The Pastry Book Tag

It’s Tag Tuesday, and today I’m doing the Pastry Book Tag which I caught over on Aubrey Joy’s blog Pointe Taken. (P.S. her blog is really pretty, so go check it out!) Baking is one of my hobbies so I thought this would be a cool tag to do. Here goes!

croissantCroissant – A book that everybody (including you) loves.

This is a tough one for me, because I don’t have many bookish friends to talk to about this stuff. However, the one book that garnered a lot of positive attention when I reviewed it was The Night Circus.

the night circus

macaronMacaron – A book that was hard to get through but was worth it in the end.

I would have to say A Rose for the Crown just for its sheer size.

 

a rose for the crown

vol-au-ventVol-Au-Vent – Name a book that you thought was going to be amazing but wasn’t.

Definitely Insurgent. So disappointing. (Review here.)

insurgent

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Pain Au Chocolat – A book that you thought was going to be one thing and turned out to be something else completely.

The book I just reviewed, which was The Little Stranger. I was pretty disappointed.

little stranger

profiteroleProfiterole – A book or series that doesn’t get enough attention.

This is a tough one because it seems like the majority of movies and TV shows now are based on books, and books that I like, so they’re definitely getting attention…but probably The Truth About Forever.

the_truth_about_forever

croquemboucheCroquembouche – A book or series that is extremely complex.

Simply because I want to avoid giving my typical answer, I will instead say the original Sherlock Holmes stories.

sherlock holmes

napoleonNapoleon – Name a movie or TV show that you liked better than the book itself.

Most recently, I’d have to go with the Insurgent film (which I reviewed here).

insurgent film

empanadaEmpanada – Name a book that was bittersweet.

Once again, I will avoid my usual answer and instead say Isla and the Happily Ever After (review here).

isla

kolompehKolompeh – A book that doesn’t take place in your country.

What books DO take place in my country, I’d like to ask? But I’ll go with the book that I’m finishing up now (and review to come soon!) which is The Miniaturist.

the miniaturist

pate au chouxPate Au Choux – Name one food from a book or series that you would like to try.

Again, they keep talking about marzipan in The Miniaturist, and it makes my mouth water…

I tag…

Kat @ Life and Other Disasters.

Zakiya @ To Borrow or Buy.

Charley @ booksandbakes1 (appropriate, no?)

Remember to check out the next Book Love post on Friday and have a great week everybody. 🙂

-Ember Book Reviews

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SAINT ANYTHING by Sarah Dessen

saint anything

4 out of 5

Sydney can’t quite remember what it feels like to be noticed. Her brother Peyton always commanded the spotlight, whether it be because of his good looks, charm, or his daring personality. Sydney used to admire him for it—that is, until his life began to spiral out of control and he hit a kid while driving drunk, leaving that boy paralyzed and landing himself in jail.

Sydney finds herself wrangling with two desires—one: to be noticed. By her parents, who have nothing but Peyton on their minds most of the time; by her friends, who haven’t been looking too far past the surface to see what’s really going on in Sydney’s heart. Her second desire: to be invisible—to erase her association with her brother and his past, and everything that comes along with sharing their last name; to blend into the background and no longer be recognized as Peyton’s little sister; to be free.

Fans of Sarah Dessen will delight with her latest installment and the story that comes along with Dessen’s telling of it: of struggling to find your voice and being heard.

I enjoyed this book, especially the ending. Dessen really knows how to build suspense well. She drops hints that big things will happen and my heart pounded while I waited to see what happened next. I also love the way Dessen writes about the little things that most authors glaze over: body language, even of people just walking by who never have a name; food; world-building. She writes in a way that shows you she understands all types of people, and notices the tiny snippets of daily life that many people ignore. She gives you the glimpses that Sydney craved in delivering pizza and seeing what was behind each door. I loved it.

I have to admit, the book was slow at first but picked up in the middle. I also found Sydney very frustrating at times, particularly when it came to letting her parents bulldoze over her. I would have liked to see her stand up for herself more, or disobey her parents once in a while. However, perhaps Dessen intended the readers to feel frustrated by this. As well, it was clear that Sydney was meant to be the opposite of Peyton—while Peyton was the one messing around and making mistakes, Sydney was contrasting him by following the rules and being the good kid. Even still, she sometimes made me want to scream.

I do notice that Dessen writes to gender stereotypes in this novel. By that I mean that the woman or wife is the homemaker and the dad is the one with the career. We see this throughout the novel, from Julie’s character and her “War Room” where she organizes the family, as well as her obsessing over her son much more than Peyton Sr., who is always busy at work; to the newly-wed wife that Sydney and Mac deliver pizza to who is anxious to impress her in-laws with her “cooking;” to the Chathams’ desire for Seaside Pizza to be inherited through the male line. Yes, the Chatham kids resist this, but I find myself yanking my hair a little at how often it comes up and is generally accepted. I’d like to see Dessen write a stay-at-home dad and a career-driven mother who are still married, or some variation of that sort.

I also don’t feel like the secondary and tertiary characters were as well-developed as they have been in the past. I also feel like her main characters fall into similar developmental patterns and are quite similar in personalities. For example, the majority of Dessen’s MCs are intelligent, studious (SAT prep is a common theme), obey their parents to a fault, are very respectful to the adults around them, and generally good kids. There are some exceptions, but I find this pattern in a lot of Dessen’s writing, and I would appreciate seeing some more variety.

I’ve been watching Twitter and everyone has been talking about how Saint Anything is Dessen’s best yet; that’s not the case in my opinion. The Truth About Forever was always my favourite, and I hold every Dessen book up to that tier. This one didn’t meet that mark for me, but it was still really enjoyable.

I would definitely recommend that everyone grab themselves a copy of this book, especially if you’re already a Dessen fan. It was definitely a worthwhile read.

-Ember Book Reviews xxoo

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten (Five) Characters I’d Like to Check in With

I heard about this post by The Broke and the Bookish through Erika the Bibliophile. I thought it was super neat because, as an avid reader, writer, and daydreamer, book characters are more than just fictional to me: my imagination transforms them into real people—friends—who I am convinced are still out there doing their thing to this day. So OF COURSE I fell in love with the idea of listing all the characters I wonder about on a casual (constant?) basis. Unfortunately, I couldn’t come up with ten characters that I’m all that worried about. Instead, I picked my top five. I’m also going to tell you all where I hope they’ve taken their lives, or where I think their lives might have gone based on where the book(s) left off. Hopefully you guys will comment and give me your two cents as well! I’d love to hear who your top ten (or five or seven or three-hundred eleventy-one) characters are.

#1. The Harry Potter characters

I know that Erika the Bibliophile also posted this as her number one, but can you blame her? I grew up with this series and was heartbroken when I read the final lines, knowing that I would never read them for the first time again. Like Erika, the epilogue wasn’t enough for me, but rather than wondering about the main gang (Harry, Ron, Hermione, Luna, etc.), I’m more concerned about the next generation and how Hogwarts is carrying on after the final battle.

Here’s what I think: I like to imagine that Harry’s son is a teensy bit evil. I don’t know why. I guess I just think it will thicken the plot a little bit (I felt that the epilogue led into a very boring story and I’d like to spice that up). I imagine him in Slytherin, but I picture him isolating himself from the other children and eventually taking a turn down the dark path. I mean, how crazy would that be? Harry defeats the Dark Lord just to have his son turn around to become Voldermort, the Next Generation.

hp harry's sonvoldemort

#2. Gemma from Libba Bray’s The Gemma Doyle Triology

Kartik was left in a tree. I mean, enough said, right? Not that Gemma can’t go on without Kartik or anything, but she really loved him. I guess I just wonder if that tree still stands, if Gemma eventually moved on but in her old age still thinks about him. I wonder if, like Rose in the Titanic, she spent her life with somebody else but her heart still truly belongs to Kartik. I kind of hope it does, but at the same time I feel sorry for the poor bugger she ended up with. (I mean, the ending of Titanic is great and all—it’s my favourite movie—but when she returns to Jack, IS NOBODY WORRIED ABOUT HOW HER POOR, DEAD HUSBAND IS FEELING LOOKING DOWN ON ALL THAT???)

gemma doyle

#3. Allie from The Vinyl Princess

It’s been a long time since I read this book, and I don’t remember the precise spot that it left off at, but I still wonder about Allie skateboarding through the streets on her way to work at the music store. Basically, Allie was awesome, I wished I could be her, and I think she’d make a freaking cool thirty-year-old, so I’d like to see that.

vinyl princess

#4. Hazel from The Fault in Our Stars

(Yeah, I refuse to call her Hazel Grace. That was Gus’s thing. It wouldn’t feel right for me to get to call her that.) So, if you don’t know how TFiOS ended, you’ve been living under a rock. Basically, I just want to know if Hazel is okay. I want to know if she’s still even ALIVE. But most of all, I want to know that wherever she is or wherever she left off, she still loves Gus with all her heart. What can I say? I’m a romantic. I hope she’s still best friends with Isaac, and I hope that they think of Gus whenever they play video games. I hope that Hazel has a little picture of her and Gus in Amsterdam tucked away somewhere that she pulls out to look at occasionally. I hope she spends lots of time with her parents. I hope that wherever she is, she’s happy.

tfios

#5. Macy and Wes from The Truth About Forever

This one’s a bit trickier for me. The book left off with Macy and Wes jogging down the beach together, and they make a cameo in another of Sarah Dessen’s novel, but it’s not 100% whether or not they stay together. That’s why it’s tricky: I want to know but I don’t. If they’re still together, I want to know. If they’re not, I don’t. I also can’t really picture what their happily ever after would look like. Do they have kids? Do they have a dog? A house or an apartment? Does Bert visit them in his ambulance? Is Macy still best friends with Kristy? So much of the novel was spent with Macy and Wes navigating boundaries and not with them actually together that it leaves me with too many question marks. I’m overwhelmed. I almost don’t even want to start looking for answers.

the_truth_about_forever

-Ember Book Reviews xxoo

Waiting on Wednesday: SAINT ANYTHING

saint anything

Hey everyone!

I saw all of these “Waiting on Wednesday” posts popping up on my timeline and I decided to give it a try. I can’t guarantee that these posts will be regular occurrences (I have other ideas for posts that I think could be really fun and interesting…) but for today, at least, you shall know what I’m excited about.

My WoW pick is Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen. A little story: me and Sarah Dessen go way back, and I mean about ten years back. When I was twelve I picked up this here little beauty… the_truth_about_forever

I have to be honest here for a second. I am the type of person who will buy a book solely based on the cover, at that age especially (I was about twelve at the time). Now I like to read the back or the inside sleeve, sometimes a paragraph or two. I’ve become jaded in my old age, apparently. I’m much pickier.

Anyways, I saw this particular cover and instantly fell in love. I hadn’t read any YA before—though I had accidentally read a quite steamy Adult novel which was my introduction to oral sex but HAVE NO FEAR! I simply believed oral sex meant two people sitting across from each other and talking about the sexual things they’d like to do. I was a fairly innocent child.

Sarah Dessen’s The Truth About Forever was my introduction to the YA genre, and I was instantly hooked. I read every single one of her books that were out at that time, and have been a dedicated fan since (though I have not yet read The Moon and More. I’m a little bit scared that the MC cheats on her boyfriend and it would make me so sad…).

I’ve heard a lot of really great things about Saint Anything. The cover is beautiful, the MC is named Sydney which is a name I LOVE, and it seems to have a bit of a darker feel which I’m excited to experience. Sarah Dessen never disappoints me. We’re thick as thieves, her books and me. I’ll be picking this one up as soon as it’s out.

A few other things I’m eagerly awaiting:

  1. The Avengers: Age of Ultron
  2. Pitch Perfect 2
  3. Star Wars Episode IX
  4. Batman vs. Superman
  5. Astoria by Marianas Trench (CD)

Have a great Wednesday!

-Ember Book Reviews xxoo

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