As 2014 kicks off, I have received numerous books and cookbooks for Christmas and my birthday. I have already gone through a few of both sets and wanted to share my thoughts and recommendations with you all. I would like to read at least 50 books this year as well as bake at least 3 recipes from each of my new cookbooks so I’m starting strong. Also, I strongly suggest looking at self-publishing authors on Kindle, Nook, and even in paperback. I find that these authors are some of the best.
Pwned (Lexy Cooper Mysteries #2): Christa Charter
Yes, I have already read this on the Kindle but it is now in paperback. I suggest you go pick up your own copy and get your Ash on...
Bronze Gods (An Apparatus Infernum Novel #1): A.A. Aguirre
This is another fantastic book set in the Steampunk and Mystery genres. I characterize it as CSI: Steampunk. The two main characters are Janus, has a 6th sense, and Celeste, logical & intelligent. There is also a third character named Aurelia that is large part of the book. There is magic, murder, intrigue, and monsters. I highly recommend this one.
Dark Currents (Agent of Hel #1): Jacqueline Carey
This, so far, has been my favorite book. It takes place in a small town in Michigan. The main character is a girl named, Daisy, who happens to be part demon spawn and an enforcer for Hel (Norse Mythology). There are are also ghouls, werewolves, lamias, and fairies. She also has great taste in music. I think my favorite part about this book is the character and writing style remind me a lot of Christa Charter.
Lady of Devices (Magnificent Devices #1): Shelly Adina
I am torn on this one. This is another Steampunk book with the main character, Claire, is quite intelligent and not cut out for society life. She wants to build machines and attend college while her parents expect her to marry well and become the dutiful wife. Along the way, her course is dramatically changed, in some ways, for the better. While it is a pretty good book, I’m not sure if I was truly invested with the character as I was in the other books I read. It could be because there wasn’t as much mystery and “magic” as I hoped. I would still recommend this book.
Marvel Year by Year: Peter Sanderson
I love these kind of compendiums. This book contains the history of Marvel, Stan Lee, and the comics. As it states it is year by year, filled with important events and images. If you or know someone that is Marvel comic buff, I highly recommend picking this up for them.
X-Men (The Asgardian Wars): Chris Claremont, Paul Smith and Art Adams
This is a trade paperback of the story arc from 1988 involving the X-men, Alpha Flight, New Mutants, and Loki. It was one of favorite story lines mostly because of the crossover with Asgard. It also contains some of my favorite X-men and New Mutants: Rachel Summers, Wolfbane, and Magik, and Mirage. You can find the book at your local comic shop.
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home: Jeni Britton Bauer
If you have an ice cream maker, I highly recommend this book. If you don’t, I suggest you go get one and buy the book. Jeni provides list of items and tools you will need, but as she states in the book, she created these recipes to be made at home. The recipes are very straight forward and the ice cream is soft and smooth. I made the Queen City Cayenne ice cream and it was glorious.
The Pioneer Woman Cooks (A Year of Holidays): Ree Drummond
What can I say? I love the Pioneer Woman. Her recipes are simple and the kinds of dishes I grew up with in the Midwest. This cookbook is grouped by holidays with recipes Ree associates with them. My favorite recipe from this book, so far, are the cinnamon rolls. I also used her prime rib recipe for Christmas dinner. I have many more holidays to try this year.
The Big Book of Cupcakes: Betty Crocker
This one is filled with ideas for cupcakes using cake mixes. I love this as a reference. While I normally avoid cake mixes from Betty Crocker, Duncan Hines, and others, that doesn’t mean you have to as well. If I do purchase cake mixes, I pick up the ones from Williams Sonoma and Sur La Table. They are a little pricier but don’t have unnecessary ingredients. However, one other alternative is making cake mixes from scratch like the ones from Brown Eyed Baker and Busy Cooks.
These are books and cookbooks on my “To Read” and “To Do” list. I will report back on them as soon as I finish them.
Griefed (Lexy Cooper Mysteries #3): Christa Charter
I’m very excited for Christa’s third book in the Lexy Cooper Mysteries series. All your favorite characters will be back. It will be released next month and it is going to be a good one!! Don’t forget to pick up your copy and support one of our lovely PopChix.
Dead Iron (The Age of Steam #1): Devon Monk
I spotted this one on Amazon under Steampunk, with lycanthropes, bounty hunters, a lead character named “Cedar Hunt”, and I was sold. I actually have Cold Copper as well but I didn’t realize it was book three of the series: Dead Iron, Tin Swift, and Cold Copper. I am looking forward to this one.
Steampunk Bible: Jeff Vandermeer
Another compendium of all things Steampunk. I wanted to learn more about this genre and this seemed like the perfect way to get that information. Yep, I am a nerd.
Some Girls Bite (Chicagoland Vampires Novel #1): Chloe Neill
This one is about a newly turned vampire in Chicago named Merit. Yeah, I’m a sucker for the mystical, magical, and mythological.
The Damnation Affair (#1): Lilith Saintcrow
I thought this was a part of the Bannon and Clare series but is actually a new series dealing with the Old West and zombies. While I am not a fan of zombie books, I really like Lilith Saintcrow, so I’m going to give it a shot.
Kiss of Steel (#1): Bec McMaster
This is another Steampunk book but also a romance with werewolves, vampires and sex. The two leads are Honoria Todd and Blade. I’m excited about this one.
Supernatural Devices (Steampunk Scarlett Novel #1): Kailin Gow
This is, you guessed it, a Steampunk book. The lead is a young girl named Scarlett who finds herself working with Sherlock Holmes and discovering the supernatural world. Fingers crossed that it is as good as it sounds.
Discount Armageddon (InCryptid #1): Seanan McGuire
Here comes some more supernatural and a strong female lead: Verity Price. This was a recommendation on a Facebook post. Verity “polices” the supernatural and make sure they stay in line. Seanan also does playlists for her books like Christa Charter does.
Butter Baked Goods: Rosie Daykin
One of my favorite types of cookbooks is one from a local bakery or restaurant. Butter is a bakery in Vancouver and the cookbook is filled with such heavenly recipes that I’m finding a hard time just deciding which one to try first. Some on my “To Do” list are the Nanaimo Bar, vanilla shortbread, Butter’s Own Graham Crackers, Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookie, Butter’s Famous Marshmallows, and Peanut Butter & Jelly Cupcakes. It’s going to be a busy year!
Paula Deen & Friends (Living It Up, Southern Style): Paula Deen
I love Paula Deen, always have and always will. The cookbook is filled with very Southern and comforting recipes, which is why I wanted it. It’s divided up by events such as Ice Cream Social and The Boss for Dinner. I most interested in the Buttermilk Pound Cake, Maple Glazed Salmon Kentucky Spoon Bread.
The Secret Lives of Baked Goods: Jessie Oleson Moore
This book is from the blogger Cakespy. I have her first cookbook: Cakespy Presents Sweet Treats for a Sugar-Filled Life and it’s filled with yummy recipes like Homemade Toaster Treats (Pop-Tarts) and Dessert Tacos. Her new one is about some of the famous American desserts and their history. The reason I wanted this one so much is because not only do I love to cook and bake but love knowing the history about that recipe. I am most excited to try the Katharine Hepburn Brownies, Opera Cake, and Animal Crackers.
Trophy Cupcakes & Parties: Jennifer Shea
I’ve been infatuated with Trophy Cupcakes for years after meeting several people from the Seattle area. Then I happened across their recipe for blueberry cupcakes and I was in love. This cookbook is filled with recipes and some fantastic party ideas. Some of my favorites I can’t wait to try are the Snow-Cone cupcakes, Margarita cupcakes, and the Planet Pop Rocks cupcakes. In addition, there are some wonderful ideas for parties such as the Superhero Training Camp and the Rock Star. If you live in Seattle or plan to visit, be sure to stop at one of their locations.