the time in between, by kristen ashley

The Time in Between is classic KA. It’s reminiscent of books like Motorcycle Man and Sweet Dreams where the reader forms a life-like bond with the characters. Ashley’s ability to form a strong emotional connection with the fictional worlds that she builds is like no other author. I could not put this book down. As the 3rd and final installment in the Magdalene series, it did not disappoint.

Spanning the course of roughly 2 decades, The Time in Between chronicles the story of Coert and Cady. Young, misunderstood, and unappreciated by her family, Cady falls in with a tough crowd. And while they are by no means on the up and up, they embrace Cady and look out for her.

When Coert enters the picture, then known as Tony, he starts to run with the same crew. And while they too embrace him, it’s for a very different reason. Whereas Cady is looking for a replacement family, Coert/Tony is looking to rise up within the criminal enterprise that’s being built. What they find in each other is love and acceptance.

But the consequences of both Coert/Tony and Cady’s actions ultimately tear them apart–for 18 years. Told in alternating present day and year’s past voices, Ashley explores what happens when young love turns deadly and if it can truly stand the test of time after years of being apart.

Whether this is your 1st or 31st KA book, it will only leave you wanting more. Though this series is complete–and this book can be read as a stand alone–there’s plenty of KA goodness out there. Heart-wrenching throughout, I have nothing but good things to say about The Time in Between.

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.