Sunday, December 4, 2022

Winners - - Coming Attractions

 



The randomly chosen winners from

December's Coming Attractions are:

Laurie Gommermann

Trish J

Cherie J

Sharlene

Anonymous #1 (with comment below)

Looking forward to Eloisa's book and so many others on the calendar.
I am happily getting my fill of the season's romances both on screen and on my kindle.

We plan to do our annual feast of the seven fishes with two dogs and eight people in the kitchen. It's all hands on deck for Mayhem and tomfoolery in Mt tiny house couldn't be happier!

Hope all goes well for you at the end of the year!

 Congratulations!

Please send your full name and mailing address to:

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com



Saturday, December 3, 2022

Winner - - Beyond Fear

 



The randomly chosen winner of

an e-copy of

Beyond Fear by Connie Mann is:

Susan in AZ

Congratulations!

Please send your email address to:

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com

Please include "Beyond Fear Winner" in your email.


Friday, December 2, 2022

Review & Giveaway - - Duke Most Wicked

Duke Most Wicked
by Lenora Bell
A Wallflowers vs Rogues Novel
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: September 27, 2022
Reviewed by PJ



It is a truth universally acknowledged that a wicked duke who has gambled away his fortune must be in want of an heiress.

Scarred by a dark secret, Brandan Delamar, Duke of Westbury, must concede his misdeeds have finally caught up with him. With five younger sisters to support, he must marry for money.

Sunny and steadfast, Viola Beaton is no heiress. As music instructor to the duke’s sisters, she’s developed a genuine affection for the bright young ladies. Unfortunately, she’s also developed a forbidden passion for her wildly attractive employer. 

It must be the way he inspires her to compose sonatas about moonlight and kisses. Or how his gaze smolders and lingers on her skin. Or because he makes her heart whisper impossible things.

When Westbury decrees that he’ll choose not only a bride, but grooms for his sisters, Viola can’t allow him to curtail their freedom. She strikes a bargain: if he allows his sisters to attend the Season, Viola will chaperone them and keep them safe from scandal.

Only…what if Viola and the duke are the ones most likely to cause a scandal? 


PJ's Thoughts:

The first word that comes to mind when I think of this book is "sparkling." That's not to say it doesn't also contain emotional depth. It does. In fact, there are many layers to the story. But the overwhelming feeling I got while reading it was joy. There's an effervescence to Bell's writing that keeps me smiling, and eagerly turning pages from start to finish, secure in the knowledge that I'm in for a humorous, witty, heartfelt, hopeful, sparkling, steamy, romantic ride. 
Viola and West are characters who engaged my emotions almost immediately. My heart ached for what West had endured at his father's hand during his childhood. I almost didn't blame him for the course he took when he vowed to be the most wicked duke in London. I rejoiced when he proved to not be beyond redemption, having been first awaked by his sisters' (five of them!) predicament then guided onto the right path by their music teacher, Miss Viola Beaton. Of course, I also rejoiced when he kept a bit of that wickedness in reserve to share with our (not so) prim and proper miss.
Viola was an absolute delight and a bit of a surprise. She had hidden layers that I was not expecting but that were oh, so enjoyable. I loved how she went toe-to-toe with West even as her crush on him caused her to flutter and stammer. I loved the role music played in her life and how the author used it in a variety of scenes. I loved how adamant she was in support of his sisters...and everyone else, actually. It was satisfying to watch her finally stand up for herself. That's when the fun really started. The wicked fun.
These two are so good together. I loved their banter, how they each slowly revealed their layers to the other, how they brought out the best in one another. The love scenes were steamy, organic, and so much fun. I imagine much laughter in their bedroom...in all the rooms. They've become one of my favorite Lenora Bell couples. I have no doubt that I will visit their story again. 
If you're a fan of books by Julia Quinn or Tessa Dare and have not yet discovered Lenora Bell, I encourage you to give her a try. Duke Most Wicked would be a great place to begin.

Have you read Lenora Bell?
Do you have a favorite of her books?
Do you enjoy a wicked hero who is (somewhat) tamed by the heroine? We don't want them to lose all that wicked fun, do we? ;-)

One randomly chosen person who posts a comment before 11:00 PM, December 4 will receive a signed copy of Duke Most Wicked from PJ.
One randomly chosen person who posts a comment before 11:00 PM, December 4 will receive a special prize package from Lenora Bell. The package includes:
*Signed copy of Duke Most Wicked
*Round sticker and bookmark
*Pearl hair pin
*Copy of the Yuletide Carol from the book (written and composed by Lenora's mother)


*U.S only
*Must  be 18
*Void where prohibited

Winner - - Flirting with the Beast

 



The randomly chosen winner of 

a print copy of

Flirting with the Beast by Jane Porter is:

Patricia B

Congratulations!

Please send your full name and mailing address to:

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com

Please include "Flirting with the Beast Winner" in your email.

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Review - - The Reluctant Countess

The Reluctant Countess
by Eloisa James
A Would-Be Wallflowers Novel
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: November 29, 2022
Reviewed by PJ


Giles Renwick, Earl of Lilford, has never made a fool of himself over a woman—until he meets Lady Yasmin Régnier. Yasmin is ineligible for his attentions in every way: not as a wife, certainly not as a mistress (she is a lady!), nor even as a friend, since they vehemently dislike each other.  Her gowns are too low, and her skirts are dampened to cling to admittedly lovely thighs. She loves to gossip—and giggle. 

She isn’t dignified, or polite, or even truly British, given that her father’s French ancestry clearly predominated. Not to mention the fact that her mother had been one of Napoleon’s mistresses, a fact she makes no effort to hide.

So what—in heaven’s name—possesses him to propose?

And what will he do if she says yes?


PJ's Thoughts:


James brings witty banter, emotional depth, well-developed characters and superb writing to this newest novel in her Would-Be Wallflowers series. 


Yasmin turned out to be a heroine who won both my affection and support. I enjoyed her determination to be true to herself and admired her ability to continue moving forward in the face of much negativity. Each time she was confronted by those who looked down upon her, she chose to smile in response to their pettiness, to choose kindness as a counterbalance to their cruelty. Needless to say, I was in her corner cheering her on the entire way. I loved her relationship with her English grandfather (one of my favorite secondary characters) as well as her best friend, Cleo (heroine of How to Be a Wallflower). 


Giles was a harder sell. He's a product of his class, as well as his family and that's reflected in his attitude toward Yasmin. While he desires her, and comes to begrudgingly admire her, he views her as inappropriate, not worthy of being his countess even though she is a lady. That's not a deal breaker for me as James uses it to create conflict and give his character an opportunity to evolve. My issues with him occur when - in my opinion - he crosses the line in holding her responsible for the actions of others (her very visual response is pure gold). Kudos to the author for crafting this story - and character - in a way that allowed me to be happy for the HEA he and Yasmin ultimately share because halfway through I wasn't sure that was possible. Because of his apologetic accountability for the way he had previously behaved, because I believed he was truly repentant and had grown into a man worthy of Yasmin, and because he finally put her first, I was able to happily celebrate their love. 


If you like historical romance with wit, humor, well-developed characters, hard-won happy endings, a wonderful supporting cast, plus a self-centered, despicable (female) villain, give this book a go. I enjoyed it.  




Coming Attractions and Giveaway

 



It's here. The final month of the year. My favorite month of the year. December is usually a light reading month for me. I tend to fit in novellas, short stories, and bits of full-length novels between baking, decorating, buying (and wrapping) gifts, and writing Christmas cards. Also, watching feel-good holiday movies on all the channels. What can I say? I'm all fluffy, gooey marshmallow when it comes to holiday-wrapped, happy endings. Here's some of the happy endings we'll be spotlighting at The Romance Dish this month. 



Launching this month on Thursday, December 1 is a review of The Reluctant Countess by Eloisa James. This historical romance brimming with witty banter, emotional depth, well-developed characters, and superb writing is the second installment of James' Would-Be Wallflowers series but can easily be enjoyed on its own.  




Stop by Friday, December 2 for a review of Duke Most Wicked by Lenora Bell. This cross-class, reformed-dissolute-duke, historical romance sparkles with humor, wit, steam, delightful secondary characters, and more than a few surprises. There will also be giveaways!




Faking it with the Green Beret by Tracy Brody blends sweet romance and emotional depth with charm and laugh-out-loud humor in this new military rom-com. Don't miss my review on Monday, December 5





We're going Down in Flames with Kate Meader on Tuesday, December 6 when I share my thoughts about this steamy M/M Firefighter - Hockey crossover romance. 





On Wednesday, December 7, we'll be heading to small-town Indiana for The Sweetheart Fix by Miranda Liasson. This second book in Liasson's Blossom Glen, contemporary romance series captured my imagination and my heart. There's also a giveaway. 




It's Home for Christmas on Thursday, December 8 when I share my thoughts about this holiday time-travel, women's fiction novel by Courtney Cole. 1940's, anyone? 





Join me on Monday, December 12 for a review - and giveaway - of A Sweet Lowcountry Proposal by Preslaysa Williams. I enjoyed Williams' debut last year and am looking forward to returning to Charleston, SC for her second novel. 




Thursday, December 15 brings an excerpt and ARC giveaway of The Year of Cecily by Lisa Lin. Set during the Lunar New Year, this debut rom-com (17 January 2023) will launch Lin's From Sunset Park, with Love series.




There are a few more reviews in the works for December that will be added when I have firm dates so be sure to check back for updates throughout the month. 

I will be on medical leave from December 19 through the end of the year. I hope to be back with you the first week of January. 


What are you looking forward to in December?

Do you have special holiday plans?

Any new books on your reading radar?

Post a comment before 11:00 PM, December 3 and you might win one of the following. Winners randomly selected.

*A hardcover copy of 'Twas the Night After Christmas by Sabrina Jeffries

*Christmas at Copper Mountain by Jane Porter

*An ARC of A Christmas Haven by Cindy Woodsmall & Erin Woodsmall

*25 Days 'til Christmas by Poppy Alexander

*We Met in December by Rosie Curtis

*U.S. only
*Must be 18
*Void where prohibited

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Review, Q&A, Giveaway - - Beyond Fear

Beyond Fear
by Connie Mann
Publisher: Connie Mann
Release Date: November 29, 2022
Reviewed by PJ
 


Sometimes, wild animals aren’t the biggest danger in the forest


After her mother’s murder two years ago, sharpshooter Lisa Bass returned to Florida to start over – and try to earn her grandmother’s forgiveness. She loves her job as a Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission officer, and teaching a weekly self-defense class helps keep the guilt at bay. So when the husband of one of her students is murdered, Lisa is absolutely determined the woman won’t get railroaded for a crime she didn’t commit.

Newly promoted Sheriff’s Detective Pete “Bulldog” Tanner believes spouses are always the prime suspect, but when the clues point to blackmail and illegal game hunting, he’s not sure what to think. Especially when their prime suspect vanishes.

Neither Lisa nor Pete relish working a joint investigation, not with the unexpected and unwelcome attraction crackling between them. But when Lisa is targeted and more people disappear, they will have to trust each other to stop the killers that are closing in fast.

PJ's Thoughts:

Mann kept me on the edge of my seat with this one! With an intricately woven mystery, breath-stealing suspense, unwelcome desire, and twists and turns around every corner, I was kept eagerly flipping pages from the beginning all the way to the explosive conclusion. I could not put it down. 

Reading a book in this series is always an immersive experience. The author has the ability to describe the location in such a way that places me right in the middle of the action. Even if I had never visited this area of Florida, reading Beyond Fear would have brought it to vivid life on the page. It's almost a character in itself. 

I enjoyed the friction between Pete and Lisa, how they gradually evolved from adversaries to working partners to a romantic couple. The main focus of this book is definitely on the action and suspense (do not underestimate Lisa!) but romance fans won't be left wanting.

Lisa's strained relationship with her grandmother is another key element of the book that gives readers insight into Lisa's background and personality. My feelings were fully engaged in this thread and my heart was firmly with Lisa. I was happy with the way that played out. 

If you enjoy romantic suspense thrillers with plenty of action, lead characters you can root for, dastardly villains, and enough twists to keep you guessing until the big reveal, pick up a copy of Beyond Fear. I highly recommend it. 


Q&A with Connie Mann

Hi Connie! Thank you for answering a few questions for us today. Beyond Fear, the newest book in your Florida Wildlife Warriors series released yesterday, November 29. Congratulations! What should readers expect from this book? 

Thanks so much for having me and helping me celebrate this new story. Beyond Fear is another Florida-set romantic suspense, centered around the Tanner family. Here are some of the things I love – and think readers will love - about Pete Tanner and Lisa Bass’ story:

-Their inconvenient attraction – and the sparks that fly between them

-Two strong leading characters learning to trust each other

-The building suspense and mystery

-Lisa’s Harley-riding grandma

-Small-town southern charm and quirky characters

-Florida’s nature and untamed wilderness

-Forgiveness and complicated family dynamics

The back cover puts it like this:

Sometimes, wild animals aren’t the biggest danger in the forest

After her mother’s murder two years ago, sharpshooter Lisa Bass returned to Florida to start over – and try to earn her grandmother’s forgiveness. She loves her job as a Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission officer, and teaching a weekly self-defense class helps keep the guilt at bay. So when the husband of one of her students is murdered, Lisa is absolutely determined the woman won’t get railroaded for a crime she didn’t commit.

Newly promoted Sheriff’s Detective Pete “Bulldog” Tanner believes spouses are always the prime suspect, but when the clues point to blackmail and illegal game hunting, he’s not sure what to think. Especially when their prime suspect vanishes.

Neither Lisa nor Pete relish working a joint investigation, not with the unexpected and unwelcome attraction crackling between them. But when Lisa is targeted and more people disappear, they will have to trust each other to stop the killers that are closing in fast.

Will there be any more books in this series? Should the existing books be read in order? 

I’ve had lots of fun writing about the three Tanner siblings, but this is the third and final book in the series. Each book focuses on one of the siblings, and introduces other people who live in the community, but the books can most definitely be read as stand-alone stories. 

You bring this section of Florida to vivid life in these books. What is your personal experience with this region? What about it calls to you as an author? 

I love Central Florida, especially the Ocala area, where the series is set. Hubby and I lived there for 24 years before moving to Florida’s east coast last year. I worked on the Silver River as a boat captain for 15 years, and loved teaching guests about the area. I also worked for the Silver River Museum and Environmental Education Center and got to introduce boatloads of local schoolchildren to this fabulous area via boat rides. 

As an author, I realized that when people think of Florida, they usually think three things: beaches, Miami and Disney. They don’t realize we have places like the Ocala National Forest, which encompasses over 600,000 acres. They don’t know about alligators and bears and even the feral monkeys that live in the forest. Shining a spotlight on all the cool things that make up Florida’s wilderness appealed to me. 

What would readers be surprised to discover about you? 

Besides being surprised that I’ve been a boat captain for 16 years, people are also surprised to learn that despite my deep love of nature and passion for conservation and wildlife, I have a major aversion to snakes. I don’t like them, at all. I’ve trained myself not to yelp whenever I see one, but I can’t avoid the instinctive shiver and need to get as far away from them as possible, immediately. If one got into my house and couldn’t be found, I’d have to move. 

Winter holidays are on the horizon. What are you most looking forward to (food, music, books, traditions)? What makes your holidays jingle?  

I love everything about Christmas! The tree, the lights that hubby hangs by the thousands, baking spritz cookies, listening to Christmas music 24/7, watching Christmas movies and most of all, spending time with friends and family. We also make time to read the biblical Christmas story and reflect on the hope that is the reason we celebrate, so it doesn’t get lost amidst the busyness and noise. Oh, and I love eggnog. Lots of eggnog.

What’s next for Connie Mann, author? 

Right now, my agent is shopping my brand-new series. It’s about a small team of women who travel the world helping other women in trouble, especially those who are trying to make the world a better place. They’re part of a secret society that dates back to the middle ages and the stories will be filled with exciting adventure and suspense, with a touch of romance, of course. 

Would you like to ask my readers a question? 

What is your absolute favorite thing about the holiday season? Leave a comment and I’ll send the e-book of Beyond Fear to one lucky commenter. 

Thanks so much, Connie! 

Thank you so much for having me! I had a wonderful time.

Readers, one randomly chosen person leaving a comment before 11:00 PM, December 2 will receive an e-copy of Beyond Fear.

*Must be 18

*Void where prohibited


Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Review and Giveaway - - Flirting with the Beast

Flirting with the Beast
by Jane Porter
Modern Love - Book 2
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: November 29
Reviewed by PJ




It’s been five years since Andi McDermott lost her husband, and she's finally starting to feel like herself again, ready to live fully—she’s even started dating again. But when her holiday plans with her stepson and his fiancée fall through, she refuses to spend another Christmas alone while everyone is celebrating with their families. Impulsively, she decides to go up to her cabin in Lake Arrowhead, a place she used to love to visit but hadn’t gone to in years, not since the feud started between her husband and their nearest neighbor.

 
Andi starts to rethink her decision when being alone at the cabin proves to be more challenging than she expected—a heavy snowstorm hits the area, and Andi finds herself trapped there with no one to help except for her neighbor, Wolf Enders. A military vet who lives full-time on Lake Arrowhead, Wolf is as grumpy and intimidating as Andi remembers. But he’s also unexpectedly kind and uncomfortably sexy—his presence reminds Andi that she may be older, but her body still works perfectly fine, thank you very much. But can this good girl tame this sexy beast of a man, and will this snowy fling turn into a love of a lifetime?

PJ's Thoughts:

I am thoroughly enjoying the mature love stories in Jane Porter's new Modern Love series. These characters have a fair amount of life experience and all that brings with it. They're proving you're never too old to start over, to fall in love, and to grow. I love that Porter has created complex characters with complicated family dynamics, unpacked emotional baggage, relationship wariness, and sizzling desire. 

Andi and Wolf are fully developed, realistic and very relatable. In Wolf, Porter has perfectly captured a true alpha, very stubborn male. It was fun to watch the sparks he and Andi created, especially in light of his contentious past with her late husband. Watching Andi grow into her confidence and strength was especially satisfying. In many ways, even though she has several decades behind her, this is her coming of age story and it was heartening to see her take control of her life. 

There were times when I wondered if these two would be able to find their way through their own emotional roadblocks. Porter gave them the time to work through issues - separately and together - before leading them to their happy ending.  They created laughter, steam, friction, and deep emotional upheaval along the way but that made their eventual happily ever after all the more satisfying and believable.

If you enjoy heart-tugging contemporary romance with mature lead characters, give Flirting with the Beast a try. I highly recommend it.


Do you enjoy alpha heroes?

Have you read any romances featuring mature characters that you would recommend?

Have you read any Jane Porter books yet?

One randomly chosen person who posts a comment before 11:00 PM, December 1 will receive a print copy of Flirting with the Beast.

*U.S. only
*Must be 18
*Void where prohibited

 


Monday, November 28, 2022

Winner - - Too Wrongs Make a Right

 




The randomly chosen winner of

a print copy of

Two Wrongs Make a Right by Chloe Liese is:

Beck

Congratulations!

Please send your full name and mailing address to:

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com

Please include "Chloe Liese Winner" in your email.

Review - - One Last Chance

One Last Chance
by Kat Martin
Blood Ties, the Logans - Book 3
Publisher: Kensington
Release Date: November 29, 2022
Reviewed by PJ
 



Former Green Beret Edge Logan has made a new life for himself at Nighthawk Security in Denver, using his finely honed skills to neutralize threats of all kinds. When he overhears friend and fellow agent Skye Delaney discussing a new case involving her missing sister and a mysterious cult, he offers himself as backup. With her own military background, Skye is gutsy and more than capable, but a cult like Children of the Sun is too risky for anyone to investigate alone.

 
Skye is grateful for Edge’s experience, even though she is aware of the attraction simmering between them. Her battle scars make her reluctant to get involved with anyone, much less a coworker—even a warrior like Edge. But infiltrating the cult’s compound is more complicated than expected—and something much more sinister than worship is clearly going on behind its walls. As the pair works against the clock to unearth high-stakes secrets, the personal barriers between them begin to crumble. Together, can they unmask the face of evil before their time runs out?

PJ's Thoughts:

This third book in Martin's Blood Ties, The Logans series is a fast-paced, non-stop, edge-of-the-seat thriller filled with murder, mystery, forced cult imprisonment, betrayal, dysfunctional family dynamics, and more than a few surprises. Each time I thought I had figured out what was happening in Skye's and Edge's mission to rescue her sister, a new twist sent them in a different direction. I love when an author keeps me on my toes, trying to tie up all the threads of a story before the big reveal. In One Last Chance, Martin carefully wove in unexpected layers that would eventually reveal connections that would have wide-spread consequences...and would keep me guessing until the end. There was much more to this than a clear-cut religious cult. 

The action and suspense of this story took center stage but romance was not left behind. I enjoyed the chemistry between Edge and Skye, the partnership formed while they stood side by side as equals, and the growth both experienced as they sorted through emotional baggage. I was firmly in their couple corner the entire way.

While this is the third book of this series, it can be enjoyed as a standalone. Actually, all three books - while connected by the three brothers - stand well on their own. If you choose to begin with One Last Chance, rest assured you'll be able to jump right in without missing a beat. 

If you're a fan of action-packed, high-intensity romantic suspense, give this one a try. I couldn't put it down.

Click the title to read my reviews of book one, The Last Goodnight and book two, The Last Mile


Winners - - Thanksgiving

 




The randomly chosen winners of 

a package of books from PJ are:

flchen1

Amy H

Barbara A

Congratulations! 

Please send your full name and mailing address to:

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com

Please include "Thanksgiving Winner" in subject line 

or email message.


Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Happy Thanksgiving Giveaway

 



 Happy Thanksgiving!


It's a busy day around our house with chopping, mixing, and baking on the agenda. Of course, I plan to slip some reading time into the schedule too but mostly it's a day for kitchen creating. 

I'll be making two dishes this year. My apple pie squares evoke sweet memories from my childhood and have become a family favorite so that will be one of my contributions. The other will be Cranberry Jell-O salad. It's a recipe I first had at Thanksgiving dinner at a dear friend's house and has become a must-have at my Thanksgiving and Christmas tables. 

Tomorrow will be our first Thanksgiving in our new combined-family home and I have many blessings for which to be grateful. High on that list of blessings are all of you who share my love of books and continue to support me in this now 13-year journey of sharing my thoughts about the stories we enjoy reading. I love hearing your opinions. You frequently thank me for introducing you to new-to-you authors but I want you to know that you've introduced me to new authors and books as well. I appreciate that...even if my bank account doesn't. ;-) You make the late nights writing reviews worthwhile. You make me smile every day. And you touch my heart with your kind words and notes. 

Thank you for being here. Thank you - each of you - for being you. 


How will you be spending Thanksgiving? Do you have any special traditions?

Will you be cooking?

What's your favorite Thanksgiving dish to make or eat? (Feel free to share recipes!)

What are you thankful for this year?

Three randomly chosen people who post a comment before 11:00 PM, November 27 will each receive a package of books.


*U.S only

*Must be 18

*Void where prohibited


Cranberry Jell-O Salad

2 (4 ounce) pkgs. raspberry Jell-O
1 can whole cranberry sauce
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Put Jell-O mix in serving bowl. Add 1-1/2 cups boiling water. Stir until dissolved.
Stir in cranberry sauce and 1 cup cold water.
Add remaining ingredients and stir gently to combine. 
Cover and refrigerate until set.

Topping

8 oz. softened cream cheese
8 oz. sour cream
1/2 cup granulated sugar

Blend all ingredients until smooth. Spread over top of firm Jell-O mixture. Sprinkle with chopped pecans. Cover and chill.

Apple Pie Squares

4 Granny Smith apples (peeled and sliced)
2 Gala apples (peeled and sliced)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour*
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
2 Tablespoons butter (sliced or cubed)
Double pie crust**

*I use King Arthur Gluten Free 
**I use Wholly Gluten Free frozen pie crust
**If you prefer regular crust but don't want to make it, I recommend the pie crust sheets found in the dairy section of your grocery.

For gluten free: Mix sugar, flour, spices, and a sprinkle of salt. Add sliced apples and toss until coated. Place mixture into the pie crust and dot with butter. Top with second crust and seal. Cut slits in top crust to allow steam to escape. Sprinkle top crust with granulated sugar.

For regular recipe: Mix sugar, flour, spices, and a sprinkle of salt. Add sliced apples and toss until coated. Spread one crust into the bottom of a 9 x 11 baking dish. Empty the apples into the crust. Dot with butter. Cover with second crust, seal, and cut slits in the crust. Sprinkle with granulated sugar. 

Bake at 400 F. for 50 minutes.

After pie has cooled, drizzle with topping and cut into squares. 

Topping: Stir milk, powdered sugar, and a bit of vanilla together until smooth. 



Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Review & Giveaway - - Two Wrongs Make a Right

Two Wrongs Make a Right
by Chloe Liese
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: November 22, 2022
Reviewed by Santa




Jamie Westenberg and Bea Wilmot have nothing in common except a meet-disaster and the mutual understanding that they couldn't be more wrong for each other. But when the people closest to them play Cupid and trick them into going on a date, Jamie and Bea realize they have something else in common after all—an undeniable need for revenge.
 
Soon their plan is in place: Fake date 
obnoxiously and convince the meddlers they’re madly in love. Then, break up spectacularly and dash everyone's hopes, putting an end to the matchmaking madness once and for all.
 
To convince everyone that they’ve fallen for each other, Jamie and Bea will have to nail the performance of their lives. But as their final act nears and playing lovers becomes easier than not, they begin to wonder: What if Cupid’s arrow wasn’t so off the mark? And what if two wrongs 
do make a right?


Santa Says:

Have you ever been drawn into a book from the very first page? Two Wrongs Make A Right by Chloe Liese is just that kind of book. It is a five star read for me and ticks off so many boxes for me. First and foremost for me, it is a wonderfully crafted re-telling of my favorite Shakespearean play, Much Ado About Nothing. Hello! Beatrix and Benedict or in this case Bea and Jamie. Benedict is his middle name but more about that in the book. There is even the exchange of letters like in the play in the form of texts. Just lovely. Second, fake dating for revenge. Brilliant! What could go wrong? Nothing if you don’t end up actually falling in love. Right? Once they embark on this fake dating, delicious shenanigans ensue.  

There are so many laugh out loud moments in the book. The dialog is witty and engaging. Each chapter is written from Bea and Jamie’s point of view. Their first encounter is stiff and awkward. Bea is neuro-divergent and navigates social situations awkwardly. She is an erotic artist. Jamie is a straight backed professional but also equally awkward in social situations. For every bit that they are different they discover how much they have in common. And the attraction is off the charts. Big points to Jamie as a classic romance hero. He’s a gorgeous baby doctor who saves geriatric cats. Bea’s artistry comes alive on her body as her tattoos express who she is as an individual. They grow beautifully together. 

Their relationship grows so organically that revenge dating becomes real dating and real love. But the forces that bring them together namely her twin sister Juliet and her fiance’ Jean-Claude. This guy’s a piece of work. They also wreak havoc on their world, The fall out from her twin sister’s love life threatens theirs. This was crushing to me but, in the end, all things are set to rights. And all’s well that ends well.  I know, I know. Different play. 

I have to say this one’s a keeper for me. I also intend to glom Chloe Liese’s blacklist. I hope this is the first in a series because there were some other characters in the book whose stories I’d like to read. I’m looking at you Chris, Kate and Juliet.


~~~~~~~~

Have you ever played Cupid for someone? Or has someone played Cupid for you?

Have you read any books by Chloe Liese?

One randomly chosen person who posts a comment before 11:00 PM, November 24 will receive a print copy of Two Wrongs Make a Right

*U.S. only

*Must be 18

*Void where prohibited