THE COOKIES & CUPS COOKBOOK: 125+ sweet & savory recipes reminding you to Always Eat Dessert First by Shelly Jaronsky

PUBLISHER: Gallery Books, 4/2016
GENRE: Cookbooks/Baking

FROM PUBLISHER: Wildly popular Cookies & Cups blogger Shelly Jaronsky’s eagerly anticipated cookbook features all-new, mouth-watering, delectable sweet treats 100% guaranteed to make you want to eat dessert first.

Now you can bring Shelly’s signature style into your own kitchen with more than 125 no-fail recipes, including some reader-approved favorites and a special bonus section dedicated to the quick and savory side of cooking. Authored in the witty, intimate style of the blog that draws more than three million monthly page views and a social following of more than seven hundred thousand fans, The Cookies & Cups Cookbook is the go-to source for all things flavorful, accessible, and irresistibly tasty.



I made half the recipe and got 28 cookies. I omitted the chopped Oreo's and white chocolate chips. I added chopped lightly toasted slivered almonds and 1/4c. mini semisweet chocolate chips. My dough balls didn't spread much at all during baking and were very thick. When they came out of the oven I flattened them with the back of a measuring cup. I flattened the rest of the dough balls before baking. These are bland-tasting, not sweet enough, and I'd never make them again. Dense too.


This pie couldn't have been easier to make. You bring ingredients to a boil on the stove, pour into prebaked pie shell and refrigerate for hours. I used a store-bought Keebler® shortbread pie crust and thawed frozen whipped topping instead of homemade whipped cream (I don't like it). I made half the recipe. The pie is a little bitter and not quite sweet enough. I think it would still be bitter with less chocolate so next time I make it I'm going to use bittersweet chocolate in place of unsweetened to see if that helps.


These turned out great but needed a little more salt. I used unsalted butter when the recipe called for salted so I needed to add a little more salt than the recipe called for. I did but not enough. I omitted the coconut and white chocolate chips and added mini semisweet chocolate chips and finely chopped lightly toasted pecans. I'd definitely make these again. I made half and got 24 cookies. My first batch, pictured, were overbaked by about one minute and they got harder as they sat in a sealed container.


This was pretty good and required just one deep skillet to cook the pasta in then the meat mixture. It uses ground beef, taco mix, chili powder, cumin, corn, crushed tomatoes, salsa, shredded cheese.

I made half the recipe but used even less pasta than called for. I used about 1 1/2 c. dry (5oz) instead of 8oz. I omitted the black beans. The salsa almost ruined this as the flavors didn't mesh with the other seasonings. I'll definitely make this again, minus the salsa.


I made half of this chocolate cake in a 9"x1.5" round pan*. The cake is made with equal parts butter and shortening, melted. It uses a small amount of unsweetened cocoa powder. It's dense and very good. I added extra salt because I used unsalted butter, not salted like the recipe states. I made my own vanilla frosting for this, not the chocolate one in the recipe.

*An 8"x2" round or square pan holds the same amount.

CATAGORIES: So You Think You Can Bake?, Eat Cake For Breakfast, Cookies, Brownies and Bars, Cake, Frosting, Pie, Party Snacks, Pizza and Pasta, Salads and Sammies, Family Favorites

MY THOUGHTS: I'm pretty disappointed in this book. I've made five things and there are only about six more I'd actually make and there's no telling how they'd turn out.

Of the things I've made only two were what I'd call really great, the sheet cake and oatmeal cookies. The great thing about the oatmeal cookies is that you can add whatever you want to the batter if you'd like, like chocolate chips, chopped dried fruit or nuts.

There's an attractive color photo for each and every recipe, which is very nice, and I love the cover. There's maybe eight recipes that have silly childish sprinkles or cereal decorating the top or stirred into the batter, which is very unappealing to me as an adult.

I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

HOLIDAY COOKIES: Prize-Winning Family Recipes from the Chicago Tribune for Cookies, Bars, Brownies and More by Chicago Tribune Staff

PUBLISHER: Agate Surrey, 10/2014
GENRE: Cookbooks/Baking/Cookies

FROM PUBLISHER: For nearly three decades, the Chicago Tribune has run its annual Holiday Cookie Contest, asking readers to submit recipes that are both unique and meaningful to them. Each recipe is accompanied by a brief description or story explaining why the cookie is special to the reader and their family. The Chicago Tribune's award-winning food writers and editors carefully consider these essays, select the finalists, and then publish winning recipes.

Good Eating's Holiday Cookies is a comprehensive collection of the best holiday cookies as curated from nearly three decades worth of reader submissions. These delicious recipes represent an eclectic mix of traditional and modern recipes from diverse cultural background and skill levels, such as Tropical Nuevo Latino Cookies, Dorie's Dark and Stormies, and Grandma Grump's Peanut Butter Drizzles.

Complete with full-color photography and helpful baking tips, this gorgeous compilation brings the warmth and expertise of a cross-generational baking community home for the holidays. From cookie classics to twists on old standards, Good Eating's Holiday Cookies provides the home baker with a plethora of possibilities for any holiday party.



I'm not impressed with these cookies at all. This baked cookie looks nothing like the one in the book. Based on the appearance of these cookies while they were baking, the way they were getting very brown around the edges before the minimum baking time was up, I realized the dough was exactly like a Linzer cookie, which is basically like a shortbread cookie; no egg, baking soda, or baking powder in the dough. The photo of the finished cookie in the book shows a very pale cookie that's decorated with a green-tinted glaze. That's why I decided to make it- because it looked nothing like a Linzer cookie. This type of cookie softens up soon after baking and makes for a terrible sandwich cookie. They taste good, though. But because of how quickly the cookie gets soft, I'd never make these again.


This is a good-flavored sweet cookie that has ground oats in the dough. They're a little dry. I omitted the white chocolate and added lightly toasted chopped slivered almonds, almond extract, and cherries to half the dough. To the other half I added mini semisweet chocolate chips and finely chopped almonds.

I used a 1T. cookie scoop/1 1/2" diameter and got 36 dough balls. My cookies didn't spread out like the ones in the photo did.

MY THOUGHTS: This is an attractive book, inside and out, but I'm very disappointed in it. I only like one of the two recipes I tried and there's only about three more recipes I'd try.

I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

FROZEN IN FEAR: A True Story of Surviving the Shadows of Death by Jane Carson-Sandler

PUBLISHER: True Directions, 6/2014
GENRE: Nonfiction/Memoir/True Crime

FROM PUBLISHER: Jane Carson-Sandler, a native of Northern New Jersey, entered the US Air Force Nurse Corps in 1969 and retired in 1999 after serving 30 years of active and reserve duty. Seven years after entering the military, she was raped in her own home while her three year old son was lying beside her. Thirty eight years have passed. This notorious rapist and serial killer, known as the East Area Rapist (EAR), has raped 50 women and has murdered twelve people including men and women in California. He still has not been caught. With raw emotion, Jane's story entails how she survived not only this trauma, but some other bruising encounters with death such as her battle with alcohol and other serious health issues. Through the Grace and love of God, Jane went from being a victim to a survivor. She describes her God inspired journey in making this transition in hopes of helping and inspiring others.

MY THOUGHTS: This book is very condensed yet very informative about Jane's life. She survived a prolific California serial rapist in October 1976 (50 known victims) who went on to become a serial killer (The Original Night Stalker/ONS) of at least 10 people.

Jane's had a very interesting life. She's the daughter of a sometimes violent alcoholic electrician father and a mother who's a nurse. She became a nurse herself and has lived throughout the U.S. and Europe and now resides in South Carolina with her third husband.

I really wish she had expanded on her experience with talking to prison inmates about being a rape survivor. I'd love to know what they had to say about her story, especially since some of them are rapists themselves.

She's been a recovering alcoholic since 2003. I take issue with her comment, "God removed my addiction". An addiction doesn't get 'removed' by anything or anyone.

Jane's known as victim #5 in this case. You can see her interviewed on The Original Night Stalker episode of I.D.'s Dark Minds, season 2, episode 1.


PUBLISHER: Doubleday, 1960
GENRE: Fiction/Gothic Romantic Suspense
SETTING: England, 19th Century

FROM PUBLISHER: From the moment Martha Leigh first glimpsed the cold, brooding manse high on the fog-shrouded Cornish cliffs, she felt a chill of apprehension.

Then she met her employer, the arrogant master of Mellyn, and his spoiled, headstrong daughter, Alvean, and knew why the three governesses before her had left the eerie mansion.
Slowly, almost imperceptibly, Martha began to be aware of an atmosphere of menace. There had been whispers of past horrors, warnings of violence yet to come--and now there were
strange accidents. It was madness to stay on.

But Connan TreMellyn's dark charm had over-powered Martha's natural caution. Against her will she felt irresistibly drawn to the handsome, enigmatic master of Mellyn.

Now, even as she found herself being pulled deeper and deeper into a frightening web of unseen terror, she knew she could not, would not leave...

MY THOUGHTS: This story was interesting enough but the plot was very slow moving the entire way through and fairly tame. There have been a few suspicious happenings at Connan's home lately; mysterious letters, falling boulders, ect. I never once guessed who the culprit was. I don't like that the tiny bit of action this story had took place during the last thirteen pages. I didn't get a gothic feel from this story either, not once.

Every single character was underdeveloped and I didn't feel as if I'd gotten to know any of them. With Connan I'm not seeing any 'charm', dark or otherwise. He wasn't around all that much. I don't understand where his attraction and 'love' for Martha came from at all. They're hardly ever together and all of a sudden he wants to marry her. I don't know why he didn't just marry Lady Linda Treslyn since they were involved with each other.


STUDIO: Boojum Productions/Variety Films, 1973
RUN TIME: 83 minutes
DVD RELEASE: After Hours Cinema, 2007
UPC: 612385423192
PURCHASE: link, link
CD-ROM: link

FROM WIKIPEDIA: Forced Entry is a 1973 pornographic film written and directed by Shaun Costello under the pseudonym Helmuth Richler. It stars Harry Reems as an unnamed and psychotic Vietnam War veteran who sexually assaults and kills random women who stop at the filling station where he works as an attendant. Called "one of the most disturbing and unpleasant porn features ever made" the film utilizes actual footage of the war, predominantly in the rape and murder sequences.

SPOILER SUMMARY: Harry's working at a gas station. He pumps gas for a woman (Jutta David, from Germany) and when she pays him in cash, he tells her he's always getting robbed and needs her to pay with a credit card. He lies and tells her that her name and address didn't show up too good on the copy so he asks her for both, writes the info down then follows her home. He's hanging around inside her apartment building, then goes out on the fire escape and spies through her window. He's got a gun stuffed in the waistband of his jeans and is holding a knife. Jutta's in the bedroom with a man (Shaun Costello). He's naked on the bed, she's naked except for underwear. She blows Shaun, then he fucks her missionary position for a long time. She gets on top and rides him for a short time then she lifts up off him and he jerks off until he cums.

Later on, Jutta's dressed, sitting on the sofa reading something. Harry unlocks the front door with his knife. He creeps up behind her, puts his hand over her mouth and threatens to 'cut her guts out' if she makes a sound. She asks him what he wants and he says, "Lady, I want you to take my prick out of my pants and suck my cock. You hear that? You hear that? You're gonna suck my cock!" She kneels in front of him and blows him. While that's going on he's having flashbacks of Vietnam (and real footage is used). He finishes himself off and wipes his dick and cum across her mouth. He tells her he didn't enjoy it at all. He slowly drags his knife across her throat, leaving a thin red line/cut and it kills her. It looks incredibly fake. He kisses her lips.

Harry's standing outside (work?) when a woman (Laura Cannon) stops in her car and asks for directions. He gives them to her and follows her on foot. She arrives at the house and he's watching her from the woods across the street and having more Vietnam flashbacks. He goes inside, up the stairs and watches her as she showers. She sees him, screams, he pushes her into the bedroom and tosses her onto the bed. He strips down and forces her to blow him while holding a gun to her head. He says to her, "You know what I'm gonna do to you once you get it up there nice and good, honey? I'm gonna stick it up your asshole, that's what I'm gonna do. You're gonna like that, aren't ya?" He lays on the bed, she's to his right laying beside him, leaning up and over him, blowing him. She gets on all fours and he rapes her anally. He repeatedly asks her if her ass is bleeding yet and says he's going to show her 'a lot of bleeding'. He pulls out and cums on her ass, visualizing dead children in Vietnam. He tells her he didn't like it and that she got his 'prick all full of shit' (not true). She rolls over on the bed until she's onto the floor. He slices her left shoulder with his knife, then stabs her through the belly button. He kisses her then lays her back on the hardwood floor.

A brunette girl, either Nina Fawcett or Ruby Runhouse, is hitchhiking. A blond driving a van pulls over and they chat. They both walk over and sit down on something. They talk about doing drugs, the blond tells her she does live sex shows for $200 a week and tries to get the other girl interested in doing them and her. They drive to the gas station where Harry works. Harry tells them they'll have to pay with a credit card and lies to get them to give their address. Like with the others, he follows them. They're at home smoking a joint on a sofa or something. He's spying through the window. They take their shirts off and go into the bedroom and get naked. One eats the other out. He comes into the room and they're not really scared because they're high. The blond tells him he's the guy from the gas station. He's getting very angry because they aren't scared and he's continuing to have flashbacks of the horrors of Vietnam and the two women he's killed recently. He keeps telling them to 'stay away' from him. He blows his brains out.

MY THOUGHTS: I've been wanting to see this for over ten years and was excited when I finally got the chance. After watching it I realized it wasn't as rough/violent as it sounded, either, in my opinion. The 'rape' and manhandling of women in R-rated films is far rougher than what's in his film. I see this more as a mainstream film with explicit sex as opposed to a xxx porn with a plot. I'm not ashamed to say I like this.

There's not too much dialogue in this and Harry has most of it. The scene at the end with the two women, they're beyond annoying and they sort of ruined the ending for me. From what I've read they weren't really actors and it seems to me they were ad-libbing most of their dialogue. They couldn't have done a worse job had they tried.

Here's a good review for it, here too.

Harry died from pancreatic cancer in March 2013.

Same review here.[sl]-Thriller/Forced-Entry-DVD-(1974)-(NTSC-Region-1).html

HER LADYSHIP'S COMPANION by Evangeline Collins

PUBLISHER: Berkley Sensation, 5/2009
GENRE: Fiction/Historical Romance
SETTING: England and Scotland, 1816

FROM PUBLISHER: In the Scottish countryside of Selkirk, Lady Isabella Stirling resides at Bowhill Park, serving penance for a sin that nearly ruined her family. For five years she has been condemned to a loveless marriage and confined to the estate where she does little more than tend her rose garden. With her husband absent for months at a time and few visitors, Bella lives a lonely existence, denying the passions that burn within her very soul.

Then her cousin comes for a visit and makes an outrageous suggestion: what Bella needs is a lover. A hired lover. Despite her need, Bella says no. But soon Mr. Gideon Rosedale arrives-and he is at her service for two weeks. Indulging in what she intends to be a harmless flirtation, Bella is overcome by Gideon’s intoxicating presence. And when she at last permits him to satisfy her desires, she discovers she’s done the unthinkable-she’s fallen in love.

MY THOUGHTS: The story takes place in England and Scotland in 1816 and spans about ten months. The heroine is Isabella ‘Bella’ Stirling. She’s 24 and has been married to Lord Stirling, 34, for almost five years. He’s impotent and they have no relationship of any kind with each other and he’s rarely at home. He’s both physically and verbally abusive toward her. Bella is 5’8″ and has pale blond and violet eyes. She’s terribly unhappy. Her parents are dead and she’s got two brothers and two sisters who have never come to visit her.

The hero is Gideon Rosedale. He’s twenty-seven, 6’1″ and has dark brown hair and brown eyes. He’s a prostitute and has been for ten years. His mother was one and he doesn’t know who his father is. He was raised up in a brothel. Bella’s cousin, Esmé, hires him to ‘service’ Bella for two weeks. That’s how the hero and heroine meet.

Bella is so lonely and isolated. I think she became a bit obsessed with Gideon, especially after their original two week stay was over. She was so starved or affection that once she warmed up to him, she was not emotionally prepared to let him go. To me, she showed signs of being mentally unbalanced and seemed a bit immature. She also seems hypersexual. That combined with her overall emotional state made me wonder if she was bipolar. I feel she was a bit of a weak character, pretty passive with things that had nothing to do with Gideon.

Gideon seemed a little bland to me. I’d have liked to have known a bit more about his upbringing. I don’t think his character was developed quite enough. Bella’s surely wasn’t. We weren’t told a thing about her past; childhood, upbringing, nothing. I want to know why her siblings never came to visit her.

The sex scenes were very explicit but ordinary and there were plenty of them. I was a bit surprised by one scene near the end involving something the hero did to the heroine.

Overall, there wasn’t much going on in this story but sex. No real plot at all except toward the end when Bella’s husband pays her a visit. Though the heroine is married to another, she and Gideon have their happily-ever-after.

I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


STUDIO: Xenon Pictures, Inc.
RELEASED: 2004/84 minutes

FROM DVD: Thirty porn stars discuss, in their own words, life in the Adult film industry. Topics such as the toll on personal relationships, physical demands, the risks of AIDS transmission, drug use and social stigmas are addressed in disturbingly candid interviews. From new starlets to legends, male and female, this is what it's like to be an Adult Star.

You'll meet Nina Hartley, a former nurse who is a frequent speaker at many events supporting free speach and sex education, and a co-star in the film Boogie Nights; I.S. Levine, editor for Flynt Publications and co-author of the book Coming Attractions, he has written numerous articles for Details and Rolling Stone and is an on-camera consultant for E! Entertainment's Hollywood Profiles; Julia Ann, Juli Ashton, Shayla La Veaux, Brittany Andrews, Anna Malle, Kylie Ireland, Felecia, Sasha Monet, Randy West, Tony Tedeschi, Asia Carrera, Bud Lee, Caressa Savage, Chloe, Jill Kelly, Steven Hatcher, Mike Raven, Nicole Sheridan, Bella Starr, Steven St. Croix, Devon Wolf and Melanie Stone.

Here at last are the real stories of the real people wo reisk their reputations, their health- even their lives- to create America's sexual fantasies. The lives of Adult Stars are secret no more.

MY THOUGHTS: This was a decent documentary but could have been so much better. This is rated R so no penis shots or closeups of vagina's. The interviews were conducted on-set with each actor chatting about various things. I'd have preferred it if they'd been interviewed in a different setting like you'd see on biography-type shows instead of outdoors and indoors while they're killing time between scenes.

Only a couple people talked briefly about how they got into the business and that was disappointing to me. I wanted to know what lead each and every one of them to this line of work but learned nothing about it, really.

I didn't care for Brittany Andrews and found her to be a bit arrogant and foul-mouthed, like some would expect someone in her line of work to act and speak. She said male actors who have trouble maintaining an erection are 'losers' and said she felt bad for the men who had to have sex with 'ugly girls'. She seems to think she's hot shit but I don't find her face, or attitude, to be attractive at all. She said that 'fluffers' don't exist in the porn industry, you know, girls who try to keep the guys erect between takes. Total myth.

Something interesting that I'd not heard of is something called a FIP, which stands for fake internal pump. So some of the 'money shots' are faked....I guess. No one said that exactly but it lead me to believe that's what they were talking about. I can't find any info on it so if you know more about it let me know!

Asia Carrera said that some of the small-breasted women who do stripping too don't earn as much as the large-breasted women and that's why some end up getting breast implants. So I guess you gotta spend money to make money! Asia doesn't strip, I think she said she's too 'chicken' for that (go figure!) but got implants anyway....and talked about how nice they were. They do look pretty natural because they hang like real ones and aren't round and melon-like like most implants are. Jill Kelly was massaging one of hers.

Nina Hartley jokingly put her hand on some man's crotch and said that some would consider that to be rude but she thought the opposite! She was a nurses before she got into porn but unfortunately she never mentioned it.

There's a filmography for each of the actors in the bonus features and a short 2-6 minute interview with the director and producer that wasn't that good.

Overall, this was alright but not as good as I'd hoped. The description from the DVD makes it sound a bit more interesting that it is.

This came from my personal collection. Same review here. (site NSFW)

BOUND BY THE HEART by Marsha Canham

PUBLISHER: Avon, 10/1984
GENRE: Fiction/Historical Romance
SETTING: Caribbean & Barbados, 1811/12
BODICE RIPPER? Yes, very mild

FROM PUBLISHER: Rescued from the stormy waters of the Caribbean, Summer Cambridge, daughter of the British governor of Barbados faced a new threat aboard the American ship Chimera. Captain Morgan Wade, the notorious buccaneer, brazenly ordered the young beauty to his cabin to be held for his own pleasure!

Summer fought him with the ferocity of a wildcat, but held by his insistent passion, she was swept by waves of desire she had never known, and was powerless to resist him.

Even as she returned to Barbados and the marriage that had been arranged for her, she still trembled with memories of those days and nights of forbidden passions, and of the man whose love would forever hold her heart captive.

MY THOUGHTS: I'm reviewing the out of print paperback from 1984, not the rewritten e-book, which has the rape scene removed.

Summer is blond with gray-green eyes. Her age was never given so I'll assume she's in her early twenties. She's a typical, slightly boring heroine. Not very feisty like I prefer, especially in these older books.

The American hero, Morgan, is thirty-four years old and has long black hair and blue eyes. He buys cargo and guns legally then sells them to the French, then transports them to America. In typical bodice ripper fashion, he rapes Summer aboard his ship once or twice (page 35 of print book) and makes no apologies for it. That's pretty much where his abuse of her ends.

I liked her terrible husband Bennett Winfield. He lost interest in her right after they married. He suspected her of harboring feelings for Morgan and a secret, and forbade her ever seeing him again and threatened to ruin her and her family if she did. He's shown violence towards her too. I like him much more than I do Morgan.

The story spans about a little over a year, beginning in June 1811. This just wasn't a good story at all. It fits my criteria of a mild bodice ripper; it had the typical arrogant hero, rape, a decent amount of time apart from each other (over a year), and evil secondary characters and lots of action involving ships.

Morgan's slightly younger half brother, Stuart Roarke was just pointless in this story.

I liked the first 119 pages when Summer and her ten year old brother Michael were on Morgan's ship then island, Bounty Key, but once she returned home about a third of the way into the story, boring throughout the rest of the novel. The last fifty pages or so was nothing but one ship fighting against another and I truly forced myself to finish the book. It majority was so uninteresting to me. I really feel like this historical romance turned into purely historical fiction. The only good thing I can say about this is that I love the cover.

Same review here.


PUBLISHING INFO: Onyx, 1987 (her first novel)
SETTING: England/France, 1816
HEROINE: Rosalie Belleau, 20
HERO: Randall Berkeley, 28
RAPE? Yes, once by hero

FROM PUBLISHER: Beautiful young Rosalie Belleau was swept up into an aristocratic world of luxury, license and intricate intrigue when the most notorious and handsome rake in London, Lord Randall Berkeley; abducted her in the belief that she was any man’s for the taking. Before he realized his mistake, he had branded her with his desire-and lost his heart to this girl so unlike any he had ever known. Both Rosalie, waking to womanhood, and Sir Randall, learning the power of lose, were in the dark about each other–until the flames of passion lit their way through a labyrinth of danger… to the dazzling heights of ecstasy….


HEROINE: She's 20 year old Rosalie Belleau, born in 1796 in France. She's got long dark hair and blue eyes. She's an only child. Rosalie is personal maid to Lady Winthrop and companion to her daughter Elaine.

HERO: He's 28 year old Randall Berkeley but goes by 'Rand'. He's got "deep amber hair" and "unfashionably dark skin", hazel eyes. Has one brother named Colin. He's two years younger than Rand.

The book opens with Rosalie asking her mother Amille about her father. Amille said her father had been a confectioner who had died when Rosalie was one month old. Amille wanted to change the subject. Amille asked Rosalie what she wanted out of marriage. Rosalie wanted contentment. She said she wanted to live and had a suspicion that she'll end up a spinster.

Rand and his grandfather were discussing the family business, Berkeley Shipping. Rand said he'd take care of the problem that they were having with the business and would travel to France to take care of it. His grandfather told him that he didn't like that he was the first born, making him heir to his grandfathers fortune, since Rand's parents were dead. He then told Rand he didn't think he was deserving of the fortune and that he trusted his brother Colin more.

Rand went to the club to hang out with his friends before traveling to France the next day. While he was there, Rosalie and her mother Amille were at the theather. A candle on stage caught the curtains on fire, so everyone ran out of the place out into the street. Some man was chasing after Rosalie, grabbing at her and she scratched his face. He punched her and knocked her out cold. She fell and her face landed on Rand's foot. He'd just come out of the club with his friends. Rand picked her up and put her over his shoulder. The dock worker who'd been chasing Rosalie told Rand that she was his since he'd been chasing her so Rand paid the man for his 'trouble'. Rand took her home in his carriage.

She woke up in Rands bed with a terrible headache and called out for her mother, since she was a bit disoriented. The first thing Rand said to her was, "So they're blue", talking about her eyes. She asked him how he came to be there and he told her she was accosted the night before and that it had been impossible for him to ignore her. She said she needed to leave. He told her to sit down so they could discuss what she owed him for rescuing her. She told him she owed him nothing and he said, the hell you don't!" She got up, dressed only in her chemise, and started to get dressed. Rand told her, "I wouldn't bother with that just yet." She continued to get dressed and he told her to put the garment down. She told him he wouldn't bed her and grabbed up his razor and threatened him with it. He grabbed her wrist and put the blade up to her throat, causing her to get nicked. He put a cloth up to her neck to get up the blood and she smacked him. He kissed her and dragged her over to the bed. He took his robe off, revealing his nakedness. He spread her arms wide and she said, "Don't do this to me. You could have anyone." She told him she was a virgin and he said he didn't believe her. She said it was true and he said, "Then it seems I'm called upon to find proof of your claim." Then he raped her and found that she was indeed a virgin; he saw the blood.

She knew she couldn't return to work since she didn't come home the night before and Rand knew it too. He didn't want her to have to become a prostitute so he told her she was going with him to France for a few weeks, until he could figure out what to do with her. She told him she didn't want to have to 'submit' to him for even one night and he said he wouldn't touch her. She said she didn't know what to do and he told her to decide whether or not she was going with him or not. She decided to go with him and wrote a letter to her mother, letting her know where she was going.

They arrived in France and shared adjoining rooms. They later went to the dressmakers to have clothing made for her. They spent two weeks avoiding each other and really only saw each other at dinner. He opened up a bit about himself. He told her his mother was French and she and his father had lived together in London while he and his brother Colin had been raised by servants in another household in England. When Rand was in his early teens, his father was suffering with gout and moved in with he and his brother. His father started drinking heavily because of gout pain. To amuse himself, he'd force Rand to drink too. Rand became an alcoholic. His mother knew about it but didn't do anything to stop it. She'd grown up wealthy in France. A few years later his mother died in labor with another mans child. His grandparents made him sober up and sent him away to school. A year later his father died. Rand told Rosalie that he wanted to sell the French estates that belonged to his mother.

Rand left the room then to go do something and Rosalie broke down and cried for him and his childhood. She berated herself and asked how she could cry for him after what he'd done to her. Later she told him he didn't have any respect for her and he said he did. She was remembering a dance they'd shared recently and she realized then that she was starting to care for him, her rapist. They then went to visit his friend George Brummell, who goes by the name "the Beau", again. He recognized the pin Rosalie was wearing on a ribbon around her neck. It had the letter B on it, which she was told by her mother stood for their last name, Belleau, and said the pin had been her fathers. Beau called in his servant who then told everyone that that was the same pin Beau, who is 18 years older than Rosalie, gave to a girlfriend, Lucy Doncaster many, many years before. On a previous visit, Beau and told Rosalie that she resembled Lucy and showed her a photo of her from a locket. He told them that Lucy disappeared one day way back then and a year later, was found dead in the river, where she'd drowned herself. Rosalie's mother Amille had been Lucy's governess then. So it looks like George 'the Beau' Brummell and Lucy Doncaster may be Rosalie's parents. Lucy must have given Rosalie to Amille to raise. That would mean that soon after Rosalie's birth, Lucy drowned herself.

Rosalie is very upset by this news, so they leave to go back to the hotel. The next day Rand went to see Beau. He told Beau that because of all the debt he left behind in England, he'd better never tell anyone that Rosalie may be his daughter because she may be thrown into debtors' prison. Days later, Rand was shown a newspaper article that said it's rumored that Rosalie is the daughter of Beau. Rand became jealous at the thought of men chasing after her when they find out she's the daughter of a famous man. He got the idea then to marry her, to protect her from Beau's debt. He went home and decided not to tell Rosalie about the article. He asked her to go to Paris with him for a week because he had business to discuss. He wanted to shield her from the rumor. She agreed to go with him.

One night after arriving in Paris, she and Rand were dancing together after dinner. She thought to herself that she was in love with him. They went back to their hotel room. Her luggage had been put into the ajoining room but she didn't want to leave Rand's room, so she asked him to unlace the back of her dress. He told her she'd better go but she didn't move. She said his name and he asked her if she knew what she was doing. She said yes, so they had sex. The next night at the opera house, a woman came up to Rand and Rosalie. She told Rosalie she must be the famous Miss Belleau, then told her she'd been written about in the paper. They went home. Rosalie was mad because Rand hadn't told her about the article in the paper. She said when they got back to London, she was going to find a job and ask her mother about Beau. Rand said he couldn't let her live alone in London, then asked her to marry him. She said she didn't want to marry him or be kept by him. She loves him, though she hasn't told him yet, and thinks that one day he'll lose interest in her. He said to her, "You'll marry me if I have to tempt, bully and seduce you into it." They had sex then got into an argument over her not wanting to marry him.

Rand left the room then Rosalie got violently sick fromt he wine. She rang for a maid then passed out. The doctor was called in and Rand figured that the wine had been drugged with opium. He tried to find out who could have drugged it but came to the conclusion that it'd be impossible to figure it all because there were so many kitchen staff workers and servants. He knew that Beau had gossiped about Rosalie possibly being his daughter and that may have led to her being poisoned. He wrote to Mr. Bonchamps, inquiring about Beau's credit 'affairs'. He told the man to visit with each and every person Beau has done business with and tell them to cut off his credit. That night in the room with Rosalie, Rand saw someone unlock the door then go over to Rosalie. It was dark so Rand couldn't see who it was. Rand grabbed the man around the neck from behind and the man stabbed Rand then fled. The maid came into the room, 15 year old Mireille Germain, to tend to his wound. He told her to not mention the intruder to anyone. A few days later Rand was sitting by Rosalie's bedside while she was still unconcious. He told her she had broken him and asked her not to leave him here alone. Just then Rosalie woke up. He asked Mireille, the maid, to bring her some broth and water. Rand knew someone was out to get Rosalie, so they, along with the maid, left for his familys chateau. He told her she needed to recover in the country. He didn't tell her about the intruder.

One day, she found a drunk Rand sitting in front of a portrait of his mother. Thinking about his parents had upset him so he started drinking. He told her to get out. She told him he's not accountable for anything his parents had done. When she awoke the next day, the village bell was ringing. There was a fire in the village. Rand showed up and Rosalie begged him not to help with the fires but he went anyway. He told her to say at the house but later, he saw her helping out in the village. He asked her why she'd disobeyed him and she said, "Because I love you." Later that night in her bedroom, he told her that he loved her and asked her again to marry him. She said yes.

A letter arrived from her mother, Amille. She confirmed that Lucy and Beau were indeed her parents. Amille also told Rosalie that she should stay in Rands care as long as possible but she didn't say why. At the same time her letter was delivered, Rand got a letter from his brother notifying him of their grandfathers death. They needed to go back to England within a few days. Rand wanted the maid Mireille and her older brother Guillaume to go with them. Guillaume had showed up there one day after Mireille told him she was going with Rand and Rosalie to the chateau. Rand allowed him to say and found work for him. Before leaving for England, Rosalie, Mireille and Guillaume went to the fair. Rosalie wanted to have her fortune read so there were heading to the where the Gypsy lady was. Guillaume made up a lie about having dropped the money purse and he asked his sister to go look for it. She went to look for it and Guillaume grabbed Rosalie's wrists and tied them, gagged her and tied her legs together. He told her that the world is not good to people like her. He gave her to the Gypsy woman and she left with her. Guillaume told Mireille what he'd done, told her that someone was offering a lot of money to kidnap Rosalie and that the two of them were going to be rich. Mireille had grown close to Rosalie and shocked at what her brother had done. She told him she never wanted to see him again and walked away from him. She left a note for Rand telling him her brother is the one who stabbed him in Paris and that he's sent Rosalie to London. Mireille wasn't heard from again.

Rand returned home to England and told his brother Colin what had happened. He got Colin to go around to various clubs to see if he could find out anyhing about Rosalie. When Rand was in a club, he met Rosalie's mother, Amille. They went back to her home to talk privately. She told him that Lucy had been deeply in love with Beau but he didn't love her. She was supposed to marry the Earl of Rotherham, but she didn't want to and that he was very obsessed with her. Lucy was pregnant with Rosalie and very depressed so she and her governess Amille traveled from England to France to say with Amille's family. Lucy never told her family she was pregnant. She gave birth to Rosalie in France, then drowned herself a few months later. Amille hadn't planned to raise Rosalie but ended up doing so. She made up the story about Rosalie's father and being widowed. She told him it was probably the Earl of Rotherham that was after Rosalie, not Beau.

Back in England, Rosalie was being held in a bedroom. The Earl of Rotherham came into the room. He told her that Lucy had been his and since Rosalie is her daughter, she now belonged to him. He told her she was a whore like her mother. She hit him in the throat and ran out of the room. As she was running toward the front door, Rand, out of the blue, showed up, since Amille told him the Earl probably had her. Rotherham was watching from the top of the stairs and he challanged Rand to a saber fight, which of course, Rand won.

Last chapter begins with them taking about it being their first day was husband and wife. Rand said she has men searching all over for Guillaume. Rosalie told him she wants her maid Mireille found. That's how the book ended.

MY THOUGHTS: I thought this was a pretty good book and I never got bored with it. What I liked most about it was her 15 year old maid Mireille. Mireille is very guarded about her past. Her brother said once that their mother was a prostitute and that he and Mireille are half siblings. At the end of the book Mireille up and disappeared but guess what? She's got her own story in this books sequel, "Forever My Love". In the book she's 20 years old and uses the name Mira.

ALYX by Lolah Burford with Author Photo

GENRE: Historical Fiction
SETTING: Jamaica, 1790s
HEROINE: Alyx de Vere
HERO: Simon
DATES READ: 1/04, 5/04, 11/06, 10/07

FROM PUBLISHER: They were enslaved in a place where lust knew no bounds-and only love was forbidden… They were two white slaves thrown together in the darkness of the breeding hut. She, Alyx de Vere, a virginal, sixteen-year-old beauty carried off to nightmare captivity on a Caribbean sugar plantation. He, Simon, handsome, young, once heir to a noble title. He felt no desire for this anonymous woman who was forced upon him. And she knew only fearful hatred for this stranger who was about to violate her youthful innocence.

But as night after night of tremulous, fevered mating passed, something forbidden grew between these two desire-damned lovers-a rapturous passion that drove them to dare any peril to free each other from this savage world of bondage and brutal submission. And it was then that Alyx and Simon swore that no power-even death itself-would ever overcome their eternal bond of flaming, all-conquering love…

SPOILER SUMMARY: This is the story of 27 year old Simon and 16 year old Alyx de Vere, both British. Simon was sold at auction to August, owner of a plantation in Jamaica, 10 years earlier when he was 17. This story takes place in the late 1790s in Jamaica.

Here's how Simon ended up in Jamaica. Simon was in line to inherit his fathers estates and all that came along with it when his father was injured in a horseriding accident. Simon's jealous uncle Phillip came up with a horrible plan; to kidnap and ship Simon off to a place far away for life so that he would be next in line to inherit his brother's title and estate. But there was one little problem; what to do with Simon?

Simon's father was out riding one day while Simon was away at school. His father fell off the horse as went into a coma. Uncle Phillip put his plan into action. He went to see Simon at school, told him his father was hurt and his mother sent him to come get him and bring him home. Later that night, Phillip gave Simon some drugged coffee, which made Simon sick, then he passed out. He was taken to his own room to recover.

When he awoke, he was bound and gagged. Phillip was standing beside him, he removed Simon's gag and forced him to drink more drugged rum. Simon and Phillip then traveled by carriage. Phillip told him they were traveling 'towards' Simon's father's. The carriage was then attacked by men who kidnapped Simon for ransom, Phillip watching all the while.

Simon awoke on a bed, bound in a hut, being taken care of by some men for about a week. He was blindfolded one day, put into the floor of a carriage and covered by a rug, so as not to be seen by anyone. After traveling for awhile, the carriage stopped, multiple gunshots were fired and the men who helped Phillip with Simon were killed. Simon knew Phillip did it because he heard his voice. Phillip then forced Simon to swallow some kind of powder.

He was later put on a ship with other captives, they sailed to Jamaica and he was put on an auction block naked, examined by a man who ended up buying him. That man was Simon's master, August. Simon was sold under the name Aston Smith.

Simon was forced to share August's bed for five years. When Simon would resist, he'd get whipped. After five years, Simon stopped sharing August's bed but the rapes continued. Soon after Simon stopped sharing his masters bed, he became one of four *studs*. The studs were to get the female slaves, both black and white, pregnant. After they'd gotten one pregnant, they were given a one month break. Studs were treated better than other slaves.

After being a stud for five years, Alyx arrived. She was sent to Jamaica because she'd gotten caught stealing Simon's uncle Phillip's horse. One of her friends dared her to do it just for fun, so she did it then got caught. She'd been there a few months when she'd been put into the breeding hut with Simon. August put those two together until Alyx got pregnant because August wanted those two to have a son that August and his wife could raise as their own, since they couldn't have their own children.

So Simon and Alyx met in the breeding hut. That's how the book opens. They were in total darkness every time so they couldn't see each other at all. The reason for that is so that if they pass by each other, they won't recognize each other and won't know who they're pregnant by or who has fathered whos child.

Just about every night, Simon and Alyx were put in the hut together. They talked and got to know each other. Alyx told Simon how she came to be there and Simon told her his story.

Alyx knew she was pregnant and even threw up once while they were together. She hid the dirty sheet under the bed because she knew if anyone knew she was pregnant, she wouldn't see Simon again. After a short time, it was discovered that she was pregnant so she didn't see Simon for a long time. Though they didn't know what the other looked like, since they'd only been together in total darkness, Alyx recognized Simon one day while they were working. Alyx dropped her bucket of water, Simon looked at her but continued on, she whispered his name and in that moment he knew she was Alyx, since she's the only one who knows his real name. They talked, he felt her stomach and saw that she was pregnant. They made plans to meet by the fountain later, they met and had sex and were caught by August's wife. She wanted to have him castrated, whipped and hung. After he was whipped and was about to be hanged, August arrived and saved Simon.

They made plans to escape the plantation together. They met, Simon has his master's keys, they met the priest who married them, then as they were boarding a ship that Simon had arranged for earlier. As they were boarding it, gunshots rang out and August and his men shot the captain and another man, and made Alyx and Simon return home. Simon was whipped 200 times.

He was then put to work in a field with a man who'd had his tongue cut out. He was also raped by the man from time to time. He then became 'stud' to Alyx again. They were told not to talk to each other, so they didn't. Then he didn't see her again for three years. One day someone came to the hut Simon lived in and told him his master wanted to see him. When he got there, August told him he'd checked out his story about being an earl and that Simon had been telling the truth. He tore up Simon's 'paper of purchase', introduced him to his son and daugher, then Alyx and allowed them both to sail home to England. They were finally free; Simon, after 13 years, Alyx, after 3.

When Simon arrived at his mother's home after a few months of sailing, she was surprised to see him but didn't seem happy. He told her that Phillip had abducted him but she didn't belive him. All of them then traveled to see Phillip, who was very sick and in bed. He told Phillip that he and his family was going to have to find some place to live, since they were living in Simon's house. Neither one mentioned the kidnapping.

On the way home, a rider came up to the carriage and told Simon that his uncle wanted to see him. Simon returned alone to the house. When Simon went into the bedroom, Phillip asked Simon if he knew what Phillip had done to him and Simon said yes. Phillip said that he wasn't sorry for what he'd done and that he'd do it all over again if he could.

Simon wrote up a statement saying that Phillip was retracting his statement about Alyx stealing his horse then got Phillip to sign it. He was going to use that to have the charges against Alyx dropped. Next, he asked Phillip if he ever wondered about him or regretted what he'd done and Phillip said 'no'. Simon went home, told Alyx she could leave him if she wanted, since they hadn't been getting along much during the whole voyage back home to England. She said she wanted to stay with him; that's how the book ended.

MY THOUGHTS: I absolutely love this book. It's a top favorite of mine. It's not really romance, though some will disagree. What I find very interesting is the author's note at the end of the book about who the character Simon was based on. It says, "In the eighteenth century, the Sixth Earl of Anglesey (uncle Phillip) "is notorious as having procured the kidnapping and bondage in America of his nephew, James Annesley, rightful Lord Altham".

Alyx's character was based on was a 14 year old girl who stole a horse and was 'condemned to transportation' to Australia and ended up married to the ships captain.

If you want to read more about the real Simon, click here.

I read somewhere on the internet years ago (in an obit that I can't find) that Lolah died in 2002. Below is an image from her, taken from the back of the hardcover edition of her book Vice Avenged (see my review). Image came from the internet.