Monday, September 26, 2016

Review: The Curated Closet

The Curated Closet: A Simple System for Discovering Your Personal Style and Building Your Dream Wardrobe

The Curated Closet
Anuschka Rees

This book has inspired me to think about my wardrobe in a new way and to think about overhauling my closet. It's beautifully presented and it offers lots of useful suggestions. For instance, the two week sample outfit plan made me think about how I could use what I have in my closet as well as what I might need to add.

I especially liked the section on Closet detox, since that is what I find most difficult. Personally, I always find it difficult to part with pieces I have had for a while, whether or not I really wear them. The section on color palettes is interesting and one that I have not seen in other clothing books designed to help the reader build a wardrobe. While I like the photos in the is book, it seemed to me it might have benefited from more photos or illustrations. The photos that were included seemed fairly basic and were perhaps not the most inspiring.

This is a good book for those who want to think more strategically about how to shop and how to create a good quality wardrobe. Its well written and well organized. It's no doubt a good resource tool for anyone interested in clothing and fashion.

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

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Review: I Am Half-Sick Of Shadows

I Am Half-Sick of Shadows (Flavia de Luce, #4)
I Am Half-Sick of Shadows
Alan Bradley

Flavia de Luce is eleven years old, living in her family's somewhat decaying, but sprawling country house in post WWII England. Her most pressing interest is to ascertain whether Father Christmas actually exists. She has a plan for trapping him. But since the family finances aren't what they used to be, the house has been rented to a film company over Christmas. Flavia's interest soon shifts to uncovering a murderer when one of the film stars is found dead in her room.

I absolutely loved this book. Flavia is one of a kind, a little busy body with a keen interest in chemistry and an outlook on life that is humorous and charming. This book abounds in memorable dialogue and has a terrific country life atmosphere. After finally finding the time to read my first Flavia de Luce mystery, I can't wait to read more. It's a great little cozy mystery.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Review: In Memory of Bread

In Memory of Bread: A Memoir

In Memory of Bread
Paul Graham

This intelligent and engaging story follows Paul Graham's attempts to come to grips with celiac disease, an autoimmune condition that leads to damage of the small intestine when gluten is consumed. It also follows his trials and errors learning to navigate a world full of gluten filled products that he can no longer consume. With so many people going gluten free these days this book seems well timed. I think it will be of particular interest to those who have, if not celiac disease, some other form of food allergy. Those who do not suffer from food allergies probably never stop to think how much life would change if they constantly had to be aware of everything they consumed. Luckily, the author seems to have had generous friends and family who supported him throughout his ordeal.

This book is about more than the author's personal journey because not only does it cover questions relating to the dominance of wheat in western diets and why celiac disease may be on the rise it looks at why wheat and gluten is so well matched to our current lifestyles. Also, if you have ever shopped in the gluten free aisle in the grocery store you have probably noticed the very high prices. Graham covers this aspect as well. Before reading this book, I was unaware of the cost involved in producing gluten free products.

The story also recounts the authors attempts to get to know less well know grains, which didn't always satisfy his wants or needs. While I can't imagine the upheaval this posed to the author's life I can sympathize with him a great deal. Especially, since he presents his struggles and accomplishments in a gluten infested world with humor and candor that makes this book an interesting read. His writing style is both intimate and elegant and frankly it made me think we should all probably appreciate the food we consume far more than we do.

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

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Review: DVD Whatever Works

  • Whatever Works

Whatever Works
A Woody Allen Film

Boris is disillusioned with life, what's the point he thinks. That's why he's jumped out the window in order to end it all, only to be denied the death he wants. Then Melodie shows up on his doorstep, a southern runaway from Mississippi, with no where to go. She seeks shelter with cranky Boris. From there the fun begins, first her mother shows up out of the blue and then her father. New York isn't Mississippi but they soon adjust, finding whatever works from them.

If your looking for a laugh out loud funny film then Whatever Works is surely one to watch. It covers the themes of life, love and death in an intelligent manner. It's another great example of Woody Allen's work.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Review: Story Genius

Story Genius: How to Use Brain Science to Go Beyond Outlining and Write a Riveting Novel (Before You Waste Three Years Writing 327 Pages That Go Nowhere)

Story Genius
Lisa Cron

Story Genius definitely got my creative juices flowing. It is well written and easy to follow. It is, however, not necessarily a book that one can skim through. I think you really have to sit down and go through it step by step. Basically, it is like a course (without the classroom). The author goes over the many things that writers do wrong as well as analyzing why these errors are so pervasive. Then she proceeds to describe the essential things that a story needs in order to keep the reader riveted to the page.

The book helped me see “the error of my ways” in that I often spend too much time “plotting” a story without thinking about some of the other essential elements this author feels a story must have in order to be successful. These elements are basically “what if” and “why” questions, as well as understanding why something matters to the character within the story. For me, I was able to think about character development as well as the overall story development in a new and more creative way. Another good thing about this book is that it focuses on one case study of how a story is created. The reader can get a “behind the scenes” look at how an author comes up with an engaging story using all the examples in this book. I found this particularly useful.

I only wish it came in a larger print. As it is, the print is a bit small, which makes it somewhat tedious to read. Since this is a book one needs to work through, I think that is a bit of a negative. But having said that, if you are someone trying to write a story but just can't seem to get that spark on the page, then this is a good book to consult.

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

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Review: The Secret Ingredient of Wishes

The Secret Ingredient of Wishes

The Secret Ingredient of Wishes
Susan Bishop Crispell

Rachel has the ability to make wishes come true, though, they haven't always turned out the way she expected. As a child she managed to wish away her younger brother when he was being a pest. Unfortunately, for her she erased everyone's memory of her brother and she was forced into therapy for insisting that she had a brother. After years of suppressing her ability to grant any wishes she finds the wishes are stronger. She leaves her hometown and ends up in a place called Nowhere, North Caroline. It's in Nowhere where she meets another woman able to bind secrets by baking pies. With her help Rachel may learn to use her abilities without causing havoc in her life and the lives of others. Along the way she may find love and a home in Nowhere.

I think it was the beautiful cover that sparked my interest in this book. How could anyone not like a book that features a mouthwatering pie on the cover? The book had a unique story line and it was warm and memorable. The author was able to present the impossible in a way that seemed real enough. The relationships between the main characters were well developed and it contained the right amount of humor and drama. A few recipes thrown in would have been a bonus but overall, this book was as sweet and juicy as a peach on a hot summer day.

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