Friday, December 21, 2007

A few of my favorite things

I'm taking a cue from Deb today, and decided my gift to you would be a few of my favorite things. I do this the end of every November at my blog, so here's a 'Top Picks' version for you all.

What's the best book I read this year? Hands down, it's WICKED LOVELY by Melissa Marr. I can't stop talking about this one; it's that good. It's a young adult hardcover, that should have gone into paperback by now, but it's selling so well, it's still in hardcover. It debuted at #8 on the New York Times list, and then it jumped to #2. What's it about? Faeries. Wicked, dark, lovely, sensuous, malicious, mischievous faeries that will enchant, entice, devour, destroy and own you. An innocent mortal girl can see faeries. That's fine; she can handle that. But if the faeries find out she can see them? Oh, that's not good. Adults will enjoy this one as much as teens. If you like paranormal stories, you MUST read it. The sequel, INK EXCHANGE is due out beginning of next year.

The Girl and I went to a chocolate show about a month ago. (Yes, it was a huge convention handing out samples of CHOCOLATE! I know!) Anyway, while there, I sampled this delicious liquor, VANILLE ROYALE. Num! I don't do alcohol, in fact, I probably drink less than 8 ounces a year. But, I do like to shop in liquor stores around holiday time. I like to look at the pretty bottles. :-) But this time I bought the Vanilla Royale because it is so good. Drink it straight, sipping slowly, or mix with root beer for that great after-the-ice-cream-has-melted-rootbeer-float taste. I brought this to Thanksgiving dinner and it was a major hit with the relatives. I have a bottle in my fridge right now. I feel so...decadent. ;-)

Now, while you're sipping a creamy vanilla liquor, sit back and relax while you listen to this CD. I discovered POINT OF GRACE when I downloaded a copy of Oh Holy Night from iTunes. I loved the quartet's voices so much, I went back and got the whole CD, A Christmas Story. It's so good. The song One King is my favorite. The CD is magical, whimsical, heartfelt and will really get you in the Christmas mood.

Finally, a gift I can actually give to you. My recipe for PAKE. You got it, Pake. That's Pie + Cake = Pake. I think I invented this, but if you've seen this recipe somewhere else...don't tell me. Anyway, here's what you need:

1 tub of Philly Cream Cheese Instant Cheesecake (plain)
1 ready-made Graham Cracker pie crust
bottle of Smuckers Chocolate Magic Shell (it hardens when you pour on ice cream)
Reeses' Peanut Butter Dessert Topping (plastic jar of peanut butter chip sprinkles, and chocolate cookie pieces)

Mix the Reeses sprinkles into the cheesecake filling (reserve some sprinkles for topping). Pour mixture into pie crust. Top with remaining sprinkles and artfully drizzle Magic Shell over all.

That's it! Go forth and make Pake! And have a great Holiday!

Anyone got a great book or CD recommendation? How about a fast, fun recipe to share?


Debra Dixon said...

Hey! Very cool. Already ordered the book from Amazon and printed out the recipe for hubby to make and now I'm off to sample the CD. Excellent!

Betina Krahn said...

Wow, Michele, I feel. . . treated! How wonderful that you are sharing with us your favorites! I'm going to look for the Vanilla Royale and to try the Pake for the family! I'm sure they'll love it!

And as for CD's. . my holiday listening runs toward Mannheim Steamroller, but the kids have introduced me to "The Night Before Christmas" from the Sounds of Blackness. . . which is a great Twin Cities-based group. They're fun and funky and have tons of energy!

Helen Brenna said...

Vanilla liquor at a chocolate show? How dare they! LOL

The rest sounds wonderful, Michele.

My favorite xmas CD is an old 2 disk set from Time/Life called the Spirit of Christmas. Has a varied list of singers, like Johnny Cash, Frank Sinatra, Gladys Knight, and on, singing traditional carols. Wouldn't be xmas at my house without it!

flip said...

Thank you for the recommendations. I should have gotten Wicked Lovely for my 17 yrs. Now I am kicking myself. The liquer sounds yum and I am going to look for the CD.

I read a lot of good books this year. Right now, Coyote Dreams by C.E. Murphy sticks in my mind. It is the third book in a series, Which gets better and better. Murphy has a face paced plot, but it is the character development that gives you a kick in the gut.

Sadly, I haven't listen to any Christmas albums yet.

Michele Hauf said...

I'm going to have to find Sounds of Blackness; I'm in the Xmas music mood!

Here's hoping I've created a few Pake lovers!

Flip, is that a Luna book? I think I have the first in the series around here somewhere...

Betina Krahn said...

Oh, yeah, and for books--
I LOVED "Between, Georgia" by Joshilyn Jackson. Grrreat book. Wonderful women's story on all counts. Really resonated with me.

And Karen Rose's books including the "Die For Me." Can't wait for "Scream For Me."

And our own Cindy Gerard's books: especially "Into The Dark"! And Michele's "Kiss Me Deadly." And Kathy's "Ride a Painted Pony." And Lois. . . I love your "Un" books! Just got into them and I'm soooo enjoying them! Christie, I'm heading for you next! Susie-- is there another contemp on the way? And Helen. . . is it NASCAR next? What month!

I feel so privileged to be hanging out and blogging with such a great group of writers and such a fabulous, juicy group of women!

MsHellion said...

Helen, I know it sounds wrong...but actually, chocolate has vanilla in it. It would taste as, well, chocolaty without gives it that SOMETHING. Like a dash of salt in your candy makes it sweeter.

Couldn't have chocolate without the vanilla.

Wendy said...

I've read Wicked Lovely, it was great and Pake sounds delicious so I'll definitely try to make it, thanks for sharing the recipe! :)

JoAnna said...

My author find this year was a paranormal romance author named Shana Abe. Her first book in the series is called The Smoke Thief, and I am anxiously waiting for the third book to come out the day after Christmas.

The books are about a secret race of dragon/mist people who are living in Europe and have been slowly dying off over the centuries until they find a new race who has been able to survive among the lower species(thats us):)
So,esentially it is about these two races coming together for the first time in centuries, and there just enough good old fashion regency romance thrown in to keep me happy once too.
It is a great read for someone looking for a paranormal, but wants a new take on the whole pararnormal romance genre.
I loved them.

Melissa Marr said...

Thank you for the kind words :) I'm glad you enjoyed Wicked Lovely.