Mini-Reviews: The Cake Therapist, Snow White

I am to the point where I’m finally caught up in books and reviews. Well, I mean, I still have a ton to read and review (especially now that NetGalley is approving more things on my request list than rejecting…), but you know. It’s going to be slower once September hits. Yeah.

I read The Cake Therapist as an audiobook, which was probably a good idea because I don’t think I would have finished it otherwise. That said, doesn’t that cover look DELICIOUS? I could eat that cake all up.

Snow White has another apple cover! I love apple covers😄. This one is a pretty simple one, though, and doesn’t tell you much about what’s inside. I guess that’s when you peel the apple to discover its contents. *cough*

caketherapist

snowwhite

Did you read either of these? What did you think?

Of Book Sacrifice Tags and Crazy Weekends

Many thanks to Lauren @ Always Me for this lovely book tag! Lauren was one of my Comment Challenge partners this summer and she is fabulous, so check her blog out!

I’ve been trying to find a proper time to do the book tags I wanted to do, and I figure since I have no TTT this week, I may as well throw this in today.

booksacrifice

1. An Over-Hyped Book

Situation: You’re in a store when the zombie apocalypse hits. The military informs everyone that over-hyped books are the zombies’ only weakness. What book that everyone else says is amazing but you disliked do you start chucking at the zombies?

fault

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green – The way I saw the hype a couple years back, this book was supposed to be the most amazing thing ever and would make you cry because omg it speaks to all the precocious YA minds. And feels. Apparently so many feeeeeels. I guess it wasn’t completely my cup of tea.

2. A Sequel

Situation: A torrential downpour. What sequel are you willing to use as an umbrella to protect yourself?

thanksfish

So Long and Thanks for All the Fish by Douglas Adams – IMO, the Hitchhiker’s Trilogy should have remained as an actual trilogy, since I adored the first three books. The last two felt like the writing was forced, and Adams had even admitted he was not in a good place when he’d written them, so yeah. Skip the sequels after book 3.

3. A Classic

Situation: You’re in English class and your professor raves about a Classic that “transcends time”. If given the opportunity to travel back in time, which Classic would you try to stop from ever publishing?

catcherrye

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger – Ugh. God. Must. Resist. Major Ranting. Holden frigging Caulfield was the bane of my high school existence.

4. A Least Favorite Book

Situation: Apparently global warming = suddenly frozen wasteland. Your only hope of survival for warmth is to burn a book. Which book will you not regret lighting?

inkheart

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke – Yeah, uh, this was hard because I don’t really own books I would not regret burning for warmth. If I did have to start somewhere, though, it’d be Inkheart, only because my copy is old already, and I wasn’t really a big fan of the story.

Tags:

This is hard! Um…I’ll go with a newer set:

Emma Kath @ Llady Literary
Leyanis @ Teacups and Reads
Fiona @ The Bookworm Who Lived
Ola @ Ola Reads Books

And, of course, anyone else who’d like to join in the fun!


Baking Vegan

So over the last two weeks, I’ve baked quite a few things that took a bit more thought into it than usual. Since one of my group of friends now includes a vegan, keeping her in mind meant having to work up a vegan recipe for her (to keep her from being left out, etc.). So I learned quite a bit about what vegans can do to still sup like kings.

I may have forgotten to take pictures of my vegan versus non-vegan lemon bars, but the rice krispies trears were easy enough!

Finding the ingredients was the challenge, really, but thankfully my local grocery store carried what scant ingredients I needed. I then styled up the krispies to look like watermelon slices (and maybe went ahead and did blueberry hearts, because I had extra marshmallows). I also did make a regular, non-vegan rice krispies. Honestly, the textures and overall picture might be different from each other, but the taste was lovely either way!

And that’s pretty much today’s post in a nutshell.

Romance and Espionage in Regency Period || Secrets in the Snow Review

secretssnow-review

Initial Thoughts: 

Lack of editing and formatting aside (and there was a LOT of that), there was just too much nonsense in this story for me to actually like. Shame, I really wanted to. It was a fast read at least?

SECRETS IN THE SNOW

by Michaela MacColl
Chronicle Books, October 2016
YA historical mystery
Rated: 2 / 5 cookies
provided by NetGalley (Thank you!)

secretssnowJane Austen’s family is eager to marry her off. Coming from a family of little means, it is the only way she can be assured of a comfortable future. Jane is much more interested in writing her novels, and finds every suitor lacking in one way or another. That is, until the mysterious Mr. LeFoy arrives on the scene.

But when her cousin is suspected in aiding the French, England’s enemy, Jane is suddenly sidetracked trying to prove her cousin’s innocence, solving a murder, and ultimately facing a decision that might just cost her true love.

I thought there were a number of things going for this book that from the getgo should have won me over.

  1. It promised to be a mystery novel during the Regency time period.
  2. It focused on a historical figure–a fun one in my opinion, but I was always a Jane Austen fan, so of course I’m already biased in that respect.
  3. It reminded me of the movie Becoming Jane and oh my god I remember a Mr. Lefroy and well, shit, this romance is only going to end in tears, isn’t it?
  4. Spies and French espionage whaaaaat is happening?
  5. A little homage and allusive mentions to Austen’s fabulous works (particularly that of Pride and Prejudice, which may have largely been influenced by Austen’s own life).

And in some respects, I did like the story. To a point. There were, unfortunately, more things I was annoyed at than good, and at its short length, not enough of the things I liked managed to outweigh the things I didn’t.

Where the Story Flourished

The period of the story has it take place some time after the French Revolution, which makes for a more interesting twist in what otherwise could have been an attempt to keep Austen’s story within England. I liked that the problems encompassed something happening outside of Jane’s scope of things, that it wasn’t necessarily limited to her family home or England.

At under 300 pages, it didn’t take too much time to read. Had it been some Gothic-length epic I would have cringed, moved on, and never picked the book up afterwards.

But that’s about all I could say that I liked about the book.

Where the Story Flailed

First off, the formatting and editing. I know, it’s not something to judge on an ARC, especially not one that’s meant to go through a ton of edits before its actual publication in a couple months. But still. There were A LOT of errors. Enough where I was thrown off the story because some words or sentences were mushed together, and the dialogue formatting was a complete mess. Without the context clues, I admit even I would have had a hard time trying to figure out where some of the quotes ended and where the inner-mind thoughts began. Honestly, all it takes is one Beta-reader to smooth out some of the formatting/grammar problems. Just saying.

All that aside, if it was just formatting, I wouldn’t have rated the book so harshly.

Cousin Eliza, a spy? I don’t know what information the British army is on about, because as a reader, I took one or two glances inside Eliza’s character and found someone too wishy-washy to be a proper spy. She was also pretty darn frustrating to deal with, and honestly, I didn’t find her to have any particular principles she wanted to uphold.

That romance with Lefroy was nonexistent. Honestly, it really was. There was none of the Witty Repartee mastered between Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet or Mr. Knightley and Emma. There was really no warmth within the book courtship between Jane and Tom. Heck, if it weren’t the repeated statements that showed Tom as smitten with Jane later in the book, I wouldn’t have seen their interaction as anything but two friends. So when Jane makes her decision at the end of the book, I really didn’t care. Well, I did care, just not in the “OMG FEELS OVER JAMES MCAVOY AND ANNE HATHAWAY NOT GETTING TOGETHER” sense that I had expected. Mostly I was annoyed at how the relationship went down.

The relationship of Tom and Jane in this book was just about this kind of awkward.

The dead body mystery that FINALLY began at the last quarter of the book. Seriously, if you expected to get into the mystery or the “secrets” in the snow at the beginning, you’d be mistaken. Frankly, besides the early onset of “I must discover the truth behind Eliza’s alleged espionage ties to France,” Jane pretty much just waffled through the book. Nothing happens up until she comes across a dead body, and when that happened, things got solved rather quickly and without much surprise. The fact that the book picked up only near the end is a bad thing.

*SPOILER ALERT* *RANTING ALERT*

I did NOT like the conclusion. At all. I’m sorry, but how is it okay to let the murderer go at the expense of so much damn scandal? Because that is what the repercussions will be once a total inquiry is set upon the Austen household. For most of the book’s beginning, Jane and the rest of her siblings have been trying to keep things mum, to limit the drama and involvement to within the family. And then, after getting some sob story at the end where the killer admits to a crime of passion (which is STILL MURDER, by the way), Jane capitulates and helps the person escape, seeing the whole thing as a justified sort of crime (NO, JANE, “the [murdered guy] was believed dead anyway” does NOT mean you can excuse him being ACTUALLY killed off. What crazy logic are you following, girl?!). No joke. She literally aids and abets, knowing that doing so could very well scandalize her family, to a point where even Tom would renege his pledged love and allegiance to her. Frankly, at that point, I thought Tom dodged a bullet there. He deserves much better.

*END RANTING* *END SPOILER*

2 out of 5 cookies! I try really hard not to give these kinds of ratings on full-blown reviews, but even then I think I’m being overly generous right now. Sigh.


secretssnow-cassandra

Of Pokemon Going and Book Tags

pokemongotag

If you haven’t noticed by now, Pokemon Go has taken the world by storm. And like many folks who’ve gone out to the now-Pokemon infested world, I, too, have begun my quest to be a Pokemon master.

And boy, that attempt sucks when you’re living in the suburbs. I suppose it could be worse. At least I live across the street from an Eevee spawn point. Which I can access from my bedroom.

But enough about my lamentations. This is about the book meme Aentee at Read at Midnight (Thanks, Aentee!) started.

pokemon-starters

Does a collection of fairy tales count? Maybe? I couldn’t tell you when I started my love for reading because I’ve always loved stories (my mother was probably my first audiobook narrator; she often sent my sister and me audiotapes of her singing and reading stories when she was abroad). As for which book started my reading voraciousness, I was a big Nancy Drew fan, because being a girl detective took Nancy places. I was also a big reader of Sweet Valley High and The Babysitters Club books. Claudia Kishi was my spirit animal.

pokemon-pikachu

Frelling Pikachu. I’ve caught maybe two, and several of them have already escaped my grasp. Grr.

Hmm, it’s pretty hard to fall out of love with Harry Potter in this case. Reading Harry Potter and the Cursed Child only reminded me how much I loved stepping back into the wizarding world.

pokemon-zubat

Not only are these darn bats everywhere, they’re one of the HARDER ones to catch on top of it! So not worth my Poke balls.

I wouldn’t say I’ve lost interest in the book entirely, but I haven’t picked up the next books of Sarah Maas’ Throne of Glass series because hype reasons (the irony is that I had been part of the hype). Actually, it probably has more to do with the fact that my ship apparently doesn’t make it through past book three. Mostly, it has to do with the fact that I thought this series was a trilogy, and now I’m hearing it’s much longer. I’ll pick it up again eventually.

pokemon-ditto

Does this pokemon even exist in-game yet?!

Rainbow Rowell’s Carry On anyone? It was practically a Chosen One wizarding school (read: Harry/Draco slash fanfiction *coughs*) trope that was done splendidly. #SNOWBAZFOREVER

The Belgariad by David Eddings also comes to mind, because the series pretty much undergoes a similar journey as Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy.

pokemon-snorlax

Ahh, Snorlax. My first 10k egg. Love it😄.

And hahahahaha, large books. Technically, I’ve started Brandon Sanderson’s The Way of Kings. I’m finally 700 pages in, with still a whopping 500 pages to go. It’s seriously a marathon, guys. A really good one, but a marathon nonetheless. Other authors I groan about as far as continuing their series pretty much include Patrick Rothfuss, G. R. R. Martin, Terry Goodkind, and Robert Jordan.

pokemon-gengar

This is pretty much my sister’s favorite Pokemon, lol. Weirdly enough, there is no Jigglypuff topic on this tag, because the Jiggly is my personal favorite…

The most recent one is probably Fire Touched by Patricia Briggs. This isn’t really much of a surprise, considering I pretty much binge-read all of Briggs’ Mercy Thompson series. My record for Briggs-reads was having devoured Blood BoundIron Kissed, and Bone Crossed within the span of a single weekend. Yeah, totally didn’t sleep then.

pokemon-nido

I find it amusing that my Nidorina is far stronger than my Nidorino. Totally not surprising, though.

I…have way too many OTPs. Currently, my book squeeness goes to Mercy/Adam (Mercy Thompson), Yelena/Valek (Study series), Snow/Baz (Carry On), Shahrzad/Khalid (Wrath & Dawn), Cinder/Kai and Cress/Thorne (Lunar Chronicles series), and Haruhi/Tamaki (Ouran High School Host Club manga series). My head canon also persistently insists that Albus and Scorpius will be together (from the Harry Potter series), and that eventually Nami and Luffy (One Piece manga series) will hook up. Don’t ask. I’m practically a romantic.

pokemon-rapidash

Lawd, I ended up hatching two Ponyta eggs. One more lucky hatch, and I can evolve this baby here!

Hands down all of Victoria Schwab’s books so far. I tried to lengthen and savor her books, but there’s only so much I can do before whizzing through them. A Gathering of Shadows was SO GOOD OMG.

pokemon-eevee

I have a mighty fine Flareon I’ve renamed Zuko. Katara and Azula were okay, but my fluffy Flareon rules the Eevee house.

And just like Avatar: The Last Airbender, I’m never going to get tired of Tortallan world spinoffs. I’ve devoured every single Tortall book Tamora Pierce has come out with, and likely I will keep going.

pokemon-magikarp

I’m slowly making my way to getting enough candy for a Gyarados. It’s kind of hard when I’m landlocked and nowhere near a damn pier, though…

Uprooted by Naomi Novik was a barrelful of surprise. I liked Novik’s Temeraire okay, but the series and Novik’s books weren’t on my priority list. A short story Novik wrote and this stand-alone book changed my mind altogether.

pokemon-legendary

Leigh Bardugo, Leigh Bardugo, Leigh. Friggin. Bardugo. I must have seen a gazillion Six of Crows reviews, and I still haven’t finished her first Grisha trilogy. I WANT TO THOUGH. And Six of Crows is SUCH A PRETTY BOOK.

pokemon-mewtwo

I’ve seen really pretty collector’s editions of fairy tale anthologies. And if I had the money for it, I’d probably be compelled to collect every single Jane Austen cover editions (particularly that of Pride and Prejudice). There’s also the Harry Potter House-themed hardbacks, too. I personally like the Slytherin covers, though I’d get myself the Ravenclaw because that’s my house forever.

pokemon-egg

I am super-excited for Rebel Genius by Michael Dante DiMartino. The man isn’t an unknown (he’s the co-creator for the absolutely fantastic Avatar: The Last Airbender and Legend of Korra series, which includes several AtLA graphic novel adaptations), but Rebel Genius is definitely his debut novel into the literary world. And I cannot friggin’ wait.

pokemon-lure

Kristin Cashore and Marissa Meyer. Their book covers are so pretty, too, so they sit nicely on my shelves. I’m still waiting for Cashore’s next book, but Meyer is definitely an auto-buy once Heartless comes out.

pokemon-server

That screen is frustrationz central.

I feel like The Gift of Power by Tamora Pierce has been on the works for the longest time ever. That said, I’m sure the wait will be totally worth it.

Tags

If you’ve read all the way to the bottom, you totally deserve a tag. GOTTA TAG YOU ALL.