Wednesday, October 18, 2017

{Book Review} A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

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A Monster Calls
by Patrick Ness, Inspired by an idea from Sioban Dowd
Illustrated by Jim Kay

Publisher: Walker Books
Format: Hardcover, 211 pages
Genre: Low Fantasy

The monster showed up after midnight. As they do. 

 But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting. He’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the one he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming… This monster is something different, though. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor. It wants the truth.

Run, don't walk to your nearest book retailer and read this book right now.

Then go to the movies and watch the movie. I'm not kidding.

“Don't think you haven't lived long enough to have a story to tell.” 

My thoughts:
This was the first Patrick Ness book that I had read and this is somehow the most hauntingly beautiful, inspiring, thought provoking, and devastating book I have ever read. No exaggeration.

A few years ago, a friend of mine suggested this book to me and I believe it was one of the first books I read in one sitting. A book that stayed with me for days and days after I finished read it. I read a ton of books and rarely do I find one that knocks me over like this one did. 

Anyway - the main character is Conor who is dealing with way more than any kid should at home. At 12:07am each morning, he's visited by a Monster. The Monster tells him that he will tell him three stories on three separate nights, and on the fourth night, the Monster wants Conor to tell him his story...

As far as fantasies go, this is a great one. It's a good starter for if you haven't read much fantasy and have a hard time suspending disbelief. Ness is a master of making you care about every single character you come across and you don't even notice that there is a literal Monster in the book. In fact, he's the dopest character IMO.

"If you speak the truth, the monster whispered in his ear, you will be able to face whatever comes." 
The Movie: 
Years later, I got to see this movie during the preview weekend. I'm so glad I went alone because there are parts when you're just crying. Sometimes for a reason, sometimes for no good reason at all. I knew how it would all end and maybe that was why - but I surely did not care. Reason number one to see the movie: Liam Neeson is The Monster.

Check out the trailer here:

My only teeny tiny issue is that this seems like it's for young children and teens, but by gum it sure is DARK. So proceed with caution if you're taking a little one with you. 

But what a masterpiece, for real. Don't miss this one guys. Literally. 

Friday, October 13, 2017

Caroline Kepnes, You: BookTube Video #1

Have you ever read a book that made you so excited that all you could type was: 


Well, that's what You by Caroline Kepnes did for me. I immediately called several of my friends and told them to read it. I should've started a book club just to talk about it. i

I was SO excited that I recorded a 10 minute long VLOG back in April that has sat on my phone until yesterday when I decided to take the plunge and realize my dream of being a Vlogger.

This is my first La Toya, Literally VLOG. I'm so ridiculously proud of it for the following reasons:
1. It is not perfect
Classic perfectionist problems, nothing will ever be exactly as it should be therefore it cannot exist until we figure out what perfection is. This is the conundrum I faced for maybe the past two years that I had the idea to possibly be a YouTuber.

2. It's a labor of love
I'm posting because I love being excited about things on camera! And I have maybe one little teeny tiny affiliate link in the caption :-) 

3. It's ALL ME
I'm not pretending to be excited or goofy or nerdy. I'm literally this and I'm so glad that I feel safe to be my exact self.

Anyway, enough about me. Check the video out for yourself and if you feel so included, please subscribe and comment!

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Weekly Round-up {1} Brooklyn Brunch!

I hope everyone had an amazing week and is easing into the weekend! This week on the blog we talked about Brooklyn Brunch spots.

I didn't put it in any particular order but I had to rank it would be: 

3. Belli

What are some of your favorite spots??

Friday, September 22, 2017

Belli Osteria Brooklyn

My third pick for local brunch is Belli Brooklyn in Clinton Hill.

This BOTTOMLESS brunch is timed (as most are these days) but they do a very good job of keeping your champagne flute full. You can choose from Bloody Mary, Peach Bellini, and Blood Orange Mimosa (I usually go with the Blood Orange).

My main choice for a dish is the Egg Norwegian - I have them scramble the egg instead of poach it - just a personal choice of mine. I've tried other things on the menu and they just aren't for me. My brunch buddy usually grabs the Huevos Rancheros with some sort of modification.  

You can usually catch me here on a rainy weekend when I don't have the energy to get all fancy and travel far away. 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Catfish NYC

Another spot that I absolutely love is Catfish NYC.

Catfish is on an unassuming block in Crown Heights which is in walking distance from my house. This makes it the perfect place for me to roll into for a mimosa or three. It's a NOLA inspired restaurant with authentic everything. I mean really, you name it.

I only tried their brunch about a year or so ago and have been going there ever since. The amazing thing about this place is that they serve brunch every day of the week, which is super rare but also extremely satisfying when you need brunch right this minute and you don't care if it's Tuesday. 

My favorite dish that I always get (so I have literally never tried any other entree) is the Shrimp and Grits with bacon. They are undefeated. Stop what you're doing right now and go try this dish. It wasn't until I finally went to New Orleans that I actually liked grits. My parents made it every Sunday and I just could not figure out what they saw in them. New Orleans grits are creamy and cheesy and make your forget you're actually eating grits. This is EXACTLY how Catfish NYC makes theirs. White cheddar and super thick cuts of bacon with blackened shrimp sends this dish completely over the top. 

I also recommend getting a side of bacon and the biscuits. Additionally, the coffee they serve is Cafe du Monde. I actually had to stop the waiter to ask if  by Cafe du Monde they meant Cafe du Monde?!?!?! And he was all like, um...yes...

In my last few visits there, we stuck around long enough for it to turn into happy hour and tried the Hurricanes and Swamp Water. During their HH the drinks are $2 off and there are $1 oysters. 

Catfish NYC is open for brunch DAILY from 11am - 4pm and HH starts at 4:30pm. I'll probably be there this weekend or every weekend. See ya there!