Oh boy I wish you could smell what’s cookin’ over here. Last night I asked my 11 year old to write two Post-Its for me to remind me to take out the meat. This is what she left me:
The tween has been having cravings for stew and soup. I already made the first before her birthday. Today, this recipe is coming together in our slow cooker.
Well, I debated on whether to post today to join in on It’s Monday! What are you reading? simply because you were hit with a couple of entries on the read-a-thon this past weekend. However, I felt inspired to today with the launch of this meme’s baton being handed over to Kathryn of The Book Date. Don’t worry, I won’t bore you and repost pictures of the recently read books. They’ve flashed you enough.
#1: The Blood Olympus by Rick Riordan
Though the Greek and Roman crewmembers of theArgo II have made progress in their many quests, they still seem no closer to defeating the earth mother, Gaea. Her giants have risen—all of them—and they’re stronger than ever. They must be stopped before the Feast of Spes, when Gaea plans to have two demigods sacrificed in Athens. She needs their blood—the blood of Olympus—in order to wake.
The demigods are having more frequent visions of a terrible battle at Camp Half-Blood. The Roman legion from Camp Jupiter, led by Octavian, is almost within striking distance. Though it is tempting to take the Athena Parthenos to Athens to use as a secret weapon, the friends know that the huge statue belongs back on Long Island, where it “might” be able to stop a war between the two camps.
The Athena Parthenos will go west; the Argo II will go east. The gods, still suffering from multiple personality disorder, are useless. How can a handful of young demigods hope to persevere against Gaea’s army of powerful giants? As dangerous as it is to head to Athens, they have no other option. They have sacrificed too much already. And if Gaea wakes, it is game over.
SETTING: This book was the last installment of The Heroes of Olympus series, second after Percy Jackson’s. The seven demi-gods, children of Greek and Roman gods with mortals, travel about Greece and Italy before heading back to the U.S. for the final battle.
CHARACTERS: The demi-gods were real kids with different personalities. I liked how each one had strengths and weaknesses and battled with his/her own demons. They really came together as a unified group that gave willingly in times of need and offered hope or reason in times of confusion or self-doubt. Leo Valdez – the child of a mortal, mechanic mum and the god, Hepaestus – cracked me up sometimes with his boy humor:
(after reprogramming digital signs)
“THE DOCTOR IS:
IN DA HOUSE.
ALL DA LADIES LUV LEO!” (page 340)
STORY: Rick Riordan did not disappoint. I like chapters specifically labeled when it centers around a particular character. There is never a lull in the plot. Something is always going on – danger, fighting, arguing, snarky comments, mushiness, etc. There is a constant focus on a task that will help the whole mission in some way. I liked being immersed in this world because as you know I’m a Greek mythology fan since high school.
CONCLUSION: A fun read made up of simple language, continuous action, and realistic kid behavior that all just happens to incorporate mythology and creativity. Four stars.
#2: Sugar Rush by Donna Kauffman
In my Friday rush to bring home a few, hardcover library books for the read-a-thon, this book’s candy pink cover caught my eye. I faintly knew I had it on my TBR.
Devil’s Food…Angel Cake…Red Velvet…Praline Crunch…Lemon Chiffon…
How’s a woman to choose?
Luckily, the members of the Cupcake Club are about to taste it all…
When baker extraordinaire Leilani Trusdale left the bustle of New York City for Georgia’s sleepy Sugarberry Island, she didn’t expect her past to follow. Yet suddenly, her former boss, Baxter Dunne, aka Chef Hot Cakes, the man who taught her everything pastry, wants to film his hit cooking show in her tiny cupcakery. The same Chef Hot Cakes whose molten chocolate brown eyes and sexy British accent made Lani’s mouth water and her cheeks blush the color of raspberry filling – stirring all kinds of kitchen gossip, much of which Lani wished was true…
Lani’s friends are convinced that this time around, Baxter is the missing ingredient in her recipe for happiness. But convincing Lani will be a job for Baxter himself. And he’ll need more than black velvet frosting to sweeten the deal…
SETTING: A fictitious, Sugarberry Island
CHARACTERS: There is a bunch of diverse characters, similar to that of a small town. My favorite was of course the most vocal, an octogenarian named Alva Liles. Not only was she a Google search engine herself, this woman was a high roller:
(after being asked to leave the senior center bridge club)
“Alva had responded by starting her own ladies poker club, which had all but decimated the ranks of the original bridge club. They played once a week…and had the reputation for being quite the competitive poker sharks. Average age: seventy-six.” (page 46)
STORY: [Pluses] Humor for one:
” ‘That’s me.’ She lifted her pastry bag in salute. ‘Cupcake Baker Barbie!’ She aimed the silver tip, and bulleted a row of raspberry shots with rapid-fire precision, then another, and another, before finally straightening, spent pastry bag cocked on her shoulder like a weapon. She was a take-no-prisoner’s Baker Barbie…” (page 18)
And obviously there are descriptive baking scenes or yummy ingredients being combined to create popular confections. You know I have a sweet tooth and have always liked reading about food.
[Minuses] I’ve realized I judge modern day romances a lot harder than historical ones. I think this stems from figuring anything is possible in such a genre and time period. The romance was of two characters who of course had this magnetic attraction for one another, but knew all the while they had careers going in different directions. Honestly, I wasn’t totally hooked on this situation as the ending was guessable. There was a lot of prep work getting to the point where the couple was in close proximity with one another. I thought this unusual which could be a minus because as a reader I’m wanting to get into the meat of the story, but at the same time one could say the author wasn’t going to rush through things which then could be a plus.
CONCLUSION: Three stars. This seemed more like a cozy romance that wasn’t very challenging. I don’t think I’ll continue with the series.
#3: Current Read
As you can figure, I’m still on Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth. She is a new author I’m test driving. I like her writing so far as she is known for fractured fairy tales. And believe me, this book is not all rainbows and unicorns. There is a thread of Grimm brothers darkness in here.
Off to refuel my brain and chores. What’s cookin’ tonight for dinner and what are you reading right now?