Saturday, July 30, 2011

Fast Food Nation Review

Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side to the All-American Meal
AUTHOR: Eric Schlosser
PAGES: 399
GENRE: Nonfiction
DATE PUBLISHED: July 1, 2005

SUMMARY from Goodreads:

Fast food has become a veritable American institution, with restaurants serving a quick bite in every strip mall and roadside rest area across the country. But, according to Fast Food Nation, the fast food establishment has been serving up much more than just cheap hamburgers and greasy fries. In compelling fashion, author Eric Schlosser traces the growth of fast food chains after World War II and condemns the industry for giving rise to such cultural maladies as obesity, classism, American global imperialism, and environmental devastation.


I loved this book. It was the perfect combination of humor and facts. It is very informational, but holds attention with the topic and style of writing. I feel like it made me smarter, but it wasn’t like reading a textbook either.

This is a very well researched book. The author brings in studies, statistics, and pictures. The format of the book is him telling what he learned. He traveled across the country visiting restaurants and interviewing people. He not only shares the information from the interview, but also how the people acted and what his personal impression of them was. He interviews everyone from farmers to fry cooks and from slaughter house workers to teenage cashiers.

This book covered everything you would want to know about the fast food industry. It talked about the science behind making the equipment and having efficient machinery, and covers the marketing and publicity and advertisements. It even discusses the founding fathers of fast food and how it all came to be. And, of course, it talks about the negative aspects, such as working for minimum wage and obesity.

I found it all so interesting and comprehensible too. I think it was a relevant book because we all eat fast food and some of us even work at them. We see the commercials, billboards, and merchandise. I really enjoyed reading this book.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Circle of Fire

Circle of Fire

By Michelle Zinc

Release Date: August 1, 2011

Summary from Goodreads:

With time dwindling but her will to end the Prophecy stronger than ever, Lia sets out on a journey to find the remaining keys, locate the missing pages of the Prophecy, and convince her sister Alice to help--or risk her life trying. Lia has her beloved Dimitri by her side, but Alice has James, the man who once loved her sister--and maybe still does. James doesn't know the truth about either sister, or the prophecy that divides them. And Alice intends to keep it that way.

There are some secrets sisters aren't meant to share. Because when they do, it destroys them. This stunning conclusion to Michelle Zink's Prophecy of the Sisters trilogy will make saying good-bye bittersweet for readers.

Why I’m Excited:

I’ve read the other books in the series, and they were so good! I can’t wait to find out how everything fits together. And the summary makes me so curious—what’s going to be bittersweet?!

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted be Breaking the Spine to highlight upcoming releases.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Superhuman Review

Title: Super Human
Author: Michael Carroll
Pages: 336
Genre: Fantasy
Published: May 2010

Summary from Goodreads:
Four thousand years ago the world's first super human walked the earth. Possessing the strength of one hundred men, skin impervious to attack, and the ability to read minds, this immortal being used his power to conquer and enslave nations. Now plans are in motion that will transport this super human to the present, where he'll usher in a new age of tyranny unlike anything the world has ever seen.

Determined to stand against them, using powers they've only just begun to master, is a ragtag group of young heroes. For them this first test may be their greatest . . . and last.

My Review:
I must admit, despite my embarrassment, that I enjoy reading The New Heroes books. They are weird, their plots are usually pretty canned, the good guys are excessively pacifist (even the military) and the bad guys are usually caricatures of themselves. Yet I enjoy reading them, and this book was no exception. In spite of its cliche status, it is still a worthy read.

I must admit, most of the characters are very flat and dull, but some of the characters are so cool they make up for their co-star's dullness. One example is Krodin (the first superhuman mentioned in the above review) who is so cool and unpretentious, yet at the same time brutal and violent, that he is like the Bond villains mixed with Hannibal Lecter (minus the eating his victims). A villain you hate, but still smile whenever he is in a scene. Another example is Paragon, the armored superhero with a sense of humor, he is kind of like a black Tony Stark. His humor accents the darkness of much of the novel.

The integral portions of the plot, despite it’s overall cheesiness, are actually fascinating. With everything from an old hag who can create viruses, to attacking a nuclear power plant as a diversion for a bigger crime to the epic battle scenes that fill its pages (like when Krodin kills a rhinoceros--yes a rhinoceros--with his bare hands in the first pages of the book) make it the kind of cheesy like the action cartoons of one’s youth, always remaining as fond memories in one’s conscious.

I would recommend this book to pretty much anyone. I will guarantee that you will put the book down with a smile on your face because it is just the kind of book that makes you happy.

PS: Read this book before reading the other New Heroes books (also known as the Quantum Prophecy series) it makes the other books make much more sense because this book is, in fact, a prequel to the others.


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Once Upon a Read-a-Thon Wrap Up

Once Upon a Read-a-Thon

Books Read:

Wicked Girls by Stephanie Hemphill (poetry)
Re-Gifters by Mike Cary (graphic novel)
Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston
Darklight by Lesley Livingston
Eighth Grade Bites by Heather Brewer
Fushigi Yugi Vol 1: Priestess by Yu Watase (manga)

Total Pages Read:

Wow! I did not think I'd read that many pages--but I guess the graphic novels help. My favorite book of the read-a-thon is definitely Wondrous Strange; I think I need to get this series and the Iron Fey series for my classroom library ASAP.

I had a lot of fun participating in this read-a-thon, and I look forward to participating in more!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Once Upon a Read-a-Thon Mini Challenges

Once Upon a Read-a-Thon

This page will be updated throughout the read-a-thon with the mini challenges and updates.

Day #3
Today I've finished Darklight, and I think I may just have to go out and buy Tempestuous because I NEED to know what happens next!

I'll update again at the end of the day to let you know what else I've finished reading.

Mini-Challenge #3
This challenge comes from Books from Bleh to Basically Amazing and asks for book recommendations. One from any book we've read, and one from our readathon challenge.

Recommendation #1

The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor

Lewis Carroll may have been on drugs when he created the fantastical world through the looking glass, but Frank Beddor is able to make the acid-trip make sense. This is a retelling of Alice and Wonderland that spoke to my soul. You get to see Wonderland for what it really is--a place where imagination can thrive. Alice becomes so much more than a lost girl, she becomes a strong heroine trying to adapt to a world that she was never meant to live in. And the romance...the story doesn't DEPEND on it, but is enriched by it. But I don't want to ruin anything--you'll have to read it yourself.

Recommendation #2

Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston
If you love characters that aren't idiots, you should read this book. If you love in-depth plot and characterization, you should read this book. If you love A Midsummer Night's Dream, you should read this book. Even if you don't love Midsummer, you should read this book. If you love adventure, swoon-worthy romance, cute boys, mystery and cute boys, you should read this book. And there are faeries. Powerful, beautiful faeries. Need I say more?

Day #2
Books finished:
Re-Gifters--a little difficult for me to get into, but turned out to be a pretty decent story.
Wondrous Strange--LOVED Kelley as a main character, and the mythology was brilliant.

Time: Not sure. 5-6 hours probably.

Mini-Challenge #2
This challenge comes from The Bookish Type. Pick any book from your readathon pile and write a fake synopsis based solely on the cover. The synopsis does not have to be related to the actual book at all, just the pretty, pretty cover.

I chose Darklight, the sequel to Wondrous Strange and the book I'll be reading next!

Veronica wasn't sure how she had ended up in the forest. Alone. In a gorgeous dress. With a glowing necklace. But then, her life never had been normal. As the daughter of a top fashion designer dad and ex-model turned photographer mom, Veronica was used to being whisked away to weird photo shoot locations and wearing even weirder clothes. But nothing about this place seemed familiar. She had to find her way home, and fast. She was supposed to audition for a much coveted role in a top rated TV drama, and she needed to talk to Brad about Prom. She was in the running for Prom Queen, so everything had to be perfect. Veronica had to find her way out before something, or someone, found her first.

Day #1
Monday wasn't a very productive day for me (as far as reading goes) because I had a conference all day.

Books finished:
Wicked Girls--a great historical fiction/poetry novel about the Salem witch trials. I will definitely be using this in my classroom.

Time spent reading: 3 hours

This challenge comes from IB Book Blogging

Mini Challenge Question 1:

What is your favorite type of myth (Greek, Roman, Egyptian etc)?

Greek mythology all the way! In 6th grade I even taught myself the Greek alphabet, and wrote notes to my friends in Greek.

Mini Challenge Question 2:
What is your favorite book with some type of mythology in it?

Ooh, tough choice. I really enjoyed the Percy Jackson series, but I also really like Psyche in a Dress by Francesca Lia Block. I still haven't read Abandon or The Goddess Test yet--I'm hoping I will like those as well.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Once Upon a Read-a-Thon

Once Upon a Read-a-Thon

I (Ms.R) will be participating in my first ever read-a-thon starting tomorrow, July 11. The Once Upon a Read-a-Thon is hosted by the lovely ladies at Reading Angel, Pure Imagination and Candace's Book Blog. If you haven't signed up yet, you still can!

I'm a little disappointed because I realized that I have a conference all day on Monday, so that will drastically reduce my reading time, but hopefully I can still get a good chunk of reading done.

I don't have a set list of what I'm going to read, but I do have some library and recently purchased books that need reading.

Books in the stack:

Re-Gifters by Mike Carey
Darklight by Lesley Livingston
Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston
Wicked Girls by Stephanie Hemphill
Huntress by Malinda Lo
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
Eighth Grade Bites (The Chronicles of Vladimir Todd #1) by Heather Brewer
Fushi Yugi #1 The Mysterious Play by Yu Watase
I Am The Messenger by Markus Zusak
Ball Don't Lie by Matt de la Pena
Daughter of Xandu by Dori Jones Yang

I know I won't be able to get through all of these, but I can get at least 4 or 5 done (especially the graphic novels and poetry.) Priority will go the library books, since I have to return them later this week. I'm especially excited for Wondrous Strange, since I've heard such great things about the series.

I can't wait to read my heart out!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Haunting Violet Review

Haunting Violet
Author: Alyxandra Harvey
Pages: 352 pages
Genre: Mystery/Paranormal
Publish Date: June 21st, 2011

Summary from Goodreads:
Violet Willoughby doesn't believe in ghosts. But they believe in her. After spending years participating in her mother's
elaborate ruse as a fraudulent medium, Violet is about as skeptical as they come in all matters supernatural. Now that she is being visited by a very persistent ghost, one who suffered a violent death, Violet can no longer ignore her unique ability. She must figure out what this ghost is trying to communicate, and quickly because the killer is still on the loose.

Afraid of ruining her chance to escape her mother's scheming through an advantageous marriage, Violet must keep her ability secret. The only person who can help her is Colin, a friend she's known since childhood, and whom she has grown to love. He understands the true Violet, but helping her on this path means they might never be together. Can Violet find a way to help this ghost without ruining her own chance at a future free of lies?

My Review:

Seances, Spirit Boards, dark mirrors
are all a part of black magic. I’m not a huge black magic fan. I dislike the creepiness and evil it invites. But I adore mysteries of all types. So I decided to give this book a chance since it had both. To my surprise, I liked it! The author I think handled the black magic very well, and it had a sixth sense kind of feel, which I also liked. The main character, Vi, is very likable which is good, especially when her mom is such a nut job. I did think the "best friend since we were little turning into true love" thing is getting a little old. It seems that that's the only way to fall in love in books lately.

On the mystery side of things the author did a great job keeping the killer secret. There were many suspects, a lot of twists, yet it was not a total shock when you find out who really did it. That’s the main element in a mystery that most authors need to watch out for. Hinting who did it while not giving it away and at the same time making the reader think it’s someone else. Violet and her friend are really intelligent about the way they try to investigate, which really is important to me, as I have read a lot of other mysteries. Really good book, I couldn't put it down all day.


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Scorch Trials Review

The Scorch Trials
Author: James Dashner
Genre: Science Fiction
Publish Date: October 12, 2010
Pages: 360

***May include spoilers from The Maze Runner***


Solving the Maze was supposed to be the end. No more puzzles. No more variables. And no more running. Thomas was sure that escape meant he and the Gladers would get their lives back. But no one really knew what sort of life they were going back to.

In the Maze, life was easy. They had food, and shelter, and safety . . . until Teresa triggered the end. In the world outside the Maze, however, the end was triggered long ago.

Burned by sun flares and baked by a new, brutal climate, the earth is a wasteland. Government has disintegrated—and with it, order—and now Cranks, people covered in festering wounds and driven to murderous insanity by the infectious disease known as the Flare, roam the crumbling cities hunting for their next victim . . . and meal.

The Gladers are far from finished with running. Instead of freedom, they find themselves faced with another trial. They must cross the Scorch, the most burned-out section of the world, and arrive at a safe haven in two weeks. And WICKED has made sure to adjust the variables and stack the odds against them.

Thomas can only wonder—does he hold the secret of freedom somewhere in his mind? Or will he forever be at the mercy of WICKED?

My Reaction:

This is the second book of the series Maze Runners. I know typically this series was intended for boys but when a friend let me borrow The Maze Runner (the first book) I read it. I liked it a lot. When I found out there was a second book I was ecstatic, and immediately put it on hold at the library. I loved this book a lot more than the first! You meet different characters, you find out more about WICKED, and why they do what they do. Thomas as a character develops a lot in my opinion. To be honest the whole mood in this book was different to me. In The Maze Runner it’s mysterious and eerie, but in The Scorch Trials it has tension building up, and there’s a lot more action.

I was so into this book I was actually glad my friend
came to house late. I didn’t want to put it down. What would happen to Thomas? What is WICKED? What do they want? Will the Gladers make it? I liked some of the new characters even better than the old ones; and some of the old ones I began to hate. I was so caught up in this book that I was a bit shocked when it ended. Hint: There’s another book after this one. I kind of wanted to toss it across the room, but fortunately didn’t. I’d recommend this book to a lot of people. Not everyone because I know this book isn’t for everyone. But it definitely is for boys, action lovers, and somewhat for people who like the whole dramatic relationship thing. I can't wait to read the next book!