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FIP Book Review: When We Collided

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Title: When We Collided
Author: Emery Lord
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published April 5th 2016 by Bloomsbury USA Children’s
Goodreads Synopsis:
We are seventeen and shattered and still dancing. We have messy, throbbing hearts, and we are stronger than anyone could ever know…

Jonah never thought a girl like Vivi would come along.

Vivi didn’t know Jonah would light up her world.

Neither of them expected a summer like this…a summer that would rewrite their futures.

In an unflinching story about new love, old wounds, and forces beyond our control, two teens find that when you collide with the right person at just the right time, it will change you forever.

FIP Review:
Simply put, I really enjoyed the book. I understood the trials and tribulations of the characters and also I’m a sucker for any story that shows the goodness of people. I can’t say I loved it – but that may just be my personal hang up of not being able to love a tragedy.

Lord is a wonderful writer who is able to fully immerse the reader into her character’s head, which is no easy task when the story has two narrators. The thought process and the voice of the characters swiftly and fluidly move to each different perspective. And the characters are unapologetic about themselves. I wish more YA books focused on this.

Overall, When We Collided was a well written, purposeful love story that totally satisfies (even if it was a little predictable). FIP recommends it as a whimsical rainy day read. Don’t go looking for the answer to all of life’s secrets here – but you may identify your own aura.

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FIP Review: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Title:  Eleanor & Park

Authr: Rainbow Rowell

Summary

Two misfits.
One extraordinary love.

Eleanor… Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough…Eleanor.

Park… He knows she’ll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There’s a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises…Park.

Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.

FIP Rant: 

One word, WOW! Dare I venture and say Rainbow Rowell may well be the Judy Blume of today’s generation.  This lady has time travel powers, I’m sure of it!  She was absolutely able to transport herself and her readers back to our teenage years.  She gets it!  When you’re that young and in love,  the biggest obstacle in life is the world. Everyone is against you, everything is against you – and Rowell brings legitimacy to that feeling.   To often, teenagers are told that they should enjoy the best time of their lives, that this is puppy love that won’t last… but why? Who says? Does age dictate this? Or is it that so much of our lives as young people are at the mercy of adults? I don’t quite know, but I loved reading Eleanor & Park and pondering these questions that fell off my 35 year old radar a long time ago.

I wish I’d had more books like this when I was younger; books that tackle gender biases and have unconventional heroes.  Park’s struggle to accept Eleanor as she was, was very real. His coming to terms with acceptance was real. He emerged as a mature solid character who was unshaken in his commitment.  The other hero was obviously Eleanor.  She changed her situation, she refused to accept things as they were. I loved how Eleanor seemed calm collected in the face of fear, but her insides and her insecurity was all too real. GOD! I was that girl! I never let anyone know they got to me – but lord I suffered! Before I start going off on a monologue about why HS sucked, I’ll leave you with this: read this book.  Enjoy it. It may not change your world but it’ll make you remember that you’ve come a long ways and you’re ok.

I really hope they make a movie of this. Shall we cast?

Park: Logan Lerman

Eleanor: Demi LaVato (hair dyed ofcourse)

Stay tuned for FIP recipe.

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FIP Series Review: The 100 by Kass Morgan

Titles:    The 100 / Day 21 / Homecoming

Author: Kass Morgan

Lots of ‘firsts’ in this review, it’s the first time I’ve reviewed an entire series rather than a single book and it’s the first (and probably only) time I will tell you the TV show was better.

I really had high hopes for this series, it had all the ingredients of an epic read.  Modeled after The Lord of the Flies, there was an adolescent run society, a strong female lead and all the dystopian conspiracy your little heart desires.   But for some reason it falls short. Oh wait, I know why – because in the middle of saving humanity all Clarke can think of is Bellamy. WTF.

I did like the idea of the narrative switching POVs – but ultimately I was looking for an ending that would tie out everyone’s story. Other than the characters knowing each other or living on the same space station, there was no joining factors. Clarke, Bellamy and Wells were a triangle totally separate from Glass and Luke’s love story.  Even the deaths in the story felt so …hmm expected.

The character struggles were so forced – the resolutions rushed.  Heck the entire 3rd book could probably be summed up in one sentence.  The drama was typical.  Octavia was the biggest let down – she basically was a babysitter and anyone who’s watched the show knows she’s badass warrior girl.  This series over all just left me very unsatisfied.  Skip the book and watch the series – much more entertaining and gritty.

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FIP Review: The Singular and Extraordinary Tale of Mirror and Goliath

The Singular and Extraordinary Tale of Mirror and Goliath

Author: Ishbelle Bee

Goodreads Summary: 

1888. A little girl called Mirror and her shape-shifting guardian Goliath Honeyflower are washed up on the shores of Victorian England. Something has been wrong with Mirror since the day her grandfather locked her inside a mysterious clock that was painted all over with ladybirds. Mirror does not know what she is, but she knows she is no longer human.

John Loveheart, meanwhile, was not born wicked. But after the sinister death of his parents, he was taken by Mr. Fingers, the demon lord of the underworld. Some say he is mad. John would be inclined to agree.

Now Mr Fingers is determined to find the little girl called Mirror, whose flesh he intends to eat, and whose soul is the key to his eternal reign. And John Loveheart has been called by his otherworldly father to help him track Mirror down…

FIP Review: 

Wow!  Just Wow!  Mirror and Goliath is not a book that I would normally pick up, but there was something about the cover that caught my eye. So much for not judging a book by its cover eh?   Whatever the reason, I am so glad that I picked it up.  The writing is absolutely lyrical, the story telling gripping and the characters magical.   I love how Bee’s mind works.  She doesn’t just tell a story, she builds a world of interconnected characters and histories.  She wakes up the reader with her unconventional style. She gives you enough back story to see gray where you know you should be seeing black.  By the end of the tale, Mr. Loveheart, a whimsical murderer — shows heroic traits. And just as quickly as you see the good in him, Mirror cuts him off – reminding us that there was a reason why she thinks him unworthy of another visit.

All the characters are surely three dimensional, including Mirror and Goliath.  I have to say though, I’m left a little uneasy with the rushed maturing of Mirror and transformation of her relationship with Goliath. I want some input on how you guys read this.[SPOILER]  I think it turned romantic – but I got an weird vibe from it.  [/SPOILER]I liked them in the beginning.  I understand that Mirror was never really just a 5/6 yr old girl but really? Goliath?! and Egyptian Princess?

Apologies for the spoiler, I’m trying to tell you guys about the story without…. telling you the story.

Overall, I liked the booked. I’d say go grab it, its short its quick and it plain old fun. There aren’t lessons to learn here – just a classic tale of Good vs Evil.

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FIP Book Review: The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan

In true FIP style, this may be more of a book rant then a review.  I found this book before it was released, I pre-ordered it on amazon.com and forgot about it.  The book arrived as a surprise.  I have to admit I didn’t dig in immediately especially after reading some very bad reviews on goodreads.com  —- but you know what they say …never judge a book by its review ….errr or something like that.

What a fantastic book!  Go buy a copy – DO NOT BORROW OR READ ONLINE. Buy a copy that you can feel, smell and keep.  The Opposite of Loneliness is a composition of stories and essays by a Yale undergraduate, Marina Keegan.   I personally was blown away at the vastness of Keegan’s experiences at such a young age.  I tried  to think back to when I was an undergraduate student and not only did my writing not come close to Keegan’s expert penmanship but I also lacked the insight on life displayed by this young lady.  Sadly Marina Keegan lost her life in a car accident a few days after graduation.  This is a great tragedy and loss to the literary society.

I found something eerily sad in all her stories, as if somewhere subconsciously she knew that she had a short time to love, live and learn.  So very evident the poem that starts the book off:

Do you wanna leave soon?

No, I want enough time to be in love with everything…

And I cry because everything is so beautiful and so short.

Every story ends how you wouldn’t expect it to.. every story makes you see things just a little differently.

Threw her non fiction, you see her vibrant personality and thoughtful spirit. If the other products of Yale are half as bright as Keegan, I want my kids to go nowhere else.  Actually, interesting we come to this point.  Before now I’ve never closely known an Ivy League graduate; this may be the closet I’ve gotten inside of an Ivy League brain and man does it tick differently. Not to say there is anything wrong with Rutgers, they’ve produced some awesome folks (I know first hand) but does an Ivy League education really refine one to think outside the box?

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FIP Recipe for Exquisite Corpse

This one took a little time. Exquistie Corpse screamed Paris! I needed something just as fancy to pair off with the book. Fancy recipe, not so fancy cook. Ha!  Check this out, so simple so lovely.  For the time being here is a recipe from Manuela, I will be posting pictures from my kitchen soon.

http://cookingwithmanuela.blogspot.com/2015/03/apple-roses.html

Ingredients: to make 6 roses

  • 1 frozen puff pastry sheet, thawed
  • 2 red organic apples (I used red delicious)
  • half lemon, juice
  • 1 tablespoon of flour, to sprinkle the counter
  • 3 tablespoons of apricot preserve
  • cinnamon (optional)
  • powder sugar for decorating (optional)

Preparation time: 45 minutes

Directions:

1. Thaw the puff pastry if you haven’t done so yet. It should take about 20-30 minutes.

2. Prepare a bowl with some water and the lemon juice. Cut the apples in half, remove the core and cut the apples in paper thin slices, as shown in my picture. Leave the peel so it will give the red color to your roses. Right away, place the sliced apples in the bowl with lemon and water, so that they won’t change color.

3. Microwave the apples in the bowl, for about 3 minutes, to make them slightly softer. If you prefer, you can also simmer the apple slices in the water in a small pan (on the stove).

4. Unwrap the puff pastry over a clean and lightly floured counter. Using a rolling pin stretch the dough a little, trying to keep it in a rectangular shape. Cut the dough in 6 strips. These are about 2 in x 9 in (5 cm x 22 cm).

5. In a bowl, place three tablespoons of apricot preserve with two tablespoons of water. Microwave for about one minute, so that the preserve will be easier to spread. Spread the preserve on the dough.

6. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Drain the apples.

7. Place the apples on the dough, as shown in my picture. Sprinkle with cinnamon if you’d like.

8. Fold up the bottom part of the dough.

9. Carefully roll, seal the edge, and place in a silicone muffin cup. No need to grease the muffin mold if it’s silicone. Otherwise, make sure to grease it.

10. Do the same for all 6 roses. Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for about 40-45 minutes, until fully cooked.

NOTE: make sure the pastry is fully cooked on the inside before removing the roses from the oven! If after 30 minutes the apples on top look fully cooked, move the pan to a lower rack in the oven, and wait for 10-15 more minutes to avoid undercooking the puff pastry.

Sprinkle with powder sugar and enjoy!

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FIP Book Review: Exquisite Corpse by Pénélope Bagieu

Name: Exquisite Corpse

Author: Penelope Bagieu

Pages: 128

Summary: Zoe is a car show girl with little or no aspirations.  Her life consists of an ill-mannered boyfriend, no real friend and a dead-end job. Until one day she stumbles upon a man who could possibly be the man of her dreams. He’s astute, literary and gentlemanly — but he’s got plenty of skeletons in his closest. For instance, why he pays the delivery man through a closed door. And why does his ex-wife visit him at night?

FIP Summary:

Two words “culture shock!”  This is my first ever graphic novel. I enjoyed it. I missed the details (his broad shoulder’s held up his trunk of a neck perfectly while his arms glistened showing the definition of his muscles as he chopped down my cherry tree) but enjoyed that the illustrations told a story of their own. Thomas and Zoe looked allot different in my head. Agathe looked about the same.

I was also shocked at the usage of bad language, I think I read to much rate PG YA, this incapacitation could be mine alone.  Also, maybe because I was so busy looking at the pretty pictures, I totally bought into the whole false clues about the ending. When Zoe landed where she did and with whom- I was totally surprised. And then I chuckled and outright giggled. And loved it! Like “A’t a girl!”

Overall, I enjoyed the book allot. I would recommend it for a quick short 30 minute stint.