Thursday, May 3, 2018

Romance!






Ah, romance. Quite a few serious readers scorn the romance genre as poorly written. But in the novel Frenchman's Creek, Daphne Du Maurier gives us great writing as well as romance. Dona, a noblewoman of the 18th century is feeling confined and weary by the relentless social life she has in London. On a whim she escapes to her family's country house along with her two children. Here, in beautiful countryside she feels peace and contentment. She also meets a Frenchman, a pirate who has been terrorizing the countryside. Both feel an immediate connection. There is love, adventure and a killing...  Du Maurier explores the themes of escape and women's lives when they don't live up to social conventions. The ending is bittersweet, both characters being deeply changed by their encounter. The descriptions of the Cornwall coast are wonderfully evocative. ML

Monday, April 23, 2018

Mostly Healthy



Maybe just me, but if I am reading a cookbook and there are too many ingredients I either don't know or have to shop at a special store for, I won't cook the dish. Healthyish, the new cookbook by Lindsay Maitland Hunt, is not that book. Filled with simple and appealing foods, this book is tailored for cooks seeking a more balanced diet. In chapters for breakfasts, lunches, dinners, snacks, and more, Hunt employs an impressive range of time-saving techniques that minimize prep and cleanup. Dishes such as cozy bean and egg skillet for two, kimchi-fried faro, and one-pan crispy chicken with herbed potatoes make smart use of staples such as precooked grains, canned beans, and rotisserie chicken. Recipes for "go-to" components such as compound butters and quick pickles make it easy to jazz up everyday meals like salads and toast. Whether you like to leave cooking till the last minute or enjoy whipping up a big batch of something to eat throughout the week, this book will serve you well!  ML

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Marry in Scandal


Anne Gracie books are quite enjoyable. Her writings are exquisite, and the secondary characters are usually as delightful as the lead couple. Marry in Scandal is the second book in the Marriage of Convenience series, and it is fine as a stand-alone. The story of Lily and Edward is strong enough to carry the book without knowing all the back story.

I absolutely loved the way the author brought Edward around to recognizing his love for Lily. Even when he is determined to protect her tender heart from his callous one, he is vulnerable to her charms and can't keep himself away. Lily was a fantastic heroine and I found myself rooting for her every step of the way. *JK*

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Working from home



Growing numbers of us work not only from home, but from anywhere; job flexibility has become key for employers and workers alike. This, in turn, has created new challenges for architects and designers--many of whom are themselves working from home--who are creating innovative solutions that allow clients to transform their spaces for a wide range of needs, from multifunctional studios to homes that seamlessly combine work and family life.Divided into five thematic sections, Home Work by Anna Yudina explores the exciting variety of ways that the workplace can be integrated into the domestic environment without overwhelming it. From stand- alone furniture to mobile room dividers and dynamic solutions that fold out or pop up to create new work areas, each design addresses the unique needs of the space and client, and tackles the challenges of the rapidly evolving relationship between work and domestic life in the twenty-first century.This essential and timely resource both for telecommuters and designers redefining "workspace" offers fresh ideas for how to strike the perfect balance between living and working at home.

The Human Condition


 In Happiness, the new novel from Aminetta Forna, the human condition is indeed explored. This elegant novel from Forna (The Memory of Love) opens with a chance encounter: Ghanaian psychiatrist Attila Asare and American urban wildlife biologist Jean Turane collide while walking across London's Waterloo Bridge. Normally dispatched to war zones for his expertise in post-traumatic stress disorder, Attila is in town to speak at a conference. Jean lives there and researches the city's foxes. After a second encounter on the bridge, Attila offers to buy Jean a drink at his hotel bar and reveals that he had a secondary reason to come to London: to locate the teenage son of a friend who might have been swept up by immigration officials. Jean volunteers to help and eventually organizes a search to find the young runaway. A diverse cast of supporting characters (many of whom are West African immigrants) and Forna's rich descriptions of London give the novel a strong sense of place. . With their professional expertise and contemplative personalities, the main characters offer wisdom on the nature of cruelty, the fear of the untamable, and the challenge of defining normality. ML

Saturday, March 24, 2018

A Rogue of Her Own


A Rogue of Her Own is the fourth book in the Windham Brides series by Grace Burrowes. Although part of a series it can easily be read as a standalone, but it is nice to catch up with characters from the previous stories.

Charlotte is the last of the unmarried Windham women. But you know that won't last long. Sherbourne, who was a bit of a villain in the previous book, "No Other Duke Will Do" turns out to have fascinating depth, intelligence and a handful of insecurities that attract the prickly Miss Windham. Very outspoken and not suffering fools lightly, she is very attracted to this self-made, wealthy commoner. As Charlotte's past is revealed, a sad reason for her bitterness becomes turning point in their relationship. *JK*

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Mini Murders


If you enjoy thrilling short stories, pick up Sleep No More: Six Murderous Tales by the late P.D. James. She lives up to her title as the English “Queen of Crime” in these deceptively crafty short sagas. They will leave you wondering about the killers, the victims and much more. Cheers! D.B.