Friday, November 30, 2012

Parmesan Chicken Bites

I am a huge fan of Chick Fil-A because well, there chicken nuggets are just incredible! Seriously they are, if you have eaten there then you know what I am talking about. They have to be the juiciest chicken nuggets in existence, but unfortunately I can't afford to eat there that often. You see feeding a family of 7 is rather costly at home let alone when going out to eat. When we take our entire family out for fast food it will cost us up to $40 or more, depending on what we let our children order.

So, that leaves me to find alternatives. The recipe I am going to share with you today is just one of those alternatives. Though they are not Chick Fil-A's yummy chicken nuggets they are just as tender, crunchy and juicy!

Now I usually don't fry much food, but for this recipe I made an exception. Of course you can make these in the oven, just make sure to drizzle the chicken with olive oil or cooking spray so that they brown easier.

Parmesan Chicken Bites                                             
5 Chicken Breasts, cubed
3 Cups Panko Italian Bread Crumbs
1 Tbsp. Kosher Salt
1 1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese (or you could use a blend of Italian cheeses)
3 Eggs
2 Cups Canola Oil for Frying

In large skillet, I prefer non-stick, preheat oil over medium heat. In one gallon size Ziploc bag beat 3 eggs and set aside, in another gallon size bag place panko bread crumbs, salt and Parmesan cheese and mix together, set aside. You don't have to do this in bags, but it makes for easier clean up. Place about 1/4 of the cubed chicken in eggs, coat then place them in the panko bread crumb bag and shake, make sure chicken is coated well. Once oil is hot, you can test this by sprinkling in a pinch of flour or panko if it bubbles the oil is ready; add chicken one at a time, ensuring to leave space between each piece to allow for better cooking. See photo above. Once chicken is golden brown on one side turn. Each side will probably cook for about 3-4 minutes. If you have an internal thermometer this will make your life easier, just cook the chicken until they reach a temperature of about 160 degrees and allow them to rest for about 5 minutes, which will allow them to come up to the proper serving temperature of 165 degrees. Remove from oil and place on cooling rack with paper towels underneath to catch any residual oil. Repeat until all chicken is cooked.


I like mine with fresh lemon juice, so while they are cooling I squirt fresh lemon juice over the chicken. You don't have to do this, but it does add another layer of flavor!

So, what are you cooking?

"Devouring worlds, one book and recipe at a time."





Thursday, November 29, 2012

Aurora Sky by Nikki Jefford (Book Review & Giveaway)

Cover from Goodreads

My Summary                   
A tale of what would seem to be an ordinary girl until a car accident changed everything. While in a coma her life is changed beyond imagination and by no choice of her own. Vowing to save her life, Aurora's mother makes an agreement with the government in exchange for Aurora's services as a vampire hunter. Where she will use her blood as a weapon to bring vampires to their knees.
Now having to come to terms with what she has become Aurora rebels against her family and school expectations and decides to take life by the horns and do things her way.
In her rebellion she rediscovers the school bad boy, who once annoyed and frustrated her to discover that there may be more to him than meets the eye. 

My Review: 5-Must Devour!!!!!

First I want to say thank you to Nikki Jefford for providing me with this ARC. I am a huge fan of her work and was really excited to get to read something new from her. I love what she did with witches and couldn't wait to see what she was going to do with the vampire!

And I am happy to say that I was not disappointed. In most vampire hunter stories the hunter relies on their ability to be able to over power vampires, but Aurora has a different set of skills. Her blood is paralytic and instead of beating vampires into submission until she can get a kill shot, she lures them in with the temptation of her blood. And this little twist blew me away and I never saw it coming. The vampires in this story had a little of what you would expect with that little something special that can only come from Nikki Jefford's mind.

I truly loved this story and devoured it in a matter of hours. I felt an instant love for all the characters in this book. Especially for Aurora who I couldn't help but feel sympathy for as her life was turned upside down and she struggled to accept her new role in life. She was sassy, sarcastic and a true fighter. Then there is Fane the  ruggedly handsome bad boy, but underneath that rough exterior lied the heart of a gentleman.

I laughed out loud, I yelled at the characters (no they didn't answer back, in case you were wondering), enjoyed the action and all the characters. I already can't wait for the next installment in this series as the ending left me with so many questions that I actually kept looking for another chapter!

An absolute must read! If you want a change on the vampire and vampire hunter then make sure to check out Aurora Sky!

Helpful Links: GoodreadsAmazonNikki Jefford

Favorite Character Moment:I have quite a few for this story, so I will give you my top 3.
1-"Now he was everywhere, appearing at my worst moments, like Satan, witnessing my fall from grace" (kindle, loc. 1597).
2-"What's the matter with Dracula? Can't find his cape?" (kindle, loc. 746)
3-"Step two involves lips--yours and mine. The surest way to get over a car phobia is by creating positive associations" (kindle, loc 1818).

                
Enter to win 1 of 2 Autographed Aurora Sky Door hangers!! You know you want one!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Exhale (A Just Breathe Novel #2) by Kendall Grey (Book Review)

Cover from Goodreads
My Summary:
After helping Gavin in the dreaming Zoe still questions the existence of Elementals, despite having tasted their power first hand. And now Zoe discovers that her dream guy is not just a dream, but in fact a reality that she can not afford due to the loyalty she has for her job and her chase of a promotion. But Zoe discovers that her whales are in trouble.
In the wake of becoming the new council leader Gavin finds himself spread thin as he tries to protect Zoe from Scarlet, discover the way to close the door to the dreaming, and how to become all that he needs to be in order to lead the council. But Gavin doesn't know who he can trust. As Scarlet and the Fyres close in Gavin is forced to do something that he will forever regret.  


My Review: 4.5 Delectably Devourable!

Exhale was a wild ride that literally picked up right where Inhale left off and I was immediately swept up in the story.

Though certain things happened as I predicted I am happy to say that there were some definite surprises throughout the story. I love it when a story doesn't reveal itself before the story has played out.

I have always been a huge fan of dreams and elemental magic and I just love how Kendall Grey mixed the two and presented them in a way that I have never seen before. Her creative imagination is expressed in a way that you can't help but feel like you are experiencing everything as the characters do.

And speaking of characters, I absolutely love Gavin. And not necessarily for the reasons that you may think. Yes he is rockstar hot, but I like him because he is not the typical hero that is portrayed in most books. Despite his looks and talent, Gavin is a vulnerable character who has pretty much made himself numb to the world around him. And Zoe is the key to waking him up. He reads cocky and sure but on the inside he is self doubting and afraid of what his future might hold. I really love it when characters are deep and complex and Kendall Grey does an excellent job in this regard.

Every part of me was satisfied as I read this story! It had magic, it has love, it has action and suspense. However I would have loved to seen more magic in this book, like with the first, but I know it is sure to come with the way things ended in this dreamy adventure! Bring on Just Breathe!

Favorite Character Moment:"I couldn't find my soul. But you caught it and brought it back to me." (kindle, loc. 2199).

"Devouring worlds, one book and recipe at a time."

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Joe Vampire by Steven Luna (Book Review)

Synopsis and Cover from Goodreads
Hey, folks. I’m Joe, and I’m a vampire – not by choice, mind you, but by accident…a fate-twisting, fang-creating, blood lust-inducing misunderstanding. It started with a group date, a case of mistaken identity and far too many sake bombers, and ended with a ridiculous set of circumstances that I just can’t seem to wrap my head around.

Maybe you can tell: I’m not real happy about it. But I’m certainly not going to let it get in the way of my life.

So I’ve thrown my ranting into a blog. I’m hanging out my dirty laundry in an effort to explain the real deal about being a card-carrying member of the Undead Elite. Believe me, it’s not all satin capes and naked ladies…none of it is, actually. Instead, it’s just one nasty little surprise after another. The truth bears exposing, and I’m pulling back the curtain on all of it. If I can figure out how to keep it from mowing me over in the process, then that’s groovy, too.

And that thing about vampires sparkling in the sun?

That is a bunch of bull.

My Review: 5-Must Devour

Though this book is not my usual type of book, after reading the synopsis I just couldn't pass it up. I love sarcasm, being highly sarcastic myself, and I love a different take on the vampire. And this book did not disappoint, I was wrapped in a nice fluffy sarcastic blanket from the minute I opened the book until the very end. I loved the idea of a blog dispelling the truths of vampirism, but there was a few things that Joe didn't count on, I can't tell you here though because that would spoil all the fun! And I think that if I ever were to become a vampire I would totally start a blog. Now I know vampires aren't real, but it would be cool non the less. This book was laugh out loud funny and a few times I found myself screaming TMI, but I enjoyed it all the same. This book is very descriptive and I really enjoyed getting inside Joe's head, it is kind of messed up, but still comfortable in a fleece blanket kind of way. Now go out and get your laugh on, go on, go forth and read, read and laugh!

Helpful Links: GoodreadsAmazonBarnes and Noble

Favorite Character Moment:There are many to choose from in this book, but I chose this one because I think it can describe a lot of us!
"You can easily find pieces of all the others in me as a snarky self-deprecating critic, a slightly distant, liberally cursing, sort-of in denial people pleaser just trying to cope with my own stuff" (kindle, loc. 1406).

Friday, November 23, 2012

Newness

Just a quick note...if you haven't noticed I changed the name of my blog. Although I was kind of attached to the old one, it didn't really fit with what I wanted the blog to be. I mean you would have never thought I was a book blog or food blog with a name like Random Thoughts and Weirdness right? Well now I hope that my name can at least hint at what I am about!

In other exciting news......I am hoping to make some design changes in the next 5-6 months so look out for those. I will do a launch celebration when the time comes.

Thanks for following me and let me know what you think of the new name!!


Feature and Follow #3


Hosted by Alison Can Read and Parajunkee a meme that gives you the opportunity to make new friends throughout the blogging community! 

Q: Are you thankful for a fellow blogger? Tell us about him or her.

A: This is a tough one for me. Really I am thankful for all the bloggers out there that I follow because they have all inspired me in some way. But really there are 3 that stand out for me, first is Val at Stuck In Books because she is hosting my very first Blog Tour, for one of my all time favorite series and she has been incredibly helpful throughout it. Second, is non other than our host Parajunkee, not only have I increased my blog following because of her FF, but I have stalked her blogs looking for answers in blogging that I couldn't find anywhere else. I also love Parajunkee because of the amazing sites she designs, I stalk many of them regularly and I am going to put my name of her waiting list so she can revamp my blog into something fab. And last but certainly not least is Rachel at Fiktshun. I have been stalking her blog since I first discovered this wonderful world of book blogging and I am always totally inspired by her words. She gives great advice and seems so down to earth. I love her blog and every random and not so random thing that she writes.

Well there you have it people the blogs I am thankful for! Check them out because they truly are awesome!! Do you have a blogger that you are thankful for? If so, share it with me, I would love to hear from you.

"Devouring worlds one book and recipe at a time."

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

When Inspiration Strikes

Why does it always seem like inspiration strikes at the most inopportune time? You know when you are beyond exhaustion and just dozing off to sleep. Well that's when it happens to me anyway. I spend all day staring at a blank screen, blank piece of paper or my pantry just waiting for inspiration to strike, realizing that trying to force inspiration is like trying to make a cat take a bath, a no go! 

So what do I do? I just shut things down, I browse the internet, usually ending up at Pinterest where time quickly disappears as I get lost in the world of pinning. If you haven't already discovered Pinterest it is seriously addicting. I relate it to my addiction to chocolate, it is hard to go a day without either one! Anyway I am getting off track here, see how Pinterest does that? 

So, back to what I was saying, when I am in serious need of inspiration I search for it, through the internet, music, Pinterest, favorite books and even my favorite movies. Sometimes these tactics work, but really most of the time they don't and I end up with nothing more than a headache and disappointment by the end of the night.

And after that kind of disappointment the only thing left to do is sleep or get lost in someone else's problems through reading or watching mind numbing television. Being a night owl and all I usually choose to read or watch a movie. But when I do finally crawl my exhausted mind and body into bed is when I find inspiration strikes. 

Just as I am about to drift off to never never land I am suddenly hit with ideas for my blog, my book, and cooking. And then the question is, do I heed the call of inspiration? 

Unfortunately I can say that often I do not answer the call of inspiration thinking that I am just too tired and that the ideas will come back to me in the morning. Of course this is how things never work out. I almost never remember those fabulous ideas that hit me at 1:30 or 2 in the morning leaving me with the feeling that I forgot something all day. 

Now I tell myself I will answer the call no matter the time because I truly never know when those ideas will strike again, unfortunately for me this usually means less sleep. Because when inspiration strikes and you answer the call you just might find yourself up for another hour or two typing or writing as time slowly slips away along with your nightly sleep. But I promise if you heed the call of inspiration no matter the time, you will be much happier with yourself later and you never know what will happen when you do. For all you know that knock could have been the idea for the next best selling YA book, but if you don't answer you will never know.

So, do you answer the call of inspiration? When does inspiration strike you?

"Devouring worlds one book and recipe at a time."

Top Ten Tuesday

I have been reading these lovely lists since I became a blogger, but today will be the first time that I have chosen to participate in one. Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature created by The Broke and the Bookish and I am really excited to participate this week! So here it is.....

Top Ten Books or Authors I'm Thankful For

Okay, let's see if I can do this! I really picked a hard topic for my fist Top Ten Tuesday!! But really I am thankful for everything that I have ever read whether good or bad because they each taught me something about myself as a reader. But here goes nothing.

1. The Client by John Grisham

For me this is the book that started it all. I absolutely hated reading until my dad told me to give this book a try. I didn't think I would like it, but I thought what the heck why not give it a try. I don't know what it was about that book, but something about Mark Sways story really got my juices flowing. Luckily for me I found that book otherwise who knows what I would be reading.

2. Dean Koontz

I am thankful for Dean Koontz for keeping me on my toes and scaring the crap out of me at a time in my life where I thought I was fearless. His books really gave my imagination the crazy they were craving. Once I discovered his books there was no stopping me. I devoured them despite bad dreams and creepy feelings.
3. Clive Cussler

Oh, where do I begin with this one? I am thankful for Clive Cussler for turning me on to a different type of book. I never thought I would be one for adventure/action books but boy was I wrong. I am especially in love with his Dirk Pitt series and think that each and every one of these novels needs to be made into a movie. I mean come on it is like James Bond meets Indiana Jones and MacGuyver all in one!!!

4. Jane Austen

Really do I need to explain this one? I am thankful for Jane Austen for bringing me my two most favorite characters E. V. E. R. Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy! I am absolutely in love with this book and don't know if I will ever find a love that rivals theirs.

5. Janet Evanovich

I am thankful for Janet Evanovich for all the laugh out loud moments that brought tears to my eyes from laughing so hard. The moments that made me look like a fool in public, yeah people really do think you are some kind of crazy when you bust out laughing over a book! But it is so worth it, I just love her Stephanie Plum series and will take people thinking I am a loon to laugh at one of her books any day.

6. Dr. Seuess

Who isn't thankful for Dr. Seuess? I mean come on, who doesn't love all those tongue twisting tales? I for one loved them as a child, but even more as an adult. They not only entertain me, but they entertain my children and for that I am most honestly grateful!

7. Deb Apodoca

Though she is a small time Indie author I have her to thank for getting me into the whole world of Indie. It was her awesome book Captivated that got me to take a chance on other Indie authors!

8. Iris Johansen

I am thankful for her for bringing me the strong willed character that is Eve Duncan and the even stronger and relentless Joe Quinn. I have loved this series from the very beginning and still remain a avid reader.

9. Michael Connelly

For bringing me that tough as nails detective that takes no crap from anyone and is determined to catch all the creeps that stalk LA, Harry Bosch!! He is awesome!

10. Joy of Cooking

I know it might seem like a cop out but I seriously am thankful for this book. As a food enthusiast this book as more than saved my hide a time or two!!
Well there you have it, my top ten. I better hit publish now before I sit here too long and begin to second guess my choices.

So what authors or books are you thankful for???

"Devouring worlds one book and recipe at a time."





Monday, November 19, 2012

Exiled & Shift By M.R. Merrick Promotion and Giveaway!!!



If you haven't already noticed I am a huge fan of M.R. Merrick's Protector Series, and I am really glad to say that today I have a special treat on the blog. In honor of the debut of Release next month, on December 10th to be exact I am participating in a promotional tour for the first two books in the series. So if you haven't already picked up a copy of Exiled, the first book in the series, then read on because I have an excerpt from that fantastic book! And if you are already in love with the series as I am, or just beginning the adventure, make sure that you enter the giveaway below, where you will have your chance to win one of three autographed copies of Shift the second installment in this EPIC adventure!! 


Power Will Flourish

Lives Will be Lost

Nothing, Will be Forgotten



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. In their attempt to stop them however, Chase and Rayna find themselves in the middle of the Circle's plan, leaving one of them to decide what their friendship is worth, and the other's life depending on it.



Excerpt


I’d had several jobs in the past year. This one I’d managed to keep for a few months. Most of my employers frowned on me coming to work with cuts and bruises all the time. It made for “poor presentation,” they’d say. I was thankful it hadn’t interfered with this job, yet.

I finished up my shift and had started my walk home from the burger joint when I felt it. A hunter doesn’t mistake the feeling that demons are around. It moves down your spine and chills your bones. Feeling it proved I was indeed a hunter, even without an element.

The August air was warm for the late hour, and a thick layer of sweat made my white shirt cling to me. I stopped and unzipped my duffle bag, locating the silver dagger inside. Silver was great no matter what you were fighting; it could do serious damage to anything of the Underworld.

The tingle shot down my spine again. If I focused, I could feel each hair on my neck rise. I saw a blur of movement across the street and watched it disappear into a shadowy alley. I moved across the street in a low crouch, resting my weight on the balls of my feet. I slowed my breathing and pulled the dagger from my bag before I slipped around the corner.

My senses were alive and strained to see movement, or hear the sound of feet shuffling against loose rocks. As a hunter, I could see well in the dark, though the only light came from a single flickering street lamp.

I was almost to the end of the alley when it hit. I couldn’t tell what “it” was, but it struck my back and launched me forward. My feet tumbled over my head and my back smashed hard into the concrete wall at the end of the alley. Hands grabbed me and lifted me to my feet, dragging me a few steps before throwing me back the other way. I flew through the air, hit the ground and rolled out into the street.

I used my momentum and came up on one knee to recover. My back burned where pavement had grated the skin off, but I pushed the pain aside as the figure stalked towards me.

“Your death will bring me great glory, hunter. Killing the son of Riley Williams will make me a legend among the Underworld,” the low voice gloated.
“That’s really great, good luck with that,” I said.
He smiled and the fangs that slid down from his gums were long and sharp. His pale skin started to thin as the vampire changed into his demon form.

Milky skin faded into transparent flesh, revealing the moving muscles beneath. Veins ran black through the vampire’s face and limbs, pushing against the thinning clear skin. Strange muscles in his hands pushed bony talons out over his finger nails, and the whites of his eyes disappeared, filling with an inky blackness. The dark orbs stared at me as his fanged mouth curled into a smile, and in a blur he sprang forward, talons swinging.

I ducked as they sliced through the air over my head. I brought the knife up into his stomach and twisted the blade before I pulled it out. Blood spilled onto the ground, but I knew the wound wasn’t enough to kill him. Cut off his head or pierce his black heart – those were my options. I could light him on fire, but I was fresh out of matches.

I brought my foot up and kicked the vampire back to give myself some room. I steadied myself, waiting for him to charge, but his body jerked and the point of a silver blade appeared in his chest before he could move.

The vamp’s body went limp and collapsed, then exploded in a flash of orange light. It burned away into a cloud of ash and littered the pavement, revealing the girl – of all things – who had beaten me to the kill.

Raven hair spilled over her pale shoulders with hints of red highlighting the occasional strand. A tight leather top revealed a sliver of toned stomach and a tease of cleavage. Black pants hugged her hips and long slender legs and met knee-high boots. Her skin glistened in the light, but the most noticeable of her features were her eyes.

Bright green orbs sparkled with an odd glow: demon’s eyes. They had the slit pupils of a cat that I’d never seen on anything other than a house pet or a shifter in animal form. I slipped back into fight mode. I’d never watched one demon kill another, but I suppose for the fame of killing me, why not?

I lunged and threw a punch at her face, but she dodged it with ease.
“You almost messed up my kill,” she snarled, and I had barely enough time to dodge her powerful kick.
“Your kill? You stole it from me!” I swung my fist and hit her stomach. She bent over, winded, before she stepped back and caught her breath, regaining her stance and composure.
“Stole it? Please, I’d been tracking him for blocks.” She spun and caught my chin with the heel of her boot, snapping my head to the side. I rubbed my jaw where she’d hit me and smiled.
“Well then, I guess it’s a good thing I was here to slow him down. Who knows if you would have been able to catch him?”

She moved in for another kick but I was ready. I grabbed her foot and pushed her back. She fell to the ground but quickly came to her feet. “I would have gotten him just fine on my own. Hunting is an art. It would’ve gone on as long as I deemed necessary.”
“Call it hunting if you want, but a filthy demon killing her own kind is still just that: a filthy demon.” I could tell I’d offended her even before she hit me.

My eyes watered when her fist smashed into my nose and her foot connected with my stomach in quick succession. I jerked back to avoid the knee that flew towards my face and pushed it to the side, but she was already moving towards me. Her hands hit my chest hard and I soared through the air for a long moment before I hit the ground. I felt a sharp pain shoot up through my spine and I could hear her laughter as I struggled to my feet.

“I have to admit I expected more from you, Chase, being the infamous son of Riley Williams and all.”
I gripped my dagger until my knuckles turned white and spoke through gritted teeth. “I’ll try not to disappoint.”

My fist hit her jawbone and made a loud crack. I came back with my other hand and wrapped it around her throat. I stepped into the movement and threw her forward in a burst of hunter’s strength. She slammed into the ground but recovered faster than I anticipated. Before I could brace myself she was on top of me.

I pulled her body down and we rolled over each other against the cold concrete until I was on top. I kept a handful of her hair wound tight in my fist and pushed my blade against her throat. “More what you expected?”
“Not really.” She smirked.
I felt the point of a knife pushing against my stomach. Before I could react, a commanding male voice came from behind us.
“Enough!” it boomed.

I didn’t take the knife or my eyes off the demon beneath me.
“But we were just starting to have fun,” she complained. The smile on her face was anything but threatening. If this was her idea of fun, I didn’t want to know what she considered boring.
“Rayna, enough,” the man repeated.
She sighed, sticking out her bottom lip in a pout before the knife left my skin. “Truce?” she said with an innocent face.
“Not a chance,” I replied, pushing the knife harder against her throat.

I was pulled away from Rayna and pressed against a wall, thick hands around my throat. I raised my blade but my opponent blocked and twisted my arm at an awkward angle. The man ripped the blade from my hand and I squirmed.
“Calm down, Chase. We are not here to hurt you,” the voice said. A complete shadow hung around the figure, moving as he moved.

“So she attacked me for fun?” I snapped.
“If we wanted you dead, you would be,” he said, releasing his grip, and I fell to the sidewalk. He stepped back slowly and the shadow peeled itself from his body. As it faded, it revealed a large man whose magic I’d never sensed before.
“If you don’t want to kill me, what do you want?” I asked.

The man reached forward, a large dark arm holding out my dagger. I wrapped my hand around it in confusion. The contrast of our skin was drastic; my pale flesh glowed against his midnight color and the size of his hand alone made me feel small.
“What Rayna told you was true. We were tracking the vampire, not you. Although I’m happy to finally meet you, I’d imagined this moment under different circumstances,” he said.

“There are ways to meet people besides attacking them.”
“I agree. You must forgive us; Rayna is quick to lash out when insulted.” My eyes met his and I couldn’t read his expression. I knew I hadn’t been polite, but I wasn’t about to apologize to a demon. “You know, your father would not have hesitated to kill her, no matter his position.”

“Congratulations, you’ve discovered I’m not my father. What the hell would you know about him anyways?”
He turned his head to the side and as the light hit his neck it revealed a tattoo. It was the one every hunter received after their ceremony. The one I never got.

The tattoo made me realize why he could bend the shadows; he was an air elemental and a powerful one at that. I had heard stories of hunters being able to work with shadows, but I’d never seen it done firsthand.

I looked him over, not sure what to think of a hunter working with a demon. He was taller than me by an inch, around six-foot three. His head was smooth shaven, though there was a small patch of hair under his lower lip. His skin seemed like a smooth dark chocolate. His body was large and square, broad shoulders making him a massive column of strength and power. He filled out a sharp black suit jacket and wore black loafers, leaving the only color on him a flash of bright blue dress shirt.

“You’re a hunter.”
“Once upon a time, yes I was.”
He broke eye contact and cleared his throat, extending his massive hand towards me. “Look at my manners. Let me introduce myself. I am Marcus Starkraven.”
My eyebrows shot up; I knew that name! “You’re supposed to be dead.”
“Is that what you heard?”
“You used to hunt with my father.”

He nodded slightly, but otherwise ignored the comment. “You already met Rayna,” he said, taking his unshaken hand back.
I looked at Rayna and got caught in the depths of her green, slit eyes.
“What are you doing with a demon?” I said, spitting out the last word like a curse.
“How’s your nose?” Rayna asked.
I touched it and looked at the blood on my fingers. “Lucky shot.”
She chuckled and stepped towards me. “Care to go again?” Marcus put an arm in front of her.

“Not what we’re doing right now,” he said.
“You didn’t answer my question.”
“She is my student. And my friend.”
I couldn’t respond. I didn’t believe it. A hunter being friends with a demon was unfathomable.
“I would have thought, being out in the real world, you’d have come to understand, Chase. Some Underworlders don’t fit the Circle’s black and white image of good and evil,” he said.

“The only Underworlders I’ve come across have tried to kill me.”
“Your name is feared by many in the Underworld. Your father has created quite the reputation for himself, so they fear you as well,” Marcus said.
I smirked. “As they should.”
He shook his head. “That wasn’t a compliment.




M.R. Merrick is a Canadian writer and author of The Protector Series, a Young Adult mash-up between Urban and Epic Fantasy. Having never traveled, he adventures to far off lands through his imagination and in between cups of coffee. As a music lover and proud breakfast enthusiast, he’s usually found at the computer between a pair of headphones and in front of a large bowl of cereal.



Giveaway
3 signed copies of SHIFT available to be won.
INTERNATIONAL.
All you need to do is fill out the Rafflecpter below!
Ends Dec 3rd






"Devouring books one world and recipe at a time."

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Eleven by Carolyn Arnold (Book Review)


Special Agent Brandon Fisher knew he wanted nothing more than to be a an agent for the FBI and his first case on the Behavioral Analysis Unit will put more than his training to the test. When they are called out to rural Kentucky to investigate ten bodies and one empty grave discovered in an underground burial chamber, Special Agent Fisher finds more than he bargained for. Not only are his skills as an agent tested, but his very character seems to be in question from none other than his mentoring supervisor and the very unsub they seek. Will his sins come back to haunt him and cause him to be the unsub's next victim or can this team of Special Agents out smart the killer before they strike again? 

My Review: 5-Must Devour
I love suspense novels and even more than that I love ones involving FBI agents. I don't really know why, but it is what it is. When I first discovered this book I was a little more than excited to read it and I am happy to say that now that I have finished it I am even more excited! 

My first reaction to this suspense filled book is that it was like reading an episode of Criminal Minds, and if you have seen that show then you already know how awesome this book is going to be. From the moment I picked up the book I was thrown into the story and it never let me go. As the story unraveled and clues unfolded I felt like I was participating in the hunt as much as the agents in the story. And let me tell you, never did I see that ending coming. It snuck up on me like a birthday you no longer wish to have. But it was one hell of a twist to an already exiting story. 

Not only did I love this story I loved its characters, all of them. You see, I find that a lot of suspense books now days often make the lead character this perfect cop or agent who is rugged and tough, never backs down from a fight, always get's their man and almost seems untouchable. But the lead character in this book is far from any of those things. He is a new agent, he doesn't always know what to do, he has made mistakes in his past, he allows his emotions to rule him, and he seems to seek approval from his fellow agents as to whether or not he is a good agent.

And what makes this character even better is the fact that he is surrounded by other characters you can't help but love. Such as Paige the strong willed agent who shares a personal history with Brandon and can more than handle herself in a world of evil. Zachery the smart agent who has a photographic memory and a bit of a sarcastic attitude. And Jack the supervisory agent who is rugged, tough, holds little to hope and has seen more than his fair share of bad crap. I can't wait to read what's next for this amazing team of agents!

So if you love, suspense and the thrill of the chase then you have to check out Eleven because it does not disappoint! 

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Eleven Rooms. Ten Bodies. One Empty Grave.

Brandon Fisher never expected this when he signed up as a Special Agent for the FBI. Working in the shadow of Supervisory Special Agent Jack Harper of the Behavioral Analysis Unit his career seemed set. But when the team is called to a small rural town where the remains of ten victims are found in an underground bunker, buried in an unusual way, Brandon knows he'll never return to his normal life.

With one empty grave, and the case touching close to home, he fears he's become the target of a psychotic serial killer who wants to make him number eleven. Only thing is, everything Brandon thinks he knows is far from the truth.


Helpful links:
GoodreadsCarolyn Arnold WebsiteAmazon

"Devouring worlds one book and recipe at a time."

Reading Challenge: Will I Reach My Goal?

Of course you all know that I love to read by now, if you don't, well then let me tell you. I love to read :) Also if you haven't noticed I like to call myself the devourer of books. No I don't call myself that just because I like to read, that is part of it, but the real reason I call myself the devourer is because I can finish a book of about 300 pages in about 4 hours. Of course that is if I can set aside a solid block of time. Which if you have kids you know is no small feat, but I am proud to say that it is one that I manage to do frequently. I'm not saying that I avoid my children, because I don't. What I am saying is that I make time to read, and normally this time comes after my children are already asleep. So naturally that means less sleep for me, but that is how I keep my sanity, plus it works for me. I recently discovered I don't really need that much sleep anyway.

I know I know, how is all this related to my reading challenge? I promise I am getting to that. Its just that sometimes I ramble. Okay, so a lot of times I ramble, but I promise there really is a point to all this! So, being a devourer and all I can honestly say that I have read well over 100 books this year. But when I joined Goodreads back in June of this year I decided that it would be fun to set a small reading challenge for myself. To read 100 books before the end of the year.

When I first set this goal I actually thought for a moment that it was going to be too easy. I knew that I could read 100 books over a period of 6 months. I know cocky right?! Well I was because I knew that I could read a book a day if my family allowed me to, but of course life has shown me what happens when you get cocky......you get knocked down a peg or two.

Back in June my life was rather slow, well for me. It was the summer and I only had to be a mom of 5 and a wife. No work, no school, nice and simple. And I relished in it. That may play some small role in my decision to set the goal that I did. I was bored. You see my life is usually very hectic and I thrive in chaos. And since I love a challenge, those who know me can testify to that :) I thought why not? But then school started and I had to be a mom, wife and full-time Graduate student. And then I decided to start this fabulous little blog.

And that is where the problem began. You see I can handle being a mom, wife and full-time student while devouring books. But when I got serious about this little blog of mine, well a lot of my reading got put on the back burner, often taking a back seat to, you guessed it, my blog! If you haven't noticed already my blog is more than a book blog. It is also a food blog. And as of right now all the recipes that are on the blog are my own. Although I don't think it will always be that way, but it is for now, and I like it that way. Anyway, now most of my time is spent obsessing and creating for my blog. What can I do to make it better, what can I do to make it stand out, is anyone reading my blog, does anyone care? You get the point!

Obviously with this new obsession my reading sometimes take a back seat and that leads me to my current challenge. Will I be able to reach my reading goal? With only 44 days left in the year and 29 books to go? I know I can if I don't obsess about my blog so much and if I can get my brain off food for more than a minute.

So, do you think I will be able to reach my goal? Do you have a reading goal that you are trying to accomplish? Let me know I would love to hear from you!

"Devouring worlds one book and recipe at a time."

2012 Reading Challenge

2012 Reading Challenge
Danielle has read 71 books toward her goal of 100 books.
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Friday, November 16, 2012

Feature and Follow #2


Welcome to this weeks feature and follow!! A great opportunity to meet new bloggers and support others in the community!! Follow me and I follow you!

This week question:
Books are turned into movies all the time! Turn it around. What movie would make a great book?

My Answer:
Wow, this is a tough one! If you had asked me what book would make a great movie I could easily answer that question, no doubt in my mind, but this?! Okay I have to say that mine would be a show. I am a huge fan of the TV show Burn Notice on USA. I love suspense and mystery novels and I think that show could be written to be a very cool book series. If you haven't watched it yet it is amazing, the lead character is like Bond and MacGyver!

So what movie or TV show do you think would make a good book??

Hope to see you on the blogosphere!
"Devouring worlds one book and recipe at a time."


Best Week EVER

Both Christmas and my Birthday came early this year!!! This week I was privy to not one, but two books I have been dying to read!! Release by M.R. Merrick and Psion Delta by Jacob Gowans. Both books are part 3 in their series and I feel like I have been waiting an eternity to read them. Although I know it hasn't really been that long, but you must understand these are two of my favorite series and waiting to find out what happens next to Sammy from the Psion series and Chase from the Protector series is like waiting for Christmas morning on Christmas Eve! You can't help but feel like it will never come and that time is in fact moving backwards!

Release I received because I am taking part in the blog tour and as such I was given a free copy for an honest review, which you will be able to see along with an author interview right here on my blog December 31st!!!

I received Psion Delta through a Facebook contest hosted by the author.

Thank you to both of these wonderful authors for giving me this opportunity! And now that I have read both of these books I can say that I had my emotions put through a meat grinder twice this week at the hands of a book! These books definitely did not disappoint and I really must encourage all of you to begin reading these books if you have not already and if you are already up on the adventures of Sammy and Chase then let me tell you are in for a treat! I can honestly say that I will probably read both of these books again before the end of the year and I am already eagerly anticipating the release of book 4! I know book 3 hasn't even been released yet, but what can I say its the truth! I would love to dive into these books right here right now, but alas I will have to wait and so will you, but I promise that you soon you will be able to read all about how these books put me on an emotional roller coaster here on my blog!

Check them out here:

Psion Series (Psion Delta release will hopefully be before the end of the year)
Protector Series (Available December 10, 2012)

Stalk these Authors Here:


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Eggnog Chocolate Cake

For most people this time of year is all about pumpkin. Well for me it is all about Eggnog! As soon as I see that yellow liquid in the cooler I instantly grab a pint or two and proceed to drink my weight in Eggnog. Obviously this is not a good time of year for a diet....good thing I don't believe in them, huh?!  




The other night while I was supposed to be listening to my professor lecture about the latest topic in Multicultural Education, I couldn't stop thinking about cake, more specifically eggnog chocolate cake. While my professor rambled on I was creating my delectable recipe.

It took all my will power not to leave class go home and make that cake. It absorbed all my thoughts. Unfortunately I didn't get to make this awesome cake when I got home either :( I have class at night and decided that if I was going to make a cake this good (at least I was hoping it was going to be good) then I was sure going to get some pictures of it! So with all the strength I had left I put the cake off until the following day. 

Naturally with this cake consuming all of my thoughts, and dreams, as soon as I was awake I immediately began prepping this cake. As you make this cake one of the first things you will notice is that it is very dense, so don't expect them to rise too much.


After putting this awesomeness into the oven I quickly realized that I had no idea what I was going to top it with. So, as my cakes baked ideas swam through my head like fish at feeding time. Regrettably, none of the ideas struck me with that ah ha feeling. I was starting to get worried about lack of inspiration when finally it hit me.

Whip Cream! Yes, whip cream indeed! Not much in this world is better than made from scratch whip cream! And it tasted like a little cloud of heaven, in fact I had to duct tape my husband to the couch in order to prevent him from eating it all. Okay not literally, but I did have to guard the whip cream with my life otherwise there would have been none for the cake. I will be honest I had the guard it from myself as well, it was that good :)

Now that you have the perfect whip cream make sure to allow your cakes to completely cool before placing between the layers, otherwise you are going to have a whip cream puddle. When I cool my cake I allow them to rest in the pan for about 5 minutes then I gently remove them and cool them the rest of the way on a wire rack.

This would be a really good time to make the chocolate ganache, because this too needs to cool. I know that I am really testing your patience here, but trust me it is all worth it in the end. Just bear with me a little longer! And I promise it is super easy, it's as simple as melting chocolate in cream.

Okay so now that everything has cooled you are ready to build this drool worthy cake. Place one cake round top down on a plate or cake stand, then pile as much of that fantabulous whip cream that you want on there, making sure it is even, because you want to make sure every piece gets some of that fluffy greatness. Then gently place the other cake round on top, top side up. At this point it sort of reminded me of a giant oatmeal cream pie!

Now comes the fun part, pouring all that chocolate deliciousness on top! Starting in the middle pour some of your ganache on the cake, then using a rubber spatula gently push the liquid gold to the edges of the cake allowing it to pour over the side. Repeat until all the sides and top of the cake are completely covered.

TaDa!!

Kind of looks like a moon pie! Anyways now you can either put it away for later, which I had to do because I still had to cook dinner. Although there was a moment where my logical parenting side and my screw it I want cake side debated on whether or not to have this cake for dinner. Needless to say my logical parenting side won out and I had to wait, again, to eat this cake. With all the waiting I had to do I should have been able to eat the entire thing by myself.

Okay so onto the goods, the actual recipe! But before I dish out the goods I want to give you a few other tips. First, I did not put a lot of sugar in this recipe, so if you like things on the sweeter side then you should either add 3/4 cup of sugar or use semi-sweet chocolate when making the cake. Or you could use semi-sweet chocolate for the ganache which should allow you to reach the same goal. Second, you may want to consider adding a teaspoon of nutmeg to the cake recipe in order to help bring out the eggnog flavor, but you don't have to. I didn't, but next time I make it I am. Third, if you would like to try for some kicked up eggnog flavor try making the ganache with eggnog instead of cream. That is how I am going to do it. I will let you know how it turns it. So, that's it the end of my ramblings.....on with the recipe!

Eggnog Chocolate Cake
Yield: app. 10 slices (depends on how big you slice it)
Bake: 375 for about 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes away clean when stuck in the middle 
   *to be honest I just cook my cakes until they are springy in the middle, I don't really pay attention to the time

1/2 cup Bittersweet Chocolate Chips
1 cup Eggnog
1 1/2 cups Flour
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 cup Sugar or 3/4 cup for additional sweetness
1/4 cup Oil (vegetable or canola)
3 Whole Eggs
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Vanilla

Grease and flour 2 9 inch round cake pans and preheat oven to 375. In a medium saucepan heat eggnog and chocolate over medium heat stirring continually in order to prevent chocolate from burning. As chocolate begins to melt whisk to blend together. Set aside to cool. In a large mixing bowl add dry ingredients. Mix until blended. Then slowly add cooled chocolate mixture into the flour, making sure to mix well after each addition. Once the chocolate has been completely incorporated add vanilla to mixture and mix one more time. Usually when you make cake it is a good idea to alternate between liquid and dry ingredients ending with dry ingredients, but with this cake it doesn't really matter.

Whip Cream
Yield: 6-8 cups

1 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
1/2 cup Granulated Sugar or Powdered Sugar (granulated sugar can break down your whip cream, but if you plan to use it immediately then don't worry about it)
1/2 tsp. Vanilla

Place metal mixing bowl and wire whisk in freezer for about 5 minutes or until cold. If you don't do this it won't be the end of the world. Your whip cream will still turn out. Now I have a stand mixer, but if you don't then you can use a hand mixer or just whisk it by hand. Whichever you prefer. Place whipping cream, sugar and vanilla in mixing bowl and begin to mix on medium speed until you can form medium peaks in the cream or the cream stands up when you pull the whisk out. This will take a little bit, but just keep working it. Place to the side.

Chocolate Ganache

1 cup Bittersweet Chocolate Chips
3/4 cup Heavy Whipping Cream

This process is exactly the same as when you melted the chocolate for the cake. In a medium saucepan heat cream and chocolate over medium heat, ensuring to whisk constantly. Once chocolate has completely melted set aside to cool.

Now stuff your face in that cake, you know you want to!

Please let me know your thoughts on this recipe and anything else, I love to hear from you!!!

"Devouring worlds one book and recipe at a time."



Monday, November 12, 2012

The Fall of Billy Hitchings by Kirkus MacGowan (Book Review)

 
Cover from Goodreads


Of course you all know that I love to read, obviously, and that I love to read anything paranormal, fantasy, or supernatural. But I equally love thrillers, suspense and mystery novels. And I love it even more when those two world collide as they do in The Fall of Billy Hithcings. 

Kelly and Amfar are in Myrtle Beach to deliver some artifacts that were recently discovered in a dig in Kentucky. At a stop for lunch they are privy to a showdown between the manager and the young gentleman working the front counter when things suddenly get weird. Kelly decides she is no longer hungry and tries to rush Amfar out the door, but Amfar is too entranced by what he is seeing before him. As Kelly is about to leave the restaurant the building explodes. Leaving both Kelly and Amfar in the hospital.

John Reeves the bad ass bodyguard slash part-time publisher travels to Myrtle Beach to try and convince his ex-fiancée, Kelly, that what he did was stupid and that he really did love her. Only when he gets there he discovers that Kelly has been in an accident and lays in a hospital bed unconscious and the only thing they will tell him is that she was in a restaurant when it exploded.  After discovering the more than unusual circumstances surrounding the restaurant explosion John takes it upon himself to discover what really happened that day. While investigating the “explosion” he meets Billy the 19 year old young man working the counter the day the explosion happened. And he discovers that Billy too wants to know what happened. 

Bonded by their desire to discover the truth, Billy and John begin to unravel a powerful mystery that if put in the wrong hands could cause mass destruction. In a battle to prevent just that from happening, John is taken on a dangerous journey that will put all his skills to the test and could even end his life.

My Review: 4-Delectable
This book starts off with a bang and immediately I fell in love with the lead character John Reeves, who I dub the bad ass bodyguard. And just when I think I know where the story is going, BAM, the story explodes and I find that I was absolutely wrong. This is one time that I was glad I was wrong. And every time I thought I knew what was going to happen, Kirkus MacGowan threw in another twist. Always keeping me on my toes and reminding me not to expect the usual with this story. But I’m stubborn and hypothesized right up to the very end. And as it turns out, one of my predictions was correct, but only one. This is not your typical mystery/suspense so, if you are looking for a story that leaves you guessing after every turn and explodes with excitement, then this is your book.

As you read this book you are given the opportunity to see the world through not only just John’s eyes, but those of Amfar and Billy as well. I did like getting to see what most of the characters were doing throughout the book, but personally, I would have loved to have seen the book written just from John’s perspective. Or even John and Billy’s. I really wanted more of John’s “deadly grace” as it is put in the book. It is for this reason along with a few editing errors that I am giving this book a 4. 

Favorite Character Moment:
Really my favorite moment in the book is what get's dubbed as the "gun show" in Chapter 17, it is more than a moment and would take up quite a bit of room here, so you will have to just read that chapter for yourself, but for fun I will give you a little tease of why I liked it so much.

"Amfar couldn't believe he was stuck between two gun-slinging idiots. The fate of the world might be in their hands, and the only people he had to work with were concerned more about who could shoot the fastest than how the world might end." (kindle, p. 207).

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Book Description:
John Reeves, an ex-Marine, drives to Myrtle Beach to confront his fiancée, hoping to repair their damaged relationship. Instead, he finds her unconscious in the local hospital, the victim of an unexplained explosion at a local restaurant.

During his investigation, Reeves meets Billy Hitchings, a teenager who knows more about the explosion than he should. Their questions lead to an ancient legacy best left alone.

Pulled into yet another crossfire, John Reeves fights to protect his friends and keep a primeval power from falling into the wrong hands.


"Devouring worlds one book and recipe at a time."