Christmas Kronut: Holiday Dessert Review

I don’t usually do dessert reviews, but when you find a new sweet that “takes the cake” as your favorite dessert ever, well, that warrants a post . . . and a bad pun. Allow me to introduce you to the Christmas Kronut!

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Picture from Home Bakery’s website. (I didn’t think to photograph my actual kronut before devouring it in pure bliss.)

I found this delectable treat in downtown Rochester in my home state of Michigan. This was my second year attending the Kringle Market there, a big event with Christmas lights, as well as tons of vendors and entertainment to kick off the month of December. It was a lot of fun and there were plenty of neat vendors, but this Christmas Kronut was the #1 thing I was excited about purchasing.

The vendor selling these bad boys actually has a gorgeous bakery located right downtown called Home Bakery. They describe the dessert as “deep-fried croissant dough, filled with vanilla bean pastry cream, tossed in cinnamon-sugar, dipped in a vanilla bean glaze, and finished with white nonpareils, and red and green holiday-themed sprinkles.”

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It was utterly amazing. Every single part of it brought something special to the dessert, from the cinnamon-sugar kronut itself to the oh-so-delicious vanilla bean cream that it was stuffed to the brim with. The different elements of this holiday themed sweet manage to shine on their own but also blend together perfectly as you eat it. It’s also adorably festive-looking, so it makes for a wonderful seasonal treat.

I’d easily give it 5 out of 5 stars, though I think it deserves some extra credit for being what I personally deem to be the best dessert I’ve ever had. 🙂

What’s you’re favorite holiday treat to enjoy this time of year? Or just your favorite dessert in general?

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Nimona (No-Spoiler) Review

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I’d heard good things regarding the graphic novel Nimona by Noelle Stevenson, and I did not feel let down one bit upon reading it. The story was so sassy, cute and fun. I really enjoyed the characters, and how the story developed from humble beginnings to an increasingly dramatic plot with ever-growing stakes.

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Here’s the description from Goodreads:

Nemeses! Dragons! Science! Symbolism! All these and more await in this brilliantly subversive, sharply irreverent epic from Noelle Stevenson. Nimona is an impulsive young shapeshifter with a knack for villainy. Lord Ballister Blackheart is a villain with a vendetta. As sidekick and supervillain, Nimona and Lord Blackheart are about to wreak some serious havoc. Their mission: prove to the kingdom that Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and his buddies at the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics aren’t the heroes everyone thinks they are.
But as small acts of mischief escalate into a vicious battle, Lord Blackheart realizes that Nimona’s powers are as murky and mysterious as her past. And her unpredictable wild side might be more dangerous than he is willing to admit.

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I think this story would definitely be of interest to people who enjoyed the cartoon Adventure Time. It has that same sort of charm in my opinion, all while doing its own thing. Definitely worth checking out, in my opinion!

Giant Days, Vol. 3 (No-Spoiler) Review

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Giant Days is, as I’ve seen it described before, “a slice of life” sort of comic following a group of friends as they navigate their first semester at university. It’s honestly quite charming in my opinion, and one of those feel-good sorts of easy reading. Not to say it doesn’t have the occasional sad or angering moment thrown in as well, but overall it’s got fun and silly humor and good female characters/friendships. Good male characters, too. Just good, human characters all around it would seem. (Maybe even a good pigeon character as well.)

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Being a young adult makes for stressful and odd times, and the events that have transpired over the first three volumes of Giant Days do not shy away from that. In fact, GD fully embraces it with a running start and tackle-hugs it to the ground. This volume in particular covers topics ranging from bedtime romps and heartache to student elections and the terror that is camping.

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My boyfriend and I have been reading through this series together and our personal reviews on this volume were mixed. We both liked volume 1 the best so far, but he wound up enjoying 2 more than 3, and I on the other hand enjoyed this volume more than I did with volume 2. We both agree we’re definitely going to continue reading the series though with volume 4 at some point. 🙂 The series just has some sort of comfy cozy vibe that keeps me coming back for more if that makes any sense. Maybe it’s because I enjoy the characters so much, even when they’re doing normal everyday stuff.

So, how about you guys? Reading anything good right about now? Do you have any go-to feel-good reads you enjoy like this one?

Monstress, Vol. 2: The Blood (Review)

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How the heck did I forget to review this one after I read it way back in August?? I’m seriously stumped on this one, but I guess I’m gonna have to chalk it up to what my boyfriend and I refer to as “squirrel brain”. After reading and reviewing the first volume of Monstress, I had been really excited about getting to learn more about the dark and intriguing war-torn world and story of our protagonist, Maika Halfwolf. The artwork in volume 2 is just as gorgeous and detailed as that of volume 1 and the story drew me in right off the bat. In fact, I think I may have enjoyed volume 2 even more than I did the first one, and that’s saying something because I absolutely loved volume 1.

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As I mentioned in my review for volume 1, this is a story that unravels bit by bit and often leaves the reader with a lot of questions. Volume 2 follows Maika and her companions as they do whatever it takes to learn the truth regarding her past.

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Aaaaand we get pirates this go around, so if you already weren’t on board, get your butts in gear, people!

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Oh, and did I mention there are UNICORNS?!?!

As I’ve talked about before, Monstress is a very dark story with lots of violence and lots of swearing. That isn’t something that bothers me, but it’s just something I like to forewarn people about since I know some people are sensitive to it and whatnot.

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Maika Halfwolf, our protagonist and resident potty mouth.

I’d previously gushed about how much I enjoyed the worldbuilding in volume 1, and volume 2 simply expands on that, making me love it all the more. I’ve seriously never seen this level of worldbuilding in comic-form before and it just continues to blow me away. I can’t wait to see what volume 3 will bring to the table. 🙂

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The Language of Thorns (No-Spoiler) Review

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“Love speaks in flowers. Truth requires thorns.”

I don’t even know where to begin with this dark and enchanting little book. ❤ Collecting six different tales taking place in the mysterious world of the Grisha, it’s a great read for fans of Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows duology and/or her original Grisha Trilogy. Even if you haven’t read Bardugo’s other works and simply enjoy dark fairy tales and folklore, this book is for you.

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I swear, Bardugo’s books just keep getting prettier and prettier. Each page of this book features an ever-expanding illustrated border with lovely artwork relating to the story at hand. As the tale progresses, the border reveals more and more clues relating to it, and each tale is followed with a beautiful two-page illustration to wrap things up. So no peeking at those pictures before you read the actual story, guys! 😉

If you’ve read your fair share of folklore, myth and fairytales, you’ll no doubt pick up on the many inspirations for the stories contained in this book. With several nods toward Greek myth, fairy tales of the Grimm, Anderson, and Perrault variety, along with a hint of Aesop’s fables, you’re bound to feel some sort of nostalgia while reading. I know I sure did. 🙂

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Another nice point in this collection of stories is the diversity, along with the many strong female characters. Bardugo manages to create a variety of characters and tell compelling stories with each of her tales, despite some of them only being about 50 pages, give or take.

Fun Fact: For those of you who have read Bardugo’s other works, you mayyyy just pick up on a certain character in one of the stories that we’ve seen before. I’m not gonna say anything specific here because spoilers, but I see what you did there, Leigh Bardugo. 😉

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The six tales included in The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic are as follows:

Ayama and the Thorn Wood

The Too-Clever Fox

The Witch of Duva

Little Knife

The Soldier Prince

When Water Sang Fire

I really enjoyed reading each of the tales along with their accompanying artwork. Bardugo’s writing shines as she lends her voice to such a classic form of story telling all while putting her own fresh spin on things.

Wytches, Vol. 1 (No-Spoiler) Review

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Happy October, everybody!! ❤ This is my favorite time of the year, so expect plenty of horror and Halloween related posts this month. To kick things off, I figured we’d start with a review of the first volume of Wytches. I’d heard some really good things about this comic and it did not let me down. In fact, it wound up being even cooler than I expected, with some really interesting twists on the conventional “witches” of some of our darker fairy tales of old.

The way this story beautifully unfolds the further you get into it kind of makes it hard to gush about without spoiling anything, but I’ll do my best. Although this is definitely a gritty horror story, the heart of it revolves around family, specifically the bond between a father and his daughter. It’s great because it doesn’t try to present a “perfect family”, but rather one with flaws but where there is genuine love. They definitely have their ups and downs. It made the characters and the world they live in feel more genuine, despite the supernatural hellish nightmare going on all around them.

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This is, in my opinion, a really creative spin on witches (or “wytches” as they are called in the story) and witch hunting. It isn’t just a “burn the witch!” sort of thing, with the story even addressing some of the all-too-real witch hysteria that plagued our own history. The way these ancient wytches have managed to survive all these years was pretty interesting, too. You can tell Scott Snyder put a lot of thought into this when coming up with and writing the story. I want so badly to go into all the little details that I enjoyed, but I feel it’s better for people to learn them as they go along. I’m just a sucker for all those cool little tidbits authors come up with when worldbuilding.

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All in all, volume 1 was a great introduction to the story and I really wish there was already a volume 2 out so I could read that as well. This was a solid horror comic and one I look forward to reading more of one day. 🙂

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Looking forward to sharing lots of horror/Halloween posts with you guys this month, and talking about tons of beasties and things that go bump in the night! 😀

Kimmie66 (No-Spoiler) Graphic Novel Review

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This was one of those reads I went into headfirst, knowing nothing about other than that I enjoyed the work of the creator, Aaron Alexovich. Finding this little graphic novel at the library, I saw that it was written and illustrated by him and that was enough for me, having previously enjoyed his other works like Serenity Rose and Confessions of a Blabbermouth.

Kimmie66 turned out to be a sort of science fiction mystery set in a 23rd century future where people spend more time living their virtual reality lives than their own physical ones. It’s a place where your very best friends might just be people you’ve never even met in real life, and who live lives you know nothing about.

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The story follows a teenage girl named Telly after she receives a suicide note from her best friend, the titular Kimmie66. But things get weird quickly as Kimmie66 continues showing up all over the various virtual reality “lairs” after her supposed death. Telly doesn’t know what’s going on at this point and is wondering if it’s all some sick prank or if she has an actual ghost story of sorts on her hands. Setting out to discover the truth, Telly gets help along the way from her slob of a brother, a mysterious hustler hacker, and her and Kimmie’s other loud-mouthed friend from their own VR lair.

Kimmie66 was a quick and entertaining read, and featured the spooky/cute black & white art that I’ve enjoyed in Alexovich’s other works. My only change I wish could be made would be for this story to be longer so it could have gotten into things a little deeper because it was all really interesting and left me wanting to know more about certain characters and whatnot. It was a good read though and makes me want to look into checking out more of Alexovich’s work again soon. 🙂