Monday, December 9, 2013

Banned Books Challenge 2014

Insurgent: 10-14 Challenged Books

Click HERE to participate

"DATES: January 1, 2014 through December 31, 2014

RULES: Any book that has been banned or challenged counts for this challenge. Books can be read in any format and overlap with other challenges is allowed (encouraged!)

WHAT BOOKS CAN I READ? To help give you some ideas of what to read, check out the ALA's lists of frequently challenged books. There are multiple lists split up by author, year, decade, & a separate list for Banned & Challenged Classics, so there are a lot of options from all different genres. GoodReads also has several listopia lists on the subject -- this is particularly helpful for identifying books you already have on your shelves if you are a user of the site. Also, if you learn about a book getting challenged in the news or on the net, it's fair game and I would love if you also let us know where you heard about it.

HOW TO PARTICIPATE: Write a post identifying which level you are aiming to complete, linking to this sign-up post. If you don't have a blog, just leave a comment below stating what level you are trying for.

For each book you read for the challenge, you can link-up your reviews here, so we can read them! Reviews can be as short or long as you like, even a one-liner is fine. If you don't have a blog, but post reviews on GoodReads or other similar site, you can link to your reviews there. If you don't post reviews, you can leave a comment on the Review Link-Up page telling us which books you completed.

LEVELSBelow are the levels you can choose from. Changing your mind is OK -- you can go up or down in level at any time. I said low-pressure, remember?

     Making Waves: 1-2 Challenged Books
     Trouble-Maker: 3-5 Challenged Books
     Rebel: 6-9 Challenged Books
     Insurgent: 10-14 Challenged Books
     Leader of a Revolution: 15+ Challenged Books"

Friday, October 18, 2013

Gun Boss of Tumbleweed Book Review

Gun Boss of TumbleweedGun Boss of Tumbleweed by L. Ron Hubbard
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I had no idea this was an audio book. I am not a fan of audio books because they play out the story in a different tone then I would perceive it. This was an okay listen for me. Kincaid’s mother had an accent that sounded like an islander trying to do western and it was just strange. The story was kind of dull. Narrator was okay and the actors who played the major character and protagonist were good. The rest of the voice-overs were either okay or bad. The story had me at moments, but it was mostly background noise. Do not recommend unless you can tolerate audio books.

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Sunday, October 13, 2013

Checkin Almost Hour 21 DONE


This is it. I'm calling it quits. So close I know, but I am waking up early today and may not be able to function.


Only made it about 45% through Frankenstein. Hopefully I'll finish tomorrow (Monday).

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Mini Challenge Hour 19

Show It Off

The Great Wild West by Jeff Appelquist
He really went all out and signed the book and left a nice note inside the cover, plus a thank you card and a promise to chat with the book club, should we ever read his book.
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
My mother bought me this book before I ever learned to read at a small bookshop. It was my first book ever!
In college I was poetry obsessed and collected these. I have a poem for any occasion. I treasure my little poem books.

Checkin Hour 18


Mini challenge
Check out my robot.
I wanted to go higher, but the sleepiness is starting to set in. I haven't been on my best reading behavior today. This was a fun challenge.

Mini Callenge Hour 13

Best Book of Your Reading Year
The Ressurectionist
Best Romance Book of Your Reading Year
Slow Surrender
Best YA Book of Your Reading Year
The Hunger Games
Best New Adult Book of Your Reading Year

Best Mystery Book of Your Reading Year
Best Non-Fiction Book of Your Reading Year
Best Sci-Fi Book of Your Reading Year
Best Fantasy Book of Your Reading Year
Best Children’s Book of Your Reading Year
Best Fiction Book of Your Reading Year
Best Main Character of Your Reading Year
Sugar from Sugar
Best Author of Your Reading Year
Best Supporting Character of Your Reading Year
Lord Byron from Jane Goes Batty
Best Cover of Your Reading Year
Best Character You Love To Have of Your Reading Year
Best Setting of Your Reading Year
Best Story Line of Your Reading Year
Best Indie Author of Your Reading Year

Mini Challenge Hour 11

Checkin Hour 12 Mid-Event Survey

Mid-Event Survey

1) How are you doing? Sleepy? Are your eyes tired?
Not tired at all
2) What have you finished reading?
I finished A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and started Frankenstein
3) What is your favorite read so far?
I just loved ATGIB. It took me a long time to read because I was really immersing myself.
4) What about your favorite snacks?
Chowing on my Slim Jim as I type.
5) Have you found any new blogs through the readathon? If so, give them some love!

I skipped Hour 11 and went for a bike ride and Hour 10 I handled a mail complication.

Checkin Hour 6


Mini Challenge: Through the Tea Leaves
Francie from A Trees Grows in Brooklyn reading.

Checkin Hour 4

 So paused reading and combed my hair, washed my face and had breakfast. I have not really plowed through my book like I was hoping, but I think that is because I am being very thoughtful about it because I like it. I'm reading "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn". Post for mini challenge:
Someone like you ....Affinity When the dust settled.

Check In Hour 1 Dewey's Read-a-Thon

October 12 5:30am
 1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?
2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?
3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?
4) Tell us a little something about yourself! I'm really grumpy and hate getting up early in the morning. 5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to? I'm curious about the hourly checkins.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Getting Ready

Just bought my supplies for Dewey's 24 hour Read-a-Thon. Beef Jerky, chips, soda, coffee, corn nuts, carrot sticks, hummus, nuts, ice cream, and cereal. Not the healthiest I know, but junk snacks motivate me.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Darling Strumpet Book Review

The Darling StrumpetThe Darling Strumpet by Gillian Bagwell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Received the book for free through Goodreads First Reads.
From the slums Nell Gwynn gets hers start at a brothel after leaving mam’s at a young age, then proceeds to become an orange seller, then an actress of the theatre before winning the heart of King Charles II.
Nell is a strong willed, pretty independent considering the time. She makes out on her own and tries to secure her future and when her love for theater becomes love for the King, she does what she will to stay in his keep. There was rivalry among his mistresses, assassination attempts, a villain in the shadows and grumbling parliament.
Some of my favorite scenes were the gossip that went on backstage at the theatre and Nell’s camaraderie with her fellow actors. There was love and tragedy and family allegiance.
I am a sucker for historical fiction and this was really good. I don’t know much of royalty or European history, so having books like this gets me interested While I do think in the beginning it had meandering moments never did I want to skip a word.

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Sunday, September 15, 2013

Happy 30th Birthday to Me

Minnie Mouse cake I made. Pretty good for an amateur. I used made marshmallow fondant which is very good and easy.

I read this book:
Happy Birthday to MeHappy Birthday to Me by Brian Rowe
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was like an 80's movie. Which is a good thing or maybe it's a bad thing. I expected something a bit more contemporary and I just found this story to be mundane and unimaginative. Like a previous reviewer said, I was reminded of Beastly. I picked this solely based on the title because my birthday was approaching. Never had I expected to be reading a supernatural tale with a life lesson. It surprised me and with it feeling like it would have made a great 80's movies I enjoyed it, but it wasn't well developed.

View all my reviews
 I went to the movies and saw:
The World's End (2013) Poster
I don't even need to elaborate on how funny this was. In my opinion Pegg and Frost can do no wrong. And Paddy Considine "hubba hubba". 8 out of 10.

Got my free goody from Sephora and then went to Ulta to get my brows waxed.
Apparently the Benefit Brow Bar at all Ulta's is no longer giving away free birthday waxings. That sucks and I wish the phone number for the brow bar was posted on the website so I could have called and checked, which I was gonna do. That pissed on my mood because for the last few weeks I have let my brows grow wild in anticipation of a waxing and at the same time I had a toothache, plus this mom and her 2 daughters at the brow bar just rubbed me the wrong way.
Closed the evening with a dinner out at Truxtons with a hearty chicken burrito and key lime cheesecake.

Birthday boots will have to wait till next year.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Rumors By Stephanie Abrams Book Review

RumorsRumors by Stephanie Abrams
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Are the rumors true or do they just cause more trouble than there worth? On Long Island NY, Jewish congregants gather weekly for temple and the “T”. A group of privileged individuals who are committed more to weekly juicing than the Shabbat. So the rumor mill swirls and people get hurt feelings. The book started off so great with this shady company and a man that deals in dead bodies. I thought I was being set up for a crime thriller, but that all wanes away. What we get left with is a philandering wife, an old bitty Jewish committee, the oppressed black family, the dimwit newlyweds, and a still mysterious company. Now there are other things also, but none of them really interesting and not worth mentioning. Everything in this was very vanilla and filled with milk. There was so many bland descriptions used to plump up the book and none of it was relevant.
As a reader I wanted more Frank and Maisy, Dugan, Sylvie, and that Herb guy. That is your foundation and what kept me going. Melanie, just throw her away. Sweet, do-gooder Melanie who just gets swept up into the “drama”. Who cares? This wasn’t awful and for someone who likes a soft read (not me), this will be your Gone Girl. This book was soft. So supple and plain, it was downright boring. The books needs sex, violence, deceit, scandal (real scandal), crime and a hero.

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Friday, September 13, 2013

2013 A-Z Author Challenge

A - Stephanie Abrams - Rumors
B - Gillian Bagwell - The Darling Strumpet
C - Diane Christner - Something New
D - Sarah Dessen - Just Listen
E - Stephanie Evanovich - Big Girl Panties
F - Christopher Fisher - A History of Stone and Steel
G - Joshua Guerrero - Elemental and the BĂȘte Noire
H - Diana Hammond - Friday's Harbor
I - Larissa Ione - Pleasure Unbound
J - Kaylene Johnson - Canyons and Ice
K - Rachel Kushner - The Flamethrowers
L - Emily Liebert - You Knew Me When
M - Susan Elia MacNeal - His Majesty's Hope
N - Vladimir Nabokov - Lolita
O - Regina O'Melveney - The Book of Madness and Cures
P - Nancy K. Peardon - Marlon Brando: A Memoir
Q - Matthew Quick - Forgive me Leonard Peacock
R - Cheryl Richards - Deadly Dosage
S - Rayme Scarioni - Dinner for God
T - Joseph A. Turkot - Darkin: A Journey East
U - John Updike - Rabbit, Run
V - Sally Vickers - The Cleaner of Chartres
W - Annalee Wendeberg - The Devils Grin
XDalai Lama XIV - The Art of Happiness
Y - Jane Yolen - Briar Rose
Z - Mark Zusak - The Book Thief

Monday, August 19, 2013

What I Want to do For My 30th Birthday

1. I want a Minnie Mouse cake like this:

or this
Have to make the cake myself so my skills will be lacking, but this I can pull off.

2. A bottle of perfume as a present. I don't actually have any money so I need this to be gifted and why not get at least one present.
This Smells really nice.
I really want a Dali perfume
3. Buy a pair of cowboy boots. I have wanted cowboy boots forever and this is the main thing. Number one and if I can't make this happen then I will just be depressed and miserable for the rest of the year.
Gonna need at least $200 to get a decent pair but the ones I really want cost upward $700.
4. Then there is the easy stuff. 
  • Go to a movie (I have free tickets)
  • Get my eyebrows waxed for free
  • Free ice cream
  • Free sushi
  • Free Chili dog
  • Sephora Beauty Insider gift
Can't I just have at least one day to be selfish and celebrate? I have not had a birthday since I turned one year old.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Slow Surrender Book Review

Slow SurrenderSlow Surrender by Cecilia Tan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Received the book for free through Goodreads First Reads.
Karina the art student who lives in New York fills in for another waitress and meets mysterious patron who asks her to play a game and the game gets more sexual as she indulges him. She eventually finds herself drawn into his lifestyle and in indulging his desires. Like most of our heroines she falls in love with the guy.
Karina is a boring yet crazy gal. She lives a most mundane existence but completely falls for the first perv to seduce her. I will give credit to our seducer, in the beginning he had some very unique games and there is a great build up. Although he has some technique our male protagonist is not that desirable to me as a reader and I don’t feel that Karina is desirable either. For me it was like hearing about my two average looking neighbor’s sex-capades.
This book wasn’t sex, sex, sex like so many other erotica is. The story was good if just a bit unbelievable, but hey it’s fantasy. We got a lot of foreplay and it ends fun but with the reader craving more.

View all my reviews

Saturday, July 20, 2013

All Dogs Are Blue Book Review

All Dogs Are BlueAll Dogs Are Blue by Rodrigo De Souza Leao
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Received the book for free through Goodreads First Reads.
The journal of a madman. That was how this read. It was just one long coherent rambling. The sort of book that would have appealed to me when I was in my late teens. It is not that different then if you were to rip out random pages of my diary from a teen, just more insane. What I will give the author credit for is his creativity and a look into the psyche of a crazy person. There are moments when you can sense a passage of sanity and it becomes interesting, but next sentence it is loony again. I did not get humor or sorrow from this. It was not poetic in the slightest but that is a matter of opinion. About halfway through reading, I felt like I had to put it down because it was draining me. There are also lines that get repeated and it started to make me feel just as mad as the writer.
This is maybe getting a bit more credit than due and will definitely appeal to people who like to read into things. Maybe I just lack the depth to appreciate the efforts but this was a shit.

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Sunday, July 7, 2013

What Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast

"painting, sketching, photography (if it’s light out), scrapbooking, crafts, writing poetry, practicing a musical instrument (if you live by yourself), reading through a religious text verse by verse, yoga, Zumba class, walking, training for a half marathon, biking, swimming, working out with a trainer, weight lifting, prayer, reading through a book of devotions, looking through your photo albums or contact list and praying for people by name, meditation, making a gratitude list, writing your own blog, writing “Morning Pages” (per Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way), writing one thousand words in a novel, writing in a journal, writing thank-you letters, reading articles in professional journals, attending a regular networking breakfast, having family breakfast, making pancakes, baking, etc., with your kids, reading together for a family book club, reading kids’ stories, reading through all the plays of Shakespeare, reading through the best novels of the twentieth century, listening to challenging music like Wagner’s Ring Cycle, playing with your kids, doing art projects with your kids, gardening, exercising with your spouse, trying a new recipe every morning, strategic career thinking, planning long-term employee career development, brainstorming new business lines or sales prospects, coming up with new projects or initiatives, studying, taking a self-paced online class"

-What Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast

Friday, July 5, 2013

Gone Girl Book Review

Gone GirlGone Girl by Gillian Flynn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is how I felt at the end.
I just wish that someone would have gotten the villain, but this is a great story without the happy ending and all the craziness intact.

P.S. After having read the Acknowledgement I am really creeped out by the author. She might be an Amy.

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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Resurrectionist Book Review

The ResurrectionistThe Resurrectionist by Matthew Guinn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Received the book for free through Goodreads First Reads.
The book goes back and forth between two protagonists Jacob of present day and Nemo of the mid 19th century. Jacob is the medical school PR guy after being put on probation for bad behavior and Nemo is a slave bought by the medical school to perform a dirty deed.
As a reader I never knew about these atrocities that occurred in the past so the book was captivating. The whiskey barrel scene awed me and the final medical experiment traumatized me. The recreation of the era past was the best part of the story and so well told. Slow moments mostly fell on the office moments with Jacob. While I understand how Jacob was integral to telling the whole story as a character he wasn’t that remarkable. Even with his connection to the past and his ties to the school there wasn’t much there. Also there are a couple of romances with one being completely unnecessary and the other giving just a bit of hope. I really enjoyed this and found it an intriguing read.

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Release July 8, 2013

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Freud's Mistress Book Review

Freud's MistressFreud's Mistress by Karen Mack
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Received the book for free through Goodreads First Reads
This is the fictionalized version of the true love affair between Sigmund Freud and sister in law Minna Bernays. Told in the third person account we are traipsing behind single woman Minna as she leaves her previous employer and comes to stay with her sister’s family. Apparently Minna and Freud have always had a correspondence relationship but in spending more time together their feelings start to grow toward each other.
Previous to having read this I was and are still are unfamiliar with Freud’s work and know is has to do with the Psyche. From what this book tells me it appears he was a difficult man with many interchangeable relationships. Or I would just say he is a man-child who indulges himself and mopes when things don’t go his way. Minna is just one figure that is a passing fancy in his life, but it seems that she gets a bit too attached and it is all very tiresome.
I understand that this is in a certain time in history where women are still beholden to men or family, but I just wish she was bit more headstrong in her actions then in how she thought of herself. She felt she was brighter and more independent then her sister yet she still succumbs to him. She feels guilty and that she has committed the ultimate betrayal yet again her actions play out differently. Despite her behavior she keeps coming back.
Then there is Martha, Freud’s wife who has an opiate addiction lets her six children run wild, very little intervenes unless it involves pumping them full of drugs to put them to bed. She nags her husband and puts the burden of child rearing on her sister and nanny. The only pity one could have for Martha is that she is married to a brute who does not appear to care much for his family but later we see some depth of wisdom to the gal which comes a bit too late in the novel for one to care.
Although I found most of the characters dreadful it was all very appealing. They did a good job of portraying the atmosphere of late 19th century Vienna but I think some of the language may have been a bit simplified, nonetheless it was enjoyable.

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Release date: July 9, 2013

Monday, June 24, 2013

On the Move: Mass Migrations Book Review

On the Move: Mass MigrationsOn the Move: Mass Migrations by Scotti Cohn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a great book. Excellent way to teach children about migration, climate, seasons and geography. Fantastic full page illustrations with large text and no dead space. The layout design was skillfully done. The writing by Cohn gave just enough insight to fully explain yet still open up to more questions and was fun and playful. The back of the book gave even more details for each set of animals and had a quiz along with a source for multimedia to learn even more. Must have animal book for young children.

View all my reviews Received the book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

The End of Night Book Review

The End of Night: Searching for Natural Darkness in an Age of Artificial LightThe End of Night: Searching for Natural Darkness in an Age of Artificial Light by Paul Bogard
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

This was like reading one long news article and that was not good. What was good was the different stance taken on why we should preserve darkness and what we lose if we don’t. This felt like an academic book which only appeals to a certain crowd, but not likely to garner the mainstream into being interested. On the subject of darkness you never get a clear sense of Bogard’s actual concern. Mostly he just misses looking up at a starry sky yet he uses other arguments to validate why darkness is important but he doesn’t give the impression that he cares about those other reasons. Most of it falls on astronomy and that isn’t much selling point. If all creative non-fiction reads like this then count me out. It was jarring coming from an eloquent argument made by a lighting designer to another 2 pages about eating pasta in Italy. The transitions sucked and it made me not care. Everyone else’s opinion is so much clearer or inspiring than what the writer himself had to say and all he does is mirror or echo there viewpoint. If you were to eliminate all the quotes and excerpts you might be left with about 20 pages of the authors own writing which isn’t saying much. While the topic is fascinating the book itself is not. Everything good written here comes from someone who is more learned in the topic. Unless someone has a direct interest in this area, you should pass.

View all my reviews Coming out July 9, 2013 Received the book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

My Husband's Girlfriend Book Review

My Husband's GirlfriendMy Husband's Girlfriend by Cydney Rax
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Anya has lost her sexual drive and she and her husband seem to be drifting apart, so in order to save her marriage she grants him a contract to get satisfaction from someone else, but a breach of contract may destroy this family.
This story is told from different character narratives, jumping from wife to husband to mistress. With a title like My Husbands Girlfriend one would expect drama and plenty of scandal, yet this story was so mundane with only a few sizzling moments. A lot of it was dialogue of each coupling arguing or contemplating. It’s not that the story was boring but after each episode I kept asking myself when do we get to a juicy part. There is an incident involving antibiotics that could have been so much better. Everything was very vanilla and ordinary, maybe a bit too realistic. The book was deceiving in keeping me reading because the dialogue was great and it is well written yet nothing really happened. Hooray for a happy ending.

View all my reviews Received the book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Fantastic Adventure of Krishna by Demi Book Review

The Fantastic Adventures of KrishnaThe Fantastic Adventures of Krishna by Demi
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Had to take off a star, because I found there to be some layout and design problems which made they book less prized. There was a lot of dead space on the side bar and I am not a fan of illustrations being split on 2 pages. The scale could have adjusted for some or the publisher should have requested more illustrations and story to fill up the space. It has beautiful illustrations, but not as avant-garde as I would have expected given other reviews. The story was simple and straightforward enough for someone very young, but it lacked a bit. There could have been more story or detail, that wouldn't be lost on a little one. in general it was a pleasant educational read with enjoyable illustrations.

View all my reviews Received the book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Cookbook Series I - Italian Sausage Hero Sandwich

Pizza in a sandwich. I added a green pepper and next time I will add some pepperoni to the sandwich. Messy but delicious. 5 out of 5.

The Submissive Book Review

The Submissive (The Submissive Trilogy, #1)The Submissive by Tara Sue Me
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Why oh why, do I keep putting myself through this? Are there any good erotica books being written these days or just a bunch of BDSM drivel? From what I gathered from another review is that this story was the pre-cursor to FSoG. FSoG is a book I loathe and has almost completely put me off the genre. While the characters in that book are painfully annoying, this book gives you nothing. The characters are boring and not well developed; the sex is boring and hardly arousing. Plus maybe I am the only one, but I felt that there were some anatomy issues. Not worth a look, if you want similar scenarios check out Bared to You or if you want good BDSM something by Rachel Kramer Bussel.
Bared to You
Rachel Kramer Bussel

View all my reviews Received the book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Cookbook Series I - BBQ Style Pork Sandwiches

The sauce was not yummy enough and it came out  bit bland so I added some extra garlice salt, Worcestershire, steak sauce, and chili sauce. 4 out of 5.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Cookbook Series I - Sweet and Sour Chicken

 3 out of 5. It was ho-hum, a bit bland and this tapioca is not doing anything for these recipes.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Anonymous Sources Book Review

Anonymous SourcesAnonymous Sources by Mary Louise Kelly
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Reporter Alex James is tasked with finding out what she can in the death of Grad student Thom Carlyle only to get caught in a terrorists bombing scheme. James comes off as ordinary and not much of a likable character in my opinion, but then there is this whole bit thrown in about her dilemma as a teen that is suppose to make me feel bad for her, but I don’t. She is not wholly unlikable, but let’s not pretend that she is a great person and I want to be her best friend. Best characters were the tough stand their ground guys, like her boss Hyde, Officer Galloni, and General Carspecken. I guess the thrill comes from what happens next yet this story is not full of action it’s mostly journalism, drinking, reminiscing on teen problem, and being evasive. I’m not usually interested in thrillers, but this one was enjoyable but I found the story unremarkable and it felt like an episode NCIS or similar. It was good, I liked it. Nice in-flight read.

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Release Date: June 18, 2013 Received the book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Cookbook Series I - Porkchops with Mushroom Sauce

 Delicioso. 5 out of 5. I don't like mushrooms so I ate the 'shrooms first and savored the rest of the dish. Served with a side of mustard greens and polished off the bottle of white wine.