Friday, April 14, 2017

A Western Family Novel: Long Time Gone by Mary Connealy

Genre: Historical Romace

My Rating: Two out of Five hearts ♥♥

Book one left the Boden family after a tragedy as well as a victory, and book two, Long Time Gone, picks up where it left off. Trouble seems determined to entrap the Bodens and take over the Cimarron ranch, but it's a struggle to figure out exactly why. And through all this, Angie Dupree finds herself attracted to the wonderful (albeit slightly overprotective) Justin - and it's not the best time to become involved with a Boden. Who can be trusted, what in the world is going on, and will they make it out alive? 

My Review:

The Bodens, despite their differences, are a tight bunch, and (while they might not always show it) love each other dearly. No one messes with that family and gets away with it, nor will they go down without a fight. It's an interesting story idea- siblings finding love as they fight to protect their home from a faceless, nameless threat- and there were times (mostly near the end of the book) where my heart would pound with the suspense, or jump in anticipation. That being said, this wasn't my favorite book. 
 Justin and Angie's characters are the focus in Long Time Gone (although the point of view does skip around to others a bit) and for some reason I couldn't get into them as much as I could get into Heath and Sadie from the previous book. Their love story also seemed very fast, perhaps because it begins in No Way Up, and maybe also because the main focus was not on the romance, but on the attack on the Cimarron. Also, the humor was funny, at times, but seemed to get to be too much. I longed for more seriousness in their characters. 
 I myself have only read a few Mrs. Connealy's books (the Wild at Heart series), and while they weren't my favorites, I still enjoyed them. This series (I borrowed No Way Up from the library to read before I tried this one), however, just felt different- not as engaging. The writing style wasn't my type, the characters (and certain descriptions) seemed to state the obvious a lot- instead of leaving the reader to see what was going on, they were told. I felt that more could be accomplished without all the explaining. 
 Another thing I had a problem with was the cover. It looks western and cowboy-awesome, but I've got to wonder- is that supposed to be Angie and Justin on the cover? Because it looks nothing like how they were described. 
Oh, and just a warning- this is book two in a series, and could be hard to follow along with if you haven't read book one- the plot is continued on in this novel. 
   Despite all I disliked, I will be borrowing book three from the library when it comes out in order to see how this tale will end. And I must say- doesn't the cover for Too Far Down look awesome?

Note: I got this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Easy(er) Sour Cream Biscuits: A Recipe

Baking and cooking are two things I really enjoy, so I thought I'd start sharing different recipes I've recently tried or really liked. Enjoy! First off is Easy(er) Sour Cream Biscuits. I made them for supper several weeks ago, and deviated off the original recipe a bit.

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter (or you can do like I did and use 1/4 cup of butter with 3 tablespoons olive oil)
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
Mix together the first five ingredients; then cut in the butter (or, if you're using the half-butter-half-olive-oil substitution like I did, cut in the butter and also add in the olive oil). When the mixture looks crumbly, make a sort of well or large hole in the center of your biscuit mix. Now add in the milk and sour cream, pouring it into the hole you've made. Mix all this together just until it is properly combined and is a nice dough. 
 Spray your baking sheet and then shape your biscuit dough into small, flattened balls (I'm not totally sure what size is best- the last ones I made were fairly small, about the size of a silver dollar), placing them on your sheet. Bake them in the oven at 450 degrees for about 10-12 minutes, or until the bottoms are a nice, golden brown (the tops will generally stay pretty white, with only a tinge of brown, so don't use them as an indicator of how well-done they are). 
Enjoy! This recipe makes about 10-15 biscuits, depending on the size. 

Recipe adapted from the Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book, 1989

So there you are! Comment and tell me if you decide to try the recipe- I'd love to know your thoughts.