Monday, October 24, 2016

Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling

Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling

Review by Lauren

source: copy from BloggingForBooks; all opinions are my own

Official SummaryIn 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 "Player" tells the story of Kaling being seduced and dumped by a female friend in L.A. ("I had been replaced by a younger model.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.") 
Mindy turns the anxieties, the glamour, and the celebrations of her second coming-of-age into a laugh-out-loud funny collection of essays that anyone who's ever been at a turning point in their life or career can relate to. And those who've never been at a turning point can skip to the parts where she talks about meeting Bradley Cooper.


To be honest, I've never watched Mindy Kaling all that much, but I do know a bit about her and I think she's a great actress. I've wanted to read her memoirs for awhile now, and while I still need to check out her first one, I saw this one up for review on BloggingForBooks and I knew I had to check it out. I'm definitely glad that I did!

Mindy is amusing and real. She actually talks about not liking the term "real" when it's related to the way she looks, because it's almost as if they are vaguely insulting her, and I have to agree with that. I think of "real" as someone who seems down-to-earth or at least like someone who doesn't let fame go their head. You can't tell if a celebrity is real or faking it, but sometimes, like with people such as Mindy, you get the distinct impression that they really are how they present themselves. I think Mindy seems like a great person. She has faults and things about her that you might not like, and that she doesn't necessarily like either, but you can still see her and read her stories and believe she's ultimately a good person.

Why Not Me? is full of essays about Mindy's life, mostly focusing on her time in Los Angeles and being an actress. Granted, she still talks about issues and topics that anyone can relate to such as beauty standards, dating/romance, work (no matter what work you do), and more. Sure, you get fun stories about her dating someone who worked for Obama and working on a TV show that she created, but these are still enjoyable to read. I like celebrity memoirs that give you a look at their "real life" as well as their more "famous life" if you will.

Whether you know Mindy really well or not, I do think you should check this one out. Get it from your library even! It's a quick, entertaining read.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Swapoween Gift Reveal: What I Gave + What I Got

I love all things Halloween so I had to take part in the Swapoween Swap hosted by Chaotic Goddess Swaps and it was a lot of fun. This year, they had odd numbers so the person I sent to is not the person who sent to me but it's nice to get to know two bloggers this way!

First off, I gave to Kristen from The Book Monsters. I always love getting a fellow book lover in swaps just because I know ONE thing that they would love to receive. If you'd like to see what I gave Kristen, check out her post on Instagram.

Now, here is what I received from the lovely Elizabeth at Elizabeth Blair Books. She did such a good job at shopping for me! I just loved it all!

I opened up the box and saw this fun Halloween card and lots of orange and black tissue paper!

Elizabeth sent me so many fun goodies, I had to break it all up into different photos. In the one above, you can see the two Halloween socks (I'm wearing the orange/gray ones now), three awesome mystery/thriller books, and a book with lots of fun Halloween party ideas. I love throwing parties, so this was such fun! I also got awesome Halloween/fall themed bookmarks - I especially love the ones that you can color in!

I also got this really cute tumblr. If you can't read it, it says "if the shoe fits...wear it" and it's got lots of fun witchy shoes!

Even better? Elizabeth put a few Cadbury Scream Eggs inside the tumblr! I LOVE these.

Finally, all the other goodies that I got! As you can tell, Elizabeth did not skimp on the candy. I love that she put the candy and the Larabar's in cute Halloween bags. I included one at the top of the photo so that you could see!

Thank you SO much Elizabeth. You did a fantastic job; I seriously love it all.


Saturday, October 22, 2016

Win 1 Dozen Harry Potter Cookies (U.S.) - Ends Nov 12

Cookies inspired by Harry Potter - listing for 1 dozen

Distinctly Delicious Desserts by Jennifer is a great Etsy shop where you can buy all sorts of different cookies. You can choose from Holidays, Sports, Animals, and more! And since it's Harry Potter month, you can even buy 1 dozen Harry Potter cookies for $32 on Jennifer's Etsy shop. This is what one U.S. winner will get if they enter the below giveaway. Before that though, let's take a look at some of Jennifer's other fun creations.

You can get Superhero Character Cookies, inspired by Marvel:

Super Hero Character Cookies (inspired by Marvel)

Another set of cookies I thought my readers would enjoy are these Alice in Wonderland Inspired Cookies - you can get 1 dozen for $36.

Full size Alice in Wonderland inspired cookies - listing is for 1 dozen cookies

I just love the details! I wish I could decorate a cookie half as well as Jennifer does!

Giveaway Time:

-winner gets 1 dozen HP cookies
-open to U.S. only
-must be 13 years of age or older to enter; unless you have parental permission
-we are not responsible for lost/broken items in the mail
-giveaway ends November 12

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, October 21, 2016

Guest Post: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Goblet of Fire Guest Post
By: Maria Zuppardi

Twitter: @MariaZuppardi

The fourth Harry Potter book is kind of super amazing, if you haven’t read it already! I find that this is the point where this series takes a dark turn. We start this book off with the murder of the Riddle family that Harry is dreaming about - not exactly a nice scene at the beginning! This is however offset through the (temporary) excitement of the Quidditch World Cup, which was such a good match! I get so into it whenever I read it….I mean who doesn’t?

I liked the chaotic feel to this book; Harry was always on edge when he didn’t know what to do about an upcoming Triwizard Tournament challenge, or because of the mystery behind Rita Skeeter and her Harry + Hermione rumours, the threat of the Dark Mark and the implications behind it - this was such a crazy book to read because again, it was a different feel from the first three books, but I like it! At this point, Harry and the gang are older, J.K. Rowling’s audience is getting a bit older so it makes sense that she would write this differently.

My favourite part of the book was the ending, when Sirius ends up at the castle almost losing his mind about what Harry went through. Sirius is my favourite character, so any part he’s in I just LOVE! Harry never had a father figure growing up, so it was nice to see Sirius taking on this role way better than Vernon Dursley. Sirius has done better parenting for Harry in over a year than Vernon ever did.

Honourable Mentions

  1. Dobby. Bless him for being a paid member of the Hogwarts faculty! Even though he’s not the most liked elf in the kitchen, he’s really doing something right and following something he believes in. He wants to redefine the boundaries and create a better life for himself and other elves.
  2. Dobby (again) - just because he gave Harry the gillyweed which helped him for the second challenge.
  3. Hermione for always being badass, and figuring out a few key facts along the way.  
  4. Barty Crouch Jr. Let’s face it, it takes some serious dedication to act like a world-renowned Auror. And convince everyone around him that he IS one. Although obviously not done for the right reasons, it’s still a pretty cool undercover mission.
  5. Voldemort. He isn’t the most feared wizard of all time for nothing! From literally going to a gross-looking thing and growing into a full-fledged man was a frighteningly awesome scene both in the book and the movie.
Overall, I think this book was great preparation for the deaths in the other books. There’s really not much to critique here, because I love this book! It’s my second favourite one in the series because of all the action and the amount of new characters introduced. I loved meeting the different wizarding schools. Most of all though, I love J.K. Rowling’s writing ability and how she conveys a story that the whole world can fall in love with.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Lucian Divine by Renee Carlino Cover Reveal

Alicia here, with the cover reveal for Renee Carlino's next book! I can't wait to read this, especially because it's paranormal, and I looooove me some paranormal.

Anyways, enjoy!

We have the beautiful cover for the upcoming release from Renee Carlino, LUCIAN DIVINE releasing on JANUARY 9, 2017. Get ready for this breathtaking and unforgettable story!


“My guardian angel is a drunk.”

Evelyn Casey's life is at a standstill. She's in her mid-twenties, struggling with the dating scene in San Francisco. Nothing seems to be working out, and she’s starting to think that she’ll live out her days in her crummy apartment with her overbearing roommate, Brooklyn. It's absurd, but sometimes Evey longs for a guardian angel to show up and save the day.

And then he does. Seriously. His name is Lucian and he's a guardian angel, been on the job for two thousand years. His sudden presence in her life is both good—he's brilliant, witty, and warm—and bad—he's brilliant, witty, warm, and hot as ----. But as perfect as Lucian seems, he’s got problems of his own. He’s taken up drinking and he’s brazenly inserted himself into Evey’s life, going against the greatest cosmic law ever created.

For Evey, the rules are simple: You are not allowed to hook up with your guardian angel. But sometimes fulfilling your destiny requires a leap of faith, a confrontation with God.

Yes, God as in God.

Pre-order now Available

iTunes | B&N | KOBO | AMAZON PRINT | 

Kindle to come

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Renée Carlino is a screenwriter and bestselling author of contemporary women's novels and new adult fiction. Her books have been featured in national publications, including USA TODAY, Huffington Post, Latina magazine, and Publisher's Weekly. She lives in Southern California with her husband, two sons, and their sweet dog June. When she's not at the beach with her boys or working on her next project, she likes to spend her time reading, going to concerts, and eating dark chocolate.

Learn more at


Gryffindor Harry Potter Scarf (U.S. only) - Ends Nov 12

Harry Potter Inspired Infinity Scarves

Today I am excited to share the Etsy shop I Sew for Sanity. The various items that you can find in this shop are infinity scarves, applique shirts, corn hole bags, and garden flags. While she only offers one Harry Potter themed item, it's something that I think a lot of you would love. Yes, you can buy a Harry Potter Infinity Scarf for $15 (regular length) or $17 (long length). Even better? You can choose between the four Hogwarts houses! I think I'd want to own one of each!

Despite these being the only HP items, I still wanted to highlight some other fun items from the shop-
Cancer Awareness Infinity Scarf with embroidered ribbon of your choice!

With it being October and breast cancer awareness month, I'd suggest checking out this Cancer Awareness Infinity Scarf

Another really cute item is this Customized Tooth Fairy Pillow.

Customized Tooth Fairy Pillow

Now it's time for the Giveaway!

prize: 1 Gryffindor Scarf
Open to: U.S. Only
Must Be: 13 years of age or older, or have parental permission to enter
Warning: I am not responsible for lost/damaged items in the mail
Ends: Saturday, November 12 (so you have lots of time to enter!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Prisoner of Azkaban Guest Post


Prisoner of Azkaban Guest Post by Veronica
Follow her on Twitter
Check out her blog, Grounded Wanderlust

           Harry Potter is one of those series that has defined a (my) generation. Everyone who has read the series, and loved it, probably has a favorite too. Out of all of the books, my favorite has to be Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (on a side note, the Prisoner of Azkaban is also my LEAST favorite out of all of the movies).
            There are many, many reasons why this book is my favorite out of the entire series. Honestly, I could probably write an entire essay, but I’m going to try to stick to some of my top reasons. In the interest of full disclosure, I have to admit that it has been a couple of years since I have read any of the Harry Potter books, but I still remember why I love each and every one! Also, a warning, this post will contain spoilers for those of you who have not read the HP books (I know you’re out there because my sister is one of you and my boss was one of you up until last April).
            One of the biggest reasons that Prisoner of Azkaban is my favorite Harry Potter book is that Lord Voldemort does not directly cause all of the craziness. What I mean by that is, Voldy doesn’t pop up or order anyone to do anything in this book (he is indirectly responsible though a la Pettigrew’s betrayal). I don’t know why, but the fact that the evil actions of one person 12 years earlier had a snowball effect and caused all of the chaos in the third book really resonated with me.
            Another reason I loved Prisoner of Azkaban is the introduction of several important ANIMALS!!! From the very beginning, animals have played an important role in Harry Potter. Hedwig, Fluffy, Norbert, Mrs. Norris, and Scabbers are all animals that have had an impact on the story. Crookshanks (Hermione’s Cat), Pigwidgeon (Ginny’s owl), and Buckbeak (the Hippogriff) were all introduced in Prisoner of Azkaban that recur throughout the series and play significant parts in the story overall. Crookshanks especially was fun to read about.
            The main reason is that this is the first book where Sirius Black and Remus Lupin appear. These two are some of my favorites characters in the series too (they’re tied for top favorites with the Weasley twins). However, it isn’t just that they were introduced that makes me love them. I love the sense of history and depth they add to Harry’s character. Their addition to the series give us a startling glimpse at just how much Harry really lost the night his parents were murdered. I also like the more mischievous air they give to the series.

            There are about a trillion more reasons why Prisoner of Azkaban is my favorite book in the Harry Potter series, but I think I will leave you with the three that really solidified the choice for me. I urge anyone who liked the movies but hasn’t read the books to just go ahead and read or listen to them. You honestly have no idea how much you’re missing by only watching the videos.