Monday, July 28, 2008
COMFORT FOOD By Kate Jacob
From the back cover:
Shortly before turning the big 5-0, boisterous party planner and Cooking with Gusto! personality Augusta "Gus" Simpson finds herself planning a birthday party she'd rather not—her own. She's getting tired of being the hostess, the mother hen, the woman who has to plan her own birthday party. What she needs is time on her own with enough distance to give her loved ones the ingredients to put together successful lives without her.Assisted by a handsome up-and-coming chef, Oliver, Gus invites a select group to take an on-air cooking class. But instead of just preaching to the foodie masses, she will teach regular people how to make rich, sensuous meals—real people making real food. Gus decides to bring a vibrant cast of friends and family on the program: Sabrina, her fickle daughter; Troy, Sabrina's ex-husband; Anna, Gus's timid neighbor; and Carmen, Gus's pompous and beautiful competitor at the Cooking Channel. And when she begins to have more than collegial feelings for her sous-chef, Gus realizes that she might be able to rejuvenate not just her professional life, but her personal life as well. . . .
The publisher sent me this book as an uncorrected manuscript and I have to say right off that I really wanted to like this book. The cover art is gorgeous with a black background and luscious apricots in a golden bowl wrapped in ribbons. I had read the author's first book, Friday Night Knitting Club, and liked the richness of the story and characters very much. I found myself comparing this book to the first book and to me it doesn't compare. I felt that Friday Night Knitting Club fit into the category of Women's fiction and I had expected the same from Comfort Food. This book is much more like Chick Lit to me, which is not a favorite genre of mine. I am a fan of foodie shows and love Top Chef and Next Food Network star and others. I felt that this story was trying too hard to fit into that type of show in a fictional sense and for me it didn't work. I didn't care much for the characters and didn't feel drawn to them as they all seemed quite shallow and the writing felt weak. The pace of the story was slow for me and just not that engaging. I think that there may be many who disagree with me and may love this style of book especially if you love Chick Lit and foodie books. If you do, give this book a try and share your thoughts!
Friday, July 25, 2008
I had to share that I won a copy of The Host by Stephenie Meyer (see my post below about the contest which has now ended) from Dar at Peeking Between the pages! I am very excited and looking forward to reading this book. It will take me out of my comfort zone of reading and challenge me a bit! I have mixed feelings about the Twilight Series and didn't finish the 3rd book. It may have been my state of mind at the time, so in all fairness, I should go back and finish it before making my final opinion. Thanks again to Dar and please stop by and visit Dar's great blog! She did say that there would be another giveaway soon!
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
I thought that it would be fun to talk about Book Clubs since most of you who are stopping by to read this like books and reading. I know that not everyone is in a book club nor wants to be as they aren't for everyone. I do think that if you are a booklover most of us want to, need to and crave to talk to others about books...or just search and find info about books. I know that is how I feel! That's why there are so many book related blogs and why I started one myself. I started a neighborhood book club about 5 years ago. We are all women, all of us are mothers and have a mixed range of children and ages. Our group has changed over the years as many have moved due to job changes and we invited new members. Our group is small and averages around 8-9 members. We meet monthly and each person hosts one month and then we tend to go out to dinner for the summer months. The host chooses a list of books, usually around 4-5 and we vote and choose the top winner. The Host leads the discussion and provides wine, snacks and a dessert. We always have wine and even have a signature bottle that we usually have at all book clubs as it is a favorite. We always talk about the books and we do ask that if you are a member of our group that you do your best to read the books. We're informal and have fun and have great discussions! I also discuss books with several online book groups and am a member of Library Thing, Shelfari and Good reads.
Please share your thoughts and experiences with your book club. What works well and what doesn't? If you aren't in a book club in what ways do you find to discuss books with others? I'm looking forward to hearing your ideas and experiences!
Monday, July 21, 2008
WIN FREE BOOKS!
Click Here to sign up!
Bookroomreviews is giving away a set of FOURTEEN BOOKS! Those wonderful people over at Hachette Book Group are giving us another chance to win a set of fourteen books! They are doing a Summer Reads Giveaway of a box of fourteen books for up to five people! There is Historical Fiction, True Crime, Romance, Memoirs, Thrillers, just about everything! Link to the site above at bookroomreviews and sign up for the drawing!
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Woman Of A Thousand Secrets
by Barbara Wood
I read this book as an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) as part of the Early Reviewers at Library Thing. This book will be publishedby St. Martin's Griffin in September 2008.
From the back of the book:
Woman of a Thousand Secrets is the story of Tonina. She came from the sea, found floating in a basket by a childless couple. Unlike the fellow villagers in her adoptive home, she is tall and lean and light skinned. When she turns nineteen, her parents know they must send her back to her people. Their island is not far from the mainland, the place where she must return. And here is where Tonina's adventure begins. It is a tale of survival and sacrifice, of luck, magic, intrigue, and danger, romance and betrayal, an epic filled with ancient lore, tales of bearded white men who sailed to this shore in giant ships, and discoveries of medicinal miracles in the Central American jungles.
This book is definitely an epic adventure filled with excitement from start to finish.
It is set in AD 1300's which were pre-columbian times. This is a rich story filled with beautiful descriptions and details as well as strong characters. Tonina leaves the safety of her island to a new land, the land of Maya. This is where we learn much based on the Mayan and Aztec cultures with details on culture , customs and religious beliefs of the times. The book details the people and relationships she is involved with and which is very engrossing. The cast of characters are diverse and there are many favorites such as One eye the dwarf whose character is ever changing and H'men the wise aged child who oversees the palace garden. She has great knowledge and wisdom of plants and their healing properties. There are many myths and legends that are disclosed and presented in an interesting way and I often found many parallels to Christianity. The book held my interest throughout with the exception of a short period 3/4 of the way through the book that dragged out a bit too long but then picked up again and held my interest through the end. I have read one other book by this author, The Blessing Stone , which also was a rich story written during different times. I plan to read other books by this author in the future and highly recommend her books to all.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
The ARC Reading Challenge
I am joining my first challenge. Teddy from So Many Precious Books So Little Time is hosting her FIRST reading challenge. The ARC Challenge is all about reading Advance Reader's Copies (or Advance Reader's Editions) of books. The challenge will run from June 21, 2008-September 21, 2008. It will be to help those of us with ARC's to get in gear and read and review them
This is a list of ARC's that I have:
1. Comfort Food by Kate Jacobs
2. Guernica by Dave Boling
3. Stealing Athena by Karen Essex
4. Wit's End by Karen Joy Fowler
5. The Lives They Left Behind by Darby Penney & Peter Stasny
6. Souvenir by Therese Fowler
The Two books that I plan to read for the challenge are:
1. Stealing Athena by Karen Essex
2. Comfort Food by Kate Jacobs
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
No One You Know
by Michelle Richmond
From the Publisher:
Michelle Richmond dazzled readers and critics alike with her luminous novel The Year of Fog. Now Richmond returns with an intensely emotional, multilayered family drama—a woman’s search for her sister’s killer that spirals into a journey of secrets, revelations, and damaged lives. All her life Ellie Enderlin had been known as Lila’s sister. Until one day, without warning, the shape of their family changed forever. Twenty years ago, Lila, a top math student at Stanford, was murdered in a crime that was never solved. In the aftermath of her sister’s death, Ellie entrusted her most intimate feelings to a man who turned the story into a bestselling true crime book—a book that both devastated her family and identified one of Lila’s professors as the killer.Decades later, two Americans meet in a remote village in Nicaragua. Ellie is now a professional coffee buyer, an inveterate traveler and incapable of trust. Peter is a ruined academic. And their meeting is not by chance. As rain beats down on the steaming rooftops of the village, Peter leaves Ellie with a gift—the notebook that Lila carried everywhere, a piece of evidence not found with her body. Stunned, Ellie will return home to San Francisco to explore the mysteries of Lila’s notebook, filled with mathematical equations, and begin a search that has been waiting for her all these years. It will lead her to a hundred-year-old mathematical puzzle, to a lover no one knew Lila had, to the motives and fate of the man who profited from their family’s anguish—and to the deepest secrets even sisters keep from each other. As she connects with peoplewhose lives unknowingly swirled around her own, Ellie will confront a series of startling revelations—from the eloquent truths of numbers to confessions of love, pain and loss.A novel about the stories and lies that strangers, lovers and families tell—and the secrets we keep even from ourselves—Michelle Richmond’s new novel is a work of astonishing depth and beauty, at once heartbreaking, provocative, and impossible to put down.
This is the first book that I have read by Michelle Richmond and I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed the book. I reviewed the book as an Early Reviewer at Library Thing and have modified my review a bit here. The author was kind enough to send me an email thanking me for my review. She seems very devoted to her books and her fans. I found the book a combination of literary fiction and mystery and this is not a typical mystery. The story draws you in from the start as it is truly about the relationship between two sisters, Ellie and Lila and how relationships effect all areas of your life. Even hidden secrets can turn full circle and be understood in some way and bring understanding and meaning to your life. After Lila's death, Ellie confided in a "friend" who turned her confidences into a book and she felt betrayed and the guilt affected her life in many ways. She was able to face her own fears and in the end to find the truth of what happened to Lila. This was very freeing and healing for her. As Ellie is the main storyteller and narrator you learn through her experiences that stories that you believe are the truth can sometimes be deceiving. Yes, parts of the story were focused on math and theory concepts but I found much of that written in a way that was interesting and held my attention. It did not detract from the story at all for me but made sense pulling it all together. I enjoyed the anecdotal stories related to math history as well. I found reading about Ellie's job in the coffee industry and her experiences very well written and detailed in ways that I could sense the aroma of the coffee beans and learned how important the sense of smell can be for a coffee buyer. I highly recommend this richly written and moving novel. I will definitely keep my eye on this author and check out her other books.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Monday, July 14, 2008
I have decided to join the world of blogging after much encouragement from my cyber
booklover friends who have done the same and have some awesome blogs! Thanks to Marie-Louise for the suggestion of my blog name!! This is all new to me so be patient as I learn the cyber world of blogging. I am looking forward to sharing my thoughts about books that I read and review them here as well. Please check back often and feel free to give me any suggestions from your own book blogging experiences!! I have listed a few of my favorite blogs and hope to add links to more.