Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Cookbook review of Char-Broil Grilling for the Family: 300 Delicious Recipes to Satisfy Every Member of the Family by Editors of Creative Homeowner

Title: Char-Broil Grilling for the Family: 300 Delicious Recipes to Satisfy Every Member of the Family 
Source: NetGalley
Genre: Cookbook
Reviewed by Laurie
Rating: 4

Let's Get Everybody Together for a Family Grilling Fiesta!

The best part of grilling is the shared experience of cooking and eating great food. Welcome to the definitive cookbook and how-to guide for memorable outdoor family meals, packed with recipes from America's favorite grill brand. Inside you'll find 300 mouth-watering ideas for delicious appetizers, main courses, salads, vegetables, and even desserts, all with easy step-by-step instructions and color photos. We've made sure to include plenty of suggestions on ways to include everyone in the family--from the youngest to oldest--when making a grilled feast.

- 300 flavorful new recipes for epic family cookouts.
- Backyard cooking tips for perfect hamburgers, drumsticks, kebabs, steaks, chops, ribs, fajitas, wings, sliders, skewers and more.
- 47 ways to use The Big Easy(R) for delicious fried turkey, rotisserie chicken, BBQ pork, roast beef and grilled vegetables.
- Tips on getting the kids involved with simple child-friendly tasks that they can do to help.

It’s that time of the year where we get our grills out and start cooking and you know you need a cookbook to help you with that right? LOL.

Char-Broil Grilling for the Family feathers over 300 recipes that will help you be the master griller with recipes for drinks, breakfast foods, meats, seafood, vegetables, salads, desserts and of course, great marinades, sauces, and rubs that will help you this summer and beyond.

The starting of the book gives you inside on different types of gills, woods to use, tools, and much more to help you make the most of your grilling. What I really liked best was the heating and temperature setting for different methods of grilling.

I would have given this book a 5 rating, but the images seem very generic for the time they spent on the recipes, but it could be because I have an ARC copy.

Historical romance review of Captain Easterday's Bargain by Kathleen Buckley

Title: Captain Easterday's Bargain 
Source: NetGalley
Genre: Historical romance
Reviewed by: Laurie
Rating: 3 
Sexual rating: Clean romance  

London's cutthroat shipping trade is no place for a lady, although Olivia Cantarell has secretly acted as her father's assistant for years. Now she has inherited his company, she has no mind to give up control over it—and herself—by marrying, however flattering it is to be sought after for the first time in her life. In spite of threats and intimidation, she will fight to keep her business. 

Careful, responsible, and twice jilted, Captain Marcus Easterday has no heart to attempt marriage a third time. But he cannot stand by and see a woman cheated of her livelihood by Ambrose Hawkins, rumored to be a former pirate, a man whose name is known and feared in ports from the West Indies to China. 

Courted by the ruthless Hawkins while relying on the scrupulous Easterday's help, Olivia must conceal the identity of one of her clerks and protect her company and employees. Who can she trust?

The first several chapters in this book had me totally confused, but I pressed on and by the end when I finally caught up to the story I started enjoying it. 

My biggest enjoyment in the story was Olivia, I loved her courage and how she stood up to the men, which is unheard of in this time and kept her father’s business running with Captian Easterday help.

Now, let’s get back to my confusion. The first few chapters are of Marcus Easterday and his betrothal  Mariah, which I assume it was to help get a backdrop but it ended up being too confusing and I almost quit, but I am glad I didn’t.

If you can press on several chapters until you really get into Olivia’s story and finally the romantic connection between her and Easterday, you just might enjoy this story. 

Field Guide to Urban Gardening: How to Grow Plants, No Matter Where You Live: Raised Beds - Vertical Gardening - Indoor Edibles - Balconies and Rooftops - Hydroponics by Kevin Espiritu

Title: Field Guide to Urban Gardening: How to Grow Plants, No Matter Where You Live: Raised Beds - Vertical Gardening - Indoor Edibles - Balconies and Rooftops - Hydroponics 
Author:  Kevin Espiritu
Genre: Gardening 
Source: Netgalley
Reviewed by Laurie
Rating: 5

In Field Guide to Urban Gardening, author Kevin Espiritu of Epic Gardening shares the basics of growing plants, offers tips on how to choose the right urban gardening method, and troubleshoots the most common problems you’ll encounter.

If you think it’s impossible to grow your own food because you don’t have a large yard or you live in the city…think again. There is a plethora of urban gardening options to create beautiful, productive edible gardens no matter where you live. The key to succeeding as an urban gardener is to choose the method(s) that make sense for your unique living situation and then give your plants what they need to thrive. Kevin helps you do just that.

But he doesn’t stop there. He also provides in-depth garden plans, from upcycled DIY projects and intensive hydroponic systems to beautiful and functional raised beds. Urban gardening is a real, growing, and important movement in today’s world. This fact-packed book is your roadmap to get growing today.

Urban gardening techniques featured include:
Container Gardening
Raised Beds
Indoor Edibles
Balconies and Rooftops

No matter how small your space is you can always find ways to have an urban garden. I have resided beds and containers so I had to see if this book could help me advance more into smaller spaces since my husband always complains about mowing around my gardens. LOL

This book is very detailed and will help you get into the new age of urban gardening, it’s so much better to know where your food is coming from and gardening in any form can help relieve stress. You get great images along with detailed information that will walk you through step by step and if you look up the author he also has a website with tons of information that will help you.

I highly recommend this to anyone that is new or advance gardening.

Book review: Looking at Jewelry: A Guide to Terms, Styles, and Techniques by Susanne Geansicke, Yvonne J Markowitz

Title: Looking at Jewelry: A Guide to Terms, Styles, and Techniques 
Authors: Susanne Geansicke,  Yvonne J Markowitz 
Source: NetGalley
Genre: Art reference
Reviewed by: Laurie 
Rating: 5
Release date June 25th 2018

What is a cabochon? What are the various types of gilding? What is vermeil? This accessible book—the first of its kind—offers concise explanations of key jewelry terms. The fascination with personal adornment is universal. It is a preoccupation that is primal, instinctive, and uniquely human. Jewelry encompasses a seemingly endless number of ornaments produced across time and in all cultures. The range of materials and techniques used in its construction is extraordinary, even revolutionary, with new substances and methods of fabrication added with every generation. In any given society, master artisans have devoted their time, energy, and talent to the fine art of jewelry making, creating some of the most spectacular objects known to humankind.

This volume, geared toward jewelry makers, scholars, scientists, students, and fashionistas alike, begins with a lively introduction that offers a cultural history of jewelry and its production. The main text provides information on the most common, iconic, and culturally significant forms of jewelry and also covers materials, techniques, and manufacturing processes. Containing more than eighty color illustrations, this guide will be invaluable to all those wishing to increase their understanding and enjoyment of the art of jewelry.

I recently started making handmade jewelry and have been looking for a book to help take me deeper into the art of jewelry. This book did that and so much more. 

This book gives you history, detail of material that is used in making jewelry, different techniques, and anything that has to do with any type of jewelry past or present you’ll find in this book. You also get nice images of works of jewelry makers past and present.

Once you start reading you’ll notice right of the bat that there was a lot of research that went into this book, that will help newbie – advance jewelry makers which are looking into knowing more about the craft.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Book review of Growing Your Own Tea Garden: The Guide to Growing and Harvesting Flavorful Teas in Your Backyard by Jodi Helmer

Title: Growing Your Own Tea Garden: The Guide to Growing and Harvesting Flavorful Teas in Your Backyard 
Author: Jodi Helmer
Source: NetGalley
Genre: Gardening and cookbook 
Reviewed by: Laurie 
Rating: 5

You Love To Drink Tea. Why Not Grow Your Own?

If you’ve ever considered raising your own tea, this comprehensive guide is the place to start. Growing Your Own Tea Garden is packed with inspiration and practical instructions for cultivating and enjoying delicious teas. Author Jodi Helmer helps you plan and plant a productive backyard tea garden, with sample garden designs and cultivation advice. She shows you how to choose the right crops for your soil and climate, starting with the tea plant (Camellia sinensis) and going on through a comprehensive survey of tisanes, or herbal teas. Discover how to grow the full range of herbal infusions that make wonderful teas, from flowering chamomile and lavender to chicory roots, rose hips, lemon verbena, peppermint, aromatic bergamot and more. Jodi shows you how to harvest, dry and store your tea to enjoy all year long, along with brewing tips and creative recipes.

Inside Growing Your Own Tea Garden

· Everything you need to know to create a healthy, bountiful tea garden and enjoy high quality tea

· How to grow dozens of crops that make marvelous teas, herbal infusions and decoctions

· Sample tea garden designs, including instructions for growing tea in container gardens and raised beds

· Understanding the differences between black tea, green tea, white tea and herbal tea

· How to dry and store your leaves for consumption on cool autumn days

· Let it steep: how to brew the perfect cup of tea

If you’re like me love growing all kinds of herbs and tea this book is for you. This book will help you learn what leaves have vitamins and nutrients and how to brew them. 

I really enjoyed the history of tea section so informative as a matter of fact, this whole book is full of useful information, heck I never know you could use blackberry leaves in for tea either.

Are you wanting to kick the habit of those carbonated no healthy syrup drinks? Well, grab this book pick some herbs you would like, buy the dirt and containers and get to growing. I plant most of my herbs into containers so they are easy to keep up with and handy to cut off when needed so this book just adds more excitement for me to use more of my herbs.  Oh, and don’t forget a lot of flowers are great in tea, yep, this book covers it all herbs, fruit, and flowers.

Highly recommend to anyone that would like to expand their tea drinking horizons.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Cookbook review of The Keto All Day Cookbook: More Than 100 Low-Carb Recipes That Let You Stay Keto for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner by Martina Šlajerová

Title: The Keto All Day Cookbook: More Than 100 Low-Carb Recipes That Let You Stay Keto for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner  
Author: Martina Šlajerová
Genre: Cookbook
Source: Netgalley
Reviewed by Laurie
Rating: 4

In The Keto All Day Cookbook, best-selling author and creator of the KetoDiet blog Martina Slajerova compiles her best recipes for every meal of the day (even snacks)—plus 17 new ones, accompanied by nearly 40 gorgeous new photos—to help you stay the keto course, deliciously!

Keto is the top-trending supportive diet. Bolstering its reputation is research that strongly suggests that a keto diet may help reverse diabetes, obesity, cancer, and the effects of aging. However, in order to reap the benefits, you need to stick to the keto plan at every meal. That can be challenging when eating breakfast during your commute or figuring out what to eat for dinner after a long day. And what to do about lunch? Especially when your lunch "hour" maybe 10 minutes at your desk. With Keto All Day you won't be tempted to blow your keto diet on a carb-filled snack or a processed convenience meal simply because you are tired, rushed, or just don't know what to prepare.

Enjoy tasty, flavorful recipes for snacks and meals, such Breakfast Egg Muffins, Pizza Waffles, Carrot Cake Oatmeal, Southern Duck Deviled Eggs, Eggplant Parma Ham Rolls, and Taco Frittata. Keto All Day even has recipes for delicious drinks and desserts, including Cookie Dough Mousse, Boston Cream Pie, and Raspberry Lime Electrolyte Cooler.

Reap the benefits of the amazing keto diet in a delicious way with Keto All Day.

After watching the video on Netflix about the Keto diet, I wanted to see how easy or hard it was to live off of this diet, I must say even as easy as this cookbook gave instructions, there is no way, I could do it daily. I guess I am a huge grain eater. LOL

Martina Slajerova knows how to make recipes easy to read and follow, each recipe is very detailed and explained very easy, so anyone could follow and the book has great pictures.

Now, as for the diet itself, there are ingredients in here I have never heard of or even seen before in my lifetime and that is saying something because I have always used harder recipes with ingredients that made me Google or look up in books, but quite a few of these are just really questionable. I am sure Amazon has every ingredient that is offered in this cookbook, but the thing is I am not an online grocery shopper so if my local Kroger doesn’t carry the ingredient then it’s a no go for me and some of these ingredients are not at my local market.

I would definitely recommend this for experienced Keto cooks.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Cozy Mystery book Review for Murder in an Irish Pub (Irish Village Mystery #4) by Carlene O'Connor

Title: Murder in an Irish Pub (Irish Village Mystery #4) 
Source: NetGalley
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Length: Novel
Reviewed by Laurie
Rating: 4

When competing card sharps stir up Siobhán O'Sullivan’s quiet Irish village, a poker tournament turns into a game of Hangman . . .

In the small village of Kilbane in County Cork, for a cuppa tea or a slice of brown bread, you go to Naomi’s Bistro, managed by the many siblings of the lively O'Sullivan brood. For a pint or a game of darts—or for the poker tournament that's just come to town—it’s the pub you want.

One player’s reputation precedes him: Eamon Foley, a tinker out of Dublin, called the Octopus for playing like he has eight hands under the table. But when Foley is found at the end of a rope, swinging from the rafters of Rory Mack’s pub, it’s time for the garda to take matters into their own hands. Macdara Flannery would lay odds it’s a simple suicide—after all, there’s a note and the room was locked. But Siobhán suspects foul play, as does Foley’s very pregnant widow. Perhaps one of Foley’s fellow finalists just raised the stakes to life and death.

With conflicting theories on the crime—not to mention the possibility of a proposal—tensions are running high between Siobhán and Macdara. Soon it’s up to Siobhán to call a killer’s bluff, but if she doesn’t play her cards right, she may be the next one taken out of the game . . .

New author and series to me and I enjoy the story and mystery, it kept me guessing all the way.

I also, enjoyed how clean this book was of cussing and I how the author used terms real Ireland people would use today it made me feel as if I was right there.

What I would have loved to read more of is setting descriptions and a bit of background of the characters even though it can become respective to the people who have read the series but to those of us who just randomly pick a book up, it helps to keep a bit on track of who is who and what they are doing even though it is respective to some. So, if you haven’t picked up this series I would suggest starting with book one to make sure you don’t get lost like I did a few times.

Now, I need to go pick up book one so I can get all the happens, of who is who from the beginning. 

Friday, March 1, 2019

Review for Growing Winter Food: How to grow, harvest, store, and use produce for the winter months by Linda Gray

Title: Growing Winter Food: How to grow, harvest, store, and use produce for the winter months
Author:  Linda Gray
Genre: Garden
Source: Netgalley
Reviewed by: Laurie
 Rating: 4

Grow Healthy Winter Produce

Grow your own keeper crops for the chilly days of winter—and you'll be sure of putting the freshest, tastiest produce, packed with goodness, on your kitchen table! Growing Winter Food is the essential gardening guide for those who want to enjoy their garden's output all year round. This easy-to-follow book shows you how to grow your own fruit and vegetables for winter use and includes detailed cultivation advice on each crop, along with nutritional value, recipe ideas, and storage suggestions.

Inside Growing Winter Food

• How to choose crops that you can grow and preserve so you’ll have fresh vegetables over the winter.

• Practical information and growing advice for all the most commonly grown winter foods: roots, legumes, green vegetables, herbs and fruits.

• Easy-to-follow instructions for sowing, maintenance, harvesting, and general gardening techniques.

• All the basic techniques you need to know, from preparing soil to using cloches and containers to dealing with pests and diseases.

• Handy plant profiles cover how to grow, plant, care for, save seeds, harvest, and preserve.

• Perfect for those with limited gardening experience, with gardens big or small.

Although some may see this title as a bit misleading if you keep reading you find this book is based on how to grow food and the best methods of storing for winter for your eating enjoyment.

This a book is not only a great reference garden books with lots of helpful tips, but you’ll also find recipes, storing, nutrients, care and maintenance, harvesting and transplanting for each individual vegetable.  I really liked the nutrients, care and maintenance sections, they were all explained very well.

I recommend this book for any level gardeners

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Cozy Mystery review: Dead as a Door Knocker (House-Flipper Mystery #1) by Diane Kelly

Title: Dead as a Door Knocker (House-Flipper Mystery #1) 
Author: Diane Kelly 
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Source: Netgalley
Length: Novel
Reviewed by: Laurie

The first in a brand-new cozy series from Diane Kelly set in Nashville—where the real estate market is to die for.

Meet Whitney Whitaker. A hopeless romantic when it comes to real estate, she knows what it takes to find—and flip—the home of one’s dreams. A fixer-upper is like catnip to Whitney: she can’t resist the challenge of turning an eyesore into a priceless work of art. So when one of her clients decides to liquidate a crumbling property, Whitney seizes the opportunity to purchase it for a song. But soon a curious incident of the cat in the night-time leads to a change in tune. . .

Sawdust is the name of Whitney’s cat—of course. Whitney’s passion for gut-renovation may be a mystery to him but one thing Sawdust knows for sure is this: Dead bodies don’t belong in flower beds. So why is there one in this new, albeit old, house? Now it’s up to Whitney, along with the help of hot-and-cold Nashville Police Detective Collin Flynn, to find the truth about what happened before the mortgage property forecloses and Whitney loses her investment. . .and maybe her own life.

Living 20 minutes east of Nashville, I had to try this series, and while it had a slow beginning for me, it did not disappoint very solid mystery.

This is the first mystery I read where you have to wait for a few chapters before the murder happens and I think this is why I felt it being slow, but during that time you get to know more about the characters so while I did enjoy it I was still waiting and waiting for the murder to happen. LOL

Things I really enjoyed, Sawdust personal chapters and yes, the cat has his own mini-chapters so cute, the story settings, characters and since I was never able to guess who done it, I will be on needles waiting for the next murder to happen in Nashville so I can see Whitney in action again. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Cozy mystery review of A Literal Mess (Allie Cobb Mystery #1) by J.C. Kenney

Title: A Literal Mess (Allie Cobb Mystery #1)  
Author: J.C. Kenney 
Source: Netgalley
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Length: Novel 
Rating: 3
Reviewed by: Laurie 

The first book in a new series featuring Allie Cobb brings the New York literary agent back to her Hoosier home town where a mysterious death keeps everyone on spoiler alert . . .

Allie Cobb left home for the literary circles of Manhattan to make her name out from under the shadow of her legendary father. Now his death brings her and her rescue cat Ursula back to the southern Indiana town of Rushing Creek, population: 3,216. But a tragic new chapter hits the presses when the body of her father’s hard-drinking, #1 bestselling client is found under the historic town bridge. The local police suspect foul play and their prime candidate for murder is the author’s daughter—Allie’s longtime friend.

Determined to clear her beastie, Allie goes into fact-checking amateur detective mode while trying to ignore the usual rumormongers. Those with means, motive, and opportunity include the vic's ex-wife, his rejected girlfriend, the mayor, and a rival agent trying to mooch clients. With a rugged genealogist distracting her and the imminent Fall Festival about to send tourists descending on their once-peaceful hamlet, Allie needs to stay alive long enough to get a read on a killer ready to close the book on a new victim: Allie . . .

I really liked the storyline, the setting and I loved the clues the author places for you along the story, what I didn’t like was Allie character seemed to be a bit stuck up from time to time and there are times when she goes to questions suspects that he is a bit out of sorts with them. Allie is also instructed to a bit of romance so you get a bit of romantic dialog too, which was great for the first book in the series. If you have never given thought about what goes on behind the scenes of writing a book this story will take you into some of the things that take place during writing. 

I recommend this book for any cozy mystery lover that wants a light read. 

Monday, January 14, 2019

Cozy Mystery review of Deceased and Desist (A Tallie Graver Mystery #3) by Misty Simon

Title: Deceased and Desist (A Tallie Graver Mystery #3) 
Author: Misty Simon
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Length: Novel
Reviewed by: Laurie 

Window of opportunity . . .

Most housecleaners don’t do windows, but Tallie Graver loves leaving a pane of glass streak-free and sparkling. After a dirty divorce from a filthy-rich jerk, she's started her own cleaning business to make ends meet. On her latest job, prepping a renovated bed and breakfast for a grand re-opening, she's standing outside on a ladder, wiping off a grimy pane, when she spies a man on a bed through the glass. But the B&B isn't open for business yet—and the man's not sleeping. Her family owns the Graver Funeral Home, so Tallie knows a corpse when she sees one.

The victim is a shady building inspector with a reputation for handing out passing grades for a greased palm. With the local police resistant, Tallie launches her own investigation, before she gets a rep as a town crank. But it's going to take more than a squirt bottle and a squeegee to clean up this mess. With the help of her gal pal Gina, Tallie searches for a killer's motive. But she'd better be careful, or it'll be curtains for this window cleaner . . .

My first book by this author and I really liked it, it was a bit different read to me as in I have never read a cleaning lady sleuth before so it was quite enjoyable. I liked Tallie she didn’t let anyone stop her from doing what she does best snooping and finding the murder. The author kept me guessing all the way so kudos to her on creating a great mystery.
The only downside is a few of the characters in the story really seems to pick on Tillie and her getting involved with this being the third book this leaves me to wonder if they don’t do it all the time and if they do, this would get my goat.  

This being my first book from the series I never found I was missing anything important enough to have to go back and read the first of the series. 

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Cookbook review of Not Your Mother's Cast Iron Skillet Cookbook: More Than 150 Recipes for One-Pan Meals for Any Time of the Day by Lucy Vaserfirer

Title: Not Your Mother's Cast Iron Skillet Cookbook: More Than 150 Recipes for One-Pan Meals for Any Time of the Day  
Genre: Cooking
Reviewed by: Laurie  

The cast-iron renaissance is heating up, and Not Your Mother's Cast Iron Skillet Cookbook is here to show you how to make the most of these great pans!

Modern cooks are realizing that grandma's had it right when she cooked with the big cast iron skillet. Cast iron has the incredible ability to spread heat quickly and evenly to create a crispy, seared surface that locks in freshness and flavor.

Author Lucy Vaserfirer knows how to work magic on cast iron, and in Not Your Mother's Cast Iron Skillet Cookbook she shows you how to prepare more than 150 recipes that are definitely not the kind of fares your grandmother cooked up. You'll get to see how to cook up vegetables (something previously thought to not be possible on cast iron); see how cast iron is the perfect vessel for cooking all types of fish and shellfish; and even how you can use your skillet for baking.

Not Your Mother's Cast Iron Skillet Cookbook is loaded with recipes that keep up with specialty diets like paleo and no meat, and even includes unique ways to bring your cast iron directly to the table as a serving vessel. So don't wait, just because your grandmother swore by her cast iron doesn't mean it's boring!

This book works for great for a beginner and an advance cast-iron cook. The first part of the book introduces you to how to care and use your cast-iron then comes the great recipes from breakfast to dessert this cookbook will give you a recipe for every meal.
Let me just say the biscuit recipe alone is totally worth the kindle price that is how amazing they were. I am not a newbie to cast-iron and have backed several different recipes of biscuits in my cast-iron but nothing like the amazing taste of these.  
Recipes are easy to follow the only downside to the books was it just needed more pictures of the finished products. 

Monday, December 24, 2018

Cozy Mystery review of Claws for Celebration (Cat Lady Mysteries #3) by Linda Reilly

Title: Cozy Mystery review of Claws for Celebration (Cat Lady Mysteries #3)  
Author: Linda Reilly
Source: NetGalley
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Length: Novel
Reviewed by Laurie  
Rating 5 

Feline deadly this Christmas . . .

Whisker Jog, New Hampshire, celebrates all things Christmas, and few things are more beloved than the town’s annual holiday cookie competition. Lara Caphart, who runs the High Cliff Shelter for Cats with her Aunt Fran, is waiting for the green light for a brand-new category: pet-friendly cookies. But when the woman filling in as a last-minute judge dies after sampling someone’s Santa-themed treat, Lara’s recipe for healthy cat snacks will have to be put on the back burner.

The victim, Gladys Plouffe, was the town’s roundly despised former home economics teacher. The chief suspect is the mother of Lara’s best friend, who was hellbent on walking away with the bake-off’s cash prize. Cryptic clues from beyond the grave only deepen the mystery, pointing to a cat with striking blue eyes—a cat who bears an uncanny resemblance to Lara’s mysterious Ragdoll. As Lara begins a dangerous game of cat and mouse, not even her significant other may be able to stop a perfectly clawful killer from getting away with the purr-fect crime . . . 

Linda Reily creates great characters and edge of your seat mysteries that will keep you coming back for more. I totally love this series and hope it never ends.

Caws for Celebration, is my favorite so far, in the series. I enjoyed the twist of the cookie contest and I really enjoyed how the mystery began, who would have ever thought a library book would be the start of an awesome mystery.

If you love cozy mysteries this series is a must try. 

Friday, December 21, 2018

Dump Cake Magic: The No-Bowl, No-Mess Method of Fuss-Free Baking by Anne Schaeffer

Dump Cake Magic: The No-Bowl, No-Mess Method of Fuss-Free Baking 
Author: Anne Schaeffer
Source: NetGalley 
Genre: Cookbook
Length: 128 Pages 
Reviewed by: Laurie 
Rating 3 

Short on time or just looking for a quick and easy dessert? With no dirty bowls and no tedious mixing time, you can toss together a delicious dessert in just minutes. No wonder dump cakes have skyrocketed in popularity lately--they're perfect for busy bakers. All you have to do is layer your ingredients right in the pan that you are going to use to bake, and pop it in the oven. What comes out is a delicious treat! Dump Cake Magic offers more than 75 creative recipes for tarts, pies, cookies, bars, cakes, and more. Perfect for spur-of-the-moment baking, moist dense cakes like Lemon Blueberry, cobbler-type desserts like Peachy Butter Pecan, or rich brownie creations like Orange Chocolate Truffle are a "piece of cake." Layer upon delightful layer, desserts have never been easier. And clean-up? It's a snap!

 I was really looking forward to this book, but it just didn’t hit the spot for me. I did enjoy that each recipe had images and that they walked you through each step, but I didn’t care for the complete image of the featured recipe being at the end of the recipe. I guess I am used to the standard all images of the full recipe being at the beginning of the recipe.  

The majority of the recipes you have to use store-bought cake and cookie mixes and with times being like that are now, I along with many others have quit buying all of the processed foods so I was again left disappointed.

When I review a cookbook or baking book I always at least make one or two recipes. I chose to make the Chocolate Mocha Cake and wasn’t impressed with the taste or texture.

I am sure this book is great for a lot of cooks out there, but it’s just not something I would keep on my cookbook shelf to grab every day. 

Monday, December 10, 2018

Cozy mystery review of Death and Daisies (A Magic Garden Mystery #2) by Amanda Flower

Title: Death and Daisies (A Magic Garden Mystery #2) 
Genre: Cozy Mystery 
Length: Novel
Source: NetGalley
Reviewed by: Laurie
Rating: 4  

Florist Fiona Knox left behind her gloomy life for a magical garden in Scotland, but a murder on her shop’s opening day spells doom.

Fiona Knox thought she was pulling her life back together when she inherited her godfather’s cottage in Duncreigan, Scotland—complete with a magical walled garden. But the erstwhile Tennessee flower shop owner promptly found herself puddle boot-deep in danger when she found a dead body among the glimmering blossoms. One police investigation later (made a trifle less unpleasant by the presence of handsome Chief Inspector Neil Craig), and Fiona’s life is getting back on a steady, though bewitched, track. Her sister Isla has just moved in with her, and the grand opening of her new spellbound venture, the Climbing Rose Flower Shop in Aberdeenshire, is imminent.

But dark, ensorcelled clouds are gathering to douse Fiona’s newly sunny outlook. First, imperious parish minister Quaid MacCullen makes it undeniably clear that he would be happy to send Fiona back to Tennessee. Then, a horrific lightning storm, rife with terribly omen, threatens to tear apart the elderly cottage and sends Fi and Isla cowering under their beds. The storm passes, but then, Fi is called away from the Climbing Rose’s opening soiree when Kipling, the tiny village’s weak-kneed volunteer police chief, finds a dead body on the beach.

The body proves difficult to identify, but Kipling is certain it’s that of the parish minister. Which makes Fiona, MacCullen’s new nemesis, a suspect. And what’s worse, Isla has seemed bewitched as of late…did she do something unspeakable to protect her sister? The last thing Fiona wanted to do was play detective again. But now, the rosy future she’d envisioned is going to seed, and if she and Craig can’t clear her name, her idyllic life will wilt away in Death and Daisies, national bestselling author Amanda Flower’s second enchanting Magic Garden mystery.

I enjoy the mystery sounding the minister’s death and Fi’s sister being added in the story brought a good hominess to Fi and I enjoyed her continued love interest with the chief inspector, they seem so great together, but I missed the whimsical elements that were in the first book surrounding the garden. You do get a few clues about the mystery of garden in this instilment but the garden was not center of the mystery as it is in the first book.

All, in all, the story is very entertaining I just missed reading and learning more about the garden and the magic it holds in the town and I look forward to the next installment.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Love with a Notorious Rake (Men of Wollstonecraft Hall #3) by Karyn Gerrard

Title: Love with a Notorious Rake (Men of Wollstonecraft Hall #3) by 
Author: Karyn Gerrard 
Source: NetGalley
Genre: Historical romance 
Rating: 5
Sexual: 4
Reviewed by: Laurie 

He's as dangerous as he is irresistible...

The heir to his family's fortune, Aidan Wollstonecraft is ready to put his prodigal ways in the past and prove himself worthy of his illustrious name. Going undercover in a factory to expose the wretched working conditions, Aidan believes his noble act will lead him to a better future. Until he's reunited with the sweet beauty who saw him through his darkest days. Cristyn Bevan stirs him like no other woman before. Makes him yearn to claim her, despite the damning curse that dooms any Wollstonecraft wife to an all-too-early death...

To fall for Aidan would be her undoing. Yet, something about the blue-blooded scoundrel draws Cristyn to him like a moth to a deadly flame. Is it a desire to heal him that keeps the lovely nurse close? Or her secret hope that somehow, some way, Aidan can let go of his dark past and see the light—and the love—waiting for him?

This book is an emotional roller coaster that will take you into our past and even present working conditions.

First off I want to say kudos to the author for the amount of research that she had to have put into writing this book. People tend to think child labor was thousands of years ago, but it really wasn’t and even in the 1920’s America corporations was still using child labor and even today several countries including China still uses child labor so keep that in mind while you are paying for cheap goods.

I have loved Cristyn’s character since I first meet her, I knew she was a strong willed and minded woman of her time and she just proves this in hers and Aidan’s story.  These two go into horrible working conditions to help those that don’t have the means to help themselves and before you know it they are working together to fight for those less fortunate, this is true romance at its best.

Warning this story is not for the faint of heart if you love kids, but for those of you who buy cheap goods, you really need to read this to find out what real child labor is all about and this is why I look high and low for made in the USA or any country goods that don't have child labor and I will pay more for these goods because of things such as this.

I recommend this to everyone, you need to remember our past and present in child labor and you get a good romance story along with it.