Wednesday, October 6, 2021

A Christmas in the Alps Book Review

 The cover looked amazing and I knew that I had enjoyed the author before so I was excited to read A Christmas in the Alps: A Christmas Novella by Melody Carlson. I love a good Christmas story and one set in the Alps sounded like the perfect first Christmas book of the season. I like being surprised by a book so I took a quick look at the summary to see if it would be something that sounded interesting and promptly forgot what it was about. I was excited to pick up the book and find out if it lived up the cover.

A Christmas in the Alps: A Christmas Novella


After a time of heartache and loss, Simone Winthrop discovers a tantalizing letter from her French great-grandmother, which seems to suggest that she is heir to a family treasure. Ever practical, Simone assumes the claim is baseless, but her best friend encourages her to find out for sure. Despite her deep-rooted fear of flying, Simone boards a jet to travel to Paris at Christmastime to uncover the truth.

During the long flight, Simone meets the charming Kyle Larsson, who's on his way to France to become an apprentice clockmaker. Though they abruptly part ways, an unexpected rendezvous in the French Alps at Simone's family's clock factory may lead to the discovery of the family treasure . . . and so much more.

For anyone who is wearying of staying home, Melody Carlson invites you to spend Christmas with her in the beautiful French Alps this year. So pull on your mittens, tie your scarf tight, and prepare yourself for a magical mountain holiday.

Simone Winthrop is going through her great grandmothers house after her passing and trying to get all of her things in order but it was so hard since everything seem to hold memories.  Her friend helped her go through some of the things and found a letter that was addressed to Simone but it was sealed and they were both very confused on why that would be in boxes of old things. It was a letter telling Simone that she had to go to France to the small town where her great grandmother grew up and find a treasure. The biggest problem is that Simone is too scared to fly.  Her friend doesn't give her a chance to back out by getting her new clothes, new luggage and going so far as to book the tickets. Simone is under way on the great journey when she meets Kyle in the seat next to her.  He does an amazing job of helping her calm down and make it through the plane ride.  Although there is a layover in Iceland and it turns out that he is getting on a plane to Norway while she is getting back on the plane to France.  Simone gives Kyle her information and hopes to hear from him again.  Simone makes it to France and you really need to pick up the book to find out if she talks to Kyle again and what the treasure is that she finds in her grandmother's hometown. I know I had my ideas what it was going to be from the beginning but I was ready to read and find out.  I hope that you check out this book for yourself to follow the adventure and enjoy this wonderful Christmas story of family and coming back after great loss. I thought it was a great book and I can't wait for the next Christmas story from this fun author!!

**I was provided a copy of the book to review but all opinions here are my own and I was not required to post a positive review.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Beyond the Tides Book Review

 I knew the author sounded familiar when I saw this interesting cover and was immediately drawn in to find out what the book was about.  I didn't look her up until after completing the book that I have previously read The Red Door Inn and A Dazzle of Diamonds both written by her.  Beyond the Tides (Prince Edward Island Shores) by Liz Johnson is the first book in a new series about Prince Edward Island and growing up with the island life. I couldn't wait to get started and find out more about it.

 

Beyond the Tides (Prince Edward Island Shores)

 

When Meg Whitaker's father decides to sell the family's lobster-fishing business to her high school nemesis, she sets out to prove she should inherit it instead. Though she's never had any interest in running the small fleet--or even getting on a boat due to her persistent seasickness--she can't stand to see Oliver Ross take over. Not when he ruined her dreams for a science scholarship and an Ivy League education ten years ago.

Oliver isn't proud of what he did back then. Angry and broken by his father walking out on his family, he lashed out at Meg--an innocent bystander. But owning a respected fishing fleet on Prince Edward Island is the opportunity of a lifetime, and he's not about to walk away just because Meg wants him to.

Meg's father has the perfect solution: Oliver and Meg must work the business together, and at the end of the season, he'll decide who gets it. Along the way, they may discover that their stories are more similar than they thought . . . and their dreams aren't what they expected.

I thought this was great book with wonderful characters that made it really hard to put it down.  I started reading it before bed one night just to see what it was about and ended up staying up half the night to see what was going to happen next.  From the relationship between father and daughter and the relationship with the boating community, this book made you wonder what was going to happen next for these characters. I was immediately taken with Meg Whitaker and felt everything she felt through the story. She gave up her dreams to move home when her mother got sick and gave up even more when her father decided to walk away from the business.  She decided that she couldn't let her father sell the company that she has known all her life that was her family legacy.  She quit her job as the high school teacher in the community to go to work on the fishing boat.  The biggest hurdle was that she got seasick so just setting foot in the boat was hard to handle but the worst part is that the person she hated the most was the person that she had to work with every day.  Not only that, if she gave up the family business then he would be the one that got to buy it.  Meg was determined not to let her bitter rival, Oliver Ross, take away her family company. Oliver was equally relatable because he was a nice guy who had a tough time growing up with his father leaving when he was young and his brother leaving more in the past 10 years to pursue his hockey career playing in the NHL. Both had left and never looked back to the small Canadian town of Prince Edward Island.  Oliver's whole life has been working on the boat and he wasn't willing to give it up without a fight even if that meant that he would have to work along side the person that was his biggest regret.  I don't want to ruin the story but there are amazing twists and turns with the great characters of Meg's mom and dad and Oliver's mom and younger brother as well as all the other people in the small town. I know that you will want to pick up this book and be transported to the small ocean town and learn all about what the lobster business means to both Oliver and Meg and everyone else in the small town.

 

**I was given a copy of the book for my review but all opinions here are my own and I was not required to give a positive review.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Menu Plan 9/13

 


 

Pasta with Sausage Sauce and garlic bread

Grilled Caesar Chicken with Herb Rice (Leftover Pizza)

Tacos (Hash Browns with bacon)

Paninis with tater tots and curly fries (Chicken Fries)

Homemade Pizza

Rosemary Chicken and Potato Casserole or Chicken and Rice Casserole (Hash Browns and Bacon)

Chicken Fries, Chicken Wraps and Homemade French Fries

 

I haven't been posting in awhile because things got a little busy with summer and family. The last few months have been a lot of easy meals to make after going to the pool. Now the end of summer has come and there was an end to the pool and the beginning of school.  We are working on the new schedule and getting things done. Although it is still very hot here, we are trying to work on some winter meals that we miss even though it is kind of warm. 

I went shopping at the end of last month and I am wondering how long it will last.  I didn't do the best at planning out that shopping trip because we needed a few things urgently and threw together my plan.  I do have a few things that I need like celery, milk, toilet paper and pineapple.  I also have to do a little stock up on flour to get me through a few months because I am totally out of what I got last holiday baking season.  We use about 10 lbs a month so I am trying to decide how many to buy before what I hope is the normal sales cycle for the flour.

How is your menu and meal planning going?

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

A Lighthouse Point Book Review

 I was excited to read the next book in the Three Sisters Island, At Lighthouse Point (Three Sisters Island) by Suzanne Woods Fisher. I love this author so I was excited to see that there was a new book to read.  I didn't even knew that it was in the series that I had already read but I was excited to get started to find out what the sisters had been up to.  I was a little disappointed at the beginning because there was a lot of whiny behavior but I knew that if I hung in there it would lead to a resolution.  I wasn't disappointed.

 At Lighthouse Point (Three Sisters Island Book #3)

Blaine Grayson returns to Three Sisters Island with a grand plan--to take Camp Kicking Moose to the next level. Her dream starts to unravel when she discovers Moose Manor's kitchen has been badly remodeled by her sister, Cam, who doesn't know how to cook. Added to that blow is the cold shoulder given by her best friend, Artie Lotosky, now a doctor to the unbridged Maine islands.
 
As old wounds are opened, Blaine starts to wonder if she made a mistake by coming home. Little by little, she must let go of one dream to discover a new one, opening her heart to a purpose and a future she had never imagined. Bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher invites you back to the coast of Maine for a story that reminds you to release what doesn't matter and cling to what does: faith, family, and friendships.

I was excited to see Blaine again because I enjoyed meeting her in the previous book.  Blaine went oversees after having a bad experience in her school.  She started over in Paris and decided that she was chasing her dream but she found out that her depression followed her there.  She was in a very dark place and was saved by a new friend who she brought back to meet her family.  Blaine was trying to make a new life after working through her problems.  She went through the program at Cordon Bleu Cooking school and came back to the small island and her family.  Although that wasn't without it's issues.  The family was trying their best to get along but two sisters were pregnant, her best friend was mad at her and her father and grandfather were at odds.  It was a crazy time in the household and the camp was looking to maybe not open because there weren't permits for the things that they fixed.  All of the family needs to pull together or everyone is going to have issues.  You have to pick up the book and find out what happens and who saves the day this time.  After finishing reading this book, I realized that I don't think that I have read the first book in the series!  I guess I will have to look at the library and see if they have the first book to read so that I finish the series.

 

**I received a copy of the book to read for my review but all opinions here are my own and I was not required to 

Monday, May 31, 2021

Menu Plan Monday 5/31

 


 

Pasta with Sausage Sauce and bread with olive oil

Grilled Caesar Chicken with Rice (Crispy Pepperoni)

Salsa Sloppy Joes with tater tots (Chicken Fries)

Tacos Mac and Cheese (Pasta)

Homemade Pizza

Spicy Honey Mustard Chicken and Potato Skins (Hash Browns and Bacon)

Chicken Fries, Chicken Wraps and Homemade French Fries

 

Last week went mostly according plan until Saturday when we did a quick menu change to make a Buffalo Chicken Pizza with the leftover dough from the night before and then made Hamburgers and tater tots for the adults and Hash browns and Bacon for my son. We had company at dinner time and had to adjust to feed everyone so it was a little thrown together but still tasty and already in the house.  

I made up this weeks menu to be easy since we are in the home stretch of a lot of school projects and the pool is open. We might have to do school work or want to go to the pool for a little bit before dinner on a few nights. I think that some of the meals might change a little. Plus with all the school work and pool time, I think that I am putting off the monthly shopping trip for a little bit so using up what is left in the house. Although we are out of a bunch of things, there is still a lot left to make it through for awhile so maybe I will be able to put it off for a bit but I have some free time on Thursday so who knows. We still have egg, butter and milk so plenty of yummy things can be made for sure. I am planning on pumpkin bread, chocolate chip bars and soft pretzels.  We started making soft pretzels every weekend and have really mastered the process.  Super yummy and tasty and way easier then I ever thought that they would be. Fingers crossed for a yummy week. How are you adjusting to summer weather and summer schedule??

Monday, May 24, 2021

Menu Plan Monday 5/24

 


 

Pasta with Sausage Sauce and garlic bread

Grilled Caesar Chicken with Rice (Crispy Pepperoni)

Chicken Paninis and mac and cheese (Chicken Fries)

Ground Beef Tacos (Pasta)

Homemade Pizza

House Autry Fried Chicken and Tortilla Crusted Chicken with mashed potatoes or Spicy Brown Stir Fry with rice (Hash Browns and Bacon)

Chicken Fries, Chicken Wraps and Homemade French Fries

 

Last week was a long week and we were done with the meal plan by Thursday. I decided to make Hash Browns and Bacon which I was planning for my son and we both had it.  My husband had hamburger on the grill and I used the leftover grilled chicken and mac and cheese to make him chicken buffalo mac and cheese. Friday we did  Pizza Hut take out which we normally do once a month but this was a perfect week for it because I was exhausted. Saturday was busy and we pulled all the leftovers out of the fridge and we had everything in the fridge which I can't even remember what it was that we ate. Sunday we had our normal chicken wraps and homemade fries but I was barely hungry because it was a tasty day.  I had made homemade soft pretzels earlier in the day so we had already all eaten lots of things before dinner but we will still ate one of the favorite meals of the week. 

I had a lot of work to make up for on Sunday to get ready for the coming week. I made the soft pretzels which we saved a few but ate most of them. I made rolls for my husband's lunch. I made a loaf of bread for garlic bread and toast and things through the week. I made a loaf of lemon pound cake and cut up strawberries to make strawberry shortcake on the pound cake. YUM!  Nothing says summer like strawberry shortcake. I still have to cut up chicken that I bought at the store to prepare for the coming months and a few more things.  I hope that I everything one the meal plan made this week but only time will tell!!

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

The Bounty Book Review

I went through the list of the new releases at the library and was excited to see the next installment of the Fox and O'Hare series which I have really enjoyed.  I reserved it and waited a long time while it went through all of the people that were way more on top of things and reserved it earlier. I was so excited when The Bounty: A Novel (7) (A Fox and O'Hare Novel) by Janet Evanovich finally came on to my reserve shelf so that I would get to read this fun book.  It has all the fun of the Castle television series with the drama of FBI versus criminal.

 The Bounty: A Novel (A Fox and O'Hare Novel Book 7)

FBI agent Kate O’Hare and charming criminal Nick Fox race against time to uncover a buried train filled with Nazi gold in this thrilling adventure in the “romantic and gripping” (Good Housekeeping) Fox and O’Hare series from the #1 New York Times bestselling author Janet Evanovich. Straight as an arrow special agent Kate O’Hare and international criminal Nick Fox have brought down some of the biggest bad guys out there. But now they face their most dangerous foe yet—a vast, shadowy international organization known only as the Brotherhood. Directly descended from the Vatican Bank priests who served Hitler during World War II, the Brotherhood is on a frantic search for a lost train loaded with $30 billion in Nazi gold, untouched for over seventy-five years somewhere in the mountains of Eastern Europe.

Kate and Nick know that there is only one man who can find the fortune and bring down the Brotherhood—the same man who taught Nick everything he knows—his father, Quentin. As the stakes get higher, they must also rely on Kate’s own father, Jake, who shares his daughter’s grit and stubbornness. Too bad they can never agree on anything. From a remote monastery in the Swiss Alps to the lawless desert of the Western Sahara, Kate, Nick, and the two men who made them who they are today must crisscross the world in a desperate scramble to stop their deadliest foe in the biggest adventure of their lives.

The book was off to a fast start with Kate and Nick on loan to the Vatican to try to help them increase their security and find the flaws.  However they didn't believe that they were going to be broken into so they didn't take the advice very seriously.  When they were broken into and it just so happened to be Nick's father that was the robber, they immediately decided that it was an inside job.  Although they ere surprised when he stole a map instead of the highest priced item the ring they were expecting.  Nick froze when he saw who was breaking in and then decided that he and Kate were on the job to find his father.  It was a fun story from there because there was so much action and adventure.  Every time I read these books I think about how great they would be as a TV show or movie because there is so much going on.  It reminded me of a Indiana Jones movie where they were hunting for buried Nazi gold and they needed all of the other people to help them find it.  Nick and Kate followed the clues with the help of their fathers.  It was a great story and made it hard to put down because you wanted to find out what was going to happen next. I hope that you check out this book and the rest of this great series.  I am amazed that there are 7 books in this series already.  I hope that you start at the beginning and follow the great journey through Kate and Nick's relationship to see how they got to where they are in this book!  I know I enjoyed all of them and I hope that you will too.