Category Archives: Reviews

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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MamaMummyMum

 

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.

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MamaMummyMum

 

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.

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 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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MamaMummyMum

 

An eco Christmas Gift Guide ad

Disclosure.  This post mentions products I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.
This post is classed as an advert because I have been requested to include a specific URL

It is getting to that time of year to start thinking about Christmas presents, so I would like to share some of my gift guide ideas. Regular readers will know that I’ve tried to adopt a much more sustainable philosophy this year, so I’ve been keeping an eye out whenever I’ve been in the charity shops. I’ve got quite a few toys, games and books as stocking fillers for the boys. Some of them even look brand new. Of course I still plan to get them at least one thing that they each specifically request.

Sous Chef salt plate

However you can also get some nice new sustainable gifts and when I was browsing the cookware section of the Sous Chef website, I discovered some great finds, which they kindly sent me for free. First up is this fab Himalayan salt plate. It comes in two sizes and this is the smaller 21cm x 10 cm. Salt is naturally antibacterial, so there is no need to use soap to clean the plate. Just wipe with a damp cloth, and dry well before storing. You can heat the plate in the oven or chill it in the freezer, and it will season the food you are serving on it. Just imagine frying scallops on it or using it to serve your caramel ice cream. What a wow factor at the table!

Sous Chef grow your own sunflowers and kale

And for the gardener in your life, there is a great range of grow your own products. I chose these grow in the bag Towering Sunflowers and Gigantically Good Dinosaur Kale (cavolo nero). The instructions on the reverse indicate that you start the seeds off in the natural biodegradable jute bag, then transplant the whole thing outside to mature. See I’m also thinking about the bees with the sunflowers, as I had been contemplating making my own bee bombs.

Sous Chef grow your own sunflowers and kale

I’m planning to make some homemade foodie gifts for the extended family, so the final two items I chose from the cookware range are early Xmas gifts to myself to assist in that process. There is a large Cook’s Muslin Square 93cm x 100cm that I’m hoping to use to strain jellies and steam Christmas puddings. Two things I’ve never tried previously, but I can remember as a child watching my mum tie her jelly bag onto a kitchen drawer handle overnight when making crab apple jelly. You never know, I might even try making my own cheese with it. Muslin is a natural fabric which can be washed and reused time after time.

Sous Chef Cooks Muslin

And after any cooking, there is the cleaning afterwards, which is where this copper washing up sponge will come in very handy. It is made by Andrée Jardin, a traditional French family business where everything is produced in small batches, using artisanal techniques. The company’s motto is Simplicity, Quality, Sustainability.

Sous Chef copper sponge

Do take a look at the Sous Chef site here https://www.souschef.co.uk/collections/cookware. There are so many more fabulous items. I’ve got my eye on the dehydrator. It would be great to make my homemade fruit snacks and vegetable crisps, avoiding all the plastic packaging that they tend to be sold in. The trays are stainless steel, so no need to worry about toxins from plastic either.

My other big sustainable gift suggestion is to give someone a memory. I’m thinking of paying the entry fee for a swimming race for my partner, but it could be buying a membership of say Woodland Trust or adopting an endangered animal via WWF or tickets to an event. The list is endless.

I’d love to hear what you would like to give or receive for Christmas. I’m especially looking forward to hearing about sustainable ideas.

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Too Wicked to Woo 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 Woo by Tammy Andresen to review.

Too Wicked to Woo by Tammy Andresen

Here is the book blurb.

He’s dark and dangerous and so delicious, how can she resist…

Miss Penny Clearwater considers herself a sensible woman. After all, she’s navigated her mother’s death, her father’s financial ruin, and her own fall from society with all the grace she could muster. So when her friend, Lady Chloe Dryden suggests they make a chronicle teaching young ladies of London all about the elusive rake, Penny refuses. It’s a silly idea that could end in absolute disaster. Except, she’s almost nothing left to lose. And when the perfect rake crosses her path, why not do a little research on Lord Preston? So he’s handsome and dashing… she’s only interested in the book, of course. Isn’t she?

Lord Wesley Preston hasn’t had much by the way of successes since he left the military. A failing earldom, a bad accountant, and a drinking habit have left him in tatters. He desperately needs a break. And when Miss Clearwater stumbles into his life, he discovers that she had just inherited a large piece of land perfect for farming, if only she had someone to help her do the work. Wes makes her a proposition he hopes she can’t refuse. Accept his proposal of marriage, become a countess, and make both their lives better.

The problem? Penny takes one look at him and declares him the worst sort of rake. She’s right of course. But how far will he go to prove to her that he can change?

Although this is book 1 in the Chronicles of a Bluestocking series, Penny is a friend of Chloe, heroine of The Earl of Dryden which I read recently. And I have to say that, it felt like a continuation, as its starts with Chloe trying to convince her friends that they should make a chronicle about rakes. However it is perfect as a stand-alone read too.

Miss Penny Clearwater has been ruined by her father gambling away all their money. Meanwhile Wes, the Earl of Preston, too has fallen on hard times, also due to gambling the remainder of his cash away after a series of investment and farming misfortunes. As a last resort he calls on his old friend The Earl of Dryden for help. By chance, this is at the same time as Penny is visiting Chloe, Lady Dryden.

Lord Dryden has some good news for Penny. When Penny’s mother died, she left Penny’s childhood home directly to Penny, so it has escaped her father’s debts. But it will need a lot of work as it has now been uninhabited for many years. Lord Preston overhears and offers to fix the house and land, suggesting they marry and split the proceeds.

What should Penny do? Lord Preston is clearly a rogue, like her father, isn’t he?

Too Wicked to Woo is available on Amazon, currently priced at £3.26 in Kindle format. As usual, another nice light romantic story from Tammy.


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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