Thursday, July 29, 2010

love me if you dare.

Love Me If You Dare tells the story of police officers and former partners Rafe Mancuso and Sara Rios. The book opens quickly with an easy job turned hostage situation and sets the story in motion. Due to injuries, Rafe and Sara are forced to be in close quarters with each other in Rafe's hometown of Hidden Falls as they recuperate and attempt to keep criminals from finding Sara. As you can guess, the proximity draws them into a relationship that one wants to further develop and the other claims to wish it would stay the way it is.

While the action of the story started right away, I felt that the romance side of things moved quite slowly in the beginning. Then it seemed to switch, with greater focus on the couple and not as much on the case side of things. For me, the book was missing a depth of feeling, which I definitely felt in Sealed with a Kiss and Cross My Heart (Ty and Hunter's books). This could be because I don't think I liked the character of Sara, but I did like Rafe and his niece Toni was always delight when she appearead. I found that I was more entertained by the antics of Rafe's family and the relationship between his brother Nick and his wife Angel. I would have preferred Nick and Angel to be the focus of the book, with a Rafe and Sara as the secondary couple. However, if you're looking for an easy summer read or a book to just relax with, this is not a bad choice at all.

* I did not read Kiss Me If You Can, in Carly Phillips' first book in what seems to be a duo.

Advanced reader's copy provided for review by NetGalley.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

lady isabella's scandalous marriage.

Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage is the second in Jennifer Ashley's Highland Pleasures series, this one focusing on Mac Mackenzie. Those who read the previous novel in the series, The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie, are familiar with Isabella and Mac and their separation. For those that did not have the pleasure of reading it, Ashley does a great job of including enough information about the first book without retelling the entire story.

Isabella and Mac have been separated for three years, though both are still in love with each other. I won't go into details and tell too much of what's going on, but Mac is persuaded by Ian to try harder to get his wife back. What I really liked about this was that Isabella didn't cave in as soon as Mac made an effort to put their marriage to rights. Throughout the book, both characters actually talked about the issues in their relationship. Furthermore, Ashley includes flashbacks so that the reader knows what transpired between them, helping to form a better image of the couple.

The strength of this series, in my opinion, is the characters more than the plot. So far, there is not one of the Mackenzies that I do not like. I thought it was great how they all continued to care about and support Isabella despite her estrangement from Mac.

This novel also introduced the heroine for the next book, Ainsley Douglas. And now, I cannot wait for the next installment, The Many Sins of Cameron Mackenzie.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

oatmeal cinnamon crisps.

So, it appears I made an error in my previous post. The peanut butter cookies did not come from Desserts 4 Today, but from a book I picked up at Ross, simply titled Baking. I'll look up the details on that book later. When I realized this, I went back to Desserts 4 today and picked a recipe to try. I chose the oatmeal cinnamon crisps because there were four ingredients, I love oatmeal cookies, and I love cinnamon. The recipe consists of butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and oats. The end. Isn't that crazy?!

The crisps are not cookies. Something I realized as I watched them bake in the oven. They are really fragile. They break apart very easily. However, they are so freakin tasty! I originally made one batch (12) and after I scarfed down four of them in 2 minutes, I decided to make a second batch. Even now, two days later, I eat one every type I walk past the kitchen table, where I've placed them for easy access.

I know I said the peanut butter cookies were easy, but these were EASIER. Four ingredients! About 10 minutes of baking time! Crunchy cinnamon oat treats! I can easily see myself making these with my nephews (ages 10, 8, and 4) with no issues. I think I might give that a try next weekend, actually.

Abigail Johnson Dodge's Desserts 4 Today hits bookstores on September 7, 2010.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Hello (and Cookies) !

So. My first post... what to say, what to say. Well, I guess I'll start off by saying HI! Then follow that up with a note that this site is a work in progress. I'm not entirely sure what I want to do with it, but I know I'll be doing book reviews. Will I review every book I read? I don't know. If I do that, I'll probably have less time to read. And we do not want that.

I'm thinking of sharing my baking trials and tribulations here, too. Why, you might ask. Because I bake and cook from books. So it fits. :c)

Speaking of which, I'm currently in the process of reviewing a book called Desserts 4 Today, set to hit shelves in August or September (I'm not sure which). Last night, I baked the Peanut Butter Cookies. The recipe was easy to follow. It was my first time working with brown sugar and rolled oats. (That sentence probably tells you what I novice I am.) The mix came out right, but a problem occurred when actually baking them.

You see, I made the "drops" far too large. I ended up with pancake sized cookies. I mean, these bad boys were HUGE! One cookie was the size of my hand with my fingers outstretched. I plan to make them again (as soon as I hit the store for more sugar) and actually put a small drop of batter (dough? mix?) onto the cookie sheet - as instructed. I'm going to try to make two recipes form each section of the book and do a full review of it for the website that allowed me the opportunity to get it early.

Clearly, you'll all be able to learn about my... experiments, we'll call them, during the process.