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Fast Money review

Fast Money: A Shelby Nichols Adventure (Shelby Nichols #2)Fast Money: A Shelby Nichols Adventure by Colleen Helme

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This series would make a great present for my mother. I’m finding it harder and harder to find things to read that my mother would also enjoy. I hate that awkward feeling I get when she asks me what I’m reading and if she can read it when I’m done. Fast Money has everything she enjoys in a story – a relatable female protagonist, minimal explicit language, a bit of humour to keep it light, implied violence, a mystery to follow, and no graphic sex scenes – WINNER!

Fast Money has just enough humour to balance with the mystery to make this a great holiday read. The protagonist is a mother and wife. Such a different sleuth from what I usually read. I think I would enjoy this series more my children were a little older so I could empathise with Shelby more.

I hadn’t read the first book so some parts were a bit confusing. I suggest reading the synopsis of the first book, Carrots, before reading Fast Money. There were a lot of characters and at times I was confused with who was who but a strong series needs a range allies and villains. You do need to suspend belief a little bit to truly engage with this series. I found that there was quite a bit of repetition in the novel due to its stream of consciousness style. This is good if you like to read small passages over a period of time or if you often put a book down and come back to it later.

I read the audiobook edition. I really liked the narrator. She really embodied the character of Shelby. Fast Money is written from Shelby’s perspective in almost a stream of consciousness style. Through Shelby we hear what the other characters are thinking, this meant that while the narrate or differentiated character voices, she didn’t attempt any rediculous accents – YAY!

There are several plot lines that intersect in interesting ways. The novel’s conclusion sets it a promising premise for the rest of the series

Next time I’m looking for a holiday read, I will pick up the next one.

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Diet book review

The New Low-Carb Diet CookbookThe New Low-Carb Diet Cookbook by Laura Lamont
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was really excited by this diet until I got to the recipes. I have a nut allergy. This, like many other diets, uses a lot of nuts in its recipes.

The Good
The photos in the book are great. I love seeing great photos on cookbooks. I'm alway so disappointed that my attempts never live up to the photos but I like to see them anyway.
The diet makes sense.
The diet uses colour coding to establish the 'rules' to follow. I thought that this makes sense and would make it easier to create your own meal plans.
The informative pages explaining the science behind the diet are in accessible language,

The Drawbacks
Too many nuts in the recipes.
The sample recipes all required a lot of cooking. When I'm detoxing off sugar, carbs and caffeine the last thing I want to be doing to baking my own bread for half a slice at breakfast.
Most of the recipes had at least a couple of ingredients that I don't usually buy. This makes it more difficult to get the rest of the family to eat with you.
The recipes were not colour coded to illustrated how the colour coded system works. I really expected the recipes to clearly model the system.

I have bookmarked six recipes to try. However, I don't think that I will try the diet because I prefer to have greater guidance.

Have a look for yourself.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for a review.

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Dream Student (Dream, #1)Dream Student by J.J. DiBenedetto

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Only the brave should listen to this book before bed and risk Sarah’s nightmares meeting your own.

The premise of this novel is interesting. Sarah is able to view other people’s dreams. However, as we all know, not all dreams are happy ones.

This is where the story turns into a mystery. Sarah and her friends must uncover the identity of the dreamer in order to try and stop him perpetrating again. The mystery was a real let down for me. I really enjoy trying to work out the mystery and love a few red herrings. However, I worked this one out really quickly. If you like to be able to follow the clues and unlock the mystery then you might enjoy Dream Student.

In my opinion, Dream Student could have been 15-20% shorter. I found that there was a lot of repetition and some scenes that did not seem to propel the narrative or drive character development. I also found that the audio narration was quite slow. This is the first time I have ever listened to a book on a faster speed. I found it worked quite well at 1.25x without sounding robotic.

I really wanted to like this book more but it was a lot slower paced from what I am used to reading.

Dream Student would make a good book for an occasional read. I’m sure many of you are like me and have multiple books on the go at once. The print version would be suitable for that book that you pick up every now and then to read a chapter or two. It is suitable for this casual reading because there are only a few characters, one main plot line rather than a series of intertwining subplots, repetition and a patterning of events.

 

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Touch by Melissa Haag

TouchTouch by Melissa Haag

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this book more than I anticipated. I think it is mostly because I was able to respect the characters. Far too often the characters in YA paranormal romances invoke a feeling of envy in the reader because of their romance/appearance/powers/wealth/circumstances etc. This was not the case. The teenagers were sensible and the adults were both loving and flawed.

Touch is about Tessa, a 16 year old who is trapped by a 200 year old family curse. While I call Touch a paranormal romance it is different from most stories in the genre. While the ‘love interest’ propels the plot, there isn’t a ‘fall in love at first sight’ overwhelming romance. I really respect Melissa Haag for this as I think it makes the novel. The complication is that Tessa, as all the women before her, must choose a partner before her 17th birthday. To assist her choice, she catches a glimpse of the future with each potential mate with just a touch. The main catch is that whomever she chooses is cursed to die young.

I want to quickly comment on the cover. While looking at the covers of all the editions, this cover is the most appealing to me. However, after reading the novel this cover is really misleading 😦

What I liked most about Touch is that I was often conflicted about what I wanted for Tessa, the protagonist. I was able to share her indecision as she battled with making decisions that would rule her future and change the lives of her family.

I am really looking forward to reading some of Melissa Haag’s other work.

Touch reminds us that the basis for the strongest relationships is friendship rather than passion.

Happy reading 🙂

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All Our Yesterdays

All Our YesterdaysAll Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

All Our Yesterdays is one of the best time travel stories that I have read. There are a few twists and turns in the plot and at times I wasn’t sure who I wanted to succeed. This is a well written and satisfying story. The resolution is really well done and leaves you feeling contented when you finally turn that last page.

Usually, I really don’t like time travel stories but All Our Yesterdays isn’t your typical time travel story. It really appealed to me and often after I had put the book down, I wondered what I would do if I had the technology to go back in time.

The characterisation was well portrayed. The chapters were written from different character perspectives and Cristin Terrill was able to successfully differentiate between the characters by giving them their own authentic voice. This isn’t easy to achieve so it is a huge kudos from me to any author who is able to pull it off.

This story is about choices, responsibilities, relationships and consequences. It stays with you and challenges you to think about your own choices and your impact on the future of our planet. So many times it provokes you to think about “What would you do?”

Even if you are not a fan of Science Fiction, if you are a lover of Young Adult fiction – read All Our Yesterdays.

Happy reading 🙂 

 

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My new favourite series book 1

Magic Bites (Kate Daniels, #1)Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Kate Daniels is just my type of protagonist – tough, smart-mouthed, attracts trouble and knows how to hold her own. This paranormal, urban fantasy, mystery really took me by surprise. The authors have created a well-rounded world that I easily fell into and followed the story. The story had unpredictable twists and turns that kept me interested and wanting to find out what happened next.

The chapters are really long and the first few are heavily laden with descriptions of the setting which was required to develop such a believable world. I will admit that I was assisted by a rundown given by another reader on Goodreads who explained concisely about the Magic versus the Tech; The Order versus The Guild; and The Pack versus The People. She also directed my to http://www.ilona-andrews.com/kate-daniels which really helped. I also downloaded from Smashwords a companion to the series where one of the authors has written some of the scenes from Curran’s perspective. There is only on scene from Magic Bites but it is well worth the read.

I really would have preferred to have read the ebook rather than the audiobook of this one. It isn’t often that I say this but it would have helped to be able to see the spelling of some of the names and to be able to go back and reread passages after revelations were made later in the novel. Luckily I read this as a buddy read on Goodreads so the other readers were able to fill in the blanks for me.

There is a subtle humour in Magic Bites which really won me over. I always appreciate fantasy authors who don’t take themselves too seriously “Here kitty, kitty” 🙂

Thanks to the sense of humour, encompassing world, feisty Kate and the fearsome Curran that Kate Daniels may just become my new favourite series!

(I’m 40% through the second book already!)

 

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Feed by M. T. Anderson

FeedFeed by M.T. Anderson

3.5 stars

Feed establishes an intricate and believable future world where technology and corporations dictate the lives or Americans while the world’s natural habit is quietly destroyed.

M. T. Anderson successful achieves an integrated vernacular littered with jargon and slang that enhances the narrative rather than distracts from it. Each word in this sociolect is used without the explanation that other authors feel is necessary. The language is easily understood through its use in the context.

The first few chapters had be enthralled. Actually, the first lines peaked my interest: “We went to the moon to have fun, but the moon turned out to completely suck.” However, as the story progressed and turned into a more serious commentary on consumerism, technology and environmental destruction, I became less involved.

Even though, Feed is one of those novels that all teenagers should read.

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