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City of Lost Souls

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Author: Cassandra Clare
Series: The Mortal Instruments #5
Release Date: May 8, 2012
Dates Read: May 8, 2012

Rating: ★★★★★ 

I got into The Mortal Instruments series late. I read them all last summer, when the original trilogy, City of Fallen Angels, and Clockwork Angel were all out. CoFA had just come out earlier that year. I read them all rather quickly, finishing the trilogy in under a week, and CA and CoFA shortly after. As such, I didn’t really understand all the negativity about CoFA when I joined goodreads (after I read all the books). I didn’t feel like CoG’s ending was the definitive ending to a great series, and all the loose ends were NOT taken care of. (Not that all great series(es?) get great, definitive endings. See Nightshade). So when the story continued, I was happy. CoFA definitely had a much different feel than the original trilogy, but I just saw that as all their lives being a little weird after the war. After reading CoLS, though, I can see people’s points about CoFA better now. City of Lost Souls was amazing. Even the stuff that should have been “boring”, the exposition-heavy passages were so well-written that I was glued to my Nook even when nothing was happening. It was very interesting to see what our heroes and heroines would do when their governing system failed them, in regards to Jace. Would they continue to be “Team Good” and stick to things they knew they could get away with, or would they stop at nothing—including things that would condemn them—to reclaim the lost? By the way, when they were dubbed “Team Good”, I literally laughed out loud. So much that I snorted while laughing. I felt like this book was really one for the “secondary” characters. Sure, Clary and Jace got a lot of time devoted to them, but I felt like we learned so much more about Isabelle, Simon, Alec, Magnus, Maia and Jordan than we knew before. Magnus and Alec in particular for me, as I always liked them but in this book I really *got* them. I also LOVED Isabelle’s character development. Isabelle and Simon give me warm fuzzies. Also, I know he’s supposed to be the villain, but DANG Jonathan/Sebastian is smooth (An annoyance of mine is that the characters insist on calling him Sebastian. I know that it was explained that “Jonathan” is Jace’s name to them, but he doesn’t even go by it! What about the REAL Sebastian? He didn’t do anything to them). I found myself being charmed by him and his apparent want for a family, replacing his dead father and rejected mother with a sister and adoptive brother. This book was a great transition from the catalyst in CoFA to the conclusion in CoHF. All too often, books bridging the gap like this one does end up being forgettable, and when the series is over, you feel like its only purpose was to set up a few things for the finale. I have a very strong feeling that this will not be the case with The Mortal Instruments. The only thing I really didn’t like about the book is that it was over so fast! I can’t believe we have to wait until 2014 for City of Heavenly Fire!

Happy reading, and good eating!

The Immortal Rules

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Author: Julie Kagawa
Series: Blood of Eden #1
Release Date: April 24, 2012
Dates Read: April 28, 2012

Rating: ★★★★½ 

When I first heard about this book, I knew I would want to read it. A post-apocalyptic world WITH vampires? Heck yes! I’d read Kagawa’s The Iron King previously, so I was familiar with her writing style. Where in that series, I found Meghan to get a little whiny and annoying at times, in The Immortal Rules Allison is the exact opposite. Allie has had to fend for herself as an Unregistered human in a vampire city, which seems something like being an illegal immigrant. She and her friends have to stay under the radar, or become Registered and have to give blood to the vampires. The book starts off seeing Allison’s everyday struggles, but everything changes when she and her friends are attacked by “rabids”. I found myself picturing them much like the infected in 28 Days Later, kind of a vampire-zombie hybrid. Needless to say, they’re scary. Allie is fatally wounded, and given two choices: succumb to her injuries and die, or become what she hates—a vampire—and continue to exist. The rest of the book follows her as she deals with what she has become. Learning how to survive is easy, the hard part is learning how she can continue to be who she is. The Immortal Rules is the fantastic introduction to Julie Kagawa’s new Blood of Eden series. I would recommend it to anyone who likes vampire books, post-apocalyptic and dystopian books, and anyone who likes kick-ass heroines! I can’t wait until the next book!

Happy reading, and good eating!

I’m Back!

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Sooooooooo I’ve been MIA for a while. A long while. Like, two months. Sorry about that. Life stuff got in the way. I actually didn’t get to read much for like an entire month. Or bake/cook much of anything. It was sad. I was really busy. The job I talked about last time is going really well, I’m actually kind of enjoying it for the most part.
As for school, let’s just say that this happened…

Which led to this happening, this past weekend!

Yay! I am a college graduate!!! Yes, my tassel is pink. Music is pink. Win. And I like the weirdness of that picture.

So, the point being, I’ve been busy and neglecting my blog. But have no fear, summer is here! And literally ALL I am doing is working less than 33 hours per week and applying for big-girl jobs. Which leaves a large chunk of time for reading and cooking! Yay! I’ve read 5 books in the last week or so, and am working on a sixth. Don’t worry, I’ve also started working on the reviews for those. ;) I haven’t had time to do much cooking yet, but I’m hoping that will change! My Pinterest account is chock-full of things I want to try. Also, I have a cute new apron that my mom got me when she and my aunt SURPRISED me and drove 800 miles to see my recital. And ended up getting stuck here for a week. Haha. So we did a lot of cool things, and I got an apron out of it. I’ll post a pic when I use it for the first time. :)

tl; dr – I’m back, and I’m working on book reviews, plotting recipes to make. Woo summer!!!

Happy reading, and good eating!

Dearly, Departed

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Author: Lia Habel
Series: Gone With the Respiration #1
Release Date: October 18, 2011
Dates Read: February 25-March 16, 2012

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

First off, it did NOT take me nearly a month to read this book. I started it back at the end of February, but only got a few chapters in before I realized I needed to read Article 5 before Kristen Simmons came to town. I also started working a part-time job, which took up a lot of my previous reading time. Although, part of the reason it did take me a while to read this book was because of the way it was structured. Each chapter is in a different character’s point of view, which was fine when switching between Nora and Bram, or switching to what Pamela was up to, but for some reason every time we got a chapter from Victor’s POV I was totally lost. Wolfe too. When I finally had time to sit and read for more than 15-30 minutes (yay spring break!), I ended up really liking the book. I had legitimate tears on my face towards the end. The characters were well formed, I freaking loved Pamela, and their actions were believable to me. Nora’s reaction to the friendly undead got to be annoying after a while, but understandable. I mean, if you’d never heard of zombies and suddenly realized you were surrounded by friendly ones, you might freak out too. The history of the world of the series was quite interesting to me, and how Habel was somehow able to combine elements of steampunk, futuristic technology, zombies, and the Victorian era, and throw them all into a post-apocalyptic future was fascinating. Overall, once I really sat down and got into the book, it was hard to put down. Just set aside larger chunks of time in which to read if you plan to read this one, and you won’t be disappointed!

Happy reading, and good eating!

Article 5

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Author: Kristen Simmons
Series: Article 5 #1
Release Date: January 31, 2012
Dates Read: March 3-6, 2012

Rating: ★★★★½ 

This is the fastest I’ve read a book in a while. The main reason for that being that it was one of those books that you cannot put down once you get to a certain point in the story. I was glued to the book, I read most of it on my busiest day of the week, but I have two breaks of a substantial amount of time where I literally sat on a bench for hours, reading. The world-building was enough to figure out what’s going on, but I would love to get the whole backstory in the next book. I see that that was a main complaint from other readers, but I felt like Simmons gave us enough history of her world that we weren’t totally lost, but still left some to be explored in later books (this is a trilogy, after all). And the angst, oh the angst. Imagine that the person you had only started to express your true feelings for had to leave, and when you saw them next, they were totally different. You’d have to separate them into two people, almost, and deal with how different a person they’d become. But then, sometimes you’d get a glimpse of the old them, and feelings would rush up at you like a brick wall. That’s basically what happens several times to Ember regarding Chase. Therefore, ANGST. Their story of survival kept me glued to my seat for hours reading, and my only regret is that I have to wait until January to find out what happens next!!!
The other reason that I read this book so fast was that the day I finished it, the author, Kristen Simmons, was in town at a local bookstore to discuss and sign Article 5. I had never been to a book signing before, having had to miss when Richelle Mead came here last year (I’m still mad about that). I am glad, though, that my first book signing was a smaller one from a debut author. It had a much more friendly atmosphere, which combined with Simmons’ personality very well. She talked a lot about her long journey to publication, and had a very positive “don’t give up” message. I also found it very interesting that she is a mental health advocate, striving to make mental health and illness something that people aren’t ashamed to talk about. People very close to me have been on medicine for clinical depression, and some were very ashamed of it. Some were even ridiculed because of it, when it’s a medical condition that they can’t help. So I definitely empathized with her being a mental health advocate because of this, and also because you can see her expertise on mental health in her characters.

7hir7een I got our books signed, and we also got a picture with her! She looks super cute, but true to fashion, we look a bit awkward. Oh well. Overall, it was a super cool experience. I can’t wait for more authors to come here, hint hint. ;)

Happy reading, and good eating!

The Iron King

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Author: Julie Kagawa
Series: Iron Fey #1
Release Date: February 1, 2010
Dates Read: February 19-25, 2012

Rating: ★★★★½ 

I loved this book! It was a classic “something strange happens on your 16th birthday” coming-of-age tale, which is part of why it was so enjoyable. You can’t help but root for Meghan, even though she can get a bit whiney. Essentially, The Iron King is about Meghan’s journey to get her kidnapped brother back from Faeryland. Along the way, she learns that her life may not be as ordinary as it seems, and that people and events in her life were more than odd coincidences. I loved how Kagawa used established literary characters like Puck, Oberon, Titania, and Queen Mab. My favorite character would definitely be Puck. Even though he ended up not being in a large chunk of the book, when he was there he was hilarious, and very loyal and protective of Meghan. I loved the tie-in with her “normal” life as far as he was concerned. Ash is very interesting. I didn’t really buy their “romance” until close to the end of the book, and even then I’m still not sold on it. The enemy was really cool, the idea of the Iron Fey coming from the rise of technology in the human world and the disbelief in things like fey was unique. Also, I read on one of the author’s tweets/blog that the main villain’s appearance was inspired by Sephiroth. *geek squee* If I didn’t have so many books that I need to read by the end of the month (for book clubs and such), I would have shot through this whole series one right after the other. I literally cannot wait for when I’ve got a large chunk of my “to-read-ASAP” list done, and a day off work so that I can have an Iron Fey marathon day.

Happy reading, and good eating!

Disappearance

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Hi everyone!
It has been a long while since I’ve posted, but don’t worry, I haven’t abandoned books and bites! I’ve just had a busy last few weeks. I got a call for a part-time job interview, and interviewed that very same day! I’ve been working close to 25 hours a week in addition to going to class 2 days a week, so I haven’t had loads of free time, and unfortunately there are things I need to do in that time that have priority over reading and cooking. :( But, I didn’t completely stop doing either in that time, so I’ve got 2 book reviews that will go up immediately, and some recipes coming soon!

tif

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