Archives for February 2016

Blue Apron: Goat Cheese & Kale Quiche

Hi, Everyone!

In an effort to spend less time meal planning and more time reading I decided to give Blue Apron a try. It costs less than taking the whole family to a restaurant, and it seemed like a fun way to add some new recipes to my repertoire.

Tonight: Goat Cheese & Kale Quiches with Butter Lettuce & Chive Salad

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Don’t you just love my yellow countertops?

 

Look, Ma! Green stuff!

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One of my farm eggs arrived broken, so I had to swap it out for a plain old regular grocery store egg. For some reason, this seems important enough to tell you guys.

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So listen. I’m not sure who’s in charge of these recipes, but after my first round or two of following them, I’ve learned a very important lesson:

DO NOT ADD SALT AND PEPPER EVERY TIME THEY TELL YOU TO.

Seriously. Waaaaaay too salty.

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This recipe was another winner, but with each quiche coming in at a whopping 1,013 calories (OUCH), I’d have to do some major renovating to serve this again.

NEXT TIME:

  • ignore the recommendations for adding salt and pepper
  • seriously. no one needs that much salt
  • use more eggs and way, WAY less ricotta
  • pop the whole thing into one regular sized pie crust

DID MY KIDS EAT IT: Why yes, yes, they did.

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nom nom nom ricotta

 

Happy Reading (and eating!),

melissasig

Julie’s Review: Saving Sophie by Ronald H. Balson

Saving Sophie

Saving Sophie 
written by Ronald H. Balson
published by St. Martin’s Griffin, 2015

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Book Depository, Goodreads

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange  for an honest review.

Did I enjoy this book: 
For the most part, yes. I found some of the historical and geographical information a bit banal, but it provided necessary background and the plot kept me interested.

Jack is an accountant who finds himself in a dangerous situation involving terrorism, murder and embezzlement as he mourns the death of his wife and kidnapping of his daughter. He is desperate to stay alive and retrieve his daughter from her grandparents in Hebron. Aided by lawyer and PI team Catherine and Liam, as well as CIA operative Kayla, Jack puts his life on the line to find his daughter Sophie. I found myself caring about Jack and Sophie and in the same token somewhat irritated by the unoriginal Catherine and Liam. Although predictable, the plot did provide enough suspense to keep me reading.
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Would I recommend it: Yes, to those who enjoy historical fiction with a touch of suspense.

 juliesig

 

About the book – from Goodreads: From the author of Once We Were Brothers, Liam and Catherine team up again to investigate an embezzlement case, and discover a link between their prime suspect, a kidnapping, and a terrorist cell.

Jack Sommers was just an ordinary accountant from Chicago. That is, until his wife passed away, his young daughter was kidnapped, and he became the main suspect in an $88 million dollar embezzlement case. Now, Jack is on the run, hoping to avoid the feds long enough to rescue his daughter, Sophie, from her maternal grandfather, a suspected terrorist in Palestine.

With the help of the investigative team who first appeared in Once We Were Brothers, Liam and Catherine, and a new CIA operative, a secret mission is launched to not only rescue Sophie, but also to thwart a major terrorist attack in Hebron. But will being caught in the crossfires of the Palestine-Israeli conflict keep their team from accomplishing the task at hand, or can they overcome the odds and save countless lives, including their own?

Saving Sophie is the powerful story of the lengths a father will go through to protect his daughter, alongside the religious and political persecution of a nation caught in a civil war. This action-packed thriller will take you on an unforgettable journey of murder and deception, testing the bonds of family and love along the way.

 

efchappy

Boost It Tuesday! – February 23, 2016

boost-it-TuesdayEFC

Have you noticed that despite ALL of your Facebook “Likes” you are only “reaching” a very small portion of those followers? Does that bother you? It bothers us, and we want to boost each other up. Link up with Every Free ChanceCandace’s Book Blog, & If These Books Could Talk for  Boost It Tuesday!

 

What is Boost It Tuesday, you ask? Well, we want to help each other out. We are a great community of bloggers and authors, and we should be supporting each other. Share your Facebook address below, then visit the Facebook pages, like 3-5 posts, share or comment on 1 or 2 posts. That’s it. You don’t have to “like” the page if you don’t want to, just “like” some posts. Let’s help expand each other’s page reach. Who knows! You may find a new blog or author to follow along the away. Please be aware that any non-Facebook links will be deleted.

 

Here are some tips for Boosting. A big thanks to Kate at If These Books Could Talk for the image!

Boost It Poster

 

As an added bonus, Candace, Kate, and I will be hosting a giveaway each week just to say thanks for the boost!

 

For this week’s giveaway, head over to the Every Free Chance Facebook page and answer the question in the Boost It post!

 

We’d love more guest hosts!!

If you would like to host the giveaway on your Facebook page one week, please fill out the form below. Be sure to notice the rules.

Click Here to Sign Up to Host the Giveaway

 

Remember: Like, comment, and share!  Let’s all give each other a boost!


 if these books could talk
 

efchappy

Blog Tour: Sleight of Hand by Sue Duff (Sara’s Review)

Sleight of HandSleight of Hand (Book 3: The Weir Chronicles)
written by Sue Duff
published by Crosswinds Publishing, 2015

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble (Nook) (print), Amazon, iBooks, Book Depository, Goodreads

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Did I enjoy this book: 
I sure did! Seeing as how I already read (and raved) about the first two books, this doesn’t come as a surprise. (You can read my reviews here: Fade to Black and Masks and Mirrors.)

This installment of the Weir Chronicles, however, did come with some surprises and lots of excitement! There was never a dull moment, between poisonings, kidnappings, and several (REALLY unexpected) twists, I was always fully engaged in the story. I was so excited to learn more about Jaered; I’ve been desperate to learn more about him and his back story since his first introduction, and we finally get the bigger picture in this story.

As I have now come to expect from Duff, her characters are complete and well rounded, without being totally predictable. I love these characters and I feel as if I know them. I have spent time with them. I share their joys, despairs, and adventures, which is what I look for in my books! Well done, Duff!

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Would I recommend it: Yes! By all means . . . but read Fade to Black and Mask and Mirrors first. You will thank me later!

sarasig

About the book – from Goodreads: The epic Weir Chronicles continues. The rebels poison Ian and it’s up to Rayne and Patrick to find a cure before their friend succumbs and Earth’s fate is left in the hands of adversaries intent on taking control of the planet. To obtain answers, Rayne must travel to an alternate world where few survive as Patrick unearths the secrets of the rebels and discovers a truth that shatters his beliefs about the Weir and the future of Earth.

 

 

Author Sue DuffAbout the author: Sue Duff has dreamed of dragons and spaceships before she could even read, so it’s only natural that she now combines both fantasy and science fiction as her favorite genre. Having written since high school, Duff never took it seriously until a skiing accident laid her up for an entire summer and she turned on the word processor to combat the boredom. A couple years later, her first urban fantasy novel, Fade to Black, was one of five finalists in the RMFW Colorado Gold Writing Contest and in 2015, Duff’s writing earned her the PEN Award.

She is the second oldest of six girls with an avid reader mom and her dad, the family’s single drop of testosterone in a sea of estrogen. By day, Duff is a dedicated speech-language therapist at an inner city school district, a career she pursued much in part to her aunt who got her hooked on stories of the profession when Duff was younger. She is passionate about the work she does and regularly works to help those students that need it the most.

Sue is a member of the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and The Pikes Peak Writers. She calls Colorado home and when not saving the world one page at a time, she can be found walking her great dane, getting her hands dirty in her garden, or creating

Check out her blog, A Cook’s Guide to Writing, and other musings on her website.

Find Ms. Duff here: web, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Instagram

 

SleightofHandTourBadge

efchappy

Blue Apron Subscription: Beluga Lentil Stew

Hi, Everyone!

In an effort to spend less time meal planning and more time reading, I decided to give Blue Apron a try. It costs less than taking the whole family to a restaurant, and it seemed like a fun way to add some new recipes to my repertoire.

Tonight: Beluga Lentil Stew & Squash Agrodolce

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Friends, I have a new go-to recipe for lentil stew. The red onion made a HUGE flavor difference; I’ll never make lentils without one again (the epic serving of butter I added at the end didn’t hurt either)!

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Maybe it’s because I have two kids under 4, but I’m beginning to realize the estimated prep times are for, you know, Super Ultra Chopper People Who Don’t Have Any Distractions. I started cooking around 5:30; dinner was on the table shortly after 7. That may seem like a really, really long time, but guys, not only did I make this recipe, I also fed a baby, bottled a baby, changed a diaper, scolded a 3-year-old for running his baby sister over with his bike, and answered two phone calls, all without burning anything. I’d call it an average dinner prep night time-wise.

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If I make it again (which I’m going to . . . Husband LOVED it):

  1. add extra garlic (oh wait, I did that anyway. GARLIC IS NOM!)
  2. halve the red wine vinegar . . . it was yummy, but it overpowered all the other flavors
  3. forget the fancy breadsticks and pop open a tube of crescent rolls
  4. I’m pretty sure I’m going to say this about every recipe, but here goes: separate the garlic bulbs, plant them in the back yard so I don’t feel like I’m wasting them, and crack open my giant jar of pre-minced stuff. Because, you know, mincing garlic is yuck.

DID MY KIDS EAT IT: No. We didn’t share.

melissasig

Melissa’s Review: Warlord’s Wager by Gwynn White

Warlord's Wager (Crown of Blood #2)

Warlord’s Wager (The Crown of Blood Series, #2)
written by Gwynn White
published by 4XOverland, 2016

find it here: (affiliate links) AmazonGoodreads

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange  for an honest review.

Did I enjoy this book: 
I didn’t read the first book in the series, so I was expecting to be a little bit lost, and I was, at first. Lucky for me, White does a great job recapping and flashbacking, so by the end of the first few chapters I had a pretty good feel for what I’d missed in Book One. I wish I’d have had a bit more background knowledge of just what sort of world I was jumping into, but I have no one to blame but myself for that.

Warlord’s Wager is exciting, but I get the feeling I’m in for the long haul with this series. I’ve bonded with Axel, Lynx, and Tao, and I don’t *want* to wait sixteen years to see how their story ends. If I ever get a Free Chance (Heh. See what I did there?) I’d love to go back and read the first book, Rebel’s Honor, just to fill in a few details that are still nagging at me. Hm, you know? Maybe I WILL have a chance now that I’m letting Blue Apron do my meal planning . . . 

 

GOLDEN LINE

“. . . the consequences of our choices are not of our choosing.”

 

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Would I recommend it: I think so, yeah. I get the feeling we’re going to be with these families for a few generations. =)

melissasig

About the book – from Goodreads: 
The addiction continues . . .

The war in Treven has shifted to Axel’s conscience. Torn between loyalty and love, he has to decide whether he’s willing to risk everything to protect Lynx, his family, and the people of Chenaya from Lukan’s brutal ice crystal dreams.

Warlord’s Wager brings back Lynx, Axel, Lukan, Felix, and Tao for another adventure full of intrigue, war, politics, and romance. If you are not hooked, you are reading the wrong book

 

efchappy

DNF: The Boy Who Granted Dreams by Luca Di Fulvio

The Boy Who Granted Dreams

The Boy Who Granted Dreams
written by Luca Di Fulvio
published by Bastei Entertainment, 2015

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Goodreads

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange  for an honest review.

Where I stopped reading: 25%

Why I stopped reading: I should have liked this book, but I couldn’t get into it. There is a lot of rape and violence that takes away from the story and its characters. I know that sometimes a character can overcome a certain situation, but this book was not moving fast enough and there was no promise of overcoming anything. So sadly, I’m not going to finish it.

ginasig

What others have rated this book: According to Goodreads, the average rating for The Boy Who Granted Dreams is 4.09 stars. It looks like a majority of readers gave this book 5 stars. 61% of the reviews on Amazon are 5 stars. At Barnes & Noble, there is one 5-star review. Just because I didn’t finish this book doesn’t mean you won’t.

About the book – from Goodreads: 1909. Ellis Island. Arriving off one of the many transatlantic freighters are Cetta Luminita and her illegitimate baby boy Natale, fleeing the poverty and violence of their Southern Italian hometown. Having sacrificed everything, and endured every possible shame, Cetta has but one wish: that her baby should be an American, and grow up with the freedom to decide his own destiny. As they alight, US Immigration officials give Natale a new name: Christmas.

Growing up in the Lower East Side of New York with his mother, who works as a prostitute, Christmas is determined to be a success, whether a decent person or a gangster. The city is ruled by gangs from each community, Italian, Jewish and Irish, and survival is dependent on ruthlessness and strength. But Christmas has a vivid imagination, and an ability to tell stories that people want to believe…and thus is born his imaginary gang, the Diamond Dogs, which earns him respect within the ghetto. All this changes the day he saves the life of a rich Jewish girl Ruth, and despite their different backgrounds, he falls hopelessly in love with her. When circumstance tears them apart, Christmas vows that he will find her, by any means possible.

A sweeping saga of love and hate set in the Roaring Twenties, The Boy Who Granted Dreams is the story of Christmas and Ruth; the story of the dawn of radio, Broadway and Hollywood; and above all, a story about believing in the power of dreams.

 

efchappy

Chrissy’s Review: I Was Here by Gayle Forman

I Was HereI Was Here
written by Gayle Forman
published by Viking Juvenile, 2015

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble (Nook) (print), Amazon, iBooks, Book Depository, Goodreads

Did I enjoy this book: 
Can you say that you enjoyed a book about overcoming a loved one’s suicide? Well, I did enjoy this book. Yes, it was sad, depressing. and emotional. But it was also raw, interesting, and un-put-downable. I started it and I had to finish it.

Cody is struggling to come to terms with her best friend’s suicide. The friend who seemingly had everything. It is told from Cody’s perspective, trying to figure out why Meg killed herself. That journey was a hard one. I admired Cody’s courage to do what she did, but I also worried about her safety–both mentally and physically. She did some dangerous stuff to get to the bottom of things. There were times that I just didn’t like Cody. And there were a few things I didn’t quite understand, but those things were minor and didn’t affect the story for me. The story, for me, was more about Cody than Meg. Part of me wishes it was called “I’m Still Here” because that’s the sentiment I imagined Cody, Ben, Meg’s family–especially Scottie–Meg’s roommates, and even All_BS felt throughout the book.

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Would I recommend it: Yes, it was a good read.

chrissysig

About the book – from Goodreads: 

Cody and Meg were inseparable.
Two peas in a pod.
Until . . . they weren’t anymore.

When her best friend Meg drinks a bottle of industrial-strength cleaner alone in a motel room, Cody is understandably shocked and devastated. She and Meg shared everything—so how was there no warning? But when Cody travels to Meg’s college town to pack up the belongings left behind, she discovers that there’s a lot that Meg never told her. About her old roommates, the sort of people Cody never would have met in her dead-end small town in Washington. About Ben McAllister, the boy with a guitar and a sneer, who broke Meg’s heart. And about an encrypted computer file that Cody can’t open—until she does, and suddenly everything Cody thought she knew about her best friend’s death gets thrown into question.

I Was Here is Gayle Forman at her finest, a taut, emotional, and ultimately redemptive story about redefining the meaning of family and finding a way to move forward even in the face of unspeakable loss.

 

 

efchappy

Boost It Tuesday! – February 16, 2016

boost-it-TuesdayEFC

Have you noticed that despite ALL of your Facebook “Likes” you are only “reaching” a very small portion of those followers? Does that bother you? It bothers us, and we want to boost each other up. Link up with Every Free ChanceCandace’s Book Blog, & If These Books Could Talk for  Boost It Tuesday!

 

What is Boost It Tuesday, you ask? Well, we want to help each other out. We are a great community of bloggers and authors, and we should be supporting each other. Share your Facebook address below, then visit the Facebook pages, like 3-5 posts, share or comment on 1 or 2 posts. That’s it. You don’t have to “like” the page if you don’t want to, just “like” some posts. Let’s help expand each other’s page reach. Who knows! You may find a new blog or author to follow along the away. Please be aware that any non-Facebook links will be deleted.

 

Here are some tips for Boosting. A big thanks to Kate at If These Books Could Talk for the image!

Boost It Poster

 

As an added bonus, Candace, Kate, and I will be hosting a giveaway each week just to say thanks for the boost!

We have a guest host this week!! Check out EskieMama Reads.

 

 

For this week’s giveaway, head over to EskieMama Reads Facebook page and answer the question in the Boost It post!

 

We would love more guest hosts!!! If you would like to host the giveaway on your Facebook page one week, please fill out the form below. Be sure to notice the rules.

Click Here to Sign Up to Host the Giveaway

 

Remember: Like, comment, and share!  Let’s all give each other a boost!


 if these books could talk
 

efchappy

Blog Tour: Not Always Happenstance by Rachael Anderson (spotlight, giveaway)

Not Always (1)

Blog Tour Schedule

 

Not Always Happenstance

Not Always Happenstance
written by Rachael Anderson
published by

find it here: (affiliate links) Amazon, Goodreads

About the book – from Goodreads: Lani has lived in Hana, Hawaii for five years. She’s learned to surf, fish, dive, and manage her grandmother’s bed and breakfast. She’s also learned to take one day at a time the way it should be taken—relaxed and unrushed, savoring every moment.

But, like a large wave on the brink of breaking, her life is about to crash out of control. A proposal of marriage, a conniving grandmother, a cryptic Asian woman, and a handsome guest, and suddenly everything calm begins to churn, everything clear becomes confused, and all that was normal segues into peculiar.

As Lani struggles against the current to hold her ground, she realizes that she can either continue to fight and eventually lose, or take a take a leap of faith, hold her breath, and ride the wave wherever it takes her.

***This book is part of the Power of the Matchmaker series that features one recurring character—the match maker—but it is a STAND-ALONE novel.***

 

RachaelAbout the author: USA Today bestselling author, Rachael Anderson is the mother of four and is pretty good at breaking up fights, or at least sending guilty parties to their rooms. She can’t sing, doesn’t dance, and despises tragedies. But she recently figured out how yeast works and can now make homemade bread, which she is really good at eating.

Find Ms. Anderson here: WebsiteFacebookTwitter, Goodreads

giveaway
$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Ends February 29, 2016 – Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or PayPal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter, or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
efchappy