Laurel’s February Wrap Up


…And 28 days later I am back with my February wrap up – so without further ado…here it goes!

P.S. Happy belated Valentine’s Day!

What I read:

The Secret Lives of Baked Goods: Sweet Stories & Recipes for America’s Favorite Desserts by Jessie Oleson Moore ~  A cookbook-baking-documentary that is delicious… easy to follow recipes with baking history and fun facts sprinkled throughout. Fans of The Great British (or American) Baking Show will recognize some recipes such as the Princess Cake with its green marzipan top.
I enjoyed reading the history behind iconic baked goods from elegant classic of Opera Cake to the comfy Pumpkin Pie to the showstoppers like Baked Alaska…and the guilty pleasures of Oreos and Pop Tarts. This book really does have it all. Just wish there were more pictures..

Cooking for Jeffrey: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook by Ina Garten ~ Definitely want to try: Smoked salmon pizza, Camembert & Proscuitto tartines, Lemon Chicken, Filet Mignon with mustard and mushrooms…and most definitely the Frozen Hot Chocolate….
Everything looks amazing and the recipes not too complicated – and from a cook I trust.

Ridiculous by D.L. Carter ~ Easy fast paced Regency comedy of errors…a widow and her three penniless daughters and a suddenly dead loathsome male cousin – how could 4 females in the Regency era survive? By the eldest daughter dressing as her male cousin of course; and fooling the Ton with her disguise as she runs “his” estate, rescues Dukes’ sisters and plays the part wonderfully …until she falls in love with the Duke with blue eyes. How could this possibly have an HEA? Ridiculously of course! Burst out laughing over some parts. Millicent née Timothy North is witty, ridiculous and lovable…only wish the POV from the Duke was more fleshed out when it came to his feelings about North.

The Glass Sentence by S.E. Grove ~ Epic adventure in a really richly created and intelligent world where time and history are as flexible and mysterious as the maps they follow…

By Your Side by Kasie West ~ Locked together in the library for a 3 day holiday with someone you don’t like…sounds like a total cliche for a YA and it is…but West tweaked it into an enjoyable and unexpected read – especially the parts where Autumn learns why none of her friends have come back for her…
Dax was my favorite character, basically a well that runs deep and a lesson in why first impressions are not always the best…I pictured him looking like William from the Norwegian show SKAM… cold looking but really warm and fuzzy and a little bit broken underneath.

The Secret of a Heart Note by Stacey Lee ~ Full of scents and words that actually described the scents from the plain to the exotic. I loved how Lee described the scents of feelings and situations – made me wish I had a nose that could pick out people’s “heart notes”…Wonder what I would smell like? I hope something like cinnamon and freshly brewed Espresso and clean laundry…

Storm by Brigid Kemmerer ~ Well…loved the ending and twist…knew something was “not as it seemed” – definitely dramatic.
Becca did get on my nerves a little with her constant waffling between Hunter and Chris…I blame it on her high school low self esteem..(P.S. Storm is the first in an on-going series by Kemmerer called the Elementals – the series follows a family of brothers blessed with amazingly handsome looks and elemental abilities – I, of course, had to read ALL of them – Spark, Spirit, Secret, and Sacrifice.)

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie ~ reread for my blog post. See previous reread posts if you’re intrigued.

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell ~ also a reread for my rereadability post. See previous posts if you love Rainbow and her characters as much as I have grown to do so!

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne ~ omgosh – this book was reread for this blog by Jess – and I had to reread it after just looking at the cover…it is seriously the best book I have read for a very long time. This is a book that transcends explanation – just go, go and buy it now! I’ll wait until you put it in your amazon cart…la la la..back already? Great – let’s continue…

“How do you spell love?” Piglet asked

“You don’t spell it…you feel it.” Pooh

What I watched:

Sense8 (Netflix) ~ a fellow bibliophile and great friend of mine (Hi Beth!) had been recommending this to me since September…I kept on putting it off though. The show looked a little intense and I wasn’t sure I was ready for that level of…intenseness? – I am so glad I finally listened to her recommendation – I watched the whole first season and holiday special over one long weekend. I love all the characters with their flaws and their story lines which are so complex and beautiful — I can’t wait for Season two!

Santa Clarita Diet (Netflix)  ~ I’ve never been a true Drew Barrymore fan so I was a bit hesitant to watch a show with her as the main character..and a zombie-like-flesh-eating character at that… but after watching one episode – I couldn’t stop. Timothy Oliphant is amazing in this as well with his quiet witty one-liners, and the chemistry between Drew and Timothy as a suburban married couple who are dragged into a rather gruesome situation is so humorous and adorable.

Chef’s Table – all seasons (Netflix) ~ I tend to binge watch this Netflix produced documentary series on chefs all around the world who are known for their innovation and creativity. I like to put this on in the background as I grade papers…or write blogs.

Abstract (Netflix) ~ another Netflix produced documentary series on well-known designers of architecture, print, cars, shoes and stage. I love seeing how the people “backstage” create what we see everyday and take for granted…I just plain adore documentaries on interesting people and their work.

Two Weeks Notice (Netflix) ~ who can resist a Sandra Bullock romantic comedy? Sure…I know of a few…but not me! I love the chemistry between Sandra and Hugh as they bicker and banter to a happy ending. I think my favorite scene is when they are at a restaurant and their salads come and they customize each others’ salads by taking off that…or taking that…makes my heart all warm and fuzzy – makes me wish I could share a salad with someone who knows I don’t like water chestnuts but love bacon bits and croutons!

Victoria (PBS streaming) ~ a historical interpretation of the early life of Queen Victoria – from her ascension to the throne at the young age of 18 to her courtship and marriage to Prince Albert. If you are a fan of Doctor Who you will recognize Victoria as Jenna Coleman who was number eleven and twelves’ traveling companion. I don’t know how historically accurate the show is, but the costumes are stunningly beautiful!

Goblin (Dramafever) ~Goblin is a Korean drama starring Yoo Gong, Go-eun Kim and Dong Wook Lee (in case you are not K-drama savvy…these are very big names in the Korean entertainment industry) – This is a 13 episode show that follows the Dokkaebi (Gong Yoo) who needs a human bride to end his immortal life. Meanwhile, the Angel of Death has amnesia. Somehow these two meet and live together. They see off those who have passed away and are now leaving this world. It’s a show full of tragedy, romance, humor and bromance. If you don’t mind reading subtitles this Kdrama is one to start with if you’re new to this genre – it has everything…action with lots of blood and gore, scary and funny ghosts, ‘cherry blossom’ romance, humor…beautifully haunting cinematography (just youtube the walk in the fog scene…woah…)and an amazing soundtrack – which I am happily listening to right now…

SOTUS (Youtube) ~ This is a 14 episode Thai show about a college that is run by the SOTUS system – a “hazing” tradition which is accepted since it is tradition and mostly ceremonial. This is not a show about a bunch of bullies “hazing” young students just for the fun of it – SOTUS is run for many reasons and those reasons are explained in the show. It’s tricky for me to explain since the word ‘hazing’ in America carries a different weight than it does in Thailand where this show was filmed… I watched all the episodes because the story was good and the romance was adorable. It’s a hate-to-love story which is one of my favorite tropes — it is a M/M love story though – forewarned…it is very tame compared to other M/M stories out there however… there are English subtitles…but I’m so used to them from my Kdramas and Korean variety shows I barely noticed.

Valentine Ever After (Hallmark Channel Movie) ~ Instead of ‘suffering’ from a Disney complex, I definitely ‘suffer’ under a Hallmark Movie complex…where there is always a happy ending and the hero is always unbelievably handsome, successful, patient and romantic. This is most definitely one of my favorite Hallmark movies to date. It stars Autumn Reeser (who is one of my favorite Hallmark leading ladies) and Eric Johnson. The story begins when socialites Julia and Sydney leave their cushy lives in Chicago to embark on a road-trip, they end up on the wrong side of the law in a tiny town in Wyoming. Forced to serve 30 days community service, Sydney discovers there’s more to life than can be purchased with a gold card and Julia learns that her “perfect” life back home might be a sham and what she thought she wanted isn’t what she wants at all. The dialogue is so funny and clever (I am very picky with Hallmark movies and this one doesn’t suffer under the mannequin like acting some Hallmark movies suffer from..) and the chemistry between Reeser and Johnson is perfect!

Finished! That was my month.

A little bit of reading with a little bit of binging on my Roku.

Happy March! And see you soon with my reread on Tuesday!

Thank you for reading! You guys are troopers if you get to this sentence…if I had everyone’s mailing addresses I would mail you a gold star sticker!