Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Latest Review: Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home

I don't know about you guys but I am an ice cream fanatic!  I saw this adorable little book at the library and decided to bring it home with me to test out on our ice cream maker.

I've made ice cream at home before (like the good little ice cream lover that I am) but the consistency has never been quite up to my liking.  The desserts always turned out a bit harder than I prefer and Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home claims to have a new DIY recipe to remedy this problem.  I won't give away any secret ingredients - sorry!  But I will say that her ice cream base is yum-tastic!

After going through the basics, the book is split up by season.  Each season is filled with delectable recipes and then ends with some mouth-watering sundae suggestions (like what's pictured above).  Here's some of my favorite flavor recipes:
  • Spring: Savannah Buttermint Ice Cream
  • Summer: Sweet Corn & Black Raspberry Ice Cream
  • Autumn: Roasted Pumpkin Five-Spice Ice Cream
  • Winter: Influenza RX Sorbet (citrus, honey, spices, and bourbon to cure the sniffles!)

Jeni Britton Bauer even includes recipes for macaroon ice cream sandwiches and homemade push-pops!  I highly suggest this book for any ice cream aficionado or for those who want to test out their ice cream makers!

5/5 stars

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Should Stand the Test of Time

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, this week's topic: Top Ten Books Written In The Past 10 Years That I Hope People Are Still Reading In 30 Years
1.  The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

2.  The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

3.  The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

4.  The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

5.  The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

6.  The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

7.  Just Kids by Patti Smith

8.  A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

9.  Peace Like a River by Leif Enger (this one's from 11 years ago, but close enough to make the cut off!)

10.  Snowflower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See

Thursday, May 24, 2012

BEA Books I'm Excited About!

So, I took a gander at BEA Buzz Books over at NetGalley and boy-howdy I'm excited!  I know some other bloggers have started talking about this and I wanted to put in my two cents.  So, in list form (because that seems to be my modus operandi these days) here are the books that I'm most excited about:

Origin by Jessica Khoury (9/4/2012) - Blurb: Origin is a beautifully told, shocking new way to look at an age-old desire: to live forever, no matter the cost. This is a supremely compelling debut novel that blends the awakening romance of Matched with the mystery and jungle conspiracy of "Lost."

The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling (9/27/2012) - this one's kind of a no-brainer!  So curious to see how Rowling does with a departure from Harry.

Back to Blood by Tom Wolfe (10/23/2012) - his first novel in eight years!!

Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver - it's Kingsolver, that's reason enough.

The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde - Anyone who's ever read the Thursday Next series should be excited for Ffordes first foray (how's that for alliteration?) into YA.

The Diviners by Libba Bray (9/18/2012) - YA novel involving 1920s NY, the occult, and a bunch of murders...also, it's Libba Bray.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Latest Review: The Song of Achilles

Goodreads Summary:
Greece in the age of Heroes.  Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the kingdom of Phthia to be raised in the shadow of King Peleus and his golden son, Achilles. “The best of all the Greeks”—strong, beautiful, and the child of a goddess—Achilles is everything the shamed Patroclus is not. Yet despite their differences, the boys become steadfast companions. Their bond deepens as they grow into young men and become skilled in the arts of war and medicine—much to the displeasure and the fury of Achilles’ mother, Thetis, a cruel sea goddess with a hatred of mortals.

When word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, the men of Greece, bound by blood and oath, must lay siege to Troy in her name. Seduced by the promise of a glorious destiny, Achilles joins their cause, and torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus follows. Little do they know that the Fates will test them both as never before and demand a terrible sacrifice.

Built on the groundwork of the Iliad, Madeline Miller’s page-turning, profoundly moving, and blisteringly paced retelling of the epic Trojan War marks the launch of a dazzling career.

My thoughts:
Now, I've never been a big fan of The Iliad...I didn't dislike it, but it never remained all that memorable for me.  It was simply a story to be read for class and then *poof!* I forgot about it.  Then I saw this Orange Prize Shortlisted novel and thought that I should give this tale another go.  

You guys, never again will this story or these characters be a hazy memory - The Song of Achilles forever cured me of that!  Let me list the reasons why Madeline Miller's book is the best I've read so far in 2012:
  • extremely well written
  • character-driven but still a page-turner
  • this book gives readers a greater understanding of the motivations behind the mythological events
  • An emotional rollercoaster: I know this is gonna make me sound like a wet blanket...but I cried several times throughout reading the book.
  • achingly honest and beautifully rendered romance
  • The Song of Achilles makes me want to read some more mythology-based literature (anyone have any recommendations??)
Recommended to everyone!!!  Seriously, go read this now.

5/5 stars

Other reviews:
The Book Smugglers
The Allure of Books
Beth Fish Reads

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Non-Bookish Blogs/Sites

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, this week's topic: Top Ten Blogs/Sites I Read That AREN'T about Books.

1.  Etsy - I ADORE this website!  I've found so much handcrafted and vintage goodies for my home and for myself.  Also, I have a small jewelry shop which is great for a little creative outlet!

2.  Elise Bergman - Elise is a childhood friend and burgeoning fashion star.  Her blog is always filled with wonderful imagery, peaks into her fashionable life, and tidbits about her supercool friends and family.  Here's Elise, who was photographed for British Vogue!

3.  Pinterest - technically, this site can be about books...but not exclusively.  Basically, this site is kind of a social media inspiration board in every conceivable area of life!  If you want to check out my pins here's me: . And here's a quick screenshot of my profile:

4.  Honey + Fitz - a home design and decor website filled with great ideas and tutorials!  There are always really unique room inspiration boards like this one:

5.  Knock Knocking - a visually stunning blog from a very well-renowned Etsy crafter.  Agnes always has the neatest photos, art inspiration, and life tidbits to share.  I'm always excited when I see a new post of hers in my Google Reader! Here's a photo of her DIY on fun kitchen-themed packaging with dip-dyed (and sparkled) wooden utensils:

6. Copycat Chic - I don't know about you guys, but I'm a lady on a budget and there's nothing I love more than finding a good deal.  That's why this site is a must-subscribe!  Every day she finds cheaper versions of designer/expensive furniture and home goods - it's amazing!  Here's a bookcase (to make it partially bookish) that normally goes for $499 at Ballard Designs that she found for $225.

7.  Kendi Everyday - her blog-writing is absolutely hilarious (what a character)!  But the main reason for visiting her site is for her carefully composed outfits - complete with links to all of the clothes she's wearing. 

8.  Hype Machine - are you a music fan that's constantly looking for the next upcoming artist?  Then this is the site for you!  It compiles songs from music blogs.  You can "heart" songs that you like which puts it on your playlist.  The more hearts a song has the more hype it generates on the site (especially if it's quick to rise).  Plus, you get to listen to your favorite new songs for a limited time on the site.  Also, you can connect with friends and see what they're listening to!

9.  Not Martha - crafty, foodie, and travel links (mixed with a smattering of her own tutorials).  I always find something neat on this blog!  Here's a photo of her aqua fishbowl cocktail tutorial:

10. - this site is soooooo much fun!  If you're allowed to listen to music at work this should be your new go-to website!  Basically, you are a "DJ" that can play (pretty much) any song you like as long as you are in a "room" with other DJs/listeners.  You take turns playing songs and everyone in the room can either deem a song "awesome" (which gives you points) or lame (which potentially gets your song skipped).  It is really fun to do with friends!!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Monday Memes

Hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.  We share books that we've read over the past week and those we hope to read this week.  
Last Week:
Last week I finished The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (fave book of 2012 so far!) and The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen.  I'm still reading both The Long Way Home by Karen McQuestion and Blue Like Jazz by Don Miller.

This Week:
I want to finish up the two books I'm currently reading and also get to Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein.


Mailbox Monday is a touring meme where book bloggers share their bookish acquisitions from the week prior.  It is hosted this month by Martha's Bookshelf.  This week I received all sorts of bookish goodies!

For Review:
Shine, Shine, Shine by Lydia Netzer

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

A Hundred Flowers by Gail Tsukiyama (courtesy of St. Martin's Press)

Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver

A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Latest Review: Partials

Super Shorty Review, Kick-butt Heroine Edition Vol. 2
AKA my visual review of Partials by Dan Wells

I have recently read several heavily reviewed books lately, all of which happen to have thoroughly awesome female main characters (hence, the above title).  Rather than lump my similar sentiments with what's already out there in the blogosphere, I thought I'd give y'all a quick visual summation of my opinion.  Be on the lookout for one more super-shorty review this week!


And who/what caused all of these problems?  The "Partials" (part human, part robot)...or did they?

My thoughts:

4/5 stars

Other Reviews:
Into the Hall of Books
Rhapsody in Books
Jenn's Bookshelves
The Allure of Books
Good Books and Good Wine
Pure Imagination
The Book Smugglers
(see, I wasn't kidding about the heavily reviewed part!)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: Libriomancer

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that showcases upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week, I'm doing the happy dance for Libriomancer by Jim Hines.  I heard about this amazing-sounding book from one of my favorite authors, Patrick Rothfuss, who gave it a glowing review on Goodreads!  Anything that Mr. Rothfuss deems five-star worthy is definitely going to be added to my TBR list.  Also, Libriomancer is a bookish fantasy novel - what more could a bookish, fantasy-loving gal want??

Isaac Vainio has spent the past two years working at the Copper River Library in northern Michigan, secretly cataloguing books for their magical potential, but forbidden from using that magic himself . . . except for emergencies. Emergencies like a trio of young vampires who believe Isaac has been killing their kind, and intend to return the favor.

Isaac is a libriomancer, brilliant but undisciplined, with the ability to reach into books and create objects from their pages. And attacking a libriomancer in his own library is never a good idea.

But vampires are only the beginning. This was merely the latest in a series of attacks against members of Die Zwelf Portenære, a secret organization founded five centuries ago by Johannes Gutenberg to protect the world from supernatural threats. Among the casualties is Ray Walker, Isaac’s friend and mentor in magic.

Complicating matters further is the arrival of a dryad named Lena Greenwood. Lena packs a pair of wooden swords and proves to be quite adept at helping to beat down various magical threats. She also seems to be a little too interested in Isaac . . . not that he minds. Yet Lena’s nature could make her a greater threat than any vampire.

Along with a neurotic fire-spider named Smudge, Isaac and Lena set out to find and stop whoever is behind the attacks. But things are worse than Isaac imagined. An unknown killer of unimaginable power has been torturing and murdering humans and vampires alike. And Gutenberg, now more than six hundred years old, has disappeared.

As Isaac searches for Gutenberg and the murderer, hoping they aren’t one and the same, he uncovers dark secrets about magic’s history and potential. Secrets which could destroy Die Zwelf Portenære and loose a magical war upon the world. If Isaac is to have any hope of preventing that war, he will have to truly master the magic of libriomancy.

Assuming he doesn’t lose control and wipe himself from existence first.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Latest Review: Poison Study

Super Shorty Review, Kick-butt Heroine Edition Vol. 1  
AKA my review of Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

I have recently read several heavily reviewed books lately, all of which happen to have thoroughly awesome female main characters (hence, the above title).  Rather than lump my similar sentiments with what's already out there in the blogosphere, I thought I'd give y'all a quick visual summation of my opinion.  Be on the lookout for more super-shorty reviews this week!

Quote from the book to sum up it's awesomeness:

Goodreads Summary:
About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She'll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace—and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia.

And so Yelena chooses to become a food taster. But the chief of security, leaving nothing to chance, deliberately feeds her Butterfly's Dust—and only by appearing for her daily antidote will she delay an agonizing death from the poison.

As Yelena tries to escape her new dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and Yelena develops magical powers she can't control. Her life is threatened again and choices must be made. But this time the outcomes aren't so clear.

My Thoughts:
5/5 stars!

Other reviews:
The Introverted Reader
Good Books and Good Wine
The Allure of Books 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday is a touring meme where book bloggers share their bookish acquisitions from the week prior.  It is hosted this month by Martha's Bookshelf.  This week I purchased two lovely books:

Daughter of the Blood by Anne Bishop - this book (and series) came highly recommended by Jen over at The Introverted Reader!

The Night Watch by Sarah Waters - this will be my second Waters book and I can't wait to see how this compares to Fingersmith!