Saturday, September 30, 2017

Stacking the Shelves [100] Miss Me?

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.

I'm back! If you haven't noticed my reviews sneaking out lately, I'm in fact trying to get back into the swing of things again

In My Mailbox

Another Man's Ground by Claire Booth signed

Thank you Claire and Books A La Mode!

Court of Fives by Kate Elliot
Poisoned Blade by Kate Elliot
Buried Heart by Kate Elliot

Thank you, Kate! Getting all three books was a great surprise!

Fatal Affair by Marie Force
Fatal Justice by Marie Force
Fatal Consequence by Marie Force
Fatal Flaw by Marie Force
Fatal Deception by Marie Force
Fatal Mistake by Marie Force
Fatal Jeopardy by Marie Force
Fatal Scandal by Marie Force
Fatal Frenzy by Marie Force
Fatal Identity by Marie Force

Thank you, Harlequin!

Monsterland by Michael Okon

Thanks, Michael!

First Reads

The Storm Before the Storm: The Beginning of the End of the Roman Republic by Mike Duncan

Unrelated Mail Bonus

I won this super cute blind grab Hocus Pocus keychain and button in the mail from Enchantment Box. Thank you!

What about you? What did you get this week? How is your week going? Any weekend plans?

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Review: Cheers to the Publican by Paul Kahan

Title: Cheers to the Publican, Repast and Present: Recipes and Ramblings from an American Beer Hall
Author: Paul Kahan
Format: egalley
Pub. Date: September 19th 2017
Source: Publisher/Netgalley

Book Description:

The highly anticipated narrative-rich cookbook by Chicago's superstar chef, Paul Kahan, whose destination restaurant, The Publican, is known for its incredibly delicious pork- and seafood-centric, beer-friendly cooking.

The Publican, often named one of Chicago's most popular restaurants, conjures a colonial American beer hall with its massive communal tables, high-backed chairs, deep beer list, and Kahan's hallmark style of crave-worthy heartland cooking that transcends the expected and is eminently cookable. Cheers to The Publican is Paul Kahan's and Executive Chef Cosmo Goss's toast to the food they love to make and share, the characters who produce the ingredients that inspire them, and the other cooks they honor. Larded with rich story-telling and featuring more than 150 evocative photographs and 150 recipes for vegetables and salads, fish and seafood, meat, simple charcuterie, and breads and spreads, Cheers to The Publican is sure to be one of the most talked-about and cooked-from cookbooks of the year.



I was super excited to get my hands on a copy of this book. Though I haven't gotten a chance to dine there yet (unfortunately :( ), Publican is a well known Chicago establishment. I'm in the neighborhood all the time, and I am happy to have gotten a peak behind closed ovens with this cookbook.

The book is divided into sections by ingredient: vegetables, shellfish, fish, meat, charcuterie and sausages, offal, and breads and spreads.

There are a LOT of photos in this book, which is a huge plus for me. And not only are there a lot of them, but the ones that are in there are gorgeous. There's also a lot of personal stories, and background information about the restaurant and the people behind it. Sure, it's gorgeous to flip through the pictures, but I really enjoyed reading the non-recipe information. It has a warm, welcoming tone that shows the passion for ingredients and cooking as a whole, which then comes across well in the recipes.

The recipes are a bit complicated with lots of components, but the steps are well written and to the point.

Some of the dishes that I'm most excited to try from this cookbook include Dry Aged Duck Breast with Pumpkin Seed Vinaigrette, Pork Country Ribs with Watermelon and Sungold Salad, and Blood Pasta with Sea Beans, Fava Beans, and Mussels

This is a great book for someone looking to be a bit more upscaled at home, prepare for a date night, or who is big into the culinary scene in Chicago.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Review: Adultolescence by Gabbie Hanna

Title: Adultolescence
Author: Gabbie Hanna
Format: egalley
Pub. Date: September 19th 2017
Source: Publisher

Book Description:

From Teen Choice Award-nominated comedian and vlogger Gabbie Hanna, known on YouTube as The Gabbie Show, an astounding debut poetry collection that captures the essence of what it means to come of age in today’s world.

Full of confessional, whimsical, and darkly humorous observations about life, love, and the early years of adulthood, this collection of over 150 poems, each illustrated by Gabbie herself, will introduce you to the unique point of view of one of the internet’s most remarkable voices.



This is the first book by Gabbie Hanna, more commonly known as TheGabbieShow. She's a pretty well known YouTuber, and I have to admit I'm a fan of her story time videos. I was happy to get a copy of her book, because I relate to her in a lot of ways. I was pleasantly surprised that it's not just another vlogger biography, but a book of poetry. That's pretty cool.

The book is filled with doodles and artwork that are nice. They look very "something I drew during math class" to me, which works with the title and theme of the book, and they matched well with what was going on in the poems.

The poems themselves for me were hit and miss. They're in different forms- some that rhyme, some that don't, some that are long, some single verse, etc. Some of them were really good and thought provoking, or hit pretty close to home. Others, not so much. Some of them are just kind of one liners that seem like funny tweets or facebook statuses. Some of them also use chat speak, which I "get" but find really irritating.

Some of the poems I liked best are "Dollhouse", "Dolly" and "Worry".

Overall, I enjoyed reading this. It's a pretty short read, but as I mentioned, some poems are longer than others. It's a nice collection to my YouTuber shelf, and I'm sure fans of hers will enjoy it.

I received a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Kids' Review: If You Were Me and Lived in...Ancient Greece by Carole P. Roman

Title: If You Were Me and Lived in...Ancient Greece
Series: If You Were Me and Lived in...
Author: Carole P. Roman
Format: Paperback, 56 pages
Pub. Date: March 17th 2016
Source: Publisher/Author book mail

Book Description:

Join Carole P. Roman and travel through time to visit the most interesting civilizations throughout history in the first four books of her new series. Learn what kind of food you might eat in Ancient Greece, the clothes you wore in 15th century Renaissance Italy, what your name could be in Elizabethan England, and what Colonial American children did for fun. If You Were Me and Lived in...does for history what her other award-winning series did for culture. So get on-board this time-travel machine and discover the world through the eyes of a young person just like you.



This is such a cute book. I was really happy when I got a copy in the mail. I have a degree in classic civilization, so I love seeing educational books for kids about Greece and Rome. This one didn't disappoint.

The illustrations are cute. They well match the text, and they have good coloring so it holds your attention.

There's a LOT of information in these books. There's maps, fun facts, pronunciation guides, definitions, and little blurbs about different gods and goddesses throughout the book. You learn all about daily life- what food people ate, common chores, how houses were designed, how people were named. Sometimes the writing got a bit dry and text book like. I'm not a child, nor do I have children, so I can only speculate, but I think at some points it'd be hard to keep their attention.

I was a little annoyed that it's a boy-centric themed book. It's "if you were a boy" and "if you had a little sister". It's a little grating that even in a picture book, girls are secondary. It would have been just as easy to say "or if you were a girl..." without going into a little sister role.

But, that one complaint aside, I think this is a pretty good book. There's a lot of information shoved in these pages. I think it's an approachable way for kids to learn about Greece in an age appropriate, small dose. It fills in a lot of details without going too far (wars, sacrifices, things that are definitely present but not for the kiddos!).

It's a welcome addition to this picture series from Carole P. Roman.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Review: Kawaii Doodle Class by Zainab Khan

Title: Kawaii Doodle Class: Sketching Super-Cute Tacos, Sushi, Clouds, Flowers, Monsters, Cosmetics, and More
Author: Zainab Khan
Format: egalley
Pub. Date: September 1st 2017
Source: Publisher

Book Description:

The Japanese word kawaii translates to "cute," and this how-to book is chock-full of super-adorable images of tacos, sushi, smoothies, clouds, rainbows, cacti, doodle monsters, Christmas trees, lipsticks, teacups, and more for your adoration.

Popular kawaii artist Zainab Khan shows you how to draw 75 super-cute characters with simple step-by-step illustrations and instructions. She has also included fun search-and-find images and inspiration boards that show you how to give your characters different facial expressions and zany accessories.

Thanks to this crash course in Kawaii Doodle Class, soon you will be enhancing your notebooks, stationery, artwork, and more with your own unique kawaii world!



This is such a cute book idea. I mean look at the cover. It's pastel and adorable! I'm not really artistic, but I do consider myself a "Doodler"- that is, I sketch or draw here and there but I don't really put a lot of effort into learning how to make good art. So, this book was the perfect fit for me.

The book is divided into chapters: Adorable Food & Drinks, Lovable Nature, Cheerful Doodle Monsters, Everyday Cute, Charming Holiday Decorations, and Fun Time!

Adorable Food & Drinks includes a Popsicle, Sticky Toffee Pudding, and Sushi. Lovable Nature has a planet and a succulent. Cheerful Doodle Monsters contains a cute little cast of different styled monsters. Everyday Cute has household items such as a cooking pot and a bottle of foundation, and Holiday Decorations has a Christmas stocking and an Easter Egg. Fun time has coloring pages and puzzles.

The good thing about this book is that it's simple. None of the doodles are extra complicated, and many only need a few strokes. The steps are numbered, and are written in very understandable terms. Each step is also illustrated, so you can see step by step how the illustrator made each design. I appreciate that level of detail in the writing.

Each chapter has a few blank pages so that you can practice what you've learned. This is a great idea if you have a physical copy, but loses something in a digital format (also true of the coloring pages, but I love that those were included!). There's also "get inspired" pages that show other, similar doodles from the author. I liked this, because the purpose is that hey, anything can be cute! But I was also a little bummed because I liked quite a few of these "bonus" doodles better than the ones that are in the chapter, and I'd rather they be featured. I also think it's a little weird that the author suggests that you study their facial expressions for inspiration, but they almost all have virtually identical features. It got a bit boring after awhile.

Some designs are a little too simple- like a heart or a star. Some don't really look much like the intended item (like the fried egg).

All in all, I think this is a cute book. I think it'd be a good children's gift, perhaps for a child who's just starting to get into drawing. It's also a good book if, like me, you're not really good at drawing. It'll ensure that you can at least draw a few new cute things. I enjoyed this book, but I probably won't go back to it in the future.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Mini Review: Mabon by Llewellyn Publications & Diana Rajchel

Title: Mabon: Rituals, Recipes & Lore for the Autumn Equinox
Series: (Llewellyn's Sabbat Essentials)
Author: Diana Rajchel
Format: egalley
Pub. Date: July 8th 2015
Source: Netgalley/Llewellyn Publications

Book Description:

Llewellyn's Sabbat Essentials series explores the old and new ways of celebrating the seasonal rites that are the cornerstones in the witch's year. A well-rounded introduction to Mabon, this attractive book features rituals, recipes, lore, and correspondences. It includes hands-on information for modern celebrations, spells and divination, recipes and crafts, invocations and prayers, and more!



Mabon is a great addition to Llewellyn Publications' line of sabbat guides. It conforms to the rest in the series, in that it is a guide with history, prayers, advice, and facts. But it is unique, because each one of these books has a different author, so it has a personal voice and touch to it.

These books are a good step for those who are new to paganism/Wicca. It's sort of a Cliff's Notes version. Not to say that this is a cheating guide, but instead a condensed version of "things you need to know" in a fairly short amount of page space.

I felt this one had exceptionally good prayers in it. I liked the way that Rajchel writes, and drew me into her own path a bit and allowed me to metaphorically walk alongside her for Mabon.

If you have the other books in the series, this will be good on the same shelf. If you're an "experienced" pagan, there's some nice bits of information you'll pick up here. If you're learning or exploring, this is a good foundation to start with.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.