It’s official. It’s the holiday season. I was really into it for about two weeks. Now? Now I’m just DONE. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that I’m in a particular place in my scholarship that saps me of time, energy, and generally my will to live.
A note to my college-going readers. Please be nice to your professors during the holiday season (ok, all the time, but ESPECIALLY this time of year). We know you have finals as well, and we do our best. But JESUSMARYMOTHERHELL, we’re swamped as deeply as you are. Anddddd, if your professor is an adjunct? He or she probably has six other jobs as well. Also, you should seriously consider supporting National Adjunct Walkout Day by walking out of class on February 25. Because, if adjuncts do it, they’ll just get fired.
Ok, moving on. No more diatribes for today. Just me doing all of the smiling and all of the coffee drinking and all of the putting of the happy thoughts on the interwebs.
Ok, so I got MOAR ARCS from Elizabeth Hunter. Both novellas unsurprisingly, rocked my socks.
The first was this beauty…
The next one was this ball of awesome…
FIRST….Elizabeth Hunter’s Christmas/Holiday/Festivus (duh, they’re vampires, feats of strength are kinda their bag) novella!!! All The Stars Look Down features one of my all-time favorite couples in all of Christendom, Gio and Beatrice! (you’ll hear more about those two in my book gift post to follow on Friday.) But it’s really the story of Fina and Zeno, a former monk and a librarian. You see, because of Beatrice’s obsession with letters, she’s tasked Fina into looking into a specific set of letters. Because of her part in the investigation, and Zeno’s knowledge of obscure epistles, Fina began her own correspondence with the enigmatic Zeno. It’s a love story in a love story with a love story on the side. It is full of intrigue, and keeps you guessing.
It has intertwining narratives dealing with the aspects of filial responsibility, what makes a man, and what it means to be human. As with all of Elizabeth Hunter’s books, this one is well thought out, fully actualized, and so much more than just the general alterity of the premise.
For fans of the series, I want to give you a veiled spoiler of why you should PICK THIS UP RIGHT MEOW. There is a tangible shift in expectations vs reality that manifests in a name. That’s all I’m going to say about that, but literally, at the end of the book, I was kind of choked up about the progress. It was great.
Right off the bat I will tell you that you don’t need to read Hunter’s Elemental Mysteries series to appreciate this novella beginning of a series, but the books are great, so you should.
What happens when you take an unpredictable, semi-batshit wind vampire and send her to China with a droll, no-nonsense 21 year old mortal man, who is far beyond his 21 years? Action, tension, and hijinks, That’s what!
Failing grades. Misleading wind vampires. And a fortune in forgotten gold.
Traveling to the most remote region of China certainly wasn’t what Ben Vecchio had in mind for his summer vacation, but when Tenzin suggested a quick trip, he could hardly turn down a chance to keep her out of trouble and practice the Mandarin he still struggled with in class.
Of course, Tenzin might not have been clear about everything travel entailed.
Driving a truck full of rotting vegetables and twenty million in gold from Kashgar to Shanghai was only the start. If Ben can keep the treasure away from grasping immortals, the reward will be more than worth the effort. But when has travel with a five-thousand-year-old wind vampire ever been simple?
It should be noted that Tenzin’s fangs can no longer retract. Not sure why it should be noted, I simply like that she’s just hanging out like the saber-toothed woman of the steppes.
This is an intense start to a new series. Hunter published it chapter-by-chapter on her blog, and it has a near-serial quality; in that each chapter has a bit of its own intrigue. What it really does well is to give the readers a strong framework for the upcoming books, as well as giving the readers a better idea of the inner motivations of Ben and Tenzin.
As I was turning the pages, I felt transported. Hunter’s descriptions of the people, as well as the locations in China are truly spectacular–especially given that it’s done so succinctly. Hunter’s style does not tend toward extraneous flourish, but there’s just enough “awe” in her voice that I could feel that sort of breathless anticipation that accompanies the connection of wanderlust and destination.
Shadows and Gold never slows enough to make one desirous of social media, but just long enough to give backstory and provide a bit of respite for the reader’s cardiac system.
At its core, Shadows and Gold is an enchanting stand-alone novella that will no doubt metamorphose beautifully into the first of a dazzling new series from Elizabeth Hunter.
The Captain (my 6 year old son) has a pretty severe dairy allergy. Lately, it’s been even worse than normal. When you take into account that the poor boy also has a tree allergy that oddly does not extend to nuts, but does extend to palm oil, it can be a pretty big pain in the ass for him. He often misses out on foods considered an essential treat of childhood because they make his eyes swell shut. Not pretty.
So, every chance I get, I tweak recipes of my own or of others to retain their delicious quality, while keeping them safe for the Captain.
Today’s recipe is no different. I give you….
Vegan Chocolate Almond Muffins.
Vegan Chocolate Almond Muffins
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Keywords: bake appetizer bread breakfast dessert snack
Ingredients (18 muffins)
- 1 cup old fashioned oats
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 cup nut or soy milk–vanilla
- 1/2 cup creamy natural almond butter
- 1/2 cup slightly warm coconut butter (in its liquid state)
- 2 chia eggs (1 tbsp chia seeds to 3 tbsp water for each egg, combine and let sit 10 mins)
- 1 cup dark chocolate chips
- 1/2 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 350F
grease two muffin tins
combine dry ingredients including chips and set aside
whip together sugar, oil, and nut butter
add in eggs and vanilla
slowly stir in milk
fold in dry ingredients until just together
scoop 3 tbsp into each muffin impression
bake 12-15 minutes or until just browned at the edges.
cool and turn out.