Categories
ARCs Book Reviews Books Childrens Educational Featured Fiction Historical Fiction

The Fabulous Tale of Fish and Chips by Helaine Becker

Advertisements
Advertisements

Joseph Malin loves his grandmother’s fried fish, which she makes according to an old family recipe. It’s so good, he thinks he might be able to make some money from it; money that his immigrant Jewish family desperately needs. He takes it into the marketplace of 19th Century London’s East End and calls out to passers-by: ‘Fresh from the ships, Hot n’ tasty fried fish’. Before long, people are coming from far and wide to try the delicious snack.

But his success inspires a rival. Annette, the greengrocer across the street, sees an opportunity to hawk her own family favourite: Belgian-style fried potatoes. “Piping hot chips!”/So crisp, so delish”, she calls. And they’re a hit too.

The competition between Joseph and Annette heats up as they try to outsell each other at the market. And then one day… crash! The two collide. Chips slip. Fish fly. It’s a disaster. Or perhaps not…

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Fabulous Tale of Fish and Chips by Helaine Becker

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a wonderful story with adorable illustrations!

I would like to thank Pen & Sword for providing me with an advance readers copy via access to the galley for free through the NetGalley program.

I’d recommend this to children of wide age ranges as the illustrations are enticing and verbiage is inviting. It also has appeal for multi-cultural and historical interest as well.

It features an appropriate, digestible length of book with simple enough and easy to understand sentence structure and words for readers from about 7 years of age on up to read independently, likely the ability to begin reading starting at 6 with some assistance. Listeners of any age who would be drawn to the pictures is also complete with a story that would be interesting to anyone of any age.

This was a good family read and we enjoyed the recipe contained in the book, making it for Fish Friday, which was super delicious and fun to make. This book also brought me back to my childhood, loving the treat of fish and chips meal. The illustrations reminded me of my favorite childhood reads including the amusing illustrations of historical scenes in Where’s Waldo and Journey Cake, Ho!

The Story
I was completely unaware of the origin of fish and chips so this was a great way to learn a bit about food history.

Illustrations
This picture story was really brought to life with perfectly detailed illustrations which were precious and realistic. Had enough adventurous tone to be an attractive in a sketch-like, colorful style to emphasize the time period, setting, and character expression.

The Writing
With lively narration, the kids had a fun time taking turns reading it, drawing out the expressions in the dialogue which were well placed among the main historical aspect of the storyline.

“Made me hungry for fish and chips.”
“A good book.”

I’d love to know more books like this.

View all my reviews

Advertisements
Categories
ARCs Book Reviews Books Featured Nonfiction

How to Forage for Mushrooms Without Dying by Frank Hyman

Advertisements
Advertisements

How to Forage for Mushrooms without Dying is the book for anyone who walks in the woods and would like to learn how to identify just the 29 edible mushrooms they’re likely to come across.

In it, Hyman offers his expert mushroom foraging advice, distilling down the most important information for the reader in colorful, folksy language that’s easy to remember when in the field.

Want an easy way to determine if a mushroom is a delicious morel or a toxic false morel? Slice it in half – “if it’s hollow, you can swallow,” Hyman says. With Frank Hyman’s expert advice and easy-to-follow guidelines, readers will be confident in identifying which mushrooms they can safely eat and which ones they should definitely avoid.

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Advertisements

How to Forage for Mushrooms without Dying: An Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Identifying 29 Wild, Edible Mushrooms by Frank Hyman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Super informative! I was drawn in by the matter of fact title. Not dying. It’s hard enough to trust whomever you comb the forest with, much less trust yourself to share your fungi collection with anyone else.

I would like to thank Storey Publishing for providing me with an advance readers copy via access to the galley for free through the NetGalley program.

For reference, I’m a novice when it comes to foraging mushrooms, having learned a bit through survival courses, foreign travel, and my latest desire to get and train a Lagotto Romagnolo who I plan to name Macchiato. Once got a tad ill eating what should have been easily identified morel, now I know it was more likely inappropriate preparation, so after reading this book, it makes complete sense. My confidence is building though and I’m grateful for the treasures in this book. With that said, I’d recommend this book to anyone interested in foraging mushrooms, whether beginner or expert, as I think it spans a significantly important range of historical context, anatomy, identification, preparation, handling, storage, and cooking without being pretentious or belabored, hitting the highlights while not being too geographically niche or of mushrooms that are less commonly eaten.

There is a lot of information about foraging out there and it can get pretty overwhelming with certain rules that have exceptions that can make the process confusing. I liked the approach to foraging and the uniqueness in its safe and uncomplicated mushroom recognition. It covers plenty of information that is easy to read, simple to navigate while being interesting and perceptive. I appreciated the verbiage and guidelines, not difficult to remember, they don’t overreach nor ignore subtle difference that I’m just learning about.

The illustrations are also a great asset. A great balance of diagram, overall features depicted, along with sharp macro shots.

I look forward to having a copy for my reference library.

View all my reviews

Advertisements
Advertisements
Categories
ARCs Book Reviews Books Featured Fiction Romance

An Endless Cornish Summer by Phillipa Ashley

Advertisements

For Rose, every day is a gift. She narrowly survived a life-threatening illness and owes everything to her anonymous donor. Determined to thank him, Rose follows a trail of clues that lead her to the little Cornish fishing village of Falford. 
 
But things become complicated when Rose is drawn into local life, becoming involved in the legendary Falford Regatta and meeting the handsome Morvah brothers – one of whom might just be the man she’s looking for. But which one? 
 
Can Rose find the answer she’s searching for, or will she lose her heart before the summer is over?

Advertisements

Rating: 4 out of 5.

An Endless Cornish Summer by Phillipa Ashley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Such a sweet and gratifying read.

I would like to thank Avon Books UK for providing me with an advance readers copy via access to the galley for free through the NetGalley program.

I’d recommend this to anyone looking for a summer read that you want to just immerse yourself into, a moment in someone else’s story with a bit of warmth, hope, escapism, sailing on the water, archeological intrigue, love, brokeness, and a unifying heartfelt, selfless life story.

The Story
Such a lovely read. Starts off mellow, then revisits the past with standout memories and emotional reconciliation, both surprise and acceptance in a way that I felt was realistic and inviting for a book of this subject matter. I felt the joy, the longing, the portrayal of health not lost but shared and all the village insight to go with it. I’ll just leave it at that as to not give it away.

The Writing
Ashley always writes in a way that puts readers to ease. I felt captured by the moments in time with just enough peek into the next scene without being drawn out or belabored.

There were a few moments of more passive approach, lines such as would have meant, had to, might, were this, so this, had been something, seemed, thought it would have. Which was okay, just more than I wanted to read over.

I loved the overall storyline and approach to more delicate emotional state, the supportive characters, and how life changes were portrayed.

View all my reviews

Advertisements
Advertisements
Categories
Book Reviews Books Featured Fiction Thriller

The Devil’s Hand by Jack Carr

Advertisements
Advertisements

It’s been 20 years since 9/11. Two decades since the United States was attacked on home soil and embarked on 20 years of war. The enemy has been patient, learning, and adapting. And the enemy is ready to strike again.

A new president offers hope to a country weary of conflict. He’s a young, popular, self-made visionary…but he’s also a man with a secret.

Halfway across the globe a regional superpower struggles with sanctions imposed by the Great Satan and her European allies, a country whose ancient religion spawned a group of ruthless assassins. Faced with internal dissent and extrajudicial targeted killings by the United States and Israel, the Supreme Leader puts a plan in motion to defeat the most powerful nation on earth.

Meanwhile, in a classified facility five stories underground, a young PhD student has gained access to a level of bioweapons known only to a select number of officials. A second-generation agent, he has been assigned a mission that will bring his adopted homeland to its knees. 

Advertisements

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Devil’s Hand by Jack Carr

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This one kept me going straight through to the end. I think anyone looking for an action-packed, gripping story that spans political power struggle, biowarfare, and military strategy in a mission-oriented thriller will enjoy this one.

The Story
Sort of a reconstruction story that parallels historical events not in an entirely reimagined, speculative way, but well-researched, high-level ideas that gripped me into the reality of circumstances that plowed through to the future beginning with circumstances surrounding 9/11 through, and ultimately surpassing current events in a riveting, true to nature, yet philosophical kind of way.

A true testament to flashbulb memories, challenging knowledge and experience of certain events, elevating true solidarity and observations of public affairs, civilian relationships, conflict in the laboratory, religious notions, and political security.

Concepts, multiple scenarios, perspectives, all poured into a stirring convergence of assignments that were interesting in theory, some almost satyrical in some ways which I found enticing throughout the book.

Writing Style
I really enjoyed the writing style. I always felt right in the present, the middle of the action. Straight-forward verbiage, doesn’t waste words or my time, my favorite type to read and devour when a book is true to itself and satiates my appetite for a compelling plot that pulls at every turn.

The use of italicized thought made for a nice touch of reconvening for me, a summary of current thoughts.

Rationales, but not overdone. There’s necessary explaining of certain concepts and events with backstory to cover, which I appreciated.

I really liked the approach of educating an audience by educating a character.

Looking forward to the rest in series.

View all my reviews

Advertisements
Advertisements
Categories
Beauty Featured Thoughts for a Rainy Day ☂

Spring Korean Beauty Haul

Advertisements
Advertisements

I was so blessed to receive such lovely Korean beauty products from my sister.

Korean beauty products are awesome! Between the amazing formulas and creative packaging, they are a real treat!

I hope you enjoy this post where I show you some wonderful items I received ranging from makeup, facial and body care, lotions, perfumes, hair care, nails, and a few other fun goodies!

Be sure to let me know what you would like to try in the comments below!

Advertisements

Facial masks and treatments

Korean Beauty Haul | Erica Robbin
Medicellbio Miracle Hydrogel Mask
Korean Beauty Haul | Erica Robbin
Kwailara Mint Pore Cleansing Foam
Korean Beauty Haul | Erica Robbin
Facial Cotton Pads
Advertisements

Makeup

Korean Beauty Haul | Erica Robbin
Beauty People Absolute Lofty Girl Cushion Foundation
Korean Beauty Haul | Erica Robbin
TonyMoly Conchic All Day Fit Brow Pencil
Korean Beauty Haul | Erica Robbin
TonyMoly Conchic All Day Fit Eye Liner
Korean Beauty Haul | Erica Robbin
Conchic All Day Fit Coating Mascara
Korean Beauty Haul | Erica Robbin
Blingsome Creamy Lip Color Stick
Korean Beauty Haul | Erica Robbin
Blingsome Water Drop Tint in Juicy Red
Korean Beauty Haul | Erica Robbin
Blingsome Water Drop Tint in Juicy Pink
Advertisements

Body care

Korean Beauty Haul | Erica Robbin
Body Scrubbers and Bathroom Ware Shower Towels
Korean Beauty Haul | Erica Robbin
Milk Baobab Perfume Body Wash White Musk Edition
Korean Beauty Haul | Erica Robbin
Healing Massager, Facial Razor, ELVA Natural Handy Mini Electric Fan
Korean Beauty Haul | Erica Robbin
AHC Natural Plus Sun Stick SPF 50
Advertisements

Perfumes and lotions

Korean Beauty Haul | Erica Robbin
Rose Mine Perfume Touch Gel Perfume
DSC04412
Pridimang Handmade Perfume
Advertisements

Hair care

Korean Beauty Haul | Erica Robbin
Soonsoo The Salon Keratin Ampoule Art Collection
Korean Beauty Haul | Erica Robbin
Soonsoo The Salon Treatment Art Collection
Korean Beauty Haul | Erica Robbin
Soonsoo The Salon Treatment Art Collection
Advertisements

Nails

Korean Beauty Haul | Erica Robbin
Your Nail Basic Nail Polish, Your Nail Glitter Nail Polish
Korean Beauty Haul | Erica Robbin
Your Nail Diamond Nail Polish
Korean Beauty Haul | Erica Robbin
Dashing Diva Big Stone, Nail Parts Beauty Kit, Gelato Factory Press-On Nail
Korean Beauty Haul | Erica Robbin
Nail Remover in Grape and Cherry
Advertisements

And of course Kakao Talk bandaids!

Korean Beauty Haul | Erica Robbin
Kakao Talk Kakao Friends Bandaids/Plasters

I hope you enjoyed my Korean beauty haul. Have you tried any of these products or are there any you’ve really been wanting to try?

Advertisements

Categories
Entrées Featured Recipes

Bacon Wrapped Chicken Strip Sandwich with Basil Cream Cheese

Advertisements
Advertisements

Chicken Strip and Bacon Sandwich with Basil Cream Cheese

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

A fresh, satisfying but light sandwich.

I love a good chicken strip sandwich. It reminds me of lovely summers at the golf course. Enjoyable heartiness without being too heavy, the basil cream cheese adds a fresh flavor. Goes great with an icy glass of lemonade!


Credit: ericarobbin.com

Ingredients

    BACON WRAPPED CHICKEN STRIP SANDWICH WITH BASIL CREAM CHEESE:
  • 1 pound chicken strips
  • 1/2 pound bacon
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • 2 bread slices per sandwich
  • 1 slice Swiss cheese per sandwich
  • 1 slice pepper jack cheese per sandwich
  • 6 cucumber slices
  • 2 lettuce leaves
  • Green onion slices to taste

Directions

    BACON WRAPPED CHICKEN STRIP SANDWICH WITH BASIL CREAM CHEESE:
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (163 C)
  2. Wrap each chicken strip in bacon, spiral fashion.
  3. Bake bacon wrapped chicken in oven for about 15-20 minutes, until cooked through but tender.
  4. In a Ninja or medium bowl, pulse/mix basil, garlic, whipping cream, salt, and pepper until light and fluffy.
  5. Spread basil mixture on each bread slice half.
  6. Layer sandwich with bacon wrapped chicken strips, cheeses, cucumbers, lettuce, and onions.

Serve with chips and lemonade, enjoy!

Advertisements
Sandwich with Basil Cream Cheese Texture Close Up | Erica Robbin
Advertisements
Sandwich with Basil Cream Cheese Close Up | Erica Robbin
Advertisements
Categories
Audiobooks Book Reviews Books Featured Fiction Romance

The Shop on Blossom Street (Blossom Street #1) by Debbie Macomber

Advertisements

Rating: 1 out of 5.
Advertisements

The Shop on Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I’m sad, I didn’t like this one. I really enjoy Debbie Macomber’s books, other fans may enjoyed it, but this one just didn’t work for me.

I listened via audiobook, narrated by Linda Edmond, a pleasant voice overall, however with lots of extra long pauses in between sentences, which was ok, probably great for most people, but for me, faster speeds were better, but then made the rest of the sentences unbalanced and too fast. Became a bit of reading monotony over time. I liked her voice better when she was more animated, made for less lower register and therefore less low-effort tone and less vocal fry.

The Story
I don’t know. Was more of a survival story than anything and an overly detailed one at that. Which was okay, except it was boring. Just droned on and on and I hate having to say that about a survival story, but all the tension was built around that from the get go without any common relatability factor or charm or connectivity that I wanted in order to bring myself into the plot, especially because I was so drawn to the cover. I wanted an atmosphere that was built upon the hype of a cute love story, wandering around a village, an adorable shoppe, community. I couldn’t keep my attention on it so I DNF’d at some point, losing interest pretty early on.

The Writing
Slow and overly detailed. Just lost interest early on and didn’t see how reading on would recapture my attention.

Oh well, learning my tastes, learning what I like and don’t like and this one just wasn’t for me.

View all my reviews

Advertisements
Advertisements
Advertisements
Categories
Book Reviews Books Cookbooks Featured Nonfiction

Entertaining with Mary Berry: Favorite Hors d’Oeuvres, Entrées, Desserts, Baked Goods, and More by Mary Berry and Lucy Young

Advertisements
Advertisements

In this extra-special updated edition of Mary Berry’s popular entertaining cookbook, Mary makes cooking for gatherings of family and friends easy, with over 160 recipes that work well for both small and large parties.

Lavish new photography and bonus festive recipes make this edition a precious self-purchase or an ideal gift for any Mary fan.

You’ll discover how Mary cooks for her family and friends during the Christmas party season, and for other occasions and celebrations throughout the year. Timeless guidance and expert tips will help you cater successfully on a small scale for dinners and lunches around a table, or on a larger scale for drinks parties, buffets and teatime. Adapting quantities is made easy.

Recipes provide two sets of ingredients for serving either 6 or 12 guests, plus there is new advice on how to scale up recipes for any number. Discover tips for preparing in advance, simple shortcuts and stylish presentation ideas – and cook up a feast the stress-free way with Mary.

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Advertisements

Entertaining with Mary Berry: Favorite Hors d’Oeuvres, Entr�es, Desserts, Baked Goods, and More by Mary Berry

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love Mary Berry. Much baking wisdom. So far I’ve enjoyed the variety of savory and sweet recipes this cookbook has to offer. Lots of recipes, great for people who want to have a reference of go-to entertainment recipes from a collection that ranges from quick to more delicate as well as a variety of prepare ahead choices to make your party less cumbersome on the chosen day.

Cuisine
Features mostly British classic cuisine at its core, though some can easily be tailored to other regional/cultural/dietary experiences and preferences.

Some felt like balance or flavor could have been improved or a bit more creative, such as the potato galette recipe, which was quite rich and missing either an acid or fresh aspect that I felt would have made it exceptionally good, rather than meh.

Some are more geared toward inspiration, such as sandwiches, with ingredient listing rather than instructional how-to which is great for drumming up ideas.

Often single-serve, some more farm-style, shared.

Presentation is there, though not much of a main consideration or emphasis as most of the recipes are nice enough as is but could be dolled up with some sprinkles of garnish for a more festive appearance.

Versatility and Conversions
Ingredients have both metric and imperial measurements, volume and weight, tailoring to 6 or 12 servings, and instructions are clear.

Instruction
It is to the point, not much on recipe story or inspiration which is great for when you just want a cookbook that is a get-to-the-point collection of recipes you want to narrow down without being bogged down by narration or too much step-by-step detail.

Photography
Photos are mostly the finished products which makes it easy to navigate the book, feeling less cluttered as I flipped through. It’s nice to flip through recipes that are one, occasionally two page dedicated.

Features
Some recipes include tips for freezing and storing which is a nice touch.

View all my reviews

Advertisements
Advertisements
Advertisements
Goat Cheese Thyme and Onion Marmalade Galette | Erica Robbin
Goat Cheese, Thyme, and Onion Marmalade Galette
Entertaining with Mary Berry by Mary Berry and Lucy Young Meatballs | Erica Robbin
Pork Meatballs with Asian Dipping Sauce

Kimchi Stew

Categories
Audiobooks Book Reviews Books Featured Historical Nonfiction Nonfiction

When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment by Ryan T. Anderson

Advertisements
Advertisements

Can a boy be trapped in a girl’s body? Can modern medicine reassign sex? Is our sex assigned to us in the first place? What is the most loving response to a person experiencing a conflicted sense of gender? What should our law say on matters of gender identity?

When Harry Became Sally provides thoughtful answers to questions arising from our transgender moment. Drawing on the best insights from biology, psychology, and philosophy, Ryan Anderson offers a nuanced view of human embodiment, a balanced approach to public policy on gender identity, and a sober assessment of the human costs of getting human nature wrong.

This book exposes the contrast between the media’s sunny depiction of gender fluidity and the often sad reality of living with gender dysphoria. Everyone has something at stake in the controversies over transgender ideology, and Anderson offers a strategy for pushing back with principle and prudence, compassion and grace.

Advertisements

Rating: 5 out of 5.

When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment by Ryan T. Anderson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was really interesting. I had a lot of questions going into it. I find myself wanting to read banned books from time to time. Sales are currently banned on Amazon.

I listened to via audiobook narrated by Tom Parks who had rich, calm tone, which made for a pleasant reading experience.

I think those who have a lot of questions, wonderings, and need to get catch up to the current transgender climate and movement going forward will get a lot out of this one. Covers an array of past, current, and future social, philosophical, medical, cultural, and political implications.

I feel it takes a bit of a discerning reader to understand not only the context in which it was written but understanding will vary with application to the current social climate and daily experiences that people may have. It explored a lot of concepts I learned in university sociology, ethics, and philosophy courses, all of which would make for interesting ideas/topics for a writing essay. Would also make an interesting book club discussion for those interested in such subjects.

More U.S. centric which was fine, just something to note for audiences.

The Story
I suppose the best way to explain the story is that it goes into detail about a lot of topics surrounding transgenderism ranging from individual experience to activism and the differences between the two.

It explained a lot of concepts and goes into great detail, though some where more belabored, others less explored where I wanted more, but if you have such questions as I did, you may find this book to be more satisfactory to your interests. I’ll just leave it at that as the subject matter is controversial and deserves thoughtful exploration and in-person conversation with audiences willing to discuss.

The basics/definition from a physiological standpoint:
What is the measure of success and are there moving goal posts?
Innate versus social construct?
Nature versus nurture.
Embryology, biological function, sexual differentiation.
Disruption of development and the irreversibility.
Choice feminism.
Choice and equality.
What is the biological context and issues raised?
How is biology and fluidity viewed and reinforced?
Can a man know what it is to be a female? Female to be a male based on the classifications provided?
Concepts such as explaining how one feels to determine their reality.

Social implications:
Interests and needs.
What about women’s shelter concerns? Prisons? School camps, lockers, hotels?
Discrimination versus accommodation, how should invasion of privacy be defined and handled?
Shared public places, such as issues that may arise with gender identity bathroom access and changing rooms for sexual crime offenders.
What are viewpoints from around the world, UAE, Singapore?
Autogynophilia.
Sexual deviance.
Caution or skepticism.

The future, what does it look like moving forward:
Objective testing.
Gender structure.
The root of suffering versus happiness.
Does surgery alleviate the psychological struggle?
Surgical success as far as emotional, psychological well-being.
Self-rejection and betrayal.
No legal definition of gender identity.
Dignity of work dependent on pay.

The Writing
It was relatively complete according to the book description.

Organization was ok. At times I thought it made sense chronologically, others took on a more topic-based approach which sort of went back in forth in the timeline, but I could see how difficult it would be to explain concepts with a presupposition for another, especially if you want to convey a certain worldview/experience. Historical context, give or take 20-50 years up to current legislation, was reviewed at length which I very much appreciated.

Some opinion pieces made it more like a social commentary which was fine, sort of had to go into it knowing it’s not an academic resource but more of a rhetorical turned promotional approach with a defined endpoint/conclusion.

I think the subject matter would be intriguing to talk about as it relates to the writing/publication/reading world.

View all my reviews

Advertisements
Categories
Audiobooks Biography Book Reviews Books Featured Historical Nonfiction Mystery Nonfiction

The Last Pirate of New York: A Ghost Ship, a Killer, and the Birth of a Gangster Nation by Rich Cohen

Advertisements
Advertisements

Albert Hicks was a feared, shadowy figure of the New York underworld in the mid-1800s. Handsome and charismatic, he was known to frequent the dive bars and gin joints of the Five Points, the most dangerous neighborhood in maritime Manhattan. For years, he operated out of the public eye, rambling from crime to crime, working on the water, in ships, sleeping in the nickel-a-night flops, drinking in barrooms where rat-baiting and bear-baiting were great entertainments.

Hicks’s criminal career reached its peak in 1860, when he was hired, under an alias, as an extra hand on an oyster sloop. His plan was to rob the ship, make his getaway, and disappear in the teaming streets of lower Manhattan, as he’d done numerous times before. But the plan went awry, and the voyage turned into a massacre. In the straits of Coney Island, on a foggy night, the ghost sloop, adrift and unmanned, was rammed by another vessel. When police boarded the ship to investigate, they found blood and gore everywhere, no bodies, only the grisly signs of struggle. A manhunt was launched for the mysterious merchant seaman on the manifest.

Long fascinated by gangster legends, Rich Cohen tells the story of this notorious underworld figure for the first time, from his humble origins to his incarnation as a demon who terrorized the Five Points and became the gangster most feared by other gangsters, at a time when pirates anchored off of 14th street.

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Advertisements

The Last Pirate of New York: A Ghost Ship, a Killer, and the Birth of a Gangster Nation by Rich Cohen

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was great. I’d recommend it to anyone. I listened via audiobook, narrated by Ari Flakos, one of my favorites. Easy to listen to, conciseness, clarity, and I liked his Spanish pronunciation. Anyone interested in true crime biographies of maritime and gangster legends in the urban setting of New York State will appreciate this one.

The Story
Covered everything about Albert Hicks, a pirate I knew nothing about. Also an era of PT Barnum, the entertainment of the day to phrenology, studying one’s physical characteristics that show what type of person they are personality-wise.

The Writing
I loved the description of the setting, Manhattan, over 160 years ago, from leafy elegance to urban nightmare.

I got a lot out of it and enjoyed the ease of listening to it.

View all my reviews

Advertisements
Advertisements
The Last Pirate of New York: A Ghost Ship, a Killer, and the Birth of a Gangster Nation by Rich Cohen | Erica Robbin
Advertisements
Categories
Biography Book Reviews Books Featured Nonfiction

The Rainforest Survivors: Adventures Among Today’s Stone Age Jungle Tribes by Paul Raffaele

Advertisements
Advertisements

Even in our hyper-connected world, there are tribes scattered across the far reaches of the globe who still live much the same way that their ancestors did thousands of years ago. Having had minimal contact with the outside world, these peoples currently live in harmony and unison with the environment around them. But as technology grows and the human population expands, the way of life of these tribes becomes increasingly threatened with every passing day.

In Rainforest Survivors, veteran overseas reporter Paul Raffaele recounts his time spent with three unique jungle tribes—the peace-loving Congo Pygmies, New Guinea’s tree-dwelling Korowai cannibals, and the Amazon’s ferocious Korubo. Over months spent living in these three communities, Raffaele experienced firsthand wisdom and mysterious rites forged over many millennia.

Resonating with high adventure and remarkable characters, Rainforest Survivors details the daily lives of these relatively unknown peoples and provides key political and environmental context, showing how outside forces are closing in on them and threatening to change forever their ways of life.

Advertisements

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Advertisements

The Rainforest Survivors: Adventures Among Today’s Stone Age Jungle Tribes by Paul Raffaele

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was very insightful. I’d recommend it to anyone. Anyone interested in learning a bit of African cultures amongst the DRC (The Democratic Republic of the Congo), particularly focusing on certain tribes such as Bantu and Baka, those of pygmy slaves who are more widely known for their incredibly short height, being around 5 feet (1.5 meters) on average, facing land crisis, exploitation, and challenges of cultural preservation.

The Story
The story centered around traditions and daily life, told from a Western perspective which at times bordered sensationalization, almost exoticized, nonetheless interesting.

Majority of the content focused on sexual display and relationship. I would have enjoyed a bit more perspective on the relational aspect of more what relational aspects such as love, time, and sense of self means to the people from a more open-ended approach, rather than focusing on the differences of Western shock, but I could understand why this would be so when the writer was just sharing his experiences and comparisons to his own understanding of how he sees the world.

Other indigenous peoples ways of living were also included in his stories as he explored other countries, mostly visits from the previous last century which I thought was quite refreshing in contrast to the most recent 10-20 years change. So there is a lot of value in perspective that is portrayed during a time of exploration that does not include social media influence and the connectedness that is hard to describe in absence of such technology for audiences who could never know or imagine what life was like beforehand.

The book also incorporated bits about daily life like hunting sport, environmental success and threats, cannibalism, currency, communal living, and body modification.

Writing Style
I liked that the writing style was very matter of fact. It incorporated movie and actor references which I thought was a nice takeaway and break with a humorous and relatable approach to the subject matter.

I appreciated the inclusion of photos.

This book has a lot to offer for learning about lesser known tribes around the world that have sustained over time without most modern advances and influences.

View all my reviews

Advertisements

Categories
Book Clubs Book Reviews Books Featured Fiction

How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia by Mohsin Hamid

Advertisements

From the internationally bestselling author of The Reluctant Fundamentalist, the boldly imagined tale of a poor boy’s quest for wealth and love. 

His first two novels established Mohsin Hamid as a radically inventive storyteller with his finger on the world’s pulse. How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia meets that reputation, and exceeds it. the astonishing and riveting tale of a man’s journey from impoverished rural boy to corporate tycoon, it steals its shape from the business self-help books devoured by ambitious youths all over “rising Asia.”

It follows its nameless hero to the sprawling metropolis where he begins to amass an empire built on that most fluid, and increasingly scarce, of goods: water. Yet his heart remains set on something else, on the pretty girl whose star rises along with his, their paths crossing and recrossing, a lifelong affair sparked and snuffed and sparked again by the forces that careen their fates along. 

How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia is a striking slice of contemporary life at a time of crushing upheaval. Romantic without being sentimental, political without being didactic, and spiritual without being religious, it brings an unflinching gaze to the violence and hopes it depicts. And it creates two unforgettable characters who find moments of transcendent intimacy in the midst of shattering change.

Advertisements

Rating: 2 out of 5.

How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia by Mohsin Hamid

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I’ve kind of had to think about whether I truly enjoyed reading this one or not. Kind of on the fence about it at the moment. Confused and disliked it at first then it sort of grew on me. I read it for Life’s Library Book Club. I think anyone looking to read something written a bit differently may enjoy it.

The Story
It’s more of a love story, more of an autobiographical quality really, which was a unexpected to me, having not paid little attention to the description as I often do, just scanning it for key words that make me say “yay I’m excited” or “nay this is going to be a slog,” which felt indulgent if only going by the title as I read the beginning chapters.

I wasn’t disappointed, just intrigued and surprised by how it all came to be in a book like this. I had a lot of questions that were answered in the very end so I glad I stuck with it as it did have some redemptive qualities. There just wasn’t a crux or a character/plot arch per say, yet it kind of was in itself as a whole if that makes sense once you hear from the author himself, as I did by listening to an author interview that made the read a bit more complete for me. More of a passing on of wisdom in a different sort of sense.

The Writing
This is the unique bit about the book. Written in 2nd POV, present tense, often omniscient. Sort of talking in a futuristic sense as well. Sort of built up the premise up in this way, which also made for a very long-winded account.

I admit I was incredibly bored at the beginning, not as much about the content, though it felt jumbled to me and I had a hard time processing it, but mostly in the writing in the way it was presented. My brain was tired of the POV and self-help theme, but I got more into it by the end which you could argue its effectiveness of that.

There was no framing. Completely lacked which made it amiss for me.

The style spoke of universal implication and also individual anonymity. This I quite liked.

Descriptions
I think for me, there was just so much detailed play-by-play. Not with a lot of descriptors or emotional state, not a lot details of atmosphere or mood, just more about people doing things. All the smell descriptors were about disgust, nothing about cuisine or spice which I would have liked to have known. Which is okay, just made me antsy because I kept waiting for something to connect to, to look forward to, especially something about the How to part. It wasn’t a complete bait-and-switch though. I won’t spoil it here, but I was happy to have read it to the end. Though overall I am still not sure how really invested I was.

Tried hard at being somewhat philosophical, lofty, kind of gibberish at times, too abstract for my liking. Very likely could have been my mood and hunger for more of a connected tone or escapist reading experience at the moment.

Probably what it really was now that I think about it, was this use of far fetched vocabulary to describe things that were much more simpler than they came out to be. I had to look up a lot of words. Perhaps this is what distracted me the most. Took me out of the story.

The Characters
All this yearning for physical intimacy and hardly a mention of emotional intimacy. No real introspection, no one barely gets to talk about their feelings. It often came across as a very empty, disconnected read. In the end though, it sort of read like a mobster story which I enjoyed.

I loved the comedic bits. Though I don’t think I got all the cultural humor. Felt like an inside joke sometimes where I was the only one that didn’t know what was going on.

I absolutely loved that the author took risks in the writing, playing around with a less common approach and style that is unique to the lit fic genre as it is typically classified.

I think I probably would have appreciated it more if I knew more about the culture he was basing this book off of, the dilemmas, successes, and backstory.

View all my reviews

Advertisements
Advertisements
Advertisements