Sunday, July 6, 2014

Review: Beautiful Oblivion by Jamie McGuire




***Spoiler Alert***

I'm not sure if many would agree with me but I think that despite the many mixed reviews, Beautiful Disaster most likely propelled the New Adult category into the spotlight. I read it and loved it, even when there were parts of it that I didn't always agree with. 

I started reading Walking Disaster and stopped at the first couple of chapters because I was seized by this fear that I might read something that will move me out of my happily oblivious state and change my mind about Beautiful Disaster. I wanted to preserve that fascination and the reviews and ramblings of what followed in the rest of the series (and what little I had read of Walking Disaster) threatened it a little so I stayed away.

When I first heard that the rest of the Maddox brothers were going to get stories of their own, I sighed in relief because while the books are most likely going to exist in the same immediate world as Beautiful Disaster, it was going to be focused on new love stories with new people and new dynamics. It was a happy compromise so I went for Beautiful Oblivion the moment it came out. I drove to the next city to get the copy because all the other book stores near me haven't got their delivery yet. LOL.

Anyway, my thoughts on this...



I actually like Trent Maddox although I worry that he's forever going to be cast in the shadow of his more famous brother, Travis. He's a sweet guy (although it's totally unfair that he shamelessly relied on the cutest five-year-old girl in the world to win him a lot of extra points). He's got the same nasty, virulent, violent streak as Travis (because this is apparently a very Maddox sort of thing), a healthy dose of baggage that all NA male leads seem to have in excess, the possessiveness, the confident swagger, the to-die-for face and build, the reckless charm. I also like the fact that he's a little more grounded as a character, made more realistic by the fact that he isn't rolling in cash or has some fancy-schmancy job. Although I'm not sure how he makes enough money considering how often he goes out and gives away free tats but then he doesn't drive a swanky car or pay a fortune for rent. He's quite down-to-earth, funny and protective. 

As for Cami, I'm a little more torn about her. She's drawn up to be tough and the drinking and smoking probably add the extra edge to her, along with her future tattoos. I liked her a lot of times, when she speaks up and puts her foot down but in pretty much half the story, she gets pushed around—by her boyfriend, her brothers, her father, occasionally her best friend, and sometimes, even by herself. It does make her a more complex character, giving her a flaw parallel to her strength which is hard to do but I'm just not sure that the two sides to her came together quite as smoothly to give her more pull as a character that readers would understand and relate to as well. 

As for the plot, I will never be ashamed to admit that I like formulaic stories, mostly because I like to know that I'm getting exactly what I'm looking for. I'm not the type to find excitement in picking out a chocolate from a box and leaving it to fate to decide which one I'll get. I'm a bit of a maximizer that way. I like picking up a book and knowing that yes, I'm going to read about a modern Cinderella or a girl who's always been in love with her brother's best friend, etc. I loved the are-we-just-friends-or-are-we-more-than-friends plot of Beautiful Disaster. The push and pull, no matter how infuriating at times, really got me right there, smack in the middle of Travis's and Abby's drama. I wouldn't mind reading a story like that again. I just don't know that I would want to find it in another book so close to Beautiful Disaster that BD's plot was unfolding in the background of this story. I also wish I didn't know what was revealed about Travis and Abby's marriage in the Beautiful Wedding but it came up here.



This is where my overall feelings about this book get a bit tricky. Trent is a Maddox and I get that those boys share an overwhelming amount of similarities. I grew up an only child that this isn't something I can totally relate to but that's fine. The only thing is Trent is very much like Travis at times that their lines nearly echo each other in some parts, especially when Trent is trying to deal with Cami in where they stand exactly. I know a lot of stories are going to overlap in some plot dynamics, especially in romance, but I just found myself a little perturbed at times when I was reading this that I could hear BD's lines in the back of my head and I haven't reread that book in a while and I don't have the best memory in the world. I reminded myself that it was that plot that really won me over to BD and it shouldn't be something to complain about in BO (I really don't like this acronym, by the way) so I read on.

One thing that did distinguish this plot from BD is the presence of T.J. (if presence is what you could call it considering how absent he really was in the entire duration of his relationship with Cami that the book covered). Lots of people commented about this 'reveal' and it struck me as a little odd that it caught people by surprise because even though it's been a while since I read BD, something from there clued me in almost right away, as soon as T.J.'s identity was hinted at, about his connection to the main characters. It's not given away until you're literally at the last page or two of the book and I get that there are reasons why Cami didn't confess anything (even though it's not explained in this book) because it's probably going to be in future books but it's just a little weird that something that important a detail was hush-hushed all the way to the end. But enough said.



I would still recommend this book, especially to all faithful followers of the Beautiful Disaster series, because despite all the little bits here and there that didn't quite make it a perfect read for me, I still had an awesome good time reading it and really, those Maddox boys are going to cost you your heart at some point. A lot of issues that New Adult books should address (but many don't for which they are getting dragged through the mud) really got highlighted here: the struggle with second jobs, having to drag out college and taking fewer classes because you just can't afford both the time and money for it, dealing with a family you love and hate and who still think they've got all the say in your life when you're already out there trying to make your own way, opting to work where money's guaranteed instead of risking the stable income to try to finish your degree, etc. And of course, there are those toxic relationships a lot of people around this age get into, from which they would hopefully learn valuable lessons so they can use better judgement and make better decisions in the future. And trust me, there are some pretty toxic relationships in this story. There's a great cast of supporting characters and even their drama can get to you.

McGuire's work here bears the same brand of realness to the dialogue and the relationship-building that has appeared in her most popular work. It has the same edgy humor, the boldness of larger-than-life personalities, the bittersweet angst of first and true love that characters reluctantly resign themselves to eventually, and the same kind of slow, simmering attraction that burns right under the surface.

I'm so looking forward to the next Maddox Brothers book! 

Read more reviews about it here: Beautiful Oblivion by Jamie McGuire


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Review: Four Seconds To Lose by K.A. Tucker



Ever since I picked up K.A. Tucker's One Tiny Lie from an airport souvenir store a few months ago, I seemed to have developed the habit of picking something from her whenever I come across the difficult decision of bringing one book with me on my travel.

This time I brought Four Seconds To Lose and it didn't disappoint.

It holds the same signature Tucker employs in her previous books but this has a grittier side to it—one that Charlie glosses over in an effort to keep it out of her reality. Some might say it's an opportunity the author could improve on but I think the way it's approached, since the story is told between Charlie and Cain's first person POV, is effective because we feel it the way Charlie would like to feel about and not feel about it. Her reality is one she likes to pretend doesn't exist even though it would eventually catch up with her. I actually liked Charlie although I did get a bit confused in the end what her name really is.

And Cain's a great guy. He really is. It's hard not to like a guy who goes out of his way by a long stretch to help people out. Like most New Adult male MCs, he's got a lot of baggage but in this story, it didn't overwhelm his character.

I only wish that there were more moments between Charlie and Cain before the calm set in just as hell was about to break loose.

It was an addictive read and I felt the pull of both characters. I'm looking forward to Ben's story next!

Read more reviews about it here: Four Seconds To Lose by K.A. Tucker

Review: The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton




For years now, my reading choices have narrowed to one genre—romance—and I'm yet to regret it.

There aren't many other kinds of stories that interest me currently and I knew, while picking up this book, that it wasn't going to be my usual but I had a pretty good feeling about it. Maybe, in physically touching the book, some of the Roux family's magic seeped through my fingertips and granted me the same instinct that has taken so many of them down strange, tumultuous and tragic paths. 

The lyrical, mysterious and whimsical quality of Leslye Walton's writing is the main strength of the book. And with that voice, she wove a story that transcends the stark, ordinary reality as we know it while letting you feel every raw nerve the layered plots hit each time. 

The story is filled with so many people—beautiful, grotesque, broken, reckless, foolish, wise, all hungry—and they vividly portray a human condition that could never be fixed or improved because its very root is that fact that the culprits and contributors are all, simply enough, human. 

I won't say too much about this book because I feel that I couldn't fully describe it. It is more of a life-altering experience than a mere read. It encompasses the many foolish and tragic things we do for love and the versions of it that we settle and waste our lives for. 

In the end, it is a love story. Whose is a more complicated question to answer.

Read this book if you want to feel parts of your heart you didn't know existed to ache and mourn, and bits of your soul to let go and soar.



Sunday, June 8, 2014

Review: Lick by Kylie Scott





I haven't ready anything of Kylie Scott before but after this book, you can be sure as hell I'm going to be on the look out for her next one.

This is contemporary romance done right. It has a dash of New Adult (which seems to be my obsession as of late), that wild, hot flavor of a sexy rocker romance and the grounding tenderness vital to a love (not just lust) story.

Before I go, let me quickly tell you what I look for in a good contemporary romance—interesting relationship dynamics that continue to evolve, a lot of fun, a lot of butterflies in the stomach, a palpable attraction (not just page after page of sex because there's erotica for that) and likeable characters that are also relatable (no matter how larger than life they may seem in the book).

I got all the things I was looking for in this book that I couldn't put it down until I was done with it. After that, I had no idea what to do next because I was still kind of hung-over from it (pun intended). 



What happens in Vegas never really quite stays in Vegas as much as we'd like to think it does.

For fans of the marriage of convenience tropes, this one's for you. Can't have a romance take off in Vegas without some reckless wedding and a good amount of alcohol to excuse a sudden lack of inhibitions. 

Evelyn Thomas wakes up in her Vegas hotel room married to Stage Dive's guitarist David Ferris. 

Sure, this is nothing new. But that's alright because I love romance formulas. I love the myriad ways they could go and how they're executed. It's always fun to see something familiar come out brand new.



I actually like Evelyn. It's not often I find heroines I absolutely loathe but it's also hard to find one I actually like enough to not mind being in her head (especially with the explosion of novels told from the heroine's first POV). 

She's really a simple girl, sweet, possessing a sense of humor that makes you laugh without wanting to duck your head in embarrassment at the same time. She struck me as one of those quiet, laid-back types you could get to know and become really good friends with. She's smart without overanalyzing every thought. Despite her own insecurities and the ones brought on by her unusual circumstances with David, she didn't have an overly irrational moment. She was honest and straightforward and showed some spine when she needed to. She was a girl I could root for and root for her, I did.




David Ferris has the world worshipping at his feet. He plays the guitar and writes many of the songs for Stage Dive, one of the hottest bands in music. 

This is nothing new either but David is a male lead done right, too. Yes, he's gotta be a little angsty with a wounded past, etc. and relationship issues. 

I liked him right off the first page, when Ev was just starting to stir awake and he's there, taking care of her and her monster hangover. Because of the rocker personality and this edgy lifestyle they're supposed to lead, many male leads are written to be arrogant, domineering, possessive, difficult and all the many things that scream at the female lead to stay the hell away. And in most cases, they'd be right. Some heroes in books don't deserve to win the girl at all, at the end of the day. I get that they have to have their edges, and they're going to make a lot of stupid mistakes and hurt the girl, but they don't have to be a one-dimensional jackass the entire story. 

David doesn't suffer from that. Yes, he talks a little rough. Yes, he's immersed in a world that celebrates bad habits and a reckless lifestyle. But he's actually quite a nice guy!

He didn't react well to the epiphany (or lack thereof) that Evelyn suffered from in the morning after but when they got over their initial bumps, he was quite caring and tender toward his new wife. He's got some baggage but he's not a walking disaster who pulls out the sob story for every despicable thing he does. No question he's an alpha male, but the kind you could actually bring home to your parents and marry. 


As to their relationship, yes, Evelyn kind of fell fast but I didn't mind this 'insta-love' too much. They were married, after all. Other than a serious lap of judgement, you don't go marry someone without some compelling, if unnameable, reason. Why get married when you can just screw around, right?




Their relationship wasn't perfect but they had a lot of things that many couples in many books out there don't have—honesty, the common sense to talk things out, decency to each other (this is seriously lacking in many books today), a sense of friendship, a tenderness that threads into their conversations and their actions.

Even after an ugly confrontation that ripped them apart, the way they dealt with each other had a lot of maturity and sense. Don't worry, the passionate scenes are very passionate, indeed, but the book as a whole handled the plot effectively I never once felt like tossing it out the window or wanting to gag from excessive gushings like "Oh-my-god-he's-beautiful-and-I'm-just-Jell-O-in-his arms".

This was a great read. It wasn't overly complex (which can sometimes ruin a good story) and it had the perfect combination of romance, heat, and characters you wouldn't mind hanging out with for a day or two.

Can't wait for Mal's story coming out in paperback this August. 

Read more reviews about it here: Goodreads - Lick


Friday, May 30, 2014

Review: The Professional by Kresley Cole






I love Kresley Cole's books. I've read the entire Immortals After Dark series and I'm impatiently awaiting its next instalment. After reading a near dozen of her books, I'm rock-solid in my conviction that Cole wouldn't disappoint.



I've read erotica for years but have never found BDSM that interesting. Given that it's become an age of mainstream erotica, thanks to the likes of Fifty Shades of Grey and the Crossfire series, it's hard to avoid. While I didn't necessarily seek out this type of stories, I wouldn't go to extreme lengths to avoid it either, especially if someone of Cole's caliber were to write it. Her books have always been stamped with her own searing brand of sexy heat that turns your blood into fire without totally incinerating you. It didn't surprise me at all when she came up with something like The Professional.

I waited until the story came out in paperback and despite the mixed reviews, with some disheartened and dismayed opinions from some serious Kresley Cole fans, I didn't allow myself to miss out on the chance to read it.




Sevastyan's character didn't deviate much from Cole's typical alpha males—he growled and grunted, seduced and spurned, laid cocky claim and contended with self-control as much as the male leads in all of her books. I love it when you find exactly the kind of thing you loved about an author's writing in their new work. If you're not a big fan of these types of guys, then this book isn't for you. Steer clear.

Natalie is also quite expected of Cole's female leads—intelligent, seemingly vulnerable, but often has a lot of spunk. She was also funny in many parts of the book. One thing I didn't quite connect with was the evolution of her sexuality.

Yes, she wasn't totally innocent.

Yes, Sevastyan was irresistible with his refined rough edges.

Yes, they were thrown together in many uncommonly exciting circumstances that friction was, as Sevastyan had said about the two of them, inevitable.

There were plenty of sparks igniting, flaring up when the heat got too much to handle, but there were parts that didn't flow as smoothly for me, such as Sevastyan's distance when he was practically kissing Natalie's feet. It was explained in the story but the justification didn't just click like a perfectly fluid mechanism. I liked them together a lot but there were many occasions where I felt as uncertain as they did about where they stood with each other and whether they even stood a chance to together.

If you've read Cole's IAD, you won't miss her incredible talent at world-building, of her perfectly cut-out pieces snugly fitting in a large, magnificent puzzle. The world she'd built about the Russian mafiya showed intricate effort as well but I'm just not so sure if she'd meant it to be larger than life (because it was) or she'd employed the same lack of restraint that made all her IAD books ones you wouldn't dare put down. Applied to the real world, it might feel a bit of a stretch to some readers, as I've seen in many reviews. Maybe I was just in the mindset of knowing that nothing Cole produced was ever going to be ordinary that the glaring glamour and guts (sometimes, literally) in this book didn't bother me as much as they did other people.

If you're looking for erotic romance that pushed boundaries (because Sevastyan isn't a white knight, and not because of some sad, sob story about the past although he's got that, too) I would recommend this. It bears Cole's well-loved wickedly funny lines that make you laugh out loud, and characters you've seen before from her and you haven't forgotten about since.

Read more reviews about it here: Goodreads - The Professional


Sunday, May 25, 2014

Review: All Lined Up by Cora Carmack




It's been a while since I've read a new book that I really enjoyed. There's so many out there right now that it's hard to find something special. 

If you're into the New Adult genre, picking up the newest Cora Carmack book is a given. She's one of the biggest names in it. I'll be honest and admit that this is the second book of Carmack's that I read and boy, I sure as hell don't regret it. 

When I first read Losing It, I enjoyed it as a light, easy read but I didn't crave the rest of the series. But man, after reading All Lined Up, I can say that Carmack's gone a long way since her first book and now I'm of the mind to trace my way back and get all the other books in between because I apparently missed out on a lot.

Now, on to the book.



First, the school and the game....

I'm not a big football fan. Maybe because I didn't grow up with it and only saw glimpses of it in books and TV. So when I first read the blurb on this, I hesitated, wondering if I'd ruin a good book by my sheer ignorance of its setting and environment. But don't worry if you're not a walking book of everything-football because while there's a lot of technical terms and references in the story, it doesn't overwhelm. It fact, it made me curious about the sport all the more. Also, at the start of the story, Dallas didn't love being at Rusk and I wondered, how is it then that there's a huge Rusk pep rally online from readers, bloggers and book fans alike? I didn't follow the entirety of the blog tours and the big build up around the 'Rusk University' spirit (Bleed Rusk Red!) but I felt it throughout the entire story. I've become part of this school and the culture and the same kind of buzz everyone's feeling in the book as it led up to the games, especially after the unexpected turn of events that shocked the entire student body, most especially the football team. It's amazing that Carmack accomplished to make a reader feel connected to something that's neither the central theme of the story nor a strong romantic factor. When the student body slumped their shoulders and dropped their heads down in defeat, I felt it. When the hopeful buzz caught the school, I was right there pumping my fists in the air. It was awesome! I felt like going back to college. LOL.  

As for the characters... 

Let me say, the character development in this book is well-executed. Kudos!
Dallas, as initially portrayed, didn't come as a big surprise. She's a little shy, naive, occasionally awkward, and a little unsure of a lot of things about herself and her life. As heroine of a New Adult book, this is to be expected often. But as I continued to read, I liked Dallas. She's candid and relatable, brave at times, but still vulnerable. Her insecurities are genuine, and yes, she literally dances back and forth between overanalyzing something to death and getting reckless all of a sudden. While others may bitch about a character's struggle to be consistent or decisive, we should remember that in real life, we're probably just as confused and as confusing. It's this accurate imitation of life that makes Dallas a believable character. She'd dreamed up the life she wanted only to face reality that she's not going to get it. She's torn between resenting it and making the best out of it. She's got a father she loves but can never seem to get on the same page with. She wants an identity but can't quite deny a large part of her that she doesn't like to be solely defined by. She made decisions she thoroughly regretted and had to learn from, even if it made her extremely cautious. She struggled between what she really wanted and what she thought was good for her and everyone else. These are all conflicts many of us have been through at a very similar stage in our life. She's strong but a little weak, she can be bold but she doesn't always believe it, she can be happy but she's not sure how to get there. All these things make her a dynamic character.

Carson is a really great guy. Not because he has a shiny sports car, or oodles of money, or he's smooth and confident, or a genius jock. He hasn't got and isn't any of those. Unlike many male leads out there (mine, included), Carson's character is not overblown—a tendency in many romance books where authors unwittingly end up with caricatures for heroes, instead of a realistic man. Carson is such a likeable dude. If you couldn't date him, you'd want him for a best friend. Or even an older brother (but that's just eew right now because I'm totally swooning over him). He's really down to earth. He's new at Rusk, pinching in his spot as a walk-on who's risking everything for not a whole lot of guarantees. He's a farm boy, has no real baggage except for a family he wants to help out in the best way he can. He makes no qualms about admitting he's not the smartest guy and that football's the best shot he's got at a better life. He's not sleeping with girls left and right. Guys didn't worship at his feet. He's not the team's golden boy. He's going back to their failing farm if he screws up his chance at earning a scholarship at Rusk. You'd think all this would kinda make him boring but it doesn't. Carson's funny and sweet and fiercely determined. Many would agree with Dallas that he's a freaking babe but throughout the book, I adored him more because he actually gave me plenty of reasons to respect him. Yes, respect. It's rare to find a romance nowadays where you're not just drooling over the male lead. You actually respect him. Excellent character development. Carmack didn't just give Carson those dreamy arms and abs—she really fleshed him out (Ugh. Such an obvious pun!).



At the beginning of the story, I wondered whether what he and Dallas had for one night was life-changing enough for them to be torturing themselves the way they were but as I peeked into both Carson's and Dallas's minds (dual POV that's actually pulled off smoothly and effectively), as they battled with themselves, it really sold it to me, that there had been something more in the beginning than what was obvious. Others might think it was a bit insta-love and at first glance it's easy to pin it down as that but their attraction goes from a sudden collision to a slow burn that eventually makes everything catch fire. They had a genuine friendship that sees them through their individual struggles and makes them stronger together. Their moments together were tender and sweet, and hilarious at times. Their relationship wore Carmack's brand of endearing awkwardness but they were small things that actually made you like them more. I personally loved it when Carson aptly described Dallas's poor, dancer's feet. I loved it when Carson tried to walk away with his dignity intact when he realized Dallas worked at the Learning Lab and he desperately needed help with his paper. I could list a whole bunch more things but that would be too many spoilers.



I also liked a lot of the characters. Coach Cole evolved as a character as well. It's funny because I really felt the way the team did around him—you respect him but you're not quite sure whether you like him or not but you work with him anyway because he's not going to take shit from you. I also loved his pep talk. I felt like I could go out there and play football because he says I can. 

As for the other secondary characters, I loved Stella. She provokes Dallas but also makes her laugh and calls her out if necessary. She was also just an absolute darling with sparkling lines and spunky confidence. I liked Ryan too because he was a good friend to Carson and surprised me when he said some pretty hilarious things when I expected him to be the serious type. He might just be the antidote to Stella's irrepressible attitude. Silas was a real douche in the beginning but he made me stop and pay him more attention after his unexpected shift in attitude when Carson gets thrown into the fire. Maybe he's not so bad after all. As for Levi, I have a feeling this isn't the last time we've read about him.

This book is pretty solid. It touches deep on the whole experience of growing up, of people giving themselves clear-cut directions only to find themselves going down a different road. Life is a constant navigation test. We kinda know where we're going but it's in how we get there that defines the whole journey. New Adult should really showcase this more as it is one of it's most defining trait—that self-discovery we find ourselves having when we realize we're finally growing up when we thought we've already been adults all this time. I would never want to take away the romance but the evolution the characters go through should be given its chance to shine as well.

Carmack did an excellent job with this. I definitely think that her personal history gave this book an incredible sense of conviction but it's in how she integrated it and built a story out of what she knew that attested to her writing talent. I can't recommend this book enough. 

I tried to read it slowly but sadly, it still had to end. Good thing this is a series and there's more to look forward to! =)

Favorite lines:

DALLAS: Why does no one get that it's impossible to have a fresh start when nothing has really changed?

DALLAS: You know you're growing up when you start to see more inevitabilities than possibilities.  

CARSON: There are no easy days, sir. 

CARSON'S POV:
"No one in my entire life has ever told me I have a big heart."
I touch the hand she has braced on her knee, just for a few second, and say, "Then no one in your entire life has been paying much attention."

STELLA AND RYAN: 
As she walks away, he calls out, "I thought you don't date."
"I thought you were going to sweep me off my feet."

DALLAS:
"Do you ever think that maybe that's all people do? Fix some things and break others? And we all just live in this giant cycle where we screw things up and hurt people we love, and then we turn around and try to atone for that by fixing other things. And maybe we're all just waiting on our turn for a broken heart and the person who will fix it."

"I think I break more than I fix."

STELLA:
"The only thing we can do is try to find people whose scars compliment our own. And I'm pretty sure Carson McClain would carry your baggage around the world and back if you asked him."

See more reviews for All Lined Up here: Goodreads All Lined Up




Sunday, May 4, 2014

Weekend Wrap-Up

With my office nearly all done, it's been easier to do more stuff online.

I posted the newest entry for Brandon's Notebook.

I got back to writing When Stars Burn.

I got to do a little bit of shopping.

I got to do a little bit of cooking.

All in all, a good weekend.



5-Minute Grilled Cinnamon Toast with Chocolate
Something I'd like to try one Sunday morning because it seems so simple but looks so darn good. Hubby would love it for sure.
Recipe from Half Baked Harvest can be found here.

Vince Camuto Fontanela Cut-out Cage Sandals
This year, I decided to be realistic and wear more flats especially in the summer. Flats are practical because I can wear them to after-work errands and drives. I've invested in a handful of new pairs but just when I thought I'd sworn off buying new high heels, I run into these lovelies. They are quite comfortable even at their height actually, as long as you buy the correct size so that your arches rest where they should. The leather is soft and fine and the cutouts look so seductive without going overboard. I like heels that make an elegant statement, not the other kind that invite all sorts of snide comments. This pair also comes in a white-gray snakeskin design but the black looks a lot fiercer.

Book Buys
Whenever I'm in a bookstore, chances are, I'm coming out with a book or two.
This week's book buys are:

  • K.A. Linde - Off The Record which is mostly about a college journalist caught in an affair with a young, charming state senator. It's starting a little slow so I haven't devoured it yet. 
  • Lauren Morrill - Meant To Be which is a YA debut about a strait-laced junior teaming up with her personal nemesis / class clown to discover her secret admirer. It's a staff pick and sounds like a lot of fun.
Sunday Casserole
I always find myself panicking about dinner on Sunday night so I'm sticking to making casseroles in the morning so I can to give myself the rest of the day. I also like making a big batch so we have enough leftovers for lunches. This is a new recipe with chicken, rice and mushrooms. 
Recipe from Simply Recipes can be found here.

Now, back to writing and watching YouTube videos. My life is simple.