Rock Hard and Rearing to Go.


You guys, I think I have a thing for befanged grey men.

First, it was Brishen in Radiance  by Grace Draven, and now? Daarik from Exile by Colleen Vanderlinden. Maybe I have a statue fetish I’ve not explored? Something about their stoney grace? I have a feeling I know who’s next…

It’s the obvious first step into the land of full-on marmoreal skin to mammary gland action. (Hat tip to Grace Draven for “marmoreal.”)

Exile is pretty much a new genre. I know, weird, right? It’s sci-fi in that half of the people in the book are aliens from another planet, it’s fantasy in that there’s magic afoot, it’s PNR, because, love and boot knockin’, and it’s a dystopian future, in that humans have REALLY fucked the earth. Kinda like what we’re doing right now. So I don’t know what to call this genre. “Twisted magic future fuck?” “Even the aliens think we’re stupid?” “Damnit, none of you watched Bill Nye, and now look what happens, we’re sexing statudes.”

Just listen to Bill Nye, people.

I should probably step down off my soapbox and let you read the blurb:

Two races fight for what remains of a dying planet.

For generations, the Maarlai, an alien race who fled the destruction of their own home world, have lived silently, hidden, exiled on Earth. They watched, year by year, as humanity destroyed what was once a planet full of hope and promise.

Unable to idly watch as the planet dipped further into destruction, the Maarlai left their hidden villages and went to war with what was left of humanity. With the death of the last great human king, the Maarlai found themselves victorious and vowed to protect and restore the planet that had sheltered them for so long.

A treaty made, an alliance formed.

Shannen of House Lyon is a member of the last of the human royal families. While they bend knee to the Maarlai ruler, her people have not forgotten their former greatness, the years of bloodshed and horror… or the memory of their fallen king.

To ensure a lasting peace between their two peoples, Shannen and three other prominent human women are sent to the Maarlai capital. One of them will wed the future Maarlai king, cementing the peace between former enemies.

When Shannen finds herself married to the Maarlai warrior, she discovers a whole new world… and freedom unlike anything she could have imagined. When war threatens once again, she will need to decide where her loyalties truly lie.

So what did I think?

I was really impressed. Honestly, when I first read the blurb, I was really worried. It seemed like there was too much going on for it to be a decent read.

The odds were not in her favor.

How can something be so much at once, and still hold value? Often the jacks-of-all-trades are certainly masters of nothing. However, this book defied the odds stacked against it. Also, can I tell you a secret?

I haven’t really read any Dystope since Veronica Roth killed Tris.

And Colleen Vanderlinden is KNOWN to kill her darlings. She lives for it, I think. (Should we worry about the amount of unspent rage authors seem to carry? Nah, they just spend that capital on SLICING OPEN OUR HEARTS WITH THEIR QWERTY!!!)

Exile, works. It just works. The love doesn’t come as quickly as the trust, but like all great relationships, Daarik and Shannen understand how paramount it is to base a relationship on trust. With the honesty that the two protags begin with, it makes the rest of it feel that much more plausible. They build an abiding sort of love that is common in most romance novels, but so uncommon in real life. However, that love rings very true and feels real, even if Daarik has skin the color of concrete block, and big, pointy teeth.

The conflict of this installment has much to do with political intrigue and courtly dealings. Colleen Vanderlinden draws for us in Exile a desolate future with a quill pointed toward the distant past. She creates a space of terrible wonder through which to usher her characters, It’s scary, it’s patriarchal, it’s not unlike today if you just heated us up a tad more. The reader can envision this place easily, Ms Vanderlinden’s canvas is too detailed not to notice the layers of color built up over the narrative.

In Exile, we’re given a wonderful start to a new series that promises to become a favorite among fantasy readers, and also open their minds to the possibilities present in other genres.

But I have to spoil something that almost made me knock out a star.

It’s a cliffhanger.

Exile: 4.5 stars.

Four point five stars goes to a book in an undefinable genre! #amreading Click To Tweet

And now?

Recipe, Please!

Ok, so the fanciest foods in this book are all based on shit that is hard to find, and to me it looked like blackberries and whale or seal blubber. I don’t do blubber–as a rule. Also, blackberries just aren’t in season right now.

But, peaches can be a bitch. (but not really) And the whole book felt spicy to me. So, combing through my memories, I remember a Hawaiian friend of mine who made their own twist on Jerk chicken. She is half Jamaican, half Japanese, so she always has something unexpected going on in her food. When I called her to see if I could use the recipe, she was ever so gracious in allowing me. The only changes I made is nixing the pineapple for peaches, and taking out a lot of the extra calories and fat by using chicken breast as opposed to the whole bird, or just the legs.

Hawaiian Jerk Chicken

Easy Hawaiian Jerk Chicken. A fast, and family friendly supper! Click To Tweet

Hawaiian Jerk Chicken

Hawaiian Jerk Chicken
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What Goes In?

  • 2 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
  • for the marinade
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
  • for the rub
  • 2 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 pinch allspice
  • 1 pinch nutmeg
  • 1 pinch kosher salt
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tbsp ground thyme
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • for the grill
  • high heat cooking spray
  • for the peaches
  • 1 lb sliced peaches
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Avengers, Assemble!

  1. Combine the marinade ingredients in a zip top bag
  2. add chicken to marinade and zip
  3. place in a dish in the fridge for 3 hours or overnight
  4. remove each breast and pat dry
  5. heat grill (stovetop or otherwise) to medium-high
  6. rub each breast with the rub on both sides
  7. place on the grill and cook each side for approximately five minutes a side, or until the chicken is 160F in the center
  8. for the peaches
  9. heat the butter in a small saucepan or skillet with the brown sugar and cinnamon
  10. add peaches and cook for about 5 minutes. Let the butter and sugar caramelize a bit.
  11. Top the chicken with the peaches and serve with rice.

Nutrition Facts
    Amount Per Serving
  • Calories 17
  • % Daily Value*

  • Total Fat: 0 g 0%
  • Saturated Fat: g 0%
  • Cholesterol: mg 0%
  • Sodium: mg 0%
  • Potassium: mg 0%
  • Total Carbohydrate: 2 g %
  • Sugar: g
  • Protein: 1 g
  • Vitamin A: 0%
  • Calcium: mg 0%
  • Iron: mg 0%
  • * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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