Blog Archives

Kale Made Easy: Simple and Delicious Recipes (Deborah Kirk)

Friend of the site Deborah Kirk has just published her new Kindle e-book of kale recipes.  Since she’s a friend of the site, we can’t provide an unbiased review, so we’ll let her speak for herself:

In Kale Made Easy: Simple and Delicious Recipes, you’ll find 20+ irresistible recipes to incorporate into your breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks, from berry kale smoothies and honey mustard kale chips, to kale and white bean Italian soup and sesame parmesan kale fettuccini!

This great book includes healthy recipe ideas for:
Breakfast
Kale Chips
Snacks & Appetizers
Soups
Salads
Main Dish & Entrees

Hailed as a super food, kale is full of nutrients and easy to grow in home gardens or window pots. Kale is low in calories and high in vitamins A, B6, C, and K, as well as being a great source of calcium, magnesium, copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus. Yet many people are unsure how to cook kale properly or combine it with other ingredients to create delicious dishes. Raw, cooked, or baked, kale takes on a different flavor depending on how it is prepared. Learn how to make it a family favorite with easy recipes for snacks, smoothies, and every meal of the day.

Tagged with: , ,
Posted in Nonfiction

Jam (Yahtzee Croshaw): A Joint Review

CleverHandle’s rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Penguinhegemony’s rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:
P: I found Jam to be a unique take on the standard apocalypse genre thriller. The setup is unique and playful and deserves praise for its creativity and execution. The character aspect suffered a little with a protagonist that could have been more intriguing and the supporting cast seemed a bit stilted, but overall this weakness didn’t detract much from the overall quality of the book. I would definitely recommend Jam to fans of the genre looking for a bit of fun, or strawberries, to go along with their apocalypse.

CH: I’ve said before that I’m no fan of zombies; here, we have the standard zombie-apocalypse setup sans undead; instead, man-eating strawberry jam quite suddenly takes over Australia. Like most of my favorite apocalypse stories, the tone is humorous, but Croshaw doesn’t use that as an excuse to shy away from exploring humanity at its worst. I agree with Penguinhegemony that the characters were rather weak, but I found this to be a bigger flaw than he did. I also found the plot to be a bit weak or forced in places, sometimes in an attempt to fit in humor. Overall, though, this was an enjoyable book, and it’s made me want to check out Croshaw’s first work, Mogworld.

Read more ›

Tagged with: , , ,
Posted in Sci-Fi/Fantasy

The Casual Vacancy (JK Rowling)

5 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:
As others have pointed out, this is not Rowling’s first book for adults (she’s written seven others previously, and their titles all begin with Harry Potter and the), but it IS the first book she’s written that requires multiple trigger warnings (see spoilers below).  This is definitely not the Potterverse, but fans of Rowlings will find her humor, her large cast of different, believable characters, and her deftly interwoven storylines have carried through.  The book begins with the sudden death of Barry Fairbrother, who holds a seat on the Pagford Parish Council, and follows the inhabitants of the small town of Pagford through the aftermath of his passing, which has created the titular casual vacancy on the council.  While this sounds rather dull compared to wizards fighting epic battles, the magic here is in Rowling’s ability to bring characters to life and have them interact with each other in fascinating and believable ways.  She has answered the question of whether she can write non-Potter books with a resounding “Yes!”
Read more ›

Tagged with: , ,
Posted in Literary Fiction

Oh Myyy! (There Goes The Internet) (George Takei)

5 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:
This book is everything fans of George Takei would expect: irreverent, hilarious, conversational, and thought provoking.  Oh, and also pictures of cats.  Takei tells the story of his experiences with building and maintaining a web presence, first on Twitter and then on Facebook, and shares lessons about EdgeRank, Grammar Nazis, and an annoying impersonator he refers to as George Fakei.  You definitely don’t need to be a Star Trek fan to enjoy this; references to his time as Sulu are few and far between.  Rather, this is the story of an engaging civil rights activist in his 70s playing with the new tools the Internet has to offer.

Read more ›

Tagged with: , , , ,
Posted in Nonfiction

You Are Not So Smart: Why You Have Too Many Friends on Facebook, Why Your Memory Is Mostly Fiction, and 46 Other Ways You’re Deluding Yourself (David McRaney)

3.5 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:
This book is probably fine for readers who have very little background in human psychology, but if you’ve ever read anything else on the topic, it’s likely to be repeated here.  The chapters, though numerous, are extremely short and give a very superficial treatment to common cognitive errors and logical fallacies.  If this is your first encounter with the subject material, you will likely find this to be an entertaining and interesting overview.  If, on the other hand, you already know anything at all about these topics, you will find this book to be a frustrating repetition of snippets you have seen or heard elsewhere.  There’s nothing new here, but McRaney has an engaging style and a great knack for humor, so this has the potential to be a great read for the right audience… that just wasn’t me.
Read more ›

Tagged with: , ,
Posted in Nonfiction

The Little Fir Tree (Margaret Wise Brown): A Special Christmas Review

Recommended, Repeatable

I have to admit some bias here: I love this book. My father read it to my sister and me every Christmas Eve when we were little, and that tradition continues to this day. He reads to us from an old version which his mother gave to him when he was young; the new version has condensed the story into fewer pages, has updated illustrations by Jim Lamarche, and has cut out the sheet music and a few of the songs, but the story remains the same, right down to the old-school capitalizations of words like “Spring” and “Winter” and the little boy having a “lame” leg. This is no Goodnight Moon; the story is more complicated and not rhyming, more suitable for kids 3 and up. The author does a great job of making you feel empathy for the main character, which is fairly impressive considering that the main character is a tree. Though it is a Christmas book, there are no religious themes. It’s an uplifting holiday story about the hope, love, and joy of Christmas, and it’s very, very repeatable.

Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Children's/Young Adult

December Author Spotlight: Kevin David Anderson

Kevin David Anderson

Kevin David Anderson, author of Night of the Living Trekkies, was kind enough to sit down for an interview with us.  Check out his blog and website for more information!

booknosh: You clearly know the Star Trek universe extremely well. How much of this came from research, and how much from being a Trekkie yourself?

KDA: The first draft came fairly easily using what Star Trek knowledge I already had, but later rewrites, which needed more detail, involved a little research. The chapter names, which were all taken from the names of Star Trek episodes, for example, involved some looking up. I didn’t have many episode names already in my head except for my favorites. It took some digging but not much.

Read more ›

Tagged with: ,
Posted in Author Pages

The Gift of Fear (Gavin de Becker)

5 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:
Everyone should read this book, and not just because it might quite literally be life saving; it’s a fascinating read.  de Becker’s premise is that our intuition has evolved to send us signals which can keep us safe, and by listening to those signals, we can pay attention to fear when it is useful and be free from anxiety and worry when there is no true threat to safety.  The book is full of fascinating anecdotes from de Becker’s security firm and practical information about how to hone your intuition and keep yourself safe.
Read more ›

Tagged with: , , , , , , ,
Posted in Nonfiction

Insurgent (Veronica Roth)

4 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:
This is the second novel in Roth’s dystopian trilogy with rhyming titles (which Lauren Oliver has also done with Delirium/Pandemonium/Requiem, leaving me to wonder both who is copying whom and what the title of the third in this series might possibly be; the best I can come up with is Detergent).  It picks up right where Divergent left off (I’ll save the spoilers for the next section) and continues to follow Tris as she struggles to understand what being Divergent means for her and where she fits in.  This book has some of the same problems as Divergent, namely leads who are less-well characterized than the excellent supporting cast and too much time spent on the trying, repetitively conflictual love story between them.  And like its predecessor, it has a lot of violence, some graphic, and some light teen sexuality (kissing and touching).  It earns a half-star higher review from me because Roth really comes into her own here; unlike her first book, no one could accuse Insurgent of being a The Hunger Games wannabe.  The plot is all hers, and it’s excellent and well-executed.  I can’t wait for the third in this series, whatever the name may be.

Read more ›

Tagged with: , , ,
Posted in Children's/Young Adult

The Honest Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone — Especially Ourselves (Dan Ariely)

2.5 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:
I would say this is Ariely’s third book, except it doesn’t seem to really warrant being called that.  It’s more of an expansion of sections of his previous books, Predictably Irrational and The Upside of Irrationality — and not even the most interesting chapters, at that.  Those who have read Ariely’s other books will find little new here, and those looking for a book on lying and dishonesty in general may be disappointed to discover that this book focuses almost exclusively on cheating (on tests, not partners) with only brief mention of other kinds of deception.  While some of the information was interesting and accessible and Ariely’s tone is fun, Ariely seems to have taken the unfortunate turn of looking for the Smallest Publishable Unit.  I can’t really recommend this one, even to Ariely fans.
Read more ›

Tagged with: , ,
Posted in Nonfiction