I love writing mini reviews! It gives me a way to review all of the books I read in a month but doesn’t add the pressure of having to write a full-blown review if I don’t want to. Short and sweet! Or salty, depending on how I liked the book.
Amazingly, I managed to finish seven books in April. I think I mostly have the Magical Readathon to thank for that (you can read more about that here). I do want to try to stay in this flow, though, so I’ve already picked out some books I want to read in May. Hopefully, I’ll get to them all!
But first, let’s talk about all of the books I read in April!
Saga, Volume 3 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples ★★★★☆
This series just keeps getting better! After reading the first volume, I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to continue the series, but I’m glad I did because I already liked volume 2 a lot better, and volume 3 was even more fun. I’m finally truly invested in the characters and their fates and some of the events in this volume had me on the edge of my seat. Shit gets crazy in Saga, that’s for sure. I like how we’re getting to know more about the crazy world and society the story takes place in and I’m also enjoying the new characters. I definitely want to keep reading this series, but these volumes are rather expensive, so I’m not sure when I will pick up the next one.
Usually, I feel like the months simply fly by, but the start of April seems like such a long time ago! I had quite an ambitious plan for April: I was going to participate in the Magical Readathon and try to write 30,000 words for the novel I’m working on during Camp NaNoWriMo. Those two events happened to be in the same month and instead of being sad about having to choose one of them, I decided to do both. Spoiler: I only succeeded at one and failed quite spectacularly at the other one. But that’s okay because we’re all about having fun here at Books Baking and Blogging, and I did have a lot of fun! So much so that I decided to tell you all about it. I don’t normally write wrap-ups, but I figured this month deserved one!
The cookie urge got me again! I actually made these cinnamon and white chocolate chip cookies a little while back already, but I didn’t get around to writing up the recipe before now because it’s been a busy month. I’m participating in Camp NaNoWriMo this month and my goal is to write 30,000 words on my novel throughout April. It was going really well, but I haven’t written much in a few days and I’m a little stuck in the story… But I hope to figure that out soon! Besides that, I’m also participating in the Magical Readathon all month! It’s an amazing readathon based on Harry Potter and the exams the students at Hogwarts have to take. Take a look at this video if you’re interested! I’ve been having so much fun with it!
Anyway, enough about my month – you probably came here for the cookies. These cookies are actually my attempt to cookie-fy my recipe for cinnamon sugar recipes (which you can find here). That one is one of my favourite recipes I ever made (my mouth starts watering just thinking about it) so I figured it’d be fun to see if I could turn it into an equally delicious cookie.
Okay, I’m going to be honest: I didn’t like these cookies as much as I did the blondies, but they were still pretty damn good! They are very sweet, so if I make them again I might add some pecans or walnuts to balance out the sweetness of the white chocolate. But if you love sweet, you’ll love these! They’re easy to make and super cinnamon-y – what more could you want?
Sixteen-year-old Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. Or at least make it out of her neighborhood one day. As the daughter of an underground rap legend who died before he hit big, Bri’s got big shoes to fill. But now that her mom has unexpectedly lost her job, food banks and shutoff notices are as much a part of Bri’s life as beats and rhymes. With bills piling up and homelessness staring her family down, Bri no longer just wants to make it—she has to make it.
Sometimes, I just suddenly get a very strong urge to bake cookies. This only happens with cookies, strangely enough. Never with muffins, pies, cakes… No idea what that’s about, but when it happens, I just roll with it.
A few weeks ago on a Friday, I got the Cookie Urge again while I was at work and I decided to prepare cookie dough that evening and then bake the cookies the next morning (they turn out the best if you leave the dough in the fridge overnight!). I decided to try out something new, and I remembered the double chocolate chip cookie I’d had at Subway (no spon – but wouldn’t that be cool) the other day. Those cookies really are amazing, aren’t they? And the double chocolate chip is definitely my favourite.
So, I decided to bake my own double chocolate chip cookies and they came out amazing! There’s just something about that combination of dark chocolate cookies with white chocolate chips. And I don’t even really like white chocolate!
I had a bit of a hiccup along the way in that I found out I was out of plain flour when I’d already started baking. Whoops! I did still have wholemeal flour, though, so I used that instead. They still came out great, but a little more tough and dense than I’d imagined them to be. I put “plain flour” in the recipe because I still think that works best, but this proves you can definitely use wholemeal too! If you use plain flour, your cookies will probably spread a little more than mine did.
Anyway, enough babbling. Let’s get to the recipe!
While January seemed to go on for ages, February felt like it was over in a heartbeat. I blame it on those three days we didn’t have. I didn’t read as much in February as I did in January, but I did have a ton of fun reading! I read what is now a new favourite classic, and I finally read Landline, which had been sitting on my shelves for a good long while.
I also really enjoyed doing these mini reviews wrap up style last month, so I think I’m going to keep on doing that! Although, I’ll still be doing occasional full-length reviews for books I really have a lot to say on (I’ll be finishing On the Come Up by Angie Thomas later today – you can bet I have a lot to say about that!).
Anyway, on to the books!
Landline by Rainbow Rowell ★★★⭑☆ (3.5)
After my fantasy-heavy rotation in January, I really felt like reading a light contemporary novel at the start of February and Landline was the perfect pick. Rainbow Rowell is one of my favourite writers, but I have to say I’ve loved her YA novels much more than her adult ones. Fangirl and Eleanor & Park are both favourites of mine, but Attachments and now this one, while definitely enjoyable, weren’t that memorable to me. I love Rainbow Rowell’s writing, especially her dialogues and she also writes amazing characters. They’re always interesting and Georgie and Neal in Landline were so well-rounded and vibrant. I loved getting to know them and their relationship better throughout the book. It was a wonderful, flawed, realistic love story. Apart from the magic phone – that’s the one thing that just didn’t really do it for me.
As most of you will know, setting monthly TBRs (To Be Read) is a thing in the book blogging world. I love seeing what other people plan on reading that month, either on Instagram, their blogs or YouTube. It’s always fun to see people get enthusiastic about books they really want to read.
I rarely ever set monthly TBRs for myself, though. However, lately, my feelings on TBRs have changed a little.
I did it, guys! My holy grail, my unicorn of baking, has been captured. I finally managed to make a near-perfect macaron (over 20 of them actually)! After five attempts (divided over about as many years) that ended in differing degrees of failure, I can finally say that I have baked a successful macaron – and could probably do so again, meaning it wasn’t a fluke. Who knew I had it in me? I certainly thought it was a lost cause.
The first month of the year is already over! Well, I say “already”, but January definitely felt like it was longer than 31 days, didn’t it? Have we uncovered a conspiracy here?
One of the reasons why I think January was longer than most months is that I managed to read six books this month! That’s pretty crazy for me – even though two of the books were graphic novels/comic books. It was a wonderful month, reading-wise, and I figured a good way to update you on all the books I read is by doing another round of mini reviews.
So, since we’ve got six (!) books to get through, let’s get to it!
I finally baked something again this week! It’d been a month since I last baked anything, and much longer since the last time I tested a new recipe and I was starting to experience withdrawal symptoms. Truth be told, though, it was nice to take a little break from baking and go back to appreciating how much I truly love it, instead of feeling like I “have” to bake something, either for my blog or because I promised someone.
To ease myself back into the whole baking a recipe-making thing, I decided to start with something simple. We had a very cold, snowy week in the Netherlands this week so I was craving something with a ton of spices to go along with it. You know, the kind of baked goodie that makes you feel warm inside. I also love to bake with fruits, so I tossed in some apples. And that’s how I ended up with this spiced apple tray bake. It’s simple, it’s yummy, it’s warm and, above all, it’s delicious.