Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Recipe: Tomato Jam & a BLT Sandwich

So here’s a nice twist on the usual BLT sandwich: bacon, lettuce and tomato jam sandwich with goat cheese. I’ve had something similar while I was away in Ottawa and the idea of it has been following me ever since – I had to make it home, but first I needed tomato jam! After searching the web for various tomato jam recipes I found a few and took them to my kitchen, to experiment and here’s what I came up with. [If you are not up for making your own tomato jam, try a store-bought variety instead, but I would highly recommend trying this fun BLT.]

Tomato Jam
Makes 2 cups

Adapted from Food52

2.5 - 3 lbs tomatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 half bell pepper, diced
½ cup brown sugar
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
2 tbsp champagne vinegar
Juice of ½ lemon

Monday, October 28, 2013

Book Review: A Study in Darkness

A Study in Darkness (The Baskerville Affair #2)
Emma Jane Holloway

Release Date: October 29, 2013

Emma Jane Holloway

Book Description:
When a bomb goes off at 221B Baker Street, Evelina Cooper is thrown into her Uncle Sherlock’s world of mystery and murder. But just when she thought it was safe to return to the ballroom, old, new, and even dead enemies are clamoring for a place on her dance card.

Before Evelina’s even unpacked her gowns for a country house party, an indiscretion puts her in the power of the ruthless Gold King, who recruits her as his spy. He knows her disreputable past and exiles her to the rank alleyways of Whitechapel with orders to unmask his foe.

As danger mounts, Evelina struggles between hiding her illegal magic and succumbing to the darker aspects of her power. One path keeps her secure; the other keeps her alive. For rebellion is brewing, a sorcerer wants her soul, and no one can protect her in the hunting ground of Jack the Ripper.

Amazon US | Goodreads

Egalley courtesy of Random House Publishing Group - Del Rey Spectra via NetGalley in exchange for fair and honest review.

As the name would suggest Evelina Cooper’s second turn takes on a much darker tone as mysteries abound and our heroine lends herself into a series of unfortunate events. In an attempt to protect her family, her honor and place in society, as well as one dashing pirate, Evelina signs her freedoms away unto the hands of none other than Gold King himself. Exiled to the dark streets of the Whitechapel Evelina must become a spy for the Gold King in order to unmask his enemy, but what she uncovers might be even more sinister than the brewing war among the steam barons.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Around the Web #10

Guess what? The wait is over and Allegiant (Divergent #3) by Veronica Roth has finally arrived! I was eagerly awaiting it myself, and am savoring my read, but the response to the last chapter of the Divergent saga has been varied, and often harsh. As I gathered from the storm of Twitter comments and other social media outlets, an important character death at the conclusion of the series upset a lot of people. So, here are a few articles on the series, and Allegiant in particular, as well as Veronica’s response to reader reaction.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

TV Series Review: The White Queen

The White Queen
A STARZ Original Miniseries Event

Original Run: BBC One June 16, 2013 – August 18, 2013/STARZ August 10, 2013 – October 19, 2013


About the Series:
The White Queen is a riveting portrayal of one of the most dramatic and turbulent times in English history. A story of love and lust, seduction and deception, betrayal and murder, it is uniquely told through the perspective of three different, yet equally relentless women - Elizabeth Woodville, Margaret Beaufort and Anne Neville. In their quest for power, they will scheme, manipulate and seduce their way onto the English throne.

The year is 1464, before the Tudor dynasty ruled the country, and war has been ravaging throughout England over who is the rightful King. It is a bitter dispute between two sides of the same family, The House of York and The House of Lancaster.

The House of York's young and handsome Edward IV is crowned King of England with the help of the master manipulator, Lord Warwick "The Kingmaker." But when Edward falls in love with a beautiful Lancastrian commoner, Elizabeth Woodville, Warwick's plan to control the throne comes crashing down.

A violent, high-stakes struggle ensues between Elizabeth, her most fierce adversary, Lancastrian Margaret Beaufort, and Anne Neville, the pawn in her father's power game - each woman vying for the crown.


Manipulation is the name of the game! The White Queen miniseries event has come to an end this past weekend with an epic battle and a promise of the new King and the new reign. It was a great run for the series, which kept me thoroughly entertained and waiting for the Saturday night each week to get more of these ferocious ladies, all vying for the power, their men, and of course the coveted throne of England.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

New Releases: October 2013

New Releases: October 2013

October has been an incredible month full of exciting new releases. So I thought I’d share a few that made my ever-growing to-read shelf. Which books made yours?

Veronica Roth Michelle Diener

Monday, October 21, 2013

Book Review: My Lady Quicksilver

My Lady Quicksilver (London Steampunk #3)
Bec McMaster

Release Date: October 1, 2013

Bec McMaster

Book Description:
Determined to destroy the Echelon she despises, Rosalind Fairchild is on seemingly easy mission. Get in. Uncover the secrets of her brother's disappearance. And get out.

In order to infiltrate the Nighthawks and find their leader, Sir Jasper Lynch, Rosalind will pose as their secretary. But she doesn't count on Lynch being such a dangerously charismatic man, challenging her at every turn, forcing her to re-evaluate everything she knows about the enemy.

He could be her most dangerous nemesis—or the ally she never dreamed existed.

Amazon US | Goodreads

“The Council gave him three weeks to find Mercury. Or he would share Mercury’s fate.” My Lady Quicksilver (p. 387).

Love, honor, duty, deception, desire and revenge are the elements that make My Lady Quicksilver a delicious thrill ride through the streets of this dark steampunk incarnation of London, where no one is safe and nothing is what it seems. As the tension between the Echelon and the humanists continues to escalate, Sir Jasper Lynch, fearsome leader of the Nighthawks, takes on the hunt of the mysterious revolutionary – Mercury, only to discover that s/he is not so easy to catch…

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Around the Web #9

Hi guys! I must apologize for being a bit quiet this week. Work was unexpectedly busy this past week, which sidetracked me off of my reading/writing schedule. Fear not though, I have some great reviews in the works and next week Allegiant will finally be here - woohoo! I can’t wait to read it and just hope it was worth the wait. Have a good weekend!

Neil Gaiman
A brilliant talk given by Neil Gaiman at The Reading Agency on necessity of reading and keeping our libraries open for the brighter future.

Neil Gaiman: Why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming ~ Link

Monday, October 14, 2013

Book Review: The Scribe

The Scribe (Irin Chronicles #1)
Elizabeth Hunter

Release Date: October 15, 2013

Elizabeth Hunter

Book Description:
Hidden at the crossroads of the world, an ancient race battles to protect humanity, even as it dies from within.

Ava Matheson came to Istanbul looking for answers, but others came looking for her. A reckless warrior guards her steps, but will Malachi’s own past blind him to the truth of who Ava might be? While ancient forces gather around them, both Ava and Malachi search for answers.

Whispering voices. Deadly touch. Their passion should be impossible... or it could be the only thing that will keep them alive.

THE SCRIBE is the first book in the Irin Chronicles, the new paranormal romance series from Elizabeth Hunter, author of the Elemental Mysteries.

Amazon US | Goodreads

ARC courtesy of the author, in exchange for fair and honest review. Thank you!

Do you believe in myths and legends that talk of supreme beings, fallen angels, and wars fought and won over the fate of humanity? What if these myths are true and you are about to uncover the magic within? Would you fight or run? Would the choice be yours, if unbeknown to you it is what you were born to do?

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Around the Web #8

Hi guys! The weekend is finally here and I’m happy to share with you some news around the web in this week’s round-up.

Booklovers Anonymous
The last two books I’ve read were absolutely fabulous [reviews next week!] and I feel almost restored and inspired. But now, the wait for the next book in the series begins all over again. Yup, I admit reading series is addicting, and reading good series is even worse because you can’t help but wait for the next book with eager anticipation, counting months, days, hours, minutes… You get the idea and Buzzfeed knows exactly how we, addicts booklovers, feel.

What It Feels Like When The Next Book Finally Comes Out ~ Link

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Book Review: Bridget Jones

Bridget Jones’s Diary (Bridget Jones #1)
Helen Fielding

Release Date: June 1, 1999

Helen Fielding

Book Description:
Meet Bridget Jones—a 30-something Singleton who is certain she would have all the answers if she could:

    a. lose 7 pounds
    b. stop smoking
    c. develop Inner Poise

"123 lbs. (how is it possible to put on 4 pounds in the middle of the night? Could flesh have somehow solidified becoming denser and heavier? Repulsive, horrifying notion), alcohol units 4 (excellent), cigarettes 21 (poor but will give up totally tomorrow), number of correct lottery numbers 2 (better, but nevertheless useless)..."

Bridget Jones' Diary is the devastatingly self-aware, laugh-out-loud daily chronicle of Bridget's permanent, doomed quest for self-improvement — a year in which she resolves to: reduce the circumference of each thigh by 1.5 inches, visit the gym three times a week not just to buy a sandwich, form a functional relationship with a responsible adult, and learn to program the VCR.

Over the course of the year, Bridget loses a total of 72 pounds but gains a total of 74. She remains, however, optimistic. Through it all, Bridget will have you helpless with laughter, and — like millions of readers the world round — you'll find yourself shouting, "Bridget Jones is me!"

Amazon US | Goodreads

Monday, October 7, 2013

Book Review: Jerusalem: A Cookbook

Jerusalem: A Cookbook
Yotam Ottolenghi, Sami Tamimi

Release Date: January 1, 2012

Yotam Ottolenghi, Sami Tamimi

Book Description:
A collection of 120 recipes exploring the flavors of Jerusalem from the New York Times bestselling author of Plenty, one of the most lauded cookbooks of 2011.

In Jerusalem, Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi explore  the vibrant cuisine of their home city—with its diverse Muslim, Jewish, and Christian communities. Both men were born in Jerusalem in the same year—Tamimi on the Arab east side and Ottolenghi in the Jewish west. This stunning cookbook offers 120 recipes from their unique cross-cultural perspective, from inventive vegetable dishes to sweet, rich desserts. With five bustling restaurants in London and two stellar cookbooks, Ottolenghi is one of the most respected chefs in the world; in Jerusalem, he and Tamimi have collaborated to produce their most personal cookbook yet.

Amazon US | Goodreads

Absolutely fantastic!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Around the Web #7

Zemfirka Blogs

Gail Carriger
Gail Carriger’s novel, Soulless turned four on Tuesday, October 1! If you haven’t read Soulless (Parasol Protectorate #1) – you are missing out! Gail writes fabulous books, with some amazing characters – both Alexia and Lord Conall Maccon make my list of top favorites. [Check out my review here].

Gail Carriger

Soulless Turns 4 Today
October 1, 2009 a silly little book hit the market. ~ Link

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Book Review: Luca's Magic Embrace

Luca’s Magic Embrace (Immortals of New Orleans #2)
Kym Grosso

Release Date: October 18, 2012

Kym Grosso

Book Description:
An erotic paranormal romance…

Sexy vampire, Luca Macquarie doesn’t do love; especially not with humans. Yet, ever since he rescued Samantha Irving, he can’t deny the enigmatic attraction he’s developed for the alluring mortal woman. Concerned for her safety, he’s determined to bring Samantha back to her coven. His mission is to go find the novice witch and bring her home, nothing more, nothing less; falling for her is not supposed to be part of the plan.

Samantha doesn’t want to be a witch, yet that’s exactly what she is. After failing to elicit her magic, she escapes to the mountains in an attempt to resume a semblance of her previous human life. When an arsonist torches her cabin, Samantha’s worst fears are realized. Aware that her life is on the line, she reluctantly agrees to return to New Orleans with Luca.

In the Big Easy, Samantha and Luca embark on a spellbinding journey, searching for a mystical amulet that promises to release her obligation from an ancient, lethal vampire who’s been threatening her life. With cryptic clues and clandestine allies, will Luca and Samantha destroy the dangerous amulet before others acquire it, setting forth a chain of catastrophic consequences? And will Luca give into his erotic desire for the witch who magically captures heart?

Amazon US | Goodreads

Fun, light and very sexy read!

The second book in the Immortals of New Orleans series picks up right where the first left off. Kym’s first novel was quite entertaining and made a perfect introduction into this dark and sexy world of vampires, werewolves, and witches. So, having finished Kade’s novel awhile back, I had it in mind to quench my curiosity further. As time and opportunity presented themselves, I didn’t hesitate and picked up Luca’s Magic Embrace to learn more of the sexy vampire Luca Macquarie and his love interest to-be, Samantha.

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