Review ~ Royal Affair – Marquita Valentine

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Online muckraker Brooks Walker has a reputation for exposing the political elite. Now he’s set his sights on the Sinclair siblings, who’ve been embroiled in their fair share of drama ever since their exile to North Carolina. But Brooks has never been afraid to get his hands dirty—until he meets a royal wallflower at a charity ball who makes him reconsider everything. Is Brooks feeling guilty because he knows all the sordid details of her family’s history? Or because he’s putting their relationship first, before his journalistic integrity?

As the “spare” twin, Princess Charlotte has always been the responsible one. So when her sister finally agrees to fulfill her duty as queen, Charlotte gives herself permission to break a few rules by flirting with the very off-limits CEO of Walker Media. Brooks is the worst sort of man to start an affair with, but Charlotte just can’t help it. The trouble is, since she’s no good at playing games, soon she’s tiara over heels in love. And when Brooks comes clean, Charlotte must decide whether his confession is worth a royal pardon.

NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group-Loveswept provided me with an ARC of Royal Affair by Marquita Valentine for my honest review.

Princess Charlotte is the lonely maiden in the tower though she didn’t come by it naturally. Thanks to an awful nanny before their exile she has horrible anxiety which leaves her feeling nothing but relief that she’s the ‘spare’ heiress. Though she is a royal, she longs for a more normal life with a “squad” of her very own.

Brooks Walker is a wannabe king of media but really he runs a glorified gossip rag that has the distinction of often getting the gossip right. Of course that’s not much consolation to Charlotte and the Sinclair family. Though she blames him for upturning her world she also finds him irresistible.

A few flirty jokes over the punch bowl and a Royal Affair is born!

I liked both Charlotte and Brooks, who both—adorably—are twins! But I did find them both to be a little…much but that’s why we still read stories about royals isn’t it? She was sweetly naïve and Brooks was a cynical as they came, but watching them grow as they fell was truly a delight.

I have to say that so far Colin and Della are my favorite but this is another feel good story from Marquita Valentine!

Now…I cannot wait to read Theo’s story!

Review ~ Forbidden Kisses – Annie Rains

Source: Review ~ Forbidden Kisses – Annie Rains

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For years, Jack Sawyer’s family has been running their upscale seafood business like a finely tuned machine. But every machine breaks down eventually, and suddenly Jack needs a new office manager, a new kayak launch, and a new lease on life. Then Grace Donner shows up again. She’s smart, motivated, and perfect for the manager position, but if she’s anything like her mom, she can’t be trusted. And Jack has never been able to trust himself around Grace.

Grace hasn’t seen her former stepbrothers since their parents’ messy divorce, but she never forgot them—especially Jack. She misses being part of the big rambunctious Sawyer clan, and if there’s an opportunity to set things right, she means to do it. But she can’t ignore Jack’s irresistibly kissable lips, or the searing way he looks at her when he thinks she’s not looking. Their chemistry is more explosive than ever. And if the Sawyers can forgive and forget, anything is possible.

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

When I first saw the blurb for this book I rolled my eyes and groaned. Oh no, not another stepbrother romance. As someone who grew up with a blended family I was pretty grossed out. Until very early on when the relationship between Jack and Grace was clarified. Once that pesky thing was out of the way, for me, Forbidden Kisses really gets going.

Grace’s mom Tammy did a horrible, horrible thing that from the perspective of the Sawyer men was unforgivable. Her behavior cost Grace the only real family she’s ever had, which makes life more than a little tricky when she gets a job working for her former family. And former crush.

Once Jack and Grace started spending time together I feel like I had this big smile on my face the whole time. They were funny, steamy and full of chemistry it jumped off the virtual page.

While I understood Jack’s beef with Tammy, I wanted to strangle him for not at least trying to get over it. People change sometimes and if it means being with the woman you love…duh. Overall I loved them and I loved the Sawyer brothers, especially Noah. But now I am so curious to know Sam and Abby’s story!

Elizabeth’s Bento

Cooking in Sens

The day before she was due to take the plane back home to Ohio, my sister said that she needed to buy something to eat during the flight because apparently they don’t serve food anymore on local flights.  What?!  It seems that for the last couple of decades I’ve only flown on international flights.  They do serve peanuts, chips and soft drinks I guess.  My sister’s idea was to load up with bags of chips, crackers, cookies, etc.  “Hell no”, I said in a sisterly fashion, this is a job for bento box!”

A bento box is easy to put together from the leftovers in your refrigerator but the best ones are made fresh, specifically for packing in the box.  I did this not only because I didn’t have any leftovers but, of course, because I love my sister 😉

I began with inarizushi, fried tofu skins stuffed with sushi rice and tuna salad and sprinkled…

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Oven Barbecued Spareribs with Aunt Kay’s Beans

Just when I thought ribs were a thing of the past…

Cooking in Sens

I experienced my first blizzard!  So exciting, but the dog really didn’t want to go outside at all and had to be cruelly forced outside to take care of her needs.  Her doghouse did not tempt her and she went no further than the bottom of the house deck stairs, returned to the kitchen door to gaze at us, pitifully coated in snow.  We eventually let her back in 😀

In general, the blizzard created no problems for us.  Although the car was completely buried, we didn’t need it for anything because we always have a stocked pantry, plenty of alcohol and a ridiculously bulging freezer.

I wrestled 2 slabs of pork spareribs from the freezer and seasoned them with salt, pepper, garlic powder and rosemary.  I roasted the slabs for an hour in 350 F oven before brushing them with barbecue sauce.

An additional 45 minutes, turning and brushing them…

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