Thursday, February 28, 2013

Madhouse Cookbook

Madhouse Cookbook
Jo Pratt

From: Publisher
Grade: B

What it is: 
Oh, how Jo Pratt's life has changed over the last few years! Gone are the days of spending a day or two preparing for elaborate dinner parties, using ingredients she hunted down in back-street markets and fancy deli shops. That was all pre-children - now things are very different. She's a busy mum who has to juggle work, children and all the associated chaos. She lives in a madhouse! Bestselling author Jo has devised a cookbook full of delicious and healthy food that addresses one of the most challenging problems experienced by busy parents: finding time to cook meals for their family. The recipes are simple, easy to shop for and quick to make, with shortcuts and prepare-ahead tips. But there's much more to the book than this - there are also Lifesaver mini-recipes that give you staples for your freezer and store cupboard, and Leftovers mini-recipes too, to show you how to be clever and get more value out of time spent in the kitchen. There are three chapters - 'Monday to Friday Survival', 'Busy Weekends' and 'Cling onto your Social Life'. These chapters feature recipes for every meal and eventuality, including weekday kids' teatime recipes that will go down a storm, dinners that will wow your friends, and Sunday lunches to make the most of those precious moments of relaxation with your family.

My thoughts:
This was the first cookbook I have reviewed. I never used to accept them but now that I am a wife and trying to cook more I have decided to. I thought a lot of the recipes in here were superb. I enjoyed trying some of them out, like the fondue, and look forward to trying out more of them. These were recipes my husband and I can both agree on.

The only problem I saw with this book is that the recipes are not all very kid friendly. In fact, I would say at least half of them aren't. Maybe I am wrong, I'm not a mom yet, but I was a nanny at one point and have a 7 year old brother-in-law. I could not have made any of those kids eat some of these.

If you are looking for a fabulous cookbook for a stay at home date night I recommend this 100% but if you are looking for a book to try on the kids this is probably not for you.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Wednesday Wishlist

Wednesday Wishlist is a feature I started years ago when I first started reviewing. I spotlight 1 book that has been out for at least a year that I still want to read and review. If you have ever reviewed the book I spotlight feel free to leave me the link! I would love to see what you thought of it! Here is this weeks choice:

The Twin's DaughterThe Twin's Daughter
Lauren Baratz-Logsted

Lucy is stunned when her mother's identical twin sister shows up at the front door. Separated at birth, the twins have led dramatically different lives and Lucy's mother, Aliese, will do anything to make it up to Helen. But Lucy soon suspects that Helen enjoys being mistaken for her mother a bit too much. Then, on New Year's Day, Lucy finds her mother and aunt tied to chairs in the parlor. One has been brutally murdered-but which twin has died?

Why I want to review The Twin's Daughter:
A murder mystery involving twins?! That sounds awesome! I also like the concept of the aunt trying to pull of being Lucy's mother. This sounds like a book you would have to devour in one sitting.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Help

The HelpThe Help
Kathryn Stockett
From: borrowed

For: adults
Grade: A

Aibileen is a black maid in 1962 Jackson, Mississippi, who's always taken orders quietly, but lately she's unable to hold her bitterness back. Her friend Minny has never held her tongue but now must somehow keep secrets about her employer that leave her speechless. White socialite Skeeter just graduated college. She's full of ambition, but without a husband, she's considered a failure. Together, these seemingly different women join together to write a tell-all book about work as a black maid in the South, that could forever alter their destinies and the life of a small town...

My thoughts:
I know I am way behind on reading this. Back when it came out I was receiving more ARC's than I knew what to do with and I was having a hard time balancing the books I wanted to read with the books I had to read. I watched my neighbors son on a regular basis and every time I would go over there she would tell me I had to read this book. I wish I would have listened to her.

All three main characters are incredibly different but still so connectable. I really like Minny because she speaks her mind. That woman doesn't let fear stop her from saying anything that pops into her head. That made her incredibly entertaining and my favorite character. The woman she cares for is my favorite secondary character. She too does and says what she wants.

The story starts out a little slow, especially if you have seen the movie. Things don't happen right away or even in the same order. At first I was annoyed by all the explaining that goes on but as I continued I really enjoyed it. There is a particular scene in the movie that has always intrigued me. I am not going to say what it was, just that it always made me wonder what lead up to it. The book takes the time to dig deeper into this. I was thrilled.

I recommend this to all my female adult readers and older teens. This book does contain language that can be considered offensive and there are a few violent parts (not incredibly descriptive). You have been warned. Now go buy your copy!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Must Monday

Must Monday is a feature I started years back when I began reviewing. I spotlight 1 book this is not out yet but I am dying to read and review it. Here is this weeks choice:

Out of This PlaceOut of This Place
Emma Cameron

Luke spends his days hanging out at the beach, working shifts at the local supermarket, and trying to stay out of trouble at school. His mate Bongo gets wasted, blocking out memories of the little brother that social services took away from his addict mom and avoiding the stepdad who hits him. And Casey, the girl they both love, longs to get away from her strict, controlling father and start anew in a place where she can be free. But even after they each find a way to move on and lead very different lives, can they outrun their family stories — and will they ever be able to come together again? Set in Australia and narrated in alternating points of view, here is an affecting look at the evolving lives of three friends from talented new author Emma Cameron.

Why I want to review Out of This Place
First off, this novel is in verse! How can I resist one of those?! Secondly, Australia. I have a friend who lives their and wanted me to come out and nanny for her friend one summer. Still kicking myself for that one... Thirdly, I love dramatic stories that intertwine. It is so fun to have multiple main characters.

How does this book sound to you? Will you be adding it to your wishlist?

Sunday, February 24, 2013


Hello everyone! I am back from Walt Disney World so things can return to normal on the blog! Thank you very much for hanging in there during a very boring blog week. We had a fantastic time at Disney. The first couple days were too busy (yay for kids having the day off from school?) but the next few days were wonderful. It was 75 to 85 degrees our whole trip. Perfect! Now I am back to the lovely 40 degree liquid sunshine of Oregon.

Thanks again!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Review Rewind

If you want to know why I am posting links to past reviews this week look back at my post from Sunday!

Today's recommendations are:
Thirteen Reasons Why because you know you want to read it before you see the movie!
Undiscovered Gyrl... again with the movie thing.
What My Girlfriend Doesn't Know because it is what got my sister reading!

What are you reading today?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Wednesday Wishlist

Wednesday Wishlist is a feature I started years ago when I began reviewing. I spotlight a book that has been out for some time that I want to review. If you have reviewed the book I spotlight feel free to leave the link. I would love to read what you thought!

The Julian GameThe Julian Game

Adele Griffin

All new girl Raye Archer wants is a way into the in crowd, so when ice-queen Ella Parker picks her to get back at her ex, the gorgeous Julian Kilgarry, Raye is more than game. Even if it means creating a fake Facebook identity so she can learn enough about Julian to sabotage him. It's a fun and dangerous thrill at first, but Raye hadn't counted on falling for Julian herself-and igniting Ella's rage.

As Raye works to reconcile the temptress Elizabeth with her real-life self, Ella serves up her own revenge, creating an online smear campaign of nasty rumors and trashy photographs. Suddenly notorious, Raye has to find a way out of the web of deceit that she's helped to build, and back to the relationships that matter.

Why I want to review The Julian Game: 
Fake website pages/profiles are all the rage right now. We see it on the news and on shows like Catfish. I am interested in reading a book about it. I have not found any others about the same topic. Anyone know any good ones?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Review Rewind

If you want to see why I am posting links to past reviews take a look at Sunday's post.

Today's recommendations are:
Lipstick Apology was fabulous!
The Naughty List will forever be one of my favorites!
Nothing Like You is a light, easy read.

So what are you reading today?

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Review Rewind:

Leave it to me to get the flu two days before I fly out and because I work in medicine I still had to go to work. I was just a bucket of fun for the people I work with.... So now I fly out in 8 hours and realized I have 1 post set for the whole week I am gone. So instead of being lame and not posting I am going to do some rewind posts. These posts will spotlight a few reviews I did in the past in case anyone needs a great recommendation this week. Enjoy!

Watch Me got an "A" rating. It is a super cute, YA chick-lit.
When You Were Mine got an "A". Think Romeo and Juliet remake.
Bad Girls Don't Die got a "B". Scary but not too scary :)

So what are you guys reading today? I took The Help, Fifty Shades Darker and Sad Desk Salad with me to Disney!

Saturday, February 16, 2013


Just a quick note to let you all know I will not be around to check emails and blog comments until a week from tomorrow. My husband and I are headed off to DisneyWorld to meet up with my parents and sister! If you need anything feel free to email me and I will get back to you as soon as I can! I have some posts set to go live while I am gone. In the meantime enjoy some pics from past Disney trips I have been on... :)

 Disneyland with my sister and a kid I have babysat for forever.
 Disneyland and the above kids little sister
Disneyworld (backlot tour at MGM). I had a huge crush on him (shhhh....) ;)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Wednesday Wishlist

Wednesday Wishlist is a feature I started years ago when I began reviewing. I spotlight a book that has been out for some time that I am dying to read and review. If you have reviewed the book I am spotlighting please feel free to leave me a link to your review. I would love to read what you think.

Not That Kind of GirlNot That Kind of Girl
Siobhan Vivian

Natalie Sterling wants to be in control. She wants her friends to be loyal. She wants her classmates to elect her student council president. She wants to find the right guy, not the usual jerk her school has to offer. She wants a good reputation, because she believes that will lead to good things.

But life is messy, and it's very hard to be in control of it. Not when there are freshman girls running around in a pack, trying to get senior guys to sleep with them. Not when your friends have secrets they're no longer comfortable sharing. Not when the boy you once dismissed ends up being the boy you wants to sleep with yourself - but only in secret, with nobody ever finding out.

Slut or saint? Winner or loser? Natalie is getting tired of these forced choices - and is now going to find a way to live life in the sometimes messy, sometimes wonderful in-between.

Why I want to review Not That Kind of Girl:
This sounds like a great book about the way choices effect us. I hated high school. You never knew which friendships you could trust and how the rumor mill would get going. I like books about girls struggling to find their identity in high school because it is so hard to do so.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Dark Lie

Dark LieDark Lie
Nancy Springer
From: the publisher

Grade: B
Audience: Adult

To their neighbors, Dorrie and Sam Whiteare a contented couple in America’s heartland, with steady jobs, a suburban home, and plenty of community activities to keep them busy. But they’re not quite what they seem. For plain, hard-working Sam hides a depth of devotion for his wife that no one would suspect. And Dorrie is living a lie—beset by physical ailments, alone within herself...and secretly following the comings and goings of the sixteen-year-old daughter, Juliet, she gave up for adoption when she was hardly more than a child herself.

Then one day at the mall, Dorrie watches horror-stricken as Juliet is abducted, forced into a van that drives away. Instinctively, Dorrie sends her own car speeding after it—an act of reckless courage that puts her on a collision course with a depraved killer...and draws Sam into a dogged, desperate search to save his wife. As mother and daughter unite in a terrifying struggle to survive, to what extremes will Dorrie go in overcoming her own limitations...and in confronting her dark, tormented past?

My thoughts:
From the second I received this book in the mail I was sure I was going to love it. It sounds so mysterious and intense. I had been craving a great book that would suck me in. This was a good book but it did not suck me in the way I was hoping for.

The story starts very quickly. You would expect that to make it fabulous from the start. Sadly, I was half way through the book when I reached a point where I did not want to stop reading. There was drama and intensity before that point but it was surrounded by so much filler. I wanted to get down to the nitty-gritty, not just bounce all around.

Dorrie was a likeable character. She suffers from a major illness which makes the reader want to like her despite her stalker tendencies. You could forgive her for some of her craziness because you knew she was struggling. The thing about her I couldn't stand was how she wouldn't stand up to her parents. I wanted to scream, "you are a grown lady! Tell them to shut the hell up!." No disrespect towards parents, I love mine. My parents would not treat me like I was a useless piece of lint though....

Despite all the small problems I had with the book, it was an okay one. I recommend my adult readers who like a small dose of mystery pick up a copy. It will be worth your time.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Must Monday

Must Monday is a feature I started years back when I began reviewing. I spotlight one book that is not yet out but I am dying to read and review.

The Program
The Program
Suzanne Young
Simon Pulse

In Sloane’s world, true feelings are forbidden, teen suicide is an epidemic, and the only solution is The Program.

Sloane knows better than to cry in front of anyone. With suicide now an international epidemic, one outburst could land her in The Program, the only proven course of treatment. Sloane’s parents have already lost one child; Sloane knows they’ll do anything to keep her alive. She also knows that everyone who’s been through The Program returns as a blank slate. Because their depression is gone—but so are their memories.

Under constant surveillance at home and at school, Sloane puts on a brave face and keeps her feelings buried as deep as she can. The only person Sloane can be herself with is James. He’s promised to keep them both safe and out of treatment, and Sloane knows their love is strong enough to withstand anything. But despite the promises they made to each other, it’s getting harder to hide the truth. They are both growing weaker. Depression is setting in. And The Program is coming for them.

Why I want to review The Program:
My desire to read this one starts with my being a fan-girl. Suzanne use to live fairly close to my town so I got to know her while attending all the local book festivities. Obviously I don't want to read The Program ONLY because of how much fun she is. I also want to read it because she is an incredibly talented writer. Every single one of her books has been engaging and enjoyable. I expect nothing less from this.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Scent of Darkness

Scent of Darkness: A NovelScent of Darkness
Margot Berwin
Knopf Doubleday
From: Publisher

Grade: B
Audience: Adult

Evangeline grows up understanding the extraordinary effects of fragrance. Her grandmother Louise is a gifted aromata, a master of scent-making and perfume. When Eva was a girl, Louise carefully explained that lavender under her pillow would make her dream of the man she would marry; eucalyptus would make her taller; almandine, fatter; and jasmine, Louise promised, would wrap her life in a mystery. When Eva is eighteen, Louise leaves her the ultimate gift—a scent created just for her. The small perfume vial is accompanied by a note in Louise’s slanted script: “Do not remove the stopper, Evangeline, unless you want everything in your life to change.”

From the moment Eva places a drop—the essence of fire, leather, rose, and jasmine—on her neck, men dance closer to her, women bury their noses deep into her hair, even the cats outside her bedroom cry to be near her. After a lifetime spent blending into the background, Eva is suddenly the object of intense desire to everyone around her. Strangers follow her down the street; a young boy appears at her door asking for a favor; and two men, one kind and good, the other dark and seductive, fall deeply, madly in love with her. As her greatest gift becomes an unbearable curse, Eva must uncover the secret of her scent and the message her grandmother, the woman who loved her most, wanted to tell her.

My thoughts:
When I received a review request for this book, I new instantly that I wanted to read it.The synopsis drew me in from the start. Usually a synopsis is not what catches my eye. I like reviews, and interest from someone I know. That's why reviewing is so important to me. I know there has to be other people out there who feel the same.

Evangeline was a superb character. There was something magical about the way she came across. She seemed to fit perfectly in the story. She made you want to know more and to continue reading. It was her alone that made this such a great book.

The story took some time to get into. The first few chapters were just kind of there. Once the book picked up speed though there was not stopping. I wanted to keep flipping pages and discovering more. I needed to see what the end would bring.

I recommend this to my younger adult readers. It is well worth your time.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Feature and Follow Friday

To join the fun and make new book blogger friends, just follow these simple rules:
    • (Required) Follow the Follow My Book Blog Friday Hosts {Parajunkee & Alison Can Read}
    • (Required) Follow our Featured Bloggers
    • Put your Blog name & URL in the Linky thing. You can also grab the code if you would like to insert it into your posts.
    • Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say “hi” in your comments and that they are now following you.
    • If you are using WordPress or another CMS that doesn’t have GFC (Google Friends Connect) state in your posts how you would like to be followed
    • Follow Follow Follow as many as you can, as many as you want, or just follow a few. The whole point is to make new friends and find new blogs. Also, don’t just follow, comment and say hi. Another blogger might not know you are a new follower if you don’t say “HI”
    • If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the Love…and the followers
    • If you’re new to the follow Friday hop, comment and let me know, so I can stop by and check out your blog!

This weeks question:  
Happy Mardi Gras! If they were throwing the HOTTEST books off of a Mardi Gras float — what would you do to have them throw to you…?

My answer: 
 I'm not big on public nudity, nor do I have much to show if I was. Maybe I could wear a low cut shirt but I would rather buy the book than flash what little boobs I have. Not to mention my husband is very territorially of my chest... Strange huh? :)

What a fun question. Leave me a link to your answer!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Wednesday Wishlist

Wednesday Wishlist is a feature I started years ago when I first started reviewing. I spotlight one book that is already out (usually it's been out at least a few years) that I am dying to read and review. If you have reviewed any of the books I feature feel free to leave a link! I would love to read your reviews.

My Worst Best FriendMy Worst Best Friend
Dyan Sheldon

In the case of Savanna and Gracie, friendship isn’t based on reason, but on the notion that opposites attract. Savanna is a head-turning, attention-seeking, accessorized one of “Those Girls,” while Gracie’s love of old movies and commitment to protecting the environment put her into the “everyone else” category. It seems as if nothing could come between them until Savanna’s lies and dependence on Gracie as a false alibi start to take a toll on their relationship. When Savanna gets between Gracie and her crush, the line separating best friend from worst friend is crossed.

Why I want to read My Worst Best Friend
This sounds like a really light book. I have been reading so many dark books lately. I am ready for a nice, easy read. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

There Once Lived a Girl Who Seduced Her Sister's Husband and He Hanged Himself

There Once Lived a Girl Who Seduced Her Sister's Husband, and He Hanged Himself: Love StoriesThere Once Lived a Girl Who Seduced Her Sister's Husband and He Hanged Himself
Ludmilla Petrushevskaya
Translated by: Anna Summers
From: The publisher

Grade: B
Audience: Adult

Love stories, with a twist: the eagerly awaited follow-up to the great Russian writer’s New York Times bestselling scary fairy tales

By turns sly and sweet, burlesque and heartbreaking, these realist fables of women looking for love are the stories that Ludmilla Petrushevskaya—who has been compared to Chekhov, Tolstoy, Beckett, Poe, Angela Carter, and even Stephen King—is best known for in Russia.

Here are attempts at human connection, both depraved and sublime, by people across the life span: one-night stands in communal apartments, poignantly awkward couplings, office trysts, schoolgirl crushes, elopements, tentative courtships, and rampant infidelity, shot through with lurid violence, romantic illusion, and surprising tenderness. With the satirical eye of Cindy Sherman, Petrushevskaya blends macabre spectacle with transformative moments of grace and shows just why she is Russia’s preeminent contemporary fiction writer.

My thoughts:
When I was first contacted about reviewing this book I wavered for a few minutes. I usually enjoy short stories but I was unsure of ones that had originated in another language. I have recently read (and chosen not to review) a book that was translated very poorly. I believe that is what made me weary. I am glad I decided to review this one.

The majority of the stories are fun, easy reads. I am a very fast reader and was still surprised by how quickly I finished this book. They were written and translated incredibly well. Each story seemed to flow right into the next one. Sometimes with short stories I need a minute between because the next story is so absurdly different. Though these stories were different the authors voice shone through enough to keep the flow.

My favorite story in the collection it the first one. I suggest that if you are weary of this book even after I have mentioned my life for it, that you at least read the first story. If that doesn't interest you at least you gave it a shot. This book it truly worth your time.

Love has its highs and lows as we are all too aware. Within these stories you will experience every up and down the characters do. The emotions are real and raw. You will finish some stories with a sense of "aw" and others want to curse someone. This fantastic use of emotion indicates pure talent.

Go get your copy now.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Must Monday

Must Monday is a feature I started years back when I started reviewing. I spotlight an upcoming release that I can't wait to read and review.

White LinesWhite Lines
Jennifer Banash

A gritty, atmospheric coming of age tale set in 1980s New York City

Seventeen-year-old Cat is living every teenager’s dream—she has her own apartment on the Lower East Side and at night she’s club kid royalty, guarding the velvet rope at some of the hottest clubs in the city. The night with its crazy, frenetic, high-inducing energy—the pulsing beat of the music, the radiant, joyful people and those seductive white lines that can ease all pain—is when Cat truly lives. But her daytime, when real life occurs, is more nightmare than dream.

Having spent years suffering her mother’s emotional and physical abuse, and abandoned by her father, Cat is terrified and alone—unable to connect to anyone or anything. But when someone comes along who makes her want to truly live, she’ll need to summon the courage to confront her demons and take control of a life already spinning dangerously out of control.

Why I want to review White Lines:
Back in 2008 I had been reviewing for less than a year. The Elite by Jennifer Banash was one of the first ARC's I got for my own blog (not from the company I had been reviewing for). I read the other 2 books in the trilogy and loved all of them. Ever since then I have been hoping she would write another book.

My love of her previous books combined with a very edgy synopsis has me dying to read this one.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Tilt (Ellen Hopkins)

Ellen Hopkins
Margaret K. McElderry Books

Grade: B
Audience: Older teens

Love—good and bad—forces three teens’ worlds to tilt in a riveting novel from New York Times bestselling author Ellen Hopkins.

Three teens, three stories—all interconnected through their parents’ family relationships. As the adults pull away, caught up in their own dilemmas, the lives of the teens begin to tilt….

Mikayla, almost eighteen, is over-the-top in love with Dylan, who loves her back jealously. But what happens to that love when Mikayla gets pregnant the summer before their senior year—and decides to keep the baby?

Shane turns sixteen that same summer and falls hard in love with his first boyfriend, Alex, who happens to be HIV positive. Shane has lived for four years with his little sister’s impending death. Can he accept Alex’s love, knowing that his life, too, will be shortened?

Harley is fourteen—a good girl searching for new experiences, especially love from an older boy. She never expects to hurdle toward self-destructive extremes in order to define who she is and who she wants to be.

My thoughts:
I have been an Ellen Hopkins fan for years. Her book, Burned, is what originally created my love for books written in this format. I usually enjoy that her stories are usually told from multiple perspectives. This book just had too many peoples stories going on for me to give it the "A" I would have otherwise.

There are three main characters, as shown in the above synopsis. That is a great amount. You would be able to connect with each character if the story remained that way. It does not. At the end of each little section there is one page where an outsider butts in. Not the same outsider over and over. This is where way too many people get involved. It truly bugged me and made things too complicated.

Despite all that craziness I still really enjoyed this book. I liked that the three main characters were connected yet were still not close. They helped me to gain an insight into how they saw each other. It was a great way of reminding the reader that how the outside world sees you can be totally different from how you see yourself.

This story was an accurate portrayal of how one little thing can change the course of your life. We watch the characters start to spiral downhill, unaware of the consequences of their actions until it is too late. In some ways a warning, and in others just a fabulous book.

I recommend this book to older teens. There is sex, drugs, drinking and swearing but that does not take away from the story.