I was bored today...

Sunday, July 27, 2014

...so I made cupcakes!


I found this recipe for White Almond Sour Cream Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting a few days ago on Julie's website, The Little Kitchen and decided to give them a try today!

For Love or Loyalty: MacGregor Legacy, Book One by Jennifer Hudson Taylor (My Review)

Monday, July 21, 2014

For Love or Loyalty
by Jennifer Hudson Taylor
Copyright 2013
Abingdon Press
ISBN: 9781426714696
The Story:
To atone for her father's evil, Lauren Campbell agrees to help Malcolm MacGregor. By the time she realizes she's the bargaining price to free Malcolm's mother from indentured servitude, it's too late.

Malcolm MacGregor only wants to free his family and exact revenge against Duncan Campbell. As the pride and joy of Duncan's life, his daughter Lauren is the perfect answer, but during the voyage to America, her faith continues to witness to Malcolm. He becomes enraptured with her, and upon their arrival, discovers he's sold her into a fate worse than death. Now Malcolm has the dilemma: free his family or rescue Lauren? Time is short and with little means, he needs a miracle.

To read more about the book and the author, visit Jennifer's website:
http://jenniferswriting.blogspot.com/

Biking the Great Allegheny Passage

Thursday, July 10, 2014

I just got back from a 30 mile ride on the Great Allegheny Passage bike trail (seriously, if you love wildlife and coal/steel history, this trail is AWESOME!) and am proud of my accomplishment. I know, I know, a guy passed me on the trail wearing a shirt bragging that he biked 12,000 miles in 2009 so 30 might not seem like a big deal, but it totally is for a couch potato like me! I've never went for more than 15 miles, so doubling up and going 30 is huge! It's time I got a little more fit and since I don't have a gym membership and I don't like to run or jog, biking was the answer. I hope to hit the trails more often and hopefully go even further next time.

Hope at Dawn by Stacy Henrie (My Review)

Monday, July 7, 2014

Hope at Dawn
by Stacy Henrie
Copyright 2014
Hachette Book Group
ISBN: 9781455598809
The Story:
IN A TIME OF WAR, LOVE IS THE INSPIRATION.

With her brothers away fighting the Great War overseas, Livy Campbell desperately wants to help her family. Her chance comes when she meets a handsome stranger who lands her a job as a teacher in a place far from her parents' farm. But the war casts a long shadow over the German-American town that Livy now calls home-and the darkness will test everything she thought she knew about family and love . . .

More than anything, Friedrick Wagner wants to be part of his adopted country's struggle for peace. But when the bitter animosity between Germans and Americans soon turns citizens against newcomers, friend against friend, he will do whatever it takes to protect Livy from the hysteria that grips their town. As tragedy-and dark secrets from the past-threaten their future, Friedrick and Livy have one chance to stand up for what's right . . . and one chance to fight for their love.

To learn more about Stacy Henrie be sure to visit her website:
http://stacyhenrie.com/


My Thoughts:
Some days just call for a sweet, simple romance -- Stacy Henrie's Hope at Dawn is that kind of read. Of Love and War promises to be a must-read series if the books that follow are half as good as the first. With series' like Downton Abbey bringing more interest to the World War I and the difficult years that followed, it's nice to be getting more books set during that time from authors across the romance genre. Henrie's Hope at Dawn is a "sweet" romance with Christian themes woven throughout that focuses not on the warfront, but what life was like for German Americans living in the US.

It's Official...

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

there's going to be a series 4 of Sherlock that will consist of not the traditional (or nontraditional, depending on how you look at it) three, but FOUR episodes! Filming starts in January '15 for the "special", with filming to begin later in the year for the other three episodes. ASDFGHJKL!!! I can't even!!!!!

Read the press release on the Masterpiece site.

Image from PBS.org


For Such a Time by Kate Breslin (My Review)

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

For Such a Time
by Kate Breslin
Copyright 2014
Bethany House Publishers
ISBN: 9780764211607
The Story:
Powerful Retelling of the Story of Esther 

In 1944, blonde and blue-eyed Jewess Hadassah Benjamin feels abandoned by God when she is saved from a firing squad only to be handed over to a new enemy. Pressed into service by SS-Kommandant Colonel Aric von Schmidt at the transit camp of Theresienstadt in Czechoslovakia, she is able to hide behind the false identity of Stella Muller. However, in order to survive and maintain her cover as Aric's secretary, she is forced to stand by as her own people are sent to Auschwitz. 

Suspecting her employer is a man of hidden depths and sympathies, Stella cautiously appeals to him on behalf of those in the camp. Aric's compassion gives her hope, and she finds herself battling a growing attraction for this man she knows she should despise as an enemy.

Stella pours herself into her efforts to keep even some of the camp's prisoners safe, but she risks the revelation of her true identity with every attempt. When her bravery brings her to the point of the ultimate sacrifice, she has only her faith to lean upon. Perhaps God has placed her there for such a time as this, but how can she save her people when she is unable to save herself?


My Thoughts:
When it comes to the story of Esther, I'm always intrigued. I've read a few retellings in my time and I've enjoyed most of them. Kate Breslin's debut novel, For Such a Time is one of those novels. While not perfect, it is certainly an interesting, thought-provoking, and dramatic read.

Hadassah Benjamin is saved from a Nazi firing squad only to fall into the hands of a potentially more dangerous foe, SS Colonel Aric von Schmidt. Keeping her Jewish identity a secret soon becomes top priority for "Stella". In order to save as man of her people as possible, she must also stay on the Colonel's good side. Little does she know that Aric is a multi-faceted guy and there is more to him than meets the eye.

Litfuse Blog Tour: Seagrass Pier by Colleen Coble (My Review)

Friday, June 27, 2014

Seagrass Pier
(A Hope Beach Novel, Book 3)
Copyright 2014
Thomas Nelson Publishers
ISBN: 9781595547842
The Story:
Seagrass Pier is the perfect place for Elin to hide from a killer, but an old love's ability to see her true heart could be her undoing. 

When Elin Summerall contracted a virus that damaged her heart, she was lucky to get a transplant. At first it was an overwhelmingly good gift. But then she began to remember a murder she never witnessed—the murder of her heart's donor.

When she reveals what she knows to a disbelieving police officer, she's exposed as a witness and must flee for her life to a remote cottage on Hope Beach.

Fearing what might happen to her daughter and mother, she asks Marc Everton for help, though she hasn't seen him since the night her father died. She remembers that night with shame, and she never told Marc about their daughter.

Marc is less than convinced that Elin's "memories" are real. He is blindsided by the news about his daughter, but for her sake, he agrees to help. Then he begins to notice the small ways Elin is different. She now likes coffee, her musical tastes have changed, and she's ditched her jeans and sneakers for dresses and high heels.

As Elin tries to stay alive and bring the killer to justice, she begins to doubt her own identity. Did her new heart save her life only to cause her to lose herself? And if she's really changed, why does her new heart love Marc just as much as her old one did?

Sneak a peek:


My Thoughts:
Colleen Coble's Hope Beach series is the perfect read if you're a landlocked beach lover like me. I've been pining away for the Outer Banks, but unfortunately my vacation isn't coming up anytime soon. Seagrass Pier was the suspenseful escape I needed.

Color of Danger by Alexa Verde (My Review)

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Color of Danger
Secrets of Rios Azules Series, Book 1
by Alexa Verde
The Story:
Former runaway Mari Del Lobo works hard to save her struggling restaurant and to trust people again. Dallas surgeon Dr. Luke Goodman turns her world upside down with terrifying news. A recent murder has her late brother's - aka the Smiling Killer - signature and MO. When attacks on her escalate, Mari fights her growing attraction to the good doctor as fiercely as she fights for her life. To rescue herself and those she loves, will she be able to stop the murderer before he strikes again? 

Luke couldn't save his fiancée from the Smiling Killer, but he'll do anything to prevent more murders, even ask help from the serial killer's sister. Finding a kindred tortured soul and the perpetrator's next target in Mari, Luke is determined to protect the stubborn ex-rebel. But Mari would rather face danger than risk the safety of the man she comes to love.


My Thoughts:
These past few months I've read a bunch of books on both ends of the spectrum, half have been lackluster and half have become new favorites of mine. Alexa Verde's e-book Color of Danger I'm happy to say has fallen into the latter category. I'm not usually overly fond of suspense unless it's written by writers on my tried and true authors list, so sometimes I'm a bit reluctant to give new authors a try, especially when I have so much on my plate. I am SO glad I had the opportunity to read the freshman release in the Secrets of Rios Azules series.

Great News for Fashionable Fangirls!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Captain America Cardigan from Her Universe
We all know of sites like Tumblr, Instagram, and Pinterest allow us to connect with people who are devoted to certain fandoms. I didn't realize that clothing companies like Her Universe and now Lucky Brand are creating gear so said fangirls can express their love of all things sci-fi and American auto design with cute, feminine styles to wear when it's time to step away from the computer and venture out into the wild! I have learned that the online store can be a beautiful place for the fangirl. 


Hydra Glow Plus Size Tee from Her Universe
Can you say geek chic? I am in love with the Captain America cardigan. If it's anything like their TARDIS sweater, which I own, it will definitely be a staple piece! Her Universe has been a favorite of mine for a few years, but they've really been adding a lot of cool new styles recently, including an all new Marvel line which was just announced late last week! A sweet bonus: They have plus sizes, so fangirls of almost every will look cool!

An OK Installment in the Port Aster Secrets Series

Monday, June 23, 2014

Blind Trust
Port Aster Secrets, Book 2
by Sandra Orchard
Copyright 2014
Revell Publishers
ISBN: 9780800722234
The Story:
Kate's not sure how deep this deception goes--but she'll do whatever it takes to find out. 

Kate Adams had no idea she was carrying counterfeit money and can't believe that it came from her sweet elderly neighbor. Or that it has landed her in the middle of another of Detective Tom Parker's investigations. Determined to prove her neighbor's innocence, Kate stumbles into a pit of intrigue far deeper than a two-bit counterfeit operation--and one that strikes too close to home for comfort.

As family secrets come to light, her world--and her budding romance with Tom--begin to crumble. To Kate, it's clear that she won't be safe until she uncovers all of Port Aster's secrets. But then will it be too late for her and Tom?


My Thoughts:
I loved that this story continued where the first one left off with the same characters, but sadly this just did not keep my attention like Deadly Devotion did. We're once again catching up with Kate Adams and Detective Tom Parker in the midst of a big mystery surrounding Kate and her family's past and the cutthroat business of pharmaceuticals. This story has the same familiar characters with a few new ones showing their faces, this time involving counterfeiting and poisoning. I will say this, Sandra Orchard definitely knows how to weave a storyline that is complex and intense even if a little predictable. I hated the fact that one of the characters who played such an important role in all the to do surrounding GPC, I had pegged pretty much from the beginning. Darn me and my Holmes-like deductive skills. That together with the fact that a large portion of the story focused on a plant wasn't that interesting to me. As a whole, this series is still one of the better ones I've read so far and I'm definitely planning on reading book 3 to see what happens next in Port Aster.

A Fun Summer Read: Pride, Prejudice and Cheese Grits by Mary Jane Hathaway

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Pride, Prejudice, and Cheese Grits
Jane Austen Takes the South, Book One
by Mary Jane Hathaway
Copyright 2013
Howard Books
ISBN: 9781476777504
The Story:
This hilarious Southern retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice tells the story of two hard-headed Civil war historians who find that first impressions can be deceiving. 

Shelby Roswell, a Civil War historian and professor, is on the fast track to tenure—that is, until her new book is roasted by the famous historian Ransom Fielding in a national review. With her career stalled by a man she’s never met, Shelby struggles to maintain her composure when she discovers that Fielding has taken a visiting professorship at her small Southern college.

Ransom Fielding is still struggling with his role in his wife’s accidental death six years ago and is hoping that a year at Shelby’s small college near his hometown of Oxford, Mississippi, will be a respite from the pressures of Ivy League academia. He never bargained for falling in love with the one woman whose career—and pride—he injured, and who would do anything to make him leave. 

When these two hot-headed southerners find themselves fighting over the centuries-old history of local battles and antebellum mansions, their small college is about to become a battlefield of Civil War proportions.

With familiar and relatable characters and wit to spare, Pride, Prejudice and Cheese Grits shows you that love can conquer all…especially when pride, prejudice, love, and cheese grits are involved! -

See more at: http://books.simonandschuster.com/Pride-Prejudice-and-Cheese-Grits/Mary-Jane-Hathaway/9781476777504#sthash.Iv3BLzH6.dpuf


My Thoughts:
Pride and Prejudice is one of the most well known novels in the world and it's no wonder it's still so popular 200 years after its publication. Jane Austen certainly knew what she was doing when she introduced Darcy to England and the rest of the world. As a result of its popularity, there have been many Austen inspired spin-offs courtesy of modern day authors -- some have become great successes (who knew P & P & Zombies would be a bestseller!?) and some have flopped. Pride, Prejudice and Cheese Grits by Mary Jane Hathaway is one of the most recently released stories based upon the classic tale and I'm happy to say I think it's a great success!