Matcha Latte (Hot or Cold)

So Tuesday we reviewed The Key to Midnight, which is set in Japan, so I thought why not have a Japanese recipe? And of course one of my favorites, Matcha Tea!

This recipe comes from my sister blog, JaneAustenRunsMyLife, who LOVES tea.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tsp of Matcha Powder
  • 2 Tsps of Sugar
  • 3 Tbsps of Warm Water
  • 2 Cups of Milk (Hot or Cold)

Directions:

  1. Put the Matcha powder, sugar, and water in a cup or mug
  2. Whisk together to ensure no lumps (use a matcha whisk or electric stirrer.
  3. If doing hot, warm the milk and pour into the mug. If doing cold, just pour the milk in the mug.
  4. Use the whisk or electric stirrer to combine everything until it is a light green color.

Thoughts After Reading:

It was delicious!

For more Matcha recipes, go to Green Tea Frappuccino 

For more tea recipes, go to London Fog Smoothie

For more recipes from JaneAustenRunsMyLife, go to Scottish Oatcakes

For more drink recipes, go to Earl Grey Infused Blueberry Smoothie

For more Japanese dishes, go to C is for Chocolate Oat Crackles

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London Fog Smoothie

Thoughts Before Cooking:

I’m borrowing this recipe from my sister blog JaneAustenRunsMyLife.wordpress.com as she is an avid tea fan.

It originally comes from Pinterest, but the source site is unreachable.

Oh well

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cup of Vanilla Yogurt (I used Greek Yogurt)
  • 1/3 Cup of Almond Milk (I don’t like almond so I used regular)
  • 1/3 Cup of Earl Grey Tea
  • 1 Cup of Crushed Ice
  • 1/4 Teaspoon of Cinnamon
  • 1/4 Teaspoon of Vanilla
  • 1 Teaspoon of Honey

Directions:

  1. Combine all and blend.
  2. Serve.
  3. Top with whipped cream if desired.

Thoughts After Cooking:

This was better than the Fauxccino as I think having the cup of tea added to it better than the ice cubes. It came out a bit watery so I really thinking combining the two would work best. It didn’t come out super sweet with the Greek Yogurt and regular milk, so I added French Vanilla Creamer to sweeten it up. Regular yogurt would have been a better choice, but I know for next time. The cinnamon was very strong too, I would have done way less-just a dash.

Otherwise, it was very good. And a great tea drinking method for the summertime.

For more pinterest recipes, go to London Fog Fauxccino

For more Friday the 13th recipe, go to Basic Hamburger

For more on London Fogs, go to How to Make a London Fog

For more tea recipes, go to Aunt Neal’s Old-Fashioned Tea Cakes

For more drink recipes, go to Strawberry Infused Water

For more smoothie recipes, go to Triple Green Protein Smoothie

London Fog Fauxccino

Thoughts Before Making:

As I just posted a review of a Jane Austen inspired mystery, the best thing to go with it is a tea post! I love tea, and one thing I started drinking this winter is London Fog lattes.

As it is getting HOT here, that is something I will no longer be able to have…at least that is what I thought until I stumbled on this recipe of London Fog Fauxccinos from Traditional Cooking School by GNOWFGLINS on Pinterest.

Ingredients:

  • 8 Earl Grey Tea Ice Cubes
  • 1 Cup of Homemade Almond Milk or Milk of Choice
  • 1 Tablespoon of Raw Honey or 8 Drops of Stevia
  • 1/4 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
  • Whipped Cream (Optional)

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in the blender.
  2. Blend on high until smooth.
  3. Top with whipped cream if desired.

Thoughts After Making:

I didn’t really care for it, I couldn’t taste the tea at all. Maybe I did the ice cubes wrong? Maybe I should add more of the tea in it? I’m not sure. Maybe a mix of liquid tea with the ice cubes would be better. I’ll have to try again and see. Either way:

For more tea recipes, go to Aunt Neal’s Old-Fashioned Tea Cakes

For more drink recipes, go to Festive Pink Lemonade

For more pinterest recipes, go to Irish Blueberry Scones

Aunt Neal’s Old-Fashioned Tea Cakes

Thoughts Before Cooking:

This recipe comes from the cookbook, Christmas Cookies. I was given this years ago for Christmas but never made anything from it.

My new resolution for Spring Cleaning, is use my cookbooks or get rid of them. So I decided to make a cookie from this, even though Christmas is eight months away.

Background on the Cookie:

“These delicious tea cakes were made by an Aunt Cornelia (“Neal) on special occasions and holidays, using hand-churned butter and eggs she gathered from the hen-house. This southern Georgia version dates back to the turn of the twentieth century. “

**Dough has to be chilled**

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup of Butter, Softened
  • 1 Cup of Granulated (White) Sugar
  • 1 Large Egg, Lightly Beaten
  • 1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
  • 3 Cups of All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon of Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Baking Soda
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 1/2 Cup of Milk
  • White Sparkling Sugar

Directions:

  1. Beat the butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy.
  2. Add one cup of sugar, beating well.
  3. Add the egg and vanilla; beat well.
  4. In a separate bowl: combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  5. Add the flour mixture and the milk to butter mixture, alternating between the two. Begin with adding half the flour mixture, then add the milk, and finish with adding the flour mixture.
  6. Mix at a low speed after each addition, until just blended.
  7. Shape dough into two discs.
  8. Wrap the discs in wax paper and chill for at least one hour.
  9. After having chilled, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  10. Roll each disc to 1/4 inch thickness on a floured surface.
  11. Cut with a 3.5 inch round cookie cutter; and place one inch apart on lightly greased baking sheets.
  12. Sprinkle with sparkling sugar.
  13. Bake for 7-8 minutes or until lightly browned.
  14. Cool for one minute and then remove to wore racks to cool.
  15. Makes about two dozen.

Thoughts After Baking:

When I took it out of the fridge it was super hard and I was unsure if it would come out okay.

But after being in my hands it quickly became super sticky, so make sure you flour the rolling pin and the cutting board.

But after all that this cookies were super good. Not too sweet and perfect for tea time.

For more tea cakes, go to Cherry-Pistachio Tea Cakes

For more tea treats, go to Irish Apple Cake with Custard Sauce

For more cookie recipes, go to Rice Krispies Cookies

For more desserts, go to Vanilla Crackle

How to Make a London Fog

What better way to spend a rainy day than with a cup of tea?

Here is how to make the drink London Fog, borrowed from my sister blog.

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As you can tell, this post isn’t about this:

Stay out of the forest!

But this:

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So during the week I go to a coffee shop in the morning to kill an hour before work and while there buy a cup of Earl Grey tea.

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I drank so many that I had enough to get any drink free! I asked the barista what she recommended and they said a London Fog- Earl Grey tea with Vanilla and heated, foamy milk. I tried it and LOVED it!

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I had to have more of it. So I decided to make it myself.

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Ingredients:

  • Tea Kettle/Teapot
  • Earl Grey Tea (I use loose leaf but you can do bagged)
  • Milk
  • Vanilla Creamer
  • Milk Frothier
  • Sugar (optional)
  • Tall Glass
  • Tea Mug or Teacup

Directions:

  1. Put your kettle or teapot on and heat the water.
  2. Prepare your loose leaf tea (one teaspoon per cup of water). [I typically drink out of a…

View original post 191 more words

Cherry-Pistachio Tea Cakes

So of course whenever I do a Jane Austen mystery, I have to pair with something Regency, Jane Austen, or tea party related.

This recipe comes from a Food Network Magazine. 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cup of Pistachios
  • 1/3 Cup of Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon of Baking Powder
  • 1/4 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 2/3 Cup of Powdered Sugar, plus more for dusting
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 6 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, Melted
  • 12-24 Medium Cherries with Stems

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
  3. Pulse the pistachios, flour, baking powder, and salt in a food processor or blender until finely grounded.
  4. Whisk the powdered sugar and eggs in a large bowl, then whisk in the pistachio mixture until just combined.
  5. Stir in the melted butter until just incorporated.
  6. Spoon 2 tablespoons of batter into each muffin cup.
  7. Bake until slightly puffed and just beginning to set, about 8 minutes.
  8. Place 1 or 2 cherries in the center of each cake and continue baking until the cakes feel springy and the edges are lightly browned, 10-12 minutes.
  9. Transfer to a rack and let cool 10 minutes in the pan, then remove from pan to cool completely.
  10. Dust with powdered sugar.

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Thoughts After Baking:

So instead of using fresh cherries I used frozen ones.

Yeah, they did not turn out right. The cake part was good, but the cherries kind of leaked in them.

As soon as cherries are back in season, I am going to remake them and update this post. I’m sure these will be fantastic.

For more Food Network Magazine recipes, go to Garden Pasta Salad with Bocconcini

For more tea party recipes, go to Harvest Pumpkin Scones

For more desserts, go to Strawberry Milkshake

For more dishes featuring cherries, go to Chocolate Covered Cherry Delights

For more cupcakes, go to King Arthur Carrot Cake or Cupcakes

Harlem Tea Room Baking Powder Scones

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Thoughts Before Cooking:

So I was going to make scones for a tea party and pulled out this recipe I had clipped from an old O- the Oprah magazine.

The magazine article is about Patrice Clayton opening up a tearoom in Harlem. This article must be really old though because the website hasn’t been updated since the mid 2000s and on Yelp it appears that it has closed down. 😦 That’s too bad.

The article gives three versions of the recipe: Baking Powder Scones, Cheddar-Thyme Scones, and Raisin Scones. I only had the ingredients for the Baking Powder one, but I will test out the others and post when I do.

This recipe is designed to go with clotted cream and strawberry jam.

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Ingredients:

  • 8 Tbsps (1 Stick) of Cold, Unsalted Butter, Cut into Small Pieces, Plus Extra for Baking Sheets
  • 3.5 Cups of All-Purpose Flour, Plus Extra for Later
  • 4 Tsp. of Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Tsp of Salt
  • 1  1/4 Cup of Milk
  • 1 Egg, Beaten, or Milk for Brushing Scones

Directions:

  1. Preheat the Oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Coat two baking sheets with butter.
  3. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl.
  4. Add butter, using fingertips to combine until mixture takes on texture of fine meal.
  5. Add milk and stir until flour mixture is just moist and dough begins to stick together.
  6. Gather dough into a ball and knead lightly until fully integrated.
  7. Place dough on floured work surface and roll with a floured rolling pin to 3/4 inch thick.
  8. Dip a 2-inch cutter into flour and cut out scones as close to one another as possible.
  9. Place on prepared baking sheets with space in between.
  10. Let stand ten mins, then brush tops with egg or milk.
  11. Bake until golden brown, 10-12 mins.
  12. Serve warm with butter, clotted cream, fruit preserves, or jam.
  13. Makes about 1.5 dozens.

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Thoughts After Baking:

I loved these. They were absolutely delicious.

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They aren’t super sweet, as traditional scones are not, and went perfect with my tea.

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I can’t wait to try out the other two recipes!

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For more scone recipes, go to Crasins Scones

For more recipes, go to Ratatouille

Green Tea Frappuccino

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Thoughts Before Making:

So while Annie Laurence, from Death on Demand, loves her coffee, I am not a fan. I like the smell, but not the taste; I’m a tea girl through and through. Yep, hot or cold I will always drink it.

But there is one other thing besides tea that I will purchase, a Green Tea Frappuccino. I got this recipe from Eugenie Kitchen.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup of Ice Cubes (Less than 10)
  • 1 Scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream
  • 1 Cup of Milk
  • 1 Tablespoon + 1 Teaspoon of Sugar
  • 2 Teaspoons of Matcha Green Tea Powder
  • 1/8 Teaspoon of Vanilla or Vanilla Extract
  • Xanthan Gum (Optional)
  • Whipped Cream (Optional)

Directions:

  1. Add all the ingredients in a blender.
  2. Pulse and blend on high until thorough
  3. Add whipped cream if you want.

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greenteafrap

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Thoughts After Reading:

I thought this was fantastic and just like the one you would get from Starbucks.

fantastic

The Matcha Green Tea is expensive, but much cheaper than buying the drinks from Starbucks as you get waaay more to drink.

joker-yum

You can also substitute the ice-cream with custard, vanilla yogurt, plain yogurt, greek yogurt, etc. If it is plain or greek you might want to add more sugar.

But I thought this was soo good I have made it over and over.

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For more drink recipes, go to Virgin Appletini

For more recipes, go to Garden Pasta Salad with Bocconcini

Crasins Scones

thecatwhocookbook

Thoughts Before Baking:

I was going to a tea party and decided to bring some scones. The recipe in The Cat Who… Cookbook, that I got from my brother blog TheCatWhoWroteaBlog.wordpress.com sounded good but I didn’t have all the ingredients needed.

oopsmybad

So I had to substitute. Let’s see how these turn out.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 Cups of All-Purpose Flour
  • 1.5 Teaspoons Cream of Tartar
  • 3/4 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/8 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 1 Stick of Butter or Margarine, softened
  • 1 Egg, Beaten
  • 1/2 Cup of Crasins
  • 1/4 Cup of Milk
  • 3/4 Cup of Plain Yogurt
  • 1 Tablespoon Cream or Milk
  • 1 Tablespoon of Sugar
  • Clotted Cream
  • Cream Cheese
  • Jam

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°.
  2. Sift or mix the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt together.
  3. Cut in the butter or margarine until the mixture is about the size of small peas.
  4. Add the egg, the crasins, milk, and yogurt to make a soft dough.
  5. Turn out on floured surface and knead gently 4 or 5 times.
  6. Roll out to .5 inch thickness and cut into rounds 3 inches in diameter using a biscuit cutter or drinking glass.
  7. Brush the tops with cream and sprinkle with sugar.
  8. Bake on greased cookie sheet 10-12 mins or until lightly browned.
  9. Serve with butter, clotted cream, cream cheese and jam. Makes 12.

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Thoughts After Baking:

These were pretty good!

joker-yum

They were a little plain, but I like them that way as they compliment the tea better.

tea

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For more recipes from The Cat Who…Cookbook, go to Vegetable Soup

For more “bread” recipes, go to Caraway Rye Bread

For more recipes, go to Caprese Salad

Thorns of Rosewood

thornsofrosewood

Thorns of Rosewood (The Rosewood Series #1) by G. M. Barlean

In the Thorns of Rosewood, by G. M. Barlean, Gloria Larsen is an intelligent and talented reporter, and she’s out to find her birth mother.

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She only knows three things about her mother: she grew up in Rosewood, Nebraska; was over forty when she had her, and gave her up when she was accused of murder in 1974.

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Gloria loves her adopted parents, but has always wondered about what really happened with her family. When Gloria comes across the information that Rosewood is looking for a new editor of their newspaper, she jumps at the chance and heads to the small town, eager to find her “real mom”.

thiswillbeeasy

However it won’t be that easy, as four women were accused of murdering the judge’s wife, Naomi Waterman Talbot. Which one is her mother? Betty? Debbie? Tanya? Josie?

urkelgif interesting hmm

She’s read numerous reports on the women, but they all seem one-sided and eager to paint the women as villains. But were they? Or were they innocents vilified?

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Gloria is eager to find out.

As she looks into whether the women are alive and where they might be, she discovers that they are all still alive and living in a rest home in Lincoln, Nebraska. One hour away.

fantastic

She journeys out to talk to them.

When she gets there she blows the whole thing. She demands to know their story behind the accusations and gets tossed out.

life'snotfairPrincessBride

A few weeks later Gloria calls the rest home back and apologizes telling them the real reason she wants the story, she wants to know her mother. A week later, she gets a call back inviting her to tea.

plotthickens

The women agree to give Gloria a full confession, but only if she promises to publish after their deaths.

What?

Gloria isn’t happy, but agrees.

It turns out that the women were all in the same class together with Naomi and their friend Mari. Each woman tells a portion of their story, starting in 1950 when they first met Naomi.

Their friend Mari used to date Doug Talbot, who was the son of the most influential man in town. Naomi came to town with her red hair, curvy body, low cut tight fitting clothes, and promiscuous ways. She was with Doug, got pregnant, and married him netting her spot on the top of the social circle.

Hate her that's so raven

Naomi had multiple run-ins with the girls as she hated that they wouldn’t play by her rules. She was a master manipulator, inviting Debbie to her reception and then getting her thrown in jail for “assault”.

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Naomi is given a position at the bank as Chief Lending Officer even though she knows zip. She also ends up being Tanya’s boss.  Tanya is very intelligent and has worked hard to have a good position, but Naomi makes everyday at work horrifying. She ends up being demoted to teller.

horrible

Josie is a teacher, in fact the one who is instructing Naomi’s child. She notices that Doug Junior is very lonely and having some issues. She believes that Naomi is the root of it all. When she tries to talk to her about it, Naomi almost gets Josie fired.

Hate her that's so raven

The more time that Gloria spends with the women the more she enjoys their company an who they are. She loves them all, but doesn’t know which she would want as a mother. And she can’t help but wonder if they really did kill Naomi.

HMMM

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Thoughts after reading:

This is a very different mystery as instead of having something happen and you try to solve it, we instead get the whole story piece by piece. It is almost more of a regular fiction story than mystery.

And it was a truly compelling read and near impossible to put down.

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You should definitely read it for yourself.

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For more Midwestern mysteries, go to Strawberry Shortcake Murder

For more stand alone mysteries, go to The Missing Mah Jong Player

For more book reviews, go to Grime and Punishment

The Emperor’s Edge

Emperor'sEdge

The Emperor’s Edge (The Emperor’s Edge #1) by Lindsay Buroker

So this mystery is a little different as it is a fantasy novel. Yep, it has wizards, mystical creatures, and magic.

I-Love-Magic

Sword fights, questing, overcoming obstacles!

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Plus a mystery to boot? What more could you want?

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Anyways so the book begins with our heroine, Amaranthe Lokdon. Amaranthe is a female police officer, which is highly unusual. The empire had just recently allowed women into those positions, but unfortunately for Amaranthe they aren’t promoting them any time soon.

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Just because she’s a woman they won’t let her move on, but her slovenly and always late partner gets bumped up.

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Anyways, Amaranthe is an amazing police woman. She may be small, but manages to hold her own against criminals; whether it is with her blade or subduing them by knocking a shelf of coffee canisters on them.

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One night Amaranthe notices a lot of smoke, which means fire. Her partner wants to just hang out and leave what isn’t their beat alone, but with Amaranthe’s urging they head down to the area. There they spot a merchant being robbed, of which Amaranthe single-handedly is able to stop.

It’s only after she has gotten everything sorted out that she realizes the emperor is there.

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It turns out he was in the area for an inspection of the troops, but took refuge in the shop because of the fire. The young emperor, a boy still really, thanks the police, most ardently Amaranthe.

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He has to continue on his way, while Amaranthe and her partner head over to the place of the fire. The area held a large kiln, the whole building was set on fire with people inside it. Amaranthe finds this strange as the bodies were outside the kiln instead of placed inside, which would make more sense for destroying bodies. In fact, Amaranthe finds the whole thing suspicious.

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Her partner believes that the killer was the assassin, Sicarius. Sicarius was almost a legend with the vast numbers of people he has killed. Except for the fact that he is very real, and currently in town.

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But while everyone is eager to believe that is true, that it is Sicarius’ work, Amaranthe finds it hard to believe. Why would a trained assassin choose that way to murder people? It doesn’t seem right.

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She also finds a lot of strange broken pieces of pottery.

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But before she can investigate further, she is sent on her way as the detective team comes in.

When she gets back to headquarters she finds out that the Commander of the Armies, Hollowcrest wants to see her. He is the highest ranking official in the empire, the man in charge until the Prince is old enough to be King. This is a BIG deal.

Uh-oh-dexter-9352138-275-155

She goes to see him and finds out that he has read everything in her file, and most likely knows more about her life than she does. She was attending the women’s business school, but didn’t finish as her father became sick and died. She didn’t have enough to continue her final year, so instead lied about her age and joined the police force.

After Hollowcrest’s sneering at her decisions, Amaranthe tells him that she wanted more than to make money, she wants to serve the empire. In fact her dream is to become the first female chief.

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Hollowcrest offers her an assignment, that if completed would grant her the promotion she desires.

Only one problem. She has to kill Sicarius.

what have i gotten myself into star trek next gen

Yes the famed assassin. The assassin who has killed over 300 soldiers, over 200 police officers, half a dozen patriarchs from the warrior caste, etc…the list goes on and on.

And Amaranthe has to kill him.

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In fact, Hollowcrest wants Amaranthe to seduce Sicarius and kill him.

Now there are several problems with this. 1) HE’S AN ASSASSIN! I’m sure he has been trained to ignore the wiles of women. I mean come on, that’s the stupidest way I have ever heard someone suggest to take down an assassin!

2) Amaranthe doesn’t flirt. Amaranthe is always too busy and too much of a no-nonsense girl to do that. But what else can she do? Orders are orders.

what have i gotten myself into star trek next gen

As she is heading out and contemplating what craphole her life has just been thrown into, who does she run in to but the emperor.

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The emperor is ecstatic to see her and asks her a ton of questions about what’s she’s up to. Amaranthe tells him that she was just placed on a mission, when she is interrupted by him. The emperor gives her a bracelet for luck and then shows her his designs and plans to include art and science wings at the university. He babbles on for a while and then asks more about her mission. Before Amaranthe call say anything else, the two are interrupted by Hollowcrest.

Hollowcrest sends the emperor on his way, as they have plenty of work, and then remarks to a guard to make sure the emperor receives his “tea” as he is too “perky”.

Sabrina the teenage witch salem dum di dum dum dum

Emperor Sespian returns to his rooms and spends a few minutes discussing his behavior with Amaranthe with his cat. He feels a bit foolish, but you know crushes can do that to people. His ramblings are interrupted by the coming of his daily cup of tea, the only thing stopping his intense headaches and seeming to keep him alive.

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Or is it?

Back with Amaranthe, she has decided to approach one of her acquaintances from school, Misty Masters. Now Misty was the leader of the gang Panthers, owns a very prosperous casino, and had underworld contacts. Amaranthe concocts a story about having a dark, illegal business and needing protection to smuggle goods. She asks Mitsy to pass along a message to Sicarius for her, requesting him as an employee. Mitsy agrees, for the price of a favor.

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That night Amaranthe heads to the meeting spot, where Amaranthe is supposed to offer employment, but in reality murder the assassin.

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He arrives as silent as a cat, with Amaranthe being scared witless. She tells him her concocted story, but Sicarius immediately knows she is lying. Sicarius then takes off. Before Sicarius is gone, she notices the mud on his boots is the same distinctive mud from the area where the fire was. Amaranthe decides that must be where he is staying and heads out there.

Amaranthe goes to the area and starts searching for Sicarius, all the while debating the issue of murdering him in her head. On one hand the emperor has a huge bounty on Sicarius’ head and has killed a lot of people. But on the other hand, he knew she was lying and let her live. Maybe he isn’t all bad? Kill him and be a murderer? Or kill him and have gained a position she rightfully earned?

what have i gotten myself into star trek next gen

As she is setting up a crossbow and lying in wait to kill him, somebody grabs her neck from behind. Sicarius. Amaranthe knows there is nothing she can do, but still raises her arms to protect her. But to her surprise Sicarius stops.

What?

He dumps her on the ground and questions her instead. He grills her as to who sent her and why, asking what she did to anger Hollowcrest.

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What? Why would you ask me that,? Amaranthe asks only for Sicarius to tell her how easily he could have killed her a long time ago. Amaranthe asks him why he stopped, but Sicaris refuses to answer. Amaranthe runs through what could have happened to change his mind, remembering that he stopped when she put her arm up. The arm connected to the wrist that is wearing the emperor’s bracelet.

But the emperor? Doesn’t the emperor hate him? Doesn’t Sicarius want to assassinate the emperor?

urkelgif interesting hmm

Amaranthe asks Sicarius but he tells her he has no intention of killing the emperor. She asks him how he found her and he tells her he has been following her after their previous encounter.

Sicarius is going to leave but Amaranthe stops him. Amaranthe finds the whole exchange the night before odd, especially the remarks about tea. Could it be used to dull the mind? Poison him? Make him more easily controlled? She shares her fears with Sicarius, and her hopes to investigate. Sicarius tells her that her days are numbered. Hollowcrest wants her dead if he sent her to see him, and its only a matter of time until he murders her some other way.

Crap

Amaranthe then does the only thing she can. She asks Sicarius for help. Sicarius pulls out his famous black dagger and hands it to her. He tells her it will be the only way she’ll get in as Hollowcrest will be surprised she accomplished her mission. He warns her that she will most likely not make it back out, but the best thing to do is find the secret passages in the dungeons that will lead her out.

Amaranthe goes to see Hollowcrest, and under much scruntity by his guards is able to make it in. While Amaranthe is waiting for Hollowcrest to join her in his office, she decides to do a little straightening as her OCD is kicking in. While fixing a book she discovers a note:

Hollowcrest, you said the emperor was under your control. Your puppet has’t made any of the changes we-

But the sound of footsteps stopping Amaranthe from reading anymore.

Hollowcrest asks her for details, but Amaranthe counters with questions of her own, as why he would send her. When he refuses to answer, Amaranthe tells him the truth, that Sicarius agreed to hand over the knife.

Hollowcrest is furious that she seduced him too. The “too” bothering Amaranthe as she has no clue what he is talking about. Apparently the emperor was smitten with her, and Hollowcrest couldn’t allow Amaranthe to have a crack at the throne.

What'sHappening?BigBangTheory

Amaranthe denies it and tries to get Hollowcrest to understand how insane he sounds, but Hollowcrest continues, even going as far and yelling at how unfair it is that this boy is ruling instead of him.

They are both interrupted by the emperor, Hollowcrest yelling treason and trying to have Amaranthe murdered. Amaranthe jumps out the window trying to escape.

run-away_monty-python

Unfortunately, Hollowcrest’s men find her and throw her in the dungeon, telling the prince she died in the fall. There Amaranthe discovers that Hollowcrest has ordered that all prisoners be experimented on in order to find better vaccinations to combat diseases. The guards infect her with deadly venom and leave her in her cell. Amaranthe decides to finish the note she nicked earlier from Hollowcrest’s office.

Hollowcrest, you said the emperor was under your control. Your puppet has’t made any of the changes we discussed, primarily to exempt key businesses from taxes in order to foster growth. Forge also demands a voice in the government. The empire is a defunct warrior aristocracy out of touch with the modern world. Your recalcitrance forces us to make threats. If the emperor does not pass the laws we have requested, he will be eliminated during his birthday celebration. The people will not accept you as a ruler. Since Sespian is the only Savarsin left who claims royal blood through both paternal and maternal lines, he is the only legitimate heir. His death will create civil war, giving us the opportunity to back a more amenable project. How do we go forward? The choice is yours. -Forge

Amaranthe knows she must escape and warn Sicarius or else the emperor will die. She can’t get out of her cell, but she does manage to reach the cabinet with the deadly insects, releasing them when the guards return.

takethat

After a very long process and her infection making her delirious, she is able to get out of the dungeon, via the hidden passages, and find her way to the meeting spot. Then the world goes black.

Amaranthe wakes up and discovers Sicarius. Apparently he couldn’t understand her so he brought her to shaman to heal her, and then a warehouse. Amaranthe is astounded he found a magical healer, as it is illegal to deal with magic in the empire. Amaranthe tells Sicarius everything, along with the fact that she has a plan.

Amaranthe has decided the best way to go, in rooting out the emperor’s enemies, is create counterfeit money. With that influx in the market, Forge’s fortunes would become meaningless and Hollowcrest will have to deal with panicked citizens. It was the best way to get both parties to meet with her.

Amaranthe, to Sicarius’ doubt, sets off to gather a team. She first recruits “Books”, an ex professor and currently an alcoholic, whose son was killed by Hollowcrest. She only went to him for advice, but is able to win him over for help.

When running away from enforcers, as she now is a fugitive with a price on her head, she ducks into the nearest shop, it being one for procuring male escorts.

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While waiting them out, she spots a very handsome man, Maldynado, and comes up with the idea that by having him, he’ll be able to get the supplies needed for free. She strikes a deal with him that if her man bests him in a duel, he’ll have to give her two weeks of free service. He agrees, and with Sicarius’ win they have a new recruit.

tcomejoinus

Later she spots a boy reciving a public flogging for having been practicing magic. She offers him Sicarius’ protection for his employment.

With the crew in place Amaranthe sets off to put her plan into motion, but there is still so much she doesn’t know. Can she trust all these men? Will she be able to save the emperor? Will she ever find out Sicarius backstory? What is his connection to Sespian? And many more.

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Thoughts After Reading:

I got this book on BookBub for free and wasn’t sure how I’d like it, but when I read it I LOVED it!!

cluelesstravistwothumbsup!

The characters were great and the dialogue hilarious. It was a like a magical Oceans 11 or something. I say you should check it out.

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For more book reviews, go to Knit, Purl, Die.