Posted in Book reviews

Love Finds a Way by Wanda E. Brunstetter

Goodreads Summary: Three stories of light-hearted romance from bestselling author Wanda E. Brunstetter prove Love Finds a Way. Widow Lorna Patterson returns to college looking for education not romance. Then she meets fellow student and culinary novice Evan Bailey. Will his persistence have her re-thinking love? When Shelia Nickels searches for her grandmother’s doll her hunt leads to antique dealer Dwaine Woods’s door. But will she find love instead of a lost treasure? Wendy Campbell doesn’t want a relationship, but her father does. . .for her. Will his matchmaking end with an unexpected romance for Wendy and paramedic Kyle Rogers?

My views: It took me a long time to read this book because I simply couldn’t finish it. The book didn’t work for me at all. The stories were too cheesy and ‘Christian’ for my taste. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against Christianity but a subtle reference to it may work for me, not the stories repeatedly pointing to Christianity.

Also, I am not much of a believer in love at first sight and happily ever after, so it was all practically made-up and fantastical to me.

The settings were well developed, the characters were OK but the plot didn’t work for me, personally.

1/5 stars – I didn’t like it

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Posted in Book reviews, Food

My Life in France by Julia Child, Alex Prud’Homme

Goodreads Summary: In her own words, here is the captivating story of Julia Child’s years in France, where she fell in love with French food and found ‘her true calling.’

From the moment the ship docked in Le Havre in the fall of 1948 and Julia watched the well-muscled stevedores unloading the cargo to the first perfectly soigné meal that she and her husband, Paul, savored in Rouen en route to Paris, where he was to work for the USIS, Julia had an awakening that changed her life. Soon this tall, outspoken gal from Pasadena, California, who didn’t speak a word of French and knew nothing about the country, was steeped in the language, chatting with purveyors in the local markets, and enrolled in the Cordon Bleu.

After managing to get her degree despite the machinations of the disagreeable directrice of the school, Julia started teaching cooking classes herself, then teamed up with two fellow gourmettes, Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle, to help them with a book they were trying to write on French cooking for Americans. Throwing herself heart and soul into making it a unique and thorough teaching book, only to suffer several rounds of painful rejection, is part of the behind-the-scenes drama that Julia reveals with her inimitable gusto and disarming honesty.

Filled with the beautiful black-and-white photographs that Paul loved to take when he was not battling bureaucrats, as well as family snapshots, this memoir is laced with wonderful stories about the French character, particularly in the world of food, and the way of life that Julia embraced so wholeheartedly. Above all, she reveals the kind of spirit and determination, the sheer love of cooking, and the drive to share that with her fellow Americans that made her the extraordinary success she became.

Le voici. Et bon appétit!

This book is read as a part of

(Click on the image to know more.)

My views: Well, this was huge book. It took me almost a month to read it. I had made so many notes on my Kindle App. But sadly, my app refuses to work, so all my notes are gone.

Good things

This is a wonderfully detailed narrative of Julia Child’s life and love (cooking). I am amazed at all that she could remember about years earlier helped with previous letters. It makes one want to keep an account of one’s daily life to reminisce over, too.

I loved all the talk about food, her obsession with perfect cooking utensils and he attention to details (be it her house, kitchen, cooking or writing about cooking).

Julia Child was such a hard-worker, I look up to her. I can never do all the stuff that she did, so much hard work she poured in everything.

I adored the pictures and sketches in the book. They add to the book’s special quality.

I also adored her humor and her subtle hints about her relationship with Paul were heart-warming. They were just so perfect together.

Her wandering nature and travel tales strike specially with me since I am traveler by heart and hope to see the world someday.

Not so good

If I had known French and be a non-vegetarian, perhaps I would have given this book 5 stars. I loved all the talk about the food, but I couldn’t understand most of it (the dish names were in French) and didn’t care about almost all of them (since they were non-vegetarian).

Also, the length of the book did not work for me. Towards the end, I was almost looking forward to getting over with it quickly.

In all, it made for a great read, a wonderful introduction to Julia Child and provided some fuel to my own cooking ambitions. 🙂

3/5 stars – I liked it

Buy it here- The Book Depository

AMAZON(Click the links to buy)

Posted in Interviews

Interview – ‘Instinct’ Author J. A. Belfield

Yey! My first author interview. I am so excited. Meet author J.A. Belfield. She has authored 5 books, the latest is coming up in July. You remember I revealed the cover of Eternal?

 

 

Let’s talk to her.

Me: I love the introduction at your website-

“It all started with a daydream.
One of those daydreams where a character or scene pops into your head, and you start controlling the little people inside your imagination as though you are the puppet master and they your toys. Questions arise: What would happen if …? How would they react if ….? Who would they meet if …? And before you know it, a singular scene has become an entire movie. Those characters you control will begin to hold conversations. Their actions will reflect the personality you have bestowed upon them. Within no time, they have a life, an entire world in which they live, a lover, a foe, family … they have Become.
One day, I wrote my thoughts down. I’ve yet to stop.”

Me: When did this daydream start?

J.A.: The daydreams started at such an early time in my life I can scarcely remember or pinpoint the time—the night-dreams, too. I recall having very lucid, recurring dreams (or nightmares, depending on your point of view) from as young as age seven. However, I didn’t figure out how I could ‘use’ those dreams for purposes other than escaping mundanity until Spring of 2009 when I wrote my first ever novel based on one of said weird dreams.

Me: How often do these daydreams come to you?

J.A.: Daily … hourly … until they drive me to distraction. Sometimes they’re simply evolving details for scenes in whatever story I happen to be working on. Other times they’re new ideas. I usually play about with them inside my head, make whoever’s invading talk to a few folk I let in, try to get a feel for their personality. If I think the scene/character can be built on, I jot down the scene I’ve just conjured.

Me: How many daydreams are still in your mind waiting to be written down?

J.A.: None. If they’re decent enough that I allow them to stick around long enough to grab my attention, then (as mentioned above) I scribble them into a document with a working title (or the title if that appears with the scene), and then nudge it aside for more thoughts on it to formulate.

Me: Did you always wanted to be a writer?

J.A.: I don’t think it’s so much that I didn’t always want to be a writer but more that I didn’t know I wanted to be a writer. I had no direction as far as my life/career was concerned when I left school, and I didn’t figure it out until the ripe age of 36. The moment I did, it was like the pieces of a puzzle I’d spent my life trying to figure out suddenly slotted into place.

Me: If not a writer, what would you be?

J.A.: I spent 14 years working with adults with learning disabilities. Other than that, I have an aromatherapy qualification and my teaching assistant qualification … but my dream job outside of writing would probably be working in a library—that way I’d be able to infiltrate from the inside and stock their shelves with what I want to read.

Me: Is there anything you need in order to write? (a place, food item etc.)

J.A.: I used to be constantly uncomfortable whilst writing, until my best friend’s son donated his swivelly-ohsocushioned-highbacked chair on wheels. So now I can sit at the kitchen table for hours without my rear going dead, and so long as I have a drink to my right, and snacks that I really shouldn’t contemplate eating just out of reach to my left, I’m pretty much set to go.

Me: Are you working on something new?

J.A.: Always, LOL. I finished a 1st draft of the 3rd Holloway Pack Story in November and will be opening that back up soon to edit before sending it off to beta readers. I just finished up with the edits for Eternal, which is a novella (sequel to Instinct) due out in July. My latest WIP that requires full attention is a short story, titled Escort to Insanity, for an anthology. Once that’s complete, I’ll be moving on to novel #4 for the Holloway Pack, as well as a short YA Holloway Pack story I’ve scribbled the opening scene for, and (fingers crossed) I hope to write my first ever YA novel this year.

Me: How many books do you read a week/month?

J.A.: I’m a pretty avid reader. On a slow week: one; on a decent week: around three. But I call it research so I don’t feel guilty when I should be writing instead.

Me: What is the last book you read?

J.A.: Um … the last book I read was one called A Demon Made Me Do It by Penelope King, but I’m currently reading an ARC of The P.U.R.E. by Claire Gillian. After that will be Not An Angel by Dawn Chartier. 🙂

Me: What is one book you think everyone should read?

J.A.: If you’d have asked me in 2011, I’d have hedged the question. Now I’d have to say The Hunger Games. I finally caved and read it just before Christmas to discover what all the fuss was about. I thought it was a really refreshing read and am excited to see what they do with the movie.

Me: Which fictional character would you most like to meet?

J.A.: Oooh, lordy! Tripp Fox from Aimee Laine’s Hide & Seek—that guy just sets my burners aflame.
Actually, if I speak with my mind instead of my libido, it would probably have to be Dean Koontz’s Odd Thomas. He’s inspirational.

Me: If you could go back in time and meet one author, who would it be and why?

J.A.: Probably Shakespeare. I visit his birthplace a fair bit; it’s only around 30 miles from my home. He’s also pretty worthy of awe considering the span of time his works have been performed and read over.

Me: What is your favorite quote?

J.A.: ‘Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.’ ~ Lao Tzu

Me: What do you do in your free time?

J.A.: I’m supposed to have free time? Why didn’t anybody tell me this?
Just kidding. I have family who lives on the west coast of Wales and we visit them a lot. That’s the only place Mr B can 100% pry me away from my laptop, but he has to offer something pretty spectacular in exchange. Coastal walks in Pembrokeshire are beautiful enough to hit the spot.

Me: Any books you are eagerly awaiting for in 2012?

J.A.: Don’t tell anyone but … Lover Reborn …. and Biting Cold … and a YA title called Crux by new author Julie Reece.

Me: Do you want to write in a genre other than what you write? What would it be?

J.A.: You mean write a story that didn’t involve werewolves or other supernatural creatures, or where magic wasn’t possible and … I think I might get bored, LOL.
More seriously, I LOVE reading crime thrillers but I doubt I could ever write one—I’d probably end up jailing the murderer based on circumstantial evidence. And I couldn’t even imagine myself sticking to the romance genre sans otherworldly goodness, even though I love reading a good chicklit.
I guess the long answer short here is: no, I don’t think I do—not currently, anyway. 🙂

Me: Night owl, or early bird?

J.A.: Neither. I’m more of a that-time-in-between kind of bird. I might get up at 7 daily for the sproggies to get to school but I don’t officially wake until around 10am, and I rarely stay up beyond 11pm—midnight if I’m feeling adventurous. I’m pretty strict on myself for having a decent sleep routine. My writing suffers otherwise.

Me: Thank you so much for the interview. 🙂

Don’t forget to check out her beautiful website: http://www.jabelfield.com

Her Blog: http://www.jabelfield.wordpress.com

Here’s some inside into Instinct: Werewolf Sean Holloway treats the village marketplace like a sexual buffet, though his charm does little to win over his latest entrée of choice. Whether because of Jem Stonehouse’s unique scent, her headstrong nonchalance, or the fact he is forbidden to see her by his pack’s rules, Sean wants her.

When Jem is nothing but flippant toward his advances, he pursues her with vigour, stealing moments alone with her without a libido-driven agenda.

The new and heady experience for him drives their relationship beyond romantic interest, and straight toward love.

That is, until Jem learns the truth about Sean’s heritage. Knowledge of the existence of werewolves leads to only one outcome: death.

In this prequel to Darkness & Light, we are taken back in time, to the very beginning of Jem and Sean’s love-across-the-centuries relationship.

Did it end there? Or did Sean defy his own pack to save the woman he loves?

Interested? Buy it on Amazon here Instinct

Posted in Book reviews

Fairy Tales: Love, Hate And Hubris by Manoj Kewalramani

Goodreads Summary: If you caught up with the wolf that hounded little Red Riding Hood, can you image what he would tell you? What did the wicked and vain queen really want from Snow White? Is Beauty and the Beast a tale of love or a story on the shackles of idealisation?

‘Fairy Tales: Love, Hate and Hubris’ is a poetic recap of 16 such timeless fairy tales. Delving into the lives of the antagonists and other characters that have been forever ignored, each poem is an adaptation that sheds new light on their predicaments and motivations.

The collection dwells on wide-ranging unexplored themes – from age and youth, the trappings of power, God and faith, narcissism, self-loathing, and unbridled desire, arrogance and lust, idealisation and love.

My views: Perhaps I wouldn’t have picked up this book had I not won it in Goodreads first-reads. Perhaps I wouldn’t have gone past the first page had I not had the book in my hands. But since I had won it and had it in my hands, I decided to read it. And that turned out to be a good thing.

The book is a retelling of fairy tales and starts so aptly with the quote “Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.” – C.S. Lewis

Good things

I enjoyed the retelling of tales that I had already read.

I especially enjoyed reading “Just a kiss”. I laughed out loud at the end.

I appreciate the effort of the author in this rendition of fairy tales, making us see it from a completely different perspective.

I enjoyed the poetry conversion of these fairy tales.

There are lessons to be learned from each poem.

Not so good

In order to enjoy each poem, you should have read the original fairy tale. I hadn’t read so many of them, so couldn’t appreciate the book in its totality.

I wish the author had named the original fairy tales, either in the start or end of the book, so that I could find and read them before reading his take on the story.

The words ‘honey’ and ‘darling’ were repeated too often for my taste.

In all, the book is a short, sweet tale that leaves you with lessons of life. It is not a children’s book (as my Mom perceived when she saw the book). These are fairytales for adults and also for those children who think beyond their ages.

3/5 stars – I liked it.

Posted in Book reviews, children's

Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

Goodreads Summary: In which a witch bewitched the hatter’s daughter–and then some…

Sophie lived in the town of Market Chipping, which was in Ingary, a land in which anything could happen, and often did–especially when the Witch of the Waste got her dander up. Which was often.

As her younger sisters set out to seek their fortunes Sophie stayed in her father’s hat shop. Which proved most unadventurous, until the Witch of the Waste came in to buy a bonnet, but was not pleased. Which is why she turned Sophie into an old lady. Which was spiteful witchery.

Now Sophie must seek her own fortune. Which means striking a bargain with the lecherous Wizard Howl. Which means entering his ever-moving castle, taming a blue fire-demon, and meeting the Witch of the Waste head-on. Which was more than Sophie bargained for…

My views: I heard this for the first half and read it for the latter part. I found some discrepancies between the audio and the Kindle version. The audio obviously is more fascinating. I think I would have liked this book had I come across it during my childhood years. Reading it now didn’t go too well for me. I am not a fan of witches and spells. I think watching the movie would be a good idea now.

The book is written well, the audio is superb, the characters and plot are well developed. But I just couldn’t find myself enjoying it, it seemed too childish for my pleasure.

Recommended for Children.

2/5 stars – It was OK.

Posted in Upcoming attractions

Which book do you want to win?

My next giveaway is coming on February 7th as a part of Follower Love Giveaway hop. I was just thinking of which book to give away, when I thought why not ask it from you, after all it is the FOLLOWER LOVE Giveaway.

So tell me which book(s) you have been wanting to see on your shelf (or Kindle in this case) for so long? Which is the one you want? You can also tell if there is some book you have read and loved and want the world to read it.

I will try to pick up the most popular books from the feedback received and give those away.

Just fill the form. Write down as many books as you can think of and you can fill the form as many times you want to, in case you remember a book later on. 🙂

Posted in Cover reveal

Cover Reveal: Tidal Whispers

Tidal Whispers by Jocelyn Adams, Claire Gillian, Julie Reece, Kelly Said

Anthology Release Date: June 3, 2012

Heart’s Desire by Julie Reece
After a terrible accident, Tessa returns to her family beach house to heal. She doesn’t expect to see her first summer crush from seven years before. Cameron, though, reappears and ignites a relationship that’s far more intense than ever before. The only problem? Summer is once again coming to an end, and this time, Tessa will have to decide whether to choose life with Cameron or to never see him again.

The Sweetest Song by Claire Gillian
Under Poseiden’s rule, Circe is the most destructive siren in the Pacific ocean, her songs luring ships and their crew to their watery graves. Not Otis, the best halibut fisherman in the Alaskan waters. His ship, the Calypso, has avoided disaster each time Circe set her sights on him.

Given one last chance to deliver Otis to Davy Jones’ locker, Circe takes to land to waylay the handsome captain. Instead, it may be Otis himself who hooks the Siren.

Pearl of Pau’maa by Kelly Said
Should Miki choose to wed the local wealthy boy she doesn’t love, her stomach will stop grumbling. Her soul, however, will suffocate. With one last opportunity before she must concede, she sneaks off for a final dive to her hidden crate at the bottom of the seabed. What waits for her is more than a captured lobster. It’s a treasure she cannot claim without great sacrifice or true love.

The Undergarden by Jocelyn Adams
Nixie, a water sprite, lives a solitary existence as she struggles to understand the strange world beyond her waters. When she meets one of the pink ones, a curious boy named Wyatt, their friendship blooms into a love that can exist only upon the sands that divide his solid ground from her underwater paradise. Some love, though, once born, cannot be undone, even in the face of death.

The author names seemed familiar to me and I found out that except for Kelly, the others have their independently published books. Julie Reece authored Crux, whose cover I revealed a few days back. Jocelyn Adams has other published books and I have Claire Gillian’s “The P.U.R.E” sitting on my review shelf. Interesting.

The cover looks cool. I love the play of colors, the girl’s expressions and the water.

What do you think of the cover?

Posted in Book shelf

February Attractions

Books coming up in February

With just a week to go, I decided I will give you a glimpse into my February Book Shelf

 

 

 

 

 

The Hunger Games – I won this from Kat’s giveaway. Yay! I can’t wait to get to it.

Tyger Tyger – won from Kimberly’s giveaway.

The Magician’s Assistant by Ann Patchett- I won this in Orange January giveaway and will receive it in February. 🙂

 

On my audio shelf are-

 

11/22/63- listening to it

I am the messenger

Coraline, anasi boys and the graveyeard book by Neil Gaiman

The girl with the dragon tattoo

 

Some lovely books that grace my shelf and I am dying to read them are-

 


 


 

and many-many more.

Have you read the books on my shelf? Is there a book from the above shelf that you want me to read NOW? Do you want me to read and review a book(s) so that I can tell you all about it? Let me know by commenting below and I will fast forward it to my current-reading shelf.

 

Other Upcoming Attractions

Not just books and book reviews but much much more. Coming up this February-

February 1 – My first ever Author Interview – J. A. Belfield– the author of Instinct. You checked out the Cover reveal of her upcoming novel, Eternal on my blog some time back.

February 6 – 13Valentine’s Day Giveaway for all you romantics out there. I would throw in some other new books too. 😉

February 17 – 25Author Interview – Rachel Deagan and Giveaway of her book Caged Moon.

And of course, you will see many more cover reveals and book reviews. So hop on every now and then.

 

Check out Kat and Kimberly’s awesome blogs here- The Aussie Zombie and Turning the pages. They are my friends from Goodreads.

Posted in Book shelf

On my BookShelf

Though my reviews are trickling in slowly, if you ever had the slightest notion that perhaps my bookshelf was devoid of books, you are SO wrong. If I had all the books that are on my shelf in paperback, I would have to move out of my house. No, really! Thank God for Kindle!

My Kindle currently has a mind-boggling 2025 books, apart from the 13 books that I have loaned out to others! Out of these, I have only read a dismal 12. 😦 106 of these books are on my must-read-now list (how I wish I had more than 24 hours in a day).

Also, I have 6 paperbacks lying around vying for my attention.

Now let me give you a brief view of my reading list in the Upcoming Week.

These books I need to finish this January, which means in the next 7 days.

 

 

 

 

 

Baking cakes in Kigali – I started this in January but still to finish.

Same goes for My life in France.

I am reading these books for a January Food challenge in Goodreads.

Also, for the same challenge, I am hoping to start and finish Julie and Julia in the next week (what do I think of myself- a robot?)

 

Other books that I need to finish in January for other Goodreads challenges or book clubs are-

 

 

 

 

 

A train in winter , Agaat, 1Q84 – yet to start and finish.

Picture of Dorian Grey – started, yet to finish.

Howl’s moving castle – listening on audio book.

 

For Orange January month (check out what it’s about here), I need to start and finish the following books-

 

 

American wife, The tiger’s wife and Half of a yellow sun

 



Some books have waited forever on my review list and I need to finish them soon. They are

 

The beacon singer (review request by author)

Some books for review sent by publisher- Cupboard Kisses, A taste of old revenge, caught dead in Philadelphia, The power of a pawn, Hide and Seek, The pure and then some more.

I have a huge pile of Netgalley books to read. I have been reading Love finds a way. It released on January 1 and I’m still not done with it. Bad, bad!

 

I recently won Caprice, Draykon and A storm hits Valparaiso from Librarything giveaways and I have to review them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I won two first-reads from Goodreads – The journey by Munaf and fairy tales and dubris. I need to start and finish them too.

 

 

 

 

 

I also have dark of the moon on my shelf which I have to read and send to Kimberly for book swap.

 

I am also reading Fifty shades of grey and One day at the moment.

Ah, I wish I hadn’t counted them. 25!! 25 books in 7 days! What am I thinking?

Have you read any of the above books? Do you want me to stay clear of some book or tell me to just go read THAT one? Comment below. I love to hear what you say.

Posted in Book reviews

Jack the homework eater by Mitt Ray

Goodreads Summary: Alex is scared of dogs. He gets really angry with his parents, when they adopt a British Bulldog called Jack. He tries his best to avoid Jack the Bulldog. But then he learns a secret about Jack. He learns that Jack is no ordinary dog, Jack’s a homework eater. This special ability of Jack to eat homework helps him earn Alex’s affection.

My views: This is my very first children’s book for review given by the author himself.

Jack the homework eater is a cute little story about Jack, the bulldog who loves to eat paper.

Good things-

  • Nice concept.
  • An interesting story.
  • A good lesson for children to learn.
    Relatable character, Jack that kids will adore.

  • Not so good-

  • The practical aspects of the story are non-existent. But perhaps children do not go into the practical aspects and the details would not pinch them as much as they pinched me.
  • Editing is immensely required. However, again children may choose to ignore the errors.
    The story is a bit long for children to keep on reading. It could have been shorter and crisper.

  • In all, the book may appeal to children, especially those who love to avoid homework (I think that does include every child 😉 ). The book would serve as a good bedtime story told over a few days.

    2 stars- It was OK.

    Posted in Cover reveal

    Cover Reveal: Crux by Julie Reece

    Crux by Julie Reece

    Book Release Date: July 9, 2012

    She should have run. Now, she’ll have to fight.

    Eighteen year old Birdie may be homeless, but she’s surviving, that is until a mysterious guy throws money in the air like a crazy game show host, and she grabs some with the idea she’ll be able to buy dinner that night.

    In that singular moment, unassuming Birdie becomes the girl in everyone’s viewfinder. Thugs want to kill her. Money-guy wants to recruit her. The very hot, very rich and very out of her league, Grey Mathews, wants to save her.

    Birdie, though, wants nothing to do with any of them, until she realizes fate didn’t bring them all together.

    Her heritage did.

    Now, with only twenty-one days left, she’s got to decide whether to follow in the footsteps of those before her or risk her life for people she’s only just met.

    Ooh, I love the details in this cover. Did you see the smoke emanating from the girl’s necklace..spooky!!

    What do you think of the cover?