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Monday, February 28, 2011


by Ted Dekker, AF, 2003, 401p, rating=5
Winner of:  The Christy Book Award; Best Mystery Thriller

"By all accounts Kevin Parsons is leading a virtuous life.  But like all people, Kevin has his secrets.  And someone wants them revealed.  While driving home from graduate school, Kevin receives a call from a deluded stranger who calls himself Slater.  Slater demand that Kevin confess his sin in the next tree minutes or the car he's driving will be blown to pieces.  With the threat, he offers a riddle:  What fall but never breaks, what breaks but never falls?  Thus starts a harrowing chain of threats with progressively higher stakes.  Another riddle, another three minutes.  Confess your sin, Kevin.  The problem is Kevin has no idea what sin.  And Slater's cycle won't stop until he's dead.  Now only Samantha, the woman he once loved more than life itself, can help him uncover the secrets of a mysterious past.  But Samantha may soon be dead as well."  (book's synopsis)
Oh Brenda, oh Brenda at WV Stitcher, you reminded me not to judge a book by its cover.  I would have bypassed this book because the cover's too freakin' scary!!  But you were so kind to offer it to me and since it traveled over 3,000 miles to get to me and three being one of my favorite numbers, well, I took a deep breath and avoided looking at the cover as much as possible.
Wow, talk about edge of your seat thrilling!  I was hooked from the beginning.  My heart rate finally went down during the initial background scenes but that didn't last!  Holy Moly, things escalated and you were put into a wring of twists.  Just when you think you have a guess on what's going on, you're thrown a curve ball ...not once, twice, but umph times.  My heart is racing right now at trying to describe it.  Anyway, I so enjoyed this psychological thriller.  Mr. Dekker is the bomb!!

When I read the part in the beginning about having to solve a riddle in three minutes or the car (that you were in) would blow up, a couple of things crossed my mind.  First, I said to myself, "Hey, wasn't that a movie?".  Second, had such a thing happen to me, I would have died!  End of the book!  Good thing, Kevin was sharper under pressure and the book took on a run.

This was not a ghostly-chop the bodies to pieces kind of horror that I thought it would be.  Can you blame me?  Look at the man in the cover ...glassy evil eyes ...the hairs on the back of my neck took a military standing attention.  Instead, it delved into the nature of good vs evil that I haven't come across yet in novels.  Very interesting take on the angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other shoulder ...not forgetting the person in the middle.

By the way, Mr. Dekker addressed my movie question on the Author's Note section.  There was a movie called Adaptation starring Nicolas Cage that seemed to have similar premise but it turned out that it was really nothing like his book except for one detail.  I liked the lesson that he pointed out that he learned from that experience of watching a movie that he initially thought might have been ripped from him.  He said, "Truly there are no completely new ideas, but rather old ideas made completely fresh ... What's magical about ideas is how they are brought to life, not their inception.".

This will not be the last book that I will read of Mr. Dekker's works.  I understand there are others more exciting ones.  I better prepare because this was truly gripping!

Thank you Brenda for the book!!  You are wonderful!!!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Pondering the Scriptures Sunday #16

Continuing February's theme of love.  This week let's take a look at Proverbs 7:2, taking note the phrase I underlined:
  • "Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye."
This phrase is a commonly used expression of endearment.  Now we see that it derives from the Old Testament.  Note the word apple refers to the pupil of the eye and not the fruit.  So in this particular verse, the idiom alludes that just as the eye is a sensitive organ needing protection and care, so is the law precious and worthy of protection.

Friday, February 25, 2011

"The Velveteen Rabbit"

by Margery Williams, YR, 1922, 44p, rating=4

"Nursery magic is very strange and wonderful, and only those playthings that are old and wise and experienced like the Skin Horse understand all about it.  "What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day.  "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"  "Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse.  "It's a thing that happens to you.  When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY love you, then you become Real.  It takes a long time.  Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby.  But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand." (book's blurb)
I read one of those Christmas toddler abridged board book version of this book a long time ago and found it to be a darling story.  I wanted to see the original version so I checked this out from my local library.  Sweet story.  Oddly enough, I think I like the abridged version better (perhaps due to the illustrations ...brought out the visual mood).  Anyway, I read this book to my kids last night and as soon as I finished reading, my eight year old stated that it was a good book and it was like the Pixar movie, "Toy Story".  Very astute ... he just gave my review! 

There is something to companion toys.  Although I didn't have one when I was young, I can appreciate the attachment kids have of them.  At play, they do seem to be alive in the atmosphere of the kids' imagination.  A tangible companion of their own. 

There must be something innate in us (maybe I should speak for myself) that give us a sense that toys are kinda alive.  For example, when my kids step on or play rough with their stuff animals/dolls, I find myself wincing and end up scolding them to not treat their toys in such a matter.  Perhaps it's more of teaching them proper behavior of respect.  But, why did I wince?  Did I think that the toy really got hurt or did my kids' behavior hurt me?  I can't help but answer yes to both.  ;)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

"Paper Towns"

by John Green, YA, 2008, 305p, rating=4

"Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs back into his life - dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge - he follows.  After their all-nighter ends and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues - and they’re for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees of the girl he thought he knew." (book's blurb)
I almost dropped reading this book.  Not because it wasn't interesting enough but more due to timing.  Often times I start a book and other books pique my interest and before I know it, I've got 4-5 books I'd love to read at once ... and at least one of those ends up being due to return to the library.  Well, I'm glad I decided to renew this and finally got to it. 

This book reminded me of the 1985 movie, The Breakfast Club.  Though the settings are different, the premise is the same.  They both involved the high school getting to know yourself/others stage.  Both sets of characters found out about each other's true disposition through close interactions.  In the movie, the characters got together by way of Saturday detention, while the characters of Paper Towns bonded due to the search of the eccentric Margo Roth Spiegelman. 

This was a mod podge of a read ... funny, sad, exciting, reckless, momentous, poetic, and so forth.  What one might see of a stereotypical portrayal of high school occurrences.  Although I can't say I can relate to the midnight antics since I was a goody-two-shoes back in high school, I can certainly understand the appeal of being wild.  More importantly the desire to get out of one's skin and be free to be your true essence.  That's what I believe Margo set out to do by running away.  And through the process that her friends took to search for her came the understanding that like the paper towns (fake towns on a map), people had their version of being paper people ...facade.  Margo didn't want to be a paper girl anymore but wanted to be real.  So she had to leave her current life to find it.

I like the trio male friendship of Q, Ben, and Radar.  They were lovely to get to know.  A nice change of pace in characters.  Moreover, I think this would highly appeal to young men readers ... given that the voice was from a young male's point of view. 

A seemingly plain read but the powerful ending geared it to a depth that invites the readers to discover and appreciate ...whatever that may be for you.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

"The Oracle of Stamboul"

by Michael David Lukas, AF, 2011, 300p, rating=4
Advance Reader's Edition

"Late in the summer of 1877, a flock of purple-and-white hoopoes suddenly appears over the town of Constanta on the Black Sea, and Eleonora Cohen is ushered into the world by a mysterious pair of Tartar midwives who arrive just minutes before her birth. "They had read the signs, they said: a sea of horses, a conference of birds, the North Star in alignment with the moon. It was a prophecy that their last king had given on his deathwatch." But joy is mixed with tragedy, for Eleonora's mother dies soon after the birth. Raised by her doting father, Yakob, a carpet merchant, and her stern, resentful stepmother, Ruxandra, Eleonora spends her early years daydreaming and doing housework—until the moment she teaches herself to read, and her father recognizes that she is an extraordinarily gifted child, a prodigy. When Yakob sets off by boat for Stamboul on business, eight-year-old Eleonora, unable to bear the separation, stows away in one of his trunks. On the shores of the Bosporus, in the house of her father's business partner, Moncef Bey, a new life awaits. Books, backgammon, beautiful dresses and shoes, markets swarming with color and life—the imperial capital overflows with elegance, and mystery. For in the narrow streets of Stamboul—a city at the crossroads of the world—intrigue and gossip are currency, and people are not always what they seem. Eleonora's tutor, an American minister and educator, may be a spy. The kindly though elusive Moncef Bey has a past history of secret societies and political maneuvering. And what is to be made of the eccentric, charming Sultan Abdulhamid II himself, beleaguered by friend and foe alike as his unwieldy, multiethnic empire crumbles?" (book's blurb)
Wow, that blurb pretty much tells the whole story and very enticing!  But of course the fun is reading it for yourself to find out the prose and such.  Well, it was like I took a ride on a magical carpet to the once Ottoman Empire.  There was no doubt Mr. Lukas can write.  His descriptive vocabulary was excellent and non-hindering.  This time around I could not ignore it so for that reason and overall originality of the story that I gave high marks in rating. 

What a tantalizing storyline.  Eleanora, the protagonist, was quite an amazing eight year old!  But of course she was, after all, she might be the one prophesied to be the oracle of Stamboul.  Also, being a savant of some sort gave her extraordinary skills that proved to be amazing.  So much so that she attracted the sultan and came to be a consequential advisor.  Between that and a guarded family life, made for quite a lot to handle at such a young age.  Hence, that was part of what was sketchy for me.  Particularly the sultan's impetuous reliance on her.  Way too much!  It's no wonder the ending came to be what it ended up to be.

The subject of historical politics isn't my cup of tea but the gripping story, excellent writing, and exotic setting got me to finish this book.  Although there were some unanswered questions and shady moments, the mysteriousness worked for me this time.  Accordingly, this was an overall strong debut book.  So if you want Oriental color, this is the book for you.

Oh, I don't think I need to read The Hourglass by J. L. Borges.  Mr. Lukas reference it so much that it's like you get two books in one!  Plus, it's a poetic book and you know that poetry and I don't get along ...sad, I know.

By the way, I want to thank Harper Collins Publishers for sending me this advance reader's edition.  I had won it from Goodread's First Reads giveaway program.  ~Thank you Ms. Plafsky.  I enjoyed the read.

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Saturday, February 19, 2011

"Anne of Green Gables"

by L. M. Montgomery, YR, 1908, 427p, rating=5

"Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert are in for a big surprise.  They're waiting for an orphan boy to help with the work at Green Gables - but a skinny, red-haired girl turns up instead.  Feisty and full of spirit, Anne Shirley charms her way into the Cuthberts' affection with her vivid imagination and constant chatter.  It's not long before Anne finds herself in trouble, but soon it's impossible to imagine life without her ..." (back cover)
What a delightful book!  Reading this truly made me happy.  Anne's character was a hoot!!  I found myself giggling throughout the book.  Her quirkiness was endearing.  Her view of life was fascinating.  She had the spunk that you can't help but love!  She brought the kid out of me and it felt wonderful.

I loved everything about this book.  The beautiful setting, the phenomenal cast of characters, the storyline, the ease of read, etc.  It also had everything as well ... adventure, fun, laughs, imagination, love story, family, friendship, tragedy, growth, etc.  An overall feel happy book.  Surely, the words went into my head and converted to dopamine.  I was on cloud nine all day!!  It's an awesome feeling. 

By the way, I'm a lucky woman because I know a younger version of Anne in my life.  She lives with me!  My daughter certainly is the life of our household ...never a dull moment here.  ~Haha ... my daughter even kinda looks like this girl on the book cover in braids and big almond eyes ..minus red hair.  Like Anne, she's also smart and lovely at heart.  Oh I love my little girl!!  It's no wonder that I can totally relate to how Marilla and Matthew took a liking to Anne ... I have one too!  :)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

"Dream Bigger: Reclaiming a Life of Joy and Ease"

by Julie Wise, non-fiction, 2010, 133p, rating=3.5

"Take a moment to remember daydreaming as a child.  Recall the joy, freedom, and sense of possiblity you felt.  Imagine being able to experience that every day!  You can with Dream BIGGER, Julie Wise's heartfelt and inspriring guide to realizing your deepest desires.  Using her experience as a life and relationship coach, Wise provides personal anecdotes and numberous client examples to create a living, breathing roadmap for those seeking insight and wisdom on their daily path." (back cover)
When I come across self-help books my first thought is gift, asking myself, "Who can I give this to?".  My thinking goes something like this, Well, I'm not sure how to help you but this book might.  ~Especially this book, the author's name is Wise, how can you go wrong? :)

One big thing that I get weary about self-help books is it's approach.  Yes, I picked up the book wanting answers (figuratively speaking of self-help books, this particular book came to me for review for the publisher).  Most likely specific ones to tell me exactly what to do.  But please, Don't tell me what to do!  Yet, on the same token, do tell me what to do but make it seem that I thought of it and that I can conquer it!  Does that make sense?   Anyway, this book actually could do that.  In generic workbook format Ms. Wise tells you what to do.  Mind you, I read this book straight through so I didn't take the time to do the exercises but it was floating in my head and the drills seem rational.  I also appreciated Ms. Wise's openness about her personal life.  At first thought, divorce, suicide thoughts, and seizures would seem not the best thing to see on a life and relationship coach's resume.  But think about it, you're sitting in front of her and she's there!  She overcame.  So she does know a thing or two.  Pretty impressive resume after all!

There were several examples of people who succeeded in their dreams.  Nice stories and they enhanced the fact that dreams can be realized and more importantly those dreams made a difference in the lives of other people.  Just wondering how much of those successes were direct correlation to Ms. Wises's coaching.

I would gift this book.  It's simple, practical, and sensible.  It didn't give the vibe of a high and mighty know-it-all so listen to me life coach.  Put in the correct hands, this book could change one's life for the amazing.

My immediate dream right now is to have a sparkling house!  I think I might come back to the exercises and see where it leads me.  Should my house sparkle in the end, I will change this review to a 5!!  :)

P.S.  I do like the exercise to have a journal where you write down your moments of success at the end of each day (as simple as, I read to my kids today) ... I think of it as a form of a thank you journal.  Awesome!  I'm going to start this tonight.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Love Hop Giveaway Winners

Wow, that was an amazing Hop! I love you guys!!  I truly really appreciate your follow here, on Twitter, and Facebook.  You made a sick girl happy (I was sick during the hop)!  Anyway, I'll work hard to keep you.  :)

I had 279 people enter the contest and a total of 810 entries with the extras for prize #1 (115 people and 123 total entries for prize #2).  I used the services of to select the winners.  So without furtherado:

FreakChiq, winner of prize #1: your choice of $20 to Amazon or BD 
Carla Costa, winner of prize #2:  Ever After by Karen Kingsbury

The winners have been notified via e-mail and will have 48hrs to claim their prize otherwise the runner up will take their place.


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Pondering the Scriptures Sunday #15

Last week we took a look at brotherly love.  Today, let's check out God's love.
  • For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  John 3:16
  • And he will love thee, and bless thee, and multiply thee:  he will also bless the fruit of thy womb, and the fruit of thy land, thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep, in the land which he sware unto thy fathers to give thee.  Deuteronomy 7:13
  • The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yes, I have loved thee with an everlasting love:  therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.  Jeremiah 31:3
  • And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us.  God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.  1 John 4:16
  • We love him, because he first loved us.  1 John 4:19

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

"After the Last PR: The Virtues of Living a Runner's Life"

by Dave Griffin, non-fiction, 2010, 123p, rating=4.5

"We all have a comfort zone, a safe room we usually avoid leaving, afraid of what might happen if we do.  With preparation, we can expand its walls, but even the, our greatest potential never resides there.  Running challenges me.  A thousand times, it's confronted me with obstacles I didn't think I'd overcome.  It's brought fatigue and weariness, and yet even in the throes of exhaustion, it leaves a small burning ember of strength, always just enough.  After so many trials, I've learned that hope is always present if you look hard enough, and hope is a precious thing.  I'll keep reflecting on the races of my past.  I'll keep remembering the victories and the disappointments.  And, sometimes, new light will be shed on something that used to be unclear, and new hope will grow from the sweat that still stains the old gravel." (back cover)
This was an incredibly breezy read.  Often times, a non-fiction book is bombarded with facts that it can be tedious or even boring to read.  Not this one!  I got the feel that Mr. Griffin was speaking from his heart and his words reflected that.  No fancy words or long drawn out stories.  He was brief, to the point, and even punched each chapter with inspiring summary.  I must admit the simplicity in his writing was also what threw me off.  Each paragraph averaged 3 sentences.  As a reader who has become accustomed to novel style writing, this was incredibly too short.  In any rate, the important message was there and quite powerful in its simplicity.  Moreover, a true test of a good book is if it moved the reader.  Well, I was going to give excuses to tell you that I can't be a runner at this point of my life but I'd be missing the point of the book.  It's a matter of just beginning something, running or anything else.  Sure it will be hard, but that's how you'll get to a goal; whether successful in the end ... it's that you started!  I experienced a  gungho feeling, so as soon as I've recovered from this bug that got me, I'm going out for a walk/jog (work my way to running).  I want to feel that peace, relaxation, and self affirming stage that he described.  Sincerely, this was a refreshing read. 

On a personal note, I "ran" a 5K once.  My husband, then boyfriend, was into athletic stuff ... mud runs, relay races, 5-10K runs, judo, etc.  I don't know how I roped myself into it but I signed up for the run (perhaps to get acquainted with his likes).  Anyway, I really didn't know what I was getting into.  Yes, I practiced on the treadmill but as Mr. Griffin pointed out, there's nothing like gravel.  So come event time I was awful!!  There were many little girls, dogs, and mommy strolling runners who whizzed by me.  It was incredibly embarrassing!  More so that I had an athlete-like friend of my husband to run along with me (it was a run for women).  For sure I slowed her down but she was a dear and stayed with me through it all.  I don't remember where we placed... maybe next to last!  But, my husband's friend commented that it didn't matter where we place, but that I showed willingness to try (more true than she knew because I did not have any athlete bone in me!  I spent my spare time watching movie videos, a pathetic couch potato!).  In the end, receiving the commemorative medal was pretty neat!  And the experience as a whole was wonderful.  Hence, I understand a little bit of the joy and life leason that running can bring. 

I want to thank Kathy at I Am A Reader, Not A Writer for sending me this book for review.  She was backlogged with many books to review for publishers that she enlisted the help of her fellow bloggers to lighten her load.  I was happy to obliged and more so now having had the opportunity to read this book.  I don't think it would have come my way otherwise.  Oh, I took on a commitment to review two more books, Dream Bigger and Battle Ready Moms Raising Battle Ready Kids, so stay tune for those. :)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Love Hop - 1yr Blogiversary Giveaway

Yeay, the Love Hop is finally here!  Thank you Kathy at I Am A Reader, Not A Writer for hosting this hop.  Well, as you may have guessed, I am also celebrating my 1yr Blogiversary so I have extra lovin' to give.  So let's get started!

I have a couple of prizes for grabs; hence 2 winners, 1 for each prize.
E-card to:

Choose book(s) worth up to $20 from:

In honor of my 1yr blogiversary, I will give a copy of the first book I reviewed.
(I will be ordering this book from the Book Depository so make sure that they deliver to your country ...check HERE)

To enter this giveaway you must be a follower of this blog via GFC and fill out the form below.  Extra entries available for following me on Twitter or "Like"-ing (joining) Books That Tug The Heart on Facebook. ~Giveaway ends Feb. 13th and winners will be announced on Feb. 15th. 

Be sure to hop on over to the Love Hop list HERE to enter more giveaways.  There are over 200 bloggers participating!!  Woohoo!!!
***Thank you for following and good luck!! ***

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Pondering the Scriptures Sunday #14

Late good morning everyone!  Here's another episode of PTSS.  Since this is the "love" month, let's take a look at some brotherly love verses found in the Holy Bible. 
  • My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. 1John 3:18
  • A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.  By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. John 13:34-35
  • He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.  1John 2:10
  • Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:... 1 Peter 1:22
  • But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you:  for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.  1 Thessalonians 4:9
  • Let love be without dissimulation,  Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.  Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;... Romans 12:9-10
May we extend and exercise the strength and power of love to all those we can, it just might make their day and ours!  :)

Friday, February 4, 2011

"Big Girl"

by Danielle Steel, AF, 2010, Playaway, 11hrs, rating=2.5

"Victoria Dawson has always felt out of place in her family, especially in body-conscious L.A. Her father, Jim, is tall and slender, and her mother, Christina, is a fine-boned, dark-haired beauty. Both are self-centered, outspoken, and disappointed by their daughter’s looks. While her parents and sister can eat anything and not gain an ounce, Victoria must watch everything she eats, as well as endure her father’s belittling comments about her body and see her academic achievements go unacknowledged. Ice cream and oversized helpings of all the wrong foods give her comfort, but only briefly. The one thing she knows is that she has to get away from home, and after college in Chicago, she moves to New York City. Behind Victoria is a lifetime of hurt and neglect she has tried to forget, and even ice cream can no longer dull the pain. Ahead is a challenge and a risk: to accept herself as she is, celebrate it, and claim the victories she has fought so hard for and deserves. Big girl or not, she is terrific and discovers that herself." (cover blurb)
This book started out strong and I was really liking it because I could relate.  It was straight forward and was quickly telling the events right after the other, building sound character developments.  But somewhere before the last third of the book, it went downhill.  From there, the book dragged on and took too long to get to the resolution.  This resulted in saying the same thing over and over again and so Victoria's character got too whiny and so dense.  Poor girl, when it rained it pours.  Hence, her great potential got weird and in someway the story went all over the place and unnecessary side stories crept in. 

I was liking what it started to offer ... a strong and sweet sister-sister relationship, courage to be independent, evolution of true friendship, and determination to overcome an emotional scar.  But it didn't wrap it up neatly for me in the long run.  Before the point where it went downhill for me, I could have closed the book there and would have given the book at least 4 stars ... bummer!

P.S.  I sure wanted to smack (at the very least) Victoria's narcissistic father and enabling mother!!  Grrrrr!!!!!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Brief reviews and Tiramisu recipe

by Beverly Lewis, AF, 2007, Playaway, 10.5hrs, rating=3
Book #1

"Based on actual events that divided one Pennsylvania Amish community --and drove a wedge between heartbroken sweethearts.".  ~This was a nice change of pace.  The narrator had a sweet voice and it was interesting to get a glimpse of the dating customs and traditions of this Amish family.  A love triangle story... girl, boy, and religion.

by George Orwell, AF, 1946, 128p, rating=4

A political satire.  Wow, Mr. Orwell sure can pen it!  I was intrigued by his poignant protrayal of dictatorship!!  I was amused and entertained.  Definitely a league out of what I'm use to reading. 

by Buddy Valastro, non-fiction, 2010, 255p, rating=3.5

Interesting stories of this 4th generation master baker's family ...recording parental heritage, current nuclear family life, and behind the scene people involved in his bake shop empire.  Of course, with fabulous recipes to boot!!  The recipes intimidate me but they sure are treasures!!  ~There were only few pictures ...would have like an image for each recipe.

I'll share his Tiramisu recipe because it looks so pretty and might be just the thing to make for your Valentine.

  • 1C brewed espresso
  • 1C granulated sugar
  • 1/2C plus 1Tbs coffee liqueur
  • 4 extra-large egg yolks
  • 1 lb mascarpone cheese
  • 2Tbs sweet marsala
  • 1C heavy cream
  • 40 store-bought ladyfinger
  • 1/4C cocoa powder
  1. Put the espresso, 1/2C of the sugar, and 1/4C of the coffee liqueur into a heavy saucepan, and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.  Whisk until the sugar dissolves, 3 to 4 min. Remove the pan from the heat and let the syrup cool.
  2. Put the yolks, marscapone, marsala, remaining 1/2C sugar, and remaining 1Tbs of coffee liqueur in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment and whip on medium speed until light and airy, approx. 7min. (If you don't have a stand mixer, you can use a hand mixer fitted with the whip attachments.)  Transfer the mixture to another bowl and clean and dry the stand mixer bowl and the whip attachment, returning them both to the mixer.
  3. Put the cream in the bowl of the stand mixer and whip until stiff peaks form.  Gently fold the cream mixture into the marsala mixture.
  4. One by one, dip the ladyfingers in the espresso syrup and arrange a layer in the bottom of a 12 inch-x 8-inch pan.  Spoon a layer of cream over the ladyfingers.  Dip and arrange another layer of ladyfingers over the cream, with the second layer perpendicular to the first.  Spoon the remaining cream over the top.
  5. Dust the tiramisu with cocoa powder.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2hrs, or up to 3days.  To serve, use a kitchen spoon to scoop out portions into small bowls or glass dishes.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

1 year Blogiversary Giveaway

Yes, Jinky is Reading (aka Books That Tug The Heart) is one year old today!!  Woohoo!!!  It sure was a journey getting here (you can read the beginning HERE).  It must have been my time because I was hooked after my first book review (Ever After by Karen Kingsbury)!  I couldn't believe I was reading up to 3 books a week.  A far cry from 1 book or so every other year!!  It wasn't until July of last year though that I found out about the enormous cyber book blogging communities!  Why I thought that I'd be the only one with this idea ... I don't know, just didn't occur to me.  Anyway, that month I started blog hopping and joined a couple web book groups.  I was thrilled to find wonderful bloggers.  I started to learn the book lingos, like:  genre, meme, YA, ARC, POV, etc.  And even how to's in overall blogging.  I discovered a hobby that I can share and call as my own.  I was loving it (and still loving it)!!  I grew to love books and finally, Jinky is Reading!! :)

In honor of my blog's anniversary, I will be giving a copy of Ever After by Karen Kingsbury.  To enter, you must be a public GFC follower or "Like" (join) Books That Tug The Heart on Facebook and fill out the entry form below. Since I will be ordering this through Book Depository, make sure that they deliver to your country (check  HERE).  I will also offer this to the upcoming "Love Hop" so if you enter before Feb. 8th, you will be entered for an extra entry.  You will also get extra entries for sharing this giveaway via blogging or tweeting (see form).  ~This giveaway will end Feb. 13 and winner announced Feb. 15th. 

Thank you for your support.  This would not have been as fun without you!! 

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