Archive | May 2013

News in Food

From time to time I’ll be posting about food related items I find in the news or magazines. I warn you now this may sometimes include gorgeous pictures of scrumptious food:) However, that is not the case this week so on we merrily stumble!

First up is the shindig happening along the Florida/Georgia border known as the Suwannee River Jam which features such acts as Sheryl Crow, Easton Corbin and the Eli Young Band. You can visit for a day or the whole weekend and you can even camp out if you want to stay for all four days. There’ll be a Mrs. Suwannee River Jam which is reportedly a “Daisy Duke style” beauty pageant of Floridian ladies and the piece de resistance, The Ultimate Redneck Wedding! A couple from Douglas, Georgia will be married in “true Redneck fashion” with the bride riding in on a lawn mower while the groom is carried to the altar in a Porta-Potty. The fun continues at the reception where guests are treated to a mound of Twinkies and RC Cola. Yeehaw!

Brings a tear to your eye, don’t it?

As a native Jerseyan (Jerseyite?) I adore a nice hot plate of fries smothered in gravy and melted cheese that we call Disco Fries. I was recently alerted by friends living further North near the Canadian border that they too enjoy a similar delicacy called poutine. Well poutine lovers rejoice.. or not. The makers of Jones Soda, known for their crazy holiday concoctions, have just announced a new poutine flavored soda. Inspired by success with past flavors like Bacon Jones soda and the Turkey and Gravy Jones soda often seen in the Thanksgiving pack the company decided to honor their Canadian heritage with a soda that has “a nice balance of rich, savory gravy over a starchy potato base, and accented with those fatty, cheesy notes you expect in a plate of poutine.”

In other news from our neighbors in the North, the midway of the Calgary Stampede is unveiling some brand new snack food to poison erm kill uh feed the masses this July. Visitors will be treated to such delights as the Double Bacon Corndog (which is wrapped in bacon, dipped in bacon infused batter, deep fried twice, and served with maple syrup and more bacon), Deep Fried Butter (butter cubes wrapped in pie crust and deep fried), Deep Fried Bubble Gum (puffy bubble gum flavored marshmallows dipped in batter and deep fried), Chocolate Dipped Jalapeño, Pickle Shooters (actual shots of straight pickle juice), and Western Cake Pops (cowboy boot and hat shaped chocolate cake dipped in milk chocolate).

I think I felt my arteries harden reading that :-p


Harlequin Book Reviews & Operation Paperback

Today I’ll be reviewing two short romance novels, one I liked and the other well, not so much. The first book is a Harlequin Blaze anthology called Once Upon A Valentine with authors Stephanie Bond, Leslie Kelly and Michelle Rowen.

I’ve always been a sucker for alternative retellings of fairy tales and popular stories and this book definitely delivered. The book starts with Stephanie Bond’s All Tangled Up which is an incredibly loose take on Rapunzel. Busy NY ad exec Andrew McMillan returns to his native sleepy hamlet of Tiny, Tennessee to bury his father and drives into a tree to avoid running into a horse he didn’t see because he was too busy being captivated by the sight of his neighbor’s beautiful long golden hair. Summer Tomlinson has had a longtime crush on Andrew and of course now that she’s a beautiful woman with hair so strong he keeps getting tangled in it throughout the story, the feeling soon becomes mutual. Andrew hates small time life and after helping Summer market the hair product she and his father developed, which is responsible for the length and strength of her hair, he needs to decide whether to return to life in the big city or spend the rest of his days in the arms of his beautiful neighbor.

Sleeping with a Beauty by Leslie Kelly is another interesting story that involves a historian from an alternate fantasy universe trying to complete her father’s lifelong search for the elusive mythical castle from the story of Sleeping Beauty. She soon finds herself under the protection of an adventurer from our world hired by her uncle to keep her safe from the clutches of ruthless parties also interested in the castle. I love Ashlynn’s reactions to what we take for granted in this world, such as missing Chunky Monkey when she goes home once she realizes the ice cream doesn’t actually contain animal chunks, and I think this story is my favorite out of the three.

The final story is a very cute take on the Gingerbread Man story called Catch Me by Michelle Rowen. Ginger and her best friend Stephen work in his book publishing business and have to tackle a very difficult author who also happens to be their cash cow. After yet another disastrous blind date, Ginger is approached by an employee of the Valentine Cafe who gives her a magic gingerbread man and tells her to make a wish when she eats it. Shrugging, Ginger wishes she would be wanted by men before devouring the cookie. Suddenly she finds herself dealing with lots of unwanted attention, which includes getting screamed at by a couple of wives, before facing her ultimate dilemma. When Stephen is unable to control himself and confesses his love for Ginger, she wonders whether or not the words she’d always wanted to hear came under the influence of the cookie.

I don’t usually read holiday based books but this one centered around Valentine’s Day is a light and pleasant read and I highly recommend it:)

Monarch of the Sands by Sharon Kendrick

Francesca O’Hara is a pretty useless heroine. Her mother abandons the family because her father is a boring old scientist or something and her daughter didn’t turn out to be the bombshell she’d hoped she would be. With her father now dead, Frankie becomes engaged to a stranger who appears at her door trying to get her to sell her house and land and offers her a job at his agency. When sheikh and king of Khayarzah, Zahid Al Hakam, appears on her doorstep he turns her world upside. Apparently their fathers had been old friends because Frankie’s dad discovered oil in the country which boosted their economy to the moon and so Zahid is kind of a family friend except being royalty he seems incapable of being a douche. Actually since the man’s a king he wouldn’t just be any old douche, he would be Super Douche!

Well it takes one douche to sniff out another and Zahid is unimpressed with Frankie’s fiancé Simon. He soon discovers Simon is a fortune hunter and has another woman and breaks the news to Frankie who breaks the engagement. Of course this means she’s out of a job so this young woman who despite growing up around scientists and working by her father’s side in the lab (I wasn’t very good at it so I gave it up cuz science is hard TEE HEE!) has absolutely zero job skills or education. So Zahid decides to hire her to type up his dead father’s diaries but she has to come back to Khayarzah to do it because (I assume) there are no typewriters or computers in modern day England and the postal service doesn’t exist.

Even before they arrive, Frankie starts experiencing culture shock and is ticked off by various aspects of Zahid’s country such as the fact women aren’t allowed to go to college or drive and when she confronts him about it he merely shrugs and tells her how his advisors are old fashioned and aren’t open to modernization. After this he takes Frankie to a racetrack so she can check out the women’s facilities before starting on the diaries. Seriously. What one has to do with the other I have absolutely no idea but when he tells her of his plans to attract international clientele to the race track she informs him that if the wives of the wealthy men he’s hoping to attract aren’t happy, they won’t be happy and won’t do business with him because clearly all successful businessmen are pussy whipped.

After this blow up, which is one of many, they drive off to his secret little bungalow or whatever in the desert and finally have the sex they’ve been dodging throughout the story. Frankie hasn’t even caught her breath when Super Douche makes his appearance and starts bitching her out for not telling him she was still a virgin. This is after he spends half the book pissed off at her because he assumes she’s been sleeping with other men now that she’s a beautiful woman and not the awkward tomboy he knew when he last saw her five years ago.

I’m sorry but I hated this book and flung it across the room at this point. I found it so unbelievably stupid that it actually pissed me off! Kendrick spends half the book establishing how Frankie basically spent her entire life in her father’s laboratory with the sheikh and his father being constant visitors to her home and spending a considerable amount of time with the family yet she knows absolutely nothing about anything! She says how her father always told her stories about the country, their cuisine etc. yet she’s astonished when she finds out things about the culture that’s different from Western society. Zahid meanwhile has such a hard time dealing with his attraction to Frankie that he develops a tendency of being nice to her for 3 seconds before turning into an explosive asshole for the rest of the week. This is what I hate about certain romance novels. As I’d said in an earlier post, my pet peeves are an insipid and useless heroine and a hero who’s nothing but a colossal schmuck but because he’s rich and handsome all is forgiven. Ladies and gentlemen, this book has both along with plot holes so large you could drive a tanker truck through them. I advise you to stay away from this book with as much enthusiasm as I say to pick up Once Upon a Valentine.

By the way, I thought I’d take a moment to do a shoutout to a fantastic organization. Being a military couple for 10 years and with my husband about to be medically retired from an injury he sustained during a deployment, we’re not exactly rolling in dough. We both love to read but can’t always afford to buy the books we’d love to read and sometimes the selection at our local library can be seriously lacking. Thanks to the good folks at Operation Paperback, we both receive lots of free books that appeal to our interests every month or so.  The books that go to our troops at home and abroad, both in the field and recovering in the hospital, come from donations from people like you. If you’re interested in sending in a monetary donation or have some books you’d like to donate click here.

Huzzah! And the peasants rejoice!

At last, the day you’ve been waiting for is here! The sequel to Heroes and Hearts and book two of the Crystal Palace Chronicles is now available for sale on Amazon/Goodreads:) As the days and weeks go by Descendants of Quendaris will also become available on iTunes, Kobo and Barnes and Noble. Don’t forget to check out my page on Authorgraph to get your ebook signed by yours truly free of charge and finally RABT Reviews wraps up our virtual book tour for Heroes and Hearts. I hope you had fun and will keep coming back for further adventures in romance, fantasy, writing and cooking. Have a great weekend!


Buy Now!

A week of reviews

Well folks, it looks as if our tour is coming to a close. Today’s review of Heroes and Hearts comes from Book Maven. Tomorrow Fairy Tale Books gives their review and on Friday we wrap up with RABT Reviews. Of course we still have the big announcement of who won BookRix’s major giveaway to look forward to next week and the release of book two of the Crystal Palace Chronicles: Descendants of Quendaris!

If you haven’t entered the big giveaway now’s the time!


You can also still enter the smaller (but still important) giveaway by clicking the rafflecopter link on the bar to your right.  Good luck to all!

PROMO: An Unplanned Lesson by Beth Rinyu

Good morning all! As we mosey along on the Heroes and Hearts’ book tour this is the part when we pass another tour going in a different direction and wave to each other:) Today we say hello to Beth Rinyu’s book tour and ooh and ahh over her giveaway where you can win a $10 gift card from Amazon and a signed copy of Ms. Rinyu’s first book!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Contemporary Romance
Date Published:3/9/12

Nicole Morgan, the new second grade teacher at Pineview Elementary school, has it all together in the classroom; it’s her personal life that she can’t find peace with. Unable to let go of the guilt that she is harboring from her past, she punishes herself by running from all potential relationships.

Her patience is put to the test when Dailan O’Maley the obnoxious but very sexy uncle of one of her students enters her life. She slowly cracks away at Dailan’s crude, crass exterior when they are forced to work together for the sake of his nephew. The two of them learn a lesson in love that neither had planned as they discover that the guilt they are hiding deep inside isn’t the only thing they have in common. Unbeknownst to her, he holds more than just the key to her heart.


I looked over, forgetting that Ryan was even there. He was coloring the picture on the back of his placemat, not paying any mind to the bantering going on between me and his uncle. I picked up a crayon and began coloring with him in an effort not to make any more conversation with his uncle. I finally looked up when I could feel him staring at me.

“What?” I asked in annoyance.

He was laughing and trying to play innocent. I had to admit that he looked absolutely adorable at that particular moment with his cute boyish grin.

“Why are you staring at me?” I asked.

“Because I think you’re hot,” he said as he chewed on his straw and his smile became even wider. Ryan started to giggle, never taking his eyes from his coloring.

I pursed my lips and shook my head. “What, are you twelve?” His only response was the arrogant smirk that I had become so acquainted with over the past few months. “You know what – why did I even agree to come out with you tonight? Oh wait—that’s right, I didn’t agree, you just took it upon yourself to barge into my classroom and demand that I go,” I said, not finding any humor in his immature behavior.

“Do you always take demands like that from a man, darlin’? If so, I think I need to get you in the bedroom,” he said as he rubbed the scruff on his cheek.

I couldn’t take his obnoxious behavior anymore. I shook my head and shot him a dirty look before giving him a swift kick in the knee.

“Ouch, that wasn’t very nice,” he said as he rubbed his knee under the table.

“Keep it up and I’ll aim just a little higher.”

“Then that would be your loss.”

“Oh, I’m sure it wouldn’t be,” I snapped.

Ryan seemed unfazed by it all as he continued to color. I realized now exactly where Ryan got his colorful vocabulary – from the immature, arrogant male chauvinist sitting across from me. Did I mention incredibly sexy as well?

Virtual Book Tour – April 29 – May 3
April 29 – Reading Addiction Blog Tours – Meet and Greet
April 29 – My Bookmark Blog
May 1 – Noemi Betancourt

Beth Rinyu

Author Bio

Ever since I can remember, I have always enjoyed Creative Writing. There was always something about being able to travel to a different place or become a different person with just the stroke of a pen – or in today’s world a touch of the keyboard. I have been writing poetry for years and finally got the inspiration to write my very first novel about a year and a half ago. Once I started the idea’s kept flowing, my fingers kept typing – and here I am Two books later! An Unplanned Lesson is a humorous, romantic read with a few deep undertones. I hope all of you fall in love with Dailan O’Maley, the same way I did when I created him!