Observations of a bear.

“Prey” is about Angie Powell, a mountain guide, who is hired by Chad Krugman to take him and his boss on a bear hunting trip. When Chad turns out to have an alternative purpose for going on the hunting trip, Angie finds herself being chased down the mountain by a psychotic killer and a bear in a violent storm. Luckily for her, Angie’s business competitor and fellow mountain guide, Dare Callahan, is also camping on the mountain nearby and comes to her rescue. Angie soon finds herself falling for him despite the fact that his business is the one who will soon put her out of business.

I borrowed this book from the library because I was in the mood for romantic suspense. This is the first Linda Howard book I’ve read in years; and judging by its quality, I will think twice about picking up another one of hers. There was page after page of endless, mindless detail about every thought that went through every character’s mind. She even had the observations of the bear. Yes, you read that right..the bear. The chapter’s felt long and drawn out. It also takes nearly 1/2 the book to get to the point.

If you are a fan of Linda Howard’s and looking to waste time you can read this book. If not, find something else.


Under the Dome

I bought Stephen King’s novel “Under the Dome” when it first came out, but it has been gathering dust on my bedroom side table. The book is over 1,000 pages long and I just couldn’t bring myself to make such a commitment to start it (even thought I did buy it so it was a bit of a commitment there). Once I heard that the novel was coming to a television near me I knew I had to dig my heals in a read it.

“Under the Dome” is a story of a small town in Maine called Chester Mills that one day is suddenly cut off from the rest of the world with an enormous transparent dome. No one can come in, no one can get out. Is this some kind of government experiment? Aliens? A natural disaster?

The development of the Dome environment, the physical and mental mechanics of isolation from the world, is compelling. Sanity and resources gradually begin to shrink and we see the destructive nature of the community within. The novel boasts a large cast of characters that are sometimes hard to keep track of. King does his best to show the situation from as many characters as possible.

Stephen King never fails to entertain me. Now that I have finally finished the book I am looking forward to watching the show (which I have been DVRing) to see just how the characters appear in real life.

New York, New York.

Via All The Buildings In New York

New York has been a part of me all of my life.  It was where I had my first real corporate job, where I fell in love, where I had my heart broken for the first time and so many more memories I couldn’t even begin to list.  So when I came across illustrations by James Gulliver Hancock I fell in love.

Description from his site: All The Buildings In New York is a personal project of James Gulliver Hancock. An illustrator from Australia now based between Sydney, and New York. This project stems from an interest in obsession and recording of places. New York holds a special place in everyone’s heart, romanticized from Seasame Street and old movies like Rear Window and Breakfast at Tiffany’s. This blog records an attempt to make the city personal by passing a pen over every structure, hopefully making up for the time not spent in New York.”

I would love to frame prints of his of spots that are important to me.  For now I will have to make do with his incredible book.  If you love New York as much as I do, take a look.  You won’t be disappointed.

From her kitchen to ours.

I was finally able to spend some time cooking in the kitchen. With all that has been going on Mr. Sweet & I have been eating out a lot. It is a shame!

The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food from My Frontier” is Ree Drummond’s second cookbook. I have been a fan of Drummond’s blog “Pioneer Women” for quite some time now. Instead of giving you her background, you should take a look over at her blog. It is well worth it.

Food from My Frontier” is great for beginners and people who like step by step photos. Cooks can compare their dishes with the book and make sure they are on the right track. Another great feature was that many of the entries had a section called “Variations”. In them, Ree mentions possible ingredient substitutions, dishes that could be paired with the recipe and enchantments. There are recipes ranging from breakfast, appetizers, soups, supper, sides, canning and desserts.

Something you should know about this book: Some of the recipes are already on her blog and can be printed out for free. If I like the author enough I tend to spend the money so I can have the book, with all the recipes in one place, to enjoy at my convenience.

Note: This cookbook is not for everyone. Her food is very decadent with a lot of butter, oil & red meat – not for people who are on special diets or restrictions. This cookbook is not for vegetarians, vegans or others with allergies and or a gluten-intolerance. Unless you’re burning tons of calories working on a farm every day, these recipes are too high in calories for every day meals. Do enjoy them though on occasion and share with friends!

America’s sweetheart loves a Bad Boy.

In “What I did for Love” we follow a Hollywood love triangle which is taken straight from the tabloids. The story involves two TV actors, Georgie York and Bram Shepard who starred together for eight years in a wildly successful sitcom Skip and Scooter. Georgie is America’s sweetheart while Bram is the complete opposite who redefines Bad Boy.

Eight years later we find Bram with no career and Georgie coping with a very difficult and scandalized divorce. Bram follows Georgie to Vegas, they are drugged and find themselves together in bed with a wedding certificate. Not being able to face another scandal, Georgie convinces Bram to stay married for a year to help with both their reputations. Georgie aims to undo the damage the divorce has done to her heart and her public image, while Bram is wants a second chance at life and stardom.

Susan Elizabeth Phillips was going for the “hate-each-other-yet-made-for-each-other couple” but came up short. I felt more of the hate instead of the love. The plot moves in a predictable, yet slightly annoying trajectory. The conflict between the couple went on too long and was wrapped-up too quickly.  Misunderstandings fly, misunderstandings are cleared up and a happy ending ensues in just a couple of pages. The bickering in this novel was way over the top and by the end I was hoping that Georgie & Bram didn’t end up together. Unfortunately, they did.

“Eve” – First of a trilogy.

In Iris Johansen’s 11th Eve Duncan novel, the first of a trilogy, “Eve” zeros in on the kidnapper and serial killer who she believes years earlier abducted and murdered her seven-year-old daughter, Bonnie. In this story, we get a glimpse into Eve’s background as a teenager, the conception of Bonnie and Bonnie’s kidnapping.

Did “Eve” motivate me to read the next two stories (“Quinn” & “Bonnie”)? No. I am beginning to question if I still care to find out the outcome. I was very excited to hear that Johansen was finally writing a resolution to Bonnie’s story, but I was disappointed. The story ends with a cliff-hanger, leaving the door open for the next novel, “Quinn”. I feel many of Johansen’s recent Eve Duncan books are repetitive and that she has been dragging the Bonnie story line on for far too long. This book gave the impression that all would be revealed and instead it gave almost no answers.

Please note: If you have not yet read the last novel about Eve, “Chasing the Night”, you will want to read it before this particular novel, since it incorporates the same characters, and while the novel stands independently, you will understand it much more with the background information from “Chasing the Night”. I did not know this going into “Eve”.

Not such a vision.

“Vision in White” is the first in a series of books about a quartet of friends running a wedding business, Vows. This is the first story in the series. The Plot: wedding photographer, Mackensie “Mac” Elliot falls for a nerdy professor who is the brother of one of the brides.

Let me start off by saying I am a long-time Nora Roberts fan. I have read many of her books.

With that said – Wow, was I disappointed. The book was boring, bland and uninteresting. There was nothing exciting or fresh about “Vision in White” and it lacked the caliber of writing I normally expect from Nora Roberts.

The plot fell flat. It went on and on about the wedding planning industry. The love interest, Carter, was whiney and way too nervous for my taste. A leading man should be strong and I felt that he was constantly second guessing himself throughout the book. I think Robert’s was going more for a nerdy/self conscious endearing type but for me it didn’t shine through.

Unfortunately, halfway through the book I returned it to the library. This is actually one of the few books that I just could not finish. If you enjoy Nora Robert’s you can try it out, but don’t expect too much.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Mr. Sweet & I were invited to dinner two Sunday’s ago. I am always one to bring something when invited over. Be it a bottle of wine for dinner, a six-pack for the game or dessert for after dinner.

I have had this Chocolate Peanut Butter Torte pinned on my “Sweet Tooth” board on Pinterest for months now. It’s the definition of decadent – a thick Oreo crust surrounds a fluffy peanut butter mousse with chocolate chips and peanuts sprinkled within and covered in a dark chocolate ganache topped with even more peanuts. Peanut butter and chocolate are good enough on their own and pretty unbeatable when they’re together.

At first glance, the recipe may seem a bit time-consuming and overwhelming. While there are several steps required to make this torte, they are simple and quite easy to do.

You can find the recipe in Dorie Greenspan’s cookbook “Baking from My Home to Yours” or this adapted version on Annie’s Eats.

This dessert is rich and decadent. As in, take a tiny sliver. Addicting and delicious you are going to want to make it again and again. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Note: Dorie’s cookbook is amazing! Give it a try. I have made Classic Banana Bundt Cake, Apples Muffins, Allspice Crumb Muffins and many more I haven’t blogged about.