Monday, March 14, 2016

Healthy Reading Snacks

If you are anything like me you love to snack. As I have mentioned on here before I have been working hard to change my eating habits. So here are some healthy snack ideas that you can try next time you are wanting a nice snack to munch on while reading a great book.



Frozen Grapes 
The first one if the easiest. You take grapes, wash them, put them in a freezer friendly container, and then put them in the freezer. I like to leave them in the freezer for at least 3 hours. Over night is best. Quick tip: If you have a soar throat frozen grapes feel AMAZING on your throat. My mom use to make them for me when I had strep throat. 
If you want something sweet but don't want the guilt, this tea is for you. It is rich and chocolaty with a little kick, and no ingredients that are bad for you.  This is a black tea so it has CAFFEINE. In case you cannot see the tea's name it is Numi Indulgent Tea Chocolate Spice 


Zucchini Pizza 
What You need: One Medium Zucchini, Cheese of your choice, Small pepperoni (found in salad isle), Pizza sauce, and the most important part....Italian seasoning. 
I am sure you have seen this on Pinterest, I tried it the first time and did not like it. It was missing something and I couldn't figure it out. Well after many tries I have figured out the simple ingredient that was missing...Italian seasons! (or pizza seasoning they both work great) The number one rule in eating healthy is SPICES they are your best friend. 
Now how to make the pizza bites.
First you want to preheat your oven to 350. After you have preheated your oven, cut your zucchini. I do not cut mine too thick because I feel like it over powers the other ingredients if you do, but it is up to you. After you have cut them lay them on your cooking pan and spread the pizza sauce on the cut up zucchini. Sprinkle a good amount of Italian seasoning on the pizza bites. Now sprinkle on the cheese and top it off with a few pepperonis. Bake until the cheese is melted. As you can see in the picture I like my cheese a little crispy NO JUDGEMENT =)


PRE-MADE SNACK FLAVORED PEANUTS 
Now let's be honest, healthy foods are great, but sometimes you have to make them yourself and most people do not have the time for that! So I wanted to add a snack that you can just pick up from Walmart. Yes Walmart, because I know a lot of you live in small towns and do not have Trader Joe's and other health stores. The closest Trader Joe's to me is like an hour so no thank you!


Oh these are so good y'all don't even know! I like to portion these out and put them in baggies. This way I don't have to worry about over eating. Next time you go to Walmart or the grocery store make sure to check out the snack isle. That is where I found these. Planters and other nut brands are really stepping up their game! I found these and other flavors, as well as pre- portioned nut mixes, and more. 



So there are some of my healthy snack ideas. Let me know what you think of this post. If you guys like it, and it has good feedback I would love to do more of these! Please share your favorite healthy snacks in the comments. 
Happy Reading Y'all, 
Ashley 



Thursday, March 10, 2016

Review: Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

Series: Throne of Glass (book #4) 
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Overall Goodreads Rating: 4.64
Pages: 648
Published: Published September 1st 2015 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
My Overall Rating: TEN THOUSAND STARS!!! ALL THE STARS!!!!!! 


IN A NUTSHELL
PERFECTION 
This book was EVERYTHING!!!!! I flew through this book because there were no slow parts. I just cannot get over how everything came together. There were the famous twist and turns that SJM gives us that come out of left field, but there were so many answers to the mysteries that we all have been wondering. Oh and this woman is such a master mind in the romance department that I refuse to have anymore ships. SJM makes me flip flop on ships and that NEVER EVER EVER happens. Overall this book was freaking fantastic, mind blowing, and I am a hot mess trying to explain how amazing it is. I loved everything about this book. It had no flaws in my eyes. 


"The queen has returned.

Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she’s at last returned to the empire—for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past…

She has embraced her identity as Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen. But before she can reclaim her throne, she must fight.

She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die for her. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen’s triumphant return.

The fourth volume in the New York Times bestselling series continues Celaena’s epic journey and builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.
 "

This book gave me life!

via GIPHY
 I feel like the last book was great (obviously) but it left me confused and I had so many questions that needed to be answered. My husband and I would come up with all these crackpot theories trying to figure out all the mysteries just to pass the time while we waited for Queen of Shadows to come out. While that was fun, we were off......so far off...it was embarrassing. I just wish I could be half as witty as SJM. There were so many mysterious that were resolved in this book, and it was great to read! I LOVED how I did not see any of it coming. I really do not want to get into it too much because it can get into the spoiler sections fast. Basically all you  need to know is, this book was fantastic, your questions about pretty much everything gets answered, and yes that includes who Celaena picks to be with. New characters are introduced, and Cleaena kicks ass and takes names just like you would expect her to. The first book will always hold a special place in my heart because it is what started my love for the series, but this book is probably my favorite so far! I promise you if you are a fan of this series you will not be disappointed. Also if you are someone who has not started this series, and you are reading this post anyway, (lets be honest, we all have read reviews of multiple books in a series we have not started just to make the series doesn't go down hill and waste our time) you need to start this series now. It will become one of your favorite series I can pretty much promise you that! 
So tell me your thoughts on this book. Were you blown away by the twist and turns this book took? Did you fangirl as hard as I did? Let me know your thoughts down below! 
Happy Reading Y'all, 
Ashley 

Monday, March 7, 2016

Review:The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting



Series: The Body Finder #1 
Author: Kimberly Derting
Overall Goodreads Rating: 3.98
Genre: YA Paranormal Mystery 
Pages: 327
Published:  March 16th 2010 by Harper
My Overall Rating: 4/5 Stars

IN A NUTSHELL
Spooky creepy read about a murderer and a girl who can find the bodies in a unconventional way. I enjoyed this book, and at times got scared at times while reading this home alone. It made me a little paranoid of people and more aware of my surroundings. While the paranormal side of this book fell a little flat, I loved the romance and the build up of this book. It did not end with a cliff hanger that made me feel like I truly needed the second book asap, it had an ending that could have easily made it a stand alone. Overall I enjoyed it and found it to be a interesting creepy read. 

Goodreads

"Violet Ambrose is grappling with two major issues: Jay Heaton and her morbid secret ability. While the sixteen-year-old is confused by her new feelings for her best friend since childhood, she is more disturbed by her "power" to sense dead bodies—or at least those that have been murdered. Since she was a little girl, she has felt the echoes that the dead leave behind in the world... and the imprints that attach to their killers.

Violet has never considered her strange talent to be a gift; it mostly just led her to find the dead birds her cat had tired of playing with. But now that a serial killer has begun terrorizing her small town, and the echoes of the local girls he's claimed haunt her daily, she realizes she might be the only person who can stop him.

Despite his fierce protectiveness over her, Jay reluctantly agrees to help Violet on her quest to find the murderer—and Violet is unnerved to find herself hoping that Jay's intentions are much more than friendly. But even as Violet is getting closer and closer to discovering a killer.. she might become his next prey."



I had two main things that kept me going in this book. The first being the creep factor. I liked the mystery and creepy parts of this book because it is stuff that could truly happen. In this story we have a serial killer who targets young women. Derting did such a fantastic job on writing the killers side of the story. It was so interesting to get chapters that were from the killers POV. I would get so creep out I would have to stop reading until my husband got home. Doing my grocery shopping I would look around to see if anyone was watching me in a weird way. The fact that the creep factor stayed with me throughout my normal activities, makes me know that this book was great. 
The second thing that kept me eating this book up was Jay.

via GIPHY
Oh Jay and all his sweetness. He is such a great friend to Violet. It is really nice to read about two people who know so much about one another, and have a true bond. Jay is a gentleman who at the core is the best friend anyone could ask for. If this amazing friendship leads to something more, you will just have to read to find out. 
While I did enjoy Violet she fell a little flat for me. I felt like the thing I liked most about her was the paranormal part of her. And while that was interesting it also feel a little flat. Most of the time I felt like  I was reading a contemporary mystery. I kept waiting for more paranormal things to happen and it never did. Violet's character suffered from what I feel a lot of YA female leads suffer from. She acts confused over her feelings and it consumes most of her thoughts and interactions with characters. Besides her confusion the only other feelings we got from Violet were anger and trying to control and understand her gift. I wanted to know more about HER as a person. 
Overall I did enjoy this book, but the ending made me feel content with the ending and did not leave much room for want of the next book. Now do not let that confuse you with my rating. I rated this book on my enjoyment. I flew through it and loved it, and I may pick up the next book at some point. I hope the next book shows more sides of Violet, maybe the paranormal side picks up, and Jay stays exactly the same. If all that happens, that book will be getting 5 stars from me. 
Tell me your thoughts on this book! Did you enjoy it? Please let me know if you have read the second book and what you thought of it. Should I pick up the second book, or just be content with the first books ending? 
Happy Reading Y'all, 
Ashley 

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Review: The Return by Jennifer L. Armentrout



Series; The Return (Titian #1)
Author: (The amazing) Jennifer L. Armentrout
Overall Goodreads Rating: 4.35
Genre: New Adult Paranormal
Pages: 335
Published: February 16th 2015 by Spencer Hill Press
MY OVERALL RATING: 5/5 STARS 



IN A NUTSHELL
I was NOT  a Seth fan at all! In fact, this is the only JLA book I ever put off readings simply because I did not know if I would like it. (I literally cringed writing that sentence.) However, I gave it a try.....SO GLAD I DID! This book was everything I enjoy about JLA's books. There was humor, action, and GREAT sexy moments. In this book JLA shows us how great of a writer she is, by showing us a side of Seth I would have never imagined. If you are on the fence about this book like I was, just jump that fence friend...you can thank me later. SO Seth fan or not I HIGHLY recommend this book. BUT YOU REALLY NEED TO READ THE COVENANT SERIES FIRST!!! 


"The Fates are cackling their bony asses off…

It’s been a year since Seth made the deal with the gods that pledged his life to them. And so far, the jobs they’ve given him have been violent and bloody–which is kind of all right with him. But now Apollo has something else in mind for Seth. He’s got to play protector while keeping his hands and fingers off, and for someone who really has a problem with restraint, this new assignment might be the most challenging yet.

Josie has no idea what this crazy hot guy’s deal might be, but it’s a good bet that his arrival means the new life she started after leaving home is about to be thrown into an Olympian-sized blender turned up to puree. Either Josie is going insane or a nightmare straight out of ancient myth is gunning for her.

But it might be the unlikely attraction simmering between her and the golden-eyed, secret-keeping Seth that may prove to be the most dangerous thing of all.

Because history has once again been flipped to repeat.

Book 1 in the new adult paranormal TITAN series, spin-off to the best selling COVENANT series."

I just cannot get over the fact that Armentrout made me like Seth. I use like loosely, it is more like he is on a probation trial with me. The fact that I am even giving him a chance is saying something about Armentrout's writing because I HATED him in the Covenant series. I mean he was right up there with Voldemort not even gonna lie. 
So this is how uncomfortable I was starting this book, 

via GIPHY



But then I read this book, and Armentrout explains his upbringing and shows us all these elements to the old Seth, and what the new Seth may become. I also had to stop myself and tell myself that he is actually a fictional character, and just maybe I could be easier on him than I would someone in real life.  I just enjoyed this book so much, and I am kicking myself for waiting so long to read it. 
In this book we meet a new character Josie who I LOVED. She was sweet and while she was looked at by others to be weak she was the complete opposite. I love female characters in Armentrout's books because she always makes sure they show us what girls can really do! 
We get to see a few familiar faces and it was SO nice! It truly made me cry to see some of these characters, and see where they are now.  This book has the same feeling as the Covenant series, but a little more on the older side. So you can expect more cussing and more secy moments, but I'm not complaining. It was so nice to be back in this world, and I will be reading the next book in the series for sure. 

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Auto Buy Authors Good or Bad Habit?



We all have those auto buy authors. You know the authors that are so freaking talented that you are going to buy their books without even having to know what the book is about. For example my auto buys are Sarah J. Maas, Wendy Higgins, Jennifer L. Armentrout, Josephine Angelini, and those are just a few! I think having auto buy authors are great! I mean it is amazing to find authors that are so talented they never do wrong, but I have started to have a problem with that. My problem is I have been sticking just to those authors. I have not been branching out much. I went to Apollycon which was AMAZING, but I realized there were so many authors I didn't know. I read the same authors and while that is great, I just wait for their new books to come out and I never truly branch out. 
While I will continue to love and keep my auto buy authors, I am going to start working on branching out. I also want to start branching out in genre. While my heart and most of my reading will stay YA reads, I want to start reading more adult as well. 

Here are a few authors that I have been recommended and I have ordered or already bought their books. 
  • Kristen Ashley I was specifically recommended her Wildest Dreams (Fantasyland #1) 
  • Alexandria Bracken: OH MY GOODNESS I met her at Apollycon and she is seriously the sweetest person ever! She was so genuine and asked all kinds of questions. She really wanted to get to know people and That meant so much to me. I received an ARC of Passenger, but bought it as well because she was so sweet I had to support her! 
  • Alison Goodman I bought her book Eon
  • Katie McGarry I bought her Pushing the Limits 
  • Paullina Simons: New friends that I was lucky enough to meet at Apollycon could not stop talking about The Bronze Horseman 
  • Susan Dennard: I watched an interview with her in it, and she seemed so genuine and her books sounds interesting.  I bought her Something Strange and Deadly and Truthwitch. I have started her Trurthwitch book and I am loving it! 
  • Garth Nix: I want to start his Abhorsen series. The fist book is Sabriel. At Apollycon SJM talked about her this book inspired her way of writing and it of course was immediately added to my TBR. 
I have already started some of these books, and I plan on reading most of them soon since I have a week off next week. Let me know your author recs and I will add them to my list. Also let me know how you feel about auto buying and if it messes with your reading habits. 
Happy Reading Y'all, 
Ashley 

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Review: Magnus Chase by: Rick Riordan

Series: Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #1
Author: Rick Riordan
Overall Goodreads Rating: 4.28
Genre: YA Fantasy (Mythology)
Pages: 499
Published: October 6th 2015 by Disney - Hyperion Books

MY OVERALL RATING: 4.5/5 STARS 


IN A NUTSHELL
Fun and exciting read. Took a couple of chapters to really get into, but once I got into it I could not put it down! This book has all the comedy and charm that we all love and expect from Riordan's writing. The Norse Mythology was interesting and done in a way where I was never overwhelmed. I felt like I learned a lot, and it made me want to learn more about this particular mythology. The only downfall this book had was there were MANY similarities to Percy Jackson. I had a hard time getting over a few. There were so many that it took away from the originality of the book. If you want examples of the similarities keep on reading.


"Magnus Chase has always been a troubled kid. Since his mother’s mysterious death, he’s lived alone on the streets of Boston, surviving by his wits, keeping one step ahead of the police and the truant officers.

One day, he’s tracked down by a man he’s never met—a man his mother claimed was dangerous. The man tells him an impossible secret: Magnus is the son of a Norse god.

The Viking myths are true. The gods of Asgard are preparing for war. Trolls, giants and worse monsters are stirring for doomsday. To prevent Ragnarok, Magnus must search the Nine Worlds for a weapon that has been lost for thousands of years.

When an attack by fire giants forces him to choose between his own safety and the lives of hundreds of innocents, Magnus makes a fatal decision.

Sometimes, the only way to start a new life is to die...."

I really enjoyed this book. I laughed and at times cried. It had all the charm that I was expecting and once I really got into the book I did not stop reading until I was finished. I really enjoyed the friendships in this book, and how it was a main part of this book. What I love about Riordan's stories is that he always puts a emphases on relationships such as friendships and family dynamics. His writing is unique in the fact that he has his characters build trust and friendship instead of solely romances. He actually writes about children who love their parents, and have a healthy relationship with them. I have to acknowledge that because it is a rare factor in middle grade/YA books. I really came to love every character in this book, and not one of them fell flat. Magnus is funny and full of smart remarks and whit. Other characters you will meet in this book will still your heart and quickly become your new book friends. 
I loved learning about new mythology. Norse Mythology is complex and Riordan makes it easy to follow. After reading this book I felt like I learned a lot, and I even went on to do more research on my own. The Norse Mythology really added a new originality to the book because it was something I had never read about before! 
Now for the reason I gave this book 4.5 instead of 5 stars. There were A LOT of similarities to Percy Jackson. Without giving away too much I will say, there were similar personalities, fighting situations, relationship dynamics, and special weapons,we already read about in Percy Jackson. This book is original with the Mythology and it was a real bummer to see these repeats, because this book had so much potential to be a one of  kind book in YA.  
Overall I really enjoyed this book, and I am truly excited for the next book to come out. I highly recommend it. Just know that there are similarities to Percy Jackson, but it is still an amazing read. If you have children in middle school I would recommend this book for you and your children to read together. You can have a family type book club! Okaaay I just nerded out on a completely new level.

Tell me your thoughts on this book. Did you find the similarities as annoying as I did? How much fun did you have learning about Norse Mythology? And the most important question....Magnus or Percy? 
Happy Reading Y'all, 
Ashley 

Monday, February 29, 2016

Review: The Siren by Kiera Cass




Series: Stand alone 
Author Kiera Cass
Overall Goodreads Rating: 3.91
Genre: Young Adult Romance Fantasy 
Pages: 336
Published: January 26th 2016 by HarperTeen
My overall Rating: 4/5 Stars

IN A NUTSHELL
This book was a pleasant surprise. The writing was beautiful and lyrical. I was reminded of The Little Mermaid in the best of ways. There was insta-love, but it was expected and tolerable. This book is all about love, but different types of love. Love between family, friends, and the sacrifices that are willing to be made for the ones you love. Basically you need to be on the beach with a nice drink in your hand while reading this book! 

Goodreads

"Kahlen is a Siren, bound to serve the Ocean by luring humans to watery graves with her voice, which is deadly to any human who hears it. Akinli is human—a kind, handsome boy who's everything Kahlen ever dreamed of. Falling in love puts them both in danger . . . but Kahlen can't bear to stay away. Will she risk everything to follow her heart?"

 I have been on the hunt for a good mermaid book for well basically ever. I have found a few but not enough. I ask everyone I know if they know of any great mermaid books, and I get the same two to three books I have already read. So when I saw this book I thought I would give it a try. It isn't truly a mermaid book but it is close enough for me! If you have read Caas' other series The Selection you know that her writing is more of the fun type of read. I love her books and I like to pick them up after a book hangover because I know they will be light and fluffy. This book however was deeper than her Selection series. I found myself marking certain quotes because they were so beautiful and lyrical. For example:“She would want me to forget all about him. But how could eyes not notice the light? How could lungs not acknowledge the air? There are just some things you can't ignore.”   and “There’s always room for love. Even if it’s as small as a crack in the door.”
I also liked how there was different types of love in this book and the problems that comes with it. In this book we see the sacrifices families make because of love. We see sisterly love that melted my heart and brought tears to my eyes. In this book Caas shows readers that love isn't black and white, it comes with sacrifices and darker sides of love. The magical system was beautiful and creative, and while this book made me think of the move The Little Mermaid, Caas made the story her own and I ate it up! While there was some insta love it was expected so that helped me not be annoyed. If you go in knowing I think it always helps. The love connection in this book is super sweet, and genuine. Our main character cannot speak and it makes the love story unique and beautiful.
I recommend this book, and if you like The Selection you are going to love this book. I honestly think this is the best writing I have seen from Caas. While it was still fun like her other series it was better written, the story flowed better, and there was not a annoying lead character that could not make up their mind for foolish reasons. While I know this story was written first, Caas went back and rewrote it, and this by far is her best work. I am excited to see more from Caas in the future. If you are on the fence about this book go ahead and pick it up. It is a stand alone and not too long. trust me, it will be worth your time. 
Let me know if you pick this book up, and if you have already read it let me know what you thought. 
Happy Reading Y'all ,
Ashley