Saturday, March 28, 2009

Carrie Vaughn's Kitty Norville Series

For the Carry Vaughn Kitty Norville series review, please visit my husband's blog at .

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Love and Other Natural Disasters

Summary: Eve is eight months pregnant and in the middle of a Thanksgiving celebration when she discovers that her husband Jonathan has developed an intimate relationship with a woman over the past year. Jonathan asserts his innocence (an affair involves physical intimacy, and he didn't have any), while Eve feels deeply betrayed by the emotional connection he shared with someone else. What Jon has done seems so terrifyingly out of character that Eve finds herself questioning her entire reality. Did she ever really know Jon at all? Was their happiness together a lie? Is emotional intimacy more forgivable than sexual intimacy? And can their marriage survive? -- 5 Spot

I must say, had I just heard the title of Holly Shumas' book, Love and Other Natural Disasters, I might not have wanted to read it. (In a way it reminds me of a self-help type book.) But, given the synopsis, it seemed interesting. Once I started reading it, I didn't want to put it down. I would say within about 24 hours I had finished this book, it was that good!

The main character, Eve discovered that her husband was having an emotional affair with one of his co-workers. Now, this might not have been as bad if she weren't 8 months pregnant. But, given her situation, that made it that much worse. The book is based upon how she goes about dealing with this affair. I have to say, I'd never heard of emotional affairs before, and it made me wonder just how many of these really do occur. I found myself cheering on Eve at times, and others for Jonathan. While I don't want to give away the ending, I must say I was left asking questions.

I really enjoyed the book, and you could tell that the author knew her stuff. After all, she is a marriage and family counselor, and I'm guessing that she's well familiar with situations like these. The writing was just like a friend was telling you the story, so you weren't held back by looking every other word up in the dictionary. (Don't laugh, it's happened before!) If you'd like to find out more about Holly Shumas, you can check out her website.

I want to thank Miriam from Hachette Books for sending a copy to review. I really enjoyed this book, and look forward to reading other books by Holly!

If you would like to see what others thought of the book, check out the links below:

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Flavor Bible

Today's book is not a cookbook, per se, as it doesn't include recipes, but sure is a pretty nifty book to have on hand in the kitchen!

Summary: Great cooking goes beyond following a recipe--it's knowing how to season ingredients to coax the greatest possible flavor from them. Drawing on dozens of leading chefs' combined experience in top restaurants across the country, Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg present the definitive guide to creating "deliciousness" in any dish. Thousands of ingredient entries, organized alphabetically and cross-referenced, provide a treasure trove of spectacular flavor combinations. Readers will learn to work more intuitively and effectively with ingredients; experiment with temperature and texture; excite the nose and palate with herbs, spices, and other seasonings; and balance the sensual, emotional, and spiritual elements of an extraordinary meal. Seasoned with tips, anecdotes, and signature dishes from America's most imaginative chefs, THE FLAVOR BIBLE is an essential reference for every kitchen. -Hachette Book Group

I was so excited to receive The Flavor Bible by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg. As I mentioned yesterday, I'm not much of a chef, but I do like cooking. I enjoy playing around with different flavors, mixing different spices with things to see how they'll taste. This book is awesome with that! One of my favorite treats is pumpkin seeds. Now, I know, they're really only a fall time treat, only available when there are pumpkins available to carve. I have found that you can order them online now, and I might just be doing that. One of the suggestions in the book was caramel. I love caramel, and I love pumpkin seeds. I sure would love to try caramel pumpkin seeds to see just how yummy they are. Stay tuned. I'll let you know if I do try it. Another 'recipe' that I found that I'm looking forward to trying is Balsamic-Caramel Chicken with Brocolli and Walnuts. (Can you tell I like caramel??) While there's not a recipe for it, just the thought of the flavors sounds yummy. Oh man. My stomach is grumbling, and I just ate lunch!!

Again, I want to thank Hachette Books for this book. I hope you get a chance to try it out yourself-you might find some new combinations of flavors that become your favorite!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Long time, no reviews. I apologize. I've been busy with the holidays and all, but I have been reading books, and I look forward to sharing everything with you!

First up: Cooking.

Now, I'm not much of a chef, and if you know me, you know I prefer eating out to eating in. I'd say mostly that's because I can never seem to cook something that I really like. (Or that Joe likes.) I do take the chance now and again, otherwise I stick with favorites.
Over the holidays I had the chance to review a couple of cookbooks, (I just received another one, to be reviewed soon), as well as a book that talks about what flavors work well together.

The first book I'd like to talk about is Amy Sedaris's I LIKE YOU.

Summary: I LIKE YOU is an "entertaining guide to entertaining" and includes recipes, complete meal plans, decorating suggestions, music choices, conversational ice-breakers, and hospitality tips to create the perfect evening at home. The book has scrapbook feel, including color as well as black and white photos, illustrations, and craft patterns. Whether it's an intimate night for two or a ladies' luncheon for twenty, Sedaris offers her own advice to make guests feel welcome and the host look good. I LIKE YOU is the essential handbook for full-scale entertaining the Sedaris way. The inspiration for I LIKE YOU comes from Sedaris's own domestic expertise. A notorious baker and cook, her famous cheese balls can be bought at Gourmet Garage and her cupcakes at Joe Coffee in New York City. Sedaris covers all aspects of home entertaining. Sample chapters include: A Greek Dinner Date; Grieving; Entertaining Children; A Rich Uncle Comes to Visit; Baby Shower; The Elderly; Cooking for Oneself; Picnic; and a variety of courtships, such as dating a hunter, a dieter, or an alcoholic. All chapters contain tips, hits and misses, and end with a critical evaluation of the event or a letter from a guest. -- Warner Books Press Release

As a warning, do NOT look through this book if you're hungry! Even though I don't cook all that often, I do love looking at the pictures and deciding what I would love to try to cook. (Although every time I DO try something, it never ends looking like the pictures.) The pictures in the book are so appetizing. I should remind you though, that Amy is a comedian, and many of the chapters are more for humor than for food. I really did enjoy this book, and look forward to some time in the kitchen trying the recipes, converted to gluten free, of course.

On a different side of the cookbook scope, I also got to check out Katie Brown's Katie
Brown Celebrates.

Summary: In KATIE BROWN CELEBRATES, Katie gives readers a reason to host a party every month of the year. From a festive New Year's Eve dinner to a lavish Christmas brunch, from the perfect child's birthday party to a down-home family reunion, readers will delight in Katie's signature approach to making any celebration simply wonderful. With delicious recipes, straightforward craft projects, and tips for casual entertaining, Katie shows how any host can make a delicious meal and create gorgeous ambiance without the hassle. KATIE BROWN CELEBRATES is a must-have for anyone who ever gives--or has ever thought of giving--a party. -- Little, Brown and Company

This book is a bit more sophisticated than Amy's book, but the pictures are just as mouth watering. I have found a few recipes that I would like to try- the top of the list is a quiche-like item that is wrapped with bacon. (It's listed as Turkey Bacon Eggs in December.) I like how Katie also includes ideas for parties every month, and even how to make the decorations! It makes me want to have a party my next weekend off! (Ok, maybe the one after that.)
I would like to thank Hachette Book Group for sending the books for me to review. Look for actual pictures of my results in later posts.