TAG: The How I Choose My Books Tag

I found this tag over at coffeelovingbookoholic.com and thought I’d give it a try! If you haven’t checked out this blog yet, please do. There’s a lot to read including book reviews, awards, tags, top books, wrap-ups and more!

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This tag was originally created by the bookish underdog. Please also check out this blog if you haven’t already…


Click the covers to add on Goodreads

1. Find a book on your shelves with a blue cover. What made you pick up the book in the first place?

Wintersong

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I really loved this book and the cover has to be one of my favorites. The cover baited me from the moment I saw it, but the fact that it was a Labyrinth retelling is what sold me.


2. Think of a book you didn’t expect to enjoy but did. Why did you read it in the first place?

Our Guys

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I had to read this for a college sociology class and given the content, I didn’t think I would like it. It was actually really good and I couldn’t wait to get to the end to discover what was going to happen. It’s hard to believe, but it’s a true story.


3. Stand in front of your bookshelf with your eyes closed and pick up a book at random. How did you discover this book? 

Half Broke Horses

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I picked this up from a book sale for .50 cents along with The Glass Castle. It sounded interesting and I plan to read it this year. I still have to read The Glass Castle too which is now a movie!


4. Pick a book that someone personally recommended to you. What did you think of it?

A Monster Calls

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Wow, when I first read this, I was so emotional. It wasn’t what I expected, but I still rated it 4 stars because it was good. I went back and read it all over again a few months later and ended up giving it a higher rating because I felt that the book deserved 5 stars. I personally just had a hard time with some of the events in the book.

Continue reading “TAG: The How I Choose My Books Tag”

Above The Flames – It Starts With L Book Reviews + Author Q&A with Cassandra Fear & Giveaway!

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A little over a week ago, I started reading Above the Flames by Cassandra Fear. I really enjoyed the writing, so after finishing it, I dove right in to It Starts With L which was just released.

Cassandra was willing to share some of her time with me to discuss her books and writing. In addition to the Q&A below, you can read my book reviews for Above the Flames and her new book It Starts with L. Also, don’t forget to enter the giveaway toward the bottom of the page to win eBook copies of both books!

Above The Flames

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Blurb: Jasmine’s sixteenth birthday was the worst ever…

All in one day, her dad died, she met a demon, and her mother rejected her existence forever. After all, the demon who killed her dad was there to take her, and all because of her stupid powers—the ability to conjure blue flames.

Two years later, she’s happy. But happy never lasts…

After moving to Idaho to live with her grandparents, Jasmine has a new life. Almost nobody knows about her powers, and she’s just a normal teenager with normal problems. Then comes her eighteenth birthday—and the earthquake that changes her world forever.

An army of demons rise from Hell. And Jasmine is right in the middle of the battle…

When demons claw their way to Earth, Jasmine is surrounded by hundreds of fire-eyed beasts. Worse, she is captured by a big-shot demon named Bael. He’s a tricky foe with a chip on his shoulder—and the desire to make Jasmine use her powers for evil.

Amon is a fallen angel with an attitude—and everything to lose.

Successfully escaping the underworld undetected, Amon is on a quest to regain God’s grace when he rescues Jasmine from the clutches of a particularly nasty demon he knows all too well. The attraction between him and the not-entirely-human captive is instantaneous. Heavenly sparks fly, but ideas of romance will have to wait. First they have to stop the demon race from wiping out the mortal realm. Humanity’s fate rests in their hands.

Can two troubled angels rise above the flames to ensure a future for mankind? Or will Jasmine and Amon’s souls be bound together—in hell?

  • Series: The Flames Trilogy
  • Paperback: 396 pages
  • Publisher: Limitless Publishing, LLC (April 7, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1680585851
  • ISBN-13: 978-1680585858

 

My review

I wasn’t sure what to expect because I haven’t read many paranormal books and certainly haven’t read a story including angels and demons with this plot, so it was a fun read and different from what I’m used to.

I was pulled into the story right away. Jasmine is a 16-year-old teenager dealing with a mother who simply doesn’t care about her. An unforeseen wicked event causes an accident with her father and because her mother doesn’t want her, she’s relocated with her grandparents. Ma and Pa love her so much and all seems to be going well with Jasmine as she lives a fairly normal life with her boyfriend Beau, until demons appear and hunt her down. They’ve been released and plan to take over all mankind. Jasmine doesn’t know it yet, but she’s going to have to figure out how to control her powers while she trains to defend against the evil demons.

I really liked the characters in the book. Jasmine, Beau, and Amon were my favorites. Jasmine is very strong and confident and the majority if the time she wasn’t afraid despite all the evil events unfolding around her. At times I didn’t like the way Jasmine treated Beau as their relationship started to change due to Amon’s introduction, but everything came together eventually. It wasn’t a predictable read! It was difficult to tell what decisions the characters would make and there were times I couldn’t differentiate between friends and foes as more characters are introduced. I don’t want to include a bunch of spoilers, so for the most part, I enjoyed the book. I felt like there were some slow parts with mainly the beginning and the ending remaining my favorites. The ending was a complete total shocker.

I love the way Cassandra Fear Writes. I found it very easy to read from cover to cover. I would’ve liked a tad more romance and maybe faster pacing, but understand this is YA. I’m looking forward to the next book!

4****

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It Starts With L

 

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Blurb: High school is tough, and Arielle knows this all too well.

She’s slightly chubbier than most of the other girls and gets reminded of this every day. And the fact that she’s never had a boyfriend makes her prime meat for the bullying crowd.

But then in walks Blake, the cute new boy who sweeps her off her feet and stands up to her bullies. Instant swoon.

Now with a guy at her side, and the promise of a blooming love, Arielle realizes it’s easy to lose sight of what is important. Her best friend, Jess, is on a downward spiral toward disaster, and Arielle needs to find a way to help her.

Unfortunately, Arielle discovers not everything in life is simple. Sometimes things happen, tragedy strikes, and it leaves you with wounds that might never heal.

  • Series: The Letters of Love Series
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Limitless Publishing, LLC (July 12, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 164034151X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1640341517

My review

 

Arielle is a teenager dealing with typical high school drama and bullying, but won’t let it change her. She’s a simple girl from a good family, but deals with a few insecurities about her weight and appearance, until she meets Blake.

Blake stands up for her and makes her feel more confident. As their relationship blooms, everything seems to be perfect, until Blake starts thinking about the future and becomes unsure of their relationship. She’s not prepared to deal with the uncertainty, but doesn’t want to give up. On top of all her relationship problems, her best friend is making poor decisions and her home life takes a turn for the worse. Arielle is on a slippery slope, but will she be able to regain happiness again?

*Mild Spoilers* I liked all of the main characters in the book, but I wasn’t pleased with Blake. He’s one of those characters that at times you sort of “grrr” over, but you still admire him at the same time. Arielle was confident enough to stay true to herself and I loved that. I didn’t feel like the story was too predictable and really looked forward to finding out how these characters would end up. It was a pleasant surprise and not like the one I expected.*

I’m giving this book 5 stars because I was never bored and I really enjoy this author’s writing as it’s smooth and easy to read. This book reminds me of something I would’ve enjoyed reading in high school and I think this is a perfect book for teens. There really isn’t anything inappropriate and overall it’s a great YA book. I can’t wait to read the next one!

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Continue for the Q&A and Giveaway!!

Continue reading “Above The Flames – It Starts With L Book Reviews + Author Q&A with Cassandra Fear & Giveaway!”

Wednesday’s Breakfast and a Book – Warm Rice Cereal – Please Excuse This Poem

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This week I’m playing catch up with my reading due to the 4th of July holiday and the fact that I started reading an epic fantasy last week that demanded my full attention. So, I only have one ‘new’ book to share with you that I just started a few days ago. Let’s get to the breakfast first.

I’m excited to share with you an amazingly easy breakfast cereal that can be partially prepared the night before. It’s a simple rice cereal recipe and reminds me of my childhood. As a child, my grandfather would occasionally take us to this amazing Greek restaurant that was a hop, skip, and a jump from our home. I loved that restaurant because after my meal I knew that I was going to get a delicious cup of rice pudding afterward. It was always served with real cream and an extra dollop of whipped cream on top. I literally think this restaurant is where my addiction to rice pudding started. I’ve made rice pudding at home since, and this breakfast cereal is similar in taste, but fairly healthy.

Warm Rice Cereal –

This is actually a quite common recipe. What makes it a little different for me now is that I use almond milk with it and I prepare it in my Vitaclay cooker the night before. Here’s my recipe…

Ingredients:

1 cup of rice (I used Jasmine)

1 1/2 to 2 cups of almond milk (or cow’s milk)

1 – 2 TB Butter (Make it dairy free by using oil)

1/8 Cup Honey (Use 1/4 cup sugar if you don’t have honey)

A few dashes of cinnamon

You can make this in a pan very easily just like rice. I used my Vitaclay. I’m also doubling the recipe to feed more people. I added all the ingredients in and stirred.

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I used the regular RICE cooking mode, covered it, and set the clock to start at 5am. This way I could wake up and breakfast would already be waiting for everyone. That’s always nice!

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Here’s what it looked like this morning after cooking.

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I seemed to be a little on the dry side, so I added a little more almond milk and stirred it up.

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After adding to my bowl, I added some fresh organic cherries with a little extra almond milk added and an extra dash of cinnamon. It came out perfect and it’s a very filling breakfast!

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Continue for this week’s books…

Continue reading “Wednesday’s Breakfast and a Book – Warm Rice Cereal – Please Excuse This Poem”

Wednesday’s Breakfast and a Book – Nicholas Kotar – Cassandra Fear – Piña Colada

This week I have a simple smoothie recipe along with some exceptional books to share!

With yesterday being July 4th, I wound up eating a few uncured hot dogs, and while they may be a little healthier than standard processed hot dogs, I always feel like I need to cleanse myself the day after like I’m suffering from some sort of hangover. So, this morning I’m having a smoothie and I’ll have raw food and juices the rest of the day. giphy.gif

I was able to find a few beautiful pineapples over the weekend and they’re ready to cut, so I decided on a Piña Colada smoothie! The only issue is that I don’t have any coconut milk on hand. My problem with canned coconut milk is that the majority of brands you find on the market have sulphites and I have a serious allergy to them. You will find sulphites in many foods including frozen foods, dried fruits, dried coconut, bottled lemon juice, grape juices, and pickled foods. They occur naturally in wines and some other fermented foods as well. You can find organic coconut milk that doesn’t have sulphites, but I make it easy. I buy shredded coconut that doesn’t contain sulphites and use that to make the milk. I’ll show you how to do this first in case you’re in the same situation as me.

For homemade coconut milk you will need:

  • Shredded coconut
  • Water

Yes! I’m dead serious. You don’t need anything else. Here’s the kind I use.

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Bob’s Red Mill makes a shredded coconut that doesn’t contain any sulphites. It’s not organic. Here’s the one I get on Amazon. It comes in a pack of 4 for under $12.

Measure out a cup of coconut and add it to 1 cup water in the Vitamix.

Blend it until smooth. Add in another 2-3 cups of water and reblend.

There’s your coconut milk!

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If you want to drink the milk alone, I’d add in a little honey. Also, put it through a nut milk bag to strain it. You can see how to use the nut milk bag on my previous post HERE.

Continue reading for the smoothie & books!

Continue reading “Wednesday’s Breakfast and a Book – Nicholas Kotar – Cassandra Fear – Piña Colada”