Saturday, April 26, 2014

Favorite Quote from Tamera Alexander's Beauty So Rare

“If I’ve given you the impression, Eleanor, that if I could I would turn back the clock and never heave met my husband, then please forgive me. That could not be more wrong. Yes, I miss him dearly. Not a day goes by that I don’t want him back with me. But the years we had together were the happiest of my life. And even now the happiness – what I learned from my husband, the way his love changed me, changed how I look at life, at how I’ve lived my life since then – all those things sustain me. The memories give me strength I’d never have had without him. “ ~From A Beauty So Rare

Monday, April 14, 2014

Lovestruck in Where? Read this book to find out where....

Lovestruck in London by Rachel Schurig

Lovestruck in London Review 

Lizzie Medina has always dreamed since she was a little girl to go to London, England. Not just because she is named after the main character from Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth Bennett but she has always felt a pull from there. Fortunately she has convinced her parents to let her study abroad with her best friend Callie for a year. The only condition is that once it is over she will come back and start teaching at one of the local schools in Michigan. 

After arriving in London with Callie, Lizzie is worried that London will not be as awesome as she thought it would be. However, things change when she meets Thomas at her first play that she goes to see in London things go from good to awesome. When not in class or sleeping, Lizzie tries to spend every waking moment with Thomas learning about him and London. However, things changed when he suddenly becomes more a lead actor rather than a supporting actor of the movie business. Now their relationship is thrown across TV and magazines and their romance is no longer private. Will Callie choose to remain in London to be near Thomas or will she move back to Michigan to the life she already knows. 

I received this book courtesy of Netgalley from the Publisher to give my honest opinion with no bias. This was the first book of Rachel’s that I have read so I do not have any books of hers to compare it to. I thought this was a great beach read or weekend book. It was easy to read and kept my attention from start to finish. I thought that she did a good job of developing the two main characters and also giving you a backstory on them with out being boring. It was a fun and easy read. I would recommend this book to readers who want a nice, easy read that will make you laugh, smile and wanting to read more of Rachel’s books. 

Book Review of Tamera Alexander's "A Beauty So Rare"

A Review of "A Beauty So Rare"
 by Tamera Alexander

Brief Summary: 

This story takes place after the civil war has taken place in the United States. Eleanor Braddock leaves the only home she has ever known to go to Nashville in hopes of helping her father get better. Having no job, money and very few family members left after placing her father in the Asylum she goes to live with her last living relative Adelicia Acklen in hopes she will loan her money to start her own cafe. However, things don't go as planned for her and and after a simple act of kindness for a widowed woman she is put in charge of building and creating a safe haven for widowed women and children. Surprising herself although it wasn't what she envisioned herself doing she feels like she is following god's direction. 
Gerhard Marcus Gottfried has only ever wanted to do something for himself rather than what is expected of him so he moves to America from Austria in hopes of finding out who he really is. However, life doesn't go as planned for Marcus as well and instead of building an opera house he is put in charge of helping build the Widows & Children home with Eleanor. Both Eleanor and  Marcus in the beginning feel that they are very much different because of what their background is and seem to but heads on how things should be done. However, as the story continues they find out they are more a like then they ever thought and have the same goal in mind.

My Review:

I received this book free courtesy of Netgalley to provide a honest and non biased opinion. This was the first book that I have read of Tamera Alexander's so I do not have any of her previous books to compare it to. I thought the book started out kind of slow and took me a little bit to get into. However, once I got 30%  into the book Tamera had me hooked with the story and characters and if I didn't have full-time job I wouldn't have been able to put the book down. It was interesting how Tamera showed the development of Eleanor's character from the start of the book to the end. She really showed how a person's life changing events could change who a person is but how their faith never waivers. In addition I also liked how she developed the romance between the two main characters Eleanor and Marcus. It was very nice to actually see a man court  woman and treat her like a true lady. 

Another aspect of this book that I liked was how detailed Tamera was on key parts of history in regards to the Civil War. She didn't sugar coat things but rather showed what the war really did to not just american's but also to other nationalities who tried to move to the united states during that time. She did her research to really make you feel that as a reader you were actually in that time period wearing the same clothes as the ladies of that generation. In addition, she did a good job of depicting how the different types of classes would interacted in that time. 

I very much liked this book by Tamera Alexander and will be interested to see how the next book carries on the people of Nashville. In addition, I am very interested to read the first book in the series. If you are interested in reading this book because of how it sounds but are worried because it is the second part in the series don't, I read this book having never read a book of hers and I had no problem understanding the story and characters. Lastly, this would be a great book for those that like romance, history and intrigue. She will have you smiling, laughing, crying and at times wishing you could go back in time to experience things that the characters were experiencing. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

A Beauty So Rare Recipe: Eleanor Braddock’s Savory Custard (or Ham and Cheddar Quiche)

                                 Eleanor Braddocks Savory Custard

(or Ham and Cheddar Quiche)
Most people think quiche originated in France. Not so. Its originally a German dish and people referred to them as "savory custards" in the 19th century. Which is accurate since the egg-based mixture forms a luscious-like custard as it bakes. 

I hope you enjoy this recipe (or "receipt" as recipes were called in the 1800s) from A Beauty So Rare. For more about A Beauty So Rare and for recipes from all my novels, visit

1 old-fashioned unbaked pie crust (recipe below)
1 large onion, diced (or sliced if you like larger pieces of onion in your savory)
2 tablespoons butter
1 pound cooked ham diced into cubes (if using bacon, use 8 slices, fried chewy, not too crisp)
8 large eggs
1-1/2 cups heavy cream or half-and-half
1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper, or to taste (I always go heavier on the pepper, personal preference)
1 3/4 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated

Sauté onion in the butter in a skillet over medium-low heat for about 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is golden brown. Set aside to cool.

Chop the ham into bite-sized pieces (or fry your bacon until chewy, then chop). Set aside to cool. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Roll out pie crust and press into a deep dish pie plate. A medium-sized iron skillet works wonderfully for making a savory custard (and is what Eleanor used). The crust comes out divine. I just happened to use a pie plate this time.

Whip the eggs, cream, salt and pepper in a large bowl, then mix in the onions, ham (or bacon), and cheese. Pour the mixture into the pie crust. Cover the pie plate (or skillet) lightly with aluminum foil and bake for 40 to 45 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the quiche is set and the crust is golden brown. QUICK BAKING TIPS: The quiche may still seem a little loose when you first remove it from the oven, but it will firm up nicely once removed from the heat. Also, watch that lovely crust so the edges dont get overly brown. I use a silicone pie crust shield if that starts to happen. Those are a fabulous invention (but foil crimped around the edges works just as well).

Remove from the oven and allow the savory custard to rest for 10 to 15 minutes before diving in. Its so good, and just like Eleanor Braddock would make. Its also delicious left over and warmed up the next day.