Monday, September 22, 2014

The Summer I Became a Nerd by Leah Rae Miller

The Summer I Became a Nerd
By Leah Rae Miller

Series: Standalone
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Entangled Teen

Goodreads Summary:

On the outside, seventeen-year-old Madelyne Summers looks like your typical blond cheerleader – perky, popular, and dating the star quarterback. But inside, Maddie spends more time agonizing over what will happen in the next issue of her favorite comic book than planning pep rallies with her squad. That she’s a nerd hiding in a popular girl’s body isn’t just unknown, it’s anti-known. And she needs to keep it that way.

Summer is the only time Maddie lets her real self out to play, but when she slips up and the adorkable guy behind the local comic shop’s counter uncovers her secret, she’s busted. Before she can shake a pom-pom, Maddie’s whisked into Logan’s world of comic conventions, live-action role-playing, and first-person-shooter video games. And she loves it. But the more she denies who she really is, the deeper her lies become…and the more she risks losing Logan forever.

Links:

The Summer I Became a Nerd on Goodreads, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble
Leah Rae Miller’s Website

My Thoughts:
The Summer I Became a Nerd is a sweet read about a girl trying to find her place in life. It also made me wish I were a nerd. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a nerd alright but I never really got into comics, video games, or cosplay. Oh the things I missed out on! Especially the cute nerdy guys like Logan…

Hhmm, at what age does it become unacceptable to pine after a fictional YA character? Because I swear I don’t have cougar tendencies in real life, haha. How about I put it this way…the 16 year old me is nerd crushing on Logan. I’m also very excited that The Summer I Became a Nerd will have a sequel! Yay! I will surely be keeping an eye out for Romancing the Nerd to release so I can nerd crush on Dan too! Um….I mean so I can enjoy another great book by Leah Rae Miller :-P

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5

Friday, September 19, 2014

Friday Foodie Affair: Crock Pot Cream Cheese Chicken




Crock Pot Cream Cheese Chicken


Ingredients:

3 lbs chicken pieces
1 (2/3 ounce) package Italian salad dressing mix
4 tablespoons melted butter (divided)
1 small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 (10 ½ ounce) can cream of chicken soup
8 ounces cream cheese
½ cup chicken broth

Directions:

Place chicken pieces in crock pot and sprinkle Italian seasoning over chicken. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons melted butter.

Cook on low for 4-6 hours.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in saucepan and sauté onion and garlic. Add Cream of Chicken Soup, cream cheese, and chicken broth. Stir until smooth.

Add this mixture to crock pot and cook on low for an additional hour.

My Thoughts:

I don’t think I had ever sautéed onions and garlic before making this recipe.  Can you believe that? I guess I’m an onion late bloomer.  And because I’m a late bloomer I also decided to use a lot less than the recipe calls for.

Aside from the amount of onion, I think I only made one other alteration to the recipe. I was reading some of the reviews and a couple people suggested cooking it on high for a shorter amount of time. I’m all for shorter cooking times so I set the crock pot to high for 3.5 hours. The time and temperature changes worked out nicely.  

The chicken was moist and the cream cheese mixture was delicious! I cooked up some pasta to go with it and the two together were damn good.  The leftovers also get a thumbs up.  I may try it over boiled potatoes next time but you better believe I’ll be making it again!

Recipe Source: www.food.com

Photo Source: Me :)

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A Late Thaw by Ana Blaze

A Late Thaw
By Ana Blaze

Series: Stand-alone
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance

Goodreads Summary:

Barrett, Vermont, home to nearly as many goats as people. It’s the perfect picturesque spot to stop for cocoa after a ski trip or to buy your Christmas tree from a hunky farmer wearing snug jeans and a pair of well-worn boots. Kiley St. Claire isn’t there for either. She’s come home for one reason and one reason only: make enough money waiting tables at the local tourist trap to survive her final semester of graduate school. Of course she is going to have to see that Christmas tree farmer eventually. That’s fine; Kiley isn’t the same nerdy little girl he palled around with. Nope, she’s done crushing on Cole Thomas. Totally done.

Cole thought he was ready, but seeing Kiley again is a punch to the gut. She rejected him and ran away without explanation. He still couldn’t imagine a future with another woman. Now at least he’ll have a chance to say what he’s needed to say for years and then, just maybe, he’ll be ready to move on. He only wishes she didn’t look so damn good in her uniform.

Links:

A Late Thaw on Goodreads, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble
Ana Blaze’s Website
My review of The Best Man by Ana Blaze

My Thoughts:

Since I enjoyed The Best Man so much I looked around to see what else Ana Blaze had written. I found a novella, A Late Thaw, for .99 on Amazon. Only $1 for a short, quick read? Where do I sign up? I ended up reading it right after The Best Man.

Unfortunately, this one didn’t impress me as much. Maybe the length was to blame, I don’t know, but it just felt under developed. The ‘sexy times’ weren’t as captivating and I didn’t fall for the characters. The ending also felt rushed.

Overall Rating: 3 out of 5

Friday, September 12, 2014

Friday Foodie Affair: Crockpot Mac & Cheese



This Friday Foodie Affiair is a twofer…two recipes in one. First will be Crockpot Mac & Cheese and second will be the Stewed Tomatoes I made to go with it.

Crockpot Mac & Cheese



Ingredients:

16 ounces cooked macaroni
16 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, cubed
16 ounces Colby cheese, Cubed
16 ounces Velveeta, Cubed
1 stick of butter, cut into slices
16 ounces milk
salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

Spray crockpot lightly with cooking spray. Layer 1/3 of the macaroni in the bottom. Layer half of cheese, butter, salt, & pepper. Repeat, ending with last 1/3 of macaroni on top. Pour milk over mixture.

Cook on low for about 4 hours and stir about mid-way.

My Thoughts:

The prep work went off without a hitch…cut cheese, cut more cheese, cut butter, cut more cheese. Seriously, there’s a ridiculous amount of cheese in this! It’s insane! Anyway, I successfully cooked, cubed, and layered everything and then set it to do its own thing.

At about 2.5-3 hours I couldn’t take it anymore, I had to try it. Unfortunately, it was like Pringles, once you pop you just can’t stop. I would make up reasons to go to the kitchen just so I could sneak a bite.  It was delish and kept getting better and better as it cooked.  I think at 3.5 hours I gave up and just ate a bowl.

I was good but if I make it again there will have to be some changes. For one, it’s a huge amount of mac and cheese for just two people. That normally wouldn’t be a problem because leftover mac n cheese is amazeballs…usually. That wasn’t quite the case this time.  It wasn’t bad but the leftovers definitely didn’t wow me like it did the first time around.

Next time (if there is a next time) I will use less cheese and butter…and there’s a good chance I’ll switch to bags of shredded cheese instead of taking the time to cube it.

Recipe Source: shortstopblog.com
Photo Source: Me :)


Stewed Tomatoes
 (with my trusty smilie spoon :))

Ingredients:

12 tomatoes
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon salt
Pepper
1 teaspoon sugar; 2 if more sweetness is preferred
1 tablespoon cornflour dissolved in a little cold water for thickening (optional)

Directions:

1. Pour boiling water over the tomatoes to remove the skins. Alternatively, you can blanch the tomatoes: Boil enough water to cover your tomatoes. Place tomatoes in the boiling water for about 30 seconds, then transfer them to a bowl of ice water. When the tomatoes are cool enough to touch, remove the skins.

2. Cut the tomatoes into pieces. Add the butter, salt, pepper, and sugar.

3. Cook slowly over low heat (stew) for half an hour.

4. Thicken if desired with cornstarch

My Thoughts:

Growing up my Grandma used to make awesome stewed tomatoes. There were sweet and well... perfect. How she did it, I’m not sure BUT I wanted to at least try my hand at it. This version turned out ok but certainly not like I remember growing up. I think next time I’ll try to make it a little sweeter or try a whole new recipe.

Recipe Source: Wikihow
Photo Source: Me :)


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Best Man by Ana Blaze

The Best Man
By Ana Blaze

Series: Stand alone
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance

Goodreads Summary:

Beth Chase is too busy planning perfect weddings to worry about the lack of action in her own life. But if she was looking for a man, she wouldn’t be looking at Colin Pratt. Her boss swears that Best Man Colin is a quiet scholar and science fiction writer who couldn’t possible cause a fuss at his own brother’s wedding. He’s clearly never met the man in question.

Snarky, sexy, and more than a little inebriated, Colin is the final obstacle between Beth and the last perfect wedding she needs in order to make partner. Of course, when she helps him into a taxi at the end of the night, she has no idea that he’s only just begun to poke holes in her professional exterior. Colin might have the skills to seduce a romance professional, but can he convince her that he’s the best man to share her happy ever after?

Links:

The Best Man on Goodreads, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble
Ana Blaze’s Website

My Thoughts:

Have you ever read a book and instantly, after finishing, gone in search for others the author has written? Yeah, that. This book wasn’t perfect but it did make for a great Saturday afternoon read.

If you’re looking for a short, feel good book with fiery chemistry then maybe give this one a whirl.
 
Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Thursday, September 4, 2014

September Releases


Yet another month with some fabulous releases!
Which are you looking forward to?

September 2


Shattered (Scorched #2) by Mari Mancusi


Trial by Fire (The Worldwalker Trilogy #1) by Josephine Angelini


September 16

Made for You by Melissa Marr


The Perilous Sea (The Elemental Trilogy #2) by Sherry Thomas


The Vault of Dreamers by Caragh M. O’Brien


September 23


In a Handful of Dust (Not a Drop to Drink Companion) by Mindy McGinnis


Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld


Messenger of Fear (Messenger of Fear #1) by Michael Grant


September 30

Invisible (Twixt #2) by Dawn Metcalf
Have you seen my fan art of this cover?! Check it out here


Company Town by Madeline Ashby


Sacrifice (Elemental #5) by Brigid Kemmerer
This is one of the few series I’m up to date on. That should tell you something, lol.


The Queen of Zombie Hearts (White Rabbit Chronicles #3) by Gena Showalter



Below are some additional authors who have new releases in September but to save some time I’m just going to list them.

In no certain order…

Sarah J. Maas, Molly Harper, Robison Wells, Lisa Kessler, Amy Ewing, Carey Corp, Rachel M. Wilson, Kendall Kulper, Amy Zhang, Anna Carey, Rachel Harris, Kat Spears, Lisa Amowitz, Joanna Wylde,  Romily Bernard, Andrea Portes, Gretchen McNeil, Elizabeth Holloway, Janice Gable Bashman, Jessica Verday, Rick Yancey, Michelle Knudsen, Kass Morgan, William Ritter, Lisa Kleypas, Christine Feehan, Keri Arthur, Kay Hooper, J.Kenner, Kay Thomas, Alice Clayton, Patricia Briggs, Seanan McGuire, Donna Grant, Larissa Ione, Kieran Scott, Rachel Vincent, Jill Shalvis, Yasmine Galenom, Jessica Sorensen, Kathy Reichs, Elliott James, J.Lynn, Lindsay Cummings, Jenny Han, Richard Castle, Barry Lyga, J.D. Robb, Harlan Coben, Paula Weston, Lorelei James, Kim Harrison, Christina Dodd, Orson Scott Cars,