Friday, May 27, 2016

Everything, Everything | Book Review

Books. Something that was a foreign object to me growing up, but now has turned into my favorite past time. With school out for the summer, I have acquired more free time; not much, but enough to send me into bored fits. I think, since graduating high school I've grown to respect and appreciate the effect a book can place upon you; happy, sad, questioning, etc. Books can take you to a whole new world, allowing you're imagination to run free; forming a type of limbo state that only you can control. . . Anyway, I hope I'm not speaking gibberish. .

Recently, I spent yet again, way too much time moseying up and down the aisles at Barnes & Noble, and ended up purchasing 5 new books to add to my collection. I think I was antsy to grow my collection and to have a variety to choose from. Out of the 5 books I purchased, "Everything, Everything" by, Nicola Yoon, was the first I reached for.

I'll (try to) quickly give you a taste of the plot; Madeline, a teenage girl lives indoors, 24/7. She never leaves her house due to her illness, SCID. A rare disease that basically makes her allergic to EVERYTHING, and the triggers are unknown. To keep her safe and healthy, Madeline lives a scheduled life at home; school is done over the computer, her mom and nurse, Carla, take constant care of her, nights are spent playing games or watching movies; everyday generally repeating. Maddy has come to terms with how her life is and wouldn't change it, until a new family moves right next door, and the teenage son, Olly, catches Maddy's eye. Olly has a sister, but is a very minor character. His dad is basically an abusive alcoholic, and his sweet innocent mom tolerates him. You can tell that Olly is a family man since he is always standing up to his dad to protect his mother. (If you want the actual summary from the book all paste it below)

When I first picked up this book, I was intrigued by the cover. Simply white, with splashes of color and random chaos. I know you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover, but I can't help it. The title seemed quite vague, but intriguing and I had to know the plot. I will admit that I am a sucker for bad-boy stories (or just love stories in general), so when I read, "He's tall, lean and wearing all black-black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely." I was sold; Mainly because his physique/wardrobe had 'bad boy' written all over him...  I knew instantly that I would fall in love with this character and wanted to know how Maddy & Olly's relationship would pan out. Let me break it to you now, Olly isn't a "bad boy", in fact I'd say he's the opposite. 
I'm not really sure what I was expecting from this book in all honesty. I spend a fair amount of time glued to Wattpad (a website that lets amateur authors post their stories), and you can probably guess the type of genre I look for. . ^^ . . Don't judge, I'm a single, 20 year old, college student, what do you expect?! So, my expectations, probably weren't lining up with what this book had to offer.. BUT THAT'S NOT A BAD THING.  I am telling you right now that I fell in love with this book, and I will definitely re-read it down the road. 

 I can say that this book had me laughing-out-loud at parts where I could imagine myself in; more specifically, conversations held between the two. Maddy is smart and witty and strong. Olly is observant, collected, and mature. He  thinks about Maddy's well-being and doesn't play around when it comes to her safety/health. Throughout the book, you watch Maddy grow into the teenager she should be; crazed hormones, feelings for a boy, wanting to see the world in it's entirety. You watch as she experiences her first crush, her first love and risks she's willing to take to live a normal life. This book is powerful and so well-written, it's not what you'd expect. Once you start, you won't be able to put it down. In fact, by the time I reached the end I had tears in my eyes wanting to read more. Were they good tears? Bad tears? I wish I could say more about this book, but I'm afraid I'll spoil it... therefore, I HIGHLY recommend this book. 

Rating: 4.7/5  - I only wish there was a sequel or a bit more to it since the climax didn't happen until almost the end of the book.

**The pictures included are not mine, therefore, i do not own the right to them. They are simply a visual reference to give you a feel for the book.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Rocky Road Cupcakes

I always love finding excuses to bake goodies, since I'm trying to stay on the healthier side of things, and over this past weekend it was one of my coworker's birthday. She told me she loves anything chocolate, and I thought about doing a big chocolate layered cake, but with my school schedule, I just couldn't find the time to make every layer. However, I settled for making these delicious rocky road cupcakes! 

I have been wanting to try making these cupcakes for quite some time now, so to hear of a birthday, was the perfect opportunity to whip out my muffin tins and baking bowls. 

I ended up using a chocolate fudge cake mix, since time wasn't necessarily on my side. I then whipped up a chocolate mousse, which consists of: 1 cup heavy whipping cream, 2 tablespoons powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon chocolate syrup, and a couple tablespoons of cocoa powder.
If you have a favorite chocolate mousse recipe you like to follow, go ahead and use that instead. I tried following a recipe that had you melt down chocolate and then fold it into the other ingredients, however, it became too watery and lost its texture and firmness. But if you have a technique that works, or if you're just a baking wizard, then stick to melting chocolate... & teach me your ways.

I then scooped out a bit of the insides so I could fill it with the chocolate mousse, and then I smoothed it out on the top to work as the frosting. To decorate my cakes, I drizzled on some fudge and plopped on a couple tiny marshmallows. Decorating is my favorite bit, but for these guys I could be messy instead of uniform or symmetrical. 

I hope you try making these scrumptious cupcakes! If you're a chocolate lover, I'm sure you'll love these! What's your favorite cupcake flavor/combination?

Besides chocolate, I do enjoy a good ole red velvet!

Much Love! Xx