{Review} Dead Witch Walking #tuesdayturns

Welcome back to Tuesday Turns, talking about the books that’ll keep you up until the wee hours turning pages because you just have to know how it ends.  And sometimes, books that you’ll probably put down after the first chapter, and everything in between meh and awesome!

Here is my page turner of the week, Dead Witch Walking, by Kim Harrison.

Back of the book, courtesy of Goodreads

All the creatures of the night gather in “the Hollows” of Cincinnati, to hide, to prowl, to party…and to feed.

Vampires rule the darkness in a predator-eat-predator world rife with dangers beyond imagining – and it’s Rachel Morgan’s job to keep that world civilized.

A bounty hunter and witch with serious sex appeal and an attitude, she’ll bring ’em back alive, dead…or undead.

~~~~

First off, I have to say I LOVE this cover.  I’m always drawn by red and sinister-looking backgrounds, and this has both.  Between her red hair and the red sky, the nice detail of the cuffs & charm bracelet on her belt, and I was drawn to this one from a mile away.

As for the content, it was actually kind of meh for me.  I wanted to love it, and I persevered & went onto book two, hoping, but my opinion didn’t change any.  Only three cupcakes.

I can’t even really pinpoint what it is that didn’t do it for me.  The actual writing was well done.  World building, pretty good.  The storyline seems interesting enough for a series opener.  Maybe it’s the characters?  I’d say it’s a big fat yes to that, considering I just had to go and look up the MC’s name.  Rachel Morgan.  So, she’s this witch who’s sick of getting screwed over by the “man” and high tails it out of there to work for herself.  A non official hit is placed on her head for doing so.  Okay, not bad.

Enter the vampire friend, again, can’t remember her name to save my life, either.  The situation between them adds a nice layer of conflict, but for whatever reason, I don’t buy it.  It seems … forced, awkward more than to make the reader squirm awkward.  As in, doesn’t quite work, awkward.  I don’t buy vampire friend, her personality or her weirdness.  I think maybe I just don’t know enough about her yet?  Geez, I don’t know.  Something there just didn’t work for me.

Jenks–him I remember–is a pixie who adds a layer of humor, a good layer, and for me, the most memorable part of the whole book.  I found the storyline began to repeat after a while.  Rachel broke into the bad guys place … what … three separate times by the end?  He was quite interesting, though, I have to admit.  As long as we don’t have a constant replay of Rachel B & E in his joint, I’d like to read more about him.

I’ll continue with the series and hope the next books … I’ll say ‘mature’ a little.

Have you read Dead Witch Walking?  What did you think of it?

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream Pie #fridaynoms

The title of this post should say it all, right?  I mean, how can you go wrong with chocolate, peanut butter and ice cream?  Oh, and don’t forget the toasted peanuts.  Nom, nom!

Talk about decadent.  Here’s how you make this simple, dazzling dessert that will have your family squealing with delight.

Crust

  • About 3/4 of a pack of Vanilla Oreos (you can substitute gluten free vanilla sandwich cookies, which I did for this one)
  • A few tbsp of melted butter

I tossed the cookies into my mini chopper and ground them up until mostly broken up, but not too fine.  I mixed in the melted butter and pressed into the bottom of a spring form pan.

Filling

  • Chapman’s (or your favorite brand) vanilla ice cream (works better if it’s a rectangular block for slicing purposes)
  • 1 Cup melted peanut butter
  • 1 Cup melted milk chocolate (chips in a double-boiler work the best, but you can do it in the microwave too if you add a bit of cream to it)
  • 1 Cup toasted peanuts (I used whole peanuts, but chunks would work, too)

Slice 1 inch thick slabs of ice cream and place them on top of the cookie crumbs, carving out bits to fill in the entire space.

Spread a thin layer of the peanut butter onto the ice cream (keeping back a few tablespoons for decoration), sprinkle with peanuts (save some for the top), then set in the freezer for a minute or two to solidify.

Once it’s set, then pour the chocolate on top. Not too thick, or it’ll be hard to cut.  Let it set in the freezer again for a few minutes to harden.

Now you can use a spoon and sprinkle the remaining peanut butter on top, add the remaining peanuts, and VOILA!

You could easily make this a multiple layer one that would look even more amazing.

This, my friends, is orgasm for the palate.  After indulging in this exquisite treat, you can chase it with a great paranormal romance book, a perfect end to a perfect evening.

What’s your favorite ice cream treat?

{Review} Chicagoland Vampires #tuesdayturns

This week, I’m visiting Chloe Neill’s Chicago Vampire series.  I read the entire series in only a few days, and it’s easier for me to talk about the series as a whole instead of trying to go back book by book.

For the book blurbs, visit Chloe Neill’s profile here. If you love her writing as much as I do, don’t forget to fan her!

Wow, where to start.  After reading the first book, I wasn’t sure this would be a series that would suck me in like the Fever series did.  It was quirky and almost a little juvenile, always talking about “boys” and such, sounding more like a bunch of teenagers than adults.

Merit was kind of a mediocre character for me in the beginning, though the interactions between her and and her best bud, Mallory, were quite entertaining. Ethan was interesting enough, a little mysterious and a lot sexy.

After book two, though, I was hopelessly ensnared in this series.  As the characters developed more, Chloe’s Neill’s unparalleled wit came through even more.  As an author myself, she impressed the hell out of me, and I don’t impress easily.  Brilliant dialogue, chemistry between Merit and Ethan that could melt my face, a fantastic world that stole me out of reality and settled me firmly into the story with no interruptions.

I have to say the end of book 4 made me curse and swear and just about throw my kindle through the picture window, but I grieved and cried and carried on, just like Merit did.  Book 5 was intense, and heart-wrenching, and the ending was magnificent.  I’d have liked to have a little more time with the two reunited lovers, but that’s what book 6 will be for, right?

Brilliant.  Loved it.

Book 1

Books 2-5

Have you read this series?  If so, what did you think?  Will you read it again? I know I will, for educational purposes for writing pizazz as much as for entertainment.

Thai Chicken Salad #fridaynoms

It’s Friday.  Finally.  Yes!

I’m sure you, like most of us, are wondering what the heck to have for eats this weekend in between reading sessions in your favorite spot.

Well, it just so happens that I have just the thing.  Exploding with flavor.  Some crunch.  Some sweetness.  Easy peasy to make, and can be made vegetarian and gluten free.

This is one of my very favorite meals.  We found the recipe on epicurious.com, a fantastic site for all sorts of nom noms.

Thai Chicken Salad with Rice noodles

Sauce (Can be doubled if you’re a sauce lover like me)

  • 6 large garlic cloves (jarred is fine)
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce (can sub gluten free soy here)
  • 2 limes juiced
  • 3 tbsp sugar (you can reduce this for lower cal)
  • 3 tblsp peanut butter
  • 3 tsp ground ginger pure (jarred is fine)
  • 2 tsp thai hot chili paste
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil

Salad

  • 1 Napa cabbage diced
  • 1 red pepper sliced thin
  • 1 red onion sliced thin
  • 1 pkg of Chinese rice noodles
  • Grilled chicken breasts (can omit for vegetarian)

Directions

  • Boil a pot of water large enough to submerse the entire package of Chinese noodles in.  At a rolling boil, drop in the noodles, cover and remove from heat.  Usually it takes about 8 minutes or so for them to get soft.  Drain.
  • Grill or poach the chicken in broth however you like, or leave it out.  It’s great either way
  • Put all of the ingredients for the sauce in a small chopper or blender & combine.
  • Cut up the cabbage, pepper & onion.
  • Toss the noodles, salad & sauce together, and voila!  Delicious, healthy and mucho satisfying meal that won’t take you more than a 1/2 hour to make.  How can you beat that?

Add a glass of wine and a good book afterwards, and you’ll be in nom nom heaven.

Do you like Thai food?  What’s your favorite recipe?

{Review} Magic Slays #tuesdayturns

Hello, and welcome to my very first post on Books & Eats Bistro, the place where I mix my two very favorite things:  great paranormal romance & urban fantasy books, and even better eats to compliment them like a fine wine.

Tuesdays are reserved for the latest book to dazzle or disappoint me.  Fridays are set aside for food that’s ALMOST as good as sex.  The days in between could very well be filled by you.  I’m all for supporting fellow authors and food lovers, so if you’d like me to review your book, host stop on your blog tour, or if you have a fantastic recipe that simply MUST be shared, click on my menu above to contact me.

So without further ado, I bring you my very first book review on Tuesday Turns.

Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews.

Here’s the nitty gritty on this little lovely, courtesy of Goodreads:

Plagued by a war between magic and technology, Atlanta has never been so deadly. Good thing Kate Daniels is on the job.

Kate Daniels may have quit the Order of Merciful Aid, but she’s still knee-deep in paranormal problems. Or she would be if she could get someone to hire her. Starting her own business has been more challenging than she thought it would be—now that the Order is disparaging her good name, and many potential clients are afraid of getting on the bad side of the Beast Lord, who just happens to be Kate’s mate.

So when Atlanta’s premier Master of the Dead calls to ask for help with a vampire on the loose, Kate leaps at the chance of some paying work. Turns out this is not an isolated incident, and Kate needs to get to the bottom of it—fast, or the city and everyone dear to her might pay the ultimate price . . .

Okay, so I kinda loved this book.  Given the quality of the other books, I expected to, but the writing team of Ilona Andrews only gets better as the series progresses.

Five whole cupcakes for this one!

I’ll sum it up in one word:  Curran.  Yes, Kate Daniels is an awesome heroine, real and entirely believable, but because I totally dig sexual tension in a book, Curran is what turns this novel from a really good read to a really great one.

In this book we begin with Kate trying to set up her own business, with the help of Curran and the Keep, since leaving the Order.  I just love this world.  Destroyed by magic that comes and goes, and besides the struggles Kate faces, the city itself is battling between technology and magic and I’m not sure whichI’m rooting for to win.

Another plus in this book is the pace.  We start right off with a bang into the middle of the action.  One of the Masters of the Dead has lost one of his vamps and, of course, it’s headed right for Kate.  Good thing she’s a badass with a sword named Slayer and a door designed to keep out a herd of trolls.

Ilona Andrews also does a great job of keeping the tension high since Kate & Curran have … uh … consummated their relationship.  Seeds of doubt are plated in Kate’s head about the reasons behind Curran’s interest in her.  Add to that some awesome peripheral characters, nail-biting action and enough emotion to keep me gripped, and this one totally earned its five cupcakes.

Have you been following this series?  If so, what did you think?