Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Review’ Category

The Pearl
The Pearl by John Steinbeck
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Rereading a classic can be a double edged sword. You may have terrible memories of being forced to read it in school. I remember reading this book in middle school and I had a vague recollection of the story. Reading it now for my book group was a completely different experience. Reading it in muddle school, we focused on plot and pacing, climax and other literary elements. Reading it now, I was free to enjoy and notice the beauty in Steinbeck’s sparse but by no means simple prose. At just shy of 125 pages, this short novella or parable is retelling of a classic Mexican folktale that Steinbeck wrote and published first in a Women’s magazine. He is rumored to have written it specifically to turn into a screenplay. I have not seen the movie and am not sure if I want to. I’m not sure that a movie can capture the simplicity of the life that Kino and his wife Juana led, nor can it capture the fleeting moment when their lives change as the scorpion bites baby Coyotito.

As with most parables, the characters are not fully fleshed three dimensional characters, they are carefully placed embodiments of base traits such as good and evil. There is little room for middle ground, unless you read and see beyond the page, to the subtleness that flows from the character’s actions. Of course, as a parable there is a moral to the story. What is the moral? Be careful of what you wish for? Don’t try to rise above your station in life? What is the point of trying to achieve success when there will be horrific repercussions? I’m not entirely sure what Steinbeck’s moral was, I’m not a literature professor, just a reader who enjoyed the book for what it was.

View all my reviews

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

The Undead Pool
The Undead Pool by Kim Harrison
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Sad to think that there is only one book left to be written in the series. This book is a game-changer. Multiple plot lines come together and weave a complicated tapestry of destruction, magic and revelations. Demons, elves, pixies, vampires and weres must work as a team to bring down one of the baddest enemies, no, not really an enemy, an entity that Rachel has ever faced. Watching Rachel grow as a character has been frustrating at times but in this book, she truly shows that she is more than the sum of her experiences and that she has grown tremendously over the course of the series. Then there is also the Trent dilemma. Fans of the series have been waiting with baited breath for something to happen since Ms. Harrison teased us with the ending of Ever After. She more than makes up for the teasing. Cannot wait for the next book.

View all my reviews

Read Full Post »

Jersey Angel
Jersey Angel by Beth Ann Bauman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Not your typical teen romance. Not entirely sure it is a romance. It is more of a coming of age story than a romance. There is a love story sort of but it certainly doesn’t end up with a happily ever after. It is a realistic portrayal of a teen who sees her friends going places and realizes that she isn’t going anywhere. Next September when her friends go away to college, she will be enrolling in the local community college, living in the same NJ shore town, working the same crappy job at her Dad’s marina, sleeping with the same boys who are also staying behind.

Angel is no angel…she’s a teen with an on again off again boyfriend who admittedly sleeps with her best friend’s boyfriend. She does feel guilty but that doesn’t stop her. She is a restless spirit, much like her mother who floats from boyfriend to boyfriend as well. This novel shows a side of teenage girls that is not often shown in novels. Angel and her friends drink, smoke pot, get high, flirt, sleep around and get knocked up. They don’t apologize for it or try to hide it. This is who they are.

View all my reviews

Read Full Post »

Absolutely Avocados
Absolutely Avocados by Gaby Dalkin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A whole cookbook dedicated to avocados? I’m there! This slim volume (<200 pages) is filled with fun facts about avocados as well as over 80 recipes for ways to incorporate these delicious green fruits into your daily menu plan. Some of the recipes are fairly simple and no brainers – mashed avocado on toast, huevos ranchero with avocados but others are new ideas to me and will certainly be added to my repertoire of avocado recipes. Not entirely sure that I will be making avocado brownies but it might be worth a shot. Stunning photos of the recipes but I would prefer a photo of every recipe. All in all, a surprisingly good single ingredient focus cookbook.

View all my reviews

Read Full Post »

Indian Home Cooking: A Fresh Introduction to Indian Food, with More Than 150 Recipes
Indian Home Cooking: A Fresh Introduction to Indian Food, with More Than 150 Recipes by Suvir Saran
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Great introduction to Indian cooking. Easy to follow recipes with clear directions take the fear factor out of Indian cooking. Nice photographs but I would have preferred a photo of each recipe. With a cuisine that I am not entirely comfortable with yet it makes it easier for me if I have a reference photo to look at. The author gives easily accessible substitutions for hard(er) to find ingredients.

View all my reviews

Read Full Post »

My Pizza: The Easy No-Knead Way to Make Spectacular Pizza at Home
My Pizza: The Easy No-Knead Way to Make Spectacular Pizza at Home by Jim Lahey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have not tried the basic recipe that is provided for pizza dough but oh my does it look good and easy. I’ve just recently tried baking bread which came out pretty darn tasty so I think that this is perfect for my next baking challenge. Aside from the what looks to be simple recipe for the dough, there are 15 red pizzas, 14 white pizzas, 9 no sauce pizzas, a small assortment of toppings, soups and salads and a handful of desserts. The photos are beautiful but the beauty lies in the recipes. Each recipe has a short note accompanying it with explanatory notes and background. There are pies here for everyone; meat eaters, non meat eaters, sauce eaters, non sauce eaters, cheese lovers and non cheese eaters. I would never have thought to put cauliflower on a pizza, or corn, or scallions, or brussel sprouts and chesnuts. I forsee a lot of pizza at my house this summer.

View all my reviews

Read Full Post »

Review: The Future of Us

The Future of Us
The Future of Us by Jay Asher
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

When I read the premise of this book, I have to admit I was excited. Imagine that it is 1996 and you have just gotten your first computer and that coveted AOL disc that will magically connect you to that vast nothingness called The Internet. That is exactly what happened to high school junior Emma. Only when she loads up the AOL cd it shows her a website titled Facebook. It appears to be showing her snippets of her future. Only these snippets are random musings ranging from her wondering aloud if she should get highlights to if she should be worried because her husband hasn’t come home yet from his fishing trip.

The story itself is told in alternating chapters, one from Emma’s voice and one from her neighbor Josh’s voice. That in itself doesn’t bother me, but the jumps here between narrators was more jarring than I expected. I kept having to refer to the chapter heading to verify which character was narrating. The bulk of the novel is devoted to what happens when Emma starts checking this website Facebook daily and wondering about her future happiness and quality of life. Problem was that I didn’t care enough about the real happiness of the characters. The novel didn’t delve deep enough into the characters and what was going on so much in their lives now as much as it did drop names of songs and pop culture references.

For me, it fell flat. A great idea that was not well executed.

View all my reviews

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »