Archives for March 2017

Chrissy’s Review: Mixing It Up by Tracie Banister

Mixing It Up
written by Tracie Banister
published by Tracie Banister, 2016

find it here: (affiliate links) Amazon, Goodreads

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

Did I enjoy this book: 
I have really enjoyed Ms. Banister’s books, so I was really excited to read Mixing It Up. It was a fun read!

Cecily Sinclair is a successful TV chef and is entering a new phase of her career . . . with a co-star, the insufferable yet dashing Italian chef Dante Marchetti. These two have amazing on-camera chemistry. And let’s not forget the station’s new CEO, Devlin Hayes. He’s handsome, smart, and willing to take some risks.

The food is well researched. Ms. Banister describes the meals and dishes with great detail. You will definitely be hungry while reading this book. I know I was! The relationships are all different and interesting. I love the two male leads, but I think my favorite relationship was between Cecily and her cousin, Dina. They have a great relationship–one that is more like sisters than cousins. They are so different from one another but so close to each other.

This book is definitely filled with some heat, some good food, and some great romance!

 

Would I recommend it: Sure! But definitely read her other books, too! =) (You can check out my reviews here: In Need of Therapy and Twin Piques.)

 

Chrissy


About the book – from Goodreads: 
Born with a silver spoon in her mouth, Manhattan upper-cruster Cecily Sinclair now uses that pricey utensil to dish up fancy French fare on her cooking show, Serving Romance. When there’s an executive shake-up at the network, she’s not worried. Not much anyway. Her show’s a hit after all. Why would the new CEO want to mess with success?

The driving force behind several buzzed-about networks, Devlin Hayes is considered to be a wunderkind in the television industry. Although his plans to rebrand CuisineTV and make Serving Romance more Millennial-friendly don’t thrill Cecily, her charming, blue-eyed boss is a hard man to say “no” to and she really wants to keep her job—even if that means sharing screen time with a loathsome blast from her past.

Mercurial Italian chef Dante Marchetti a.k.a. “Il Duce” was once Cecily’s boss, and she has the PTSD to prove it. Now the owner of one of the hottest restaurants in town, Dante’s egomania knows no bounds and his constant attempts to provoke and upstage Cecily make her want to conk him on the head with a sauté pan. She thinks they’re toxic together, but viewers love their chemistry and clamor for more.

As Cecily battles to maintain the integrity of her show, she finds herself scheming and manipulating right along with Dante and Devlin. Is she fighting a lost cause? Does she really belong on TV, or would her culinary talent be better served elsewhere? And could one of the men who makes Cecily’s blood boil ignite a passion in her for something other than food?

 

 

About the author: An avid reader and writer, Tracie Banister has been scribbling stories since she was a child, most of them featuring feisty heroines with complicated love lives like her favorite fictional protagonist Scarlett O’Hara. Her work was first seen on the stage of her elementary school, where her 4th grade class performed an original holiday play she penned. (Like all good divas-in-the-making, she also starred in and tried to direct the production.)

Tracie’s dreams of authorial success were put on the backburner when she reached adulthood and discovered that she needed a “real” job in order to pay her bills. Her career as personal assistant to a local entrepreneur lasted for 12 years. When it ended, she decided to follow her bliss and dedicate herself to writing full-time. Mixing It Up is her fourth Chick Lit release, and in it Tracie finally got to live out her fantasy of being a Cordon Bleu-trained chef.

Find Ms. Banister here: blog, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Goodreads, Newsletter – The Banister Buzz

 

 

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My Favorite . . . Book Character — March 29, 2017

 

My Favorite . . . is a weekly meme hosted by Maureen’s Books. In this meme we share every week something we love with each other. Because let’s face it, the world can be a dark place and it’s time to share something positive.

 

Each week I will post a new My Favorite . . . post about one subject and I’ll tell you all about it. And the best part? Everyone is welcome to join. The only thing you’ll have to do is sign up on the weekly post, link back to that post, and visit others.

 

This week’s Favorite is: Book Character

 

That’s like asking me which of my children is my favorite!!! I love so many characters: Hermione, Molly Weasley, Harry Potter, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin . . . quite a few of the characters in Harry Potter . . . Elizabeth Bennet, Augustus Waters, Matt Archer, to name a few. =)

 

 

Molly Weasley. She’s my hero.

 

 

Joe from Little Women

 

 

Boost It Tuesday! – March 28, 2017

BIT banner

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 Chance BooksIf These Books Could Talk, and Between My Lines.

 

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

 

We will be featuring one blogger or author on the Boost It Tuesday post. We hope that you will visit that blogger or author and give their page a bit of extra BIT attention!

 

If you would like to be featured one week, please fill out the form below.

Click Here to Sign Up to Be a Featured Booster!

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

 



If These Books Could Talk,

 

    if these books could talk   Between My Lines
 

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Winter Reading Challenge: Navigating Life by Margaux Bergen (spotlight)

Navigating Life: Things I Wish My Mother Had Told MeNavigating Life
written by Margaux Bergen
published by Penguin Press, 2016

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

About the book – from Amazon: An inspiring, piercingly honest user’s guide to life, written for the author’s daughter and given to her on her first day of college, reflecting tough lessons about family, work, and marriage.

You learn a few useful things at school–the three Rs come in handy, and it’s good to know how to perform under pressure and wait your turn–but most of what matters, what makes you into a functioning human being, able to hold your own in conversation, find your path, know what to avoid in relationships and secure a meaningful job, no teacher will ever tell you. This diamond-sharp, gut-punchingly honest book of hard-earned wisdom is one mother’s effort to equip her daughter for survival in the real world.

Margaux Bergen began writing this book when her daughter Charlotte turned nine and gave it to her right after graduation from high school, when she was setting off for her first day of college. “I am not writing this to groom or guide you to professional or academic success,” she writes. “My goal is rather to give you tools that might help you engage with the world and flourish. . . . Think of this as a kind of developing bath-time wisdom.”

Wise, heartbreakingly funny, and resonantly true, Navigating Life has invaluable lessons for students of life of all ages. It will challenge you to lead a more meaningful life and to tackle the bumps along the way with grace, grit, style, and ingenuity. What The Blessings of a Skinned Knee did for the early years of parenting, Navigating Life does for the next, far more perilous chapter, when new graduates are cast out on the high seas and have to learn to swim and find their way by themselves.

 

Margaux Bergen

About the author: Born in Paris and raised in London, educated at Edinburgh University and living in Washington D.C., Margaux Bergen is the mother of three Millennials. She has worked in international development and women’s leadership. And is still learning the extreme sports of raising three children.

Find Ms. Bergen here: webFacebookTwitterGoodreads

 

 

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In the Kitchen: Blue Apron: Indonesian Spiced Salmon

In theKitchen

 

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: Indonesian Spiced Salmon with Freekeh & Marinated Radishes

 

 

Okay. I made this on a weeknight, so instead of spending the time to peel, mince, chop, etc while my children volunteered to clean their rooms and my husband encouraged me to take a long nap while he looked after the kids, I did this:

Delicately chop? Nah. We scissored the scallions quick and dirty like.

Marinade for sixteen hours? Nope. Toss those onions in a bag and let the 4-year-old shake the heck out of it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to peel and mince garlic: Step 1: Use a squeezy bottle instead. 2. Take a bath with the time you just saved yourself. Laugh at the haters.

 

If I make it again: So this dish was actually quite good. My favorite part was the radish and onion slaw, which I unceremoniously dumped on top of the salmon because wow. So. Good. I don’t think the salmon spices were make-or-break, nor was the freekeh (rice would’ve been just fine), but overall it was a decent meal. It’s not something I’ll be adding to the regular rotation, but I AM going to store that onion slaw in my memory banks. DELICIOUS side. Really. YUM.

Did my kids eat it: I mean, they really WANTED to, what with the weirdly named grains and six kinds of onions, but I forced them to eat peanut butter sandwiches and strawberries instead. They may never forgive me.

Melissa kitchen

 

 

 

Gina’s Review: The Nix by Nathan Hill

The NixThe Nix 
written by Nathan Hill
published by Knopf, 2016

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


Did I enjoy this book: 
This book is an EXPERIENCE. It’s a slow start, but as it progresses it gets better and better. There are a lot of details you have to keep straight, and the cast of characters is a mix of ones you’ll love and ones you won’t. There’s some mystery, and as you uncover more and more of the story, you’ll be excited to piece it together. You’ll get a look into the world of a protesting hippie–it isn’t always pretty, but it feels real. The way Nathan Hill mirrors some of today’s political climate with that of years ago is eerie. It’s truly an awesome book, although it is over six hundred pages, so prepare yourself for a long read.

GOLDEN LINE

“Sometimes we’re so wrapped up in our own story that we don’t see how we’re supporting characters in someone else’s.”

 

 

Would I recommend it: Yes! This is definitely a book I think everyone should try and read.

 

Gina

About the book – from Goodreads: It’s 2011, and Samuel Andresen-Anderson—college professor, stalled writer—has a Nix of his own: his mother, Faye. He hasn’t seen her in decades, not since she abandoned the family when he was a boy. Now she’s re-appeared, having committed an absurd crime that electrifies the nightly news, beguiles the internet, and inflames a politically divided country. The media paint Faye as a radical hippie with a sordid past, but as far as Samuel knows, his mother was an ordinary girl who married her high-school sweetheart. Which version of his mother is true? Two facts are certain: she’s facing some serious charges, and she needs Samuel’s help.

To save her, Samuel will have to embark on his own journey, uncovering long-buried secrets about the woman he thought he knew, secrets that stretch across generations and have their origin all the way back in Norway, home of the mysterious Nix. As he does so, Samuel will confront not only Faye’s losses but also his own lost love and will relearn everything he thought he knew about his mother and himself.

 

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My Favorite . . . Animated Movie — March 22, 2017

 

My Favorite . . . is a weekly meme hosted by Maureen’s Books. In this meme we share every week something we love with each other. Because let’s face it, the world can be a dark place and it’s time to share something positive.

 

Each week I will post a new My Favorite . . . post about one subject and I’ll tell you all about it. And the best part? Everyone is welcome to join. The only thing you’ll have to do is sign up on the weekly post, link back to that post, and visit others.

 

This week’s Favorite is: Animated Movie

 

This is a tough one. It’s hard to pick one. I love Despicable Me and Minions movies. I LOVE Moana. And of course I love Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, and Tangled. I don’t think I can pick just one. But those are some of my favorites.

 

 

DNF: Dreams of Youth by Christopher Abraham

Dreams of Youth: The Vindicated

Dreams of Youth 
written by Christopher Abraham
published by Christopher Abraham, 2015

find it here: (affiliate links)  Amazon, Goodreads

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

Where I stopped reading: page 132

Why I stopped reading: I tried. I really did. I tried to get past the grammar issues and enjoy the What Dreams May Come vibe, but then I got to chapter 13, where Abraham introduces a third set of unrelated characters, bringing the total character count up to what seemed like seventy zillion. I felt like I was starting all over at the beginning of an entirely different book, and I’ll be honest, the plot lines of the first two sets of characters are so weird I just couldn’t take anymore.

 

Melissa

 

What others have rated this book: There are no ratings and no reviews on Goodreads.  There was one 4-star review and one 3-star review on Amazon. Just because I didn’t finish this book doesn’t mean you won’t.

About the book – from Goodreads: The first novel in the Dreams of Youth Series.

“From vindicated actions to twisted hearts, the shooting stars form our destiny.”

It’s a sickening feeling in ones core when ones life cannot be defined. Dusk Hollow, a young man living on the planet known as Eryu, experiences this first hand. When someone precious to him is taken, Dusk must face the trials and tribulations of that undeniable truth. He will do all that he can to get her back. He will journey through landscapes he could only picture in his head. He will defy the odds against those who wish to crush him. He will deny death.

——-

There sits a girl who always gazes at the stars, wishing they would take her someplace far away. Her mother disappears one afternoon and her story unfolds thereafter. Through blank pages and close friends, Essa Starlight begins to understand who she is. She learns sometimes that harsh words are said with good intentions.

This is a story where a dream can shape everything.

This is a story, where what’s inside matters most.

 

Happy 2

 

Blog Tour: Playing House by Laura Chapman (spotlight, guest post, giveaway)


Playing House

written by Laura Chapman
published by Laura Chapman, 2017

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

About the book – from the author: She’s a work in progress . . .

Bailey Meredith has had it. As an assistant at a prestigious interior design firm, she’s tired of making coffee and filing invoices. She’ll do just about anything to get out from under the paperwork and into the field for real experience. Then she sees an ad for a job that seems too good to be true.

He’s a fixer upper . . .

Wilder Aldrich knew she would be perfect for the crew the moment he saw her. His hit home improvement show only hired the best, and Bailey had potential written all over her. It isn’t just her imaginative creativity and unmatched work ethic that grabs his attention. There’s just something about her.

With chemistry on screen, it’s only a matter of time before sparks fly behind the scenes as well. But with Bailey’s jaded views on romance and a big secret that could destroy Wilder and everyone he cares about are either of them willing to risk it all for love?

 

Guest Post
Music plays an important part in my writing process.

Before and during the writing process, I tend to create a playlist of songs that fit the story, a character, or a particular scene. While I don’t always listen when I write (sometimes I need total silence or light background noise), I tend to listen to the same songs over and over and over when I’m in my car, on the treadmill, at my day job. The music helps keep the story in my mind even when I am not working on it. The songs also help me get back into the story when I return for revisions.

My playlist for Playing House is a little out of control. I typically go back and revise it, along with the story, but I just can’t bring myself to remove any of the songs.

But because I don’t want to make you sit down and listen to each of those songs right now (though you’re welcome to follow my playlist on Spotify), I thought I’d share the five songs I played most while writing this story.

1. Out of the Woods by Ryan Adams
Ryan Adams dropped his cover album of Taylor Swift’s 1989 while I was planning and plotting out Playing House. I kind of became obsessed with it, and as a result, pretty much the whole album is on my playlist. This song was my favorite, though. With the beautiful instrumentals blending with Ryan’s sad, whimsical voice, this song really spoke to me when writing some of the more serious scenes. Plus, the line “We were built to fall apart, then fall back together” really seemed to ring true for the story I was telling.

2. Beautiful Disaster by Jon McLaughlin
Winning the prize for artist with the second-most amount of songs on the playlist . . . If Bailey Madison, the heroine of Playing House, had to pick a song to describe herself, I think this would be it. I have been a big fan of listening to Jon McLaughlin while writing since my friend and fellow author Brea Brown introduced me to his music a few years ago. I also had the chance to hear him perform—and meet him after the concert—the month before I started writing this story. Here’s a super dark photo of us:

3. Something by The Beatles
If our hero Wilder Aldrich was to pick a song to describe Bailey, this would be it. (Notice how different they are??) Because when it comes to Bailey, for Wilder, there’s just something about her.

4. Love Should Be A Crime by O-Town
So, I unapologetically love and celebrate the boy bands of the ‘90s and ‘00s, including O-Town. This was one of my favorites back in my high school days, but I admit, I’d kind of forgotten about it. Until I created Bailey. She’s someone who really doesn’t want to fall in love, because she doesn’t want to deal with heartache. I was more than halfway through my first draft when this song popped into my head and I had to add it.

5. Piece by Piece by Kelly Clarkson
I think if you read the book, this one becomes pretty clear. But as a quick shout-out to my girl Kelly, she’s one of my favorite artists to listen to while writing. I was actually listening to Breakaway in the car when I came up with the idea for the first book I wrote to completion. She’s amazing.

And okay, I know I said I was only going to do five, but I just remember a sixth one I listened to on repeat, so consider this a bonus track . . .

Bonus: Perfect – Stripped by One Direction
See my previous note about boy bands and amend it to include the bands of the ‘10s. If Wilder Aldrich was to pick a song that could best summarize himself, this would probably be it. I actually pretty much summarized a line of this song in a bit of dialogue I wrote for Wilder. :/ Thanks, boys. Plus, with the reality TV/celebrity element and the “together for now” themes of the story, this seemed to fit.

What are your favorite songs to listen to right now? Feel free to leave it in the comments below.

And if you’re curious, here’s the playlist:

 

About the author: Laura Chapman is the author of First & Goal, Going for Two, Three & Out, The Marrying Type, and Playing House. A native Nebraskan, she loves football, Netflix marathons, and her cats, Jane and Bingley. She loves talking to readers. You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You can also get the latest news from her website, blog, and monthly newsletter.

 

giveaway

This month, during the Playing House blog tour, you can enter the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win one of 1 free Audible copy each of The Marrying Type, First & Goal, Going for Two or 1 $20 Amazon gift card.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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February 2017 Subscription Boxes

what's in the box 4

Hi, Everyone!

Here are our subscriptions from the month of February:

 

Lit-Cube

Uppercase

The Bookish Box

GeekGear – World of Wizardry

 

What do you think of month’s boxes?

Do you subscribe to any boxes? If so, which ones? I did include my referral links, so if you’re interested, please feel free to use them! I know I would appreciate it.

 

Chrissy

 

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