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Showing posts from February, 2017

Good Clean Food: Super Simple Plant-Based Recipes for Every Day by Lily Kunin

Genre: Cookbook
Publisher: Abrams
Release Date: March 7, 2017



Good Clean Food's author admits from the start that while her plant-based diet truly improved her quality of life, it may not have the same effect on everyone. I appreciate that honesty. That said, I also do feel that many of the recipes in her cookbook and healthy-eating guide have incredible merit.

The book begins with a bit of insight into why she opted to start eating this way. The personal stories add depth to the cookbook and drew me in. Next up is a list of equipment you need to create the recipes within, such as a blender, food processor, and strainer. From there it goes into the ingredients that should always be on hand.

Once these informational sections are done, she dives right into the recipes. Recipes are suitable to both vegetarians and vegans. You'll learn how to make plant-based milks, like almond milk or hazelnut-hemp milk. Some have ingredients that may be difficult to find in your area. I've n…

The Guests on South Battery by Karen White

Setting: Charleston, SC
Genre: Paranormal
Publisher: Penguin
Release Date: January 10, 2017



I did feel as though I'd stepped into an ongoing saga as I started The Guests on South Battery. I stopped and checked and sure enough, this is the latest in a five-book series. Don't get me wrong, the book hooked me, but I also felt that I'd missed some backstory between Melanie and Jack.

In The Guests on South Battery, Melanie and Jack's twins are now 10 months old, so Melanie's heading back to work as a realtor. It's hard enough leaving her babies, but it's even harder when Melanie's first client is a young woman who inherited a local house that seems to be haunted. Melanie's client, Jayne, only wants Melanie to sell the house and find something newer for Jayne to buy, but it's not going to be that easy. Melanie sees the spirits, but there seems to be an invisible curtain that's preventing her from getting a full sense of why this house is being ha…

Take Me Back by Rosalind James

Setting: Paradise, Idaho
Genre: Contemporary Romance/Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Release Date: February 28, 2017



Hallie Cavanaugh never planned to step foot back into Paradise, Idaho.  When her father suddenly dies, she is required to attend his funeral or else.  That was the way of her father - his way or no way.  She learned that all too well when she was younger.  Her mother divorced her father way back when, leaving her alone to face the full brunt of his ruthlessness.  Still, she went to see what it was all about, planning on returning to Washington as soon as it was over.
However, Henry Cavanaugh was even ruthless from his grave.  In order for her get her inheritance, she had to stay in Paradise, in his house, for six months straight.  That might be all fine and good except the will also stated she couldn't have sex with Jim Lawson for the said six months, among other things.  Well, she had no plans on doing that (again).  She remembered all too well what …

Girl 99 by Andy Jones

Setting: England
Genre: General Fiction/Humor
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Release Date: February 14, 2017



When his girlfriend dumps him right before Christmas, Tom's not as devastated as one might think. He's had plenty of experience with women - from affairs with co-workers to distant acquaintances - and Sadie was number 85, so she's definitely not the first and won't be the last. It's this little tidbit that leads to the dare Tom accepts.

His friend sets an unusual wager on the table. Tom has a few months to bring the total number of women he's slept with to an even 100. He takes on the challenge, as he knows it won't be any problem at all.

Just as everything's going great, Tom comes across number 99. Verity is more than he ever expected to find. She may just be the woman he's been looking for.

The humor in Girl 99 is there and definitely has the British wit I grew up with and appreciate. That said, I did struggle to connect with Tom. I love…

Turn Towards the Sun by Emma Davies

Setting: Rowan Hill, England
Genre: Women's Fiction
Publisher: Lake Union
Release Date: February 9, 2017



After spying a job ad seeking a helper in a quiet community that's home to several artists, crafters, and such, Lizzie hopes she'll land the job. Her childhood and young adulthood were a mess, and Rowan Hill offers the chance to start anew. Her interview goes well and she lands the job, but in reality, her troubles are only beginning.

It isn't long before things happen within the community and all eyes look at Lizzie as the cause. From ruined handmade furniture to missing orders, Lizzie's place within the community is threatened. She's certain she's not to blame, but can she unravel the truth before she's fired and sent on her way?

Turn Towards the Sun got off to a bit of a slow start. This is actually the second book in the Rowan Hill series, so I had to adjust to the characters' relationships and the community itself. When the mysterious happen…

After You Were Gone by Alexis Harrington

Setting: Gila Rock, Texas
Genre: Western Romance
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Release Date: February 7, 2017



Set in the small Texas town of Gila Rock, Mitchell Tucker has come home after spending seven years in prison.  His only goal is to make amends with Julianne Emerson and then get the heck out of there.  Some things are harder said than done because Julianne wants nothing to do with him and won't even let him come near her.  He doesn't really blame her, after all he killed her husband all those years ago and went to prison for it. Setting fire to the barn had been done in a fit of jealousy, but he'd never meant to hurt Wes.  He just wants a chance to do whatever he can to help her now.
Julianne can't believe Mitchell thinks to show up and get forgiveness from her.  She lost not only her husband in the fire, but afterwards she lost the baby as well.  Times have changed and she no longer can afford to feel for Mitchell what she used to feel.  She now has to sell her…

Sugar by Kimberly Stuart

Setting: New York and Seattle
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing
Release Date: February 7, 2017



As the talented pastry chef at New York's L'Ombre, Charlie Garrett is tired of being underappreciated. When her former beau offers her a position in Seattle in his new restaurant, she jumps at the chance to move across country. There, she has creative freedom to come up with a new dessert menu. What he doesn't tell her is that she's also about to be dragged into a reality cooking show that will change her life.

When Charlie meets Kai, a local diner owner, she falls hard. However, balancing her new job and celebrity status with a new romance is tougher than she could ever imagine. She may have no choice but to really decide if a personal life is more important than her dream career.

Sugar hooked me from the start. I don't always agree with Charlie's decisions, but I loved seeing how she'd come out. I was definitely rooting for her and Kai a…

Fly! by Xavier Deneux

Genre: Board Book
Publisher: Chronicle Kids
Release Date: March 7, 2017



Fly! is a Touch, Think, Learn book. It's a lot of fun to read and play with. While the story tells the tale of a couple of birds that meet and have a family together, there's an interactive nature thanks to the removable pieces that children will move from page to page to act out the narrative.

Geared for ages three and four, I found myself really enjoying the story too. It's colorful and easy to read, which is perfect for the beginning reader. Sentences are never too long ("Bird arrived at the foot of the tree.") and the pictures capture the action. Pieces children can remove include birds, the sun, different sections of the nest, the egg shell pieces, and then the apple from an apple tree.

Xavier Deneux's book is a must-have. It's one of the better books to cross my desk, and one that I'm so glad came my way.



The Nearness of You by Amanda Eyre Ward

Setting: Texas
Genre: Women's Fiction
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Release Date: February 21, 2017



A history of severe mental health issues keeps Suzette Kendall from wanting to pass on her genes to any child, but she and her husband still want kids. Together, the couple finds a surrogate and begin the journey to parenthood.

Dorrie seems like the perfect woman to carry their child to term, but nothing in this journey goes as planned. What follows is a very emotional journey full of twists and turns.

The Nearness of You is told from several perspectives. Each chapter begins with a clear announcement of who is speaking, so there's never any confusion. I found myself engrossed in their story and all the problems and celebrations they encounter along the way.

Amanda Eyre Ward painted a very emotional story of motherhood. It starts in the present, goes back in time, and then travels forward again with an ease that lures you to keep reading. It's definitely a one sitting kind of …

Always by Sarah Jio

Setting: Seattle, Washington
Genre: Women's Fiction
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Release Date: February 7, 2017



Kailey seems to have it all. Her fiance, a man who comes from a rather prominent family, is taking her out for another romantic dinner. She never expects their night out to take a shocking turn. While waiting for Ryan to get the car, she spies a homeless man sitting on a nearby bench. Looking into his eyes, she realizes she's found her long-missing boyfriend, Cade McAllister.

Kailey was madly in love with Cade. They were soul mates, and she never could figure out why Cade vanished. He was the partner in a very successful record label, had plenty of money, many friends, and seemed to be sitting on top of the world. Yet, one day, he just vanished without a trace, leaving Kailey shocked and heartbroken.

As a reporter, she's already working on a case involving Seattle's homeless, so she dives in to uncover what happened to Cade. Along the way, she must make the c…

My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella

Setting: England
Genre: Chick Lit Publisher: Random House Release Date: February 7, 2017

Katie Brenner's trying to live out her dream of working for a top marketing and design firm in London. She just wishes she had it all like her boss, Demeter. Demeter has the perfect husband, family, house, and job. Katie just needs to get Demeter to recognize her skill and, perhaps, her name. Especially now that there's a guy in Katie's sights that makes London more fun than ever. It all goes awry when Katie is fired. With nowhere to turn, she returns to her father's farm and helps her stepmother and father launch their holiday retreat, complete with yurts and farm animals.
With her skills, Katie's able to create promotional materials that draw flocks of people to their newly opened vacation retreat. When Demeter shows up and doesn't seem to recognize Katie, Katie has the chance to get even, but the more she learns of Demeter, the more she realizes she may have misjudged e…

Somebody Like You by Donna Alward

Setting: Darling, Vermont
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release Date: February 7, 2017



Set in the fictional town of Darling, Vermont, Donna Alward's latest romance makes me wish spring would seriously arrive, sooner rather than later! The setting certainly captures the charm of many smaller Vermont cities and larger towns, and the characters draw you in and make you feel like part of the community.

At the age of five, Laurel Stone and Aidan Gallagher's sweet childish pose on Darling's Kissing Bridge became a great way to market the town's allure. It's been 20 years, and in that time, Aidan broke Laurel's heart. Back in town after a painful divorce, Laurel wants nothing more for her nursery/gardening store to thrive.

Unfortunately for Laurel, her return to town is plagued by vandalism and theft. As Aidan is a member of the town's police force, Laurel finds herself seeing far more of him than she wants. He's grown up and i…