So a Spinster and a Dragon Walk Into a Bar–It Serves Sudafed.

Ok, so right now I am hiding under my blanket fort, coughing like a nightmare, with no voice, praying for an early night’s rest–or, you know, SWEET SWEET DEATH. I have a tendency to overreact. But I’m not too sick not to tell you about this superduper book by Grace Draven because, not only is … Read more…

Slippery When Immortal.

I woke with a giddy anticipation of today’s post.

It’s release day for this beauty…
Elizabeth Hunter is on my “perma-read” list. Meaning that anything she writes, I’ll read. If she were to suddenly decide to take up writing limericks for condom wrappers sold exclusively at Whole Fooods, I’d quickly find a use for prophylactics. (In spite of my married, barren state!)

trojanrhyme

–Elizabeth Hunter did not write that.  I’m sorry, World.

When I first received an ARC of The Scarlet DeepI was wound tighter than a pair of skinny jeans after a trip to the County Fair. (mmm, deep-fried butter…) I couldn’t wait to tear into it. *metaphorically speaking,* I was on my ipad. Also, I realize that that’s not quite the proper use of the word “metaphorically,” but I am owning it.

I promptly decided a few things: one, I was not cooking on that day. Not once. Spending time smearing the paste of the crushed bodies of  heat-tanned legumes on bacteria-enhanced wheat products was about all I was willing to do. There was much delivery sushi that day. And two, I needed more coffee. Like, lots more.

You get me, Lorelei.

What’s the book about?

On the waves of the North Atlantic, a poison spreads, sapping the life from humans and striking madness into immortals.

Patrick Murphy, the immortal leader of Dublin, has been trying to stem the tide of Elixir washing into his territory, but nothing seems to stop the vampire drug. While others in the immortal world work to cure the creeping insanity that Elixir threatens, Murphy has been invited to London to join a summit of leaders hoping to discover who is shipping the drug. If Murphy and his allies can cut off the supply, they might be able to halt the spread long enough for a treatment to be found for the humans and vampires infected.

Anne O’Dea, Murphy’s former lover, retreated from public life over one hundred years ago to help immortals in need… and to heal her own broken heart. Though powerful connections keep her insulated from the violence of vampire politics, even Anne is starting to feel the effects of Elixir on her isolated world. The human blood supply has been tainted, and with Anne’s unique needs, even those closest to her might be in danger. Not just from infection, but Anne’s escalating bloodlust.

When Anne and Murphy are both called to London, they’re forced to confront a connection as immortal as they are. As they search for a traitor among allies, they must also come to terms with their past. Behind the safe facade of politics, old hungers still burn, even as an ancient power threatens the fate of the Elemental World.

Was it everything I hoped?

And more. There comes a time in most vampire novels when the world building and storytelling are put aside for inane minutiae which typically serves to bulk-up word count and make a book seem more highfalutin than it actually manages. I like to call it the “smells like/tastes like game.” Because, it always seems to be inordinately related to how things smell and taste in vampy books.

Such as:

He smells like a combination of a warmed Werther’s Original straight from my Grampappy’s pocket, and my impending orgasm.

Again, no author wrote this exact description, but damn if there aren’t hundreds upon hundreds of them lurking in books. THIS wouldn’t exist if that wasn’t the case. Yes, EH does pen a bit about smell and taste, because they’re essential sensory notions to everyone, especially vampires. However, the narrative doesn’t ever feel fit to be bogged down by grocery aisles worth of taste sensations.

I’m not certain why this is the first thing that popped out in my brain as important, but it did.

On from that, the characters in this installment are ones we’ve met in previous Elemental World books. Murphy, the vamp many of us took as just a sexy, splenetic mob boss with deep pockets and even deeper bitterness; and Anne, the mild-mannered but firm vampire psychologist who helped Brigid move beyond the crippling emotional problems weighing her down. In The Scarlet Deep we are finally taken behind the curtain on their past, and the motivations behind the coldness we witnessed from them in the other books.

The reader is given intimate knowledge of just how intelligent and manipulative Murphy can be when he invites the leader of Belfast, Anne’s sister, to a gathering of important immortals–somewhat in politesse, somewhat mala fide–knowing she’d send Anne in her stead. He is singularly determined to recapture her heart, and will use all avenues at his disposal. The machinations occurring around this development lead me to believe that Elizabeth Hunter could have a bright future in espionage or preschool instruction. (I’m certain the level of societal manipulation is equivalent.)

The story is one that never lets up. The entirety of the two hundred and something pages are so full of story and webbed interminglings of past and future plot lines that the idea of even placing it down for a moment seems interminably long an absence from such a book. However, it never becomes overwhelming. The reader is never confused as to which storyline is which, and it is never unclear whom is the main focus of this installment. The book IS Murphy and Anne, but without their friends and supporting characters, the picture of them would be much less cemented.

And Murphy and Anne. OH, Patrick Murphy and Anne. The way they love. The simple honesty of affection and the heartbreaking threads of distrust which sews this story along its arc, creates a soul-binding romance in which the reader becomes so involved, they could be swept away utterly. Everyone knows what it’s like to have their trust feel misplaced, and the knowledge of that makes the outcome all the more rewarding for it. It answers the question: “Can one ever truly regain trust when it’s broken?”

In the end, they have to fight for it. Fighting not each other, but themselves, and also they have to fight for each other. All in all, I believe that Elizabeth Hunter’s books will become as immortal as the characters within them.

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Five “fist to the feels” stars.

Someone hold me….

twist my arm.

And yes, I did get this book as a free ARC. BUTTTTT, it should be known I also BOUGHT IT. I really want to picture authors who send out ARCs, and the reviewer really loves the book, to sit back like this…

So, what recipe could go with such a wonderful book? WELLLLLL, NOT the truffles I originally planned, because, humidity. SO, in the book, Anne requests chocolate and wine. I can DO chocolate and wine. It’s also 93467498567 degrees, so I want to do chocolate and wine on ice cream. Therefore, I give you,

Cabernet Hot Fudge Sauce

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Cabernet Hot Fudge sauce because, wine and vampires and The Scarlet Deep by @E__Hunter #books #vegan… Click To Tweet

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Cabernet Hot Fudge Sauce

by Cat Bowen

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes cooling time

Keywords: dessert vegan

Ingredients (1 1/3 cups)

  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup cabernet or other dry red wine
  • 1/2 cup dark cocoa powder
  • 4 tbsp earth balance buttery spread or actual butter

Instructions

stir all ingredients in a saucepan on medium until smooth,

cook five more minutes,

let cool 10 minutes,

pour into pourable jar

let cool a few more minutes

pour all over some ice cream, your wife, a cracker…

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All Things for Face Holes

Hellllooooooo! Well, here we are! Another Sunday Sweet! This one has a bit of a twist! It’s also my Foodie Gift Guide!

But first….the great and powerful Oz Carla Birnberg posted a link today that is a ranking of the most stressed zips by rank. Unsurprisingly, my neighborhood falls in the top two thousand. Strangely enough, just a few zips over in crunchy munchy Park Slope, Brooklyn, the rank zips past 15k. *to give you an idea, The Squid and the Whale is set in the Slope. My only conclusion about why they’re so much less stressed is that THEY LIVE IN A DEN OF LIES.

They don’t have thrones in the hippie commune.

Seriously. I love the restaurants in the neighborhood, and (here’s where I’m going to sound like a racist making excuses) some of my best friends live there!! But seriously, any neighborhood known for breaking into damn near hysterics over not being able to bring a baby to a bar *this is a thing that happened* is not without stress. I bet, if you started a discussion with any number of people at their gigantic food coop, they’d tell you how their children only drink organic, non-gmo milk that they themselves hand wrung from only the most precious of hemp nipples from Narnia.

and I am NOT A HEMP!! THAT’S NOT MY NIPPLE!! oh wait…I think…YES WRING ME! YES!

 

Moving on! ooooooosaahhhhhh. Ok! First, gifts, then LIFE CHANGING COOKIES!

foodie gift guide

 

First! Gifts for people who like to make the food they stuff in their face holes. Click on pic for link to buy. I get zilcho money for this, so feel free to buy wherever you so choose. SUPPORT LOCAL!

THIS

I’m all mixed up about you.

This mixer is a BEAST for the home. Unlike other mixers (which shall remain nameless) this one doesn’t choke at a loaf of challah with 8 cups of flour. It whips eggs like the scads of women who read 50 Shades whip their husbands. Whip-chhhhh (sound effects!) Mr Gray (mixer) will see you now.

Is it getting hot in here? Or is it just me?

THERMOMETER GUN. These things are just cool…(bad pun alert!) I am tempted to take mine around rehearsal and check for fever before I have to kiss anyone. Or maybe their temperature is elevated because I make them SO HOT. yeah, doubtful. YOU HAVE THE FLU, AND YOU HAVE THE FLU!!

Can I see your lil’ smokie?

I love love love bacon. You love love love bacon. We all love bacon. Let’s make it ourselves. Add in some lox, a little schmear, and you have the least kosher bagel toppings ever. Tastes like sin….mmmm.

 

You can’t construct a rebellion without cookies.

NEXT! Winos. If they hate what you buy them, at least they’re too drunk to care.

Betty White is a superhero.
red wine and humans have one thing in common: the need to breathe.

A decanter for red wine. It really does enhance the flavor of the wine to let it breathe. Try it.

unbreakable…like my black soul.

Seriously, you need shatterproof wine glasses in your life for your longer evenings.

This one. THIS RED.

This wine. This exact one. Buy it. Put it in that there decanter. Then in your unbreakable glass, because you’ll (I mean they’ll) finish the bottle in one sitting. I will forever love Caitlin for introducing me to wine at my front door. One bottle of this and a night with the man, and a Wes Anderson movie, and I forget I live in one of the top two-thousand most-stressed zip codes.

I hear wine helps.

NEXT UP! Gifts for people who just like to stuff their face holes.

this is so true.

First?

I LOVE AND ADORE these brownies. They just happen to be available by mail. Because encouraging others to eat their feelings is healthy. When I was pregnant with the Captain, I had TWO PER WEEK. The shop girl also did NOT give me dirty looks when I didn’t ask for decaf. (ONE CUP A DAY IS FOINE!) Wonder if she gave me unleaded, anyway?

Because, when you eat your feelings, maybe you should be healthy.

This is, no lie, the best granola you’ll ever buy. It’s fecking amazing. The Peanut ate an entire bag IN ONE DAY. My Peanut, who IS THE PICKIEST EATER KNOWN TO HUMANKIND. Yeah. She poured it on yogurt, with coconut milk, homegirl crunched it onto her “bwead butta samich,” everything. SO GOOD.

 

pouring over the details….of how I wake up.

Ok, honestly, I know I’ve talked about my favorite thing ever, shirtless coffeepreviously on my blog. So you know, the man and I use a French Press. HOWEVER, recently, I discovered Chemex coffee, and I am trying to get the man to convert to this on weekends, holidays, and birthdays. (we allll know how accommodating women are to their husbands on these days!! wink wink) Tis only fair!

And now for the delicious and amazing and life changing cookies! I MADE OATMEAL SCOTCHIES THAT DON’T GO FLAT AND RETAIN A SOFT CENTER. Much like myself.

Oh, who am I kidding, my innards are like granite.

Soft Oatmeal Scotchies.

soft oatmeal scotchies
soft oatmeal scotchiessoft oatmeal scotchiessoft oatmeal scotchies

 

Soft Oatmeal Scotchies

by Cat Bowen

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 9-10 minutes

Keywords: bake appetizer breakfast dessert snack cookie

Ingredients (3 dozen cookies)

  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 box (not family sized) vanilla or butterscotch cook and serve pudding mix
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1, 12 oz bag of butterscotch chips

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350F

cream butter and sugar

add vanilla and eggs

sift together dry ingredients and toss the butterscotch chips in the mix

stir in a bit of the dry mix into the wet a spoonful or two at a time.

drop into 1- 1 1/2 tbsp mounds onto a lined cookie sheet 1″ apart

bake for 8-10 minutes, the bottoms will be just turning brown.

let cool on sheet for 3 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

store in airtight container.

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XOXO Noodles You’ll Love Long Time.

As I type this post, I am in my room with a glass of red wine, hiding from the terror that lurks in my living room. Christmas Classics is playing on tv. Along with my fear of miniatures, I also can’t take claymation. (or dark libraries, the eighth floor of Macy’s, people with Dutch accents, … Read more…