Mini-Reviews – End of 2014 Reading part 2

Dinner: A Love Story: It All Begins at the Family TableDinner: A Love Story: It All Begins at the Family Table by Jenny Rosenstrach
Published by Ecco

Blogger Jenny Rosenstrach has finally decided to put together the story of how she came to be the incredible cook she is, why she values family dinner time so much, and how the average person with a million things to do and a job and a life and kids can make it happen, too.

I feel like it’s not even fair for me to review this book because I haven’t actually cooked anything from it (yet) but I LOVED it so much that I have to share it with all of you! There’s a lot more to this book than family recipes – although there are a ton of those, of course. It’s full of advice and helpful hints and tips and tricks and ways to simplify cooking and dinner so that it’s doable for any family of any size and any level of busyness. Also, the author tells her own story, allowing the reader to get to know Rosenstrach herself – and she seems like a pretty awesome person, I must tell you. I unfortunately got this from the library and had to return it before I could cook something from it, but I plan to check it out again very soon and make something. All of her recipes are in the easy-to-medium range and I feel confident that I can make just about anything in this book. I’m very excited to try something!

Without You, There Is No Us: My Time with the Sons of North Korea's EliteWithout You, There Is No Us: My Time With the Sons of North Korea’s Elite by Suki Kim
Published by Crown
Review copy provided by Netgalley

Journalist Suki Kim went undercover as a missionary/teacher at one of North Korea’s most exclusive and elite universities, Pyongyang University of Science and Technology, for six months. Her memoir of her time there is fascinating and incredibly sad. I am honestly shocked and baffled that there is a country in the world, that RIGHT NOW, is this way. These people are so repressed, so completely in servitude to their Dear Leader, so unknowledgable about the world around them, it truly baffles the mind. I don’t have much to say about this one other than that it should be required reading for anyone who cares at all about the world, and please read it for yourself to understand what I mean. Craziness, folks, is what this is.

A Share in Death (Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James, #1)A Share in Death by Deborah Crombie
Published by Avon

This book is the first in a long series about Scottish detectives Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James. Everyone raves about this series so I thought I’d finally give it a try. A Share in Death takes place at a vacation cottage where Kincaid is trying to relax and take his mind off work, when a gentleman who works there is killed, and of course Kincaid can’t help but get involved in trying to solve the murder.

I liked this book well enough but wasn’t wowed by it. I think because so many people LOVE this series I was expecting a little more. It was your average mystery to me, nothing too special. I liked the characters, though, and I can see how there will be chemistry between Kincaid and James going forward, so I may continue with the series at some point. It’s just disappointing when you go into a book expecting to be blown away and it doesn’t happen.

12 thoughts on “Mini-Reviews – End of 2014 Reading part 2”

    1. Thank you for telling me that – perhaps I will try another one of her books. I just like to read ENTIRE series’ so it’s difficult for me to pick up in the middle somewhere…

  1. I agree with what Jill says above. I think it takes most authors a while to get their feet completely under them regarding writing style, etc. The Crombie series is one that improves book by book, in my opinion. One thing that I love is the continued growth of the characters. And the author also includes some really interesting aspects of British life and history, particularly in London, along with the mysteries. I was at a book event once and the author I was listening to was promoting her 5th or 6th book in a series. She actually told us not to read the 1st book. She said she cringed because she felt her writing had improved so much. 🙂

    1. I’ve actually heard similar things about a few other prolific authors! I just figured it would be smart to start with the first book … but it seems like not, in this case!

  2. Yeah, the Suki Kim book was really fascinating and strange. Did you read Barbara Demick’s Nothing to Envy? It lets you see another side of life in North Korea — not the privileged sons of the elite, but the really really really poor people. It’s fascinating and sad too. I recommend it if you haven’t read it yet.

    1. YES I read Nothing to Envy years ago and it scared the shit out of me. I actually think that’s the first book I read about North Korea and it just shocked me so much how it’s even possible for a country to be that way. You’re right – fascinating and very sad.

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