How To Make Awesome Cakes Without Any Baking

Way cooler than baking a cake! (5 stars)

Dessert is my heaven. Cake, pie, ice cream, pastries, you're all close friends. There's one humble treat though that hasn't gotten its due. The crispy rice treat deserves far more recognition as a brilliant combination of minimal ingredients and not needing an oven. On scorching hot days like today I'll brave the stovetop if I must but bake a birthday cake? Nope.

Which is where Jessica Siskin's clever book comes in! It raises the beige squares we all know from our childhood to an art form. Having tried my hand at this a few times in the past I can say that it does take some practice but the results are always delicious even if your design is a little lopsided. 

Siskin's ideas are a lot of fun from a checkerboard and life-size apples to a birthday cake and a barbecue there're designs and instructions for almost any occasion. Better yet, there aren't any crazy hard to find ingredients or techniques to learn. As long as you can follow directions and use measuring spoons/cups you're bound to create something adorable and be a total hit where ever you take it. One of my personal favorites is the cereal bowl, ha!

Notes: ARC received via NetGalley.

Treat Yourself!: How to Make 93 Ridiculously Fun No-Bake Crispy Rice Treats by Jessica Siskin

Cookbook, Desserts, Cake, No-Bake
Digital/Print (304 pages, WORKMAN)

It all began with a giant cheeseburger-shaped rice crispy treat, created on a whim and posted online. Since then, Misterkrisp, aka food artist Jessica Siskin, has become an Instagram sensation with her joy-inducing, pop-culture-inspired treats.
Treat Yourself! is the perfect answer for any cook, crafty food lover, or creative parent looking to make crowd-pleasing and personalized treats for birthdays, holidays, school events, and virtually every other occasion. With no baking required, these playful, visually dazzling sweets are simple enough for anyone to whip up.
Each of the 93 projects, arranged from Apple to Zebra, starts with a single base recipe. There are large, cake-sized treats to share and individual-sized treats perfect for bake sales and goody bags. Step-by-step instructions, vibrant illustrations, and downloadable templates ensure that anyone, with any level of skill, can turn out delicious, eye-catching creations: Lively designs for kids’ parties—Robot, Dinosaur, Crown, Balloons. A Cheeseburger. A Statue of Liberty. A Dancing Lady Emoji. And a sweet centerpiece for your next Super Bowl bash: a Football Stadium filled with sprinkle spectators. It’ll serve the neighborhood!
Treats have never been so much fun or so doable.


Review: HEATHEN VOL. 1 by Natasha Alterici

My favorite graphic novel release (so far) for 2017! (5 stars)

This comic ticked so many "yes please" items off my list of things I like to read about I kinda want to run through the streets throwing copies at strangers. Beautiful art I'd love to hang on my walls. Check. Norse mythology. Check. Ass-kicking women warriors. Check. A romantic plot/subplot. Double check. A heroine rebelling against the culture of she was raised in and refusing to be changed to fit the "norm". CHECK!!!

I forget where I originally heard about Heathen but what initially excited me about reading it was that she was a queer character. I've been actively seeking more LGBTQIA+ reading both because I enjoy it and because I want to support those who are telling these stories. Heathen did not disappoint. Aydis is a character I'd happily follow to the halls of Valhalla, she's a feminist heroine that fans of Wonder Woman are sure to enjoy. I wouldn't suggest this for kids but when my daughter hits her teens I'd gladly let her read it.

Notes: ARC received via NetGalley.

HEATHEN VOL. 1 by Natasha Alterici

Comics, Graphic Novels, Mythology, LGBTQIA+, Feminism
Print (112 pages, VAULT)
Aydis is a viking, a warrior, an outcast, and a self-proclaimed heathen. Aydis is friend to the talking horse Saga, rescuer of the immortal Valkyrie Brynhild, and battler of demons and fantastic monsters. Aydis is a woman. Born into a time of warfare, suffering, and subjugation of women, she is on a mission to end the oppressive reign of the god-king Odin.


21 Ways to a Happier Depression

For some this can be a handy resource. (4 stars)

Ugh, depression is the worst. I've been experiencing different types of depression from a really young age. Sadly, it runs heavily through my family and often manifests alongside addiction, eating disorders, and anxiety. Because I've experienced it in different ways at different ages and paired with different life circumstances I am ever searching for more ways to combat it. 21 Ways to a Happier Depression isn't going to cure anyone and it doesn't claim it will either but it could be a useful resource for those who are struggling.

My most recent—and most debilitating—bout with depression would not have been helped much. When it's a struggle to get out of the bed, finding the will to make the bed can be all but impossible. And that's one of the simplest suggestions here. Even so, many of the 21 ways could and will benefit anyone struggling with depression. Many of them are creative pursuits, others just simple self care. Maybe they seem difficult and for some they most definitely aren't realistic, but for others it might be a list to work through. One thing I find helps me during my depressions is having someone else give me lists of things to do. This book could be just that if you need it.

If you're living with depression or know someone who is I believe this book has the potential to bring some distraction at the very least and even moments of happiness if you're open to it.

Notes: Review copy received via NetGalley.

21 Ways to a Happier Depression: A Creative Guide to Getting Unstuck from Anxiety, Setbacks, and Stress by Seth Swirsky

Mental Health, Self-Help, Depression, Wellness
Digital/Print (112 pages, SOURCEBOOKS)
Say goodbye to dreary shades of black and white and start seeing the world for the prism of color it is with this refreshing and creative guide! In a unique combination of art, activities, and uplifting anecdotes, 21 Ways to a Happier Depression leads you on a hands-on journey to personal growth. Getting you out of one of "those moods" can be as simple as:
• Making the bed
• Nurturing a plant
• Painting shapes in loops and colors
• Breaking down your work into a to-do list
• Getting a fresh new look with some different d├ęcor, or even a haircut!
Inspired by his own life experience, Clinical Psychologist Seth Swirsky gently encourages positive introspection through honest and practical advice. With this book, a happier depression is literally in your hands!

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