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 Hauls

Barnes & Noble #BookHaul Blow-Out Sale Haul

Barnes and Noble Book Sale

Happy Monday, my fellow bookworms! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. I caught up on some much needed R&R, this summer heat is just sucking the dang life out of me. I can’t wait for that colder weather! But other than getting some much needed rest I did pop over to my local Barnes & Noble for their epic #BookHaul Blow-Out Sale. If you haven’t heard the news yet the sale entailed a ton of amazing books being on sale for 50% OFF! So of course, I just had to go. I picked up way more than I had anticipated but who was I trying to fool? If you say “Book Sale”, you know I am going to be there making my wallet cry hahah! So here are the details on everything I picked up this past weekend!

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Goodreads Community Rating: 3.95 Stars Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance

Synopsis:

Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval—the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show—are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt-of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic.

So…I am fully aware I am late to the game on this one. I have kept telling myself “I am going to read this next” but other books keep getting in the way. Next month I AM READING IT! I promise!

The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

Goodreads Community Rating: 3.94 Stars Genre: Mystery, Fiction, Thriller

Synopsis:

Tonight, Evelyn Hardcastle will be killed… again.

It is meant to be a celebration but it ends in tragedy. As fireworks explode overhead, Evelyn Hardcastle, the young and beautiful daughter of the house, is killed.

But Evelyn will not die just once. Until Aiden – one of the guests summoned to Blackheath for the party – can solve her murder, the day will repeat itself, over and over again. Every time ending with the fateful pistol shot. 

The only way to break this cycle is to identify the killer. But each time the day begins again, Aiden wakes in the body of a different guest. And someone is determined to prevent him ever escaping Blackheath…

So this is one of those books that I have been seeing everywhere and I am going to say “Bookstagram made me buy it” and that is just a fact. The cover is super intriguing but also the synopsis just sounds amazing. I just love a good murder mystery!

Skyward by Brandon Sanderson

Goodreads Community Rating: 4.55 Stars Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction

Synopsis:

Spensa’s world has been under attack for decades. Now pilots are the heroes of what’s left of the human race, and becoming one has always been Spensa’s dream. Since she was a little girl, she has imagined soaring skyward and proving her bravery. But her fate is intertwined with that of her father’s—a pilot himself who was killed years ago when he abruptly deserted his team, leaving Spensa the daughter of a coward, her chances of attending Flight School slim to none.

No one will let Spensa forget what her father did, yet fate works in mysterious ways. Flight school might be a long shot, but she is determined to fly. And an accidental discovery in a long-forgotten cavern might just provide her with a way to claim the stars.

I have been meaning to snag this book for quite some time as Brandon Sanderson is one of my favorite authors. He is able to create these highly immersive unique worlds that you just can’t get enough of. I have a feeling this book is going to be no different than his others as I have heard nothing but good things. I can’t wait to dive into this one!

The Witch’s Kind by Louisa Morgan

Goodreads Community Rating: 3.92 Stars Genre: Paranormal, Historical Fiction, Fantasy

Synopsis:

Barrie Anne Blythe and her aunt Charlotte have always known that the other residents of their small coastal community find them peculiar — two women living alone on the outskirts of town. It is the price of concealing their strange and dangerous family secret.

But two events threaten to upend their lives forever. The first is the arrival of a mysterious abandoned baby with a hint of power like their own. The second is the sudden reappearance of Barrie Anne’s long-lost husband — who is not quite the man she thought she married.

Together, Barrie Anne and Charlotte must decide how far they are willing to go to protect themselves — and the child they think of as their own — from suspicious neighbors, the government, and even their own family…

Can you tell I am so ready for fall with this pick? I just love a moody dark witchy read. The description reminded me ALOT of The Wicked Deep meets Practical Magic which is like…MY JAM! Okay…now I need a PSL and to watch some Halloween movies ASAP!

The Chef by James Patterson

Goodreads Community Rating: 3.58 Stars Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Fiction

Synopsis:

In the Carnival days leading up Mardi Gras, Detective Caleb Rooney comes under investigation for a murder he is accused of committing in the line of duty–as a Major Crimes detective for the New Orleans Police Department. Has his sideline at the Killer Chef food truck given him a taste for murder?

While fighting the charges against him, Rooney makes a pair of unthinkable discoveries. His beloved city is under threat of attack. And these would-be terrorists may be local. 

As crowds of revelers gather, Rooney follows a fearsome trail of clues, racing from outlying districts into city center. He has no idea what-or who-he’ll face in defense of his beloved hometown, only that innocent lives are at stake. 

So I brought my mom along with me to the sale as she is also a big lover of books, her and my grandmother are the reason I am such a big bookworm, and I told her to go ahead and pick out a book that she would also enjoy reading so she could borrow it after she is done with her current read. This was her choice! She loves James Patterson (who doesn’t?) and we both agreed this one seemed so interesting!

Chocolate Creampie Murder by Joanne Fluke

Goodreads Community Rating: 3.59 Stars Genre: Cozy Mystery, Fiction

Synopsis:

When The Cookie Jar becomes the setting of a star-studded TV special about movies filmed in Minnesota, Hannah hopes to shine the spotlight on her bakery—not the unsavory scandal swirling around her personal life. But that’s practically impossible with a disturbing visit from the shifty character she once believed was her one and only love, a group of bodyguards following her every move, and a murder victim in her bedroom. Now, swapping the crime scene in her condo for her mother Delores’s penthouse, Hannah and an old flame team up to solve a case that’s messier than an upended chocolate cream pie. As suspects emerge and secrets hit close to home, Hannah must serve a hefty helping of justice to an unnamed killer prowling around Lake Eden . . . before someone takes a slice out of her!

Okay, so I am only on book #2 of this series (and this is #24!!!) but I just LOVE it so far. I can tell I won’t be able to get enough and when I had to opportunity to buy another book in this series I just had to! Plus it is an exclusive edition that is SIGNED BY THE AUTHOR show how could I pass this up!? I just had to snag it!

And that concludes my book haul! See anything you have read or want to read? Let me know in the comments below. I can’t wait to chat!

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

Book Reviews

Queen of Ruin by Tracy Banghart ARC Review

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars Genre: YA Fantasy Pages: 336 Publication Date: 7/2/19

A fierce sequel full of sisterhood, heart pounding action, betrayal, and intrigue in the royal court in a series that “breathes new life into the feminist story of oppression and resistance” (Publisher’s Weekly).

Banished by Asa at the end of Grace and Fury, Nomi and Malachi find themselves powerless and headed towards their all-but-certain deaths. Now that Asa sits on the throne, he will stop at nothing to make sure Malachi never sets foot in the palace again. Their only hope is to find Nomi’s sister, Serina, on the prison island of Mount Ruin. But when Nomi and Malachi arrive, it is not the island of conquered, broken women that they expected. It is an island in the grip of revolution, and Serina–polite, submissive Serina–is its leader.

Betrayal, grief, and violence have changed both sisters, and the women of Mount Ruin have their sights set on revenge beyond the confines of their island prison. They plan to sweep across the entire kingdom, issuing in a new age of freedom for all. But first they’ll have to get rid of Asa, and only Nomi knows how.

Separated once again, this time by choice, Nomi and Serina must forge their own paths as they aim to tear down the world they know, and build something better in its place.

Be still my feminist heart!!! When I first picked up Grace and Fury last year I honestly did not know too much about it but the moment I started reading it sucked me right in! Tracy Banghart has done it again in this absolutely stunning sequel. It is just as satisfying as it is empowering.

Set in a lush yet harsh world, the characters are being pushed even further to help rise above their roles of submission in a patriarchal society to help make the necessary decisions for a better future for their kingdom. The women in this book are so strong and complex that you can’t help but to fall in love with them. Also holy character development! I can’t help but be proud of who the characters have become. This book is filled with twists and turns while painting a beautiful picture of true sisterhood. While it is bittersweet that this is the end for this series, the ending is extremely satisfying and will leave you with a sense of hope! I highly recommend everyone pick up a copy of this book…it is an ABSOLUTE MUST!

Book Reviews

The Evil Queen by Gena Showalter ARC Review

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who will perish when I call?

My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars Genre: YA Fantasy Pages: 544 Publication Date: 6/25/19

In this tale of vengeance and woe, foe may be friend and friend may be foe.

WELCOME TO THE FOREST OF GOOD AND EVIL.

A DREAM COME TRUE…AND A LIVING NIGHTMARE.

Far, far away, in the realm of Enchantia, creatures of legend still exist, magic is the norm and fairy tales are real. Except, fairy tales aren’t based on myths and legends of the past—they are prophecies of the future.

Raised in the mortal realm, Everly Morrow has no idea she’s a real-life fairy-tale princess—until she manifests an ability to commune with mirrors.

Look. See… What will one peek hurt?

Soon, a horrifying truth is revealed. She is fated to be Snow White’s greatest enemy, the Evil Queen.

With powers beyond her imagination or control, Everly returns to the land of her birth. There, she meets Roth Charmaine, the supposed Prince Charming. Their attraction is undeniable, but their relationship is doomed. As the prophecy unfolds, Everly faces one betrayal after another, and giving in to her dark side proves more tempting every day. Can she resist, or will she become the queen—and villain—she was born to be?

The battle between good and evil is on.

When I found out that Gena Showalter was coming out with a snow white retelling and that it would be a series I did the happiest of dances. Then when I received an ARC from Inkyard Press in the mail I actually cried happy tears. I love Gena Showalter and I LOVE a good retelling. This book absolutely did not disappoint!

Gena Showalter has this amazing gift of being able to create highly immersive and enchanting (see what I did there?) worlds. With every page you want to learn more and more about the world that she is building being hopelessly entranced by this insanely unique and visual setting.

The characters in this story are so multi-faceted and often fall into a “gray” moral area, which is SO REFRESHING! There is no clear definition on who is bad or good which makes them totally relatable. You very quickly become invested in these characters and their storylines.

I would like to note that while this is a retelling it is by no means your typical fairy tale. It is a dark story with unpredictable twists and turns that explores the meaning of what is right and what is wrong as well as passion, destiny, romance, family dynamics, and self discovery. I can’t wait to see more of this world and see where the story continues to take us.

If you enjoyed Gena’s White Rabbit Chronicles then this book is an absolute MUST! I devoured that series and it was so satisfying to read this story as the writing was very similar to those. Even if you are new to Gena Showalter I still highly recommend picking this one up as it is one of the most entertaining books I have read so far this year!

Are you a fan of Gena or retellings? Let me know in the comments below. Can’t wait to chat with you!

Always,

Alicia

Book Hauls

Asheville Book Haul

Good Morning, my fellow bookworms! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend and a happy Fathers Day! I apologize for being M.I.A on the blog for the last week or so. I was actually taking some much needed time off and decided to unplug for a little bit. My boyfriend and I went up to Asheville, North Carolina for a couple of days for my 27th birthday. We ate, drank, and got to go to some VERY awesome places but I will be doing a full trip re-cap in my upcoming bookish travel guide blog post coming soon!

However, I did want to share my full list of books that I picked up during our travels.

Asheville Book Haul

Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder by Joanne Fluke

Goodreads rating: 3.71 Stars

Description: Take one amateur sleuth. Mix in some eccentric Minnesota locals. Add a generous dollop of crackling suspense, and you’ve got the recipe for this delicious new mystery series featuring Hannah Swensen, the red-haired, cookie-baking heroine whose gingersnaps are almost as tart as her mouth and whose penchant for solving crime is definitely stirring things up.

Hannah already has her hands full trying to dodge her mother’s attempts to marry her off while running The Cookie Jar, Lake Eden’s most popular bakery. But once Ron LaSalle, the beloved delivery man from the Cozy Cow Dairy, is found murdered behind her bakery with Hannah’s famous Chocolate Chip Crunchies scattered around him, her life just can’t get any worse. Determined not to let her cookies get a bad reputation, she sets out to track down a killer. But if she doesn’t watch her back, Hannah’s sweet life may get burned to a crisp.

This book was actually recommended to me by my friend Julie who is also a book blogger and aspiring author! Recently I just started getting into cozy mysteries and wanted to pick up something that was going to be good, I highly trust Julie’s opinion since she is a mystery expert!

The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry

Goodreads rating: 3.62 Stars

Description: When Cora Seaborne’s brilliant, domineering husband dies, she steps into her new life as a widow with as much relief as sadness: her marriage was not a happy one. Wed at nineteen, this woman of exceptional intelligence and curiosity was ill-suited for the role of society wife. Seeking refuge in fresh air and open space in the wake of the funeral, Cora leaves London for a visit to coastal Essex, accompanied by her inquisitive and obsessive eleven-year old son, Francis, and the boy’s nanny, Martha, her fiercely protective friend.

While admiring the sites, Cora learns of an intriguing rumor that has arisen further up the estuary, of a fearsome creature said to roam the marshes claiming human lives. After nearly 300 years, the mythical Essex Serpent is said to have returned, taking the life of a young man on New Year’s Eve. A keen amateur naturalist with no patience for religion or superstition, Cora is immediately enthralled, and certain that what the local people think is a magical sea beast may be a previously undiscovered species. Eager to investigate, she is introduced to local vicar William Ransome. Will, too, is suspicious of the rumors. But unlike Cora, this man of faith is convinced the rumors are caused by moral panic, a flight from true belief.

These seeming opposites who agree on nothing soon find themselves inexorably drawn together and torn apart—an intense relationship that will change both of their lives in ways entirely unexpected.

So this book was actually a “Blind Date With A Book”, you can check out my Instagram post with all the details HERE I absolutely love this concept and hope that my local bookshop will incorporate it into their store soon because it is just too much fun!

Into The Crooked Place by Alexandra Christo (ARC)

Goodreads rating: 3.97 Stars

Description:

The streets of Creije are for the deadly and the dreamers, and four crooks in particular know just how much magic they need up their sleeve to survive.

Tavia, a busker ready to pack up her dark-magic wares and turn her back on Creije for good. She’ll do anything to put her crimes behind her.

Wesley, the closest thing Creije has to a gangster. After growing up on streets hungry enough to swallow the weak whole, he won’t stop until he has brought the entire realm to kneel before him.

Karam, a warrior who spends her days watching over the city’s worst criminals and her nights in the fighting rings, making a deadly name for herself.

And Saxony, a resistance fighter hiding from the very people who destroyed her family, and willing to do whatever it takes to get her revenge.

Everything in their lives is going to plan, until Tavia makes a crucial mistake: she delivers a vial of dark magic—a weapon she didn’t know she had—to someone she cares about, sparking the greatest conflict in decades. Now these four magical outsiders must come together to save their home and the world, before it’s too late. But with enemies at all sides, they can trust nobody. Least of all each other.

This one is actually an ARC that doesn’t come out until October 8th 2019, I was able to pick it up at Malaprops Bookshop for free because I had spent over $50 and they have a designated bookshelf filled with ARCS for people to pick out their own. Such a brilliant idea!

Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Goodreads rating: 4.53 Stars

Description: For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life–until the unthinkable happens.

I know, I know! I am so late to the game on this book. It has been recommended to me so many times I can’t keep track and I have had it on my TBR list for months. I was finally able to pick it up and I can’t wait to dive into it!

Stay Sexy & Don’t Get Murdered: The Definitive How-To Guide by Georgia Hardstark and Karen Gilgariff

Goodreads rating: 4.44 Stars

Description: Sharing never-before-heard stories ranging from their struggles with depression, eating disorders, and addiction, Karen and Georgia irreverently recount their biggest mistakes and deepest fears, reflecting on the formative life events that shaped them into two of the most followed voices in the nation.

In Stay Sexy & Don’t Get Murdered, Karen and Georgia focus on the importance of self-advocating and valuing personal safety over being ‘nice’ or ‘helpful.’ They delve into their own pasts, true crime stories, and beyond to discuss meaningful cultural and societal issues with fierce empathy and unapologetic frankness.

As a longtime murderino I just had to pick this one up. I had pre-ordered the audiobook and could not wait to get my hands on a physical copy! I plan on doing a full review and comparing both formats here on the blog very soon.

Well that wraps it up!! What did you think of my selection? Have you read any of these books before? If so, please leave a comment and let me know your thoughts.

Always,

Alicia