August 31, 2016

A Day in Paris

Get ready to go on a trip to Paris!

Okay, not quite.

But I'm about to tell you how you can pretend you're in Paris while being stuck in Middle-of-Nowhere, U.S.A. 


First, either buy or borrow these titles. A couple of them feature Paris prominently, and a couple others have scenes set in the City of Light.

(Books featured: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins, The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith, Heist Society by Ally Carter, Time After Time by Tamara Ireland Stone, Scarlet by Marissa Meyer, Just One Day by Gayle Forman, and Ten Thousand Skies Above You by Claudia Gray. **Warning: some of these books are sequels, so don't read the synopses unless you've already read the previous books in the series!**)

Other books set in France or Paris (or have a scene or two there):
Going Rogue by Robin Benway
Rook by Sharon Cameron
Two Summers by Aimee Friedman
The Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hall
The Darkest Hour by Caroline Tung Richmond
Belle Epoque by Elizabeth Ross


I don't listen to a lot of French music, but I feel like I should. My first secret sister, Audris, included a French song called "Elle Me Dit" on a mix CD she made me. Mostly, if I'm listening to French music, it's a Disney playlist I made on YouTube. That's a good place to look if you want to find music in foreign languages.


This is probably cheating, but you can watch a ton of Disney movies in French. And if you have Netflix, Le Petit Prince (the English version) will be available in about a week or so. I'm very excited to watch it, since I was so disappointed when I heard its theatrical release had been dropped.


Make crepes or beignets, if you're adventurous. If you want something a little simpler, make a quiche. Or buy one. Buy macarons, too! You can get a box of frozen ones at Trader Joe's. And don't forget your bread and cheese. Oh - and don't put ice in your drinks. Europeans don't do that. (I'd get along well with them, apparently.) 
If you're really lucky, you might have a local French restaurant. We did in my old town (although they moved right before we did), and there's a crepe place about 15 minutes away here.

I hope you enjoy this faux day in Paris!

August 30, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: The Syllabus of ENG 313 (Literary YA)

I had so much fun with creating the reading list for a class for a Top Ten Tuesday last year that I knew I had to do it again this year for the back-to-school freebie.

I couldn't pick just a few books, so I guess I'll have to use little bits of each book; otherwise, my students will resent how much reading I gave them, haha. Anyways, I really like the idea of teaching a literary YA fiction class because most of what I read for my English classes at college is literary fiction...but not YA, and I think we can learn a lot from literary YA fiction as well as literary adult fiction.

1. Like No Other by Una LaMarche

2. The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore

3. Just One Day by Gayle Forman

4. Out of the Easy by Ruta Septys

5. Breakfast Served Anytime by Sarah Combs

6. Outrun the Moon by Stacey Lee

7. Devoted by Jennifer Mathieu

8. Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed

9. Falling into Place by Amy Zhang

10. Every Last Word by Tamara Stone

What type of book-inspired class would you want to teach at a university? And what did you do for your Top Ten Tuesday this week?

August 28, 2016

So You Like... #32

Another day, another "Emma gets to recommend books" post. Let's be real, besides reviewing books, that's probably why I started a book blog. Anyways, today's theme is: 

So you like...


Now these aren't going to be books you'd like if you enjoy Beauty and the Beast - no, it's going to specifically be books you'd like if Belle is your favorite Disney princess. I've divided my recommendations into two categories.

Taking charge of her destiny

Outrun the Moon by Stacey Lee

The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson
Court of Fives by Kate Elliott

Adventures in far-off places

Traitor Angels by Anne Blankman
The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig
Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Across a Star-Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund
A Tyranny of Petticoats by various authors
The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

So, if you love Belle, did you find some new books to try? What other Disney princesses might you want me to do book recommendations for?

August 27, 2016

Review: The Replacement Crush

The Replacement Crush by Lisa Brown Roberts
Grade: B
Release date: September 6, 2016
An e-galley was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for review consideration.
Summary: True love can’t be strategized.

After book blogger Vivian Galdi’s longtime crush pretends their secret summer kissing sessions never happened, Vivian creates a list of safe crushes, determined to protect her heart. 

But nerd-hot Dallas, the sweet new guy in town, sends the mission and Vivian’s zing meter into chaos. While designing software for the bookstore where Vivian works, Dallas wages a counter-mission.

Operation Replacement Crush is in full effect. And Dallas is determined to take her heart off the shelf.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: If you're in the mood for fluffy, swoony fun, look no further than The Replacement Crush. This book is basically a bibiliophile's dream. 
Vivian is pretty smart; once she gets her head out of the hormone-induced cloud of Jake, she realizes he's an awful guy and wants to move on. Of course, she's a bit dumb and oblivious too, especially when it comes to Dallas. She still has a pretty good head on her shoulders otherwise, so I'll excuse her stubbornness in not admitting that she and Dallas are perfect for each other. They have such insta-chemistry (NOT insta-love) that I couldn't resist shipping them from the get-go, and you won't be able to either. There is one scene with the sort-of ex that really bothered me. I felt like it was mostly used to drive home how awful he was and how great both Dallas and Vivian's sort-of brother, Toff, are. It felt highly necessary to me.
I did enjoy how Vivian's book blogger side was portrayed; it was relatively accurate to most book bloggers. I would've liked a little more focus on that, though, since it seemed to just be a way to make us early readers like her more. But I appreciated that she wasn't one of those protagonists who loves classics or YA; no, she full-on loves romances. I know a lot of YA authors read those as teenagers so it seemed accurate and fun. I really liked the plot bits with Ms. Galdi's store. Vivian's mom was pretty cool. She was a bit stereotypical at times, but overall, she wasn't bad for a YA mom.
As for the ugly, only nine s-words and f-words that I caught, most clustered during the tense scene with the ex-crush. Romance was pretty clean, although discussions of the romance novels produced some interesting conversations. There's a couple of fights between guys.

The Verdict: Pretty fun, nothing ground-breaking. If you really like contemporary romance, you can't miss this one.

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

August 26, 2016

From the Bookshelf to the Kitchen: Cookies and Cream Cookies

Some characters are obsessed with books, some with sports or a certain TV show. Simon Spier is obsessed with Oreos.

There are so many routes I could've gone with this recipe - Oreo cheesecake, Oreo pie, cookies and cream cupcakes (which I have made before). But I decided to try a new recipe - cookies and cream cookies.

The recipe originally called for chocolate chips, too, but I made the decision to leave them out - and it was a good decision. They would've been weighed down by too much filling.

Cookies and Cream Cookies

1 vanilla cake mix (15.25 oz)
8 T. butter, melted
1 egg
1 t. vanilla extract
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 c. Oreo cookie chunks

Combine the cake mix, butter, egg, and vanilla. Beat until a soft dough forms. Add the cream cheese and beat again. Stir in the cookie chunks by hand. Refrigerate dough for 30 minutes and then roll into 36 balls. Place on baking sheets and bake at 350 degrees for 9-10 minutes. The cookies will seem underdone, but they will continue to set up as they cool. Let cool on baking sheets for 2-3 minutes and then remove to wax-paper-lined counters. Cool completely before storing in sealed containers.

Have a book/recipe suggestion for From the Bookshelf to the Kitchen? Leave it in the comments below.

August 23, 2016

2016 Cover Love

There have been some pretty fantastic covers this year - even though it's August, I think I can say this since all of the covers for this year have been revealed - and I decided to share my favorites. I tend to put them in a Pinterest board as they're unveiled, so this list should be fairly comprehensive. (Also, each cover links to the book's Goodreads page.)


This edition of Cover Love could most definitely be subtitled "Or Judging a Book by Its Cover," because my expectations for these books were (and are) sky-high since they were given such phenomenal covers. Unfortunately, they didn't all live up to those expectations. Anyways, what covers have you loved this year? What do you like to see in a book cover? Do you judge a book by its cover and why? Let's talk book covers in general! :)

August 22, 2016

A Trip Down Main Street

So way before I got into YA, before I'd even read the Percy Jackson or Mother-Daughter Book Club series, there was this middle grade series I loved called Main Street. It was by the author of The Baby-Sitters Club, Ann M. Martin. I loved The BSC books when I was in elementary school, and I loved Ann's new series even more. 


Well, back in June, I decided to take a trip down memory lane and reread all ten Main Street books. They're all right around 200 pages with medium-size type, so it wasn't a difficult feat. It took a little over two weeks.

My opinions of a few of the books changed. I still liked the earlier books best (Welcome to Camden Falls through September Surprises), although my rating of the first went down to 4 stars because the plot felt like it hadn't been given enough attention. I still don't like the cover design change they made starting with September Surprises.


The art style of the earlier covers fits the quiet tone of the series better.

But they don't write middle grade like the Main Street series any more. If you have younger siblings or children who are reading middle grade, than you need to hunt down copies of this series for them.

It was pretty satisfying, taking my walk down "Main Street Memory Lane." It was kind of inspired by reread of the Percy Jackson books back in the spring, and now I want to do it for more of my childhood favorites (Canterwood Crest, The Mother-Daughter Book Club, etc.). We'll see if that happens. Maybe I'll post about it if I do!