Saturday, September 28, 2013


Every so often, I will see reviews like this on Goodreads - now I don't mean the actual content of the review, but the use of the animated phrase like so in this review:

Where do you get those animated clips (e.g. the omg ones in the above review)?!

All reviews and posts are copyrighted by Christa @ Mental Foodie. Please do not use or reprint them without written permission.

Book Review - After the Fall by Victoria Roberts

After the Fall

After the Fall by Victoria Roberts

From Goodreads:

This whimsical novel introduces us to a quirky Upper East Side family: Pops is a mad inventor; Mother a well-intentioned if flighty socialite; young Sis a tiny, madcap theater impresario; and the narrator, her earnest, sweet brother Alan. One day, Pops's inventions falter and this lovably eccentric family loses every penny. They wake up to find that they and the entire contents of their penthouse have been transported to Central Park. Aided by their two loyal housekeepers and fed by the maitre d' from their favorite restaurant, the family makes Central Park into a surprisingly comfortable home. But soon the strains of life and weather tear apart the parents' relationship. As Christmas approaches, the children must find a way to reunite them. With kimono-clad squirrels and a visit by a Yeti, this delicious tale is a love letter to family, creativity, and New York.

I saw this on the "new books" shelf at the library. Looks like an fast read with the illustrations, so why not? I am always looking for books that could inspire me.

Well, I was disappointed. Whatever the message the author was trying to get at with the story (which the author said was something she'd been meaning to write about for 17 years or something like that) was just lost on me. Maybe I am just too dense to get the A-ha moment... it didn't really make me think deeper about any issues, like what if, like what would I do if I was in that situation?

The illustrations are fine, but not enough to rescue the plot.

The reason I will give it 2 stars instead of 1 star, is that I did enjoy reading about the different inventions the father invented in the book - they were fun and quirky and creative. I wish the story was more about that. 

Note - The book was borrowed from the library.

All reviews and posts are copyrighted by Christa @ Mental Foodie. Please do not use or reprint them without written permission.

Book Review - The First Phone Call from Heaven by Mitch Albom

The First Phone Call from Heaven

The First Phone Call from Heaven by Mitch Albom

From Goodreads:

The First Phone Call from Heaven tells the story of a small town on Lake Michigan that gets worldwide attention when its citizens start receiving phone calls from the afterlife. Is it the greatest miracle ever or a massive hoax? Sully Harding, a grief-stricken single father, is determined to find out. An allegory about the power of belief--and a page-turner that will touch your soul--Albom's masterful storytelling has never been so moving and unexpected.

Readers of The Five People You Meet in Heaven will recognize the warmth and emotion so redolent of Albom's writing, and those who haven't yet enjoyed the power of his storytelling, will thrill at the discovery of one of the best-loved writers of our time

I read Tuesday with Morrie back in 1999 I think - I don't remember a whole lot of its content now, but I remember it made me cry when I read it, and I even remember exactly where I was when I read it too. I keep meaning to read more of Albom's books, so when I was offered an ARC for this one, I said yes immediately (even though I am trying to limit my reviews since I just can't seem to catch up)!

It was a quick read - Albom's writing is short and concise. I expect (whether rightly or not) that there will be a message behind the story, and there is. It definitely makes you keep reading to see if there really are phone calls from heaven or not, and I like that there are closures to the story. However, I found the character development a bit lacking and I didn't really feel attached to any of the characters. So in the end, the story didn't move me much emotionally. The message was nothing really new, but it was a good reminder.

I also enjoyed the little bit of historical story about Alexander Graham Bell and his wife and the telephone that Albom tied to his story - I am not a history fan but like learning little tidbits here and there.

I do have one question though for those who have read this... I don't know if it's a loophole or not? I will put my question in white below with spoiler tags, as not to spoil the story for others:

If everyone really wants evidence, couldn't Tess have played her mother's message from the answering machine? I think Jack rescued her phone/answering machine from the fire right? Or was the answering machine lost in the fire and only the phone was rescued?

The First Phone Call from Heaven will come out in November. It'd make a nice holiday gift.

3.5 Stars.

Note - An ARC was given from HarperCollins in exchange for an unbiased review.

All reviews and posts are copyrighted by Christa @ Mental Foodie. Please do not use or reprint them without written permission.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Book Review - Mother, Mother: A Novel by Koren Zailckas

Mother, Mother: A Novel

Mother, Mother: A Novel by Koren Zailckas

Who is telling the truth? The book alternated between siblings Violet and Will, after their oldest sister Rose went missing.

I quite enjoyed this novel, though perhaps "enjoy" is the wrong word to use for this psychological suspense. The characters were quite well developed, and it was a page turner. The chilling part is that there are probably people like so in real life...

The ending was a bit anti-climatic for me though, only because I semi-guessed what happened so it wasn't quite as WOW as it'd have been.

I like the front cover - though I think I kinda like the ARC cover I received a bit more:

4 Stars. Don't forgot to check out other TLC stops to see what other bloggers think! Another blogger posted about 5 things you didn't know about this book , and #2 on the list, regarding the title of the book, was especially interesting! And I think the ARC design cover fitted the title perfectly! It contain some spoilers though, so don't read if you haven't read this book yet :)

Koren Zailckas’ TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Monday, September 16th:  Peeking Between the Pages
Tuesday, September 17th:  Books a la Mode
Wednesday, September 18th:  River City Reading
Thursday, September 19th:  Between the Covers
Monday, September 23rd:  Mental Foodie
Tuesday, September 24th:  Books a la Mode - guest post/giveaway
Wednesday, September 25th:  Fiction Addict
Thursday, September 26th:  The Best Books Ever
Monday, September 30th:  Tiffany’s Bookshelf
Tuesday, October 1st:  From the TBR Pile
Wednesday, October 2nd:  Sara’s Organized Chaos
Thursday, October 3rd:   Luxury Reading
Friday, October 4th:  Sweet Southern Home
Monday, October 7th:  A Bookish Way of Life
Tuesday, October 8th:  WV Stitcher
Wednesday, October 9th:  5 Minutes for Books
Thursday, October 10th:  Overflowing Bookshelves
Monday, October 14th:  50 Books Project 

Note - A ARC was given as part of the tour, in exchange for an unbiased review.

All reviews and posts are copyrighted by Christa @ Mental Foodie. Please do not use or reprint them without written permission.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Book Review - Bait by J. Kent Messum


Bait by J. Kent Messum

From Goodreads:

No one is coming to your aid. We have ensured this.
 Six strangers wake up on a remote island in the Florida Keys with no memory of their arrival. They soon discover their common bond: all of them are heroin addicts. As the first excruciating pangs of withdrawal make themselves felt, the six notice a yacht anchored across open water. On it lurk four shadowy figures, protected by the hungry sharks that patrol the waves. So begins a dangerous game. The six must undertake the impossible—swim to the next island where a cache of heroin awaits, or die trying. When alliances form, betrayal is inevitable. As the fight to survive intensifies, the stakes reach terrifying heights—and their captors’ motives finally begin to emerge.

Jaws + Survivor + The Hunger Games -- this is a fast paced thriller full of gore and violence, and not for the faint of heart. It reminded me a bit of TV horror movies where they didn't censor any language or bloody gruesome scenes. 

I know some other reviewers weren't too thrilled with the language used (that it may be a bit offensive), but I had no problem with it since I am guessing the author was just trying to portray reality. While I am not usually into character driven novels, and do actually prefer plot driven novels, I DO wish the characters are more developed - the author provided a bit of back stories for each character, but I did not form any emotion or connection with any of them. I did not cheer for the good guys, or feel relived if something bad happened to the bad guys. 

I appreciate the message of the story, but I think the message would be stronger if it was delivered by characters we care about. Or at least grow to care, even if they may not be likable in the beginning).

2.5 Stars.

Note - A copy of the book was given in exchange for an unbiased review as part of the TLC tour. Check out the other tour stops to see what they think! I tend to be harsher than some other reviewers :)

Photo credit IanSchwaier

Monday, August 26th:  Tiffany’s Bookshelf
Tuesday, August 27th:  Book Chatter
Wednesday, August 28th:  Tina’s Book Reviews
Thursday, August 29th:  Simply Stacie
Friday, August 30th:  Midnight Thrillers
Tuesday, September 3rd:  From the TBR Pile
Wednesday, September 4th:  No More Grumpy Bookseller
Thursday, September 5th:  Ageless Pages Reviews
Monday, September 9th:  Mental Foodie
Tuesday, September 10th:  You’ve GOTTA read this!
Thursday, September 12th:  Bewitched Bookworms
Monday, September 16th:  A Bookworm’s World
Tuesday, September 17th:  Literally Jen
Wednesday, September 18th:  October Country
Thursday, September 19th:  nomadreader.

All reviews and posts are copyrighted by Christa @ Mental Foodie. Please do not use or reprint them without written permission.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Book Review - The Kill Room (Lincoln Rhyme #10) by Jeffery Deaver


The Kill Room (Lincoln Rhyme #10) by Jeffery Deaver

You know I am a big Jeffery Deaver / Lincoln Rhyme fan, so I was excited to read this.

Even though it is 477 pages, it is a pretty quick read. Not bad, but not his best. Good to read when I just want to read for fun and don't have to use my brain too much. It has a little bit of forensic, but not quite as much as usual because well, there's a lack of evidence...

At the end of the book, Rhyme talked about whether to have surgery to give him more function back of his arm/hand. I thought that was quite insightful.

If you are a Rhyme fan, you'd read this just because it is a Rhyme book. If you haven't read this series, I'd start from the beginning...

Oh forgot to say - one of the characters in the book loves to cook, and Deaver has posted the recipes on his site if anyone is interested!

3.5 Stars

Note - The book was borrowed from the library.

All reviews and posts are copyrighted by Christa @ Mental Foodie. Please do not use or reprint them without written permission.