Archives for July 2015

July 6, 2015

Book Lust: 12 Gotta Read Books for Summer Reading

1436224074335-1

It’s FINALLY summertime… and feeling like it! After weeks of low temps and rain and clouds well into late spring, it’s finally gotten nice and toasty. Over 90 for the 4th of July weekend! I’m from the desert. I’m not a huge fan of the heat but can withstand quite a bit of it and 90 feels pretty good at times. As much as I love the rain, I’d had enough. So yes, I’m feeling very happy about this lovely, hot weather. And I don’t know about you, but summer means three things to me: long days, nights at the lake and good books to read beside the water/relaxing in the sun/on vacation/etc. So I decided to compile a list of great summer-reading books. Some newer, some older, some YA and some not. Hope you enjoy!

Click covers for more info:

1. Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver (YA)

Why It Made The List: An intensely character-driven story with an intriguing twisty mystery that begs you to keep going. It’s not the most original plot, but very well-written.

2. The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

Why It Made The List: The only victim who survives, hunts down her would-be killer who just happens to be a time-travelling serial killer. yes. You read that right. Definitely thrilling and surprising.

3. Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman

Why It Made The List: A story about love and family that is also rich with magical realism and supernatural elements. Spells and a romance? Oh bring on the summer loving feelings.

4. Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen (YA)

Why It Made The List: An emotional rollercoaster of a ride revolving around Halley’s friendship with Scarlett who is dealing not only with the death of her boyfriend, but the discovery that she’s also pregnant with his child.

5. Summer Sisters by Judy Blume

Why It Made The List: While Judy’s newest book “In The Unlikely Event” just recently released, I highly recommend the 25 year spanning friendship of Victoria and Caitlin as they face the trials and tribulations of growing up as well as growing apart, while spending every summer together on Martha’s Vineyard.

6. Sloppy Firsts (Jessica Darling #1) by Megan McCafferty

Why It Made The List: A well-written, journal based story of a sarcastic, smart mouthed sixteen year who is heart broken when her best friend moves out of town just before their junior year of high school. While it may sound like a YA story, it’s actually not. The characters are complex and defined and tackles several serious issues while also representing a true flashback to high school.

7. Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walters

Why It Made The List: Spanning 50 years and two continents from post-war Italy to modern day Hollywood, Walters has woven a beautiful marriage of masterful storytelling and subtle satire.

8. Sway by Kat Spears (YA)

Why It Made The List: Contemporary and gritty re-telling of Cyrano de Bergerac told in the voice of Jesse, a cynical and jaded high school senior who will do anything to make a buck and has no time for those stupid little things called emotions.

9. Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

Why It Made The List: If you enjoyed Gone Girl then you will love Dark Places. Dark as it’s name and complex thriller (with a twist!) about a gruesome murder committed by the older brother, and the lone survivor – the younger sister who sent him to jail.

10. Paper Towns by John Green (YA)

Why It Made The List: While Paper Towns is about to be released as a movie, that’s not why I chose it. It’s actually my most favorite of all of John Green’s books. Quirky, engrossing and featuring an impromptu road trip, perfect way to beat the heat.

11. The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line (Veronica Mars #1) by Rob Thomas & Jennifer Graham

Why It Made The List: Whether you have or have not seen the show doesn’t matter. You can rea dit without having watched the series but it’s of course better if you have seen it. The Veronica Mars debut book is perfection in its nod to old-fashioned crime noir stories.

12. The Bungalow by Sarah Jio

Why It Made The List: Set in the summer of 1942 Jio has created a poignant and timeless story about an illict love affair, murder and a long-lost painting.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this list! Have you read any of these books? Or, do you have a favorite summer read that you’d like to share? Tell me all about it in the comments!

July 2, 2015

A Trip To Goody Cottage and Pizza Wins All

Goody Cottage Nothing is better than a cupcake.

My lucky streak has continued. I don’t expect it to keep going but last Wednesday I won another contest on Facebook and my prize was a 3 pack of cupcakes from a local bakery called Goody Cottage! I didn’t even know the bakery existed until then and I’m so glad that I won because the cupcakes are absolutely amazing.

I’m a baker. I don’t have a store at all, but I’ve been baking for as long as I can remember and I went to culinary school. Because I can bake, I’m hard to please. I’ve been to two other local cupcake bakeries and was sorely disappointed. But not with Goody Cottage. I have a tendency to judge all bakeries on their chocolate cake so I chose the Oreo Cookies and Cream. I’m not actually a fan of chocolate cake. It’s almost always too dry and crumbly. But this one? Perfection. It wasn’t dense, wasn’t crumbly, was super soft and melted in my mouth. My roommate Rachel chose the Strawberry cupcake and devoured it. I cannot wait to go back and get more cupcakes. Aside from that, look how cute the store is! On the off chance that you are in the Bremerton, Washington area, head on over and say hi to Trisha, the lovely owner of Goody Cottage.

Hot, sweaty, blurry faces on the trail. THAT. View.

A day later, I finished work at 8am and went and saw my boyfriend. With our weird and disjointed schedules, it’s hard to find time to see each other. Since last weekend was out of the question we chose last Thursday to spend the day together since we were both off around the same time. We went back to his place and I watched him (and helped) fiddle with the air conditioner and curled up watching some vintage South Park before we woke up his sister and headed out to get some pizza together. Not only did I find a great boyfriend, but I absolutely adore his sister and for the last few weeks we’ve been enjoying brunches together, all of us taking a part in making something. It feels good. Like I have a family again. Which is rare for me. One of the things I miss the most is a family. But I digress.

We enjoyed some great pizza at Seabeck pizza, took a walk along the marina and soaked up the sunshine while telling jokes and trading stories. After our huge lunch, his sister suggested we head out for a walk so we headed for one of the local trails that she knew well. She desperately wanted us to see the view and she did not disappoint. As you can see from the picture above, I live in a gorgeous part of Washington and I can’t imagine living anywhere else. Not now. We posed for picture together (the first of all three of us together) and joked about our horribly sweaty, blurry and hot faces and made jokes about my shoes. Since I wasn’t expecting an excursion into the woods and since I pretty much live in sandals when not working, I was wearing flip-flops. So I have now earned the nickname of “Sandal Commander” which makes me crack up every time I hear it.

On the drive back to his house, C started talking about his love for pizza and I jokingly asked my boyfriend a simple, rhetorical question: “If I was carrying a pizza and started to fall down a hill, which one would you save? The pizza? Or me?” His sister and I laughed heartily while C pondered the question. He answered that of course he would save me. But he hesitated and even after said he’d be sad about the fallen pizza. It’s official. In a contest between affection and cheesy goodness, pizza wins. It’s a good thing I have a sense of humor ;)