Sometimes, you have to be a bitch of a friend to be a good friend. You make it up with instant pot green goddess chicken pasta, but you’re a bitch nonetheless.
Readers, I tell you that was me a few months ago.
Why is that, you ask? Several months ago, my platonic soul mate, Amy Cissell text me, “Hey wanna beta for me real quick on my new series?” (I’m paraphrasing. Theoretically I could go back and check, but it would take eons.) I was amped and said “of course.”
And then, readers, then I ghosted on my bff. My platonic soul mate. My non-spiritual life partner. A woman I would let hug me, but whom I know would never try. We’re tight.
Why is that I pulled a Casper? Because I knew I couldn’t beta read that book for her — ethically. Because I wanted to review/recommend it. I make it a point to not review or recommend books that I beta read on this blog, which is in part a reason for my absence from posting. I’ve been doing a shitton of beta reading, and when you combine that with my own work, plus pitching, plus momming, plus pursuing a PhD, I have very little free time. But Not In The Cards, Oracle Bay Book 1, was such a delight that I risked it.
Did I probably contribute to a few moments of “oh geez, I guess this book sucks” moments for Amy? Almost assuredly, but I’m making it up with kind words, dick jokes (to come…lol heh.), and parmesan cheese, which could soothe even the most irritated soul.
First? The blurb:
Oracle Bay attracts everyone who’s a little off, particularly the descendants of the divine vacationers who used to frolic in the quaint seaside town. When a true descendent steps foot in Oracle Bay, their divine powers awaken, they receive a visit from the Psychic Union, and shenanigans ensue.
Sandy Franklin is on the run from her old life and her almost-ex-husband. The promise of cheap rent and a ready-made business, combined with the tarot cards she’d never managed to discard, make settling down to try her hand at divination sound like a reasonable solution.
When Vincent, the man who owns most of the town, shows up to announce he’s selling to stave off his own personal problems, the only thing left for Sandy and the other resident psychics to do is devise a plan to save the town using a combination of their divination skills and a little old-fashioned sleuthing.
The one thing Sandy couldn’t predict was how personal her interest in saving Vincent would get.
This is such a departure from Amy’s Eleanor Morgan books, and I was.not.prepared. Not In The Cards is almost, dare I say it? Frothy, in comparison. It’s as close to a cupcake book as I believe Amy will ever get. It’s pure fun, and of course, magical.Gods, Demigods, Psychics, and Puns all in @acissellwrites new book. Read all about it, and my instant pot green goddess chicken pasta! Click To Tweet
Sandy reads like your bestie who’s just had e-fucking-nough of a dude’s bullshit. Independent to a fault — a theme in Amy’s novels — Sandy isn’t quite sure to do in her new position in the town’s association of psychics. She’s definitely not sure what to do when a sexy real estate developer breezes into town with his eye on her — and the building she lives in. And something’s not right in the state of Denmark…Oregon, whatever. The residents are strange, the bar is stranger, and nothing makes sense, least of which her ability to intuit and interpret tarot like never before.
This book doesn’t follow the usual pattern of romance. In fact, while romance is one aspect of the book, I’d liken it more to a magical comedy. Amy’s humor shines in Oracle Bay. It’s not unexpected, there are seriously funny bits in all of her works, but Oracle Bay makes it a point to pull for the laugh, and it works without being contrived or far-fetched.
The conflict is two-fold and primarily external, as the romance isn’t the carrier of this series — it’s the hem and not the weave, if you will. (Get it together, Cat. Quit it with the em dashes, ferfuckssake.) However, the pieces of the conflict converge in an almost Dickensian coincidence, which I very much appreciated. On one hand, you have her ex, who like the yeast infection she just can’t get rid of, showing up bolder and and more attached to her discomfort than ever, and also the bankers and entities who are putting Vincent in the position of needing to offload the property of the psychics in Oracle Bay.
Sandy isn’t alone, though, even if she has a hard time accepting help. Her new friends, also affected by the tangled web of bullshit, break down more barriers than just the lock on the liquor cabinet. They get to Sandy, and force her to accept help, and to understand what it means to be a part of a community, even if, or especially because the community is peopled with the strange and outrageous.
The resolution is very satisfying, but leaves enough going to cue the reader into where the series is headed. Personally, I’m hoping to hear more about the bartender in the future, and I’m shipping several potential couples.
Amy Cissell’s Not In The Cards is an absolute treat. It’s got everything I look for in a light, happy read: magic, mayhem, and maybe a few kisses thrown in for good measure.
Crap, I forgot the dick joke. I’m off my game.
Five Crystal Balls.
It’s a fricken town full of fricken gods. Of COURSE I would make green goddess SOMETHING. Since I’ve been legitimately obsessed with my instant pot lately, I decided to do something wherein I could make the protein in that bad boy. Et voila! Instant Pot Green Goddess Chicken Pasta. It has parm, y’all. ‘Nuff said.
30 minHow Long is This Going to Take?
30 minTotal Time
What Goes In?
- 1 cup loosely bunched basil, leaves only
- 1/2 cup loosely bunched cilantro, stems included
- 1 cup pistachios
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/2 cup grated parm
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 whole, ripe avocado
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flake
- reserved liquid from chicken breasts to thin as needed
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless, chicken breast
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 3 cloves of chopped garlic
- salt and pepper
- 1 pound of whole wheat pasta, cooked to al dente
- 2 cups frozen peas, thawed to room temp
- chopped cilantro
- chopped scallion
- chopped basil
- more parmesan
- Add garlic, stock, salt, pepper, and chicken to the instant pot
- cook on high for 10 minutes and quick release
- pull out breasts and shred with forks
- combine all ingredients in a food process and pulse until smooth
- add stock from instant pot to thin if necessary
- toss pasta with chicken, peas, sauce, and toppings
- serve hot or room temperature
This could easily be made without the chicken, or with zoodles instead of pasta.
- Calories 725
- Total Fat: 30 g 46.15%
- Saturated Fat: g 0%
- Cholesterol: 110 mg 36.67%
- Sodium: 696 mg 29%
- Potassium: 748 mg 21.37%
- Total Carbohydrate: 62 g %
- Sugar: 8 g
- Protein: 53 g
- Vitamin A: 11.28%
- Calcium: 89 mg 8.9%
- Iron: 6 mg 33.33%