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Mac n’ Cheese days and other random thoughts

Lots of people complain about cool, rainy days.  Especially once we start to head toward the middle of May.  In my area it’s a good thing to have them because we got barely any snow this winter and I’m worried we’ll have problems come summer due to the lack of melt.  So I’ll take rainy days when they come our way.  Even without fear of drought I love a good rainy day, the kind of day where you curl up with a book (or e-reader) and a cup of tea.  The sort of day where you make cookies, casseroles or soups.  In honor of today’s rain and my second full day of not having a job I made mac n’ cheese.  11-year old cheddar from the Thousand Islands, some ‘green’ (or non aged) cheese which is like a mild cheddar with onion, mustard powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, butter and yummy panko breadcrumbs.

It just came out of the oven and tastes wonderful.  God, I missed cooking.

Yesterday I read The Last Boyfriend (Inn BoonsBoro Trilogy #2) by Nora Roberts. I love me some La Nora.  Yeah, the stories are predictable and it’s the same basic plot over and over but I love relationship novels and she writes a hell of a relationship.  This was also a friends to lovers story which is wonderful to read as well.  So I’m looking forward to the next one which is out in November.  She cranks them out quickly but not quickly enough!!!!

What else?  The girl child has driven the car to school both days this week.  It still kind of freaks me out that she’s old enough to drive.  Her prom was last weekend and I nearly lost it during the grand march.  She looked so grown up and I can still remember when I took her home from the hospital.  I’ve got a picture of her in my head when she was about a year old.  She is in diapers and a t-shirt with my toothbrush – using it to brush her hair and looking at me with this sweet, innocent smile.  She still looks at me with that sweet, innocent smile but while wearing shorts and a sweatshirt and while asking to take the car to the mall!  Time flies.

Speaking of time flying – there are not too many mac n’ cheese days left before summer settles in so if you don’t mind…I’m going back to eating.

Category: 4 Stars, Cooking, I read too!, Scraps  Comments off

The Bro-Magnet by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

The Bro-Magnet by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Very clever book that had me laughing out loud from beginning to end. Written in the male 1st person POV The Bro-Magnet tells the story of 33-year old Johnny, a guy’s guy who has lousy luck with women.

There is a strong cast of supportive characters, all amazingly well developed for a story written in the 1st person. What I really liked is that every character is functional, there are no deep dark secrets, no baggage to deal with, and no deep mystery to solve. Straight up character driven The Bro-Magnet gives us a man trying desperately trying to impress a woman and a woman trying desperately trying to impress a man. It shows how far we will go when we are looking for love.

Not sure if there are going to be more books set in this particular world. While all the story lines were wrapped up I would actually like to read Sam’s story.

I’ll be looking for more from this author and I recommend this book for anyone who likes light hearted, sweet romances.

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Crash Into You (Loving On The Edge, #1) by Roni Loren

Crash Into You by Roni Loren

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Good read! Though there was a BDSM club involved and D/s scenes it kind of felt like BDSM lite to me. The characters were well developed, both main and secondary. Developed enough that I’ll happily purchase the 2nd book that deals with the hero’s best friend.

The mystery kind of got lost within the personal conflicts and issues of the main characters, there was a rather huge secret revealed near the end of the book that didn’t get the build up or page attention you would expect.

There was a m/f/m menage that, while not my favorite style, was very well done and hot. Overall the smex was quite hot and well written.

Being a character driven romance fan I do wish all of the focus had been on the relationship between Reid and Brynn because heaven knows they had enough baggage between the two of them to fill up several books! 🙂

Over all I liked the book and while not quite an auto buy author for me I’ll be making another purchase.

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The Geek Job by Eve Langlais

The Geek Job by Eve Langlais

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was my first read by Eve Langlais and while I wasn’t blown away I’ll go back for more.

It was a slow starter – lots of telling and not a lot of showing – and I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to like Lexie all that much. As she shed the persona she needed to adopt in the beginning of the book I warmed up to her much more. I enjoyed Anthony when he was a beta but not so much as an alpha. Don’t get me wrong, I love my alpha heroes but I enjoy a well written beta. Anthony was that. The change to alpha was rough and abrupt though well written.

Towards the end of the book there were a few discoveries that opened up a world of ethical questions and possibilities for more books. Well done, that.

Overall I enjoyed this read and would recommend it to those who like erotic paranormal romance.

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307: TWDP – Nobody’s Hero by Kallypso Masters

Nobody’s Hero by Kallypso Masters

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Well done Kallypso Masters. Nobody’s Hero, Adam and Karla’s story, had me catching my breath and had my throat tightening with tears so many times I can’t even list them.

There were quite a few times I wanted to slap Adam upside the back of the head and I was pretty sure Karla was some sort of a saint. The brief exploration of total power exchange was interesting, the Shibari was the most erotic and best I’ve ever read and the sex was off the charts hot.

I’m a fan of the May-December Romance and this one was presented very well – acknowledging the differences in age while still focusing on what Adam and Karla had in common.

It was wonderful to see Marc and Angie from Nobody’s Angel again. Loved the way the consequences of Marc’s lie continued to ripple and I do hope to see more of that in future books. Cassie, Karla’s best friend and Adam’s future HEA (I hope), makes an appearance as well. It was nice to get to know her a bit better and doing so made me release just how much she and Luke will have to fight for their HEA.

Missed seeing Luke in this book – he had several mentions but no page time. Wonder what he has been up to!

Also had the set up for Damian and Savi’s relationship, which I believe will be the next book. That’s going to be another fight towards HEA.

Overall a wonderful book. This one had a few more editorial mistakes but nothing more than I’ve seen in other published (both self and traditional) works.

I’m really looking forward to the next installment in the series.

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313 – TWDP – Unwrapped by Cari Quinn

Unwrapped by Cari Quinn

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I’ve enjoyed other books by Cari Quinn so the purchase of this title was a no brainier to me. I’ve also enjoyed lots of books from Loose ID. In the end though this book was … okay.

It started out good, I was engaged and enjoying it and somewhere around the middle of the sex’o-thon weekend I lost interest. Too much sex maybe? Lots of sex that tried to take the place of an actual relationship. While the three in this menage had been friends for years I had a hard time accepting them becoming lovers. Cait, the heroine, was pretty judgmental at the beginning but does redeem herself. I didn’t like the plot bunny that was her youngest sister though. It felt like a cheap shot I guess. Tristan and Matt, the heroes, never quite became real to me. The ‘reveal’ of their relationship was somewhat of a let down and the very end of the book – I’ll be honest, after the reveal I skimmed until the end.

I gave it two stars because I did enjoy the beginning and early middle and because there was m/m in the menage, which is a requirement for me. However this is not a book I’d read again and I don’t think I’d recommend.

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327: Review – To Command and Collar by Cherise Sinclair

To Command and Collar by Cherise Sinclair

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow! Just…wow! Its taken me a few days to formulate a review for this book. Not because I didn’t like it but because it was such a different experience from my other Cherise Sinclair books.

To Command and Collar continues the slavery story line started with the last book, Make Me, Sir. It is not, in anyway, a shiny and happy book. Its dark, intense and deeply emotional. Yet its also a story of hope.

Kimberly, kidnapped and now up for sale for a second time in a BDSM slavery ring, has been horribly abused both emotionally and sexually.

Master Raoul is a civilian tapped by the FBI to attend a slave auction to gather information and get invited to a larger event.

When he recognized Kimberly as the missing friend of Gabi (from the previous book) that, mixed with his own strong attraction to her, convinces him to go off program and buy her.

What follows is the story of Kimberly’s slow recovery and discovery of her submission/slave needs, Raoul’s slow but deep fall into love with a broken woman with an amazing spirit and the continued investigation and operation to take down the slavery ring.

This is a tough book to read but a compelling story about the power exchange and dynamics in a D/s relationship. While the sex is erotic and hot it is also about how a Dom pushes a sub through emotional issues in the context of their relationship.

One of the things that fascinates me about the D/s relationship is how it is portrayed to go so much more deeply than sex.

I’m a Cherise Sinclair fan, make no mistake, but I don’t say I love this book as a fan-girl. I say it because at the heart it is a novel about relationships. The complex relationship between Raoul and Kimberly, seeing the continued relationships between previous Doms and subs introduced in the previous 5 books in the series. Also, w00t, the seeds being planted for a relationship between Sam and Linda.

Sinclair continues to grow and develop her craft and it continues to be a pleasure to read. Thanks for the great book Ms. Sinclair and I can’t wait for your next offering.

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336 – TWDP. Another review :)

Nobody’s Angel by Kallypso Masters

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

And hello Kallypso Masters! You knocked this right out of the park for me! Nobody’s Angel placed you firmly on my auto buy list (also included are Cherise Sinclair, Shannon Stacy, Moira Rogers, and more here because you created such amazingly flawed characters who redeemed themselves and got their HEA in the end.

This is the story of Marc and Angelina – a Dom who has never really dominated and a sub who didn’t even realize she was one. Watching these two characters run from each other emotionally while not being able to keep away from one another physically was so enjoyable!

I was very drawn to the tenderness that Marc showed Angelina, who had had a horrible experience with her first and only foray into BDSM. Also arresting was Angelina’s bravery in the face of very real and valid fears.

Their dance was beautiful to watch.

The ‘secret’ was unexpected really but done very well, drawing in all the other characters in the book. We got glimpses into the lives of the Master’s we’ve already been introduced to and we met Luke who I am already madly in love with. And Adam, I’m madly in love with him too….but I digress…

The world is very well developed and Ms. Masters really did deliver on the promise of her characters in Masters at Arms. We learned more about Karla (Adam’s HEA I hope), a bit more about Damian and we met Luke’s HEA and man, does that already look like it’s gonna be an epic story!

Bravo Kallypso Masters. You’ve successfully drawn me lock, stock and handcuffs into this world. I’ve fallen in love with all of your characters and you’ve painted me such beautiful pictures I can’t wait to come visit again. I thought the conflict cleared up a bit quickly and forgiveness was handed out pretty easily to all involved. However it didn’t take away from the story! To be honest I hope that Allen is redeemed in another book (hint, hint).

My recommendation – BUY and BUY now. If you enjoy erotic BDSM romance and authors like Cherise Sinclair you’ll really enjoy this.

On an aside – these books are self published and you would NOT know it. The formatting was perfect (for my Nook, book purchased at B&N), there were no spelling or grammatical errors that I remember and story maintained it’s pace and direction.
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337 – TWDP – I’ve missed days but here is a book review!

Masters at Arms by Kallypso Masters

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Kallypso Masters nearly, nearly lost me with in the first few pages of this book. It was devastatingly sad and I was not happy. I don’t read to be this sad and feel this despondent. And I was a bit skeeved out by the very, very early stages of a May-December romance (Adam’s heroine). Then I thought – wait a sec – someone who is making me feel this deeply this quickly into a book? That’s damn well written and developed.

And I moved forward.

And nearly gave up with the beginning of every story because none of them made me happy or made me feel good. Again, that’s not what I read for. But I was warned by the author’s note, and you should be too. There is nary a HEA to be found and it was, in essence, what felt like an epic info dump. It was a prologue contained in its own book.

Yet I really enjoy this genre and the author really did draw me in to every Master’s story. Each Master was written excellently. Their different levels of needing to dominate, their experience level and their ‘voice’ shone through what I normally would not have enjoyed.

Personally I don’t feel I needed to read this book to enjoy the next in the series Nobody’s Angel however it was extremely well written. For that reason, if you don’t mind prologues and you can deal with no HEA and having your heart broken until each Master’s book then this is for you!

And read my review for her next book, I really enjoyed it and will be going back for more!

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The beauty of a rainy day

The past few days have been hot and humid – a marriage made in misery.  To say I’m not a fan of either would be an understatement!  So while I’ve always loved a cool, rainy day it’s especially welcome following the sticky weather we’ve had.  There are, I’m sure, quite a few people upset because today is a holiday and not exactly beach weather.  This weekend is the unofficial end of summery and I’m throwing my party hat in the air!  Good riddance heat and humidity.  Bring on the crisp, cool fall days and nights.  Bring on the apples, pumpkins and Indian Corn.

But rainy days…ahhh…they are beautiful to me.  The kind of days made for curling up with tea and a book or for baking in the kitchen.

I’ve got some Zucchini in the kitchen and an awesome recipe I want to try out.  I’ll report back on my success or strike out.

Recipe courtesy of Good Life Eats:

Zucchini Apple Spice Muffins

  • 5 cups grated fresh zucchini
  • 1 cup grated apple
  • 3/4 cup melted unsalted butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 4 teaspoons baking soda
  • Pinch salt
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 5 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • couple dashes of ginger
  • Zest of 1 medium orange

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, eggs, vanilla, and applesauce. Mix in the grated zucchini and apple and then the melted butter. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and ginger. Add these dry ingredients to the zucchini mixture. Fold in the orange zest.

Line muffin cups with paper liners. Divide batter evenly among cups – I used a scant 1/4 c per muffin. Bake on the middle rack until muffins are golden brown, and the top of the muffins bounce back when you press on them, about 25 to 30 minutes. Set on wire rack to cool for 5 minutes. Remove muffins from the tin let cool another 20 minutes (if you can wait that long!).

Note: this was a double batch from the original recipe, in addition to a few other changes. Recipe made approximately 3 dozen.

Category: Baking, Cooking, I read too!, Scraps  Comments off