Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday-- Books With Food

Top Ten Tuesday is a really cool original feature/weekly meme created over at The Broke and The Bookish. Each week they post a new Top Ten List that bloggers join in on answering... and today (October 17th) I'm one of them :)

Today's Topic

Top Ten Books That Make Me Hungry





1.  Heartless by Marissa Meyer

  • This book made me SO hungry.  I don't even like lemon flavored food that much, but I was CRAVING those tarts for sure!!

2.  Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller

  • Callie moves in with her bio-dad and is exposed to his giant Greek family-- and they eat a lot of Greek food that sounds delicious!

3.  Crash (Visions #1) by Lisa McMann

  • The Agnotti's and the DeMarco's own Italian restaurants, and I have to stop talking about it now because I'm craving carbs...

4.  Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

  • So much food in Harry Potter and I want to eat it all!!!  Butterbeer, pumpkin juice, chocolate frogs, pumpkin pasties, cauldron cakes-- and then there are all the feasts in the Great Hall.  So. Much. Food.

5.  From What I Remember... by Stacy Kramer & Val Thomas

  • Kylie and Max find themselves in small town Mexico and eat a lot of really awesome sounding food.





6.  To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han

  • Cookies, donuts, desserts, Korean food-- SO making me hungry!!

7.  The Best Kind of Magic by Crystal Cestari

  • Amber wants to be a professional baker, so you can imagine there are a LOT of desserts in this book.

8.  Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

  • Okay, so the food in this book is the exception to this list.  It definitely did NOT make me hungry!!  Greg's dad is an adventurous eater-- ostrich sausage, yak tripe, and dried cuttlefish just for examples :(

9.  Final Girls by Riley Sager

  • Quincy is a dessert blogger and bakes to help with her anxiety-- and being a horror novel, you can imagine there is a lot of anxiety.

10.  Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler

  • The foodiest YA book around.  You cannot read this book without wanting to visit a bakery or make your own cupcakes.  Example-- Friend of the Devil Cupcakes: red velvet devil's food cupcakes topped with red, orange, and yellow swirled buttercream icing peaks and a thin red apple curl.





I love food in books, but I'm also super lazy about cooking and baking-- so sometimes I get really hungry and sad when I read about all this yummy goodness!!

What food books made your list??


Monday, October 16, 2017

13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough-- Mean Girls + Psychological Mystery = YES!

13 Minutes

Natasha was dead for 13 Minutes-- or at least that's what they tell her when she wakes up after being pulled out of the freezing water.  She doesn't remember how she ended up there, but she knows that her 2 best friends are acting weird.  Needing to remember, she turns to Becca-- a girl Natasha outcasted from her popular clique years ago.

Becca knows helping Natasha isn't the smart choice, but a part of her likes being invited into Natasha's orbit again, and this mystery seems like it needs an outsider to get to the answers.

As they get closer to finding out the truth, Becca finds things aren't what she thought at all-- she falls too far and too fast, and then there is no going back.










You know what kind of YA Mysteries I like best??  The DARK ones.  And 13 Minutes was pretty darn dark.  I was surprised, creeped out, and all twisted up while reading this book.

Natasha is a Mean Girl who somehow winds up in the frigid water.  Luckily, she's rescued and revived after being "dead" for 13 minutes.  She doesn't remember the events that led her to be there, but her besties/minions are acting weird, and her ex-besties/current nobody Becca seems all too happy to jump in to help her figure shit out.  Little by little the truth comes out, but that truth is wholly fucked up and costs more than Becca ever imagined.

I love reading about Mean Girls.  I know it's overdone and cliché and all that, but there's something about a Mean Girl clique that just hooks me.  This particular Mean Girl clique call themselves the Barbies-- and can you get more Plastic™ and awesome than that??  Also, I love reading about teenage friendship dynamics and how the hierarchy of high school puts certain people on pedestals.

Natasha was a character I won't soon be forgetting.  I don't want to say too much about her because SPOILERS, but there was an intricate web that surrounded her, and as it unraveled she became someone that I was not quite expecting her to be.  I also appreciated that it took one of her oldest friends to truly see what was happening and who Natasha really was.  In life, your childhood friends know you before you learn to hide parts of yourself, and I enjoyed seeing that play out.

13 Minutes wasn't perfect though.  It started out super slllooow, to the point where I almost put it down.  If I didn't have a friend telling me that it got exciting, I probably would've DNF'd.  It does pick up around 30% in, and once I got to that point my curiosity was peaked.  Also, this book follows Becca a lot and she really wasn't my fave.  For being the underdog, she wasn't as likable as I expected her to be.  She's in a relationship for much of the book, and she spent a lot of that time obsessing over it.  I really could've cared less about her loser boyfriend, Aiden, but she wouldn't shut up about him.

What I did like: The gritty realness of this book.  There's drug use, and sex, and swearing, and it held nothing back.  I love messed-upness, and there was plenty of it.  Multiple twists and surprising reveals changed the tone of the book and kept me turning pages, making this a YES for me in the end.

OVERALL: After a slow start, this book became thrilling and addicting.  It's a psychological mystery that had multiple twists and turns.  The Mean Girls in this book could definitely rival the kind who wear pink on Wednesdays-- and they made this book all the more intriguing.  I highly recommend this to YA Mystery lovers out there.

Date Published: 10/3/2017 (US date)
How I got this book: Thanks to Flatiron Books for providing me with a copy to read and honestly review
Publisher: Flatiron Books/Macmillan

Add it to your To-Read List!!


My Rating: 3.5/5










Character: Becca Crisp
Book: How to Be Popular by Meg Cabot

  • Becca and Steph have SO much in common-- from having the popular girl dump them in junior high, to having nerdy friends that want nothing to do with that popularity stuff, to turning their backs on those people in order to get back what they lost.






Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Trying to do ALL the Things




You guys, blogging is HARD sometimes.  I've been blogging for almost 6 years, so obviously I've known this for a while, but I don't always realize it because I'm so used to it.

I mean, blogging is one of my hobbies and brings me a lot of joy and happiness, but it's also become part of my weekly routine-- to the point where I think I do a lot of it on auto-pilot.  I'm just so used to blogging and everything else that comes along with it-- and there are A LOT of things that come along with it.

I'm sure most of you know, but blogging is more than just writing out posts and hitting PUBLISH.

There's:

  • the promotion you have to do to get your posts out there in front of people
  • the emails you have to answer
  • the schedules you have to keep
  • the pictures you have to take
  • the Twitter account you have to keep up with
  • Facebook promotion
  • Pinteresting your posts
  • the little things you have to do to keep your blog updated
  • oh yeah, and actually reading the books


Also, I've started running blog tours, which is basically everything I do for my regular blog x's 2.  More tweeting, more emailing, more Facebooking, more reading, more posts to format, more graphics to make, more pictures to take.  AND I started a podcast with some friends (called WE KNOW WHAT YOU DID ON FEAR STREET), which I also try my best to help promote through Twitter and our webpage.

Sometimes, I wake up out of my blogging bubble and realize that "OMG I can't keep up!!".



But the main reason I started writing this post is because I've been sitting here feeling guilty about not posting on Instagram.




I know it sounds dumb, but I genuinely feel bad that I haven't touched my Instagram (or my blog tour's Insta) since July.  The reason being that it was all getting to be too much. Taking pictures everyday, tweeting everything that I want to tweet, and emailing everyone I need to email, and posting all the posts-- something felt like it needed to give for a while.  Unfortunately, that ended up being Instagram.

I know it's not a big deal.  I don't get paid to post products and I'm not a rep for any companies or anything, so the only person who really cares about it is me--- but damn it, I REALLY DO CARE.  I can't even explain why I care, but by not doing it, I feel like I'm failing at part of the blogging process.  I should be able to do all the things, right??

Also, I feel like Bookstagram is another way of showcasing books that I get for review and giving them exposure.  Some books don't end up working out for me, but if I Bookstagram them, then I feel like I'm giving that book at least some sort of spotlight.  I feel super guilty that I haven't been sharing those books.

My goal in the next week or so is to get back into that groove.  Obviously I'm not going to post every day-- and I'm not even going to strive to post every day.  I feel like 3 days a week is a good goal for me.  Plus, I'd like to feature some of our blog tour books on our blog tour Insta.  If I can just get this back into my regular blogging routine, I feel like it will work.  I just need to push through for right now.







Let's Talk:
If you blog, do you find yourself becoming overwhelmed (or just whelmed) by all the things that go along with it that don't have anything to do with the actual post writing part??  Have you ever had to let part of your blogging process go for a while?  Do you have any advice for keeping it all going?



Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday-- Fall Vibes

Top Ten Tuesday is a really cool original feature/weekly meme created over at The Broke and The Bookish. Each week they post a new Top Ten List that bloggers join in on answering... and today (October 10th) I'm one of them :)

Today's Topic

Top Ten Books With Fall Cover Vibes





1.  Hysteria by Megan Miranda
  • One of my favorite covers ever.  And the leafless tree gives me the fall vibes.

2.  Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Rohrig
  • This screams fall-- and it's set around Halloween, so it's a total fall book.

3.  What We Knew by Barbara Stewart
  • This book doesn't really have anything to do with fall-- but the colors!!

4.  The Arsonist by Stephanie Oakes
  • This is another one that the colors remind me of fall.

5.  This is Our Story by Ashley Elston
  • I see this cover, and I think hunting.  I think hunting, and I think fall.




6.  Another Little Piece by Kate Karyus Quinn
  • I mean, her outfit is a tad chilly for a Northern fall, but it's horror, so it's a fall book.

7.  Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers
  • Fall = Back 2 School.

8.  Where They Found Her by Kimberly McCreight
  • Dead leaves are so fall.

9.  The Creeping by Alexandra Sirowy
  • The title kind of influenced me to put it on my list-- but also I love dead trees (and this book).

10.  Rooms by Lauren Oliver
  • Everything about this book is fall.



Which book covers make you think fall??  Have you read any of these?

Monday, October 9, 2017

There's Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins-- Where Was The Twist??

There's Someone Inside Your House

A killer is living in small-town Nebraska.  At first it seems like it could be an isolated incident-- a jealous boyfriend, etc.  But soon Makani and her friends realize that someone is killing off students at Osborne High-- and there seems to be no link between the students targeted.

Complicating things further, Makani has a secret that she'd rather the police not know about.... secrets that might make her look capable of things she knows she'd never do.  As the cops zero-in on suspects, Makani dreads the day they look into her record in Hawaii.

As the killer grows more bold, time seems to be running out for the students of Osborne High.  Will police catch this lunatic before the body count rises?









I have THOUGHTS about this book.   I really enjoyed the overall feel of the book-- and flew through reading it!!-- but it didn't QUITE go the distance as far as surprise thrillers go.

Usually when I rate a book 3.5-4 Stars, I struggle to find words to say other than "I liked it" over and over again, so I'm super happy that I liked this book AND have things to say about it.

So, the main character of this book is Makani-- a girl who grew up in Hawaii and has recently been sent to live with her grandmother in Nebraska.  She's made a few friends, Darby and Alex, but she's not exactly feeling comfortable in her new surroundings.  She's also got a giant secret that she's hiding from everybody.

The Romance:  For a horror, there was a lot of romance.  A lot.  Makani has this giant crush on Ollie-- a guy that she has a sort-of past with.  Also, many people suspect him of being the killer because he's a loner.  When they reconnect, Makani knows it's not possible that he could hurt anyone, but convincing her friends isn't so easy.

As she gets alienated from Alex and Darby, she grows closer to Ollie and there is A LOT of making out.  And while Stephanie Perkins KNOWS how to write a cute coupley scene, sometimes it felt a little icky for them to be making out during such intense and morbid times.  The thing about the romance was that it wasn't thrown in there as an afterthought.  It was a developed relationship in the middle of death and murder.

The Horror:  Oh yes!!  Stephanie Perkins might know romance, but SURPRISE!!  She also knows horror.  Her kill scenes were intense, creepy, and SO GOOD.  The way the killer stalks his/her victims before he/she kills them freaked me out and made me look over my shoulder more than once since I finished this book.  I loved how TSIYH opened with a scene straight out of Scream.  You really can't go wrong with a Scream reference in teen horror.

What I Didn't Love: WHY, OH WHY did we find out who the killer was halfway through the book?? I kept hoping that there was going to be a secondary twist, and it never came.  When I read a horror/thriller like this, I expect for the baddie to be revealed at the end and to be SHOCKED!!  I was not shocked in the least during this book.  I guess the "big twist" was supposed to Makani's secret, but I didn't think that was that big of a deal.

Also, I didn't love Makani or her friends.  There wasn't anything wrong with them, I just didn't feel like they were particularly relatable or likable.  They weren't people that I felt connected to, and in a horror book, I want to be sweating it out for my fave characters.

So, did I like this book?  I really did-- Stephanie Perkins writing is so completely readable and addicting.  I just wished we got a secondary killer and/or the main killer didn't get revealed so early on and/or he/she was someone that was CLOSE to the main character(s).  I felt like it killed the thrill of the book.  It turned this book from a "whodunit" to a "why can no one find/capture this ninja-ghost killer?".

OVERALL:  So impressed with Stephanie Perkins Horror debut!!  She can write a creepy death scene like WOAH.  Also, romance fans??  There's a very developed romance in there for you guys too.  It didn't always feel appropriate, but it was a very significant part of the book.  If I could change one thing, it would be to put a twist at the end with a second killer or SOMETHING.  I would totally rec this book because of the creepy death scenes.  The killer is a genuine psycho who plays with his victims in an awesome/sadistic way.

Date Published: 9/26/2017
How I got this book: Thanks to Penguin/Random House and ALA for providing me with an advance copy to read and honestly review.
Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers

Add it to your To-Read List!!

My Rating: 3.5/5












Character: Oliver Larsson
Book: Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson

  • Ollie likes to read books about travel and spiritual journeys-- and this book seems like it has both.