Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Historical Landmarks Of New Hampshire


DATE: 04/01/15 – 06/30/15


It’s time for our second quarter task challenge for 2015. This time we will focus on historical landmarks of New Hampshire.

To complete the challenge, read a book that fits just one of the options for each of the landmarks below – 10 books total.

Challenge Rules:
Books should be at least 125 pages. All formats are acceptable. Re-reads are fine--just be sure to re-read the entire book. When updating your challenge with books you've read, please include a link to the book title, make mention of the author's name, and note the date you finished reading the book.

1. Canterbury Shaker Village: Located in Canterbury, New Hampshire, the Canterbury Shaker Village is one of a number of Shaker communities founded in the 19th century. It was established in 1792.

☀ Read a book in which religion plays a part, OR a book that takes place sometime in the 1700’s, OR a Series/TBR #1.

2. Mount Washington Hotel: The Mount Washington Hotel was constructed from 1900-1902 by Joseph Stickney at a cost of $1.7 million (at that time). Stickney brought in 250 Italian artisans to build it.

☀ Read a book that features a hotel in some part of the story, OR a book that takes place in Italy, OR a Series/TBR #2.

3. John Paul Jones House: Built in 1758, this is the only known structure associated with John Paul Jones – an American Revolutionary War naval hero. Jones resided here from 1781 to 1782.

☀ Read a book with a character who is in the military, OR a book with a boat on the cover, OR a Series/TRB #3.

4. Dalton Covered Bridge: This historic covered bridge is located in Warner, New Hampshire. The name was a reference to a nearby resident at the time of construction (Mrs. Dalton, and later Widow Dalton). It was built in 1853 by Joshua Sanborn.

☀ Read a book in which the first letter of every word in the title can be found in DALTONBRIDGE, OR a book with some type of bridge on the cover, OR a Series/TBR #4.

5. Alton Bay Railroad Station: This historic railroad station was built in 1907 by the Boston and Maine Railroad.

☀ Read a book first published in the early 1900’s (prior to 1925), OR a book with the word “Rail”, “Road” or “Railroad” found in the title, OR a Series/TBR #5.

6. District No. 9 Schoolhouse: This historic schoolhouse is located in Gilford, New Hampshire. It was built in 1815, and served as a schoolhouse until 1935.

☀ Read a book with a character who is a teacher, OR a book with a red cover, OR a Series/TBR #6.

7. Swallow Boathouse: The Swallow Boathouse is located on a cove of Moultonborough Neck on Lake Winnipesaukee in central New Hampshire. It is a wooden structure mounted on eight stone piers set in approximately 10 feet of water. It was designed by Harry J. Carlson, and is 80 feet long, 37 feet wide.

☀ Read a book by an author whose first or last initial can be found in SWALLOW, OR a book with a body of water on the cover, OR a Series/TBR #7.

8. Sawyer Tavern: The Sawyer Tavern is a historical building located in Keene, New Hampshire. Built sometime between 1803 and 1906, it served as a tavern in both the 19th and 20th centuries. It was built by American Revolutionary War veteran Abraham Wheeler, Jr. His son-in-law Josiah Sawyer later took over the business.

☀ Read a book with a bar or tavern in the story (doesn’t have to be significant – just mentioned), OR a book with a building on the cover, OR a Series/TBR #8.

9. Brick Store: Located in Bath, New Hampshire, the Brick Store claims to be the oldest continuously operating general store in the US.

☀ Read a book with a some type of store front on the cover, OR a book in which the main character own’s his/her own business, OR a Series/TBR #9.

10. Robert Frost Farm: The Robert Frost Farm is located in Derry, New Hampshire and was the home of poet Robert Frost from 1900 to 1911.

☀ Read a book by Robert Frost, OR a book in which the main character is a writer, journalist, poet, etc., OR a Series/TBR #10

Cookie Baking 101


Crazy Challenge Connection on goodreads.

Who doesn't enjoy a fresh-baked cookie -- or two or three -- from time to time? Baking cookies is one of our favorite mother-daughter things to do, so when Daughter suggested a cookie-baking challenge, this is what I came up with :) 

1 - The first step in baking cookies is always deciding which recipe to use. Will you make an old favorite, or try something new? 
♥ Read a book by a new-to-you author OR re-read an old favorite OR a book that was recommended by a friend or family member. 

2 - Next, you need to shop for the required ingredients. Using fresh ingredients is always best, and sometimes a recipe calls for something you don't normally keep on hand. 
♥ Read a book you've added to your TBR list in the past three months OR a book whose title begins with a letter in SHOP (disregard A, An and The) 

3 - When you're ready to begin, almost every recipe starts with creaming together butter and sugar, then mixing in any other wet ingredients like eggs and flavorings. 
♥ Read a book with a predominantly yellow cover OR a book #5 or lower from a series

4 - Next is combining the dry ingredients -- flour, leavening and sometimes cocoa powder -- then blending everything together into one smooth dough.
♥ Read a book with a predominantly white or brown cover OR a book that combines two or more genres (paranormal mystery, historical romance, etc.) 

5 - Now for the fun part: shaping your cookies. Depending on the recipe, you can roll the dough into balls, drop it by spoonfuls onto cookie sheets or cut it out with cookie cutters.
♥ Read a book whose cover shows a geometric shape that you would find on a cookie platter OR a book by an author whose first AND last initials can be found in CUTTERS

6 - Most cookies bake at a medium heat for a short time, but it's still hard to wait for them to finish baking.
♥ Read a book between 150-200 pages long OR a new release you've been looking forward to for a long time 

7 - To avoid burning yourself, it's best to wait till the cookies cool (at least a little!) before you eat and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
♥ Read a book with cookies on the cover (only cookies, no other desserts!) OR a book with E, A and T in the title, not necessarily in order 

Post your favorite cookie recipe in the Cookie folder in the CCC Recipe Collection and post the link here with your challenge books :)

♦ If you want to participate in this challenge, please sign up by posting at least a partial list of the challenge requirements. This gives us a post to link you to, which you can use to update your books as the challenge progresses. 

♦ Unless otherwise noted, books must be at least 150 pages long; graphic novels must be at least 300 pages long. Books may only be used for one task in this challenge, but cross-challenge posting is encouraged :) Re-reads are allowed, as long as you read the entire book and not simply skim through it.

♦ For each book you read, please post a link to the title, and indicate the author and the date you finished reading it. If a challenge task gives several options, please make it clear which option you’ve chosen. If the task calls for an item on the cover, include a link to the book cover.* If it’s not obvious from the book title or cover, be sure to explain how your book fits the task. If you don’t, you won’t get credit for completing that task. 
    * If you don’t know how to post a link to the book title, cover or author, see the instructions here:Add a link to the book title, book cover and/or author 

♦ When you complete the challenge, please post your entire list as a new message to make it easier for everyone to see what you’ve read :) If you do this while you still have the Edit window open, it will copy all of your formatting, etc. too. We don’t have time to scroll back through the entire thread looking for "message #15," or to follow links back to an original post. If you don’t repost your list, your name will not be added to the list of those who have completed the challenge. 

New Hampshire Spell Challenge


DATE: 04/01/15 - 06/30/15


Our second quarter spell challenge is based on the US state of New Hampshire. You may choose to spell out NEW HAMPSHIRE or anything significant to you regarding New Hampshire, or you may use one of the historical landmarks listed below.

To do the spell out, you may use the first letter of a book title, or the first letter of the author's first or last name.

Challenge Rules:
Books should be at least 125 pages. All formats are acceptable. Re-reads are fine--just be sure to re-read the entire book. When updating your challenge with books you've read, please include a link to the book title, make mention of the author's name, and note the date you finished reading the book.

1. Canterbury Shaker Village
2. Mount Washington Hotel
3. John Paul Jones House
4. Dalton Covered Bridge
5. Alton Bay Railroad Station
6. District No. 9 Schoolhouse
7. Swallow Boathouse
8. Sawyer Tavern
9. Brick Store
10. Robert Frost Farm 




Monday, March 23, 2015

Tangled Past by Leah Braemel

Tangled #2

Sarah's "father' sold her horse and some cattle to some men, Jackson and Nate. She is angry. He is a bad man. She overhears her brother, father and a ranch hand speaking about attacking the men and getting the horse and cattle back. She sneaks out to the barn and intends on telling the men what she heard but she catches them together. The creepy ranch hand tells her father that he saw Sarah go out to the barn. He catches them - thinking that Sarah is having relations with both men. He marries her off to Jackson. Before they leave she tells Jackson and Nate what she heard. They arrange for the Rangers to catch them.

Jackson thinks Sarah is pretty and doesn't mind being married to her. He knows that he cannot continue his relationship with Nate now that he is a married man. But they live with Nate until they can afford to get a place. Nate loves how his house is now a home with Sarah living there. Jackson and Sarah get a long very well until Nate gets hurt and almost dies. Jackson pleads with Nate not to die and stay with him.

Will Sarah leave the men so they can be together? What happens when her father is caught?

I really liked this story. Sarah is an unusual woman.

From the author:
Forced to marry a man she just met, Sarah McLeod clings to the hope that she’ll finally find the love and acceptance she’s always craved. But her tenuous dreams of a happy life on the frontier are in danger of being dashed by the one thing she can’t change—her husband’s love for another man.
Jackson Kellar’s determined to do right by his bride, yet he’s torn between his newfound love for Sarah and his still-burning desire for Nate.
Ranch owner Nate Campbell loves them both. He hates to see Jackson’s loyalties so divided, and doesn’t want Sarah hurt either. But how can they fix the tangled mess they find themselves in? Nate suggests a possible solution – a permanent threesome.
With the open frontier closing in around them, is Nate’s solution their path to happiness? Or will others destroy what they’ve found together?
Read a preview here.

Pages: 184
Published: 2011

Texas Tangle by Leah Braemel

Tangled #1
Nikki is almost home from rescuing a horse. She has been driving for hours and her truck breaks down. No one will stop to help. She's just about given up when Dillon sees her and stops. She has always had a thing for Dillon. But he never asked her out and she ended up marrying a divorcing someone else. She has had some bad times. He calls for a tow truck and takes her and the horse home only to find that her crappy brother stole everything she had and took off. He even took her clothes.

Dillon takes her home and gets what he always wanted - her. There's a good story there. But his foster brother is also staying at his house. Brett has a thing for Nikki too. He's a cop and would sometimes get called to the house when her husband was acting out. He would check on her after the divorce but never let her know that he was interested. Nikki always liked Brett too.
Now she must choose.....

From the author:
Thanks to her cheating ex-husband and her thieving brother, all horse breeder Nikki Kimball has left is a bruised heart, an over-drawn bank account and an empty home. When sex-on-legs Dillon Barnett and his brooding foster-brother Brett Anderson start showing more than just neighborly attention, Nikki is intrigued…and a little gun-shy.
Dillon and Brett have a history; back in high school, the two friends fought a bitter battle over Nikki. Now, ten years later, Brett still longs to be the man in Nikki’s life, but he’s determined to stand back and let Dillon win Nikki’s heart.
Society says Nikki must choose between the two men she loves. Is Nikki strong enough to break all the rules in order to find happiness?
Chapter One
No, no, no!” With steam billowing from the hood of her truck, Nikki maneuvered blindly easing the vehicle to the side of the road, making sure the horse trailer she was towing wasn’t blocking traffic. “You can’t die here. We’re so close to home.”
With a sigh, she killed the engine, climbed from the cab and kicked the front tire. “You couldn’t have held on for another three miles, could you? No-o-o, you had to blow out the rad here, you piece of shit.”
She waited in the inky black night for ten minutes before a vehicle crested the hill, its high beams blinding her until the driver dimmed the lights. She moved to the side as the Jeep zipped past, not even slowing to see if she needed help. A half-dozen cars zoomed by over the next half hour without a single one slowing. She was starting to consider unloading her newest horse and riding him home when a familiar white pick-up slowed then parked in front of her truck.
First a long, booted leg, then the rest of the driver’s body unfolded as he clambered down. Dillon Barnett jammed a dusty black cowboy hat on his head before he ambled over. “Hey, Nik. Need some help?”
“Yeah, my truck’s overheated.” Trying to ignore the shivery feeling that had her nipples hardening every time she set eyes on her neighbor, Nikki reached for the hood release.
Dillon caught her wrist and stopped her. “Whoa, don’t touch that yet. Let it cool down a while longer, or I’ll be hauling you off to the burn unit.”
Before she could stop herself, she leaned in and filled her lungs with his scent, detecting only a hint of the aftershave he’d used that morning behind a heaping of good honest sweat. Mostly he smelled of machine oil, sawdust and…mesquite? She scrunched up her nose and took another sniff. “You been at a barbecue?”
Dillon chuckled, a dark delicious sound that reminded her of humid summer evenings eating barbecued ribs and drinking cool beer. Of star-filled nights that promised long sessions of hot, sweaty sex.
Where had that come from? Maybe because she hadn’t been with a guy and had hot, sweaty sex in a couple of years?
“We’ve been cuttin’ down some mesquites out back of the old Pritchert place. New owners are plannin’ on putting in a pool and hired me to do the landscaping around it. I figured I might as well get started in there with my machinery.”
When he released her, she took a step back, stopping her sigh before it could escape. Stop with the fantasies, NikIf Dillon was interested in you, he’d have made some move after Wade moved out. Oh, he was always over checking on her, helping her fix the fences the horses or weather knocked down, but not once had he given her any indication he was interested in her.
No, Dillon just did those things because he’d been raised to be a good neighbor, willing to help the struggling divorcee with the measly forty acres of scrub behind his spread of two hundred and fifty. Still, a girl could fantasize. Oh. My. The fantasies she’d been having about him lately.
But had she imagined the way he’d held her after pulling her against him? Or the way his hand stroked the small of her back? That couldn’t have been accidental. Could it?

Pages: 196
Published: 2010

Slow Ride Home by Leah Braemel

The Grady Legacy #1

I loved this book. Allie is a lawyer and she works for a title insurance agency in Houston. She has to go home to the ranch she and her father were thrown off of 15 years ago and help the owners save it. Someone has sold half of the ranch but the owners Ben and Jake Grady said they did not sell any of it.  Allie has to figure out what is going on and save the ranch.

She still has feelings for Ben who she loved when she was 18. They had plans to go to Texas A&M together that fall. But she lost her scholarship when they lost their home on the ranch. Ben emailed and wrote letters to Allie and never got an answer back. Why? He never forgot her.

Ben tries to work with Allie to find this supposed son of his grandfather's who sold the land to a former employee who was caught stealing. But he stills wants her and pursues her, not that it takes much because she wants him too.

Will they save the ranch and live happily ever after?

From the author:
Losing his father was hard enough, but now Ben Grady must face the fact that he and his brother may not be sole owners of their beloved ranch. To protect his family’s legacy, he’s forced to rely on the legal prowess of the woman who stars in his erotic fantasies: Allie O’Keefe. Ben’s never forgotten the illicit encounter they shared fifteen years ago—or forgiven himself for letting her go.
Allie thought she’d moved beyond the scandal that cost her Ben in the past. But working so closely with the seductive rancher arouses the wild child within the cautious woman she’s become. Though she tries to keep business and pleasure separate, Allie soon gives in to temptation, and discovers Ben’s sensual skills surpass even her X-rated memories…
Allie has every intention of leaving Bull’s Hollow forever after her investigation is complete. But there are a few complications. Not the least of which is that while saving the ranch, Allie’s lost her heart.
If someone had told Allie O’Keefe fifteen years ago that she’d set even one toe on Bull’s Hollow Ranch again, she’d have cussed them out. After she’d decked them. Which explained why Allie jammed her foot on the brake when she reached the ranch’s wrought-iron gate. Or maybe she stopped because of the man talking to a group of ranch hands in front of the ranch’s trailer office. It wasn’t just his weathered brown Stetson that stood out from the standard baseball caps the others wore. After a casual glance in her direction, he resumed talking.
Even from this far away she could tell who he was—Ben Grady, the first man she’d ever loved. Just as he had back in high school, he still managed to set butterflies fluttering in her stomach, although right now they felt more like boulders tumbling in a spin dryer.
Ben Grady was the quintessential cowboy, from the way he stood with his thumbs hooked through a belt loop, leaving his fingers to drum on the worn leather of his chaps, right down to his dust-covered boots. He could step back in the 1800s and live in the Wild West with no problems. The only thing missing was the six-shooter at his hip.
He hasn’t seen you yet. You could still turn around. Plead with her boss once again to have someone else assigned to the case. Although all her previous attempts had earned her was a “suck it up, buttercup” comment from her boss.
Two of his men strutted over to ATVs parked neatly in a row by the bar while the other took the reins of the bay horse. Finally freed of whatever responsibility had been keeping his attention, Ben faced her.
One look at that straight nose and angular jaw and bam, her body softened.
Not good, not good, not good, she repeated. You’re not eighteen years old anymore. And you didn’t do anything wrong.
Right. She could do this.
Taking a shaky breath, she parked her car beside the mud-crusted white pickup, its dual rear wheels dwarfing her small sedan. Tucking her case beneath her arm, she picked her way across the gravel-strewn yard. She really shouldn’t have worn her heels today, but her pride wanted to show off that she’d traded in her work boots for kick-ass stilettos that stopped traffic. Her not-so-subtle see what you missed out onstatement. Which would be lost if she twisted her ankle.
His gaze locked on her, Ben leaned against the stair railing in his oh-so-casual way. When they’d dated, she’d loved how he’d stop to watch her approach. Now she felt like a gazelle being stalked by a lion. No, not such a proud animal. The Gradys were scavengers. Vultures, ready to pick the flesh from the bones of anyone who got in their way.
He’d filled out from the rangy teenager she’d known. He’d always been strong, but his muscles were more defined, the light cotton shirt tight across his chest and wide shoulders. His biceps bulged as he gripped the stair railing, hinting at the strength to lift and haul both hay bales and stray calves.
Ben tipped his hat up with one finger and shot her a lazy grin that melted her a little inside. His gaze swept down her body, blazing a path even hotter than the sun, then returned to meet hers. The lines at the corners of his sky-blue eyes gave him a distinguished air.
“You’re early. I wasn’t expecting you for another half hour.”
His voice still had the low roughness that had driven her crazy, especially when they were lying skin-to-skin. Damn it, she’d gotten over him, so why was the ache in her chest back? She took a deep breath but the anguish didn’t ease.
Clutching her case tight under her arm, she stopped in front of him and shielded her eyes from the morning sun. “Hello, Ben.”
His eyes widened in shock. “Allie? What are you doing here?”
Her breath rushed out at the realization he hadn’t recognized her. 

Read more here.

Pages: 216
Published: 2013

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Sweet Surrender by Deanna Lee

Lauren gets a position with a museum as artist in residence. She is thrilled. But someone has broken into her hotel room and stole her underwear. Then she moves into a townhouse owned by the museum and someone breaks in. Is someone stalking her?  Is it because of her erotic art?
She is being protected by Connor Grant who she is very attracted to. He feels the same way. She goes out for a job one morning and is attacked in the park. The man keeps yelling the same phrase at her  - asking for a code. Everyone starts to wonder if there is something in the townhouse. Do they find something? Lauren is out shopping for art supplies and her bodyguard is shot. What is going on? She runs to Connor and he takes her to the country.  Then Lauren starts to figure things out. She had seen her attacker before. But where?

I loved this story. It kept you guessing and it was full of all kinds of action. There are other books in this series but the series has no name.

From the author:
Lauren Evans likes being known for her provocative and erotic artwork. She loves the challenge of capturing the beautiful lines of a naked body in oil and water colors. And occasionally she indulges in a modeling session that gets up close and sexual. But now someone is out to get her and she has only one person to turn to for protection–Connor Grant.
Connor is in charge of the art museum’s security and now he’s in charge of her. But that’s fine with Lauren. She’s ready to surrender. She can’t wait to strip down, lay back and savor all the sensual delights in his arsenal of carnal pleasure . . .

Chapter One

Lauren Evans was so very, very late. The rush across Boston had left her flustered, and her once perfectly contained hair now flew all over her head. The job at Holman Academy was the chance she needed to change her life—to make the move to Boston permanent. The last thing she wanted to do was stay in San Diego.
She had one successful show under her belt, and she hoped that after years of work, it was enough to give her a change of scenery. Her stomach tightened as she shoved more money than was necessary at the cabdriver and hopped out of the car, putting on the shoes she'd pulled off as she'd gratefully hauled herself into it fifteen minutes before.
Lauren pulled out the hairpins that had managed to stay in and shook out the too-long mess as she pulled open one of the double glass doors that led into the Holman Gallery. As soon as Lauren entered, a slim, dark-haired woman stepped forward with a wide, friendly grin.
"Your pictures don't do you justice," she stated, and held out a hand. "I'm Jane Tilwell. Welcome to Holman Gallery. Mercy sends her apologies for not being available today, but we've set up a lunch for you two tomorrow. You'll have to pardon the noise today—we have fifty fifth graders on the first floor breaking plates for an abstract mural we're going to put on the east wall of the building."
"That sounds great." Lauren allowed herself to be pulled through the gallery and up a set of stairs. "I've heard some great things about the student program the gallery runs with the city schools."
"It's my baby, so I'm proud of how well it's done. This session was supposed to be led by Lisa Brooks, but she's so very pregnant and her doctor put her on bed rest. So Shamus Montgomery is here today, and his idea of entertaining children involves safety goggles and throwing things." Jane cupped Lauren's elbow to guide her into a large office area. "Mr. Brooks, however, is on-site today, and we've set up a small conference room for a meeting. He's pretty excited to have you here, Ms. Evans. Your exhibit in LA was the talk of the art world for months, so, of course, we'd like to discuss a show at a later date."
Lauren managed to keep her mouth from dropping open. "I have fifteen paintings of a series I'm working on, but when my agent set up this appointment, I assumed it was an interview."
Jane paused and turned to her with a frown. "No, not an interview." She huffed out a breath. "I'm going to kill her."
"Kill who?"
"My ex-new assistant and probably Mr. Brooks, too. I had a great assistant—a fantastic assistant—but James Brooks kept bogarting her until finally he just kept her, and now I'm stuck with a series of twits from the university because it was my ultrabright idea to mentor."
Lauren bit her bottom lip to keep from laughing. "So, I'm not here for an interview."
"No, we"—she blushed—"we offered you a job, Ms. Evans. A two-year contract for the Holman Academy as the artist in residence and an opportunity to show once a year in the gallery."
The relief of that moment was so overwhelming that Lauren felt a little dizzy. "I ... wow ... really?"
Jane laughed. "Okay, let's go talk to Mr. Brooks, and we'll discuss the deal we thought we'd already made with you."
So, meeting James Brooks was sort of like what she thought meeting Thomas Crown would be like if he were real. All dark, hot, mean-looking, and loaded. What she knew about him made him even more attractive than his altogether too-pretty face. His dedication to charity work and his well-known love for his wife made James Brooks the kind of man she would love to work for.
"Twit the Fourth didn't send the job offer."
James Brooks raised an eyebrow. "It was your idea to mentor students, Ms. Tilwell."
"Obviously I can't be trusted to make such decisions in the future," Jane muttered as she flipped through several folders in front of her. "Okay, Lauren, as I said, we meant to send you a contract memo through your agent. Again, I apologize for the confusion."

Read more here.

Pages: 240
Published: 2011