Monday, October 31, 2011

A time for shrieks, a time for tricks,...and a time for treats....




It's hard to believe that it's already that special time of year once again: the night of that infamous date of October 31st...All Hallow's Eve. And while many have already attended halloween parties and picked out their favorite costume to wear this year, I've decided to, once again, pick out a few of my favorite halloween recipes -this year it's all cupcakes- to bake and enjoy while sitting through an awesome marathon of every spooky, scary and funny movie I own. (And believe me, I have plenty.)

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First up, Ghostie Cupcakes:



[Probably one of the most simple, yet still adorable.]

1/2 cup shortening
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons cold water
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour

1. Place 24 cupcake liners in two cupcake tins. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a stand mixer, beat together shortening, sugar, vanilla extract, and salt. Add eggs and coco powder and beat until combined. Slowly mix in water. Add baking soda and flour and mix slowly at first, then faster until the mixture comes together. Fill tins half full using a cookie scoop.

3. Bake cupcakes for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Cool completely on wire racks.

Yield 24 cupcakes. Prep time 15 minutes. Bake time 20 minutes.


Whipped White Chocolate Frosting

Flavoring syrup gives all the flavor of white chocolate
without making the chocolate too dense.
4 sticks unsalted butter, softened slightly
2 lbs powdered sugar
1/2 cup Torani White Chocolate Flavoring Syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
Wilton Black Sparkle Gel
Wilton tip 1A
Plastic spiders, optional

1. With a mixer, slowly beat together all the ingredients. Once combined, turn the mixer to high and beat for 3 minutes until fluffy.

2. Fit a pastry bag or gallon size bag with a Wilton tip 1A. Fill with frosting and pipe in large spirals around cupcakes squeezing at the top for a head. Let cupcakes set for 15 minutes.

3. Make eyes with sparkle gel by holding the bottle against the frosting. Squeeze gently and release. Slowly pull away from the frosting. Repeat with remaining cupcakes. If using, press plastic spiders into frosting to decorate.

Yield 5 cups. Prep time 7 minutes.

(Source: Recipe from Yum Food and Fun for Kids, October 2010 by Laura Flowers.)

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Next, Owls!:



[I couldn't help loving these; they're my favorite animal, and favorite cookie (oreos) combined into one, great tasting, chocolate treat <3 ) This recipe is for both large and mini cupcakes.

· 12 Chocolate Cupcakes 

· 1 Can of Chocolate Frosting 
· 24 Oreos 
· Medium Bag of M&Ms 

1. Separate the Oreos. You might want to microwave them for a few seconds first. Use a paring knife to remove any crumbs from the cream filling. 

2. Using a serrated knife, make 2 parallel cuts 1/2 inch in from the edge on each plain cookie half. The two outside edges will be used for the ears. 

3. Spoon 1 cup of chocolate frosting into a Ziploc bag, press out any excess air and set aside. Spread the remaining frosting on the cupcakes. 

4. Using a little frosting, attach 2 of the large ear pieces, rounded sides in and about 1 1/2 inches apart, on top of each of the cupcakes. Angle the ears slightly away from each other, and allow them to extend about 3/4 inch beyond the edge of the cupcake. 

5. Place two cream-sided cookie halves, cream side up, on the upper half of each cupcake to make the eyes. 

6. Snip an 1/8-inch corner from the bag with the chocolate frosting. Pipe lines of frosting along the length of the cookie ears to cover. Starting with the edge at the top of the cupcake, pipe the feathers with the frosting using a squeeze-and-pull motion. Work inward from the edge in slightly overlapping rows until the section above the eyes is covered. Pipe a few feathers on the edge just below each eye. 

7. Press a yellow M&M in the middle of each cupcake to make the beak. Use a dot of frosting on the cream of each cookie to attach a brown M&M to the eyes of the cupcakes.
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And Finally, Tombstone Cupcakes!:



1 package (18-1/4 ounces) cake mix of your choice
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
24 Milano cookies
1 can (16 ounces) vanilla frosting
1/2 cup chocolate wafer crumbs
1 cup chow mein noodles
24 orange gumdrops
3 green gumdrops, cut into small pieces


  • Prepare and bake cake mix according to package directions for cupcakes; cool completely.
  • For tombstones, in the microwave, melt chocolate chips. Pipe "RIP" onto cookies; place on waxed paper to dry.
  • Frost cupcakes; sprinkle with chocolate wafer crumbs. Carefully insert tombstones into cupcakes. Arrange chow mein noodles to resemble fingers. Use gumdrops to make pumpkins; place in front of tombstones. Yield: 2 dozen.

    (Source)

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    I hope everyone enjoys their Halloween; whichever way they choose to celebrate it. Be it reading a great paranormal romance book, watching movies, snuggling on the couch while devouring some candy or trying to bake some goodies and
    carve jack-o-lanterns (Like I shall try to do this evening.)

    Happy Halloween to all, and to all a spooky night!

    [For those who would love to attempt baking a cake I consider to be on the expert level, or if you would just love to admire the sight, like I did, I'll post that next <3]

Happy Halloween Cake!









Chocolate Orange Layer Cake
with Chocolate Filling and Orange Buttercream Frosting
Topped with Chocolate Ganache
Makes 1 10-layer, 8-inch round cake


Ingredients

FOR THE CAKE
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 lb. sour cream


For the orange layers:
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
1/4 cup fresh orange juice


For the chocolate layers:
1/2 cup boiling water
1/2 cup cocoa powder


Food coloring, if desired


FOR THE CHOCOLATE FILLING
1/4 cup boiling water
1/4 cup cocoa powder
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons milk, as needed


FOR THE ORANGE BUTTERCREAM
6 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
5-6 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
2 tablespoons milk, as needed




To make the cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line up to 10 8-inch round pans with parchment.

In a small bowl, combine the boiling water and cocoa powder; set aside to cool.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

In a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl, as needed. Stir in the vanilla. Sprinkle 1/3 of the flour mixture into the bowl and beat until just combined. Add half of the sour cream, mix until combined, then scrape the bowl. Repeat with the remaining flour mixture and sour cream, mixing until everything is combined.

Divide the batter in half evenly. To one half, gently stir in the cooled cocoa mixture until combined. To the other half, stir in the orange zest and juice until combined. Add orange and/or black food coloring to the different batters, if desired. Place about 2/3 cup of batter into each pan, alternating between the 2 flavors, until you have an equal amount of chocolate layers versus orange layers. Bake up to 3 layers at a time for 10 minutes. Cool completely before stacking and decorating.

To make the filling: In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the boiling water and cocoa; set aside to cool. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and about a third of the confectioners’ sugar. Stir in the cocoa and mix thoroughly before beating in another third of the confectioners’ sugar. Next stir in the vanilla and the remaining sugar, beating until well mixed and light and fluffy. Add more milk, as needed, if the frosting is too thick. Add coloring as desired.

To make the frosting: In a large bowl, cream together the butter and 2 cups of the confectioners’ sugar. Stir in the zest and juice, and mix thoroughly before beating in another 2 more cups of the confectioners’ sugar. Next stir in the vanilla and the remaining sugar, beating until well mixed and light and fluffy. Add the milk, as needed. Add coloring as desired.



Assemble the cake: Stack the cake layers, starting with orange on the bottom. Frost the top of the layer with the chocolate filling. Spread the frosting to about one-inch from the edge of the cake. Next, layer a chocolate layer on top and frost it like you did the orange layer. Repeat that process until you’ve used all of your layers.







Frost the outside of the cake with the orange buttercream. If desired, use leftover chocolate filling to pipe swirls onto the outside of the cake (I did only the sides).


Pour the (room temperature) ganache slowly on the center of the cake, allowing it to spread toward the edges. Do not pour too much ganache on at once, or it will completely cover the cake, rather than drizzling over the sides. As the ganache begins to reach the edges of the cake, use a small spatula, if necessary, to help the ganache begin to drizzle down the sides.



Garnish with fondant pumpkins or other decorations, if desired. (Note: Small, decorative pumpkins can be purchased instead of using fondant, if desired.)


(Source) Bakingdom!

[Bakingdom is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. All writing and photography copyright © 2010-2011 Bakingdom | Darla Wireman. All Rights Reserved.]

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Review: Reclaimed (The Fire and Ice Series) By Kim Faulks




Brief Description:

Natalie Sommers is an armed bodyguard. She has completed two tours in Afghanistan with the Australian Army and carries five different weapon licenses. To say she is a tough, no-nonsense woman, is an understatement. But underneath the tough exterior that she shows, lies the truth that she won’t admit - that she is lonely.

So when she is hired to escort the rich and gorgeous Alexander Ash around the dazzling backdrop of Sydney she can’t help but become seduced by his fixation of her. But it is no accident that Alexander has walked into her life, as he has met her, loved her and fought for her before.

Alexander Ash has sworn he would love her forever, even if it means searching for all eternity…and eternity is a long time for a vampire. The Fire and Ice Series is a tale of undying passion and love as Natalie is torn between two immortals that hold a secret so deadly that it will tear her world apart.

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Summary:

If there’s one thing Natalie Sommers hates most, it’s pompous and arrogant clients who think the term “bodyguard” means “personal slave.” So imagine her displeasure when her boss pairs her up with a client who [reeks, epitomizes, etc.] of arrogance. Natalie knows how men like Alexander Ash work their way into sleeping with any woman, and she’s not fooled. But as fate would have it, she ends up agreeing to guard this man who is currently in need of protection while he is in the city visiting his own clients and taking care of business at a number of appointments. And it just so happens, that he also has a certain function he would like to attend…an All Hollow’s Eve ball. Although, Natalie doesn’t really see the importance in such an event and when she questions Mr. Ash about the meaning of All Hollow’s Eve, his answer is simple, yet interestingly vague; [“It’s when dead things come out to play, Miss Sommers.”]

That same afternoon, and after a therapeutic session at the shooting range, Natalie decides to finally go and meet Alexander at the hotel he’s staying in. It’s not surprising to see a tall thirty-foot or more story building, but it is a little more impressing when she learns he’s rented out the most expensive suite, the Royal Suite, at the top floor which is virtually impossible to book; a fact that now made Alexander Ash even more dangerous to Natalie. A man such as Mr. Ash definitely had money…and a lot of connections.

After sitting in the lounge and discussing the day’s schedule with whom Natalie assumes to be his attractive assistant, the door to Alexander’s bedroom is finally opened, but by three women….not Natalie’s client. Hiding her embarrassment from the sight of the skimpily-dressed women who look like they’re still full of lust for Alexander, Natalie decides then and there that she can’t wait for this “business” to be done with. Once Mr. Ash was showered and dressed, he was ready to leave with Natalie...and thus began the first wave of a new feeling that would soon overcome Natalie’s body.

The two travel by limo, Natalie sitting beside Alexander as they are driven to each destination. Throughout the rides, all she can think of is hoping that this time spent with her new attractive client passes quickly, but as the time does pass, Natalie begins to realize that she is no longer exactly ignoring this man like she originally intended. She begins to form thoughts in her mind of Alexander’s looks, personality, his physique, and she cannot yet understand why something as simple as his smile is making her heart and stomach begin flutter.

As soon as Natalie is so sure it’s just her nerves, something else begins to bother her…a voice; not near or around them, but inside Natalie’s mind and invading her thoughts. Natalie starts to hear it loud and clear inside of her head; it sounds seductive, enticing....and a lot like...Alexander’s voice. Natalie tries to forget about it and blame it all on her suspicions, but can’t seem to get this voice out of her head. She even continues to feel a touch against her skin; the touch of lips and the feeling of breath against her neck. What’s wrong with her? She attempts to force herself to behave and act professionally while with him, but the more time she spends with Alexander, the greater her desires and feelings for him become.

Once the tiring, confusing and definitely eventful day is done with, Natalie and Alexander return to Alexander’s suite. Natalie is both relived and excited to finally get the chance to go home and be apart from Alexander and the growing urges that have been increasing since the day began. But Mr. Ash’s assistant requests that she stay and tells Natalie that Alexander has already prepared a bedroom for her with all the accommodations she may need; because he figured it was a part of her duty to spend nights with the client she is protecting. How lovely. Despite her own intentions, Natalie decides to stay…at least she can take advantage of the upscale room and bed while she’s there. During her stay, Natalie notices that another group of women have decided to join Alexander for the night. Once more she attempts to ignore her perverted thoughts and tries to get some sleep, but all she can seem to focus on are the noises and moans of pleasure emitting from Alexander’s bedroom, all while becoming more unconsciously sexually frustrated for Alexander Ash.

Tomorrow comes and Natalie is still confused about this whole All Hallow's Eve thing, so she questions Alexander, who calmly tells her that he plans to go in costume and has already chosen something for Natalie to wear, as well. The tough red head doesn't have to question him much further, since Alexander happily admits that he is choosing to go dressed as the great Dracula, and he's already selected the perfect outfit for Natalie; Dracula's bride.

The evening certainly takes a turn for the...shall we say "scandalous" (rooms filled with countless aroused guests, plenty of deepening desires, and Alexander openly tempting Natalie further get her to give into him, and dark and mysterious new man appearing at the party driven to search for Natalie and bring her with him.) and by the end of this, it's quite clear that Natalie has made a risky choice is working with the seductive, alluring yet dangerous client that is Alexander Ash.



Final Thoughts:


The first out of her five-part Fire and Ice series, author Kim Faulks brings out the spellbinding passion and eroticism within the twisted love triangle centering the lead, Natalie Sommers. In reading this novella, it was clear that it was a story packed with all sorts of action and also fast-paced. Kim goes into detail with her writing; not just in describing the events of the story, but also with the developments of romance between the characters. 

The story of Natalie isn’t just a single line focusing on her struggle to understand more of what lies ahead for her, but is instead a web of lies and truths that seem to lead to more questions about the role she plays in all of it. Adding more confusion to her story is her constant yearning for love and companionship which could be found in either of the two male leads, who are themselves shrouded in mystery. What seemed to me to be the most intriguing are these two characters themselves. They come across as very complex and mysterious, it is often difficult to know exactly what they’re thinking and what their motives are, that by the end of the whole story, you’d be left wishing for more. The only negative things that I would have to say about this novella is that, at times,there were scenes that seemed a little too fast-paced and I felt there could be a little more description in certain parts so I could get a better understanding. Still, all in all Reclaimed is an intriguing and wonderful read, and with an extremely interesting cliffhanger and plot-twist at the end of the story, you may find yourself quickly choosing to buy the next installment of this series; Seductive Sands.



Check it out at Amazon.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

August Releases!

The month of August is one filled with excitement and joy here at Paranormal Inferno. The weather's gotten hotter, and so have the romance books we've come to adore as we spend our days wondering when the next one will be released. Truly, this month we are not just a year older, but also a year wiser than before. And what better way to celebrate than with a new batch of books with the same steam and zest that we've all been craving for. So, while many of us are dreading returning to work or school from our lovely summer time off, let us remember that new releases will always be there to add good times to our days. And rest assured, there will be plenty more to come!

                                                                                                                                  -Sadie Lorrins

August 2nd:

Storm's Heat - Thea Harrison

Able to wield thunder and lightning, wyr sentinel Tiago Black Eagle has ruled the skies for centuries. His massive build and thunderous power make him one of the wyr's best weapons. And he's the one sent to protect Tricks, heir to the Dark Fae throne, when she's almost assassinated in Chicago. Soon Tiago and Tricks will fall prey to the stormy hunger that engulfs them-a passion that will shake the very foundation of all the worlds.

Retribution - Sherrilyn Kenyon

Harm no human...
A hired gunslinger, William Jessup Brady lived his life with one foot in the grave. He believed that every life had a price. Until the day when he finally found a reason to live. In one single act of brutal betrayal, he lost everything, including his life. Brought back by a Greek goddess to be one of her Dark-Hunters, he gave his immortal soul for vengeance and swore he’d spend eternity protecting the humans he’d once considered prey.
 
Orphaned as a toddler, Abigail Yager was taken in by a family of vampires and raised on one belief—Dark-Hunters are the evil who prey on both their people and mankind, and they must all be destroyed. While protecting her adoptive race, she has spent her life eliminating the Dark-Hunters and training for the day when she meeting the man who killed her family: Jess Brady.
A gun in the hand is worth two in the holster…

Jess has been charged with finding and terminating the creature who’s assassinating Dark-Hunters. The last thing he expects to find is a human face behind the killings, but when that face bears a striking resemblance to the one who murdered him centuries ago, he knows something evil is going on. He also knows he’s not the one who killed her parents. But Abigail refuses to believe the truth and is determined to see him dead once and for all.

Brought together by an angry god and chased by ancient enemies out to kill them both, they must find a way to overcome their mutual hatred or watch as one of the darkest of powers rises and kills both the races they’ve sworn to protect.

August 23rd: [probably my new favorite day! Two...that's right, two releases by Gena Showalter!]

Dark Taste of Rapture - Gena Showalter
 

With one caress, he can give unforgettable pleasure . . . or unending pain. . . .Hector Dean is shaved, tattooed, and totally ripped—and he has a deadly secret. He is a walking weapon, capable of killing with a single brush of his fingertips. Little wonder he’s determined to remain on his own. But Noelle Tremain is a temptation like no other. She is beautiful and rich, with a party girl smile that hides a shocking vulnerability, and from the beginning his sizzling attraction to her is undeniable. For the first time, his stone-cold resistance is tested. But to be with her, he risks destroying her.When a wealthy businessman is murdered in New Chicago’s seediest district, the two are partnered, and there’s no escaping what they both want: each other. Yet neither Hector nor Noelle knows what to fear more—the killer case, or their own lethal desires. . . .

Lord of the Vampires - Gena Showalter 
 

Once upon a time…the Blood Sorcerer vanquished the kingdom of Elden. Only a magical timepiece connects the four royal heirs…and time is running out.… To save their children, the queen scattered them to safety and the king filled them with vengeance.

Nicolai the Vampire was renowned for his virility, but in a twist of fate "The Dark Seducer" had become a sex slave in the kingdom of Delfina—stripped of his precious timepiece and his memory. All that remained was a primal need for freedom, revenge—and the only woman who could help him.

In her dreams, a wanton vampire called to Jane Parker, drawing her to his dark sexuality and his magical realm. But for a human, all was not a fairy tale in Delfina. Jane was the key to Nicolai's memory…but exploiting her meant dooming the only mortal he craved.
August 30th:

Night Falls on the Wicked - Sharie Kohler


Darby lives her life below the radar, moving from town to town in the coldest climates, eluding the demons that hunt her—and never allowing herself to get close to anyone. Now, in frigid isolation, Darby waits tables in a small town and tries to forget who she is—what she is—and the danger forever nipping at her heels. Until a new danger finds her—a lycan pack whose distant howls have the locals on edge. But the call of the lycans has also drawn a handsome, menacing stranger. . . .

For years, Niklas has searched for the bloodthirsty pack that murdered his mother and infected him. Darby is overwhelmed by his raw appeal and dangerous strength. Niklas senses her need and vulnerability . . . and together they give in to the hungry attraction blazing between them—but desire this fierce brings dangers of its own. When Darby is targeted by the lycans, the stakes are higher than ever—and Niklas is not about to lose another woman he loves to their evil bloodlust.


Shadow Highlander - Donna Grant


Sent on a dangerous mission into the shadowy world of the Druids, Galen must find a powerful ancient relic to defeat the enemies of Castle MacLeod. But what he discovers is far more powerful—and far more dangerous. A Druid lass whose beauty is as spellbinding as any magic…Reaghan is the most enchanting woman Galen has even met—and the most enigmatic. She alone is immune to his mind-reading gifts. He alone makes her feel safe and secure. But Reaghan holds a secret power deep inside her that could destroy them both. And if Galen hopes to hold this captivating woman in his arms every night, he must defeat the darkness that draws closer around her every day…


Wings of Fire - Caris Roane


IN THE HEAT OF BATTLE
By night, the winged warrior Antony Medichi fights the death vampires who threaten his world. By day, he hunts the rogue vampires who invade Mortal Earth. But deep in his heart rages the fiercest battle of all - his soul - searing passion for the one mortal he is sworn to protect...the woman he is doomed to love. 

ON THE WINGS OF FIRE
Parisa Lovejoy is so beautiful, and so powerful, that Antony cannot fight the feelings she arouses. But his unexpected love only intensifies his strength as her Guardian—a strength that is put to the ultimate test when Parisa is abducted. Her captor, Commander Greaves, enslaves mortal women for their blood. If Parisa hopes to survive—and ascend—she must forge an even deeper bond with Antony…in the flames of eternity.

Bound by Night - Amanda Ashley


A Vampire's Kiss Is Forever. . .Once featured in a horror movie, the crumbling Wolfram estate is said to be haunted by ghosts, witches, and worse. But Elena doesn't believe a word of it—until she spends the night and wakes up in the arms of a compelling stranger. .

Tall, dark, and disturbingly handsome, Drake is the most beautiful man Elena has ever seen. For centuries, he has lived alone, and Elena is the first woman to enter his lair—and survive. And Drake is the first man to touch her heart and soul. By the time she discovers who he really is—and what he craves—it's too late. Blood lust has turned to love, and Elena is deeply under Drake's spell. But forever comes at a price for each of them. . .

One Grave at a Time - Jeaniene Frost


Having narrowly averted an (under)world war, Cat Crawfield wants nothing more than a little downtime with her vampire husband, Bones. Unfortunately, her gift from New Orleans' voodoo queen just keeps on giving-leading to a personal favor that sends them into battle once again, this time against a villainous spirit.



The Hour of Dust and Ashes - Kelly Gay


To save her sister, she must stop a silent killer. . . .

Protecting Atlanta from the off-world criminals of Underground is tough enough, but now Detective Charlie Madigan and her siren partner, Hank, learn that the addicts of the offworld drug ash have begun taking their own lives. Ash makes humans the perfect vessels for possession, and something or someone is leading them to their deaths. Charlie is desperate to save her addicted sister, Bryn, from a similar fate. 

As New Year’s Eve approaches and time runs out, Charlie makes a deadly bargain with an ancient race of beings and embarks on a dangerous journey into hellish Charbydon with Hank and the Revenant Rex to save Bryn and make it back before it’s too late. Only, for one of them, coming home means facing a fate worse than death. . . .

Friday, July 15, 2011

Review!: After Midnight - Teresa Medeiros


SUMMARY:

Caroline Cabot dedicated her entire life to raising her two younger sisters. So when the time had come for Vivienne Cabot to marry into a better life, Caroline had no qualms whatsoever. Adrian Kane seemed perfect for Viviene in every way, so why would there be any worries about their engagement? Could it be that Caroline’s youngest sister Portia’s suspicions were correct? According to rumors, Adrian’s never seen during daytime, there are no mirrors inside his home, and he has all of his windows closed shut and covered at all times. It also doesn’t help that he lives in a castle that’s older than its senile caretaker. So...does all this evidence prove that he truly is a vampire set to take more that just Vivienne’s innocence? Impossible, yes. But Caroline had to make sure for Vivienne’s sake; she had to take matters into her own hands and uncover more about this viscount without the assistance of her sister, Portia. Trying to convince her not to “help”, however, was a futile task -- especially after receiving an invite to the Kane residence for supper.....a supper that was scheduled for midnight.


Despite Portia’s warnings about Adrian Kane being the dark and brooding spawn of the devil, Caroline still attends the dinner and makes sure Portia goes with her. Once there, Caroline meets a handsome yet enigmatic stranger who seems to attract more than just her attention. He’s personable, intriguing, and speaks to Caroline in such a manner that makes the conversation seem more flirtatious than casual, and Caroline has no problems with that....until she learns the identity of the enticing stranger she’s been speaking to.


Little did she know that this man was none other than Adrian Kane. With no other choice in the matter, Caroline needed to know more about this man to ensure her sisters’ safety, all while keeping her emotions in check. Thus when Adrian sets off to one of his many midnight trysts, Caroline and Portia jump at the opportunity to observe his every move. This chase leads them to the most celebrated - and notorious - pleasure gardens in all of London, Vauxhall Gardens. But things take a horrible turn for the sisters when they notice Vivienne and Aunt Marietta in the crowds and know they cannot risk being seen out on their own like this. Caroline becomes separated from Portia and ventures into the woods to hide, the woods where all couples escape to for their secret and scandalous rendezvous, lover’s lane. But now, Caroline is left alone with nothing to protect herself from perverted dandies looking for a good time.


As she closes her eyes and hopes for a miracle, who better to appear but Adrian Kane. With his help, they escape deeper into the woods, but this escape soon turns into an even bigger trap as Caroline notices Portia, Vivienne, and Aunt Marietta beginning to draw closer and closer to where they are. Now, Caroline has to make a choice....emerge from the shadows she and Adrian are hiding in and risk her family shunning her for this seemingly disreputable act, or stay within the tantalizing lure of the forbidden. In doing so, she’ll have to conform with her surroundings and kiss the man she’s with. However, what seemed to be an innocent diversion for them became something more for Caroline as she finds herself enthralled by his darkness and the secrets that lie within.


Rating: 4 Full Moons

Our Opinion:

Teresa Medeiros definitely began her novel with an interesting prologue that perks interests for the story. Even the first paragraph of the prologue leaves the reader expecting more and wondering what the future developments might include. As an introduction to the first paragraph, the prologue does its job of beginning to reveal what this novel is going to entail: mystery, some danger, and a mysterious gentleman who embarks on midnight escapades each night. The beginning paragraphs of the first chapter were successful in introducing the first two characters of the “After Midnight” cast, while also making the main story an easy thing to decipher: eldest daughter learns of her sister’s engagement, hears the doubts of her youngest sister, decides to investigate without knowing of the consequences she may encounter.


Characters (Main couple, of course) :

Caroline:

A caring, but also quite stubborn woman who’s goals and desires tend to be confused within her own mind. She knows which is and is not the right thing to do, but when put into a certain situation - dangerous or not - her grasp on reality and being a rational thinker seem to disappear, and she allows her feelings and heart to take over [like any normal woman would] Caroline always tries to achieve what she believes is best for her and her sisters, so her heart is certainly in all the right places...she just often believes that it is her body which is in the wrong ones [especially during a festival in the Vauxhall Gardens, or when she finds herself within a certain man’s bedroom....]

Adrian:

Definitely has all the characteristics of a macho man character within a romance novel. He’s mysterious, yet charming, witty, yet also mature and strong-willed. When Medeiros first introduces him to the readers, he is presented as the very interesting, but also somewhat odd stranger Caroline encounters at the midnight dinner party, but as the chapters and story progress it is clear that Adrian Kane is more than just an attractive face...and body.

Romance:
The romance involving Caroline and Adrian was actually quite slow; the plot was more centered on the mysteries of Adrian Kane [Is he a vampire, is he not...is it Vivienne he truly loves, or does he secretly desire Caroline?] There was the flirtation exchanged between the two at the midnight supper, but once Caroline learned Adrian was the man who would soon marry her sister, their relationship quickly became a forbidden one [yet Caroline still held many conflicting thoughts of the elusive Adrian Kane.] Throughout the chapters, their “romance” continued to be interrupted [as would any relationship seen as taboo]. Don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of incidents within the story that aided in the development of Caroline and Adrian’s hidden feelings towards one another [The scene within the Vauxhall Gardens, Caroline being behind closed doors with Adrian, and many others that cannot, and should not, be revealed by this review.] In the end, the choice is entirely up to you. Looking at the story from the point of view of a serious reader, I did enjoy the plot and developments of all the characters. The mysteries and plot turn towards the end did have me appreciating the novel even more; it definitely was a very good read that I bought the next novel (review to come soon) as soon as I finished After Midnight. So, if you’re impatient and just want to get to the steamy goodness...then you might had to skip a handful of chapters to get there. But, if you’d rather search for a book that deals in the dark attractions and conflicts of a romance novel involving vampires, then you can always give After Midnight a try for yourself.


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Favorite Moments:
She inclined her head with a dimpled smile, deciding it wisest to treat his words as the jest they undoubtedly were. “You should be ashamed of yourself, sir. If I confided such a thing, then you would have me at your mercy, would you not?”

“ Perhaps it is you,” he leaned down to murmur, his voice as deep and smoky as a forbidden swallow of scotch whisky, “who would have me at your mercy”

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Caroline sneaks into Adrian’s bedroom in the dead of the night...with a stake, and gets caught by a newly awoken [and not fully dressed] Adrian who confronts her on why she would bring a stake to his room...Caroline’s response?: “I don’t suppose you’d believe that I was going to catch up on some needlework?”

Thursday, July 14, 2011

New Addition to Paranormal Inferno!

Carsen Travis:

           As Paranormal Inferno is getting closer to its one year anniversary, it’s also beginning to undergo some changes; one of those changes is an addition to its management team. So now, I’d like to welcome Paranormal Inferno’s newest administrator...Sadie Lorrins! She’s a full-bread romance enthusiast and an extreme lover of all things fantasy, paranormal and just plain strange. Sadie will be assisting with reviews, monthly releases and any other forms of posting. Of course, she’ll have her own contact information [which can be found on the ‘Contact’ page of the blog] so feel free to check her Facebook page or send her an e-mail – Believe me, she definitely prefers posting and answering blog-related e-mails than focusing on the stresses of the real world. So, once again, thank you for volunteering to become a part of Paranormal Inferno, Sadie, and welcome to the wonderful world of blogging!

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Sadie Lorrins: 

           At the risk of sounding so much like an actress winning a prestigious acting award, I truly have you to thank, Carsen, for having me here. It is an honor for me to work with you as we trek our way into this wacky mix of romance, fantasy, supernatural and weblogs galore. My only hope now is that I do my best for all of you and put my everything into Paranormal Inferno. Feel free to contact me with whatever questions, tidbits, constructive criticisms and stories you have for me and I will get back to you as soon as possible. Once again, hello to all and thank you for your kind welcome!