With the Fire on High – Review & Recipe

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo
Publisher: HarperTeen
Published May 7th 2019
Genres: YA, Contemporary
Pages: 400
Format: Hardback
Buy: Book Depository | Amazon

From the New York Times bestselling author of the National Book Award longlist title The Poet X comes a dazzling novel in prose about a girl with talent, pride, and a drive to feed the soul that keeps her fire burning bright.

Ever since she got pregnant freshman year, Emoni Santiago’s life has been about making the tough decisions—doing what has to be done for her daughter and her abuela. The one place she can let all that go is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks, turning her food into straight-up goodness.

Even though she dreams of working as a chef after she graduates, Emoni knows that it’s not worth her time to pursue the impossible. Yet despite the rules she thinks she has to play by, once Emoni starts cooking, her only choice is to let her talent break free. 

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This was one of my favorite books of 2019 and I hadn’t even noticed that I didn’t do a review for it so I’ll do a mini one with what stuck with me since 2years ago.

This is a beautiful book full of love, passion, family, and food. It’s about fears and dreams and never giving up.

It deals with teen pregnancy and all that entails, but Emoni is such an amazingly strong character (in fact one of my favs)! She inspires me and I even tried some of her recipes – which is why I decided to review this book, so keep reading for that*. She goes above and beyond to do what she must for her family. She is incredibly passionate and strong and I loved reading about her and her journey.

Another thing that I absolutely love is the family dynamics. Latino families just feel more united and alive, but I might be biased here… I loved Emoni’s grandmother and how much she cared for her and her granddaughter, it couldn’t be easy, after losing her own daughter, but she is such a strong and beautiful soul! Without her Emoni’s and her baby girl’s life would have been a lot different and sadder for sure. She encouraged her and stuck by her side and it just made me SO happy. She made Emoni who she is and she is a hell of a woman and mother.

This book has a lot of important messages, but the one that stuck to me most was that no matter the circumstances, the only thing stopping you from moving forward and following your dreams is yourself. She could have used so many things as excuses… But she didn’t. She went for it, she tried and that’s something not everyone does for fear of for example failing. Despite her problems and tough moments, she had a strong friendship, a role model, and a passion bigger than herself and she tried. It doesn’t matter what you have or don’t have because no one life is perfect but if you use what you do have and a lot of work, you might just manage to follow your dreams. So, apart from teenage pregnancy, Emoni is a hell of a role model, am I right?

Also, food makes everything better. I knew I loved books with food as atopic or just random food references/moments, but this was the first book that showed how much it meant to me.

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Emoni’s “When Life Gives You Lemons’, Make Lemon Verbena Tembleque” Recipe!

Ingredients:

  • Two cans of coconut milk
  • Handful of white sugar – I put 1,5dl
  • 4 shakes of cornstarch – I put 4tbsp
  • Pinch of salt
  • Bunch of Lemon Verbena leaves – Adjust to your taste, I put what you see in the photo
  • Bunch of Vanilla Beans – Used 2
  • Cinnamon, enough to garnish

I’ve done this recipe before but not with verbena leaves. I’ve previously tried both without any herbs and with lemon balm. I’ve also never used two vanilla beans just to let it seep. They tend to be quite expensive, so I’ve previously used vanilla extract and the vanilla beans seeds – the only problem with the latter is that it loses that all-white effect…

Emoni’s directions:

  1. In a saucepan, heat coconut milk until it comes to a boil. Muddle a bunch of lemon verbena leaves and vanilla beans and had to the heated coconut milk. Let steep.
  2. After fifteen minutes, mix infused coconut milk, salt, sugar, and cornstarch. Stir the mixture until the cornstarch is completely dissolved. (I tend to prefer to mix it first on the side with some of the infused milk to prevent lumps from forming) Let the combined ingredients come to a boil and keep stirring until the mixture begins getting pudding thick.
  3. Pour into a big cereal bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place in refrigerator for five hours. ( I prefer tiny-sized portions tho since I like to eat directly from them… It’s just more convenient and just as good)
  4. After removing the mixture from the cereal bowl mold, sprinkle with cinnamon. (Just run a knife through the edge and invert it into a plate!)

According to Emoni, this is best eaten cold while daydreaming about palm trees and listening to an Héctor Lavoe classic.

Ever tried a recipe from a fiction book yet? Which ones have you / would you like to try? Let’s discuss it in the comments below!

Bad Romance by Heather Demetrios

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Bad Romance by Heather Demetrios
Series: N/A
Publisher: Square Fish
First published June 13th, 2017
Genres: YA, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 384
Format: Paperback
Buy: Book Depository | Amazon

“A heart-wrenching novel about a sixteen-year-old girl trapped in an abusive relationship—and the path she takes to freedom and happiness”

Grace wants out. Out of her house, where her stepfather wields fear like a weapon and her mother makes her scrub imaginary dirt off the floors. Out of her California town, too small to contain her big city dreams. Out of her life, and into the role of Parisian artist, New York director—anything but scared and alone.

Enter Gavin: charming, talented, adored. Controlling. Dangerous. When Grace and Gavin fall in love, Grace is sure it’s too good to be true. She has no idea their relationship will become a prison she’s unable to escape.

A deeply affecting and unflinchingly honest portrayal of a destructive relationship, Bad Romance is a young adult novel about spiraling into darkness—and emerging into the light again.

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Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

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Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia
Series: Standalone
Publisher: HarperCollins
Published May 30th, 2017
Genres: Contemporary, YA, Romance
Pages: 385
Format: Hardback
Buy: Book Depository | Amazon

Her story is a phenomenon. Her life is a disaster.

In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, and friendless. Online, she’s LadyConstellation, the anonymous creator of the wildly popular webcomic Monstrous Sea. Eliza can’t imagine enjoying the real world as much as she loves the online one, and she has no desire to try.

Then Wallace Warland, Monstrous Sea’s biggest fanfiction writer, transfers to her school. Wallace thinks Eliza is just another fan, and as he draws her out of her shell, she begins to wonder if a life offline might be worthwhile.

But when Eliza’s secret is accidentally shared with the world, everything she’s built—her story, her relationship with Wallace, and even her sanity—begins to fall apart.

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Review: The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

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The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Series: Standalone
Publisher: HarperCollins
First published in 1911
Genres: Classic, Children, YA, Fiction
Pages: 358
Format: Paperback
Buy: Book Depository | Amazon

This 100th anniversary edition of The Secret Garden celebrates a cherished classic with Tasha Tudor’s wonderful illustrations throughout, an extended author biography, games, activities, and more!

When orphaned Mary Lennox comes to live at her uncle’s great house on the Yorkshire Moors, she finds it full of secrets. The mansion has nearly one hundred rooms, and her uncle keeps himself locked up. And at night, she hears the sound of crying down one of the long corridors.

The gardens surrounding the large property are Mary’s only escape. Then, Mary discovers a secret garden, surrounded by walls and locked with a missing key. One day, with the help of two unexpected companions, she discovers a way in. Is everything in the garden dead, or can Mary bring it back to life?

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Orange – The Complete Collection, Vol. 1 by Ichigo Takano

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Orange: The Complete Collection, Vol. 1 by Ichigo Takano

Series: Orange #1, #2 and #3

Publisher: Seven Seas

Published January 26th, 2016

Genres: YA, Manga, Romance, Time Travel

Pages: 384

Format: Paperback

Buy: Book Depository | Amazon

A Plea From the Future

On the day that Naho begins 11th grade, she receives a letter from herself ten years in the future. At first, she writes it off as a prank, but as the letter’s predictions come true one by one, Naho realizes that the letter might be the real deal. Her future self tells Naho that a new transfer student, a boy named Kakeru, will soon join her class. The letter begs Naho to watch over him, saying that only Naho can save Kakeru from a terrible future. Who is this mystery boy, and can Naho save him from his destiny? This is the heart-wrenching sci-fi romance that has over million copies in print in Japan!

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Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

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Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Series: Standalone

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

First published March 2nd, 2010

Genres: YA, Contemporary, Romance

Pages: 344

Format: Paperback

Buy: Book Depository | Amazon

They say ‘live every day as if it’s your last’—but you never actually think it’s going to be. At least I didn’t.

The thing is, you don’t get to know when it happens. You don’t remember to tell your family that you love them or—in my case—remember to say goodbye to them at all.

But what if, like me, you could live your last day over and over again? Could you make it perfect? If your whole life flashed before your eyes, would you have no regrets? Or are there some things you’d want to change…?

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Review: The Dark Prophecy by Rick Riordan (spoiler free)

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The Dark Prophecy by Rick Riordan

Series: The Trials of Apollo #2

Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd

Published May 2nd, 2017

Genres: YA, Fantasy

Pages: 528

Format: Paperback

Buy: Book Depository | Amazon

Zeus has punished his son Apollo—god of the sun, music, archery, poetry, and more—by casting him down to earth in the form of a gawky, acne-covered sixteen-year-old mortal named Lester. The only way Apollo can reclaim his rightful place on Mount Olympus is by restoring several Oracles that have gone dark. What is affecting the Oracles, and how can Apollo do anything about them without his powers?

After experiencing a series of dangerous—and frankly, humiliating—trials at Camp Half-Blood, Apollo must now leave the relative safety of the demigod training ground and embark on a hair-raising journey across North America. Fortunately, what he lacks in godly graces he’s gaining in new friendships—with heroes who will be very familiar to fans of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians and Heroes of Olympus series. Come along for what promises to be a harrowing, hilarious, and haiku-filled ride. . . .

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ARC Review: Things I Should Have Known by Claire LaZebnik

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Things I Should Have Known by Claire LaZebnik

Series: Standalone

Publisher: HMH Children’s Book Group

Expected publication: March 27th, 2017

Genres: YA, Contemporary, Romance

Pages: 320

Format: ARC

Buy: Book Depository | Amazon

* Received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you very much! This doesn’t affect the review in any way. My opinions are, as always, my own.*

From the author of Epic Fail comes the story of Chloe Mitchell, a Los Angeles girl on a quest to find love for her autistic sister Ivy.  Ethan, from Ivy’s class, seems like the perfect match. It’s unfortunate that his older brother, David, is one of Chloe’s least favorite people, but Chloe can deal, especially when she realizes that David is just as devoted to Ethan as she is to Ivy. Uncommonly honest and refreshingly funny, this is a story about sisterhood, autism, and first love. Chloe, Ivy, David, and Ethan, who form a quirky and lovable circle, will steal readers’ hearts and remind us all that it’s okay to be a different kind of normal.

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Review: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon (spoiler free)

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Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Series: Standalone

Publisher: Corgi Childrens

First published September 1st, 2015

Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Romance, YA

Pages: 310

Format: Paperback

Buy: Book Depository | Amazon

Madeline Whittier is allergic to the outside world. So allergic, in fact, that she has never left the house in all of her seventeen years. But when Olly moves in next door, and wants to talk to Maddie, tiny holes start to appear in the protective bubble her mother has built around her. Olly writes his IM address on a piece of paper, shows it at her window, and suddenly, a door opens. But does Maddie dare to step outside her comfort zone?

Everything, Everything is about the thrill and heartbreak that happens when we break out of our shell to do crazy, sometimes death-defying things for love.

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