Friday, December 18, 2015

Taste of Magic Blog Hop

It's the 3rd Friday of the month and that means Taste of Magic!

Something literary and something culinary.

You can join in the fun here!

For my literary this week, I decided that I would go with something a little different. I'm going to share the two books that I bought for all my friends as gifts this Holiday Season!

In no particular order, I bring them to you:

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi’s wit and will get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.
She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and break the cycle once and for all.

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.
It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.
But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.
There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

Both debuts and both kept me up ALL NIGHT. If you rob me of sleep, I am going to be sharing your books! So, so very amazing. I had to spread the love and the best way to do that is to gift, gift, gift.

Now, on to culinary.

One of my favorite things about Christmas was the trip to Grandma and Grandpa's house. All the cousins, aunts, and uncles spending the day together. Grandma's cooking and baking.

My grandma has been gone for 15 years now. I still have moments where I miss her so much it's a physical ache. So, every year I pull out her old recipes and try to create a little of that magic.

I used to eat these until my stomach hurt because she only made them once a year. (I'm trying to sub coconut oil for paraffin wax this year because it doesn't seem healthy to consume that wax - even though I've been doing it for decades.)

Grandma’s Buttercreams

1 lb. confectioner’s (powdered) sugar
½ stick of butter
¼ c. cream (scant)
1 teaspoon vanilla
Dash of salt

Knead until creamy. Make balls and chill until hard.

Melt together ½ lb semi-sweet baker’s chocolate and 1 inch off box of paraffin wax.

Dip balls in mix while hot and put on wax paper. Refrigerate to harden.

One of the best things about Grandma's old recipes: simplicity. You just cannot beat simple and tasty!

Hop on over to Alexia here and B.E. Sanderson here.