Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Tris's Book { The Circle of Magic Book #2 }

Title:  Tris’s Book
Author:  Tamora Pierce
Ideal Age Range:  Middle School
Mass Market Paperback:  272 pages
Copyright Date:  1998
Blurb: Earthquake damage leaves Winding Circle vulnerable to pirate attack, so everyone--including the young mages-in-training Tris, Briar, Daja, and Sandry--is working to strengthen the community's defenses. When Tris's cousin Aymery comes to visit, he advises the "weather witch" to return to the family that exiled her, but she doesn't wish to leave her friends to face the thread without her.
As the onslaught begins, two things become terribly clear: The pirates have a powerful new weapon, and they have an accomplice within Winding Circle. But the attackers have failed to reckon with the fury of a young mage betrayed once too often and her very stubborn, very loyal friends..”
My Rating:(★★★)  Tris’s  magic is weather based, and linked to her feelings.  This book is set after (obviously) Sandry’s Book, Tris is the character that is spotlighted, and each student at Winding Circle is busy studying under the tutelage of each of his or her teachers.  Sandry is busy with Lark restocking the stores of bandages that were wiped out in the aftermath of the earthquake, and Daja is focused on re-forging the magical barrier in the harbor that protects Winding Circle.  The students are called upon to protect their new home against Pirates that have a ally at Winding Circle, soon the students will learn who has betrayed them and will have to learn how to control their powerful magics against full grown and trained wizards.
Trisana by robotic-flowers
In short?  Not my favorite.  It has some grisly scenes for being a book for younger readers, it easy to read and entertaining.  I’m not that big of a fan of Tris’, maybe because I have issues with people who can’t control their tempers, or at least people who don’t seem to even try, and sometimes she comes across as a whiny temperamental brat.  That’s with the knowledge that she’s had a tough life, man, I can be judgmental of fictional characters!  It must be one of my downfalls, well that and my ability to judge a book by its cover.  Tris’s Book is still a good read and a great addition to the series even with it’s downfalls I still rate it as an “I liked it”.
But I’m biased.
Quotes: “We can't just act without thinking anymore, Tris. They've been trying to teach as that all along. I guess if we're mages, we can't exactly be kids, can we?”
Similar Titles: Any of the other Circle of Magic books, The Circle Opens books by Tamora Pierce

My Rating System:
= didn’t like it
★★ = it was ok
★★★ = liked it
★★★★ = really liked it
★★★★★ = it was amazing
© demureconnoisseur/ Stacy Grey

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Asian Pasta Stir-Fry

Serves 4
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

2 cups whole-wheat penne
2 teaspoons whole-wheat flour ( i used all purpose flour because I didn't want to buy whole-wheat for just this recipe)
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 cup low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1 egg plus 3 egg whites
1 tablespoon olive oil (used vegetable oil)
4 cups baby spinach
3 cloves garlic, minced (used minced garlic in a jar)
2 cups chopped tomatoes ( can of diced tomatoes )
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 fresh pineapple, peeled, coed, and cut into thick sticks; or 1 1/4 cups canned pineapple chunks, drained
salt and freshly ground pepper

1.)  In a large pot of boiling water, cook pasta until al dente according to package directions; rinse under cold water and drain.
2.)  Meanwhile, whisk together flour, soy sauce, red wine vinegar, and broth in a small bowl.  In another small bowl, lightly beat egg and egg whites.
3.)  In a wok or large skillet, heat oil over medium-high.  Add spinach and garlic and stir-fry for about 3 minutes.  Drizzle eggs into pan and cook, stirring constantly, for about 1 minute.  Stir in tomatoes, red pepper, and soy sauce mixture.  Cook for 2 minutes, then increase heat to high and bring to a boil.  Add pasta and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until heated through. 
4.)  Remove from heat, add pineapple, and toss gently to combine.  Season with salt and pepper.

Nutrition score per serving (2 1/2 cups): 332 calories, 6g fat, 1g saturated fat, 56g carbs, 14g protein, 8g fiber, 81mg calcium, 4mg iron, 403mg sodium

Source: Shape Magazine

My comments~ I thought there was a little too much heat for my taste, so if I were to make it again I think I would use less crushed red pepper flakes or maybe even none.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Title:  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
Author:  J.K. Rowling
Ideal Age Range:  Tween and Up
Mass Market Paperback:  400 Pages
Copyright Date:  October 1998, U.S. Version
Blurb: Harry Potter has never played a sport while flying on a broomstick.  He’s never worn a cloak of invisibility, befriended a giant, or helped hate a dragon.  All Harry knows is a miserable life with the Dursleys, his horrible aunt and uncle, and their abominable son, Dudley.  Harry’s room is a tiny closet at the foot of the stairs, and he hasn’t had a birthday part in eleven years.
But all that is about to change when a mysterious letter arrives by owl messenger:  a letter with an invitation to a wonderful place he never dreamed existed.  There he finds not only friends, aerial sports, and magic around every corner, but a great destiny that’s been waiting for him..if Harry can survive the encounter.
My Rating:(★★★★★)  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is another one of those books that I put off reading for the longest time because of the artwork on the cover.  It looked like a book meant for younger people than I was at the time of it’s publication, which was in 1998 and would have made me 17 years old.  What’s interesting about the Harry Potter books is that even though they are written for a younger crowd, tweens specifically, as you get further in the series, the books grow more mature as if they are aging with their initial readers.  I have been guilty many times of judging a book by it’s cover, which has probably kept me from enjoying some great books in my lifetime, but I finally read the first Harry Potter book right before the first movie came out because I was working at Hollywood Video at the time and obsessed with movies.  I really like reading the book a movie is based on first so that I can compare the two.  As soon as I finished reading the first book I was hooked, and bought and read the others within a month.  At least all that were available at the time, which I believe was up to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire if I remember correctly.
I became an instant Harry Potter fan.   Sorcerer’s Stone is a great beginning of Harry Potter’s story, he meets new friends, defeats his first enemy and is able to decipher between the bully of the school and who are good people to be friends with.  Oh, and he learns magic and gets to fly on a broomstick while playing one of the most exciting sports known in the wizarding world: Quidditch.
J.K. Rowling’s books are fun and easy to read and are great at getting the reading public more interested in reading!  I could probably safely say that she alone has increased the number of bookworms in the United States.  Not to mention the fact that the popularity of the movies have gotten people to read the books as well, as evidenced by myself.  I am in the process of re-reading all of the books because I sped through them the first time, and it was so long ago that I want to re-absorb the small nuances of character and all of the magic that is within their pages.
Quotes: "It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live." - Albus Dumbledore
Similar Titles:  Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
My Rating System:
= didn’t like it
★★ = it was ok
★★★ = liked it
★★★★ = really liked it
★★★★★ = it was amazing
© demureconnoisseur/ Stacy Grey