sting, by sandra brown

Sandra Brown was the first to autograph my edible bookmark poster my first year at RT Booklovers. I was a fan long before I met her and was in awe at how gracious and kind she was. I mean, it’s Sandra Brown–best selling author, forever. A master at romance and suspense combined, she weaves a tale with twists that keep you intrigued page after page.

In the case of Sting, I just knew there was something off about the protagonist. Shaw Kinnard, a hit man, hired to kill the sister of a genius money launderer and scammer, he seemed principled. What contract killer who accepts a job to off a woman feels remorse when he realizes that his flexicuffs are leaving scars on her wrists?

Jordan (Jordie) had spent her life ‘protecting’ her little brother from the choices he’d made. Out of a sense of misplaced guilt for a childhood accident, the consequences she suffered for her misguided love were grave, to say the least. When the mobster her brother has gotten into bed with decides that taking her out is the best way to gain revenge on her rat brother, she once again can’t completely turn her back on him–even if it may cost her, her life.

One of the things that I always grapple with in any book is character connection. I need to like someone in a book–anyone. And in this one, I struggled early on. There was little to like about the hitman, the kidnapped, and certainly not the weasel brother. The FBI agents on the case had promise, but it wasn’t enough out of the gate and so it took me longer to finish this book than usual.

However, Brown’s storytelling kept me intrigued enough to want to know what happened to everyone. And the slow underlying sizzle she built between Jordie and Shaw had me wondering if Stockholm Syndrome was surely to blame for the stolen kisses and pulsing heart rates.

I liked where the story landed and the unexpected paths it took to get there. The characters grew on me and the plot was solid. Unfortunately, it was a little slow in character development. It seemed you were plunged into a world with a bunch of people you had cursory knowledge of and no build up to make you care about them. They fell flat and it wasn’t until halfway through the book that you actually cared anything for any of them.

That short-coming aside, Sting was a well-written “somewhat romantic” suspense novel that keeps you wondering until the last page. You definitely don’t see the ending coming–at least I didn’t. It was worth pushing through the first half to get where it was going.

end of summer reads

I know, technically Labor Day has come and gone and kids are back in school. But, if you know me personally or follow me on social media then you already know that the edible bookmark (i.e. that’s me) is on vacation. It’s my family’s annual trip to Hawaii that always happens after everyone else is back to their routines and business as usual, though we’re here a little early this year. Never the less, I’m finally settling in and starting to relax. Would you believe the first 2 days I actually had to do work?!?! But enough of that nonsense–on to fun!

Because the plane ride is so long (roughly 10.5+ hours) I usually read  book on the flight over, one on the return, and several throughout the 2-week stay. However, I chose to sleep and watch movies on the way over–Fate of the Furious and John Wick, Chapter 2–what can I say, I like action movies. But I digress…

I’m currently 8 books behind in the Goodreads reading challenge–EIGHT BOOKS BEHIND. It’s freaking me out. So my reading schedule this vacation is quite aggressive. Will it all come together? I don’t know. But in an effort to catch up and make it happen this post will be short. Well, that and…I’m on vacation!

These are the books that will transport my mind now that my body is in paradise. Of course, I’ll keep you posted on how I do. Aloha!

My Hawaii TBR (to be read) Pile:

 

 

 

 

home office makeover: before and after

Like many before me, my home office was a disaster. It had become the dumping ground for things with no home–spare planner paper, books in disarray, a random travel pillow. However, it still needed to function as a home office for the days I work from home, be the place to make The Edible Bookmark happen, and a spare bedroom for guests.

I started with the mess on the desk. If I could unearth the contents below the piles and begin with a clean slate, I knew anything was possible. With the clutter gone and a pin-board that was once again useable, I was on my way.

Slowly, I moved corner to corner making a path and putting everything in order. Eventually, I could see clear across the room to the cute fuzzy stool I purchased from Home Goods earlier in the year.

Then, it was time to clean off the bed (ignore the wrinkled sheets) and make sense of the book-case so the final pieces of the rebuild could begin.

Until finally, the task at hand was complete. I now enjoy writing, working, blogging, and to be perfectly honest–just staring at the reclaimed space. It took an entire weekend, but it was worth it and a small sacrifice considering the countless hours I’ve already spent using the room. I hope this provides inspiration to those who think they can’t tackle ‘that room’ in their homes. Trust me–if I can do it, so can you!

zesty barbecue chicken sliders

We’re closing in on the end of summer, but luckily this chicken dish is good in any season. Made in the crock-pot and packed with flavor, I charmed my book club with these sliders and then froze the leftovers. Pair the sliders with cheese, eat the meat without the bun, the options are endless–and tasty to boot.

The original recipe is from Allrecipes and for a change, I followed this one to the letter. And served it with the crunch coleslaw. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 6 frozen skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1 (12 ounce) bottle barbecue sauce
  • 1/2 cup Italian salad dressing
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

Directions

  1. Place chicken in a slow cooker.
  2. In a bowl, mix the barbecue sauce, Italian salad dressing, brown sugar, and Worcestershire sauce. Pour over the chicken.
  3. Cover, and cook 3 to 4 hours on High or 6 to 8 hours on Low.

 

devil’s cut, by j. r. ward

Fans of the wildly successful Bourbon Kings have been waiting a year for the final installment in this captivating trilogy. The anticipation was quelled a little over two weeks ago when Devil’s Cut was released to well-deserved praise. Readers will easily be drawn back into the world of the rich, powerful, and incredibly dysfunctional. There were so many loose ends to tie up:

  • Edward was in jail for killing his father, William Baldwine
  • Sutton had been banished from Edward’s life and was stepping into the role of CEO of Bradford’s rival in the world of Kentucky bourbon
  • Chantal was pregnant with her recently murdered fathers-in-law baby
  • Lane had blackmailed his best friend into becoming CEO of Bradford Bourbon Company (BBC), while reconnecting with the love of his life Lizzie
  • Miss Aurora has succumbed to a coma as a result of her rapidly spreading cancer, complicated by her age and sickle-cell
  • Let’s not forget Gin’s marriage made in Hell to Richard Pford, in spite of her heart belonging to Samuel T., who we found out is Amelia’s father
  • And why has the black sheep of the family, Max, come home?

Rest assured, Ward delivered in bringing resolution to all outstanding cliffhangers–except for why that finger was buried in the yard? If anyone comes across the reason for that, please let me know. On the whole, this finale to the series was just as enthralling as the first 2 books and I for one am sad to see the series end. (Though rumor has it NBC has purchased the rights to make it a tv series. Fingers crossed on that one–pun intended.)

There are twists and turns a plenty in the book, with threads of humor, and Ward’s classic style of keeping you on the edge of every chapter by alternating story arcs throughout. In the end, the result is a cohesive tale that holds true to the essence of all of the characters we’ve come to love and hate, and some whose opinion may even swing from one side to the other.

I have to admit that I loved this series far more than I thought I would and found myself anxiously awaiting each book. A child of the 80’s, I was a huge fan of Dynasty, Knots Landing, and the original Dallas so this plot line was right up my alley. You see that money can’t buy peace of mind and certainly not morals. It also doesn’t shield anyone from hurt, feelings of inadequacy, mental or physical abuse. I guess the rich really are just like “us.”

It goes without saying to make sure to get your hands on this book as quickly as possible so your friends don’t start revealing spoilers. While a year can sometimes seem like forever when it comes to books, the wait was definitely worth it in this case.