Thursday, 28 July 2016

Book Nerd Bites #1

BookNerdBitesLogo

Book Nerd Bites is an original monthly feature created by Becca at Becca and Books, Cyra at Rattle the Pages, Me, Natasha at A Binding Attraction, and Valerie at He Said Books or Me as part of the Book Blogger Creativity Project hosted by Nori at Read Write Love 28. Each month we will be sharing exciting recipes inspired by some of our favorite books. Feel free to join in, but please make sure you link your post back to us so we can enjoy your favorite bookish delights as well!

When I think of books, I also think of libraries and how I dream of my own gorgeous library to have of my own. With this thought in mind, I felt the only natural book to showcase was about a book involving libraries. Let me introduce you to Air Awakens.



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A library apprentice, a sorcerer prince, and an unbreakable magic bond...

The Solaris Empire is one conquest away from uniting the continent, and the rare elemental magic sleeping in seventeen-year-old library apprentice Vhalla Yarl could shift the tides of war.


Vhalla has always been taught to fear the Tower of Sorcerers, a mysterious magic society, and has been happy in her quiet world of books. But after she unknowingly saves the life of one of the most powerful sorcerers of them all—the Crown Prince Aldrik—she finds herself enticed into his world. Now she must decide her future: Embrace her sorcery and leave the life she’s known, or eradicate her magic and remain as she’s always been. And with powerful forces lurking in the shadows, Vhalla’s indecision could cost her more than she ever imagined.

When the ladies and I first started this project, I immediately started making a mental list as to what books/authors I was going to contact. So when I contacted Elise about featuring Vhalla's story, Elise talked about how when she was writing the story she ate a lot of Starbucks Lemon Pound Cake. Which, when I read, I'm pretty sure I made a sour face thinking about how many pieces she has probably eaten in that time. But in eating all that cake, she modeled Vhalla's favourite food off that cake and just simply called it "Lemon Cakes". So because there wasn't a specific recipe that Elise referred me to, I just went on good old Pinterest and searched.

Now, like some of the other ladies on the team, I unfortunately had little time to make these Lemon Cakes for myself. However, I did find an amazing recipe that I plan on making when I have free time. I will definitely post pictures during next months post as to the end result of this loaf. But I expect nothing but delicious results.

Recipe

Better Than Starbucks Lemon Loaf

INGREDIENTS:

Loaf
1½ c. flour
1 (3.4 oz.) package, instant Lemon pudding mix
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
3 eggs
1 c. sugar
2 Tbsp. butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. lemon extract
⅓ c. fresh lemon juice
½ c. oil
¾ c. plain Greek yogurt
zest of one lemon

Glaze
3 Tbsp. Butter, soft but not melted
1½ c. powdered sugar
3 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. lemon extract

DIRECTIONS:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of a 5 x 9" loaf pan with a piece of waxed paper. (With a pencil, trace the bottom of the pan on a piece of waxed paper and cut out with scissors.) Spray the pan, and waxed paper with non-stick baking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, pudding mix, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With a stand or hand mixer, combine the eggs, sugar, butter, vanilla, lemon extract, lemon juice, oil and yogurt. Mix until evenly combined. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the lemon zest, and mix until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 55 minutes, or until center is fully set, and a toothpick inserted comes out crumb free.
  3. After baking, let cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes. Run a knife around the sides of the pan, invert and remove from the pan, removing the waxed paper from the bottom. Cool completely on a cooling rack.
  4. For the frosting: Combine the butter, lemon juice and lemon extract with hand or stand mixer. Gradually add the powdered sugar, and beat until smooth and creamy. Evenly spread the frosting over the top of the loaf. Refrigerate to let frosting set completely before slicing. Refrigerate any leftovers in an airtight container.
Well I'm just sitting here drooling thinking about this loaf feeling excited about getting into the kitchen and making a loaf. Until next month, happy reading and bon appetit!
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Tuesday, 28 June 2016

BROOKS Release Day Blitz

Today we are celebrating the release of BROOKS by Chelsea M. Cameron. This book is a new adult, contemporary romance novel. It kicks off the new standalone series, Benson Brothers. Check out the buy links below.



Add BROOKS to Goodreads

BROOKS by Chelsea M. Cameron
Benson Brothers #1

Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance


Synopsis:

Brooks Benson is bored, stuck and miserable. When both his parents were unable to continue running the variety store, he dropped out of college and came back home to help. It’s been almost two years and he’s tired of making pizzas and selling scratch tickets to the locals of Hope Harbor, Maine. But as the second oldest Benson brother, he’s the one that stepped up. Now all he can see is a gray future in front of him.

Remington “Remi” Tate is disappointed, frustrated and out of options. After dropping out of college and trying to make a go of it in New York, she’s forced to come back home to live with her parents in Hope Harbor. Totally humiliating. Things are looking pretty grim until she starts baking again and runs into Brooks when she visits Benson Variety to ask if they’ll sell her whoopie pies, cakes, and cookies.

What was once a high school crush is now something much more mature that hits both of them like a ton of bricks. Brooks is game, as long as they keep things physical. which is just fine with Remi. She’s not planning on sticking around Hope Harbor forever and Brooks is definitely a lifer. They’re just two different to ever build something that could last.

Life rarely goes according to plan and what starts as just sex soon turns into something that splashes color into their once-drab lives. For the first time, they find peace and security in one another. But will it last? Or will everything crumble into pieces, leaving them with nothing?


Excerpt:

The screen inner door banged open and I looked up, hoping no one was staring at the girl with the purple hair and the Tupperware container she had balanced in her hands.

Fortunately, the place was empty.

Except for one person.

Brooks Goddamn Benson. Goddamn wasn’t his middle name, but it might as well have been. We’d graduated the same year, but we’d never been friends. Not even close. What was he doing here, anyway? Last I heard he was off earning a master’s degree, in a land far, far away from Hope Harbor.

He looked up and I locked eyes with him. Mine narrowed and he just sort of… kept staring. Brooks was one of those guys who looked at you like he might be picturing you naked.

He cleared his throat. Not my type. Not at all

He scratched his ear. “What can I do for you?” I thought about just turning around and walking out, but I’d already come this far and if he was back in town too, I was probably going to keep running into him.

“I was just wondering if you’d be willing to sell some of my baked goods here on commission. But I haven’t had any luck, so I’ll just leave,” I said, but he was looking down at the container.

“Did you bring some samples?” he asked. I set the container down, crossed my arms and nodded. I didn’t want this dude eating anything I’d put effort into, but if it would help me get away from my parents’ house, fuck it. I’d do it.

“Yeah. So you can judge their quality.” I didn’t mean to sound so sarcastic. I was really blowing this. I needed better people skills.

“Do you mind?” Hey, at least he asked. I nodded again and he opened the container. I stood there as he tried each item.

“Wow,” he said when he got to the cupcake. “That’s amazing. Where did you learn how to bake?” I was not making small talk with him.

“My mom,” I said. He finished the whole thing in three bites. There was some frosting on his nose. I wanted to wipe it off for some reason. Thankfully I caught myself and forced myself to stop looking at his face.



AUTHOR INFORMATION:

Chelsea M. Cameron is a New York Times/USA Today Best Selling author from Maine. Lover of things random and ridiculous, Jane Austen/Charlotte and Emily Bronte Fangirl, red velvet cake enthusiast, obsessive tea drinker, vegetarian, former cheerleader and world's worst video gamer. When not writing, she enjoys watching infomercials, singing in the car, tweeting (this one time, she was tweeted by Neil Gaiman) and playing fetch with her cat, Sassenach. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Maine, Orono that she promptly abandoned to write about the people in her own head. More often than not, these people turn out to be just as weird as she is.

AUTHOR LINKS:
Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Monday, 20 June 2016

Musical Monday #26



I've only recently discovered Krewella thanks to Spotify. I've been liking more of the personal playlists over the past few weeks. This song reminds me of a few books, but one that came to mind is Kendare Blake's book that's coming out this year, Three Dark Crowns. I know some blogger friends got copies from BEA, and I can't wait to get my hands on it myself.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Saying Yes

Have you ever jumped into something without any hesitation and instantly knew you made the right decision? Well, I did that a year ago and today I'm here celebrating my one year anniversary with my girlfriend, Deanna.

History
Deanna and I have known each other a long time.  See, our moms are high school best friends, so naturally the children would become friends. We would see her family on a regular basis; until they moved to Edmonton back in the late 90's. Because Deanna and I were young, I wasn't even 10, and she was under 5. So needless to say, becoming pen pal buddies wasn't exactly on our top priority.

May 2015
So, let's skip forward a bunch of years and see where Deanna and I are at.

Me

  • Just finished my first year of college
  • Finally recovered from my pneumonia I got back in March
  • Feeling depressed due to how my Nan was doing and the setbacks that getting sick caused
Deanna
  • Working at Second cup
  • Reading an excessive amount of fan fiction
  • Fighting bouts of depression
So on a fateful day in May, I opened up facebook messenger, as everyone does on the daily and sends Deanna "hi". After that, we start talking daily and switch to texting because of it's easier. 

June 15, 2015
I was feeling defeated, the previous night I had finally asked out the guy I had liked. To find out he has a girlfriend. I was mad, all the signs were there, but he said no. So I had talked to Deanna, and all my other girlfriends wondering if I was crazy or not. But Deanna's reaction was different, in fact, she was fucking happy that he had said no. I don't know about you, but when someone crushes you, normally people support you. I had to get to the bottom of it, find out why she was happy. 

After some prodding, I found out she had feelings for me. At that time, my head was spinning, my stomach was in knots and I was in shock. Now, at that time, I had never really openly come out as bisexual, but it was something I always knew deep down. So, on June 15, 2015, Deanna asked if I would be her girlfriend. I had said yes. I didn't think or hesitate, I just blurted it out and just thought, "holy shit I'm doing this".

June 15, 2016
It's been a year to that fateful day and I'm so happy to say, we're still together. When I was in Edmonton for my Nan's funeral in October was the first time we had actually seen each other. It also confirmed the fact that I wasn't delusional and that the feelings were real. She came down for spring break, where we went on our first official date at a Marianas Trench concert. We shared our first kiss halfway through her visit. 

You're probably wondering why the kiss happened so late into our first time together. A few reasons; nervousness, I knew she'd want to be the first to do it and timing. Don't worry we stopped kissing during the trip to eat, sleep and other normal human functions.

I look back now and think how things would have been different had we stayed in contact with each other. I for one, most likely would have dated her brother. We would have been like sisters, but she still probably would have gained feelings for me. 

Final Reflection
Sometimes in life, you need to say yes without knowing why you're doing it. I love Deanna so much, she makes me feel worthy of myself, made me be open about who I am outside of my close friends, and more. So happy anniversary my love. I'm so proud to be your girlfriend.

Monday, 13 June 2016

Musical Monday #25



I write this post with a heavy heart. Never in a million years would I expect to have to write a post like this. Waking up Saturday to the news of Christina passing filled me with rage, sadness and more. Christina was a talented artist, nerdy gamer and so much more. Lots of people including myself watched her youtube videos and cheered her on when she was on The Voice. The part that hurts the most is that this could have been avoided; this crime and many others, especially the shooting at Pulse Nightclub. We can reach out and tell the world we need better gun control, because we shouldn't be at a point where we're in fear of leaving the house or if we can let our children outside alone. I love you Christina and God Bless, heaven gained a beautiful voice.
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