It is 2 degrees in NYC. Two. As in 1+1. It’s the most basic math equation one ever learns, and all I can think is one plus one equals fuck you. I don’t want to leave the happy hollow I’ve created out of a pile of duvets and fuzzy blankets. I have a steaming mug of coffee, a filled thermos of the liquid sanity, and endless pages of fiction to write–and to read–in front of me. Damn the outdoors, I’m not even going to put on proper pants today.
Because I’m a writer, I’m going to pretend that’s ok.
Today’s Get Series(ous) series takes place in sunny Chicago!
Ok, so, negative one minus one also equals fuck you–probably.
For whom is this series perfect?
The grown-up who loved The Bridge to Terebithia. They might-could-possibly tell you every story line in every Nancy Drew book. Their first movie boyfriend was Louis de Pointe du Lac, and then they read the book and fell in love with the tortured Lestat. (Obviously, the book is the original, but hey, they were 11 when the movie was released!! QUIT JUDGING ME, IT WAS BRAD PITT!)
This reader might have loved the show Sports Night. Not because of the sportsing going on, but because of the beautiful layers of sarcasm. Because there’s really nothing more important than the ability to embrace the “meh” in everything.
This reader is probably physically active–or at least has aspirations of activity. (Doing the walkings and the liftings of heavy things is hard when one plus one equals fuck you.) Reading about training and dancing and other strenuous physical activities that make you sweaty is really a motivator!
This was totally not just another excuse to place a Fassbender .gif.
This reader may also love the bacon and the pizza(ish) and the junk food. They make late-night runs for Hot Beef if they live in Brooklyn. Italian beef if they live in Chicago. Creamed beef in Youngstown. Hidden beef eaten in a closet of shame at 2am in Los Angeles.
What’s the series?
The Chicagoland Vampire Series by Chloe Neill. (book is link.)
The Blurb from book 1: (pictured above)
They killed me. They healed me. They changed me.
Sure, the life of a graduate student wasn’t exactly glamorous, but I was doing fine until Chicago’s vampires announced their existence to the world. When a rogue vampire attacked me, I was lucky he only got a sip. Another bloodsucker scared him off and decided the best way to save my life was to make me the walking undead.
Now I’ve traded sweating over my thesis for learning to fit in at a Hyde Park mansion full of vamps loyal to Ethan “Lord o’ the Manor” Sullivan. Of course, as a tall, green-eyed,
four-hundred-year-old vampire, he has centuries’ worth of charm, but unfortunately he expects my gratitude—and servitude. Right…
But someone’s out to get me. Is it the rogue vampire who bit me? A vamp from a rival House? An angry mob bearing torches?
My initiation into Chicago’s nightlife may be the first skirmish in a war—and there will be blood.
Why I love it:
This series was not even on my radar until a few years ago when my PSM told me that I really must read it. I was burned out on romances, and just wanted some action. (Take that as you will.)
I wanted a book that didn’t make me feel like my feminism was perishing slowly under the weight of the Bellas and my own insecurities. I am SO glad she pointed me toward this (and a few other) series.
Not these Bellas. They’re aca-awesome.
Here is a protagonist who is smart, (PhD candidate) athletic, (dancer!) and she never once thinks a man is the key to solving her problems. She is not the polite, tractable female so common in PNR/UF.
Even when she does catch a man’s eye. He doesn’t–I don’t know–take her to a red room of dubious consent, or stalk her at night while telling her that her virginity is a sacred bloom that should be preserved. Sort of like this other flower held by this other dude with consent issues….
Nope. What does this guy do? He places her in a position of authority–even over himself–apart from him. He doesn’t mansplain or pull punches. He balls-to-the-wall Betty Friedans her vampire ass.
The series is lengthy, sitting pretty at eleven books (more to come!). However, this is not like some long series that died a painful death long before the last story is told. I’m actually EAGER to read the next novel that is to be released on 3/2. I’ve preordered. There’s a certain tingly feeling of anticipation when I think about the next book. I’m not at all eye-rolling the next book, dreading the nails to be added to the coffin of a once-loved storyline. Each book is fresh and engaging.
I honest-to-Pete have no idea how she’s kept me so interested. Homegirl must have Nora Roberts level book-penning juju.
It would be easy to get ensnared into a too-convoluted storyline, what with the multitudinous supernatural groups populating this series. From the shifters and their acute noesis, to the nymphs and their libidinous natures, and the fae, and their ass-basketedness. It never does, though. It simply works.
Put on a pair of leather pants, get yourself something made with bacon, and dig into these books.
The recipe inspired by the series:
In the book, the MC, Merit, is a bit of a junk food junkie. She loves deep dish, Italian beef, and her beloved, “mallocakes.” In the series, they’re a chocolate and marshmallow confection, similar to Mallomars. I knew I could recreate something similar, but just doing a plain old Mallomar copycat seemed lame. So I made them better.
Green Tea and Dark Chocolate “Mallocakes”
or less creatively-infringing
Green Tea and Dark Chocolate Mallow Cakes.
marshmallow recipe adapted from this one.
Green Tea and Dark Chocolate Mallow Cakes.
Prep Time: 45 minutes-1 hour
Cook Time: 4 hours+of passing time
Keywords: snack dessert bars cookie
for the marshmallow
- 2 packages of unflavored gelatin (use Knox)
- 2/3 cup light corn syrup
- 2/3 cup water
- 1 cup superfine sugar
- pinch of sea salt
- 2 tbsp matcha powder
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup corn starch
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- cooking spray
for the bottoms
- one sleeve of graham crackers
for the chocolate coating
- one bag of dark chocolate chips
- crushed almonds or matcha powder to dust the tops of the mallocakes.
mix together the corn starch and powdered sugar and set aside
spray a 13″-9″ pan with cooking spray
sift some of the flour/sugar mixture over all of that spray, coating the inside of the pan
break down the graham crackers into quarters and layer in a single layer into the bottom of the pan, using halves of those quarters to finish the layer if need be.
to make the marshmallow
divide the water in half, place half in a mixer bowl with gelatin
add half to a heavy-bottomed saucepan with sugar, corn syrup, and salt.
(spray the measuring cup with cooking spray before adding corn syrup for easy removal!)
cover and turn to medium high
let cook for about 4 minutes
uncover and cook about 5 more minutes, or until the sides begin to boil.
remove from heat immediately.
place whisk attachment in mixer and turn to low, when the jelly mixture sort of gets globby,
pour in hot sugar mixture in very slowly
when it’s all in, turn mixer to high and whip that stuff for a damn long time
about 15 minutes-until it’s really fluffy and white, like marshmallow fluff
add in the matcha powder and vanilla in the last minute or two
pour over the graham cracker mixture and spread with an offset spatula
cover with a dusting of more of the corn starch and sugar mix
let sit in the open air for a few hours (no less than 3) or overnight.
it’s really easiest to melt the chocolate in increments in the microwave, 30 seconds on high, stir, repeat, take to 15 seconds for a few times, until smooth.
turn out the marshmallow/graham pan onto a dusted cutting board
using a BIG pizza cutter that you’ve rolled through the sugar/starch mix, cut between the crackers, and shake off the excess dust
place marshmallow up onto a cookie sheet lined with a cooling rack and silpat or parchment
spoon melted chocolate over each piece and let coat or dip tops into the melted chocolate.
while chocolate is still tacky, dust with almonds or matcha
let set–about an hour.