Monday, August 31, 2015

The Part-Time Vegetarian by Nicola Graimes

Title: The Part-Time Vegetarian: Flexible Recipes to go (Nearly) Meat-Free

Author: Nicola Graimes

Published: Duncan Baird Publishers, May 2015

Pages: 224

Summary: The popularity of the part-time vegetarian (flexitarian) diet—one that is largely vegetarian but occasionally includes poultry, meat and seafood—is growing. As meat and fish become more and more expensive and the health benefits of a vegetarian diet become better-known, The Part-Time Vegetarian taps into a growing trend of flexitarian eating. Rather than meat or fish taking center stage, the recipes in this book showcase under-used vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, eggs and dairy foods—and show just how delicious and varied this way of eating can be. 

Organized by meal type, the book features chapters on Breakfasts & Brunches, Light Meals, Weekday Dinners, Weekend Cooking, Food for Sharing, and Something Sweet. The recipes are all vegetarian, but the majority include a Part-Time Variation, showing you how to include meat or fish if the occasion calls for it. It’s the perfect book for the casual vegetarian looking for a nutritious and environmentally intelligent way to eat, for those who want to cater to a vegetarian, or the committed vegetarian who wants to try new recipes. The Part-Time Vegetarian makes vegetarian eating something anyone can do.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts:  Lately I have been interested in exploring new foods and one pathway has lead me into vegetarian meals.  I'm not a vegetarian but I would like to incorporate more vegetarian meals into my diet.  So when I spotted this book I thought it would be a good one to have a flick through.

One really good thing about this book is that while the base recipes are vegetarian, there are also alterations for dishes that include meat so that you can change things up depending on what you feel like as well as who you're cooking for.

There are so many amazing colour photos in this book that bring the recipes to life and just look so amazing.  Looking through this book made me so hungry because the pictures just look so good.

I will admit that sometimes I feel a bit weary about cookbooks just in case they're filled with a bunch of foods I'll never make because they look like something I wouldn't eat, or they have all these ingredients I've never heard of and don't expect to be able to find easily.  I feel as though The Part-Time Vegetarian contains mostly foods I want to eat with ingredients that I can actually find.  There are a couple of ingredients that sound odd but there are explanations about what these are and substitutions that can be made.

Overall, I thought The Part-Time Vegetarian was a good cookbook, filled with recipes that I definitely want to try out.  So I would definitely say that The Part-Time Vegetarian is a good cookbook to have in any collection.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Red Rain by R. L. Stine

Title: Red Rain

Author: R. L. Stine

Published: Touchstone, October 2012

Pages: 371

Summary: Travel writer Lea Sutter finds herself on a small island off the coast of South Carolina, the wrong place at the wrong time. A merciless, unanticipated hurricane cuts a path of destruction through the island and Lea barely escapes with her life.

In the storm’s aftermath, she discovers two orphaned boys – twins. Filled with a desire to do something to help, to make something good of all she witnessed, Lea impulsively decides to adopt them. The boys, Samuel and Daniel, seem amiable and immensely grateful; Lea’s family back on Long Island – husband Mark, a child psychologist, and their two children, Ira and Elena – aren’t quite so pleased. But even they can’t anticipate the twins’ true nature – or predict that, within a few weeks’ time, Mark will wind up implicated in two brutal murders, with the police narrowing in.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: After having read Goosebumps and Fear Street when I was younger I was interested in reading an adult novel by R. L. Stine.  I honestly didn't have the highest expectations for this book though because it was on clearance when I bought it and it was fairly new when I bought it too.

I feel as though this book was pretty dull for the most part.  I would read a few pages and then sit the book down because I was bored.  I felt like apart from the very beginning it took until almost 150 pages into the book to actually get to anything slightly gory.

If I wasn't reading this book, not only for entertainment but also as research into what horror novels are like and to get a feel for the genre I would have put this book down.  I have to say that this book gave me some ideas about how not to write a horror novel, or at least it told me what I didn't like in a horror novel, which is good.

There were so many cliches in this book that I had to keep rolling my eyes whenever something new came up.  I felt like the majority of the book was extremely predictable because of this.  I have to say that I did get one surprise as there was one thing I didn't see coming but to be fair that was probably because I kept losing my focus on the book because I found it to be pretty dull.

Sadly, this did not at all live up to the Goosebumps and Fear Street stories that used to scare me.  I don't like to be so hard on this book, but really it just wasn't that great.  I can see why I managed to get it so cheaply now.  It just was not a book for me.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Martian by Andy Weir

Title: The Martian

Author: Andy Weir

Published: Crown, 2014

Pages: 369

Summary: Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him & forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded & completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—& even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment or plain-old "human error" are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—& a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: I have been interested in reading this book for a little while now and with the movie coming out soon, I figured that I should read the book before I see the movie.

The book starts off right in the action and the book pretty much stays in that mode of everything needs to be done, and done very carefully but accurately.  The whole book had this really intense vibe to it and the sense of urgency feels very real.

I enjoyed Mark Watney's voice, he's in this really crazy predicament yet he manages to sound humorous and can sometimes make light of the situation.  I think that's basically the best way to be able to cope in his situation and I felt as though Mark Watney's humour made me feel just that little bit better about his situation even though, it was pretty intense.

The book has quite a lot of technical speak and I thought this was really interesting, quite a big part of the book is Mark Watney doing calculations about how he can survive because in his case everything has to be accurate and there is no room for error.

Overall, I quite enjoyed The Martian, it was really entertaining and a highly intriguing read.  I don't want to say much more than that because really it's a book that people should read.

Monday, August 24, 2015

The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson

Title: The Hero of Ages

Author: Brandon Sanderson

Published: Gollancz, 2010

Pages: 724

Series: Book 3, Mistborn

Summary: May contain spoilers! Tricked into releasing the evil spirit Ruin while attempting to close the Well of Ascension, new emperor Elend Venture and his wife, the assassin Vin, are now hard-pressed to save the world.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: I love Brandon Sanderson's writing and am working on reading all of his books. I have to say that the Mistborn series is my least favourite of his books' and this is just because it has more of a focus on politics than the others and I feel as though I have already heard so much about the magic system from other people that it just doesn't feel as special any more.

That being said, I am still thoroughly enjoying the Mistborn series.  I feel as though my thoughts on this book are going to be quite short as this is the third book and so it's the conclusion of this trilogy so I really don't want to give too much away.

This book has a lot more action scenes and while I don't usually like those scenes so much, I feel like Brandon Sanderson does a good job of making battle scenes being interesting and well worth reading.

In terms of the ending I felt like while I didn't guess who the ending would involve I did have some ideas that it would go that way.  Although I have to say, I would have preferred The Hero of Ages to be someone else but who it was, is also someone I was happy with.

The Hero of Ages was a good book and I always enjoy reading Brandon Sanderson's books.  I'm glad that the magic system did have more depth than what other people had described it to be and I am very much excited to continue on with the series.  I'm looking forward to reading The Alloy of Law in anticipation of the next book coming out later this year.

Friday, August 21, 2015

By Cook or by Crook by Maya Corrigan

Title: By Cook or by Crook

Author: Maya Corrigan

Published: Kensington, 2014

Pages: 310

Series: Book 1, A Five-Ingredient Mystery

Summary: Take one burned-out city girl. Add a crusty codger, a dash of romance, and a twist of humor. Stir in a generous helping of murder, and you’ve got the ingredients for one truly delicious mystery ...

Haunted by the car accident that ended her career as a cookbook publicist, Val Deniston has traded in the chaos of New York City for a quieter life near the Chesapeake Bay. Living with her curmudgeonly grandfather in the tourist town of Bayport is hardly glamorous, but she enjoys running the Cool Down CafĂ© at the local fitness club, and she finally has time to work on her long-planned cookbook. After a club patron is murdered, Val cooks up a scheme to find the killer who framed her best friend. While Val investigates five suspects and uncovers five key clues, Granddad takes up cooking, creating havoc in the kitchen even when trying recipes that have only five ingredients.   (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: I am absolutely loving cosy mysteries right now and so I have been trying out different series' to see which ones I enjoy enough to keep reading.  I'm finding that I really love the cosy mysteries that have a food theme to go along with it.

I had a lot of fun reading By Cook or by Crook.  The food theme throughout the book was really good and it left me feeling pretty hungry by the end.  Luckily, there are recipes in the back for the foods mentioned in the book and I am definitely going to be trying a couple of them because they sound so good.

The mystery aspect of the book was really interesting and I was left flying through the pages trying to sift through the clues along with Val to try and get to the bottom of the mystery.  I felt like there were just so many clues and so many different angles at play here that I loved every minute of it.  There was never a dull moment and practically everyone was a suspect in some way.  I have to say that I didn't quite guess who the murderer was but I think in the end I had made a good effort.

Overall, I really loved reading By Cook or by Crook, I thought it was a really fun and interesting cosy mystery and I am definitely looking forward to reading the next book in the series.