Category: Book Reviews

Welcome to my cozy chair by the fire!

Otherwise known as my ideal place to read books if such a place existed in my house. My love of reading started in elementary school. I remember spending hours in the library finding new Babysitters Club books (do you remember???!) and other series that captivated me. Reading has and always will be my favorite way to escape reality, and I’m so excited to add a new segment to my blog!

Little known fact about me; I love collecting cookbooks, but rarely cook.

I used to really like cooking, but unless I’m watching old Friends reruns on my iPad, I just can’t keep my attention focused on the process. I’m hoping to get in the kitchen more, especially on the weekends. I’ve been pinning recipes here and there, and making at least one new dish on the weekends. I was lurking around Anthropologie last week and I found the PERFECT cookbook, The Weekend Chef. It’s full of gorgeous pictures and narratives, and some really unique and fun recipes! You can get it here for less than $9!!!

Cookbooks

SO many recipes left uncooked….

The first recipe I made this weekend was the Rosemary, Sea Salt, and Sesame Popcorn.

Quick, easy, unique, and tasty! One of the things I would leave out next time is the balsamic vinegar. I’m a texture gal, and soggy popcorn…barf! But the flavor is delicious for sure. My 4 year old had so much fun listening to the popcorn pop, his giggles were so cute!

Here is the recipe, I hope you like it! It’s so easy and as long as you watch them like a hawk, kids can help with parts of it too! Although if you’re a one-task Mama like me, you may want to also keep an eye on your cat, if you have one. Our Banks decided that he wanted to play too and attacked the bag of popping corn that I left on the counter. KERNELS ALL OVER THE KITCHEN. Asshole.

Rosemary, Sea Salt, and Sesame Popcorn

  • 1/3 cup sesame seeds
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 rosemary stems
  • 1 cup popping corn
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  1. Add the sesame seeds to a large skillet with 1 tsp of the oil, cover, and cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, shaking the pan from time to time, until the seems are toasted golden brown and beginning to pop. Transfer from the pan to a bowl and wipe our the pan with a piece of paper towel.
  2. Tear the rosemary into large pieces and add the remaining oil and the rosemary to the pan. Heat gently, shaking the pan to release the rosemary’s oil. Add the corn, cover with the lid, and cook over medium heat for 3-4 minutes, shaking the pan, until all the popcorn has popped.
  3. Remove from the heat and sprinkle with the toasted sesame seeds and season with the sale and vinegar, then transfer to a serving bowl, discarding the rosemary just before eating.

Hope you like it! Next I’m going to tackle the Coconut Flour Pancakes with Lemon Drizzle. The pictures in this book are mouthwatering!

 

Do you ever get lost in bliss when browsing up and down the aisles in a book store? It’s my favorite place to lose track of time! Whether it’s Barnes and Nobles, used book stores (my favorite), or even just the book section at Target, I live for finding new books. I gave the kindle a go a while back, but there is just something about the look, feel, and smell of a book. I may need to start building that bookshelf wall that I’ve been dreaming of in my mind for the past decade. Just for fun, here are a few of my favorite Pinterest inspirations. You can follow me on Pinterest HERE. Photo sources here and here.

Anywho, unless my husband wakes up and decides there is nothing he’d rather do than break his back for a few weeks to get me the bookshelf of my dreams, it’s not gonna happen. So I’ll continue overflowing my humble bookshelf until it can’t hold anymore. I was lurking around Target this weekend and loaded up my cart with all new reads for this month. I’ve really been tending towards thrillers and mysteries, they’re so good! I’m not sure why we as human beings love being held in a state of suspense for days while reading, but I love it. I’ve included all of the excerpts from Good Reads that I read before buying each of these. If you’re on Good Reads, add me! I would love to see what you’re reading.

  1. Into the Water by Paula Hawkins: When I read The Girl on the Train I literally couldn’t put it down. I’m pretty sure that I read it in about 6 hours of non-stop page turning. I have high hopes that this book will be the same, twists, suspense, and mystery! Synopsis – A single mother turns up dead at the bottom of the river that runs through town. Earlier in the summer, a vulnerable teenage girl met the same fate. They are not the first women lost to these dark waters, but their deaths disturb the river and its history, dredging up secrets long submerged. Left behind is a lonely fifteen-year-old girl. Parentless and friendless, she now finds herself in the care of her mother’s sister, a fearful stranger who has been dragged back to the place she deliberately ran from—a place to which she vowed she’d never return.
  1. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr: When I see that a book has won the Pulitzer Prize, it is an instant “well obviously I need to read that as soon as possible”. Once I read that it’s set in Paris and centers around World War II, I had to get it! Synopsis – Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.  In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.
  1. Paper Towns by John Green: Have you read The Fault in Our Stars? I cried like a baby when I read it…like ugly cried. It was so good and I can’t wait to read Paper Towns, especially since it’s set in my city! I’m guessing Lake Eola will come up a few times. Synopsis – Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs into his life—dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows. After their all-nighter ends, and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues—and they’re for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees the girl he thought he knew.
  1. The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware: This is another book that I grabbed based on my love for an earlier book by an author. I read In a Dark, Dark Wood a few years ago while traveling for work and I really enjoyed it. I recommend it if you’re in the mood for a relatively quick read and a suspenseful tale! Synopsis – In this tightly wound story, Lo Blacklock, a journalist who writes for a travel magazine, has just been given the assignment of a lifetime: a week on a luxury cruise with only a handful of cabins. At first, Lo’s stay is nothing but pleasant: the cabins are plush, the dinner parties are sparkling, and the guests are elegant. But as the week wears on, frigid winds whip the deck, gray skies fall, and Lo witnesses what she can only describe as a nightmare: a woman being thrown overboard. The problem? All passengers remain accounted for—and so, the ship sails on as if nothing has happened, despite Lo’s desperate attempts to convey that something (or someone) has gone terribly, terribly wrong…
  1. All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda: Little known fact; I wanted to be an FBI Profiler when I was in high school. I read every true crime novel I could get my hands on. Ann Rule and John Douglas were my heroes, and I devoured their books every week. This novel seems to be along those lines and I can’t wait to dig in. Synopsis – It’s been ten years since Nicolette Farrell left her rural hometown after her best friend, Corinne, disappeared from Cooley Ridge without a trace. Back again to tie up loose ends and care for her ailing father, Nic is soon plunged into a shocking drama that reawakens Corinne’s case and breaks open old wounds long since stitched. The decade-old investigation focused on Nic, her brother Daniel, boyfriend Tyler, and Corinne’s boyfriend Jackson. Since then, only Nic has left Cooley Ridge. Daniel and his wife, Laura, are expecting a baby; Jackson works at the town bar; and Tyler is dating Annaleise Carter, Nic’s younger neighbor and the group’s alibi the night Corinne disappeared. Then, within days of Nic’s return, Annaleise goes missing. Told backwards—Day 15 to Day 1—from the time Annaleise goes missing, Nic works to unravel the truth about her younger neighbor’s disappearance, revealing shocking truths about her friends, her family, and what really happened to Corinne that night ten years ago.

 

 

Occasionally I’ll take on book recommendations…who am I kidding. Gimme allllll of the book recs, I love to read new books! If you’re following on Instagram (@laceyellehill) you may have seen my post about my new favorite candle company Frostbeard Studios. Well, a reader commented on that post that she loved this book by Emily Carpenter and I hop-skip-jumped over to Amazon to get it! The rest is history.

Burying the Honeysuckle Girls is about 29-year-old Althea Bell, who is fresh out of rehab and still heartbroken over the years-ago death of her mother. She returns to Alabama to reconnect with her estranged father, but is met with family hostility. Her history with drugs and lying have made her unwelcome, even to her brother and his wife. In the midst of this all, her father fills her in on a grim family secret: her mother, her grandmother, and her great-grandmother all died mysteriously at the age of 30, and he is worried that she is next.

Before her mother died, she whispered to Althea “Wait for her. For the honeysuckle girl. She’ll find you, I think, but if she doesn’t, you find her”.

Since the death of her mother, Althea has dealt with her own mental issues, which were fueled by her use of her mother’s leftover bottle of prescription medication that she used to help curb what was deemed to be “schizophrenic tendencies”. Althea set out with her childhood flame to uncover the secret of the Honeysuckle Girl, and the deaths of her mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. She was met with opposition, intrigue, obstacles, secrets and family angst; all of the hallmarks of a great page turning mystery! When the secret of the Honeysuckle Girl was uncovered in the end, I was floored.

The book switches throughout between Althea’s point of view and that of her great-grandmother in the 1930’s and I loved that! To understand our future, we must look to the past; it was a beautifully done dynamic characterization. There is something in this book that just about anyone can relate to, whether it’s mental illness, family secrets, or feeling alienated and different. This was a very satisfying mystery to read!