Skip to main content


Literary Friday: Memorial Day Weekend Beach Reading *and* a Special Recipe

Friday, May 31, 2013

When Shelley finished school last Thursday, we headed down to Seaside, Florida for Memorial Day weekend.  I read two books at the beach:  a romance and a foodie memoir.  Both were very enjoyable!

Lynn Kurland is the only romance writer I read.  I've read all of her romances: She knows how to tell a great story!  You can read my reviews of The More I See You,  One Magic Moment, and All For You by following the links. FYI: A Garden in the Rain, A Dance Through Time, and The More I See You are my favorites.  What I love most about her books is that they are't formulaic. Her characters are individuals, although some do share particular family traits. Her novels are character driven, and I relate to some more than others. In her latest, Roses in Moonlight, the characters are flawed yet endearing.

Samantha Drummond is a naive mid-twenty-something with two very overbearing academic parents.  Her big rebellion: She focused on the Elizabethan rather than the Victorian era in college and graduate school.  Her cringe-worthy mother is a nightmare, and she works Samantha very hard with little compensation.  When she has the opportunity to escape to Northern England and housesit for the summer, she takes it.  Little does she know that the couple for whom she's housesitting stole a priceless piece of Elizabethan lace, and Samantha becomes an accessory after the fact by unwittingly transporting the stolen textile.  

Derrick Cameron is a dashing antiquities dealer, security expert, and time traveler.  He knows that Samantha is the courier of the lace, but she doesn't fit the criminal profile.  Derrick follows Samantha from Northern England to (Elizabethan!) London, and the plot thickens as a couple of shady characters who are known jewel thieves start shadowing Samantha, too.  Derrick also has a secret: He's a trained Shakespearean actor!

Although Derrick is a Highlander and a member of the Cameron clan, I was not as enamored with his character until later in the book.  He was a bit snarky, especially in his comments directed toward Samantha. However, there is an explanation for his behavior, and it's refreshing to still root for Derrick in spite of this shortcomings.  Lynn Kurland fans will be happy that Sunny and Robert Cameron are also in the book; they are definitely one of my favorite couples.

I also read a memoir over the weekend: Apron Anxiety by Alyssa Shelasky. This probably seems like an unlikely beach read, but I loved it.  Shelasky's memoir basically details her love affair with a famous reality TV chef she calls Chef in the book.  She leaves her enviable job in New York to follow her chef and her heart to Washington, D.C. where Chef and his investors have started a restaurant and other projects.  Shelasky is not a foodie (a word she doesn't like), and she quickly seems lost and unhappy in D.C.  But this girl has the chutzpah to conquer her fears in the kitchen and starts a wildly popular blog, Apron Anxiety.  Ivy League educated, the girl can write. I love her voice; she seems very genuine.  Alyssa reminds me of Carrie Bradshaw with a potty mouth.  Some of her language and shenanigans made me wince, but I couldn't help but like her.  She has such a big heart, and she takes the time to get to know those around her.  

Each chapter ends with an applicable recipe or two.  All of the recipes sound fantastic, and I look forward to trying each and every one of them.  The first one I tried: Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookies.  Yep, that one...the one that has several urban myths attached to it.  I could almost swear that I heard the heavenly chorus when I saw the recipe.  Her Rainy Day Rigatoni played an important role in her book, and I'll try that one next, maybe over the weekend.

Although Alyssa's love affair with Chef didn't last, I still highly recommend it.  I was so pulling for them...I am their biggest cheerleader.  I think they're made for each other and love each other very much.  Love like theirs is rare, and I really hope they can eventually work out their differences.

Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookies

These are worth an extra session of Pilates!

½ cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
1 cup packed light brown sugar
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ¾ cups all purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoons instant espresso coffee powder, slightly crushed
1 ½ cups (8 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease two cookie sheets. 

Cream the butter with the sugars using the paddle attachment until fluffy. Beat in the egg and the vanilla extract. 

In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. Beat into the butter mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips. 

Using a small one ounce scoop or a large spoon, drop onto the cookie sheets.  Bake for 8 - 10 minutes, or 10 - 12 minutes for a crispier cookie.  

What have you been reading?  This is a linky!

 photo ArtatHomeButton_zps18898da7.jpg

***Next week, let's share our summer reading lists!***

Until next time...

Ricki Jill


  1. I'll add these to my reading list! I know I would love the romances! I'm going to have to break down and buy one! lol I just finished 'The Child's Child' by Barbara Vine. I've read all of her books....they never disappoint! Very different though...not for everyone! HUGS!

  2. I'm not a romance fan, but I'll certainly try it. I love the books you have recommended in the past. xo Laura

  3. I have added those books to my Amazon wishlist! I haven't read a good romance in a long time... If I ever get finished with this Stephen King book I'm reading right now, I'll be ready for a good one!! :)

    Happy Friday, Ricki Jill!

  4. Both of those books sound like a lot of fun. Thanks for the recommendation! :D

  5. So many books so little time, well that is the way it feels like........

  6. Apron Anxiety sounds like a good poolside read for me. I have a pile of books that I've collected from Goodwill visits and am anxious to get started reading.

  7. I always enjoying seeing what you're reading! Apron Anxiety sounds intriguing and like my kind of read, love the cover :)


Comments are friendly!

Hello, Lovelies!

I'm Ricki Jill. Welcome! I'm honored that you're reading my blog. I enjoy sharing my creative lifestyle @ The Bookish Dilettante. For more information about my blog, please read the Start Here page. Thank-you for stopping by, and I hope you'll consider following me via email.


Follow me on Instagram