Too Wicked to Wed by Tammy Andresen

Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

I have received a free e-copy of the book Too Wicked to Wed by Tammy Andresen to review.

Too Wicked to Wed by Tammy Andresen

Here is the book blurb.

A rakish lord and a lady with a vendetta….

Lady Caroline knows all about rakes. One ruined her after all. Allow a rake to kiss you once under a flowering pear tree, shame on him. But allow another to kiss you beneath a full moon of the summer solstice, well, shame on herself. She’s not falling for that sort of trick no matter how handsome Lord Marksman is or how alluring his strong arms or how tempting his achingly wicked lips are. Caroline’s learned a few lessons. In fact, she’s even recorded them in a chronicle to teach the ladies of London how to avoid these very traps. But she can’t leave until she’s taught Marksman a lesson. A very good one on how a gentleman ought to treat a lady…

Lord Pierce Marksman isn’t certain why he finds Lady Caroline so tempting. Yes, she’s blessed with waves of thick blonde hair, lush pink lips, the sort that make a man ache. But he’s met beautiful women before. And of course, her curves are lush and sweet, the kind that could keep a man warm for days. But he’s seen better. Hasn’t he? The problem is he can’t bloody remember. That’s a damn shame because he needs to find a rich wife with a sterling reputation to bolster his family name after his brother destroyed their’s. And that’s not Lady Caroline…

The more their path’s cross the harder it is to deny that he wants her. Maybe needs her. And when Caroline’s in trouble he has a decision to make. Does Pierce save himself or her?

This is the final book in the Chronicles of a Bluestocking series. I’ve read the whole series now, but can say that they all work well as stand-alone reads too. Here are my reviews of the previous titles.

The Earl of Dryden
Too Wicked To Woo
Too Wicked To Want

The story starts with Lady Caroline Bixby looking for a rake at the ball for purposes of research for the book she is writing with her friends. Meanwhile Lord Pierce Marksman is meeting Lady Helena there, one of the names on his mother’s list of suitable brides. They step out onto the verandah, where in the shadows, Lady Helena kisses him as an experiment. Caroline observes and interrupts. Has she saved Helena from being ruined?

She visits Helena the next day, but Pierce is already in attendance. Helena seems overly keen on Caroline. And is Pierce actually a rake? Who does he want? What sort of triangle is this?

Too Wicked to Wed is available on Amazon, currently priced at £3.26 in Kindle format. Once again Tammy gives us a lovely light romantic story.


About the author

USA Today Bestselling Author, Tammy Andresen lives with her husband and three children just outside of Boston, Massachusetts. She grew up on the Seacoast of Maine, where she spent countless days dreaming up stories in blueberry fields and among the scrub pines that line the coast. Her mother loved to spin a yarn and Tammy filled many hours listening to her mother retell the classics. It was inevitable that at the age of 18, she headed off to Simmons College, where she studied English literature and education. She never left Massachusetts but some of her heart still resides in Maine and her family visits often.

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The Red Death by Birgitte Märgen

Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

I have received a free e-copy of the book The Red Death by Birgitte Märgen to review.

The Red Death by Birgitte Märgen

Here is the book blurb.

DEATH HAS A NEW COLOR
* * *
A fast-paced, gripping thriller in the tradition of Michael Crichton, Robin Cook, and Dan Brown, The Red Death is a thriller fueled by the re-emergence of an ancient plague that gave rise to the Black Death–and the people trying to stop it. The question is: How do you stop something that you can’t see?

* * *

AN ANCIENT DISEASE re-emerges in the heart of New York City–a deadly bacteria that gave rise to the Black Death. Maggie De Luca, an epidemiologist who is fighting her own demons, works to uncover clues to contain the disease, but is always one step behind–her fate determined by the flip of a coin. Microbiologist Michael Harbinger believes he can make a vaccine that can stop the disease, but to do so would require an elusive plant that only grows in a remote region of the Amazon.

With the help of J.D. Stallings, a paleoanthropologist, and Samantha Boutroux, a bacteriologist, they set out to find the plant that holds the key before the Red Death pandemic grips the world–or has the First Horseman of the Apocalypse, Plague, already opened the gates to our final annihilation?

The mother of all plagues is back.
Let the death toll begin . . .

The book starts by introducing us to Juan Martinez on August 18th, so I assumed he would be central to the story. But no, 3 days later he is dead. The autopsy reveals similarities to the bubonic plague, but again no, microbiologist Michael Harbinger discovers it is a new bacteria.

Meanwhile more deaths are occurring. The reader knows the connecting link between these people but Maggie De Luca, epidemiologist (no I didn’t know there was such a word either), is trying to piece the jigsaw together in order to attempt to contain the disease.

Michael discovers that the bacteria matches an ancient plague from the Bronze Age researched by his old college mate James Stallings, a paleoanthropologist. James’s paper implying that only the Motombu cannibal tribe in a remote part of the Amazon had immunity due to a plant in their diet, which only grows there.

Michael’s boss refuses to fund research into developing a vaccine, so Michael and James, along with Samantha Boutroux, a bacteriologist head off to Brazil to try to find this elusive plant, whilst Maggie continues to follow clues.

This is a real page-turner weaving different strands of the story together in a brilliant plot. I think it would make an excellent film.

The Red Death is available on Amazon currently priced at £10.94 in paperback and is also available in Kindle format. A gripping read that I couldn’t put down. Highly recommended.

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The Me Too Girl by Lance & James Morcan plus giveaway

Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

I have received a free e-copy of the book The Me Too Girl by Lance & James Morcan to review. You may find out more about the authors on their website.

The Me Too Girl by Lance & James Morcan

Here is the book blurb.

Young Los Angeles public relations exec Suzie Fox is being blackmailed for sex by a bad cop, a senior officer of the LAPD no less. Suzie fights back the only way she knows how, and, in the process, unwittingly becomes a beacon, a shining light, for America’s Me Too movement and for abused women everywhere. But will justice be served?

The story starts by introducing Suzie who has recently turned her life around, reflecting back over the past week from hell. We then flashback over the course of that week to discover that a face from her past has caught up with. This is Heck Williams, Deputy Chief of Police in LA, but he was and still is a bad cop.

In the past, he had sexually abused Suzie and now having found where she lives, he is trying to blackmail her for sex again. He threatens to pull her in for heroin possession, using a packet of heroin from his own pocket and to tell lies to her employer, accusing her of being a hooker and a junkie.

When a junior officer appears with a message for Heck, she uses the interruption to negotiate a week’s grace to give him an answer. But what can she do in a week to avoid her world being turned upside down?

This clever short story then follows the course of that week and beyond.

The Me Too Girl is available on Amazon. Another nice short story from father and son duo, and certainly a switch from their previous book The Heathrow Affair. Very versatile authors as quite a different genre to their brilliant full-length Silent Fear novel that I absolutely loved, plus they also write non-fiction.

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway a kindle copy of The Me Too Girl to one lucky winner. Open worldwide.
Plus you don’t even need to own a kindle to read this, as you can download the kindle app free to your phone or tablet.comper friendly badge

a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

And you may see my other giveaways here.

I’d love to hear about your favourite book.

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Too Wicked to Want by Tammy Andresen

Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

I have received a free e-copy of the book Too Wicked to Want by Tammy Andresen to review.

Too Wicked to Want by Tammy Andresen

 

Here is the book blurb.

A scarred marquess and a ruined bluestocking with everything to lose…

Lord Harding doesn’t give a dung pile about the ton or society. His lands, his duty, and the people who depend on him are all that matter. But when Lady Annabelle begins following him about, he won’t stand for it. He’s knows she’s attempting to trap him in marriage. It’s his legacy at risk, after all. It’s time to teach Lady Annabelle Marks a lesson she’ll never forget.

Lady Annabelle is determined to study the rakes of London. It’s purely for research she wants to share what she’s learned with the ladies of her station. The problem, she can’t find any research subjects. That is until she meets Lord Harding, a reclusive marquess accused of ruining a young lady in her first season. First, she needs to determine if he’s as bad as they say and then… well then she needs to keep from falling under his rakish spell.

What she didn’t count on was that dangerous and mysterious men are also exciting.

This is book 2 in the Chronicles of a Bluestocking series. You may see my review of book 1, Too Wicked to Woo here.

The story begins with Lady Annabelle Marks hiding behind a fern at the ball, observing Lord Harding across the room, for the purpose of research for a book to warn ladies about rakes. She is hoping to ascertain whether Lord Harding is the man who ruined Lady Cecilia Chase, since he denies the accusation. But Lord Harding spots her staring at him and comes over to ask why.

Annabelle dares not answer that and tries to distract him with a dance. But Luke assumes she is also trying to trap him into marriage, especially when she deliberately bumps into him again a couple of days later. Eventually she has to give him a half-answer about trying to discover a particular rake, at which point the tables turn as Luke declares himself her chaperone. Meanwhile where does Lord Pierce Marksman fit into the picture?

Too Wicked to Want is available on Amazon, currently priced at £3.26 in Kindle format. Another nice romantic story from Tammy, where you’re willing them on.


About the author

USA Today Bestselling Author, Tammy Andresen lives with her husband and three children just outside of Boston, Massachusetts. She grew up on the Seacoast of Maine, where she spent countless days dreaming up stories in blueberry fields and among the scrub pines that line the coast. Her mother loved to spin a yarn and Tammy filled many hours listening to her mother retell the classics. It was inevitable that at the age of 18, she headed off to Simmons College, where she studied English literature and education. She never left Massachusetts but some of her heart still resides in Maine and her family visits often.

Visit Yet Another Blogging Mummy on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

MamaMummyMum

 

Small steps towards a more sustainable Christmas

I know I started off the year with good intentions to keep my blog updated with all the progress I have been making towards reducing plastic, however life got in the way, but yes I’m still continuing down the sustainability path. A light bulb moment for me was that it is not only about reducing plastic. So now I’m trying to focus on the bigger picture of zero waste, carbon footprint, seasonal products and supporting local independent businesses in addition to plastic. But I find it can be hard to prioritise any one of these aspects over the others in certain situations. And I’m continually keeping in mind the mantra Rethink, Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Refurbish, Repair, Regift, Rehome, Repurpose, Recycle, Replant, Rot.

Looking back, the last news I gave you on this topic was about our fab eco holiday in the summer. Since then I’ve joined local groups, been on workshops and things have been ticking along in the garden. I will try to find time for more blog updates next year, but for now I wanted to focus on Christmas.

At the beginning of November, the boys and I had a good sort through our 3 boxfuls of Christmas decorations, reducing what we were going to keep by about half. The remainder was sorted for charity donations, or repurposing components for crafting, recycling or eco-bricks, with minimal ending up in the waste bin. Around the same time, we sent 3 bagfuls of unused items (toys, stationery, toiletries) to school for including in shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child. A great way to do it, compared to preparing an individual shoebox each like we’ve done previously, when I’ve usually ended up buying some items like hats, scarves and gloves cheaply at somewhere like Poundland, since those probably weren’t made very sustainably.

So throughout the year I have been popping into charity shops, sometimes with a boxful to donate, but often just for a browse. And I’ve found plenty of gifts to put aside for the boys, especially including the themes of Dr Who, Star Wars or Marvel as I knew those would feature on their Christmas lists.

For my other half, I’ve chosen an experience, topped up with a few items from the charity shops and edible gifts. And I’ve made a large hamper for my parents of which all the contents are either handmade locally or by me. So I’ve made a couple of soup-in-a-jar mixes, turmeric latte and zero waste candied peel. See below for the recipes.

candied peel

Looking at the Amazon wish lists of other relatives, I’ve managed to swerve Amazon entirely and bought requested gifts either on the high street or vouchers. Someone else gets a membership. Another gets products I chose for her at a Tropic fundraising party, so supporting both one friend’s fundraising and another friend’s small business. And I helped the boys select edible gifts handmade by disabled people in our local community.

I had to think hard about buying for someone in Canada. Previously I would have just resorted to Amazon, but this year I found Wychbury Ave, a small ethical local business who handcraft soaps and body products. Plus bonus, the owner was prepared to hand-deliver my order.

As regards wrapping and cards, this was more of a bugbear, as I already possess lots of shiny foil-paper, silver tape and glittery cards which I obviously want to use up rather than dispose of, but I can see it lasting quite a while yet. And I did save some paper from last Christmas too. I have been sending about half of my cards as e-cards for the last few years anyhow, but is this anymore eco, when you consider the carbon footprint of the servers? I also handmade a few cards, but didn’t have time for many, although I have always made my own gift tags. So it is probably going to be a number of years before this area hits my eco target. Similarly we have some crackers leftover from last year. I did better earlier in the year with birthday wrapping, using pages from our local newsletter tied only with ribbon. But at least nothing new was purchased. And any gifts that have arrived by post have been left in their packaging.

There does still seem to be a larger pile of gifts than I had hoped, but at least not many have my name on them. I’m particularly pleased that some of the family have made a donation at my request to their local food bank instead of getting me a gift.

Christmas gifts

Son2 is particularly eco-conscious, and bless him, this is what he wrote as a ps at the end of his letter to Santa – “Please try not to use wrapping paper since it may end up becoming plastic pollution“. So his presents will be loose inside a pillowcase, although I’ve tried to preserve some element of surprise by hiding the more fun items inside the clothing gifts.

And onto the catering. I’ve bought much less food. Nothing for tea, no gammon and wide selection of buffet treats. If anyone is still hungry, they can have a turkey sandwich. Yes we are having turkey for lunch, but it has been hand-reared free range locally by my friend on her smallholding. Fresh vegetables are from our local greengrocer, whilst frozen peas, sweetcorn and yorkshire puddings have been purchased packaging-free. Also no starters. And this year for the first time, we are passing on the Christmas pudding and Christmas cake, since only half the family like them anyhow, plus I am trying to reduce my sugar intake. No Yule log either. We do still have mince pies which I made using mincemeat that was handmade by disabled people in our local community.

Mince pies

We’ve had our artificial Christmas tree for many years, but when I got it out just over a week ago, I realised one of the pieces had broken when it was being taken down last year. I’ve managed to repair it, so hopefully the tree will last us at least a few more years. However only two out of four colours of our LED lights seem to now be working and I’ve discovered they sadly don’t have replaceable bulbs like our previous set did, but we are making do. So much for me stating that they would last for 50,000 hours use, when I reviewed them 6 years ago. But I’ve noticed that none of us are particularly bothered about switching the Christmas lights on, so saving energy. We’ve only ever had one strings of lights at a time, unlike some houses which seem to go overboard on both the amount of lighting and how soon it is up, in some cases even as early as November, but maybe Christmas lights will become a thing of the past in our household.

Christmas wreath

On the more natural decorative front, I cut a few sprigs of holly, ivy and pine from the garden and wove them around my willow wreath for a front door decoration. It looks a bit lopsided, but I am still pleased with it. I made the wreath early last month after volunteering to help with the willow harvest.

Making a willow wreath

And now to share my recipes. Firstly the zero-waste candied peel. I’ve been saving all types of citrus peel in the freezer, along with other bags of bread crumbs, raw vegetable scraps for stock, apple cores and vegetable peelings. My initial plan was to make my own candied peel that I could either use in cake-making or as a sweet treat. However I wished to avoid sugar, so I have used honey in my recipe instead. But as we eat a lot of citrus fruit, I seemed to have a non-ending supply of citrus peel, so the obvious idea was to gift some of the candied peel. For an additional touch, you could also dip the candied peel in chocolate.


Candied Peel

Candied Peel

Ingredients

300g mixed citrus peel (orange, lemon and grapefruit)
250g honey
water

Method

Defrost the peels.
Remove excess pith and cut into narrow strips.
Place in a saucepan of water and bring to the boil.
Boil for 5 minutes, then drain off the water.
Replace with fresh water and bring to the boil again.
This time simmer for 30 minutes.
Strain the water into a jug.
Pour 400ml of the strained water back into the saucepan.
Stir in the honey and strips of peel.
Bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the honey.
Simmer for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally until the liquid has reduced to a thick syrup.
Allow to cool.
Strain off the syrup, (you can store this in the refrigerator to make cordial drinks).
Place sheets of greaseproof paper onto all your cooling racks.
Spread out the peels in a single layer on the paper.
Place the cooling racks in your airing cupboard for 2-3 days until the peels are dry.
Store the candied peels in airtight sterilised jars.
(Optionally dip in melted chocolate).
Enjoy.

Candied Peel

Secondly turmeric latte, a tasty drink. Turmeric has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, so this is a great gift for the health benefits.


Turmeric Latte

Turmeric Latte

Ingredients

250g skimmed milk powder
5 tsp turmeric
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
Pinch of black pepper

Method

Mix all ingredients together.
Store in an airtight sterilised jar.
Attach a label to the jar, detailing the following usage instructions.
Mix 25g into a mug of cold water.
Heat in microwave.
Enjoy.

And finally the soups in a jar. I did two variants, mild coconut curry soup and minestrone soup, but there are so many more possibilities for this. Gift them along with a tin of coconut milk or chopped tomatoes respectively.


Mild Coconut Curry Soup

Mild Coconut Curry Soup

Ingredients

125g green lentils
125g red lentils
1 tsp curry powder
1 tbsp dried onion
1 tsp turmeric
Pinch of salt
Pinch of pepper
1 vegetable stock cube
1 tin coconut milk

Method

Mix together the dried onions, curry powder, turmeric, salt and pepper.
Layer the dry ingredients into a sterilised jar as follows.
Firstly the green lentils.
Then the red lentils.
Then the spice and onion mix.
Cover with a circle of paper.
Place the stock cube on top of the paper.
Seal the jar airtight with lid.
Attach a label to the jar, detailing the following usage instructions.
Place stock cube in 750ml boiling water.
Add contents of jar and can of coconut milk.
Bring to the boil, then reduce heat.
Simmer for 20-25 minutes until lentils are tender.
Enjoy.


Minestrone Soup

Minestrone Soup

Ingredients

75g barley
75g red lentils
75g gomitini pasta
1 tbsp dried onion
1/2 tsp mustard powder
1/2 garlic powder
Pinch of basil
Pinch of oregano
Pinch of marjoram
Pinch of salt
Pinch of pepper
1 vegetable stock cube
1 tin chopped tomatoes

Method

Mix together the dried onions, mustard powder, garlic powder, herbs, salt and pepper.
Layer the dry ingredients into a sterilised jar as follows.
Firstly the barley.
Then the red lentils.
Then the pasta.
Then the spice and onion mix.
Cover with a circle of paper.
Place the stock cube on top of the paper.
Seal the jar airtight with lid.
Attach a label to the jar, detailing the following usage instructions.
Place stock cube in 750ml boiling water.
Add contents of jar and can of chopped tomatoes.
Bring to the boil, then reduce heat.
Simmer for 45-50 minutes until barley is tender.
Enjoy.

So these are my first small steps towards a more sustainable Christmas. I am sure there is loads more I could do, so I’d love to hear your eco friendly suggestions and tips for Christmas please.

Wishing all my readers a very Happy Christmas.

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Guest post: When should I replace my running shoes?

“When should I replace my running shoes?” This is a common question all runners have. But why should you even consider swapping your running shoes?

Here’s the truth. Even if your shoes feel as valuable as gold, they won’t last you forever.

As you log in more miles, the cushy foam starts to get compressed under the weight, and the outsoles begin to go bald. Once your shoes are past their prime, they can no longer protect your body from the repetitive pounding, leading to soreness and injury.

That’s why it’s always vital to know when to replace your shoes.

old running shoes

To help you make the right decision, I’ve compiled a list of tips and signs to help you decide when your shoes are indeed done. This guide will show you how long-running kicks typically last, the telling sign of a worn-out pair, and when to replace your running shoes.

Sounds good?

Let’s get started.

The Exact Range

Estimates on how long running shoes should last vary, but the rule of thumb says to look for new ones every 400 to 500 miles. This means if you average 15 miles per week, you’ll need new kicks every six to eight months.

Of course, I guess you could keep running in worn-out shoes, but just like driving a car on bald tyres, the risks of something going wrong increases each time you stride the ground.

However, the 400 to 500 miles rule is not cast in stone. It’s simply a rough estimate. The exact mileage depends on many factors, such as your body weight, running style, training intensity, and more importantly, the surface on which run.

So, for instance, if you run on tough terrain or trails, you’ll need to swap your trainers for a new one sooner than if you primarily stick to softer surfaces.

The Signs to Check for

Here’s what you need to do to make sure that your sneakers don’t run you into the ground.

Keep track of your Shoe Miles

It’s often hard to tell just how many miles you have logged in your shoes, especially when you are not following a detailed running plan, or rotate through many shoes.

Here’s how to make it easier.

Use a permanent marker to write down the date of first use on a part of your trainers that won’t get worn off, then keep track of your mileage in a diary to know when it’s time to swap them out.

You should also consider using running apps such as Strava that let you monitor your mileage in different pairs of shoes. Some apps may even inform you once you’re past that 500-mile mark and suggest that you start looking for a new pair.

Check the Outsole

The outsole consists of the rubber part of the shoe that gets in contact with the ground from heel to toe. It plays an essential role because it offers the clearest sign of wear and tear.

The outsoles of your running shoes are equipped with treads, just like car tyres, which helps reduce landing’s impact and grip the road. As you log in more miles, the rubber on the bottom outsole begins to wear away.

Look for any bald spots on the outsole of your trainers where the rubber has broken down.  This is especially the case if the tread is entirely gone or the outsole is completely white.

You’re Feeling Pain

Wear, tear, and mileage aside, one more thing to check whether you need to ditch your shoes is your own body.

When your sole-mate no longer offers ample support and protection as they did when you first started using them, it usually leads to pain.

If you’re starting to experience annoying little pains, especially aching arches, sore soles, painful knees, tender shins, and other small nuisances, then it’s time to assess your shoes.

running shoes

Conclusion

There you have it! The above guidelines are all you need to make sure you know when it’s time to turn off the switch on your running shoes and look for new ones. Just make sure to head to the nearest running speciality store when looking for new sole-mates. That way you make sure you make the right decision both for your wallet and running enjoyment. The rest is just details.

Please feel free to leave your comments and questions in the section below.

In the meantime, thank you for dropping by.

Keep running strong.

About the author:

David Dack is an established fitness blogger and running expert. When he’s not training for his next marathon, he’s doing research and trying to help as many people as possible to share his fitness philosophy. Check his blog Runners Blueprint for more info.

Guest post by David Dack
Images purchased by David Dack from Fotolia

The Heathrow Affair by Lance & James Morcan

Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

I have received a free e-copy of the book The Heathrow Affair by Lance & James Morcan to review. You may find out more about the authors on their website.

The Heathrow Affair by Lance & James Morcan

Here is the book blurb.

Young Heathrow Airport employee John Woods seems to have it all – a career he loves and the girl of his dreams. But all is not what it seems in this aviation love triangle…

John’s life is turned upside down when his beloved Sandra announces she’s leaving him for a dashing pilot employed by the same international airline John works for.

When John is blamed for a mid-air incident that has catastrophic consequences for one of the airline’s aircraft, he and Sandra are reunited in a way neither could ever have imagined.

This story is told from the point of view of John Woods, a young aviation engineering apprentice working at Heathrow. It starts with John’s wife Sandra leaving him, telling him that she is pregnant but that the baby may not be his and that she is filing for divorce. What a bombshell for John.

Sandra doesn’t tell him who the other guy is, but it turns out to be Richard King, one of the pilots. Although John’s life has been turned upside-down, he maintains normality at work.

But then there is a serious incident with one of the planes over the Atlantic due to windscreen failure. John is one of the personnel blamed in the investigation. Can things get worse?

A short story but with intriguing twists and turns. It has been very cleverly worded so you don’t guess.

The Heathrow Affair is available on Amazon, currently priced at £1.99 in Kindle format. A nice romantic aviation mystery. Very versatile authors as quite a different genre to their brilliant Silent Fear novel that I absolutely loved, plus they write non-fiction too.

I’d love to hear about your favourite book.

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Macadamia Energy Bites plus giveaway

Disclosure.  This post is a review of products I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

I do enjoy cooking, so I was very pleased to receive the following selection of products from Buy Whole Foods Online free to review.

Organic Carob Powder 500g
Ceylon Cinnamon Powder (True) 250g
Organic Amla Powder 125g
Raw Wild Flower Bulgarian Honey 900g
Macadamia Nut Halves, Raw 250g

I had already formulated a tentative recipe idea in my head when I chose this selection which was to make some healthy raw energy snacks.

I do like this brand and have previously blogged some TVP meal recipes and my healthy yummy chocolate puds, made using their products. However this was back near the start of this year, so I was keen to see whether they would have taken on board my packaging suggestions, as I hadn’t had any feedback.

I was also pleased to see that everything was long-dated, with best before dates of October 2020 and beyond. Even the nuts, which was quite a pleasant surprise to me.

Buy Whole Foods Online products

Now let me tell you a little about these products, especially if like me, you get confused between cocoa, cacao and carob. Carob powder is produced by grinding the dried carob pods into a powder. I have now discovered that unlike cacao and cocoa, carob is naturally caffeine-free and much lower in fat than other forms of chocolate, plus it has a naturally sweet flavour. And 2 tablespoons contains almost 20% of your fibre RDA. It is also a form of calcium, which is great news for the bones as well as the taste buds!

Amla powder is something I hadn’t heard of previously. I have now discovered that it is made from drying Indian gooseberries and grinding them down to make a powder. It is rich in vitamins and minerals and has had Ayurvedic uses for centuries.

Raw honey, unlike your average honey, is unfiltered and unpasteurised, so it retains all the precious nutrients which are normally lost through heating and filtering. Plus raw honey is a natural sweetener free from additives that other conventional honeys may have. And raw honey contains a considerable amount of bee pollen, which is a complete source of protein.

Cinnamon is a spice which I often add to the likes of cookies and buns, but it also works well in savoury dishes too. However I didn’t realise there are variations in the grade of cinnamon. Apparently this Ceylon cinnamon is the purest form of cinnamon you can buy. Packed with nutrition, there are a number of health benefits associated with consuming Ceylon cinnamon on a daily basis including anti-inflammatory properties and easing digestion issues.

Macadamia nuts are something that I buy on an adhoc basis for snacks. Ideal as they are high in protein, fibre and healthy fats. But I’ve also now discovered that they are great for creating your own macadamia nut butter. That is something I’ve never tried yet.

So let me share my Macadamia Energy Bites recipe with you.

Macadamia Energy Bites

Macadamia Energy Bites

Ingredients (makes 10 – 12)

125g macadamia nuts
2 tbsp carob powder
2 tbsp honey
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp amla powder

Method

Grind the nuts in a blender.
Tip ground nuts into a mixing bowl.
Mix in the carob, cinnamon and amla powder.
Mix in the honey.
Break off walnut-size amounts of mixture and roll into small balls.
Serve and enjoy.
These may be stored for upto a week in the fridge.

Macadamia Energy Bites

These were absolutely delicious and didn’t last long. I used half the macadamia nuts in the recipe, so there is only enough left to make one more batch. After that, I need to come up with some more recipe ideas for the other products, particularly the cinnamon, which is a huge packet. I’ve got about a year to use 250g, when a small spice jar usually lasts me about that length of time. I’ll have to see if the boys like cinnamon toast. I used to eat that quite regularly, but haven’t had it in years. So please hit me with your recipe suggestions.

The honey is one standard size extra large jar, but all the dry products come in a wide range of sizes from 50g to the bulk 25kg.

Unfortunately no change in the packaging as yet. Apart from the honey, the products are all in plastic, even if it is labelled as BPA free plastic. I’m still hoping Buy Whole Foods Online will review their product packaging and switch to a paper-based solution. Or the fact that some of them can be purchased in sizes upto 25kg, maybe they could start selling those via bulk stores, so we could take our own containers to fill.

I do recommend that you take a look at the Buy Whole Foods Online store. There is a huge amount to choose from.

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway the same selection of products as I received from Buy Whole Foods Online to one lucky winner. You’ll certainly be able to make some tasty treats with these.

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a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

And you may see my other giveaways here.

I’d love to hear your recipe suggestions using any of these products.

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Guest post: 9 Best Eco-Friendly Books for Children

There are not that many books for children, which would regard the topic of environmental threats and can help with bringing up an ecological conscience within them. However, there are still some and this article is going to tell about these eco-friendly books.

Trash Revolution. Breaking the Waste Cycle written by Erica Fyvie

Have you ever wondered what happens to the trash that we throw away daily? Where does the garbage truck go and what happens to the chocolate wrapper after you throw it in the bin? More often than not, we simply throw away unnecessary things, thereby polluting the surrounding nature more and more.

Trash Revolution. Breaking the Waste Cycle written by Erica Fyvie

How We`re F***ing Up Our Planet written by Tony Juniper

What impact do we have on the planet and what challenges will we face shortly? How to use the latest technology to save the planet from disasters? How to provide the planet’s population with water? How to increase literacy in third world countries? How to meet the increasing demand for food? What to do with uncontrollably sprawling cities? Where to get energy without damaging the earth?

Our Planet by Tony Juniper

Storia dell` Immondizia [original title] written by Mirco Maselli

Begin your journey through time on the history of garbage! From the Athenian landfill and the Roman Big Cloak, through the stench and plague infection of the Middle Ages, to the smog of the first industrial revolution and mountains of plastic waste in our time. Find out how humanity took care of the planet since the time of the mammoths, what was done with garbage before and why it is important to recycle today’s waste right.

Storia dell` Immondizia by Mirco Maselli

Captain Crankie and Seadog Steve written by Vivian French

Captain Cranky and his dog Steve love to live clean. And their neighbors throw garbage right on the street! Then the captain came up with an excellent plan to collect all the garbage and take it out to sea. But Cranky and Steve did not think about marine life. Another plan urgently needed! Finally, a great idea comes to the sea dog, Steve.

Captain Crankie and Seadog Steve written by Vivian French

Tidy written by Emily Gravett

The funny, witty and kind story of Bobby Badger who is a lover of cleanliness and order will appeal to both children and adults! The author of the book is Emily Gravett, a talented British artist who not only paints great but also writes great stories.

Tidy written by Emily Gravett

Norton and Alpha written by Kristyna Litten

One day, Norton the robot collector found something amazing. He had never seen anything like it before. What is it?

Norton and Alpha written by Kristyna Litten

Eco-books series written by Katrin Wiehle

Eco-books are the first dictionaries in pictures of natural shades, which are printed on the eco-cardboard with care for nature. Eco-books introduce kids to biotopes and their inhabitants, instill a taste for natural materials. Thanks to the use of an eco-cardboard, 11 trees on this planet were not cut down.

Eco-books series written by Katrin Wiehle

The Blue Whale written by Jenni Desmond

The Blue Whale picture book was created for those who do not like the encyclopedia with their dry set of numbers and facts. It is filled with scientific knowledge, which is presented in the form of a fascinating cognitive bedtime story. Atmospheric illustrations immerse the child in the world of marine giants, and clue details allow him to make a lot of interesting discoveries.

The Blue Whale written by Jenni Desmond

Sofis trade expedition written by Stefan Casta

Do you know what tree the paper on which this book is printed is made of? And what trees make musical instruments and warships, toothpicks and charcoal for drawing, ice cream sticks, and skis?

Sofis trade expedition written by Stefan Casta

About the author

Melisa Marzett is an eco-friendly person and loves children very much. She is much of a reader, do crafts, an animal rights activist, a traveler and a citizen of the world who is currently working as a freelance writer writing articles for http://resumeperk.com. As a Gemini, she may be a lot of things.

Guest post by Melisa Marzett

Taming My Christmas Rogue by Tammy Andresen

Disclosure.  This post is a review of e-books that I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

I have received a free e-copy of the book Taming My Christmas Rogue by Tammy Andresen to review. And I have also received a free e-copy of the book A Lady’s Christmas Rake which is a collection of 6 romantic seasonal stories by various authors including Taming My Christmas Rogue.

Taming My Christmas Rogue by Tammy Andresen

Here is the book blurb for Taming My Christmas Rogue.

A roguish lord and an innocent lady…

Lord Andrew Maddox is a rogue of the first order…he’s the last man Dani should want. Yet her eyes are drawn to Drew every time he enters the same room as her, which is often since her family and his are spending Christmastide together. Dani just has to avoid him for a week and then she can go back to her orderly life and her almost husband hunt. Being shy does make it difficult to search. Except for her rakish rogue has other ideas.

Miss Danielle Frazier is far too virtuous for his tastes… so why can’t he stop thinking about her? He must take drastic measures. His plan? Steal one kiss. He likes a woman with a certain amount of knowledge and Dani clearly has none. One botched kiss and he’ll be over this ridiculous infatuation. Except for from the moment their lips touch, nothing goes the way it’s supposed to and kisses under the mistletoe rarely end romantic fantasy. Now Drew has a new problem entirely… for the first time in his life, he might be falling in love.

I already knew when I agreed to review this book, that it was book 11 of the “Taming a Duke’s Heart” series of which I’ve previously read and enjoyed several other titles, books 5, 8 & 10, but when I looked on Amazon, I also discovered that it is book 2 in the Miracle Express series. These are romantic Christmas titles, each written by a different author. This is not the first time that Tammy has been included in a series with other authors. This was also the case with the Wicked Earls Club series.

Lord Andrew Maddox, Drew has been infatuated with Miss Danielle Frazier since the day he first met her the previous spring. He could hardly take his eyes off her, whilst she always looked away and frowned, although she was so kind to everyone else. But now he is going to have see her again for over a week at Christmastide.

Meanwhile Danielle prefers to sit quietly in a corner. She would rather men like Drew didn’t pay attention to her. Those gazes make her feel very uncomfortable. And other eligible bachelors have been invited too. There are Lord Christian Marks and Mr George Keene, both looking for a wife, something Drew certainly isn’t after.

So Drew comes up with a plan of a kiss under the mistletoe. That will surely cure him of this lust, so he can get back to his usual roguish behaviour won’t it?

Taming My Christmas Rogue is available on Amazon, currently priced at £2.34 in Kindle format. A nice Christmas romance from Tammy.

Here are the links to the other titles I’ve read in the Taming A Duke’s Heart series.
book 5 – Taming a Savage Gentleman
book 8 – Taming a Defiant Duke
book 10 – Taming an Unrepentant Earl


I haven’t had time to read any of the other stories in A Lady’s Christmas Rake yet, but I wanted to share the details with you now, in order to give you the opportunity to check it out yourselves before Christmas.

A Lady's Christmas Rake

Here is the book blurb for A Lady’s Christmas Rake.

From USA Today and Bestselling authors comes a hotter than hot historical romance anthology guaranteed to keep you warm and jolly this holiday season.

Taming my Christmas Rogue by Tammy Andresen
Miss Danielle Frazier is far too virtuous for his tastes… so why can’t he stop thinking about her? He must take drastic measures. His plan? Steal one kiss. Except for from the moment their lips touch, nothing goes the way it’s supposed to and kisses under the mistletoe rarely end romantic fantasy. Now Drew has a new problem entirely… for the first time in his life, he might be falling in love.

His Lady Smuggler – by Tamara Gill
May Stanford, lady smuggler is forced to go up against the Earl of Grandison, her father’s guest for Christmas and a man who’s determined to see her and her merry bandits brought to justice.

Christmas Seduction by Samantha Holt
In a time when arranged marriages had little to do with love, Alexander
never expected a love match. Neither did Emma–but she had hoped for more
than being abandoned instantly! However, Alexander is back and if there is
ever a time for romance and second chances, it’s Christmas.

Winter Wishes by Scarlett Scott
A duke in need of a bride meets his match in a lady who has no intention of becoming his duchess. Will their hearts find love before Christmas?

Devil at the Gates by Lauren Smith
A duke with a dark past rescues a the daughter of a fencing master. What begins as a battle of wills becomes a battle of heart as Christmas works its magic.

An Unwelcome Proposal by Bree Wolf

A chance encounter. An unexpected proposal. And an undeniable love.
All his life, WESLEY EVERETT has watched other men fall in love. Now, when he finally does find a woman who brings a flutter to his heart, she could not be less interested. Will Wesley take ‘no’ for an answer? Or will he be able to convince Christine that marriage is far from boring?

A Lady’s Christmas Rake is newly published today on Amazon, currently priced at £3.24 in Kindle format. I notice that it also includes a title by Scarlett Scott. I’ve previously enjoyed reading Her Deceptive Duke by this author. The other four authors will be new to me.


About the author

USA Today Bestselling Author, Tammy Andresen lives with her husband and three children just outside of Boston, Massachusetts. She grew up on the Seacoast of Maine, where she spent countless days dreaming up stories in blueberry fields and among the scrub pines that line the coast. Her mother loved to spin a yarn and Tammy filled many hours listening to her mother retell the classics. It was inevitable that at the age of 18, she headed off to Simmons College, where she studied English literature and education. She never left Massachusetts but some of her heart still resides in Maine and her family visits often.

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