Perfect Touch

By: Elizabeth Lowell

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Perfect Touch was exactly what you would expect from this genre. There was some “romance” (read a lot of tension and some steamy scenes) and there was a murder mystery to be solved. You can pretty easily figure out the bad guys and the motive, but the book was still an entertaining read. The heroine, Sara, is an art dealer, which makes for a pretty interesting read when she is talking about the paintings that are at the center of the book. It really makes you wish you could actually see the painting. The hero, Jay, is a strapping cowboy type who is stereotypical, but that works in the context of the story and the setting of Jackson, Wyoming.

It is a really beautiful place and it was interesting to read about the ranch and the paintings and the painter that Jay’s father supported. The one thing I didn’t like was that the author kept making really meager attempts to make us believe that Sara and Jay wouldn’t end up together. It just seemed kind of unnecessary.

Perfect Touch


Swimming Lessons

By: Claire Fuller

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In Swimming Lessons, we alternated between the story of two women coming together to take care of their ill father and letters written by their mother to their father when he was absent from their family. The story mostly takes place on a small island where the father, Gil has lived his whole life and where he wrote the one book that was a success. The book was actually an idea stolen from the girls mother, Ingrid.

Through the story and the letters we see a picture of a marriage that didn’t quite work, as both partners left it at some point. For Gil, he took off only to return much later, for Ingrid, she may or may not have drowned herself. Flora, the younger child, believes that both her parents were perfect and thinks her mother is still alive. The story is mostly about Ingrid, even though she is absent for most of the story.

The story is very well written. I love the addition of the books. Gil collects used books because he loves the things people leave behind in them. The letters that we read from Ingrid are all left behind in used books for Gil to find or not, she doesn’t seem to expect them to be found. It’s a lovely story that does end quite abruptly.

This book was a Book of the Month Club selection. Click here to join Book of The Month Club.

Behind Her Eyes

By: Sarah Pinborough

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What is worse than finding out that the guy you hooked up with at the bar last night is your new boss? Finding out that is wife is crazy! This is exactly what happens to Louise, a single London mom. After discovering the secret of the man in the bar, David, she secretly befriends the wife, Adele.

Becoming more and more entangled in what seems to be an abusive marriage, Louise finds that she can’t stay away from either one of them. She finds herself falling in love with David, while at the same time, Adele is helping her get in shape and get control over her night terrors.

The twists and turns in the plot make it kind of hard to really like any of the characters, but that is what makes it a really well written psychological thriller. The ending will throw you for a loop, even if it is a little unbelievable.

A Curious Beginning (Veronica Speedwell #1)

By: Deanna Raybourn

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We get introduced to Veronica when she is fleeing the house where she lived with her elderly “aunts” until their deaths. After the house is broken into and the intruder seems intent on kidnapping Veronica, she is whisked away by a mysterious Baron who insists that she is in mortal danger.

Veronica is a bold, young lady who enjoys adventuring and traveling all over the world in search of butterfly specimens, the selling of which is her source of income. She creates her own outfits that include hidden weapons, pockets and very intricate hats.

Veronica and the Baron arrive in London, where she is left with our second main character, Mr. Stoker. These two are great together. Mr. Stoker is hiding a checkered past and lives in a warehouse with his dog, where he also taxidermys animal specimens that he collects. Their conversations are wonderful reading. They have great arguments.

After the introduction of the characters leads up to the death of the baron, the books picks up speed and never lets up. It is a very entertaining read and I certainly look forward to the next book in the series.

Shylock is My Name

By: Howard Jacobson

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I really wish I could start this off by saying how intelligent this book was and how it changed my world view and some more really smart things, but that would just be a lie. In truth, I didn’t even finish the book. I started several times and most recently almost made it to the middle of the book.

I enjoy Shakespeare so I was looking forward to reading this modern day version of A Merchant in Venice. Maybe this play is just not meant to make it to modern times. Amidst all of the talk of persecution of Jews and how hard it is to raise daughters, there was just not much else going on.

The writing, while very eloquent, was hard to follow and choppy. Unless the subject matter really interests you, I cannot suggest picking this one up.

I received a free copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for this honest review.

This entry was posted in Books.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

By: JK Rowling

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After the horrific experience that was The Cursed Child, I had hopes that Fantastic Beasts would be back on the right track. I was not disappointed. I have not seen the movie yet, I wanted to read the book (or screenplay) before I went to see the movie. I am really glad that I did it in the right order. Screenplays are always a little hard to follow and I am not quite sure how this will make a whole movie, it seemed to be pretty short. However, after reading through the screenplay, I can’t wait to see it come alive on the screen.

Expanding the magical world that she has created, Fantastic Beasts takes place in New York City. Newt Scamander has brought his beloved creatures with him in a suitcase, but when some of them escape, it is bedlum. A MACUSA (the American equivalent of the Ministry of Magic) official joins Newt in his hunt along with an unsuspecting Muggle (or No-Maj as they are known in the US).

It really made me want to see the movie now. The story was fun and fast paced. There wasn’t the depth of character development that we have with our favorite Harry Potter characters, but this is the first time we have met them. The beasts in the case carried by the main character Newt, are the best part of the book. I can’t wait to see what they look like in the movie. They seem to have such fun personalities, I almost like them better than the people in the books.

Not quite a page turner, since the screenplay format is a little clunky. Still a great read if you are a Potterhead!

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter, #4)

Tradd Street Series- Part 3

Learn to Cook 25 Southern Classics 3 Ways

Traditional, Contemporary and International

By: Jennifer Brule

Brule made all of the themed appetizers for the cocktail party on the opening night of Tradd Street Weekend. There were Nola’s Lowcountry Shrimp, Ginnette’s pimento cheese biscuits and my favorite, James Middleton’s Charleston Corn Chowder. While some were better than others, they were all very interesting taste combinations. And we all know, Charleston is famous for it’s food.

Later in the weekend, we spent some time at the Buxton Books shop and they had copies of her new cookbook. It sounded like a very interesting concept. She takes southern cooking classics, such as mac and cheese or Coconut cake and gives a recipe for how to make the original and then two more recipes, one of which gives the classic a makeover, mostly healthier and using today’s hip ingredients. The second give the dish some international flair, think Chicken Fried Steak with lime and cilantro.

I decided to take the book home and give it a try. I made one of the recipes and my husband made one. They were both really easy to make and had simple ingredients. Just what you would expect from southern cooking.

We made classic Chicken Fried Steak. It seemed to turn out just like it should, but I am not a huge chicken fried steak person so I may not be the best judge of the flavor. Then we moved to the cobbler section. The contemporary version of the fruit cobbler, was vegetable cobbler with a quinoa crust. It wasn’t as easy as I would have hoped to half the recipe and it didn’t turn out quite like it was supposed to, but was still yummy.

The one problem I had with the cook book is the pictures. They just weren’t very appetizing. It could just be that the dishes are not as pretty as some, but I always expect the pictures in the book to look better than what ends up coming out of my oven.

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