The ‘Little French Bistro’ needs some spice

I was enchanted by ‘the little paris bookshop’ and could not wait to read ‘The Little French Bistro’ by Nina George, sadly instead of being enchanted I ended up being a little let down.

‘The Little French Bistro’ centers on the character of Marianne. Yes she is stuck in a loveless, unhappy marriage for over 40 years…so why not leave sooner? 41 years is a long time.

The book starts off dark (ie her wanting to end her life in the Seine) and only when she is saved does the book a lighten up. But the characters never really pop for me and Marianne seems to know to much at times (certain tricks in the kitchen even a chef does not know?)

Basically Marianne leaves and finds happiness elsewhere. Honestly it was like a lot of other books I read, very cookie cutter. Sure it has some nice/funny moments such as being naked on the boat or helping to delivery a baby. But it just felt very average.

(Side note the use French  phrases without being translated becomes distracting after a while)

For me the its a very predictable book, you knew the outcome before it ends.  I did like the cooking moments, in that it almost reminded me of the charming movie ‘the 100 foot journey’ which was much better then this book. But in the end for me this book was just average. There was nothing really different about it. Now had she maybe had a barge and started cooking on that, that might have spiced it up a little.

“I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.”


Green is Golden!!

No I’m not talking money…I’m talking about the amazing ‘The Book of Greens: A Cook’s Compendium of 40 Varieties, from Arugula to Watercress, with More Than 175 Recipes Hardcover ‘ by Jenn Louis and Kathleen Squires.

Now this is my kind of cook book. First off its a good size and hardcover which is a must in the kitchen. But what makes this book stand out is how its all set up.

I would like to point out the seasonal chart that breaks down the greens of the seasons. Its interesting to see what overlaps.

Now some of the greens I knew about but others not so much. Some I am pretty sure I will have a hard time finding, but that’s ok.

I like how ever green vegetable/herb is photographed. Then you have some facts about the greens and its varieties.

Telling you what season its in. How to choose, clean and store it. What I really like is the hint of how to refresh the greens. Because nothing is worst when it goes limp.

Some additional cooking methods and pairings of the greens are also listed.

Then come the recipes that are simple to follow which is good. Nothing worst them 40 steps. Also a wonderful picture of one of the finished meals.

As for the recipes we are not just talking salads but soups, fish, pasta, drinks, sweets, veggie/meaty main meals and some nice basics as well. So a really nice well rounded book. I mean you’ve got over 175 recipes your bound to like something.

So eat some greens and enjoy. And when all else fails put it into a pancake!

“I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.”

Keep it in the dark

Reading the description of ‘Long Black Veil’ by Jennifer Finney Boylan I was expecting a thrilling mystery… instead I got a book that was nothing like it.

First issue is I never connected or even cared about any of these characters. They are unlikeable and crazy and you just don’t care.  I could not keep them apart or even picture what they look like. The book starts out with 6 people, a kid and a professor? Yeah far too many people.

You end up with odd names like Backflip Bob, Falcon, Tripper, Pennypacker but again you can’t keep them apart or care how or why they are connected.

This book kept bouncing around a lot between characters and time. It would have been much better to focus on the one character of Judith who really has the most backstory and instead focus on her mystery (which I liked). That would have made a better book.

The only moment I liked was when they were all trapped in the jail and the comment of ‘I’m trapped’ hints at something else and becomes a double meaning. But one line is not enough for me to recommend this book.

This book also has some guy who is euthanizing pets?!?!?

I also found it insulting to call the german language a ‘language that sucked the beauty directly from the air.’  What is that? Also what ‘the black speech in Tolkien has to do with Hitler’ be beyond me. Does not add to the book. Acaully made me dislike it even more so.

I also kept rolling my eyes at some of the dialogue that made it sound like a teenage romance novel.

One time you have almost two paragraphs talking about comfort food. So much so I was expecting recipes on the following page.

So this book needs to be sent back to the editor. Focus on one character one could care about. Not this…whatever it is. Truthfully I have read better fan fiction then this.

By the time I got to the end of the book I had no idea who had been killed or why and to be honest I no longer cared.

The Long Black Veil needs to be shoved back into the dark.

“I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.”

The Apache Wars



I was really excited to read about this part of American history in ‘The Apache Wars: The Hunt for Geronimo, the Apache Kid, and the Captive Boy Who Started the Longest War in American History by Paul Andrew Hutton. I had been watching a few Errol Flynn and John Wayne westerns at the moment that a times hint at this subject so I thought why not.

The first 50 to 100  pages of ‘The Apache Wars’ are good. You learn about Mickey’s kidnaping and also about Geronimo so I found that very intriguing as well as some of the traditions. Then it went down hill. This book has nothing but facts that just keep coming and coming. After a while you can’t tell the people apart, the places it really starts to slow down the book.

All the places listed listen I can’t keep every river and valley apart. Yes there is a map at the start of this book but you come to the point where you’ve flipped to much and are sick of it. Also all the tribes start to mix with each other and your eyes start to glaze over and you don’t remember what you’ve read for the last 20 or so odd pages.

I also found some stories being glossed over. Such as the mention of the kidnapping of Little Charley McComas. Well did they ever find him? Did he ever go back home? I mean the fact that I have to google the answer is just wrong. And ironic because the book is all facts.

This book also jumps around a lot which didn’t help. Which is where a timetable would have greatly helped.

The only thing I did enjoy was the old photo’s included in the book.

What one gets out of this book is that it was a very violent time.

If your hooked on this part of history and know the area and all the parties involved then this book is for you.

“I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.”

Travel time

They say never judge a book by its cover well I did in the case of ‘How to Pack: Travel Smart for Any Trip’  by Hitha Palepu and it turned out to be a cute small book. Could I find some of these tips online sure but a book is much better. That being said the title ‘How to Pack: Travel Smart for Any Trip ‘ is misleading. This book is aimed more towards the first time domestic traveler or business traveler.

Being a world traveler myself I can tell you some of the tips would not work on a 4 week long world trip.

Where one can lose luggage or have to wait days for it to arrive (which is where travel insurance is helpful). Hence my travel tip of ‘pack as if your going to lose it’ comes in. (Hey maybe I could get a book deal! LOL)

Those are the kinds of trips where one has to deal with jet lag or adapter’s as well as a number of other issues. Not to mention bringing gifts for family and friends.

I did find Hitha Palepu’s comments on cocoanut oil very interesting.

Some of the tips are good. As well as reminding people to get out and enjoy the city when you arrive.

And remember if you forget something you can always buy it at your end destinations.

The most important item when you travel is your papers and medication. Check, check and recheck.

Folding versus Rolling was interesting and yes this book is a fun and fast read. Cute drawings as well.

One important item the book misses is where are you staying? Hotel? Family/friends? Because certain items don’t need to be packed and leaves more room for say other items aka souvenirs.

Example: When your on a trip you can always buy that extra vacation T-shirt so you don’t have to take so many T-shirts with you.

Other questions started to pop up such as how are you flying? Domestic or International? Are you in couch or first/business class? If your in first/business you get a lot of items that she advises to pack. And snacks for an International trip are not good because upon arrival you have to dump any fruits/veggies/cheese ec you did not eat.  PLus the travel lounge is open to certain fliers so they feed you well.

And this is just me but I am someone who can leave my computer/electronics at home when on vacation.

I rolled my eyes at the tea bags on your eyes…I think not! But true about the airplane being full of germs.

I did like the little list at the end of the book that could easily be pulled out. So that was a plus.

The book is nice and again depending on the type of traveler you are this might be helpful.

Read it and enjoy your trip.

Side note: one little tiny item that bugged me was that there was no photo of the author?

“I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.”

Queen of Soaps

I am not a soap watcher but I know some people who are hooked on them and I wanted to know more about the behind the scenes process so that is why I picked up ‘My Life to Live How I Became the Queen of Soaps When Men Ruled the Airwaves’ by Agnes Nixon. Well that and the foreword was written by Carol Burnett, who’s book I had just read a while back (see review )

What I found interesting is how intense it is to write a soap or the even the process of writing for radio. The day in and day out of nothing but writing.

I enjoyed the first half of this book about Agnes Nixon growing up, her family and how she went from college to writing for radio. It had some funny moments. I did feel like the second half of the book dragged a little.

Such as when she talked certain story lines in her soap’s I felt a little lost. Maybe someone who watched the show and knew the characters it would have been great but for me it just kind of mingled together. (I won’t have minded a joke about how long soaps drag out a story line. )

But two things that bugged me were as follows:

She mentions her mother passing away, but I would like to have known how old her mother was.

The same when it says that Agnes Nixon died, well how old was she? Sure I could google it (which I did) but I want the information on hand then and there.

I did like that the book included Agnes Nixon’s entire script that got her started (and also why she wrote it)

I found it interesting how in a day before internet the audience was so connected with a show. And how it moved people to go to the doctor or ask for help. One really no longer gets that these days. Also having her show touch on some political and day to day themes was interesting. It seems she had the right balance on her show.

I would have liked to have seen a  few questions answered:

Did she feel its easier or harder to produce a show like this now a days?

Advice to any young writers?

Did she ever  appear on her show?

How would she have ended her shows?

So just a few things. I think if your a soap fan this book is for you.

“I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.”

Harvest time

I loved the lay out of’Harvest: Unexpected Projects Using 47 Extraordinary Garden Plants’: by Stefani Bittner and Alethea Harampolis. First off amazing pictures, I mean have you seen the cover of this book? It looks so real.

The lay out is like this: Every plant has 4 pages dedicated to it.

The first page is going to be a a photo of the plant. The second page deals with facts such as what the plant is called, where it can be grown/how it can be grown and harvest information.

The third page will give you a nice tip of what you can do with the plant and page four will show you how the plant is being used thanks to the tip on page three.

Some of the tips talk about flower arrangements, creams, items to eat and so on. Some ideas are really good an I will try them out. Some ideas yeah I don’t think so. An example I love the idea of a lemongrass salt scrub but doing a blueberry dye I don’t think so.

And an artichoke  as an arrangement sure but I like to eat them!!!

All in all a good book. Any more plants and the book would have been to bulky plus you want plants you could try and grow and not hard to find ones.

“I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.”

Amazing Postcards

I love these postcards. ‘Animal Facts Postcards 50 Colorable Postcards ‘ by Maja Säfström is a must.

I had read the book by Maja Säfström (see my review here:  https:/  ) so I was very excited to discover that now these adorable drawings were now turned into postcards.

First of all they come in a nice little box with separate categories.

There are two of each card which is good. So you can keep one card for yourself and send the other one away.

As for the postcards.  You get very cute drawings but also learn amazing animal facts. Everything from otters, to turtles to zebras. Amazing/cute facts.

As for coloring the cards, well I guess there might be one or two you could color but some of them are heavy shades of black. So I really don’t think you could color them but to each his own.

Imagine getting a nice postcard in the mail, not only will it make you smile but you learn a fact or two.

“I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.”

Just cook for Picasso and leave…

What would happen if you cooked for Picasso? Well what if there was a Picasso painting hidden, waiting to be found? This is what ‘Cooking for Picasso’ by Camille Aubray tries to answer.

So I liked the idea of someone cooking for Picasso. I thought ‘I like this mix of fact and fiction…’ so that is why I was enjoying the first part of this story…and then it would not end. No really it just kept going and going and well that’s never a good sign when one gets bored.

This story after a while becomes very long winded. And predictable. So so very predictable. Ondine cooks for Picasso and likes Picasso she then sleeps with Picasso and becomes pregnant by Picasso but the man she loves who has been gone for so long and thought was dead is back…and they go to america…and and and you get the idea. So VERY predictable.

I was finding myself rolling my eyes more and more as the book went on and I think even my cd player had had enough and on disk 6 the cd got stuck and would not go on (very telling).

I mean you start to get hungry and almost wish that some of the recipes had been listed in the book. And then at times it almost feels like a cook book.

Speaking of books I have discovered that I am not a fan of audio books. They are just not for me. I would rather have a book in my hand instead of listening to over 11 disks meaning well over 13 + hours of being read to. Now sure it is read well by Mozhan Marno but this book just did not work for me.

The mystery could have made this a good book but sadly this one failed. Then all these amazing things happen by pure luck. They find the lawyer alive, and the boy is alive and everything works so well…not to mention there are little details that do not move the story any further. Side note the sex scenes… at times its almost a romance novel that made me roll my eyes even more so.

So cook for Picasso but please just let the man paint.

“I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.”

Girl Power

For my next book review I wanted to spend some time with superhero’s so I choose ‘Batgirl at Super Hero High (DC Super Hero Girls); by Lisa Yee.   So let me start by saying I had no idea this was a book on tape. I thought it was going to be a book, I prefer books but hey you get what you are given. The written word might have made a few more things in this book stick more, but that’s just my opinion.

Anyway the tape runs about 4 1/2 hours on 4 tapes (CD’s) and it is read by Mae Whitman who does a good job.

So the main story is about batgirl wanting to join super hero high. I found the book to be pretty funny at times.  Nice girl power and good friendship.

The story has a lot of DC super hero’s and villains at the school all working together which is a nice twist. Plus a ‘birds of prey’ shout out. (Barbara Gordon is Oracle in that comics/tv show)

At times it felt the book ran  a little too long. Such as all the talks with her father.

And you wonder why the book talks about a tech contest and then all the training at school and then the little bat that is saved but the stories all link up and it kind of works out in the end.

Lots of talk about food will make you hungry that’s for sure.

And the story ends on a ‘To be continued…’ All in all I enjoyed it but I would have liked to have read it instead AND now I have to get the other books because I want to know how it all ends.

“I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.”