Tag Archives: Netgalley

Toast and Jam: Modern Recipes for Rustic Baked Goods and Sweet and Savory Spreads, by Sarah Owens

27 Jul

33215775Format: e-ARC, 256 pages

Publisher: Roost Books

To Be Published: August 15, 2017

ISBN: 9781611803570

Genre: Cooking, Food & Wine

Back cover blurb: Rustic breads, scones, and biscuits paired with fruit-jams, jellies, nut butters, savory spreads, pickles, and more–from the James Beard award-winning author of Sourdough.
Bread and butter, toast and jam, scones and clotted cream–baked goods have a long tradition of being paired with spreads to make their flavors and textures sing. As a baker with a passion for plants, Sarah Owens, author of the James Beard award-winning Sourdough, takes these simple pairings in fresh new directions. Spread some Strawberry & Meyer Lemon Preserves on a piece of Buckwheat Milk Bread for a special springtime treat. Top a slice of Pain de Mie with Watermelon Jelly for a bright taste of summer. Lather some Gingered Sweet Potato Butter on a piece of Spiced Carrot Levain for a warming fall breakfast. Make a batch of Dipping Chips to serve with Preserved Lemon and Fava Bean Hummus for an inspired snack. Wow brunch guests with a spread of Sourdough Whole-Grain Bagels, Lemony Herb Chevre, and Beet-Cured Gravlax. The recipes here offer a thoroughly fresh sensibility for the comfort found in a simple slice of toast spread with jam.

My review: The simple title is deceiving, because this is book is far more than just one about toast and spreads. The breads are fancy, and the spreads include not only jam but also butters, pickles, and other preserves, plus how to make your own ricotta and creme fraiche. Every photograph is stunning, almost as if you could reach out and touch the grain of the bread or the sticky gloss of its topping.

I’d like to try the chocolate and orange sourdough, the peach and tea preserves, and the roasted banana and chocolate nut butter, but I’ll admit I’d never heard of some of the other ingredients. It’s definitely not a book for a beginner; more for the gourmets among us.

***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: 4/5

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Ragdoll, by Daniel Cole

30 Jun

31673769Format: e-ARC, 378 pages

Publisher: Hachette Australia

Published: 28 February, 2017

ISBN: 9781409168751

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Mystery & Thrillers

Back cover blurb: A body is discovered with the dismembered parts of six victims stitched together like a puppet, nicknamed by the press as the ‘ragdoll’.
Assigned to the shocking case are Detective William ‘Wolf’ Fawkes, recently reinstated to the London Met, and his former partner Detective Emily Baxter.
The ‘Ragdoll Killer’ taunts the police by releasing a list of names to the media, and the dates on which he intends to murder them.
With six people to save, can Fawkes and Baxter catch a killer when the world is watching their every move?

My review: I was reminded a lot of the Luther TV series while reading this. Will Fawkes, aka Wolf, is the kind of detective who takes crimes personally, isn’t above bending the rules to get his man, and who often finds himself embroiled with his witnesses and colleagues. The case was gory and intriguing, full of sudden twists, and based on the blurb, I should have enjoyed this more than I did. But the fact was I didn’t get much sense of Wolf until very late in the story. I wasn’t invested in him, or even any of his colleagues. Only Edmunds seemed to stand out, and it doesn’t look like he will be staying on for the second book. I can see how Cole wrote this initially as a screenplay, but feel like the characterization would have been all down to the actors cast. I doubt I’ll be reading the sequel.

***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: 3.5/5

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When Only Cupcakes Will Do, by Daisy James

16 May

30357657Format: e-ARC, 210 pages

Publisher: Carina

Published: August 4, 2016

ISBN: 9780008206833

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

Back cover blurb: The delightfully heartwarming romantic comedy from Daisy James!

When life gives you lemons, make lemon drizzle cupcakes…

Lucie thought that proposing to her boyfriend in Tiffany’s would be the best day of her life. Until he said no. In just a few seconds, her whole world is turned upside-down! And when she accidentally switches cocoa powder for chilli powder at work, she finds herself out of a job, too…

Baking has always made life better in the past, but can Lucie really bake her way to happiness? Starting her own company, selling cupcakes out of an old ice cream van might just be the second chance that Lucie needs!

Of course, she never expected to find love along the way…

My review: A light, by-the-numbers romance which was okay but just didn’t grab me. I liked Lucie and the way she turned a couple of disasters into a new life for herself, but never felt her connection to either of the men in her life. I know I wasn’t meant to like Alex, but Ed kept sounding like he was talking down to her. For example, I’m sure that since she went to Le Cordon Bleu school as well she knew how to make a custard. I just didn’t feel their connection – it felt oddly stiff. But if I was lying on a beach somewhere, this book would be an okay way to escape. Like candyfloss, it was sweet but doesn’t have a lot of substance.

***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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The Ones Who Got Away, by Roni Loren (sneak peek)

12 Apr

Format: e-ARC, sneak peek of first three chapters

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

To Be Published: January 2, 2018

ISBN: 9781492651406

Genre: Romance

Back cover blurb: A fresh new contemporary romance from New York Times and USA Today bestseller Roni Loren that will rock your world.

Twelve years ago, tragedy struck the senior class of Long Acre High School. Only a small number of students survived, a group the media dubbed as The Ones Who Got Away.

Now, web designer Liv Arias, along with the rest of the survivors, have returned to the small Texas town to tell their stories for a documentary. Which means Liv seeing former star-athlete and old flame Finn Dorsey. A lot happened between them that night and Liv is ready to end their decade-long riff and move on. But when her attempt at closure turns into a steamy kiss, moving on proves much more difficult than either of them thought…

Liv’s words cut off as Finn got closer. The man approaching was nothing like the boy she’d known. The bulky football muscles had streamlined into a harder, leaner package. The smooth face was now dusted with scruff, and the look in his deep green eyes held no trace of boyish innocence. A thousand things were in those eyes. A thousand things welled up in Liv.

My review: *** This review is for a sneak peek of the first three chapters, which were provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

Oh, this is sooo good! I haven’t read a Roni Loren book before but I’ve been aware of her work and her writing advice, so when I saw the unique premise in the blurb I knew I had to have it. Even from just the sneak peek I can get a good sense of the characters and what they have been through as survivors of a school shooting. Twelve years later they’ve returned to film a documentary, and the chemistry between Liv and her secret love, Finn, doesn’t appear to have diminished, although she has blamed him for what happened to her that day. He’s a bit of a man of mystery as an adult, and – this goes without saying – super hot. Just this taster was not enough and I cannot wait to read the rest of the story. Is it January yet?

My rating: 5/5

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Food52 Ice Cream and Friends, by the Editors of Food52

4 Apr

33843312Format: e-ARC, 176 pages

Publisher: Ten Speed Press

To Be Published: April 11, 2017

ISBN: 9780399578021

Genre: Cooking, Food & Wine

Back cover blurb: A friendly collection of recipes, riffs, toppings, and serving ideas for ice creams of all styles.

In Ice Cream & Friends, the editors of Food52 unearth 60 recipes for everyday and special occasion frozen desserts—like coffee frozen custard, cinnamon roll ice cream, and grilled watermelon cremolada—and put their own spin on enduring favorites: spiced fudgesicles, cherry-mint snow cones, even a modern baked Alaska. There are also tips and tricks for reviving melted ice cream, getting even creamier scoops, and spiffing up the store-bought stuff, as well as homemade versions of cones, mochi, sprinkles, Magic Shell, and more.

My review: My daughter and I love making homemade no-churn ice cream, so this book was perfect to give us a few new flavour suggestions. As well as some old favourites, the editors of the Food52 blog have come up with some unusual combinations, including black pepper and feta or butternut squash and tahini ice creams, and tomato, peach and basil sorbet. I think we’ll definitely be trying the carrot cake ice cream, yummy baked alaskas, chocolate tacos, and the Brooklyn Blackout Semifreddo Cake, and will attempt to make our own Magic Shell, cones and sprinkles from their recipes. There’s even a genius tip for curing brain freeze, which will certainly come in handy!

The photographs are gorgeous and make your mouth water, and the instructions are clear and written in a chatty manner. I’m now keen to check out the authors’ other cookbooks and blog.

***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: 4/5

4cupcakes

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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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Frostblood, by Elly Blake

22 Feb

31134210Format: e-ARC, 304 pages

Publisher: Hachette Australia/Hodder & Stoughton

Published: January 10, 2017

ISBN: 9781473635173

Genre: Teens & YA

Back cover blurb: The first in a page-turning young adult fantasy series perfect for fans of Victoria Aveyard’s RED QUEEN and Sarah J. Maas’s THRONE OF GLASS series.

In a land governed by the cruel Frostblood ruling class, seventeen-year-old Ruby is a Fireblood who has spent most of her life hiding her ability to manipulate heat and light – until the day the soldiers come to raid her village and kill her mother. Ruby vows revenge on the tyrannous Frost King responsible for the massacre of her people.

But Ruby’s powers are unpredictable…and so are the feelings she has for Arcus, the scarred, mysterious Frostblood warrior who shares her goal to kill the Frost King, albeit for his own reasons. When Ruby is captured by the Frost King’s men, she’s taken right into the heart of the enemy. Now she only has one chance to destroy the maniacal ruler who took everything from her – and in doing so, she must unleash the powers she’s spent her whole life withholding.

FROSTBLOOD is set in world where flame and ice are mortal enemies – but together create a power that could change everything.

My review: That beautiful cover was the first thing that made me want to read this book, and coupled with the blurb I knew it would be right up my alley. I wasn’t disappointed, and couldn’t put it down once I started reading. Ruby is a wonderful heroine, the only Fireblood left in a world of ice manipulators. She is imprisoned more than once, but fights on until it almost appears all is lost.

Her initial rescuers, an elderly monk and a mysterious soldier with a covered face, train her to fight and use her powers to destroy the evil Frostblood throne, and although they start out full of animosity for each other, I loved the way Arcus and Ruby came to love each other. His secret was fairly obvious for me early on, but that never detracted from the story or the big reveal at the end. I only wish we had seen Brother Thistle again to make sure he was okay. The second book can’t some soon enough for me.

This is a fantastic debut and I look forward to reading more from Elly Blake.

***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: 5/5

5cupcakes

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Furthermore (Free Sampler), by Tahereh Mafi

16 Jan

31376685Format: e-ARC, free sampler, 63 pages

Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers

Published: August 30, 2016

ISBN: 9781101994788

Genre: Middle Grade, Teens & YA

Back cover blurb: The bestselling author of the Shatter Me series takes readers beyond the limits of their imagination in this captivating new middle grade adventure where color is currency, adventure is inevitable, and friendship is found in the most unexpected places.

There are only three things that matter to twelve-year-old Alice Alexis Queensmeadow: Mother, who wouldn’t miss her; magic and color, which seem to elude her; and Father, who always loved her. The day Father disappears from Ferenwood he takes nothing but a ruler with him. But it’s been almost three years since then, and Alice is determined to find him. She loves her father even more than she loves adventure, and she’s about to embark on one to find the other.

But bringing Father home is no small matter. In order to find him she’ll have to travel through the mythical, dangerous land of Furthermore, where down can be up, paper is alive, and left can be both right and very, very wrong. Her only companion is a boy named Oliver whose own magical ability is based in lies and deceit—and with a liar by her side in a land where nothing is as it seems, it will take all of Alice’s wits (and every limb she’s got) to find Father and return home to Ferenwood in one piece. On her quest to find Father, Alice must first find herself—and hold fast to the magic of love in the face of loss.

My review: As a 63-page taster of this middle-grade fantasy, this was intriguing enough to make me want to seek out the full novel. Mafi is a genius with prose, and even in this short sample you get a clear sense of the strange world she has built. Interesting and unusual.

***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: 5/5

5cupcakes

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The Hating Game, by Sally Thorne

14 Jan

Format: e-ARC, 363 pages

Publisher: Hachette Australia

Published: August 9, 2016

ISBN: 9780349414256

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

Back cover blurb: NEMESIS (n)

1) An opponent or rival whom a person cannot best or overcome
2) A person’s undoing
3) Joshua Templeman
Lucy Hutton has always been certain that the nice girl can get the corner office. She prides herself on being loved by everyone at work – except for imposing, impeccably attired Joshua Templeman.
Trapped in a shared office, they’ve become entrenched in an addictive, never-ending game of one-upmanship. There’s the Staring Game, The Mirror Game, The HR Game. Lucy can’t let Joshua beat her at anything – especially when a huge promotion is on offer.
If Lucy wins, she’ll be Joshua’s boss. If she loses, she’ll resign. So why is she questioning herself? Maybe she doesn’t hate him. And just maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game . . .

My review: The Hating Game is one of those books from which you resent real life taking you away. Many times I had to put it down to go and do RL stuff, only to find myself muttering “Joshua Templeman…” I loved the snarky banter, and the swoons were many. Nothing came as a surprise, as I was paying attention and could see where things were going, but I loved it all nonetheless. I think Sally Thorne is about to become my latest auto-buy author. When I started this I was unaware she was someone who had been recommended to me often by friends in an online writing community, so I shouldn’t have been surprised that it was fantastic. I highly recommend, and will be keeping a keen eye out for Thorne’s next project.

***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: 5/5

5cupcakes

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1,342 QI Facts To Leave You Flabbergasted, by John Lloyd, John Mitchinson and James Harkin

16 Nov

32813555Format: e-ARC, 368 pages

Publisher: Faber and Faber

Published: November 3, 2016

ISBN: 9780571332465

Genre: Entertainment, Nonfiction (Adult)

Back cover blurb: The sock-blasting, jaw-dropping, side-swiping phenomenon that is QI serves up a sparkling new selection of 1,342 facts to leave you flabbergasted.

My review: I love the TV show QI, so this book was a must-have when it popped up on Netgalley. Not surprisingly, I think I bookmarked every page because every fact is an absolute gem. Each one segues into the next along a similar vein, and all are backed up with the source and additional facts available at the book’s website: qi.com/1342. Some of the facts I knew already, being an avid fan of the show and trivia in general, but there were hundreds more I felt compelled to read out to anyone who would listen. Lots of fun and very educational. Now I’ve identified myself as a scurryfunge, and my whole family knows that Neanderthals are shown as slouching because the first one to be reconstructed happened to have arthritis. It came as no surprise that Stormtroopers from Star Wars Lego sets outnumber Earth’s real soldiers by 50 to one, but did you know 12 percent of Americans think USB is a country in Europe? Now that’s quite interesting (and worrying)!

***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: 5/5

5cupcakes

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