Recipe: Orange Cardamom Loaves

Guess what time it is?! It's Fall Baking Time. Yes, those vanity capitals are on purpose. I love it when the chill in the air "forces" me to start baking. It's too warm for a fire in the wood stove, but too cold to not want it warmed up just a little bit.

Plus the plethora of fall baking ingredients: fresh pears, pumpkin and all of the other "fall" stand-bys. I picked up a baking magazine the other day, an overpriced one that cost about the same as a trade paperback book *winces*, because I wanted to make just about every recipe in it.

The first recipe I attempted was Orange Cardamom Bread for a bake sale fundraiser. The recipe makes 2 loaves: one for me, one for the sale ;) While I liked it a lot, I could not taste the cardamom. So I fiddled with the levels a bit and found a balance between spicy and orange-y. The real sneaky part about this bread is that because cardamom enhances the orange flavor, you really aren't going to get much straight flavor except as an end note. 


Ellora's Cave

I don't have much to add to the current media landscape regarding publisher Ellora's Cave suing blogger Jane Litte and her blog, Dear Author, other than to say I will no longer be reviewing any book published by Ellora's Cave. I rarely did, anyway, because their prices were far beyond what I was willing to pay, but I'm officially done with them.

It's a shame, really, since I have some really cool swag from previous RT Conventions that I loved, but I'm adding my voice to the blogging boycott.


Review: I Want It That Way by Ann Aguirre

Format: Trade Paperback
Pub Date:  Aug 26, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin
Length: 352 pages
FTC: Review copy received for free at RT Convention 2014

I've been fairly outspoken in the past about my dislike of trends and the authors who chase them. I know that's ruffled a few authors' feathers, but from a reader standpoint, it does seem like some authors chase trends more than others. Ann Aguirre isn't really one of them, although she writes both Young Adult and, now, New Adult. In part, I think, because her writing roots are in Sci-Fi/Fantasy, she's always been a genre jumper.

I've also been fairly outspoken about my general disdain for YA and NA as "genres".  To me, they are not genres, but ways to dumb down marketing to the point where marketing departments aren't really needed. It's the self-service, neatly laid out section of the reading market where readers can pick and choose exactly which age group they want to read about in neat little rows. I greatly prefer the messier way it used to be.  When you got too old for the children's section, you moved on to adult literature. And you got to look at a far wider selection of books than is available in those carefully curated age-based marketing sections.

I try not to be a hypocrite, though, so I'm acknowledging that yes, this is an NA book. But it's also a book that used to be (or could be) filed in the regular fiction section alongside the Outsiders or other YA/NA classics. And even better, it's not written in the first person, present tense!


Review: Unbroken by Maisey Yates

Format: mass market, ebook
Pub Date: August 5, 2014
Publisher: Berkley (Penguin)
Length: 320 pages
FTC: ARC courtesy of the author

It's here!!!!! The book with the heroine named Amber who is NOT a bimbo stripper, buckle bunny etc. Woohoo! It really sucks having a name that somehow ends up being typecast as either the "quirky" bimbo sidekick or a stripper. Hell, even Veronica Mars's dingy undercover name is Amber. *Ahem*

I'm by no means impartial when it comes to this story. I've read (and loved) the previous books in the series, and I've been looking forward to this one for quite awhile. I was predisposed to like it, in other words, but the fact that it really hit all of my reader buttons is the real reason I ended up loving it.

This is a friends-to-lovers story, my very favorite trope in Romancelandia.  And it's funny and sarcastic. Button number 2. And HOT. So no big surprise that this really worked for me.

Gifts for the Baker