Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Book Review: Crossing the Line

Katie McGarry captivated readers with her “riveting, emotional”* Young Adult debut, Pushing the Limits. In this gripping novella, she tells the story of Lila and Lincoln, who discover that sometimes it’s worth crossing the line for love… 
Lila McCormick, Echo's best friend from Pushing the Limits, first met Lincoln Turner when tragedy struck both their lives. But she never expected their surprise encounter would lead to two years of exchanging letters—or that she’d fall for the boy she’s only seen once. Their relationship is a secret, but Lila feels closer to Lincoln than anyone else. Until she finds out that he lied to her about the one thing she depended on him for the most.

Hurting Lila is the last thing Lincoln wanted. For two years, her letters have been the only thing getting him through the day. Admitting his feelings would cross a line he’s never dared breach before. But Lincoln will do whatever it takes to fix his mistakes, earn Lila’s forgiveness—and finally win a chance to be with the girl he loves

Crossing the Line by Katie McGarry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed reading about Lila and Lincoln, even though I thought Lila was being a bit dramatic over the whole lie. Which isn’t to say that I support him lying in the first place; just that I was surprised when we found out “what” she was so upset about. My reaction: "Really, really that's it... it's not like he lied about being a serial killer or lied about his brother being dead; he just didn't tell you he wasn't graduating on time with the rest of his class."

I really wish Katie McGarry has written more for this story making it a novel rather than a novella so that we could have connected with and spent more time with the character's. I was really interested in Lincoln's home life and would have loved to spend the "summer" with him while he struggled with said home life and his own. Oh, well it was a nice read none the less...

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Recipe: Cucumber Mint Salad

I was a little wary of this dish at first; however as soon as I started cutting and mixing all the ingredients together I knew I had made the right choice in fixing it up for a friends anniversary dinner. I recommend giving it a try but only if you like cucumbers and mint; because obviously those are the flavors that stand out most.

Cucumber Mint Salad
Prep/Total Time: 20 min.   Yield: 6 Servings

2 large cucumbers, chopped
2 cups seeded chopped tomatoes
½ cup chopped fresh mint
½ cup chopped fresh parsley
½ cup thinly sliced green onions
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

Directions: In a large bowl, combine the first five ingredients. In a small bowl, whisk the lemon juice, oil, salt and pepper. Add to cucumber mixture; toss to coat. Yield: 6 servings.

Nutritional Facts: 3/4 cup equals 113 calories, 9 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 403 mg sodium, 7 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 2 g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 2 fat, 1 vegetable.

Sunday, March 31, 2013


Strawberry Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing
Prep/Total Time: 30 min.   Yield: 10 Servings

¼ cup sugar
1/3 cup slivered almonds
1 bunch romaine, torn
1 small onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 cups halved fresh strawberries

Poppy Seed Dressing:
½ tbsp poppy seeds
3 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp Dijon mustard
½ tsp kosher salt
1/3 olive oil

or you can just buy poppy seed dressing from your local grocery store...

Directions: For dressing - In a dry skillet cook poppy seeds for 1 minute; transfer to a bowl. Whisk cider vinegar. Honey, Dijon mustard, and salt together with poppy seeds. Gradually whisk olive oil into mixture.
For Salad - In a small heavy skillet over medium-low heat, cook and stir the sugar until melted and caramel in color, about 10 minutes. Stir in almonds until coated. Spread on foil to cool; break into small pieces.In a large bowl, combine the romaine, onion and strawberries. Combine the dressing ingredients; drizzle over salad and toss to coat. Sprinkle with coated almonds. Yield: 10 servings.

Nutritional Facts: ¾ cup equals 112 calories, 7 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 2 mg cholesterol, 35 mg sodium, 12 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 2 g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 1 vegetable, 1 fat, ½ starch.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Book Review: Pushing the Limits

"No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with "freaky" scars on her arms. Even Echo can't remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal.But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo's world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.

Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she'll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again."

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When I first started reading “Pushing the Limits” I wasn't sure I liked it, or that I would grow to like it even... but for some reason I couldn't put it down either. That probably has to do with my impatient personality (never did I meet a spoiler I didn't like) as well as the fact that I began to fall in love with Noah, Echo, and Isaiah.

At first I thought it was the authors "tone" of writing I wasn't connecting to, but then the more I read I switched to how the characters sometimes spoke; now that I've finished the book I’ve decided that it was simply because I'm not in high school anymore and it can be difficult to place myself back into that mind set, if I was ever there to begin with.

Even though I had some difficulty adjusting to how the characters sometimes spoke as well as thought; I actually loved their different journeys from the beginning of the novel. Usually I’m not a fan of amnesia type story lines, but with Echo it was more than that (I mean at least she still knew who she was for starters), and the struggle Noah went through with opening up and trusting that the word isn’t always out to crush you. Not to mention both of them having to come to terms with their home lives and that their both worth loving.

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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Movie Review: The Greatest

There are so many words I could use to detail how much I love this film and yet they all seem inadequate; or rather impossible to form...  which is funny considering I go into full on geek mode when I begin to tell someone about it.

The film was first screened at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, it is an American drama film written and directed by first time director/screenwriter Shana Feste; who in my opinion did a fantastic job with guiding the viewer through the tragedy of losing a love one and trying to find a way to continue living after said tragedy. Starring Pierce Brosnan (also an executive producer), Susan Sarandon, Carey Mulligan, and Michael Shannon.

"The Greatest" stars Pierce Brosnan and Susan Sarandon as Allen and Grace Brewer, a grief-stricken couple trying to cope with the death of their older son, Bennett (Aaron Johnson), When a young woman, Rose, (Carey Mulligan) arrives on their door step announcing that she is pregnant with Bennett's child, the Brewer's take her in upon hearing she has nowhere else to go. At first, Rose's presence threatens to tear the family even further apart but, eventually, her interaction with each of the Brewers proves to be the very thing that brings them back together.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Recipe: Italian-Style Croissants

These beautiful buttery fluffy croissants are my new addiction;
seriously I have to fight the urge to make them because when I do I end up eating them all... and regretting it never.

Italian-Style Croissants
Prep/Total Time: 25 min.  Yield: 8 Servings

1 tube (8 ounces) refrigerated crescent rolls
8 teaspoons prepared pesto
1 egg white, lightly beaten
1 ½ teaspoons Italian seasoning

Directions: Unroll crescent dough; separate into triangles. Spread each with 1 teaspoon pesto. Roll up from the wide end and place pointed side down 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Curve ends down to form a crescent shape.
Brush with egg white; sprinkle with Italian seasoning.
Bake at 375° for 10-13 minutes or until lightly browned. Yield: 8 servings.

Nutritional Facts: 1 croissant equals 140 calories, 8 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 2 mg cholesterol, 269 mg sodium, 12 g carbohydrate, trace fiber, 3 g protein.