9.22.2016

A Dangerous Age by Kelly Killoren Bensimon {Book Review}

A NYC novel about 40-somethings from a Real Housewife. Are you coming from a place of yes?
{Many thanks to NetGalley for sending me an eARC of A Dangerous Age in exchange for an honest review. If you click through the affiliate links in this post, any purchase you make supports this site.}

If I'm not the target audience for this novel, I don't know who is: heading quickly toward 40, a fan of the Real Housewives franchise, and a sucker for a New York City novel. Why do these descriptors make me the target audience? Because A Dangerous Age is co-written by Kelly Killoren Bensimon, who likely gets angry every time someone leads a review with a Real Housewives reference, but how could I not?

In A Dangerous Age, we follow four very close friends in their 40's who live in New York City. I found the age group refreshing (see first paragraph), especially given how many New York City novels I have read. They rarely follow the over 30 crowd through the social scene. This novel has to be taken for what it is - the story of four privileged women dealing with first world problems. There's nothing wrong with having some fluff in your reading routine, people!

I didn't love the writing style, which consisted almost entirely of very short, brusque sentences. The writing just didn't grab me with statements like: "There was a new message on my phone. I hadn't heard it come in." Because so many of these were scattered throughout, I couldn't get carried away by the story. It was also slow through the middle and in a few parts, it was simply crass. They reminded me of Modern Mrs. Darcy's 8 Sentences Rule again!

If you love New York City, its social scene, a bit of mystery, and detailed descriptions of dinners, social events, and locations throughout the city, you'll love this book.

3/5 Stars

9.19.2016

Recipes for Your Meal Plan {Menu Plan Monday}

Three chicken recipes for your meal plan! One is garlicky, one is spicy, and one is, um, pesto-y.

{If you click through the affiliate links in this post, any purchase you make supports this site.}

Back by popular demand (okay, just you, Neisha), here are some recipes we've tried out lately that would be perfect for your family's meal plan!

Middle Eastern Herb and Garlic Chicken {New York Times}

Three chicken recipes for your meal plan! One is garlicky, one is spicy, and one is, um, pesto-y.
This recipe for Middle Eastern Herb and Garlic Chicken from Melissa Clark at the New York Times was the perfect End of Summer meal. That innocent looking dollop of yogurt sauce is what put it over the top. It's also perfect with the simple grilled zucchini I made as a side. Try this!

Spicy Chicken and Eggplant {Real Simple Magazine}

Three chicken recipes for your meal plan! One is garlicky, one is spicy, and one is, um, pesto-y.
Spicy Chicken and Eggplant from Real Simple would have been prettier with the Japanese Eggplant the recipe called for, but my grocery store didn't have it. This dinner was still scrumptious! I tried out a homemade recipe for teriyaki sauce when the bottle in the fridge door turned out to to Worcestershire sauce . . . Oops.

Plated

Three chicken recipes for your meal plan! One is garlicky, one is spicy, and one is, um, pesto-y.
Once again, Plated comes through with a delicious dinner - Pesto Grilled Chicken with Ricotta and Pea Salad.

For more recipe ideas, check out Org Junkie's Menu Plan Monday roundup.

9.17.2016

Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge by Paul Krueger {Book Review}

Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge by Paul Krueger occupies an undiscovered corner of the fantasy genre: bartenders who make cocktails that impart short term magical powers, which the bartenders use to fight demons. You read that right!
{Many thanks to NetGalley for sending me an eARC of Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge in exchange for an honest review. If you click through the affiliate links in this post, any purchase you make supports this site.}

Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge by Paul Krueger occupies an undiscovered corner of the fantasy genre: bartenders who make cocktails that impart short term magical powers, which the bartenders use to fight demons. You read that right!

I love a book that doesn't take itself seriously, that is fun and quirky, and that is smart. Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge is all of these things, plus some lovely cocktail recipes thrown in for good measure!

Stories of secret cultures within our midst are so intriguing and this novel creates one that is certainly unique. They have a rich history that is shared through discussions of cocktails, but their underlying motivation to protect others is really an ode to the service industry.

With all of that fun stuff being said, I found Bailey's motivations suspect enough that it became distracting. Her immediate connection and unconditional loyalty to her mentor didn't have enough foundation to seem real, which affected the rest of the story. I also skimmed some of the fight scenes. Please don't make a magical screwdriver and hit me.....

3.5/5 Stars

9.15.2016

Read These Books {Quick Lit September 2016}

Don't think I'm crazy - this is two month's word of reading for me! I'm back in the Quick Lit game and sharing what I read.

{Many thanks to NetGalley for sending me an eARC of many of the books included here in exchange for an honest review. If you click through the affiliate links in this post, any purchase you make supports this site.}

So August came and went without me sharing what I've been reading lately. Let's blame the beginning of the school year and emotional trauma associated with sending my baby off to Kindergarten, shall we?

Really, it just means a super-sized edition this month. Its even more supersize by the fact that I went on vacation and got to read like crazy. Here's everything I read since the last installment in July!

Books read so far this year: 73 (my goal is 100!)

Don't think I'm crazy - this is two month's word of reading for me! I'm back in the Quick Lit game and sharing what I read.

  • The Lie by C.L. Taylor - I think I am quickly turning into a pyschological thriller fan! This story was fast-moving and scary without being too scary. See my full review here.
  • The Word Exchange by Alena Graedon - Loved the concept, loved the story, loved the writing, but I felt like it could have been about 100 pages shorter. There were a few parts that moved glacially slow.

Don't think I'm crazy - this is two month's word of reading for me! I'm back in the Quick Lit game and sharing what I read.
  • Results May Vary by Bethany Chase - The idea that a woman wouldn't really know her husband like she thought she did is so intriguing and is the focus of this novel. See my full review here.
  • The Crown by Keira Cass - The fifth and final book in the Selection series (though there are four million short stories, too) was a lovely finish to the series. I am still annoyed that they took one book and broke it up into two with no effort to make them stand alone books, though!


Don't think I'm crazy - this is two month's word of reading for me! I'm back in the Quick Lit game and sharing what I read.
  • Smoke by Dan Vyleta - This novel describes a world where sin reveals itself as smoke emanating from the sinner's body. For real. See my full review here.
  • The Children by Ann Leary - I'm inspired to read more by Ann Leary after reading The Children, a family novel set almost entirely in one location and narrated by an almost agoraphobe. See my full review here.
  • Skylight by Jose Saramago - I'm glad that I've read this novel, but the existentialism was a bit much for me. I was also distracted by the fact that almost every marriage depicted was terribly dysfunctional.
Don't think I'm crazy - this is two month's word of reading for me! I'm back in the Quick Lit game and sharing what I read.
  • Central Station by Lavie Tidhar - This novel tells the story of the people of Central Station, a space port in the far future, near the city of Tel Aviv. There's a robot priest, angsty cyborgs, and an addictive virtual reality. See my full review here.
What did you read over the course of the last couple months that you loved? Find more lists like this over at Modern Mrs. Darcy's Quick Lit linkup

9.13.2016

Goldfish by Nat Luurtsema {Book Review}

What happens when you're a teenager and you lose the thing that defines you? This YA novel explores one way to handle it.
{Many thanks to NetGalley for sending me an eARC of The Goldfish in exchange for an honest review. If you click through the affiliate links in this post, any purchase you make supports this site.}

Sometimes it's fun to just read a story. No gimmicks, no lofty concepts, and no inscrutable motivations. The reading experience of Nat Luurtsema's Goldfish was just that - a wonderful storytelling experience.

In the first few pages, we learn that Lou Brown is on her way to the Olympics, until she isn't. Her best friend heads off to swim for Team Great Britain while Lou heads back to school on her own, without any friends and with muscles she no longer has use for.

This novel is chock full of witty observations of teenage life - like spending hours making the perfect playlist to be cool, without actually acting like you're trying to be cool. Oh, the memories! This is part of what I love about YA novels like Goldfish.

I laughed out loud several times and cringed for Lou several times, as well. The story didn't head in the direction I thought it would and what a gift that is! Give this one a read if you're in the mood for something lovely, sweet, and witty.

9.12.2016

The Lie by CL Taylor {Book Review}

The Lie by CL Taylor is a psychological thriller that makes me never want to go to Nepal.
{Many thanks to NetGalley for sending me an eARC of The Lie in exchange for an honest review. If you click through the affiliate links in this post, any purchase you make supports this site.}

Psychological thrillers are a whole new genre for me and I'm worried I might be addicted. The Lie by C.L. Taylor was certainly no help.

Following two timelines with one narrator, The Lie tells the story of Jane Hughes. It alternates between her current, quiet life as an animal shelter worker and the harrowing tale of her journey to Nepal with three friends.

This story has all the things I am learning to love about a good psychological thriller - an ominous setting, an unknown villain, and creepy mystery throughout. I simply could not put it down!

While I can't handle the graphic violence in horror novels, the few incidents described in this books were intense, but no so much that it was going to give me nightmares. Don't get me wrong, there are scary parts, but they are not prurient.

Give this one a try and tell me what you think!

9.08.2016

Magruder's Curiosity Cabinet by H.P. Wood {Book Review}

Magruder's Curiosity Cabinet tracks the outbreak of a plague on Coney Island. Check out my full review!
{Many thanks to NetGalley for sending me an eARC of Magruder's Curiosity Cabinet in exchange for an honest review. If you click through the affiliate links in this post, any purchase you make supports this site.}

I had a hard time putting a finger on what Magruder's Curiosity Cabinet by H.P. Wood was about. A young girl named Kitty who is wandering the streets of Coney Island in search of her family? Zeph, a young man who runs the titular curiousities museum? About a third of the way in, this book hit its stride and I figured it out - a plague is loose on Coney Island during tourist season.

Maybe it's the cover or the title, but apparently this book has been confused with a children's book enough to warrant a "** Not a Children's or YA book **" notice on its Goodreads page. This novel has a mystical air and is about the child-friendly Coney Island, but is most certainly a novel for adults.

This novel follows the adventures of Kitty, Zeph, and a varied cast of characters who live and work in Coney Island's side shows and amusement parks. That alone would have been fascinating, but instead they are tasked with enduring the plague hitting the island and taking care of each other. It felt manufactured for some reason.

The sense of community in this book is striking, as is the vivacity and humor of Wood's characters. It felt like a snap shot of a unique time and place in our history.

3/5 stars