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. 
Attempt 2 went much better and I've been playing around with them since. One nice little time saver was the cheese itself. At first I used a chunk of mozzarella that had to be sliced up. It worked fine but shape varied a good deal. What I finally landed on was using string cheese. Just cut a stick in half and you have two very nice looking cheese sticks in the end (picture above). Everyone is nice and uniform and you can't tell after they're cooked that they started life as string cheese. The other thing I changed was the cornstarch. I honestly couldn't tell a difference with it included or left out so I don't bother with adding it. 

Recipe after the jump

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!)

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!  

IMPORTANT: Due to content, this meme is open to participants 18 and older ONLY!

Hmmm. I read a handful of Hot Reads this month but my favorite is J.D. Robb's Glory in Death. So, a little old school I guess and not too hard-core (okay really down right tame compared to a bunch)but Roarke is just oh so very squirm worthy. I mean, really, how can you not squirm over a 6 foot tall, blue eyed man with an Irish accent and long black hair? Plus confident, completely in love and fond of delicious squirm filled ways of surprising you when he gets home early from a trip? Yes, please! 

NOTE: Now, a HOT READ doesn’t have to be hard-core. Maybe the author’s photo made you hot! Maybe the cover art — all those broad shoulders and rippling abs — raised your temperature. Maybe there was just a scene or a setting that made you squirm in your seat — those all qualify! After all, we don’t all have the same taste in men (or ladies, pick your pleasure), so why should we have the same taste in HOT READS?

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

Eve Dallas is a New York police lieutenant investigating a killer targeting licensed companions in the city. The murders are brutal  and the method something rarely seen in the year 2058. It's a first for Eve. Just like, Roarke, the man she comes up against during her investigation. Not only is he a suspect in the murders but he tempts her in ways she never expected and threatens everything she's become. I'm rereading JD Robb's In Death series for a group challenge and gotta say I'm loving it the second time around just as much as the first. The world and life in 2058 is....different. Real meat, coffee, sugar are luxuries and hard to find. Soy and veggies abound! I'm a vegetarian so this so works for me. Real books have been replaced by holograms. Gack! Cars can fly and navigate themselves. Guns and smoking have been banned, sex for sale legalized. Autochefs deliver meals in seconds and droids are used for many mundane tasks. People vacation in space and computer activity monitored by the government. Genetic screening is used to weed out dangerous traits. And yet murder still happens. Robb makes you feel the grit and chaos of the city and appreciate the quiet, serenity and luxury of living away from the masses on a substantial property in the country. 

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, heaven.

2. In the supernatural world of Chicagoland Vampires, politics seem to play an important role in the way the Houses are run. Now that you've been introduced to the Rogues, do you think it's better for vampires to be a part of a House or to live outside of one.

It would really depend on the house for me. Cadogan, sure, no problem. I could totally make that work. The sporty Grey house. I'd really rather poke my eye out. I'd spend all my time with my eyes glazed over if I had to listen and live sports. But overall I think I'd go House instead of Rogue. The Rogues seem a little too hard for my taste and really I'm such a girl. I like living comfortably and safe. Knowing I'd have some money coming in and someone to go to with problems. Plus I've never lived with a big group of people before and think it could be entertaining even with all the drama that comes with it. 

3. After Morgan openly asks to court Merit, she feels betrayed when Ethan commands her to accept for the show of alliance it could bring to Cadogan House. Do you think her reaction was warranted?

You know. I think I would have been just as upset. The idea of playing with Morgan for a bit isn't really that big of a hardship in and of itself but the whole thing would have ticked me off. I don't like being used especially when it comes to relationships. She's supposed to trust Ethan and be one of his to protect. On top of that there is a definite something between the two of them. To just hand her over for political reasons was slimy and I would have felt just as hurt and betrayed by him. I would have wanted to slap both Morgan and Ethan around for putting me in that kind of a position and not treating me like more than a bargaining chip.

4. When Ethan meets with the perpetrator of the murders, were you surprised to discover who it was? If you suspected someone, were your suspensions correct? What did you think of the perpetrator's motive? 

By the end I figured that was how it was going to play out. I don't remember thinking Amber would play a part when I read it the first time but Celina was on my radar. There were just too many off things going on in connection to her house. Her motives. Vamp is crazy.

5. What was your favorite/least favorite parts of Some Girls Bite?

I'm probably going to go against most but my least favorite part is Mallory. I don't know why but the girl rubbed me the wrong way from the start. I've read ahead and feel kind of justified in not liking her now but even in the beginning I just wanted less of her around.

Favorites? I love Ethan. Even before reading ahead and falling more for him. I love characters that just don't know how to act right or say the right things when it comes to the opposite sex. He's forever putting his foot in his month and doing things that make me want to slap my forehead and mutter "oh, Ethan, really?". And I really just like seeing him challenged and faced with things things he's not used too. Jeff's another favorite. I just want to squeeze him.

6. What do you think is coming up next for Merit, Sentinel of Cadogan House? Will you continue reading this series, and if so, what do you hope to see happen in the next book?

I've already read the rest of the series (and can't wait for the next book) so I know how it plays out but when I read the first time I wanted things to move along with Ethan and Merit. I like both of them and the fiery reactions to each other. I also love when they just banter easily like when they had hotdogs with Mallory and Catcher. So really I wanted Ethan to just get a clue when it came to Merit and make things right with her. For Merit as Sentinel I wanted to see her fighting skills keep improving and see her take a bigger part in the house. But I want her to actually enjoy it and find peace with who and what she is and not just feel like it's her obligation to do the job. 

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

Christine Warren is new to me and I struggled with her writing the first 100 pages or so. Was starting to kick myself for buying so many books in the series before I had read book one. She loves using cliche sayings, pop references and very common phrases twisting them just a little to make them have a paranormal bent. A few of them were pretty funny but after a while it was just too much and didn't add anything to the story. There may have been some eye twitching on my part.

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.

At the very bottom of the stack is my favorite arrival for the week. A signed copy of Copper Beach by Jayne Ann Krentz who I just love! Ordered it ages ago and was so excited that it finally came out and arrived here.  A pretty pen came with it too! Can't wait to read it :)

 I won two lovely books through Goodreads first reads. Hystera and The Look of Love

Plus a handful of ebooks 

Oh devil! I forgot I played on B&N and picked up a handful of freebies for my NOOK plus Jeaniene Frost's Under Her Skin.

Damn. Not a good week for my TBR pile but a very happy week for me!

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


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.


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.

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

Oh. Good! So, so, good! I was afraid Lothaire wouldn't live up to all the hype from the last few months. I wasn't all that thrilled with the last installment of Immortals After Dark and was dragging my feet a little with starting Lothaire. Turns out I had nothing to fear. It was....amazing! Cole is an absolute master! I mean really, who in their right mind would think Lothaire could be lovable and in fact totally make you fall for him?? Cole definitely had her work cut out for her but damn it all if by the end I wasn't just as smitten as Elizavetta!

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?

Something's definitely a bit fishy between the different murders/attempts with everyone being so similar to Merit. Motivewise I was thinking someone is out to get her specifically and the others were mistaken identity (thinking they were Merit) or were being done to scare her. Not exactly sure who's behind it all but maybe someone from her past who has teamed up with a vamp out to cause trouble for everyone.

3. The commendation is my favorite moment in the book and significant event in Merit's life. She has finally come to terms that she is a Cadogan vampire. Were you surprised at all that Merit resisted Ethan's call and that he made her a Sentinel? Do you think she'll do well in this position? Why or why not?

Loved this scene and how it played out. Merit's been pretty headstrong and unique compared to other vampires and their needs from the start so I wasn't really too surprised things didn't go as planned with the commendation. I was surprised the by him making her Sentinel though. That's a huge responsibility that she didn't seem all that suited but I do feel she'll do great with the position now that it's hers. She's dedicated, honest and loyal. Once she says something and commits I think she'll see it through even if things get difficult. Plus she just kicks ass.

4. Loyalty is a reoccurring theme throughout the book and much of this series. Why is it so important to Ethan that he needs Merit's allegiance? Is it solely a Master and Sentinel thing or does it imply something else?

Nothing's gone as planned with Merit from the very start and I think Ethan feels some guilt and uncertainty over her and how she became a vampire. With all of the other vampires he makes (that sounds kinda odd) he knows from the get go where they stand and that they do want to be one of his people/vampires. With Merit everything is different. She didn't just fall into place and accept the life that he forced onto her. She stood up to Ethan and challenged him (then rejected his advances) which is something he is obviously not used to experiencing and would no doubt get under his skin. He is all about having control in his life and Merit must drive him absolutely nuts. Getting her allegiance would help his life get a bit back to normal. I think it's more than solely a Master/Sentinel thing. He knows she's not like everyone else and I think deep down he's hoping she'll be more to him than just one of his subjects.

5. If you had the opportunity to sit down with Ethan, Merit, Mallory, and Catcher for a  bit to eat like in the beginning of Chapter 12, what questions would you ask them at this point of the story?

Catcher: Can I play too?
Ethan: Really Ethan? Really? What were you thinking?
Merit: Don't you just want to squeeze Jeff?
Mallory: Does that prophesy bit that Catcher does freak you the heck out too?

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

Birds! Freaking scary ass birds right out of my nightmares. Regular little ol birds are bad enough. Creepy little things. But human sized ones that shift? That don't seem to have any grasp on logic or willingness to admit they've been duped and are attacking the wrong people? Like I said. Freaking nightmares! I really don't like birds if you hadn't figured that out and turns out I really hate thunderbirds! Thunderbirds are suddenly attacking Faythe and her Pride while they work to deal with both their grief over Ethan's death and the ongoing threat from slimy Malone. The thunderbirds have set out to get revenge against Faythe's Pride because they claim a member killed one of their birds. Faythe has to find proof of her Pride's innocence and who the real culprit is that set them up. If she isn't fast enough someone she loves will die.

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

This was my first time reading My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent. I've read her shifter series and loved it but wasn't sure what to expect from her YA series. I didn't read anything about the series before starting so had no clue what to expect. And I LOVED it! It was a very easy world to fall into and a great start to the series. I enjoyed nearly everything from the cover (which is just gorgeous) to the surprise villain. I really did not see the bad guy coming at all. Fantastic twist! 

Recipes: 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. First I made my own crust instead of using store bought. It's more personal preference than anything. I love homemade crust and it's pretty easy. I made my crust then baked for 10 minutes and cooled before continuing on with the recipe. The second thing I changed was the amount of espresso. I'm not huge on coffee flavors so reduced the amount from 3 tablespoons to 2 tablespoons thinking it would be too overpowering otherwise. Was perfect for my taste but I think I would have liked it just as much with the original amounts. Homemade whipped cream topped it off. Recipe 2 of the year was a huge success! 50 to go!

Recipe after jump...

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.

Chaos in Death by J.D. Robb
Oh I love me some Roarke! The In Death series is hands down one of my favorites but this little taste seemed a bit off to me. I know to expect a bit of a paranormal twist on her novellas and that doesn't bother me. I actually love them because of Eve's reactions to anything not quite normal. It's so fun to watch her having to deal with the impossible especially when Roarke and others are willing to accept the idea so easily. So I'm not sure why exactly I wasn't loving this one as much as others. By the end, though, I was pretty into the story and the crazed green skinned monster that was murdering people connected to a drug rehab company. Was pretty impressive that in less than 100 pages Robb managed to mention or include nearly every ongoing character. I think only 2 were left out. The murders were vicious and managed to give me a shudder or two. Glad I hadn't just eaten before one of the scenes. Yick. Was kept guessing until nearly the end on who the killer was and how it was happening. As always I loved the scenes with just Roarke and Eve. I would have loved a bit more Roarke but the bits with him were wonderful.

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#8212;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