July 30, 2015

So You Like... #16

I'm starting to struggle with topics for my So You Like... posts. There. I said it. I still have a few genre options left, but I'm running out of ideas for more fun posts, like the Agent Carter one and the American Girl ones. But I had a fun idea for this one, and although they might not be the smoothest matches, I think they work.
So you like...

(covers link to the Goodreads pages)

If you liked...


(for a similar setting)

If you liked...



(for the villainous protagonist)

If you liked...



(for the romance and the thriller-like feel)

If you liked...


(for the princess feel and a swoony prince)

If you liked...


(for the setting)

If you liked...

Evita 1978 Prince Edward Theatre.jpg


(for the historical setting and the fact that Eva was originally an actress)

If you liked...


(for the spunky protagonist)

If you liked...


(for the setting and the romance)

If you liked...



(for the music themes)

Well that's it for this post! If you have any topics you want me to cover on So You Like..., let me know in the comments.
Also, did this post help you find any new reads? Do you enjoy Broadway musicals? Let's chat!

July 29, 2015

DNF Review: School for Sidekicks

School for Sidekicks
School for Sidekicks by Kelly McCullough
Grade: DNF
Release date: August 4, 2015
This e-galley was provided by Feiwel & Friends via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: Being a hero isn't always what it's cracked up to be in this funny and genuine novel from adult fantasy author Kelly McCullough.

Evan Quick is a GIANT superhero geek who dreams of one day becoming a superhero himself. Every morning he checks to see if he's developed his powers overnight, and every day there's nothing. No flying, no super strength, no invulnerability—that always hurts to check—no telepathy, no magic. Not even the ability to turn off the alarm clock without smacking the switch.

But then Evan somehow manages to survive a supervillian's death ray, and is sent to the Academy for Metahuman Operatives. Unfortunately, his new school is not what he expected, and instead of fighting bad guys, Evan finds himself blacklisted, and on the wrong side of the school's director. If Evan ever wants to realize his dream, he must convince his "mentor" Foxman, a semi-retired has-been, to become a real hero once again.

When did I stop reading?: 12% into my e-galley (midway through chapter 5, so roughly page 40)
Why didn't I finish?: I wasn't feeling particularly enthusiastic about this book, and the worldbuilding was shoddy at best.

The Long(er) Review: I love superheroes. I love books about superheroes. So I believed School for Sidekicks was written for me. Unfortunately, I got a book that seemed very early in its writing process. The worldbuilding was shaky; I felt so confused about everything. The narration was unreliable. For a kid who overshared, Evan Quick also left a lot out. Nothing really made sense in this book. I understand keeping your readers somewhat in the dark, but this was just too much. And, as the chapters went by, I felt pretty bored.

The Verdict: Not worth your time. If you're looking for a good middle grade superhero book, try Sidekicked.

July 28, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Fellow Book Nerd Characters

This week is all about those characters who love books, who love to read (even if it's just one book or series), or who work in a bookstore. And I have all three types in my list below.

1. Addie from Pivot Point by Kasie West
In a world where books are digitized and outdated, Addie loves physical copies of books even when her friends tease her.

2. Josie from Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys
She works in a bookstore!

3. Rachel from Devoted by Jennifer Mathieu
The one book Rachel loves to read and reread is A Wrinkle in Time. When she discovers there are sequels, she's over the moon.

4. Cath from Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Cath loves the Simon Snow series (which is like Harry Potter).

5. Paige from The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord
Paige loves to read. And I mean loves to read. (As a bonus, she loves grammar but that doesn't make her a book nerd.)

6. Celaena from Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Celaena is obsessed with books, even if she'll never read them.

7. Devon from First & Then by Emma Mills
First & Then isn't even out yet, but I can tell you Devon loves Jane Austen novels. And it's not one of those casual flippant things a writer inserts in a book. Nope, Devon loves Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility and the whole lot.

8 and 9. Chelsea and Josh from Fifteenth Summer by Michelle Dalton
Chelsea loves to read, and she was bummed when she couldn't bring more books on her family's trip to her grandmother's home in Michigan for their summer vacation.
So she goes to the bookstore and meets Josh, the owner's son who works in the bookstore.

10. Emma from The Mother-Daughter Book Club series by Heather Vogel Frederick
I saved the ultimate book nerd for last. Is there a book Emma hasn't read? (Well, Home for the Holidays proved she hadn't read the Betsy-Tacy series, which was quite a shock.)

July 27, 2015

Review: Shadows of Sherwood

Shadows of Sherwood by Kekla Magoon
Grade: C
Release date: August 4, 2015
This e-galley was provided by Bloomsbury USA Children's in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: The night her parents disappear, twelve-year-old Robyn Loxley must learn to fend for herself. Her home, Nott City, has been taken over by a harsh governor, Ignomus Crown. After fleeing for her life, Robyn has no choice but to join a band of strangers-misfit kids, each with their own special talent for mischief. Setting out to right the wrongs of Crown's merciless government, they take their outlaw status in stride. But Robyn can't rest until she finds her parents. As she pieces together clues from the night they disappeared, Robyn learns that her destiny is tied to the future of Nott City in ways she never expected.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Well that was...something. Shadows of Sherwood was a book with which I had to suspend a lot of disbelief. These were kids (Robyn's twelve, Key is said to be a year or two older, Laurel's younger than Robyn), and they're pulling off grand heists with very few problems. There's also lots of discussions about moon lore and a prophecy and all of that was confusing and felt a bit disjointed in the plot. 
I loved the idea of another genderbent Robin Hood retelling, especially one with a biracial protagonist. Speaking of Robyn being biracial, there's a weird moment towards the end of the book where something connected with the moon lore becomes a metaphor for the color of her skin and it left a weird taste in my mouth.
The other characters didn't interest me too much. Key seemed almost like a love interest, although he never was. I did like Scarlet, but I don't remember how old she is and her computer and technological skills were a bit unbelievable. The point-of-view jumps between Robyn and the Sheriff didn't work well for me. Their only purpose was to share information that Robyn could've learned herself later on.

The Verdict: Kind of fun, but a bit slow-going and there were weird plot threads.

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

July 26, 2015

Rewind & Review #42

Rewind & Review

So what's happened over the last two weeks?
1) I had my birthday! My mom took me for donuts in the morning, my BFF took me to a pizza place for lunch and then we went to Barnes & Noble, and my mom made my favorite dinner. I got two books and a giftcard to Joseph-Beth Booksellers.
2) We went to IKEA to get some of the furniture we still needed for the new house. I got my chest of drawers and a gorgeous bookcase. My parents got two bookcases because we're going to set up the technical living room as a library. (My bookish tendencies are inherited.)
3) We hit in a bump in the closing of our house. I was so stressed out and angry that I may have killed a few extra characters in my book. Oops... (I have an insincere apology prepared for the friends whose characters are now dead.) We did end up closing, albeit two days later than planned. We've started moving stuff in, and furniture has been delivered.
4) My dad painted my room Friday night, and all my bookcases were in place as of yesterday. So I've been organizing my collection and trying to figure out what will fit where. I have three bookcases with about thirteen shelves between them, and I still don't have room for all of them (especially considering I have at least 25 books in my storage unit in Kentucky). I'll try to share pictures soon though!

Books Received for Review
The Golden Braid by Melanie Dickerson (from Thomas Nelson via NetGalley)
Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman (from HMH Kids via NetGalley)
The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow (from Simon & Schuster via NetGalley)
I Don't Know How the Story Ends by J.B. Cheaney (from Sourcebooks Jabberwocky via NetGalley)

Books I Won/Traded for/was Gifted
Jesse's Girl by Miranda Kenneally (my mom bought it for me at the author event two weeks ago)
The Archived by Victoria Schwab (birthday gift from my mom)
A School for Unusual Girls by Kathleen Baldwin (birthday gift from Kelly)

Books I Read
Jesse's Girl by Miranda Kenneally (3.5 stars)
Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson (reread)
Dream Things True by Marie Marquardt (DNF)
The Smuggler's Secrets by Kathleen Ernst (3 stars)
Deception's Pawn by Esther Friesner (3 stars)
Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee (reread)
Anne & Henry by Dawn Ius
52 Reasons to Hate My Father by Jessica Brody (reread)
Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys (3 stars)
17 First Kisses by Rachael Allen (reread)
Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch (reread)
Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman
Never Fade by Alexandra Bracken (3 stars)
The Wrong Side of Right by Jenn Marie Thorne (reread)
Three Day Summer by Sarvenaz Tash (3.5 stars)

Blog Posts You Might've Missed
   (From 7/13-7/18)
   (From 7/19-7/25)
  • Review: Shadows of Sherwood by Kekla Magoon
  • TTT: Fellow Book Nerd Characters
  • DNF Review: School for Sidekicks by Kelly McCullough
  • So You Like... #16
  • Review: What You Left Behind by Jessica Verdi
  • TTT: Fairytale Retellings
  • Secret Sister: It's Like Secret Santa Except for 6 Months
  • Review: Bright Lights, Dark Nights by Stephen Emond
  • Random Friday: Country I Want to Visit Most

July 25, 2015

From the Bookshelf to the Kitchen: Chai Sugar Cookies

Lara Jean Covey is the Cookie Queen. Thanks to her, I baked cowgirl cookies last fall, and this June, I baked Taylor Swift's chai sugar cookies. "But, Emma, what does T-Swizzle have to do with Lara Jean Covey?" I'm sure you're saying. Well, I have it on good authority from Ms. Jenny Han herself that Lara Jean is a Swiftie and she baked Taylor's cookies in P.S. I Still Love You.

If you want to read about all the delicious food Lara Jean makes, here are some book links!

I don't think a cookie has ever smelled better.

Chai Sugar Cookies with Cinnamon Icing

1 pkg. sugar cookie mix (but Taylor also linked to the recipe she used)
Other ingredients according to cookie mix
1 chai tea bag
For icing:
1 c. powdered sugar
1/4 t. nutmeg
1/4 t. cinnamon
milk (measure in tablespoons until desired consistency)

Mix cookie dough according to the bag. Once fully combined, stir in the tea leaves from one bag of chai tea. Bake cookies according to package instructions. Let cool mostly. After cookies are done, whisk icing ingredients until you have a desired consistency. If you want it to be more of a glaze, add more milk. Then use a spoon to pour and drizzle over your cookies.

They taste so good!

Have a recipe/book suggestion for From the Bookshelf to the Kitchen? Leave it in the comments below or email it to MDBCnumber1fan [at] gmail [dot] com.

July 24, 2015

Random Friday: More Hairstyles

Want to participate in Random Fridays? Just do the following: 
  • Include the above image in your post and link back to my post.
  • Blog about this week's topic.
  • Add the link to your Random Friday at the bottom of this post.
This is a topic I did during one of the first Random Fridays, so I figured it was time to do it again. I love finding new braids or buns or whatever to try in my hair - and thankfully, I have some very willing friends to help me. But I'm so serious about this topic that I actually have a Pinterest board devoted to hairdos. These are some of the pins on that board.

And of course I always want to try things Taylor has done with her hair.

July 21, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Books With Diverse Characters

I was just looking for an opportunity to recommend some of my favorite diverse books, so this week's topic is perfect! So if you've realized you read a lot of non-diverse books, these ten would be a great place to start.

1. Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley

Like No Other
2. Like No Other by Una LaMarche

3. This Side of Home by Renee Watson

4. Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern

5. Don't Touch by Rachel M. Wilson

6. The Tyrant's Daughter by J.C. Carleson

7. Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee

8. Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed

9. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

10. Endangered by Lamar Giles

So what other diverse books do you recommend? Any you think I should try?