Monday, October 31, 2016


Book Summary:

Victuals explores the food in the Appalachian area in the United States. It is more than just a book of recipes. It has beautiful pictures of the area the recipes come from. The author also explains some of the history of the area. There are eighty recipes with their own stories that have been carefully chosen for this unique cookbook.

My Thoughts:

I really enjoyed perusing this cookbook. The stories gave additional interest and depth to the recipes. Knowing the tradition or history behind some of the recipes made it even more enjoyable to cook the recipes. I liked the personal feeling of this cookbook. It felt as though the recipes could have been from your own family in the way they were presented.

The recipes are varied in type and time period. Some have been around for generations, while others are new takes on traditional recipes. They are presented in an easy to understand way, so even a beginner can make these delicious recipes. I found the ingredients were often simple, yet were combined in such a way that there were excellent flavours.

I made four different dishes from the cookbook. It was hard to choose which dishes to make first. I made the Shredded Beef Shank and Buttermilk Dumplings, Buttermilk Cucumber Salad, English Pea Salad with Cream Dressing, and Nutmeg and Buttermilk Cookies. I do not use buttermilk in recipes very often, but I was delighted with the flavour it brought to all these dishes. It was a simple way of adding a great taste to the dishes.

The English Pea Salad with Cream Dressing was delicious! It was an easy side that dressed up the peas. I also liked the radishes in the dish. I do not cook with radishes very often, but I really liked them in this recipe. It was an interesting way to add flavour. This was one I will make again.

The Buttermilk Cucumber Salad reminded me of Tzatziki. The buttermilk gives it a slightly different taste, but if you like Tzatziki, you will like this.

The Shredded Beef Shank with Buttermilk Dumplings was a delicious stew. It had simple seasoning, but it was amazing! My husband and I both really liked this dish, and the leftovers were really good the next day. I will definitely be making this again. I would recommend making a side dish with vegetables as there are none in this dish.

The Nutmeg and Buttermilk Cookies were delightful. They were savoury not sweet, so make a pleasant surprise when eating cookies. I took some into work and everyone was a fan. I cannot wait to make them again and maybe add some dried fruit or some of the other recommended ideas.


Here are all the dishes (minus the dessert cookies) ready to eat. This made a delicious meal. I could not wait to eat the leftovers the next day. If you like simple ingredients with incredible flavours this is the cookbook for you. I recommend this cookbook.

Some of the recipes I look forward to trying are: Beef Hand Pies, Jam Cake, Busy Day Cobbler, Kale Potato Cakes, Ginger Bread, Roasted Root Vegetable Salad, and so many more. I am excited to continue cooking from this beautiful 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 copy of a book I would not have gotten to as soon or heard about otherwise.

The Shores Of Tripoli

Book Summary:

In 1801 Thomas Jefferson assembles a navy to fight the growing threat of piracy in the Berber States. Americans are being kidnapped, held for ransom, enslaved, or killed. The President must send his new navy to stop this from happening. Bliven Putnam starts as a midshipman on the first foray to Tripoli. He returns later as a lieutenant learning much about life and fighting as he serves in the navy.

My Thoughts:

I was very interested in reading this book as I know little about this part of American history. I was very pleased to find a compelling story, and that it was filled with historical details that enriched the story. I particularly liked the details about the ships they sailed on. It made me feel as though I was on the ship. I felt pulled into the world of sailors in the early 1800's.

I enjoyed how real the characters seemed to me as the story progressed. They were fully fleshed out, and I could not wait to discover what would happen to them. I enjoyed the details and the growth of the different characters.

I found the subject so interesting, I will take advantage of the suggested reading list at the end of the book. I appreciate the author including this in the book. It is a great starting point for anyone who finds this subject interesting.

I recommend this book to anyone interested in this time period or who enjoys Horatio Hornblower or Master and Commander. 

I read this book as an ebook on my Nook and had no issues with it.

*I received a free copy of this book from the Penguin First To Read Program 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.

Friday, October 7, 2016

The Snow Queen

Book Summary:

This is the classic fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen. It is the story of Kay and Gerda and their friendship. When a mirror that shows the worst thing about anything seen it shatters, pieces go everywhere. They turn people's hearts to ice and make them see terrible things. Kay gets a piece in his eye and Gerda begins a quest to find her friend and save him.

My Thoughts:

I have always been fond of Andersen's tales. I was curious to see how this fairy tale could become a unique work of art. I have to say, it is incredibly beautiful. Sanna Annukka is an amazing artist. Not only does she bring the fairy tale to life, she does it with an unique style. As soon as I opened this book I knew I had a treasure. This is definitely taking a place with my favourite books. Not only is it a delightful story, but it is beautiful as well.

I am pleased to say this is an edition that everyone who loves the story of The Snow Queen should own. I'm also adding Sanna Annukka's edition of The Fir Tree to my list to buy. I am sure it is equally beautiful. I will be keeping an eye out for any other books she illustrates as she has a unique style.

I highly recommend this edition of The Snow Queen to anyone who loves unique pieces of art or wants a beautiful copy of this story.

**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.

The Lightning Thief

Book Summary:

Percy Jackson is a good kid, but he sometimes has trouble focusing and controlling his temper. Lately at boarding school, it has been getting worse. He thinks his pre-algebra teacher turned into a monster and tried to kill him. Percy's Mom finally decides to tell him the truth about where he comes from. She sends him to Camp Half Blood, a summer camp for demigods. Soon a mystery unfolds and with his friends Percy sets out on a quest to reach the gates of the Underworld to prevent a war between the gods.

My Thoughts:

I thought this was a fun way to introduce young readers to some classic Greek mythology. I do think they get more out of it if they are already familiar with the stories, but they do not have to be to enjoy Percy's adventures. It also makes the story slightly more predictable as an adult if you know the Greek myths.

I think young readers will also identify with Percy if they do not fit in or have learning difficulties. This story gives them a hero to identify with and see him succeed despite the problems he has. Percy has to balance personal and family issues as he tries to learn about himself and his new abilities. I think the author did a great job writing a story that young readers will get excited about.

This was the twenty-first book the Bookworms read together. This was Paige's pick. I was interested in reading this book as I had heard of the series, but never read it. I also love Greek mythology so was interested in discovering how the author would portray the myths in a modern setting. We had fun talking about Percy's encounters with the gods, how he must have felt when he started seeing monsters, explaining Greek myths and how that makes the reader understand certain parts of the story. Here are some of the Bookworms' thoughts on the book. Warning! There may be some spoilers if you have not read the book yet.

Q&A With The Bookworms Book Club

How many stars out of 5 would you give this book?
Paige 5
Alejandro 5

Who was your favourite character?
Paige Charon because he is nice to Percy. Also Annabeth.
Alejandro Grover. I thought it was awesome he was half goat.

What was your favourite part of the book?
Alejandro When Percy goes into the Mississippi river and survives.
Paige The end when he returns with his Mom for the school year by themselves.

What did you think about Percy eavesdropping? Did he like what he heard? What would you do?
Paige He didn't do it on purpose.
Alejandro He didn't like what he heard.
Paige It also confused him.
Alejandro If it were me I would go away.
Paige I think I would listen to know what they were saying about me.

Did you guess who Percy's Dad was?
Paige I thought maybe it was Zeus.
Alejandro I wasn't sure.

Why do you think he did not tell anyone about the prophecy?
Alejandro I thought he was scared and wanted to keep it a secret.
Paige He didn't want to believe it or to let anyone know how scared he was.

Would you join the quest?
Alejandro No because it was dangerous and Zeus was trying to start World War 3.
Paige I would do it because it would save lives.

Would you read the other books in the series?
Paige Yes. I'm currently reading them.
Alejandro Maybe.
Paige You should they are really good! Better than the first book.

Did you watch the movie?
Paige I didn't see it yet but will see it soon.
Alejandro Yes. It skipped a lot.
Paige Was it better, worse, or the same as the book?
Alejandro I thought it was a bit better even though there are more details in the book.

Which cabin would you be in?
Alejandro A fancy one like 1,2,3, or 8.
Paige Athena. The same as Annabeth.

Did Percy make the right choice to not save his Mom?
Paige Yes because if he did it would have killed Annabeth and Grover. His Mom would not have liked it if he sacrificed his friends.
Alejandro He needed to complete the other quest, and the right choice is not always easy.

Paige's Question:

What do you think will happen in the next book?
Alejandro Probably more adventures with his friends.
Whitney He will go to school until the next creature comes and he and his friends will fight it.

Thank you Paige and Alejandro for reading and discussing this book with me. I look forward to our next book.

Black Inked Pearl

Book Summary:

This is the story of an epic romance of a naive Irish girl named Kate and her mysterious lover. She rejects him in a moment of panic, and spends her life seeking him after she realizes how much she loved him. She visits the kingdom of beasts, London, the heavenly archives, Eden, hell, and the Donegal Sea in search of him. It is in hell she saves her dying love. Will they make it to heaven together?

My Thoughts:

The novel is told in stream-of-conscious style to give the reader a dreamlike quality while reading. I think the author accomplished this goal. It is very much like being in someone's dream. Some parts are fragmented and others poetical. I do have to say this is also one of the main reasons I did not end up liking the book. Because of the style chosen to write the story, I had a difficult time connecting to it. I think that is more personal preference. It just did not work for me.

I liked the idea of the story. A quest to find your lost love, and doing anything and going anywhere to find them. I also liked the notion of questioning yourself and everything else. I wish I was able to connect to this story. I also did not care for the made up words or how sentences would be incomplete. I understand why the author chose to do this, but it did not help me focus and appreciate the story.

I would say, if you like mythology and poetry told in a stream-of-conscious style you should give this book a try. I could see how it would appeal to some people, it just did not work for me.

*I received a free copy of this book from the Goodreads First Reads Program 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.