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life as a semi-crunchy mom

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Damned [Review + GIVEAWAY]

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored as part of the Xpresso Book Tours Blog Tour. To check out what other blogs have posted (including excerpts and interviews), please visit their website. I received this product for free in exchange for a honest and unbiased review.

I love reading books that deal with the supernatural. It’s sort of my guilty pleasure. Earlier in the year, I discovered (and devoured) the novel “Blackwell: Prequel to the Magnus Blackwell Series” written by Alexandrea Weis and Lucas Astor. Simply put, it was a good read. In the back of that novel, there was a teaser for the next novel, “Damned”. I thought that its October release would never get here. But I was finally able to get my hands on a copy, just in time to put me in the Halloween spirit.

So what is “Damned” about?

Over a hundred years after the death of Magnus Blackwell, Altmover Manor sits abandoned.

Lexie Arden and her fiancé, Will Bennet, are determined to rescue the neglected Mount Desert Island landmark. They want to make Altmover Manor their home. But Magnus has other plans.

A spirit bound to his former residence, Magnus finds himself inexplicably drawn to the young woman. She has a supernatural gift; a gift Magnus wants to exploit.

As Lexie and Will settle in, secrets from Magnus’s past begin to surface. Compelled to learn all she can about the former owner, Lexie becomes immersed in a world of voodoo, curses, and the whereabouts of a mysterious dragon cane.

Magnus’s crimes won’t be so easily forgotten, and what Lexie unearths is going to change the future … for everyone.

I enjoyed “Damned”. It contained the same elements of the supernatural as the prequel, but with a likable twist to the main character. In Lexie Arden, I could find a character that I was able to relate to. She was just a bit different and I like that. The second half of this novel also takes us back to New Orleans, which serves as more of a central location (there’s a soft spot in my heart for New Orleans). The story went differently that I thought it would – I love novels that keep me guessing.

Without giving too much away, I liked how the character of Magnus developed over the course of the story and I enjoyed seeing how he interacted with the other characters, including some returning ones from the first novel.

The novel itself was very well written and I appreciate the amount of detail that the authors put into it – not just the characters but in the settings as well. Like its predecessor, it was an easy read that I couldn’t put down until I had finished. I think that I actually stayed up most of the night in order to finish it as soon as I received it.

It is certainly worth a read!

For more about “Damned”, please visit any of the following websites: Goodreads / Website / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

GIVEAWAY!
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Shrimp Po’boys and Remoulade [Recipe]

Being raised on the coast, I grew up surrounded by fresh seafood to the point where I won’t order seafood typically in a restaurant if I have my doubts on its freshness. I hate frozen seafood as it tends to taste a bit… fishy to me.

A few months ago, my grandfather went and purchased several hundred pounds of fresh shrimp at a ridiculously cheap price so all of us in the family bought a few pounds off of him. Robb and I ate a couple of pounds freshly steamed and froze a few more pounds knowing that we would need to make it a point to eat them before they ended up freezer burned.

Enter shrimp po’boys.

The finished product – yum!!

My mom started fixing shrimp po’boys a few years ago when we were just looking for something new for dinner. I absolutely fell in love with them. Our shrimp po’boys are ridiculously easy to fix – fried shrimp, lettuce, tomato, and baguette, but it is our remoulade sauce that elevates the dish.

A remoulade is a sauce that typically mayonnaise-based with the addition of herbs and other spices. Our recipe is super simple but the secret is to fix it the night before to let all the flavors blend and meld together.

Remoulade for Po’Boys

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • ⅔ cup ketchup
  • 3-4 tbsp minced horseradish
  • 1 tbsp creole seasoning
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

Mix together and refrigerate. Best if made the night before.

I used House Autry fish fry seasoning to bread my peeled shrimp. I filled up a pot a few inches with vegetable oil, heated it up on medium high until the surface shimmered.

The finished shrimp. I tested the hot oil with a few shrimp of breading to test that it was ready then added the shrimp – SLOWLY – and fried for a few minutes. We don’t use napkins, so we used a piece of newsprint.

On Robb’s request, we steamed about half of the shrimp using some beer and a blend of Old Bay and a spicy seasoning that we had picked up at Whole Food’s earlier. The steamed shrimp were absolutely delicious and we certainly ate our fill of them!

Steamed shrimp!

Robb enjoying our feast before I fixed our po’boys.

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