Category Archives:blogging

Plated

**This is a guest review. My stepmother, Brenda, saw this book & asked to read it. I told her sure if she would write the review for it.**

Plated by Elana Karp and Szanne Dumaine

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The more than 125 inventive, repertoire-building recipes in Plated will help you cook and eat food you love without having to think so hard about it. Every dish here will work no matter how much (or little) time you have to cook, whether it’s quick dinner on a Monday for two or a backyard barbecue for a crowd. The recipes are all rooted in a core technique—think One-Pan Roasted Chicken, Slow-Simmered Turkey Chili, or Cheesy Baked Penne—but can also be customized according to peak produce and just what you’re in the mood for. Step-by-step prep instructions and menu ideas take the stress out of cooking, so you know exactly what to do and when. Here, too, are ways for you to stretch these recipes, like basic marinades and spice rubs that can be used on almost anything, reinventions for leftovers, big-batch make-aheads, company-worthy feasts, and perfect sides. Plated is sure to become a well-loved, sauce-splattered staple in your kitchen.

Brenda’s Review

**QUICK INFO: I do my best not to have spoilers, but I will warn you I may accidentally have them in my review.**

This Is that rare cookbook that one would not only love to own, but would have no qualms giving to anyone on their gift list: brides, girlfriends, daughters, sisters, and brothers etc.

For the accomplished cook, it teaches new techniques with aplomb; and for novices, it explains procedures and reveals kitchen basics, putting together a menu and entertaining for a crowd.

As a seasoned cook, what I love about “Plated” is the book’s sections on using herbs and making rubs, (“Flavoring,” chapter 1”) and its reliance on simple – and found in stores – ingredients. I recommend this book for absolutely anyone. It is also an excellent read.

–Brenda


I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.


The Perfect Horse

The Perfect Horse by Elizabeth Letts

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From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Eighty-Dollar Champion, the remarkable story of the heroic rescue of priceless horses in the closing days of World War II

In the chaotic last days of the war a small troop of battle-weary American soldiers captures a German spy and makes an astonishing find—his briefcase is empty but for photos of beautiful white horses that have been stolen and kept on a secret farm behind enemy lines. Hitler has stockpiled the world’s finest purebreds in order to breed the perfect military machine—an equine master race. But with the starving Russian army closing in, the animals are in imminent danger of being slaughtered for food.

With only hours to spare, one of the Army’s last great cavalrymen, American colonel Hank Reed, makes a bold decision—with General George Patton’s blessing—to mount a covert rescue operation. Racing against time, Reed’s small but determined force of soldiers, aided by several turncoat Germans, steals across enemy lines in a last-ditch effort to save the horses.

Pulling together this multistranded story, Elizabeth Letts introduces us to an unforgettable cast of characters: Alois Podhajsky, director of the famed Spanish Riding School of Vienna, a former Olympic medalist who is forced to flee the bomb-ravaged Austrian capital with his entire stable in tow; Gustav Rau, Hitler’s imperious chief of horse breeding, a proponent of eugenics who dreams of genetically engineering the perfect warhorse for Germany; and Tom Stewart, a senator’s son who makes a daring moonlight ride on a white stallion to secure the farm’s surrender.

A compelling account for animal lovers and World War II buffs alike, The Perfect Horse tells for the first time the full story of these events. Elizabeth Letts’s exhilarating tale of behind-enemy-lines adventure, courage, and sacrifice brings to life one of the most inspiring chapters in the annals of human valor.

My Review

**QUICK INFO: I do my best not to have spoilers, but I will warn you I may accidentally have them in my review.**

HORSES! I knew the minute I saw the title I had to read this book. I love horses & this book didn’t disappoint. You follow the trail & timeline of beautiful purebred horses through out the World War II. From the horses caretakers to the amazingly dangerous rescue of those horses. You may find the book to be slow in the beginning, but even slow it keeps your attention & makes you want to know what happened.

Elizabeth Letts does a wonderful job telling you the history of these beautiful horses & the reasons why the US rescued them. You will want to cry & scream for happiness multiple times in this book. I even was a little concerned about whether the US was going to be able to rescue the horses on time or not. It was a mild emotional roller coaster at times.


I received this book from Net Galley for this review.


Marie Antoinette’s Darkest Days

Marie Antoinette's Darkest Days by Will Bashor

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This compelling book begins on the 2nd of August 1793, the day Marie Antoinette was torn from her family’s arms and escorted from the Temple to the Conciergerie, a thick-walled fortress turned prison. It was also known as the “waiting room for the guillotine” because prisoners only spent a day or two here before their conviction and subsequent execution. The ex-queen surely knew her days were numbered, but she could never have known that two and a half months would pass before she would finally stand trial and be convicted of the most ungodly charges.

Will Bashor traces the final days of the prisoner registered only as Widow Capet, No. 280, a time that was a cruel mixture of grandeur, humiliation, and terror. Marie Antoinette’s reign amidst the splendors of the court of Versailles is a familiar story, but her final imprisonment in a fetid, dank dungeon is a little-known coda to a once-charmed life. Her seventy-six days in this terrifying prison can only be described as the darkest and most horrific of the fallen queen’s life, vividly recaptured in this richly researched history.

Will Bashor is the author of the award-winning Marie Antoinette’s Head: The Royal Hairdresser, the Queen, and the Revolution. He holds a doctorate in International Studies from the American Graduate School in Paris and is professor of global issues at Franklin University.

My Review

**QUICK INFO: I do my best not to have spoilers, but I will warn you I may accidentally have them in my review.**

I love historical books though I do have a hard time getting into some of them. This historical book I had no problem. Will Bashor uses a novel style writing that makes reading them an enjoyment instead of feeling like you are back in school.

Marie Antoinette has always been a historical figure that I have enjoyed learning more about. I found this book to be very enjoyable yet very informative. I do recommend reading it if you like this era in history. Will Bashor provided a lot of easy to follow information about Marie Antoinette’s time in the Conciergerie.

Personally, I find what the French people did to her was horrible. Though what the royalty did to them was horrible also. It was a no-win situation that neither party could win. Each party felt that they were in the right, yet neither one was. I realize that people will not agree with me on this, but it is my opinion.

I would say read this book if you like Marie Antoinette and/or this time era. Will Bashor is a wonderful writer.


I received this book from Net Galley for this review.


Book Review: The Mask

The Mask by Taylor Stevens

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“Munroe is a sensational character and Stevens is a sensational writer.” —Lee Child, New York Times bestselling author of the Jack Reacher series

For fans of Lee Child, Terry Hayes, and Laura Lippman comes a blistering thriller in which Vanessa Michael Munroe faces the fight of her life

Vanessa Michael Munroe, chameleon and information hunter, has a reputation for getting things done: dangerous and not quite legal things that have taken her undercover into some of the world’s deadliest places. Still healing from a Somali hijacking gone wrong and a brutal attack that left her near death, Munroe joins her lover, Miles Bradford, in Japan where he’s working as a security consultant protecting high-value technology from industrial espionage. In the domesticity of their routine she finds long sought-after peace—until Bradford is arrested for murder, and the same interests who targeted him come after her, too.
Searching for answers and fighting to stay alive, Munroe will soon discover how far she’ll go to save Bradford from spending the next twenty years in locked-up isolation; how many laws she’ll break when the truth seems worse than his lies; and who to trust and who she must kill. Because she’s a strategist and hunter with a predator’s instincts, and the man she loves has just stabbed her in the back.
With break-neck pacing, incendiary prose, and an unforgettable cast of characters, The Mask features Vanessa Michael Munroe: a brilliant, lethal heroine who will stop at nothing to find the truth, no matter what it may cost.

My Review

**QUICK INFO: I do my best not to have spoilers, but I will warn you I may accidentally have them in my review.**

I got this book cause it kept popping out at me almost as if to say, “Read me! I am a suspense novel & you know you enjoy those.” So I got it & in some ways I am very happy that I got it & will continue to look for books by Taylor Stevens & in other ways really sad I go it. Let me explain.

I am picky about how I read books. If the book is part of a series, even if you don’t need to read the series in order, I have to ready them in order. I have always been that way. Even my favorite series of books, just because I only feel the desire to read book three of that series, I start at book one & read till I finish the series.

When I picked out this book I did not do the normal “look up” I do for all new authors to make sure this was not a series book. I didn’t even do the “look up” until about chapter three when Taylor Stevens referenced something that happened previously & even though she explained the issues behind it the tone of the writing told me that something was missing. So I went online & found out that this book is actually number five in the series. Jaw dropped, I couldn’t believe that i had missed four other books & a novella in the series.

The story line & characters are wonderful, but I honestly think that if I had read it in series order I would have enjoyed it a lot more & I probably would have enjoyed it a lot more. I struggled to read the book & so it took quite a while to actually read it. I am tempted to leave this review as a placeholder & then go back & read the entire series to see if I change my mind. I don’t know thought. The book was good, but it isn’t high on my “want to read it” list. It just didn’t pull me into the book like I enjoy. So I can not say or recommend this book as one that you have to read.


I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.


Book Review: By Helen’s Hand

By Helen's Hand by Amalia Carosella

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Helen believed she could escape her destiny and save her people from utter destruction. After defying her family and betraying her intended husband, she found peace with her beloved Theseus, the king of Athens and son of Poseidon.

But peace did not last long. Cruelly separated from Theseus by the gods, and uncertain whether he will live or die, Helen is forced to return to Sparta. In order to avoid marriage to Menelaus, a powerful prince unhinged by desire, Helen assembles an array of suitors to compete for her hand. As the men circle like vultures, Helen dreams again of war—and of a strange prince, meant to steal her away. Every step she takes to protect herself and her people seems to bring destruction nearer. Without Theseus’s strength to support her, can Helen thwart the gods and stop her nightmare from coming to pass?

My Review

**QUICK INFO: I do my best not to have spoilers, but I will warn you I may accidentally have them in my review.**

This book was a pick up cause I LOVE Mythology lore. It was a major help that it was Greek Mythology which is my favorite. The book tells the story of Helen from Helen’s point of view. Trust me, in all my reading the author’s make Helen out to be some vain childish woman. This book did not do that. Helen was a strong independent woman in this telling. The things she had to do & handle just to survive & try to avoid war was amazing. If you like stories about strong independent women then I recommend this book.

I didn’t realize that it was number two in a series. Amalia Carosella does a very good job of providing you with enough background that you can read this book without reading the first one. I would imagine that if you read the first one {Helen of Sparta (Helen of Sparta #1)} you would get the back line story a lot quicker, but it isn’t necessary.


I received this book from Net Gallery for this review.