Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The Totally Unscientific Study of the Search for Human Happiness





Book Summary:

Paula Poundstone starts with the question: is there a secret to happiness? She begins a quest trying different things that are suppose to bring a person happiness in life. She offers up her experiences and results for us to peruse. Filled with humor as she honestly tells what happened to her, the results, and if she intends to continue pursuing that activity. She also tells us the reactions of her children, friends, and people around her in a way that will have you laughing.

My Thoughts:

I've been a fan of Paula Poundstone's for a while. I've listened to NPR for a long time, and always enjoy when she comes one Wait Wait Don't Tell Me. She has a great sense of humor and I was very excited to find out how she is in written form. I was not disappointed. She is not afraid to laugh at herself when her experiments go awry, and it makes her search for happiness seem very relatable. It also provides encouragement to try new things and just discover where events will take you.

While some parts of the book could seem repetitive as she had multiple experiments in the book, I think overall there was still humor to be found in each section. Some of the experiments were more hilarious than others. And some were more relatable which made them more interesting to me, but I still think despite a few spots where it lagged for me it was a fun book.

If you are looking for a completely serious approach to a search for happiness this book is not for you. If you like honestly with a lot of humor, than give this book a try.

*I received a free copy of this book from LibraryThing in exchange for an honest review.

*Receiving a free copy of this book does not change my review. It simply provides me with a copy of a book sooner than I would have gotten to it or one I might not have heard about otherwise.
 

Friday, July 14, 2017

The Book Of Greens




Book Summary:

This is an encyclopedia of greens combined with over 150 recipes to use the greens described in the book. Great for the experienced cook and the beginner, the recipes range in difficulty. This book is meant to inspire you to eat more greens in a variety of ways.

The book is organized alphabetically by the type of green and gives a little bit of information about the green such as: seasonality, nutrition, what it pares well with, prep, and storage. After the information follows a couple of recipes for that type of green.

 My Thoughts:

I was absolutely delighted with this cookbook. The information is presented in an easy to find manner. It is presented in a very clear manner and I loved how there was some information about the type of green before each group of recipes. I think it is very helpful when buying, storing, and cooking to have some knowledge of the ingredients you are using to make the dish taste wonderful.

The book is filled with beautiful pictures that will make you want to try all the recipes in the book. Whether you are a big greens eater or new to a lot of these plants you will find inspiration in this cookbook.

I tried several recipes from this book and found them all to be very tasty. While I normally like greens and try to eat a lot of them, this is a very high recommendation because I while trying these recipes I was having difficulties eating greens due to morning sickness. I found the flavors worked well for me and I was able to eat some of the recipes in this book. I still did not eat large quantities, but I was able to enjoy some greens despite my issues.

This is a cookbook that I will continue to use. I enjoyed the information presented and the variety of recipes. I am particularly looking forward to using greens I have never used before. I found The Book Of Greens to be an inspiration in my everyday cooking. I am also pleased that it is a beautiful addition to my cookbook library.

If you like greens or are looking for recipes to try I highly recommend using this cookbook.

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

*Receiving a free copy of this book does not change my review. It simply provides me with a book I would not have gotten to as soon or heard about otherwise.

Wolf On A String





Book Summary:

Christen Stern is an ambitious young scholar and alchemist. He travels to Prague in 1599 during a cold winter hoping to make his fortune in the Emperor's court. His first night in the city he stumbles upon the body of a young woman who appears to be from high society.

Christen follows his fortunes despite the obvious dangers and wins the trust of the Emperor. The Emperor decides to task him with discovering who killed the young woman--who happens to be the Emperor's mistress. Christen soon finds himself involved in a power struggle that goes deeper than he could have imagined. There are attempts to take over the throne and Christen finds that his own life is in danger. Will Christen discover the pertinent details in time to save himself and the Emperor?

My Thoughts:

This was my first experience reading a novel by Benjamin Black. I had heard good things about him, and I was very excited to read this book. It takes place in a time period I am very interested in and combine it with a murder it seemed very promising. I liked the descriptions of the setting and characters.

I ended up feeling disappointed in this book. I found that the plot moved forward at an extremely slow pace. I found myself skimming some parts later in the book simply because it was a chore to read this book. I found the summary of the book to be more interesting than the book actually was. I think the author could have made this book more interesting but focused too much on situations that did not help enough with the plot. I understand wanting to make readers connect with the characters, but it was too much description with little action for me.

I also thought that the plot seemed a little rushed at times when we were actually reading something that moved it forward because so much time had been spent on the minor details. It not only made the important parts seem rushed but it made the plot seem unrealistic. Our main character was suddenly figuring things out with hardly any time spent on his investigations. I think if there had been a little bit of balance between the descriptions and the plot the book would have been much more enjoyable.

If you like historical mysteries you could give this book a try, but it would not be my first recommendation.

*I received a free copy of this book from LibraryThing in exchange for an honest review.

*Receiving a free copy of this book does not change my review. It simply provides me with a copy of a book that I would not have gotten to as soon or heard about otherwise.
 

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

The Barrowfields





Book Summary:

Just before Henry Astor is born, his father who has literary ambitions, and his pregnant wife reluctantly return to the small Appalachian town where Henry grew up. Henry grew up watching his brilliant father begin to unravel after a tragedy. Henry flees his family and small town, and as his father before him, does not return until forced to.

My Thoughts:

I was surprised how much this story drew me in. I think the descriptions of place and character are what initially grab the reader's attention. After that you want to know what is going to happen to these characters who are faced with a reality more mundane than they planned for themselves. I think the despair and desire for more resonate with many and is also part of the greatness of this book.

I also like the gothic feel of the story when it describes the house the family lives in and how it almost seems to influence the family and their lives. It appeals to part of me that loves gothic stories. There are parts of the book that do not have this feeling, so I do not want to mislead, but I like the way the author is able to draw on different elements to create feelings in the reader.

I think this book will appeal to many who enjoy literary fiction and something that is different from the typical story. I think you have to like this sort of book to really get into, but if you allow yourself to just go with the flow of the story you will be surprised by how you feel while reading it.

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

*Receiving a free copy of this book does not change my review. It simply provides me with a copy of a book I would not have gotten to as soon or heard about otherwise.

Maid Of The King's Court





Book Summary:

Elizabeth Rose Camperdowne is an heiress to an old impoverished noble family. Her duty is to marry a man of wealth and standing. She ends up in the royal court as a maid of honour to Anne of Cleves. Eliza must quickly learn to distinguish friend from foe if she is to survive in Henry the VIII's court. She is drawn to her glamorous cousin Katherine Howard, but must learn if she is a true friend or not. Eliza is also drawn to the unsuitable Ned Barsby, a handsome page at court.

My Thoughts:

This is an historical fiction book meant for young adult readers. I start with that because I have read some complaints about the writing or implausibility of the love interest. I think it is important to remember the target audience and getting them interested in history. That being said, adults who are fans of stories about the Tudors will find this an interesting perspective. I liked learning about court and Katherine from a cousin who is learning her place in the world. Yes, Eliza is immature, but that is to be expected in a young girl brought up to expect great things of herself and who has been taught her own importance. We get to watch Eliza grow and change as she develops more awareness of the world and herself.

This was an easy to read book about life in the Tudor court. It could have had a little more depth, but it was still a good novel to read. The story flowed well, and I am looking forward to reading the author's historical works. I liked that you could tell the author had done plenty of research, and still made an interesting tale for young readers.

I think fans of Tudor historical fiction will want to read this and introduce young readers to the topic with this book.

* I won a free copy of this book from LibraryThing in exchange for an honest review.

*Receiving a free copy of this book does not change my review. It simply provides me with a book I would not have gotten to as soon, or heard about otherwise.