Sunday, December 31, 2017

Review: Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions

Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions
Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions
Mario Giordano

When Isolde Oberrieter, better known as Poldi moves from her native Bavaria to Sicily, the homeland of her former husband Peppe, her in-laws think it might be due to depression. They also think that she might intend to settle in her apartment with a view and drink herself into oblivion.

When Poldi's handyman Valentino goes missing and eventually turns up dead, she suddenly has
more on her mind than alcohol. She decides that she will find the killer before the police. Of course, that may be easier said than done. But then again larger than life, Poldi isn't one to give up once she gets her teeth into something.

I loved this book. The fact that the story was told by Poldi's nephew, a struggling writer, meant that I got a fascinating glimpse into Poldi's character and lifestyle. The descriptions were fabulous and after this adventure I'm hooked. I'm hoping that Poldi will have another case soon, so that I can get lost in Sicily once again. I certainly felt this one would make a fantastic movie.

Thanks to Netgalley for allowing me to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Review: Death of an Honest Man

Death of an Honest Man (Hamish Macbeth #33)

Death of an Honest Man
MC Beaton

There's a new man in town. Paul English has retired to the highlands after leaving his banking job in Stirling. He has a reputation for giving his honest opinion. Unfortunately, many find it his “honest opinions” simply rude and intolerable. After insulting almost everyone imaginable, it's no surprise that when his body is found on the moor, Sergeant Hamish Macbeth and his ever changing cast of police assistants have a number of suspects to consider.

Hamish has his eye on one suspect in particular but, Detective Chief Inspector Blair, who is no fan of Hamish is set on sabotaging anything and everything he does. In some ways, Hamish doesn't mind if he doesn't get all the credit for his detective work, especially if it means he can continue working in his cherished village of Lochdubh. He couldn't image living anywhere else.

Death of an Honest Man was a joy to read. The characters are fun, lovable and always entertaining. I can't seem to get enough of Hamish and his own brand of highland justice. I can't wait to read more.

Thanks to Netgalley and Grand Central Publishing for allowing me to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Review: The Wife Between Us

The Wife Between Us
The Wife Between Us
Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen

This story charts the rise and fall of the marriage between Nellie and Richard. While married to Richard, Nellie feels that she is being followed and that she needs the constant protection of Richard. She is grateful to have him, a powerful hedge fund manager who, for all intents and purposes is devoted to her. But as the story progresses, a magnificent slight of hand turns the story you thought you were reading into a different tale, one far more sinister and troubling. This clever psychological drama is skillfully plotted and well-written. I'm sure most readers will be unable to put it down. I know I was. Without giving too much away all I can really say is; don't miss this one. This is by far one of the most interesting books I've read this year. I can't imagine what these two authors could cook up next.

Thanks to St Martin's Press for allowing me to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Review: Noelle

Noelle (A Dog Named Christmas #3)

Greg Kincaid

Just in time for Christmas, a warm-hearted tale about a family, a community, and a dog. Noelle, better known as Elle didn't have a good start in life, but that doesn't mean she isn't wanted. Todd, her owner, is sure he can train her to be a good service dog, even if it is proving to be a severe challenge.

The holiday season is bringing other challenges as well to the small town of Crossing Trails, Kansas. Todd's mother Anna McCray had managed to get herself into a fix by agreeing to play the role of Anna Claus this Christmas. While she wants to bring a message of giving rather than receiving this year she isn't prepared for that message to reach beyond her small town. Her success takes her further afield and her husband George is left to take up some of her chores around the house and plan for some unexpected events.

Christmas may never be the same in Crossing Trails but this year will definitely be a memorable one. This is a story that is sure to get anyone who reads it into the holiday spirit. I could just imagine this being made into a Hallmark television movie.

Thanks to Blogging for Books for allowing me to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Review: Margaret Tudor

Margaret Tudor, Queen of Scots: The Life of King Henry VIII's Sister

Margaret Tudor
Queen of Scots
Sarah-Beth Watkins

I so enjoy reading and learning about, what is for me at least, the lesser known Tudors. While I was aware that Henry VIII had two sisters, I didn't know that much about them. At times reading about Margaret, the oldest sister, I felt almost sorry for her. So often in her life, she seemed torn between her allegiance to her two countries of England and Scotland and her husbands and her brother. The one constant for her was the interest of her son James V which she put above everything else. It seems a pity that he didn't necessarily appreciate that as he came into his own as King of Scotland. It also appears that she would have found the distance and distrust between her son and her brother painful to bare.

This book provided a fascinating look into the life of a complex and vital woman who seemed so close to power at times but so isolated and alone at others. I also enjoyed the last chapter which charts Margaret's legacy and that of her offspring. It helps put everything that followed her into context.

Thanks to Chronos Books for allowing me to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Review: Saving Tarboo Creek

Saving Tarboo Creek: One Family’s Quest to Heal the Land

Saving Tarboo Creek
Scott Freeman

This book follows the trials and tribulations of the Freeman family as they set out to restore the damaged Tarboo Creek in Washington State. It took time, patience and dedication to find the balance needed to bring the creek back to point where it could support local wildlife, especially spawning salmon. Who knew the life of the salmon was so precarious? It seems a wonder to me that any have survived at all considering the changes that have occurred to our rivers and streams over the decades.

The best thing about this book was that it encouraged me to take a closer look at the environment around me, especially the local wildlife. Having access to a green belt development in my city means that I have seen beavers, heron, rabbits, snakes and squirrels that I might otherwise have missed. I probably did not appreciate this as much as I should have. And if there was one thing that I will take away from this book it's the idea that we should treat the land as we would treat each other. A simple but profound message.

I do wish this book had contained some maps of the area and maybe some photos of restoration activities which would have given me a more intimate connection to the story and the family as well. Nevertheless I found this an interesting and informative read.

Thanks to Timber Press for allowing me to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Kristen Kish Cooking

Kristen Kish Cooking: Recipes and Techniques

Kristen Kish Cooking
Kristen Kish

I have to admit I did not know anything about Kristen Kish before receiving this book. But with the informative introduction I came away with an appreciation of her life and work as a chef. The book itself is beautifully presented, it's both fresh and modern with wonderful photos and interesting recipes.

If I'm honest I will say that there were some recipes that I know I will not be trying, for example the octopus the Bay Scallop Crudo or the Hamachi. But, there were others that I felt I could easily tackle, for instance the Braised Baby Potatoes, Rigatoni with Walnuts or the Spring Pea Toast. I think this book is one that would inspire me to try something new in the kitchen. I also think this would make a great gift for the aspiring chef or someone who wants to be creative in the kitchen.

Thanks to Blogging for Books for allowing me to read and review this book in exchange for an honest review.