Sunday, November 30, 2014

Weekly Recap: 11/23 - 11/29

My Super Exciting Life 

My week has been largely uneventful, which, I suppose, is a good thing. My brother came to stay last Sunday night, which was a lot of fun! He ended up coming back to stay again after Thanksgiving dinner. We did a lot of Black Friday shopping and played some Disney Infinity. One (two) of the things I got this weekend are:

Both were on my Christmas list, so here's hoping no one actually buys them!

Black Friday shopping was not the only shopping going on this weekend! About a year and a half ago, my husband and I moved and had to downsize to a queen-sized bed. While a lot of people don't mind not sleeping in a giant bed, my husband is 6'3" and we have two dogs - we need a giant bed. After moving yet again, we were FINALLY able to go purchase a new one from Sleep Number.

I also had a ton of homework to deal with over Thanksgiving break (seriously, who does that)? While I did get most of it done, I have quite a bit left to figure out before Monday. Oh well. Such is life. One more semester to go!

New Books Finds

Early this week I went shopping on my Kindle. Most of my finds were free this week!


And then Black Friday happened... My brother and I were outside of Barnes and Noble 20 minutes before it opened with five other book nerds who were wrapped in blankets. I got inside and knew I was in big trouble. There were SO many that I wanted! But I ended up settling for these three (I actually got one for my husband, but I can't share it with you until after Christmas in case he finds his way to this page). Dan Brown is one of my favorite authors of all time and this is an illustrated copy of Inferno! It was 20% off and I had a 30% off coupon, so I got it for $22.

In Case You Missed It

Monday Book Review of The Maze Runner
I also participated in a cover reveal of Atlantis Rising on Monday
I shared my Winter TBR list for Top Ten Tuesday
I featured The Rules for Waiting on Wednesday
On Thursday I was lazy and posted a picture of my dog wearing Skylanders
For Feature & Follow Friday I shared my favorite death scene
On Saturday I shared a recipe for no bake PB cookies

This Week I Read...

Man, it's nice to have free time.


Upcoming Reviews

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Recipe: No Bake PB Cookie

The past few days have been a flurry of delicious food and this one of my all-time favorites! No-bake peanut butter cookies! Because I am a kind and gracious person (*cough*) I thought I would share the recipe I used for my very first batch ever.

No Bake PB Cookies
Originally posted at Streaming Gourmet.
Prep time: 5 minutes | Cook time: 5 minutes  
Total time: 10 minutes

2 c granulated white sugar
5 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 stick butter
1/2 c milk (I used evaporated)
1/2 c creamy peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla
3 c old fashioned Quaker oats

Cooking Directions
In a medium saucepan stir the sugar, cocoa, butter, and milk together. Over medium-high heat, bring it to a boil, stirring to help the butter melt. Boiling means that there are bubbles all the way across the top of the liquid. Start your stopwatch now and boil it for exactly 1 minute. Remove from heat and quickly add the peanut butter, vanilla and oatmeal and stir to combine.

Working quickly, drop spoonfuls of the mixture onto a sheet of waxed paper. They will cool and harden within a few minutes. Voila. You're done!
So there you have it, folks! I hope your holiday was amazing and that you got to enjoy lots of yummy goodness!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Feature & Follow Friday #26: Favorite Death Scene

Happy Friday, fellow book lovers! Feature & Follow is a blog hop hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. The goal of Feature & Follow is to meet new bloggers, make friends, and gain readers.

This Week's Question: 

Describe your favorite book character death scene.
Why is it your favorite? Was it a villain or a hero?
What made it so good?


My favorite death scene ever is that of Dr. Kells from the Mara Dyer series. I was so freaking thrilled when Mara finally started accepting her abilities and used them to take revenge on all the people who screwed her over. And Kells was the worst. YES.

Happy Thanksgiving!

I don't have a "real" post for today. Instead, here's a series of photos of my dog with an ever increasing number of Skylanders on her sleeping body:

Happy Thanksgiving!!
(enjoy your noms)

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday #25: The Rules by Nancy Holder & Debbie Viguié

Happy Wednesday, fellow book lovers! This week's "can't wait to read" is:

The Rules
by Nancy Holder & Debbie Viguié 
Publication Date: June 23, 2015

Narrated by alternating unreliable narrators, this dark thriller will have readers on the edge of their seats. No one is safe and everyone is a suspect. It's Saw meets I Know What You Did Last Summer.

Junior Robin Brisset has no idea what she's in for when she accepts an invitation to one of Callabrese High's most exclusive parties. And when the trademark scavenger hunt begins, Robin must go against every rule she's lived by to survive. 

"Dark thriller... It's Saw meets I Know What You Did Last Summer." I'm sold. That's really all I can say about that.

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday #21: Winter TBR List

Today's Topic: 
 Top Ten Books On My Winter TBR

Honestly, I don't even know how to narrow this down to "Winter TBR" because I basically just have a monster list. And I'm a mood reader. Just because I say something will be read this winter does not make it true. But here's what I think I'm going to read this winter! Some are new releases and some I'm just way behind on...

Cress by Marissa Meyer
Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
Doll Bones by Holly Black
Ensnared by A.G. Howard
The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson


Nocte by Courtney Cole
The Selection by Kiera Cass
The Terror by Dan Simmons
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish -  a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers. Each week they post a new Top Ten list and everyone is welcome to join. Click here to get involved!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Cover Reveal: Atlantis Rising by Gloria Craw

Title: Atlantis Rising
Author: Gloria Craw
Publication Date: January 6, 2015
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Pages: 352
Add to Goodreads

I am different. I have always been different, but no one can know or my life will be in danger. So I hide in plain sight, wearing drab clothes and thick glasses and trying to be invisible. I’m so good at hiding, no one has ever noticed me. Until Ian…the mysterious and oh-so-cute boy I know I need to avoid.

Now I have been seen. And more terrifying still, I am wanted—by those who would protect me and those who would destroy everything and everyone I love. But if they’re all terrified about who I am, wait until they see what I can do…

About the Author

Gloria Craw grew up in the desert southwest, inspired every day by the wide skies and rich colors around her. After high school, she attended the University of Utah where she majored and got a degree in anthropology. These days, she lives in the ‘burbs’ just outside of Seattle, Washington where she is the shepherd of a husband, four daughters and a very hairy dog. 

Author Links:
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Audiobook Review: The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Title: The Maze Runner (Maze Runner #1)
Author: James Dashner
Publication Date: October 6, 2009
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Pages: 374
Add to Goodreads

Review for 2

If you ain’t scared, you ain’t human.

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He’s surrounded by strangers—boys whose memories are also gone.

Nice to meet ya, shank. Welcome to the Glade.

Outside the towering stone walls that surround the Glade is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It’s the only way out—and no one’s ever made it through alive.

Everything is going to change.

Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying.

Remember. Survive. Run. 

The entire time I was reading The Maze Runner one thought kept cycling through my mind: how is the movie even called "The Maze Runner"? Because, you see, I saw the movie first. I kept meaning to pick up the book, but something always got in the way. When the movie came out, I wanted to read the book first, but, you know, life happened. I went into the film and absolutely loved every second of it! So I of course made time for the book as soon as possible. My conclusion is that I probably would have hated the movie had I read the book first. Probably.

The Maze Runner, while slow at times, was actually pretty amazing. It begins with Thomas, the main character, in a pitch black box with no idea of where he is (or where he came from) and immediately I just had to know what happened next! I had kind of a hard time accepting the differences from the movie, but once I got over it I was hooked.

The most difficult thing to get over was the changes in the characters. The most obvious difference (and this is probably because I listened to the audiobook) was Alby. Hearing his southern accent was totally off-putting, as was his jerk attitude. I did enjoy getting to know Minho and Newt immensely, however. I also really appreciated the relationship between Thomas and Teresa a lot - especially their special ability that obviously wasn't mentioned in the film.

The world of The Maze Runner seemed a lot more interesting than the one I saw on the big screen. I loved the way the Glade and the Maze were described. It makes me wonder why they changed SO MUCH in the film when the book had already done such a great job! The Glade in the book was so jarringly different from the real world that it made me a little uncomfortable just reading about it. The Maze itself was also much more creepy - especially the way out. WHY would they change that?! Overall, things in the book just made a heck of a lot more sense. The movie left me with a million questions (which is probably why I was so quick to get the book).

At the end of the day, I really enjoyed both, but for different reasons. The movie was an amazing action film and the suspense was tangible. In the book I felt like I got to know the characters a lot better and learned a lot more. The way the puzzle of the Maze was handled in the book made me feel a lot more involved too. I would definitely recommend The Maze Runner, book and film, to everyone!

Notes on the Audiobook
I don't listen to a lot of books narrated by men, so it always takes a little while to get used to for some reason. Mark Deakins was actually pretty great! He had distinct voices for each character, which is always a bonus, and none of them sounded super cheesy or weird (except Alby, for reasons I've already stated). I'd definitely listen to more books narrated by Mark Deakins.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Weekly Recap: 11/16 - 11/22

My Super Exciting Life 

You know that feeling you get when the semester is coming to a close? The one where you just can't be bothered to care about much anymore? Well, that's the feeling I've been feeling this week. Especially with Thanksgiving coming up and the knowledge that I have time off coming up shortly. I have a project and two papers due by December 3rd and finals start a few days after that. This week is the silence before the storm...

Anyway, this week has been a flurry of unpacking and cleaning, trying to get our new apartment in order. We managed to get the tree up and mostly decorated on (I believe) Tuesday night. We switched our color from red and green to silver and blue. Only after we began decorating it did I realize that our tree is basically in the Frozen color scheme. I'm okay with this. My husband even wants to get Anna and Elsa stockings. I've created a Disney monster in him and I'm very fine with it. I'll share pictures once the rest of the living room is fully decorated! Speaking of Christmas, I also finally ordered our Christmas cards!

We decided not to go see Mockingjay Part One until at least Tuesday of next week in order to avoid the massive crowds, but the plethora of Instagram photos from everyone who has been is making me regret my decision! Instead of going to the theater, we've spent our weekend playing Diablo, watching Nip/Tuck, and eating Christmas junk food. To combat the junk food, though, we've started going to our neighborhood gym.

A few months ago I found out I have a knee condition which means I really can't run as much as I used to. But when I saw my doctor last week I was told to try a knee sleeve. I'll never be able to run a half marathon, but I am determined to run Mickey's Jingle Jungle 5k next year at Disney World! So this is what you have to look forward to when you become an old married person - Nip/Tuck reruns and the gym.

The other big development this week has been amazing luck when it comes to books, but you can read about that a little further down the page. Today my brother might be coming to stay, but that has yet to be determined. Either way, I'll be spending my evening curled up with some hot cocoa and reading a new book or two!

New Books Finds

This week has been kind of crazy as far as book finds and buys go! While I was unpacking my office over the weekend I decided to go ahead and purchase the next book in Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark-Hunter series (because it's awesome), which came in the mail on Thursday. On Friday, using a coupon and a gift card, I ordered The Retribution of Mara Dyer on Friday evening, however, while wandering around Barnes & Noble, I came across a signed copy of the same book! Apparently it wasn't supposed to be out until Black Friday, but they let me buy it anyway before taking the rest off the shelves. I tried to cancel my order, but it turns out I'll just have to return it (and get something else!) when it comes in. On Saturday I returned some things from a gift exchange and used that money, along with Shopkick giftcards, to get The 5th Wave from Target. for free. I may have a Target problem, but I've gotten two books for free this week! 

In Case You Missed It

Monday DNF Book Review of The Appeal of Evil
Sequels I'm dying to own were the topic for Top Ten Tuesday
On Tuesday I was also nominated for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award
I featured We All Looked Up for Waiting on Wednesday
On Thursday my brother, Michael, posted a guest review of
For Feature & Follow Friday I refused to collaborate with a co-blogger
On Saturday I shared my new office and a giveaway

This Week I Read...

Okay, this has been a super weird week as far as reading goes. I've been all over the place, but with good reason! See, at the beginning of the week I really wanted to read Retribution by Sherrilyn Kenyon, so I ordered it on Amazon. While I waited for it to get here, I started Mad Jack by Catherine Coulter. Unfortunately, it was pretty bad, so I DNF'd it once Retribution came in the mail. THEN I found a signed copy of The Retribution of Mara Dyer at B&N and HAD to start it immediately! So Retribution will have to wait... All that being said, the only thing I "finished" this week was Mad Jack, and I DNF'd it. 

Upcoming Reviews


Saturday, November 22, 2014

My Epic Office Giveaway

Happy Weekend, fellow book lovers! As you may know, I have been in the long process of moving to a new apartment with my husband after a nightmare experience at the previous one. But that experience has ended and a new one has (thankfully) begun. Along with our new residence I have acquired a new office. One of the perks of being a Merchant Marine wife is that, due to the long stints of alone time, I get dibs on the spare room! Here, let me share it with you!

Here is a super awesome panorama of my office.

Yes, that certainly is a sword hanging on my wall. Yes, there is a backstory. When I was about 14 years old, I went on a weekend trip with my youth group to Gatlinburg, Tennessee. One day we got to take a trip downtown to go shopping. While all the other girls migrated towards the boutiques, I spotted a sword shop. You can see what I came home with. I've held onto it for 12 years just so that one day I could hang it in an office and say, "yes, I was that girl."

Anyway, back to present day... This is my office. Would you like a closer look at some of my shelves? Fantastic! Because I'm going to show them to you.

My top shelf is comprised of my favorites: Harry Potter, Splintered, Narnia, and Lord of the Rings (and other Tolkien works). Up above are my Beauty and the Beast Jim Shore pieces, my "We're All Mad Here" DIY canvas project, petals from my wedding bouquet, and my wedding tiara (hey, I got married at Disney World - there had to be a tiara). Over on the wall is my one share of Disney World, a wedding present from my husband!

A little further down on my main bookshelf are a few of my classics, most of which are various editions of Wuthering Heights. My brother is obsessed with collecting Narnia, I'm obsessed with Wuthering Heights. It runs in the family. 

At the bottom are paperbacks from my favorite romance authors - Sherrilyn Kenyon, Catherine Coulter, and Charlaine Harris (with a little V.C. Andrews thrown in for good measure). 

My Disney collection lives on my other bookshelf. It includes several volumes of Disney's Wonderful World of Knowledge, various books about Walt Disney World and Epcot, a couple Walt Disney biographies, planning guides, and a few others. 

My favorite thing about having an office all to myself is my ability to show off random nerdy things that wouldn't really fit well in the rest of our apartment. For example... 

Perhaps you're starting to see trends? 

When we moved though, I realized my shelves were running low on space. Not only that, but there are books sitting on them that I've never read or will never re-read. Though I know they aren't new releases, I know that someone else could give them a better home than I can. So I'm giving everyone a chance to take a few! Three winners will be able to one book each. 

The Books