Monday, December 29, 2014

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

I'll admit, I had almost no expectations when I picked out this book. I'd heard good things from BookTubers, but they were fans of YA love stories. I've never enjoyed them. I've also never found a version of Cinderella that I cared for. But, hey, where there are cyborgs, there is hope. That being said, HOLY WAH! This book had me feeling for characters! I was shaking for an HOUR after reading this!

Okay, let me take a step back. This book is not primarily a love story. Yes, it's another telling of Cinderella with all the same elements, but there is so much more to this book than just Cinder and Prince Kai. There is prejudice against cyborgs. There is a disease spreading that has neither cure nor any publicly known cause.  There is the constant threat of war with the Lunars (people living on the moon). There are international and interplanetary politics at play. This is not just a love story! This is a fully developed world with a LOT going on!

But what is really amazing is that I felt invested in these characters. I was strongly interested in whether or not Cinder and Prince Kai end up together or if he caves to political pressure and marries the Lunar Queen. I actually said to my husband "I can't get dinner right now! I have to find out if the prince is going to marry the evil empress!" I never say stuff like that! I haven't been interested in love stories for years! To be fair, it isn't just the characters in love that tug at my heart strings. I almost cried when I found out what happened to Iko. I wanted to punch the Lunar Queen in the face. I wanted to slap the evil stepmother. This book got to me in all the best ways.

Aside from the "twist" at the end being predictable, the ending of this book is a well paced cliffhanger. Cinder is still in danger when the book ends.

It should come as no surprise that this book gets 5 hoots! Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go reserve the NEXT book in the series.


Saturday, December 27, 2014

Resurrecting Home by A. American


So, I accidentally picked up this book without knowing it was actually part of a series.* That being said, I still found this to be an easy read. All references to previous books were written in a context where I did not need to have read them in order to understand their significance. After the first chapter I felt almost no confusion regarding what was going on. I don't know HOW the US devolved to where it is in the setting of this book, but I know that it is.**

That being said, this is a pretty typical survival book. Guys with guns, just trying to defend what's theirs, trying to provide for their community, having to adjust to the new rules of survival, etc. The characters were plenty likable. The action and the problem solving was believable. But it was still just an okay book. I'm pretty sure the main reason I never thought about putting this book down was because it read so quickly.

If you're into the survivalist genre, this is a good book for you. If you're just looking for something different, I can recommend this. I give Resurrecting Home 3 hoots.


*The digital edition of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
**That makes sense, right?

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Cardboard by Doug TenNapel


My first encounter with this book was back when I visited the Kerrytown Book Festival. I wanted to buy it, but had limited funds. I went Christmas shopping downtown yesterday and found this book again. I bought it for my cousin, who's in junior high, and today decided to read it to make sure it was a good fit for him.* My conclusion: This book is awesome for him! It may be awesome for you, too.

The story starts out pretty typically. A down-on-his-luck dad, Mike, can't find a job and has no money to buy his kid, Cam, a birthday gift. Things take a turn, however, when Mike is convinced to spend his last 79 cents on a giant cardboard box. They turn it into a father-son project and make a boxer out of the cardboard. That night, the boxer, Bill, comes to life! As you can imagine, things go downhill from there.

There are some typical story elements in this book, a bully-rich-kid villain, a love interest for the dad, etc. But TenNapel does a really good job of keeping the overall story interesting and enjoyable. At no point in reading this did I ever get bored or even think of putting down the book. The art style is so interesting. It's amazing what cardboard can be and do!

This adventure is definitely meant for the middle-grade level reader, but it is a non-stop read. The artwork is incredible. The characters are interesting and relatable. The scenes between Mike and the love interest are a bit awkward, but then again, that may be the point.The ending is a little sappy, but ultimately heart-warming. I give this book 4 hoots and a recommendation as a great Christmas gift.


*It's called product testing. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Would You Baptize an Extraterrestrial? by Consolmagno, SJ and Mueller, SJ

I was delighted to get to review this book. While I never have been, and never will be, Catholic, I'm always appreciative of books that show the compatibility of religion and science.  Both authors are Jesuits who work for the Vatican Observatory and they are presenting 6 of the most commonly asked questions they get and they discuss the different answers and ways to answer them. More importantly, to me, they also discuss WHY people ask these questions.*

The entire book is written as a dialogue between Consolmagno and Mueller. I haven't read a non-fiction book like this since getting my BA in Philosophy. It was definitely a nice change of pace and I greatly appreciated the humor the two shared and their interactions. This made the discussion of the big questions seem a lot more manageable. It also makes this a less reference heavy read. It's just a discussion. There really aren't any footnotes to distract you or make you feel like you're reading a textbook.

I definitely recommend this book to anyone who is having their own struggles with religion/science. I also recommend that you recommend this book to anyone who claims the two can't work together. And I happily give this book 4 hoots!


*This feeds into the whole science-religion-compatibility thing I was thankful for.
**I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

2015 Reading Challenge: Read Your Freebies

2015 Read Your Freebies! Reading Challenge

It's never too early to start planning for next year's reading goals! In fact, this reading challenge ties directly into the goals I was already planning on starting after I finished my Non-Fiction November books! 

I subscribe to 3 or 4 different services that notify me of free and/or reduced ebooks. I have so many of them in my Kindle that it would take months to make a dent! So, it's about time I made some headway with them.

So, the basic challenge is to read 12 eBooks. Pfft. I'll admit, I've got a very full schedule, but I'm going to really push myself and aim for the Super Saver challenge of reading 50 eBooks in 2015. Heck, already this year, since March, I have read 66 books and I've still got a month of reading left.

This is my official starting post to join in on this challenge. I'm looking forward to seeing if I can push myself past 50 free ebooks. ^^ If you wish to sign up, click on the image above to go to the main page!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

2014 Thanks

2014 has been a year of big changes for me. Mostly it's been a year of growth. I'm not entirely sure where to begin. So, I may as well start in January.

Physical Health

In January, a little over a year since almost dying from multiple pulmonary embolisms, I finally decided to get serious about my health. I started walking more and eating less. Since then, I've gone from shopping for 3X shirts to shopping for L-XL. For this, I am very thankful.


Reading and Socializing

In April I participated in my first ever Read-A-Thon. This opened up a whole new world on the Internet for me. I actually participated in a social event and had a lot of fun! I stayed up all 24 hours and enjoyed interacting with people and talking about books and the joy of reading. The social aspect of this continued from there. I took part in the May 2014 Armchair BEA. I also started working with publishers and getting ARCs of books. The first one was from Pen Name Publishing, for a book titled Grim Hearts.* In October I participated in my second Read-A-Thon and even partook in the cheerleading and met even more people! For this, I am very thankful.

Reading Problems

Conquering Fears and More Socializing

Around August, Fluxxdog and I decided to work on my fear of the dark, fear of scary movies, etc. This came up in conversation because the Game Grumps had played a game called P.T. that I just could not watch and was disappointed because I do enjoy their channel. Fluxxdog and I decided to try with another recent release called Five Nights at Freddy's. This introduced my to Markiplier's channel. Upon subscribing to his channel and following him on Twitter, I received several requests to follow other YouTubers. Among the first, and most friendly, was Jonathan Crow. I happily subscribed after seeing he didn't just play scary games, and this introduced me to another community of gamers. I have since made great strides in getting my fears under control and have watched a few scary movies with Fluxxdog. I have also made several YouTube friends, even though I don't have a channel of my own. For this, I am extremely grateful.

Dont look, scary part.

What a Difference 5 Years Can Make

One of the reasons I get reflective around this time of year is because, 5 years ago, around this time, I escaped an emotionally abusive relationship. It was the kind of relationship where, everything that went wrong was my fault. I almost lost an entire semester of Grad School. He made me quit my job so I was completely financially dependent on him. He made fun of everything I did/tried to do. He tried to isolate me from my family. Fortunately, my mother was able to help me out and got me my own apartment. It was a tiny studio, no bigger than my current bedroom, but it was an escape. To my mother, I am forever grateful.

For over a year after that, I still had self-confidence issues, panic attacks, depression, etc. Then I met Fluxxdog. Since meeting him, he has been nothing but supportive. I can honestly say I would not be in such a good place if it weren't for him. He helped me to become strong. He encouraged me to try new things and meet people. He works with me. To my husband, I am forever grateful.

Owl Loves Dog


There are so many people to thank for this wonderful year of personal growth. This is not a comprehensive list in any sense. ^^

Fluxxdog                                                           Shelly (@GizmosReviews)
Andi Miller (Read-A-Thon)                             Jorie Loves A Story (@JLovesAStory) 
My Mom                                                           Becky B. (@GeckyBoz)
Turner Publishing                                             Pen Name Publishing
 Brian Rathbone (@BrianRathbone)                Carolina G (@CaroLikesBooks) 
Lucy Ends (@LucyEnds)                                 Jim (@IAmDarkFantasy)
Jon Crow (@JonCrowGamer)                          Librarian Lavender (@LavenderLibrary)  
Digital Dame (@digidame_gamer)                 Adam Ford (@AdamofthePeople 
Noble Panda (@NoblePanda79) 

I Hart U 2

*This is still my most viewed book review.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Judge Dredd Year One: Omnibus

This is the first book I requested for my own reading from Netgalley. Previously the only books I received from Netgalley were for a guest blog. But when I saw a Judge Dredd book, still accepting readers, I had to put in a request. It was approved on the same day! So, here is the review.

I'm not entirely sure how to review this book. It is a collection of three smaller books by three different authors. So, for simplicity's sake, I'm going to review this as a fan of the Judge Dredd world.* And I have to say, from the eyes of a fan, these stories are good.

I will give the writers full credit for their consistency with the world they were writing in. I also enjoyed getting to see other aspects of the character of Rico Dredd, the main character's twin brother. It was never a secret that Rico was a corrupt Judge, but I had not read (yet) about what Rico actually did to get himself caught and shipped out to the worst of punishments. 

These stories are definitely a creative take on the world of Judge Dredd, focusing on his first year out of the academy. They are well written and entertaining. I give them 3.5 Hoots!


*Yes, this includes the Sylvester Stalone movie. I was young and didn't know better.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

We're All Mad Here by Leigh Raines


This was an interesting book for me for a few reasons. I normally do not read New Adult books or books about the Greek Lifestyle in college. I have never found myself drawn to these types of books as I never feel I have anything to provide me any kind of emotional investment in the characters or the stories.

That being said, HOLY WAH did this main character ring true with me! As someone who has gone through the pains of anxiety I felt her pain was very real. I even had the same problems with an older sibling hating you from the moment you were born and you don't know why.** And, really, who hasn't had experience with a manipulative boy/girlfriend? This book does a masterful job of getting you to look past the sorority stereotypes and see what you actually have in common. Don't get me wrong, I still can't afford vacations in New York City or Acapulco, nor am I ever going to prioritize clothes shopping over other expenditures, but that's not the meat of the story. This is just the vehicle for the book's real message about depression and getting your life back in your own control.***

I'll admit, the vehicle for this story is not my favorite, I've never really cared for Greek Life. In fact, if this book has an accurate portrayal of Greek Life, I'm very glad I did not participate. The lifestyle does live up, or down, to my stereotypes. There's a LOT of drama, a lot of sex and a lot of drugs. But if you can get past this, the characters are quite interesting. I found myself getting angry when the main character was angry and agreeing with how she handled a lot of later situations. Gotta admit, though, the ending was a little cheesy****. However, because of the characters that I never considered making this book a DNF.

I have to say, this book surpassed my expectations and I happily give We're All Mad Here 4 hoots!


*I received a free digital copy of this book from French Press Bookworks in exchange for an honest review. And an honest review this is.
**Turns out, it was for the same reason as the character's sister: the younger sibling took ALL the attention away from the older.
***I'm pretty sure this is also a double-meaning thing with the book's look at superficiality. Better not get too meta, though.
****All it seemed to be missing was rain.

What If? by Randall Munroe

Part of the reason I picked up this book from library was because I absolutely love Munroe's web comic, XKCD. I also figured that this book we be good for Sci-Fi Month. I know that this book is non-fiction, but the best Sci-Fi always has a good foundation in good science.* 

I have to admit, as much as I LOVE math and science, the materials in non-fiction books are generally too dense for me to read through on my busy reading schedule. Fortunately Munroe makes this book a relatively quick read by using short chapters and good illustrations.** I was able to read through this book and understand what he was talking about. The science in this book is fascinating and well researched! The answers to a lot of these questions are thought out in ways that the asker may not have intended, but are nonetheless vital to the answer. For example, in answering the question about isolating everyone for a couple of weeks to wipe out the common cold, Munroe also looks at the economic consequences of this isolation. 

There is so much information and thought in this book that I loved just about every word of it. Even if some of the information may seem trivial, you never know when it will come in handy; like a large enough balloon not even needing helium to slow your fall to safe speeds, or the fact that fire tornadoes are real things and should be feared.

As much as I did like the snippet segments called "Weird (and Worrying) Questions from the What If? Inbox" I feel like these were questions that could have been innocently asked by writers wanting to get their facts straight. After all, how many creative stories could written that include dumping anti-matter into a Chernobyl reactor,*** or the speed at which a human would have to run to be cut in half by a cheese-cutting wire.**** Not to mention, some actual answers on those would be interesting! Then again, I talk to authors a lot so, maybe I'm just weird.

Overall, this was a really good book with a lot of fun, science, and mathematics. It doesn't get much better than that!


*Okay, I had to put in a request for this book at the library and wait and it just happened to coincide with Sci-Fi Month, but my argument remains valid.
**Good in that they are informative and/or humorous. There's only so much quality you can get from stick figures.
***Pg. 60
****Pg. 125

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Otherworld Nights by Kelley Armstrong

I have never read any of Kelley Armstrong's other books. After this, I really want to read them! I'm rather picky when it comes to werewolves and vampires, but Armstrong surpasses my expectations. I greatly appreciated the pack mentality of the werewolf sections. 

It was also interesting to see how almost all of the stories ended up fitting together. The only one that I didn't see included in the "final act" if you will was the vampire story. The rest of the short stories, though do play a part, some big, some small, in the longer stories at the end. Some of them I had to think about "where do I know that name from?" Others, their stories were so good they were imprinted in my memory.* There was one point where I so emotionally charged I was yelling at the characters!

I'll admit that, though I am more of a fan of werewolves, I would have appreciated reading more from the vampire perspective. The idea of elders, records, and long life without immortality is quite intriguing. Then again, perhaps I'll just have to read more of Armstrong's books.

In conclusion, I give this anthology 4.5 hoots! I have every intention of buying it when it becomes available and reading more of Armstong's books!


*I almost cried for Reese.
**The digital edition of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Chili Cheese Dog Pizza

The other day Fluxxdog and I were discussing meals for the weekend. I mentioned that I would like to make homemade pizza again as it had been a while. I originally thought about making a barbecue chicken pizza. Somehow that thought got transformed into trying something new: Chili Cheese Dog Pizza. Fluxxdog was quite happy to give it a try.

I've made homemade pizza several times before. The dough takes a long time to make, but it is worth it to go for the made-from-scratch stuff over the store-bought generic crusts. The first thing is to heat up milk until it bubbles, then add butter, sugar and cold water. When it cools, I pour it into a bowl with egg and yeast. Then I add some flour and let it sit for 20 minutes.

After this, I add more flour, baking soda, and baking powder. 

It looks like a monster, yes. But then I spend a few minutes kneading the dough, making it look a bit more refined.

Then I cover the dough in veggie oil and line up the sides of the bowl with it as well. I've learned to let the dough rise in the oven on the lowest setting. I also put in a pan of water to keep the dough from drying out.

After an hour, the dough has risen. A lot.

So I get out my two smaller cookie sheets, cover them in parchment paper and spread out some of the dough to make the crusts. I let them bake for a little bit to make them solid enough to add the ingredients. These first two little pizzas will get the Hot Dog Chili. 

While the crusts were baking I decided to dice the first set of sausage hot dogs instead of slicing them. These got added to these first two smaller pizzas.

Gotta admit, as good as the final product looks, they smell even better.

The third pizza will be baked on the bigger cookie sheet. Instead of two smaller pizzas, the last of the dough will be used for an average sized pizza. This time I'm using a regular chili (not the soupy homemade stuff) and I'm slicing the sausages instead of dicing them.

I decided to try to have a little fun with the placement of the toppings for this pizza:

But the final product still looks good:

After the pizzas were made, Fluxxdog tried a slice, walked up to me and said "It's tasty. And it's messy. I like it!" Veonoss also told me that he really liked the flavor. Though we can all agree, next time, just dice the sausage. It works better. As for the sauce, I think I prefer to work with the non-hot dog style chili, but ultimately it still tastes good.

So, all in all, I declare this experiment a success. I encourage you to try it out for yourself. The only drawbacks are that it does take a long time to make and, for me, still tastes "just okay". I'll give this recipe of mine 3.5 hoots and get to work tweaking the recipe to up that to a 4.


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Mini-Review: Fuzzy Logic by Jane Seabrook

Product Details

I've never knowingly read Furry Logic before. I know I've seen the pictures and the funny quips before. This is definitely a cute "best of" for Jane Seabrook's work. Every page had its own little delight and I found the pieces of logic to be highly endearing. This book is definitely a good gift for anyone you know who has a lot of stress and not a lot of time to read. Personally, I was happy to find two sentences that are the best description of real love:

"Anyone can be passionate. But it takes real lovers to be silly."

Overall, I gladly give this book four hoots!


"I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Food: A Love Story by Jim Gaffigan

Product Details

I was delighted to get to read Food: A Love Story. I read Gaffigan's first book, Dad is Fat and had a blast, shared it with family, etc. Fortunately I don't have to worry about this review being based on the first book. Gaffigan makes it easy to review Food: A Love Story by itself.

This book made me laugh a lot. It was great to read at any time of day, though I highly recommend you eat before you read. There were several times I was just reading along and then Gaffigan's descriptions of massive amounts of food suddenly made me crave massive amounts of food. So strange. I swear I gained a few pounds because of this book! Then again, if you're a vegetarian or vegan trying to read this, it may have the opposite effect. Like me, Gaffigan is an unapologetic carnivore...except fish. 

Probably the only gripe I have with this book is that, if you've seen Gaffigan's stand up, a lot of the jokes in the book are going to sound repetitive. There is a lot of new stuff in the book, but there's also a lot of old stuff. I get that Gaffigan is a food based comedian, so there's bound to be overlap and I won't judge to harshly because of it.

That being said, I gladly give this book 4 hoots and encourage you to pick up a copy! You will laugh, or at the very least giggle a lot in public and make people look at you weird. 


"I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."