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Wordy Mama



YA book reviews, cooking attempts and wino reviews from a happy (and sometimes not so happy) mama



Updated: 2018-03-07T10:25:44.039-05:00

 



Book review: The Gardener - S.A. Bodeen

2013-06-11T20:30:07.927-04:00

Don't waste your time with this one. I actually enjoyed the first 3/4 of this book but the ending stunk and I really wish there was more character depth and backstory.



Best freakin' gluten free cookies!

2013-07-05T13:39:05.643-04:00

I just made the best gluten free, dairy free, egg free cookies. The texture is fluffy and moist and awesome!Check it out:1-1/4 cups Bobs Red Mill GF All Purpose Baking Flour1/2 tsp Baking Soda1/2 tsp xantham gum1/2 cup Softened goats butter or other stick butter substitute1/2 cup Splenda1/4 cup Brown Sugar1/2 tsp Vanilla extract1/4 cup Apple Sauce1/2 smashed banana4-6 oz. Chocolate ChipsDirectionsStep 1Combine softened butter, brown sugar, Splenda and vanilla extract in a bowl.Step 2Add apple sauce and banana into mixture and combine.Step 3Add in baking soda, xantham gum, and gluten free flour. Mix until you get a doughy texture.Step 4Stir in chocolate chips.Step 5Drop rounded spoon fulls of dough onto a greased cookie sheet.Step 6Bake at 350 for 12-14 minutes until edges turn golden.[...]



Book review: The Diviners - Libba Bray

2013-06-03T13:46:14.089-04:00

A great novel that ties the fantastic 20s with magic and horror. This is the most unique plot line I've read in a long time and Libba Bray absolutely produces some of the best characters. I wish I was Evie! A definite must read for anyone that enjoys mysteries, YA, fantasy or Libba Bray!(image)



Mid-east meets mid-west soup

2013-05-25T12:32:41.362-04:00

Made this delicious soup that combined my favorite comfort foods all into one: mujadara, bacon, and split pea soup. And it was sooo easy, and gluten/yeast/dairy/wheat free! Here's the recipe:

1 cup dried split peas
1 cup red lentils (or any color you want)
6-7 cups chicken stock
1 vidalia or sweet yellow onion chopped
4-5 handfuls fresh spinach
1/2 tsp cumin
Salt to taste

Toppings:
Bacon crumbles
Feta cheese crumbles

Mix all the main ingredients in a pot and simmer for about 30 minutes or less if you like your lentils a little firmer.
Serve with bacon and feta crumbles! Soooooooo rich and savory and tastes so much more fattening than it really is. :) enjoy!



Easiest shepards pie!

2013-04-08T18:23:56.864-04:00

I made a tasty shepards pie this evening from only 6 ingredients!
1lb ground beef
1 packet of onion soup mix
1 bag frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
1 tomato, chopped
1 bag of Idaho instant potatoes, prepared
Shredded Cheddar cheese

Brown the beef in a pan, drain grease, mix in onion soup mix, 1/4 cup of water, thawed vegetables, and tomato. (I also tossed in a handful of fresh spinach leaves.) Pour mixture in square casserole dish, cover with mashed potatoes. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, top with desired amount of shredded cheese, bake for 5 more minutes. Take out and let cool 10 minutes, DIG IN!

*even my picky toddler ate it!*










My most recent "Must Reads"

2013-02-08T13:48:58.939-05:00

Hi there! Long time no see (or read.) Life was a bit crazy over the holidays with sick babies, sick mommies and daddies, and birthdays. So I'll make it short. Here's my list of books I've recently finished that I think you'll enjoy:1. Across the Universe Trilogy by Beth Revis - This includes Across the Universe, A Million Suns, and Shades of Earth. What a fantastic new trilogy refreshingly unique from the Twilights, Shades of Gray, etc. This may just be the next Hunger Games. Love love love these novels.2. Rotters by Daniel Kraus - Totally creepy but unique plot and thoroughly enjoyable. I had a hard time putting this down and was pleasantly surprised by the ending. This novel definitely satisfied my morbid side.3. Firelight by Sophie Jordan - I really enjoyed this fantasy book and continued to read the sequel Vanish, but stopped there. I love the unique story and the imagery these novels provide. They're a nice merger between "dungeons and dragons' and the real world.4. Delirium and Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver - These were a great beginning to the trilogy that has me anticipating the third (not yet released.) An action packed dystopian plot keeps the reader interested and a believable main character keeps you wanting more.5. The Divergent Trilogy by Veronica Roth - This includes Divergent, Insurgent and Convergent. While I haven't yet read the third novel, I plan to soon. This is another great set of dystopian novels packed with action and a unique take on the future. Definitely sucks you in and keeps you reading.6. A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness - Initially I was thrown off by the historical aspects of this novel, but they became a beautifully intricate part of the plot that by the end I thoroughly enjoyed the little details. A nice take on the supernatural being of our planet. You can bet I will be reading the sequels soon!Start with those... I'm currently listening to The Night Circus and will update you shortly. I'm sure I'm forgetting some I've read and loved, so I'll pass those along as soon as I remember![...]



Long awaited update...

2013-01-27T14:12:50.394-05:00

I've been absent for awhile, I know! First it was holidays, now my babies are sick. So so sorry! In the meantime I've read some good books and had some good wine and I've decided I'm going to simplify things for my readers and myself. When I read or drink something worthwhile, I'll share it. No silly formats. I will just tell you what I liked, why and then you can decide whether you'd like to try it. I will post soon with my most recent discoveries. Thanks for your patience!



Wino Recs: Best Christmas Gift Wines

2012-11-20T13:39:02.637-05:00

Hey everyone! There's nothing better than giving a bottle of wine to someone if you're at a loss for a gift. Pair it with some cute personalized glasses like this: or and you are someone's new best friend. Here are my recommendations for guaranteed crowd pleasers.              For anyone:Apothic White and/or Apothic Red - Both of these are absolutely fantastic blended wines and are a perfect balance of dry and sweet flavors with a wonderfully smooth texture.   For the dessert wine lover:Stonebrook Winery Black Knight - This is an absolutely delicious blend of blackberry wine and brandy. Yes, brandy. Its got a slightly higher alcohol content hence the slimmer bottle. This is probably my favorite drink of all time. I call it liquid gold.For the broke gift-giver:Funf 5 Sassy White - This is a very tasty mildly sweet Riesling. At only around 7 bucks a bottle, this ends up being a really great gift for the giver a little short on cash. You'd never know it was so inexpensive and neither will they.For the adventurous wino:Alianca Vinho Verde - This was surprisingly good in that it has a bit of sparkle to it. A nice blend of what you'd expect prosecco and mild pinot grigio would taste like together this is a great gift for someone who likes to experiment with new flavors and wines.[...]



Review: Rotters - Daniel Kraus

2012-10-30T14:19:12.454-04:00

Rating: 5/5
Summary: When Joey Crouch's mother dies he is sent off to live with his father in a small town Iowa. He soon learns that his father is not only embarrassingly labeled the town "garbage man" but a grave robber. Joey's life takes a dramatic turn when he decides to demand his father's attention and care.
Review: This book was incredibly captivating in a strange way. Its plot is very dark and slightly depressing, even disgusting, at point but still kept me reading. Kraus strings together an unique tale with plenty of twists and turns woven together with completely believable characterization. With as pessimistic and dark as this novel is, I expected to be left feeling depressed but was pleasantly surprised by the ever-so-perfect ending. The story is completely balanced in every way and I was definitely satisfied when I finally finished it. DEFINITELY a must read for any YA, adventure-loving book enthusiast.



Review: Inkheart - Cornelia Funke

2012-10-09T22:52:27.303-04:00

Rating: 4/5
Summary: Meggie and her father enjoy books as most people typically enjoy food. When she discovers her father has a secret ability to bring characters to life simply by reading aloud, Meggie is thrown into an adventure of her own that teaches her about trust, love, good and evil.
Review: I definitely understand why this book was made into a movie. Funke weaves a beautifully written plot with captivating characters and a unique concept that is sure to draw anyone's attention. I suppose this book is intended for a slightly younger audience (say the 11-15 age range) but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I can't deny that little more adult drama and action would have made this a much more interesting YA book for the older crowd, but I still found myself returning to it as often as I could. I would definitely recommend picking this one up if you like the "Harry Potter" adventure type books or if you are looking for a great Christmas gift for the preteen on your list. This is a trilogy but this book doesn't leave you having to read the next books, so for now I am moving on.

Buy it here: Inkheart by Cornelia Funke (Hardcover)(image)



Wino Review: Alaverdi - Tvalebi

2012-10-09T19:19:27.318-04:00

Type: WhiteName: Alaverdi - Tvalebi (Medium Sweet White)Location: GeorgiaReview: Um... wow. I'll be honest, I was hesitant about this wine. No only is the label cheesy and mostly in a language I don't associate with wine, but the idea of a "medium sweet white" printed right on the label screamed cheap to me. Boy was I surprised! This may just be one of my new favorites, if only I could figure out where to get it.... At first taste, this slightly reminds me of a honey mead (and certainly looks like it with a gorgeous rich amber color,) but not really. Its not really like anything I've had before. On the sweeter side, but really not overwhelming, this wine has a mild fruity (almost melon-y) flavor and a smooth finish. You easily could serve this alone, with fruit or you could even pair this with a cheesy dish like alfredo.[...]



Review: Cinder - Marissa Meyer

2012-10-04T14:24:37.542-04:00

Rating: 3/5
Summary: Cinder is a cyborg in a futuristic Earth in which humans are plagued by... well, a plague. Paralleling the classic Cinderella tale, Cinder has stepsisters, a mean stepmother, and a prince she pines for.
Review: I really liked this book for the first three quarters of it, until I reached the ending. I felt like it was just cut off at a crucial point, forcing the reader to pick up the sequel. I get that this is an excellent marketing tactic, but it also leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth and I probably won't pick up the sequel simply because I wasn't blown away by the plot and then put off by the ending. Also, there is one sentence in the beginning of the novel that almost ruined the whole book because anyone smarter than a fifth grader can guess its implications. I won't share this revealing sentence, just in case you decided to pick up this book out of boredom. I did like the characters, although I felt they could have been slightly more relatable and the relationships were shallow. Overall, the dystopian quality of this novel kept me interested, but the plot wasn't strong enough to hold my interest into the sequels.



Review: 2 in one! The Scortch Trials and The Death Cure - James Dashner

2012-09-22T14:02:34.881-04:00

(image) Rating: 5/5, 5/5
Summary: In these two novels we follow Thomas in his adventures through the dystopian future in which our earth is plagued by sun flares and a disease threatening to wipe out the human race. Thomas and his friends are being tested in an effort to find a cure and then escape Wicked to find there are worse things than zombie-like disease-ridden people and hot scortched earth.
Reviews: Oh goodness. Pick up this trilogy, including the first book Maze Runner, as soon as you can. While the first book was a little slow, these two are fantastic and just get better. I definitely enjoyed all three and flew through the last two, finding every excuse to listen to them, even working out! The character intricacies continue to be intriguing and the plot twists keep your eyes glued to the pages (or earbuds glued in your ears) as long as physically possible. I would recommend this to anyone above the age of fourteen or so, simply because there is some frightening violence and imagery that may give preteens nightmares. But if you love dystopian novels, pick this up asap for a fantastically unique plot and unrushed storyline.

Get them here: The Maze Runner Trilogy Collection Set - Maze Runner, the Scorch Trials & Death Cure By James Dashner(image)



Review: Delirium - Lauren Oliver

2012-09-22T13:44:37.883-04:00

Rating: 5/5
Summary: Lena is a young girl about to receive the operation that will cure her from the disease of love, releasing her from a future of pain, losing her mind and ultimately death. When Lena meets a boy on one of her runs, she realizes her worst fear is happening and she is slowly falling in love.
Review: I hesitated to read this book. I thought the concept, that love was a disease to be cured, sounded cheesy and almost impossible to make believable. Somehow, Lauren Oliver did it! I truly loved this book. Not only was the plot utterly captivating, but the characters were wonderful and I couldn't put it down. My absolute favorite part of the whole novel was Lauren's style of writing. She uses a lot of similies and metaphors in her descriptions and somehow it magically makes you experience falling in love right alongside the main characters. The audiobook narrator also did a fantastic job of infusing the personalities of the characters into her voices for each so I suggest listening to this one if you can. I recommend this to everyone and yes, I am starting the sequel as you read this....

Get it here: Delirium(image)



Review: Maze Runner - James Dashner

2012-09-04T14:10:44.015-04:00

Rating: 4/5
Summary: Thomas wakes up in a metal elevator... being lifted into a giant maze... by boys he doesn't recognize... and doesn't remember anything but his name. When Thomas discovers that he and many other boys are left to feed and fend for themselves, not to mention fight off the evil creatures living beyond the walls of their protected glade in the maze, he begins to question why they were all put there in the first place. They boys work to find a way out while trying to keep each other alive and struggling to remember anything about their past lives. When a girl arrives in the metal elevator one day, the lives of all in the maze are thrown for a loop as they are presented with frightening resolution.
Review: This was definitely a unique novel. While dystopian in nature, you don't really realize that it takes place in the future until the very end of the book. Dashner delivers a backwards sort of plot that keeps you interested but thoroughly confused until the end, and then shocked at the clarification made in the epilogue. The character development is easily appreciated and while some of the boys get a little confusing in the beginning, you certainly have your favorites by the end. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who enjoys dystopian, YA, suspenseful novels with new concepts that haven't be written and rewritten like many other current fiction novels.

I will definitely be reading the sequels so keep looking for those reviews coming soon.

Buy it here: The Maze Runner (Book 1) (Maze Runner Trilogy)(image)



Review: Vampire Acadamy - Richelle Mead

2012-09-04T13:57:29.415-04:00

Rating: 3/5
Summary: Rose and Lissa are best friends in addition to being guardian and vampire. When they are brought back to school after having run away normal teenage drama meets paranormal trouble and things get interesting.
Review: I'll be honest, while this book had a lot more intricacy and detail to the whole vampire genre, it didn't thrill me. It almost got borderline nerdy in the paranormal realm. As an avid YA reader, I like all things magical and fantasy, but terms like Moroi and Strigoi scare me off the same way Dungeons and Dragons players do. I liked that the plot was action packed with vampire "stuff" and also normal teenage lust and betrayal. The characters were definitely believable although maybe a bit emphasized for entertainment purposes. All in all, I would recommend this to someone who is a vampire novel fan, but not to someone who is looking for the next Hunger Games or unique concept.



Wino Review: Cavit - Pinot Noir

2012-08-16T21:44:36.310-04:00


(image) Type: Red
Name: Cavit - Pinot Noir
Location: Provincia di Pavia, Italy
Review: This was another gift from my sister-in-law (I think she's got me pegged) and as reds go, I approve. Its got a rich cherry fragrance and some berry undertones in the taste. I can also almost taste a bit of oakey-ness in the dry aftertaste. While not very sweet and very simple in its flavor profile, this red doesn't offend the tongue as an acidic or overly dry wine either. This red is also relatively light so I can see it going great with a steak salad or a ravioli with vodka sauce.



Review: The Scorpio Races - Maggie Stiefvater

2012-09-04T14:10:56.852-04:00

Rating: 5/5
Summary: Puck Connolly and Sean Kendrick are two teenagers who have signed up to race in Thisby's annual Scorpio Races. But these races aren't like any other; all the riders will be astride deadly water horses, except Miss Connolly. In a game where the mounts are likely to kill each other and the jockeys, Puck has decided to ride her petite land horse and risk it all to preserve the life she loves.
Review: I LOVED this book. To be honest, I did not enjoy Stiefvater's previous novel Shiver and didn't have high hopes for this one but was completely surprised. Not only has the writing style and character development improved dramatically to the point of not even reading like the same author, but the storyline kept me utterly captivated. I did not want to stop listening (and yes, I did the audiobook because its was narrated by two great readers.) I really enjoyed her pacing throughout the plot and how she kept the actual race until nearly the end. This made the novel more about the anticipation and relationships rather than a beginning, conflict and resolution. And what a creative concept. I have not read anything in the supernatural YA genre about water horses yet and loved it. Definitely pick this one up!

Buy it here:The Scorpio Races(image)



Wino Review: Chateau Ste Michelle - Riesling

2012-08-11T19:06:14.758-04:00


Type: White
Name: Chateau Ste Michelle - Riesling
Location: Columbia Valley, Washington
Review: This white was given to me and recommended by my sister-in-law, quite rightfully so. Its got a mild apple-y aroma and light flavor. The sweet citrus and fruity notes balance nicely with a very mild dryness that results in an easy wine to pair with almost anything. Its refreshing and simple in its flavor palette so I would probably serve it with something meaty like beef shish-kabobs or even spaghetti with meatballs. 



Review: Gregor the Overlander - Suzanne Collins

2012-08-09T14:15:15.366-04:00

Rating: 4/5
Summary: When young Gregor and his baby sister fall through a grate in their apartment building they plummet down into the "Underland," a world deep within Earth where humans coexist with giant versions of our rats, spiders and cockroaches. The "Underlanders" are a race of humans who, upon meeting Gregor and his sister, decide he is the one prophesied about by the founder of their world and that he will help save them from extinction. Gregor, being a preteen, does not exactly agree.
Review: I originally picked up this book because it was written by Collins, the author of the Hunger Games, expecting it to be similar in style. Oh no... I was quite wrong. While I still enjoyed this little tale, its a much younger novel overall. I would recommend this to a middle-schooler or maybe young high school students. The characters were interesting and the plot was well written and entertaining (as expected of Mrs. Collins) but I couldn't even compare this to her later novels. With lots of tricky interactions and a playful but action packed story, I kept wanting to stay up reading, but overall I could almost call the novel slightly predictable. Definitely would be a great gift for those preteens in your life, maybe not so much for the adults.

Buy it here: Gregor The Overlander (Underland Chronicles, Book 1)(image)



Review: Game of Thrones - George R. R. Martin

2012-08-09T13:52:20.879-04:00

Rating: 4/5
Summary: Taking place in a much older time, this novel centers around the royal houses' battle for possession of the throne. There are essentially good families, such as the Starks, and those with bad intentions, the Lannisters, that continually face each other in confrontations of the physical and mental. Other families play interesting roles in this medieval plot line filled with treachery, deceit, sex, love, murder and mystery.
Review: I am not normally a "kings and queens" novel reader, but with the hit HBO series and all the buzz about this book I felt I had to pick it up. And WHOA, is it heavy. Seriously, the book is very long in comparison to my other YA books. I decided to listen to it on audio to make it go a bit faster (and because the narrator Roy Dotrice is excellent.) Although this is a lengthy and intricate plot, I did enjoy the read, or rather listen, and was enthralled by the detail and incredible character distinction. This may be one of the best demonstrations of multiple well-developed and very different characters, all quite believable, that I've ever read. The scandal and sex in this book keep this from being juvenile and I never felt bored by the story despite its length because its jam packed with many small relationships and dramas. I did not like how it ended, however, because I felt like almost the entire book was left inconclusive. I probably won't read any more in the series simply due to time and interest in other plots, but I feel like someone with a medieval fascination would thoroughly enjoy these novels.

Got it at my local library, but you can buy it here: A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1)(image)



Wino Review: Monte Maria - Torrontés

2012-07-27T16:53:12.509-04:00


Type: White
Name: Monte Maria - Torrontés 
Location: Mendoza, Argentina
Review: A nice mild white with subtle fruity notes and a clean finish. This wine isn't extremely sweet and definitely not too dry for me to enjoy. The description claims some flowery aromas and while I can pick up on some in my initial taste, it doesn't linger. This is another great gift wine in that it will probably please most people and goes great with cheese or fruit for an "afternoon with the girls." There isn't much that impresses me as something new or interesting though so I'm not running out to buy this right away either.



Cooking attempt: Deena Paul Summer Corn

2012-07-23T18:15:10.753-04:00

I call this my Deena Paul Summer Corn because I took some inspiration from one of my favorite southern chefs. I got some fresh corn from the local farmers' market and this is how I wanted to use it. Here's the recipe:

6 ears fresh corn (corn cut off the cob)
3 strips of bacon
1/2 can cream of onion soup
1 tbsp. butter

Fry the bacon in a deep skillet and drain on paper towel. Fry defrosted or fresh corn in bacon drippings for about 5 minutes, stirring to coat. Add butter and continue to fry corn until it begins to soften and brown very slightly. Add cream of onion soup and stir. Cook another few minutes until hot. Top with crumbled bacon! Yum!





Wino Review: Sterling - Pinot Grigio

2012-07-12T16:34:46.111-04:00


Type: White
Name: Sterling Vintner's Edition - Pinot Grigio
Location: California
Review: I'm personally not really a fan of this wine. Its on the dry side as far as Pinot Grigios go and although its description spouts citrus and fruity notes, I taste very little of either. I get a lemony undertone that sits on the back of my tongue and too much tannic flavor than is pleasing. This would be best if you enjoy Pinot Grigios but dislike sweet wines of any kind as its almost completely lacking in that. It would probably taste best with a salty dish to offset the qualities of this wine, like a cheese appetizer or a buttery cajun scampi.

Picked this up at my local Alexandria Carryout!



Review: Fifty Shades Freed - E.L. James

2012-07-08T20:40:52.272-04:00


Rating: 2/5
Summary: And so the sex scandal becomes a love story when Anna and Christian fall in love and get married. They proceed to have slightly interesting non-vanilla sex into their marriage and then find themselves amidst more danger when a few past enemies reenter their lives.
Review: Might I start by saying that I am quite glad I finally finished this series. After having completed all three books, I now feel like I have probably wasted some valuable Audible credits and a few hours on books just not worth my time. The writing style is awful and the sex scenes just got progressively less interesting. Not only does this plot parallel the Twilight series in so many uninteresting and less successful ways, but it also completely drops from a slightly sexy book to a terribly cliché love story with an utterly predictable ending. Lets just conclude by saying if you haven't read these books, don't start, unless you enjoy cheesy dialogue and replica personalities of the Twilight characters with different names. Do not, I repeat DO NOT, waste your time if you enjoy a good book.