Happy Halloween (and Giveaway)!

Happy Halloween Guys! I hope you all go trick-or-treating tonight and eat lots of candies. The Chef and I won't  be going out, but we will be stuffing our faces with cupcakes and watching Hocus Pocus! And because it's Halloween, we decided to make our cupcakes look perfect for this occasion. So I give you...


The Crane Cupcakes!


And yup, they were inspired by Stacey Rourke's Crane and Raven (The Legends Saga). Don't they look morbid? I love how they came out, specially because it took us like two hours to make. The Legends Saga is a retelling of the legend of Sleepy Hollow, so please note the headless horseman and his bloody axe. ;)

In honor of these cupcakes, I'll be giving away both Crane and Raven kindle copies to two lucky winners! 
Giveaway ends Sunday at midnight and it's open international. Good luck!


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That's What HE Said Thursday #27: Brett from Diamonds in the Rough


That's what HE said Thursday is a weekly meme hosted at Chapter Break where you post a favorite line of a book boyfriend to his girl. It's the perfect meme to share all those awesome quotes!

                     Today's quote is from Brett of Diamonds in the Rough by Michelle Madow!                                            




Quote:

"You're right. Not that we can't be together, but that we can't know what will happen between us in the future. If we don't give this a chance, we'll never know. And I don't know about you, but I couldn't live with that. The only way to know is to try."
                     
Brett to Courtney, Diamonds in the Rough






I loved this quote so much! Brett is such a sweetheart. Despite Courtney's attempts to keep him away for their own good, he never stops trying to be with her. He truly believes that their relationship is going to work and that no matter what people might say about them, he knows they can be happy. Their situation is a bit complicated since they are soon to be stepbrother and sister, but everyone knows that they are perfect for each other. If only Courtney would stop following the rules and start listening to her heart... 

Anyway, Brett is my favorite boy from this book and an incredible book boyfriend. You must meet him soon!


*To read my review of Diamonds in the Rough, click here.*

Book Inspired Recipe: Risotto from TFIOS

Hey guys, the Chef here! (Shocker, right?) 

I know that I haven't been able to do as much work in the blog as I would like to, but between school, work and graduation ( Yup! I'm graduating from the UNIVERSITY in a month! So excited.), I finally got the chance to write something for the blog. 

I was browsing the other day around the bookshelf and I came up with The Fault On Our Stars by John Green. I loved TFIOS. It's such a beautiful book and it's definitely a must read. I opened a few pages and before I knew it, I was basically reading it... again.

And while I was reading, I came across one of my favorite parts where Grace and Augustus are in Amsterdam dining out in a beautiful restaurant. In this part they share a bottle of champagne and eat an exquisite creamy vegetarian Risotto while they enjoy the evening and pour out al of their feelings. Naturally, my mouth was watering at that point (and feeling the feels), so I told Melissa I wanted to make the dish. 

Now, in this corner of Mexico, it's extremely hard or expensive to get a few of the original ingredients needed to make this Risotto, but since my career has taught me to use what I have at hand, I made my own simple version and I would love to share it with you.


INGREDIENTS:
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1/2 ea medium carrot
  • 1/2 stick of celery
  • 1/2 medium white onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 1/2 cup of precooked rice
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 cup of white wine
  • 2 cups of grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup of heavy cream
  • salt, pepper and parsley to taste
This is quite an easy recipe, although you have to be careful with the cooking time. 

First, chop the celery, carrot and onion in small dices and mince the garlic. 

In a medium skillet, pour the olive oil in medium heat.Then add the chopped vegetables and wait for them to cook for about 3 minutes, after that time, add the rice and cook for another 3 minutes.

Pour the water in and let it boil for 4 minutes and after that, lower the heat and add the wine. Season to your own liking (but be careful with the salt because you'll be using parmesan later and that cheese is known for its salty flavor), stir well all the ingredients and cook until the rice is "al dente". Al dente is a culinary term we like to use that means that the rice is cooked but it isn't mushy.

After you have cooked your rice, add the heavy cream and parmesan, stir well and serve immediately. Okay? Okay. ;)

Hope you like it!

The Week's Entrée #36

Hey all! Welcome to another edition of The Week's Entrée

'Tis the start of another week of happy reading! How are you all faring with your Goodreads or any other reading challenge for the year? I've read 71 books so far out of the 100 I challenged myself, meaning that I'm 9 books behind schedule. I think I can still make it if I read two or three books per week. We'll see. ;)



Reviews on other sites
.

I reviewed Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers at Kate Tilton's blog! It turned out to be a good read for me. I love historical fiction mixed with fantasy. Oh, and I adored Gavriel, the hero and love interest of the main character.  

Here's the blurb:

Why be the sheep, when you can be the wolf?

Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.

Ismae’s most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?

Books I Got Last Week:

{For review}
From Netgalley, authors, etc.



{Purchased}



*****
To Read This Week:




Besides reading Dark Triumph, I'll finish reading Vicious by V.E. Schwab and Diamonds in the Rough by Michelle Madow.

*****
And that's it for this Week's Entrée. What are you reading this week? :)

The Fall by Stephen Cost Blog Tour: Review + Giveaway

Welcome to my stop (and the last) on the blog tour of The Fall by Stephen Cost! Today I get to share with you my thoughts about this pretty cool book and an awesome tour-wide giveaway you don't want to miss. You can find the full blog schedule at the end of this post if you want to check out the past stops on the tour. Enjoy!

About the Book:

Title: The Fall
Author: Stephen Cost
Page count: 314 pages 
Genre: Thriller / Fiction / Mystery
Format: eBook
Source: Provided for tour in exchange for an honest review

Summary:
For thousands of years, Death walked behind the dark veil of the living, waiting to ferry the dead. That is, until the day that Death took a life for pleasure rather than duty. On that day, the first Reaper fell to Earth. Now, Reapers live among us, craving the taste of death, forcing them to kill to satisfy their immortal hunger. Giles Reid fell more than 300 years ago starving for the taste of death, only to find himself drowning in a sea of the living and blinded by a hunger that forces him to kill. 
In the centuries since his fall he has tried to be more human, desperate to live a life that makes up for what he is and the wrong he has done. Driven by his guilt over killing, he has chosen to feed only on evil; humans that have never been a threat to him but who are always a danger to others. That is, until the day he tries to feed on a human as strong, fast and cunning as himself; a human who, it turns out, has been hunting him. Now he is being pursued by the very evil he has fed on for centuries, embroiled in a deadly cat-and-mouse game, where friends and other Reapers connected to him are simply pawns on a chessboard waiting to be sacrificed. Giles is left with a choice, save the life of the women he loves, the daughter of his mentor, or betrays her for his own survival.  To save the woman he loves, Giles will have to be the monster he is.
On Sale!

The author has lowered the price of the book just for the tour! If you like a paranormal novel full of suspense with demons and a twist of thriller, grab your copy and make sure you let your friends know too! With a proof of purchase, you will also get 10 extra entries in the Rafflecopter.


*The Reader's Review*

     My rating: 4/5 stars

“…forced to live a life filled with human emotions and moral judgments, but also forced to take lives to feed our undying hunger…”

Oh, this book was fun! I keep forgetting how much I enjoy reading books with male MC's, especially when they are the bad boy type. It's refreshing. And, combined with a thrilling mystery that brings a unique twist to the paranormal genre, I can't contain myself from saying that The Fall is a must for your tbr pile.

The Fall is not a book about Vampires, although it can easily be confused as one. There are certain similarities between a Reaper and a Vampire in this book, but I liked the new spin the author gave to Reapers, not to mention that in this world Vampires do not exist. Reapers can drink the blood from their victims yet the best way to feed from them is by absorbing their essence. And Giles, looking for redemption after years of killing just to satiate his never-ending hunger, only feeds off from people who have done acts of evil. However, most are not like him.

 I liked Giles A LOT. His confident, sarcastic and cocky attitude  was highly entertaining and I loved how, at first, he seems to be more of an anti-hero. His thoughts were often disturbing, but what can you expect from a devilishly handsome man who is drawn to death and evil like a moth to flame? He enjoys the thrill of the hunt and to  kill, as well as satisfy his other manly needs. But in the long run, Giles is not evil incarnate. He is a loyal guy and actually a guardian (so-to speak). The threat he must face in this book is a full-blown mystery to him. He is supposed to be the hunter and not the hunted, but I liked how quickly he sets into motion to find out what is going on. Giles uses every means he has to find out fast as the clock is ticking  away and the people he loves might suffer from this strange threat. 

I liked that the bit of romance in this book was not the center of the book because I didn't particularly like Emma, although her relationship with Giles does play an important part at the end. I hope I warm up to her on the next book. For now I'm just glad it focused more on the works of this particular world and on raising questions that, unfortunately for me, have yet to be answered. Giles life is a Reaper got even more complex and I'm curious to find out what the author adds to this lore.

And as a last thought, I hope Giles' obsession with coffee diminishes a bit. It's amusing, really, but I like him better when in action/mystery solving rather than spending time drinking coffee  (or thinking about it). But if  he must, I prefer this a million times over than smoking or drinking too much alcohol.

About the Author:

Stephen Cost was born in Wexford Ireland and raised in a small seaside town not far from Dublin.  From a young age he would spin dark tales and write them down for his own amusement.  At the age of 13 he moved from his home in Ireland to America and his love of dark American cinema took root.
He passes his free time, when not writing, by reading horror and fantasy genre novels in addition to watching science fiction and horror movies.
He graduated from University with a degree in Psychology and a minor in Sociology.  A computer engineer by trade, he specializes in integrated system services and uses the knowledge gained from his degree to write emotionally captivating urban fiction.
Social Media Links 
Facebook | Twitter | Website | Goodreads

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Follow the Tour:
October 13thPenny Writes - The Twin – Review
October 13thPenny Writes – Review
October 14thReads All The Books – Review
October 15thBookish Debbie – Review/Author Interview
October 15thOpinionated Cupcakes – Playlist/Top Ten/Spotlight
October 16thPretty Girl Reads – Excerpt/Spotlight/Guest Post
October 17thA Book and a Cup of Coffee – Review  
October 20thThe Writer's Revolution – Author Interview
October 20thBecca's Book Affair – Review
October 21stThe Writer's Revolution – Excerpt/Spotlight
October 21stPixie Vixen Book Reviews – Review
October 22ndThe Writer's Revolution – Top Ten/Guest Post
October 22ndUnconventional Librarian – Review 
October 22ndBook Lovers Life – Review 
October 23rdBooks To Remember – Review
October 23rdCabin Goddess – Surprise post
October 23rdA Bookshelf Full of Sunshine – Review
October 24thFalling For Books – Guest Post / (Review TBD)
October 24thDeal Sharing Aunt – Author Interview
October 24thThe Reader and The Chef – Review 
Hosted by:

That's What HE Said Thursday #26: Jared from Unbreakable


That's what HE said Thursday is a weekly meme hosted at Chapter Break where you post a favorite line of a book boyfriend to his girl. It's the perfect meme to share all those awesome quotes!

                     Today's quote is from Jared of Unbreakable by Kami Garcia!                                            



Quote:


"I've never really had anything that was mine, and I never cared until now." He hesitated. "And I know you aren't mine... but I want you to be."
                     
Jared to Kennedy, Unbreakable









Okay, I'm not much of a fan of him using the word mine as if Kennedy were a thing, but I still liked this quote a lot. Maybe because this is one of the few times he actually admits to Kennedy about his feelings for her. Jared is a really sweet guy and does care deeply for Kennedy, but with the heavy burden he is carrying on his back, he's almost always cold and distant. I like his vulnerable side better. :) 

Book Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas

Title: Throne of Glass
Author: Sarah J Maas
Series: Throne of Glass #1
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's
Published: August 2nd, 2012
Page count: 404 pages
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased

 Goodreads | Amazon | Kobo 
Book Summary:
Meet Celaena Sardothien.
Beautiful. Deadly. Destined for greatness.

In the dark, filthy salt mines of Endovier, an eighteen-year-old girl is serving a life sentence. She is a trained assassin, the best of her kind, but she made a fatal mistake: she got caught.

Young Captain Westfall offers her a deal: her freedom in return for one huge sacrifice. Celaena must represent the prince in a to-the-death tournament—fighting the most gifted thieves and assassins in the land. Live or die, Celaena will be free. Win or lose, she is about to discover her true destiny. But will her assassin’s heart be melted?

     *The Reader's Review*

     My rating: 5/5 stars
Awesome, awesome, awesome, awesome, AWESOME. Throne of Glass is AMAZING. I've had a few weeks to calm down my feelings for this book, but nope, still going strong. Throne of Glass is an unforgettable book that made the pages fly by in seconds. This is my favorite type of reads. Fantasy mixed with a kick-ass main character and very swoon-worthy candidates? HECK YEAH!

So Celaena is the deadliest of assassin in the land. She is fierce, she is beautiful and she knows probably a hundred ways to kill you with her bare hands (not to mention with weapons). However, after being captured and sent to the mines to rot, she starts losing her strength bit by bit. Fortunately, she is called to participate in a tournament to fight among other assassins to win a spot as the king's assassin, and ultimately, her freedom. Hard to resist, Celaena comes back in full swing, but not only does she have to fight for her life inside the tournament, but also on the outside. 

This book is a wild ride, I tell ya! There's never a dull moment and the characters are so much fun to be around. I liked Celaena, she was nice and pretty awesome when it came to fighting skills. Despite being an assassin, she had a heart and would do many things not even the nicest people would do. I sure was cheering her on all the way through the tournament. 

The swoonish guys were also great characters. I was actually torn between loving Prince Dorian and Captain Chaol Westfall. One minute I was all head-over-heels for Dorian and his nighttime visits and princeling charm, but on the next I was hoping and crossing my fingers for Chaol to interrupt and sweep me Celaena off her feet. He's this brooding character who fakes that he can't stand Celaena, but you know he has it deep for her. Agh, I love him. Totally Team Chaol, it's decided.

This world, the magic, and the mystery running around makes reading Throne of Glass a very exciting experience. I can't wait to read the next book, and the next, and everything in between (meaning the novellas). Sarah J Maas is probably going to become one of my all time favorites and all of her books immediate must reads. This book, at least to me, lived up to its hype. Went beyond it, really. ;)

The Week's Entrée #35

Hey all! Welcome to another edition of The Week's Entrée

Sorry for not being around much last week, I was pretty busy with school and work, but thankfully things have died down for a bit. I can't wait to get back to reading, visiting blogs and writing the reviews that need to be written. Gosh, I am so behind.


Also, I have the need to tell you that HOLY MUFFINS The Walking Dead is so bloody. I am watching it as I write and I'm five seconds away from changing it to another channel. How can you stand all the blood and guts and stuff like that? It looks sooooo real. But it's cool, it looks cool. Hate zombies though. Do you like this show?

Anyway, back on the blog. I'm  so excited for this week because I got some seriously cool books I've been dying to read. But first...



Reviews on other sites
.



While I wasn't much on the blog, I did manage to squeeze in some time to review Crane by Stacey Rourke at Kate Tilton's blog. Crane is the first book in The Legends Saga and if you love Sleepy Hollow retellings, chilling reads, and/or humour in your books, then you'll want to get yourself a copy of this book (and the sequel too!). 

Here's the blurb...

The Horseman is unending,
his presence shan’t lessen.
If you break the curse,
you become the legend.

Washington Irving and Rip Van Winkle had no choice but to cover up the deadly truth behind Ichabod Crane’s disappearance. Centuries later, a Crane returns to Sleepy Hollow awakening macabre secrets once believed to be buried deep.


What if the monster that spawned the legend lived within you?


Now, Ireland Crane, reeling from a break-up and seeking a fresh start, must rely on the newly awakened Rip Van Winkle to discover the key to channeling the darkness swirling within her. Bodies are piling high and Ireland is the only one that can save Sleepy Hollow by embracing her own damning curse.


But is anyone truly safe when the Horseman rides?

Books I Got Last Week:

{For review}
From Netgalley, authors, etc.




I'm beyond excited to get to all of these books!
  •  Illusion by S.M. Boyce is the fourth book in the Grimoire Saga, and I've been following this series since it started like 3 years ago. It's fantasy at its best. You can get the first book, Lichgates, for free on Amazon.
  • Diamonds in the Rough by Michelle Madow is the second book in The Secret Diamond Sisters series and I was thrilled when Harlequin Teen aproved my request to view the title. Yipee!
  • Both One Wish Away by Kelley Lynn and The Fall by Stephen Cost are books for upcoming tours stopping by on the blog. Look for them soon! They sound really cool.
*****
To Read This Week:

I'm reading The Fall by Stephen Cost this week since the tour stops by on the 24th. Yikes! Gotta read fast. I'll probably squeeze in another read but I can't bring myself to decide on one right now. Although... I should read Diamonds in the Rough before its release. ;)

*****
And that's it for this Week's Entrée. What are you reading this week? :)

Book Review: Tesla by Mark Lingane

Title: Tesla
Author: Mark Lingane
Series: Tesla Evolution #1
Genre: Cyberpunk/Steampunk
Publisher: Insync Holdings Pty Ltd 
Published: December 30th, 2013
Page count: 280 pages
Format: eBook
Source: From author in exchange of an honest review

 Goodreads | Amazon | Kobo 
Book Summary:
Cyberpunk vs Steampunk: the battle is on.

It is one thousand years since nuclear war wiped out civilization in the northern hemisphere. The planet slowly heats, and water becomes a rare resource. Out of the ruins of a devastated civilization arises a new breed of people - those who control magnetism, Teslas.

Sebastian, a young orphan boy from a quiet rural town, is hunted by strange part-machine, part-human people. His only hope is Melanie, an angry, dying teenage girl who is dragged into the adventure and sets out to deliver him to the Steam Academy, even if it’s just to stop him talking. Seb must confront an unknown past and fight against everything he believed in. And occasionally wash his hair.

     *The Reader's Review*

     My rating: 3/5 stars
This is the first time I read a steampunk/cyberpunk book and I think it went well considering my expectations. I understand that this type of books are supposed to be full of action and kick-ass moments and Tesla sure delivers on this part. From beginning to end, there's always something going on that forces the characters to fight or run for their lives. 

I liked the concept of this book. There's so much wrong in this world that I can sadly see it coming in a (hopefully very distant) future. It talks about how humanity loses itself when it depends too much on technology. When the thirst for the most advanced scientific breakthroughs can go horribly wrong. This world is dying. There's not enough water or people, and with killing machines running around attacking what's left, the odds of survival aren't very good. 

The people that are still fighting the cyborgs are giving it all they have by training the Teslas, who can detect and manipulate magnetism. Sebastian, the main character, turns out to be a powerful Tesla since he is one of the few who can actually detect magnetism and with some training, control it. Unfortunately, since he is special, they don't let him get much involved, making him take matters into his own hands with the help of his friends. 

Despite the never-ending action, I did have trouble getting into the book. The main problem was that I couldn't connect with the main characters, something that is a must for me to fully enjoy a book. Sebastian is an okay character. He is smart, he is talented at controlling magnetism, but he's a bit immature. I know he's still a child (he's twelve) but given the circumstances, you would have thought he would start acting more responsible. I liked him better at the start of the book than at the end, something I was not expecting. Melanie is another character I liked better at the beginning.  She was fearless and determined to get better once she found out she had more days to live (she's sick), but when she meets Gavin (a tesla), she goes all goo-goo eyes for him and so I lost faith in her kick-butt persona.

And yet, I did like a few other characters from this book, like Isaac and Nikola. They are mostly secondary characters, but their personalities were interesting and I liked having them around. Isaac was funny and a good friend, while Nikola was a strong commander ready to save his people and do what he thought was best. So glad they survived everything that went through.

Tesla may not have been the most exciting read for me but I can't deny that it may be one for the younger audience. It's a good book with a good plot. I'll recommend this one to teens 12 & up.

The Secret Diamond Sisters Book Blitz & Giveaway


Hey guys! Today I'm participating in the Book Blitz of The Secret Diamond Sisters by Michelle Madow! This is such a fun book set in Las Vegas, and if you love the fame, glitz and glamour, then you'll definitely enjoy this book. Below I'm sharing the character postcard of my favorite sister, Courtney, and a bit about herself. Also, don't forget to enter the fabulous giveaway which is open internationally. Enjoy!

Title: The Secret Diamond Sisters
Series: The Secret Diamond Sisters #1
Author: Michelle Madow 
Piblished: February 25th, 2013
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Page count: 381 pages

Summary from Goodreads:


Savannah. Courtney. Peyton.


The three sisters grew up not knowing their father and not quite catching a break. But it looks like their luck is about to change when they find out the secret identity of their long-lost dad—a billionaire Las Vegas hotel owner who wants them to come live in a gorgeous penthouse hotel suite.

Suddenly the Strip's most exclusive clubs are all-access, and with an unlimited credit card each, it should be easier than ever to fit right in. But in a town full of secrets and illusion, fitting in is nothing compared to finding out the truth about their past.

Buy Links:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books A Million | Book Depository | iBookstore


Praise:
"Sexy and often electrifying ... Gossip Girl meets The Princess Diaries in a city that never sleeps." 
--Booklist

"This quick and entertaining read is filled with glitz and glamour ... get ready for one crazy and fabulous ride." 
--RT Book Reviews



Courtney is sixteen years old, and is the middle Diamond sister. She’s the responsible one—she studies hard, does well in school, is a student tutor, and works after school and on weekends to help out her family. Her main goal is to keep up her grades and do well on her SATs so she can get into Stanford, her dream school. She wants to major in English and someday get a career in publishing. She’s competitive with herself and always strives to do her best.

Courtney’s closest friends are her sisters—with all the time she spends on school and work, she doesn’t have time for anyone else. She’s never had a boyfriend and is fine with waiting to date until college. (She doesn’t need any distractions right now!) She’s not into the high school party scene, and whenever she has time in her busy schedule, her favorite thing to do is read novels. She also loves listening to Broadway music (Phantom of the Opera and Wicked are her favorites) and would love to see a live show someday.

She’s a natural early bird, and is always awake before her sisters. She could happily wear jeans, t-shirts, and flip-flops every day, and always goes natural with her makeup. Her favorite drink is chai tea. She’s quiet and reserved while first meeting someone, but she will do anything for the people she loves. She would love to travel the world to see historic sites and well-known museums, but it’s always felt more like a dream than a possible reality.

*****

Book Two: Diamonds in the Rough
(cover linked to Goodreads)
(Available for Pre-Order)


About the Author
Michelle Madow was inspired to write The Secret Diamond Sisters series while walking through her favorite hotel in Las Vegas. The next book in the series, Diamonds in the Rough, launches in October. Prior to The Secret Diamond Sisters, she successfully self-published The Transcend Time Saga. A tireless promoter of her work, Michelle is active on social media networks and has toured across America to promote her books and encourage high school students to embrace reading and writing. A graduate of Rollins College, Michelle lives in Florida ... but she loves going to Vegas.



To chat with Michelle and other fans about her books, join Michelle Madow's Street Team on Facebook!


Author Links:
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