goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: The School of Essential Ingredients
Author: Erica Bauermeister
Genre: Foodie
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 261
Date read: July, 2014

Once a month, eight students gather in Lillian's restaurant for a cooking class. Among them is Claire, a young woman coming to terms with her new identity as a mother; Tom, a lawyer whose life has been overturned by loss; Antonia, an Italian kitchen designer adapting to life in America; and Carl and Helen, a long-married couple whose union contains surprises the rest of the class would never suspect...

The students have come to learn the art behind Lillian's soulful dishes, but it soon becomes clear that each seeks a recipe for something beyond the kitchen. And soon they are transformed by the aromas, flavors, and textures of what they create.

Not quite as good as "Joy for Beginners", but I still really enjoyed it. Apparently I like short-stories more if they're disguised as a novel ;)

A charming book, even if I did care more about some of the characters than others, and it almost made me want to take up cooking classes myself :)
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Written in My Own Heart's Blood (Outlander #8)
Author: Diana Gabaldon
Genre: Historical fiction
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 814
Date read: July, 2014

In June of 1778, the world turns upside-down. The British army withdraws from Philadelphia, George Washington prepares to move from Valley Forge in pursuit, and Jamie Fraser comes back from the dead to discover that his best friend has married Jamie's wife. The ninth Earl of Ellesmere discovers to his horror that he is in fact the illegitimate son of the newly-resurrected Jamie Fraser (a rebel _and_ a Scottish criminal!) and Jamie's nephew Ian Murray discovers that his new-found cousin has an eye for Ian's Quaker betrothed.

Meanwhile, Claire Fraser deals with an asthmatic duke, Benedict Arnold, and the fear that one of her husbands may have murdered the other. And in the 20th century, Jamie and Claire's daughter Brianna is thinking that things are probably easier in the 18th century: her son has been kidnapped, her husband has disappeared into the past, and she's facing a vicious criminal with nothing but a stapler in her hand. Fortunately, her daughter has a miniature cricket bat and her mother's pragmatism.

It took a while to get started, and some of the events in the first 200'ish pages really bugged me... spoiler ), but once it took off, it took off with a vengeance, and I read the last 400 pages in 2 days.

But it is a testament to Gabaldon's writing that even though it took awhile for the plot to line up with my expectations of the plot, I never once considered giving up on it. She would benefit from having a more strict editor though... some of her detours didn't seem altogether necessary.

I loved that - despite everything - Gabaldon was less harsh on her darlings in this book than in many of the previous ones. No, life wasn't easy, but it did serve as a bit of a breather compared to e.g. Fiery Cross.

Did she tie up the loose ends from the last book in a satisfying way? Yes, I think she did. Did she leave me wanting more? Absolutely! Granted, it didn't end with a cliffhanger the way An Echo in the Bone did, but it did leave me thinking "Ooooooh!!! I want to know what happens next!!!" ... but in a good way :) I loved the way it ended :)

In the end, I think this has been her best book in awhile. I thought #7 better than #5 and 6, and I found this better than #7! So that's saying something, at least :) According to her website, this is the penultimate book... we'll see :)
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Heads in Beds
Author: Jacob Tomsky
Genre: Memoir
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 320
Date read: July, 2014

Jacob Tomsky never intended to go into the hotel business. As a new college graduate, armed only with a philosophy degree and a singular lack of career direction, he became a valet parker for a large luxury hotel in New Orleans. Yet, rising fast through the ranks, he ended up working in "hospitality" for more than a decade, doing everything from supervising the housekeeping department to manning the front desk at an upscale Manhattan hotel. He's checked you in, checked you out, separated your white panties from the white bed sheets, parked your car, tasted your room-service meals, cleaned your toilet, denied you a late checkout, given you a wake-up call, eaten M&Ms out of your minibar, laughed at your jokes, and taken your money. In Heads in Beds he pulls back the curtain to expose the crazy and compelling reality of a multi-billion-dollar industry we think we know.

I always love these "behind the scenes" memoirs, and this was no different. I found it interesting to learn more about the internal workings of hotels, and am somehow not surprised that there's so much hustling going on.

It did have a bunch of trips for weary travelers - some more kosher than others though.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Knitting Rules!
Author: Stephanie Pearl-McPhee
Genre: Non-fiction, Craft
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 224
Date read: November, 2013

Both a celebration of knitting and a sourcebook for practical information, this book is a collection of useful advice and emotional support for the knitter. Pearl-McPhee examines essential truisms of knitting, side by side with tongue in-cheek warnings, realities, and fantasies about the act of knitting and the people who do it.

In chapters on everything from yarn needles, gauge, and knitting bag essentials to hats, socks, shawls, and sweaters, Pearl-McPhee unravels the mysteries of what it is that makes knitting click, from the inside out. She dares to question longstanding rules and uncover the true essence of what makes a hat a hat, a sock a sock, and so on. Insights into why certain techniques work encourage knitters to take control and knit in the way that works best for them. As she says, "There are no knitting police."

The result is an illuminating, liberating (and hilarious ) look at knitting that will comfort the experienced knitter, surprise the mainstream one, and entice the beginner.

No clue how really to describe this book... but I loved it - so go figure :) An exploration into knitting and while it rules while explaining knitting rules. Especially the chapters on sock and hat knitting is probably something I can use in the future if I dare attempt my hand at non-pattern knitting :)

Besides, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee really has a way with words. I've enjoyed everything I've read by her so far. Her passion for knitting jumps out from every page and reminds me that I'm not really as abnormal as all that ;)
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Witches in Flight (WitchLight Trilogy #3)
Author: Debora Geary
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 4.5/5
# pages: 413
Date read: July 2013, July 2014, February 2015

Ghosts from Lizard's past--and the man who wants to be her future.

The empty places in Elsie's soul--and the temptations of raspberry-laced courage.

Walk once more with Jennie's students as they come to the end of their WitchLight journeys.

The last book in the trilogy. While I liked the second one the best (oddly enough... usually that's the weakest in a trilogy), this one made for an utterly adorable read as well. I loved Josh, I loved his great-uncle, I loved all the members of Witch Central - witches and non-witches alike. I would have liked to see at least one non-witch be absolutely bowled over by the fact that witches exist though... they all seemed to take it pretty much in stride.

There's no real plot in this book, but the descriptions of friendship, community and self-discovery were an inspiration to read. I couldn't help but wish for a Witch Central in my own neighbourhood... even if they did get awfully meddlesome at times.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Witches Under Way (WitchLight Trilogy #2)
Author: Debora Geary
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 4.5/5
# pages: 419
Date read: July 2013, July 2014, February 2015

Lizard and Elsie are under way, but the WitchLight journey isn't an easy one.
- There are bumps and obstacles inside their own hearts.
- There are meddling witches, helpful knitters, and a fearsome duo with water pistols.
- And there is the greatest challenge of all... the one they will pick for each other.

I liked this even more than the first book in the trilogy. The first book was great, but it really mostly served to set the stage for this one. In this Elsie and Lizard got to soar... both figuratively and literally.

I laughed out loud on several occasions and had a lump in my throat more times than I can count - and more often than not the two happened at the same time... made for interesting bus reading, I'll tell you that! But the story isn't over yet, and I can't wait to see what happens next.

Oh, and I'm totally in love with Freddie :)
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Witches on Parole (WitchLight Trilogy #1)
Author: Debora Geary
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 4.5/5
# pages: 421
Date read: July 2013, July 2014, February 2015

World-famous (and now retired) photographer Jenvieve Adams has a debt to repay, and a soft spot for witches who have lost their way. Or so she thinks, until they actually show up.

Join some of the cast of characters from the very successful A Modern Witch series as they take on a new kind of journey as guides for WitchLight. What happens when an obsessive psychologist and a wordsmithing delinquent get dropped into Witch Central?

First book in this spin-off series to "A Modern Witch" and every bit as charming :) I didn't care much for Elsie (except when she started knitting! That got my fingers twitching as well :) ), but I simply adored Lizard. I also really liked seeing more of Lauren and Nat's lives outside WitchCentral. Lauren's especially. Her work as a realtor - especially once she realized she was a mind witch - fascinates me :)

Of course I'll jump straight on to the next book in the series - I could hardly do anything else :)
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: A Nomadic Witch (A Modern Witch #4)
Author: Debora Geary
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 263
Date read: May 2013, July 2014, February 2015

Spring brings a traveler to Nova Scotia - a tiny babe who will turn Marcus's life upside down and reincarnate the horrifying events of his past.

Can Marcus find his way through the pain to love and healing? And can the witching community finally learn to keep their astral travelers safe?

We're back in Nova Scotia, and this time it's Marcus, rather than a "fetched" witch, who is the main character of the book.

Unlike the other books in the series, I wouldn't really call this a feel-good book. It's still a great read, but absolutely heart-wrenching in places. I commend Debora Geary though. She could easily have taken the easy way out with some of her choices, but she stuck to the hard truth, which I think strengthened the story.

It did make me sit and sob into my Kindle at times though.

But a terrific read nonetheless. I'll definitely be purchasing the later books in the series as well as some of the "inbetween" ones.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: A Reckless Witch (A Modern Witch #3)
Author: Debora Geary
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 4.5/5
# pages: 304
Date read: May 2013, July 2014, February 2015

As a child, Sierra Brighton traveled the world. She swam with the baby whales, danced in storm funnels, and lived in complete magical freedom. And then Momma died and Sierra ended up in foster care, an unhappy and very secret witch.

Fetched by Nell's spell, she'll no longer need to do magic on lonely beaches - but can Sierra learn to use her power safely? Or will her reckless blood put Witch Central at risk?

I'm seriously in love with this series :) For this one we're back in California, and I think I might like that setting a tiny bit more - although with Net-travelling it hardly makes much of a difference any longer.

Sierra is such a sweet witch, and the love the others show her - not to mention their easy way of immediately adopting her, just when she needed it the most - brought tears to my eyes on more than one occasion. I especially loved Devin and wish we could have seen more of his and Lauren's relationship.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)

Title: Kun ét liv ("Only One Life")
Author: Sara Blædel
Genre: Suspense
Rating: 8/10
# pages: 350
Date read: July 2007, July 2014

A young immigrant-girl is found murdered and Louise Rick joins the team working on the case. Shortly after the team have another murder case on their hands, but is it the same killer?

Samra is from Jordan and attends 9th grade in Holbaek. She has Danish friends, but otherwise lives according to the guidelines set by her family.

The police is immediately put on the case of finding Samra's killer, and they spend a lot of time pressuring her family as they fear it may be a case of 'honour killing' as Samra is suspected of having a Danish boyfriend, and often sneaked out of the house to meet her Danish friends.

Samra's father and brother are arrested, but it's only when Samra's mother starts talking that the case starts to move forward.

The third book in the series of the female detective, Louise Rick. Fast-moving and fascinating story, and full of twists and turns where half are believable and the other half unfortunately a tad too far-fetched. Still, it's an interesting book, especially because of the insight into so-called "honour killings".

It took me a surprisingly long time to read this the second time through. I enjoyed it well enough while reading it, but it was just far too easy to put aside. Finally I got stubborn and decided just to push through and finish.


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