Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Just Like Fate by Cat Patrick with Suzanne Young | Book Review

Just Like Fate

Caroline's grandma has a stroke and is put in hospice care.  Caroline loves her grandma very much (she lives with her), but she's spent three solid days bedside and she's starting to fray a little.  Her best friend Simone calls with a question:  party tonight?  Caroline's choice to stay with her grandma or go to the party with Simone could change her course of fate....

Just Like Fate opens with two chapters titled "Before."  In these chapters, we get a quick overview of the situation between Caroline and her grandma, and Caroline and the rest of her family.  The chapters after that alternate between "Stay" and "Go."  The authors split the storyline so that we see the outcomes of both decisions.  We see what would have happened in Caroline's life if she had stayed at the hospice that night, and what would have happened if she went to the party.  The good news:  it's not confusing!  Each chapter is titled with whether we're in the "stay" storyline or the "go" storyline, and it's also labeled at the bottom of each page, next to the page number.  I never had any trouble keeping up with which plot I was in.  

I've read a few reviews where people weren't able to resist the temptation, and they skipped ahead to the end to find out which decision Caroline actually makes.  Don't do this!  I thought the plot unfolded very well, and I think you'll get max enjoyment if you let it reveal itself naturally.  It never even occurred to me to do that, honestly.  I guess because I never read the last chapter first, even in intense mysteries.

Just Like Fate was a quick read.  I don't know... it just didn't feel very deep.  Maybe because it contains two entire plots in one book?  But I skimmed on through it fairly fast.

So yes, I felt that a lot of the characters, including the main character, were pretty 2D.  And I didn't feel like the main character actually learned anything in either plotline.  I was hoping for a little more growth than was presented.  And the secondary characters are definitely 2D; there's just not enough pages for them to be fleshed out much when you're fitting in so much plot.  I also didn't really care for the main character.  I know:  I shouldn't be so harsh.  But I just didn't find her very likable.  She made too many poor decisions, and thought of herself more often than she thought of others.  I won't tell you which one it was, but one of the plotlines made me literally cringe a little.  How could someone be so blind?  I'm a reader, outside the main character's life, and I saw the ending of that plot coming!

What I didn't see coming:  the actual end of the book.  So that's a big plus, and definitely kept me interested and kept me reading.  It wasn't too sudden, and I can't argue with it.  I can, however, demand that the authors tell me more!  I still have some loose ends.  No big plot holes left uncovered, but I want to know more about what happened after the end!

Overall, 3 out of 5 stars.  Not stellar, but not terrible.

*I received an ARC of Just Like Fate from the publisher in exchange for my fair and honest review.  Thank you!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Guest Post: Andrea Murray

Today I'm excited to be hosting a guest post by Andrea Murray over on Tynga's Reviews as part of the Vivid blog tour!  Andrea Murray is the author of Omni and Vivid, and today she'll give advice to aspiring writers in her guest post.

Monday, December 29, 2014

The Treasure Principle: Unlocking the Secret of Joyful Giving by Randy Alcorn | Book Review

The Treasure Principle: Unlocking the Secret of Joyful Giving (LifeChange Books)

This is a really short book, so my review will also be short.

The Treasure Principle is absolutely 100% not a "wealth and health doctrine" book.  It is a wake-up call to when, where, and how much we should be giving according to the Word.  Randy Alcorn lays out six "Treasure Principles" in his book to consider when giving, and backs them up with Scriptural examples.  Like I said, this is a very short book; I read it in about an hour.  But it packs quite a punch!  From the 2nd page on I was convicted.  My church read this book together, so we also had the accompanying study guide, which will help the reader analyze their own giving in light of the book's examples.  Even as a standalone, I definitely recommend this book.  While giving clear, concrete examples, the text is never bogged down in long quotes or endnotes.  It's very readable; not dry at all.  At the end of the book, the author presents 31 questions with corresponding Scripture for the reader to meditate on.  And this probably won't surprise you:  100% of the royalties from sale of this book goes into missions!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Happy Boxing Day from My Bookish Secret Santa!

This December I participated in a Secret Santa exchange among book bloggers orchestrated by the ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish.  (They're the same blog that hosts the Top Ten Tuesday meme that I like to participate in.)  I had So. Much. Fun. with this!  I loved reading my "assignment's" book blog to find out what she's into and then going shopping for her.  Then yesterday I received a box of my own in the mail!

Thank you, Secret Santa!

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My Secret Santa wrote all these cute notes and attached them to the packages, and also threw in some sweets.  She really went above and beyond!  

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There were bookmark notecards, for taking notes as I read!  And you can see the pretty Christmas card in the background.

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The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes.  The note reads: "Because you're a fan of Killer Instinct [I am!]... and this is ridiculously, amazingly good."

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Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas... in hardcover!  How did I get so lucky?  It's gorgeous.  The note reads: "I don't think you've read this and OH MY GOSH I loveee this series, so here, have the first book (and prepare for badassery)."  I haven't read it, but now I can't wait... and OH MY GOSH I love the word "badassery."  It never fails to sell me on a book.  Shh... don't let booksellers know my cryptonite...

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A notebook!  The cover is all redacted book titles, all of which are on the ALA's list of banned or challenged books.  And ya'll know how much I'm into freedom to read 'em!  

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Due date socks!  The note reads: "Walk into the library like, "What up?  I got the coolest socks!""  I will!  A coworker and I were just looking at socks like these the other day.  And now I have my very own pair!  #biblionerd

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And last but not least, pencils made from tree branches!  So ecocool.  The note reads: "For writeeing."  lol  I love the puns we book bloggers come up with.  

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Such a haul!  I am so blessed.  I so love this blogging community.  Just three more little notes on this wonderful experience:

1. I have been so sick this Christmas!  Ugh.  That's a bummer.  But this package came at the perfect time for cheering me up!  I was all bummed because I was supposed to go home and see my family the day after Christmas and instead ended up sick as a dog and having to stay home.  And then this arrived!

2. The package arrived so beat up.  I don't know what happened.  It was bad enough that the hubby took pictures before I opened it in case anything was broken and we had to sue the USPS.  But everything seemed to be intact... Secret Santa, if you're reading this and anything is missing, let me know and I'll give the PO a stern talking to!

3. Last but not least, the reveal:  I definitely want to show much love to the lady behind such thoughtful surprises:  Rachel of Beauty and the Bookshelf.  Since receiving the box yesterday I've started reading her posts and I love it.  You should click on over and check it out yourself.  (This is my first year doing the Bookish Secret Santa... if I'm not supposed to reveal, let me know and I'll redact this paragraph....)

Merry Christmas to all, and a happy New Year!

Bookish Bingo Final Update

Happy Saturday!  Now that I'm on a rotation to host Stacking the Shelves on Tynga's Reviews, I needed something new and fun to do here on Saturdays so I joined Great Imaginations' (click on blog name to go to their blog) Bookish Bingo game.  This is my final update!  And look:  I got two "BINGOs"!  Sort of.  Maybe?  I put Daring in the spot for "creature on cover."  The cover shows John Charming in human form; readers of the book will know that he's a werewolf, so sometimes he's wolfish.  Even though he's in human form on the cover, he counts as a creature, right?

I know it's hard to see the little covers!  I'm sorry.  Below I've listed the books starting at the top left corner and going left to right, top to bottom.

Starting with the top row, and going left to right:
Al Capone Does My Homework by Gennifer Choldenko has a green cover.

Trans-Siberian Express by Warren Adler is historical.

Guy in Real Life by Steve Brezenoff has a romance.

Stitching Snow by R.C. Lewis has "ice," "snow," or "frost" in the title.

Daring by Elliott James has a creature (a werewolf!) on the cover.

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline has a Native American MC.

Hunt for Jade Dragon by Richard Paul Evans has a red cover.

Watch Out, Hollywood! More Confessions of a So-Called Middle Child by Maria T. Lennon is set on Halloween.

I Work at a Public Library by Gina Sheridan has a black cover.

Al Capone Shines My Shoes by Gennifer Choldenko is a mystery.

Letters From Father Christmas by J.R.R. Tolkien is set at Christmastime.

The Witches of Echo Park by Amber Benson has witches.

Just Like Fate by Cat Patrick with Suzanne Young is set in autumn.

The Martian by Andy Weir has an orange cover.

A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray had a fall or winter release.

This has been fun!  I wonder if Great Imaginations will do a spring Bookish Bingo?  Or a coworker gave me an ultimate 2015 bookish checklist.  Are any of you doing any fun checklists/bingos in the spring?  Let me know!  I haven't decided yet what I'll do.

Friday, December 26, 2014

OCD, the Dude, and Me by Lauren Roedy Vaughn | Book Review

OCD, the Dude, and Me

From the moment I saw this cover while shelving books, I knew I was destined to read it.  Curly redhead on cover?  I'm a curly redhead!  Check.  The Dude?  My hubby loves The Big Lebowski, so I immediately got this reference.  Check.  So I brought home the book and read it.

Unfortunately, OCD, the Dude, and Me didn't quite live up to my expectations.  It's definitely not a bad book.  I give it 3.5 of 5 stars.  But I think my hopes were set too high. I remember that about halfway through the book I turned to the hubby and said, "they still haven't watched The Big Lebowski.  I'm halfway through."  If I remember correctly, the main character doesn't watch the movie until nearly 2/3 of the way through the book, and it doesn't end up being quite as life-altering as I thought it would be, considering that it's mentioned in the title.  And I don't know if it was the epistolary format, but the book felt a bit shallow to me.

One thing that's cool and unique about this book is that it's told entirely in the form of essays, journal entries, emails, and letters.  Danielle, the main character, has OCD and one way it manifests is that she keeps binders with all important documentation in them.  So it feels like we're just reading straight through her senior year binder.  I thought that was really neat.  Another thing that I really liked about the book is how snarky the main character is.  I love snark!  She even cusses in two of her class assignment essays.  And the third thing that I really liked about OCD, the Dude, and Me is how much character growth we see in Danielle, but not an unreasonable amount.  Like, we see her mature a lot over the course of her senior year, and we see her triumph over some of her OCD tendencies, and we see her gain a lot of confidence... but she's still not at 100% at the end.  I like how realistic that is.  Hurt takes time to heal, but if you can at least move toward accepting yourself, that's a good thing.  Oh!  And I almost forgot:  this is really minor in the book, but Danielle's parents are present and loving and supportive.  A lot of YA books either completely ignore parents or don't include them, so that sets this book apart a little.

I would recommend this to someone looking for a quick, fast read.  It'd be a good book to hand to a reluctant reader, as the format reads very conversationally; very easy to understand.  However, it fell a little flat for me, who wanted a lot more Lebowski.

*I checked out my copy of OCD, the Dude, and Me from my local library.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Hunt for Jade Dragon by Richard Paul Evans | Audiobook Review

Hunt for Jade Dragon (Michael Vey, #4)
(Unfortunately, the cool electric cover may be the most exciting part of this book.)

While I loved, loved, loved the first three Michael Vey books, Hunt for Jade Dragon fell just a little flat for me.  To find out more, head on over to Tynga's Reviews!

*I checked out my copy of Hunt for Jade Dragon from my local library.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Lace One-Skein Wonders: 101 Projects Celebrating the Possibilities of Lace by Judith Durant | Book Review

Lace One-Skein Wonders: 101 Projects Celebrating the Possibilities of Lace

I know I've reviewed cookbooks on here before, but I think this may be the first time I've reviewed a craft book.  Maybe the second?  I know I don't do it often.

I really thought this was a great book!  I checked it out from my library, but I added it to my wishlist for purchase so that I could try more projects from it.  You would think that with 101 projects, some of them wouldn't get photographed.  But no!  Every single one of the 101 projects has at least one, if not two or three, full color photographs of the finished product.  Every project has very clear and complete materials lists, and all of the instructions and charts are easy to read and follow.  The author also took the time to "rate" each pattern as Easy, Medium, or Difficult.  From what I could tell just looking over patterns, the ratings seemed pretty spot-on.  When I checked out this book, I hadn't knitted anything in about a decade (I'm a crochet lover) and I had no trouble picking a project and completing it.  All of the projects looked so pretty!  It was hard to decide which one to try.  I ended up making a shawl, and it turned out perfectly on the first try.  I do not attribute this to skill on my part (remember... haven't knitted in over a decade) but rather to the clarity of the instructions.  In fact, the only gripe I had was a minor one: it's not a lay-flat book.  I ended up photo-copying the two pages that I needed for my project and following those; you'd have to break the spine in order to get this book to stay open.  But that's such a minor complaint!  Oh, and the title is totally accurate.  None of the projects call for more than 1 skein of yarn!  I give this book 4 of 5 stars.  I had such fun looking through all the patterns, and I got a pretty new shawl out of it.

*I checked out my copy of Lace One-Skein Wonders from my local library.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

When I'm Not Writing: Elizabeth Corrigan

Today I'm over at Tynga's Reviews with a guest post by Elizabeth Corrigan!  She's the author of Oracle of Philadelphia, Raising Chaos, and Catching a Man.  You may remember that I also hosted her earlier this year for a guest post.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Home to Holly Springs by Jan Karon | Book Review

Home to Holly Springs (Father Tim, #1)
(Love this cover!  So pretty.)

Home to Holly Springs is the first Father Tim spin-off novel.  Chronologically, it falls between Light From Heaven and Somewhere Safe With Somebody Good.  The book follows Father Tim as he travels back to Holly Springs, Mississippi, where he was born and raised.  While there he encounters many people from his past and also makes a lot of new connections.  Home to Holly Springs has a bit of an air of mystery to it, and also fills in a lot of blanks that have been alluded to in the Mitford books.  This book is nothing less than what I've come to expect of Jan Karon novels.

The book opens with Father Tim receiving a cryptic letter.  The entirety of the letter:  "Come home."  That's it.  No signature; no explanation.  But Father Tim and Cynthia do agree that he needs to go.  It's been nearly 40 years since he was last in Holly Springs.  It is, indeed, time for him to go home.  Understandably, he's a bit apprehensive.  Wouldn't you be?  He's been gone for nearly 40 years!  There was bad blood with his dad.  There was a forbidden friendship.  There was a nanny who disappeared mysteriously.  Father Tim isn't sure at all what he'll find when he returns, or how he'll be greeted.  I was super excited to see all the Mitford regulars mirrored in Holly Springs.  There's a slightly deeper vernacular, but they're all there.  There's the hardware shop owner, where the Holly Springs version of the turkey club hang out.  And the diner, run by Frank, who is the Holly Springs Percy.  There's even a version of Miss Patty in Holly Springs!  I just love the characters in Jan Karon's books.  I want to be friends with all of them!

I also really enjoyed the little mystery in this book.  That's new for a Mitford book.  The author of the mystery "come home" letter is only revealed to the reader later in the book.  Father Tim doesn't know who it is either, so it's a fun journey together to find out who wrote it and why.  When I found out who it was and why, I wanted to cry happy tears.  You're going to love it!  If you've already read through the Mitford books (like me), then the surprise is kinda revealed in Somewhere Safe With Somebody Good but the book is still so good that I got caught up in the emotions.

Home to Holly Springs is a bit more emotionally deep than most of the Mitford books, but Jan Karon handles it very, very well.  Sections of flashback to incidents in his childhood that were not so pleasant are bracketed by sections of story set in the present day, and his interactions with the almost overly-hospitable residents of Holly Springs.  There is a lot of re-visiting of the past, but there's also a lot of healing and character growth for Father Tim.  He is faced with his past, and he dives in courageously to emerge a stronger, better man.

Five of five stars!

*I checked out my copy of Home to Holly Springs from my local library.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Stacking the Shelves

Today I'm over at Tynga's Reviews, hosting Stacking the Shelves.  This is a fun weekly meme, where you can post a link to your own stack of new finds!  Click on over to add your link.  Below are the many, many books that I've picked up since the last time I hosted Stacking the Shelves.

Deviate (Light Key, #2)The Alex Crow
Deviate by Tracy Clark:  I'm going to review this one on Tynga's Reviews during it's release week, in March.  It's the 2nd book in a series, though, so you'll probably see Scintillate on my next Stacking the Shelves...
The Alex Crow by Andrew Smith:  I thought Winger was absolutely brilliant, so I definitely downloaded this egalley!

Guy in Real LifeYaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass
Guy in Real Life by Steve Brezenoff:  I've actually already read this one, and written the review.  You'll see it here soon.  I wasn't impressed.  Not a terrible book, but a bit underwhelming.
Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina:  I've already read this one, too!  And it's the exact opposite reaction as I had to the Brezenoff book:  I expected sensationalized fluff and got one of the best reads of 2014!  I want all the teens to read it!  You'll see that review here soon too.

Crochet the Perfect Gift: Designs Just Right for Giving and Ideas for Every OccasionThe Maker Movement Manifesto: Rules for Innovation in the New World of Crafters, Hackers, and TinkerersFifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades, #2)
Forbidden (Forbidden, #1)CraftFail: When Homemade Goes Horribly WrongCrocheted Animal Hats: 15 Projects to Keep You Warm and Toasty
Novel Living: Collecting, Decorating, and Crafting with BooksThe Reading Promise: My Father and the Books We SharedDorothy Must Die (Dorothy Must Die, #1)
The Map of the Sky (TrilogĂ­a Victoriana, #2)The House of Hades (The Heroes of Olympus, #4)The Complete Peanuts, Vol. 22: 1993-1994
Vest Bets: 30 Designs to Knit for Now Featuring 220 Superwash® Aran from Cascade YarnsForever (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #3)
Crochet the Perfect Gift: Designs Just Right for Giving and Ideas for Every Occasion by Kat Goldin:  I love knitting and crocheting, and I always try to snag new pattern books as the library buys them.
The Maker Movement Manifesto: Rules for Innovation in the New World of Crafters, Hackers, and Tinkerers by Mark Hatch:  At work, I'm trying to start a robotics club for teens, and am helping design and implement a MakerSpace for all ages.
Fifty Shades Darker by E.L. James:  this one is on CD for the commute.  I read Fifty Shades of Grey back when it was first released; figured why not finish the trilogy.  I have a thing about leaving things undone.
Forbidden by Kimberly Griffiths Little:  I totally meant to read this back in October, before I met the author in November.  But there never seems to be enough time for all the books that I want to read!
CraftFail:  When Homemade Goes Horribly Wrong by Heather Mann:  Not all of my projects turn out fantastic on the first try.  I figure this book with be humorous and reassuring.
Crocheted Animal Hats: 15 Patterns to Hook and Show Off by Vanessa Mooncie:  another new pattern book that the library purchased!
Novel Living: Collecting, Decorating, and Crafting With Books by Lisa Occhipinti: the hubby and I are both big bibliophiles, so bookish home decor totally fits us.
The Reading Promise: My Father and the Books We Shared by Alice Ozma: my sister-in-love recommended this to me.  My mom and I read aloud together all the way through high school, so I think this will hit home and touch me.  I might end up recommending this forward to my mom!
Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige: a coworker told me that I must read this one.  She recently read Stitching Snow by R.C. Lewis and A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray on my recommendation; the least I can do is try this one!
The Map of the Sky by Felix. J. Palma: my aunt recommended this one to fulfill a Bookish Bingo square.  I did find out, though, that it's the second book in a series.  Fortunately, I just happen to own the first book!  I need to read that soon so that I can read and enjoy The Map of the Sky.
The House of Hades by Rick Riordan: this was another one that I got on CD, and I've already finished it.  Look for a glowing review in the near future!  I love this series.
The Complete Peanuts: The Definitive Collection of Charles M. Schulz's Comic Strip Masterpiece: Dailies & Sundays: 1993-1994 by Charles M. Schulz: I totally missed reading the subtitles when I requested this one, and thought I was getting a complete Peanuts collection.  Oh well; the hubby and I have still really enjoyed this one volume.
Vest Bets: 30 Designs to Knit for Now by the editors of Sixth & Spring Books: Another pattern book!  I've really wanted a sweater vest since Jan. '13.  The ALA did a neat promotion thing called "Sweater Vest Sunday" to raise awareness about book bannings.  I want to be ready in case they do it again!
Forever by Maggie Stiefvater: this one is on CD too, and I'm about halfway through.  I'm feeling a bit lukewarm about it.

What about you?  What books did you receive this week?  Click over to Tynga's Reviews and leave your link!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Treadmill by Warren Adler | Book Review

(The cover image doesn't make sense until near the very end, and then it's perfect.)

Treadmill is quite the gripping, thrilling read!  The main character, Jack Cooper, is basically on a treadmill in life.  Within just a months' time, he lost his job, his wife, and his mother.  He's now living alone in a small apartment and the only highlight of his day is his time spent at a local gym.  He finds a lot of comfort in his routines, including making sure that he's at the gym at the same time every day, working out alongside all the other regulars who work out at that time.  There is one other guy, Mike Parrish, who is especially important to the routine because they share a trainer and always move from machine to machine side-by-side.  Everything's going alright until the day that Mike doesn't show up at the gym.  For some reason, this hits a funny spot in Jack's gut, and he embarks on a quest to find out what happened to Mike.

I went into Treadmill expecting to like it, because I loved Trans-Siberian Express so much.  So maybe that colored my final impression of Treadmill?  But I make no apologies:  I loved Treadmill just as much as I loved Trans-Siberian Express!  I think my dad might receive both for Christmas now.  And I looked up Warren Adler on, and he has many more books that I can request from my library!

As I said above, Treadmill is quite a thriller.  It's set in DC, and while none of the characters are politicians, the political atmosphere does come into play in the plot.  I love how Warren Adler does his books: they're much more setting-based than character-based, and that's unique.  In this one, the one place that all the characters and plot points keep circling back to is the run-down Bethesda Health Club.  All of the characters work out there.  At the beginning of the book, none of the characters have interacted at all.  You know how it is at the gym:  everyone has in their own earbuds and is totally focused on their own workouts and not so much with the other gym patrons.  But Mike's disappearance acts as a catalyst and suddenly all the characters start interacting.

The reader only gets to see the other gym patrons from Jack's perspective, and he doesn't have much information at first.  This meant that I (the reader) also didn't have much information, which led to an even greater feeling of suspense.  It was a little odd; I didn't feel particularly attached to Jack but I was totally 100% absorbed in the plot and his safety.  He wasn't a bad guy, and I didn't hate him, but I didn't really think I'd be his friend in real life either.

It's hard to write about the book without giving anything away!  I will tell you that there are lies and cover-ups and mystery and political machinations... so much suspense!  I highly recommend that you go out and read this book.  I just informed the hubby that he might need to read it.

*I received my copy of Treadmill from the publisher in exchange for my fair and honest review.  Thank you!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Battle of the Ampere by Richard Paul Evans | Audiobook Review

Battle of the Ampere (Michael Vey, #3)

I gave Battle of the Ampere 4 of 5 stars for it's action, adventure, and character depth, but subtracted one star for the ending.  To see more details about why, click on over to Tynga's Reviews!

*I checked out my copy of Battle of the Ampere from my local library.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Ovenly: Sweet and Salty Recipes From New York's Most Creative Bakery by Erin Patinkin with Agatha Kulaga | Cookbook Review

(Doesn't that cake look sooo delicous??)

I reacted like Pavlov's dog to all the delicious recipes and gorgeous photos in this cookbook!  Ovenly is a collection of sweet and savory baked goods recipes from the owner-founders of the bakery by the same name in NYC.  If I lived anywhere near this bakery I'd be there every morning for breakfast!

The cookbook opens with two prologues, one from each owner-founder.  In these prologues, Erin and Agatha share their backgrounds and how they became involved in baking.  And they met through a food-based book club!  How neat is that?  The bios aren't long; about 2-3 pages each, and they really made me feel "connected" to the authors.  They're not much older than me!  I'm super impressed.  Then each recipe is prefaced with a short paragraph about how the girls came to create the baked good.  These little vignettes gave me extra insight into the early days of their bakery and/or their lives before Ovenly.  I loved this!

There are dozens of recipes in this cookbook, and all are accompanied by photos.  (YAY!)  It was hard to pick just a few to try before returning the cookbook to the library.  The two recipes I did end up trying were both winners that will be repeated in our house:  Feta, Basil, and Scallion Muffins and Pumpkin Olive Oil Bread.  I followed the recipe exactly for the muffins and they turned out fantastic!  The hubby gave them two thumbs up too, and ate three the day that I made them.  For the Pumpkin Olive Oil Bread, I substituted out the all-purpose flour and sugar for whole-wheat flour and honey, and it still turned out perfectly.  So moist!  The recipe made two loaves, and I plan to gift the 2nd loaf to my parents.

I didn't think the other recipes in the book looked any more complicated than usual, and I didn't see any odd or unusual ingredients either.  I give this cookbook 5 of 5 stars for it's layout, content, photos, and ease of the recipes!

*I checked out my copy of Ovenly from my local library.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

When I'm Not Writing: Lia Davis

Today I'm over at Tynga's Reviews with a guest post by Lia Davis, the author of It's a Vampire Christmas.  I haven't read any of her books, but you can find a review of It's a Vampire Christmas on Tynga's Reviews.  If you click on over, you'll find out what she's up to when she's not writing!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Dangerous Angels by Francesca Lia Block | Book Review

Dangerous Angels is an omnibus of the first five Weetzie Bat books.  I read it straight through as though it were one long book, and I liked it.

Even as an omnibus of five books, Dangerous Angels isn't much longer than Divergent, and may even be shorter than Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.  Definitely a doable read.

I've already reviewed the five books separately.  I liked them for the most part.  Some more than others, but none of them were bad.

I think this series really works well as an omnibus.  It flows well, and when you read all five books in a row you get a lot more overall character depth and growth.

*I checked out my copy of Dangerous Angels from my public library.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Baby Be-Bop by Francesca Lia Block | Book Review

Just like with the first four Weetzie Bat books, Baby Be-Bop is short, so my review will be too.  And just like the other Weetzie Bat books, this one is written in a lyrical, dream-like style.  I read the first five Weetzie Bat books back-to-back-to-back, so by the time I reached Baby Be-Bop I was totally used to the language.

Baby Be-Bop is told from Dirk's point of view.  What makes it unique is that it's a flashback; it's Dirk's memories; instead of stream-of-consciousness in-the-moment like the other books.  This one tells of Dirk growing up scared of his love for other boys, and his journey to meeting Duck.  Because most of this is told as a memory, there's not actually much romance until near the end.  It's more a coming-of-age story.

I think that you could read this by itself, but you would need to read it as part of the series to get the maximum enjoyment out of it.  I would recommend this book to someone who had already read most of the series.

*I checked out my copy of Baby Be-Bop from my public library.