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.


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:

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.

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.

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


    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


    in a separate bowl, combine all sauce ingredients


    toss everything together


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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,


    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


    • 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


    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.

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    Knocked Up and Sideways: Ridiculous Tropes in Romance.

    I read a LOT of romance novels. Between blogging about them, sharing in online communities that revolve around them, and desiring a break from the general decrepitude of the world around us, I sort of swim amongst them daily, letting their completely improbable plots wash away the stain of political rhetoric and real-life tediums that typically blanket my skin in a tight, itchy wool. They’re an escape. They’re candy and Ativan. They’re a warm bagel with dripping butter.

    And sometimes, they’re a confetti cream cheese filled tie-dye bagel that looks like a good idea at the time, but something you immediately regret after the first bite.

    Lately, there has been a rash of whatthefuck? romance sub-genres to pop-up and confuse the ever-loving fuck out of readers, and inexplicably titillate others.

    Some of them seem tame-ish. Some of them? Well, some of them make my eyes cry tears of no.

    Knocked Up and Sideways

    1st trope:

    “I’m in love with a ghost!!”

    Spoiler! The answer is NO! *at least in this movie.

    This is a tame trope. Boy and girl fall in love. Boy dies tragically. Girl gets to bone ghost…or something similar. The ending…there’s the mess. It’s not like a vamp novel where THEY ARE QUITE LITERALLY UNDEAD. Sure, it’s kinda messy with all the biting and the sunburns, but it’s not like they’re DEAD dead. They’re lowercase dead. Diet dead, if you will. But screwing a specter for all of forever? tricky. Very tricky. TRICKY OR TREATY, AMIRITE? wait. treaty sounds very political. Meh. I’m going with it.

    I’ve liked some of these. They really require the author to think outside the box. HP Mallory, JR Ward, and Kresley Cole have all done it with a fair amount of success. It can be really interesting or fun depending on how it’s written. But sometimes? It’s a real head-scratcher.

    Next trope:

    This one is also pretty tame as far as “offensive or weird” goes, but it’s irritating all the same.

    These books are ALL ABOUT GETTING PREGNANT OR GETTING SOMEONE PREGNANT JUST AFTER MEETING THEM ON-PURPOSE. Gah, I am shouting a LOT. I don’t get it. It’s all “I am gonna put my baby in her.” Or, “I’m going to totally fuck him while I’m fertile even though I just met him 49 seconds ago. I’m just a GREAT judge of biker character.” OR, “I’m going to war, I’m going to coat her womb with my baby batter.”–that one is an actual line I pulled from a book. The amount of why, or the amount of “HEARD OF PLAN B, LADIES??!!” Is strong. Plan B. It’s a thing. Walgreens sells it w/o a prescription. Planned Parenthood has it. Get it. Use it. Jumping up and down and a thorough cleaning won’t cut it. PLAN.FUCKING.B.


    Banging things that are never fully human. Weres and Vamps, fae and whatnot aside. They might have strange features or whatnot, but they’re HUMANOID. Not weird DNA experiments gone wrong, or you know, GIANT TERRESTRIAL OR EQUINE EXINCT CREATURES, or part-bull all the time. They’re not cavemen or sasquatch or Donald Trump. AND ALL OF THOSE THINGS HAVE BEEN IN A ROMANCE NOVEL. *ok, maybe not Trump, because even head in the clouds/gutter romance novelists know when they’re pushing too far.

    If it’s on American Horror Story, it SHOULD NOT BE IN A ROMANCE NOVEL.

    YET, IT IS.

    I feel like being mounted by a minotaur means that your head is on his wall.

    That doesn’t even look like a real T-Rex.

    That doesn’t even look like a real unicorn.

    Unicorns only ride OTHER UNICORNS. And, judging by this book cover, they ride on the horn. *just for my PSM.

    I don’t understand this subgenre at all. I will admit to reading and LIKING Laurann Dohner’s New Species series. I only stopped buying them because I refuse to give one more dollar to Ellora’s Cave publishing company. But those LIs, even though they have somewhat different facial features, they.are.people. PEOPLE.


    Let’s talk about MPREG, shall we? What is MPREG, you ask? Oh, that would be MALE PREGNANCY. And not trans-man pregnancy. A genetically male dude with a dick getting knocked up by another genetically male dude with a dick.

    They give birth, and it’s as horrifying as you think. They BREASTFEED. THIS ALL HAPPENS OMYGAH IS THIS REAL LIFE PEOPLE WRITING THIS SHIT?! This trope bothers me for a few reasons, 1.) It’s primarily written by and for women, yet comes across very anti-woman. Like Michelle Malkin level women hating women. 2.) HOW DO YOU TELL?! If you don’t get a period, what goes awry? This part is never explained particularly well. 3.)This is a romance, fine. Do an M/M, M/F, MMF, MMM, FFF, TFM, basically anything you want. I’ll read and probably enjoy it. But here’s the thing, for all of history women have had essentially one card they can play, and this strips that of any importance whatsoever. It makes women meaningless. Unimportant. It makes us exactly what men have been trying to paint us as for centuries. FUCK THAT. 3.) It trivializes and makes so twee and trite what a FUCKING GATDAM AMAZING MIRACLE PREGNANCY AND CHILDBIRTH AND FEEDING A HUMAN FROM YOUR BODY is. And there is SCORES of this shit. Scores. I read one in anticipation of this post, and I almost threw my ipad. GAH! But I made you a graphic. Just for you. Yes, you, you scamp.


    Now Vampy McPreggleston exists in the world. You may thank me later. I know you’re blown away with my photoshop skills.

     The next sub-genre is so fucking annoying I have a difficult time expressing my feelings about how annoying they are because I start to sound like a republican candidate for president. I just feel a lot about them, ok?

    This is a sub-genre of a sub-genre. I will call it “I was hired to kill her, but I decided to fuck her instead, but I still plan on killing her, and I think I’m in love with her! OH THE RESPONSIBILITY!” That is a very bad name for a genre. It’s mostly to do with a hitman or a navy seal or a vampire hunter or something. Either way, there’s suspense, there’s sex, and someone is definitely screwing and falling for someone they are definitely still supposed to kill or incarcerate forever. I’ll admit, I’ve liked a few of these as well. Mostly the supernatural ones. “I’m a demon, she’s an angel” or “I’m a vampire, and she’s Buffy..” Those sorts. But the “I’m a Navy Seal and he’s a Caribbean drug lord with a really decent heart?” Not into it. nope. not buying it.

    The next one is way out of left field, but makes me smile.

    Of course, it’s Amish erotica. Because I’m hot for buttons?

    Ok, more likely I am all for subverting oppressively patriarchal and insular religious sects with lax forms of punishment issued internally within the community.

    They can raise a barn, and they can also pitch a tent in man’s trousers. HEY-O!

    OK! I’m over 10000000 words. (or just 1k, but, close enough.) ON TO!!!!

    A pregnant Tom Hiddleston? WHAT!? A Dinosaur went where? Too many tamarind grapefruit fizzes. Click To Tweet

    Recipe, Please! You need booze after reading this post.

    The Tamarind Grapefruit Fizz.

    tamarind grapefruit fizz tamarind grapefruit fizz tamarind grapefruit fizz

    Tamarind Grapefruit Fizz

    by Cat Bowen

    Prep Time: 3 minutes

    Keywords: beverage

    Ingredients (2 cocktails)

    • 4 oz good tequila
    • 1 oz citron liqueur (grand marnier or the like)
    • 3 oz ruby red grapefruit juice
    • 3 oz tamarind soda (Jarritos)
    • lemon twist
    • candied ginger sprinkle (really finely chopped candied ginger)


    shake all of the ingredients save the soda with ice

    strain over 2 rocks glasses filled with ice

    top with soda, ginger, and a lime or lemon wheel/wedge.


    (do it at home so no one notices when you take your bra off at the table.)

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    Can You Separate the Work From the Artist?

    If you follow me on instagram or twitter, you already know that right now I am tits-deep into researching and writing an academic book on Charles Dickens. He was arguably the most prolific and talented author of the Victorian Era (don’t Wilkie Collins or Thomas Hardy or Brontë at me, there is no comparison, and I love Jude the Obscure.) and Dickens was also a very, very flawed man. A showhound, vaguely anti-semetic, (I say “vaguely” because, as much as I hate it, times were different) manwhore Peter Pan, who nevertheless gave us Pip, Paul Dombey, Scrooge, David Copperfield, Little Nell, Amy Dorrit, Esther Summerson, and on and on and on and on…I have read ALL of Dickens’s novels. I did it in eight months. (not humble brag, regular brag) I am now working tirelessly through all of his short stories, the archives of his speeches, and every personal letter extant. I’ve read four, FOUR of his biographies, and am reading two more as we speak…you get the picture. I’m a living, breathing, Dickens history.

    And I can say with all due confidence, if he were alive, I’d probably mock him mercilessly. I’d want to force him to wear louse-ridden pants. I’d yell at him on twitter. (And believe me, if twitter were a thing in the middle of the nineteenth century–he’d be on that like the lice on his crotch from those pants I made him wear.) This is a man who was so burdened by the plight of his childhood that he wrote MILLIONS OF WORDS ABOUT GROWING UP, and he largely ignored his ten children until he found himself some strange he wanted to legally bed, and then he divorced and slandered his first wife, Catherine, and took with him all but one of his children, whom he would continue to ignore.


    But–oh how I love his words. I eat, sleep, and breathe them. They are a rich molasses-y comfort in my hand, and steeped in my consciousness. They give me such hope, such drive to write, write, write. Look at all one man accomplished!

    Oh wait, different compulsive author.


    History is filled with artists we would not approve of in modern times, nor with whom would we ever be friends. Dante also slept around. Hemingway? Picasso? Klimpt? Yes. them. Even Shakespeare is not immune from such harsh approbation though the passage of time.

    So why do we celebrate their works and decry modern artists for similar behaviors?

    I think the answer is a delicate tiptoe around acknowledging our own hypocrisies. We all know, and can witness how art imitates life. Chopin was a sickly man who felt very close to death through most of his life. His music is often solemn, heart-wrenching. Jane Austen was a free-thinking woman in a time when women were derided for being such. Anyone who looks at any Caravaggio piece, can see why he is often portrayed by history as a violent and terrifying man.

    So is Chris Brown.

    So is Orson Scott Card.

    Mel Gibson.

    Dr Dre.

    Sean Penn.

    Whether they incite violence, mete it out, spew hate speech, or are just assholes in general, we penalize them and ignore their art.

    I know I do. I can’t look at Chris Brown without seeing the pictures of Rhianna’s face. I can’t watch Mel Gibson without hearing him disparage Jews. I can’t think about re-reading or watching Ender’s Game without hearing OSC’s hate speech. I won’t contribute to them financially. I won’t pay for their aggression.

    I think time from the incident is part of it. I think it’s easier to distance the artist from the artwork after a great span of years and after the sands of the hourglass have abraded the collective memory. There is also the fact that we know we aren’t contributing to their financial status by appreciating their art.

    But is it that simple? Do we, the collective “we” give a pass to historical figures because we’re donning the rose-colored glasses of cultural relativism? Is that even a problem after a hundred or more years? Can we look at a piece of art, read a book, hear a melody, and forget who toiled at it when it was long ago, easier than when we have intimate knowledge of the quotidian existence of the artist?

    I do think that span of years has a theriac quality to it, providing a scrim between artist and art. There is something to be said for that scrim. If it didn’t blur the misdeeds of men we’d be without artistic tutelage. We’d lose ourselves in remaking without moving forward. Our metaphors would mix, our cerulean and amber would be blue and yellow. We’re not facing the demons of the everyday when we’ve had something on a shelf for what seems like perpetuity. Will any of us get to the point where we can watch The Patriot without a huff of disgust? Probably. Definitely, I think. But not the collective “we.” The collective “them” of the future. The “them” who won’t see his mugshot in their mind when he’s trying to talk to those assembled in a commons house. The “them” who won’t hear the rant at the police officer when he’s mourning his child, his wife, his freedom. I think they will see a masterful performance in Braveheart as just that, a masterful performance. They will be able to acknowledge the art apart from the artist.

    I also think that cultural relativism does play a part–at least in modern times. The lines of what is and what is not acceptable are so much more well-drawn today, than in history. *apart from current political charades.* Yes, a jerk is a jerk is a jerk, but time is time is time, and we know that things which were culturally acceptable even twenty or twenty-five years ago (Long Duck Dong, what?) are now considered pretty heinous. We have to accept a certain level of cultural evolution when we make judgements, and we have to press the issue currently so that we may force evolution ever onward. So I won’t buy Chris Brown. He’ll not dip into my wallet. But I will buy Charles Dickens, because, time.

    Can we separate the art from the artist? Also NUTELLA FLUFFERNUTTER PIE for pi day. #PIDAY Click To Tweet


    Recipe, Please!


    And I was feeling…childlike. So I made NUTELLA FLUFFERNUTTER COOKIE PIE.

    Yeah, you read that right. It’s a (not toooo sweet) peanut butter cookie crust, stuffed with nutella (I used a vegan nutella available in NYC, but use any. Also vegan marshmallow fluff, but again, use any). And it’s topped with MOAR PEANUT BUTTER COOKIE.

    Here’s the thing: you want to make it even easier? Use frozen and thawed pb cookie dough. BUT, it will cost a ton more, and be a lot sweeter. My recipe is best.

    FullSizeRender(4) FullSizeRender(2) FullSizeRender Nutella Fluffernutter Cookie Pie

    Nutella Fluffernutter Cookie Pie


    • +for the cookie+
    • 1 cup creamy natural peanut butter
    • 1/2 cup earth balance spread--soft or soft SALTED butter
    • 1 cup brown sugar
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 2 eggs or 6 tbsp aquafabas (if using AF, whir them in a blender until really frothy, first)
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1 cup chopped peanuts
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • 2 cups flour
    • +filling+
    • 1/2 cup nutella
    • 1/2 cup marshmallow cream


    1. preheat oven to 375F
    2. cream pb, butter, and sugar in a mixer on high
    3. slow mixer to medium and add eggs and vanilla
    4. turn mixer to slowest speed and add dry ingredients, adding the nuts last
    5. press 1/2 cookie dough to the bottom and sides of a greased 9"pie pan
    6. spread nutella on bottom of crust
    7. spread marshmallow on top of nutella (easiest if you spray spatula with non stick spray, first)
    8. crumble cookie atop
    9. bake for 25 minutes or until golden and delightful.

    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


    • 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


    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


    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

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