March 31, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday: Signs You're a Bookworm

Each bookworm is unique, but there are often common signs you might be one. Here are some of the symptoms I exhibit.

1. You might be a bookworm if you have cards for multiple libraries.
In my case, four. Though one is technically my dad's, but I use it to access ebooks at another library in our area.

2. If you come home on holidays (from college or wherever) and request way more library books than you could ever read.

3. If you take way more books on vacation than you could ever read in that time.
I generally take ebooks these days, so it's not as bad as it could be.

4. If you daydream about giving future pets names from books.
For years, I've planned to name a future dog Miri after the protagonist in Princess Academy.

5. If it's December 30th, and you're trying to figure out how many books you can cram in before the year ends.
The answer is usually one. But heck if I don't try for two or three.

6. You know you're a bookworm when you love the look of each folio glued to the book spine.

7. When you love reorganizing your bookshelves. Even though they don't need it.

8. When your room is either dominated by bookcases or stacks of books.

9. When you don't normally like using a planner but you use one for your reading. 

10. When you get mad at staff recommendation shelves at bookstores/libraries because it's almost always the uber popular books everyone already knows about.

What are some other signs you're a bookworm?

March 30, 2020

11 Women-Centric Books to Read Even When Women's History Month Is Over

I primarily read books by and about women, so I never limit myself to just reading such books during March. But perhaps you haven't read enough female authors and books about female characters, and you're looking to broaden your horizons. So, even though Women's History Month is almost over, here are eleven books to add to your TBRs.

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1. Stay Sweet by Siobhan Vivian
Contemporary YA about a female employees-only ice cream shop.

2. Watch Us Rise by Renée Watson and Ellen Hagan
Teen feminists and activists can find inspiration here!

3. Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
Because women can kick butt too.

4. Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein
If you want to see inside Ravensbrück and learn about what women experienced there, during WWII.

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5. Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
What happens when there are triplet sisters competing to be queen?

6. Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter
The OG YA sisterhood story.

7. Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson
About the complexities of friendship.

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Two lovely women-focused historical fiction anthologies, both edited by Jessica Spotswood. (Is it too much to ask for a third?)

10. The Last Summer of the Garrett Girls by Jessica Spotswood
Nuances of sibling relationships and how different each girl's path can be.

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11. Break the Fall by Jennifer Iacopelli
Few things make me as teary-eyed as women's gymnastics. (Plus it's a perfect read to prep for Tokyo 2020 2021!)

March 28, 2020

Review: It Sounded Better in My Head

It Sounded Better in My Head by Nina Kenwood
Grade: C+
Release date: April 7, 2020
An e-galley was provided by Macmillan via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: When her parents announce their impending divorce, Natalie can’t understand why no one is fighting, or at least mildly upset. Then Zach and Lucy, her two best friends, hook up, leaving her feeling slightly miffed and decidedly awkward. She’d always imagined she would end up with Zach one day―in the version of her life that played out like a TV show, with just the right amount of banter, pining, and meaningful looks. Now everything has changed, and nothing is quite making sense. Until an unexpected romance comes along and shakes things up even further.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: The first thing you should know about It Sounded Better in My Head is that it's a very quick read. It's primarily a romance, with a little bit of coming-of-age thrown in. It's Australian YA, which I haven't read much of, but I think that made it more interesting. However, in general, the story reminded me of YA from like ten years ago. I don't think it did anything particularly new or groundbreaking, but it was a nice easy read, almost a palate cleanser. 
While the synopsis had me thinking the romance parts were going to go a totally different direction, I definitely shipped Natalie with Alex, her actual love interest. The way their bond develops is great. They're both a bit self-conscious about things in their lives, and they try to keep things on the DL at first since Alex is her friend Zach's older brother.
The divorce plotline felt important but also like it didn't get enough focus. Neither did Natalie's friendships. Her friends are there a lot, but I felt like they were just characters written for those roles; they didn't truly feel like her friends at times.

Content warnings: (technically - for American readers) underage drinking, foul language, sex discussions

The Verdict: Good for new-to-YA readers.

Will I be adding this book to my library?: Probably not.

March 27, 2020

So You Like... #94

I feel like these posts sometimes tell you my state of mind when I was planning them. With this one, it's going to be super evident, lol. And maybe the rest of you will start to feel the same once you hear about my recommendations. So you like...

(book covers link to Goodreads)

This book is all about cooking and some of the details reminded me of Waitress and how Jenna creates her pies. Emoni's recipes are even included in the book! (And I made one of them.)

If you love food as much as you love books, this is the one for you. It's full of short essays about recipes inspired by the author's favorite books from childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. You can read about If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, then make brown butter chocolate chip cookies. You can learn what white soup (from P&P) actually is. You can mull over The Secret History while diving into braised leg of lamb. It's a feast for the senses.

I love when main characters' passions shine through. All Four Stars has that, a good dose of humor, and plenty of food to make your stomach rumble.

If you like a bit of mystery with your dessert, look no further than this cozy mystery series set in a teahouse in Amish country. There are recipes to try at the end of each book, and everyone is constantly talking about tea, pastries, and other goodies.

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If you're looking for more teenage bakers, though, this Swoon Reads romance is a great pick.

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Maybe you don't like to bake. Maybe your sweet tooth is focused entirely on ice cream. This book, about a female-run creamery, would definitely be a good choice for you then.

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Finally, don't forget to pick up this lovely anthology that's a tribute to a fictional neighborhood filled with delicious restaurants. There's everything from soul food to Native American fare, Chinese to a Mexican bakery.

What are your favorite food-related books? Please tell me, because I'm dying for some more to devour!

March 26, 2020

17 Series Whose Second Book Is as Good as the First

There's a concept that the blogger community has talked about for ages, called the sophomore slump. Often, the second book in a trilogy is not as good as the first or even the third. But I'm here with some series (trilogy, duology, quartet or longer) that hold true through that second book.

1. The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson (Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy)

2. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (Hunger Games trilogy)
Pretty much everyone already knows about this book, but it's my blog, so I'll do what I want. CF is so fricking good. (And so is Mockingjay, despite what everyone says.)

3. The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski (Winner's Trilogy)

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4. One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake (Three Dark Crowns series)

5. Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter (Heist Society trilogy)

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6. The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner (The Queen's Thief series)

7. Lady Thief by A.C. Gaughen (Scarlet trilogy)
First book that I really wanted to throw against a wall whilst reading.

8. The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson (Truly Devious trilogy)

9. Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein (Code Name Verity companion series)
Makes me cry every time.

10. Killer Instinct by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (Naturals series)

11. Split Second by Kasie West (Pivot Point duology)

12. Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo (Six of Crows duology)

13. The Rose & the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh (Wrath & Dawn duology)

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14. The Rose Society by Marie Lu (Young Elites trilogy)
Though the final book, The Midnight Star, is a bit disappointing.

15. Across a Star-Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund (For Darkness Shows the Stars duology)

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16. Rebel Magisters by Shanna Swendson (Rebel Mechanics trilogy)

17. The Satapur Moonstone by Sujata Massey (Perveen Mistry series)

Which sequels do you like?

March 24, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday: Emma's Favorite Memoirs

I don't read a lot of memoirs, but the ones I do tend to be of two varieties: travel and food. To get me to care about some random person's life experiences, they have to be living/traveling somewhere interesting or eating/cooking a bunch of food, lol. Bonus points if it's a combination of both. So here are some of my favorites (with a few non-food/travel ones thrown in).

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1. Paris, My Sweet by Amy Thomas
2. Brooklyn in Love by Amy Thomas
I especially love the second one, for all it's New York and Brooklyn restaurant recommendations. Every time I reread it, my soul misses Brooklyn.

3. Voracious by Cara Nicoletti
Food AND books? Just as great as food and travel.

4. The Wilder Life by Wendy McClure
Will definitely affect how you view the Little House on the Prairie books.

5. Four Kitchens by Lauren Shockey
Memories of cooking in four very different cities and restaurants!

6. Inheritance by Dani Shapiro
Very moving and thought-provoking.

7. The Measure of My Powers by Jackie Kai Ellis
Recommended by a dear friend, and I binge-read it because it was so enthralling. It's about food, depression, relationships, and diaspora.

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8. Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl
Memories of her time undercover as a food critic. Very fun!

9. As You Wish by Cary Elwes
One of the few celebrity memoirs I've read. It's Princess Bride, though, so of course I had to.

What kind of books did you list today? Also do you have any memoir recommendations for me?

March 22, 2020

Rewind & Review #156

~The Victorian tea that The Fountain was holding for Deanna Raybourn was cancelled (last minute, due to the venue), but she still had a talk and Q&A at the bookstore, which was nice. 
~My library was closed this past week, so I had a bunch of free time to fill. I started my first ever full watch-through of the MCU, read, baked, and did yoga.

Books I Received for Review
The Boundless by Anna Bright (from HarperCollins via Edelweiss)
Ways to Make Sunshine by Renée Watson (from Bloomsbury)
What I Like About You by Marisa Kanter (from Simon & Schuster)

Books I Bought
A Murderous Relation by Deanna Raybourn
The Midnight Lie by Marie Rutkoski
The Winter Duke by Claire Eliza Bartlett
In the Shadow of the Sun by E.M. Castellan
The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu

Books I Read
Unorthodox by Deborah Feldman (3 stars)
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (reread)
From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks (5 stars)
a bunch of picture books
What I Like About You by Marisa Kanter
Listen to Your Heart by Kasie West (reread)
A Good Girl's Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson (4 stars)
The Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn Bennett (reread)
The Time Machine by H.G. Wells (3 stars)
Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee (reread)
Fan the Fame by Anna Priemaza (3 stars)
The Summer Country by Lauren Willig (3 stars)

Blog Posts You Might've Missed in the Last Few Weeks
   (from 3/9-3/14)
   (from 3/15-3/21)

March 21, 2020

So You Like... #93

So you're tired of books told in standard prose. So you're ready for something a little more interesting. So you like...


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(told all through text messages.)

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(book in verse)

(twisty timeline)

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(book in verse)

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(interviews and more)

What other books do you like that are written in something other than standard prose?