Thursday, April 27, 2017

A Cookbook Review: Simplify Supper by Krista Numbers

From her grandfather Salvatore Granato's roots in Southern Italy to the legacy of her family's beloved Italian deli in the heart of Salt Lake City, Krista Numbers has a deep-seated love for good food. In Simplify Supper, this busy wife and mother proves that simple can be satisfying as she dishes up dozens of delectable dinners. From some of her family's best-loved Italian meals to fast feasts with an international flair, discover quick comfort foods you'll want at the heart of your dinner table.

I love looking through new cookbooks.  This one was especially fantastic because every single recipe has a full page picture to go with it.  I'm a visual girl so I love being able to see what the recipe is describing.  The pictures in this book made me want to start cooking and that's something because if I'm being completely honest, I hate cooking.  It's a chore for me, not a pleasure.  So, yay! for this recipe book for inspiring me to cook!  My family will be so happy.  :)

My first recipe will be the marina sauce.  (I just got this book a couple days ago and haven't had a chance to try out any recipes yet)  This recipe looks so easy and sounds delish!  I love the tips included that suggest doubling the recipe and then freezing some for quick use with another meal.  Now that's my kind of cooking!

There are several recipes that include this marina sauce, like the Classic Chicken Parmesan that I will be trying out as well.  I'm also going to try the Cilantro Lime Rice and the Mini Wanton Tacos.  Yum!

This book includes definitions, tips for cooking, and some recipes even have step by step instructions with pictures.  That's handy for a girl like me!  Oh and there are little quotes sprinkled throughout as well.  I loved those!  Here's one:

"One cannot think well, love well, sleep well if one hasn't eaten well."  Virginia Wolf

Here's to feeding our people (and ourselves) well!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Chance for Home by Traci Hunter Abramson + $25 and Book Giveaway

Beautiful pre-med student Kari Evans believes she’s found the man of her dreams—right up until the moment she discovers he’s a two-timing cheat. Desperately gathering the pieces of her broken heart, she realizes that what she needs most is space to reconsider her future. A summer in Washington, DC, with her professional baseball player brother, Ben, sounds like just the change of scene she’s after. But if complicated romantic entanglements are what she’s trying to escape, she’s out of luck. Ryan Strobel has had it with spotlight-seeking women. As third baseman for the Washington Nationals, he’s dealt with more than his fair share of opportunistic admirers—but his ex-fiancée, Brandi, may be the worst. When the woman refuses to take no for an answer, Ryan’s teammate Ben offers a crazy solution: Ben’s sister will pose as Ryan’s new girlfriend. Though an unlikely pair, Ryan and Kari find themselves getting surprisingly comfortable with the charade. Soon, the line between fact and fiction is blurred, and the very real feelings that develop between the couple are undeniable. But when faced with the interference of conniving exes, family objections, and the reality of their very different lives, are Ryan and Kari destined to strike out in the game of love?

Traci Abramson is best known for her suspense novels, but not long ago she made the jump into clean romance and I'm so glad she did.  This is the second book and while I guess it isn't a series, characters from the first book are in this book as prominent secondary characters.  So you don't have to read these books in order, but you might want to just for the backstory.  

Hello, BASEBALL!  I love when books encompass things I love.  Like music or books or chocolate or baseball!  :)  In this book Ryan is a professional baseball player and is good friends with his teammate Ben.  Ben has a sister, Kari, who is conveniently available to help Ryan out of a bit of a sticky situation.  From there, the two develop a friendship that leads to more.  Kari spends a lot of time at the baseball field and I wanted to be there with her.  

Kari is an easy girl to like.  She has a go with the flow attitude for the most part which is important with Ryan's spotlight career and extra unwanted attention.  Kari and Ryan encounter bumps in the road, but nothing too over the top of unbelievable.  The whole story felt real and was easy to settle in with.  I really enjoyed it!  It hit the spot and satisfied my craving for a sweet romance.

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Saturday, April 22, 2017

Story Tellers: An Evening with Colorful Characters by Covenant Communications

On cold night in the Utah Territory, three opinionated men seemingly by chance find themselves sharing a campfire as they tell tales, swap insults, and expound on their personal beliefs and philosophies. However, one of the men is not there by mere coincidence. Join Porter Rockwell, Mark Twain, and J. Golden Kimball for an entertaining and intriguing evening with three of the most colorful characters of the Old West.

I thought the actors did a great job of portraying these real life characters.  They looked the part and sounded the part too.  I loved the scenery.  I learned things about these three people that I didn't know.  LDS history buffs may find this interesting.

This was literally an hour of three guys sitting around the fire talking.  It isn't a movie so much as a documentary of sorts.  Children will not be impressed by this movie.  My teenager quickly became bored.  Even my adult children were less than impressed.  I think we all pictured something a little different.  It might have been better if there had been some flashbacks to the stories the characters were describing that included movement and acting things out.  Instead, it was just talking, talking, talking.

I think if you go into this understanding that it isn't a movie in the traditional sense, and more of a documentary exploring an idea of what would happen if these three men met one night around a campfire, you will enjoy it more.  The stories shared were interesting, touching and religious.  

Content:  Some talk about polygamy, characters talk about cursing and swearing but you never hear actual words, some religious elements

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Defiance by A.L. Sowards + $25 and Book Giveaway

Eight years after immigrating to the United States, German-born Lukas Ley embodies the American dream: successful athlete, gorgeous girlfriend, loving family. But beneath the surface, eighteen-year-old Lukas is driven by ambition, resolved to avenge the murder of his father at the hands of the Nazi regime. Unfortunately, a failed physical throws his plans for flight school off course. Unlike his war-hero older brother, Lukas’s purpose is unclear. He can’t fly, and in the eyes of the military, he’s good for only one thing—the front lines.

From the foxholes of war-ravaged Luxembourg to the devastation of an enormous German offensive, Lukas’s journey is fraught with peril. But when he’s taken as a prisoner of war, he realizes life is about to get much worse. In the enemy camp, Lukas is viewed as a German fighting for the wrong side. Ripped from the innocence of an idealistic youth, he becomes a man beaten by the horrors of war. Now his only hope of survival is to hold tightly to his faith in God and his love of family and home. But even if he manages to make it out alive, can he ever be whole again?

Sometimes survival is the ultimate act of Defiance.

First, I love this cover.  The picture within the picture is awesome and I feel like it fits the story so well.

I love reading books by A. L. Sowards.  You can tell that she does her homework because her stories come to life.  They feel meaty, real and emotional.  One of my favorite genres is historical fiction- just like this.

War is never an easy subject to read about.  While I loved this book, I had to read it in doses because my heart just couldn't take it all in one sitting.  I had so many emotions reading this book- gratitude, heart break, anger, sadness, pride, hope, relief, but mostly gratitude.  So many people have given so much- everything, really, to defend humanity from tyrants, to ensure freedoms and to defend what is right.  It's humbling.  This book brings all of this to the forefront for me.

Content:  War violence.  LDS Fiction, (some references to things specific to the LDS religion, but mostly general talk about morals, praying and finding forgiveness)

- I received a copy of this book from the publisher.  A positive review was not required and all opinions expressed are my own.

My grandpa served in WWII in England.  He married my grandmother in the middle of that war.  He told my grandma to tell him which church to be at and when and he would do his best to make it there to marry her.  He hitchhiked on his two day leave and barely made it to the church on time.  Actually, he was late.  Roads were bombed out and with all the detours, he had a hard time getting there.  He spent one short night with my grandma before heading back to his base.  She had to give him money to get back there!  There was a bombing raid the night before the wedding and my grandma tells of running downstairs to make sure her cake was okay.  A bombing raid.  And she was worried about her cake.  Brides.  <sigh> They saved a lot of sugar rations for that cake and it was important! 


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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Chasing Red by Lauren Winder Farnsworth + Giveaway!

Ryder Redmond can’t wait to begin her new life in New York City, with her first real job after college. But the big city gets a little more complicated once she meets the charming and mysterious Damian Wolfe. On the surface he seems perfect, but her friend Hunter is suspicious of his all-too-straight smile and his motives towards Ryder. With her heart on the line, Ryder will have to decide just how much she trusts the handsome city slicker.

 * Goodreads * Amazon

Okay, first I have a confession.  I had no idea when reading this book that it was a Little Red Riding Hood re-telling.  Yeah, I know.  It's written right on the cover of this book.  Even when reading it I made no connection.  I live in la-la land apparently.  Looking back now it's so obvious.  I mean OBVIOUS. (just look at the names, for goodness sake!)  I feel like an idiot.  ha.  

Moving on from my idiot-ness.  

Ryder is a small town girl headed to the big city.  She is almost instantly swept off her feet by the charming Damian.  Ryder is a sweet girl who looks for the good in everything and everyone.  It makes her likable.  Yes, she is a bit naive, but she is also courageous and I loved her for that.  

At first, this book may seem like a fluffy romance, but as you go along you get hints of something more going on until by the end you have a full blown, behind the scenes mystery.  Everything and everyone are definitely NOT as they seem.  It was so fun!  I really enjoyed this book.

Content:  LDS fiction (characters attend church, some mention of morals and values associated with LDS religion although nothing preachy), an almost rape scene, mild violence, some kissing.

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Friday, April 14, 2017

The Wedding Charm: The Wedding Whisperer (Magnolias and Moonshine) by Susan Hatler

Maid of honor Sarah Carlton hasn’t failed at anything since her high school science project was sabotaged by a relentless competitor. So, she’ll do whatever it takes to make her best friend Jill’s wedding absolutely perfect. That includes taking the next flight out of Sacramento to retrieve the panicked bride’s cherished family wedding charm from her late grandmother’s attic in Atlanta Georgia.

Unfortunately, someone else has offered to come to the bride’s rescue—best man Ben Atkins, the same man who destroyed Sarah’s high school science project all those years ago. Now he wants to one-up her by retrieving the charm first? Sarah refuses to let that happen. The race is on.

When Sarah and Ben arrive in Atlanta, instead of finding the wedding charm there’s a letter from the bride’s grandmother directing the bride and groom to complete a series of tasks in order to prove their commitment to each other. With the wedding only two days away, Sarah and Ben must join forces by pretending to be the bride and groom in order to earn the wedding charm. Should be a cinch. After all, how hard can it be to fake true love for forty-eight hours?

 * Goodreads * Amazon *

I'm so excited about this series!  There are so many authors I love taking part in it.  Something to keep in mind though, if you are in the market for "clean" romance like me, this series has both sweet and clean along with spicier.  Pink=sweet, Purple=spicy.  Just so you know.  :)

This story!!  I fell in love with it.  Love, lovey, love love.  It was sweet romance and adventure all rolled into one.  Sarah and Ben are on a quest to collect a prized piece of jewelry and save a wedding.  Everything is riding on their success.  They have to complete a series of tasks, in a short amount of time, all while pretending to be in love.  Sarah and Ben have known each other for a long time- they have a rocky history.  But, their chemistry is off the charts!

Susan Hatler did such a good job of drawing me right into this story and making me feel connected so quickly.  I loved this story!  It was fun and light and it just made me happy!  (Which isn't surprising.  I love Susan Hatler and her books!  She's one of my favorites!)

I'm excited to read more from this series.  I have another official review coming the 30th for Jennifer Peel's book- YaY!  I'm reading some of the others in this series but won't be reviewing them here on my blog.  You can follow or friend me on Goodreads though because I will be mentioning them there.  😊

Content:  Clean

- I received a copy of this book from the author.  A positive review was not required and all opinions expressed are my own.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

On Tour with The Matching Making Game by Donna Hatch + Giveaway!

The Matchmaking Game
(Timeless Romance Single)
Donna Hatch
Adult Historical Romance
ebook, 126 pages
April 18th 2017 by Mirror Press

From the publisher of the USA TODAY bestselling & #1 Amazon bestselling Timeless Romance Anthology series in Clean & Wholesome Romance, comes the Timeless Romance Singles line.

THE MATCHMAKING GAME: A brand new historical romance novella from bestselling author Donna Hatch.

Rowena’s childhood friend, Evan, has returned home from war a handsome, but mysterious stranger. In an effort to bring happiness to her father, not to mention uncover the Evan she remembers from their youth, Rowena seeks to unite their parents. Who better to match a lonely widow and widower together than their adoring children? Her matchmaking game could help their parents find happiness and draw out her childhood friend buried beneath Evan’s new reserve … or it could break more than one heart.


I love books by Donna Hatch and I'm always so excited to see a new one coming out.  This book is novella size, so it's a bit shorter in length.  I gobbled this book up in one sitting and loved every minute of it.

Stories about childhood friends turning into more is a classically fun premise.  Especially when there is a glitch in the system (like he's courting another girl!).  Curse Evan and his loyal, honor bound heart!  Just kidding.  Evan wouldn't be Evan without that honor.  Rowena is a friend I would like to have.  She is bright and happy.  Donna Hatch does such a good job of creating characters that feel real and sincere.  I love that.

This book was just fun.  It made me smile and left me feeling happy.  What more could I ask for?!

Content:  Clean, kissing

- I received a copy of this book in conjunction with this blog tour.  All opinions expressed are my own.

About the Author

Donna Hatch is the author of the best-selling “Rogue Hearts Series,” and a winner of writing awards such as The Golden Quill and the International Digital Award. A hopeless romantic and adventurer at heart, she discovered her writing passion at the tender age of 8 and has been listening to those voices ever since. She has become a sought-after workshop presenter, and also juggles freelance editing, multiple volunteer positions, and most of all, her six children (seven, counting her husband). A native of Arizona who recently transplanted to the Pacific Northwest, she and her husband of over twenty five years are living proof that there really is a happily ever after.

Tour Giveaway

- 1 winner will receive a print copy of Heart Strings by Donna Hatch (US only)
- 1 winner will receive an ebook of Heart Strings by Donna Hatch (open internationally)
- Ends April 22nd

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