Monday, April 29, 2013

Book Review: Overseas

Beatriz Williams

Release Date: May 10, 2012

Book Description:
A passionate, sweeping novel of a love that transcends time.

When twenty-something Wall Street analyst Kate Wilson attracts the notice of the legendary Julian Laurence at a business meeting, no one’s more surprised than she is. Julian’s relentless energy and his extraordinary intellect electrify her, but she’s baffled by his sudden interest. Why would this handsome British billionaire—Manhattan’s most eligible bachelor—pursue a pretty but bookish young banker who hasn’t had a boyfriend since college?

The answer is beyond imagining . . . at least at first. Kate and Julian’s story may have begun not in the moneyed world of twenty-first-century Manhattan but in France during World War I, when a mysterious American woman emerged from the shadows of the Western Front to save the life of Captain Julian Laurence Ashford, a celebrated war poet and infantry officer.

Now, in modern-day New York, Kate and Julian must protect themselves from the secrets of the past, and trust in a true love that transcends time and space.

Amazon US | Goodreads

As I finished the last few pages of Overseas, a novel by Beatriz Williams, I hurried to reflect on my reading of it. I had many emotions and thoughts running through my head while reading it, but as soon as I faced the blank sheet – I was suddenly at a loss for words. What does one say about this novel? Sweet, romantic, cheesy? Perhaps, all of the above?

Monday, April 22, 2013

Book Review: Wicked as She Wants

Wicked as She Wants (Blud #2)
Delilah S. Dawson

Release Date: April 30, 2013

Book Description:
The second book in the darkly tempting Blud series, featuring a vampire princess who embarks upon a dangerous journey to claim what is rightfully hers.

When Blud princess Ahnastasia wakes up, drained and starving in a suitcase, she’s not sure which calls to her more: the sound of music or the scent of blood. The source of both sensations is a handsome and mysterious man named Casper Sterling. Once the most celebrated musician in London, Sangland, he’s fallen on hard times. Now, much to Ahna’s frustration, the debauched and reckless human is her only ticket back home to the snow-rimmed and magical land of Freesia.

Together with Casper’s prickly charge, a scrappy orphan named Keen, they seek passage to Ahna’s homeland, where a power-hungry sorceress named Ravenna holds the royal family in thrall. Traveling from the back alleys of London to the sparkling minarets of Muscovy, Ahna discovers that Freesia holds new perils and dangerous foes. Back in her country, she is forced to choose between the heart she never knew she had and the land that she was born to rule. But with Casper’s help, Ahna may find a way to have it all…

Amazon US | Goodreads

I have to preface my review with an extended thank you to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster (the publisher), the powers of which have granted me the pre-publication copy of Wicked as She Wants.

What a delicious follow-up!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Book Review: Kiss of Steel

Kiss of Steel (London Steampunk #1)
Bec McMaster

Release Date: September 4, 2012

Book Description:
When Nowhere Is Safe

Most people avoid the dreaded Whitechapel district. For Honoria Todd, it's the last safe haven. But at what price?

Blade is known as the master of the rookeries—no one dares cross him. It's been said he faced down the Echelon's army single-handedly, that ever since being infected by the blood-craving he's been quicker, stronger, and almost immortal.

When Honoria shows up at his door, his tenuous control comes close to snapping. She's so...innocent. He doesn't see her backbone of steel—or that she could be the very salvation he's been seeking. 

Amazon US | Goodreads

A fun debut novel by Bec McMaster! I very much enjoyed this entertaining PNR read; and it was so quick, that I’m almost sorry to see it end and will certainly look very much forward to book #2 this May.

Title Reveal: Allegiant (Divergent #3)

Allegiant (Divergent #3)
Veronica Roth

So guys… are you excited yet? Did you catch Veronica Roth’s video in USA Today where she finally reveals the title of the highly anticipated third book in the Divergent series?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Recipe: Lamb Roulade with Baby Dill Potatoes

A few months back, my husband and I were visiting in western New York, and we had the pleasure to venture into NY’s Amish Trail, which I found quite fascinating. Aside from scenic views, riding alongside the horse drawn buggies, and browsing among the farms and stores that stock some great products, we got a chance to purchase some meat from the locals. (I have to say that I grew up quite a city girl, so to me buying a whole lamb seemed quite an undertaking, but it was well worth the experience and of course the taste). And thankfully, we have a large freezer at home that now safely harbors a well supply of meat. So, the other week I’ve extracted a piece of lamb from my handy freezer and here is what I made of it…

Lamb Roulade with Baby Dill Potatoes
Servings 2 – 4

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Book Review: Wicked as They Come

Wicked as They Come (Blud #1)
Delilah S. Dawson

Release Date: March 27, 2012

Book Description:
First in a steampunk-tinged paranormal romance series in which a woman is transported to a world filled with vampires and magic. When nurse Tish Everett forced open the pesky but lovely locket she found at an estate sale, she had no idea she was answering the call of Criminy Stain, from the far off land of Sang. He’d cast a spell for her, but when she’s transported right to him, she’s not so sure she’s ready to be under the spell of another man. (It didn’t go so well last time with controlling, abusive, domineering Jeff.) If only Criminy wasn’t so deliciously rakish….

Half the inhabitants of Sang are Pinkies—human—and the other half are Bludmen, who in Tish’s world would be called vampires. But they don’t mess with any of the bat/coffin/no sunlight nonsense. They’re rather like you and me, just more fabulous, long living, and mostly indestructible. (They're also very good kissers.) But when the evil Mayor of Manchester (formerly Bludchester) redoubles his efforts to rid Sang of the Bludmen once and for all, stealing Tish’s locket in hopes of traveling back to her world himself for reinforcements, Criminy and Tish must battle ghosts, sea monsters, wayward submarines, a secret cabal, and thundering Bludmares to get the locket back and allow Tish to return home…but has she found love with Criminy? Could she stay in Sang forever?

"Spanish Caravan" by the Doors

Carry me Caravan take me away
Take me to Portugal, take me to Spain
Andalusia with fields full of grain
I have to see you again and again
Take me, Spanish Caravan
Yes, I know you can

Trade winds find Galleons lost in the sea
I know where treasure is waiting for me
Silver and gold in the mountains of Spain
I have to see you again and again
Take me, Spanish Caravan
Yes, I know you can

Are you ready to step through the looking glass, right into a Vampireland…er, I mean Sang?

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Book Review: Etiquette & Espionage

Etiquette & Espionage (Finishing School #1)
Gail Carriger

Release Date: February 5, 2013

Book Description:
It's one thing to learn to curtsy properly. It's quite another to learn to curtsy and throw a knife at the same time. Welcome to Finishing School.

Fourteen-year-old Sophronia is a great trial to her poor mother. Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper manners—and the family can only hope that company never sees her atrocious curtsy. Mrs. Temminick is desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady. So she enrolls Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.

But Sophronia soon realizes the school is not quite what her mother might have hoped. At Mademoiselle Geraldine's, young ladies learn to finish...everything. Certainly, they learn the fine arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but they also learn to deal out death, diversion, and espionage—in the politest possible ways, of course. Sophronia and her friends are in for a rousing first year's education.

Set in the same world as the Parasol Protectorate, this YA series debut is filled with all the saucy adventure and droll humor Gail Carriger's legions of fans have come to adore.

A great new adventure!

As Marie Lu, author of the Legend trilogy proclaims (on the book’s dust jacket), “It is the perfect steampunk version of Harry Potter,” and I couldn’t agree more. Filled with a very colorful, whimsical, steampunk world, familiar to the readers of The Parasol Protectorate series, with addition of new characters, and glimpses of the once familiar ones – Etiquette & Espionage is a delightful first book.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Recipe: Mushroom & Beef

Growing up I was a picky kid, food wise that is. To this day, I remember sitting down at the dinner table in the evening with a plate of my favorite skillet-fried potatoes. I could probably live for days just eating those potatoes. However, there were certain other dishes that were of special liking to me. And meals cooked in the little “individual” pots, hot out of the oven were certainly among them. Perhaps, it was the miniature size of the pot the meal would arrive in – as a kid I found that very appealing. I do enjoy such meals to this day though, and not only for its miniature container, but rather the versatility of the dish itself and of course the taste.

Below is a recipe for the mushroom and beef cooked in miniature pot (or crock, or bowl if you will). However, as I mentioned earlier it is a versatile dish, so let loose your imagination and give it a whirl with whatever ingredients you might have on hand.

Mushroom & Beef
Servings 4

*You will need 4 oven-safe bowls/crocks/or miniature pots. (I’m using the Brunswick Soup Bowls from Crate & Barrel, which I absolutely love for their convenience and design.)

Cover Reveal: Blood and Sand

I know, I know, I am late to the party, but I finally managed to find a bit of time to do this. I am so very excited for the cover reveal of the second novel in the Elemental World series – Blood and Sand by Elizabeth Hunter. The new novel is scheduled for late May/early June release. I am certainly looking forward to another fabulous story. Are you?

Building From Ashes (Elemental World #2)
Elizabeth Hunter

Book Description:
Dead women are showing up in the desert east of San Diego, and no one understands why. When the story comes to the attention of reporter Natalie Ellis, she can’t help but make comparisons to tragic deaths she’d investigated years ago. Are these women the victims of a serial killer, or something even more insidious?

Bodies may be piling up in his sire’s territory, but water vampire and feared enforcer Baojia is stuck entertaining the rich and clueless at a club in San Diego. He’s taken his exile with all the grace he could muster, but his patience is starting to thin.

Sparks fly when mortal and immortal are thrown together, and Natalie comes face to face with a reality that was lurking in the corners of her life. Pursuing the truth could cost Baojia everything, including the mortal woman who has earned his grudging respect.

Blood and Sand is the second novel in the expanded Elemental World series.

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