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Ramblings by Category

Ramblings by Year

River Marked

River Marked (Mercy Thompson, #6)
by Patricia Briggs

Car mechanic and shapeshifter Mercy Thompson senses that an evil is stirring in the depths of the Columbia River–one that her father’s people may know something about. And to have any hope of surviving, Mercy and her mate, the Alpha werewolf Adam, will need their help. (goodreads.com)

Hi, I’m Cat and I am terribly behind on posting on this blog. Hence why this post shall be back-dated to February 29 when I finished this book. Thankfully I am currently only one book behind now. I still have to write the post for my first book of March and I am hoping to get that done this weekend. Anyhoo…

Speaking of being behind, I am of course a year behind in this series since I wait for the books to come out in mass market before I buy them. As I was updating my list of books *points to end of post* I found out that the next Mercy Thompson book isn’t out until Spring *2013*! What the–? I guess I’ll not be reading another book until 2014 then. Alas. I love this series!

Of course now that I have said I love the series, I have to follow it up with, this book wasn’t really my favourite. I found it very slow and dull for the first half. I don’t care about surprise weddings or honeymoons. I like when Things That Go Bump In The Night are creepy, evil creatures going around killing things. I don’t like when the Things That Go Bump are two bodies gettin’ busy in a trailer on their honeymoon. Bleh. (Thankfully my Inner Prude was spared any sort of graphic Bumping scenes. I am quite happy that Patricia Briggs does not go down the same sexy road as many other Urban Fantasy authors. Thank you for leaving things to our imagination and not detailing every single moan, groan and bodily fluid.)

For 6 books now, even though I do love the characters and this series, I tend to have an on/off relationship with the stories. It all seems to depend on what creature the story is focused on. I don’t like the stories that are heavy on the vampires, I love the ones heavy on the fey and I am ok with the werewolf ones. River Marked takes a completely different turn as it focuses on Mercy’s Native background, so we’re immersed in Native mythology, which I do find fascinating. What I don’t like is a slow start to action and a lot of history lessons, which I felt this book had for a good half of the story.

I have to admit, I am still not entirely certain what the hell was in the river and what it looked like. Was it just me? I found the description of the River Devil to be rather vague and all I can figure is that some weird fey otter creatures summoned it, but I don’t know why. I even re-read a bunch of chapters and I still don’t know why the otters summoned this weird tentacly-snakey thing that was eating people. I hate when a book makes me feel stupid. I just couldn’t figure this out!

Because I have no interest in reading Patricia Briggs’ spin-off series Alpha & Omega, I guess I’m 2 years away from reading another book by her. Sadness. I truly love this urban fantasy world she’s created where people know most creatures exist. I love Mercy as a protagonist (only not when she’s mooning over Adam. Ugh. Please.). I’m happiest when she’s fixing cars in her garage and gets roped into solving some sort of paranormal mystery. I am hoping that the next book is more of that type of thing and less of the “I’m married and happy” stuff. Of course, this makes me worried that Adam will get killed off at some point. I like Adam a lot. I hope he lives!

Mercy Thompson series

  1. Moon Called
  2. Blood Bound
  3. Iron Kissed
  4. Bone Crossed
  5. Silver Borne
  6. River Marked
  7. Frost Burned 

Truth

Truth (XVI, #2)
by Julia Karr

In this sequel to “XVI,” Nina Oberon’s life has changed enormously. After her mother was killed, Nina discovered the truth about her father, the leader of the Resistance. And now she sports the same Governing Council-ordered tattoo of XVI on her wrist that all 16-year-old girls have. But Nina won’t be anyone’s stereotype. (goodreads.com)

Truth was one of the books I was most anticipating this year. Sadly, it didn’t hook me the way its predecessor, XVI did last year. In fact, I spent a lot of the book wanting to smack Nina and her weird self-conscious inner dialogue. Nina did not seem like the strong protagonist she was in XVI. I know a lot happened in that book that could alter her some, but I didn’t even feel like I was reading about the same character.

I also felt that Truth seemed to do nothing but preach at me that girls who dress like they want sex, do want sex, but that doesn’t mean they can be raped. OK, I get that this is actually a *thing* in this book, they are called “sex-teens” (rather than sixteen) and they buy into the media crap that girls want to start having sex when the are “of age”, but something about the description and Nina’s thoughts on the matter (not wanting to be a sex-teen and waiting to sleep with someone she loves) felt forced and very After School Special Teen Sex Is Bad, mmkay?-ish. It rubbed me the wrong way (no pun intended in the sexual way ;P)

It was almost as if nothing happened for the entire book, until the last chapter, except a long-winded essay on how Nina felt about sex-teens and how she had to keep her sister safe. Suddenly the last chapter bursts forth full of action and potential answers and then.. THE END. Gah! Boo!

Whereas XVI made me think and feel all creeped out about this Dystopian world that Karr had created, Truth really didn’t seem all that Dystopian to me. It was just a book about a girl who didn’t know if she wanted to sleep with her boyfriend or not and she and her friends had some different sort of lingo than we do today to make it seem like they were in the future.

I had hoped for some answers or more action following XVI and I didn’t feel that Truth delivered that very well. I couldn’t connect with any of the characters this time around, including Nina.

I gave this book 3 starts on Goodreads because it did have some interesting scenes. I liked the idea of the Sisterhood, but I felt they could have been used more and been made to seem a little more active and meaningful. They had so much potential! All they seemed to do though was skype. 😉

I am very interested in reading the next book though because I expect something exciting must happen based on the way this book ended. I WANT TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS!

XVI series

  1. XVI
  2. Truth

Only the Good Spy Young

Only the Good Spy Young (Gallagher Girls, #4)
by Ally Carter

When Cammie Morgan enrolled at the Gallagher Academy, she knew she was preparing for the dangerous life of a spy. What she didn’t realize was that she would have to face off against an ancient terrorist organization dead set on kidnapping her during her junior year. (goodreads.com)

With each book in this series I am reminded once again how much I simply ADORE THE GALLAGHER GIRLS! Fo’ realz.

It’s sad that I forget this from year to year. I think it’s because I am a year behind in reading the books because I wait for the paperback edition to come out before I buy it. I always forget how many lists and field reports Cammie writes and how much I love each and every one. They never fail to make me giggle.

The stories are getting much less fluffy-run-after-a-guy types to more action and mystery as the series progresses. There are many dangers and scary situations that Cammie finds herself a part of. I just looked back over my previous posts for the series and I find that I have been enjoying the books more as they progress. The plot is becoming more serious, in that people’s lives are at stake and I like that a lot. (Er, not that people’s lives are at stake, I mean. I like that the plots are becoming more serious and complex!)

Cammie Morgan remains one of my favourite YA female protagonists as I join her for the crazy missions and situations she finds herself in. She has her weak moments, but mostly, she’s a strong 17-year old girl who’s just trying to find the truth and make sure those she loves are safe. She happens to do all of this with a kickass sense of humour though and I think that’s what makes me love her all the more.

Even Cammie’s friends; Bex, Morgan, Liz, are so much fun. They each have skills they bring to the group and when the four of them put their minds together, watch out! You’ll laugh and be amazed at their brainpower.

Extra refreshing is the lack of love triangle. There was a brief flirtation with one back in the first and second books, but there’s been silence on that front for the last two books and I have to thank the gods for that! The Gallagher Girl series is a great mystery series that has enjoyable characters and tricky mysteries. The closest I have found to this in recent memory is Kim Harrigton’s Clarity series. These are two examples of books I would have devoured as a teen. I loved those re-vamped Nancy Drew Case Files, but Carter and Harrington have created series that just take Nancy Drew to the next level.

If you haven’t yet checked out this series, I suggest you find yourself a copy of the first book, I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You and get crackin’. This YA series is SO worth it. No paranormal, no love triangle (ok, eventually), lots of action, mystery and sass. What could you not love?

What I have not yet tried, myself, is Ally Carter’s Heist Society series. I am sort of worried that I won’t like it as much, or that I’ll constantly be comparing it to the Gallagher Girls, or worse, that it will be exactly LIKE this series, only with thieves. I’m going to remain a big ol’ chicken about trying new things in this case and focus on the GG series for now. Perhaps when this is done, and the Heist books are all out in paperback, I’ll try them out. Meanwhile, I’m tossing this back to you, Internet – have you read this other series? What say you on the matter?

The Gallagher Girls series

  1. I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You
  2. Cross my Heart and Hope to Spy
  3. Don’t Judge a Girl by Her Cover
  4. Only the Good Spy Young
  5. Out of Sight, Out of Time
  6. TBA – 2013?

A Perfect Blood

A Perfect Blood (Rachel Morgan/The Hollows, #10)
by ? Kim Harrison ?

Yeah, baby! You have no idea how I actually squealed when I opened an email from my Harper Collins rep and she mentioned they’d be getting a few copies of the latest Kim Harrison book and would it be ok if she sent me one. I also laughed at the “would it be ok” part. You see, she was quite aware of my extreme love of all things Kim Harrison and therefore the question she asked me wasn’t really a question.

I am currently in the process of building a lovely shrine to my HC rep and once it is finished I shall post a photo. I had hoped to have it ready for this post but life is busy and I have little free time. Boo!

Since we’re at the 10th book in the Rachel Morgan series (Happy 10th anniversary, Kim Harrison! *throws confetti*) I shall try not to spoil much for those who are still reading, have not yet read, etc. etc. I don’t even post the summaries of these books anymore since just those alone can spoil the behind reader.

I was rather disappointed when I started reading though, since the book didn’t really pick up for me until about a third of the way in. I was actually annoyed with Rachel in this book, more so than usual, but this had more to do with the way she was written. I don’t know if it was just me or if anyone else picked up on this, but by golly! When did Rachel become so bloody sex obsessed? It’s like all of a sudden you couldn’t be a male OR female (human, vamp, were OR PIXIE!) within her line of sight because she’d be getting all hot and bothered and be feeling things in her nether regions. THIS IS NOT THE RACHEL MORGAN THAT I HAVE LOVED FOR 9 BOOKS!

What the hell?! I was almost ready to just toss the book aside and mourn the loss of a series that I have loved since it’s inception. Thankfully all the libido thoughts were quelled once Rachel was kidnapped and tortured. I have never been so thankful for violence in a book. Jeez.

Once the action (of the non-sexual kind) started, I was quite hooked on the story and much more eager to continue reading. The HAPA group was an interesting idea, though I am sort of sad that it took 10 books for this group to be mentioned, as well as the slurs they have for the Inderlanders, which I don’t ever recall hearing before. I feel like this part of the backstory should have come up before now. Oh, well. It’s not the end of the world, because it’s giving us a lot of loose threads to follow in future books. Yay!

My favourite addition to the world in which Rachel Morgan ineptly bumbles around in was Winona. I completely ADORED her, especially after the, er, change. I certainly hope she remains a recurring character in future books. In fact I’d like to see more of her than say, Pierce (whom I cannot stand). Would be nice if she became a nanny for Trent and Ceri.

That being said, I sort of miss the days when the books were just Rachel, Ivy and Jenks against the world. It’s well and nice that they have friends and allies now, but I sort of miss the three of them together. Ivy has been in the background of the stories for too long now. Jenks often gets way more “screen” time than Ivy does and that makes me sad. I have said this for the last few books now, too. We need more Ivy! *waves banners and signs*

I am happy that I was not disappointed by A Perfect Blood in the end. Yay! I hate that I have to wait an entire year for each book, though. Boo! I can’t wait to see where Kim Harrison is taking us with HAPA and Rachel and how suddenly I am a lot more suspicious of people I hadn’t been suspicious of before. Hmm. Can’t wait to get my Hollows fix next year!

The Rachel Morgan/The Hollows series

  1. Dead Witch Walking
  2. The Good, The Bad & the Undead
  3. Every Which Way But Dead
  4. A Fistful of Charms
  5. For a Few Demons More
  6. The Outlaw Demon Wails
  7. White Witch, Black Curse
  8. Black Magic Sanction
  9. Pale Demon
  10. A Perfect Blood
  11. Ever After

irish & indian both start with the letter “i” so this should be a snap! (chana masala)

Weird things have been happening to me lately. I find that I actually miss both exercise and cooking when I am not able to do either. THIS IS NOT NORMAL! However, I seem to miss the stress-release that seems to come hand-in-hand with both exercise and cooking. These two things used to CAUSE the stress in my life and now? Now I find chopping veggies cathartic (with the exception of tomato. I HATE chopping tomato. Never mind that it’s not a vegetable.) I find the challenge in trying to hold myself up in side plank position addictive.

Anyhow, this is weird to me because it’s a total opposite of how I used to feel. Add to that my sudden ability to be able to handle spices and foods I normally could not eat (thank you, Mira and BodyTalk), I like to experiment with new things in the kitchen. On Monday, my bestie Monkey posted her mean plan (remember when I had an oh, so brief flirtation with that? Yeah, that went well.) and on it were so many delicious looking things, but my taste buds were drawn to the Chana Masala with Naan Bread on her list. I knew that I would be attempting that at some point this week. Happily, I had Thursday and Friday off, so Friday I spent it shopping and cooking. I googled “Chana Masala” and ended up over at Smitten Kitchen (where there are a plethora of amazing recipes!). I modified it a little from her recipe though.

Here’s this Irish girl’s first attempt at Indian food :

INGREDIENTS (as I used them, not exactly what’s on SK):

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, minced (I couldn’t find the chili pepper, so I improvised)
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander I was missing this! So I added an extra tsp of garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric I couldn’t find my turmeric, but it was in the garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon amchoor powder
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 1/2 teaspoon garam masala (it calls for 1 tsp, but see notes above)
  • 2 cups tomatoes, chopped small
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 4 cups cooked chickpeas (I used 3 cans of Eden Organic, 1% sodium! yay!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 lemon (juiced)

STEP ONE

Heat oil, add onion, garlic, jalapeño (chili) pepper, fresh ginger and saute until brown (about 5 minutes).

STEP TWO

Turn heat to medium-low and add spices (which I mixed in a bowl). Cook for 1-2 minutes.

STEP THREE

Add tomato. Stir. Then add the water and chickpeas. Simmer UNCOVERED for 10 minutes.

As you can see, I didn’t really chop the tomato very small. Eh.

STEP FOUR

Stir in lemon juice and salt.

I left it on low and covered for the remaining time between the last step and when Shawn walked into the house. Maybe about another 10 minutes? By the time we dished it out the liquid had thickened a bit. Since I couldn’t find the Naan bread in the stupid store (but they had all sorts of other foreign breads!) I picked up a thick pita with an Indian type name. It was good enough.

Of course I had to sample the final result before Shawn got home. I mean, it was only proper that I make sure I had a decent finished product to serve my husband as he walked in the door after a long day at work. Right?

Just performing a good wifely duty here. That’s all. It’s what a good wife should do! Nom nom nom.

This recipe, of course, is not fit for my Mum (you listening, Mummy?) because it has flavour (and it’s really spicy!) but I adored it! So much so that it was a very tough decision whether or not to eat the leftovers for breakfast this morning. I ended up waiting and I’ll eat it later. I might actually make another pot tomorrow so I can bring it as lunch for work this week.

Shawn, unfortunately, didn’t love it as much as I did. He bemoaned the lack of a) MEAT and b) rice. Ah, well. I didn’t think about making rice to go with it. And I think the chickpeas themselves are more than enough to fill me up and provide protein without adding meat. I told him just because a meal doesn’t have meat doesn’t mean it sucks! Men!. Sheesh. 😉

Although this recipe wasn’t listed as Clean Eating, I’m dubbing it as such because everything I used, with the exception of the chickpeas, was fresh and processed-free. Except the bread part. Oh, well. Close enough. I wonder if they make gluten-free naan bread? Hmm.

Not bad for a first attempt. I am contemplating tackling Butter Chicken next time. This will have both meat and rice, so hopefully my picky husband will be happier. =P