Books · Favorites · Non-Fiction

Book Review: My Life in France by Julia Child



This book…I don’t even know how to begin explaining the love affair I’ve been having with this book the past few weeks.

As someone with formal culinary training and a background in pastry, obviously I have a passion for food. One of my early influences, back when I was first learning my way around the kitchen, was Julia Child. Most people my age had never even heard of Julia, but as soon as I discovered episodes of her old cooking shows, I fell in love with her knowledge and appreciate of le cuisine de France, and, of course, her fun personality. Reading this book was just like discovering her and my love of cooking all over again.

The book recounts Julia’s life during the years she lived in France and her journey from kitchen novice to television chef. She talks of her time spent training at Le Cordon Bleu, wandering the outdoor markets of Paris, and the hours she spent in her tiny apartment kitchen. She then recounts the years spent writing and testing recipes for her cookbooks, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volumes I and II. If there was ever any doubt, Julia was, indeed, a master in all things classical French.


I looooved reading about Julia’s early years in France – the wonder and excitement of discovering a new city, new cuisine, and a new language. Her experiences are described so vividly that it’s easy to feel like you were right there with her. (I will admit, as someone who’s already been wanderlusting after France for years, this book only intensified it.)

I also loved reading about the people in Julia’s inner circle, from her friends and family back in America to all the influential culinarians (including James Beard!) who helped her along the way. Her wit and sense of humor are interjected throughout, along with stories of not only success, but her failures, as well. Part of her charm lies in the fact that not only was she an incredibly talented and dedicated woman, but she was humble, as well.

I’m glad this book exists so that Julia can continue to inspire, despite the fact that she’s no longer with us. Bon Appetit!


Top 5 Tuesday: Books That Didn’t Live Up to the Hype

There’s no bigger disappointment (okay, there are probably a few) than eagerly anticipating a book, only to read the book and discover that it isn’t all that it was cracked up to be. This week’s Top 5 Tuesday theme is: Books That Didn’t Live Up to the Hype. Here are a few that I’ve read in recent years that definitely missed the mark.

(Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Shanah, aka Bionic Book Worm. Check out her site for a list of upcoming topics so you can participate!)


Currently (Halloween) Reading

Do you smell it in the air? Halloween is only a few weeks away! 🙂 I’ve been quite busy preparing for the party we are having and taking part in some other fun activities.


On top of all that, I’m still trying to keep up with my Halloween reads. On Friday I mentioned that I’d been trying to read Hocus Pocus, but wasn’t really feeling it. I finally made it through the first half of the book, only to give up pretty quickly on the second half. Overall, this one was a pretty big disappointment. Oh well. I guess you can’t win ’em all.

I’ve moved on to the next Halloween/Fall read on my list: City of Glass!


What are you currently reading?


First Impression Friday: Hocus Pocus & The All New Sequel by A.W. Jantha

It’s time for First Impression Friday again! (For those who are unfamiliar, FIF is a weekly meme created by J.W. Martin. The goal is to talk about a book you recently started reading. Share you impressions, predict what you think will happen, say whether you think you’ll enjoy it, etc.)


Shortly after moving from California to Salem, Massachusetts, Max Dennison finds himself in hot water when he accidentally releases a coven of witches, the Sanderson sisters, from the afterlife. Max, his sister, and his new friends (human and otherwise) must find a way to stop the witches from carrying out their evil plan and remaining on earth to torment Salem for all eternity.

Twenty-five years later, Max and Allison’s seventeen-year-old daughter, Poppy, finds herself face-to-face with the Sanderson sisters in all their sinister glory. When Halloween celebrations don’t quite go as planned, it’s a race against time as Poppy and her friends fight to save her family and all of Salem from the witches’ latest death-defying scheme.

You know how to see/hear/read something that creates a rush of nostalgia? You see an image of a cartoon character and you’re suddenly 5 years old again, clad in footie pajamas, parked in front of the television on Sunday morning. Or, you hear an old song come on the radio and suddenly you’re 11 again, belting out the popular songs of the time in the backseat of your mom’s car while wearing a t-shirt with your favorite Backstreet Boy on it.

This book isn’t doing that for me.

I was excited when this came out because I loved Hocus Pocus as a kid. I’ve only read about a quarter of the book so far, but I’m already finding myself disappointed. So far, the book has been nothing but a recap of the entire movie. Since the front cover advertises this book as a “sequel,” I’m assuming that the sequel happens in the second half of the book? ( I realize that it says Hocus Pocus and The All New Sequel. I guess I didn’t realize that it wasn’t just a sequel when I purchased it. Even though this a book blog, apparently I can’t read.) Even though the first part is the familiar story we already know, I am not particularly impressed with it on paper. The writing isn’t doing much for me and the whole thing feels somewhat childish.

Hopefully it’ll get a little better by the second half of the book, otherwise I’m probably not going to finish it.

Books · Life · Writing

I Think I Stress Ate My Motivation

Greetings, earthlings (and non-earthlings)! How is everyone doing on this gloomy, rainy Wednesday? Is anyone else stress snacking on Halloween candy at their desk at the moment?


This week is turning out to be a stressful one. I was forced to take part in an event yesterday that made me incredibly anxious and feeling like garbage the rest of the day. On top of that, I have a dance show coming up this weekend that I’m stressing over. Le sigh. Hopefully once the show is over I’ll calm down a little bit.

I feel like I haven’t been posting as much on the blog lately, which I apologize for. For some reason, I’ve been having a hard time finding the inspiration for posts and even for my own book. I’m still making progress on the book, but it’s definitely slowed down a bit. I’ve been lazy after I get home from work at night, opting to binge watch The Great British Baking Show, or just read. Even when I want to sit down and write, the task itself feels too exhausting. Maybe I’m just trying to do too much lately and am burning myself out. Or maybe it’s a symptom of my depression, messing with me. Either way, I always get a bit worried when this happens. If I’m not writing all the time I panic that it’s because I’m losing my ideas/creativity/writing skills/whatever. My brain is like “Well, clearly you suck at this and it was all just a fluke that you even got this far. Now you’ll never get any of that momentum back.” Because obviously, the world is very black or white like that…

In happier news, I’ve moved on to the next Halloween read that was on my list. I haven’t gotten too far in yet, so I can’t say whether it’s good or not. I feel like fans of the movie would enjoy it though, even if it’s just for the nostalgia.




Adult · Book Reviews · Books · Fantasy · Favorites

Book Review: Vengeful by V.E. Schwab


My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Sydney once had Serena—beloved sister, betrayed enemy, powerful ally. But now she is alone, except for her thrice-dead dog, Dol, and then there’s Victor, who thinks Sydney doesn’t know about his most recent act of vengeance.

Victor himself is under the radar these days—being buried and re-animated can strike concern even if one has superhuman powers. But despite his own worries, his anger remains. And Eli Ever still has yet to pay for the evil he has done

This book. Oh, this book. If you thought the first book, Vicious, was a sick, twisted little treat, just wait until you get your hands on Vengeful. The game is vengeance (duh), but Victor and Eli are no longer the only players. In this book, we’re introduced to Marcella Riggins, a mob wife who wants to take her husband and the rest of the world down in a blaze of corruption and fame. We’re also introduced to June, an EO shape shifter who has her eyes on Sydney.

Of course, our old favorites were there, too. Victor, Mitch, and Sydney are still together, moving around as they track down more EOs. Victor’s characters undergoes some major changes that affect him and his powers. I was happy to see that Sydney is finally growing into her own and isn’t just a little girl anymore. Eli, stuck in a jail cell, has a very different role this time around, as well. It was interesting to see how much everyone’s characters changed from the first book to the second!

The story occurs over the span of five years. Despite the way it jumps around throughout the timeline, it seamlessly picks up where the last book left off. I loooved the new characters introduced. Marcella’s character was especially fun to follow because she was so over the top. She’s an excellent villain and the perfect match for both Victor and Eli.

The only thing that drove me nuts was June. Even by the end of the story, I still can’t figure out what her motives are or what her relationship to Sydney is.

Definitely add this one to your TBR list!


October/Halloween TBR List

Happy October everyone! In case you haven’t noticed from all the Fall and Halloween posts out in the blogosphere, we’ve finally reached the best month of the year. 🙂 Last week I talked about a few of my favorite Fall reads from years past. Since then I’ve been trying to figure out which books to read this time around. As of right now, here’s what’s on the list for this month:

Vengeful by V.E. Schwab – I’m almost done with this one already, but it still counts because it’s still October.

Hocus Pocus by A.W. Jantha – I don’t know much about the book version, but I loved the movie. My sister and I watched it every year growing up. I’m curious to see what the book version is like.

City of Glass (Mortal Instruments #3) by Cassandra Clare – I’m still making my way through the series. It feels somewhat appropriate for a Halloween read given that most of the characters are demon hunters, werewolves, vampires, etc.

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova – This is an old favorite. I haven’t read this one in years, but it feels like a good time to revisit it.

Are you reading any particular books in honor of Halloween?