May 17, 2019

Random Friday: Favorite Picture Books

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I've developed an appreciation for picture books since I started working in publishing. Here are some of my favorites - both more recent and from childhood.

1. You Make Me Happy by Smriti Prasadam-Halls and Allison Brown

2. Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin and Daniel Salmieri

3. Ruby Finds a Worry by Tom Percival

4. Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpre by Anika Aldamuy Denise and Paola Escobar

5. I Am Not a Fox by Karina Wolf and Chuck Groenink

6. Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans

7. Degas and the Little Dancer by Laurence Anholt

8. Virginia Wolf by Kyo Maclear and Isabelle Arsenault
(One of my English profs read this to us during a Modern Novel class while we drank tea and ate scones, and it was the best experience.)

9. The Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown

What are some of your favorite picture books?

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May 15, 2019

Favorite Pie Shops in New York City

I take pie very seriously. It's in my top three favorite carbs, lol. So I made it my mission to try all of the pie shops in NYC that I could find. I'd already been to a couple last fall, but I expanded my search earlier this spring. And I'm here to tell you what pie to get if you go to Manhattan or Brooklyn.

1. Four & Twenty Blackbirds (Gowanus or Prospect Heights, Brooklyn)
This is the one that I feel everyone recommends, and for good reason. The salted caramel apple is delicious.

2. Blue Stove (Williamsburg, Brooklyn)
They're more seasonal about their offerings, but also don't go with just one kind in mind because their online seasonal menu isn't always accurate. It feels very neighborhood-y inside, and they also do quiches and chicken pot pies (which I sadly have yet to try because they were out last time, when I really wanted pot pie, too).

3. Petee's Pie Company (Lower East Side)
Just steps from the Tenement Museum, this tiny little pie shop feels warm and inviting. They have a variety, and I loved the blueberry pie with crumb topping.

4. Daly Pie (Prospect Heights, Brooklyn)
This is a short walk from the Prospect Heights Four & Twenty Blackbirds location, so if you want all the pie in one day, this is what I recommend. Their little hand pies are great, as are their normal-sized ones.

5. The Little Pie Company (Hell's Kitchen)
Inside, this feels like a bakery from the second half of the 20th century. They mostly have whole pies or mini ones, but they do usually have three pies you can get slices of.

There's still a few more I wish I'd had time to try, like the legendary Pies 'n' Thighs in Williamsburg, or the pie at Bubby's, or the offerings at Butter & Scotch. But I'm so happy with all the pies I got to try and I hope I'll get to eat them again soon. And I'm also looking forward to getting Proper Pie as often as I want.

May 14, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Hope Get Movies

I'm very protective of my favorite books, and I always worry movie adaptations will let me down. But here are some books that, in a perfect world, would have amazing adaptations.

1. Heist Society by Ally Carter
I've needed this for a very long time.

2. Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
Who doesn't want assassin nuns on the big screen?

3. Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson
All the fun mystery stories, please.

21979832 4. The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig
The time travel would play out in the most intriguing way, I think.

23110163 5. Lois Lane: Fallout by Gwenda Bond
There's been so much media focused on Superman; we deserve some Lois Lane, pre-Clark Kent.

6. Like No Other by Una LaMarche
In this boom of diverse YA rom-com adaptations, we need one about an Orthodox Jewish girl and a West Indian boy.

7. The Wrath & the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
Would be much better than the live-action Aladdin.

8. Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee
We definitely need more diverse Westerns.

9. The Young Elites by Marie Lu
Sweeping fantasy trilogy of my dreams.

10. All Four Stars by Tara Dairman
The hijinks of this book were MADE to be a movie.

Feel free to share your TTT link in the comments below! And please share your thoughts on my choices for books I hope get adapted to the big screen. :)

May 12, 2019

Rewind & Review #134

~One of my college friends got to visit for a day. I really enjoyed showing her around Brooklyn and Manhattan.
~Had my last full week of work at Bloomsbury.
~Went to Smorgasburg.

Books I Received for Review
Stealing Home by Becky Wallace (from Page Street Kids via NetGalley)
The Madness Blooms by Mackenzi Lee (from Flatiron Books via Edelweiss)
It's a Whole Spiel by various authors (from Random House via NetGalley)

Books I Bought
Somewhere Only We Know by Maurene Goo

Books I Read
In the Key of Nira Ghani by Natasha Deen (3 stars)
Hurricane Season by Nicole Melleby
I'll Never Be French by Mark Greenside (3 stars)
Heist Society by Ally Carter (reread)
The Beholder by Anna Bright
In the Neighborhood of True by Susan Kaplan Carlton (3 stars)
Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter (reread)
Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson
This Time Will be Different by Misa Sugiura
Somewhere Only We Know by Maurene Goo (4 stars)

Blog Posts You Might've Missed in the Last Few Weeks
   (from 4/29-5/4)
   (from 5/5-5/11)

May 11, 2019

Underrated Taylor Swift Songs

Today I'm sharing the T-Swift songs that I think not enough people appreciate. This may be a little subjective, but I'm going to try to list the songs that, while the fandom might appreciate them, the general public doesn't know how great they are. Or maybe even Swifties don't show these songs enough love!


Getaway Car I Taylor Swift
Getaway Car

Cold As You



Begin Again (One of her most beautiful music videos.)

Come Back... Be Here


State of Grace

Dancing With Our Hands Tied


Last Kiss

If This Was a Movie

Mary's Song (Oh My My My)

This Love

credit I Wish You Would

What are your favorite Taylor Swift songs? Do you prefer the underrated ones, or the ones everyone else loves?

May 9, 2019

Things I Miss About College

It's been a little over a year since I graduated, and while in general, I'm glad to be done with school, there are a few things I miss...

1. Meals
As much as the caf food sucked sometimes (ok, most of the time), it was nice to have at least one meal a day already/mostly prepared, instead of having to bring lunch and prep dinner (or make it ahead of time every weekend).

2. Proximity to friends
Because I went to a private university, most of the students were from all over the country. I haven't seen most of my best friends in about a year. We FaceTime occasionally, but that's hardly the same when I was used to seeing them almost every day for four years.

3. Professors
Barring one, I had some really great professors in the English, history, and theology departments, and they invested in me and wanted to know about my interests and life beyond the assignments they gave me.

4. Raspberry hot chocolate
Starbucks can't make it like the Hiccup did.

5. Not having to dress super professional
Not that I have to wear suits every day now, but I miss being able to wear long-sleeved/short-sleeved tees and tank tops with my jeans. I didn't really ever wear sweatpants to class, but it's not fun always having to dress at least business casual.

6. My single room
It was tiny, but I definitely miss having my own space. I didn't have to deal with snoring roommates, and roommates who thought it was okay to blow-dry their hair in our dorm room when I was still asleep. (Ok, that one was during college. But still.)

7. Lower grocery prices
Ok, this is more of a Kentucky thing, but STILL. I'm used to a life where Trader Joe's was the expensive option. Now, somehow here, it's the cheapest grocery store!

Of course I enjoy my life now. I love that I'm so close to so many things, and I'm not reliant on someone with a car. There are more activities. There's diversity. (Kentucky and my college are super white.) And I'm getting to pursue my career dreams. So while I miss things about college, I'm also not sure I'd go back.

May 6, 2019

Mini Reviews: Chicago Food Crawls and Hurricane Season

Chicago Food Crawls by Soo Park
Grade: C
An e-galley was provided by Globe Pequot Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: The essential guide to eating your way through the Windy City. In Globe's newest approach to food by city, Chicago Food Crawls will take the reader on a fun, tasty culinary tour. Discover the hidden gems and long-standing institutions of Chicago neighborhoods. Experience more than 13 crawls, each featuring 3-8 establishments, centered on a neighborhood or theme. Each tour is the complete recipe for a great night out, the perfect tourist day, a new way to experience your own city, or simply food porn and great stories to enjoy from home.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: This book was okay. It provided a wide variety of establishments to visit. The formatting of my e-galley made it awfully hard to read, so if this is something you want to pick up, I'd recommend a physical copy. Also I feel like this works better as a blog series, or even an article series. Both those mediums can be more easily updated if a menu changes or a restaurant goes out of business.

The Verdict: Meh.

Buy: Read Between the Lynes  Barnes & Noble
Will I be adding this book to my library?: No

Hurricane Season by Nicole Melleby
Grade: C-
Release date: May 7, 2019
An ARC was provided by Algonquin Books for Young Readers in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: Fig, a sixth grader, wants more than anything to see the world as her father does. The once-renowned pianist, who hasn’t composed a song in years and has unpredictable good and bad days, is something of a mystery to Fig. Though she’s a science and math nerd, she tries taking an art class just to be closer to him, to experience life the way an artist does. But then Fig’s dad shows up at school, disoriented and desperately searching for Fig. Not only has the class not brought Fig closer to understanding him, it has brought social services to their door.

Diving into books about Van Gogh to understand the madness of artists, calling on her best friend for advice, and turning to a new neighbor for support, Fig continues to try everything she can think of to understand her father, to save him from himself, and to find space in her life to discover who she is even as the walls are falling down around her.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: There were just so many male characters?? I wanted more girls. Also the voice felt a little old at times. The book didn't always read like middle grade, even with a young protagonist. The themes were good, using a school project as a way for Fig to consider her dad's behavior more, but it just didn't work.

Content warnings: bipolar disorder, references to Van Gogh's suicide.

The Verdict: Unfortunately, the pretty cover is a bit misleading.

Will I be adding this book to my library?: No.

May 5, 2019

Review: The Clockwork Ghost

The Clockwork Ghost by Laura Ruby
Grade: B+
Release date: May 14, 2019
An ARC was provided by HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: It was only a few weeks ago that the Biedermann twins, Tess and Theo, along with their friend Jaime Cruz, followed the secrets of the Morningstarrs’ cipher further anyone had in its century-and-a-half history—and destroyed their beloved home in the process. But the Old York Cipher still isn’t solved. The demolition of 354 W. 73rd Street only revealed the next clue in the greatest mystery of the modern world, and if Tess, Theo, and Jaime want to discover what lies at the end of the puzzle laid into the buildings of New York by its brilliant, enigmatic architects, they will need to press on.

But doing so could prove even more dangerous than they know. It is clear that the Morningstarr twins marshaled all the strange technology they had spent their lives creating in the construction of the Cipher, and that technology has its own plans for those who pursue it. It is also clear that Tess, Theo, and Jaime are not the only ones on the trail of the treasure. As enemies both known and unknown close in on them from all sides and the very foundations of the city seem to crumble around them, they will have to ask themselves how far they will go to change the unchangeable—and whether the price of knowing the secrets of the Morningstarrs is one they are willing to pay.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: The York series is like The Mysterious Benedict Society for a modern audience, but I love it way more than I ever liked TMBS.
With their apartment building demolished, the lead trio are separated by the entire island of Manhattan (the twins live in Queens now, and Jaime in New Jersey) but they're determined to spend time together and continue to solve the cipher.
There are themes of trying to find your spot in a new place and standing up for what's right and not remaking everything. There are multiple plot threads to follow, but none of them get too confusing. I will say that the pacing is a little off for most of the book but that can be looked past.
Also there are fun references to and appearances by real historical figures.
I think a little disbelief has to be suspended with the stuff the trio do, especially without an adult present (reading middle grade books makes me feel so old sometimes), but most of it is par for the course for adventure stories.

Content warnings: some tense moments in a graveyard, threats of violence

The Verdict: A fun continuation of the series.

Will I be adding this book to my library?: Yup.

May 3, 2019

Random Friday: Unpopular Bookish Opinions

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I feel like a black sheep about a lot of books, so it's time for my bookish opinions that maybe not all that many people share!

1. There's too much drinking/drug use in YA.
Just because teens are doing it doesn't mean we should promote it.

2. Red Queen is vastly overrated. 
It doesn't do anything new and innovative, and its cover is as boring as all-get-out.

3. Vampires do not need to make a comeback.
Listen, I loved Renee Ahdieh's debut duology, but the paranormal trend died for a reason. (I'm pretty much over dystopia and Fae for the same reason.) 

4. Historical fiction is one of the best genres.
Most YA historical fiction is so underrated, and every year, there are so few published titles. There's way more adult historical fiction, but adults aren't the only people who find history interesting. And if we want kids and teens to like history, good fiction is a great way to do that. I love history because of the American Girl books.

5. I wish there was more variety in the books that win awards.
I'd love to see some quieter titles win the big ones. I love The Hate U Give and The Poet X, but I wasn't surprised at all that they won so many awards. There are plenty of underappreciated diverse children's/YA books!

6. Dumplin' the movie is better than Dumplin' the book.
I said what I said. *insert shrugging emoji*

7. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is in my top three Harry Potter books.
Idk why but I get the vibe that most people don't like this one, but I do!! (My other faves are Prisoner of Azkaban, of course, and Half-Blood Prince.)

8. I didn't like What If It's Us.
It just felt a bit...lacking, considering what a power author duo Becky and Adam are.

9. The royalty-in-disguise/doesn't-know-they're-royalty trope is overused, especially in YA.
I'm not going to list any books that use this trope (so as not to spoil them for you), but there are too many.

10. Not every book needs a romance.
So many romances feel shoehorned in or lacking because the book just plain doesn't need them. I want romantic relationships that I can actually root for, so if they're going to be subpar, I just don't want them.

Not particularly an unpopular opinion, but something that needs to be said:
11. If authors of color are being held accountable for their problematic books and pulling them from publication, then white authors need to be held to the same standards. The Continent and its sequel should not be seeing the light of day.

What are your unpopular bookish opinions?

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May 1, 2019

So You Like... #81

I'm super excited for this So You Like... post because it's all about if you like one of my most favorite animals. So you like...









What books feature or remind you of your favorite animal?

April 30, 2019

Most Anticipated May 2019 Releases

There are a bunch of books publishing in May, especially on the first Tuesday of the month. Here are the ones I'm most excited for!

Waiting For

1. Somewhere Only We Know by Maurene Goo (5/7/19)
A Roman Holiday-esque story with a K-pop star? Count me in.

2. The Lovely and the Lost by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (5/7/19)
I'll read pretty much anything Jen writes at this point.

3. Nocturna by Maya Motayne (5/7/19)
We've been getting so much diverse fantasy lately, and I hope that continues. this one is set in a Latine world and sounds awesome.

4. We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal (5/14/19)
Obviously I'm going to support one of the community's favorite bloggers.

5. There's Something About Sweetie by Sandhya Menon (5/14/19)
After From Twinkle, with Love, Sandhya made my auto-read list.

6. The Satapur Moonstone by Sujata Massey (5/14/19)
This one got pushed back from a February pub date very last minute, but of course I'm still super excited for it.

7. Let Me Hear a Rhyme by Tiffany D. Jackson (5/21/19)
Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award-winning author Tiffany D. Jackson (wow, that's fun to say) has a new book that I'm sure will suck readers in just as much as Monday's Not Coming and Allegedly.

8. I Love You So Mochi by Sarah Kuhn (5/28/19)
*grabby hands*

9. The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg (5/28/19)
This one is getting so much buzz, and I'm definitely intrigued.

10. Fake It Till You Break It by Jenn P. Nguyen (5/28/19)
Fake dating stories are my faaaaaave.

Already Read - You Should, Too!

1. With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo (5/7/19)
After The Poet X, y'all know this one had to make my list.

2. The Clockwork Ghost by Laura Ruby (5/14/19)
The Shadow Cipher was so good, and its sequel keeps the hype going.

What May books are you most excited for?