The Sunday Post #21-10

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer. A post to recap the past week, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up for the week on our blog.

In case you didn’t see it on the home page, I’ve started a Podcast called “Book Reviews by the Reluctant Retiree.” Yeah, I know, not exactly original. WordPress has partnered with Anchor, a Spotify division, to create podcast episodes from blog posts. My husband and I had looked into creating a podcast for him but were always afraid of the costs involved. With Anchor, there is no cost involved. My plan at the moment is to create episodes from the Sunday Posts rather than trying to create episodes from all the posts during the week.

Books Reviewed This Past Week

Fighting for Her Dragon by Julia Mills. Dragon Guard Series Book 7. One doomed dragon. One very special woman. One destiny no one could have predicted. Will they save dragon kin or destroy it?

The Science of Good Cooking from Cook’s Illustrated Magazine. Unlock a lifetime of successful cooking with this groundbreaking new volume from the editors of Cook’s Illustrated, the magazine that put food science on the map.

Lure of the Wolf by Anna Lowe. Jewels of the Heart Book 2. Nina only has the vaguest memories of who she is or why two men tried to kill her one terrifying night. All she knows is how quickly she’s falling in love with her rescuer — a man with secrets of his own. With her, he’s kind, gentle, and fun — but there’s a ferocious, animal side to Boone and the group of Special Forces vets he shares an exclusive seaside estate with. Can Boone help her uncover the past before the killers catch up with her? Or will an unexpected twist of fate steal her only chance at true love?

Sealord by Delta James. Alpha Lords Book 6. Only one thing could have awakened Kellan from long centuries of sleep. The scent of his mate.

Míorúilt has the blood of dragons in her veins and taming her will be no easy task, but Kellan wouldn’t want it to be. While he slumbered he dreamed of how sternly and shamefully he will punish her defiance and how thoroughly he will claim and ravage her beautiful virgin body.

Now it is time.

Her Mate’s Secret Baby by Grace Goodwin. Interstellar Brides Program Book 9. An attack on their outpost leaves Roark fighting for his life. For her protection, Natalie is transported back to Earth. Roark thinks she’s dead. But she’s very much alive and so is his newborn son. Natalie’s anger and regret grows with each passing day her mate does not keep his promise to come for her. By the time he discovers his mistake, it may be too late to win back her heart.

Desert Wolf by Heather Long. Wolves of Willow Bend Book 8. Cassius, Alpha of Sutter Butte, leads the most ruthless and dangerous pack in the United States. A pack comprised of misfits who didn’t fit in their previous packs, cast offs discarded by their packs and forgotten wolves who rose to create a pack more than a century before it utter defiance of the order of the day. Sometimes pitiless and cruel, he wants more for his people than a yearly bloodbath as they fight for a new place, a better spot in the pecking order. To change his pack, means to change himself and he will find rebellion on all sides, not the least of which is his own defiant heart.

Coming Up!

As you can see (I hope), I am trying to expand the information I present on Sundays. Not everybody is interested in the paranormal romances and that’s okay. I plan to keep including the cookbooks and other informative posts. A blog should always be evolving otherwise it grows stale. So if you are listening to this as a podcast episode, thank you very much for your support.

Upcoming Posts:

  • Her Dragon’s Heart by Julia Mills
  • Accessories for Your Instant Pot
  • Lure of the Bear by Anna Lowe
  • Skylord by Delta James
  • Mating Fever by Grace Goodwin
  • Snow Wolf by Heather Long

Recently my husband and I decided that it was easier to get a couple of fleece throws to cover up with when things got a bit chilly. The weather can be quite changeable in early spring and if we put a heater on, it only leads to needing the AC by afternoon. Needless to say, Coco had to investigate this new covering. At this point, I gave in and bought her a blanket of her own.

Wolves of Willow Bend Book 8: Desert Wolf

There may be affiliate links in this post. As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a small commission from qualifying purchases.

Cassius, Alpha of Sutter Butte, leads the most ruthless and dangerous pack in the United States. A pack comprised of misfits who didn’t fit in their previous packs, cast offs discarded by their packs and forgotten wolves who rose to create a pack more than a century before in utter defiance of the order of the day. Sometimes pitiless and cruel, he wants more for his people than a yearly bloodbath as they fight for a new place, a better spot in the pecking order. To change his pack, means to change himself and he will find rebellion on all sides, not the least of which is his own defiant heart.

Sovvan Stark, Omega of Delta Crescent, lives a cherished, beloved life in the center of her pack, a delicate and hard won balance. Though she is not the only Omega, she is the most experienced with the tremors of pack upset when power shifts from Alpha to Alpha. When her Alpha approaches her about Sutter Butte’s request, Sovvan considers the matter for several long months. While she might hold within her the key to helping the Sutter Butte Alpha, the undertaking could very well kill her.

Accompanied by a single Hound, Sovvan begins a journey to help Cassius rebuild the foundation of his pack, but first she will have to transform him…

D. Antonio
5.0 out of 5 stars This book will leave you feeling good
Reviewed in the United States on November 24, 2015 Verified Purchase
Cassius, Alpha of Sutter Butte, is snarly and mean and rough and tuff and buff and stuff but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t feel, doesn’t want, doesn’t hope. What he wants is to take his pack into a less violent less fearful future. To do that he needs help; Sovvan Stark, Omega of Delta Crescent is the help Cassius feels it will take. He doesn’t expect who she is and what she does to him personally but isn’t crazy enough to look fate in the mouth. He just doesn’t know if he is going to live long enough to enjoy her. Sovvan is an Omega. A special type of wolf. She isn’t immediately cowed by any Alpha and so stands outside pack structure. Her gift is reflection. She can reflect your weakness back at you. She can discover a packs weakness. She can also it seems borrow your fear, anger, grief or intense emotion and use it. She responded to Cassius’s need to improve the lot of his pack she didn’t expect to fall for him.
Heather Long is a fantastic story teller and this may be her best story yet. Desert Wolf can be read standalone but will be better enjoyed if you’ve read the rest of the series. I loved everything about Sovvan except for her name (for which I had to use a dofer cause I couldn’t figure out how to pronounce it) and Cassius turned out to be deeper than he’s let anyone know. This book will leave you feeling good and hopeful for the future of the Sutter Butte pack.
Complimentary copy provided by author/publisher for an honest review but I bought my own copy as well.

Karli
5.0 out of 5 stars Can't stop reading!
Reviewed in the United States on December 25, 2015 Verified Purchase
Heather Long writes the absolute best romantic shifter suspense, books that grab hold on the first page and don't let go until the last. This book is that and more. She captured my attention with her Fevered series and has maintained it, leaving me watching expectantly for her next release. Her characters are richly developed, the storyline contains enough suspense to keep me glued to my reader and the romance builds until there is no question the featured couple will beat the odds and that there is going to be a HEA-the reason I read romance. I love it!
Cassius, the hard, fierce Alpha of the Sutter Butte Pack in Arizona has asked Serafina for the loan of one of her Omegas. Sovvan is not only the Louisiana based Delta Crescent's Omega, however, but is also Serafina's trusted friend. And Sera doesn't want her to go. But after months of consideration, Sovvan and her Guardian make the journey, only to be intercepted at a roadside rest stop by a large group of wolves who try to kill her. Cassius arrives in time to save her life, but the battle gives Sovvan a glimpse into the extent of the brokenness of the pack that he desperately wants to save. And she ultimately comes to the realization that by helping him save them, her own life will likely be forfeit. Cassius always knew Sovvan could die, but while it was a likelihood when he first came up with the plan, as he gets to know Sovvan more intimately he realizes the only acceptable option is for her to live.
Annie
4.0 out of 5 stars PARANORMAL ROMANCE AT ITS BEST.
Reviewed in the United States on December 14, 2015 Verified Purchase
Desert Wolf by Heather Long is the 8th book in the Wolves of Willow Bend series. Desert Wolf follows the Sutter Butte pack and their razor sharp alpha, Cassius.

This series has become my addiction for 2015. I love the characters in this series, especially the way Long is blending some of the different pack’s members together. Each installment contains such wonderful character growth and Cassius’ story was no exception. But lets face it, if you have read this series, you recognized he was going to be a hard character to connect to. Long did a great job building him up as ruthless, hard-edged and cruel. Even I wondered if Cassius had the ability to be redeemed, but as usual Long works her magic and once she allows you to glimpse inside of Cassius’ soul, you are quickly jumping onto Team Cassius. This team doesn’t play fair and I enjoyed the struggle and torture the author put this Alpha through. Long provided us with glimpses and a general feel of Cassius’ backstory and childhood, but I felt for such a unique and hard character, stronger details would have enriched the story and pushed this over the edge to 5 star territory.

Avid Book Reader
5.0 out of 5 stars Desert Wolf and the Omega!
Reviewed in the United States on December 28, 2015 Verified Purchase
Heather you've got me so addicted to this wonderful series!
Cassius asked Delta Crescent Alpha for the loan of her Omega, Sovvan to help him clean up his pack but little did he know that she was his mate. He treated her with such disregard you couldn't tell that they were mates. When they finally came together it was explosive you could almost feel the heat coming off of them. Even though Omegas are feared because of the emotions they can bring out in the others, Cassius and Sovvan came together to become and effective team for their pack. Just loved the way the two of them were with each other. I heartily recommend this story and the series to anyone wanting to read exciting wonderful stories.
Heather, please don't make me wait too long because I'm going crazy waiting for the next story in this series to come out!

Interstellar Brides® Program Book 9: Her Mate’s Secret Baby

There may be affiliate links in this post. As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a small commission from qualifying purchases.

Natalie Montgomery wants a new life. While she may be rich, her life is empty. Her parents were never around, too rich and important to be bothered with a child. And when they present her with a emotionless fiancé, she’s done. As a volunteer for the Interstellar Bride Program, she is thrilled to arrive on the hot, desert planet of Trion, and in the arms of a seductive warrior who makes her body burn. 

Roark of Trion is not eager for a mate. Danger and the constant threat of war dog his steps. But one look at his new bride, and his mind is changed. Natalie is everything he ever wanted in a woman…so soft, so passionate, so submissive to his every need. An attack on their outpost leaves Roark fighting for his life. For her protection, Natalie is transported back to Earth. Roark thinks she’s dead. But she’s very much alive and so is his newborn son. Natalie’s anger and regret grows with each passing day her mate does not keep his promise to come for her. By the time he discovers his mistake, it may be too late to win back her heart.

BJaye Conway
5.0 out of 5 stars Fourteen Days and a Four Month Old Baby!
Reviewed in the United States on March 13, 2017Verified Purchase
Once again a great story. This time we are back on Trion, the desert planet. Roark is a leader of his people and is visiting a out of the way rural outpost when his bride Natalie is transported to his location. Their feelings for each other are pretty much instantaneous. They are separated when the outpost is attacked, Roark is taken captive and Natalie is sent back to earth to keep her safe. When Roark escapes and is able to get back to an outpost, he is told Natalie is dead. Likewise Natalie is told Roark is dead, much angst ensues. For some reason time moves differently between the planets, Roark manages to transport to Earth after 14 days to search for Natalie. Little does he suspect that 13 months have past on Earth and he is astounded to find Natalie and a 4 month old baby, his son. While trying to return to Trion to start over, they run into more trouble, over and over again. They only want to settle down as a family, but someone is trying to stop that from happening. The storyline is fast paced, almost too fast in places, but a HEA finally happens. Another good read from this series, I've really enjoyed all the books in this series, each with a matched couple and an HEA, but completely unique circumstances. My only issue is that I wish the stories were a bit longer and I would have liked to find out how the couples settled down in mated bliss, and sometimes with babies. I'm hoping that Ms. Goodwin will continue the series by linking stories as she did in a few of the books, then maybe quench our curiosity.
Heather
5.0 out of 5 stars My fav
Reviewed in the United States on October 24, 2020Verified Purchase
So far my favorite in the whole intersteller brides series. Mating, Alien, sex and action with story. Not just insta love and sex sex sex.
Natalie isn't happy with her life. Her absentee parents and cheating fiance. No more she signs up for the intersteller bride program and finds her mate with a 99.9 accuracy I believe. She ready to go claim her mate.
Roark hasn't found a mate on Trion. None of the female interest him so he gets tested to find His mate. A female that wants him for him. Not his position, wealth and status.
So they are a good fit. Great chemistry. However after an explosive first night they are separated and then drama and danger unfold. Each has a different experience and a baby is uncovered changing everything.
Terry
5.0 out of 5 stars Love this Book and Series
Reviewed in the United States on October 6, 2019Verified Purchase
I really love the Interstellar Bride books. This one has Natalie, a human, and a poor little rich girl where money does not by happiness. As a matter of face it is lonely, even feeling like a side thought of her parents, just not important. It is time to move on from all of this and her gross ex fiance. Enter thr bride program and her new mate, Roark. Roark new his one true mate was out there. and now she was here. One night of pssion and falling in love was all it took. Except for the interruption of a battle that left Roark taken hostage and Natalie sent back to earth for her saftey. I loved their story and how the writing follows both characternthrough the different time changes and their thoughts one what next? Loved the HEA
Mariah O
5.0 out of 5 stars Emotional Rollercoaster
Reviewed in the United States on June 29, 2018Verified Purchase
I don’t even know what to say, the emotions ran so high and deep my heart ached with both love and despair. Both feelings were felt deeply, sharply. She finds her mate, her home, her love... And loses him in a battle. Both think the other is dead and both struggle under the weight of the thought. As the book stretched out my fear that this might not end well was an acrid taste in my tongue but author Goodwin deals in happily ever after and I did get mine, tearfully so. She's such an amazing writer! You definitely will not be disappointed with this book.

Sealord (Alpha Lords Book 6)

She will be claimed and bred, but first she must be tamed.

There may be affiliate links in this post. As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a small commission from qualifying purchases.

Only one thing could have awakened Kellan from long centuries of sleep. The scent of his mate.

Míorúilt has the blood of dragons in her veins and taming her will be no easy task, but Kellan wouldn’t want it to be. While he slumbered he dreamed of how sternly and shamefully he will punish her defiance and how thoroughly he will claim and ravage her beautiful virgin body.

Now it is time.


Mom12
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Dragon story
Reviewed in the United States on August 10, 2020 Verified Purchase
This was the second book in the series, staring the second Dragon to awaken, Kellan and M (I can't remember how to spell her complicated name). I really liked how the story centered on women pushing back against being forced to marry and do what the men want them to do. Unfortunately, there is genetics and traditions, and Kellan has decided to teach M what it's like to be a female dragon. The other women are super strong and loved their varied ways of dealing with the upheaval of being forced to leave their home. There was an interesting bit revealed that might complicate the relationship between Kellan and M.
Patricia Hoffstaetter
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding
Reviewed in the United States on June 1, 2020
I really enjoyed reading this outstanding, dark dragon shifter romance & it can be read as a standalone. It has a well-paced, strong plot filled with some unexpected situations & it certainly grabbed my attention within the first few pages & kept it until the end. The characters are strong-willed individuals with unique personalities that display a determination to succeed although the female character portrays realistic defiance & tries to avoid an inevitable future. There is good support from the secondary characters.
It is about: the second male dragon shifter & Lord of the Sea (Kellan) has finally awaken from his slumber with one thought in his mind & that is to claim his mate (Miorúilt) of whom he has been dreaming about but she is not too keen about this idea.
There is: dragon shifters, friendship, fated mates, action, adventure, twists & turns, intrigue, suspense, drama, tragedy, sanctuary, dreams, determination, confrontations, manipulations, defiance, threats, coercion, some dubious/non-consensual scenes, emotional turmoil, discipline, spankings, steamy scenes, contentment & a very interesting ending that is paving the way for the next book in the series. I enjoyed read this dark dragon shifter romance & would recommend it to people who enjoy reading this genre. I sincerely doubt that you would be disappointed.
“I received a complimentary copy, and this is my honest & voluntary opinion”

Sue B
5.0 out of 5 stars This is another wonderful addition, dragon raised from their deep sleep
Reviewed in the United States on May 31, 2020
Mioruilt is a young woman that has grown up working on the land she is a special sort that is absolutely full of attitude and life and she is not in anyway aware that she is actually the last female dragon until one day she finds herself quite literally in a collision course with a dragon.
Kellan is Lord Of The Seas and he has recently waken from a sleep that had been induced by a wizard, during his time sleeping he recalls that he had dreamed of a female who he had never seen before and yet he knew in his heart she was special to him.
This was a simply splendid read and I know that you will not be disappointed, it is a wonderful addition to the previous story and I am sure like me you will be left waiting for the next book.
You will be totally blown away, something that Delta James has become extremely proficient at…..
I voluntarily received and review an Advanced Reader Copy
I thoroughly enjoyed the book and look forward to reading any future publications; keep up all the great writing.
CWJ
5.0 out of 5 stars Kellan Awakes
Reviewed in the United States on May 29, 2020 Verified Purchase
Míorúilt. is the farm girl who isn't aware she's the last female dragon until fate takes a hand and puts her on a collision course (in the air) with Kellan, Lord of The Seas - the next of the elemental dragons to wake from the long sleep. Marvelous second story in the series with what we usually expect from Delta - strong hero, kick-ass heroine, great action and steamy in all the right places. Can be read alone but Delta's books are like potato chips - you can't read just one.

Aloha Shifters: Jewels of the Heart Book 2: Lure of the Wolf

She can’t remember her past. He wishes he could forget his.

There may be affiliate links in this post. As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a small commission from qualifying purchases.

Nina only has the vaguest memories of who she is or why two men tried to kill her one terrifying night. All she knows is how quickly she’s falling in love with her rescuer — a man with secrets of his own. With her, he’s kind, gentle, and fun — but there’s a ferocious, animal side to Boone and the group of Special Forces vets he shares an exclusive seaside estate with. Can Boone help her uncover the past before the killers catch up with her? Or will an unexpected twist of fate steal her only chance at true love?

If fate were to come knocking on the door of Boone Hawthorne’s beach bungalow, he’d shove it right back into the sea — especially if it started whispering any nonsense about destined mates. But one night, a woman washes up on his private stretch of beach. Before the wolf shifter knows it, he’s breaking every personal rule for her and making promises he’s not sure he can keep. Investigating Nina’s past means crossing paths with a powerful archenemy, cutthroat criminals, and a ruthlessly selfish ex-lover who will stop at nothing to get Boone back in her bed. Can he solve the mystery of Nina’s identity while protecting her — without risking his own heart?


R Hartweg
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great story by Anna Lowe - this one is suspenseful!
Reviewed in the United States on August 20, 2020
I'm currently reading the Aloha Shifters: Jewels of the Heart series and am 3 books in. I love that, in what is a first for me, the human part of the soul and the shifter part actually communicate with each other. Not in paragraphs or anything but an observation here (usually quite funny), a fussing at there. I enjoy it a lot.

While the outline for the stories seem to be based rather similarly, and therefore it is quite predictable, she does separate the backgrounds of the men and women and their struggles, so that's where the originality comes in. In this story the suspense was well done and kept me turning pages. I became invested in Boone and Nina.

This is a fun series and I enjoy the different shifter types. Can't wait to see what's next.

Kim
5.0 out of 5 stars Nina finds her Wolf
Reviewed in the United States on May 12, 2017 Verified Purchase
Lure of the Wolf was dramatic suspense from the start. Nina is at Boone's feet and his mercy. As the story progresses, Nina needs to recall who she is and what happened. Boone has to keep his heart from being played again. Boone's buddies have two rules and having Nina at the estate violates both of them. While Silas is away, Hunter and Cruz help both of them. But then things spiral out of control and the mayhem could be the end for all of them. The book kept everything moving just like the pieces of Nina's memory. The ending was very worthy of Boone & Nina.

As a side note, it was really cute to have the little icons before each chapter to represent who the chapter's viewpoint was going to be from. There was also a total teaser for setting up Hunter's story. While the second in the Aloha Shifters series, it can be read as a stand-alone without missing out from anything in the first.
RetiredHsMom
5.0 out of 5 stars This sequel makes me really want to visit Hawaii!
Reviewed in the United States on June 15, 2017 Verified Purchase
Overall: 5 stars
Performance: 4 stars
Story: 5 stars

I am a fan of Ms. Lowe’s stories and have read/listened to several of her books. I love how she weaves the story elements together and makes it easy to picture the characters, locations and emotions. In fact, she did such a fantastic job of describing the location that I am wishing I could visit Maui this summer instead of sometime in the distant future.

The narrator, Ms. Osbourne, did well with the various characters voices and emotions. This is the 4th or 5th story I’ve listened to her narrate and I have truly come to enjoy her narration style.

While the story does start off with the age-old trope of amnesia, I didn’t find it as annoying as I generally do. I think it was executed well and was easy to believe. The other elements of the story were well done too. I loved mystery of who was trying to harm Nina and why.

I loved how Boone and Nina clicked with one another. Granted it was insta-lust & insta-love, but that’s a typical shifter trope, but like the amnesia it was well executed. The characters actually considered why the loved one another.

The supporting cast was great as well. I am definitely looking forward to reading/listening to Hunter and Dawn’s story. I love those two characters! Books 1 and 2 of this series have set their story up well. It’s going to be interesting since they characters are not strangers, but have been dancing around their attraction for quite some time. Oh, and I’m looking forward to Cruz’s story in book 4. I like the growly tiger.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of the audible version of the book.
Terry
5.0 out of 5 stars Money can't buy you love
Reviewed in the United States on May 11, 2017 Verified Purchase
This book started out the gate with spunk. Nina was thrown overboard and left for dead. She didn't know how she made it to shore or where she was. She passes out. The next minute she looks up and was enthralled by this handsome stranger whose at first glance eyes glowed indigo. What luck did Boone had to have his mate wash up on his piece of paradise. Only problem she doesn't remember much. She has a case of amnesia. But Boone will protect her. Keep her safe. Of course Silas wants of none of this. Drop her off to the police. But Boone has other plans. They take a drive just the two of them on his Harley Davidson motorcycle to see if they can jar her memory. She come across a spot and things come to her but she still doesn't understand why. They come upon a ritzy fa- tooty resort. There people recognize her. They are escorted to her penthouse suite. The room is ransacked. She gets her stuff. And they precede downstairs once Boone calls for backup . Once Cruz and Hunter arrive they whisked Nina away. Downstairs Boone is accosted by his nemesis Kramer who's a mercenary and ex-lover Tamara. The guys rush Nina away while Boone stayed back. Then that's when the fun began....menagerie being offered, kidnappings, shifters being found out, new jewels awakening, mate's being found out about(more than one set)...you really need to get the book. Waiting for book 3 Hunters book. Oh yeah she was left 50 million dollars.

The Science of Good Cooking

Master 50 Simple Concepts to Enjoy a Lifetime of Success in the Kitchen (Cook’s Illustrated Cookbooks) 

Unlock a lifetime of successful cooking with this groundbreaking new volume from the editors of Cook’s Illustrated, the magazine that put food science on the map. Organized around 50 core principles our test cooks use to develop foolproof recipes, The Science of Good Cooking is a radical new approach to teaching the fundamentals of the kitchen. Fifty unique experiments from the test kitchen bring the science to life, and more than 400 landmark Cook’s Illustrated recipes (such as Old-Fashioned Burgers, Classic Mashed Potatoes, and Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies) illustrate each of the basic principles at work. These experiments range from simple to playful to innovative – showing you why you should fold (versus stir) batter for chewy brownies, why you whip egg whites with sugar, and why the simple addition of salt can make meat juicy. A lifetime of experience isn’t the prerequisite for becoming a good cook; knowledge is. Think of this as an owner’s manual for your kitchen.

Let me start with my humble opinion, you are going to love this book! After my hubby bought this book for me, we both took a quick look through it. Just that quick I found a recipe for shrimp that has become my “go to” for a quick weeknight meal. If you’ve never been able to get a pie crust to come out right, try the Foolproof Pie Crust in the back of the book. I tell you, it works for both myself and my friends. What makes for interesting reading is the explanation of “Why” it works.


Pokin
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-read to improve the results of your food!
Reviewed in the United States on September 22, 2012 Verified Purchase
Having relied on Cooks Illustrated recommendations for many of my favourite kitchen tools, buying this book was a no brainer. Needless to say I had high expectations going in, and this book did not disappoint.

I'm an avid cook, and while I've had great success with certain types of food, I've been frustrated by inconsistent results in others. (I can't seem to get a consistently moist pot-roast -- reason: my cooking temperature was probably too high; wrong cut of meat + oven braising is better than stovetop since it heats more evenly in more directions)

The Science of Good Cooking breaks down why food cooks a certain way, and which techniques are best for what purpose. The book is organized into 50 concepts with recipes reinforcing each concept. There's a section called "why this works" following each recipe, which breaks down the science behind each step -- for instance why use a certain type of marinade, cooking technique, take extra steps, etc to achieve a desired outcome. It's nice that it's not just a list of recipes.

Experiments back each concept. Meats were weighed, measured, smashed to determine tenderness, and moisture loss. They came up with a range of ideal resting times for various meats based on actually measuring the amount of juices lost at various times, and they sent food to the science lab to analyze their structure. They even stuck bones on mashed potatoes to test out whether keeping bones on makes food taste better. This book debunked some assumptions I had (acid does not actually make food more tender), and helped me understand other ones better - why salt directly applied on skin makes it more crispy, but if you brined the skin you'd get a different outcome. I also learned that the direction you cut your onion affects its taste - obvious in retrospect, but I never thought about that!

I was disappointed I couldn't see a table of contents before purchase, so here are the 50 concepts you will find within the book -

1. Gentle Heat Prevents Overcooking
2. High Heat Develops Flavor
3. Resting Meat Maximizes Juiciness
4. Hot Food Keeps Cooking
5. Some Proteins Are Best Cooked Twice
6. Slow Heating Makes Meat Tender
7. Cook Tough Cuts Beyond Well Done
8. Tough Cuts Like a Covered Pot
9. A Covered Pot Doesn't Need Liquid
10. Bones Add Flavor, Fat, and Juiciness
11. Brining Maximizes Juiciness in Lean Meats
12. Salt Makes Meat Juicy and Skin Crisp
13. Salty Marinades work best
14. Grind Meat at Home for Tender Burgers
15. A Panade Keeps Ground Meat Tender
16. Create Layers for a Breading That Sticks
17. Good Frying is All About Oil Temperature
18. Fat Makes Eggs Tender
19. Gentle Heat Guarantees Smooth Custards
20. Starch Keeps Eggs from Curdling
21. Whipped Egg Whites Need Stabilizers
22. Starch Helps Cheese Melt Nicely
23. Salting Vegetables Removes Liquid
24. Green Vegetables Like it Hot -- Then Cold
25. All Potatoes Are Not Created Equal
26. Potato Starches Can Be Controlled
27. Precooking Makes Vegetables Firmer
28. Don't Soak Beans -- Brine 'Em
29. Baking Soda Makes Beans and Grains Soft
30. Rinsing (Not Soaking) Makes Rice Fluffy
31. Slicing Changes Garlic and Onion Flavor
32. Chile Heat Resides in Pith and Seeds
33. Bloom Spices to Boost Their Flavor
34. Not All Herbs Are for Cooking
35. Glutamates, Nucleotides Add Meaty Flavor
36. Emulsifiers Make Smooth Sauces
37. Speed Evaporation When Cooking Wine
38. More Water Makes Chewier Bread
39. Rest Dough to Trim Kneading Time
40. Time Builds Flavor in Bread
41. Gentle Folding Stops Tough Quick Breads
42. Two Leaveners Are Often Better Than One
43. Layers of Butter Makes Flaky Pastry
44. Vodka Makes Pie Dough Easy
45. Less Protein Makes Tender Cakes, Cookies
46. Creaming Butter Helps Cakes Rise
47. Reverse Cream for Delicate Cakes
48. Sugar Changes Texture (and Sweetness)
49. Sugar and Time Makes Fruit Juicer
50. Cocoa Powder Delivers Big Flavor

The only thing I would have loved was a trouble shooting / Q&A section - e.g. How do you keep meat from cooling too much when you rest it?

Overall a great book if you want to improve your cooking technique, and also if you just want to learn more about why things behave the way they do!

Update: Looks like "Look inside" is now available for this book so there's finally a table of contents! 🙂 Since I've been cooking with the new concepts in mind, I'm happy with how my meat dishes (especially the stews) are turning out. I also tried using vodka instead of water to make pie crust (with the tip of putting a heated pan under the pie pan) and the pie crust turned out flaky and delicious as promised.

Maggie S
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Reference
Reviewed in the United States on December 13, 2016 Verified Purchase
I have four shelves of cookbooks in my kitchen with classics such as Julia Child's originals all the way to glossy offerings from 3-star Michelin restaurants. Despite this, one can be an excellent cook using only two cookbooks: "Cooks Science" and the "Joy of Cooking". Cooks Science is comprehensive and the discussions help make you a better more informed cook than the usual recipe-oriented fare. I give it four and not five stars only because some of the recipes seem to be "tacked onto" the broader technical discussions rather than drawing upon them. For example, a discussion about the importance of slow cooking pork is followed by several recipes that seem to ignore that counsel. It's not an exhaustive cookbook like Joy of Cooking, but does offer recipes in most areas and manages to hit most of the biggies. Still, these seem to be a minor quibbles with an othewise excellent text.

J. Boyd
5.0 out of 5 stars Choose your own adventure -- Excellence in Ebook format!
Reviewed in the United States on April 11, 2014 Verified Purchase
This is a fantastic cookbook. It's also a wonderfully entertaining education on the hows and whys - the science - of cooking. Every recipe I've tried has turned out well - and has taught me something. I own a hard-cover copy, and it has a place of honor on my kitchen bookshelf.

Then I bought the Kindle edition. Whoever formatted this book for Kindle has done a superlative job. The formatting actually enhances the reading experience.

For example - you are reading an early chapter entitled The Science of the Senses. In the first section (The Five Tastes) there's an interesting discussion of the fifth "taste," umami flavor. You can just read this and go on to the next section on How Taste Works. Or, if you want to understand umami a little more, you can follow the links in that first section to an in-depth discussion of glutamate and nucleotide levels in foods. This is Concept 35 - a section that is more than half-way through the book and yet meshes perfectly with what you read in that introductory chapter. The Concept ends with three recipes specifically engineered to show the best use of glutamate and nucleotides to produce rich meaty flavors -- AND with links to two additional recipes from yet another section of the book that also illustrate techniques associated with enhancing meaty flavors. It's a seamless reading experience that has you wandering through all different parts of this book.

When I first did this, I became a little alarmed. How was I ever going to find the recipes again? Have no fear. There is a complete and interactive table of contents. You can readily navigate to each of the "Science of.." chapters, or pick out one of the 50 Concepts and go directly there. In addition, there is a specific page of links that just lists all the recipes. So if you want to cook - hey, it works as a cookbook!

The Ebook version of The Science of Good Cooking reminds me of those "Choose your Own Adventure" stories - each time you dip in, you can follow a different path through. Kudos to the editors at America's Test Kitchen.

Edited to add:
The images in the book were clear, dark enough, and large enough be viewed very easily on my Kindle paperwhite. Tables were always correctly formatted, and fit the pages. The whole thing looked amazingly NICE and professional. Would that other ebooks looked so good!
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Golden Fire Clan (Dragon Guard Series Book 7): Fighting For Her Dragon

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There Are No Coincidences….
Given a fairy tale life by the clan of dragon shifters that rescued her as a little girl, Emma Sinclair long ago accepted she might never solve the mystery of her heritage. Of course, that was before she could feel the traitor’s pain, before she knew he was slipping away. And before the unthinkable happened… he called to her in the language of his kin.

The Universe Does Not Make Mistakes…
Captured by his brothers. Imprisoned in a cave. Bound in silver chains. Andrew knew his days were numbered. He accepted his fate. Knew he was getting what he deserved. Hallucinations of his long dead parents were his only solace in the debris of a wasted life. Then the daffodils entered his prison. The fragrance stirred visions of expressive brown eyes, a smile that rivaled the sun and a voice that was a balm to his tattered soul. He clung to the memory of her. She became his lifeline…his only hope of survival…

Fate Will Not Be Denied…
One doomed dragon. One very special woman. One destiny no one could have predicted. Will they save dragon kin or destroy it?

Goddess of Chaos
VINE VOICE
4.0 out of 5 stars Emma and Andrew get their stories... all in one.
Reviewed in the United States on March 11, 2020 Verified Purchase
The magic in this story is that instead of pieces clicking in to place for the characters, they click into place for the readers. Threads from the previous 6 books in the serious weave together as a prophecy is finally properly translated and understood, and as readers, we discover if we have correctly been solving mysteries as the series was unfolding... guessing who aligned with what, and if we were following the bread crumbs the author as been placing for us all along.

This is less about a redemption for Andrew or his finding forgiveness (within himself, or from others) than it is about being reminded that a single person can be an amazing influence on us -- can motivate us to be our best selves, to strive towards the light, and turn our back on our worst impulses.

As much as it concludes the overarching arc that has been building up to this point, it does not actually feel like it concludes Andrew's story -- it gets him back to his kin, but he is still traveling a path that could be interesting, and knowing there are more books in the series, I can not help but wonder if his path is touched on in future stories.

Ashley Taylor
5.0 out of 5 stars ANOTHER AMAZING BOOK!!!!
Reviewed in the United States on April 26, 2015 Verified Purchase
I was honored enough to be a Beta for this book and it was AMAZING! yes, it is very different from the last 6, but in a good way in my opinion. It is a more emotional read, but it does also give you a sense of satisfaction and completion at the end of it while still making you excited for what's to come. I really enjoyed seeing someone who's been the villain for soo long be thrown for a loop and being forced to re-evaluate the way we look and feel about Andrew. It was a book that I could NOT put down, it was a relatively quick read, but that's the same with the others in the series, and while they may be a quick read they still give an amazing story, and this one is no different.

Charlene Cain
5.0 out of 5 stars A Jewel Of An Author - A Gem Of A Tale
Reviewed in the United States on April 27, 2015 Verified Purchase
Julia Mills' powerful latest novel in the Dragon Guard series provoked laughter and copious tears from me. Part of an ongoing series that stands as a separate story, the book showcases the author's ever increasing talent at word craft. Julia, whose middle initial is "R", is truly a "jeweler". She's taken the gem of an idea and built it into the story of a traitor and the only woman who can redeem him.

Snared by the enemy who cruelly tricked his brother into believing him dead, Andrew was held for years before convincing his captors that he wanted revenge against the Dragon Guard for abandoning him. Andrew became adept at black magic and pushed his dragon deep inside as he strived toward that goal. When his brother dragons catch up to him, he unbelievably senses his mate in distress within the clan. It seems her life is tied to his, and the fate of the clans just might be, too.

Read this book, and you'll race to read them all...
Mandy Parmenter
4.0 out of 5 stars Great dragon shifter story
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 19, 2019Verified Purchase
Emma Sinclair currently works as the jeweller at the lair, but her heritage is unknown and she long ago accepted that it would stay that way. Then she realised that she could feel the pain being experienced by "the Traitor" and he was calling to her in the language of his kin. Andrew's brothers have captured him and he is bound in silver in a cave. He knows this is exactly what he deserves after the way he has behaved in the past and only hallucinations of his long-dead parents are able to give him solace. However, he detects the scent of salt, sun and fresh air and all he can see and think of are brown eyes and a smile that acts as a balm to his tattered soul. Only the memory of this woman is both his solace and lifeline. Can they both come out of this situation or are them both lost for all time?

I loved this story which was both dramatic and emotional all at the same time. It was great to watch Andrew care much more for someone else which moved him out of his selfish and feeling sorry for himself mode. I could feel and sense all of the thoughts and emotions of the characters involved and was thrilled with the surprises at the end of this story.

The Sunday Post #21-9

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer. A post to recap the past week, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up for the week on our blog.

Covid Vaccine

After seeing shots like this one on our local station, I wasn’t too sure about the whole process. Some of these folks waited for over 3 hours in their car even with an appointment!

But when the VA texted my husband on Tuesday offering vaccination shots, we jumped at the chance. And wow, what a difference. As we came on the VA campus we noticed that there was a separate lane designated for Covid appointments. Following the signs brought us to a separate temperate check tent. From there, we were directed to follow a path that led us back to the parking garage. The ground floor was set up with 10 or so small areas where 8 people at a time could be accommodated with social distancing.

Each area was identified by a service and a number. After looking around, this was just a handy way to identify where to go. There was a nurse and one other person there. We happened to have a doctor we knew as the second person. I can’t say for certain that each area had a doctor, but they might have.

They gathered your information and set up the appointment for the next shot right away. After you were given your vaccination, a small time was set for 15 min. This way they could keep tabs on you to make sure you were okay before leaving. We were sent on our way with a vaccination card and a monitoring record. If you had any side effects, you were to write it down and bring the sheet back with you for your next shot. We were done in about 30 min.

Now, when we arrived there, no line existed for parking. But by the time we left, a line had formed and was starting to wrap around the block. Hopefully, those folks didn’t have to wait very long. All in all, it turned out to be a pleasant experience!

Weekly Cup of Coco

This is the look I get when Coco wants a walk. She is so adorable when she prances around trying to get me to hurry up!

Wolves of Willow Bend Book 7.5: Single Wicked Wolf

He’s single, wicked, and a perfect pretend boyfriend…but exactly who is she fooling?

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Murphy DeWitt enjoyed two years touring American consulates in Europe as an assistant to a diplomatic attaché. It was a dream come true, and a hell of a learning experience. A master of languages, she knows how to get her point across. Romance, however, proves to be a tongue twister. Now enroute to Willow Bend for a friend’s wedding—without the make-believe boyfriend she created for her family—she debates how to confess her deception. Luckily, her flight includes a fantastically hot wolf that leaves her breathless and contemplating all kinds of naughty things.

Giovanni Conti thrives on protecting others. As a Centurion for the Seven Hills pack in Italy, it’s his pleasure to serve his Alpha wherever he is needed. Dispatched ahead in preparation for the Alpha pair’s trip to Willow Bend, he has no problem entertaining the sexy wolf he encounters in the airport. The last thing the playboy wolf expects, however, is to find in Murphy the most captivating chase of his life…


Colorado Avid Reader
5.0 out of 5 stars The shifter who knows ten languages also speaks the language of love
Reviewed in the United States on May 8, 2017 Verified Purchase
A cute story of chase and catch. Murphy meets Giovanni as she's ready to board a plane for home after years abroad. It really wasn't a chance meeting. One whiff of her scent and he stalked her through the airport. In no time at all he knew she was meant for him and it was just a matter of convincing her. He took a great path doing that by treating her with respect, caring, love and protection. And she loved it! And him! What a joyful read with a happy ending.

Carol LaGatta
5.0 out of 5 stars A Steamy Hot Romance With Lots of Laughter and Fun!
Reviewed in the United States on April 9, 2017
I love the Wolves of Willow Bend. They captured my heart with the first book and each book gets better and better.

What do you get when you take a Willow Bend Wolf and a Seven Hills Centurion?

You get a steamy hot romance filled with laughter and fun.

Murphy DeWitt is returning to Willow Bend after two years of traveling the globe as a diplomatic interpreter. She is looking forward to being home except for one little thing. She told her mother she had a wolf boyfriend to get her to stop pushing on the whole marriage/mating thing. Not that she is against it, after all she was going to be a bridesmaid in her friend Shiloh's wedding in a couple of days.

Giovanni is traveling to Willow Bend in advance of his Alpha Salvatore and his mate Margo to ensure security for them as they attend her brother Matt's wedding. When he smells a female wolf at the airport when he passes through security, he is intrigued and manages to place himself in her way.
Murphy literally runs into Giovanni, and thus begins an interesting relationship.

With their flight fortuitously delayed, he convinces Murphy to join him for a meal. However it is a lot more than just a meal he has in mind. In his dominant wolf way he changes her flight to first class, orders up the meal and arranges a shower for her at the First Class Lounge Spa. A shower she and her wolf decide to let him share, but not before she determines it has nothing to do with politics or their packs. Talk about a hot, steamy shower, this one raises the heat to a whole new level.

During their flight Giovanni also books a hotel and rents a car for the two of them to travel from Chicago to Willow Bend. Protective much?

The interactions between Mason and Murphy are hysterical, as are the reactions of all the key players.

This was a thoroughly enjoyable read, no angst, no drama, just pure sexy fun!

Sher629
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book
Reviewed in the United States on July 18, 2017 Verified Purchase
I found Heather Long from bookbub.com. Sooooo happy I found her and this series. I'm looking forward to reading all her other series’.

Interstellar Brides Program Book 8: Mated to the Vikens

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As an art dealer in New York, Sophia Antonelli’s worked hard to build her business, but fate forces her to make a deal with organized crime. When things go wrong, she takes the fall and is offered a choice: twenty-five years in jail or the Interstellar Bride Program. The choice is easy and Sophia is shocked to learn she’s mated to not one, but three Viken warriors.

After ten years fighting the Hive, Gunnar, Erik and Rolf are now the Kings’ guards at Viken United. Bowing to the new Queen’s wishes, they agree to share an Interstellar Bride. It should be an easy task since she’s matched to three of them, all battle hardened warriors. But none can save her from being kidnapped during transport. 

Accidentally mixed up in an evil organization’s plot to assassinate the Viken Queen, Sophia refuses to back down, even with her mates standing protectively in the way. After her experience on Earth, she’s not about to let anyone ruin her new life. Sophia will risk everything to expose her enemy, but when it comes to their new bride, her three Viken mates will do whatever it takes to eliminate the threat and keep her…forever.


Jo Ann Hines

5.0 out of 5 stars 25 years in prison or the interstellar bride program?!
Reviewed in the United States on December 11, 2016 Verified Purchase
When Sophia's needs the money to help her mothers medical bills she went to the mob. In exchange for the money Sophia helps transport money, diamonds, and arms. However, when her mom dies she thinks she would be cut loose, but she was wrong. Knowing the Feds are catching up the mob throws her to the wolves. Now her choice is 25 years in prison or interstellar bride program... choosing the bride program Sophia gets matched to 3 mates. She is kidnapped by mistake,escapes, united with her mates, and goes after the bad guy...she might be only 5'2" and petite but she is a wild courageous woman who has had enough of being taken advantage of!

MDGirl224

5.0 out of 5 stars Love this series!
Reviewed in the United States on December 11, 2016Verified Purchase
I have read all the books in this series and have never been disappointed. This is the 8th one in the series and with an Earth woman becoming the interstellar bride to three Viken warriors. The characters are well developed and the story line exciting. You don't have to have read the previous books but it would definitely increase your enjoyment if you do. This book has a courageous heroine and three hot Heroes along with an intriguing fight against a group of unknown bad guys trying to take over a world that only recently came together as one. Although the story of Sophia and her three mates is resolved in this book, I am eagerly awaiting the next ones to see what happens next! You've got to read this series!! Definite 5 stars 👍👍👍👍👍!
themadhag4.0 out of 5 stars The Series is Good Summer Fair!
Reviewed in the United States on July 27, 2017Verified Purchase
Light fair but they held my attention. Unlike so many of these novellas, the female characters are not aggressively stupid. They may veer to the to the "I don't know what he's thinking" side now and again but they come back from the dark side when it counts. These dominant males are more than just hot meat. I enjoyed learning about the Interstellar war with the Hive. The warriors that fight against the HIve are larger than life and the ones that get the brides and more than one dimensional. I have read the entire series and only once or twice was disappointed

Ann Shannon

5.0 out of 5 stars A great read
Reviewed in the United States on April 19, 2018Verified Purchase
Okay, if you've read any of my reviews, you know I love the Interstellar Brides series. I've read them all at this point and can't wait for more.

This one was a little different from the previous books in this series. It was a nice change up. It revisits the Vikens introduced in Book 3. Sophia's been matched to not one or two mates, but three and on top of that, someone doesn't want her to meet them.

There was, in my opinion, more mystery and tension in this book than in some of the others. It had me biting my nails to the end. My mantra was- this is an HEA, this is an HEA.
That being said, I don't think the others are missing anything without the added mystery and tension. It was just a nice change.