I’m stuffed! Time to read

It’s been a while since I’ve shared any food that I’ve whipped up in the kitchen! Tonight I had a fun time making Portobello Mushroom Pizzas!! 😋 I might even prefer these to regular pizza.

Mmmmm, melty cheese. I used a garlic red sauce, pickled jalapeños (I like spicy), Parmesan cheese, dried oregano, then topped with shredded mozzarella and Gouda. I even drizzled a little balsamic on top! It was amazing, and I might have had two of them. You just have to make sure to brush the portobello with olive oil before you pop them in the oven, then cook 10-15 minutes at 400 degrees.

The only thing I might do differently next time is cut back on the cheese, but overall this will definitely become a regular in my kitchen! Now we get down to the good stuff!

Last weekend I managed to finish 6 books! I finished an audio book, an ebook and 4 graphic novels!

  • The Haunted by Bentley Little (audiobook) 4 stars
  • The Last 8 by Laura Pohl (ebook) 3 stars
  • Relish : My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley 4 stars
  • The Sea of Monsters (Percy Jackson and The Olympians #2) by Rick Riordan 5 stars
  • Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi 4 stars
  • The Sigh by Marjane Satrapi 5 stars

It was an amazing reading weekend for me, and I really credit it to the fact that I felt a little under the weather over the weekend. Baxter was a good nurse and we just laid on the couch and read it watched tv. My favorite read was Sea of Monsters as I am absolutely loving the Percy Jackson series, it’s such a great series with Greek mythology and fun action!

This week I’ve read 3 more books! Two audiobooks and my last graphic novel that I got from the Library.

  • If She Knew by Blake Pierce 3 stars
  • Interview with the Vampire Claudia’s Story by Ashley Marie Witter (Adaptor/Illustrator) and Anne Rice 4 stars
  • That Boy by Jillian Dodd 4 stars

My current read is The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang and I’m just about 40 pages in and really enjoying it so far!

Description from goodreads- “When Rin aced the Keju—the Empire-wide test to find the most talented youth to learn at the Academies—it was a shock to everyone: to the test officials, who couldn’t believe a war orphan from Rooster Province could pass without cheating; to Rin’s guardians, who believed they’d finally be able to marry her off and further their criminal enterprise; and to Rin herself, who realized she was finally free of the servitude and despair that had made up her daily existence. That she got into Sinegard—the most elite military school in Nikan—was even more surprising.

But surprises aren’t always good.

Because being a dark-skinned peasant girl from the south is not an easy thing at Sinegard. Targeted from the outset by rival classmates for her color, poverty, and gender, Rin discovers she possesses a lethal, unearthly power—an aptitude for the nearly-mythical art of shamanism. Exploring the depths of her gift with the help of a seemingly insane teacher and psychoactive substances, Rin learns that gods long thought dead are very much alive—and that mastering control over those powers could mean more than just surviving school.

For while the Nikara Empire is at peace, the Federation of Mugen still lurks across a narrow sea. The militarily advanced Federation occupied Nikan for decades after the First Poppy War, and only barely lost the continent in the Second. And while most of the people are complacent to go about their lives, a few are aware that a Third Poppy War is just a spark away . . .

Rin’s shamanic powers may be the only way to save her people. But as she finds out more about the god that has chosen her, the vengeful Phoenix, she fears that winning the war may cost her humanity . . . and that it may already be too late.”

Well, I’m off to keep reading! I hope everyone has a great night! 😊

I’m still here and I’m still reading!

Hey heyyy friends!!! Life has been a little crazy lately between work getting busier, reading a ton, and enjoying plenty of time off at the new Lake House!! Unfortunately that meant that I was pulled away from keeping up with my blogging, but sometimes you just need a life break. I needed a little time away, needed to recharge my batteries. It was nice to enjoy the lake and family time. Now I am back and ready to blog away!!

To catch you up on what I’ve read since my last few posts, here is everything I’ve read in June and July (so far). The Top nine books, from top left corner going left to right are what I’ve read in July.

  • The Haunted by Danielle Vega (new 2019 release) – 4 stars
  • Song of the Dead #2 by Sarah Glenn Marsh – 5 stars
  • Reign of the Fallen #1 by Sarah Glenn Marsh – 4 stars
  • Cinder by Marissa Meyer (reread of a fav!) – 5 stars
  • The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and The Olympians #1) by Rick Riordan – 5 stars
  • Turn The Other Way by Stuart James – 5 stars
  • Truly Dead (Elise Sandburg #4) by Anne Frasier – 5 stars
  • The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid – 5 stars
  • Going Down Easy (Billionaire Bad Boys #1) by Carly Phillips – 4 stars

The rest are what I read in June, and boy was it an amazing reading month!!!

  • The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw – 4 stars
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (reread of a fav!) – 5 stars
  • Pretty Dead (Elise Sandburg #3) by Anne Frasier – 5 stars
  • The Book Charmer (Dove Pond #1) by Karen Hawkins – 4 stars
  • Stay Dead (Elise Sandburg #2) by Anne Frasier – 4 stars
  • Strange Skies (Burn Out #1) by Kristi Helvig – 4 stars
  • Burn Out (Burn Out #1) by Kristi Helvig – 4 stars
  • The Last Town (Wayward Pines #3) by Blake Crouch – 4 stars
  • Meet Cute by Helena Hunting – 5 stars
  • Hot Dog Girl by Jennifer Dugan – 5 stars
  • Roses of May (The Collector #2) by Dot Hutchison – 5 stars
  • The Help by Kathryn Stockett (reread of a fav!) – 5 stars
  • Wanderers by Chuck Wendig – 4 stars
  • Every Heart a Doorway (Wayward Children #1) by Seanan McGuire – 4 stars
  • The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides – 5 stars
  • The Glass Magician (The Paper Magician #2) by Charlie N Holmberg – 5 stars

 

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My Top 5 favorites from what I’ve read in June and July are The Silent Patient, Hot Dog Girl, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, Turn The Other Way and the Reign of the Fallen Duology. These are the books that stick out the most in my mind, although I did enjoy all the rest of the books immensely.

 

My Current Reads

♣ I am currently listening to an audio book of The Haunted by Bentley Little, which is an adult horror book. So far it has been incredibly spooky and has kept me thinking what next?

Description – The Perry family’s new house is perfect-except for the weird behavior of the neighbors, and that odd smell coming from a dark corner in the basement. Pity no one warned the family about the house. Now it’s too late. Because the darkness at the bottom of the basement stairs is rising.

♣ I am reading The Sea of Monsters (Percy Jackson and The Olympians #2) by Rick Riordan in paperback. I just started this last night and already within the first 40 pages I am hooked!! I am a sucker for books based around Greek Mythology, and this middle grade series is such a refreshing story line to read! I highly recommend this for anyone with young readers, or anyone looking for a fun series themselves (regardless of age!!).

Description – The heroic son of Poseidon makes an action-packed comeback in the second must-read installment of Rick Riordan’s amazing young readers series. Starring Percy Jackson, a “half blood” whose mother is human and whose father is the God of the Sea, Riordan’s series combines cliffhanger adventure and Greek mythology lessons that results in true page-turners that get better with each installment.

In this episode, The Sea of Monsters, Percy sets out to retrieve the Golden Fleece before his summer camp is destroyed, surpassing the first book’s drama and setting the stage for more thrills to come.

♣ Lastly, I have an ebook that I am almost done with, about 60% of the way through it, called The Last 8 by Laura Pohl. This is a YA Scifi novel about Alien Invasion and end of the world. While it’s not my favorite book and feels very hokey, I can’t stop reading it because… well… duh aliens! It will most likely end up being a 3 star read for me and I doubt that I will be continuing on with the next book in the series.

Description – Clover Martinez has always been a survivor, which is the only reason she isn’t among the dead when aliens invade and destroy Earth as she knows it.

When Clover hears an inexplicable radio message, she’s shocked to learn there are other survivors—and that they’re all at the former Area 51. When she arrives, she’s greeted by a band of misfits who call themselves The Last Teenagers on Earth.

Only they aren’t the ragtag group of heroes Clover was expecting. The group seems more interested in hiding than fighting back, and Clover starts to wonder if she was better off alone. But then she finds a hidden spaceship, and she doesn’t know what to believe…or who to trust.

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Well, it’s Friday and there is work to do and books to read! Happy Reading!! 🙂

1 year Blogiversary!!!!

Holy Moly I cannot believe that I started booksnbites a year ago!! I wasn’t completely sure I knew what I was doing when I started this, but I knew it was something I needed. Books have always been a huge part of my life and it has made me extremely happy to be able to share my love of books and reading with others. Thank you to my closest friends who spent countless hours helping me talk about my plans and ideas for this, without you I never would have taken the plunge. Also, thank you to all who have followed me, now I don’t feel like I’m writing the ramblings of a crazy book lady. Hahahaha!

My 1 year blogiversary happens to fall on 4th of July weekend here in the good old U.S. of A, so I’ve been alternating between reading and spending time with family. Although my niece and I did park ourselves in our deck chairs and get some reading done yesterday afternoon.

I have been playing with taking pictures of books at the lake, and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Read just happens to be a great book cover to photograph. Here is my favorite one.

At 3pm I will be joining a Facebook live event of the Facebook group I help Admin, The Reading Corner Book Lounge and we are having Author Stuart Dunne talk with us and share his experiences. I am very excited to be a part of the event and can’t wait to hear what Stuart has to share with us! His two books our are House on Rectory Lane and Turn The Other Way, he also has a new book coming out soon!

I’m off to keep reading about Evelyn Hugo and the seven husbands she had. I seriously cannot put this book down! I hope everyone had a great rest of their weekend. I’ll be posting my June Wrap Up this week, as it was a fantastic reading month!

Happy Reading friends!! 🤓

Lost in books

Wow, it has been entirely way too long since I’ve been here to update you on my bookish adventures. I honestly won’t apologize, as it was a much needed break from social media and a lot of my time was spent with family. I am back though, and boy do I have some books to update you on!

 

First, I’d like to provide my review for the NetGalley ARC of The Book Charmer by Karen Hawkins. This book is set to release in July so I am cutting it close. The description from Goodreads is as follows. “New York Times bestselling author Karen Hawkins crafts an unforgettable story about a sleepy Southern town, two fiercely independent women, and a truly magical friendship.

Sarah Dove is no ordinary bookworm. To her, books have always been more than just objects: they live, they breathe, and sometimes they even speak. When Sarah grows up to become the librarian in her quaint Southern town of Dove Pond, her gift helps place every book in the hands of the perfect reader. Recently, however, the books have been whispering about something out of the ordinary: the arrival of a displaced city girl named Grace Wheeler.

If the books are right, Grace could be the savior that Dove Pond desperately needs. The problem is, Grace wants little to do with the town or its quirky residents—Sarah chief among them. It takes a bit of urging, and the help of an especially wise book, but Grace ultimately embraces the challenge to rescue her charmed new community. In her quest, she discovers the tantalizing promise of new love, the deep strength that comes from having a true friend, and the power of finding just the right book.”

Book Charmer

I really enjoyed this book, and not just because I’ve been on a contemporary kick lately. I loved how books are the save all to someone in need, as many times books have been my place to go when dealing with life. I absolutely loved Mama G and the role she played throughout the entire book, as well as the mystical seventh daughter of the Dove family. This was a very magical story without crossing the lines into the fantasy genre, and it was very well written. For me, this was a great summer read and sure to tug on your heart strings. With a 4/5 star rating from me, I highly recommend this story to everyone!

 

Other books I’ve read lately and the rating I gave them.

  • The Glass Magician ( The Paper Magician Trilogy #2) by Charlie N Holmberg – 5/5 stars
  • The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides – 5/5 stars
  • Every Heart a Doorway (Wayward Children #1) by Seanan Mcguire – 4/5 stars
  • The Help by Kathryn Stockett – 5/5 stars (this was a reread)
  • Roses of May (The Collector #2) by Dot Hutchison – 5/5 stars
  • Hot Dog Girl by Jennifer Dugan – 5/5 stars
  • Meet Cute by Helena Hunting – 5/5 stars
  • The Last Town (Wayward Pines #3) by Blake Crouch – 4/5 stars
  • Burn Out (#1) by Kristi Helvig – 4/5 stars
  • Strange Skies (Burn Out #2) by Kristi Helvig – 4/5 stars
  • Stay Dead (Elise Sandburg #2) by Anne Frasier – 4/5 stars

 

Maybe I give 4 and 5 star ratings too much, but I really loved sooo many of these books!!! This year has been such an amazing year for reading and I couldn’t be happier. Time to get back to work, so Happy Reading friends! 🙂

Artificial Intelligence or Alien Invasion?

What would you do if you woke up one morning to your loved one missing from the house, only to find them completely zoned out in an almost trance like state walking down the road and completely unresponsive to all attempts to get a reaction from them? Sounds scary but intriguing right? That is what immediately hooked me on Wanderers by Chuck Wendig, and as I kept reading I fell further and further down the rabbit hole.

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I received an Advanced Reader Copy ebook edition of Wanderers from NetGalley and I never realized how big this book was (800 pages!!!). I can tell you that the length of the book was not noticeable while reading the story because the journey of the “sleepwalkers” just swept you up. My mind was constantly thinking what it could be that was affecting the “sleepwalkers”. Was it some sort of sleeping sickness similar but different enough to what I read about in The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker ? Or is it little bots that take over the person’s brain, or perhaps an Alien invasion?? All I knew was I HAD to keep reading to find out.

I really enjoyed how the different story lines of each important character were intertwined and eventually connected. Definitely one of the better scifi books I’ve read in a while. Artificial intelligence machines built by secret scientific agencies, the CDC top teams who study crazy viruses all over the world, and the thought of alien invasion will always peak my curiosity and get my heart racing. If you’re looking for a good Scifi book that will keep you thinking then I definitely recommend Wanderers by Chuck Wendig!!

NetGalley ARCs haven’t disappointed me yet, and I am so grateful to get a chance to read books before they are released to the public! On to the next, it’s a busy reading month. Happy Reading friends!! 🙂

Hello June, we’re halfway through

I seriously cannot believe that it is June already. How is this even possible?? It feels like I blinked and we jumped into a new month. Time really does fly!

My Wrap Up for May, is a total of 13 books! That’s one of my biggest reading months in a long time.

From an ARC of Blood and Other Matter by Kaitlin Bevis to a classic, Jaws by Peter Benchley. I’d have to say my favorite book that I read in May was Crown of Coral and Pearl by Mara Rutherford, which was an ARC from NetGalley. I shared my love and review of the book on Twitter and Mara liked and tweeted me back! We now follow each other on social media!! 😍🥰🤓😬

Another book I loved, more like trilogoy, is the Caraval trilogy by Stephanie Garber! I ordered the Fairyloot Special Edition box for Finale, which is the final book in the trilogy. Each book was amazing, but as you got to the next book they just kept getting better and better!!!!

So for June, I have assembled a TBR pile but I am not forcing myself to stick to it 100%. My pile might be a little too ambitious. LOL

I have to catch up on past Group Reads from my Facebook groups that I Admin, as well as a few recommended by friends. I have a few rereads in the pile, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and The Help by Kathryn Stockett, but the rest are all new books to me!! I’m excited for all the reading this month and can’t wait to get going!!!

Well, this booknerd has to finish getting ready for work. I’ll say ttfn and Happy Reading!! 🤓

Lake life reading

It’s Memorial Day weekend here and I’m at my family’s Lake House enjoying some sunshine, fresh air and the water. I’ve come prepared with an audiobook loaded on my phone, Jaws by Peter Benchley, four books and my Kindle. Hmmm, do you think I have enough reading material? I almost finished my current read, Legendary by Stephanie Garber, last night but ended falling asleep with just 36 pages to go. I can’t believe how tired I was. I wanted to tape my eyes open to keep reading, but I have no idea where anything is in this house. I’ll have to explore Today incase I need the tape for tonight. Just Kidding!! 😄

There is no shortage of background sounds for me to read by here. We have the sound of the waves gently meeting the shore, the chirping birds all around (Robins, Cardinals, Wren, Crows, Canada Geese, Red-Winged Black Birds, Chickadees, Merganzer Ducks and so much more!!), the low drone of the motor of fishing boats and once the rest of the lake wakes up the people! This is my happy place for sure! It’s so serene here.

Baxter loves it too! We went on a walk this morning and he was on a mission to smell everything he could. Wish I’d thought to grab my headphones 🎧 to listen to Jaws, but I hadn’t had my coffee yet.

So here we are, sitting out on the deck in the cool morning air. The birds are chirping and I have a book or two in front of me to start my day. Coffee will be ready soon and Mom’s drying up some bacon and eggs for breakfast. We have more family coming later this morning for our get together, so I won’t be reading much. Just remember to enjoy today, Memorial Day, and spend it with your family and loved ones, and take a moment to remember and give Thanks to all who have served our country and sacrificed their lives for us.

HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY!!!! 💕🇺🇸

A review of Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Excuse me while I stumble around in my brain for appropriate words right now. I’m speechless, but for all good reasons! Caraval is a book of adventure, romance, mystique and a little danger. But don’t believe everything you hear and see, for you don’t want to get too swept away in the game you might go crazy!

I read this book in 24 hours and if that doesn’t speak volumes then I’m not sure what does. Caraval is one of the most captivating, magical, thrilling books I have ever read and has quickly nudged it’s way into the top of my favorites list. I could feel my heart beat speed up with the tense and emotional parts, and my brain was all muddled with the twists and turns of the game. It was so much fun to keep reading and try to figure out if someone was Legend, or if Scarlett would get all the clues and save Tella. I wish I could have a chance to play the game of Caraval, but maybe I’ll feel differently after I read the 2nd book, Legendary. It sounds like Master Legend might have upped his game. 😉

If you’re looking for a wild ride, in a mysterious world then this is the book for you… no ticket needed! Just keep your arms and legs safely inside the ride and don’t stop reading! 🤓

Will you play or will you watch?

Oh my lord, I have been swept away by a book and I do not care to come back! I started reading Caraval by Stephanie Garber last night, and ever since I have been sucked in. You won’t hear me crying for help to get out of the rabbit hole I’ve just fallen into! This is the first of three books.

“A legendary competition. A mesmerizing romance. An unbreakable bond between two sisters. Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Stella, live with their powerful. And cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval–the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participated in the show–are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dream-of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic. And whether Caraval is real or not, Scarlett must find Tella before the five nights of the game at eover or a dangerous domino effect of consequences will be set off, and her beloved sister will disappear forever.

Welcome, welcome to Caraval… beware of getting swept too far away.”

Need I say more?? The alluring story of a secret yearly performance, that is invitation only, with a catch. Stephanie Garber has written words of magic with this dark world of Caraval, and the characters who must play or suffer the consequences. I will definitely be finishing this book tonight!! Stay tuned for a review to come soon, but while I finish it up I will be feasting on my delicious dinner that I just cooked! Check this out for an easy summertime meal! ☀️😊

Tonight’s meal is grilled chicken and Campari tomato with a merlot marinara over gluten free pea rotini pasta. Sprinkled mozzarella and parmesan, with a drizzle of balsamic. It was very quick and easy to make, if you need it to be dairy free too obviously don’t add the cheese (which is what I should have done). Would also be good as a cold meal, like pasta salad but without the mayo or marinara and maybe an Italian dressing/Greek dressing/or balsamic vinaigrette.

I am definitely looking forward to these leftovers for the week!! 😄😋

I’m going to go continue this Epic read, and my delicious meal. Happy Reading and Buon Appetitive!! 🤓

What day is it?

Do you ever wake up and just go through the motions of your daily routine and then have a dawning realization that you aren’t really aware of what day it is? Yeah, that’s me Today. Hellooooo Lauren, wake up and smell the coffee girlfriend! I went my entire day without really comprehending that it’s Wednesday. *facepalm* I swear I get so busy sometimes that I just know what I need to do and when I need to do it, but I am not aware of the day of the week. It’s times like those that I find I really need to stop and take a break, which usually means reading therapy. Due to how busy I’ve been lately and the fact that it was Mother’s Day weekend last weekend, I have no fun food pictures to share with you and I’m sorry for that. I wish I had remembered to take a picture of the seafood boil my brother cooked for Mother’s Day, it was quite something! Corn cobs, potato, onion, sausage, shrimp and crab legs!! We dumped it all in a pile on the dining room table and went to town. Yummmm!!!

I have also been busy reading books, but no surprise there! I just recently posted a review of an ARC of Crown of Coral and Pearl by Mara Rutherford, which was a fantastic read that I gave a 5 star rating to, so please feel free to check that out! I’ve also finished 3 other books prior to the ARC. That brings me up to 6 books read for May so far, I’d like to read at least another 6 books before month’s end.

  • Wayward (book 2 in the Wayward Pines series) by Blake Crouch – 5 stars
  • Things We Lost in the Fire by Mariana Enriquez – 4 stars
  • Dreamers by Yuyi Morales – 5 stars

Ever since I read Dark Matter by Blake Crouch in 2018 I had decided that I would continue reading his other books, and so this year I’ve been reading the Wayward Pines series he wrote. Luckily they are all on Kindle Unlimited so I’ve been enjoying those with the audio book narrations. The Wayward Pines series is a Scifi series and I don’t want to say much more than that because it’s too easy to let slip a spoiler. The first book, Pines, really threw me for a loop and hooked me on the rest of the series. I just have to know what happens, so I’m in it til the end!

Things We Lost in the Fire and Dreamers were two books I read to complete topics for the 2019 BookRiot Read Harder Challenge. I needed to read a Children’s or Middle Grade book that has won a diversity award since 2009, so I chose Dreamers by Yuyi Morales. The illustrations were so vibrant and imaginative that I found myself looking at the pages for a longer amount of time than it took to read the picture book. It was such a cute story about a young mother and her son who come to the US for a better life and find a love to read at their public library. Such an adorable picture book and it portrayed a great story for little developing minds. The other book completed the topic for a translated book written by and/or translated by a woman, which my book was written and translated by a woman. It was a bunch of creepy stories about characters in Argentina, and the stories almost always portrayed socio-economical diversity and struggles among the characters. Some of these stories sent chills down my spine, so of course I absolutely loved them!

 

I know that Reading Challenges are kind of intimidating, especially the typical challenge like the self-imposed Goodreads yearly challenge of “I’m going to read this many books this year”. Many people either miserably fail or blast that challenge out of the water. I always set a Goodreads yearly goal, but I never pressure myself to stick to it. If I read less than what my goal is Great!, or if I read more.. Great! LOL. What I find beneficial are the Reading Challenges that encourage you to read outside your comfort zone and expand your horizons. How do you really know that you don’t like a certain genre, trope, or topic if you’ve never tried it? I always thought I hated Non-Fiction, until I tried one for a Reading Challenge and found that I actually like Non-Fiction, especially books about Serial Killers. Do any of you participate in Reading Challenges? BookRiot has the Read Harder challenge, PopSugar does a yearly challenge… which one do you do? Or do you just read and not keep track? I’d love to know, so please leave a comment! 🙂

 

Well I’m off to go start another book for my local Book Club who follows the BookRiot Read Harder Challenge, this month we are discussing the Children’s book with a diversity award and a Non-Violent True Crime. I’m starting The Map Thief by Michael Blanding, the gripping story of an esteemed rare-map dealer who made millions stealing priceless maps. Drop a comment with what you’re currently reading, I’d love to know!!

Happy Reading!