Wednesday, May 4, 2016

WOW {Warm Oven Wednesday}

I was looking for an easy but yet "healthy/no flour" cookie and found this recipe by barefeet in the kitchen on Pinterest. I love this Flourless Chocolate Turtle Cookies:

COOK'S NOTE: The parchment paper in this recipe is a requirement. 

Flourless Chocolate Turtle Cookies

Yield: 24 cookies

3 cups powdered sugar

3/4 cups dutch process or special dark cocoa powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 large egg whites

1 large egg

2/3 cup dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup caramel bits

1/2 cup chopped pecans, plus a few more for topping if desired

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 
Whisk together the powdered sugar, cocoa, and salt.                                                 

Add the eggs. Whisk again until smooth. 

(Using an electric mixer will make this even easier, 
but it's quite simple by hand.) 

Stir in the chocolate chips, caramel bits, and pecans.

Drop by tablespoons onto a parchment lined baking sheet. 

Top each cookies with a few extra pecan pieces, if desired. 

Bake 12 minutes, until the cookies are just set. 

They should be puffy and cracked across the top.

 Let cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet 
before transferring to a wire cooling rack. 

Let cool completely before 
storing in an airtight container. Enjoy!

Monday, May 2, 2016

A Dream of Miracles (The Amish Wonders Series) by Ruth Reid

Book Description:  Amish widow Mattie vows never to love again . . . until a suspicious outsider with a shadowy past comes crashing into her fragile world.
Mattie Diener can barely keep it together. A young Amish widow and mother of two young children, she faces the lingering heartbreak of lost love, her son’s mysterious illness, and a torrent of accusations that threaten to undo her.
Bo Lambright is a fast-rising social services investigator whose high-society mother won’t rest until she finds his Mrs. Right. Despite Bo’s worldly success, the raw ache of a shadowy past and a series of unsettling dreams have left him reeling.
When Mattie and Bo cross paths, all signs point to disaster. Yet as they face a crucible of trials and tragedies together, longings begin to stir that seem destined only to end in more heartbreak. Is a miracle possible—not only of healing but of forbidden love? What secrets lie in Bo’s dreams? And will Mattie find the courage to face her uncertain future . . . or will she simply run away?

My Thoughts:   It's been awhile since I've read a novel by Ruth Reid and I was pleasantly surprised to see that her novel is about an Amish widow.
This wonderful story is about the Amish ways as well as the English ways of life.
First of all, Mattie is an Amish widow who loved her deceased husband and as vowed to never love hurts to lose a dearly beloved person.  And Mattie has two sweet children. 
Not only did Mattie lose her husband but now her son has this mysterious illness.  As a mom Mattie is distressed over her son's illness and missing her husband.  Life is hard!
Then there's Bo Lambright.  Bo is on the road to success but his mother!  
Now Bo and Mattie cross paths...not a good first meeting.
And they are both trying to find their footing in life.
I loved this story!  I found it to be a well thought out story with many life like truths.
A great read for all fans of Amish fiction!

*This book was provided for review by BookLook*

  • Series: The Amish Wonders Series
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (April 12, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401688314
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401688318

COTT {Clash of the Titles}

March 2016 Releases Duke it Out on COTT!

Welcome back to our arena! The following authors are stepping onto our sands, ready to wield their mighty pens. Please look at each of their covers and descriptions and choose a favorite. Which would go on the top of your to-be-read pile? 

Let the game... BEGIN!

Book ImageThe Gilded Curse by Marilyn Turk:
Responding to a cryptic telegram, Lexie Smithfield returns to Jekyll Island to sell her family's abandoned vacation cottage in the Millionaire's Club. Because tragic events in her family convinced her mother the island was cursed, it's been ten years since her last visit to the island. Lexie's trip is prolonged when suspicious incidents cause her to stay and discover the cottage's hidden secrets. Just offshore the presence of nearby Nazi U-boats threaten the coast and endanger the island's residents. While the management of the Millionaire's Club attempts to keep members unaware of the danger, Lexie discovers the real threat that lurks within this closed community and learns that her destiny is not determined by curses or her family's mistakes, but by the choices she makes.

Book Image

Bitterroot Bride (American State Flower) Trail by Angela Breidenbach:
No one knows the real Emmalee Warren, just what they want from the infamous prostitute. Men are coming out of the woodwork to stake a claim on the miner's widow. They wanted her body before. Now they want her money. Hiring a lawyer, Richard Lewis, to save her from financial ruin might let her start over where no one knows Miss Ellie. Becoming an unknown is the only way to freedom…or is it? Can she leave her past and build a new future?

Book Image

Breaking Free by Jennifer Slattery:
Sometimes it takes losing everything to grab hold of what really matters. Women’s ministry leader and Seattle housewife, Alice Goddard, and her successful graphic-designer husband appear to have it all together. Until their credit and debit cards are denied, launching Alice into an investigation that only leads to the discovery of secrets. Meanwhile, her husband is trapped in a downward spiral of lies, shame, and self-destruction. Can they break free from their deception and turn to the only One who can save them? And will it be in time to save their marriage?

Book Image

Dressed for Death (A Drew Farthering Mystery) by Julianna Deering:
A Regency-Era Costume Party Should Have Been an Amusing Diversion, But it Seems Wherever Drew Farthering Goes, Mystery--and Murder--Are on the Guest List.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Together at the Table: A Novel of Lost Love and Second Helpings (Two Blue Doors) by Hillary Manton Lodge

Book Description:  Three months ago, Juliette D’Alisa’s world changed.
In a bittersweet series of events, her mother’s health took a turn for the worse. Juliette and her brother opened their restaurant together to rave reviews, but her romance with Memphis immunologist Neil McLaren ended in anger and tears.
As autumn sweeps into the Pacific Northwest, Juliette feels that she’s finally on the cusp of equilibrium. The restaurant continues to thrive, and her family is closer than ever. She and sous-chef Adrien are seeing each other, both in and out of the kitchen. Just when she thinks her world might stop spinning, a trip to the waterfront lands a familiar face into her path.
Rather than dwell on her personal life, Juliette throws herself into work and research. After reading her grandmother’s letters from war-torn Paris, she still wants to know the full story –  and she’ll travel across countries and oceans to find it.
But even Juliette can’t outrun the man who stole her heart. As she finally uncovers the truth about her family history, what will it mean for her own chances at lasting love?

My Thoughts:  I had mixed feelings about reading this book, simply because it's the third book in the Two Blue Doors trilogy.  It's the last book.  Maybe I'm too sappy but I enjoy reading a "series" of books and learning all about a characters life. 
This "last" book is simply wonderful!
It's interesting that the title of this book is Together at the Table because this book is chock full of wonderful, delicious foods.  Quite a few recipes are included too.  Yummy!
Juliette's family is all together in this last "chapter."  I loved reading about all of them, reading about all the fine food and well, the romance.
If you read, Reservations for Two, then you'll remember that the story didn't end well.  Neil and Juliette ended their relationship in tears and anger.  And Juliette goes back home and begins working with and seeing sous-chef Adrien.
Juliette feels that her heart just belongs to another.  
Then she begins reading her grandmother's letter from war-torn Paris.  It seems that these letters "speak" to Juliette's heart.
And Juliette uncovers truth in her family history.
I loved this ending to the triology of the Two Blue Doors.  

*This book was provided for review by Waterbrook/Multnomah*

The first two books:

  • Series: Two Blue Doors
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: WaterBrook (May 3, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307731790
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307731791

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

WOW {Warm Oven Wednesday}

I saw this recipe for Miranda Lambert's meatloaf ( actually I believe that her mom, Bev, makes it but it's the family fav!)in a magazine.  
We are not fans of meatloaf
but I wanted something different for supper.
  WOW!  It's great!
Miranda's Meatloaf Recipe

 2 lbs. ground beef

1 lb. ground breakfast sausage (mild or regular)

1/2 sleeve of finely crushed saltines or Ritz crackers
2 eggs
1 dash of Worcestershire
1 tsp. prepared mustard
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. ketchup
1/2 c. finely chopped bell pepper
1/2 finely chopped onion

Mix all the above ingredients together ( use two hands for better mixing).
Put into a baking dish (casserole or loaf style).
Bake at 350° for 1 hour. 

Prepare topping while baking.
 Topping: Blend together 1 c. ketchup and 1/4 c. brown sugar.
 After baking, pour grease off of loaf. Spread topping over meat generously. (If using a large pan you may need extra...follow above measurements).

Place pan back in the oven for 15 minutes to bake. 
Let cool for 5-10 minutes before cutting.
Happy Eating!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Siren's Song (The Storm Trilogy) by Mary Webber

Book Description:  “The realization hits: We’re not going to win. It’s why I couldn’t defeat Draewulf in Bron—because this power was never mine anyway. I drop my arms and let the energy die off. And turn around to Face Eogan.”
After a fierce battle with Draewulf, Nym barely escaped with her life. Now, fleeing the scorched landscape of Tulla, her storm-summoning abilities are returning; only . . . the dark power is still inside her.
Broken and bloodied, Nym needs time to recover, but when the full scope of the shapeshifter’s horrific plot is revealed, the strong-willed Elemental must race across the Hidden Lands and warn the other kingdoms before Draewulf ’s final attack.
From the crystalline palaces of Cashlin to the legendary Valley of Origin, Nym scrambles to gather an army. But even if she can, will she be able to uncover the secret to defeating Draewulf that has eluded her people for generations? With a legion of monsters approaching, and the Hidden Lands standing on the brink of destruction, the stage is set for a battle that will decide the fate of the world.
This time, will the Siren’s Song have the power to save it?

My Thoughts:    I was a little perplexed by the title, "Siren's Song" so I looked up the word siren.  I was surprised to find out that a siren is from Greek mythology.  A siren was a beautiful but dangerous creature, one who lured sailors to ship wreck by their enchanting music and voices.  
After finding out about a siren, I began to read this story.  I didn't read the first two books in this series and I think it's a must to read the other two stories first....because this is the conclusion.
Even though this isn't the type of reading material I would choose, I must say that this is one fast paced read.  And the author does a great job with description.  
The reader can probably tell by the book cover that this is story is labeled as christian fantasy.  
To tell the truth I have a hard time reading fantasy...any kind.  I just don't enjoy it.  It seems too made up to me.  
Even though this is a well written book, I just couldn't "get into the story."
This is book for this christian fantasy readers.  And it has a grand ending!

*This book was provided for review by the Fiction Guild*

  • Series: The Storm Siren Trilogy
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (March 1, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401690408
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401690403

The Goodbye Bride (A Summer Harbor Novel, #2) by Denise Hunter

Book Description:  She only remembers loving him. But he can’t forget the way she left.
Lucy Lovett can’t remember the last seven months of her life. She doesn’t remember leaving her fiancĂ© Zac Callahan weeks before their wedding or moving to Portland, Maine. And she sure doesn’t remember getting engaged to another man. All she remembers is loving Zac more than life itself
Zac was just beginning to get his life back on track after Lucy left him with no explanation. And now she’s back—vulnerable, homeless, and still in love with him. Has he been given a second chance with the only woman who stirs his passion and haunts his dreams?
Lucy knows she must unlock those missing months and discover why she threw everything away. And Zac knows that if he follows his heart he’ll win back the love of his life—but if Lucy’s memory returns, his would-be bride might say goodbye forever.

My Thoughts:  This is one of the "funniest" christian romances I've read this year.  I'm not sure it's suppose to be a humorous read but as I read it I kept seeing the scenarios in my head and would laugh out loud.
Lucy Lovett seems to have lost the last seven months of her life.  She doesn't remember leaving her fiancee, Zac, or moving to Portland.  
But when Lucy has to go back "home" with no memory of the last seven months and love in her heart for Zac....well, it makes a confusing world for Zac.  This is what I found humorous.  All the situations and poor Lucy still doesn't understand because she has no "back memory."
And, then, poor Zac he is SO confused but it is a romance story  and without letting out all the juicy details I will tell you it is a fun read.
Christian romance readers are sure to enjoy this lovely novel.
And here's bonus for you lovely readers you can go to Spotify music playlist and listen to the playlist for The Goodbye Bride as you read the novel:  SPOTIFY Music for The Goodbye Bride  Enjoy the music and the book!

*This book was provided for review by the Fiction Guild*

  • Series: A Summer Harbor Novel (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (March 8, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0718023730
  • ISBN-13: 978-0718023737