Release Day Review: Avenge Me by Maisey Yates Book Review

Hello Everyone...
I'm a day late but Happy Memorial Day!
Hope you all kept safe in respect of those who have fought to keep us safe these many years, fighting for our country and those who live in it. :)

So while I was at the RT 14 Convention in NOLA, us bloggers and reviewers were given many goodies from many lovely publishing companies (and editors, authors, etc.) and one of the treats we received was this beauty right here:

A cover this hot you have got to see it twice... wait for it...

Since this is my first review featuring an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) I received at the convention, I thought what better way to celebrate than to create my very first giveaway?! SO excited for this, guys.

After my review, you can decide if this book is for you and enter the giveaway! It will also be featuring other awesome swag received at RT. :)

I should probably start off this review by saying that Contemporary Romance isn't usually my thing and I decided to take a leap here for the sake of the blog and having a wider variety of genres being reviewed here. I'm heavy into the paranormal world and I'm happy with that.... but it's nice to break out of your mold every once in a while because you might be very pleasantly surprised.

That being said, here is my review of Avenge Me by Maisey Yates (Fifth Avenue Trilogy #1):

Oh yeah... the same cover, twice in one post. You're welcome.

Here is the blurb found on the back cover of the novel:

Austin Treffen was born into a world of privilege, but behind its gilded doors lies a corruption so sordid New York's elite would never believe it—especially as his infamous philanthropic father is at its core! With everything he believed in shattered, how can Austin take down his father—risking his family name and those he loves—without any proof? 

Until one earth-shattering night with Katy Michaels unlocks not only their deepest, most passionate desires but also the key to bringing Jason Treffen's reign to an end. But with an intense sexual attraction that combines a heady mix of exquisite pleasure and sublime pain, will they satiate their thirst for revenge and each other…or lose themselves forever in the darkness?

 The story circles around two characters: Austin & Katy. 
Austin has let his guilty conscience consume him over the last 10 years since the death of his good friend, Sarah. He blames himself among other people for her death and the events that led to her suicide.
Katy is Sarah's younger sister, looking for revenge on those she believes were directly involved with Sarah's death. Working her way up from an extremely poor family in a small town, her and Austin meet up at a holiday party in the city and after one extremely hot night together, realize they have one thing in common: Sarah.
I know I'm being pretty vague as to who these two people blame for Sarah's death. But I don't really want to share that with you. HA! You'll just have to read to find out ;)

So... sounds pretty simple, doesn't it? Hot rich guy falls for poor hot girl? That's because it is. And I think that was the beauty of this novel - the simplicity wrapped up in the complexity of these characters' feelings toward each other and for themselves; their journey along their way to finding love for themselves as well as love for each other. While in a novel of fiction, the evolution of their relationship seemed realistic and not rushed as you can find in most [romance] novels.

Also, I will say that these poor fools are freaking out at some points because of the intensity of their physical relationship and I didn't completely understand. See, their sexual relationship was a bit of the Dominate/Submissive variety, but I found what they were doing in the "bedroom" to be not normal, per se, but not completely out of the ordinary. I think what made it all seem so unnatural to them were their reasons behind needing to take on certain roles during sex... but all of these scenes were mega hot. Thank you, Maisey Yates, for sharing.

All in all, it was a semi-quick read and I enjoyed it. While I still love all of my paranormal goodness, I am happy I stepped out of my comfort zone with this one. 

Basic info about this book:

Name: Avenge Me (Fifth Avenue Trilogy #1)
Author: Maisey Yates
Publishing Company: Harlequin
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Rating (out of 5): 3.85 - I didn't want to rate this a "4" because at that point, I would usually reread the novel and I don't think I would reread this one; just looking forward to the next books in the series. :)
Sexual Content: Graphic Sex

Recommend? Yes

Where it can be purchased:

Author's website:
Author on goodreads:   goodreads

So, that's it! Hope you enjoyed my first Contemporary Romance book review... and my first Release Day Review!

*** giveaway postponed ***
Stay tuned for a massive giveaway, soon!

&& remember that you can find me on the interwebz here:


Blood of Eden Series by Julie Kagawa - Series Review

Hello Everyone & Happy Thursday!

I know it's crazy but this is my second post in.. 4 days? You can definitely thank the RT 2014 Blogger convention for this burst of inspiration and the pick-me-up I needed to get off my ass. :)

I wanted to try something different since I have yet to post a review of any of the installments in the Blood of Eden series - The Immortal Rules, The Eternity Cure and The Forever Song (and I have given each book a 5-star rating on goodreads), I thought it would be a good idea to review the series as a whole.
Now, this would be my very first time attempting such a thing but I have faith & if you think I should include and/or leave out anything, please let me know. Now, let's get started!

Blood of Eden Series by Julie Kagawa 

Books, in order:

 Here is the blurb for the first installment of the series, The Immortal Rules:
To survive in a ruined world, she must embrace the darkness…

Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a walled-in city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten. Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of them—the vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself dies and becomes one of the monsters.

Forced to flee her city, Allie must pass for human as she joins a ragged group of pilgrims seeking a legend—a place that might have a cure for the disease that killed off most of civilization and created the rabids, the bloodthirsty creatures who threaten human and vampire alike. And soon Allie will have to decide what and who is worth dying for… again.

I have decided to only include the blurb of the first book as to not reveal any spoilers... or much. :)

So, if you couldn't tell by the blurb, this is a Dystopian novel. The story takes place in a futuristic society within the United States where a disease that effects both humans and vampires has spread to kill the majority of the Earth's population and continues to do so. If you also couldn't tell by the blurb, vampires are out of the coffin here, people, and they are kind of enslaving the human race... but more on that, later.

Here is a bit of a story line detailing what you can expect from the first book in the series, The Immortal Rules:
In the first installment of the series, you meet the protagonist, Allison, who begins her life living on the outskirts of society. When we meet her, she has learned to become crafty and stealthy to guarantee herself enough food to live by. On one of her expeditions for food, she hits the jackpot and hurries back to let her pack mates know of her find and essentially, to share the wealth.
While I don't want to reveal any of the details, it is safe to say that soon after is when she is turned from Human to Vampire.
Leading her in her new life as Vampire is Kanin, her Vampire Daddy, who tries his best to share his knowledge of vampiric society, etiquette and culture. Along their journey together, they eventually separate and Allison ends up wandering outside of her home territory and bumping into a colony of Humans who are looking for a so-called "Eden" (real place... for realz). I think it is safe to say that here is where her true journey begins - between struggling to keep the fact that she is a vampire a secret from the human colony she has teamed up with and struggling with the recent changes she is facing mentally, physically and emotionally, you're in for one hell of a roller coaster ride.

As the series progresses into the second and third books, so does the tension. In the first novel, you are introduced to all of the major players and don't really understand their role in Allison's life until the second books story line comes to pass.
And seriously, I don't really want to say much else because I would kind of be giving the story line away. If you are interested in a detailed review of any of these books individually, do let me know. Or, I believe that VBC ( has a review of these books as well if you don't want to wait for mine. && even though I haven't read their review... I trust them. Just do it.

To get a general vibe for the series, I believe that it can be described as Dystopian meets Paranormal thriller. You are constantly on the edge of your seat, wondering what is behind the next door and discovering which new plot twist Julie Kagawa has thrown in. It. Is. Awesome.

Throughout the entire series, Allison struggles with the person she has become and has a hard time accepting herself because [what feels to me] to be a constant comparison to the person she was and the person she is. Also, a general comparison of human versus vampire. The inner struggle is more than just a paranormal element in the series and it is part of what makes it so interesting since "the struggle" influences any and every action she makes and you don't really know what will happen next.

Enough blabbing. && if you are still around reading this, I think you have figured out that I absolutely love this series and definitely recommend it. Basic book information below!

Name: Blood of Eden Series
Books in Series: The Immortal Rules (Book #1), The Eternity Cure (Book #2), The Forever Song (Book#3)
Author: Julie Kagawa
Genre: Dystopian, Young Adult, Paranormal, Fantasy, Romance
Rating (out of 5): 5.0
Sexual Content: kissing, some nudity... nothing graphic.

Recommend? Yes!

Where it can be purchased:

Author's website:

Author on Goodreads:

So everyone, that's it! I hope you enjoyed my first ever Series Review and be sure to let me know if you have any tips, tricks, or recommendations. See you soon!

&& remember that you can find me on the interwebz here:


RT Convention Recap & Giveaways

Hello everyone & happy Monday!

As the post title suggests, I will be talking about all things RT. For those of you unaware, RT stands for Romantic Times and this years convention was held in New Orleans, Louisiana at the Marriott on Canal street.
Can I just say how perfect this location was? The hotel was right in the middle of the French Quarter so you have dozens of wonderful restaurants scattered around you in every direction to choose from.
Here is where my friends and I ate around the French Quarter:
Char-broiled Oysters that will change your life

Popcorn Shrimp Po' Boy FTW & delicious Red Beans & Rice

BBQ Shrimp Pasta... I finished it all.
Brunch in NOLA never tasted so good
Sometimes all you need is an ice cold beer

I will also say that I have discovered a new love and her name is Bloody Mary. 

The ones they make in NOLA (short for New Orleans, LA) are the most delicious I have ever tried (I think it's the olive juice I saw a bartender pour into my glass). And if you happen to not finish it while at the bar and need to head out, no worries! Just take it to go.... yup, in a plastic cup to go. I love NOLA.

If you were also able to arrive a few days prior to the start of the convention, you were able to do some fun touristy things like the Haunted Walking Tour my family and I did of the French Quarter.
Here is a picture I was able to snap of these haunted streets:
A Vampire lived here... and yes, my tour guide was dead serious about the realness of this person... err, Vampire.

Also... BOURBON STREET. Oh my goodness I was not made for Bourbon Street. I'm not sure if it was just the locals or full of out-of-towners but I think that might be my last time visiting that particular street at that particular time of night (anything past 10 at night). All I'm going to say is... BOOBS. 

On to the good stuff...Books!
And holy books. So many books I haven't heard of or I had been wanting to read and Advanced copies... I cannot wait to get started. Actually, I cannot wait so much that I already started, finished a book, and am currently reading the second book of the series.
If you're ever curious as to what I'm reading at the moment (like more current updates), remember to check out my goodreads page here:

& remember you can find me on the interwebz, here:

And since I have so many books - some duplicated, some newer ones signed, advanced copies, etc.- I will be hosting some giveaways. Yup, that's right... giveaways! I am so incredibly excited to be able to do this and share all of these wonderful books with all of you so stay tuned!

Last, but most certainly not least, I would like to share some pictures of some amazing ladies I met at this convention who I think I could not have survived #RT14 without... until next year (but hopefully sooner) ladies! Love you & miss you already.

RT really went all out this year and so did the many publishing companies, editors, authors, bloggers, and anyone else I might have left out that joined them in the giveaways, panel discussions, social events, etc. 

Ilona Andrews, Charlaine Harris, Jeaniene Frost and Marjorie M. Liu

This is totally Jeaniene Frost - she is so nice!

Thank you RT for a damn good time.


Family Flan Recipe

Hello & Happy Tuesday!
Hope everyone had a great weekend and is looking forward to a great week, as well!

This recipe is one that a debated long and hard about posting (hence my delay in posting) since it is truly an old family recipe. It has been updated over the years and when I was first initiated into this delicious de la Osa Flan Club, I made a few slight adjustments too.

Get ready kids, this is a long one.

Our Flan in its finished glory
Now, this is a fairly simple recipe. In essence, we place all of our ingredients into a blender, blend away, place it in the oven, and check it 45 minutes later... in essence. Of course a lot of things are a lot easier said than done. But no worries here, we can get through this, together!

6 eggs (or 5 large eggs)
1 14 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk
1 12 oz. can of evaporated milk
3 TBSP white sugar + 1 1/2 cup - 2 cups sugar
4 oz. cream cheese (half an 8 oz. rectangular package of cream cheese)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp salt

Place the  eggs, condensed milk, evaporated milk, 3 TBSP sugar, cream cheese, vanilla extract and salt in the blended and mix until well incorporated. 
I like to play a little game where I start off blending my ingredients at the lightest speed and slowly build it up. So by the time I get to the fastest/strongest speed, everything is well-incorporated and then I just decrease the speed back down... don't judge me, it works every time!

Once all of your ingredients are blended together, set aside the blender to come back to it later.

At this point, you can preheat your oven to 365 degrees F*. 
* Oven temperatures may vary. At my moms house in Miami, I sometimes need to increase the oven temperature to 375 F since the oven is a bit older; however, at my apartment here in Orlando, the 365 degree F temperature works best. I would suggest starting at 360 F and working up (or down) from there if this is your first time attempting this recipe.

In a separate pan - I prefer a 9 inch cake pan that can be used on the stove top - placed directly on your stove top burner, place the remaining 1 1/2 cups of sugar over a medium heat.
I added the extra half cup in the recipe in case you feel like the original cup and a half isn't covering the bottom of your pan sufficiently. I usually have an even 1/2 inch coating of sugar on the bottom of the pan before I start to melt the sugar.

When it comes to melting sugar, I am no expert. As a matter of fact, this is the way I was taught and this is the way I melt sugar at work now, when needed.
When melting sugar without a "buffer" (like adding water or corn syrup), I would recommend stirring it around as little as possible - this is why I like having my heat at medium instead of high - so I can control the sugar as much as possible without the fussing.

Grabbing a dish towel or an oven mitt to take hold of the pot, shake it when you start to see the sugar bubbling up along the sides of the pan. Remember not to stir this until you see that the caramelized sugar has become the majority within the pan.

Below is a picture of what happens once you stir it (this one was stirred a bit prematurely)...

I think a good tip would be to turn the heat completely off right before all of the sugar has completely melted. While the sugar takes a bit to melt at first, it can start to burn real quick towards its finishing mark. You can also try to have the heat really low and that can help you control your finished product the best.

With just a little patience and some light stirring, this sugar and caramel mess above, will turn into the golden masterpiece below:

Once the sugar is completely melted, you are going to need to grab two oven mitts (or dish towels ; whichever works best) and take a hold of your pan that you used for the melted sugar.

Roll the melted sugar in the pan until the caramel coats the lining of the entire pan, going as close to the rim as possible.

This is what you are looking for, for the caramel coating lining on the pan.
Once the lining on the pan in complete, set it aside look for a larger pan about 13x15 in that can easily fit your 9 in pan inside.

Placing it on a rack that is roughly 2/3 of the way down on your preheated oven rack, place your caramel-lined 9in cake pan inside.

Remember the batter we worked on earlier? Blend it on medium for about 10 seconds. Once off, place the batter inside the caramel-lined pan.

Stay with me here, almost done!

Running some hot tap water, use a pot to fill the 13x15 in pot that is holding the flan mixture about 1/3 to 1/2 of the way full.
Then, very slowly, push the pot into the oven and close.
I had some leftover batter so I used it to make 2 personal pots of flan for my honey and I (feel free to do the same).

Place your timer on for approximately 45 minutes and you should have something that looks along the lines of this:

Once you have achieved a beautiful golden brown color, your flan is done! I like to pat it in the middle with my finger (gently) to make sure it has set.
Remember that since all ovens and temperatures may vary, your flan may not be ready at this point. I would recommend increasing the time in 10-15 minute intervals until done.

At this point, I leave the finished product on a cooling rack until it reaches room temperature (roughly 2-3 hours).

I then run a knife along the edges of the pan and try to swirl the flan around with my fingers to make sure it is loose.

Grabbing the pan I would like to display it in, I hold it over my pan and with both hands, and flip it over.

And voila! This should be your finished product:

So that's it! I hope you enjoyed my family's Flan Recipe. 
I know this was a lengthy one but I needed to do it justice!
Be sure to comment if you happen to have any questions at all & remember you can find me on the interwebz, here:

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