gives credit to his parents, of whom he says, “Anything good is because of them, everything else is simply not their fault.” His mother taught him to read and filled the house with books; his father taught him how to clean calf pens, of which Perry has written, “a childhood spent slinging manure – the metaphorical basis for a writing career.”

Perry has recently been involved in several musical collaborations, including as lyricist for Grammy-nominated jazz pianist Geoffrey Keezer, and as co-writer (with Bon Iver frontman Justin Vernon) of the liner notes for the John Prine tribute album “Broken Hearts & Dirty Windows.” Perry also collaborated with Vernon and Flaming Lips lead singer Wayne Coyne on a project that began when Vernon approached Perry and said, “Say, you’re a nurse…” The results were bloody, but then that was the point.

Of all his experiences, Perry says the single most meaningful thing he has ever done is serving 12 years beside his neighbors on the New Auburn Area Fire Department.

Mike says:

"If I had to sum up my ‘career’ in one word, it would be gratitude. I get to write and tell stories all around the country, then come home to be with my family and hang out at the local feed mill complaining about the price of feeder hogs. It’s a good life and I’m lucky to have it."
http://www.sneezingcow.com

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Book Review: MARGARET FROM MAINE by Joseph Monninger--compelling and touching romance with characters for whom you root for to find a happy ending

Book Review: MARGARET FROM MAINE by Joseph Monninger--compelling and touching romance with characters for whom you root for to find a happy ending
 
 
Margaret from Maine: A Novel
 
 
 
 
Brought together by war, separated by duty, a love story for the ages

Margaret Kennedy lives on a dairy farm in rural Maine. Her husband Thomas—injured in a war overseas—will never be the man he was. When the President signs a bill in support of wounded veterans, Margaret is invited to the nation’s capital. Charlie King, a handsome Foreign Service officer, volunteers to escort her. As the rhododendron blossoms along the Blue Ridge Highway, the unlikely pair fall in love—but Margaret cannot ignore the tug of her marriage vows.

Joseph Monninger’s Margaret from Maine is a page-turning romance that poignantly explores the dilemmas faced by those who serve our country—and the men and women who love them.
 
 
MY REVIEW:
 
 
As I began to read "Margaret from Maine", by author Joseph Monninger, the fluidity of the story line and the immediacy of the characters quickly drew me in. Before I knew it, I had finished the book, but I didn't feel finished with the characters--I wanted to read more. I wanted to know what the future held for these people whose loneliness led them to each other. Margaret Kennedy's husband, Tom, was considered a war hero. His personal sacrifice to save a comrade had left him in a vegetative state. His body lived, but the spirit of the man had long ago left his physical shell. We meet Tom in the first chapter of the book, and experience the horrible moment which changed the lives of all the Kennedys forever. Tom never got to know his young son, Gordon, and Margaret took over the running of their dairy farm with the assistance of Tom's father, Ben. Six years after Tom was wounded, Margaret receives an invitation to attend the Washington, DC signing of a bill to improve care for comatose veterans. Margaret would be escorted to DC by Charlie King, a member of the diplomatic core with whom she had conversed by phone. Charlie is himself a veteran, assigned to desk duty after losing part of one leg due to a battle wound. When Charlie and Margaret meet, there is an immediate and intense attraction of both body and soul. The trip to DC becomes an extended romantic interlude, one that is unexpected and irresistible despite the undercurrent of conflict. Margaret never expected to be with any man other than her husband, but Charlie is warm and courtly, and his attention to her is like sustenance for her too-long-deprived female sensibilities. Charlie is smitten, and he knows it. Margaret is the woman he has waited for his entire life, but how to make her see it? Two good people, who have lived dutiful lives, now have a chance for true love and happiness, or do they? Charlie is about to leave the States for a diplomatic post in Africa. Margaret has the huge responsibility of caring for her family and overseeing the running of the dairy farm. She's still married to a man who has been spiritually dead for six years, and as long as his body still breathes in the care facility, she is bound to him as his wife. Will the love between Charlie and Margaret be lost, or will their fates somehow become intertwined? Joseph Monninger has created a compelling and touching romance with characters for whom you root for to find a happy ending. Happiness comes and goes sometimes in unexpected, random surges, but we must all be prepared to grab that happiness and hold on when it finally comes our way.

 
Review Copy Gratis Library Thing
 
 
 
JOSEPH MONNINGER
 
 
Joseph Monninger
 
 
Joseph Monninger has published eleven novels and three non-fiction books. His work has appeared in American Heritage, Scientific American, Readers Digest, Glamour, Playboy, Story, Fiction, The Boston Globe, Sports Illustrated and Ellery Queen, among other publications. He has twice received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and has also received a fellowship from the New Hampshire Council for the Arts. His young adult novel, Baby, was awarded the 2008 award for best children’s literature from the Peace Corps Writers. It was also chosen as a top ten book by YALSA, the American Library Association. The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books awarded Hippie Chick, a young adult novel, a blue ribbon for a top book of 2008.

Joseph Monninger grew up in Westfield, New Jersey and attended Temple University on a football scholarship. He served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Upper Volta, now Burkina Faso, from 1975-77. He has been a licensed New Hampshire Fishing Guide and has fly-fished from New Zealand to Wyoming’s Wind River Range. He lives with his wife, Wendy, and his son, Justin, in a converted barn near New Hampshire’s Baker River. For several years his family competed in the New England Sled Dog sprint races and ran a small sled dog business in New Hampshire’s White Mountains. Laika and Willow, two sled dogs, live in happy retirement with them.

As a teacher at one time or another at the University of New Hampshire, the Lincoln School in Providence, Rhode Island, The American International School in Vienna, and at Plymouth State University, Joseph Monninger has spent thirty years in classrooms. During the summers he directed academic enrichment programs at Williams and Amherst Colleges. He led student groups on bicycle tours across Europe, sailed the Whitsunday Islands near the Great Barrier Reef, and worked on community service projects in Montserrat, West Indies and on the Crow Reservation in Montana. He has taken a mail boat across the southern edge of Newfoundland and, as a young man, hitch-hiked across the United States three times.

His novel, Eternal on the Water, was published by Pocketbooks in February 2010.

Monday, August 12, 2013

COOKING WITH CHEF GARFIELD--THE CELEBRATED CAT IS NOW A CELEBRITY CHEF! TWO DELIGHTFUL COOKBOOKS FROM THE CAT IN THE CHEF'S HAT!

COOKING WITH CHEF GARFIELD--THE CELEBRATED CAT IS NOW A CELEBRITY CHEF! TWO DELIGHTFUL COOKBOOKS FROM THE CAT IN THE CHEF'S HAT!
 
 
 
Garfield...Recipes with Cattitude!: Over 230 Scrumptious, Quick & Easy Recipes for Garfield's Favorite Foods...Lasagna, Pizza and Much More!
 
 
from Gooseberry Patch
 

Garfield...Recipes with Cattitude!: Over 230 Scrumptious, Quick & Easy Recipes for Garfield's Favorite Foods...Lasagna, Pizza and Much More!

 
Gooseberry Patch and Garfield the cat... it's a match made in food heaven! The first new Garfield cookbook in ten years, Garfield...Recipes with Cattitude! is packed with over 230 yummy recipes near and dear to Garfield's tummy. Gooseberry Patch fans will love this fun new twist on the quick & easy recipes they've come to expect. Garfield collectors will love Gooseberry Patch and Garfield the cat... it's a match made in food heaven! The first new Garfield cookbook in ten years, Garfield...Recipes with Cattitude! is packed with over 230 yummy recipes near and dear to Garfield's tummy. Gooseberry Patch fans will love this fun new twist on the quick & easy recipes they've come to expect. Garfield collectors will love the strips and quips by Jim Davis, while the simple recipes will entice even inexperienced cooks. Garfield...Recipes with Cattitude! delivers heaps of homestyle flavor and Garfield's humor adds tons of fun to each page. Readers will love Cheesy Scramblin' Pizza for breakfast. Happy Burgers, Baked Chili Fries and Jim's Spicy Deviled Eggs (from Davis himself!) are on the lunch menu. Spicy Honey Chicken Wings and Crispy Bacon Bread Sticks are perfect for snacking and sharing. At dinner, they'll love Bow-Tie Lasagna, Creamy Salmon Manicotti, and Meatball Pizza Pockets just as much as Garfield does. Even a bachelor like Garfield's owner, Jon Arbuckle, can make Incredibly Easy Pot Roast and Spicy Roasted Potatoes with these simple-to-follow recipes. Of course, it isn't dinner without dessert, so treat yourself to Caramel Apple Pie. Chapters include: Breakfast Is Served...Time to Get Up!; First Lunch, Then a Catnap; Snack Attack!; Lotsa Lasagna, Pasta & Pizza; It's Dinner Time...Now!; and Dinner is Over, What's for Dessert? There are plenty of Garfield gags and illustrations, plus easy cooking tips and simple substitutions... the kind of advice Gooseberry Patch fans have come to love.
 
 
MY REVIEW:
 
 
When the world's most fabulous feline foodie joins forces with a renowned cookbook publisher, expect incredible edibles! "Garfield...Recipes with Cattitude!: Over 230 Scrumptious, Quick & Easy Recipes for Garfield's Favorite Foods...Lasagna, Pizza and Much More!" is a joyous joint venture from Garfield and Gooseberry Patch. I love Garfield--he makes me laugh out loud! Whenever I would chuckle when reading the newspaper, Mama would always say: "What's Garfield done now?". The folks at Gooseberry Patch offer the most mouthwatering cookbooks you could imagine, and they really topped themselves with this terrifcally tasty collection from our favorite culinary cat--Chef Garfield. This cookbook is loaded to the max with food and fun, and there are images of Garfield and friends on every page of the book. Each page also has a helpful hint or side note. The recipes are divided into sections for breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, and of course, a special section for lasagna, pasta, and pizza. These recipes are easy to prepare, and you will easily find something to please everyone--even the pickiest of eaters. Just a sampling of the delightful dishes you will find: "Crustless Breakfast Pie"; "Lazy Cat Pancake"; "Mom's Chicken Soup for a Cold"; "Deluxe Greek Salad"; "Pull-Apart Pizza Bread"; "Salty-Sweet Crunchy Mix"; "Classic Lasagna"; "Farmers' Market Fettuccine"; "Oven-Fried Catfish", "Hushpuppies", and "Farm-Fresh Coleslaw"; "Picnic Basket Cake"; "Country Cheesecake Bars"; "Just Peachy Blueberry Crisp"; and "Double-the-Fun Fudge". There are also recipes for treats for cats and dogs. Kids of all ages will enjoy reading this cookbook, and you will find many new family favorite recipes from Garfield and Gooseberry Patch.
 
 
 
I'm in the Mood for Food: In the Kitchen with Garfield
 
 
by Jim Davis with Recipes from Barbara Albright
 
 
Over the years, Garfield the cat has struck a chord with readers who can identify with his laid-back, shall-we-say-lazy approach to life. The famous feline--whose passion for food and sleep is matched only by his aversion to diet and exercise (he prefers lie-downs to sit-ups)--has become the poster cat for all kinds of people, none of whom would ever describe themselves as "Type A's."

To celebrate being the world's favorite feline, Garfield introduces I'm in the Mood for Food: In the Kitchen with Garfield.

Chock-full of tasty recipes, the cookbook also features spot art and food-related Garfield comics in color. I'm in the Mood for Food includes chapters on Family Food, Party Food, Pasta, Outdoor Cooking, Kids' Recipes, Snacks, and Desserts. Consider some of these mouth-watering morsels: Lazy Cat's Lasagna, Color Me Hungry Red Pepper Potato Frittata, Royal Roasted Lemon-Herb Chicken and I'd Rather Be Happy Than Thin Chocolate-Chunk Cookies. All in all, I'm in the Mood for Food will appeal to cooks everywhere, especially those who love Garfield and, like him, believe that the best things in life are edible.
 
 
MY REVIEW:
 
 
I adore Garfield. He makes me laugh out loud. Garfield adores food. He is foodie extraordinaire! This tubby tabby is an expert on lasagna, laughter, and mastering his hapless master. "I'm In The Mood For Food: In The Kitchen With Garfield" offers lots of humor from Garfield and his creator Jim Davis, and dozens of wonderful recipes from Barbara Albright. This cookbook is good enough to eat, with easy-to-fix recipes that are fun food for the whole family. Don't worry about calories--you'll burn them off laughing! Try these recipes on for "Garfield size" enjoyment: "Cheesy Baked Potato Casserole"; "Tempting Tuna Steaks"; "Color Me Hungry Red Pepper Potato Frittata"; "Killer Chocolate-Peanut Butter Pie"; "Lucky Ginger Pennies"; "Macho Nachos"; "Brownie-Bottomed Ice Cream Pie"; "Life's a Party Havarti Shrimp Dip With Garlic Toasts"; "When in Doubt Pig Out Breaded Pan-Fried Pork Chops"; "Royal Roasted Lemon-Herb Chicken"; "I'd Rather Be Happy Than Thin Chocolate-Chunk Cookies"; and of course..."Lazy Cat's Lasagna".
 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Author Terry Spear's "Heart of the Jaguar" Series--paranormal romantic suspense powered by the intense sizzle of jaguar shape-shifters!



USA Today bestselling author Terry Spear has captured hearts worldwide by wrapping the realities of nature into the glorious romance of the wild. Now, she turns her award-winning imagination from the sexy werewolf hunt to the intense sizzle of jaguar shape-shifters.

Jaguar Fever (Heart of the Jaguar, #2)
Jaguar shifter Maya Anderson learns about a secret jaguar society through underground social networking sites. She wanted to discover others like her, but now she's got more trouble than she bargained for—including one hot jaguar shifter who's set his sights on her. Wade Patterson has learned that Maya is a shifter—and available. But how does he get to know her when he left such a bad first impression? When he learns Maya has gone to a watering hole for jaguar shifters to meet up, he quickly follows after, hoping she is wily enough to hold her own...

She's being pursued by everyone, in more ways than one.
Even in an exotic world of humans, jaguars, and tantalizing creatures who shift between the two, Maya Anderson stands out from the crowd. Interest from human suitors is bad enough, but when male shifters give chase, the real trouble starts.


Who's the hunter and who's the prey?
Investigating the black marketing trade of exotic animals keeps Wade Patterson more than busy. When he and Maya both get entangled in a steamy jungle mission, it becomes impossible to tell who is being hunted or who the hunters are. Wade is desperate to survive this deadly game of cat and mouse. But it's Maya's piercing eyes that keep him awake at night.



MY REVIEW:


Sleek, sensual, and spellbinding, jaguars are fearsome in their beauty. With her "Heart of the Jaguar" series, author Terry Spear unleashes the power of the predator and enhances it with the passion of the protector. In Book One, "Savage Hunger", we met Connor Anderson and his sister, Maya. Jaguar shifters, the Andersons came to the aide of Army Captain Kathleen McKnight when a mission to bring down an Amazon drug lord went horribly wrong, and Kat was abducted and tortured. Also coming to the rescue was Wade Patterson, a member of the Golden Claw JAG, a special elite force for jaguar shifters. Wade had initially been attracted to Kat, but it was Maya whom he couldn't forget. In Book Two, "Jaguar Fever", Wade and Maya are reunited when she wanders into the Houston shifter's nightclub where Wade and his twin brother David are on a mission of their own to bring down a ring of exotic animal traffickers. Having been somewhat isolated from other shifters, Maya wants to mix and mingle and see what city-cat life is all about. However, Wade wants her all to himself, and he's determined to stake his claim. Will Wade bring down the animal traffickers and capture Maya's heart as well? Maya tries to separate sentiment from sublime sensuality, but has she met her match-mate in Wade? Terry Spear is a terrific storyteller whose descriptive writing places the reader right in the heart of the jungle alongside her compelling and captivating characters.
Review Copy Gratis Author

Savage Hunger (Heart of the Jaguar, #1)
Kathleen McKnight is on a dangerous mission to help her army team take down a drug lord. She's a tough as nails recruit, but when she's caught in the crossfire, she has to rely on a mysterious man to save her. She has no idea that he has big plans for her...


Connor Anderson is a jaguar shifter who is looking for his mate. When he rescues Kathleen in the jungle-twice--he can't help but be intrigued. Will a bite or a scratch turn Kathleen into the perfect jaguar mate?


As a jaguar he is graceful and gorgeous...
Speedy and stealthy...
Fierce, independent, and wild...


As a man he is passionate and powerful...
Willful and wonderful...
And he'll stop at nothing to protect what's his...

You won't want to miss the entire "Heart of the Wolf" series from Terry Spear:



Heart of the Wolf (Book 1), Destiny of the Wolf (Book 2), To Tempt the Wolf (Book 3)
 



Legend of the White Wolf (Book 4), Seduced by the Wolf (Book 5),  Wolf Fever (Book 6)
 






Heart of the Highland Wolf (Book 7), Dreaming of the Wolf, (Book 8), A SEAL in Wolf's Clothing (Book 9)






A Howl for a Highlander (Book 10), A Highland Werewolf Wedding (Book 11), A SEAL Wolf Christmas (Book 12)




Silence of the Wolf (Book 13)

PRAISE FOR TERRY SPEAR:

"A perfect match... The chemistry between them is so sizzling it's a wonder the pages didn't start smoking." - Paranormal Kiss

"Another fun and sexy read from Terry Spear! The Queen of shifter romance has done it again... this author is one of the best in her genre... " - Night Owl Reviews

"Fun, exciting and romantic, I also enjoyed that the setting was in the Caymans, somewhere you would not expect werewolves to be found, beautiful beaches and tropical breezes. Wish I were there!" - Beyond Her Book

"This book definitely has a high hotness factor." - Wolf Majick

"Werewolves plus Highland warriors plus Spear always add up to fun, light romance. " - RT Book Reviews

"Super sexy... I enjoyed it a lot." - Literal Addiction Paranormal Book Club

"A fabulously written story, extremely descriptive... The romantic chemistry is hot. " - Tome Tender

" Spear will satisfy longtime fans and newcomers alike with her vivid descriptions and deliciously gnarled plot." - Booklist

"With just the right amount of romance, humour, and suspense Howl for a Highlander showcases everything we've come to love of Terry Spear." - Vampire Romance Books

"Full of passion, humor and intrigue, all of which I have come to expect from a Terry Spear novel." - Romance Witch's Reviews


Bestselling and award-winning author Terry Spear has written a couple of dozen paranormal romance novels and two medieval Highland historical romances. Her first werewolf romance, Heart of the Wolf, was named a 2008 Publishers Weekly’s Best Book of the Year, and her subsequent titles have garnered high praise and hit the USA Today bestseller list. A retired officer of the U.S. Army Reserves, Terry lives in Crawford, Texas, where she is working on her next werewolf romance and continuing her new series about shapeshifting jaguars. Terry offers amazing insights into wolf packs, based on her extensive research, and how she draws on nature itself for her inspiration. For more information, please visit www.terryspear.com, or follow her on Twitter, @TerrySpear. She is also on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/terry.spear


White Wolf
imikimi - sharing creativity

Saturday, August 3, 2013

CHOCOLATE: TREATS and TEMPTATIONS to tantalize your taste buds




























FROSTED RASPBERRY FUDGE BROWNIES


Your favorite fudge brownie mix (13in x 9in pan size)
1/4 cup raspberry preserves (or strawberry or cherry)
One tub ready-made fudge, sour cream, vanilla, or cream cheese frosting
2 tbsp raspberry preserves (or strawberry or cherry)

Spray a 13in x 9in baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Prepare brownie mix per package directions, adding in 1/4 cup preserves. Bake as directed on package. Allow brownies to cool. Stir 2 tbsp preserves into frosting in tub and blend well. Spread frosting over cooled brownies and cut into squares. Decorate as desired.



Decadent Italian Chocolate Cake

5 large eggs, separated
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
2 cups sugar
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
2/3 cup finely chopped pecans
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe follows)
Garnish: pecan halves

Beat egg whites at high speed with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form; set aside. Beat butter and shortening until creamy; gradually add sugar, beating well. Add egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition. Combine flour, cocoa, and baking soda; add to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed until blended after each addition. Stir in coconut, chopped pecans, and vanilla. Fold in egg whites. Pour batter into 3 greased and floured 8-inch round cake pans. Bake at 325F for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes. Remove cake layers to wire racks, and cool completely.
Spread Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting between layers and on top and
sides of cake. Garnish, if desired. Makes 10 to 12 servings.


Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 (16-ounce) package powdered sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/4 cup buttermilk
2/3 cup finely chopped pecans
Beat first 4 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Combine powdered sugar and cocoa; gradually add to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with powdered sugar mixture. Beat at low speed until blended after each addition. Stir in pecans.


Chocolate Espresso Pudding

1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 tablespoon instant coffee granules
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine first 5 ingredients in a medium, heavy saucepan, and stir well
with a whisk. Gradually stir in milk, and bring to a boil over medium
heat. Reduce heat, and simmer 1 minute or until thick. Remove from heat,
and add chocolate, stirring until melted. Stir in vanilla. Pour about
1/2 cup pudding into each of 4 dessert dishes; cover surface of pudding
with plastic wrap. Chill at least 4 hours. Remove plastic wrap to serve.


Chocolate Zucchini Bread

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups white sugar
3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups shredded zucchini
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease and flour two 9x5 inch loaf pans. In large bowl, combine flour, cocoa, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt, mix well. In separate bowl, combine sugar and eggs, beat until well blended. Add oil and vanilla; beat until combined. Stir in zucchini. Add flour mixture; stir just until moistened. Stir in nuts and chocolate chips. Spoon evenly into loaf pans. Bake in preheated oven for 55 to 60 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove bread from pans; cool completely on wire rack. 




"Ought To Be A Law" Barrister's Brownies"


1 Cup Butter
2 Cups Sugar
3/4 Cup Cocoa powder
1 tablespoon vanilla
4 eggs
1 Cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 bag white chocolate chips
1/2 Cup chopped walnuts
1/2 bag white chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

In a large saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Allow to cool. Add sugar and cocoa and blend well. Add vanilla. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Add flour, baking powder, salt, instant coffee granules, and cinnamon. Stir until just blended. Lightly stir in the 1/2 bag white chocolate chips and 1/2 cup chopped walnuts. Spread the batter evenly in a greased and lightly floured 13x9x2in baking pan. Top batter with remaining white chocolate chips and chopped walnuts. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes. Do not over bake. Brownies pull away from the edges of the pan when done. Allow to cool in pan before cutting. Store in tightly covered container.



Chocolate Butterscotch Clusters

 
1 6 oz pkg semisweet chocolate chips
1 6 oz pkg butterscotch chips
2 Tbsp peanut butter
4 cups Rice Krispies

Melt the chocolate and butterscotch along with the peanut butter in a large saucepan over medium low heat, stirring constantly until the mixture melts. Remove from heat. Stir in Rice Krispies. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto wax paper. Cool until firm. Store in a container. 



Decadent Chocolate Pudding

1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk plus one pint heavy cream
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon rum
sweetened whipped cream, sliced strawberries, and chocolate sprinkles for garnish

Combine the cornstarch, sugar and salt in the top of a double boiler. Slowly whisk in the milk and cream, scraping the bottom and sides to blend in all the dry ingredients. Place over gently simmering water and stir occasionally, scraping the bottom and sides. Use a whisk to prevent lumps. After 15 to 20 minutes, when the mixture begins to thicken and coats the back of the spoon, slowly add the chocolate. Continue stirring for about 2 to 4 minutes, or until the pudding is smooth and thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the rum. Pour into individual serving dishes. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour. To serve, remove plastic wrap and top each pudding with whipped cream. Top with sliced strawberries and chocolate sprinkles.


Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

6 tablespoons butter
1 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided


Preheat oven to 325. Line a 9” X 13” baking pan with foil, leaving some hang over sides, for lifting out bars once baked. Grease foil with Crisco, then flour. Set aside. In large bowl, cream butter and peanut butter until smooth. Add sugars, eggs, & vanilla. Beat until creamy. Blend in flour & salt. Stir in 1 cup of chocolate chips. Spread into prepared pan. Bake 25 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Remove from oven. Turn oven off. Sprinkle remaining cup of chocolate chips over bars. Return to oven for about 3 minutes or until chips become soft. Spread softened chocolate to cover entire top of bars. Cool on wire rack for about 15 minutes. Remove from pan using foil as handles. Once chocolate “frosting” has hardened, cut into bars


Bourbon Fudge Brownies

1/4 cup bourbon
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups sugar
6 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350F. Bring bourbon to a boil in a small saucepan; remove from heat. Add chocolate chips, stirring until smooth. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt, stirring with a whisk. Combine sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well combined. Add vanilla and eggs; beat well. Add flour mixture and bourbon mixture to sugar mixture, beating at low speed just until combined. Spread batter into a 9-inch square baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350F for 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack. Serves 20.



Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins

3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
4 eggs
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
1/2 cup water
3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1 bag (11 oz) mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray and add paper liners. Mix sugar, oil, eggs. Add pumpkin and water. In separate bowl mix together the baking flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices and salt.. Add wet mixture and stir in chocolate chips. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until muffins spring back lightly to touch. Makes about 2 dozen muffins.


Peppermint Fudge


2 1/2 c. sugar
2/3 c. evaporated milk
1/2 c. (1 stick) butter
1 1/2 c. semisweet chocolate chips
1 (7 ounce) jar Marshmallow Creme
1 tsp. vanilla extract or flavoring
1 tsp. peppermint extract or flavoring
1/4 c. plus 1 Tbsp. crushed peppermint candy, divided

Bring first 3 ingredients to a boil in a heavy saucepan, stirring constantly. Boil, stirring constantly 6 mins. or until candy thermometer reaches 238 degrees F. Remove from heat; stir in chocolate chips. Stir in Marshmallow Creme, vanilla extract or flavoring, peppermint extract or flavoring and 1/4 c. crushed candy until blended. Pour into a buttered 9-in. square pan. Sprinkle with 1 Tbsp. crushed candy. Cool and cut into squares.


Candy Bar Brownies

1 box fudge brownie mix (for 13in x 9in baking pan)
1 box of thin mints or thin chocolate bars (like Andes candies), or larger flat candy bars (like Hershey’s) broken into pieces, or miniature chocolate bars (like Hershey’s miniatures)
if desired for topping, ready-made frosting and sprinkles or crushed hard candies

Prepare brownie mix per box directions. Pour half of batter into greased and floured baking pan. Place candy pieces evenly across batter. Top with remaining batter and bake per box directions. Allow to cool before cutting into squares. If desired, top with frosting and sprinkles or crushed hard candies or peppermints. So easy, so good and so pretty!