Archive for the ‘ Reviews ’ Category

From Dusk to Midnight

Today is all about book reviews! We’ll be reviewing Midnighters by Scott Westerfeld and Dusk by David Doub. Now, don’t forget that we are still learning how to write book reviews and hope that they are at least helpful!

Dusk: Volume 1 by David Doub

Gossy and Dusk

As a battered wife, Eve’s only concern was to keep her marriage together. But when she is kidnapped into the sordid supernatural world of vampires and foul magic, Eve finds she doesn’t want to leave. Her mysterious benefactor, the Vampire Lord Ash, wish her to have a normal life but Eve chooses to stay in the service of Ash. Dusk is the stories about Eve and her challenges living in the darkness.
~Amazon.com

We were really surprised by this graphic novel! When we bought it the first thing we thought was, “Did we really just spend money on ANOTHER vampire book?” We’re not exactly huge vampire fans. (Team Zombie all the way!) It turns out it was interesting and we can not wait until the second volume.

We’ll admit, the story is unpolished and rough but has potential at being pretty damn good, even for a vampire story. You get sucked (pun totally intended) into the characters and why they are the way they are. The main character, Eve’s intentions are completely obvious and understandable but you are left to wonder why Ash cares.

Overall, it was a good read and we’re curious to find out what happens next.

Mignighters Vl. 1: The Secret Hour by Scott Westerfeld

Gossy wants to be a Midnighter

Moving when you’re in high school is difficult enough, especially when your parents can’t seem to hold their own lives together and your younger sister is being more obnoxious than usual. However, for 15-year-old Jessica Day, these concerns pale when bizarre things start to happen and she discovers that she now has unwanted magical powers. Part science fiction, part horror story, this novel is the first in a series about the midnighters, a select group of individuals whose birth at the stroke of midnight gives them the special ability to move about in a mysterious 25th hour. As Jessica takes her place among these extraordinary teens, she must battle the increasingly dangerous slithers and other darklings that have suddenly become more violent and aggressive.
~ Amazon.Com

It’s no secret that Scott Westerfeld is one of our favorite authors. We jump at any chance to read any of his books. The story is easy to read and very well paced. Each character is unique and a bit crazy in his or her own way. It’s a perfect set up for another book as it introduces the Midnighters’ world and some of the history without boring you.

We have one main problem with the book and it’s the same cliché that we read in MANY other fantasy (or any general) Young Adult fiction. We get so tired of the same, “new student gains popularity” story. Either the main character or the main character’s new love interest usually falls under that category. It gets old, really quick. We also figured it annoys us because we’ve been to many, many different schools over the years. Being new isn’t as a big deal as people make it out to be.

Links:
Buy Midnighters @ Amazon
Buy Dusk @ Amazon
Scott Westerfeld’s Blog
David Doub’s Comic Space
David Doub’s Twitter

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GJ and Beedle The Bard

GJ looking at the book.

Me pulling GJ away.

We just got our Collector’s Edition of The Tales of Beedle The Bard by J.K. Rowling! We are really excited and can’t wait to read it.

Now normally, we wouldn’t spend $100 on a book, but we have been saving every dime since August! We decided to get this book based on three reasons:

1. We love the world J.K. Rowling created! She’s a wonderful writer and the Harry Potter books have been a good part of our lives.
2. The money goes to charity! We get something cool and we get to donate. Two birds with one stone.
3. We haven’t mentioned this before, but we collect fantasy, sci-fi, and other types of books. Now, we are not the type of collectors who get something just because it’s rare. This book may be expensive, but it’s still a book. They are meant to be read and cherished, not just stored away.

…But when GJ got too close to the book, I did yank him away. I spent $100 on that book and who knows what he’s been crawling in all day!

Links
JKRowling.com
Mugglenet.com

Can’t wait for a review? Read it for yourself.
The Tales of Beedle the Bard (Standard Edition)
The Tales of Beedle the Bard (Collector’s Edition)

Totally Bubbly

Gossy Hearts Westerfeld

Justine Larbalestier and Scott Westerfeld

Gossy Reading

Gossy and I really do not know how to write book reviews. For the past few months we’ve been trying to write about a few books we liked. Each time we start our minds would wander and we would argue and in the end, nothing would get done. Today we are sitting down and forcing ourselves at least something about Uglies by Scott Westerfeld. Now, we’ve been debating whether we should discuss the whole series or just one book at a time. If we do all of them in one post, do we include Extras which is basically an… extra book of the Uglies Trilogy. Oh, and there’s also the guide called Bogus to Bubbly that was recently released. All this has totally left us brain-missing. Finally today, in a stroke of brilliance, we’ve came up with a way to describe the books plus what we think of them. (We took one of the descriptions from the author’s website…) Anyways, here it is:

Books: The Uglies Trilogy – Uglies, Pretties, Specials, Extras, and Bogus To Bubbly
Author: Scott Westerfeld
Genre: Sci-Fi, YA
Rating:
Uglies- 9/10
Pretties- 7/10
Specials- 8/10
Extras- 8/10
Bogus to Bubbly- Totally Bubbly/10

Summaries:
Uglies, Pretties, and Specials:

It’s about a world in which everyone has an operation when they turn sixteen, making them supermodel beautiful. Big eyes, full lips, no one fat or skinny. This seems like a good thing, but it’s not. Especially if you’re one of the uglies, a bunch of radical teens who’ve decided they want to keep their own faces. (How anti-social of them.)
-http://scottwesterfeld.com

Extras: Extras takes place 3 years after the events Tally Youngblood caused in Specials and being pretty just doesn’t cut it anymore. Aya Fuse is just trying to get her face rank up but she’s practically a nobody, just an extra. She finally has her chance to kick a huge story on a group of danger-seeking girls but that quickly changes. While all of them are out at the mountains, they discover a secret so dangerous that it gets the attention of the most famous and slightly unstable face on Earth: Tally Youngblood.

Bogus To Bubbly: This is a cute and wonderful look into the world of Uglies. You get information about the history of Tally’s and Aya’s world plus a look into the science of it all. It is defiantly a must read for any Uglies fan.

I think we covered all the basics. I don’t think that was too bad for our first book review. Oh! We even got to meet Scott Westerfeld and his wife Justine Larbalestier at a book signing recently. It was beyond fun and they are both so sweet. Justine Larbalestier was there to promote her new book How To Ditch Your Fairy while Westerfeld was there to promote Bogus To Bubbly. We are new to Mrs. Larbalestier work so we’re taking this time to catch up. I did ask Gossy what he thought of it but he threw a shoe at me and told me “Shh!! Reading…” We’ll just have to wait until he’s done to get a review…

Blog Links
ScottWesterfeld.com
JustineLarbalestier.com

Snag these totally bubbly books for yourself!
Uglies Series
Extras
Bogus to Bubbly
How to Ditch Your Fairy

The Alamo Draft House

Gossamer Drinking

Place: Alamo Draft House
Location: Austin, Texas

The Alamo Draft House in Austin, TX is one of our favorite places in the world. The Alamo is not your average movie theater. Along with showing the current line up of movies, there are days and events dedicated to cult classics, TV shows, and sport games! Also, you can enjoy all of those with a great meal and a huge selection of beers, wines, and other beverages. It’s not exactly a kid place but there are days set aside for the little ones.

The atmosphere is just so fun, especially where there are contest, free movies at the park, celebrities appearances, live shows, and well… booze!

Looking at the menu

Tips:
– Always arrive early. Really early. At least half an hour to 45 minutes before the movie starts. It’s best to get your food ahead of time and you’ll never know when there’s going to be a rush. Don’t worry about being bored since there’s always funny and very odd clips before the movie.
– Try the specials. As a chef, I love being able to appreciate when other cooks create such wonderful seasonal meals and desserts.
– Don’t talk during a movie or they’ll kick your ass.

Links
Alamo Draft House
The Alamo @Youtube

Smooth N’ Melty Petite Mints

Gossy and the Melted Candy

Name: Smooth N’ Melty Petite Mints
Type: Mint Chocolate-ish
Candy Origin: United States
Place Bought: Cracker Barrel Restaurant in Austin, Tx
Reason for buying: Pretty pastel colors and it had the word “mint” in it
Travel Rating: 4/10
Yummy-ness Rating: 8/10

We are a bit embarrassed by this review. On the way to the Scarborough RenFest, we stopped at a Cracker Barrel restaurant. If you’re not familiar with Cracker Barrel, they have a shopping area with things like old fashion toys, clothing, and candy. On our way out we saw the cutest little bag of candy called Smooth N Melty Petite Mints. Now, you must understand that Gossy and I just LOVE mint. We will buy just about any candy with mint in it. Basically, our giddyness of finding a mint candy that was so pretty over shadowed the fact that we would be outdoors in hot Texan weather. Now, this situation could easily be solved if we remembered to just put the candy in our cooler. As you can probably see, we did not think about that at the time. It was still good though. One of the best candies we have ever tasted… and probably the only candy we ever had to use a serrated knife on.

Pros:
It is very yummy! It also still looks very pretty even after it has melted.

Cons:
It does not do well in hot weather… The candy isn’t suppose to look like a colorful blob. It was original kissed shaped candies. (Like Hershey Kisses.)

Overall:
We give Smooth N’ Melty Petite Mints a rating of 4 out 10. It is an extremely delicious treat but it just does not cut it for travel.

Links:
Cracker Barrel
Nutrition Facts

At The Oasis

The Setting Sun

Chips!!!!!

See, Hear, Speak no evil

The Oasis in Austin, Texas is the only restaurant that GJ and I know of that people do not go for the food. (Well, maybe besides a booby/booty sports bar.) The Oasis has one of the most beautiful views we’ve ever seen. It overlooks the awe inspiring Lake Travis and is the perfect spot to watch the sunset. The food is alright.

The thing about The Oasis is that it’s just a wonderful place to be at. If you want a romantic dinner with your Sweetie, a seat on the deck is perfect. If you don’t really want to eat a dinner, there is an area just for appetizers, drinks, and live music. If you want to have a party, they have plenty of space! In fact the last time we went there was a Sweet 16, a Wedding ceremony, and somebody’s 60th birthday party going on. The also have days set aside for dancing lessons!

Before you enter the actual restaurant and decks, there are statues everywhere! There is also several little booths that local artist use to sell their crafts and art.

Overall, The Oasis is a great place to be. The food really is not the greatest but the view and atmosphere makes it all worth it.

Tips:
– Get there early, especially if you want to be seated during the sunset. I don’t mean half an hour early, we’re talking about 2 to 2 and half hours early. The Oasis is a very popular spot. We learned this the hard way. If you are stuck waiting just head over to where the live music is and get a drink. (Margaritas are helpful when you have to wait a while.)

– Be patient. Like I said before, it is a popular spot and it will be difficult to do anything quickly.

– Support the local artist and crafters and check out their stuff. They are usually friendly and love talking about what they do!

– If you can’t find parking, they do have valets. If you have to park far away, there are small shuttles (golf carts really) to take you to the resturant.

Links:
The Oasis Homepage

White Rabbit Creamy Candies

Follow the White Rabbit

Edit: Well there seems to be some contamination problems with these. In other words: Do Not Buy.

Name: White Rabbit Creamy Candies
Type: Taffy/Nougat (?)
Price: $1.99
Candy Origin: China
Place Bought: World Market in Austin, Tx
Reason for buying: Bunny!
Rating: 7/10

While out shopping a few years back, we came across the cutest little bag of candy. Honestly, the only reason we bought it was because of the bunny on the bag. It soon became one of our favorite travel candies! There’s only 5 ingredients: Corn starch, syrup, cane sugar, butter and milk. This candy is the reason we’ve started trying new and unique candies wherever we go.

Pros:
It’s the perfect little candy to travel with. You can stuff several in a bag or car and there’s plenty to share! It has a nice milky taste and it isn’t too sweet.

Cons:
If the bag isn’t completely fresh, then the candy will be hard. The solution to this is just leaving it in a hot car. Works like a dream.

Overall:
We give White Rabbit Creamy Candies a rating of 7 out 10. It’s cute and yummy!

Links:
White Rabbit Creamy Candy Wiki
Nutrition Facts