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

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Getting to Know You (or Him, or Her)

Ten Biographies Worth Reading.

Ten Biographies Worth Reading.

Biographies are a very specific sort of book. Most people believe they’re for a very specific type of reader. I disagree. To them I say “AU CONTRAIRE! There is a biography out there for everyone to enjoy. Not autobiography. Not memoir. Not “Look what I did for a year so I could write a book about it!!” An honest to hell biography.

And because it’s Friday, I’ll keep this short and sweet.

Ten Biographies Worth Reading (In completely random order, so don’t get your panties in a twist.)

And, yes, I’ve read all of them.

notorious rbg

Funny, smart, and makes you want to adopt RBG as your very own Bubby.

wilde's women

So often we only hear the salacious tales of Oscar Wilde, this gives us a glimpse of the not so dickheaded aspects of the author of Dorian Gray.

hamilton

This time with 100% less music, but just as fascinating! Read the book the smash hit musical is based off of. People hate on this biography, but that’s because people are judgy fucks.

henrietta lacks

We’ve come a long way in how we treat patients and test subjects, and we have a long way to go. This fascinating book tells us about one of the most important research subjects in history.

Ten Biographies WORTH READING!! I swear. They're good. #amreading Click To Tweet

the wives of henry viii

Once, twice, three times a condemning husband, six marriages. Whether divorce or beheading, that guy was a real asshole, right?!

40929

Hey there, Teddy. This infinitely readable bio of the 20th US President is a lively romp through a spectacular life. (Even maybe better than A. Hamilton!)

17571536

So good it may as well be a novel. FASCINATING story of Red Cloud, the Sioux warrior who WON.

93426

I read this originally because my lack of knowledge on the time period and location was abysmal at best. This was QUITE unexpected in its fast pace and rich text!

138820

Polish history is mostly ignored compared to its Habsbourg counterparts. This is super interesting and engaging.

235662

Harvey Milk was a pioneer for LGBT rights. We’re where we are today in part because of this man.

 

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.

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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.

Woman Crush Wednesday: Heroines Who Kick Ass.

Today is a NEW DAY! A NEW SERIES! *I’m getting to the point with series, where I’ll need to figure out how to code a drop-down menu.

And happy birthday, JGL. You have NO IDEA who I am, but judging by your lack of aging, YOU, SIR, are a singing vampire!

Woman Crush Wednesday

Isn’t it just SPLENDID!?

Ok, so, I’ve been reading a fuckton of historical literature. (As in literature from antiquity, not the latest rom-com starring Chairman Mao and his brief, but horrent affair with his pet llama, Sunny.) On top of that, I’ve read my normal span of novels–mostly romance–and I’m ten shades of sick of reading lapdog heroines. They’re not even heroines at this point. They’re creepy crappy Stepford political wives who just smile blithely as they listen to the press tell them how their husband was caught choking a hooker in a Motel 6 while dressed like one of those plural wives from Colorado City.

Because of this, I’ve been revisiting my favorite boss ladies. So much so, I’ve decided to give them their own series. These women take no shit, give no fucks, make up their own mind, and generally kick ass. 

Not me, Leslie. Not. Me.

Today’s #WomanCrushWednesday belongs to Charley. Charley Davidson of the Charley Davidson series.

Charley is a particular lady. She likes her car miserable, her margaritas strong, her coffee sweet, her men hellcats, and her dead people–well–dead, I guess.

Because Charley Davidson is the Grim Reaper.

 

Don’t RUN!! You have PLACES TO CROSS TO!!

Charley first appears in:

I read this gem all the way back (a long time ago) and re-reading it reminds me it’s just as bitingly wonderful as it was the first time I experienced it.

Charley is an independent woman who has few close friends, but they are as close to family as makes no nevermind. She’s smart. She has a heart of pure gold, and an aura to match. She fights for truth, justice, and…wait, wrong series. Fuck it, it applies. She really, truly cares about the little guy, even to–and frequently to–her own detriment. She is self-sacrificing for those who deserve it, not to some douche bouquet who belittles her. In fact, the man she’s chosen as a life parter, who may or may not be (is) the son of Satan, believes in her strength even more than she does.

Darynda Jones writing of this funny, strong, kickass heroine is so precise and gripping that every installment is like a cut in time. The time without? The time between novels? It all ends up in those weird gravitational folds they just found. Or it’s wherever hair ties go. (Where DO they go? I swear to Satan’s sexy son I just bought a pack of FIFTY!)

Charley Davidson is exactly who you wish could don a fun lycra (or fleece, because comfort is important) unitard and fight the world’s evils with Aquaman and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Charley Davidson is the kind of character that I wish I could pull from the sexy romance novel and into a graphic novel to read to my daughter and say “HEY, BE LIKE HER!!” She may be the gateway after death, but she values the innocence and experience of life and all its virtues.

She’s also a kickass audiobook. As you may recall, I discussed Charley in her narrator’s auralgasms post. Lorelei King is such an amazing narrator, that even thinking of Charley, I think of Lorelei reading “Right?” or this gem:

Charley Davidson

I can hear her say “testicles” right now. It’s so soothing. Or, you know, whatever.

Do yourself a favor. PICK UP THESE BOOKS.

And now?

Recipe, Please!

Ok, for this lady I had three options: mochalattes, tacos (of the macho sort), or margaritas.

Guess which I picked?

I LOVE TEQUILA!!

I also love creamsicles, and since going vegan, no creamsicles. So I made a creamsicle margarita. With clementines.

Clementine Creamsicle Margarita

#womancrushwednesday Heroines Who Kick Ass.Feat. @Darynda & Clementine Creamsicle Margaritas,… Click To Tweet

clementine creamsicle margaritas #vegan clementine creamsicle margaritas #vegan clementine creamsicle margaritas #vegan

 

Clementine Creamsicle Margaritas #vegan

by Cat Bowen

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Keywords: beverage vegan

Ingredients (2 cocktails)

  • 4 oz GOOD tequila
  • 4 oz clementine (or orange juice)
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp Coco Lopez (microwave for 10 seconds to liquefy) or 1 tbsp sweetened condensed milk
  • splash vanilla extract

Instructions

shake ingredients with ice.

strain into glass.

garnish with clementine segments

drink.

responsibly.

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What Are You Listening To? The Ten Best Erotic Audiobooks.

When I first started really listening to audiobooks, (more than casually) I tended to listen only to adventurous novels with pesky life-or-death situations, a possible Cornucopia, and maybe there were a few young wizards…Eventually, I started listening to Stephen King novels like The Stand, and favorites like Good Omens. 

I avoided erotica like the clap. Both in its written form, and in audio. It’s not that I’m a prude–quite the opposite–it’s just that they had a pretty negative connotation in my mind. Like women who read and/or enjoyed erotica were those women. I am not one of those women. I am a strong woman who fully realizes her own sexuality and fucking owns it.

Until I realized I am not. I am a woman who wants to fully realize her own sexuality and fucking own it, and the fact that I judged the women and men who read these books based on that criteria made me a giant fucking hypocrite. Also, no one BATS AN EYE when men talk about pornography–and this is no where near the same thing, no matter how many times people call 50 Shades or Bared to You “mommy porn.” No, “mommy porn” is shirtless coffee served to me in bed before the children get up for the day, and he’s already brushed his teeth, and the door is locked. THAT is mommy porn.

Erotica is, well,

I’ll admit, I didn’t much like it at first. Much like the action of the content itself, the first time, if one chooses a partner badly, can leave much to be desired.

But then I listened to one borderline novel…and then another. And another. And it wasn’t bad! In fact, some of it was quite readable. Listenable? Either way.

Honestly, I will probably ALWAYS listen and read more to adventure and the less X-rated novels, but I no longer discount the genre, and I can even appreciate it.

Yes, it sometimes makes me blush red as poppies, and I’ve gotten into some sticky situations with them…like say, listening to it on speaker in your office, that you think will remain occupied only by yourself all day, and then your boss walks in, and sits back for awhile so he hears it, and then scares the ever-loving fuck out of you by tapping your shoulder and falling over onto the sofa in a fit of giggles like a 12 year old boy instead of a man somewhat later than mid-life.

Or maybe you’re listening to it while you’re baking. And you’re hearing impaired. And the kids are asleep. So it’s loud. And you’ve paused your scooping, entranced, listening. And your husband walks in. You don’t hear him. He gets quite quite the earful of Tavia Gilbert in flagrante delicto with…well…herself, and he walks behind you saying “is it hot in here because the oven is on, or because THAT’S A VERY INTENSE DESCRIPTION OF ORAL SEX?”

“um, I dunno. both? Want a snickerdoodle?”

Totally not embarrassed at.all. He probably loved it. He probably has an entire file folder on his ipad filled with Jeaniene Frost fanfic.

Though, I think a straight male may write an oral sex scene like handbook plays.

“You see, first, I had to scope out the field, get the lay of the turf. Then, I dug in and made sure I had room to circle the goal. I was ready for the long play–the hard-won finish!”

Sebastian York could still make it sound sexy.

Only, that was a vampire novel, so, throw in something about biting and blood.

So I’ve compiled the Ten Best Erotic Audiobooks I’ve listened to. *and I love audiobooks like whoa.

The Ten Best Erotica Audiobooks

Listen at your own risk.

WHAT are you listening to? The Ten Best #Erotic #Audiobooks Click To Tweet

1.

Narrated by Grace Grant, this book is very sexy. It hits a few of my “feminist miss” buttons, but the narration is so great, and the rest of the story is so fun, that it didn’t make me want to burn my bra or my audible gold membership.

2.

This is PNR that has mucho mucho mucho sexytimes. As usual, Tavia Gilbert, is amazing. The book is hotter than hell, and the story is great.

3.

Unexpected, wonderful narration by Juanita McMahon, and a story that will leave you in stitches. Truly spectacular.

4.

This series is really, really, really dirty.

This series is great. It deals with kinbaku, aka Japanese sexy bondage. It also has some REAAALLY unexpected bits. In some really unexpected places.

The series is narrated pretty evenly between Rachel Vivette and Luke Daniels. Trust me, it does have a good storyline. And not just in the way that Playboy has articles.

5.

This is my favorite of the series. All narrated by Max Bellmore, this series is super intense, but funny and sweet as well.

6.

This series. Oh, this series.

Narrated by Jill Redfield, this series is not only wonderfully hot, it’s LOUD AS HELL, so proceed with caution.

7.

SO UNEXPECTEDLY WONDERFUL. Really. I promise. The narrator sounds very young, but her timing is really good, and you can hear improvement through her catalog.

8.

This is my favorite book in the series. It has some of the issues that #1 book on this list has, but it’s so adorable in places, and so steamy in others, it’s really worth the listen.

9.

Kirstin Potter does a wonderful job in this series. It’s dark and sexy but, oddly, friendly? Gah, that sounds daft as I read it aloud, but I swear that it is. It’s happy hot? Saucy Sappy Sexy?

10.

The heat is as good as the sweet in this novel. The protagonist is so fucking swoon-worthy I may never regain composure. Johanna Parker is a delight, and I think she may have removable testicles somewhere, because GATDAMN, WOMAN!! So good.

What are you waiting for? Have some happy alone time with your earbuds and your battery operated buddy! No, I didn’t mean that. Wait.