Monday, July 27, 2015

Review: Secret Sister




About the Book:
Did she once have a sister? Has her mother lied all these years? Why? 

After a painful divorce, Maisey Lazarow returns to Fairham, the small island off the North Carolina coast where she grew up. She goes there to heal—and to help her brother, Keith, a deeply troubled man who's asked her to come home. But she refuses to stay in the family house. The last person she wants to see is the wealthy, controlling mother she escaped years ago. 

Instead, she finds herself living next door to someone else she'd prefer to avoid—Rafe Romero, the wild, reckless boy to whom she lost her virginity at sixteen. He's back on the island, and to her surprise, he's raising a young daughter alone. Maisey's still attracted to him, but her heart's too broken to risk… 

Then something even more disturbing happens. She discovers a box of photographs that evoke distant memories of a little girl, a child Keith remembers, too. Maisey believes the girl must've been their sister, but their mother claims there was no sister. 

Maisey's convinced that child existed. So where is she now? 

My Comments:
Maisey lost her baby to SIDS, and not long thereafter, her husband to another woman.  Now, she can't even write and her agent wants the next book.  She decides to leave New York for the hometown she fled years ago, despite the fact that her relationship with her critical mother is no better now that it was when she was a teen.  When she gets to her hometown, an island, she decides that rather than living at her mother's mansion, she will live at a beach resort owned by her mother.  There she meets her old flame,   The old flame is renovating the resort after a hurricane and he comes across a locked box full of pictures of a girl Maisey becomes convinced is her sister.  Where did she go?  What happened?  Maisey's brother, who suffers from drug addiction and bi-polar disorder thinks he remembers her as well, but he doesn't want Maisey to explore further.  Nevertheless, Maisey does.  

As you may have guessed, this is a two-threaded story.  One thread is the romance between Maisey and Rafe.  Both have suffered loss in their lives, but while Rafe is pushing forward, Maisey is wallowing in her loss and is afraid to move forward.  I liked him more than I liked her, and found him to be more realistic.  While Maisey seems to set limits on her mother, I question her choice to move home at such a vulnerable time in her life.  The only thing I didn't like about their relationship was the fact that they jumped into bed as their first joint activity.  

The second thread deals with the missing sister.  Did she exist?  What happened to her?  How has she affected their lives, even though they can't remember her?  I enjoyed watching Maisey put the pieces together and solve the mystery, though I can't say it was a very realistic story.  

If you are looking for a light romantic mystery to read on the beach, this should fit the bill.  Grade:  B.  

Thanks to the publisher for providing a complimentary review copy via NetGalley.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Sunday Post

The Sunday Post


Sunday Post is hosted by Kimba at Caffinated Book Reviewer.  You can head over there to see who has linked up and to catch up with the world of book blogging.  Book bloggers gather on Mondays for Mailbox Monday where we brag about the week's acquisitions.  

This was an Edelweiss week.  Here were my downloads:

  I haven't read The Shift yet, but Somewhere There is Still a Sun was terrific.

Two reviews this week:
 My review.  I can't figure out from my stats where they are coming from, but I've had more readers on this post than any I've written in a long time.
My review.  A story I liked with an ending I didn't.

I'm participating in the Let's Cook giveaway, which has given me some new followers.  How was your reading week?

Friday, July 24, 2015

Book Blogger Hop: July 24-30

Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger Hop is hosted at Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer.

 This week's question is:

Do you use bookmarks? If so, do you match them to the book you're reading
 or do you use random scraps of paper? 

Sometimes I use them; other times I dog ear the book (my bad, I know) or just leave the book open to the page, turned upside down.  If I do use a bookmark, it is just whatever is handy.  

Let's Cook Giveaway!

Don't miss your chance to #Win over $400 in prizes in the #LetsCook #Giveaway Enter before it ends 8/23
Let's Cook! Giveaway

Grand Prize Package Worth Over $300
Second Place Worth Over $100


Enter to Win One of These Two Incredible Prize Packages!
Either One Would Make the Perfect Gift for Newlyweds, College Freshmen, or that Hard to Buy for Cook on Your List

There's Even Something For the Littlest Cook on Your List!


LOOK AT ALL THE GREAT PRIZES
YOU COULD WIN!
Picture
BYB E-41 Series Clip-on 4 LED Light
BYB E-41 Series Clip-on 4 LED Light
  • ★ BONUS AND UPGRADED. Free AC Adapter, USB cord, Multifunction Clean Cloth Included. Featuring the Rechargeable 1000mAh Lithium Ion built in battery, NO MORE BUYING BATTERIES!
  • ★ MULTIPLE, CLIP-ON OR FREE STANDING. Fully Adjustable and Light Weight, Folds Into an Easy-to-carry Accessory Making Travelling with This Light So Convenient. Perfect for Your Guitar Accessories Kit, Students Dorm Room, Music Rehearsals or for Those Away Trips for Work. Charge Your New LED Light with the USB Charge Cable or the BONUS FREE AC Adaptor
  • ★ HIGH QUALITY AND SUPER BRIGHT 8 LEDs. 2 LEVELS of BRIGHTNESS, Equiped with 2*4 World Class LED Chips, Super Brightness, The Optical Grade Lens Provides Evenly Distributed Light with No Hot Spots
  • ★ LIGHTWEIGHT & COMPACT. Clips to Your Hard Cover Books, Sheet Music Stand, Craft Table, Work Bench, Bed Headboard (maximum 1 inch in thickness) or Laptop. Great for Music Stands, Pianos, Orchestra Pits, Reading, Work Tables, Mixing Tables, Craft Tables etc. It truly is a multi-purpose light for so many things. Can you think of one that you would use it for? Easily Bends to Compact Position for Storage, Extra Strong Clip Grips Almost Anything or Use it Free Standing
  • ★ LIFETIME WARRANTY - 100% Money Back Guarantee - RACK YOUR BRAIN FOR A GIFT ? CHOOSE IT ! You Won't Find Another Better - Get More Than Your Expected !

Paula's Thoughts:
These easy to position and reposition lights are perfect for getting more light where you need it. The nice size of the clip makes it simple to attach to the side of a bowl, a cabinet handle, a book, grill, or just about anywhere that you want. I don't have enough light under my cabinets at night so I found it very helpful to clip this light onto my cutting board while doing prep for dinner the other night. I found the well built clip to be strong and that the lights stayed in the position that I set them at.


Picture

Set of 6 1EasyLife Stainless Steel Measuring Spoons
Set of 6 1EasyLife Stainless Steel Measuring Spoons
  • ★ MAKING A PERFECT DISH WILL NEVER BE A DOWNFALL. Preparing a dish requires following direction and right measurement, Luckily with 1Easylife Stainless Steel Measuring Spoons cooking will be quick and gives you an accurate measure for recipes without the hassle
  • ★ SAY NO TO COOKING NIGHTMARES. Introducing the elegant and stylish measuring spoons, A perfect set of 6 stainless steel, highly satin brushed with best quality, Look amazing and easy to clean plus the weight handle making measuring out dry ingredients easy and accurate measure marking in different spoon sizes. long lasting and durable and used by professionals.
  • ★ WHY IT IS THE BEST CHOICE FOR YOUR KITCHENS. Refine measurement- ensure Perfect food taste every time Accurate balance - round-shaped spoon heads and perfectly weighted handles, high grade satin brushed stainless steel finish for a long life - no to rust! All around measuring tools - measure dry and liquid ingredients! Engrave US metric Measurement 
  • ★ YOUR FAVORITE MEASURING INGREDIENTS. The 6-piece 1Easylife Stainless-Steel Measuring Spoon Set is designed with innovative round-shaped spoon heads that reach into narrow spice jars and other small containers. These spoons are conveniently connected by a small ring which helps to keep the spoons together as a set after a full day of baking or cooking. 1Easylife includes 6 measuring sizes: 1/8-tsp, 1/4-tsp, 1/2-tsp, 1-tsp, 1/2-Tbsp. and 1-Tbsp. With each measurement conveniently marked on the handle of each spoon, there's no guesswork when adding spices to your dishes. Dishwasher-safe.
  • ★ NO HASSLE, 100% LIFE TIME WARRANTY. We offer 100% life time warranty to make you happy and satisfied with our product, If for any reason you're not completely satisfied, return your Stainless Steel Measuring Cups for a No Questions Asked full refund.

Paula's Thoughts:
I've have had a set of name brand plastic measuring spoons since I set up house keeping more than twenty years ago. Getting me to part with them wasn't going to be easy, but always willing to try new things I gave these a test drive. I found the 1Easlife measuring spoons to be nicely weighted and with the length of the handles I was able to reach into containers with ease. I really like that they take up much less space than my old set and are much easier to get clean. After comparing the two it may be time to retire my old ones.
Picture
Instant Read Digital Cooking Thermometer by Chef DeTemple
Instant Read Digital Cooking Thermometer by Chef DeTemple
  • PREVENT OVERCOOKING - Don't ruin an elegant meal or backyard barbecue by serving dry, tough, overcooked meat. If you only use cooking time to determine doneness, you could end up with some pieces being cooked perfectly and others over or underdone - not to mention burnt! You can easily avoid this by using a meat thermometer. When cooked to the proper temperature, meat will stay juicy and tender.         
  • PREVENT ILLNESS - Using a food thermometer greatly reduces your risk of foodborne illness associated with bacteria. The harmful bacteria found in contaminated food can only survive up to a certain temperature, and using a food thermometer is the only way to be 100-percent sure that your food is safe to eat.
  • EASY TO USE - Large LCD display for easy-to-read numbers - No More Squinting! Function buttons include On/Off, Hold and °C/°F conversion. Auto shut-off after 10 minutes saves battery life. Uses (1) AAA battery.
  • MEASURING RANGE AND ACCURACY - Instant read in only 4-7 seconds accurately measuring range of temperatures between -58°F-572°F (-50°C-300°C). Long stainless steel probe to keep your hands safe from heat!
  • MONEY BACK GUARANTEE AND LIFETIME WARRANTY - When you order today, you are protected by our no-questions-asked Money Back Guarantee and World Class Customer Service!

Paula's Thoughts:
My thermometer arrived the day I was making fried green tomatoes so I used it to make sure that my oil was at the proper temperature. If it's to cold the tomatoes get mushy before the breading gets brown and if it's to hot the outside  burns and the tomatoes are hard. I had bragged to my west coast boyfriend how awesome mine were so getting it right was important. My reputation as a southern cook was on the line! I found that this thermometer was easy to use. I just put one AAA battery in it, turned it on, and flipped open the probe. When I placed the tip in the oil I had a reading in seconds and with the nice big readout I didn't need my glasses to see it. I am very happy with this product and would recommend it to anyone with confidence.
Picture


Wood Chef Hand-crafted Ripple-cut Gourmet Cheese Slicer
Wood Chef Hand-crafted Ripple-cut Gourmet Cheese Slicer
  • Cutting tool for cheese that gives the cheese a wavy texture
  • Smoothly cuts thick or thin slices
  • Comfortable grip is easy to use
  • Durable and replaceable stainless steel wire with adjustable tension
  • Carefully handmade in the USA from beautiful, natural wood/brass/stainless steel.
  • Adjustable tension, stainless steel wire stays tight to carve neat, enticing, wavy slices every time.
  • Comfortable grip for all ages, hand-held, light-weight, and simple to use.
  • Thin or thick slices carved, depending on how you angle the slicer into the cheese.
  • Safe for children. No sharp edges.
  • Makes snacking and eating fun!
  • Perfect tool for creating sandwiches, pizza, crackers, snacks, use at parties and picnics.
  • Awesome gift at low cost for Christmas presents, birthdays, weddings, office, or any special occasion.
  • Gift Box comes with each one for convenient storage.
  • Durable quality will last for years and won't wear out.
  • Choose from wild cherry wood, black walnut, or try both!

Paula's Thoughts:
With so many of or utensils now having plastic composite handles I hold onto my old ones that have real handles and find myself going back to using them. I just love the feel of wood and have been known to spend a lot of money just to purchase one brand of knife that has a wood handle. So when my cheese slicer arrived I couldn't wait to test it. It works for all types of cheese so I got out some block cheese that I had in the fridge to see how well it worked and felt in my hand.  It worked wonderfully and what fun slices! We often do cheese and fruit for snacks and since it is safe for the little ones to use I can't wait for my grandchildren to come over at use it to make their own fun snacks.

Picture
Bitpsy Professional Jumbo Lemon Squeezer
Bitpsy Professional Jumbo Lemon Squeezer
  • HIGH QUALITY STAINLESS STEEL - This Premium Lemon squeezer made out of the strongest material available and WILL NOT BREAK when squeezing. This hand polished Citrus Juicer will not peel or rust.
  • SO EASY TO USE - No matter if you choose to squeeze lemons, limes or blood oranges, this Btipsy Lemon Squeezer will make your job so easy. Fits for both kids and old men, This Squeezer is so convenient to use and with an effortless squeeze you can get every bit of juice out of the fruit.
  • EASY TO CLEAN - Once finished using the Lemon Juicer, it's very easy to clean it by hand or just placing it inside the dishwasher since this Lemon Squeezer is DISHWASHER SAFE. So feel free to clean it whatever you'd like.
  • RISK FREE - With a 3 YEARS WARRANTY, we are committed to our 100% customer satisfaction so if you find that you are not

Paula's Thoughts:
The all metal construction makes this juicer strong and durable. Plus, since it is made out of stainless steel I get longevity and don't have to worry about it rusting. With a very small kitchen I have very limited drawer space in my home. The hook makes it easy to hang off off one of my many cup hooks that are on every open spot in my kitchen. We eat a lot of fish and salads that we use fresh squeezed lemon and orange for and having it hanging and not hidden in a drawer keeps it handy. I found that the nice big handles were easy to grasp and squeeze so that I could get all the juice out.
Picture

Eco Bamboo Cutting Board with Handle
Eco Bamboo Cutting Board with Handle
  • This eco friendly cutting board can handle just about everything in your kitchen, from slicing cheese to carving bone-in beef roasts.
  • Highly durable. Made with premium, hand selected odor-resistant organic bamboo, harder than maple wood
  • Durable stainless steel handle for easy gripMade from 100% high quality antimicrobial recyclable bamboo with Non-Toxic food grade adhesive - starch from a sweet potato
  • Easy to clean and maintain - Easily wash and clean off bacteria and food particles with some hot water and soap then let it air dry.

Paula's Thoughts:
In the last few years, bamboo has become one of the most popular materials for cutting boards because of it's low maintenance, superior health and sanitation qualities. Not only does it look good but it is a green, renewable and earth friendly material. The hardness of a bamboo cutting board, plus the fact that it very resistant to bacteria makes it a must have in my kitchen. I tested my new board by cutting some yellow squash, zucchini, and cucumbers with a brand new ceramic knife and could not find one mark from doing it. All you have to do is make a habit of never letting it soak and wiping it dry after washing  and with this easy, proper care this board will stay beautiful for years.

Picture
VOS Professional Classic 8 Inch Ceramic Chef's Knife
VOS Professional Classic 8 Inch Ceramic Chef's Knife

  • Sharpness - Our ultra-sharp advanced ceramic blade will retain its original sharpness up to 15 times longer than steel blades.
  • Purity - Rust-proof, will never brown foods, impervious to acids and oils, no metallic taste or smell. Advanced ceramic is a pure & healthy alternative.
  • Lightweight - Typically half the weight of metal-based knives, offers total ease of use with the most difficult cutting tasks. Ergonomic handles produce a well-balanced, highly controlled grip.
  • Easy to Clean - The fact that advanced ceramic does not absorb any food element, allows just a quick rinse and wipe with a kitchen towel.8 Inch Chef Ceramic knife For slicing fruits, vegetables and boneless meats.

Paula's Thoughts:
This is my first ceramic knife so I wanted to know what some of the advantages of a ceramic knife were. I found out that they include hardness, ceramic is second only to diamonds; weight, it's much lighter than metal; durability, because these knives keep their razor sharp edge and will not wear out like metal; no metal means no rust; and the ability to resist stains and odors. Because each ceramic knife goes through a long manufacturing process which makes it high end you can expect quality and longevity from your knife. I tested my new ceramic knife by cutting some yellow squash, zucchini, and cucumbers. Even with difficulties from injuries with my hands I found the handle was very easy to hold and grip. It sliced the veggies with ease and with very little pressure from me. With my garden producing lots of vegetables this will be my new go to knife for prepping them.

Picture

The Learning Journey Play and Learn Shopping Basket Playset
The Learning Journey Play and Learn Shopping Basket Playset
Kids can enjoy the complete shopping experience with the Play & Learn Shopping Basket! Our kid-sized Shopping Basket is easy to carry with its lightweight plastic construction and big handles. Fun Accessories include a variety of plastic and cardboard food items. Ages 3+ years.
  • 24 plastic and cardboard play food items
  • Large handles for easy carrying
  • Encourages imagination
  • Durable, lightweight plastic construction

Paula's Thoughts:
This is perfect for getting  the little cook in your home playing, imagining, and creating. The basket is made from thick plastic making it strong and durable. The food that comes with it is sure to keep them entertained for hours. I've ordered many imaginary milk shakes and french fries playing drive thru with my grandchildren so I know they are going to love playing grocery with all these fun items. I really like the bright and bold colors. They are very appealing and fun.
Picture


Elegant Stainless Steel Salt and Pepper Grinder Set
Elegant Stainless Steel Salt and Pepper Grinder Set
  • HIGH QUALITY GLASS AND STAINLESS STEEL GRINDER SET This glass and stainless steel salt and pepper grinder set features a modern design and is stylish and elegant enough for kitchen-to-table use! Each set contains one salt grinder and one pepper grinder which can hold 3/4 cup of salt, peppercorns or any other spice, in its generously sized glass reservoir. *Salt and pepper not included.
  • BUILT FOR CONVENIENCE AND FUNCTION Unlike other grinder sets, this pair has their grinding mechanism on the top of the grinder, ensuring salt and pepper ends up only on your food -- not all over your table. The ceramic grinder is non-corrosive, won't absorb flavors and is easily adjustable from a fine to coarse grind.
  • EASY REFILLING WITH NO MESSES Don't you hate constantly having to refill your salt and pepper grinders? Standing about 5 1/4 inches tall this set is the perfect size to cut down on constant refills without being bulky. When you do have to refill, the clear glass bodies will let you know when it's time! The stainless steel top easily screws off revealing a wide opening for easy and mess-free refills.
  •  ELEGANT DESIGN With its brushed stainless steel encasing, glass body and ceramic grinder, this unique duo is a professional, sleek addition to any kitchen, with a stainless steel lid that truly "caps" off this beautiful set. No tacky electrical grinders here means no batteries required--only a few effortless twists with your hand to experience that fresh himalayan salt, pepper, or other spice.
  • CUSTOMER GUARANTEE We're confident you'll love our Dual Refillable Salt & Pepper Grinders. However, if you're not completely satisfied, we'll give you a 100% refund within 90 days of purchase--NO QUESTIONS ASKED. We have the best customer service on Amazon, and YOU, the customer, are our top priority. Add a set to your shopping cart today for a risk-free culinary experience!

Paula's Thoughts:
I just ordered this beautiful set two days ago and was so excited to try them. Don't they look amazing? They arrived yesterday and look even better in person! The attention to detail and quality is obvious. The Kitchen Classique Grinders are a nice large size so they will hold a lot more than any of the previous grinders that I have owned. I found it really easy to open each grinder to fill it. Just unscrew the metal part from the glass, fill, and screw it back on. Each grinder has a lid to keep it from spilling accidentally, or for grinding what you need then adding it to your food plus you can adjust the coarseness to your liking. I am very happy with this product and would recommend it to my friends and family with confidence.

Picture
Don't miss your chance to #Win over $400 in prizes in the #LetsCook #Giveaway Enter before it ends 8/23

Welcome To The

Let's Cook! Giveaway



Hosted By
PaulaMS' Giveaways, Reviews, & Freebies

Co-Hosted By
Michigan Saving and More
Java John Z's
Romania and Missions
Deliciously Savvy
Jingle Jangle Jungle


Dates: July 24th 9 AM Eastern Time - August 23rd 11:59 PM Eastern Time

Grand Prize Package
Set of 6 1EasyLife Stainless Steel Measuring Spoons
Chef DeTemple Instant Read Digital Cooking Thermometer
BYB E-41 Series Clip-on 4 LED Light
Blue Iguazu Hand-crafted Ripple-cut Gourmet Cheese Slicer
Bitpsy Stainless Steel Citrus Juicer
CasaQoqo Eco Bamboo Cutting Board with Handle
VOS Professional Ceramic Chef's Knife 8 Inch
The Learning Journey Play and Learn Shopping Basket Playset
Stainless Steel Salt and Pepper Grinder Set

Second Prize Package
CasaQoqo Eco Bamboo Cutting Board with Handle
VOS Professional Ceramic Chef's Knife 8 Inch
Stainless Steel Salt and Pepper Grinder Set

I would like to give a big Thank You to all the blogs
participating in this giveaway!

GOOD LUCK!
Let's Cook! Giveaway

Disclaimer: PaulaMS' Giveaways, Reviews, and Freebies nor any blog promoting this giveaway, is not responsible for the awarding of the prize. Sponsors are responsible for prize fulfillment.

Disclosure of Material Connection: PaulaMS received the products mentioned above for free to facilitate the writing of the reviews. Some of the links on this blog post are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I may receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, she only recommend products or services that she uses personally and believe will add value to readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Ratings and Recommendations by outbrain


View My Stats