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Sunday, December 10, 2017

HOLIDAY COUNTDOWN! Mini College Review: Snowpiercer: The Escape by Jacques Lob



Title: Snowpiercer: The Escape
Series: Transperceneige #1
Author: Jacques Lob
Illustrator: Jacques Lob
Format: Paperback, 110 pages
Pub. Date: June 10th 2014
Source: Amazon


Book Description:



Snowpiercer is the enthralling and thought-provoking post-apocalyptic graphic novel that inspired the critically acclaimed movie starring Chris Evans (Captain America, Fantastic Four). Originally published in French, this marks the first time that Snowpiercer will be available in English.

In a harsh, uncompromisingly cold future where Earth has succumbed to treacherously low temperatures, the last remaining members of humanity travel on a train while the outside world remains encased in ice.

The surviving community are not without a social hierarchy; those that travel at the front of the train live in relative luxury whilst those unfortunate enough to be at the rear remain clustered like cattle in claustrophobic darkness. Yet, things are about to change aboard the train as passengers become disgruntled...
The movie Snowpiercer, due for release in 2014, is directed by Joon-ho Bong (The Host) and is already causing a stir with parallels to 1984 and Animal Farm.






Review:


★★★

This is a book that I had to read for my apocalyptic fiction course in college.

One thing I liked about my literature courses is that it forced me to read books that I'd normally never pick up for myself, or that I'd never heard even heard of. This is one of those titles.

Translated from French, this is a dystopian, post-apocalyptic graphic novel. I adored the concept: the world has gone to hell in a handbasket, and the way to save humanity is thanks to the inventor of the Snowpiercer train. This train houses all of humanity and it never stops: ever. If it stops, they'll freeze and die. Like all dystopian novels, there's a hierarchy. The very front cars of the train are for the rich and the elite, and it gets worse as you go farther along. The back is terrible, full of violence, and no one really cares about them. They're not allowed to travel upward in the train.

Except for the protagonist, of course, who gets fed up with the upper crust of the train, and takes matters into his own hand.

The actual writing leaves a lot to be desired. It's awkward and choppy, and it doesn't always make the best of sense. I'm not sure how much of this is due to the author, and how much of it is caused by the translation. The characters aren't as developed as they could be, and because of the jagged nature of the writing, the pace is off. Sometimes it's boring and slow, other times it's crazy fast.

The artwork was okay, but not to my taste. It's typical "old school" style comic art, which is boring. Especially with all the white space, because, the world is full of snow.

It's worth a read though, and even if you don't decide to read it, you should check out the movie Snowpiercer. It's not without its flaws, but it was entertaining and worth a go.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Release Week Blitz & Giveaway: Sea of Strangers by Erica Cameron



 

Welcome to the Release Week Blitz for

Sea of Strangers (The Ryogan Chronicles #2)
by Erica Cameron

presented by Entangled Teen!

Grab your copy today!

 

Congratulations Erica!

 

 

 


Know your enemy if you want to survive…

The only way for Khya to get her brother back alive is to kill Varan—the immortal ruler who can’t be killed. But not even Varan knew what he was doing when he perverted magic and humanity to become immortal.

Khya’s leading her group of friends and rebels into the mountains that hold Varan’s secrets, but if risking all their lives is going to be worth it, she has to give up everything else—breaking the spell that holds her brother captive and jeopardizing her deepening relationship with Tessen, the boy who has been by turns her rival and refuge since her brother disappeared. Immortality itself might be her only answer, but if that’s where Khya has to go, she can’t ask Tessen or her friends to follow.

Sea of Strangers (The Ryogan Chronicles #2)
by Erica Cameron
Publication Date: December 5, 2017
Publisher: Entangled Teen

 

Amazon | Amazon Australia | Amazon UK | Amazon Canada | B&N | Kobo | iBooks

 

 

OTHER BOOKS IN THE SERIES

 

 

 

Erica Cameron is the author of books for young adults including the Ryogan Chronicles, the Assassins duology, and The Dream War Saga. She also co-authored the Laguna Tides novels with Lani Woodland. An advocate for asexuality and emotional abuse awareness, Erica has also worked with teens at a residential rehabilitation facility in her hometown of Fort Lauderdale.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Goodreads


GIVEAWAY


Sea of Strangers Prize Pack, including:**
* A signed copy of Sea of Strangers
* A $20 Visa gift card
* A swag pack
**For international: 1 copy from book depository and a $20 Visa gift card

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

HOLIDAY COUNTDOWN Review: Christmas Recipes From Five of Your Favorite Authors by Sharon Kleve, Jennifer Conner, Angela Ford, Jennifer Chambers & Elle Medler



Title: Christmas Recipes From Five of Your Favorite Authors
Authors: Sharon Kleve, Jennifer Conner, Angela Ford, Jennifer Chambers & Elle Medler
Format: egalley
Pub. Date: October 2nd 2017
Source: Author


Book Description:



5 Incredible Authors — 50 Amazing Recipes

What's better than sharing some favorite recipes for the holiday season? It brings together family traditions and love.

There is a recipe for everyone. Including: vegetarian, vegan, main courses, side dishes, drinks, and of course luscious desserts.






Review:


★★★★

What I like best about this book is that it's normal recipes for normal people. And what I mean by that, is that it's all approachable with easy to find ingredients and equipment that most of us have in our homes already. I like that.

It very much feels like it's a book of recipes handed over personally by these authors. It reminds me of the ring-bound books that you can buy used from like, Girl Scouts troops or book clubs. I feel like these recipes are well loved and it makes me more excited to try them.

There's a lot of variety in the recipes here. There's everything from entrees and desserts to sides, and even how to make your own pickles. There's also some drink recipes that, if your family is like mine, will be well used during the holidays. If you have some dietary restrictions, these lovely ladies have you covered. There are vegetarian and vegan options, as well as gluten free recipes.

The steps are short and to the point, and easy to follow.

There are photos of every dish, which I appreciate. Some photos are better than others, but I appreciate them regardless.

Some of the recipes that sounded the most delicious to me include Whiskey Glazed Sweet Potatoes, Snowdrift Bliss, and Tutti Fruitti Real Fruit Cheesecake.

If you're a fan of any of these authors, or are looking for something new to cook this season, this is a good place to start. I bookmarked quite a few dishes to try out this season, and I think you'd find some you like too.

I received a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

HOLIDAY COUNTDOWN Review: North by Brontë Aurell



Title: North: How to Live Scandinavian
Author: Brontë Aurell
Format: egalley
Pub. Date: September 7th 2017
Source: Aurum Press


Book Description:



Why are Scandinavians constantly topping the happiness table? How do you get more Scandi-style in your life? Just how do you use lagom? Whether you want your apartment to look like it belongs in Copenhagen, to workout like a Norwegian or to make cinnamon buns like a Swede, this is the ultimate insider’s guide to the countries of the north.

Full of inspiration and ideas, how-tos and recipes to help you experience the very best of Scandinavian design, philosophy, cookery and culture, this honest behind-the-scenes look at the culture provides an invaluable insight into the wonderful and visually stunning world of Scandinavia. Like her viking ancestors before her, Brontë Aurell left Denmark to explore the world beyond home shores and in her travels has come to understand the fascination with her kinfolk, as well as seeing the idiosyncrasies of the Scandinavian lifestyle that locals take for granted.

With a signature wit and a keen eye for detail, she takes you on a journey through fjords and mountains, farmlands and cities to better understand these three nations and what makes each one so unique. So get outdoors, learn the life lesson that there's no such thing as bad weather (only bad clothing) and you may discover your inner Scandi sooner than you think.






Review:


★★★★

I really enjoy reading cultural books. I'd like to think that they help to make the world feel just a little bit smaller, and a little more connected. Surprisingly enough, I don't think I've ever read a book on Scandinavia. This is weird, because I have a strong love of Norway. Also, because growing up around the American Northern Midwest, you grow up with some familiar Scandinavian words and customs. (I'm looking at you, Minnesota and Wisconsin!)

This book is divided into smaller sections that include: What is Scandinavia?, Style, At the Table, Life Outside, Family Life, Culture, and Celebrations.

I love the tone of this book. It's very playful. There's a lot of information here, about a lot of different places and countries and customs, but it never, even for one page, feels like a text book or a bland travel guide. The author has a fantastic sense of story telling that makes you feel like you're at the table with them, listening about their experiences. It has strong dashes of humor and there's jokes made at all of the countries' expense in turn.

This is a good crash course for the region. There's information about values and aesthetics and the differences between regions and countries. Perhaps my favorite part, this also includes recipes.

This is a lovely, quick read that will make you want to visit the area soon for yourself. The photos are gorgeous, the tone is clever, and there is just so much charm.

I received a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Mini Review: Our Love Grows by Anna Pignataro



Title: Our Love Grows
Author: Anna Pignataro
Format: egalley
Pub. Date: 2016
Source: Sourcebooks


Book Description:



In the deep green forest, Pip asked,
"Mama, when will I be big?"

Pip is an adorable, roly-poly little panda who sees the world changing and growing. But Pip is feeling a bit left behind. Luckily Mama is there to show playful and curious Pip that, like the trees in the forest and the stars in the sky, he's growing and changing too. And no matter how much Pip grows, the one thing that will never change is how much Mama loves him!






Review:


★★★★

This is a very cute book.

I really liked that the book rhymed. Those were always my favorite books as a child, and the trend continues now that I'm an adult looking at children's books.

The story is a sweet one, that asks the question, "Mama, when will I be big?" Mom explains that he is growing like so many other things around him, and that as he grows so too does her love for him each and every day.

It's a simple book that's a fast read, but I think it makes for a sweet bedtime story.

The illustrations are gorgeous water color type paintings that are beautiful to look at, compliment the story well, and give the book a soothing sort of feel to it.

I think it's good for small children and it's a picture book that I don't think I'd get tired of reading on repeat.

I received a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Review: The Big Book of Submission, Volume 2 by Rachel Kramer Bussel



Title: The Big Book of Submission, Volume 2
Editor: Rachel Kramer Bussel
Format: ebook
Pub. Date: December 19th 2017
Source: Cleis Press


Book Description:



Whether you are simply curious about submission or regularly revel in the delights of BDSM, these sixty-nine erotic short stories about submissives will turn you on! From participating in a musical recital that takes a very kinky turn to making a grocery run while using sex toys to indulging in a risqué office encounter during working hours, these subs delight in obeying (or deliberately disobeying) their masters and mistresses in public and in private. They are rewarded and punished in the most wicked of ways that will leave you breathless. Edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel, with stories by Selena Kitt, Jade A. Waters, Dorothy Freed, and Sommer Marsden among other talented writers, The Big Book of Submission, Volume 2 offers arousing tales that delve deep into the thrills of spanking, bondage, power dynamics, service, exhibitionism, erotic adventure, and much more.





Review:



★★★★

Rachel Kramer Bussel and Cleis Press have done it again. It's no secret that I absolutely adore these erotica anthologies. This one is no exception- in fact, The Big Book of Submission, Volume 2 goes above and beyond. There's so much erotic goodness to unpack here.

As mentioned, this is an anthology of erotic stories, the connecting theme of which is submission. There are 69 stories total. People tend to think of submission and domination as strictly black and white, perfect puzzle pieces. But this book just goes to show that if you ask 69 people what "submission" means to them- you will get 69 very different interpretations. Which is good news for us, since it ends up producing books like this one.

Submissives of so many different types get a story here. This is hands down the most inclusive erotica (anthology or otherwise) that I have ever read. There are switches. There are dominant Females both with men and with women. There are Dominant males, both with men and with women. In some instances, there's more than those two in the scene. There are some that fit into neither gender category. There are people of color. There are those who are young or new to the idea of BDSM. There are those who are more experienced (such as a grandmother) and those who have been in the scene a long time, sometimes even professionally. There are different body types; those who are small, or curvier, or scarred, or surgically affected. They have representation of so many folks here, it's awesome. Proof that not all erotica is a stuffy white hetero dude in a suit and a doe eyed brunette who has no idea what's going on. *cough* moving on.

As for kinks, there is absolutely something for everyone. Kinks for days, my friend. Including some very specific ones that I enjoy that I did not expect to see. (But which ones? That's up to you to figure out, a lady never tells unless we're Fetlife friends). Here's a very oversimplified list of some of the things you can expect in the way of kink: BDSM (obviously), bondage, rope, training, power struggles, pet play, spanking, a host of different toys, affairs, pegging, role play, blades, gender play, tickling, different time periods, accents/language, food, and strangers. There's bound (pun intended) to be something on this list that sets off your fires.

There are some stories that focus heavily on the connection or romance between characters, so if you're more vanilla-minded don't be scared away!

The few issues I had with this anthology are pretty standard comments about anthologies. Namely, they won't all be winners to everyone. There are some kinks that are not my kinks (and that's okay!) so I didn't enjoy them as much. There are some names/titles/euphanisms that turn me off. There are some writing styles that I just don't enjoy. But the good thing is that in 69 stories, the ones I enjoyed far outweighed the ones I did not.

Plus, each story is completely independent of the other stories, so you can scan or skip or delay the stories you don't think you'll enjoy, without effecting story lines or anything like that.

Rather than talk about all 69 stories and their negative and positive traits, I'm going to highlight my three favorite stories from this collection.

The first is "Chased by the Wolf" by Mischa Eliot. It involves a male Dominant and a female submissive, a costume party, collaring, and a Predators and Prey themed party hosted at the zoo. This party- where dominants dress as predators, and submissives as prey- sounds like one I would absolutely go to. The writing style is playful but alluring, and stands out to me because of costuming and event type.

The second story is called "My Girl, My Boy, My Enby" by Annabeth Leong. The pairing in question here involves a female Dominant, and a submissive who is gender non-binary, who has "girl days" and "boy days" and "non-binary days". This stands out to me because it is honestly the first erotica I have ever read that has a non-binary character in it. And that means the world to me. My fiance is NB, so I was more into, more connected to this story and it set off sparks I didn't know I had. Well done you. It felt very intimate while still being dirty, it was a good balance.

The final story I'd like to highlight is called Oktoberfest Addiction by Roxanna Cross. It involves a male Dominant and a female submissive. It also involves Oktoberfest, risque themed outfits, hair ribbon bondage (fantastic idea), and German mustard in some very interesting places. I like women in dirndl dresses, food, and Germany. Sue me. It was very fun to read, and again the tone was a bit playful and a bit cheeky. It sounded like a fun festival that I'd love to be a part of.

Some other 5 star stories that get a shout out include "Metamorphosis" by Emanuelle de Maupassant (books, public play, libraries), "Imago" by Anna Sky (tattoo guns), "Cari's Recital" by Rod Harden (ha) [public play, bondage, piano], and "Apprendimento" by Kathleen Tudor (punishment, clothes pins, f/f).

All in all this book is one that has a secure place on my erotica shelf. It's such a mixed bag (in a good way!) of different stories and pairings and fantasies and even time periods. It's like hitting "shuffle" on my dirty thoughts, and that's a great thing.

If you're a fan of BDSM, erotica, RKB's other anthologies, or even sex in general, there's something in this book for you.

Thanks to Cleis Press who gave me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Mini Review: The Petite Fairy's Diary by Jun Asuka



Title: Fairies: The Petite Fairy's Diary
Series: Disney Fairies
Author: Jun Asuka
Format: egalley
Pub. Date: December 2017
Source: Tokyo POP


Book Description:



Petite is the smallest fairy in all of Neverland. She’s even smaller than a bug! Petite’s small size makes her clumsier than all of the other fairies in Pixie Hollow. With the Moon Banquet coming soon, all of the fairies must present their talents to Queen Clarion, but Petite hasn’t found her talent yet! Can Petite find her talent before the Moon Banquet in just a few days?

Join the fairies of Pixie Hollow in another whimsical adventure!






Review:


★★★★

I love Disney, manga, and fairies, so the new Disney Fairies Manga series is definitely right up my alley. Though I wasn't crazy about Vidia and the Fairy Crown, I saw that this upcoming edition to the series had a different author/artist so I decided to give it a shot. I'm glad I did, as I liked this one better!

The characters are really cute, and so is the story. It's a feel-good type plot that goes to show that even if you're different, you're fine just the way you are, and in some ways, even better! I think that's a lesson that we all need to hear every once in a while.

I liked the artwork better as well. I found it more detailed, and it went very well with the words on the page.

I think this is a good book for pre-teens/kids who are just starting to get into graphic novels or manga, though if you're older than that you can still certainly enjoy this book.

I received a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Stacking the Shelves [106]



Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews where we get to show off the books we've won, bought, or otherwise received in the past week. If a book catches your eye, *click* the picture to go to the Goodreads page of that book.

Are you decorating the house yet? Me either. The lazy struggle is real.

In My Inbox




Between the Blade and the Heart by Amanda Hocking [Thanks St. Martin’s Press!]
The Last Wolf by Maria Vale [Thanks Sourcebooks Casablanca!]

Purchased



Lidia's Celebrate Like an Italian by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich [signed]

Friday, December 1, 2017

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Of Bells and Thorns by Valentina Cano!




Title: Of Bells and Thorns

Series: The Rose Master #2

Author: Valentina Cano

Genre: YA Gothic

Publication date: November 28th 2017

Publisher: REUTS Publications, LLC



About the Book:


Rosewood Manor has been ashes for weeks.

Left with no post and no home, Anne Tinning never expected to find herself in a luxurious carriage, dressed in the finest of clothes, pretending to be the wife of Lord August Grey. The search for Miss Bellingham, however, will require them to blend into the very height of London society, a class Anne has only ever served, and which August despises. But August insists that the ruse is the only way. For although they’ve vanquished the wraith that called for August’s life, they will never be safe unless they find a way to stop the woman he scorned.

There are traces of Lily Bellingham the length and breadth of London, but when Anne and August investigate the gruesome disappearances in a factory she has just purchased, they realize that Lily is more powerful than either of them. And she has devised a new way to take her revenge.

With another curse placed upon August’s head, Anne must find a way to defeat Lily, and this time, she will have no help from the young man she has grown to love. This time, the curse is more insidious, twisting him into someone unrecognizable.

This time, August Grey is the one she must fear.

Lush, lyrical, and layered in horror-filled suspense, Of Bells and Thorns evokes the feel of classic Gothic literature, blending the magic of a beautiful fairy tale against the rich backdrop of history.

Get it here:


REUTS!


About the First Book:


The day Anne Tinning turns seventeen, birds fall from the sky. But that's hardly the most upsetting news. She's being dismissed from the home she's served at since she was a child, and shipped off to become the newly hired parlor maid for a place she's never heard of. And when she sees the run-down, isolated house, she instantly knows why: There's something wrong with Rosewood Manor.

Staffed with only three other servants, all gripped by icy silence and inexplicable bruises, and inhabited by a young master who isas cold as the place itself, the house is shrouded in neglect and thick with fear. Her questions are met with hushed whispers, and she soon finds herself alone in the empty halls, left to tidy and clean rooms no one visits. As the feeling of being watched grows, she begins to realize there is something else in the house with them--some creature that stalks the frozen halls and claws at her door. A creature that seems intent on harming her. When a fire leaves Anne trapped in the manor with its Master, she finally demands to know why. But as she forces the truth about what haunts the grounds from Lord Grey, she learns secrets she isn't prepared for. The creature is very real, and she's the only one who can help him stop it. Now, Anne must either risk her life for the young man she's grown to admire, or abandon her post while she still can.



Praise:


"In this Gothic fantasy, Cano evokes both Beauty and the Beast and Jane Eyre while creating something new and strange. Cano does a beautiful job of setting mood and atmosphere, and her characters dance around one another with relentless industry and brooding allure, fighting their inevitable attraction. This is a strong, satisfying effort.͟ ~Publishers Weekly on THE ROSE MASTER


About the Author:


Valentina Cano is a student of classical singing who spends whatever free time she has either reading orwriting. She also watches over a veritable army of pets. Her work has appeared in numerous publications and her poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best Of the Web.

Goodreads | Website | Twitter | Facebook


Follow the rest of the tour here!

Giveaway:


a Rafflecopter giveaway




Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Mini Review: Vidia and the Fairy Crown by Haruhi Kato!



Title: Fairies: Vidia and the Fairy Crown
Author: Haruhi Kato
Format: egalley
Pub. Date: July 25th 2017
Source: Tokyo POP


Book Description:



When Queen Clarion's crown goes missing on the night of Pixie Hollow's biggest bas, all fingers point to one thief - the rude and standoff-ish fairy Vidia! To keep from being banished from Pixie Hollow forever, Vidia goes on an outrageous hunt for the crown that takes her from one end of Neverland to the other. Can she find the crown in time to save Vida's reputation.





Review:


★★★

I love Disney. Love love love love it. I'm a big fan of their novelizations and manga adaptations as well, so I was really happy to pick this one up. It's a pretty cute book.

The artwork isn't my favorite, but it's pretty cute.

The story is really simple and a bit lacking in my humble opinion, but I really liked the attention that was paid to the characters. You really got to know them and got a lot of information about them, and got to watch them change over the course of the story.

I think it'd be a good book for the pre-teen age, though it's certainly enjoyable beyond that. If you like Disney or Tinkerbell, or even just fairies, it may be worth checking out. Personally, I enjoyed it well enough but it's not something I'll likely re-read in the future.

I received a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

HOLIDAY COUNTDOWN Review: Holiday Cookies by Elisabet Der Nederlanden!



Title: Holiday Cookies: Showstopping Recipes to Sweeten the Season
Author: Elisabet Der Nederlanden
Format: egalley
Pub. Date: September 5th 2017
Source: Ten Speed Press


Book Description:



From Icebox Pinwheel Cookies to Red-and-White Meringue Kisses to Apple Cider Caramels, find new inspiration for the best of seasonal baking with Holiday Cookies.

This instant holiday classic is packed with 50 recipes, each gorgeously photographed and meticulously tested, along with dozens of decorating and packaging ideas. Filled with reimagined favorites like Giant Molasses Spice Cookies and Hazelnut Sandwich Cookies; confections like Peppermint Bark, Smoked Almond and Cacao Nib Brittle, and Dark Chocolate-Hazelnut Fudge; and detailed instructions for gorgeous gingerbread houses, cookie place cards, and edible ornaments, this is a cookie book like no other. Because the recipes are easy to scale up or down, Holiday Cookies is perfect for cookie exchanges, gift-giving, and just enjoying throughout the season. From a veteran baker and recipe developer, each cookie in this collection is guaranteed to be a stand-out, and destined to become your new Christmas classic.






Review:


★★★★

This book is exactly what you want when you think of the words "Christmas cookie recipes".

The book is divided into sections including an introduction with tips, Very Merry Classics, Cookie Exchange Party, Warm Holiday Spice, Around the World, Holiday Confections, Decorated Delights, and a final note about special ingredients and resources. It's a bit muddy of a way to organize the book (what is a classic? what is easily exchanged?) but it's effective enough.

There are SO MANY recipes in this book, and 9 out of 10 of them sound fantastic to me. The steps are very straight forward and easy to follow, making this book approachable to those who might only bake come the holidays.

The variety is really wide as well. There's tried and true classics that you already love, and ones that (at least I) have never made or even eaten before. If someone in your family is picky, or has allergies, there's bound to be a recipe in here that works for you or that is easily substituted.

Not to mention that the photography is absolutely gorgeous, and very festive.

Some of the recipes that sounded the most delicious to me include Fruit Cake Shortbread, Thumbprints with Spicy Plum Jam, and Matcha Chocolate Bark with Berries and Coconut.

This is a great book for someone hoping to have a little bit more "pop" with their holiday baking.

I received a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Spotlight, Excerpt, & Giveaway: The Right Kind of Reckless by Heather Van Fleet!



Title: The Right Kind of Reckless

Series: Reckless Hearts #2

Author: Heather Van Fleet

Publication date: November 7, 2017

ISBN: 9781492658511

Genre: Contemporary Romance



About the Book:


Maxwell Martinez

I’m in love with a woman I can’t have, and there’s absolutely nothing I can do to stop myself from falling. The problem? Her brother’s my best friend.

I shouldn’t want her this much. Not when it goes against the bro code. Not when I’ve never been able to commit to a woman for longer than a night.

But one look into her eyes and I’m a mess for her. She’s my everything. And I have to walk away with nothing.

Get It Here:


Amazon | B&N | IndieBound | iBooks | Kobo





Excerpt:


Addie and I watched the guys play round after round of Skee-Ball, while Chloe jumped and cheered and stole the occasional ball from each of their rows. No matter what my state in life was, I was happy the three of them had found one another. ͞Here, let’s get our picture drawn.͟ Knocking me out of my woolgathering, Addie guided me toward one of the caricature sketchers who sat just outside the carnival gates. The man had a unibrow the size of Lake Michigan’s shoreline, and his mustache was curled at the end, handlebar style. But his work was amazing. Charcoal sketches with colored eyes, balloon- shaped heads with movie-s tar hair. ͞How much for both of us?͟ Addie asked, fishing through her purse. We sat on the stools, as directed,our shoulders touching. ͞Thirty- five,͟ the guy said, his fake French accent too thick to be believable. I groaned and looked at my friend. ͞Seriously? That’s too much.͟͞Seriously. We have to do this.͟ Addie mocked me. ͞Look at how cute those are.͟ She pointed to a couple with a heart surrounding their heads. Little doves swooped in the air around them, carrying heart balloons in their beaks. Had to hand it to the guy. He was talented. ͞I’ve got this, ladies.͟ I looked up at the sound of Max’s deep voice, finding him searching through his wallet. He pulled out the money, handed it to the artist, then lifted his gaze to meet mine. A soft smile covered his bow-shaped lips, and everything inside me stirred to life at the view. Addie faked a cough, then pressed a hand over her stomach. ͞Oh...oh no. I don’t feel very good, guys.͟I faced her and narrowed my eyes as she stood. Don’t, I mouthed, already knowing her game. Ignoring me, she looked at Max and said, ͞You’ll take my place, won’t you, Max?͟ She batted those brown eyes and twirled a lock of her dark hair. No doubt her way of getting anyone and everyone to say yes to her. ͞Lia here was dying to get her picture drawn.͟Oh, the little liar...Max nodded, immediately taking her empty seat to my right. With an extra hop in her step, Addie walked away, her ponytail swinging back and forth more the closer she got to Collin and Gavin and Chloe. I wanted to pull it out of her head. ͞All right, look this way.͟ I blinked at the sound of the artist’s voice, my body far too aware of Max’s heady scent. God, why did he have to smell so good? Fit so perfectly against me? ͞You’re much too stiff.͟ The artist tsked from behind his easel. ͞Here, wrap your arm around zee pretty lady’s waist, like so.͟

I sucked in a breath as Max’s hand was guided along my back, ending at my side with his fingers tucked just under the edge of my T- shirt. I swallowed, shifting in my seat and instantly remembering our kiss—the way he’d moved his mouth over mine. Warmth pooled low in my stomach, drifting in between my thighs. His touch was like adrenaline, kick- starting my orgasm-starved body to life. ͞Chin on her shoulder, lips close to her ear...͟ I shuddered as Max followed the artist’s directions to a T, the stubble on his chin igniting a stormy thunder inside me. Max seemed unaffected, his chest rising and falling at an even rate, while mine was suddenly in asthmatic mode. ͞Relax,͟ Max whispered in my ear, his warm breath grazing my neck. ͞I’m not gonna bite ya.͟I shut my eyes and shifted once again, the ache between my thighs becoming unbearable. ͞I didn’t want to do this,͟ I finally murmured, refocusing on the artist. Max laughed softly, his chest vibrating against my back and shoulder. ͞I know you didn’t.͟My eyebrows pushed together in annoyance. ͞Then why did you agree to sit here?͟͞Because Addie wouldn’t give up until I did.͟ He sighed, far too relaxed compared to me. I was jumping, itching, crawling with...something, yet he was unaffected. Which only further emphasized that he didn’t want me the way I did him. ͞Plus, she folds my underwear, remember? Gotta make sure she doesn’t stick ants in them or something.͟͞Yeah, like Addie would ever stoop to your level.͟ I couldn’t help but grin, my nerves easing slightly. He squeezed my ribs. ͞You would.͟I turned to face him, our noses inches apart. ͞Damn right I would.͟A slow nod later, he moved even closer, our bodies in sync...My smile fell away. ͞Maxwell,͟ I whispered, so lost in his dark eyes that I couldn’t concentrate. The apology was there on my tongue like earlier, but the need weighing me down was even heavier. How could I ever be just friends with a guy who was likely to break my heart, no matter what we were to each other? ͞Tell me why you kissed me that night.͟ He looked at my lips, a serious glint in his eyes. Blood rushed to my face at his out-o f- the- blue question. My composure slipped as confusion took its place. Why was he asking me this? ͞Because I...͟ I gulped. ͞I owed you, remember? For bailing me out and for keeping me safe from those guys.͟Something shifted in his eyes. Disappointment? I squeezed my eyes shut at the thought. When I looked back at him, I knew I was imagining things, because flirty, fun Max was back, winking at me. ͞Well then.͟He cleared his throat. ͞That’s good to know.͟

What’s good to know?͟ I frowned.

"That you still owe me."





About the Author:


Contemporary romance author Heather Van Fleet is a stay-at-home-mom turned book boyfriend connoisseur. She’s a wife to her high school sweetheart, a mom to three little girls, and in her spare time you can find her with her head buried in her Kindle, guzzling down copious amounts of coffee. Heather was born and raised in Moline, Illinois, where she lives with her wonderful family.

Goodreads | Website | Twitter | Facebook


Giveaway:


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Sunday, November 19, 2017

HOLIDAY COUNTDOWN Review: Opa! The Healthy Greek Cookbook by Theo Stephan & Christina Xenos



Title: Opa! The Healthy Greek Cookbook: Modern Mediterranean Recipes for Living the Good Life
Authors: Theo Stephan & Christina Xenos
Format: Paperback: 262 pages
Pub. Date: November 7th 2017
Source: Callisto Media Inc


Book Description:



Discover how rich a healthy lifestyle can taste with Opa! The Healthy Greek Cookbook

When you don’t have a Mediterranean breeze behind you, finding local ingredients for complex recipes can make it difficult to integrate Greek food into your lifestyle. With Opa! The Healthy Greek Cookbook you can spare yourself the odyssey of traveling just to eat fresh and flavorful food. Featuring easy-to-find ingredients for simple recipes, plus a regional overview of Greek food, Opa! The Healthy Greek Cookbook leads you on a culinary journey towards an appetizing and healthy lifestyle.

Opa! The Healthy Greek Cookbook contains:

90 Recipes for popular Greek dishes made with easy-to-find ingredients Greek Kitchen Tips including how to stock your pantry and kitchen with the right ingredients and equipment, plus cooking techniques A Regional Overview explaining Greek food from ancient times to modern day
Recipes in this Greek cookbook include: Kalamata Olive Spread, Greek Potato Salad, Spinach Rice, Vegetable Moussaka, Shrimp Santorini, Spinach and Feta Stuffed Chicken Breasts, Greek Yogurt Brandy Cake, and much more!

Join Greek chefs Theodora Stephan and Christina Xenos as they share their favorite recipes for you to feast on with Mediterranean flare in Opa! The Healthy Greek Cookbook.






Review:


★★★★

Greek food is right up there in my list of favorite cuisines, perhaps only rivaled by Japanese food. Because of that, I'm always open to learning new recipes. I don't have any charming little old grandmothers to inherit Greek recipes from on account of being Polish- I count on cookbooks like this one! Overall, this book has a lot of really tasty things for a lot of different diets.

The book is divided by course type, including the sections: Understanding Greek Cuisine, In the Greek Kitchen, Mezzethes, Salads & Soups, Beans Rice & Pasta, Vegetable Mains, Seafood Mains, Meat Mains, Desserts, and a few finishing sections like a glossary and a menu planner for events and holidays. This is an easy way to find anything you need in the ook.

"Understanding Greek Cuisine" is a section that's a nice little 101 section on Greece and their food. It covers some basic culture information and history, information about the various regions and islands of Greece, common flavor schemes, and some of the natural health benefits. It's a good pocket of information to have if you've never had to cook Greek food before. It's written in a charming tone filled with stories from the two authors, so it's full of a lot of facts, but it's easy to get through.

The "In the Greek Kitchen" gives a nice little run down of common ingredients (and what they are), equipment used, and brief definitions of different cooking techniques. This section makes it clear that this book is approachable to even the beginner cook.

And then of course, are the recipes themselves. I found them to be incredibly well written. Each recipe gives the name of the dish in Greek, as well as in English, which I think is a nice touch. There's a little paragraph that tells a little about the recipe or a little anecdote about why it's included. Some were sweet, some were funny, and some were just plain interesting. In addition, each recipe has vital diet information; it's labeled as being vegetarian, nut-free, gluten-free, etc. This is super nice for people with diet restrictions, because you know just by looking at it if you can have it. There's also caloric/nutrition information, storage tips, and good advice on how you can substitute ingredients throughout.

The steps are numbered and short and sweet, making them easy to follow.

I also appreciated that the recipes might call for something a bit harder to find, like say kefalotiri cheese. Instead of just assuming that everyone has access to that, it suggests other, more common cheeses that will work, like Romano cheese in this instance. As someone who doesn't have a wide variety of grocer options, it's appreciated.

When a more complicated technique is used (like for wrapping grape leaves), there's little step by step drawn illustrations to help you out.

What disappointed me about this book is the lack of photos. There are some, yes, and the ones that are included look delicious. However, I've never made 90% of these dishes before. It'd be nice to have a reference to see if what I'm doing actually looks like what it's supposed to. I'm way more of a visual person than a literary one, so in that regard I think this book is lacking.

Anyway, back to the positives. There are so many amazing sounding dishes in this cookbook that it's hard to pare it down to just a few to highlight here, but I'll try my best. Some of the dishes I most look forward to include: Savory Baklava Rolls, Octopus with Figs and Peaches, Feta Crab Cakes, and Olive Oil Ice Cream with Feta, Cinnamon, and Basil.

All in all, I'm really happy with this book. If you've got food allergies, or are vegan or vegetarian, there are quite a few recipes in here for you, and more than are pretty easily adaptable. It's approachable with realistic ingredients, and full of plenty of recipes for those looking to lighten up their diet or simply try more Greek recipes.

I received a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Review: The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O'Neill



Title: The Tea Dragon Society
Author: Katie O'Neill
Format: egalley
Pub. Date: October 18th 2017
Source: Oni Press


Book Description:



From the award-winning author of Princess Princess Ever After comes The Tea Dragon Society, a charming all-ages book that follows the story of Greta, a blacksmith apprentice, and the people she meets as she becomes entwined in the enchanting world of tea dragons.

After discovering a lost tea dragon in the marketplace, Greta learns about the dying art form of tea dragon care-taking from the kind tea shop owners, Hesekiel and Erik. As she befriends them and their shy ward, Minette, Greta sees how the craft enriches their lives—and eventually her own.






Review:


★★★★★

This is the best graphic novel that I've read in 2017. I absolutely loved it.

For me, the most important part is of course the artwork. The aesthetic is adorable. It's a lot of kawaii, pastel type illustrations. It catches the eye and is well done. The tea dragons- there are different types of tea dragons, to match different types of tea of course- are the absolute cutest. They are reminiscent of Pokemon almost. I want stuffed animal versions of them, to be completely honest with you.

In addition to the artwork being visually appealing, the drawings are well paired with the text, so when blended together, it goes nicely.

Which brings us to the text, naturally. It's a heartwarming, feel good sort of book. I was very much more upset than I expected when I ran out of story and pages. The tone is very sweet, and very cozy. It feels almost like a bed time story, it's playful but has a focused plot, and has characters that you want to know more about as the night wears on.

So many different types of characters are represented in this book, without making a fuss. It's simply "these folks are all together" and that's sort of beautiful in a way. There's LGBT representation, disability representation, different skin tones and even different species all harmonious in the same place.

This is a great book for those who love either dragon or teas, as well as kawaii style artwork. And of course, children who enkIt's a quick read but it has lovely characters and a charming plot.

I received a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Review: Dark Goddess Craft by Stephanie Woodfield



Title: Dark Goddess Craft: A Journey Through the Heart of Transformation
Author: Stephanie Woodfield
Format: egalley
Pub. Date: November 8th 2017
Source: Llewellyn Publications


Book Description:



Discover how to use the many faces of the dark goddess to navigate the process of deep and rewarding change. This practical guide looks at the misconceptions surrounding dark deities and encourages you to draw on the power of the dark goddesses to work through aspects of yourself or your life that you wish to change.

Organized into three sections--the descent, challenge, and rebirth--Dark Goddess Craft guides you into your own darkness and helps you emerge renewed. Stephanie Woodfield presents the goddesses you will meet along your path of transformation and explains each one's role in helping you. This book will light your way through the shadows and show you how to become the best version of yourself.






Review:


★★★★★

This book is fascinating from cover to cover. It's interesting and soothing, enlightening and thought provoking. This is a Llewellyn Publication that I would happily place on my spirituality/pagan shelf, and it is a book that I will almost certainly read again.

The book is divided into four sections, not counting the expansive bibliography and index at the end of the book. These sections are: Who is the Dark Goddess?, The Descent, Challenge, and Rebirth.

Part one of this book covers a sort of background information chapter. There's information about the concept of what it means to be "dark" and how goddesses are looked at both in the past and the present. There's a lot of clearing up of misconceptions that arise when the phrase "dark goddess" is heard, such as the lack of evil intentions or the devil, things like that. In short, it's like a nice little intro course. Dark Goddesses 101. It's what you need to know about the subject, and the deities, before you continue onward down the path of this book. If you're pretty well versed in the subject, it serves as a nice refresher course.

Part two, The Descent, covers goddesses that are associated with the afterlife. Or more specifically, as you might have gathered from the title (of both the book and the chapter), goddesses that are associated with the underworld.

Part three, Challenge, covers more of the goddesses. But this time around, it is the ones that are associated with overcoming obstacles and getting ahead in life.

The final part, Rebirth, covers more goddesses still. Though in this part, they are the ones who are most commonly associated with the ideas of both transformation and independence.

This book contains so much information and celebration. There are rituals and prayers, there are devotionals. There are stories/myths for each and every goddess that is mentioned throughout the course of the book. I was very pleasantly surprised by the wide variety of goddesses that are in here. Generally speaking, most books I pick up deal mainly with the Roman and Greek pantheons. Especially when it comes to the underworld. I was expecting a ton of Persephone with maybe a bit of Hecate thrown in (sigh, my poor underrated Hecate). But these are global representations. Admittedly, I hadn't even heard of some of them before.

The cited works section alone is worth a look at, it's clear that the author did her research and feels strongly about the topic.

This is part history book, part religious book, part motivational book, and wholly full of engagement and interest. If you are of this spiritual/religious/pagan path, and especially if you walk the nocturnal path, this is a book I think that you'll enjoy.

I received a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

HOLIDAY COUNTDOWN Review: Sally's Cookie Addiction by Sally McKenney



Title: Sally's Cookie Addiction: Irresistible Cookies, Cookie Bars, Shortbread, and More from the Creator of Sally's Baking Addiction
Author: Sally McKenney
Format: egalley
Pub. Date: September 19th 2017
Source: Race Point Publishing


Book Description:



Bake exquisite cookies, bars, and doughs perfectly every time with Sally's Cookie Addiction. A world of baking wonder awaits you and all the lucky people you’ll share them with.

Are you ready to sink your teeth into Brown Butter Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies? How about Peanut Butter Nutella Swirl Cookies or Pumpkin Spice Sugar Cookies? Featuring a mouthwatering selection of cookies, cookie bars, cookie dough dips, slice-and-bakes, no-bakes, and more, Sally's Cookie Addiction features dozens of exciting flavors, including chocolate, butterscotch, peanut butter, sugar, coconut, lemon, s’more, and oatmeal, oh my!

The best part? Sally's Cookie Addiction, Sally will tell you how to make each and every cookie in the book ahead of time. So, if you want to start preparing for the holidays, or if you just like keeping cookie dough in your freezer for those critical cookie emergencies!

Complete with tips on how to bake the perfect cookie and gorgeous photography, Sally's Cookie Addiction is the only cookie book you need on your shelf. Get ready for your kitchen to be the most popular room in the house while the smells of Warm Chocolate Chunk Skillet Cookies, Lemon Crème Sandwich Cookies, and Soft-Baked Sugar Cookie Bars emanate from the oven!






Review:


★★★★

I love baking. And, I especially love baking cookies. They're my ace in the hole, my first go-to. I'm constantly on the lookout for new recipes to add into my repertoire. Plus, the holidays are coming up, when my need to bake goes into overdrive. All in all, this is a solid book that's chock full of cookies.

The book is divided into chapters that are mostly flavor or ingredient based including: introduction/tips, Family Favorites, All About Oats, Happy Holidays, Shortbread and Slice and Bakes Galore, The Sprinkle Chapter, Nuts About Nuts, Serious Chocolate Cravings, and Find Your Flavor.

Ultimately, this is a bit of a clunky, unorganized way to sort cookie recipes. "Find Your Flavor", "Happy Holidays" and "Family Favorites" are all pretty vague, wide categories. The rest of them make sense, but those listed are a bit disjointed from the rest.

The tone also gets a little condescending at times. There's a big push about how substitutions are usually why people's cookies don't turn out, and recipes are there for a reason. Pretty opposing to most cookbooks, which encourage creativity and adapting. There's also the use of the phrase "it's a no no". This is a cookbook that isn't specifically geared towards kids- really? No no?

After these discouraging bits, the book goes along a lot more smoothly.

There's a lot of helpful hints as you go. There's advice on how to make your cookies softer, and how to decorate better, and things like that. It's much appreciated and helpful for sure, especially for beginner or seasonal bakers.

There are a lot of recipes in this book, and also a LOT of photos. I love when a cookbook has a photo of every recipe, and this book does just that.

The recipes are written in an approachable style, with simple language and short, easy to follow steps.

There's a really wide variety of cookies here, from the super sweet, to the spicy, to even cookies that your dog will enjoy.

Some of the cookies that sound the best to me include Autumn Spice Oatmeal Cookies, Chai Tea Spice Shortbread, and Cherry Almond Coconut Macaroons.

This is a great book for cookie lovers and for the holidays. Once you get past a few speed bumps, it's easy to follow and full of new recipes to try.

I received a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Review: Meet Your Matcha by Joanna Farrow




Title: Meet Your Matcha
Author: Joanna Farrow
Format: egalley
Pub. Date: September 19th 2017
Source: Nourish


Book Description:



Matcha teas and lattes have become a staple of every coffee shop and health food store. A beloved ingredient in Japan for generations, it is a powdered green tea that is rich in nutrients and antioxidants, and gives a slow-release caffeine boost through the day. Praised by everyone from Ella Woodward to the Hemsleys, one glass of matcha is the equivalent of 10 glasses of green tea in terms of nutritional value and antioxidant content. But there is so much more you can do with this miracle ingredient.

Packed with over 50 recipes for smoothies, soups, main meals and more, Meet Your Matcha will allow you to unlock the potential of this brilliant green ingredient. From a Matcha Sushi Salad and Matcha Chicken and Ginger Dumplings to Breakfast Smoothie Bowls or a Dark Chocolate and Matcha Layer Cake, these delicious dishes will let you make the most of your matcha.






Review:


★★★

Matcha is one of my favorite ingredients, though it is not something that is in my usual repertoire of handy dandy everyday ingredients. But, I was excited to give this cookbook ago because it has so many recipes. Overall, it delivered.

The book is divided into course types, including: smoothies and breakfast, main meals, sides and salads, desserts and cakes, sweet treats, and teas, juices, and cocktails. This makes it pretty easy to navigate.

I was happy that there were so many types of recipes. So many matcha books are either strictly tea, or they only include desserts. I appreciate that this one has main courses and salads and cocktails included in it. I wouldn't think to add matcha to a main dish, but here we are, and I'm definitely wanting to try it.

The steps are easy to follow. They're short, blunt, and to the point. They're also numbered. In my opinion, this makes it a great book for a beginner to get started in cooking with tea. The author gives a lot of suggestions for dairy free and meat free options, so if you have allergies, or are vegan/vegetarian, there's still items in this book that you can enjoy too.

Some of the ingredients could be a little vague, like "soft cheese", with no suggestions. I appreciate the rope you're giving me to explore, but even a personal recommendation tip would have been appreciated. It's also a bit hard to read all the ingredients because it's very busy. Listed it has cups, ounces, and grams all listed in one row. Also, there were times ingredients were listed twice with different verbiage, like caster/granulated sugar or groundnut/peanut. Counting on a conversion chart or a glossary list would have cleaned it up better.

With that out of the way, some of these recipes sound absolutely delicious. Some of the ones I'm most excited to try include Thai Prawn Cakes with Matchilli Sauce, Halloumi and Wild Rice Matcha-Spiked Pilaf, and Blueberry Matcheesecake.

I received a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

HOLIDAY COUNTDOWN Review: The Artful Baker by Cenk Sonmezsoy



Title: The Artful Baker: Extraordinary Desserts From an Obsessive Home Baker
Author: Cenk Sonmezsoy
Format: egalley
Pub. Date: October 17th 2017
Source: Harry N. Abrams


Book Description:



A collection of more than 100 extraordinary desserts—all with photos and meticulous instructions—by Cenk Sönmezsoy, creator of the internationally acclaimed blog Cafe Fernando.

Written, styled, photographed, and designed by Cenk Sönmezsoy, The Artful Baker shares the inspiring story of a passionate home baker, beginning with his years after graduate school in San Francisco and showcasing the fruits of a baking obsession he cultivated after returning home to Istanbul. Sönmezsoy’s stories and uniquely styled images, together with his original creations and fresh take on traditional recipes, offer a thoughtful and emotional window into the life of this luminary artist.

The Artful Baker is comprised of almost entirely new content, with a few updated versions of readers’ favorites from his blog, such as Brownie Wears Lace, his signature brownies topped with blond chocolate ganache and bittersweet chocolate lace (originally commissioned by Dolce & Gabbana and awarded “Best Original Baking and Desserts Recipe” by Saveur magazine); Raspberry Jewel Pluot Galette, a recipe inspired by Chez Panisse’s 40th year anniversary celebrations; and Devil Wears Chocolate, his magnificent devil’s food cake that graces the cover of the book.

Each chapter highlights a variety of indulgences, from cookies to cakes and tarts to ice creams, including recipes like Pistachio and Matcha Sablés; Tahini and Leblebi (double-roasted chickpeas) Swirl Brownies; Sakura Madeleines; Sourdough Simit, the beloved ring-shaped Turkish bread beaded with sesame seeds; Isabella Grape and Kefir Ice Cream; Pomegranate Jam; and Blanche, a berry tart named after the Golden Girl Blanche Devereaux.

Every recipe in The Artful Baker has gone through a meticulous development phase, tested by an army of home bakers having varying levels of skill, equipment, and access to ingredients, and revised to ensure that they will work flawlessly in any kitchen. Measurements of ingredients are provided in both volume and weight (grams). Where a volume measurement isn’t useful, weight measurements are provided in both ounces and grams.






Review:


★★★★★

This is one of the most beautiful cookbooks that I have read in 2017. The photographs are stunning, the recipes are delicious, and it really is like looking through an art book.

The book is divided into types of dish, including: Cookies, Brownies, Cakes Muffins Cheesecakes and Meringues, Tarts Galettes Pie Quiche Cobbler and Crumble, Bread and Pastries, Ice Cream Frozen Yogurt and Sorbets, Confections and Drinks, Jams and Jellies, Base Recipes, and Ingredients, Equipment and Conversions.

There's a lot of personal stories and name dropping in this book, making it clear that the author has a level of not just passion, but pride in what they do. You learn why they included the recipes and ingredients they did, and what makes them the best.

In addition to the recipes, there's also a TON of extra tips and techniques in this book. There are step by step photos of how to deal with vanilla beans, there's a whole section on perfecting macarons, there's a guide to tempering chocolate. It's clear the author wants to help you succeed with their recipes! There's also a lot of storage advice, which is appreciated.

As I mentioned, the photos are beautiful. A lot of the things look too beautiful to eat (I mean, not that that'd really stop me, but you know what I mean). There's an abundance of photos too, at least one per recipe though there's often more.

One of the downsides is that some of the ingredients are relatively hard to find, like sakura flavored white tea leaves. You'd need to plan well in advance for some of these recipes, they don't all lend themselves to spur of the moment baking.

Some of the recipes that sound the best to me include Sour Cherry and White Chocolate Macarons, Sakura Madeleines, and Isabella Grape and Kefir Ice Cream.

This book is fantastic, and any home bakers looking to up their game or to more finely hone their baking techniques would find something to benefit from in this book.

I received a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Personal Update: I Got Engaged!





Hey y'all.

I'm just writing a small little life update.

I don't write any of these much, because, well, I don't have that interesting of a life most of the time.

Well, that's changed mildly.

I got engaged on Halloween!

My fiancee (sounds so weird, by the way) proposed to me at the Field Museum in downtown Chicago. Specifically, in the Egypt exhibit, in the temple of Bastet. Complete with a natural gem ring, and a coffin shaped box.

We are the weirdos, mister.

After our day at the museum we went to go see a concert, the always talented American Murder Song. We told the artists about the engagement, and they were kind enough to sign our ring box.

It was a fantastic day. My partner- sorry, fiancee- even bought me a little glass jar of candy from Dylan's that said "#1 Wife's Candy" on it. And a Halloween cat Build-a-Bear to go with the theme.

Ring tax is included down below. <3 Love, Jillyn