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review 2019-01-12 21:11
Comfort Food - Sierra Riley

I can't help unless you let me."


"I might be alone, but at least I'm safe."

Martin Painter has been a recluse since his parents died when he was seventeen. Sure, he has money and a sprawling house in an upscale neighborhood, but material things can't patch the holes in his heart. When his sister drags him to a charity auction, the last thing he expects to win is a date with a handsome stranger. He can feel the attraction starting, but it's pointless, isn't it? He's better off alone. He's too awkward for a platonic "date," let alone real love.

"Do you ever wonder if you made a wrong turn somewhere?"

Charity owner Travis Cole loves his work even if he misses the world of haute cuisine. But his charity is hemorrhaging money. He throws an auction to scrape together extra funds, and up on the auction block? Cooking lessons and a dinner with himself. He never thought the winner would be a man. And stranger still, he never expected to care so much about the soft-spoken, sad-eyed loner who won him.

"We've both got too much to lose, don't we?"

Martin isn't sure he's capable of love anymore. Travis isn't sure he's capable of loving a man. But they can't deny it: there's something between them as powerful as gravity, even if it's just a desire to help one another let go of the past. While Travis teaches Martin how to cook, can they teach each other to be happy?

 

Review

 

Watching Travis and Martin fall in love is a pleasure. I love the food charity elements of this book and the slow hope that fills both heroes as they find a partner to share their lives.

There is a bit of a mystery that gets solved here. I would have liked more information on the motivation of villain but this element of the story caused a closeness and care between Travis and Martin which was lovely.

A good read.

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review 2018-12-25 21:11
Italian Restaurant in South bank
We bring you a flavorful variety of recipes. Get Chicken Nuggets, Chips, onion rings, dipping sauce, chicken salad and more. All are priced reasonably. Take delight in yummy food from our licensed online kitchen. We maintain proper hygiene. We deliver appetizing food straight to your home just with a few clicks.
Source: www.rozaskitchen.com.au
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review 2018-12-10 00:16
24 Festive Tasks: Door 7 - Mawlid, Book
Candy Cane Murder - Leslie Meier,Laura Levine,Joanne Fluke,Suzanne Toren

Well, let's just say that none of these three ladies is anywhere near Donna Andrews's league when it comes to cozy mysteries, plotting, character creation, dialogue, and a writer's craft in general.  And if I thought Joanna Fluke's entry was disappointing (mediocre plotting and dialogue, character responses that felt forced / didn't make sense, and one of my no-go TSTL behavior tropes as the "big reveal" cue (though I have to hand it to Fluke, the setting and overall scene of the final confrontation with the murderer was inspired)), I'm sorry to have to say that Leslie Meier's contribution did even less for me -- you could scratch off the Hallmark sugar coating with a shovel, virtually NONE of the characters' actions and responses bore even the slightest semblance of realism,  and she managed to make 1980s rural Maine come across as more backward than it probably was even in the 1940s and 1950s (while also looking more dripping-with-saccharine-style-homely than any Norman Rockwell picture -- and for the record, I like Norman Rockwell.  Or at least I like his Christmas pictures.)

 

Laura Levine's entry fared a bit better (I'd call it the book's highlight if such a term were appropriate for a muted glow in the midst of two seriously dulled lights); at least she took me right back to L.A. inside my head and the plotting was halfway decent.  But her story seriously suffered from an overabundance of quirky characters, not-very-subtle hints at the MC's padded waistline and her resolutions to do something about it (in which she predictably fails on every single occasion -- and yes, I know this actually is an L.A. thing; been there and would have bought the T-shirt, too, if I'd found it funny then, but the last thing I want is to have this sort of fad jammed up my nose with a sledgehammer in a book) -- and an equal overabundance of wannabe hipster slang and coloquialisms ... everything from repeated exclamations like "ugh!", "oh golly!" and "drat!" to "bet my bottom cupcake" (and yes, even there she goes again with the calorie stuff).  Oh, and the MC's conversations with her cat and said cat's female-Garfield act got old pretty soon as well.

 

Oh well.  If nothing else, this has made me appreciate the consistently high quality of Donna Andrews's writing even more -- I'll happily be returning to her for my cozy contemporary Christmas mysteries (I just hope she'll reliably continue to produce them for the foreseeable future).

 

I may try some of the recipes included in this book eventually, though.

 

Since the audiobook I listened to has a green cover, I'll be using this as my book for the Mawlid square.

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review 2018-11-24 16:37
Delicious in Dungeon (manga, vol. 3) by Ryoko Kui, translated by Taylor Engel
Delicious in Dungeon, Vol. 3 - Ryoko Kui,Taylor Engel

This one took me a bit to get my bearings on since I hadn't realized that these guys would appear again and therefore hadn't really mentioned them in my past posts. I believe this volume starts with the same party that the series regulars came across back when they found the treasure insects. They're revived and continue on, only to be killed yet again by fish-men. The series regulars see them, are attacked by a kraken, and make a meal out of kraken parasite meat - kraken, as it turns out, isn't tasty like real squid. They also make a porridge using grain and waterweed collected from fish-men. Then Marcille

uses up all her mana battling an angry Undine. The party comes across an old party member, a female dwarf named Namari. With her help, they eventually defeat and eat the Undine, which restores Marcille's mana. After that, the party wears Giant Frog skins to survive a tentacle choked area.

(spoiler show)


This is still a creative and fascinating series, even if Laios' and Senshi's insistence on figuring out how to eat literally everything they come across in the dungeon is a bit ick. The kraken parasite meal made my skin crawl. (And Laios deserved what he got for eating one of those things raw.)

In this volume, readers learn that Marcille and Falin met in school - Falin was skipping class to read in a real dungeon, which she'd observed enough to learn a lot about (back to the whole "dungeon ecosystem" thing). Marcille, meanwhile, wanted to learn how to create a safe dungeon, a place with all the benefits of a real dungeon (access to goods that can only be grown or found in a dungeon) but without the danger.

As usual, the story got a bit ridiculous, but in ways that made sense. I laughed at the

"okay then, I'll just drink the Undine to fix my problems" part (only these characters would propose drinking or eating the thing that nearly killed them in order to continue on). And the frog suit was silly and gross, but otherwise a believable solution to their paralytic tentacle problem.

 

(spoiler show)

 

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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review 2018-11-10 23:39
As the Christmas Cookie Crumbles
As the Christmas Cookie Crumbles (A Food Lovers' Village Mystery) - Leslie Budewitz

Erin Murphy's wedding is getting closer and so is Christmas. While the town decorated the storefronts in Jewel Bay, MT, she and her fiance, Andy, discover they have the wrong lights for their building. She takes them to the correct store to come upon her former kindergarten teacher screaming at her oldest daughter. Erin brings Merrily back to the Merc with her and they become friends. But she is found dead the Monday after the fight on her parent's property and is being accused of stealing from the company that had hired her, a former boyfriend. 

 

Erin receives a phone call from the owner of the hardware store, where Merrily had been employed, he asks for her help, but then starts pushing her away. This doesn't stop her and the new deputy from Florida doesn't seem to be interested to hear what she knows and she is more determined to find out who had murdered Merrily. 

 

This was a really good story for me. It is holiday themed, Christmas, and took care of another state that I hadn't finished on the reading challenge I am working on (all 50 states). I listened to this story more than reading it, getting an ebook version was difficult and I was driving a lot Thursday and Friday. 

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