Books · Favorites · Non-Fiction

Book Review: My Life in France by Julia Child

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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.

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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!

Adult · Book Reviews · Books · Fantasy · Favorites

Book Review: Vengeful by V.E. Schwab

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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!

Books · Favorites

Fall Reading List

Readers,

The most wonderful time of year is upon us again: Fall! A time for slightly cooler temperature, picturesque landscapes, and a plethora of pumpkin spice bullshit everywhere you look. Fall is my favorite time of year. I love the beauty of the changing leaves, the heady aromas of cinnamon and baking spices, and the reintroduction of boots to my wardrobe. And, of course, the arrival of Fall brings us closer to a most special occasion. The most special occasion, if you ask me…

HALLOWEEN!

Its time for all things spooktacular! If you’ve been following my blog for a while now, you might remember that I get a little overly excited whenever Halloween rolls around. (If you’re a new reader, you’ve been forewarned.) I already starting decorating the house this weekend and whipping up some fun Halloween-themed treats. Check out my little meringue ghosties:

Since it’s almost October, I feel like I should incorporate a few Fall/Halloween reads into my repertoire. Other than Vengeful, which gets released this week (!), I’m not sure what I am going to read yet.

Here are a few of my favorite Fall books that I’ve read in years past:

 

Any suggestions for this year? Are you planning on reading any books in honor of Fall/Halloween?

Books · Fantasy · Favorites

Top 5 Tuesday: Fantasy Books!

It’s time for another Top 5 Tuesday! This week is a good one, too: Top 5 Fantasy Books.  There have been lots of fantasy books that I have fallen in love with. I recognize that there are plenty more “epic” or complex fantasy books out there, but, for various reasons, these 5 hold a special place at the top of my list.

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

My Top 5 Fantasy Books

  • A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab  (Some of the books I’m naming are part of a series, you can just assume that I’m including the entire series…even though that’s cheating a little)
  • Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
  • The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
  • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
  • Stars (Wendy Darling series )by Colleen Oakes

 

Books · Favorites

Top 5 Tuesday: Books That Made Me Laugh

It’s Monday…I mean, it’s Tuesday! (Anyone else keep forgetting what day it is because of the long weekend?) This week’s Top 5 Tuesday (not Monday) theme is Books That Made Me Laugh. For those who are unfamiliar with Top 5 Tues., it’s a weekly meme hosted by Shanah at Bionic Bookworm. Check out her blog for the list of upcoming topics, or just because her blog is pretty cool.

Top 5 Books That Made Me Laugh 

  • Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson
  • Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson
  • Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
  • The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
  • Hounded by Kevin Hearne

What’s your favorite funny book? Are any of these on your list? 

Books · Fantasy · Favorites

Top 5 Tuesday: Villains More Interesting Than the Hero

Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Bionic Bookworm. Each week a new topic of chosen and participants can share their own answers on their blogs. If you are interested in participating, here is a list of the Upcoming Topics. This week’s topic is Top 5 Villains More Interesting Than the Hero.

  • Vicious by V.E. Schwab – It’s difficult to figure out who’s the hero and who’s the villain in this story, but that was part of what made it so fascinating.
  • A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin – There are SO many amazing characters in this series, particularly the bad guys. Some of them are just so f*cked up that you can’t help but kinda love them.
  • The Cruel Prince by Holly Black – I don’t even have much to say about this one. I just enjoyed Cardan’s character more than Jude’s.
  • The Wendy Darling series by Colleen Oakes – This isn’t your Disney version of Peter Pan. He’s manipulative, cunning, and a bit sadistic at times.
  • Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle – More Moriarty please!
Adult · Book Reviews · Books · Fantasy · Favorites

Book Review: Vicious by V.E. Schwab

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My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.

Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?

Vicious is a dark, engrossing tale about friendship gone horribly wrong. Right off the bat, you can tell that Victor and Eli’s relationship is going to be a unique one. Both are smart and ambitious, yet so blinded by their own egos that they are the result of their own sabotage.

While there are running themes of “good” vs. “bad,” throughout this story, there is no good guy or bad guy. Victor and Eli are both, undeniably, the villains of this story. At times I loved and hated both of them. While I’ve seen other reviewers calling Victor the villain, I feel like I have to disagree. Of the two, Eli seems like the more dangerous one, with his self-righteous attitude and complete lack of empathy.

I loved Sydney’s character. Her innocence is quite refreshing among an otherwise f*cked up cast of characters. She’s the victim of some rather unfortunate circumstances, yet instead of letting it turn her bitter and angry, she just accepts her new powers and her fate. I really hope that she maintains some of that innocence as the story goes on. Sydney’s sister, Serena,  and her abilities are absolutely terrifying. As much as I hated her, I kinda wished we had seen more of her and the horrible things she could get away with.

The plot is great one. There were a few similarities to the author’s Monsters of Verity series, but it didn’t bother me. I love a good anti-hero story. If you like stories about people with supernatural abilities and super-flawed personalities, this book is definitely for you.

I’ve already pre-ordered my copy of the sequel Vengeful, which comes out in September.