Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Scorched by Mari Mancusi and MOAR BAKING

In the acknowledgements of Scorched, Mari Mancusi thanks her editor, "who shouted 'I want this book!' after only a one-sentence pitch." That pretty much sums up how I felt about it. It helps that I liked the Blood Coven books, but I think even if I hadn't, the description here would have hooked me. Twin brothers travel from a future destroyed by dragons to the present day---one to destroy the first dragon and the girl who bonds with her and one to destroy them. I mean, this story has got it all---dystopic threat without having to see all the misery, dragons (in whom I'm starting to have more interest these days, and the very best kind of love triangle there is.

Overall, Scorched did not disappoint, though I'm feeling like I need to read more books in the series to get a good feel for everything. Which is totally fine by me, says the author who tends to spin stories out into 7 or 8 book sagas. Scorched had a lot of material to cover---how the future became terrible, how both factions came to be, how the boys traveled back in time. And then we had to have the actual plot---Trinity meeting the dragon egg and both boys vying for possession of it. And, of course, we needed to set up both sides of the love triangle in such a way that both boys are attractive but one boy is clearly superior. (I just hope that Mari Mancusi realizes which boy is the proper one.)  We get a good introduction to all of this, and I'm looking forward to seeing what more happens in the next book.

I've baked three things in the past week, two of which I have pictures of. I didn't take a picture of the red velvet Rice Krispy treats, which is a little sad, because it would provide pictorial evidence of what a fail baker I am. The ones in the picture at Lovin' from the Oven are red all the way through, while mine were more speckled. I don't know if it's because I only used 10 oz. of marshmallows instead of 10.5 oz. or because I let it set too much before incorporating the rice krispies in or because my measuring cups run large so that 6 cups of Rice Krispies was too much for my marshmallow goop. Regardless, I did end up with Rice Krispy treats with some red velvet flavor. So I'm calling it a win.

Last week I made some peanut butter caramel shortbread bars---also known as millionaire bars?---and brought them into work. They went over quite well. The shortbread layer was a little bland, but the other two layers were pretty strong, so I think that was okay. They certainly looked pretty. And today I made salted caramel pretzel-topped fudgy brownies. The salted caramel came out kind of liquidy and very salty (I think maybe I shouldn't have used salted butter? But salty isn't necessarily bad), but I think they're good. I haven't gotten to try them yet, because they're supposed to set in the pan overnight. Plus, I don't want to eat them all before I bring them in to share at work. I was disappointed that we were only having half a snow day (especially since I have to work from home anyway), but at least I get to share my goodies.

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