Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Duplicity (Book Review)

Cover from Goodreads

First, I need to say that if you have not yet read Entangled, then you need to do so, now! Because you seriously don't know what you are missing with this series. I will do the best that I can to not give away any spoilers but I can honestly say it is going to be hard and I am sure that I will bite my tongue a time or two; or in this case will hit delete a lot!

Having overcome sharing a body with her twin sister Charlene and finally getting the guy, Gray is struck with multiple problems at once, one in which is a duplicate of herself and it couldn't have happened at a worse time. She is still exploring her relationship with Raj, the super cute bad boy warlock, and trying to get her life back to a certain level of normalcy.

When the towns witches and warlocks are suddenly hit with problems they begin to investigate an incident from a year ago that directly involves Gray. Bringing with it, things that she would much rather forget. As she fights for Raj, the magic of her town and herself; Gray makes a decision that will change everything.

My Review: 5-Must Devour

Let me just say that I am a huge fan of this series and in a world where witchcraft often plays second fiddle to vampires, I think Nikki Jefford does a great job reminding everyone why witches should not be messed with!

When I first read Entangled I fell instantly in love with Raj, the cocky, rebel, bad boy warlock; Gray the strong willed lead character who absolutely refused to go down without a fight, and of course Charlene the bad twin, wicked sister, and cunning little witch. (I can honestly say that all of these characters will eventually make an appearance in my character time. Because there is simply not enough time in a review to give these characters justice). After clearly forming my alliances in the first book throwing in a duplicate Gray, really had me second guessing my allegiance. But I am glad to say that my original choice stood victorious causing me to do a happy dance. (Glad there were no cameras around!)

Picking up right where the first one left off the pace of the story cleverly keeps you under its spell. And as the story unfolded I found myself yelling at Gray, duplicate Gray and even my personal favorite Raj, as they crossed lines that I so did not want them to cross. (This is one of those moments where I hit delete a lot!). I laughed, I cheered and dare I say it I even shed a tear. (Don't laugh at my rhyming, it was not intentional, but I've decided it sounds good). And once all was said and done I found that even though there was no actual cliffhanger I had more questions than answers. So naturally I can't wait to get my hands on Enchantment!

Synopsis from Goodreads:

If Graylee Perez thought sharing a body with her twin sister was bad, dealing with a duplicate of herself is two times worse. Gray the second doesn’t seem to get that Lee’s boyfriend, Raj McKenna, is off limits. Then there’s the problem of Adrian Montez. He expects one of the Grays to be his.

Nearly a year later, the council is onto them for past misdeeds; Lee, along with the rest of the coven, has lost control of her powers; and Gray is being stalked by what looks like the Grim Reaper.

If they work together, they may stand a chance of setting things right and making it out alive.

So, what are you waiting for? Go out and buy the book!!
Helpful links: GoodreadsNikki JeffordAmazonBarnes and Noble

Monday, October 29, 2012

Books I can't wait to Devour!!!!

By now you all know that I love books. I love them so much that I give up sleep just to read them. And naturally there are quite a few books that I just can't wait to get my little hands on and devour! So without further ado here is a quick list of my absolute must have's, my most anticipated, my must devour's! Unfortunately I will have to wait a little while to get my hands on any of these fantastic books, but I am sure they will be worth the wait!!

First there is book #3 in the Protector Series, Release. And if you haven't figured it out yet, I have been dying to read this book for what feels like F.O.R.E.V.E.R! Okay, it hasn't actually been that long, but when you are in love with a series and you have to wait for the next one to be released it can feel like a lifetime. And I am very happy to say that I am going to be participating in the blog tour for this lovely little book, which will include an interview with the awesome and very down-to-earth author, M.R. Merrick.

So why am I excited to devour this book? Let me just say that if you haven't discovered this series yet, then you are missing out on a wonderful and creative spin on the world of demons. Plus there are demon hunters....that says it all!
Picture & Synopsis from Goodreads:
After uniting the shifters and calling in reinforcements, Chase has to face his toughest challenge yet: learning to control his emotions. But as tensions rise and his powers grow, controlling his emotions becomes the least of his problems.

Terrorized by a multi-shifter who is hell-bent on turning him, Chase questions just how far he’s willing to go to stop his father. Meanwhile, Tiki’s virtuous nature has placed him in the middle of Vincent’s past, leaving Chase to oppose a senate of vampires and defend a demon he hates.

Trying to balance his friends, his enemies, and his inner demons, Chase is left searching for answers about the Mark, his destiny, and where he can find the next soul piece. Stopping Riley is his top priority, but as more obstacles arise, he finds himself doubting all the decisions he’s made - especially regarding Rayna.

One thing is for certain: Chase has finally realized that he doesn't know anything. The light doesn't always quell the darkness, the monsters don’t always stay in the shadows, and the past doesn't always stay in the past - sometimes, the demons inside are the hardest to fight.

The day that the world will be blessed with this book: December 10, 2012. Make sure to add this to your Devour Pile: Goodreads

Second is the long awaited final installment in the Spellbound Series by Nikki Jefford! For me this is  both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because I will get to read what is sure to be an exciting conclusion to what has been an exciting and magical journey. But it will also be a curse because then I will have to say goodbye to some characters that I very much love like Gray and Raj. The release date for this great read is currently TBA. I will update you when a date has been determined.
Picture and Synopsis from Goodreads:
In the third and final installment of the Spellbound series, Graylee Perez (the duplicate), goes to Spain for a summer of escape. There she meets new friends and comes face to face with her old adversary, Adrian Montez.

When Gray tries to setup a spell that will banish Adrian from her life, she inadvertently falls under a love spell instead.

Charlene returns, having hijacked a new body, for one final battle 
between the twins. 

Add it to your Devour Pile: Goodreads

Third is volume 1 in Nikki Jefford's new Vampire Hunter Series, Aurora Sky. The reason I am excited about this one: well can I say vampires? I love vampires and equally love those that hunt them. I can't wait to see Nikki Jefford's take on the vampire hunter and see her spin on the vampire. Look for this on November 27, 2012.
Picture and Synopsis from Goodreads:
Her blood is toxic to vampires.

If there is one thing eighteen-year-old Aurora Sky wants, it’s to get off the iceberg she calls home. Being kissed before she graduates wouldn't hurt either.

Then a near-fatal car wreck changes everything. Secret agents step in and save Aurora’s life in exchange for her services as a vampire hunter. In Alaska.

Basically she’s a glorified chew toy. All thanks to her rare blood type, which sends a vampire into temporary paralysis right before she has to finish the job… by hand.

Aurora is alienating friends at school while attracting attention from the last person she wants noticing her – the dark prince of temptation himself: Fane Donado. And that can’t lead to anything good.

Make sure to add this to your Devour Pile: Goodreads

And Last, but certainly not least is the 3rd installment in the Psion Series by Jacob Gowans. If you like action, you like video games and what might be some romance then this is the series for you! If this book is as action packed as the first two than you won't want to miss it, I know I won't. Unfortunately, the release date is TBA and there is currently no synopsis or cover for this book. But as soon as there is one, I will be sure to post it!!

So, there you have, my must devours. I am drooling just thinking about them! Hopefully my hunger will be quenched by the end of the year with all these sure to be great reads!! Tell me about your must devour's.

I originally saw the idea for a reading pile on the blog Fiktshun, but have tried to cater things to me and my blog

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Southwest Chicken Jalapeno Cheddar Wrap w/Creamy Avocado Ranch and Cilantro Pesto

Okay, so the other night I came up with this idea for an avocado, ranch cream cheese spread and I couldn't get it out of my head. The problem: it was already after 1 a.m., and though I sleep little I do need some sleep to function and not be a total B all day. So I had to file the thought away for the following day. Problem 2: the idea taunted me in my sleep. Avocados dressed in cream cheese danced through my dreams. Okay, so maybe not quite so literal, but either way, I woke up thinking about that spread. So naturally I decided that we were going to have it for dinner. Here comes problem 3: I had absolutely no idea what to use the spread on. Lucky for me, it was only 8 or 9 in the morning so I still had time to come up with one.

As the day went on the spread continued to beckon me, daring me to make it, and make it with chicken. I answered that call, and decided what better way to enjoy a spread than on a sandwich? But then I thought, ooohhh, what about a wrap? And with that idea I was at the store where I purchased jalapeno cheddar wraps, I know sounds awesome right?! Well they are!

Upon my arrival home I realized I still hadn't decided what to do with the chicken. I mean, you can't just have plain chicken. Cause that would be boring, and boring sucks! And then it hit me! A marinade. And not just any marinade, a marinade with jalapeno juice, lemon juice, garlic, and fajita seasoning. It was good, trust me! While the chicken was marinating I decided that I really wanted to make this cilantro pesto that I had made about a month ago. Although I wasn't sure how I was going to use it, I just knew that I had to make it. The idea for how to use it would come to me later.

And it did! Once I was done making the pesto I decided to add some of it to the spread I had been dreaming about and use the leftover to baste the chicken with.

Just looking at this picture helps me remember how that chicken tasted! *Wipe your mouth, you have a little drool*

So, anyways, once everything was done and I was certain I had reached the trifecta I set about making the wraps, and this is what they looked like.


1/4 cup jalapeno juice
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
2 Tbsp. fajita seasoning
1/4 cup lemon juice
4 chicken breasts

This one is easy, just put all the ingredients in a gallon size bag and shake it to ensure that all the chicken is coated. Place in the fridge and marinade for at least 30 minutes, but the longer you marinade it the more the flavor will infuse into the chicken. Once chicken is done marinating, grill chicken until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees, baste with pesto for the last 5 minutes of cooking. Let chicken cool 5 to 10 minutes then slice, into strips.

Cilantro Pesto:
2 cups cilantro
1/2 Tbsp. minced garlic
1/4 cup chopped jalapenos (can be fresh or jarred)
1/8 cup chopped pecans
3 Tbsp. olive oil
3 Tbsp. lime juice

In food processor or blender blend together cilantro, garlic, jalapenos, pecans and lime juice. After most of the ingredients are chopped and a paste is forming drizzle in the olive oil, best if drizzled in while blender or processor is on. Should be thick but it should still flow off a spoon.

1 8oz. pacakage cream cheese softened
1/ 2 avocado
1 Tbsp. ranch powder
3 Tbsp. cilantro pesto

In a mixer, I have a stand mixer, but you can use a hand mixer if you don't have one; cream the cream cheese and then add avocado, mix until combined. Then incorporate the ranch powder. Mix in the pesto until combined.

To make the wraps first heat up the wrap in skillet or microwave according to instructions on package. Once wrap is heated spread about a tablespoon of the spread in the middle of the wrap, then place a piece or two of romaine lettuce, some sliced red onion, and a couple slices of tomato, followed by the chicken, then top it off with a slice of pepper jack or provolone cheese. (Of course you can use any cheese you want, but I prefer these.) Then wrap! It really is that easy!

But that leads me to my final problem. Problem 4: I can't think of a name for this recipe to save my life!

So here is your challenge: Help me name this recipe by leaving your recipe title in the comments, or vote for one by stating your choice in the comment section below, make sure to leave your name so I know who to give credit to! Or you can go to my Facebook page and vote there: Random Thoughts and Weirdness Facebook, contest closes November 4th at 5pm Mountain time. 
The winner will get recognition on the blog and Facebook!

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Modified (Book Review)

Synopsis from Goodreads:

What would you sacrifice to save the one’s you love? To save the one who holds your heart? To save the world?

Kenley Grayson is all too familiar with these questions.

After Earth is thrust into its first intergalactic war with an unknown race called the Bringers, our military forces begin to suffer heavy losses. Desperate for a solution, the Allied Federation issues a worldwide draft for every able seventeen year old to enlist. As Kenley turns seventeen, she finds herself thrown into the very war that took her older brother’s life.

This year’s draft is a little different than in the past though. A new program, known as the Magnus Project, has been introduced, and only the best and brightest qualify. Kenley is amongst a select few whom are chosen to join this elite group of soldiers, and as a part of this project, undergoes a modification procedure that leaves her and her peers endowed with powers beyond their wildest dreams.

As Earth continues in its struggle against the Bringers, Kenley is transported to a high-tech training facility, the Magnus Academy, to prepare for the major battle that lies ahead. It’s here that she meets the California heartthrob, and son of a legendary war hero, Landon Shaw. As unexpected feelings toward Landon begin to develop, Kenley wonders if this is the right time or place for romance to bloom, especially when those feelings start to interfere with her training.

With the weight of the world on her shoulders, Kenley is constantly reminded of how important she and the rest of the Magnus cadets are to the fate of humanity. She is one of the Modified, Earth’s last line of defense against utter destruction

My Review: 4-Delectable

I was truly excited to read this book. I am a huge fan of the Childe Series by C.A. Kunz and love their talent for storytelling, so of course I had to give this book a try. 

Earth is at war. And so a worldwide draft has been issued. Having lost her brother 2 years earlier to the same war Kenley vows to do anything to avenge her brothers death. Even if it means biological mutation. In order to learn to harness her powers Kenley will travel to the Magnus Academy where she meets Landon Shaw and her world is forever changed. As you follow Kenley's tale you get to be with her every step of the way. From the modification process, to her training, all the way to her division assignment. As she learns what it means to Modified and a soldier for the Allied Federation. Kenley is determined to prove that she deserves to be among the elite and that she can handle any situation thrown her way. With her friends at her side she discovers a shocking truth that alters her world forever. 

Though this book has a few editing errors, the story of Kenley and her friends keeps you engrossed to the end and leaves you asking what will happen next? 

I loved the story and I loved the action, but I really wish I could have seen more of Kenley's training in each of the division's. I found the moments where the recruits actually got to use their powers my absolute favorites and wish that there were more of them. But every story has to start somewhere. I am sure that more action will come in the sequel, especially after the way it ended. Which I just loved! This book is full of completely magical moments, so go out and read the book!

Favorite Character Moment:
"Kenley, it doesn't matter how you got here. You've proven yourself time and time again. You've got nothing to be ashamed of. Besides, if you never would've come, we wouldn't be sharing this moment right here," (Kindle, loc. 2262).

Helpful Links: GoodreadsAmazonC.A. Kunz

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Rant of a 3 year old

This is an example of what a typical trip to a store is like for me with my youngest son. Don't mind the misspelled words, I am trying to portray how my son pronounces words.

Me: "Pip, do you want to go shopping?"
Scott: "Yay, we go shopping!" *jumping up and down and clapping*
Me: "Okay, let's go."

On the drive over Scott constantly asks, "Mom, what's that?" *pointing*

Me: "I don't know sweetie, I can't see what you are pointing at because I am driving."

Pull up to Wal-Mart

Scott: "Not Wal-Mart, I hate Wal-Mart I want go shopping." *pouting*
Me: "We are going shopping."

On the way into the store he notices the McDonald's sign.

Scott: "MeDonald's mom?"
Me: "Maybe."

Enter the store.

Scott: "No cart." *shaking hand at carts*
Me: "You don't have to sit in the cart bud."
Scott: "Yay!"

As we walk by the McDonald's

Scott: "Mom, I hungwy."
Me: "I know sweetie, maybe after we're done shopping."
Scott: "Awww, I hate shopping, want MeDonald's." *sticks out bottom lip and pounds fists at his side*
Me: "Sorry but we need to go shopping first."
Scott: "Mommy, no say sorry. I want MeDonald's." *shaking his hand at me*
Me: "But I am sorry. First let's pick up the candy we need."
Scott: "No canny, I hate canny." *folds arms across his chest*

We go down the candy isle and pick up a big bag of candy for Halloween. As we are leaving.

Scott: "No big canny, I want little canny."

And the process starts all over....I have to admit there is never a dull moment with my son around. Every time he pouts I just want to laugh.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Flight From Blithmore Book Review

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Henry Vestin is neither a fearless adventurer nor a daring swordsman, he’s a master carpenter who only wants to marry Isabelle Oslan. Isabelle's father, however, will stop at nothing to prevent their marriage. When her father's plotting attracts the interest of a king and an emperor, Henry mounts a heroic rescue which makes himself, Isabelle, and their friends the most wanted criminals in the land of Blithmore. Embarking on a daunting journey to flee his country and escape execution, Henry discovers he must become more than a carpenter. He must learn to lead when friendships are tested, to have strength when spirits are broken, and to press onward when he has nothing left but love.

FLIGHT FROM BLITHMORE is the first volume of THE STORYTELLER'S TALE, an epic adventure series about bravery and cowardice, loyalty and betrayal, escapes, battles, and lots of mayhem.

My Review: 5-Must Devour

First I want to thank author C.A. Kunz for this book. I won this book through one of their giveaways!

I will admit, that I was a little apprehensive to read this book, despite having loved Jacob Gowans other 2 books. This book is very different from his other two books, but I knew that I would read it one day. And now that I have, I can honestly say that I wish I had read it sooner. The writing in this book proved to be as good as his other books with the story wrapping around me like a cocoon. And I very much wanted to stay in that cocoon until I finished the book.

This is a story of true love. And the lengths and depths that one will go to be with their one and only. I am a hopeless romantic and absolutely go all sappy for this kind of story, but usually in a movie; this is not usually my type of book, but I was pleasantly surprised with how easy I attached myself to the characters. There are plenty of characters to love and characters to hate, and of course those you love to hate. 

In a time where noble's marry noble's, a young master carpenter, Henry, and Isabelle the daughter of a nobleman push the limits of this rule with her father; a money hungry nobleman. But her father will do anything to keep them apart. And I mean anything. (Can't tell you what that is, so don't ask). But Henry and his best friend Ruther have a plan. A plan that makes them and those loyal to their cause the most wanted people by both a king and an emperor. 

In a tale where love and friendships are tested, lines are drawn and battles fought you will find yourself lost in their story and loyal to their plight. 

Favorite Character Moment:
This moment does not come from my favorite character, but it is one of the best character growths I have ever read. Once you read it you will understand :)

"Now was the moment Brandol had prepared himself for since seeing the dog. Of all things Ruther had taught him, one thing stuck in Brandol's mind: "Never stop performing."" (Kindle, p. 379)

Links to find Flight From Blithmore:

Sunday, October 21, 2012

BBQ Shredded Pork Sandwiches

One of my new favorite things is BBQ shredded pork. But I never liked the idea of cooking a pork butt all day and having it not even turn out tender. I prefer something much simpler. That's why I used pork steaks. The first time I created this recipe I was feeling rather lazy. I don't remember how I cam up with the idea, but  I am glad that I did. The first time I made it of course I didn't write anything down, so when I made it the second time I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to replicate it. This time I made sure to write it down.

As you can see from the picture this recipe is not your typical "sauce" smothered recipe. But rather a vinegar based BBQ from the likes of North Carolina. But I assure you it tastes great! 

BBQ Shredded Pork
Yields: 10-12 sandwiches

4 Pork Steaks
1 Tbsp. Fajita Seasoning
1 Tbsp. Black Pepper
1 Tbsp. Lemon Pepper
1/2 Cup A1 Sauce
1 Cup BBQ (I use Sweet Baby Ray's....cause its the best!)
1 Tbsp. Minced Garlic
2 1/2 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1 1/2 Cup Chicken Broth

In a large pot place pork steaks and coat with seasonings. Then place the rest of the ingredients over the steaks, cover with a lid and cook on low heat for about 4 hours, or until the bones fall out and make sure to rotate the meat. But the longer the better! Then remove from liquid and shred, or smash, because they are so tender all you have to do it smash the meat with a fork.

Now you can build your sandwich! Oh wait, first you have to make this wonderful coleslaw to go on top! 

I normally don't like coleslaw, okay I normally hate coleslaw, but this coleslaw is the BOMB! Seriously! I mean come on it has bacon, and we all know that bacon makes everything better, right? This recipe was my mom's. I don't know exactly where she got it or how she came up with it, but I have never seen or tasted anything like it.

Mom's Wilted Coleslaw

1 Small bag of coleslaw mix (I forgot to pay attention to the ounces, but really you can eyeball this one!)
1/4 Cup French Dressing
1/2 Small red onion thinly sliced and cut in half
3 Slices of crispy bacon crumbled
1 Tbsp. Bacon Grease (yes I said grease)

In a medium size bowl mix together the first 4 ingredients. Before serving pour your hot bacon grease over the coleslaw and toss! Really it is as easy as that. Not really sure how else to explain it. Just throw it all in a bowl!

Tip: When making the sandwich I like to add some of the liquid used to cook the meat in. Adds a little extra zing to the sandwich. You can also top with your favorite BBQ sauce, mine is Sweet Baby Rays. Now go out and build that sandwich!!


In the Woods (Book Review)

Synopsis: Goodreads

As dusk approaches a small Dublin suburb in the summer of 1984, mothers begin to call their children home. But on this warm evening, three children do not return from the dark and silent woods. When the police arrive, they find only one of the children gripping a tree trunk in terror, wearing blood-filled sneakers, and unable to recall a single detail of the previous hours. 

Twenty years later, the found boy, Rob Ryan, is a detective on the Dublin Murder Squad and keeps his past a secret. But when a twelve-year-old girl is found murdered in the same woods, he and Detective Cassie Maddox—his partner and closest friend—find themselves investigating a case chillingly similar to the previous unsolved mystery. Now, with only snippets of long-buried memories to guide him, Ryan has the chance to uncover both the mystery of the case before him and that of his own shadowy past.

My Review: 1- Think Twice!

I love suspense novels and the detective story and I thought that I would really like this one after reading the synopsis. Every time I was at a bookstore I would see this book, being drawn by the very cool cover, and I would read the synopsis and think, I should read this book. But something always kept me from actually buying it. Until one day I was in our cities second hand book store and found it on the shelf. I decided then and there that I must be destined to read this book. So I bought it.

Three kids go into the woods, when they are late coming home police are contacted and searchers begin searching the woods. What they discover is a lone boy hugging a tree with blood-filled shoes. He remembers nothing and the other two are never found. Now, twenty years later he is a detective who is trying to solve the murder of a child who was found in the very same woods he was found in. Forced to go back to his hometown and what could possibly be his memories he and his partner hope to uncover the killer from this murder and the disappearance of his friends over twenty years ago.

Sounds like a good story right? I admit the synopsis had me, but I was completely let down by the story. First of all I didn't really feel any connection to the characters, though there were moments when I genuinely liked them, they were easily forgotten. I like books that draw me in with their characters and leave me thinking about them long after I am done reading the book. Second, I was not fond of the way the story was told. It was hard to tell if the story was being told from Detective Ryan's memory or if you were actually living it with him. The thing that really bothered me about this is the fact that by flip flopping back and forth, details of the story were often told before they actually happened. Completely ruining it for me. I mean why do I need to keep reading when you already told me what happened? Third, the story was way too long, drawn out and boring. 

I love to read and fancy myself a quick reader, but during the time in which I was reading this book I kept finding excuses as to why I couldn't read the book. In fact I read three other books in the time it took me to finish this one. I dreaded reading this book like I dread reading my textbooks. But I forced myself to finish it, I mean I was destined to read it, right? Even though I did not enjoy the story I did enjoy the way the two main characters interacted, their relationship was probably the only thing I enjoyed about the book. Well at least I took a risk and gave it a try.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

"Shift" your Perception (Shift Book Review)

First of all, if I haven't convinced you yet to go out and buy Exiled the first book in the Protector Series, then you need to seriously get off your duff and read it already because let me just tell you that you. are. missing. out!

Synopsis (Goodreads):

Devastated by a terrible loss, Chase is trying to balance the life he’s been left with, a family he’s still getting to know, and power he never thought he’d have. He doesn’t understand why the Goddess has named him the Protector and granted him two gifts: the Mark, a tattoo that now covers his back, and the ring. But between getting interrogated by the Circle and psychic attacks from Riley, the Mark is the least of his concern. There’s a demon inside Rayna that’s fighting to be released, and it’s not her inner witch. It’s something else—a monster threatening to tear her apart.

As Chase struggles to control his magic, his enemies are closing in. Everyone has staked a claim on his ring, and destroying it may be his only chance to stop Riley. But Chase must decide if stopping him is worth risking the lives of everyone he cares about, or if protecting the ring will be enough to save his world.

My Review: 5-Must Devour!

Where do I being with this book? First let me mention the cover. I absolutely love M.R. Merrick's covers. And this one is no different! The lone doorway with earth's forest on one side, (with a panther amongst the trees) and a watery forest on the other, beckons you through fire to the desolate land with dark skies and funnels of air barring down. The cover teases you with the story that rages inside!

Now to say that this story was a whirlwind adventure would be the understatement of the year! Once this story has you in its clutches it never lets you go. 

Everything has changed for Chase since his 15th birthday when he was denied the power he thought he would have and exiled from the world he had always known. Hunted for years as a trophy for the underworld, Chase found friends in unlikely places and he swore to protect the innocent. Now he has power that even he doesn't know he has and struggles to control the elements raging inside him. While fighting with the loss of the only family member he had left. Blaming himself and others (won't say who, you will have to read to find out), his emotions grow out of control along with his elements. You can't help but feel for him as trials are thrown at him faster than he can blink and you wonder how is he still standing? 

But he isn't the only thing that is out of control. Rayna the hunter/witch/ ? has to deal with the part of her that she would rather just bury. Willy too goes through a tremendous amount of growth quickly becoming one of my favorite characters. 

From the character development, the action, and the new characters this world that M.R. Merrick has created has quickly won my heart and imagination!

Links to help you find Shift:
GoodreadsAmazon M.R. MerrickBarnes and NobleSmashwords

Favorite Character Moment: I have a few, but most are spoilers so here are the ones I am going to share!

Chase-"But most days, I'm lost. I spend more time trying to keep myself in check and my elements under control that I forget about everyone around me. I let my emotions rule me, and more often than not, they get in my way" (kindle, p. 171-172).

Chase-"Yes, I'm a hunter, but I don't fight with him or the Circle. I fight on my own side" (kindle, p. 214-215).

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Exiled (Book Review)

When I first discovered Exiled, I was in one of my lull's in reading. I was bored and disappointed in everything that I had picked up. What I wanted was something to spark my excitement, put me on the edge of my seat and give me characters I could laugh with, yell at, route for and get lost in. And that is exactly what I found in Exiled.

Chase Williams is a demon hunter in the Circle, or at least he was supposed to be. On his fifteenth birthday, Chase stepped up to the altar to claim his elemental power, but it never came. Elemental magic is passed down to a hunter through the bloodline, but on Chase's birthday, the bloodline stopped.

Exiled without the Circle's protection, Chase has spent two years trying to survive a world riddled with half-demons and magic. When he has a run in with a frightened and seemingly innocent demon, he learns the Circle's agenda has changed: the Circle plans to unlock a portal and unleash pure-blood demons into the world. Vowing to stop them, and knowing he can't do it alone, Chase forms a reluctant alliance with Rayna — a sexy witch with an attitude and a secret.
(Synopsis from Goodreads).

My Review: 5-Must Devour!!

I first discovered this book while cruising through hundreds of books on my Kindle when I was immediately drawn in by this cover, of a desolate tree with fire and water battling for control of the barren wasteland. And I immediately knew that I had to know this story.

From the minute I picked up Exiled, I was captivated and I instantly fell in love with Chase the stubborn and sarcastic demon hunter who was exiled from the only world he had ever known and robbed of the only thing that he had ever dreamed of being. He is thrown into this world where suddenly he is the hunted and he realizes that things are not always black and white. His beliefs are tested and he begins to question everything he was ever taught. 

Everything about this book had me enchanted. From M.R. Merrick's incredible characters-both good and bad, to his descriptions of elemental magic allowing me the chance to imagine what it would feel like to control the elements; to his action sequences and fight scenes that really made you feel like you were a part of the story; and to the unique worlds they all travel. I loved everything about this book and I finished it in a matter of hours. 

It has been almost eight months since my original review of Exiled on Amazon. And I knew that before I wrote the review for my blog that I would have to read the book again, in order to give it true justice. I have now read Exiled 4 times!! It is that good! It is one of the few books I recommend to people when they ask me what they should read. Now you just need to take me up on the recommendation and go out and read it! 

Here are some links that will help you do just that! It is currently free to borrow for Amazon Prime Members!
GoodreadsM.R. MerrickAmazon (Exiled)Barnes and NobleSmashwords

Character Moment:Usually when I do a review of a book I like to include my favorite character moment. That one moment that encompasses everything I love about that character. Of course there are many in this book, in fact entire chapters. However, my true favorite moment I cannot share here because unfortunately it contains spoilers! :( Sad, I know, but I will tell you the location of my favorite character moment so that you can go out and find it is the last paragraph of the book, ebook page 280-281.

But I will include a few of my other favorites...........

"I raised my eyebrows. Were they really talking about how cute I was when I got mad? Talk about taking the wind out of my sail! I wanted to say 'It's not cute, it's very manly!' but I didn't think either of them would appreciate that." (ebook, page 157).

"I ran to the door and pulled it open. I didn't stop for the elevator and hopped the railing without thinking. I soared down until my feet hit the concrete, which made a loud crack as my body made impact. The floor sank lower and the cement cracked in different directions. Dust and small rocks whirled around me and I hadn't realized how high the second floor was until that moment. It surprised even me that I wasn't hurt." (ebook, p. 193-194).  *Of course this chapter was one of my absolute favs!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Pet Reflection

Currently I have one cat and one dog, both a little on the eccentric side. And that got me thinking about all the animals I have owned over my lifetime and I realized that all my animals were a little strange, weird, crazy or psychotic.

For instance when I was in high school I had this orange and white tabby cat named TJ. Oh sure at first glance he seemed like a perfectly normal cat. But that seemingly normal cat changed into a deranged cat whenever the wind seemed to blow. And if you knew where I lived in high school you would understand that the wind always blew. So my cat was always deranged. He would run from one side of the house to the other, literally bouncing off walls, he would growl and hiss at guys (any guys) who entered his home, he would play tag with me through the house as well as play fetch. But the thing that marked him as deranged the most was the fact that he would attack my hand whenever I made my hand into a claw. All I would have to do is show him my claw like hand and he would transform from lovable tame cat to psychotic, deranged hunter in the blink of an eye. Instantly his ears would flatten against his skull, his tail swishing back and forth, a low growl escaping his mouth, he would hunker down on his haunches and spring up wrapping his paws around my wrist, grabbing a hold of that little space between my thumb and index finger with his mouth. Once his grasp was firm I could literally carry him around the house. And he would do this every. single. time.

The strangest dog I ever owned was this mutt named Padfoot. Now Padfoot was a beautiful dog, but not bright. Before I tell you about his crazy antics let me tell you a thing or two about his breeding. Now I know I said he was a mutt, but the only reason I call him that is because we don't know what breed of dog his father was. However, his mother was a pure bred miniature German Shepard. The original owners thought the father was a Pomeranian, but after owning the dog for three years I can safely say that there is no way he was part Pomeranian, Greyhound or Coyote maybe, but definitely not Pomeranian. Allow me to state my case......

Padfoot was built like a Greyhound and whenever you would let him outside he would proceed to run around the backyard in circles. Fast and over and over and over. Hence the reason we speculated whether or not he was related to a Greyhound. Now I know this doesn't seem all that strange, but please bear with me. It get's stranger. At the time we owned Padfoot my husband was an Electrician, working outside and inside non-air conditioned buildings, sweating his butt off. Whenever my husband came home my dog would wait for him by the door. And as soon as my husband entered the house Padfoot would proceed to jump all over him. The first thing my husband liked to do when he came home was shower. While my husband would be taking off his shoes Padfoot would proceed to climb on my husbands back and lick his balding head. Cleaning off all his sweat. And he wouldn't stop there. He would then lick my husbands neck and his arms. Never ceasing. My husband would literally have to push him off in order to get up to take a shower. With Padfoot fighting to get back at my husbands sweat covered head and arms. I know gross right?! But it doesn't end there.

Whenever anyone took a shower Padfoot would be mindfully sitting by the bathroom door, waiting and stalking. And as soon as the bathroom door would open he would fly into the room looking for a towel. If you happened to have a towel wrapped around your body he would prance around you like a dog waiting for a treat, following you to the bedroom. Now the minute you stopped moving he would get on his back legs and rub his head on your towel. Doing this over and over until you either moved or took the towel off. Once the towel was removed he would proceed to rub his head, neck and even his side and back all over the towel over and over again cleansing his fur. See, now you think he's strange. And I haven't even told you about how he would howl like a coyote.

Now I have owned many other strange animals, but those are stories for another time! For now I leave with a question to ponder.....are pets a reflection of their owners? Or are owners a reflection of their pets?

In my case I think it is obvious that I too might be a little on the weird side, considering the only thing all my animals had in common was me, their slightly off and totally weird, owner!!

Blog Blurb-Spring Roll Flop

So tonight I had this great idea for dinner. I was going to make Asian beef spring rolls with hamburger. I set out creating my wonderful hamburger Asian masterpiece, it really was impressive. But then it happened. You see I have never used spring roll wrappers before so I didn't know that you should not put all the wrappers in warm water at once. If you do this then they become one mass of wet noodle glop! Now I know you re-hydrate them one wrapper at a time. So, even though I started out with the best of intentions and with a divine specimen of Asian hamburger beef, I none the less have to declare this endeavor a complete and total Epic Fail!!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Harvest Pancakes

I am not a huge fan of pancakes, so when it comes to making pancakes in my house I usually leave that chore to my husband. However, occasionally my excitement to experiment gets the better of me, like last night, and a wonderful creation is born. And that is exactly what happened last night. I didn't feel like cooking and I knew the best way to get out of doing it would be to suggest we have pancakes. Naturally my husband  knew that meant it was his turn to cook dinner. Don't you just love how women manipulate things to their advantage?!

I know I am totally devious! But as soon I made the suggestion to my husband I was struck with the inspiration of taking my pecan caramel sauce from my caramel sticky buns and using them in a pancake. Now this pecan caramel sauce is not originally my own, it came from a recipe in a magazine, but I do not recall the exact amounts required in their recipe only the ingredients. So, I had to recreate it, and let me just say that I had success. The proof's in the picture.

Well, the proof is in the taste too, but you can't taste it here. So you will just have to take my word for it. But really you must try it!

I filled up a gallon size Ziploc bag, using it like a piping bag, and cut a very small portion of one of the corners. I used this to pipe the sauce onto the pancakes once they were in the pan. See picture below.

Now, not liking pancakes like I do I decided that I needed to make these a little more special. So I decided to make a dark apple pie filling to use in place of syrup. In order to make a dark apple pie filling I just used more cinnamon and nutmeg than usual. If you don't like the flavor than I suggest cutting the amounts by half.

When it comes to making the apple pie filling use whatever apples you prefer to use when making apple pie. I prefer apples that are naturally sweet, like Gala or Jonagold. I personally don't like the bitter taste of green apples and the bland taste of red delicious apples. But of course use what you prefer.

Once I chopped the apples I placed them in a sauce pan on medium heat, along with cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, vanilla and brown sugar and cooked them just until tender. There is nothing I like more than the smell of apples and cinnamon, that is probably why I always buy that scent in candles. Anyway, that is neither here or there. But that aroma is exactly why I decided to call these harvest pancakes, because that is what they reminded me of, fall harvest.

And there is nothing I like more on a crisp fall day than curling up on the couch with the warm spices of apple pie. 

Once the apples are done, place them on top of the pancake and eat! No syrup or butter required. Trust me syrup would just ruin it. 

Harvest Pancakes
Yield: 8-10 pancakes

For the pancakes just use whatever pancake batter you desire and make according to directions.

Pecan Caramel
1/2 Cup pecan chips
1/2 Cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 Cup light corn syrup
1/2 Cup butter melted

In a medium bowl combine pecan chips, corn syrup and brown sugar, then stir in melted butter until everything is combined. Place in piping bag and set aside.

Heat skillet over medium heat, spray pan lightly with cooking spray. Then pour batter into desired size of pancakes. Once pancakes have cooked for about 10-15 seconds pipe pecan caramel around the pancake. Then cook like normal.

Dark Apple Pie Topping
2 Apples chopped (I used Gala)
1 Tbsp. Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 Tbsp. vanilla
1/2 Cup firmly packed brown sugar

Place all ingredients in sauce pan over medium heat and cook until apples are tender. Set aside until pancakes are done, then place a pile in the center of the pancake.

Stuff your face and enjoy the feeling of fall :))

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Consequences (The Guardian Trilogy)

Rating: 5-Must Devour

Olivia struggles between fighting her desire to be with her love, the desire for justice and the knowledge that she is different. 

Holden fights to keep his only love by his side, torn between power and what is right, his choices will change everything--for everyone.

And Quintus yearns to be the one whom Olivia runs to but can't shake his guardian loyalties. His role will shift the lives of everyone.

Another intriguing tale of Holden, Quintus and Olivia as Liz takes you on a topsy turvy ride through the inner workings of the guardians and jinni. By the time this book came about I had completely solidified my idea of what I wanted to happen at the end of this book. And happy to say that I was not disappointed. I am happy to say that I would ride these waves again. Liz does a great job further developing her characters, even those newly introduced, never allowing them to become stagnate and always keeping you on your toes. If you are like me and are a hopeless romantic or just like the battle of good versus evil this series is for you and will deliver time and time again.

Favorite Character Moment:
"You're an indelible part of everything in me that's worth having. I won't lose you again, not ever." (ebook, loc. 3244)

"No, I'm serious. I see the way you look at him, and no one could miss the way he looks at you. You aren't fooling anyone but yourselves. Even if it means I'm out a job, I'd like to see you kids defy the odds and beat the system." (ebook, loc. 3128)

Check out Liz Shulte on her website:

Choices (The Guardian Trilogy)

*Spoilers if you have not yet read Secrets.*

Rating: 5-Must Devour

Olivia is back, but she is different. Does she still love Holden? Will she embrace her chance at a second life or will trouble find her again?

Holden does dark deeds to drown his guilt and pain while protecting connections to the one girl he loved and lost.

Quintus charged with being Olivia's mentor, caring for her, wanting to protect her from all that was, but is she the same Olivia? Will his desires blind him to what is really going on? And will he realize it before it is too late?

Again this book was mesmerizing. Once I began reading I couldn't stop until I had devoured every single word and even then I wanted more. Even better than the first. And my suggestion is buy all three books at once so that you can read them one after another, because like me you will want to know what happens. You won't be able to resist the hold the characters have on you as you choose your side in a battle of good versus evil that will leave you questioning what is good and what is evil? I fell even in more in love with her characters and would probably follow them into the depths of hell (in a book of course). This book has it all humor, suspense, love, and action keeping you enthralled well after the story is over.

Favorite Character Moment:
"She chose to live in agony rather than come to me. I let that realization sink in. Olivia truly didn't want to be with me. I would have crossed Heaven, Hell and Earth to be with her, and she couldn't even pick up a phone." (ebook, p. 188)

Secrets (The Guardian Trilogy)

Now I will be the first to admit that I am an emotional reader and I choose to review a book as soon as I've read it while that passion is fresh in my mind. That being said, if I find the book lacking then I allow that passion to settle down before I solidify my review making sure there are sound reasons for such a review.

Rating: 5-Must Devour

Olivia hates being the center of attention, much preferring to blend in with those around her. Only with two mysterious guys taking notice of her in a matter of days that is just what she has become. The center of attention. So who are these mystery men and what do they want with her?

Those are questions that change the course of Olivia's life, changing everything, leaving her questioning at every turn. 

As soon as I opened this book I was hooked.  Immediately the world Liz created took me in its clutches and refused to let me go until the final page. The characters make you choose sides and form attachments before you even understand the full story. This book has it all mystery, the supernatural and a little of what could be love. I am sad I did not discover this book sooner, but am glad that I have now been enlightened. An absolute must read!