Sunday, March 31, 2013

Sundays with Sarah (29)

To find out more about Sarah and this feature go here.

Hi everyone, welcome to another end of the weekend and another Sundays with Sarah.

I know my past few posts have been on a serious nature, this week I want to spice it up...literally.

Ok who out there LOVES to cook? Well if you're like most, everyone pretty much cooks. I've come across some pretty incredible recipes over my days and some that have been outstanding, while others not so much. With Easter happening all over the world everyone does a traditional Easter dinner with either ham or turkey and other fixings. But for those who don't celebrate it with family or are alone there are some pretty good and simple recipes to make that can help make dining a pleasurable experience.

So today I would like to share some of those incredible recipes I use to help get me through my holidays as I generally spend them alone but these recipes are also great for house parties, guests and more. I hope you enjoy them as much as I loved making them. (*PS: I have made ALL the following recipes listed)


1 (10 pound) fully-cooked, bone-in ham
2 teaspoons whole cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons brown mustard
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 cup peach nectar
1 cup peach preserves
5 cups frozen peach slices
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger root
1 hot cherry pepper, seeded and minced
1 (3 inch) cinnamon stick

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Use a serrated knife to score the top of the ham in a diamond pattern. Press whole cloves into the ham and place on a roasting rack in a roasting pan.

2. Bake for 1 1/2 to 2 hours in the preheated oven, or until the internal temperature of the ham has reached 140 degrees F (60 degrees C). Cover with aluminum foil if the ham starts to look dry.

3. While the ham is baking, mix together the cinnamon, mustard and 1/2 cup of brown sugar in a cup or small bowl. Set aside. In a saucepan over medium heat, mix together the remaining brown sugar, cider vinegar, peach nectar and peach preserves. Bring to a boil and then stir in the sliced peaches, ginger, cherry pepper and the cinnamon stick. Simmer until the peaches are tender and the sauce has thickened, 25 to 30 minutes.

4. Remove the ham from the oven and brush liberally with the mustard glaze. Increase the oven temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and return the ham to the oven, uncovered.

5. Bake for an additional 20 to 30 minutes, or until glaze is bubbly. Allow the ham to rest for 15 to 20 minutes before carving. Serve with hot Peach-Ginger sauce.


30-40 Perogies (any kind)
Butter (for sautéing)
5 cups diced bacon
1 cup diced green onion
1/4 cup minced garlic
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 whole onions (thinly sliced)
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ginger
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 pkg of ground cooked beef
3 cups diced mushrooms

1. Pre-cook perogies in water but not to overcook once done melt butter and mix over to prevent sticking.

2. Sauté diced bacon, green onions and mushrooms in pan and add garlic, ginger after the bacon is partially cooked. drain excess grease. Mix in brown sugar to glaze

3. Cook ground beef until thoroughly cooked and in as small pieces as possible. Add salt and pepper.

4. In a baking dish, place butted on bottom of a baking dish and the perogies on top. Then add in the cooked ground beef, over perogies. Layer the cheese over the beef, and then the cooked bacon, onions and mushrooms. Bake for 10 mins at 300F

5. Once cooked and cheese is melted, take out of over and let cook for 10 min.

6. Thinly slice whole onions and sauté with butter. Once cooked layer over main dish. Serve with Sour cream or Syrup (yes Syrup)


1 (8 ounce) package linguini pasta
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1(3 ounce) package cream cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
3/4 teaspoon dried basil
2/3 cup boiling water
1/2 pound cooked shrimp

1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add linguini, and cook until tender, about 7 minutes. Drain.

2. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms; cook and stir until tender. Transfer to a plate.

3. In the same pan, melt 1/2 cup butter with the minced garlic. Stir in the cream cheese, breaking it up with a spoon as it melts. Stir in the parsley and basil. Simmer for 5 minutes. Mix in boiling water until sauce is smooth. Stir in cooked shrimp and mushrooms, and heat through.

4. Toss linguini with shrimp sauce, and serve.


4 (6.5 ounce) cans minced clams
2 (28 ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
2 (29 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
7 carrots, sliced
1 stalk celery, diced
8 potatoes, cubed
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried basil
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
3 drops hot pepper sauce
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
salt and ground black pepper to taste

1. Combine canned tomatoes and clams together with juices in a large stock pot. Stir in oregano, basil, sauces, and onion powder. Simmer for 30 minutes.
2. Add vegetables, and simmer for 2 to 3 hours. Stir occasionally. Salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

* * * * * * * * * *

Anyways, whether you cook often or eat out, everyone loves food. It is better though to dine with family and friends than it is to dine alone. As part of that aspect, I encourage everyone to try to dine more at home and with family around the table. It is easy to forget that as a family structure that meal time is the best time for bonding. We get so wrapped up in the world of technology that we become detached with those around us.

But if you are dining alone, here are a few great books I suggest on reading while dining. Food may nourish the body, but reading can nourish the mind, and soul.

1. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

2. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

3. Requiem by Lauren Oliver

4. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

5. Rage: A Love Story by Julie Anne Peters

Thanks again, and I will see you on another Sundays with Sarah.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

My Bookish Wants & Gots (41)

My Bookish Wants & Gots is a feature over at The Book Vixen. I list the books I want - which can be old, new, or upcoming releases - and the books I recently got.

Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley
In the remarkable, bizarre, and heart-wrenching summer before Cullen Witter’s senior year of high school, he is forced to examine everything he thinks he understands about his small and painfully dull Arkansas town. His cousin overdoses; his town becomes absurdly obsessed with the alleged reappearance of an extinct woodpecker; and most troubling of all, his sensitive, gifted fifteen-year-old brother, Gabriel, suddenly and inexplicably disappears.

Meanwhile, the crisis of faith spawned by a young missionary’s disillusion in Africa prompts a frantic search for meaning that has far-reaching consequences. As distant as the two stories initially seem, they are woven together through masterful plotting and merge in a surprising and harrowing climax.

This extraordinary tale from a rare literary voice finds wonder in the ordinary and illuminates the hope of second chances.

The First Prophet by Kay Hooper
Within the FBI, there exists a team of psychics whose powers cannot be denied. But these agents are feared—by a cabal of conspirators with only one weapon: to blind the psychics to the evils all around them.

Months ago Sarah Gallagher woke from a coma with psychic abilities she couldn’t control. They changed her life and cost her the man she loved. And now, someone is playing games with Sarah’s mind.

It begins with Sarah’s home being destroyed by fire—an act of arson that draws novelist Tucker Mackenzie into Sarah’s confidence. But he has other reasons for pursuing a woman who can see what others can’t. So does a mysterious enemy intent on eliminating Sarah, and everyone she cares about. Because it’s only a matter of time before her visions lead her and Tucker to a secret many will kill to hide. Only then will they begin to discover the scope of a terrifying conspiracy so deep and complex they can trust almost no one.

Insurgent by Veronica Roth
One choice can transform you--or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves--and herself--while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable--and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

Fair Game by Patricia Briggs
They say opposites attract. And in the case of werewolves Anna Latham and Charles Cornick, they mate. The son-and enforcer-of the leader of the North American werewolves, Charles is a dominant alpha. While Anna, an omega, has the rare ability to calm others of her kind.

Now that the werewolves have revealed themselves to humans, they can't afford any bad publicity. Infractions that could have been overlooked in the past must now be punished, and the strain of doing his father's dirty work is taking a toll on Charles.

Nevertheless, Charles and Anna are sent to Boston, when the FBI requests the pack's help on a local serial killer case. They quickly realize that not only the last two victims were werewolves-all of them were. Someone is targeting their kind. And now Anna and Charles have put themselves right in the killer's sights...

Friday, March 29, 2013

Forgotten Fridays (51)

I invite and welcome anyone interested to post their own Forgotten Friday and join in the fun! I feature a book that I have read and have forgotten how much I enjoyed it. Some books might recent reads and some might be older reads, but I hope this helps these (sometimes forgotten) books earn a spot on your own TBR pile!

Willow by Julia Hoban
First Published: April 2009
My Review

Seven months ago, on a rainy March night, sixteen-year- old Willow's parents drank too much wine and asked her to drive them home. They never made it. Willow lost control of the car and her parents died in the accident. Now she has left behind her old home, friends, and school, and blocks the pain by secretly cutting herself. But when Willow meets Guy, a boy as sensitive and complicated as she is, she begins an intense, life-changing relationship that turns her world upside down.Told in an arresting, fresh voice, Willow is an unforgettable novel about one girl's struggle to cope with tragedy, and one boy's refusal to give up on her.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare

City of Lost Souls:
What price is too high to pay, even for love? When Jace and Clary meet again, Clary is horrified to discover that the demon Lilith’s magic has bound her beloved Jace together with her evil brother Sebastian, and that Jace has become a servant of evil. The Clave is out to destroy Sebastian, but there is no way to harm one boy without destroying the other. As Alec, Magnus, Simon, and Isabelle wheedle and bargain with Seelies, demons, and the merciless Iron Sisters to try to save Jace, Clary plays a dangerous game of her own. The price of losing is not just her own life, but Jace’s soul. She’s willing to do anything for Jace, but can she still trust him? Or is he truly lost?

Love. Blood. Betrayal. Revenge. Darkness threatens to claim the Shadowhunters in the harrowing fifth book of the Mortal Instruments series.

While I truly enjoyed City of Lost Souls a whole lot more than City of Fallen Angels, I still feel that the series was completed with the original trilogy. Cassandra Clare had the perfect opportunity to expand on the secondary characters with this additional trilogy, but unfortunately for me it is falling flat. The beginning and end of this book was full of tension and action, but the middle seemed drawn out and boring despite the hot and heavy love scenes with Jace and Clary. I loved that we got more of them in this book, but the constant changing point-of-views with little to no advance notice became tiresome. Even though it didn’t add much progress to the story as a whole, I was happy to see Maia and Jordan begin to resolve their issues, they are both great characters that I’d love to see have an HEA.

Magnus and Alec’s relationship really drove this story emotionally; Alec is having a hard time coming to terms with Magnus being immortal, and in his frustration turns to someone that ultimately betrays him. And now Magnus doesn’t know if he can ever trust Alec again. Jace and Clary’s bond is tested when Jace reappears under the control of Sebastian, who is using Jace to abolish the Shadowhunters and get closer to Clary. And let me tell you…those are some pretty messed up feelings that Sebastian has for Clary.

While I find myself growing a little tired of this series, I’m still looking forward to the next book because I just have to find out what happens: do they catch Sebastian? Or does he get away to become the main villain in the new Dark Artifices series Clare has coming up next? I guess I’ll just have to wait and see.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Why Haven't I Read You? (8)

Every Wednesday I’ll choose a book off one of my (many) shelves that I haven’t read for some reason or another, and include the first few lines from the first page.
Feel free to join in, and leave your comments about the books I feature if you have read them!

Now that I have found the way to fly, which direction should I go into the night? My wings aren’t white or feathered; they’re green, made of green silk, which shudders in the wind and bends when I move—first in a circle, then in a line, finally in a shape of my own invention. The black behind me doesn’t worry me; neither do the stars a head.

I smile at myself, at the foolishness of my imagination….

Matched by Ally Condie


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Future Favorites (118)

Future Favorites is an awesome blog feature created by Alex over at Electrifying Reviews. I post about a book that is yet-to-be-released that I can't wait to read!

Inferno by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Release Date: April 9, 2013 by St. Martin's Griffin

The heat is on, and a new threat to humanity has risen…

Nick has his driver’s license and he’s not afraid to use it. But turning sixteen isn’t what he thought it would be. While other boys his age are worried about prom dates and applying for college, Nick is neck deep in enemies out to stop him from living another day. No longer sure if he can trust anyone, his only ally seems to be the one person he’s been told will ultimately kill him.

But life spent serving the undead is anything except ordinary. And those out to get him have summoned an ancient force so powerful even the gods fear it. As Nick learns to command and control the elements, the one he must master in order to combat his latest foe is the one most likely to destroy him. As the old proverb goes, fire knows nothing of mercy, and if Nick is to survive this latest round, he will have to sacrifice a part of himself. However, the best sacrifice is seldom the sanest move. Sometimes it’s the one that leaves your enemies confused, and you even more so.

And sometimes, you have to trust your enemy to save your friends. But what do you do when that enemy is you?

Monday, March 25, 2013

It's Monday What Are You Reading? (136)

Books I read last week:
Dreaming of the Wolf by Terry Spear

The book I’m reading now:
City of Lost Souls:
What price is too high to pay, even for love? When Jace and Clary meet again, Clary is horrified to discover that the demon Lilith’s magic has bound her beloved Jace together with her evil brother Sebastian, and that Jace has become a servant of evil. The Clave is out to destroy Sebastian, but there is no way to harm one boy without destroying the other. As Alec, Magnus, Simon, and Isabelle wheedle and bargain with Seelies, demons, and the merciless Iron Sisters to try to save Jace, Clary plays a dangerous game of her own. The price of losing is not just her own life, but Jace’s soul. She’s willing to do anything for Jace, but can she still trust him? Or is he truly lost?

Love. Blood. Betrayal. Revenge. Darkness threatens to claim the Shadowhunters in the harrowing fifth book of the Mortal Instruments series.

Books that spark my interest this week:
A SEAL in Wolf’s Clothing by Terry Spear
A Howl for a Highlander by Terry Spear

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Dreaming of the Wolf by Terry Spear

Dreaming of the Wolf:

Alicia Greiston is a no-nonsense bounty hunter determined to bring a ring of mobsters to justice. Her dogged pursuit of the crime family has forced her to avoid relationships-- any man would only become a target for retribution. Luckily, Jake Silver is more than a man, and his instincts are telling him to stop at nothing to protect her.


However, the mob isn't entirely human either, and soon Alicia must flee for her life. When Alicia and Jake's passion begins to spill over into their dreams, Jake learns he will have to do more than defend her-- he'll have to show his mate the way of the wolf.

While Dreaming of the Wolf by Terry Spear is the eighth book in the Heart of the Wolf series, it can be read completely on its own. Characters from previous stories do make appearances, but they are integrated into the story with enough information to enjoy them, but not so much that they take over the story. I found that this was one of those books that I could quickly connect to the characters.  To be honest, the last few books in this series have seemed rather repetitive to me, but Terry came up with a fresh story that drew me in instantly. The attraction between Alicia and Jake is immediate and fierce, even though in the beginning Alicia is completely human. There is plenty of action that kept this book moving at a quick pace, and while there wasn’t much mystery to who the bad guys were, there was a strong element of danger that kept me on the edge of my seat.

Jake comes to Alicia’s rescue when a burly mobster tries to force her out of a restaurant, and their relationship starts with a bang. Despite her being human, Jake finds that he cannot resist Alicia, and when she suddenly goes missing he will stop at nothing to find her. Almost immediately Jake begins dreaming of Alicia, giving him hope that she might be his mate. Alicia is turned against her will and has trouble containing her shifts, but after a few precarious and sometimes life threatening situations she finally manages to make her way back to Jake, she brings the men who are chasing her with her.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

My Bookish Wants & Gots (40)

My Bookish Wants & Gots is a feature over at The Book Vixen. I list the books I want - which can be old, new, or upcoming releases - and the books I recently got.

Let the Sky Fall by Shannon Messenger
Seventeen-year-old Vane Weston has no idea how he survived the category five tornado that killed his parents. And he has no idea if the beautiful, dark-haired girl who’s swept through his dreams every night since the storm is real. But he hopes she is.

Seventeen-year-old Audra is a sylph, an air elemental. She walks on the wind, can translate its alluring songs, and can even coax it into a weapon with a simple string of commands. She’s also a guardian—Vane’s guardian—and has sworn an oath to protect Vane at all costs. Even if it means sacrificing her own life.

When a hasty mistake reveals their location to the enemy who murdered both of their families, Audra’s forced to help Vane remember who he is. He has a power to claim—the secret language of the West Wind, which only he can understand. But unlocking his heritage will also unlock the memory Audra needs him to forget. And their greatest danger is not the warriors coming to destroy them—but the forbidden romance that’s grown between them.

The Last Dance by Kiki Hamilton
Two people couldn't be more opposite...

Kellen Peterson, the gorgeous star quarterback of the Griffin High football team, seems to have it all. Until the night of the Homecoming game, when Kellen gets tackled and suffers a traumatic brain injury - an injury that changes his life - including his ability to walk, talk and throw a football.

Ivy Ly is a senior and counting down the days until she can escape to college. Though her parents have big plans for her to be a doctor, Ivy is afraid to tell them she'd rather pursue music as a career.

Ivy's best friend, Mira, is obsessed with Kellen. When Ivy is asked to tutor the injured football player upon his return to school, she thinks it's the perfect opportunity for Mira to get to know him better - but sparks fly - in more ways than one...

A Howl for a Highlander by Terry Spear
A Highland Wolf on a Mission...

Duncan MacNeill is hell-bent on catching the thief who's stolen the clan's fortune and run off to Grand Cayman Island. Duncan has rarely left his homeland and he couldn't care less about an island paradise. He never expected to find a beautiful distraction who will show him just how appealing paradise can be...

Meets a Dangerous Distraction...

Lone wolf and botanist Shelley Campbell headed to the island to study the old growth forests. She didn't count on meeting a handsome Highlander who can't keep his paws off her.

Every Never After by Lesley Livingston
It's happening again!

Despite their vow to each other at the end of Once Every Never, best friends Clare and Allie once more find themselves in trouble—and travelling in time. Indulging in a low-key vacation at Glastonbury Tor, taking part in an archaeological dig while soaking up the sights of summertime England, the girls have promised each other: no time travel shenanigans; no involvement with dangerous Druids or villainous museum thieves; and definitely no weirdness about the fact that Clare is now seriously dating Milo, Allie's super-genius hottie cousin!

But when Allie makes an unexpected discovery at the dig site—a skull—the grisly artifact sends her spiralling back in time to a Roman encampment besieged by rampaging Celts. Caught between the Legions and the war band, Allie is rescued from certain death by Marcus, a young Roman soldier with a secret. As she struggles to survive in the past, Clare and Milo race desperately against time in the present to bring Allie home...before she loses her head OR her heart.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Forgotten Fridays (50)

I invite and welcome anyone interested to post their own Forgotten Friday and join in the fun! I feature a book that I have read and have forgotten how much I enjoyed it. Some books might recent reads and some might be older reads, but I hope this helps these (sometimes forgotten) books earn a spot on your own TBR pile!

The Wild Road by Marjorie M Liu
First Published: July 2008
Series: Dirk & Steele

A woman wakes in a strange room, covered in blood, surrounded by the dead. She does not know who she is. Pinned on her jacket is a crumpled note. Run, it reads.

Lannes Hannelore is one of a dying race born to protect mankind against demonic forces. And while those who look upon him see a beautiful man, this illusion is nothing but a prison. His existence is one of pure isolation, hiding in plain sight, with brief solace found in simple pleasures: stretching his wings on a stormy night, long late drives on empty highways, the deep soul of sad songs. But when Lannes finds a young woman covered in blood- desperate and alone, with no memory or past- he will be drawn into a mystery that makes him questions all he knows. And though it goes against his natures and everything he fears, Lannes will risk his heart, his secrets, and his very soul in order to save someone who could be the love of his life... or the end of it.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Guest Post with Amanda C. Davis & Megan Engelhardt

When we were asked to do a guest blog on "the darker side of fairy tales" I paused and thought, "Wait. There's a LIGHTER side?"

The fact is, when I think about fairy tales, my mind goes instantly to their darkest corners. I loved scary stories when I was a kid, as much as I do now, and fairy tales feature some of the most hardcore horror you can find in the picture book section. We're talking cannibalism (The Juniper Tree). Serial killers (Bluebeard). Hansel and Gretel has BOTH of those, AND slavery, AND parental abandonment! Pretty Grimm, huh?

(I will never stop using that pun.)

It's more interesting to me to think about the lighter side of fairy tales: how they've been bowdlerized and why. I do love their flexibility: a dash of whimsy and you have Alice in Wonderland, an ounce of gritty realism and you have Pan's Labyrinth. We all know how fairytale mothers have become stepmothers and then witches, as generational narratives change. We decide which characters get to be animals, monsters, and human, depending on how we want to define humanity. (Was it purely for visual reasons that Disney's Beauty and the Beast changed the invisible human servants into visible talking objects?) In a lot of ways, fairytale sensibilities have been "lightened" according to what illusions our society most wants to protect.

Right now, we're invested in things like the innocence of children, the American work ethic, and that criminals must be punished, and those values show in the fairy tales we choose to tell and the way we choose to tell them, whether lightened or darkened. (Here's a whole blog post, in fact, on fairy tale villains that originally got away scot-free:

That might be the most useful result of studying fairy tales in their originally-recorded forms and their worldwide variants. By being aware of the many elements that could fit into a certain tale's template, we notice which ones were chosen, and then we can wonder why. There are people getting doctorates in that stuff, and I'm only beginning to scratch the surface. But I'll keep trying--and to do that, I'll have to dig into what some call "the darker side of fairy tales."

Right where I want to be.

Wolves and Witches:
Witches have stories too. So do mermaids, millers’ daughters, princes (charming or otherwise), even big bad wolves. They may be a bit darker–fewer enchanted ball gowns, more iron shoes. Happily-ever-after? Depends on who you ask. In Wolves and Witches, sisters Amanda C. Davis and Megan Engelhardt weave sixteen stories and poems out of familiar fairy tales, letting them show their teeth.

About the Authors:

Amanda C. Davis is a combustion engineer who loves baking, gardening, and low-budget horror films. Her short fiction has appeared in Shock Totem, Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show, and others. You can follow her on Twitter or read more of her work at

Megan Engelhardt is a lapsed librarian who lives in a crooked little house in northeast Ohio. She loves shows about Bigfoot. Her work has appeared in Daily Science Fiction, The Drabblecast, and others. You can follow her on Twitter or visit her website at