Archive | February 2014

Random Recipe: Basmati Rice with Sweet Onions and Herbs

My husband and I love this recipe! We prefer it with chicken and fish dishes – I don’t feel it works well with [most] beef. I can’t remember where I got this one from…

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups basmati rice (about 10 ounces)
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
2 cups chopped sweet onions (I use Vidalia)
2 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh tarragon

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Random Recipes Happen Here

I cook a lot. I’m not very good at deep frying but I pan fry, saute, and bake (both food and desserts). I don’t have a gourmet kitchen (heck, I don’t even have (my preference) a gas stove!

When I started focusing on being healthy (mind, body), I began to cook more food from scratch. Because this is a pretty big part of my life, I decided to throw in recipes or whatever…whenever.

Review: Brianna (Celestial Passions #1) by Judy Mays *spoilers*

brianna

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Brianna did what any other decent human being would do-rescue a pair of aliens her boss was about to dissect, and get them back to their space ship. In the process, she was captured by an alien scientist and became a experiment herself-a sexual experiment.

Captain Alalakan don al’ Chardadon was not about to let Dr. Rodak don al’ Bakom conduct his ridiculous sexual experiments on an inhabitant from a newly discovered world. Even if it meant he had to marry the Earth woman to protect her. Marriages were easily dissolved on his planet, and this alien was very beautiful. Besides, he wanted her-in his bed, on the floor, against the wall, or anywhere else he could think of.

Brianna had to choose-marry the captain or try to find another way to escape Bakom. Easy choice. Even though he was an alien, Char was the most desirable man she’d ever met.

So, Brianna finds herself hurtling through space married to a very sexy alien-with a very flexible tail-from a planet where hedonism is the norm and there are three sexes: male, female, and hermaphrodite.

But Bakom wanted Brianna too, and is willing to do anything to get her back.

Have you ever read a Romance novel and thought to yourself, this is the most ridiculous cliched bullshit I’ve ever read? How did this get published?? I’m obviously in the wrong business…

Well, this is almost that book. But it’s not. Because this book is a cliched ridiculous mess on purpose (which makes it funny). This book has it all: beautiful red-haired “spitfire” heroine (with green eyes, of course); handsome and rich hero; being kidnapped by aliens for weird alien sex; princesses; cat people; assassins….

Well, you get the point. It’s like…everything is here. There is no way this wasn’t written tongue in cheek. How does Brianna communicate with these people from a different galaxy? They use a Medirian ghena instead of a Babel fish…but it’s the same thing and performs the same function. There are also several hints in the book that shows that Mays is writing a comedy.
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Andre Norton’s Witch World: Inspiration

Andre Norton is my favorite author, period. I’ve been reading and collecting her work – with an emphasis on the Witch World series – for over 10 years. I often read her books or refer to them and since this is my blog… I’m going to selfishly read, review, and list them. All. 😀

What is the Witch World? How was it created?

From Andre Norton.Org:

Witch World really grew from another idea altogether. Years ago, before I entered the sf-fantasy field of writing (no one was interested in buying ms. that were book length then), I had an idea dealing with the Norman holdings in Outremer during the Crusading period – those small baronies (ect) which were carved out and held by landless knights who did not wish to return to Europe after their long travel to the Middle East.

The section in the first book which deals with Verlaine and its heiress was an incident I had imagined for such a book. The book was never written except as scraps at the time. Then, much later, I came across the legend that the mysterious seat at the Round Table which came to be Galahad’s – The Siege Perilous – in reality dropped into another time and place those rash enough to try it who were not fitted to be seated there. That gave me an opening for an adventure tale.
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FYI: Abbreviations

I realized that I use a lot of abbreviations, so here’s a quick list of the most used ones. I’ll try to keep this list updated.

Book Formats
Trade – Trade Paperback
HB – Hardback/Hardbound
HC – Hardcover
DTB – Dead Tree Book
MMPB – Mass Market Paperback

Characters
H/h – Hero/Heroine (or Heroine/Hero)
TSTL – Too Stupid Too Live
MC – Main Character

Books
LotR – Lord of the Rings
Malazan – Malazan Book of the Fallen

Authors
GRRM – George R.R. Martin

An Aficionado’s Guide to the top 100 Fantasy Books of All Time – All

FINALLY. The full list.

Like the previous list I posted on this blog An Aficionado’s Guide to The 20 Best Urban Fantasy Novels of the Last Decade this is a VOTED ON list. The group that voted on this list is Fantasy Aficionados and the group had huge participation in this project. Even the placement that each book/series is listed at (with #1 being the best (objectively, of course – this is a very refined list).

As always – if you see a book that is part of a series, the recommendation is for the entire series.
 
 
The Fellowship of the Ring1. The Fellowship of the Ring
Series: The Lord of the Rings (Including The Hobbit)
Movies: 2001, 2002, 2003, 2012, 2013, 2014

The dark, fearsome Ringwraiths are searching for a Hobbit. Frodo Baggins knows that they are seeking him and the Ring he bears—the Ring of Power that will enable evil Sauron to destroy all that is good in Middle-earth. Now it is up to Frodo and his faithful servant, Sam, with a small band of companions, to carry the Ring to the one place it can be destroyed: Mount Doom, in the very center of Sauron’s realm.

 

A Game of Thrones2. A Game of Thrones
Series: A Song of Ice and Fire
TV Series

Summers span decades. Winter can last a lifetime. And the struggle for the Iron Throne has begun.

As Warden of the north, Lord Eddard Stark counts it a curse when King Robert bestows on him the office of the Hand. His honour weighs him down at court where a true man does what he will, not what he must … and a dead enemy is a thing of beauty.

The old gods have no power in the south, Stark’s family is split and there is treachery at court. Worse, the vengeance-mad heir of the deposed Dragon King has grown to maturity in exile in the Free Cities. He claims the Iron Throne.

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Review: Gardens of the Moon (The Malazan Book of the Fallen, #1) by Steven Erikson

Gardens of the Moon

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The Malazan Empire simmers with discontent, bled dry by interminable warfare, bitter infighting and bloody confrontations with the formidable Anomander Rake and his Tiste Andii, ancient and implacable sorcerers. Even the imperial legions, long inured to the bloodshed, yearn for some respite. Yet Empress Laseen’s rule remains absolute, enforced by her dread Claw assassins.

For Sergeant Whiskeyjack and his squad of Bridgeburners, and for Tattersail, surviving cadre mage of the Second Legion, the aftermath of the siege of Pale should have been a time to mourn the many dead. But Darujhistan, last of the Free Cities of Genabackis, yet holds out. It is to this ancient citadel that Laseen turns her predatory gaze.

However, it would appear that the Empire is not alone in this great game. Sinister, shadowbound forces are gathering as the gods themselves prepare to play their hand…

Conceived and written on a panoramic scale, Gardens of the Moon is epic fantasy of the highest order–an enthralling adventure by an outstanding new voice.

There are no words. I just don’t have the words to describe this enough to get out a review.

I don’t have the words to express my relationship with Gardens of the Moon.

I am…my mind is BLOWN.

It’s genius.

It’s intimidating. The sheer scope of what was going on is amazing. There’s so much going on and I don’t know what to even say. The world is so textured and layered.

There are ten books in this series. O_O

I went through a gamut of emotions – the emotional roller-coaster had me strapped down and didn’t let me off until the end.

The sheer…magnitude of the book was on the scale of what I [previously] would have thought to be impossible.

During my reading of this book I felt confused, I felt astounded, tired, irritated, exhilarated, exhausted, engaged, exasperated, drugged, emotionally traumatized…and totally at Erikson’s mercy.

O_o
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Flights of Fantasy: March 2014 Books of the Month

The March 2014 Flights of Fantasy group reads and my early decision on reading them:

 
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own MakingYA/MG
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making (Fairyland, #1)
Decision: Yes

Twelve-year-old September lives in Omaha, and used to have an ordinary life, until her father went to war and her mother went to work. One day, September is met at her kitchen window by a Green Wind (taking the form of a gentleman in a green jacket), who invites her on an adventure, implying that her help is needed in Fairyland. The new Marquess is unpredictable and fickle, and also not much older than September. Only September can retrieve a talisman the Marquess wants from the enchanted woods, and if she doesn’t . . . then the Marquess will make life impossible for the inhabitants of Fairyland. September is already making new friends, including a book-loving Wyvern and a mysterious boy named Saturday.

With exquisite illustrations by acclaimed artist Ana Juan, Fairyland lives up to the sensation it created when the author first posted it online. For readers of all ages who love the charm of Alice in Wonderland and the soul of The Golden Compass, here is a reading experience unto itself: unforgettable, and so very beautiful.

 

Lord of the Silver BowFantasy
Lord of the Silver Bow (Troy, #1)
Decision: Might read – ordered from library

He is a man of many names. Some call him the Golden One; others, the Lord of the Silver Bow. To the Dardanians, he is Prince Aeneas. But to his friends, he is Helikaon. Strong, fast, quick of mind, he is a bold warrior, hated by his enemies, feared even by his Trojan allies. For there is a darkness at the heart of the Golden One, a savagery that, once awakened, can be appeased only with blood.

Argurios the Mykene is a peerless fighter, a man of unbending principles and unbreakable will. Like all of the Mykene warriors, he lives to conquer and to kill. Dispatched by King Agamemnon to scout the defenses of the golden city of Troy, he is Helikaon’s sworn enemy.
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Wine: Hobson Estate “Merlot”

hobson estate merlotI love a good Merlot. It’s one of my favorite wines.

I received this Hobson Estate Merlot as a part of a wonderful little gift basket I received for Christmas. I loved the entire basket – especially since it came with five bottles of wine! Getting a wine gift basket for Christmas is…the best thing ever. It makes sure you have bottles (that aren’t noted as favorites) for guests and it gives you a new vineyard to taste.

This Merlot is a deep burgundy color and it shines like a jewel when the light hits it.

I was surprised at how sweet it was at the very first taste. But I liked it. 🙂 It was sweet with a hint of tartness.

The label says it contains hints of: black cherry, ripe plums, blackberry pie, cloves, rich mocha, and a berry finish.

Update: Gardens of the Moon (The Malazan Book of the Fallen, #1) by Steven Erikson

Gardens of the Moon

Bled dry by warfare, the vast Malazan empire simmers with discontent. Sergeant Whiskeyjack’s Bridgeburners and surviving sorceress Tattersail wanted to mourn the dead of Pale. But Darujhistan, last of the Free Cities, holds out, Empress Lasseen’s ambition knows no bounds, and the gods intend to intervene.


Current location: 372/494 (75%)

So, I’ve been reading this book.

It’s part of a ten book series that has an additional only God knows how many more books attached. I’d never planned to read this series for that reason alone. When I told my husband I was reading a ten book series he told me that I was “getting hosed.” But the group chose it as a book of the month and I said I’d give it a chance. Took a month to get here from the library…I should have known it was gonna be trouble then.
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