Gabriel’s Inferno/Gabriel’s Rapture – Book Review

I love Pinterest.  It’s so awesome.  Filled with all the recipes that I’ll never have the time to make, the decorating that I’ll never have the money to do, the crafts that I’ll never be creative enough to make.  I pin and repin, hoping against all odds that I’ll someday accomplish all these wonderful things.

One thing that I love about Pinterest is browsing through the humour pins.  I often find myself chuckling out loud as I scroll through.  There are a lot of the someecards – which are hilarious.

So I’m browsing through the laughter section of Pinterest, when I come across this pin:

Um…..who?

Okay…I thought to myself, I know who Gideon Cross is (more on him later) and I definitely know who Christian Grey is.  I mean come on, doesn’t everybody?  So who the heck is this Gabriel Emerson, and why the heck would I cheat on Christian Grey with him?

Four words: Thank goodness for Google. Within a few seconds, I was able to find out that Gabriel Emerson is a fictional character in a two book (so far) series, including Gabriel’s Inferno and Gabriel’s Rapture by Sylvain Reynard.  Well, if this guy was dreamy enough to compete with, or mentioned in the same context as Gideon Cross (oh mercy – more on him later) or Christian Grey – well where do I click to download these books?

I was quickly pulled in by these books.  I have to admit, the first 1/3 of Gabriel’s inferno had me questioning things and maybe a little confused.  Once it got going though, and some questions were answered and things explained, I started to enjoy the books.  I thought it was kind of cool that the primary location for the book was at the University of Toronto.  I always like reading books that mention streets and buildings that I am familiar with.

The book follows the story of Professor Gabriel Emerson.  He is a Dante Specialist at the U of T.  This also made it interesting to me as I read The Divine Comedy in high school and it remains one of my favourite works to this day.  All the Dante, Beatrice and Virgil references were quite interesting to me.

Back to Prof. Emerson.  So upon first meeting him, we get the idea that he is pretty much an ass.  A gorgeous ass, but definitely an ass.  We are also introduced pretty much right away to Julia Mitchell, a MA student, studying Dante and writing her thesis.  She seems shy, compassionate, and quite nervous around Professor Emerson.  The story unfolds, though a bit slowly at first, to reveal a past and current connection between Gabriel and Julia.

These books are somewhat similar to the 50 Shades and Crossfire series, in that they are very steamy.  The sexual tension in these books is palpable.  However, there aren’t 50 million love scenes in these books like there were in the other ones.  Actually, most of both of these books are about the building of a relationship without all the sex.  They certainly don’t jump into bed with each other the way they do in the other series.  It’s not so much about the sex act as the buildup to the sex act.

Of course there is also the typical plot line where the gorgeous god of a man who seems like such a jerk is actually dealing with a whole bunch of crap from a really horrible past, and the woman in the story is usually a saviour of sorts, saving them from their past, from their current state of miserableness, and from themselves.  This seems to be a fairly prominent theme in romance novels in general, but especially the blockbusters of late.  The man is usually in a position of power, wealth and huge control over everything around them.  The woman comes along and shatters them, showing their true vulnerability and opening them up to a whole new world.  One they never thought they wanted, or perhaps deserved.

One thing that I found very interesting was that Sylvain Renard is actually male.  I did not think these books read like they were written by a male.  Often when sex scenes and relationship stories are written by a male, the sex, and a man’s anatomy tend to be prominent in the writing.  This was not the case here.  Not to say that male or female writers are any better suited for one genre than another, but finding out that these were written by a male surprised me.

Overall, there are a lot of twists and turns, a lot of ups and downs.  I wasn’t totally blown away, but I did like these books.  They announced just recently that there are plans for a third book.  I’m definitely interested enough to read on to see what is next in store for these two characters.

 

 

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Another Tater Tot Casserole

It seems like everywhere you look for recipes online, you will find one for a tater tot casserole.  I always wanted to try making one.  I’m not a huge fan of potatoes, but I like things like French fries, hash browns  etc.  When I went grocery shopping this weekend, I bought a bag of the tater tots to keep in the freezer for whenever inspiration struck.

It struck yesterday.  I was sitting at work, trying to figure out what the heck to cook for supper on a Monday night when I really didn’t feel like cooking. I remembered the tots in my freezer.  So while I ate my lunch, I took to the internet to search for a recipe.  I was kind of overwhelmed by the number of them, but I read enough of them to get the general idea, and take what I liked from each of them to make my own version.  What I did is in the recipe that follows.

Ingredients

Frozen Tater Tots – about 2/3 of a bag

1-1 1/2 lbs ground beef

onion

fresh mushrooms, sliced

3 cans condensed cream of mushroom soup

1-2 cloves garlic minced or the minced garlic in the jar is fine

cheese – a bunch, maybe 2 cups shredded.  I used mozzarella because it was what I had on hand, but cheddar would be better.

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Start by browning the ground beef in a skillet.  Dice and add the onion and garlic.  Cook until meat is browned and veggies are tender. Drain if there is excess fat.

In a large bowl, combine soups and cheese.  Add tater tots and stir until they are all evenly coated.

Spread ground beef in the bottom of a 9×13 casserole dish.  Add tater tot mixture on top and spread to cover beef.

Bake uncovered for at least an hour, until bubbly and hot and browned a bit on top.

Remove from oven and allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving.

 

It was great with a bit of ketchup.  All the measurements (as you can see) are approximate and can be adjusted to your taste, as I just kind of threw it together.

This recipe has the possibility of being personalized any way you like it.  You could add other vegetables – a layer of corn between the beef and tots would be good.  Extra cheese on top while baking would also be very good, but I ran out.  This would also be good with a bit of sausage meat mixed in with the beef, or if you’re feeling particularly sassy (and breakfasty) to replace it altogether. Cooking is all about making things your own.  Try, and enjoy! 🙂