Get Series(ous) #16

Well hello, Get Series(ous)!

Today is a super fun series with an unexpected heroine, crazy antics, a failing city, and 100% more major felonies committed by the protagonist! (On purpose.)



Do you ever wake up thinking

You work hard. You study harder. You do everything right. And yet, someone, SOMEONE who CHEATS, who MAKES THEIR OWN RULES, who fucks everyone…gets unconscionably rich.

And you just want to

But then, after you are finished smashing the establishment, and Robin Hooding it all over the place, your morals begin to get a bit…

So you might could use some guidance.

This series is for you.

Or maybe, you like nerding out to comics. You love the book HeroYou wish Stan Lee was your grandfather and Cloris Leachman your grandmother.

Your favorite Marvel movie is definitely Civil War. 

But the Scarlet Witch is your favorite superhero. Emily the Strange is your imaginary friend, and you really prefer your hot dogs “Coney Island” style. Or, just “a coney.” (extra onion and mustard, PLEASE!)

So, what's the series- (2)

The Strikeforce series.

Here’s the blurb for book 1:

Superheroes exist Driven, honest, courageous… true heroes. They live among us, and all over the world, they save lives. Their stories are told in hushed tones to rapt audiences, over and over again, myths of epic proportions.
This is not that kind of story
Jolene Faraday is the girl next door, the type of woman who will babysit your kids or lend you twenty bucks when you get into a bind. She takes care of her mother, works her way through college, and even escorts her elderly friend to church. But no one knows the other side of her story.
Jolene is also the Detroit area’s most infamous, infuriating burglar, robbing the mansions of the wealthy and making a mockery of the law enforcement officials who vow that each job will be her last. She thrives on the chaos, the infamy, the pure thrill of every heist she pulls off. And then one day, it happens.
Across the globe, a new wave of ordinary people find themselves with super powers. Some hide, afraid of what they’ve become. Some become heroes; others, villains. Jolene just becomes a better crook.
And suddenly, it’s not just police officers after her. She’s officially under the jurisdiction of StrikeForce, Detroit’s supernatural law enforcement force, an agency shrouded in mystery. As her actions become more audacious and the world begins to see that she is far more dangerous than they ever realized, she finds herself on StirkeForce’s most wanted list.
Which leaves her with a choice to make: learn how to become a hero, or embrace life as a super villain.

Why do I love this series-

Because I don’t love the MC.

Hear me out. Jolene is really hard to love. But, I appreciate that. I empathize with her, even though I frequently disagree with her. She lives in Detroit. That in and of itself is a difficult position to be in. But she tries to do her best by her city. She loves her city. She loves its rough edges, its history, its culture. She’s invested in its future.

But she’s gone a bit round the bend.

After four books, I have a special fondness for the catburglar superhero. I still don’t love her, but I love many of the other characters, and they buttress her in a way that is fascinating and wonderful. They’re her personality brillo pad, as it were.

And this book does something so few books do–instead of using a fake city like “Metropolis” or “Gotham” as the setting, it uses the real grit and very real socioeconomic problems of Detroit in its pages. It will undoubtedly pull at your heartstrings just a bit more for it.

Especially if, like me, you’re from the Great Lakes region. I’m from NE Ohio, but Cleveland and Akron and Youngstown fell into much the same state of disrepair that the D did. Cleveland is fortunate enough to be undergoing revitalization. Akron has its suburb of Green which is going places, but the D? (and Youngstown!) I’m not even sure they’ve hit bottom.

Colleen Vanderlinden isn’t afraid of that. She’s celebrating a marginalized city. She’s pointing all of her arrows at it, lighting it up, putting it on blast.

In a way, Colleen Vanderlinden is pleading for a real superhero for the D, while simultaneously arguing that the people who live there will ultimately become the city’s superheroes.

Strikeforce is a wild, rolllicking series with fantastic characters and true heart. It sets a fire in the heart of the reader and brings light to a shadowed place of neglect.

Get Series(ous) #16 and cherry pop punch! #puremichigan #reading #boozeandbooks Click To Tweet

Recipe, Please!This was easy for me.

After spending hours thinking about the D, I needed a drink–in celebration and commiseration.

And it needed to have POP in it. NOT soda. NOT in Michigan. POP.

Also, did you know that some of the best cherries in the country come from Michigan? THEY DO. They’ll be in season in a week or two, and I plan on eating MANY. (My grocery store sells Michigan sours which are AMAZING.) Also, the gold cherries? The REALLY sweet ones? Yup. Michigan. Because those mother fuckers need a cold winter.


cherry pop punch with vodka

The Cherry Pop Punch!

*get it? punch? Strikeforce?

cherry pop punch


Cherry Pop Punch

by Cat Bowen

Prep Time: 2 minutes

Keywords: beverage

Ingredients (2 cocktails)

  • 10 MICHIGAN cherries
  • 3 oz Tito’s vodka
  • 1/2 oz limoncello
  • 1 oz Beefeater or Hendricks gin
  • 4 oz ginger ale
  • squeeze of one lemon


  • mint sprigs


pit the cherries and muddle them with the limoncello

shake with other liquors and lemon juice

pour ginger ale over ice in two rocks glasses

add liquor and cherries into equal parts in both glasses

garnish with more lemon, cherries, and mint

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Mixed Mollusk Marriage

I felt as though I was waiting all the days forever for this novel.

So, when Grace Draven emailed me and said “wanna read it?” I thought about driving all the way across the country to kiss her full on the mouth.

I thought that might be awkward–and she lives in the South. It’s already hot there. I do not do heat. And wet. It’s wet where she lives. She likes her city like she likes her sex scenes, apparently. I, however, like my cities like I like my villains–or my soul–cold and dark.

But, lucky for the readers, Grace Draven likes her books like she likes real, married sex: fast paced, a bit terrifying, and full of worry about who may come around the corner at any time.

And, unlike real, married sex, her books always have a great finish.

Have I made enough awkward metaphors? At what point do I reach saturation?

Either way, this book lost me my manicure, and then all my nails. I couldn’t stop reading. I stayed up ALL night the night she sent it to me. I slept a whopping two hours before I had to get up and, like, not live in Saggara.

The novel is an edge-of-your-seat fantasy, a beautiful romance, and it hits on some really contemporary topics.

But first, let me give you the blurb:

In a bid for more power, the Shadow Queen of Haradis has unleashed a malignant force into the world. Her son Brishen, younger prince of the Kai royal house, suddenly finds himself ruler of a kingdom blighted by a diseased darkness and on the brink of war. His human wife Ildiko must decide if she will give up the man she loves in order to secure his throne.

Three enemy kingdoms must unite to save each other, and a one-eyed, reluctant king must raise an army of the dead to defeat an army of the damned.

A tale of alliance and sacrifice.

Give it to me straight.

I already told you I loved it, and I told you how great it is, but I also want to tell you why I found it hard to read.

Ildiko and Brishen are an interracial/interspecies relationship. This is a topic I know a lot about, but that’s not why it was difficult. What made it a sort of aching read for me was two-fold:

One: Ildiko is confident, that is never her issue, but she’s suddenly placed in this spot where her husband is elevated into a position where she feels insecure about her own. Anyone who has been in a relationship with someone with a significant difference in income or perceived importance can relate–especially those in the creative fields and/or stay at home moms. It’s difficult to remain grounded in one’s own worth when one begins to see their spouse through the lens of external pressure and achievement. It’s easy to measure raises and rank, and find oneself lacking in comparison, however untrue a comparison that it might be.

Two: a big one. Brishen and Ildiko always knew that they could never have children together. This isn’t easy for any couple, but combined with the outside pressure of their situation, it’s oppressive. I’ve dealt with infertility personally, and this really cut me to the quick. Ms Draven gets it. She just, gets it. The pain. The anger. The despair and resignation, and that fucking hope. That hope you just can’t shake. It doesn’t matter if your wife is Gauri and you are Kai, or if you’re human and your ovaries think they should rattle off like grenades once a year, and your uterus is doing its damndest to invade border territories and start a war. There is a particular scene that gutted me. It’s true and beautiful and crushing. At one point Brishen tells Ildiko:


And there are days, nights, weeks where this is all you have. It’s hard to read, and it also feels strangely necessary. Cathartic.

More than the struggles, more than the action, more than the status, this book is about love making things better. Their love is unique, and I was able to ask Ms Draven about it, here is what she had to say:

Me:Ildiko and Brishen are obviously fantasy, but the comparison could be made to current modern day prejudices toward interracial couples (such as the current Old Navy ad controversy) and in Radiance/Eidolon, it engenders a real empathy for their specific plight, which could possibly correlate to building empathy in the readers, was this intentional, or happy accident?

GD:Happy accident. I think people in general fear what they consider different, and that can be any number of things on multiple levels–from the physical to the cultural and societal. I just went with that basic idea when building their relationship and others’ reactions to it.

That. Exactly that.

I have always believed that fantasy can be a great genre to work out real life issues. Kurt Vonnegut, George Orwell, and Octavia Butler come to mind immediately. These are authors whose novels are taught in English classes the world over (yes, they teach English Lit classes in France!!) as a means of opening a dialogue and opening minds. Fantasy romance is often cast aside in favor of war and political themes. Eidolon is the perfect example of why this is so short-sighted. Romances make the reader examine parts of their own psyche that a war narrative will not. It’s important, pedagogically speaking, to examine the psyche as a whole, not just the “proper” pieces of it.

In summary:

Eidolon will make you feel every feeling. All of them. It will also make you think, and satisfy your mind in ways you weren’t expecting.

Five stars.

Review: Eidolon by @GraceDraven Recipe: Avocado-Caesar Deviled Eggs. YUM Click To Tweet

And now?

Recipe, Please!

Ok, so Brishen lost his eye, and his sweaty tea bag of a mum sent him the shriveled eye as a gift. Gross, right? So, of COURSE, I had to make eggs for this, because, we all know that a boiled egg bottom looks like an eyeball. I also made it Caesar-style because:

The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones;
So let it be with Caesar. The noble Brutus
Hath told you Caesar was ambitious:
If it were so, it was a grievous fault,
And grievously hath Caesar answer’d it.
(read the book and you’ll see how this applies, though, sometimes the good lives in the bones of other men, and the evil sails strongest.)
avocado caesar deviled eggs

avocado caesar deviled eggs

by Cat Bowen

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Keywords: appetizer salad side snack

Ingredients (12 egg halves)

  • 6 eggs, hard boiled and halved
  • 1/2 ripe avocado
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp dijon mustard
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1 anchovy or a DAB of anchovy paste
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp garlic salt
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper


  • freshly grated parm and paprika for garnish



take the yolks from the halved eggs

put in food pro

add all the other ingredients


pipe evenly into the egg halves

top with parm and paprika.

dive in.

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The Staff and The Blade Cover Reveal.

It’s no secret Elizabeth Hunter and I are friends. So when she asked me if I wanted in on the cover reveal, I tried to demand sexual favors–from her characters. Alas, they’re only real in my mind.

One day I’ll be able to manifest my book boyfriends into reality.

Anyway, I’m super excited about The Staff and the Blade. You see, Damien, like me, is SLAVIC. So, I feel like, even though he’s a figment of Elizabeth Hunter’s imagination, we could have a good time–eating, playing ice hockey, bitching about Russia, eating, comparing winter coats, eating.

Sari, much like my PSM, is Nordic. So I know I’m good there. Aquavit is Nordic vodka. There’s a plan.


I want the angels to PAY. (That sounds bad.) But I do.


The Staff and the Blade - 3D

Obviously, we’d do much talking. Seriously.

Warriors. Lovers. Enemies. Legends.
The Staff and the Blade
Damien and Sari. Their union became pivotal in Irin history. But to understand their ending, you must go back to the beginning. A young singer and a hardened warrior meet and mate, but their life is torn apart by violence, betrayal, and grief.
Yet no matter how much pain and anger stain their lives, bonds in the Irin race cannot be abandoned. Damien and Sari will never truly leave each other, because those who are destined cannot be ignored.
The Staff and the Blade is a novel in four parts. It is the fourth book in the Irin Chronicles.
“She hates me as she loves me. Wholly and completely. Sari never does anything by halves.”
Wattpad readers: Read the first novella in The Staff and the Blade: DREAMS in serial format. A brand new chapter will post every Thursday until the final book releases. Please visit: for more information.
“You’re calling me naive?”
“Yes.” She leaned forward. “You may be older than me, but you’re still the noble Irin warrior of ages past. This world is not black and white. It never has been.”
“You think I don’t know that?”
“You think every scribe has a conscience and a code of honor because you do.”
He looked away from her.
“Not every scribe is noble. Not every Irin wants the Irina back. Not every one of your brothers would sacrifice himself to protect me or any of my sisters.”
“I know I’m no saint. None of us are.”
“No, you’re honorable. And decent. And good.”
“And I love that about you,” she continued, even as her throat started to close. “I love your honor. I love your decency. But Damien, the world is not like that. It’s a hard, cruel place with countless shades of grey. People are selfish and weak. We do things…” She choked. “We do horrible things because we think it’s the only way to survive.”
Damien turned back to her. “There is nothing you can do that would make me love you less, Sari.”
She gave him a bitter smile. “That’s because you don’t know what I’ve done.”
Copyright 2016, Elizabeth Hunter
All rights reserved.

Watch/Wear/Eat/Read Part 2.

Last year, I did a really popular post, where I combined a Netflix pick, with an outfit, a recipe, and a book!

I thought I’d bring it back with all new books and outfits!

First up!



Season 2 is INSANE. I may re-watch the entire thing this week. I’m obsessed.


Daredevil Season 2


Coast necktie blouse
$57 –

J Brand mid-rise jeans
$290 –

Tamara Mellon strappy boots
$430 –

Chloé genuine leather purse
$1,855 –

Chunky jewelry
$220 –

Sarah Magid earrings jewelry
$255 –


Grilled Tempeh Summer Rolls


A complicated superhero. A city in trouble. A book worth reading. (Also, an upcoming Get Series(ous).)



Everyone who watches this show loves it. Everyone.



The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt


TIBI pleated trousers

Adidas metallic shoes
$125 –

Mini rucksack
$33 –

Nutella Fluffernutter Cookie Pie
Because if your mind is still childlike, your tastebuds are probably the same.
If this isn’t perfect for Kimmy, (and all of us) I don’t know what is.


J Crew j crew top
$105 –

Topshop high waisted short shorts
$41 –

Adidas Originals black lace up shoes
$125 –

Lili Radu chain purse
$560 –

Repossi hinged earrings

Garlic Lemon Green Beans Almondine


Two words: space pirates.

These posts are quickly turning into my favorite. I love collecting all of the outfits, and dreaming of looking put together. As it stands, I’m in stretchy pants and a tank top without a bra. BUT! I have hope.

Watch/Wear/Eat/Read Part 2. #streamteam with @Netflix Click To Tweet
Though Netflix sponsored these posts, all opinions and recipes are my own.
Though Netflix sponsored these posts, all opinions and recipes are my own.

Well, Maybe We Need Just One More.

Today’s book deserves a few songs:


Just hit play and read, at least until you get to the next video.

So a while ago, I saw a tweet from Sierra Dean that intrigued me. It was something like “do you like lady superheroes?” (I’m paraphrasing as I don’t remember exactly.) Then there was a link to a pre-order page on Amazon. I read the blurb and thought, YES, YES I AM INTERESTED, SIERRA DEAN.

So I one-clicked.  I had not read a single book by this author, we simply follow each other on twitter. But the blurb got me. I am so glad it did.

What was it?

The cover is fab, right?

ok, here’s the blurb.

The city of Gold Bay once had a great champion in local superhero Apollo. But after his brutal defeat at the hands of The Scourge, the citizens have been left to the villainous whims of a madman.

When young reporter Rebecca “Bex” Beckett returns home to care for her sick father, the last thing she expects is his request that she play caretaker to his shut-in employer, Camden Nash. Cam is not the same man Bex remembers from ten years earlier. Once a pinnacle of society, he is now a broken shell of his former self. Yet something is simmering between them.

As Bex becomes interested in the elusive mayor of Gold Bay, Simon Nerezza, Cam must rally to become the hero he once was in order to protect Bex from Nerezza’s dark past. But Bex is no damsel in distress. She has a trick or two up her own sleeve, and things in the city on the bay are about to get super hot.

Give it to me straight.


In my head, Bex was a combo of these three:

Untitled design (3)

Bex is a take-no-shit reporter with kickass abilities, a desire for justice, and a real sparkling personality.

And Cam? He’s super swoonworthy.

But the story. The story. It felt like great pulp/pop fiction with great romance and action thrown in. Somewhat Dashiell Hammett, somewhat Perry Moore, but unique at the same time. Sierra Dean is definitely someone to watch. She gives such importance to the details. For instance, the love interest is a paraplegic, and Ms Dean really gives it the gravitas it deserves. (yes, that.)

Also, because it’s a “period” novel, (insofar as it can be) there’s not the technology that tends to serve as a plot propeller in so much fiction right now. She’s true to the middle of the twentieth century, and it’s a great departure from what I’ve been reading. It’s not high-fantasy, it’s urban fantasy–with a twist.  Picturing the characters out at a tiki bar, or serving something in a jello mold is completely within the realm of possibility. The sex is more forward, but even though they aren’t in the twenty-first century, we are.

However, the romance is a slow burn (pun intended). It gives the readers time to adjust to the couple as individuals before they become a cohesive unit. This results in each character being more interesting and fully-developed, even in a novel as short as this one. It also provides time in the narrative to bring on the other action, and lead up to the reveal of the big bad.

Speaking of the big bad. The Scourge is a smoky sort of villain, with an extremely high creep factor. He’s a great supervillain with a distinctly terrifying superpower. I think when Ms Dean was creating him, she sort of said “what’s the WORST thing someone could do to you?” and The Scourge was born. It’s a quite power, but…

We Don’t Need Another Hero is a perfect afternoon read full of tense action, steamy romance, and a story that leaves you wanting more.

I really hope Sierra Dean brings back Bex and Cam in future installments, as I just can’t imagine this being a standalone.

four point five stars.

Amazon • Nook

And now…

Recipe, Please!

Review: We Don't Need Another Hero by @SierraDean Recipe: Spicy Morning Matcha Tonic. Click To Tweet

Ok, so they DO eat in this novel, and a very important scene happens at a restaurant, but I didn’t want to go that route. Bex is too cool to be conventional. In my imagination, we’d be a team of super-sleuths! (also, I would be able to fly AND regerate a la Deadpool.) So I thought about it.

Bex is pyrokinetic. So, of course, she’s going to love spicy food. She is also a superhero fighting to rid the world of enemies seen and unseen. She needs to start her day right.

She’d be down for a tonic.

What IS a tonic?



a medicine that invigorates or strengthens:

a tonic of sulphur and molasses.


anything invigorating physically, mentally, or morally:

His cheerful greeting was a real tonic.
I’m just using the word to describe a bevvy that’s not quite a latte, not quite a smoothie, but a good-for-you, on the go, pick-me-up drink!
I love matcha. LOVE.  But it has A LOT of caffeine. So, it’s really a morning drink. Not that I listen to that suggestion…but still. It has a flavor that is smoky and bitter and lends itself to sweetening and to the addition of milk. This recipe is vegan, spicy, sweet, and will get you going.
spicy morning matcha tonic spicy morning matcha tonic

Spicy Morning Matcha Tonic

by Cat Bowen

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Keywords: beverage cocktail vegan vegetarian soy-free paleo

Ingredients (1 tonic)

  • 1 tsp matcha powder
  • 12 oz coconut milk (from the can)
  • 1 oz apple juice concentrate or 3 tsps honey
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 1/4 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 kiwi, peeled


add all ingredients to a blender with 2 ice cubes and blend until smooth, this will take a bit–that matcha is stubborn.

serve over more ice.

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