Thursday, April 28, 2016

Review: America's Best Breakfasts

America's Best Breakfasts
Lee Brian Schrager and Adeena Sussman

As this book shows, breakfast is alive and well across America. It is organized by region with info on each cafe or dining establishment mentioned. There are a vast variety of recipes to choose from as well, ranging from the mouth watering Blueberry Cheese Danish and Lemon-Blueberry Waffles to some not usually associated with breakfast like The Deluxe BLT and Creole File Gumbo.

The cover itself is enough to whet one's appetite and the interior is full of great photos with clear recipe directions and suggestions for substitutes and tips for the cook when needed. Frankly, this book had me thinking about breakfast all day long. While most of us may not be able to take off on a journey from coast to coast to sample the country's breakfast traditions, it's nice to know that this book provides a great sampling of what's out there. Plus, depending on your region you might find a surprise or two in this book. I did, when I noticed that a dining establishment in my town was mentioned that I had not heard of locally.

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

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Review: I Promise You This

I Promise You This

I Promise You This
Patricia Sands

This book follows the story set out in the two previous books, The Promise of Provence and Promises to Keep. At this point in the story Katherine has returned to Toronto from the South of France because her best friend Molly has been involved in an accident that left her seriously injured. Katherine is also grappling with her feelings about relocating to France to be with Philippe on a permanent basis. She is not in doubt about her feelings for Philippe but she's feeling unsettled about leaving friends, family and everything that feels like home behind.

As Molly's situation improves, Philippe comes to Toronto to be close to Katherine. With the support of those closest to her she decides she is willing to take a chance on love and make the move back to France. Once there, she realizes she wouldn't want to be anywhere else.

I was happy to be reunited with all the characters from the previous books in this one. They all have their own stories that unfold throughout this series and as a reader I felt like I was accompanying each of them on an life changing journey. In the second half of the book the sights and smells of France permeate the pages, which made it a joy to read. Frankly, it was so easy to get caught up in the characters, the setting and the story that I felt like I was on vacation. And the upbeat nature of the story made it a book that I didn't want to end.

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

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Review: The Body in the Wardrobe

The Body in the Wardrobe (Faith Fairchild Mystery)

The Body in the Wardrobe
A Faith Fairchild Mystery
Katherine Hall Page

Sophie has just married Will and they have moved to Savannah Georgia, Will's hometown. As Sophie tries to settle into a new town and a new job she finds a body in a wardrobe. The only problem is, no one really believes her since the body vanished before the time the police arrive. Over phone calls with Faith Fairchild back in Maine, Sophie reveals all the strange things that have been happening since her arrival in Savannah. Eventually, Faith feels compelled to travel to Savannah to help Sophie solve the puzzle of the body in the wardrobe.

This was my first Faith Fairchild mystery and I must admit it seemed at first a bit disjointed to me. I think it might have been helpful if the Author's Note that appears at the end of the book had been placed at the beginning. Because it is only at the end of the book that there is an explanation as to how Sophie became the main character in this book, rather than Faith. I also felt that there could have been more suspense in the book and it seemed like the mystery was wrapped up too quickly. Another thing that bugged me was the incorrect use of the southern term, y'all. Y'all is basically a shortened version of you all, and one only uses it when one is referring to a group of people. In this book it was often used by characters when they were addressing only one person. Either there was a lack of understanding of the term or poor editing. Either way it was an annoying feature in an otherwise fairly well written novel.

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

Monday, April 18, 2016

Review: The Beauty Queen of Jerusalem

The Beauty Queen of Jerusalem

The Beauty Queen of Jerusalem
Sarit Yishai-Levi

A spellbinding tale that spans several generations of women in Jerusalem as they navigate life through complex relations that define their roles as mothers, daughters, sisters and wives. The story is told by Gabriela Ermosa, from the Sephardi Jewish community, who feels all the women in her family have been cursed to marry men who don't love them. She wants to break from the past, but first she has to learn about it from her numerous female relatives. As a result the story uncovers secrets of the previous generations that help explain the behavior of many of the women in the family.

The reader gets an intimate view into the daily lives of the extended Ermosa family. I almost felt like I was peeking through a keyhole into a families most precious moments, as Gabriela seeks to find comfort and understanding from the women she didn't always understand or appreciate. Frankly, this is one of those books that take your breath away. It was so engrossing that is was simply hard to put down.

Thanks to Macmillian Reading Group Gold for allowing me to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Review: The Illustrated Compendium of Amazing Animal Facts

The Illustrated Compendium of Amazing Animal Facts

The Illustrated Compendium of Amazing Animal Facts
Maja Säfström

Although this book was a bit smaller than I expected, it is adorable. It's full of cute illustrations and interesting facts about all sorts of animals. For instance, I had no idea that crocodiles could go without food for three years or that they swallow rocks and stones to help grind up their food. Nor did I know that the queen ant could live to be thirty years old or that bees never sleep.

This book is filled with wonderful little facts. It would make a great gift for just about anyone. The thing that would have made this book even more enjoyable is if it had been illustrated with a bit of color instead of just in black and white. Having said that, it's still a great little book that will no doubt put a smile on the face of any reader who picks it up.

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

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Review: The Summer Before the War

The Summer Before the War

The Summer Before the War
Helen Simonson

Beatrice Nash has just arrived in the coastal English village of Rye in Sussex. She is set to take up a position as teacher in a local school. The story revolves around her and a local family with two nephews who befriend Beatrice. It's 1914 and the shadow of war is descending upon England. As the town prepares to make itself ready and useful to the war effort it takes in a group of refugees who become part of the larger story. The village prepares to send it's own sons into the fields of France and the story follows the Kent family and other villagers through the tumultuous times.

It's well written with good dialogue and interesting characters. While I enjoyed the book, I did feel it was long on descriptions and a little short on character development. Having said that, I think readers who enjoy historical fiction and fiction set in this particular period will find this book worth the read.

Thanks to Goodreads giveaway and Random House for allowing me to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Review: Case Histories

  • Case Histories: The Complete Collection

Case Histories

This is a really interesting DVD series set in Edinburgh and based on the novels of Kate Atkinson. Jason Brodie is the main character. A tough private detective with a soft heart and a lively young daughter. Although he isn't always able to get his own life together that doesn't stop him from trying to solve other peoples problems. So if your looking for a good mystery this is definitely one to consider. 

Friday, April 1, 2016

Review: Tainted Tokay

Tainted Tokay

Tainted Tokay
Jean-Pierre Alaux & Noël Balen

Benjamin Cooker and his wife Elizabeth have been invited by his publisher on a trip to Hungary to see the sights of Budapest and taste the wines of the Tokaj region. But back in Bordeaux, Alexandrine, Benjamin's lab manager, has been attacked by an unknown assailant. It falls to Benjamin's other employee Virgile to look after Alexandrine as well as complete all the lab projects while Benjamin is away.

Benjamin also wants Virgile to solve the mystery of Alexandrine's attack while he is in Hungary. He doesn't know it yet, but he will have his own mysteries to solve while in Hungary as he and his group are caught up in a local tourist theft ring. This makes their trip more than just a foray into the world of Hungarian wine.

It is another good story from the wine detective series, which has some twists and turns that I hadn't expected. It can't think of a better way to spend a lazy afternoon than traveling across France and Eastern Europe with Virgile and Benjamin as they try to solve their mysteries.

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