Note about my Reviews

Dear Authors: The reviews in this blog are only personal opinions. I have absolutely no background in literature, writing or reviewing. I am a Librarian (actually a Library Technician for those who care OR know the difference) with a love for a good story. The opinions in the reviews are ONLY my OPINIONS. I am not commenting on the writers ability since well -- I am not a writer and never will be. If you are the author of any of the books reviewed here, my opinion is just that and not a judgment against you!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Good Food, Good Life by Curtis Stone

Good Food, Good Life
by Curtis Stone
Appetite (Penguin Random House)
ISBN: 978-0-449-0-1589-6
Buy from Indigo

Description: Popular food and television personality Curtis Stone brings ease to the kitchen by elevating everyday meals to an experience that can be enjoyed as much for the process as for the beautiful end result.
     Curtis Stone shares 120 recipes for quick, modern versions of classic dishes that will appeal to the whole family. Effortlessly, he delivers solutions to people who want to eat healthy, interesting meals that don't take all day to cook. This book shows that fast recipes don't have to feel hurried or rushed, and encourages people to take pleasure in the process of cooking at home. Recipes include Butternut Squash with Sage Brown Butter, Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Alabama BBQ Sauce and Asparagus, Potato-Zucchini Enchiladas with Habanero Salsa. Curtis Stone's natural style in the kitchen inspires readers to connect with the textures, sounds, smells, and tastes that make up the culinary journey.

The Good Stuff
  • Absolutely stunning looking cookbook (Even though I prefer less artsy more pictures of yummy food)
  • Easy to follow recipes with many ingredients that are easy to find in most local grocery stores
  • Most of the recipes don't have too many ingredients or too many steps - perfect for this mommy 
  • Best Roast Chicken and Potato recipe ever and so bloody simple
  • The Rum Pound cake is so amazing I want to make it every day - seriously
  • Excellent index
  • Like all of the introductions
  • Ok, he's not too bad to look at either (They are one beautiful family too)
  • This will be a keeper - simple yummy food that will impress friends when they come over for dinner
 The Not So Good Stuff
  • Why oh why do they always give recipes using sticks of butter as a measurement (Sorry Canadian and I buy the cheaper butter that is just a block)
  • My kids won't eat half the recipes - not the books fault, but damn why does his kid eat this stuff and mine won't

Favorite Recipes
  • Chicken with Ranchera Salsa
  • Maple-Glazed Planked Salmon
  • Spaghettini with Lemon and Ricotta (Remember to thin out the sauce - I forgot this step and it was a little too thick for my taste)
  • Simple Roast Chicken and Potatoes
  • Porcini-Braised Beef with Horseradish Mascarpone
  • Rum Pound Cake with Lime Glaze
  • Walnut Date Muffins
  • Chocolate Salted Caramel Kisses (A lot of steps but worth it)

4 Dewey's

I received this from Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review  (Damn I am going to need to exercise more after all the damn good food in these recipe books)

At the Water's Edge by Sara Gruen

At the Water's Edge
by Sara Gruen
Penguin Random House
ISBN: 978-0-385-66448-6
Buy from Indigo

Description: After embarrassing themselves at the social event of the year in high society Philadelphia on New Year’s Eve of 1942, Maddie and Ellis Hyde are cut off financially by Ellis’s father, a former army Colonel who is already embarrassed by his son’s inability to serve in WWII due to his being colorblind. To Maddie’s horror, Ellis decides that the only way to regain his father’s favor is to succeed in a venture his father attempted and very publicly failed at: he will hunt the famous Loch Ness monster and when he finds it he will restore his father’s name and return to his father’s good graces (and pocketbook). Joined by their friend Hank, a wealthy socialite, the three make their way to Scotland in the midst of war. Each day the two men go off to hunt the monster, while another monster, Hitler, is devastating Europe. And Maddie, now alone in a foreign country, must begin to figure out who she is and what she wants. The novel tells of Maddie’s social awakening: to the harsh realities of life, to the beauties of nature, to a connection with forces larger than herself, to female friendship, and finally, to love

The Good Stuff
  • The best part of this novel was the friendship between the three very different women
  • A gifted storyteller, even when there are holes in the story, you sorta let them go, because she has you hooked with her words
  • I know its silly but I enjoyed the paranormal aspects of the story, they were subtly done
  • not sure what  was that hooked me into the story, but there was something (Don't get me wrong, there were weakness' to the story, but most of the time, I really didn't care
  • Author really does her research, she really puts you into the heart and time of the story
  • Made me feel like I was in the Scottish highlands
  • Excellent beach read (or for a cold winter Calgary night)
  • While there was some seriously uneven character development, I did enjoy the development of Maddie.  She developed some serious ovaries - impressive for the the time the story is set in
  • I'm  a total sucker for Scottish settings and I truly wish I lived in this setting.  I would totally fit in
  • Did like the romance when it did  happen (but still think it came out of nowhere)

The Not So Good Stuff
  • Uneven character development (would like to go into more, but as always - spoilers)
  • Love interest wasn't slowly building - it was just sorta of  -- wham - and in your face
  • Man Maddie's father was a douche bag 
  • Great idea, which could have been so much better.  I honestly don't think this has anything to do with the authors talent, more the pressure to be published by a certain date

Favorite Quotes/Passages

"And risk being  ripped limb from limb by roaming packs  of thieving girls"

"He'd simply decided I wasn't worth saving, apparently without even taking the time to sleep on it."

"I paused beneath the arched entrance, where the drawbridge had once been, imagining all the people who had passed in and out over the centuries, every one of them carrying a combination of desire, hope, jealousy, despair, grief, love, and every other human emotion; a combination that made each one as unique as a snowflake, yet linked all of them inextricably to every other human being from the dawn of time to the end of it."

"Life. There it was. In all its beautiful, tragic fragility, there was still life, and those of us who'd been lucky enough to survive opened our arms wide and embraced it."

4 Dewey's

I received this from Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review