Happy World Book Day

FullSizeRender (1)In honor of World Book Day, I wanted to share a few things with you all! 

First, I wanted to share some of my favorite novels that have impacted my life throughout the years. 

  1. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank – This book’s message and the emotions it evokes will always be relevant to any time period. Anne Frank’s thoughts about war, peace, and love are so intelligent and awe-inspiring to me. I will always recommend readers to pick up this diary because it can teach anyone a lesson about life and how precious it is. 
  2. Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys – This WWII novel highlights the largest maritime disaster in history, something that has been hidden away over time. This raw story will rip at your heart strings and open your eyes to the horrors that people had to live through when trying to survive during WWII. 
  3. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller – This retelling of Achilles / Patroclus’ lives is so beautifully written. From the prose to the details of Achilles and Patroclus’ lives together, I was swept up in this beautiful world within the first few pages. This only strengthened my love for mythological retellings, and I will always treasure this book highlighting arrogance, war, and a love that will endure all time.

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The Whole Thing Together by Ann Brashares (Review)

31123236.jpgRating: ★☆☆☆☆

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction

Synopsis: Summer for Sasha and Ray means the sprawling old house on Long Island. Since they were children, they’ve shared almost everything—reading the same books, running down the same sandy footpaths to the beach, eating peaches from the same market, laughing around the same sun-soaked dining table. Even sleeping in the same bed, on the very same worn cotton sheets. But they’ve never met.

Sasha’s dad was once married to Ray’s mom, and together they had three daughters: Emma, the perfectionist; Mattie, the beauty; and Quinn, the favorite. But the marriage crumbled and the bitterness lingered. Now there are two new families—and neither one will give up the beach house that holds the memories, happy and sad, of summers past.

The choices we make come back to haunt us; the effect on our destinies ripples out of our control…or does it? This summer, the lives of Sasha, Ray, and their siblings intersect in ways none of them ever dreamed, in a novel about family relationships, keeping secrets, and most of all, love. 

My thoughts: The Whole Thing Together is a summer-y contemporary novel about a family split apart, thanks to years of tension and pent up anger. It follows all POVs of the children of the large family, as their lives change throughout the course of their novel. It’s the story about them reconnecting, thanks to these two teens who are not related but are apart of this broken family- in a way (Confusing, I know. The synopsis explains it better).

I was never a fan of third person narration, especially when it follows more than two characters. So seeing each sibling’s lives unfold, along with their secrets, as the story progressed, was puzzling considering each voice sounded similar to another and lacked distinction. But that wasn’t the only thing that bothered me about this novel. What bothered me the most about this novel were the micro-aggressions woven into the story, along with the subtle hints of sexism and racism directed at characters of Indian descent. It proves that authors, yet again, should stay in their own lane when creating protagonists from ethnic groups outside of their own because their internalized racism and stereotypes about those groups will bleed through their writing like it did in this novel.

Don’t believe me? Well, let’s look at some quotes from the story itself to show you how problematic it is.

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The Animal Under the Fur by E.J. Mellow (Review)

32623625Rating: ★★★★☆

Genres: New Adult, Adult, Romance

Summary: Orphaned on the streets as a baby, Nashville Brown, a.k.a Kill Operative 3, knows better than to rely on anyone. With heightened senses and superhuman strength to survive, she’s been raised as the perfect assassin.

The trick to her success? Keeping everyone, even her best friend, at arm’s length.

Losing his entire family in the span of a year, Carter Smith left his ability to love buried deep in their graves. His only concerns now are completing his missions and effortlessly charming the next temptress to warm his bed.

The key to his accomplishments? Working alone mixed with a Casanova smile.

But when a deadly weapon needs to be stopped from falling into the wrong hands, the lone wolves find themselves thrown into an explosive partnership. Can Carter and 3 lower their guns aimed at one another long enough to succeed, or will their unwillingness to compromise end up destroying more than their perfect records? Whatever their differences, both agree on one thing—in the game of lies and deceit, the line between friend and foe is often blurred by blood splatter.

The Animal Under The Fur is a hate-to-loath-to-love standalone novel filled with savagery, secrets, and enough angst to wrinkle the pages you’ll find gripped in your hands.

My thoughts: MORE. NEW. ADULT. NOVELS. NOT. CENTERED. AROUND. ROMANCE! I am obsessed with The Animal Under the Fur by E.J. Mellow because it shows characters in their 20’s-30’s going on action packed adventures and suspenseful spy missions without the entire story focusing around a romance. New Adult novels are mostly considered to be love stories, and I am SO glad that Mellows created a spy New Adult novel, especially because it gave me so many Mission Impossible vibes. It completely blew me away from the witty characters to the ever changing story line that left me wondering what was going to happen next. It was everything I wanted and more in a book centered around two secret operatives who hate one another and are forced to go on a dangerous mission together. 

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32722510Thanks to Focus Features, I was lucky enough to be able to ask Diane Ackerman, author of the nonfiction book,  The Zookeeper’s Wife, and ask her a question about her awe-inspiring novel that was recently adapted into a movie!


The Zookeeper’s Wife Synopsis

In 1939 Poland, Antonina Żabiński (portrayed by two-time Academy Award nominee Jessica Chastain) and her husband, Dr. Jan Żabiński (Johan Heldenbergh), have the Warsaw Zoo flourishing under his stewardship and her care. When their country is invaded by the Nazis, Jan and Antonina are—and forced to report to the Reich’s newly appointed chief zoologist, Lutz Heck (Daniel Brühl). To fight back on their own terms, the Żabińskis covertly begin working with the Resistance—and put into action plans to save lives out of what has become the Warsaw Ghetto, with Antonina putting herself and even her children at great risk.


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Food and Fiction: Windfall Cupcakes (Blog Tour)


Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith || Mint Chocolate Cupcakes

I was lucky enough to be apart of Penguin Teen’s blog tour for Windfall, so I decided to create a Food and Fiction post centered around the book. While the book does not feature any specific food that I could have recreated, its vibrant cover struck an idea into me. Why not create a chocolate chip mint cupcake which will match the cover perfectly?

Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith (Synopsis)

Alice doesn’t believe in luck—at least, not the good kind. But she does believe in love, and for some time now, she’s been pining for her best friend, Teddy. On his eighteenth birthday—just when it seems they might be on the brink of something—she buys him a lottery ticket on a lark. To their astonishment, he wins $140 million, and in an instant, everything changes.

At first, it seems like a dream come true, especially since the two of them are no strangers to misfortune. As a kid, Alice won the worst kind of lottery possible when her parents died just over a year apart from each other. And Teddy’s father abandoned his family not long after that, leaving them to grapple with his gambling debts. Through it all, Teddy and Alice have leaned on each other. But now, as they negotiate the ripple effects of Teddy’s newfound wealth, a gulf opens between them. And soon, the money starts to feel like more of a curse than a windfall.

As they try to find their way back to each other, Alice learns more about herself than she ever could have imagined . . . and about the unexpected ways in which luck and love sometimes intersect.


My thoughts

I really enjoyed Windfall because I am a big fan of Jennifer E. Smith’s contemporary novels. They don’t focus solely around the romance aspect of the story; instead, they highlight familial issues, internal problems that the main characters face, and a coming of age overarching plot line. Windfall was a quick summery read that I think contemporary lovers will devour the moment they get it. 



Mint Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

I really enjoyed this recipe, but I did change a lot of the details of it to create something of my own.

Instead of filling the cupcakes with a chocolate filling, I skipped over that part of the recipe entirely because I was never the biggest fan of cupcake fillings. While I did try the frosting provided in this original recipe, I was not a fan of the way it was made. So, I found a better recipe for the frosting and decided to combine two recipes together to create my own version of Windfall Cupcakes!

CLICK HERE FOR THE CUPCAKE RECIPE (Skip the filling and frosting sections, if you want to recreate my exact recipe)



10 Things I Can See From Here by Carrie Mac (Blog Tour/Interview)

I was s31019571o lucky to be chosen to be apart of Penguin Teen’s blog tour for 10 Things I Can See From Here by Carrie Mac. And for my portion of the blog tour, I was able to interview Carrie Mac! I am so happy to have been able to pick Carrie’s brain about her writing process and her latest story that I loved! Thank you again to Penguin Teen for hosting this blog tour!

10 Things I Can See From Here SYNOPSIS:

Think positive.
Don’t worry; be happy.
Keep calm and carry on.

Maeve has heard it all before. She’s been struggling with severe anxiety for a long time, and as much as she wishes it was something she could just talk herself out of, it’s not. She constantly imagines the worst, composes obituaries in her head, and is always ready for things to fall apart. To add to her troubles, her mom—the only one who really gets what Maeve goes through—is leaving for six months, so Maeve will be sent to live with her dad in Vancouver.

Vancouver brings a slew of new worries, but Maeve finds brief moments of calm (as well as even more worries) with Salix, a local girl who doesn’t seem to worry about anything. Between her dad’s wavering sobriety, her very pregnant stepmom insisting on a home birth, and her bumbling courtship with Salix, this summer brings more catastrophes than even Maeve could have foreseen. Will she be able to navigate through all the chaos to be there for the people she loves?

INTERVIEW WITH CARRIE MAC – Author of 10 Things I Can See From Here

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The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (Review)

32075671.jpgDIVERSE READ: Black protagonist / interracial couple

Rating: ★★★★★

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary

Summary: Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a powerful and gripping YA novel about one girl’s struggle for justice.

My thoughts: The Hate U Give is officially one of the best stories that I have ever read for a wide range of reasons. The political commentary inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement is so thought provoking and hard hitting that it will leave you breathless from the moment you begin this story. I could not get enough of all the issues that Angie Thomas touched upon in a way that both educates and opens the eyes of readers young and old for years to come. If I were to tell you to pick up one book for the entirety of 2017, I’d implore you to pick up The Hate U Give because it is such a relevant topic to our times and must not be ignored.

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