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!

Mayhem by Estelle Laure – Blog Tour Review

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51171648Mayhem by Estelle Laure

Series: N/A

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Expected publication: July 14th, 2020

Genres: YA, Fantasy, Contemporary

Pages: 304

Format: ARC

Buy: Amazon | BookDepository

* 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.*

The Lost Boys meets Wilder Girls in this supernatural feminist YA novel.

It’s 1987 and unfortunately it’s not all Madonna and cherry lip balm. Mayhem Brayburn has always known there was something off about her and her mother, Roxy. Maybe it has to do with Roxy’s constant physical pain, or maybe with Mayhem’s own irresistible pull to water. Either way, she knows they aren’t like everyone else.

But when May’s stepfather finally goes too far, Roxy and Mayhem flee to Santa Maria, California, the coastal beach town that holds the answers to all of Mayhem’s questions about who her mother is, her estranged family, and the mysteries of her own self. There she meets the kids who live with her aunt, and it opens the door to the magic that runs through the female lineage in her family, the very magic Mayhem is next in line to inherit and which will change her life for good.

But when she gets wrapped up in the search for the man who has been kidnapping girls from the beach, her life takes another dangerous turn and she is forced to face the price of vigilante justice and to ask herself whether revenge is worth the cost.

From the acclaimed author of This Raging Light and But Then I Came Back, Estelle Laure offers a riveting and complex story with magical elements about a family of women contending with what appears to be an irreversible destiny, taking control and saying when enough is enough.

Captura de ecrã 2017-06-30, às 18.09.21Mayhem is kind of a retelling of The Lost Boys with a witchy side and a feminist touch in the #MeToo era. 

Set in 1987, Meyhem Brayburn runs away with her mother Roxy from an abusive stepfather to Santa Maria California, where Roxy lived as a kid. At the Brayburn farm Mayhem meets her aunt and the three kids she kind of adopted. But that place harbors much more than Mayhem could have expected.

If you like The Lost Boys you are probably going to enjoy this, the setting and the pacing is the same, but it has some cool differences that I quite enjoyed.

I really liked May and her new friends (the kids her aunt adopted – Neve, Jason and Kidd), it was interesting to see them together although some friendships were a bit too much – which is where I totally saw The Craft, which I read to be something this was inspired by too.

Neve was wild. She definitely was a bad influence on the others, but I also couldn’t necessarily not like her. She was definitely an interesting character and in her own way she did help May… But one of my fav characters has to be Kidd, she is super sweet and she still has a touch of innocence for how young she is and that really balanced their group. I loved their interaction with “magic”, I always love reading about new magical ways and this was super interesting! I’m not going to say more about it, but although it’s simple, I loved it and it really worked well with the story.

The abuse described in the book was quite heavy and could be triggering. However I did really like how it was approached and it made the end as sweet as can be. It showed that there’s help to be given, there’s hope and it’s possible to get better even if its not easy. No means no and everyone should respect that.

As for what I didn’t like so much…

As I said, the pace is pretty much the same as the movie, and being something that already irked me in the movie, in a book is a bit too much. I would have preferred a bit of a faster pace. I think it would have really worked with the story and made it more compelling.

The story could have gotten a bit more changes too. Half of the book was pretty much the same as the movie, which it didn’t necessarily need to be just to see the inspo. I would have liked a bit more differences because I loved everything that was different in this book and I would definitely want to check out more by the author.

Overall this book was quite enjoyable, I loved the main character and to see her relationship with her mom and her family evolve and change. It deals with abuse and its hard to read at times, but its definitely important, and the end really gives hope.

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What did you think of it? Have you read it? Let’s discuss it in the comments below!

 

Blog Tour: Foul is Fair Review

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The year just started and we’re already getting some amazing books! Foul is Fair is a book you should for sure get your hands on, so make sure to check my thoughts on the novel and the amazing things this book has to offer! Welcome to my first favorite book of 2020!

Foul is Fair by Hannah Capin

Series: Foul Is Fair #1

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Expected publication: February 4th, 2020

Genres: YA, Contemporary, Retellings, Murder

Pages: 336

Format: ARC

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository

* 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.*

Hannah Capin’s Foul is Fair is a bloody, thrilling revenge fantasy for the girls who have had enough. Golden boys beware: something wicked this way comes.

Elle and her friends Mads, Jenny, and Summer rule their glittering LA circle. Untouchable, they have the kind of power other girls only dream of. Every party is theirs and the world is at their feet. Until the night of Elle’s sweet sixteen, when they crash a St. Andrew’s Prep party. The night the golden boys choose Elle as their next target.

They picked the wrong girl.

Sworn to vengeance, Elle transfers to St. Andrew’s. She plots to destroy each boy, one by one. She’ll take their power, their lives, and their control of the prep school’s hierarchy. And she and her coven have the perfect way in: a boy named Mack, whose ambition could turn deadly.

Foul is Fair is a bloody, thrilling revenge fantasy for the girls who have had enough. Golden boys beware: something wicked this way comes.

Captura de ecrã 2017-06-30, às 18.09.21Do you know when you read that book and after that everything changes? That’s how I feel about this book. I will forever compare everything else with this to find favorites…

I can’t believe I almost didn’t read this book. This was recommended to me and I didn’t even know about its existence. I couldn’t have been happier to participate in my first ever blog tour with this book. I literally devoured this as much as Elle devoured her prey. This book is epic. I loved this read so much and I can’t possibly wait for the next one!

This book is heavily based in Macbeth, the meaning “Fair is foul, and foul is fair” – from where the name came from – is a big part of the book, as are some character’s names and many moments in it which I loved comparing to the original story. For those who don’t know, Macbeth is one of my favorite Shakespeare novels for how brutal and intense it is, so I had high hopes for this book.

Like Macbeth, at the beginning of that story, we have a prophecy from a trio of “witches” that say that one day Macbeth will be king. Now, put that into an amazingly hard and gruesome contemporary story with wealthy boys, amazing (and slightly sick) friendship, hierarchies in highschool, maniacal plans, lies, and suspense and you have Foul is Fair by Hannah Capin which I predict to be one of my favorite books of the year.

This story like I said, is kind of a contemporary retelling of Macbeth. When a group of wealthy untouchable boys rape Elle at a party, the plan is to make them pay with their lives. Elle and her coven of best friends – Summer, Jenny, and Mads – create an elaborate plot that starts when Elle, now going by her middle name Jade, moves to these boy’s school and slowly but surely, by manipulating another boy, turns them all against each other and no one is safe anymore. 

Overall, this is a book about revenge, about justice and about taking matters into your own hands. It tackles some heavy topics in a very different and gripping way. The plot is extremely fast-paced and it feels like you’re there every second of it. It’s impossible to put down and it engrosses you in this beautifully gruesome plan where heroes and villains are one and the same. It’s intoxicating and I can’t possibly have enough of it. 

Something I really liked was how close Jade and her coven were. They were ruthless, powerful, unapologetic and as close as close can be. They are friendship goals and nothing less, no matter what could come between them. They fight and might not always see eye to eye, like anyone else, but they don’t let that destroy them or their goals. It was beautiful to see them in action and I loved how much they were there for each other. 

As for the girl’s parents, they are present too, and although they might not seem very conventional for everyone, it worked well with the type of families present. They are not as tight with each other, but you can see their love and how much they try to help by letting their kids find their way. They don’t protect them in the way of doing everything for them but they give them the knife and teach them how to fight (I especially loved Mads family so much!).

It was amazing to read about Jade and her plot. And as the plot progressed so did my emotions. I wanted her to win, to seek her revenge to be free and make me feel free too. She is not exactly a likable character but one can’t help but admire her fire. She is fierce and won’t go down without a fight. I thought Jade was going to be that typical mean wealthy girl but she is so much more than that! She is the most complex and unique character I’ve read about and I will never forget her. Sure, her plan is completely nuts and that probably says a lot about herself but I was rooting for her all the way!

It was SO beautifully written and in the most incredibly clever way possible. I just couldn’t wait to see “Who’s next” and how everything would unfold. I did see certain things coming but my enjoyment didn’t change one bit. 

I will put here the publisher’s note because I think it’s quite important: “The primary thematic material of Foul is Fair centers on sexual assault (not depicted), rape culture, and violence. Additionally, the book includes an abusive relationship, a suicide attempt, and a brief scene with transphobic bullying. For a more detailed description of sensitive content, please visit hannahcapin.com/foulisfair.” This book can be triggering in parts, but seeing Jade create her own justice is quite liberating and empowering too. This is an extremely dark story where revenge is the goal, but it gave me so much more than that…

I highly recommend this one if you love very dark, wicked and empowering stories. It’s violent and even tho it doesn’t really show the assault, everything evolves around it in the most gruesome of ways. This is the most haunting book you will ever read and you will love every second of it. I can’t stop thinking about it!

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What did you think of it? Are you excited about this book? Let’s discuss it in the comments below!


Want to know more about the author?

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Hannah Capin is the author of Foul is Fair and The Dead Queens Club, a feminist retelling of the wives of Henry VIII. When she isn’t writing, she can be found singing, sailing, or pulling marathon gossip sessions with her girl squad. She lives in Tidewater, Virginia.

 

Jane Anonymous – ARC Review

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37650881._SY475_Jane Anonymous by Laurie Faria Stolarz

Series: N/A

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Published January 7th, 2020

Genres: YA, Contemporary, Thriller

Pages: 320

Format: ARC

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository

* 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.*

Bestselling author Laurie Faria Stolarz returns with Jane Anonymous, a gripping tale of a seventeen-year-old girl’s kidnapping and her struggle to fit back into her life after she escapes.

Then, “Jane” was just your typical 17-year-old in a typical New England suburb getting ready to start her senior year. She had a part-time job she enjoyed, an awesome best friend, overbearing but loving parents, and a crush on a boy who was taking her to see her favorite band. She never would’ve imagined that in her town where nothing ever happens, a series of small coincidences would lead to a devastating turn of events that would forever change her life.

Now, it’s been three months since “Jane” escaped captivity and returned home. Three months of being that girl who was kidnapped, the girl who was held by a “monster.” Three months of writing down everything she remembered from those seven months locked up in that stark white room. But, what if everything you thought you knew―everything you thought you experienced―turned out to be a lie?

Captura de ecrã 2017-06-30, às 18.09.21This was not an easy book to read by any means but it’s a fantastic one. It took me some time to gather my thoughts because of the topics this book handles.

The thing is, I really enjoyed this book and it hits hard and it’s as realistic as it could ever be. But I wanted it to dwell even more on the trauma and mental health aspects, and less in the mystery part as I solved it right at the beginning and believe many of you might too…  That was my only negative-ish point.

So, let’s get to what I loved about it. This is Jane’s story. Everything in her life seemed to be going great until she was kidnapped and held captive for 7 months. This book tells her story like a diary, retelling all that passed from the beginning when she was taken until now, 3 months after she returned home. It jumps from past to present (which isn’t one of my favorite things but it worked perfectly here) and holds your attention from the very beginning in a way that’s impossible to put it down no matter what.

It was really hard to see Jane dealing with everything while she was captive, and it was hard seeing her cope after the nightmare ended… It’s like a new one started, where one would think everything would be better. I can’t even imagine being in Jane’s situation but her feelings, the panic, the withdrawal, are afterwards present after many other abusive situations, so it really hits hard.

Jane is a very relatable character because she was just a normal 17 yo girl when everything went wrong. And seeing her broken like that… It was so impactful! Jane’s emotional, heart-wrenching, terrifying survival journey was remarkably told. I could feel Jane’s feelings, fears and questions so well. I literally loved the writing and how on edge it put me.

I was especially taken aback by how well put together was her slow recovery. It felt so real and hard to read! It made me cry and many moments were just… Like I said, this book was incredibly and realistically written and I would recommend reading it with caution. It’s unlike anything I’ve read and I couldn’t recommend it enough.

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What did you think of it? Are you excited about this book? Let’s discuss it in the comments below!

From Twinkle, With Love by Sandhya Menon

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From Twinkle, with Love by Sandhya Menon
Series: N/A
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Published May 22nd 2018
Genres: YA, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 330
Format: Hardback – Owlcrate Exclusive Edition
Buy: Book Depository | Amazon

Aspiring filmmaker and wallflower Twinkle Mehra has stories she wants to tell and universes she wants to explore, if only the world would listen. So when fellow film geek Sahil Roy approaches her to direct a movie for the upcoming Summer Festival, Twinkle is all over it. The chance to publicly showcase her voice as a director? Dream come true. The fact that it gets her closer to her longtime crush, Neil Roy—a.k.a. Sahil’s twin brother? Dream come true x 2.

When mystery man “N” begins emailing her, Twinkle is sure it’s Neil, finally ready to begin their happily-ever-after. The only slightly inconvenient problem is that, in the course of movie-making, she’s fallen madly in love with the irresistibly adorkable Sahil.

Twinkle soon realizes that resistance is futile: The romance she’s got is not the one she’s scripted. But will it be enough?

Told through the letters Twinkle writes to her favorite female filmmakers, From Twinkle, with Love navigates big truths about friendship, family, and the unexpected places love can find you.

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An Authentic Experience by Kelly Wittmann

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An Authentic Experience by Kelly Wittmann

Series: N/A

Publisher: Sara Camilli Literary Agency

Published February 13th 2018

Genres: YA, Contemporary

Pages: 254

Format: Ebook

Buy: Amazon

* Received this copy from the Author 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.*

Fifteen-year-old Silver Abelli’s life has been as tumultuous as the punk rock she was raised on. Her divorced parents just don’t get along, even though they’re both musicians who stubbornly spurn the mainstream but secretly crave the limelight. Silver has always lived with her mom, Nicola, but when Nicola is diagnosed with a brain tumor, she must go to live with her obnoxious, hard-partying father, Renz. Because her family is so traumatized by Nicola’s condition, Silver doesn’t know where to turn when she suffers her own trauma. Will the truth set her free, or will it only make a bad situation worse? Find out in this story of family, friends, and young love.

CW: Rough language, one scene of violence

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Most Anticipated Releases of 2019 – Part 1

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Hey guys!

It’s already 2019 and it’s time to check out some new releases!! Who’s excited?? These are the books I am interested in getting as of now, hopefully we have some in common! I will be only mentioning books from January through June in this post, and will later do another post more accurate, with releases from July trough December.

So here’s my list of anticipated books for 2019:
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Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee

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Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee
Series: N/A
Publisher: Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
First published June 6th, 2017
Genres: YA, Contemporary, LGBT
Pages: 400
Format: Paperback
Buy: Book Depository | Amazon

After a shout-out from one of the Internet’s superstar vloggers, Natasha “Tash” Zelenka finds herself and her obscure, amateur web series, Unhappy Families, thrust into the limelight: She’s gone viral.

Her show is a modern adaptation of Anna Karenina—written by Tash’s literary love Count Lev Nikolayevich “Leo” Tolstoy. Tash is a fan of the forty thousand new subscribers, their gushing tweets, and flashy Tumblr GIFs. Not so much the pressure to deliver the best web series ever.

And when Unhappy Families is nominated for a Golden Tuba award, Tash’s cyber-flirtation with Thom Causer, a fellow award nominee, suddenly has the potential to become something IRL—if she can figure out how to tell said crush that she’s romantic asexual.

Tash wants to enjoy her newfound fame, but will she lose her friends in her rise to the top? What would Tolstoy do?

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The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes

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The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes
Series: N/A
Publisher: Speak
First published June 9th, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery, YA
Pages: 398
Format: Paperback
Buy: Book Depository | Amazon

A hard-hitting and hopeful story about the dangers of blind faith—and the power of having faith in yourself. Finalist for the Morris Award.

The Kevinian cult has taken everything from seventeen-year-old Minnow: twelve years of her life, her family, her ability to trust. And when she rebelled, they took away her hands, too.

Now their Prophet has been murdered and their camp set aflame, and it’s clear that Minnow knows something—but she’s not talking. As she languishes in juvenile detention, she struggles to un-learn everything she has been taught to believe, adjusting to a life behind bars and recounting the events that led up to her incarceration. But when an FBI detective approaches her about making a deal, Minnow sees she can have the freedom she always dreamed of—if she’s willing to part with the terrible secrets of her past.

Gorgeously written, breathlessly page-turning and sprinkled with moments of unexpected humor, this harrowing debut is perfect for readers of Emily Murdoch’s If You Find Me and Nova Ren Suma’s The Walls Around Us , as well as for fans of Orange is the New Black.

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TTT – Hidden Gems

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish in June 2010 out of a love of lists. It recently changed to That Artsy Reader Girl and that’s where you can find the topics for each Tuesday.

This week’s topic is:

Hidden Gems (which books haven’t been talked about as much or haven’t been marketed as strongly, that you think deserve some recognition?)

I haven’t done one of these in a while, but one I say the title for this one, I knew I had to find some time to do it!

I’ve been reading some books I really think are worth sharing and I managed to talk about 5 of them! I hope you guys have read or get to read some of them!

What are some of your hidden gems? 

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