Literary-ly Inspired: Kolache and Nearly Broken

That’s right. I have a new feature. And it comes with its very own play on words.

Have you ever read something in a book and wanted to try something new because of it? Either it’s going some place or cooking something. Even taking a class because a book aroused your curiosity. That happens to me all the time! And I thought it was about time that I stopped saying how cool it would be to broaden my horizons and just started doing it!

It doesn’t have to be something big. And – like my post today – it doesn’t have to be all that connected to a book.

It just has to be something that is different from your regular everyday life that you would not have done had you not been inspired by something literary.

Homemade Sausage Kolache inspired by Nearly Broken by Devon Ashley


nearly broken

Last week I was reading Nearly Broken by Devon Ashley (check out my review here) and Megan wakes up to find a bag of jalapeño kolache. Little known fact about myself – I love jalapeñoes. And I love trying new things.

What is a kolache? Well I didn’t know. And nor did the super-handy dictionary on my kindle. Now I was very curious. What could these spicy breakfast foods be?

According to Wikipedia (a semi-reliable search when looking for foreign food related questions):

Kolache /kɵˈlɑːtʃi/ (also spelled kolacekolach, or kolacky, from the Czech and Slovak plural koláče, sg. koláč) is a type of pastry that holds a dollop of fruit rimmed by a puffy pillow of supple dough.[1] Originating as a semisweet wedding dessert from Central Europe, they have become popular in parts of the United States.

Texas-Style Homemade Sausage Kolache

Texas-Style Homemade Sausage Kolache as seen on Confections of a Foodie Bride

And just like that my craving for the baked good began.

I found a recipe and after a trip to the supermarket (and one to the kitchen goods store. Who knew I didn’t own a cheese grater?) I was ready to begin.

I’m not going to just reiterate the recipe. The one at the link I used is the one I followed. I don’t think I was quite prepared for just how long it would take. It takes a VERY long time to bake kolache. You have to let it rise for two hours. Then in the fridge overnight. Then after you have formed your unfilled dough it needs to rest for twenty minutes before filling. Then after filling, rest for another twenty minutes before baking.

It took forever.

But, nearly a day after I started (because I got caught up and couldn’t fill and bake until 24 hours after I had started) – FINALLY! I had over twenty gorgeous little baked kolaches. And – even I was impressed with just how pretty they turned out to be.

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Look at how pretty my kolaches are straight out of the oven!

The Verdict?

I found it surprisingly therapeutic to make these. There’s something about playing/baking with dough that is fun and relaxing at the same time. I made most of mine with jalapeño, cheese and sausage but a few without the jalapeño because I ran out – and amazingly the ones without were my favourite! The dough is very sweet – so much sweeter than I was expecting but considering all the flour in the mixture I shouldn’t have been surprised.

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Action shot of one of my Kolache.. it tastes better than it looks!

These tasted okay at room temperature but so much better after I gave them 30 seconds in the microwave. Like – couldn’t believe how much better.

Will I be making these again? Probably not. The recipe made over twenty. I put most of them in the freezer because apparently they defrost very well. It is SO hard to know if you are making something right when you’ve never tried what it is supposed to turn out as. I’m glad I made them – they were fun. But I think next time I try kolache it will be at a bakery or deli and NOT from my own kitchen.

So that’s the first literary-ly inspired post. There will be more in the future. I’ve got some things I plan to do that I never would have thought to try had it not been for books I’ve read so keep an eye out for them. Thanks 🙂

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This is me trying to take a creative photo… I think it’s slightly more blurry than creative! 😛

Top Ten Tuesday: Favourite Beginnings in Books

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

Each week they will post a new Top Ten list that one of their bloggers over at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join.

The topic for this week is: Top Ten Favourite Beginnings or Endings in Books

When I saw this week’s topic, I thought that I’d do what I normally do when there’s a dual option. Pick five of each – five beginnings and five endings. The only problem was when I started choosing my favourite beginnings and I got waaayyy past five. Way past ten. But I have narrowed it down to my favourite ten beginnings. And just because I can, two of my favourite endings.

I’ve got a fairly terrible memory. It’s why I write everything down. I often forget character names as  soon as I’ve finished reading a book – it’s why for every book I read I have my own little cheat sheet with important details written down. So I don’t remember many quotes. And I don’t remember all that many beginnings. But the ones that I do remember are from books that have had some kind of profound impact one me.

BEGINNINGS: 

 

Pride and Prejudice The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, #1) Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Harry Potter, #1)

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.
This is the book that started me seriously reading classic literature. Before that I was a contemporary girl all the way. I think it’s fantastic that the opening line really does encapsulate what the book means to me and is still relevant hundreds of years later.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas AdamsFar out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western Spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun
– 
Much like the first line, this book is just silly.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. RowlingMr and Mrs Dursley, of number four Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.
– 
I don’t think I ever realized what an impact this series would have on my life when I first read these words. But now, 13 years after I read them for the first time I still adore Harry and his adventures as much as I did when I was 12.

Bridget Jones's Diary (Bridget Jones, #1) The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (Chronicles of Narnia, #5) Alice's Adventures in Wonderland Matilda

Bridget Jones Diary by Helen FieldingI will not drink more than fourteen alcohol units a week.
– 
Possibly my first array into chick-lit but not my last.

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by CS LewisThere was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it
– 
Because sometimes in real life (as in fiction) names do play a part in how we see people.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis CarrollAlice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the riverbank, and of having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, ‘and what is the use of a book’, thought Alice, ‘without pictures or conversation?
– 
Exactly. A book without pictures? What’s the point? 😉

Matilda by Roald Dahl: It’s a funny thing about mothers and fathers. Even when their own child is the most disgusting little blister you could ever imagine, they still think that he ors he is wonderful.

The Princess Bride The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #1) The Sky Is Everywhere

The Princess Bride by William Goldman: This is my favorite book in all the world, though I have never read it.
– 
This is my favourite book in all the world, though I have read it a thousand times. Slight exaggeration, perhaps. But seriously.  I love this book. I like it’s humour and it’s bluntness. Life isn’t fair. I think it’s one of the first books that I’ve read where things don’t go the hero’s way just cause he’s handsome and has a good heart. Or that the heroine is called out on her shallow vapidness. And that, no matter who you are, sometimes life sucks. You can be young and in love and still captured by pirates. Or kidnapped by a giant… okay – so maybe it’s not so universally applicable. But it’s still fantastic and I love the opening line.

The Bad Beginning by Lemony SnicketIf you are interested in stories with happy endings, you would be better off reading some other book.
– 
It’s lines like that just make me want to read MORE!

The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson: Gram is worried about me. It’s not just because my sister Bailey died four weeks ago, or because my mother hasn’t contacted me in sixteen years, or even because suddenly all I think about is sex. She is worried about me because one of her house-plants has spots.
– 
Because a grandmother who thinks her granddaughter’s mental health is reflected in a plant is definitely someone I want to read more about.

Endings

 

Charlotte's Web Breaking Dawn (Twilight, #4)

Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White: It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer. Charlotte was both.
This book made me cry. I remember reading this line (actually I think I was so little it was my big brother reading it to me) and weeping.

Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer: And then we continued blissfully into this small but perfect piece of our forever.
– 
Okay, so maybe I’m no a Twilight fan. But I liked this line because I thought it perfectly summed up the entire four novels. For me, this series wasn’t about vampires or some evil Italian cult who wuss out of a final battle after all that build up (okay, maybe I’m still a little bitter about how things went down in book 4). It was about love. The kind of love that does best when it’s isolated and all-consuming. In a creepy obsessive way but it works for these two so who am I to judge. But yes. I do like this line because for me – it is Bella and Edward.

Those are my favourite beginnings and a few endings thrown in for good measure! Do you like any of my quotes listed? Have any betters ones? Please share! 😀 Hope you all have a fantastic week!

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Cover Reveal: Free Fall by Tess Oliver

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Title: Freefall

Author: Tess Oliver

Genre: New Adult

Released: August 1, 2013

Book Description (goodreads):

After leaving high school, with a hard won diploma and the title of most likely to break hearts, Alexander “Nix” Pierce has left his wild, out of control years mostly behind him. A small inheritance from his grandfather has given him the funds to open up his tattoo shop, Freefall, and he has started to pull his life together. Aside from trying to keep his best friend, Dray, from killing himself in the fight ring, and his slight obsession with a pin-up model he’s never met, Nix’s life is going smoothly . . . until Scotlyn James, the object of his obsession, walks into his shop.

Ever since a tragic accident killed her family and left her alone in the world, Scotlyn James hasn’t spoken one word. Up until now she didn’t care that she had no way of talking to people. Her awful aunt would never have listened, and Lincoln Hammond the arrogant, selfish man who pulled her from the streets of Los Angeles wouldn’t hear her words if she could speak. But when Lincoln insists she get a tattoo to cover up a scar on her side, Scotlyn meets the artist, Nix Pierce. And now she longs for her voice. Now she has found someone who will hear her.

Teaser:

I could see Nix swallow beneath the collar of his t-shirt. For what seemed like the hundredth time, he rearranged stuff on his tray, and it seemed he had a hard time looking at me.

I’d pushed it too far. I was being way to forward with him, but I couldn’t seem to stop myself. I was not practiced at flirting, and it seemed that I’d been reading his thoughts all wrong. In my state of distress from the car ride, I’d forgotten to take off my sweatshirt. Feeling like a fool for rubbing my foot so suggestively up his leg, I hopped off the table and walked over to the hook on the wall. Now I wanted to get this done and fast.

I unzipped my sweatshirt and slipped it off my shoulders. As I reached up to hang it on the hook, Nix’s stool slid across ­the floor, and before I could lower my hands, his arms snaked around my waist, and he pulled my back against his hard chest.

 

 

About the Author

Tess Oliver

Tess Oliver is a teacher and writer who lives in California with her husband, kids, a small pack of pampered dogs, and the recent addition of three ridiculously cute pygmy goats. She loves horses, chocolate and Jane Austen books. She has a BS of Nutrition Science, and a MA in Curriculum and Instruction. She is also an author published by Barron’s Educational Publisher.

Website || Blog || Facebook || Goodreads || Twitter

Book Review: Nearly Broken by Devon Ashley

Nearly Broken banner

Welcome to my stop on the Nearly Broken blog tour hosted by YA Bound Book Tours.  Click HERE to see the full blog tour schedule! Don’t forget to check the bottom of this post for a tour wide giveaway! 

Title: Nearly Broken (Broken #1)nearly brokenAuthor: Devon Ashley
Genre: New Adult, Romantic Suspense, Realistic Fiction
Publisher: Self published
Publication Date: 4 June 2013
Pages: 367
Rating: 3.5.stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
We’d both gone missing at one point, but Claire had one thing I didn’t. Someone to notice. So why was I the one still here and she the one still gone?

Nineteen year old Megan Smith has spent the past year working in a small town diner in the middle of nowhere. Life is quiet, simple, safe. Then comes the news that her look-a-like has gone missing.

Claire.

Still damaged both physically and mentally, Megan’s not looking to be noticed. Wherever she goes from here, it’s a road she needs to take alone. But when Nickolas Ellis takes the job as the new nightshift cook, it scares her how easily her defenses crumble down, down, down for him. But there are secrets she can’t bear to share with just anyone, unspeakable acts that continue to haunt, and when the similarities of Claire’s abduction couples with the fear of an unwanted visitor in town, the urge to run before it all happens again intensifies, threatening the only happiness Megan’s ever found.

My Review:

Note: This book is recommended for 17+ for mature and disturbing situations, language and sexual content.

Megan Smith is a workaholic. For the past 18 months since moving to a small town in the middle of nowhere she has worked the night shift every night without fail. No social life to speak of, Megan actively tries to avoid attention. Attention that might be deadly. She spends half her life checking over her shoulder and keeps her secret past close to her chest.

And then there’s Nick. The gorgeous guy who’s cooking skills belong anywhere but in a small town diner. Megan is drawn to him instantly but knows that she can’t afford to get tied to anyone. What if they find out what she’s done? Or the scars that lie underneath her long sleeves.

This is a story that has mystery, suspense, thriller moments and a lovely romance. Megan is a complicated character. I don’t want to reveal too much so I’ll just say that the nearly broken in the title refers to her. She’s been though so much and it’s heartbreaking. But she’s strong and I admired her for it. Despite all that has happened she never once stopped trying and she didn’t take the victim role even when it was assigned to her. But I also found her a little confusing at times. I thought some situations she felt a little out of character – but what is her character? I feel a little unfair for even mentioning this considering that this is a woman who was fractured and is trying to put the pieces back together. I’d be critical if I thought she was too well put together.

Through all the mystery and drama, there’s a sweet love story. One about soulmates and overcoming everything to be together. I thought it was lovely. Megan and Nick are a great fit. But Nick’s perfection was a little hard for me to take. He’s so protective and so amazing… but I sort of felt like Megan traded one cage for another. I was very interested to see that Ms. Ashley has written a companion novel to Nearly Broken which tells Megan and Nick’s story from Nick’s perspective. I think that I’ll have to check that one out just to see if it redeems Nick in my eyes.

Overall this is a tough novel. It’s one that tugs on the heartstrings and instills some fear – it’s a little eerie that Megan’s story could happen to anyone. This is not a book for the faint hearted with very disturbing content but I thought it was entirely worthwhile.

About the Author

Devon Ashley

Devon Ashley

Devon Ashley was born in Huntington Beach but has spent most of her life residing in Texas. She spends a great deal of her time taking care of her husband and son but always seems to find time to write, knit and create unique decorative pieces. She particularly likes to write Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance.

Interesting Fact: Devon Ashley shares her birthday with her favorite author, Jane Austen.

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***GIVEAWAY***
***GIVEAWAY***
2 signed paperbacks and 2 e-books (epub or mobi) of Nearly Broken, open Internationally!

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Purchase the novel from:

Amazon || Barnes and Noble || Kobo

 

 


Cover Reveal: Suit & Fangs by Marian Tee

Welcome to a cover reveal of Suit & Fangs by Marian Tee. It’s a new adult paranormal romance featuring gorgeous and seductive vampires! The cover was designed by clarisetan and I think that this is definitely a cover to lust over!

Suit & Fangs by Marian Tee

Suit & Fangs by Marian Tee


Title: Suit & Fangs
Author: Marian Tee
Publication date:  July 28th 2013
Genre: New Adult Paranormal Romance


Synopsis (goodreads):
Caros are what vampires used to be.
We are slaves to pleasure, power turns us on, and each and every one of us has a weakness to hide.

All things sparkly and beautiful are 18-year-old Caylie Sonora’s greatest source of pleasure, and no one is more irresistibly gorgeous and seductive in her eyes than the quiet and old-fashioned Luka. All the girls in school want to belong to him, craving both his body and  authority. They say that behind closed doors his coldly charming manners disappear, leaving behind a guy who’d take you so hard you’d be breathless and panting for more. But if Caylie has her way, all she’d take from him is revenge, using her body to break his heart.

The most carnal of passions is the only chink in 19-year-old Luka Georgiades’ armor, but his obsession has only always ever to do with Caylie, whose body he desires to possess, in every imaginable position. The half-human Luka may be his race’s most cunning defender, with murderously precise skills and an even deadlier mind, but even Luka is powerless against fate, which forces him to hurt the girl who’s his everything…again and again.
They are each other’s weakness, and the game of love has never been so destructive.


AUTHOR BIO:

Marian Tee

Marian Tee

Hi! I’m Marian Tee – I write sexy funny romances, emphasis on the funny because most readers tell me my books are a public hazard, often causing them to laugh out loud and get funny looks from other people.
I’m from the Philippines, half Filipino and half Chinese with a love for all things Japanese! Yes, that rhymed.  I love dancing, travelling, watching horror movies and basketball, and reading Archie comics.

Of course I love reading books, too. In fact, if I’m a little too slow in releasing a new book, it’s probably because I’m too busy being a reader and forgot all about being a writer.  Yes, I know, MY BAD!

I am a frustrated MANGAKA, hence why I write novels like Drawn and why I have a Vampire Knight fan fic posted at FanFiction.net (just search for Morteia Chronicles).

Author links:
Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

Book Review: Midnight Frost by Jennifer Estep

Midnight Frost (Mythos Academy, #5)

Title: Midnight Frost (Mythos Academy #5) 
Author: Jennifer Estep
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Contemporary, Mythology
Publisher: KTeen (an imprint of Kensington Publishing Corp.)
Publication Date: 30 July 2013
Pages: 400
Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Here we go again …

Just when it seems life at Mythos Academy can’t get any more dangerous, the Reapers of Chaos manage to prove me wrong. It was just a typical night at the Library of Antiquities — until a Reaper tried to poison me. The good news is I’m still alive and kicking. The bad news is the Reaper poisoned someone else instead.

As Nike’s Champion, everyone expects me to lead the charge against the Reapers, even though I’m still hurting over what happened with Spartan warrior Logan Quinn. I’ve got to get my hands on the antidote fast — otherwise, an innocent person will die. But the only known cure is hidden in some creepy ruins — and the Reapers are sure to be waiting for me there …

My Review:

I’ve been a huge fan of the Mythos Academy series since I first read Touch of Frost. It’s got a fantastic mix of mythological creatures, adventure and drama with just a dash of romance to keep things interesting.
Midnight Frost is the fifth book and things just keep getting more dangerous for Gwen Frost and her friends. Gwen’s part-time job at the Library of Antiquities is anything but safe when a Reaper breaks in and tries to poison her. The Reaper may have failed to kill Gwen but Head Librarian Nickamedes was not quite so lucky. With the poison running through his veins and not even the healing gift of Mythos’ own headmistress able to cure him, it’s up to Gwen and the gang to save him. Cue a mission to another campus of the Mythos Academy, this time in the snowy mountains to collect a flower only known to be grown there. Convenient right?

Okay, slightly unbelievable coincidence aside, this was a great instalment to the Mythos series. Gwen and her friends are more becoming more and more capable with every adventure. The gifts from the Gods are helping on their quest to defeat Loki and his followers but sometimes not even Nike can save them from falling into the Reapers evil traps.

Gwen is maturing and finding her feet nicely. She’s gone from the Gypsy girl who took unnecessary risks just because she could to now being a formidable fighter in her own right. And there’s that gorgeous Spartan, Logan Quinn, who may be out of sight but he’s never far from Gwen’s thoughts.

We get to see a different side to the Gypsy girl with some family secrets revealed and Nike enlightening us a little more as to just how she expects Gwen to defeat Loki in the final showdown.

In many ways, this book was slightly less exciting than previous books in the series. It starts slow with a lot of information and whatnot being imparted. But thankfully the second half was fantastic with the adventure and Gwen’s amazing ability to tame the wicked beasts. I thought some parts were rather predictable and was desperately hoping Gwen would work out just what was what before she did. That said, things came to a brilliant climax and I can’t say I was disappointed with how everything went down.

A fantastic addition to the series – I can’t wait to see what Jennifer Estep comes up with next for the Gypsy girl, her Spartan Warrior and all their fighting friends.

Thanks to Kensington Teen and Netgalley for the review copy

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon || Book Depository 

Movie Talk: Who is your OBSIDIAN dream cast?

Over the past few days there has been some big talk about the YA paranormal romance Lux series being acquired by Sierra Pictures. Obsidian, the first in the series written by Jennifer L Armentrout, tells the story of Katy, a teenager who moves to the middle of nowhere only to get sucked into the world of aliens. Add to that a very hot young alien by the name of Daemon, his twin sister Dee and a whole bunch of other supernatural beings… oh… it’s very exciting! 😛 I know so many people who adore these book and will no doubt be excited by the news.

Obsidian

Check out Jennifer’s blog post about her series being optioned for a movie!!  (be warned – it’s full of so many fangirlyly awesome gifs and excitement!)

 

And it got me thinking.

We all have dream casts for books that we’ve loved and I was wondering: What is your dream cast for Obsidian?

Before things get into production and you’re influenced by who is actually cast (if it gets that far… fingers crossed!) who is your ideal Katy and Daemon?!

Feel free to let me know!

Onyx (Lux, #2)Opal (Lux, #3)Origin (Lux, #4)

And if you’ve not heard of this series before – be sure to check out my reviews of Obsidian, Onyx and Opal!