Sunday, November 18, 2018

Reading Update: 15%


The Good, the Bad, and the Duke (The Cavensham Heiresses #4) - Janna MacGregor

If Alex thought she was with her mother and her mother thought she was with Alex, they wouldn’t discover she was missing until Christmas Day. She was truly home alone.

I keep going back to stare at this cover, gorgeous! 


Friday, November 16, 2018

Review: Lovesick

Lovesick Lovesick by Ángeles Mastretta
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5 stars

"When did you get here?" Emilia asked him, kissing him as she had when their lips were smooth and unwrinkled. The eternal throbbing beat below her breastbone.
"I never leave," said Daniel, stroking her head with its scent of mysteries.


Spanning almost 50yrs, this is the story of Emilia. The vast majority of the story takes place during the Mexican Revolution (1910-20) and does a good job shining a light on how discontent, injustice, and passion bring about such wars. Emilia's childhood friend, who grows up to be her love, Daniel, is more than full of passion for the war and constantly leaves and is at battle leaving Emilia. Their love story is one people in their younger years would find exciting, dramatic, lustful, and love torn; a lovestory that is exciting to read about but hellish to live.

Emilia's father was a pharmacist, and she starts to study under him and grow her own passion but for medicine. She naturally and fights her way to becoming a doctor, no mean feat during this time period. She meets a Dr. Zavalza and love triangle ensues.

I really enjoyed the first 70% of this, as we get a historical feel for the Revolution with discussion and interaction with Diaz, Madero, Zapata. I do wish we could have had some scenes from Daniel to get a feel for the battles but this look at it from ordinary citizens was encompassing in its own way, too. Emilia's aunt and a poet who is in love with said aunt, were my favorite secondary characters and I would happily read the aunt's life story, what a woman she sounds like.

The last 30% was very rushed through as we get some of the conflict following the Revolution with Zapatistas and Cardenas with Daniel and Emilia continuing their relationship in a not thought of conventional way. Years pass quickly and Emilia becoming a doctor and having children is quickly told. This rushed ending kind of gave all the emotional upheaval and drama, I as the reader, went through less gravitas.

Lovesick couldn't be a more apt title as Emilia and Daniel's relationship wasn't exactly healthy. Daniel's passion for the war and how he constantly puts it above Emilia and Emilia's inability to let impulsive Daniel and his frenzy for fighting go in favor of Zavalza's calm supporting love will make you want to pull your hair out.

The historical context was weaved expertly into the story and Emilia's life journey will definitely make you feel.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Reading Update: 50%


Lovesick - Ángeles Mastretta, Margaret Sayers Peden


The Revolution did not begin at 6 P.M. on November 20, but it began. Many different times on many days following the morning of the eighteenth in Puebla.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Review: The Hating Game

The Hating Game The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

1.5 stars

I am very close to being a complete outlier on this one, a handful of friends seem to have had the same issues I did but the vast majority LOVED this story.

I Buddy Read this with others who loved it, so for their comments/thoughts and more of mine - The Hating Game BR

I finally finished and honestly, it was a struggle for me. I don't want to yuck people's yum but the general tone of this didn't work for me personally.
What didn't work for me:
-The tone, only having Lucy's pov made it hard for me to read Josh the way I think the author wanted me to.
-Their hating game, came off immature from Lucy's pov, Josh seemed dickish instead of shy (he was rude to the hotel staff, I didn't enjoy his shyness coming off as rude/mean/abrupt to the extreme that people cried after talking to him and feared him.
-The many, many, many reminders of Lucy being short/little but wait, she eats like a NFL O-lineman!
-The fat-shaming is truly cringe worthy here
-Their chemistry, one or two lines between them worked for me, other than that, their first kiss where Lucy honest to god thinks Josh is going to hurt or kill her before he kisses her was uncomfortable.
-Lucy solves Josh's decades old feud with his father, something his mother who knows how to handle his brusque father and loves Josh oh so much and misses him like crazy, couldn't step up and do, once.

Suffice to say Lucy genuinely fearing Josh at many points, his shyness that came off as making hotel employees cry after dealing with him, and their "flirting/foreplay" of back and forth actual HR sexual harassment complaints, didn't personally jive with me. It all felt immature and forced.

Books with similar stories that I really liked - Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie and Rock Hard by Nalini Singh

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Saturday, November 10, 2018

Review: The Burn Cookbook: An Unofficial Unauthorized Cookbook for Mean Girls Fans

The Burn Cookbook: An Unofficial Unauthorized Cookbook for Mean Girls Fans The Burn Cookbook: An Unofficial Unauthorized Cookbook for Mean Girls Fans by Jonathan Bennett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

If you're fan of the movie Mean Girls and like to get together with your friends who are also fans, this cookbook would be an excellent additive to girl's night.

You'll get a look at some of Aaron Samuels' (aka Jonathan Bennett) favorite dishes, a recipe from his mom!, along with fun quizzes, facts, and trivia that will solidify your place as a true Mean Girls fan.

Overall, the recipes are pretty simple and most of the ingredients are fairly common, you won't be running from grocery store to grocery store trying to complete these dishes. Some of the recipes are so simple, Fairy Toast, that they're inclusion seems a bit immature but they do provide some great ideas for that all important girl's night.

Some of the recipes featured in the book and that I made:

Spring Fling Rolls - These take a little effort to put together but everyone needs that fancy smancy hors d'œuvre. The peppers, mint, mango, and spritz of lime made these light and tasty.

I Can't Help That I'm So POPular Popcorn - Who doesn't need pink colored popcorn in their lives? Obviously very easy to make but pretty and on theme.

Is Your Cornbread Muffin Buttered - Carbs, scary! But so worth it. A good replacement for the spring rolls if you live in a colder climate. The honey added gives it a nice sweet flavoring, careful to not over mix as that can cause your muffins to be dry.

Boo You Whore-iental Salad - An obvious one I had to make. Easy to make and even more fun to say. Mandarin oranges and honey roasted peanuts give this a nice flavoring, don't skip out on making the dressing as it will draw the salad flavors out.

You Will Get Pregnant and Diet Smoothie - With the popularity of smoothies right now, this was a recipe I was very excited to try. It had just the right amount of sweetness with the raspberries and honey but saved from being overly with the adding of kale (you could use spinach, also). Break out your blender and enjoy the yummy healthiness.

I'm Sorry People Are So Jealous of My Perfect Pink Taco - One of the most perfect for a girl's night. Easy to put together, people can add or subtract whatever they want, and they taste great. I substituted half of the mayo amount with Greek yogurt. You can never go wrong with shrimp and lime based tacos.

Strawberry Frose, Obvi - For the over 21 fans. Who doesn't love rose wine? As a close to a wine slushy, this would be a great bachelorette part drink, pre-drinking night out, or some random Wednesday We Wear Pink.

She Asked Me How to Spell Orange Chicken - I love the sweet spicy taste of orange chicken and this held up really well. Using fresh squeezed orange makes a difference in the crispness and definitely go for fresh grated ginger as it gives it the kick. I served mine with white rice and a night in alone.

Why Are You So Obsessed with MEatloaf - I knew immediately I would have to make this when I saw the title, I'm sure any fan will agree with me. I used ground turkey and the suggestion for Bloody Mary mix is inspired. Easy to make and you'll have the best Instagram titled photo around.

You Go, Glenn (Hot) Coco - Having a relaxed jammies girl's night? No problem, this sweet hot coco has you covered.

Like I said, the vast majority of these recipes are easy to make, you won't stress over the food for you party. There is a crown jewel recipe, Cake Made of Rainbows and Smiles (also includes a smaller version - The Fun-Fetchy Cake) that would bring your Mean Girls party to the top. It's a pink rainbow cake made from scratch and you'd win the crown if you ended your party with it.

As I said, with all the fabulous recipes, facts, and trivia, the workouts, beauty masks, and party plan layout for a Boozy Burn Brunch, you can't go wrong with this Burn Cookbook. It is less a comprehensive cookbook and more about bringing your friends together for a fun Mean Girls night together with easy but tasty recipes. How could you say no to a cookbook that has a section titled "Mean Grills (She Doesn't Even Grill Here)?

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Reading Update: 50%


The Hating Game: A Novel - Sally Thorne

Oof, not liking this one as much as everyone else. So many raving reviews but my discontent with 1st person pov is part of the problem again.

More comments/quotes: Buddy Read The Hating Game

Friday, November 9, 2018

Review: My One and Only Duke

My One and Only Duke My One and Only Duke by Grace Burrowes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5 stars

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

If the eyes were windows to the soul, Mr. Wentworth's soul was a bleak, silent moor under a gray December sky.

First in a new series and an introduction to the Wentworth family, My One and Only Duke, stars the oldest Wentworth, Quinn, and a minister's daughter Jane. This was a slow burn story from both accounts, the romance and mystery. The beginning with Quinn imprisoned in Newgate awaiting to be hung dueled with the investigators from the College of Arms as they searched for an heir to the Walden Dukedom. This gave the start of the story a suspenseful and tense back and forth as Quinn's time was running out and the investigators were closing in.

In the complicated economy of a prison, a returned bribe meant one of two things: Somebody else had paid a much bigger bribe, or had made a more effective threat.

The mystery is the engine that keeps the story going, but it does start to putter around midway through. There's a lot of talked about danger but even though Quinn has a good idea who he thinks is behind wanting him dead, his investigations are pretty slow to get to and it ends up feeling like no one is really doing anything as the focus seems to revert back to Jane and the household whenever someone goes off. The eventual wrap-up and reveal ended up feeling a tad convoluted tight as character connections, money, and motivations flew from everywhere; we also don't get to form much of a connection to the villain(s) and supposed villain(s).

Don't give me that Yorkshire growl, as if you'd tear me to pieces when I know you feed wild birds, marry stray widows, and work yourself half to death for your family. It won't wash, Quinn. You can intimidate every rolled-up title in Mayfair with that performance, but I know better.

The romance is that cherished Burrowes' hero and heroine connection that speaks of soulmates but also has some slow burn as they learn each other. Our heroine starts the book pregnant, she's a widow and our hero marries her to help her gain freedom from her zealot father, which kind of keeps her home bound. Jane was a wonderful showcase of growing into her own, standing up to father, and being the more emotionally courageous one in putting herself out there to connect with Quinn. We get a lot about the background of Quinn but his character still felt too blocked off to me. There was some seeing with the large amount of telling about Quinn and the Wentworth family but only a couple of the emotional connections filtered through for me; I felt stiff armed by Quinn for most of the story. Quinn was big-hearted stoic and Jane was emotionally courageous, which provided for some sexy scenes but if Quinn had been unveiled just a little more, their romance would have popped some more.

The daft woman like swiving him, liked touching him, liked talking with him. The touching was bad enough---Quinn well knew the danger of sweet touches---but the talking would be his doom.

The mystery was a bit slow and drawn out but I'm excited to read more about this family; a possible Althea, hero's sister, and Joshua, hero's business partner, romance has me intrigued and I absolutely demand Ned eventually gets his own book. This was more gentle and methodical, with some dry cheekiness from and between characters that will tickle your fancy. This was a solid start to a series that I'm looking forward to reading about each family member.

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Monday, November 5, 2018

Menu Monday

Halloween wrap-up and three solid good meals.


Mini Halloween Cheesecakes


Ok, so most of the love I had for these was how cool and fun they looked, they definitely pop! It is a very easy recipe, your crust or base is a Halloween Oreo cookie and for cheesecake purists out there, you might turn a nose up at the easy cheesecake. I thought it all tasted great (yes, of course, the cheesecake doesn't have that thick goodness) but I was super pumped about how pretty they turned out.



I cut the recipe in half, I only wanted 8 breadsticks, not 16. I don't know if that somehow hurt how much I had to work with, but as you can see, mine weren't coiled as much as the pictured ones. I had to really work with the dough to to get them thin enough and coiled. I don't know if all of this worked to make the dough more dry but these turned out super crispy, I like my breadsticks more soft. I also couldn't find black sesame seeds so I had to take a red pepper flake and cut it in half, time consuming and a lot of them ended up falling off anyway. UGH. I dipped them in sriracha ranch, good but too crispy for me.




Hard to tell just from picture if they turned out, right? Lol. I swear this is what they were supposed to look like. I think the creator was going for Slimer from Ghostbusters, which once I saw the recipe, I HAD to make. The hardest part was separating the egg yolks from the white, I use a plastic water bottle to do this and have about a 70-80% first time success rate but just beware the struggle can be real when trying to do this. I think they tasted a lot like cotton candy. If I were to make these again, I would flavor them, recipe says to add vanilla but I'd go with cherry, strawberry, or something stronger or more fun. They were somewhat blah or boring flavor wise. 




This one probably took just under an hour but I really enjoyed the flavor of the sauce. I used 99% lean ground turkey and Sweet Heat Stubbs BBQ sauce with 1/4 cup of packed dark brown sugar. Yummy! I don't like super saucy things, I call it drowning it, you can see by the picture, some would say I like mine dry. If you're a saucy person, I would recommend doubling the sauce as there wasn't much left over even after I used it. 




I added corn and avocado. This was super simple to make and not time consuming. It was tasty and did have a little spice to it. Kind of one of those simple almost boring ones but gets the job done. 



Along with the Halloween cheesecake bites, this was a big winner. Easy to make and oh my god, so good. The flavors, the way they all combined together! Magnificent! I didn't have a Caribbean Jerk spice, so I went with our Spicy Creole and yowza, did this end up having some kick you in the pants and make your nose run. The avocado and mango worked wonderfully to help tone it down, though. I'll definitely be making this one again and you should too!

Don't forget to VOTE on Tuesday my American friends!

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Copy a Romance Cover


I had the perfect window for this, the perfect "gloves" are probably up for debate :)