Sunday, May 26, 2013

Chop-Chop: The Kids' Guide to Cooking Real Food With Your Family by Sally Sampson

Book: Chop-Chop: The Kids' Guide to Cooking Real Food With Your Family
Author: Sally Sampson
Narrator (if applicable):n/a

Release date (if applicable): August 13, 2013

Synopsis: A collection of healthy, kid friendly recipes so easy that the kids can partake in the preparation. 
My rating: 3.5/5 Stars
My opinion: This was a pretty cool kid's cookbook although I think it would be more user friendly to the older "kid chef". I did thing that some of the recipes could be iffy for most kids. There were a couple that, if I had tried to give them to my child, he would have looked at me like I had 5 heads. I loved the better chunk of the recipes for myself though.

One criticism...the book was incredibly busy. I would have like to have seen a cleaner layout. 

Source: Review for Simon and Schuster
Would I recommend? : Yes, maybe take a look at the sample at a library or a brick and mortar store first.
Stand Alone or Part of a Series: Stand Alone

Norwegian By Night by Derek B. Miller

Book: Norwegian by Night
Author: Derek B. Miller
Narrator (if applicable):n/a

Release date (if applicable): Published

Synopsis: NY native Sheldon Horowitz, 80, a widower in the early stages of dementia, packs up and moves to Oslo, Norway to be closer to his granddaughter to live out the rest of his life quietly. Plans don't quite go as he planned when a senseless act of violence leaves a boy motherless and Sheldon as his only protector. 
My rating: 4 Stars
My opinion: I loved this book but don't know if I would call it Nordic Noir. This book definitely had an American feel (the author is a transplanted American) to it vs. the traditional twisted NN feel. The storyline was still unusual in nature and well written. I would read more by this author. I just wouldn't do it as a classic Nordic Noir read.

There was a lot of reference to the Korean War, but was still had some feel of a Nordic Noir police procedural. Too boot, the book was hilarious, but not in a annoying or "overplayed" manner.  In my opinion, Mr. Miller has really managed to develop a "hybrid" genre that really worked in this book.  

Cathy Cole, a Goodread's friend of mine nailed it when she stated in her review "This is a book that defies categorization. It's part thriller, part police procedural, part road trip, part commentary on aging/relationships/dementia-- and it has flashes of comedy throughout. "

Read Cathy's full review:
Source: Edelweiss for Houghton Mifflin Publishing
Would I recommend? : Yes, this is the author's first fictional work, I hope it isn't his last.
Stand Alone or Part of a Series: Stand Alone

When All That's Left of Me Is Love: A Daughter's Story of Letting Go by Linda Campanella

Book: When All That's Left of Me Is Love: A Daughter's Story of Letting Go
Author: Linda Campanella
Narrator (if applicable): n/a

Release date (if applicable): Published

Synopsis: An emotional memoir of Ms. Campanella's journey through her mother's end of life care and saying good-bye. 
My rating: 5 Stars
My opinion: I read this book as a former social worker in the long term care industry and a person who has made the same journey as Ms. Campanella.

I was shocked how much this book touched me. I was frequently taken back to the loss of my own father. The author masterfully blended the emotional impact of death with the practical daily care of caring for the dying family member. This would be a definite positive read for those with a loved one in hospice care or counselors assisting them with the journey. 

Ms. Campanella offers the reader a voyeuristic view of saying goodbye to a parent while savoring the time left. All which are just wrapped up in the day to day aspects that are sometimes difficult to deal with. I am sure that there were moments of this book that would be incredibly difficult to write, as I know as the reader I could feel the author's pain. But I feel that this book was cathartic to the writer as well as the reader.
Source:  Author for review
Would I recommend? : I already have to hospice professionals in the field.
Stand Alone or Part of a Series: Stand alone

Friday, May 24, 2013

The Patron Way: From Fantasy to Fortune - Lessons on Taking Any Business from Idea to Iconic Brand: From Fantasy to Fortune - Lessons on Taking Any Business from Idea to Iconic Brand by Ilana Edelstein

Book: The Patron Way: From Fantasy to Fortune - Lessons on Taking Any Business from Idea to Iconic Brand: From Fantasy to Fortune - Lessons on Taking Any Business from Idea to Iconic Brand 

Author: Ilana Edelstein
Narrator (if applicable):n/a

Release date (if applicable): Published

Synopsis: Ilana Edelstein, one of those responsible for bringing Patron to the US market, discusses the history of the company. 
My rating: 2 Stars
My opinion: I felt that this book belonged more in a memoir genre rather than a business genre. Now, as another Goodreads reviewer already stated, this is not your typical business book. It was rather "spicy" almost what one would find in a gossip rag and gave way too much of the author's personal history with not enough as to what made Patron a successful recognized brand. Not to mention I think that there were a ton of skeezy happenings that did need not be written about. After she wrote this expose, it was then in a two to three page summary that she wrote 10 points with one paragraph expounding of why each point was important. It was very odd.

Also, I felt that this was much more of an infomercial for how great Patron is versus evaluation of a business model. Most of the information given was learned in business school 101.

I know when I seek out McGraw Hill Professional, I am seeking out your traditional business book. Again, I reiterate that this was FAR from it. That is not to say that there were not some lessons to be learned from the book. 

On a final note that I just came across. The author has some really cool pictures on her Amazon page that were not included in the book. Now, I was reading an advance copy, but if they were included in the book, I think I would have had them in my copy.
Source: McGraw Hill Professional for review
Would I recommend? : Not for branding/marketing business purposes. Looking for a book for teaching young women the importance of business relationships with significant others? This book is for you! I think this author had some very important points on getting business affairs IN WRITING and not trusting a partner (either married or unmarried) to always have your best business interests at heart during a romantic relationship breakup.  I think, as women, we trust our partners way too much and don't keep it business. For that...this author gave an excellent cautionary tale that would have garnered a 4 star rating.  It wasn't the purpose of me reviewing the book, as an MBA with well over a decade in business development/marketing experience, my focus was much more on the marketing/branding aspects.
Stand Alone or Part of a Series: Stand alone

Cold Killing (DI Sean Corrigan #1) by Luke Delaney

Book: Cold Killing (DI Sean Corrigan #1)
Author: Luke Delaney
Narrator (if applicable):n/a

Release date (if applicable): Published

Synopsis: A serial killer is loose on the streets of London. DI Sean Corrigan, with his own history, and his team are hot on the trails of the killer. Do they have right person or does the killer have competition?
My rating: 4 Stars
My opinion: I have found a new series to stalk. This book hooked me from page one and never let go. The storyline, while masterfully twisted, didn't go overboard. This book was a wonderful example of why I love British mystery writers so much.

The style that this book was written was too much and really added to my thorough enjoyment of the story. I wouldn't say there were two POV presented. The chapters alternated between the telling the story that you see in any old book and that of the killer giving the reader a voyeuristic look of the story from his perspective. I wouldn't call it stream of consciousness writing though. 

A word of criticism cuz that is me and no book is perfect: The writing, while superb, could have been tighted up a bit, BUT this is a debut novel. I would expect some of this. I have no doubt that if this author is able to tighten up his writing, which with the level of writing portrayed in a debut, this series will be 5 star reads for me. I found I enjoyed this book as much as I enjoy the works of Val McDermid and S.J. Bolton.

I must also admit that I figured the killer out about half way through. That did not leave me disappointed with a lack of cold-hearted twists. This author managed to work in some rockin' ones.  
Source:  Edelweiss for William Morrow
Would I recommend? : Already have
Stand Alone or Part of a Series: First in series