Author Archives: mumjd

Dark Inheritance by P B Lawson – book review and giveaway

I have received a free e-copy of the book Dark Inheritance by P B Lawson to review. You may find out more about the author on his website.

Dark Inheritance by P B Lawson

Here is the book blurb.

A serial killer is on the loose and a prominent doctor discovers she is not the person she grew up believing herself to be. These seemingly unrelated characters find themselves drawn together by an ancient lineage.

Detective Doug McKenna is baffled by a series of bizarre killings that have shocked the city of Toronto. All the victims have had their throats brutally slashed, yet there is little blood at any of the crime scenes.

Dark Inheritance questions the concept of good and evil and looks at how an ancient predisposition for evil might be genetically passed from generation to generation.

This story, mainly set in Toronto starts with a few short chapters introducing the mysterious killer and detective Doug McKenna. The killer has murdered a prostitute on a path between 2 houses in a residential area. We are then introduced to journalist Jodie Sommers, who is after a scoop, and the residents, who are now suspects.

We then seem to go off at a tangent, as we meet Doctor Stephanie Salkind who has just discovered via paperwork in an old suitcase that she is adopted. From this point onwards, I realised there were several stories entwining with more main characters yet to be introduced. Plus it includes narrative from the fourteenth century, which blends in surprisingly well.

Lots more twists and turns to come in this tale including further deaths.

Dark Inheritance is available on Amazon, currently priced at £7.93 in paperback and is also available in Kindle format. A gripping thrilling plot.

Plus I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway a paperback copy of this book to 1 lucky winner.
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a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter

And you may see my other giveaways here.

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

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Her Deceptive Duke by Scarlett Scott

I have received a free e-copy of the book Her Deceptive Duke by Scarlett Scott to review. You may find out more about the author on her website.

Her Deceptive Duke by Scarlett Scott

Here is the book blurb.

Georgiana, Duchess of Leeds, hasn’t seen her husband since he left her on their wedding day for an extended hunting expedition and never returned. But she isn’t the sort to wait around pining for an arrogant oaf who can’t bother to recall he has a wife, no matter how sinfully handsome he may be.

She finds all the fulfillment she requires in caring for the stray cats and dogs of London’s streets. Until, that is, the duke returns, and she uncovers the truth about where he’s been…

Kit, Duke of Leeds, never wanted to be duke. He was content with his life as one of Her Majesty’s most dedicated spies until his brother’s unexpected demise left him forced to marry an American heiress to save the family estate from ruin. The day he married her, he left for a secret assignment in America, with no intention of returning.

Seriously wounded and his cover ruined, Kit’s forced back to London where he finds a townhouse brimming with creatures and a wife who can’t bear the sight of him.

With husband and wife beneath the same roof at last, their marriage of convenience sparks into a passion that’s as undeniable as it is unexpected. But is desire enough to bring two wary hearts together? And once Kit’s wounds are healed, will Georgiana’s love be enough to make him stay?

Her Deceptive Duke is the fourth book in the Wicked Husbands series and can be enjoyed as a stand-alone novel or read as part of the series.

If you love steamy Regency and Victorian romance and second chance love stories, don’t miss the Wicked Husbands.

Fiercely independent, dazzlingly beautiful, and married to handsome scoundrels, these American heiresses are ready to turn the tables on the insufferable English lords they’ve wed.

What happens when their wicked husbands start falling for the wives they never thought they wanted?

Corsets come off, bed chambers ignite, the passion sizzles,and more than one stubborn English rake gets reformed by love.

This is the fourth book in the Wicked Husbands series. I haven’t read any of the previous titles, but I did find that this worked well as a stand-alone read. It is set in 1880/81.

It starts with a prologue where American heiress Georgiana and impoverished Kit, Duke of Leeds have just married. But it is a marriage of convenience. Kit needs her dowry and Georgiana’s father wants into the aristocracy. Kit is leaving the country straight after the ceremony, supposedly on a hunting expedition. Georgiana can’t persuade him otherwise, so she tells him not to bother returning.

But 6 months later Kit is back in London, severely injured from a gunshot wound, double-crossed, his cover as a spy ruined, and the new butler Ludlow tries to deny him entrance. The house is now full of animals as Georgiana is caring for all the stray cats and dogs she finds, even mice and a squirrel too. He collapses unconscious into Georgiana’s arms. The doctor’s treatment does not seem to be helping, so Georgiana summons the vet instead. She wants him better before she plans to demand a divorce.

Meanwhile Ludlow does not seem like a typical butler. And then the Duke of Carlisle turns up demanding an audience with Kit, even though he is still on his sick bed. What is going on? As Kit convalesces, a spark of attraction is flaring between him and Georgiana, even though he alternates between being very rude to her, or formally addressing her as Duchess. Will he stay or go?

Warning there is very strong explicit language throughout this book, plus steamy sex scenes.

Her Deceptive Duke is available on Amazon, currently priced at £3.10 in Kindle format and is also available in paperback. The fourth book in the Wicked Husbands series. Plenty of danger and intrigue in this romantic story.


About the author

Amazon bestselling author Scarlett Scott writes steamy Victorian and Regency historical romances with strong, intelligent heroines and sexy alpha heroes. She lives in Pennsylvania with her Canadian husband, their adorable identical twins, and one TV-loving dog.

A self-professed literary junkie and nerd, she loves reading anything but especially romance novels, poetry, and Middle English verse. When she’s not reading, writing, wrangling toddlers, or camping, you can catch up with her on her website. Hearing from readers never fails to make her day.


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

My journey towards a Plastic Free future – part 4

Another update on my progress with waste reduction. This week I’ve been focussing on reducing  what goes into my food waste bin. So I’ve been saving the likes of orange and grapefruit peel and zest, potato peelings and the pulp from my juicer. Some of these are waiting in the freezer still, but so far i’ve enjoyed a nice refreshing cup of grapefruit tea and used orange pulp in my soup. And we’ve had potato peel crisps, apple pulp pancakes and a grapefruit cake. All including stuff that i would have previously just binned.

Zerowaste cooking

Here’s how to make the grapefruit tea and the potato crisps. I won’t be blogging the soup recipe, as most of my soups are just whatever is to hand in the fridge at the time. So this one besides orange pulp, also had some outer leaves from a cauliflower, a carrot, some savoy cabbage, leek, garlic, quinoa, stock and turmeric. But I will try and share the cake and pancake recipes at a later date.


grapefruit tea

Grapefruit Tea

Ingredients

Peel from 1 grapefruit
1 litre water
1 tsp agave nectar

Method

Tear the grapefruit peel into small pieces.
Place in a large saucepan with the water.
Bring to the boil.
Turn off the heat and cover saucepan with lid.
Steep for 1 hour.
Pour into a jug through a sieve.
Stir in the agave nectar to sweeten.
Reheat if desired.
Pour tea into mugs.
Serve and enjoy.

Grapefruit Tea

I did have quite a bad cough at the time I made this tea and found it quite soothing for that too.


potato crisps

Potato Crisps

Ingredients

Peel from potatoes
1 tbsp olive oil
pinch of salt

Method

Preheat fan oven to 200 degree centigrade.
Tip the potato peels onto a baking tray.
Drizzle oil over the potato peels.
Sprinkle the salt over the potato peels.
Turn the potato peels several times until they are well coated in the oil, making sure they are spread well out over the tray.
Cook in preheated oven for about 10 minutes, until crispy and starting to brown.
Serve and enjoy.

Potato Crisps

I’ve also been cooking more things from scratch, that I would previously have just bought at the supermarket, which I haven’t managed to find not in plastic. So I’ve baked crackers for the first time and made my own humous, as these are items that we eat a lot of in our household. Recipes to follow in due course.

houmous

#plasticfree crackers

And a few more wins on the packaging side. I’ve discovered Two Farmers crisps which come in compostable packets. I had to order 24 packets online, so they are taking up rather a lot of space in the cupboard, but I’ve since heard that my local zero waste store is going to start stocking them. Result, as I’ll be able to buy in smaller numbers, once we finish munching our way through this lot. The only other product I know in compostable packaging is Wallaroo fruit snacks, so I would love it if you could point me in the direction of any other brands who do this please.

Two Farmers crisps

Also you may have heard me complaining recently about the pointless plastic wrappers on cucumbers. I’ve now found a local greengrocer who stocks baby cucumbers with no plastic. Unfortunately they do work out significantly more expensive, but I had to bite the bullet, as cucumber is son2’s favourite vegetable. I plan to try my hand at growing my own later in the year. Wish me luck with that, as I’m not very green fingered. Overall, I’ve noticed that my grocery bill is definitely higher by me trying to avoid plastic. Luckily I can afford this, but it will be very hard for those on a tight budget.

baby cucumbers

And it is frustrating when things don’t go to plan like the other day when I ordered a cardboard box of wonky potatoes from the milkman. Apparently it was out of stock, so he substituted it with not one but two plastic bags of potatoes. And disappointingly it is not the first time that I’ve experienced a plastic issue as regards fruit and vegetables from the milkman. I ask myself should I buy all my vegetables at the greengrocer instead, but then would they be too heavy to carry, as I walk there. Trying to minimise use of car unnecessarily, so it is a difficult balance to choose between.

There are still quite a lot of products that I haven’t come up with a plastic free answer yet. A few of the key ones for us are cheese, creme fraiche and frozen peas. A friend told me that one of our local butchers stocked large blocks of cheese that you can get a piece cut off. So I duly went along, only to find the cheddar block had already been cut up and the pieces packaged into plastic.

So it is still a bit one step forward, two steps back, but overall I’m happy with the change. And I’d love to hear your eco friendly suggestions and tips please.

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Indian Paintbrush by John A Heldt

When you’re really enjoying a book series and eagerly awaiting the next title to be written, it is always a delight to discover that the new book is ready. One series that this applies to for me, is The Carson Chronicles by John Heldt. So I was very happy when John emailed me to say that the next story Indian Paintbrush had been published and would I like to review it. Of course I said yes please. To find out more about the author you may visit his website.

Indian Paintbrush by John A Heldt

Here is the book blurb.

Arizona, December 1943. After surviving perilous six-month journeys to 1889 and 1918, the Carsons, five siblings from the present day, seek a respite in their home state. While Adam and Greg settle down with their Progressive Era brides, Natalie and Caitlin start romances with wartime aviators and Cody befriends a Japanese family in an internment camp. The time travelers regroup, bury some ghosts, and continue their search for their missing parents. Then old problems return, new ones emerge, and a peaceful hiatus becomes a race for survival. In INDIAN PAINTBRUSH, the sequel to RIVER RISING and THE MEMORY TREE, several young adults find love and adventure as they navigate the home front during the height of World War II.

Indian Paintbrush is the third book in the series – The Carson Chronicles. You may see my reviews of the first two titles River Rising and The Memory Tree here and here. Both fantastic books so I had high expectations for this one too.

The story begins as the time-travelling Carson family step through a portal in Arizona in 1918 on the December solstice. These portals only open on the solstices and they had to get their timing correct to the minute to end up at the planned December 1943 in the same location destination. Get it wrong and they might emerge through a different portal like the one in Pennsylvania or even worse on a different date.

They are trying to reunite with their missing time-travelling parents, Tim and Caroline and then return safely back to modern day. Tim and Caroline left behind a travel itinerary which features December 1943 as the third destination. Can they get lucky this time, having failed to find them in 1889 and 1918 in the previous two books?

Equally Tim and Caroline know from clues that their family are on their trail but luck hasn’t been on their side previously. And things seem to get off to a shaky start this time when Tim and Caroline end up at September 1943 instead of December, on a different timeline. Oops. Can they travel again to March 1944 to get onto the correct timeline?

Meanwhile can their sons avoid being drafted into the army during WW2 and will there be repercussions from events back in 1889 and 1918? We meet up with characters who have aged 25 years since the last book whilst the Carsons are only a year older since the series began. Although they have gained two brides along the way. And in this book, their numbers are swelled by a new baby. Of course, there are more romantic relationships forged for those still single. How will those pan out?

Once again John has delivered a brilliant story in this series, which also works well as a stand-alone read. He continues to weave fact into the tales, having researched his subject matter excellently, even throwing a few celebrities into the mix. And the title is integral to the story too. For those of us like me from the UK who haven’t heard of an Indian Paintbrush, it is a flower native to America.

Indian Paintbrush is available on Amazon, currently priced at £3.85 in Kindle format. I loved this book and of course, it had some fantastic twists. A brilliant read which once again lived up to my high expectations of a John Heldt novel, And as always, I highly recommend this author. Once again I have to begin another long wait, this time for book 4 in this series.

And you may be interested to see my reviews of some of John Heldt’s other titles.
The Mine
Indiana Belle
Hannah’s Moon

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

Cheesy Courgette Chips

Do you struggle like me to find ways that your children will eat vegetables? As they both love my chicken nuggets and turkey dippers, I thought that I would try something similar with courgette, a vegetable that is on their black-list, to see what they thought. It is also a great way of using up leftover bread. I’ve always made my own breadcrumbs, but now I’ve started to save all the leftover bits of bread in a bag in the freezer for this purpose, in an effort to reduce food waste. We do end up with quite a few crusts, as son2 won’t eat them, always insisting they are cut off the edges of his sandwiches.

Cheesy Courgette Chips

Cheesy Courgette Chips

Ingredients (serves 4 as a side)

1 large courgette or 2 small courgettes
1 or 2 slices of stale bread
40g cheddar cheese
1 egg
25g plain flour
salt and pepper
30ml sunflower oil

Method

Chop courgette into batons.
Tear the bread into pieces and put in blender.
Whizz the bread into crumbs.
Tip the breadcrumbs into a flat dish.
Season with salt and pepper.
Grate the cheese.
Mix grated cheese into the breadcrumbs.
Crack the egg into another flat dish.
Beat egg with a fork.
Shake flour onto a chopping board.
Coat the courgette in flour.
Then dip in the egg, coating thoroughly.
Finally coat in the breadcrumbs.
Gently heat oil in a frying pan.
Cook the courgette for approx 4-5 minutes on each side, turning once.
Serve and enjoy.

Although I enjoyed these, unfortunately the boys didn’t, so back to the drawing board.

Cheesy Courgette Chips

I’d love to hear your ideas for ways to introduce vegetables to your kids. And do they enjoy them?

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Grief Day by Day by Jan Warner

I have received a free  paperback copy of the book Grief Day By Day: Simple Practices and Daily Guidance for Living with Loss by Jan Warner to review. You may find out more about the author on her blog.

Grief Day by Day by Jan Warner

Here is the book blurb.

Grief Day by Day offers supportive readings and exercises to help you move through life after loss, one day at a time.

Grief is complex. It is ever changing and may come to us differently on any given day. Grief Day by Day offers reflections and practices that address the day-to-day feelings that accompany the ever changing process of grief.

In Grief Day by Day, Jan Warner draws on her own extensive experience and the experiences of the 2 million followers on her Grief Speaks Out Facebook page to offer hope in its most practical form. This book does not look to offer a solution to grief. Rather, it provides supportive, useful guidance to help you create a life in which peace, and even gratitude, can coexist with your grief.

Inside the pages of Grief Day by Day you’ll find:

  • 365 Daily Reflections that include quotes, meditations, and other musings on grief
  • Weekly Themes that capture common feelings and experiences such as: Loneliness, Things Left Unsaid, Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms, Guilt, and Intimacy
  • 52 Healing Exercises that help you process your feelings at the end of each week and develop skills for coping with grief as it arises

There is no “right way” to grieve, and there is no right way to use this book. Whether you follow it page by page, or select that which seems most relevant to you at the moment, how you use this book is less important than why you are using it. You’re using this book because you have chosen to honor your experience, to make a home for your grief, and to find a new way of living on the bridge between loss and life.

Bereavement is something that sadly we all have to deal with at some stage. So when I was asked if I would like to review this book, only a few months after one of my relatives had died in tragic circumstances, I agreed to give it a read.

The book is set out in a chronological order from week 1 to week 52, but right at the start, it says there is not right or wrong way to use it. I chose to read it from start to end, but you may prefer to dip in and out, or skip parts entirely. It is up to the reader, as this book is designed to help you  with simple practices and daily guidance for living with loss. We are all affected differently and grieve in our own way.

It includes reflective quotations for each day along with a “Becoming a Grief Whisperer” healing exercise each week. The weeks are on themes. I only chose to do a few of the exercises, because as I say, it is up to each individual. I found it to be sensitively written in a supportive manner.

Grief Day by Day is available on Amazon, currently priced at £13.99 in paperback and is also available in Kindle and audiobook format. A helpful book for those grieving.


About the author – Jan Warner

When my husband died, I thought I would sadly miss him. Instead I was devastated. After the first chaotic year I began to rebuild my life by honoring him. I became available to grieving people the way he, as a recovering alcoholic, was available to alcoholics and addicts. I wrote a blog. Five years ago, I started a FB page, Grief Speaks Out. It is a loving, supportive international community of 2.4 million people. My book, Grief Day By Day: Simple Practices and Daily Guidance for Living With Loss has been called a soothing balm for a wound and an outstretched hand in friendship. I have a Master’s in Counseling Degree and have studied NLP, and hypnotherapy. In becoming fully alive with grief I have produced documentary films and an off-Broadway play. I’m a vagabond who has been to all seven continents. I love being a grandmother.

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

My journey towards a Plastic Free future – part 3

Here’s my latest update on how I’m doing with my waste reduction, although I do wish I could get my other half onboard too. We popped into a farm shop at the weekend, so I could buy some loose fruit and vegetables. However he added some purchases to the basket, every single one wrapped in plastic, including biscuits with more plastic than I have ever seen before. Sigh! At least the boys are semi-signed on.

I didn’t even manage to get a picture before they were half gone. So much for trying to ensure we eat less processed sugar. But that’s another story. And we didn’t even need more biscuits, as we given plenty at Christmas, which are still in the cupboard, the reason I haven’t baked any lately.

Borders Biscuits

So as mentioned last time, I’ve made a number of longer term purchases as well as focussing on food. First up is laundry. I was horrified when I read in my No More Plastic book about all the micro-plastic going down the drain and ultimately into the ocean each time we do a load of washing. I do plan to research about sustainable clothing, but for now, I’m popping our existing man-made fibre clothing into my new GuppyFriend washing bag. I have to say I was expecting it to trap the same amount of fibre as I remove from the filter in the tumble drier, but there only seems to be a tiny bit. However every little counts I guess. I did also purchase an Eco wash ball online, but when I saw that it was made from plastic, I decided to return it. Instead I’ve now bought a bag of soap nuts, that I found in my local zero waste store.

GuppyFriend laundry bag

Whilst there, I also filled a bottle of washing-up liquid at their refill station and purchased some Ecoleaf dishwasher tablets. And I now have a bamboo dish brush ready for when my existing plastic brush needs replacing. I do plan to do something about dish cloths and scourers too as mine contain micro-plastics, but I had previously bulk purchased these, so will look into that in due course.

The bathroom is another area that I have focussed on. I’m really loving my solid Friendly Soap shampoo bar. It’s definitely my favourite purchase. I’ve also bought a PureMess natural organic deodorant and an Eco Bath bamboo bath puff. One more thing I’ve bought which I’m not so convinced about is an ear bud. Again I probably jumped in too quickly ordering this from Amazon. The original plan was that this would replace single-use cotton buds, which I mostly only used for ear cleaning. However both the handle and the protective cover are plastic. And I wouldn’t say it is particularly effective, but I will persevere with it, unless I find a better solution.

And I’ve made quite a number of dental purchases since regular toothbrushes and toothpaste tubes are non-recyclable plastic. I’m trying Georganics toothpaste and mouthwash tablets, both of which come in glass jars, but I am concerned that neither contain fluoride which I always thought was important. So still looking for a plastic free alternative with fluoride. I’ve also bought bamboo toothbrushes, natural silk floss and a titanium toothpick to replace all the single-use plastic picks. I haven’t managed to find either a plastic free head for my electric toothbrush or an interdental brush yet, so if anyone knows where to get those, please let me know.

I thought that I was going to need to buy lots of produce bags, but I’ve actually only bought a few mesh ones. Instead I’ve repurposed some small cloth bags into produce bags. And I’m using a mini foldable lunch cool bag, to pop items like sausage rolls into to avoid the grease soaking into the cloth bags. Yes I know it is plastic but we already possess quite a few of these. What does anyone else do regarding greasy food purchases?

Eco friendly purchases

Going forwards, I’m going to try to see if I can find alternative sources of products before immediately buying from Amazon, as that resulted in unnecessary plastic packaging. The bottom left image just above is an example of products from Amazon.

I’ll give you an update on the grocery side of things next time. It’s all little steps at the moment, but I’m pleased that I’m heading in the right direction. And I’d love to hear your eco friendly suggestions and tips please.

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Braised Red Cabbage

Until a few months ago, I had never tried making this, but it really is a tempting dish for winter and such a vibrant splash of colour on the plate too. Previously I always used to buy it from Cook, but so pleased that I can make it myself now, as I’m aiming to buy less ready-made products. I’ve now made it several times, including as one of the side dishes for our Christmas dinner.

Braised Red Cabbage

Braised Red Cabbage (serves 4-6 as a side dish)

Ingredients

half a red cabbage
2 rashers of bacon
1 medium onion
1 eating apple
2 tbsp olive oil
75ml balsamic vinegar

Method

Chop the red cabbage into small chunks.
Cut the bacon into small pieces.
Peel and chop the onion into small pieces.
Gently heat olive oil in a large saucepan.
Add bacon and cook for about 2 minutes.
Add onion and cover saucepan with lid.
Cook for about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile peel and core the apple, then cut into small pieces.
Add red cabbage, apple and vinegar.
Cover saucepan with lid again.
Simmer gently for about an hour, stirring occasionally.
Serve hot as a side dish.

Braised Red Cabbage

This tastes delicious. Real comfort food for winter.

Also this can be made ahead of schedule if desired, and will keep for a few days in the fridge. It can then be reheated.

I’d love to hear about your favourite comfort foods?

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Wicked Laird by Tammy Andresen

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

Wicked Laird by Tammy Andresen

Here is the book blurb.

Laird Blair Sinclair doesn’t need help from any man. Though the second son in the Alban line, he is as strong as his brother Stone and even more determined to build a shipping empire with his own two hands. He doesn’t have time for anything or anyone else. But when he rescue’s a beautiful woman, he can’t deny that Elle needs him. Nor can he rid himself of the feeling that he wants to need her too.

Elspith McIntre learned the hard way to only rely on herself. Which is why it’s infuriating that she requires help from the arrogant new laird. It’s even more maddening that she can’t get rid of him. She wants no man and especially not a powerful one who could decide to crush her at any moment. She will not make that mistake again no matter how tempting the thought of leaning against his powerful chest.

After the death of their parents, six siblings unite around their eldest brother, Stone. They consider blood a binding oath and vow to protect one another. They all must face their own demons as they find love and their places in the world.

This is the second story in the Brethren of Stone series of which I have previously read the prequel, The Duke’s Scottish Lass and book one Scottish Devil. It is set in the Scottish highlands in the late 1700’s.

It begins with Blair Sinclair, the new laird and brother of the Earl of Alban spotting someone in difficulty in the sea. He rushes down to the beach and swims out to the boat, rescuing someone in the nick of time, just as the boat sinks. It turns out to be Elle Mcintyre, who had borrowed the boat from her neighbour to go fishing to catch something for dinner for her 12 year old brother Ailean and herself, as they had run out of money.

Elle wonders how she is going to pay back her neighbour for the loss of the boat and what will Blair want in recompense. She knows nothing comes free from her previous experience with nasty landlord Malcolm McKenzie. Even with her injured ankle, she tries to cook a meal in Blair’s cottage whilst he fetches Ailean and other boys to help drag the boat up at low tide.

How will things turn out, especially with Malcolm wreaking havoc everywhere?

Wicked Laird is available on Amazon, currently priced at £3.06 in Kindle format. As per usual, Tammy has lived up to expectation, with this nice short 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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Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

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My journey towards a Plastic Free future – part 2

Regular readers will have heard how this year I’m particularly trying to reduce waste, especially focussing on plastic. This has resulted in quite a few more online purchases than usual this month, so I am slightly concerned that I may be going about this the wrong way, as that doesn’t sound quite the right approach, in terms of the overall ethos. But hopefully these will all make a difference in the long run.

So let me tell you what actions I’ve taken. Previously I mentioned how disappointed I was with the lack of plastic-free options at the supermarket. Since then, I’ve visited both a local butcher and greengrocer and am much more impressed. The butcher only uses paper for packaging, although I’m not sure if it is a recyclable type of paper. Something I need to find out. And the greengrocer was mostly plastic free, although I still failed with my purchases of strawberries, grapes and cucumber. Why on earth does a cucumber need to be encased in plastic, when it has its own perfectly good skin?

greengrocer products

I’m also getting deliveries from my local milkman with mixed success. This is what it said on their website regarding plastic. Ignore the bit about 7am, as they didn’t live up to that expectation.

#plasticfree milk

A big thumbs up to milk, juice and smoothies all in returnable glass bottles. However I did see quite a number of products in plastic packaging listed which I have been trying to steer well clear of. I did make the mistake of ordering butter which looked to be in a paper wrapper, but it actually arrived in a paper wrapper encased inside a cling-film like outer wrapper. Not what I was hoping for. I also tried out their fruit and vegetable box which was mostly plastic free, except for the potatoes which were in a plastic net. Surely they could have been loose like most of the other contents. I did give them feedback on this and they have advised me that they are aiming to have all their fruit and vegetables plastic free by February. At least their grapes were in a paper bag. On the whole, I think I’ll mostly stick with visiting my local greengrocer, but I may test out some other box schemes. I have used Abel and Cole in the past occasionally. Looking forward to buying yoghurt in glass jar from them soon. I also tried some of their fresh bakery products, which are photographed loose on the website, but turned up in those bags which are half paper / half cellophane. Still need to check out my local baker in comparison, or just use my bread machine more frequently.

Milk delivery

And I did buy one item that I hadn’t expected to see on their listings – Cheeky Panda toilet rolls. Not sure about the wrapper on this, it looks plastic, but is labelled as oxo-biodegradable. I’ll have to look up what that means. Also although it is an eco brand, the bamboo used to make it, is grown in South East Asia, so I need to weigh up my carbon footprint versus reducing waste. Hopefully I can find an alternative produced in the UK. I’m sure most loo rolls were wrapped in paper packaging when I was a child, so hopefully brands will reimplement that.

Cheeky Panda toilet rolls

Not all my online purchases have arrived yet, but I instantly noticed the difference in packaging used by Ethical Superstore to that used by Amazon. So rather than using Amazon, as my go-to-store, I need to consider the alternatives first. I shall tell you more about my online purchases in the next instalment, once I’ve had time to try them all out. But they do include the GuppyFriend bag that I found out about in the No More Plastic book.

Another thing I’m trying to address is the amount of junk that comes through our letterbox, since we  don’t need it in the first place. So I’ve taken two actions. I’ve filled out an opt-out form on Royal Mail website, however my postman says he has to continue to deliver it until the form has been processed which could take unto a month, because he is being paid to deliver it. And I’ve also stuck a “No Junk Mail” sticker on our letterbox, to hopefully discourage other door-to-door deliverers.

No more junk mail

So some small improvements here. I hope to visit my nearest zero waste store soon. And I’d love to hear your eco friendly suggestions and tips please.

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