Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Deserted Island

This week's list is: 
Top Ten Characters I Would Want with Me on A Deserted Island.

1. Celaena Sardothien from Throne of Glass 
One word: Badass. She doesn’t take crap from anyone and can hold her own in a fight. I also love her sense of humor and how she doesn’t let her past hold her back.

2. Puck from The Iron Fey 
He’s funny, loyal and knows how to fight, also being a fairy might come in handy too. Honestly, I’d just want him around to cheer me up and do that smile/smirk thing he does so well.

3. Hermione Granger from Harry Potter
She’s super smart and knows everything there is to know about magic. If she wouldn’t be able to apparate us off the island, she could still access other magic that might be useful for our survival. Also, she’d be an awesome person to hang out with!

4. Cinder from The Lunar Chronicles
Cinder has the best sense of humor: sarcastic, a little dry and super witty. She also happens to be a cyborg which means she has access to limitless information thanks to her awesome cyborg set-up. Maybe she’d be able to discover a way to escape while adding a bit of her killer humor to the situation too!

5. Augustus Waters from The Fault in Our Stars
Seriously, who wouldn’t want to be trapped on an island with Augustus?! He has awesome stories, the absolute best sense of humor and is just an all around amazing character.

6. Emma Bloom from Miss Peregrine’s 
Not only could she probably help with starting a fire, but she’s such a strong character that can stand her own. She protects the people that she loves and stops at nothing to save them.

7. Nox from Dorothy Must Die
Nox has been trained by The Order of the Wicked to fight since he was a just young boy. Not only does he have some awesome battle skills, but he has magic on his side too!

8. Luc from Personal Demons
He might not exactly be human, but I’d totally want him to be in my little deserted island group. He’s hilarious, a good fighter and very caring. Luc would be an awesome addition!

9. Amy from Across the Universe
No matter what situation Amy may be in she never loses hope. She honors her past, but still looks into the future and hopes for the best. I love that her optimism isn’t delusional and I feel like if I was trapped on a deserted island this hopeful trait would come in handy.

10. Captain Thorne from The Lunar Chronicles
He’s overly confident, easy on the eyes, has a mysterious past (I haven’t finished book three, Cress, so for me it’s still in the mysterious phase) and has some hilarious lines. Who knows, maybe his spaceship flying talents will come in handy in case we find an abandoned ship.

Which characters would you want on a deserted island with you? 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Review: Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

Bought from my independent bookstore.
Publisher: HarperCollins
Published: April 1, 2014
Series: Dorothy Must Die #1
Amazon - Goodreads

I didn't ask for any of this. I didn't ask to be some kind of hero.

But when your whole life gets swept up by a tornado—taking you with it—you have no choice but to go along, you know?

Sure, I've read the books. I've seen the movies. I know the song about the rainbow and the happy little blue birds. But I never expected Oz to look like this. To be a place where Good Witches can't be trusted, Wicked Witches may just be the good guys, and winged monkeys can be executed for acts of rebellion. There's still the yellow brick road, though—but even that's crumbling.

What happened? Dorothy.

They say she found a way to come back to Oz. They say she seized power and the power went to her head. And now no one is safe.

My name is Amy Gumm—and I'm the other girl from Kansas.
I've been recruited by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked.
I've been trained to fight.
And I have a mission.

Last weekend I picked up this book on a whim at my local independent bookstore. I was looking for a book that was original and something different than what I’ve been reading lately. After reading the summary I thought Dorothy Must Die would definitely meet my qualifications. Not only did the title stand out, but the awesome cover design drew me in too.

In Dorothy Must Die Oz is in ruins because Dorothy returned and took over the crown. She wants all the magic for herself and will stop at nothing to have total control, even if that means destroying Oz in the process. Then a tornado drops Amy in Oz and she’s recruited by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked to kill Dorothy and bring Oz back to its glory days.

It took a few chapters to get into the story, but once things started picking up I really enjoyed it. I love how Danielle Paige used the well-known story of The Wizard of Oz as a jumping point for her book. Paige’s story was original; only some of the same characters, the land of Oz and the previous story for reference was used. I loved how I was able to experience Oz in an entirely different way.

I thought the world building was amazing, Paige’s description skills are incredible.
There were parts of the book were I had a hard time liking the main character, Amy, but as the book went on she really grew as a person which helped me grow to like her by the end.

I loved how the story has you question what's really good and what's wicked. I liked how it really opened up the definition of each word and makes you think about how far you'd go to do the right thing in the end.

When I first started reading Dorothy Must Die I thought it was a standalone novel, but it’s actually a trilogy! The ending answered a few of the questions, but left enough open to continue on into the next book. I'll definitely be eagerly awaiting the release of book two!

One thing I found definitely strange was what was on the back cover of the book. What was written was what drew me to buy the book and want to read it, but it pretty much gave up the big discovery at the end of the story. It really didn’t even feel like a ‘discovery’ since it was already clearly written on the back of the book. I found myself going wait, I thought we already knew that?! I mean it doesn’t give away everything, but definitely a big chunk!

"You don't have to know every turn of the road in order to walk down it."

Even though there were parts of the book that felt a little too drawn out, I found the majority of the story to be relatively fast paced. I loved going on this journey through Oz with Amy and seeing the original story’s characters and setting in a completely different way. I honestly wasn’t expecting to like this book as much as I did! I definitely recommend it if you’re looking for a unique and awesome retelling-like-book, then you should totally pick up Dorothy Must Die!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Television Shows

I usually don't participate in this meme, but this week's topic was too good to pass up: Top Ten Favorite Television Shows. I actually think I might start joining in on all the Top Ten Tuesday fun more often, I'm loving the upcoming prompts!

Below I listed my top ten, but it's in no particular order. Some of the shows I'm not completely caught up on or I've only recently started watching and have become an immediate favorite.

The Office
This will always be one of my favorite shows. It's one of my go to's when I'm painting or cleaning or just needing to cheer up. I love the humor and incredible story lines. Michael Scott will always be one of the best characters on television and you have to love Jim, Pam, and Dwight! (Okay, and everyone else on the show!)

Once Upon A Time
I love this show! The incorporation of well known fairy tales into our present world is just so awesome. I love the character development and the plot is killer! I usually have a set of favorite characters, but I honestly want to know what happens to all the characters, supporting and main. I can't wait for this to return in the Fall!

Scrubs was one of the shows I marathoned on Netflix and fell in love with it immediately. I loved how much the characters grew throughout the show, the sense of humor and J.D. is just amazing.

Project Runway
My mom and I don't really like the same television shows, but we both love this one! I love the crazy challenges and watching designers make the clothes!

True Blood
I only started watching this series this month and I'm only on the last episode left of season two, but I really love it. I thought I wouldn't enjoy it because I'm a little over with the whole vampire thing, but the world is so authentic and believable. The characters are awesome and I'm so curious to see where the story goes next.

The Mindy Project
I love Mindy Kaling! From her work on The Office to her book, I love her work! She's so witty and the show definitely reflects her humor. It's a light, funny show and is just perfect!

Ghost Adventures
This is one of my guilty pleasure shows. It's kind of a reality show; three guys go to haunted places and try to get evidence of the paranormal. I don't know why, but I find the constant talking and the nonstop "bro, did you hear that?!" comforting. I like some of the history that's thrown in, but the newer episodes are starting to get a little over the top so I just stick to the older seasons.

Teen Wolf
The plot and originality of the creatures is so great. I love that the show goes to different myths/ story tellings from different cultures and just stories I hadn't heard. I liked the movie when I was younger, but I love the television show a lot more. I loved how there was a psychological-mystery-thriller aspect to it last season and I'm hoping that will carry over into this season too!

I'm half a season behind because I got upset with where the characters were going and don't understand why some events were deemed necessary, but I still love the Winchester brothers. I love the supernatural aspect mixed with comedy and how there's always a new monster for the Winchester's to chase after.

The Simpsons
I love the humor. It's just a classic that I still can't get enough of!

Honorable Mentions:
-Orange is the New Black
-Master Chef
-RuPaul’s Drag Race
-Face Off

Monday, July 14, 2014

Review: Mrs. Lilien's Dessert Cocktail Swatch Book by Kelly Lilien

Received copy for review.
Publisher: Potter Style
Published: May 13, 2014
Amazon - Goodreads

From the author of Mrs. Lilien's Cocktail Swatchbook, Kelley Lilien presents 50 delicious recipes from the cocktail world's newest trend--dessert-inspired drinks--infused with her signature mix of well-mannered style and down-and-dirty indulgences.

Beautifully designed in an easy-to-use swatchbook, Mrs. Lilien's cocktails are pictorially represented in glossy four-color photographs. Simply fan the book out to your desired recipe, glance at the artfully arranged photos, and instantly know which ingredients and festive trimmings the cocktail requires. Organized by hot and cold after-dinner cocktails, and each recipe includes a bold bonus ingredient suggestion (rock candy swizzle sticks, anyone?), sure to surprise and delight.

Recipes Include:


Gin and Tonic Sorbet, Frozen Watermelon Poptail, Rum and Coke Float, So Co Snow Cone, Frozen Chocolate Whiskey Malt, Riesling Rhubarb Slushy, Lemon Sorbet Float, Champagne Jell-O Shots


Campfire Cordial, Hot Chai Bourbon Tea, Hot Buttered Rum, Mexican Hot Chocolate, Toasted Coco-Rum Steamers, Vanilla Bourbon Bon Bon, Ginger Tart Toddy, Spiked Peppermint Patty

I was immediately drawn in by the bright colors and cheerful design of Mrs. Lilien's Dessert Cocktail Swatch Book: Delicious Drinks With A Twist. I absolutely love how this recipe book is set up: like that title says, it's a swatch book. The pages are joined together by a sturdy peg in the corner and are able to fan out and then safely go back inside the cover. It looks just like a regular book because the pages fold inside the cover so you don't have to worry about them slipping out. It's great!

Mrs. Lilien's Dessert Cocktail Swatch Book has 100 recipes: 50 hot and 50 cold. Depending on the pattern on the beautifully color cards is how you can tell if a recipe is hot or cold. It's not only drinks that you can make, but there's also recipes for ice cream, popsicles and things like jello shots too! There's a cute legend in the beginning of the book that shows you what each symbol means so you'll be able to tell what type of dessert cocktail you'll be making.
All the recipes look delicious and I love that some are more seasonal; like the Mrs. Maple and Caramel Apple Cider would be perfect for Fall!

Each recipes shows pleasing photos of everything you need. The directions are clearly written at the bottom and there's even a little tip on the back of each card to make your creation extra special. The only thing I didn't like was that there was no pictures of the finished product. I thought, for me, instead of showing what special type of spoon or glass you could use that it would be more beneficial for me to see what the drink would look like in the end. 

I found that the ingredients are easy to find, I found everything I needed at Target! I'm not a huge fan of how any alcohol tastes (I just turned 21 in March so maybe I'll grow to like it) but I definitely think most of these recipes could be made without adding any alcohol and taste just as good!

I decided to try out two recipes from the book: one hot and one cold. The hot one is called Mrs. Campfire Cordial.

It's essentially hot chocolate, bourbon, graham crackers and marshmallows. The recipe called for a torch (for the marshmallows) but I didn't have one so I just plopped them on top. I had a little trouble getting the graham crackers to stay on the cups' rim since it was just hot chocolate holding them on. The recipe said it would make two, but I found it making more like one and a half. 

Honestly, I didn't like it and didn't finish it. However, it was the first time I've ever had bourbon and holy cow is that strong! 
I could see myself making this without the bourbon and using something else to stick the graham crackers on the rim with for next time and totally loving it. 

The second recipe I tried was called Mrs. Rum and Coke Float. 
I really liked this one! It was cool and refreshing with just a little punch because of the rum. I made one with rum and one without and they both tasted awesome! It was super easy to make and turned out looking pretty cute! The book suggested putting it in a soda fountain glass but I couldn't find one at the store so I just used a wine glass we already had at home. Whatever works, right? 

Mrs. Lilien's Desert Cocktail Swatch Book is super durable and is something that I see myself keeping always. It has a wide variety of fun and delicious drink options that will be delicious for years to come. It's perfect for making any number of drinks depending on the occasion. If you like cocktails I'd definitely recommend it. If you're not a huge fan of alcohol you can still make some of the drinks without it, but I wouldn't recommend it to the non-drinker.

*I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for a honest review. All opinions and thoughts expressed are my own. 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Fourth of July Weekend

One of my favorite songs, Free by the Zac Brown Band. 
I loved seeing the lyrics on a sign downtown for the holiday weekend. 

It was one of those really good weekends where all those little things added up to create just a really wonderful few days. Filled with family, good food, downtown wandering, Sunday drives and an overflowing love for America. 

Wherever you are, I hope you had a lovely weekend. 


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