Book Review: ASHES by Ilsa J. Bick

Rating: 5 stars

Over the weekend I read Ilsa J. Bick’s post apocalyptic/thriller/horror mash-up, ASHES. I’m normally not the HUGEST fan of third person narratives, finding it hard to really get into the main character’s head, but Bick did it right. Her writing is the perfect balance of giving the reader a clear picture of setting/emotion/ without slamming them over the head with weighty details. It’s easy to get sucked into the story. REALLY EASY. I enjoyed the action/suspense and overall creep factor A LOT, A LOT.

I loves me some creepy things. LOVES LOVES LOVES. Ahem. Sorry.

The middle of the book did take a turn. I’m NOT saying for the worse, I’m just saying shiz gets weird. But still, as a reader, you can’t stop reading – if only for the simple fact of NEEDING to know where Bick is taking you. Just when you think you’ve got it figured out, BAM! You’re wrong. The ending is not at all what I expected, which isn’t a bad thing, but it definitely left me unsatisfied…at first.

When I closed the book I sort of sat there all huh, WTF. While I’m never a huge fan of ending a book on a cliffhanger, in this instance (after throwing things and drinking things and smashing things..okay, not REALLY but I thought about doing those things) it worked. ASHES is book one in a trilogy and the second installment (currently called SHADOWS) is due out in the fall of 2012.

Overall I have to say the more I think about it, the more I REALLY enjoyed this crazy ride of a read. Will I be in line for the second book? YOU BET. I can’t wait to see what Bick has in store for the kick-butt heroine or any of the other characters you’ll come to know and love. If you enjoy stories that keep you guessing, make you swear like a sailor, cower under your sheets, sleep with the lights on, and keep turning the page, then this book is SO for you.

Here’s the blurb to whet your appetite:

“IT COULD HAPPEN TOMORROW….

An electromagnetic pulse flashes across the sky, destroying every electronic device, wiping out every computerized system, and killing billions.

Alex hiked into the woods to say good-bye to her dead parents and her personal demons. Now desperate to find out what happened after the pulse crushed her to the ground, Alex meets up with Tom–a young soldier–and Ellie, a girl whose grandfather was killed by the EMP.

For this improvised family and the others who are spared, it’s now a question of who can be trusted and who is no longer human.”

Go out and buy a copy IMMEDIATELY so we can gush together. Then we can break things and smash things and scream together about how far away fall of 2012 feels. BRING ON SHADOWS!!! Ahem. *puts patience cap on*

Read any good books lately? I’m open to some good suggestions. <3333

Braaaaains: The Best Halloween Cupcakes EVER

To get into the spirit of Halloween (pun intended) I’m sharing a great recipe from the FoodNetwork.com. 

(ALL CREDIT – INCLUDING PHOTO(S) – BELONGS TO THE FOODNETWORK.)

Please be sure to check out their site for more spooky treats to trick your guests with. Did I mention they’re red velvet (brain) cupcakes? YUM YUM YUM YUM. Okay, so here are the BEST ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE CUPCAKES EVER: <333333

Ingredients

Cupcakes:

Frosting:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • Red and black food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Salt

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cupcake tin with 12 paper liners (preferably silver).

For the cupcakes: Crack the eggs into your mixer. Add the canola oil, buttermilk and vinegar. Drop in the food coloring and vanilla. Let it stir up until well mixed.

Put the sugar, flour, salt, cocoa powder and baking soda in a large bowl. Whisk together until well mixed. Then sift this right onto a big piece of waxed paper, it makes it easy to transport to the mixer. Make sure there are no clumps.

Turn your mixture on low and slowly add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients as it’s mixing. Turn the mixer up just a bit and combine well. Stop and scrape down the bowl.

Use an ice cream scoop to evenly dish the batter out into the cupcake liners, about 3/4 full.

Pop the cupcakes in the oven until a cake tester comes out nice and clean, about 20 minutes. Allow to cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove and set aside to cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting: Add the softened butter and confectioners’ sugar and cream together in a mixer. Add the milk. Stop and scrape down the bowl, getting all the confectioners’ sugar incorporated. Add a couple drops of black food coloring and then some red food coloring. Mix in the vanilla and a pinch of salt. Mix well.

Fill a pastry bag or snip the corner of a zip top bag. Fill with the frosting. (To fill the bag easily, wrap the bag around a cup and wrap the edges of the bag around the top to keep the bag open while filling with frosting.)

Frost the cupcakes, making a little squiggly line down the middle, and then filling in little swirls to look like the brain. Repeat on the other side and for the rest of the cupcakes.