On today’s menu, I’ve made healthy vegan wakeup muffins to get the day started right, and because they fit perfectly with the book I’m reviewing, so stay tuned for that!
Let’s talk about stereotypes, shall we? Namely, a weird stereotype that still abounds to this day, in spite of all evidence to the contrary that’s been present for several years — or at least since millennials came into their adulthood. Tattoos. Once only the epidermal parlance of maligned communities like the Hell’s Angels and sailors who’ve seen a few too many ports, they’re now as ubiquitous as $6 coffee and beards on dudes. However, when it comes to tatted up women, we’re still somewhat apart from traditional society. Rockers or punk rock chicks. We’re rebels with decoration. Sure, a little tattoo here or there is fine, but a sleeve, a large back piece, or G-d forbid, leg art is still seen as too much.
It matters not that more and more women are choosing to view their bodies as a canvas for their heart to speak out loud for everyone to witness, or even as a personal reminder of a private triumph, where men can be inked from nose to toes and no one blinks twice, women aren’t afforded so much appreciation, and it’s ridiculous.
I will tell you, my body is a motherfucking wonderland, and if I want to mad hatter the shit out of every square centimeter, it does not negate my femininity. It does not remove from me my education or intelligence, and if it peeks out from under my very buttoned-up appearance in front of my classroom or giving a plenary speech, it doesn’t take away from my message. It just makes me more interesting to look at.
Which brings us to today’s book theme. Ink by Elizabeth Hunter (affiliate link) is a fresh spin on contemporary romance gifted to us by the popular paranormal author. Her foray into the muggle world brings us the story of Emmie and Ox, a quiet but self-assured bookstore owner who happens to have a full back piece and love of ink, and a hotter than hell tattoo artist. And yet, her tattoos somehow don’t change her as a person or make her less desirable to Ox. wild.
I don’t know if it’s because EH doesn’t typically write contemporary, or if the characters just really resonated with me, but regardless of the reason, this novel stuck with me, and is staying with me. Ink has that evergreen quality to it that keeps the storyline running through the reader’s mind long after they’ve turned the last page. The characters are relatable and fantastic. The setting is fresh and new, and the love story manages to build without saccharine or the excessive angst that seems to the zeitgeist of the genre.YOU KNOW YOU WANT TO TWEET. TWEETING MAKES YOU SEXY TO ME.Click To Tweet
from the blurb:
Emmie Elliot hadn’t expected to come back to Metlin, California. She definitely didn’t expect to stay. She returned to her childhood home with a mission: Sell the building that housed her grandmother’s book store and move on with her life.
But life doesn’t always go according to plan.
To reopen her grandmother’s book shop, Emmie will need a hook. She’ll need a strategy. She’ll need an… Ox?
Miles Oxford doesn’t have much interest in quiet bookstore owners. He’s a tattoo artist without a space to work, and the last thing he wants is to get involved with anyone after his last disaster of a relationship. Work and pleasure don’t mix for Ox, but since he doesn’t have any interest in the cute girl with the bold business proposal, he should be safe from any awkward complications, right?
She sells ink. He tattoos it. Unusual? Yes. But a book shop/tattoo studio might be the ticket for both Emmie and Ox to find success on their own terms. As long as they keep their attention focused on business.
Just on business.
Sure, you don’t read a ton of romances about a bookstore tattoo shop combination, but you also don’t read many romances wherein it’s no secret and no big deal that both people are coming into the relationship with the knowledge that they’re both adult humans who have experienced life and had previous relationships that were real and important to who they became and allowed them to learn. Yes, this book is about a happily ever after, but it allows that there is life both before and after love if you allow there to be — you’ll note this with Ox’s relationship with his sister and her history.
I found that I loved the metaphor of this love story in a deep way. Hunter is fantastic with her metaphor, and it’s hard to translate the natural progression of metaphor from preternatural subjects into something less magical. The use of metaphor often just doesn’t work as well. However, the metaphor of how people leave indelible marks on us just as authors do to pages and artists do to canvas — especially skin — is moving and powerful.
Because it’s true.
Elizabeth Hunter’s Ink will leave its mark on the reader in ways they’ll find themselves thinking about long after they’ve closed the book.
Oh man, scamps. I was torn about the recipe for this post. However, with the repeated obsession of Emmie over her desired espresso machine, I decided it NEEDED to have coffee involved. And because I like to feed myself healthy foods, I went with muffins because they sound better than “frostingless cupcakes.” IF THERE’S NO BUTTERCREAM IT’S A FUCKING HEALTH FOOD. DEAL WITH IT. These healthy vegan wakeup muffins are actually pretty good for you, and if you don’t tell anyone, I won’t either.
What Goes In?
- 10 oz vegan plain soy or almond yogurt
- 2 overripe bananas mashed up with a fork or potato masher
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1 cup strong coffee--hot
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 2 tbsp flax seed combined with 6 tbsp water and set aside for 15 minutes before you begin to cook
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 1 bag dark chocolate chips--vegan
- preheat oven to 350F and line a muffin tin with liners and spray liners with cooking spray
- combine wet ingredients not liquids including banana in a mixer on medium for one minute
- turn to low and add liquids
- sift in salt, cocoa, and leavening ingredients
- slowly stir in flour and chips
- fill muffins 2/3 full
- bake for 15 minutes or until skewer inserted in center comes out clean
- store in airtight container