Sunday, August 30, 2015

Stacking the Shelves [98]

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.

Sorry for the slow moving on the blog lately guys. I had to move back into my university for another wonderful year of book learning. But now I'm back!

New from Netgalley:

Nikki Blue: Source of Trouble by Jack Chaucer
The Girl Who Could Not Dream by Sarah Beth Durst
I Crawl Through It by A.S. King
A Year in the Life of a Total and Complete Genius by Stacey Matson
Into My Arms by Lia Riley

In My Mailbox

Perfect Touch by Elizabeth Lowell
The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson
Black Ice by Stephen Tesher

Friday, August 28, 2015

Blog Tour Review & Giveaway: Confessions of a Fat Girl by Holly Dae

Title: Confessions of a Fat Girl

Author: Holly Dae

Release date: August 4th 2015

Source: IFB Tours

About the Book:

Smart and ambitious Season Minett was homeschooled, got accepted into college at 16, graduated with a B.A. in English at 20, got a job at a prestigious magazine at 21, and isn’t afraid to go after what she wants. Twenty-two-year-old Season has it made and everyone knows it. Except Season herself.

People can gush over her all day long, but Season knows they’re just being nice. In reality, she’s accomplished nothing. She doesn’t work hard enough, can’t get her book published, and worst of all at 5’6, 180 pounds with a thirty-two inch waist, a forty-four inch hip, and arms too big for her body, she’s fat and ugly. She's such a disappointment that after her mother divorced Season's dad, she went to live with her new, younger boyfriend and left Season to mother the rest of her siblings. So Season is quite bewildered when the guy she sees every weekend at the bookstore shows serious interest in her. And she ends up liking him. A lot.

Season's not naive enough to think love will solve all her problems though. In fact, love seems to be making everything worse because her food obsession is growing more and more out of her control. But that's impossible. There's nothing wrong with counting calories and wanting to be thin. There's nothing wrong with trying to be as perfect as everyone thinks she is. A fat girl can't develop an eating disorder, let alone have one. Right?



I admit, the reason why I signed on to read this book is largely the title, no pun intended. I'm a bigger girl, so I figured I would relate to the characters and the premise. Overall, this was a fairly enjoyable read.

There's a growing concern and focus on appearance and health, and I think this story gives a pretty realistic look on the issues that come with having a low view of yourself. Season is moody and closed off. She's self-destructive as she battles with her calorie count and tries to keep in control of her body and her life, with a lot of drama and consequences surrounding her as she tries to get through it all.

Season was a really complicated character for me. I related to her at times, I'll be the first to admit that. I think we all go through a little self-loathing and self-pity at times, and I'm surely no exception. But similarly, I think she represented everything that I hate in myself. She bugged me. She was hard to sympathize with, and hell, maybe I'm hard to sympathize with too. This didn't put me off of the book or her story or anything, but made me think harder about myself whenever Season did something that particularly annoyed me.

The writing was pretty solid. I was engaged throughout the text, and I rarely felt bored. It was well paced and you learned to feel for the characters, whether you loved or hated them. It was a fairly quick book to get through, but it's not a subject to be taken lightly.

In short, I think this book does a decent job of covering an important topic. Eating disorders are a serious problem, and I think that people who have experienced problems with their weight or their self-image can take something away from Season's story. Fat or thin, we can all I think relate to Season on some level.

I was provided a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Get it Here:


About the Author:

Stuck in the transition between graduating from college and starting a life called no job, Holly Dae spends most of her free time writing raw and edgy Young Adult and New Adult contemporary novels that deal with rape, drugs, sex, and general psychological ills. When she isn't doing that, she's writing fanfiction for fun and obsessively playing Mario Kart Eight and Pokemon Games.

Website | Twitter

Follow the rest of the tour here!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Review: Secrets in the Cellar by John Glatt

Title: Secrets in the Cellar

Author: John Glatt

Format: Hardcover, 248 pages

Pub. Date: January 1st 2009

Source: Purchased from Goodwill.

Book Description via Goodreads:

Josef Fritzl was a 73-year-old retired engineer in Austria. He seemed to be living a normal life with his wife, Rosemarie, and their family--though one daughter, Elisabeth, had decades earlier been "lost" to a religious cult. Throughout the years, three of Elisabeth's children mysteriously appeared on the Fritzls' doorstep; Josef and Rosemarie raised them as their own. But only Josef knew the truth about Elisabeth's disappearance…

For twenty-seven years, Josef had imprisoned and molested Elisabeth in his man-made basement dungeon, complete with sound-proof paneling and code-protected electric locks. There, she would eventually give birth to a total of seven of Josef's children. One died in infancy--and the other three were raised alongside Elisabeth, never to see the light of day.

Then, in 2008, one of Elisabeth's children became seriously ill, and was taken to the hospital. It was the first time the nineteen-year-old girl had ever gone outside--and soon, the truth about her background, her family's captivity, and Josef's unspeakable crimes would come to light.

John Glatt's Secrets in the Cellar is the true story of a crime that shocked the world.



So, I'll be the first to confess that I was swept up in this case when it was first brought to the public eye. It's morbid, yes, but it's also fascinating. I had done research online to find out all that had happened, and learned that there were some books on the subject. Coincidentally, I stumbled upon this one at a thrift store and I couldn't resist picking it up. Unfortunately, it wasn't that great of a book.

This is a part of the True Crime book series, that is, a series of factual books that examine real life crime cases. True crime. So it really bothered me that the author used fictionalizations on the people in this book who are real people, and not characters. More than once, things like this were said: "He must have known he was evil" or "she must have been scared". The author doesn't know that. Stick to the facts, and quit trying to make an already horrible story more dramatic. This extends to the passages about Josef's personal life, where the prostitutes talked about how rough and violent he was, so that only a few of them would let him be a client anymore. He makes himself look evil- we don't need to look at his BDSM lifestyle to make him even more villainous. The prostitutes did take him as a client, and did their job. While it might be morally wrong since he had a wife, this seemed like an unnecessary add on to a guy who could already be a Batman villain. He doesn't need puffing up, he's horrid on his own.

The book as a whole also wasn't written very well. It was really repetitive. You could tell when the author was really proud of a phrase or a thought, because it would show up multiple times throughout the book. There were sentences that were awkward and ended with prepositions. There's also misuse of the word "irony". It feels rushed and it probably was, as everyone was quick to make a buck off of someone else's tragedy.

Personally, I also didn't really learn that much more from this book. I knew most of this from previously reading articles online. If you've never heard of this case or only know the rough story of what happened, I'm sure that you'd find it more interesting and engrossing than I did.

That said, the case is fascinating, so the book isn't a total loss. I appreciated the fact that in the middle of the hardcover edition, there's a few pages of photographs. I did think it weird though that the author vividly describes some photographs that are not included in these pages. I thought for sure it would be included, since he was so detailed, but nope.

I'm not sorry I read this book, but I'm not holding onto it either. It's the kind of book you only need once. If you're interested in crimes, nonfiction, or this case in particular, I'd recommend at least flipping through it, but maybe get it from a library instead of running out to the store to buy it.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

What I Really, Really Want in My Throwback Man Crate (Zigazig AH!)

Hello my lovely followers. I have a different sort of post for you today! When I was contacted by Man Crates, I was asked a seemingly easy question: what would I put in my nostalgic time capsule? The more I thought about it, the more my mind raced. I'm 23 years old, which really just means that I'm not quite stuck in the 90s, but not a true millennial either. I had a great time thinking about what would go in my perfect crate, and I'm happy to share that list with you today!

But first, what is Man Crates? It's a website that specializes in kick ass gift crates for the man (or whoever) in your life! They're all themed, which is my favorite part. Some are for your favorite sports teams. Some are for video game enthusiasts. Others are for people who love a good drink. They're all pretty awesome. Here's Man Crates in their own words:

About Man Crates:

We say 'no' to ugly neckties, cologne samplers and executive trinkets. We don't save wrapping paper, we don't do ribbons.

We ship bragworthy gifts for guys. Gifts that you can't wait to arrive because you know the recipient will love opening them.

Gifts that people gather round at the office, people following the sounds of wood being torn from wood by the included, laser-engraved crowbar.

We are Man Crates, and we deliver awesome gifts for men.

So what would be in my perfect crate after I tear into it with my crowbar? Let's find out! I've got a list of a dirty dozen.

1] Chupa Chups Spice Girl Lollipops:

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These suckers were the best thing ever. Why? Because if you had these, you were the coolest girl in the class room. I remember I could only ever find them at Limited Too. Not only did the actual lollies taste delicious, but printed on them were the FACES of the Spice Girls. Plus, each one came with a sticker. At my school, every girl's notebook was littered with these. I still love the Spice Girls, and I miss these whenever I have to buy suckers that are not adorned with Victoria Beckham's face.

2] Orbitz:

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This one I miss purely for aesthetics. I have absolutely no memory of what these taste like. Apparently they came in a bunch of colors, but I only remember getting red and orange. These were the perfect drink for the easily amused kid, and I'm no exception. I remember getting excited passing them on the grocery shelves and begging my mom for it. It was like drinking a lava lamp and for whatever reason, that makes it appealing to me.

3] Pokemon Cards:

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Time for me to put on my bifocals and get my walker. But back in my day, there were only 150 Pokemon, do you hear me? And you memorized them ALL. What type did what damage, who evolved at what level. How do you do math? No idea. But how do you evolve Pikachu? With a thunderstone. I clearly took away important things from elementary school. These cards were addictive, and if you had the hologram cards? You owned the playground and could name your price. I still have some of mine, but I miss my sleeves full of them.

4] Gel Pens:

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Okay, so gel pens (or milky pens) were the nine year old equivalency of having cigarettes in a jail. You traded them for things. Sometimes you traded for other pens, if they were prettier or swirled or something. Sometimes you stacked six gel pens in order to get something better than a pen, like pudding or a homework pass. The bigger your pen case, the bigger a stud you were in the class room. And if they had glitter in the ink and had the corresponding black paper? Fugettabout it. You were the queen, and Beyonce would have NOTHING on you, girl.

5] Beanie Babies:

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I collected them. Like everyone else on the globe. Hell, I still buy them now and again. We all thought we would pay for our college tuitions with them, though my Sallie Mae account balances determines that that is a lie. I was obsessed with the bears, like The Beginning and The End. Charge $5 and nobody panics. Give them away for free with a Happy Meal and everyone loses their minds! I remember driving to Mickey D's in other states to find them all. They were also great tools of bribery. If my mom bribed me to go shopping with a Beanie Baby, my ass was in that car SO FAST.

6] Mini Poptarts:

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I don't mean these 100 calorie pack of Poptart crisps nonsense where you have to eat a whole box to feel like you ate a snack. I mean the mini, full fat, full frosting Poptarts, just smaller. Breakfast, snack, lunch. It did not and does not matter. They were bite size and frosted and delicious and honestly not a grocery trip goes by where I am not really, really bitter that they're discontinued. Poptart, if you see this, please bring them back, in Wild Berry.

7] 3D Doritos:

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Same boat as the Poptarts listed above. These snacks were heavily flavored, inflated, and hollowed Doritos and they were glorious. You could even get them in these neat little plastic Thermos-like containers that protected the delicate crisps on road trips or when you were out camping. We used to get these at gas stations when we went on vacation, and the only acceptable way to eat them was to gently "pop" them against the roof of your mouth with your tongue. Doritos, please, bring these back in a flavor that isn't spicy. Xoxo.

8] Wonderballs:

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These were the best things ever, until stupid children started choking and ruined the fun for everyone. I am envious that Europe is able to have Kindereggs. These were hollow milk chocolate orbs that were filled with a toy or small candies. They usually had a Nickelodeon or a Disney prize in them, and if I'm not mistaken they came with a sticker too. (God, we really did love stickers...) I still have a tiny little plastic Pegasus from Disney's Hercules on my desk from one of these babies. We can have guns, but not plastic ponies. Priorities, y'all.

9] Nano Baby:

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I didn't have a Tomagatchi. I had the slightly bootleg equivalent, the Nano Baby- a digital pet you had to keep alive. They cried. They pooped. They begged. They died, and it played really, really depressing funeral music when they did so. These taught us responsibility and showed my generation just how not ready for parenthood we will ever be because life is fragile and I am a monster, because I killed so many pixels. These were the in-class distraction before cell phones and texting, and if you didn't cry the first time you killed your pet, you're lying.

10] Game Boy Color:

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Yessssss Game Boy Color. I had a pink one and it was awesome. Whether you played Super Mario Brothers, Conker, or Pokemon Red or Blue, these were the best things ever. I regret giving mine away and as an adult of 23, I STILL have this (and a N64) on my Christmas list. Some things never change, eh? The worst was trying to play it at night in the car on the way home from a trip or a holiday by the light of passing streetlamps. These babies weren't back lit, and if you were in the middle of nowhere? No digital battles for you.

11] Lisa Frank:

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NEON ALL OF THE THINGS. Pencils, notebooks, folders, birthday parties, erasers, posters, stuffies, backpacks. I STILL have an obsession. No, seriously. I have Lisa Frank spirals, folders, erasers, and nail polishes in my room as we speak. By the way lovely readers, they still sell merchandise and now even offer them in ADULT SIZES so you never have to grow up again. They're in the process of making adult size bed sheets and stuff, but their flip flops are available now in your size. The cutest picture? Casey and Candy sharing an ice cream sundae. Obviously.

12] Hit Clips:

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The original mp3 player. These were little chips that played about a minute of song. You had to buy them all separate, and they didn't play full songs, so you got to learn ONE verse really, really well. You couldn't control the volume, it blasted in your ear hole at only one level: apocalypse loud. Eventually they came out with the boombox, so you could play them out loud and not just through the earbud attached to the player. This was one of those "what a time to be alive!" type moments. How did a tiny chip play MUSIC? NSYNC, Britney Spears, and Sugar Ray all blessed my collection. Humblebrag- I had the best collection of these in my class.

Runners up: Harry Potter books, Warheads, plastic choker necklaces, green ketchup, press on earring stickers and crispy M&M's (they're back, bitches!)

So that's what would be in my nostalgic crate. What about you? Are you a 90s ish kid like me who misses the glory days of Oreo O's cereal? And 80s kid who misses Razzles and Popples? Comment below.

And be sure to check out They are seriously the best, and there's something there for everyone.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Review: A Jewish Baker's Pastry Secrets by George Greenstein

Title: The Jewish Baker's Pastry Secrets: The Art of Baking Your Own Babka, Danish, Sticky Buns, Strudels and More

Author: George Greenstein

Format: egalley

Pub. Date: April 1st 2009

Source: Ten Speen Press

Book Description via Goodreads:

Draws out master dough recipes for bundt, babka, strudel, gugelhopf, stollen, pressburger, puff pastry, and Danish into more than 200 recipes and variations for pastries (Napoleons), coffee cakes, sweet buns (Cinnamon Babka, Sticky Buns), and miniature pastries (Triple Chocolate Rugelach). This title features step-by-step line illustrations.



I was really excited to get this book, because I love baking and I especially love some of the dishes most associated with Jewish cuisine, like babka. Unfortunately, this book let me down and isn't what I look for in a cook book.

It starts off with an introduction, a list of ingredients and tools, and a section for basic pastry components such as different kinds of fillings and doughs. These are pretty well thought out and useful, especially if one isn't a big baker in their usual kitchen.

The book includes sections like bundt, babka, bread, and Danish pastries, making it a bit difficult to navigate at times if a pastry could be listed on more than one section. There is a nice history throughout the text, and the author makes nice personal connections to the recipes that are included, which makes it a bit nicer to read. The recipes leave a lot of room for varieties and substitutions. There are long, detailed paragraph instructions that get muddled and a bit hard to follow, as they could be a bit more concise.

The ultimate downfall for me is that there are no pictures. None. Not even a little bit. For some of these techniques that aren't necessarily common for every day baking, pictures are crucial for me. It brought down the entire ease and tone of the book because without pictures, it seems more like an instruction manual and less like a cookbook. Had I known this fact, I wouldn't have gotten the book at all.

That being said, there are still some recipes from this book that I would like to try in the future. Some of them include Babka with Three Chocolates, Cherry Strudel, and Raspberry Bow Ties.

All in all, I think this isn't for beginners. You need confidence and skill to not depend on pictures in order to try new things. The recipes are pretty standard, and the instructions could be broken down a bit more. It's an okay book, but I don't plan to keep it in my kitchen.

I received a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Review: This Star Won't Go Out by Esther Earl

Title: This Star Won't Go Out: The Life and Words of Esther Grace Earl

Author: Esther Earl, Lori Earl, Wayne Earl, John Green

Format: Hardcover, 431 pages

Pub. Date: January 28th 2014

Source: Purchased from Half Price Books

Book Description via Goodreads:

A collection of the journals, fiction, letters, and sketches of the late Esther Grace Earl, who passed away in 2010 at the age of 16. Photographs and essays by family and friends will help to tell Esther’s story along with an introduction by award-winning author John Green who dedicated his #1 bestselling novel The Fault in Our Stars to her.



I'm left not really knowing what to say about this book, if I'm being completely honest. I am going to keep this review as simple as I can, while still giving my opinion on the book itself not the topic of the book.

Like a lot of other readers, I picked this up after reading The Fault in Our Stars. I wasn't entirely sure what to expect. I'm not a part of the Nerdfighter community, so I had little to no information about Esther prior to this book's release. When I realized what the story was about, and saw that it was prefaced by John Green, I knew I wanted to read it.

This hardcover is really, really long. However it's not that much text. There's a lot of pictures and transcripts taken in letter or email format, making it an easier read than it appears to be. I do think it was very poorly organized as a book. This book includes a lot of Esther's writings from her journals, letters, and internet happenings. But there's no real chapters or distinctions, so one minute you're on a diary page, and the next you're reading insight from one of her doctors. I also feel like this book dragged on longer than it needed to. I feel horrible saying that, but it was just kind of boring after awhile. I know how that sounds, and I'm so sorry, but it's true. Esther was also a very religious/spiritual person, and there's heavy doses of God in this book. That's nowhere near a bad thing, but it's not something I anticipated going into the book.

Honestly, Esther seems like she was a great person. She comes off as very kind and optimistic, and everyone certainly seemed to love her right until the end. And I think that's great that, as the title suggests, their star won't go out. I hope she inspires sick kids everywhere to be positive and to keep fighting and keep smiling.

I've read quite a few cancer memoirs, and because of that I can't say this book really taught me anything. That said, it was interesting to see cancer through a kid's perspective. Sad, of course. But interesting nonetheless.

I think that this book (already does) will gain lots of fans who will find inspiration and solace in the words and life of Esther Earl. I think it is worth reading once. However, I don't think I will be rereading it in the future, and I don't know that I will remember this book further down the road.

It's not you, book. It's me.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Review: Little Peach by Peggy Kern

Title: Little Peggy

Author: Peggy Kern

Format: ARC

Pub. Date: March 10th 2015

Source: Traded

Book Description via Goodreads:

What do you do if you're in trouble?

When Michelle runs away from her drug-addicted mother, she has just enough money to make it to New York City, where she hopes to move in with a friend. But once she arrives at the bustling Port Authority, she is confronted with the terrifying truth: she is alone and out of options.

Then she meets Devon, a good-looking, well-dressed guy who emerges from the crowd armed with a kind smile, a place for her to stay, and eyes that seem to understand exactly how she feels.

But Devon is not what he seems to be, and soon Michelle finds herself engulfed in the world of child prostitution where he becomes her “Daddy” and she his “Little Peach.” It is a world of impossible choices, where the line between love and abuse, captor and savior, is blurred beyond recognition.

This hauntingly vivid story illustrates the human spirit’s indomitable search for home, and one girl’s struggle to survive.



This is one of those rare instances where I'm really not sure how I feel about this book. I think it is definitely worth reading, but I can't say that I loved it, and I probably won't read it again. I'm left a bit disappointed, because this is one of my most anticipated reads of 2015. Overall, it was okay.

I will give this book one thing: it's incredibly gritty. The writing feels realistic. Even when the events happening to Michelle are unpleasant (which is a LOT), it feels realistic and not too dramatic. The characters and the settings are all well detailed, and it is easy, albeit unsettling, to place yourself in the main character's shoes. The characters were well written and were easily distinguishable from one another, but I felt they were missing a bit of depth. Honestly, I never really connected to Michelle. Considering this book has the difficult topic of child trafficking/prostitution, I felt I was missing some of that emotional attachment to her, and I felt I wasn't as impacted as I should have been.

A note about the writing that was neither positive nor negative really, but it was a bit hard to read this at times because the characters speak like they would in real life. That is, there is poor English and slang, like "I ain't gonna", etc. While I totally see why the author did this, and it definitely adds to that grit I mentioned before, from a reader standpoint, it wasn't all too pleasant. It doesn't effect my rating, but it was rough in parts.

I also didn't realize that this book is about gangs. It again doesn't really matter, in regards to a review. But when all of a sudden the Bloods were mentioned, I was taken aback. It totally adds a different layer to the story.

I feel like the book was a bit rushed, to be honest. I think that's part of the "missed connection" to Michelle. The story moved so fast that I didn't really have time to grow fond of any of the characters, or even to hate others like her "Daddy". I wish the book had been a little longer, and a little slower of a pace, or at least a more in depth pace.

This topic is an important one. Child trafficking is a huge problem that happens where most of us won't realize it. I appreciate the research that went into this book, and the light the author tried to shine on it. I think that this is a book that will have a lot of people raving and talking: which is good. We need to talk about it. But for me, it's a book worth reading once, but probably not more than that.

I got this ARC through a book trade, in exchange for an honest review.

Stacking the Shelves [97]

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.

New from Netgalley:

Like Candy by Debra Doxer
Lumière by Jacqueline Garlick
The Sister Pact by Stacie Ramey
The Lost Girl by R.L. Stine
The Night Parade by Kathryn Tanquary

Fabulous Freebies:

Winter Peril by Victoria Pinder

In My Email Inbox:

Chains of Water and Stone by Katherine Hurley

In My Mailbox

The Dragon of the Month Club by Iain Reading
Pure Insanity by Sean Ryan & Jeremy Roberts

Pretty Purchases

I got to see Anthony Bourdain's lecture in Chicago, and I picked up this pretty little number!

No Reservations by Anthony Bourdain

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Review: The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook by Dinah Bucholz

Title: The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook: From Cauldron Cakes to Knickerbocker Glory--More Than 150 Magical Recipes for Wizards and Non-Wizards Alike

Author: Dinah Bucholz

Format: Hardcover, 239 pages

Pub. Date: September 18th 2010

Source: Gifted from Emily & Lisa

Book Description via Goodreads:

Bangers and mash with Harry, Ron, and Hermione in the Hogwarts dining hall.
A proper cuppa tea and rock cakes in Hagrid's hut.

Cauldron cakes and pumpkin juice on the Hogwarts Express.

With this cookbook, dining a la Hogwarts is as easy as Banoffi Pie! With more than 150 easy-to-make recipes, tips, and techniques, you can indulge in spellbindingly delicious meals drawn straight from the pages of your favorite Potter stories, such as:

Treacle Tart--Harry's favorite dessert, Molly's Meat Pies--Mrs. Weasley's classic dish, Kreacher's French Onion Soup, Pumpkin Pasties--a staple on the Hogwarts Express cart

With a dash of magic and a drop of creativity, you'll conjure up the entries, desserts, snacks, and drinks you need to transform ordinary Muggle meals into magickal culinary masterpieces, sure make even Mrs. Weasley proud!



I love Harry Potter. I love food. I love the food from Harry Potter. Reading about treats like butterbeer and treacle tarts used to make me want to be a witch just so I could enjoy them. I thought this book and I would get along great. Unfortunately, this cookbook is mediocre at best.

I will first make the same complaint everyone else is making: there's no pictures. Not one. There's 150 recipes of delicious sounding things, and not a picture among them. It was pretty disappointing.

It starts with a nice introduction and has some helpful hints. I did like the way it was divided, which was by location. That way you could look specifically for food from Hogwarts or at the Weasleys'. The steps are numbered, and the recipes are peppered with hints and fun historical facts, as well as guides for making substitutions, which I appreciated. I also liked that each recipe came with a paragraph explaining which book and chapter the recipe was from, along with some context.

One thing that bugged me about this is that there's a stress on having both kid and adult versions of recipes like fruitcake. I don't understand why this is. The alcohol cooks out.... It isn't necessary to remove alcohol before serving it to minors. It's for flavor, not to get drunk. It's a cake.

I also really didn't appreciate that some of these recipes haven't even been tested by the author: and she admits it in the text. If you didn't want to make it, why the hell would I want to? In a similar vein, some of these recipes were kind of lazy. Bacon and eggs is two separate recipes in this book; one for bacon, and one for eggs.... Really? Also, one of the recipes point blank says that candied orange peel is impossible to find, so she just omitted it and used marmalade. First, this is a cookbook- make them yourself. Second, why would you admit that? Just don't put that note in at all, and no one would think twice about it.

And yet another thing that I have seen in a lot of reviews: there's no butterbeer. Not even a butterbeer inspired cake or anything. It's just gone. How can you overlook the most popular treat in the HP universe? No firewhiskey either, but that's splitting hairs.

Despite the copious amount of issues I had with this, there are still some dishes that I would really like to try. Some of them include Christmas Pudding Ice Cream, No Bake Chocolate-Bottom Pumpkin Tart, and Almond-Ginger-Peach Treacle Tart.

All in all, I'd recommend this for really, really new cooks and maybe kids. But as an adult, I don't really need recipes for a lot of these things. I'll hang on to it purely for the Harry Potter theme, but probably won't use it much.

Review: Even Monsters Say Goodnight by Doreen Mulryan Marts

Title: Even Monsters Say Goodnight
Author: Doreen Mulryan Marts
Format: egalley
Pub. Date: August 1st 2015
Source: Capstone Young Readers

Book Description:

It's bedtime, and Avery hates bedtime. She is positive that there are monsters under her bed, especially on Halloween. Where else would all of those monsters sleep? After a thorough discussion with her mom about the monster situation, Avery finally goes to her room. Does she dare check under the bed? A mix of story text and speech bubbles blend seamlessly in this humorous bedtime tale that both parents and children will relate to.



As my regular readers know, I am a big fan of monsters, horror, and things that go bump in the night. When I stumbled across the picture book Even Monsters Say Goodnight, it just sounded too cute to pass up. I'm really glad I read this- this is a great bedtime book for younger readers and the parents who like classic monsters like Dracula. Also, especially little readers who are into things such as Monster High Dolls. I hope to read it to my own spooky gothlings.

There's a good message to tell here throughout the book, in the main character's quest to find the monsters under her bed on Halloween. It's a problem that a lot of kids deal with, so I think it's really relatable for most children. There's also a lot of ghoulies and ghosties in this stories that kids are familiar with, making that connection to the story that much greater.

What really stood out the most to me about this book is the illustrations. They're amazing! They have great use of color, and are amazingly detailed. I spent a good amount of time on each page, studying all of the little details that the illustrator drew into the pages. They match well with the text of the story.

I'd recommend this to younger bedtime kiddos from a rough age of 5-8. I think it's a good book especially for Halloween, but all year round too if you have an appreciation for things that go bump in the night.

I received a copy in exchange for my honest review.