Sunday, May 24, 2015

In My Mailbox


In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

FROM NETGALLEY:


Gryphons Aren't So Great by James Sturm, Alexis Frederick-Frost, Andrew Arnold
Secret Coders by Gene Luen Yang

Photobucket

Note: This post may contain Amazon affiliate links.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Review: Sugar and Spice: The Cupcake Club by Sheryl Berk, Carrie Berk


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
Sugar and spice and everything nice-that's what cupcake club girls are made of!
The girls of Peace, Love, and Cupcakes have a new club advisor: Blakely Elementary's zany new art teacher Mr. Quinn Dubois. He's all about painting outside the lines and making cupcakes that push the envelope.
Almost immediatley, Mr. Dubois and Kylie-the club's founder-butt heads ("He's a GUY...what does he know?!"). But with orders pouring in like cake batter there's no time to argue. Principal Fontanta needs 2,000 mini cupcakes for the school's Annual Auction Benefit and Mr. Ludwig has a special cupacke request for his store's 5th anniversary celebration! Have PLC bitten off more than they can chew?

MY TAKE:
I love cupcakes and books about friendship so I figured this sounded like something I would like.

In Sugar and Spice: The Cupcake Club, the girls are in the running to bake cupcakes for the Miss New England Shooting Starz Pageant. However, Lexi has a little added stress in her life as she earns the ire of Meredith, which in turn leads to a surprising decision on her part.

It's a good thing that after reading the summary before requesting the book, I don't reread the summary prior to reading the ARC. Otherwise, I would have been confused. As you can see from the short recap I wrote, the PLC's main baking job in the book was for a pageant and it's Lexi who takes center stage in the book.

The story had a Babysitters-Club-meets-Miss-Congeniality-meets-Toddlers-and-Tiaras. I actually kinda liked it, even if it was meant for a younger audience. I'm way past the shy stage that Lexi is in, but I think lots of young girls will be able to relate to Lexi's story.

The things I enjoyed here the most are the cupcake recipes and the interview with Magnolia Bakery's CEO. The cupcake recipes included in the book are for: green tea cupcakes, pink velvet cupcakes and pumpkin pie recipes. The interview with the CEO was pretty cool and inspiring, not just for kids but for adults who want to build their own business empire as well.

Thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Jabberwocky for the e-copy.

THE GOOD:

  1. Lots of kids will be able to relate to Lexi.
  2. The flavors of the cupcakes that can be made from recipes provided look unique and yummy.
  3. The interview with the Magnolia Bakery CEO is inspiring.

THE BAD:

  1. Some may feel like there's not enough action here. 

READ IT IF:

  1. Your child likes books like The Babysitters Club.
  2. Your child likes to bake.
  3. Your child dreams of starting his or her own baking business someday. 

RATING:
Photobucket

SOUNDS INTERESTING?

Photobucket

Note: This post may contain Amazon affiliate links.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Review: Heartfelt Lies: Undone Series #2 by Kristy Love


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
Loving Cassie was effortless.
She was a thirst I couldn’t quench.
She was everything I needed, but nothing I deserved.
I failed her more times than I could count.
I lied relentlessly.
And she always forgave me.
Until she couldn’t.
Maybe I deserved to be left behind.
* * *
Jax swept me off my feet with his disheveled hair and his easy smile.
I loved him fiercely.
He made me believe in the fairytale.
Then the walls crumbled around me.
The lies never ended.
I left him behind. I had no choice.
I mourned the loss of him.
But I moved on.
I created a new life,
Now, I was marrying someone else.
Where do we go now that he’s back?

MY TAKE:
The premise, as well as the beautiful cover, convinced me to give this book a try.

In Heartfelt Lies, it's Cassie's wedding day. Her ex Jax suddenly appears and begs for a second chance. Cassie still has feelings for him, but is their past and what Jax did too much for her to give him a second chance.

I really wanted to like this book. The premise was definitely what I was looking for when I decided to start reading it. However, after reading the story, I'd have to say that this was not for me. Perhaps you'll like it, though.

I enjoyed the narration set in the past more than the ones set in the future. I'll get to why later. I also liked seeing how Jax slowly descended into the world of drugs and alcohol. It's fascinating to watch and I think it will be familiar to people who have experience addiction before, as well as their family members who saw what was happening to them. It was also nice to see how Jax and Cassie were around her son. I have friends who are single mothers and it was interesting to see what dating must be like for them.

Now, why didn't I end up liking this novel? Cassie and Jax's first meeting was shown within the first chapters of the book. Their mutual attraction was there from the first second. Instalove/lust is a tricky thing for me. I don't automatically hate it, but for it to work, I need to care about the characters and be invested in their future. Since it happened so early on in the book, I hadn't had the time to really get to know the characters. So when they met, I was irritated at first and then settled into disinterested for the first half of the book. It was only when Jax was beginning his downward spiral and we get to know more about the both of them that I started to get interested in their past relationship. However, by then, I wasn't cheering for them anymore. I actually started agreeing with Cassie's mother. Of course, addicts can recover and people can change. The thing is, though, after seeing how their relationship ended, I don't think getting back together is a wise idea. Good for them if they can make it work until they're both old, though. I wish them all the best.

Thanks to NetGalley and the author for the e-ARC.

THE GOOD:

  1. It shows how addiction affects both the addict and their family members.
  2. It shows that people can change for the better.
  3. There's a happy ending.

THE BAD:

  1. I hadn't gotten to know the characters well enough before they fell in love so I wasn't as invested in their relationship as I could have been. 

READ IT IF:

  1. You have a loved on who ise (or you are) a recovering alcoholic.
  2. You want to read a book about second chances.
  3. You like novels wherein there is an instant attraction between the main characters and they act on it right away.

RATING:
Photobucket


Photobucket

Note: This post may contain Amazon affiliate links.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Review: Angry Birds / Transformers: Age of Eggstinction by John Barber


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
When the Transformers lose their powerful Allspark, it ends up on Piggie Island — and the world of Angry Birds turns robotic! Prepare to meet… the AUTOBIRDS and DECEPTIHOGS!
MY TAKE:
I thought the idea of an Angry Birds and Transformers crossover was cool, so I just had to read this one.

In Angry Birds / Transformers: Age of Eggstinction, the Allspark ends up on Piggy Island, transforming the pigs into Deceptihogs and the birds into Autobirds. At first, the birds and pigs are still fighting over the eggs. Before long, however, they realize that the Allspark is doing something strange to Piggy Island and the eggs. Now they must work together to put a stop to all this and save Piggy Island.

As I expected, there were some very funny lines here. The birds and pigs got themselves into odd situations, so it was really ripe for comedy.

I thought the plot was pretty interesting, and the idea of making the birds and pigs to be bird- and pig-versions of the Transformer characters instead of becoming new versions of Decepticons and Autobots was a good call. However, there were times wherein I would get confused as to who a particular pig was when he wasn't a Deceptihog, and what his name was as a Deceptihog. The birds were easier to identify, although in my head, I referred to most of them by what they were called as regular angry birds. It really helps to be familiar with the names and looks of the Autobots and Decepticons, because with everything going on, things can get confusing.

I liked how the panels and dialogue were laid out, as they seemed to make things even more action-packed and dynamic. The colors, though, for some reason, seemed a little less bright than what I'm used to seeing from Angry Birds comic books.

Thanks to NetGalley and IDW Publishing for the e-ARC.

THE GOOD:

  1. It's an Angry Birds and Transformers crossover.
  2. There are some truly funny lines.
  3. The plot is clever. 

THE BAD:

  1. It can be confusing to try and remember which bird and pig represented which Autobot and Decepticon. 

READ IT IF:

  1. If you're a fan of Transformers.
  2. If you like Angry Birds.
  3. You like crossover books and shows.

RATING:
Photobucket

SOUNDS INTERESTING?
Photobucket

Note: This post may contain Amazon affiliate links.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Review: The Proof and the Pudding: What Mathematicians, Cooks, and You Have in Common by Jim Henle


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
Tie on your apron and step into Jim Henle’s kitchen as he demonstrates how two equally savory pursuits—cooking and mathematics—have more in common than you realize. A tasty dish for gourmets of popular math, The Proof and the Pudding offers a witty and flavorful blend of mathematical treats and gastronomic delights that reveal how life in the mathematical world is tantalizingly similar to life in the kitchen.
Take a tricky Sudoku puzzle and a cake that fell. Henle shows you that the best way to deal with cooking disasters is also the best way to solve math problems. Or take an L-shaped billiard table and a sudden desire for Italian potstickers. He explains how preferring geometry over algebra (or algebra over geometry) is just like preferring a California roll to chicken tikka masala. Do you want to know why playfulness is rampant in math and cooking? Or how to turn stinky cheese into an awesome ice cream treat? It’s all here: original math and original recipes plus the mathematical equivalents of vegetarianism, Asian fusion, and celebrity chefs.
Pleasurable and lighthearted, The Proof and the Pudding is a feast for the intellect as well as the palate.
Jim Henle is the Myra M. Sampson Professor of Mathematics and Statistics at Smith College. His books include Sweet Reason: A Field Guide to Modern Logic and Calculus: The Language of Change. He lives in Northampton, Massachusetts.

MY TAKE:
Although I like math, I tend to shy away from math books like these since they tend to be boring.

In The Proof and the Pudding: What Mathematicians, Cooks, and You Have in Common, the author shows readers the parallelisms of math and cooking. The book includes math puzzles and games, as well as recipes created by the author which readers can try at home.

The book was certainly successful in making me see the similarities between math and cooking. The one that stuck to me, especially, was how attitude and confidence was the most important thing when tackling math problems and cooking. That's certainly a helpful lesson for people, particularly those who aren't all that confident about mathematics.

The whole tone of the book was more inspirational than reference-like. The writing was funny, sometimes sarcastic, and was a little bit like Leonard-meets-Sheldon (from Big Bang Theory). This, plus the addition of recipes, kept the book from being boring.

The book will appeal mostly to math enthusiasts and cooking enthusiasts, obviously. Additional examples of puzzles and such can be found in a special website for the book. The recipes, on the other hand, look delicious and worth trying if you have the inclination to cook.

It wasn't an exact fit for me, so I wasn't fully into it. However, I do appreciate and like how I was able to feel the author's passion for mathematics practically pour out from the page. That kind of enthusiasm helps make the subject more fun and interesting, and helps make me feel more excited about the subjects discussed as well.

Thanks to NetGalley and Princeton University Press for the e-ARC.

THE GOOD:

  1. The author's passion is contagious.
  2. The recipes look doable and like they'll produce delicious food.
  3. It makes math look fun.

THE BAD:

  1. If math isn't your strong point, you may find your attention wandering a few times. 

READ IT IF:

  1. You like mathematics.
  2. You like cooking.
  3. You like books that make boring subjects more fun. 

RATING:
Photobucket

SOUNDS INTERESTING?
Photobucket

Note: This post may contain Amazon affiliate links.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

“Isn't Bunson's training evil geniuses?"
"Yes, mostly."
"Well, is that wise? Having a mess of seedling evil geniuses falling in love with you willy-nilly? What if they feel spurned?"
"Ah, but in the interim, think of the lovely gifts they can make you. Monique bragged that one of her boys made her silver and wood hair sticks as anti-supernatural weapons. With amethyst inlay. And another made her an exploding wicker chicken."
"Goodness, what's that for?"
Dimity pursed her lips. "Who doesn't want an exploding wicker chicken?”   

Photobucket

Note: This post may contain Amazon affiliate links.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Review: Glance Backward HC by Tony Sandoval


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
Sean Wu had no idea of the secrets kept by his estranged father — until his death kicked open the gates to a mysterious world of international tomb robbers and ageless myths! Now the sole heir to this critical legacy, he must survive the darkest terrors haunting the most sought after treasures buried within a globe-spanning labyrinth of ancient catacombs in order to solve his father’s murder and perhaps even save the world… Based on the best-selling Chinese novel series Daomu Journal, written by Xu “Kennedy” Lei, this original graphic novel collects the sold-out series created by the celebrated art directors at Concept Art House, with over 20 million fans declaring Xu ‘China’s Stephen King’.
This 244-page hardcover features a soft-touch textured cover with embossed elements, highlighting the strikingly rendered painted artwork on both front and back cover. The epic storyline is supplemented by concept artwork and additional design material further exploring the world of Daomu.

MY TAKE:
I was quite excited to read this graphic novel after reading the summary.

In Glance Backward, a young boy enters a strange world where nothing is as it seems. He would love nothing more than to get back home but it's not that easy, especially since he is also being hunted by a beast.

Because I don't reread the summary before reading e-ARCs I've already downloaded, I was confused at first by the copy I received. I was sure that I was excited about this one, but until I reread the summary that I realized that the book was 244 pages long and the copy I received was only 90 pages. There wasn't anything on the NetGalley page to indicate that this was only a preview or sample either. That aside, I thought that this was an interesting book.

From what I saw of the book, it was very surreal. It was like being in a dream, and not the fun kind either. It's the kind of book that Tim Burton could easily turn into a film.

I don't think I can truly comment on the plot accurately since I only saw less than half of the book. However, from what I saw, it's dark, avant garde, and a tad morbid. It's absolutely perfect for any horror fan. The thing is, though, I am hesitant to recommend it to the younger horror fans. There's a sort of graphic scene here that I found a bit disturbing, which was thankfully tempered by the use of dark colors.

Overall, the book does look promising, but the style may not appeal to more mainstream fans.

Thanks to NetGalley and Magnetic Press for the e-ARC.

THE GOOD:

  1. The style is perfect for the story.
  2. Horror fans will love this.
  3. It's something new.

THE BAD:

  1. It can get morbid and graphic sometimes. 

READ IT IF:

  1. You like horror.
  2. You like odd adventure tales.
  3. You are looking for a thriller. 

RATING:
Photobucket

SOUNDS INTERESTING?

Photobucket

Note: This post may contain Amazon affiliate links.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...