Thursday, July 20, 2017

Revie: The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

The Invisible Library (The Invisible Library, #1)Title: The Invisible Library
Author: Genevieve Cogman
Source/Format: Blogging for Books; Paperback
More Details: Fantasy
Publisher/Publication Date: Roc; June 14, 2016

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Synopsis from Goodreads...

Collecting books can be a dangerous prospect in this fun, time-traveling, fantasy adventure from a spectacular debut author...

One thing any Librarian will tell you: the truth is much stranger than fiction...

Irene is a professional spy for the mysterious Library, a shadowy organization that collects important works of fiction from all of the different realities. Most recently, she and her enigmatic assistant Kai have been sent to an alternative London. Their mission: Retrieve a particularly dangerous book. The problem: By the time they arrive, it's already been stolen. London's underground factions are prepared to fight to the death to find the tome before Irene and Kai do, a problem compounded by the fact that this world is chaos-infested—the laws of nature bent to allow supernatural creatures and unpredictable magic to run rampant. To make matters worse, Kai is hiding something—secrets that could be just as volatile as the chaos-filled world itself. Now Irene is caught in a puzzling web of deadly danger, conflicting clues, and sinister secret societies. And failure is not an option—because it isn’t just Irene’s reputation at stake, it’s the nature of reality itself...
The Invisible Library is one book I’ve been meaning to read for a while. I mean, it sounded like the kind of book I would enjoy anyway since its main theme is a mysterious library, librarians who double as spies, and of course books—lots and lots of books. In a lot of ways this one reminded me of The Librarians (the movies and TV series). Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean that comparison in a bad way, because I actually enjoyed this book.

The Invisible Library was a pretty interesting story. It had a lot to do with one librarians search for a “particularly dangerous book.” This book was heavy on the mystery aspect. The majority of the book was spent building up the characters and the mystery surrounding the books’ disappearance and ultimate fate. Another thing worth noting was the library. I liked the fact that the library wasn’t just a library, but a place that connected to a lot of different realities. The individual realities were kind of interesting in that they could share common features and names, but were still different at the same time. So, there was a bit of a time-travel-y element to the story. I also found the librarians themselves to be a point of interest, because of how the library affected them and the roles they took on. Because hey, it’s just part of the job description, right?

Now before I end this review, I want to talk about the characters. The librarians were already kind of mysterious, especially the more higher ranking ones above where the MC, Irene, currently worked. Irene was pretty cool. I’m always a sucker for characters who are librarians—but Irene gets bonus points for working for a magical library, and being a spy. She was intuitive and had a love for books, and honestly, it was just kind of fun to read about the adventures she had. In the synopsis it’s mentioned that Kai—Irene’s assistant—had secrets. That part was alright, but I found his secrets easy to guess. However, I still have some questions about his character. So, guessable secrets aside, Kai was still interesting.

So, The Invisible Library was entertaining, and I look forward to seeing what comes next in this series.

This copy of the book was provided by Blogging For Books (publisher) for this review, thank you!
About the author...

Genevieve Cogman got started on Tolkien and Sherlock Holmes at an early age, and has never looked back. But on a perhaps more prosaic note, she has an MSC in Statistics with Medical Applications and has wielded this in an assortment of jobs: clinical coder, data analyst and classifications specialist. Although The Invisible Library is her debut novel, she has also previously worked as a freelance roleplaying game writer. Genevieve Cogman’s hobbies include patchwork, beading, knitting and gaming, and she lives in the north of England...

Monday, July 17, 2017

Favorite Recipe: Baking Powder Pizza Crust

Typically I share recipes I’ve recently tried whenever I have a new Weekend Tidbits post for the blog. However, I’ve decided to try a different approach by dedicating an entire post to whatever recipe I want to talk about, instead of just mentioning it. In light of that, today I’m here to talk about one of the best recipes I’ve come across online: Baking Powder Pizza Crust. The recipe I use (with some minor adjustments) is The Bake-Off Flunkie’s Baking Powder Pizza Crust. It’s my go-to recipe for baking powder pizza crusts.

Now, before I get more into all the little changes I’ve made, I just want to mention that you shouldn’t approach this crust and expect it to be a carbon copy of a yeast crust. If that’s what you’re expecting, you’re essentially setting yourself up for failure. Baking powder isn’t the same as yeast, and I don’t expect it to behave the same. I appreciate this recipe for its easiness, texture, and flavor. I just consider it to be its own thing rather than trying to compare it to the traditional method. If you’ve made a yeast pizza crust before like I have, then you know it takes some time for it to rise and all that. I don’t mind doing that, but sometimes I don’t feel like having to wait as long. And that’s where this recipe comes into play. It takes less than half the time to rise. Trust me when I say that this is actually a very simple recipe to make. I’m not going to talk about toppings because that’s one of the more subjective parts about pizza. You make it how you personally want it to taste, with your favorite toppings. (pictured below is just cheese (right) and a ground turkey & pepperoni pizza (left))


Adjustments I’ve made…

The adjustments I make start with the dough. I don’t double the recipe but I one and a half it, which is the perfect amount of dough for the two rectangle cookie pans that I always use because they fit in my oven side-by-side. (Pictured to the left) I also add seasoning into the crust, rather than brushing it on with more oil. One of my recent favorite combinations is 2 tsp of minced garlic & 1 tsp of thyme. Another major adjustment is that I cook the pizzas for a little bit longer. So, instead of 6-8 minutes, I normally set the timer for around 10-13 instead. I think it has more to do with my oven, and I recommend sticking to the recipe and adjusting the cook time as you see fit. But remember to check the bottom and if it's lightly browned then it’s definitely done. I personally like to cook the pizzas until the cheese is a little crispy.


What do you think? Is this a recipe that you would be willing to try? Also, do you add different flavors to your pizza crust?

Music Monday (27) Forever in Your Mind & TLC

   Rules:
  • Music Monday is a weekly meme hosted by Lauren Stoolfire at Always Me that asks you to share one or two songs that you've recently enjoyed. For the rules, visit the page HERE 
Today, we are so excited to take part in Music Monday. We went to a couple of live shows last week and heard a couple of new songs that left us with a lasting impression.

For our first pick today, we're sharing Smooth by Forever in Your Mind.  Actually, we hadn't heard of this band before we went to a taping of Netflix’s new show Alexa & Katie, which stars Emory Kelly who is a part of the band. Emory Kelly and Ricky Garcia were there and sang impromptu. All we can say is the video doesn’t do it justice! They are also in the running for a Teen Choice Award, and needless to say, they will definitely get our votes!



Our second pick is Way Back by TLC. On Thursday, we went to the TLC Outdoor Mini-Concert at Jimmy Kimmel Live. They sang Way Back with Snoop Dogg, No Scrubs, Waterfalls, and It’s Sunny –with the first and latter songs being from their new album TLC—the latest addition to our CD collection.







*Breana will be handling comments*
We would love to hear your thoughts about these songs. What are you listening to this week?

Friday, July 14, 2017

The Friday 56 (109) & Book Beginnings: The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

The Friday 56 is a weekly meme hosted by Freda's Voice where every Friday you pick a book and turn to page 56 or 56%, and select a sentence or a few, as long as it's not a spoiler. For the full rules, visit the the page HERE
Book Beginnings is a weekly meme hosted by Rose City Reader that asks you to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you're reading.
27209460Synopsis from Goodreads...

Collecting books can be a dangerous prospect in this fun, time-traveling, fantasy adventure from a spectacular debut author...

One thing any Librarian will tell you: the truth is much stranger than fiction...


Irene is a professional spy for the mysterious Library, a shadowy organization that collects important works of fiction from all of the different realities. Most recently, she and her enigmatic assistant Kai have been sent to an alternative London. Their mission: Retrieve a particularly dangerous book. The problem: By the time they arrive, it's already been stolen. London's underground factions are prepared to fight to the death to find the tome before Irene and Kai do, a problem compounded by the fact that this world is chaos-infested—the laws of nature bent to allow supernatural creatures and unpredictable magic to run rampant. To make matters worse, Kai is hiding something—secrets that could be just as volatile as the chaos-filled world itself. Now Irene is caught in a puzzling web of deadly danger, conflicting clues, and sinister secret societies. And failure is not an option—because it isn’t just Irene’s reputation at stake, it’s the nature of reality itself...
Beginnings: "Irene passed the mop across the stone floor in smooth, careful strokes, idly admiring the gleam of wet flagstones in the lantern-light."

56: ""I met one once," Irene said.
"What did you talk about?"
"He complemented me on my literary taste."
Comments: The Invisible Library is another one of the books I recently got for review. I really enjoyed it. My 56 this week comes from page 54 instead because I liked this conversation. 

What are you reading this week?

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Review: The Screaming Statue by Lauren Oliver & H.C. Chester

The Screaming Statue (The Curiosity House, #2)
Title: The Screaming Statue
Author: Lauren Oliver; H.C. Chester
Source/Format: Borrowed from the library; Hardcover
More Details: Middle Grade; Fantasy
Publisher/Publication Date: HarperCollins; May 3, 2016

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Synopsis from Goodreads...

In this second book in the exceptional Curiosity House series by bestselling author Lauren Oliver and shadowy recluse H. C. Chester, four extraordinary children must avenge their friend’s death, try to save their home, and unravel the secrets of their past . . . before their past unravels them. Pippa, Sam, Thomas, and Max are happy to be out of harm’s way now that the notorious villain Nicholas Rattigan is halfway across the country in Chicago. But unfortunately their home, Dumfreys’s Dime Museum of Freaks, Oddities, and Wonders, is in danger of closing its doors forever. But their troubles only get worse. The four friends are shocked when their beloved friend, famous sculptor Siegfried Eckleberger, is murdered. As they investigate, they find clues that his death may be tied to the murder of a rich and powerful New York heiress, as well as to their own pasts...
Oh man, lately I’ve just had a string of very average reads, and unfortunately The Screaming Statue by Lauren Oliver & H.C. Chester is another one of them. When I saw that The Screaming Statue was available at my local library I thought I would give it a try even though it was the second book in the series. I mainly picked this one up because it had Lauren Oliver’s name on it. Like with every average read I’ve had, there were things I liked and didn’t like about the story. Since I skipped the first book, I did kind of worry about the things I missed. However, I didn’t find that to be a problem because a lot of what happened in book one was mentioned by the main characters. The story was just alright, but despite that, The Screaming Statue was a quick read, and the setting was nice. I liked that the story mainly took place in a museum and the city surrounding it. The one thing I absolutely loved about The Screaming Statue was the characters. Sam, Pippa, Thomas, and Max were fantastic. It was clear to me why they felt the way they did, and it was easy to see the clues about how their past later affected them. I also liked how the character’s behaved around each other. While their situation and platonic and not platonic relationships weren’t perfect, it was nice to see that they still cared about one another. While The Screaming Statue was just an average read, that doesn’t deter me from reading another one of Lauren Oliver’s books. However, that being said, I don’t think I’ll specifically come back to this series.
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