Friday, October 31, 2014

Book Review: Son of a Witch


Synopsis according to GoodReads:
"Liir hid in the shadows of the castle after Dorothy did in the Witch. Left for dead in a gully, the teen is shattered in spirit and body. But silent novice Candle tends him at the Cloister of Saint Glinda, and wills him back to life with her music. 

What dark force left Liir in this condition? Is he really Elphaba's son? He has her broom and her cape - but what of her powers? Can he find his supposed half-sister, Nor, last seen in the forbidding prison Southstairs? Can he fulfill the last wishes of a dying princess? In an Oz under new and dangerous management, can Liir keep his head down long enough to grow up?"

Son of a Witch is the second novel in the Wicked Years trilogy (trilogy? series? I don't know yet). I liked Wicked well enough, but I felt that Son of a Witch was even better. 

It tells the story of Liir, who is rather forgettable in the first novel, and the ups and downs of his coming of age. I won't lie- there are times in this book that I was yelling at him. And fewer times that I was cheering for him. But it all worked out in the end, which made me want to dive right into the third novel (A Lion Among Men) right away.

I love the continuing political commentary, this time on a more personal level regarding compliance vs subservience, piety as political tool, and the nature of truth. I definitely recommend this for anyone who read Wicked, whether they liked it or not. But you can also read it as a stand-alone without losing anything in the plot.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Halloween & Gross Food


I made this for my D&D group, as we run a special Halloween horror game this time each year:

For the Meatloaf Mummy Heads, I followed my meatloaf recipe, but shaped the loaves roughly into a skull shape. Then I cut a raw white onion into roughly eye socket and teeth shapes and pressed them in. Then I draped some bacon strips as wrappings (warning: these may stiffen during the baking process). I baked at 350 for 45 minutes and served them with ketchup and Sriracha "blood".

The Spinach Skulls were for my vegetarian friends, and made by mixing a bag of frozen spinach (thawed and squeezed dry) with 4 eggs and a cup or so of shredded mozzarella cheese. I tossed some garlic salt in, but you can use any seasoning. I divided it into 4 skull shapes, indenting the eye sockets, which I filled with sesame seeds, and pressing onion teeth in. I then baked at 350 for 12 minutes.

The Eyeballs are store-bought mozzarella balls with divets cut into them. I halved tiny green olives (with pimentos) and placed them into the divets. Then I nestled each ball into a strip of prosciutto.

Lastly, the "cave in" dessert was a reference to the fact that our Halloween game characters were a mining rescue group sent to the Mponeng Mine in South Africa after a cave in trapped some miners (and awakened an ancient evil, natch).

This is a pan of brownies, deliberately allowed to go stale (by baking 3 days in advance and not covering them), then crumbed. I tossed them with chocolate rocks and shoved in homemade Autumn Brittle (which turned out sticky like toffee, as I don't have a candy thermometer and had to guess at 'soft ball stage') as the chunks of mined gold.

For those curious, the Autumn Brittle is like Peanut Brittle, only I substituted pumpkin-spice-flavored pumpkin seeds for the nuts, and added a dash of cinnamon to the corn syrup.

And this, my friends, is what the holiday is all about: themed, disgusting-looking, delicious food.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Authors Doing Good

Remember the review I did for Paulette Mahurin's The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap?

She's written a second book based on true events, about overcoming (or coming to terms with) life outside of our control- and, of course, the power of love. So you know it's going to be emotional, hopeful, and a great read for the holiday season PLUS all the proceeds go to the Canine Adoption and Rescue League!

Check out His Name was Ben:

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Nail Files: Bloody Pox

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I have a new goal in life: do manis that make your boss and coworkers squeamish.

Mission accomplished!

These were easy to do- that's 2 coats of ALiquidLacquer The Skeleton's Ring (which is a gorgeous buttery cream with gold flakes)
Then I took a nail art brush and sloppily dotted some Orly Grave Mistake (for my money, the best blood red polish out there). I went first across my cuticle and the sides, and then created some dripping tracks down the nail.

This is nail art that works, even when your hands are shaky. Yay!
I also feel like I must be turning into a zombie, when I look at them.

Eye of the Week: Halloweentown

So you want to wear holiday makeup without looking like you're dressed in costume (or straight off a bizarre high-fashion photo shoot)?

Got ya covered!

That's Printcess Narrative on my browbone, Rawhide all over my lid, Sweet Libertine Thai Silk on the inner 3/4 of my lid (layered over Rawhide for extra orange), and Printcess Villain lining my outer upper and lower lids (done deliberately thick for dramatic effect).

It looks better from a distance, right? 
Subtle, but it's got the colors of Halloween, and that dramatic black lined flair reminds me of a Jack-o-Lantern carving.

It's also official dark enough most of the day to warrant taking photos under this hideous florescent lighting, which casts me in a very yellow tone. Mea culpa.