Roasted Crispy Chickpeas!

This is a recipe I use for Crispy Roasted Chickpeas. These are great for a snack or to toss with a salad.

Ingredients:

  • Canned Chickpeas
  • Olive oil to coat
  • Sea salt
  • Your choice of spices
  • A clean kitchen towel for drying the chickpeas
  1. Preheat the over to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  2. Drain and rinse the chickpeas and spread them out on the kitchen towel and gently Pat them until dry, remove any loose skins. Completely drying the chickpeas is important; if they are too wet they won’t crisp up in the oven.
  3. put the chickpeas on the parchment lined baking sheet
  4. Drizzle with oil and seasoning with sea salt
  5. Roast until crispy. Check them at the 20 minute mark and continue roasting until crisp.
  6. After removing from the oven, and while they are still warm, season the chickpeas with your favorite seasonings. I usually use these within a week. After cooling they can be stored in an airtight container.

Saving His Heart by Avery Maxwell

Saving His Heart is Book 3 of The Westbrooks Broken Hearts series.

After a small break to read ARCs, I’m back on the Avery Maxwell train and I couldn’t be happier to be there. I finished Saving His Heart yesterday after starting it last weekend but putting it aside because I spent most of last week sick. Yesterday I had a lot to do, but I ended up sitting and reading this book. I even went to my son’s band competition at 6:30 but continued reading just to lift my head to see his band’s performance! 🙈

Preston was rough in book one and two and appeared to be a man whore, but, that’s not his story at all.

Spoiler alert ahead.

Sadly, Preston’s story may break you down. I have to be really honest and say that there were a few reasons I took 1/2 a star from Saving His Heart and one of these reasons is that Preston is dying and has been dying for TEN YEARS. Yes, 10 long years, Preston has known he will die of an inherited cardiomyopathy. Preston has kept his 10 long years of dying from his family. Preston is living his life like a dead man walking. For 10 years, he’s kept diaries to his loved ones, set up charities in their names and basically fixed everything he could for those he loves.

Enter Emory. Emory is a young cardiac surgeon who is just starting her career, but she has had her license suspended and she has a bad family story concerning her Dad. Em has 3 sisters that she raised from when she, herself, was 6 years old. Preston’s cardiologist has recommended Emory to give him his treatments, as he’s coming to the end of his life. After one year of Emory giving Preston treatments, Preston has to cover up why she is there with his family and a fake relationship starts between them. The fake relationship becomes real and Emory finds a family in Preston’s.

I loved this story, but it brought up some painful memories for me, and the way that Preston verbalized his pain that he knows he won’t be there in the future is a real tear jerker. This is an extremely emotional book.

The things that didn’t work for me were the medical parts of this story. I’m a nurse and it was a bit difficult to read some of the medical scenes in this book since they aren’t based in any fact. Also: the tidbit that Preston was not sharing his diagnosis with his family and his care team was aware of this fact, should have had him in therapy. Just from a mental health point of view, that would have been nice to see, and for Preston nothing should have been holding him back from counseling. After Preston is saved from, literally, death’s door (he was removed from life support and actively dying when the Hail Mary happened), he would have been really suffering with mental health issues due to all of that stress after 10 years of actively planning on dying, so again, it would have been good to see some therapy.

All in all, I loved the story and enjoyed it so much. I’m looking forward to book 4!

The Certainty of Chance by Jacqueline Middleton

Great story about chance encounters!

This is my first book by Jacqueline Middleton and I enjoyed reading this story of Chance and what ifs.

The most striking and beautiful description in this book is London at Christmas time. The details in this book about sites to visit, little know facts about London and the special Christmas events give you a very vivid picture of London and is better than any guidebook.

Madeleine Joy is on a flight to Paris to spend Christmas with her sister, but her flight in unexpectedly diverted to London. She is getting ready to hop in a cab when another traveler bumps the line an hops in the cab meant for Madeleine. So, she ends up in Julian’s cab and he offers her his services as a tour guide. This whole story has several moving parts and there are bittersweet and joyful parts to this book as we journey with Julian and Madeleine through London.

Madeleine is going through an emotional time and Julian is a great guy. I really enjoyed the attention to detail in this story and Madeleine’s somewhat unusual storyline. These two are meant to be.

Beautiful story!

Pre-order your copy today! 

Amazon: http://mybook.to/certaintyoc

Apple Books: https://apple.co/3ycQM7N

Nook: https://bit.ly/386FHKJ

Kobo: https://bit.ly/2Wl1TxZ

Goodreads: https://bit.ly/3jSyZPn

On The Ropes by Kathryn Nolan

I’m just going to say it: On The Ropes is my favorite for 2021. It’s just what I needed at just the right time. Being a lover of romance, this is shiny and beautiful in all the ways you want to be. It made my heart really happy and at the end you sigh and hold this book close to you.

This book takes place in South Philadelphia, which is a traditionally Italian neighborhood, but, in 2021, it’s a beautiful mixing pot of lots of different nationalities. Being from the Philadelphia suburbs and having worked in the city, it’s really hard to describe Philly in a way that people who don’t live in and around the city understand. This author has done a phenomenal job getting the Philadelphia feeling just right. Philadelphia is, essentially, a side character in On the Ropes.

Our hero, Dean “The Machine” Knox-Morelli, is in his mid 20s and has had a lauded boxing career and he’s now retired. Unfortunately, Philly is Philly and Dean is labeled a quitter by the boxing fans of Philly because he retired right before a boxing championship. You know what they say about Philly sports fans: They Are the WORST. So, Dean is kind of still finding his way a few years after officially retiring from boxing, the reasons he retired are completely valid, plus, pretty relevant for today. Dean and our heroine, Tabitha go way back to high school and, well, they are so damn cute. Tabitha was a couple of years ahead of Dean in high school and when she graduated he relocated to LA for college, they do, however, know of each other and actually walked to school together a few days a week. It’s been a long time since they have seen each other.

Tabitha is absolutely one of my most favorite heroines. She’s an extremely kind person, but she’s living the nomad life of a contract filmmaker. She has rules around relationships and when she meets someone new in a new city she comes with a lot of caveats such as not wanting to entangle herself into a committed relationship. Recently single again after breaking up with her girlfriend, Tabitha arrives to Philly for a two week visit with her family. Tabitha’s family clearly loves her but there are complexities within her relationships.

Tabitha and Dean have a re-meet cute that is the cutest thing EVER.

So, the basics of the story is, a vacant lot in South Philadelphia, two adorable people who are dancing around each other, the art museum, the neighborhood, the neighbors who live there, two great families and a whole lot of love and light.

This book, THIS book gets 5 stars from me. It’s a wonderful story and I’ll never stop telling people to grab a copy on KU and treating yourself to an afternoon or evening visiting Philly. Come on! Philly’s waiting for you!

Click the button below to grab On the Ropes by Kathryn Nolan on Amazon, it’s available in Kindle Unlimited.

The Westbrooks Broken Hearts Series by Avery Maxwell

Avery Maxwell brings the emotion and steamy love with Cross My Heart and Beat of my Heart, books 1&2 of a 4 book interconnected series. Click on the photo for Amazon link. These are available in Kindle Unlimited.

I’ve had several of my book friends recommend The Broken Hearts series to me over the last few months but I’ve just not been able to get to them. I started Cross My Heart but had to put it aside because of ARC I needed to read with a quick turn around. So, needless to say, I had to fit in reading these when I could, which happened to be in the last couple of weeks.

First off I want to say these books are a found family trope with friends, siblings, parents and a Grandmom mixed in. It’s a wonderful ensemble of characters that add so much richness, love and history to both of these novels. Let me just say, found family is a favorite trope of mine and this found family came right into my heart and had a seat on my big red couch. 😍

First up is Book 1, Beat of My Heart. This is, in trope talk, a single dad, nanny romance that takes place in North Carolina, but it doesn’t feel right to put a tag on Dexter and Lanie’s story. Lanie has a traumatic past, but she’s still healing after 18 months, Dexter has his own healing to do while juggling 3 kids. Dexter is a great Dad, but between heading up his company and managing small children he needs a reliable nanny, which brings him Lanie, a small town Vermont girl looking for a fresh start. These two will light up your kindle and Lanie’s support of Dexter and his children is amazing. There is suspense involved in this story. Absolutely 5 stars, and I couldn’t wait to get to Book 2.

Book 2, Beat of My Heart brings us Julia and Trevor’s story. It starts with a flash back and that is something else. These two absolutely explode together and you just want them together forever, but, sadly, they are apart for a while. Trevor has, what seem to be, dangerous issues with his family and Lokie, another found family member, is helping him with those issues but it’s very cloak and dagger. The friend group isn’t afraid to confront each other and that happens a few times in this book. Poor Trevor sometimes does need a kick to get sorted out! Julia is adorable and genius level intelligent. She’s a mighty woman and I really love her character. Trevor is also a super smart guy and is pretty similar to Julia, they may both be a little neuro diverse but that wasn’t a huge part of the book, all I know is I loved them both. Another 5 star read putting Avery Maxwell firmly on my “one click-I don’t need to read the blurb-must read” author list.

Seriously, read them. You can thank me later.😂

Fireproof by Delancey Stewart

Click for the Amazon link! Also available on other platforms.

Fireproof by Delancey Stewart is a wonderful book. I was very enthralled with this story of Mason, the former Marine turned goat farmer. Heather is our heroine and she’s an advocate for education issues in Washington DC. Heather was embroiled in a public legal proceeding and she is wrongfully targeted and has a few alarming things happen. Heather’s brother, an active Marine, is on leave and entrust Heather’s safety to his best friend and former Marine, Mason. But, Heather’s brother Eric drives her hours away to Vermont to Mason’s family farm, drops her off there for a month with no transportation of her own and not much for Heather to do.

Mason will do anything Eric asks of him, they are tight and even though Mason has reservations about Heather intruding on his carefully built routines, he allows it. Mason spends the better part of a week grumping about, being gruff with poor Heather and generally being a bit rude. Mason is described as having a “resting murder face” so obviously Mason has grumpiness down pat.

I really love the character of Heather. She’s a positive person with firm beliefs and she’s a helper and caretaker, but also knows when to take a step back even if it hurts her. She spent some time trying to figure out Mason, but just couldn’t convince Mason to open up.

There are side characters in this book that are wonderful and add so much to this story. Mason’s Uncle Billy who is oh so wise, Mason’s sister Amelia, Eric and the sweetest puppers named Rascal who Mason rescued on a mission as a Marine.

I should mention this book is written in Serena Bowen’s True North world and is part of a series of stand alones.

Overall I loved this story and I give it 5 stars!

Catch up!

I’m very behind on ever in my life right now. I have a high school freshman who is also in band, so the next few months are going to be crazy busy, but, I’m enjoying it as much as I can since these days are fleeting. My 22 year old daughter was in her own apartment while attending college, but she moved back home when covid started because everything was online so she couldn’t justify rent; it’s been great having her back home but also very challenging.

As we move into fall, I’m always looking for quick dinner recipes that are nutritious. I’ve been slowly shifting to pescatarian/vegetarian diet, and, my 23 year old has been helpful with meal ideas as she has been pescatarian for a few years.

Fish tacos are one of my most favorite recipes and my family loves them too and it’s something we can all enjoy together without double cooking separate meals since my husband and son still eat red meat, pork and chicken.

This is one of my favorite recipes, it’s simple, quick and delicious!

https://www.cookingclassy.com/fish-tacos-recipe/

Do you have any ideas for quick vegetarian or fish recipes that are quick to prepare?

The Sound of Gravel by Ruth Wariner

5/5 Stars Possible spoilers in this review Triggers: childhood sexual assault, domestic violence, child abuse, child neglect

The Sound of Gravel by Ruth Wariner is a memoir that was published in 2015 and takes us through the horrors that Ruth and her family suffered while members of The Church of the Firstborn of the Fullness of Times, a mormon fundamentalist polygamy colony in LeBaron, Mexico. Ruth Warner is the daughter of the founder of the church, but, when Ruth was just a few months old, her father was shot and killed by men hired by his brother to kill him. Kathy, Ruth’s Mom, remarried Lane, a dead beat pedophile who’s neglect and manipulation rained down on Ruth’s Mom and family for years.

I’m currently on vacation and today was a down day for me and this book was absolutely riveting, I couldn’t put it down and finished it tonight. The trauma this author, and many of her siblings went through was actually astonishing. What was the saddest fact in this book is the fact Ruth was being sexually assaulted by her stepfather and was told by her mother and other women in the community to just forgive her step father, yet, no one actually did anything about it until it was revealed that Lane was sexually assaulting Ruth’s brother, who has intellectual disabilities.

My overall review of this book is 5 stars for the engaging writing style and the storytelling aspect of this book. While I’m sure there are big fact that are correct in the story, I’m pretty certain there had to be some patchwork here and there. This author is amazing for sharing this awful, harrowing story. She’s overcome many obstacles including a huge educational hurdle since she did not finish high school, and yet she achieved college and a graduate degree. This family suffered a lot and sadly, Kathy had 3 children with either medical or intellectual issues and Kathy was not equipped to manage these problems her children had. So many things fell on Ruth, the 2nd oldest girl and it was quite sad.

Click on the image for the Amazon link.

Vacation and Other Things

Well, it’s vacation time in my house, and I just really need this get away. It’s been almost 3 years since I’ve had a “real” vacation. Since I’m a nurse, nothing is going to feel as good as R&R this year. Of course, the Covid-19 Delta variant is happening but luckily, we are renting a remote cabin and going on day excursions.

My husband is in finance and he has no idea how much I’ve been though as an RN in this last year and a half and he’s pretty much chalked all my dissent up to being a whiner, so that’s been super fun here. But at least I have my fellow healthcare workers to commiserate with!

My big plan for my week away is to have fun with the family and to read or listen to as many books as I can while I’m on vacation. It won’t be super easy and I am currently taking summer classes so I can get out of the hole I’m in with direct care nursing. I’m what you would call a “seasoned nurse” so I’ve been working under duress for some time now and Covid made me take a hard look at my professional life and what I’m doing everyday; changes have to happen. I know that now. This is the final week of my classes coming up, and while I’ve worked ahead, some things are not opened yet for me to complete before I leave on vacation.

That being said, I’m currently finishing up some awesome books!

Currently reading The Broody Brit by MJ Fields and Jessica Ruben and I’m loving it so much. It’s a small town, single Dad book that is totally swoon worthy. Raff is the hero of this story and he’s everything you’d want in a book boyfriend. He’s a bit broody, but he’s basically a cinnamon roll. He’s a good man and father and he loves big. He’s protective but knows his boundaries and always supports his woman. I have about 2 hours left and I’ll be posting a review when I am done.

The next book I’m listening to via Alexa is Finding Elodie by Susan Stoker. She’s an author I read religiously for about 18 months around 2017 or so, before I fell into Romancelandia on FB and became pretty much enamored with all sorts of different indie and traditionally published authors. I have to tell you, Susan Stoker has a knack for really strong heroines who bring their military guys to their knees and Finding Elodie is no different. I’m a lover of romantic suspense and so far, Finding Elodie is really giving me a lot of thrills. I’m glad I’ve returned to Susan Stoker books, I’ve missed them! Incidentally, Susan Stoker is an attending author at Indies Invade Philly in November and I’m attending the signing!

The next book I’ve just started is Cross My Heart by Avery Maxwell. You all, Avery Maxwell is a new to me author and I’ve had many of my book friends throw Avery Maxwell books at me. I’m not going to lie here, Cross My Heart is billed as a “small town, billionaire, single Dad romance” and I’m a huge fan of small town romances. I run hot and cold on single Dad, but I’d rate my love of single dad romance at 75% love and billionaire is usually a “proceed with caution” situation for me because I’m not a fan of the billionaire sweeping in and providing/fixing everything for his woman. All that being said, I’m absolutely loving this book so far. Dex is our leading man and he’s a billionaire, but he’s worked for it all while maintaining being a Dad in the worst possible situation he was dealt. The writing is amazing and the characters have a lot of depth, even from the beginning of this book. While this is a nanny-billionaire book I’m just enamored by the writing and storyline, which isn’t the usual storyline. Please be aware the author does provide a trigger warning for this book. I will be providing a review for this when I’m finished by I’m looking forward to finishing this book. I can already tell that Avery Maxwell is going to be a must read author for me. Avery Maxwell is also an attending author at Indies Invade Philly signing!

Well, that’s all I’ve got for now! I’ll be sure to post next weekend after I’m back from vacation, or maybe while I’m on vacation! If you have favorite vacation read, please feel free to share them in the comments! Have a great weekend!

See you on the flip side and don’t forget to have some pineapples and coffee!

Sweet Sexy Heart by Melissa Foster

Only Melissa Foster could give us this charmer! Sweet Sexy Heart is just that, sweet and sexy.

Amber Montgomery has spent time creating a bubble around herself. She has a medical condition that has her, to some extent, proceeding with caution in all things concerning her life. She lives a quiet and predictable life with her dog and has close friends and family.

Dash is enamored with Amber, just smitten with her and he slowly weaves his way to Amber. Dash is everything you’d hope and want to your life partner; he’s patient and kind with Amber but, his life is very different as he’s a motivational speaker. This doesn’t stop him from wanting Amber.

This is a beautiful escape from every day life with small town charm and sweet love. 5 star read for great characters and wonderful escapism.