Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Summer Giveaway Hop!

Hosted by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer

While I'm more of a fan of the cooler seasons, summer definitely has its perks. You can go swimming, wear sundresses, and read on a blanket under a tree (or from the comfort of your home in the A/C).  But most of all, I love the new releases.  More than that I love new releases by Texas authors, and so I'm giving away a copy of Anastasia Forever by Joy Preble to one lucky winner. ^_^ US entries only please.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Stacking the Shelves (8)

We are all book lovers and the need to share our enthusiasm is sometimes overwhelming. Stacking the Shelves, created and hosted at Tynga's Reviews, is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in stores or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts, and of course ebooks!

Underworld by Meg Cabot (Bought thanks to B&N coupon)
Demonglass by Rachel Hawkins (Bought at HPB)
A Game of Thones Vol. One by George R.R. Martin, Daniel Abraham, & Tommy Patterson (From Library)

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater (Thanks to Netgalley and Scholastic!)
Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff (Thanks to Netgalley and St. Martin's Press!)

Game of Thrones Season 1 (Borrowed, and I cannot wait to watch it finally!)

That's all I stacked on my shelves this week. What did you get? ^_^

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Thought for Thursday: Print is Thriving Not Just Surviving

Are printed materials going the way of the dodo?  Some of my colleagues believe that print is starting to die, but I have to disagree.  And it's thanks to two things, two observations.  One, teachers and professors are trying to get their students to understand the value of accurate and reliable information that comes from print resources.  Now, while some print resources are also available in digital format (such as newspapers, magazine articles, or even encyclopedias), they are still considered reliable resources.  I think the professors are also trying to get their students to look for the narrow scope within the immense amount of information thrown at them on the Internet.  Then again, that's what librarians are there for, to help the students narrow down their searches to retrieve results within the 2-digit range rather than the 4 or 5-digit range.  

The other observation I've made is that people are still buying books.  They want to hold a book in their hands, flip through the pages, and have books displayed on their bookshelves.  When I look at my own home library, I just cannot imagine everything on my full shelves being contained on a small device.  What would that leave me with?  A lot of empty shelves and a "library" the size of a thin book.  Now don't get me wrong, I do like having a Kobo (though I might be upgrading to a different ereader in the future) especially when some books are only available in digital format.  I'm looking at the self-published authors and indie authors that I like to support.  

Still, I want you to think about it.  Put it in perspective.  

To replace this:

And this: 

With only this?

I'm glad to say that I believe Print format is thriving because a solely digital future seems a dismal possibility.   Truth be told, print and digital go hand in hand quite well and personally it's best to have both books AND ebooks on an ereader.  

Do you think print format is dying?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tune in Tuesday: My Teen Years

Tune in Tuesday is hosted by Ginger at GReads as a means of spreading the love and word about music.  I'm definitely for anything that helps keep music alive in the world and in our hearts.  

July's feature is "My Teen Years" and as a teen, I was listening to quite an eclectic amount of music from Classical to Pop/Rock.  So I'm happy to share the music with other readers. ^_^

 Classical was always a go-to genre of music because of my participation in choir both in school and church.  Bond was the first group that made me feel as though I could really share my love of classical music with friends I had outside of choir.  Watching them play is just energizing, and "Duel" is one of my favorites.

I'm a hug fan of big voices.  Aretha Franklin, Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, and Whitney Houston (may she rest in peace), all of these ladies were my divas.  However, there was a new voice I came across in high school that just blew me away.  It's hard selecting one of my favorite songs by Sarah Brightman, but I think "Deliver Me" was the one I listened to most off her Eden album, the first one I owned in high school.  (Btw, I have to say this video of the artist speed-drawing Sarah is awesome.)

Okay, y'all.  I have to come clean.  Yes, I did listen to boy bands back in high school.  Heck, N'Sync even performed at my high school before they were "high on the charts."  But I was disappointed by this, why you ask?  Because they weren't BSB.  Yes, friends, I was a Backstreet Boys fan.  And there was no song that could compare to "Everybody (Backstreet's Back)."

Now to hopefully redeem myself to you (or perhaps make you all go, "Wha?"), I'm going to share the title song from one of my most favorite movies as a kid, as a teen, and even now.  I know at least a few of my blogging friends will appreciate hearing "The Last Unicorn" by America.  

What did y'all listen to back in your Teen Years?

Saturday, July 21, 2012

DJL Dishes Dessert: Raspberry and Honey Cheesecake

So it's been awhile since my last Dish on Dessert, and it just so happens that this meeting for Culinary Club features recipes from Warren Brown's United Cakes of America.  The recipe I chose to attempt was his Raspberry & Honey Cheesecake representing the state of Wyoming.  I do have to say, Brown's assumptions about bakers are a wee bit on the presumptuous side (while I would LOVE to own one someday, not all hobby bakers can afford a stand mixer like a Kitchenaid).  Beyond that, I found a lot of his recipes very creative as representations of each state.  I haven't made a great many cheesecakes in my day, and this particular recipe sounded challenging without being TOO difficult.  On to the recipe!

Crust Ingredients:
- 5 oz. Graham crackers (9 full crackers)
- 3 tbsp Superfine granulated sugar
- 3/4 stick Unsalted butter melted
- 1/8 tsp Salt

Filling Ingredients:
- 16 oz Cream cheese
- 16 oz Fresh Goat cheese
- 1/2 cup Superfine granulated sugar
- 1/2 Crystallized or raw honey
- 4 Eggs
- 1/4 cup Sour cream
- 1/4 cup Heavy cream
- 2 tsp Vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup Raspberry puree (<--I substituted raspberry filling since I don't have a blender.)


1. Preheat the oven to 300F and place the rack in the middle position.  Grease a 9-by-3-inch round pan and line the bottom with parchment.
2. Crush the graham crackers in a bowl or food processor into very fine crumbs.

3. Using a fork, toss all the crust ingredients in a bowl until evenly combined.  Press the mixture firmly into the prepared pan.

4. Bake until fragrant, 10-12 minutes.  Set aside to cool while you make the filling.  Leave the oven on.
5. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cheese on medium speed to break up and soften them. (I used a hand mixer because I don't have a standing mixer.)
6. Reduce the mixer to slow speed and add the sugar and honey in 2 additions each, beating until they dissolve, about 3 minutes total.
7. Add the eggs one at a time, allowing each to combine before adding the next.
8. Mix the sour cream, heavy cream, and vanilla together until smooth.  Pour into the mixer slowly.

9. Pour the filling into the prepared crust.  Drizzle up to 1/4 cup of the raspberry puree randomly on the batter and swirl it with your finger.
10. Bake, uncovered, until the center of the cake is only slightly wobbly when the pan is shaken, about 1 hour.

11. Turn off the heat and leave the oven door ajar for 1 hour.
12. Cool the cake for 4 hours, until it reaches room temperature.  (It cracked because I didn't follow the recipe about the water bath, but it didn't make the cake any less delicious.)

13. Cover the cake tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, and preferably overnight.
14. Set the pan in warm water to loosen the cake.  Run an offset spatula around the edge if necessary.  Invert the cake onto a flat plate, then turn it right side up onto a decorative plate for serving.  Smooth out any tears on the sides with an offset spatula.  Add a cluster of raspberries to the top of the cheesecake if you like.

Well, the end results were received pleasantly at both the Culinary Book Club meeting on Wednesday and among the staff.  I wish I could have taken a picture of what the pan looked like following the library "feeding frenzy."  I was told that one of my work friends was scraping the crust that got stuck in the pan, which made me smile.  This is one recipe I wouldn't mind making again, but it's really a once in awhile recipe considering the price of fresh goat cheese.

Bon appetit! ^_^

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Waiting On Wednesday: Send

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's "Waiting On" Wednesday selection is:

By Patty Blount
Publish date: August 2012 from Sourcebooks, Inc.

From Goodreads~
To keep his secrets, all he has to do is listen to the voice in his head and just walk away...

On his first day at his new high school, Dan stops a bully from beating up a kid half his size. He didn't want to get involved. All he wants out of his senior year is to fly under the radar. But Dan knows what it's like to be terrorized by a bully-he used to be one. Now the whole school thinks he's some kind of hero, except Julie Murphy, the prettiest girl on campus. She looks at him like she knows he has a secret. Like she knows his name isn't really Daniel.

I have to thank Teen Librarian's Toolbox for bringing this upcoming book to light.  To take a term from Kate at Ex Libris, I believe Send is a trigger book, one that readers should be on the lookout on the shelves come August.  After reading books like Dear Bully, Rival, and The List, I'm so ready for another book regarding one of the big issues in today's schools: bullying.  I'm eager to hear "Daniel's" story. 

What are you waiting on this Wednesday? ^_^

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Thought for Thursday: Independent Bookstores

How many of you have an independent bookstore in your town or city?  If you have at least one, I would definitely count it as a blessing and a high achievement if they have been established for a long period of time.  There's an air about independent bookstores that just feels different than a bookstore chain.  Don't get me wrong, I adore Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, and adored Borders when they were still around.  But I have to show my love for my independent bookstores.

I think of myself as very fortunate because I have several major independent bookstores within my city and one amazing and immense independent bookstore just three hours away in my state's capital.  They provide a unique store with it's own decor to explore, titles that other bookstore chains don't always have right at the release date, and book signings with various authors whether local or not, debut or veteran. 

 To tell the honest truth, I wouldn't have known about these delightful indie bookstores in my own city had it not been for Christin of Portrait of a Book.  Many many thanks, Christin.  And it's through these independent bookstores I've been able to meet other local blogging friends both new and old.  I don't hesitate when I say that independent bookstores like Blue Willow Books, Murder by the Book, and Book People are the heart of the book blogging community.  If you have an indie bookstore in your town, I hope you take the time to visit and get to know the workers.  And if you already are a regular patron, be sure to thank them for all their hard work (if you don't already that is ^_^).

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Winter in July Giveaway!

I love winter.  It's my favorite time of year when you can bundle up in a cute sweater or cuddle under a blanket with a good book and a cup of hot chocolate.  While we don't get snow in my state (we view it as a miracle when we do since it's a rarity), there's just something enjoyable about the crisp, cold days and nights of winter.  Why am I talking about winter in the middle of summer?  Well, you could say I'm feeling a little winter-needy, thanks to my beau who is also feeling winter-needy.  So in honor of our winter-neediness, I'm going to snow all of you with a giveaway!

I will be giving away to one lucky reader:

A signed ARC of Anna Banks' Of Poseidon

(Image borrowed from Bookhounds)
Three mystery 2012 YA/MG ARCs!!!

But wait there's more!  If I reach 400 followers during the giveaway, I will add a finished copy of: 
Julie Kagawa's The Iron King

Edit: Since it is currently winter below the Equator (slight season envy going here), this contest is open internationally.  Good luck to everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Review: Obsidian

Title:  Obsidian (Lux #1)
Author:  Jennifer L. Armentrout
Pages:  335
Genre:  Young Adult Paranormal
Publisher:  Entangled Teen
Obtained:  Bought
Summary:  Starting over sucks. When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I'd pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring... until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up. And then he opened his mouth.

Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something... unexpected happens.

The hot alien living next door marks me. You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon's touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I'm getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades. If I don't kill him first, that is.

The Dish:  Okay, I've preordered Onyx from my local bookstore, so that should hopefully give you a clue as to how I felt about Obsidian.  No?  Alright, then, here goes.  It was a hilarious, spectacular, page-turning, sleep-depriving book that I can totally say is justified in having a huge following.  It's THAT awesome.

Okay, I've gotten most of my fangirling out, but with dynamic and hilarious characters like Katy, Daemon, and Dee, it's difficult not to go into full-time gush mode.  Katy is an adorable narrator and not just because she's a book blogger (although I'm sure many readers will appreciate that trait).  When I see Katy with Daemon, it's hard to believe that there was a time when she would have just rolled over and taken someone's guff.  Her relationship with Dee also showed how loyal she was to her friends even when her own list was at stake.  She is a morally strong heroine, and I find that a highly admirable trait in a young female character.

Moving on to our leading man... oh, Daemon.  While he does run hot and cold with Katy, there is good reason behind it.  Yet at the same time, I still wondered why he continued to give her grief even after she learned his family's (and other families' in the town) secret.  Even when he was annoying to Katy, he was also kind as well, and seeing that side made me change my initial opinion of him.  Besides, seeing him as the protective older brother to Dee was very sweet and I hope most readers will see that as well.

Jennifer L. Armentrout did a phenomenal job of creating and developing the Luxen alien race from their history to backing up why such a large concentration of the Luxens would be in this small town in Virginia.  At the same time, there is an air of mystery still surrounding Daemon, Dee, and the other Luxens as well as the Arum, the polar opposites and enemies to both Luxen and human alike.  I'm sure Armentrout will deliver another stellar Lux novel with the release of Onyx in August.

Book 8 
(Technically, the first edition was released in 2011, so I think it counts!)

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Fourth of July!!!

Happy Independence Day, everyone!  
May you celebrate it with family, friends, and fireworks!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Teaser Tuesday: Shadow and Bone

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should be Reading.  Anyone can play along!  Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read.
  • Open to a random page.
  • Share two "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page.
  • Share the title & author, too, so that others can add the book to their TBR lists!

This week's teaser comes from Leigh Bardugo's Shadow and Bone.

"The Darkling had said little to me since that night in the barn, and he's given me no idea what I might expect once we arrived. But I didn't have the nerve or the energy to run after him, so I meekly followed the woman in gray through another pair of double doors and into one of the smaller towers." ~ p. 87 Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
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