Friday, 30 January 2015

Review: 'Cold Press Juice Bible' by Lisa Sussman

Cold Press Juice Bible: 300 Delicious, Nutritious, All-Natural Recipes for Your Masticating Juicer by Lisa Sussman, 2014, Ulysses Press, $14.95, softbound, 192 pages. Cover: colourful. Genre: cookbook. Where we got it: publisher. Where you can get it: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million.

This is a cookery book, but it also has loads of information on why and how one should juice. There are lots of useful tips on buying a juicer, as well.

The ideal four parts vegetable, one part fruit ratio of your juices may be unpalatable at first, so Sussman suggests counteracting the strong flavour with lemon, salt, carrots, ginger, apples, or cucumbers (among other things). She has a section on how to mesh flavours, too. And you might want to add watery fruits and veg or a splash of liquid to prevent your juice looking and tasting like so much green sludge.

Sussman also has a section dedicated to keeping your juice safe (some veg can be eaten raw, but some need to be cooked first).

The recipes are divided into seven 'mealtimes,' and there are four categories of juices (green, root vegetable, fruit, and milky juices). Each recipe lists the ingredients and three other ways to try it. For example, 'Peanut Butter Cup' is made with spinach, chia seeds, chocolate protein powder, peanut butter, and honey – but you can make it rooty by adding a sweet potato; or milky by adding banilla-infused almond milk; or fruity by adding fresh cherries.

If you like this one, try: The Green Teen Cookbook, edited by Laurane Marchive and Pam McElroy.

Friday, 23 January 2015

Review: 'A Grave Matter' by Anna Lee Huber

A Grave Matter by Anna Lee Huber, 2014, Berkley Prime Crime, $16.00, softbound, 421 pages. Cover: excellent. But we thought she was supposed to have dark hair. Category/Genre: historical mystery. Where we got it: publisher. Where you can get it: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million.

The third in the Lady Darby mysteries, this book takes place two months after the events of the previous book. Lady Kiera Darby is still reeling from the loss of a dear friend and finds herself attending – rather unwillingly – the annual Hogmany Ball with her older brother, Trevor.

The festivities are ended when news of a murder comes: the family caretaker, Dodd, was shot and killed, and a body is missing from the family plot at the abby. Because the town doctor is inebriated, Kiera – who has experience with dead bodies and investigations – is asked to view Dodd's body and shed whatever light she can.

She is also soon asked to contact Sebastian Gage, a gentleman investigator, and ask that he come to solve the mystery and retrieve the missing bones. Kiera agrees to this somewhat reluctantly; she and Gage have a past, and she's still not certain of her feelings on the matter – or of his feelings for her, for that matter.

Nonetheless, the investigation and Gage's company combine to draw her out of her dark mood. Soon she is painting again, a talent which has of late eluded her. And sooner than she expects, she has an answer to how Gage feels about her.

The mystery of the body snatching, however, is not so easy. Though the team gather clues, nothing seems to lead them anywhere. Could it be that these body snatchers are just too clever to be caught?

Once again, Anna Lee Huber has woven together an intriguing plot and Scottish history and culture.

Note: mild language.

If you like this one, try: The Anatomist's Wife, by Anna Lee Huber; Mortal Arts, by Anna Lee Huber; Some Danger Involved, by Will Thomas. 

Friday, 16 January 2015

Review: 'The Hollow Hills' by Mary Stewart

The Hollow Hills by Mary Stewart, 1973, Eos, $15.99, softbound, 475 pages. Cover: good, but Arthur looks a bit too much like a model. Category/genre: fantasy. Where we got it: publisher. Where you can get it: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million. 

This, the second installment in Stewart's Arthurian saga, takes place the morning after the events in The Crystal Cave. Merlin returns to his cave and discovers his magic is gone. But he is still needed in Arthur's life even this early on: the queen, Ygraine, wants Merlin to take the child and raise him once he is born. 

But it's decided that until the boy is weaned, he will be cared for by Moravik, Merlin's old nurse, and Ralf, Merlin's assistant. Then he will be raised in secret by Count Ector, a friend of the king. Merlin will meet Arthur when it is time. 

When it's time for Arthur to come into his own, Merlin will have to face an old enemy and see that Arthur is declared king before it's too late. 

Stewart's imagining of the Arthurian legend is one of the best you'll ever come across. Her historical accuracy and rich characters, coupled with a rather mundane take on Merlin's skills as a magician make this an unusual read. 

If you like this one, try: The Last Enchantment, by Mary Stewart. 

Friday, 9 January 2015

Review: '7G' by Debbie Kump

7G, by Debbie Kump, 2011, World Castle Publishing, $10.99, softbound, 244 pages. Category/Genre: science fiction. Cover: good but not great; the woman's expression is kind of irritating. Where we got it: the author's cousin. Where you can get it: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million. 

The premise of 7G is technology gone awry. Very awry. Everyone wears DOTS -- Digital Optic/Opthalmic Transmitters -- which are like contact lenses and ear pieces, and which connect them to everything and everyone all the time. Soon 7G will be here, and it will upgrade DOTS to a previously unimagined level. 

There are several characters in the book, but the main two are Alyssa Kensington and Erik Weber. Alyssa is a seaman apprentice aboard a submarine in the Navy, and Eric is a student at Southern Florida State University. Both have tumultuous love lives: Alyssa is in love with an officer, which is prohibited in the Navy, and Erik has just seen his girlfriend with another guy. 

Also on Alyssa's plate is the fact that she suspects the secret sonar tests the sub has been conducting have had a detrimental effect on local marine life. Her concerns are overlooked by her superior, and the officer she's been seeing doesn't even stick up for her. 

Then 7G arrives and changes everything. People and animals are dead, and it's up to the survivors to pick up the pieces of a dystopian world. 

This was a good book, overall. There were some grammatical errors, but the main problem was that most of the story was about the anticipation of 7G, rather than what happened after it arrived. We would have preferred it if there was more to the ending. 

Note: mild language. 

If you like this one, try: Suggestions? 

Friday, 2 January 2015

Review: 'Foreigner' by C.J. Cherryh

Foreigner by C.J. Cherryh, 1994, DAW, $7.99, softbound, 428 pages. Category/Genre: science fiction. Cover: brilliant. Where we got it: prezzie. Where you can get it: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million.

The first in a long-running series about Bren Cameron, a human translator on an alien world, Foreigner hits the ground running. It begins with an assassination attempt on Bren, and only gets more interesting from there as Bren is shuffled off to a remote and quite ancient dwelling where no human has ever set foot. 

In this book, we are introduced to several key characters who will return again and again throughout the series, among them Tabini, Bren's superiour and the leader of the Western Association of the atevi; Banichi and Jago, Bren and Tabini's security (read: trained assassins); and wily Ilisidi, Tabini's grandmother. 

The action is paralleled by rich characterisation and a well-developed alien culture and world. Few writers can create the vivid sorts of universes C.J. Cherryh is capable of creating, and her work truly shines in this novel. The angle of seeing the atevi through the eyes of the only human allowed on that side of the strait is a clever one, and added to that is the unusual job Bren has as translator between the atevi and the human population on the island of Mospheira. 

Note: mild language. 

If you like this one, try: Invader, by C.J. Cherryh; The Chanur Saga, by C.J. Cherryh; and Downbelow Station, by C.J. Cherryh.