May 29, 2015

16 Books to Kick OFF your Summer Reading

16 Books to Read this Summer

You will be disappointed by reading any of these fabulous books this summer!

{Young Adult}

by Victoria Aveyard
Graceling (which is one of my favorite books) meets The Selection. I have been wanting to read this book for a while now. So what a perfect time to read it this summer. this book has gotten rave reviews.

by Jennifer Niven
They say this book is The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and Park in this exhilarating and heart-wrenching love story about a girl who learns to live from a boy who intends to die. I love both of those authors so I hope this book lives up to the hype and the comparison.

by Jennifer Mathieu
Have you heard of the book The Truth About Alice? That was Jennifer Mathieu's debut novel last year and I admit it is still on my "to read" list but I am going to get to it. Coming out June 2nd is her new novel and Kelly, our Book Club President, has read an ARC Copy because she is moderating an author panel in June with Jennifer Mathieu as one of the authors. Kelly wrote her review here. She gave it 4 stars.

by Morgan Matson
Doesn't this cover just scream SUMMER! This looks like a fun read and something I can enjoy this summer.

by Gayle Forman
Oh Gayle Forman I love all of your books so I am for sure reading this book because I know I won't be disappointed. My love affair with "All things Gayle Forman" started with If I Stay and I hope you have all seen the movie it was good also but as always the movie never beats reading the book. Check out my Book to Movie Post on If I Stay. Since that book I have read and loved Where She Went, Just One Day, and Just One Year.

by Sabaa Tahir
I am excited to read this book. I have heard a great deal of buzz around this book. Sabaa Tahir recently came to here and unfortunately I wasn't able to make it to her book signing but I really wanted to go. So because I missed getting to meet her I am putting her book on the list.

by Maria Dahvana Headley
"Neil Gaiman’s Stardust meets John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars in this fantasy about a girl caught between two worlds... two races…and two destinies." Doesn't that sound just dreamy plus when I saw this book at Costco I just had to have it. The cover is so beautiful.

{Book to Movie}

by John Green
I loved The Fault in Our Stars (and if you haven't read this book yet I don't know where you have been the last couple of years, so get your act together and read it.) and John Green's previous book Paper Towns is becoming the next movie of his books. It comes out this July and so I definitely want to read it before I see the movie and check back in June because I am going to do a Book to  Movie post on it for sure. And this book is about a road trip and isn't that the perfect theme for a summer read.

{Historical Fiction}


by Susanna Kearsley
If you haven't read any of Susanna Kearsley's books then you have been missing out. She is one of my favorite authors. You've got to read these two books first. The Winter Sea and The Firebird


the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing
by Marie Kondo
I am seriously going to read this book and implement it with my kids. We are going to use this Magic to turn my kids into organization wizards and have them transform their lives. Ok maybe I'm being too optimistic but I can dream can't I?


The Selection Series

by Kiera Cass
When I read The One I thought it was the ending to the series. Oh was I wrong Kiera Cass even has a book five coming out next year. This book sounds good because it will take place from the view of a bachelorette. If you have read the first three books then you know it was like the Bachelor meets royalty in a future world. This will be a fun read for summer because who doesn't like a love story?


by Lindsay Cummings
This book came out last year and I still haven't read it so since the second book came out The Death Code I am gong to catch up on this series this summer. An action-packed, blood-soaked, futuristic debut thriller set in a world where the murder rate is higher than the birthrate. For fans of Moira Young’s Dust Lands series (I love the Dust Lands Series!), La Femme Nikita, and the movie Hanna.


by Lindsay Cummings
The second book in the trilogy. The Murder Complex Series here I come. 



by Christine Carbo
I had the great pleasure of meeting this Author up in Montana during The Winter Festival and talked with her about her Suspense Novel but you will have to wait until June 16th to get it.  She is so smart, fun and charming.  I am anxious to read this book. 

 {Psychological Thrillers}


by Lauren Oliver
I love Lauren Oliver's books (Before I Fall, Delirium, Pandemonium and Requiem). None of these are thrillers so this will be interesting reading a different kind of book than she usually writes. I met her at an author book signing and she was so nice and fun to talk to. It's crazy when you get to meet the authors you enjoy reading and find out that they are so down to earth and real.

by Paula Hawkins
I have heard so much buzz about this book and how good it is. I can't wait to read it.

I hope this list gave you come good ides on what to read this summer. I'm crossing my fingers that I can make my goal of reading these 16 books this summer. Wish me Luck! If you want to follow along become my friend on Goodreads.

P.S. Most of these pictures were taken by me in my backyard. I'm getting so excited for it to be warm outside. Enough of this Utah rain already.



May 28, 2015

Oh The Places You'll Go -- Graduation Celebration!!

School's OUT! Doesn't matter if you have a senior heading out into the big bad world or a a kindergartner moving on up, there's something to be said for the accomplishment of making it through the school year. 

I read an article of the 25 best Quotes and Commencement Speeches by famous people and picked my favorite five pieces of advice to share with you . . . 
(all pics are from that article)

Amy Poehler, Harvard University in 2011

"Take your risks now. As you grow older, you become more fearful and less flexible…Limit your 'always' and your 'nevers.' Continue to share your heart with people even if it's been broken."

I LOVE Amy Poehler and her sharp wit. If you want to see the fun we had discussing her BFF Tina Fey's book, Bossypants, click here.

Steve Jobs, Stanford University in 2005

"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life.... Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish."

We read the incredible biography about Steve Jobs and learned so much about him, his creative mind and his tenacity. You can see the Steve Jobs Recap here!

Bobbi Brown, CEO of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics, Fashion Institute of Technology in 2014

"Work hard but work smart. Always. Every day. Nothing is handed to you and nothing is easy. You're not owed anything... No job or task is too small or beneath you. If you want to get ahead, volunteer to do the things no one else wants to do, and do it better. Be a sponge. Be open and learn."

Ellen DeGeneres, Tulane University in 2009

"Follow your passion, stay true to yourself, never follow someone else's path. Unless you're in the woods and you're lost and you see a path, then by all means you should follow that… Be true to yourself and everything will be fine."

Meredith Vieira, Tufts University in 2008
"You're going to have naysayers, and I'll tell you, you will throughout your life have people who will tell you not good enough. Maybe they're jealous. Maybe they think you aren't. Maybe they've had a bad day. But ultimately you have to believe in yourself."

I love hearing inspiring quotes like this because no matter what stage of your life you're in, there's more to learn, more to try, more to achieve. Especially as we're jumping into summer where everything slows down and the days linger, it's a great time to challenge yourself and your kids to find a way to stay hungry for what life has to offer. 

I'll leave you with this parting life advice that both impressed me and made me laugh . . . 

(image source)

(image source)

Until next time . . .
Your Writerly Ranter,

May 27, 2015

Pretty in Print : Book Wrapping

Wrapping your books

Last month I shared some ideas with you for different color concepts for styling your bookcases.  This month I would like to share a DIY on how to accomplish these looks, even if you don't have the books to achieve the color combinations you are looking for.   We all have books in our home that we don't necessarily think to use when we are attempting to design a decorative bookcase such as, cookbooks, text books, parenting books, gardening books, etc.  Or we have an eclectic collection of books, that don't necessarily create a uniform or organized look.

The secret to creating a beautiful, uniform look with any collection of books is:

Wrapping paper
Wrapping your books

Wrapping paper is cheap and comes in any color you could possibly dream of, thus making it the perfect tool for creating any desired look for your home.

A couple of tips to remember when you go shopping for your wrapping paper are:

1.) Monochromatic patterns work the best.  Having a slight, subtle pattern creates dimension and visual interest to your books.  Having bold patterns can be tricky, if you have too many it can be too much.  If you are drawn to bold patterns, I would suggested picking one or two for statement pieces and mixing them with more subtle patterns.  Plain colored wrapping paper can sometimes come across as flat and can make your bookcases look like they lack personality.  It can be fun to mix patterned and plain colored papers to achieve unique color combinations.

2.) Pay attention to the thickness of the paper.  I found that some wrapping papers are too thin for this project.  If the paper is too thin, all the graphics on the spine and cover show through and clash with the pattern and it can be distracting.

Here is a simple step by step explanation for how to wrap your books:
How to wrap your books

How to wrap your books

First, measure out how much paper you will need.  I found the easiest and best way to do this without getting all technical, is to place your book about 5 to 6 inches away from the edge of the paper, roll your book onto it's spine then on to it's back and cut the paper leaving 5 to 6 inches on the other side. Cut the paper again so there are about three inches of paper above and below the cover.

Book wrapping

Next, fold the top and bottom of the paper so it lines up with the edges of the cover.  This creates a durable edge, that won't rip or wrinkle easily. 

How to wrap your books

Next, find the middle of the paper so that it will wrap tightly around the spine of the book.

How to wrap your books, DIY

Lastly, tuck each cover into the folded edges of the top and bottom.  Folding the top and bottom edges not only makes the wrapping more durable, it also creates the perfect sleeve for the front and back covers of your book. (My sweet dad was my awesome hand model for the last two photos, he is simply the best)

How to wrap your books

And you are done!  This entire process takes only a couple of minutes, and the result is so rewarding.  You can also design pretty ways to write the title of the book on the new colorful jacket, making it easy to identify which books you have wrapped. 

Here are a couple of color combinations I came up with to give you some ideas of what you can create using this fun wrapping method:
How to wrap your books, gold books

Gold Books

If you were drawn to the Clean and Classic Neutral look from my last post, you can mix in some books wrapped in gold wrapping paper to really add some class and interest to your shelves.  This is also a great alternative to get the neutral look without having to turn all your books around, which can sometimes make it difficult to find a specific title.
Book Styling

Adding color to your bookshelves

If you are looking for something similar to the Pop of Color example from last month, I created this look that I thought would be fun in a child's bedroom or play room.  I mixed my wrapped books with some fun colorful books that I already had, but it would be easy to create this look entirely with wrapped books using random books from around your home or books that you find at the DI or thrift stores.

Wrapping your books

Book Wrapping, DIY
My last example mixes neutrals and color to create a look that would be calming and peaceful for your living space.

I would love to see what color combinations you create with your newly wrapped books.  Post your pictures to instagram and make sure to tag @deliciousreads in your caption so I can see your beautiful creations!

Thanks for reading
 and happy wrapping!

May 22, 2015

Dead Author's Society: 7 Graves of Famous Authors

Authors often leave a legacy with the books they write, but have you ever wondered if their resting places are as noteworthy? Apparently I'm not the only one with the creepy obsession to author-stalk the dead. In fact, there's a website where you can stalk anyone famous (

One of the greatest writers of all times, or at least one of the most influential is the great bard, William Shakespeare. His grave site, located at the Church of the Holy Trinity in Stratsford, Warwickshire, United Kingdom, includes a gravestone with this epitaph (supposedly written by Shakespeare himself):

Good friend for Jesus sake forbeare,
To dig the dust enclosed here.
Blessed be the man that spares these stones,
And cursed be he that moves my bones

Famous author grave sites, Delicious Reads Dead Author's Society
Church of the Holy Trinity where William Shakespeare was buried in 1616.
The gravestone of F. Scott Fitzgerald (author of The Great Gatsby that we read last year) could be easily missed if you didn't know to look for it. Buried in St. Mary's Church in Rockville, Maryland, Fitzgerald's grave is etched with the last words from his book:

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

Delicious Read Dead Author's Society
The grave of F. Scott Fitgerald

Strangely, Fitzgerald and his wife are not even from Maryland, but if you notice on his gravestone, his full name is Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald. Does that ring any bells? Yep, you guessed it. His distant cousin was the very writer of "The Star Spangled Banner." The original Francis Scott Key had family ties to Maryland. The story of Fitzgerald, not very religious and a known drunk, and how he came to be buried at a Catholic church is worth the read.

Adventurous geeks all around make the pilgrimage to La Madeliene Cementary in Amiens, France to visit the famous Jules Vern's grave. This iconic author, left his mark in books like 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (which we just read for book club last month) and Journey to the Center of the Earth. His grave and the statue climbing from it, make it an icon in and of itself.

Delicious Reads Dead Author's Society
Headstone at Jules Vern's grave site.
What about J.R.R. Tolkien (author of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings)? He's got to be in some magical place, right?

Delicious Reads Dead Author's Society
J.R.R. Tolkien's Grave
I'm going to be honest: I kind of thought it was a bit of a let down. Tolkien was buried in Wolverton Cemetary in Oxford, Oxfordshire, England. Maybe in person you can feel the magic or at least the eyes of a hobbit boring into the back of your head.

Many authors have made requests in their wills as to their epitaphs. The great Charles Dickens, buried in Westminster Abbey in Poet's Corner (London, England), write in his will "that my name be inscribed in plain English letters on my tomb . . . I rest my claims to the remembrance of my country upon my published works." He got what he asked for:

Delicious Reads Dead Author's Society
Grave of Charles Dickens
In Elmira, New York you can venture to the grave of Mark Twain. Like Dickens, Twain's grave is simple and unassuming. I almost wish that Huckleberry Finn or Tom Sawyer would have added some humor to his final resting place. 

Delicious Reads Dead Author's Society
Headstone of author Mark Twain

By far, the prize for the best epitaph goes to H.G.Wells (author of The Time Machine and The Island of Dr. Moreau). It has nothing to do with the location of his grave because there isn't one (he was cremated in England and his ashes cast out at sea). But Wells said once that if he wrote his own epitaph, it would say:

Goddamn you all: I told you so.

And that, my friends, is how you go out with the last word.


Young Adult Author of Remembrandt


(for more funny epitaphs, check out these "last words" of famous authors). 

May 20, 2015

Delicious Dish: Pickled "Under the Sea" Cucumber Salad

With Summer right around the corner, I'm always looking for delicious salads recipes to throw together for BBQs and family dinners that don't take much time and effort but look and taste amazing.

For our epic themed 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea book club this month, I thought this would be a perfect salad to try out. I think it might be my new go-to side dish! It's light and refreshing, has a nice texture and crunch, and something different than the tried and true ho-hum green salads we're used to.

Pickled Cucumber Salad

2 Large cucumbers, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
1 red onion, thinly sliced (I like them thin so I used 1/16 on my Kitchen Aid Slicer)
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup loosely chopped fresh dill plus extra for garnish

A little secret to easily peeling your vegetables is buying a peeler similar to this pink KIWI one at an asian market or here on Amazon.  They are super cheap (at least when I found mine) and they are the best I have ever used...I don't dread peeling things now.

 Before slicing your vegetables, mix the sugar and rice wine vinegar together and allow to dissolve.

Next, slice the cucumbers 1/4 inch thick and slice the red onion (I only used half of an onion) 1/16 thick or 1/32 thick.

I'm a little accident prone, so I can't recommend gloves like these enough.  Perfect protection from cutting your fingers while using a slicer or grater.

Mix the dressing and the vegetables together and allow to meld in the refrigerator for 1 hour.  

After sitting, the cucumbers will start to soften and the juices will create a lot of excess liquid.  Feel free to drain the excess and then toss with feta, your chopped dill, and salt and pepper and garnish with a little extra dill just before serving. 

Luckily, my husband is a better cook than I am but for all you other unfortunate souls, even your non-cooking significant other can handle a recipe like this. Win!

Have leftovers or need to stretch it out for a big group? Extend this recipe by tossing it with romaine lettuce, adding some chopped salami and your favorite dressing (Try THIS one from Karen.  It's a book club favorite and pairs well with a variety of salads.  I will always have it on hand!)

Happy cooking and happy summer all!  (All photos by me, Summer Nicole Photo. :)



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