Bearly Enough Puns.

Ok, before I get to the meat of this post, I want to congratulate Grace Draven and Elizabeth Hunter on their 4.5 star rating and “top pick” from Romantic Times for their duology Beneath a Waning Moon. It’s so well-deserved. Both novellas made my tingle parts sparkle. For real.

Is there a 12-step program for certain authors? Because I could probably use one. Elizabeth Hunter, Ilona Andrews, Neil Fucking Gaiman, Penny Reid, Madeleine Albright, Vonnegut, Austen, Dickens, Atwood…the list is long. These are authors I consistently read, re-read, am bowled over by, and get the shakes if I’m away from for any length of time.

I need a chronosynclastic infundibulum or some standing stones or some shit to transport me through time to make Vonnegut and Austen write MOAR. *Dickens, I love you, but you wrote a fuckton. We’re good. I wouldn’t want Great Expectations from the point of view of Estella, titled I Am What You Made Me. Ok, actually, I kinda would. TO VICTORIAN ENGLAND, I GO!!


A few weeks ago, Elizabeth Hunter fed my habit by gifting me with an ARC of Waking Hearts. 

Now and then I like to feel good…

And I was over the fucking moon. I have been WAITING for Allie and Ollie’s story for what seems like forever and week. I love love love me a bear shifter. And a VIXEN?!?!? Let me remind you about the symbiotic relationship foxes and bears have in the wild…


The bears (begrudgingly) share their kills and hunts with the arctic foxes, and even allow them to DEN WITH THEM. So what if Ollie and Allie aren’t arctic. They’re like the adorable desert equivalent.

I’ve been researching this a lot…because, you know, reasons.

Seeing the ARC pop up on my kindle gave me a shot of sheer joy that went through my entire body. Immediately, I searched for the puns that litter most bear shifter titles.

NOTHING. Not a single cheesy pun. Not “Bearly Ever” or “Bearly Hanging On” or “Bearly Dressed” or “Bearly Pregnant” or “UnBEARable” or even “Fox You.” Nothing.

These are all suggestions for any other bruin shifter book anyone would like to write. By the way, the sequel to Bearly Pregnant is, of course, BEARing Down, the third is Bearly Lucid.

 Ok, so the book made me so happy, I was SINGING in-between fits of reading.

Specifically, the vocal stylings of one Mr Freddie Mercury. So, BEAR with me while I write a musical blog.

Upon first reading, I already knew how much I loved Ollie. He is so steadfast in the previous books. He’s just a hot, level-headed, sexy, kind, lickable, wonderful bearman who just wants…

I feel you, Ollie. I feel you.

And Allie. Poor Allie. Her husband is a dog (literally) and ran off with his tail between his legs, and left her, leaving her wondering…

And she’s a mom. Of four. That changes a person–inside and out–like it as not. It’s not always easy to deal with those changes emotionally. But Ollie? Ollie gets her and thinks she is all the better for it.

(Here we see Freddie Mercury dressed as a different sort of bear.)

And Allie knows that

That big old, bar owning bear is just the right person at the right time for Allie. And Elizabeth Hunter beautifully choreographs the minutiae of a family dynamic into the idea of a fledgling relationship. Her children are wonderful and funny, and everything four kids should be. Loud, crazy, fun, and demanding.

(with 100% less cocaine.)

Elizabeth Hunter does not shy away from giving her protagonists impossible choices or painful realizations. In fact, other than world building, it’s what I would say she does best. She isn’t afraid to kill her darlings or just beat them the fuck around. No matter what, it makes the story so much more interesting.

And Cambio feels like home at this point in the series. The joy of reading an Elizabeth Hunter novel is the all-encompassing submersion into the masterfully imagined worlds and living completely in that existance for the span of the pages. And when her characters finally get that happily ever after? They fucking earned it.

The first time Allie and Ollie come together? I was as giddy as they were.

Ollie rescues Allie and she rescues him right back. Isn’t that how it should be? The strength shared between the two reminded me a lot of those great love stories you hear about during times of war or strife, when leaning on one another becomes absolutely essential. As necessary as breathing.

The ending made me deliriously happy. I won’t give away any major details, but, I had major chest tingles. Major.

Waking Hearts by Elizabeth Hunter

Five big, big, stars.


I think you know what recipe I made:


Easy Bear Claws

Easy Bear Claws


Easy Bear Claws

by Cat Bowen

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Keywords: bake dessert breakfast snack

Ingredients (5 claws)

    for the claws

    • 10 puff pastry squares or 2 sheets puff pastry cut into ten squares or ten rounds
    • 6 oz almond paste
    • 4 tbsp vegan or regular cream cheese–soft
    • 1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
    • 2 tbsp butter or vegan butter
    • 1/2 tsp almond extract
    • 1 egg
    • 2 tbsp water
    • (or bean water+soy milk instead of eggs and water)

    for the glaze

    • 2 cups confectioner’s sugar
    • 1/3 cup soy or regular milk
    • 1/4 tsp almond extract
    • 1 tbsp amaretto liqueur (optional)


    • chopped nuts


    for the claws

    preheat oven to 350F

    mix powdered sugar, almond paste, extract, butter, and cream cheese in a mixer on high

    let the puff pastry come to almost room temp and stack squares two by two and cut them into the wide “C” shapes. Don’t cut the claws, yet.

    smear the spread on half of all of the cut squares, leaving 1/2″ border all around

    mix egg with water and beat

    top with another cut square

    press firmly on edges to close

    cut five slices on longest edge

    place on parchment lined baking sheet, bake 15-20 minutes or until golden brown

    let cool 15 minutes

    for the glaze

    combine all ingredients and whisk the hell out of them

    drizzle claws with glaze and top with nuts

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    Well, That Escalated Quickly. Books With A Hook. (Ten Books That Hook You From The Beginning.)

    One of the best feelings when reading a novel is that shock of the novel completely amping up the action x1000 and knowing you’ve fallen over the cliff into that perfect land of “now I’m never getting any sleep.” There’s that tiny liminal space between the rise and the BAM! of it that is so perfect, it’s like the reader is suspended above the text, waiting to hit the icy cold refreshment of excitement churning within.

    Ooooooh, something is coming….

    And then…

    I am actually reading a book like this right now. It’s a book in a long-lived series, and IT APPEARS AS THOUGH SHE’S JUST KILLED OFF ALL OF THE MAIN CHARACTERS FROM THE SERIES WITH AN EXPLOSION. I am hoping for a bunker, or fake-out, or dream sequence. SOMETHING.

    So, grab your coffee or tea, because you’re going to need caffeine if you pick up anything on this list.

    Well, That Escalated Quickly, Books With a Hook. Top Ten Books That Hook You From The Beginning

    Ten Books that Hook You from the Beginning.

    In no particular order:

    american gods

    Days before his release from prison, Shadow’s wife, Laura, dies in a mysterious car crash. Numbly, he makes his way back home. On the plane, he encounters the enigmatic Mr Wednesday, who claims to be a refugee from a distant war, a former god and the king of America.

    Together they embark on a profoundly strange journey across the heart of the USA, whilst all around them a storm of preternatural and epic proportions threatens to break.

    Scary, gripping and deeply unsettling, AMERICAN GODS takes a long, hard look into the soul of America. You’ll be surprised by what and who it finds there…

    This book takes off a scant ten pages into the text. It never lets go, it never lets up.

    “I believe that life is a game, that life is a cruel joke, and that life is what happens when you’re alive and that you might as well lie back and enjoy it.”

    american psycho

    The movie with Christian Bale was AMAZING. The book is better. Trust me.

    “I tried to make meat loaf out of the girl but it becomes too frustrating a task and instead I spend the afternoon smearing her meat all over the walls, chewing on strips of skin I ripped from her body”

    and the hippos

    It’s one of Kerouac and Burroughs’ first novels. They wrote in alternating chapters, and it’s incredible. Chilling and fast-paced, this short novel can be read in an afternoon with a beer and the setting sun.

    “I began to get a feeling familiar to me from my bartending days of being the only sane man in a nuthouse. It doesn’t make you feel superior but depressed and scared, because there is nobody you can contact.”

    big little lies

    This book was on every bloggers “must read” list for a reason. Hell, Stephen King gave HIS seal of approval. (As we all know, he’s the master of whacking the reader in the head with the unexpected.) It turns life on its head and kicks the reader in the ass.

    “Did anyone really know their child? Your child was a little stranger, constantly changing, disappearing and reintroducing himself to you. New personality traits could appear overnight.”

    contortionist's handbook

    A weird book about the LA underworld, drugs, and psychiatric institutions is bound to keep one up reading until dawn. This one is certainly a page-turner after just the first few pages.

    “When you’re in love, your brain secretes endorphins into your blood. Organic morphine leaks out of a gland in your skull, feels like a low-grade opium rush. Some people confuse the two, the head rush and the love. You think you’re in love with a person, but you’re in love with a syringe.”


    Are you dialed in? more importantly, is someone else? What if none of your emotions were your own? Yeah, that. This book takes off from the first chapter, and never stops.

    “We Americans are interested only in the consumption of our products. We have no interest in how they are produced, or what happens to them once we discard them, once we throw them away.”

    the mill on the floss

    Don’t roll your eyes. I know that you weren’t expecting a George Eliot of antiquity here on this list, but hear me out. This book is considered George Eliot’s most autobiographical, and it just oozes personality. Her voice is on every page, and the time of her life is in every character. More than that, the conflict comes on hard and fast, and it is worth all of its pages.

    “It was one of those dangerous moments when speech is at once sincere and deceptive – when feeling, rising high above its average depth, leaves flood-marks which are never reached again.”

    war for the oaks

    This book is really the proto-UF novel, and is everything that is good about the genre. The cover is TERRIBLE, but you know what they say about books and covers. Gripping and modern, this bit of fiction is a maelstrom of magic.

    “We cannot resist the lure of that mortal brilliance. It is its own kind of glamour, that dazzles the senses. And once we have found it, we cannot turn away.”

    west with the night

    A memoir? Really? Yes, really. When a life is SO INTERESTING that you wish the writer were immortal so that the book would never end? THAT.

    “To see ten thousand animals untamed and not branded with the symbols of human commerce is like scaling an unconquered mountain for the first time, or like finding a forest without roads or footpaths, or the blemish of an axe. You know then what you had always been told — that the world once lived and grew without adding machines and newsprint and brick-walled streets and the tyranny of clocks.” (emphasis mine.)

    If you haven’t read this yet, SERIOUSLY. WHY NOT?! It’s INSANE. It’s beyond anything. I am fumbling my words like a virgin fumbles a condom because I just can’t. read. yup.

    “…the routine of life goes on, whatever happens, we do the same things, go through the little performance of eating, sleeping, washing. No crisis can break through the crust of habit.”

    AND NOW?!!

    Egg Free/Dairy Free/Fucking amazing double chocolate cookies.

    double chocolate cookies

    Double Chocolate Cookies

    by Cat Bowen

    Prep Time: 15 minutes

    Cook Time: 10 minutes

    Keywords: bake dessert vegan dairy-free kosher cookie

    Ingredients (2 dozen cookies)

    • 1/2 cup vegan butter
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar
    • 1/2 cup white sugar
    • 1 tsp vanilla
    • 6 tbsp bean water (the liquid from a chickpea can)
    • 1 3/4 cup flour
    • 1/2 cup dark chocolate cocoa
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • 1 tbsp espresso powder
    • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
    • 1 tsp salt


    • additional salt for dusting the tops of the cookies


    preheat oven to 375F

    cream butter and sugars in a mixer on high

    add bean water

    add vanilla

    turn mixer to low

    sift in dry ingredients

    add salt

    turn off

    stir in chocolate chips

    scoop onto line baking sheet

    flatten each scoop just a little

    dust with salt

    bake for 8-10 minutes, or until edges look dry.

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    Top Ten Political Films on Netflix

    Tomorrow is Halloween, and typically my favorite holiday of the year. It’s better than Festivus, New Year, Beltane, and Labor Day! It doesn’t require me to cook an elaborate meal that no one will eat, and there’s none of that awkward “did they really like their gift?” bits.

    It’s all magic and mayhem.

    But I have the plague.


    So I am to be left at home with my hot cuppa (gin) and made to make merry all on my very own.

    Alas, I am not of a mind to make merry as I seem to have fallen into a hole of fever and palsy, where tiny smears of putrifactive bits of my innermost anatomy are forcing their way out of my body in great heaving feats of expectoration, thus leaving me highly unsettled, and decidedly unmerry.

    So I am clinging to the runner-up holiday of political insanity election day. I shall sit back in my fuzzy slipper boots, sip my hot gin and lemon sugar (or wassail), and binge watch political shows, movies, and the most-recent bad lip reading, which features the Democratic Debate.

    It shall be glorious.

    Though, it will still be difficult not to lament my lack of fancy dress or the ability to use my “these people will give out good candy” radar. I mean, it’s so well honed! I can spot a full-bar house from fifty paces.

    I also wish full-bar meant “full bar” in the sense of more wassail for me.

    Because I am a plague carrier, and have my weekend all planned out, I made y’all a top ten list.

    The Top Ten Political Films on Netflix (right meow!)

    Top Ten Political Films on Netflix

    Top Ten Political Films on Netflix

    If you don’t love Harrison Ford, we can’t be friends.

    Top Ten Political Films on Netflix

    Election made my month when I saw it was available.

    Top Ten Political Films on Netflix

    For school, I’ve been reading a fuck ton of Victorian literature. So, why not a movie about Victoria?

    Top Ten Political Films on Netflix

    Meryl Streep.

    house of cards

    This Netflix series makes me bite my nails, swear at the tv, and get really ragey that I must wait for the next season after I gorge myself on an entire season in a day.

    Top Ten Political Films on Netflix

    I’m noticing a Spacey theme.

    This mini-series made me inexplicably happy.

    Top Ten Political Films on Netflix

    Remember when John Oliver subbed for Jon Stewart? This is why.

    Top Ten Political Films on Netflix

    How I love this movie. It’s so poignant given the current political climate.

    Top Ten Political Films on Netflix

    I LOVE AMERICAN HISTORY. Wait, that sounded bad. I am driven to learn American History so that I may have an impact on its future, because, we fucked up all the things.

    I also made a yummy, snackable recipe for you to enjoy with these. I took a classic southern dish, the corn fritter, and gave it a bit of flair.

    Tex-Mex Corn Fritters

    Tex-Mex Corn Fritters Tex-Mex Corn Fritters Tex-Mex Corn Fritters

    Tex-Mex Corn Fritters

    by Cat Bowen

    Prep Time: 15 minutes

    Cook Time: 20 minutes of frying time if y

    Keywords: fry vegan vegetarian


    • OIL FOR FRYING. I used coconut
    • 1 1/2 cups of flour
    • 3/4 cup buttermilk or unsweetened almond milk
    • 2 eggs or 2 flax eggs
    • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
    • 1 tsp honey
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1/2 cup frozen corn kernels
    • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
    • 3 stalks of scallions, chopped
    • 3 tbsp chopped pickled jalapeno peppers
    • 1/4 tsp white pepper


    • 1/2 cup shredded cheese


    honestly, it doesn’t matter how you mix these up.

    Just get them combined.

    Get your oil hot in a deep fryer or saucepan or deep skillet.

    375F hot.

    *if you need to guess the temp, when it starts to ripple, stick the end of a wooden spoon into the oil, if the spoon looks like it’s frying–you’re gtg. Turn the heat to medium at this point.

    Using a 1/2 oz cookie scoop, scoop balls into the oil. Don’t crowd the pan, that’ll make the oil get cold and the fritters get greasy. You don’t want a greasy ball. (today–I mean, I’m not judging your personal life.)

    flip them after 2 minutes, or if you’re using a deep fryer, just take them out after they are golden brown and delish.

    salt again IMMEDIATELY after you take them out and put them on a strainer or paper-lined plate.

    If you want to go wild, DIP IN GUAC! (YES, I KNOW IT’S EXTRA.)

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    Though Netflix sponsored these posts, all opinions and recipes are my own.
    Though Netflix sponsored these posts, all opinions and recipes are my own.

    An Excitable Box

    Oh this post.

    If you are related to me–DO NOT READ THIS POST!!

    If you do, please, don’t ever talk to me about it, and certainly never look me in the eyes ever again, because I’LL KNOW.

    So, a little bit before my vacation in Ohio, my friend Thien-Kim Lam of I’m Not The Nanny, From Left to Write Book Club and, most recently, The Bawdy Bookworms, asked me to review her latest venture, The Bawdy Book Box.

    The description from the site:

    “Each Bawdy Book Box will contain one smokin’ hot romance or erotica book, a sexy adult toy, and an additional 2-3 surprises to feed your mind and body. (Don’t worry, if you’ll need batteries, we’ve that covered too.)

    As a bonus, all Bawdy Bookworms (that’s you!) will have access to our discussion forums aka our virtual book club. No more worrying that your grandma or colleague will see your status update about Mr. Sexy’s escapades. Come over and join other smart, sexy women talk about our books and vibrators.”

    I mean, how could I say no?

    Basically, the only thing to say was “yes, yes, YES.”

    Here’s my box. (TWSS) I immediately instagrammed it. Because, of course I did.

    It came in a very nondescript package. It contained the book: Biscuits: Tea: English Breakfast, because, theme.   And then…something I can only assume was designed as a tea stirrer. A battery-powdered tea stirrer. A very powerful and very small tea stirrer. A “bedazzled” tea frother. Because gems like you deserve to have their tea stirred by only the fanciest and smoothest tea frothers. And trust me, it will really stir your tea. Like, bubbling over. Best for hot, creamy tea.   Alongside some cherry flavored lubricant. (because when you’re greasing your wheels, it’s best to know what the engine tastes like.)   What did I think about this box?   I loved it. Truly. But one tiny thing.   The book was the fourth in a series. YES!! Each CAN be read as a standalone, but I have book neuroses, and can only read series in order. It’s a thing.   Turns out it’s #4 in a SPIN-OFF series, so I have many books to read, now. I loved the Beautiful Bastard series, and now there’s MORE.   The book was good, and it, um, really warmed my tea. In fact, I’ve loved the series so far. A series I was sure I would HATE.   I was wrong.   Would I buy the box? Yes. If my family asks: no. But that’s the joy of the nondescript box.   NO ONE KNOWS WHAT’S INSIDE!! (twhs)   Now, a hot recipe for a hot box. (that wording is weird, but go with it.)   It’s seasonal–like the box.   Indian Pumpkin Soup with Cilantro Pesto   Indian Pumpkin Soup with cilantro pesto    

    Indian Pumpkin Soup and Cilantro Pesto by Cat Bowen Prep Time: 30 minutes Cook Time: 1 hour Keywords: appetizer entree side soup/stew dairy-free gluten-free kosher paleo soy-free vegan vegetarian


    for the soup

    • 2, 15 oz cans pumpkin puree
    • 1, 15 oz can full fat coconut milk
    • 2 1/2 cups vegetable stock (plus more if it needs thinning)
    • 1 large sweet potato, roasted
    • 1 head of garlic, roasted (cut off the top, wrap in foil. bake at 350 for about 45 minutes)
    • 2 cloves raw garlic
    • 2 tbsp EVOO or coconut oil
    • 1 tbsp cumin
    • 1 tsp cinnamon
    • 1/4 tsp coriander
    • 1 tsp ground ginger
    • 1 tbsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp hot curry paste
    • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
    • 1 tsp ground white pepper
    • 2 tbsp maple syrup

    for the pesto

    • 8 oz toasted pecans
    • 1 cup chopped cilantro
    • 1/3 cup EVOO
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 3 cloves of garlic
    • juice of one lemon


    in a large stockpot on medium, heat oil

    thinly slice garlic clove

    toss garlic in oil and fry until golden brown

    remove from oil

    add spices and toast until mix becomes extremely fragrant

    stir in remaining ingredients, leaving the salt for last.

    mash the potato in the soup until mostly smooth

    simmer one hour

    serve with pesto


    combine all ingredients in food processor and process until nearly smooth.

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    the box was free, but how it was used, and my opinions are my own.



    Holy hell, guys. This Monday, the high temperature will be FIFTY NINE DEGREES. I can break out my flannels. I can buy more flannels. I can wear booties and skinny jeans. Wedge boots and flare jeans. Chucks and boyfriend jeans.

    Do you see a theme?

    I will also eat every apple that comes within a foot or two of my face hole. I’m making pumpkin dessert 3x/week. Hot cider. Cocoa. Tea cocktails. Gin–because it’s good in any season.

    I will curl up with a plaid blanket, (because fall=plaid, duh.) cozy digs, and a fall beverage with my books and my Netflix every evening that I can.

    So I’m going to do something CRAZY today. I’m going to pair a book, a Netflix rec, a recipe, and AN OUTFIT for each day of the week. Because I can’t get over my love of Autumn, and you can’t make me. I’m a super simple girl who gets really excited, ok?

    THIS is the perfect blanket, btw. (It’s LL Bean)

    Outfits, food, and book choices based on what you watch on Netflix!!

    netflix streamteam

    First up!!





    Sherlock by cassandra-cat-tan featuring grey boots

    Madewell coat

    H by Hudson grey boots
    $245 –

    Bowling bag

    RECIPE!!! These oatmeal cream pie scones. They’re not fussy, but warm and inviting all the same. Also, they’re scones. So they’re extra Britty.
    Forrest Gump


    Marni real leather purse
    $1,015 –

    Long jewelry

    pic is link.
    The Nightmare Before Christmas


    Oasis lace top
    $53 –

    J Brand black pants
    $400 –

    Ashley Stewart suede boots

    Rachel Entwistle gold jewelry
    $210 –
    In Your Eyes


    Before I Disappear


    Tall top
    $380 –

    Topshop skinny jeans
    $61 –

    Chan Luu wrap bracelet

    That was WAY FUN. And a lot more time consuming than I would’ve thought!

    What do you think of my picks?


    Though Netflix sponsored these posts, all opinions and recipes are my own.
    Though Netflix sponsored these posts, all opinions and recipes are my own.