Tag Archives: Lit Love

Reading and Cooking with the Kitchen Club Kids!

*I was gifted copies of these books as compensation for this review. All opinions are my own.

Dave and I both love cooking and helping in the kitchen is one of the *few* chores that Ella is thus far interested in. She LOVES cooking with us (which, regardless of what we are making, mostly involves her self-assigned task of spooning teaspoons full of baking soda into a bowl or cup, or eating the ingredients as pictured above). So when one of the authors of the adorable Kitchen Club Kids series contacted me and asked if I would be interested in sharing their books with Ella, I jumped at the chance. And trust me, they have quickly become a staple in our house!

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My Fall 2015 Reading List

It’s that time of year….the weather is cooling down, the leaves are starting to change, and Pinterest is flooded with pumpkin recipes. It must be fall! Time for a new reading list, but first, a few updates on my summer list:

The Girl on the Train was over-rated and not nearly as suspenseful as I was expecting it to be. Mostly just depressing haha.

This is Where I Leave You was really funny and well-written but really raunchy and I wouldn’t recommend it or read any of his other books now, sadly.

-I ate Belong to Me right up (and I wrote about it here).

How to Talk so Kids Will Listen (and Listen so Kids Will Talk): This is really good so far. I’m still working on it, and I like how in the introduction the authors suggest reading it slowly and practicing different techniques in the book before moving onto a new section. That being said, I think it’s probably aimed at parents with kids that are a little older than Ella. Still helpful for the future, though!

And…the rest of my list I didn’t get to. Instead, I went through a phase where I read the memoirs of Ann Romney, Hoda Kotb, and Kathie Lee Gifford. What can I say, I am a middle-aged cat lady in 20-something’s clothing.

This fall, I’m not tackling anything too lofty, haha. These are all books that have been on my “to read” list on Goodreads for a while, and I was lucky enough to find Still Alice and A Walk in the Woods at The Dollar Bookstore today, so they made the fall reading list cut!

Small side-note: If you live around Utah Valley, you have to check this place out! There is a location in Orem and Spanish Fork. It’s a used bookstore and all books really are only $1! And they actually have a lot of good stuff. I looked around for about half and hour and easily came away with several books I was pumped about (I think Carl’s Christmas was actually the one I was most thrilled by. I really want to build up our Christmas book collection!).

Without further ado…here’s what I’m excited to read this fall!

1. Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling: Ok, ok, I recognize that any girl under the age of 40 has already written about her excitement for this book to come out so I’ll just add my name to the list. I really do believe that Mindy and I would be best friends if she got to know me, though. I just know it!

2. A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson: This book has been around for a while and I’ve heard how funny it is about a million times so I figured it was time to give it a try!

3. The Royal We by Heather Cocks: This seems a little more “chick-lit-y” than I’m usually into, but I’ve heard it’s such a fun, cute story I am intrigued. And, isn’t it a little bit based on Kate Middleton? So sign me up.

4. Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande: I found a recommendation for this book on Everyday Reading, and her review was so glowing, I was really interested. Admittedly this topic (the science of dying) isn’t really normally my cup of tea, but I’ve been known to embrace some less-than-warm-and-fuzzy subject matter if it’s written about in a captivating way (Nothing to Envy, anyone?).

5. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr: This book had its heyday this summer and I want to see if it lives up to the hype! I mean, Pulitzer Prize? Seems pretty promising.

6. Still Alice by Lisa Genova: (I know, I’m late to the party on this one too haha. I have to hear a lot of good reviews before I take a chance!) The idea of a book about early-onset Alzheimer’s seems almost too sad for me but….it’s supposed to be extremely moving and triumphant. Plus it’s got a crazy high Goodreads average so that’s a good sign, right? Also, I found it for $1. Sometimes that’s enough to convince me to read something.

Let me know what you think! What’s on your reading list this season?

Lit Love #5: Belong to Me

Belong to Me, by Marisa de los Santos
3.5/5 (and I have decided I am allowed to do halves….my blog, my rules) seems to be my standard for, I liked it, I’d recommend it, it’s not life-changing. Which means Belong to Me was a pretty solid book! It wasn’t a book that I had really heard about but I found it on Goodreads and it had been sitting on my “to-read” shelf forever. When I was making my summer reading list I decided to throw it on there to provide something light and sweet (isn’t that the name of a coffee sweetener?). Well, I was pleasantly surprised because when I posted my reading list on Blogher, several of the comments were about Belong to Me and how much people love this book and author, so I was excited to try it out!
A few people mentioned that Belong to Me is actually a follow up to Love Walked In, and although I wouldn’t be lost without having read the first book, it would add more perspective to some of the characters. Well, in the name of laziness, because I had already checked out and begun reading Belong to Me, I decided to forge ahead without having the background information from Love Walked In. I agree that I wasn’t confused or missing any information, but now I definitely want to read de los Santos’ other books! That’s another reason I was excited about this book–it’s fun to find a new author.
The book weaves together the stories of three individuals: Cornelia, the principal protagonist who’s just moved to the suburbs from New York City and is feeling a bit out of place, Piper, stepford-wife-ish, type-A to the extreme, and dealing with the fact that her best friend has terminal cancer, and Dev, a quiet, smart, thoughtful teenager who’s just moved to town with his single mom for reasons that he doesn’t quite understand–but will become clearer as the story progresses. While these three characters would initially seem to have nothing in common, lo and behold, their lives and stories intertwine and affect one another in ways that none of them could have possibly foreseen when they all moved into the same neighborhood.
 My introduction to the characters is making this book sound a little cheesy and melodramatic. It IS a little cheesy, but in a well-written, happy-ending sort of way. Marissa de los Santos was a poet first, so she is a fan of somewhat flowery language, but it didn’t really become too noticeable until the very end of the book, when it got to be a little much for me. And without giving anything away, I will say that there was one story-line I was a lot more interested in than the others, and I wish that hadn’t sort of faded out by the end (but that’s always the case with these “lots of stories/perspectives that intertwine” books. Is there a name for that literary device? Please tell me what it is if so). There’s a twist about 2/3 of the way through the book that seemed a little out of the blue, but de los Santos did a good job of tying it all together by the end, albeit in a slightly rushed and maybe not super realistic way.
All in all, I would definitely recommend this book if you’re in the mood for something somewhat easy, but still containing some substance and heart. It’s poignant, funny, and interest-holding without the commitment of a suspenseful story line. Now, onto conquering the rest of my summer reading list in the six weeks left of summer!
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