Kathleen Flinn's memoir of her time at Le Cordon Bleu cooking school in Paris made me really happy, really inspired to do things I've always wanted toKathleen Flinn's memoir of her time at Le Cordon Bleu cooking school in Paris made me really happy, really inspired to do things I've always wanted to do, and really hungry. Of course, the book is filled with various recipes that feature prominently in the various chapters, and most of them are adapted or at least something that could reasonably be achieved by the home cook. Flinn's story is really heartfelt; just like a good meal, it is obvious that the author's heart and soul went into its production. Especially touching is her relationship with her husband, who always supports her and encourages her to do her best and follow her dreams, even when she feels they are somewhat silly or unrealistic. Like attending the world's most famous cooking school, in a foreign language. I really appreciated that Flinn included the French language pieces in French; too often, books with the action in a foreign language relate the experience in English, and it fails to express the inevitable confusions that happen when someone is not speaking their native language. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who wants to take a chance on their future, or on love, or on herself. I felt really attached to Kathleen's story and her journey; it is impossible to not root for her and her accomplishments. ...more
Honestly, I don't even know where to start in this review. Diana Gabaldon is one of my all-time favorite authors, and her Outlander series is one of mHonestly, I don't even know where to start in this review. Diana Gabaldon is one of my all-time favorite authors, and her Outlander series is one of my favorite book series of all time, if not my favorite. I could read her books again and again, and the sheer volume of the books is not a deterrent.
An Echo in the Bone is the seventh book in the series. The saga of Claire and Jamie, as well as Bree and Roger, really grabs the reader and brings you into their story, which by now is in the middle of the Revolutionary War. Gabaldon clearly does her homework, as is evident by the fact that there usually elapses about three years between each book and also by the number of historically accurate nuances throughout it. She is a researcher, after all.
Clocking in at over 800 pages means that the plot is too involved to discuss, and I wouldn't want to give anything away. But, as I was finishing the last hundred or so pages while my students were taking a final exam, I found myself about to cry more than once, and had to remind myself that I was in public.
The book ends on a note that basically ensures there will be another book in the series. Even if I have to wait for three years, I'm happy to do it with characters like these ones and a story that is completely brilliant, unique, and well-developed. ...more
I admit, I bought this book on my kindle because it was on sale for $2.99 and since I was waiting for my book group to meet before I bought the book fI admit, I bought this book on my kindle because it was on sale for $2.99 and since I was waiting for my book group to meet before I bought the book for the following month, I didn't want to spend a lot of money.
That tidbit aside, I was really glad that I bought this book and would have gladly paid the usual $9.99 that Amazon charges for a book to read it. The premise is both original and something I'm relatively familiar with: an author is working on a book and is inexplicably drawn to a castle on the coast of Scotland, where she gets more inspiration than she has on any previous works, because she essentially transcribes the memories of an ancestor who she *randomly* chooses to use as the narrator for the historical novel she's writing.
Okay, so the premise is *somewhat* reminiscent of a few other novels, because there are elements of time travel and romance and Scotsmen (all reminding me of Diana Gabaldon, another favorite author of mine). None of these elements make it any less enjoyable - it was not really a romance novel (though I get the impression that Kearsley may be more known for that based on the other recommended books I've been seeing) and much more of a historical fiction novel (even though that's only half of the novel).
One thing that I really enjoyed about the work was the jumping between the contemporary narrative of Carrie, and the 1708 narrative of Sophia. At times it would frustrate me because I'd be really involved in one story right as Kearsley would switch gears to the other one, but I learned to really appreciate the way that the one narrative fed into the other.
My only criticism of the novel was that I would have liked to have more of either story; I wanted to hear more than what Kearsley offered in the book. I felt like both narratives, but more so Sophia's, were unfinished. With Carrie's narrative, I felt like there wasn't enough backstory and I would have appreciated having more substance to her narrative, or more interaction with her family; with Sophia's story I felt like Kearsley could have (should) write another book that tells us what happens next, and I also would have appreciated a little more backstory. I suppose that with Diana Gabaldon's Outlander as a comparison I've been spoiled, because she always tells us what happens next.
All in all, it was a fun, light read. Perfect for summer. And the kindle sale price was un.beatable. I would rate the book 4 stars overall - it would have been higher if not for those MINOR things mentioned above....more
I really enjoyed this book. I liked it more than the one before it, but I find myself wondering how long can this whole series continue? I feel like iI really enjoyed this book. I liked it more than the one before it, but I find myself wondering how long can this whole series continue? I feel like it's starting to get a little far-fetched (now? what about in book 5, right?) but I am interested in what Harris manages to do with all the different characters. Of course, the question remains, who will Sookie end up with at the end of it all? I like that Sookie's history is getting more deeply delved into, and I'm hoping that she will come out on top, regardless of who she chooses. Speaking of which, I didn't really care for Eric's trickery, but it makes sense since it is one of his principal characteristics. As always, Harris writes with an easy-to-read style and a prose that flows from one page to the next. I wish that she would stop making Sookie repeat herself, because by Book 9 most readers will know that she works at Merlotte's and also know that the vampires came "out of the coffin" a few years ago. The summaries at each characters introduction can get somewhat tedious. Overall, I definitely enjoyed the book and would definitely recommend it to a friend....more
Tana French's debut novel is well-written and grabs the reader, but the storyline leaves something to be desired. The story of Rob Ryan is intriguing,Tana French's debut novel is well-written and grabs the reader, but the storyline leaves something to be desired. The story of Rob Ryan is intriguing, but ultimately left me feeling a little unsatisfied with the ending. His relationship with his partner, Cassie Maddox, runs a different course than expected and starts to take the principal narrative spot. As the narrative unfolds, the crime becomes more engrossing but French does not allow the reader to be sucked into the crime the way the protagonists are; rather, she insists that the reader focus also on the relationship between Ryan and Maddox. In the end, neither the arc of their relationship nor the outcome of the case end well, and the book leaves the reader questioning both.
I don't know if I would go out of my way to recommend this book to a friend, but I would tell them that I enjoyed reading it, for sure. It was an easy read, I read the majority of it in one day of cross-country travel, and the story is quick-paced enough to keep the reader engaged in the story throughout....more
Ireland is a story about Ronan, a boy who hears a traveling storyteller for three consecutive nights, and is forever changed by the experience. Ronan’Ireland is a story about Ronan, a boy who hears a traveling storyteller for three consecutive nights, and is forever changed by the experience. Ronan’s relationship with the storyteller is mysterious, sometimes frustrating (because the reader really identifies with Ronan’s journey), moving and heartwarming. It is lyrical, for the storytelling is rich with moments that make you sit back and collect yourself, because you didn’t realize that there could be something so poignant written. It is epic, for it spans centuries and millennia without missing a beat. It is transporting, for it feels like you are really there, in a living room by the fire, sharing this moment with Ronan, who is lovable from the moment he is introduced.
Ireland is also a story about stories, the lost art of the traveling storyteller and the way that myths and history are weaved together to form a blanket that encompasses all sides of history. It hearkens to the days when families spoke to each other, sharing their collective histories to pass on to successive generations.
And, to top it all off, it’s beautifully written. Frank Delaney’s writing warms the heart like freshly baked bread (I’m sitting next to a loaf of it right now and it smells the way that I imagine it has smelled for centuries). Rarely have I encountered a book that takes on the whole spectrum of emotions like this book; I wanted to start reading it again the second I finished it, making the stories into part of my own personal story.
I know this review seems like a laundry list of things that I loved about the book. Reading over the review, I see that. The only thing that I didn’t like about the book was that it ended; I’m comforted by the fact that I will be able to read it again and again, revisit the characters in both the Storyteller’s tales Ronan’s narrative. This kind of book does not happen everyday. ...more
I'm a huge fan of Maguire's work; I really enjoy the way he takes traditional tales and makes them into something more complicated and different fromI'm a huge fan of Maguire's work; I really enjoy the way he takes traditional tales and makes them into something more complicated and different from their normal role. This was not my favorite story, because I was expecting something different. I thought there would be more incorporation of Scrooge or Jack the Ripper, but they were more like figureheads who were present in name but not in character. I thought that the story was interesting and enjoyed the book for what it was, but I feel that the book's synopsis on the back maybe was the most misleading part of it.
I found the Wendy to be very likable, most of the time, and I really felt like I connected with her character and wanted her to win at the end of the story. Overall, I liked the story but would not consider it one of my favorite books of all time. ...more
The second book in the series makes me believe that the series of books could potentially rival other series (HP, ahem) in its ability to stand the teThe second book in the series makes me believe that the series of books could potentially rival other series (HP, ahem) in its ability to stand the test of time. The books are shorter than HP, and they incorporate the mythological stories that we grow up sort-of learning about, but aren't forced to really remember how they are connected or remember them. The series brings a whole new light to this, and it is just a pleasure to read.
The Sea of Monsters finds Percy and his friends on a new quest, which leads them into the Sea of Monsters (not to be redundant). I don't want to give anything away, so I'm going to just leave it at that. One aspect I really enjoy about this series is that Percy's mom is really supportive of him, and from his mother he learned the value of love, friends and family. It's a really positive message, and the books seem to be full of them.
This book was equally enjoyable, quick-paced, easy-to-read, and overall just continued the good thing that Riordan started with his first book....more
Deledda's book, publshed in 1913, has many aspects reminiscent of Verga and the Verismo movement. A story of family, curses, and the struggle to combaDeledda's book, publshed in 1913, has many aspects reminiscent of Verga and the Verismo movement. A story of family, curses, and the struggle to combat the futility of the world, the book was extremely important when discovered but I went through four years of graduate school in Italian literature before I came across it....more