Paris, Éclairs and Vous by Lela Migirov is a deliciously breezy romp through the world of French pastry and patisseries, peppered with snippets of hisParis, Éclairs and Vous by Lela Migirov is a deliciously breezy romp through the world of French pastry and patisseries, peppered with snippets of history, information, and tips on the best culinary shops in Paris. An excellent selection of photos accompany each morsel of text, showcasing the wonderful confectionery delights, and at the end the author includes listings of patisseries, both a best of and a more comprehensive inventory, so you’re ready for that culinary Paris trip. In addition, the book contains a series of complimentary paintings by the author, which gave it a unique touch. The colour and brushwork of the artwork is reminiscent of French Impressionism, although the style seemed more in the abstract vein. The art is a fascinating contrast to the photos and a lovely extra. I did wish some of the write-ups were a bit longer, and a short glossary of the French terminology used might have been helpful, but neither point detracted overly from my reading enjoyment. I liked this quick guide to the confections of Paris, and the book will definitely whet your appetite for pastry. ...more
An enthralling view into a bygone era that is part memoir, part history lesson. It lends insight and breathes life into past events, both famous and nAn enthralling view into a bygone era that is part memoir, part history lesson. It lends insight and breathes life into past events, both famous and not, and shows the humanity behind the headlines of WW I, and the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb. Through facts, history, and some charming speculation, the book weaves a fascinating look behind the doors old English aristocracy that is a delight to read....more
I love a good ghost story, and The Lunenburg Werewolf: And Other Stories of the Supernatural by Steve Vernon is full of exceptionally good ghost storiI love a good ghost story, and The Lunenburg Werewolf: And Other Stories of the Supernatural by Steve Vernon is full of exceptionally good ghost stories, plus fabulous tales of monsters, pirate gold, fairy folk, demons and devils. It’s positively oozing those “creepy tales to tell around the campfire” and the “keep the lights on while you read” scary moments, yet it still maintains a black and whimsical sense of humour.
The book is darkly delightful. My fellow Nova Scotian, Steve Vernon, has collected an odd assortment of horrific tales, from the far corners of our fair province of Nova Scotia, and woven them into a first-rate and entertaining book of folklore. Between the covers you will find the ghostly Lady in Blue, the Phantom Ship of the Northumberland (my favourite ghost story), a Phantom Artist, a Black Cat that lingered after death, Beasts, Selkies, and of course the aforementioned Lunenburg Werewolf.
The author knows how to spin a satisfying yarn, weaving fact, history and folklore into a compelling read. Be the tales truth, fiction or a little bit of both, The Lunenburg Werewolf may leave you believing in ghosts. Or at least loving their stories. I can give The Lunenburg Werewolf: And Other Stories of the Supernatural a high recommendation; just be sure to leave all the lights on when you read it.
In My Mind’s Eye by Justin Marciano is an irreverent, tongue-in-cheek memoir that is amusing, emotional, while at the same time might make you flinchIn My Mind’s Eye by Justin Marciano is an irreverent, tongue-in-cheek memoir that is amusing, emotional, while at the same time might make you flinch and wonder at the folly of people.
The book is a collection of anecdotes culled from the author’s rather disordered childhood, reminisces of his family and his boyhood/teenage tomfoolery. It is a wonderful hodgepodge of dysfunctional family dynamic and dodgy shenanigans that somehow comes across as congenial and affectionate, despite the eyebrow-raising antics depicted.
The author’s style is informal, irreverent at times and very engaging. The book bounces through random and pivotal events in his life, using comparison stories and flashbacks to interrupt the narrative flow, but still manages to weave it all together into an entertaining delight. The narrative does get a bit maze-like at times, lacking a little in the where and when department of the events described, but if you go with the flow it’s a great read.
No Money Marketing: All You Need is Like by Angela Yuriko Smith is one author’s view on how to promote your book, culled from her own experiences publNo Money Marketing: All You Need is Like by Angela Yuriko Smith is one author’s view on how to promote your book, culled from her own experiences publicizing her own novel, End of Mae. The approach she uses offers some appealing and creative avenues to book marketing.
The first part of the book is devoted to marketing techniques the author used in the virtual world of Second Life. Now I don’t belong to that Second Life, although I have heard of it, and I always assumed it was more of a recreational website. After reading I find myself quite convinced of its marketing potential for authors; any writer on Second Life (or thinking of joining) should avail themselves of Ms. Smith’s helpful suggestions. The remainder of No Money Marketing: All You Need is Like is geared towards more traditional marketing sites such as Facebook, but even here the author has some individual ideas of where and how to promote your book.
I especially appreciated the fact the author backs up her suggestions with specific information on how her marketing techniques affected her sales and book visibility. So many marketing suggestions tell you that they will boost sales, without the details.
Overall, I found the book had good ideas, written in an easy style and I can recommended it to any author looking for ways to get their books noticed.
The Irish Slaves: Slavery, Indenture and Contract Labour Among Irish Immigrants by Rhetta Akamatsu is a history book that narrates, not only some overThe Irish Slaves: Slavery, Indenture and Contract Labour Among Irish Immigrants by Rhetta Akamatsu is a history book that narrates, not only some overlooked history, but a tale of humanity that both endures and is abhorrent. It is a well researched, well-written book that opens a page on the slave trade of past ages.
The book recounts the story of the terrible injustice perpetrated on the people of Ireland by England. It details the causes and cultural attitudes that led to this lucrative slave trade, and dissects the treatment of human beings used as a commodity.
The book divides itself by geography, taking each destination used in the Irish slave trade and documents the system and conduct of the people involved. The different laws and slave traditions are described for each region and the author adds historical accounts from the slaves and their masters that give a personal and insightful touch.
Generally, the narration flows smoothly, holding the reader firmly in the past, doling out the information in an engaging manner. The only flaws are some, perhaps unavoidable, repetition and the occasional typo that find their way into the pages, but they do not detract overly from the quality of the book.
The Irish Slaves is an absorbing read, making the history it recounts alive and vibrant in all its misery and perseverance. The book is a fascinating look into a piece of darker history.
Loose Screws by Gerry Tortorelli is an amusing, irreverent look at life and family and reminded me a great deal of Dave Barry's writing, with that samLoose Screws by Gerry Tortorelli is an amusing, irreverent look at life and family and reminded me a great deal of Dave Barry's writing, with that same funny slice-of-life style.
The book is comprised of short, autobiographical anecdotes that form a piecemeal memoir of the author. It is a fascinating look at one person and his family as they live and adjust to new cultures in various countries. The narrative is pleasing genuine and full of familiar family situations that connect with you as a reader.
This an entertaining book; at times I laughed out loud. The author writes with an impertinent style that makes for a breezy read and I guarantee you will be able to relate to some, if not all, of the engaging stories. Loose Screws is humorous and sweet, insightful and nostalgic, with a warm and witty voice. It is just a delightful book to read and I recommend it.
This question may come to mind when you pick up this book to read, but by the time you finish the last page it won’t matter.Do you believe in ghosts?
This question may come to mind when you pick up this book to read, but by the time you finish the last page it won’t matter. You will have simply enjoyed an engrossing story of a town’s history, which is in turn, personal, epic, tragic and yes, ethereal.
This book is one part history lesson, one part ghost story and one part paranormal primer, stirred into a delightfully entertaining read. The author takes you on a whirlwind tour of the town of Marietta, from its founding through the American Civil War, to contemporary day. Along the way, the reader is treated to fascinating stories of times past, shown the diversity of the town, and regaled with tales of its citizens, living and dead.
The paranormal aspects in the book are presented in a very factual, even subdued manner; no ghosts pop out and say boo (at least until the last chapter regarding the Haunted Doll; that tale spooked me a bit). The author documents well researched accounts of the hauntings, gives her opinions, and lays out eerie possibilities, deftly dangling the unexplained before the reader. Certainly some of the stories gave this reader something to consider.
Haunted Marietta is a wonderful look at a small slice of the Southern past, including some that may be lingering in the present. I highly recommend it....more
Stir, Laugh, Repeat by Martha A. Cheves is an old-fashioned cookbook, full of recipes like your mother used to make; the recipes are practical, easy aStir, Laugh, Repeat by Martha A. Cheves is an old-fashioned cookbook, full of recipes like your mother used to make; the recipes are practical, easy and made with everyday ingredients. This is not a book filled with overly fancy, posh recipes that will break the budget; this Martha writes for the ordinary, everyday cook. The book has a simple layout, easy to understand instructions and is filled with appetizing recipes; the author’s culinary art is a lovely hodgepodge of sweets, dinners, veggie dishes and tasty nibbles. You get a range of yummy dessert delights from Banana Pudding to Key Lime Pie and mouth-watering main meals such as Red Beans and Rice with Smoked Sausage or Baked Spaghetti. And peppered throughout the book are assorted savouries such as Creamy Potato Salad, Meatloaf Muffins, Sticky Biscuits, and Monkey Bread. Each recipe comes accompanied with a helpful and engaging explanation, with comments and background any cook can appreciate, and some come with useful tips and variations. They are not excessively time consuming, and easily lend themselves to adaptation (a beneficial thing when you have dietary restrictions as I do). Stir, Laugh, Repeat is an excellent cookbook, for beginner cooks to the more experienced, and one I recommend. ...more
Written as a series of short biographies, T’ain’t Nobody’s Business if I Do: Women Blues Singers Old and New by Rhetta Akamatsu, is a revealing peek iWritten as a series of short biographies, T’ain’t Nobody’s Business if I Do: Women Blues Singers Old and New by Rhetta Akamatsu, is a revealing peek into the characters of memorable women in the world of blues music. After giving a short introduction into the background of the blues, the author lets us glimpse into the lives of the women that sang the music. She takes the reader from the early days of singers carving out the industry, to the ladies of today that still carry the blues legacy. Each biography is complemented with photos, quotes, selected song lyrics and footnotes. It is quite obvious from the first sentence that the author knows her subject, and has an affection for the blues. Ms. Akamatsu has done her research, infusing the book with absorbing facts, while maintaining a lively, entertaining pace and feel to the book. It is a captivating look into music history, and in her writing style she manages to capture the essence of the blues era at its heyday. The book is written with atmosphere that clearly invokes both a time and a lifestyle. Even when writing of the modern blues musicians, the legacy is never far away.
She writes: “Of course, this was a hard-drinking, hardloving, hard-fighting life, and a woman had to be tough. Many of the women blues singers were tall, big-boned, and quick with temper and fist. All of them could stand up for themselves. There were no shrinking violets among the early blues women.” And here she paints a vivid picture: “They spent lots of time roughing it on the road, playing in juke joints and bars, or in tents in the middle of fields. They traveled in overcrowded, broken down trucks and cars, or on buses and trains. They ate at the backdoors of restaurants and in alleys, or at eating establishments for blacks only, and they slept in the homes of relatives or friends or in black boarding houses (many of which did not cater to entertainers.) Sometimes they slept in the cars or trucks.”
Ms. Akamatsu opens the lives of these women for viewing, and never pulls any punches; she lays out the details, bad and good. All the pain, triumphs, blood and tears are arranged on the pages.
She pens: “Janis wanted to be the living embodiment of Bessie Smith. She tried to act tough and free, but she was really vulnerable and insecure. She loved her Southern Comfort and she preached free love, but a world of pain came through in her voice.”
I highly recommend the book for anyone who likes a good read, but especially for fans of biographies, or music lovers. ...more