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Pancakes in Paris by Craig Carlson (Early Review)


Pancakes in Paris is a memoir covering Craig's childhood (briefly), college years, coming out, and beyond. His original goal was to make a career in the film industry, which he does for a while before realizing his dream of opening an American breakfast diner in Paris. We follow his ups and downs in trying to get investors for Breakfast in America, he rights to use the name, finding the perfect location for the first restaurant, troubles of the renovation, and finally the adventure of owning a restaurant in France.

I really enjoyed reading this book but towards the end when Craig shares his troubles staffing BIA and the French laws that go along with employment (they're really, really outrageous) it was really stressful to read! And I didn't enjoy this part as much because it shows probably the worst light I've seen Paris or France portrayed in. It was written very well to make me feel such emotion, but I am choosing to tell myself that Monsieur Craig exaggerated and nothing in France could really be that bad! I wonder how long I will be able to fool myself... ;-)

Overall, this is a great memoir and I recommend it to anyone interested in France or the restaurant industry. Or if you're just looking for a good book to read! Pancakes in Paris will be out on September 6th, 2016.

4/5 Stars

I received a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Arabella of Mars by David D. Levine (Early Review)


Arabella of Mars takes place on a colonized Mars in the 1800s and in London, England, on Earth. After her mother forces her to leave her father and brother on Mars and move back to London, Arabella finds herself on an urgent journey back to Mars to save her brother. Since she must get there as soon as possible, she finds herself disguised as a boy and brought aboard a ship as the Captain's boy to help him with the navigation automation and do lowly ship duties.

I found the beginning and middle of the book quite difficult to get immersed in. I felt like the story was being forced along rather than willingly being told. Once the ship makes it back to Mars it is a wonderful story, but unfortunately that is only less than the final 20% of the book. In the middle part where they are on the ship traveling to Mars many things were not clear to me, such as how did they breathe in space on an open ship? Helpful questions in the world were not answered or even acknowledged.

Despite this, the world building is really fun. I love the idea of colonized Mars with Martians that resemble crabs or lobsters and we get to see a bit of their customs. Khema, who was Arabella's nanny and tutor growing up, is an interesting character and I would have liked to see more of her.

This book honestly felt more like a draft than a finished book. It didn't flow, the dialogue could be stronger, and Arabella's characteristics were not consistent. On one hand she had absolutely no problem assuming the identity of a lower-class boy, and on the other she absolutely could not deviate from proper customs when acting or replying in a crisis once back as a female. I also would have also liked to see a bit of humor in the book; I think that could have taken it a lot farther than what it is right now. The ending felt rushed and cut off. A bit more of a resolution would have made it more complete, even if it was just a quick summary or epilogue.

Arabella of Mars will be available this Tuesday, July 12th.

3/5 Stars

I was given a free copy of this book from Tor in exchange for an honest review.

Bounty #1 (Early Review)


Bounty follows Nina and Georgie, two bounty hunters who were formally at the top of their game as most-wanted criminals but had to virtually erase their existence in order to keep sensitive files out of the wrong hands. True to the sci-fi genre, issue 1 jumps right into the scene where they fall from the top. In Bounty we still get Wiebe's sassy writing, a la Rat Queens, but it is now inclusive to wider range of readers. Mindy Lee does a beautiful job on the art and completely captures the feel of a futuristic space story. If you're into cats and a fast-paced futuristic space ride or looking for a more approachable comic set in space (Descender and Southern Cross just didn't do it for me, but this one definitely does!), Bounty #1 is out tomorrow. 

Southern Spirits by Robert F. Moss


Southern Spirits covers "four hundred years of drinking in the American South," and it doesn't miss one detail! This is a really interesting book with lots and lots of historical facts, but it feels more like a textbook than a relaxing read. It takes us from first landing in America in the 1500's though colonization, the Revolutionary War, Civil War, prohibition, and on into the later 1900's. Not only do we learn about crops to make wine, beer, and spirits, we gain insight into other crops that were more popular, like tobacco. I also very much enjoyed the pictures throughout: vintage shots of advertisements, portraits, and early distillery practices.

This book reads more like a history book that uses the development of alcohol as it's path. I would prefer a condensed version or one that reads less like a textbook, but this one is manageable in small doses. If you're a fan of history or really into spirits and their background, this book is for you. More info on the book can be found here and more on the author here.

3/5 Stars

I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.