Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Hot Mess by Emily Belden

***Thank you to Harlequin/Graydon House Books and NetGalley for the ARC with the understanding that any review provided will be my honest opinion of the book.***


My Thoughts:

Allie Simon is a social media director who values hard work, friends, and family. She's worked hard to save money and get her career established in Chicago at the ripe old age of 25 she's managed to put $31,000 in her savings. She then finds hot, up and coming chef Benji Zane while monitoring her company's social media feeds. A few flirty messages later and she ends up on a date with him that leads to a hot hookup. It all starts so casually that Allie finds herself ignoring the many stories that surface about Benji's drug habit. This all changes one night after a particularly bad time for Benji. He goes on a cocaine bender and the next thing Allie knows, Benji has announced to the whole world that Allie is his girlfriend and then shows up at her apartment announcing that he is going to quit using cold turkey and moves in with her. Flash forward a few months later and Benji has been offered the deal of a lifetime. There is a big time investor looking to open a restaurant with Benji as the chef. The only catch is he needs to come up with 10% of the cost to become a partner.
This story had me feeling very frustrated with Allie as the main character. She is indeed a "hot mess" and I found her sort of hard to relate to. The way that she almost seems like she has no control over her own life drove me insane but I also have never been in a situation with someone like Benji. I did enjoy the book overall. I really liked watching Allie can her confidence back and end up taking charge and embracing the changes in her life due to her relationship with Benji. I really, really liked the fact that Allie, her new chef, and her partner become a trio of independent, successful business women. I would give this 3 out of 5 stars.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Cooking for the Senses -Vegan Neurogastronomy by Jennifer Peace Rhind/ Gregor Law


Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Wild Winemaking by Richard W. Bender

***Thank you to NetGalley, the author, and the publishing house for the ARC.  All views and opinions are my honest thoughts of this book.***


Saturday, February 17, 2018

5 Reasons Black Panther was a Fantastic Movie

***Trailer courtesy of Marvel Studios and YouTube.****

It's been well established throughout my various social media platforms that I am a HUGE Marvel fan.  I have loved everyone of these movies in the Marvel Universe without fail.  The character of Prince T'Challa/Black Panther was introduced in Captain America: Civil War back in 2016.  He is at the same political forum as Black Widow and Tony Stark when the embassy is blown up and in the process his father, the King, is killed.  We see him transfer into his Black Panther alter and help out.  I found out that Marvel was making a Black Panther movie and lost my mind.  I have been on pins and needles since just waiting for the moment the film was released.   That day finally arrived on Thursday night (2.15) when my local AMC theater did a Fan Event showing a day earlier than it's nation wide release.  My daughter and I had our tickets and some pretty great seats to what became my new favorite Marvel movie of all time ( at least so far).  This movie was so amazing that I will not be able to do it justice in this review properly so instead I give you a small taste of why fans are going crazy for this movie.

5 ( Believe me there are more.... so many more) Reasons Black Panther was a Fantastic Movie:

1. The Plot: After losing his father in Captain America: Civil War, Prince T'Challa must return home to his African Nation of Wakanda.  The rest of the world believes that Wakanda is a poor 3rd world country.  The truth is that it is the most technologically advanced place on the planet due to it's large amounts of Vibrainium.  They have built a protective barrier around the whole country preventing the outside world from knowing any of this.  They also do not allow outsiders in for fear that word of their lifestyle and resources will get out and force Wakanda into a world war.  The newly crowned King is just beginning his reign when not 1 but 2 enemies appear on the scene and with help from the Dora Milaje (Wakandan Special Forces) and a CIA agent he must become the Black Panther once again to protect his family and homeland.

2. The Dora Milaje: This special forces unit has one purpose and that is to protect the throne/King.  This force is made up of a large group of seriously bad ass women.  The all have shaved heads, amazing fighting skills, and super cool, technological spears that pretty much do anything.  The commander, Okoye ( played by Danai Gurira from The Walking Dead) is one of my favorite characters.  You do not want to mess with these ladies.  This is a huge cinematic/film bonus for little girls and women everywhere to be able to see strong female role models on screen, especially Black ones.

3. The Special Effects: All the Marvel movies have their own sort of bells and whistles when it comes to their superheros and the gadgets that they use.  The suit of the Black Panther is infused with Vibranium ( some sort of Extraterrestrial substance that runs all through Wakanda) which makes it strong and then it gets an upgrade compliments of T'Challa's little sister Shuri ( my favorite character in the whole damn movie besides of course the Black Panther himself).  Shuri ( played by Letitia Wright) is the head of the entire technology lab. She is responsible for the cool spears, suits, and gadgets used all throughout the movie and believe me there are some freakishly awesome items.  The action sequences in this film are also pretty great. There is a car scene throughout a city that involves a lot of acrobatic type stunts and it's flawless and funny as well.

4. The Cast: This film has some of today's most talented Black actors in it. The Queen, Ramonda aka Mom is played by Angela Basset who is just simply amazing at any role she has and this one is no different.  She is not the main character but no one could have played the part better. She is a queen among women.  Chadwick Boseman aka T'Challa/Black Panther has had some pretty big roles himself. He has portrayed James Brown, Thurgood Marshall, and Jackie Robinson. Michael B. Jordan stars as Erik Killmonger but he has also been in Fantastic Four, Creed, That Awkward Moment, and Fruitvale Station. He has turned into a pretty big box office draw himself these last few years.  Forest Whitaker is...well... Forest Whitaker and if you have no idea who he is then shame on you. Go back to whatever rock you live under.  Lupita Nyuong'o stars as Nakia ( a love interest to the young King) but she is also known for her roles in 12 Years a Slave and Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
Danai Gurira/Okoye is the commander of the Dora Milaje.  You may know her from a little series called The Walking Dead.  She is Michonne, the Katana wielding, dreadlocked, bad ass. The last super noticeable actor is Sterling K. Brown. He plays Erik Killmonger's father in Black Panther.  Sterling K. Brown has just been breaking all kinds of records during award season. He has been in a lot of projects but mostly known for his role as Randall Pearson on the hit series This Is Us.  This movie was filmed primarily using Black actors and instead of that being overlooked or mocked it shows how beautiful and strong a culture it is.A Black superhero is always a welcome change of pace much like Wonder Woman is.  Roles like these did not exist for Black actors and actresses when I was growing up.  The Cosby show was really the first time a show was predominately Black and not a stereotype.  Well down Marvel Studios...well done.

5. The Soundtrack: Something that I have not spent a lot of time discussing on social media or this blog in particular is music.  I love music of all types and would simply die if I had to go on in a world without it.  A strong statement but true as far as I am concerned.  I listen to music every single day for hours. It is the perfect remedy for whatever ails you, to set a mood, or to help you focus.  I am a huge film lover so it goes without saying that I also own a very large selection of soundtracks because....musicals...hello.  This soundtrack happened to be produced by Kendrick Lamar who is a huge deal in the industry and again, if you have no idea who he is then go back to your rock.  I firmly believe that a soundtrack is one of the most important part of any film.  The music provides clues to what is currently or about to happen next.  Kendrick Lamar did a beautiful job with this one. It is powerful and uplifting at all the right moments. You can stream the whole soundtrack on Spotify if you have an account but if you just want a sample then I recommend listening to these particular tracks: King's Dead, Pray for Me, and All the Stars.

There is so much I love about the movie that I could literally discuss it for hours but I have given more than enough examples here so you should just get tickets and see for yourself what all the hype is about. You will not be disappointed.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella


Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Something Borrowed by Lena Hart

Something Borrowed (Brides of Cedar Bend Book 3) by [Hart, Lena]

Resident bad boy Jackson Matoa is not very good at expressing his feelings. Especially when those feelings include an inexplicable desire toward his brother’s widow. And if the blow from his young brother’s death wasn’t enough to break him, the guilt of his unwavering lust for his sister-in-law just might...

Despite her best efforts, Truth Richards can’t seem to make sense of her feelings for her insufferable brother-in-law. She’s certainly not willing to admit just how deep those feelings run. With one phone call, Truth finds herself returning to Cedar Bend and forcing her way back into Jackson’s life.

Yet with the pain of their loss still fresh, can these two broken hearts borrow each other’s strength to find happiness with each other? Or will their guilt and grief push them further apart?

***This review is from an ARC of the book but all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own honest ones.***

My Thoughts:

This is book 3 in the "Brides of Cedar Bend" series.  I have read all 3 books in the series and each was is better than the last.  Today is the release date of this newest addition and I just fell in love with these characters.  First of all I have a thing with the tall, handsome, broody type and Jackson is the perfect example of this type of guy.  He has a heart of gold and loves his brother Danny more than life itself. The meeting between Truth and Jackson is as unfortunate as it is steamy.  Danny may have neglected to mention he was married to Truth and Jackson thought she was just a groupie.  Flash forward to an awkward beginning of a good friendship and just as things are starting to get normal there's an accident and Jackson and Truth find themselves grieving.  Neither person knows quite how to deal with the death of Danny so they end letting a year go by with no contact. 1 drunken call later and we have a truly great love story.

Happy release day Ms. Lena!!!! 

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

To The Duke, With Love

I enjoyed this book immensely. The characters are charming and entertaining as is the plot. The notorious rakes of St. James have returned in this second book. The Duke of Hawksthorn is trying to find the perfect gentleman for his sister to marry before the Season. This is where Loretta Quick and her brother come into the picture. The Duke has done his research and knows that his sister and Mr. Quick will be perfect for each other ...he just has to convince his sister Loretta to get on board. Loretta ran away from her own arranged marriage and as such is in no rush to encourage her brother to marry for anything other than love. The sparks fly between Loretta and the Duke and what ensues is a lovely romantic story. I loved the witty banter between thew characters and even laughed out loud a few times.
***This was an ARC for me but all opinions are my own honest ones.***

The Girls in the Picture by Melanie Benjamin

***This book was provided for free through NetGalley. My review and any opinion I may give of this book is completely honest.***


Sweet Revenge Passive-Aggressive Desserts for Your Exes & Enemies : My Review

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***This book was provided for free through NetGalley. My review and any opinion I may give of this book is completely honest.***


50+ killer cakes, cookies, and candies for your exes and enemies. Dumped by your beefcake boyfriend? BFF steal your one-and-only? Lab partner a more-than-periodic no-show?  Don’t take these battles online. (Seriously, don’t do that, okay?). Get out your heaviest rolling pins, sharpest cleavers, and most blistering torches, and kill your enemies and exes . . . with kindness. That’s right – bake that loser ex a pan of Go Fudge Yourself. Gift your former friend a You’re the Devil Cake. And give that annoying admirer a Donut Call Me Again. Let them taste your over-them happiness and see what comes next . . . Pastry chef and tattoo artist Heather Kim serves up sinfully delicious recipes and bittersweet advice.

About the AuthorHeather Kim is a pastry chef, painter, and tattoo artist at MPLS Tattoo, an all-female owned and operated parlour. Her deliciously unconventional desserts have been praised by the Star Tribune, Minnesota Monthly, and Eater. She lives in Minneapolis, with the loves of her life—her college sweetheart, Scottie, and their Schnauzers, Max & Nietzsche.

My Thoughts:

I was immediately drawn to this book by the book cover. I can't help it. I am slightly superficial when picking books.  Then I read the title and new I had to have a copy of this book.  I would like to think that I have ended any situations with my exes on pretty good terms but the humor of baking revenge desserts was too much for me to ignore.  The book is broken up into sections named things like " I never Kneaded you anyway" and "Forgetting you was a piece of cake".  The recipes have really fun names and the pictures are gorgeous.  I would pick a copy of this up for all my friends who have ever gone through any break-ups whether with significant others or friends. This book is a much healthier way to deal with a difficult situation or betrayal as opposed to keying cars or fits of hysteria. And.....the recipes are super easy to follow and delicious!

You can grab a copy on Amazon and even take a peek inside the first few pages of the book.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

What I loved about Target 100 by Liz Josefsberg

***I received an ARC of this book but the following comments are my own honest thoughts and opinions of this selection.***

I may have mentioned in a previous post that we don't use the word "diet" in our house. It is a dirty little four letter word.  I feel pretty strongly about this.  I was never a kid who had to watch their weight too much but it was a constant subject in my house growing up.  My mother was constantly trying every new diet fad that came out. I am not kidding. I lived through Richard Simmons videos, Slim Fast shakes, green tea pills, weight watchers, etc, etc, etc. Her weight would fluctuate a lot.  My little brother also developed a bit of a weight problem. I tried to stay pretty active myself and I loved exercising so I naturally was able to maintain with out trying to hard. Then I had my daughter right out of college and found myself as a single Mom a year later.  I had taken health and nutrition classes in college and knew that everyone loses weight differently.  I am one of those people who need to eat like 3 times a day on a set schedule.  I have consistently weighed more over the years since I gave birth to my daughter than I did the whole time I was pregnant. The reason I hate diets is because most of them tell you about all this stuff you need to stop eating and then it gets super expensive trying to buy the "right" ingredients. I have always felt like they aren't realistic for everyone.  I don't eat a lot of snacks.  My go to guilty pleasures are a plate of nachos, popcorn, and a bowl of ice cream .  These are not things that I even eat once a week. I have been looking for a practical guide of things to do to change my eating habits and start on a healthy path to weight loss.  Liz Josefsberg has provided such a guide.

Liz is all about real talk when it comes to her personal struggle to lose weight and her time as a Weight Watchers spokesperson.  This book helps you figure out what triggers you to eat unhealthy and how to substitute healthy options to create new habits. This is a fantastic way of making little changes.  She also helps you realize that you are bound to make a mistake or slip up from time to time. Instead of giving up when this happens and feeling bad about it, Liz teaches you to accept that you made a mistake and get right back on the horse the next day.  The book covers her main 6 steps for making changes. Her "Target 100" includes things like 100 ounces of water each day, 100 minutes of exercise weekly, and 100 grams of carbs daily.  These are such easy things to incorporate and change that I feel like this may be a perfect guide for so many more people than the average diet is.  I found this book to be very helpful and encouraging. I love how friendly the tone is of the book and how easy Liz is to relate too. The foreword is by Jennifer Hudson and she  has lost so much weight and maintained it thanks to help from Liz. This is a must read for anyone looking to lose weight or simply making some healthy changes.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Tula Pink Coloring with Thread- Book Review

***I received an ARC of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own honest views.***

I love, love, love crafty things. I enjoy sewing from time to time and I paint and draw.  These are the things that I do to relax when I am not reading.  I first learned to embroider through my Grandmother when I was about 11. I always have some floss and material laying around and have been known to stitch names or flowers on to pillowcases and what not.  I have always wanted to learn more stitch types and other ways to embroider that would be more artistic.  This book was perfect for that.  It breaks down several types of stitches with pictures and gives examples of all kinds of projects for any experience level.  I have thought of trying some of the harder projects when I get a chance but after practicing some of the examples in the book I feel more confident and ready to tackle a tougher one.  I tried the elephant picture they used but needless to say I was not very successful lol.  I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys learning new crafts or just looking to improve on the embroidering skills they already have.