Saturday, September 28, 2013

Yes, Chef: A Memoir

Ok, go ahead and judge me, but I will admit I started this book not having a clue who in the hell Marcus Samuelsson was. Not one. I won this audiobook in a competition and it sounded interesting, I like watching and reading about people cooking, but I am no chef. On a good day I make mac n cheese. I'm pretty pathetic. Anyways, I'm glad I read this, it was a really inspiring story.

Hod does an Ethiopian orphan raised by Swedish parents become one of the greatest chefs in the world? Well you have to read to find out. Marcus put all of his energy and talents into becoming the greatest chef he could be, and over the years traveled to different countries chasing flavors and developing a unique spin on cooking. He hit it big in America which is where he now resides as a celebrity chef.

For those that don't care squat about cooking this book may still interest you, this memoir touches on a little bit of everything from growing up as a little black boy in a mainly all white country, to family, to the value of hardwork, forgiveness, and love.

I would also recommend listening to the audio version which is narrated by Marcus himself, his accent and annunciations help make the story.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Biology of Luck

I began this book with high hopes after discovering that Jacob M. Appel is a Kurt Vonnegut Prize winner, that's a good sign right there! Thankfully, I was not let down in my expectations. I thoroughly enjoyed this romance of sorts.

Larry Bloom is a New York City tour guide, a normal, unattractive humdrum individual, but deep at heart, he is a hopeless romantic. For years he has had the hots for Starshine, a gorgeous twenty-something that has always been precariously out of reach. Today though, Larry's luck will change. It HAS to change, he has spent years imagining this day and writing a novel for her, so everything must go right.

The narrative alternates between Larry's day and what Larry imagines/writes/believes Starshine's day is. It's a unique and exciting way that illustrates the story beautifully. It keeps you guessing as characters begin to weave seamlessly between the two narratives. What is real? What is Larry imagining?

As you can guess, Larry's day is anything but droll, and New York City has never been so full of surprises. Laugh out loud funny, and great for all fiction lovers. A great read.

I received this book for free in return for my honest, unbiased opinion.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock

LOVED this book, after reading the amazing "Silver Lining's Playbook" I knew I would have to read everything else Matthew Quick published and damn I'm glad I did. Quick makes his debut in the young adult genre with one hell of a bang. Literally, this book is fantastic!

Leonard Peacock's birthday should be a special, instead today is the day that he will kill himself and his former best friend. Tired of being an outsider for too long and dealing with internal turmoil, Leonard sees this as the only way out. In this witty, saddening, heartbreaking, and darkly humorous novel, the reader gets amazing insight to how complicated the human psyche is and just how much it can withstand before it snaps.

Filled with unforgettable, wildly unique characters and a witty narrator, this book will have you racing to the end. Impossible to put down. A DEFINITE must read!


Harlan Hague brings his beautiful, faulted characters to life in a story of love lost and redemption. West coast professor, David, lives a quiet, yet exciting, life with his wife and they spend their spare time traveling and working in their gorgeous style English garden. Their idyllic life is about to be shattered however; the new student assistant assigned to David turns out to be his son from a lover in a land and time far away.

Kenji traveled from Japan to meet the father he never knew. When David is presented with this truth he must face the past, the past he thought he ran away from. Anni, the woman he loved had done him wrong (or so he thought) so he left Japan, but never forgot her. When Anni comes to town to visit her son, their romance is rekindled and David must sort out his feelings for the two women he loves; his wife and his Japanese lover.

A short, yet endearing read full of unforgettable characters. Good for romance and contemporary fiction lovers.

I received this book for free in return for my honest, unbiased opinions.

Finding the Dragon Lady

An intriguing and insightful work on the legend (and the truth) of South Vietnam's Madame Nhu. Before reading this novel I had virtually no idea who she was, where she was from, or why she was important. But after reading this I can say I've learned a great deal and am amazed I hadn't come across this stunning woman earlier!

Monique Brinson Demery does a masterful job of weaving the mysterious Madame Nhu's life together and manages to create a rich tapestry of mystery and intrigue. This novel also explains a great deal on how the Vietnam War began which is an added bonus.

Overall, a truly intelligent and well rounded historical read, great for history buffs and casual reader's alike.

Ender's Game

I was excited to finally get this book off my "to-read" list and I wasn't disappointed. For years I've heard this book hailed as one of the all time greatest science fiction novels of all time and I'm glad to say it lives up to all the hype.

In the future children are the saviors of humanity, after aliens attack the earth elite children are groomed to become captains of the starfleet to defend humankind. Young Ender is an exceptional child, from an early age his critical, emotional, and physical skills, were amazing. As he ages he has to continually show the higher ups that he has what it takes. But does he? Is there anything wrong with wanting to be a child and act your age? Is it even moral to subject such young children to tests? Read to find out more, also keep your eyes peeled for the trailers of the new movie adaptation starring Harrison Ford.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Cardinal Timothy Dolan

Cardinal Timothy Dolan brought down the house on September 3rd. No, not at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, but on the “Colbert Report,” where the good Cardinal traded jabs with host Stephen Colbert, and discussed his bestselling e-book original, Praying in Rome.

Praying in Rome is Cardinal Dolan’s personal reflection of his time in the Conclave that elected Pope Francis in early 2013. Full of his characteristic good humor, the book chronicles the myriad of emotions he felt upon the resignation of Pope Benedict and during the process of electing the next Vicar of Christ.

During his conversation with Stephen Colbert on Tuesday night, Cardinal Dolan joked that only his mother and Colbert had read Praying in Rome. In truth, his bestselling e-book has garnered enormous praise for its honesty, insight and humor.