February 27, 2015

Random Friday: Insta-Love and Love Triangles

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Two of the biggest and most annoying literary tropes are love triangles and insta-love. Today, I'm going to share my thoughts on both.

I don't really believe in love at first sight. I believe in attraction and lust at first sight, but not love. I believe love takes time to develop. I am not a fan of characters who say they romantically love each other after meeting only a few times (case in point, The Jewel). I'm also not a fan of rushed love in a lot of books, where they may not have insta-love but they say they love each other or they're in love when they've only been dating a few weeks, particularly when the end of the world isn't nigh.
I think the only book where I like insta-love is The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, since the characters take the time to really get to know each other.

Love Triangles
I find that most love triangles exist to create drama. The two main ones I enjoy are those in the Splintered and Shatter Me trilogies, just because they exist for very good reads.
In the case of Splintered, I could sincerely feel Alyssa's attraction to both guys.
With Shatter Me, both Adam and Warner represent something different for Juliette and they both had secrets that made them better or worse guys.
But I can't stand wishy-washy characters, or love triangles when one guy is clearly the best pick all along, or love triangles for the sake of love triangles (such as Famous in Love, Matched, and, yes, The Selection).

But I can't forget that a heck ton of books don't have love triangles (even if they have plenty of drama in the romance department). The YA category is not one overpopulated by love triangles, as many ignorant people think.

So what are your thoughts on insta-love, love triangles, or both?

February 26, 2015

Review: The Forgotten Sisters

The Forgotten Sisters by Shannon Hale
Grade: B+
Release date: March 3, 2015
This e-galley was provided by Bloomsbury USA Children and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: After a year at the king's palace, Miri has learned all about being a proper princess. But the tables turn when the student must become the teacher!

Instead of returning to her beloved Mount Eskel, Miri is ordered to journey to a distant swamp and start a princess academy for three sisters, cousins of the royal family. Unfortunately, Astrid, Felissa, and Sus are more interested in hunting and fishing than becoming princesses.

As Miri spends more time with the sisters, she realizes the king and queen's interest in them hides a long-buried secret. She must rely on her own strength and intelligence to unravel the mystery, protect the girls, complete her assignment, and finally make her way home.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: In some ways, this is the end of an era for me. In 2010, I first read Princess Academy. When Palace of Stone released two years later, I was ecstatic. And then when this third title was announced, I was super interested. Thankfully, The Forgotten Sisters did not disappoint.
I will say that I began to guess one of the plot twists right away. Also, I found the plot could use more development in some areas. But Shannon Hale writes beautiful prose, and I love Miri and her determination and strength. She's a mature, fully-developed character at this point, and I felt this book wasn't fully about her. It was more about Astrid, Felissa, and Sus, all strong female characters in their own right. Astrid is lovingly protective of her younger sisters, and Sus has so much spirit and strength for a ten year old. She surprised me the most. If you're looking for familiar characters, Peder and the queen have important supporting roles. We also have appearances from Britta, Steffan, Katar, and Marda, but I have to go back to Peder. Wonderful, wonderful Peder. That boy is adorable now that he's past his frustrating stage (which was most of Palace of Stone). He loves Miri, appreciates her strength, and protects her. Additionally, the queen is such a powerful character. She and the king have their cliche moments, but I still appreciate Queen Sabet nonetheless.
Hale makes good use of artistic unity, particularly with the stories Miri tells. However, the plot still needed more meat in places, like I said above. All the right pieces were there but they didn't fall together quite perfectly enough for me. I did love the ending, though. :)

The Verdict: A satisfying conclusion (I think it's the conclusion), and Miri is still great.

Will I be adding this book to my library?: I hope to soon. I've preordered a lot of spring releases and since I had an e-galley of this one, this one didn't make the cut.

February 25, 2015

So You Like... #11

(as usual, clicking on a book cover will take you to its Goodreads page)

reality TV








I hope I helped you find some new reads! Are there any others you thought should've made this list?

February 24, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Heroines

Listed in no particular order, here are my top ten heroines. I could list loads of reasons why I chose each of these leading ladies, but I think I'll let them speak for themselves. Many are kindred spirits; some are what I aspire to be or have characteristics I dream of emulating. Others just strike me as remarkably strong, and well-written, and poignant.

1. Elisa from The Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy

2. Kestrel from The Winner's Trilogy

3. Emma Woodhouse from Emma

4. Linh Cinder from The Lunar Chronicles

6. Gigi Dubois from Smart Girls Get What They Want

7. Celaena Sardothien from the Throne of Glass series

8. Caddie Finn from Don't Touch

9. Paige Hancock from The Start of Me and You

10. Meira from Snow Like Ashes

Bonus pick: Gretchen Muller from Prisoner of Night and Fog

February 23, 2015

Review: Down from the Mountain

Down from the Mountain by Elizabeth Fixmer
Grade: C
Release date: March 1, 2015
This e-galley was provided by Albert Whitman & Company and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: Eva just wants to be a good disciple of Righteous Path. She grew up knowing that she's among the chosen few to be saved from Armageddon. Lately, though, being saved feels awfully treacherous. Ever since they moved to the compound in Colorado, their food supplies have dwindled even while their leader, Ezekiel, has stockpiled weapons. The only money comes from the jewelry Eva makes and sells down in Boulder--a purpose she'll serve until she becomes one of Ezekiel's wives. But a college student named Trevor and the other "heathens" she meets on her trips beyond the compound are far different from what she's been led to believe. Now Eva doesn't know which is more dangerous--the outside world, or Brother Ezekiel's plans. 

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: The hardest books to review are the ones you're indifferent towards or feel meh about. Down from the Mountain tells an interesting story, but now that I've finished reading it, my response is a shoulder shrug. I was interested by the idea of this cult, but at the end of the day, Down from the Mountain wasn't a memorable, fantastic book. I liked getting to know Eva (she was a bit too perfect for me), but she lead us through the story well. I liked how things ended for her. Rachel was a good character that I really appreciated and felt sorry for. I wish I had more to say, but I really don't.
Everything was pretty clean, so that's a plus.

The Verdict: A fairly good read but not very memorable or very unique.

Will I be adding this book to my library?: Probably not.

February 22, 2015

Rewind & Review #32

Rewind & Review

Not much exciting has happened these last few weeks. I got some really great books, an adorable Valentine's Day gift from my parents, and I had several tests/quizzes. But the highlight of the past two weeks was the three snow days we got on the 16th, 17th, and 18th. I got to stay up late and sleep in, read all the books I wanted, make mac and cheese with my roomie, and even sleep over at another friend's dorm. But, boy, when we went outside - especially on the 19th - it was freezing. In Illinois, when it gets that cold, we stay inside! Our provost has no sympathy for frozen students though. I guess he thought we should...let it go.
Sorry, that was really bad.

Books I Received
The Trouble with Destiny by Lauren Morrill (via NetGalley/Delacorte BFYR)
Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone (via NetGalley/Disney-Hyperion)
Rebel Mechanics by Shanna Swendson (via NetGalley/Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Devoted by Jennifer Mathieu (via NetGalley/Roaring Brook Press)
Black Dove, White Raven by Elizabeth Wein (via On the Same Page ARC tour)
Wrong About the Guy by Claire LaZebnik (traded with Stephanie)
A Matter of Heart by Amy Fellner Dominy (on loan from Alexia)
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas (via Read Between the Lynes)
Hold Me Like a Breath by Tiffany Schmidt (via Bloomsbury)
Roomies by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando (via Hannah/ARCycling)
Open Road Summer by Emery Lord
Lady Thief by A.C. Gaughen (traded with Kalli)

Books I Won
Soulprint by Megan Miranda (from My Friends Are Fiction on Twitter)

Books I Bought

Books I Read
Kissing Ted Callahan (and Other Guys) by Amy Spalding
Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson (reread)
The One by Kiera Cass (reread)
One Thing Stolen by Beth Kephart (DNF)
Midnight Thief by Livia Blackburne (reread)
Black Dove, White Raven by Elizabeth Wein
A Growing Suspicion by Jacqueline Dembar Greene (3 stars)
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
The Haunted Opera by Sarah Masters Buckey (2.5 stars)
Not in the Script by Amy Finnegan (reread)
Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley (4 stars)
Brazen by Katherine Longshore (3 stars)
The Truth About Us by Janet Gurtler
The Summer After You and Me by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski (2.5 stars)
You Are Here by Jennifer E. Smith (4 stars)

Blog Posts You Might've Missed
   (From 2/9-2/14)
   (From 2/15-2/21)
  • Review: Down from the Mountain by Elizabeth Fixmer
  • Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Heroines
  • So You Like... #11
  • Review: The Forgotten Sisters by Shannon Hale
  • Random Friday: Love Triangles and Insta-Love
  • Review: Seed by Lisa Heathfield
  • Top Ten Tuesday: All-Time Favorites Since 2010
  • Interview with Moriah McStay, Author of Everything That Makes You
  • Random Friday: Spring 2015 Reads

February 21, 2015

Historical Fiction of 2015, Represent!

So I think by now, most of you are aware of my passion for history and good YA historical fiction. That's why I absolutely needed to spend a post discussing historical fic of 2015 - both upcoming and already released. This isn't going to be an unbiased list, I'll warn you. It's only going to contain books I'm interested in reading. But it's still pretty comprehensive and covers about half the list I found on Goodreads. If you're looking to start your journey into historical fiction now, these are all good places to start! (And I plan to eventually do a post about backlist YA historical fic so watch for that to come soon!) 
February 21st edit: I realized several titles got left out of this post - some because I didn't know about them and some because I don't know why. This list is more comprehensive now, but it still only includes books I'm interested in.

Already Released

Emeralds & Ashes by Leila Rasheed
The conclusion to the amazing At Somerton trilogy. Unfortunately, it's only available as an e-book, but the first two are available in hardback/paperback. (And, I'm just saying, I would totally buy a hardcover of Emeralds & Ashes.)

I'm Glad I Did by Cynthia Weil
Set in 1963, this one gives readers a fun look at the music industry of the era. Plus there's a mystery.

A Cold Legacy by Megan Shepherd
The final book in the The Madman's Daughter trilogy. Not only is this trilogy historical fiction, but Shepherd retells/is influenced by classic stories that aren't overdone! (Book one is The Strange Island of Doctor Moreau, book two is Jekyll and Hyde, and book three is Frankenstein.)


Dead to Me by Mary McCoy
Golden age of Hollywood and classic film noir. Need I say anymore?

Razorhurst by Justine Larbalestier
Historical fic set in the not-so-typical United States or Europe!

Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee
I have on good authority (see Heather Petty's tweet) that this is a great read. I'm very much looking forward to it! It has POC as the protagonists and it features a time period that you don't see much of in YA.

Black Dove, White Raven by Elizabeth Wein
Wein is known throughout the community for Code Name Verity. Rose Under Fire was a touching read, and I can only hope this one evokes the same emotion.

The World Within by Jane Eagland
It's about Emily Bronte! The review I've seen on Goodreads isn't very positive, but I hope it's a cool story.

Anastasia and Her Sisters by Carolyn Meyer
*crosses fingers* This is about the Romanovs, and I'm hoping it's really good.

The Detective's Assistant by Kate Hannigan
Shush. Yes, I know this is middle grade but it still looks crazy good and it involves detectives and spying.

This is the sequel to the amazing Prisoner of Night and Fog, and I'm dying to read it.

The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough
Star-crossed lovers, historical fantasy, 1930s...what more could you want?

Deception's Pawn by Esther M. Friesner
The sequel to Deception's Princess. The first was a bit too reminiscent of Brave for me, but I have high hopes for this one!

A School for Unusual Girls by Kathleen Baldwin
Regency era? Yes, please!

Lion Heart by A.C. Gaughen
Part retelling, part historical fiction, the Scarlet trilogy puts a fun twist on the Robin Hood tale. I'm dying for the final installment.

Three Day Summer by Sarvenaz Tash
Set in the 1960s, and it's not about a war (specifically the World Wars)!

The Notorious Pagan Jones by Nina Berry
More Hollywood scandal.

Tangled Webs by Lee Bross
This sounds like an awesome 18th century adventure.

Silver in the Blood by Jessica Day George
This one promises a Romanian setting, which I think will be highly fascinating. Plus, how lovely is that cover?

Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson
Another Gold Rush story, and this one has a bit of fantasy thrown in.

This Monstrous Thing by Mackenzi Lee
A sort-of retelling set in the past - this one involving Frankenstein.

Rebel Mechanics by Shanna Swendson
Alternate history set in 1888. *insert big grin emoji*

Liberty's Fire by Lydia Syson
I'll go for pretty much anything set in France.

A Night Divided by Jennifer A. Nielson
Berlin Wall? Count me in.

Maid of Wonder by Jennifer McGowan
The sequel to Maid of Secrets, which was just okay, and Maid of Deception, which I loved. This whole series is set in Queen Elizabeth I's court, if that helps woo you any.

A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis
I'm leery of insane asylum books, but this is historical and LOOK AT THAT COVER.

Da Vinci's Tiger by Laura Malone Elliott
How many YA historical fic novels can you name that are set in the Renaissance? I can name zero, apart from this one. I'm crossing my fingers that it's an excellent read!

Velvet Undercover by Teri Brown
I'm trying not to hyperventilate, I really am. But how cool does this one sound?

Legacy of Kings by Eleanor Herman
Set in Alexander the Great's court!

Cinderella's Shoes by Shonna Slayton
The sequel to Cinderella's Dress, which blends fantasy with historical fiction!

These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly
All I have to say is, gilded age New York.

February 19, 2015

All Aboard the Writer Train

Every writer does something slightly different when it comes to how they gather their inspiration for their books, whether that inspiration is for clothing, setting, character descriptions, playlists, and so forth. A recent popular method, however, is the Pinterest board. I follow a few authors on Pinterest, and some of them do create inspiration boards.

Marissa Meyer has boards for The Lunar Chronicles, Heartless, and her upcoming superhero trilogy.

Kiera Cass has one for each of first three books in the Selection series: The Selection, The Elite, The One.

And Sara Raasch has a GIANT board for Snow Like Ashes.

I think it's cool that authors make their inspiration boards public so readers can check them out. I do understand why some may keep them private, though, because I do. None of my story inspiration boards are visible for everyone to see. I've let a certain few friends have access to certain ones, but they're mostly private and not something I'm ready to share yet.
I have two for my Hamlet retelling that I wrote during NaNoWriMo 2013. One's for the original retelling and one is for the ideas I'm developing for the new retelling.
I have a board for my book inspired by my orientation group and first year here at college.
And I have one for my fantasy series that needed a lot of world-building. It's my largest Pinterest board by far. I have clothes, hairstyles, "fancasts," settings, and other plot elements in it.

So let's talk. Are you on Pinterest? Do you keep inspiration boards? If not, how do you collect inspiration for your stories?

February 18, 2015

From the Bookshelf to the Kitchen: Chocolate Bliss Mug Cake

There's this one character I've come to love in the past year. Her name is Celaena Sardothien and she has quite the affinity for chocolate cake.

When I was planning the next Bookshelf-Kitchen post, I searched the recipes I already had first to see if there was one that would match with a book or series. I have a lot of recipes involving chocolate, but this one in particular made me think of Adarlan's Assassin.

Like my brownie-in-a-mug recipe, this is quick and very easy to make.

Chocolate Bliss Mug Cake
1/4 c. semisweet chocolate chips (I used Hershey's special dark, and it turned out fine)
3 T. milk
2 T. all-purpose flour
1/4 t. baking powder
1/2 T. vegetable oil
whipped cream, raspberries, chocolate shavings, powdered sugar - all topping options (I used whipped cream)

Combine chocolate chips and milk in a microwave-safe measuring cup. Microwave for about 40 seconds. Mix with a small whisk until chocolate is completely melted. Add flour, baking powder, and oil and whisk until batter is smooth. Cook in microwave for about 1 minute. If cake isn't done, heat an additional 15 seconds. Let cake cool for a few minutes before adding topping and eating. Best consumed while still warm.

I think this a recipe that Celaena would definitely appreciate.

Have a recipe/book suggestion for From the Bookshelf to the Kitchen? Email it to MDBCnumber1fan [at] gmail [dot] com.

February 17, 2015

Review: Rogue Wave

Rogue Wave by Jennifer Donnelly
Grade: A
This ARC was provided by Read Between the Lynes in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: Serafina, Neela, Ling, Ava, Becca, and Astrid, six mermaids from realms scattered throughout the seas and freshwaters, were summoned by the leader of the river witches to learn an incredible truth: the mermaids are direct descendants of the Six Who Ruled-powerful mages who once governed the lost empire of Atlantis. The ancient evil that destroyed Atlantis is stirring again, and only the mermaids can defeat it. To do so, they need to find magical talismans that belonged to the Six.

Serafina believes her talisman was buried with an old shipwreck. While researching its location, she is almost discovered by a death rider patrol led by someone familiar. . . . The pain of seeing him turned traitor is devastating.

Neela travels to Matali to warn her parents of the grave threat facing their world. But they find her story outlandish; a sign that she needs to be confined to her chamber for rest and recovery. She escapes and travels to Kandina, where her talisman is in the possession of fearsome razormouth dragons.

As they hunt for their talismans, both Serafina and Neela find reserves of courage and cunning they didn't know they possessed. They face down danger and death, only to endure a game-changing betrayal, as shocking as a rogue wave.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: I'll admit, while I was eagerly anticipating Rogue Wave, I didn't expect too much out of it. I was still leery about mermaid books and all, but boy, was I wrong. I'm going on the record here and saying I actually like a series about mermaids and I'm about to tell you why. The protagonists rarely interact with humans; they do not want to be human. The mer world is rich and well-developed, and in book two of the Waterfire Saga series, readers are still learning loads about it. Jennifer Donnelly introduces Neela's POV, which lets readers see the Matali empire. It's not overly described, but I still got a good feel for it. My one criticism is that Neela and Sera's inner thoughts sounded a bit too similar; it helped that all chapters were in third person but I still would've liked some individuality. 
I loved watching Sera grow as a character (despite some reckless decisions that I feel benefited no one). I enjoyed getting to know Neela more, and I hope the future books in the series will explore the other girls, too. In Rogue Wave there were some chapters where Ling was present, but I want to get to know Ava and Becca, too, and particularly Astrid (especially after the events of Rogue Wave revealed...certain things - no spoilers!). There are a heck ton of secondary characters, and I had trouble keeping most of them straight but that's ok. The ones that are important appear in more than one scene and they served their purposes. The same unfamiliar vocabulary appears and I'm still not used to all of it. Thank goodness for the glossary at the back. Reviewing them before and after reading the book helped a lot.
I was worried about the whole "journey" and searching for the talismans because books where most of the time is spent traveling (apart from road trip books) are not my thing. Thankfully, Rogue Wave didn't end up being one of those. Many of the actual traveling details were skipped for more important parts of the plot. Donnelly certainly knows how to not write a boring book. I was kept on my toes throughout the whole story and I loved each plot twist. Those two at the end had me going, "Oh.My.Word." and "Well that's not good," and wanting to throw the book across the room because I don't have the third one yet (obviously; though I wish I did).
Oh, yeah, and you know how Deep Blue had minimal romance? Things pick up more in Rogue Wave between a couple of characters (I'm not spoiling who). The romance was nice, though. I'm still having trouble believing that they have chemistry and the guy likes the girl, but they're both strong characters on their own so I hope to see their relationship further develop in the future books.

The Verdict: Rogue Wave officially cemented my love for the Waterfire Saga series. I can't say I'll like any other mermaid series, but this one has definitely earned its place on my shelf.

Will I be adding this book to my library?: Absolutely!

February 15, 2015

Rewind to 2014: Reading Stats

It may be a month and a half since 2015 started, but there is still so much to discuss about 2014. In January, I talked about the best debut authors of 2014. This time, I'm going to discuss my reading statistics!

Number of Books Read
302, including rereads - at least the first time read or reread.

Pages Read
(rereads not included)
82,603 pages

Longest and Shortest Books
(rereads not included)
Longest: Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas (565 pages)
Shortest (not counting novellas): The Hidden Gold by Sarah Masters Buckey (150 pages)

Number of Books Read by Genre
(rereads not included; DNFs included)
Contemporary: 113 books
Fantasy: 48 books
Historical Fiction: 19 books
Science Fiction: 21 books
Futuristic: 16 books
Mystery/Thriller: 13 books
Middle Grade: 19 books
Other: 23 books

Number of Books Read by Rating
(rereads not included)
5 stars: 22 books
4 stars: 98 books
3 stars: 77 books
2 stars: 32 books
1 star: 2 books
DNF: 28 books

Average Rating per Genre
(rereads not included)
Contemporary: 3.4 stars
Fantasy: 3.4 stars
Historical Fiction: 3.4 stars
Science Fiction: 3.3 stars
Futuristic: 3.3 stars
Mystery/Thriller: 3.0 stars
Middle Grade: 3.0 stars
Other: 2.8 stars

Number of Books Read by Publisher
(rereads and DNFs not included)
Bloomsbury: 22 books
Disney-Hyperion: 16 books
Harlequin Teen: 5 books
HarperCollins: 67 books
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: 2 books
Little, Brown & Co.: 6 books
Macmillan: 26 books
Penguin: 14 books
Random House: 13 books
Scholastic: 14 books
Simon & Schuster: 16 books
Soho Teen: 3 books
Other: 27 books

Number of Books Reviewed
(rereads not included)
87 books

Books Read Per Month
(including some rereads; I go by when I started the book, not when I finished it)
January: 40
February: 22
March: 29
April: 26
May: 27
June: 25
July: 26
August: 19
September: 13
October: 13
November: 17
December: 23
January was a lovely month. You can tell when I started college because my total really dropped. I had plenty of free time most days this fall, but very little access to books I didn't already own. So I probably read more books this fall than recorded but if they were already on my spreadsheet as a first time read or first reread of the year, then they don't get entered again.

I'm pretty proud of the number of books I read, although I'm pretty sure 2015 won't hold the same number. My Goodreads reading challenge for 2014 was 200 books, and I've only challenged myself to read 150 this year. I think that should be attainable, considering how many books are on my TBR list. I'm also a bit of an overachiever. While some people are happy to have read 4 books a month, that's just not enough for me.
So let's talk reading stats! What did yours for 2014 look like? 

February 14, 2015

From the Bookshelf to the Kitchen: Cinnamon Quick Bread

As soon as I started reading Stray, I knew it was the perfect book for this post series. Why? Because bread-baking features prominently.

There's actually a recipe for bookbinder's bread (the bread Aislynn's fairy godmother makes) in the back of Stray. But it requires kneading, and yeast, and waaaayyyy too many complicated steps for this baker. So I found a recipe for quick bread, which is much simpler to make! And y'all should definitely check out Stray. It isn't a favorite in the book blogging world, but I liked it.

The recipe was simple like I thought it would be. I needed some help dividing the batter, but my mom and I came up with a great idea to help. Once the batter was mixed, we poured it from the bowl into a giant measuring cup (it holds, like, four cups, I think). Then we used that to measure how much was half of the batter.

Cinnamon Quick Bread
1 c. sugar (plus 1/3 cup)
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 T. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
2 t. ground cinnamon
1 egg, beaten
1 c. milk
1/3 c. vegetable oil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease a 9x5-inch loaf pan. In large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and 1 cup sugar. Add egg, milk, and oil and stir just until moistened. Pour half the batter into pan. Sprinkle with cinnamon and 1/3 cup sugar (you can mix the two ingredients beforehand, which is what I did). Cover with remaining batter and top with more cinnamon-sugar if desired. (I did!) Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center of loaf comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Wrap in foil and let sit overnight before slicing. (You can eat it right away but the original poster of this recipe says she thinks it tastes better after it's settled.)

I think it turned out pretty well overall, although the cinnamon-sugar decided to erupt up through the middle, which looked very interesting. I think next time I might try adding cinnamon and/or nutmeg to the batter, just for a little extra flavor.

Have a recipe/book suggestion for From the Bookshelf to the Kitchen? Email it to MDBCnumber1fan [at] gmail [dot] com. I'm always up for new baking ideas!