Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Coming Attractions

Well, here we are, folks. April is upon us and, so far, 2020 is like no other year I've ever lived. When so many of us said we were tired of 2019 and couldn't wait for the new year, this is not what we had in mind. I've now been living away from home for two months. I was visiting family in another state when the virus broke and, as I live alone, everyone (including yours truly) felt it would be safer for me to stay put. I have a wonderful friend taking care of my home for me and I'm grateful to have family who have welcomed me into their home for an indefinite stay. So far, we've managed to not drive one another crazy. ;-) 

One of the things I've discovered during this crisis is that "stuff" is not important...but books are. I do not consider my books "stuff," in case you were wondering. I have a feeling this year's spring cleaning, whenever it occurs, will be very different from years past. Streamline and declutter will be my mission directives. My books - romances, in particular - are still the vehicles that allow me to escape fear and worry for a while, though it's increasingly been much more difficult to focus my thoughts into a review that allows you readers to share the comfort these stories are giving me. I hope I'm giving the books, and authors, the credit they deserve. The good news is that there are some wonderful stories on the horizon over the next few months and I can't wait to share them with you. For now, I send you love, courage, strength, my wishes for good health and safety, and good books to bring you comfort.

Wednesday, April 1, stop by to read my tour review of Redeeming the Reclusive Earl by Virginia Heath. This is my favorite of the books by this author that I've read to date.

On Friday, April 3, a new reviewer, A.S. Cookie, joins the Dish with her review of Hidden Hearts by Marci Bolden. If you enjoy romance with mystery and suspense, be sure to check out her review. 

Monday, April 6 brings my review of PIVOT, an anthology with three inter-connected novellas by romantic suspense authors Kat Martin, Alexandra Ivy, and Rebecca Zanetti. I'll be reading more offerings from all three. 

Join me on Wednesday, April 8 for an excerpt from Beachside Beginnings, the upcoming fourth book in Sheila Roberts' Moonlight Harbor series. Along with the excerpt, the publisher will also be hosting a two-book giveaway.

Nancy Herkness launches her new The Consultants series this month with The Money Man. Swing by Friday, April 10 to read my review.

Monday, April 20 brings a tour review of Sunrise on Half Moon Bay, a new women's fiction novel by Robyn Carr.

I'm sharing my thoughts about Liz Talley's upcoming women's fiction novel, The Wedding War on Tuesday, April 21

It's more Sheila Roberts on Wednesday, April 22 when I review Beachside Beginnings

There will be more reviews throughout the month and maybe a surprise giveaway or two so don't be a stranger. 

Tell me what you're doing to find comfort in these scary times.

Are you reading any good books? Share the titles.

Are you stress baking? Share the recipes! (I'll share mine below)

I'll randomly choose one person who posts a comment before 11:00 PM, April 8, to receive a $10 e-gift card from Amazon. 


I've made two batches in the past week. It goes fast! 

Peel and slice 8-10 large apples. Place in ungreased baking dish.

Mix 2 cups brown sugar, 2 cups baking mix, 1 stick cold butter (cut into small cubes), and 1 tsp. cinnamon.

Crumble topping over apples.

Bake at 375 F. for 30-40 minutes.

I use a mix of tart and sweet apples. If using all sweet apples, sprinkle sliced apples with lemon juice before covering with topping. 

Great with vanilla ice cream!


  1. Thank you for the recipe. No stress baking yet. I did make a strawberry rhubarb pie because our rhubarb is already producing. I am working on weeding my flower beds , getting them ready for planting. They got overrun last summer and are in really in bad shape. It is taking a lot of work to get them cleaned out. The weather hasn't really cooperated. It looks like we are in for rain again for another 4 or 5 days. I haven't really been able to do much reading. I feel guilty because there is so much that needs to be done around the house. I am also finding it a bit hard to concentrate on what I am reading. I am suffering a bit from ennui, I guess. I haven't left the house since March 11 when I had a doctor's appointment. I have decided I need to stop watching the news all day long. That could be why weeding has proven so relaxing if a lot of work.

    1. Weeding and prepping flower beds has always been therapeutic for me. It's something I miss now that I'm in a condo. I don't think I've had a strawberry rhubarb pie since I was a kid. My grandma grew both and made a great pie. I hear you on watching the news. I've put my ear buds to good use with soothing music to drown out the news talk.

  2. I have been reading. One favorite is the start of the upcoming Harlequin Seven Sins continuity, Naima Simone's Ruthless Pride. Also the start of Erin Nicholas's new Hot Cakes series, Sugarcoated!

    As for baking, yes, we have been baking (and eating!) way too much! We did a strawberry coffee cake, a banana cake with frosting, peanut butter blossoms, and recently, chocolate chip cookies!

    1. I just recently began reading Naima Simone but, boy, do I love her writing. Glad you're finding good reads!

    2. Hugs, PJ! Yes, Naima's really been wowing me!

  3. Thanks for the recipe. I haven't done any stress baking yet because I have been reading and cleaning out closets and basically purging . I started reading every book my library had of Alafair Burke before they closed indefinitely. She wrote several books with the wonderful Mary Clark who recently passed away. Alaska's books are amazing.
    Be safe everyone.
    Carol Luciano

    1. Those sounds like good books to lose yourself in!

  4. Thanks for the delectable recipe. Since this onslaught I have been looking after my 6 & 8 year old grandsons everyday, 8 hours a day since there is no school and the parents work. March break was spend with them and it continues on and on. They are delightful and busy. Each day we have a schedule of work, play, outside, reading, and t.v. It is not a novelty for them anymore and they want to go to school but that won't happen for 6 months at least. Poor guys. In the meantime I have no time for anything else except a walk when they leave if the weather is perfect. Being older and having this responsibility is unexpected but unforgettable too.

    1. They may not appreciate it now but I'm guessing years from now those boys will look back on this unexpected time with you with fondness. It's a great time to make memories!

  5. I am happy you are with family right now PJ! This recipe sounds wonderful!! Since it is just me and my hubby, I might try to reduce it or we will eat the entire thing! My daught has a great recipe for bread that only uses 1 tsp of yeast. Since yeast is almost impossible to find as is flour so I don't want to create a sourdough starter I've used this recipe a couple times. One time I made a more rustic bread by adding spent grains from my husband's beer brewing. It was SO tasty! Luckily my husband can work from home. I'm going to spend most of today sewing masks for my daughter and her girlfriend since they are both working outside of the home. Of course I'll be making some for us as well.

    1. Just cut the recipe in half, Glenda.

      It's time like these when I wish I had learned to sew. Good thing I have friends who did! :)

  6. I enjoyed your update which is important in these unusual times. I read a great deal, mostly World War 11 books since the novels are meaningful, profound and all of them teach me that the individuals had strength and managed to be strong and courageous. Their perseverance at that time was admirable. They suffered but triumphed. No whining nor complaining at all. I walk daily at least twice and I journal about these times. I will tackle all of the clearing out since it is a job that has to be completed.

    1. It's important to keep moving. I've been walking in the morning. It's getting hot here so any walking after 10:00 AM is pretty much out of the question for me.

  7. It's nice that you're with family during this time. I haven't done any stress baking yet, but I am considering making a batch of chocolate chip cookies. Your cobbler recipe sounds tasty.

    1. It's very tasty, Kim, and also easy. Nothing better than hot chocolate chip cookies and a glass of cold milk, in my opinion!

  8. I've been reading like crazy - the one good thing about having to stay home lol.

  9. I'm dying to get into my yard, but right now it looks like a lake!! I've been reading a lot and one of my new fav authors is V M Burns, her cozies are great. I'm really looking forward to Darynda Jones' new book A Great Day for Sunshine! Stay safe everyone.

  10. I’ve read several books during our stay-at-home order that I’d highly recommend:
    Chasing Cassandra--Lisa Kleypas, The Moonglow Sisters--Lori Wilde, Alone in the Wild--Kelley Armstrong, A Murderous Relation--Deanna Raybourn, and The Worst Best Man--Mia Soso.
    Just before the order, I’d finished Harlan Coben’s The Boy From the Woods, another good one. The apple crisp looks great; thanks for the recipe. And thanks for the giveaway. Stay home and stay safe everyone.

    1. What a Great List! I am checking them out now...

      Susan in AZ

  11. Just got outside for a bit to pick up all the twigs that blew around. I love apple crisp; thanks for the recipe; am going to make one for my daughter for Easter and drop it off.

    Loved The Moonglow Sisters, and by Sarah Morgan - Christmas Ever After and Rae Anne Thayne's The Sea Glass Cottage.

    Been making a small dent in my tbr, watching t.v. shows I have not watched in awhile and especially now with no baseball games. Enjoying Bob Loves Abeshola.

  12. And yes having been cooking our favorite meals and indeed have been baking.

  13. I am tackling several home projects that I had been putting off. I am also continuing at home the exercise program I had started with a trainer to get my aging body back into shape. I also can't complain about the extra time to read. I stepped out of my comfort zone by reading some urban fantasy. I am enjoying Ilona Andrews' Kate Daniels series.

  14. Sunrise on Half Moon Bay looks really good. I've been reading an anthology called April Moon, on sale for 99c this month. Here in Arizona, the hubby (known to the bublets as Grandpa) has been playing PS4 games online with grandsons in L.A. for hours each day. They have no school, Lawyer Daddy is trying to work from home, and Nurse Mommy is working the Coronavirus front lines. Nurse Mommy is quite stressed this week. Keeping the bublets busy has been a long-distance help to both Mommy and Daddy.

    Susan in AZ

  15. Reading so many books. Not all romance. The Jane Austen Society (ARC), The Book of Lost Friends, Montana Cowboy Romance, The Wrong Mr. Darcy, The Love Scam, etc...


  16. These are amazing PJ!! Stsy safe!😷



    Recipe type: Dessert

    Cuisine: Cookies


    1 box strawberry cake mix1 tsp baking powder2 eggs⅓ cup vegetable oil½ tsp vanilla extract2 cups white chocolate chips


    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.Combine all ingredients except the chocolate chips in a bowl and mix with an electric mixer until combined. Fold in chocolate chips by hand.Drop round (about 1 tablespoon) balls onto baking sheet.Bake for 10 minutes exactly. (Any longer and they will start browning– not as pretty!)Cool a couple minutes on the pan and then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.

  17. Haven't done any baking. Fluctuate on my reading from my tbr pile - nothing wonderful, but trying to finish some off (I rarely dnf a book). My neighbor just dropped off a pot of tulips which was a lovely surprise. I had gotten her 2 bags of flour last week when I went to the grocery store - I think I lucked out in that exchange. My cable provider (Verison FIOS) has opened up some premium channels for free, so I've watched a couple movies -watched 2 interesting British movies: 'Hamstead' and 'Finding Your Feet'.


    Candy Bar Brownies

    1 box fudge brownie mix (for 13in x 9in baking pan)
    1 box of thin mints or thin chocolate bars (like Andes candies), or larger flat candy bars (like Hershey’s) broken into pieces, or miniature chocolate bars (like Hershey’s miniatures)
    if desired for topping, ready-made frosting and sprinkles or crushed hard candies

    Prepare brownie mix per box directions. Pour half of batter into greased and floured baking pan. Place candy pieces evenly across batter. Top with remaining batter and bake per box directions. Allow to cool before cutting into squares. If desired, top with frosting and sprinkles or crushed hard candies or peppermints. So easy, so good and so pretty!

  19. I've made brownies from a box to freeze and some ready made cookies to eat. I've been reading, watching my granddaughter, and sewing face masks instead. So glad you are safe and thanks for sharing the recipe.

  20. No stress baking for just hubby & I. I just finished reading Brenda Novak's new one One Perfect Summer. I've read And They Called it Camelot written by Stephanie Marie Thornton. Getting ready to read American Princess also by Stephanie.

  21. I have hardly been able to look away from the news since information on Covid-19 seemed to be changing on an hourly basis for a time not long ago. Nothing else seemed to hold my focus. I was able to tear my gaze away from all of the article titles around the beginning of this month. Hostile Pursuits by Juno Rushdan was a gripping read with lots of danger and action. It was a relief to have something else keep my attention.
    Eggs have been scarce so much that I would like to bake is being put off until I get re-supplied. I have heard of Depression cake also known as wacky cake that uses vinegar and baking soda as a raising agent. Have not yet tried it because whatever I make must also be appealing enough to serve my mother-in-law who has grown to have a very narrow acceptance of food and flavors. Her dementia has taken her in a direction of great suspicion of food especially. I am also having trouble finding yeast. However, Andrew Janjigian of Cook's Illustrated has described a method of making a sourdough starter that uses minimal amounts of flour and water, and he mentions that the discarded amounts when feeding/refreshing the starter can be saved and used in other baking projects. The starter begins with a heaped T of flour and a couple of t H2O. Anyone interested in trying this can look it up online Make Your Own Mini Sourdough Starter With the #Quarantinystarter Project by Andrew Janjigian.
    Wishing everyone well!

  22. I reread the Psy Changeling series by Nalini Singh, I rewatched Harry Potter and The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings will be next... I'm also enjoying a coloring app, it's addictive!

  23. I am a network engineer for a service provider, so I have been working long hours making sure our clients can work from home and provide their services. There's a bunch of us working in the background keeping the world online!

    Haven't had much time for reading, but Virginia Kantra's "Meg and Jo" was a good escape from work and the news. I really enjoyed finding the callbacks to "Little Women." I am currently reading Joanna Shupe's "The Prince of Broadway" when I have a free moment and loving the story so far.

    No time for stress baking, yet. I have been happy that with all the shortages, we can get a steady supply of Lofthouse cookies at our local grocery store. I plan to bake almond macaron nests this weekend for Easter. Here is the simple recipe.

    4 egg whites
    3 cups sweetened shredded coconut
    1/2 cup granulated sugar
    24 Cadbury eggs or Almond M&Ms
    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. In a bowl, whisk the egg whites until frothy, add the sugar and mix well. Then, add the coconut and mix with a spoon. Using two spoons, place mounds of the dough onto the cookie sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely before eating.

    1. Forgot a step - place the candy egg into each mound of dough before baking. :)

  24. Stealing the Apple Crisp receipe. Been baking a lot. Trying lots of new food .
    Been reading a lot. Loving the new Toni Aleo Also got a few in the TBR like the new Kristen Ashley. Erin Nicholas. Helena Hunting.

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