Wednesday, June 29, 2011

City of Glass

City of Glass (The Mortal Instruments, #3)City of Glass by Cassandra Clare

AR Reading Level: 5.3
On the library stacks: YA Fiction
Series: Mortal Instruments #3
Recommended for: Grades 9+

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This third book (of six) in the Mortal Instruments series picks up right where City of Ashes left off. Clary knows who she needs to find and where she needs to go in order to wake her mother up. She ultimately gets herself to Idris, the ancestral home of the Shadowhunters, where the bulk of this book takes place.

Jace doesn't want Clary in Idris at all. Simon is thrown in jail as an intended scapegoat by the Inquisitor. Sebastian, the dark prince of Clary's childhood drawings, expresses an interest in Clary that rankles Jace. And Aline makes a play for Jace that rankles Clary. Luke, as a werewolf, is in town illegally, but he holds the keys to uniting the Shadowhunters and Downworlders together in order to defeat Valentine.

I thought this book was written more fluidly than the first two, and the stylistic elements that bothered me earlier did not seem to surface here. However, this book was much more predictable than I would have liked, but I still enjoyed watching the story unfold. I think this page-turning series is a lot of fun and I'm looking forward to reading what else Cassandra Clare has in store.

Also reviewed by: eclectic/eccentric ~ Books & other thoughts ~ Becky's Book Reviews ~ Bloggin' 'bout Books ~ My Own Little Corner of the World ~ Capricious Reader ~ Your link here?

Source: Borrowed

Monday, June 27, 2011

State of Wonder - TLC Book Tour

State of Wonder by Ann Patchett

Publisher: Harper
Publication date: June 7, 2011
Hardcover: 368 pages
Price: $26.99
On the library stacks: Adult fiction
Ann Patchett's website.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Marina Singh is a pharmacologist at a Minnesota-based pharmaceutical company. She receives word that her officemate, Anders Eckman, has died of a fever in the Amazonian jungle of Brazil when he went to determine the status of a drug in development. Anders' wife, Karen, begs Marina to go down to Brazil to determine that Anders is really and truly dead and to bring home his belongings.

Mr. Fox, the company CEO and Marina's lover, also asks Marina to go to Brazil to try to reign in the rogue researcher, Annick Swenson. Marina was a student of Dr. Swenson's when she was a resident in obstetrics, but switched to pharmacology after an accident. Their shared history makes Marina hesitant to go, but an attractive choice since she knows the woman in question.

Once in Brazil, Marina meets a wonderful cast of characters including the driver, the bohemians who live in Annick's apartment, the Lakashi tribe whom the researchers work among, a deaf boy who comes from a neighboring cannibalistic tribe, and the indomitable Dr. Swenson. Marina is ultimately able to face her fears from the past, grow and develop as a woman and as a doctor, and to find the truth through the intricate web of lies and ethical dilemmas.

I enjoyed Marina's emotional journey as much as her eye-opening physical journey and survival in Brazil.  I thought Marina was a very sympathetic protagonist and someone I would like as a friend.  When I set the book down, I couldn't stop thinking about it and couldn't wait to get back to it. The novel held together so well for me, despite some far-fetched coincidences, until the last 5 pages. At that point, I wish I had just stopped reading because those final pages undid so much of what was woven together for me so beautifully in the story. However, I still highly recommend this novel. This may be my first Ann Patchett novel, but it definitely won't be my last.

Check out these reviews: Life In Review ~ The Lost Entwife ~ nomadreader ~ Regular Rumination ~ Bloggin’ ‘Bout Books
Look for these reviews coming soon:  Reading on a Rainy Day ~ Bibliophiliac ~ Library of Clean Reads ~ The Road to Here ~ A Bookish Way of Life ~ Book Hooked Blog ~ Diary of a Stay at Home Mom ~ Wordsmithonia ~ Steph and Tony Investigate ~ The Little Reader ~ I’m Booking It ~ MariReads 

Source: I received this book from the publisher as part of the TLC Book Tour.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Princess Bride

The Princess Bride The Princess Bride by William Goldman

AR Reading Level: 5.8
On the library stacks: Adult fiction

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I loved this movie as a teenager, but I had never read the book. What I did not know is that this book within book is a COMPLETE work of fiction, including all the stuff about Goldman's wife and kid that he throws in there. I thought his "abridgment" idea was very clever and I enjoyed finding the "Reunion Scene" online and learning about the real William Goldman.

I've never read a book where sarcasm was written this well, but it was grating on my nerves by the end. It got to a point where the narrator's cut-ins were just annoying me and I wanted the book to end. I don't know if I had read the book before the movie if I would have enjoyed the unique style more, but I definitely like the movie better!

Also reviewed by: The Avid Reader's Musings ~ Rebecca Reads
Source: Gift

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Vegan Family Meals

Vegan Family Meals: Real Food for EveryoneVegan Family Meals: Real Food for Everyone by Ann Gentry

Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
Publication Date: June 14, 2011
Hardcover: 272 pages
Price: $25.00

Back in October, my family's diet became mostly vegan. I am always on the lookout for new recipes as the change in lifestyle hasn't always been easy. I find the hardest part is that I run out of ideas quickly! I was excited to download this book from netGalley, and I have spent the last few months reading all the recipes.

Ann Gentry owns and operates a Los Angeles vegan restaurant called Real Food Daily. She certainly knows what she is doing and most of the recipes sound delicious. I thought she did a really great job in the sections where she discusses different types of milk substitutes, flours, fruits and vegetables, and describes the tenants of veganism. I think this would especially appeal to those just starting out as vegans.

The photographs in this book are amazing. The food looks gorgeous and the layout of this cookbook is really appealing. However, my major problem with this cookbook is that many of the recipes are very time-intensive and I was intimidated by some of the ingredients she uses. She favors Asian-style recipes with ingredients that I had never heard of and some are only found in specialty Asian markets. For those reasons, I didn't find this book especially useful for a busy mom-on-the-go who is looking to make quick and healthy meals for the family using ingredients on hand.

Source: e-copy provided by netGalley and Andrews McMeel Publishing for review purposes.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Hereafter (Hereafter, #1)Hereafter by Tara Hudson

Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: June 7, 2011
Hardcover: 416 pages
Price: $17.99

Series: Hereafter #1
On the library stacks: YA Fiction 

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Amelia always has the same nightmare: She's drowning in the river and trying to fight her way out. But instead of waking up and realizing it was all just a dream, she regains consciousness in a sunny graveyard in Oklahoma where no one can see her and no one can hear her. Amelia died in that river years before and now she is a ghost, roaming alone and wondering what comes next in the Hereafter.

Things begin to change for Amelia the night Joshua's car falls in the river. After his near-death experience, he can see her and touch her. Together they must fight against the evil spirit Eli who wants to claim Amelia for his own and against the local coven who has been trying to exorcize the ghosts in the area for decades.

This is my first exposure to a paranormal ghost story. I liked the romance even though the descriptions of their fiery passion got a little over the top. I found this to be an engagingly quick read and I think I would have liked it to be even a little longer to flesh out more about the characters and the world Amelia is living in. I think this is a must-read for those who enjoy paranormal romance and I was impressed enough with this debut from Tara Hudson that I will probably read the next in the series.

Also reviewed by: I Am A Reader, Not A Writer ~ Your link here?

Source: e-copy provided by netGalley and HarperTeen for review purposes.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me)

Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful ActsMistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts by Carol Tavris

On the library stacks: Adult Non-fiction
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Alright, so this book took me a long time to get through. But that's not totally the book's fault. I actually REALLY liked the book. It's not a page-turner, but it is one of those books that I've already annoyed plenty of people talking about and I wish I could get everyone to read.

This book is applicable to every aspect of our lives--as parents, spouses, family members, friends, teammates, employees and citizens. The authors explain why we go through a process of self-justification in order to live with ourselves after we make mistakes. But we also learn why fessing up and going easier on others when they make mistakes is in everyone's best interest. We learn how our memories can change according to the version of the past that best suits our present, how people with good intentions can turn out to make horrendous choices they might never have once dreamed of making, and how the bias of lawyers and law enforcement officers can lead to big mistakes in our justice system.

I started out this book feeling embarrassed and somewhat guilty because I KNOW I have fallen in to so many traps that the authors highlight. While I've always been interested in what makes other people tick, this book also illuminated how I tick sometimes, and hopefully I'll be a better person for having read it. Highly recommended.

Also reviewed by: The Book Nest
Source: Library