Friday, August 30, 2013

Feature and Follow Friday: Treasure

Parajunkee Alison Can Read


Once you answer be sure to leave me your link so I can follow you back

Q: If you could only have One book -- one book -- for the rest of your life. What would it be?

For me, easy, Little Women. It's one of my childhood's favorites that I still turn to every now and then. It has romance, heartbreak, sibling rivalry, a saint of a mother, and a Teddy.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Review: Origin

The Amazon rainforest comes to life in Jessica Khoury's novel, Origin

Pia, an immortal who hates being reminded so, was created as part of a top secret project. She lives in a protected compound with her Aunts and Uncles -- all scientists that prefer a ''family'' environment -- but never allow her to step out into the jungle. Instead, Pia spends the days training for the unknown; forced to disregard ethical questions because she is special. And special people do what needs to be done, even if it means hurting others.

Jessica Khoury maintained a thrilling plotline throughout the whole story of morality vs. eternity. I mean, really, who would want to live forever if it meant being the bad guy?

Pia was an easy character to root for: brave, intrepid, and humble. No wonder Eio agrees to help her. Finally, a book that can be enjoyed in its entirety, without the need of a sequel to prolong the obvious.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Book Party Drink Ideas to Astound Your Guests

Here is a list of popular drinks that can share a spotlight with themed books. The I Love Zombie requires a blender, but the rest are pretty easy to serve. Remember to drink moderately.

Bloody Bella

45ml Vodkha
90ml Tomato Juice
15ml Lemon Juice
Dash of Worcestershire sauce, pinch of celery slat,
Tabasco, and black pepper.

French Connection

35ml cognac
35ml Amaretto Liqueur

Horse's Neck

1 lemon (for decor, that is where the name actually comes from)
3 tbsp gin
dry ginger ale


1 1/2 tbsp cognac
1/2 tbsp Tia Maria
2 tsp orange juice
2 tsp lemon juice

And finally the longest drink to prepare ever:

I Love Zombie

1/2 tbsp light rum
2 tsp dark rum
2 tsp white rum
1/2 tbsp orange curaçao
1 tsp Pernod
                                  1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice                                  
                                 1 1/2 tbsp orange juice                                 
                                 1 1/2 tbsp pineapple juice                                 
     2 tsp papaya juice
1 tsp grenadine   
                                                                        2 tsp almond syrup                                   

Monday, August 26, 2013

Review: Shredded

Being an athlete isn't easy. To reach a competitive level, Josie Peters had to practice lots of stunts, fracturing her wrist in the process. And if you were to ask her if it was worth it -- you'd hear a loud Yes!

So when she gets an invitation to join the BMX team that sponsors pro rider R.T.Torres, a Latin heartthrob with impressive moves on and off the park, Josie jumps on the opportunity. But instead of acceptance, Josie discovers that the only reason she was requested is because they aren't enough girls in the competition, and that no one on the team believes a female can win the prize. 

Avivi gives us a  great example of the undergoing struggle women everywhere must face in sports, illuminating the story with BMX terminology and a realistic teen voice. The friendship between her and Miguel is genuine. Not many teen authors like to portray a male/female friendship that doesn't turn sexual or into a love triangle, so I was happy to finally see one on paper. Recommended for readers who enjoy an adrenaline rush. 

City of Bones: Perfect for book fans, but leave the oblivious mundanes at home

To all whom complained that Jamie Campbell Bower would ruin the image of Jace, can now relax, after critics from all over proclaim him to be the best part of City of Bones.

The movie begins right away with an abrasive Clary, who like a typical teenager spends her time on the phone, ignoring her mom except to tell her off for dragging Luke along in a noncommittal relationship. Little does Clary know she is doing the same thing to her best friend Simon. Little does she know that her whole life is going to change in just a few hours when she begins to see people that no one else can see.

What did ruin the movie was the fast pace rushed script as the characters were juggled from one interruption to another, denying non-fans to get a feeling of their personalities. Things like Simon getting bitten by a vampire and not turning where left unexplained. As if assuming the sequel would be picked up. But the most annoying thing of all, really, was the Harry Potter like music at every single scene.  Hope these glitches will be fixed in City of Ashes, set to start filming on September 2013.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Feature and Follow Friday: Morning Meadow

Parajunkee Alison Can Read


Once you answer be sure to leave me your link so I can follow you back

Q: Book selfie! Take a pic with your current read.

I thought this would be more intimate than just me and a hardcover of Twilight *sigh*

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Review: The Awakening

The sequel of the Darkest Powers trilogy picks up exactly where book one left off-- in a clinic facility with the beloved gang about to be tortured by the evil Edison group. Derek and Simon are still on the loose, and the pressure for Chloe to reveal their whereabouts keeps intensifying. The best thing to do is plot another escape plan. But who can Chloe trust? 

Sadly, her powers have not reached their full potential yet, hinting at what the end of the series might actually be. The only tension Chloe is able to provide us with, is sexual, as her on/off chemistry with shapeshifter Derek sends sparks flying left and right. 

Still, a lot of questions are answered in this book as Armstrong cuts the plot twists to a bare minimum: Why did Chloe's aunt feed her to the enemy? Who is a friend and who is a foe? Can everyone control their powers?  All these questions that kept the readers on the edge of their seats are settled. It is only at the very end, that we are left again a huge question mark, pausing the story quite unfairly. This is the first series I've encountered that is meant to be read at once. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Toolbox


Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish


1. Goodreads
Great way to keep track of to-read lists, organize what you have read and get recommendations.

2. Library/NetGalley
Two places filled with books that you can review.

3. Coffee/Tea
It goes without saying. If I ever publish a book, caffeine, will be thanked.

4. Booknotes
It's not a bad idea to keep a book filled with notes of things one might forget when writing a book review.

5. Bookaholics Anonymous
The finger stretching exercises they do before each meeting are quite helpful after handling hardcovers.

6. Fellow Bloggers
The most valuable point of all. I love reading other reviews, and discussing books keeps me updated and eager to read even more. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

What YA characters should know about cooking

Twilight's Bella Swan and Grace Brisbane from The Wolves of Mercy Falls series might know their way around the kitchen, but what about the rest of our YA favorites. Thankfully, six fellas from the University of Boulder Colorado wrote College Cooks meant to prepare college students for their first meals without parental help.

The book urges the reader to remember that safety always comes first.

Make sure to use different cutting boards for meat and vegetables 

Don't just flip it from one side to the other, and disinfect it with bleach when needed.

Discard food that was left out for more than one/two hours depending on the temperature of the room
If you are having a BBQ on the patio with friends, the food will perish faster than indoors. Be careful not to poison your guests -- unless they've been discourteous.

Deli  meats last three to five days in the fridge once the package seal is broken 
Guess, I'll have no choice but to give some to the neighborhood's dogs.

College Cooks also explains the difference between a sunny side up and a fried egg (perfect for the character involved in a love triangle as one must please both admirers), and contains a panoply of recipes including some semi-home made.

Bon appétit.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Review: Anomaly

Thalli's sole purpose in life is to play music. In fact, everyone in the community is assigned a job early on. Scientists, of course, being top of the line -- as they are the only one's allowed in private areas and have the responsibility to apply the rules the others must obey. It is a post-apocalyptic state after all. If anyone can save the world, it's the scientists. To assure themselves that no other war will ever destroy the planet again, the scientists abolish feelings, so when Thalli is caught crying she is instantly plagued as an anomaly and must therefore fight for her life. 

When John, Thalli's friend, tells her about a Designer who is bigger than the scientists and "puts us in seemingly impossible situations to demonstrate his power," I feared the whole book would be centered on a battle of faith vs. science. But instead McGee rolled up her sleeves and wrote a much more complex story filled with action, plot twists, and betrayal that steered away from cliches. 

Thalli isn't always a strong female lead. She can be naive, obstinate that there is no Designer -- because he doesn't show up and saves us when we need him to -- allowing us to see our own vulnerability through hers. 

My only concern is that the book had so many plot twists forcing the end to feel uncertain. After all, it is an open ending that hints at a sequel. I had to read it twice to make certain that I wasn't the one being conned. 

Caught my arrow # 22

Caught my Arrow is a meme similar to In my mailbox and  Stalking the Shelves featuring books that were purchased, borrowed or received that week.

It was a good week for me as I finally have a chance of reading Holly Black.

Received for review

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown. Thank you Hachette Book Canada

Also received from NetGalley

What are you reading this week?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Review: The Golden Lily

The Bloodlines Saga continues with yet another predicted hit.

Sydney who is an alchemist on duty, and should therefore alienate herself as much as possible from vampires, simply can't do it. She grows even more in this novel, learning about who to thrust and setting aside prejudices. Richelle Mead even gives her a boyfriend, Brayden, an awkward at times rude geek that sparks several humorous situations. But what makes the book worthy of a read is the obvious sentiments between Sydney and fan-favorite Adrian. Never have two characters seemed more destined to be together, and yet unable to make it happen.

The book closed with an open ending that will have me puzzling until I get my hands on the third installment, The Indigo Spell. Just who is Marcus Finch?

Other books from the series

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Let me Go


Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish


Flowers in the Attic
Mother locks her kids upstairs in the attic.
 The Compound
Father locks his family in a compound claiming a nuclear explosion.
 Living Dead Girl
 Ten year old kidnapped during a school excursion.
 Sixteen-year-old kidnapped from an airport.
 Falsely incriminated, Alex is held prisoner in an underground jail.

Lena and Julian are both held captive. Didn't think it was possible to mix in romance with captivity, but this book does it very well.
 Rhine is held captive by a carnival mistress.

Unable to go outside, Pia lives in a secluded scientific building as an experiment.                                        

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Review: Promise Me Something

Friendship and loyalty are tested in Kocek's Promise me Something and the results will surprise you. Reyna knows everything about loss. She lost her mom to a drunk driver and her father to a lover a few months later. The high school she is assigned to isn't the same as her best friends, causing shy Reyna more alienation from the ones she loves. Meeting Olive is the only thing going on for her. The problem is Olive is direct, rejected by others, and often selfish. The problem is Olive is secretly gay.

Kocek touches several LGBT topics, and sadly how being judged by others can lead to suicide. The loss of a parent holds the book together, providing the reader with several teary-eyed moments. Sex is the one thing that isn't discussed in this book. Instead, Kocek introduces Levi, a sweet puppy love interest for Reyna, making sure the harsher and more important topics get the main attention.

A debut worth noticing. Promise Me Something comes out September 1st 2013.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Feature and Follow Friday: Syllabus

Parajunkee Alison Can Read


Once you answer be sure to leave me your link so I can follow you back

Q: Back to school Create a list for the imaginary English Lit class you'll be teaching this semester.

The two high school teachers I've advised to use Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney in class tell me the kids love it. Plus they also get to watch the movie in class. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Review: Real Mermaids Don't Wear Toe Rings

Transforming from girl to woman is a quite an experience -- but transforming from girl to mermaid is a miracle. Period. 

In this first novel of the Real Mermaids series, Hélène Boudreau introduces us to Jade. She isn't the most popular girl in school nor an outcast. Just a normal girl with a crush and a best friend trapped in the grips of her school nemesis. What really sets Jade apart  -- aside from the mermaid gene -- is that her mom drowned when she was young, and her dad is the only one who can advise her about boys and periods. How could her mermaid mother drown? Now that is what Jade is set on finding out.

Although the book is fun and innocently sweet, it tackles the serious issue of single parenting and how it can both affect the child and parent. Standing up to peer pressure is also a major theme in the book as Jade's friend Cori must chose between her or the in-crowd. Sadly, the ending felt a bit inconclusive to make way for book number two. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Revenge and Zombies


Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish



 The Crucible

Can you imagine a diabolical book where all the mean girls get the plague and pay for all their devastating lies? I can O_O

Heck, I volunteer to write it.
 Harry Potter

How about a spin-off with his children? The last scene introduced us to so many offsprings that the idea isn't too far fetched.
 Shades of Earth

The book ended with such a bang (I wish I could tell you but I don't believe in spoilers.) I do, however, believe in spin-offs.

The Fault in Our Stars

Hazel finds a secret cure and brings back Augustus from the dead. Yup, zombie love story.

Review: Requiem

Requiem marks the finale of the Delirium series for Lauren Oliver, and for us, the ending of cliffhanger madness. 

Taking place right where we left off, Lena and Julian arrive at the resistance camp to find Alex waiting for her, both surprised and hurt that she'd taken a new lover. The wilds no longer mean freedom now that the government is after them and the trio will have no choice but to join forces and fight. In fact, Requiem is packed with so much violence, leaving little space for dialogue: Alex fighting with Julian, Alex fighting with Lena, Lena fighting with Alex's new girlfriend. By the time the government finds them we've grown accustomed to all the fights. People start dying left and right, and like a typical war, no one has time to mourn.  

Then there is Hana, who Oliver attempts to give a suspenseful Bluebeard retelling twist, but fails due to her dull cured mind. Hana takes too long to ask the right questions about her future government leader husband, and when she does figure out the answers her response is a nonchalant ''oh, that isn't okay.'' 

When the cards are badly set up, it's no wonder that it all comes tumbling down into a big unresolved mess. Does the rebellion triumph? Who owns Lena's heart? I'm still waiting for Oliver to say. Perhaps she is planning a spin off series.  

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Caught my arrow # 21

Caught my Arrow is a meme similar to In my mailbox and  Stalking the Shelves featuring books that were purchased, borrowed or received that week.

I'm happy to say I finished my Goodreads Challenge of 85 books this year and am looking forward to reading many more.

Received for review
Shredded. Got some cool swag as well, thank you Karen Avivi.
Also received Mister Max from Netgalley.

Love me Tender by Audrey Couloumbis. A road trip book; this is what summer is all about. 

What are you reading this week?

Friday, August 2, 2013

Feature and Follow Friday: Crazy Glue

Parajunkee Alison Can Read


Once you answer be sure to leave me your link so I can follow you back

Q: How do you handle a book you don't like?Do you DNF or do you power through?

Once I start, I have to finish. It seems unfair, as a blogger, not to. Imagine a film critic leaving in the middle of a movie.

No, I wouldn't be able to review something I didn't experience as a whole. Of course, I wouldn't sugarcoat the review either.