Monday, May 29, 2017

Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder by Joanne Fluke

Hannah Swenson #1. Kensington (April 2000) Library
Hannah Swensen already has her hands full, between dodging her mother's attempts to marry her off, and running Lake Eden, Minnesota's most popular bakery, The Cookie Jar. But when the Cozy Cow Dairy's beloved deliveryman is found murdered behind Hannah's bakery with her famous Chocolate Chip Crunchies scattered around him, Hannah sets out to track down a killer. The more Hannah snoops, the more suspects turn up. This is one murder that's starting to leave a very bad taste in Hannah's mouth, and if she doesn't watch her back, her sweet life may get burned to a crisp.


Cozy mysteries are a rare read for me. Which is strange because I like mysteries and I like food (most of them have a food related theme). Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder has always felt like the epitome of a cozy mystery. Whenever I have looked up the genre, there it is. I have had this book for so long no my TBR I thought I would never get to read it but finally I have. It wasn't what I expected...

I've read better. Shock and dismay all around I know for if you know this series it's like 20+ books long. I've always been tempted to read them but now? *Whoosh* That feeling is gone. I've read cozy mysteries before so I don't know why reading this book the unbelievability of this book hit me so hard. 

#1 - Hannah ran a bakery that only sold cookies called The Cookie Jar which I kept on thinking how on earth she got so many to come in. Unless she made more things and it just wasn't mentioned or I completely missed those recipes. 

#2 - Her sister's husband is a cop and not only asks her to help him with a murder investigation but doesn't bat an eye when she is actively investigating the case. Like that's a good idea.

#3 - She isn't even 30 but acts like she is 40. I literally felt like I was reading a book about an older woman. And it wasn't because she lived alone and had a cat... The way she's written in the story it sounds like she's super mature for no reason. And the excuse of it being an older published book fairs no weight here because it was published in 2000 and nowhere in 2000 do almost 20-year-olds sound and act like Hannah does.

#4 - The killer. There was no evidence that this person was going to be the killer until the very last second. I didn't react like, "Oh wow! I can't believe that person's the killer." I reacted more like, "Really? That person's the killer...."

I was so hoping for a better read. I wish I could say I enjoyed something about Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder but after skimming from the middle of the book towards the end... it can't be redeemed. I'm not giving up on this genre however since I did enjoy the first Bakeshop Mystery book a while back. I just need to find a series like it in my library.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

2017 Young Adult POC Books


POC books or People of Color books are things that I've found lacking in my reading. I'm Hispanic, my family is from Cuba and before that from Spain. I recently just found out there are members of my family still in Spain. And as I've gotten older it's now that I feel like I care more about whether a book has POC characters in the books I read. It's a little ridiculous how small the amount is. And I don't mean the bad boy the MC is into that has "olive" skin tone. I mean ACTUAL characters that are identified as a different race or ethnicity other than white. It's not like there is anything wrong with having white characters - I'm white. It's just that there are so many more people out there. Not everyone looks the same...

So I've been on a hunt to find POC characters in YA books published this year. I thought I could at least recommend one and find some more that I would like to read. And here are the results of my search:

Desi Lee knows how carburetors work. She learned CPR at the age of five. As a high school senior, she has never missed a day of school and has never had a B in her entire life. She's for sure going to Stanford. But—she’s never had a boyfriend. In fact, she’s a disaster in romance, a clumsy, stammering humiliation-magnet whose botched attempts at flirting have become legendary with her friends. So when the hottest human specimen to have ever lived walks into her life one day, Desi decides to tackle her flirting failures with the same zest she’s applied to everything else in her life. She finds her answer in the Korean dramas her father has been obsessively watching for years—where the hapless heroine always seems to end up in the arms of her true love by episode ten. It's a simple formula, and Desi is a quick study. Armed with her “K Drama Rules for True Love,” Desi goes after the moody, elusive artist Luca Drakos—and boat rescues, love triangles, and fake car crashes ensue. But when the fun and games turn to true feels, Desi finds out that real love is about way more than just drama.

I Believe in a Thing Called Love is a book I've read this past month. It's a really cute romance that has Desi Lee who is Korean and obsessed with fixing everything/being perfect using K Dramas to find love with Luca Drakos.

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A laugh-out-loud, heartfelt YA romantic comedy, told in alternating perspectives, about two Indian-American teens whose parents have arranged for them to be married. 

Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right? 

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself. 

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not? 

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.

I feel like everyone and their mother knows about this book but it's probably me just obsessing over it when I see it added or being read on Goodreads. This is another romance that looks ridiculously cute and full of humor with two Indian Americans in the center.

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Lara Jean’s letter-writing days aren’t over in this surprise follow-up to the New York Times bestselling To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and P.S. I Still Love You.

Lara Jean is having the best senior year a girl could ever hope for. She is head over heels in love with her boyfriend, Peter; her dad’s finally getting remarried to their next door neighbor, Ms. Rothschild; and Margot’s coming home for the summer just in time for the wedding.

But change is looming on the horizon. And while Lara Jean is having fun and keeping busy helping plan her father’s wedding, she can’t ignore the big life decisions she has to make. Most pressingly, where she wants to go to college and what that means for her relationship with Peter. She watched her sister Margot go through these growing pains. Now Lara Jean’s the one who’ll be graduating high school and leaving for college and leaving her family—and possibly the boy she loves—behind.

When your heart and your head are saying two different things, which one should you listen to?


I honestly cant't believe there is another one of these books in Lara Jean's series. I like how the summary admits that it's a surprise follow-up. They are all surprises! I'm a bit apprehensive about this one just because I feel like I always end up really down while reading about Lara Jean. Still this story is sure to amazing and it so happens to be another book featuring a Korean family.

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His whole life has been mapped out for him… 

Carlos Portillo has always led a privileged and sheltered life. A dual citizen of Mexico and the United States, he lives in Mexico City with his wealthy family, where he attends an elite international school. Always a rule follower and a parent pleaser, Carlos is more than happy to tread the well-worn path in front of him. He has always loved food and cooking, but his parents see it as just a hobby.

When his older brother, Felix—who has dropped out of college to live a life of travel—is tragically killed, Carlos begins hearing his brother's voice, giving him advice and pushing him to rebel against his father's plan for him. Worrying about his mental health but knowing the voice is right, Carlos runs away to the United States and manages to secure a job with his favorite celebrity chef. As he works to improve his skills in the kitchen and pursue his dream, he begins to fall for his boss's daughter—a fact that could end his career before it begins. Finally living for himself, Carlos must decide what's most important to him and where his true path really lies.

You know I can only recall one book that had a Hispanic/Latino(a) character in it that I've read before? I don't count the "olive" skinned bad boy characters. That's pretty pathetic. I already like Carlos' bravery as well as what seems like would be a book with a lot of food descriptions in it. Maybe I'll finally be able to know some actual authentic Mexican food with Carlos' skills in the kitchen.

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June's life at home with her stepmother and stepsister is a dark one—and a secret one. She is trapped like a butterfly in a net. 

But then June meets Blister, a boy in the woods. In him she recognizes the tiniest glimmer of hope that perhaps she can find a way to fly far, far away from her home and be free. Because every creature in this world deserves their freedom... But at what price?

June is mixed race - black and white - living with her white side of the family and dealing with a predominately white school. She doesn't have anyone except Blister, a boy she finds in the woods. I'm sure this one will get people angry and want to hug June because it's already doing that for me.


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Before

Mira Minkoba is the Hopebearer. Since the day she was born, she’s been told she’s special. Important. Perfect. She’s known across the Fallen Isles not just for her beauty, but for the Mira Treaty named after her, a peace agreement which united the seven islands against their enemies on the mainland.

But Mira has never felt as perfect as everyone says. She counts compulsively. She struggles with crippling anxiety. And she’s far too interested in dragons for a girl of her station.
                                                                       After

Then Mira discovers an explosive secret that challenges everything she and the Treaty stand for. Betrayed by the very people she spent her life serving, Mira is sentenced to the Pit–the deadliest prison in the Fallen Isles. There, a cruel guard would do anything to discover the secret she would die to protect.

No longer beholden to those who betrayed her, Mira must learn to survive on her own and unearth the dark truths about the Fallen Isles–and herself–before her very world begins to collapse. 

Now someone made a comment on this book basically being frustrated that this book has a black woman as the MC but that it's written by a white woman. I honestly don't know how I feel about this because I don't know how I would feel if it was a Hispanic woman on the cover. I don't look Hispanic and I'm very American so I'm probably missing something. All I can think of is that the author might not get certain things right if they were from a different race/ethnicity. Does anyone else see it as a problem and can you explain why? Other than that I love the premise and the cover.

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Some other POC books:

Antisocial by Jillian Blake - I recently reviewed this book. A lot of diverse characters but not the MC who has Social Anxiety Disorder. 
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas - A timely story featuring discussion that has to do with #BlackLivesMatter. I've seen that everyone loves it when they've read it.
She, Myself, and I by Emma Young - This may or may not have a POC main character. Her name is Rosa so I assume she's Hispanic. If she's not let me know. The story sounds pretty amazing with her going through a brain transplant after she's been quadriplegic. 

How to Be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life by Lilly Singh - This is by a pretty famous youtuber and it promises tons of laughs.

There are still a bunch out there but I'll stop here. I've noticed that there are a lot of Asian and Black POC characters out there being MC's. NetGalley is a good place to look for a lot more. If you know of more Hispanic MC books out there coming out in 2017 please let me know because I need to get my hands on them.


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Have you read or want to read any of the books I've mentioned?
Do you have any POC book recommendations to give out? 
Let me know in the comment section!

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Searching Saturday: Water on the Cover



This honestly took way longer to do than I thought it would. Searching Saturday is challenging you to find new-to-you books every week depending on the theme. Apparently, I know a lot of water based books because all the one's I could find on Goodreads before I found these were one's I've seen before/know of. I decided to participate because I like scavenger hunts and discovering new books. 


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Lose Me by M.C. Frank

"Today is not the day I die."

Ari Demos starts every day with this thought. Fresh out of high school, she's landed a coveted role as a stunt double in a new Pride and Prejudice adaptation starring the Hollywood phenomenon Weston Spencer. But this job isn't going to be easy: Ari will be performing complicated water stunts and driving fast cars along the narrow cliffs of Corfu. One false step and she could lose not only her job, but her life.


And then Wes Spencer, Mr Darcy himself, arrives in Greece. He's got dirty blonde hair, a mile-long yacht and a bored look on that gorgeous face. Ari wants nothing to do with the rich actor boy, but on the day she meets him, she has an accident. One that almost claims her life. And now she can't hide from the truth any longer:She might be much closer to losing everything than she thought. She might be dying. And the British actor is the last person she'd expect to save her life.


She's a hard-working island girl. He's adored by millions. Falling in love was never supposed to be a part of the job. Staying alive was never supposed to be a part of growing up.


Was this story ever meant for a happily ever after?
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It had been a while searching for books so I decided to go on NetGalley I believe and found this. Absolutely love the cover. I'm very curious about her possible illness although the whole actor thing doesn't appeal to me for some reason.


Trusting & Other Lies 
by Nicole Williams

Phoenix can't imagine anything worse than being shipped off to family summer camp. Her parents have been fighting for the past two years--do they seriously think being crammed in a cabin with Phoenix and her little brother, Harry, will make things better?

On top of that, Phoenix is stuck training with Callum--the head counselor who is seriously cute but a complete know-it-all. His hot-cold attitude means he's impossible to figure out--and even harder to rely on. But despite her better judgment, Phoenix is attracted to Callum. And he's promising Phoenix a summer she'll never forget. Can she trust him? Or is this just another lie?

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This is the second book I found on NetGalley. I don't really like the premise since the guy is the hot and cold attitude. I'm tired of those guys in books. 


Alex, Approximately 
by Jenn Bennett


The one guy Bailey Rydell can’t stand is actually the boy of her dreams—she just doesn’t know it yet.

Classic movie fan Bailey “Mink” Rydell has spent months crushing on a witty film geek she only knows online as Alex. Two coasts separate the teens until Bailey moves in with her dad, who lives in the same California surfing town as her online crush.

Faced with doubts (what if he’s a creep in real life—or worse?), Bailey doesn’t tell Alex she’s moved to his hometown. Or that she’s landed a job at the local tourist-trap museum. Or that she’s being heckled daily by the irritatingly hot museum security guard, Porter Roth—a.k.a. her new archnemesis. But life is whole lot messier than the movies, especially when Bailey discovers that tricky fine line between hate, love, and whatever it is she’s starting to feel for Porter.

And as the summer months go by, Bailey must choose whether to cling to a dreamy online fantasy in Alex or take a risk on an imperfect reality with Porter. The choice is both simpler and more complicated than she realizes, because Porter Roth is hiding a secret of his own: Porter is Alex…Approximately.
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I actually TBR'd this book before I went on my search. I look over on the left in my Goodreads and shake my head. This is the one book I really want to read. I love everything about it and expect great things. The cover makes me excited for summer.


Changes in Latitudes
by Jen Malone


A "road" trip romance that takes place at sea!

All Cassie wants is to get some solid ground under her feet following the shock of her parents' divorce. So when she learns of her mom's plans to take Cassie and her brother, Drew, on a four-month sailing trip from Oregon to Mexico, she's stunned. There is absolutely nothing solid about the Pacific Ocean. 

Cassie is furious. And nervous. It's been hard enough keeping Drew sheltered from what Cassie knows about her mother's role in breaking their family apart, but living in such close quarters threatens to push her anger past its tipping point. Enter Jonah, a whip-smart deckhand who's as gorgeous as he is flirtatious. Cassie tries to keep him at a distance, but the more time they spend together--wandering San Francisco, riding beachside roller coasters, and exploring the California coastline--the harder it is to fight the attraction. 

​Cassie wants to let herself go, but her parents' split has left her feeling adrift in a sea of questions she can't even begin to answer. Can she forgive her mom? Will home ever feel the same? Should she take a chance on Jonah? With life's unpredictable tides working against her, Cassie must decide whether to swim against them... or dive right in.

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I just saw this before I was going to make this post. Sarah wrote a review on it. I like the imagery. I don't know about the living on a sailing trip part. I've noticed if I haven't read something similar to it before it's usually a no. 


Have you read or heard of any of these books?
What books with water on the cover have you enjoyed?

Friday, May 19, 2017

Beautiful Broken Girls by Kim Savage

Standalone. Farrar, Straus, & Giroux (Feb. 2017) NetGalley
Remember the places you touched me.

The parts of Mira Cillo that Ben touched are etched on his soul.

Palm. Hair. Chest. Cheek. Lips. Throat. Heart.

It was the last one that broke her. After her death, Mira sends Ben on a quest for notes she left in the seven places where they touched—notes that explain why she and her sister, Francesca, drowned themselves in the quarry. How Ben interprets those notes has everything to do with the way he was touched by a bad coach years before. But the truth behind the girls’ suicides is far more complicated, involving a dangerous infatuation, a deadly miracle, and a crushing lie.


Well, I'm done with whatever that was. This is the second time that Kim Savage leaves me baffled. I think she tries to make things so shocking that sometimes it translates to readers and other times it doesn't. I honestly thought the story was going to end differently. These girls are BROKEN to the max. I was in a very confused state of what? after reading this. I wanted to process it a little more before I wrote a review but I still feel lost. 

Ben is our main character and he is written extremely well. I feel like I got into his mind. Something I have to admit is that although Savage's book can get crazy - she knows how to write. I just don't know what to make of her books when I'm done with them. That's a sort of compliment. If you've read this or After the Woods you would know what I meant. Any who, back to Ben. Ben has a lot going on with him. There are things from his past that come up not including the person he loved writing notes about why she and her sister killed themselves. He also starts dealing with things that happened to him as a child. Ben was in love with Mira. Mira started retreating from everyone including him after the death of their cousin and no one knows why except the two sisters. Francesca also started retreating but her and her sister? VERY different people.

As Ben starts finding more and more messages he starts losing himself. While that is happening flashbacks of him with Mira as well as the sisters progression to their deaths are intertwined within the story. You can not guess right now what was going on with the sisters because it is so left field that I still don't understand it. If you constantly want to be in a state of what is going on? boy is this the book for you. It all circles around to Francesca. Francesca doesn't like Ben. Ben doesn't really care for her either but Mira does. She's concerned for her well being but no one in the family talked about what was going on so Ben's mind starts going around the possibilities.

There is no doubt in my mind that Savage can write an incredible story that will keep you guessing. For some reason the ratings on this book are low on Goodreads. I rated it three stars myself because it was even more confusing than the last book which is good and bad. I love this story to an extent. I don't want Savage's writing to change by all means because her endings remind me a little of Robert Cormier who is amazing. I just wish she could be a little more clear.... but also I don't! There's a balance that needs to be met. I just can't describe anything correctly with her books. I do know I will continually look for more of Savage's writings because she's amazing and messes with my head. Although, I've been very contradictory towards my review of this book I do recommend reading it especially if you are looking for something out of the ordinary. 

Beautiful Broken Girls will leave you guessing what's real and what's not.

Antisocial by Jillian Blake

Standalone. Delacorte Press (May 2017) NetGalley
6 hours and 30 minutes

Alexandria Prep is hacked in this whodunit set in the age of social media and the cloud.

Senior spring at Alexandria Prep was supposed to be for sleeping through class and partying with friends. But for Anna Soler, it’s going to be a lonely road. She’s just been dumped by her gorgeous basketball star boyfriend—with no explanation. Anna’s closest friends, the real ones she abandoned while dating him, are ignoring her. The endearing boy she’s always had a complicated friendship with is almost too sympathetic.

But suddenly Anna isn’t the only one whose life has been upended. Someone is determined to knock the kings and queens of the school off their thrones: one by one, their phones get hacked and their personal messages and photos are leaked. At first it’s funny—people love watching the dirty private lives of those they envy become all too public. 

Then the hacks escalate. Dark secrets are exposed, and lives are shattered. Chaos erupts at school. As Anna tries to save those she cares about most and to protect her own secrets, she begins to understand the reality of our always-connected lives: 

Sometimes we share too much.


Antisocial is the epitome of what teenagers have to deal with in the age of technology and social media. I was never someone who cared for social media in high school or even now and it's not like I was in high school too long ago. It's now that I'm in my twenties that I see what a big impact social media has cost us. People have committed suicide and destroyed lives because of what has been said on their screen. It's something I've only begun to understand until now. How there are people out there who feel isolated and alone with no one to talk to. And when you make a mistake where there was a picture taken - your life could be over. Antisocial helps you see this and more.

Anna, is a complicated person to like. She's come groveling back to her friends after she abandoned them for her boyfriend who happened to be popular. They shared similarities that no one else acknowledged - an intense social anxiety. I just happened to be watching this long video/documentary yesterday where it had multiple people with different forms of mental illness including Social Anxiety Disorder. Now it's different from really not wanting to go to places or see people. It's feeling extremely scared and worried in social situations with feelings of people judging you while you are judging yourself even more than I feel possible. We know the feeling growing up but it's way more intense. So I saw Anna this way and felt for her. But then she just left her friends. Stopped talking to them for no reason. 

See? She's a complicated person to like.

During the story, there is a person or people that start hacking important players and start ruining their lives. I mean, they deserve it but it has a collateral effect on Anna's friend. More and more people's secrets are being exposed. Anna is in fear of what she's written about her friends. Ugly things that she didn't really mean. Her friends are a wide cast of diverse kids (like in real life *shocked face*) including a hacker, a tough girl, a quiet girl, a popular kid, and a sweet guy. Most of them have different backgrounds other than just white which I appreciated. Almost all of them, including Anna, have secrets that they don't want to come out.

I really enjoyed Antisocial for its mystery, diversity, plot, and characters. All of it felt very possible to me. It was a very real story. On the other hand, I also felt there was a lot of generational talk that I didn't particularly care for but when everything came together - I was happy to have read this. There could have been a little more to make this truly amazing since I felt towards the end things began to get weird and sideways. Unexpectedly, I did feel profoundly unhappy reading the last few chapters. Antisocial shows us how mean and cruel we can be. That we are people who carry secrets and lies but we also make mistakes. Despite everything, people aren't just their secrets and mistakes. There is so much more of us than what we or others portray us to be.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Books on Her Mind Weekly Recap #8


This week I was so lazy! Lazily reading, watching The Great British Baking Show, and feeling unwell. Thankfully I feel much better compared to the beginning of the week. I need to do some stuff this week and I'll be trying to get ahead with my blogging so I can focus on what happens after graduation.

Happy Easter!



I'm linking this to The Sunday Post hosted @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer.


Books Read


Last Week on the Blog


This Week on the Blog

  • Beautiful Broken Girls
  • 2017 POC Books
  • I Believe in a Thing Called Love
  • Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder
  • Stitched
  • Searching Saturday: Person on the Cover


Challenge Updates

  • Beat the Backlist: 6/54 books read (4 reviewed) Total Points: 352
  • Foodies Read 2017: 2/4 books read (1 reviewed)
  • 2017 Steampunk Reading Challenge: 1/6 books read (1 reviewed)
  • Operation Deepen Faith: Exodus Ch. 17 (last chapter I finished)
    • Didn't read anything. That'll change since today is Easter!
  • Audiobook Challenge 2017: 0/5 books read
  • 2017 Graphic Novel and Manga Challenge: 2/52 books read (1 reviewed)


#FitReaders

  • Jog/Walk (2 min. jog/3 min. walk) 0.72 miles - 9 min. 53 sec.
Wasn't feeling well and let myself be lazy. Fail.


Reading Next



Desi Lee knows how carburetors work. She learned CPR at the age of five. As a high school senior, she has never missed a day of school and has never had a B in her entire life. She's for sure going to Stanford. But—she’s never had a boyfriend. In fact, she’s a disaster in romance, a clumsy, stammering humiliation-magnet whose botched attempts at flirting have become legendary with her friends. So when the hottest human specimen to have ever lived walks into her life one day, Desi decides to tackle her flirting failures with the same zest she’s applied to everything else in her life. She finds her answer in the Korean dramas her father has been obsessively watching for years—where the hapless heroine always seems to end up in the arms of her true love by episode ten. It's a simple formula, and Desi is a quick study. Armed with her “K Drama Rules for True Love,” Desi goes after the moody, elusive artist Luca Drakos—and boat rescues, love triangles, and fake car crashes ensue. But when the fun and games turn to true feels, Desi finds out that real love is about way more than just drama.

What did you read this past week?

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Beauty and the Beast: Movie Review


I find that Beauty and the Beast is usually readers favorite Disney film or Belle is their favorite princess. Who wouldn't like Belle? She's a love of books, a free thinker, and turns down a narcissistic man. I couldn't wait to watch the live action movie after watching the original as a child about 30 or so times (I had a lot of time on my hands) and having it as my Quinceanera theme. Here is what I thought about this new version of Beauty and the Beast:



When I heard Emma Watson was going to play Belle I was ecstatic! What a perfect person to play not only because she played Hermione, a known reader, but after her Harry Potter role her movies have shined with her in them. 

The thing I noticed right away while she was singing the opening song (my favorite one!) was that she looked bored. I couldn't believe it. As the movie went on she still looked like she was just plain bored. I know Belle is a reader and is probably not so happy all the time in the little town she lives in but she didn't bring anything to the table. It was quite sad to see really. I thought her singing was excellent though. And she made a washing machine so it showed how intelligent, savvy, and independent Belle is as a character.

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The Beast was of course CGI so he didn't look perfectly in place with Belle. His voice was gruff and his voice when singing was beautiful. I think the way the flow of the story was taking place or Belle again but it took me a while to get used to the way he was portrayed. The actor who plays him is someone I know from watching a very horror filled show, The Legion, so even if he didn't look right with his hair long at the end I still liked Dan Stevens.

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The Villagers I'll be talking about are Gaston and LeFou. Gaston and LeFou's relationship contributed to the humor in the story. I thought Gaston was played perfectly although he was a bit older than I originally expected. LeFou was hilarious as always and made the greatest remarks about himself. The scene where they all sing about how great Gaston was my favorite. That song is just perfect. I got a lot more of what the song said watching the live action for some reason. I didn't realize LeFou's name was LeFou as well. It's perfect for his character. I enjoyed that he was conflicted with Gaston's actions and started thinking for himself.

The Castle Dwellers were really magical. The way that Lumiere, the Featherduster Lumiere adores, and Cogsworth were created were simply beautiful. Lumiere, Ewan McGregor sang was always quite wonderful. I didn't really like Mrs. Potts and Chip were designed although I'm sure others would like them. I also didn't like the part about the opera singer being the drawer. The piano bit at the end was very funny though.

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The classic songs were done wonderfully. I enjoyed the new songs as well although some didn't connect to me as much. Evermore particularly is very melodic and a perfect song for Beast. "Now I know she'll never leave me..." That's the best. The sound track is fantastic.

How Does a Moment Last Forever is okay. It's a very sweet short song. The father has a plot that's different. They talk about Belle's mother which I don't know if I really liked or belived because of the acting.

Days in the Sun revealed some about the way the Beast grew up which was very telling. It was a beautiful song from the castle dwellers point of view.

How Does a Moment Last Forever wasn't my favorite just because that part of the plot I didn't feel connected to.

Belle, Gaston, Be Our Guest, The Mob Song, Evermore, Days in the Sun, and Something There were the songs I really liked.


What did you think of Beauty and the Beast? 
Who is your favorite Disney princess?

Friday, April 14, 2017

All Four Stars by Tara Dairman

All Four Stars #1. Putnam (July 2014) Library
Meet Gladys Gatsby: New York’s toughest restaurant critic. (Just don’t tell anyone that she’s in sixth grade.)

Gladys Gatsby has been cooking gourmet dishes since the age of seven, only her fast-food-loving parents have no idea! Now she’s eleven, and after a crème brûlée accident (just a small fire), Gladys is cut off from the kitchen (and her allowance). She’s devastated but soon finds just the right opportunity to pay her parents back when she’s mistakenly contacted to write a restaurant review for one of the largest newspapers in the world.

 But in order to meet her deadline and keep her dream job, Gladys must cook her way into the heart of her sixth-grade archenemy and sneak into New York City—all while keeping her identity a secret! Easy as pie, right?

I've been waiting forever for All Four Stars to cross my path. Just look at the cover? It screams adorable and that there will be a lot of talk about desserts. There were.

Gladys secretly learned how to cook and bake after school. One day, she makes a mistake with one of those mini blowtorches for creme brulees. She gets the curtains set on fire and her parents see her which leads to a monumental change in Gladys life.

Her parents are fast food types of people that don't know how to cook. They don't trust Gladys to cook because she's so young. They don't even understand why she cooks when she explains to them what she's been doing the last few years. This is her passion. But her parents aren't having any of it. Her parents are so ridiculous that I couldn't help but furrow my eyebrows at them when all they did in the kitchen was put something in the microwave to heat up. The would "nuke it" in the microwave specifically. How are they not all fat?

Gladys and her parents get into a fight after the curtain burning which leads to her getting banned from cooking. That single act as well as her new teacher leads her down a path of food, risks, and friendship.

She gets this assignment about what she wants to be when she grows up. It gets sent as a job application for a food critic. So now Gladys is a food critic with no way to critique a restaurant! She has to scramble to find a way to meet her deadline. She has to go to the one person that she positively does not like to do so.

This was perfectly fun from beginning to end. I love the way the author writes. I like how the parents actually made right choices for her even when they haven't been doing so in regards to food. Gladys is a plucky little girl with passion and ambition. The food she describes in her critiques sound scrumptious which was just what I was hoping for. If you are looking for something light, fun, and to satisfy the inner foodie (or hungry) side of you I would check out All Four Stars. It won't disappoint.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Archie Vol. 1: The New Riverdale

Archie (2015-) #1. Archie Comics (March 2016) Library
America’s Favorite Teenager, Archie Andrews, is reborn in the pages of this must-have graphic novel collecting the first six issues of the comic book series that everyone is talking about. Meet Riverdale High teen Archie, his oddball, food-loving best friend Jughead, girl-next-door Betty and well-to-do snob Veronica Lodge as they embark on a modern reimagining of the beloved Archie world. It’s all here: the love triangle, friendship, humor, charm and lots of fun – but with a decidedly modern twist.

Brought to you by some of the masters of the comic book genre, including writer Mark Waid and the all-star lineup of artists: Fiona Staples, Annie Wu and Veronica Fish, the first volume of ARCHIE presents readers with a new take on the beloved Archie Comics concepts while retaining the best elements from the company’s 75 years of history.


The Archie comics have been around for about 75 years. Everyday since I was a child I would see Archie, Betty, Veronica, or Jughead on the cover of a small comic when in the line to pay for groceries. But, I've never been tempted to read this popular series until I saw that there was a new version coming out. It was like how Batgirl has her new look and story line which I was so into. So I wanted in, especially when it was revealed that the TV series was coming out.

Archie, as it turns out, is a klutz. He's either nearly avoiding carnage, making it, or being saved from it. His life feels like carnage right now. Betty and him are no more after the lipstick incident. Archie is clearly upset by what happened but Betty refuses to talk about it. Some interlopers are trying to get them back together as well as get Jughead to help them, but he refuses.

Betty is all fire and independence. Betty is amazing at fixing cars which lends true to her more independent, don't-put-me-or -any-other-girl-in-a-box mentality. She's sad about how everything went down with Archie. Archie is still her best friend. in her eyes but she's avoiding him.

Then in walks Veronica who instantly likes Archie because he ruined her father's construction site (he's really clumsy). Veronica can be summed up in one word - brat. She's this rich girl who thinks she's entitled to everything. When Archie falls for her, he falls hard, and he gets taken advantage by her. Jughead is not having it.

Speaking of Jughead, they discuss his origin story very briefly. It's really eye opening to his "be who you are" character. I love Jughead and his personality. He clearly would do anything for Archie. He didn't want anyone interfering with Archie and Veronica's situation because they just needed to get back together on their own - if they ever did get back together. But then he meets Veronica and everything changes. Veronica, or Ronnie, is literally instant enemies with him which I think maybe might lead to something later on? He now needs to get Archie to see the light - how Ronnie uses him.

In the background we have Reggie, another rich kid who's a joy to be around . He has some side plotting happening that might get some people in conflict with each other very soon.

I loved the characters and the plot. I couldn't believe how Veronica acted the whole time but despite her being a brat it seems like she does care for Archie. I wonder if Veronica and Betty can be friends after this? Jughead so far is my favorite because of his mentality and loyalty towards Archie. He is at odds with Ronnie right now so I worry that's going to affect his relationship with Archie. Archie isn't who I expected him to be - clumsy, lovesick, or oblivious. I enjoyed finally reading an Archie comic. Even though it's not like the TV show for those of you who want to read it because of that, it's still fun and a great read.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Mind Games by Heather W. Petty

Lock & Mori #2. Simon & Schuster (Dec. 2016) NetGalley
Sherlock Holmes and Miss James “Mori” Moriarty may have closed their first case, but the mystery is far from over in the thrilling sequel to Lock & Mori, perfect for fans of Maureen Johnson and Sherlock.

You know their names. Now discover their beginnings. 

Mori’s abusive father is behind bars…and she has never felt less safe. Threatening letters have started appearing on her doorstep, and the police are receiving anonymous tips suggesting that Mori—not her father—is the Regent’s Park killer. To make matters worse, the police are beginning to believe them.

Through it all, Lock—frustrating, brilliant, gorgeous Lock—is by her side. The two of them set out to discover who is framing Mori, but in a city full of suspects, the task is easier said than done. With the clock ticking, Mori will discover just how far she is willing to go to make sure that justice is served, and no one—not even Lock—will be able to stop her.


Sherlock and Moriarty, infamous enemies, are boyfriend and girlfriend in the Lock & Mori series. When we last saw these two, Sherlock betrayed Moriarty. I thought as I picked up this book, "She's going to try to kill him." That's what I surmised from their last meeting. She would never forgive for what he had done. But that wasn't the case. She is still pretty angry with him, he is stuck in his ways according to her, and they have to deal with the repercussions of the night she tried to kill her father and failed.

Mind Games was such a surprise because I didn't think it could get any better from the last book and it did. I had a couple of complaints about the last story that I felt this one improved on. Mostly Sherlock didn't annoy me as much. Sherlock "annoy me?" you gasp with indignation. Yes, well Sherlock is a lovable, awkward, genius but in a relationship he just seems - desperate. I just don't like the way he acts around Mori. Either Mori was too angry with Sherlock and she spent less time with him or the rest of the story captured me so much that I didn't bother with him. Anyway you out it, I just liked the story more.

Mori is now dealing with her father being in jail (trying to get out), the police harassing her, and someone wanting her dead. She's been getting drawings that show her what she's done and is told to confess or trouble will happen. Mori tries all that she can to keep her brothers safe from her monster of a father while also trying to quell the monster in her. The mystery was very intriguing. I was enraptured by all the connections that were being made and the possible suspects. It was a very good twist that I would have never guessed.

Mind Games and this series is mostly about Mori and becoming the villain she was always meant to be. There is a lot of talk about how the police are corrupt, how she is helpless to keep her brothers safe, and how much better it would be to resolve everything the way her mother did - with cunning and persuasion. Mori's angry side is showing as well. She sees that she's not good enough for Sherlock. She wonders when he will see her for who she truly is. Now Sherlock on the other hand, is himself to the very core but there is one thing I can see changing - his belief in the police. He wants Mori to trust them and go to them. I think after all of this he's going to start saying how incompetent the are but he will still have the sense of justice we know of him having today. 

I fear the worst with Mori and this twist ending. Mori isn't really a monster. She's angry and will kill to save her brothers but she's still the kind person who goes to Sherlock's aid when he truly need her. I have a theory that she will become who she really is when her brothers are taken away from her. That will destroy any goodness inside her and she will become not Mori but Moriarty. She will take back her father's name and unleash herself upon the world. 

I'm pretty excited to see it all play out. Mori will surely lose her humanity and get her revenge. Sherlock will see her for who she really is. It's inevitable and I love it.

Thank you to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for letting me read and review Mind Games in exchange for an honest review!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Thirteen Reasons Why: Netflix Review


I read Thirteen Reasons Why when I was 15 which was such a long time ago. I knew the TV show was coming on Netflix but I decided not to reread the book. My reasoning? I couldn't handle it. Thirteen Reasons Why is one of those rare books (like The Book Thief) that I can only read once in a blue moon because the emotions don't hit me the same. In this review I'll be saying a lot of "I don't remember this person doing this or acting this way." I do this because I can't tell if it's been added or if it's from the story because it's been so long. Don't worry. I won't ruin anything but I will talk about each character and my reaction to them (So if you didn't know who the reasons why Hannah committed suicide and don't want to know skip that part) So basically - beware spoilers below. That part is more for the people who've read the book.

Warning: This show can be triggering. People who feel depressed, suicidal, or who have been sexually abused may find the show to be too much. I would be cautious if you know you aren't in the right head space to watch it without your own feelings getting mixed in. Be careful.

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Hannah Baker is the star of the show even if she's not around in the present tense. She's the narrator to her own death and Clay is the reader (listener in this case). The thing with Hannah is that this time around you get to hear from all the other reasons why she committed suicide so things felt jumbled up. There were moments where there was victim blaming by the reasons saying how she was just drama. 

At some points, I don't know how, I kind of swayed to that POV of her being drama which is ridiculous really but it's a testament to how the writers are able to make you feel connected to what each character feels. The only one defending themselves were the kids who she said were the reasons why she killed herself. She could never defend herself in front of them. So I gravitated to what the reasons were saying about her which feels very true to life. Rumors can kill and in this case it did.

You get to have flashbacks of Hannah with everyone. The most rewarding time was when she would have flashbacks with Clay who she always seems to forget about.

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When I recall Clay, I can only remember wanting to hug him. Clay doesn't know why he's on the tape and you quickly think the same. Clay made a lot more mistakes than I ever remember him making. It felt unbelievable. Things I never would have believed he would do. 

Clay becomes erratic in his behavior. His behavior bothered me so much because it felt like he was going crazy with grief and pain and anger. But on the flip side he had the right behavior too.

The writing in this script was pure genius. One moment in particular had me praising the way Clay was reacting to the whole situation. 

You FEEL Clay's pain.

Was Clay always so awkward? He is an awkward jelly bean in his flashbacks. Again, he makes so many mistakes or doesn't react correctly. 

I do not remember Tony being so important in the book as he is now. The fateful moment yes, but Tony (the one making sure the tapes are listened to. If they aren't he sends them out in the world and ruins everyone's life on it.) was never on my radar to watch. This Tony is so crucial to the story. He's always watching and always tries to encourage Clay to finish the tapes. I didn't expect to feel so connected to his character until I just did. There is so much more to him than I initially thought. His connection to Hannah is an eye opening one.

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Justin: The Problematic One

Justin's change throughout the show is a remarkable one. He has some issues at home and the way he deals with the tapes is telling. There were moments I couldn't stand him but other moments where I felt sorry for him. He was a very conflicting character for me.

Jessica: The Game Changer

Wow Jessica. Girl, I did not expect to care about you. She's Justin's boyfriend and you see her unraveling. The unravel is extreme and intense. 

Alex: The Fave

The boy from Parenthood plays Alex remarkably. 

ALL of the characters are played beautifully. 

Alex is the one who feels guilty the whole time. I do not remember a lot of moments in the show compared to the book with him. I believe a lot was added to his character and I am so happy it was. What the aftermath did to everyone showed their true colors and his true colors made some great scenes.

Did you know his father was a cop? That comes up and oh it hurts my heart to think about it. 

Tyler: The Weird Kid

Completely did not remember this boy but when they got to him a whole chain of subplot started happening. He is the boy who is bullied. But he was on Hannah's list for a reason.

Marcus: The Golden Boy

Marcus and some others started forming a group for reasons... Marcus is on his way to getting into the top schools because of his grades and athleticism. He is one to watch out for because he became the leader of the little group.

Courtney: The Worst

Literally, the worst. THE WORST. I know I can't say that with one of the characters being completely evil but WOW. You will want to throw things at this girl. I loved how these characters were developed. You get to see their personalities and their motives. And Courtney's personality is incredibly selfish.

Zach: The Quiet One

Another character that made me love how each character was developed. He's a surprise.

Ryan: The Gossip

Do not remember this kid but he does a very shady thing. A recurring theme in the show is how selfish people are. No one cares about anyone but themselves. You don't know how your actions are going to affect others.

Sheri: The Unassuming One

Sheri is toward the end of the tapes. She arrives earlier on though. She just comes in the story all of a sudden and I couldn't remember her until the flashback. She is the type of person to walk away because they are scared. She was worrisome because I could see me in her. I would never do what she did but she's one that got to me too personally being the straight laced person that she is.

Bryce: That Guy

I can't talk about Bryce.

The Counselor

The counselor is in the whole story and I was like Oooh!!!! every time I saw him knowing what he did.

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The parents are in the story and they are dying inside. The mother especially has lost her spirit. To see what she is going through after she has lost her child is making me teary eyed just thinking about it. She is on a hunt to find why Hannah did what she did. The actress completely destroyed me in one scene towards the end. She will get to you eventually.

The dad isn't at the mom's level in the beginning but picks up later when he sees how the school is treating them and their daughter's death.

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Clay's parents:

Clay's mom and dad notice things have changed with Clay but don't realize why. I can't say enough by the actress who plays his mom. She does such an excellent job. Let me reiterate how AMAZING all the actors are because they are phenomenal. Clay and his interactions with both his parents are so different. His dad doesn't see a problem but the mom knows something is wrong.

Jeff:

I don't remember Jeff for the life of me but when they really talk about him it got to me. I am still so sad about Jeff. Another scene that broke me down.

The Lesson:

People don't realize that words and actions mean something. People are cruel. You don't have to be one of them. I recommend this to high schoolers all around the world whether you think you are a good person or not. 

Sky: 

If you read the book you know who this is. She is in the show a lot more. Her side to everything is so interesting.

The Future:

It does look like that there may be a season and there is a reason to believe there will be by the way the story ends. It bothers me Clay's part to play in it all. I would love to know what happens to a lot of characters in this show. There is so much that happens towards the end that could affect the rest of each characters lives. Here's hoping it happens.

Final Thoughts:

I came. I watched. I loved. You should do the same. (I know this was more of a reaction than a review but just go watch the show already.)

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Have you read or watched Thirteen Reasons Why? 
What did you think about the story?