Friday, 29 July 2011

Blood Red Road by Moira Young

I ain't afeared of nuthin.

When Saba's brother is stolen, red rage fills her soul.

She races across the cruel dustlands to find him.

Saba can trust no one. Even the boy who saves her life.

She must silence her heart to survive.

Blood will spill.

This book could be described as dystopian. It's set in a future world where civilisation, as we know it, has ended and people are struggling to live and survive. Rivers and lakes have dried up and food is scarce in some places. The world Moira Young writes is huge and very detailed, it reminds me a bit of Mad Max as well. Don't ask me why, I think it's the scenes in dry, desert-like places.

I was worried at the beginning, that I wouldn't like this book. I started reading and the language put me off, it's written the way (I guess) that the people talk and there's no speech marks to denote when someone's speaking. But I got used to it eventually and ended up loving it.

The characters are well written and I love Saba and her stubborn hot-headed-ness, I also love that she grows and changes as she's forced to live a life she doesn't want to. As I already said, the world is great. It really does make me think of Mad Max, maybe it's the scenes or maybe it's the idea of marauders hiding out and waiting to rob people.

Whatever it is, I recommend this book. Very enjoyable and there's a sequel due out in 2012 .... that's only a year away, I can wait that long, right?

Book Depository: Blood Red Road
Amazon UK: Blood Red Road

Update: The sequel, Rebel Heart, is due to be published at the end of October 2012.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Here Lies Bridget by Paige Harbison

They say that before you die your life flashes before your eyes.

You think it's going to be the good stuff - every kiss, every party.

Don't count on it.

I was Bridget Duke - the uncontested ruler of the school. If keeping the wannabes in their place meant being a mean girl, then so be it!
I never thought there'd be a price to pay.

Until the accident.

Now, trapped between life and death, I'm seeing my world in a new light: through the eyes of five people whose existence I've made hell.
And I've got one chance to make things right. If I don't, I may never wake up again ...

OK so you know from the blurb that Bridget is going to be a bitch - and she was! You also know from the blurb that she's going to see the errors in her ways - which she does. The thing that annoyed me? Bitchy Bridget was in majority of the book and I would have much rather read the scenes where she was seeing herself through other's eyes. Because nothing puts me off finishing a book more than a bitchy lead.

The story itself was very well written and I really enjoyed the scenes where she was seeing herself because she was literally inside the other person's head and got to hear their thoughts. Bridget's one of those chicks that thinks everyone loves her when in reality they just put up with her.

I think this was most definitely a stand alone novel although I think I'd like to see more in the way of the sort of judging panel going to other people. That was the premise I liked and I think it'd be fun to read more.

Book Depository: Here Lies Bridget
Amazon UK: Here Lies Bridget

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Fine Cooking Cookies by Fine Cooking Magazine

Name your cookie! Shaped, drop, bar, roll and bake, or slice and bake, they all get professional treatment and triple testing from Fine Cooking magazine, the most trusted name in cooking. This fresh batch of more than 200 amazing recipes will inspire great baking. From classic favorites like snickerdoodles and chocolate chunk to more sophisticated treats like biscotti and fruit bars, there's something for every occasion. Bakers will roll out these sweets for the holidays, for dessert, or just to fill up the cookie jar. Also includes Fine Cooking's signature style of tips and secrets from the pros, step-by-step photos to help master techniques, ingredient profiles, and shortcuts. For anyone who wants to bake like the best, Fine Cooking Cookies has all the right ingredients.

Contributors include Deborah Madison, Abby Dodge, Molly Stevens, Susie Middleton, Alice Medrich, Rose Levy Beranbaum, Nicole Rees, and Flo Braker.

Release Date 4th October 2011

So I'm not entirely sure how to go about writing a review for a recipe book. I mean, I can't possibly cook every cookie in the book before I review it ....... well I could, but it'd cost me a bit of money and I'd put on a tonne of weight!

On first quick flick through, I think I spotted about 20 or more recipes that I really want to try. I decided to go with the basic old favourite of chocolate chunk.

I feel I should mention that, although I love baking and tend to do it often, I've actually never made cookies before. So the fact that my first batch turned out perfect shows how well the recipes are written. Steps are very clearly written and, even though the weights are US, there's a conversion chart at the back. Same for the temperatures, the recipe said to put my oven at 350 when mine only goes to 200! Thankfully there's a handy little chart, lol.

This has recipes for everyone. There's bar-form, sandwiches, thick, thin, chewy, crispy and I'm pretty sure every flavour is in there. I, for one, can't wait to try some more recipes from it but for now, here's a picture of my first foray into cookie baking.

And they taste awesome!

Buy Fine Cooking Cookies from Amazon.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Misfit by Jon Skovron

Jael has always felt like a freak. She's never kissed a boy, she never knew her mom, and her dad's always been super strict - but that's probably because her mom was a demon, which makes Jael half demon and most definitely not a normal sophomore girl. On her sixteenth birthday, a mysterious present unlocks her family's dangerous history and Jael's untapped potential. What was merely an embarrassing secret before becomes a terrifying reality. Jael must learn to master her demon side in order to take on a vindictive Duke of Hell while also dealing with a twisted priest, best-friend drama, and a spacey blond skater boy who may have hidden depths.

Release Date 1st August 2011

This is neither fast paced or slow to get into, (I feel like Goldilocks here, lol) it was just right. Straight off, I loved the cover then I read the blurb and thought, "Yeah, I have to read this."

Jael is a complete misfit for no real reason, other than she and her dad were always moving when she was younger. It's got to be hard to always be the new kid in school, but she's also always felt like something was missing from her life. So when she finds out she's actually a half demon, it kinda all makes sense. In a demons-are-real kind of way.

I really loved Jael and her completely difficult relationship with her father. I liked how the author described magic - it was a different way of describing things and I loved how he gave the elements emotions. It seemed to help it all fit in a bit better, you could understand how it would work and you could imagine it really well.

A great YA read and I'm really hoping there's a sequel out there. The story did seem to end in this book but there is definitely potential there for more.

Book Depository: Misfit
Amazon UK: Misfit

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Hunting Kat by PJ Schnyder

As a mercenary, Kat Darah doesn't have to pass for a normal human. On the edge of the solar system, she's just another biped. Most of the time.

Nearing the end of his military tour, Lt. Christopher Rygard debates the idea of hanging up his uniform for good. Looking for answers at the bottom of a glass of scotch, he meets Kat. One shared night of mutual desire seems harmless. But when their tryst is interrupted by attackers hunting Rygard, Kat must reveal her other form, the predator beneath the human façade.

Together they embark on a dangerous mission - a race against time to meet the enemy's demands, while trying to deny the passion between them. Rygard is faced with a terrible choice in the face of duty: Report the existence of a human turned shape-shifter. Or forget he ever met her.

I believe PJ Schnyder has other books out but this is the first I've read anything by her. I really enjoyed the story and characters, especially Kat. There's more of her story to be told, I feel (and hope!)

I liked the little insight we got into both Kat and Rygard's background, but she still left it open enough for future stories (good plan, Batman). Kat's the type of heroine that I like in a book, strong and independent because she had to overcome something, but then they always seem to let me down by falling for the guy or changing their ways. This was only a wee short story so Kat didn't get a chance to do that.

A good, short read. Definitely worth a peruse (check me, trying to use smart words :D )

Amazon UK: Hunting Kat

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Senior Year Bites by J.A. Campbell

Senior year is supposed to be fun: boys, dances and graduation.

It's significantly harder to enjoy it when you’re dead.

Truth or Dare is supposed to be fun too. It’s not even close to dangerous, so playing at Steph's house didn't seem like a bad idea. My dare? Spend the rest of the night in the graveyard next to her house. It was only a couple of hours until false dawn, my proscribed return time, so no big deal right? Right.

I survived the attack, but it took me a few days to figure out what was going on. I mean vampires might stalk pop culture, but they're just myths. Yeah. Not so much.

School is a lot more difficult when you're a nocturnal creature of the night. I was managing, but I couldn't keep it hidden from my friends for long. After I managed to accidentally save one of our cheerleaders from her drunk and ill-intentioned boyfriend. Steph decided that we should be cool, like superheroes, and fight crime.

Only I’m a vampire, not a hero, and we live in a sleepy New England town, so crime's a little harder to come by. At least it is until a serial killer moves into the area. He’s got the authorities stumped, but then again, the cops don't have a teenage, blood-sucking, non-hero on their team.

I read the description of this book ages ago and have been impatiently waiting on the release, so I'm glad it's finally out and I was able to get my grubby little hands on it (figuratively since it's an E-Book). I really liked Meg and her friends and was pleasantly surprised by the ending.

One little thing that irked me (and it really was a tiny thing) was the way the characters "spoke". They don't use contractions when they speak. Since I tend to "act" the parts out in my head, this was hugely noticeable to me and started grating a little, the further into the story I got. But again, I think this is purely a personal thing for me, I can see authors writing like this in the actual story but when it comes to the actual "speaking" parts? I don't know anyone that speaks like that so it kind of felt like padding.

Other than that small thing, I loved the book. The story was really well told and, as I stated, J.A. Campbell has a way of leading you down one path then suddenly opening another door for you. Very well written and I definitely hope to read more.

Amazon UK: Senior Year Bites

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Tell Me More by Janet Mullany

Tell Me More...

Tell me every dirty detail....

Jo Hutchinson is obsessed with a man she’s never seen — only heard. Her late-night calls from the office to the mysterious “Mr. D.” grow increasingly intimate, until they finally become full-blown phone sex. Still, Jo doesn’t dare meet him. Instead, she embarks on a series of sizzling sexual escapades with other guys, sharing every sweaty moment with Mr. D. afterward, a passion-by-proxy arrangement they both get off on. But even as she’s charting brave new naughty worlds, Jo knows that it’s all really for Mr. D. Every pleasure she experiences — eagerly, athletically, vocally — is to please him.

Immersed in fantasy, reality just slips away — even the chance at that elusive combination of love and lust. Her new tenant, Patrick, an Irish hunk in geek’s clothing, is totally into her. And in her lucid moments, Jo knows she feels the same. Can she tear herself away from her kinky dreamworld long enough to appreciate what’s right in front of her? Or has Mr. D. ruined her for real life?

Release Date 26th July 2011

I'm not usually an erotica reader. I read books that have sex in them, yeah, but the sex isn't normally a huge part of the story or anything. This book is purely about the sex ...... and god-dammit, it's hot as hell.

About a quarter of the way into the book I was convinced it was actually just porn, there didn't seem to be any discernible storyline happening. This is in no way a complaint but, in my head, erotica has a storyline while porn just has sex. I, personally, don't mind either. But eventually a story started to unfold which kept my interest, not that the sex didn't but it was getting pretty uncomfortable reading sex all the time (if you get my meaning *winkwink*).

The story was well told, Jo is discovering a whole new world that she didn't know about and discovering a whole lot about her sexuality and then love rears it's head and she has a choice to make. The sex scenes are ..... well ..... they're amazing!

Definitely worth a read, although if you're uncomfortable reading sex in books don't bother 'cos this book has loads, and I loved it.

Book Depository: Tell Me More
Amazon UK: Tell Me More