The Herd Archives

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Recipes: Mozzarella Sticks

So. What I've learned is cheese sticks are the devil. And that the egg dip is really, really important.

I got a craving for cheese sticks the other night and thought I'd give it a try sans recipe. I made them ages ago and figured it would be easy. Got everything ready then realized the house was egg free. So I attempted without egg. It was....unfortunate. I figured I could use water or oil and the breadcrumbs would stick to that and everything would turn out fine in the end. Well. I got a nice melted lump of cheese without even the teeny little bit of breadcrumbs attached. 

Under Fire (Firefighters of Station Five #2) by Jo Davis

Zack fights fires and saves lives, yet his own thirst for life has run dry-until he comes to the rescue of a sharp-tongued exotic dancer named Corrine Shannon who soon has the normally shy hero burning out of control.  

But as they are consumed by flames of passion, they find themselves under fire from two relentless enemies with fifty million reasons to succeed. Can they withstand the heat while trying to save their own lives-or will their newfound romance be extinguished as fast as it began?

Type: Romantic Suspense, Firefighters
Heat: 3 out of 5
Rating: 4 out of 5

I originally picked up this series when I needed a firefighter book for a group reading challenge. It's not earth shattering and I do find myself rolling my eyes from time to time over the story line but I'm still enjoying the series. Oh and the names. The names just kill me. The hero from the first book was Howard (nickname six-pack) and kept sending me into giggles. I mean, I know the Howards of the world need love too but I just couldn't help myself. The names were much better in Under Fire. I love Zack and Corrine is lovely. Handsome and beautiful as endearments? Eh. Like I said, a bit of eye rolling happened throughout. I did find Corrine calling Zack fireboy kinda cute by the end though. If you can get past the outlandish story lines and giggle-worthy names the characters and their journey are enjoyable.

January 2012 wrap up!

I can't believe a month has gone by already!! It was a busy month here and managed to make some progress towards a few of my goals. Yay!

Starting goals for the year:
  • Read 275 books
  • Read 25 new authors
  • Cook/bake 52 new recipes
  • Finish house projects that never get done
  • Find homes for 12 black cats
  • Finish 12 crafty girly projects  

What happened in January.....

Read 26 books! 249 to go!

Read 7 New Authors
  1. Shannon Stacey
  2. Alesia Holliday
  3. Deborah Cooke
  4. Christine Warren
  5. Gena Showalter
  6. Aimee Laine
  7. H.P.Mallory
Tried 4 new recipes
  • Shepherd's Pie
  • Mocha Cafe Chocolate Tort
  • Spinach Balls with Marinara Sauce
  • Mozzarella Sticks with Sauce
House projects, adoptions and girly projects didn't fare so well. Yeah I was a complete slacker. On to February!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

In My Mailbox!


My mailbox was a little different this week but in a fun way.


Books I knew were coming....
Books 5-10 of Rachel Caine's Morganville Vampires (yay!)
&
A signed copy of Lara Adrian's latest book. Plus it came with some extra little goodies I wasn't expecting! (even more yay!)

Also...
I received an ARC of Until Next Time by Amy Lignor from Tribute Books for review

And won Grey's Lady by and from Natasha Blackthorne during the Shameless blog hop

Where things got a little funny... I had a little extra in my fun money jar left over and decided to take a gamble. I bought a lot of 50 books off ebay from a used bookstore that was trying to get rid of their extra inventory. In comes photo two and the leaning stack of books. Only thing I was told was they would all be romance and in good to very good shape (yeah so not the case but most were okay).  What I got.....
  • 2 books I already owned
  • 15 eventual buys (Including JAK, Sparks, Nora Roberts, Katie MacAlister, Feehan, Kim Harrison)
  • 4 I'd never heard of but want to read including a book called Nerd in Shining Armor
  • AND.....29 books I'll probably never read 
So not too bad really. I spent $35 and got 19 books I'll be reading at some point. Well, I do now have a whole shelf of random "classic" romance books that so aren't my thing but who knows might turn out to be a great thing and I'll find an author I love in there. I don't think I'll do this again any time soon but it was still fun not knowing and getting to sort through a huge box of books and seeing what I got. 

January Hot Reads! Glory in Death by JD Robb

Do you ever read books that get you a little hot and steamy? If you do, join in Hot Reads and share some of your favorite sexy reads and find some new ones!

Hot Reads is a Monthly Meme, hosted by Book Savvy Babe and Alive on the Shelves, where we get to share our hottest read of the month! Your choice can be any book, it doesn’t matter the genre, the length, whether it’s new or old. If you read it during the month, and it raised your temperature, it qualifies to be a HOT READ! To make things as simple as possible, Hot Reads will take place the 28th day of the month. So every month, be ready to share your HOT READ pick!

Naked in Death (In Death #1) by JD Robb

In hardcover for the first time, here is the novel that started it all-the first book in J. D. Robb's number-one New York Times-bestselling In Death series, featuring New York City homicide detective Lieutenant Eve Dallas and Roarke. 

It is the year 2058, and technology now completely rules the world. But New York City Detective Eve Dallas knows that the irresistible impulses of the human heart are still ruled by just one thing-passion. 
When a senator's daughter is killed, the secret life of prostitution she'd been leading is revealed. The high-profile case takes Lieutenant Eve Dallas into the rarefied circles of Washing-ton politics and society. Further complicating matters is Eve's growing attraction to Roarke, who is one of the wealthiest and most influential men on the planet, devilishly handsome... and the leading suspect in the investigation.
Type: Romantic Suspense, Futuristic
Heat: 3 out of 5
Rating: 4 out of 5

Friday, January 27, 2012

Recipes: Spinach Cheese Balls

These turned out to be really good. Almost like a biscuit with spinach and cheese all smooshed inside. Yum! And they were so simple to make.

I'd suggest whisking the egg, Italian seasoning and garlic salt together before adding in the cheese, bisquick and spinach. The mix is rather dry so that's the best way to make sure the seasoning is well mixed in. The mix looks way too dry at first but use your hands and keep smooshing it all together and it does work out nicely. I made mine a bit bigger than the 1" suggested and there is a bit of expansion as they cook. If you use 1" balls you should have around 30 once divided. They're pretty tasty and even better with a dipping sauce. I'll be making these again.

Follow Friday- get it away!!!

Q: Which book genre do you avoid at all costs?

A: I'm an easy reader really. I'll admit it. I can get into nearly anything I'm reading and usually love it. I did find something that was so not for me this past year though. Bizarro. It's a sub category of Horror I guess? Maybe? Some horror so works for me. This one totally skeeved me out. I still don't remember how I found it but The Haunted Vagina crossed my path and apparently in a sick and twisted moment I decided I had to have this book because really how can you pass up a book called the Haunted Vagina. And a tag line of  "It's difficult to love a woman whose vagina is a gateway to the world of the dead." A supposed love story. With some great reviews mind you. Yeah. Okay. So. Not. My. Thing.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Witchful Thinking (Jolie Wilkins #3) by H.P. Mallory

Jolie thinks she’s seen it all, but life continues to spring surprises. The latest shocker? She’s just been crowned queen of the underworld. Jolie may possess a rare gift for reanimating the dead, but she doesn’t know the first thing about governing disparate factions of supernatural creatures. She can barely maintain order in her own chaotic personal life, which is heading into a romantic tailspin.

First there’s sexy warlock Rand, the love of her life, from whom Jolie is hiding a devastating secret. Then there’s Sinjin, a darkly seductive vampire and Jolie’s sworn protector—though others suspect he harbors ulterior motives. As the two polar opposite yet magnetic men vie for Jolie’s affection, she must keep her wits about her to balance affairs of state and affairs of her heart. Overwhelmed, under pressure, and longing for love, Jolie decides it’s time to take charge—and show everyone that this queen won’t take jack.


Type: Paranormal Romance, Witches, Vampires, Shifters
Heat: 2.5 out of 5
Rating: 2 out of 5

This was my first time reading H.P.Mallory. I can't say I'd actively seek out another one of her books if this is a good example of her style. This is the 3rd installment in her Jolie Wilkin's series. Usually I wouldn't jump in mid series but I won this from the Goodreads First Reads giveaway and figured I'd give it a go. It was easy to join midway through the series mainly because the first 100 pages of the book were a recap of everything that's happened to this point, as far as I could tell. A recap that keeps repeating itself over and over again. In Jolie's journal entries then again with conversations with Rand the main male lead, then again with Jolie's best friend, then again, and again.... I'm all for a series recap and many authors include them in a new book but this just seemed over the top and got to the point where I was seriously questioning if anything was every going to happen in this book at all. The answer to that? No, not really. It took 150 some pages before we had anything new happen in the current time and still with more than 300 pages total nothing ever really happened that made an impact or advanced the story line.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wordless Wednesday...forgotten

Hide & Seek (Games of Zeus #1) by Aimee Laine

Lie, cheat or steal, no one can catch Tripp Fox. Except one woman. 

Lexi Shepherd’s knack for finding whatever is asked of her isn’t sheer luck. It’s a gift from the Greek god Zeus. 

That Lexi doesn’t use her ability to search for “Mr. Right” comes from one of many personal rules she has set for herself. Number one is not to let fate dictate her future. 

Falling in love with Tripp breaks all the others. 

Despite her principles, Lexi’s unable to stay away from the bad boy, and she finds herself toeing the grey line of the law for him. 

Zeus, though, didn’t give Lexi and Tripp their talents to make their relationship a simple, easy alliance. He designed it to be exactly the opposite. Impossible. Always. 

With their separation, Lexi expects Tripp to forfeit love in favor of destiny. He, on the other hand, intends to beat Zeus at his own game. With a plan in place, Tripp challenges Lexi to take the one action no one else can. 

Find him. 


Type: Paranormal Romance, gods
Heat: 2.5 out of 5
Rating: 4 out of 5

I won an ARC of Hide & Seek from author Aimee Laine earlier this week and dug right in. It was my first time reading Laine and I honestly loved it! The writing hooked me from page one. She includes just enough mystery and intrigue to keep you eagerly turning the page and wondering what in the world is happening but doesn't push it over the edge to frustrating and confusing. I had to keep making myself put down my NOOK and actually get some work done around the house. Excellent problem, right?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Some Girls Bite Read Along- Week 4!

Aw. The last week. Loved the book and getting to reread it with other fans. Was fun getting to see different reactions to everything!


1. Chapter 13 opens with Merit describing her new job routine as House Sentinel. Considering that every job Cadogan House is important in helping to make the house run efficiently, which job do you think you'd like to have (guard, cook, social director, gardener, etc.) and why?


Oh I would LOVE to be house cook. I love cooking and baking. Trying new dishes, making old favorites and putting things together for large groups. Yeah I could definitely get behind being house cook. Plus they're vampires and don't really have to watch their weight so I could make yummy things like Mocha Chocolate Torts and cookies all the time and not have to worry about it. Ah,

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Wolf at the Door (The Others #1) by Christine Warren

Sullivan Quinn didn't travel 3,000 miles from his native Ireland and his wolf pack just to chase rabidly after the most delectable quarry he's ever seen. Quinn is in America on a mission--to warn his Other brethren of a shadowy group willing to use murder and mayhem to bring them down. But one whiff of this Foxwoman's delicious honeysuckle fragrance and he knows that she is more than a colleague or a conquest…she is his mate.
Anthropologist Cassidy Poe is a world-renowned authority on social interaction, but the overpowering desire she feels around Quinn defies every ounce of her expertise. Working by his side to uncover The Others' enemies poses risks she never expected--to her own safety, to those she loves, and to her heart, as every encounter with Quinn proves more blissfully erotic than the last…
Now, with no one to trust but each other, Quinn and Cassidy face a foe that's edging closer every day, threatening to destroy the life they've always known, and the passion they've just discovered…

Type: Paranormal Romance, Shifters (wolves, fox)
Heat: 3 out of 5
Rating: 3 out of 5

In My Mailbox!

So. I kinda went overboard. Again. See, I wanted this one book and then they offered reduced shipping on any additional books. This was my downfall. 28 books later we have my mailbox for the week. I blame it all on Alyssa Day and her very yummy Atlantean warriors. Mmmhmm. Or maybe it was Deborah Cooke's dragons. Either way.... happy sigh. And really I was going to need all of those extra books eventually so I was just being responsible and not procrastinating.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Follow Friday- the craziest thing?

Q:What's the craziest thing you've ever done to get your hands on any particular book?

Ah.  Last year Karen Marie Moning offered up the entire Fever series signed on her forum. All you had to do was post the most comments on her blog during the 7 days the contest was open. Sweet Baby Jesus I thought I'd lose my fingers by the time I finally got those books! By the end I had over 2700 posts. It came down to the last second with one other girl and I won with like 7 posts. My hands were shaking there at the end so bad I could hardly type. Totally worth it though :)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Lothaire (Immortals After Dark #12) by Kresley Cole


ALL FEAR THE ENEMY OF OLD

Driven by his insatiable need for revenge, Lothaire, the Lore’s most ruthless vampire, plots to seize the Horde’s crown. But bloodlust and torture have left him on the brink of madness—until he finds Elizabeth Peirce, the key to his victory. He captures the unique young mortal, intending to offer up her very soul in exchange for power, yet Elizabeth soothes his tormented mind and awakens within him emotions Lothaire believed he could no longer experience.

A DEADLY FORCE DWELLS WITHIN HER

Growing up in desperate poverty, Ellie Peirce yearned for a better life, never imagining she’d be convicted of murder—or that an evil immortal would abduct her from death row. But Lothaire is no savior, as he himself plans to sacrifice Ellie in one month’s time. And yet the vampire seems to ache for her touch, showering her with wealth and sexual pleasure. In a bid to save her soul, Ellie surrenders her body to the wicked vampire, while vowing to protect her heart.

CENTURIES OF COLD INDIFFERENCE SHATTERED
Elizabeth tempts Lothaire beyond reason, as only his fated mate could. As the month draws to a close, he must choose between a millennia-old blood vendetta and his irresistible prisoner. Will Lothaire succumb to the miseries of his past . . . or risk everything for a future with her?

Type: Paranormal Romance, Vampires
Heat: 3 out of 5
Rating: 5 out of 5

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Some Girls Bite Read Along Chapters 9-12

1. Catcher and Ethan share some personality traits. What makes Mallory, Merit, and even us readers attracted to these guys? Would you date/mate with someone like these guys in real life?

Can't help but think they're delicious. I love how they carry themselves. They know who they are and what they have to get done. Their confident and a bit cocky. The cocky bit kills me. I keep finding myself smirking and thinking "you are just such a little shit" while shaking my head a bit and smiling. I'd love to say "yeah I'd definitely be interested in real life" but these two, at this point, I'd spend an ungodly amount of time resisting the urge to pinch them.

2. In Chapter 9 we learn of another murder. Do you see any patterns with the previous murder and Merit's attack? Do you have any guesses as to who is responsible and the motives behind the murders?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Shift (Shifters #5) by Rachel Vincent


Being the first female werecat enforcer isn't easy. Scars accumulate, but I'm stronger in so many ways.

As for my personal life? It's complicated. Choices worth making always are. Ever since my brother's death and my father's impeachment, it's all I can do to prevent more blood from spilling. Now our Pride is under attack by a flight of vicious thunderbirds. And making peace with our new enemies may be the only way to get the best of our old foe.

With the body count rising and treachery everywhere, my instincts tell me to look before I leap. But sometimes a leap of faith is the only real option...

Type: Urban Fantasy/ Paranormal Romance, Shifters (felines, thunderbirds)
Heat: 1 out of 5
Rating: 4 out of 5

My Soul to Take (Soul Screamers #1) by Rachel Vincent

And the Soul Screamers Reading Challenge hosted by Fiktshun begins! If you haven't signed up just click the badge for details on the challenge and what you could win!  

She doesn't see dead people. She senses when someone near her is about to die. And when that happens, a force beyond her control compels her to scream bloody murder. Literally.

Kaylee just wants to enjoy having caught the attention of the hottest guy in school. But a normal date is hard to come by when Nash seems to know more about her need to scream than she does. And when classmates start dropping dead for no apparent reason, only Kaylee knows who'll be next.


Type: Young Adult, Paranormal, Bean Sidhe/Reapers
Heat: 1 out of 5
Rating: 4 out of 5

Tasty Delights-- Cafe Mocha Chocolate Tort

Holy Tastebuds!! This was just delicious! I'm drooling just a little bit just thinking about it. Will definitely be making this one again! 

I really thought this would be difficult to make, certainly sounded fancy, but it was beyond easy. The hardest part was tracking down instant espresso power! It reminds me a lot of pecan pie which is one of my favorite desserts. I made two changes from the original recipe. 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

In My Mailbox!

Oh there was lots of girly squealing the last two weeks! Had a great time at a couple used bookstores and then oh then the mailbox. Signed copy I ordered of Lothaire finally got here! Plus signed books from a couple giveaways I won over the last month or so from Chloe Neill, M.L.Hamilton, Cherry Adair and Sophie Gunn. Like I said. Total girly squeals. I'm so not ashamed either. 

The Unquiet anthology

Type: Paranormal Romance
Heat: 2 out of 5
Rating: 4 out of 5

This turned out to be a delightful anthology. They are so hit or miss but this one worked for me. All of the stories were interesting, different enough from one another so not to blend into each other and were quite creative. I wouldn't hesitate to pick up another anthology with these authors.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

4 stars-- Kiss of Fire (Dragonfire #1) by Deborah Cooke

For millennia, the shape-shifting dragon warriors known as the Pyr have commanded the four elements and guarded the earth's treasures. But now the final reckoning between the Pyr, who count humans among the earth's treasures, and the Slayers, who would eradicate both humans and the Pyr who protect them, is about to begin...

When Sara Keegan decides to settle down and run her quirky aunt's New Age bookstore, she's not looking for adventure. She doesn't believe in fate or the magic of the tarot-but when she's saved from a vicious attack by a man who has the ability to turn into a fire-breathing dragon, she questions whether she's losing her mind-or about to lose her heart...

Quinn Tyrrell has long been distrustful of his fellow Pyr and a self-reliant loner. So when he feels the firestorm that signals his destined mate, he's determined to protect and possess Sara, regardless of the cost to himself. Then Sara's true destiny is revealed-and Quinn realizes he must risk everything- even Sara's love-to fulfill their entwined fates...


Type: Paranormal Romance, Shifters (Dragons)
Heat: 3 out of 5
Rating: 4 out of 5

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

2 stars--Santa Baby by Alesia Holliday


Sometimes you just have to say "Deck the freaking halls." At least, that's how Leah feels about Christmas. She has a holiday tradition: she gets dumped at Christmas. Always and only at Christmas. With only 12 days till the fateful day, she's glad she's alone. The only thing she has to worry about is a horrible boss. And a dead-end career. And clients who drive her insane. 

But sexy photojournalist Luke has other ideas; he wants to make Leah's Christmas dreams come true. And he only has twelve days to begin a romance that will endure until the last bell has been jingled. 

Love, laughter, and a little touch of revenge--that's all a girl really needs in her Christmas stocking.
Alesia Holliday is the funnier (and much cuter!) alter-ego of New York Times bestselling author Alyssa Day. Alesia writes light & funny; Alyssa writes dark & twisty. Both love crazy plots, intense suspense, and characters you'd love to invite over for dinner.

Type: Chick-Lit
Rating: 2 out of 5

4 stars--Manhunt by Janet Evanovich

A woman with a talent for numbers, Alexandra Scott wanted to escape the rat race and go someplace where the men outnumber the women. Trading in her Wall Street job and fancy condo for a rundown cabin in the woods. She's now Alaskan Wilderness Woman. It isn't long before she finds exactly what she's looking for#58; one sexy pilot named Michael Casey. But this confirmed bachelor has no intentions of getting caught in any woman's crosshairs; especially a hunter as appealing as Alex. It'll take skill, determination, and a little romantic persuasion for this big-game hunter to bag her prey.

Type: Romance
Heat: 2 out of 5

Rating: 4 out of 5


Manhunt by Janet Evanovich had me smiling the whole time I was reading. I just love her! Her characters are quirky and strong willed. Alexandra Scott drops her current life as a successful executive in New Jersey on a whim and trades her home for a "cabin" and hardware store in Alaska sight unseen, trudging cross country with a senior Rottweiler with an eating fetish that gets him in a bit of trouble. Namely flying overboard after a donut. "Michael Casey couldn't believe his eyes. That crazy broad just deep-sixed her dog!" Not only did he end up with a broken nose trying to save said dog but then got stuck with Alex, who was on the hunt for a husband, living on his mountain in a cabin that was far from livable.

Wordless Wednesday...Wandering around Italy

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Friday, January 6, 2012

Follow Friday! It's my first :)



Q. Go Count the number of unread books sitting on your shelf. How many?

A: It's my first Follow Friday and I'm going to truly embarrass myself here. Goodreads says I have....417!

OMG. Yeah, I may have a problem here, people. 

Soul Screamers Reading Challenge!

I'm joining my first reading challenge! I totally feel like a kid on their first day of school. A little nervous, a bit freaked out about trying something new but kinda excited too. So, I'm jumping in and hopefully I do it all right but if not I'm still going to have fun trying :) I love Rachel Vincent's Shifter series and am just about to read the last book, Alpha, so what a perfect time to start this challenge and pick up her other series! Soul Screamers! I've been eyeing them for a while. They have such pretty covers!

It's being hosted by Rachel at Fiktshun and sounds like an absolute blast! Three are some amazing prizes including a preorder of Before I Wake and even signed copies of the different books! Plus a surprise later on in the challenge and really who doesn't love a good surprise?!? The challenge is open to everyone and you can sign up HERE and get the extra details.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Tasty Delights: Shepherds Pie

One dish down on my goal of trying 52 new recipes in 2012! I made my first real Shepherd's pie and well it didn't turn out to be a pretty dish but it was really tasty. I think I needed a thicker layer of potatoes on top or possibly not putting it on the stove to cool without realizing I hadn't turned off that burner and it was still on simmer. That's when the potatoes lost the battle to keep everything contained. It was a nice meal on a really cold night in NC with the fire going. I made mine mostly vegetarian friendly using veggie broth and fake meat crumbles. Left out the mushrooms too because I find them creepy.

Recipe after the jump

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Prey (Shifters #4) by Rachel Vincent

Sometimes playing cat and mouse is no game...Play? "Right." My Pride is under fire from all sides, my father's authority is in question and my lover is in exile. Which means I haven't laid eyes on Marc's gorgeous face in months. And with a new mother "and" an I-know-everything teenager under my protection, I don't exactly have time to fantasize about ever seeing him again.

Then our long-awaited reunion is ruined by a vicious ambush by strays. Now our group is under attack, Marc is missing and I will need every bit of skill and smarts to keep my family from being torn apart. Forever.


Type: Urban Fantasy, Shifters (felines)
Heat: 2.5 out of 5
Rating: 4 out of 5

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

4 stars-- Midnight Alley & Feast of Fools (Morganville Vampires #3, #4) by Rachel Caine

Type: Young Adult, Paranormal Romance, Vampires
Heat: 2 out of 5
Rating: 4 out of 5

I'm really enjoying this series more than I expected to. I don't read a lot of YA but I've been sucked in by Rachel Caine and her amazing talent for cliffhangers. One of my favorite things about Caine is how the stories all blend together from book to book. There's no dramatically new theme/event but a continuation from the last book. You can really get drawn into their daily life and I love that. My only real issue isn't really a big deal but on more than one occasion I wanted to grab a character, give them a shake and yell "just stay in the dag house for once!!" Because really at some point you'd think they'd get a clue that unless it's a real necessity leaving the house only ends up in life threatening drama. Skip class already!


Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year....New Blog

So herding cats & burning soup. I'm going to put pretty much everything here. House projects and their resulting eye twitching disasters, herding cats (yeah I really do herd cats. around 40 on a daily basis), my cooking adventures and probably some on what I'm reading. Everything that makes me happy. First time I'm going to really try blogging so we shall see....hopefully all the cats will be herded and no soup will burn (yep it's actually happened. i've got talent). Oh and there will probably be a dressed up cat or two along the way.

My goals for this year...


  • Read 275 books
  • Read 25 new authors
  • Cook/bake 52 new recipes
  • Finish house projects that never get done
  • Find homes for 12 black cats
  •  Finish 12 crafty girly projects