Hello Adventure, indeed… Welcome to our new blog!

Kerri Maniscalco:

my sister’s boutique is pretty darn fancy. i just had to share!

Originally posted on dLb lifestyle:

Found on lindsayletters.com

Hello and welcome to our Dogwood Lane Boutique blog! We are super excited to share tips with you, ranging from beauty to home and even yummy recipes. Our focus will be on giving you all the tools you need to be the star of your own life. Throw the best parties, cook simple meals every foodie will go crazy over, and do it all in a style that’s uniquely YOU.

We’ll have links to items featured in our shop, or you can email us to purchase anything that catches your eye. As a bonus: Subscribers* will be the first to know everything – from boutique sales to new merchandise to contests. So come on in, pour yourself a cool glass of sweet tea, and enjoy our community. We cannot wait to start our new adventure with you.

xoxo dLb

*You can subscribe to our blog via email or the follow…

View original 40 more words

happy world book day!

just in time to celebrate world book day – behold the new stash!

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset*pets the precious* 

i am really looking forward to reading Nova Ren Suma’s THE WALLS AROUND US this weekend. the cover is GORGEOUS and the inside of the book sounds delightfully terrifying. have you read the blurb yet??

if you’re shaking your head then okay okay okay, i’ll paste it here for your convenience then you can froth at the mouth and grab a copy so we can read and fangirl together. sound good?

THE WALLS AROUND US:

“Ori’s dead because of what happened out behind the theater, in the tunnel made out of trees. She’s dead because she got sent to that place upstate, locked up with those monsters. And she got sent there because of me.”

On the outside, there’s Violet, an eighteen-year-old dancer days away from the life of her dreams when something threatens to expose the shocking truth of her achievement.

On the inside, within the walls of the Aurora Hills juvenile detention center, there’s Amber, locked up for so long she can’t imagine freedom.

Tying their two worlds together is Orianna, who holds the key to unlocking all the girls’ darkest mysteries…

What really happened on the night Orianna stepped between Violet and her tormentors? What really happened on two strange nights at Aurora Hills? Will Amber and Violet and Orianna ever get the justice they deserve—in this life or in another one?

an ode to the precious and some gemma doyle fangirling

my latest book haul!

my latest book haul!

books are such magical things. we can open them and be transported to new worlds, new times, and new adventures. we can laugh and cry and shake our fists along with our favorite characters, and we can fall in love and have our hearts broken with them, too. my ya gothic horror is on submission right now, and i’m in the midst of researching and drafting out my latest project to keep from obsessively checking emails from my agent. i’m also binge-reading a bunch of books and loving every second of this part of work. here are a few titles from my recent book haul that i’ve been super excited about reading.

A GREAT AND TERRIBLE BEAUTY – Libba Bray

ETIQUETTE AND ESPIONAGE – Gail Carriger

A COLD LEGACY – Megan Shepherd

RED QUEEN -Victoria Aveyard

omg the gemma doyle trilogy??? where has it been all my life. so. effing. good. i bought the other two books and am eagerly* awaiting their arrival. i cannot believe it’s taken me so long to get into them.

what debut are you most looking forward to in 2015? and what are some of your favorite creepy books? i need to add some more titles to my (ever) growing list!

*by eagerly awaiting i mean pacing back and forth, cursing the mail for being late, and breaking out into a cold, i-NEED-it-now sweat. the next step will be rocking in the corner and smacking my gums until the precious arrives. not pretty.

xx

Book Review: The Cure For Dreaming

CureforDreaming_finalcover (214x324)Title: The Cure For Dreaming

Author: Cat Winters

Publisher: Amulet

Genre: YA Historical

Rating: Five Stars

Jacket Copy:

Olivia Mead is a headstrong, independent girl—a suffragist—in an age that prefers its girls to be docile. It’s 1900 in Oregon, and Olivia’s father, concerned that she’s headed for trouble, convinces a stage mesmerist to try to hypnotize the rebellion out of her. But the hypnotist, an intriguing young man named Henri Reverie, gives her a terrible gift instead: she’s able to see people’s true natures, manifesting as visions of darkness and goodness, while also unable to speak her true thoughts out loud. These supernatural challenges only make Olivia more determined to speak her mind, and so she’s drawn into a dangerous relationship with the hypnotist and his mysterious motives, all while secretly fighting for the rights of women. Winters breathes new life into history once again with an atmospheric, vividly real story, including archival photos and art from the period throughout.

Review:

i cannot even BEGIN to express how much this book kicked ass. i loved Olivia Mead and how determined she was to remain true to herself, despite living in a timeframe where girls and women were supposed to be quiet and content with staying at home, taking care of the menfolk.

that’s not to say it was a guy vs. girl thing. on the contrary, it was a beautiful expression of how important it is to have EQUAL rights across the board. no matter your race, creed, sex, or sexual orientation, you have the right to live your life freely and with respect.

what an empowering and positive read!

it was bittersweet in a way, too. women have come a long way, but we still have so far to go in the equality department. we need to remember that and cherish each other. being a feminist isn’t a dirty word. being a feminist means being proud of being a woman and all the wonderful layers that come with that. we can be strong and weak and emotional and rational and outspoken or shy. we can be intelligent and sexy and cute and fierce and love to be in the kitchen and STILL be feminists. we can be boy crazy one minute and fighting against discrimination the next. we are a thousand things all rolled into one and we are pretty freaking amazing. strapping guns to our hips and ninja-kicking people doesn’t always equal strength. being yourself in a world that’s constantly trying to force you into one box or another is being just as strong, and is hella brave.

i’ve got a whole new appreciation for the suffragists who’ve paved the way for us to be whoever we want to be and wear our identities proudly. we still have to fight the good fight, but we’ll get there. thank you, cat winters, for shining the light on these amazing ladies and their stories.

Hang out with Cat Winters on the interwebs:

Twitter

Facebook

Pinterest

Website

Savory Gluten Free / Dairy Free Chicken and Dumpling Soup

homemade gluten free/dairy free chicken & dumpling soup.

Credit to Write.Eat.Repeat

Credit to Write.Eat.Repeat

i looooove making savory soups in the winter time. there’s nothing quite like having the house smell so aromatic while it’s blustery outside. there’s just something so comforting about a nice bowl of soup after a hectic day. if you’re short on time, but want something yummy then this is one of those set-it-and-forget-it meals that’s absolutely perfect.

cook it in a large pot on the stove top, or toss it in the slow cooker and go about your busy day. add a quick salad, pour yourself a glass of wine, grab your favorite book, and you’re really set!

here’s what you’ll need:

ingredients:

4 carrots, chopped

3 stalks celery, sliced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 yellow onion, diced

1 c peas

1 tbsp soy free butter

2 large chicken breasts

1/4 c. white wine

3-4 tbsp sage

2 tbsp thyme

1 tsp rosemary

4 c Chicken broth

Salt & pepper

2 c GF flour

1/2 c soy milk

Directions:

Cook onions, garlic & butter until clear & add white wine.

Add celery & carrots w/some broth (just enough to cover them while they boil).

Sauté chicken w/garlic & onion powder & sage with a little olive oil, chop into bite-sized pieces & add to stew.

Add remaining seasonings & rest of broth.

Cook on med heat 1-2 hrs (or more).

Add dumplings (2 c gf flour/ 1/2 c soy milk, 1 inch balls) cook covered for 30 mins and enjoy.

*GF dumpling trick – i loosely mold them into 1 inch balls, it’s okay if they want to fall apart. they come out a little more fluffy when they’re not tightly compacted.

serves 6.

this will be the last recipe for a little while, i’ll be posting more writerly things soon. hope you’re all staying warm and writing up a storm! xoxo

Red Wine Braised Short Ribs with Roasted Garlic and Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes, and Seared Scallops and Balsamic Reduction. Gluten free / dairy free

Homemade Anniversary DinnerHaving severe food allergies is hard, especially when trying to dine out. I’m allergic to gluten and (cow milk) dairy, and both are hidden in the most unexpected places. Some broths and stocks contain whey, certain whiskey sour mixes contain whey, (what the heck?!) and tons of dressings and sauces contain wheat. Even if I tell a waiter or waitress that I have a dairy and gluten allergy, there’s no guarantee that I won’t be accidentally poisoned.

And I can’t blame them. Who would even THINK to look in beef broth for milk?

Anaphylaxis is nothing to mess around with. Instead of focusing on everything I can’t eat, I like to think of all the yummy things I get to make from scratch at home.

The following recipe was something I made for our anniversary dinner, and it was better than we could have hoped for. Dairy free, gluten free, and tasty beyond measure. Take THAT allergies. I hope you enjoy it!

Red wine braised short ribs and roasted garlic, goat cheese, and chive mashed potatoes, with seared scallops and balsamic reduction.

Braised short ribs:

1 onion, diced

1 cup carrots, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups red wine

2 cups chicken broth

Shake of rosemary

2 tbsp onion powder

2 tbsp garlic powder

salt and pepper to taste

Sear short ribs on all sides until brown (about 2 mins), then remove from pan and rest in oven safe baking dish. Sauté veggies in meat drippings with a hit of olive oil until soft. Add red wine and one cup of chicken broth, seasoning, then cover and cook for ten minutes, or until slightly reduced. Add veggies and second cup of chicken broth to meat, cover tightly with tinfoil, and cook for 1 hour at 350, then 375 for one more hour.


Roasted garlic mashed potatoes:

6 red potatoes (they’ve got a smaller starch content)

1 whole head of garlic

3 tbsps dried chives (or fresh if you’ve got them)

1/2 cup soy sour cream

4 tbsp soy-free butter (I like using the red earth balance brand, you don’t want to over do it with too much soy, so I change up ingredients for soy free when I can.)

2 tsps garlic powder

1/2 cup goat cheese

salt

Scrub potatoes and leave the skin on. Cut into inch or half inch chunks so they cook faster. Boil in salted water until you can stick them easily with a fork, then drain the water and add them to a bowl. I roast my garlic in the oven while the meat is cooking (about 45-50 mins while it’s set at 350), then carefully remove each clove and mash in a small bowl with chives.

Next I mash the potatoes and add butter, soy sour cream, and garlic powder. Once it’s the consistency I like, I mix the roasted garlic and chives in, making sure it’s mixed throughly. Finally, mix in goat cheese and taste. Adjust salt and sour cream as desired.


Seared scallops:

1 lb sea scallops

salt and pepper to taste

olive oil

Make sure your scallops are room temp to start with, then pat dry with paper towel on both sides. Add a nice amount of salt and pepper to cover the tops and bottoms. Heat your skillet to med-high and warm up just enough oil to keep your scallops from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Add scallops to pan, being careful to not overcrowd the dish. Don’t turn more than once. (Let cook about 3 mins on each side to get that great sear.)


Balsamic reduction:

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

1.5 tbsp soy butter

Bring balsamic vinegar to a boil in a small sauce pan, then lower heat and simmer for about 15-20 mins, or until desired consistency. Once its where you want it to be, stir in soy butter and remove from heat. Set aside until ready to serve. You can make this first – it doesn’t have to be served warm.

YA Author of FERAL – Holly Schindler – Talks Cats, Creepiness, and Spills Writing Secrets

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Bella getting possessive of FERAL.

As promised in yesterday’s review, I’ve got a nice little treat for you today… Please help me (and Bella) warmly welcome YA Author, Holly Schindler, to our little corner of the interwebs with her fun interview!

Were there times when you were writing FERAL that you found yourself afraid of unexpected noises, or checking over your shoulder for stray cats or creatures lurking near the edge of the woods?

It’s funny—I didn’t.  But my experience with FERAL is quite different than my readers’.  Anyone who picks up the book dives straight into full-blown creepiness (think jumping cannonball style into an ice-cold swimming pool).  For me, the creepiness was more gradual (think edging your way into chilly water slowly, bit by bit).

The book actually started out as an MG mystery, believe it or not.  (When I started revising, the book started getting darker and drifting away from MG—until I felt sure it actually needed to be a YA.)  The MG version was about a girl looking into a cold case—that cold case eventually turned into the far more recent death of Serena Sims as it appears in FERAL.  The death always took place at school, and it always revolved around a “cheating” clue (though “cheating” took on a different meaning when it became YA), and the manner of Serena’s death was always the same.

Once I knew I was going to bump the book up to YA, my main character didn’t work.  (Bumping a book into a different age group SOUNDS simple enough—but oh, boy!  It results in a complete and total overhaul.  Trust me.)  So I had to brainstorm a new seventeen-year-old protagonist.  That’s when I discovered that Claire was the victim of a gang beating—that discovery made me realize the theme would be recovering from violence, and that the genre would be psychological thriller instead of straight mystery (or even horror, as I’d suspected it might be as I started to revise).

I was actually continuing to darken the details all the way through the book’s development once it was acquired at HarperCollins…

I do have a loose idea for a straight teen horror novel, and it’ll be interesting to see how it feels to do the cannonball dive into dark, creepy material.

I am a shameless cat lady and I was genuinely spooked by my little mews, purring contentedly beside me while I read. Where did the idea of these menacing, are-they-or-are-they-not-supernaturally-evil-felines come from?

I’m actually an animal person myself.  I’ve only spent three of my 37 years without an animal of some sort.  I grew up with two cats I loved to pieces—Tuffy, as her name suggests, was born feral.  The creepy use of cats in the book has nothing to do with what I think of cats in general.  I’d love to have another—right now, I’ve got the world’s most spoiled Pekingese.  He’s definitely an only child.  I’m not exactly sure what he’d do if I brought another animal into the house, but my suspicion is that carnage would ensue.

When the book was an MG, I knew I wanted the victim’s corpse in the cold case to be torn apart by Missouri wildlife.  In the original draft, it simply kept the police from accurately pinpointing the manner of death (as it also does in the final version).

Once I started to move the book toward YA (and the murder became recent rather than a cold case), I knew I wanted the cats to play a bigger role.  So much of Peculiar is a mirror-image of the Chicago, reminding Claire of the horrific beating—those cats are a kind of gang, too, just like the human gang that trailed Claire in Chicago.  And Sweet Pea specifically also becomes the vehicle to depict how Claire feels about herself post-beating.

The atmosphere was so beautifully handled and consistent throughout the entire book. You really transported the reader to this small Missouri town and brought it to life, just as if it were a movie unfolding on the big screen. Did you have any audio or visual aides you used while creating the haunted atmosphere of Peculiar, Missouri?

I appreciate that—I think, when you’re writing something that’s a bit more dramatic, plays out scenically rather than internally, hearing that your book unfolding like a movie is one of the best compliments you can receive!

Mostly, I was using my own surroundings.  I’m a lifelong Missouri gal, and I live in Springfield, which is an even mix of urban and rural.  It’s a medium-sized city (third largest in the state) with three universities; I live in a city-style neighborhood, but the end of my neighborhood is marked by a field surrounded with barbed wire.  Barns, hay bales, horses, cows—you can see all that, less than two minutes from my house.

My hometown also got really hammered by a couple of ice storms—one in ’07 and one in ’08.  Those storms made a big impact on me—I’ll never forget the frightening sounds of tree limbs snapping and transformers sparking and not knowing if or when the power would get back on…

I mentioned before that FERAL is a psychological thriller.  It really follows so many classic conventions of the genre: Hitchcockian pace, attention to the main character’s psyche—even those feral cats are a nod to Hitchcock’s THE BIRDS.  Psychological thrillers also frequently use water as a metaphor for the subconscious (the shower scene in PSYCHO, much of WHAT LIES BENEATH).  The ice storm is also making use of the water metaphor—here, it symbolizes Claire’s frozen inner state, her inability to move on after a violent attack.

Who were some of your favorite authors growing up, and did any of their stories or styles help you with the crafting of this novel?

I mostly read contemporary realism.  I’m a child of the ‘80s, so you can picture me in a perm and giant glasses, combing the library for Judy Blume books.  I stumbled on a Christopher Pike book in junior high—FALL INTO DARKNESS—and I fell in love.  I’d read a few mysteries before, of course, but this was the first adventure-driven book I’d read.  There was something so compelling about it…I wound up reading every Pike book I could get my hands on after that.  It made a big impact, that’s for sure.

In the spirit of Halloween, and the scary thrill-ride that is FERAL, what’s something that terrifies you now? Or even something that scared you as a kid?

Heights.  I’m terrible with heights.  Probably because my vision absolutely stinks—20/700.  Yeah.  I know.  The silliest thing that makes my skin crawl?  Slugs.  Slugs drive me crazy.

What’s a fun fact that no one knows about FERAL?

It’s kind of a fun fact about me as a writer…If I want to completely turn off my inner critic, I take my glasses off while I draft.  My eyesight’s so crummy, I can’t see the screen.  If I can’t see the screen, I can’t get nitpicky.  It’s cool when a “weakness” turns out to be a blessing in disguise, isn’t it?

Holly SchindlerHolly Schindler is the author of the critically acclaimed A BLUE SO DARK (Booklist starred review, ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year silver medal recipient, IPPY Awards gold medal recipient) as well as PLAYING HURT (both YAs).

Her debut MG, THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY, also released in ’14, and became a favorite of teachers and librarians, who used the book as a read-aloud.  Kirkus Reviews called THE JUNCTION “…a heartwarming and uplifting story…[that] shines…with vibrant themes of community, self-empowerment and artistic vision delivered with a satisfying verve.”

FERAL is Schindler’s third YA and first psychological thriller.  Publishers Weekly gave FERAL a starred review, stating, “Opening with back-to-back scenes of exquisitely imagined yet very real horror, Schindler’s third YA novel hearkens to the uncompromising demands of her debut, A BLUE SO DARK…This time, the focus is on women’s voices and the consequences they suffer for speaking…This is a story about reclaiming and healing, a process that is scary, imperfect, and carries no guarantees.”

Keep up with Holly online:

Twitter

Facebook

Goodreads

Website

Tumblr

FERAL jacket copy:

The Lovely Bones meets Black Swan in this haunting psychological thriller with twists and turns that will make you question everything you think you know.

It’s too late for you. You’re dead. Those words continue to haunt Claire Cain months after she barely survived a brutal beating in Chicago. So when her father is offered a job in another state, Claire is hopeful that getting out will offer her a way to start anew.

But when she arrives in Peculiar, Missouri, Claire feels an overwhelming sense of danger, and her fears are confirmed when she discovers the body of a popular high school student in the icy woods behind the school, surrounded by the town’s feral cats. While everyone is quick to say it was an accident, Claire knows there’s more to it, and vows to learn the truth about what happened.

But the closer she gets to uncovering the mystery, the closer she also gets to realizing a frightening reality about herself and the damage she truly sustained in that Chicago alley….

Holly Schindler’s gripping story is filled with heart-stopping twists and turns that will keep readers guessing until the very last page.

Interested in watching the book trailer? Check out the link by clicking H E R E.