Lazy Saturday Review: PETA’s Vegan College Cookbook #BookReview

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I started doing ‘lazy Saturday reviews’ as a way of getting reviews done in just 30 mins, and they proved to be quite popular. They are quick and snappy, and concentrate less on the plot (or content) and writing and more on my overall feelings about said book. They generally end up being a bit of a rant. My fave!

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Title: PETA’s Vegan College Cookbook
Author: PETA
Series: N/A
Format: Digital ARC, 336 pages
Publication Details: April 5th 2016 by Sourcebooks
Genre(s): Food & Drink – Cookbooks
Disclosure? Yep! I received a free copy in exchange for an HONEST review. 

Goodreads 

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You can have the simplest, tastiest vegan recipes on a budget — and the best part is, the most complicated kitchenware you’ll ever need is a microwave. Including more than 250 recipes, we’ve got all the best insider info:

– Vegan alternatives to meat, eggs, and milk
– How to stock your kitchen/mini-fridge
– How to make meat-free sandwiches, salads, soups, and sauces
– Fun meal recipes, such as Fettuccine Alessandro, Walking Tacos, and Pancake in a Mug
– The best drinks, dips, and dressings
– Unbelievable vegan dessert recipes
– Spotlight sections on the staples we love: peanut butter, potatoes and Ramen
– And much, much more!

With new tips and treats to suit even the pickiest palate, this is the essential college cookbook for every vegetarian or vegan on a budget.

Remember: You have the power to save animals-every time you eat. We can show you how!

Review

OK so I’m not Vegan (and I doubt I ever will be), and I’m no longer a student (still poor though FYI) but I’m trying this dairy-free thing at the moment as an elimination test for allergies & eczema so I thought this book might give me some new dairy-free ideas.

I was wrong.

This book isn’t what I was expecting at all. Yes, I guess it does cater particularly for students lacking in money, time, space and equipment  but the recipes here are so basic that I wouldn’t even call them recipes. It’s more like “open packet of pre-prepared vegan food >>> eat >>>done”. Nearly everything involves a microwave and either tofu or ‘a packet of vegan _____ (enter anything and everything there)’. 

I guess I was looking more for  healthy, natural and yummy recipes that happen to be vegan, not recipes which mainly show you how to do vegan junk food on a budget. It certainly took the whole ‘college’ thing to the extreme and to be honest I’m surprised PETA put their name to this at all, not to mention that this is an updated version, and the original seems to have been pretty slated too (on Goodreads at least). Glutton for punishment it seems.

I am probably being a bit harsh. Maybe if I was Vegan when I was at university I would have relished this book. Although I honestly think I made better food in my student days from a trolley-full of Asda Smart Price products. Hmm.

I will say this though, it was an entertaining read. The LOLZ at student life and food puns to go along with it stood out much more than the food itself. I mean, I’m not sure if I was laughing at them or with them…but it put a smile on my face regardless. For that reason and because I’m sure it would be useful to many a lazy, poor student (who happen to be Vegans) am I giving it 2 unicorns. If this book was aimed at me, it would get 0.5. 

unicorn rating 2

Can you Keep a Secret? by R.L Stine #BookReview #FearStreet

canyouTitle: Can You Keep a Secret?
Author: R.L Stine
Series: Fear Street Relaunch #4
Format: Digital ARC, 784 pages
Publication Details: April 12th 2016 by St. Martin’s Griffin
Genre(s): Horror, YA
Disclosure? Yep! I received a free copy in exchange for an HONEST review. 

Goodreads 

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R.L. Stine has built his legacy on scaring children and teenagers. Now he’s back with another spine-tingling tale of horror in this new Fear Street book about temptation, betrayal, and fear.

Eddie and Emma are high school sweethearts from the wrong side of the tracks. Looking for an escape their dreary lives, they embark on an overnight camping trip in the Fear Street Woods with four friends. As Eddie is carving a heart into a tree, he and Emma discover a bag hidden in the trunk. A bag filled with hundred-dollar bills. Thousands of them. Should they take it? Should they leave the money there? The six teens agree to leave the bag where it is until it’s safe to use it. But when tragedy strikes Emma’s family, the temptation to skim some money off of the top becomes impossible to fight. There’s only one problem. When Emma returns to the woods, the bag of money is gone, and with it, the trust of six friends with a big secret.
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Review

This is the second of the new Fear Street books I’ve read and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed them both. Can you Keep a Secret? was a bit on the tamer side as far as the horror element is concerned, but it made up for it with an intriguing mystery. 

Emma, her boyfriend Eddie and four friends find a briefcase full of money in the woods and they agree to keep it hidden and then share it when they feel any danger or chance of exposure may have passed. But can they trust each other?

When the inevitable happens and the money goes missing Emma and Eddie don’t know who to believe, and to make it worse they’re pretty sure the people who hid it in the woods in the first place are on their tails. It’s not long until they realise just how out of their depths they really are. 

I enjoyed the thriller-aspects of this story, and as a result the pages flew by. The scarier elements that you would expect from a Fear Street novel came from nice touches like Eddie working in a Pet Cemetery, and Emma’s debilitating nightmares about wolves which get worse as the tension mounts.

As always, R.L Stine’s writing feels effortless and is easily relateable. Like his other books they have just enough violence, suspense and and horror to keep you interested whilst remaining suitable for all ages. I would have liked Can you Keep a Secret? to have been a little darker, however.

unicorn rating 4

This Week in Books #TWIB

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Welcome to my weekly post, where I sum-up what I’ve been up to in bookland the past week. 

Happy Wednesday to you all. Here’s what I’ve been up to this week…

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Now: The Glittering Court ~ Richelle Mead // Deception ~ Naomi Chase

I didn’t expect to get so sucked into The Glittering Court but I definitely am. Deception, is an urban fiction book which is popular in the library where I work so I promised a few of the guys that I’d read one before passing any judgements (they’re very trashy!).

Then: The Colour of Milk ~ Nell Leyshon // Can You Keep a Secret ~ R.L Stine

I really enjoyed both of these. I’m a bit behind on reviews atm but they’ll be up soon. 

Next: ??? 

Definitely Murder at the 42nd Street Library 

New on the Shelves

(Linking up with Stacking the Shelves)

Borrowed: Turbulent Priests by Colin Bateman

This is one of very few books in Bateman’s back catalogue that I haven’t read, so when I saw it in my library I had to take it home!

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Dan Starkey investigates the birth of a new Messiah on a small island off the coast of Ireland. Back together with his wife Patricia and the baby — Little Stevie — that resulted from her affair, Dan accepts a curious commission from Cardinal Daley to investigate the tiny island of Wrathlin, where the inhabitants appear to believe that the new Messiah has been born. The child in question turns out to be a girl called Christine, and the local population has become as defensive and generally crazy as the cast of The Crucible. At first it’s just funny for Dan and Trish, but fairly soon the mood turns very much darker. Packed with Bateman’s trademarket mixture of jokes, shocks and tenderness, Turbulent Priests is his best novel yet.

Review copies from Netgalley: 

I really liked Carey’s TGWATG, and we’ve just booked him for a World Book Night event at work so I hope I can read this in time – and it’s set in a prison!

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 Fellside is a maximum security prison on the edge of the Yorkshire Moors. It’s not the kind of place you’d want to end up. But it’s where Jess Moulson could be spending the rest of her life.


It’s a place where even the walls whisper.

And one voice belongs to a little boy with a message for Jess.

Will she listen?

I’m Waiting On…

(Linking up with Breaking the Spine)

Loving the sound of this one from  horror writer Jason Arnopp.

The Last Days of Jack Sparks

jacksparksJack Sparks died while writing this book. This is the account of his final days.

In 2014, Jack Sparks – the controversial pop culture journalist – died in mysterious circumstances.

To his fans, Jack was a fearless rebel; to his detractors, he was a talentless hack. Either way, his death came as a shock to everyone.

It was no secret that Jack had been researching the occult for his new book. He’d already triggered a furious Twitter storm by mocking an exorcism he witnessed in rural Italy.

Then there was that video: thirty-six seconds of chilling footage that Jack repeatedly claimed was not of his making, yet was posted from his own YouTube account.

Nobody knew what happened to Jack in the days that followed – until now. This book, compiled from the files found after his death, reveals the chilling details of Jack’s final hours.

Read on and decide for yourself what really happened to the notorious Jack Sparks – in this razor-sharp tale about the dangers of mocking what you don’t believe . . .

Expected Publication: July 28th 2016 by Orbit

 So, that’s my week in books, now how about yours? If you’re joining in leave the link to your answers in the comments so everyone can take a look 🙂

The Crow Girl by Erik Axl Sund (out today) #BookReview #CrimeFic #DisturbingReads

crowgirlTitle: The Crow Girl
Author: Erik Axl Sund
Series: N/A
Format: Digital ARC, 784 pages
Publication Details: April 7th 2016 by Harvill Secker
Genre(s): Crime Fiction; Thriller
Disclosure? Yep! I received a free copy in exchange for an HONEST review. 

Goodreads 

bookdepo

It starts with just one body – tortured, mummified and then discarded.

Its discovery reveals a nightmare world of hidden lives. Of lost identities, secret rituals and brutal exploitation, where nobody can be trusted.

This is the darkest, most complex case the police have ever seen.

This is the world of the Crow Girl.

Review

Everything about this book drew me in until I realised that it’s almost 800 pages long! I probably would have been put off if I’d realised that before I requested a copy (because as a ‘in spare-time blogger’, I aint got time for that), but I’m so glad I started reading first. It was totally worth the investment of time. 

The Crow Girl is one of the darkest, twisted, deviously woven crime books I’ve ever read. As the synopsis suggests it starts with one dead body, and mannnn does it escalate from there. 

We follow protagonist Jeanette Kihlberg, a respected detective who is assigned the case when a mummified boy is discovered. Jeanette is a strong protagonist. She’s clearly dedicated to her work but is also consumed by it, which takes its toll on her private life. As more bodies show up, and the search for a killer intensifies, Jeanette’s life starts to unfurl. 

The Crow Girl isn’t a simple whodunnit tale. It’s a complex saga of child abuse, paedophile circles, corrupt officials, false identities, human trafficking and psychological battles. It took me a few chapters to get hooked and adapt to the dark and twisted tone of the story but once I did, it was impossible to not get completely invested the story.

Originally written as a trilogy, and published here as one volume, The Crow Girl has been painstakingly translated from Swedish. Despite the length, I’m really glad I read this all in one go as I think it would have been too confusing in three separate books and I’m not sure I would have appreciated the first part enough to read the second; it’s all about the bigger picture and the pay off at the end! I was also extremely thankful for the short chapters – they really helped in making the book less of a chore. 

This is one of those books where I don’t want to give away too much of the plot, but what I will say is that The Crow Road is a book that sheds light on child abuse and the damage it can cause. The effects of which ripple throughout all 700+ pages of this disturbing Swedish triumph.

It actually reminded me a lot of the Hannibal TV show with similarities in both content and style/tone, so if you enjoyed that I’d highly recommend giving this one a try.

unicorn rating 4

This Week in Books #TWIB

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Welcome to my weekly post, where I sum-up what I’ve been up to in bookland the past week. 

Happy Wednesday guys. You’ll be pleased to know my reading finally picked up speed this week. Hurrah!

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Now: The Colour of Milk ~ Nell Leyshon // Can You Keep a Secret ~ R.L Stine

I started reading The Colour of Milk at work one lunch and I was hooked so I took it home. I’m almost finished. I also started the new Fear Street novel which is out next week – so I need to read it quickly!

Then: The Crow Girl ~ Erik Axl Sund // PETA’s Vegan College Cookbook

OMG The Crow Girl took me forever to read but not because it was bad, just because I was so busy and it’s three books in one! Really glad I finished it though! The Vegan Cookbook didn’t do it for me at all…but I’m not even Vegan. I’ll explain why I wanted to read it in my review.

Next: ??? 

Either Murder at the 42nd Street Library or something from my TBR pile. 

New on the Shelves

(Linking up with Stacking the Shelves)

Borrowed: The Colour of Milk

‘this is my book and i am writing it by my own hand’

The year is eighteen hundred and thirty one when fifteen-year-old Mary begins the difficult task of telling her story. A scrap of a thing with a sharp tongue and hair the colour of milk, Mary leads a harsh life working on her father’s farm alongside her three sisters. In the summer she is sent to work for the local vicar’s invalid wife, where the reasons why she must record the truth of what happens to her – and the need to record it so urgently – are gradually revealed.

I didn’t buy any books or request any from Netgalley as I’m in catch-up mode.

 I’m Waiting On…

(Linking up with Breaking the Spine)

It looks like June is going to be a month for YA!

You Know Me Well

youknowmeWho knows you well? Your best friend? Your boyfriend or girlfriend? A stranger you meet on a crazy night? No one, really?

Mark and Kate have sat next to each other for an entire year, but have never spoken. For whatever reason, their paths outside of class have never crossed.

That is until Kate spots Mark miles away from home, out in the city for a wild, unexpected night. Kate is lost, having just run away from a chance to finally meet the girl she has been in love with from afar. Mark, meanwhile, is in love with his best friend Ryan, who may or may not feel the same way.

When Kate and Mark meet up, little do they know how important they will become to each other — and how, in a very short time, they will know each other better than any of the people who are supposed to know them more.

Expected Publication: June 7th 2016 by St. Martin’s Griffin

 So, that’s my week in books, now how about yours? If you’re joining in leave the link to your answers in the comments so everyone can take a look 🙂

Top Ten Tuesday: Who ya gonna stalk? #TTT

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Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish (click the link to visit them) who pick a different topic each week.

This week the topic is…Top Ten Bookish People to Follow on Social Media

I probably don’t use social media as much as I should do considering I have a blog to promote. Twitter and Instagram are the only ones I really use for bookish/blog stuff and I go through phases of remembering to use them. I’m the same with following people too. But there are some really great bookish people that I do follow on Twitter (and should pay more attention to):

@Patrick_Ness: I mean let’s face it, Patrick Ness is my just my favourite, ever.

 

@BookSmugglers: Self confessed ‘Review Mavens & Super Dorks’, UK-based The Book Smugglers are award-winning bloggers who post great reviews, features and book news.

@MattHaig1:  I actually haven’t read any of Matt Haig’s books (yet) but his presence on Twitter is funny and inspiring.

@BookBloggersChat: These guys are based in the UK and arrange book blogging chats on twitter which is a great way to get involved in the community and support each other.

@Jabberworks: Sarah McIntyre is a children’s author, illustrator, comic book creator and cosplay enthusiast. She does a lot of work with libraries and schools, promoting creativity in kids. She’s a whole lot of fun.

@AitchLove: Hannah Love is Children’s Publicity Manager at Faber Children’s and reviewer for and . She tweets about everything bookish, both promoting and just generally fangirling. She’s very active in the book blogging community and sometimes even sends out books. A must-follow for YA bloggers.

@SarraManning: Sarra Manning is an author and Literary Editor. Her tweets make me LOL (as well as keeping me up-to-date in bookland).

@Cleo_Bannister: Cleo is one of my favourite book bloggers who reviews mainly crime fiction and dark thrillers. She’s very active on Twitter and retweets her favourite posts from the book blogging community.

@IsobelJournal: Isobel Harrop is the author of The Isobel Journal which was published after she became a Twitter sensation by tweeting her old high school diary. She tweets about books, life and vegan food.

@YALC: YALC is the UK’s YA Lit Con at the London Film & Comic Con . This year the convention is on 28-31 July 2016 so if you’re thinking of going give them a follow.

 

Who are your bookish must-follows on Twitter? 

My Kind of Crazy by Robin Reul (out next week) #BookReview #YA

mykindofcrazyTitle: My Kind of Crazy
Author: Robin Reul
Series: N/A
Format: Paperback, 336 pages
Publication Details:  April 5th 2016 by Sourcebooks Fire
Genre(s): YA Contemporary
Disclosure? Yep! I received a free copy in exchange for an HONEST review. 

Goodreads 

bookdepo

 

 

Despite the best of intentions, seventeen-year old, wisecracking Hank Kirby can’t quite seem to catch a break. It’s not that he means to screw things up all the time, it just happens. A lot. Case in point: his attempt to ask out the girl he likes literally goes up in flames when he spells “Prom” in sparklers on her lawn…and nearly burns down her house.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, Peyton Breedlove, a brooding loner and budding pyromaniac, witnesses the whole thing. Much to Hank’s dismay, Peyton takes an interest in him—and his “work.” The two are thrust into an unusual friendship, but their boundaries are tested when Hank learns that Peyton is hiding some dark secrets, secrets that may change everything he thought he knew about Peyton.

Review

I’m usually quite wary of contemporary reads in YA because I feel like they’re really hard to get right and also really hard to stand out amongst the crowd; they all get a bit samey for me.

My Kind of Crazy falls into the boy meets girl category, and whereas it was quite predictable, and not particularly unique or fresh, I still thoroughly enjoyed it.

Protagonist Hank is trying to get a date to the prom and has his sights set on one of the most popular girls in school. Hank isn’t unpopular, but he’s not quite in her league either so he needs to make a lasting impression…but perhaps almost setting her house on fire was a bit extreme.

Luckily for Hank, no one knows he was the culprit apart from one random girl lurking in the shadows. Unluckily for Hank, the random girl shows up at his school the next day. 

Peyton, however, promises not to tell anyone about his uber failure of a prom proposal and  Hank is instantly intrigued by her. They quickly become friends, bonding over their unconventionalities, but Peyton might just be one step too crazy for Hank…

I liked a lot of things about this book. It was refreshing that it wasn’t about the popular kids Vs the unpopular, the jocks Vs the geeks…you know how it goes.

Hank was a great protagonist who sat somewhere in between those high-school social statuses. He has a difficult home life – as does Peyton – but is doing his best to get through it. I think what I liked most about him was that he didn’t judge people, and he saw the best in everyone, even when he couldn’t see the best in himself.

My Kind of Crazy was a cute, quick read. I found it both witty and sad, and couldn’t put it down. It’s not the most original story, but it still managed to stand out in a sea of contemporary beigeness. 

unicorn rating 4