Kate-Book, the website for Kates, by Kates, and about Kates http://kate-book.com The only website for Kates, by Kates, and about Kates Fri, 12 Dec 2014 21:23:45 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.5.1 Adventures in Greening: Living a No-Waste Lifehttp://kate-book.com/adventures-in-greening-living-a-no-waste-life/ http://kate-book.com/adventures-in-greening-living-a-no-waste-life/#comments Mon, 08 Dec 2014 21:25:58 +0000 Catherine Moran http://kate-book.com/?p=9459 NOTRASH

By Catherine Moran

As I continue to try to eliminate trash and plastic and unnecessary Stuff from my life (not always succesfully), I’m always on the lookout for inspiration to keep me striving to improve my habits. Thankfully, my friends are on the lookout for me, too. Kate-book’s very own Kaitlin sent me this piece about a 23-year-old New Yorker who hasn’t produced any trash in two years. I’ve been perusing her blog and other social media presences, and they are WAY cool. She seems to be a great resource, and as a fellow NYCer, I will benefit from her recommendations for where to find no-waste shops. How exciting! I can already feel myself getting reinvigorated.

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Another interesting article I came across recently focuses on fast fashion, and the ethics behind buying clothing (of lesser quality) at stores such as Forever 21, H&M, Zara, and Uniqlo. There are a few reasons why clothing at these stores is so cheap, and none of these reasons are good. On a subconscious level, I think many of us know this, but it’s not something we necessarily need to think about, so we don’t. Especially when budget comes into consideration (though you can find some great stuff at vintage and second-hand shops, or from Etsy, or ethically-minded companies.)

Now that I’ve shared these links with you all, it’s time for me to continue perusing TrashisforTossers. Have a great week!

(Technical note: occasionally these posts are not going live on Mondays at noon as they are supposed to. This is still the designated time for these posts to appear, but if they do not, know that a post is just delayed but still forthcoming. Many thanks!)

Adventures in Greening is a column running on Kate-book.com every other Monday at noon. It is written by the very eco-conscious Catherine Moran. Follow Catherine on Twitter here, or check out her excellent book blog.

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Adventures in Greening: Buy Nothing Fridayhttp://kate-book.com/adventures-in-greening-buy-nothing-friday/ http://kate-book.com/adventures-in-greening-buy-nothing-friday/#comments Fri, 28 Nov 2014 01:52:09 +0000 Catherine Moran http://kate-book.com/?p=9449 baby-walker-trolley-cartoon-chris-madden1

By Catherine Moran

So, Friday is almost upon us, otherwise known as Black Friday, AKA the day where people will bring other people to harm in order to make sure they purchase the biggest deals they can find. For a growing number people, it’s also known as Buy Nothing Day, a day to focus on all else that life has to offer: family, friends, cooking, gathering items to donate.

As stores continue to open on Thanksgiving Day (dubbed Gray Thursday) and take employees away from their family members, I’ll be focusing my efforts on reading that book I’ve been waiting to get at in earnest, and chilling out with my family. I may be doing some shopping, but Experience Gifts, only.

If you want to learn more about Buy Nothing Day, you can check out this post.

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Adventures in Greening is a column running on Kate-book.com every other Monday at noon. It is written by the very eco-conscious Catherine Moran. Follow Catherine on Twitter here, or check out her excellent book blog.

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Kathleen’s Kitchen: Giving thanks for this delicious soup!http://kate-book.com/kathleens-kitchen-giving-thanks-for-this-delicious-soup/ http://kate-book.com/kathleens-kitchen-giving-thanks-for-this-delicious-soup/#comments Fri, 21 Nov 2014 15:45:19 +0000 Kathleen Neafsey http://kate-book.com/?p=9427 By:  Kathleen Neafsey

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Butternut squash – I wait all year to make this soup.  The squash is available year round, but there’s something about waiting till Autumn to enjoy this delicious treat.  For a number of years now it’s been a family favorite as a Thanksgiving appetizer.  While it can be filling, just a small bowl before dinner awakens your palate to the flavors of Fall.

The most difficult part of this recipe is cutting the squash!  Fear not, you can purchase the squash at your local grocery store.  It’s already cut into cubes, and ready to be cooked.  You will, however, pay more for skipping a step; not to mention that you would have to buy several packages in order to equal what you would get from one whole squash.  I will confess to having bought the already-cut squash, and truth be told, I prefer buying it whole and roasting it.  The beauty of roasting it is that you really only have to make one cut, in half, lengthwise.

I found this big boy at the flea market at Englishtown, NJ.  It was so big that I was carrying it around like an infant. To give you an  idea of its’ size, I placed it next to my cup of tea for comparison.

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First, let’s talk about the ingredients you’ll need; then I’ll tell you my simple method or getting the most out of your squash.

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Obviously, butternut squash – about 4 pounds – or 2 medium squash

One tart apple, such as a Granny Smith; peeled, cored, and diced. I happened to only have a Red Delicious on hand when I made this; it will do in a pinch.

One medium onion, chopped

Two tablespoons of olive oil, divided

1/2 teaspoon of sage

1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 1/2 cups of chicken or vegetable broth

2 1/2 cups water

1/3 cup half and half

Now:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with foil.

Using a large, sturdy knife cut the squash in half lengthwise.  Scape out the strings and seeds as you would if you were cutting a pumpkin at Halloween.

DSCF4589Next:  Make some criss-cross cuts on the flesh of the squash, and rub one tablespoon of the olive oil on both halves of the squash.

Sprinkle both halves generously with the salt, pepper, and sage.

Place the baking sheet in the oven, and bake till fork tender – about one hour.

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While the squash is baking in the oven, using a large pot, heat the other tablespoon of olive oil.  Add the onion and apple, season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook on medium, stirring occasionally until tender – about five to seven minutes.  Remove from burner and set aside.

When the squash is ready, remove it from the oven and place on a wire rack.

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When it’s cool enough to handle, scoop out all the flesh and place it in the pot with the onion and apple. Stir to combine.  Discard the skins.

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Return the pot to the burner, add the broth and water, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and stirring occasionally, simmer for about 15 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and add the half and half.

Using a blender, or immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth. Taste, and add further seasonings if necessary.  Ladle the soup into a bowl, and garnish with croutons if desired.

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For me, this soup is a meal in itself so it doesn’t really need any accompaniment.  That’s why I say if you’re serving it before a meal, a little bit goes a long way.

Wishing you and yours a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.

Kathleen’s Kitchen is a column running on Kate-book.com once a month. It is written by the amazing Kathleen Neafsey, who loves trying new recipes. Follow her on Twitter @dbmomkat.

 

 

 

 

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Adventures in Greening: And the Holiday Season Begins?http://kate-book.com/adventures-in-greening-and-the-holiday-season-begins/ http://kate-book.com/adventures-in-greening-and-the-holiday-season-begins/#comments Wed, 12 Nov 2014 17:01:39 +0000 Catherine Moran http://kate-book.com/?p=9419 snowman

By Catherine Moran

As the consumer culture machine grows ever more advanced, I’m seeing Christmas advertisements all over the place now, and we’re barely at mid-November! These ads serve to make me feel a little crazed. Despite the fact that I’m getting better about not buying excess Stuff, the frenzied atmosphere that precedes Christmas in the months (months!!) leading up to it can still make me feel somewhat pressured to contribute to buy in, as it were, to the idea that the holidays mean showing someone you care by giving them a new watch or gaming system.

That said, here’s a great list from the Huffington Post for gifts that are fun for kids, but won’t contribute to clutter. I found the link through the Clean Big Project’s Facebook page. It’s okay to be creative with gifts; consumer culture wants us to feel cheap if we give something such as a homemade coupon book to a friend or family member, but that’s actually more meaningful than something grabbed off a shelf. The gift giver put in the time and thought to consider the recipient’s personality, and what sorts of things would bring a smile to their face. Thought! It really does count. Keep it in mind as the holiday season festivities begin to ramp up, and stay strong.  (Of course, Stuff will inevitably creep into the equation, but remember that you vote with your dollars, so if you can, shop where it counts.)

Roller Skating

Happy not-yet Thanksgiving!

Adventures in Greening is a column running on Kate-book.com every other Monday at noon. It is written by the very eco-conscious Catherine Moran. Follow Catherine on Twitter here, or check out her excellent book blog.

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Adventures in Greening: Goodbye, Socks?http://kate-book.com/adventures-in-greening-goodbye-socks/ http://kate-book.com/adventures-in-greening-goodbye-socks/#comments Tue, 28 Oct 2014 16:01:24 +0000 Catherine Moran http://kate-book.com/?p=9407 no socks

By Catherine Moran

My friend sent me a link to Not Socks back in August, but I’d missed it until now. It might be more helpful to have this information in the summer, when you really don’t want to be wearing socks, but, hey, maybe you can ask for a pair this holiday season to get you ready for the summer.

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While the idea behind these not-socks is a good one (they absorb foot odor and sweat, so you don’t have to worry about stinking up your soles), I’m not sure they’d be great for most shoes that I wear. I can see them being beneficial for my Toms (which, yes, you can wash, but that puts more strain on the shoe’s fabric; I know from firsthand experience), but I would still have trouble with other flats. I wear no-show socks (slip-on socks? footie socks? I have no idea what these are actually called) with some of my flats to prevent chafing at the back of the foot. The NotSocks provide anti-stink sock-like coverage for the bottom of the foot only.

The socky things I wear.

The socky things I wear.

In sum, if you like to go socks-less, these are a good option, especially because, depending on how much you sweat, you can wear Not Socks in your shoe multiple times before washing. Not too shabby (or stinky).

Until next time!

Adventures in Greening is a column running on Kate-book.com every other Monday at noon. It is written by the very eco-conscious Catherine Moran. Follow Catherine on Twitter here, or check out her excellent book blog.

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Kathleen’s Kitchen: There’s a first time for everythinghttp://kate-book.com/kathleens-kitchen-theres-a-first-time-for-everything/ http://kate-book.com/kathleens-kitchen-theres-a-first-time-for-everything/#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 15:12:28 +0000 Kathleen Neafsey http://kate-book.com/?p=9381 DSCF4529By:  Kathleen Neafsey

Indeed, there’s a first time for everything!  For me, this was my first time making dumplings.  I only vaguely remember having dumplings as a kid – and even then it was because a neighbor had made them.  I don’t ever recall my mother making them as part of any meal.  I could be wrong, and my siblings may beg to differ, but that’s my memory.

Browsing through a soup cookbook (of which I have many) one day, I discovered this recipe for chicken and vegetable stew with chive dumplings. This looked like it had the potential to be delicious, so I figured what the heck!  While it can be made without the dumplings, I welcomed the opportunity to try something new.  Not rocket science, I know, but a new and gluten free experience for me.  So here’s my version of the recipe, with some modifications.

Stew ingredients:

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3 boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size chunks

2 teaspoons sweet paprika

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

3 large carrots, peeled and diced

2 large celery stalks, diced

1 Tablespoon flour (Gluten free, in my case)

1 cup water

3 and 1/2 cups chicken broth ( 2- 14 ounce cans)

3/4 cup milk

1- 10 ounce package of frozen peas

Dumpling ingredients:

3/4 cup Bisquick gluten-free mix

1/3 cup milk

2 Tablespoons melted butter or margarine

1 egg

1/2 cup minced chives

Prepare stew:

In a small bowl, combine paprika and salt

Place chicken in a large container with lid, and pour in the paprika/salt combo.  Cover and shake so that chicken gets coated evenly.

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In a large soup or stock pot, over medium-high heat, heat one tablespoon of olive oil until hot.  Add chicken, and cook until lightly browned on all sides. Remove chicken from the pot and set aside.

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Add remaining tablespoon of olive oil to pot with drippings, and heat over medium heat until hot.  Add onions, carrots, and celery and cook until vegetables are lightly browned and tender.

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In a cup, using a wire whisk or fork, stir flour and water until blended.  Add the flour mixture and chicken broth to the pot; heat to boiling over high heat, stirring occasionally.

Return chicken to the pot and heat to boiling.

While the chicken stew is heating up, prepare the dumplings.

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I used a large soup spoon to scoop out the dumpling dough, using another spoon to push the dough off of the first spoon and into the stew. Once all of the dumplings are in the pot, cover and reduce heat to low.  Simmer until the dumplings are cooked through and tender – about 25 minutes.

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To complete the stew, stir in milk and peas, heat through – another ten minutes.

I, for one, was super happy with this stew and my first attempt at dumplings.  This is the perfect meal for the cool Autumn days ahead.  It’s even better the next day – that is, if there’s any left!  The perfect way to end this meal is with last month’s recipe found here for apple crumble!

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Kathleen’s Kitchen is a column running on Kate-book.com once a month. It is written by the amazing Kathleen Neafsey, who loves trying new recipes. Follow her on Twitter @dbmomkat. And make sure to look out for her amazingly fun column, Fabri-Kate.

 

 

 

 

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Adventures in Greening: Way to Go, Californiahttp://kate-book.com/adventures-in-greening-way-to-go-california/ http://kate-book.com/adventures-in-greening-way-to-go-california/#comments Mon, 13 Oct 2014 16:01:55 +0000 Catherine Moran http://kate-book.com/?p=9365 plasticBags_1459313c

By Catherine Moran

Almost two weeks ago, California became the first state to ban plastic bags. Starting next summer, single-use bags will no longer be offered in large summer markets and grocery stores. However, according to this Huffington Post article, bags at other retailers and bags used for vegetables, fruits, meats, and do not fall under this law. Convenience stores, pharmacies, and liquor stores in CA will have until 2016 before the law takes effect for them.

Grocers will be able to charge a 10 cent fee for paper bags, although this fee will be waived for those on public assistance. And, of course, you can always spend the money one time on a reusable canvas tote, which can be washed to keep away the germs. I know I’m biased, but this news makes me very excited. What doesn’t excite me is that plastic bag manufacturers are pushing back on the law, and they’ve already amassed some support.

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Another article caught my eye this week, coming from CA, about washing out recyclables. I always do what I can to wash out my containers, but the person posing the question in this Q&A raises a good point: washing out containers is a waste of water. The respondent provides some good advice for making sure your containers are clean without wasting water: use leftover dish-washing water, use a dry paper towel (which you can compost), or use a spatula to scrap containers clean.

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My personal recommendation, however, especially during pumpkin season, is to lick the containers clean. Have a great week, greenies!

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Adventures in Greening is a column running on Kate-book.com every other Monday at noon. It is written by the very eco-conscious Catherine Moran. Follow Catherine on Twitter here, or check out her excellent book blog.

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Adventures in Greening: Home Printing in the Futurehttp://kate-book.com/adventures-in-greening-home-printing-in-the-future/ http://kate-book.com/adventures-in-greening-home-printing-in-the-future/#comments Sat, 04 Oct 2014 15:00:52 +0000 Catherine Moran http://kate-book.com/?p=9341 81ebVZtgeWL._SL1500_

By Catherine Moran

I stumbled upon this Kickstarter project too late to be a backer, but that won’t stop me from actively seeking out this printer once it’s hit the market. But, you think, printers aren’t the most eco-friendly product on the market; if you don’t recycle the cartridges (which you can with HP printer models, either by returning them to a store or mailing them back to the company in the pre-addressed envelope that comes with each cartridge) they become trash. And they’re so big, and are made of so much plastic…

Well, the future of printing is here. Designed to appeal to those who want to print on the go, the ZUtA Labs mobile Pocket Printer also appeals to those of us looking to reduce the amount of plastic in our lives, as well as the amount of Stuff that occupies our Space. The printer has a rechargeable battery (via USB), so it doesn’t need to be plugged in to print, and it can print from smartphones, tablets, or computers; anywhere, anytime.

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The printer is still in the early stages, only able to print at grayscale at the moment, and at a lower resolution than it will ultimately. The cartridge will most likely be something easily found in your local store, so it wouldn’t be an exclusive purchase from Zuta.

While it won’t hit the market until 2015 (with a price tag around $250), this is a product I am keeping my eye on. I’d love to pass along my clunky printer that only sometimes works and takes up an excessive amount of space in my New York apartment.

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Adventures in Greening is a column running on Kate-book.com every other Monday at noon. It is written by the very eco-conscious Catherine Moran. Follow Catherine on Twitter here, or check out her excellent book blog.

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Kate’s Book Club: Review of Jane Feather’s Trapped at the Altarhttp://kate-book.com/kates-book-club-review-of-jane-feathers-trapped-at-the-altar/ http://kate-book.com/kates-book-club-review-of-jane-feathers-trapped-at-the-altar/#comments Wed, 01 Oct 2014 17:59:38 +0000 Kate E. Stephenson http://kate-book.com/?p=9355

In this first day of October 2014, I hereby call to order the 34th meeting of Kate’s Book Club. Every meeting, we shall be reading a tome either (a) penned by an author named Kate or (b) that includes a character named Kate or (c) that this Kate liked a whole lot and thinks you will too. If you missed our last meeting, you want to get caught up.

This week we review Jane Feather’s Trapped at the Altar. (No there is no Kate author or character here, but this Kate read the book and felt the need to put in her two cents.)

Kate’s Book Report:

Star crossed lovers or simply a silly young maiden? When Ariadne falls for poet Gabriel Fawcett she knows the relationship is destined for a bitter end. Ariadne, heiress to the ill-gotten Catholic Fairfax fortune, and Ivan, a distant cousin and heir to the Protestant Chalfont fortune, are fated to be married—much to Ariadne’s dismay. The grandparents of the two decide to heal the religious rift in the family and finagle a better political position in the royal court, taking the choice out of both their hands. But Ari holds out hope that she will be able to decide her life for herself, and define a love of her own.

As much as I love romance drama, much of Ari’s heartache is caused by her own foolish notions of freedom as heir, even though she is a woman in a time when women own nothing. Ari can’t see until it is almost too late (and the very last page of the book) that Ivan is the leading man women swoon over (even this woman). The story never quite fully develops and the ending is rushed. An enjoyable read, but one that might leave you wanting a bit more.

*** (3 stars)

I leave you with a sneak peak:

Ari . . . Ari, will you please stop climbing?” Ivor Chalfont stopped on the steep goat track leading up the sheer cliff from the river below. He looked in exasperation at the small figure climbing twenty yards ahead of him. He hadn’t a hope of catching her; he knew that from experience. Ariadne was small and lithe and astonishingly agile, particularly at climbing the towering cliffs, which sheltered their childhood home in a deep Somerset gorge. He glanced behind him. Far below, the River Wye sparkled in the warm late-summer sun, running peacefully between wide green banks. Cottages were clustered on either bank, smoke curling from chimneys. A few figures moved around, working in the neat gardens or fishing along the river. The sound of hammering rose in the quiet air from a man repairing a strut on the wooden bridge that spanned the river at its narrowest point. It was a peaceful, positively bucolic sight. On the surface. The reality was quite different, as Ivor well knew.

He cast his eyes upwards again. Ari was still climbing. She couldn’t really think she could escape the reality of the gorge, could she? But Ivor knew she wasn’t thinking that. She understood the facts of their life as well as he did.

He cupped his hands around his mouth and bellowed, “Ariadne. Stop, now.”

Ariadne heard him, as, indeed, she’d heard his every other call. Those she’d ignored, too locked into her world of furious frustration to pay any heed, but now reason and logic took over, besides which, it was never wise to try Ivor’s patience too far. She stopped on the track, turned carefully to look down at him so many feet below, then sat down on a rocky outcrop to the side of the track, hugging her knees, watching as he began to climb up to her.

His shadow fell over her a few minutes later, blocking out the sun’s warmth. She raised her eyes to look up at him. Ivor stood with his hands on his hips, breathing easily despite the steep climb. He was a tall, well-built man, with the strong, muscular physique of one accustomed to physical labor and life in the outdoors. His deep-set eyes were the astonishing blue of the Aegean Sea, and they surveyed her upturned face from beneath well-shaped russet-brown eyebrows with a mixture of exasperation and wry comprehension.

“There are times, Ari, when I’d happily wring your neck,” he declared, kicking a stone out of the path before sitting down on a large rock.

“You and half the valley,” she returned, looking back down the track to the peaceful scene below. “The elders are ready to burn me at the stake.”

He gave a short crack of laughter. “Not that, exactly, but I wouldn’t put it past them to lock you up and starve you into submission.”

She shrugged slim shoulders beneath a thin white shirt through which the tones of her skin showed delicately pink. “They wouldn’t succeed.”

“Maybe not,” he agreed, lifting his face to the sun, letting it graze his closed eyelids. “But they’re mad as fire, Ariadne, and they don’t understand why, now, you’re refusing to honor the betrothal.”

“I give that for their anger.” She snapped her fingers contemptuously. “I’ll not marry you, Ivor. There’s no point in discussing it.”

Ivor sighed. Ariadne was as stubborn as a mule and always had been. But in this situation, all the obstinacy of a team of mules would not win the day for her. “You may now own half the valley, dear girl, but you are still subject to your grandfather’s will. Our marriage was willed by Lord Daunt before his death . . . for God’s sake, you agreed to the betrothal just a few days ago. Your grandfather’s will is sacrosanct; you know that as well as I do. You have lived by Daunt rules all your life. The elders will make the wedding happen one way or another.”

“Forcible marriage is illegal in the laws of the land.”

“In name, maybe, but not in practice. You have a duty to obey your grandfather’s will, and here in the valley that is the law. Since when,” he added, “did Daunt and Chalfont obey any laws but their own?”

“I’ll run away.”

“How? You have no money, no means of travel. You would never get past the guards on horseback, and you could not bring Sphinx up this goat track. He would break a leg for sure.”

“You could help me.” She didn’t look at him as she said this.

“No,” he stated. “I could not. I would not if I could.”

“You could refuse to marry me.”

“No,” he repeated. “I could not. I would not if I could.”

Ariadne made no response, but a small sigh escaped her, and a little shiver ran across her shoulders. It wasn’t as if she had expected anything else. Ivor had much to gain from the marriage. If only her grandfather had not died so suddenly, just the day after the betrothal. With more time, she knew she could have persuaded him to release her from the engagement. She had always been able to win him over in the end, but it always took time and patience, and she’d agreed to the betrothal to buy herself that time. And then death had just crept in that night and taken him. His servant had found him dead in his bed, when the previous evening he had been hale and hearty, presiding over the Council meeting in his usual sharp and incisive fashion, celebrating his granddaughter’s betrothal with some of the finest wines in his cellar. Wines destined for the cellars of West Country gentry, liberated in the dark of the moon by Daunt raiders from the smugglers’ trains of pack mules going about their deliveries in the narrow Cornish lanes.

Ivor leaned across and took her hands from her lap, holding them in a tight grip. “Face it, Ari. Accept it. We will be married this day week. As soon as Lord Daunt is in his grave, we will be wed.”

Her gray eyes held his deep blue ones in a fierce stare as she tried to free her hands. “You know that I love someone else, Ivor. I cannot marry you. It would be dishonest.”

I received a copy of Trapped at the Altar by Jane Feather in exchange for an honest review.

Kate’s Book Club is a column on Kate-book.com featuring interviews with authors named Kate, as well as reviews of books starring Kate characters. It runs on Kate-book.com Wednesdays, and is written by the self-admitted bibliophile Kate E. Stephenson, who you should follow on Twitter here. Oh, and write to Kate to suggest authors and books we should read for future columns.

More Great Kate Reads:

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Kate’s Book Club: A Review of Kate Robbins’ Promised to the Highlanderhttp://kate-book.com/kates-book-club-a-review-of-kate-robbins-promised-to-the-highlander/ http://kate-book.com/kates-book-club-a-review-of-kate-robbins-promised-to-the-highlander/#comments Wed, 24 Sep 2014 14:30:10 +0000 Kate E. Stephenson http://kate-book.com/?p=9331 In this fourth week of September 2014, I hereby call to order the 33rd meeting of Kate’s Book Club (Yes, I know we haven’t convened in a while). Every meeting, we shall be reading a tome either (a) penned by an author named Kate or (b) that includes a character named Kate or (c) that this Kate liked a whole lot and thinks you will too. If you missed our last meeting, you want to get caught up.

This week we review Kate Robbins new Highland Chiefs book, Promised to the Highlander.

Kate’s Book Report:

When the dark Sutherland clan leader declares open hostility on the MacKays and all of their supporters, Nessia Stephenson finds herself in grave danger. Her father brokers a marriage that will protect her from the marauders with the MacKay himself. But when Nessia comes into his household as his brother’s wife, the MacKay is faced with a force unlike any he’s ever experienced. Nessia is his dream woman come to life, and Nessia seems as much a slave to the erotic force that pulls them together as he.

The forbidden love is always an intriguing theme. While the plot here was not the most original (I guessed the conclusion long before I read it on the page), I was still happy to read this delightful book. The historical elements and the highland charm create a wonderfully romantic tableau in which it is believable for the Nessia and the MacKay to fall in love. With just enough pain and tension to give you a sense of triumph in the end, this is a nice nightstand book before bed.

* * * * (4 stars)

I leave you with a sneak peak (check out more on Kate’s website):

Promised to the Highlander, Excerpt
Tongue, Scotland, Late Harvest, 1429

“For a man who isn’t eager to meet his future wife, you’ve got quite a set of nerves there lad,” Fergus said to William.

William straightened his linen shirt and smoothed his tunic as he glared at Fergus. Yet, the comment was absorbed and William ceased his pacing to sit on a chair near the fire. Fergus watched his brother adjust his belt again. The young man wore his usual dress but had taken greater pains today to perfect his appearance. Fergus glanced down at his linen shirt and sleeveless leather tunic. William’s long hair was tied at his nape while Fergus’s was left hanging loose. He recalled having to take extra pains upon his betrothal. Thankfully those days had passed and he needn’t worry overly anymore. A young lass would surely find William’s neat, respectable appearance appealing. He hoped so, but before he could dwell on it further, a servant entered and announced the arrival of Thomas Stephenson, his daughter Nessia and several of their clansmen.

William sprang to his feet and crossed the floor in a few quick strides to greet them. He continued to fidget as Fergus sauntered up from behind.

“Thomas! Welcome. We thought we’d have to send out a search party soon,” Fergus said as the stout man turned the corner leading into the great hall.

“Aye, the road was a bit rough with a wagon in tow,” Thomas said. The man’s brow was streaked with sweat and he looked weary from his travels.

“We’ve had a lot of rains this harvest there’s no doubting that,” Fergus said.

In truth he would have gone searching himself had another hour passed. Earlier that day he’d heard more rumours about Ronan Sutherland. Apparently, the lad had agreed to his father’s suggestion and would commence his campaign in the coming days. Fergus sensed William stiffen beside him as Thomas began the introductions.

“Fergus, William, this is my brother Neville and these three are my sons, Colin, Robert, and Camden my youngest. And this is my daughter, Nessia.”

Fergus acknowledged each man in turn. When the introduction came to the girl and his gaze fell on her, his breath caught in his throat. With black hair and bright blue eyes she stood proud before him with her chin lifted and all the regal confidence of a noblewoman. She displayed no fear or reservation at all, something which was unusual in most men he met, but more so in a woman. The gentler sex usually cowered before him—not this lass.

Fergus stared at the girl, his heart drumming. His guts clenched as if he’d been punched. He had to force himself from moving toward her to touch her hair which looked like spun silk, for surely it could not be real. Fergus remembered his brother then and tore his gaze from her to find William’s eyes wide and his jaw slacked. An unexpected pang ran through him.

When he turned back it was to find her still staring at him, seemingly unabashed for staring openly at a man. A bold one, then. Fergus’s drew his brows together. What did she want?

Steamy, no? Yes! But let me know how you feel. Send me feedback!

I received a copy of Promised to the Highlander by Kate Robbins in exchange for an honest review.

Kate’s Book Club is a column on Kate-book.com featuring interviews with authors named Kate, as well as reviews of books starring Kate characters. It runs on Kate-book.com Wednesdays at 10:30am, and is written by the self-admitted bibliophile Kate E. Stephenson, who you should follow on Twitter here. Oh, and write to Kate to suggest authors and books we should read for future columns.

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