Monday, December 22, 2014

Open Road Summer by Emery Lord


I picked up Open Road Summer off the library shelf because it looked good. Wow, I was blown away by Open Road Summer. Far exceeded my expectations!

Country music star Lilah Montgomery is going on her first headliner tour. Her best friend, Reagan, tags along. Mostly because Lilah thinks she'll be bored but Reagan needs a new start. I loved Lilah. She was sweet and funny. She totally reminded me if Taylor Swift. Reagan's more prickly. She's been hurt and fears being hurt again. I adored how close the two girls were and how they cared about each other. And then there's adorable Matt Finch, another musician, who joins Lilah's tour. Reagan's interested but Matt appears to be a little more straight-laced than Reagan's used to. Matt is so swoon worthy though. I enjoyed his scenes a lot :)

Overall, Open Road Summer was a blast to read. The characters were relatable and genuine. I really enjoyed reading Open Road Summer and look forward to reading more by Emery Lord. Others who shared their thoughts on Open Road Summer: YA Love, Good Books & Good Wine, Confessions of A Book Addict, and What A Nerd Girl Says.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Weekend Cooking: Favorite Kitchen Items

I've been wanting to gush about some of my favorite kitchen items for a while now. Today seems like the perfect time. In case you are looking for any holiday gift ideas for the cook in your life.

First up my favorite pans. I have three that I love.

Tai got me this Calphalon 5 quart saute pan a few years ago. I wanted it to cook chicken in but after a few failed attempts I boxed it back up.
I was really used to non-stick pans. But this pan wasn't non-stick. One day when making steak, I decided to give this pan a try. Here I really learned its value. It sears beautiful. I use it for most things now. A little bit more fat keeps things from sticking. And a baking soda scrub helps remove all the stuck on food.

I loved the 5 quart but it was a little big for some dishes. I bought this Cuisinart fry pan at Marshall's. It was a lot cheaper than Amazon but I had been looking for one for several months.
Again it's not non-stick. But I've learned how to baby it.

Both of these are investments but I believe I'll be using both of them for several years.

For non-stick needs, I bought this skillet at World Market.
Very reasonably priced. I don't use it as much as the other two so it's held up well.

My other favorites fall into the accessories category.

I'm so glad I bought a microplaner. I have both the classic grater and the coarse grater. I like the classic for zesting limes and lemons.

I find the coarse one better for grating cheese like Parmesan. But I think it's a matter of preference. Both would make great stocking stuffers.

And finally my vacuum sealer. I bought mine during a holiday sale probably about 5 years ago. It was $10.
I use it a couple of times a month. I'm sad that some day I will have to replace it. It doesn't suck out as much air as it used to. But I've gotten my money's worth. I'll definitely buy another Food Saver.

What are your favorite kitchen items?

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Library Loot

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and me that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.

Recently when I put a book on hold, I think I will be reading this in 2015. So strange. I have the week after Christmas off of work. I'll either be reading or sleeping. Most likely eating.

I have a hard time asking for help so I thought reading about it might help. 

Fantasy set in Mexico? Sign me up. 

What did you get this week? Claire's got the linky.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Teaser Tuesday-Austenland by Shannon Hale

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:


• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


"A olive stuck to the piece of lettuce on Jane's fork, and when she tried to flick it off, it flew over the table and tapped a waiter in the butt. Jane scowled."
pg 7 Austenland by Shannon Hale

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Jewel by Amy Ewing

I put The Jewel on my library hold list because of the beautiful cover and some positive reviews I read. The Jewel is a great start to an interesting dystopian world. I definitely enjoyed it.

Violet is born to be a surrogate. The royalty of her time are unable to bear their own children. Young women of the lower classes are able to bear their children for them. Violet is worried about which house she'll be sold into and how her new life will be. I liked Violet. Stubborn and smart, she tries to navigate a world she was unprepared for. She meets some interesting people along the way. I liked her maid, Annabelle, who I think has some secrets of her own. I wasn't too into the romance. Ash didn't woo me but I can give him time.

I could have used a little more world building especially some history with their class system. I'm hoping that book two will have more history to it. But it reminded me of a cross between a Victorian romance and A Handmaid's Tale. The royalty have their games and power mongering. The lower classes are trying to make it out alive. By the end of The Jewel, I was craving more. I look forward to see where Ewing takes it.

Overall, I thought this was a great start to a series. I look forward to the second in the series, The House of Stone. Others who shared their thoughts on The Jewel: Good Books & Good Wine, What A Nerd Girl Says, YA Midnight Reads, and Bookworm Dreams.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Awkward and Awesome Thursday


Awkward:
-The laundry. I've been to busy to make it all the way through our pile in months. I now feel like this:
-The amount of books I've been reviewing < The amount of books I've been reading. Hopefully that will change. 


Awesome:
-As I mentioned last time I did an Awkward and Awesome post, I was close to 2 goals. One was paying off my debt which I did last month. Yay! I had that beast since college so I was glad to finish it off. I'm so thankful to Tai for helping me make it happen.
-My other goal is weight loss. I'm 5 lbs from my first goal weight. I'm hoping to be there by my birthday in January. I want to celebrate with some new pants. 

What's been awesome and awkward in your life lately?

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Library Loot

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and me that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.

Hawkeye vol 3
Yay! More Clint Barton.

What did you get this week? Share below!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Teaser Tuesday- The Jewel by Amy Ewing

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:


• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
"The train runs slowly on an elevated track through a maze of cast-iron behemoths, factories that tower over the streets, their chimneys belching smoke in a variety of colors-dark gray, white, greenish-purple, dull red. The streets are teeming with people, their faces gaunt, their backs bent."
pg 38 The Jewel by Amy Ewing

Monday, December 8, 2014

The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

I've always heard good things about Laurie Halse Anderson's books. But I'd never read one. So when I spotted The Impossible Knife of Memory on the library shelf, I decided to give her a try. I'm so glad I did. The Impossible Knife of Memory was beautiful, well-told, and moving. Definitely will be reading more of Halse Anderson's books.

It's Hayley's senior year. Hayley and her dad have been nomadic for the last few years. Hayley's been riding shotgun in his truck as they toured the United States. But suddenly Hayley's dad decided to bring her back to his hometown. Hayley's not thrilled to have settled down but hopes it will help bring her dad some peace. Hayley's dad is a recent war vet and his PTSD keeps it hard for him to hold a job or much else. Hayley just wants to make it through school so she can try to help her dad.

I liked Hayley. She's not concerned about "normal" teen things dates, dances, clothing. But instead she worries about food, having enough money, and her dad's declining mental health. She finds it hard to make friends because most other kids of more "normal" concerns but she finds a couple of kids (Grace and Finn) who both have issues of their own. But Halse Anderson doesn't just make the book about the issues. She crafts fantastic characters who have these messy lives and gives them a chance to work it all out. Plus I was a fan of the solid ending.

I look forward to reading more by Halse Anderson. The Impossible Knife of Memory is a book I won't soon forget. I even teared up a bit at the end. Such a rarity for me! Others who shared their thoughts on The Impossible Knife of Memory: Candace's Book Blog, Twenty by Jenny, and The  Midnight Garden.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Library Loot

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and me that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.

December. Perfect time of year to read. It's cold and dark so cuddling up with a good book and a hot beverage is acceptable. Unfortunately lots of holiday parties and other holiday related activities take up reading time. I'm tempted to say I'm busy until the end of the year so I can stay home and read.

The Girls of August
It's been ages since I've read a book by Anne Rivers Siddons. I spotted this one on the shelf and decided it was time to read one of her books again.

Centaur Rising
I've been meaning to read more Yolen.

The Female Man
I was reading a list of Nebula award winners and this one caught my eye.


What did you get this week? Claire's got the linky this week.