Review: A Taste of the Nightlife

After reading Little Red Reviewer‘s interview with author Sarah Zettel and seeing that a paranormal series existed about vamprires and cooking, I decided to check out the Vampire Chef Mystery series. I picked up A Taste of the Night Life from the library this week and immediately started reading it, setting aside the other book I was plowing through. Plowing as in with a horse and plow. Which frankly had more to do with my ever dwindling attention span than the book itself.

Staring at a horses butt for hours on end sounds as awful as dealing with screaming clients in retail. But I could be wrong.

A Taste of the Night Life, is the story of Chef Caine who owns a restaurant with her vampire brother Chet catering to nightblood clientele. The politically correct term for blood sucking vampires. Those walking about during the day (and some who stay awake through the wee hours of the night too), be they witches, werewolves, or just plain humans are called daybloods. Chef Caine is doing her furious yelling bit, like all good chefs, when she is called to the front of the restaurant to deal with an irate customer. The witch Pamela has a problem with a werewolf working the establishment and wants him fired. Because, though the books and movies say otherwise, it is actually the witches and warlocks who fight with the vampires and werewolves and not the latter two among themselves. While dealing with Pamela, another warlock appears on the scene and causes quite a commotion, using fire to make his point and setting off the sprinklers. Effectively shutting down the restaurant for the night before escaping out the door.

After the pushing customers out the door and cleaning up the fire extinguishing foam, Chef Caine sends every one home and heads out to the early morning New York City markets for some fresh produce. She returns to the restaurant to find the fire flinging warlock dead and in her restaurant. So begins Charlotte’s involvement in intrigue, corporate espionage, and a vampire named Anatole Sevarin who was turned by Ivan the Terrible. Charlotte alternately works with and against Brendan Maddox cousin to the dead guy as she seeks to get her restaurant reopened, figure out how her vampire brother Chet is involved in the murder of Dylan Maddox, and keep her roommates from painting her toes scarlet red. She fails at the latter.

There are a lot of ugly feet with pretty nails on the Internet. Just FYI if you feel like Googling scarlet toe nails. You’ve been warned.

Sarah Zettel, besides having a cool last name starting with “Z”, writes an intriguing and decent mystery romp. While her universe is neither complex nor all that different from the rest of the genre, she concentrates her universe building in the kitchen. Some of the dishes Chef Caine cooks made my stomach growl. Charlotte is a fairly put together person, and as a character in a paranormal novel, that is refreshing. She leans on her girlfriends for help and doesn’t just fall into the arms of every werewolf, warlock, or vampire to come her way. At the same time, she is smart enough to know when the strength of a vampire and the cunning mind of a fire wielding warlock may come in handy. Her one blind spot being her brother, Charlotte is for the most part plowing through the hard spots in her life with her head held high and saves the blubbering for when she is alone and no one can watch her break down.

I like Zettel’s prose and pacing. The book is a paranormal mystery, so what you think you are getting you get. I can appreciate that. The story stayed interesting up until the end, and my assumptions about were the plot was going slightly off. So, she kept me guessing until the last page. My only bone is the never ending use of two male romantic figures to create tension in the female character’s love life. Knowing for a fact that there can be a whole lot of tension in a single romantic relationship, I get a little tired of always reading the same cliches over and over. I liked this book for the cooking parts and the mystery parts. I was less interested in the  paranormal universe and romantic entanglements, both of them being like every other series I’ve read. Frankly, it seems as though Zettel set up her series like this on purpose. Spending her time and energy on to food and mystery aspect of the book rather than the romantic side. Which is just as well for me. A fun light-hearted read, A Taste of the Nightlife isn’t going to make you question the meaning of the universe, but it will keep you entertained and wanting more.

Read another review here, here, and here.

Star Wars I Love You, I Know

You can follow my Star Wars I Love You, I know pin board on Pinterest, and get updated on awesome goodies such as the ones below. While many things from Pinterest make their way over to my blog, not everything does. So you should defintely start following me on Pinterest. (FYI, the wedding boards are for a friend’s wedding. Just to make that clear. ;) )

Crochet some Star Wars figurines, or get someone else to do it for you. Just not me, I’m in the middle of three craft projects currently. I’m reading three books, concurrently. And I have to do my dishes some time. So, whatever. [via]

This illustration of C-3PO and R2D2 by Terry Cook is amazing. View more of his Star Wars water color illustrations here. [via]

Mash-up of Star Wars with The Big Bang Theory characters. Wil Wheaton’s face is just awesome. [via]

New Trailer for Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter Trailer

I’m actually getting kind of excited for this movie. It looks like the fight scenes and action will be kick ass. But then, sometimes movie trailers are deceptive. So, we’ll see. I’m also excited to add it to the little fantasy world in my head where Sam and Dean live and where maybe they meet a descendant of Lincoln who is still a hunter specializing in taking out vampires.  This is why day dreaming is so much more fun than working. [via]

On a side note I always have to think Link -oh-lynne to remember how to spell Lincoln. How that helps me, since I’m adding a bunch of letters, I don’t know.

Tasty Tetris

Stephanie at Read in a Single Sitting sent me this delicious link to some tasty treats dressed up as Tetris blocks. Aren’t they grand? You can view more photos and treats over at Mental Floss! Thanks Stephanie! (Click on the pictures to find the original source).

Tetris Brownies

Tetris Pancakes

Tetris Cookies

If you get tired of playing with your food, you can always hack into a building and play Tetris on a building. [via]

Nodds & Nends

This is a real “Iron” man. [via]

If ThinkGeek can’t find the original source, I sure as heck wont (I did try, but there seems to be a lot of inbreeding among all the links).

The pictures below showed up in my Google+ stream with a whole story about how the poor tiger mommy needed some babies to nurse or she would have died. Piglets were sent to her with tiger markings and she’s all better. This is not true. Here is the real cats claw about the Tiger and the piglets. Not sure why people weren’t happy with the real story. I think it’s just as cool.

And a great find on the dresdencodak tumblr, Tom Baker by one of my favorite internet artists!! Woot. I’m not even a Tom Baker fan, per se.

Intereview with Ernest Cline on The Sword and Laze

Starting at 5:15 Earnest Cline author of Ready Player One (read my book review here, the book was awesome!) talks what influenced his book, how he got Wil Wheaton to do the audio reading of the book bringing the voices to life, and how he wants to be on an episode of TableTop on Geek and Sundry. He also talks about the upcoming movie version of the book, and based on his screenwriting experience with Fanboy, he wrote the first draft of the screenplay and is hopeful that because it was bought by Warner’s Bros. the adaptation will be faithful to the original book.


Dreams, Quotes, and Skeletons with Loinclothes

I stumbled across an interesting quote the other day while working on an art project/ birthday present for my sister. Who told me she got my package, but never said she liked my art work. Thanks a lot Megan! I wish my birthday was in June maybe I would get some cool art work as presents instead of, “Oh, do you mind if this is both your birthday and Christmas present?”

A two-fer. Yay?

Yes I mind, I mind very much, but thanks anyway.

Where was I? Oh right, the quote. So I stumbled up on this quote, and it made me sit up a little straighter and think a little harder. (I tend to over analyze things.)

Dreams are illustrations from the book your soul is writing about you. - Marsha Norman

I have some of the most unusual dreams I’ve ever heard recounted. I’m not even kidding. What’s more, I remember nearly every dream that I have, which happens frequently. Like last night for example when my downstairs neighbor came popping into my apartment sans invitation to determine if I had hot water or not. While trying to usher her back out (note in real life my downstairs neighbor is a man, who plays the keyboard without head phones, and even more tragically, SINGS) I was also trying to get my sisters to stop organizing my Barbies in my secret closet under the attic (note I own neither Barbies nor do I have an attic).

How do all these  dolls have sexier little black dresses than I do?

The strangest dream by far I had was when I dreamed that a young girl with blond ringlets and a pink party dress was standing in the middle of the gravel road screaming her head off. I was in the middle of changing a flat tire in pitch black while using my cell phone as a light when I heard her. I turned my head to the left to see what was wrong and she decided at that moment to split in half down the middle of her face and body falling into paint gloops onto the road. Out of her now disintegrated body stepped the skeleton of an old man, with star light bones lit and glowing and a loincloth around his hip bones. His lower jaw hinged open and he spoke to me, “It’s opposite day, the pound cake becomes a wedding cake.” And he walked away.

See the full sketch from artist Adam by clicking the picture.

So I was thinking of all the really weird dreams that I have and this quote when I drift off to sleep one night. And of course, I had a strange dream. Very young adult dystopian in nature. I have these kind of dreams a lot. Maybe I’ll write them all down one day and write a book. Often they are cross pollinated by books I’ve read and this dream is no exception, but there are dreams where I truly have no idea how my brain came up with them. Like the day I ate my cheetoh fingers. Anyway. As I was saying, I dreamt yet another strange dream while napping from a long day and an even longer week. Two jobs will do that to you.

I was a little girl in a blue gingham dress and all the children in my dream were being rounded up for some Bad Reason. We were all in some huge facility, and I knew where they were taking us next was not a good place.  In order to get out I had to find hidden messages in weird places. I had some sort of device put in my wrist that allowed me access to certain places when I scanned it. I gleefully entered a public bathroom and found a hidden message. In an ironing board. In a public bathroom. You heard me.

I was attempting to add the knowledge I knew to the hidden message (since we were all trying to help each other get out of the facility) when a guard entered the room. I slid into a stall, climbed up on the tank which went to the top of the stall. I pulled my feet up and waited, barely breathing. At this point, as happens in many of my dreams, my vision blurred and my range of seeing shrunk. But I was determined to not get caught, so I carefully felt around to position myself to not be seen. The security guard was talking to someone outside, who was trying to bribe him. But like all good bad guys the guard could not be bribed to save the life of a child.

The security guard came in to the bathroom, but I never saw who he had been talking to. I was hiding after all. He began checking every stall, starting with the one furthermost from me.  I was sure I was going to be found out especially when he opened the stall right next to mine. I was terrified he was gong to come to me next and drag me away, but instead he found another runaway. A little boy who stared at me in horror as he was pulled from the bathroom by the guard.

Suddenly I was standing in a slum area in front of a door, two girls were sitting in the door way. One, who looked like Dianna Agron on drugs,  said, “How is a dead b—- standing here?” The other girl who Dianna was slumped against shut her up with a firm hand across her mouth. The other girl and I had a look of understanding pass between us. I leaned forward and said harshly,” I have information to trade for an artifact.” Then I thought, wait how did I get away and end up here, I need to go backwards in the dream and found out.

I woke up.

Marsha, Marsha, Marsha. You don’t know what you’re talking. (I hope.)

I’m hoping Marsha Norman is wrong because, otherwise I have a very very scary soul drawing some horribly fantastical illustrations.

Daily Dose of Doctor Who

Some great internet finds of the week revolve around Doctor Who. What can I say, I said up front I’m a huge fan girl. :D


Chair with a Panda on It, is a lovely wordpress blog about Doctor Who stories. Check it out!

The Bakery at the End of the Universe, by the Baker Who Waited, is all about food and Doctor Who and other things nerdy. Check out some yummy looking macaroons while gazing on Daleks.

Matt Smith got to carry the Olympic Torch. Lucky man!

Here is a delicious Doctor Who mini episode about the 2012 Olympics. Quite delightful! [via]