Sunday, May 22, 2016

Library Loot #2


Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire fromThe Captive Reader and Linda from Silly Little Mischief that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library.


I got a ton of manga this week. I happened to be searching for books late at night at my library's website like I do. I saw that not only were there suddenly a bunch of Tokyo Ghoul books but Noragami books too. 6 Tokyo Ghoul and 13 Noragami books. I gasped with pure delight and ordered a whole bunch. I also gasped and dropped everything as I was searching for books and saw Switch which is the last book in the Savvy series. I wanted to reread the Sea of Tranquility so I can write an accurate review because I died of happiness while I read it. Then, I know everyone has been reading Saint Anything so I impulsed borrowed it.



What books have you gotten from the library lately?

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Mini Review: That's Not Hay in my Hair by Juliette Turner

Standalone. Zonderkidz (March 2016) NetGalley
New York City life had crammed sidewalks, gasoline-filled puddles, and angry taxi drivers, but Juliette enjoyed the towering sky-scrapers, the half-block walk to school, and the restaurant smells wafting into her bedroom. She had never cared for a horse, let alone a long-horn, when her mother announced their imminent move to a 300 acre ranch in Texas, where they would be caring for three horses, five dogs, twenty-five longhorns, and a cat … all by themselves.

Juliette couldn’t help feeling excited, even though she’d have to climb a hill to get a bar of cell-phone service. Soon she was running from bats and snakes, rescuing a calf from a twenty-foot ditch, medicating ponies, and having adventures so crazy it’s hard to believe they’re for real—but it all happened exactly how it’s written.

Get ready for side-splitting laughs, heart-wrenching tears, and surprising life lessons learned down on the farm and shared by fourteen-year-old Juliette Turner.


Juliette lives with her mom in a tiny apartment in New York City one day and the next she's moving cross country to a 300-acre ranch in Texas. Her life to change into wrangling longhorns, trying to steer clear of snakes, and riding horses. It'll be one fun but chaotic life.


Juliette or Jules was an alright character in a story that made no sense to me. The story was nice in that it was a mother-daughter team taking care of a bunch of animals but that's really it. The event all jumbled together so the from the start of the story it was off for me. The story arc about Jules and a class bully also went nowhere. I don't know but this was just not what I expected. Either way, I would have liked a more cohesive story.

Thanks to NetGalley and Zonderkidz for providing me That's Not Hay in my Hair in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen

Scarlet #1. Walker Childrens (Feb. 2012) Own
Will Scarlet is good at two things: stealing from the rich and keeping secrets - skills that are in high demand in Robin Hood's band of thieves, who protect the people of Nottingham from the evil sheriff. Scarlet's biggest secret of all is one only Robin and his men know...that she is posing as a thief; that the slip of a boy who is fast with sharp knives is really a girl.

The terrible events in her past that led Scarlet to hide her real identity are in danger of being exposed when the thief taker Lord Gisbourne arrives in town to rid Nottingham of the Hood and his men once and for all. As Gisbourne closes in a put innocent lives at risk, Scarlet must decide how much the people of Nottingham mean to her, especially John Little, a flirtatious fellow outlaw, and Robin, whose quick smiles have the rare power to unsettle her. There is real honor among these thieves and so much more - making this a fight worth dying for.

Robin Hood is known for being this dashing, charming rogue who steals from the rich and gives to the poor. He's the most lovable thief in history - at least I think so. So what could be better than a Robin Hood retelling? A Robin Hood retelling with a twist. Will Scarlet is our main character - Robin's best friend. And Will is actually just Scarlet - a knife-wielding thief who just happen's to be a girl in disguise.

“I know what it's like when you can't get no one to listen to you. When what you say don't matter. I half think every girl knows what it's like to be silenced.” 

Scarlet is independent, moody, withdrawn, has trust issues, and cares about those around her suffering to a fault. She is basically all you can hope for in a noble thief. Her guard is always up around Robin, Little John, and Much. She doesn't want to get too close. Scarlet's past is clouded in mystery and it still affects her decisions today.

The people of Nottingham are suffering. Robin and his band are trying their hardest to save them from hunger and danger when they can't pay their taxes. A new person other than the sheriff shows up to shake things up. Someone from Scarlet's past who can't know who she really is.

“I do what I do because I will always believe that no matter how awful life gets for however many of these people, there is something I can do about it. There is something I will do about it.” 

After getting used to the strange way Scarlet talks, I easily got into the world where thieves are the good guys. Scarlet's personality and her constantly trying to prove herself made me love her. I really liked all the characters. Little John was a flirt who used his fists as weapons. Much is the underdog who has a few tricks up his sleeve. Robin is the brave leader that he's known for. The adventure and danger these four get into was always high risk and fun to read. It's what I hoped for and more. The only thing that bothered me was the focus on the romance. If you knew me then that sentence would be laughable. There was a love triangle that did not add to the story. I really wish it was just one pair of people being all angsty because the three of them didn't make sense. Overall I did enjoy the story and I'm happy with all the adventure, action, peril, and friendships made. I'm sure the next book is going to be even better.

Book Beginnings #1: Switch by Ingrid Law

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Book Beginnings is hosted @ Rose City Reader. The goal is "to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires."  - Rose City Reader


Ingrid Law delivers another heartwarming story about the magic of friendship and the power of family in this companion to her Newbery Honor winning Savvy.

Gypsy Beaumont has always been a whirly-twirly free spirit, so as her thirteenth birthday approaches, she hopes to get a magical ability that will let her fly, or dance up to the stars. Instead, she wakes up on her birthday with blurry vision . . . and starts seeing flashes of the future and past. But when Momma and Poppa announce that her very un-magical, downright mean Grandma Pat has Alzheimer’s and is going to move in with them, Gypsy’s savvy—along with her family’s—suddenly becomes its opposite. Now it’s savvy mayhem as Gypsy starts freezing time, and no one could have predicted what would happen on their trip to bring Grandma Pat home  . . . not even Gypsy.

 With her trademark style and whimsical, beautiful language, Ingrid Law has written another wonderfully moving companion to her Newbery Honor winning Savvy.

"PLEASE, MRS. FOSTER - I'VE SEEN your future, and you really don't want to buy this soap. "Gypsy Beaumont! Stop making a scene and let go." Switch by Ingrid Law

Gypsy's power is either seeing into the future or she really wants this soap. I don't remember her much from the first story, Savvy. She must have been a baby since it's been like twelve years since Mib got her power. I love her name and the potential that she can be a bit of a rebel. (Now looking at the synopsis it looks like I'm right about her seeing the future).

Have you read any of the Savvy books? 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Magical World of Foodie Books

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Chocolate, cupcakes, strawberries, and whip cream. All of which can make my mouth water when I read about them in books. There are so many great books out there with or without recipes that showcase delicious imagery of mostly baked goods. Since I've been on such a foodie bender with cooking shows I thought I would find some scrumptious books and quotes that we can all drool over.



Delicious Quotes



"HOLDING THE WHISK TIGHTLY, I swirled the pale-yellow batter around the bowl, the sweet scents of vanilla, brown sugar, and bitter dark chocolate perfuming the air. Even though it was a cool autumn morning, the heat from the oven made the kitchen feel toasty warm."
 "The earthy, slightly spicy, taste of the lavender mixed with hints of lemon and honey. The cupcake melted in my mouth the way Mom’s pineapple upside down cake used to do. The cupcake’s lavender flavor, melding with Rayne’s honey, took me back."





"Walking through town with Trip, I thought about how easily he had folded me into his group. Sometimes when Didi makes peanut butter cookies, she'll get all cranky trying to blend the peanut butter in the sugar, eggs, and butter. See, the peanut butter always stays in a big clump and the eggs are all slimy and you have to really work at it before everything gets nice and smooth. But the way Trip pulled me into his buttery, sugary life, you'd never know when I was peanut butter in the first place."




“It takes forty muscles to frown, and only twelve to jam a cupcake in your mouth and get over it.” 


“I've never met a problem a proper cupcake couldn't fix.” 



Delicious Stories



Other than the three quote worthy books above, here are some other foodie books I've read that you might enjoy:

Meet Your Baker: A mystery centered around a baker in her family bakery called Torte. If you like small towns, recipes at the end of your book, and cozy mysteries you might just like Meet Your Baker.

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake: A really odd book with a main character with an unusual power to taste the emotions of the person who made what she's eating.

The Cupcake Queen: Small town, enemies, friends, a cute boy, and a cupcake shop all rolled into one.


Cake: Love, chickens, and a taste of peculiar: A girl moving from foster to foster home settles down in a place where magic is real and in the form of desserts!

The Savages: A very descriptive take on eating something very different from desserts... this family has a hunger for flesh.

The Orchard: One taste of an apple and a perfume maker finds her way into a romance. More romance than food book but who's complaining?


It's Raining Cupcakes: A moody mother, an independent daughter, a cupcake shop, and a baking contest are all in store for you in It's Raining Cupcakes.

Pie: A deceased aunt who's pie recipes are famous and a niece who's on a search to find them.

Relish: A journey into a writer's relationship with life and food.


Will Devour Later


Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World: Seems like not too complicated vegan cupcake recipes. 

The Help Yourself Cookbook for Kids: Looks like a very vibrant cookbook with simple recipes even if it's marketed to kids.


Little Beach Street Bakery: really only want to read because of the cover and the words beach and bakery. 

All Four Stars: Love the idea of a kid food critic and gourmet chef.

A Batter of Life and Death: The sequel to Meet Your Baker!


Fresh Delicious: Vibrant colors and poems to make kids (and adults) want to eat healthy food from nature.

The Ugly Dumpling: Look like a cute retelling with pretty illustrations.

What are some delicious books you've read?

Monday, May 16, 2016

The Year of the Fortune Cookie by Andrea Cheng Illustrated by Patrice Barton

Anna Wang #3. HMH Books for Young Readers (May 2014) Library
Eleven-year-old Anna heads off to sixth grade, leaving the comfort and familiarity of elementary school behind and entering the larger, more complex world of middle school. Surrounded by classmates who have their roots all in America, Anna begins to feel out of place and wonders where she really belongs.  When Anna takes a trip to China, she not only explores a new country and culture, but finds answers to her questions about whether she is more Chinese or more American. 




Anna is starting in the terrifying world that is middle school. Luckily, she gets the opportunity to do something amazing - go to China! Her former teacher, Mrs. Sylvester, and her husband are adopting a baby just like her baby sister Kaylee was. She's agreed to help them out since she knows the language and only one person can afford to leave with them at the time. Her real goal is to visit the guarded orphanage Kaylee was taken care of at. Anna and her friends sell fortune cookies to raise money for the orphanage. They also knit hats for all the babies. Anna's adventure brings her closer to her sister and her culture. She begins to accept how much her culture means to her and how it's such a big part of who she is.

I read the first book of Anna's, The Year of the Book, a while back so I knew I missed some new info (a whole baby!) reading the third book, but I was fine navigating on my own.

I've grown to really like this series. It captures a whole new point of view from a perspective I've never read before. I thought that Anna really exploring China, where her parents and her sister came from, and who she is were the best parts of the book. The way Anna is caring towards her sister and wanting to know where she came from is pretty touching. Anna and her friends have generous hearts donating their time and efforts into raising money and creating something for the orphanage. That's what really got me into the story - the sense of love very apparent across the pages. I'd be happy to read more of Anna's story in the future.

It's Raining Cupcakes by Lisa Schroeder

Cupcakes #1. Aladdin (March 2010) Library
Twelve-year-old Isabel is dying to get out of her small town of Willow, Oregon, and travel like her best friend, Sophie. But when Isabel’s mother decides to open up a cupcake shop across town, Isabel is once again stuck in Willow for the summer…until she learns of a baking contest where the finalists get an all-expenses paid trip to New York City to compete in the final bake-off. But Sophie is also entering the contest, and Isabel’s mother has reservations. Can Isabel finally realize her dreams of leaving Willow without hurting two of the most important people in her life?

                

Cupcakes are beautiful and wonderful things. A story about cupcakes, well, that'll easily draw me in. But this isn't just a story about cupcakes - it's about individuality, fear of failure, and wanting more out of life.

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Isabel is a dreamer. She dreams of traveling the world like her flight attendant aunt, that her mom will stop jumping from idea to idea (she's currently on a mission to own a cupcake shop), and that she'll win a baking competition all on her own. Her mother is a dreamer too, hence jumping from idea to idea. She's so excited yet so fearful of her cupcake shop. Isabel and her dad are in charge of building her confidence up in an unspoken agreement because as soon as Isabel's mom gets even slightly discouraged - she gives up. And if she gives up on her cupcake shop then who knows where their family will be.

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Although food books are my jam, It's Raining Cupcakes was just okay. The ending felt abrupt and really now - how does no one come to the conclusion that the mom is obviously having mood swings so she might have a mental illness? 

What I did enjoy were all those cupcake recipes, the imagery of the food, the best friend (even if she was away at camp most of the time), and Isabel. Isabel tried to branch out on her own by making a tart for the baking competition, but her mom thought cupcakes would get the shop some great advertising. They all always have to try to please the mom so this causes a dilemma for Isabel. She's a good mother otherwise. I do however strongly believe she's suffering from something. I just don't know what.

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If you like mom and daughter stories with some yummy dessert treats then It's Raining Cupcakes might fair better for you. It's a nice and fun read but, a bit young perhaps for my taste.