P.S. I Still Love You Inspired Recipes

P.S., I still love Jenny Han’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before series very much.

After falling head-over-heels in love with Netflix’s adaptation of the first book in my all-time favorite contemporary series, I really cannot wait for Susan Johnson and co.’s take on the sequel, P.S. I Still Love You.

Since I reread P.S. I Still Love You last summer- I’m finally planning on rereading Always and Forever, Lara Jena this year- I decided to just skim through P.S. I Still Love You. While doing my reread skim, I once again fell in love with so many of the desserts Lara Jean bakes! The following three recipes are based on desserts Lara Jean makes in P.S. I Still Love You and will make for the perfect treats while watching the new movie.

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Peanut Butter Crinkle Cookies

These peanut butter crinkle cookies are inspired by the Reese’s Pieces cake John Ambrose McClaren would love for Lara Jean to bake. I’d definitetly love to make this cake for all the peanut butter lovers in my life- I am unfortunately not a peanut butter fan in the slightest bit- but I admit that I tend to leans towards cookies over cake. These peanut butter crinkle cookies are a hit in my family. Whenever my sister finds herself in a baking mood, these are her go-to treat for friends and family.

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Snickerdoodles

If you remember my To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before inspired recipes, you’ll know that I am once again bringing this recipe to the blog. Snickerdoodles have an even bigger presence in P.S. I Still Love You. They’re still Lara Jean’s go-to forgiveness cookie for Kitty, she makes a batch for Peter K., and she pops them in the oven when Ms.Rothchild comes over for dinner. I considered sharing my truly made from scratch recipes, but honestly nothing tops the cake mix version in my opinion.

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Holiday Baking Recipe: Inspired by Christmas at the Cupcake Café

If there’s three things in life that I love it’s books, baking, and the holiday season- and it’s my forever mission to combine these three loves as often as I can! As many of you know, I always read holiday-inspired books during November and December. Last December, I read Christmas at the Cupcake Café, the standalone sequel to Jenny Colgan’s Meet Me at the Cupcake Café.

One of the reasons why I enjoy this series following a woman’s cupcake-inspired bakery is that it features real recipes at the start of its chapters. I’ve said in my reviews for both books that I’d love to try one of the recipes for myself. In honor of the holidays, I finally decided to revisit the book and test out the recipe for the Hot Chocolate Brownies featured in Chapter 13 of Christmas at the Cupcake Café! I’ve included recipe cards below, but I also recommend looking at my tips as well.

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GHOST STORIES & BAKING: Dead Voices Review & Inspired Recipe

Summary (from the publisher):
Having survived sinister scarecrows and the malevolent smiling man in Small Spaces, newly minted best friends Ollie, Coco, and Brian are ready to spend a relaxing winter break skiing together with their parents at Mount Hemlock Resort. But when a snowstorm sets in, causing the power to flicker out and the cold to creep closer and closer, the three are forced to settle for hot chocolate and board games by the fire.Cover.jpg

Ollie, Coco, and Brian are determined to make the best of being snowed in, but odd things keep happening. Coco is convinced she has seen a ghost, and Ollie is having nightmares about frostbitten girls pleading for help. Then Mr. Voland, a mysterious ghost hunter, arrives in the midst of the storm to investigate the hauntings at Hemlock Lodge. Ollie, Coco, and Brian want to trust him, but Ollie’s watch, which once saved them from the smiling man, has a new cautionary message: BEWARE.

With Mr. Voland’s help, Ollie, Coco, and Brian reach out to the dead voices at Mount Hemlock. Maybe the ghosts need their help–or maybe not all ghosts can or should be trusted.

Dead Voices is a terrifying follow-up to Small Spaces with thrills and chills galore and the captive foreboding of a classic ghost story.

 

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My Rating: 3/5 Stars

My Thoughts:

Katherine Arden’s Small Spaces captured my middle grade heart in 2019. This spooky and scary middle grade series from the author of the adult fantasy series, The Bear and the Nightingale will be composed of four books, each following friends Ollie, Coco and Brian during each season in spooky Vermont. The latest installment, Dead Voices, follows the three friends over their winter break at a ski resort. However, their vacation is filled with strange happenings, including the arrival of a ghost hunter, and the particularly bad snowstorm isn’t helping.

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Like Small Spaces, Katherine Arden provides such a vividly wintery and spooky atmosphere in Dead Voices. I honestly just could have read a story about Ollie, Coco and Brian hanging out at the Egg or at the ski resort playing chess and eating Ollie’s dad’s treats! Although this story definitely screams winter, I will say that I think I preferred the spooky Halloween-like atmosphere in Small Spaces more. While Small Spaces‘ plot does deal with ghosts, Dead Voices definitely screams ghost story more. Blame it on my own personal reading taste perhaps, but I really wasn’t too invested in the main storyline.

What really captured my attention in Dead Voices was Ollie and Coco’s relationships with their parents. I broke out my reading tabs to mark such beautiful and heart-breaking dialogue between Ollie and her father about ghosts and the memories of loved ones, especially considering Ollie’s mother. I found Coco and her mother’s relationship to be really charming. And speaking of charming, Coco, Ollie and Brian’s friendship was just so heartfelt. I’m interested in seeing how their dynamic may shift or develop, in light of Dead Voices‘ ending. While Dead Voices stands out for its spookiness, it’s emphasis on friendship and loss are standouts themselves in the middle grade genre.

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Books That Will Make You Hungry Recommendations

Blame it on my love for baking (we’re working on cooking), but books that feature characters who work in cafés or restaurants or have a love for making food are my absolute jam I haven’t heard the term ‘foodie’ used lately, but it definitely can apply to this fangirl’s reading taste. Food pun both unintended and intended. Listed below are my favorite books that instill the best kind of cravings. You’ll be inspired to get creative in the kitchen (or just raid the refrigerator).

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Love à la Mode by Stephanie Kate Strohm

I absolutely love my sweets and desserts, but I have never felt more inspired to eat a pastry or two until I read Love à la Mode. I am in desperate need to try an authentic (or at least well-executed) pain au chocolat.

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Stay Sweet by Siobhan Vivian

We all scream for ice cream here at Fangirl Fury, and I will certainly never stop screaming my love for Siobhan Vivian’s Stay Sweet! I never really thought about how much effort and time goes into making ice cream before reading this book. Amelia’s many trials and tribulations trying to recreate Home Sweet Home, the Meade Creamery classic flavor, made me consider buying ice cream making supplies!

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To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before Inspired Baking

As you may know, Jenny Han’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is one of my all-time favorite books and series. AND IT’S BEEN TURNED INTO A NETFLIX FILM THAT COMES OUT ON AUGUST 17! In preparation for the movie, I of course had to at least reread To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. And P.S. I Still Love You. And my Always and Forever, Lara Jean reread is still yet to come, but IT WILL.

While rereading, I found so many new favorites quotes, many expectedly coming from Kitty, but I was really into all of Lara Jean and company’s baking. Since one of the Song sisters’ most beloved Christmas traditions is their Christmas Cookie Bonanza, it only seems fair to make it all about cookies! I’ll be sharing with you three cookie recipes inspired by To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.

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Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

One of Lara Jean’s goals in the trilogy’s final book, Always and Forever, Lara Jean, is to find the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe. The recipe below is my family’s go-to recipe for chocolate chip cookie bars, which is the perfect on-the-go snack or companion for some late night reading. Plus it’s easier to lose track of how many bars you eat vs. cookies! This recipe can also be used to make regular chocolate chip cookies.

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Snickerdoodles

Snickerdoodles are Lara Jean’s key for getting Kitty on her good side. While I do make 100% homemade Snickerdoodles from time to time, I find that my family likes Snickerdoodles made from yellow cake mix best!

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White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies

I will forever be a Peter K. girl, but Josh’s favorite cookies sound too good to pass up! This recipe is taken directly from the US paperback edition of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.

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How excited are you for To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before to hit Netflix? What are your favorite cookies? Share in the comments!

Review: The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris by Jenny Colgan

Summary: After a horrific accident while working as a supervisor in a chocolate factory, Annie is left feeling confused about her next step. But when she’s offered an opportunity to live in Paris and work in an elite chocolate shop, she leaves her small English town, fearful that she won’t fit in Paris either. Plus the fact that the factory-made chocolate she’s always worked around is nothing like the gourmet treats her boss creates. Anna soon finds herself growing to love Paris, chocolate, and life more than she could have ever expected.

 My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

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My Thoughts:

My British contemporary kick continues with The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris, and I seem to also be starting a trend with books about Paris—my previous read, Last Christmas in Paris, also had an emphasis on the city. Maybe this Paris kick is hinting at what my 2018 travel plans could have in store! And after reading The Loveliest Chocolate Shop, my wanderlust for France has grown even more.

I really enjoyed The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris for a multitude of reasons—Paris, Annie’s relationship with Claire, our cast of characters, and of course, the chocolate. I found it so interesting to learn about chocolate-making, and I loved flipping through Jenny Colgan’s chocolate recipes in the back of the book. I’ve luckily had plenty of chocolate in my house for the Christmas season that all of my chocolate cravings caused by this book were quite satisfied. I really love books about baking and food, so it was fun to see Annie not only embrace life in Paris, but also life working in the chocolate shop.

The beginning of the novel flips between Annie and Claire’s perspective, with Claire’s POV flashing back to her own time in Paris with Thierry. I don’t want to spoil anyone too much, but it was really cool to see how Claire, Annie’s schoolteacher and newly found friend, and Thierry, Annie’s boss at the shop, interact and how their story interwove with Annie’s life. I really enjoyed reading about Thierry and Claire’s romance, and I of course found myself rooting for Annie’s own romantic endeavors along with Sami. Referencing back to our cast of characters, I loved our main characters and side characters. Benoit, Alice, and Frederic provided the perfect cast in the shop, Sami is the best possible roommate to have in Paris, and I especially loved Claire’s relationship with Madame LeGuarde.

As much as I loved The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris, there are few reasons why I didn’t gave the book a full 5 stars. I sometimes couldn’t tell what the characters were talking about, especially in the scenes where Claire and Thierry reveal their past to Annie and Laurent. I don’t know if Jenny Colgan did this on purpose to have readers glue pieces of the puzzle on their own. However, I found myself having to reread and backtrack through conversations. AND THE ENDING!! I SUPPOSE IT WAS MEANT TO BEAUTIFUL, BUT TO ME IT WAS JUST SAD AND HEART-BREAKING. Yes, Jenny Colgan made up for it a bit with the epilogue, but unfortunately I am the type of reader who does not want to use her imagination, JUST GIVE ME THE ANSWERS NOW JENNY!

The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris is my second Jenny Colgan book and I feel that now I can officially say that I love her books—frankly, Meet Me at the Cupcake Café was enough for me to say so!

Do you like books that feature food? Have you read The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris? Share in the comments!

The Great British Bake Off Book Tag

During the winter and holiday season, one of my favorite things to do is to cozy up with a cup of hot chocolate and a baking show. I love a lot of the baking shows on Food Network, especially their Baking Championship series (Holiday BC is my favorite). I’ve of course watched The Great British Bake Off on Netflix—I’ve noticed that British baking shows are a lot calmer than American ones—so when Rebecca of mylifeasasportsfangirl tagged me to do The Great British Bake Off Book Tag, I knew I was in for a treat!The Great British Bake Off Book Tag was created by Zaheerah of Zaheerah Khalik.

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Amateur Baker: A book that is self-published

*raises hand in acknowledgement that they’ve been a bad bookworm in that they can’t come up with a self-published book that they’ve read*

The best answer I can come up with is Switched by Amanda Hocking, who previously self-published her work before signing with traditional publishing companies.

Soggy Bottom: A book that had a great start but disappointing ending

The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo. The ending just felt so rushed and like a quick way to end the book without having to explain the affect effect (vague but no spoilers here!).

#Bingate: A book that you grew frustrated with and had to DNF

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco. I’m just going to refer to my Goodreads review thoughts:

Stalking Jack the Ripper has received A TON of hype in the book blogging community and there’s been much hype and anticipation over its sequel, Hunting Prince Dracula. Unfortunately, this book did not at all live up to the hype for me. I couldn’t stand Audrey Rose (for such an intelligent girl, her POV read way more younger than her age), I didn’t really find much interest in anyone besides Thomas– there is also a big cast of characters because of the murders and victims that I often lost track of who was who, Audrey’s father was completely stubborn and illogical (I don’t care that this is the late 1800s and women are supposed to listen to a man’s word, Audrey should’ve walked out of the house way before she actually did),and the story is just so slow moving.

It also tried to add diversity but it didn’t work so well- Audrey talks about how her mom is Indian once and how they used to eat Indian dishes when they were younger and maybe mentions once how her skin is sort’ve dark but that’s all we get?? Additionally, I agree with the feeling that Audrey felt like a girl transported from the 21st century to 1880s England. Audrey, wearing pants isn’t going to help you fight against the controlling men in your life.

The only components I did enjoy about the book was how it took place in the past (I’ve been reading a lot of books lately set during our time) and the circus chapters. As you can tell, this book was just not my cup of tea.

Junior Bakeoff: A children’s book

Utterly Me, Clarice Bean by Lauren Child. I was absolutely obsessed with Clarice Bean in middle school. I think I still have those books store away with my Junie B. Jones books.

A Hollywood Handshake: A book that impressed you

 Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee. This book just covers SO much—sexuality, friendship, romance, family, Youtube/online content creation, and more.

Signature Challenge: A book that you would recommend to your friends and family

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. I actually recently recommended this one to my friends who was interested in reading more books set during World War II.

Technical Challenge: Books that you picked up without knowing too much beforehand, ranking them from worst to best.

 Nemesis by Brendan Reich

 The Night Circus by Erin Morgensten

Last Christmas in Paris by Hazel Graynor and Heather Webb

A Short History of the Girl Next Door by Jared Reck 

Showstopper Challenge: A book/series that is your all-time favorite

One of my all-time favorite series is the Inkheart trilogy by Cornelia Funke. I really need to reread these series, as this was one of the first fantasy series I ever picked up in middle school. My copy of Inkheart might be a bit battered from carrying it back and forth to school.

The Finalists: A Favorite Trilogy

Legend by Marie Lu

An Extra Slice: A Favorite Companion Book

Just One More Night by Gayle Forman. This tag is making me remember some of my all-time favorite series, like Gayle Forman’s Just One Day series (and I’m also realzing how many books I need to reread). It’s important to note that Just One More Night takes place AFTER Just One Day and Just One Year. 

I tag:

Courtney from buried in a bookshelf 

Sara from The Book Cycle 

Dani from Perspective of a Writer

Do you like to watch baking shows? What about reading books about baking? Share in the comments!