Book Review – The Antique House Murders (The Oakwood Mystery Series Book 2) by Leslie Nagel.

4 out of 5 stars

I would like to thank Random House Publishing Group – Alibi for providing me with a free electronic ARC of this book, via Netgalley, in exchange for an open and honest review.

Gosh I seem to be giving a lot of 4 out of 5 stars of late… obviously I’ve hit a seam of excellent books in my TBR pile!

‘The Antique House Murders’ is book two in ‘The Oakwood Mystery Series’ by Leslie Nagel and, being open and honest, I fell in love with this series with book one ‘The Book Club Murders’. So was thrilled to be given the opportunity to review this second book. I just feel I need to apologise for not reading it sooner! It’s been a crazy year for me and let’s leave it at that. 😉

Okay, so for those who haven’t read the first book in the series let me just say – why not? Come one people, keep up! 😀

Actually, what I was going to say was that ‘The Antique House Murders’ can be enjoyed as a stand-alone book if you must. There is enough recapping on Charley’s love, life and adventures to get the reader up to speed pretty quickly. And, thankfully, not so much recapping as half the book seems to be reminding you what you’ve missed. I do so hate books that do that… maybe why I loved this one so much?

The story picks up a few months after the first book and involves the mysteries of an old manor house and the secrets surrounding it and the family that lived there. Charley and her shop ‘Old Hat’ get involved via some estate sold clothing and accessories and that fiery red head just takes it from there.

‘The Antique House Murders’ was definitely my kind of cosy/ mystery and it honestly had me up until 1:30am (on a school night – if it wasn’t the school holidays) just as I simply HAD to finish it. The intrigue, the adventure, the padding and the red herrings – a perfect balance.
What I think I loved the most is it took me a while to figure out the full ‘whodunit’. Yeah, cocky me thought it was so and so… but wait – not that person at all! Then I clicked it was such and such… and it was! But then… Oh!!!! Yeah, I was almost shouting at the book by that point, but it was after midnight and I am playing my “I was sleep deprived” card as my excuse. 😉

So, yes, a perfect blend of cosy/ mystery for me that literally had me guessing until right near the end of the book. And guessing in a good way, not a “this is just too convoluted to understand” way. Nope, Ms Nagel had me on tenterhooks throughout and I just NEEDED to know! The way she kept weaving ideas, story lines, padding and red herrings together – brilliant.

A quick mention to the formatting of this eBook – it was a bit garbled in places (spaces and paragraphs appearing where they shouldn’t) and there were a few typos and formatting issues… but this was an ARC and they’re allowed to get away with such things. I am sure the final edit is perfect… But you know I do like to mention these things. EBooks shouldn’t be second class formatting.

Would I recommend this book to others?

Gee, I think I’ve given myself a way here, right? Yes, I most definitely would. Again, I feel the reader should do ‘The Oakwood Mystery Series’ the justice it deserves and read ‘The Book Club Murders’ first. But yes, I would recommend this book to lovers of the modern day American cosy/ mystery. Very well written and highly enjoyable.

Would I buy this book for myself?

Yes I would. I am most definitely in love with this series and happily buy them. I can’t wait for the next one either!

In summary: A good, solid second book in a great murder mystery series. Highly recommend.

Until next time,

Janis.

Book Review – How I Magically Messed Up My Life in Four Freakin’ Days (The Tale of Bryant Adams #1) by Megan O’Russell.

4 out of 5 stars

I would like to thank Curiosity Quills Press for providing me with an electronic copy of this book in exchange for an open and honest review.

What can I say, I love the types of quirky, slightly off kilter stories that Curiosity Quills publish and so when I saw this on their site I had to take a look. Was I disappointed? Nope!

What’s it about? Well, if I was to undersell ‘How I Magically Messed Up My Life In Four Freakin’ Days’ I would say it’s a book about a boy who discovers he is can use magic… thanks to a mobile phone.

But it’s not just that and it’s not a Harry Potter rip off and thank goodness for that! As I seem to be about one of the only people in the world who doesn’t like HP! Love JK on Twitter… not a fan of the books. Go figure! 😀

However, with this book – sorry, the title is so long I can’t keep plugging it like I usually do – think more a mix of the least annoying bits of HP with great big dollops of Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere mixed in with a bit of teen angst and a smattering of Arthur Dent’s hapless exploits as a hitchhiker and you get a better idea of what’s it all about. Just then add some independent and new ideas on an old theme and you’re there!

Plus it’s the first book in a potentially entertaining new YA/ NA urban fantasy series and I hope you can see now why I felt it got the score I gave it.

See, calling it ‘like Harry Potter’ is a serious underselling insult and I hope it is never described as that. If it is – shame on that reviewer!

Okay, back to what’s it all about… well, it’s set in modern day New York City where normal, everyday teens go from the usual angst of high school, fitting in and looking cool to having life turned on its head due to a misplaced phone and our characters then find themselves learning about a hidden world within their own. I mean, who doesn’t love those ‘what if’ hidden world’s within their own? I love them!

For those not into ‘teen drama’ don’t panic! Yes the main characters are teens – and sold as a YA book – but are still enjoyable by young and old. I didn’t need my inner teenager to enjoy this story; I managed it on my old fogey own. 😉

And even though this is obviously the first book in a series – the subtitle of ‘The Tale of Bryant Adams Book 1’ is a bit of a hint – this can easily be enjoyed as a stand-alone tale. I mean, there are still going to be a few threads flapping about at the end of it you might want tied up… but that’s for the next book. They can be ignored by those only wanting to read this first book… but people who think that way are just being silly and should stop pretending – read the next book when it comes out, you know you want to! 😉

Would I recommend this book to others?

Yes I would. I mean, isn’t it obvious I am pro not just this book but the rest of the tales to come in this series? Really? You didn’t spot that in my heaping on the praise bit? 😀

So yes, lovers of HP may or may not like it… I don’t know, as I simply don’t GET loving Harry Potter. But fans of urban fantasy or speculative fiction where there is a ‘what if’ world within our own… you’re going to enjoy this read. Yes, think ‘Neverwhere’, ‘RoofWorlders’, ‘Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy’… Think fun, entertaining and enjoyable while still setting reality on a slightly different angle to normal. You will enjoy this book!

Would I buy this book for myself?

Yeah, I can see that as a possibility. I mean, right now it is wavering between ‘library book’ and ‘eBook I own’ status… but as long as the series keeps going in this way, I can see it becoming one I proudly own and will tell everyone about who dares to make eye contact with my while I am reading it. 😉

In summary: A great look at the hidden world of magic and what happens when teens access it. I highly recommend.

Until next time,

Janis.

Book Review – The Hunt (The Devil’s Isle Series) by Chloe Neill.

4 out of 5 stars

I would like to thank Orion Publishing Group for providing me with a free electronic copy of this book, via Netgalley, in exchange for an open and honest review.

Now, I finished reading ‘The Hunt’ a week ago and am only now getting to post my review. Firstly, it’s spring here, my whole family has been struggling through the last of the winter bugs as well as the last week of term three of school and, well, I was left with such a HUGE book hangover from ‘The Hunt’ that I needed a few days to lick my wounds, refocus on reality and get on with things.

Basically, I downloaded this book on September 21st, knew it was being released September 28th and only got to start reading it on the 23rd…. and finishing it ON the 28th. So, yeah, whirlwind read of a great book – and series – I love and so I needed recovery time. 😉

Okay, now we know why I’ve been going on about how amazing ‘The Hunt’ is on social media while not leaving any review; let’s get on with the review!

‘The Hunt’ is the third book in ‘The Devil’s Isle Series’ by Ms Neill and I was hooked back on book one! I love the setting, the premise behind the story  – the veil between our world and the beyond has been breached and magic now seeps through – and so on…. You want to know more? Go buy ‘The Veil’ and ‘The Sight’, read, enjoy and find out why I think it’s so amazing! 😀

Okay, back to my review of ‘The Hunt’. Well, I have to say I have been simply DYING to read this book as ‘The Sight’ ended in such a dramatic way. And so I found the beginning of ‘The Hunt’ a tad slow – but that can be put down to my impatience rather than Ms Neill’s writing ability.

The story begins about a month after ‘The Sight’ and a lot has happened. Claire has a new life, new duties and NOLA moves on around her as she (and the impatient reader) wonders what has happened to the man of her life.

Things then pick up well from there and the story then flows true to the first two books and before you know it you’re left with ANOTHER tremendous cliff hanger of an ending that leaves you groaning at having to wait for more and loving/ cursing Ms Neill for leaving yet another book in such a way.

Cryptic enough for you? Seriously, you want to now more – buy and read this series! It puts things like Ms Harrison’s ‘The Hollows’ into shadow with how good it is! 😉

Unlike other series – by other authors – ‘The Hunt’ has not come across as less of a book, or as if the ideas of the series have wandered and lost their way. No, we are still going as strong as the first book, ‘The Veil’ and still keeping with the initial core principles and plot of the entire series. This is some seriously good writing! I do hate when a series starts well and blows your mind and then dwindles. That is NOT the case at all with any of the books in ‘The Devil’s Isle Series’ and that is SUCH a relief to fangirl me! 😉

Devils isle The Hunt

Would I recommend this book to others?

 Yes I would. Though, if you haven’t guessed it, I would ensure they had read the rest of the series’ first. I mean, I suppose you COULD read each story as a stand-alone… but that would be such a waste of your time and Ms Neill’s talent. If they didn’t own ‘The Veil’ and ‘The Sight’ yet, I would recommend the person buy them while they are buying ‘The Hunt’ and then just lock themselves away for a weekend of fantastic reading.

Lovers of the true supernatural – the stuff without sparkles and/or porn on every other page – will love this book and series. Think Kim Harrison’s ‘The Hollows’, only better. Not so much a world within a world as two worlds colliding and fighting to see who wins.

Would I buy this book for myself?

Uh, I think I’ve given away my feelings on this matter already. As the answer is HECK YES! And I am already hanging out (impatiently) for the next book. Seriously Ms Neill – Write. Faster. 😀

In summary: Great book, excellent follow on to a great series, HUGE book hangover – highly recommend.

Book Review – Murder on Black Swan Lane (A Wrexford & Sloane Mystery) by Andrea Penrose.

3 out of 5 stars

I would like to thank Kensington Books for providing me with a free electronic ARC of this book, via Netgalley, in exchange for an open and honest review.

Well, what can I say, it was a historical novel set in the Regency era, it was a sort of cosy crime mixed into historical crime and… as those are my three favourite things to look for in fiction, how could I not have enjoyed ‘Murder on Black Swan Lane’?

Add that it is the first in a very promising new series ‘A Wrexford & Sloane Mystery’ and all in all I was a totally satisfied reader. Yes some may expect me to have graded it higher if I liked it so much, but let’s just say I am pacing myself and hoping the books in the series just get better and better so my score can rise, rather than fall – as it has done with recent series I read.

I feel the other reason I didn’t score it higher is I couldn’t quite decide what genre I would describe it as… Regency era adventure? Historic Crime? Cosy crime? It was all three in places – and very good at all of them – but I just need to find one that suits my personal categorisation of works best. Not a fault with ‘Murder on Black Swan Lane’ or the author. Simply down to me and which of these genres attracted me the most. Yeah, no, that doesn’t make sense to you does it? But it’s how I feel, and my blog so my right to confuse you. 😉

Let’s get into reviewing the book properly. The characters were well written and there was proof that research of the Regency era had been undertaken to bring the work to life. I will state here that I am a HUGE fan of Marion Chesney’s Regency novels (not just the romance ones) and so will admit her vivid descriptions of that time period do colour my imagination and will mean I compare other works to hers…So ‘Murder on Black Swan Lane’ was good… but just not as descriptive for my liking. But I am picky and we all know it.

I enjoyed the changing between characters so we got the story from both sides – both the male and female protagonists. It was clear and very easy to discern who was telling the story at the time, unlike other books that attempt this style of narration. And I thoroughly enjoyed that it wasn’t a romance hidden in a cosy historical crime! Yes there was attraction and even I was wondering where it was leading… but the story stuck to the crime and solving them and all in all satisfied me more than any marriage and HEA ever could.

Though I am sure the possibility may end up being there later in the series… not that I would mind that either. 😉

The characters were all well-defined and easy to tell apart – something not all authors can pull off when there are multiple people at play. And there was just the right amount of red herrings and padding out of the storyline to keep me interested and not be distracted by feeling the tale was going off tangent.

Yes I eventually guessed the whodunit before they did… but it took me a while longer than normal and I do love an author who can make me keep guessing rather than spoon feeding me the answer right off and think they are being tricky in hiding it. Not with ‘Murder on Black Swan Lane’! No, it was the perfect balance of crime, adventure, historical padding, friendships and red herrings. A very enjoyable story.

Would I recommend this book to others?

Yes I would, but again I would be confused who to suggest it to. As in, those who enjoy Regency Era tales may like it… but as so many Regency books are all about the romance, maybe they wouldn’t? Would cosy crime lovers enjoy it? I mean, I love a good cosy crime, but most cosy crimes need to be set in modern times to be classified as such.

Then there is the whole Historical Crime lovers… they might not feel there was enough history involved to truly make it meet their criteria. It’s all so confusing.

So I will just say – I am a lover of all three genres and I enjoyed this book so I would recommend it and hope for the best! 😉

 

Would I buy this book for myself?

Yes I would. I am already looking forward to any new books in the series and will be following Ms Penrose on Amazon just to ensure I know when they come out. ‘Murder on Black Swan Lane’ is definitely a cosy, historical, Regency crime book for me, and so will any further novels in the ‘A Wrexford & Sloane Mystery’ series!

In summary: a very enjoyable crime fiction book and the start to a very promising new series!

Until nexttime,

Janis.

Book Review – The Essential Thyroid Cookbook: Over 100 Nourishing Recipes for Thriving with Hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s by Lisa Markley, Jill Grunewald.

4 out of 5 stars

I am one of those people who has been flagged to have possible thyroid issues… in the future. Though due to recent blood tests my GP thinks I am fine for now. But that doesn’t explain the 30kg weight gain that’s taken place over the last 12 months… And so, yes, I have been looking over ways to improve my already pretty healthy eating regime to see if it can help. Which is why I was interested in ‘The Essential Thyroid Cookbook’.

Open and honest enough for you? 😉

The book technically comes in two parts – one that discusses the importance of good nutrition for you thyroid and all the issues that can be happening if your thyroid is not healthy.

The second section is all the scrummy, easy to do recipes.

But there is also a good introduction to the people who created this fabulous book and their reasons as to why they created it.

And then some very easy to follow and, to me, essential appendixes at the end. They really DO help you understand how ‘essential’ got into the title of this book. 😉

Okay, so that’s the brief run down on the “two” sections. Here is my long winded summary:

I found a lot of Part 1 very interesting, but thanks to my love of scholarly texts, I would have preferred more citations to follow up on some of the statements. I am NOT saying I felt they were wrong… I’m not saying I felt they were right. I just personally like scholarly texts to refer to when we discuss medical or science things. It is just one of my things. All the same, Part 1 held a LOT of good and relevant (to me) information and was a great way to introduce people to issues with the thyroid. And – when it comes to Goitrogens – THANK YOU!  I have had this belief from my previous readings for some time and often shudder at people who tell me I shouldn’t eat such and such as it’s going to make me grow a goiter. Gah!

As for Part 2? Well, they had me at ‘Nourishing Drinks’ – I’m looking at you ‘Pumpkin Gingerbread Chia Smoothie’ – and had me shopping online for my cheapest copy of ‘The Essential Thyroid Cookbook’ by the time I finished reading the section on ‘Appetisers and Snacks’. Yes, the recipes are THAT good! I even tried the Blueberry Sunrise Smoothie without the orange (orange and I don’t do well together) – delicious!

Oh my! Did I just say I actually TRIED a recipe in one of the cook books I reviewed! What will my haters think? What will they pick on my reviews for now? 😀

Anyhow, I digress. Let’s get back to the fun stuff and discuss formatting and the layout of ‘The Essential Thyroid Cookbook’.

Okay, I read my free electronic copy of this book on both my tablet and my laptop. I would have to say reading it on my tablet much easier, as you get just the one recipe per page… But then again, I found it easier to navigate through the different sections and recipes on the laptop so go figure.

Either way I found the formatting neat, clean and easy to read. The recipes were also easy to follow and I can see this book doing well being owned as either an eBook or a ‘paper’ book. There are some recipe books that work better on an electronic device and I would actually lean towards that possibly being the case here.

Oh, but I will point out that the book is obviously written for an American audience as all the measurements are in imperial rather than metric. No biggie in this day and age of online conversion charts, but I also like to point out whether a cookbook is going to need a little help when being used on Australian shores. 😉 Heck, I managed!

All in all I found it an interesting and informative read and found it filled with many recipes I want to try. Yes there are my usual food intolerances to have to deal with (allium most of all) but the recipes shared within ‘The Essential Thyroid Cookbook’ are made to be flexible and therefore adaptable to my needs.

Would I recommend this book to others?

Yes I would. I mean, even if you’re not diagnosed with a thyroid issue by your GP, you just never know. And, to be honest, a short term elimination diet followed by loads of whole, fresh food recipes – this is going to make everyone feel better. Find the foods that suit you, rather than follow a diet that is doing you more harm. Simple.

Would I buy this book for myself?

Yes I would… though the paper version is a little out of my budget right now (yes, I have already been pricing it at various online stores) and so I may go the electronic version. What is more, is I only buy cook books that I plan on using! So if I feel it’s good enough to buy, you know I am going to be using it to eat and enjoy some scrummy meals.

In summary: An informative and delicious looking cookbook that has earned its title of ‘essential’.

Until next time,

Janis.

Book Review – New Pizza: A whole new era for the world’s favourite food by Stefano Manfredi.

3 out of 5 stars

I would like to thank Murdoch Books for providing me with a free paper copy of this book in exchange for an open and honest review.

Oh look, me reviewing another cook book – surprise! What can I say, I have a bit of a cook book habit and always feel I have room for just one more… or maybe it’s if I own enough of them I can justify getting a bigger house? 😉

But, enough silliness and down to business. I found this book very interesting as it wasn’t just a cook book about pizza. It was almost a love story retelling the history of pizza and the best ingredients to do this dish justice… and then introducing the characters (the different chefs) and allowing them to retell the story with their own take on pizza today. We then got into some of Mr Manfredi’s recipes too.

Yes, okay, I can be a little too arty farty at times but hey, I feel the description is apt due to the stories that come with each of the initial recipes and sometimes each ingredient. This isn’t just a cook book, it’s a book of passion shared… and that passion just happens to be about how to cook a great pizza!

But if all you want is just a good cook book and advice on how to perfect your pizza making skills, don’t be put off by my above description! As ‘New Pizza’ does this too! There are very in depth, detailed sections on different doughs and how to make them, how to shape the doughs, etc.

And I must emphasise the ‘in depth’ as making the perfect dough in ‘New Pizza’ takes on a scientific element of equations and measurements that I initially found quite daunting – and I’ve been cooking for decades! But I then looked at it from a different angle and decided it just added to the desire of Mr Manfredi to share his passion for the perfect pizza. He could have kept his perfect dough equations to himself, but instead he is teaching them to the reader so that they too can experience pizza at its best. True gentlemen and true artist!

Then we go into the specifics of pizza itself – it’s not all just round, flat tomato and cheese! There are the Pizza Rosa – red pizza (tomato base), Pizza Bianca – white pizza (olive oil base), the Roman pizza – rectangular, fried, sweet… oh so many choices and not enough time to make them all! 😀

Courtesy of ‘New Pizza’ by Stefano Manfredi.

And if, like me, you are wheat free, there is even a good spelt pizza dough recipe. Though, if you have intolerances to gluten, dairy, allium or seafood… yeah, I did find the book lacking a little in that department for me. But that is my own problem and no fault of ‘New Pizza’. Some people are blessed with being able to eat everything – they will love this book. Me? Well… Next time I feel like falling off the wagon, I think I will use ‘New Pizza’ as my guide. I will “die” happy. 😀

Please note – I probably won’t ACTUALLY die, simply have to live with all the issues I get from eating foods I know my body can’t handle. 😉

As to the editing and layout of ‘New Pizza’ it is good. I, personally, found the book a little too chunky and cumbersome in the kitchen and it was too big for my cook book stand and looked more like a coffee table book that had gotten lost in my kitchen… but again, that is just me.

Modern cooks will appreciate the fact there is not only step by step picture instructions for the important things like how to shape the dough, but also a picture of each of the finished pizza to help entice you into wanting to make it. The pictures are amazing! There MAY be drool marks in my copy.

There were, however, a couple of typos scattered throughout the book. Usually I would say – no biggie, they will pick them up in the final edit. But I say that with eBooks and this was a paper one. I have let Murdoch books know of the issues and they did take it very seriously – they are professionals after all. What I do feel may have happened is a bit of a language hiccup? This is just a guess as I am in no way fluent in Italian… but as the majority of typos were ‘am’ being used instead of ‘an’… I am wondering if they are as interchangeable as ‘im’ and ‘in’ in German? Yeah, I’m not that fluent in German either and this is all one big guess.

Too be honest, if you skim the words, you probably won’t even notice! So don’t mind me! It does not, in any way, detract from the information ‘New Pizza’ is giving the reader. I am just one of those perfectionist who is perfectly imperfect… so will spot a typo in someone else’s work and then be blind to several clangers I make myself! 😀

Would I recommend this book to others?

Yes I would, but I would advise them that ‘New Pizza’ is for those who truly want to learn exactly what a pizza is and how to truly make it into more than just a take away meal. I am talking friends who have wood fire pizza ovens in their backyards and the like – you know they are serious about pizza and this would definitely be a book they should buy.

Would I buy this book for myself?

Now, I will remind you that I was sent a paper version of this book already and so that can make this section tough to answer, as it’s hard to ask if I would buy it when I already own it… But I will say that if I was to see it in the shops I probably wouldn’t buy it. Not because it is a terrible book, simply because I do not feel I could do it justice as a cook. As in, I don’t think I would really use it that often.

But this is due to my food intolerances and allergies making pizza not the best food for me. I can’t eat wheat, dairy, seafood, allium… you know? All the stuff that makes pizza GOOD!

Don’t get me wrong, now that I have a copy I am determined to try and learn how to make that perfect pizza dough from those in depth equations – I have a thing for equations – and my kids can eat most of that stuff… so, yeah, while I own it I will try and do ‘New Pizza’ justice, but I feel I am just not the right person to honour the passion and recipes within its pages.

 

In summary: A fantastic insight and lessons into how to make pizza the old and new ways.

Until next time,

Janis.

 

Ready or Not! – 150+ Make-Ahead, Make-Over, and Make-Now Recipes by Nom Nom Paleo by Michelle Tam, Henry Fong.

4 out of 5 stars

I would like to thank Andrews McMeel Publishing for providing me with a free electronic ARC of this book, via Netgalley, in exchange for an open and honest review.

Well, I have to start by saying this is a very different cook book to the ones I am used to reading and reviewing and, for a while, I wasn’t too sure if I was finding it refreshingly different or just a little too off centre for my liking. So, yeah, mixed feelings about the layout and formatting, but we will get to that later.

What I did love about ‘Ready or Not!’ is that it is my sort of paleo. I am a whole foods, make from scratch but nobody’s perfect sort of person… In fact I am known for calling myself perfectly imperfect and sometimes just eat cereal for dinner (gluten free and in activated almond milk but still cereal)!

And I really do find the term ‘Paleo’ has been given a really bad name in recent years as it’s gone from a generic term for just plain and simple whole food eating to anti this and ban that and “it’s all meat and you must hunt it yourself or you’re not a Paleo”…. I hate labels. And so refuse to call myself paleo due to all this negativity. It’s not a cult people! It’s a suggestion on how to eat food!

Which is why I loved ‘Ready or Not!’ as it not only seems to follow a similar perfectly imperfect lifestyle, but also seems to have gone back to the old style, far more flexible approach to paleo and so I am not ashamed to say I have read it… Or now follow ‘Nom Nom Paleo – Michelle Tan’ on Facebook. What can I say? Her food looks amazing and the recipes are simple and very easy to follow.

I will state here and now that my own personal food allergies and intolerances (recapping for those who don’t know me – wheat, allium, seafood, dairy to name a few) mean that not all recipes were suitable for me… while some could be fine-tuned to suit my needs and others were perfect to just go with… I’m looking at you Pina Colada Tapioca pudding!

So another reason to have mixed emotions as not every recipe in ‘Ready or Not!’ could be made in my house. And so as much as the book tempts and excites me with its differences… I am also disappointed it is yet another cook book that is hit and miss for my diet. Won’t anyone think of the allium intolerant? 😉

Okay, back to the layout and formatting of ‘Ready or Not!’ and me stating it’s very different to the norm. I mean, my 12 year old daughter loves it, but she is really into Manga and graphic novels – as well as inheriting my cook book addiction. It is indeed rather… unique being set out like a manga book but then again I think our modern new home cooks would like it as it has the set by set pictures and instructions, it has the smiley faces and constant chatter of making it like a one on one cooking conversation and would give them that feeling instant gratification the younger generation seems to need.

But for me? And my love of 100 year old (and then some) cook books that consist of a paragraph or two and the belief the reader knows their way around a kitchen and doesn’t need to be spoon fed each ingredient… yeah, I can’t say I enjoyed the manga style that much. A little too dumbed down and babyish for me.

Oh, and it is written for an American audience so uses imperial measurements and the American names for foods – such a cilantro rather than coriander. This may be a stumbling block for some new cooks here in Australia but who knows? Do Aussie kids still say capsicum rather than peppers? Maybe I am just outdated again. 😉

However! What I did love about the layout was how the recipes were broken down into different “are you ready?” sections… Hence the name ‘Ready or Not!’ I guess.

There is the intro that tells you all about how the book is laid out, then then prep section for sauces and other basics. Then we hit the section where you have all the time in the world to cook. The section for having some time to cook and the section on having no time and just wanting a wholesome family meal ASAP. This was great as I have days like this where I either have all the time in the world, a little time or none at all and so the idea of having a go to recipe idea for each time limit was great. Again, not all the recipes in any of these sections suited my personal dietary restrictions, but I really did love that layout as I honestly feel it a great way to encourage more people to skip the instant meals and take away and try their hand at some simple but tasty whole food home cooked meals.

So, yeah, a bit of a like/ unlike relationship happening here. 😀 I love the passion, enthusiasm and talent shown by Ms Tan and her family and I do love the styles of meals as Cantonese food – via Darwin – is my childhood comfort food. And so there was some definite connection there that has made this book somewhat appealing despite my also dislike of it. Oh dear, I am getting a split personality over it! 😀

Would I recommend this book to others?

You know, I think I would. But I would be recommending it to the younger generations. I can’t see myself or my mother wanting to race out and buy it… but I can see myself buying it for my daughter to add to her slowing increasing cook book collection.
It is a good cook book, but just one meant more for the modern generation rather than an old fuddy duddy like me. 😉

Would I buy this book for myself?

Ummm, I MIGHT sneak an electronic copy onto my tablet as a “just in case” as there were some really appealing recipes in ‘Ready or Not!’ or I might buy a paper version for my daughter and pinch it from time to time. I really can’t be sure… it interests me and I love the vibe Ms Tan has created… but manga cook books just go against my grain. 😉

In summary: a great cook book for the next generation of whole food home cooks.

Until next time,

Janis.