Saturday, August 24, 2013

Book Blogger Hop

Book blogging is more than just reading. 
Who helped you set up or run your blog? Or did you do it all yourself? 

Sadly, for me, reading is all I have time to do for my blog.  Originally, I created this blog as a way to communicate with students in my school library.  Very shortly, it became a blog where I book talked.  Eventually, I added "final thoughts" and ratings.  However, I still don't have time to do cool things like author interviews or giveaways.  Maybe that's why my readership is so low after all this time.  :(

On the bright side, I read so many books that it's good to have a place I can go to to remind myself about the books I've read.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Taste Test

Taste Test
by Kelly Fiore

Raised by her widower father and having spent most of her life as his assistant at his locally famous barbeque joint, high school senior Nora Henderson knows her way around a kitchen.  But when she's accepted for a chance to compete on a nationally broadcast food competition show, the prize for which is just too tempting to ignore, Nora's going to have to pull out all the stops.

When she meets her fellow competitors, she knows winning won't be easy.  Between the stuck-up roommate, the heir apparent to his father's cooking legacy, and the producers trying to stir up controversy, Nora's got some serious work ahead of her.  She also has to pass college-level courses and learn new recipes in order to wow the judges at each taping.

Complicating all of that is the saboteur who is picking off fellow contestants one-by-one.  No one knows who's doing it, but Nora's definitely got to watch her back... if she can get her eyes off the back of the hottie who's her biggest competition.

Final thoughts:  Cotton candy book.  It's fluffy and sometimes fun, though there is an odd "aftertaste" in the sense of unanswered questions.  If she's only worked in barbeque, how does she know how to cook so many other foods with so little practice?  Why in the world would the competition be continued after a serious injury to a competitor with no real consequences or changes?  What kind of college classes are they taking? Seriously.  Why can't she make up her mind?  I hate him... I like him... I hate him... He's not that bad... I hate him... I lloooooovvveeeee him!!!!  I would have like more time spent on the judging instead of glossing over that part as the author has.  The recipes at the back are interesting.  I wish the Kindle formatting had been a little better since there seemed to be some charts about the competitors during the judging matching them with their dishes and comments, but they were impossible to read the way the book uploaded.

Rating: 3/5

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Geomancer's Compass

The Geomancer's Compass
by Melissa Hardy

In the year 2021, virtual reality has become the norm with people often injuring themselves while walking around in the physical world and looking at the virtual one.

But that isn't really the problem for Miranda and her family.  Their problem is more ancient.

Her family is cursed by an ancestor who'd been murdered and then buried somewhere very wrong.  Everyone in their family for the last couple generations has suffered and Miranda is believed to be the key to finding the remains of the ancestor and bringing his bones to a more peaceful resting place.

Unfortunately, she has to bring her ADHD cousin along with her for the quest.

Final thoughts: Not even going into how this is for a limited audience of Canadian-Chinese, or even the long, drawn-out, in-depth discussions of both technology and Chinese traditions, this is a poorly written book.  Miranda is flat and annoying. She whines over every little thing and is just basically unlikeable.  Without Brian, the whole book would have been a waste.  Too much of it was unbelievable (an ancestor with very little tech experience manages to become a ghostly avatar in a VR computer program years after his death???), the rest was just badly written, and the ending just arrived with no real closure.  Avoid.

Rating: 1/5

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Biting Bad

Biting Bad
by Chloe Neill

In the continuing sage of the Chicagoland Vampires series, Merit and Ethan are finally together.  As in together, together.  As in they are finally a steady, stable couple.

But before they can really settle down and enjoy their immortal lives together, there's another problem that heads their way.

Just as their House has separated from the vampire consortium, anti-vampire forces are building in Chicago.  Riots have begun with little evidence as to why they started or how they are organized.

Now Merit and Ethan have to investigate the riots, get the consortium out of their business, help redeem their wayward witch friend, and try to celebrate Valentine's Day.

No worries.

Final thoughts: I still love this series, but I'm not loving Merit so much in this one.  She's suddenly, and constantly, unable to hold her own.  Injury after injury. Lost battle after lost battle.  She keeps stepping into bad situations and needing to be rescued.  Her personality is still pretty strong, but she's not the bada$$ she has been in previous books.  The ending was also a little off and strange.  Not Neill's best work.

Rating: 3/5

Monday, August 5, 2013

The Bridge

The Bridge
by Jane Higgins

For decades, the land has been separated into the Southsiders and the Citysiders.

Citysiders are privileged, educated, and have all the supplies they need.

Southsiders are poor, uneducated, and must scavenge to survive.

Nik has been in a Cityside school since he was five, training for the elite squads that work to put down the constant uprisings of the Southsiders.

On Selection Day, however, he's passed up with no explanation.  Now he faces a life as an enlisted man.

But Nik's world changes when his school is attacked and destroyed by Southsiders, forcing him and his friends into the arms of the enemy and starting him on a journey to find out who he really is and where he came from.

Final thoughts: The book draws you in and almost forces you to read it, but once you put it down for any reason, picking it back up can be difficult.  It's a dark, heavy read with a major message about war and oppression that is repeatedly beaten over the head of the reader.  It's easy to miss when you start, but it can't be ignored by the end.  There is also some confusion over its dystopian nature.  There's nothing really familiar about the setting, which is a series of bridges along a river, though that may be because the author is from New Zealand and so I may just not know the area about which she's writing.  There are also repeated references to indoctrination of a Christian-type religion and "fascism" (as it's labeled), which feels like the author has a personal point of view that she really wanted to push to others.

Rating: 2/5

Saturday, August 3, 2013

The Naturals

The Naturals
by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

For the past five years, Cassie's been living with her father's family while he's serving his country overseas.  Before that, she had lived with her nomadic mother, traveling from city to city.  But her mother disappeared from her theater dressing room, leaving Cassie behind with only memories of her mother's training, talents, and blood.

Now, the training that Cassie's mother had given her, and her Natural talent for reading people and profiling them, has caught the eye of the FBI and their new task force made up of other teens with talents like hers.  There's a Natural lie detector, a Natural pattern finder, a Natural emotion reader, and another Natural profiler, like Cassie.

They've been brought together to solve cold cases, much like the case of Cassie's mother.

But the best-laid plans are often thrown out, even by the FBI, and especially when a new serial killer is on the loose, and seems to be getting a little too close to Cassie and her new friends.

Final thoughts: This was an interesting tale, though you really have to suspend your disbelief to think that the FBI is going to hire a bunch of teens and then put them in the line of fire.  Cassie is definitely a thinker, and sometimes seems to over-think things.  The love triangle is awkward and strange at times, especially since Barnes doesn't make a clear choice of who to root for.  It's an obvious first book in a new series, so there was more exposition than might be preferred and there was the obligatory feeling of setting up for future books.  Overall, a decent read.

Rating: 3/5


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