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.

Monday, April 24, 2017

My Last Lament

Book Description:

Aliki is one of the last of her kind. She is a lamenter who mourns and celebrates the passing of life. An American researcher asks Aliki to record her laments to capture the fading art of lamenting. Instead, Aliki sings her own story. We hear her experiences with the Nazi occupation of Greece, being a refugee, and survival.

My Thoughts:

I thought this was a unique approach to an historical fiction story taking place during World War II. I liked the approach seeing a person's life through grief and survival and how that actually helps her live and cope with what has happened in her life.

Although some parts of the story go slow it is still interesting and powerful. You are brought through Aliki's life with the flow of grief. Some parts are vivid and dramatic while others are slow and we muddle through. I like how the reader is shown life in this intimate and dramatic way.

I think fans of historical fiction and World War II will be interested in reading this book. You will have to get into this different approach but I think it will appeal to a lot of readers looking for something a little different.

I read this as an ebook on my nook and had to use an alternative program to open the book but other than that had no issues with it.

*I received a free copy of this book from the Penguin 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 book I would not have gotten o as soon or heard about otherwise.

In The Name Of The Family

Book Description:

In 1502 Rodrigo Borgia is now on the Papal throne as Alexander VI. His daughter Lucrezia is twenty-two and has been married three times to further the family ambitions. Cesare Borgia is ruthless and unstoppable. Cesare gets to know Machiavelli which benefits both in the long run. Which family member will have the skills to survive all their enemies?

My Thoughts:

This book is told from multiple character viewpoints. I honestly did not really care for this, as I had a hard time getting into the different character minds in this book. I think Lucrezia's story was told the best, although I really did not get into her story as well.

This book really dragged for me. It took me a really long time to get through, and most of the time an historical fiction book like this would not take me very long to read. The characters seemed very stereotypical, and I got tired of hearing everyone's thoughts on everything. The plot did not move forward very quickly and this was largely because the story was very focused on the characters and not moving the plot along.

I wish this book had pulled me in. I was excited to read this book, but that excitement quickly faded. Perhaps people who really like this author or the Borgias will find something redeeming in it. This book 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 did not change my review. It simply provided me with a copy of a book sooner than I would have gotten to it or a book I would not have heard about otherwise.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

The Woman In The Castle

Book Summary:

Three widows fate become intertwined as they live their lives in a crumbling Bavarian castle at the end of World War II. Marianne tries to make a makeshift family from what is left of her husband's resistance movement. She struggles as she realizes the post war world is more complicated than her life previous to the war. Each woman must come to terms with their past and present as they struggle to survive.

My Thoughts:

I found this book to present an interesting perspective(s) on World War II. I found the women intriguing. Each of their stories pulled you in making you feel you were there with them. I liked that while some circumstances united them, they were very different in their experiences and their views on life. This was not a simple story about good vs. evil. I loved all the shades in this book. It made the story much more believable and enjoyable.

I also liked that this book focused on women and the struggles they faced after World War II. I thought that it was a realistic portrayal of the struggles women faced without over glorifying the women presented. Each makes mistakes and has their points where you route for them and when you despise their actions. To me, this is what made the book so gripping.

If you like historical fiction about World War II I highly recommend reading this book.

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from the Goodreads First Reads Program.

*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 heard about otherwise.

Friday, March 3, 2017

As Red As Blood

Book Summary:

Lumikki Andersson has a rule that she does not get involved in other people's business. She does not like the trouble that comes along with getting involved with other people's problems. Her roles goes out the window when she uncovers thousands of Euros hung to dry in the school's darkroom and three of her class mates with blood on their hands. Caught in a web of deception and lies, Lumikki must avoid those who are determined to get the money back at all cost. Lumikki must uncover the entire operation of the mythical drug lord the Polar Bear if she is to survive.

My Thoughts:

I am a huge fan of fairy tales and creative retellings of the classic tales. I thought this was an interesting retelling of a classic tale. I liked the mystery aspect of the story and thought it was an unique approach. I would definitely say you have to read more than the first chapter. The first chapter is setting up our mystery, and you have to continue on to get to know the main characters.

I liked that this was not the typical fairy tale retelling. Most fairy tales have a romance as one of the main plot lines, and there was not a romantic focus in the story. It was a quick read and I enjoyed getting absorbed in the tale. A great book for adults and young adults.

I am looking forward to reading the other books in the series. If you like young adult mysteries and fairy tale retellings I recommend reading this book.

** 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 sooner than I would have gotten to, or heard about otherwise.

Bookworms Read: Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children

Book Summary:

After a death in his family, Jacob travels to a remote island to learn more about his family history. He discovers the ruins of Miss Peregrine's home for children. In the ruins he learns more about the children that lived there, and that they might have been kept on the island because they were dangerous. He also discovers they might still be alive.

My Thoughts:

I was very excited to read this with the Bookworms. I really like this series, and I love the mix of fantasy and a little historical fiction. To be clear, most of it is fantasy but I enjoy the setting and use of old photographs to make the story seem like it actually happened. 

I think this is a great book to start young readers into a slightly more advanced reading set. It is easy to follow, exciting, and of course, there are awesome peculiarities that would be fun to have. The topics while geared toward young adults are not to advanced for the 10-12 year olds. The Bookworms were thrilled when they found out about the movie coming out, and immediately made plans to see it.

The Bookworms' Thoughts:

This was the twenty-third book the Bookworms read together. This was my pick for the group. I had read the series before as well as the graphic novel. It is a world I love returning to and was excited to introduce the Bookworms to it. We had a great time discussing what peculiarities we would like, would we want to live forever, and what they thought of the pictures in the book. Here are some of the Bookworms' thoughts on the book. Warning! There may be some spoilers.

Q&A With The Bookworms Book Club

How many stars out of 5 would you give this book?
Alejandro 10 stars. I read the graphic novel version, and I really liked it.
Paige 4-5 stars. I couldn't decide how many to give it.

What was your favourite part?
Alejandro Whenever they would try to freak Jacob out by using their abilities.
Paige when they put the masks on and scare Jacob.

What peculiarity would you like to have?
Paige Levitating.
Alejandro I think I would like to levitate or telekinesis or to read minds!
Whitney: What if you couldn't control the ability like some of the peculiars? Would you like to be tied down to keep from flying away?
Both: No!! I would want to be able to control it. It isn't as much fun if you don't have a choice.

Would you like to live in a loop?
Both: No!
Alejandro I wouldn't like to live forever.
Paige I think it would be annoying to live forever. You would know everything. There would be nothing new.

Would you read the next book in the series?
Paige Yeah I would finish the series.
Alejandro Yes.

Would you see the movie?
Paige I'll definitely see it.
Alejandro Yes I think so.

Thank you to the Bookworms for reading and reviewing this book with me. I had a lot of fun and look forward to our next book.

Monday, February 13, 2017

The Drifter

Book Summary:

For two decades Elizabeth has been trying to escape her past which is full of painful memories. Finally, she can run from her past no more. She must confront her terrifying nightmares if she is to be able to live now.

We learn about Elizabeth's history at college with her two closest friends. Everything seems perfect for them. Without warning their whole lives change. A series of violent acts ensure that even those that survive will be changed forever. Elizabeth must face the fact she had a role in her friend's death if she will ever have normal relationships again.

My Thoughts:

This book was promoted as a thrilling mystery. I would say it is closer to fiction than mystery. The premise sounded interesting to me. A woman who has been living in denial, but is forced to face her past and the death of her friend seemed like it had a lot of potential. I think it fell a little flat for me. Mostly because it was portrayed differently than it should have been in my opinion.

I also thought that the book could have been a little shorter than it was. There were a lot of details that I really did not need to get into the story. It took me a while to read mostly because it did not hold my interest. There were parts that were really interesting, but it would lag in between.

Overall, I would say give it a try if the description interests you.

*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.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Scars Of Independence

Book Summary:

When we think of the American Revolution, we think of brave patriots fighting for a noble cause. It is a narrative the founding fathers encouraged after the war. Hoock argues, there is a more complex truth to the story. He claims the Revolution was not simply a battle over principles, but a violent civil war that continues to shape the American nation to this day. We read of tortured Loyalists, British troops massacring enemy soldiers and rape of local women, the forced conscription of African Americans, and Washington's genocidal campaign against the Iroquois.

Hoock is trying to bring to light a more honest approach to the American Revolution, hoping to show how it continues to impact American culture to this day.

My Thoughts:

I found the description of this book very interesting, and was very excited to read this book. I found it well written and a very interesting read. I thought there were important parts of American history presented. While the information is not all new, it brings together less savoury parts of history to let the reader make new connections and acknowledge that the violence that was an important part of American history.

I found it very intriguing to read how the Americans were very strategic in how they chose to be violent or avoid violence in certain situations knowing how it would look to citizens, making a huge difference in the outcome of the war.

I did appreciate that Hoock looked at the violence from Americans and British during the war and how each side approached violence. It is good to remember that neither side was blameless, and how they each used violent tactics or propaganda to help their cause. It was interesting to see how this shaped the outcome of the war and the future of America.

If you are looking for a different perspective on the American Revolution this is a book you should read. I highly recommend reading this book.

*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.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

The Witch Of Lime Street

Book Synopsis:

The rivalry between Houdini and Margery A.K.A. "The Witch of Lime Street" is presented in astonishing detail. Margery embodied the national debate over spiritualism. Many were trying to prove with science that people really could communicate with the dead. One of Margery's biggest advocates was none other than Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. He was the one who urged her to enter the Scientific American contest to prove to five judges that she was the real deal. She managed to convince four of the judges. The one hold out, Harry Houdini.

My Thoughts:

I thought this was a great story. And it was made even better by the fact that I had never heard of it before. I had no idea that Scientific American offered a cash prize to the person who convince their five judges they were an authentic medium. I was very pleased with Houdini being one of the judges and found it interesting that he had dabbled in these sort of shows for a time. I found myself enjoying the journey with Houdini. I too wanted to figure out exactly how Margery and others were doing their shows.

I did think the book dragged in a couple places where it got bogged down in some details, but overall the book was very interesting, and I could not wait to get to the end and discover who would triumph, Houdini or the Witch of Lime Street? I enjoyed the build up and found it surprising how well documented their rivalry was.

If you want to learn about a fun part of American history, this is a great book to read.

**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.