Saturday, February 28, 2009

Key Lime Pie Murder by Joanne Fluke

Key Lime Pie Murder by Joanne Fluke

Summary (from amazon.com and changed a bit by me): The yummy eighth smalltown cozy from Fluke finds sometime sleuth Hannah Swensen, owner of the Cookie Jar in Lake Eden, Minn., judging the baking contest at the Tri-County Fair. When one of her fellow judges, home economics teacher Willa Sunquist, is murdered, Hannah determines to sniff out the killer. Was it a man from Willa's mysterious past? Or a student she flunked?

Review: I like murder mysteries. They're fun. This is one of my favourite series, one of the ones that I wait for impatiently and end up bouncing with excitement when a new one comes out. But to be honest, I'm not sure if I like them for the recipes or the books themselves. It's a cute series, and I do like them, but they aren't truffles, to use a food analogy*. They're more like cream of mushroom soup. Simple, comforting, uncomplicated. They definitely aren't John Grisham, but I've never managed to finish a Grisham novel anyways.

Conclusion: A good book, clean too, so it's appropriate for YA readers looking for something older to read, and I'll definitely keep reading these as long as the author keeps writing them. Great recipes, too, which rocks. Three and a half roses**.



*Thanks to the lovely person who helped me figure out if I was using the word analogy right.
** Thanks to the other lovely person who made me a half greyed rose.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Oh, crud... I forgot to do this...

I received the Your Blog Is Fabulous Award from Rory Wilson at Bookworm Extrordinaire, which was a total surprise. I really wasn't expecting it at all. (I forgot to do it til now, though. Whoops. lol)

Now it's my turn to do it.

Rules are: Write 5 things you are addicted to and then nominate 5 other blogs to pass this award on to!

5 Things I'm Addicted to:

1. Books - Well, is that any surprise?

2. Music - I have it playing at least half the time I'm awake, because I can never do just one thing at once or I'd get bored.

3. The internet - I spend far too much time on my laptop.

4. Candy. To quote Garfield, "Candy, candy, candy, candy." I have some blood sugar issues so I tend to eat it to keep me level, but the candy aisle can literally slow me in my tracks at the store.

5. Roller Coaster Tycoon 2. I can seriously play for four or five hours straight - which is why I don't play often.

5 blogs I Nominate For This Award:

Look at That Book

Books Make Great Lovers

Just Listen

Reviewabook123.blogspot.com

Sharon Loves Books and Cats

Congrats to everyone!!

Laina

(P.S. I'm working on a couple reviews, be patient with me, okay?)

(P.P.S. What do you all think of this colour?)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Hey Guys

Blogger is having some issues with their followers. To find out more, check out here or here. Hope none of you had any problems!!

Laina

Monday, February 23, 2009

And we have a winner!!!

(Chosen by random.org)

Congratulations to....

DELTAY!!!!!!

You win a signed copy of Across the Pond by Storyheart. And guess what? There's more than just the signed book, as if that wasn't cool enough. You'll also receive a "little piece of England", in the words of the author, whose wife put together an extra prize pack of some real English tea and maybe one or two other things. So I'll send you an email letting you know you won, and the author should email you soon. Thanks to everyone for entering!!

Laina

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Last day!!!

Hey!!! Last day to enter the contest!!! It ends in just over four hours.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Question for my readers...

Which is easier to read, this or the purple I usually use for reviews? I was reading something yesterday that was a black background and white writing and noticed it was murdering my head. Do my colours bother anyone? I also use that pinky colour sometimes, and I could use a brighter purple if the one I use now bugs anyone. Opinions?

Laina

Monday, February 16, 2009

Roastbeef's Promise by David Jerome

Roastbeef's Promise by David Jerome


Summary (from amazon.com because the one on the back of the book is really long): When Jim "Roastbeef" Hume embarks on a quest to sprinkle his father's ashes in each of the forty-eight contiguous states, he has no idea that a series of bizarre and ridiculous adventures await. But nothing will deter him from fulfilling the promise he made to his dying father--not a brief incarceration in Iowa or a punctured lung in South Dakota. As he travels across the country, he picks up numerous new friends, presides over the ultimate party, poses as a lesbian's boyfriend, and gives away a very pregnant bride in a Las Vegas wedding. And who could have dreamed that somewhere amidst the craziness of dropping ashes from a crop duster and finding Elvis's toenail, Roastbeef would stumble upon a lucrative new career?

My review: This one actually surprised me a bit in how much I actually liked it, because I honestly wasn't expecting to. The title is a little bit different, after all, and this isn't the usual thing I read. Usually I'm a YA and tacky romance reader, and that can be unfortunate, because if I hadn't taken a chance with this one, I would have missed a very, very good book.

I loved it. It was just so good. Now, I have to admit I have a bit of a soft spot for books about road trips, because that's one of the things I really want to do myself. But as we all know, no matter how much you like an idea, that doesn't mean you'll love a book about it, and the fact that I did tells you how good it was, how well written it was, and how interesting and just plain cool the characters were.

As for plot, some of the most outrageous things happened to Roastbeef. At one point, he was being paid to drive a pink Cadillac from Illinois to Utah, and it was stolen by bikers. Later, he might have accidentally killed a pig with an oxygen tank (he couldn't check, he didn't want to be attacked by the other pigs). Roastbeef's Promise made me laugh so much, but also at times nearly made me cry, which is one of the marks of a great book, in my opinion.

Conclusion: This was a great read, and I'd definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a good book. Oh, and on a side note, this wasn't a YA book, but it was clean and definitely appropriate for teen readers, which I think is very cool, and endears it to me even more. Four out of five roses.



Oh, and this isn't part of the review, but there's this thing at the back of the book that if you blog about the book and send them the link, they'll send you a free Roastbeef's Promise T-shirt, and you know I'm doing it!!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Across the Pond by Storyheart

(It's signed, how cool is that? My copy, I mean. Thank you, Storyheart.)

Across the Pond by Storyheart

Summary (from the back of the book): Finding himself packed off to friends in the USA, fifteen-year-old English-born Fred Squire is not happy.

Then he meets Brittany.

Struggling with his feelings for Brit and the language, Fred is further confused when he meets Brit's flirtatious friend, Angel.

Escaping from a confrontation with Steve Harris, the neighborhood bully, Brit tells Fred her dark secret about Harris, and Fred's world is turned upside down.

Life continues to throw Fred a curveball when he catches a baseball worth a small fortune. Further run-ins with Harris, a crazy family barbecue, and a chase through a mall all add to Fred's American adventure.

"Brit and her Brit" know that their young love will be followed by heartache when Fred has to return to England but not before some final twists in the tale.

Review: This one was quite a cute book. I'm a sucker for a love story, and this one is a heartstring tugger, in a sweet way.

The comparison between American words and British words is fun. I rather like doing that myself with people I talk to online, so it was cool to see that in a book. (On a side note, it made me realize Canada's slightly insane. Some of the things that Fred said that were odd to Brit, we say, too, but the States don't.)

There were, however, a couple things I didn't like. Mainly the girls. Angel and Brit both acted a lot alike, and not in a good way. Under emotional duress, they both fell apart and leaned on Fred and that really quite annoyed me. These girls were so NOT strong characters. And honestly, sometimes they over-reacted and that annoyed me slightly.

Conclusion: It's a nice, short read, cute and worth winning. You can enter to win it and you should, because it's good. Three out of five roses.

Friday, February 13, 2009

I rant too much...

Well, this isn't a really a rant so much as a random question because I'm annoyed. I'm reading Vamps by Nancy A. Collins. Ahhhh, picture? Sure, why not...

There you go. Pretty cover, but so far I'm not loving it. I do not like Lilith, not one bit, there's too much smut so far (yes, smut, and yes, this is from the tacky romance addict, but hey, that isn't YA) and it's sloooooooooow.

So do I go read something else (bear in mind here I have the first two books of the Gemma Doyle trilogy in my room, not to mention a book I have to review for Book Divas) or stick it out? And also keep in mind that I've been trying to get though this one for... a full week now and I haven't been able to really get into it.

What do you guys think? What do you guys do when you just can't get into a book, but you want to read it because... well, it's a vampire book, need I say more?

Peace and cookies,
Laina

Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List

Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Summary (from the publisher's website, because the thing on the back of the book is really, really long): NAOMI AND ELY ARE BEST FRIENDS. Naomi loves and is
in love with Ely, and Ely loves Naomi, but prefers to be in love with boys. So they create their "No Kiss List" of people neither of them is allowed to kiss. And this works fine - until Bruce. Bruce is Naomi's boyfriend, so there's no reason to put him on the List. But Ely kissed Bruce even though he is boring. The result: a rift of universal proportions and the potential end of "Naomi and Ely: the institution." Can these best friends come back together again?

Review: I know what you're thinking... you're thinking I'm going to say I hated it and you're expecting me to find a half dozen things I didn't like it.

Guess what people? You're wrong. I quite liked it!
It was really, really funny and well written, with interesting characters. I actually read most of this when I'd first woken up, before I even turned on the light, which shows how involved I was in it, reading in half-light. It's a very good read for when you're in a crabby mood and feel like you can't find anything to read.

The one thing is, the book used pictures for some of the words, like instead of saying spider, there'd randomly be a tiny picture of a spider, and that threw me off a bit (aka, I stared the page for a good thirty seconds trying to
figure out what the heck it was...). But you get used to that after a while, and it's they were mostly when Naomi was the narrator. That brings me back to another thing I did like, the switch in narrators. There were at least six different narrators, but each of them had their own unique voice, so that you could tell exactly who was telling you what was happening. And it wasn't confusing at all like that can so easily be.

Conclusion: A very good read, good for a crabby mood. I'd recommend this to older readers, though, as there is some mature content. Not much swearing, though, which is cool. Four roses.



Thursday, February 12, 2009

Tweaked by Katherine Holubitsky

Tweaked by Katherine Holubitsky

Summary (from the publisher's website):
Sixteen-year-old Gordie Jessup is a good kid but he’s living a nightmare. His eighteen-year-old brother Chase’s two-year addiction to crystal meth has left their family emotionally and financially drained. And just when Gordie thinks he can no longer stand the manipulating, the lying and the stealing, things get even worse. Chase is arrested for aggravated assault, released on bail and sent home to his family. But his dealers are after him and Chase appeals to Gordie for help. Gordie, disgusted with his brother and fully aware that it’s a gamble, risks everything he has in the hope of bringing his family some peace.

Review: There aren't a lot of good books about drug addiction. Well, I shouldn't say that, because there more than likely are a lot, I've just not come across them. Personally, I haven't come across any that take a deep, true look at what dealing with a relative is really like. It's not pretty, it's not easy, and it's not sugar-coated in the least, and I admire the author so much for that. At the same time, though, it doesn't read like a public service announcement. It's emotional and truthful and real.

Gordie is such a good character who was so interesting to read. He isn't perfect, he doesn't always think or do the right things, but he reads like a real seventeen year old boy who's in the hard situation of having a meth addicted sibling. Besides Gordie, the other characters are very well-developed. His parents, the girl he likes, the smaller characters such as the members of the band he was a part of, his boss, even a storekeeper in a pawn shop whose name we never even learned showed depth. The only one who didn't show as much depth as all the others was Chase, and that was realistic of the intensity of his addiction.


I'm trying to think of bad things about the book and failing miserably. The only part that I didn't love was that it took me a little while to get into it, but I was in a weird mood and I think I may have not slept, so that was probably me.


Conclusion: Read it, read it, read it! This is such a good book about such a hard subject, written very very well, and it's definitely worth picking up. Four roses!!


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Explanation of my rating system

5 roses: Phenomenal, one of the best books ever, incredible, can't find anything wrong with it. Probably the only one I've encountered would be Harry Potter, but I'm gonna keep looking anyways.

4 ½ roses: Really, really, really great, almost perfect, but not quite, and still a hard rating to get.

4 roses: Very good, top-notch, loved it. This is normally the highest rating I'll give.

3 ½ roses: Still quite good, I'd recommend it, and probably read it again, but there were some things I didn't like.

3 roses: Decent, not the best, but not the worst. There were probably somethings that bugged me but I still like it.

2 ½ roses: I wouldn't read it again, but it wasn't terrible. I probably had some issues.

2 roses: Not something I'd read again and I probably had a lot of problems with it.

1 ½ roses: Why did I read this?

1 rose: I probably flung it across the room in frustration at some point. Not very good at all.

½ rose: Not even worth the paper it's written on.

O roses: I could see burning this.

I am trying to rely less on my (currently still new) rating system and be more descriptive in why I gave it that rating, but it's a bit of a process. Feel free to leave a comment about any rating I give a book.

Monday, February 9, 2009

New stuff

I'm bored and I'm sort of procrastination writing reviews. I'm horrible, bite me.

Anyways, I got to thinking, and I decided that, first of all, I'm going to do all reviews in purple, with extra stuff in this pretty pink-y colour, throw in some green, in post titles. I like the idea of taking colours from the banner and background to use in the rest of the blog, and blue because I love blue.

The other new thing I'm going to do is use a rating system, like how some people do out of five stars and such. Me being me, I'm going to use:




Roses. What do you all think of the picture size?

Laina

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Old books. :)

I'm taking this idea from Shalonda at Shalonda's Blog, because it's a really cool idea. (The pictures aren't that great, sorry, and you can kinda see my feet in them... and frig I set the date stamp wrong)

So anyways, I have...

Nine Goosebumps books, one Goosebumps Series 2000, one Ghosts of Fear Street, twelve Fear Street books, and one other R. L. Stine book.



Then I
have...

Two baby-sitters club books and eleven Baby-sitter's Little Sister books.







And then...


Nine Nancy Drew books. (When I saw them at the library sale, I felt sorry for them. I have a stuffed blue elephant and Lefty for the same reason...)


Then...






Nine Christopher Pike books (What's with all the nines?)




And finally, some random older books, just to give you an idea of what I own.

























Also in these ones, you can see part of how messy my room is, and a pair of socks I got for Christmas. :P

So that's all for now. :) I'm cleaning again today, but I should get reading and get a review up soon. Current book is Tweaked by Katherine Holubitsky.

Laina

Sunday, February 1, 2009

My first contest!!!! - Closed

This is so cool!!! My first contest.

The prize is the great book Across the Pond by Storyheart (my review of that will be up on the fifteenth.)

AND it'll be signed. Isn't that just awesome?

So here's what you have to do to enter.

+1 entry Comment with your name and some way I can reach you, preferably an email address.
+1 entry Following me, +2 if you're already a follower.
+1 entry Blog about the contest and leave me a link (sidebar is fine)
+2 entries Storyheart came up with this and I love it. Tell me what the English would call any two of these things (no googling): Eggplant, Chips, Wrench, Muffler, Sidewalk, Elevator, Suspenders, Zucchini, Cookies, and Windsheild.

And that's it!! Don't forget to tell me what all you do in your comment. Contest ends... in three weeks, so 11:59pm Sunday the 22nd, (GMT- 6 hours, which is my time zone). Good luck!

Edit: I'm not getting alot of entries, so I'm extending it another week, til the 22nd.

CLOSED

Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist

Note on the cover picture: The book has like a dozen covers, but I got the movie tie-in version from my library, so that's the one I'm using here.

Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan

Summary (from the back of the book): Nick's just seen the girl who dumped him walk in with a new guy. What else can he do but ask the strange girl necxt to him to be his new girlfrien for the next five minutes?

Norah would do anything to avoid conversations with the not not-friend girl who dumped Nick... and to get over the Evil Ex whom Norah never really totally dumped. What else can she do but answer Nick's question by making out with him?

With one electric, unexpected kiss, the five-minute couple of Nick and Norah set off on an uncharted adventure called the "first date" that will turn into an infinite night of falling in and out (and in and out, and maybe in and maybe out) of love. Theirs is a first date of music, laughter, heartache, confusion, passion, taxi cab wisdom, and a jacket named Salvatore. And of course a killer soundtrack.

As Nick and Norah wander through the middle-of-the-night mystic maze of Manhattan, they share the kind of night you want to never end, where every minute counts and every moment flickers between love and disaster.

Review: I loved it!! I absolutely loved it!! And I'm trying really hard not to use a ton of explanation marks. I thought it was cute and fun and quirky and interesting and just really, really good. I loved the switch back and forth between Nick and Norah's voices, they were both such interesting narrators. And a couple of the side characters, Dev in particular, I just loved because they were so crazy and great. The authors also described Manhatten so perfectly, just the way that makes you want to visit, move to New York just to see the places they mention. Beautifully described is the music, too, the atmosphere of the clubs and things they spend the night in. I just loved it, period.

And the Yugo. Any book with a Yugo named Jessie is going to find a permanent place on my favourites list.

A little warning, though, there is a ton of swearing. On one page I counted twenty-five f-words. Yeah, you read that right, twenty-five f-bombs on one page - and it was a short page, beginning of a chapter page. Now, personally, swearing mostly amuses me. I don't swear, but you curse at me, I'll probably just laugh at how goofy you sound. (Do NOT go cuss in my chatbox, though, that will NOT amuse me.) But the cursing may offend some people. My opinion is that's the way eighteen and nineteen year olds talk. That's life. It's realistic. Deal with it.

Conclusion: Gosh, this one was good. That's really all that needs to be said.