A Book & A Bite

A Book & A Bite: Harry Potter & Weasley Family Inspired Ginger Molasses Cookies

Weasley Ginger Molasses Cookies

Happy Monday, puffs! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. Mine went by entirely too fast. Why is it that weeks go by so dang slow but you blink your eyes then *POOF* it is already Monday again!?

So I don’t know about y’all but I have been getting into the fall mood lately. The weather is starting to cool down and the sweaters are slowly being pulled out again. Whenever the weather gets cool my favorite thing to do is read (or watch!) the Harry Potter series. It is just so cozy and feels right to read during the cooler months.

As I was sitting drinking my morning coffee this weekend, I got to thinking about my favorite HP characters and what kind of baked goods would represent their personalities the best. Yeah, I know, I am a weirdo…but HEY! This is just what it is like in my head. So naturally, when thinking of the Weasley clan I immediately went to ginger. Yes, because their red hair is so distinctive but they all have a bit of spice in them. They aren’t afraid to back down and stand up for what they believe in (unless it is spiders, then in that case “you tell those spiders, Ron!”) no matter what danger they are faced with. But I also thought of The Burrow and the cozy warm feelings it brings, filled with memories. With all of that being said, I think these slightly spicy but comforting chewy ginger molasses cookies are a perfect representation of the Weasley Family. I highly recommend having these with a warm cup of apple cider, complete and total fall bliss!

Red hair… and a hand-me-down robe… you must be a Weasley.

-Draco Malfoy

Weasley Family Chewy Ginger Molasses Cookies

Yeilds: About 30 Cookies

You will need:

  • 3/4 Cup of Butter
  • 1 Cup Brown Sugar (packed)
  • 1/4 Cup Molasses
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 1/2 Teaspoon (pinch) Salt
  • 2 1/4 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 2 Teaspoons Baking Sode
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Nutmeg
  • 1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Ginger
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Clove
  • 1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar (coarse if you can find it) (set aside for rolling)

Instructions:

In a large bowl beat together 3/4 cup of butter and 1 cup of brown sugar until smooth (about 1 to 2 minutes)

Add 1 egg and 1/4 cup molasses to the large bowl. Mix until fully incorporated.

Add all dry ingredients into bowl and fold into wet mixture. Make sure everything is incorporated well but be sure not to over mix or the cookies will be tough and not chewy.

Cover the bowl and chill in fridge for about 2-3 hours. Be sure to properly chill dough or cookies will be greasy and flat!

After the dough has chilled, preheat your oven to 350 degrees (Fahrenheit) and line baking sheet with parchment paper.

Add 1/2 cup granulated sugar to a bowl.

Shape dough using your hands into walnut sized balls and place into bowl of sugar. Roll the balls of dough in the sugar until they are completely coated, then place on lined baking sheet with about 2 inches of space in between.

Bake at 350 for about 8 to 9 minutes. Once you see the tops of the cookies to crack, they are ready to go and make sure to pull them out immediately!

Sprinkle with more granulated sugar to add some extra sparkle/magic! Or if you don’t have a big sweet tooth like me, you can skip this step!

Let cool and enjoy!

Always,

Alicia

Book Tours

Blog Tour: The Year I Left by Christine Brae

Title: The Year I Left
Author: Christine Brae
Published by: Vesuvian Books
Publication date: August 20th 2019
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance,Women’s Fiction

Synopsis:

“A thousand half loves must be forsaken to take one whole heart home.”

Carin Frost doesn’t understand what’s happening to her. A confident businesswoman, wife, and mother,

she begins to resent everything about her life. Nothing makes sense. Nothing makes her feel. Maybe it’s the recent loss of her mother in a tragic accident. Or maybe she’s just losing her mind.

Enter Matias Torres. As their new business partnership thrives, so does their friendship—and his interest in her. Carin is determined to keep her distance, until a work assignment sends them to Southeast Asia where a storm is brewing on the island. In the midst of the chaos, Matias asks her to do something unimaginable, exhilarating, BOLD. Carin knows the consequences could be dire, but it may be the only way to save herself.

An honest look at love and marriage and the frailties of the human heart, this is a story of a woman’s loss of self and purpose and the journey she takes to find her way back.

Purchase:
Amazon: https://books2read.com/u/b5QQWG?store=amazon
B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-year-i-left-christine-brae/1132544543
iBooks: https://books.apple.com/ca/book/the-year-i-left/id1473496140?mt=11&ign-mpt=uo%3D4
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/the-year-i-left

Goodreads

My Thoughts:

This book is by no means an easy read as it is intense with emotion. However, it is truly captivating. A beautifully written story that everyone who has experienced loss can relate to. This book really speaks to the soul and I highly recommend picking it up!

About The Author:

Christine Brae is a senior executive with a full time career, who thought she could write a book about her life and then run away as far as possible from it. She never imagined that her words would touch the hearts of so many women with the same story to tell. Christine has written six books since her first release in 2013. She is the author of The Light in the Wound and His Wounded Light (2013), Insipid (2014), In This Life (2016) and Eight Goodbyes (2018).

Her latest book, The Year I Left is scheduled for release in August, 2019.

When not listening to the voices in her head or spending late nights at the office, Christine can be seen shopping for shoes and purses, running a half marathon or spending time with her husband and three children in Chicago.

Christine is represented by Italia Gandolfo of Gandolfo Helin & Fountain Literary Management.

Author Links:

https://www.christinebrae.com/

So, do you think you will be picking this one up? Let me know in the comments below, I can’t wait to chat!

Always,

Alicia

Book Hauls

A Very Cozy Weekend Book Haul

Cozy Mystery Book Haul

Happy Monday, puffs! Did you have a great weekend? I had a surprisingly busy weekend but it was a lot of fun. On Saturday morning I met up with my good friend Julie (who is also a bookstagrammer/blogger) for coffee, donuts, and bargain book shopping. My favorite places in town to buy used books is my neighborhood goodwill and Sullivan’s Trade-A-Book. It is exactly what it sounds like, a lovely place where you can bring in your used books and get credit (or just straight up swap out!) for more books! When you walk in you are greeted with mountains and rows filled with stacks of books (which are very well organized) so basically it is a bibliophile’s dream! I wanted to load up on some cozies for the up coming fall seasons which you can see in the pile. The only book I didn’t purchase at Sullivan’s was The Enlightenment of Bees which was actually sent to me for a blog tour I will be doing coming up, I can’t wait to read it and will have more details to share soon! Here is a full list of what I picked up:

Have you read any of the books in my haul? If so please leave a comment below, I would love to hear your thoughts!

Always,

Alicia

A Book & A Bite

A Book & A Bite: Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder and Chocolate Chip Crunch Cookies

Happy Monday! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend and are about to have a lovely start to your week. Today I wanted to share with you all the first post of a new series I am starting here on the blog called “A Book & A Bite”, where I share a book with a recipe. Some of you may or may not know but I actually graduated from The International Culinary Center in New York City. While I do not actively work in that industry anymore (now I am just a desk nerd), you can often find me in my kitchen at home baking and cooking my butt off! So I thought I would tie my two loves together. If you have any suggestions please leave them in the comments below!

Today’s book is Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder by Joanne Fluke and the bite is Chocolate Chip Crunch Cookies which are an actual recipe listed IN THE BOOK!

Chocolate Chip Crunch Cookies

You will need:

  • 1 Cup Butter (2 sticks melted)
  • 1 Cup White Sugar
  • 1 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 2 Teaspoons Baking Soda
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 2 Teaspoons Vanilla
  • 2 Beaten Eggs (you can just beat them with a fork)
  • 2 1/2 Cups Flour (not sifted)
  • 2 Cups Crushed Corn Flakes (you can just crush them with your hands)
  • 1 to 2 Cups Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven to 375° F and put your oven rack in the middle position.

Melt butter, add the sugars and stir. Add soda, salt, vanilla, and beaten eggs. Mix well. Then add flour and stir it in. Add crushed corn flakes and chocolate chips and mix it all thoroughly.

Form dough into walnut-sized balls with your fingers and place on a greased cookie sheet, 12 to a standard sheet. Press them down slightly with a floured or greased spatula.

Bake at 375 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes. Cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes, then move to a wire rack until they are completely cool. (The rack is important- it makes them crisp)

If these cookies spread out too much in the oven, reduce temp. to 350° F and do not flatten before baking.

Y’all, these cookies are so good! Especially with a cup of coffee, they are perfectly crispy for dipping in. If you decide to try this recipe out please share it with me!

Always,

Alicia

Book Reviews

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Mass Book Review

My Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars  Genre: YA Fantasy  Pages: 406  Publication Date: 8/7/12

“You could rattle the stars,” she whispered. “You could do anything, if only you dared. And deep down, you know it, too. That’s what scares you most.”

After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.

Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king’s council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for four years and then be granted her freedom. Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilarating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her … but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead … quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

Okay, so let me start this review off by saying I know I am so incredibly late to this game. But in my defense I have heard so many mixed reviews about this series that I just kept putting it off. I can see now why there were so many mixed reviews…

Sarah J. Mass always does such a wonderful job at painting a picture and building a world rich with magical lore. Which is really the only thing about this book that I enjoyed. I found Celaena to be incredibly whiny considering she is suppose to be one of the best assassins in this world. I was hoping that she would develop as character as the story went on but she only had a change in tune for the sake of a BOY! Gross! Also we witness yet another love triangle…not my favorite trope.

Considering Celaena’s insane talent/power she seems to be so one dimensional. There was paragraph after paragraph describing what dress she was wearing or how someones hair looked but I would have much rather read less fluff and more about this beautiful world these characters are living in! However, I think I will continue to read this series if only to learn more about the history but something tells me I will DNF this series…I am not sure.

Have you read this series? Should I continue? Please let me know in the comments below! I really would love to hear some different perspectives because I truly do want to like these books. I simply adored ACOTR so I am hoping as the books go on I will fall in love with this series as well.

Always,

Alicia

Bookish Travel Guides

The Best Bookish Spots in Charleston, SC

Happy Monday, my fellow bookworms! Today I am so happy to be partnering with BookSparks to take you on a journey through my hometown of Charleston, South Carolina for the #ReadAroundTown challenge featuring The Printed Letter Bookshop By Katherine Reay which they so kindly sent to me. Here is a little synopsis of the book:

” Love, friendship, and family find a home at the Printed Letter Bookshop.

One of Madeline Cullen’s happiest childhood memories is working with her Aunt Maddie in the quaint and cozy Printed Letter Bookshop. But by the time Madeline inherits the shop nearly twenty years later, family troubles and her own bitter losses have hardened Madeline’s heart toward her once-treasured aunt — and the now struggling bookshop left in her care.

While Madeline intends to sell the shop as quickly as possible, the Printed Letter’s two employees have other ideas. Reeling from a recent divorce, Janet finds sanctuary within the books and within the decadent window displays she creates. Claire, though quieter than the acerbic Janet, feels equally drawn to the daily rhythms of the shop and its loyal clientele, finding a renewed purpose within its walls. When Madeline’s professional life takes an unexpected turn —and a handsome gardener upends all her preconceived notions – she questions her plans and her heart, and begins to envision a new path for herself and for her aunt’s beloved shop. Yet, even working together, these three women may find their best efforts too little and too late.

The Printed Letter Bookshop is an engaging story of good books, a testament to the beauty of new beginnings and a sweet reminder of the power of friendship.

I am SO excited to read this book and it has promptly been added to my TBR list for this month. Who doesn’t love a good romance novel for summer? Perfect for bringing on vacation or just to your favorite reading spots around town! Speaking of…let’s chat about a few of mine and jump right into The Best Bookish Spots in Charleston, South Carolina!

1. Blue Bicycle Books

How could I feature this book and not show off my favorite bookshop in town! I am sure many of you are familiar with this store as they host Y’all Fest every year (which is SO much fun and you know I am going to be there this year) but that is not what makes this place so truly special. Though the store is not super large there are many reading nooks throughout the store with rooms/areas for specific genres. If you are traveling with children they will LOVE the children’s book room which features a little tent perfect for them to curl up in and read a book while you peruse the expansive selection of both used and new books. The staff is always very welcoming and helpful if you are stumped on what to pick up next. Blue Bicycle Books is also located right in the heart of the beautiful Historic Downtown Charleston and just steps away from several other local gems including our next stop…

2. Jeni’s Ice Cream

Just a 5 minute walk down the street from Blue Bicycle Books is my favorite place to grab a sweet treat in Charleston…Jeni’s! This place truly has something for everyone with flavors ranging from Honey Vanilla Bean to Fluffernutter Pie and they are constantly featuring seasonal treats as well that are so uniquely delicious. Also vegan/lactose-intolerant bookworms do not fear…they always have incredible dairy free options as well! I am seriously drooling as I think about their freshly made waffle cones and their gooey delicious butterscotch topping. Can you think of anything better than reading a book while having a scoop of pure sugary heaven? I sure can’t!

3. Rainbow Row

Did you really visit Charleston, SC if you didn’t snap some photos in front of Rainbow Row? Rainbow Row is a block of totally adorable sherbet colored homes located on the Charleston Battery. While this is a very popular tourist hot spot it does make for a very lovely reading spot as well. There are several benches located on the sidewalk where you can read a book, people watch, and take in the absolute beauty of all the historic homes while soaking in the sunshine and ocean breeze. Plus, you can take some really poppin’ #Bookstagram pictures. Total win/win!

4. The Battery

Once you have sat down for a bit at Rainbow Row and you feel the need to burn off some calories from stuffing your face with sweet glorious Jeni’s ice cream I highly suggest taking a walk along The Battery. On one side you will have amazing views of the Charleston Harbor and on the other you will see some of the most impressively ornate and historic homes that Charleston has to offer. I love exploring all of the side alleys & hidden gardens surrounding the homes. While there are not too many benches or reading spots on the promenade there is White Pointe Garden located right in the center of it that boasts plenty ancient oak trees with benches that are perfect for reading on. The Battery and White Pointe Garden is just rich in history and is quintessential to any Charleston, South Carolina visit.

4. Mercantile and Mash

So I may or may not have a serious caffeine problem but this place is my favorite spot to refuel while I read a book or work on my computer. Mercantile & Mash is located in a historic cigar factory turned modern living spaces and shops. The setting is totally unique but also their iced dirty chai lattes give me life!

5. The Beach

I feel like this is a given but it just has to be mentioned! Charleston is a coastal town so surrounding the historic downtown peninsula are several beaches and islands. My personal favorite is Sullivan’s Island. Edgar Allen Poe actually spent a lot of time there and even named one of his short stories after the island that the Sullivan’s Island Bridge is partially located on which is named Gold Bug. After soaking up the sun and reading on the beach you can grab lunch at Poe’s Tavern which, you guessed it, is Edgar Allen Poe themed and just two blocks from the beach! Poe’s is easily one of my favorite restaurants in town, their woodfire grilled burgers are so good and have amazing names like Tell-Tale Heart. I think Edgar would approve of their impressive craft beer list and the comfortable laid-back atmosphere.

Well that sums up my favorite reading spots in town. It was so hard to pick just the 5 as I didn’t want this post to be the length of a novel which it easily could be because Charleston is such a wonderful place to live and visit! If you plan on visiting and have any questions, or if you have visited in the past and have some suggestions of your own, please leave a comment below…I would love to chat!

Always,

Alicia