Book Talk Tuesday: Still Yours

I’m enjoying this New Adult Series written by Amy Patrick (Disclaimer: Amy is a 2014 Golden Heart (R) sister and I love her, so of course I love her books. But check out some of her amazing reviews on Amazon and you’ll know I’m not that biased).

Still Yours by Amy Patrick
Still Yours by Amy Patrick

In STILL YOURS, Mara has come back to Rhode Island after college and her first job. Her mom is sinking into depression and Mara wants to help. She gets a new job at a local television station. Things should be fine. Except she’s assigned a story to cover and it’s her high school love whom she left behind without explanation after graduation.

Reid is now a rich internet tycoon, thanks to his website, Still Yours, where people search for lost loves.

As Reid and Mara get to know each other as adults, Mara is also dealing with her depressed mother and her contrite father who wants to reconcile with his family.

Amy’s writing is crisp and fun. Mara and Reid are likeable and realistic.

I’m reading this series out of order. My TBR file on my Kindle is so big, I’ve decided to just start reading down the list. So this one popped up first and I read it. But STILL YOURS also stands on its own. It’s a fun read and I’m looking forward to the next one that makes its way to the top of my pile.

I highly recommend it! And not just for the new adults in your life. It’s a good solid romance for anyone who loves good romantic stories.

Food Talk Friday: Tommy Bahama

Yes, you read that right. This is Food Talk Friday and I’m talking about Tommy Bahama.

Until 2009, I didn’t know that some Tommy Bahama stores also have a restaurant attached. Two girlfriends and I stumbled on the Tommy Bahama restaurant in Wailea one afternoon while killing time waiting for our men to finish golf so we could go to dinner.

Tommy Bahama restaurant, Wailea, Maui
Tommy Bahama restaurant, Wailea, Maui

We were done spa-ing and shopping, and they had a vacant booth so we slipped in, shared a few appetizers, had a mai tai and then were in a good frame of mind for our delayed dinner.

Then, in 2012, we received a gift certificate to Tommy Bahama from one of the other couples, with the caveat that we use it in the Wailea restaurant. We visited the island in 2013, but couldn’t make it over there. We tried a couple of times, but circumstances (timing, no reservation, long wait for a table) prevented us.

We tried again last month, and finally — success!

I had learned my lesson, so this time we had a reservation. We were led immediately to a table on the lanai, by the musician. At first I was skeptical about being so close to him, but the volume was fine and the music was excellent. I’m sorry, I didn’t get his name.

We shared the grilled artichoke appetizer and it was amazing! It was char-grilled but what caught our eye (and taste buds) was that it had a Herbes de Provence marinade. And since Stud Muffin recently did a culinary exchange (“I’ll give you two Herbes de Provence for two Five Spice. And I’ll see you–never mind.”) It also came with a lemon-tarragon aioli. The whole thing was scrumptious.

For dinner, Stud Muffin had the Jerk Pork Tenderloin. There was no skimping on this portion. Five or six slices of pork tenderloin on a sweet potato mofongo with a pineapple rum sauce and mango salsa. The pork was tender and not over-cooked. Stud Muffin had an Argyle Pinot Noir with it and it paired so perfectly, he ordered a second glass (something he never does when we’re out — and no worries, we walked to dinner from our condo).

I had the crab stuffed shrimp. The stuffing was sweet with crab, but not cloying. I ordered it because a) I love seafood and especially shrimp and b) it reminded me of a special date when Stud Muffin and I were newly engaged. We went to a seafood restaurant and I had stuffed shrimp that were amazing and I wanted to see if these would hold up to the comparison. They … held their own. The first stuffed shrimp was thirty-eight years ago, so I’m sure nothing would hold up to my memory, but if any stuffed shrimp could come close, it was Tommy Bahama’s.

We enjoyed our dinner so much that Stud Muffin asked if the chef could come out so we could talk to him. A few minutes later, a harried and stained young man made his way to our table. I’m sure he didn’t want to take time to talk to a couple of tourists, but when he saw that we “got” the food, he slowed down and chatted for a minute. He was gratified to hear the Argyle went so well with the pork tenderloin.

Like last week’s post about Monkeypod Kitchen, this dinner wasn’t cheap.

Unlike last week’s post about Monkeypod Kitchen, dinner at Tommy Bahama was worth every penny.

If we’re fortunate enough to visit Maui again, we will be returning to Tommy Bahama.

Word to the wise though: RESERVATIONS!

Spotlight Thursday: Jessica Ruddick and Letting Go

I’m so pleased to shine Thursday’s spotlight on my friend and fellow Golden Heart ® sister Jessica Ruddick.

Jessica cropped

 

 

Jessica’s book LETTING GO will release in May, and we get to see the cover today!!

 

 

 

Here’s the scoop:

Letting Go

by Jessica Ruddick

Release Date: 5/26/15

Blurb:

How long do you hold on?

Cori Elliott likes order. Her schedule, her social life…even her GPA is perfect. Then she finds out her high school boyfriend’s death wasn’t an accident—it was suicide. The devastating revelation is enough to fracture her perfectly structured life, sending Cori in a downward spiral of self-doubt and impulsive decisions.

And right into the arms of Luke Evans.

But Cori’s life isn’t perfect anymore. In fact, it’s all coming apart. The only way she can save herself is to let go of everything—including the girl she used to be. Even if it means losing the one guy who might just be perfect for her in the process…

Add to Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23302058-letting-go?from_search=true

About the Author:

Jessica Ruddick is a 2014 Golden Heart finalist for her new adult novel, Letting Go, which was inspired by her own college experiences. She lives in Virginia and is married to her college sweetheart—their first date was a fraternity toga party (and nothing inspires love like a toga, right?). When she doesn’t have her nose in a book or her hands on a keyboard, she can be found wrangling her two rambunctious sons, taming two rowdy but lovable rescue dogs, and battling the herd of dust bunnies that has taken up residence in her home. To learn more about Jessica, please visit her website at www.jessicaruddick.com.

Author Links:

WebsiteTwitterFacebookGoodreads

And now for the cover …

LettingGo_1600

Isn’t it beautiful?

Congratulations, Jessica! I can’t wait to read it.

Book Talk Tuesday: Always on My Mind

I’m already dreading when this series ends. I love the Christiansen family, Deep Haven, and Susan May Warren’s writing.

Always on My Mind
Always on My Mind

ALWAYS ON MY MIND is Casper and Raina’s story. We met them in WHEN I FALL IN LOVE. At the end of that book, when Casper discovered Raina had a one-night stand with his brother, Owen, Casper fled for Roatan in Honduras and a job on an archaeological dig.

He’s come back with a clearer head, ready to forgive Raina and move on. He’s hoping she can forgive him for his reaction and perhaps they can begin again. That would be great except he doesn’t know one thing: Raina’s pregnant.

Raina has decided to give the baby up for adoption. She’s in no condition to care for a child and Owen has made it clear he’s not interested in being anything except a flake, a jerk, and maybe a fire-fighter.

In spite of the shock of finding Raina’s secret, Casper is still drawn to her. He moves back to Deep Haven to help at the family resort. Raina also moves back to town to house sit for her aunt and to make a new start on her life. But her heart won’t let her forget the baby she gave up.

Raina gets a job and begins dating a man Casper dislikes. But a local mystery keeps drawing Raina and Casper together, making Raina’s new boyfriend surly.

ALWAYS ON MY MIND is a story of forgiveness and grace. It’s also about how our pasts have shaped us into the people we are now. It’s about rejecting what we think we deserve and embracing all we’ve been given by God: salvation, redemption, joy.

I loved this one and highly recommend it.

Food Talk Friday: Monkeypod Kitchen

Another Maui restaurant. I had great hopes for this one. The menu was fun and different. It looked like the perfect lunch place for a couple of California foodies.

The lanai at Monkeypod Kitchen
The lanai at Monkeypod Kitchen, Wailea

The food was good. Just not … exceptional.

The prices were high.

The service was acceptable.

The ambience was a bit self-consciously hip, but nice.

I had fish taco which were actually very good. I ate two, and took the third home to a daughter who hadn’t had a fish taco on the island yet and I knew she wanted one. They weren’t overly generous, because I was still hungry after the first two and Daughter is lucky the third make it back to her. I had their Mai Tai which was excellent. They boast about their handcrafted cocktails and with good reason. It was full of light juice flavors and rum and was topped with a lilikoi foam.

Stud Muffin had the saimin noodles with kalua pork and veggies. It was good and plentiful. The pork didn’t have anything distinctively “kalua” about it. It was just shredded pork, to my palate. Stud Muffin enjoyed it. He had the Maui Brewing Company Coconut Porter and even I, of the limited palate, could taste the coconut.

I’m glad we went, but I doubt that we’ll seek it out again, if we’re lucky enough to return to Maui. The food wasn’t fabulous enough to justify the prices. And if you think I’m overly picky, come back next week for Food Talk Friday on April 10th for a place that was pricey and worth every penny.

How’s that for a cliffhanger?

Woe! It’s Wednesday: California History

I was born and raised in California and it’s only in the last few years that I’ve had the opportunity to travel much and visit other states. I didn’t realize that much of the country doesn’t know or understand the impact the early Spanish missionaries had on our state.

There are 21 missions surviving. I have always believed/heard/thought that the missions were built a day’s journey from each other. It makes sense, but I don’t know if I really did learn that or if it’s just something I heard once and figured it had to be true.

Carmel Mission
Carmel Mission

When our girls were in school, we visited many of the missions. San Gabriel, San Fernando. Carmel. Santa Barbara, Santa Ines.

This week we’re going to take our grand-daughter on her own mission tour. We’ll concentrate on Central Coast missions this time. We’re planning to visit San Juan Bautista, Carmel, San Miguel, San Luis Obispo, and La Purisma in Lompoc.

When you visit the east coast of our country, as I did for the first time in 2011, you get a feel for what youngsters we are in California. When the Declaration of Independence was being signed, California was a great unknown territory. Actually, everything west of the Mississippi was pretty much unknown.

Missions weren’t unique to California. Stud Muffin and I got to visit the Alamo in San Antonio last summer. The Alamo began life as a mission. It felt very familiar, with its adobe construction and grounds.

We’ll soon add a few more missions to our visited list. After this trip, we’ll only have Soledad and the six most northern left to visit. Santa Cruz, San Rafael, San Francisco, Santa Clara, San Jose, and Solano. Maybe this summer …

Book Talk Tuesday: Finding Me

It’s here! I finally got my hands on this baby Friday. I started reading and didn’t put it down until I finished it.

Finding Me by Kathryn Cushman
Finding Me by Kathryn Cushman

It officially releases on April 7th, but Amazon says its available today! I highly recommend you pop over and snap it up.

I’ve loved everything Katie Cushman has written but this one may be her best yet.

Kelli Huddleston’s world has imploded. Her father and step-mother were recently killed in an accident and as Kelli cleans out her father’s things, she discovers that everything she believed about herself and her father is a lie.

How do you go on after that?

For a women’s fiction book, this one was full of suspense. I had to keep turning the pages to see if Kelli was going to spill her secret to anyone.

The story begins in Santa Barbara then Kelli travels to Tennessee on a journey to find some answers. Along the way, she finds herself. And a whole lot more.

I love this one and recommend it enthusiastically!

Media Monday: Yours and Mine

Some people are Chevy folks. Others believe it has to be a Ford.

Same thing for Toyota vs. Honda.

Some people love McDonalds.  Others will only go to Burger King.

yinIt’s weird/funny/bizarre how we get set on these paths. But there has to be a reason for it.

Some people love Google. Others swear by Bing. I’m a Google girl, myself.

I’ve been a happy Pandora listener for years. Between Pandora, Soundrown while online, and XM radio, my listening needs are nicely satisfied.

But a few people have been telling me to check out I <3 Radio. I tried it a year or so ago and switched back to Pandora pretty quickly. Apparently Taylor Swift had a new album out, and literally every. other. song. was from her new album. It didn’t matter that “my” station was Contemporary Christian Music or that I hit Thumbs Down on every song, she still kept popping up every three to four minutes. I went back to Pandora and never looked back. I don’t have anything against Taylor Swift. In fact, I like a lot of her music, but I didn’t want to listen to her just then. So I didn’t.

Stud Muffin has started listening to I <3 Radio. But invariably, he gets frustrated because the songs being played aren’t what he wants to hear. When he’s busy, I go and change the station to Pandora, tell the app what he wants to listen to, and pretty soon he’ll say something like, “That’s better. Why did they have to play that other stuff before getting to the good stuff.”

;-) It’s our secret.

He thinks he’s an I <3 Radio guy, but really he’s a Pandora dude.

Food Talk Friday: Zippy’s on Maui

I thought we were going to Da Kitchen as soon as we landed in Maui, but instead we ended up at Zippy’s.

Zippys in Kahului
Zippys in Kahului

We found Zippy’s on our last trip. It’s kind of like a Denny’s on the mainland. Part diner. But there’s also a counter service to get food to go. And a bakery (malasadas, anyone?).

It’s near the airport. It has a large menu. American dishes. Asian food. Hawaiian favorites. You name it, you can probably get it at Zippys.

I had fried chicken which Stud Muffin denigrated, saying I could get that at home at any KFC. But the chicken was nicely seasoned and just the right amount of crispiness. A couple of our party got Loco Mocos, the rice, hamburger, egg, and gravy dish. A new arrival to the island ordered the turkey club sandwich and swooned as she ate it.

The food isn’t fancy. It isn’t gourmet. It’s plain, unadorned, filling, generous, and tasty.

In other words, just as we like it.