Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Review: DVD Agatha Raisin

Agatha Raisin, Series 1

Agatha Raisin
This DVD is based on the books of M.C. Beaton and her beloved character Agatha Raisin. Agatha has always dreamed of living in the English countryside and as a result she's left her successful PR Firm in London to make a go of country life, in the small and picturesque village of Carsley in the Cotswolds.

It doesn't take long for her to get involved in the community, and at the opening of this series, it's the local pie contest she's joined. But when a murder occurs she feels compelled to try and solve it, albeit with the help of a few new friends, giving her the much deserved reputation of an amateur sleuth. The series contains nine episodes that will keep you coming back for more. It's become one of my favorites, and how could it not be with the wonderful, fun, endearing characters and a slice of mystery on the side. I'm so hoping there will be a season two.  

Monday, April 17, 2017

Review: The Heirs

The Heirs

The Heirs
Susan Rieger

The Heirs follows the story of Rupert Falkes and his wife Eleanor Phipps Falkes and that of their five sons. When Rupert dies, secrets emerge that the remaining members of the family must come to terms with, all while making sense of their own lives.

I wanted to like this book but, it's one that left me with mixed feelings. While it isn't a long book, it felt long. It often went on and on with perhaps too much detail. I can't quite put my finger on why, but I didn't feel a great connection to the main characters, Rupert and Eleanor, which made the first half of the book seem somewhat dull to me. Some bits of the first section were well observed, but I couldn't help feeling that it sometimes seemed pretentious, like the author is trying too hard to sound intellectual, which was slightly off-putting.

I only felt drawn into the book about mid-way through, when I reached the character of Jim, who, oddly enough, wasn't even part of the Falkes family. I'm not sure why this section seemed more appealing than the first section, maybe I was able to feel or empathize more with this character. He felt more genuine to me and more interesting than some of the others in the story. Overall, I felt the second half of the book was more engaging than the first half; it had more of a story to tell that connected some of the characters, without just describing characters to me. It was less boring, and it seemed to have a better, faster pace. In general, this book didn't have that spark of electricity I was hoping it would have.

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

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Review: Catherine of Braganza

Catherine of Braganza: Charles II's Restoration Queen

Catherine of Braganza
Charles II's Restoration Queen
Sarah-Beth Watkins

This book provides a fascinating look at the life of Catherine of Braganza. She was born in 1638 in Portugal, and married Charles the II of England in 1662. She must have been an amazing women since she had to come to terms with the numerous mistresses of the king and the fact that, as hard as she tried she was never able to give the king an heir.

When she wasn't dealing with domestic hardships she had her detractors to contend with, particularly those who wanted to rid themselves of a Catholic queen. Even though the king stood by her during her most difficult times it seems true happiness may have come at long last when she was able to return to Portugal, where she was to rule as regent for João V.

I recommend this well written book for anyone who wants to know more about Catherine's role as queen and her life at the English court.

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

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Review: Vibrant India

Vibrant India: Fresh Vegetarian Recipes from Bangalore to Brooklyn

Vibrant India
Chitra Agrawal

I love the cover of this cookbook, like the name suggests it's vibrant and enticing. It was this cover that first drew me in. Inside, the author focuses on the food of Southern India, which is distinct from that of the North, which many readers are probably more familiar with in the form of creamy curries and meat dishes. The author goes into more detail explaining the differences and the importance of the history and culture in the development of southern cuisine, and how it focuses more on vegetarian dishes.

While I must admit, some of the recipes in the book seem a bit daunting to me, and if I'm honest, there are quite a few things I would prefer to eat in a restaurant, rather than try and attempt myself, I did find some recipes that were easier to prepare. I loved the idea of peaches in summer yogurt, for example, and the variations on yogurt raita as well as some new ways to make lentils.

I like that this book has some interesting recipes with unexpected ingredients. For instance, Lemon Peanut Rice, is something I wouldn't have expected, or Apple, Ginger Coconut Hand Pies. I think that is what makes this book and Southern India food unique and worth a look, especially for adventurous cooks who want to try something fresh and healthy.

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