Saturday, March 29, 2014

Lady Thief

Lady Thief by A. C. Gaughen

I previously reviewed the first book in the series, Scarlet, HERE.

I read the first book and REALLY disliked it. I finished it with a mission to hopefully see the female heroine get better.

I was atrociously wrong.

But then it had been some time since I read the first book and I heard one of my awesome book mentors talk about how she loved the first book, and I was ready to give the second book a lenient chance.


An amazon summary, "Scarlet’s true identity has been revealed, but her future is uncertain. Her forced marriage to Lord Gisbourne threatens Robin and Scarlet’s love, and as the royal court descends upon Nottingham for the appointment of a new Sheriff, the people of Nottingham hope that Prince John will appoint their beloved Robin Hood. But Prince John has different plans for Nottingham that revolve around a fateful secret from Scarlet’s past even she isn’t yet aware of. Forced to participate at court alongside her ruthless husband, Scarlet must bide her time and act the part of a noblewoman—a worthy sacrifice if it means helping Robin’s cause and a chance at a future with the man she loves. With a fresh line of intrigue and as much passion as ever, the next chapter in Scarlet’s tale will have readers talking once again." AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE

...I can't.

I reached page 70 and quit.

Here's why.

In those 70 pages, Robin has been traumatized so badly by the previous books events that he nearly kills Scarlet TWICE while he sleepwalks/rage/hulks out. TWICE.

Try to kill an unsuspecting Scarlet once, alright. Plausible.

Try to kill a knowledgeable Scarlet that insists on being around Robin while he slumbers, I'M OUT. NO.

I don't want to read a book of a soured love where Robin is so tormented he cannot bear to talk about it, I don't want to read a book about a girl who is married to a man she doesn't love, refuses to sleep with the one she loves because it's a sin, yet loathes her husband to an excessive amount.


It is not my cup of tea, I couldn't stand Scarlet, I couldn't stand Robin being way too manly to talk about the obvious hell he's going through.



On to the next book, I waste no more time on this plot.

Happy reading!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Tricksters, a discussion

March is reading month; as such, Brittany from Summerland Sushi agreed to do a discussion series on an author, Tamora Pierce.

The following discussion will undoubtedly contain spoilers for the series, please do not read on if you would like the series to remain unspoiled.

The Tricksters series contains two books: Trickster's Choice and Trickster's Queen. I don't really know any good trivia or tidbits about this series. Have anything fun to share? Leave a comment!

Brittany is in BLUE, I am in GREEN. If any of the formatting is a little weird, I apologize because this was copy and pasted from many places where Brittany and I talk.

Without further ado, here is our discussion led by questions.

Who was your favorite character?

Liz: I loved the darklings; they were far and away my favorite characters from the series.I loved the rampant humor they had, the way the characters interacted with them, it was all fabulous.

Brittany: Appearances by the Graveyard Hag always make me smile. I know she’s an avatar of death, but it’s a good time when she’s around.

How did you experience the book? Were you immediately drawn into the story--or did it take you a while?

Liz: It did take me a little bit to be drawn into the story. I kept looking for Alanna and the characters from other series to appear and rescue Ally. I was a little disappointed at first just to read about Ally for so long, but then Ally grew on me, and other fantastic characters started showing up with this big conspiracy and suddenly I couldn’t get enough.

Brittany: The first time I read the story, I knew nothing about it. I also expected to see more of the old crew, but really enjoyed that the story became just about Aly and the island cast, which is very different from the Tortall cast.

Do you find Ally to be a convincing character?

Liz: At times, most definitely. There were a few moments where I almost believed her to be too smart or have her wits too much about her for a young lady who was trained but didn’t come across as having a lot of first hand experience. However, she was cautious when appropriate which kind of balanced the overall affect of her character to me.

Brittany: She’s much more like her dad than her mom, so it was interesting to have that kind of character (cunning instead of strong, sassy instead of… not sassy) in a female character. Aly is very good at planning, but I would have loved to see more of the plans go off with hitches. She seem too perfect at times.

Who in this book would you most like to meet? What would you ask—or say?

Liz: Kyprioth, the trickster. I would just like to try and hold a conversation with him or an hour just to see what would happen. I think it would be interesting just to see more of how his mind works.

Brittany: The darkings! I would like to have a few to chat with.

Consider the ending. Did you expect it or were you surprised? If you could rewrite the ending, would you? In other words, did you find the ending satisfying? Why or why not.

Liz: I didn’t find the ending satisfying because I wanted more to the story. I wanted to see the exploits of Aly as the spymaster and what the isles become after everything had somewhat settled down. When the series ended, I felt like the story hadn’t really ended; there was much to be said and done.

Brittany: I would also love to see more from this area of the world. There’s a short story involving Aly and Nawat in Tortall and Other Lands, so that does bring a little closure to the story. It’s not enough, though. I want to know more about Dove’s reign as queen!

If you were to talk with the author, what would you want to know?

Liz: Could you write more books about the Isles? Ehhh???

Brittany: Ditto!

Happy book discussions and reading month!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Odin's Ravens

Odin's Ravens by K.L. Armstrong & M.A. Marr

This is the second book in a series, if you do not want the first book spoiled, do not read this review.

I reviewed the first book in the series, Loki's WolvesHERE.

Disclaimer: I read the advanced reader's copy of this book, there might be minor differences between the version I read and the published version. This book will be published on May 13, 2014.

Without further ado, an amazon summary, "Seven kids, Thor's hammer, and a whole lot of Valkyries are the only things standing against the end of the world. 

When thirteen-year-old Matt Thorsen, a modern day descendant of the Norse god Thor, was chosen to represent Thor in an epic battle to prevent the apocalypse he thought he knew how things would play out. Gather the descendants standing in for gods like Loki and Odin, defeat a giant serpent, and save the world. No problem, right?

But the descendants' journey grinds to a halt when their friend and descendant Baldwin is poisoned and killed and Matt, Fen, and Laurie must travel to the Underworld in the hopes of saving him. But that's only their first stop on their journey to reunite the challengers, find Thor's hammer, and stop the apocalypse--a journey filled with enough tooth-and-nail battles and larger-than-life monsters to make Matt a legend in his own right.

Authors K.L. Armstrong and M.A. Marr return to Blackwell in the epic sequel to Loki's Wolves with more explosive action, adventure and larger-than-life Norse legends." AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE

So....when I read the first book, I was not in the best reading mind to tackle it. With that in mind, I saw the second book and reeled from it for a bit. I had to mull it over before I decided, alright, let's do this.

I read the second book.

The amazon summary does a good job at describing the premise and what not, so I'm going to let that be a sufficient summary.

Some aspects about the last book I didn't like carried over; they still focus a lot on who they're a descendant of, what powers they're developing, and blah blah blah. The characters in some way, symbolic or real, becoming more like the gods they're supposed to be like.

Fine, that's cool, I get that. It's kind of the premise of the story. Aight. Whatevs. I can deal with that.

I didn't care for how the world was portrayed.

I didn't really care about the characters still.

I still didn't care about the sibling relationship.

....I just kind of read it, finished it, and had a huge shrug at it.

It wasn't atrocious, but it wasn't awesome either.

It feel in a weird limbo land of 'okay'.

....I probably won't be picking up the third one.

With the way the second book veered off into an ending that didn't make sense, I can't imagine how the third book is going to continue to develop the series, nor do I really want to spend the brain power to do so.

...however, I can easily see myself falling into the trap of, "Well, the first two weren't HORRIBLE, but....maybe I should try the third book" and stay in a vicious cycle of 'okay' reading.



Happy reading!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Crab Salad

I got a new phone! The photos look
only slightly less like I took them
with a potato. Crab Salad is featured
in a container instead of a bowl! YAY!
Crab Salad

I love seafood.

I don't mean fish; I mean crab, shrimp, clam, calamari, etc. The occasional tuna is alright as well.

With that in mind, I love to make things with seafood (in case you couldn't tell) and I recently tried out a recipe and flavored to be awesome to me.


Without further ado, Crab Salad.



  • 16 ounces small sea shell pasta
  • 1/2 cup of purple onion
  • 1 tablespoon of parsley
  • 1 cup of miracle whip (or mayonnaise I suppose)
  • 1 teaspoon of ground mustard
  • 4 teaspoons of sugar
  • 4 tablespoons of sour cream
  • 4 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
  • 3 hard boiled eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika
  • 40 ounces of imitation crab

  1. Cook small sea shell pasta per packaging instructions.
  2. Mince the onion, hard boiled eggs, and the crab.
  3. In a LARGE bowl (I hilariously/inconveniently always misjudge appropriate bowl sizes which results in disastrous stirring adventures) mix together miracle whip, parsley, ground mustard, sugar, sour cream, apple cider vinegar, and paprika together.
  4. Add onion, eggs, and crab to bowl. Mix.
  5. Add pasta to bowl. Mix well.
  6. Let cool for 25-30 minutes (for optimal chilled flavor; you can eat it right when you're done stirring as well but it'll be warm from the pasta most likely).
  7. EAT. Enjoy the leftovers, unless you made this for a large party, then yay for trusting my dish creating abilities!
I've made this just once but I love it and had to share.

Happy cooking!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Boundless

The Boundless by Kenneth Oppel

Disclaimer: I read the Advance Reader's Copy of this book and the published version will probably have minor differences than the version I read. This book will be published on April 22, 2014.

As a teen, I loved Kenneth Oppel's Airborn and managed to follow the series through my life into college; which was very rare because college left very little time for pleasure reading for me. I was thrilled to come across The Boundless.

There has been something about Oppel's style of writing that has swept me thoroughly into the story where it's hard to put it down and do anything else. The characters are all vivid, the world building not only captures the physical aspects of the world but also the different tones of society within that world.

I'm getting ahead of myself a bit. Let's get to the amazon summary, "All aboard for an action-packed escapade from the internationally bestselling author of Airborne and the Silverwing trilogy.

The Boundless, the greatest train ever built, is on its maiden voyage across the country, and first-class passenger Will Everett is about to embark on the adventure of his life!

When Will ends up in possession of the key to a train car containing priceless treasures, he becomes the target of sinister figures from his past.

In order to survive, Will must join a traveling circus, enlisting the aid of Mr. Dorian, the ringmaster and leader of the troupe, and Maren, a girl his age who is an expert escape artist. With villains fast on their heels, can Will and Maren reach Will’s father and save The Boundless before someone winds up dead?" AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE

Honestly, I've never quite understood that more romantic and nostalgic culture that seem to surround trains. I've ridden on a train, it was pretty fun, but it's not my first choice for mode of transportation if it's an option. Or second, or third, or well ever. Riding on a train, to me, is chosen more for the journey of riding on a train rather than the destination that I'll reach.

With that in mind, I loved this book even though about 99% of the story took place on a train.

Will Everett is a shy artist; he carries around a sketchbook that he fills with whatever captures his eye. His father works in the railroad business and rose through the ranks under the powerful Mr. Van Horne who builds the Boundless; the greatest locomotive of the time. His father is chief engineer of the Boundless and Will is invited along for her maiden voyage.

There is a circus on board that is full of colorful cast of characters; most notably Mr. Dorian as the ringmaster and Maren who Will met three years prior and who also has his Sasquatch tooth.

...Sasquatch tooth? In this world, there are several creatures from myth who are very real and involved with the story. You'll have to read the book to learn more about them though.

So, on the first night that Will is on the Boundless with his father in their cabin, Will learns of the key that unlocks Mr. Van Horne's funeral car. Will knows his father has one and the guard of the car has the other.

The next day, the Boundless makes a stop in a city and Will wanders from the train to explore the city and to also see if he can find the girl who has his sasquatch tooth. He happens to wander too far and witnesses the murder of the guard, and finds the key before running for his life back to the boundless. He barely manages to catch the last car on the train and needs to journey through the long train to reach his father to let him know of the tragedy, and that some unsavory men are on board.

I'll stop there so I don't spoil anything about the book.

I really enjoyed Will's character development and seeing all the different people that the Boundless hosted on its journey. The action and suspense were very well timed and I was thrilled that there wasn't anything I could predict entirely in regards to the plot.

The book is truly a delightful adventure and I hope it continues to become a series.

Happy reading!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Protector of the Small, a discussion

March is reading month; as such, Brittany from Summerland Sushi agreed to do a discussion series on an author, Tamora Pierce.

The following discussion will undoubtedly contain spoilers for the series, please do not read on if you would like the series to remain unspoiled.

The Protector of the Small series contains four books: First Test, Page, Squire, and Lady Knight. I don't really know any good trivia or tidbits about this series other than that it is my FAVORITE Tamora Pierce series (so far). Have anything fun to share? Leave a comment!

Brittany is in BLUE, I am in GREEN. If any of the formatting is a little weird, I apologize because this was copy and pasted from many places where Brittany and I talk.

Without further ado, here is our discussion led by questions.

What was your favorite book from the series and why?

Liz: I loved the second book in the series the most; the struggles that Kel faced at every turn seemed very real and gripping to me. It also showed her courage, perseverance and leadership at every stage.

Brittany: I loved the last book. It wrapped up a lot of things, but also didn’t end with Kel getting into a nonsense romance for romance-sake. Pierce is very good at not falling to the “It’s YA, Romance is Required!” schtick. Kel is obviously human - she loves and she learns and she gets hurt- but she ends the series as she started, incredibly independent and awesome.

Who was your favorite character? What did you appreciate about them?

Liz: I appreciated the presence of Neal in the books. I’m not entirely sure that he was my favorite, but I think he brought a lot of dimension to the story in...interesting ways.

Brittany: I love seeing familiar faces come back. I had completely forgotten that Daine and Numair were in the series, so the continuity of blog posts is going to go right out the window after this one. Ah well - I heart Numair, so it’s enough.

Which character would you most like to meet? What would you ask—or say?

Liz: I would most like to meet Alanna from this quartet as she’s older and perhaps wiser than the last time we saw her. I’d like to pick her brain about the role of females in their present day society.

Brittany: I would love to meet Lalasa and get some sewing lessons! I also want to know how her business is doing and see all of her amazing work.

Is the story plot or character driven? In other words, do events unfold quickly? Or is more time spent developing characters' inner lives?

Liz:I think both arguments could be made. I prefer to read the stories as character driven since it felt more like a grand coming of age story in regards to Kel, but I could see the argument being made for a story plot.

Brittany: I agree with Liz - there are significant elements of both.

What scene resonated most with you personally in either a positive or negative way? Why?

Liz: The moment where Kel had to climb the tower to save her maid. It resonated with me positively because she was able to overcome her paralyzing fear in order to save a life. It was such a badass moment.

Brittany: There are so many! I think the one that I go back to the most was Kel taking over during the fight with the bandits in "Page". Her year-mates learned that, when you're facing true danger, it doesn't matter who is what gender.

Did you think Kel had a harder time overcoming gender barriers than Alanna did? Alanna had the benefit of hiding her gender and later revealing herself after she had proven she could be a knight, but Kel was open about her gender through the whole series. What do you think of how that played out?

Liz: I do think Kel had a harder time dealing with the gender barrier as every turn it seemed as if she was set up to fail. I think she was only set up to fail because of her gender rather than what Alanna went through with everything being more difficult because they were all ‘boys’. I think it could have played out a little better if as Kel graduated, another female or two also tried to work through the system regardless if they succeed or fail. Alanna paved the way for Kel (kind of, a rough rocky way) but I wanted to see Kel create a better way for the females who followed her.

Brittany: I also think Kel had a harder time, but I also think Kel was more focused and more determined. A lot of Kel’s “distractions” during her training years were minor compared to Alanna’s, which allowed Kel to focus more on training up her weaknesses.

Happy book discussions and reading month!

Friday, March 14, 2014



Last week I reported that I would be posting every Friday about Tamora Pierce in honor of March being reading month and that I would be joined by Brittany.

Well, Brittany is AFK to some extreme measures right now (she's okay, she's just away from keyboard for a bit), and I am about to go away for the weekend to visit some old friends for their birthdays.


A Tamora Pierce post will not be happening today.


It will probably appear early next week.



Some inspirational reading images from around the internet:

Pretty sure this is from a pinterest somewhere. I suppose

Pinterest or reddit. Unsure.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Palace of Spies

Palace of Spies by Sarah Zettel

...I want to take a moment and declare that you should not be dissuaded from reading any book based on the cover...but this cover makes it really hard to get past it and onto the proper book. Ooof. They could have done better.


I've read one or two books by Sarah Zettel, but it was forever ago so I don't find it very relevant. Essentially, this work was kind of fresh to me in terms of the author's writing.

Again, anyways.

An amazon summary to get onto the proper book aspect, "A warning to all young ladies of delicate breeding who wish to embark upon lives of adventure: Don't.

Sixteen-year-old Peggy is a well-bred orphan who is coerced into posing as a lady in waiting at the palace of King George I. Life is grand, until Peggy starts to suspect that the girl she's impersonating might have been murdered. Unless Peggy can discover the truth, she might be doomed to the same terrible fate. But in a court of shadows and intrigue, anyone could be a spy—perhaps even the handsome young artist with whom Peggy is falling in love . . .
History and mystery spark in this effervescent series debut." AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE

The amazon summary did a pretty good job, bravo.

I think I've gotten a bit more fond of espionage books and all the delicate societal rules that are sometimes needed to work within polite society.

That being said, I think this book had a lot to work with, yet didn't use all of it's potential. I understand it is the first one in a series (especially with the way the ending kind of leaves off) so there should hopefully be more character growth and plot development to come. 

I really hope this author is nurtured; based on a quick poke around amazon and the quantity of books she has published, I think she's well on her way.


I did like the main character, Peggy throughout the book as she was just enough of a feminist for me to root for, yet still a bit dopey when it comes to love that there was still room to grow.

Plus the arsenal of side characters surrounding her were enough to create intrigue but not enough to distract from the plot.

I do think there was too much mulling over of clues in her head and that she was not quite suspicious enough of the people at court to be a good spy, but I think she could become a good spy. I also wished she understood more about her employers before she went to court; it would have saved her many a headache in the long run.

The book was enjoyable if a bit tedious at times, but I did want to see more of Matthew as he seemed to be a more solid character than many at court. Also the princess was superb.

All in all, a good read. I'm curious to see what will come about in the second book.

Happy reading!

*If the formatting is a little weird, I had many problems with saving/publishing this post. Sorry! Hopefully the content still comes across!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Song of the Lioness, a discussion

March is reading month; as such, Brittany from Summerland Sushi agreed to do a discussion series on an author, Tamora Pierce. Every Friday for the month of March we’ll discuss one series by Tamora Pierce. Enjoy!

The following discussion will undoubtedly contain spoilers for the series, please do not read on if you would like the series to remain unspoiled.

This weeks series is Song of the Lioness which has four books to it; Alanna: The First Adventure, In the Hand of the Goddess, The Woman Who Rides Like a Man, and Lioness Rampant. It is Tamora Pierce’s first book series, the first book series in her Tortall Universe, and was originally one novel written for adults. At the suggestion of her agent, she broke the original manuscript into four books and rewrote them for young adults.

Brittany is in BLUE, I am in GREEN. If any of the formatting is a little weird, I apologize because this was copy and pasted from many places where Brittany and I talk.

Without further ado, here is our discussion led by questions.

What was your favorite book from the series and why?
Brittany: I would have to go with the first book because I have epic amounts of nostalgia attached to that book and I will never, ever stop loving it. It always sticks me.
Liz: I would say the last book, Lioness Rampant, as there were a lot of conclusions in it that really completed the story for me. It left a lot of warm fuzzies and I kind of always loved who she wound up with in the end.

Who was your favorite character?
Brittany: George’s mom! She’s such a strong character and obviously has gone through a lot to raise a good human in George. I was super excited to read the Beka Cooper series because she has a cameo.
Liz: George’s mom was GREAT, but I have a close tie between Alanna and George; I’d rather say that my favorite relationship was between George and Alanna. They’re dynamics and moments were great.

How did you experience the series? Were you immediately drawn into the story--or did it take you a while?
Brittany: A friend recommended the series to me when we were in the 9th grade. In addition to cementing a lifelong friendship that I still have to this day, it was one of the first stories that I read with a female character who knew who she was, what she wanted, and had no time for any BS, including romantic relationships. I devoured the whole series and every Pierce book I could find after that.
Liz: Back in my middle school days, I read close to 25 books a month or so. I was a very avid, enthusiastic reader. As such, I antagonized my favorite librarians into recommending books to me which led me to The Song of the Lioness Quartet. While I read the series, it made me feel like I could take on the world. I was immediately drawn to follow Alanna’s story as she was courageous to fight for who she wanted to be rather than accept what she was expected to be. I enjoyed the strength of the relationships that Alanna forged and did little else until I finished the series.

Do you find Alanna to be a convincing character?
Brittany: I do, because she’s so focused on being a great knight that she ends up flawed in other ways
Liz: I find Alanna to be a convincing character because of the dynamics between her strengths and flaws. She seems to be a much more realistic character because of it and there are plenty of reasons throughout the stories that made me want to rally behind her rather than scoff at her.  

Who in this book would you most like to meet? What would you ask—or say?

Brittany: George Cooper and his mom. They just seem like very open, welcoming people.
Liz: I would like to meet Thom, Alanna’s twin brother, just to see if there was more to his story. I was curious to find out how his training was and who he had made friends with or what his daily life had been like.

Consider the ending. Did you expect it or were you surprised? If you could rewrite the ending, would you? In other words, did you find the ending satisfying? Why or why not.
Brittany: I will admit it’s been awhile since I read the entire series, but with the way Pierce writes her world, Alanna’s story is still continuing. I like where she’s gone as a character, as seen through the eyes of her daughter, and that she’s still a solid, independent character who didn’t fall into the trap of becoming a faceless parent-character.
Liz: I did like the ending because I felt like there were enough endings to many of the characters I had come to know yet it left it open enough where there could be more stories about Alanna. With her personality, I have no doubt that her adventures continue (as we see in the Trickster’s Duology) but there was enough to know that her life had reach a happy point where she could forge forward to have a good life, if not a little chaotic.

If you were to talk with the author, what would you want to know?
Brittany: What are the primary differences between the series as it was published and how it was written when it was an adult fantasy novel?
Liz: If you could go back and rewrite any parts of the series, what would they be and why?

Happy book discussions and reading month!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014


Sick by Tom Leveen

Disclaimer: I usually don't read straight up suspense/horror/designed to scare you type of books. ...yet somehow I landed on this one. However, I did see it through to the end, and it was worth the read.

An amazon summary, "Brian and his friends are not part of the cool crowd. They’re the misfits and the troublemakers—the ones who jump their high school’s fence to skip class regularly. So when a deadly virus breaks out, they’re the only ones with a chance of surviving.

The virus turns Brian’s classmates and teachers into bloodthirsty attackers who don’t die easily. The whole school goes on lockdown, but Brian and his best friend, Chad, are safe (and stuck) in the theater department—far from Brian’s sister, Kenzie, and his ex-girlfriend with a panic attack problem, Laura. Brian and Chad, along with some of the theater kids Brian had never given the time of day before, decide to find the girls and bring them to the safety of the theater. But it won’t be easy, and it will test everything they thought they knew about themselves and their classmates." AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE

The thing that struck me about the book is that it wasn't divided into the usual chapters, it was broken up by the time of day. Everything that happens is in one day.

A lot of cray cray stuff went down.


Brian and his friends ditch school one day because it's a beautiful day outside and who wants to sit through fourth period? Pssh. So they make a daring escape from school, head over to Chad's house (Brian's best friend), and chill out for a bit before planning on returning for last period.

Their friend Hollis stops by (who looks like GARBAGE in the sick way) and the guys get a little unnerved because they also heard gun shots in the distance, but don't think too much of it.

They return to school and have to hop the fence (so they park their car across the street), and ditch the assembly that is also taking place during last period. So they go to their last period which is stagecraft (essentially moving all the heavy stuff involved in theater) before they hear an alert that the school is on lock down.

Then all hell breaks loose.

Yes, this is a 'zombie' book, although they're not zombies in the traditional sense (which was very refreshing even for not reading much of the genre anymore).

I loved the tone and world building of the book and how many times I had pseudo shivers from the creepy/graphic descriptions.

However, as this is not my usual fair of book, I'm not entirely sure if I was suckered in by the mayhem, social break down, and intense violent sequences.

...make of it what you will.

I did enjoy it and cannot say much more without venturing into spoiler land.

Happy reading!