Magpie Review

by Elizabeth Day

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*** There are no “real” spoilers in my review but if you haven’t read Magpie yet and intend to, maybe skip this review as I do elude to the WAY things happen in the book, which could take away some of the suspense if/when you read it and I don’t want to be responsible for that. WAH ***

Magpie was my very first approved ARC and I was just so unbelievably excited and honored to read it. I took my time with it, really allowing myself to pay attention and savor it so I could write a thorough review for NetGalley.

TW: infertility

What I Liked:

  • It’s an easy, fast-paced read. I was excited to get to the next chapter. I purposely made myself take my time with this, but I could’ve easily finished in a couple of days.
  • I am always a fan of alternating POVs and alternating timelines. Magpie has a bit of both and they’re used quite well.
  • I was legitimately SHOCKED once. Like mouth fell open, swore under my breath SHOCKED. Who doesn’t love that in a thriller??
  • I don’t want to give anything away but WHOO, one character is FUN to hate. I disliked them but I ENJOYED disliking them.

What I Didn’t Like:

  • This is a bit hard to put into words but… the story is messy (in a good, chaotic, fictional way). Infertility is messy, emotions are messy, people are messy, LIFE is messy. But the moments where things all come to a head in Magie are so… CLEAN. From a book full of so much great suspenseful mess, I was genuinely surprised at how neatly it all tied up.
  • I think this book being labeled as a “thriller” ultimately does it a disservice. For me, it falls soundly under a domestic suspense but not a thriller.

It took me a day or so to figure out what I wanted to rate this. I think reading this as an ARC made me overthink it – at the end of the day, this is a fun to read, surprising domestic suspense… and the more I thought about it, the more I liked it.

Have you read this one? If not, have you read any ARCs?

Finlay Donovan is Killing It Book Review

by Elle Cosimano
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I’m going to be completely honest… I had no interest in the Finlay Donovan books. I’d seen the hype all over Booksta but I am generally not a fan of humor with my suspense. But I realllllly wanted to join an IG book club who were reading Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘Em Dead and I had enough on an Amazon gift card to buy both for Kindle… so I sighed and bought them.

Verdict? I admit it, Bookstagram… YOU WERE RIGHT. What a fun, crazy ride!

What I Liked:

  • I was promised it was a quick, easy, fun read and it is absolutely all of those!
  • It’s clever and it’s quirky and it’s LOL funny.
  • Even when it got outlandish (which it does in the best way), it always felt relatable. This, in particular, is what I liked best about Elle Cosimano’s writing and what has me looking forward to Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘Em Dead!
  • Julian. I mean… enough said.

What I Didn’t Like:

  • There’s really not much I didn’t like. The only thing I will say is that I had a hard time getting into it in the first couple of chapters simply because I don’t usually enjoy a combo of humor + suspense. This is absolutely not the author’s fault; this is just me. So, if you’re like me, push through it. It will get there for you, I can almost guarantee it!

I know many of you have read this… Team Julian or Team Nick?

Serious Injury List

Serious Injury List

1/13/15 – approx. 8:20am: Slammed myself in the car door. Gave myself a light mammogram, SMASHED my shin. Got queasy and angry. Had to pretend to be happy b/c male co-worker waved to me.

1/14/15 – approx. 6:15pm: Eating Cheetos Puffs. Mostly tried to lick cheesy dust off my finger. I pulled away and she swiped at me. Her claw got stuck in my hand, just above the thumb, and had to be removed manually.

1/18/15 – time unknown: I looked down and was bleeding from a cut on my left index finger. No idea how it happened.

1/19/15 – approx 12pm: I was walking past Mostly and she swiped at me, cutting the top of my right index finger. Different location than the cut on the left index finger. They do not match.

1/20/15 – 12:55pm: Bashed my wrist on break room door handle. Left a big red mark for at least the last 3 minutes, probably more.

1/21/2015 – approx 7:50am: Snowy morning so my shoes were wet when I got to work. Had to use the bathroom so I chose the handicap stall. Approximately 3/4 of the way to the toilet, I slid. Left leg stayed planted. Right lid slid almost to the wall and then locked. Knee hurt for approx. 2 hours. Now the pain runs from the knee, up the back of the thigh, all the way to my shoulder.

Now if I could just decide what it is I want…

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I don’t feel like I’m at a crossroads. I don’t feel like something’s gotta give. I don’t feel like I can’t go on this way. I just feel compliant. I do things the way they’re supposed to be done because I am supposed to and for no other reason.

I’ve always had a hard time with change. I love new things but hate the process of getting into them. I hate moving, I hate switching jobs, I hate rearranging and redecorating. Once it’s done, I adjust quickly but in the meantime, I’m miserable. I’m also the world’s WORST self-motivator. I won’t motivate myself and when others try I get annoyed. I’m truly hopeless, guys.

But lately I’ve been seeing a lot of things. This video for Passion Planner, a friend’s Facebook post (pictured above), etc. I just think it’s time. It has to be. I don’t know what this change is going to be, but I know it’s got to be SOMETHING.

Devil’s Food Cupcakes with Nutella filling and Nutella Buttercream Frosting

Guys. I don’t want to toot my own horn… but TOOT-freaking-TOOT. These cupcakes are AMAZING. Easily the best I’ve yet to make.

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I used a Devil’s Food recipe I found on Your Cup of Cake, piped each cupcake with straight Nutella, and then made a Nutella Buttercream Frosting I found on Pinterest.

Chocolate Cake (found on Your Cup of Cake)
1 cup sour cream
½ cup oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 eggs
¼ cup water
½ cup buttermilk
Devil’s Food Cake Mix
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two cupcake pans with paper liners.
2. Using a whisk, mix sour cream, oil and vanilla extract together. Add eggs one at a time, stirring well in between each addition.
3. Alternate adding the cake mix and liquids (buttermilk and water), starting and ending with the cake mix.
4. Fill liners 2/3 full and bake for 14-18 minutes, or until and inserted knife come out clean.
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Then I filled a piping bag with an entire jar of Nutella and, using a long filling tip, piped some Nutella into each cupcake.
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Then Kelly and I split one, unfrosted, because they are THAT good.
Nutella Buttercream Frosting (found on My Baking Addiction via Pinterest)
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 13-ounce jar of Nutella
pinch of fine grain sea salt
1 tbsp clear vanilla extract
1.5 lbs confectioners’ sugar, sifted
6-8 tbsp heavy cream or milk
1. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and Nutella until well combined, thick and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Slowly add in confectioner’s sugar, and continue mixing until well blended.

2. Add salt, vanilla, and 3 tablespoons of heavy cream or milk. Blend on low speed until moistened. Add an additional 3-5 tablespoons of heavy cream or milk until you reach the desired consistency. Beat at high speed until frosting is smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

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These cupcakes are SUPER rich, so you WILL need a glass of milk. And, if you’re lucky, a little nosey cat to share it with.