Hey everyone, I am going to attempt to be more active, really I promise. I have a lot of things going on in my life at the moment. Everything is changing, and like the protag in this book, I am still not sure what is around the corner. Enjoy the review and my recipe for Italian Wedding Soup.
STENIBELLE by Ren Garcia Pages: 184 Date published: July 18, 2015 Publisher: Loconeal
THE 3rd TURN OF THE SHADOW TECH GODDESS The quest of Paymaster Stenstrom spans the planes, taking a bizarre turn in the 3rd universe, as there he is not an affluent man but a woman in desperate circumstances. Lady Stenibelle is imprisoned for her role in the Seeker Affair, is penniless, and her House of Belmont-South Tyrol is on the verge of extinction. Her spirit broken, Stenibelle is resigned to perform her sentence without fuss, do as she is told, and fade away in obscurity. However, fate is not yet finished with her. Stenibelle is in the gaze of hidden benefactors with ulterior motives. People claiming to be her dear friends come forward, yet she does not know them. The Quests of the Shadow tech Goddess proceed, and she must discover the hero that lies within or face total oblivion. The disgraced 30th daughter of the House of Belmont will either be the final stake driven into its dying heart, or the ray of light that comes to save it and all else that follows.
I have to admit, I fell in love with the cover, and I have read a couple of Ren’s books before so I was sure I would love this one. I was not let down. He takes you on an adventure with a strong female protagonist, Bel (our Stenibelle). Lady Belmount. Plus it is a blend of sci-fi, fantasy, Space Opera style … all set in a steampunkish world!
I love how the book starts off with her in jail (very Oblivin’esque of you Ren!). The other female characters add such amazing spice. It is both complex in its rich story telling and yet simple in the smooth way it takes you in.
I am a huge graphic novel fan, and as everyone knows, I adore steampunk. This has a Victorian flavor and is just a yummy read. Anyone who loves a good adventure will fall in love with the book and its rich characters. If you like adventures that keep you guessing, open your eyes to new possibilities, you will love Stenibelle. I have not been reading much this last year and I am really glad this was one of the books i choose to read. I had read the first David Weber book right before this, and it was the prefect book to read right after. So if you love David Weber, you will love this one.
Pick this up, even though this is not the first in the series, i still was able to enjoy and follow what was going on. He is a shower, not a teller and he is so very talented. It is a comfort read, and speaking of comfort, how about a great bowl of Italian Wedding Soup.
1 bunch greens (such as escarole) trimmed and torn into bite-sized pieces (about 6 lightly packed cups)
Red pepper flakes, optional
Lemon wedges, optional
Combine the ground meat, bread crumbs, 1 egg, ¼ cup of each cheese, oregano, salt and pepper in a bowl. Mix thoroughly, then form the mixture into ¾-inch to 1½-inch balls. You should have 20 to 30 meatballs, depending on how large you form them.
In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium high heat. Add the meatballs in batches and cook, turning, until browned all over, 3 to 5 minutes. (If they are still a bit pink in the middle, don't worry; they will continue to cook in the broth.) Set them aside on paper towels or a paper bag to absorb excess oil.
In a 4- to 6-quart soup pot, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil over medium high heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until the onions are tender and the garlic is soft, but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Add the greens, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the meatballs and cook another 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine the remaining 2 eggs and remaining cheeses in small bowl and stir with a fork to blend. Slowly pour the egg mixture into the simmering soup, stirring constantly. Cover and simmer just until egg bits are set, about 30 seconds. Season to taste with salt and black pepper, maybe even a pinch of red pepper flakes and a squirt of lemon juice. Serve immediately.
Leftovers will keep in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To re-heat, simmer gently over low heat.
Ren Garcia is a Science Fiction/Fantasy author and Texas native who grew up in western Ohio. He has been writing since before he could write, often scribbling alien lingo on any available wall or floor with assorted crayons. He attended The Ohio State University and majored in English Literature. Ren has been an avid lover of anything surreal since childhood; he also has a passion for caving, urban archaeology and architecture. His books are published by Loconeal. He currently lives in Columbus, Ohio with his wife, and their three dogs.