Category Archives: Reviews

HAG Reads, a Book Review: The Chesapeake Bride

I am thrilled to share with you THE CHESAPEAKE BRIDE by Mariah Stewart.

DETAILS:

(From the Publisher) [tThis is] the charming story of a jaded architect who meets the one man who could finally melt her heart—if she’s willing to let him in.

Cassidy Logan has sworn off good-looking adventurers, having just divorced the one she’d married. Now working with her father’s construction company to build ecologically friendly, historically accurate homes on the Chesapeake Bay, she’s designing them for Cannonball Island. Knowing there’s been no new construction on the island in almost one hundred years, Cass is sensitive to the heritage and history of the sparsely populated island, and has come up with plans so perfect she’s determined to buy one for herself to live in. Even the fact that Owen Parker—whom she dismisses as a lightweight and a player— seems to be everywhere she goes isn’t enough to deter her from building her dream house.

Owen is and always has been sinfully handsome and wickedly clever, a magnet for mischief as well as the girls in St. Dennis. He’s also a rolling stone, going and doing whatever appeals to him, from flying a mail plane in Alaska to working on a cattle ranch in Australia and a shrimp boat in Louisiana, to surfing and diving in Costa Rica. When an old friend offers him a job salvaging a sunken ship in the Chesapeake, Owen gladly accepts. Something’s been telling him it’s about time to head home to Cannonball Island, and a job is as good an excuse as any. He’s totally smitten with the pretty architect, but it seems he’s finally met a woman who’s immune to his charms. Sooner or later, Owen will have to face the reason why he always runs, because this time, leaving just might be harder than staying.

*This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive compensation. It does not affect your price at all. For more information, see my full disclosure page.

MY TAKE:

Love! It is a good feeling, cozy romance with a contemporary story and vibe to it- Having not read the first 10 books, I was worried that I wouldn’t love this- but it was just great! Yes, cheese sounding here as you don’t get the full context of Stewart’s writing, but it reads really well and fast and fun and not cheese-ball at all actually! It is a light, contemporary romance for the non-romance reader!!

I LOVE THIS REVIEW:

Praise for That Chesapeake Summer, Book 9 in The Chesapeake Diaries:

“[That Chesapeake Summer] deftly uses the tools of the genre to explore issues of identity, truth, and smalltown kinship…Stewart offers a strong statement on the power of love and trust, a fitting theme for this big-hearted small town romance.”

—Publishers Weekly

THE DEETS: The Chesapeake Bride

11th in The Chesapeake Diaries series
Mariah Stewart
Pocket Books
August 29, 2017
ISBN 9781501154355
$7.99

Andddd….You guys…here’s an END OF SUMMER GIVEAWAY (Whoot hooot!) to help get you up to speed at least a little on the series:

I am giving away copy of Driftwood Point, 10th in the Chesapeake Diaries (the one right before the Chesapeake Bride, for via UPS. (U.S. only, please.)

We’re celebrating The Chesapeake Bride and Summer 2017 with one giveaway for Driftwood Point, 10th in The Chesapeake Diaries Series by Mariah Stewart! The last day for entries will be Friday, September 22nd (the official last day of summer!) The winner will receive one copy of Driftwood Point. U.S. only, please.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

And a little side-note:

Look for Gallery Books’ second installment in Mariah Stewart’s all-new trade original women’s fiction series, The Hudson Sisters, from The Last Chance Matinee, following a trio of reluctant sisters as they set out to fulfill their father’s dying wish—and discover themselves in the process. Remember I reviewed it way back when?!

Well, now Book 2, The Sugarhouse Blues, will publish March 2018, so be on the look out, because the first one was a super cute, feel-good book that I want to keep reading!


*This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive compensation. It does not affect your price at all. For more information, see my full disclosure page.

Check out what other blogs I linked this article with: What are you reading, Monday?

Cleaning the Car Without Chemicals: E-cloth Review

So many of you know how much, I love my E-cloths for use inside my house, and if you read this blog, you may have seen my review for them a while back. This post was updated in August of 2017 for links and deleting giveaway content.

I agreed to review….{drumroll please}…. the Interior Car Kit for ecloth. Win. Win! And by the way…these little cloths aren’t only for your car- you can use these to clean your bikes after a long outside ride, or your boat if you are a boater (duh) and probably any outside toys that have chrome to polish and grime to clean!

Full Disclosure: I received a free Interior Car Kit from E-cloth in exchange for writing a review on the blog. However, and as always, any and all opinions are genuinely my own. This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you order from one of the product links, I’ll receive compensation. It does not affect your price at all. See my full disclosure page.

e-cloth auto

If you follow my blog, you know that I have been running a Clear the Clutter Challenge this month. While a lot of my clutter-clean up is focused on the inside of my house, you all know the garage is the palace (I did NOT mean to write ‘place’) of clutter for the outside…and the cars with all the shuttling to and from soccer practices, basketball, or road-trips can get pretty knarly themselves!

Before I get ahead of myself though, I have a few tips on tidying your cars before we even look at the dirt and start cleaning them and testing out the new cloths!

DeCluttering the Car:

#1– Get some bins to keep in the car. These can be bags or boxes or anything that will keep items from rolling around your trunk or under-foot as you drive (danger!)

#2 – Make an emergency kit- Both first aid and also think about what you need if you break-down. Make sure you have wiper fluid in the upcoming winter months, and a blanket if you have no heat for a while, as you wait for roadside assistance.  Keep kitty-litter in the trunk as it helps the tires get traction on slippery roads.

#3 – Get some winter floor mats.  These are made of rubber, so the salt and dirt on your boots won’t wreck the carpet in your car.

#4 – Have a permanent garbage bin IN the car. Instead of stuffing tissues in the side-pockets, maybe put them in a receptacle.

#5 – Put the toys in one of those bins (see #1).  Instead of books and markers flying all over your car floor, keep them all in a car-only toy place, that will be a busy-box of sorts for the kids to have.

organize the car


That’s it. Now on to the cleaning.

#1 – Take everything out.

#2 – Clean it. Test out the e-cloth. I used the Interior, e-Auto Car Cleaning Kit.  It comes with:

  • one 20″x16″ Glass & Chrome Cloth, one 12.5”x12.5” Car Cleaning Cloth, a Water Atomizer, and a laundry and storage bag.car kit
  • Glass & Chrome Cloth (grey) cleans inside windows, outside windows, all metals
  • Car Cleaning Cloth (orange) cleans dashboards, armrests, spills, inside doors, fabric upholstery, leather upholstery, outside windowscar kit

#3 – And finally: Only put back the items you must have, into a bin or some type of container: Toys, Snacks, Emergency Kit (may or may not include a trunk potty- mom’s you know you need this!)  You are done.


 The e-Auto Kit: What do I think?

Just spray the water and wipe. Can’t be easier. I am not sure you can’t do this with any little cloth and some water, but the beauty and difference of the e-cloth versus any old cloth in your house, is the e-cloth itself. No lint, and for whatever reason, it picks up the dirt unlike any rag I have.  You can check out their website for more info. on why they work so well.

I used the chrome & glass (grey) cloth for all the windows and the mirrors…and the glass parts of the dash. No streaks and no lint. It is way easier than window spray and paper towels- plus better for the environment.  Now, I am not saying that child labor laws don’t exist for a reason…but- using the e-cloths is a great and SAFE way to have your kids help you clean the inside of the car with just water and a cloth. You don’t have to worry that the twins kids will spray  each other in the eyes with chemicals or wash the windows with the leather-care cleaner. Not that this has happened, but it is definitely not happening with e-cloth! One of the many reasons why I really like this product. See what I did:

e cloth

before is pretty gross…I am not too thrilled about sharing that.

And this:

ecloth

I had to keep going…I love my new clean car!

Once I was done cleaning, I put both cloths in the bag and threw them in the washer. I wash them just like regular cloths, but you have to remember not to use fabric softeners – which I don’t use anyway. Even if you forget and use the softeners, just run them again in a hot-water only wash and then they are fine again. Actually, these are guaranteed for 300 washes just like the rest of the e-cloth line. Easy.

Now that I have a dedicated set of e-cloths for the cars, I can store them right in the little bag and keep these in the garage on a hook, so I can find them right where I want to use them…always thinking, my friends!

Anyhoo…Now it’s your turn to try the e-Auto Car Kit! Check them out here!

e-cloth auto

Check out more on e-cCloth:

W: www.ecloth.com
F: www.facebook.com/eclothUSA
T: @ecloth


This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you order from one of the product links, I’ll receive compensation. It does not affect your price at all. See my full disclosure page.

“Food52 Mighty Salads”: A Book Review

Have you been eating salads like crazy with the bounty of veggies from your garden? Then you might be the perfect candidate for the cookbook by Food52 Team called, Mighty Salads: 60 New Ways to Turn Salad to Dinner. If you don’t know what Food52 is, I will tell you. It’s a food community site turned website and shop, which shares recipes from their editors and also runs contests for recipe contributions from their readers along with selling products and cookbooks that they put out.  I was lucky enough to receive a copy of the book from Blogging for Books, and now I want to share with you my take on this not-just-summer cookbook.

What I like:

Being a salad lover, and also very sick of my same old recipes for salads, I am totally inspired by the recipes in the book. Don’t these sound yummy?:

Caesar-Style Kale Salad with Roasted Onions
Shaved Asparagus with Burrata, Radish & Cucumber
Shaved Brussel Sprouts, Endive & Apple
Fresh Corn Cakes with Crab-Tomato Salad

The contents are depicted by types of salad to make it easy to find a lot of variety:

Leafy Salads
Less-Leafy Salads
Grain & Bean Salads
Pasta & Bread Salads
Fish & Seafood Salads
Meat Salads

There are a lot of dressings recipes which I just loved. Sometimes I just want a new dressing for my salads, and I made this salad {Spicy Chicken Salad with Rice Noodles} specifically because the dressing of Lime-Sriracha sounded so good- and it was good. Not amazing, but very good. I made it with zoodles though and I liked all the textures and color to the dish quite a lot.Spicy Chicken Salad with Lime-Sriracha Dressing

I am a big fan of pictures if the whole book is about one type of meal {salads}. There are lots of pictures of the meals here {all the photos are done by James Ransom}, to give you an idea and some inspiration for what looks great to eat. This leads to:

What Bugs Me:

The pictures are dark. The intention and style of the book is farmhouse-rustic, so they styled the pictures in a way that feels dark and artsy instead of bright and inviting. To my eye, the food looks flat in a way that makes me not want to make it. However…I showed my sister the book and she found lots of recipes that she would make and she loved the darker style of the pictures, so I think this is a preference that I have, over what everyone would feel.

On another layout preference, I thought that overall the font is smallish and the sidebar that lists the ingredients doesn’t separate the salad from the salad dressing as much as I wanted- I was squinting. I don’t wear glasses, but I am sort of old…so that could certainly be it, but for even older, and blinder folks, just keep your glasses nearby!

As far as a peeve about the recipes…they many and varied.  I don’t stock my pantry with more than half of the ingredients, but as I said, my sister was all about the recipes as being up her alley. I found it inspirational but not practical for my everyday cooking. I had a hard time picking a recipe to make with ingredients that I had on hand. I chose the Spicy Chicken Salad because I had 90% of the ingredients on hand. Most of the other recipes, I would have to go out and shop specifically for.

Who Should Get It:

If you are a huge Food52 fan…and I know there are many! Also, if you love salad and need some new  ideas for making your regular old salads into something more of a meal, than there is a lot of great stuff here- Not just for vegetarians, the seafood chapter is super interesting and if you are a meat eater, there is a plentiful chapter for you too.

The Deets:

Food52 Mighty Salads: 60 New Ways to Turn Salad into Dinner- and Make-Ahead Lunches, Too
Editors of Food52, Photos by James Ransom
160 pages with photos.
Ten Speed Press, April 2017
Amazon Hardcover: $14


This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you order from one of the product links, I’ll receive compensation. It does not affect your price at all. See my full disclosure page.

Review for Mighty Salads Food52