Monday, June 18, 2012

Review: Jenna Black's Shadowspell

Title: Shadowspell
Series: Faeriewalker Trilogy Book 2
Author: Jenna Black
Rating: 5/5
Genre: Fantasy Young Adult
Key-words: Fairies, Wild Hunt, Avalon
Length:  Novel 
ISBN: 978-0312575946
Price:  (Print) $9.99
Publisher:  St. Martin's
Reviewer:  Kayden McLeod

On top of spending most of her time in a bunker like safe house and having her dates hijacked by a formidable Fae bodyguard, Faeriewalker Dana Hathaway is in for some more bad news: the Erlking and his pack of murderous minions known as the Wild Hunt have descended upon Avalon. With his homicidal appetite and immortal powers, the Erlking has long been the nightmare of the Fae realm. A fragile treaty with the Faerie Queen, sealed with a mysterious spell, is the one thing that keeps him from hunting unchecked in Avalon, the only place on Earth where humans and Fae live together. Which means Dana’s in trouble, since it’s common knowledge that the Faerie Queen wants her – and her rare Faeriewalker powers – dead. The smoldering, sexy Erlking’s got his sights set on Dana, but does he only seek to kill her, or does he have something much darker in mind?

Shadowspell is a titillating tale, bound to draw you into the new world with an exciting cast of characters.

I found Shadowspell on sale, and though I hadn’t read the first book nor did the bookstore carry it, I picked it up, because Jenna Black rang a bell with me, I just didn’t remember why. When I got home, I found her Watchers in the Night on my shelves, which is an adult geared novel. I just hadn’t associated YA with her.

And am I glad I brought this book home! I’ve been reading a lot of fae related fiction lately, but Shadowspell stood out from the crowd along with Julie Kagawa’s Iron Fey series, with its daring edge, unexpected twists and a keen sense of originality that strayed from the tried and true. Even without having read Glimmerglass, the author wrote the story that just because I hadn’t read the back story leading up to this book, I wasn’t left feeling clueless and lost in the references to prior events in the Faeriewalker Trilogy.

Though the lead character from which the story is voiced, Dana, has realistic flaws, she had a backbone, the determination to see her decisions through, and the sense to accept the consequences of her calculated risks. One of my biggest complaints about YA heroines as of late, is their overall weak personas: the co-dependence, and nearly constant foolhardy mistakes that suggest their brains have became defective upon meeting the hero. Dana impressed me from the first page, until the last, regardless of her occasional misstep in the name of what is right.

Suffice to say, the moment I leave work this evening, I will heading back to the bookstore to pick up the third installment of the Faeriewalker Trilogy, Siren Song.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Recipe: Summer Strawberry Crème Cake

Dear Reader

As promised! The recipe to the cake I posted on Facebook last week.

I came up with this cake, because I felt like strawberry cake, but didn’t care for any of the recipes I’d found. Long ago, I stopped using sugar based icings that are too sweet, and too heavy, specifically for fruit based desserts. A few years ago, I debated using a little bit of Jello pudding, to keep my whipped cream from thinning during transport, then started adding different ingredients to the mixture. Eventually the recipe became my base of cake making for anything that wasn’t going to be staying outside for more than forty-five minutes. This method creates an airy icing and/or filling with a hint of sweetness, which I also use for fruit salad, decorating and more. You can use any combination of flavors, and add more Jello for a firmer icing. Just make sure to whip the cream before adding anything to it. The end result doesn’t come close if you don’t. 

One box of French vanilla cake mix (prepared as instructed, minus two teaspoons liquid: water/milk)
Four cups heavy (whipping) cream
Three cups strawberries, stems removed
½ cup Bailey’s Irish Cream
Four tablespoons vanilla Jello Pudding
Three tablespoons chocolate Jello Pudding
Two Teaspoons cocoa
1 cup icing sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla

Mince one cup of the strawberries, and put into the prepared cake batter (The water from the strawberries will make up for the two teaspoons of liquid from the batter) With electric beater, mix enough to further mash. Pour into two prepared 10inch spring form pans. Bake as directed, cool.

Whip two cups of heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Immediately add four tablespoons vanilla Jello pudding and ½ cup icing sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla. Mix until firm. Chop two cups strawberries, and add to mixture, folding in with spatula. Refrigerate to set.

Whip two cups heavy cream and ½ cup Bailey’s Irish Cream until stiff peaks form. Immediately add four tablespoons chocolate Jello Pudding, ½ cup icing sugar, two teaspoons cocoa, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat until firm. (You don’t have to refrigerate yet)

I don’t level the cakes, because of the thick layer of filling will form to/fix any uneven surfaces. On a plate, place one of the cake layers. Evenly pile all of the strawberry crème mixture (expect 1-3 inches high) Turn the second cake upside down and place on the filling, gently pressing down until even, and the filling is slightly bulging out of the sides.

With a long icing spatula, smoothing out the sides, filling any unevenness of the two layers. Ice cake with the chocolate Bailey’s mixture, taking care to use huge globs, to cover the filling without pulling too much of white filling, which will show through the chocolate. (If some does, just add more icing and smooth)

To get a smooth finish, apply all of the icing to the cake. Get a large bowl of hot water and a towel. Keep working the icing smooth, starting on the on top, pulling excess to the outer edges, then around the sides, periodically dipping the icing spatula in hot water, and wiping off with the towel (extra icing on the metal, will pull on the surface)

Refrigerate for three hours (preferably overnight to set)

Review: The Hunt, Andrew Fukuda

Title: The Hunt
Author: Andrew Fukuda
Rating: Siren's Best Book Stone
Awarded: Siren's Best Book Stone
Link To Original Review:
Genre: Paranormal Science Fiction/Horror
Key-words: Vampires, Post Apocalyptic, Extinct  
Length:  Novel 
ISBN: 978-1250005144
Price:  (Print) $17.99
Publisher:  St. Martin's Griffin 
Reviewer:  Kayden McLeod

Don’t Sweat.  Don’t Laugh.  Don’t draw attention to yourself.  And most of all, whatever you do, do not fall in love with one of them.

Gene is different from everyone else around him.  He can’t run with lightning speed, sunlight doesn’t hurt him and he doesn’t have an unquenchable lust for blood.  Gene is a human, and he knows the rules.  Keep the truth a secret.  It’s the only way to stay alive in a world of night—a world where humans are considered a delicacy and hunted for their blood.

When he’s chosen for a once in a lifetime opportunity to hunt the last remaining humans, Gene’s carefully constructed life begins to crumble around him.  He’s thrust into the path of a girl who makes him feel things he never thought possible—and into a ruthless pack of hunters whose suspicions about his true nature are growing. Now that Gene has finally found something worth fighting for, his need to survive is stronger than ever—but is it worth the cost of his humanity?

The Hunt will creep under your skin and stay there.

When I saw The Hunt on pre-order a little over a month ago, completely by accident, I read the excerpt. I wanted it, and though I never pre-order books, I almost did with this one. However, I went out on the weekend, and snatched it up at my nearest bookstore.  

Gene is immersed in the world of another race: a predatory and primal driven vampire-like set of beings. Though they fear the light, and have fangs, they appear to have a humanoid lifespan. They have children, and grow old.

For his entire life, Gene pretends to be like them, going to extremes to stay under the radar at all times, procuring items to cover his “heper” (human) odor, shaving his body and beyond.

The psychological layering in how Gene thinks and acts is a flawless, brilliant affair. Not only does he pretend to be something he’s not, but in many ways, he thinks like them. When something abhorrent to his basic nature happens around him, he refers to the activity and his association as we, not them. On the occasion, it’s skillfully disconcerting to read him mentally including himself on one hand, feeling his disgust and terror on another. The depth of his character makes you wonder what a lifetime of pretending for fear of his life, has done to his psyche as the book progresses, and he grows into new understanding.

While some of the content gets violent, the prose isn’t as graphic as it could be, though written with enough detail that you can visualize the desperate struggle between victim and predator.

The choice of first person narrative drives his emotions home to the reader with startling clarity. It’s so rare to find a book like this. I do not award Best Book easily, in fact, I never have before. But Andrew Fukuda deserves it for his second novel, The Hunt (available also in the UK under another cover).

Monday, June 11, 2012

Where I'm At Today!

Dear Reader,

Today I'm hanging out at Erotica For All, with a post about writing sex. This is probaly one of the most candid posts I've ever written.



Saturday, June 9, 2012

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Events: June-July

Dear Reader,

Here is the places I will be at over the next six weeks!

June 5
Miho Li

June 11
Guest Blog: Writing Sex
Erotica For All, 

June 12
Guest Post: Into the Writing of Master of Subservience
Faerotic Prose

June 14 and 15
Jericho Series Reviews

June 17
Guest Blog: Changes I Went Through From the Beginning, Until Now
Reading On The Wild Side

June 17
Review of Deadly Fetishes
For The Love of Reading

June 19
Review: Jezebel's Article and Masquerade
Everything to do With Books

June 20

June 21 Guest blog

Reading Between the Wines

June 25
Promo: Death of Innocence
Faerotic Prose

June 28
Tory Michaels’ World: 

June 28

June 28
Books, Books, and More Books

July 2 Review
Review of Carnal Magnetism
For The Love of Reading

July 8
The Bunnys Review

July 9
Kay Dee Royal

July 13
Promo : Jezebel's Article and Masquerade
Faerotic Prose

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Gena Showalter, Wicked Nights

Title: Wicked Nights
Series: Angels of the Dark
Author: Gena Showalter
Rating: 5/5
Genre:  Fantasy Romance
Key-words: Angels, Demons, Heaven, Hell
Length:  Novel 
ISBN: 978-0373776986
Price:  (Print) $7.99
Publisher:  Harlequin  

Leader of the most powerful army in the heavens, Zacharel has been deemed nearly too dangerous, too ruthless—and if he isn't careful, he'll lose his wings. But this warrior with a heart of ice will not be deterred from his missions at any cost…until a vulnerable human tempts him with a carnal pleasure he's never known before.

Accused of a crime she did not commit, Annabelle Miller has spent four years in an institution for the criminally insane. Demons track her every move, and their king will stop at nothing to have her. Zacharel is her only hope for survival, but is the brutal angel with a touch as hot as hell her salvation—or her ultimate damnation?

Wicked Nights by Gena Showalter is a thrill ride, with unexpected twists and turns that doesn’t leave anything to be desired.

Annabelle Miller is a young woman who has been badly abused by forces beyond her control, secretly plotting against her, warping her preordained path in life. The violence and pit of angst her life has become, filled with demons who stalk her every move, draws the dark haired, dangerous and captivating warrior angel, Zacharel.

Zacharel has his own crosses to carry, a past that haunts him every moment, of every day, poisoning his views on life, and himself. He’s cut himself off from any emotion he might’ve once possessed. But Annabelle could hold the key to unlock freedoms he never dare hope to have.

Upon reading Wicked Nights, I was thoroughly taken with the gritty, dark edge, mixed with sultry desire, driving the characters toward the book’s climax and beyond. These aspects lend flawless, believable cause for the variety of actions and reactions: a rare quality I adored from start to finish. The author pulls all the right emotions, at just the right time: a master of a poignant orchestra. As you near the end, you never expect the final blows, all the threads of the plot pull together seamlessly, in ways that are so unexpected, the emotions the characters feel are your own.

I can’t wait for Beauty Awakened, Koldo’s story, a particular angel who caught my interest, with his interesting back story.