Yesterday I posted the first sneak peek of the Hunger Games that premiered during the VMA's. Now here is the same trailer with commentary from the director Gary Ross.

Get More: 2011 VMA, Music



Dream Dark takes place where "Beautiful Darkness" left off and prior to the events of "Beautiful Chaos" (the 3rd book in the Caster Chronicles that comes out this coming October). It also has the first 5 chapters of "Beautiful Chaos" as a teaser.

Dream DarkDream Dark by Kami Garcia

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book just made me more excited for "Beautiful Chaos". I love when authors publish short stories or companion books because it just helps us learn more about the characters and fills in parts of the book that might not have otherwise made sense had we not read them. SUPER excited for the next book in the series and to find out what this unhappy ending is all about. This short story gets 4 stars because it makes me want the next book even more!

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Extras (Uglies, #4)Extras by Scott Westerfeld

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Aya Fuse is the main character in this Uglies novel and I felt like her character was shallow and selfish; much like how I felt Tally was at first. But I kind of grew to like her, sort of. I just felt like throughout the the story she would never learn. Sending her "hovercam" to get footage or "truth-slanting" to save her ass. I just felt like she was never going to learn her lesson. The story was a bit strange, I like how it was still set in the same world though. I also thought the world was centered around our current hollywood and it's celebrities. Although some of the plots seemed brain-missing (like how their popularity driven world led to a story about living in space) but I felt like this book finally gave us closure on all the cutters and especially on the status of Tally and David. I'm not going to lie, I was more into the parts of the book that had Tally, Shay, David and Fausto in it. Familiar faces. All in all I thought it was okay compared to the others but definitely essential in closing off the series.

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I had an excess of over-ripe bananas so I found a recipe that incorporated them. This is a vegan chocolate cake recipe and it turned out delicious!

Here was the recipe that I found from egglesscooking.com

Dry Ingredients:
  • 2 cups Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
  • 1 and 1/3 cup Granulated Sugar (See My Notes #2)
  • 2/3 cup Cocoa Powder
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
Wet Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup Canola Oil
  • 1 and 1/2 cups Hot Water
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 cup Mashed or Pureed Bananas
  1. Preheat the oven at 350F/180C for 15 minutes. Spray a bundt pan with non stick cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl mix together the dry ingredients and keep it aside.
  3. Mash enough bananas to measure one cup
  4. To the flour mixture add the canola oil, hot water and vanilla extract; mix well.
  5. Now add the bananas and blend thoroughly
  6. The cake batter is quite “water-y”. Pour the batter in the prepared pan and bake for approximately from 45-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
I followed the recipe as is but I also added a pinch of salt to bring out the chocolaty flavor. It could have used a little more salt actually because it tastes sweet but the savory could have helped. I also used this simple glaze as well:

1 cup powdered sugar
1 to 2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla or 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
(to make it vegan just use nondairy milk like soy and make sure your other ingredients are vegan)

After I let the cake cool

I inverted the bundt cake onto a plate

I made the glaze measuring out the powdered sugar, adding the vanilla and the soy milk one tablespoon at a time until I got the consistency that I wanted

Then you just pour the glaze onto the cake and enjoy!



We have been really good about stocking up on fruits and veggies. We have A LOT and a huge variety from kale to oranges to nectarines and beets. I found a book at Barnes & Noble that was the "big book of juice" (or something to that effect) and I read that beetroot juice is really good for a liver cleanse and also filtering out the toxins in your blood. Today I made a beetroot juice that I thought was very yummy. Beet juice is actually a little sweet by itself but I added a few other things.

The juice recipe is:

2 beetroots
2 apples (I used one red, one green)
3 stalks of celery

The beets are VERY red/pink so be careful not to stain your clothing or towels when you cut your beets.

This was very refreshing. I think the celery adds a good flavor to it =)


For day TWO I was out and about all day. The problem with this was that I couldn't bring my juicer with me all day. And I also read somewhere that if you juice everything in the morning for the entire day it loses its nutrients because the fresher it is, the more nutrients it has. I don't know. Anyway, I purchased a few 100% juices from Trader Joe's and I kept them in a cooler in my car.

The first was VERY GREEN.

This was a good blend. It tastes like a strawberry banana smoothie. It also has algae and green veggies in it. Plus it's vegan so that works!

I also had an ESSENTIAL REDS drink.

I forgot to take a picture of this bottle but Trader Joe's has a similar ESSENTIAL GREENS. The essential reds juice is tomato, carrot and 6 other green veggies. It taste like tomato juice. I wasn't a huge fan of this one. The tomato flavor wasn't really like V8 it tasted very... RAW lol! But I guess that's the whole point. Also I drank an Original 5 Fruite Frenzy from Jamba Juice. This was 340 calories and an all-fruit smoothie. Jamba Juice has also recently added fruit and veggie smoothies.

You can see all the fruit smoothies here.

When I got home I also had a handful of baby carrots, 1 banana and 24 oz. of water.


For 15 days my sister, her boyfriend and I decided to do a raw food detox. Many people do these detoxes to cleanse their bodies of toxins and to ready themselves for workouts or just a change in their diets. A lot of people choose a raw food diet. We decided to to a raw fruit/veggie juice detox. We also consume fresh fruits, veggies and nuts.

For day ONE of my detox I made my own juice mixes.

For the first juice I juiced together:

1 stalk of celery
1 orange
1/2 a nectarine
1 handful of kale leaves (trader joe's has bags of washed and ready to use kale)
1 handful of baby carrots
4 small strawberries

This was a good juice but I didn't peel the orange first and the rind is VERY strong and very bitter. I think I need to peel them first since my juicer isn't exactly a Jack Lalanne, lol I don't think it would've been as bitter. Or maybe people like that bitter taste. Other than that this was a very tasty juice.

I also consumed a handful of baby carrots, a handful of raw almonds and 1 banana.
2, 16.9 oz bottles of water

Later on that day my sister made a juice that we all drank that consisted of:

1 peach
1 orange (peeled)
1 pear
1 red apple
1 green apple
a handful of spinach
6 strawberries
and a few romaine lettuce leaves

This juice was VERY good. I could drink this all day!

If you're planning on doing a detox make sure to stock up on A LOT of fruits and veggies because they go fast!


Specials (Uglies, #3)Specials by Scott Westerfeld

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I liked this one. I didn't like it as much as the first 2 but everyone was right, it is essential to the story. I think some things that bothered me about it were that a lot of the characters didn't have much of a story until the end. For most of the story Tally was with Shay or just by herself in the wild. I think I'm just a little bitter about the fate of some of these characters. I think it was a given that Tally would become special. It was obvious that each book was titled accordingly. But in the end I felt like her wanting to stay special didn't have to do with the fact that she was tired of people changing her. I felt like some part of her was still a little selfish wanting to keep her special senses and abilities. And poor Zane... I felt like there was no closure between Zane and Tally. I guess I just liked the other to more. It's still a good read, still a good story and an essential part of understanding this world and its characters.

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MMM!!! This was a recipe that I was dying to try for a while now. I decided to try it today because tomorrow I am starting my 15-day detox where I will only be consuming raw fruits and vegetables in the form of juice. I have always liked beef stroganoff as a kid and it was something that my dad would make every so often. I started searching vegan recipes and I came across this one:

Mushroom and Kale “Stroganoff”

serves two

  • 2 servings whole wheat pasta

prepare the pasta as directed in salted water. When it is cooked, drain ad set aside, reserving one cup of the water for later use.

  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/2 T. olive oil
  • 1 1/2 c. sliced mushrooms
  • 3 large kale leaves, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 t. fennel seed
  • salt and pepper, to taste

In a large pan, heat the olive oil and then add in the onion. You might need to add a little bit of water. You want to cook them until they start to brown/get a little crispy on the outer edges, though – so don’t use too much oil. Add in the mushrooms, kale, fennel seed and salt and pepper. Add in a couple of tablespoons of water and cover until the mushrooms are tender and the kale is bright green, stirring ocassionally.

  • 1 c. reserved pasta water
  • 1 T. white bean flour (for thickening – you could use any type of bean flour/flour/cornstarch, though I am unsure of amount exchange if using cornstarch)
  • 2 T. roasted red pepper hummus
  • 1/2 T. pub-style dijon mustard
  • 1 T. nutritional yeast

In a small mixing bowl, whisk all together until smooth. It is best to do this while the water is still hot.

Once the kale and mushroom mixture is cooked, pour in the liquid. Lower the heat and bring to a simmer, stirring often. Allow to thicken about ten minutes, still stirring often. Once thickened, shut off heat and let sit one minute. Gently stir in the pasta.

You can see the original recipe here.

I was very satisfied with this recipe because it did taste a lot like stroganoff but it was vegan.

Here were the steps I took:

I first cut up the mushrooms, onions and kale. I sauteed them in a pan with olive oil and seasoned with salt, pepper and fennel seed. (I was a little apprehensive about the fennel seed because I'm not really a fan of the licorice taste but you can barely taste it here and I think it balances the flavors well)

While the veggies were cooking I boiled the water for the pasta and measured out all the ingredients for the sauce. In a bowl I added the nutritional yeast, flour (I didn't have white bean flour so I used plain unbleached all-purpose flour), red pepper hummus, and dijon mustard.

Once the noodles are cooked, before you drain them you want to measure out one cup of water and add it to the sauce mixture. Whisk this until it is smooth and add it to your mushroom and kale mixture.

After you add the sauce to the mushrooms and kale, bring it to a light boil and simmer until the sauce thickens. Then ladle the sauce on top of your noodles and voila! Vegan Stroganoff! =)



Fallen Eden (Eden Trilogy, #2)Fallen Eden by Nicole Williams

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I think it's pretty much written in stone that the most romantic stories end up flipping a 180 in the sequel. In the Twilight Saga, Fallen Series, Hush, Hush, the Celestra series, The Mortal Instruments, etc... The second book in the series always finds the tragic couple breaking up to save their lives. Either the girl leaves, or the guy leaves or they force themselves onto a third party to protect their lover. This book is no exception to that plot point. But it is an exception in the way it was written. It's truly an unconditional love between Bryn and William. One that began centuries before they even met each other. I really loved the writing and although it's not Shakespeare... it's poetic prose gives a pretty great depiction of a love that could give Romeo and Juliet a run for their money.

Okay.. enough of my hopeless-romantic side getting the better of me.

This book was great! It had so many plot twists and cliffhangers that you really feel like you're being chased through the story. You have to keep turning the pages (or in my case, pressing that kindle button) to find out what will happen next. I had no doubt that Bryn and William would end up back together in the end, but I did find that I was rushing to find the point when it would happen. Really awesome read and for fans of Paranormal Romance.

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Lauren Oliver, the very talented author of "Before I Fall" and the new "Delirium" has posted a new post on her blog about a giveaway for one of her books!!

"I know some people have seen it popping up in random bookstores, so definitely keep your eye out...The Special Edition of DELIRIUM (featuring a spanking new cover, a Q & A with yours truly, and an excerpt from PANDEMONIUM) is officially on-sale tomorrow!

And guess what?? I'm giving away a copy! Respond to this post (with an email address, please) for +1 entries, tweet about it for +2, and blog about it for +3! Get cracking--you only have until August 10th!


You can find the post on her blog here.