Monday, November 30, 2015

Review: Asian Dumplings

Asian Dumplings
Andrea Nguyen

The key to making good dumplings seems to be trial and error. My attempts to make homemade dim sum and steamed buns in the past have been both successful and unsuccessful. But, since I love dumplings, I'm always willing to try again. Asian Dumplings, has a lot of helpful tips and recipes to help cooks master the art of homemade dumplings.

One of the good things about this book is that it progresses from easy recipes to more difficult ones. The first half of this book covers the basic things we think of when we hear Asian dumplings, mainly, dim sum, wontons, springs rolls and steamed buns. The second half covers what Ms. Nguyen refers to as rich pastries, which include things like samosas and empanadas, and other dumplings made from legumes and tubers.

The instructions are easy to follow and just in case there is any confusion the author has included a website where readers will find access to videos of dumpling making techniques, which I found very useful. The website also gave me more insight into the author and her other works, which was a bonus.

A few more photos would have made the book more visually interesting but the fact that it has so many tips and explanations makes it a good book for someone who wants to either learn to make homemade dumplings or improve their dumpling making skills.

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

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Review: Ein Gerücht Kommt Selten Allein

Ein Gerücht kommt selten allein
Ein Gerücht Kommt Selten Allein
Brigitte Teufl-Heimhilcher

Guido ein Arkitekt zieht nach Bad Brunn um näher bei seiner Stieftochter und seiner Schwiegermutter zu sein. Aber das Leben in einem kleinen Dorf ist anders als ein Leben in Wien. Die Dorfbewohner sind nicht ganz so freundlich wie erwartet und die meisten sind ziemlich mistraurisch.

Der Bürgermeister ein Freund von Guido will eine alte Fabrik mit Guido's Hilfe umbauen. Die Einwohner sind teilweise nicht begeistert von der Idee. Christine, die Assistentin von Guido ist verliebt in ihm. Aber sie hat Konkurenz von Kristin, Guido's Ex-Geschäftspartnerin und ehemaligen Lebesgefährtin.

Diese Geschichte ist sehr gut geschrieben und hat mir viel Spass beim lesen gemacht. Sie ist voll von interesanten Charakteren und der Stil is frisch und modern. Es ist mehr als eine “chic lit” Geschichte. Es hat interessanten Probleme die heute alle Dörfer haben, alt Bewohner gegen neue, politische Rivalen, und andere zeitgenössische Fragen.

English Version
This is an interesting story set in a small Austrian village. When architect Guido relocates to be near his stepdaughter and mother-in-law life isn't exactly as he had imagined. The village inhabitants aren't that friendly and his assistant, Christina is finding she might be in love with Guido. But Guido's ex-business partner and one time girlfriend is also once again on the scene complicating matters for Christina.

This was an interesting story about Guido's problems and the problems of local villagers, both personal, and political. In fact, the book is full of multiple stories and subplots that allow the reader to get to know the characters and the village itself. It was well written, as well as fun and enjoyable.

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

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Review: 44 Scotland Street

44 Scotland Street (44 Scotland Street #1)

44 Scotland Street
Alexander McCall Smith

I loved this book. It transported me right back to the middle of Edinburgh. The story follows the residents of 44 Scotland Street. There is Bruce and his new roommate Pat and then there is, Domenica their neighbor, and a host of other lively characters, who get up to all sorts of mischief. All of the characters reminded me of people I've meet at one time or another. This is just a warm, funny, charming look at life in Edinburgh, which I think a lot of readers would enjoy. I'm hoping I have some time soon to read more in this series.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

DVD: Doc Martin


DVD: Doc Martin

While I'm waiting for Season 7 of Doc Martin to be released in the US, I've gone back to watch Season one and two. Frankly, I'd forgotten how funny they were. If you haven't seen this series you might want to check it out. 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Review: The Sun King Rises

The Sun King Rises

The Sun King Rises
Yves Jégo and Denis Lépée

As Cardinal Mazarin, the Chief Minister and Godfather to Louis XIV of France lies dying, someone sets fire to his palace and steals secrets and compromising documents. Various factions would like to find and use these documents for their personal benefit and to support their own political or religious causes. But as the King comes into his own with the death of his most trusted adviser, the Cardinal, he may decide to rule on his own, thereby thwarting the plans of his ministers.

This historical novel is full of political intrigue, action and terrific descriptions of historical figures, architecture and arts as well as royal customs. The rich details provided by the authors make the reader feel a part of the action, while the scenery and characters come to life in a way that allows one to appreciate the past. Anyone interested in French history will find this an entertaining and fulfilling read.

Thanks to NetGalley and Gallic books for allowing me to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Review: Happy Cooking

Happy Cooking
Giada De Laurentiis

What a great cookbook! It's well organized with good quality photos of all the recipes and full of wonderful tips. I found it to be both fresh and modern. It had mouth watering recipes that were new and different without being too exotic or full of difficult to acquire ingredients. The recipes are clear and easy to follow.

This book has encouraged me to think and eat healthier. For example, I have switched from sugary jams to nut butters on toast. It also gave me the great idea of shopping at restaurant supply stores. I actually have one nearby but before I read this cookbook, I hadn't thought of shopping there.

Another great thing about this cookbook is that all the recipes are labeled to show whether they are gluten free, vegetarian or vegan, which many will find useful.

Happy Cooking would make a great addition to a cook's collection or a great gift idea for anyone who likes to cook, be they a beginner or someone more proficient.

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

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Review: Moon in a Dead Eye

Moon in a Dead Eye
Moon in a Dead Eye
Pascal Garnier

When Martial and Odette move to a newly built retirement village in the south of France they are the first to arrive. They are eagerly awaiting their new neighbors, wondering who will move in next. Initially, all is well when Maxime and Marlène arrive. But will a retirement paradise become a retirement hell? Only Garnier will tell.

This books is short but brilliant. It manages to say so much about the human condition. The characters are pitch perfect, the atmosphere moves from light to dark and the location is telling. If this is any indication of Pascal Garnier's other work, I can't wait to read more.

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

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Review: Cause and Effect

Cause and Effect
Derek Thompson

Thomas and Karl both work for the Surveillance Support Unit in London and in this story they have been assigned to the Benefits Office to check potential fraudulent benefit claims. But at the same time they both become involved in several other investigations which keep the reader guessing about the motives and actions of numerous characters. Only at the end of the book does the reader finally figure out what has been going on in the various investigations.

I like the book and I especially like the witty style of writing. But at times it seems a bit hard to follow the story. There are so many “shadow effects” that I can't help thinking that the telling of the story might be more suited to a visual media. Nevertheless, it has some interesting characters, good dialogue and a lot of intrigue.

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

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Review: Hector Finds Time

Hector Finds Time
François Lelord

In this book Hector, the psychiatrist goes off in search of an old monk he knows in order to help him understand the meaning of time. Along the way he relates some lessons he's learned. Some, which come from his patients are so funny that I laughed out loud. Patient Hubert is especially interesting in that he measures time according to how many dog's lives he has left.

If you've ever thought about getting older or the meaning of time this little gem of a book is for you. It's amusing, entertaining and profound at the same time. Many of Hector's lessons and time exercises are thought provoking and shouldn't be missed.

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

Friday, November 13, 2015

DVD: Nicolas Le Floch

  • Nicolas Le Floch
DVD: Nicolas Le Floch

Recently I posted a review of The Châtelet Apprentice by Jean-François Parot. I just wanted to let you know if you find this book interesting you might also like the DVD series inspired by these books. Nicolas Le Floch Volume One and Two are available at amazon and at at mhznetwork.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Review: Public Face Private Vice

Public Face Private Vice

Public Face Private Vice
Keith Wainman

Chief Superintendent Charlie Smith and his team have a new case. A BBC presenter has turned up dead and as they search for his killer the case twists and turns into something no one expected. What at first looks like a possible case of blackmail may turn into something far more complex.

This is a well written police mystery full of interesting characters and a Police team with a knack for getting the information they need out of suspects, even those who prove to be a little difficult. It's a memorable story that has good dialogue and action as well as enough tension to keep the reader interested in how its all going to pan out.

This book would be great for a television series since the events and characters, especially the police team are so well depicted.

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

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Review: 2 A.M. at The Cat's Pajamas

2 A.M. At The Cat's Pajamas
Marie-Helene Bertino
I loved the cover of this book. It was so cute and engaging. I expected the story to be the same. Unfortunately, I was disappointed. I found it hard to get into the beginning of the book. The characters didn't seem that interesting and the story seemed a bit flat and if I'm honest, boring. Nevertheless, I plowed on and by the middle of the book I found it a bit more interesting. I did at least want to know what would happen to the characters enough to make me continue.

Overall, it seemed to suffer from too many stories within the main story which left it short on character development. To me the numerous stories took away from the main character's story. Madeleine, the nine year old who wants to be a jazz singer is at the heart of the story and the thread that pulls everyone else together but, the development of this character seemed slow and somehow I just couldn't get a feel for her.

It may be a personal preference, but I didn't like the style of writing, which seemed forced and artificial at times. Having said that there were a few interesting bits which helped me get to the end. I enjoyed the conversation Madeleine had with a roach during a dream at 10:05pm and a few scenes containing Sarina, Madeleine's school teacher and her high school friend Ben were interesting. But, by and large I found the book rambled too much and because of this it was hard to feel much for the characters or the story itself.

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

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Review:The Châtelet Apprentice

The Châtelet Apprentice
Jean-François Parot

This is a wonderful French mystery set in the 18th century. Nicholas Le Floch is appointed as an investigator to solve a mysterious death and to help Monsieur de Sartine, Lieutenant General of Police in Paris find important sensitive State documents that have gone missing.

The author creates a mesmerizing atmosphere that allows the reader to almost smell the foul air in Paris and feel the crunch of snow underfoot. The book is full of interesting scenes and well developed characters. As this is the first in a series, it gives a detailed look at Le Foch's past which allows the reader to feel not only connected to the character but gain an understanding into the workings of 18th century French society. Anyone interested in France during this period or in good historical novels will not be disappointed.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher Gallic Books for allowing me to read this book in exchange for a honest review.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Review: Christmas at the Vicarage

Christmas at the Vicarage

Christmas at the Vicarage
Rebecca Boxall

Rosamunde has decided to return home to Potter's Cove in Devon after an absence of 15 years. She left following traumatic events and now she thinks she's finally able to face the past and return. She arrives in Potter's Cove at the vicarage to stay with her father. She finds both change and comfort in surroundings she knew and loved as a child. Only time will tell if she will be able to make a new life in Potter's Cove.

This is a warm and delightful read. I especially like the structure of the book that had chapters alternating between Rosamunde's present and past. It was a good way to cover all the events in her life and story. It also created enough tension and suspense to keep the reader glued to the pages until the very end.

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