Changes, deals and easy meals

Happy National Homemade Bread Day!

Yep, that’s a thing, and I didn’t know it until today. This reminds me of the days back in high school, when my dad fell in love with homemade bread. For about a year I made bread every single day, a recipe that I had learned from my grandmother, and by the next day without fail there was not a single crumb left.

I haven’t made bread in years, but a few days ago I made a delicious batch of cheesy snacks, which in Romania are called “sărățele”. These are made with cheese, butter, eggs and flour. You can sprinkle all sorts of things on top of them, like poppy seeds, grated cheese, sesame seeds, or whatever you like. Find the recipe here.

And because nothing goes better with a snack than a good book, I would like to present to you my new covers. The trend for rom-com covers leans heavily on illustrations right now, so I decided to give my covers a facelift. What do you think?

Today and tomorrow, Celebrity is at 99 cents, so if you haven’t given it a try already, now is the time!

And for all the binge-readers out there who love to read rom-com after rom-com, laugh, dream, and forget about the news for a while, I put together a box set with my entire Lovestruck series.

I hope you have a great rest of the week, and I wish you an early Happy Thanksgiving!

Love,

Melinda

 

Travel with Mona to Hungary

We visited Hungary twice, the first time while on a cruise along the Danube River and the second time as part of a land tour through Eastern Europe. I enjoyed both visits and can’t wait to return.

The capital, Budapest also called the ‘Queen of the Danube’ is bisected by the Danube. A 19th-century Chain Bridge connects the hilly Buda district with flat Pest. Buda was the kernel of settlement in the Middle Ages, and the cobbled streets and Gothic houses of the castle town have preserved their old layout. Until the late 18th century, Pest remained a tiny enclave, but then its population exploded, leaving Buda far behind. In the latter half of the 20th century, growth has been more evenly distributed between the two parts. There are so many landmarks to visit.

As we cruised toward Budapest, we encountered a steep limestone escarpment overlooking the Danube. It provided a panoramic view of the whole city. At the top stood the Citadella—built by the Austrian army in the mid-19th century in order to keep watch over the town. Today it serves as a hotel and restaurant and doubles as the stage for a splendid fireworks display on St. Stephen’s Day (August 20). 

Sights include the Széchenyi Chain Bridge, the Buda Castle hilltop complex, and the stately Hungarian Parliament Building.

Heroes’ Square: We walked through the statue complex of Hősök tere. Hősök tere (Heroes’ Square) stands out for its iconic, towering pillar and Millenium Monument complex that dates back to 1896. The complex honors Hungary’s 7 founding figures, together with a few other important national leaders. The square serves as a convenient central point for exploring the city.

Tombs of the Heroes

The Hungarian Parliament Building is the grand icon of Hungary’s democratic government. The majestic, neo-Gothic Hungarian Parliament Building dates back to 1904 and looms over the Pest side of the Danube River. It’s the largest building in the country. Viewed from aboard river cruises or the western bank of the Danube, the structure’s reflection on the calm river surface adds to the breathtaking panorama. Its turrets and arches make up most of its façade and with Renaissance and Baroque interiors. Group tours are available at the visitor center.

The picture I took on a cloudy, rainy day from the river cruise ship.
Picture from the web

The Royal Palace in Buda: It now houses the National Széchényi Library, Budapest History Museum, and the Hungarian National Gallery. 

We had a tour of the palace

St. Stephen’s Basilica is a Roman Catholic basilica named after the first King of Hungary, King Stephen I. With its impressive architecture and decorations, it is a popular tourist destination and place of worship and also holds regular concerts. We visited the interior during the day and admired the illuminated façade during our night tour of the city.

The Fisherman’s Bastion, world-famous for its turrets and for spires is one of the most well-known attractions of the Buda Castle area and provides perhaps the most beautiful panorama of the city from the Buda side over the river Danube.

The Liberty Statue or Freedom Statue is a monument on the Gellért Hill in Budapest.

The Freedom Statue by night.
A view of the Danube, bridge, and Parliament by night.

There are so many statues in Budapest. I enjoyed two that were not famous!

Although we traveled twice to Hungary, we couldn’t see everything in Budapest. If I ever return, I would like to swim in Széchenyi Thermal Baths, the largest mineral bath in Europe, shop in the Great Market Hall, and listen to a Liszt symphony.

Love You Doc Series – New Release

Dr. Robert Olson was a well-known cardiac surgeon and heart transplant specialist who lived in Florida. His wife Janice was a nurse. Robert and Janice deeply cared for their close-knit family and encouraged their children to follow in their footsteps. At home, all they talked about was hospital, patients, surgery, recovery, etcetera…

Sure enough, their four kids studied medicine. The oldest brother, Nathan, became an orthopedic surgeon and worked in Boston. His brother Aidan finished a residency in neurosurgery and accepted a position in Cincinnati. Their sister, Sophia, was an ER doc, and the youngest sibling, Liam, was still in med school when their dad died.

In the four novels of this box, these successful doctors faced their share of problems before finding their HEA.

A Character Study- #NewRelease #NARomance @jacqbiggar

Character Study- Renée

A blogging friend of mine likes to do an introduction to her characters before the release of her books, so I thought I’d do one today.

Image by Shahid Shafiq from Pixabay

Renée Thomas is the most serious and oldest at twenty-one. Her sister, Izzy- Elizabeth Mae Thomas- is two and a half years younger. She’s the moody, intense one of the family. Last, but not least, is their brother Benjamin. At nearly twelve years younger than Renée, Ben is the baby they love to spoil.

As children, Renée and Izzy did everything together, climbing trees, biking, sharing clothes, and secrets. But the night of Renée’s high school graduation and Izzy’s sixteenth birthday, that changed.

Renée is betrayed by her long-time boyfriend, Simon, her sister suddenly hates her guts, and she witnesses her father’s suicide.

Unable to handle the terrible chain of events, Renée leaves town, heading to California and her accepted application to UC Berkeley.

Two years later it’s Renée’s mom who is gone and she is forced to return to face her demons.

Two years later

The town looks the same as when I left for college. The Welcome to Smuggler’s Cove, pop. 7562, sign bows with the weight of the old town’s worries on its aged wooden frame. God, I’m glad I escaped.

My second-hand SUV chugs up the hill and over the bridge. Chinook, the river named after the salmon who travel hundreds of miles to spawn in its muddy brown water, gurgles over the rocks far below. Giant rubber tubes in a rainbow of colors filled with laughing teens dot the surface. I’d joined them many times to get away from the oppression at home.

Image by Brigitte Werner from Pixabay

Home.

It’s been nearly two years since I left and would’ve been longer if I had my choice. Hard on the heels of guilt come the ever-ready tears. Fact is, while I soaked up the west coast sunshine and campus life, my little sister had taken over the reins of the house, getting my brother to school, paying the bills, and caring for Mom.

This is the story of two sisters torn apart by unspeakable horror and brought together by tragedy. Can family ties overcome the pain of betrayal?

Letting Go: The Defiant Sisters- Book 1

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0B3R41NWF

International: https://books2read.com/Letting-Go-Defiant-Sisters

TBR: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/61269995-letting-go–the-defiant-sisters-book-1

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/books/letting-go-the-defiant-sisters-book1-the-defiant-sisters-duet-by-jacquie-biggar

A coming-of-age novel about the pain of misconceptions and learning from them.

 When life gives you lemons…

Izzy

Mom is barely in the grave and the prodigal child is here to pick the bones clean.

I don’t want her here. My sister’s defection is a wound that won’t heal and her return simply rubs at the scabs covering my heart.

I’ve managed just fine without her. She can go back to her fancy college and forget about us- that’s what she does best anyway.

If only I didn’t need her help. Or miss her so much.

Renée

The day my dad committed suicide I ran. I’ve been running ever since.

Going home is supposed to be the answer. Instead, it makes me question every thoughtless decision I’ve made.

My sister hates me. My little brother barely knows me. And Simon… is engaged.

None of it matters- or so I tell myself. I’m here to make amends and face a past haunted by regret.

As long as I can convince myself to stay.

Letting Go is a young adult romance dealing with tragedy, restitution, and love in all its aspects. The story relates to sensitive topics that may be triggering for some readers.

How to deal with Stress

At some point, anxiety and stress affect everyone. They can manifest differently in different people, and the level of anxiety one experiences can vary. According to professionals, there are ways to manage anxiety, even if it feels out of control.

According to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America, here are some easy ways to cope when you’re feeling anxious or stressed:

  • Take a time-out. Practice yoga, listen to music, meditate, get a massage, or learn relaxation techniques. Stepping back from the problem helps clear your head. [Yoga and swimming in the pool do wonders for me]
  • Eat well-balanced meals. Do not skip any meals. Do keep healthful, energy-boosting snacks on hand. [ During the pandemic, I snacked on dry fruit and nuts, and added 10lbs].
  • Limit alcohol and caffeine, which can aggravate anxiety and trigger panic attacks. [When stressed, I increase my intake of alcohol and coffee]
  • Get enough sleep. When stressed, your body needs additional sleep and rest.
  • Exercise daily to help you feel good and maintain your health. Check out the fitness tips below. [How come I feel so tired when stressed?]
  • Take deep breaths. Inhale and exhale slowly. [Easy]
  • Count to 10 slowly. Repeat, and count to 20 if necessary. [Easy]
  • Do your best. Instead of aiming for perfection, which isn’t possible, be proud of however close you get. [Who cares about perfection when stressed?]
  • Accept that you cannot control everything. Put your stress in perspective: Is it really as bad as you think? [When I’m stressed, everything is bad!]
  • Welcome humor. A good laugh goes a long way. [Yes, please. Give us a daily joke]
  • Maintain a positive attitude. Make an effort to replace negative thoughts with positive ones. [Positive thoughts come from daydreaming a new plot for a book]
  • Get involved. Volunteer or find another way to be active in your community, which creates a support network and gives you a break from everyday stress. [I did. It added a new stress!]
  • Learn what triggers your anxiety. Is it work, family, school, or something else you can identify? Write in a journal when you’re feeling stressed or anxious, and look for a pattern. [All of the above]
  • Talk to someone. Tell friends and family you’re feeling overwhelmed, and let them know how they can help you. [I often do, and then they complain I’ve managed to stress them]
  •  
  • If the above don’t work, talk to a physician or therapist for professional help.
  • OR READ A GOOD BOOK!!!

New Release KISSING PLANS (Love Plans Series, book 6)

From best friend to lovers. But she’s engaged. What better way to get rid of the undesired fiancé? Finding him a girlfriend.

To be Released on August 25 FAMILY PLANS (Love Plans Series, book 7)

The plane crash devastated two families and revealed painful secrets. Can a brighter future arise from those ashes at Christmas time?

FREE on August 18, 19, 20, 21 DATING PLANS (Love Plans Series, book 2)

Attraction sizzles between Matt and Brenda, and he bonds with Mia. Happiness finally seems within grasp for mother and daughter until the bullies in Mia’s class pull her into their web again.
Brenda’s past return to haunt her when Mia’s father enters the picture. Crushed by this new betrayal, Matt steps away. Is there any hope left for Matt and Brenda to build a future together?