Never a Dal Moment: A Recipe and a Reflection

-BBC

-BBC

Dal, a lentil-based soup, is a staple of Bengali cooking — at least in my family. It didn’t matter that we grew up in Ohio, about as far from Kolkata and Dhaka as you can get, we had dal with dinner almost every night. Moog dal, musoor dal, cholar dal, toor dal, yellow split-pea dal. You know that whole Forrest Gump riff on shrimp? That was the Bhattacharjee household’s relationship to every kind of lentil in existence. It was one of my late father’s favorite dishes, and my mom liked to joke that he could eat just dal-bhaath (lentils and rice) for every meal. Me? Not so much. I looked upon dal with the kind of horror that middle American white kids saved for their broccoli and Brussels sprouts.

The only way you could get me to enjoy lentils was in khichuri, a classic Bengali comfort food that combines dal, rice, spices and ghee and usually comes with a side of something fried. Let’s face it, fried potatoes on the side make any dish a winner.

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On Grace Draven’s Radiance and Sharing the Light

RadianceCoverWhenever a book is hyped all over the romance blogosphere and Twitterverse, I get a little nervous. Once bitten, twice shy. I’ve bought a few books based on trusted squee and ended up burned. Fortunately, that was far from the case with Radiance, Grace Draven’s first Wraith Kings novel, which came out in January. It’s good. It’s really good. A gentle love story laced with political intrigue, Radiance finds Brishen of the Kai and Ildiko of the Gauri wed to cement an alliance between their countries. Fortunately, they approach this arrangement with practicality and good humor — which carries through the entire tale.

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What’s My Page Again?: February Reads

This past month was all about playing catch up, so I mostly read a mix of books from last year and older releases.

If It Ain’t Love by Tamara Allen (LGBT historical romance, e-short)
A Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop (urban fantasy)
CressEchoes by Laura K. Curtis (out 3/17, romantic suspense, e-book)
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith (paranormal fiction)
The Duff by Kody Keplinger (young adult romance/coming-of-age)
Beautiful Bastard by Christina Lauren (erotic romance)
A Dance With Danger by Jeannie Lin (out 5/1, historical romance)
Scarlet by Marissa Meyer (young adult cyberpunk/SFF)
Cress by Marissa Meyer (young adult cyberpunk/SFF)
Rulebreaker by Cathy Pegau (LGBT sci-fi romance, e-book)

The CW’s The 100 Knows How to Make It Count

the100promoimageWhen The 100, based on the book of the same name by Kass Morgan, premiered midseason in spring 2014 I—like many others—was on post-apocalyptic teen angst overload. Though a longtime supporter of The CW network and its mixed bag of shows, I had a full belly of Hunger Games-eque dystopian fiction and mediocre sci-fi television shows. No thanks, I thought. I’ll pass. It’s amazing how, when you suddenly find yourself with a lot of time on your hands, you start to second-guess that kind of decision. Less than a year after shrugging off The 100, I found myself marathoning 24 episodes in two days. It took me four days total to catch up to the second season as it aired. “I’ll pass” became “I’ll pass out if I don’t find out what happens next.” Why? Continue reading

Booking Forward: January Reads

I kicked off 2015 with some great reads from last year and new books!

trademeLand of Careful Shadows by Suzanne Chazin (mystery/suspense)
Vanilla by Megan Hart (out 2/24, erotic romance)
Trade Me by Courtney Milan (new adult contemporary romance, e-book)
The Lonely Drop by Vanessa North (contemporary LGBT romance, e-short)
Forbidden by Charlotte Stein (erotic romance, e-book)
Treasure by Rebekah Weatherspoon (new adult LGBT contemporary romance, e-novella)
Tell Me Something Good by Jamie Wesley (contemporary romance, e-book)

Older stories I enjoyed included Scandal by Carolyn Jewel and It Takes Two To Tangle by Theresa Romain.

Putting the Cherry on Top: Karina Cooper’s Transmuted

TransmutedTransmuted, by Karina Cooper, in stores today, sees the end of the St. Croix Chronicles, the tumultuous journey of collector (aka “bounty hunter”) and high-society outlier Cherry St. Croix through a steampunk Victorian London. I’ve been a fan of the series from the first book, Tarnished—which my former colleague and always-cohort Regina Small insisted I read—and it’s been wonderful to see Cherry grow and change and to follow the loops and swirls of Cooper’s prose.

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