Where I recommend things

1. Best. Salad. Lunch. Ever.

Not kidding here. It’s absolutely yummy. So good it tastes like it should be bad for you, or have something in there that’s not the best for you…but it’s actually really healthy to boot!

This is where I got it:

http://ohsheglows.com/2011/09/12/5-make-ahead-vegan-gluten-free-lunches-part-2/

www.ohsheglows.com is a great site for anyone interested in eating savoury meals that are also super healthy. She has vegan stuff, but it’s not limited to that and she’s written two books because her recipes are that amazing. The one I just rambled on about is from her lunch menu and she actually puts it in a pita bread but it’s so yummy, I eat it with a fork. It’s the Brown Rice and Chickpea Salad. Delish.

2. Best How-To-101 reference site for authors out there.

This is where I got it:

https://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/how-to-101/

I’ve talked about Chris The Story Reading Ape before. He is a never-ending source of great resources for writers of all kinds and, to boot, he’s incredibly kind. But this reference page just blew me out of the water. It’s got everything. And he keeps updating it! No dead links here.

A huge thanks to Chris for his never-ending support of all writers out there!!

Cher Quebec…

 

(credit: montreal gazette)

Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and survivors of the horrific attack on the mosque in Quebec city.

(credit: cbc)

(credit: cbc)

As our Prime Minister said: “We will not close our minds, we will open our hearts. We will heal together…we will not meet violence with more violence; we will meet fear and hatred with love and compassion.”

Nos prières et pensées sont avec vous.

 

 

Review: Too Good to be True

Too Good to be True is another book by Kristan Higgins. I seem to eat her books like candy and can’t stop reading them. Isn’t it lovely when you find an author that you adore? I did with Kristan Higgins and I can’t thank her enough for her books.

This one is the story of Grace and Callahan another hilarious and wonderful couple. Grace has curly, crazy hair. “Must remember to call exorcist to see if I could have the evil demons cast out of my hair, which had been known to snap combs in half and eat hairbrushes.” I simply love that sentence. What a great way to describe her hair. Grace is also a bit of a soft hearted person. She reads to the elderly, thinks her insane family is charming and will do anything for her younger sister.

This last bit is what gets her in trouble, because her younger sister is going out with non other than her ex-fiance. Grace, being who she is, she encourages the match, then goes and makes up a fake boyfriend so her sister won’t feel badly about going out with her ex. The imaginary boyfriend becomes something of a legend and Grace goes to all sorts of hilarious extremes to keep him alive and her sister from finding out.

Meanwhile, she spies a burglar trying to get into the house next door to hers and whacks him on the head with her hockey stick. The ‘burglar’ is of course, Callahan who doesn’t find her antics as funny as I did. He absolutely hates her and things don’t get better when she hits him again with a rake and her little dog bites him. I, however, was laughing out loud by this point.

One of the things I liked best about this book, and Kristan Higgins’ books in general, are her secondary characters. Though they’re always different, they’re always funny in a cute, quirky way. This book had that in spades. From the elderly, grumpy grandmother, to the artsy mother, the smaller characters were amazing and made me laugh out loud.

Finally, there was a wonderful love story. I was definitely rooting for Grace and Callahan and couldn’t turn the pages quickly enough to get to their happy ending. When it did come, it was wonderful and worthy of every sigh of delight I uttered.

I really want to recommend Kristan Higgins. I can’t believe I waited this long to find her and she’s definitely going on my automatic-buy list. If you haven’t tried her before, take it from me and don’t miss out. She’s fantastic. Too Good to be True, winner of the RITA award, is yet another of her delicious creations one I’m keeping for good.

(credit: goodreads.com)

(credit: goodreads.com)

Note: to go to site, click on cover.

Review: Heartless

I adore Mary Balogh’s historical romance books. I can’t tell you exactly what it is about her writing but I can immediately tell that she’s from England (she’s actually from Wales). Her books always have a very authentic feel to them that just lifts them above other books.

Heartless is the story of Lady Anna Marlow who has devoted her life to taking care of her dying parents, first, and then her siblings until she’s almost out of marrying age. Devoted sister that she is, she’s still thinking of how to marry her younger sister when an elderly aunt takes an interest in her and tries to match her instead.

It’s though this match that Anna meets Lucas Kendrick, Duke of Harndon, our hero. After the years of hardship, stress and worry, Anna needs someone to take care of her and lift worries from her mind. However that’s not what she gets in the Duke of Harndon.

Lucas Kendrick was banished from England by his own family and, in the aftermath, was forced to find his own way in the world. He did so very successfully, but lost all innocence and became very cynical in the process. He’s reluctantly back to do his duty as heir and it’s just in that frame of mind that he marries Anna.

It’s a marriage of two people who don’t know each other at all and who, both, have had traumatic events in their past. What follows is how they manage to heal their wounds, befriend, then fall in love with each other, all while unravelling their place as the Duke and Duchess of Harndon.

I love historical romances for many reasons, the elegance of their speech, the beautiful setting, the calm rhythm of their lives and even the lack of technology. Things seemed so much simpler and honourable then. Heartless has all of those, of course, with a very authentic English touch to them all, but it’s also a beautiful love story. And that’s the best part of all.

I’m a true Mary Balogh fan and have rarely met a book of hers I didn’t like and this one is no exception. I’d recommend Heartless for the story and writing and because it’s a great book. But, to put it more simply, because I started it on Thursday morning and did nothing all day until I could turn the last page and find out what had happened. Then basked in the afterglow of a good book for quite a few hours. It’s that good.

(credit: goodreds.com)

(credit: goodreds.com)

Review: Breath of Scandal

I picked up Breath of Scandal because the back intrigued me and Sandra Brown is a reliable bet. The book tells the story of Jade, a girl who leaves a small southern town after a horrible incident and comes back to face her attackers and find her happy ending. It seemed like a great read and it was thick enough at 500 plus pages, to keep me happy for a while. I wasn’t disappointed and thought I’d share this one with you.

One of the best parts of the book is the slow introduction of the characters. The book retells most of their lives, from an impactful beginning to the present, when Jade comes back to the town. It was delicious to see them emerge, slowly and hear about their lives. It made them fully fleshed, complete persons for me and all the more impactful when they spoke and acted.

The back explains the story happened this way: “On a rainy Southern night, Jade Sperry endured a young woman’s worst nightmare at the hands of three local hell-raisers.” The details of what happened were difficult to read, though I should add that I’m particularly sensitive to violence. Thankfully, Sandra Brown treats the topic with due respect and doesn’t dismiss it or play it down. In fact, the horrible incident is crucial to understanding Jade and her personality, so I could bear the difficulty of reading it because I knew it was pivotal to the story.

And that one night isn’t the entire story. Jade leaves the town but returns and…sure enough, like the book says, ‘all hell breaks loose’.

Hearing Jade’s story, like that of the other characters was amazing. I loved seeing and understanding the choices she made and how she moved up, through life until she was a competent professional with a tough attitude towards work that ensured her success.

I also loved seeing Dillon develop slowly. We hear about his life before Jade, what he did and who he was. Like her, the past doesn’t leave him unscathed but his story explains just why he huffs and leaves a scene or why he doesn’t say much in an argument. We know where he has come from and what’s going on in his head without the author having to tell us.

Dillon and Jade’s love story unfurls slowly while she’s trying to find peace to the demons from the past and he’s trying to find peace in his life. I won’t ruin it by revealing it but I will say that it was both believable and beautiful.

The story has many threads but they’re all carefully tied neatly at the end. There are, of course, some twists and turns but there is a happy ending–and a believable one. It was an ending that justified the long journey it took the reader to get there and that was just yummy.

I would obviously recommend this book. It’s a story of triumph over tragedy from an underdog and I love that concept. But I would say that the best part is the slow, rich tapestry it weaves, telling us a story that began with horrible trauma but ends in a happy resolution. If you’re a fan of Sandra Brown or would like a lovely story to read on a summer night, this one is for you.

(credit:goodreads.com)

(credit:goodreads.com)

Note: To go to site, click on cover.

Review: The Perfect Hope

I was actually really looking forward to this one, mostly, because of the two main characters. Ryder and Hope have a ton of chemistry. He’s grumpy and won’t even call her by name and she’s feisty and gives him back as good as she gets. I couldn’t wait to see the sparks fly.

Ryder is the last of the Montgomery men, the guy who works things out and doesn’t say much. He’s quick to temper and faster to find a way to do something with his hands rather than talk it out. Hope, on the other hand, is elegant and polished and the innkeeper at the Boonsboro Inn. She doesn’t like his attitude and from using words to hosing him down with a hose, she lets him know it. Reading about these two exchanging grumblings had me laughing and eagerly turning the pages.

There’s something to be said for chemistry but eventually, it has to change to care and love or there isn’t any hope for the couple. The transition for Ryder and Hope went smoothly as only someone like Nora Roberts can write it. Along the way, we get to hear how the other characters from the other two books are doing and I, for one, was delighted to see old faces reappear.

The three women are fast friends, supporting each other and helping out when needed just like the three brothers are fast friends and joke and tease each other in a very realistic way. There’s also construction that was also deftly and realistically portrayed and work that ruled the lives of these characters like it does mine. It didn’t disappear, like it does in some of the sadder books of romance I’ve read. Here, lives are realistic with flaws and triumphs just like in reality. It creates a world that is believable yet appealing.

The Perfect Hope is a really good ending to a great trilogy. I’ll be honest and fess up that I read it in one sitting. It took me only three hours to gobble it up and I ended with a soft sigh of disappointment that it was done. I highly recommend it to any fan of romance and certainly those of contemporary. Nora Roberts is a phenomenon.

(credit:goodreads.com)

(credit:goodreads.com)

Note: click on link to go to site.

Review: The Next Always

I always love reading a book by Nora Roberts and certainly this one wasn’t an exception. She’s got a gift with the written word, for certain but it’s the timing in her writing that impresses me the most. Her stories always feel slow and lazy and not rushed. It’s a beautiful, slow, elegant introduction into the characters and scene. Yet, she can do it somehow with a few words. And this one was particularly beautiful.

The Next Always is the first in a trilogy that I somehow missed reading when they came out. It tells the story of Beckett and Clare. Beckett is the eldest of the three Montgomery men and the architect. He’s helping his family of brothers and mother, restore an old inn and transform it into a beautiful Bed and Breakfast.

Beckett is easy going on the eyes, gentle yet determined in the best of ways. He had already fallen for Clare back when they were teens so it doesn’t take much for him to rekindle the romance. Clare is a widow now, with three delightful little boys and runs a bookstore. She’s kind, motherly and just sweet.

Clare and Beckett are both busy, one with the inn and the other with work and her little boys and, unlike other romances, these two don’t magically lose their business to give way to romance. The romance happens around their busy lives. Clare continues to kiss scraped knees, stop wars and tend to sick boys and Beckett has to answer his phone, curse at delays and run to fix issues on the build. They do find each other, but it’s a realistic, organic build that creates the same realistic, organic feelings of wonder–at least it did in this reader.

I have to add some other things that I absolutely adored about this book. The three little boys weren’t just minor secondary characters, they were delightfully real and absolutely adorable. I loved each and all of them. The same can be said of the dogs in the story and the other secondary characters. Nora Roberts nails it with them.

The other thing I adored was the cheerful banter between the brothers. Nora Roberts does dialogue like a pro and she nailed it in this book. The three brothers are realistically male, joking around much like guys do without becoming bullies or ignorant, which takes a lot of finesse as a writer.

Add in a beautiful love story, and I was a goner. I had to get the second and third book to gobble them up. If you’re a fan of contemporary fiction, don’t do what I did and wait. Pick this one up. It’s fantastic.

(credit: goodreads.com)

(credit: goodreads.com)

Coming up!

I have a very, very special post coming up next week. For those of you who love doggies, don’t miss it. I promise you’ll like it.

Yeap. It’s a good one. 😀

Review: The Shadows

The Shadows by J.R. Ward is number 14 in the BDB series. Certainly not the book to start your way into this world. Still, if you do end up with this one and find that you have nothing else to read, you might not find it that hard to navigate. Most things are explained and the premise, vampires, are certainly not unknown.

The Shadows is the story of iAm and Trez, brothers who are members of the s’Hive, a subsection of the vampire world. Don’t panic at this category. It’s not an entire new world, rather a small group of a larger one who follow most of the regular vampire-rules.

So, no panic and here we go. Trey is destined to become something among his people that he absolutely dreads and hates. So he’s hiding and trying to avoid his fate. On the other hand, iAm is at his side, faithfully trying to keep his brother alive and avoiding that dreaded destiny.

I don’t like to reveal too much because it destroys the book, so I have to be vague. The Shadows is the story of both brothers, how they find love and the twists and turns that happen for them along the way. We also get to revisit old characters but, in fantastic fashion, JR Ward doesn’t let them take over the series. They were awesome smaller characters and I was delighted to see them.

I loved the many stories threaded together. J. R. Ward weaves them in to each other like a master. I can’t explain how she does it, I can only vouch that they kept my interest and I couldn’t wait to turn the pages and read on. There were many cliffhangers, twists and turns but not the unbelievable, fake kind, rather the awesome, I-never-saw-it coming type. And the romance is so tender and amazing, I cried…and cried. And there was company over.

Though not everything is resolved, this book did many amazing things. It gave me a heads up as to where everyone is, without becoming boring. It continued the saga with class. It gave me not one but two great love stories. And it set up the series to continue (I have tons of curiosity about it still–and after 14 books that says a lot).

Among 14 books, there are favourites and not so favourites. This one is a definite keeper and one that I’ll go back to again and again to relive those highs and lows. I definitely couldn’t recommend J.R. Ward more highly and, though you might want to start the series at the start, this is one you don’t want to miss.

(credit: goodreads.com)

(credit: goodreads.com)

Note: click on cover to go to site.

Review: Walk Through Fire

Walk Through Fire is the latest Chaos novel by Kristen Ashley. It was one I saw while buying groceries and I thought: ‘I’ll just take a quick read…’. Well, one chapter and I was done. Kristen Ashley is like that. I just can’t read one part. I’m hooked.

Please understand, I was shopping with my hubby at the end of a very long day. We were both tired, hungry and crabby. I didn’t have time to stop and read. I had things to do at home–namely his lovely mother was coming–and not a lot of time to do everything in.

I managed to read one tiny chapter while he put the groceries on the conveyor belt. That was all it took. I bought the book and took it home.

Millie Cross made a mistake a long time ago. A huge one and Logan ‘High’ paid for it. Now, she’s run-in with the old Chaos gang and she’s the most hated woman in the planet for them. They treat her like dirt–Logan included–and she takes it, knowing she hurt him. She hurts and tries to get by. It’s absolutely delicious angst.

Still, how on earth was Kristen going to reconcile these two?

Well, I’m not one to spoil things, so I’ll just settle for telling you that they do reconcile, it’s romance after all, but it’s a credible reconciliation and that was what made me a believer. Millie and Logan don’t just go from hurt to love overnight. Things are worked out and along the way there are misunderstandings and mistakes that are both adorable and believable.

We also find the reason why Millie did what she did. And I won’t reveal it here except to say it was both credible and understandable. Which made that angst all the sweeter because she was an undeserving victim of their hatred.

Like all of Kristen Ashley’s books, this one is a great, long read and that wasn’t a disappointment for yours truly. I love getting into her books because she’s a reliable author, who delivers a great story with solid characters and spicy romance. But a great aspect of her books is the length. There’s nothing better than knowing I’ve got a nice, thick book to read. Heavenly.

This is one I’d recommend for any reader of contemporary romance or those who are into edgy, urban romance. It’s one in the Chaos series but can easily be read alone and it’s certainly a great intro to Kristen Ashley. I would highly recommend it.

(credit: goodreads.com)

(credit: goodreads.com)

Note: click on cover to go to site.