Sunday, June 11, 2017

Jane of Austin by Hillary Manton Lodge


Considering the huge pile of books on the floor beside the bed to read, not counting the ones of the shelves across from the bed, I felt a little guilty about starting this book almost the moment it arrived. I think there was part of me pleased with being able to read a book before it was actually 'released'.

And I am so glad I did!

Written by Hillary Manton Lodge, it's the story of three sisters who head out from San Francisco to Austin, Texas to try and piece together their lives yet again. Tea and scones meet Texas BBQ in a wonderful combination. 

A modern day take on Sense and Sensibility (and probably some Pride and Prejudice too), Celia, Jane and Margot make a move to Austin to start over again, living on the property of a cousin until they can get their feet under them and a new tea shop opened. Sound familiar?

There is also the wounded military officer, haughty wives and sisters and bad-boy romances, all of which make it imperative you curl up on a Sunday afternoon to 'nap' and finish the book. It's so good, I recommended it to my library as a book club selection.

I haven't enjoyed a book this much in a long time. Light, fun reading - perfect with a cup of tea.




"I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."

Monday, May 29, 2017

The Story Cure - Dinty W. Moore


Subtitled as a pain-free guide to finishing your novel or memoir, I grabbed this one right up. Plus, I have read other books by Moore in the past and knew, if nothing else, it would be a pain-free read. And I wasn't wrong. 

Under 200 pages, The Story Cure is set up in two parts - Cures and Checkups. 

Within "Cures" you have your 'diagnosis' and then the 'cure' for the ailment. Plus there are prompts and exercises to help. One of my favorite exercises is the "Green, Pink and Yellow of Character". This is were Moore has you take a chapter from the book and color-code various elements in the chapter. And if you have a lot of green and little or no yellow, then you are on the right track to a good story.

Another thing I enjoyed about the book were the examples Moore gives in each section. A lot of books on writing tell you, but don't show you, what they are talking about. He gives an example to illustrate what the section or chapter is referring to. There is no guess work on your part, so you can't get it wrong.

I enjoyed the book and will be using several of the exercises to keep me motivated in my own writing.



"I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The underground Culinary Tour - Damian Mogavero

I have been toting this book around for months now as we have been trying to get settled into a new, all be it temporary, home.  


A bit about the book - 

ABOUT THE UNDERGROUND CULINARY TOUR

In the bestselling tradition of  MoneyballThe Underground Culinary Tour is a high-octane, behind-the-scenes narrative about how the restaurant industry, historically run by gut and intuition, is being transformed by the use of data.
 
Sixteen years ago, entrepreneur Damian Mogavero brought together an unlikely mix of experts—chefs and code writers—to create a pioneering software company whose goal was to empower restaurateurs, through the use of data, to elevate and enhance the guest experience. Today, his data gathering programs are used by such renown chefs as Danny Meyer, Tom Colicchio, Daniel Boulud, Guy Fieri, Giada De Laurentiis, Gordon Ramsay, and countless others.
 
Mogavero describes such restaurateurs as the New Guard, and their approach to their art and craft is radically different from that of their predecessors. By embracing data and adapting to the new trends of today’s demanding consumers, these innovative chefs and owners do everything more nimbly and efficiently—from the recipes they create to the wines and craft beers they stock, from the presentations they choreograph to the customized training they give their servers, making restaurants more popular and profitable than ever before.
 
Finally, Damian takes readers behind the scenes of his annual, invitation-only culinary tour for top chefs and industry CEOs, showing us how today’s elite restaurants embrace new trends to create unforgettable meals and transform how we eat. From the glittering nightclubs of Las Vegas to a packed seasonal restaurant on the Long Island Sound, from Brennan’s storied, family-run New Orleans dynasty to today’s high-stakes celebrity chef palaces, The Underground Culinary Tour takes readers on an epicurean adventure they won’t forget.

That being said, the book made me long for a larger city where places to eat, especially small, hole-in-the-wall restaurants thrive. More farm-to-table style places. Food trucks being the norm rather than a rarity, trotted out when warmer conditions hit Helena. 
But while I can go on and on about the description of menus, what is fascinating is something few, if any, of us think about - the day-to-day running of shops and how 'numbers' matter. From the number of people who come in to hear a DJ spin songs, to how many order what on what day of the week. Owning a place to eat is far more than just putting food on a plate and setting it on the table.
I enjoyed the book and would recommend it to anyone who loves finding out what goes on behind the swinging doors of a restaurant. And I want to go on one of the culinary tours Damian puts on!


"I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."



Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Eat Beautiful by Wendy Rowe


I have to say I was a bit reluctant to pick up this book. It sounded a bit to 'fluffy' for me. However, I must say there is more than meets the eye here. 

Divided by the seasons, Rowe gives foods common during that time of the year, along with the nutrients and some yummy recipes using that ingredient. This is going to be helpful since we all want to eat better this year (lots of stress, you understand) for not only weight management, but overall health.

While it probably will not be my first 'go-to' cookbook, there are a lot of interesting ones I will try. And the layout and pictures are fantastic. Well worth a look through every now and then.



"I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The Chemist - Stephanie Meyer

If you pick this book up expecting something in the line of The Twilight Saga or a sequel to The Host, you are going to be very disappointed. Nothing paranormal here.


However, if you want a book to keep you on the edge of your seat, then pick up The Chemist.

Alex is on the run and has been for the past three years. On the run from her past employers at a top secret government agency. Hoping to resolve her dilemma she gets involved, quite by accident, with other people and dogs.

I enjoyed the book on one hand. However, I do have a couple of problems with it.  First, it did take me a bit to get into it. It was quite lengthy in describing how she has been protecting herself for the past three years and all the precautions she takes - gas, poison rings and other booby traps. However, part of me feels it is necessary to really understand why she is referred to as The Chemist.

Secondly, I'm not really sure I understand exactly what she was running from or trying to stop from happening and even if was really resolved.

Given my issues with the book, would I recommend it? Absolutely! No sparkling vampires here, but an intense action read, well worth settling in on a cold and snowy winter day with.

By the way, I want a dog like Einstein.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Under the Tuscan Sun - Frances Mayes

Twenty years! Where did the time go?


If there is one book I have given away more copies of it's this book. 

This is the book which is responsible for starting my love affair with travel books, it's Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes.

Forget the movie (please, forget the movie) and settle back in a chair, preferably in the sun. I always seem to wind up with a sprig of basil as a bookmark and fix lots of Italian food to eat afterwards.

From the trials of buying property in Italy, to the difficulty of finding people to help restore your new, but falling down, villa, it's a romp through Italy which will have you packing your bags and heading to the airport.

With a new copy of the book in my hands, it's time for a dinner of spaghetti, red wine and fresh bread.

Ciao!


"I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."

Amaro - The Spirited Worlds of Bittersweet, Herbal Liqueurs

I really don't know much about bitters. I do know a local distillery has started producing their own bitters.  So when I had a chance to get ahold of Brad Thomas Parsons new book, Amaro, I was pleased to not only get a history of amaro, but also a volume of fantastic sounding drinks and recipes for using bitters.


A beautiful book filled with recipes for various drinks and the stories behind them, I was particularly taken with the section on how to make my own bitters (and the Autumnal Amaro sounds so good), as well as other recipes using amaro.  Right now, despite the cold in Helena, a Campari Float, made with orange soda, ice cream and Campari sounds like a wonderful slice of summer.

This is a keeper for our drink shelf.


"I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."