14 November 2011

The Best Thing I've Never Eaten - Take 7

I haven't stopped my journey of food exploration...I've just taken a bit of a hiatus lately. This entry is kind of cheating but I'll explain...


Apparently, gumbo is the official dish of the State of Louisiana. Ask 100 people in Louisiana how to make gumbo or what to put in gumbo and you'll get 100 different answers. The thing is, everybody has their own opinion and their own method of making gumbo. Their own recipe...their own idea of what should be included. Case and point--I knew a guy from way down South Louisiana and he put chicken feet and cubed SPAM in his gumbo...no joke. I also know a guy who says it's not gumbo if you don't put okra in it...but I disagree. See, I'm only interested in okra if it's fried and crispy...otherwise it's just slimy and gross. You see my point. Wikipedia actually does a good job of explaining the differences between types of gumbo and all that: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gumbo.

So technically I have eaten gumbo before but I don't usually eat gumbo because people put some crazy mess in their gumbo (as mentioned above) so if I don't see it prepared, I just can't eat it. Also, I've never made gumbo. I don't know why...it just never occurred to be before. I'm such a failure as a Louisianaian. So this entry sort of fits and sort of doesn't but since I haven't done anything in terms of wacky foods I thought I'd post it. Here's how I made my gumbo...

I started by making roux (oil and flour in a skillet stirred for 800 years until it got dark brown). Then I took 8 cups chicken stock and warmed it in a pot with a few bay leaves. I sauteéd some sausage in a pan until it had a good color. Then removed it from the pan. I diced up a large onion, a pablano pepper, a red bell pepper, yellow bell pepper, and orange bell pepper, a few cloves of minced garlic, and about 4 ribs of celery and sauteéd them in the same pan as the sausage. I added the veggies to the chicken stock along with the sausage. I seasoned with salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, and gumbo filé. I also added my roux at this point and a tiny bit of kitchen boquet to darken it. I let this simmer for a couple of hours then added some small (peeled, deveined) shrimp. I cooked for another 15 minutes or so. I served over rice.

It was delicious...especially for a first attempt at gumbo! The only change I'll make for next time is to use larger shrimp...I used small shrimp and the shrunk significantly in the cooking process so next time I'll be sure to buy larger shrmip (maybe medium sized).

Thoughts? How do you make your gumbo?

14 October 2011

The Best Thing I've Never Eaten - Takes 5 & 6

This week I'm offering a special buy one get one free sale -- which means you get TWO food reviews for the price of ONE. I'm just that awesome. Here we go...

Take 5

Red Tamarillo

I took pics myself, as I've done before but for some reason my phone won't upload them so I'm relying on Google Images for this one.

Tamarillos originate from New Zealand but are produced in the USA in California. Tamarillos are encased in a smooth, inedible skin and are the cousin of the eggplant (their mom and the eggplant's dad are brother and sister). Generally the fruit is eaten raw but can also be cooked. (For once, I did not use Wikipedia...this info comes from http://www.specialtyproduce.com/.)

Yay, my own picture finally worked.

The site mentioned above notes that these fruit taste like a cross between apricots and tomatoes...and if you think that sounds gross then you'd be right. This is quite possibly one of the most acidic fruits I've ever tasted--it is incredibly tart the acid level is off the charts. Sorry bout cha if you have acid reflux. At first the tartness and acidity is all you can taste but once that shock wears off you taste a hint of tomato as an aftertaste. It's not really pleasant and I don't think I'll be consuming this one on purpose again.

Take 6


Once again, this image comes from Google images (I do love me some Google!).

The tamarind tree is native to Africa and produces these tamarindo pods with edible pulp. The pulp flesh is generally described to be sweet and acidic in flavor and is a good source of B vitamins and calcium. (From Wikipedia...hello old friend)

The hull of the pod should be broken open, revealing a reddish-brown fleshy pulp inside.

(What would I do without Google images?)

There are inedible seeds inside the pulp. The pulp is a rubbery, sticky texture (much like a dried fruit...prunes, apricots, etc.). I was hesitant to taste it and for good reason...because when I did, my face turned inside out. This was the most sour piece of anything I've ever tasted. My jaws locked up, my eyes watered...it was bad. I had to spit it out. Even my hubby, who has a high tolerance for sourness (both in food and in my personality) had trouble. You know the face a baby makes the first time they suck on a lemon? Imagine that times 17 and you have our faces with this. I have no idea how this would or should be used. I can't imagine a possible reasonable culinary use for this product.

See what I mean about the face?

07 October 2011

The Best Thing I've Never Eaten - Take 4


Chayote is a squash also known as "vegetable fruit" or "pear squash" and comes from the gourd family, along with melons, cucumbers, and other types of squash. It can be eaten raw or cooked but is most often eaten raw. When cooking, chayote is usually treated like yellow summer squash, lightly cooked to retain crispness. When preparing raw, chayote makes a nice addition to salads and salsas and is usually marinated in lemon or lime juice. (Wikipedia experts say so.)

When I set out to try chayote, I didn't really know what I was going to do with it...how I would prepare it. I sort of just assumed I would cook it like I do yellow squash but after cutting in to it and tasting it, I didn't think I'd like it that way. I could tell I would prefer this fruit to be eaten raw.

Imagine that a pear and cucumber had a baby...that's what the chayote tastes like. A very delicate, mild flavor bordering on bland...not really sweet or tart. I'd love to find ways to incorporate this into a salad or salas as mentioned. Also, this would be delicious marinated in some sort of vinegarette or pickled. I'd think you could use this in any way you could use a cucumber and it would work well...but as a bonus it would be just a bit different...unexpected. Will definitely be experimenting with this one.

29 September 2011

The Best Thing I've (kinda sorta) Never Eaten - Take 3.5


Since I crapped out on y'all last time with the couscous, I'm making up for it with a special bonus entry...at NO ADDITIONAL COST TO YOU! I'm calling this Take 3.5 because I have kinda sorta had chickpeas before in the sense that I've had hummus before--and most hummuses (or is it hummi?) are made from chickpeas. Let's roll...

My source for all things accurate, Wikipedia, says that chickepeas are also called garbanzo beans. They are from the legume family and were first cultivated nearly 8,000 years ago. In 1793, ground-roasted chickpeas were brewed in Germany instead of coffee (because they were a lot cheaper than coffee)...much like chicory root (for all my South Louisiana peeps).

I guess I should include a little disclaimer here--I'm not generally a huge fan of peas and beans. If the pea ain't purple and the bean ain't green then I ain't interested, generally speaking. And don't even get me started on how much I hate black-eyed peas...

...both the kind you eat and these guys right here.

I was skeptical to say the least. Also, having tried hummus (for the love of all things delicious never do I want to eat hummus again), I was fairly certain I wasn't going to fall in love with the humble chickpea.

I had a recipe for toasted chickpeas and thought this was my best shot at liking them...as I'm generally a fan of all things crispy. So first I opened the can and rinsed the chickpeas. Let me just say that when I opened the can the aroma wafting up to my nostrils was reminiscent of canned dog-food. Then I drained the chickpeas on some paper towels. The trick was you want them to get completely dry. So I patted them really good.

Then you spread them out on a cookie sheet, sprayed with cooking spray, and put them in a preheated oven and bake at 375 for 35 minutes. Once they're out of the oven, they'll be golden brown and will be crunchy throughout. Sprinkle them with whatever spices you want. I used salt, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and a little chili powder.

They were less than mediocre. Not terrible, not good. They tasted sort of like nothing. I mean, had there been no spices on them I wouldn't have tasted much. So they kind of just taste like whatever spices you use. I came to the conclusion that if I never eat another chickpea again I'll be ok. I didn't hate them but I wouldn't choose to eat them on purpose. Between the two of us, we ate maybe seven peas...I threw the rest away. That was .68 cents and 40 minutes of my life I'll never get back.

Here's a pic of the Hubs right before he did a taste-test. His face pretty much sums it up:

p.s. I realize there are MANY people out there who simply adore chickpeas. If you're one of them, more power to ya...they're just not for me.

28 September 2011

The Best Thing I've Never Eaten - Take 3

Like I said from the beginning of this little experiment...some of the stuff I try will be totally normal stuff people like you eat all the time...it's just I've never had the opportunity to try them. This is one of those...


Couscous is a very tiny pasta, traditionally served in Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. It's been around for centuries and was first mentioned in the 1200s. (Once again, totally true...Wikipedia says so.)

I've been wanting to try couscous but just never did. Yes, I took the easy road and got a box of already seasoned couscous. Sure I could've done my own but I was being lazy this week. So I got something akin to Rice-a-Roni. I got regular couscous instead of pearled so it was smaller, slightly larger than the grains of grits.

Cooking is a snap. Basically mix seasoning packet with water and bring to a boil. Stir in couscous, cover, and remove from heat. Let sit for 5 minutes, fluff with fork, and voila! This is very versitle...can be used for salads just as you would pasta for pasta salad. I'd be hesitant to put a heavy sauce over it because I don't think it could stand up to a heavy sauce like a sturdier pasta could but it makes a great side dish.

I liked this, flavor was good. I did add some cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder to spruce it up a little. The texture reminded me very much of thick grits (like my cheesy grits that I make to go with my Shrimp & Grits). It was alright--not my favorite but that could just be because I got the pre-seasoned boxed kind. I'll definitely be making couscous again when I'm feeling less lazy. Will try the pearled couscous next and will likely try to make some sort of couscous salad.

I know I kinda crapped out on this one. So to make up for it, tomorrow I'll have a "The Best Thing I've Never Eaten - Take 3.5" to make up for it. Next week I plan to do something really out there in the realm of things I've never heard of or seen.

20 September 2011

The Best Thing I've Never Eaten - Take 2


Parsnips are a root vegetable like carrots...and they basically look almost exactly like white carrots...and they smell almost exactly like carrots. Since cooked carrots aren't my favorite, I was skeptical. According to Wikipedia (so you know, it's like totally true) parsnips are, indeed, related to carrots (third cousins twice removed). While in the same family, parsnips have a sweeter taste than carrots when cooked. They are native to Eurasia and have been on the menu as far back as ancient times.

Everything I read about parsnips said they were especially delish when roasted so that's what I set out to do. You want to look for a small to medium parsnip rather than a large one so they're more tender and less bitter (would have been good to know prior to purchasing said parsnips). At any rate, you cut off the ends and peel same as you would do for a carrot. Then I sliced them in spears (really terribly cut, unevenly proportioned spears--Chef Ramsey would be so disappointed in my knife skills). I sprayed a cookie sheet with cooking spray, seasoned them with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder.

I put them in a preheated oven and baked at 400 degrees for 40 minutes. You might want to try 35 minutes just to see...mine were very dark in some places, which I personally really like but you might want to check them at 35 minutes. After I took them out of the oven I grated some nutmeg over them with a microplane.

They smelled pretty yummy but I was still skeptical because I was worried they would taste almost exactly like a cooked carrot (which if it ain't in a pot roast no thank you). I was pleasantly surprised. They do, in fact, have a slightly sweeter taste than carrots but not as sweet as a sweet potato. Then they have a slightly spicy finish reminiscent of a chai spice or nutmeg. Turns out the decision to grate the nutmeg over them was a good one...my nose told me to do it and I always listen to my nose because the nose knows. They would make a very yummy substitution for fries with a burger. They would also be really good in a pot roast, or as a side dish to pork loin or roast beef. They actually reminded me of the taste of roasted pumpkin seeds. Ragan was a huge fan.

So there ya go...two for two. I think this eating something I've never eaten before thing just might work out.

19 September 2011

Book Review No. 50

Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler

Summary: When someone you love dies, people ask you how you're doing, but they don't really want to know. They seek affirmation that you're okay, that you appreciate their concern, that life goes on and so can they. Secretly they wonder when the statute of limitations on asking expires. (It's three months, by the way. Written or unwritten, that's about all the time it takes for people to forget the one thing that you never will.) They don't want to know that you'll never again eat birthday cake because you don't want to erase the magical taste of the frosting on his lips. That you wake up every day wondering why you got to live and he didn't. That on the first afternoon of your first real vacation, you sit in front of the ocean, face hot under the giant sun, willing him to give you a sign that he's okay. (taken from back of the book)

First Chapter of the Book:

"Frankie Perino and I were lucky that day. Lucky to be alive--that's what everyone said. I got a fractured wrist and a banged-up knee, and my best friend Frankie got a fat little scar above her left eye, breaking her eyebrow into two reflective halves. Up one side, down the other. Happy, sad. Shock, awe. Before, after."

"Before, all of us were lucky."

"After, only me and Frankie."

"That's what everyone said."

My Critique: Recently banned from the Republic, Missouri High School curriculum, this book beckoned me to read it. Why do people insist on banning books anyway? Everybody knows that's the quickest way to get people to read the very book you're trying to keep from being read in the first place. At any rate, I read it and I'm glad I did. This novel is a complete emotional journey from utter brokenness to healing, taking a detour down the path of true friendship along the way. This novel is the story of Anna, Frankie, and Matt. Frankie and Matt are brother and sister. Anna is their best friend. Together they are three inseparable best friends. Anna secretly pines for Matt and on her 15th birthday her dreams are realized when Matt kisses her. Over the next month Anna and Matt keep their budding romance private until they can figure out how best to tell Frankie. They know this new development in their relationship will change the dynamic of their friendship of three and want to tell Frankie in a way that won't make her feel alienated. So Matt asks Anna to keep it a secret and he plans to tell his siter while on vacation. Before he is able to do so, he tragically and unexpectedly dies. And so begins the journey. Frankie is grieving the loss of her brother. Anna is grieving the loss of one of her best friends and her first love. How do you even begin to deal with such a significant loss and 15? Sarah Ockler expertly delves into the raw, true emotion only experienced by those who have suffered such an impossible loss. Unfortuantely, I am all too aware of these emotions and can attest as to their accuracy.

SPOILER ALERT! Stop reading now lest ye be subjected to details of the plot!!

Anna withdraws into herself to deal with her feelings of loss privately. She is alone as she tries to come to terms with the loss of her first love. Meanwhile, Frankie turns to destructive behavior...acting out, smoking, drinking, seeking the attention of boys, etc. Fast forward a year and the Perino family sets out to take the vacation they were denied the year previous in hopes of gaining some modicum of normalcy. Anna is invited along. Frankie conjures up a plan for she and Anna to meet twenty boys while on vacation. Frankie, having experienced sex, is on a mission to help Anna shed her "albatross" (i.e. her virginity) that summer. Anna reluctantly agrees to go along with Frankie's plan (at least most of it) because it seems to be the only thing bringing happiness to Frankie, with glimpses of the old Frankie coming to the surface. Imagine Anna's surprise when she actually falls for Sam, a local boy who has stolen her heart despite her best efforts to keep it locked safely inside. Struggling with her new feelings for Sam and the guilt that accompanies them (she feels like she's betraying Matt), Anna finds herself not reluctantly following Frankie's plan, but wanting to. As the vacation is coming to an end, events escalate when Frankie finds and reads Anna's journal (thereby discovering her relationship with Matt) and Anna discovers that Frankie has been lying all along about the extent of her sexual experience (she had not, in fact, had sex). They both feel betrayed. Many arguments and tears ensue.

Eventually they find a way to forgive each other, and in the process discover that they have come to terms with Matt's death (as much as one can come to terms with such an impossibility). Anna realizes that life will go on. Her experience with Sam confirms that she has the capacity to love again without her biggest fear coming to fruition--erasing Matt. Frankie realizes that she is on a path of self-destruction and commits to being different...to finding the old Frankie. In the end, the book is about the realization that eventually things do get better, the loss isn't quite so raw anymore, and true friendships (and first loves) can never be erased.

If you continued to read after I told you not to, you'll know that the spoilers are over now.

Having read this book for myself, I guess I can see the reasons why this book was banned--only in the sense that the elements they claim are contained in this book, actually are, in fact, contained in this book. However, I truly feel that these certain events and behaviors had to take place in order to bring Frankie and Anna to a place of healing and acceptance. At any rate, I highly recommend this book and think it is a fantastic emotionally complex read.

Don't take my word for it, here's what others are saying: "Breaks your heart and puts it back together again." ~Jo Knowles, author of Lessons from a Dead Girl and Jumping Off Swings

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in the afore mentioned book, Twenty Boy Summer, are the sole views and opinions of the author and have nothing to do with me or my own views/opinions/beliefs...so get off my back. I am in no way affiliated with with afore mentioned author...except that one time in Vegas------------uh, nevermind...

14 September 2011

The Best Thing I've Never Eaten - #1

So a couple of weeks ago I decided to embark on a new journey. Each week, until I bore of it and decide to stop, I am going to be getting, preparing, and eating one thing I've never eaten before...then I'm going to blog about it so all of you can share in my experience...and maybe, just maybe you'll be inspired to try a few of the things I've tried. Some will be totally exotic off-the-wall things I run across in the produce section of Kroger, but some will be totally normal, common things people eat all the time, only I've never eaten them. Keep in mind that I'm a total meat snob (meaning I get grossed out easily) so I'm probably sticking to non-meat items here.

Last night was adventure one. Let's go...


Quinoa, pronounced keen-wah, derived in South America and has been part of a human diet for 3,000 to 4,000 years. Quinoa is actually a seed that softens when boiled--much like rice--and is often used the same as one would use rice. (I got all this info from Wikipedia so you know, it's like totally true.)

In raw form, quinoa looks a lot like birdseed. I tasted one kernel and it had a nutty flavor. Inspired by a couple of recipes I saw online I decided to go Asian with it. You prepare quinoa by boiling 2 parts liquid and adding 1 part quinoa. I brought 2 cups chicken broth to a boil and added 1 cup quinoa. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Cook for 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. I added a clove of minced garlic while it was simmering. Once liquid was absorbed, I added a bag of Asian style vegetables I had steamed in the microwave, some salt, pepper, and a little soy sauce.

However, I will say, I think adding this stuff made the dish not great and I would've preferred the quinoa on it's own...prior to these additions. Next time I'll prepare the quinoa the same, and simply add salt, pepper, and a little parmesean cheese.

The taste test:

I like it.

The flavor was nutty and earthy but not overwhelmingly so. The texture was sort of like grits only a bit more pronounced as the grains of quinoa are larger than grits. I will most definitely be keeping this in my pantry. It was sort of hard to find...I wound up finding it at World Market.

So what I want to know is...have you ever had quinoa? What do you think about it?

24 August 2011

2 Books Worth Reading that I Didn't Quite Finish Reading

I really hate not finishing books once I start them. My hubby hates not finishing movies. Me? I couldn't care less about stopping a movie half-way through if it doesn't interested me...but there's just something about not finishing a book that gets under my skin. However, I've had so many books on my list to read lately that I haven't had time to patiently trudge through the pages of books that took longer than needed. Also, I had checked these books out from the library and was under a 2-week deadline to get them read and with other things going on I just couldn't quite meet that particular deadline. So while I might not have finished these books, they are solid books that deserve reading and mentioning.

A Visit From the Good Squad by Jennifer Egan

Summary: Bennie is an aging former punk rocker and record executive. Sasha is the passionate, troubled young woman he employs. Here Jennifer Egan brilliantly reveals their pasts, along with the inner lives of a host of other characters whos paths intersect with theirs. With music pulsing on every page, A Visit From the Goon Squad is a startling, exhilarating novel of self-destruction and redemption. (taken from http://www.barnesandnoble.com/)

First Line of the Book: "It began the usual way, in the bathroom of the Lassimo Hotel."

My Thoughts: So I might not have finished this book but I did read about 3/4 of it. The characters are well written and developed and are not the usual shallow, on the surface characters gracing the pages of modern novels. It's the writing style I had a problem with--not the writing itself as it was very engaging, but the time warps...think Inception. There are skips between past and present and often times you're halfway through a chapter before you even realize (a) who the chapter is referring to and (b) when it's happening in the time frame of things. I don't do well with that sort of time jumping as it boggles my simple mind. However, it is a very interesting literary concept and makes for a though-provoking read.

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt

Summary: Shots rang out in Savannah's grandest mansion in the misty,early morning hours of May 2, 1981. Was it murder or self-defense? For nearly a decade, the shooting and its aftermath reverberated throughout this hauntingly beautiful city of moss-hung oaks and shaded squares. John Berendt's sharply observed, suspenseful, and witty narrative reads like a thoroughly engrossing novel, and yet it is a work of nonfiction. Berendt skillfully interweaves a hugely entertaining first-person account of life in this isolated remnant of the Old South with the unpredictable twists and turns of a landmark murder case. It is a spellbinding story peopled by a gallery of remarkable characters: the well-bred society ladies of the Married Woman's Card Club; the turbulent young redneck gigolo; the hapless recluse who owns a bottle of poison so powerful it could kill every man, woman, and child in Savannah; the aging and profane Southern belle who is the "soul of pampered self-absorption"; the uproariously funny black drag queen; the acerbic and arrogant antiques dealer; the sweet-talking, piano-playing con artist; young blacks dancing the minuet at the black debutante ball; and Minerva, the voodoo priestess who works her magic in the graveyard at midnight. These and other Savannahians act as a Greek chorus, with Berendt revealing the alliances, hostilities, and intrigues that thrive in a town where everyone knows everyone else. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil: A Savannah Story is a sublime and seductive reading experience. Brilliantly conceived and masterfully written, this enormously engaging portrait of a most beguiling Southern city is certain to become a modern classic. (taken from http://www.barnesandnoble.com/)

First Line of the Book: "He was tall, about fifty, with darkly handsome, almost sinister features: a neatly trimmed mustache, hair turning sliver at the temples, and eyes so black they were like the tinted windows of a sleek limousine - he could see out, but you couldn't see in."

My Thoughts: So I had never actually watched this movie from beginning to end despite my love of all things John Cusack. So one day, thanks to Netflix, I did just that. And it was so good! Loved it so much I wanted to read the book. However, I should've read the book first...or waited. I just found it really hard to get fully involved in this book having so recently watched the movie. If the plot weren't so fresh in my mind I would've been more apt to continue reading and finish. The book is beautifully written and very much captures the attention of the reader. The most astonishing thing to me was to discover that the book is actually a work of non-fiction even though it reads like a fiction novel. It's not dry and boring. I will most likely be reading this book before next March as we are taking a vacation to Hilton Head, SC and will be spending some time in Savannah...I'd like to have the places and themes fresh in my mind while in Savannah. You should definitely read this book!

17 August 2011

Book Review No. 49

Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley

Summary: When you read a novel expecting to be entertained with a lighthearted tale of adolescent love, you may come to the last page to realize you've read something quite different. Will you be left still thinking about the inexplicable disappearance of a perfectly innocent little brother? Will you be picturing what it would be like to finally get the girl of your dreams? Will you be shocked by how the reappearance of an extinct woodpecker can change an entire town and the lives of the people in it? Or will you just obsess over those zombies and talking birds? Maybe when you read this story, you'll find that even in a small Arkansas town where everything familiar can disappear, there is wonder in the ordinary and the hope for a second chance. (taken from book jacket)

First Line of the Book: "I was seventeen years old when I saw my first dead body."

My Critique: I seriously can't begin to tell you how much I enjoyed reading this book. First a little about the author--John Corey Whaley is a local guy, born and raised in Springhill, LA and currently a teacher in Shreveport. He's buddies with some buddies of mine and that's how I first heard about this book--and is why I bought it in the first place. Because let's be honest, there is a lot going against this book in terms of drawing me in. (A) The cover is kind of plain and uninteresting in a sort of way that won't automatically draw your eyes, (2) When you read the book jacket it just doesn't seem like something very interesting, and (C) It's a Young Adult book which I don't generally read. I'll admit, I tend to judge Young Adult books as being less intellectual. However, I was incredibly surprised by this book. The writing style drew me in right away, as did the main character, Cullen. The entire time I was reading I kept thinking about how much the writing style and Cullen reminded me of a saner, better written version of Holden in The Catcher in the Rye...which I abhore. Find out why I don't like it by clicking http://quickwitandcharm.blogspot.com/2010/09/book-review-no-39.html. This book is surprisingly scholarly and prompts you to think. Whaley masterfully weaves together two separate plots seamlessly bringing them both together in a way that will thrill you. I will not say more lest I give something away, just know that this book is well worth the read...even for you academic types out there who usually shy away from young adult books. For his first novel, John Corey Whaley has knocked this one out of the park!

Just a little FYI: Shreve Memorial Library is hosting an event featuring the author, John Corey Whaley, on Saturday, August 27th, @ 11:00am. For more info, visit: http://www.shreve-lib.org/.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in the afore mentioned book, Where Things Come Back, are the sole views and opinions of the author and have nothing to do with me or my own views/opinions/beliefs...so get off my back. I am in no way affiliated with with afore mentioned author...except that one time in Vegas------------uh, nevermind...

21 July 2011

Book Review No. 48

Smokin' Seventeen by Janet Evanovich

Summary: Dead bodies are showing up in shallow graves on the empty construction lot of Vincent Plum Bail Bonds. No one is sure who the killer is, or why the victims have been offed, but what is clear is that Stephanie's name is on the killer's list. Short on time to find evidence proving the killer's identity, Stephanie faces further complications when her family and friends decide that it's time for her to choose between her longtime off-again-on-again boyfriend, Trenton cop Joe Morelli, and the bad boy in her life, security expert Ranger. Stephanie's mom is encouraging Stephanie to dump them both and choose a former high school football star who's just returned to town. Stephanie's sidekick, Lula, is encouraging Stephanie to have a red-hot boudoir "bake-off." And Grandma Bella, Morelli's old-world grandmother, is encouraging Stephanie to move to a new state when she puts "the eye" on Stephanie. With a cold-blooded killer after her, a handful of hot me, and a capture list that includes a dancing bear and a senior citizen vampire, Stephanie's life looks like it's about to go up in smoke. (taken from the book jacket)

First Line of the Book: "My grandma Mazur called me early this morning."


(this is what happens when you Google the word "spoiler")

My Critique: Well I just have to say...I absolutely love the Stephanie Plum series. This isn't my first two-step around the dance floor with Janet Evanovich and it won't be my last. These books have absolutely no scholastic or intellectual merit whatsoever but they are entertaining as all get out. I know without a doubt that every time I pick up one of these books I'll laugh out loud and will be done by sunset. I liked this book more than most other Plum novels because (here comes the spoiler) Stephanie and Ranger finally have sex! And it's about dang time! This book was hilarious and just a bit naughty and I liked it! If you've never read one of these, I highly recommend them. You won't gain some sort of book scholar street cred or anything but you will have a good time.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in the afore mentioned book, Smokin' Seventeen, are the sole views and opinions of the author and have nothing to do with me or my own views/opinions/beliefs...so get off my back. I am in no way affiliated with with afore mentioned author...except that one time in Vegas------------uh, nevermind...

15 July 2011

Top Ten Advantages to Being Barren

People annoy me…they’re nosey…they ask questions. Questions that are too personal and none of their business but they ask them nonetheless. In my early 20s the standard question was “So, when are you gonna get married?” This question annoyed me on so many levels. I mean (a) what if I never wanted to get married? And (2) what if I was desperate to get married but guys weren’t interested?? Huh? That’s just the most nosey and inappropriate question. You never know what a person’s circumstance is so it’s best to keep the personal questions to yourself. The way I saw it was, if you knew me well, you already knew my dating situation and could ascertain the statistical probability of my impending (or not) marriage. If you didn’t know me well enough to already know this and had to ask...then just don’t ask. I finally got to the point to where when people would ask when I was going to get married I’d just say, “I was thinking about Tuesday. Wanna come?” The question stopped annoying me after I was engaged because it became a legitimate question. After all, I was displaying to the world that I was engaged with the ring on my finger so they were allowed to ask without being nosey. But then came the annoying quips about how evil marriage was and that I was giving up my freedom, blah, blah, blah. I mean really? You all know what I’m talking about.

Then after we got married the question transformed into “So, when are you two gonna have a baby?” Seriously people? Is it really any of your concern? I’d just smile and nod and give them some polite generic response. Fast forward a few years and we wanted to have a baby. So we started trying all the traditional ways of accomplishing this. And the question kept coming. Not wanting to give them all the details I’d usually just answer with, “Oh I don’t know, we don’t have any kids yet.” And then the same insulting responses came, “Be glad about that because life stops after you have a kid.” Etc. Are people really that miserable in their marriages and as parents that this is honestly the best advice/response they can give?? Pissed me off to be honest about it. After a while when you want to have a baby but can’t, the question becomes like a slap in the face—it honestly stings a little. I’ll admit, I went through a little immature phase where when people would ask me (and it stung) I’d want to give them a little dose of their own medicine…make them feel just as awful as they had made me feel. So I’d answer with, “I’m unable to have children so thanks for bringing it up.” Usually they’d quickly apologize and drop the matter immediately. But I started noticing something...I always got the same look…the “poor pitiful you” look. The look that says what their mouths don’t, “Oh you poor thing, now you’ll never know what it means to be a mother.” But you know what? It’s okay. I’m fine. Do I still have pangs of jealousy when I see a woman pregnant? Sometimes. Do I still have guilt over not being able to give my husband a biological child…a perfect balance of the two of us? Sometimes. Do I still wish I could see my dimples and Ragan’s eyes on beautiful baby girl? Sometimes.

But I’ve decided to embrace this infertility. I think I’m going to revive the word “barren.” It just sounds so much more glamorous than “infertile.” So here I stand, a barren woman. How biblical of me. No biggie. I’m embracing it. And for all the haters out there, I may be barren, but I’m still an expectant mom-to-be as I await my little Roo-baby (foster child for those of you not in the know). So see, I’m not missing out…no need to give me your best “OMG I’m so sorry” look. It’s all good. And you know what? Being barren has its advantages…

Top 10 Advantages of Being Barren

# 10
It saves you money. Who wants to spend hundreds of dollars a year on birth control?? Forget about it. No pills, no condoms, no doctor’s appointments. This equals more money in your pocket. Advantage, you.

It improves your sex life. When trying to conceive you can only have sex on certain days at certain times in certain positions. It becomes just another of the things on your “to do” list and all romance and passion is driven out of the equation. Forget all that nonsense and be as spontaneous and freaky as you want...just don't break the law. Advantage, you.

You can do anything you want to your body. Go ahead, eat all the tuna you want—no more worries about mercury levels. Sick? Go ahead and take that medicine—no more worries about horrifying birth defects. Go ahead and put those purple streaks in your hair—no more worrying about the dye chemicals seeping through your scalp, making their way to your unborn. Advantage, you.

You maintain control of your body. It’s no secret your body does some crazy mess when pregnant…heartburn, constipation, nausea, hemorrhoids, your feet get bigger, and you crave some really gross junk like pickles and ice cream. So you’re sick as a dog but you can’t (or are afraid to) take any medicine for fear of horrifying birth defects so you are just stuck. And what’s this business about your feet getting bigger—sometimes even a whole size bigger…what about all those shoes you already have?? Go ahead and buy as many shoes as you like without worry. Advantage, you.

You can continue normal activities without your giant preggo belly getting in the way. Go ahead and drive—the steering wheel won’t get hung up on your once-an-innie-but-now-an-outtie belly button. Have no fear at the restaurant when the hostess asks if a booth is ok. Bend over that bathtub or washing machine when cleaning without fear of squishing the human life festering inside you. Go ahead and sleep on your stomach...it's ok. Advantage, you.

And speaking of the belly—if you’re barren you can avoid all the awkwardness that accompanies the total stranger in Target asking to touch your stomach. I mean really, who does that? Why is it ok for a total stranger to feel you up in the check-out line simply because you’re preggo? Reminds me of the time in college when the creepy dude wanted to hug everybody and I told him, “Stop! Under no circumstances are you allowed to touch me.” Yeah, that principle should still apply, baby incubator or not. Advantage, you.

No worrying day and night over the best delivery method for your kiddo. Hospital, home, natural, medicated, water, quiet…my gosh you can drive yourself crazy just investigating all the different ways in which to birth the child. It’s all on your shoulders—this child’s entire future stability relies on your choosing the best (most effective, least intrusive) method of birthing them. And forget seeking advice…because everybody has a different opinion and they’re all super passionate about them and you’ll be looked upon in disdain should you dare choose one method over another. Yeah, good luck with that. Advantage, you.

And speaking of giving birth—you don’t have to squeeze that thing out. I mean let’s just be honest…we’re all thinking it. No contractions, no labor, no birthing? It’s a win, win, win kind of situation. I don’t care what you say, you’ll NEVER convince me that birth is a beautiful thing. It’s not. It’s painful and it’s really super gross. Blood, fluid, placenta, and even poo...yes you heard me, some women even have a bowel movement right there in the middle of giving birth. Uh, no thanks. Sure you get a child at the end but if I can get a child without all those gross parts of birth I’m gonna go ahead and choose that option. Advantage, you.

It’ll save your marriage. No longer do you need to worry about turning into a demon woman saying things to your husband like “YOU DID THIS TO ME!” or “WE’RE NEVER HAVING SEX AGAIN!!” while using language that would make Ozzy Osbourne blush—forever planting a seed of worry in the mind of your husband from that point forward the demon woman is there, lurking just beneath the surface about to burst forth at any second. He'll never look a you the same and he'll always be just a tiny bit afraid of you. Advantage, you.

Which brings us to breastfeeding. It’s gross. I mean it just is. Now you don’t have to worry about people (medical professionals and husbands included) pressuring you into breastfeeding or looking at you in disdain because you chose not to. You don’t have to be subjected to the argument of breast milk vs. formula. You have an automatic cop-out. Score! Advantage, you.

25 May 2011

Book Review No. 47

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

Summary: As a young man, Jacob Jankowski was tossed by fate onto a rickety train that was home to the Benzini Brothers Most Spectactular Show on Earth. It was the early part of the Great Depression, and for Jacob the circus was both his salvation and a living hell. A veterinary student just shy of a degree, he was put in charge of caring for the circus menagerie. It was there that he met Marlena, the beautiful equestrian star married to August, the charismatic but twisted animal trainer. And he met Rosie, an untrainable elephant who was the great gray hope for this third-rate traveling show. The bond that grew among this unlikely trio was ultimately their only hope for survival. (taken from the back of the book)

First Line of the Book:
"Only three people were left under the red and white awning of the grease joint: Grady, me, and the fry cook."

My Critique:
Like many of you, I had never heard of this book until the recent release of the movie. I was interested by the movie but didn't want to see it because I didn't want it to ruin the book for me. I kept checking the library but the books stayed checked out. FINALLY I got my hands on a copy and read it in 3 days (this along with finishing another book). It is a very compelling read. Be forewarned though, this book is an emotional and difficult one to read if you have any sort of compassion for animals. Set in the 1930s, this circus tale includes graphic accounts of certain animal cruelty--heartwrenching but I'm sure nonetheless accurate. At any rate, I would definitely recommend you read this book. I'm curious so I'm heading to the movie tonight since this is the last night it'll be at the theatre.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in the afore mentioned book, Water for Elephants, are the sole views and opinions of the author and have nothing to do with me or my views/opinions/beliefs...so get off my back. I am in no way affiliated with the afore mentioned author...except that one time in Vegas---------------uh, nevermind.

25 March 2011

Book Review No. 46

A Child Called It: One Child's Courage to Survive by Dave Pelzer

Summary: A Child Called It is the unforgettable account of one of the most severe child abuse cases in California history. It is the story of Dave Pelzer, who was brutally beaten and starved by his emotionally unstable, alcoholic mother: a mother who played torturous, unpredictable games--games that left him nearly dead. He had to learn how to play his mother's games in order to survive because she no longer considered him a son, but a slave; and no longer a boy, but an "it." Dave's bed was an old army cot in the basement, and his clothes were torn and raunchy. When his mother allowed him the luxury of food, it was nothing more than spoiled scraps that even the dogs refused to eat. The outside world knew nothing of his living nightmare. He had nothing and no one to turn to, but his dreams kept him alive--dreams of someone taking care of him, loving him, and calling him their son. Through each struggle you'll find yourself enduring his pain, comforting his loneliness and fighting for his will to survive. This compelling story will awaken you to the truth about child abuse--and the ability we all have to make a difference. (taken from the back of the book)

My Critique: Wow. This book left me emotionally depleted. It's non-fiction and I generally don't read non-fiction but I picked this book up since the Hubs and I are almost to the end of our journey to become foster parents. I was hoping this book would give me a good look into the mind of an abused child to better equip me to foster parent a potentially abused child. Be careful what you ask for! This book is a no-holds-barred look at the disgusting things done to Dave Pelzer by his mother. Sick mind games such as starving him for days and even forcing him to vomit after he got home from school to check to see if he had eaten anything at school--and if he had she forced him to eat the vomit--there was alos a time when she forced him to eat the feces out of his baby brother's diaper................and that's perhaps the least offensive things she did. I caution you to be ready for this emotional read but I will tell you that it is well worth reading--I think we could all use a little insight into the true torment a child suffers when they are abused at the hands of the ones who are supposed to be protecting them. Truly eye-opening. Anyone who works with abused children in any way, shape, or form could benefit from reading this. This is book one in a three-part series. I have the second book and will begin reading it soon.

I'll skip my "disclaimer" this time--I don't want to make jokes or seem lighthearted because at this very moment, just seconds after reading the last page, my heart feels as if it weighs a thousand pounds.

24 March 2011

Heart for Haiti

Hey folks! My sweet 7-year-old niece is raising money to build houses in Haiti. She has raised $8,700 so far!! Go visit her blog to follow her progress:


12 March 2011

Breakfast/Brunch Casserole

My good friend Miles was coming over for breakfast today so I wanted to create a new breakfast casserole. This one is most definitely a keeper for breakfast, brunch, or heck, even dinner. Ragan said it's the best casserole I've ever made across the board. High praise. So here ya go:

6 slices bread (*see note below)
1 package Velveeta crumbles cheese
1 lb sausage (I used Jimmy Dean Sage...OMG! it was so good!!)
1 small to medium red bell pepper, diced
1 small onion, diced
2 cups milk
8 eggs
1 pinch cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to taste (about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of each)

*Note: Instead of just boring plain bread, I used a fresh loaf of specialty bread from the local grocery store. I just used about 3/4 of it...just use enough to cover the bottom of the casserole dish...this really added to the dish.

Tear or cut bread into small/medium cubes. Place in bottom of a 13x9 casserole dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Brown sausage, bell pepper, and onion in a skillet. Drain off any grease. Pour over the bread. Top with cheese. In a mixing bowl, combine eggs, milk, salt, pepper, and cayenne until well blended. Pour mixture over bread/sausage/cheese in the casserole dish.

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

That's it. So incredibly easy and super delicious!!

11 March 2011

Red Beans & Rice Recipe (for those of us who don't like Red Beans & Rice)

I don't like red beans and rice...I know, I know...they're revoking my Louisiana citizenship as we speak...because on top of that I also don't like crawfish. *insert collective gasp of the masses here* I don't really know why I don't like red beans and rice...maybe it was because we had them so often for school lunch--"favorite red beans and rice" with that one piece of nasty sausage, turnip greens and cornbread. But if we're gonna go with that theory I don't know how to explain that I do like turnip greens and cornbread.

So there you have it. Not a fan of red beans and rice. I always want to like them but never do. That is until I developed this recipe. I looked at a ton of recipes, asked my dad how he makes his, and then took little bits and pieces from here and there and added my own stuff to make this recipe. I have to say, it was pretty tasty. And to test out the quality I sent some to my friend Eloise (an older black lady who cooks the best soul food) and she said, "You not supposed to cook like this. You white. You people not supposed to make good soul food like this." LOL So there ya have it...if that's not a testament to this recipe I give up...

Red Beans & Rice for those of us who don't like Red Beans & Rice
1 lb bag of small red beans
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
3 or 4 ribs celery, chopped
6 cups chicken broth
1 package sausage (I used a mild andouille and it was delish)
3 bay leaves
2 pinches cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
1 teaspoon minced garlic (or more to taste)
Salt and pepper to taste

Soak beans in cold water for 8 hours or overnight. Any bad beans will float to the top. Remove bad beans and drain water from the rest.

Fill large stock/soup pot with 6 cups chicken broth. Add beans. Bring to a boil then lower to simmer. Add the bay leaves, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper. Pan-fry sausage and remove--do not add to beans at this point. In same pan, add a pat of butter and sauté onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic. Sauté until tender-crisp. Add to beans. Pour 1 cup water (or additional chicken broth) into pan and stir to deglaze (deglaze=get all the yummy goodness hanging out in the bottom of the sauté pan). You can do this step 1/2 cup at a time so you're actually deglazing twice, or you can do it all at once--up to you. Pour deglazed juice into beans (this is all the flavor so don't skip this step!). Add sausage to beans. Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours stirring occasionally. Remove 3/4 cup beans (only beans and veggies...no sausage) and mash with a fortk then add back to the pot (this will help thicken them). Simmer uncovered for 30 more minutes.

Serve over rice with homemade cornbread on the side.

YUM!! (tip: these freeze well so don't worry about making too much)

17 February 2011

The Best Corn Salad Recipe You'll Ever Taste

6 cans whole kernal corn, drained
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 (8 oz) package Velveeta Crumbles cheese
1 package Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing mix
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 bag Chili Cheese Fritos

Combine sour cream, mayonnaise, and Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing mix and stir until well blended. Mix corn, onions, bell pepper, and cheese, then add the dressing mixture and stir to coat well. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Right before serving, add Fritos and stir.

18 January 2011

Book Review No. 45

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Summary: Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire, has survived, even though her home has been destroyed. Gale has escaped. Katniss's family is safe. Peeta has been captured by the Capitol, District 13 really does exist. There are rebels. There are new leaders. A revolution is unfolding. It is by design that Katniss was rescued from t he arena in the cruel and haunting Quarter Quell, and it is by design that she has long been part of the revolution without knowing it. District 13 has come out of the shadows and is plotting to overthrow the Capitol. Everyone, it seems, has had a hand in the carefully laid plans--except Katniss. The success of the rebellion hinges on Katniss's willingness to be a pawn, to accept responsibility for countless lives, and to change the course of the future of Panem. To do this, she must put aside her feelings of anger and distrust. She must become the rebels' Mockingjay--no matter what the personal cost. (taken from the book jacket)
My Critique: WARNING! WARNING!! SPOILER ALERT!!! Here's the thing about me...it's generally not a good idea for me to read series because about half-way in I get annoyed with the characters. As a general rule, this is true. However, after I had read book #2 in this series, Catching Fire, I was super excited because I wasn't fed up with any of the characters yet. However, that all changed in this book. I got aggravated with Katniss--she's very whiney and even a bit bratty if things don't go exactly like she thinks they should go. And her niavety that was endearing and even a bit charming in the first two books is just annoying in this one. She's a war-hardened young adult at this point--18 years old. After the battles she's fought and the things she's seen, she should be over that by now. And she never fully comprehends how powerful she is to the rebels...how much influence she has over them--even though it's been proven time and time again. I guess I just feel a little let down with this book. The climatic scene where she's face to face with President Snow and his impending assination is on the brink, it doesn't sizzle as much as I had hoped. It was bit anti-climatic--which is disappointing because not only is it the climax of this book, but of the trilogy as a whole. Everything has been leading up to this moment and then it's just such a non-event. And then, as if that's not disappointing enough (for real spoilers are coming so stop reading now if you don't wanna know) Gale just kind of drops out of the story. He's mentioned but he never really see him again. After he's risked his life numerous times to save Katniss and/or her family, she can never forgive him because his device may or may not have been indirectly responsible for her sister's death? Give me a break. How selfish can she be??? He didn't kill Prim on purpose--on the contrary...when District 12 was going up in flames he risked his life to save her and Katniss's mother. Whatever Katniss. I think I was just let down because I don't feel like I had closure with Gale. And then we're left with broken shells of Katniss and Peeta--a shadow of who they used to be. The Capitol had the technology to totally erase her scars after her first Hunger Games victory--why couldn't something be done about those burn scars? And that's another thing...her sister gets blown up and then boom...we skip ahead in time. How long? Likely it's been a couple of months. We don't get the satisfaction of seeing the rebel victory. Or the events that take place in between. So I was just let down a little. However, this is still a fantastic trilogy and I definitely recommend it. I'm sure others won't be as bothered by the events in Mockingjay as I was...I tend to over-react sometimes. =)
DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in the afore mentioned book, Mockingjay, are the sole views and opinions of the author and have nothing to do with me or my views/opinions/beliefs...so get off my back. I am in no way affiliated with the afore mentioned author...except that one time in Vegas---------------uh, nevermind.

12 January 2011

Book Review No. 44

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Summary: Against all odds, Katniss has won the Hunger Games. She and fellow District 12 tribute Peeta mellark are miraculously still alive. Katniss should be relieved, happy even. After all, she has returned to her family and her longtime friend, Gale. Yet nothing is the way Katniss wishes it to be. Gale holds her at an icy distance. Peeta has turned his back on her completely. And there are whispers of a rebellion against the Capitol—a rebellion that Katniss and Peeta may have helped create. Much to her shock, Katniss has fueled an unrest she’s afraid she cannot stop. And what scares her even more is that she’s not entirely convinced she should try. As time draws near for Katniss and Peeta to visit the districts on the Capitol’s cruel Victory Tour, the stakes are higher than ever. If they can’t prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that they are lost in their love for each other, the consequences will be horrifying. In Catching Fire, the second novel of the Hunger Games trilogy, Suzanne Collins continues the story of Katniss Everdeen, testing her more than ever before…and surprising readers at every turn. (taken from book jacket)

My Critique: Rarely is a second book in a series equally as good as the first. Suzanne Collins accomplishes that feat in Catching Fire. The action in this book is equally as thrilling as that of The Hunger Games. There are a lot of parallels in this book to anarchy and dictatorship and it would make for a really interesting analytical paper for some of you academic types out there who are so inclined. I absolutely LOVED this book just as much as the first. I couldn't talk about it because my hubby wants to read them and I didn't want to give anything away...which is why I'm not saying much regarding plot here...because I want you to read them. I just got the third book in the series today and can't wait to start reading it...I'm starting grad school again next week and won't have much time for pleasure reading so I'm glad my last three books have been absolutely enthralling.

Don't take my word for it. Here's what others are saying:

"Collins has done that rare thing. She has written a sequel that improves upon the first book." (The New York Times Book Review)

"Whereas Katniss kills with finesse, Collins writes with raw power." (Time Magazine)

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in the afore mentioned book, Catching Fire, are the sole views and opinions of the author and have nothing to do with me or my views/opinions/beliefs...so get off my back. I am in no way affiliated with the afore mentioned author...except that one time in Vegas---------------uh, nevermind.

04 January 2011

Book Review No. 43

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Summary: Could you survive on your own, in the wild, with every one out to make sure you don't live to see the morning? In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister's place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before--and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love. (taken from book jacket)
My Critique: I can't even begin to tell you how much I loved this book! I was skeptical at first because I don't generally enjoy this genre of novel--but--I didn't stay skeptical for long. I was totally enthralled after the first pages. I read it quickly and can't wait to beging the next book in this trilogy. I was intrigued because I had heard this book was a mix of The Most Dangerous Game and The Lottery all in one fabulous package. The Most Dangerous Game is a short story by Richard Connell where a hunter becomes the hunted and The Lottery is a short story by Shirley Jackson where the winner's prize is death. I love those stories so wanted to read this book. The Hunger Games is incredibly well written. And for all you intellectuals out there, don't be put off because this is technically a "young adult" book--serious readers will love it as well. So that's it...I LOVED IT and I don't even like science fiction/fantasy. FYI, they're making this into a movie, to be released in 2013. Can't wait for that!!
This book is amazing...don't just take my word for it, see what acclaimed authors have to say about it:
"The Hunger Games is a violent, jarring speed-rap of a novel that generates nearly constant suspense...I couldn't stop reading." (Stephen King)
"I was so obsessed with this book I had to take it with me out to dinner and hide it under the edge of the table so I wouldn't have to stop reading. The story kept me up for several nights in a row, because even after I was finished, I just lay in bed awak thinking about it...The Hunger Games is amazing." (Stephenie Meyer, author of the Twilight Saga)
DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in the afore mentioned book, The Hunger Games, are the sole views and opinions of the author and have nothing to do with me or my views/opinions/beliefs...so get off my back. I am in no way affiliated with the afore mentioned author...except that one time in Vegas---------------uh, nevermind.

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