MJ’s MUSINGS: BOOK BINGO–UNDER REPRESENTED AUTHOR

For my “under-represented author” square on the BOOK BINGO card, I chose Tikka Chance on Me, by Suleikha Snyder. Several people had recommended it as a good read, not necessarily for book bingo.

I loved it! It’s the story of an Indian girl who works in her parents’ restaurant and a biker bad boy, neither of whom are all they seem.  They’d known each other in high school, but their lives took divergent paths. The story is actually a novella, but it reads longer because it’s packed and fast-paced. And it’s hot.

Five stars.

 

 

 

 

MJ’s MOVIES: STRANGER THAN FICTION

When my critique group and I go off to the woods for long writing weekends, we also bring movies to watch during the evening. One year, someone grabbed Stranger than Fiction from the library, thinking Emma Thompson would outweigh Will Ferrell. Thankfully, she did.

I actually like Will Ferrell in this movie. He plays an IRS agent who suddenly begins hearing his life being narrated by the voice of a famous author. He hunts down the author to convince her to change the ending of the book she’s writing because he doesn’t want to die the way he will die in the book. I know. Weird.

There’s a great cast to go along with the interesting premise. This movie deserves to be better known than it is. It’s not a great movie by any means, but neither is it a dud.

MJ’s Musings: Talking to Your Family

When my children were young, we had a habit of dinner together every night. No TV, no radio. Each meal began with a toast, “Happy <<insert day of the week>>.” Then we went around the table and shared one good thing that happened to us that day. We ate we talked, we shared the low points as well as the high points of our days. Often times it was the only chance we had to reconnect as a family.

When X-Chromo (the youngest) invited a friend over for taco Tuesday, we didn’t alter our habit. Her friend was shocked that we conversed. And laughed. At her house, her parents listened to NPR during meals, and there was no talking allowed.

I was stunned. I understand not every parents’ workday mirrored ours. I knew other parents did other things with their children, running them to and from activities and such. But to not allow them to speak at a meal so they could listen to the radio outraged me.

We enjoyed discussing current events with our children. We would explain why famous people who had died were important. When drama club would select a play, we would discuss the realities behind the play. We tried to teach them history and why it is important to know.

I’m glad we did meal time our way, and I hope my children are, too.

 

Even now that we are empty nesters, TV Stevie and I still do “One Good Thing” when we manage to sit down together for dinner.

MJ Monday: MJ’s Meals-Chicken with Accessory Vegetables

Ingredients: 

  • Boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into bite-sized pieces
  • olive oil
  • Sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • garlic, minced
  • 1 can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
  • 1/2 jar sun dried tomatoes packed in oil
  • 1/2 jar deli sliced roasted red peppers
  • 1 jar vodka sauce
  • 1 box rotini pasta

Cover the bottom of a heavy kettle with olive oil and slowly “melt” the sliced onions, cooking until they are limp and translucent.

Start the pasta water. Once it’s reached a full boil, cook the pasta per package instructions, drain and reserve until “sauce” is complete.

 

Add the chicken and garlic, cooking over medium heat until there is no pink left in the chicken.

Add the rest of the vegetables to the pot and cook for 5 minutes.

Add the jar of vodka sauce and heat thoroughly.

Add the cooked pasta and mix well.

Serve with freshly shredded Parmesan cheese.

MJ’s Musings: SEP-Dream a Little Dream

Dream a Little Dream is my least favorite of the Bonner brother/Chicago Stars books. I don’t like Gabe (hero), I don’t like Rachel (heroine), I don’t like Edward/Chip (Rachel’s little boy). I don’t like that a favorite character from Nobody’s Baby But Mine  was dead. Maybe Rachel and Gabe’s respective backstories are too bleak and dark and need the comic relief the dead character provided in Nobody’s Baby. I don’t know.

The humanizing of Gabe is well done. My heart breaks for him. But he’s not a romance hero. Rachel’s return to the scene of her late-husband’s crimes is well-motivated, but I still can’t warm up to her.

I’m the first to complain when so many romance novels conflicts seem trite (to me), so I’m not sure why the grim premises of this story bother me so much. It is a testament to the author’s skill that I feel this so strongly.

There were things about the book that I did like: I liked that the evangelical huckster got his (before the story opened); I liked that Gabe’s parents weren’t in the book (Jim & Lynn Bonner from Nobody’s Baby But Mine), and I loved Gabe’s brother Ethan and the subplot involving him and his secretary.  I love that God speaks to Ethan with Oprah’s voice.

Three stars.