Showing posts with label magic. Show all posts
Showing posts with label magic. Show all posts

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Magic In The Storm - Meredith Bond, Author

Beef Kababs
(A Merry Special)

1/2 cup minced onion
2 Tbs minced ginger
2 tsp minced garlic
2 Tbs finely chopped fresh cilantro (can also used the chopped frozen cilantro)
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
a dash black pepper
dash ground red chili powder or chili flakes (to taste)
1 lb extra lean ground beef (can substitute lamb)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine everything into a bowl and mix well.
3. Form mixture into 1" balls
4. Place balls (either flattened or not, as you wish) onto a foil lined baking pan and bake for about 10-15 minutes. Turn them and then bake for another 5-7 minutes or so until cooked through.
Serve with raita (plain yogurt mixed with shredded & drained cucumber and about one tsp ground cumin -- to taste) or ketchup. 

Magic in the Storm – Review by Martha A. Cheves – Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish

Jack took a few steps back while he was thinking and leaned himself against the wall.  “Hmmm.  That’s a tricky one, ain’t it?  Never heard o’anythin’ like that happenin’, not that I know a lot of Vallen, mind ye.”  He thought for a moment, then said, “I’ve always thought the power came from within.  There must be somethin’ changin’ within ye.  What is it, inside of ye, that’s changin’?”  Morgan shook his head, thinking hard.  “I don’t know.”  “Well, when ye figure that one out, then you’ll know where the power’s comin’ from.”  What was changing within him?  Morgan stood back and began to think about this.  So many things had changed within him recently.  It could be his self-confidence, it could be Adriana, it could be his determination not to wait for his destiny to come to him, but to go and seek it out on his own, it could be so many different things.

Morgan Vallentyn is a Vallen.  Most people compare them to and even mistaken them for witches but their powers are real and true with each having a different specialty.  Morgan was born the 7th child of the 7th generation Vallen.  His mother Lady Vallentyne should have been happy but when she discovered that Morgan was a male child what would have been a strong mother’s love turned to hate.  No Vallen leader had ever been a male and had it not been for her husband, Morgan’s father, she would have killed the child just after birth.  Instead, Morgan was banished to the forest where his mother cast a spell that would imprison him for life. 

Adriana Hayden was an orphan who had been entrusted into the care of a distant relative, Lord Devaux.  Devaux had one desire in life and that was to climb the ladder of Parliament.  To do this he needed influential people and money.  He found both in Lady Vallentyne.  Her oldest child and son, Jonathan, the sixth Viscount Vallentyne would be the perfect husband for Adriana.  Jonathan wanted nothing more than to run the Estate but his mother had higher expectations for her son.  He was to enter politics and with he and Devaux combining their minds and skills, Jonathan would be quite successful.  She would see to this marriage even if it meant using her powers and with her being the highest priestess within the clan, no one could refuse her.  So she thought.

The last thing Adriana wanted was to marry, especially without love.  Her heart’s desire was to paint.  Nothing mattered more to her than her paintings.  Unfortunately, Devaux knew of this love and used it to blackmail her into agreeing to marry Jonathan.  While visiting the Vallentyne Estate, Adriana had ventured into the woods that acted as Morgan’s prison.  Not knowing the history of his being an outcast, she made the mistake of mentioning him to Lady Vallentyne.  This brought more injustice to be inflicted on Morgan by his mother.

Morgan is nearing his 21st birthday and knows that he must reach his full capacity of powers before that day or lose all powers.  Through his experimenting he finds his powers have increased but has no idea why.  All Vallen are born with their powers which are revealed at an early age.  His powers growing as he nears his birthday is unheard of.  Something is different and something is causing this to happen.  But he’s running out of time and has no idea as to how he will find his full potential, especially while being encased within the forest.  He must find a way to break his mother’s spell and escape.

Magic In The Storm was an edge of the seat read.  I kept hoping that Morgan’s mother would change and give in to him allowing him to find his own strength and powers.  When he finally made it out of the forest I knew she would see that he was truly the 7th of the 7th generation and accept him even though he was a male, not a female.  Did she?  I’ll never tell.  I will say that a lot happens as his powers increase but does he ever become more powerful than his mother?  If so, does she help him in his endeavor?  I’ll only tell you that Magic In The Storm was a very enjoyable book.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Confliction - The Dragoneers Saga Book III - Michael Robb Mathias, Jr., Author

Porcupine Meatballs
(Mathias' Special)
1 package of beef Rice A Roni
1 egg
1lb ground beef
salt and pepper
take rice a roni and set aside seasoning. mix together rice, beef, egg and S&P together. roll into balls. brown in skillet then add seasoning packet and two cups of water.stir until mixed, then simmer for 20 minutes. can be served over rice or noodles.
The Confliction – The Dragoneers Saga Book III – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of A Book and A Dish, Think With Your Taste Buds and Stir, Laugh, Repeat
Jenka started looking at a charcoal sketch of a Sarax, with marks and carefully written text detailing sensitive and dangerous parts of the thing’s strange body.  Then he saw something else and pointed it out to Lemmy.  He was showing Lem a drawing of a bee’s honeycomb full of little tiny Sarax.  The queen was larger, ten times as large as the Sarax.  It was bulkier, too, formed like a larva, or a giant grub, with several long snaking limbs on each side of an elongated torso.  I wonder if they really follow that thing, said Lemmy, as he took the parchment to study it closer.  Jenka’s mind had moved on.  He was searching for anything else they could use to more effectively destroy the beasts.  He found a small wooden chest and forced it open with a sealing blade.  Inside were several hundred golden coins with a strange feline animal on one side and two lines with a slash through them on the other.  He wondered, for a long time, from where they had come.  Then he pondered where the Sarax had come from and a certain fear of the unknown began to creep into him like a chill.
Jenka, Aikira, Zahrellion, Rikky and Marcherion, along with their dragon mounts, are all dragoneers.  In books I and II, they have survived the Gravelbone and his magic as he waged war on their land.  Through their own magic they have survived the threats of the Sarax that had escaped from their star ship.  It was now their duty to guard the ship in hopes of preventing other Sarax from escaping.  
But the Sarax was just the first metamorphosis stage of these aliens.  They fed upon human met which gave them the strength to cocoon and later change into foul ivory-horned vermin masters like Gravelbone.  After becoming aware of this, the dragoneers found themselves being faced with the threat that there was something even more powerful than the Sarax.  With this knowledge also came the knowledge that the other being would be many times more powerful than the Sarax and the Gravelbones combined.  Then came their job to destroy this being before it destroyed them as well as the people they have vowed to protect.  But can they succeed before it’s too late.  And will they all survive?  The chances look pretty slim.
I’ve read all three of the Dragoneer books and as each came to an end I looked forward to the next.  When I saw that this was the last book I felt a bit of disappointment.  That is until I read the last line of the book telling me an new book and I hope series will be coming out in 2013.  I have to say that Author Michael Robb Mathias has one strong imagination and knows how to put it into words.  I look forward to reading any and all of his books.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Shape-Shifters - Louis Bertrand Shalako, Author

Louis' Apple-Nut Bread

2 1/2 cups quinoa flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/3 cups applesauce
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup natural sugar, packed down
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1 cup chopped cranberries
1 baking apple, grated
3 eggs

1.) Preheat oven to 350 F.
2.) Cream butter and sugar together.
3.) Bat in eggs one at a time. Stir in applesauce, grated apple, cranberries and vanilla.
4.) In separate bowl stir together remaining dry ingredients.
5.) Add dry ingredients to wet mixture, stir by hand until well-mixed.
6.) Turn onto an oiled 5 by 7 inch loaf pan.
7.) Bake at 350 F. for 50-60 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
8.) Cool ten minutes before removing from pan.

For a low cholesterol recipe, substitute 1/3 cup vegetable oil for the eggs. Quinoa flour is very nutitious and gluten-free.
The Shape-Shifters – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat and Think With Your Taste Buds – Desserts
He withdrew deep into the recesses of his very being and got in touch with his actual, living soul, as he had learned, quite by accident, so many years ago.  He withdrew from conscious thought and into the core of self, where the ego and the subconscious mind peacefully co-exist, at least when they are not at war.  His mind became a warm black pit, swirling with stars, galaxies, and everything in the cosmos, and he subsided into it, floating on a blood-red sea, where he contemplated the three most abstract objects, the red box, the blue sphere and the four-sided yellow-golden pyramid.  His mind focused on the most universal of all abstract forms until he could pick them up and feel the weight of them, touching the hardness, the smooth-polished surfaces… His head started to cave into his body.  Proceeding slowly at first, the transformation accelerated.  His feet withdrew and retracted up and out of his boots and into his pant legs.  His hands disappeared up into his sleeves.  His grimy clothes were seemingly half-empty now, writhing and twisting in and on and of themselves as if taking on a life of their own.  A sock fell to the cold, wet floor beside his boots.  A thin wisp of blue vapor rose up in curlicues and arabesque shapes in the dim light of the single forty-watt bulb.  The clothing squirmed into a new shape on the chair, as the ropes fell limp and slack all around what remained of Jean Gagnon.
Jean Gagnon  is released from prison after being found guilty of robbery.  Throughout his whole imprisonment Jean  declared  his innocence, all to no avail.  Needless to say, his feelings for the system and the people that convicted him  are filled with anger and  resentment.   Now he is a free man and  can start his life anew.  Or  can he?
Janet Herbert  is a widow with two children, Jason almost nine and Ashley 3 1/2.  Her husband Don was killed in a construction cave-in four years earlier, before Ashley was even born.  The town of Scudmore had lost the mill and jobs were almost non-existent so her struggle to keep a roof over kid’s heads and food on the table was becoming almost impossible.  Then she met Jean.
Jeff McCabe, Harry Morden, Slick Wilson and Ted Hiltz  are hunting buddies.  Their hunting  isn’t always legal but it  kept them going.  Then they met Jean.  After finding out that he had been convicted of stealing half a million dollars, they had an  idea.  They would abduct him and do whatever it took to make him tell them where the money was hidden.  This would be  easy to pull off and they would all  be rich enough to get out of Scudmore for good.  What they didn’t bargain for is the fact that Jean is a shape-shifter, and not the only one in town. 
The Shape-Shifters’ will take you on a hilly ride as Jean tries to put his life back together.  He has inherited an old mansion that will cost him a fortune in upkeep, which he doesn’t have.  It seems his only way out will be to sell and move on.  He just didn’t expect Janet to step into his life and totally change his life.  He also didn’t expect the four hunting buddies to take him in at the same time a child had been abducted.  With his history of prison and the  accusations  of  mental  illness, the whole town turns against him. He is accused of taking the child and murdering her.  Jean’s future  looks hopeless. 
The Shape-Shifters is a book that I hope readers will enjoy. I also hope Louis will continue with future stories.  I totally enjoyed this book.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Slade's Destiny - The Witchcraft Wars Book 3 - Tracey Alley, Author

(A Tracey Alley Special)

2 X Rashers of Bacon
1 X Can of Corn Kernals 440 g
5 X Eggs
1 x Small bottle of cream 300 g
1 x Sheet of short crust pastry

Chop 2 rashers of bacon into bite sized squares and lightly fry
Add one can 440g of corn kernals
In large mixing bowl add 5 eggs and 300mg cream
Grate 1 cup of cheese into mixture and stir well combining all the ingredients
After well mixed pour mixture into a lined dish with the short crust pastry on the bottom
Cook in moderate over for approximately 30 mins or until you can insert a knife and it comes out clean.

x = 1 of or 2 of
1 can corn kernals or
1 x can corn kernals

Slade’s Destiny – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat and Think With Your Taste Buds

‘Ming could hear the click of armor and the rhythmic pounding of many, many feet as they drew closer.  She could feel her heartbeat increasing and pounding heavily in her chest, using the exercises and skills taught to her as a monk she tried to quiet her rapidly beating heart.  Panic and fear would only cause her to make mistakes; she needed a cool, clear and calm head.  It was one of the first lessons learned in the warrior training at the Black Lotus.  Less than an hour had passed before the group got their first look at the approaching army.  In spite of the lanterns it was still shadowy along the length of the underground roadway.  They could not be certain who they faced but she noted with a sense of relief that the army, and an enormous army at that, seemed to be primarily made of up the very dwarves that Zexsan had been leading them to see.  In the very back she could just make out a group of taller figures that indicated an almost equally large human following closely behind the dwarves.’

Ming is just one of the key elements that must put a stop to the witch Shallendara’s attempt to open the portals that will cause total destruction to their world.  Slade and his sister Ursula, as well as many others, have vowed to rescue their father King Erich after his kidnapping.  To do this they must stand against their older brother Ulrich who has taken over the throne.  Both realize his evilness and also the fact that he may have had a hand in the kidnapping as well as the death of their mother.  But time is running out.  Shallendara has learned what is required to open the portal.  She must acquire two of the three gemstones required for the opening.  When these two are brought together, the third will follow.  The mystery is her motive.  With the destruction of the world how does she expect to survive?  How can she be stopped?

Then there is Nexus who has worked with Shallendara as a joint quest to find the stones and open the portal.  But can she really trust him?  Is his motive real or does he have ideas of his own?  Will the two continue to work together or will they betray each other?

Book Three of the Witchcraft Wars has been a true page turner.  I couldn’t wait to see Slade’s Destiny would really become the end of the series or hopefully lead to a 4th.  I was completely surprised by the ending!  And to my delight, there are many possibilities for continuation.  Hopefully soon.  My advice, read the complete set of the Witchcraft Wars in order.  You won’t be disappointed.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Ursula's Quest - Book Two of the Witchcraft Wars - Tracey Alley, Author

Vegetable Puffs
(One of Trunk and Tracey's favorite dishes)

4 sheets of puff pastry
1 small tin of champagne mushrooms, equivalent fresh if you can get it is preferable
1 medium sized tin of corn kernels, again fresh is better but depends on supply
1 small red capsicum chopped into small squares
Cup full of baby peas - fresh or frozen as you can get
Cup of tasty cheese grated
Tablespoon of Sweet Chili Sauce

Cut the pastry sheets into four squares each and set aside.
Combine all the vegetables and cheese, add sauce and mix well.
Spoon a small amount into each square and fold up the pastry giving it a small twist to the end.
Place in a medium oven and cook for about 20 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown.

Serve as an entree with extra chili sauce or as a unique way of getting kids to eat their veggies.

Ursula’s Quest Book Two of the Witchcraft Wars – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat
“Tell me Slade, do you know much about the legend of the Temple of Life?”  “Yes, it’s a very old legend.  It comes from Kemet I think.  Something about the gods building a temple to guard a portal that supposedly led to the realm of the gods.  I don’t remember all of it but it’s nothing more than a legend.”  “But what if the legend were true?”  Slade started to laugh until he saw how serious Nikolai was; he actually believed in the myth.  “You may well laugh but I have come across many strange things in my studies.  Strange and troubling things,” Nikolai said.  “About the Temple?”  “Yes and no.  I believe that outside the legend itself very little has ever been said or is known about the Temple.  I have, however, discovered from my research that portals from one dimension to another do actually exist.”  Slade looked hard at Nikolai, his immediate thought was that the necromancer’s brain had been addled from the blow to his head, but he could see that Nikolai clearly believed what he was saying was the truth.  “What other dimensions?  There is only this world and the realm of the gods,” Slade said eventually.  “To the sight and understanding of most people that is true but I assure you I have found that we are but one of many different dimensions.”  “I don’t understand.  Do you mean other worlds like our own or…” Slade trailed off, he didn’t even really know how to frame the question.’
In book one of the Witchcraft Wars, Slade, as well as several others that escaped with him, are traveling in hopes of finding the answer to his dreams where he believes his father High King Erich is talking to him.  In his first dream he was told to follow the trunk which turned out to be a human that helped him in his escape.  In his second dream his father sends him on a search for the Dragon Clan hopes of finding the Great Dragon.
Ursula, Slade’s sister, is having dreams of her own that she believes are coming from their father.  In her dream King Erich tells her to search the ruins for the key.  So with the help of Ming, her childhood playmate, as well as three others that join them, she finds herself deep in the Temple looking for the answers and the key.  As it turns out, there are three keys that must be found and so far Ursula knows of one while Trunk knows of the second.
Both brother and sister must complete their mission before the war between the kingdoms gets underway and before the witch known as Shallendara finds the key herself.  Shallendra’s quest, so it appears, is to use the key to open the portals to the gods and increase her own powers.  But, opening the portals will not only destroy the world but Shallendara too will be destroyed. 
As in Book One of the Witchcraft Wars, author Tracey Alley has created a story that holds you spellbound and hoping that someone will find the key soon before all is lost.  I’m again anticipating Book Three to see who the holder of the third key turns out to be.  And to see if Ursula and Slade are able to save the world from the destruction caused by Shallendara.  With author Tracey Alley, anything could happen, good or bad.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Royal Dragoneers - M. R. Mathias, Author

Popeye's Favorite Eggs:
In pan - med low heat, sauté 1/3 cup chopped shallots, 1/4 tsp thyme, and dash salt until shallots are transparent.
Quickly stir in 2 cups fresh spinach and wilt.
Beat 4 eggs in bowl with dash salt and pepper, and a splash of milk. Add a sprinkle of cajun seasoning if desired.
Stir eggs in with shallots and spinach. Cover with lid and turn heat to low. When eggs are cooked, top with a drizzle of truffle oil and serve with lightly toasted heavily buttered texas toast style bread.
Believe me these eggs are awesome. 
Find me and my books via the M. R. Mathias Connection Hub

The Royal Dragoneers – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat
‘He saw that his bow was lying back where he had dropped it.  His knife wasn’t at his hip either.  Beyond the flames, he saw the shredded remains of the stag’s carcass.  The dragon had torn half the meat away in only a few seconds.  The trolls would have the rest of it, he figured.   After they had him.  A fist-sized rock slammed into his chest, knocking all of the wind from his lungs.  Other stones followed and the primitive troll beasts soon went into a frenzied ritual of howling and savage fighting over feeding position.  Luckily for Jenka, a well-thrown chunk of stone bashed into the side of his head and spared him from having to see himself being torn to pieces.  All he could think of as he slipped into unconsciousness was that he would finally get to see his father, and he hoped his mother would never have to gaze upon what the trolls left of his body.  After that was nothing but blackness.’
Sixteen year old Jenka De Swasso is out on a hunt in hopes of bringing fresh meat back to his mother.  When he spotted the aging stag he knew he would have no problem bringing it down but the sun was setting which meant he would have to track the stag after hitting it with his arrow and spend the night trying to protect it, as well as himself, from the trolls that lived in the woods around his home of Crag.  Jenka’s mother was Crag’s village kettle-witch, which meant she could cast spells and at times even heal.  Jenka’s father, whom he was very proud of, had died while saving the king’s son Richard.  With his father being one of the King’s Rangers, Jenka’s dream was to become one too.  And if he could get his stag back to town, it might just give him an up on his training to serve the king.  But, fate had it that the trolls would spot his fire and come in for the kill and the meal awaiting them.  What the trolls didn’t expect was an emerald green dragon named Jade to come to Jenka’s rescue.  The bond that formed between Jade and Jenka was eternal.  Jenka would find that there were others who were bonded to the pure dragons and along with them they will sacrifice all to save mankind. 
The Royal Dragoneers is a book of mystery, magic and love.  It stresses the strength of love between man and his devoted friends and in this case his dragon.  I must warn you though, The Royal Dragoneers is a very graphically visual book which should not be read by nor to young children.  I see this as an adult version of Harry Potter.  And since the story has come to no end, I’m looking forward to reading the next book in this series.
301 pages

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