Monthly Archives: May 2012

Book Haul Bonanza

The weekend before last The Literary Guild ran one of their rare BOGO sales. I picked up a few newer titles I’ve been wanting to read. This is a great place to pick up hardcover books at paperback prices (around $8 each). Here’s what I got…… Witches of East End by Melissa de la Cruz – I’ve been wanting to start this series for a while now. Her Blue Bloods series is one of my guilty pleasures. The Shoemaker’s Wife by Adriana Trigiani – I’ve been hearing great thing about this one. Historical fiction is my favorite genre. I’ve Got Your Number by Sopie Kinsella – Sophie Kinsella is one of my chick lit favs. Becky from her Shopaholic series is one of my favorite character’s of all time. The Passage by Justin Cronin – This has been on my to read list for a while now. The Taker by Alma Katsu – Mix history and the supernatural and it’s bound to be a winner. 20120530-172408.jpg


Do Books Leave You Craving For More?

I read an article on Lifehacker the other day about how the books we read can make us better cooks. I’m not sure if I’m a better cook because I read, but when I thought about it, I realized that reading books from certain locales or descriptions that conjure up memories, can influence what I eat. For example if wine is mentioned numerous times, I feel like having a glass of wine. If characters are having tea often in a book, I’m more inclined to sit and relax with my own cup. A good example of how food descriptions can affect cravings would be The Night Circus. This wonderfully descriptive book had me craving warm apple cider, caramel corn and chocolate by appealing not only to my sense of taste, but also to my sense of smell.

Have you read something recently that left you craving for a certain food or drink?

Read the Lifehacker article HERE.

Since I read a lot of love stories this month and they appealed to my sweet side, not to mention it’s HOT here in PA, I though I would share a sweet recipe that’s sure to be loved by those who eat it. Enjoy!

No Bake Cheesecake

12 oz. white chocolate chips
2 – 8 oz. pkgs lite cream cheese
1 – 8 oz. carton lite whipped topping, thawed
Topping of your choice (I chose strawberry preserves this time)
1 – graham cracker crust

Melt chips in saucepan over medium low heat, stirring until smooth. Add cream cheese, stir until smooth. Remove from heat and fold in whipped topping. Pour into crust and add topping of your choice. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours.

Fruit toppings are a great choice. Try caramel sauce and apples, yum!

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Who knew that a theme song could be so awesome?

English: Logo from the television program Game...

English: Logo from the television program Game of Thrones (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I thought I would stay with the Game of Thrones theme today since last night’s HBO episode was so full of awesomeness.

Head over to Mental Floss and enjoy the Game of Thrones theme song 10 different ways. Some of these are amazing.

My 2 favorites ………. #2 The violin version by Jason Yang & #4 The
metal version by Charlie Parra del Riego.

What’s your favorite?


Book Review: Beyond the Wall: Exploring George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, From A Game of Thrones to A Dance with Dragons

Beyond the Wall: Exploring George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire, From A Game of Thrones to A Dance with DragonsBeyond the Wall: Exploring George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, From A Game of Thrones to A Dance with Dragons by James Lowder
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Beyond the Wall is a wonderful companion read that allows the reader to view the remarkable series of George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire and its striking cast of characters in new ways.

It delves into our concept of good and evil and discusses how no clear line is drawn between the two in the world of Westeros and beyond. Most of the characters aren’t clearly good or purely evil. The essays discuss how we’re able to look past some of the character’s misgivings and not others. It offers insight into what certain characters are thinking and why.

The world this series takes place in is a brutal one not totally unlike our own. A few of the essays discuss the role of women in the books. How their strengths and weaknesses are exploited and the dependence on men for both.

I thought one of the most interesting essays was Daniel Abraham’s essay about adapting the graphic novel. Having to bring to life in pictures something each reader probably conjures differently and trying to decipher what small introduction or scene from the book are insignificant now, but may play a greater roll in the unfinished novels yet to come, seems no small feat.

This book would lead to great book club discussions of how characters react to the terrible situations they are put in and the moral implications of those actions.

The significance, or lack there of, of the direwolves, how magic is placed in the novels and what part it plays are also topics discussed in this book.

If you’re a fan of this wonderfully epic book series or hooked the HBO version, I think you will really enjoy this in-depth look into the world and characters George R. R. Martin has created. Be forewarned though, it does contain spoilers.

View all my reviews

This book was provided for review by Netgalley.


Book Review: Fifty Shades of Grey E.L. James

Fifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Shades, #1)Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

No need to recap the premiss of this book. If you are alive and have access to the outside world, you already know what this is about. I read this mainly due to curiosity of why the news outlets, my coworkers and just about every other woman I know is so enamored by this book. In my case, curiosity killed the cat. I really can see why this book is so talked about. It’s definitely not great literature on any level. It’s no sweeping romance. But, hey, if it makes people who wouldn’t normally pick up a book do so, that’s definitely a great thing.

I thought the best way to review this book would be bullet points. My likes/dislikes are pretty cut and dry with this one. Here goes….

Likes
The character’s names.

Dislikes
There was absolutely no plot or story line of any kind to this book. No depth whatsoever.
BDSM – I found out this is not the “romance” route for me.
The inner goddess. I wanted to kill her.
All the stupid sayings that were repeated way too much.
Everything else.

I found myself skimming parts of this book to get through it. Even the sex got boring after the umpteenth time. Had there been a story line, with the relationship going on throughout, I would have liked it better. I felt that the last 3/4 of the book were a repeat of the first 1/4.

I’m glad I read it and found out what it was really about but won’t be reading any sequels.

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Book Review: The Pioneer Woman Cooks by Ree Drummond

The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food from My Frontier: Simple, Scrumptious, SatisfyingThe Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food from My Frontier: Simple, Scrumptious, Satisfying by Ree Drummond
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Note: I am reviewing the iBooks version of this cookbook.

If you want simple recipes with easy to find ingredients in an easy to follow format, than this cookbook is sure to get you rattling those pots and pans!

The design of Ree’s cookbook is country flower perfect. She scatters pictures of her kids and pets (all of which are adorable) throughout the cookbook and she adds some nice touches that really give you a glimpse of her great personality. One of my favorites is her cooking playlist.

The iBooks version flows nicely with the swiping working well for both pages and instructions. I loved the added bonus of video on a few recipes. However, it would have been nice to have a few more. It also seemed like the ones that were chosen were the easier ones. It would have been more helpful for the videos to be of the more difficult ventures. I like the swipes and pictures for each instruction. I do wish they would have included just a list too. After you’ve made the recipe the first time, you don’t really need to swipe through them one by one.

I love that each recipe includes variation ideas. Each time you make it you can come up with a different combination. Each recipe I have tried so far has been easy and delicious. Some of them I modified slightly to suit my family’s taste.

One think I love about iBooks is that I can highlight all the titles of the recipes I want to use for the week. Then I can go to the My Notes section and see the list at anytime. It works great for ingredients too. No flipping through pages. Everything in one place. Love it!

View all my reviews


Banning Books – Never a Good Thing

I was just watching NBC Nightly News. One of the featured stories voiced concerns over the “dirty book” Fifty Shades of Gray being too hot for a library to handle. So hot some are banning the book.

My opinion…..Banning books is never a good thing. Even though this book may not appeal to everyone, it certainly is making waves. Those waves are making people read and that is always a great thing! What’s your opinion on banning?

To view the news video click HERE.


More Robert Langdon Please

This week the Washington Post and other news outlets posted an article on a rare public appearance by Dan Brown in New Hampshire. Apparently, Mr. Brown is hard at work writing a new book which will center around his famed character Robert Langdon. As a die hard Brown/Langdon fan, I was super excited to hear this great news and can’t wait to see what Dan Brown has in store for us next!

You can read the Washington Post article HERE.


Learn More about Gone with the Wind

Mental Floss has a fun article in their archives called 10 Things You Might Not Know About ‘Gone with the Wind’. It has some really interesting facts about Margaret Mitchell and the book itself.

Thank goodness things worked out the way they did. What would we do without Scarlett and Rhett!

Read The list….I’m sure there is more than one thing on it you didn’t already know.

You can view the article HERE.

For an interesting read, check out Rhett Butler’s People by Donald McCaig. It tells the story from Rhett’s perspective.

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Book Review: The Booby Trap by Anne Browning Walker

The Booby TrapThe Booby Trap by Anne Browning Walker
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is one romance worth getting trapped in!

Bambi Benson is a feminist who is hard at work earning her Harvard Ph.D.

While working undercover, doing research for her dissertation, at a Hooter’s knockoff bar called The Booby Trap, Bambi meets Trip Whitley, a good looking Boston bachelor who just happens to need a lesson in humility.

When Trip offers to pay Bambi to pretend to be his camera ready girlfriend in order to shock his father, head of the family business, Belles and Beaux, things move beyond anyone’s expectations and both Trip and Bambi find out that love and relationships can’t be based on assumptions and half truths.

This was such a fun book to read. The flow is easy, there’s no choppiness and the story line is well thought out. The characters are well developed and the author allowed time in the story for the reader to get to know them. The story is somewhat predictable, but it pulls you in and gives enough turns to keep you interested.

What I liked best about this book is the strong female character. Bambi knows what she wants and even when faced with other’s doubts about her, she doesn’t show weakness or naiveness. It’s refreshing to read a romance where the heroin isn’t syrupy sweet and dependent on the guy to save the day.

Trip is sweet and endearing, a regular guy trying to show that he can be serious about the family business if his father would only give him the chance. He seems a little too brooding at times, but this seems to add charm to his boyish ways.

Both characters had some sarcastic humor which played back and forth and gave their relationship a little more reality.

If your looking for a fun, short summer beach read, this one is a great start!

View all my reviews

This book was provided for review by Netgalley.


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