Monday, February 9, 2015

Mostly #ComicsFebruary Reviews

It's one of my absolute favorite months of the year right now and it's all thanks to my very dear friend, Debi!! It's a favorite month for two reasons...1. It celebrates the month in which said friend was brought into this world and 2. It's the month that she has dubbed #comicsfebrurary :D A few years back, me and Debi started doing themed reading months which has always been fun and February just sort of became the month that we indulged in comics all month. This year, neither one of us really wanted to stick with themed reading months, but neither of us could pass up a whole month devoted to comics :p After the way this month has started, I'm tempted to just make this a year of graphic novels :p I thought I'd talk to you about what I've read since my last update which is almost all graphic novels aside from one regular old novel. Here we go!

  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (Graphic Novel) by Eric Shanower, illustrated by Skottie Young - I'm ashamed to admit this, but I've never read the Oz books!!! I've wanted to for years though and when Marvel released these incredibly beautiful graphic novel versions, I knew I wanted to get my hands on them. Shanower writes in the introduction about his love for all things Oz and you know right away that you're in good hands here. I loved this story SO much, I loved Young's take on the characters and it's one that I just got completely lost in. Great for all ages. Can't wait to read the next which is sitting right next to me!
  • Alex + Ada by Jonathan Luna - Holy Shit this book was so good. I don't know if I'm going to be able to wait for volume 2 to be published...I may just end up buying all of the individual issues on Comixology (which I'll talk about in a second). This story takes place in the near future and immediately draws you in with it's beautiful artwork and advances in technology that seem not so science-fiction-y with the technology overload of a world that we live in. Alex is given an android for his birthday by his grandmother that looks just like a human woman and is quickly disturbed that she can't make choices for herself...or is it that he craves more from the technology around him as we become more and more attached to our devices. There are a LOT of undertones to this story and dammit I'm in love with it!
  • Something Like Autumn by Jay Bell - This is the only non graphic novel that I've read this month so far. It's the third book in Jay Bell's Seasons series and I knew going into this story that it would leave me a mess and *sigh* it did :( But damn was it good. I know I've pushed this series on people like crazy with my last two reviews, but seriously...READ IT!!! Such an amazing lgbt coming of age series...I haven't been so invested in fictional characters in ages.
  • The Wicked + The Divine Vol. 1 by Kieron Gillen - Well this one sounded good in theory and I loved the cover art. It's the story of 12 gods that manifest themselves on Earth every 90 years as popular culture icons for 2 years and then disappear again. They cause general mayhem during those years...I was all about this story...until I read it. It just didn't work for me sadly :( It was too disorganized and too all over the place. HOWEVER, I did get something good out of it! It was my first time reading a comic digitally through the Comixology app and I am now TOTALLY sold on digital comics!! I've never been a big ereader until now but I just love the way comics look on an ereader screen!! The colors are amazing and crisp, Comixology has a guided display where you can read panel by panel if you want and you can even subscribe to series which reminds me of the old days of having a folder in the comic book shops where my subscriptions would be waiting for me :) Love it!
  • The Sculptor by Scott McCloud - WOW. This book was so damn good. I haven't loved a graphic novel this much since Blankets by Craig Thompson. It's about a young sculptor who's first and only love is his art and quite literally gives his life for it. He makes a deal with death to be able to create art from anything he touches but in doing so, he has only months to live. Through a cruel twist of fate, he falls in love during those last few days that he has and this is the story of those last few days. Heart breaking, inspiring, beautiful. I just never wanted it to end. So so good. Everyone should read this!!!
  • Captain Marvel Vol. 1 by Kelly Sue DeConnick - I am really loving what Marvel is doing for women in comics these days and I'm loving that they have so many women writers in comics right now too!! This is the reboot of the Avenger, Captain Marvel's story as she teams up in volume 1 with The Guardians of the Galaxy to help save an alien planet from defeat. It was also my first time reading anything with The Guardians of the Galaxy! Once again, I love that Marvel created a strong female character that isn't overly sexualized, is intelligent and doesn't rely on a million other people to handle a situation. I read this one on Comixology too and just downloaded the rest of the series and subscribed to it so I can keep up :)
So how's #comicsfebruary going for everyone else?? Haven't read any comics yet this month? It's not to late to start! This isn't a challenge, there are no sign ups, none of's just reading for fun :) And Debi is doing round ups and recaps on her blog if you're looking for some suggestions of things to read! You can follow the hashtag on social media sites too. Ok...back to the books! Have a good week everyone!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Really Short Reviews

I've read 5 books since my last post and I REALLY want to write about them all but it's getting to the point now where if I don't just do really short reviews, I'm not going to write about them at that's exactly what you're gonna get....really short reviews. Here's why you should read all of these books!

Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed - I fell head over heels in love with Cheryl Strayed after reading Wild and now, after reading Tiny Beautiful Things, I'll just call her my own personal life coach. This book collects some of her columns from her advice column, Dear Sugar, and it's heart-achingly beautiful and wise. You could have never experienced anything that she writes about in this book and come away with a new set of eyes to see the world, but chances are some of this will hit home. To say that nearly every page is quotable feels a little cliche, but that's how beautiful her writing is. This is a book I'll carry with me for a long, long time.

Something Like Winter by Jay Bell - I am so obsessed with this series!!! It really took me by surprise how much I'm loving it. Something Like Winter tells the events of Something Like Summer from the viewpoint of Tim, while also giving us Tim's story outside of the first book. What I love most about Bell's writing is the authenticity of navigating the world as a gay teen, trying to figure out your place in it and transitioning into the world of adulthood becoming comfortable in your skin...or trying to at least. These books are a gift to teens and adults alike.
The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly by Sun-mi Hwang - Oh this little story. So sweet, so gentle, so heartwarming and heartbreaking. The tale of a laying hen who dreams of hatching her own eggs and becoming a mother and getting that wish under very unusual circumstances. I've never been a parent, but I've been on the opposite side of that equation and this story just pulled at my heartstrings. I love stories that use the lives of other animals as a metaphor for something greater and this one does it beautifully with gorgeous illustrations throughout.

Honoring Grief by Alexandra Kennedy - I wanted a good book on grief for
work. I work as a counselor and I'm always looking to learn more myself. I took quite a bit for myself in this little book. This book isn't written just for those who have experienced death, but those grieving any sort of loss...a relationship, a job ending, a major life change...anything that leaves you suddenly having to redefine your world. She gives wonderful, quiet advice on how to truly honor the grief we feel when we have to redefine our worlds instead of rushing through it and leaving business undealt with. It's a book I'll use and recommend quite often!

Ms. Marvel Vol. 1 by G. Willow Wilson - OMG thank you Marvel for publishing this!!!!! What a refreshing comic this was coming from one of the big comic publishing houses. So often our heroines are white, tall, scantily clad, big breasted, long haired women whose looks precede their intelligence and abilities...the latter half of that sentence being the troublesome part. There's nothing inherently wrong with being white, tall, big breasted, long haired or scantily clad....but it's when writers choose to combine those things and make that the feature story of a character that it truly becomes a problem. I am so proud of Marvel, first of all for giving this story to G. Willow Wilson, a Muslim woman, to write; and secondly, for making Ms. Marvel a young Muslim woman herself who ultimately rejects those stereotypes and chooses to embrace herself as Ms. Marvel. And no, it's not just gimmicky...the story itself is fantastic and I cannot WAIT for volume 2 in March!!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

What I've Been Reading

Hey folkses! January has been a much better month reading-wise than December so far, in that I've read more than zero books. Two down so far and I'm in the middle of five others. One day I'll learn not to read five books at a time, but at least the five books I'm reading are all different types of books. I have an audiobook going, some poetry, nonfiction, short stories, and a novel. I should throw in a graphic novel for good measure and maybe a screenplay for the hell of it :p

My first read of the year was Haruki Murakami's The Strange Library and "strange" was indeed an excellent word choice for the title. This was seriously one of the most bizarre books I've read in awhile. It's a very short novella about a young boy who visits a library to return a book and asks for books on tax collecting. He's pointed to a part of the library that he didn't know existed and then down the rabbit hole we go. He gets the book he wants but he cannot leave the library with this book. In fact, he can't leave the library at all as the strange librarian takes him through a maze within the library and locks him in a cell with a man dressed in a sheep suit where he is forced to memorize the book if he wishes to live...I won't go further into the book because I don't want to give away what's a very short but twisted and bizarre story. As strange as it was, I still enjoyed it as I have with every Murakami I've read. This book was made especially neat by it's packaging and design with illustrations and collage throughout. A neat one to have in the collection.

The other book I've read this month is Something Like Summer by Jay Bell. I. Loved. This. Book. I was not expecting to love this book as much as I did. It's one that's been on my radar for quite some time now but I finally decided to listen to the audio of it. It follows Benjamin Bentley, a 16 year old boy through his high school years as he navigates his first love as an openly gay adolescent. The book takes us through high school, into college and beyond. At first, I found the book to be extremely cliche and thought it was going to be another predictable slash novel with token erotic scenes thrown in but god now this novel grew and grew and grew until I was so invested in the characters that they felt like they were a part of my own life. It's almost like Bell went in to this novel saying "I'm going to take the cliches and address the human touches that they come from." I immediately downloaded the second book in the series, Something Like Winter and started listening to that one today and I don't EVER want this series to end.

Right now I'm reading:

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng: This is my current novel and I'm very meh about it. Everyone who's read this book seems to have loved it and it's nominated for all sorts of awards but I cannot for the life of me fall in love with it. I don't hate it but nothing is calling me to pick it back up either. I'm about 100 pages into it right now. Has anyone else had this experience with this book? Do I need to give it more time?

One More Thing by B.J. Novak: Short story collection and a good one at that so far!! I forgot where I first heard about this collection but they're very short short stories that run the gambit from entertaining and funny to extremely thought provoking.

Rope by Alison Hawthorne Deming: Poetry collection and such a beautiful one. I read the first half of it last night and I'll likely finish it tonight. This collection focuses on living life as far as I can tell...the human experience. There was a poem in here about Hurricane Katrina that I was not expecting and while I generally hate all things Katrina after living through it, this poem was beautiful and poignant and much appreciated.

Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed: I've been dipping into this book for months and I'm almost finished it now and I don't want it to end. This is some of the most beautiful and poignant writing I've ever read and between this and Wild, I've fallen hard for Strayed. I want to give this book to everyone.

Something Like Winter by Jay Bell: The sequel (companion book) to Something Like Summer, told from the point of view of Tim Wyman, one of the main characters of Something Like far so good! This is my current audiobook!

What are you reading right now? I've been looking for new poetry collections in particular if anyone has any favorites that they'd like to share ;)

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Closing Out 2014 - The Year in Books

I'm a few days late, but it's time to close the door on 2014 and start 2015 fresh! Last year was the worst reading year I've had since I've started blogging, clocking in at just 53 books. Let's never have that happen again. What lacked in quantity was made up for by some really quality books, though sadly it wasn't all that great of a year personally either and I really didn't blog much about the books I read. Let's never have that happen again either. Right now I have a LOVELY stack of books on my end table that I'm super excited to read and tell you all about for January, so let's hope the passion stays! January 1st is quite the arbitrary day I've always thought...just another day...but there is something refreshing about a new start symbolically, isn't there? It really can energize you if you let it. So back to are some of the books I really loved this past year, in no particular order:

Finding My Voice by Diane Rehm: I love Diane Rehm. I don't know how long I've been listening to her on NPR now, but her show has been one of my favorites for years now because of what she brings to it...compassion, understanding, a desire to educate, a desire to advocate, and a voice that just makes you feel at home. I remember hearing Diane's voice for the first time (a voice I've come to love) and thinking she was much older than she is. I've since learned that she has spasmodic dysphonia, a neurological condition that affects her voice. Her journey through this, her marriage, her childhood, and so much more are the topic of this captivating book that made me love her even more than I already do. She's such a wonderful writer and her story was fascinating, saddening at times and empowering to me.

Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi: Oh I struggled so so much with putting
this book on my best of list for the year. The book is 80% amazing and then fails completely at the end. But it's going on the list because it fails with promise which sounds horrible, but I swear the ending feels like an editor said "hurry up and end it". I was so damn captivated with Oyeyemi's writing throughout the book. More so perhaps than any other book I read this year...and fascinated with the amazing things she did with her characters. This book was pure magic in the most real way. And the ending had so much potential too had she only given it about 100 more pages and done it justice. Sadly, the way it ended felt like a slap in the face. I won't say more for fear of spoilers because I DO still think this is a book that should be read. And I'm so looking forward to reading more of her work. And THAT COVER. Gorgeous!

Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer: I said these books are in no particular order but this is EASILY my favorite book of the year and may just be one of the best books I've ever read. I don't have words for how amazing this book is. I knew nothing about it going into it. I had no clue that it was a book about 9/11 (though it's only partially about that) and I'm glad I didn't know that as I tend to avoid books about manmade violent disasters like 9/11 and the Columbine shootings. I don't like that side of humanity and tend to avoid reading about it. But OMG this book. I don't think I've ever cried so much while reading a book. Yes, it's horribly sad at times, but also so hopeful, so loving, so full of innocence, so full of the loss of that innocence. This whole book is one beautiful quote. This one was really a gift.

Rules of Summer by Shaun Tan - I adore Shaun Tan's work!! His books are works of art. I could look
at his artwork for days, but with his books he gives us amazing stories to go with those works of art. Rules of Summer is one of my favorite books of his to date. It's dark, it's quirky, it's endlessly explorable. I think I stayed on each page for about 5 minutes at least just soaking it all in. Every page turn was like a present. Get this one!

Once by Morris Gleitzman - Oh Morris Gleitzman, you sure do know how to crush my heart. I knew this already from reading books like Two Weeks With The Queen. So I should've known damn well what I was getting into when I picked up a Gleitzman book about the Holocaust :/ I fell so hard for the characters in this book, a group of children so innocent that they literally cannot fathom what's before their eyes. It was a view of the Holocaust that I hadn't experienced before and an expertly written tale that left me angry and sad and wanting to pick up the next book in the series verrrrry hesitantly.

Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer - This might be the first time an
author's ever had two books on my end of the year list! I'm not a vegetarian, but when I do eat meat, I try to eat it consciously. Even more so after reading this book. This is not a book just for vegetarians, it's a book that everyone should read. It's important to know where your food comes from, not just for sanitary reasons (and trust me, you will do your research as to where your meat comes from after reading this book), but also out of respect for the living beings that die to sustain us. I'm thankful to Foer for the time and effort he put in to giving us this manifesto on the lives of animals and how they become our food. He's become a favorite author after this year.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart - SO good! The less you know about this one going into it, the better and I kind of want to read this one all over again now that I'm thinking back on it. A group of well to do teens meet together every summer and share a secret....elements of mystery, thriller, love story...One that you just can't put down. Loved it.

Morning Glories (Vols. 1-7) by Nick Spencer - THANK YOU DEBI!!! This
is a graphic novel series that I never would've picked up had it not been for Debi telling me to! But damn am I ever happy that I did. It's my favorite series that I'm reading right now. This series will fuck with your mind. There's no other way of putting it. I still have no clue what the hell is going on in this series but I'm having a really fun time waiting to find out. A group of kids are picked to go to a boarding school and right off the bat you know that things are a little bit off....and then they're a lot off...and then it just keeps getting worse. I cannot wait for volume 8 to come out in February.

Stuck in the Middle With You by Jennifer Finney Boylan - I really did not expect to love this one as much as I did but damn was it ever good. It's Jennifer's story of transitioning as a parent from a father to a mother as she came out as a trans woman. This is not the story of her transition itself physically, but rather her transition as a parent. And it was so beautiful. I cried, I laughed, I sighed. And it made me so happy for her.

Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham - Oh this one has gotten some I mostly agree with what Roxanne Gay had to say about #Lenagate. I really liked this book. I thought it was an important book and I think that Dunham can be blunt to a fault at times, but it's part of what makes the book what it is...she's not perfect and doesn't pretend to be. She says "I fuck up and that's ok". She explores the gray areas with this book which is perhaps the MOST important thing about this book. There are plenty of books that talk about the black and the white, but not many that dare go into the gray. Thank you Lena for doing that.
flack...and I could write a lot about that flack. I'll just say that

The Supernatural Enhancements by Edgar Cantero - Holy CRAP this book!!! Thank you Kristen for making me read this one! I haven't read anything else like this. It's part journal, part video transcript, part tape transcript, and 100% horror and it just steamrolls with the storyline getting better and better and better with each page turn until your heart is beating out of your chest at the end. And then you say "holy shit" and it's over. Who doesn't want to read THAT?

Constable & Toop by Gareth Jones - Another thank you to Kristen for
making me read this one too! I hunted EVERYWHERE to find this book and finally found a copy at a branch of my library. This has to be one of the most charming ghost stories that I've ever read. And I mean charming in that it feels timeless and Victorian and wonderful and I want to read 100 more books set in this universe. Oh I really would be so happy if there were more Constable & Toop books though I don't know how likely that is >_>

The Graveyard Book Graphic Novel Vols. 1&2 by Neil Gaiman - This is getting really long so I'll just say that I may have enjoyed these even more than the novel itself, the art was amazing, and I cried my eyes out. Nuff said.

Yes Please by Amy Poehler - I love Amy Poehler. And I am going to be so
sad when Parks and Recreation ends this year :( :( :( Do yourself a favor and get the audiobook version of this book. It is so damn good and Poehler deserves a grammy for it.

And now if you're still reading, CONGRATULATIONS! You've made it this far :p How about some stats?

Total books read this year: 53
Total pages read this year: 11,285
Comics/Graphic Novels Read: 24
Nonfiction: 9 (this needs to go up! Surprised by this number)
Short Story Collections/Essays/Anthologies: 1 :(
Poetry: 1 :( :(
LGBT Themed books: 5 really???
Written by Women: 14 :( (Though interesting to note, 6 of the 14 books by women I read are in my top 14 of the year of the year listed above...READ MORE BOOKS BY WOMEN CHRIS!!)
Written by Men: 39
Chunksters (450+ pgs): 2
Average pages per book: 213 pgs.

Plans for this year, read more books by women...a LOT more books by women....definitely more poetry and short story/essay collections...and more nonfiction. This really was just an awful year for me. The worst I've had overall as far as quantity and I'm just really unhappy with my stats too. I think I'm going to stray from holding myself to themed reading and challenges this year, but I may go on some poetry/nonfic/essay binges here and there. Hope everyone has a wonderful 2015 in between the pages!!

Monday, December 29, 2014

2014 In Review, Personally

Ah, were one of the weirdest years ever. I don't have many words for this year. I'm just glad that 2015 is just about here. This past year wasn't necessarily bad, I think it was a year of very quiet change for me. Change that was hard to see and change that I didn't even realize was happening at the time. I think 2015 will be a year of taking all of this change and putting it into action. It's been a year of deep thought on all fronts of my job, do I want to move, finding a balance in my personal life, wanting to date again, money woes, wanting to get in shape and live a healthier lifestyle. All of these things have been on my mind this year more so than usual and I've made quite a few preliminary steps to make 2015 a big year of change.

But with all of those things on my mind, I all but disappeared this past year. That's what my brain tends to do when it gets overloaded...just shut down. And while I think that this was a very necessary year, it sure wasn't conducive to blogging and keeping up with email. One thing I've taken from this year is that I have to take care of me and make sure I'm happy if I'm going to achieve the things I want in life.

This means making time for myself in 2015 to read more, blog more, email more, do the things I love again. I'm thinking of starting a new book review format for myself to make reviewing books more appealing to me so that I'm more motivated to do that again. I read SO MANY awesome books this year that I never told everyone about and hopefully I can do some of them justice with my end of the year review.

So goals for things that make myself happy, reconnect with people I love, get in shape, read only books that I love, bake amazing things, move my finances forward not backwards, be happier in my job however I have to achieve that, be open to love, smile as often as possible, grow as many things as I can and appreciate them. I wish all of these things for all of you as well in 2015...all of this and more :) See you on the other side!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Lazy Sunday With Baking Project Updates!

It has been COLD in New Orleans this past week. And I say that relatively speaking. You people who live in the north would laugh at my teeth chattering with temperatures in the 30s. The lows for Tuesday are in the TWENTIES. I don't think we got into the twenties all year last winter and it's only November! But I'm not complaining. I'll take the cold any day over the heat. Today it's overcast and it's supposed to start storming any minute now which I'm fine with. I love stormy days off of work where I can just read all night and be a bum :) My day would've been much better had the Saints not looked like complete shit as they have all season though :/

I woke up today to a tweet from Dorie Greenspan! Yes, Dorie Greenspan tweeted me! I've been working my way through her new cookbook, Baking Chez Moi, which is amazing and my new favorite cookbook and I got a compliment of "Nice!" on my custardy apple squares. For those wondering, they are beyond nice, they are amazing! Here's a picture of them:

They are such a simple recipe to make too. Dorie describes them as her "back pocket recipe". I can see myself making these over and over and over again. I sliced the apples thin and then you toss them in a batter that you make with eggs, sugar, flour, milk, butter and vanilla and pour that all into a dish and bake and you get this amazing....custardy treat. Almost like a bread pudding with apples. Next time I may add some raisins and cinnamon. I used almond milk and it came out perfect.

Last week, I made her Plain and Simple Almond Cake. Added bonus, this cake is gluten and dairy free! So it's good to know I have a recipe like that if the occasion ever calls for it. This cake is made with almond meal/flour and not much sugar for the size of the cake, so it's not super sweet for those who like dessert but don't like their dessert on the super sweet side. Think ACTUAL almonds, not almond flavoring. You make a meringue with the egg whites and fold it into the batter to make a fluffy batter though the cake isn't exceptionally fluffy. I cut it in half and put a layer of raspberry jam in the middle and I'm glad I did otherwise it would've been too bland for me. I like my desserts sweet :p And then dust it with powdered sugar! DELISH!

I haven't been up to much else aside from baking. My reading has still been crap. I did finish the audio of Amy Poehler's, Yes Please and absolutely LOVED it! That was no surprise. I adore Amy Poehler and her book was the perfect mix of humor, biography, memoir, life lessons and entertainment. In my opinion, the audio is definitely the way to go if you're going to read that one! It's  a true production and one of the best audio books I've listened to with appearances by Carol Burnett, Kathleen Turner, Patrick Stewart and Seth Meyers just to name a few. I'm in the middle of about 100 different books right now. I think I'm going to go back to The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer today...really enjoying that one!

Hope everyone else is having a good weekend!!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Project Learn To Bake Everything

I have been HIGHLY anticipating Dorie Greenspan's new cookbook, Baking Chez Moi ever since I first heard about it a couple of months ago. Lucky for me, my copy arrived a day early! With Baking Chez Moi, Greenspan focuses on French baking. These are not fussy recipes for the most part, these are the recipes that are handed down for generations among families, the recipes that the French cook in their homes, cherished recipes of French chefs and a few of Greenspan's own favorites.

This cookbook is BEAUTIFUL. It's an oversized hardback, over 450 pages and separated into different categories including simple cakes, fancy cakes, tarts and galettes, baby cakes and petite pastries, cookies and bars, fruits, creams, frozen desserts and candies, and then a section called basics. The recipes are very conversational, which I love. You feel like Greenspan is sitting down and having a conversation with you and teaching you personally how to bake the recipe.

Because of this, I'm letting Mrs. Dorie Greenspan teach me how to become a master French pastry chef! It's exciting to learn how to bake all of these things that I otherwise never would've attempted to learn. So I'm going to bake all of these things one at a time in the order of the book. And I started tonight with the very first recipe!

Brown-Butter-And-Vanilla-Bean Weekend Cake. Holy crap is this cake GOOD! Good isn't even the word for it. This is the cake I've been looking for for years. I'm not even kidding. I've been looking for this recipe for years. This is exactly what cake should taste like. Greenspan explains that a weekend cake is a cake that the french make that can be picked on throughout the weekend and is actually better after it's sat for a day. She recommends that you let it sit for a day before cutting it. Yeah you can see in the picture, that didn't happen :p It was still hot when I cut it.

This cake has flour, sugar, eggs, lots of vanilla, rum and brown butter. I've discovered the amazingness that is brown butter, AKA burnt butter. Ok, borderline burnt. To make brown butter, you boil butter in a saucepan until it turns a honey brown color but you have to watch it closely as it can literally go from brown to black in a matter of seconds. Luckily I caught it before it went to black. And then you pour that goodness into the batter and incorporate it. I've only made this one recipe so far, but I would suggest this cookbook for this recipe alone.

Next up, Plain and Simple Almond Cake! But first I need to find almond flour....and eat and/or give away all of this brown butter cake first >_>

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Dewey's Readathon Hangover Day

Well I disappeared well before I stopped reading yesterday. This was the first readathon that I've ever had real sleep problems the night before. Me and a 7 AM start time NEVER get along well as my usual wake up time is noon. I'm just not a morning person AT ALL. But seeing as my body seemed to think that it was taking a nap when I went to bed at 10 the night before the readathon and I only got about 4 hours of broken sleep, I just didn't feel right the whole day. But I still had a hell of a good time. As usual, I missed Dewey a hell of a lot yesterday. The readathons tend to bring out a bunch of people at the same time that all used to blog back then and seeing everyone together throughout the day just brings me back to that time and makes me think of her. And I also have a tendency to go back and read some of my old posts from when Dewey was around during the readathons and it's still just hard to believe that she's NOT around anymore. That one day she was commenting on my posts and then one day there was just silence. She had a personality that can't and won't and shouldn't ever be replaced. 

I'm so damn thankful though to Heather and Andi for continuing on the readathon in her tradition though. Seriously....there's not enough words for what you two ladies do. It's so much more than just this event. It's the sense of community, the memories, the entertainment, and of course the hard hard work that you all do. You two are amazing and I love you to death! 

So I ended up reading three books total and I started two more. My downfall was reading nonfiction. Should've never gone there, ESPECIALLY after reading something as awesome as The Graveyard Book graphic novels. Anything would've been hard to read after those books. And it's not even that the book was BAD! I started Smoke Gets In Your Eyes by Caitlyn Doughty and I'm actually really loving it, but I've learned that nonfiction requires a totally different part of your brain to process it and that part of my brain was not a happy camper after about 16 hours of reading. So then I moved over to The Last Policeman by Ben Winters and that went MUCH better but I only read 100 pages before calling it a night at about 2 in the morning. I actually started reading at 5 in the morning (2 hours before the start) as I had woken up at 4 :/ My total page count for the day was 872 pgs. which is actually my worst in readathon history but I'm ok with that as my goal yesterday was just to have fun!

Here's my end of event meme:

1. Which hour was most daunting for you?

Probably right at about hour 16 for me...I started crashing hard and picked the totally wrong book AND was coming off of the high of a totally awesome book which would've been hard to follow with anything.

2. Could you list a few high interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?

Constable & Toop by Gareth Jones was incredibly awesome and so good that I flew through it and The Graveyard Book graphic novels by Neil Gaiman were so. damn. good. As in, I may have liked them even better than the novel novel. Which is saying a LOT.

3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the readathon next year?

Nope! Just keep doing what you're doing :)

4. What do you think worked really well in this year's readathon?

Like I said above, no complaints here. I think everything worked great. I really love the sense of community during these events and I think that just gets better each year!

5. How many books did you read?

I completed 3: Constable & Toop by Gareth Jones and The Graveyard Book Graphic Novel Vols 1&2 by Neil Gaiman and I read about 100 pages each of Smoke Gets in Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty and The Last Policeman by Ben Winters

6. What were the names of the books you read? the questions first Chris....see above.

7. Which book did you enjoy most?

Definitely the Graveyard Book graphic novels

8. Which did you enjoy least?

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes but only because it wasn't right for this event. I fully intend to finish it and enjoy the hell out of it. It's a fascinating and often hilarious book, but not for 16 hours into a readathon.

9. N/A for me

10. How likely are you to participate again? What role will you be likely to take? 

I will definitely be a READER again in April :)

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Dewey's Readathon Update The Seventh!

Currently Reading: Smoke Gets In Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty

Total Pages Read Since Last Update: 54

Total Pages Read Cumulative: 739

Total Books Read: 3 (Constable & Toop by Gareth P. Jones, The Graveyard Book Graphic Novel Vol. 1 by Neil Gaiman, The Graveyard Book Graphic Novel Vol. 2 by Neil Gaiman)

Time Spent Reading Since Last Update: 58 Minutes

Total Time Spent Reading: 8 Hours 41 Minutes

Drinks Consumed: 2 big glasses of water, 1 iced mocha, 1 pepsi, half pumpkin spiced latte

Food Eaten: A waffle and fried ham, cheese dip with chips, turkey and broccoli rice, sugar cookie

Progress Report: Still here. I'm in that meh phase right now. I finally ate a real meal...left over turkey and rice from last night and then got out of the house for a bit and got a pumpkin spiced latte which was made WAY too sweet and I could only drink half of it. I started reading Smoke Gets In Your Eyes which is very entertaining and interesting but it's rough going from a graphic novel that you absolutely adore to nonfiction for a readathon. Honestly, I think it would be hard to follow up The Graveyard Book with anything though. I'm thinking I'm going to go soak in the tub with some epsom salts and my book for a bit. Laying around all day has my body in knots right now! Be back a little later!

Dewey's Readathon Update The Sixth!

Currently Reading: Nothing at the moment

Total Pages Read Since Last Update: 242

Total Pages Read Cumulative: 685

Total Books Read: 3 (Constable & Toop by Gareth P. Jones, The Graveyard Book Graphic Novel Vol. 1 by Neil Gaiman, The Graveyard Book Graphic Novel Vol. 2 by Neil Gaiman)

Time Spent Reading Since Last Update: 2 Hours 16 Minutes

Total Time Spent Reading: 7 Hours 43 Minutes

Drinks Consumed: 2 big glasses of water, 1 iced mocha, 1 pepsi

Food Eaten: A waffle and fried ham, cheese dip with chips

Progress Report: Phew! Well I just couldn't put down the Graveyard Book graphic novels so I finished vol. 1 and then read all of volume 2 and it just left me a big wreck. Damn was that good. Highly recommended if you were a fan of the original or even if you've never read the original. It was PERFECT as a graphic novel. I'm giving myself a break now. I think I'm going to jet off to starbucks and get a pumpkin spice latte and a sugar cookie. I should probably eat something substantial at some point :p But my eyes are definitely needing a break for a little while right now and I shall return later on! Hope everyone is enjoying their day!!