Short Book Review | Falling In by Lydia Michaels

Hello & happy Thursday!

I'm in New York City & that is kind of why I've been a little MIA lately. Just having a good time with some friends and family but also relaxing and over dosing on words - I haven't stopped reading.

One of the series that I was lucky to binge read during my NYC  trip is The Surrender Trilogy by Lydia Michaels thanks to Berkley, NAL/Signet Romance.
The first book in the trilogy, Falling In, creates a wonderful foundation for the series that really allowed me to connect with the characters and experience some sexy times between our 2 main protagonists - Scout and Lucian.

For a more thorough review of Falling In, I uploaded a video on YouTube, here:

It was my first BookTube video so... please be nice :)

Basic info. about this book:

Name: Falling In
Author: Lydia Michaels
Review Source: Provided by Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Publishing Company: Penguin Group - Berkley, NAL/ Signet Romance, DAW
Publication Date: October 7, 2014
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Erotic
Rating (out of 5): 4.0

Recommend? Yes!

Where it can be purchased: The Book Depository | Amazon

Author online: goodreads | website 

So I have been seriously catching up on my TBR list and FINALLY started the Anita Blake series by Laurell K. Hamilton which I'm enjoying at the moment. I also want to start the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews since I fell in love with their new Hidden Legacy series starting with Book #1: Burn For Me which I reviewed on here.

What have you been reading or plan to read? Any binge reading in your future?

&& here is where you can find me on the interwebz:

Until next time-



Spotlight Sunday #2 | Thai Iced Tea

Hello & happy Sunday!

I'm back with another Spotlight Sunday post but with an item that is not specific to a certain restaurant - just to a specific cuisine. 

The Thai iced tea. Have you tried it? 
I cannot go into a Thai restaurant and not order this. Sweet, cool, light and refreshing - this is everything I look forward to drinking while chewing down on some (semi) spicy panang or masaman curry. 

Just mix it up... 

And it's ready to drink. :)

If you've never had a Thai iced tea before, it's easy to make! All you have to do is ice down some black tea, add some sugar, half and half and condensed milk and that's it! So incredibly delicious and maybe not the best thing for you to drink but! A little indulgence here and there is a good thing. 

It's so good that you'll end up with an empty glass just like mine. 

&& here is where you can find me on the interwebz:
Vampire Book Club:
Book Depository Affiliate:

Until next time-



Cookbook Review | Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi

Hello & happy Thursday!

It's been a crazy and wonderful week for me full of new and exciting experiences. Throughout it all, I have realized that sometimes you just need to chill the eff out and read. Or play video games. Or cook. I mean, whatever the heck makes you happy, do it!

I've officially spent about 3 weeks NOT cooking professionally. Everyone asks me, "how do you feel?" or "do you miss the kitchen?" Well, it's not always so easy to answer these kinds of questions. Do I miss 16 hour work days? Eh, not really. Do I miss cooking and the hustle & bustle of the kitchen & my amazing friends/co-workers in Orlando? Hell yeah. I'm not the sit still type unless I'm reading. And even then I'm moving around, trying to find the right position.

In these past 3 weeks I have sort of rekindled my love of cooking. While in Miami, I cooked for plenty of family and friends and was able to experiment with old and new flavor combinations and textures. And now (with the gas finally installed), I'm trying to look up as many recipes as I can to try out.This, of course, involves me looking through cookbooks I either have laying around (and maybe kind of forgot about) and those I have been dying to pick up that I can finally look through. Like this one:

I'm not a vegetarian or vegan but if I can eat meat-free or gluten-free (as I am known to do), I opt for that option. Why? Well, something can be said from eating a full meal and after marveling in the bold flavors and interesting textures, realizing that there was no meat, poultry... nada.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is no easy feat. Most of us (at least Americans) grow up with animal protein as the main component in each and every meal. Once we get older and attempt to eat a healthier option or one out of a lifestyle change, we are always comparing it to something similar with an animal protein. Hell, my dad thinks that a meal without meat or chicken isn't a meal at all. 

Reading through Plenty More, I passed recipe by recipe, annotating those I wanted to try, scarcely making any adaptations except for ingredient changes due to accessibility. 
It was only until I reached the very end, closed the book and looked down at my notes that I remembered I had been skimming through a vegetarian cookbook.

The recipes in Plenty More are for every type of meal - breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert - for every type of meal option - main course, hearty side, salad, etc - and from a multitude of international cuisines.
Ottolenghi also provides plenty of pictures of the finished product or pictures depicting the steps taken to get to the final meal. I love recipe books with pictures. Food is such a sensual thing and whether you care to admit it or not, you eat with your eyes, first. Then with your sense of smell and finally, taste and mouth feel. Pictures are a necessary component of any cookbook and if you look for the visual appeal as much as I do, Plenty More definitely delivers.

In regards to recipe difficulty, all recipes were described in great detail and Ottolenghi even gave options for substitutions. I will, however, touch on this in greater detail when I have adapted one of the recipes. :)

No recipe adaptation made yet but I promise I will have one up as soon as I can decide which one I want to try first - they all look so good!

Do yourself or a fellow foodie friend a favor and get them this cookbook.

Basic info. about this book:

Name: Plenty More: Vibrant Vegetable Cooking from London's Ottolenghi
Author(s): Yotam Ottolenghi
Review Source: Provided by Publisher in exchange for an honest review
Publishing Company: Ten Speed Press
Publication Date: October 14, 2014
Genre: Cookbooks, Food & Wine
Rating (out of 5): 4.5 (might be a 5 ; let me cook something first!)

Recommend? Yes!

Where it can be purchased: Book Depository | Amazon

So, that's it! Hope you enjoyed this brief cookbook review. I'll keep you updated on any recipes I will be making from Plenty More.

&& here is where you can find me on the interwebz:
Vampire Book Club:
Book Depository Affiliate:

Until next time-



Quick Tip Tuesday | Salad Greens

Hello everyone & happy Tuesday!

Keeping up with post demands, I have been trying to come up with quick and simple plug-ins for weekly updates to keep the blog going.  If you didn't check out my new weekly Spotlight Sunday posts that just kicked off, the link for it is right here.

For Tuesdays, I was thinking of quick tips from the trade. My trade? Culinarian. So I might know a thing or two and just want to share it with the rest of you in case you happen to be unaware.

Today's Quick Tip Tuesday: Salad Greens Tips & Tricks 
to guarantee the best damn greens you've ever had

Now while most people purchase their salad greens pre-cut and washed, the best way (I feel) to help guarantee freshness and a high quality product is to buy your greens of choice whole and then cut it. The exception to this, of course, are greens like arugula and spinach which are pre-cut for a reason.

There are ways we have found to prolong their shelf life as well as guarantee a top quality product. You see, sometimes we cut greens for 2 people and other times we cut salad greens for 2,000. Do we like it? Not so much. Is there a way to cut them early in the morning or even the night before an event and make sure they stay crisp, fresh and a bright green color with absolutely no specks of brown? Absolutely.

Here's 5 things you need to make sure you do:

1. Use a really sharp knife - having a dull knife creates bruising on the greens and they turn bad, faster.

2. Wash with ice-cold water - warm or even room temperature water can wilt salad greens.

3. Dry your greens well - use a salad spinner. If you have an older model, just make sure you place dry pieces of paper towel on the bottom of your bowl and right on top to try to catch as much of that excess water as possible

4. Toss out any wilted/bruised/old pieces of greens - If any of the nasty stuff gets on the decent pieces of greens you have already cut/washed, it will just create a bitter and unpleasant texture while eating. Take your time and separate the bad from the good before cutting, washing and drying.

5. Store in a cool place - don't leave your salad greens outside in room temperature; keep them cool! Refrigerating them helps them last longer by preventing them from wilting and bruising. 

*Bonus tip - for parties or even a simple dinner, make sure you toss the greens at the last possible minute with the salad dressing to help keep them crisp as long as possible.

So, that's it! I hope you enjoyed my first Quick Tip Tuesday post :) I'll be seeing you soon!

&& here is where you can find me on the interwebz:
Vampire Book Club:
Book Depository Affiliate:

Until next time-



Spotlight Sunday | Kadayıf (Kadaifi)

Hello & happy Sunday!

It's kind of late and technically Monday on the east coast but over in California? It's still Sunday. So ya know, this works. 

I love Sunday's because... Who doesn't?! Lazy Sunday's are the best- in your pajamas on the couch, catching up on your Netflix queue. 

I, however, felt a bit experimental this Sunday. In an extremely comfortable outfit, I ventured out into the city and experienced a culinary delight in a 3 bite wonder. 

Meet: Kadayıf (also known as Kadaifi )

This sweet Turkish treat is made by wrapping pre-ripened crushed pistachios around layers of shredded dough, baking it, and smothering it in a light simple syrup. 

You guys. This is just too delicious. I originally expected to have just one but was ecstatic to realize we had ordered 4 (2 for each of us). 

If you're feeling adventurous or just in the mood for an uber delicious Sunday indulgence, do yourself a favor and eat this. 

We ate ours at NYC's Güllüoğlu Baklava Cafe on 2nd avenue and 52nd street. 

I hope you enjoyed my first "Spotlight Sunday" feature. I honestly just want to use this to talk about new/interesting or just simply delicious bites. If you have any, please share! I'll be seeing you all, soon. :)

&& here is where you can find me on the interwebz:
Vampire Book Club:
Book Depository Affiliate:

Until next time-



Updates | Mash-Ups, Life Updates & Reviewing Elsewhere

Hello everyone and happy Thursday!
I know it has been a while since I've posted so I wanted to do a baby update on how things have been going over here.

So, I recently moved. I was living in Orlando and I recently came back to my family in Miami. There are a lot of personal things going on in relation to my family that I am still getting used to and just dealing with so... this should kind of explain my absence.

Have any of you moved before? I mean, it is just too much crap everywhere. So I am still trying to organize my life and trying to figure out what to keep and throw away. There also might be another move in my very near future. I don't know. I don't want to say anything, but... there's that.

Also, if you aren't aware, I actively review for and LOVE working with the ladies over there. If you ever feel like I'm being too lazy, head over there and check out the books I have been reviewing. Most recently, my review of Night's Honor by Thea Harrison went up today. 

On to a different topic(ish), I have a lot of Mash-Ups coming up. I've fallen behind because of everything going on but I plan to be back with one (hopefully) by Monday or thereabouts - it just might not be a mash-up Monday post.

And I think that's it? That shouldn't be a question but... hm, I think it is. 

Basically, I just wanted to apologize for my absence and say that I haven't gone anywhere (just taken a nap of sorts) and my regular posts will be back soon.

Wishing you all a terrific Thursday & a great weekend (if you don't hear from me beforehand) 

&& here is where you can find me on the interwebz:
Vampire Book Club:
Book Depository Affiliate:

Until next time-


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