Archive for » March, 2016 «

I’m Still Here!

Hi Bloggy Friends!

I have been a little under the weather and haven’t posted anything for a bit!

There are posts on the way!! I promise!

Thanks for hanging in there!

What Was In My Snakku Box?

Some of you know that I enter giveaways all the time. Well, I won another one recently and the prize was a Snakku box, which is a subscription box with snacks from Japan. I thought I would share with everyone what was in the box. The theme for February was strawberries and also Valentines Day. When I opened up the outside box, I found the box inside wrapped in some sort of fabric. CAM00061 So I had to unwrap that and this is what I found next: CAM00062CAM00063   There was a personalized note to me and also a list describing the snacks that would be inside: CAM00064CAM00069 And now  for the snacks! First, there was some Gold Okaki. These are crepe crackers baked and dipped in a ginger emulsion and then dipped in real edible gold foils. Apparently these gold foils are made by hand in the city of Kanazawa. How cool! CAM00070 These little bags below are Chocolate Arare, from a rice cracker store in Kyoto. They are basically chocolate-covered rice crackers. One pouch was bitter and the other sweet. CAM00078 My favorite in the bunch were the Chocolate Fruit Crunch. They came in strawberry and blueberry and I think they taste like Special K bars. Yum! CAM00071 These little guys are the Pururun Strawberry Mochi, made from rice and seasonal strawberries. The taste was good, but I could see that some people might not enjoy the texture or consistency of the gooey stuff. CAM00073  Inside these packages was Chocolate Senbei, heart-shaped rice crackers covered in chocolate for Valentines Day!

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Pocky seems to be a popular snack in Japan. They are biscuit sticks. These ones were covered in strawberry cream and in the shape of hearts.

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Did you know here was such a thing as Green Tea KitKat? I had no clue. I’m not really a green tea fan but these were pretty tasty!

CAM00072Some more Senbei, rice crackers. But these weren’t covered in chocolate. They were plum and soy seaweed flavored. I have to admit that I wasn’t a huge fan of these ones.

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There were a couple of Umaibo. Corn puff sticks is what they are. Cute packaging!

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And to top it off, a bunch of these Ichigo Milk Candies- strawberry of course!

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So that was everything! It looks like if you want to order one box, which contains nearly 2 pounds of snacks, it will cost you 38.95. The more months you sign up for, you get a bit of a discount. They also offer a tasting box, with 5-7 snacks for 15.75.

Category: Reviews  2 Comments
Book Review- Step by Step by Candace Calvert

Love and the emergency room. What else could you want?

I received a complimentary copy of the book Step by Step by Candace Calvert from Tyndale House Publishers, in exchange for my honest review.

stepbystep

As always, first I will share the book’s description with you:

Three years after a tragic accident left her a widow, ER nurse Taylor Cabot is determined to move on, checking off one item after another on her survival list. Her relationship with a handsome plastic surgeon even giver her hope for the last point- “fall in love again.” At least until criss chaplain Seth Donovan steps back into her life, reawakening unanswered questions about her husband’s death.

While in San Diego to train community volunteers, Seth hopes to learn why Taylor is back away from the crisis team and from their friendship. But nothing prepares him for the feelings that arise when he sees Taylor again… and sees her moving on with another man.

When a community crisis hits home and puts lives at risk, emotions run high and buried truths are unearthed. Will hope make the survival list?

MY THOUGHTS

This is apparently the second book in the Crisis Team series. I haven’t read the first one, which didn’t bother me, as this seems to be a standalone book. I am not 100% sure if any of the characters were in the first book or not.

I found it very interesting to learn about the work of chaplains. You hear about them, but in this book you learn more in-depth information about the important work they do. Apparently the author was a former ER nurse and a crisis peer counselor, so it is great that she was able to draw on her personal experience.

Of course, from reading the description, you can tell that there is a struggle for Taylor’s attention from two men. It’s not really much of a competition. As a reader, you will know exactly which one you want her to end up with. You will also enjoy the relationship between Taylor and her aging dog, Hooper. This is a faith-based story of hope that is definitely an inspiring read.

I believe there is another book to come and I THINK I might know which character it will follow, so I’m curious to see that when it comes out.

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Book Review: Crushed by Deborah Coonts

Well, can you believe it? I’m actually posting two book reviews in one day, so I’m definitely still plowing through my list! Still several more to go through, but we will get there soon!

First, of course, here is the book description:

crushed

In Napa Valley, he who has the best grapes wins. And in the pursuit of perfection, dreams and hearts can be crushed.

Sophia Stone is a widow on the brink of an empty nest, stuck in an unsatisfying job managing the vineyard for a mediocre Napa vintner. Faced with an uncertain future she wonders how do you choose between making a living and making a life? Between protecting your heart and sharing it? Five years ago, after her husband was killed in an accident, Sophia put her heart and dreams on ice to care for those around her. Now her home, her dreams, and her family’s legacy grapes are threatened by the greed of the new money moving into the Valley. Sophia has a choice-give up and let them take what is hers, or risk everything fighting a battle everyone says she can’t win.

Nico Treviani has one goal in life:make brilliant wine. A woman would be an unwanted distraction. So, while recognized as one of Napa’s premier vintners, Nico finds himself alone… until his brother’s death drops not one, but two women into his life-his thirteen-year-old twin nieces. In an instant, Nico gains a family and loses his best friend and partner in the winemaking business. Struggling to care for his nieces, Nico accepts a job as head winemaker for Avery Specter, one of the new-money crowd. And he learns the hard way that new money doesn’t stick to the old rules.

When Sophia Stone gets caught in the middle of Nico’s struggle to remain true to himself or sacrifice his convictions to make stellar wine, both Sophia and Nico are faced with a choice they never imagined. A choice that might extinguish the hope of a future neither expected.

This is the first in a four book series, as described on the author’s website: “This series follows four women (and their men) each of whom toils in her chosen vocation in the farm-to-table movement- the winemaker, the artisanal cheese maker, the baker and the restaurateur. These are feel-good stories as each woman finds the life she was meant to live- and serves up some killer wine, cheese, and chocolate.” From the description, I believe these other women were introduced to us in this first book, so it sounds like we will be able to follow up on some of other favorite characters.

 

MY THOUGHTS

I am definitely no wine expert, but it seems like the author is, as she shares plenty of technical information. Every once in awhile it seems a little much, and sometimes the conversations seem a little awkward in how technical they are, but it probably wouldn’t seem that way to those who are experts in the field.

The love story was both great and complicated and left you guessing what would happen between these two.  The characters are believably imperfect which makes you love them all the more. And a word to more sensitive readers, there is a small amount of racy stuff in this book, but not a lot. Just a heads up as I know some people are sensitive to that.

This author has written another series, the Lucky O’Toole Vegas Adventure Series, which I am interested in looking into, and I do want to follow up with the rest of this Napa series. And it looks like she has even more series’ on the way.

Definitely worth your time to book up any of these books. To find out more check out the author’s website: www.deborahcoonts.com

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Book Review- Deep Fried and Pickled

Paisley Ray books are not your typical fiction. A young woman’s plan for an art history degree turns into an outrageous series of misadventures in this laugh-out-loud romp about a girl who enrolls in a southern college during the height of the crazy era that was the 1980’s. This collection crosses genres of chick lit, mystery, romance, humor, and action with the possibility of a corpse or two. To date there are 8 novels in this humorous romantic misadventure mystery series with book #9 due to release spring of 2016.

It’s ’86, the era of Pop Rocks, Jelly shoes, and big hair rock bands. Rachael O’Brien’s freshman plan seems simple: Attend a southern college, earn a degree, party, and meet cute guys—hopefully acing the latter two.

But being threatened by a jealous She-Devil, avoiding the advances of a thirty-something redneck, and discovering an art fraud scheme thwart her “to do” list. On top of her troubles at school, Rachael finds herself forging a new relationship with her emotionally shaken father after Mom abandons the family to pursue a psychic calling.

Bad decision-making, law-bending behavior, and surprise romances make freshman year memorable in Paisley Ray’s DEEP FRIED AND PICKLED.

“I often get asked by readers what order THE RACHAEL O’BRIEN CHRONICLES books should be read in. Each book can be read without any prior knowledge of any of the others. That said, some readers do want to follow a chronological list of events in Rachael’s southern fried, 80’s college life antics so here it is”…..

 

DEEP FRIED AND PICKLED
SUMMER FLAMBÉ
SHELLED AND SHUCKED
TOAD IN THE HOLE
JOHNNY CAKES
SWAMP CABBAGE
PRAISE THE LARD
HOT TAMALE — New Release

Available to buy at….
Amazon.com   Amazon.co.uk   Audible
or
See the full series on Amazon HERE

 

“Being a Southern girl and child of the 80s myself, I enjoyed the characters, the setting and the period references. Good plot without being too serious or watered down.”

 

“This fun and quirky mystery was very nostalgic for me as I got to relive the eighties through Rachael.”

 

“An entertaining read. Fresh new characters and some zany plot twists kept me reading late into the night.”
Above reviews from Amazon

 

Also available in the series

 

THOUGHTS FROM HILARY

What a fun read! Poor Rachael, just trying to enjoy her freshman year of college and getting involved in all these hi-jinks! This book is fun, but also includes suspense, mystery, romance. Basically anything you might want. Now, I have to admit that since I was younger during the time that this book is set in, I had questions such as, “Were jelly shoes really already out of style by 1986?” Guess what? The author included some notes at the very end that answers to a few questions, including this one! There were a few times when I felt that there was too much emphasis on Rachael’s goals of partying and men. That wasn’t what I was focused on in college, but I suppose it could be very true for others. I thought the “Note to Self” at the end of every chapter was a cute addition. I plan to check into the rest of the books in this series and see what Rachael gets herself into next.

About the Author 
Born and raised in rural Pennsylvania, Paisley Ray, a steelworker’s daughter spent summer breaks with relatives on the Carolina shores. It didn’t take long for a love of southern to become rooted in her veins, and years later, yield the setting for her novels. Most days, Paisley can be found crafting the antics for the newest book in THE RACHAEL O’BRIEN CHRONICLES.

Find the author on the following sites…
Website   Facebook   Twitter   Pinterest   Goodreads   

Amazon Author Page

Follow the book tour

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I received this book to review through Beck Valley Books Book Tours, all the opinions above are 100% my own.

NOW FOR THE AUTHOR’S GIVEAWAY

 

 

Win $20Amazon.com GC / Paypal Cash
(winners choice)

 

Open Worldwide
Ending on Sunday 13th March at 11.59pm EST

 

Enter Below and Good Luck !!

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Category: Reviews  2 Comments
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