Thursday, March 31, 2016

Faery Fantasy : MyReads2016

I've been on a Faerie book kick recently.  Midway through February I found some great series in this new popular world that so many authors have created for us readers.  Seemed fitting for the month of March to be focusing on the world of faery what with St. Patrick's Day.  I can get into most stories, but it's not often that I rate them a 5. And this month I had MANY!Already know some of these will be re-reads for me, they were that good!

ACOTAR Series - Sarah Maas  ( 5 / 5 )
* 1 : A Court of Thorns and Roses
   2 : A Court of Mist and Fury (May 2016)

Sarah Maas is one of my favorite YA authors! Her Throne of Glass Series is addictive and a favorite of many readers.  It's no surprise I LOVED this book, since it has many similarities to the familiar story of Beauty and the Beast.  This was a stay up all night until I finished it book, I truly didn't have another choice when I had read the first few chapters. 

Summary: Feyre hates faeries.  Behind the wall the humans live impoverished, but in relative safety from the dangerous immortal faeries.  That is until Feyre is accused of killing a faerie.  In retribution she must live with a deadly faery, Tamlin, to pay off the life debt.  Faeries are irrestible, but Feyre refuses to fall for her captor.  She waits, learning about the faeries and their weaknesses, and yet it's hard to fight her growing concern for Tamlin and those on the estate.  Searching for the truth about the fae and the well being of the humans, Feyre finds herself in the middle of a dangerous world.

Winterspell - Claire Legrand ( 5 / 5 )

A re-telling of the Nutcracker made this one of my favorites.  I love when stories are reshaped, but stay true enough to the primary story to see the connection.  Honestly before reading this I never was able to get into the story of the Nutcracker, partly because I don't think I truly understood all the characters and world of the fae.  Needless to say it exceeded expectations.

It's not often that I read stand alone novels. This book though, it's fabulous. It's a little dark. I've realized books that take place in faery tend to be on a spectrum of darkness. Always was scared of the rat king in the play, and this novel brings us into the magical world of the Nutcracker.  

The Iron Fey - Julie Kagawa ( 5 / 5 )

* 1 : The Iron King
* 1.5 : Winters Passage
* 2 : The Iron Daughter
* 3 : The Iron Queen
* 3.5 : Summer's Crossing
* 4 : The Iron Knight
* 4.5 : Iron's Prophecy
* 5 :  The Lost Prince
* 6 :  The Iron Traitor

One of my favorite series I read last year! This iron fey series had me on the lookout for other faery fantasy books.  The main character Meghan Chase, is the daughter of a mythical faery king, and one of the reasons I love the books.  The other characters in the book will make you laugh out loud, and have you falling in love right along with them.  And of course there's a young prince, and just like any "faery" tale you find yourself wrapped up in this dangerous love story. Lighter reading, it's appropriate for many audiences, and more lightheartedness than other faery stories.

Fever Series - Karen Marie Moning ( 4.5 / 5 )* 1 : Darkfever
* 2 : Bloodfever
* 3 : Faefever
* 4 : Dream fever
* 5 : Shadowfever
* 5.5 : Fevermoon
* 6 : Iced
* 7 : Burned
* 8 : Feverborn
   9 : (coming soon)

This series took me completely by surprise. Definitely not a read for teens.  Books 1-3 were relatively tame, but by the end of 3 and from then on the books turn even darker (hadn't thought it was possible) and more graphic in detail or R rated.  And yet I still found myself unable to stop halfway through the series, I just had to know how everything would work out.  It's one of those things that once the characters go through so much, you just need that ending for some closure. Whelp I'm still waiting, since the series just keeps going.  What I like is the empowerment and transformation of the main character as she comes into her own. And the challenges faced along the way, wow!  Everytime I think I know what's going to happen I'm wrong! Or suddenly BAM! something unexpected happens. Can't tell you how often I dropped my book in shock just absorbing what transpired.

Wicked Lovely Series - Melissa Marr ( 4 / 5 )

* 1 : Wicked Lovely
* 2 : Ink Exchange
* 3 :  Fragile Eternity
* 4 : Radiant Shadows
*  5 : Darkest Mercy 

 If you can guess it was the covers that aught my attention for this series. And then once I found out it was about the magical world of faery, I knew I had to put it on my to read list for March. After finishing this series, thought it was going to be good reads for teens.

Summary: Aislinn has always seen faeries.  She  hides her sight so well they have no idea she can see them.  But now one is following her.  Keenan, the devastatingly handsome Summer king is searching for his queen, and he thinks Aislinn is it. At least he hopes she is. Otherwise, like every other girl that has come before her, if she's not her fate will be sealed as a faery forever succumbed to winters cold. Will she take the risk to save the summer kingdom? Or is there another way to protect her best friend Seth and everyone else she holds dear?

Kanin Chronicles - Amanda Hocking ( 3 / 5 )

* 1 : Frostfire
* 2 : Ice Kissed
* 3: Crystal Kingdom

This series might not be about fairies but there were a lot of similarities.  The Kanin Chronicles is about trolls, good looking trolls apparently. There are different kingdoms beyond the human world, and yet the trolls will sometimes plant themselves among the humans.  Important royal mystical children are planted in place of a "normal" baby so that they might be brought up safe, until their families reclaim them when they come of age.  You've probably heard the term changeling before, it's not a new idea.  Good series for a teen audience!

Summary: Bryn Aven stands out with her blond hair blue eyes among the darker Kanins.  She wants to be a part of the elite royal guard, which sets her on the path of tailing a traitor to the King and Queen.  It's too bad the traitor used to be her biggest crush, but that won't stop her from doing whatever she must to achieve a ranking within the guard. But when the decision comes is she willing to risk everything to protect a kingdom that truly doesn't even accept her?



My running total since the start of the new year is now  25 / 100 !

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Baked Cinnamon French Toast

Some people LOVE breakfast, I'm not one of them.  Brunch on the other hand I can get behind.  Breakfast for dinner?  Here, here! 

This baked cinnamon french toast was a find! It's the perfect dish for a weekend breakfast or brunch.  It feeds a lot of people, it's easy to make can make it the night before! Was one of the first recipes I tried from my Pioneer Woman cookbook.

This recipe for me was a big winner because it makes a whole pan of french toast compared to making french toast by the slice.  Way easier, especially if you have a hungry family waiting at the table.  

This also makes a good dish for a bridal shower, it'll be a popular one. For me, this is a recipe we enjoyed on Christmas day after making it Christmas Eve.  Another perfect time to cook this up is Easter weekend.  Clearly, there's many great times to serve this up.

Baked Cinnamon French Toast: 

Ree Drummond 

  • Butter, For Greasing
  • 1 loaf Crusty Sourdough Or French Bread
  • 8 whole Eggs
  • 2 cups Whole Milk
  • 1/2 cup Heavy Cream
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Brown Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Vanilla Extract 
  • 1/2 cup Flour
  • 1/2 cup Firmly Packed Brown Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • Freshly Grated Nutmeg (optional)
  • 1 stick Cold Butter, Cut Into Pieces

To make the french toast:

1) Grease the baking pan with butter.
2) Using a thick bread, tear into chunks and place in the pan.
3) Next crack the eggs. Whisk together the eggs, milk, cream, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla.
4) Pour mix over the bread. Cover the pan tightly and store in the fridge (overnight preferably). Can make immediately.

For the topping: 

1) Mix the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and some nutmeg in a bowl.
2) Add the butter and mix using a pastry cutter. There will be clumps. Store in the fridge.

To bake the casserole:

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2) Remove the casserole from the fridge and sprinkle the topping over the top.
3) Bake for 45 minutes for a softer, more bread pudding texture or for 1 hour-plus or more for a firmer, crisper texture. (We prefer the 1 hr time).
4) Serve with warm syrup, butter and fresh blueberries.

Other breakfast items featured on the blog:

Pancake Muffins

Mini Carrot Apple Muffins

Apple Roses

Bacon Roses

Bacon and Egg Cups



Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Saint Patrick's Day

I have had the house decorated for St. Patty's Day for weeks! I love this holiday for many reasons but like most holidays, it is fun to have another reason just to celebrate with family or friends.

I was thinking about a delicious berry dessert that I made a few months back and decided to put together an even simpler version for a St. Patty's Day get together. All I used is meringues and topped them with berries. You have to be careful to serve right away so that the berries do not cause the meringues to get soggy. You could pile a few more berries on here if you wanted or even an additional drizzle of chocolate would be heavenly.

After hot gluing some shamrocks to a few of the toothpicks for the final touch, dessert is served. It is always in the little details!

Cheers to you all!