Author: nina

And so it is…

  And so it is that I’m going live again. My writer has just ticked the little circle thing on the reading settings, and hey, presto! here I am for all to see. In the time that I was away — well, not away away, really, I’ve been here all the time it’s just that I was under wraps — my writer eventually gave me a most comprehensive makeover: I’ve got a new theme, new menus, new widgets (a-hem, there’s one widget malfunctioning and still a few that are missing, but the cats say the writer is only human and time is definitely money), a new a review policy, a Rules of Hauissh (whatever one of those is), a new bio page… and a tagline! I’ve got a new tagline!!! Yiiipee! Without one, I must confess that I felt like I was going to the races without a hat! Or to a ball without crystal slippers! Or… well, let’s not get too carried away, you surely get my drift. The writer says that it’s a …

Review: Acid Trip: Travels in the World of Vinegar ~ by Michael Harlan Turkell

Blurb: In Acid Trip, Michael Harlan Turkell takes readers on a fascinating journey through the world of vinegar. An avid maker of vinegars at home, Turkell traveled throughout North America, France, Italy, Austria, and Japan to learn about vinegar-making practices in places where the art has evolved over centuries. This richly narrated cookbook includes recipes from leading chefs including Daniel Boulud, Barbara Lynch, Michael Anthony, April Bloomfield, Massimo Bottura, Sean Brock, and many others. Dishes range from simple to sophisticated and include Fried Eggs with a Spoonful of Vinegar, Sweet & Sour Peppers, Balsamic Barbecued Ribs, Poulet au Vinaigre, Tomato Tarragon Shrub, and even Vinegar Pie. Turkell also details methods for making your own vinegars with bases as varied as wine, rice, apple cider, and honey. Featuring lush color photographs by the author, Acid Trip is a captivating story of an obsession and an indispensable reference for any food lover who aspires to make and cook with the best ingredients. The review: Those who know me in real life know that my kitchen is one of …

Review: Bathing Strictly Prohibited: Poems 2011-2016 ~ Matthew Rhodes

My copy of this book was kindly sent to me by the publishers, Matador, in return for an honest review. I do not know Matthew Rhodes. At least, I think I don’t, that we’ve never met in real life. Yet, in most of his poems he wanders through grounds that are familiar to me, both geographically (for instance, the Midlands), emotionally (his love of Nature and the feeling of peace and belonging he derives from it), and linguistically and semantically. These are poems about life as it is, recounting episodes of the quotidian which, however, like all poetry, lend themselves to extraneous interpretations. The poet talks about his observations as much as about things and moments he knows well and holds dear, for instance the scenery sliding past as the train he’s travelling in departs from Stafford station, or the views of mountains from a house patio, of the feeling of rootedness Nature affords him — so much so that many of his metaphors (and metonyms) are mostly taken from Nature. But he also talks …

best intentions, and things gang aft agley

A week ago I decided to set myself the task of redesigning this blog. It was something that had been in the cards anyway, as I was never completely happy with how the slider was working with the featured posts in the current theme. It simply did not seem to come out right, no matter how much I loved it — and no matter how much I tried. Which I did. I tried all the tricks I know (they aren’t all that many, needless to say, but still), and it always came down to the same two answers: I could, of course, choose different photos for the slider; but I thought it important, for instance, for the reviews to be accompanied by the book cover photos as featured pics… Thus things had slowly come to a bit of a standstill. If using a different featured picture was out of the question, then the only other answer was, of course, to adopt a different theme. But after all the work I had to sort this one …

Oh, the frogs we have to kiss… or do we?

Mr Light came home the other evening to the sight and sound of his wife triumphantly punching the air above her shoulders, while repeatedly muttering a very unladylike crescendo of yes… yes… yes… Pretty much taken aback by such an uncharacteristic display, he couldn’t help reflecting that it was nonetheless a performance after the fashion of a certain mutt of Dick Dastardly fame, and almost indistinguishable from that famous canine’s Wicked Laughter N° 3. So, what could she possibly be celebrating in such a fashion? § Or maybe the question should be, rather, what there is not to celebrate. After all, it is never one’s wish to appear ungracious, and a modicum of humility can always be said as de bon ton. As things are, Mr Light supposes his wife can indeed count herself lucky. While definitely a newbie to this book reviewing lark, she arguably already has a lot to be thankful for. Books have sustained her through a very difficult period of her life, one whose end does not seem in sight. And they both are …

A Short Intermission

With emphasis on the short. I promise. But, you see, needs must. My writer assures me that is so. The fact is, I’ve been for an M.O.T., and it seems I’ve been found severely lacking — mostly, in the looks department, though the word ‘functionality’ has been mentioned at some point about something or the other. Surely it can’t have been about me…? Nevertheless. All things considered, it appears I’m now due for one fantastic makeover (or so my writer has promised me).g I’m told it’ll begin with a brand new magazine-style — yippee! new glad rags! — with a bold top menu and a slider for a number of highlighted posts, as well as well-defined display areas with side menus. But that may not be all. My writer has confided in me that a brand new, Miss-Clever-Clogs tagline, something this theme has sadly been lacking in, may also be in the works. It might depend on a thing or two, but it’s not out of the question — and, to tell you honestly, I have missed having a …

Doctor Who, Sydney Newman, and his autobiography.

Not being in Britain in the 1960s, I cannot say I knew much about it from back then — at least not first hand. But I was here in the 1980s, and then again in the 90s, and the Noughties, and the Tweenies… and then I did get it, first hand and avidly. So much so that I became one of those diehard fans who absolutely needed to hit the sofa at the right time or there’d be no end of hell to pay… What am I talking about? I’m talking about Doctor Who, of course, and his astonishing T.A.R.D.I.S.. What else? Ah, of course, the stories. The stories were something else. Everything about Doctor Who was something else. That is what I came to know. When I was here in the 1980s, an English friend told me that to really appreciate Doctor Who you needed perhaps to be able to tap into what makes ‘englishness’. I’m mentioning this only because I do have to confess that, used to imagining my sci-fi inside my head, …

Review: Serenity Avenged ~ Craig A Hart

Blurb: A ruthless crime boss…a mansion with a chilling secret…a young man faced with the biggest decision of his life. When his daughter goes into premature labor, Shelby Alexander leaves his northern hideaway for downstate. No sooner does he drive into town, than things go sour. His ex-wife, Helen, faces deadly consequences after hard times force her to take desperate measures, setting off a dangerous chain of events. Racing against time to save those he loves the most and avoid unspeakable tragedy, Shelby faces down an evil crime lord, trained killers, and one of the closest brushes with death yet. The third book in the popular Shelby Alexander Thriller Series, Serenity Avenged takes readers on a breath-taking ride through a hail of bullets, close calls, and betrayal. Shelby Alexander wins the day… again, though only just about! Because this time it was quite a hard won battle, which endangered everything Alexander holds dear! Here’s a brief synopsis and review: In Serenity Avenged, we see the main character, Shelby Alexander, confront and eventually defeat a powerful and ruthless …

when wishes do come true

For the last 12 months that I have had a secret wish. It all started when Amazon suggested two books that it deemed would be a good match for my reading tastes. After checking both out, I was very pleasantly surprised that, for once, Amazon seemed to have got it right. I bought the two books. Upon close inspection, they seemed to be very much my thing, so I sort of by-passed all the other poor books I already had awaiting for their turn to be appreciated, and gingerly added those two to the top of the pile. As if, maybe, none of the others would notice. These two books were Paul Pen’s The Light of the Fireflies, and Laline Paull’s The Bees. I had never heard of either author, truth be told, but then again I have to confess that until three years ago I had never heard of most of the authors making good literature today, so busy and one-track minded I had been with my professional subject area. It was no problem, …

method in my TBR madness… maybe

I received a Goodreads email notification today that made me stop and look twice. It came from someone with a name I did not immediately recognise, and mentioned a certain TV Celebrity Couple’s reading group. I hovered the cursor over it and read carefully. Once. Twice. Did I know anyone with that handle? Maybe. I would not pretend to know the names of all my social contacts. And then there was the TVCC thing. Mystery. OK, I thought to myself. Let’s see what this is. An invitation to join the reading club. Mmm. Well… Structured social interaction. Er… Heck. As a matter of fact, that might be exactly what I need right now. Why do I automatically interpose a battalion of questions…? Of reasons? Excuses? Why wouldn’t I join a reading group, and actually participate, instead of all that always-in-the-background, almost voyeuristic thing I end up doing because I do not have the — whatever it is I don’t have to actually engage with a group? Of course, it didn’t help all my usual excuses …