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Witch’s Rule by @AnnGimpel: #Review, Healthy Comfort Food #Paleo #Recipe

Jenna falls in love with two very different men. Standing on the verge of Earth’s destruction, will she defy convention and follow the song in her heart?

–Witch’s Rule by Ann Gimpel–

Today is going to be so exciting. I have a review and a great guest post from National Best Selling author Ann Gimpel, but I also get to combine this comfort food post with my EATING for a MENTAL HEALTHY lifestyle. The recipe happens to have a lot of the ingredients that are from our healthy food list! Also tonight, at the Witching Hour (EST)I am going to be doing a live interview with Ann on Bewitching Talk Radio!

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about-the-book-blue-script
Witch’s Rule by @AnnGimpel: #Review, Healthy Comfort Food #Paleo #RecipeWitch's Rule
by Ann Gimpel
four-half-stars
Pages: 220
Published by Hartwood Publishing Group, Taliesin
on 11/7/14 (Available for pre-order mid-October)
Genres: Dark Paranormal Romance
• Goodreads •
Jenna’s a special witch, sort of, when her magic works, which it often doesn’t. One of three remaining demon-stalkers, she and her sister witches, Roz and Colleen, are Earth’s only hedge against being overrun by Hell’s minions. On the heels of Roz’s and Colleen’s weddings, Jenna is headed for the U.K. when a demon confronts her. Any other witch could teleport out of the plane, but not her. Frustration about her limited power eats at her. It would be pretty pathetic to get killed for lack of skills a teenager could master.

 

Tristan is a Sidhe warrior, but his primary gift is attunement to others’ emotions. He fell hard for Jenna, but hasn’t had an opportunity to act on their attraction beyond a few kisses because she returned to Alaska, and he’s been in the field fighting demons.

 

As seer for the Sidhe, Kiernan is haunted by visions, particularly an apocalyptic sending that seems to be coming true. A confirmed bachelor, he doesn’t understand his attraction to Jenna, but it’s so strong he can’t fight it, and after a while, he doesn’t even try, despite recognizing Tristan’s claim to her.

 

Startling truths surface about Jenna’s magic, and then there’s the problem that she’s falling in love with two very different men. At first she believes she has to pick one of them, but her spirit refuses to walk away from either. It’s impossible to choose between a seer with dreams in his eyes and a beautiful man who intuits her every need. Standing on the verge of Earth’s destruction, will she defy convention and follow the song in her heart?
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This was my first book of Ann’s I have read and I really enjoyed it. I didn’t have time to get caught up with books one and two, but the Dr. Gimpel does a great job getting us back up to speed. Though not a stand-alone, the story was so engrossing, dark, sexy (really sexy) and oh so fun I felt like I had started watching a TV series in third season and falling in love enough to go binge watch the rest of the seasons and adding it to my watch lists.
Speaking of TV *big smile*, The Witch’s Chronicle would be a really fun show. I am a Charmed lover (stop laughing :))and truly thing this would be even better, (Hmmmm now I want to figure out a dream cast!) at least in this humble (ducking lightening) reader’s opinion. Go grab a copy of Witch’s Bounty (Book 1) and Witch’s Bane (Book 2) and find out just how fun it could be.
Love triangle, Sidhe warriors, feisty witches and an impending apocalypse, what can I say… the perfect storm for fun!
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Drop down to READ Excerpt from Witch's Bane

…Her thoughts turned to Tristan. Before getting snared in all the demon-muck with the minion in the plane, she’d been hoping the tawny-haired Sidhe would be part of the greeting party at the airport. There were lots of possible reasons he might not have met her, but the most likely was he wasn’t interested in her—at least not that way.

Oh give it a rest. It’s not like he’s so much as called or e-mailed in the weeks since I left the U.K. I’ll just embarrass myself—and look pathetic—if I ask after him.

Ronin had said something about Tristan being assigned to one of the garrisons dealing with the Irichna who’d been running rampant through the U.K. countryside. There was at least a slender chance he couldn’t just drop everything and show up to greet her. Worse, maybe he’d been forced into the Dreaming by a demon. Sidhe were immortal, but they could be compelled to leave the human world if they were injured badly enough.

The Rolls slowed at the carved, wrought-iron gates to Ronin’s estate. Magic flashed, and they swung slowly inward. “It’s just past ten,” Colleen said. “What’s scheduled for tonight?”

“Nothing in particular, but we do need to talk,” Ronin said.

“More to the point,” Jenna spoke up, “what ground did you cover before I got here? Is there anything I need to catch up on?”

“Oh, that’s right.” Colleen turned toward her and cocked her head to one side. Like Roz, she was dressed in a fleece jacket, jeans, and lace-up boots. Far more practical clothing than Jenna’s short skirt, high-heeled boots, and inadequate jacket. “You told us your problems, but we didn’t share ours.”

A cold fist of fear closed over Jenna’s stomach and squeezed hard. “I’m not sure I want to know, but what happened?”

“Well, we got here okay,” Roz answered. “Not here, exactly. We came out above the Sidhe armory, closer to the center of town.”

“Thought we’d pick up a few Seraph blades,” Duncan noted. “Since we can’t handle iron like you witches, the blades come in handy fighting Irichna.”

Jenna cracked her knuckles in frustration. “Yes, but what happened?”

“What else?” Colleen made a sour face. “Irichna.”

“How they figured out where we’d materialize will remain one of the mysteries,” Roz mumbled. Even though her words were casual, Jenna picked up a hint of fear beneath them. She shook her head to clear an almost paralyzing fog from creeping in. What she’d been afraid of—that the Irichna employed minions to spy on them—was looking more and more real.

“How many?” she asked, her throat so dry it was hard to get the words out.

“Fortunately, only three, but they didn’t exactly lie down and cooperate,” Ronin said. He focused his next words at the driver. “Just drop the lot of us off at the main house, Kiernan. It’s probably best if we hash out a plan before everyone turns in for the night.”

“Long story short,” Colleen picked up Roz’s tale, “it took until just before we met up with the car and Kiernan to neutralize the demons and ferry two of them to the Ninth Circle of Hell. Ronin and Duncan annihilated the third one. We never did get into the armory to pick up blades for the men.”

“Does that mean the U.K. problem is solved?” Jenna asked.

“Probably not,” Duncan replied. “There are always more of those blasted buggers, no matter what we do.”

“And they show up in different forms,” Ronin added, “which makes it tough to know if these were the ones causing all the problems.”

“It’s not as if they’re a static population,” Roz said. “We’ve never been able to estimate their numbers.”

“Isn’t that the truth,” Jenna groused as the car rolled to a stop in front of Ronin’s home that looked more like a castle than anything else. Built from interlocking flagstones and huge beams of lumber, it soared five floors. Light glowed from leaded glass panes, adding a welcoming touch. Even though it was night and she couldn’t see the grounds, Jenna remembered them to be immaculate. Sidhe didn’t employ many servants. Most of the day-to-day tasks were accomplished with magic. She snorted inwardly. Maybe she could pick up a few housekeeping tips, along with whatever else the Sidhe taught her.

She exited the car behind Roz, and a thought struck her. “Aw, hell.”

“What?” Roz’s hands flew upward to draw power.

“Nothing like that,” Jenna said. “My luggage. It’s still at the airport.”

“No worries.” Ronin walked to Roz and draped an arm over her shoulders. “I’ll send someone round to fetch it.”

“You’ll have way more than us,” Colleen pointed out, “since we teleported.” She leaned toward Duncan and gave him a kiss.

Jenna glanced from one couple to the other and hoped to hell no one picked up on the emotions running through her. She was happy for her friends. Duncan and Ronin were amazing men, but the surfeit of connubial bliss underscored just how alone she was. Earlier she’d told Roz and Colleen to hurry up and produce a child or two so she could settle in as a maiden auntie and spoil them shamelessly, but nothing like that was likely to happen anytime soon. Not until they got the demons on the run.

Niall surged to her side, along with Krae and Llyr. The changeling swept unkempt black hair out of his dark eyes and caught hold of her arm. “Don’t paint the devil on the wall.”

“Huh? When did you start reading minds?”

“I’ve always been able to, and Krae showed me an easier way where I don’t have to use hardly any of my own power.”

“Really?” Jenna stopped at the top of a dozen broad stone steps and glanced at the changeling. “How?”

He grinned like an imp. “Simple. I borrow yours.”

“Thanks. It’s not polite to help yourself to people’s thoughts, though, or their magic.”

“Maybe not polite,” Niall’s grin widened, “but very interesting.”

“Humph.” Jenna pushed on the ten   tall oak door carved with runic symbols. At first it didn’t budge, but the air brightened around her hand, and then the door swung open. Someone, likely Ronin, had done something to countermand the warding protecting his home.

Kiernan shimmered into being in the great hall. Jenna drew back and blinked in surprise. He’d obviously teleported from the driveway, but she wasn’t used to squandering power so casually. Something drew her gaze upward; by the time she realized it was Kiernan’s magic, she was looking into his blue-green eyes. They were cool, laced with mystery, but fire smoldered in their depths, as if in challenge. When she tried to look away, she couldn’t. Jenna drew herself up and squared her shoulders, but the Sidhe was still taller than her by a good few inches. “Don’t force me,” she sputtered. “If you want something, ask first.”

“I’ll keep it in mind, witch.” With a cross between a smile and a smirk, he turned and trotted into a broad, furnished hallway that ran much of the length of the downstairs. Snug black pants fit like a second skin, outlining a high, tight ass. A faded, gray T-shirt strained across his heavily-muscled back and arms. He was built like an ancient Viking warrior with shoulders so broad she could almost imagine him at the helm of a warship, shaking his fist into the teeth of a shrieking tempest. Unlike Duncan and Ronin, who kept their hair long enough to braid, Kiernan’s black locks were close-cropped, which emphasized his angular cheekbones and strong, clean-shaven jaw. Breath caught in Jenna’s throat, and her belly tightened with a rush of sexual energy.

Because she couldn’t tear her gaze away, she stared after the Sidhe. Coaxed by magic, lights flared on when he passed, and an assortment of plush leather furniture in earth tones came into view. Occasional tables laden with antique sculptures, cut crystal lamps, and other artistic pieces were scattered about. Jenna took a deep breath to ease the tingling in her nipples and then another, hoping her face wasn’t as flushed as it usually got when she was turned on. To divert herself, she spun in a circle, taking in grandeur museums would have gone rounds to own. “Where do you want us?” she asked Ronin.

“Back study,” he said as he and Roz swept past, followed by Colleen and Duncan. “It’s cozier, and we’re a small group.”

“Oh-oh.” Niall nudged her. “Better watch it. I felt that flash of energy from twenty paces.” Jenna  stuck her tongue out at him, and he reached back to pinch her, edging out of the way before she could slap his fingers.

A swoosh of power behind her sent her heart into overdrive. She twirled, ready to shout at Colleen and Roz to come back and help, but the words died on her lips. Kiernan stood there beaming like a Cheshire cat. Despite the smile, he looked arrogant and dangerous, with a raw sexuality that practically held a life of its own. Breath clattered from her lungs. “But you were ahead of me,” she stammered. “Up there.” She pointed behind her and felt like an idiot.

“Observant of you.” He closed the distance between them until he stood scant inches away. The heat of his body eddied toward her, and it took all her willpower not to throw her arms around him and drag his mouth down onto hers.

“Do, er, did you want something?” Her voice came out high and squeaky, and she coughed to cover her discomfiture. As if she were drawn by invisible puppet strings, Jenna leaned toward him, so close her breasts brushed his chest, and her breath hitched uncomfortably. She clasped her hands behind her to reduce the temptation to touch him.

“I want many things, but most of all I want to get to know you better.” He ran a finger down her cheek, leaving a trail of iridescent motes that floated before her eyes. “Once we’re in with the others, there wouldn’t have been an opportunity to tell you that.”

She opened her mouth to say something, anything, to break the sexual tension that overshadowed common sense, but he dissolved into nothingness, and she was left blinking at the afterimage of where he’d stood. Jenna breathed deep to settle herself. If she was going to spend hours training with Kiernan, she had to get her libido under control, and damned fast. Otherwise she’d be so addle-brained she wouldn’t learn a thing.

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About Ann Gimpel

Ann Gimpel is a mountaineer at heart. Recently retired from a long career as a psychologist, she remembers many hours at her desk where her body may have been stuck inside four walls, but her soul was planning yet one more trip to the backcountry. Around the turn of the last century (that would be 2000, not 1900!), she managed to finagle moving to the Eastern Sierra, a mecca for those in love with the mountains. It was during long backcountry treks that Ann’s writing evolved. Unlike some who see the backcountry as an excuse to drag friends and relatives along, Ann prefers solitude. Stories always ran around in her head on those journeys, sometimes as a hedge against abject terror when challenging conditions made her fear for her life, sometimes for company. Eventually, she returned from a trip and sat down at the computer. Three months later, a five hundred page novel emerged. Oh, it wasn’t very good, but it was a beginning. And, she learned a lot between writing that novel and its sequel.

Around that time, a friend of hers suggested she try her hand at short stories. It didn’t take long before that first story found its way into print and they’ve been accepted pretty regularly since then. One of Ann’s passions has always been ecology, so her tales often have a green twist.

In addition to writing, Ann enjoys wilderness photography. She lugs pounds of camera equipment in her backpack to distant locales every year. A standing joke is that over ten percent of her pack weight is camera gear which means someone else has to carry the food! That someone is her husband. They’ve shared a life together for a very long time. Children, grandchildren and three wolf hybrids round out their family.

Comfort Food and Writing

One of the dirty little secrets writers generally don’t talk about is their weight. Face it, writing books is a pretty sedentary occupation. If other authors’ writing life is like mine, there’s always another project, more edits, new books in process, and interminable marketing materials to write—sort of like this blog post.

I’m tiny. 5’2”. When I was a young woman, I weighed 105. Over time, I gradually gained a pound here and a pound there. Because of my mountaineering and backpacking and skiing, I’ve remained in decent shape and force myself to create exercise time at least six days out of seven. Despite that, by the tail end of 2013, I weighed something over 130. Not quite sure how much over because I’d quit weighing myself, but I could have been as high as 135.

Something had to change. Obviously, I couldn’t keep eating the same way, so I moved myself to a paleo eating plan. What’s paleo, you might ask? Basically, it’s a hunter-gatherer diet with meat, fruit, veggies, nuts, and seeds. There’s no portion control, but also no grain and no dairy. The first month was hard. I missed bread and cheese, but I got over that. Because this is a relatively high fat diet, I’m never hungry, nor do I feel deprived.

Somewhere around month five, I started hunting for paleo recipes and discovered I can cook nearly anything with almond and coconut flour that I could make with wheat flour, including cookies and bread. Since I enjoy baking, finding time in the kitchen again to create things was a huge plus.

As I close out month nine, I’m actually very content with my paleo diet. I’ve lost twenty-five pounds and weigh 110. Clothes that haven’t fit for years have come out to play. My mind is crystal clear and I have energy to spare. I’m quick and nimble on the trails, which makes sense since I have the same musculoskeletal system, but it’s carting less weight around. My writing life is fuller than ever.

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I’m not sure I can come up with ten comfort foods on this eating plan, but things I particularly enjoy now are:

1Bread made with cashew butter and eggs.

2Seaweed

3Celery sticks with sprouted almond butter

4Pumpkin cookies made with almond meal, maple syrup, and raisins

5Almost any cut of meat, very rare, off my grill

6Kale salads with sesame dressing

7California rockfish rolled in egg and almond meal and sautéed in walnut oil

8Fresh guacamole with onions, tomatoes, and fine-chopped jalapenos.

910A recipe for my favorite bread follows. It’s from the www.againstallgrain.com site and I heartily recommend all her recipes. She’s quite the kitchen genius. (CG, yep this counts as two comfort foods. Now to make more almond milk!)

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Add this to your mental healthy meal list. It will be great warm with some tuna on it or a bit of the chilled left overs from the salmon from last night. Ann this had to be kismet because I created the mental healthy eating challenge and series for this week … this week! Enjoy this lovely recipe! And remember to head on over to the new site EATING for MENTAL HEALTH and join me and others for eating your way to be Mental Healthy. Though this has no grains there are still great recipes to include in your challenge lifestyle change.

Cashew Bread (Paleo)
Serves: makes 1 8.5×4.5 loaf
Ingredients
  • 1 cup smooth raw cashew butter at room temperature
  • 4 large eggs, separated (mine weighed about 9 ounces in their shells)
  • ½ to 2 tablespoons honey (use 2tbl if you plan to use if for sweeter dishes like french toast)
  • 2.5 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup almond milk
  • ¼ cup coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. For a white colored loaf as in the photo, place a small dish of water on the bottom rack.
  2. Line the bottom of an 8.5×4.5 glass loaf pan with parchment paper, then spread a very thin coating of coconut oil on the sides of the pan.
  3. Beat the cashew butter with the egg yolks, then add the honey, vinegar, and milk. I’ve done this with both electric hand beaters and a stand mixer and both seem to work equally as well. I would not try to make this by hand due to the stickiness of the butter.
  4. Beat the egg whites in a separate bowl until peaks form. I used an electric hand mixer, but if you want a bicep workout, you can also do it by hand.
  5. Combine the dry ingredients in another small bowl. Sorry for all of the dishes!
  6. Make sure your oven is completely preheated before adding the egg whites and the dry ingredients to the cashew butter mixture. You don’t want your whites to fall, and the baking soda will activate once it hits the eggs and vinegar.
  7. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, and beat until combined. This will result in more of a wet batter than a dough. Make sure to get all of the sticky butter mixture off of the bottom of the bowl so you don’t end up with clumps.
  8. Pour the beaten egg whites into the cashew butter mixture, beating again until just combined. You don’t have to be gentle with this, but don’t over mix.
  9. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan, then immediately put it into the oven.
  10. Bake for 45-50 minutes, until the top is golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Don’t be tempted to open the oven door anytime before 40 minutes, as this will allow the steam to escape and you will not get a properly risen loaf.
  11. Remove from the oven, then let cool for 15-20 minutes. Use a knife to free the sides from the loaf pan, then flip it upside down and release the loaf onto a cooling rack. Cool right-side up for an hour before serving.
  12. Wrap the loaf up tightly and store in the fridge for 1 week. I actually think the loaf gets better as the days go on.

 

 

4th-world-mental-health-day Mimosas and Mimosa world-mental-health-dayCashew-Bread-WMHD

2 Comments

  1. Thanks so much for hosting me! It’s a pleasure to be featured on your blog. I’m so glad you loved Witch’s Rule and got excited over my paleo eating plan! It’s really quite amazing once you let it take hold. And easy to add some rice or potatoes for others in your, ahem, family who might not have let go of starch yet. (Like my hubby for example!)

  2. The recipe sounds yummy will definitely have to try it 🙂

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