Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling

22716447In Why Not Me?, Kaling shares her ongoing journey to find contentment and excitement in her adult life, whether it’s falling in love at work, seeking new friendships in lonely places, attempting to be the first person in history to lose weight without any behavior modification whatsoever, or most important, believing that you have a place in Hollywood when you’re constantly reminded that no one looks like you.

In “How to Look Spectacular: A Starlet’s Confessions,” Kaling gives her tongue-in-cheek secrets for surefire on-camera beauty, (“Your natural hair color may be appropriate for your skin tone, but this isn’t the land of appropriate–this is Hollywood, baby. Out here, a dark-skinned woman’s traditional hair color is honey blonde.”) “Player” tells the story of Kaling being seduced and dumped by a female friend in L.A. (“I had been replaced by a younger model. And now they had matching bangs.”) In “Unlikely Leading Lady,” she muses on America’s fixation with the weight of actresses, (“Most women we see onscreen are either so thin that they’re walking clavicles or so huge that their only scenes involve them breaking furniture.”) And in “Soup Snakes,” Kaling spills some secrets on her relationship with her ex-boyfriend and close friend, B.J. Novak (“I will freely admit: my relationship with B.J. Novak is weird as hell.”) – Goodreads

Let me start by saying — I love Mindy Kaling. I wish we were friends. Hell, reading her books (and watching copious amounts of The Mindy Project) kind of makes me feel that we are.

This is Mindy’s second book, and though I didn’t enjoy it as much as the first, it was still a fun read. Rather than focusing on her biography as her first book did, it talks more about her current career and time in Hollywood. She does have a weird relationship with BJ Novak, America is incredibly fixated on women’s weight (her commentary is hilarious while tackling a serious issue) and other Hollywood drama.

I adore Mindy’s writing style — I read it in her voice and the humor reads just like the writing on her show. Her sense of humor is quirky and punchy, which I like.

Overall, I would rate this one a 3.5/5. It wasn’t super intriguing — I would read a chapter here or there when I had a moment or wanted a laugh, but I wasn’t driven to read it in one sitting. I still highly recommend her first one, though!


The Basque Book by Alexandra Raij, Eder Montero, Rebecca Flint Marx

25893750A collection of 100 Basque recipes from Alex Raij and Eder Montero, the acclaimed chef-owners of New York City restaurants Txikito, La Vara, and El Quinto Pino.

Few cuisines have captured more diners’ imaginations, or inspired more chefs and restaurants around the world than that of Spain. And within the Spanish culinary pantheon, Basque cooking from the north is considered one of the country’s most fascinating and essential traditions. In Basque, star chefs Alex Raij and Eder Montero take readers on a tour of the Basque countryside, in the process revealing the iconic ingredients, cooking techniques, and traditional dishes that define Basque cooking. They also share dishes from their award-winning New York restaurants, all inspired by the Basque kitchen but featuring elegant preparations and delightfully unexpected flavor combinations. The result is a complete primer on Basque cooking, with a wide array of recipes, ranging from a simple pil pil or refrito to showstopping pintxos and mains. – Goodreads

The first thing I noticed about this book was how incredibly thick and dense it was. There’s something I love about dense book — it’s so full of information, and The Basque Book was no let down. Filled from cover-to-cover with beautiful photography and commentary, it was almost overwhelming.

I live in Boise, which has a robust Basque community (hence requesting this book for review). What I did not realize, however, is how unique their food and culture is. So many of the dishes in this book look amazing, however, I live in Boise — they don’t exactly sell squid ink at Walmart. There are also a lot of seafood recipes, which are difficult for me based on my location. Not the book’s fault, but I wish I would have been able to use the book fully — I was definitely limited.

This was a beautiful book, but is definitely suited for those who are more advanced at cooking and have access to specialty ingredients. I rated it a 4/5. I received a copy of The Basque Book in exchange for my honest review through Blogging for Books.


Hiatus…hopefully over?

I must confess, I completely fell off the face of the Earth when Kiesha left LBR. I stopped reading (well, read much slower and less often) and haven’t posted a damn thing since May. Apparently getting a new boyfriend is distracting, especially when it comes to reading. And blogging.

But I’m back (don’t worry, still have the boyfriend — we’re just in that ‘k, i’ll read and you play video games’ stage now).

I will be catching up on reviews of books I read while on hiatus. I’m looking forward to more TTTs, lists, etc. I definitely miss reading AND blogging, so I’m pretty excited to be back.


The Comprehensive ENFP Survival Guide by Heidi Priebe

26838309Life as an ENFP is no walk in the park.

Despite the happy-go-lucky attitude they exude, only those who share the specific preference for extroversion, intuition, feeling and perceiving on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator can truly understand the unique form of chaos that governs this type’s restless mind. Embodying a profoundly strange stack of cognitive functions, ENFPs approach the world with both the enthusiasm of a child and the wisdom of an old soul.

In this detailed, type-based survival guide, seasoned MBTI author and shameless ENFP Heidi Priebe explains how to manage the ups, downs and inside-outs of everyday life as one of the most passionate yet self-contradictory types. – Goodreads

Once upon a time, I thought I was an INFP.

I was wrong.

First off, I love Heidi Priebe. After all, I just finished How You’ll Do Everything Based On Your Personality Type. If you haven’t checked her out on Thought Catalog, I highly recommend it. If you don’t know your MBTI, go here.

As an ENFP, I feel crazy about 98% of the time. “Having a thousand great ideas that you never follow through on”, “wanting to be alone….but like, with other people nearby” and “being a walking contradiction in almost every way” are my three favorite descriptions of myself that I read in this book. Along with a multitude of others, because that’s the point of MBTI, right? To read a description, snap your fingers and go, “Yes! Someone gets me!”

The book is split into sections — Introducing the ENFP, Growing Up ENFP, ENFPs in the Workplace, Unhealthy ENFP Behaviors, ENFP Relationships, etc. The breakdown made sense and flowed well. The ENFP in me fought to skip past the boring cognitive function section, but it proved useful and actually quite interesting.

My favorite part of the book was the section on Unhealthy ENFP Behaviors. Yes, it’s all fun and games to read funny stuff about your type. But the nitty-gritty-shitty stuff is where it’s at. Of course, as Priebe states in the book, it’s a spectrum. Characteristics range from healthy to unhealthy and all the bits in between. For example, a healthy ENFP is reflective, meaning they need alone time to recharge and reflect on their emotions. However, on the flip side, an unhealthy ENFP may become reclusive, where they avoid social interaction in favor of obsessing over their feelings. There is a difference between being principled and self-righteous, etc. It was enlightening to read about these behaviors and spot the ones where I may lean toward the unhealthy side — IE the difference between being agreeable and a pushover.

It was a long, delightful read that I looked forward to opening each night.

In the end of the book, a group of ENFPs describe why they love their type. This one summed it up perfectly, and I couldn’t have said it better myself.

“I like that I can lead a group, sit in solitude for days, think far ahead, improvise, be a huge ball of energy, calm down others when they’re stressed, be a mushball, be tough and decisive, create new opportunities for myself, adapt to the world around me…I defy so many stereotypes, and I like it that way!”

If you’re an ENFP, pick this up. If not, pick up her other book that features all of the types. Or hit Thought Catalog. Whatever. I rated this a 4/5.

Eidolon by Grace Draven

29953452In a bid for more power, the Shadow Queen of Haradis, unleashes a malignant force into the world. Her son Brishen, younger prince of the Kai royal house, suddenly finds himself ruler of a kingdom blighted by darkness. His human wife Ildiko must decide if he will give up the man she loves in order to save his throne.

Three kingdoms on the verge of war must unite to save each other, and a one-eyed, reluctant king will raise an army of the dead to challenge an army of the damned.

A tale of alliance and sacrifice. – Goodreads

Gahhhh. I can’t even handle how much I enjoyed this book. I was in a major book slump and this busted me out of it, so I’m thankful for that. I finished this sucker in 48 hours.

I read Radiance last year and loved it — I probably should have read a refresher before jumping into this, but it didn’t take long for me to remember what happened.

First things first — love the love that Brishen and Ildiko have. I’m not a big fan of sap, but gahh. I just can’t. I love what they have. It helps that I was able to watch it blossom in the first book, but seeing it continue in this second installment was awesome. I’ll leave it at that.

This book moved so damn fast. That’s my main gripe. And it was a bit choppy in parts — the cadence was a little off. Some things took forever (IE, banquets) but important, cool things (IE, transforming into a Wraith King) went by in a few pages. It was a little bit jarring and the last quarter of the book felt very rushed, but I guess there is a third installment coming.

It’s difficult to get into much detail with a sequel. The worldbuilding was continued and fantastic, love the character development, loved the multiple points-of-view…pick up a Draven novel if you haven’t yet.


First Comes Love by Emily Giffin

26192150In this dazzling new novel, Emily Giffin, the #1 New York Timesbestselling author of Something Borrowed, Where We Belong, andThe One & Only introduces a pair of sisters who find themselves at a crossroads.

Growing up, Josie and Meredith Garland shared a loving, if sometimes contentious relationship. Josie was impulsive, spirited, and outgoing; Meredith hardworking, thoughtful, and reserved. When tragedy strikes their family, their different responses to the event splinter their delicate bond.

Fifteen years later, Josie and Meredith are in their late thirties, following very different paths. Josie, a first grade teacher, is single—and this close to swearing off dating for good. What she wants more than the right guy, however, is to become a mother—a feeling that is heightened when her ex-boyfriend’s daughter ends up in her class. Determined to have the future she’s always wanted, Josie decides to take matters into her own hands.

On the outside, Meredith is the model daughter with the perfect life. A successful attorney, she’s married to a wonderful man, and together they’re raising a beautiful four-year-old daughter. Yet lately, Meredith feels dissatisfied and restless, secretly wondering if she chose the life that was expected of her rather than the one she truly desired. – Goodreads

So many thanks to NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to check this out in exchange for an honest review. I literally squealed when I received my approval email.

Why? Because I’m irrational and felt that Emily Giffin herself saw how many Emily Giffin novels I’ve read and reviewed and approved me herself. I know this isn’t true, but it’s fun to think about!

First things first: I love how Giffin ties all of her characters from her various standalone novels together. It’s not in a big way, but you’ll recognize the name of a random friend or acquaintance and realize, hey! Wasn’t Ellen the MC of Love the One You’re With? And then your mind is blown and you feel like you understand so much about this side character. I digress.

This story focuses on two sisters (and is told in alternating points of view), Josie and Meredith. Josie is the younger sister, who is a little bit crazy and carefree. Meredith is the uptight, older one. The entire story focuses on their brother’s death (car accident) fifteen years prior and how it affected their family.

Throw in a little bit of sibling rivalry and some insane life choices and we’ve got a story, folks.

Josie is sick of dating — she’s in her thirties and wants a baby, stat. So she takes matters into her own hands. Much of the book is focused on this decision and how she will find a donor. I loved how Giffin tied in Pete and Gabe, though I wish Gabe had been less two-dimensional. As her best friend, it would have been nice to see a little more than his lady-loving self.

Meredith was my least favorite character — she had zero empathy and was incredibly hard on her younger sister, constantly calling her selfish and attacking her. Zero patience, this one. Though at times I could understand her difficulties (and I really didn’t mind reading from her point-of-view), her overall personality really irked me.

For the most part, all of the characters were really well built. The two characters that I wish had been more complex were definitely Gabe (Josie’s roommate/best friend) and Nolan (Meredith’s husband), but they did alright how they were.

In all, I enjoyed the story. There were plenty of emotions, lots of tension, and quite a bit of heartbreak and healing. If you’re in the mood for an emotional family read, pick this one up.

Remember how I kind of hated One & Only? This one was much more on point and I’m back to totally loving Giffin. Only chick lit (okay, okay — with the exception of Jennifer Weiner) that I’ll touch.

Eating in the Middle: A Mostly Wholesome Cookbook by Andie Mitchell

25852800In her inspiring New York Times bestselling memoir, It Was Me All Along, Andie Mitchell chronicled her struggles with obesity, losing weight, and finding balance. Now, in her debut cookbook, she gives readers the dishes that helped her reach her goals and maintain her new size. In 80 recipes, she shows how she eats: mostly healthy meals that are packed with flavor, like Lemon Roasted Chicken with Moroccan Couscous and Butternut Squash Salad with Kale and Pomegranate, and then the “sometimes” foods, the indulgences such as Peanut Butter Mousse Pie with Marshmallow Whipped Cream, because life just needs dessert. With 75 photographs and Andie’s beautiful storytelling, Eating in the Middle is the perfect cookbook for anyone looking to find freedom from cravings while still loving and enjoying every meal to the fullest. – Goodreads

Damn, did I miss reviewing cookbooks. I took a brief hiatus because I kept getting distracted by other shiny objects (gardening books) and couldn’t focus. I’m back.

Fun fact: I used to write a cooking column for my college newspaper. It was titled Hooker in the Kitchen, because, well, my last name is Hooker and I cooked stuff. In the kitchen. I digress.

I was thrilled when I unwrapped this heavy number from its postage wrap. The cover art is gorgeous and the paper is thick — it’s a great quality cookbook.

I love that most of the meals are light and clean, which some not-so-light-and-clean recipes thrown in — after all, the whole theme of the cookbook is moderation and balance.

My one gripe with the book? The insanely long ingredient lists. It’s not very budget friendly to pick up a jar of apricot preserves, some special cheese, etc. if all you need is a tablespoon. I was a little bit disappointed at this (and at my barren fridge).

Check out that rad Grandma plate.

My new roommate and I decided that roommate dinner needed to happen, so we decided to make the Lemon-Herb Fish with Crispy Oven Fries.

Now, I’ve made oven fries before. Yes, they’re in the shape of fries, but they’re usually limp and meh. According to Mitchell, the secret to these fries is the hot water soak right before baking. I didn’t believe her.

But she was so right. These fries came out AMAZING. Crispy baked fries?! What?! Yes. This alone made the whole book worth it. The fish was pretty fantastic, too.

Overall, I loved the wide variety of dishes to choose from (though I didn’t love the wide ingredient lists). Everything seems relatively simple to make and I’m excited to try more recipes out of this book. Give this one a shot!

I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

The Rooftop Growing Guide by Annie Novak

25614778If you’d like to grow your own food but don’t think you have the space, look up! In urban and suburban areas across the country, farms and gardens are growing atop the rooftops of residential and commercial buildings. In this accessible guide, author Annie Novak’s passion shines as she draws on her experience as a pioneering sky-high farmer to teach best practices for raising vegetables, herbs, flowers, and trees. The book also includes interviews, expert essays, and farm and garden profiles from across the country, so you’ll find advice that works no matter where you live. Featuring the brass tacks on green roofs, container gardening, hydroponics, greenhouse growing, crop planning, pest management, harvesting tips, and more, The Rooftop Growing Guide will have you reimagining the possibilities of your own skyline.

This one is pretty self-explanatory — it’s a book about growing a garden. On a rooftop (or other small area).

I’m not planning on growing a garden on my rooftop, but I am pretty green (hah!) to this whole gardening thing. So, the information on irrigation, soil types, containers, depth, pests, diseases, etc. was all VERY simple and helpful for someone who knows nothing about keeping plants alive, much less producing a basketful of goods.

I love the concept of small farming, so it was cool to see Novak also introduce the idea of rooftop beekeeping and chicken farming.

Bonus: the photos were gorgeous and inspirational. I definitely cannot grow anything on my roof, but I wish I could. The views of rooftop gardens from all over were very cool.

Overall, I really enjoyed this read and am looking forward to planting my first garden. Thank you to Blogging for Books for the opportunity to read this in exchange for an honest review!


Top Ten Tuesday: 3/15

Holy hell have I been in a reading slump. Hopefully today’s TTT revs up my reading drive again — I am WAY too behind on my 2016 Reading Challenge goal!


Top Ten Books On My Spring TBR

  1. 3636Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling | Okay, seriously, I preordered this damn thing in September and never got around to it.

2. A Day of Fire by Multiple Authors | What? How have I never heard of THIS?

3. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein | This has been sitting on my shelf and collecting dust for MONTHS.

4. Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi | I have an e-ARC of this from NetGalley, and Alyssa (my reviewer spirit animal) gave a stunning review.

5. Eidolon by Grave Draven | Guhhh. It’s no secret that I’m a Draven fan (4 and 5 star reviews on Master of Crows and Radiance respectively, folks). So, yes. I’m pretty excited about this one, which will be released at the end of May.

6. Missoula: Rape and The Justice System In A College Town by Jon Krakauer | It’s been a while since I’ve sat down with a Krakauer book, and I just recently heard about this one. Certainly a heavy topic, but an important one nonetheless.

7. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel | My co-worker insists I read this ASAP.

8. The Giver by Lois Lowry | I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve seen the movie before reading the book. I liked the movie, so I’m hoping I’ll like the book even better.

9. Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari | Strictly because I think he is hilarious on Parks & Recreation and Master of None.

10. First Comes Love by Emily Giffin | I know I hate chick lit, but Giffin is my only exception.

How You’ll Do Everything Based On Your Personality Type by Heidi Priebe

28175117So you know your four-letter personality type. You know what some of your strengths and weaknesses are. You know which career you ought to pursue and which situations you shine in.

But now it’s time to explore everything the research won’t tell you.

In this entertaining collection, Heidi Priebe, author of The Comprehensive ENFP Survival Guide and prominent writer of all things Myers-Briggs, explains how you’ll grow up, hook up, break up and everything else in between, based on your personality type. – Goodreads

I am a sucker for Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator posts. So, when I stumbled upon Heidi Priebe’s articles on Thought Catalog, I pretty much fell in love.

See, I’m an INFP. Which means 98% of the time, I feel misunderstood and that nobody “gets me”. When I read an article that nails how I am when I’m thriving, what exhausts me, and what kind of employee I am, well, I feel this sense of *finally* being understood (and if you don’t know your MBTI, I recommend checking out 16personalities.com)

When I saw Priebe’s new book, How You’ll Do Everything Based On Your Personality Type, I was like…shit yes. I need this in my life. And it was $0.00 in the Kindle store, so DOUBLE SCORE.

I read it in an evening, giggling over the different chapters and how I do things based on my type (and the people I’m with the most often and how they do things). Some were a tad off, but hey, you can’t fit everyone in one of sixteen boxes. It was a quick, easy, enjoyable read.

4/5 on Goodreads because I love the information. I’m glad I didn’t sink money into it, though, because all (or most) of the chapters can be found on Thought Catalog.