September 30, 2018

New York Adventures, Month Four

When is it no longer an adventure, and when does it become just regular life? 


1. I came back from Labor Day weekend, and we went straight into Winter 2020 pre-launch. It's gonna be a solid list. I'm uncertain if I'll work on any of the titles, but they all sound great.
2. I learned how to do a few new tasks, including mailings and applying for CIP data, which is so cool and useful.
3. Still organizing the editorial shelves. We haven't even fully tackled the picture books yet.


1. I tried a new sandwich at Maman. It didn't go well. Definitely sticking to my favorite waffles, or maybe an omelette, from now on when I go there for brunch.
2. As much as I miss Steak 'n' Shake and Culver's burgers, I really like Shake Shack burgers.
3. I've been cooking in my dorm kitchen a bit now. And I can bake again, since there are ovens and not just cook tops!
4. I checked out Spot Dessert Bar and it was so good??? I'll torture y'all with pictures.
(chocolate matcha lava cake)

(a dessert called The Harvest, which has cheesecake, fruit, meringues, Oreo crumbs, raspberry sorbet, and black rose milk tea to pour over)

(Golden Toast - so light and fluffy OH MY GOSH)

5. I also went to The Blue Stove pie shop up in Williamsburg. Excellent pie and quiche. In case those dessert pics above weren't torture enough...
(zucchini and Pecorino quiche)

(raspberry and nectarine pie)

6. New Urban Eats are popping up for fall, and Morgan and I went to the one in the Garment District. I got chicken, rice, and a mixture of other things from Baba, and it was sooo yummy. There were a few other spots there I wanted to try, but we also want to visit the markets at Herald Square and Madison Square, so we'll see!


1. I checked out the Union Square Barnes & Noble for the first time. It's so big, and the YA section is pretty great.
2. I went to the launch event for Rebecca Serle's The Dinner List, and I'm pretty sure I was the youngest person in the room, haha. I did happen to see some other big-name YA authors in the room - Adam Silvera, Jenny Han, Leila Sales, and Lauren Oliver to name a few.
3. I went to the Brooklyn Book Fest on the 16th and forgot to take any pictures, even though I attended four YA panels and walked around the booths. 
4. Later today (or earlier, depending on when you're reading this post, haha), I'm going to Mackenzi Lee's event for The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy at Books of Wonder. 


1. Although not technically in New York, I saw Niall Horan's tour! I went home for Labor Day weekend, and he had a show up in the D.C. area. It was a totally different experience from the Taylor Swift concerts I've been to, but I loved it anyways. Niall is one of my favorites, so why wouldn't I?

2. I saw Wicked again. Still just as good.
3. I saw Waitress again, too, and Nicolette Robinson was fantastic! (Also, don't hate me, but Drew Gehling couldn't live up to Erich Bergen, even if he was the OBC Dr. Pomatter.)


1. The roommate and I walked around our neighborhood a bit, mostly to and from the ferry piers on our way to Red Hook Winery. It's so pretty here.
2. Bits and pieces of the East Village. It's full of drunk college students on Friday nights, and, honestly, they can all chill.
3. The Morgan Library and Museum - I met up with a friend from work one Friday evening because the Morgan has free hours. We were utterly in our bookish element.
4. Brooklyn Botanic Garden - Can't wait to see what it looks like once they finish constructing several sections.
5. Williamsburg - I saw a teeny bit of the outer parts of this neighborhood whilst visiting The Blue Stove. It has a totally different vibe than the other neighborhoods I've seen so far.

I'm really looking forward to fall in the city! Also another friend is coming to visit in a few weeks, so I can't wait to show her around. ^.^

September 29, 2018

Why I Love From Twinkle, With Love

Do you ever read a book that's just so effortlessly sweet and fun and touching? When I think about how much I enjoyed From Twinkle, With Love, I want to do a book shimmy. (Does anyone still get that reference?) 

But of course, I can't just leave it at that. I have to tell you why I love Sandhya Menon's sophomore novel, and why you too should read it.

1. Twinkle's drive
Twinkle is one ambitious girl who knows what she wants and tries to make it happen. She doesn't like to compromise her artistic vision.

2. The making a movie plotline
Twinkle doesn't just talk the talk when it comes to loving movies and wanting to be a director. She full-on makes one, with the help of Sahil and others.

3. How the letters don't feel fake
I'm the first to admit that I don't like many epistolary novels, but the letters from Twinkle to her heros never read as inauthentic.

4. The teenageriness
The characters neither seem ridiculously immature or way too mature. They read like the teenagers they are, which I think can be hard to portray properly in YA.

5. How head-over-heels Sahil is for Twinkle
So often the female character in a ship is the one who's giggly and all in for the guy, but this time, it's the guy, Sahil, who is absolutely in love with Twinkle and never in a creepy way. He's definitely swoonworthy, too.


September 27, 2018

DNF Review: When We Caught Fire

When We Caught Fire by Anna Godbersen
Grade: DNF
Release date: October 2, 2018
An e-galley was provided by HarperCollins via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: It’s 1871 and Emmeline Carter is poised to take Chicago’s high society by storm. Between her father’s sudden rise to wealth, and her recent engagement to Chicago’s most eligible bachelor, Emmeline has it all. But she can’t stop thinking about the life she left behind, including her childhood sweetheart, Anders Magnuson. Fiona Byrne, Emmeline’s childhood best friend, is delighted by her friend’s sudden rise to prominence, especially since it means Fiona is free to pursue Anders herself. But when Emmeline risks everything for one final fling with Anders, Fiona feels completely betrayed.

As the summer turns to fall, the city is at a tipping point: friendships are tested, hearts are broken, and the tiniest spark might set everything ablaze. Sweeping, soapy, and romantic, this is a story about an epic love triangle—one that will literally set the city ablaze, and change the lives of three childhood friends forever.

When did I stop reading?: At chapter 13, about 40% through the novel.
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: I love historical fiction, especially when it's set during an event/time period rarely covered in YA books. Plus, anything set in Chicago is near and dear to my heart. However, even though I tried to get through When We Caught Fire, I just couldn't. Halfway through the book and barely anything exciting had happened. Both Fiona and Emmeline's narrations were as bland as communion wafers. I found myself skimming most of the narration because it just wasn't interesting. When I DNFed the book, the fire hadn't even started. I couldn't find it in myself to ship any of the characters, either.

The Verdict: Not terrible but also not great at all.

September 25, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: Books by My Favorite Authors That I Haven't Reread Lately

I had to modify this topic a bit, just because I'm pretty good about reading my favorite authors' books quickly. Rereading however...try as I might, I slack off sometimes.

1. Betsy and Joe by Maud Hart Lovelace
Carney's House Party has long been my favorite Deep Valley book, but I reread that earlier this I guess it's time I reread the others, particularly the high school books, but especially this one.

2. Gallagher Girls by Ally Carter
I reread Heist Society all the time, but I haven't reread most of Ally's first series (except book one) in AGES.

3. The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You by Lily Anderson
I usually reread this one every few months, but I haven't had my copy in New York, so I couldn't get around to it. But wow, do I miss Ben and Trixie.

4. Cress and Winter by Marissa Meyer
I was doing a reread of The Lunar Chronicles last year and then just kind of stopped, for reasons I don't recall. But I don't want to leave the story hanging.

5. Princess Academy by Shannon Hale
I reread the Books of Bayern within the last year, but my first Shannon Hale book hasn't been touched lately, and I think I need to remedy that right away.

6. The Archived and The Unbound by Victoria Schwab
It's been like three years since I read them? I'm definitely fuzzy on details, so yeah, I need to reread.

7. The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
Honestly, I'm due for a reread of all of Becky's books. I read LEAH right before finals week, so my memory is a little fuzzy, lol.

8. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Even though I know it'll be painful, I need to reread the duology. Mainly for the genius. But also for the waffles, Nina, Matthias, and Wylan (not necessarily in that order).

9. Murder Most Unladylike series by Robin Stevens
While reading book four this spring for review, I realized how much I wanted to reread the first three, but I never made that happen. Now that the fifth is out in the U.S., I think I ought to reread all of them first.

10. This Side of Home by Renee Watson
I love this book as much as, if not more than, Piecing Me Together.

What books by your favorite author do you still need to read? Or which books by your favorite authors are in desperate need of a reread?

September 23, 2018

Rewind & Review #118

~Spent some time with friends!
~Saw Wicked AND Waitress again, two of my faves. Thus ends the summer of musical bingeing. I won't be seeing another til the end of October (unless I win a lottery).
~Went to the Brooklyn Book Fest, which was fun, especially since it was so close by.
~Suffered through some torrential downpours. #thanksFlorence
~Bought some pretty dresses. <3

Books I Received for Review
Enchantée by Gita Trelease (from Flatiron Books via NetGalley)
Secrets and Scones by Laurel Remington (from Sourcebooks Jabberwocky via NetGalley)

Books I Won/Traded for/was Gifted
Empress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean (free shelf at work)

Books I Bought
To Be Honest by Maggie Ann Martin
The Dinner List by Rebecca Serle 
Mistletoe and Murder by Robin Stevens

Books I Read
The Seventh Wish by Kate Messner (reread)
The Doughnut Fix by Jessie Janowitz (3 stars)
Famous in a Small Town by Emma Mills (reread)
A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli (reread)
Always Never Yours by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka (4 stars)
The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli (reread)
Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli (reread)
The Light Between Worlds by Laura E. Weymouth (reread)
Wish You Were Italian by Kristin Rae (reread)

Blog Posts You Might've Missed in the Last Few Weeks
   (from 9/10-9/15)
   (from 9/16-9/22)

September 22, 2018

So You Like... #73

I've got another TV show-themed recommendation list coming your way! And this one is a good one. ;) So you like...

A dark cake on a white plate, topped with raspberries

You should read....










Do you love GBBO as much as I do? I of course prefer the older seasons to the new ones with new judges and hosts. My favorite bakers have been Tamal, Martha, and Andrew.

September 21, 2018

Random Friday: Books I Read for School

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  • Include the above image in your post and link back to my blog.
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Today we're talking about books we were required to read for school! I've divided my list into three categories.

Books I Enjoyed

1. The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

2. Dubliners by James Joyce

3. Holes by Louis Sachar

4. The Wilder Life by Wendy McClure

Books I Hated

1. The Good Soldier by Ford Maddox Ford

2. Train Dreams by Denis Johnson

3. Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

4. Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis

Books I'm Neutral Towards

1. Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

2. Howards End by E.M. Forster

3. Richard II by William Shakespeare

4. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner

What books did you list this week?

September 19, 2018

Tips for Cooking in a College Dorm

I'm now in my fifth year of living in a dorm (four years of college, and then since June in dorms for college students and interns), and let me tell you, cooking can be a challenge. Especially here in New York where I don't have a dining hall as an option for at least one meal a day. So I'm here to share the wisdom I've gathered over the last few years on how to make living and cooking in a college dorm bearable.


Instant noodles are such a college student staple. DO NOT depend on them for every meal, even though they're cheap. But, I'd say have them on hand for late night cravings or if you need something semi-fast. You don't even need to do them on the stove. If you have a suitably big microwave-safe bowl, you can cook them for about three and a half minutes, and they'll be good to go.
-If you don't like the broth, drain most of the water after cooking, then add the seasoning packet, stir it in, then drain the rest of the broth (carefully so you don't lose any noodles). If you do like broth, add the seasoning packet before cooking.
-Add enough water to cover the noodles (and break them into smaller sections).
-I usually cook mine for about two minutes, take it out and stir it, then pop it back in for the rest of the time.
-Make sure you cover your bowl, and know your microwave well. At school, I never had issues with the water boiling over, but I have at my dorm here.


Do not skip breakfast, especially if you have a bunch of morning classes. Keep dry cereal or bagels and cream cheese in your room. Granola bars are okay as a last result, but they won't hold you. I'm lucky because my dorms have all had toasters, so I could toast my bagels or make peanut butter toast. I did oatmeal a lot, too. If you have an actual kitchen in the dorm and the time in the morning, the occasional egg can be a great option.

The All-Important Mini-Fridge

Hopefully you're allowed to have a mini-fridge (or your school provides one). If you are, splurge for one with a separate freezer compartment. Trust me, you'll want it. Even when I had a single room and a fridge all to myself, I was constantly running out of space so imagine trying to share a teeny little one with a roommate. This also means you'll have more space for...

Meal Prepping

As you get closer to adulthood and living on your own, you'll learn the value of meal prepping, especially if you have classes into the evening or an internship or a job. If you can cook a big dinner on the weekend and then have leftovers all week, imagine how wonderful it'll feel coming home, knowing you just have to pop something in the microwave! Basically, I'll make pasta sauce (and actually have enough to freeze, too) or stir fry or even taco casserole, eat a serving that night, and then portion the rest into serving-size Tupperwares. Then I'll put those in the fridge and be all set! There's even some great recipes for this purpose on Pinterest. You do have to be comfortable eating the same thing for several nights in a row, but if you vary what you do every week, then it won't get so tiresome. (Plus home-cooked food usually tastes better than caf fare anyways.)

Oven Food

My dorm this summer didn't have an oven, and I didn't realize how much I'd miss one. Great things to do in the oven are frozen pot pies and baked potatoes (or baked sweet potatoes). I love, love, love baked potatoes because they're filling and you can put a bunch of toppings on them - cheese, sour cream, broccoli, bacon... If you haven't made baked potatoes before, scrub them lightly and prick with a fork before placing in a preheated oven (425 degrees Fahrenheit is usually what I do). Then bake for 45-60 minutes, depending on the potato's size. Something else you can do in the oven is a casserole of some sort that can then serve as meals for the rest of the week (including breakfast!).

Keeping Healthy

It's so easy to eat junk food or tons of frozen meals as a college student, so to balance that out, keep some veggies or fruit in your room. One serving of either/both a day is better than nothing! This summer, I got really good at keeping grapes or blueberries in my dorm fridge, and I'd get baby carrots and ranch dip, too. Clementines are a good winter option. Also, invest in a good pot and steamer basket so you can steam fresh veggies (instead of frozen ones). Or invest in a good pan that you can saute veggies in. That way you can have a side of broccoli or something similar with your leftover pasta.

Sandwiches Are Your Friend

If you're an intern in a big city, you do not want to go out to lunch constantly cause that'll eat away at your food budget quickly. Instead, make a sandwich (that morning or the night before). I rotate out turkey and provolone with peanut butter and jelly, and then I mix up my sides for variety. Some days I'll bring pretzels; other days, it'll be pita chips and hummus. This is also when you want to utilize those fruits and veggies you bought.

Learn How to Cut Recipes

If that really good-sounding Pinterest recipe serves 6-8, you definitely need to cut it in half. Some things can't be halved easily (like eggs or certain measurements), so look for recipes that use even increments...or learn the metric system and find recipes that utilize that. Google can help you figure out the correct increments too. This is especially useful if you don't have the space to save lots of leftovers.

Be Budget Conscious

You're a college student who's probably working a part-time, minimum-wage job. So use coupons (even if it makes you feel old) and get the Target Cartwheel app. Buy things that will stretch a long way. Don't buy big quantities of fruits and vegetables if it's only gonna be you eating them because they'll go bad really fast, and then you'll have wasted your money.

What other tips do you have for cooking in a college dorm?

September 17, 2018

Review: For a Muse of Fire

For a Muse of Fire by Heidi Heilig
Grade: B
Release date: September 25, 2018
An ARC was provided by Miss Print's ARC Adoption Program and an e-galley was provided by HarperCollins via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: Jetta’s family is famed as the most talented troupe of shadow players in the land. With Jetta behind the scrim, their puppets seem to move without string or stick—a trade secret, they say. In truth, Jetta can see the souls of the recently departed and bind them to the puppets with her blood. But the old ways are forbidden ever since the colonial army conquered their country, so Jetta must never show, never tell. Her skill and fame are her family’s way to earn a spot aboard the royal ship to Aquitan, where shadow plays are the latest rage, and where rumor has it the Mad King has a spring that cures his ills. Because seeing spirits is not the only thing that plagues Jetta. But as rebellion seethes and as Jetta meets a young smuggler, she will face truths and decisions that she never imagined—and safety will never seem so far away.

Heidi Heilig creates a vivid, rich world inspired by Asian cultures and French colonialism. Her characters are equally complex and nuanced, including the bipolar heroine. Told from Jetta’s first-person point-of-view, as well as chapters written as play scripts and ephemera such as telegrams and letters, For a Muse of Fire is an engrossing journey that weaves magic, simmering romance, and the deep bonds of family with the high stakes of epic adventure.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: There is always a fear, when an author starts a new series, that it will not live up to its last one. Thankfully, For a Muse of Fire did not fall victim to that.
The world of FaMoF is rich and beautiful. The influences of a colonized southeast Asia (and colonizer France) are clear, but it still feels original at the same time. I hope the setting will continue to be fleshed out with wonderful details throughout the rest of the trilogy. 
At times the voice reminded me a little too much of Nix (the protagonist from The Girl from Everywhere), but I wondered if that might just be Heidi's authorial voice, and I can't fault an author for that sounding the same. I never fully connected with Jetta, but I loved how her bipolar disorder was written. In the author's note, Heidi talks about how she wove her own experiences with BPD into the story, and that shined through beautifully. Jetta's thoughts and moods felt authentic and never forced. 
FaMoF definitely feels like the beginning of a series (I think it's going to be a trilogy?), so the ending of the book isn't quite as strong as I would've liked it to be. There are definitely catalysts moving forward, and I'm curious to see where things go with Theodora especially.
Romance-wise, I think Heidi did a great job with this just being the first book. I can see where the relationship between Jetta and Leo will grow.

Content warnings: bipolar disorder (although not called that), death, violence, necromancy

The Verdict: Not quite perfect but still a good read.

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

September 14, 2018

Review: The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy

The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee
Grade: B
Release date: October 2, 2018
An e-galley was provided by HarperCollins via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: Felicity Montague is through with pretending she prefers society parties to books about bone setting—or that she’s not smarter than most people she knows, or that she cares about anything more than her dream of becoming a doctor.

A year after an accidentally whirlwind tour of Europe, which she spent evading highwaymen and pirates with her brother Monty, Felicity has returned to England with two goals in mind—avoid the marriage proposal of Callum Doyle, a lovestruck suitor from Edinburgh; and enroll in medical school. However, her intellect and passion will never be enough in the eyes of the administrators, who see men as the sole guardians of science.

But then a small window of hope opens. Doctor Alexander Platt, an eccentric physician that Felicity idolizes, is looking for research assistants, and Felicity is sure that someone as forward thinking as her hero would be willing to take her on. However, Platt is in Germany, preparing to wed Felicity’s estranged childhood friend Johanna. Not only is Felicity reluctant to opening old wounds, she also has no money to make the trip.

Luckily, a mysterious young woman is willing to pay Felicity’s way, so long as she’s allowed to travel with Felicity disguised as her maid. In spite of her suspicions, Felicity agrees, but once the girl’s true motives are revealed, Felicity becomes part of a perilous quest that will lead her from the German countryside to the promenades of Zurich to secrets lurking beneath the Atlantic.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: I didn't know quite what to expect from the plot to Lady's Guide and I was pleasantly surprised at almost every turn. In a lot of ways, the plot was better than that of The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue. More believable and fun. (Sea dragons, y'all.) It moved at a fairly good pace at the beginning, but I think some of the reveals were saved til too late. The genre sort of switches, and I needed hints earlier on that it was coming.
I appreciated the layers Johanna was given, and I adored her naturalist interests and her love for her galumphing dog. Voice-wise, though, I didn't find Felicity to be the most interesting protagonist. I liked Johanna and grew to like Sim a lot better.
There was something that stood out to me as problematic: Sim, the only African Muslim girl, was seen as a thief and vilified/not trusted for quite a while by Felicity and Johanna. It felt off to me that the only main character of color (besides cameos by Percy from Gentleman's Guide) was portrayed as a sort-of enemy. I'd like to hope this maybe got corrected between the ARC and the finished copy, so we'll see. On the other hand, I also felt like the narrative was trying too hard to be all "social justice warrior" and woke. Of course diversity and change are important, but the way they were used at times in Lady's Guide just felt too forced and heavy-handed.

Content warnings: Violence, sexism, talk about anatomy and medical procedures (I know those things can get kind of squicky for some people).

The Verdict: Pretty good.

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

September 13, 2018

Review: Pride

Pride by Ibi Zoboi
Grade: B+
Release date: September 18, 2018
An e-galley was provided by HarperCollins via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: Zuri Benitez has pride. Brooklyn pride, family pride, and pride in her Afro-Latino roots. But pride might not be enough to save her rapidly gentrifying neighborhood from becoming unrecognizable.

When the wealthy Darcy family moves in across the street, Zuri wants nothing to do with their two teenage sons, even as her older sister, Janae, starts to fall for the charming Ainsley. She especially can’t stand the judgmental and arrogant Darius. Yet as Zuri and Darius are forced to find common ground, their initial dislike shifts into an unexpected understanding.

But with four wild sisters pulling her in different directions, cute boy Warren vying for her attention, and college applications hovering on the horizon, Zuri fights to find her place in Bushwick’s changing landscape, or lose it all.

In a timely update of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, critically acclaimed author Ibi Zoboi skillfully balances cultural identity, class, and gentrification against the heady magic of first love in her vibrant reimagining of this beloved classic.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Jane Austen retellings, when done well, are one of my favorite things. And in most areas, Pride succeeds and will be a P&P retelling I laud for years to come.
The Benitez sisters and family are great. Zuri, while annoyed by the youngest two, never hates them as much as Elizabeth dislikes Lydia and Kitty. Zuri looks out for all her sisters. I also appreciated the new life Marisol (Mary) is given in this retelling. She's still not super important, but she's fleshed out a bit. Even Caroline Bingley isn't as much of a villain in Pride, which is a positive and a negative. I appreciated less girl hate, but without her as opposition, there wasn't a clear antagonist always. The Wickham and Lady de Bourgh characters function as antagonists the most, but despite this, the back half of the book lacks a little substance to bring the plot full-circle and give it the strength of the original novel. I also expected something more akin to Renee Watson's This Side of Home, with the gentrification of Bushwick being addressed more fully rather than just being referenced at key moments. The ending came about as a surprise as a result.
The romances weren't quite as epic as the original, but I did root for Zuri and Darius and Janae and Ainsley. Jane and Ainsley's romance was super weak, though, which could be partly because of how the separation in P&P translates into a modern story. But I think it could've been written better.

Content warnings: a little foul language, underage drinking, references to pressuring young teen girls into taking sexual pictures.

The Verdict: Imperfect but fun and definitely something I'll recommend.

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