[Review] The Make-Ahead Sauce Solution by Elisabeth Bailey

cover139382-mediumGenre: Cooking & Food

Publication: 30 October 2018 by Storey Publishing LLC

Rating: ★★★★★

Acquisition: e-galley courtesy of the publisher/NetGalley

What It’s About

(From the Publisher)

My Thoughts

I thought this was such a clever idea to be able to make quick but tasty meals, especially during the week when there isn’t much time or we’re all too tired. I really like the guide on what you can cook with each sauce and how to freeze everything. There is a huge variety of sauces for every taste and diet, so you’re bound to find something you like.

It’s perfect for me and I think it will become one of my staple cooking books!

[Review] Cooking With Scraps by Lindsay-Jean Hard

37585542Genre: Cooking, Food & Wine

Publication: 16 October 2018 by Workman Publishing Company

Rating: ★★★★☆

What It’s About

80 recipes showcasing bits of ingredients that we usually throw away (stems, tops, peels, etc.).

My Thoughts

I thought that was such a clever idea. As I am trying to reduce the amount of waste I produce, I’m always up for any tips and ideas on how to do so. Not only are we given recipes in this book, but we’re also given advice on how to store food and how to use a freezer properly to reduce waste.

The recipes are organised by ingredient, which I always find very useful as it makes the book quick and easy to use. They are all varied and seem delicious – it goes from the usual dishes to carrot top pesto and vanilla extract. Most of the recipes are accompanied by a photograph as well which in a must-have in a recipe book for me.

If you’re looking for something original yet useful, this book is for you!

[Review] If You Give the Puffin a Muffin by Timothy Young

39391280Genre: Children’s Fiction

Publication: 28 September 2018 by Schiffer Kids

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Acquisition: e-galley courtesy of the publisher/NetGalley

The Story

From the Publisher:

Everyone’s favorite puffin is back, and guess what—he’s still ANGRY! When Puffin is offered a muffin, he realizes that he’s the subject of another picture book and the target of a rhyming scheme gone wrong. His emotions take over and chaos ensues as he tries to escape the story line. Luckily, Puffin knows just where to turn for help. See what happens when characters from other picture books come to Puffin’s rescue. Timothy Young fans will have fun spotting characters and scenes from his previously published books, as well as references to other children’s classics. Will Puffin get lost in the fantasy worlds, or will he find his way out?

My Thoughts

I must start by saying that I haven’t read the first book in this series. I requested the e-galley because my toddler loves puffins and I thought it would be fun for him to read a puffin book. I must also admit that I’m the odd one out with my review as this book has raving reviews, so maybe it’s just me that doesn’t get it.

Toddler and I started reading the book together, but I quickly realised he would not get any of the story. It’s marketed for ages 0-6, but I doubt any child under 6 would understand. There is some humour in the writing, but it seems way too adult, or at least for older children, maybe around 8 or 10. So we looked at the pictures and talked about them instead, but I didn’t find them really pretty. Basically, If You Give the Puffin a Muffin, with its rhyming language and play on words, reminded me of the amazing Oi Frog! series with less humour and illustrations that aren’t as appealing.  There’s a fun nod at The Day the Crayons Quit, which was fun.

As I said, everyone else seems to love this book, so maybe it’s just me!

If You Give the Puffin A Muffin is available from Schiffer Publishing.


[Review] Build-A-Bowl by Nicki Sizemore

38746144Genre: Cooking, Food & Wine

Publication: 4 September 2018 by Storey Publishing

Rating: ★★★★★

What It’s About

77 creative combinations for Buddha bowls.

My Thoughts

Here is another Buddha Bowl cookbook review. I just love this concept. This book is very thorough as it explains in details what the different types of grains are and how to cook them (from basic rice to more obscure grains that we don’t often hear about). The concept of the bowl meal is explained clearly and simply, with lots of nice photographs and illustrations.

The recipes are varied, ranging from sweet to fish. I want to try so many of them. I often get bored of eating the same stuff for breakfast, so I particularly liked the sweet recipes.

I think this is a book worth owning and I do want to get my own copy.

Thanks to NetGalley and Storey Publishing for providing me with a free digital copy in exchange for an honest review.

[Review] Sewing Luna Lapin’s Friends by Sarah Peel

38395727Genre: Craft & Hobbies

Rating: ★★★★★

Acquisition: e-galley courtesy of F+W Media and NetGalley

What It’s About

(From the Publisher)

Learn to make Luna Lapin’s friends and their exquisite wardrobes. This collection of sewing patterns features five of Luna’s best friends and their clothes including Reynard the Fox, Clementine the Cat, Badger, Mouse and even a baby Luna!

Author, Sarah Peel, takes classic garments and recreates them on a miniature scale and with exquisite fabrics including Liberty cottons, wool tweed and French lace.

Full sized patterns and step-by-step instructions are included–as well as a collection of charming stories about the characters and their adventures.

My Thoughts

Such a lovely book!
The animals are beautiful, and the clothing is just so adorable. I love the old timey feel of the designs, it’s very vintage and nostalgic. The explanations are very thorough, yet simple and clear, whether it’s the steps to make the animals and clothes or the technical guide at the start of the book.
I just want to make them all!

[Review] Nadiya’s Family Favourites by Nadiya Hussain

40099429Genre: Cooking & Food

Rating: ★★★★★

Acquisition: hardcover sent by Penguin UK/Michael Joseph

What It’s About

(From the Publisher) This is the OFFICIAL cookbook, featuring the beautiful, simple and must-try recipes from her upcoming BBC TV series NADIYA’S FAMILY FAVOURITES.

Nadiya shares the food she loves to cook and eat with her family and friends, offering fast, easy and delicious new recipes for every kind of day.

This cookbook shows you how to create the perfect dishes to complement the moments we all love, from days out with friends to big get-togethers and lazy weekends at home, as well as simple and satisfying solutions for busy weeknights and speedy showstoppers for impromptu guests.

My Thoughts

I’ve liked Nadiya ever since I first saw her on the Great British Bake Off. She’s got such a lovely, cheerful personality, and her cooking skills are great. I’ve looked at her other cooking book and liked it, so I was excited to see she had a new one out.
I like Nadiya’s recipes as they are a bit original yet familiar enough that you want to try them out as you know it’ll be nice. I love that she’s mixed Bengali cuisine with British cuisine and created something tasty and original.
I’ve tried the grapefruit chicken stew and we loved it. Actually, my husband said “it smells nice!” when he came home as I was cooking dinner, and he rarely comments on my cooking (he does most of it, I’m not the best at it!). The almond and orange madeira cake was so tasty, too. I can’t wait to try more recipes.

[Review] Walls of Silence by Ruth Wade

38649604Genre: Historical Fiction

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Publication: 11 March 2018 by Bloondhound Books

Acquisition: e-galley courtesy of Bloodhound Books and NetGalley

The Story

(From the Publisher)

The patient has a story that isn’t told and which no one knows of. It is the secret, the rock against which he is shattered. Carl Jung

The Great War is over but for Edith Potter an equally devastating conflict is about to begin.

She is unhinged by a secret so terrible her conscious mind doesn’t acknowledge it.

It is 1927 and Dr Stephen Maynard is using the new science of psychoanalysis to restore her sanity.

From his first meeting with her in the lunatic asylum, Dr Stephen Maynard is determined to bring her back to reality. During the long challenge, her disturbed behaviour forces him to confront his limitations – already severely stretched by the presence of someone prepared to use whatever weapons they can to ensure she maintains her silence.

My Thoughts

I’ve always found the topic of psychiatry and the history of psychiatric hospitals (or lunatic asylums as they were called back in the day) fascinating. So I pounced of Walls of Silence.

It is for sure quite original, but a few things bothered me.

1) I didn’t like any of the characters, apart from maybe Helen, who isn’t as bad as the others. They are all very humanely flawed, so kudos to Ruth Wade for creating such realistic, human characters. But neither Edith, Edward, Peter nor Stephen had anything that made them likeable to me. I guess PC Billings was quite a nice guy. I find it quite difficult to care about characters I don’t like.

2) I get that the whole novel deals with psychiatry but the medical debates between Peter and Stephen were quite difficult to follow for someone who hasn’t much knowledge of it and just bogged the story down. Entire chapters were merely made of conversations between the two men on psychoanalysis or Stephen’s personality. Some of the scenes where Stephen works in Edith also go on and on and make for slow reading.

3) The twist at the end was quite good, actually. I personally never saw it coming. But everything is still unclear as we aren’t told enough about what happened. And it’s a bit of a WTF moment, if you’ll excuse my French (side note – I’m French, I get to use this saying :-D).

Now, on to the good things.

1) Ruth Wade did an amazing job at recreating the time period (1927). As you read, you’re just there with the characters, part of the everyday life of the time, without even realising there is world building going on. From a historical fiction point of view, it’s a 10 out of 10.

2) I loved the shell-shocked veterans of WW1, having them as characters was so beautifully done. Actually, I wish they had a more prominent role in Walls of Silence as it is a fascinating subject. So, if Ruth Wade ever reads this, please write a novel about it, I’ll be the first in line to buy it!