Potato Soup

This would be great with all that leftover ham from Christmas!

  • 6 T Butter
  • 6 T Flour
  • 2 c milk
  • 2 c water
  • 4 bouillon cubes
  • 5-6 medium potatoes, cubed
  • small sprinkle onion powder
  • small sprinkle garlic powder
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • sliced green onions
  • cooked, crumbled bacon (or ham)
  • shredded cheddar cheese

In a large pot, melt the butter and whisk in the butter to make a smooth paste. Cook until bubbly. Slowly add the milk and continue whisk constantly to make sure there are no lumps. Add in water, bouillon cubes, seasoning and potatoes. Cook until tender. If soup gets too thick, add in more milk or water. Top with bacon, cheese and green onions.

Out of the Storm

⭐⭐⭐⭐

B.J. Daniels

General Fiction, Romance

Published December 29, 2020 by HQN

She can’t lose him again…

One look at his warm brown eyes and Kate Jackson knows she’s found her husband. It’s been twenty years since Daniel was declared dead in a refinery explosion, but Kate never gave up hope, convinced he was somewhere out there, suffering from amnesia. Then, on a trip to Buckhorn, Montana, she sees him—working as a carpenter, scarred, but still her Danny. Yet Jon Harper, as he calls himself, insists he’s a stranger.

Jon is certain he’s not the man Kate’s looking for. Though some of his memories are lost in shadow, how could he ever forget a woman like that? One thing Jon’s instinct does tell him is that she’s in danger from the very person she should trust most. Helping loyal, lovely Kate will mean exposing his own perilous past…but it’s the only way to protect her and this new chance at forever…

My Thoughts:

I really liked this book. Some of the twists and turns I saw coming, but a few surprised me too. You get to know the characters pretty well although I felt the character of Jon could have been developed a little bit better. If we had more of his thoughts and backstory, instead of this mysterious “strong and almost completely silent” guy, their relationship would have flowed better.

My one big complaint is how the book started. From the first paragraph you are dropped into a fast moving story. There is no “set the scene” lead in, just boom you are off and running. If B.J. Daniels had done a prologue where we went through the last day with Kate and Danny, saw their devotion to each other, examples of their love and life, and what it was like when Kate learned of the explosion, I think the reader would have been better prepared to believe Kate’s 20 year devotion and unwillingness to move on. Chapter 1 could have started with the header, “20 years later….”

One scene is for mature audiences although it’s easily skipped since it was short. (I don’t feel like I missed anything by skipping it) Other than that, it’s a clean read.

Thank you to #edelweiss and #BJDaniels for allowing me to read the book. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

The Jigsaw Files – #1-3 – Sharon Sala

⭐⭐⭐⭐ for all three

Overall: I loved them. I read the first book on Monday, the second one on Tuesday, and the third, I read Wednesday and Thursday. (Life got in the way) Can’t wait for book #4.

PI Charlie Dodge knows what it’s like to have something important disappear. His wife, Annie, suffers from early-onset Alzheimer’s, causing her to remember little of the life she shared with her husband. Charlie has devoted his career to saving what he can—missing people, threatened lives. But when prominent Denver multimillionaire Carter Dunleavy vanishes without a trace, Charlie and his assistant, Wyrick, discover missing doesn’t always mean gone.

It turns out Carter didn’t vanish after all—he’s gone into hiding. Someone in his inner circle wants him dead and now Carter needs Charlie to expose the culprit before the Dunleavy empire spirals into ruin. But with a tangled web of suspects looking to silence Charlie’s investigation, he’ll have to find Carter’s would-be killer and fast, before the traitor can finish the job.

My Thoughts

This is different from all of Sharon Sala’s other books (no romance) but there are still key elements will be familiar to long time readers (I’ve been reading her stuff since she was writing as Dinah McCall) such as seeing the view point of the “bad guy. ”

At first I was a little put off by Wyrick because she is so different from the typical heroine, but the more I learned about her, the more I loved her. Charlie and his devotion to his wife made my heart melt and Wyrick is a kick-ass woman with a tough no nonsense shell that protects who she really is. Charlie and Wyrick are the perfect team and I loved the first book so much I rushed to find the second the moment I read the last word. The language isn’t too bad but there is one scene (really a paragraph) that I found rather crass and I wished the author had skipped it. It didn’t add anything to the plot or storyline.

The clock is ticking…

When Charlie Dodge gets a phone call from a frantic woman stating her daughter has been kidnapped by her ex-husband and taken into a cult called Fourth Dimension, he takes the case without hesitation. The cult’s rumored purpose is to gather men with psychic abilities with the goal of breeding a race of people who have supernatural powers. Once accepted into the cult, men are given a young girl to marry in exchange for one of their own daughters.

The FBI has been monitoring the cult’s activities, but Charlie and his assistant, Wyrick, aren’t bound by the same rules as the feds. They head to the mountains of West Virginia to infiltrate the cult’s compound. The lives of children are at stake, and Charlie and Wyrick will risk everything to destroy the cult and its leader—no matter the cost—because this case is personal.

My Thoughts:

Oh I loved this one! I listened to the audio book most of the time ( I didn’t want to put down the book, so when I had no choice I switched to the audio book and then stuck with it) and the narrator was so great. The voice of Charlie!!! Oh, that’s a voice I could listen to for a long time. Anyway, I adored Jordan. Sometimes she seemed older than 12, but when you add in her physic powers and the stubbornness of a 12 year old girl, it worked. It goes to show that if one person has the courage to resist and stand up to what is wrong, it gives others the courage to do so as well. The storyline was fast paced through out the book and I never got bored. Charlie and Wyrick are still a favorite! Clean-ish: occasional language, not excessive.

He has nothing and everything to lose…

When a seventeen-year-old boy goes missing while camping with his buddies in the Chisos Mountains in Big Bend, the case is right up PI Charlie Dodge’s alley. Charlie’s reputation for finding missing people—especially missing kids—is unparalleled. Unfortunately, trouble seems to be equally good at finding him.

Charlie’s still in the thick of it when bad news arrives regarding his wife, Annie, whose early onset Alzheimer’s is causing her to slip further and further away. The timing couldn’t be worse. Thankfully, Charlie’s ride-or-die assistant, Wyrick, has his back. But when Universal Theorem, the shadowy and elusive organization from Wyrick’s past, escalates its deadly threats against her, it pushes both partners past their breaking points. Finding people is one thing; now Charlie will have to fight to hold on to everyone he holds dear.

My Thoughts:

This one wasn’t as fast paced as the other two, but still a great read. Charlie is losing his Annie at a faster rate and UT won’t leave Wyrick alone. The beginning had my heart pounding (don’t like heights, and when I hike I’m always worried about falling over the edge, even when it’s not warranted.) But after that, the cases take a bit of a back seat as each character has to deal with more problems in their personal lives. Cleanish: language, not excessive.

Gobbledy – Book Tour

Gobbledy
Lis Anna-Langston

232 pages

Genre: Fantasy – YA – Middle School – Holiday  

From the Award Winning Novelist Lis Anna-Langston comes a new fun-filled holiday story that adds up to two brothers, three friends, unlimited jars of peanut butter, a ketchup factory, & one little alien far, far from home. 


Ever since eleven-year-old Dexter Duckworth and his brother, Dougal, lost their mom, everything has been different. But “different” takes on a whole new meaning when, one day just before Christmas (or Kissmas, as they call it), Dexter finds a golden rock in the forest that hatches into an adorable alien. Gobbledy is smarter than he seems and is lost on planet Earth. Before long, Gobbledy takes Dexter, Dougal, and their best friend Fi on an adventure of friendship, family, and loss—one that requires them all to stay out of trouble, protect Gobbledy from a shadowy group called the Planetary Society, and prepare for their school’s Winter Extravaganza Play, where Dexter has to be a dreaded Gingerbread Man. 


Gobbledy is a fun-filled holiday story that adds up to two brothers, three friends, unlimited jars of peanut butter, a ketchup factory, and one little alien far, far from home.  

You can purchase Gobbledy at the following locations:

GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNESANDNOBLE | APPLE

About the author

 Lis Anna-Langston | Instagram | Goodreads

Lis Anna-Langston is a 2020 NYC Big Book Award winner, a Parents’ Choice Gold Book Award winner, a Moonbeam Children’s Book Award winner and the Dante Rossetti First Place Award winner for YA Fiction. She is the author of Tupelo Honey, Skinny Dipping in a Dirty Pond and the short story collection, The End of the Century. Born in the South she loves writing about misfits, screw ups, outlaws and people who generally don’t fit into nicely labeled boxes. She loves zany, wild rides and is the recipient of many awards including; a two time Pushcart nominee, a five time WorldFest winner, Telluride IndieFest winner, Helene Wurlitzer Grant recipient, New Century Writers winner, a finalist in the prestigious William Faulkner Competition, & Second Place Winner of the Thomas Wolfe Fiction Award. She writes Young Adult, New Adult and Middle Grade novels and loves every second of it. 

Her fiction has been published in Word Riot, The Blotter, Petigru Review, Hot Metal Press, The Smoking Poet, Eclectic Flash Literary Journal, Paper Skin Glass Bones, 491 Magazine, Fiction Fix, The Monarch Review, 5×5 Literary Magazine, Red Booth Review, Hint Fiction Anthology, Chamber Four Literary Magazine, Emyrs Journal, Literary Laundry, Barely South Review, Flash Fiction Offensive, Flashquake Literary Journal, Steel Toe Review, Cactus Heart Press, Empty Sink Publishing, Prick of the Spindle Literary Review, Per Contra, Storyacious, Gravel Literary, Bedlam Publishing, The Merrimack Review, Vine Leaves Literary Journal, Kaaterskill Basin Journal, Sand Hill Review, Conclave. Milk Journal and The MacGuffin Literary Review. 

She is a punk rock Harper Lee word ninja who loves fast moving rivers, improvisational French gourmet cooking, wild encounters with great films and the sounds of chinchillas dreaming. 

Tour Schedule

My Thoughts: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Gobbledy was a darling book and I encourage everyone to go out and buy it! I was asked to read and review this and honestly didn’t have high expectations. I opened up the document on my laptop and was hooked by the 3rd paragraph. I read for a bit and then transferred it to my phone so I could continue reading as I wandered around the house doing all the mom things I had to do. I finally sat back down and finished it in less than two hours. It was entertaining and I loved all the kids. I really didn’t like the Dad at the beginning (I really don’t think you are supposed to, just yet) but as the story went along my sympathies changed and I really felt for Dad and loved him. All of them. None of them really know how to deal with the first Christmas without their mom. Gobbledy was cute and I loved seeing his story unfold and he even made me tear up in one spot. I would love to see more from this author and the fun world she has created.

Enter the giveaway below! Win a $50 gift card and a signed copy of Gobbledy. Giveaway ends December 16th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway <

No bake Oreo Tart

This Oreo tart is amazing. It looks so fancy and impressive and it is beyond easy to make. The only catch is you will need a tart pan with a removable bottom or a springform pan. It needs to chill for at least 2 hours, but it only takes 20 minutes to make. I found this recipe at La Receta de la Felicidad. All credit goes to them.

I often serve it with fresh raspberries or fresh strawberries.

No Bake Oreo Tart

Oreo crust

  • 300 grams Oreo cookies (about 26 cookies, not double stuff)
  • ½ cup butter

Chocolate Cream filling

  • ⅘ cup heavy cream (more than ¾ cup, less than 1)
  • 7 oz dark chocolate (semi-sweet would be ok)
  • 1/4 Cup butter

To decorate

  • about 4 or 5 chopped Oreo cookies
  • chocolate chips or chocolate shavings


Directions

To make the crust, using a food processor, blend Oreo cookies until the texture of coarse meal or crumbs. Add the melted butter and blend until well combined. Place the mixture into a 4×14 fluted rectangular tart pan (mine has a removable bottom for easy removal of the finished tart) and press onto the bottom and up the sides evenly. Freeze the crust whilst preparing the chocolate filling

In a medium saucepan, bring cream to the boil. Remove from heat, add chopped chocolate and butter, and let rest for 5 minutes. Then stir until dissolved. Pour chocolate filling over Oreo crust, and decorate with some chopped Oreo cookies and chocolate chips

Chill for 2 hours at least, preferably overnight. Unmold, serve, and enjoy!

Variations: add raspberries or strawberries as a topping

Willow Creek

⭐⭐⭐

Karen Ann Hopkins

Romance, Women’s Fiction

Published October 23, 2020 by Harper Collins, One More Chapter

When Katie Colter’s life was saved during a ferocious storm by Rowan Coblentz, an Amish boy from the neighboring settlement, she repaid his kindness with a kiss.  And in that one moment a forbidden love was ignited.  But when Katie’s father found the young lovers together, he banished Rowan, and Katie never saw him again…

Now, six years later, with her father dead and the family farm in jeopardy, Katie needs Rowan’s help.  But the shy young Amish boy she once knew has grown into a handsome and forceful man. 

The attraction between them is still as strong as ever, but Katie’s life is on her family farm, with the horses she loves, and Rowan’s place is within his sheltered Amish community.   Can their love find a way, or will it remain forbidden, forever?

My Thoughts:

There were things I really liked about this book and things I didn’t.

First off – I was expecting a clean read, typically Amish books are, and this is not one of them. This falls more into the romance genre than Christian genre. I tried to skip over the sex scenes as best as I could, and there were times I missed some important dialogue by doing so.

I liked the premise of his world vs hers and the forbidden love aspect. How many times have we longed for something we couldn’t have? 

At first I was really annoyed by how they treated each other and how they seemed to blow up at each other and overreact and once the author reminded me a couple of times that they were only 22, I dawned on me this was a maturity issue. Once I recognized that, I was able to move on past the annoyance for the most part. 

I didn’t really like Katie much through the first ¾ of the book. It seemed like Rowan was doing all the giving and she was doing all of the taking. There didn’t seem to be much of an acknowledgement that Rowan was contemplating giving up his entire life for her. I liked his chapters the best. 

I wish there had been more dialogue between them, delving deeper into who they are and more into the issues they faced as a couple and less focus on their attraction to each other. 

I’m curious if there will be a sequel to this for Rebecca. I wasn’t sure what to think about her character. I’m not sure how I liked how her mental illness (depression) was portrayed. I’m not sure if she was completely depressed and felt hopeless or if she was just being manipulative and based on what the author wrote, I’m not sure if she knew either. 

Link by Link

⭐⭐⭐

Elle Beaumont, Meg Dailey, M. Dalto, Pam Dunn, Kristin Jacques, Candace Robinson, Leslie Rush, C. Vonzale Lewis, Jess Moore, Lauren Emily Whalen

General Fiction, Holiday

Published December 2, 2020

“‘I wear the chain I forged in life,’ replied the Ghost. ‘I made it link by link…’”
-Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

Link by Link is a collection of 9 stories of ghosts, spirits, and creatures unnamed, all come to teach lessons we won’t soon forget. From sweet Christmas tales to terrifying holiday hauntings, these stories take a dive into the past in the hopes of creating a better—or at least different—future.

My Thoughts:

As with anthologies you get a mixed bag of contents. Some stories were great, but some of them were not so great. It’s tough when writing short stories to get enough content and back story to get your reader to connect with the characters and a few of the authors were more successful . It’s hard to rate this because some of the stories deserve a 1 star, while others deserve a 3 or 4. My two favorites were Yesterday’s News and Between the Quiet. 

Thank you to #BookSirens for allowing me to read this book. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.