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The Hollows


A few months ago I started to look for a new type of book to read (to be honest, I need filler between Gail Carriger's books. She just can't pop them out fast enough for me) and read a few duds before I found Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison. It came out in 2005 and the fact that it still had some of the early 2000's cheesiness kind of put me off, but I could still see that it had potential. A week or so later I found the second book, The Good, The Bad, and the Undead, at my local used bookstore (God I love that place) and read about 1/3 into it before I put it down for a few weeks. I think I went to Europe in this time and there were two books I had been keeping to read specifically for this trip and wanted to read those, plus this second book hadn't pulled me in yet.

Flash to early July when I pick up the second book again. Started reading. Never stopped.

All of a sudden, it hooked me. I don't even know when exactly it happened, but from one moment to the next I developed the need to know what happened to these characters in their entirety. Now I love them as if I see them every day (well, I do...) and they give me those feels that make the inside of your arms ache with emotion.

If you're still with me, I'll tell you what the darn books are about. A witch, a vampire, and a pixy walk into a bar...

No really. That's how the first book starts.

ANYWAY THESE BOOKS are about a witch, a living vampire, and a pixy who live and work together in an alternative-history present day version of Cincinnati. Rachel, the witch, struggles with balancing white and black magic, boyfriends, and her relationship with Ivy.

Ivy is the living vampire (not undead yet-she still has her soul) who battles with her humanity and bloodlust on a daily basis, trying to undo the damage done to her by the undead vampire who used to be her master.

Jenks, a pixy patriarch, lives with his wife and their 54 kids with Rachel and Ivy in an old church. Well, more specifically, Rachel and Ivy live in the church and Jenks and his family live outside in the stump in the garden. Except in the winter when they live in Rachel's desk in the sanctuary. :-D I think Jenks&family are my favorite parts of the books because such life and spunk are given to all members of the family. It makes me with they were human-sized and not 4" tall so I could hug them all.

The books show these three main characters interacting with other vampires (living and undead) and witches as well as demons, elves, humans, trolls, banshees, ghosts, weres, and more.

Kim Harrison's writing is such that you will find yourself celebrating the success of these characters as well as mourning their losses along with them. The only negative thing I can think of is the outdated/cheesy writing style, but that definitely gets better as the books go along. One thing that seems to set these books apart from the other paranormal stories out there is that Kim includes a wide variety of supernaturals rather than the traditional human, vampire, werewolf trio (or a combo of them) that many stick to.

I just finished book 7 (pictured above) and am giving myself a few days in-between to recover from each book. And by recover I mean that I've been reading the two prequel graphic novels and the Hollows Insider book that gives so many more details into this world. I think all book series should have one of these!

Salmon with Leeks and Saffron Potatoes


I finally did it. I made the dreamy Salmon with Leek Fondue and Saffron Mashed Potatoes from Disney World's Be Our Guest Restaurant that I had a year and a half ago. Woah, that sentence had a lot of capitalized words.

Disney's Salmon with Leek Fondue

Me in the Beast's castle!

I don't remember if it tastes the same (being a year and a half since I've had it) but I remember loving it at the restaurant and I loved this recreation.

I adapted it from this recipe and upped the serving size by a bajillion. Joe ended up eating it all (aside from most of my portion), so it only served two in our case.

I got pretty scared when I added the leeks, orange juice, chicken broth, and chili powder together. It smelled very gross and I was worried it was going to fail. Thankfully I stuck it out and believed in the magic of Disney, knowing it would never let me down.

It didn't.

Salmon with Leeks and Saffron Potatoes
Adapted from Allrecipes
Serves 2-4

2 leeks, white parts only
1/2 cup diced white onion
1 tsp chili powder
1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup chicken broth
1-1/2 tsp salt, divided
4 tbsp butter, divided
2 lbs Yukon gold potatoes, quartered
1 tsp saffron, slightly crushed
3/4 cups unsweetened original almond milk (or any milk you prefer)
Salmon fillets (amount depending on how many you're planning to serve)
fresh chives, chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Rinse leeks thoroughly to remove dirt. Halve lengthwise, slice, and pat try with paper towel.
  3. Combine leeks, onion, chili powder, orange juice, chicken broth, and 1/2 tsp salt. Bring to a boil on high heat. Turn heat to medium and simmer until leeks are tender, around 30 minutes. 
  4. Add salmon to baking dish. Brush lightly with EVOO and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake 20 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, add potatoes and saffron to a pot and cover with water. Boil over high heat about 20 minutes or until fork-tender. 
  6. Drain potatoes. Return to pan with milk and remaining 2 tbsp butter. Season with salt and pepper and mash.
  7. When leeks are done, remove from heat and stir in 2 tbsp butter.

To serve, add potatoes to plate and top with salmon, leek mixture, and chives. Bon Appetit!

P.S. Did you notice my yellow plate for Belle? ;-)

Switzerland Snapshots


See more on Switzerland here. Thanks for reading!