This is a recipe I use for Crispy Roasted Chickpeas. These are great for a snack or to toss with a salad.
Olive oil to coat
Your choice of spices
A clean kitchen towel for drying the chickpeas
Preheat the over to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper
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.
put the chickpeas on the parchment lined baking sheet
Drizzle with oil and seasoning with sea salt
Roast until crispy. Check them at the 20 minute mark and continue roasting until crisp.
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.
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!
I love Melanie Moreland’s books and this is the first of three in The Men of Hidden Justice series. This Boss is Mateo and Evie’s story. Evie is sort of a lost soul. She is running scared when she happens upon Mateo and his crew doing their job. It’s a scary situation for Evie and being that Mateo is an alpha protector, but admittedly, kind of scary, he offers Evie a chance at a new life.
I honestly had no idea where this story was going to go, but ultimately, Mateo has a very scarred heart of gold and is the consummate protector. Evie clicks all of Mateo’s protective tendencies. I loved the character of Mateo and there was something very old world about him in how he speakers and how he navigates his relationship with Evie.
I spent the first half of the book scratching my head over Evie. She appears to be an easily manipulated character in the first 1/2 of the story and I just wondered why she would go along with everything; she was practically a non participant in the decisions that were going to impact her life. When she started to push back a bit, then I was behind her.
Both of these characters suffered a lot of mental assault and additionally, Evie suffered a lot of physical assault prior to finding Mateo.
Overall I loved the story and I’m looking forward to the next book!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
Since I was on vacation last week, I took some time to read a little bit more than I normally do and I chose two Susan Stoker books since she is an attending author at a romance book signing event I’m attending in November. I’ve read her books and series before so I knew what to expect!
My ratings: 5/5 Stars. possible triggers for a mob style torture scene with introspective thoughts by the victim, shooting, general violence, being stranded in the ocean
Where to start! Well, Susan Stoker’s books always start with the FLC in some kind of trouble that requires an assist of some kind, this assist that Elodie needs is a rather big one as the boat she works on as the cook has been taken over by pirates. The Navy SEAL team is already in the area for another op, but are reassigned with the pirated cargo ship. As the SEAL team leader, Scott, AKA Mustang, picks up contact with Elodie while the SEAL team is en route to the cargo ship. Mustang admires Elodie’s bravery given the situation she currently finds herself in. At the end of the rescue, Maverick follows his gut and gives Elodie his phone number, in hopes she will contact him.
All kinds of things happen and they end up together, but, Elodie has baggage and it ends up at her front door. There’s a daring rescue, but, mostly I never really feel like she’s a damsel in distress.
This book gets 5/5 for all these areas: characters, storyline and overall tense moments in the story.
5/5 stars, possible triggers: hostage situation, homelessness
Honestly, I didn’t even care who the main male character was when I pre ordered this just hours before it was released this past week because I needed my fix!
This book is about Midas, who we met in book 1 and his love interest, Lexie. When the team is briefed on a 3 month old hostage situation in Somalia, Midas realizes he knows the female hostage from high school. He has brief memories of her when they were assigned to do a project together. She was a transfer student in senior year.
Their story is good one and the threat is kind of not apparent to either Midas or Lexie until it’s actually happening. Lexie has very firm beliefs about human rights along with other topics and I really appreciate that as it gives Lexie’s character a lot of depth. Great story that overall gets 5 stars for characters, storyline and the female friendships that develop.
Incidentally, one of Lexie’s new friends is Ashlyn, a woman whom Lexie works with and we find out Ashlyn’s got something going on with SEAL team member Slate, however, according to the pre orders, Slate’s story isn’t next. Finding Kenna is next (Aleck and Kenna) and releases in October while book 4 is Finding Monica which is Pid’s story and that releases in May. Slate and Ashlyn’s book will be book #6.
Overall, if you’re craving some suspense, with strong women who need an assist, this might be a series for you to check out. I promptly finished these two books and hopped over to Susan Stoker’s Silverstone Series, which is available in KU read and listen.
5/5 StarsPossible spoilersin this reviewTriggers: 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.