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28.12.15

Moving

Hey guys-
So I've been lost for a while. I have moved across the country from NYC to San Francisco, CA and I'm ready for a new start.
I've been working on a new blog over on Wordpress as a way to start my new adventure. 
Honestly, I just wanted a more centered space that was clear and easier to post onto. 
It will be similar content and I have already posted a book review on Finding Master Right.

Anyways, I should be going... I just wanted to say an official goodbye on here or really, it's more of a see you later. :)

&& here is where you can find me on the interwebz:
Vampire Book Club: Vampirebookclub.net
Book Depository Affiliate: bookdepository.com

I am also an affiliate at: 


Until next time-


-Jannelle

11.9.15

What I Ate Wednesday | September 9, 2015

Hello you beautiful people of the interwebz! 

I've decided to start this new feature on my blog called, "What I Ate Wednesday" wherein I post the pictures of the food I ate and maybe some brief explanations on how to make it. This is something I have seen on mostly lifestyle and beauty blogs and I thought I would introduce it to the foodie world (if it hasn't been done already). I really enjoy taking a glimpse at what people are actually eating and since I am usually off on Wednesdays, I thought this would be a good deal. 

So, let's get started!

Breakfast: Some coffee with hazelnut creamer, homemade Oatmeal with a dash of half and half and berries, and some water.



 Small Afternoon Snack: Lemon mineral water from Turkey and some Pepperidge Farm Brussels cookies

 Late Lunch: Toaster-oven Nachos (just Tostitos and grated cheese), with some orange juice and melon

 A Good Old Cuppa Tea: I mixed the Twinings Lemon and Ginger tea with Trader Joes' White Tea with Pear and Ginger (because I  ginger tea)

Dinner: This is a Turkish Dish called Citir Manti (the spelling is off because I don't have a Turkish keyboard) and it's basically a large round pastry dough (kind of like Filo dough) stuffed and rolled with a spiced meat (we used beef for this one). And it is served with a homemade tomato sauce (recipe coming soon!) and sitting upon a savory yogurt sauce. We served it alongside some salted cucumbers and some more melon.





&& That is what I ate this Wednesday! Join me next week as I attempt to tackle some baked items in preparation for my Thanksgiving menu this year :)


&& here is where you can find me on the interwebz:
Vampire Book Club: Vampirebookclub.net
Book Depository Affiliate: bookdepository.com


Until next time-


-Jannelle

8.9.15

Short & Sweet | Release Day Review: The New Sugar and Spice by Samantha Seneviratne

Hello friends of the interwebz!
I am back with a Release-Day Review of The New Sugar & Spice by Samantha Seneviratne.


The New Sugar & Spice is a fantastic cookbook blending the flavors of sweet and salty along with - you guessed it - sugar and spice. The chapters are divided by spice so that each chapter is focused on a specific flavor; the first chapter is centered around peppercorns and chiles and the second chapter is centered on cinnamon. This is definitely a sweet/baking and pastry cookbook with just a savory and salty twist. Honestly, I have so many tabs on these pages that I have no idea where to start baking, first. You can definitely expect a recipe adaptation coming up soon on either Maple Sticky Buns, Mango Lime Sorbet, or Pistachio & Chocolate Butter Cake.

I would say that I even recommend this book more for people that are slightly more adventurous in their meals and are looking to explore new flavor combinations. Granted, not everything in this cookbook is crazy adventurous. You will also find classic combinations like a delicious S'mores Pie I will be adding to my Thanksgiving menu this year.

All in all, it is a fantastic addition to my cookbook bookshelf. The pages are full with bright pictures on almost every single recipe which is an automatic win for me. If any of you have glimpsed the pages and/or already tried a recipe, let me know which one and how it turned out; I can't wait to get started.

Basic info. about this book:

Name: The New Sugar & Spice
Author: Samantha Seneviratne
Review Source: Provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review
Publishing Company: Ten Speed Press
Publication Date: September 8, 2015
Genre: cookbook
Rating (out of 5): 4.5

Recommend? Yes!

Where it can be purchased: The Book Depository 



&& here is where you can find me on the interwebz:
Vampire Book Club: Vampirebookclub.net
Book Depository Affiliate: bookdepository.com


Until next time-


-Jannelle

18.7.15

Personal Stuff & Why I've Been Gone

Hey all, it's nice to be back here.
I wanted to apologize for my absence and to explain it, in a way. I'm not here to give my life story. I just feel that I spend so much time saying, "I'll be back soon" or, "I'm posting tomorrow" and then don't. I love reading and reviewing - it's one of my passions in life. I love cooking and sharing my knowledge. This is why I have a blog - I love discussing and sharing opinions and knowledge on these two important subjects in my life - books and food.
My parents are getting divorced. I will be 27 years old next month and I feel like a child every time I think about it. Of course, like other divorces, the drama is intense and life is so much more complicated than that simple statement. But, I won't go into that here. My personality has changed. My endless supply of patience actually had an end to it. I feel bad because I'm always anxious and impatient and these people I've met here in New York don't know me, at all. They're just visitors in this shitty shitty part of my life. I'm hoping that one day I will get back to the old me, or even a Jannelle version 2.0 :)
I don't want to go into the drama of it all... all I can say is that I am a bit of damaged goods right now and I feel like it shows in almost everything I do. If you didn't know, I've been writing personally/writing novels/ writing gibberish for a while and I've had to stop. I just feel like it translates into my writing - Does that make sense?
Anyways, I don't want to keep going here. The whole point of this is that I am here, I am alive, and am just a bit sad. That's all.. I may post a review/recipe tomorrow or I may not. It's my every intention to do so. But I am still a perfectionist and I cannot post something I am not completely happy with. I hope to be back to normal, soon. 

Sending you all lots of love and positive vibes.

Until next time - 

-Jannelle

3.6.15

Asking for It by Lilah Pace Book Review/ Discussion

As I previously mentioned, I was breaking by non-blogging/reviewing hiatus to talk about this book:


Instead of a full-on book review here, I decided to create a video review of the book. You can find it on my YouTube channel, here (and I will link it down below).



I hope you are all having a wonderful week!

&& here is where you can find me on the interwebz:
Vampire Book Club: Vampirebookclub.net
Book Depository Affiliate: bookdepository.com


Until next time-


-Jannelle

1.6.15

Oh, Hey!

So OK, I might have been a bit lost.
...or really fucking lost. (excuse my French).
I went on a semi-brief hiatus because I need to chill the hell out. Between school, work (including a promotion), and some family stuff and traveling to RT, well... I almost lost my shit (again, excuse my French!).

Of course, I have kept up with reviews over at the VBC (will be linked below) and if you're interested, just click the link and you can check out some of the books I have been reading.

Luckily for me, the summer calms my schoolwork down to 2 classes instead of 4, allowing me the option of not crashing the second I get home. 

Also, this time away from the interwebz has forced me to really think about I'm doing on here and what I want to do on here. Basically, more food. I feel like that's what most people want to ask me about and what I love talking about. Also, books will never be far from me. Hence, the books are staying.

Anywho, I will be seeing you soon (as in tomorrow) with a review on Asking for It by Lilah Pace (absolutely brilliant! I have all the feels).


&& here is where you can find me on the interwebz:
Vampire Book Club: Vampirebookclub.net
Book Depository Affiliate: bookdepository.com


Until next time-


-Jannelle

21.4.15

Release Day Review | Cold Burn of Magic by Jennifer Estep

Hey guys, I'm hoping that the work week is treating you all well!
 Today, I will be posting a review on Cold Burn of Magic by Jennifer Estep, which is book number one in her new Black Blade series in the YA genre.


Here's the blurb on the back of the book:
It's not as great as you'd think, living in a tourist town that's known as "the most magical place in America." Same boring high school, just twice as many monsters under the bridges and rival Families killing each other for power.

I try to keep out of it. I've got my mom's bloodiron sword and my slightly illegal home in the basement of the municipal library. And a couple of Talents I try to keep quiet, including very light fingers and a way with a lock pick.

But then some nasty characters bring their Family feud into my friend's pawn shop, and I have to make a call--get involved, or watch a cute guy die because I didn't. I guess I made the wrong choice, because now I'm stuck putting everything on the line for Devon Sinclair. My mom was murdered because of the Families, and it looks like I'm going to end up just like her. . .
Lila is a seventeen year old magic user in a fantastical version of our current world. In this world, there are different families with magic-using abilities that they use to control different sectors of the city. Of course, there are two main families fighting for power and after an unfortunate incident in her friend's pawn shop, she finds herself working for one of these families - the Sinclairs - while she has been trying to lay low, living on her own since the death of her mother, a few years back. Soon after ensues plenty of action, drama, light romance and fantastic world-building with MONSTERS (yes, I said monsters).
I loved Cold Burn of Magic. I think it is the best YA I have read in a very long time and I think the reason why is all in our heroine, Lila. She is not angsty like you would find most teenagers in her precarious situation to be. Instead, Lila is courageous and a total bad ass. I love that she is so relatable  (to teens and adults alike) and really thinks about any consequences before placing herself in a less than ideal situation. This book feels on the cusp of New Adult, too, and I am sure it is just her age that is getting in the way of those annoying genre labels.
Either way, this book was a total win for me. I will definitely be looking forward to the release of the next one.


Basic info. about this book:

Name: Cold Burn of Magic (Black Blade #1)
Author: Jennifer Estep
Review Source: Provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review
Publishing Company: Kensington Books
Publication Date: April 21, 2015
Genre: YA, fantasy, paranormal
Rating (out of 5): 4.5

Recommend? Yes!

Where it can be purchased: The Book Depository 



&& here is where you can find me on the interwebz:
Vampire Book Club: Vampirebookclub.net
Book Depository Affiliate: bookdepository.com


Until next time-


-Jannelle

20.4.15

Mash-Up Monday #6: | Seven Spoons by Tara O'Brady | Early Review & Recipe - "Halloumi" in Charmoula

Hello & welcome to another Mash-Up Monday!
I love working on these because it gives me a chance to really get a feel for a cookbook and see how simple/complicated and thorough the recipes in the book are. For the most part, however, I can usually tell by looking at a recipe and I will mess with the ingredients/ method of preparation a bit to get to where I want to be for the final product. 
When it comes to Seven Spoons, however, I am happy to say that this Halloumi (cheese) in Charmoula recipe was a success - we ate all of it.

If you couldn't tell, this is pan-seared cheese with a whole bunch of Charmoula sauce all over it

I thoroughly enjoyed combing through Seven Spoons and I think you will, too. It's full of every kind of recipe imaginable for all different types of palettes.

For whatever reason, I could not find Halloumi cheese, anywhere. It was such a disaster because I know I have seen it at Whole Foods before. But, it's fine. I grabbed a chunk of Ricotta Salata and some Indian Paneer cheese and there you have it - my replacements.

Basic info. about this book:

Name: Seven Spoons
Author: Tara O' Brady
Review Source: Provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review
Publishing Company: Ten Speed Press
Publication Date: April 21, 2015
Genre: Cookbook
Rating (out of 5): 4.5

Recommend? Yes!

Where it can be purchased: The Book Depository














"Halloumi" in Charmoula
Recipe Adapted from Seven Spoons by Tara O'Brady

Yield: 4-6 Servings

Ingredient List:
  • 1 fresh red chili, chopped (you can remove the seeds if you want to; we kept half the seeds)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds (or ground coriander is fine)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds (or ground is also fine)
  • 1 tsp smoked or sweet paprika
  • 1 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 cup cilantro, chopped
  • grated zest and juice of half a lemon (save the other half for garnish, if desired)
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 pound "halloumi" (or other white, semi-firm cheese - I used Ricotta Salatta and Indian Paneer cheese) cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
Prep
  • Make sure that you have all of your ingredients as listed, above.
  • Roast the red chili and garlic together in a saute pan on the stove top for 1-2 minutes, until brown and toasted. You are not using any oil here and are dry roasting these ingredients.
  • Once they are done, remove them from the pan and now add the coriander and cumin to toast. This should only take about 1 minute.
  • Once done, also remove from the pan and chili, garlic, coriander, cumin, paprika, parsley and cilantro into a blender and blend until very fine.
  • In a small bowl, mix together the lemon zest and juice with the olive oil and a sprinkle of both salt an pepper.
  • Now add the ingredients that you blended. Set aside - the Charmoula is done!
  • The same way that we dry-roasted the ingredients for the Charmoula, you are going to do for the cheese. Leave it or a minute or two on both sides until they look like my pictures, above^.
  • Once your cheese is seared, dump it into the bowl with the charmoula sauce, coat it on both sides, and set on a plate.
  • You're done!
So, that's it! It was a very simple and easy recipe. I think that the hardest part was just finding the halloumi cheese but we made due with what I was able to purchase at Whole Foods.
Word to the wise: If you want to make this ahead of time, do it! We found that the longer the cheese sat with the sauce, the more delicious it was. We also served it alongside some fried vegetables in a homemade garlic and dill yogurt sauce - it was a fantastic vegetarian meal. Let me know what you decide to cook it with!

Happy Monday!

& Until next time :)



&& here is where you can find me on the interwebz:
Vampire Book Club: Vampirebookclub.net
Book Depository Affiliate: bookdepository.com

13.4.15

Mash-Up Monday #5 : Tuesday Edition - Rose Water & Orange Blossoms by Maureen Abood | Release-Day Review & Recipe

Hello & happy Mash-Up Monday - on a Tuesday!
Today I am mashing up a review and recipe from Rose Water & Orange Blossoms by Maureen Abood.


Ladies & Gents, can you believe that I have not done one of these in almost 7 months?! When I was looking back and realized that the last mash-up I did was in September for the Chicken cookbook, well... I was not happy with myself. So, of course, we are remedying this right now.

The first 2 things that caught my attention with Rose Water & Orange Blossoms was (1) the name and (2) the cover. Can we just take a minute to admire the beauty of this cover? And all through the wonderful colors of food. This is a cover well-done!
Maureen Abood is a culinarian food blogger living in Michigan. Her blog is called - you guessed it - Rose Water & Orange Blossoms and is centered on fresh and classic Lebanese recipes. You can check out her blog, here.

The recipes in the book are simple and to the point without losing any flavor or authenticity along the way. I think that Abood did a phenomenal job with creating classic Lebanese recipes that people from any culture or background could follow and enjoy.
Also, we all know how much I love a cookbook overflowing with pictures. Rose Water & Orange Blossoms brings Maureen's dishes to life in the beautifully colorful pictures that are filling up the book. A simple picture is bringing her recipes to life and evoking memories that have been latent in my mind for years of pickling liquid simmering on the stove and fresh baked bread right out of the oven. Again, simple and classic recipes that are - in a way - familiar to all of us.


Basic info. about this book:

Name: Rose Water & Orange Blossoms: Fresh & Classic Recipes from My Lebanese Kitchen
Author: Maureen Abood
Review Source: Provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review
Publishing Company: Perseus Books Group, Running Press
Publication Date: April 14, 2015
Genre: Cookbook
Rating (out of 5): 4

Recommend? Yes

Where it can be purchased: The Book Depository


& now here's the recipe:














 

Baba Gannouj (Smoky Eggplant Tahini Dip)
Adapted from Rose Water & Orange Blossoms by Maureen Abood

Yield: About 2 cups

Ingredient List:
  • 2 Firm Eggplants (Abood recommends 8x5-inch/20x 12cm sized eggplants; Mine were a bit smaller – since that was what I could find – so I just adjusted the recipe, accordingly) If you can only find smaller eggplants, then just buy 3 or 4 of them instead of two. Once they're cooked and you remove the seeds, there's not much eggplant "meat" left.
  • 3 – 4 Tablespoons Tahini (well-stirred before measuring)
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • I garlic clove, minced
  • Juice of ½ Lemon
  • Few grinds of Black Pepper (or a good pinch will do)
  • Pinch of Crushed Red Pepper Flakes (optional)
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil, for drizzling
  • Handful of Pomegranate Seeds
Prep:
  • Poke holes in your eggplant. You don't need to poke it all over; just once on each side to prevent the skin from breaking while cooking. I used a fork for mine.
  • Preheat your gas grill, stove or just turn on your gas burner and place a roasting rack on top (like I did in the picture)
    • If you are using a grill (or makeshift one like me), you want to char the eggplants on all sides for a good 15-20 minutes. If you're scared of burning it for whatever reason (we're just peeling the skin off later, anyways) then char it on all sides and place it in the oven on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper for 10-15 minutes. You want it soft to the touch.
    • If you are using your broiler, you want to place your eggplants on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place them in a preheated broiler for 15-20 minutes, turning them once halfway through.When they are done, they should be soft to the touch.
  • Once the eggplants are cooked, let them cool completely. Then, using your hands you can peel the skin right off of the eggplant. Discard the skin.
  • Slice the eggplants in half, lengthwise, and remove the seeds. My guy and I don't mind the seeds so we discarded the seeds of one and kept the seeds on the other. But feel free to discard all of them. Also, if you purchased eggplants that are smaller, once you discard the seeds you aren't left with much eggplant "meat" leftover. This is why I mentioned buying a third one above in the ingredient list - you're going to need it.
  • Now you can either chop the eggplant (with a knife) or blend it in a food processor or NutriBullet like I did. *If you are using a food processor or other machine to cut up the eggplant, you only need to pulse it 2, maybe 3 times max. You aren't looking for a totally smooth consistency here. A little texture is good.
  • Add the Tahini (mixed well!), salt, garlic*, lemon, black pepper and crushed red pepper flakes (if using) and stir to combine.
  • Transfer to your bowl of choice and make indentations in the mixture to create mini wells for the olive oil.
  • Drizzle the olive oil over the top of the mixture
  • Top with Pomegranate seeds*
  • Eat! I toasted up some of my homemade Olive & Hazelnut Bread but you can use any pita chips you have laying around or bread or even carrots and cucumbers - yum!

*For the garlic, I find it better to simply use a micro-plane because it turns the garlic into a paste that distributes more evenly throughout the dip
*Ever cut open a pomegranate before? Take a look at my pictures! I lightly score the pomegranate into quarters all around and then with my hands, gently pull the quarters apart. This way, you don't cut into any of the seeds and get juice all over the counter/floor/your shirt.

 So, that's it! I hope you enjoyed my mash-up of Rose Water & Orange Blossoms by Maureen Abood as much as I enjoyed reading and eating that delicious Baba Gannouj.

Happy Eating!


&& here is where you can find me on the interwebz:
Vampire Book Club: Vampirebookclub.net
Book Depository Affiliate: bookdepository.com

27.3.15

Brief Updates

Hey guys-
Wanted to pop in real quick because I've been absent lately.

While I've been gone, I started reading all the books (and reviewing them) and even had some stuff ready to post. Unfortunately, there have been some family things going on.
On top of that, I got food poisoning last week and a stomach flu this week... my food-loving heart and stomach are not happy.

Luckily, this time away has left me with some exciting ideas for some food I'd like to bake and share on here (an order on Amazon was just placed!) and you can look forward to that, soon.

Also, I have been reviewing over at the VBC. If you're interested, you can check out my reviews, here.

Hope March has been treating you all well and I hope to be back before Easter. :)


&& here is where you can find me on the interwebz:
Vampire Book Club: Vampirebookclub.net
Book Depository Affiliate: bookdepository.com


Until next time-


-Jannelle

2.3.15

Book Review | Love Bites by Angela Knight

Hey guys - happy Monday :)
I've been a bit lost, lately. Finally finals are done with and I can get back to reading ALL THE BOOKS - joy! (I'm also catching up with Once Upon a Time & obsessing over final grades #nojudging)

As I had mentioned in a previous post, one of my goals for 2015 is to finish reading the books I already have and I'm happy to say that I've been doing really well. The book I'm reviewing today is Love Bites by Angel Knight. This book has been on my TBR since the summer and I finally got the chance to read it.



Here's the blurb on the back cover:
In The Bloodslave, Angela Knight’s classic “must read…highly erotic” (*The Best Reviews) novella, a female mercenary comes under fire during a hunt. The beautiful, virginal, and very human Verica is captured by three hungry alpha vampires driven deliriously feral by her purity. But they desire more than her warm blood. They want her body, leaving Verica more vulnerable than ever before—and loving every minute of it.

Plus! Three all-new novellas of vampire romance by Angela Knight

By day, a romance author puts her fantasies to paper. Her nights are another story. The perfect alpha male—not quite human, and absolutely insatiable—is invading her dreams. And with each sleepless night, she wonders… Are they really only dreams? Then, when an alpha male vampire hunter sets his sights on a pair of vampire lovers, things don't work out quite the way he had in mind. Plus, Angela Knight introduces the Doms of the Round Table and a kinky circle of pleasure, pain, and power as she returns to her “sexy as hell” (Heroes and Heartbreakers) Mageverse world for a new twist on the Arthurian legend.

 As you can tell from the blurb, this is a compilation of short stories that are all BDSM oriented. If you haven't been able to tell, I've been into this type of genre lately. I'm not sure why but I'm just rolling with it - I have the tendency to go in and out of phases where I'm reading only certain types of genres. This is a new one.
The first story in Love Bites, Oath of Service, takes place in the Mageverse world. I hadn't read anything in this world prior to Oath of Service (and now I'm eyeing copies on Amazon to binge read this summer). For those of you who are newbies (like me) it's an alternate type of world where those famous individuals of King Arthur's court are turned into vampire immortals and witches and (secretly) save the world -time and time again - from evil. I will be honest and say that this was my favorite story from the collection. If this would have been the only story, I would have been perfectly happy and raving about it. Mostly because it was such a unique story with Morgana as the protagonist. Also? So freaking hot. The BDSM scenes were intense and felt natural and unforced. Vampires + BDSM = win.
The second story, Be Careful What You Wish For, involves two vampires lusting after the same woman and then, of course, a threesome ensues. This store was quick and to the point (compared to Oath of Service, anyway) but just as sexy except less intriguing to me because there was no real back story here.
The last story was my least favorite. The way it was set up, it felt like a rape. So ya know, beware if you're not into that sort of thing. I read through it (after putting it down several times; I was determined to finish this novel) and eventually discovered that it wasn't really a rape as more of a consensual kind of forced dominance on someone that really truly wanted it but ... yeah. I just wish it would have been set up better.
Overall, I'm giving the Love Bites anthology 3.5 out of 5 stars. It's made me interested in more Angela Knight novels and if you're a fan of her Mageverse series, I think you should definitely pick this up (if you haven't already!).


Basic info. about this book:

Name: Love Bites
Author: Angela Knight
Review Source: Provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review
Publishing Company: Berkley Trade
Publication Date: September 2, 2014
Genre: Paranormal, Romance, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Erotic
Rating (out of 5): 3.5

Recommend? Yes

Where it can be purchased: The Book Depository 

Author online: goodreads


Any genres you've been [semi] obsessed with lately?


&& here is where you can find me on the interwebz:
Vampire Book Club: Vampirebookclub.net
Book Depository Affiliate: bookdepository.com


Until next time-


-Jannelle


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