Tag Archives: Food

Putting Romance Novels in

11 Feb

Raycheezy posted a tutorial and this picture on Craftster.com.

other things can be fun. Just imagine all the things you can do with a romance book. You can strip the filling from it and make a purse, wallet or book cover. Open the book to the middle and cut a hidey hole for an instant secret compartment hidden in your smuttiest book. Just imagine some a thief looking through your Lora Leigh books for money or jewelry.

If that doesn’t work for you, how about romance cookbooks. Make a historical romance or paranormal romance/urban fantasy cookbook. In the paranormal one,  create a section on smoothies and write about Mary Jane Davidson’s Undead series, a vegetarian section and discuss Sophie Littlefield’s Aftertime series and a section about meat could correspond to Faith Hunter’s Jane Yellowrock, Jennifer Ashley’s Shifters Unbound or Keri Arthur’s Dark Angel series. Or discuss a multitude of books pairing one to every recipe. The historical cookbook could take a reader around the world. No?

I get it. You don’t want to do any of that. How about picking up your steamiest romance novel as inspiration for great phone or text sex? Twist the words so it sounds like you’re feeling him run his hands up your legs. (Work with me here. You’re supposed to pretend your legs have been shaved.) Tell him you feel his tongue circling your…you get the point.

Got more ideas? I’d love to hear them. What are you waiting for? Get to typing.

A Taste of Romance Video Clip

12 Jan

The movie will premier on the Hallmark Channel at 8/7 c on Saturday (Jan. 14, 2012).

Review: Our Best Bites–Mormon Moms in the Kitchen by Sara Wells and Kate Jones

5 Aug

Our Best Bites–Mormon Moms in the Kitchen by Sara Wells and Kate Jones
Shadow Mountain (February 2011)
Hard cover: $25.99
ISBN: 9781606419311

Our Best Bites is a spiral bound cookbook filled with all types of treats. It has a plastic insert on which equivalent measurements and metric conversions are printed; it is full of glossy, enticing recipe photos and can be bought at B&N for $16.24.

I tried a few of the recipes and am thrilled with the results. I made the Brazilian Lemonade, Orange Thai Beef Skewers and Savory Coconut Rice for dinner, all of which were winners. I’ve gotta admit, I didn’t allow the beef to marinate for the recommended four to eight hours. I bought think sliced flank steak and marinated it for an hour. I didn’t use the skewers either, but the meat still came out delicious.

On the downside, while I loved the food, my kids hated it. My mother enjoyed it and thought it was geared toward adult tastes. The girls aren’t used to eating Thai food, but with time they might grow to enjoy the food. It really doesn’t matter though. The cookbook has such a variety of recipes that I’m sure to find other foods the girls will love.

In addition to the book, the authors have an excellent website. Many of the recipes are posted on the site with step by step photo illustrations. However, I like having them all published into one book.

This is definitely a must have cookbook I encourage you to add to your collection.

Cookin’ with Scooper: Dump Cake

20 Nov

As a kid there were only a few places I was allowed to spend the night; my uncle’s house was one of those places. His wife was not a cook, but one thing she made often was cherry dump cake. Lately I’ve been fantasizing thinking about it. Often. I’ve mentioned it to a few people and get the same blank reaction. (Cue chirping crickets.) Even my mother doesn’t remember it. (?)

So, I’ve brushed up on my dump cake making skills via the Pioneer Woman. You do know the Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond, right? No, well let me help you. She is pure awesomeness. She writes cookbooks, takes photos and homeschools her four kids. In February 2011, she will release another book–The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels–A Love Story. Enough of my gushing and on to my generic super simple recipe.

The ingredients: Cake mix (yellow is best), margarine or butter and pie filling. 

How to make it: Peel the paper off of empty tin cans. Fill each can half way with pie filling and the other half with cake mix. Top with a dollop of butter.

Place the filled cans on a cookie sheet and bake at 375° for about an hour. After 20 mins. poke the top with a knife to help the pie filling bake up through the cake mix. Let set for 10 mins., then dump it on a plate. Add whipped cream and eat.

Benighted by Kit Whitfield

7 Sep

benightedwhitfieldFavorite Lines: “There were nights when I let no one near me, when I knew that the boys who came to try their luck were just taking an opportunity, and I’d fight them, kick and scratch in a silent battle under the harsh fabric coverings. There were nights when I hadn’t the strength to fight and would reach down, moving my hands fast to get the encounter over with as quickly as I could. There were nights when I’d lie unresisting and close my eyes, slipping my fingers under boys’ clothing in case I might find succor there…Fewer friendships come out of the creches. We do too much to one another within them.” (p. 170-71)

potato-sausage-FARMF0306-de

Lola Galley is one of the few handicapped people in a lyco-filled world. She is a “bareback” who wants more, but has learned from experience exactly what she can expect: prejudice, disdain and pain. She is a public defender for those lunes who roam during full moons and an enforcer. She ensures that the lycanthropic population follow the rules and lock themselves up.

Lola doesn’t get to pick her cases and is not thrilled when she gets the case of a lune who bit her friend’s hand off. Then her friend is killed before his attacker is tried fro the crime beginning a lonely journey to a disturbing answer.

I’ve read reviews of Benighted (Bareback in the UK) for over a year. Nothing prepared me for the despair I felt while reading it. When I turned the final page of the story I felt no sense of resolution, contentment or any other positive emotion. I was depressed and saddened. I’m not even glad that I read the well-written story.

Benighted starts off slow. It is a world that I never imagined, centered around a woman who has seen the worst in life. Lola is a crippled lune who doesn’t connect with people well. As a minority of the population, she is and was placed in appalling situations because the majority of the population believed it was for the best. As a child she was put in the creches to protect her from the humans that transform into animals. As an adult she was told her employer would be the Department for the Ongoing Regulation of Lycanthropic Activity. In both instances she had no choice.

Lola is tired and resigned to living in a world where her thoughts and emotions matter little until she begins digging into a case for an alleged killer. During her investigation she stumbles upon another case which forces her to reexamine her opinions on several issues. She also meets and bonds with people only to be disappointed in the end.

One problem I had with Benighted is that the other characters felt stiff. Because the story is told in third person from Lola’s point-of-view the audience is only given her thoughts, feelings and opinions of all the people she interacts with. This makes all the other characters feel one-sided. But it worked to make me sympathize with Lola. I felt drawn to her misery.

Benighted is a grim, urban fantasy. It is not a book that instills happy feelings. It is a book that makes you think about the injustice in the world and forces acknowledgement that not all wrongs are corrected. I know that Ms. Whitfield wants the story to end on a positive note (Light shines in through the windows…It’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. P. 516) unfortunately, I felt none of it.

Other reviews can be found at Asking the Wrong Questions, Byftpups and Calico Reaction.

This story isn’t one that you’ll want to read while you eat or immediately following, so before reading Benighted make Potato and Sausage Hash with Moroccan Flavors.

Secondhand Spirits by Juliet Blackwell

2 Sep

secondhandspiritsblackwellJuliet Blackwell is the author of  Secondhand Spirits, book one in the Witchcraft Mystery series. Set in San Francisco the book is about Lily Ivory, a witch who owns a vintage clothing shop and becomes embroiled in murder and kidnappings. She tries to keep her witch abilities secret, but with a couple of men sniffing around her it may not be possible.

Favorite Lines: “Last Halloween some kids broke in there….You mark my words. She’s like that …how do you call her? In the fairy tales? The evil witch that lures kids in and they’re never seen again.” (p. 125)

Vintage store owner and closet-witch, Lily Ivory, visits an old lady, Mrs. Potts, about scores of clothes hanging in the woman’s basement and winds up wanting to protect the grandmother-like woman who is surrounded by a bad neighborhood and a deadly spirit, La Llorona. To protect the fragile woman, Lily brews a protection spell for her, but the woman is found dead the next day and suspicion falls on Lily.

La Llorona haunts the shores of the river in search of children’s souls to steal, but it is right outside of Mrs. Potts house where she arrives and snatches a little girl. Lily is a skilled witch who is familiar with the paranormal. She knows that she may be the only chance the young girl has and despite attention from both a high ranking male witch and a male myth buster begins searching for answers.

Ms. Blackwell is the author of Secondhand Spirits, a paranormal mystery chasing down the questions surrounding an old woman’s death and the retrieval of a missing child. It has a touch of romance, but is firmly a mystery novel focused on fun, secondhand clothes and spirits.

La Llorona is the spirit of a woman who drowned her children and herself in despair after her lover left her. She wails for her children, but don’t let it fool ya, she is evil. The evil spirit has been around for a long time and may have had a little bit of help. Lily isn’t looking forward to facing the spirit, but will do anything necessary to save the missing child.

Lily is an enchanting puzzle. We are never given all the pieces (hello, it’s book one of a new series) making certain remarks memorable. For example, there are plenty of times when she speaks about her absent father and hints about a horrible, life-altering experience that we are never told in book one. Lily is a thrifty loner.

The secondary characters (powerful male witch, Aiden; myth buster, Max Carmichael; Lily’s store mate, Brownwyn; etc.) are intriguing and multifaceted people that I can’t wait to learn more about.

Secondhand Spirits is a quick read with themes of loneliness. Foreshadowing has been spread throughout the story, yet it does nothing to detract from the ongoing mystery that continues until the final few chapters. Looking back I find myself saying, “duh” because I should have added two plus two and gotten four, but that is part of the fun of reading Secondhand Spirits.

Book two in the Witchcraft Mystery series, A Coven in the Closet, will be released in 2010.

Read my review at Scooper Speaks for more about Secondhand Spirits. After you’ve read the review, go get the book and make a breakfast trifle to enjoy while you read Secondhand Spirits.omelet

Ghost Ocean by S.M. Peters

24 Aug

ghostoceanpetersFavorite Lines: “One human hand, black and rough, tipped in claws and backed in feathers, snaked up and grasped the wire mesh. Then came another, curving with yellow talons on the fingertips. Two silver wings unfolded to fill the whole space of the cage with feathers. An androgynous, human face rose from the shadows: a great crown of plumes above; a thick ruff of down beneath. It stared at her with an eagle’s unblinking gaze.” (p. 90)

“He’s free. Kitsune.” And with those words Te Evangeline’s life began to change.

Te works for her late father’s best-friend, Babu, as a paranormal investigator in the city of St. Ives. Babu has taught her to be skeptical about the paranormal, but after going with him to see his friend, everything she believes is thrown into limbo.

Confused by the seeming proof of the paranormal, Te steals Babu’s case book and reads about the many paranormal cases in which he and her father participated. Her curiosity is piqued by the entries pertaining to her father so she traces one of the cases coming face to face with a monster she never knew existed.

Ghost Ocean is a dark fantasy novel that was released in May of 2009. It is written in third person and jumps from character to character as Mr. Peters introduces us to the city and people of St. Ives. The city is one of many prisons housing ancient creatures from an alternative reality. Occasionally, the monsters get out and need to be put back into their cells or killed. Babu is one of the people that tracks the monsters and dispatches them.

Most of the character’s are well rounded, but there is one that sticks in my mind and that I still don’t understand, the Man in the empty chair. He’s very mysterious, but the story relies heavily upon his existence. When Mr. Peters got around to telling exactly who he was, I didn’t really get it. I didn’t understand how or why that could be possible. He tried to explain, but in the end it went way over my head.

The creatures in Ghost Ocean are grotesque and their descriptions create an ugly, yet very clear picture. The most vivid of the monsters is Bird. She releases pheromones that attract people to her. After she compliments them on their eyes, heart, hands, etc., she takes that body part and eats it.

Te is a 22-year-old woman, who wants to know about her deceased father. She isn’t too smart and she’s selfish. Her actions show her doing questionable things, but those things didn’t stop me from liking her. She is stubborn and caring.

This barely begins to describe the craziness that is Ghost Ocean. I won’t be rereading it, but it was an interesting book. It wasn’t the most exciting book I’ve ever read, but it wasn’t horrible.

Read other reviews at BSC, The Madhatter’s Bookshelf, Robots and Vamps, and Fantasy &SciFi Lovin’ News and Reviews.

fried chicken Make sure you’re eating some fried chicken. In the book Te’s aunts serve it cold, but that’s up to you.

Run to Me by Christy Reece

23 Aug

runtomereeceFavorite Lines: “Through each punishment, she had been taught a proper lesson, correcting her behavior for one infraction or the other. The lessons had been well learned and well deserved. Only after apologizing and begging for forgiveness was she once again favored with an injection. she worked hard never to disappoint her master again and not force him to punish her.

“Take your clothes off.” ” (p. 16)

Ethan Bishop has been brought back into the the Last Chance Rescue Organization to find his former lover, Shea Monroe, who has been recorded kidnapping people. He doesn’t believe that Shea would side with the man who killed her husband and his best-friend, but to prove it he must find her.

Shea was determined to get revenge on the man who killed her husband, but she wasn’t prepared for her cover to be busted. Injected with a specialized drug that rips away her memory, she becomes involved in a human trafficking organization until Ethan arrives and rescues her.

Taken by strangers who claim to know her, Shea begins to regain her memories of the past and fall in love with Ethan. But a psychopathic man wants her back, and will stop at nothing to get her.

I haven’t read anything by Christy Reece before but I can guarantee that I will in the future. Ms. Reece has given me an action packed, drama-filled romance novel, Run to Me. Run to Me is the final book in the Last Chance Rescue trilogy.

It’s a romantic suspense about a kick ass heroine who has been drugged until her mind and emotions have left her. Shea, the heroine, is a strong woman. She has to be strong to cope with everything that has happened to her over the course of her life. The humiliation and degradation she has suffered at times seem unbearable, yet she survives and eventually thrives.

Ethan, the hero, worked my nerves a little bit. He was tormented by his best-friend’s death and his need to repair Shea and let her go. He is the usual romance hero that assumes he knows what is best for the heroine and it usually involves making himself a martyr. That said, I did like him. When it came to Shea he was all about her. It was his inability to take something he wanted (happiness) for himself that irritated me the most.

Told in third person the Run to Me follows Shea, Ethan, the villain and other people as they work through the many twists and turns as the plot progresses. While it makes sense to switch from person to person in a complicated story, it has one major failing. The revelation made towards the end of the story was not a revelation because I had already figured it out.

Overall, Run to Me is a book worth reading and is one that I’d recommend to people searching for a quick, enjoyable read. Don’t take my word for it visit Book Binge, Coffee Time Romance and Romance Reviews Today.

As usual you need to eat, so why not chew on some chicken, mashed potatoes and vegetables while you read.wolfgang-puck-recipe-pan-roasted-chicken

Demon Inside by Stacia Kane

20 Aug

demoninsidekaneFavorite Lines: “Her father was dead, really dead and long before he’d died he’d sold her to a demon. Given her up, tried to get rid of her, traded her life for whatever success he’d had in some podunk town that nobody else gave a fuck about. His only daughter. the little girl he’d once read bedtime stories to.” (p. 271)

Hanging out with demons can be hell….

It’s been three months since psychologist Megan Chase made the stunning discovery that the world is filled with demons, and once more the situation is too hot to handle.

Ironically, Megan — the only person in the world without a little personal demon sitting on her shoulder — has become the leader of a demon “family,” but now some unknown arcane power is offing her demons in a particularly unpleasant fashion. And while her demon lover Greyson Dante is still driving her wild with desire, he’s also acting strangely evasive. Then there’s the truth about Megan’s past — the truth she’s never known. 

Caught between personal problems and personal demons, Megan is having one hell of a hard time. Will the help of her Cockney guard demons and her witch friend Tera be enough so that Megan can finally resolve the past, survive the present, and face the future?

In Personal Demon’s Megan became the leader of the Yezer Ha-Ra, the little demons that sit on every human’s shoulder (but hers). The demons are the little voices that encourage humans to do the wrong thing. It’s her job to protect them. To finalize the bond, Megan needs to participate in a ritual but she is loath to do so because it’ll turn her into a “demon-human hybrid.” So when her demons begin blowing up, Megan feels responsible.

Greyson Dante, Megan’s lover, has been able to keep a slow fire burning inside Megan, but he’s begun acting a little distant and avoids answering her questions. She doesn’t know what’s on his mind, but hopes he’ll open up to her.

Finally Megan has been called home to attend her father’s funeral which is the first step in learning about why she was chosen to host the Accuser. (Read Personal Demons to learn about the demon Accuser.)

Stacia Kane, oh Stacia Kane. You are a major tease. Every time I think, OK, this is it, you string me along, making me wait for another book.CinnamonRollAppleCrispLarge

On to the story. Demon Inside manages to infuse humor into a blood-soaked urban fantasy story that just happens to have a great romance line and a yummy male character. I love Greyson. He is hot and MANLY. Oh yeah, he’s dangerous, too.

But the most interesting thing about Demon Inside is the look at Megan’s relationship with her family. It is painful to watch and at times I wanted to smack the shit out of Megan’s mom and brother. Kane has done a great job by making me care about that relationship.

Anyway, there are a ton of story lines taking place in Demon Inside and very few lulls in action. It’s time for Megan to make peace with her new role in the world. A role that puts her in the leader’s throne and solidifies her position in the world.

Be like Greyson in Demon Inside by sticking your fork into a pie plate of apple crisp. Check out Rhodes website for the recipe for this plate of yummy cinnamon roll apple crisp.

Norse Code by Greg van Eekhout

6 Aug

bread-muffins-l“Hermod watched mournfully as she plucked away at his muffin.” (p. 105) Before you pick up Greg van Eekhout‘s Norse Code and read about a Valkyrie and a NorseGod’s attempt to change fate and save the world, pick up some muffins and tea to eat while you read the story.

Favorite Lines: “In the center of the hut sat a giant, with a round spongy head like a mushroom and two dark little eyes, filmed over like those of an old fish. An irregular welt of a nose spread across her face, and, below that, thin, wet lips formed a ventlike mouth. Her flesh gleamed, clammy as wet clay.

Hermod counted five wolf pups clutched to her chest, suckling on floppy teats as long as his fingers. The pups pawed and nipped at one another for better access, and the giant stroked their coats of white and gray.” (p. 30)

Kathy Castillo was with her sister when she was killed. As her sister walked away to Hell, she was held back and transformed into a Valkrie by Radgrid. Renamed Mist, she works for the NorseCODE genome project searching for descendants of Odin and attempting to build Odin’s army for the final battle between heaven and hell.

Unsatisfied with her mission of converting or killing, Mist decides to rescue her sister from hell and embarks on a crusade with a Norse God, Hermod, who wanders the earth like a bum.

With an old prophesy on the brink of being fulfilled, the duo decide to create a new fate for the world…if they can survive the machinations of the world they’re in.

I was undecided about Greg van Eekhout‘s novel, “Norse Code.” I’m not a big fan of mythology and when a bunch of similar sounding names are added I usually throw the book at the wall. It was close at times, but I restrained myself. The names that bothered me the most were the Valkrie Radgrid who is Mist’s boss, and Ragnarock, the creature destined to tear the world apart.

On a positive note, I enjoyed the times when Mist’s humanity clashed with her Valkrie-self. Having only been around for three and a half months, she hasn’t become hardened by time and her humanity is more a part of her than the role she plays for the Norse God, Odin. She struggles with right and wrong with the mind of a human, and even her attempt to free her sister is undertaken with the emotions of a human.

Hermod is a God determined to avoid responsibility. He went to hell to get his brothers back, but made it back with neither one. Refusing to think about his failure he fails to acknowledge the fact that he is the only person to ever leave hell.

The story moves at a quick pace, so fast that I was a little perturbed at the moment Mist decides to rescue her sister. It seems a little off and opposite to what was happening in the story. Overall, the urban fantasy story, Norse Code, was interesting, but it was a tad bit choppy because the whenever a story line ended it felt forced and abrupt.

Read what others thought at Grasping for the Wind and BSC Review.