Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Lunch in Paris

Lunch in Paris: A Love Story, with RecipesLunch in Paris: A Love Story, with Recipes by Elizabeth Bard
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was very well written. It was a love story and a food story and cookbook all in one. A fast read, entertaining and had more recipes than I was expecting (some of which I would actually make and eat). I'm not sure why I like these "I gave up everything to move to a foreign country for love" stories... but I do! The French ones seem to be the best.

Synopsis: In Paris for a weekend visit, Elizabeth Bard sat down to lunch with a handsome Frenchman--and never went home again.

Was it love at first sight? Or was it the way her knife slid effortlessly through her pavé au poivre, the steak's pink juices puddling into the buttery pepper sauce? LUNCH IN PARIS is a memoir about a young American woman caught up in two passionate love affairs--one with her new beau, Gwendal, the other with French cuisine. Packing her bags for a new life in the world's most romantic city, Elizabeth is plunged into a world of bustling open-air markets, hipster bistros, and size 2 femmes fatales. She learns to gut her first fish (with a little help from Jane Austen), soothe pangs of homesickness (with the rise of a chocolate soufflé) and develops a crush on her local butcher (who bears a striking resemblance to Matt Dillon). Elizabeth finds that the deeper she immerses herself in the world of French cuisine, the more Paris itself begins to translate. French culture, she discovers, is not unlike a well-ripened cheese-there may be a crusty exterior, until you cut through to the melting, piquant heart.

Recommended Reading:
Paris, My Sweet by Amy Thomas
Every Day in Tuscany by Frances Mayes
C'est la Vie by Suzy Gershman
Tout Sweet by Karen Wheeler
Paris in Love by Eloisa James
Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert

Saturday, April 13, 2013


S.H.A.P.E.: Finding and Fulfilling Your Unique Purpose for LifeS.H.A.P.E.: Finding and Fulfilling Your Unique Purpose for Life by Erik E. Rees
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It's hard to evaluate a self-help motivational book until you've seen the benefit in your own life. This book was hard to stick with as far as doing the homework part of it. Some of it is not geared towards certain personality types - it's a high energy, high relationship book, so if you're not that type of person it's hard to follow through on all of the assignments. I gave up about halfway through with the homework part. I did take quite a few things away from this book - the best way to serve God is to try. God needs to be a daily focus. We must live intentional lives. There were a lot of quotes in this book - both scripture and referencing other books - that have expanded my reading list for the future. This will be one I hang on to for when I feel my well running dry.

Synopsis: Rick Warren's bestselling book The Purpose Driven Life describes God's five purposes for every Christian. Now Erik Rees helps you discover God's unique purpose for your life based on the way God has shaped you. He made you marvelously unique for a reason. Tap into that reason and into the secrets of your own deeply personal makeup---the remarkable ensemble of passions, talents, experiences, temperament, and spiritual gifts that work together to make you who you are---and you'll discover the path to a life of unimagined purpose, impact, and fulfillment.In this eye-opening, empowering, and liberating book, Rees shows you how to uncover God's most powerful and effective means of advancing his kingdom on earth: your own irreplaceable, richly detailed personal design.

Based on the purpose of ministry outlined in The Purpose Driven Life, this inspiring guidebook gives you the tools to: Unlock your God-given potential Uncover your specific Kingdom Purpose Unfold a kingdom plan for your life Filled with Scripture and real-life stories, S.H.A.P.E. presents a series of challenges that will guide you through the process of discovering your personal blend of Spiritual Gifts: A set of special abilities that God has given you to share his love and serve others.Heart: The special passions God has given you so that you can glorify him on earth.Abilities: The set of talents God gave you when you were born, which he also wants you to use to make an impact for him.Personality: The special way God wired you to navigate life and fulfill your unique Kingdom Purpose.Experiences: Those parts of your past, both positive and painful, which God intends to use in great ways.

It's all here: insights that can change the way you look at yourself and how you live your life and practical guidance for applying them. Discover how to apply your amazing array of personal attributes in ways that bring confidence, freedom, clarity, and significance that can only come from your Creator.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Odd and the Frost Giants

Odd and the Frost GiantsOdd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A short story told with vividness and humor. I enjoyed reading this story, although I was confused with the reasoning that resolved the crisis. I would rate this a two for that reason, but this story made The Spawn and I both laugh outloud.

Synopsis: The winter isn't ending. Nobody knows why.
And Odd has run away from home, even though he can barely walk and has to use a crutch.
Out in the forest he encounters a bear, a fox, and an eagle - three creatures with a strange story to tell.
Now Odd is faced with a stranger journey than he had ever imagined.
A journey to save Asgard, City of the Norse Gods, from the Frost Giants who have invaded it.
It's going to take a very special kind of boy to defeat the most dangerous of all the Frost Giants and rescue the mighty Gods. Someone cheerful and infuriating and clever.
Someone just like Odd...

Thursday, April 11, 2013

A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows

A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows (Outlander, #8.5)A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows by Diana Gabaldon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a great short story, although it left me aching and frustrated. I really wanted Roger to not be an orphan, to have his dad there somewhere. There is a reference in the story to Jamie and Roger (that I guess happened during An Echo in The Bone, but I've read that twice and can't place the event) which is a bittersweet reunion of sorts. This is a beautiful little bit of Outlander trivia.

Synopsis: Orphaned during World War II, Roger believed that his mother died during the London Blitz, and that his father, an RAF pilot, was killed in combat. But in An Echo in the Bone, Roger discovers that this may not be the whole story.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Haunting Jasmine

Haunting JasmineHaunting Jasmine by Anjali Banerjee
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was not what I expected. (Now that I've finished the book, I'm not sure what I was expecting, actually.) I devoured this book in one day. It's like picking up a Sarah Addison Allen book - easy to read and a complete step away from reality. What I love about books like this is that they have all the realism of life with that little twist of magic that after the book is finished I think to myself, "That couldn't happen, but wouldn't it be great if it could!" This book is highly recommended for entertainment and enchantment.

Synopsis: A call from the past brings divorcee Jasmine Mistry home to Shelter Island to run her beloved aunt's bookstore, which has always been rumored to be haunted. With that knowledge, Jasmine embarks on a mystical journey, urged along by her quirky family, and guided by the highly emotional spirits of long-dead authors. Surprisingly, she finds herself moved to heal her broken heart when she falls unexpectedly in love with an enigmatic young stranger.

Recommended Reading:
Enchanting Lily by Anjali Banerjee
Dreaming in English by Laura Fitzgerald
Evenfall by Liz Michalski
Imaginary Men by Anjali Banerjee
Keys to the Castle by Donna Ball
The Reluctant Matchmaker by Shobhan Bantwal