Friday, October 28, 2016

Review:Red-Handed in Romanée-Conti

Red-Handed in Romanée-Conti

Red-Handed in Romanée-Conti
Jean-Pierre Alaux & Noël Balen

While Benjamin and his wife Elizabeth are in London visiting Benjamin's elderly father, he is called to the Burgundy region of France. He and his assistant Virgile are needed at the Lemoine estate for the wine harvest. Not long after their arrival, the body of a female worker is found on a neighboring estate. Things get tricky when the police find some of her belongings in Benjamin's rental car. Luckily he has an alibi for the time of the murder. He and Virgile join forces with Police Inspector Cluzel to try and find the murderer and the motives behind it.

Once again the authors of this series have presented readers with another winning cozy mystery full of interesting characters, great scenery and good food and wine. I love the fact that this story was really two in one, with Benjamin's father in London and Benjamin's wine mystery in Burgundy. It was also nice that Elizabeth had a larger role to play in this story as well. I hope the writers never get tired of creating new mysteries for Benjamin and Virgile to solve, because I for one, never tire of reading them.

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

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Review: Almost Missed You

Almost Missed You

Almost Missed You
Jessica Strawser

Violet, her husband Finn and their young son Bear are on vacation in Florida when Finn and Bear disappear without a trace. Distraught, Violet returns home to Asheville, NC, where her grandmother and friend Caitlin try to help her find any leads that might help get her son back. But Violet is unaware that both Finn and Caitlin have some dark secrets that could hinder the search for Bear and his quick return.

This heart wrenching tale is full of emotional twists and turns throughout, which makes it a real page turner. The structure helps the reader uncover what has happened regarding the disappearance of Finn and Bear and also what transpired in the past that could lead to terrible consequences for all the characters involved in this story. Almost Missed You is one book I'm glad I didn't miss.

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

Monday, October 24, 2016

Review: French Country Cooking

French Country Cooking: Recipes and Stories from a French Village

French Country Cooking
Mimi Thorisson

I loved this cookbook! Firstly, its big and beautiful, just like a good coffee table book should be. The recipes were mouthwatering with clear cooking instructions and lots of gorgeous photos. Many of the recipes are recognizable from standard French cooking but, the recipes in this book often have a little twist which makes them more interesting to modern cooks.

I also liked the organization of the book. The fact that it begins with a section titled Goûter full of cakes and other afternoon pastries just whets the appetite for more. But in my opinion, what makes this book really good is the story the author tells throughout. It's so interesting and full of memorable characters that I couldn't help thinking that it would make a very entertaining film. Really I think No. 1 Rue de Loudenne reminded me of Peter Mayle's A Year in Provence film because it seems to have all the elements, location, characters, good food and lots of fun. I don't think this is something that can be said about most cookbooks. So if you are looking for some great recipes but also some entertaining reading about how one family bought an old manor house and turned it into a restaurant, bringing back some of it's infamous past then this in one you will not want to miss.

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

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Review: Away with the Fishes

Away with the Fishes

Away with the Fishes
Stephanie Siciarz

It all starts with an anonymous ad in the local newspaper. A fisherman is looking for a girl with a bicycle, who can cook, and is willing to marry him. At the same time, an island girl, Rena Baker disappears and a mangled bicycle is found in the road. Is Rena's boyfriend Madison a killer? The police start an investigation, albeit without a body, which leads to a murder trial. Raul Orleans, the head of Customs and Excise on the island, finds strange messages painted on his house suggesting he should look for Rena and the connection she has to the long dead, Captain Dagmore Bowles, a former resident of Oh. The Island of Oh is a special place and not everything is always clear, but the Islanders are used to challenges and maybe even a surprise or two. As the murder trial nears, the community is a hive of activity, hoping for justice and answers in the bicycle case.

This charmingly written book was a delight to read from beginning to end. It's full of wonderful and memorable characters that really come to life through the humorous and lyrical prose. I found that Away With The Fishes was like a magical spell, taking me away to an interesting place that I didn't want to leave. The islanders' stories unfold to reveal intricate connections and surprising twists that made me want to know more about this exotic place and the lives of the people living there. I also liked the way the story weaves in and out between the present and the past, letting the reader really get to know the life of Dagmore Bowles as well as of the other characters.

This sweet and juicy tale was as satisfying as a dip in a clear blue sea on a hot afternoon. What a world it would be if only we could all live on an island like Oh, with a tropical flair and a little magic in the air. Hopefully, its not too much to wish for more dispatches from Oh!

This review was originally written for and published by Manhattan Book Review.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Review: Junkyard Dogs

Junkyard Dogs (Walt Longmire, #6)

Junkyard Dogs
Craig Johnson

Sheriff Walt Longmire has a body part on his hand, a part of someone's thumb to be exact. While he is trying to get one of his deputies to find the owner, a local junkyard owner and neighboring land developer are killed. At first it looks like a family dispute but, it may turn out to be far more. Walt and his team live through a long, hard winter as they try to piece together the events surrounding these deaths.

Once again Craig Johnson provides the reader with a rough, Wyoming landscape, interesting characters and riveting dialogue, which makes this a western mystery that is hard to put down.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Review: Radical Beauty

Radical Beauty: How to Transform Yourself from the Inside Out

Radical Beauty
Deepak Chopra, M.D.
Kimberly Snyder, C.N.

Radical Beauty is basically all about finding the beauty hidden inside. It's about how to transform your life and your body from the inside out. It focuses on diet and how that can help create an external glow and how what you put on your skin can help or hurt you. It goes deeper than that and the authors give excellent tips on how to meditate as well as reach a spiritual path to find the real you. It includes helpful tips on how to meditate as well as recipes designed to cleanse your body and provide essential nutrients to help create an internal and external glow, which is nice.

I'm glad I had a chance to read this book as it's made me think about more than just my diet and the role it has on internal and external beauty. The authors are good at explaining why they think you need to incorporate certain ingredients into a diet. I also liked the fact that many of the basic yoga poses that they encourage their readers to do are not difficult. They explain why these poses are important and what role they play in helping the body.

This book has a lot to offer to those who want to focus on more than just reducing wrinkles. I particularly like the fact that authors encourage the reader to implement their suggestions at their own pace. So this is not system that focuses on eliminating something or following a stringent rule or practice. Basically, it is all about finding balance to create a more fulfilled life. With all this book has to offer, I'm sure I will be coming back to it again and again for ideas that can be incorporated into my daily routine.

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

Monday, October 3, 2016

Review Montalbano's First Case and Other Stories

Montalbano's First Case and Other Stories
Montalbano's First Case and Other Stories
Andrea Camilleri

Montalbano's First Case and Other Stories is a joy to read, from start to finish. Fans of Inspector Montalbano will be thrilled to have so many stories in one volume. Those not familiar with Andrea Camillieri's work will find this a great place to get to know the famous detective. The twenty-one stories follow Montalbano through various periods of his life, solving cases that highlight life in the Sicilian town and countryside.

Camilleri has as warm, witty, humorous style of writing that makes the characters jump off each page. When Inspector Montalbano isn't solving a crime, or playing a game of cat and mouse to catch a criminal, he can most likely be found in a nearby restaurant dining on locally caught seafood. With good food, wine and a beautiful sea view right outside his front door, life in Vigàta seems idyllic. But there is always something rumbling beneath the proud, dark Sicilian surface that will keep Montalbano and his team of detectives busy searching for answers to all the mysteries in this book. In short, there is only one Inspector Montalbano and that's what keeps us coming back for more.

This review was originally written for and published by Manhattan Book Review.