May 31, 2020

Rewind & Review #161

~I have gone back to work. It's a new adventure every day.
~I finished my first paint-by-numbers kit! Can't wait to start the next one.

Books I Bought
Storm from the East by Joanna Hathaway
By the Book by Amanda Sellet
Slay by Brittney Morris
What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen
Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga
The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

Books I Read
The Map of Stars by Laura Ruby (3 stars)
Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid (4 stars)
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling (reread)
You Say It First by Katie Cotugno
The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West (reread)
This Is My Brain in Love by I.W. Gregorio (4 stars)

Blog Posts You Might've Missed in the Last Few Weeks

May 29, 2020

Random Friday: Favorite Dessert

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.

Y'all should know by now what my favorite dessert is.


I'll take it in Oreo form from Bakers Square (I miss them so much).
Oreo Cookie Crunch Pie | Order Online | Bakers Square

I'll gladly eat plenty of sour-cream-and-blueberry slices from Proper Pie:

I will devour a good key lime pie from almost anywhere (including baked in a tiny mason jar while watching Waitress but also from Daly Pie).

And I'm constantly craving salted caramel apple from Four & Twenty Blackbirds. It's frankly the best apple pie I'll ever eat.

So what's your favorite kind of pie? And what's your favorite dessert?

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May 27, 2020

Review: The Boundless

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The Boundless by Anna Bright
Grade: B
Release date: June 9, 2020
An e-galley was provided by HarperCollins via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: When Selah found true love with Prince Torden of Norway, she never imagined she’d have to leave him behind. All because the Beholder’s true mission was a secret Selah’s crew didn’t trust her to keep: transporting weapons to the rebels fighting against the brutal tsarytsya, whose shadow looms over their next port of Shvartsval’d. A place Selah hoped she’d never go.

But gone is the girl who departed Potomac filled with fear. With a stockpile of weapons belowdecks and her heart hanging in the balance, Selah is determined to see the Beholder’s quest to its end.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: The Beholder was ridiculously swoon-worthy (Torden is amazing) and adventurous, and The Boundless expounds upon that. There's a lot of tension between Selah and her ship's captain. There's also plenty of intrigue and danger, so this isn't just a romance. Anna Bright includes more fairytale retelling details and allusions, but she gives them her own twist and some are plenty creepy.
I thought the ending was interesting. It was better than I expected from most YA books that have you anticipating marriage the whole time. At the same time, it didn't quite satisfy me. I did appreciate the layers given to even the villains, and that Selah had female friends to support her.

Content warnings: violence, misogyny

The Verdict: Is this the most groundbreaking YA ever? No. But it's compulsively readable and enjoyable.

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

May 25, 2020

From the Bookshelf to the Kitchen: Serious Moonlight and Pie #5

The latest in the pie series. I'd been saving this particular one for a special occasion, and my mother's birthday yesterday fit the bill.

"Daniel pointed to the Pie of the Day chalkboard and read aloud, 'PUT A BING ON IT, featuring a mixture of Bing and Rainier cherries, topped with brown-sugar crumble and a ring of caramel.' He kissed his fingers, chef-style." ~ Serious Moonlight, page 95

Put a Bing on It Pie

~4 c. fresh or frozen pitted cherries (if using frozen, make sure they're thawed when you measure out 4 cups; it makes a difference)
~4–6 tbsp (42-50g) cornstarch
~1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
~1 tsp vanilla extract
~1/2 tsp almond extract

1/2 cup (45g) rolled oats
1/2 cup (64g) all-purpose flour
1/3 cup (70g) packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
4 tbsp (90ml) unsalted butter, melted

~your favorite recipe for one crust, or a storebought one

Place cherries and water in a medium saucepan and place over medium heat. After the cherries lose considerable juice, which may take a few minutes, remove from heat. In a small bowl, mix the sugar and cornstarch together. Pour this mixture into the hot cherries and mix well. Return the mixture to the stove and cook over low heat until thickened, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and almond extract. Set aside to cool while preparing the rest of the pie.
In a medium bowl, mix together the rolled oats, flour, brown sugar and cinnamon (breaking apart any clumps of brown sugar). Add in the melted butter and mix again until everything is moistened. Set aside.
Fit the dough onto your pie plate. Fold the excess pastry underneath and crimp the edges.
Pour the pie filling into the pie crust and sprinkle the crumb topping evenly on top.
Bake for 15 minutes at 425F, then turn down the heat to 375F and continue to bake for another 30 minutes. Loosely cover with foil or a pie crust protector during the last 15 minutes to prevent the edges of the crust from over browning. Let cool and serve with drizzled caramel and/or whipped cream.

Have a book or recipe suggestion for From the Bookshelf to the Kitchen? I'd love to make it, so leave your idea in the comments below and I'll give you credit when it happens.

May 23, 2020

Guest Post: 10 Adult Spec Fic Recs for the YA Crowd

Hi, everyone! I've asked one of my dearest publishing/writer friends, Sarah, to recommend some new books for y'all. 

In honor of this viral Tweet 

that made the rounds earlier this month, here are ten accessible adult fantasies with crossover appeal.

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
You may be familiar with Schwab’s popular YA or MG offerings. This adult fantasy opener has multiple Londons, lovable criminals, and magic galore, all presented in her signature captivating style.

Fly Already by Etgar Keret
If you’re seeking a personable entrΓ©e into absurdist literary fiction, Keret’s eclectic collection is a solid selection.

The Gurkha and the Lord of Tuesday by Saad Hossain
Maybe you’re in the mood for a genre-bender. Hossain’s twisty tale packs a lot into its 167 pages—it’s futuristic and mythical and funny, all at once.

How Much of These Hills Is Gold by C Pam Zhang
Okay, cheating here a little because C Pam Zhang’s debut both 1) features protagonists who are children for much of the book and 2) leans more toward historical fiction than fantasy, but this novel deserves a spotlight. Zhang’s prose, fed to the reader in electric, often-bleak bursts, is nothing short of stunning, and her American Western setting offers a backdrop that practically breathes.

Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino
But perhaps you don’t feel quite up to tracking a complex narrative (understandable, considering [gestures nebulously] everything). This Italian classic presents a series of uncanny vignettes describing impossible cities, supplied by Marco Polo to Kublai Khan. Sounds weird, and it definitely is—but it’s also quite enjoyable. 

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
Sinister secret societies at Yale? Yes, please! Bestselling YA author Leigh Bardugo takes on adult fantasy in this dark novel.

Orange World and Other Stories by Karen Russell
Literary darling Karen Russell’s imagination is as intricate and expansive as ever in her latest collection of fantastical short stories, which offers a feast of gem-like concepts conveyed through finely crafted sentences.

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Salt Slow by Julia Armfield
If you like feminist body horror, lyricism, and sharp details, this slim tome of short stories is for you.

The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
This is a hefty read, but an engaging one—think Groundhog Day meets an intricate murder mystery.

Silver in the Wood by Emily Tesh
If you want something shorter, dive into this queer forest fairytale of a novella, first in a duology.

Thank you so much for the recommendations, Sarah! Maybe I'll finally check out The 7 1/2 Deaths...

May 21, 2020

Review: The Paper Girl of Paris

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The Paper Girl of Paris by Jordyn Taylor
Grade: B
Release date: May 26, 2020
An e-galley was provided by HarperCollins via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


Sixteen-year-old Alice is spending the summer in Paris, but she isn’t there for pastries and walks along the Seine. When her grandmother passed away two months ago, she left Alice an apartment in France that no one knew existed. An apartment that has been locked for more than seventy years.

Alice is determined to find out why the apartment was abandoned and why her grandmother never once mentioned the family she left behind when she moved to America after World War II. With the help of Paul, a charming Parisian student, she sets out to uncover the truth. However, the more time she spends digging through the mysteries of the past, the more she realizes there are secrets in the present that her family is still refusing to talk about.


Sixteen-year-old Adalyn doesn’t recognize Paris anymore. Everywhere she looks, there are Nazis, and every day brings a new horror of life under the Occupation. When she meets Luc, the dashing and enigmatic leader of a resistance group, Adalyn feels she finally has a chance to fight back. But keeping up the appearance of being a much-admired socialite while working to undermine the Nazis is more complicated than she could have imagined. As the war goes on, Adalyn finds herself having to make more and more compromises—to her safety, to her reputation, and to her relationships with the people she loves the most.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: The Paper Girl of Paris is YA historical fiction that follows more of an adult historical fiction pattern. That is, a lot of adult hf is dual narration, partly set in the past and partly set in the present day, and the protagonists are connected in some way (usually by familial ties).
It's a compelling narrative in this case. Alice is trying to find out more about the great-aunt she never knew she had, who happens to be Adalyn. As the story progresses, readers know more than Alice does, but only because Alice can do no more than assume context based on Adalyn's diary. There are love interests in both their stories, and while I enjoyed Paul as a character, I felt like his relationship with Alice was one of the weaker components. Luc and Adalyn, though, were great.
The story felt pretty passive, over all, but I liked the directions it went, and the pacing was never an issue. Also, often with dual narration I'll prefer one narrator's chapters to the other, but I enjoyed both Alice and Adalyn's sections.

Content warnings: anti-Semitism, violence, sexual content, underage drinking, foul language

The Verdict: A nice addition to YA historical fiction.

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

May 18, 2020

So You Like... #96

This upcoming summer might be a bit cruel, but there are plenty of great summery books to read while you're stuck at home. So you like...




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What are your favorite books set during the summer?

May 17, 2020

Rewind & Review #160

~I'm going back to work this coming week! Prayers for safety and low stress would be appreciated. ^.^
~I'm finally getting to do some painting, though I wish I'd been able to start sooner. It's too warm on our back porch most days.

Books I Bought
Sugar and Ice by Kate Messner
The Empire of Dreams by Rae Carson
The Clockwork Ghost by Laura Ruby
Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

Books I Read
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling (reread)
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling (reread)
The Paper Girl of Paris by Jordyn Taylor
The Boundless by Anna Bright
The Shadow Society by Marie Rutkoski (3 stars)

Blog Posts You Might've Missed in the Last Few Weeks
   (from 5/4-5/16)

May 15, 2020

Random Friday: Bookish Ask

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.

50 Bookish Questions

1. What is your favorite book and/or book series of all time?
2. What is the longest book you have ever read? How many pages?
3. What is the oldest book you have ever read? (Based on its publication date)
4. What is a book series that everyone else loves but you do not?
5. What book or book series would you like to see turned into a film/TV series?
6. What is your favorite stand-alone book?
7. What is a book that you feel glad for not reading?
8. What is a book that you feel guilty for not not reading?
9. What is a book you have read that is set in your country of birth?
10. What is a book that you own more than one copy of?
11. What horror book made you really scared?
12. What book do you passionately hate?
13. What is the biggest book series you have read? How many books are in it?
14. What book gives you happy memories?
15. What book made you cry?
16. What book made you laugh?
17. What is your favorite book that contains a diverse character?
18. Have you read a book with a male protagonist? What is it?
19. Have you read a book set on another planet? What is it?
20. Have you ever been glad to not finish a series? Which?
21. Have you ever read a book series because you were pressured?
22. What famous author have you not read any books by?
23. Who is your favorite author of all time?
24. How many bookshelves do you own?
25. How many books do you own?
26. What is your favorite non-fiction book?
27. What is your favorite children’s/middle-grade book?
28. What is your next book on your TBR?
29. What book are you currently reading?
30. What book are you planning on buying next?
31. What was the cheapest book you bought?
32. What was the most expensive book you bought?
33. What is a book you read after seeing the movie/ TV series?
34. What is the newest book you have bought?
35. What three books are you most looking forward to reading this year?
36. What is a book you love that has a terrible trope? (Love triangle, etc)
37. Have you read a book in a different language? What was it?
38. What is a book you’ve read that is set in a time period before you were born?
39. What book offended you?
40. What is the weirdest book you have read?
41. What is your favorite duology?
42. What is your favorite trilogy?
43. What book did you buy because of its cover?
44. What is a book that you love, but has a terrible cover?
45. Do you own a poetry anthology? What is your favorite poem from it?
46. Do you own any coloring books based off other books?
47. Do you own any historical fiction?
48. What book made you angry?
49. What book has inspired you?
50. What book got you into reading?

Like, I said in the video, feel free to ask us more of the questions, and we'll answer in the comments. :) The ones I italicized are the ones we answered already.

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May 13, 2020

8 Bookish Books Emma's Mom Recommends

Hey everyone, my mom is writing today's blog post. :)

I don't know about y'all, but when I walk into a bookstore I'm immediately drawn to certain books that fit into one of several themes.  But the most noticeable one to me is this...if a book title contains the words "bookshop or book," there's a 99% chance I'm going to buy that book! And these eight books are some of my favorites.

1. The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan

2. The Bookshop at Water's End by Patti Callahan Henry

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3. How to Find Love in a Bookshop by Veronica Henry

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4. The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay

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6. The Bookshop Book by Jen Campbell

7. My Bookstore: Writers Celebrate Their Favorite Places to Browse, Read, and Shop edited by Ronald Rice and Booksellers Across America

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8. Paris by the Book by Liam Callanan
This one actually combines my two favorite themes in books: bookshops and Paris. Maybe I'll get to share Paris-themed recommendations in another post.

Thanks, Mom. :)

May 12, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday: Last Ten Books I DNFed

My DNF stats are lower than they used to be, just because I've resorted to removing books from my TBR instead, if I read just a couple chapters and don't like them. But I still DNF books here and there, especially ones I was reading for review. Here are the ten most recent titles I've not finished.

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1. The Betrothed by Kiera Cass

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2. Chasing Lucky by Jenn Bennett

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3. The Perfect Escape by Suzanne Park

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4. Scavenge the Stars by Tara Sim

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5. Salty, Bitter, Sweet by Mayra Cuevas

6. Gone by Nightfall by Dee Garretson

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7. Dark and Deepest Red by Anna-Marie McLemore

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8. Now Entering Addamsville by Francesca Zappia

9. Permanent Record by Mary H.K. Choi

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10. Finding Mr. Better-than-You by Shani Petroff

What usually makes you DNF a book?