Friday, August 5, 2022

The Romance Recipe - Sapphic Book Review

A fiery restaurant owner falls for her enigmatic head chef in this charming, emotional romance

Amy Chambers: restaurant owner, micromanager, control freak.

Amy will do anything to revive her ailing restaurant, including hiring a former reality-show finalist with good connections and a lot to prove. But her hopes that Sophie’s skills and celebrity status would bring her restaurant back from the brink of failure are beginning to wane…

Sophie Brunet: grump in the kitchen/sunshine in the streets, took thirty years to figure out she was queer.

Sophie just wants to cook. She doesn’t want to constantly post on social media for her dead-in-the-water reality TV career, she doesn’t want to deal with Amy’s take-charge personality and she doesn’t want to think about what her attraction to her boss might mean…

Then, an opportunity: a new foodie TV show might provide the exposure they need. An uneasy truce is fine for starters, but making their dreams come true means making some personal and painful sacrifices and soon, there’s more than just the restaurant at stake.

Carina Adores is home to romantic love stories where LGBTQ+ characters find their happily-ever-afters.

Book Breakdown

A romance with cooking and a reality show? Not my usual thing, but when I saw the pretty cover and discovered the romance was Sapphic, I was sold! I’ve been looking for more Sapphic romances and this sounded like one I would like.

Sophie is bi and never been with a woman and as a bi woman myself, I always love characters like this.

Which I did! I read this novel in just a few days. It’s one of those novels that I didn’t feel a rush to read, but as soon as I picked it up, I couldn’t put it down and wondered why it took me so long to pick back up.

The writing is great, and our two heroines were amazing. I loved watching them grow together and watching Sophie come into her own sexuality. I also enjoyed the pacing. It kept moving along at the perfect speed.

So why only three stars? The beginning was kind of slow for me. Took me a wee bit to get into the story and honestly, I just felt it could’ve been a bit more fleshed out, a little longer. Plus, it didn’t quite knock my socks off the way I wanted.

Still, with that said, I still fully recommend this novel. It’s a quick read that’s pretty entertaining.

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Mid-Year Book Freakout Tag

I know I'm very late to this one but I wanted to toss my hat into the ring. This is gonna be a long one so let's just jump into it! 

1) Best Book You've Read So Far in 2022

I couldn't choose just one. Oops! But both of these are good! Sagittarius Saves Libra was a laugh out loud funny gay romance. It left me with a smile on my face. Beauty and the Baller was so much better than I thought it was going to be. I expected just another good romance but this one blew me away. It was deeper than I thought it would be without getting too dark and it had moments that made me laugh and swoon. 

2. Best Sequel You've Read So Far in 2022

Now this is a stand alone but it's the second part of the duology and so to me it fits! I've been reading more standalone novels recently but I've got a few books from the library to change that!

3) A New Release You Haven't Read But Want To

There are so many here that I can't put just one! So here's a few! Are you looking forward to any of these?

4) Most Anticipated Release For The Second Half Of 2022

Yet again, I honestly can't choose just one. So here we go! Are you excited about any of these? 

5) Biggest Disappointment

This is probably an unpopular opinion but I was so hyped for this novel when I finally got to it and it let me down hard. I won't give spoilers but just know that Colin really rubbed my the wrong way and I hated the choice Penelope.


6) Biggest Surprise

I've been studying witchcraft, Paganism, and New Age stuff since 2014 and when I picked this up from my library I thought I wouldn't learn anything new but I was so wrong! So much helpful info in this one. 

7) Favorite Debut Or New To Me Author

I've not read any debuts this year that I can think of I'm using a new to me author. I enjoyed this book so much and can't wait to read more by Eva Leigh. 

8) Newest Fictional Crush

Nova Morgan. She's smart, funny, stunning, brave, and just so very kind. She's the perfect package honestly. 

9) Newest Favorite Character

Owen Stirling. He's just so patient that I think he would make a great friend to anyone. He's also very funny! 

10) A Book That Made You Cry

I read this right when my grandmother's dementia was getting worse before she passed away last month and it hit me hard. The heroines mother also suffers from dementia, only she doesn't die in the book... This also had parts where the MC didn't stand up for herself and got her into horrible situations over it and it just got to me. 

11) A Book That Made You Happy

This is the third and final book of the trilogy and I loved seeing it all wrapped up so nicely. It made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. 

12) Favorite Book-To-Movie Adaptation

The only one I've even seen from this year that I can think of is Death on the Nile. So it takes top spot! Since Covid in 2020, I've not been to a movie theater. I know most people have gone back to normal these days but as someone who lives with a special needs kiddo with no immune system... I'll never be able to go back to normal.  

 13) Favorite Post You've Done This Year

I have three that I worked really hard on so I'll leave the link below! 

B) Imbolc

14) Most Beautiful Book You Bought This Year

Okay, you're probably thinking, "THIS IS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL BOOK YOU BOUGHT?!" Yes. I think darker things are stunning. I adore skulls and other things my mum calls scary and strange haha. The pages are painted red and the book is small and stunning. I love it to pieces. 

15) Books You Want To Read By The End Of The Year

Well, all the books mentioned questions 3 and 4 for sure. Those listed below and the entire Ancient Magus' Bride series.

That's a wrap now! But I do have a question for you! What's been your favorite read of this year and what is your most anticipated release for the rest of the year?

Monday, August 1, 2022

Music Monday - Eclectic Choices

This meme is hosted over at Always Me

Today we've got two very different songs but I've been playing them both recently. So I hope you like at least one of them. 

Well, what did you think? Which was your favorite? Please let me know! I hope you have a great week! Stay safe and happy reading!

Friday, July 29, 2022

The Muse - Writing Rambles

My partner and I --- well, my partner came up with this great idea and wrote the story. I ended up editing and changing a few minor things and decided to share this short story here. It's dark. Which is what we like to write. So this is your trigger warning. The only bad thing that happens is off page so we just see the man thinking about it. Nothing is actually described because that's not something I could handle right now. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

The Beauty and the Baller - Review

An NFL quarterback turned small-town coach gets sacked by a Texas beauty queen in this swoony, passionate romance from Wall Street Journal bestselling author Ilsa Madden-Mills.

Gorgeous, talented, and brilliant, NFL quarterback Ronan Smith has the world in his hands. But after losing his career and his fiancĂ©e in a car accident, he falls into a pit of grief and bad choices. When a mysterious girl shows up to his party, he feels drawn to her and makes her his…for one night.

Former beauty queen Nova Morgan is on a mission. Scantily clad as a princess from a galaxy far, far away, she sneaks into a high-profile party to capture the attention of her favorite quarterback. But her hopes crash after an awful one-night stand.

Fast-forward two years. Broke and desperate, Nova returns home to Blue Belle, Texas, where, by a cosmic twist of fate, her broody neighbor is none other than Ronan, the shiny new football coach everyone adores. But he has no idea who she is.

The booster club keeps shoving women at Ronan to keep him in town. His solution? He proposes fake dating to Nova. But things heat up for real under these Friday-night lights when he realizes she’s the one who slipped away.

Has this jaded beauty found her forever baller, or will his past keep them apart?

Book Breakdown

Ronan had the world in his hands. Then a car accident happened and took everything away. He got his body back in shape but he can’t play football again and worst of all; he lost the love of his life. This has left him scared to open up to anyone, not wanting to lose them. But after some time, he tries to get his act together and takes a football coaching position in a small town.

Nova lost her childhood sweetheart when he chested on her. It threw her whole life off track - why? Because she was so young that she made him her life. But after years of being away from her ex, she slowly finds herself. But she vowed to never come back home. Then her mother passes away, and she had to move there to help her younger sister. 

These two run into each other that first night and butt heads. Ronan doesn’t remember that he’s actually met Nova before... during a one-night stand. A one-night stand that left a very sour taste in Nova’s mouth. Which is why she dislikes him. 

But they end up spending more time together when they decide to fake date. Ronan’s fighting women off with sticks and Nova just wants to make it easier to face her ex. But soon the fake dating feels like more... 

I read this entire book in one sitting! I just couldn’t stop reading. The banter was great! They had such great chemistry, and it had moments that had me laughing my butt off! There were also sweet emotional moments that I really connected with.  

There’s lots of death in this book, so if that is something that can trigger you, I wouldn’t read this. As someone who just lost someone, I could really feel where the characters were coming from and their motivations. 

I really enjoyed the southern setting and small town. Made me feel like I was back home in TN. Even though this book is set in Texas. 

Nova’s character is an absolute joy. She was selfless and cared for her sister deeply. Giving up her life to come back and take care of her. Her sister is also pretty freaking cool. She’s autistic and very smart. It’s not often I read about autistic characters because I don’t always think it’s done very well. (I live with two Autistic people) so while I’m no expert, I know a thing or two about the subject. But here I don’t mind it. 

All in all, I really loved this novel and recommend it to everyone!

Have you read this one? If not, let me know what you're currently reading down below! As always, stay safe and happy reading! 

Monday, July 25, 2022

Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup - Review

The full inside story of the breathtaking rise and shocking collapse of a multibillion-dollar startup, by the prize-winning journalist who first broke the story and pursued it to the end in the face of pressure and threats from the CEO and her lawyers.

In 2014, Theranos founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes was widely seen as the female Steve Jobs: a brilliant Stanford dropout whose startup "unicorn" promised to revolutionize the medical industry with a machine that would make blood tests significantly faster and easier. Backed by investors such as Larry Ellison and Tim Draper, Theranos sold shares in a fundraising round that valued the company at $9 billion, putting Holmes's worth at an estimated $4.7 billion. There was just one problem: The technology didn't work.

For years, Holmes had been misleading investors, FDA officials, and her own employees. When Carreyrou, working at The Wall Street Journal, got a tip from a former Theranos employee and started asking questions, both Carreyrou and the Journal were threatened with lawsuits. Undaunted, the newspaper ran the first of dozens of Theranos articles in late 2015. By early 2017, the company's value was zero and Holmes faced potential legal action from the government and her investors. Here is the riveting story of the biggest corporate fraud since Enron, a disturbing cautionary tale set amid the bold promises and gold-rush frenzy of Silicon Valley.

Book Breakdown

I confess until around April of this year I had no idea what any of this was about. Then, when I was flipping through Hulu, I saw this new show that Amanda Seyfried was in. Once I started, I couldn’t stop. I watched every episode and then had to wait another week for the last one to come out. But during that time I watched YouTube videos, the documentary on HBO and discovered this book.

The very basic story is Holmes started a company after ‘creating’ a device that would do all kinds of blood tests with only a drop of blood from a finger. Only, it was all a colossal fraud. None of it ever worked, yet she raised hundreds of millions of dollars, got her device put in Walgreens and Safeway. She had a huge board of extremely powerful men (George Shultz, Henry Kissinger, Rupert Murdoch and Larry Ellison), and still none of it worked. Everything was a lie. 

The story of Theranos and Elizabeth Holmes just sucked me in. How was she able to scam all these people for so long? Was it because she was a pretty girl and old white men love pretty girls? Was she just that convincing? Or did people just hope her invention was real and willing to forgo everything for that? 

This is such a wonderfully written book. So easy to read and get sucked in that the pages just kept turning themselves. I couldn’t believe all the details as I kept reading, how the lies just piled higher and higher and still she didn’t stop and would even double down. 

Even at the very end, she never once acted remorseful for the people she hurt. The public used this blood testing device in Arizona and many people got inaccurate results that could’ve cost them their lives. One woman got a result that told her she was having a miscarriage when she wasn’t. Another test told someone they had HIV when they didn’t.

It’s crazy. Honestly. That stuff like this that can still happen in today’s age. Guess some things will never change, scammers will scam. 

When Holmes was younger, she said she wanted to be a billionaire and before her company dissolved; she got her wish. She was worth around 4.5 billion dollars at the peak. But even though she’s responsible for all this terrible mess, she’s still doing pretty well for herself. Her partner is worth 20 million and they live in an enormous estate. 

She is going to be sentenced on 26 September of this year. Hopefully, she will finally pay for her crimes. 

Monday, July 18, 2022

Update + Music Monday + Melon Pomona Recipe + Currently Reading

This meme is hosted over at Always Me

Hello there! It’s been a full week since I posted and let me tell you, it’d been an insane week. I had to go to the ER on Wednesday and the phlebotomist there stuck me seven times, just trying to get an IV started. I’ve never seen such an incompetent person in my entire life. My left hand is still a giant bruise! The nurse and doctor were both great, at least. The nurse, especially, was so kind to me. He’s the one that finally took over for the phlebotomist and stuck me once and was done. 

My reaction to the one medicine I took is slowly going away. I still have a few minor issues from it, but I’m doing so much better on that front! 

But now, it turns out I have right maxillary sinusitis. I can’t catch a break right now. But I am at least feeling a little more human. Still super tired and my mental health isn’t the best right now, but I am at least in a better place today than I was last week. That’s what I’m trying to focus on.

School starts back for me in less than a month! Like where has the time gone?! I had so many plans and now time is ticking! I hope that once I recover I can get some good stuff done! 

It also doesn’t help that it’s been over 100 every single day here for like two weeks and there is no relief in sight! I’m the opposite of most people. I get seasonal depression in summer because it’s so hot and I’m trapped in the house. Winter is where I can be free and live! Which is why I really can’t wait to move more north and be able to have a more mild summer. 

That’s my dream! 

But enough of that! Let’s get to the music! I’m sharing two actual songs and one really nice and relaxing background reading music. 

Wait! That's not all! I also found this really cool summer drink recipe that I am in love with and wanted to share! I found this out of this world and easy to make recipe in The Magick of Food. I've not really mentioned a 'witchy' book recently so I thought I would spotlight this one I've been reading. 

The recipe is really easy!

Serves a bunch. Prep Time is 30 minutes or less.

2 medium melons (watermelon, honeydew, or cantaloupe 

3 tablespoons of lemon or line juice

4 tablespoons of sugar (or whatever sweetener you like) 

3 cups of tonic water (or Sprite works. But then don't add sugar.) 

Cut whichever melon you chose into cubes. Make sure you don't get any rind. Once that's done, you send them through the blender for about 30 seconds. I have a small blender, so I do this step a few times till I get all the cubes of melon. 

Now, I don't like pulp, even in my orange juice. So I strain the liquid through a cheesecloth and toss the pulp. If you want to keep it, that's alright. 

After that, you add the juice to the Sprite (or tonic water and sugar) and the lemon/lime juice into a punch bowl or large pitcher that's filled with ice and serve or enjoy right then and there by yourself! 

It's so refreshing and really screams summer to me. I have to make smaller batches so I don't end up drinking the whole thing in one day. 

This is a super long post! I don't know if I've ever added so many things to one post before haha! I hope you are doing well! Tell me if you try the drink, I want to know if you like it. Also, please don't forget to tell me which song you liked below! 

Lastly, I really want to know what you're reading. I've been stuck on the same book because of all the health issues and that sucks because I've got so many great library books I want to read! 

What I'm Reading

That's it for this post! I don't know if I'll have any new posts the rest of the week. It will depend on how I feel. I will be stopping by your blog when I get the chance this week. I swear! I miss seeing your great posts. Please just bear with me. 

Until next time, happy reading and stay safe and cool in this heat!