Life Update

Morning my lovelies!
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No, I have not dropped off the face of the Earth. Yes, I am still alive. No, I have not forgotten about you and this little place of mine. After my last post, I sort of dropped everything in regards to the blog. Prior to starting grad school, I had planned to get posts done in advance and I did have a lot saved up. But with the holidays and then the new year, I never got around to continue doing so. Once school started, my writing time went to writing papers and discussions.

I keep meaning to take 15 minutes to set up a review but knowing that I have to use more brain power to get my thoughts in order plus set up the review format, I talk myself out of it since I know it will definitely take up more time than what I currently have.

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I do miss the familiarity of blogging and talking about books so I do want to get back into my routine of blogging. I just hate not being consistent with weekly posts and the thought of not having a set schedule for blogging sort of throws me off. I am trying to work around that and just sit myself down to write for the blog. My brain and time are still full-on academic mode so I do want to be realistic at what I can commit myself to for the both you guys and the blog.

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I have been reading so I do have a ton to talk about and I can't wait to share it with you guys. Especially since I do have review books waiting to be reviewed and read. I just wanted to take a moment to check in and update everyone on what is happening. I don't have a set date for when I start posting again but I do hope to take some time during this weekend to write up some reviews that are long overdue.

I hope you're all well!

P.S. - I just recently started watching The Office so that explains all The Office related gifs. 

Quotes (#188)

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Morning Swooners,

So I totally forgot about my review last week and I had the intention of getting it done, even had it drafted up and needed to actually get the words down. But school work took priority since I had my big course project due on Friday and I was one hot mess trying to get it done. But, it's a new week, and like the Dude says, life goes on, man. I'll try to get it done this week. Let's do quotes.

“Absence diminishes small loves and increases great ones, as the wind blows out the candle and fans the bonfire.”Fran├žois de La Rochefoucauld, Maxims

“I don't want to repeat my innocence. I want the pleasure of losing it again.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald, This Side of Paradise

“To be content with little is difficult; to be content with much, impossible.”
Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach, Aphorisms

“And the little screaming fact that sounds through all history: repression works only to strengthen and knit the repressed.”
John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath

“And she's got brains enough for two, which is the exact quantity the girl who marries you will need.”
P.G. Wodehouse, Mostly Sally

“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.”
Oscar Wilde

“There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance.”Socrates

Have a great week!

Quotes (#187)

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Morning Friends,

It's the last week of my first grad school course and I'm stressing and sleepy and I'm hating my past self for deciding to go down this route. I already cried to my husband because I was stress and worried, so I'm right on time for freaking out. Today I'm trying to rally myself because I've been really proud at how well I'm doing so I got get that motivation to finish this course on a high note. Let's do some quotes!

“Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days.”Zig Ziglar

“Honestly, if you were any slower, you’d be going backward.”J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

“Great minds are always feared by lesser minds.”Dan Brown, The Lost Symbol

“No one expected me. Everything awaited me.”Patti Smith, Just Kids

“I’ve known people that the world has thrown everything at to discourage them...to break their spirit. And yet something about them retains a dignity. They face life and don’t ask quarters.”Horton Foote

“My turn shall also come:
I sense the spreading of a wing.”
Osip Mandelstam, The Selected Poems

“Don't be afraid to be confused. Try to remain permanently confused. Anything is possible. Stay open, forever, so open it hurts, and then open up some more, until the day you die, world without end, amen.”George Saunders, The Braindead Megaphone

That's it for me today. I got to get back to wrapping up my paper and project due on Friday. Pray for me!

Favorite Friday (#64): Just Like Fate by Cat Patrick & Suzanne Young

Have a favorite book? Series? One that you've just read or are currently reading? Favorite Friday is a bi-monthly meme hosted by Books and Swoons where we spotlight some of our Favorite Reads. Everyone is welcome to join. Just enter your information on the linky or leave us a comment!

This week pick is: Just Like Fate by Cat Patrick and Suzanne Young.


Caroline is at a crossroads. Her grandmother is sick, maybe dying. Like the rest of her family, Caroline's been at Gram's bedside since her stroke. With the pressure building, all Caroline wants to do is escape--both her family and the reality of Gram's failing health. So when Caroline's best friend offers to take her to a party one fateful Friday night, she must choose: stay by Gram's side, or go to the party and live her life.

The consequence of this one decision will split Caroline's fate into two separate paths--and she's about to live them both.

Friendships are tested and family drama hits an all-new high as Caroline attempts to rebuild old relationships, and even make a few new ones. If she stays, her longtime crush, Joel, might finally notice her, but if she goes, Chris, the charming college boy, might prove to be everything she's ever wanted.

Though there are two distinct ways for her fate to unfold, there is only one happy ending...

I loved loved loved this book. I loved the concept like the movie Sliding Doors, so I adored this book to pieces. It been years since I read Just Like Fate so I think I'm due for a reread.

About the author:

Raised in a house that was struck by lightning–twice–Cat Patrick is the author of young adult books Forgotten, Revived, and The Originals, and the co-author of Just Like Fate.
As a child, Cat could be found making up stories like her first book, Dolly the Purple Spotted Dolphin; growing corn in the backyard; or performing with a traveling sign-language troupe. She earned a journalism degree from the University of Wyoming and a master’s degree from Boston University, and worked in public relations for fifteen years. She lives outside of Seattle with her husband and twin daughters, and is on Twitter @seecatwrite, or Facebook at authorcatpatrick.
Author's links: Website / Goodreads / Twitter / Facebook
About the author:

Suzanne Young is the New York Times bestselling author of The Program series. Orginally from Utica, NY, Suzanne moved to Arizona to pursue her dream of not freezing to death. She is a novelist and an English teacher, but not always in that order.

Suzanne is the author of several bestselling books, including THE PROGRAM, THE TREATMENT, THE REMEDY, THE EPIDEMIC, and HOTEL RUBY.
Author's links: Website / Goodreads / Twitter / Facebook

What is one of your favorite reads?

Mini Review: Twisted by Laura Griffin



Twisted (Tracers #5)
Author: Laura Griffin
Release Date: April 17, 2012
Publisher: Pocket Star Books
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Source: Personal Copy
Review by: Jenn
New York Times bestselling author Laura Griffin chills with her newest novel of suspense and romance in the award-winning Tracers series, when a woman police detective in a small Texas town discovers that the only thing more terrifying than a killer you don’t know . . . is the one you do.

Motive, opportunity, and no alibi—it seems close to a slam-dunk. But while rookie detective Allison Doyle’s department has ID’d a suspect in a young woman’s vicious murder, she is uneasy. Then legendary FBI profiler Mark Wolfe shows up with a startling theory: if he’s right, the real murderer is an elusive psychopath just days away from another kill.

Using Allison’s contacts at the Delphi Center crime lab, Wolfe is finally in striking distance of the monster he’s pursued for ten years. Except that as they work together, Wolfe finds the ambitious, stubborn woman a tempting distraction. And with this brutal predator, every thread of evidence can make the difference between being the hunter . . . and the prey.

3.5 stars out of 5 stars

Laura Griffin has me hooked on her books. Every time I pick up one of her stories, I can and have to sit down for a few hours and finish it in one sitting. She hooks me with her story telling and her characters and I am unable to let go of the story until I'm done with it. The same thing happened with Twisted and it's characters.

Twisted follows rookie detective Allison Doyle and FBI veteran Mark Wolfe. Their differences are striking so sometimes they would both stubborn and it was interesting in reading then trying to find common ground. Like all the previous books in the Tracers series, Twisted's serial killer is horrific and scary and the case scares me to the bone. Also, the romance is slow burn just like the rest in the series.

Laura Griffin has a set formula that I love so I just gobbled up Twisted. Can't wait to read the next book.

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Waiting on Wednesday (#161)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spinethat spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Morning swooners!

This week pre-publication "can't wait to read" selection is:
Expected Release Date: October 17, 2017
Synopsis:
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian meets Jane the Virgin in this poignant but often laugh-out-loud funny contemporary YA about losing a sister and finding yourself amid the pressures, expectations, and stereotypes of growing up in a Mexican-American home.

Perfect Mexican daughters do not go away to college. And they do not move out of their parents’ house after high school graduation. Perfect Mexican daughters never abandon their family.

But Julia is not your perfect Mexican daughter. That was Olga’s role.

Then a tragic accident on the busiest street in Chicago leaves Olga dead and Julia left behind to reassemble the shattered pieces of her family. And no one seems to acknowledge that Julia is broken, too. Instead, her mother seems to channel her grief into pointing out every possible way Julia has failed.

But it’s not long before Julia discovers that Olga might not have been as perfect as everyone thought. With the help of her best friend Lorena, and her first kiss, first love, first everything boyfriend Connor, Julia is determined to find out. Was Olga really what she seemed? Or was there more to her sister’s story? And either way, how can Julia even attempt to live up to a seemingly impossible ideal?

The minute I read the synopsis, I knew I needed this book. I have a feeling that this book is going to hit close to home and I can't wait until October so I can get my hands on this book.

What are you "Waiting on?"
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Quotes (#186)

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Morning Swooners,

I swear, I feel like that old man is going way too fast me at this point. I have so much to do and so little time to do it that I feel like time is flying by. I'll be done with my first class in grad school next week so I have a ton of work to get done before then. So, I'm gonna do this really quickly and get back to work.

“Not all those who wander are lost.”J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

“There is some good in this world, and it's worth fighting for.” -
  J.R.R. Tolkien, The Two Towers

“The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater.”J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

“Courage is found in unlikely places.”J.R.R. Tolkien

“You can only come to the morning through the shadows.”J.R.R. Tolkien

“Where there's life there's hope.”J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

I'm all about finding hope these days, you guys. We need something to hold on to when times get tough. Have a great week!

Let's Chat Non-Bookish Edition: Grad School


Morning friends,

I'm towards the end of my fourth week of grad school and I'm surprised I've made this far without a meltdown. I have 2 weeks left of this session and on my course project, so who knows, maybe it'll happen at zero hours. However, I've been really focused on my studies and on top of all my assignments and I feel really proud of myself for that. I wasn't the best student at undergrad so this is sort of a test for myself and I'm happy to say that I feel like I'm passing it. 

Since I've been so busy with school, I haven't had the time for much of anything. I've been one boring person just working and going to school. I haven't read one single book that wasn't school related and I've barely hung out with friends or family. One of my best friends gave birth so I've been trying to get some baby snuggles every now then and a fellow sorority/blogging friend has visited me/spent time with me as I do more school work. I'm sorry for the distracted conversations, Lexi, but thanks for hanging out with me.

I am getting into a routine so I hope to add some reading/fun time to my schedule soon. I've been itching to do something so hopefully, I'll be able to swing that.

How about you, friends? Anything interesting is happening in your life? Tell me what's going on with you!

Swoony Boy of the Month: Bennett Ryan from Beautiful Bastard series

Swoony Boy of the Month is our feature where we spotlight a favorite and/or swoony boy from the books we have read.

Morning Lovelies,

February's Swoony Boy of the Month is Mr. Bennett Ryan from Christina Lauren's Beautiful Bastard series. 

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“I promise to be faithful, loyal, and put your needs above all others . . . this is my vow to you, Chloe, my only lover and my equal in all things.” - Christina Lauren, Beautiful Beginning
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“We’re married,” he said quietly, pressing another kiss to my belly button. “I’m your safe place. I’ve always been your safe place.” - Christina Lauren, Beautiful Beginning
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“I didn't know," he whispered. "I didn't know I could love you so much.” - Christina Lauren, Beautiful Bastard
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“I was starting to see that this wasn't just sex, and it wasn't something just working out of my system. Sex was just the fastest route to the deeper possession that I needed. I was falling in love with her, and falling too fast and hard to easily find any footing.” - Christina Lauren, Beautiful Bastard
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“I told you, I want more than this. I want to be with you. I want to be your lover." I swore, digging my hands into my hair. "I'm falling for you, Chloe.” - Christina Lauren, Beautiful Bastard

Sweet Lord, Bennett Ryan is one hot man. Whoooo!

Our Monthly Wrap-Up (#11)

Morning Lovelies,

For the month of January, I have read ZERO books! Can you believe it?! I've been so busy with grad school that I haven't opened one book staring at me from my nightstand. I mean, if we want to get technical, I HAVE been reading, just textbooks, though. My goal, however, is to get through the stack that I have sitting on my nightstand because my nightstand is about to topple over. If you want proof of that, check it out here.

Reviews posted in January:
Features posted in January:
I FINALLY finished season 6 of Supernatural and have started season 7. I'm only a few episodes in and I'm curious to what is going to happen with Castiel being...uh...possessed? Yes, let's go with that. Now, I know what you may be thinking, how am I watching Supernatural and not reading? Well, I work out the elliptical and sometime music isn't all that helpful in making the time go by faster, so I watch Netflix!

How was your January, friends? Have you started to tackle your TBR pile? Tell me down below!

DNF Review: By Your Side by Kasie West



By Your Side
Author: Kasie West
Release Date: January 31, 2017
Publisher: HarperTeen
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Review by: Jenn
When Autumn Collins finds herself accidentally locked in the library for an entire weekend, she doesn’t think things could get any worse. But that’s before she realizes that Dax Miller is locked in with her. Autumn doesn’t know much about Dax except that he’s trouble. Between the rumors about the fight he was in (and that brief stint in juvie that followed it) and his reputation as a loner, he’s not exactly the ideal person to be stuck with. Still, she just keeps reminding herself that it is only a matter of time before Jeff, her almost-boyfriend, realizes he left her in the library and comes to rescue her.

Only he doesn’t come. No one does.

Instead it becomes clear that Autumn is going to have to spend the next couple of days living off vending-machine food and making conversation with a boy who clearly wants nothing to do with her. Except there is more to Dax than meets the eye. As he and Autumn first grudgingly, and then not so grudgingly, open up to each other, Autumn is struck by their surprising connection. But can their feelings for each other survive once the weekend is over and Autumn’s old life, and old love interest, threaten to pull her from Dax’s side?

1.5 stars out of 5 stars
*I received an early copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*

**This is a DID NOT FINISH review. It includes my thought on the book up to 66% of it.**

I am SUPER sad that I couldn't continue with this book. So sad. I loved Kasie's On the Fence, so I was expecting another book I would love. Especially when our hero and heroine are stuck in the library! However, the library is only the location but it seems that our main character, Autumn, is not a book nerd like I hoped.

The book started off strongly but after a while, I couldn't click with Autumn and the story. Once they made it out of the library, and she got back to her life and the consequences of being stuck in a library with no phone appears, I just couldn't with the story for much longer. I read a little more about after she was out and how she was starting to seek Dax out, but I just didn't care about any of it.

I really wanted to love it considering it's Kasie West and I loved her book On the Fence and Nahomi loved The Distance Between Us. But once I realized that I wasn't going to love it and I was beginning to dislike Autumn, I decided to quit. I could have finished it considering I was past the halfway point, but nope. I've gotten better about not finishing books I don't care/love/hate. I know other people have loved the book, so I'm just taking it that this book wasn't for me but it'll work for others.

Quotes (#185)

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Morning everyone!

Sometimes, I just need coffee by the gallon no matter what my night/weekend looked like. Let's do quotes.

“Don't live down to expectations. Go out there and do something remarkable.”Wendy Wasserstein

“Food. Drink. Sleep. Books. They are all drugs.”Fay Weldon, The Fat Woman's Joke

“Ideas aren't magical; the only tricky part is holding on to one long enough to get it written down. ”Lynn Abbey

“In books and in life, you need to read several pages before someone's true character is revealed.”Gail Carson Levine

“All you can do in this life is follow your dreams. Otherwise you're just wasting your time.”David Walliams, Gangsta Granny

“What feminism means for me is simply that women, like men, are complete human beings with limitless possibilities.”Fahmida Riaz

“No matter how nice the place is where you live, you need to experience life and the world.”Terri Irwin, My Steve

Have a great week!

Bookish Girl in the Kitchen (#2)

Morning Lovelies,

Today's recipe I got from Jacqueline, the Artistic Farmer. I was preparing for a holiday party with my bookish gals and I was in charged of bringing some potatoes. I've been wanting to use my slow cooker to make my potatoes, so I made some scalloped potatoes, or as the recipe is called
Creamy Au Gratin Potatoes for the Crock-Pot.

Recipe: I was making the potatoes for about 12-15 people, so I made a large batch. I doubled all my ingredients but the recipes is the original with all the original measurements.

Ingredients:
-4 large russet or red potatoes, sliced into 1/4 inch slices
-1 onion sliced into rings OR minced dried onion
-3 tbsp butter
-3 tbsp flour
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/4 tsp pepper
-2 cups milk
-1 1/2 cups shredded cheese

Process:
1. Grease crock-pot dish.
2. Layer sliced potatoes in crock-pot occasionally sprinkling layers with dried onion.
3. Repeat with potatoes and onions.
4. In a large saucepan melt the butter over medium heat.
5. Stir in flour, salt and pepper.
6. Whisk in milk. {I actually recommend to add milk and flour together in order to avoid the flour to clump up.}
7. Cook mixture over medium heat until thickens. Stir in the shredded cheese; continuing to whisk until cheese is melted and mixture is smooth.
8. Pour the cheese sauce over the potatoes.
9. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours OR cover and refrigerate for cooking the next day.



This is the time where I took the most time prepping. Cutting up the potatoes and peeling them 
To be honest, the need for the onions worried me because I didn't want for the potatoes to taste weird. So I was very light on the onions.
My favorite part, the CHEESE!
The flour clumped up so I had to spend an extra 5-8 minutes after I added the milk to make sure everything mixed well.  So my recommendation is to add the milk and flour together to avoid the flour to clump.

I prepared this the night before the event so this is how it looked when I put it in the refrigerator.
The next morning, time to start cooking it.
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My plate, which included the potatoes, mac and cheese, green salad, crispy and grilled chicken.

Final Thoughts:
Success! While peeling and cutting the potatoes were time consuming, I would definitely do it again. The potatoes were soft and so cheesy but it didn't feel like it was drench in cheese thanks to the sauce.  

I hope you all have a good day!

DNF Mini Review: All Fired Up by Vivian Arend & Elle Kennedy



All Fired Up (DreamMakers #1)
Author: Vivian Arend & Elle Kennedy
Release Date: April 22, 2014
Publisher: Vivian Arend & Elle Kennedy
Format: ebook
Source: Personal Copy
Review by: Jenn
He’s ready to lead the way

Parker Wilson never thought he’d go from battle-hardened soldier to romance expert, but after his stint in the Rangers, that’s exactly what happened. As the owner of DreamMakers Inc., he helps other men win in the love department, using every resource available to plan the perfect date. When a routine recon turns into an unexpected night of passion, Parker’s mission becomes more personal—and he won’t give up until Lynn Davidson is all his.

She’s more than willing to follow

Lynn is a goner from the moment she lays eyes on the delectable Parker. She’s just ditched her boring almost-boyfriend and is tired of sticking to the straight and narrow. It’s time to walk on the wild side, and what better way than in the arms of the most irresistible man she’s ever met? But when their red-hot affair is threatened, it’ll take a team effort to make their dreams come true.

1 star out of 5 stars
**This is a DID NOT FINISH review. It includes my thought on the book up to 25% of it.**

Initially, I was really excited about reading this book. The first chapter hooked me and I proceeded onwards. However, I quickly realized that what I had liked about the first chapter and what had initially called me from the synopsis, the reality was taking a completely different turn. After the first chapter, I realized that the book was taking a turn I didn't really like. And to be honest, it even seemed weird that our heroine was going down that road. I didn't even know what to think of the hero. Or heroes, in this case, again, I'm not exactly sure. Very quickly, I decided that I didn't want to continue with the book, and gave up on it. I have more books to read anyways. Maybe it's a better book for someone else.



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