"Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers." ~ Charles W. Eliot
"This is my invariable advice to people: Learn how to cook - try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all have fun!" ~ Julia Child
"She is too fond of books, and it has turned her brain." ~ Louisa May Alcott

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Butterfly summer

Butterfly Summer by Anne-Marie Conway

I seem to be on a roll lately with really fabulous books. I just finished listening to Audible's Butterfly Summer by Anne-Marie Conway and read by Kate Harbour. This is added to my list of good reads. For the description of the butterfly garden alone, this book is worth the read. But who would have thought that a modern ghost story could take place in this setting?

Becky and her mother move to Oakbridge where her mother will start a new job back in her tiny home village. Becky is often alone as it is summer so she spends her days keeping herself entertained at the butterfly garden where she meets Rosa May. They quickly become good friends but Becky wants to keep her friend a secret as her mother would forbid her going to the garden fearing the lake. One day Becky finds a photo in a shoe box under her mother's bed. Her mother is laying in the hospital with a baby wrapped in a pink blanket. Who is this baby and where is her father who left when Becky was very small? Many questions begin to build up for Becky who is afraid to ask her mother as she is not well. But secrets do come out and some secrets change lives forever.......

I am adding the book trailer for this book which might tempt you more to read this book...


Happy reading!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Chocolate-chestnut heaven!

Yesterday, we were in chocolate-chestnut heaven so I am renaming Nigella Lawson's Mont Blanc. *grins* This is an amazing pudding that will leave you scraping the bottom of your dish and wanting more.....

Chocolate-Chestnut heaven
4 blocks (approx. 40gr) of Lindt supreme dark chocolate (I used 90% cocoa)
chestnut puree
200ml whipping cream
2 or 3 small meringue rings

Chop the chocolate and throw into a deep (wine) glass. Top the chocolate with two tablespoons of chestnut puree. Whip the cream and then add the meringue rings crushed mixing well. Layer on top of the chestnut puree. Keep a little of the meringue to dust the top of the cream. Leave in the fridge until you are ready to eat it.

Just look at those yummy layers...enjoy!

Eet smakelijk!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Chocolate Wishes

I just closed the book Chocolate Wishes by Trisha Ashley with a sad heart. This book brought me back to the village of Sticklepond after my first visit in her book A Winter's Tale.

Chloe has spent her life raising her little brother Jake. One Easter, she makes him chocolate Easter eggs bringing an idea to her mind of creating chocolate wishes. They are winged hearts with a message inside much like a fortune cookie. She has thrown herself into a thriving online chocolate business and left love behind her when her grandfather informs her that they will be moving to the village of Sticklepond where she will have her own cottage, walled garden and chocolate shop. Her grandfather and aunt will live in the house connected to the shop which is also a museum. Her grandfather is the famous author Gregory Warlock who is setting up a museum on witchcraft and pagan traditions. But what will the new vicar have to say?

Chloe's best friends Felix and Poppy live in the village so she falls into life there easily. Felix seems to see Chloe in a different light but, when ex-fiancee David shows up wanting to move to the area as well as an ex-pop star vicar who is a ghost of the past, Chloe might have a hard time keeping to her desire to live life as a single woman with a thriving business.

This story is a fun story about life, love and families. But in Trisha Ashley's style, the characters are brought to life in the pages of her books. You cannot help but be pulled in with characters such as Chloe, Felix, Raffy and Poppy or the Gothic loving brother Jake, eccentric grandfather Grumps or colorful aunt Zillah or imposing Hebe Winter. The villagers come to like in this wonderful story. I would recommend you first read A  Winter's Tale as many of the characters are mentioned again in this book. But that being said, it could easily be read without the first book too.

Happy reading!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

A Merry Little Christmas

A Merry Little Christmas

Perhaps it seems strange to review a Christmas book mid-January but don't let this title fool you. It does start and end with Christmas but with a whole year in the life of Cat, Pippa and Marianne in between. Welcome to Hope Christmas...a little village in England. Cat, Pippa and Marianne all have families and lives which give them challenges but also love.

Cat is a cooking writer and host of her own show. She juggles it all with her caring husband Noel raising her four children.

Pippa is a farmer's wife to Dan with a special needs child Lucy to care for along with her two loving sons.

And last but not least, Marianne has twin babies to care for along with her beloved step son and farmer husband Gabriel. She works part time as a teacher.

But when life starts to throw many challenges and tests in their way, these three friends really pull together in ways that carry them through. By the end of the year, all they want is A Merry Little Christmas.

This is my second book by author Julia Williams. I really enjoy how she pulls you into the villages she writes about. You are there with the families sharing in their ups and downs. I found myself a little bothered by some of the language in this book but I know that is life now. But regardless, I will be looking for more books by this author as I enjoyed this one as much as The Summer Season.

Happy reading!

Note: I have put word verification back on this blog. Someone with no life and too much time on their hands has put almost 200 spam comments on a previous book review. I hope this will not stop anyone from commenting on my blog as I love reading your comments. 

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Brontes' Christmas

The Brontes' Christmas

A book compiled with excerpts of writings of the three Bronte Sisters as well as counterparts of their day. It describes the sober celebrations that the sisters might have shared under the watchful eye of their Aunt Bramwell and their father and  reveals the tradition Charlotte had of taking spice cake to families around her. A chance to read stories and poetry of the season.

An enjoyable anthology of stories and poetry which I enjoyed reading spread across the 12 Days of Christmas.

Happy reading!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Amish Knitting Circle

Amish Knitting Circle- Beginnings

This is the first of a series by Karen Anna Vogel. It was described as written in the style of The Pickwick Papers in a series. I borrowed this one from my mother's Nook and really enjoyed it. It is very short and leaves you wishing the complete book was there before your eyes to read if you are a fan of Amish fiction.

Granny Weaver is spinning the wool from her six sheep one afternoon when she decides to set up a knitting circle. Inviting the women in her community that she is praying for, in this first volume, you meet the various Amish women.

Happy reading!