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Flame Book Release and a Giveaway!

Howdy, y'all! If you've read my ramblings for very long, you know I am an avid reader. Some books I devour and the wait for the next in the series seems seems endless. That is the case with Flame by A.K. Morgen. I read the first two books of the RAGNAROK PROPHESIES series and reviewed them here some time ago. Since then I have been eagerly awaiting the next part of the series. Thankfully the wait is over! Below you can read more about the book and find out how to win a copy for yourself! Happy reading! 


I'm very excited to announce that the long awaited (and much anticipated!) third book of the Amazon Bestselling RAGNAROK PROPHESIES series has finally arrived! Join Arionna Jacobs and Dace Matthews as they race to stop the apocalypse in this intense and emotional series by A.K. Morgen.

Read on below for all the details, including a giveaway!



SUMMARY

Who do you trust when betrayal threatens to destroy everything you hold dear?

When Arionna Jacobs fled town in a desperate bid to save Dace Matthews, she never expected the chaos she would leave in her wake. Now her closest friend is dead, and another is missing, forcing Ari to return to face the devastating consequences of her actions and the broken boy she left behind.

Her problems are only just beginning.

Even as her bond with Dace grows stronger, Arionna finds herself weakening when Freki's cage shatters. Fighting the wolf for control is tearing her apart piece by piece. And at every turn, she finds that those she's put her faith in aren't who they seem, bringing her face to face with Sköll and Hati. As the depth of their betrayal is revealed, Freki spirals out of control, and Arionna must face her greatest fear: losing herself to the fierce wolf within.

The world balances on the edge of a blade, and one wrong move will destroy it all.

With few allies she can trust and little choice left, Arionna must decide between the lives of her friends and her own future with the alpha she loves. Will she be able to stand firm for the sake of the world, or will she falter in the face of defeat?
 


BOOK LINKS:

AMAZON | GOODREADS | BARNES AND NOBLE 


EXCERPT

"Arionna, dammit, wake up."

Unseen hands gripped my upper arms, shaking me. A familiar voice called my name over and over. Furious howls ripped through the air.

None of those sounds made sense to me.

I felt different, like I'd been taken apart and put back together in the wrong order. Everything hurt. My body ached, muscles locked tight in protest. My head throbbed. Each painful pulse rattled against my skull, sending ripples down my neck and into my back.

I groaned and rolled onto my side.

The hands shaking me relaxed.

I fought to open my eyes, then blinked, confused. Worn brown carpet scratched against the side of my face. The bottom edge of a pale blue bed-sham fluttered inches from me. Dust bunnies and small pieces of plastic were strewn beneath the sagging bed. A table and two chairs were grouped on the other side. A crack ran up the leg of one chair, splitting the wood.

None of the room looked familiar.

Where am I?

The voice calling my name stopped mid-shout and sighed.

Oh, thank god, he said.

For what? I wondered, marveling that the words came from inside my mind, but didn't belong to me. How was that possible?

I couldn't place the soft, silky tones either, but they made my stomach flip and my heart flutter. I knew the speaker. At least I thought I did. Before I could ask him who he was or how he spoke in my head, someone blew out a sharp breath. This time, the sound didn't come from inside.

"Finally," that second voice said.

Nope. Definitely not coming from my mind.

I rolled my eyes toward the relieved sound, and then frowned at the guy leaning over me. Long, dark hair hung in his face. His eyes were black, and full of concern. His features were sharp, severe, but handsome.

This time I was certain; I knew this guy.

"Ronan," I said. His name was Ronan LaCrosse, and mine was… Arionna. Yes, Arionna Jacobs. Memory began to slowly trickle back in. We were at a motel in Illinois, looking for someone. And the howls were coming from Fuki, the little wolf we'd brought with us, though I couldn't see him.

Where was he?

I tried to figure out why I was on the floor, but came up with a big blank.

"What happened?" I asked, looking up at Ronan.

He held out a hand for me, then pulled me into a sitting position.

The room tilted before straightening again. I clutched my head in my hands, groaning. When the initial wave of nausea passed, I tilted my head up slowly so I could see Ronan. "Did I hit my head?" I asked, trying to blink away the dark spots floating in my peripheral.

"You don't remember?" He narrowed his eyes, tilting his head to the side like a raven assessing me.

I scooted back against the edge of the bed, frowning.

What was I supposed to remember?



GIVEAWAY


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

A.K. Morgen is the Amazon Bestselling author of the Ragnarök Prophesies series. She lives in the heart of Arkansas with her childhood sweetheart/husband of thirteen years, and their six furry minions. When not writing, she spends her time hiking, reading, volunteering, causing mischief, and building a Spork army. Ayden graduated summa cum laude with her Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice and Forensic Psychology in 2009 before going on to complete her graduate degree in CJ and Law. She currently puts her education to use in the social services and CJ field. 

Ayden also writes New Adult and contemporary romance under the penname Ayden K. Morgen.

You can find her on 
Twitter, Facebook, or via her website at http://akmorgen.com.

A Taste of Mardi Gras



Have you ever been to Mardi Gras? I have not but it is one of several trips on my bucket list! It will happen someday, I am determined! Until then I will have to settle for celebrating at home. No Mardi Gras shindig would be complete without a menu featuring the vibrant, distinctive tastes of New Orleans. There are so many tantalizing recipes out there that would be perfect for a Mardi Gras bash, but I have narrowed it down to my ten favorites.


  • Gumbo Dip - Yes, you read that correctly. I did a double take myself when I first stumbled onto this recipe. Who would have thought of turning gumbo into a dip? Whoever it was is clearly a genius! This recipe combines all the fresh flavor of a tasty gumbo with cream cheese to create a tasty, one of a kind appetizer. You will not be sorry you tried this one! 
  • Muffuletta Pinwheels - This is another recipe that takes a traditional taste of New Orleans and puts a new spin on it. In this case it's one of my favorite things in the world, the muffuletta sandwich. Instead of the usual sandwich, this recipe takes all those yummy flavors and turns them into appetizer pinwheels. These are dangerous in that they are habit forming. Not only are they delicious, they also look amazing on an appetizer tray. I love food that's as pretty as it is tasty. 
  • Easy Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya - Jambalaya is one of my favorite dishes, but I have only made it a handful of times because I thought it was a difficult dish to get right. Wrong! Enter this recipe I just discovered that makes it easy. Is there anything in the world better than yummy and easy? I think not! 
  • New Orleans BBQ Shrimp - This recipe has been a family favorite for years now. I adore shrimp, but was afraid to cook it for a long time. I am so glad I ditched that fear and perfected this dish. If you like shrimp, give this one a try. It's a party for your taste buds! 
  • Creole Green Beans - Side dishes that aren't the same old thing make my family happy. This dish is easy to throw together, quick to cook, and incredibly flavorful. I wouldn't have thought about doing green beans this way on my own, so am so happy I came across this great recipe. You probably have everything you need to stir up a batch in your kitchen right now! It's a great side for any day of the week, but fits great on a Mardi Gras menu. 
  • Roasted Squash + Parmesan - Where do I even start with this recipe? It's simple, reasonably good for you, delicious, and beautiful. I would serve this any day, but for Mardi Gras it definitely delivers a punch of all the right vibrant colors! Check it out for yourself and you'll see what I mean. This one is a keeper, I promise! 
  • Mardi Gras Kiss Cocktail - Who doesn't like a kiss? Just kidding, but this cocktail sure is tasty treat on your lips. Rum and pineapple combine to make a drink that hits the spot. Easy to make and oh so good, this one is likely to become a party favorite for us. 
  • Non-alcoholic Mardi Gras Punch - This stuff will please old and young alike. It's pretty and sweet, making it a perfect addition to your Fat Tuesday celebrations! 
  • King Bundt Cake - When it comes to dessert for Mardi Gras, what else would you have? My Little Miss loves King cake so much that I decided learning how to make one was the smartest move in the long run. This one has amazing filling. 
  • Grandma's Old-Fashioned Bread Pudding with Vanilla Sauce - This isn't my grandma's, but it's still an amazing recipe. Bread pudding is classic New Orleans and this recipe delivers amazing flavor. If you love bread pudding, this is a winner! 

Five Favorite Soup Recipes




Do you love soup? I love soup. It's warm, comforting yumminess. Some soups can be made on the fly, others need to simmer for hours. Many soups taste better after a day in the fridge so all the flavors blend and deepen. When I'm sick, I carve soup. Sad? Yep, soup again. Cold weather rolls in? Soup saves the day! Here are ten soup recipes my family loves. Why not stir up a pot for yourself?

1. Copycat Panera Broccoli Cheddar Soup
We love Panera Bread! Since it's arrival in Lubbock, it has quickly become my newest obsession. Their Broccoli Cheddar Soup is a hit with the whole house. Little Miss lists broccoli cheese soup as her favorite, no matter where it comes from, so I'm always on the look out for a good recipe.

2. Tamale Soup
This is a recipe I created after the little eatery I first tasted it in closed down. It took some trial and error, but I finally managed to get pretty close to replicating the flavor I so loved. It is a go to when it's cold out. Though it can be made with canned tamales, I mush prefer using the fresh or frozen variety. You can use pork, beef, chicken, whatever your family prefers.

3. Slow Cooker King Ranch Chicken Soup
We love King Ranch Chicken Casserole in this house. It's a favorite, especially during the chilly months. When I first saw a friend talking about this recipe on Facebook, I knew I needed to try it. A favorite casserole turned yummy soup? Yes, please!

4. Stuffed Pepper Soup
Another family favorite main dish turned soup! I love these recipes! This one packs all the the flavor of stuffed bell peppers into a steaming bowl of goodness. Grab some crusty bread and go to town, my friends!

5. My Chicken and Rice Soup
This recipe was born when I needed to use up leftovers. It turned out amazing, is quick, and is about as frugal as it gets. This is my go to rather than chicken noodle when the sniffles take over my home.

My Five Biggest Distractions (and how I TRY to avoid them)



You know how it goes, you sit down at your desk to be all sorts of productive, then BAM it's two hours later and you've accomplished precious little. Is it just me? Anyone else? You can raise your hand, we will get distracted together. No, no we won't. All joking around aside, I tend to get hopelessly distracted so easily. My intentions are always good; doing homework, banging out a post, cleaning out my inbox. Somehow my mind all too often wanders. Here are my five biggest distractions, or time sucks as I call them, and ways I try to combat them.

1. Social Media
Social media and I have a love/hate relationship. It's such a useful tool for bloggers, freelancers, authors, and so many more. Social media is also my enemy, in a few ways.

  • If I need to post on Facebook or be more active on Twitter, I tend to get caught up in writing the "perfect" tweet, post, nugget of info, whatever. In my mind everyone else int he world is wittier, smarter, or more engaging, thus I obsess over getting it right. This is ridiculous, I realize it, but it often times doesn't slow my brain any. In an effort to combat this, I set a timer. I give myself so long to get my social media "business" done for the day, then call it quits. It gives me the kick in the butt I need to get things done and not make myself crazy.
  • When I'm not obsessing over not being a social media superstar (ha, ha, ha) I get sucked into the vortex of feed reading. Whether it's news on Twitter, friend's stories on Facebook, or the five million things I want to DIY on Pinterest (seriously do not get me started on Pinterest), I very, very easily get lost devouring info online. My solution to this is once again setting a timer, but I do it a little differently in this instance. I will only allow myself leisure social media browsing time once I've ticked three things off my to do list for the day. Generally this means homework, editing on a freelance piece, and replying to emails. It gives me a break as well as keeping me from spending to long dawdling on the interwebz.
2. Research
Research is great! Hang on, let me clarify, research for some things is great, but when it comes to research papers it can be kind of a drag. It's so easy for me to get lost looking up info that I am interested in. One would think this is good, and it can be, but other times I get so caught up in fact finding that it leaves very little time for actually taking what I've learned and putting it into action. My solution to this is to first outline exactly what it is I am looking for. Once I've found what it is I need, I stop. There's no need to keep looking and collecting a ton of information I do not need/will not use when doing so takes away from the time I could actually use to complete the project. No matter how interesting a subject is, there's no reason to distract myself from what I actually need to accomplish, at least that's what I keep telling myself.

3. Food
This is how it goes: sit down, work, get hungry. Simple, right? It should be for most people. At this point, the following things happen. 1. Go get something to eat. 2. Decide to clean the kitchen. 3. Decide the kitchen is not clean enough, so sweep, mop, do things that don't necessarily need done. 4. Thinking about food makes me think about dinner and how I have no plan. These thoughts bring on a month worth of meal planning. 5. What was it I was doing? Maybe I have adult ADD, it's entirely possible. My mind doesn't always work this way, but when it does, oh boy! If this chain of events doesn't happen, a trip to the kitchen will bring on a recipe search binge that will take up hours. Learning to combat this has meant implementing meal planning and prepping, as well as putting myself on a strict time schedule. If I plan ahead some it greatly helps keep this from happening.

4. Reading
Do you love to read? I sure do! Unfortunately, I do not get in much leisure reading these days. When I do manage to sneak in some reading time it's hard to tear myself away. Usually I am either taking away from time I need to have my nose in a textbook or when I should be sleeping. There is no telling how many hours of sleep I've lost with my "just one more page" or "I'll just finish this chapter" thinking. The main thing working against me here is that I feel guilty taking time to do something that's "not necessary". Taking care of this situation has meant adjusting my thinking some. I deserve time for me and taking some isn't wrong. So, on days I finish my work as I should, I carve out some time for me to read. The world doesn't stop when I do so and it's part of taking care of me. We all deserve some fun downtime. Once again, my timer comes tot he rescue. When my time is up, it's up and that's it. This keeps me from losing out on hours of sleep wrapped up in a Caroline Kepnes novel.

5. Disorganization
Okay, so this whole post basically could be titled disorganization, but oh well. Not having my ducks in a row is the surest way for me to get distracted. On days I actually write down a to do list staying focused is much easier for me. There is a sense of satisfaction in ticking things off a list, so it helps keep me motivated. Staying organized is such a broad idea, but it can mean a few simply things. Planning for the unexpected, knowing how to ward off and deal with distractions, and scheduling your day can work wonders. My solution is to make a list, have time dedicated to work, school, etc, and a set stop time for the end of this "work day". It's how I deal and if I am consistent, it works for me.

I've shared mine, so what about y'all? What are your biggest time sucks and how do you try to combat them?

Creamy Chicken Chowder Recipe


Do you love good, warm, comfort food on a cold winter's day? I sure do! In fact, adding soups, stews, chowders, and comforting casseroles to the menu is one of my favorite parts of winter. My absolute favorite recipes to warm us up are those that combine great flavor with affordability. This creamy chicken chowder recipe was thrown together by raiding my pantry and turned out to be a bowl of rich, delicious comfort food. Not only is it tasty, but it comes together rather quickly, making it a great choice for a weeknight dinner. I hope your family enjoys it as much as mine does!

Ingredients

1 lb boneless skinless chicken, cooked and shredded - Thighs, breasts, whatever you want to use works!
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 large white onion, diced
1 teaspoon minced garlic - I use the refrigerated stuff in the jar.
1/4 cup all purpose flour
6 small potatoes, peeled and diced
1 can no salt added whole kernel corn, drained
4 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
6 cups chicken broth - I've used broth reserved after boiling chicken, store bought broth, and even water with chicken bouillon successfully. 
2 cups half and half - You can sub milk with no problem, your chowder just won't be as rich.
Salt and pepper to taste

Method

In a large pot, stir butter over medium heat until melted.Toss in onion and garlic, stirring and cooking until tender. Add in flour, stirring constantly until slightly browned, to make a roux. Pour in broth and continue stirring until well blended. 

Add carrots, potatoes, and seasoning, let the pot come to a boil. Lower heat to medium low, cooking about 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender, giving the pot an occasional stir. 

Stir in corn, half and half, cooked chicken, and corn. Reduce heat to simmer and cook another 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

This is one of those recipes that you can add to and/or take away from depending on your tastes and what ingredients you have on hand. 

Inspired by and adapted from CookingClassy.com