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review 2017-05-23 03:38
Diabetic Desserts
20 Awesome Diabetic Desserts!!: Enjoy These Desserts Recipes Without Increasing Your Blood Sugar!!! - Levi So

My father and father-in-law have diabetes. My youngest and I love to bake. We collect cookbooks. Best cookbooks are free cookbooks. We can read them, mark recipes we want to try, handwrite them onto a recipe card and then make the recipe. 

 

I found several recipes that I want to try in this book. My dad once said that he misses having pies and cakes, but he is very good about following his diet. My father-in-law, not so much, so this can be good for making him a cake for his birthday. 

 

I marked several recipes that my daughter and I will try and experiment with and I look forward to that time. Baking/Cooking are science and math and bonding time. 

 

This is a good book for anyone who has someone they love with diabetes, it may just be good for anyone who just wants to cut the sugar out of their lives. 

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text 2017-03-09 13:48
The 3C’s Of Why A Sports Bar Works

 

If you didn’t already know what a sports bar in Bangkok is all about, the loud cheers and havoc on nights that air live telecasts of your favourite sports games should get you finding one nearest to you! If you’re looking for an American restaurant in Bangkok which also doubles as a sports bar, then this is where the action is at. Here’s three reasons why hanging out in a sports bar like Hooters Bangkok works.

 

1. The cost – Money is a big deal. And for sporting events from football to tennis, you’re looking at costs of a substantial amount just for free seating seats. For the same amount at a sports bar in Bangkok, you can feast like a king while watching a the flat screen. Enjoy the ribs and signature Hooters style wings with booze and you can still have enough to buy a round of drinks for the table. It may not be the best reason to go to Hooters Bangkok in comparison to the stadium, but it’s definitely the more practical reason. If you had the option to spend less money and have a better time hanging out, why wouldn’t you?

 

2. The convenience – Traffic in Bangkok in particular is a hassle, especially to major city areas. But heading to the worst bar location isn’t as bad as the best stadium on game night. It’s definitely a lot easier to head over to Hooters Bangkok and meet some friends than to coordinate a group outing to a game. Plus, it’s definitely going to be a hotspot area for Uber drivers so you probably don’t even need to drive!

 

3. The community – The lively banter and loud cheers are part of the fun of why people watch the games together. Fans of popular sports teams build a community together which lasts beyond that first cup of booze. Sports bars in Bangkok have created an avenue where you could drink a shot, socialise and make new friends faster than you can yell “Goal!”. The best part, you don’t even have to wait for a game to be on to head over to Hooters Bangkok.

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review 2016-10-07 00:00
Enjoy the Dance (Dancing Book 2)
Enjoy the Dance (Dancing Book 2) - Heidi Cullinan Review originally posted at Sinfully.

Enjoy the Dance is set in Minnesota in 2012, an election year and also the year DOMA was being fought and Minnesota was in the midst of a battle over the legalization of same sex marriage. These are not the only social issues that Heidi Cullinan dives into in the story; she also places an emphasis on immigration issues and the foster care system, especially as it relates to LGBTQ children and persons of color.

This story has a very different feel to it than Dance with Me. While that focused solely on the romance between Ed and Laurie, this story has more of a romantic fiction feel to it. The romance is subdued as bigger issues surround it. Kindergarten teacher Spenser and dance teacher/barista/custodian Tomás fall in love as they care for Duon, a teenage dance student who is kicked out of his grandmother’s house. For reasons of his own, Spenser agrees to take in Duon since, for his own completely different reasons, Tomás isn’t able to offer him that help. As the men get to know each other and fall in love, they face one hurdle after another in their personal and professional lives. The romance itself comes rather easily, it’s the outside issues that threaten to bring everything crashing down.

There were a couple of occasions where a conversation turned on a dime to take the tone of a lecture on the struggle for marriage equality and immigration and foster system reform, and it did take me out of the story. But other than those few times I thought the issues were integrated well into the story. Each character had a different angle they were approaching from so while they all were striving for the same outcome, they had a different take on things. Spenser as a child of the foster system who is still afraid to hope for a home and a family, Ed and Laurie as husbands whose marriage and rights are at stake and Tomás, an American citizen whose parents are undocumented, is trying to keep his family together while fearing deportation and losing his nieces and nephews to the foster care system. Even with all of this going on, the book doesn’t get too heavy and there is the author’s trademark happy for everyone ending.

There is a romance and Spenser and Tomás, when they actually find time to be with each other, are a sweet and sexy pair. Whether it’s Tomás trying to get Spenser to lighten up and dance or Spenser cooking for Tomás, it’s clear they both are looking for the same thing; someone to have a future with. Tomás gets dating advice from his mother who thinks he needs to court Spenser and is not above cockblocking her son with a plate of empanadas and homemade ice cream. When Tomás and Spenser do finally get together, it’s passionate with plenty of chemistry, a bit of the dirty talk Heidi Cullinan does so well and also some very tender loving.

While this is a follow-up to [b:Dance With Me|26153131|Dance With Me (Dancing, #1)|Heidi Cullinan|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1440366843s/26153131.jpg|16423496], and Duon, Ed, Laurie and some other secondary characters were introduced there, this can easily be read as a standalone (but I would urge you to read Dance With Me anyway as it’s a wonderful story). Other than those few bumps I mentioned, I was invested in all the characters and was really rooting for everything to work out.

Yes, there is a clear political bent to this story and some readers may not like that at all. I think if you go into this knowing that it is not a full on romance like the first, but rather a story that weaves the romance in to the bigger tale of finding family, fighting for what you believe in and a nod to the difficulties many people face in trying to get to that happy ending, you will find plenty to enjoy in it.

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review 2016-10-03 00:54
ARC Review: Enjoy The Dance by Heidi Cullinan
Enjoy the Dance (Dancing Book 2) - Heidi Cullinan

This story is the 2nd book in the Dancing series, and picks up after Dance With Me concludes, which means it takes place toward the end of 2012 and the beginning/middle of 2013.

During this time, Minnesota, where Spenser and Tomas (and Ed and Laurie) live, had a Marriage Amendment on the ballot, which would, as a state constitutional amendment, banned same-sex marriage in the state. DOMA is also still in place when this book begins.

We first meet Spenser when he comes home to his apartment to find a young man slumped in the hallway, clearly showing signs of having been in some kind of fight. He's bleeding and hurt, and looking for Tomas, who lives with his parents in the apartment across from Spenser and is a dance instructor at Laurie's studio, among other jobs.

Spenser is an elementary school teacher, and he wastes no time in coaxing the young man into his apartment to take care of the wounds and offer him a shower, while they wait for Tomas to come home.

The young man is Duon, whom you might remember as one of Laurie's students from the first book.

While the romance that develops between Spenser and Tomas doesn't exactly take a backseat to the rest of the plot in this book, it is quiet and subdued, but provides the backbone to everything else that happens within.

Tomas' parents are illegal immigrants, and while Tomas and his sister were born in the US, his parents could theoretically be deported. Tomas' sister also tends to dump her children at her parents place while she runs off living her life, which has Tomas working multiple jobs to make ends meet. There's not a lot of time for him to date, but after he sees Spenser take care of Duon, and then apply to be the young man's guardian/foster parent, a spark begins a slow-burning, smoldering fire.

Spenser knows what it's like to be in the foster system, having grown up in it, and he has built a bunch of walls around himself, to avoid being hurt. He had two foster mothers, with whom he lived after aging out of the system, and while one has passed on, the other is still somewhat prominent in his life, an anchor of sorts, someone he knows he can rely on if he needs it. He immediately jumps in when it's clear that Duon cannot return to his grandmother's house, not wanting the boy to be sent to a group home.

The book has a very political overtone, considering that DOMA is still in place, a state amendment banning same-sex marriage is on the ballot, and they're still four years away from the SCOTUS decision in the Obergefell case. Even though Laurie and Ed are married, their marriage might not be valid in Minnesota if the amendment passes. (Spoiler alert: It doesn't) The author also makes a point of showing the lack of funding and resources that plague many Social Services departments, as well as the difficulty in securing citizenship for illegal immigrants.

The romance is by design slow-burn, and not front and center in this book, but it is there, smoldering and providing warmth. There are some hot as hell scenes too, when Spenser and Tomas finally get it on, and boy, oh boy, Tomas talking dirty is super sexy.

Both Spenser and Tomas are givers. They care so much about the people in their lives, and find joy in helping others, in being there for each other, in doing little things to make the other's life easier. I enjoyed that part of their romance so much, because it showed me how much they truly care about each other. Tomas draws Spenser out of his shell, and Spenser is a safe harbor for Tomas to cast his anchor. They meshed so well, despite their differences, and it was a joy to read their story.

While this surely isn't your typical Heidi Cullinan romance, I would still recommend you read this book. And keep dancing.


** I received a free copy of this book from its author. A positive review was not promised in return. **

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review 2016-10-03 00:48
Dear Author...did you know that when you make me cry...
Enjoy the Dance (Dancing Book 2) - Heidi Cullinan

it's harder for me to read. I was ok for most of this book but it was probably somewhere around the last 25 to 30% that I found myself crying...a lot. Some of my tears were happy tears but there were quite a few sad tears too.

 

So now that you know how the last part of the book went for me...let's go back to the beginning and see if I can explain to you where and how those tears came to be...

 

I was a tiny bit hesitant with this one because I saw a couple of reviews that mentioned that this one was 'very political' and the romance played second fiddle to the political and social justice issues (that's right Dani and Jewel, I'ma lookin' at you) and honestly this is all very true and I have to admit sometimes I don't always want things like this in what I'm reading because lately it seems that the evening news has been more than willing to show us the sad and oftentimes tragic results of man's inhumanity to man.

 

That not everyone shares the same basic rights and freedoms because of sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion or any one of the myriad of reasons that we hear pranced out to justify the bigotry of others is something that I, like so many others, am well aware of but knowing in advance that this was the case I decided I was going to plunge in anyways because it's Heidi Cullinan and it's the next book in her series 'Dancing' and I really, really loved the first book. 

 

What I found was a story that wrapped itself around my heart. A story that reminded me of what is true and important...

"...The family we make is as valid as the family we're born to. Sometimes it's a thousand times better."

Spenser is a teacher and he arrives home to find a very battered young man named Duon at his door. A young man who is actually waiting for Spenser's neighbor, Tomas. Spenser takes him in without hesitations and looks after him until Tomas arrives home. He sees himself in Duon and without giving it a second thought, he offers to give Duon a home. Tomas wouldn't hesitate to do the same for Duon, if it wasn't for the fact that he's already got his hands full with his own family who depend on him for so much. Tomas can't afford to have his family fall under scrutiny at least not until he can figure out a way to keep his parents in Minnesota with him where they belong. So Duon ends up staying with Spenser but Tomas is determined to help with him as much as possible and it's that determination that helps Tomas find his way past Spenser's carefully constructed barriers. 

 

The list of what I liked about this book is pretty much endless. Of course I liked...no scrap that I loved both Spenser and Tomas. I liked Duon. Sure he tried to play it cool and make like it was no big deal but having someone like Spenser step up when he needed them and put their faith and trust in him was definitely a bit deal and Duon knew this no matter how cool he tried to play things. Tomas's parents especially his mother were wonderful as were so many of the other secondary characters in this story.

 

While the first part of this book focused very much on the political and social issues that affected Spenser, Tomas and the people they cared about. I felt that not only was this relevant information but it connected and impacted so much of what happened and what was done as the story progressed.

 

As I continued to read I realized just how much these issues were connected to the story...to everyone's story. From Spenser and Tomas to Ed and Laurie and this is where I began to cry...I admit I am a WASP (White Anglo Saxon Protestant) I'm heterosexual and I'm Canadian. So I will never know what it's like to fear that someone I love will be taken from me because they weren't born here, I will never have someone tell me that being married to the person I love isn't legal in the eyes of the law or god, I will never be beaten or abused for being who I am. I am lucky...privileged and yes, I do appreciate the fact that while I did nothing to earn or deserve this, it is the life I was given. It is also the reason that this book broke my heart and made me cry because it was a reminder that the life I was given is the life that everyone deserves. 

 

'Enjoy the Dance' is a book with a very important message about life, about love, about the human spirit and it's ability to rise above whatever the world will throw at it and still dance...

"There's no guarantee in life of anything. Every second is precious. Every breath is a miracle. Every connection is a gift, each drop of joy a treasure..." 

*********************

An ARC of 'Enjoy the Dance' was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

 

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