December 16, 2019

12 Days of Christmas Book Tag

I always try to come up with creative holiday posts to do in December, and so I was delighted to stumble upon this Christmas-themed book tag. I found it at The Sassy Book Geek, and the original tag maker is Lizzie Loves Books on BookTube.

Partridge in a Pear Tree - Favorite Standalone
Obviously, I had to choose an Emma Mills book.

Two Turtle Doves - Your OTP

Anne and Gilbert

Three French Hens - Best Trilogy
This answer is a bit traditionalist, but it's such a strong trilogy.

Four Calling Birds - Best Series with 4+ Books

I have read a surprising lack of long series that I'd put up for this category. Thankfully, Kendare Blake's Three Dark Crowns counts.
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Five Golden Rings - Favorite Villain/Antagonist
The Emperor from The Winner's Curse trilogy

Six Geese-a-Laying - Favorite World/Worldbuilding
Dark of the West

Seven Swans-a-Swimming - Favorite Animal Sidekick
I feel like I don't read a lot of books with actual animal sidekicks. Murphy from Second Chance Summer should count, though.

Eight Maids-a-Milking - Book with Best Food Descriptions

Nine Ladies Dancing - Favorite Female Lead
I did this category and the next specifically for 2019 releases.
Jo - The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee

Ten Lords-a-Leaping - Favorite Leading Lad
Nasir - We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal

Eleven Pipers Piping - Favorite Book with Musical Influence

Twelve Drummers Drumming - Favorite Read of 2019
I tried really hard to only pick one Emma Mills novel for this list, but I am powerless against my own reading tastes.

Let me know if you do this tag, too!

December 13, 2019

Random Friday: Winter 2020 TBR

Want to participate in Random Fridays? Just do the following:
  • Include the above image in your post and link back to my blog.
  • Blog about this week's topic (or a variant of it).
  • Add the link to your Random Friday post at the bottom of this one.

Winter always brings a bunch of new books, and there's a bunch of backlist titles I still need to read, too. Here's my list!

1. The Night Country by Melissa Albert

2. The Hand on the Wall by Maureen Johnson

3. Break the Fall by Jennifer Iacopelli

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4. Moment of Truth by Kasie West

5. The Midnight Lie by Marie Rutkoski

6. Chirp by Kate Messner

7. This Train Is Being Held by Ismée Amiel Williams

8. Storm from the East by Joanna Hathaway

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9. Sprinkle with Murder by Jenn McKinlay
10. Crime and Poetry by Amanda Flower
11. Tart of Darkness by Denise Swanson

What's on your winter TBR? :)

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December 11, 2019

What I Reread in 2019

Barring whatever I'll reread in December, I reread 67+ books this year. And I thought it would be fun to discuss which ones I did, and what I wanted to but didn't get around to rereading.

What I Reread


~I binged the Harry Potter series again this summer! What a wild ride. It had been a few years since I read them. I'd reread a few a few years ago when I wrote my essay about why Severus Snape is the absolute worst, but most of that was skim rereads.
~I reread more SJM books for work.
~I reread several of the books in my beloved The Mother-Daughter Book Club series, as well as some of the later Betsy-Tacy books.
~I may have reread several Babysitters Club books, though I didn't put most of them in my spreadsheet since I blazed through them so quickly. Shoutout to the NYPL for having most of the series as e-books.
~Another longtime favorite - the Heist Society trilogy - got a reread this past spring. I live for the day Ally Carter announces book four.
~I only reread two books more than once: Famous in a Small Town and Foolish Hearts. #1 Emma Mills stan, if you couldn't tell.
~Last month, I did a mini readalong with a fellow blogger who was reading the Murder Most Unladylike series for the first time! I hadn't read the first two books in AGES, so that was a fun rediscovery.

What I Wish I'd Reread

There were definitely several books I didn't have the time to reread. Here are a few key titles:


~I really wanted to reread the Gallagher Girls series. I reread Heist Society every year or so, but GG has definitely fallen by the wayside. (I think it being a longer series makes it a little more daunting.)
~Every year I set a goal to reread books I haven't in awhile, to see if I still like them and if I still want to own them. I suck at fulfilling this goal. (Though I did manage to do it with a few books!) Namely, though, I didn't get around to rereading Rachael Allen's books or The Secrets of Lily Graves.
~After I loved the Veronica Speedwell series this winter/spring, I wanted to reread them, now that I own all four. Alas. I'll probably wait until it's closer to book 5's release, now that 2019 is almost over.
~As for a few other books that it's been awhile since I reread, here's what I'm hoping to get to:

So what did you reread this year, or what had you hoped to reread in 2019?

December 9, 2019

Emma's Favorite NYC Bakeries and Coffee Shops

I swear, half the places I visited in New York were bakeries. And the list of food places I still want to try is mostly bakeries. I have a sweet tooth, honestly.

I talked about my favorite pie shops back in May, and obviously all of those are implicitly included in this list. But I've got several more favorites, so let's get started.

Doughnut Plant (Chelsea, Lower East Side, Grand Central, Prospect Heights-ish area)
I love donuts almost as much as pie and waffles. Just thinking about Doughnut Plant has my mouth watering. I went a few times, and though I can't remember everything I tried, I know the Brooklyn Blackout donut knocked it out of the park. I kept wanting to try their "dough-flower" (pictured below) but it was always sold out when I went! Even on weekdays!

Image credit: The Coverage

The Donut Pub (14th Street, Astor Place)
This one has more traditional cake donut flavors, and they were a great treat before/after church. Also, it just feels so neighborhood-y and old school inside.

The Doughnut Project (Greenwich Village)
I only got to stop in on a food tour at first, but they have so many fun flavors and if I hadn't had so many slices of pie that weekend, I would've definitely bought some donuts to-go. But when I went back to New York this fall, I popped over and got a rosé donut!

Blank Slate Coffee + Kitchen (NoMad, Midtown)
This is a trendy little place along Madison Avenue (with a new location in Midtown too). It was super crowded when I went semi-early on a Saturday morning, but I liked the waffle I had. The waffles are a bit small, so I'd recommend getting two. I squeezed in a little writing time while finishing my hot chocolate, then had to give up my seat at the large communal table as soon as I was done lol.

Maman (NoMad, SoHo, Tribeca, Greenpoint, Montreal, Toronto)
I love Maman with all my heart (even if they went and changed my favorite waffles on us, booooo; though the current variation sounds better than the ones I had in May, but still not as good as the lavender cornmeal berry waffles). Their lavender hot chocolate is amazing, and I loved the matcha rose limeade they did for summer 2018. They have several locations with the best pastries. My favorite location started getting really crowded so I stopped going for writing sessions, sadly. I'm loathe to tell people about it because I don't want them to grow any more in popularity (unless it means they'll expand into Brooklyn or down here to Virginia, lol), but honestly, I can't keep them a secret.

This bakery feels like it's been there for decades, if not centuries. The line is worth the wait (though it wasn't too long in the middle of a weekday afternoon). There's pie, cakes, cupcakes, and pastries. Everything you could ever want.

Levain (UWS)
Everyone knows about Levain, but their cookies are so so good, and so worth the wait. If you get the dark chocolate one, ordering a cup of milk is a must. Also, I'm that rare person who likes oatmeal raisin cookies, and theirs are superb.

One Girl Cookies (Brooklyn - DUMBO and Cobble Hill)
In my NY post a few weeks ago, I promised to talk more about One Girl Cookies. They make the cutest tea cookies, and my mom likes their whoopie pies, and you can sit and order tea too. The DUMBO location is more heavily trafficked, I think (though I've never had a long wait), but the Cobble Hill location feels homey and like a quintessential neighborhood spot. Cookie recs: the apricot almond, the chocolate mocha (which this non-coffee person loves), the seasonal shortbread, and the chocolate chip

Almondine (Brooklyn - DUMBO)
Confession: Almondine, OGC, and my next rec all came to me via Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han. And I'm so glad they did! I've gone to Almondine for macarons exclusively, but they have other lovely-looking pastries too.

Jacques Torres (Brooklyn - DUMBO)
This is less of a bakery and more of a chocolate shop, but it fits best on this list because of the legendary chocolate chip cookies which are delicious. I've also gotten chocolates on a few occasions, and my dad loves the drinking chocolate.

Little Cupcake Bakeshop (SoHo; Prospect Heights, Brooklyn)
You have to go solely for the Brooklyn Blackout cupcake. No excuses.

Sarabeth's (Chelsea Market)
If you're paying attention, I put this spot on the last list, too. But it's also a great place to get pastries like muffins and scones. The smaller Chelsea Market's location is best for this. And of course there's half a dozen other cute bakeries in Chelsea Market to boot, so you'll have your pick. 

If you have favorite New York bakeries and coffee shops, please share! I'd love ideas of where to go next time I'm in town.

December 8, 2019

Rewind & Review #149

~I got to meet up with one of my best friends right before Thanksgiving. We went to BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse. I had a berry cider, and we shared a trio of mini pizookies (warm, deep dish cookies topped with ice cream). I love dessert.

~"Into the Unknown" from Frozen II is stuck in my head, and I'm not mad.
~I didn't win NaNoWriMo this year, but that was to be expected.
~I started my new job. Orientation was a lot. The actual first shift was good, though.
~TAYLOR SWIFT CONTINUES TO BE THE DEATH OF ME. (Niall Horan too, at this point.)

Books I Read
Little White Lies by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (reread)
Deadly Little Scandals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (3 stars)
Death by Chocolate Lab by Bethany Blake (3 stars)
10 Blind Dates by Ashley Elston (4 stars)
Murder with Lemon Tea Cakes by Karen Rose Smith (4 stars)
Don't You Forget About Me by Mhairi McFarlane (2 stars)
Small Town Hearts by Lillie Vale (3 stars)
The Library of Lost Things by Laura Taylor Namey (4 stars)

Blog Posts You Might've Missed in the Last Few Weeks
   (from 11/25-11/30)
   (from 12/1-12/7)

December 7, 2019

The Best Book Covers of 2019

It's time for a little cover love focus. Here are all the YA and middle grade covers I liked best in 2019.

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The Never-Tilting World by Rin Chupeco
Nocturna by Maya Motayne


The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee
The Raven's Tale by Cat Winters


Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga
Summer of a Thousand Pies by Margaret Dilloway


If It Makes You Happy by Claire Kann
I Wanna Be Where You Are by Kristina Forest

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I Love You So Mochi by Sarah Kuhn
Hungry Hearts by various authors


Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett
With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo


The Tiger at Midnight by Swati Teerdhala
Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte

Courting Darkness by Robin LaFevers
The Girl King by Mimi Yu


Famous in a Small Town by Emma Mills
The Field Guide to the North American Teenager by Ben Philippe

Which books published this year had your favorite covers?