Monday, October 31, 2011

Challenge Completed: Foodie Challenge

The Foodie Challenge was hosted by Margot from Joyfully Retired. I completed the Bon Vivant level with six books read for the challenge. I'm glad I decided to do this one, as it motivated me to finally read a book I've been meaning to get to for years, Chocolat by Joanne Harris, which was everything I thought it would be! Check out my reviews for each book in the list below.

1. Just One Taste by Louisa Edwards
2. Holy Guacamole by Dan & Denise Harmer
3. Whole Foods to Thrive by Brendan Brazier
4. 101 Gourmet Cake Bites by Wendy Paul
5. Pumpkin Roll by Josi S. Kilpack
6. Chocolat by Joanne Harris

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Teens and Their Supernatural Pursuits

Today I am welcoming Melody Carson, accomplished author of Diary of a Teenage Girl series and the True Colors series. With the approach of Halloween, she is here to discuss the appeal of the Supernatural to teens today. Her newest book is Moon White: Color Me Enchanted.

Teens and Their Supernatural Pursuits

By Melody Carlson

Have you even wondered why some teens are drawn toward things like Ouija boards or psychics? Or why séances are still popular at sleepovers? Does it just have to do with Halloween and that spine-chilling need for a good scare? Or could it be something more? And, as a Christian, should you be concerned?
            Those questions, as well as some confused reader letters, prompted me to tackle the “supernatural” in one of my teen novels (Moon White, TrueColors, Nav Press). And whenever I write an issues-based novel, I’m forced to research—and often in some dark places. So I began scouring websites, learning more about Wicca and the occult, trying to grasp what was really going on with today’s teens—and how I could write about it in a helpful and relevant way.
But, as usual, when I write a teen book, I go back to my own adolescence...trying to connect with my inner teen...and I suddenly remembered a short era when a friend and I got very interested in witchcraft. I had honestly forgotten about this time and was fascinated to recall how we scoured some witchcraft stores on a local campus—I think we even purchased a few things. Fortunately, this interest was short-lived and I became a Christian not long afterward.
            However, as I reconnected with my inner teen, I had to ask myself—why had I looked into witchcraft back then? Why do teens dabble with it now? Suddenly the answer became crystal clear. I was searching. I’d been calling myself an atheist for several years by then, but I was spiritually hungry—starving in fact. Consequently I was looking for spiritual answers—something that would fill that empty void within me. I wanted a supernatural force in my life and I didn’t even care where it came from. I needed something bigger than me, more powerful than me, something to hold onto. I had no idea at the time that I was really searching for God.
            This realization changed the way I viewed my research. Instead of feeling disgusted and dismayed by the witchcraft/Wicca sites (which are not particularly enjoyable) I began to recognize that these people (mostly girls) were simply searching too. They wanted a power source in their lives just like I wanted one in mine. They just hadn’t found God yet.
            This led to another discovery. A girl who’s attracted to a religion like Wicca is usually seeking to gain some control over her life. Something is wrong and she wants to change it. To do so, she’s often enticed to purchase something—like “magical herbs”—to create a potion that will give her some control over her situation. Unfortunately, she doesn’t even realize she’s being tricked.
            But think about it, wouldn’t you love to have control over a bad situation sometimes? Wouldn’t you love to be able to change the circumstances that make your life unpleasant? So what if someone offered you the “power” to do just that? Perhaps if you’re fifteen, you wouldn’t see that person as a charlatan and you would fall for it.
            Which brings me to another important factor in understanding this generation’s attraction to the supernatural. Follow the money. The more I researched, the more it became painfully obvious that Wicca and witchcraft and the occult are money-making enterprises. Thanks to the internet, these savvy distributors sell anything imaginable—and many things you can’t. That leads to some serious motivation—these marketers want to hook their unsuspecting young customers and reel them in. Of course, these potions and trinkets and how-to books don’t come with a money back guaranty. Nor are they approved by the FDA. Yet they are a multi-million dollar industry.
            So, in a way, it’s a perfect storm. Teens that are insecure, lost, unhappy, and up with an unregulated industry that offers supernatural answers and power and control...for a price. And, oh yeah, I never even mentioned how this opens a door for Satan to slip in and wreak havoc. For’ll have to read the book.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Review: Sea Glass by Maria V. Snyder

Book Details:
Sea Glass
By Maria V. Snyder
Genre: Fantasy
Published 2009, MIRA Books
Paperback, 379 pages
ISBN: 9780778325802

          Student glass magician Opal Cowan's newfound ability to steal a magician's powers makes her too powerful. Ordered to house arrest by the Council, Opal dares defy them, traveling to the Moon Clan's lands in search of Ulrick, the man she thinks she loves. Thinks because she is sure another man now her prisoner has switched souls with Ulrick.
In hostile territory, without proof or allies, Opal isn't sure whom to trust. She can't forget Kade, the handsome Stormdancer who doesn't want to let her get close. And now everyone is after Opal's special powers for their own deadly gain....
I was a little disappointed by this book, since I enjoyed the previous one so much. I had expected Opal Cowan to spend more time and effort in exploring what she can do with her glass abilities, but it seemed to be more of the same denial of her immense magical potential. Put glass in Opal's hands and the world is hers to command, whether for good or bad, but she is so focused on the weight of responsibility that this power gives her that she really does not do much with it at all - until the tail end of the book.
A large part of the book is devoted to Opal attempting to stop the spread of blood magic knowledge, as well as monitoring Ulrick and Devlen's actions. In the meantime she graduates, gets together with the Stormdancer Kade, and pursues setting up her own private glass-making business, though with not much success in the latter. All of her pursuits take large chunks of time because someone is constantly trying to control her for her different abilities, which can make for tedious reading. I enjoyed her romance with Kade simply because there seemed very little effort on either of his or her part to connect with the other - like they were made for each other. In contrast, Devlen's almost constant attention to Opal is perplexing because Opal regularly second-guesses his intentions. It is nearly impossible to figure out his real motivation because his previous actions show him to be a very good liar and manipulator. I will be interested to see where his subplot goes in the final book.
The way that Opal finally deals with the power that she has over glass took me by surprise, but I like it. The outcome creates an entirely new set of circumstances for her, but one that she has a precedent for. Plus, no longer is she at the mercy of magic, though how much she realizes that will hopefully be shown in the final book, Spy Glass.

The Cover: I love the cover, with both its magical quality and its reference to the objects scattered on the beach.

First Line: "Worry and dread clawed at my stomach."
Wow, nice opening, since I don't have a clue what is causing such intense emotion, now I want to know.

Favorite Quote"Lying to yourself is easy, too. I know. It's much harder to stay and deal with consequences." 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Teaser Tuesday: Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory Maguire

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
1. Grab your current read.
2. Open to a random page.
3. Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page.
4. 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!).
5. Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teaser:
          But I must pay attention now, she thinks, because what other choice is there? Maybe when I die my soul will fly to meet God, but when that time comes I won't have the use of clever hands, nor the burden of an ugly face: hands and face will be planted like bulbs in the soil, while only the bloom of the spirit emerges elsewhere. So let my hands and my face make their way in this world, let my hungry eyes see, my tongue taste. It tastes the wet that seeps on either side of my nose. The world is salt. All the world is salt, and every field is sown in salt, and nothing can grow but I must feel everything, notice everything--
--why, why, she asks herself, but the urge to feel and notice is more urgent than the urge to answer questions. The commotion within her rises to a clamor, and she can barely keep herself on the bench at the side of the hall. - pg. 144, Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory Maguire

What are you reading this week?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Review: 101 Gourmet Cake Bites by Wendy Paul

Book Details:
101 Gourmet Cake Bites
By Wendy Paul
Genre: Cookbook
Published 2011, Front Table Books
Hardback, 146 pages
ISBN: 9781599558950

          You've seen them in bakeries, you've tasted their sugary sweetness, and now you can make your very own gourmet cake bites, cake balls, and cake pops right in your kitchen! Cute and creative, cake bites are the perfect way to celebrate anniversaries, birthdays, and holidays. And starting from a cake mix makes these recipes so easy you can make any day a special occasion!
The recipes in this book takes the simplicity of a pre-packaged cake mix and builds on it with a few extra ingredients and decorating techniques to create what are known as cake balls, cake bites, cake pop, and cupcake pops. The basic concept is crumbling a baked cake and mixing it with frosting, forming a desired shape, and then coating it in melted chocolate. Further decorations all depend on the recipe and your personal preference.
There is something quite appealing about bite-size finger foods like these little bites of cake. Any occasion is made more special by baked goodies, and cake on a stick is a both unique and appealing concept. I thought the Scrabble recipe made quite adorable cake bites and the Southern Red Velvet I would hoard all for myself.
The one thing that bugged me about these recipes is that if you do not want to depend on a pre-packaged cake mix, then you have to find your recipes elsewhere, as this cookbook does not give any other options.

The Cover: This cover is a medley of the photos of the end result of a few of the recipes from the book. My mouth waters just looking at them.

First Line: "Little did I know that a sweet treat could have me hooked at first bite."

Read For: Foodie Challenge, Off the Shelf Challenge

*I received this book free of charge from the publisher for review purposes.*

Friday, October 21, 2011

Hop for Books

It's Friday, which means the Book Blogger Hop at Crazy For Books. So welcome to all of my new visitors and followers, take a look around and enjoy your stay.  Check out my latest reviews of Bite Club by Rachel Caine and Chocolat by Joanne Harris, and be sure to enter the Pumpkin Roll giveaway for an iPad2 before you leave!

Question of the Week: “What is your favorite type of candy?”

Oh, do I really only get to pick just one?? I'm a huge chocoholic, and I never cared much for any candy that did not have chocolate, though I could tolerate Skittles. My favorites as a kid were Three Musketeers and Peanut M&Ms, oh and those Snocaps I could get at the movie theater. As an adult, I crave anything with dark chocolate, and those new mint Three Musketeers are divine. I remember at university, one campus store stocked white chocolate Kit Kats that I bought every time I went in there, and then I'm forgetting Hershey's Cookies & Cream bars that I sometimes buy when I grocery shop by myself and gobble down before I get home! Okay, I need to just stop now before I drool all over my keyboard. No cavities for me, either.

These are the blogs I have discovered through the Hop:

1. Butterfly Feet Walking on Life
2. Fluidity of Time
3. Word Up, Nerd Up
4. Mystical Delights
5. Yes, I Am a Book Geek! (And a Foodie, Too!)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Teaser Tuesday: Sea Glass by Maria V. Snyder

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
1. Grab your current read.
2. Open to a random page.
3. Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page.
4. 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!).
5. Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teaser:

          I cracked open eight glass bees and instructed four of them to buzz by the horses' ears and swing around the soldiers a few times without stinging anyone. The other four I sent inside the building to harass the soldiers within. I repeated the order that they do not sting.
As predicted, the horses panicked and the soldiers scattered. I crept toward the stables and sent a few more bees to chase out the ambush Janco said waited for us. Sure enough, three men bolted from various hiding spots. - pg. 99, Sea Glass by Maria V. Snyder

What are you reading this week?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Review: Chocolat by Joanne Harris

Book Details:
By Joanne Harris
Genre: Fiction
Published 1999, Penguin Books
Paperback, 306 pages
ISBN: 0140282033

          Greeted as "an amazement of riches . . . few readers will be able to resist" by The New York Times, Chocolat is an enchanting novel about temptation, pleasure, and the ultimate folly of self-denial. The town of Lansquenet, solemnly preparing for Lent, is set astir when Vianne Rocher and her spirited daughter arrive on the heels of the carnival and open a chocolate shop across the square from the church. Vianne's uncanny ability to perceive her customers' private discontents and alleviate them with just the right chocolate treats quickly charms the villagers--and enrages Pere Reynaud, the conservative local priest. Certain that only a witch could create such magical cures, Reynaud vows to block the chocolate festival Vianne plans for Easter Sunday and to run her out of town forever. Witch or not (she'll never tell), Vianne soon sparks a dramatic confrontation between those who prefer the cold comforts of the church and those who revel in their newly discovered taste for pleasure.
I have lost count of the number of times I have watched the movie that is based off of this book, so I figured it was time for me to read the book. Like most movies based on books, the movie is only about half true to the book. In this case though, that did not really bother me.
Joanne Harris has a way of writing that has me savoring every word like one of Vianne Rocher's fine chunks of dark chocolate. What I would have given for a few recipes of the dishes she served in La Celeste Praline, especially the pots of chocolate that were served as frequently as coffee. The descriptions of the various confectioneries and even the non-chocolate dishes were detailed with a light touch, so that I never felt too overwhelmed -- but I still wanted to dive into the pages all the same.
All of the characters, large parts and small, were unique and original, even down to the quirky preferences and hidden burdens. I could easily relate to Armande's attraction to the color red and her unrefined mannerisms, as well as Guillaume's indulgence of his pet dog. So many of the characters could pass for people that I encounter every day -- from Roux's skepticism to Josephine's renewed independence to Caro's need to control. These characters will stay with me for a long time.
Probably the most interesting character, aside from Vianne Rocher, is the town's priest, Pere Reynaud. Like most of the rest of the town, he masks inner demons and makes up for them with his profession of choice. Though those inner torments are slowly revealed through the course of the book, I don't feel that his story was completely resolved, or that he even experienced any true character growth.
Vianne Rocher is certainly the most creative character in the book, both easily likeable and eternally mysterious. Haunted by memories of a nomadic lifestyle with her mother, she intermittently addresses her conflicting desires to both travel and put down roots even as her simple, self-taught cooking and hospitality brings about subtle and lasting change in the village of Lansquenet. A thread of fantasy runs through the plot as Vianne hints at the ability to read people's thoughts, choosing not to influence them, and consults her mother's tarot cards in her darker hours of contemplation. She even adds a touch of magic and mystery to her Chocolaterie to draw the wary villagers into the shop. Oh, what I would give to pay a visit to that amazing place myself.

The Cover: With an image of a French village and a border of the oft-mentioned brightly-colored flowers, this is a wonderful cover for the book.

First Line: "We came on the wind of a carnival."
This opening line is a perfect representation of what drives the main character, Vianne Rocher, both in her travels and in her self-made career choice.

Favorite Quote“I could do with a bit more excess. From now on I'm going to be immoderate--and volatile--I shall enjoy loud music and lurid poetry. I shall be rampant.”

Read For: Foodie Challenge, Twenty-Eleven Challenge

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Review: Bite Club by Rachel Caine

Book Details:
Bite Club
By Rachel Caine
Genre: Fantasy
Published May 2011, New American Library
Hardback, 337 pages
ISBN: 9780451233189

          After discovering that vampires populate her town, college student Claire Danvers knows that the undead just want to live their lives. But someone else wants them to get ready to rumble.
There's a new extreme sport getting picked up on the Internet: bare- knuckle fights pitting captured vampires against each other-or humans. Tracking the remote signal leads Claire to discover that what started as an online brawl will soon threaten everyone in Morganville...
This book does something brand new in the series -- Shane's point of view is alternated with Claire's point of view. It is a very good thing that Rachel Caine decides to do this, as I do not think that Claire could have gotten such a good understanding of the lure of the vampire-themed fight club that Shane gets involved with.
We not only get to see into Shane's head, but we also get a fuller understanding of his anger and hatred towards vampires, as well as his internal battle with accepting his sister's death, followed by his mother's death, and his father's abuse and fanaticism. Honestly, it is amazing that Shane has any sanity left at all, considering the life he has lived up to this point. Claire has been like a bright star in his life, and it would be a real tragedy if he were to ever lose her -- which does not look like it will be happening any time soon.
On the flip side, Shane's drastic change in behavior due to the fight club puts Claire's heart through the ringer several times throughout the book and has her considering and reconsidering just how much she really wants to stay in Morganville -- especially when M.I.T., her dream school, starts calling. Luckily, Claire has always been a force to be reckoned with in Morganville, and her instincts are always right on par. Only she can stand up to Amelie, the Founder of Morganville, and come away unscathed, even if barely.
If a vampire fight club is not bad enough to be worthy of a book, a certain "big bad" comes back from the figurative dead to wreak havoc and death. Of course, my favorite character, Myrnin makes the final battle interesting with a few new toys and unforgettable one-liners. His rivalry with the new brain behind the town security system, Frank Collins, provides some fresh entertainment, too. This series just keeps getting better, and I can't wait for the release of the next book, Last Breath.

The Cover: I love the purple, and it is perfect that both Claire and Shane are on the cover, since both of their viewpoints are featured in the book this time around.

First Line: "Looking back on it later, Claire thought she should have known trouble was coming."
This opening gives me chills, since Claire is always so matter-of-fact about a situation that anyone else would be run screaming from.

Favorite Quote: "Eve was all kinds of awesome, when she had the chance to shine. She glittered and flared and was sharp enough to cut, just like a diamond."

Friday, October 14, 2011

Happy Hopping!

It's Friday, which means the Book Blogger Hop at Crazy For Books. So welcome to all of my new visitors and followers, take a look around and enjoy your stay.  It's been awhile since I participated, so I'm looking forward to discovering some new book blogs myself! Be sure to check out my review for Pumpkin Roll and comment to be entered into a drawing for a new iPad2, hosted by!

Question of the Week: “What is your favorite spooky book (i.e. mystery/suspense, thriller, ghost story, etc.)?”

My Answer: I don't read much spooky literature, I tend to avoid the horrors and mysteries in my genres of choice, but there is one book that I read this year that both gave me chills and blew my mind, figuratively speaking. The book is Demon: A Memoir by Tosca Lee. Read my review to find out more!

These are the blogs I have discovered through the Hop:
1. Denim-Jacket Librarian Dishes
2. CSI: Librarian
3. Chocolate Chunky Monkey
4. O.ops I Read That Book!
5. Colorimetry

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Review and Giveaway: Pumpkin Roll by Josi S. Kilpack

Book Details:
Pumpkin Roll
By Josi S. Kilpack
Genre: Mystery
Published Sept. 2011, Shadow Mountain
Paperback, 361 pages
ISBN: 9781609087456

          Sadie Hoffmiller is looking forward to spending her favorite baking season of the year making delicious New England recipes in Boston, Massachusetts, with her favorite leading man, Pete Cunningham, as they babysit his three young grandsons. But when the boys insist that Mrs. Wapple, the woman who lives across the street, is a witch, Sadie and Pete are anxious to distract the boys from such Halloween-induced ideas. However, it gets harder and harder to explain the strange things that keep happening, particularly after Sadie learns the eccentric Mrs. Wapple has been attacked in her home. As the unexplained occurrences escalate, Sadie finds herself embroiled in yet another mystery with life-or-death consequences. Can Sadie discover whoever or whatever is behind the mystery before anyone else gets hurt? Or will this be Sadie's last case?
This book is the most recent in a mystery series, but the first book I have read by Josi S. Kilpack. I do not read much in the mystery genre, but the cooking aspect of the book interested me enough to try this one. All of the page numbers to the recipes are listed nicely on the back of the first page, so I was able to check those out without having to search for them, and they do look like quite delicious recipes, perfect for this time of year.
The main character is an older woman, Sadie Hoffmiller, who has recently opened a P.I. business in her hometown in Colorado, but has taken a vacation to Boston with her love interest, Pete, to house-sit and watch over his three grandsons. Right away she strikes me as both ultra-conservative - Sadie and Pete sleep in separate bedrooms - and a perfectionist. Not only is her cooking described in detail, but also her cleaning and personal grooming habits. She also comes off as a "busy-body" as she very quickly gets involved in the life of the woman who lives across the street and bears the reputation of a witch, the eccentric Mrs. Wapple. It is as if she is so addicted to her job back home that she must continue its nosy approach wherever she travels.
The city of Boston is obviously chosen for its proximity to Salem, Massachusetts and the many references and allusions to ghosts and witches throughout the plot. When pranks begin to strike in the house that Sadie and Pete are staying at, the obvious choice is ghosts, but their sensibilities and penchant for detective work prevent them from embracing this as the solution.
When something dire happens to Mrs. Wapple halfway through the book, Sadie is right in the thick of it, her curiosity taking prominence over even her duties as babysitter with Pete. Not even a vacation will deter her from solving yet another case.
On the whole, the book is entertaining, though Sadie can be annoying at times. Like any mystery, I want to know who is the responsible party, but my favorite part of this book is definitely the recipes.

The Cover: The cover is fitting with the title and first recipe of the book, and the knife adds to the mystery aspect of the plot.

First Line: "'So, what's the difference between a sociopath and a psychopath?' Sadie asked as she put the last plate in the dishwasher."
What an intriguing way to open a book, but with a question. Now I want to know the answer to the question, too.

Read For: Foodie Challenge, Off the Shelf Challenge

*I received this book free of charge from the publisher for review purposes.*

In conjunction with the release of Pumpkin Roll, the author, Josi S. Kilpack, and the publisher, Shadow Mountain, are sponsoring a contest for a new iPad2. To enter, leave a comment in the comment section of this blog post before November 1, 2011. Winners will be announced and notified November 3rd, 2011.

For additional ways to enter, go to

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Teaser Tuesday: Pumpkin Roll by Josi S. Kilpack

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
1. Grab your current read.
2. Open to a random page.
3. Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page.
4. 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!).
5. Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teaser:

          They did, indeed, take pictures of Sadie at the police station. Pictures of her hands, feet, hair, and clothing. After they'd had her stand and turn and pose two dozen different ways, they handed her some gray hospital scrubs and asked her to change. Sadie suspected this was standard dress code for the inmates they booked into jail and didn't like the idea of looking like one of them. -pg. 171, Pumpkin Roll by Josi S. Kilpack

What are you reading this week?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Review: Economic Meltdown by Karen McHale

Book Details:
Economic Meltdown: A Family Preparedness Plan for Disaster
By Karen McHale
Genre: Fiction
Published 2010, The Fire Station Buddies, Inc.
Paperback, 140 pages
ISBN: 9780615410852

          It's 2012 -- Did the world end yet?
Inflation in the United States is at 27%, unemployment at 32%. The dollar is only worth 49 cents and the DOW can't seem to rise above 3,217. Gas is $15 a gallon and now there is no electricity. What if there was a meltdown of the United States financial system and the government isn't there to save you?
A man-made disaster is looming and is your family prepared for famines or runaway inflation that may send the US dollar into free fall. What would you do? How would you feed your family? Are you prepared to take care of yourself?
In Economic Meltdown, emergency planner Karen McHale takes you on a fast paced ride and shows you what could happen and how to prepare for it.
The purpose of this book is quickly understood to motivate and aid the reader to prepare for a "man-made disaster" of the magnitude that is illustrated through a fictional story that the author, Karen McHale, apparently believes is impending for the U.S.A. I won't address whether or not I believe such a disaster is imminent or not. The story takes up the first 132 pages of the book, and the remaining pages is a quick guide to self-sufficiency, with a step-by-step guide and divided by Pantry and Utilities.
What I will address is the text of the book itself, which, frankly, could use some work. I can be a stickler for grammar, and it is obvious to me that the author used the spelling and grammar check function that is found in your typical text-formatting program, such as Word. Simply having someone read over the book before publication could catch these errors. For example, starting on page 50, the word "panty" has replaced what should have been "pantry," not every time, but often enough to be obvious. Other things showed up in the text to show the author's weakness in writing fiction, such as this: "...the unspoken thought hung unspoken in the air..." (pg. 11).
The story itself is a thinly veiled attempt at teaching the reader what is already listed in the section at the end of the book. Much more of the book is devoted to detailed descriptions of these preparations than to the development of the different characters. Towards the end of the book, time speeds up as the author skips ahead several times to fast forward the plot to 2012, with snapshots of plot to show the progress of the fictional family in its preparations for the economic disaster.
Honestly, this book would have been much better written had the author spent more time developing the different characters and made them unique and interesting to the reader, as well as gotten a few extra people to read the text before publication. McHale does not even bother with last names for this "typical American household." Sadly, except for the eight page guide at the end, it is all very forgettable.

The Cover: Though I don't have the cover pictured here, it is rather plain, a dark green cover with a slightly lighter green dollar sign melting into a big green puddle. Oh yes, and the title is white with a broken up font. Green on green means the picture just gets lost.

First Line: "Sam sat at the breakfast table browsing the news on the Internet, enjoying the quiet, cool breeze blowing through the kitchen window."
How boring is this opening, and why would I want to continue? The text does not sell itself.

Read For: Off the Shelf Challenge

*I received this book free of charge from the publisher for review purposes.*

Monday, October 3, 2011

Review: Demon Hunts by C. E. Murphy

Book Details:
Demon Hunts
By C. E. Murphy
Genre: Fantasy
Published 2010, LUNA Books
paperback, 361 pages
ISBN: 9780373803149

          Seattle police detective Joanne Walker started the year mostly dead, and she's ending it trying not to be consumed by evil. Literally. She's proven she can handle the gods and the walking dead. But a cannibalistic serial killer? That's more than even she bargained for. What's worse, the brutal demon can only be tracked one way. If Joanne is to stop its campaign of terror, she'll have to hunt it where it lives: the Lower World, a shamanistic plane of magic and spirits.
Trouble is, Joanne's skills are no match for the dangers she's about to face—and her on-the-job training could prove fatal to the people she's sworn to protect….
This was my favorite book in the series without a doubt, because I finally get to see Joanne in love! While it is not with her boss, Morrison, whom it is obvious she has an attraction to, it is still a very satisfying romance. Her bubbly happiness is quite enjoyable to read, and it does not get on my nerves despite how sickly sweet Joanne is in the descriptions. At times, her love interest really does seem like the perfect man, and I am thrilled that she gets to have this in the midst of the chaos of her shamanic lifestyle.
I think what keeps bringing me back to this series is that Joanne's narration is both unique and comical. She is refreshingly honest about herself and her quirks and abilities and keeps a running commentary behind the scenes, even as she solves supernatural-size problems while balancing a social life and a job as a detective. Even though I still understand very little of the role of a shaman and all of Joanne's world-jumping, there is something very likable about Joanne Walker.
The other half of Joanne's romance is a man that was assumed to be dead. Aside from the romance, I love that he shows up in this book, as I get to see more of what he can and cannot do and what his personality is really like. Plus, the tension between him and Morrison is quite interesting, as it brings to the forefront the chemistry between Morrison and Joanne and makes her admit to a few things about herself.
The wendigo is the "big bad" for this book, but the final battle ends differently than what I assumed. In a way, the wendigo teaches Joanne that some flaws are acceptable and even useful. I look forward to the next book, Spirit Dances.

The Cover: The cover is an excellent depiction of the plot, right down to the strange footprints in the snow to represent the wendigo.

First Line: "Someone had been chewing on the body."
What a way to begin a book - I don't know whether to be repulsed or intrigued, but I will definitely keep reading.

Favorite Quote: "For once in my life, I wasn't even vaguely interested in rationalizations. I was just happy. I was iridescent bubble, fluffy bunny, rainbow sky happy."

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