Friday, October 2, 2015

Book Review: Better Homes and Hauntings

Better Homes and HauntingsBetter Homes and Hauntings by Molly Harper
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Publication date : June 2014
Source : Netgalley review copy

This was definitely not my favorite from Molly Harper. I've read most of her books, and this was probably the worst. I just didn't care for the writing style. The way the hauntings were written took me out of the story instead of drawing me in.

The characters were okay, but I found it all just a bit cutesy. The romances and friendships came extremely fast. I just wasn't feeling any of it. If you want to read some of Molly Harper's books, try just about any other besides this one.

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Monday, September 28, 2015

Book Review: Keeper of the Lost Cities

Keeper of the Lost Cities (Keeper of the Lost Cities, #1)Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Publication date : October  2012
Source : library, but I would purchase this

I'm having a hard time figuring out why this book isn't more popular, and why I'm not hearing about it all over the place. I mean, obviously I heard about it at one point, or I wouldn't have added it to my tbr list, but I think it should definitely be more well known. It's really good.

I have read a few reviews that call it a copy of Harry Potter. While I honestly think it's just about as good as Harry Potter, I wouldn't call it a copy at all. Yes, there are some similarities. But that's true of just about all books nowadays. There really is nothing new under the sun. There are bound to be similar elements in books, especially if you read a lot, and more especially if you're looking for them.

I think this book stands on its own, and is a fantastic addition to its genre. The setting was really fun and memorable. I loved the main character, and there were a lot of side characters to like as well. The plot moves at a great pace, and was never slow or boring. I would definitely recommend this book.

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Friday, September 25, 2015

Book Review: Devlin's Luck

Devlin's Luck (Sword of Change, #1)Devlin's Luck by Patricia Bray
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Publication date: April 2002
Source: library

This was pretty average epic fantasy, with nothing that really stood out to recommend it above the other epic fantasies that are out there. I guess if you'd already read through all the really good fantasy, you might eventually make your way here. It's not bad, it's just not particularly groundbreaking or even very memorable.

With that out of the way, I mostly enjoyed reading this. Although I thought the first half was slow, it really picked up in the second half. It got good enough that I will continue with the series.

Devlin is an interesting main character, and showed a lot of growth throughout the book. I liked that we also got the story from the POV of some secondary characters. The setting is fairly generic, but is about what you'd expect of a fantasy of this type.

I would probably only recommend this if you've already read a bunch of fantasies, and are looking for a new author to try.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Book review: Deluge

Deluge (River of Time, #4)Deluge by Lisa Tawn Bergren
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Publication date: 2014
Source: library

I think the best thing about time travel novels is the fish out of water aspect for the character who did the traveling. We are well past that at this point in the series, so that interesting part was not there for me.

And this book was just extremely slow to start. I was quite bored, and it took way too long for me to get sucked into the story.

I don't remember how the previous books were, but there was a lot of modern slang and references, like The Walking Dead, that jarred me out of the story. I get that these girls were from the future, but it almost seemed like the author was trying a little too hard to remind us of that.

Other reviewers have commented on the similarity in voice of Gabi and Lia. I wish the author had made them more unique, or done away with the varying narration altogether. There were too many times I had to go back and see who was supposed to be narrating.

Besides all that, and I know it seems like a lot, the story did pick up quite a bit, and it was really good and hard to put down at the end.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Book Review: How Lunchbox Jones Saved Me From Robots, Traitors, and Missy the Cruel

How Lunchbox Jones Saved Me from Robots, Traitors, and Missy the CruelHow Lunchbox Jones Saved Me from Robots, Traitors, and Missy the Cruel by Jennifer Brown
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Publication Date: August 11, 2015 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Source: Netgalley review copy

Luke Abbott's school is the losing-est school in the history of losing. And that's just fine for him. He'd rather be at home playing video games and avoiding his older brother Rob and the Greatest Betrayal of All Time.

But now he's being forced to join the robotics team, where surely he'll help uphold the school's losing streak. He'll also meet a colorful cast of characters, including: Mikayla, the girl who does everything with her toes; Jacob and Jacob, who aren't twins but might as well be; the sunflower seed-obsessed Stuart; and Missy the Cruel, Luke's innocent-looking bully since they were six-years-old. But it's an unlikely connection with a mysterious boy known only as "Lunchbox Jones" that will change Luke's life. Turns out, Luke and Lunchbox Jones have a lot more in common than just robots . . . .

This was a lot of fun to read, and even made me laugh out loud a couple of times. I think it's a great book for middle grade readers, and I think my sons (ages 12 and 9) would really like it. I think the main character would be very relatable for young boys, but girls should enjoy the story as well. I would recommend this one.

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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Cookbook Review: The Broad Fork

The Broad Fork: Recipes for the Wide World of Vegetables and FruitsThe Broad Fork: Recipes for the Wide World of Vegetables and Fruits by Hugh Acheson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Publication Date: May 2015 by Clarkston Potter
Source: Blogging for Books review copy

 In The Broad Fork, Hugh narrates the four seasons of produce, inspired by the most-asked question at the market: "What the hell do I do with kohlrabi?" And so here are 50 ingredients--from kohlrabi to carrots, beets to Brussels sprouts--demystified or reintroduced to us through 200 recipes: three quick hits to get us excited and one more elaborate dish. For apples in the fall there's apple butter; snapper ceviche with apple and lime; and pork tenderloin and roasted apple. In the summer, Hugh explores uses for berries, offering recipes for blackberry vinegar, pickled blueberries, and raspberry cobbler with drop biscuits. Beautifully written, this book brings fresh produce to the center of your plate. It's what both your doctor and your grocery bill have been telling you to do, and Hugh gives us the knowledge and the inspiration to wrap ourselves around produce in new ways.

This is a great cookbook if you get vegetables from a CSA (or something similar) and don't quite know what to do with them. It doesn't have every vegetable included, but there are some ideas for some less common veggies. And some fresh ideas for more common ones, like broccoli and carrots, too. I've been trying to eat vegetarian lately, and was hoping this would give me more ideas for meatless meals, but a lot of the main dishes included meat, relegating the meatless recipes to side dishes. There were a few in there that I will definitely try, though.

It's also a beautiful book with tons of pictures of the recipes. I love this, because it's always nice to know what your recipes are supposed to look like. Not every recipe includes a picture, but most do. I was glad to add this cookbook to my collection, as it does have some great recipes and ideas.

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Book Review: Legacy of Kings

Legacy of Kings (Blood of Gods and Royals, #1)Legacy of Kings by Eleanor Herman
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Publication Date: August 18, 2015 by Harlequin Teen
Source: Netgalley review copy

Alexander, Macedonia’s sixteen-year-old heir, is on the brink of discovering his fated role in conquering the known world but finds himself drawn to newcomer Katerina, who must navigate the dark secrets of court life while hiding her own mission: kill the Queen. But Kat’s first love, Jacob, will go to unthinkable lengths to win her, even if it means competing for her heart with Hephaestion, a murderer sheltered by the prince. And far across the sea, Zofia, a Persian princess and Alexander’s unmet fiancĂ©e, wants to alter her destiny by seeking the famed and deadly Spirit Eaters.

I really didn't care for this one. The way the story was told in third person, present tense is not a style I like at all. And then it kept shifting to different characters, and by the time I got back with a character I had forgotten what was going on with them. It seemed like there was just way too much going on altogether. This is not something I'd recommend.

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Friday, July 24, 2015

Book Review: The Coincidence of Coconut Cake

The Coincidence of Coconut CakeThe Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E. Reichert
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Publication Date: July 21, 2015
Source: Netgalley review copy

In downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Lou works tirelessly to build her beloved yet struggling French restaurant, Luella’s, into a success. She cheerfully balances her demanding business and even more demanding fiancĂ©…until the morning she discovers him in the buff—with an intern.

Witty yet gruff British transplant Al is keeping himself employed and entertained by writing scathing reviews of local restaurants in the Milwaukee newspaper under a pseudonym. When an anonymous tip sends him to Luella’s, little does he know he’s arrived on the worst day of the chef’s life. The review practically writes itself: underdone fish, scorched sauce, distracted service—he unleashes his worst.

The day that Al’s mean-spirited review of Luella’s runs, the two cross paths in a pub: Lou drowning her sorrows, and Al celebrating his latest publication. As they chat, Al playfully challenges Lou to show him the best of Milwaukee and she’s game—but only if they never discuss work, which Al readily agrees to. As they explore the city’s local delicacies and their mutual attraction, Lou’s restaurant faces closure, while Al’s column gains popularity. It’s only a matter of time before the two fall in love…but when the truth comes out, can Lou overlook the past to chase her future?

I'm kind of surprised how much I liked this one. It was pretty much the typical romance formula, and of course you could see what was going to happen a mile away, but it was still good. The story itself was just really sweet, and I liked both of the main characters, as well as the side characters.

I love food, so the fact that so much of this book centers around food was a plus, and we also really got to know the city of Milwaukee. I would love to read more story set in this world, maybe focusing on some of the side characters (although as far as I know, the author has no plans for that).

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