31 October, 2013

A Bit of History About Soul Cakes

Photo credit from wikipedia.org.
Soul cakes are small, round cakes that are made for All Saints Day (Nov. 1st also known as Hallowmas)  or All Souls’ Day (Nov. 2nd). These little cakes were given out to ‘Soulers’ or people, typically children and beggers, who would go from door to door on Hallowmas singing and saying prayers for the dead. Each soul cake eaten represented a soul released from purgatory. 
This practice is seen as a predecessor of the modern day trick-or-treating, and the cakes were filled with allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, and other spices while adding raisins or currants in before the baking. Also placed on the top of these cakes were the symbol of the cross. 
Songs sung by children/beggers were similar to the song ‘A Soalin’ that was written and preformed by Peter, Paul, and Mary in 1963. In more recent years, rock musician Sting created his own adaptation of the original 1963 version for his album “If On a Winter’s Night.” 
The song lyrics: 

Soul, Soul, a soul cake!
I pray thee, good missus, a soul cake!
One for Peter, two for Paul,
three for Him what made us all!
Soul Cake, soul cake, please good missus, a soul cake.
An apple, a pear, a plum, or a cherry, any good thing to make us all merry.
One for Peter, two for Paul, & three for Him who made us all.
Lyrics copyright belongs to Sting and any of his associates. No money is made off this post. 

Feature and Follow Friday #12

Increase Blog Followers 

The Feature & Follow is hosted by TWO hosts, Parajunkee of Parajunkee’s View and Alison of Alison Can Read. Each host will have their own Feature Blog and this way it’ll allow us to show off more new blogs!

This Week's Question:

What book are you embarrassed to admit you LOVED? (try to think beyond Twilight)

It is really difficult for me to think of a book that I'm embarrassed to admit that I loved. I find that embarrassment is fleeting emotion for me, and what might seem embarrassing at the time tends to just lose that quality over time. If I had to say one, I'd possibly go with:

833710 215543 

I read these books ages ago, and for a brief period while trying to type this up, I could not remember the title of them for the life of me. They're interesting books, the concept of them intriguing, however they're simplistically written and seen as younger teen novels. Still, I love them and need to reread the first few so I can read the last ones.

Happy Halloween!


In honor of All Hallow's Eve, have a few photos of what I'm wearing to work. I'm going as the Doctor from Doctor Who.

29 October, 2013

Review: Pawn (The Blackcoat Rebellion #1) by Aimèe Carter



For Kitty Doe, it seems like an easy choice. She can either spend her life as a III in misery, looked down upon by the higher ranks and forced to leave the people she loves, or she can become a VII and join the most powerful family in the country. 

If she says yes, Kitty will be Masked—surgically transformed into Lila Hart, the Prime Minister's niece, who died under mysterious circumstances. As a member of the Hart family, she will be famous. She will be adored. And for the first time, she will matter. 

There's only one catch. She must also stop the rebellion that Lila secretly fostered, the same one that got her killed …and one Kitty believes in. Faced with threats, conspiracies and a life that's not her own, she must decide which path to choose—and learn how to become more than a pawn in a twisted game she's only beginning to understand.


I've been looking forward to this book for a while now, ever since I read the summary on goodreads after finding a countdown widget that featured this book. And I must say, this book did not disappoint. From the first moment of opening the book on my iPad through the Kindle app, I was captivated and drawn into the world of Kitty Doe, an orphaned girl in a society where rank is everything. At first glance, the summary itself is a bit misleading, providing that the Kitty is even aware of the choice she's making.

The ranking system, started seventy-five years past, seems to be based upon the caste systems of many cultures, and there are an established set of rules. You take the test, you earn your rank, and you fulfill your assignment. Or... you can rebel. Ranked on your seventeen birthday, your life can change for better or worst depending on how pass the test assigned. The problem is, for all the talk of equality in the test, things really aren't that way. You're set up in a world where the slightest mistake can cost you your life or get you sent Elsewhere.  II's and III's tend to make up the lower end of society, doing the menial jobs such as sewer cleaning or other unpleasant tasks that the upper rankings don't wish to do. When you're born into the lower classes, the highest ranking you can receive is a VI. To get a VII, you have to be born a Hart... or so Kitty thinks. 

Running from her assignment, Kitty finds herself in a less than ideal situation where she's being bid off to the highest payer. The problem is, the moment she finds herself bought by the Prime Minister and given the opportunity to become a VII, Kitty sees it as an opportunity she can't refuse. After all, it's either that or being sent Elsewhere. From there, her life takes a whirlwind spin down the rabbit hole from hell of becoming the most popular face in the country, Lila Hart. 

This book keeps the reader guessing, and there are a fair number of twists that would make even the most stouthearted reader cringe and feel anger at Kitty's predicaments. All in all, I can't wait for the next book of the series to be released.

22 October, 2013

Review: Countdown by Michelle Rowen


Goodreads Summary: 3 seconds left to live.

Once the countdown starts, it cannot be stopped.

2 pawns thrown into a brutal underground reality game.

Kira Jordan survived her family's murder and months on plague-devastated city streets with hard-won savvy and a low-level psi ability. She figures she can handle anything. Until she wakes up in a barren room, chained next to the notorious Rogan Ellis.

1 reason Kira will never, ever trust Rogan. Even though both their lives depend on it.

Their every move is controlled and televised for a vicious exclusive audience. And as Kira's psi skill unexpectedly grows and Rogan's secrets prove ever more deadly, Kira's only chance of survival is to risk trusting him as much as her instincts. Even if that means running head-on into the one trap she can't escape.


Received as an Advanced Reader Copy from Netgalley.com. 
Rating: ★★★☆☆

This was a book that intrigued me with just it's summary while I was browsing on Netgalley. It was a good story, the idea of it an interesting one. Underground digital feeds for the wealthy in a ruined world. Criminals battling it out to the death. A romance that blooms at the most inopportune time. All things that I think could potentially bring a good book, however there were details in the book that threw me off a bit.

Kira really annoyed me. If she wasn't completely reminiscing over her parents and sister's murder (I know it's a difficult thing to get over and one she'll live with the rest of her life, however I don't need to be reminded of it every single chapter of the book), she was fawning over Rogan and his devilishly good looks. A good twenty percent of this book could be cut out between those two things alone. That said, Kira does have her moments where she does add to the plot trying to get further through the games to survive. 

The book does have it's high moments, the chapters about the different levels of the game were definitely engaging and left me wanting to know more. But there are some things that aren't explained. Such as how they pick contestants now. Some of them are murderers or juvenile delinquents who are looking for a clean record. Rowen fails to explain how people like Kira, low level thieves and the like, are actually chosen. Kira receives the explanation that because she picked the wrong person's pocket, she found herself in the game. However, it's never explained if others like her have been in the game or how they were chosen. 

There were a few inconsistencies in the grammar and spelling of words. Sometimes Rogan's name was spelled with an 'a', but there were times when the name seemed to be spelled with an 'e'. Sometimes words would have strange spaces between letters such as 'f lowers' or 'd ance'. It was a bit disorienting, but nothing that should stop you from at least picking up the book and giving it a chance.

17 October, 2013

Feature and Follow Friday #11

Increase Blog Followers 

The Feature & Follow is hosted by TWO hosts, Parajunkee of Parajunkee’s View and Alison of Alison Can Read. Each host will have their own Feature Blog and this way it’ll allow us to show off more new blogs!

This Week's Question:

What are some of your favorite magazines?

Some of my favorite magazines in no particular order include:







09 October, 2013

Review: Roomies by Sarah Zarr and Tara Altebrando


Received as an ARC from Netgalley.

Goodreads Summary: It's time to meet your new roomie.

When East Coast native Elizabeth receives her freshman-year roommate assignment, she shoots off an e-mail to coordinate the basics: television, microwave, mini-fridge. That first note to San Franciscan Lauren sparks a series of e-mails that alters the landscape of each girl's summer -- and raises questions about how two girls who are so different will ever share a dorm room.

As the countdown to college begins, life at home becomes increasingly complex. With family relationships and childhood friendships strained by change, it suddenly seems that the only people Elizabeth and Lauren can rely on are the complicated new boys in their lives . . . and each other. Even though they've never met.

National Book Award finalist Sara Zarr and acclaimed author Tara Altebrando join forces for a novel about growing up, leaving home, and getting that one fateful e-mail that assigns your college roommate


Ah, college, a time of roommates, growing up and what not right? I'll admit this book was an interesting plot at the beginning, and it rings a bit true for my freshman year of college and getting that first letter telling me who my roommate was and how to contact them. It would seem however that EB and Lauren's relationship was a better one than I achieve with my first three roommates.

Still, after the first couple of chapters, a ton of drama shows up. Elizabeth (or EB as she likes to be called) has a less than ideal life, her father walked out when she was 5, moving first to New York and then to San Francisco. And in a sense, she's picked her University on that sole fact. She wants to meet him again. Things quickly spiral out of control in this novel for her. Two jobs, flirting with a boy, dealing with her mom's affairs, breaking up with her boyfriend and catching the same one she was flirting in a span of 24 hours (which is slightly unrealistic if you're catching a rebound boyfriend-girlfriend relationship). And then dealing with the fact that her father has straight up lied to her. It's almost most too much to handle. 

Then on the other side of the country is Lauren, who's facing the fact that she requested a single and has been shoved in with a roommate. At first she's hostile, and I can't blame her really. She wanted a single after having to share her life with five younger siblings. And yet they shoved her with this. Her first few emails are hostile, but gradually she starts sharing things with EB. This seems to accelerate the drama really.

On a whole, the book is disappointing, it feels like you're reading two books at once because every other chapter is the other girl's thoughts and lives. It slightly felt like I was getting whiplash from it going back and forth so much. It doesn't help that both girls have semi-sorta-kinda relationships blooming but not really. There were a few mistakes here and there with the grammar and spelling, but mainly my issues lie with the plot and the style chose. The ending was also hugely disappoint, ending right as the girls move into their dorm together. It doesn't even give a scene of them actually saying hi, it just stops when EB opens the door to their dorm room and they start again.

I would not recommend reading this book, even if you're looking for nostalgia of your own days in college. It's not worth it.

07 October, 2013

Review: Her Mad Hatter (Kingdom Series #1) by Marie Hall


Goodreads Summary: Alice is all grown up. Running the Mad Hatter's Cupcakery and Tea Shoppe is a delicious job, until fate--and a fairy godmother with a weakness for bad boys--throws her a curveball. Now, Alice is the newest resident of Wonderland, where the Mad Hatter fuels her fantasies and thrills her body with his dark touch.
The Mad Hatter may have a voice and a body made for sex, but he takes no lovers. Ever. But a determined fairy godmother has forced Alice into Wonderland--and his arms. Now, as desire and madness converge, the Hatter must decide if he will fight the fairy godmother's mating--or fight for Alice.

I picked this book up as a free read from a bargain on Amazon... and I have to admit, I can see why it's free. 

The story-line itself isn't too terrible, provoking the idea of the Fairy Tale worlds we love as their own separate alternate dimension where every group of denizens there have a fairy godmother. Simple enough right? Not so much. Meet Danika, fairy godmother of the damned souls of this happy endings place. Her mission, over the next year, is to make sure that the five worst baddies of the land find their true love matches. I fail to see how the Wolf from Little Red Riding Hood, the Djinn from Aladdin, some unidentified fellow named Gerard, Captain Hook, and the Mad Hatter all classify as the worst of the worst, but okay. Danika, it seems, likes to meddle and it's not just their lives that end up getting messed up.

Meet Alice Hu, the great-granddaughter of the original Alice Hu who stole the Hatter's heart and broke him beyond repair. She's been obsessed with everything Wonderland and the Mad Hatter since she can remember, though the most pivotal point was when she was 13 and dying of brain cancer. It was then when she first met the Hatter and when she fell in love. Cheesy? Very much so. I'm afraid it doesn't get much better from there. A visit from Danika sends Alice down the rabbit hole and into the twisted landscape of Wonderland on a mission to save the world that's linked to Hatter and his twisted madness.

Three days, that's the magic number, is all Alice has to make Hatter fall in love with her. To be fair, it felt like every other paragraph when they were featured together was Alice and Hatter attempting to NOT jump each other's bones that very moment. In fact, perhaps a good three-forth of the book focuses on this lust-filled ideal of "look but don't touch" and "resist because it's just three days". The thing you don't learn until near the very end of the book is that Three Days in Wonderland equals out to being Three Months in the real world. How very jarring that is for Alice when she finally steps back out from the rabbit hole and finds herself taking a turn of the worse with a relapse of her cancer. 

All in all, this book was filled with awkward grammar, strange and silly metaphors. It was also filled with a disturbing amount of misquoted Edgar Allen Poe, something that seems a bit distance beyond the one fleeting riddle in the original Alice in Wonderland books about the raven and the writing desk. 

My suggestion for this book is if you have to pay for it, it's definitely not worth the money. However if cheesy romance books are your thing, by all means go enjoy. You won't get any erotica until the last three or four chapters of the book anyways.

04 October, 2013

Things to Look Forward To: Fall and Winter Movies 2013

Ah movies, a book-lovers dreams and nightmares all rolled into one. This is a look at some of the upcoming movies of the Fall and Winter 2013. 

Notes: All movies are listed in the order of release date based upon the U.S. Release date. Most should be released on the same day, but there's no guarantee. All summaries are from the Rotten Tomatoes rating site. Some movies may be rated R as standard with the U.S. rating system, viewer digression advised.

03 October, 2013

Feature and Follow Friday #10

Increase Blog Followers 

The Feature & Follow is hosted by TWO hosts, Parajunkee of Parajunkee’s View and Alison of Alison Can Read. Each host will have their own Feature Blog and this way it’ll allow us to show off more new blogs!

This Week's Question:

What book (or TV show or movie) have you not read that seemingly everyone else has?

I know it's only requiring one answer, however I'll give three, one for each item included in the question.

Book: Any novel by Sarah Dessen really. She's one of the authors I was assigned a book to read from in grad school that I tried to start and immediately lost interest in her works. They're more romance based, a genre I avoid like the plague. Still, she seems like an interesting author, even if I can't stand her novels.

T.V. Show: Breaking Bad. I don't subscribe to the channel it comes on (I don't believe I do anyways) and I'm not overly interested in the plot. 

Movie:  The Sound of Music. This musical turned movie has so many historical inaccuracies that it makes me laugh. It doesn't help that I was forced as a child to sing many of the songs from the musical without really seeing the entire movie. P.S. at the end of the movie, when they're running away over the mountains? They're totally heading for Nazi Germany. Oops.

01 October, 2013

Teaser Tuesday #5

Teaser Tuesdays 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 (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teasers:

"Mordred cut off any potential for further disruptions with an explanation. 'Classes include fighter, wizard, cleric-'." -Critical Failure by Robert Bevan
"Tori strained against the fretted sandalwood screen to observe the plaza in the gathering dusk. Her view was constricted by elaborate curlicues, making it difficult to see Jai's signal when it came, if it came." - A Thousand Perfect Things by Kay Kenton

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