Sins of the Past


I’ve arrived at the conclusion that Novellas are my new favourite way to read.  Probably not really, but I loved the short bursts of intense, suspenseful stories compiled into “Sins of the Past.”

I’d already read other books by Lynette Eason and Dani Pettrey, but Dee Henderson was a new author for me.  I own a couple of her books, but I haven’t gotten a chance to read them yet.  I will get to them as soon as I’m done this month’s review commitments though, that’s for sure.

In Dee Henderson’s “Missing,” a Wyoming sheriff is called to Chicago when his elderly mother goes missing. Paired with a savvy Chicago cop, the two realize her disappearance is no accident, and a race against the clock begins.

Dani Pettrey returns to Alaska with “Shadowed,” introducing readers to the parents of her beloved McKenna clan. Adventure, romance, and danger collide when a young fisherman nets the body of an open-water swimming competitor who may actually be a possible Russian defector.

Lynette Eason’s “Blackout” delivers the story of a woman once implicated in a robbery gone wrong. The loot has never been found–but her memory of that night has always been unreliable. Can she remember enough to find her way to safety when the true culprit comes after her?

I would have a very hard time deciding which of the three I liked the best.  What I liked most about “Missing” was that the romantic theme to it was so subtle.  The bulk of the plot had to do with the sheriff’s missing mother, and the quest to find her.  I did not predict the story unfolding the way that it did, and that always makes me happy!

“Shadowed” was interesting.  Set in early post-war Alaska, quite close to the Russian border, the suspense was thrilling.

“Blackout” comes with one bump in the road after another, after another, after another.  A woman who desperately needs to remember details, when the key to solving the problem is locked up inside her head when her brain has closed the details off.

I highly recommend that you check out this collection!  I blew through it in about 30 hours, and was sad when I finished it.

Have you read anything by any of these authors?  What did you think?

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

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Wheat and Dairy Free Adventures


I’ve been (mostly) off of wheat and dairy for well over a year now.  What started as a desperate attempt to figure out why I was not feeling awesome… turned into an elimination of wheat, dairy, and sugar (and onions which I already knew I couldn’t eat).  After 8 weeks I got the sugar back, but the wheat and dairy I left out because of how much better I felt.

But that has started a year-long quest to find food that is GOOD, that also doesn’t have any wheat or dairy in it.  For me, I’m not worried about cross-contamination and actual gluten, and I cheat from time to time (though there are consequences).
I’ve decided in that quest, I should share my findings with anyone who will listen/read.  With anyone who wants wheat free and dairy free food that still tastes like food as much as I do.

I’ve found three things to start with in the last couple of days.  Disclaimer:  I’m a terrible food photographer.  I hope that this improves as I go along.  Also — I’d opened the food already when I decided to do this.  And some of it is gone.  So…. you get packages.

1.    Sandwich buns, which I used as hot dog buns.  Promise Gluten Free comes all the way from Ireland!  Since I’m going there for vacation in LESS THAN TWO WEEKS, I can’t tell you how excited I am that they have a company that is successful enough at making gluten free food that they export to Canada.  It means I’ll be able to eat!  I hope.

Overall:  The buns were not bad.  If you’re looking for a bun that still has that chewy, gluten-y texture…. well, I’ve yet to find one.  Let me know if you do!  But this tastes pretty good, it was soft (despite having been frozen and then flown across the ocean, thawed, and then sold to me), and the biggest accomplishment I find with gluten free food…. it didn’t fall apart!  They held together through the whole meal, and did not crumble.  I can’t tell you how many brands of Gluten Free hamburger and hot dog buns I’ve tried, only to be left with one very happy dog, because they’ve crumbled around the meat and I’ve finished my meal with a knife and fork.  Plus one for Promise!  The dog lost out a little bit on that deal, though…

If you’re also soy free or nut free, Promise can meet that demand, too!

Price:  3.99 (Canadian) for 3 buns.
Found at:  Metro

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Also — pro tip!  When you’re used to eating hot dogs and hamburgers bun-less, you fill up a lot faster with the buns on.

2.  Promise Gluten Free Lemon Loaf.

This I could take or leave.  I love lemon cake, so the bar was high.  It’s good, don’t get me wrong, but it’s a bit too dry.  Again, this was made in Ireland, frozen, shipped across the ocean, thawed, and sold to me.  It didn’t hold up to that journey quite as well as the buns did.  I did enjoy the crunchy sugar bits on top!  I probably won’t buy it again, because for the price I’m sure I could make my own, and it would likely be moist.

Price: 4.99 for one loaf
Found at: Metro

3. So Delicious Coconut Milk “Frozen Dessert” — chocolate chip cookie dough flavour.
The closest I can get to ice cream.  So Delicious also makes a spectacular cashew milk dark chocolate fudge flavour, but I was in the mood for cookie dough.  There’s something special about the sweet and salty combination that I have always loved!  It’s perfect for these hot, sticky summer days!

And as an added bonus, the cookie dough bits are also gluten free!

Price:  5.99 (on sale — regular 6.99)
Found at: Metro

Stay tuned for more finds!  I hope to be able to share my favourites out of the Canadian Gluten and Dairy Free market 🙂

 

Find Promise Gluten Free products at a store near you!

Think and Eat Yourself Smart


I’ve become very interested in nutrition in the last year and a half. After a fateful meeting with a nutritionist in April of 2015, it was suggested to me that the way to fix my gastrointestinal upset was a full-out elimination of all the things that could be causing my issues (wheat, dairy, and sugar) for 8 weeks.

8 weeks. Without wheat.  Or dairy.  Or sugar.

Terrible, right?

Short answer…. yes.

But it turned out that wheat and dairy, while I miss cheese, and pizza, and I miss donuts, aren’t something I’m missing because I feel way, way better than I did in April 2015.

This sent me on a bit of a journey of finding out theories and some research on food sensitivities.  Because I don’t have any allergies.

There are so many mixed opinions, theories, studies, whatever you want to call them… it’s hard to find which way is up in all of the science.

So when I had the chance to read this book, “Think and Eat Yourself Smart” by Dr. Caroline Leaf, I grabbed at it.

I have several thoughts, so readers, please bear with me.

My first is this.  It’s very scientific.  There were parts of it I skimmed through because they were a touch lost on me.  That said, if you didn’t expect that from a book with the tagline “a neuroscientific approach to a sharper mind and healthier life,” I’m not sure what you would have been expecting.  I find the science behind nutrition fascinating.

There were some interesting points on waste. There was a very interesting discussion on genetically modified and organic foods — where I’m not sure that I’m completely in that camp.  I’m not totally anti-GMO, and that might make me a terrible person, but having grown up with grandparents in farming, and having had discussions with them ~ I’ll leave that off the table here because it’s not really the purpose of this post.  But.  Take it for what you will.  If you’re full out anti-GMO, you’ll be right on board with that section.  There was also a bit on the antibiotics infused into our milk and dairy products….. which is illegal in Canada and if found in our milk, it has to be dumped down the drain.

What really got me were the parts about choices and mindset, and how the conscious mind — not the subconscious mind — has the power to change and overcome toxic eating habits.

If you struggle with emotional eating, hurry, weird dreams, anything you suspect might be related to your food intake… I recommend this book.  It’ll give you some ‘food’ for thought.

There are tips and recipes at the back of the book, so it’ll give you a good jump start at your healthier eating adventure.  I just caution you that if you’re not as willing to give up every comfort food you’ve ever found as Dr. Leaf is, perhaps take the book with a grain of salt.  But the book has great general ideas and tips if you’re looking for a deeper understanding of the connection between your brain, your mind, and your eating.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

 

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Someone Like You


If you’re looking for a good, easy reading, cheesy love story…. look no further.  You’ve found one in Someone Like You!  Victoria Bylin does it again with a story of grace and redemption and forgiveness in this story of two college sweethearts finding each other again and starting over — in a very different place than the one they left each other in.

Victoria Bylin is praised for relatable characters — and she’s crafted them again in Zeke Monroe and Julia Dare, as well as in Hunter Adams.  The setting, the plot, the people — they’re all people I could easily know in real life.  I love it when an author is able to craft beautiful people like that.  I’ve read one other Victoria Bylin book before ~ Together With You ~ and Bylin did the same thing with Carly and Ryan in that book.

My only criticism would be (and it’s barely one at that) that people just don’t fall in love that easily in real life.  But if they did, who would want to read romance novels?  It would be too much like real life and we’d write books instead about how it took 15 years for Julia to finally settle down and find someone she liked enough to give up her independence 😉

Here’s what the book’s back cover had to say:

Single mom Julia Dare has a lot on her plate. A brand new Christian, she’s busy trying to run her own business, spend time with her widowed mother, and raise her young son, Max, despite his father’s less-than-ideal influence on him. When a big account from her event-planning business sends her to the Caliente Springs resort, she’s shocked to come face-to-face with Zeke Monroe, the resort’s general manager and her college sweetheart.

With his faith in tatters, Zeke Monroe is determined to keep the historic Caliente Springs resort running despite financial difficulties. But when Julia walks back into his life, he can’t ignore the feelings she stirs up. As they work together on an important client’s dream wedding, the fate of the resort soon depends on their success. When Zeke and Julia are pushed to their limits both personally and professionally, will their history put up walls between them or bring them together?

So, just like I surmised at the end of Together With You, if you’re looking for a good, cheesy love story — you’ve come to the right place, and Victoria Bylin won’t disappoint.  If you’ve come looking for encouragement in your singleness — maybe not the right choice 😉 …. trust me.

Overall I highly recommend this book.  It was such an easy read.  I read the latter half of it in an afternoon laying in my hammock in my backyard (…. not unlike the front cover art, I’m just realizing as I post the picture for you… except I was alone.) It was perfection.

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Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc