Friday, March 31, 2017

Going Geek by Charlotte Huang

Going Geek by Charlotte Huang
Published by Delacorte Press in September 2016

"It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Skylar Hoffman’s senior year at her preppy East Coast boarding school should have been perfect:
amazing boyfriend
the coolest friends
the most desirable dorm
But it’s far from it. To her dismay, Skylar’s not going to rule senior year because she’s stuck in Abbot House, a tiny dorm known for, well, nothing. Living with a group of strangers everyone thinks is lame is bad enough. Worse is that Skylar wasn’t exactly truthful about how she spent summer break in Los Angeles—and her little white lie is causing her once rock-solid romance to crumble fast. And when it turns out that Skylar’s best friend is the one responsible for having her booted from Lincoln? It’s an all-out war.

Stepping out of her comfort zone never felt so scary—or necessary. But everything is different now. Including, maybe, Skylar herself . . . " - From Goodreads

Will you like it?
This was a book that I pulled off of the shelf from the library, and was pleasantly surprised by the story.  Skylar grew so much over the course of this story.  She was very snobbish and very standoffish from her new roommates.  Eventually she learns to step outside of her comfort zone, and finally find herself.  This would be a nice beach read.

Disclosure: I borrowed a copy of this book from my local library.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Schedule & Update

I don't think I ever posted about this, but I'm getting married!  

Wedding planning has been a crazy roller coaster ride, but I wouldn't change it at all.  I have decided to design, print, and cut all of my save-the-dates, invitations, and programs.  This process has been more time-consuming than I originally thought, so that really hasn't left me much time to do anything.

I'm still going to post!  It won't be every day, and it might be completely sporadic.  I'm going to try to keep up with Top Ten Tuesdays and Waiting on Wednesdays, with a review sometimes thrown in for good measure.  Audiobooks have been my lifesaver.

Thanks for sticking around!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Cookbook Nook: Grilled Cheese Kitchen

Grilled Cheese Kitchen by Heidi Gibson with Nate Pollak
Published by Chronicle Books in February 2016

"Melted cheese between slices of toasted bread—the ultimate in comfort food. This mouthwatering cookbook features 39 grilled cheese recipes created by Heidi Gibson, winner of seven grilled cheese championships and the co-owner (with husband Nate) of the American Grilled Cheese Kitchen in San Francisco. The classic Mousetrap is dripping with three kinds of cheese. The Piglet wows with its thinly sliced ham and sharp cheddar. And grilled cheese makes a great breakfast—just add an egg! With 40 additional recipes for great accompaniments and side dishes—including hearty soups, many varieties of mac & cheese, spicy pickles, and tangy spreads—plus tips on choosing the best bread and cheese and techniques for grilling each sandwich at just the right temperature, anyone can create the perfect grilled cheese sandwich." - From Goodreads

This cover drew me in!  I love that just on the cover it has bacon, cheese, and tomatoes.  Pretty much my favorite foods ever.  The recipes call for a few outside-the-pantry ingredients, but nothing overly weird.  Everything can be found at a large grocery store, which makes trying these recipes easy!  There are more than just grilled cheese sandwich recipes, which can be misleading.  They do have soup recipes and mac n' cheese recipes.

Pictures: Not every recipe has a picture.  Again, this is one of my biggest pet peeves.  I want to look at the delicious pictures!

I'm glad I tried to expand my knowledge of "grown-up" grilled cheese, but I won't be purchasing this book for my home collection.

Disclosure: I borrowed this book from my local library.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday: Gem & Dixie

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, which shines a light on eagerly anticipated upcoming releases.  This week, my pick is:

Gem & Dixie by Sara Zarr
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Date: April 4, 2017

"Gem has never known what it is to have security. She’s never known an adult she can truly rely on. But the one constant in her life has been Dixie. Gem grew up taking care of her sister when no one else could: not their mother, whose issues make it hard for her to keep food on the table; and definitely not their father, whose intermittent presence is the only thing worse than his frequent absence. Even as Gem and Dixie have grown apart, they’ve always had each other.

When their dad returns for the first time in years and tries to insert himself back into their lives, Gem finds herself with an unexpected opportunity: three days with Dixie, on their own in Seattle and beyond. But this short trip soon becomes something more, as Gem discovers that to save herself, she may have to sever the one bond she's tried so hard to keep."- From Goodreads

I really liked Sara Zarr's Roomies written with Tara Altebrando, and I can't wait to read this one either!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Vision in White by Nora Roberts

Vision in White by Nora Roberts
Published by Berkley Books in April 2009.
Bride Quartet #1
All Time Favorite

I'm reposting this review from the Cassie Babblings archives.  I've started to relisten to these audiobooks at work, just for something to listen to.  I also want to be real about what I'm reading.  I don't want to only post about the hottest new releases.

"Wedding photographer Mackensie "Mac" Elliot is most at home behind the camera, but her focus is shattered moments before an important wedding rehearsal when she bumps into the bride-to-be's encounter that has them both seeing stars.

A stable, safe English teacher, Carter Maguire is definitely not Mac's type. But a casual fling might be just what she needs to take her mind off bridezillas. Of course, casual flings can turn into something more when you least expect it. And Mac will have to turn to her three best friends-and business partners-to see her way to her own happy ending." -- From Goodreads

Will you like it?
Honestly, if you like weddings, friendships, and romance this series is for you.  I read this series every year (the audiobooks are great!).  It's like revisiting old friends.  I would recommend x10 this series.

Disclosure: I own the physical book, but I borrowed the audiobook from my local library.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday: Always and Forever, Lara Jean

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, which shines a light on eagerly anticipated upcoming releases.  This week, my pick is:

Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Date: May 2, 2017

"Lara Jean is having the best senior year a girl could ever hope for. She is head over heels in love with her boyfriend, Peter; her dad’s finally getting remarried to their next door neighbor, Ms. Rothschild; and Margot’s coming home for the summer just in time for the wedding.

But change is looming on the horizon. And while Lara Jean is having fun and keeping busy helping plan her father’s wedding, she can’t ignore the big life decisions she has to make. Most pressingly, where she wants to go to college and what that means for her relationship with Peter. She watched her sister Margot go through these growing pains. Now Lara Jean’s the one who’ll be graduating high school and leaving for college and leaving her family—and possibly the boy she loves—behind." - From Goodreads

I love anything and everything by Jenny Han, and I was so surprised to see that this series had a third book!  I can't wait to see how Lara Jean deals with going to college.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

First Chapter First Paragraph: Caraval

First Chapter, First Paragraph is a meme hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea, where we share the first paragraph of a book we're currently reading or want to read soon.  My selection this week comes from Caraval by Stephanie Garber.

"Scarlett's feelings came in colors even brighter than usual.  The urgent red of burning coals.  The eager green of new grass buds.  The frenzied yellow of a flapping bird's feathers.

He'd finally written back."

Based on this intro, would you read this book?  Watch for my review of Caraval, coming soon!

Happy Reading!

Monday, March 6, 2017

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Published by Doubleday in September 2011

"Welcome to Le Cirque des RĂªves.

Beyond the smoke and mirrors, however, a fierce competition is under way--a contest between two young illusionists, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood to compete in a "game" to which they have been irrevocably bound by their mercurial masters. Unbeknownst to the players, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will.

As the circus travels around the world, the feats of magic gain fantastical new heights with every stop. The game is well under way and the lives of all those involved--the eccentric circus owner, the elusive contortionist, the mystical fortune-teller, and a pair of red-headed twins born backstage among them--are swept up in a wake of spells and charms.

But when Celia discovers that Marco is her adversary, they begin to think of the game not as a competition but as a wonderful collaboration. With no knowledge of how the game must end, they innocently tumble headfirst into love. A deep, passionate, and magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

Their masters still pull the strings, however, and this unforeseen occurrence forces them to intervene with dangerous consequences, leaving the lives of everyone from the performers to the patrons hanging in the balance. "

Will you like it?
I picked this book up because I had to read it for book club.  I listened to it in audio, and I'm really glad that I did.  Jim Dale (the Harry Potter narrator) read it, and made the characters come to life.  I don't think I would have picked this book up on my own, without the pressure of book club.

The story is very twisty, and hard to follow.  We jump back and forth in time and place, with many of the same characters appearing in both places.  The ending though to me was the most confusing part. I'm still not entirely sure what happened.

However, the writing is beautiful, and I do love how the stories finally interweave in the last 1/4 of the book.  Even though Jim Dale is amazing, this would be one of those books to read in print so that you can flip back and forth when the stories get too confusing.

Disclosure: I borrowed a copy of the audiobook from my local library.

Friday, March 3, 2017

March TBR

Here are the books I'm planning on reading and reviewing in March.  I chose a good mix of debuts, new releases, and backlist titles to keep up with my challenges.

The Bronze Key by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare
Beat the Backlist Challenge (pushed from February)

Hunted by Meagan Spooner
New Release. 

Beat the Backlist Challenge

Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton
New Release

Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham
Beat the Backlist Challenge

The Hidden Memory of Objects by Danielle Mages Amato
Debut Author Challenge

Stranger Than Fanfiction by Chris Colfer
New Release

Thursday, March 2, 2017

The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan

The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan
Published by Disney-Hyperion in October 2016
Magnus Chase & the Gods of Asgard #2

"Thor's hammer is missing again. The thunder god has a disturbing habit of misplacing his weapon--the mightiest force in the Nine Worlds. But this time the hammer isn't just lost, it has fallen into enemy hands. If Magnus Chase and his friends can't retrieve the hammer quickly, the mortal worlds will be defenseless against an onslaught of giants. Ragnarok will begin. The Nine Worlds will burn. Unfortunately, the only person who can broker a deal for the hammer's return is the gods' worst enemy, Loki--and the price he wants is very high."

Will you like it?
Any book written by Rick Riordan is an automatic must-read for me.  I love listening to them because the narrators are always fantastic and Riordan's words are so funny!

As much as I love Riordan's books, they have become a little formulaic.  Hero goes on quest.  Hero gets into a few scrapes.  Hero goes into last battle and against all odds, wins.  BUT.  I always learn about the Gods that Riordan features.  I am always learning and laughing, and that is what makes me come back to his books time after time.

I will be sorry to see Magnus Chase go after the next book, but I can't wait to find out what else Riordan has up his sleeve.

Disclosure: I borrowed a copy of the audiobook from my local library via Overdrive.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday: The Unbreakable Code

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, which shines a light on eagerly anticipated upcoming releases.  This week, my pick is:

The Unbreakable Code by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Date: April 25, 2017
Book Scavenger #2

"Mr. Quisling is definitely up to something mysterious, and Emily and James are on high alert. First, there’s the coded note he drops at a book event. Then, they uncover a trail of encrypted messages in Mark Twain-penned books hidden through Book Scavenger. What’s most suspicious is that each hidden book triggers an arson fire.

As the sleuthing friends dig deeper, they discover Mr. Quisling has been hunting a legendary historical puzzle: the Unbreakable Code. This new mystery is irresistible, but Emily and James can’t ignore the signs that Mr. Quisling might be the arsonist.

The clock is ticking as the arson fires multiply, and Emily and James race to crack the code of a lifetime." - From Goodreads

I thought the premise of the first book was very unique, and I can't wait to solve more book riddles in the second!