Author Archives: handerson7

About handerson7

World traveler, brunch enthusiast, cocktail drinker, aspiring know-it-all; read on for what I'm doing, reading & enjoying.

Valar Morghulis

For one of my current classes, we were given the extremely morbid task of creating our own obituary. What do we want to be the centerpiece of our life? How can we accomplish these goals? Clearly, around here, our accomplishments would center around reading. How the stories we’ve read and fantasy lands we’ve visited impact us every day. Honestly, it’s probably clearest in my love for parties. BOY, do I love a themed party!!!! With Game of Thrones FINAL SEASON premiere this weekend, why don’t you throw a premiere party?!

Here’s some inspiration from a party we threw last month; it centered around a Westeros inspired Charcuterie Spread. I created a mini menu for each region and made a little flag (complete with sigils) to display the menu. BOY, WAS IT A SPREAD:

One section for (almost) each main region of Westeros: Below are the North (top right), the Vale (bottom right), King’s Landing (front, almost center), the Reach (back left), and the Iron Islands (back left). In the very background is a large map of Westeros. Below is a close up

Essos & Dorne selections

Almost all of the charcuterie and accompaniments were from Trader Joe’s. It included the staples: Unexpected cheddar, blueberry chevere, sopressata. Want a complete list? Let me know in the comments! Who is going to end up on the thrones? Who will die? (Probably everyone). How will Dany continue to blow a 3 Dragon lead? Guess we will have to tune in Sunday to find out.

Valar Dohaeris all the parties. -Hannah

*This post is not sponsored but I wouldn’t be mad if HBO or Trader Joe’s sponsored our next one.

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Dino Fever

If there’s one thing that’s always piqued my interest, may be surprising to some of our loyal readers, it’s DINOSAURS. Yes, I’m a 5 year old boy at heart. What can I say? Giant creatures, the mystery, the madness, the end result. What’s not to like?

I picked up The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs: A New History of the Lost World a week ago at my local big box bookstore and had no regrets since opening that fresh cover. Written by a paleontologist himself, Steve Brusatte, is a master of explanation. The science is simplified, the imagery is masterful, and history is all true, obviously!

The story starts 200 MILLION YEARS AGO – yeah, not a typo, and begins with the ancestors to these fearsome creatures. Following evolution, we visit the fossil sites themselves, showing how these dinosaurs started as small shadow dwelling creatures and became the colossus himself, the Tyrannosaurus Rex. The history takes us all the way to the mass extinction and even brilliantly explains how the dinosaur ancestors are still living amongst us today. Dispersed in the text are hosts of photographs of the eclectic cast of characters, fossils, and original drawings inspired by the scientific text.

For all you Dinosaur lovers, this one is for you in all ways, shapes, and forms. Even if you consider yourself a casual dinosaur enthusiast, this book is a wealth of information and I certainly will cite it as a impeccable source when I win the Dinosaur category on Jeopardy!


As always, Happy Reading!

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R&D – Greek Edition

What’s better than getting lost in the expansive world of Greek Mythology? I can tell you: it’s getting lost on Mount Olympus with one of these cocktails.

Edith Hamilton’s Mythology isn’t a new release; in fact, it was originally published in 1942. But ol’ Edith knows how to make her books as timeless as the original myths. This book isn’t just a read for pleasure. She has structured this book so well it is a great reference guide to use during classes or for an beginner to learn all the basics. She also includes the Latin forms of the Gods, some latin mythology stories, and as a bonus, Norse mythology as well! Exciting, when you recall that Thor is a norse god.

She draws upon the original poems (Homer, Euripides, Sophocles, Ovid, etc.)  and myths but translates them into plain and easy-to-understand english. Of course some of the flowery language is lost, but what is left is the pure tale of all gods, goddesses, and monsters that so fascinated the Greeks. She includes stories of the original woman scorned, Medea; the world’s worst hairdo, Medusa; poor Odysseus and his 10 year journey home; and the drama of fighting over Helen of Troy, the world’s most beautiful woman.

This cocktail is inspired by Persephone, the maiden of spring, and her darling suitor, Hades, god of the underworld. Hades fell in love with Persephone and tricked her into coming into the Underworld to be his Queen. Her mother, Demeter, was relentless in her search to find her daughter. Nine days she wandered, but finally the Sun told her the truth. Demeter, the goddess of corn, was distraught. In her grief, nothing grew. No seeds for harvest and the Greeks began to die of starvation. At last, Zeus (….please tell me you know who Zeus is) sent a messenger to retrieve Persephone from the underworld. Before she left, Hades tricked her into eating a pomegranate seed; he knew if she did, she must return to him. He was right; Zeus commanded that Persephone must spend a third part of the year in Hades, thus creating winter, and once she ascended back to Demeter, spring would begin.

Now your refresher in Greek Mythology is complete, so pop the cork and enjoy this fizzy refresher!


Pomegranate Champagne Cocktail
1 ounce chilled pomegranate juice
3 ounces champagne
pomegranate seeds for garnish

Pour juice into champagne flute. Slowly top with the bubbly. Garnish with seeds. Enjoy!

Novel | Cocktail | Glasses | Ice Bucket | Coaster | Bottle Opener | Bar Tools


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R&D – Within the Walled City Edition

For my birthday last year, my boyfriend’s sister gave me a book authored by her close friend. Yes, I know you may be skeptical. We know how friend’s writing can turn out; like that time a woman wrote Twilight fan fiction and it got published then turned into a national phenomenon about BDSM.

I have good news: it was nothing like that! Instead, I greatly enjoyed the little coming-of-age during study abroad book. Here’s the description of Within the Walled City:

Lily Dunn died seventeen years ago, and the small family that she left behind has buried her memory along with their pain. When her twenty-six-year-old daughter Jillian leaves for a semester in Siena, Italy to complete her Master’s in Art History, she comes upon an unexpected treasure: Lily’s handwritten journal, from a time when she too lived in Siena.

Jillian’s months in Siena are marked by eccentric people, stunning scenery, a trove of exquisite art, and most of all, the enthralling and painful discovery of a mother she never knew and a world of secrets she can’t unlearn. The shadows of the past, the memories of an artist, will either crush or unfold her within the walled city.

Overall, it was an easy and quick read (with a surprise ending {times TWO} !!!), perfect for a spring jaunt by the pool or beach. Whilst reading, make sure you grab a glass of Limoncello to accompany you. Nothing like a crisp Italian liqueur to send you straight to the Italian countryside and the walled city, Siena.

Walled City R&D JPG

Remove the peel of 10 lemons and place in a 2 quart pitcher. Add 1 750-ml bottle of vodka. Steep for 4 days at room temperature.
Heat 3 1/2 cups of water and 2 1/2 cups of sugar in saucepan over medium heat, until the sugar dissolves (about 5 minutes). Cool completely then pour over lemon vodka mixture. Allow to stand overnight. Strain the limoncello and discard the peels. Transfer to bottles; refrigerate until cold.

Novel | Cocktail | Bottle | Cordial Glass | Peeler | Strainer | Pitcher

Cheers & Happy Spring!


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Yes, you may have noticed we Untamed Shrews here have a new logo!!! Combining two things we love, wine and books, our new logo graces the head of our blog like a literary crown.

JPG Logo

Keep checking back for more exciting updates, book reviews, and a renewed committal to this blog from me.


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Read This, Drink That – Red Rising Edition

“I am the reaper and death is my shadow.” – Darrow

Set many years into the future, society has fallen in to a color caste system; Darrow, a lowly red, is a miner on Mars. His people are in charge of getting Mars prepared for habitation. After cruel treatment by a higher color, a Grey, Darrow’s life is changed forever. *

*Our strict belief of a spoiler-free life here at Untamed Shrews prevents me from saying any more details. Don’t read the B&N overview, because they have less gumption than we do here.

I can’t say anything more because you seriously have to read these books. I told my mom I haven’t loved a series so much since Harry Potter (and potentially, Song of Ice & Fire. Will have to re-read to make this decision). Darrow, like Harry, is so flawed, but so likable and very easy to stand behind for his cause. They are quite similar because they are our window into this vast and different world. They are both totally clueless men & have a beautiful girl to take the reins, show the way, and kick major ass.

For Darrow’s Read & Drink, I chose a whiskey drink (one he references often). Since the trilogy takes place in the entire solar system, I wanted to keep things a little earthly. The Golds care a lot for tradition, and I think Roque would have served his guests a sweet Old Fashioned.

RR R&D.jpg

Old Fashioned
2 ounces Woodford Reserve
1/2 ounce Demerara Syrup
3 Dashes Angostura Bitters
2 Dashes Regan’s Orange Bitters

Add ingredients to the mixing glass. Add ice to the mixing glass and serving glass. Garnish with lightly expressed orange peel.

Novel | Cocktail | Ice Bucket | Bar Tools | Shaker | Opener Rings | Decanter



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Biblios Need Love Too

So it’s coming upon us soon, THE day, Valentine’s Day. You may be wondering, “What do I get the book lover in my life?” Well readers, worry no more! I have created a handy gift guide for your use and enjoyment. I don’t even require thanks*!

*However, I will accept any gift seen below as thanks.


Journal | Tumbler | Embosser | Stamp | Pillow | Candle | Books

Happy Reading!

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Read This, Drink That – The Silmarillion

I may not be a great blogger, but I am a great girlfriend. My significant other is a huge Tolkien fan (like another this blog is familiar with). Anyway, because I am such a great girlfriend  I agreed to read The Silmarillion with my boyfriend. Yes, me. Who has read no other Tolkien than The Hobbit. Needless to say, this was a bit over my head.

The Silmarillion (Within this book there are 6 short stories.) is a “brief” history of Tolkien’s universe where his other novels take place. This universe is called Eä. This book describes the beginning of time. I mean, when Eä was just DUST it was so beginning of time. The first book tells the story of Eru (also known as Illúvatar) creating the world.

Y’all, I am being for real when I say this book is for DIE HARD TOLKEIN FANS. If you have never wondered “Who created the Elvish within the land of Middle-Earth?” then do not read this book. The beginning was so tough for me to get through, mainly because these characters have so many names: an “english” name, an Elvish name, another name, plus 3 more names. I had to keep reminding myself that Melkor, Morgoth, Arun, Bauglir, and Belegurth are all THE SAME CHARACTER!! And those aren’t even all his names!!!!!!!!!!!

Anyway, I say this not to discount the book. It was published posthumously, created from Tolkien’s notes. This man’s brain must have been the size of a watermelon to hold all of this fantasy world and perfectly intertwine all the stories. Once I got past the “Genesis” (if you will) creation stories and into the battles that shaped Middle-Earth, it was tolerable. Learning how the beautiful jewels, The Silmarils, were created, lost, and rescued was a great story; just remember, if you are in Middle-Earth NEVER swear to an oath or you WILL die trying to uphold it.

My favorite story had to be Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age. It tells the tale of Sauron, who is known to any movie viewer as a fiery eyeball at the top of a tall tower. The story goes on to explain how the one ring was made and why it is so powerful.

I say all of this not for your praise or recognition of possibly deserving the Greatest Girlfriend Ever Award, but instead to present you with this Read and Drink. The book is so heavy, please, for the love of Illúvatar, have a light and refreshing cocktail to enjoy whilst reading. This may be the first R&D that has no relation to the actual story. That’s because this story made no mention of alcohol. So I got creative(ish). Cheers!


Silm R&D

Moscow Mule
2 ounces vodka
5 ounces ginger beer
Squeeze lime juice into glass. Add large ice cubes, then pour vodka. Add cold beer. Stir.

Book | Cocktail | Cocktail Shaker | Mugs | Bar Tools | Ice Bucket

Next up, we are reading A Christmas Carol. Since this is a super short story I hope to be sharing a Christmas themed cocktail with you soon! What’s the opposite of Bah-Humbug?!

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Read This, Drink That – Dracula Edition

Here at Untamed Shrews we can hardly contain our excitement; Labor Day brings the end of summer and the start of our favorite time of the year, fall! Halloween decor is already in place at my haunted house. To get in the spirit, I picked up Dracula and couldn’t put it down. It’s hard to believe a novel published in 1897 is still relevant and TERRIFYING over 100 years later. It is told through journal and diary entries, newspaper stories, and the occasional ship’s log to make it feel more authentic.

Of course, everyone knows the story of Dracula, the blood thirsty vampire looking to expand his army from Transylvania into London. Poor Jonathan Harker, newly established solicitor, travels to the Count’s lair to provide support for the sale of a property in London. It doesn’t take long for Jonathan to realize that something is wrong: the lack of servants, Dracula never eats, and only visits after dusk are major red flags. When the Count enters Jonathan’s bedroom and has no reflection, Jonathan realizes it is past time to GTFO, but can he escape before he becomes a victim?!

The Count journeys to England, and begins to track Jonathan’s heartbroken bride-to-be, Mina, and in true gentleman fashion, feeding on her best friend, Lucy. Then we are introduced into another iconic character, Dr. Van Helsing, the world renowned doctor, aspiring vampire hunter and destroyer, potential savior of Lucy. This feeding comes at a terrible time for Lucy, as she was proposed to by THREE (!!!) charming men, all in the same day: Dr. John Seward, Quincy Morris, and Arthur Holmwood. These men become vital to the story (and, of course, Quincy goes on to steal the heart of our own Lindsay.)

Overall, I LOVED this classic, which is why I have graced all of you loyal readers with another edition of Read & Drink.

Read This, Drink That - Dracula

Dracula’s Punch
18 ounces Cherry Vodka
8 ounces Lime Juice
6 ounces Cranberry Juice
2 1/2 ounces Grenadine
1 Liter of Lemon-Lime Soda
Fresh, pitted Cherries

Muddle cherries. Combine all ingredients, except soda, in large bowl. Stir. Refrigerate. Top with Soda. Serve chilled and in a castle atop a high cliff.

| Novel | Punch | Bottle | Bowl | Bat Bottle Stopper | Glasses | Fangs Bottle Opener | Ice Fork |


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Summertime Madness Book Tag!

Ahhhhh summer! In the south, it means an endless supply of gnats, humidity, and pavement so hot it leaves imprints of your jelly sandals. We were tagged to do this Summertime Madness pop quiz by Paperback Discovery! Thanks for the nomination! Go check out Paperback’s answers, too!

1. Show a book with a summery cover!

The Vacationers

Ciick here for Goodreads

2.Pick one fictional place that would be the perfect destination for a summer vacation!

H: Winterfell, before the destruction brought by Theon. I hate being sweaty and hot (bring on fall!) so the summer snows of the north sound positively delightful.

L: Jurassic Park. I love to vacation… for short sprints of time. A theme park would be ideal and I’m imagining something along the lines of the most recent film in terms of entertainment value but I’d prefer a (non-lethal) private tour like in the novel.

3. You’re about to go on a flight to your summer vacation. But you want to read a book that lasts for the whole flight, what novella do you choose?

H: Number one, if I am flying for vacation and not for work I will absolutely be sleeping. But if I have to choose, I try to read something that is set in the place I am visiting. So, Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter, placed perfectly on the Italian Coast.

L: Number one, I cannot read while in motion or I turn into the Exorcist girl and vomit like you’ve never seen. So in this imaginary scenario, The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller. Trips are a perfect time to finish something that’s been on your to-read shelf for entirely too long.

4. You have a case of summertime sadness. What happy book do you pick up to shine a smile on your face?

H: Taking an easy out here, any Harry Potter book.

L: Me too, The Hobbit makes me smile every. single. time.

5. You’re sitting at the beach all alone. Which fictional character would be your beach babe?

H: Jon Snow. He needs some sun.

L: Please direct your attention to my long list of options and help me pick one.

6. To match your ice cream, you want an icy cool sidekick. Which fictional side kick do you choose?

H: Lisbeth Salander, B.A.

L: Methinks maybe August from Station Eleven. Seems like he’d have some wackadoo stories.

7. Share the Summertime Happiness! Who do you TAG?

1. TheRestlessWolf
2. LazyCaramelReads
3. ComfyReading
4. Read the Bloody Book
5. Husband and Husband


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