Monday, September 1, 2014

Ripley's Believe it Or Not- Reality Shock!


Ripley's Believe it or Not- Reality Shock!

Review by Lauren

Source: copy sent for review; all opinions are my own

Review: I've been sent a few different Ripley's books to review in the past and I always find them to be really interesting. I'm one of those people that like strange stories and random facts, so Ripley's definitely fits into that. I'm not a huge fan of the animal pages since spiders and certain things really freak me out, but besides that, I'm not really disturbed by any of the photos or stories within these pages.

As a Doctor Who fan, it was cool to see a two-page spread full of just DW information, like a man who owns 1,200 Daleks. Sheesh, that's a lot!

I find myself particularly attracted to the art sections of Ripley's because it's amazing to see what people can create with such unique mediums. There is an artist named Anastassia Elias who creates miniature scenes inside toilet paper rolls. I found some photos online that show off her work, so I thought I'd include a couple photos below (do not own images!):

source
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I won't go on and on in this review, as most of you have probably seen a Ripley's book before and know what to expect. If you have not, they are worth checking out!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Local Flavor Swap Reveal



Local Flavor Swap Reveal

Hosts: Chaotic Goddess Swaps

My swap partner was Jennifer from J's and Z: Haas, Party of 3. 

I sent her a package of goodies that represented KY and Ohio, since I live on the border, while Jennifer sent me items she felt represented her home state of Oklahoma.


All of the items I received can be seen in the photo above. The very top item is a red and white scarf (for the OU colors). Definitely good for the fall!

I'm excited about the t-shirt, in particular, because I love wearing them and I have a few from various places I've visited or people I know have been too such as NYC, Arizona, etc.


She included the BBQ sauce because I guess Oklahoma summers are full of them, and this is her favorite sauce.

Thanks to everyone who made this swap possible! I can't wait for the next one.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Graphic Review: Through the Woods by Emily Carroll


Through the Woods- Stories by Emily Carroll

Review by Lauren

Source: book sent for review; all opinions are my own

Official Summary: Journey through the woods in this sinister, compellingly spooky collection that features four brand-new stories and one phenomenally popular tale in print for the first time. These are fairy tales gone seriously wrong, where you can travel to “Our Neighbor’s House”—though coming back might be a problem. Or find yourself a young bride in a house that holds a terrible secret in “A Lady’s Hands Are Cold.” You might try to figure out what is haunting “My Friend Janna,” or discover that your brother’s fiancée may not be what she seems in “The Nesting Place.” And of course you must revisit the horror of “His Face All Red,” the breakout webcomic hit that has been gorgeously translated to the printed page

Review: When I was randomly sent a copy of Through the Woods to review, I was excited because I love finding new graphic novels - or in this case, graphic short stories - to check out. I hadn't heard of Emily Carroll before, but after diving into her creepy little tales, I am definitely calling myself a fan.

First off, the artwork in this collection is simply beautiful. The people have an animated/cartoon look as opposed to extremely realistic, but it works, as these are definitely fairy tales gone wrong. The color red is prominent throughout the stories and it really highlights the madness within each one.

As for the actual stories themselves, I think it's impossible for me to choose one favorite. All of them have a haunting feel that leaves you slightly scared and wondering about the character's ultimate fate. None of these tales leave you with a concrete ending, which makes sense with the short story format. It also adds more spookiness to everything, though. If we knew what transpired after the story ended, it would ruin the wonder of it all. Though I said I couldn't pick a favorite among these five stories, I do think "A Lady's Hands Are Cold" is definitely up there as among the best. It almost feels inspired by Edgar Allan Poe in a way.

To showcase what you can except from Carroll, I decided to share a page from "A Lady's Hands..." (I do not own the image).


Overall, I am definitely glad that I was given the chance to read Carroll's work and I suggest many of you to give it a shot too. This would be great for Halloween; which is fast approaching! I will certainly check out anything else Emily Carroll publishes in the future!


I read this for the graphic novel book challenge

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Star Match Up- Cat Eyes and Skinny Jeans/The Bookish Manicurist


I figured it was about time that I presented you with another of my new features - Star Match. In case you don't remember, this is where I will match up at least two blogs that I feel would be good matches for each other. I know some of you might already reach each others blogs, so if I match you up with someone you know, I apologize, but hopefully some people will find new places to check out! I also wanted to let everyone know that I will be in Nashville from today to Sunday- so I'll comment back when I'm home again!

1. Cat Eyes and Skinny Jeans (Erika)

Blog - http://www.cateyesandskinnyjeans.com/

2. The Bookish Manicurist (Mands)

Blog- http://thebookishmanicurist.blogspot.com/

Star Match- I match these two blogs mostly because of their love of nail polish. Every Monday, Erika has a Manicure Monday post where she shows off at least one new nail polish color. I've learned a lot about what polishes are worth buying from Erika and I love seeing her test the sets so I don't buy something that might not be up to par.

As for Mands, she mixes book reviews with manicures. With certain titles, Mands will include a manicure that she does herself that somehow represents the books' cover. How cool, right?! While Erika might not include many book things on her blog, she is a fan of reading (as I can tell from her many comments on my own blog). Therefore, I think Mands and Erika could really bond over their mutual love of books and polish!

A recent Erika post: mark Nail This Look Nail Lacquer and Bracelet Set Review

A recent Mands post: Trouble by Non Pratt book review and manicure

What do you think? Do you agree that this is a Star Match? Would you want to be matched up with anther blog in the future?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Bunbury and Buckle Up: Yum, Yum, Food!


You didn't think I was finished sharing Bunbury and Buckle Up posts, did you? For anyone that's new, these are two music festivals that took place last month in Cincinnati, Ohio. Today's post is going to be all about the FOOD that I found at both these festivals and what you can probably expect if you were to attend next year.


First, we have Island Noodles that was available at both festivals. You can get just the noodles, or you can add chicken. My family always added the chicken, and mm mm is it good! My sister and I shared a carton at Bunbury and my mom and I actually got the noodles a couple time at Buckle Up. It's a nice, more substantial "meal" for the festivals.


All Natural Chill: Shaved Ice Bar was only available at Bunbury, which was upsetting because I really wanted to try it out again at Buckle Up. This shaved ice was so yummy, very refreshing, and full of flavor. It was probably the best shaved ice I've had in awhile. My sister and I shared the cup in the photo above. I believe it was a strawberry/lemonade mix. Best thing about this little food car is that it's from Cincinnati - they even offer their services for parties!




I tried to take photos of as many of the food options as I could, even if I didn't personally buy anything at the festivals from them. For the photos above, you see that we had Chipotle and Moerlein (beer brewed in Cincinnati) available at Bunbury. Chipotle was selling tacos for a fairly good price, I thought. I think it was about  two tacos for $5. Festival food can get expensive, so it was nice to see!


Bistro De Mohr was a food truck that sold farm fresh food. My sister and I got cheeseburgers from them on Saturday night at Bunbury. I don't really eat a lot of burgers, but these were quite good. The truck is based out of Ohio, which is also exciting! Not all the food options are local to the area, after all.



I was never able to try Street Pops, but I saw many people did. It was a tiny stand that sold great sounding popsicles! I wish I could have tried them, as they were at both festivals. This is another Cincinnati food item, and they even have their own shop to visit as well as going out to events to directly meet the people. Hopefully that means I can try them soon!


One of my favorite food finds at Bunbury this year was Cincinnati-area Jenny's Homemade Cookies. I was so excited to see that they were back the next week at Buckle Up too. My sister and I tried one of the cookies at Bunbury (chocolate chip I believe) and my mom and I got a couple the next week at Buckle Up. They have a variety of flavors (white chocolate macadamia that my mom loved and s'mores that I thought was pretty good, etc.) so there is sure to be something you love! If you're not from Cincy, you can visit the website to see how to order online!


I do like Dojo Gelato! I tried them last year at Bunbury and really enjoyed the ice cream type snack. Definitely good to have when it's so hot out! This food truck was also available at Bunbury this year.





Both Bunbury and Buckle Up presented Friendly's Catering where you could go and get a variety of food. I tried to get a picture of some of what they offered on the left above. On the right, we have the bloomin' onion that my sister got at Bunbury. I didn't really like it, but she thought it was fairly good. It was a bit difficult to cut into. A lady at Bunbury saw us holding the bloomin' onion and referred to Friendly's Catering as "carnival food", which is fairly accurate! At Buckle Up, I tried the funnel cake and really liked it. My mom got some kind of sandwich, but I'm afraid I don't remember the name. She did like it though.


Taste of Belgium is from Cincinnati and they offered some of their famous items at both festivals (I believe) and Dippin Dots ice cream could be found at Buckle Up.



Tom and Chee is a grilled cheese place from Newport, KY that offers up all sorts of unique grilled cheese stylings. They were available at Buckle Up, as was Roll With It Cafe that offered sandwiches and fresh cut fries. I didn't try either of these, but again, I wanted to share the variety of food available at the two festivals.

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And there you have it, a pretty varied look at the food options that were available at Bunbury and/or Buckle Up music festivals! I hope some of you will think about going to one of these festivals next year; they are lots of fun! I have a couple more posts to go, so keep an eye out.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Killer Librarian by Mary Lou Kirwin


Killer Librarian by Mary Lou Kirwin

Review by Lauren

Source: copy from library; all opinions are my own

Official Summary: Champion of the mystery section at a small-town Minnesota library, Karen Nash is about to embark on a dream trip to London—a literary tour inspired by every murderous intrigue, wily suspect, and ingenious crime found in the pages of the British mysteries that she devours. But she’s clueless why the love of her mid-life, Dave, would dump her hours before takeoff—until she spies him at the airport with a young honey on his arm! She decides the best revenge (for now) is to get on that plane anyway...and entertain schemes for Dave’s untimely demise while crossing the pond.

After touching ground in the hallowed homeland of Christie, Sayers, and Peters, she checks into a cozy B & B run by charming bibliophile Caldwell Perkins. Soon she’s spilling tears in her pint at the corner pub, sharing her heartbreak saga with a stranger. That night, a B & B guest drops out of circulation—permanently. And when Dave and his cutie turn up in London, Karen realizes they are an assassin’s target. With the meticulous attention to detail that makes her a killer librarian, Karen sleuths her way through her own real-life mystery—in which library science meets the art of murder.


Review: This won't be a very long review, because to be honest, I wasn't really a fan of the novel. I've been wanting to read more cozy mysteries and I thought this one sounded fun since I work at a library and I love all things England. There were aspects of the book that I found interesting, especially since I want to visit England someday. There is also a bit of a romance, which was cute. I'd love an English boy who adores books too!

However, the actual mystery kind of ruined it for me. I know cozy mysteries aren't as intense as other mysteries/thrillers, but I still like the guess-work and I just felt that this book didn't really deliver. Karen finds herself mixed up in the possible murder of a B and B guest, but she wasn't much of a detective. Plus, once the big reveals came about, everything seemed a little lukewarm. It wasn't nearly as exciting or shocking as I would have wished.

I'm still excited to check out more cozy mysteries though. This just wasn't the best fit for me, in the end!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Maybe This Time by A.M. Arthur


Maybe This Time by A.M. Arthur

Review by Lauren

Source: copy from Netgalley; all opinions are my own

Official Summary: As a regular at gay hotspot Pot O Gold, Ezra Kelley avoids his tangled emotions with the simplicity of one-night stands and attachment-free hookups. Until the night bartender Donner Davis picks him up off the floor after a misunderstanding and too much tequila. Ezra can't remember the last time someone was…nice. It's more than he deserves.

Witnessing his lover's death two years ago has Donner trapped in a holding pattern—living in his sister's basement, working at the Pot and flirting with the customers. He's not above spending a night with the gorgeous Ezra, but love is not in the cards. That's more than he's ready for.

A passionate night leads to a connection neither man expects, and they take the first steps to something that looks like a real relationship. But Ezra's been running from himself so long he doesn't know how to live any other way. And Donner can't risk his heart just to lose everything again. They'll both need the strength to let go of the past if they want to get it right this time.

Review: I read and reviewed No Such Thing by A. M. Arthur, so when I noticed the companion novel on Netgalley, I was curious to check it out. For those that have read No Such Thing, the main guys in that book (Jamie and Alessandro) do appear in this one, which was nice to see. I'm finding that I enjoy companion novels more than straight up sequels these days.

As for Maybe This Time, I have to admit that I didn't enjoy this one as much as No Such Thing. Both Ezra and Donner have their respective problems to deal with and I liked seeing them open up to each other and begin to trust someone else in their lives. They definitely needed that. I could say that the romance between them went fast though. I'm not saying it couldn't happen, but based on what they had been through, it seemed a bit odd that they would so quickly trust in each other. Regardless, I still enjoyed their relationship and I liked that the secondary characters had their own little stories as well. It made their world seem more real and understandable.

For those that are wary about adult romances, there are more sexual situations in this one than No Such Thing. Overall, it fit the characters, so I didn't really mind. There were some moments where I felt it was too much though, and I would have rather read about other aspects of their relationship.

In all, I liked Maybe This Time, but I didn't love it. I thought the characters were well done and I truly felt bad for some of the things they had to deal with, such as Ezra's parents not truly accepting that he is gay. I think people should start with No Such Thing, though, because the story comes first and I did enjoy it much more.

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