ARC – Unicorn Food by Kat Odell

 

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etsy.com

I received a DIGITAL Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

From the Publisher: It’s among the hottest trends in the food world today—magically colorful dishes and drinks that are as bewitchingly beautiful as they are incredibly tasty and nutritious. Now, Kat Odell—a food journalist, author (the just-published Day Drinking), and entrepreneur who started selling her popular unicorn nut milks in 2015—celebrates the unicorn food movement with a rainbow of 75 recipes.
The recipes are vegan. The ingredients are all-natural and super-nutritious, from fresh fruits and vegetables to superfoods like flax, coconut oil, spirulina, chia, and bee pollen. And the offerings are exactly the kinds of hyper-colorful, super-fun dishes that healthy-forward eaters love, including gently flavored nut milks, grain bowls loaded with vegetables, probiotic breakfast custards, toasts with slathers and spreads. This is health food as never seen before, filled with joy, and words can’t do the colors, the (all-natural) sprinkles, the whimsical decorative touches justice—the deep glowing yellow of a Frozen Turmeric Lassi, the greens of Soba Noodles with Arugula and Arugula Pesto, the intense oranges and purples of Sweet and Sour Radish Tacos,  the tie-dye rainbow effect of Veggie Summer Sunset Rolls with Pineapple Kimchi, and the pastels of Chamomile Milk Tea Pudding with Fennel and Pistachios and Strawberry Pink Peppercorn Ice Cream Sticks.
Filled with dazzling full-color photographs, published in a package as special as the dishes themselves, Unicorn Food is a cookbook of real beauty, in the look, in the recipes, in the spirit of the food itself.

bad-ass-unicorn-300x300Joy and ever-freaking rapture! My trapper keeper carrying, hair band loving, Lisa Frank buying, side ponytail wearing inner child of the 80’s,  just did a squee and a backflip.

Drink and eat the Rainbow man. Preferably wearing glitter.

I seriously loved this cookbook for the simple fact that I can pretend that I am a hoity-toity chef making things with the words fennel, kimchi, and infusion at the same time as playing with my colorful food like I would play with playdough. I am absolutely and unequivocally sold on the concept. Plus, it is just a really lovely book to look through.

ccc668a4a949c0fa2054c17194c54a97As far as the writing is concerned, she did a great job. It feels slightly whimsy and straightforward at the same time. I have a real issue with cookbooks that take themselves way too seriously. She doesn’t. Lastly, the book inspired me to try some of these concoctions for both the chance of prancing around my house as a unicorn. (see photo below) But, also my health. I would recommend this to anyone, serious chef or novice. It is just a whole lot of fun.

ARC Red Rising – Sons of Ares by Pierce Brown

 

 

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The book of meh. image courtesy of goodreads.com

 

I received a Kindle Arc from Netgalley in exchange for a fair review.

I really wanted to like this. No. Scratch that. I really wanted to love this. The four book story of red rising; “Red Rising,” “Golden Son,”  “Morning Star,” and “Iron Gold” is some of the best new fantasy I have read lately. Some say that it is too similar to Hunger Games but when I read it I didn’t get that vibe at all. The only thing that is similar to me is the factions for occupations. The characters are interesting and intriguing. The story has a great arc. That is why this is such a letdown. I wanted to love it but really I was only, “meh.” 

A little backstory on this graphic novel, it is a prequel to Pierce Brown’s Red Rising Series and revolves around one of the subsidiary characters in the 4 novel story, However, other characters that are in the Red Rising series are featured. That being said, this graphic novel can be read on its own but the reader will not get the nuances had they read the entire 4 book story beforehand. What is missing is Brown’s great writing. It just doesn’t have the same flow and storytelling that the novels do.  It seems much flatter. If you are a diehard fan of the Red Rising series, absolutely read this. Otherwise, you might skip it till you read the novels.

ARC – Burn Bright (Alpha & Omega #5) by Patricia Briggs

I received this as an advanced copy from Netgalley.com for an honest review.

 

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Image courtesy of goodreads

When I first started reading this novel I felt pretty strongly that the story could have stood a trim and be better served as a novella. The plot felt too small and specific to carry an entire novel. This may be because I haven’t read books 2, 3, and 4 of the series and I am not as familiar with the characters as some. However, Patricia Briggs is, in general, a fantastic writer. I am a rabid fan of the Mercy books and pretty much anything she writes in that world. I didn’t think it would be a problem coming into the novel a little out of sequence, and it wasn’t. This is how I felt for the first 100 pages or so. It slogged a bit and the characters and setup just didn’t gel. Why is this plot important? Why do I care? What is the mystery that is trying to be solved? None of these questions came to much of a head till about 250 pages into the story. It is worth the wait. The climax of the story is absolutely worth the wait. But, I just don’t think this is one of her best books. It is heads above most writers out there, but all in all, it felt to slow for her normal pacing.

 

ARC of The Bridge: How the Roeblings Connected Brooklyn to New York by Peter J. Tomasi, Sara DuVall (Illustrations)

I received this as an advanced copy from Netgalley.com for an honest review.

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There are countless stories rich in history interlaced in the concrete, wire, and foundations of human civilization;  whether it be a tower in Pisa or a bridge that spans the waters between New York City and Brooklyn; every brick, trestle, and pylon could tell a story.  It is up to us, the stewards of the past, to recognize, learn from, and appreciate these works.  We would not be where we are as a society without people like the Roeblings. I can now say after reading this novel the Roeblings are added in my mind to the likes of Guggenheim, Olmstead, and Vaux.

The novel is not the dry telling of pounds per square inch of pressure in the caissons or the tensile strength of the wires; It is the story of a monumental project and the people who dedicated their lives to see it through. Specifically, a husband and wife team whose love and respect for each other are tantamount, as well as their mutual intelligence shines throughout the story much to the credit of the author Peter J. Tomasi. Graphically it is beautiful. They set the historical tone without being overly fussy and fastidious to detail. Sarah Duvall did her research into the period. Pictures of the bridge are not overly technical. I would assume this is a stylistic choice, yet they convey all the necessary information to the reader. This allows the story to move at a good place and pause when necessary for reflection. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who appreciates a good history lesson that is so intriguing it could be written as a work of fiction. I look forward to reading many more works by the author and enjoying the art of the illustrator.

Review of ARC Herding Cats (Sarah’s Scribbles #3) by Sarah Andersen

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Image courtesy of goodreads.com

I received this as an advanced copy from Netgalley.com for an honest review.

I swear, Sarah Anderson’s strips are pixelated joy. Each one speaks to me in a different way, and I found myself nodding enthusiastically as I read them and/or laughing my ass off. She speaks to my inner animal lover and my inner anxiety and angst fueled woman. I liked this so much, I want to get some of strips printed out and hang them on the wall so moments when I am losing my mind, or having crazy anxiety due to my period and I can look up at the picture and go “ahhhh. Yes. I am not alone in this insanity.” I haven’t read the first two books in the series which is so very exciting because that means I get to experience them for the first time and look forward to all the joy. I would definitely recommend this book to any adult reader. I find some of her strips speak specifically to being a woman, but even then male readers will get a chuckle. Readdddd itttt.

Stern, Volume 1: The undertaker, the tramp and the assassin by Frédéric Maffre and Julien Maffre (Illustrator)

I was provided a free copy of this novel from NetGalley.com for an honest review.

“1880. Kansas. Elijah Stern, the local undertaker, leads a calm and solitary life, until one day he is asked to carry out an autopsy on a man found dead in a brothel. Taking on the role of forensic pathologist, he discovers that the man had not died of natural causes and finds himself involved, against his better wishes, in the middle of a bonafide investigation. But Stern has no idea that the key to this case lies in his own past…”

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Image courtesy of goodreads.com

This is a great graphic novel, albeit slow paced. It isn’t plodding or lazy but instead the text meanders from one frame to the next.  Much how I would think a cowboy of the old west would mosey. I don’t know if that is a stylistic choice by the authors, or just how the authors write, but it is effective.

I think there is a great need for graphic novels set in the old west. It was an interesting era and it is rife with historical misinterpretation. Really, the past is interesting and exciting enough without having to dress it up in silver spurs and the OK coral. The authors really did justice to the time frame. Plus the lead character is likable without being annoying, and flawed enough to seem realistic. All and all a great read and I am looking forward to reading more from this author duo.

ARC – Jimmy’s Bastards Vol. 1 by Garth Ennis, Mike Marts (Editor), Dave Johnson (Artist), Russ Braun (Colorist), John Kalisz (Cover Art), Rob Steen (Letterer)

 

I was supplied with an ARC of this novel from netgalley.com for a honest review.

Well jesus-riding-a-pogo-stick.. that is a weird take on James Bond mythos.

First lets talk about what is completely awesome about this story. It is offensive (in a good way), ribald, crazy, and exceptionally well drawn. The writing is comedic and dirty but still very smart. Typical of Ennis’s books, of which I am a huge fan. Specifically It reminds me a lot of the style of “The Boys.” Gratuitous sex and violence.

What I found to be not so hot was stories pacing. It didn’t seem to get anywhere till the very last part of the book. The rest of it was some lead up and a lot of dick jokes, Eh I really think Garth Ennis could have done better in that department.

All in all I would recommend this series to readers after they have read some of Ennis’s better work: Preacher and The Boys specifically. He really shines in those and the characters are spectacularly put together. Also this has to be said, you really should not read this book if you are not an adult and even then it’s iffy. I felt like I needed a shower to wash some mental grime off from reading some of his other stories, and this story is not an exception. However for this series there is more story to be written maybe it will get pulled together in one glorious climax (he he). We shall see where it goes.