Reformed Scrumbags.

OH HAIIIII! I’m back.

(I turned in my book. I finished edits. BOOOOOOM!)

Welcome back!

OK, moving on. FIRST. a personal update.

I have been really depressed lately. Yes, I know this is redundant as I suffer from clinical depression, (major depressive disorder if you were wondering) once again, just like this time last year, my body has decided to be a real asshole.  I’m exhausted, I’m sad, I’m overwhelmed with life, and that’s not a good place to be. I feel like I’m failing my friends and family, and barely hanging in there with my scholarship. Normally, I force myself to be so driven, so precise, that I have my days planned down to the minute.

I don’t even know where my planner is.

And I can’t be bothered to care.

When I was in a particularly bleak period, I deleted every piece of fiction I’ve written in two years.

Every.piece.

Because, depression lies. It tells you you’re crap. It tells you that everything you’ve done is crap. It’s dark and lonely, and it tricks and taunts.

I’ve gained weight, and I can’t get my mind around caring enough to stick to a plan to fix that. That’s gotta end because I’ll just get darker if I don’t.

So, to put it lightly, I’m struggling. When I lie down at night, it feels like a vortex of black is sucking me into my own mind. I’m deaf, but it’s like I can hear each and every tick of my clock that is just taunting me, telling me I’m wasting my time. How? I have no idea, but that is what it says.

Essentially, I feel like this right now:

So, if I’ve been absent, know I’ve been trying. I have a plan, I’m going to try to stick with it. Because I hate feeling lost, and that’s exactly how I feel.

So when it came to what I want to review today, I was vacillating between Penny Reid and LH Cosway, Grace Draven, and Sierra Dean.

I went with The Player and the Pixie by Penny Reid and LH Cosway, because their MC has her own issues.

They’re a far piece different from mine, but they’re still issues.

First, here’s the blurb:

THE PIXIE
Lucy Fitzpatrick doesn’t like rugby.
As the little sister of Ireland’s most infamous rugby player, Lucy can’t seem to escape the championship-sized shadow cast by her big brother, or her mother’s frequent attempts to micromanage her future. Her rainbow hair is as free-spirited as her quest for inner peace, yet overbearing expectations keep bringing her down. And when she’s down, her compulsive little problem lands her in seriously big trouble.

THE PLAYER
Sean Cassidy is a cold-hearted brute… or so he’s been told. Frequently. By everyone.
His blonde locks, baby blues, and rock hard bod make ladies the world over drool with desire. As the rugby world’s second most infamous player, he should be basking in his success. But Sean has never been content settling for second place, and his frequent confrontations with Lucy’s big brother leave him cold. And when he’s cold, his compulsive little problem lands him in the lap of Lucy Fitzpatrick.

THE PLAN
Sean has a problem only Lucy can solve. Lucy has a problem only Sean can fix. The solution seems obvious: you scratch my back, and I’ll bail you out of jail. But when their business arrangement unexpectedly leaves Sean scorching hot and Lucy on the precipice of inner peace, can they convince the world—and Lucy’s big brother in particular—that this is the real deal?

Either way, both the Player and the Pixie are about to teach each other some pretty monumental lessons about family, life, but most importantly, love.

Give it to me straight.

As per usual, Penny Reid and LH Cosway knock this out of the park. I always go into either of their catalog expecting great things, and I’m never disappointed. Penny Reid’s books tend to be sweeter and sort of have the feeling of freckles and margarita filled evenings with friends, and LH Cosway’s tend to read a bit more sturdy tartan flannel *that has a pink silk lining* and tea with whisky. Together, they marry really well.

If we’re going to continue on Cat’s fucked up metaphor train, I’ll say that The Player and the Pixie feels like swinging with your best friend at a mist-filled playground, drinking lemonade and moonshine. In a word–ideal.

Each character is completely unique and full. The two authors spent the time to care about each action, reaction, gesture, and bit of dialogue. The narreme is so tight, that it’s as though the central issue driving the plot is a guitar, and LH Cosway and Penny Reid are Eric Claptoning the fuck out of it. I wanted desperately for the protags to get beyond their problems, because it felt like if they could–I can. I know that is so fucking trite for me to say, but literature exists for a reason, and if providing a light in a dark period isn’t one of them, I don’t know what is.

tPatP never feels like a morality play, like the authors are finger wagging at anyone’s illness. Instead, it just feels honest, it feels real, and it felt good to read.

I can’t recommend it highly enough, and, if like me, you find yourself struggling a bit, this is a very nice diversion.

The Player and the Pixie

Amazon • Nook

And now, the food.

BOOK REVIEW! The Player and the Pixie by @LHCosway and @ReidRomance and QUICK AND EASY lo mein. Click To Tweet

Recipe, Please!

I was at a loss as to what to cook for this. So I went with a theme. Quick and easy. Just like Sean.

Quick and Easy Lo Mein

quick and easy lo mein quick and easy lo mein quick and easy lo mein

 

Quick and Easy Lo Mein

by Cat Bowen

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Keywords: stir-fry side entree vegetarian vegan

Ingredients (serves 4)

    the noodle and veg mix

    • 1 lb lo mein noodles (linguine is fine)
    • 2 red peppers, sliced
    • 1 large onion, sliced
    • 3 oz shittake mushrooms, sliced
    • 6 oz green beans, trimmed
    • 2 tbsp garlic, chopped
    • 1 tbsp ginger, minced

    for the sauce

    • 3 tbsp soy sauce
    • 1 tsp tamari
    • 1 tsp sriracha
    • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
    • 1/4 cup water

    for the toss

    • 3-4 tbsp coconut oil

    Instructions

    boil the noodles to al dente, two minutes before they’re done, add green beans. drain.

    in a wok or large skillet on medium

    heat oil

    add shitake and saute until soft

    add onion and garlic and ginger

    saute until soft

    turn off the heat

    add remaining ingredients

    sauce

    in a separate bowl, combine all sauce ingredients

    combine

    toss everything together

    eat.

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    Je Suis Prest. *for real.

    So I imagine that most of my readers are fairly chomping at the bit for the season premiere of Outlander this Saturday, right? I mean, most of us have read the series, and probably LOVED the series. And,

    OMG THE DRESSES!!

    Can you even? Blah blah blah, men in kilts. blah blah blah. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE DRESSES.

    Let’s be honest, Claire is the star of the show. She’s the star of the books, really, I mean, until Voyager. But Caitriona Balfe and her amazing alabaster skin, the miles of porcelain that seems to live between her chin and the really rather deep cleavage of these dresses makes me swoon something fierce. And turn a few shades of green. I’m as pale as she, but my skin looks like a freckled Scottish beach compared to her creamy complexion.

    ALRIGHT, I’LL PUT IT ON. Will it help?

    So in anticipation of this bumroll and cage of awesome. I’m introducing you scamps to a book about the history of the time that all this shit went down.

    Ok, much to all of our chagrin, Claire Fraser isn’t really waltzing through standing stones and announcing her presence on the other side like so much diva fabulousness,

    but the battle of Culloden was quite real, I assure you, and it was just as deadly as it was described.

    The blood stained earth remains, standing guard to the memories of the tragically doomed uprising of the poor, hungry Scots determined to hang onto whatever scrapes of freedom to which they still clung.

    The book is…

     

    The blurb:

    Simon Fraser, Lord Lovat, was the last of the great Scottish chiefs – and the last nobleman executed for treason. Determined to seek his fortune with the exiled Jacobite king in France, Fraser acted as a spy for both the Stuarts and the Hanoverians; claimed to be both Protestant and Roman Catholic.

    In July 1745, Bonnie Prince Charlie launched his last attempt to seize back the throne, supported by Fraser and his clans. They were defeated at Culloden. Fraser was found hiding in a tree.

    This swashbuckling spy story recreates an extraordinary period of history in its retelling of Fraser’s life. He is surely one of Scotland’s most notorious and romantic figures, a cunning and ambitious soldier who died a martyr for his country and an independent Scotland.

    My thoughts:

    This book is a well told and dense text full of unexpected bits of information about a man who is nearly forgotten by history. We are always regaled with the tales of the martyrs who lead their men to victory, but hardly ever are we given insight to those who lost more than just their breath.

    This is the story of a struggling Scotland, rising up against an un-defeatable enemy, the odds overwhelmingly in favor of the Brits, fighting until the life shed from their bodies and into the eternal earth beneath them. In Fraser’s words you can almost hear the echoes of battle cries from the parched throats of the starving soldiers, screaming in Gaelic and the soul-wrenching language of the dying. You shout with their small victories and sob in their loss. It’s a tough read because the situation was that of hard places and rocks and distant hopes where never the twain shall meet.

    More than that, it’s the story of a now silent hero who deserves the years of history and praise he’s missed. For all of his intrigue and double dealings; for all of his valor and heart, and for Scotland.

    You are remembered, Simon Fraser.

    And now?

    Recipe, Please!

    Obviously, it had to be Scottish.

    Cranachan is an oat and whisky dessert tossed with cream and fruit. It’s smoky and sweet and wonderful.

    It is not, however, healthy.

    It’s toasted in butter and served with whipped double cream and whisky. It’s really a delight.

    My recipe is very almost nearly as delightful. It’s full of protein and makes not only a great dessert, but also a great breakfast.

    Healthy Cranachan and The Last Highlander Click To Tweet

    Healthy Cranachan Healthy Cranachan healthy cranachan

    Healthy Cranachan

    by Cat Bowen

    Prep Time: 15 minutes

    Cook Time: 15 minutes

    Keywords: bake vegan vegetarian dairy-free gluten-free kosher tofu

    Ingredients

    • 2 cups scottish oats
    • 1/2 block silken tofu
    • 1/2 cup peanut butter
    • 1/2 cup honey
    • 1 cup chopped nuts
    • 1/4 cup chia seeds
    • 2 tbsp blackstrap molasses
    • 2 tbsp maple syrup
    • 2 tbsp whisky
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1 tsp cinnamon
    • cooking spray

    to add in

    • chopped fruit
    • coconut milk or yogurt

    Instructions

    Preheat oven to 375F

    This is simple, add all the ingredients in a mixing bowl, and beat it for a few minutes.

    pour into a 9″-13″ greased pan

    bake for 15 minutes

    let cool

    crumble over fruit and yogurt.

    Powered by Recipage

    Getting Ready For Spring:

    Spring can often be a dead-zone for books, it’s notquite summer, it’s notquite cozy reading weather, it’s cleaning and pollen, but let me tell you, this spring? It’s ON.

    With so many choices, I thought I’d tell you what I’M planning on reading.

    Spring Into a Good Book 10 Must-Read Books for Spring

    Confession: I’ve already read this. It was AMAZING!!! But here’s the blurb:

    Before the nightmare, Yeong-hye and her husband lived an ordinary life. But when splintering, blood-soaked images start haunting her thoughts, Yeong-hye decides to purge her mind and renounce eating meat. In a country where societal mores are strictly obeyed, Yeong-hye’s decision to embrace a more “plant-like” existence is a shocking act of subversion. And as her passive rebellion manifests in ever more extreme and frightening forms, scandal, abuse, and estrangement begin to send Yeong-hye spiraling deep into the spaces of her fantasy. In a complete metamorphosis of both mind and body, her now dangerous endeavor will take Yeong-hye—impossibly, ecstatically, tragically—far from her once-known self altogether.

    A disturbing, yet beautifully composed narrative told in three parts, The Vegetarian is an allegorical novel about modern day South Korea, but also a story of obsession, choice, and our faltering attempts to understand others, from one imprisoned body to another.

    I will read anything Louise Erdrich writes. She and Sherman Alexie are arguably the most prolific Native American writers today, and their work is frequently challenging to stereotypes White America hold sacred. Thank G-d, amirite?

    Louise Erdrich, the author of the National Book Award-winning The Round House and the Pulitzer Prize nominee The Plague of Doves wields her breathtaking narrative magic in an emotionally haunting contemporary tale of a tragic accident, a demand for justice, and a profound act of atonement with ancient roots in indigenous culture.

    I have very little working knowledge of Margaret Cavendish, but her life seems endlessly fascinating, and I do love a fictionalization of true history.

    Margaret the First dramatizes the life of Margaret Cavendish, the shy, gifted, and wildly unconventional 17th-century Duchess. The eccentric Margaret wrote and published volumes of poems, philosophy, feminist plays, and utopian science fiction at a time when “being a writer” was not an option open to women. As one of the Queen’s attendants and the daughter of prominent Royalists, she was exiled to France when King Charles I was overthrown. As the English Civil War raged on, Margaret met and married William Cavendish, who encouraged her writing and her desire for a career. After the War, her work earned her both fame and infamy in England: at the dawn of daily newspapers, she was “Mad Madge,” an original tabloid celebrity. Yet Margaret was also the first woman to be invited to the Royal Society of London—a mainstay of the Scientific Revolution—and the last for another two hundred years.

    Margaret the First is very much a contemporary novel set in the past, rather than “historical fiction.” Written with lucid precision and sharp cuts through narrative time, it is a gorgeous and wholly new narrative approach to imagining the life of a historical woman.

    Reading this one RIGHT NOW.

    A vampire’s grudges don’t stay dead long…

    Merit is one of Chicago’s most skilled vampire warriors; these days, she doesn’t scare easily. But she and Master vampire Ethan have made a new and powerful enemy, and he won’t give up until he owns the Windy City.

    With his last plan thwarted, he’s more determined than ever to watch Cadogan burn. Ethan has put the House’s vampires on high alert, but their enemy will stop at nothing, including pitting vampire against vampire…

    In this deadly game of cat-and-mouse, the stakes are life or death—and winning might mean sacrificing everything…

    Ten Must-Read Books for Spring and Creamy Roasted Mashed Root Vegetables to warm you for the… Click To Tweet

    I’m obsessed with ALL things Mercy Thompson. Although, her tits get bigger every cover, her brain never gets any smaller, nor do her adversaries.

    Tensions between the fae and humans are coming to a head. And when coyote shapeshifter Mercy and her Alpha werewolf mate, Adam, are called upon to stop a rampaging troll, they find themselves with something that could be used to make the fae back down and forestall out-and-out war: a human child stolen long ago by the fae.

    Defying the most powerful werewolf in the country, the humans, and the fae, Mercy, Adam, and their pack choose to protect the boy no matter what the cost. But who will protect them from a boy who is fire touched?

    I LOVED Archer’s Voice, and this one looks to have the same “aw shucks, right in the feely bone” quality to it.

    Holden Scott is the prince of professional football. At least he was before he lost it all . . . or more to the point, before he threw it all away. Now he’s out of a job, out of the public’s good graces, and perhaps just a little out of his mind. So when a friend offers up his remote lodge in the wilds of Colorado, giving Holden some time away to get his life back on track, he can hardly say no. The last thing he expects is to see a beautiful girl in the woods—one wearing a white, lace dress who appears in the moonlight, and leaves no footprints behind. Is she a dream? A ghost? A product of his muddled imagination? Or something entirely different?
    Midnight Lily is the haunting love story of two lost souls reaching for each other in the dark. A tale of healing, acceptance, and the worlds we create to protect our own hearts. It is a story of being lost, of being found, and of being in the place between.

    Kylie Scott’s Stage Dive series was a real win for me. Light, funny, and a quick read, I’m hoping this falls in the same vein.

    The last thing Vaughan Hewson expects to find when he returns to his childhood home is a broken hearted bride in his shower, let alone the drama and chaos that comes with her.

    Lydia Green doesn’t know whether to burn down the church or sit and cry in a corner. Discovering the love of your life is having an affair on your wedding day is bad enough. Finding out it’s with his best man is another thing all together. She narrowly escapes tying the knot and meets Vaughan only hours later.

    Vaughan is the exact opposite of the picture perfect, respected businessman she thought she’d marry. This former musician-turned-bartender is rough around the edges and unsettled. But she already tried Mr. Right and discovered he’s all wrong-maybe it’s time to give Mr. Right Now a chance.

    SERIAL and The Making of a Murderer has me in the true crime fits. I’m just extending that with this one.

    In the late 1800s, the city of Austin, Texas was on the cusp of emerging from an isolated western outpost into a truly cosmopolitan metropolis. But beginning in December 1884, Austin was terrorized by someone equally as vicious and, in some ways, far more diabolical than London’s infamous Jack the Ripper. For almost exactly one year, the Midnight Assassin crisscrossed the entire city, striking on moonlit nights, using axes, knives, and long steel rods to rip apart women from every race and class. At the time the concept of a serial killer was unthinkable, but the murders continued, the killer became more brazen, and the citizens’ panic reached a fever pitch.

    Before it was all over, at least a dozen men would be arrested in connection with the murders, and the crimes would expose what a newspaper described as “the most extensive and profound scandal ever known in Austin.” And yes, when Jack the Ripper began his attacks in 1888, London police investigators did wonder if the killer from Austin had crossed the ocean to terrorize their own city.

     

    One of my favorite shows in book form? YOU BETCHA.

    n 1996 Amy Goodman started a radio show called Democracy Now! to focus on the issues that are underreported or ignored by mainstream news coverage. Shortly after September 11, 2001, they were broadcasting on television every weekday. Today it is the only public media in the US that airs simultaneously on satellite and cable television, radio, and the Internet. Now Amy and her journalist brother, David, share stories of the progressive heroes—the whistleblowers, the organizers, the protestors—who have brought about remarkable, often invisible change over the last two decades in seismic ways.

    This book looks back over the past twenty years of Democracy Now! and considers that as the courts and government abdicate their responsibilities, it has fallen to ordinary people to hold the powerful to account. Amy gives voice to these leaderful, not leaderless, movements: the countless charismatic leaders who are taking to the streets in Ferguson, Staten Island, Wall Street, and other places where people are rising up to demand justice. This is the guiding principle of Democracy Now!, which is front and center in this powerful, important work.

    I think my son is going to lose his ever-loving shit over this.

    She’s more gunpowder than girl—and the fate of the desert lies in her hands.

    Mortals rule the desert nation of Miraji, but mystical beasts still roam the wild and barren wastes, and rumor has it that somewhere, djinni still practice their magic. But there’s nothing mystical or magical about Dustwalk, the dead-end town that Amani can’t wait to escape from.

    Destined to wind up “wed or dead,” Amani’s counting on her sharpshooting skills to get her out of Dustwalk. When she meets Jin, a mysterious and devastatingly handsome foreigner, in a shooting contest, she figures he’s the perfect escape route. But in all her years spent dreaming of leaving home, she never imagined she’d gallop away on a mythical horse, fleeing the murderous Sultan’s army, with a fugitive who’s wanted for treason. And she’d never have predicted she’d fall in love with him…or that he’d help her unlock the powerful truth of who she really is.

    Now, what goes with all these books? Well, it’s still technically winter, so…

    How about some Creamy Roasted Mashed Root Vegetables?

    creamy mashed roasted root vegetables creamy mashed roasted root vegetables creamy mashed roasted root vegetables

     

    Creamy Roasted Mashed Root Vegetables

    by Cat Bowen

    Prep Time: 25 minutes

    Cook Time: 1 hour (mostly down time)

    Keywords: vegan paleo low-carb

    Ingredients

    • 1 large head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
    • 2 turnips chopped into 1/2 inch (a bit over a CM sq) cubes
    • 2 parsnips chopped similarly
    • 3 yukon gold potatoes, peeled, and chopped similarly
    • 1 onion, quartered
    • 1 head of garlic, top sliced off
    • 1 stick of butter or vegan substitute
    • 1 tbsp EVOO or coconut oil
    • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
    • 2 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp pepper
    • 1 tsp dried rosemary
    • 1/8 tsp dried thyme

    Instructions

    Preheat oven to 350F

    toss cubed vegetables in oil

    spread on two cookie sheets in a single layer

    wrap garlic in foil

    roast until soft, about 30 minutes

    IN A FOOD PROCESSOR

    combine all cooked veg, and squeeze out roasted garlic cloves into food pro

    add remaining ingredients and pulse until smooth.

    LEAVE VENTED unless you like 3rd degree burns.

    add additional salt as needed

    Powered by Recipage

    Cook It!

    It’s no secret I love Michael Pollan.

    I could write sonnets about Michael Pollan.

    Ok, maybe not a Shakespearean sonnet, but Petrarchan, for sure.

    Ok, not even Petrarchan. I suck at poeming.

    I could do a haiku.

    Michael Pollan now.
    Eat Food, Most Plants, Not too much.
    I’m His Sycophant.

    Ok. That sucked.

    How about a LIMERICK?!

     

    There once was a man from Long Island, Who wrote about food with style and, He had a dilemma, about foods full of chem, a journalist with a grand stemma.

    BETTER!

    Awkward as the first time after prom in the back seat of Ford Escort, but better.

    The object of my literary affection. The author of one of my favorite books of the first decade of the 2000s,  has a FOUR-PART DOCUMENTARY ON NETFLIX.

    Split into the four elements, it focuses on the very nature of how our food is prepared! He argues that cooking is essential to humanity. It’s possibly the biggest step in the evolutionary process.

    Each element has shaped how we prepare our food, and Michal Pollan and director Alex Gibney take the viewers on a lushly beautiful world trip and forces us to explore our relationship with food, while educating us on its history and relation to the other souls who people this planet.

    It’s relentlessly gorgeous and thought-provoking.

    I have watched each episode, and I am gobsmacked. I love cooking. It is essential to ME, but to really learn why it is essential to us is a revelation.

    Everyone needs to watch this.

    To go along with this incredible series, I thought, well, I need to do plants and fire. Yes, yes, yes.

    Grilled Tempeh Summer Rolls with Sweet and Spicy Satay

    Grilled Tempeh with Sweet and Spicy Satay Grilled Tempeh with Sweet and Spicy Satay Grilled Tempeh with Sweet and Spicy Satay Grilled Tempeh with Sweet and Spicy Satay

    Grilled Tempeh Summer Rolls with Sweet and Spicy Satay

    by Cat Bowen

    Prep Time: 45 minutes-1 hour

    Cook Time: 10 minutes

    Keywords: grill appetizer side entree snack vegan vegetarian

    Ingredients (10 summer rolls)

    • 10 Rice Paper Summer Roll Wrappers (10″)
    • 8 oz tempeh (I like flax tempeh)
    • 1 bunch washed cilantro, leaves removed from stems
    • 3 sheets of seaweed (I like salted and sesame)
    • 2 cups chopped romaine lettuce
    • 1 cup sliced radishes

    for the satay sauce

    • 1 cup natural peanut butter
    • 1/3 cup apple juice
    • 1 tbsp soy sauce
    • 1 tbsp sriracha sauce
    • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
    • 1/2 tsp white pepper

    for the tempeh marinade

    • 1/3 cup soy sauce
    • 1 cup apple juice
    • 2 tbsp wakame flake
    • 1 tsp red pepper flake
    • 1/3 cup coconut milk

    Instructions

    slice the tempeh lengthwise and horizontally into 1/2″-4″-3/4″ strips

    combine all of the ingredients of the marinade together in a shallow dish

    set the tempeh in the marinade *submerge

    let marinate overnight.

    on a grill pan, sprayed with cooking spray, grill the tempeh for 2 minutes/side on medium high heat

    to assemble!! follow this guy’s instructions with the ingredients I listed. I swear, it’s easy here

    for the satay sauce

    it’s easiest if you pour it all in a blender.

    Just mix it all up with a whisk otherwise.

    Powered by Recipage

     

    It should be mentioned, I re-read his entire canon before writing this post.

    Really, it was for research, I swear.

    #Vegan Grilled Tempeh Summer Rolls w/Satay Sauce and #Cooked on @Netflix #streamteam 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.

    Type A (Positive) Personality.

    One word: Venice.

    It even sounds romantic. Italy in general holds a nigh universal appeal as the most romantic country on the planet. Ok, mostly. The piazzas, the slickly fashioned men with swooning women. Gelato. Pasta. Tiramisu. Wine. Risotto. Pizza. Truffles. Grappa. Blood.

    wait, blood?

    Um…

    Um, Yes.

    Ok, not like the bloodied hands of Brutus, or the the chill in the blood of a visitor to an ossuary in Milan, not even all the scenes in Italy in The Godfather. 

    The drinking kind!!

    Um…

    Yeah!! Italy is OLD AS OLD GETS!! There’re bound to be many

    interesting characters.

    THANK G-D, AMIRITE? I am a very pale, introvert bookworm. I can only take so much daylight. I also have more ADHD than an entire elementary school, so I have energetic needs. 

    And while I’m normally more of a fan of shifters, the exception to the rule exists a few places, most especially, in anything Elizabeth Hunter writes. AND I AM IN LOVE WITH TENZIN. She has freaking permafangs that don’t retract. She’s ittybitty and can kill an army of dudes. She flies. She is ruled by no one. She’s awkward and intrusive and full of piss and vinegar. Ok, not piss, she’s a vampire. Blood and vinegar. Salt and vinegar blood. She’ll make a new crisp flavor!

    Which is why I’m so excited that today is the release day for this beauty:

    I am singing the Benzin song I made up. It’s a great song. It is to the tune of “X-Gon Give it to Ya.” It fits. Just sub Tenz and Benz every other line for “X.”

    The blurb:

    All Ben Vecchio wanted was a quiet summer before his last semester of university. Was that too much to ask?

    All Tenzin wanted was a cache of priceless medieval coins that had been missing for several hundred years.

    And some company.

    Phrases like “never again” don’t mean much when you’ve been a vampire for several thousand years. And promises made in the heat of anger don’t outweigh the lure of gold. Ben Vecchio thought he knew everything there was to know about the immortals of Italy. But when Tenzin tempts him into another adventure finding a cache of rare gold coins missing since the nineteenth century, he’ll discover that familiar places can hold the most delicious secrets. And possibly, the key to his future.

    happy dance. Benzin song. Salt and Vinegar blood! or not that last one. I’m a vegan. It’s also almost Lent, so, Fridays are out for Carwyn. What does a Catholic vampire eat during Lent? TOO MANY QUESTIONS, BACK TO BENZIN.

    A good, heathen vampire. Because I like my vampires like I like my moonshine–entirely lawless and probably poison.

    Once again, Ms Hunter’s ability to spin worlds from the closely packed microfilaments of her abundant imagination stupefies the senses and tickles the tender parts of the reader’s intelligence. Elizabeth Hunter’s world-building is so uncommonly spectacular, it’s apparent she’s become a standard to which other writers must reckon by. She continually outdoes her previous installments, and Imitation and Alchemy maintains and expands on that trend. It’s not a romance, per se, but everything about it is romantic. The setting, the people, the nigh folkloric atmosphere of the prose and intelligence of characters is reminiscent of the great Gothic romances of the past. Only entirely more badass. With 100% more Monty Python references.

    I love watching Ben and Tenzin’s comlex relationship construct itself into something more. It’s challenging to all of my expectations of what a possible *or not* HEA might look like for them, and it whets my appetite for the next installment like that first beer at the pub. I love how Tenzin manages to pull Ben into the most insane schemes. I love how Ben doesn’t take a bit of her shit without giving it back. He’s not scared of her, even if he should be. They’re like this:

    Ok, bad example. Let’s try again:

    Imitation and Alchemy is an astonishing fantasy-filled adventure topped to the brim with intelligence, suspense, and delicious, yet morally questionable decisions.

    Five stars.

    Imitation and Alchemy by Elizabeth Hunter review.

    Amazon • Kobo

    Review of Imitation and Alchemy by @E__Hunter and Recipe for Cauliflower Risi e Bisi on Reader/Eater.… Click To Tweet

    For the recipe?

    It’s Venice (sometimes) bitch. Gotta be Risi e Bisi. Only better. Cauliflower Risi e Bisi. Not so risi, then. SCREW YOUR EXPECTATIONS! It’s a Venetian dish typically made with rice and peas. Mine uses riced cauliflower for a new flavor exploration and fewer carbs. It’s so good.

    delicious cauliflower risi e bisi

     

     

    Cauliflower Risi e Bisi

    by Cat Bowen

    Prep Time: 15 minutes

    Cook Time: 20 minutes

    Keywords: saute gluten-free low-carb paleo vegan vegetarian

    Ingredients (serves 4)

    • 1 large or 2 small heads of cauliflower, chopped into a fine dice.
    • 1 leek, topped, tailed, and chopped
    • 1/2-1 cup vegetable stock
    • 1 tbsp evoo
    • 1 tbsp butter or earth balance spread
    • 1 cup cubed and cooked pancetta or 1 cup chopped and sauteed porcini mushrooms (saute in a bit of oil without salt on HIGH until browned) (about a large fist full, my UK friends. Or a cuppa.)
    • 1 cup frozen peas
    • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
    • salt and pepper to taste

    Instructions

    DO NOT PRE STEAM YOUR VEG

    heat fats on stove on medium high

    stir in leeks and cauliflower

    cook 5 minutes

    lower heat to medium low and add garlic

    stir

    slowly add stock, a little bit at a time until absorbed

    stir in mushrooms or pancetta

    salt and pepper to taste

    stir in peas and remove from heat.

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