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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Wino Review: Cavit - Pinot Noir

Type: Red
Name: Cavit - Pinot Noir
Location: Provincia di Pavia, Italy
Review: This was another gift from my sister-in-law (I think she's got me pegged) and as reds go, I approve. Its got a rich cherry fragrance and some berry undertones in the taste. I can also almost taste a bit of oakey-ness in the dry aftertaste. While not very sweet and very simple in its flavor profile, this red doesn't offend the tongue as an acidic or overly dry wine either. This red is also relatively light so I can see it going great with a steak salad or a ravioli with vodka sauce.

Review: The Scorpio Races - Maggie Stiefvater

Rating: 5/5
Summary: Puck Connolly and Sean Kendrick are two teenagers who have signed up to race in Thisby's annual Scorpio Races. But these races aren't like any other; all the riders will be astride deadly water horses, except Miss Connolly. In a game where the mounts are likely to kill each other and the jockeys, Puck has decided to ride her petite land horse and risk it all to preserve the life she loves.
Review: I LOVED this book. To be honest, I did not enjoy Stiefvater's previous novel Shiver and didn't have high hopes for this one but was completely surprised. Not only has the writing style and character development improved dramatically to the point of not even reading like the same author, but the storyline kept me utterly captivated. I did not want to stop listening (and yes, I did the audiobook because its was narrated by two great readers.) I really enjoyed her pacing throughout the plot and how she kept the actual race until nearly the end. This made the novel more about the anticipation and relationships rather than a beginning, conflict and resolution. And what a creative concept. I have not read anything in the supernatural YA genre about water horses yet and loved it. Definitely pick this one up!

Buy it here:The Scorpio Races

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Wino Review: Chateau Ste Michelle - Riesling

Type: White
Name: Chateau Ste Michelle - Riesling
Location: Columbia Valley, Washington
Review: This white was given to me and recommended by my sister-in-law, quite rightfully so. Its got a mild apple-y aroma and light flavor. The sweet citrus and fruity notes balance nicely with a very mild dryness that results in an easy wine to pair with almost anything. Its refreshing and simple in its flavor palette so I would probably serve it with something meaty like beef shish-kabobs or even spaghetti with meatballs. 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Review: Gregor the Overlander - Suzanne Collins

Rating: 4/5
Summary: When young Gregor and his baby sister fall through a grate in their apartment building they plummet down into the "Underland," a world deep within Earth where humans coexist with giant versions of our rats, spiders and cockroaches. The "Underlanders" are a race of humans who, upon meeting Gregor and his sister, decide he is the one prophesied about by the founder of their world and that he will help save them from extinction. Gregor, being a preteen, does not exactly agree.
Review: I originally picked up this book because it was written by Collins, the author of the Hunger Games, expecting it to be similar in style. Oh no... I was quite wrong. While I still enjoyed this little tale, its a much younger novel overall. I would recommend this to a middle-schooler or maybe young high school students. The characters were interesting and the plot was well written and entertaining (as expected of Mrs. Collins) but I couldn't even compare this to her later novels. With lots of tricky interactions and a playful but action packed story, I kept wanting to stay up reading, but overall I could almost call the novel slightly predictable. Definitely would be a great gift for those preteens in your life, maybe not so much for the adults.

Buy it here: Gregor The Overlander (Underland Chronicles, Book 1)

Review: Game of Thrones - George R. R. Martin

Rating: 4/5
Summary: Taking place in a much older time, this novel centers around the royal houses' battle for possession of the throne. There are essentially good families, such as the Starks, and those with bad intentions, the Lannisters, that continually face each other in confrontations of the physical and mental. Other families play interesting roles in this medieval plot line filled with treachery, deceit, sex, love, murder and mystery.
Review: I am not normally a "kings and queens" novel reader, but with the hit HBO series and all the buzz about this book I felt I had to pick it up. And WHOA, is it heavy. Seriously, the book is very long in comparison to my other YA books. I decided to listen to it on audio to make it go a bit faster (and because the narrator Roy Dotrice is excellent.) Although this is a lengthy and intricate plot, I did enjoy the read, or rather listen, and was enthralled by the detail and incredible character distinction. This may be one of the best demonstrations of multiple well-developed and very different characters, all quite believable, that I've ever read. The scandal and sex in this book keep this from being juvenile and I never felt bored by the story despite its length because its jam packed with many small relationships and dramas. I did not like how it ended, however, because I felt like almost the entire book was left inconclusive. I probably won't read any more in the series simply due to time and interest in other plots, but I feel like someone with a medieval fascination would thoroughly enjoy these novels.

Got it at my local library, but you can buy it here: A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1)