Book Review: Check Please Vol. 1: #Hockey

I might have picked up volume one of Check Please soley on the fact that the MC bakes. And baking is my stress reliever. But I did not expect a) so many pies! b) so much hockey and C) to enjoy it so much.

Each chapter is a Vlog of Eric Bittle’s time at Samwell University as part of the Men’s Hockey team. The side characters are fantastic and Bitty is such a lovable character that I absolutely just devoured this graphic novel!

And the ending?! Okay, no spoilers. But holy freaking moly. Just. Swoon.

Believe me, I’m definitely picking up volume two. And in the mood to bake a pie or three.

Review: Go the Distance

Go the Distance was my first Disney Twisted Tale. I picked this one up based on the title alone – especially since this was the book I was planning on reading while at Walt Disney World for the RunDisney Springtime Surprise weekend!

Hercules is one of those Disney movies that I have watched so many times that I know many of the lines by heart and can sing all the songs. And Megara has always been one of my favorite Disney characters – she’s smart and sassy.

In this “Twisted Tale” Meg has to prove her worth to become a Greek god and is sent on a quest from Hera to prove her worth.

This was such a fun read. It took me a while to get into the author’s writing style, but I did wind up enjoying this a lot. One the story really got gong, a little less than half way into the book, is when the quest really gets going.

I’m definitely looking forward to reading more Twisted Tales after reading Go the Distance!

Review: All the Right Reasons

I’ve recently found that I haven’t enjoyed YA romance as much as I used to. However, All the Right Reasons was definitely an exception to this – as the romance for the main character was definitely secondary to the rest of the story.

When Cara and her mom are cast for a dating reality show, they go into the show knowing there’s a payout on the other end. What they don’t expect is producers meddling in budding relationships.

I really enjoyed reading this book – although a lot of the conflicts could easily have been solved with a little communication. The budding relationship between Cara and Connor was super sweet and honest, and seeing how Cara’s mom, Julia, was considering her potential suitors.

I did really like the ending. Although I did kind of guess the surprise twist, I still swooned and couldn’t read it fast enough.

Review and Recipe: Heartstopper Vol. 1

“You can’t tell whether people are gay by what they look like. And gay or straight aren’t the only two options.” 

Heartstopper was absolutely a Bookstagram made me do it book. And while I don’t typically read books that are this hyped on social media, this one was worth all of the hype it has received.

Nick and Charlie are adorable together, and I love their friendship and the story of finding your identity. This is such a sweet, heartwarming, wholesome story – and clean! Yay for clean YA books! 

But that ending was heart breaking. So much so that I cannot wait to read the next book.

Like chocolate and peanut butter, Charlie and Nick are so sweet together. Below I’m sharing a chocolate peanut butter cupcake brownie recipe that is perfect to snack on while you read Heartstopper!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcake Brownies

Ingredients

3/4 cup cocoa

2/3 cup vegetable oil

2 cups sugar

4 eggs

2 tsp vanilla

1 1/4 cup flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp. Salt

1 10-oz bag of peanut butter chips

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Stir together cocoa and vegetable oil in large bowl until smooth

Stir in sugar

Beat in eggs and vanilla.

Stir in flour, baking powder, and salt

Once mixed, stir in 1 cup of the peanut butter chips (reserve the rest for the topping)

Spoon batter into lined cupcake tines, filling about 3/4 full

Bake 15 to 19 minutes (mine took about 19 minutes)

Remove from the oven and immediately place fingers full of the reserved peanut butter chips into the center of each brownie, using a knife to swirl.

Video Background Music by https://www.soundotcom.com

Feature: Swan Song of my Era

Thank you to Turn the Page Tours for including me on this tour!

TITLE:  Swan Song of My Era

AUTHOR: Elsie Swain

PUBLISHER: Okiyoto Publishing
RELEASE DATE: April 13, 2021

GENRES: YA Contemporary

BUY LINKS:

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/swan-song-of-my-era-elsie-swain/1139322877

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Swan-Song-Era-Elsie-Swain/dp/981498924X

Bookshop: https://bookshop.org/a/25463/9789814989244

SYNOPSIS:

What happens when Hope Vale, an aspiring Vitiligo make-up artist who wants to eradicate the market of whitening products meets Spes Zrey, an arrogant Hugo-Boss awardee struggling to shape her Designer dream, as they envision reshaping Asia into the next fashion empire together?

Set in Malaysia, this Contemporary Fiction is all about the grueling ambition against all hurdles of reality to break the confinements of Gender and the stereotypes of preferred white beauty in Asia.

AUTHOR INFORMATION

Author’s instagram: ihttps://www.instagram.com/elsie.ilye/

Review: Cupcake

Cupcake was such a cute read! Ariel, whose nickname is Cupcake, is nominated for homecoming court her senior year of high school And while she’s not unpopular, she doesn’t describe herself as the “princess type.”

The prince Ariel is paired with for homecoming court, Rhys, is the quarterback of the high school football team.

The friendship that builds between Cupcake and Rhys was super cute and (spoilers!) I loved the very slow burn to them kissing.

This was definitely a feel good YA read with lots of different representations. Absolutely an enjoyable read!

Review: A Spindle Splintered

A Spindle Splintered was a fun and unique retelling of the Sleeping Beauty tale. After an industrial accident when she was young, Zinnia was left with a rare condition. The one thing that is known about her disease is no one has lived past the age of 21.

Growing up, she has had an almost obsession with the Sleeping Beauty tale. For her 21st birthday, her best friend surprises her with a birthday bash and tops it off with a spinning wheel. When Zinnia pricks her finger, though, rather than falling asleep, she is transported to another dimension and meets another cursed girl.

I really liked how the author didn’t just use the Disney version of Sleeping Beauty – there are so many more interpretations of this story.

This was a short read and I am definitely looking forward to more if Alix E. Harrow writes more fractured fairytales.

I listened to this as an audiobook thanks to Macmillan Audio and NetGalley.

Review: Required Reading for the Disenfranchised Freshman

I will say up front, I am a cis-gendered white woman who had an average college experience.

Savannah has worked hard throughout high school to make it into Wooddale University on a full scholarship. Except, Wooddale is full of primarily white, wealthy students.

During the fall semester, the statue of the college’s Black president is defaced, Savannah realizes she cannot be quiet and in the shadows during her college years.

I was cheering on and wanted to support Savannah throughout this book. I cried. My heart hurt. I was furious. And I smiled.

The world needs more strong women like Savannah. Women who are willing to stand up and speak up about the world’s injustices.

I started this review stating that I’m just an average white gal. However, I’m an alumna of Cedar Crest College, who had their own reckoning with BIPOC students on campus in the past couple of years.

BIPOC students and alumnae accused the college of using their images and stories in the college’s advertising but not treating them equitably on campus. Four alumnae BIPOC students have launched the grassroots effort named “Pledge Her Our Best,” which states on their website their mission is “To amplify the voices of Black and NBPOC (non Black, people of color) and to support CCC in building a safe and more equitable community for all.”

Because Cedar Crest College – similar to Wooddale in Required Reading for the Disenfranchised Freshman – in majority white, the personal stories shared by the students may not be the same as the other students and alumnae.

Thank you to Turn the Page Tours and the author Kristen R. Lee for including me on this tour.

GIVEAWAY INFORMATION

Up for grabs we have THREE (3) finished copies of Required Reading for the Disenfranchised Freshman by Kristen R. Lee. This giveaway will be open to US residents only, three separate winners will be chosen. This giveaway will run from January 30th to February 6th at 12 AM. To enter, click the link below!

GIVEAWAY LINK: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/1e4a114d56/?

TITLE: Required Reading for the Disenfranchised Freshman

AUTHOR: Kristen R. Lee
PUBLISHER: Crown Books for Young Readers
RELEASE DATE: February 1st, 2022

GENRES: New Adult Fiction—Contemporary
BUY LINK: https://bookshop.org/a/11727/9780593309155

SYNOPSIS:

A striking debut novel about racism on elite college campuses. Fans of Dear White People will embrace this activist-centered contemporary novel about a college freshman grappling with the challenges of attending an elite university with a disturbing racist history–that may not be as distant as it seems.

Savannah Howard sacrificed her high school social life to make sure she got into a top college. Her sites were set on an HBCU, but when she is accepted to the ivy-covered walls of Wooddale University on a full ride, how can she say no?

Wooddale is far from the perfectly manicured community it sells on its brochures, though. Savannah has barely unpacked before she comes face-to-face with microaggressions stemming from racism and elitism. Then, Clive Wilmington’s statue is vandalized with blackface. The prime suspect? Lucas Cunningham, Wooddale’s most popular student and son to a local prominent family. Soon, Savannah is unearthing the hidden secrets of Wooddale’s racist history. But what’s the price for standing up for what is right? And will telling the truth about Wooddale’s past cost Savannah her own future?

A stunning, challenging, and timely debut about racism and privilege on college campuses.

AUTHOR INFORMATION
Kristen R. Lee is a native of Memphis, Tennessee. After graduating from college, she began to write her experiences attending a predominantly white institution, which led to the first draft of Required Reading for the Disenfranchised Freshman. She’s worked as a mentor for foster youth and has interned in a school setting, where she counseled middle-school-aged children. Writing stories that reflect often-unheard voices is what she strives to do. Learn more about Kristen at kristenleebooks.com.

Review: Speak for Yourself

I picked up Speak for Yourself because I absolutely loved Lana Wood Johnson’s book, Technically You Started It. And let me tell you, this book did not disappoint!

The MC, Sky, is fiercely goal oriented. She’s an app developer, which is awesome to see that representation in YA fiction! She also suffers from severe migraines (I can absolutely relate!).

Sky’s 5-year plan includes her education app taking off and making her famous. But when a “throw away” app she’s created catches fire, she has to figure out this whole new world.

I could not read this book fast enough, but also didn’t want to leaves this wonderful group of friends. Johnson has created realistic situations and characters that are easy to fall in love with while weaving in LGBTQIA+ representation, women in STEM, and invisible diseases.

Review: Gobbledy

Gobbledy was such a cute middle grade read. Dexter and Fi find a glowing rock in the woods behind their homes, which turns into a small extraterrestrial. Who grows and grows.

While this is a holiday story, Christmas plays a very small role in the story.

Gobbledy was such a heartwarming little critter – and reading this book was the perfect way to ease into the holidays for me.A little adventure, a little mischief, a little holiday spirit, all rolled into one fun read!