Thursday, June 23, 2011

Book Club: Lie With Me, Stephanie Tyler

By: Ronlyn Howe and Kara Conrad

When plotting revenge against a man who has blackmailed you into service for years, what would be your plan? I can pretty much guarantee it would not be to find the man’s daughter and fall head over heels in love with her. In the case of Cameron Moore that certainly wasn’t part of his plan:

"Are you trying to set me up with her? Because I don't think I'm really dating material right now." (This is said right after he ditches his motorcycle over a cliff, kills a man, and then runs up a mountain, only to have his friend show him a photograph of Skylar).

I admit to being a Cam girl right from the moment he landed in my nook, bright and early on release day…twice. I mentioned that to Stephanie via twitter and she says that Cam must have really wanted to spend time with me. I’ll certainly take that explanation.

My co-host, Kara, is a die-hard Jake girl. In fact, it’s because of her forcing Jake on me a couple years ago that I finally started reading Stephanie religiously. But even Kara really liked Cam…and yeah, Skylar, Dylan, Riley and the gang too. The secondary characters and story lines in LIE WITH ME weave a complete and tightly knit world that is both amazing and terrifying.

Cameron and Dylan hatch a plan to break Gabriel Creighton’s hold over Cam by kidnapping his daughter Skylar and using her in something of a reverse blackmail threat. And, in the words of Dylan, be willing to kill her if it gets to that. Cameron sets out to set himself free and finds Skylar in a secluded cabin in a snowstorm. She’s nothing like he thought she’d be and everything he ever imagined he could want. Including the fact that she’s not impressed with him and doesn’t have any trouble telling him so.

“Your personality blows.” How could he NOT fall in love with her?

Meanwhile Dylan goes hunting down Riley, the one person he knows has a file on Gabriel. The one person he had given his heart to…before she shot him. Yeah, that’s got to suck. And to throw yet another monkey wrench into an already messy pile of wrenches; Gabriel Creighton has been kidnapped by Dead Man’s Hand (DMH), a homegrown terrorist organization run by one truly crazy guy who decides that the perfect way to break Gabriel is to kidnap Skylar and torture her in front of dear old dad.
This book has it all: Romance, Suspense, witty dialogue, in depth characters…I could go on and on. I want to thank Stephanie for stopping by today to chat with us about the amazing Shadow Force guys (I’m sure we can convince her to talk about her other guys as well) as well as offer a giveaway for us.

Go to Sonic. Order a Rt. 44 Coke with extra ice.

(Marie says: I love Kara Conrad. I'd like to marry her, except who would cook for us? Oh, and then there's that pesky issue that we're both already married. Sigh.)

African Peanut Stew (yeah, I know it’s not very summery, but I was looking for something with an African inspiration to offer up)
Use chicken legs, thighs or wings for this recipe. They have more flavor and will hold up better with the flavors of the stew than breast meat.
• 2-3 pounds chicken legs, thighs and/or wings
• 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
• 1 large yellow or white onion, sliced
• A 3-inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
• 6-8 garlic cloves, chopped roughly
• 2-3 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
• 1 15-ounce can of crushed tomatoes
• 1 quart chicken stock
• 1 cup peanut butter
• 1 cup roasted peanuts
• 1 Tbsp ground coriander
• 1 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
• Salt and black pepper
• 1/4 to 1/2 cup of chopped cilantro
- Heat the vegetable oil in a large soup pot set over medium-high heat. Salt the chicken pieces well, pat them dry and brown them in the oil. Don't crowd the pot, so do this in batches. Set the chicken pieces aside as they brown.
- Sauté the onions in the oil for 3-4 minutes, stirring often and scraping any browned bits off the bottom of the pot. Add the ginger and garlic and sauté another 1-2 minutes, then add the sweet potatoes and stir well to combine.
- Add the chicken, chicken broth, crushed tomatoes, peanut butter, peanuts, coriander and cayenne and stir well to combine. Bring to a simmer and taste for salt, adding more if needed. Cover the pot and simmer gently for 90 minutes (check after an hour), or until the chicken meat easily falls off the bone and the sweet potatoes are tender.
- Remove the chicken pieces and set them in a bowl to cool, until cool enough to touch. Remove and discard the skin if you want, or chop it and put it back into the pot. Shred the meat off the bones and put the meat back in the pot.
- Adjust the seasonings for salt and cayenne, then add as much black pepper as you think you can stand—the stew should be peppery. Stir in the cilantro and serve by itself, or with simple steamed rice.

Serve over rice or quinoa.


Cookie Base
1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker® sugar cookie mix
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 egg
15 miniature chocolate-covered peanut butter cup candies, coarsely chopped
36 caramels (from 14-oz bag), unwrapped
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated)
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup peanuts
1 container (1 lb) Betty Crocker® Rich & Creamy milk chocolate frosting
1/2 cup peanuts, chopped

1. 1Heat oven to 350°F. Spray bottom and sides of 13x9-inch pan with cooking spray. In large bowl, stir cookie mix, butter and egg until soft dough forms. Stir in candies. Press dough in bottom of pan. Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until light golden brown.
2. 2Meanwhile, in 2-quart saucepan, heat caramels and milk over medium heat, stirring constantly, until caramels are melted. Stir in peanut butter. Heat to boiling. Cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; stir in 1/2 cup peanuts. Spread over warm cookie base. Cool completely, about 2 hours.
3. 3Spread frosting evenly over filling. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts. Refrigerate about 2 hours or until chilled. For bars, cut 9 rows by 4 rows. Store covered in refrigerator.