Tag Archives: meh

Candy Is Magic: Real Ingredients, Modern Recipes, by Jami Curl

28 Mar

30780245Format: e-ARC, 288 pages

Publisher: Ten Speed Press

Published: 14 March, 2017

ISBN: 9780399578397

Genre: Cooking, Food & Wine

Back cover blurb: This game-changing candy cookbook from the owner of Quin, a popular Portland-based candy company, offers more than 200 achievable recipes using real, natural ingredients for everything from flavor-packed fruit lollipops to light-as-air marshmallows.

Jami Curl, candy-maker extraordinaire and owner of the candy company Quin has been called the “new Willy Wonka” by Bon Appetit. Her debut book, This is Candy, includes the recipes that have made Quin a favorite with local and national media, foodies, chefs, and bloggers. But This is Candy is not just a candy book. Instead, Jami’s approach to candy forms the foundation for a world of other confections–from bacon glazed with maple and black pepper caramel to a clever Chocolate Magic Dust that can be turned into chocolate pudding, chocolate sauce, and even a chocolate lollipop. Packed with more than 200 recipes for totally original confections like Whole Roasted Strawberry Lollipops, Bergamot Caramels, Fig & Coffee Gumdrops, and Pinot Noir cotton candy, as well as serious tips and advice for making amazing candy at home.

My review: I never thought I would be bored by a book about sweets but, sadly, I was. This wasn’t the cookbook I was expecting. Instead, the first quarter is a comprehensive technical explanation of the methodology and equipment needed for candy making, and then there are a series of recipes for infusions and flavoured sugars before we get to any real recipes. Even then, these all seem to be very similar variations on a theme, covering lollipops, marshmallow, gum drops and caramels. The same flavours are repeated for each type of sweet. I really would have liked a bit more variation and something a bit more “out there.”

Maybe there weren’t enough photos. I found the hand drawings a bit amateurish. The rabbit cake was certainly underwhelming. I know I didn’t need several pages devoted to making cinnamon sugar or how to put together cocoa powder and sugar to make a hot chocolate mix.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 3/5

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Magic Bites, by Ilona Andrews

25 Apr

Format: Audiobook
Published: March 27, 2007
Publisher: Audible
Back cover blurb:
Atlanta would be a nice place to live, if it weren’t for magic…

One moment magic dominates, and cars stall and guns fail. The next, technology takes over and the defensive spells no longer protect your house from monsters. Here skyscrapers topple under onslaught of magic; werebears and werehyenas prowl through the ruined streets; and the Masters of the Dead, necromancers driven by their thirst of knowledge and wealth, pilot blood-crazed vampires with their minds.

In this world lives Kate Daniels. Kate likes her sword a little too much and has a hard time controlling her mouth. The magic in her blood makes her a target, and she spent most of her life hiding in plain sight. But when Kate’s guardian is murdered, she must choose to do nothing and remain safe or to pursue his preternatural killer. Hiding is easy, but the right choice is rarely easy…

My review:
Meh. Another first book where I lost interest because of too much world-building. I’m told the series improves – and Curran becomes hotter – as it goes on, but at the moment I’m in no hurry to read the rest. Also, the audiobook was OK, but it annoyed me greatly that the narrator pronounced “plait” as “plate”. Grr!
My rating: 3/5

Necrophenia, by Robert Rankin

19 Apr

Format: Paperback, 416 pages
Published:  July 17, 2008
Publisher: Gollancz
Back cover blurb:

ONE IN EVERY THREE PEOPLE LIVING IS ACTUALLY DEAD!
It is a matter of historical record that during the latter part of World War II, England’s top-secret Ministry of Serendipity enlisted the services of arch-magician Aleister Crowley to create a Homunculus. Why? Well that’s a long story, spanning almost seven decades as it follows the life and career of Tyler, rock star, private eye – and notable for the fact that he almost saved Mankind. The cast of millions also includes ukulele maestro George Formby, Mick Jagger, Mama Cass, Elvis Presley and Lazlo Woodbine. And Tyler’s brother, Andy, who impersonates animals (and who single-handedly brought about the Swinging Sixties). And a lady named Clara from Croydon, who unlocked the meta-phenomena of the Multiverse. And a corner shopkeeper from Brentford, who created a sitting room for God. And a great many living dead. Oh yes, and it also involves a monster in human form whose intention it is to turn the Earth into a Necrosphere, a planet totally devoid of life…
My review:
Sorry, Mr Rankin, but I really struggled to finish this one. I’ve been reading Rankin for 20 years, but this… I dunno. I loved his early stuff so much and am saddened when a mojo is lost.

Maybe there was too much self-reference. They were all there, Rankin’s usual suspects – hard-boiled private eye Lazlo Woodbine and Fangio the barman, Elvis, Dimac, the Ministry of Serendipity, unpopular vegetables, the woman in the straw hat – because it’s a tradition, or an old charter, or something, but still I wasn’t gripped. Tyler only became interesting to me about 200 pages in when he encountered Laz, but if it wasn’t for the fact I’m not a quitter I wouldn’t have read that far.

The next Rankin is sitting by my bedside but I think I’ll wait a while before tackling it.

My rating: 2/5
Jennifer Keishin Armstrong

Writing for the Pop Culture Literate.

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