Monday, July 29, 2013

Book Review: A Hundred Summers

A Hundred Summers
Beatriz Williams

Release Date: May 30, 2013

Book Description:
Memorial Day, 1938: New York socialite Lily Dane has just returned with her family to the idyllic oceanfront community of Seaview, Rhode Island, expecting another placid summer season among the familiar traditions and friendships that sustained her after heartbreak.

That is, until Greenwalds decide to take up residence in Seaview.

Nick and Budgie Greenwald are an unwelcome specter from Lily’s past: her former best friend and her former fiancé, now recently married—an event that set off a wildfire of gossip among the elite of Seaview, who have summered together for generations. Budgie’s arrival to restore her family’s old house puts her once more in the center of the community’s social scene, and she insinuates herself back into Lily's friendship with an overpowering talent for seduction...and an alluring acquaintance from their college days, Yankees pitcher Graham Pendleton. But the ties that bind Lily to Nick are too strong and intricate to ignore, and the two are drawn back into long-buried dreams, despite their uneasy secrets and many emotional obligations.

Under the scorching summer sun, the unexpected truth of Budgie and Nick’s marriage bubbles to the surface, and as a cataclysmic hurricane barrels unseen up the Atlantic and into New England, Lily and Nick must confront an emotional cyclone of their own, which will change their worlds forever.

Amazon US | Goodreads

I have to say that I’m very grateful for having won this novel in a giveaway, especially since I never win anything. And to add to my excitement I won it not once but twice (from two different sources). So, I shall thank both Literary New England radio and Chick Lit Central blog for my two copies of A Hundred Summers, one of which I happily shared with a friend.

As the New England hurricane of 1938 slowly marched ahead through the pages of A Hundred Summers, the novel has slowly swept me away within its eerily grandeur setting of an oceanfront community, its residents, and their complex and intricate histories.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Guest Review: The Cuckoo's Calling

Hi guys! I’m very proud to introduce and welcome Valerie to the blog today, and to share the first (and hopefully not the last) guest post. Valerie and I have met through the wonderful All Souls Trilogy Discussion group on Facebook, and I think I’m pretty fortunate to consider her a friend. Valerie is a lady of many talents and I’m very excited that she agreed to share her review of J.K. Rowling’s new novel – The Cuckoo’s Calling. Thanks Val!

Guest Blogger:
Hi! I’m Valerie. I’m a DoD employee by day (or night) and moonlight as obsessive reader, graphic + web designer + IT enthusiast (Dr. of Daemonosity). Apparently, I’m also a guest blogger (!) What I’m into now: I’ve joined forces with the other Dr(s) of Daemonosity by donating my rather odd skills to help facilitate the crusade of Armitage4Clairmont. Sounds important, huh? Well it is. Join our Crusade!

The Cuckoo's Calling (Cormoran Strike #1)
Robert Galbraith (Pseudonym), J.K. Rowling

Release Date: April 30, 2013

Book Description:
A brilliant debut mystery in a classic vein: Detective Cormoran Strike investigates a supermodel's suicide. After losing his leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, Cormoran Strike is barely scraping by as a private investigator. Strike is down to one client, and creditors are calling. He has also just broken up with his longtime girlfriend and is living in his office.

Then John Bristow walks through his door with an amazing story: His sister, the legendary supermodel Lula Landry, known to her friends as the Cuckoo, famously fell to her death a few months earlier. The police ruled it a suicide, but John refuses to believe that. The case plunges Strike into the world of multimillionaire beauties, rock-star boyfriends, and desperate designers, and it introduces him to every variety of pleasure, enticement, seduction, and delusion known to man.

You may think you know detectives, but you've never met one quite like Strike. You may think you know about the wealthy and famous, but you've never seen them under an investigation like this.

Amazon US | Goodreads

The Cuckoo's Calling is a venture into the anonymous for J.K. Rowling. Written under the pen name “Robert Galbraith” she explores the detective/whodunit novel genre with flair. We find ourselves in the heads of a private detective and his accidental assistant working together to solve a mystery involving a super-model's suicide and the curious cast of characters surrounding her.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Cover Reveal: Mad About the Boy

Earlier this year it was rumored that Ms. Fielding is writing a follow-up to her successful Bridget Jones series, and in late May the title for the third book has been revealed. Now, with anticipation growing as publication date is fast approaching, we finally get to see an official book cover, which I am more than happy to share with you here. So, what do you guys think? Are you excited for the new adventures of our favorite singleton, navigating the complex world of social media, and perhaps motherhood?  

Mad About the Boy (Bridget Jones #3)
Helen Fielding

Release Date: October 15, 2013

Book Description:
When Helen Fielding first wrote Bridget Jones’ Diary, charting the life of a 30-something singleton in London in the 1990s, she introduced readers to one of the most beloved characters in modern literature. The book was published in 40 countries, sold more than 15 million copies worldwide, and spawned a best-selling sequel, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason. The two books were turned into major blockbuster films starring Renée Zellweger, Hugh Grant and Colin Firth.

With her hotly anticipated third installment, Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy, Fielding introduces us to a whole new enticing phase of Bridget’s life set in contemporary London, including the challenges of maintaining sex appeal as the years roll by and the nightmare of drunken texting,  the skinny jean, the disastrous e-mail cc, total lack of twitter followers, and TVs that need 90 buttons and three remotes to simply turn on.

An uproariously funny novel of modern life, Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy is a triumphant return of our favorite Everywoman.

Amazon US | Goodreads

Wednesday 24 October 2012

11.27 p.m. Just presss d SEND. Iss fineisn’t it?

Recipe: Salt & Sugar Cured Salmon

From my breakfast table to yours, I give you the cured salmon. I’ve been meaning to post this for quite some time, so I’ll just let this recipe speak for itself. It’s simple to make, takes only a few days [don’t let this intimidate you, just plan ahead], with almost no prep, few ingredients and delicious results! Try it and don’t forget to let me know how it came out.

Salt & Sugar Cured Salmon
Servings 3 – 4

1 lb fresh salmon
3 tsps salt
1 tsp sugar

Mix salt and sugar together in a small bowl and set aside. Wash and pat dry the fish gently, place in a shallow bowl. Sprinkle the salmon generously with salt and sugar mixture on both sides. (If using a whole fish, cut in half crosswise and once salted, fold the two halves on top of each other). Cover the dish with plastic wrap and let rest in the fridge for 2 days.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Book Review: Austenland

Austenland (Austenland #1)
Shannon Hale

Release Date: May 29, 2007

Book Description:
Jane Hayes is a seemingly normal young New Yorker, but she has a secret. Her obsession with Mr. Darcy, as played by Colin Firth in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, is ruining her love life: no real man can compare. But when a wealthy relative bequeaths her a trip to an English resort catering to Austen-crazed women, Jane's fantasies of meeting the perfect Regency-era gentleman suddenly become realer than she ever could have imagined.

Decked out in empire-waist gowns, Jane struggles to master Regency etiquette and flirts with gardeners and gentlemen; or maybe even, she suspects, with the actors who are playing them. It's all a game, Jane knows. And yet the longer she stays, the more her insecurities seem to fall away, and the more she wonders: Is she about to kick the Austen obsession for good, or could all her dreams actually culminate in a Mr. Darcy of her own?

Amazon US | Goodreads

Where is one to start with this? It took me all but 3 nights to finish it – it was certainly a quick read and funny at times, but Bridget Jones’s Diary it was not sadly, although some remnants were certainly there. I found it fun and entertaining at times, and rolled my eyes at our heroine at others, but other than that it was a typical romance novel.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

I’m back!

Well… Hello there!

I’m back from my NYC/NJ adventures. Thought I’d pop in for a quick hello. Hope everyone had a great weekend, mine was certainly eventful, and mostly filled with good times spent with friends, which I don’t get to do that often, so it was a treat.

I was on business in NYC this past Thursday and thought I’d visit with a few friends while there, which worked out perfectly. Next on my list was a trip to Jersey to visit yet another friend, and help out with her newly acquired home, so shopping was certainly on our list of to-do(s). Between, catching up, shopping, and surviving the crazy heat, we’ve managed to have plenty of fun.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Cover Reveal: Panic

Hi guys! Have you heard, Lauren Oliver is writing a new book? No? Well, the cover just been revealed today and I am happy to share it with you here. Lauren Oliver is the author of Before I Fall and the dystopian trilogy, Delirium. Her other books include Liesl and Po and The Spindlers, both for the middle-grade readers.

My acquaintance with Ms. Oliver’s writing is primarily through her Delirium trilogy which I read last year. And I can say that her writing is most poetic and beautiful. I have yet to read Before I Fall but I hear good things. So, I have no doubt that this new offering, Panic will be just as popular as the rest of Lauren’s book.

For the first look at Panic, check out Lauren Oliver’s Goodreads author profile, and watch her read the first three chapters of the book (or watch the videos below).

Lauren Oliver

Release Date: March 4, 2014

Book Description:
Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town of 12,000 people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do.

Heather never thought she would compete in Panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher. She’d never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought.

Dodge has never been afraid of Panic. His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game, he’s sure of it. But what he doesn't know is that he’s not the only one with a secret. Everyone has something to play for.

For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them—and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most.

Amazon US | Goodreads

Sunday, July 14, 2013

On recent book & movie news…

Hi guys! Another weekend happened to speed by and all too late I’ve realized that I haven’t managed to do half the things I was planning to do. Does that ever happen to you? If not then you are much better planners than I am my friends. Speaking of plans, yet again I’m NYC bound this week, although this is more of a business trip rather than enjoying the sights. No matter, I just hope the weather is decent that I don’t melt in the city. But let us skip further weather talk and instead talk book-to-movie news. Shall we?

Outlander – Jamie Fraser

As you might’ve heard, especially if you are an Outlander fan, Starz (TV channel) and Sony are partnering up to produce an adaptation of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander book series. And, while all the fans have been absolutely excited about the prospect of seeing the characters come to life on TV, the biggest speculation was about one particular character – Jamie Fraser. Is there such an actor that can become our beloved Jamie? Well, the question is now settled, as Sam Heughan has been officially cast for the role. *Squee!*

What do you guys think? After initial hesitation, I am now totally on board with Sam Heughan and think he’ll be wonderful in the role. To his credit, he’s been very generous on Twitter by actively engaging in conversation with both Diana Gabaldon and the numerous Outlander fans who have bombarded him with tweets ever since the announcement, myself included. So, I just wanted to take a moment and say “Thank you Sam!” for being so responsive and understanding – you rock!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Book Review: Balaboosta

Einat Admony

Release Date: September 3, 2013

Book Description:
Einat Admony is a 21st-century balaboosta (Yiddish for perfect housewife). She’s a mother and wife, but also a chef busy running three bustling New York City restaurants. Her debut cookbook features 140 of the recipes she cooks for the people she loves her children, her husband, and the many friends she regularly entertains. Here, Einat’s mixed Israeli heritage (Yemenite, Persian) seamlessly blends with the fresh, sophisticated Mediterranean palate she honed while working in some of New York City’s most beloved kitchens.

The result is a melting pot of meals for every need and occasion: exotic and exciting dinner-party dishes (harissa-spiced Moroccan fish, beet gnocchi), meals just for kids (chicken schnitzel, root veggie chips), healthy options (butternut squash and saffron soup, quinoa salad with preserved lemon and chickpeas), satisfying comfort food (creamy, cheesy potatoes, spicy chili), and so much more.

Amazon US | Goodreads

Egalley courtesy of Artisan via NetGalley in exchange for fair and honest review.

Surprisingly this and the other cookbook [Franny’s: Simple Seasonal Italian] have been on my NetGalley request list for quite some time, perpetually pending approval. I’ve had time to forget I’ve requested them in fact. And then, one after another, I got the magic email notifying me that I’ve been approved. A pleasant surprise indeed! Cookbooks always make me happy.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Book Review: A Study in Silks

A Study in Silks (The Baskerville Affair #1)
Emma Jane Holloway

Release Date: September 24, 2013

Book Description:
Evelina Cooper, the niece of the great Sherlock Holmes, is poised to enjoy her first Season in London’s high society. But there’s a murderer to deal with—not to mention missing automatons, a sorcerer, and a talking mouse.

In a Victorian era ruled by a council of ruthless steam barons, mechanical power is the real monarch, and sorcery the demon enemy of the empire. Nevertheless, the most coveted weapon is magic that can run machines—something Evelina has secretly mastered. But rather than making her fortune, her special talents could mean death or an eternity as a guest of Her Majesty’s secret laboratories. What’s a polite young lady to do but mind her manners and pray she’s never found out?

But then there’s that murder. As Sherlock’s niece, Evelina should be able to find the answers, but she has a lot to learn. And the first decision she has to make is whether to trust the handsome, clever rake who makes her breath come faster, or the dashing trick rider who would dare anything for her if she would only just ask.

Amazon US | Goodreads

Egalley courtesy of Random House Publishing Group - Del Rey Spectra via NetGalley in exchange for fair and honest review.

A Study in Silks is a charming, steampunk murder mystery from a debut author Emma Jane Holloway, which I was fortunate enough to read ahead of its release date. Having read the description on the NetGalley website, I had to click the request button at once. What more one can wish for? It seemed this was a perfect book for me. Set in an alternate Victorian England, where steam barons essentially claimed the power to rule, and hold the nobility at their whim, the on-set of war seems to be imminent. But nothing as simple as it first appears. Sorcery and magic are prohibited by the empire, yet everyone yearns to combine magic and machine together, creating a powerful weapon that perhaps can tip the scales…

Friday, July 5, 2013

Book Review: Man Up!

Man Up!: Tales of My Delusional Self-Confidence
Ross Mathews

Release Date: May 7, 2013

Book Description:
As a young kid growing up in a farm town, Ross Mathews might as well have wished for a pet unicorn or a calorie-free cookie tree to grow in his front yard. Either of those far-fetched fantasies would have been more likely to come true than his real dream: working in television in Hollywood, California. Seriously, that stuff just doesn't happen to people like Ross. But guess what. It totally did.

Now, with his first book, Ross takes us inside his journey as a super-fan, revealing the most embarrassing and hilarious moments of his small-town life and big-city adventures. From learning to swear like a hardened trucker to that time in high school when had to face down the most frightening opponent of all (his girlfriend's lady bits), Ross holds nothing back. Oh, then there's his surprisingly shady past involving the cutest pair of plus-sized women's pajama bottoms, deliciously dangerous pot butter, and embezzled sandwiches. And, of course, how he's managed to turn an obsession with pop-culture into one-on-one interactions with celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow, Tiffani-Amber Theissen, Madonna, Michelle Kwan, and countless more without ever having a single restraining order issued against him.

Infused with Ross's trademark humor, unique voice, and total honesty, MAN UP! is a mission statement for anyone who doesn't fit the mold. His hasn't been the most traditional way to build a career in Hollywood, but Ross has somehow managed to make his mark without ever compromising who he is. He is as serious about this as he is about Golden Girls trivia: You don't need to change who you are to achieve your dreams (although there's nothing wrong with a makeover every now and then). You just need to Man Up!

Amazon US | Goodreads

This is far from my usual read but I decided to give it a chance anyway and I have no regrets. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised to find it both entertaining and funny. I have often found myself thinking that I might really enjoy one of those many comedians’ biographies while passing the aforementioned book section in my local bookstore, but have never really given in to the idea until now.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Book Review: Franny's: Simple Seasonal Italian

Franny's: Simple Seasonal Italian
Andrew Feinberg, Francine Stephens, Melissa Clark

Release Date: June 4, 2013

Book Description:
A Brooklyn favorite with a national following, Franny's is known for its simple, seasonal Southern Italian dishes and exceptional pizza. Alice Waters says it best in her foreword: "This book captures the beating heart of what makes Franny's so beautiful: its simplicity, its ability to make the ordinary surprising, and--above all--its celebration of honest everyday cooking."

Franny's is filled with recipes that are destined to become classics. Chef Andrew Feinberg plays with traditional Southern Italian cuisine and makes the dishes lighter and brighter. New favorites--including Roasted Romano Beans with Calabrese Olives, Clam Pizza, and Linguine with Meyer Lemon--sit side by side with perfect executions of timeless Italican dishes like Marinated Artichokes, Baked Sausage and Polenta, and Bucatini alla Puttanesca. Feinberg breaks down his techniques for the home cook, while offering cutting-edge food combinations, spinning the typical ingredients in unexpected directions. Teeming with irresistible full-color photographs, Franny's shows how simple preparations of quality ingredients can create food that is much more than the sum of its parts.

Amazon US | Goodreads

Egalley courtesy of Artisan via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

From the owners of the Brooklyn’s franny’s, Francine Stephens and Andrew Feinberg, with the help of food writer, NY Times food columnist, and native Brooklynite herself – Mellisa Clark, comes a cookbook filled with many simple, seasonal, Italian recipes. Similar to the mantra of their restaurant this cookbook follows into the mission of its namesake restaurant by further promoting the idea of increasing sustainability by offering various ideas for use of seasonal, locally grown food, so you too can partake in their mission.

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