Thursday, February 28, 2013

Letters to Elise

Letters to Elise: A Peter Townsend Novella (My Blood Approves, #4.5)Letters to Elise: A Peter Townsend Novella by Amanda Hocking
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

*uncompleted* I didn't realize when I bought this book that it was part of a series (and not even the first). Usually this isn't a problem, but as soon as I picked up this book, I could tell I was missing something. Something about this book just didn't work for me - the few pages that I read were overly dramatic, stylized writing. It just didn't appeal to me.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

A Tree Grows in BrooklynA Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I wasn't sure how I was going to review this book. It is slow paced, sometimes a very detailed, look at the poor in the early 1900's. Very fascinating if you can stick with that kind of reading. There wasn't a plot to this story, but there is foreshadowing of the climax. This book has a lot of emotional ups and downs. The ending kept it from being a five star book. I felt it was all very factual - possibly even biographical, until the last 30 pages. Then the story took on a rather fanciful, happy ever after too good to be true tone. Any truth the story may have had lost it's shinyness and left me unsatisfied. I recommend this book just for the historical merit.

Synopsis: The beloved American classic about a young girl's coming-of-age at the turn of the century, Betty Smith's A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a poignant and moving tale filled with compassion and cruelty, laughter and heartache, crowded with life and people and incident. The story of young, sensitive, and idealistic Francie Nolan and her bittersweet formative years in the slums of Williamsburg has enchanted and inspired millions of readers for more than sixty years. By turns overwhelming, sublime, heartbreaking, and uplifting, the daily experiences of the unforgettable Nolans are raw with honesty and tenderly threaded with family connectedness -- in a work of literary art that brilliantly captures a unique time and place as well as incredibly rich moments of universal experience.

Recommended Reading:
Wicked by Gregory Maguire
Giant by Edna Ferber
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
The Cider House Rules by John Irving
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Yogurt Fruit Dip

This dip went over great with both kids! It seemed to pair well with the sweeter fruits - grapes and red apples - so The Spawn has me on the hunt yet for a dip that will pair well with his favorite fruit: Granny Smith apples.

I think my dip turned out a little darker than it should have been because my banana was frozen.

1 cup plain yogurt [I used vanilla]
1/2 medium ripe banana
4 tsp honey
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
Assorted fruit for dipping

In a blender, combine all ingredients; cover and process until smooth.

Chill and serve with assorted fruit.

Recipe from Taste of Home Good Food Kids Love Oct 2006

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Catching Fire

Catching Fire (Hunger Games, #2)Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I've had a few days to think about this book, and, well, I'm still confused. I don't know whether I love it or hate it. The first two-thirds of the book is a love story. Kind of. I was honestly surprised that The Spawn liked this book at all because... well, it made me want to gag. So then we get to the arena - Luh-hoved it! [and yes, I did say that with a sing-song voice.] Okay, so I'm still creeped out about the whole teenager killing teenager - or more accurately in this arena, people killing people - for sport. What made this for me is the characters. The way the author really made them shine. I thought this was going to be a five star for me, based on just the last third of the book... but then the last like, ten pages bottomed out. Just as quickly as my book high started, it ended. I have some reservations about starting the last book of the series so I'm distracting myself with other reads until I get the resolve to read it. I almost feel like I'm recovering from a bad break-up...

Synopsis: Katniss Everdeen survived the Hunger Games. Now the Capitol wants revenge.Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark are still alive. Katniss should be relieved, but now there are whispers of a rebellion against the Capitol -- a rebellion that Katniss and Peeta may have helped create.

As the nation watches Katniss and Peeta, the stakes are higher than ever. One false move and the consequences will be unimaginable.

Recommended Reading:
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Inheritance by Christopher Paolini
The Necromancer by Michael Scott
The Death Cure by James Dashner
City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Bright Young Things

Bright Young Things (Bright Young Things, #1)Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I love books set in the time frame between the World Wars. Such an interesting period in history. Clearly a lot of research went into the history setting of this novel. The writing was very good - great dialogue and descriptive construction. The plot was too coincidental for my liking and the time frame too short to make this believable. I did really enjoy this read though and will be picking up the next two books in the series in the near future.

Synopsis: The year is 1929. New York is ruled by the Bright Young Things: Flappers and socialites seeking thrills and chasing dreams in the anything-goes era of the Roaring Twenties.

Letty Larkspur and Cordelia Grey escaped their small Midwestern town for New York's glittering metropolis. All Letty wants is to see her name in lights, but she quickly discovers Manhattan is filled with pretty girls who will do anything to be a star....

Cordelia is searching for the father she's never known, a man as infamous for his wild parties as he is for his shadowy schemes. Overnight, she enters a world more thrilling and glamorous than she ever could have imagined — and more dangerous. It's a life anyone would kill for...and someone will.

The only person Cordelia can trust is ­Astrid Donal, a flapper who seems to have it all: money, looks, and the love of Cordelia's brother, Charlie. But Astrid's perfect veneer hides a score of family secrets.

Across the vast lawns of Long Island, in the ­illicit speakeasies of Manhattan, and on the blindingly lit stages of Broadway, the three girls' fortunes will rise and fall — together and apart.

Recommended Reading:
Beautiful Days by Anna Godbersen
The Lucky Ones by Anna Godbersen
Vixen by Jillian Larkin
Ingenue by Jillian Larkin
Sugar and Spice by Lauren Conrad
Belle of the Brawl by Lisi Harrison

Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1)The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Whoa. I am disturbed by the plot of the story. For an adult book, yeah, but an YA book? I'm a little rattled about it. Otherwise, writing wasn't bad. There were some decent twists in the plot. Characters were interesting. Would have like to spent more time with some of them. The ending didn't surprise me, I had a 'Romeo and Juliet' feeling about the love story. I'm not sure I'm as thrilled about the series as The Spawn is (he's read the series twice over the course of a month). I'm not going to be rushing to finish up the series.

Synopsis: Winning means fame and fortune. Losing means certain death. The Hunger Games have begun...

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, the shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister's place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before--and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

Recommended Reading:
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
The Gift by James Patterson
The Power of Six by Pittacus Lore
The Magician by Michael Scott
The Scorch Trials by James Dashner