Cori McCarthy Took My Heart Again, AKA: Now A Major Motion Picture, Book Review

Now a Major Motion Picture by Cori McCarthy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Cori McCarthy, I love you! Just about 2 years ago I was writing about how I wanted to read everything you’ve written (Post You Were Here being added to my favorites list with a 5 star rating), and you’re pretty much making me squee and cry all over again. I am so very very glad that I was able to receive an ARC of this from the publisher via Edelweiss.

Fans of Fangirl (Rainbow Rowell) and even Morgan Matson – read this! You’ll get characters with actual feelings and problems, a super cute romance, nerdy stuff, and a love of escaping into fantasies and books and movies. I laughed, smiled, and had to hold back tears multiple times – they would probably have been streaming if I hadn’t been reading in a public setting, haha. I’m almost 30, and the coming of age/growth stuff still hits me in the feels. I look back at my review for You Were Here and find myself saying the same thing: “I loved all the characters and wish that Cori McCarthy would give us novels about each character by themselves.” She does a great job of the setting of Ireland too — I was able to visit for my honeymoon, and you truly do get lost in it, as is mentioned a few times. And again – the romance is truly “squee” worthy, though of course it’s just never enough. It was definitely on the lighter side, as the plot truly did revolve around other things. This is not a book that’s only focus is the love story between two people. You could say that it’s a love story in a whole lot of other ways, though.

My only qualms: the absent mother. She truly might as well not exist, for she meant absolutely nothing to this book except as some other stressor in Iris’ life. This is the only character that I either wish was removed or more details were given.

Some are wishing for Cori McCarthy to pull a Rainbow Rowell and publish the book form of the story – I want this 50x more than I wanted Carry On, because it doesn’t just seem like Fanfiction. Carry On really was like Harry Potter hybrid – Elementia seems more of a fantasy — it has more potential. But more so than an Elementia book do I want a 2nd Now A Major Motion Picture book, because I feel like maybe there’s more mystery to the grandmother (and maybe the mother?) … and you could also throw in some of Iris next step in life? And Eamon being successful? And…and… well. Maybe there doesn’t need to be another; I just want more!

View all my goodreads reviews.

You can get some of the books I mentioned here:

The Mara Dyer Trilogy (+ The Shaw Confessions #1) – Quadruple Review Time!

Prepare yourself! I waited until I finished every part of this series (that’s out as of now) before I decided to post the reviews. So here they are, from oldest to most recent.

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, #1)The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

So the Mara Dyer series starts off with Mara (saying her name is not really Mara) writing down her story at the suggestion of lawyers. This is the only instance of this being mentioned, and I finished the first two books without even remembering this fact. She’s in the hospital after a building collapsed, killing her best friend Rachel, boyfriend Jude, and his sister Claire. But she can’t remember anything surrounding the events… and for some reason she thinks she did it.

Flash forward, and maybe possibly Mara can kill things just by thinking them. Maybe. But all of this is sidelined so much by a beautiful boy who is unkempt, notices her, and of course – has a British accent and is a “bad boy”(let’s throw in a bunch of heart-throbby future boyfriend duh’s in). And she’s at a private school with some snooty evil people who pick on her. And she hallucinates a bit (or does she?) At this point, I’m super intrigued with the story – how are these people dying? why don’t animals like her? is she seeing ghosts or dead people or are they real?… but I definitely feel like it’s a bit jumbled because of the way the school stuff is thrown in. And then Noah (the scruffy boy) pretty much becomes attached to her instantly, and part of me really just wants to facepalm. But you know, I’m a sucker. So I still like it all.

The first half of the book and the second half almost seem like different entities to me, with the first half being rated far lower than the second. I take it back – separate those into thirds, with the middle section being all over the place. But anyway.. by the end, you are faced with of course, a cliffhanger that draws you into the much BETTER and more organized second novel of the series.

The Evolution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, #2)The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Now this was jam packed full of fun. Most of the non-sense and jumping around from the first book of the trilogy seems to have been resolved, as Michelle Hodkin truly catches her stride. I managed to read all 500+ pages in a workday, so it’s definitely interesting.

Mara finds out more about herself (and others) in the second installment, and so many things that were not believed before become true now. You get to see a lot more of Jamie in this book as well, which is a delight. You’re also met with new (and old) characters and a whole new storyline. It’s got the continued nice smidge of romance and more mystery and thrill.

Definitely the best out of the three – you won’t want to put this one down.

The Retribution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, #3)The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This story is not quite like the other two parts, but just as gripping – maybe even more so than the second. It’s also quite a bit darker, as you get to see a new side of Mara that maybe she didn’t even know was there. May not be for the light of heart (or younger audiences).

If you’re expecting a lot of romance in this one, you won’t get it – but it’s totally worth reading because you really do not only discover a whole lot more, but you’ll be thinking about it every time you take a break from reading.

A lot of fans and reviewers say that the ending was perfect for the series, and that no more was needed. I on the other hand felt differently – I felt that there was so much left to be said, and so many questions. And so many new ideas that popped up in the end-story. Unlike, say The Mortal Instruments series, I feel like this series NEEDS more books. Yes, there is a “sequel series” in The Becoming of Noah Shaw, but that switches point of views, and I really think that it could have continued on as just being part of the Mara Dyer series.

The Becoming of Noah Shaw (The Shaw Confessions, #1)The Becoming of Noah Shaw by Michelle Hodkin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Spoilers from the Mara Dyer trilogy.

So many things could have happened after the Mara Dyer trilogy, yet this was somewhat unexpected. I read a bunch of reviews saying not to even bother reading this, but I did anyway because I still had so many questions after The Retribution of Mara Dyer. It ended great, but there was still so much more. We’ve got all of these kids with abilities, with potentially even more out there. Mara’s changed, but we don’t know how much. And Noah’s dad is still alive. And then there’s Professor A. K. – definitely not a book of closure.

So then we get this new series that’s in Noah’s point of view. I’m excited about it, but then I realize that the Noah at the end of Retribution is not quite the Noah we see in Book 1 & 2. There’s no where near as much snark, sarcasm, funniness.. And I managed to get through 75% of the book before I realize that nothing really had happened. Sure, you find out a little bit, and you’re definitely still left asking more and more questions, but this is definitely one of those starts of the series where it seems as it could only get better – because that last 7% definitely made the book.

If you felt unsatisfied after the Mara Dyer trilogy, then you should definitely read this. Just know that you’re not going to get everything that you want quite yet.

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Low Carb Cooking (Mostly Baking) 101

Hello all, and Happy New Year! I haven’t posted in forever, and I’m super sorry about that. Maybe I should have made one of my New Year’s Resolutions “blog more often,” haha. Anyway, I started off the year with a lovely case of the flu, but thankfully I feel much better! And now that I feel better, I can get back to eating low carb again since I’ve been doing the horrible “holiday slack.” I’ve had a few friends and family members ask me about eating low carb since A) I’ve essentially been on and off it for over a decade and B) I’m technically in a “program” through a doctor’s office and have the medical suggestions, and they have made the decision to try it themselves… So, I wanted to write a little post about some of the baking and other cooking staples that are helpful to have around for some good healthy cooking!


I’ve made sure to link each of these items to Amazon – they can get pretty pricey if you buy them from the grocery store, and Amazon has them at much better prices. If you have a bulk foods store like Winco, you also can sometimes find a lot of the ingredients for super cheap!

  • Almond Flour – this is key for baking in replacing flour. You’ll notice that most recipes require it. I like Blue Diamond a lot – the link is for a 3lb bag which can still go pretty fast.
  • Coconut Flour – sometimes paired with almond flour for textural reasons, but can also be used by itself in some recipes (like Zucchini Bread!)
  • Xanthan Gum – key for texture issues (thickening, stabilizing). The link is for a smaller bag, because you won’t use much of it in most recipes.
  • Erythritol – a sugar alcohol to be used in place of sugar! Your body doesn’t recognize sugar alcohols, so they are able to pass through your bloodstream without problems. Fewer GI problems than some other sugar substitutes.
  • Swerve Sweetener, Confectioners – Swerve is one of the best sugar substitutes, though slightly pricier than some. I recommend at least having the powdered version on hand.
  • Swerve Granular Sweetener – just in case you don’t mind spending a little more for a GREAT sugar substitute. (It also can be easier because it uses the same measurements as regular sugar).
  • Pyure All-Purpose Blend Stevia – there are many different options for Stevia sweeteners, but I have been particularly fond of Pyure, but there are many other options for this (Natural Mate Stevia All Purpose Natural Sweetener, 1 Pound). This is also a sugar substitute.
  • Truvia Brown Sugar Blend – A lot of recipes have a brown sugar ingredient involved, so this is a good option.
  • Premium Dark Chocolate, Sugar Free, Low Carb – I’ve become a huge fan of ChocZero – they’re less expensive than some other forms and they taste great! You can’t really use milk chocolate for anything, so having Dark Chocolate (it’s got to have a high percentage) in the pantry can be a big help.

Having given you a bunch of sweetener options, here is a link to the best sugar conversion chart that I’ve found: Sugar Conversion Chart (Wholesum Yum). You can mix and match which sugar option you want to use per recipe, so it is 100% necessary to use a conversion chart.

Other Handy Pantry Items

  • Psyllium Husk – This is a super handy/easy way to add a little extra fiber to your diet! Any time you’re cooking, just pop a little of this in. Having extra fiber in your diet can help to negate carbs and is just overall good for you.
  • Liquid Stevia Drops – This is a combo pack for liquid Stevia drops — I use them in my coffee on the reg!
  • Al Dente Carba-Nada Egg Fettuccine – Carba Nada is a great pasta option! It’s definitely not for the super low carb/keto people, but for an occasional use, it really isn’t bad. This is a 6 pack.
  • Steaz Half and Half, Green Tea with Lemonade – These have become my new favorite beverage option – with NO carbs. They’re a little pricey, but if you’re lucky, you can find them super cheap somewhere. They’re also 16oz. cans so that’s not horrible.
  • Zevia – These can be a life saver for some soda-drinkers. It’s soda for sure – carbonated and flavored. It couldn’t replace soda for me, but I know a bunch of people who love it. It’s also regularly entering grocery stores.