Monday, September 15, 2014

Book Review: The Fire Wish

The Fire Wish (The Jinni Wars, #1)The Fire Wish by Amber Lough
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Publication Date: July 2014
Source: Review copy from Netgalley

Najwa is a jinni, training to be a spy in the war against the humans. Zayele is a human on her way to marry a prince of Baghdad—which she’ll do anything to avoid. So she captures Najwa and makes a wish. With a rush of smoke and fire, they fall apart and re-form—as each other. A jinni and a human, trading lives. Both girls must play their parts among enemies who would kill them if the deception were ever discovered—enemies including the young men Najwa and Zayele are just discovering they might love.

I just don't quite know what to think of this book. There were some interesting elements here. I liked the setting, and I liked that there were jinni's (which you don't read a whole lot of in books). I thought the author was talented, but then at the same time some of the writing seemed very stilted and just didn't work for me.

I didn't buy the romances at all, or the instant friendships. It was like some of these characters were willing to put everything on the line for a person after they had known them for one day.

It was an easy book to read, but I can't say I'd recommend it.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Book Review: My Paris Kitchen

My Paris Kitchen: Recipes and StoriesMy Paris Kitchen: Recipes and Stories by David Lebovitz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Publication Date: April 2014
Source: review copy from Blogging for Books

It’s been ten years since David Lebovitz packed up his most treasured cookbooks, a well-worn cast-iron skillet, and his laptop and moved to Paris. In that time, the culinary culture of France has shifted as a new generation of chefs and home cooks—most notably in Paris—incorporates ingredients and techniques from around the world into traditional French dishes.
     In My Paris Kitchen, David remasters the classics, introduces lesser-known fare, and presents 100 sweet and savory recipes that reflect the way modern Parisians eat today. You’ll find Soupe à l’oignon, Cassoulet, Coq au vin, and Croque-monsieur, as well as Smoky barbecue-style pork, Lamb shank tagine, Dukkah-roasted cauliflower, Salt cod fritters with tartar sauce, and Wheat berry salad with radicchio, root vegetables, and pomegranate. And of course, there’s dessert: Warm chocolate cake with salted butter caramel sauce, Duck fat cookies, Bay leaf poundcake with orange glaze, French cheesecake...and the list goes on. David also shares stories told with his trademark wit and humor, and lush photography taken on location around Paris and in David’s kitchen reveals the quirks, trials, beauty, and joys of life in the culinary capital of the world.

I generally don't sit down and read a cookbook all the way through, but that's exactly what I did with My Paris Kitchen. Well, to be honest, I didn't read every word. I didn't read all of the instructions on every recipe. But all the stories sprinkled throughout, and the introductions to each recipe we're just lovely.

I love Paris, and if I could move there, I'd do it in a heartbeat. It was fun getting an insiders look (from an American) on what it's like living in Paris.

The recipes look delicious, too, and although I don't think I'd cook all of them, there are definitely a bunch that I want to try. Reading this book just made me feel happy. I'd definitely recommend it for cookbook lovers, as well as anyone who loves France. 

Book Review: Some Fine Day

Some Fine DaySome Fine Day by Kat Ross
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Publication Date: July 2014
Source: Netgalley 

Sixteen-year-old Jansin Nordqvist is on the verge of graduating from the black ops factory known as the Academy. She's smart and deadly, and knows three things with absolute certainty:
1. When the world flooded and civilization retreated deep underground, there was no one left on the surface.
2. The only species to thrive there are the toads, a primate/amphibian hybrid with a serious mean streak.
3. There's no place on Earth where you can hide from the hypercanes, continent-sized storms that have raged for decades.
Jansin has been lied to. On all counts.

This book was decent. I enjoyed it while I was reading it, for the most part, but I think in the end it is very forgettable. There was nothing that particularly grabbed my interest. While I liked the idea of humans having to live underground, I don't think the world building was particularly good in this one.

The characters were okay. I didn't hate the main character, but I didn't necessarily love her either. And the love interest was just there.

All in all, this book is okay to read to pass some time, but there was really nothing special about it at all.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Book Review: Demons Are Forever

Demons Are Forever (Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom, #3)Demons Are Forever by Julie Kenner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Publication Date: July 2007
Source: library

It isn't easy when your daughter's figured out that her mom's a demon hunter-and wants to grow up to be just like her. Or when you suspect your dead husband used the forces of darkness to filch the body of another human. And your living husband isn't the man you married anymore either.
Moreover, Kate's acquired a precious but deadly item that every demon within commuting distance wants. With husband woes playing havoc with her emotions, an ambitious teenage protégée at her heels, and hell to pay, this stay-at-home mom's putting in a lot of overtime.

It's been awhile since I read the previous book in this series, but that didn't matter at all when reading this one. It's not the type of series where you feel super lost if you haven't read (or can't remember) the previous books.

This felt a lot like the TV show, Supernatural, but with a mom as the main character instead of two brothers. Kate (the mom) is a very likable character, and I could certainly relate to her.

I really liked it, perhaps more than I've liked the previous two books. I will definitely be continuing on with the series. It's not heavy reading at all, and is good to read when you want something light and fluffy.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Book Review: Treat Yourself

This was such a fun cookbook.  There are so many things in here I'd like to try making, like Twinkies, Samoas, Tagalongs, Oreos, Pop tarts, and the list goes on and on. 

This cookbook is filled with pretty much every treat you had (or wanted to have) during your childhood.  Reading through it for the nostalgia alone was a fun time, regardless of if I ever get around to cooking all the recipes.

I have made one recipe so far, and that was for fruit snacks.  It didn't turn out quite like I expected, and I'm not sure if it was how the recipe was supposed to be or not.  It still tasted good, and I really can't wait to try more recipes.

I received this book in exchange for an honest review from Blogging For Books.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Book Review: The Kiss of Deception

The Kiss of Deception (The Remnant Chronicles, #1)The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Publication Date:  July 2014
Source: Netgalley review copy

Fed up and ready for a new life, Lia flees to a distant village on the morning of her wedding. She settles in among the common folk, intrigued when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deceptions swirl and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—secrets that may unravel her world—even as she feels herself falling in love.

This book started off a bit slow, and honestly I was a little bored. For me, it really didn't pick up until the second half of the book, where I felt there was more world building and more interesting things coming into play.

There is a love triangle that all readers (oops, I mean very few readers) love to see. It almost seems to be resolved quite early on, but then comes back with a vengeance. It's not as bad as some, but it threatens to overshadow what could be a very good story with a sweet romance.

I definitely liked it well enough to read the next book, and would recommend it to fans of YA fantasy.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Book Review: The House of the Four Winds

The House of the Four Winds (One Dozen Daughters, #1)The House of the Four Winds by Mercedes Lackey
Rating: DNF
Publication Date: August 5, 2014
Source: Review copy from Netgalley in exchange for a review

The rulers of tiny, impoverished Swansgaard have twelve daughters and one son. While the prince’s future is assured, his twelve sisters must find their own fortunes.

Disguising herself as Clarence, a sailor, Princess Clarice intends to work her way to the New World. When the crew rebels, Clarice/Clarence, an expert with rapier and dagger, sides with the handsome navigator, Dominick, and kills the cruel captain.

Dominick leads the now-outlawed crew in search of treasure in the secret pirate haven known as The House of Four Winds. They encounter the sorceress Shamal, who claims Dominick for her own—but Clarice has fallen hard for Dominick and won’t give him up without a fight. 

I thought this one sounded like a fun read, but it just didn't do it for me at all. There is no way I was going to finish this before dying of boredom, so I gave up about halfway through.

I'm honestly a little tired of the whole girl dresses up as a boy thing and fools everyone because she binds her chest and talks in a lower voice. It's overdone, and is also rarely done well.

The writing style got on my nerves a bit too. Most noticeably was near the first when it said the main character asked something curiously. The books (what I read of it at least) was full of adverbs following the words said or asked, or the like. It's just too much. Besides that curiously is redundant, because if you're asking something, it usually means you're curious.

But that's off track a bit. I didn't care for this one for many reasons, but mainly because it just bored me. Even the mutiny was boring. The story failed to capture my interest at any point.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Book Review: The Silver Rings

The Silver RingsThe Silver Rings by Samuel Valentino
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Publication Date: July 1, 2014
Source: Netgalley review copy

Meet twin sisters, Celia and Alice, whose bid for freedom from their evil stepmother leads them on a hilarious journey through a world of fantasy and imagination. Join the sisters as they encounter a sarcastic fairy godmother, giants, charming princes, an overly dramatic fox, and more! Readers will recognize familiar themes from their favorite tales and read new ones taken from cultures around the world. Author and illustrator Samuel Valentino has cleverly woven together a delightful fairy tale that teaches us resilience and creative thinking pay off in the end.

This was fun in a fairy-tale like way. I started off reading it to my husband and sons while we sat around the campfire on a camping trip. Even though the main characters were girls, and my boys usually want nothing to do with that, they were quite interested in the story. My husband even enjoyed listening to it, and he's not a reader.

But then we had no more campfire time, and I finished it off myself. I will probably finish reading it to them in the future, though. I think this book is definitely aimed more at children with a short attention span, because there really just wasn't a whole lot to it. It moved very quickly, with no real danger to it. Which is perfectly fine for a children's book.

The main characters (twin girls) were fine, but I honestly had no idea who was who. There just wasn't a whole lot of character building, or character distinction between the sisters.

The illustrations looked like they would be a lot of fun and add to the story, but they didn't work well with my Kindle.  They were spread out over three or four kindle pages, which made them not at all as fun to look at.

This had a very Disney movie type feel to it, for me. I could see it playing out as a fun children's movie, and it's a fun read aloud book for the family, but don't go into it expecting great literature.