Friday Foodie Affair: Foodie Book Review


 ...where I profess my love for food and food related things.



Brooklyn Girls
By Gemma Burgess

Series: Brooklyn Girls #1
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin

Fantastically funny, fresh and utterly relatable, Brooklyn Girls by Gemma Burgess is the first novel  in her brand new series about five twenty-something friends – Pia, Angie, Julie, Coco and Madeleine – sharing a brownstone in hip, downtown Brooklyn, and discovering the ups and downs and ins and outs of their “semi-adult” lives. The first story belongs to sophisticated, spoiled, and stylish Pia, who finds herself completely unemployed, unemployable, and broke. So what is a recent grad with an art history degree and an unfortunate history of Facebook topless photos to do? Start a food truck business of course! Pia takes on the surprisingly cutthroat Brooklyn world of hybrid lettuce growers, artisanal yogurt makers and homemade butter producers to start Skinny Wheels  - all while dealing with hipster bees, one-night-stands, heartbreak, parental fury, wild parties, revenge, jail, loan sharks, playboys, karaoke, true love, and one adorable pink food truck. And that’s without counting her roommates’ problems, too. Gemma Burgess has captured the confusion, hilarity and excitement of the post-graduate years against a backdrop of the pressures and chaos of New York city life, with heartfelt empathy, fast humor and sharp honesty

Brooklyn Girls on Goodreads, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble
Gemma Burgess’ Website

My Thoughts:

You sure as heck wouldn’t catch me doing a lot of the things these girls did but their story felt real, like it could actually be someone’s life in the big city. I was actually a little indifferent towards them in the beginning but they started to grow on me as the story continued. They faced a lot of trials with their friendships, families, jobs, and just life in general. 

This was one of those books that kept getting better and the more I read the more anxious I was to find out how things worked out. 

My only nitpick is that some phrases were repeated a lot. They were entertaining at first but got to be just a teensy bit annoying. It’s really such a small detail in the overall scheme of things but it’s just something that jumped out at me as I went along.

The Foodie – The common foodie theme throughout most the book is food trucks. I haven’t had many food truck experiences and never thought much about it but this book has convinced me that I’m missing out. Hopefully I will be able to find some the next time I’m in New York. :)

A big thank you to Jess @ A MidsummerNights’s Read for letting me borrow this book.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5

Blog Tour: Tied by Laney McMann (Excerpt & Giveaway)

Tied
By Laney McMann

Series: A Fire Born Novel, #1
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal
Publisher: J. Taylor Publishing

Normal people don't believe their nightmares stalk them. They don’t fall in love with boys who don’t exist, either.

Seventeen-year-old Layla Labelle, though, is far from normal. Her delusions walk the earth. Her hallucinations hunt her, and her skin heats to a burn every time her anger flares.

Or is that all in her head?

Layla doesn't know what to believe any more because if none of that’s true, Max MacLarnon must be an illusion, and her heart must still be broken.

No matter how much she wants to believe Max is real, doing so would mean everything else is, too. How, then, is that possible?

The answers lie in an age-old legend the supernatural aren’t prepared to reveal, and with a curse that could tear Layla and Max apart forever—if it doesn’t kill them both first.

In TIED, book one in the Fire Born trilogy, learning the truth will mean fighting an arsenal of demons, and being with Max will put Layla on a path toward her own destruction.

Just how far will Layla go to protect the one she loves?

The answer may never be far enough ... away.

 
Tied on Goodreads, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble
 


About the Author
 

With a passion for the supernatural and all things magical, Laney developed a voracious appetite for reading fantasy at a young age. A vivid imagination helped set the stage for creating her own worlds and placed her onto the writing path.

By the time she reached her teens, she'd accumulated notebooks full of poems, which led to short stories and finally novels. Young adult dark fantasy, paranormal romance, and mythology are among her favorite genres.

A former classical dancer and chef, she grew up in sultry Florida where she still resides with her family.

Twitter, Goodreads,
Facebook Profile, Facebook Author Page
Pinterest, Tumblr


Excerpt

 
My window opened easily. The same way it had so many times before. Climbing out on the ledge, I found the ground empty and dropped from the second floor—a jump I'd made a hundred times. In another life.

My feet sunk into the sand, and I followed the well-worn pathway through the dunes. Even the strong evening winds hadn’t misshaped the deep gully. The ocean's breeze lashed at my hair as the moonlight glinted off the water’s surface. Seagulls flew up from their nesting grounds. They should have recognized me, since I’d been wandering at night for so long. Wrapping my arms around my knees to block the slight chill, I settled in the sand, and the birds quieted in a tight huddle, the wind blowing their feathers in awkward angles.

My gaze fell on a figure standing beyond the dunes edge, a shadow hidden within the darkness. My pulse quickened, but I didn't move. Another trick—an illusion. Weary of the games my mind continued to play, I bit back tears and the catch in my throat. I should have been immune to them—the hallucinations—the way they haunted me and followed me, but I wasn’t.

Forcing myself to blink, I turned my head away. The visions had grown worse as I’d become older. I’d tried to convince myself they were nightmares—or weird dreams. Hoped for years they were, but only people who sleep dream.

Unable, or unwilling to stop myself, I glanced back over my shoulder, thoughts flooding my brain. Memories I knew couldn’t be memories but I cherished all the same. For years I’d tried to shake them away. To make myself forget.

I couldn’t.

#**#**#

A stone raps against my bedroom window. I creep over and peer through the blinds.

"You’re late." I lean out over the sill, grinning at the boy staring up at me.

"Come on, let’s go before she comes," he says.

I climb onto the window ledge. "Be nice. She’s my friend."

"Okay. Jump." He waves at me to go faster.

"Move, and I will."

He takes one casual step to the side.

The jump isn’t too high; I make it all the time.

He grabs my hand when I land beside him in the soft sand. "Ready?"

I nod.

"One, two …"

"I’m going to tell!" Benny runs across my yard toward me, her blonde pigtails flapping in the wind. "You’re not allowed to talk to that boy, Layla! Your mom said!"

Max tightens his grip on my hand.

"Shut up, Benny! I'm old enough."

"You’re only nine. Don't go! "

"Three!" Max and I leave the ground.

“You're going to get in so much trouble.” Benny’s yell rings in the distance.

Our feet touch down in the wet grass of the Otherworld, icy sea air whipping at my face.

"Hopefully, she won’t follow us again." Max lets go of my hand.

"She won’t. I told her not to." I lead the way down the cliff face to the ocean.

"She never listens to you."

 

Tour Giveaway
 
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Banned Books Week Guest Post #2: Cheryl Rainfield

A big thank you to Cheryl Rainfield for stopping by today to talk about banned books!




Books Are Powerful—Which Is Probably Why Some People Try To Ban Them

By Cheryl Rainfield, award-winning author of STAINED, SCARS, and HUNTED.


I don’t understand why anyone thinks it’s okay to ban a book—and keep that book out of the hands of someone who might need it. Books save lives. They can provide escape and relief from pain. They can help deepen understanding and compassion. And they can bring needed, positive change to the world. Perhaps that’s why some people try to ban and challenge books. Maybe they are afraid. 

I understand fear. I was afraid for most of my life—terrified that I would be murdered the way I saw other kids be murdered at the hands of my parents and other cult members. Some people who ban books talk about needing to protect children. I understand the need to protect others, too—from rape, abuse, and torture. From homophobia and racism and sexism. From oppression. But I don’t understand trying to prevent others from reading books about those issues (or for any other reason). Books that will help others lessen their own pain by feeling less alone, by knowing someone else understands, by finding hope and healing. Books that can increase compassion and empathy for the reader themselves or for people that they know. 

I don’t understand someone trying to ban a book…unless prejudice has taken root so deeply that they can’t see beyond their hate. Or unless there’s something that person can’t face themselves, some dark pain or trauma that they’re turning away from, that they don’t want opened up to the world. But even then I don’t understand trying to keep a book from others, a book that can be a doorway or a window that another person needs. If a book hurts or offends or scares someone, they can put it down. They don’t have to try to keep it from others. 

Books are ways to increase empathy, compassion, and greater understanding in the world through an enjoyable means—storytelling. Books can be an escape when someone desperately needs it, and they can be a life-saving affirmation that you’re not alone in your pain, you can survive because other people have, and it will get better. Healing can happen. 

Maybe some book banners don’t want to know another’s pain or experience that feels greatly different from their own; they want to keep themselves buffered behind the walls they’ve built for themselves. They have the right to do that as long as it doesn’t hurt someone else. But keeping a book from reaching others who need it is a way of hurting them. A book that is painful or frightening for one person can save the life of another, and it may be the only empathy or validation that that person might have. I didn’t have any safe people to turn to when I was growing up; books were my safety. If I hadn’t had books, I’m not sure I could have survived.

 My own book SCARS has been challenged in a few ways. And now just before STAINED comes out I worry that it will happen again. Because STAINED has Sarah, a strong-girl character who survives bullying, abduction, rape, and having her life threatened. She not only survives these things, she also finds a way to save herself and the people she loves. And there are queer characters who help her at a critical point in the book—queer characters who are just a normal, everyday part of the story. All things that people who ban books don’t seem to want others to read about.

The experiences and emotions in STAINED are very real and very raw because I drew on my own trauma experience and emotional truth to write them. I also drew on my own strength, healing, and hope, infusing that into the story. I try to make a positive, healing difference in the world through my books, even as my books entertain. And I know from the many letters I’ve received and still get from readers that my books have helped them to stop cutting, get help, know they’re not alone, or even keep from killing themselves.

Books are powerful. They’re a way to know that we are not alone even when we feel we are. They’re a way to step into someone else’s soul for a few hours, lessen hatred and prejudice, open up discussion and insight, mend wounds. They’re a way to shine light on horrific things that are happening in our world that we need to right. And they can spark the desire in others to make positive change happen. Maybe that’s why they scare some people. The power of books is vast.

But if we want this world to be a kinder, gentler place for us all, a world where people stop oppression and find greater joy, we have to stop the banning of books, of ideas and empathy, the roots of positive change. We have to make noise when someone tries to ban or challenge a book, and we have to keep reading, filling our minds and souls with words that touch us.




Stained on Goodreads, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble
Scars on Goodreads, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble

Cheryl Rainfield's Website, Twitter, and Facebook


Click here to enter my giveaway for a copy of Stained OR Scars.

Click here to follow the STAINED Blog Tour that's currently happening.

Click here to read a poem Cheryl wrote about Banned Books


Click here for a STAINED Early Reader Contest from Cheryl. The below is copied from her blog.


If you pre-order STAINED or buy it any day in October, you will get these bonuses:

AND you’ll be entered to win:
The grand prize...


Banned Books Week Guest Post: Brigid Kemmerer


I’m a big fan of Brigid Kemmerer’s Elemental Series so I’m thrilled that she agreed to stop by At Random
for Banned Books Week. So without further ado I’ll hand it over to her…



Banned Books Week: Adding a gay character to a cast of alpha males

Hi, guys! I’m going to be honest right out of the gate: I have no idea what to say here. Bear with me and I’ll see if I can make it interesting.

If you have no idea who I am (and if you’re still reading), my name is Brigid Kemmerer, and I write The Elemental Series for Kensington Books. My series follows a family of four brothers who control the elements of Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. Their parents are dead, and the head of the household is twenty-three-year-old Michael Merrick (Earth), who took over his parents landscaping business. He’s rough and gruff and has a heart of gold under all his anger and impatience. After Michael come seventeen-year-old twins Gabriel (Fire) and Nicholas (Air). Gabriel is full of piss and vinegar and is the type of guy to punch first and ask questions later. Nicholas is bookish and kind, and balances his brother’s aggression. Finishing up the family is sixteen-year-old Chris (Water), who’s thoughtful and brooding and trying to figure out how he fits in with his brothers.

The Merrick brothers are marked for death because of their abilities. They’re bullied at school, they fight with each other as much as they get along, and because they’ve been raised by a brother not much older than they are, they’re rough cut and moody. I try very hard to balance the supernatural elements in my story with a realistic portrayal of what it’s like to be a middle class teenager, so they’re struggling with school and girlfriends right along with figuring out how to control their powers. Each book follows a different brother, so the reader gets to see all sides of a character: from his own internal thoughts to those of each person around him. It’s been a lot of fun to write, and the characters have been very clear in my head since day one.

So basically, I knew Nick Merrick was gay when I first started writing the books.

His brothers have no idea.

When I wrote the first book (which featured Chris), I was pretty sure Nick was gay, but I felt limited in two ways: One, I hadn’t sold a novel yet, and I was afraid to take too much of a risk. I already had swearing and date rape in Storm, so adding a gay character felt like another hurdle I’d have to overcome just to sell my book to a publisher. This was almost five years ago, and if you think about it, the world has changed a lot in the last five years. Two, I wasn’t sure I could pull it off. I was already struggling with writing from a male point of view, and to add homosexuality to the mix? I wasn’t sure I could do it right. I didn’t want to be clichéd. Besides, I had a house full of these testosterone-filled alpha males. How would readers react to a gay character? I wasn’t sure.

Then Storm sold as the first book in a three-book series, and as each book came out, I felt more and more strongly that Nick was gay, and I needed to take a chance to give him his story. I wasn’t brave enough (yet) to give him a full book, but as I was writing promo novellas to help bridge the gap between books, it felt a little safer. When the time came to write a novella about Nick, I decided to take a chance.

I wrote Breathless, in which Nick first starts to confront his attraction to guys. I didn’t want any shred of double standard, so when I wrote the scene of his first kiss, I didn’t hold anything back: I made it every bit as descriptive as the first kisses between my heterosexual couples. Here, see for yourself:

“You’re going to have one hell of a bruise,” Adam said.
“Yeah, well.”
Adam touched his face, and Nick froze. His fingers were warm, gentle, and Nick wanted to freeze time.
Then Adam said, “I’m an idiot. I should have gotten you some ice.”
And his fingers were gone, and Nick was sitting there practically breathless with wanting him back.
One touch, and he was going to pieces. He wanted to slam his forehead on this table.
Adam came back with ice wrapped in a towel, and Nick was so scattered that he almost said that water was Chris’s thing, and it would probably help more to just leave it uncovered.
But then the towel was against his bruised cheek, and Adam’s other hand was on his neck to stabilize it, and even though Nick knew he should be taking over the holding of the ice bag, he didn’t want to move for fear of disrupting this moment.
It was nothing short of a miracle that the heat off his face wasn’t instantly melting all the ice.
Adam’s thumb tapped against his neck. “Your heart is racing.”
No kidding.
Nick turned his head away and took the ice bag. He set it on the table and had to look into his coffee mug again.
“Sorry,” said Adam. “I know there’s no point in pushing your buttons. You’re just adorable when you blush like that.” Then he was grinning. “Or like that.”
“Yeah, this is fantastic.” Even his voice was gravelly and uncertain.
Adam picked up the towel and held it out. “I’ll stop. You hold the—”
Nick shifted forward and kissed him.
He hadn’t given it a moment’s consideration—and if he had, he probably wouldn’t have done it at all. But now he couldn’t imagine stopping.
Kissing a girl was nothing like this. The basic mechanics, sure. But kissing Adam, there was a strength behind it, a raw masculinity despite his lyrical movement and gentle fingers. Nick was distantly aware of the bag of ice hitting the floor.
Then Adam was kissing him back, drawing at Nick’s tongue with his own. He had a hand behind Nick’s neck, stroking the hair there, and Nick wished he could freeze this exact moment.
Oh, and the next moment, when Adam bit at Nick’s lip.
And the moment after that, when Nick stroked a hand up Adam’s neck, finding the first start of stubble across his jaw.
It was like every thought he’d ever blocked, every fantasy he’d ever refused to acknowledge, was blasting through his brain all at once with the force of a hurricane. Everything he knew was with a girl. Like reciting a learned lesson, something he could do because he had to.
This—this was new. And exciting. And primal and raw and right.
And insanely hot. He wished there weren’t so many damn clothes in the way.
They were going to be on the floor in a minute.
“Easy. Easy,” said Adam.
Nick felt like he was coming up for air.
Hell, he was practically panting.
He looked into Adam’s brown eyes, which were just now searching his.
“Well,” said Adam, a slight smile on his lips. “That was unexpected.”

My agent and editor had no idea. I hadn’t discussed it with them, and when I clicked Send on the email, I knew I was taking a risk.

Luckily, they loved it. My editor loved it so much that I sold more books in the series, and Nick’s full length novel, Secret, comes out in January.

Readers, however, had mixed reactions to Nick’s homosexuality.

Don’t get me wrong: many of the reviews were overwhelmingly positive.

Unfortunately, some were not. Some readers said that homosexuality didn’t belong in YA because teens aren’t ready to face those kinds of “choices.” (As if it’s a choice!) Some readers said I was pushing an agenda. (I’m not. My characters are always true to themselves. When I try to force them in another direction, it doesn’t work.) I received an email from a young man who said he didn’t like Nick being gay because he wasn’t relatable anymore. (As if sexuality is what makes us relatable.) I read reviews where readers said they were done with the series entirely.

Did these reviews and emails hurt? Sure.

Would I go back and write Nick Merrick as a straight teen? Absolutely not.

After that negativity, I got an email from a reader that made all the difference in the world:

Along with many, many others, I got Breathless yesterday, devoured it, and loved it. I just wanted to message you and say congratulations on the success of the series, and also to say thank you. I read that you had received some negative feedback regarding Nick's storyline with Adam, and I just wanted to say that having recently accepted my sexuality, Nick's storyline in Breathless means a lot to me.

And that—THAT—makes it all worth it.

Brigid Kemmerer is the author of Storm, Spark, and Spirit, the first three books of The Elemental Series, available now wherever books are sold. Nick Merrick’s novella, Breathless, is available now, and his full length novel, Secret, will be released in January 2014. Visit Brigid at her website at www.brigidkemmerer.com, or follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/brigidkemmerer.

- - -

Brigid, thank you again for stopping by and talking to us about the wonderful Merrick brothers, especially Nick.






Elemental Series on Goodreads, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble


Banned Books Week: Giveaway Hop



I have a few thing planned in honor of Banned Books Week.  
  • Banned books week giveaways - You're there!
  • Guest post from Brigid Kemmerer - Monday
  • Guest post from Cheryl Rainfield - Wednesday

GIVEAWAY #1 

The first is one hardback of 3:59 by Gretchen McNeil.

Why I picked it

I chose this book because a big box store had at one point decided to not carry Gretchen's other book, Ten, in their stores for whatever reason.

Althought I haven't read 3:59 yet, I have read Ten (my review) and I see no reason to warrant a store to not carry it. Sure it's a whodunit about teens being murdered but it's not THAT scary of a book. There are much worse things on their shelves.

About the book


Josie Byrne's life is spiraling out of control. Her parents are divorcing, her boyfriend Nick has grown distant, and her physics teacher has it in for her. When she's betrayed by the two people she trusts most, Josie thinks things can't get worse.

Until she starts having dreams about a girl named Jo. Every night at the same time - 3:59a.m.

Jo's life is everything Josie wants: she's popular, her parents are happily married, and Nick adores her. It all seems real, but they're just dreams, right? Josie thinks so, until she wakes one night to a shadowy image of herself in the bedroom mirror - Jo.

Josie and Jo realize that they are doppelgangers living in parallel universes that overlap every twelve hours at exactly 3:59. Fascinated by Jo's perfect world, Josie jumps at the chance to jump through the portal and switch places for a day.

But Jo's world is far from perfect. not only is Nick not Jo's boyfriend, he hates her. Jo's mom is missing, possibly insane. And at night, shadowy creatures feed on human flesh.

By the end of the day, Josie is desperate to return to her own life. But there's a problem: Jo has sealed the portal, trapping Josie in this dangerous world. Can she figure out a way home before it's too late?


Ten on Goodreads, Amazon (Kindle book is $2.99 right now), and Barnes & Noble
Gretchen McNeil's Website



GIVEAWAY #2 

The second book I'm giving away is either a preorder of Cheryl Rainfield's book, Stained, which releases October 1st OR Scars by Cheryl Rainfield (my review). The winner will get to choose which book they would like. This giveaway is open internationally as long as Book Depository ships to your country.

Why I picked it

Parents have complained about the cover of Scars being on book store shelves because the image is too 'real'. I'm sure this is the same reason why the cover of Stained was changed before it has even released, the image was too 'real'. Well yes, it is real. Cheryl writes about real issues that teens face. It's not meant to traumatize teens or give them ideas that weren't previously in their heads but to help them realize that there ARE other solutions. Her books help teens realize that there IS a light at the end of the tunnel if you're in a dark place and don't know how to get out.

About the books

In this heart-wrenching and suspenseful teen thriller, sixteen-year-old Sarah Meadows longs for "normal". Born with a  port-wine stain covering half her face, all her life she's been plagued by stares, giggles, bullying, and disgust. But when she's abducted on the way home from school, Sarah is forced to uncover the courage she never know she had, become a hero rather than a victim, and learn to look beyond her face and find the beauty and strength she has inside. It's that - or succumb to a killer.

Click here to see the original cover for Stained.

Stained on Goodreads, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble
Cheryl Rainfield's Website







Kendra, fifteen, hasn't felt safe since she began to recall devastating memories of childhood sexual abuse, especially because she still can't remember the most important detail - her abuser's identity. Frightened, Kendra believes someone is always watching and following her, leaving menacing messages only she understands. If she lets her guard down even for a minute, it could cost Kendra her life. To relieve the pressure, Kendra cuts; aside from her brilliantly expressive artwork, it's her only way of coping. Since her own mother is too self-absorbed to hear her cries for help, Kendra finds support in others instead: from her therapist and her art teacher, from Sandy, the close family friend who encourages her artwork, and from Meghan, the classmate who's becoming a friend and maybe more. But the truth about Kendra's abuse is just waiting to explode, with startling unforeseen consequences. Scars is the unforgettable story of one girl's frightening path to the truth.

Scars on Goodreads, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble



GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED


 

Shelf Candy Saturday (48): Stung by Bethany Wiggins


Shelf Candy Saturday is hosted by A Night's Dream of Books

It has been almost three months since I've posted a Shelf Candy Saturday and boy does time fly! I'm going to try to get back into the swing of things and start posting 2 each month...or more if the mood strikes me :)


 Stung (Stung #1) by Bethany Wiggins


There is no cure for being stung.

Fiona doesn't remember going to sleep. But when she opens her eyes, she discovers her entire world has been altered - her house is abandoned and broken, and the entire neighborhood is barren and dead. Even stranger is the tattoo on her right hand - a black oval with five marks on either side - that she doesn't remember getting but somehow knows she must cover at any cost. She's right.

Those bearing the tattoo have turned into mindless, violent beasts that roam the streets and sewers, preying upon the unbranded while a select few live protected inside a fortress-like wall, their lives devoted to rebuilding society and killing all who bear the mark.

Now Fiona has awakened branded, along - and on the wrong side of the wall.

Bethany Wiggins' Website


Cured (Stung #2)
 Releases March 2014



I only heard about Stung because the kindle book just happened to have been on a sale list I was looking at and I'm glad it was because it sounds like a very good book. I'm an admitted cover whore so I also love all of these covers! One of the things that stands out to me is the detail of the bee on the Stung cover to the right. It took me a while to realize that it's actually a syringe within the body of the bee. These covers just have an overall ominous feel  which of course calls to me and my love of creepy books.


Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

Hi all!

So sorry if that song is now stuck in your head like it is mine ;) but it's the perfect title for this post. There has been a change that I wanted to let all of you lovely readers know about.

Wendy has decided to take a break from blogging so you will not be seeing her around At Random. At this point, I don't know when or if she will be returning. I'm sad to see her go but I can definitely understand that sometimes life just happens and priorities shift. Best of luck to you Wendy!

I will continue to blog here at At Random. I plan to get back to doing Shelf Candy Saturday posts at least twice each month and I'm looking forward to continuing with my new Friday Foodie Affair feature. I have a foodie author stopping by on October 11th for an interview and a giveaway. I also have a couple of giveaways and author guest posts lined up next week for Banned Books Week. I'm very excited for everything that's in the works and I hope you are as well!
Thanks for reading!
Jen

Friday Foodie Affair: A Birthday Treat (Recipe Review)


 ...where we profess our love for food and food related things.
 
 
A good friend of mine requested a treat for her birthday which was this past weekend (shout out to the birthday girl if she reads this!). It turned out great so I thought I'd share the recipe with you.
 
This recipe was posted on Facebook and I just wrote it down and went from there but now, for the life of me, I cannot find the post so see what it's called or where it came from. But, thanks to Google, I was able to find the same recipe on another site so I can reference that one. As with the last recipe review I posted I have included my notes in blue.
 
 
Sopapilla Cheesecake
 
 
 
Ingredients
 
2 cans Pillsbury butter crescent rolls
2 (8oz) packages cream cheese (softened)
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup butter (melted)
Cinnamon & sugar
 
 
Directions
 
Unroll and spread 1 can crescent rolls on bottom of un-greased pan.
 
I would recommend sealing the edges between the rolls as needed after you roll it out. I didn't go as far as to whip out a rolling pin (who am I kidding, I don't even know where my rolling pin is!!) but I did press together any gaps with my fingers.
 
Also, the recipe doesn't recommend what type of pan to use but I found that a cookie sheet worked fine. Which I'm very glad for because otherwise I would have had quite the mess in my oven!
 
Combine softened cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla. Spread mixture over crescent rolls. Unroll and spread remaining crescent rolls over mixture.
 
I did the same thing as with the first later of rolls. I sealed any cracks and I also lightly pressed the edges together so the cream cheese wouldn't leak out when baking.
 
Spread melted butter over the top and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes.
I was in a rush so once again I failed to take good photos.
Also, please excuse my very old, very 'seasoned' pans :)
 
 
My Thoughts
 
I would recommend this recipe whether or not you're a fan of cream cheese. I'll tell you why. I love LOVE cream cheese right out of the package but I don't really like foods with cream cheese cooked into it. Cheesecake, pumpkin rolls, cream cheesy pastry things....no thanks! I really didn't think I would like this but I actually did. Granted I stayed away from the center where the cream cheese was thicker but the edges were very tasty.
 
I will be making this again and I'm sure it will be sooner rather than later.
 
 
Recipe Source
 
Recipe and top photo from My Yellow Umbrella Blog
 
 
 

All the Truth That’s in Me by Julie Berry

All the Truth That’s in Me
By Julie Berry

Stand Alone Novel
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction
Publication Date: September 26, 2013
I received this book, at BEA (Book Expo America ’13), in exchange for an  honest review.

Four years ago, Judith and her best friend disappeared from their small town of Roswell Station. Two years ago, only Judith returned, permanently mutilated, reviled and ignored by those who were once her friends and family. Unable to speak, Judith lives like a ghost in her own home, silently pouring out her thoughts to the boy who’s owned her heart as long as she can remember – even if he doesn’t know it – her childhood friend, Lucas. But when Roswell Station is attacked, long-buried secrets come to light, and Judith is forced to choose: continue to live in silence, or recover her voice, even if it means changing her world, and the lives around her, forever. This startling original novel will shock and disturb you; it will fill you with Judith’s passion and longing; and its mysteries will keep you feverishly turning the pages until the very last.

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Julie Berry’s Website

My Thoughts:

Before I start I have to admit that I don’t normally read historical fiction. So if you’re a historical fan, PLEASE do not let this sway your opinion one way or another. 

Before reading I skimmed the summary and I honestly thought it was more along the lines of a contemporary thriller. I thought the idea sounded interesting…a girl left mutilated and mute after being held captive for years and then suddenly released and forced to adjust to a new life. I was very surprised when I started reading only to realize it’s historical. I had a hard time getting into the book because of this and I said many times while reading that I really wished it were contemporary. I said it enough that I’m sure my friend, Anna (Annaberry Reads), was probably sick of hearing it, haha.

Although it was overall a slow read for me I will say that the second two thirds did go a little smoother and quicker. I was able to get to know the characters and the story did go in unexpected directions.

This book hasn’t made me reevaluate my avoidance of historical novels but MAYBE the next time I stumble on one unexpectedly I’ll be more likely to give it a chance. Maybe ;-)

Overall Rating: 3.5 out of 5