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Just A Little Bite on the Neck

By Gini Rainey

I was out recently with some friends drinking adult beverages when the topic of books came up.  It just so happened that my publisher – and good friend – was sitting next to me, punched me in the arm and said, “Hey, I think you should read this series of books for some of your reviews!”  I told her I was open to it, but cautiously added “Are you okay with the kind of books I review?” To which she told me I read too many books about death and dying.  Point taken!

So, while I wait for that list, I wandered into my “library” and the only book that screamed “Write about me!!!” was this fun little cookbook I picked up last fall.  “Love At First Bite: The Complete Vampire Lover’s Cookbook” that was written by M+W Media, was just quirky enough for me to add to my ever-growing collection of cookbooks.  With the cautionary on the cover of “Contains More Than 300 Suckulent Recipes,” other than some scrump-deliousious recipes, its claim to fame in my book is the unique twists on the names of the recipes.  This collection of “fangtastic food and drink will take you on a nightmarish culinary adventure you won’t soon forget.”

With catchy section names like Bits and Bites, Suckulent Soups and Stews, Sinful Seafood, Petrified Poultry, “Organ”ick Foods, Bloodless Buffet, Nocturnal Nibbles, and Liquid Lunches, the table of contents is sure to suck you right into a cooking/feeding frenzy, and that’s not all!  The section titles even have subtitles.  Bits and Bites goes one step further with the description “Appetizers to Leave Them Screaming for More.”  Seductive Sandwiches tells it like it is with “A Handful of Horros,” and Murderous Meats flogs the idea of “Flesh and Bones to Sink Your Teeth Into.”  And if that isn’t enough, there are tidbits about the undead scattered through to keep you from turning off the lights at night.

Who doesn’t love a good potato soup?  Well, we have here Vlad’s Vichyssoise, along with the Tasty Tidbit “Vlad the Impaler was the fourteenth-century ruler of Wallachia who became infamous for impaling his enemies on poles and famous in
Romania as a national hero.  Vlad Dracula was the inspiration for the name of Bram Stoker’s title character in the novel Dracula.  But don’t let that information keep you from trying the recipe.  A great thing about vichyssoise?  If you don’t care for a chilled soup, well then just warm it up and it’s just as good.

If you’d like to cook easy and eat hearty, why not make some vichyssoise for dinner tonight?  Or perhaps just some good ol’ rib stickin’ potato soup?  Vlad’s recipe is very close to my own, will share it with you and also what I do differently.  Peel and dice three medium size potatoes and boil in 2 cups water along with a diced leek – white part only (or one medium size onion) until tender.  Puree’ the leek/onion, potatoes, and water mixture in a blender.  Now add 1 cup heavy cream and salt and pepper to taste.  Chill thoroughly before serving.  To serve, thin out with a bit more cream, if necessary and garnish with chopped chives.   My recipe for potato soup is served hot.  When the potatoes and onions are fork tender, add the cream, salt and pepper, and 4 slices of American cheese. Stir tilled blended and serve.  I like to make home-made biscuits to serve alongside, but crackers are just as yummy.

So, I just noticed that perhaps this book leans a little bit towards death, and that I also reviewed “The Dead Celebrity Cookbook: Christmas in Tinsel Town” a month ago, but hey Tena, 2 out 4?  That’s not too bad!

Books

Book Review: “The Blue Cloak”

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By Gini Rainey

The Blue Cloak by Shannon McNear

Set at the turn of the 18th century in Kentucky and Tennessee, The Blue Cloak is based on the true account of the Harpe family’s killing rampage along the Wilderness Trail.  McNear who is basically a Christian writer, struggled with the concept of the re-telling of such dynamically horrible events, but came to realize that this could become a story of redemption.

When Sally, the very young daughter of a Baptist preacher, marries the younger of the Harpe boys, many people have big misgivings about her choice of men, especially Sally’s best friend, Rachel. As Sally is leaving after the wedding festivities, Rachel hands her the gift of a packet that contains a beautiful indigo-dyed, woolen cloak. This cloak becomes a symbol of friendship, trust, and love throughout the book.

With an amazing skill for character development and research, McNear’s words succeed in weaving a tale filled with desperation, angst, deception, and ultimately forgiveness and love as the three Harpes, with their three communal women in tow, create murderous mayhem along the Wilderness Trail.

Although this book is not terribly long (255 pages) it is filled with more adventure and romance than books twice its length.  Definitely a page-turner, you might find yourself unable to put it down.

5 of 5 – Copyright 2020 – Barbour Publications

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BOOK REVIEW: Sentient Beings in the Kingdom of Bhutan

Sentient Beings in The Kingdom of Bhutan by Laurie S. Chambers

By Gini Rainey

Chambers, who has spent over fifty years traveling the world seeking to understand the complexity of being human, has written a lovely book about the peaceful kingdom of Bhutan.  Located in the Himalayan mountains, Bhutan’s people have formed a unique relationship with the animals sharing their space in this beautiful area.

While the cover might lead you to think this is a children’s book, it is filled with the complexity of human/animal relationships.  In a place where all living things matter, Chambers has managed to capture the beauty of both the sights and principles of the Bhutanese and subtly implores that we all take on these loving and caring and grateful people.

And don’t be mistaken, there are at least three levels presented in her book.  One that appeals to the seeker of truth and peace, one that encourages the young child to live a life of appreciation and love, and one that captures the eye of the seeker of visual beauty.  This is not a book to be read straight through.  Rather, it would be a wise and intelligent thing to read each page for its own merit and value and digest and internalize the message that each one has to offer.

5 of 5 – Copyright 2019 – Balboa Press

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BOOK REVIEW: Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

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By Gini Rainey

Imagine, if you will, a shack in the middle of the backwater marshes of the Atlantic Ocean in North Carolina.  The setting is as raw as the story that Owens tells about the abandonment and coming-of-age of young Kya.

Left behind by her entire family at the age of six, Kya learns more about life and survival in a short time than most people learn in a lifetime.

Ms. Owens’, no stranger to the publishing community having several books in print, paints a world full of wonder and discovery as Kya explores the beauty of nature around her as she struggles to stay alive.

Living on the edge of a community that neither helps her nor understands her, she grows into a beautiful, highly intelligent young woman with the help of a young boy who was a friend of her brothers.

Expertly building characters you will come to either love or despise, Ms. Owens laces Where the Crawdads Sing with a hint of physical abuse, romance, and murder.

Owens has created a book that has everything necessary to keep the reader turning the pages to the surprise ending.

5 of 5 – Copyright 2018 – G. P. Putnam’s Sons

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