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“Drowned” in No-Bake Peanut Butter & Oreo™ Cookie Bars with @NicholaReilly

I am a huge fan of three things within this post.. Dystopian fiction, easy-recipes and Oreo™ cookies! Let’s deal with why they are the trifecta of today’s post. Dystopian fiction usually depicts some kind of hardship. Many times it is post-apocalyptic or an alternative future where things are bleak. Drowned is full of bleakness and despair. But where the leading lady, our protagonist lives maybe a little comfort and treat would help you feel a bit better and I know Oreo™ cookies always make me feel better, and let’s face it.. if I can share a really good recipe and pin it with a great book, you know I will! Oh and this is NO-BAKE!

Let’s hear about the book and meet the author and for an extra treat, Lady Reader’s Book Tours has a great giveaway for the official book tour of this new Harlequin Teen book!

An atmospheric, uneasy tale of survival.” – Kirkus Reviews


“Drowned” in No-Bake Peanut Butter & Oreo™ Cookie Bars with @NicholaReillyDrownedSeries: Drowned #1 by Nichola Reilly (Cyn Balog) Pages: 298 Published by Harlequin on 2014-06-24 Genres: Dystopian, Fantasy & Magic, Young Adult Source & Buy Links: Lady Reader's Blog Tours
Amazon • Barnes & Noble • Book Depository • Kobo • iTunes • • Goodreads •
Coe is one of the few remaining teenagers on the island of Tides. Deformed and weak, she is constantly reminded that in a world where dry land dwindles at every high tide, she is not welcome. The only bright spot in her harsh and difficult life is the strong, capable Tiam—but love has long ago been forgotten by her society. The only priority is survival.

Until the day their King falls ill, leaving no male heir to take his place. Unrest grows, and for reasons Coe cannot comprehend, she is invited into the privileged circle of royal aides. She soon learns that the dying royal is keeping a secret that will change their world forever.

Is there an escape from the horrific nightmare that their island home has become? Coe must race to find the answers and save the people she cares about, before their world and everything they know is lost to the waters.
Check out everyone’s blog and make sure to enter the Giveaway when you can at each stop!!!

DROWNED Blog Tour Schedule

July 14th – July 25th

July 14th – Like A Bump On A Blog  – Promo/Excerpt
July 15th – Cabin Goddess  – Excerpt/Recipe
July 16th – Fandom Monthly Magazine – Review/Top 10
July 17th – Bookish– Review
July 18th – All Things Romance – Review
July 21st – I Feel The Need The Need To Read – Review/ Top 10
July 22nd – Bookraptured– Review
July 22nd – Sleep. Eat. Read. – Review
July 23rd – Bookish – Debbie– Review
July 23rd – The Bookish Confessions– Review/ Top 10
July 23rd – The Reader and the Chef– Review/GP
July 24th –Ohana Reads – Review
July 25th – Guest Review – Karin Baker – Review
July 25th – The Cover Contessa – Review
July 25th –Little Red’s Book Reviews – Review/Playlist

Some more praise for DROWNED!

This suspenseful and dramatic tale will make readers feel just as trapped as Coe feels by the rising tides. Coe is an interesting and well-developed character that teens will root for every step of the way, and the other inhabitants of her island provide foils and allies alike. The book ends on a cliff-hanger, and readers will clamor for a sequel.” – School Library Journal  

I write things on the sand so I won’t forget them. Things I like. Darkness. Dreams. Clam.
Buck Kettlefish.
Things I want.
A warm dry place.
A long night of sound sleep.

I watch the waves come and erase the words from the shore. Erased from existence. From possibility. It’s almost as if the waves are taunting me.

For thousands of tides I am sure people thought about how and when the world would end. Maybe they wondered whether it would happen while they were alive, or if their children, grandchildren, or maybe even their great-greatgreat-great-grandchildren would be the unlucky ones to be there when the world crashed down around them. But I don’t have to wonder.

I know it is going to happen soon, and maybe in my lifetime.

Every morning I wonder if I will see the sunset. Every breeze is like death breathing down my back.
The sun burns like fire among black smokelike clouds on the horizon, making my eyes squint and burn. High tide is approaching, the waves slowly coming closer. With every breath, every heartbeat, they rise a little more. Soon almost everything will be underwater.

I stand and shake the sand out of my mat, then roll it up and affix it to my knapsack. I’ve gotten pretty good at doing all these things one-handed. My clothes are wet, and my lips taste like salt. I’m not sure why I’m yawning because I had a pretty good spell of sleep. Nearly half a tide. Half a tide where, at least in my mind, I was somewhere warm and dry, somewhere that didn’t smell like crap or rotting fish.
I plod along with the others, away from the steadily rising waters. It’s chilly but at least my tunic is only slightly damp; it doesn’t stick to my skin. Nothing is ever dry here. It’s either sopping wet or damp, and damp is a blessing.

It’s time once again for formation. We all know the tides. We must, or we’d pay for our ignorance with our lives. It’s time for all of us, all 496 of us, to trudge to the platform that stands maybe sixty of my feet above the ground, at the center of the island. At least, at last total, there were 496 of us. I don’t like to count because our numbers are constantly falling. We all know this, which is probably why nobody looks at or speaks to anyone else. Better not to get too familiar.

When someone disappears, we all assume the worst. Because the worst is usual.

The only person who does look at me is Mutter. His face is dark and leathery, and his beard is scraggly and foul, greenish-gray, filled with old, dead things. He has his own scribbler scars, but at least he has all his limbs. He is useful. He sneers at me, disgusted. “Waste of space,” he hisses as I find my spot on the platform. “Scribbler Bait.” I wipe away the sand with my bare foot. The number two is scratched there.

Number two is my spot, for now. It’s near the dry center of the circular formation, where things are safer. There are 496 circles arranged around it, spiraling out from the center. The circles are small; there’s barely enough room to stand. There used to be thousands of circles, one for every person on the island. But the only thing constant about the island we call Tides is change.

Children get the central spots. When I reach my sixteenth Soft Season, when I am an adult, I will be given a new spot based on the importance of the job I am given. Mutter is right, though. I don’t have any special skills, and my deformity makes it difficult for me to pull in the nets or do the things fishermen do. I’d barely make a good scavenger, the lowest of the low. People call them Scribbler Bait.

“I saw a scribbler on the platform last night,” Xilia whispers to no one in particular. She is a scavenger, too, and quite mad. But many of those who occupy spaces on the outer edge of the formation are crazy, because they brush with death every time the tide comes in. And nobody can deny that the scribblers have been getting braver. That’s not the name we always had for them. When I was young they were called spearfish, because they’d often spear fishermen as they brought in the nets. But then they started coming onto the sand when the tides receded, sunning themselves. They’ll attack us on land, ripping through our flesh with their spear-shaped noses, then feasting on our blood. They’re getting smarter, too, because after a while they began burrowing under the sand, hiding from us, and springing out whenever a human came too close. They make long, winding paths in the sand with their sinewy black bodies—like scribbles, my father had said. My father started calling them scribblers, and everyone followed him, as they usually did.

I’ve never seen a scribbler on the platform before. The thought makes me shudder. The platform, however small and inadequate, is our safety. But I know our safety is eroding. It has always been so. A thousand tides ago, the platform was twice the size it is now at high tide. There was room for twice as many people. Now we are under five hundred. I know this because there are fewer than five hundred spaces. The largest number that’s still visible, though it is nearly half eaten by the tides, is 496. At least, that was the number the last time I had the energy to look.

I sigh and throw my things down on my spot. The spot is so comfortable and familiar to me that I feel as if the imprint on the stone conforms perfectly to my feet. Sweat drips from my chin. My eyes sting from the glare reflecting off the white concrete. Little Fern, who is seven, comes hopscotching up to space number one, scrawny as a sprig of seaweed, two white-blond braids framing her sweet smile. She has a little stick in her hand, something she’s never without. When she steps next to me, she touches the stick to my elbow. “Your wish is granted,” she says with great flourish.

If only. If only the stories I told her about fairies were true. There are so many things to wish for.
I was space number one until Fern turned five, when we all moved over a space to make room for her. Before then, she occupied the same spot as her mother, who was a fisherman before she died many tides ago. They used to give mothers spaces in the center of the formation when they had children, but then things became so dire that some women had babies just to get a better spot. I was told Tiam’s mother had, and my mother had, though I can’t remember ever squeezing next to her on her spot. Two babies in a season was a virtual baby boom. So they put an end to that practice after I was born. Now nobody has children. It just means more people. And there are already too many people.
After all, when a baby is born, it just means that when that child turns five, we’ll all have to move one space to the left. The person at the very end of the spiral is out of luck. Space is something people have been known to kill for.

I’m grateful for Fern, though. She is the only one who still smiles at me. As for the others, we are not friends. We do not trust or like anyone, even our own family members—if we have any of them left, and most of us don’t. We all know what is coming, and we’ve all lost enough to know that caring for another person doesn’t make things easier.

Which means I have a big problem.
“Hey, Coe.”
Just like part of the formation washes away in every tide, part of me is lost every time I hear his voice.
“Hi, Tiam,” I say, staring at the sandy ground. Looking up at him, at those liquid sapphire eyes, will just make the pain worse. Besides, I already have every inch of his face memorized. Him? If I hadn’t been required to assume the space next to him for the past ten thousand tides, if there weren’t slightly under five hundred of us, I doubt he’d know my name.

Fern waves her wand some more, granting wishes to the air. I wonder how obvious it is that most of the wishes I have in my head involve Tiam. It’s not that I want to wish about him. It just happens.
Tiam drops his stuff in space number three. For as long as I can remember, he has been beside me. When I was young he used to hold my hand to keep me from being scared. He is never scared.
I move as far away from him as I possibly can, which isn’t far enough. The spaces are only maybe two of my feet in diameter, so now that we are older, we rub shoulders. Even though I try to wash up every day in a tide pool, I know he can smell me. I have the luck of having the job that makes me reek a hundred times worse than the normal, forgettable stench that most of us carry. Mine seems to bury itself deep under my skin. No matter how much I bathe, it never completely goes away.

If he does smell me, though, he never lets on. In twenty tides or so he will reach adulthood, and I’m sure he will have a good spot in the formation. A spot for the most valuable people. He is smart enough to be a medic, strong enough to be a builder, brave enough to be an explorer. He is everything I am not.
Tiam always comes to the formation at the last moment. I think it’s his way of laughing at nature, while the rest of us cower before it. He says, to no one in particular, “So, what is the news?”

I know that isn’t directed at me. I spend most of my free time alone, so I don’t ever hear any news. But formation is the time to catch up on the latest gossip. Burbur, in space four, who is one of the most respected royal servants, says that she heard the king coughing in his sleep while making her normal rounds in the palace. Tiam raises an eyebrow, and everyone murmurs, “Ah, really?” Finn, a fisherman, whispers that the food brought in during this morning’s harvest was “pitiful,” and people shake their heads and say, “Is that so?” This goes on for a moment as I wonder whether or not to submit the only piece of information I have gleaned in the past hundred tides. Finally I clear my throat.
Tiam and …

 This is a world like you’ve never seen before but with themes and issues that strike surprisingly close to home. A thrilling, brilliant read!”  — Aprilynne Pike, NYT Bestselling Author of Wings


About Nichola Reilly (Cyn Balog)

Cyn Balog is a normal, everyday Jersey Girl who always believed magical things can happen to us when we least expect them. She is author of young adult paranormal novels; FAIRY TALE (2009), SLEEPLESS (2010), STARSTRUCK (2011), TOUCHED (2012), and her most recent release: DEAD RIVER (2013).e. She lives outside Allentown, Pennsylvania with her husband and daughters.

She also writes under the pen name Nichola Reilly. Nichola Reilly is Cyn Balog’s post-apocalyptic fantasy-writing alter-ego. The first book in her series, DROWNED, will be releasing from Harlequin TEEN sometime in 2014, followed by a sequel, BURIED, in 2015.

(You can also find her over at Cyn Balag’s Facebook Page and Cyn’s Twitter @CynBalog



Now here is when I surprise you… I have tried to make what I can in this recipe as healthy as I can and still have it taste delicious. The thing is?? These taste better than the ones made with all the fatty stuff. Food coma is less likely after finishing a pan of these.. err I mean a couple of these bad boys! Don’t forget to check out my Pinterest boards too, I have tons of great group boards and if you want, just ask, I would love to have you as a Pinning fiend.. I mean FRIEND! (see my board at the bottom)

5 from 1 reviews
HEALTHY NO-BAKE Peanut Butter Oreo™ Bars
All the substitutions on the high fat version of this allow for the Oreos™ to be introduced and still be a lower fat version while being extremely decadent.
Serves: 12
Prep time: 
Total time: 
  • 12-16 Oreos™
  • 3 TBSP of unrefined coconut oil
  • ½ C cacao nibs (if you cannot find them semisweet chocolate chips) melted
  • 4 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese
  • ½ C creamy all-natural peanut butter
  • ½ C plain Greek yogurt
  • ⅓ C powdered sugar
  • 1 - 2 tsp of vanilla (I tend to do a messy tsp which is right in between)
  • chopped peanuts & course sea salt
  1. For the crust: Line an 8" pan with tinfoil, shiny side down, and lightly coat with cooking spray.
  2. Get ride of aggression by smashing up the Oreos™ in a Ziplock™, or a bowl or whatever you have till you can fit them in a food processor and really blend them down. The Oreos™ are not healthy, I know this and so if you don't want the Oreos™ just get the chocolate wafers and blend them till crumbling (24 wafers) in the food processor but with all the healthy substitutes you can have Oreos™, I give you permission).
  3. If your coconut oil is at room temp, just zap it in the microwave for no more than about 20 seconds, if it is straight out of the fridge 30 seconds TOPS, you don't want it bubbling. It has a much lower melting point than butter, so keep that in mind. (Coconut oil is used as a 1:1 substitute for all butter in recipes in my house, even melting it and putting it on my popcorn with a dash of sea salt). Add it to the cookie crumbles and process again in pulses so the cookies are coated; add the melted cacao nibs and process until the mixture is the texture of very wet sand. (Cocoa nibs are just as good as chocolate in baking and ten times as healthy for you.)
  4. Using an offset spatula (the flat metal ones used to frost your cakes evenly), press the mixture firmly and evenly into your pan.Cover and place in the fridge while you create the sexy creamy filling. Oh, clean that processor bowl out, you will need it!
  5. For the filling and topping:
  6. Add the cream cheese, peanut butter, yogurt, sugar and vanilla to the bowl of the food processor and process until smooth and combined. (the vanilla replaces ½ your sugar and knocks down the calories plus adds a rich wonderful flavor without the filling being to sweet)
  7. Pour the mixture over the crust and smooth with a spatula. Top with the peanuts and sprinkle with ¼ tsp course sea salt.
  8. Cover and return to the fridge until set slightly looser than cream cheese, about 4 hours up to overnight.
  9. Use the spatula to separate from the edges of the tinfoil and you will be able to cut it up into a nice solid dozen bars. High in protein, healthy enough to feed your lover two and help with the energy to go another round, I mean on a longer walk. 🙂 These need to be stored in the fridge and not left out on the counter for to long or they will get all melty messy like, unless you want to have to help clean him up 😉
I created this when I saw the new peanut butter Oreos™. I wanted to be able to have sweets without feeling guilty, have a low fat recipe of the already labeled healthy dessert recipes (I am guessing Greek yogurt and chocolate wafers instead of the Oreo™ cookies) Food Networks favs and yet have the decadence of the Oreos™. I have tried it with the wafers, and they were great! But I liked this crust better, the texture tended to be closer to the peanut butter without it being a mess. The coconut oil makes it rich and even more flavorful than butter and oh so much healthier (plus it makes me feel less guilty about not using the wafers).
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 bar

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Thank you so much Amy and Cyn for the opportunity I hope everyone grabs a copy of the book and tries the lovely cookies too. Oh if you get a chance hit me up on Pinterest!

Visit Kriss Morton – Cabin Goddess’s profile on Pinterest.

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  1. Divergent 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing!

  2. I don’t read many books in that genre. I still have Divergent on my bookshelf and I have mixed feelings about it. I don’t know whether it will be worth it reading it.

  3. I am loving the Crewel series by Jennifer Albin right now. Fairytale and Sleepless look really good. Adding to my TBR mountain. 🙂

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