Sunday, April 06, 2014

[Review] Pizza, Love, and Other Stuff That Made Me Famous by Kathryn Williams

Kathryn Williams
Pizza, Love, and Other Stuff That Made Me Famous
[contemporary YA]
240 pages
Henry Holt and Company, NY

You can buy it here:
Pizza, Love, and Other Stuff That Made Me Famous (hardcover)
Pizza, Love, and Other Stuff That Made Me Famous (Amazon eBook)

FTC: I bought this book with my own money.

Summary: (from the cover flap)
Sixteen-year-old Sophie Nicolaides was practically raised in the kitchen of her family's Italian-Greek Taverna Ristorante. When her best friend, Alex, tries to persuade her to audition for a new reality show, Teen Test Kitchen, Sophie is reluctant - could chopping onions in her family's super-traditional restaurant have prepared her to compete against young chefs from all over the country? On the other hand, she'd get to spend the summer in Napa, California, and the prize includes a full scholarship to an elite culinary school and even national fame.

Once she's on the set, Sophie finds herself surrounded by drama - including a burn book, cutthroat celebrity judges, and a very cute French student. Sophie must figure out how to survive the heat and still stay true to herself. In this fresh and hearty novel, food, friendship, and romance take center stage.

My thoughts:
This is one delicious novel that makes you drool while reading! Not only the recipes that are a nice addition to any food-related book, but also the various dishes prepared by the teen chefs on the fictional show. Just thinking about the book makes me feel hungry again, and it has been worse while I was reading it (luckily, I could easily whip up a microwave cookie or a microwave brownie while reading to keep at least the sweet tooth filled).

The characters were not all new, but nonetheless very loveable. In general, some of the contestants may have been a bit naive, when it came to the ins and outs of reality TV, which was a bit tedious from time to time, but all in all, the story and their interactions were so cute, it is pretty much negligible.

The romance for me was mostly that of food, though there was a tiny love triangle that was resolved without much emphasis on what was going on. To some readers, this may be bothersome, as the resolution seemed to come out of nowhere. Despite that, both boys played their role in the life of our main character, Sophie, and their importance to the plot was obvious, so it can be forgiven.

If you like food, cute young adult novels and some drama, I recommend you pick up a copy of Pizza, Love, and Other Stuff That Made Me Famous. And maybe try one (or all!) of the recipes. I know I will!

Rating:
3.5/5


Sunday, March 30, 2014

[Review] Camp Boyfriend by J.K. Rock

J.K. Rock
Camp Boyfriend

[contemporary YA]

You can buy it here:
Camp Boyfriend (Amazon paperback)
Camp Boyfriend (Amazon eBook)

FTC: Received from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Summary: (via Netgalley)
The summer of her dreams is about to get a reality check.

They said it couldn't be done, but geeky sophomore Lauren Carlson transformed herself into a popular girl after moving to a new school halfway across the country. Amazing what losing her braces and going out for cheerleading will do. Only trouble is, the popular crowd is wearing on Lauren's nerves and she can't wait to return to summer camp where she's valued for her brain instead of her handsprings. She misses her old friends and most of all, her long time camp-only boyfriend, Seth. This year she intends to upgrade their relationship to year-round status once she's broken up with her new, jock boyfriend, Matt. He doesn't even begin to know the real her, a girl fascinated by the night sky who dreams of discovering new planets and galaxies.

But Matt isn't giving her up without a fight. As he makes his case to stay together, Lauren begins to realize his feelings run deeper than she ever would have guessed. What if the guy she thought she was meant to be with forever isn't really The One? Returning to Camp Juniper Point was supposed to ground her uprooted life, but she's more adrift than ever. Everything feels different and soon Lauren's friends are turning on her and both guys question what she really wants. As summer tensions escalate, Lauren wonders if she's changed more than she thought. Will her first big discovery be herself?

My thoughts:
It has been a long time since I last had the energy to review a book, with the baby and all (he doesn't sleep much during the day, so there's hardly any reading time for me anyway). However, I finished Camp Boyfriend this afternoon and knew I couldn't continue the series without writing a review first. Let's see if I can still manage to write a review then.

The cast in this adorable young adult novel is made up of a wide variety of characters. There are (among others) jocks, cheerleaders, queen bees, nerds - and sometimes, characters are really part of more than one of those groups. Lauren's main difficulty in this book is trying to figure out who she really is after spending the majority of her life as a major nerd, who was just transformed into a popular girl by her mother upon a move her family made. Returning to the camp, she thinks she will be back to her old self, however, things do not go as planned.

J.K. Rock's writing captured me from the start and is so easygoing, it did not take me long to finish the book in a few short sittings. By the way, J.K. Rock is actually a writing team, Joanne and Karen Rock. Joanne RockIndividually, they are be known to readers of romance novels for their Harlequin novels. The Camp Boyfriend series is their first aray into the young adult section, and I believe they did a good job capturing the voice of teenagers and the way they perceive the world.

I had not read the prequel novella, Camp Kiss before I read Camp Boyfriend, because I was not aware of it. I do not feel it hindered my understanding of the cast and how they interacted. Nonetheless, I want to read it soon, to see how the relationship between Lauren and Seth initially developped.

Rating:
4/5


Saturday, January 11, 2014

Bout of Books Day 6

So Day 6 of Bout of Books is coming to an end and i finally have made some progress I can tell you about. I have finished Pawn by Aimee Carter. I really enjoyed the book and I cannot wait to share my thoughts with you.

How is this Bout of Books going for you?

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Bout of Books 9.0

I'm in! I thought about this long and hard, but I'm in. Bout of Books starts tomorrow and lasts a week, and I'm almost in bed. My computer is off, so I'm typing this on my phone and it is more of a place holder for what i will hopefully write tomorrow.

Having a 5 month old baby, my goal will be to read one book and to finally write two post I have wanted to write since Christmas - one about Secret Santa and one off-topic. Let's see if I can do this!This post was originally posted by Kathrin from Stacked'n'Painted. Do not copy or reproduce without express written permission.
Copyright 2006-2013.

Friday, December 06, 2013

[Review] Jean-Yves Ferri & Didier Conrad: Asterix and the Picts



Jean-Yves Ferri & Didier Conrad: Asterix and the Picts [graphic novel, fiction]

You can buy it here:Asterix and the Picts (#35)

Summary:
Asterix and Obelix find a foreigner frozen in an ice cube at the beach. They try to help him return home.

My thoughts:
I grew up with these graphic novels and enjoyed them from the get go. My brother and I got the first 20 or so issues because our uncles were reading them when they were younger. So when I saw the latest Asterix issue in our grocery store, I had to get it.

This is originally a French series by René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo about a small village that decides to fight Julius Cesar's attempt to conquer the world. René Goscinny died quite a few years ago already, and this is now the first one which Albert Uderzo did not draw himself (he did oversee the process, however!). As a fan of this series for years, it makes me sad to know that I will no longer be waiting for a graphic novel by the two men who began this series, but for a new installment by new authors and illustrators. However, I think they might have found two worthy successors, so I have a good feeling for the future.

I was anxious when I first started reading this installment, but Ferri and Conrad did a good job filling in for Goscinny and Uderzo. The story was fun to read, as they included common themes as well as a new story line with some new characters they created. This made me feel somewhat "at home" with the way things progressed.

Hopefully, they will keep up the good work - and maybe they will even come out with a new installment in less time than it took between the last one and this one?

Rating:
4.5/5

FTC: Bought with my own money.


Everything changes...

When you have a child, everything changes. Priorities shift, your interests change to some degree, and you no longer have as much time as you used to have. And it is an absolute joy! The mister and I have been talking about how it is incredible how such a tiny thing can take up so much of your heart. This precious little boy that came into our lives as a big surprise is now 4 months old. He smiles and laughs so much and we couldn't be happier. However, it has taken its toll on my reading. I believe I only finished two books so far, but I am working on two books right now. Well, I may have read more books, if you allow me to count the picture books I read to the precious boy. With the new interests and other things I am now working on apart from books, I may implement a few non-bookish themes here. This will still be a book blog for the most part, but I want to share other things here as well. So I hope you will stay tuned for what I have coming up for you!


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

[15 Day Book Blogger Challenge] Day 8 - Things that appeal to me on blogs



April from Good Books and Good Wine is doing the 15 Day Blogger Challenge for the next few days and I decided to join in.

15 quick bullet points of things that appeal to me on blogs is the task for Day 8, so let's see...

  • semi-regular posts (but not too many!)
  • pics of the cover that are neither too big nor too small
  • clear titles (I want to know up front if it is a review, cover reveal or whatever)
  • ratings aren't necessary as long as the text tells me enough
  • similar reading tastes
  • reliable reviews
  • a nice selection of non-review posts
  • some regular posts I can look forward to
  • personal posts - I like to get to know the person behind the blog
  • comments
  • audiobooks - admit to reading them, they count too!
  • NO music, sound effects or anything similar - I absolutely despise this "trend"
  • no fancy color schemes for the text, easy to read really appeals to me (I want to be able to read without my glasses if I feel like it
  • No captcha!
  • I can easily find what I'm looking for


What about you? What appeals to you? Is there anything you would recommend I change?


Monday, July 15, 2013

[15 Day Book Blogger Challenge] Day 7 - Blogging Quirks



April from Good Books and Good Wine is doing the 15 Day Blogger Challenge for the next few days and I decided to join in.

Today is Day 7 and we have a full week of the 15 Day Blogger Challenge behind us. Today is all about blogging quirks and I have to admit, I am not sure what my quirks are.

I cannot write a review right after finishing a book. The book may be fresh in my mind, but I would never be able to get it all in, in fact, I usually forget something if I write the review right away.

I try to steer clear of too many I's in my posts, especially in the reviews, because it feels odd, but there are many, many cases where I miserably fail.

I am constantly late and usually only manage to schedule a handful of posts. When you see blog posts, usually I really just finished writing them.

Do those count as blogging quirks???


Sunday, July 14, 2013

[15 Day Book Blogger Challenge] Day 6 - Book Shopping



April from Good Books and Good Wine is doing the 15 Day Blogger Challenge for the next few days and I decided to join in.

Today's Day 6 already and I'm surprised. What happened??? Anyway, today, I am going to introduce you to my kind of book shopping! This will be a short entry because I think I'm fairly easy.

I do not buy exclusively at one place, but usually look around wherever I am when I feel like getting a new book. This can be online (TBD or the big yellow A) or in stores wherever I am. Sometimes, I already know what I'm looking for, so I will simply seek out that particular book and I'm done, other days I have no clue and just want the book shopping experience. Those are the days when I will spend quite a while looking around, maybe disappearing behind a stack of books or a row of opened windows with book summaries before I make my ultimate decision.

That's me, very random, I guess...

How do you shop for books?


Saturday, July 13, 2013

[15 Day Book Blogger Challenge] Day 5 - Tear Jerker



April from Good Books and Good Wine is doing the 15 Day Blogger Challenge for the next few days and I decided to join in.

Today, on Day 5, I am supposed to recommend a tear jerker to you. For me, there is a combination of two books that created a really bad tear jerker. I cried and cried for a majority of the second book, but the first book is already oh so sad, I do not want to exclude it.

The books are:



Richelle Mead's Shadow Kiss and Blood Promise really made me cry a lot. You have the tragedy around Lissa and at the same time the sad, sad events revolving around Rose and Dimitry. I know even reading this a second time will not make it easier. I will certainly start crying again!

Can you recommend a tear jerker? I would love to hear about it!

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