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Oscar Wilde and the Candlelight Murders by Gyles Brandreth

Cover Oscar Wilde and the candlelight murders by Gyles Brandreth

In a nutshell:

Short synopsis: Oscar Wilde as Sherlock Holmes.

Language I read the book in: English

Did I like it? Yes

For people who: like cozy/historical mysteries, Oscar Wilde


My thoughts: 

I like Oscar Wilde and I like historical mysteries, so “Oscar Wilde and the candlelight murders” was an obvious choice for me. I was not disappointed.

The story is told from Robert Sherard’s first person point of view. He was a close friend of Oscar Wilde’s and his first biographer, but a rather dull Watson to Wilde’s Sherlock Holmes. The comparison to the Sherlock Holmes suggests itself naturally because Wilde displays extraordinary powers of deduction, a bit too extraordinary for my taste, he might give Holmes a run for his money. On top of that Arthur Conan Doyle is a key figure as a friend of Oscar Wilde and – according to this book – based the character of Mycroft Holmes on him. Be that as it may, Wilde and Sherard are the typical sleuth/sidekick pair with Wilde being quite in the know while Sherard has no clue as to what is going on.

Oscar Wilde is shown as a character with a lot of facets, amiable, the perfect gentleman with impeccable manners, a bit of sloth like, but at the same time extremely moody and unpredictable. His homosexuality is only hinted at by making him "worship" pretty young boys a bit too much to be just a lover of aesthetics. Sherard seems oblivious to this or chooses to ignore it. Strange, because towards the end he becomes outraged when he witnesses some "musical" activities ("musical" being the euphemism used at the time).

The mystery is quite puzzling, even though the reader gets an inkling rather early of who might be involved. It develops very slowly, the investigations are taking place over a long period of time and are not really the main focus of the book. The book lives from the atmosphere and the characters, most of all Oscar Wilde himself. You will find a lot of very familiar quotes interspersed throughout the book and and some that COULD be by Wilde but are Gyles Brandreth’s own.

The end is in the nice and cozy Poirot manner. Everybody is gathered in a room and the sleuth presents the solution, gives his reasoning to a stunned audience and presents the murderer.

This is a lovely, super quick and entertaining read and I am looking forward to the next books in the series already. If you are not familiar with Oscar Wilde at all it might be helpful if you read a little about and/or by him first, but even without this knowledge, cozy mystery lovers will enjoy this book a lot.


Product info and buy link :

Title Oscar Wilde and the candlelight murders
Author Gyles Brandreth
Publisher John Murray Publishers
ISBN 9780719569302
I got this book from a friend
Buy link Buy Oscar Wilde and the candlelight murders
More info The Oscar Wilde murder mysteries

If you click on the buy link above you will be taken to The Book Depository.co.uk. If you buy the book through this link I will earn a small commission. You can find my general affiliate links to The Book Depository, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com here.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? I would love to hear other opinions.

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Fix-it and forget-it vegetarian soups, stews and chilis by Phyllis Pellman Good

Cover Fix it and forget it Vegetarian Soups, stews and chilis


inanutshell 

Just like the first Fix it and forget it book that I reviewed, this is a no-nonsense book with recipes suitable for a busy life with real life pictures. The recipes are all fairly easy and mostly for the slow cooker. With a few exceptions the instructions are limited to “mix all ingredients in the slow cooker and cook for 7-8 hours on low”. Can it be any easier? If you love beans and lentils especially, this is a book for you.

Out of the fifty recipes so far I have tried the Red Lentil Soup and it was super easy and very delicious. With baguette it is a nice, convenient and filling meal.

Red Lentil Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1,2 l vegetable broth
  • 1 cup dry red lentils
  • 3 carrots sliced
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 3 celery stalks chopped
  • 3 tbsp rice uncooked
  • 2 tbsp garlic minced
  • 1.5 tsp herbes de Provence
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Instructions:

Mix everything in crockpot

Cook 4-5h on high or 7-8 hours on low.

The Non-Fiction Giveaway Blog Hop

By the way, today is the last day to sign up for the Non-fiction giveaway blog hop. Have you got a cookbook you want to give away? Sign up and find a new home for it.


Product info and buy link :

Title Fix-it-and-forget-it vegetarian soups, stews and chilis
Author Phyllis Pellman Good
Publisher Open Road Media
ISBN ASIN B00AYRI5FQ
I got this book from the publisher via Netgalley
Buy link Buy Fix-it-and-forget-it vegetarian soups, stews and chilis

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? I would love to hear other opinions.

This post is part of

Weekend cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads. For the other weekend cooking posts please go there.

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On what grounds by Cleo Coyle

Cover On what grounds by Cleo Coyle

Very short synopsis:

First mystery at the Village Blend. With the police discarding the case as an accident, Clare sets out to find the killer.


inanutshell 

I read it in: English

I liked it: Yes. I have already read a few later books in the series so I knew what to expect. It is a nice start to the series that clears up a few situations that were not explained later on anymore. Cozy atmosphere and likeable main characters. If you don’t mind the usual overload of the “theme” (i.e. “There is a bludgeoned body in the basement? Nothing a gourmet latte couldn’t fix.”), this is a very pleasant mystery.

For people who like: cozy mysteries & coffee.


Product info and buy link :

Title On what grounds
Author Cleo Coyle
Publisher Berkley Prime Crime
ISBN 9780425192139
I got this book from Birgit from The Book Garden
Buy link Buy On what grounds

If you click on the buy link above you will be taken to The Book Depository.co.uk. If you buy the book through this link I will earn a small commission. You can find my general affiliate links to The Book Depository, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com here.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? I would love to hear other opinions.

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In my mailbox

 

I was very lucky on Bookmooch the other day and received three books on the same day. Astonishing! The cookbook is from Netgalley and I am very much looking forward to it.

I swapped

  • Caesar’s women by Colleen McCullough, the fourth book in the Masters of Rome series. Another monster of a book with 942 pages – but a tiny paperback.
  • Nights of rain and stars by Maeve Binchy. After making a travel album about a trip to Greece in 1993 I felt like reading something reminding me of it.
  • Corduroy Mansions by Alexander McCall Smith. The first book in the series of the same name.

For review

Cover Simply Delicious Amish Cooking by Sherry GoreCover Nights of Rain and Stars by Maeve Binchy

Cover Corduroy Mansions by Alexander McCall SmithCover Caesar's Women by Colleen McCullough

What was in YOUR mailbox recently? 

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Weekend Cooking: Two greedy Italians

Cover Two greedy Italians

Today I want to share something from “Two greedy Italians”, a delightful book with a lot of delicious sounding recipes. The German title is “Trattoriaküche” (Trattoria cuisine) which indicates down-to-earth food. My recipe today is for a poor man’s meal that has obviously taken the gourmet world by storm – Testaroli.

The ingredients couldn’t be cheaper or simpler, the result is pretty delicious – even though I think I cooked mine a tiny little bit too long.

Testaroli

Testaroli

Ingredients:

250 g flour

1 pinch of salt

2 tbsp olive oil

400 ml water

Instructions:

Sieve flour and salt into a bowl. Slowly whisk in 400 ml water until it is a smooth dough. Mix in olive oil.

In hot olive oil fry one ladle of dough  at a time. Each side 3-4 minutes.
Cut the slices into 8 strips each.
(A research on the net showed that usually the testaroli are cut into a diamond shape. )

Bring salted water to a boil. Add the testaroli and boil until they rise to the surface. Take out and drain properly.

Serve with a sauce of your choice, best is homemade tomato sauce or pesto.

The veggie factor of the book.

Recipe ratio (non.veg./veg.) can’t say but there are a lot of veggie recipes in there.
Worth it? Yes

Product info and buy link :

Title Two greedy Italians
Author Antonio Carluccio & Gennaro Contaldo
Publisher Quadrille Publishing Ltd.
ISBN 9781844009428
I got this book from the library
Buy link Buy Two greedy Italians

If you click on the buy link above you will be taken to The Book Depository.co.uk. If you buy the book through this link I will earn a small commission. You can find my general affiliate links to The Book Depository, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com here.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? I would love to hear other opinions.

This post is part of

Weekend cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads. For the other weekend cooking posts please go there.

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Week on the web

weekontheweb

Here are my finds for this week…

What have you found on the web lately?

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Movie: The adventures of Tintin

The adventures of Tintin

If you know and love Tintin you might be a bit disappointed about the storyline and the spin they gave the characters. They have combined three stories and made it into one (The crab with the golden claw, The secret of the Unicorn & Red Rackham’s treasure). They added a villain that is not in the books. They left out Professor Calculus. They gave almost everyone a ridiculously bulbous nose – the rest got the pointy kind. They made Tintin gave up and Haddock bring him to his senses again (unheard of). Nevertheless, this is an entertaining movie with great animations and brilliant voices.

I loved the opening scene at the flea market that already showed the pleasant atmosphere and pretty design of everything. But don’t let the cozy look deceive you! There also is a lot of action: swordfights, ship battles, a breath taking car chase and a treasure to be found. What else can you ask for? This is a great family flick.

The adventures of Tintin on imdb

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Weekend Cooking: A soup from the Carnation Café

I am by no means a Disney fan, but for various reasons I always listen to the Capturing Magic Podcast which is part of the Capturing Magic.me site. The other day they were discussing Disney related pins from Pinterest and one of the panelists mentioned this great recipe she found there for a Loaded Baked Potato soup served at the Carnation Café.

I had to check it out and wanted to share the link to the recipe with you, because it looks and sounds really delicious. Obviously everybody who has ever tasted it feels like they have gone to heaven. I haven’t tried it yet, but will make it this weekend (without the bacon, that is).

So, if you now have a craving for a hearty soup, have a look at the recipe for Loaded Baked Potato Soup at the Disney Parks Blog,

***

On another note: If you have a cookbook to give away, you might consider signing up for the non-fiction giveaway blog hop that I am organizing. It will take place on the last weekend of April.

This post is part of

Weekend cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads. For the other weekend cooking posts please go there.

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A Day in the Life of Ancient Rome by Alberto Angela

Cover A day in the life of ancient Rome by Alberto Angela 

In a nutshell:

Short synopsis:

We accompany the author during his day wandering around ancient Rome, sightseeing, admiring, explaining things.

Language I read the book in: German (Ein Tag im alten Rom)

Did I like it? Yes

For people who: like Ancient Rom and history made come to life by describing daily occurrences.


My thoughts: 

If you are interested in ancient Rome this book is a must read.

Alberto Angela takes us on a guided tour around Rome at the time of Trajan. We start in the very early morning in the house of a rich man, move on to shops, insulae, taverns, tempels, the baths, banquets and the Colosseum. We explore every aspect of daily ancient Roman life, breakfast, cooking, shopping, eating out, religion, entertainment, childbirth, teaching, dying….

Everything is presented in a very digestible way, explained properly with the appropriate background and shown from all sides (e.g. slavery or gladiators).

Where possible we are told about archaeological discoveries that back up the fictional stories (for example a fight between two gladiators that was documented on a mosaic, so detailed that even the names of the fighters were recorded).

There are only a few illustrations, no models, photos or other visual helpers to conjure Rome, but that is not necessary. Every chapter was so interesting and entertaining that I finished this book in no time. The German subtitle of this book is “Common, mysterious and astonishing facts”, and it completely lives up to that. Highly recommended.

Mr. Angela has one more book on the subject of ancient Rome out and one coming out in June that I will have to track down now.


Product info and buy link :

Title A day in the life of ancient Rome
Author Alberto Angelo
Publisher Europa Editions
ISBN 9781933372716
I got this book from the library
Buy link Buy A day in the life of ancient Rome

If you click on the buy link above you will be taken to The Book Depository.co.uk. If you buy the book through this link I will earn a small commission. You can find my general affiliate links to The Book Depository, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com here.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? I would love to hear other opinions.

This isn't Fiction Reading Challenge Button

This post is part of the This isn’t Fiction Reading Challenge which is hosted by The Book Garden.

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My reading list for April and March recap

readinglist

I didn’t realize it was such a busy month until I started writing this post. In March I

Also I

 

This month I am planning to

  • go ahead with the new Non-fiction giveaway blog hop that will take place the last weekend in April. You can sign up for it here.
  • read a biography of Sulla by Jörg Fündling

How was YOUR reading month?

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The Non-Fiction Giveaway Blog Hop

The Non-Fiction Giveaway Blog Hop

When I joined Birgit’s This isn’t fiction reading challenge I didn’t know that I would be going through quite a number of non-fiction books this year. I signed up for five books and already almost reached this goal and it is not even April! I know from her recent series about non-fiction that there are quite a few other non-fiction readers out there (after all somebody must buy all those tons of non-fiction books coming out every year). So, how about a non-fiction giveaway blog hop? A lot of those books are never re-read, why let them sit on the shelf and catch dust?

Join the Non-fiction giveaway blog hop and give those books to a good home where they will serve their purpose all over again! Alternatively give away a new book that you loved and want to share with other readers!

The rules:

The giveaway runs from April 26 to 29, 2013.

Everybody stipulates their own rules. One country or international, it is up to you.

The giveaway must be a non-fiction book, it can be a cook book, a craft book, a biography, it can be about whatever topic you want, as long as the content is not fictional.

Winners should be drawn within 5 days of giveaway closing and made public on your blog.

Sign up:

Please use the form below to sign up and make sure you add whether your giveaway is international or what country/continent it is limited to. Sign up closes on April 20. You will receive a reminder about the hop a few days before its start. Please, do not sign up if you do not intend to have your giveaway post up on the morning of April 26.

There is no obligation to write a sign-up post on your blog, but I would be eternally grateful if you did anyway to spread the word about this hop.

Join the Non-Fiction Giveaway Blog Hop and give a non-fiction book a new home!

"You know, everybody’s ignorant, just on different subjects."

~Will Rogers 

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Movie: Sherlock Holmes and the Baskerville Curse (1983–cartoon)

Sherlock Holmes and the Baskerville curse

I got this version to watch together with my kids. Apart from the rather frightful appearance of the dog at some points it is perfectly suitable for the whole family and rather fun to watch.

The quality of the animation, sound and general appearance is a little outdated, but this does not lessen the enjoyment. The plot is very true to the original story even though some scenes seemed a bit cut short to me. The length is only 75 minutes, so I suppose they had to leave out some dialogue. Quite acceptable, considering that in some other versions that I watched the dialogue goes on endlessly about inconsequentialities. In spite of these cuts a few things were explained that were not mentioned in other movies, like for example how Holmes tracked Stapleton’s past and found out about his marriage. My boys followed it easily and It was perfect and spooky/cosy entertainment.

I watched it dubbed in German, so can’t comment on the original voices, but Holmes’ voice is Peter O’Toole which should give a bit of additional flair to the whole experience.

Side note: I read one very unfavourable user comment about this cartoon on imdb, but that reviewer claims that the Basil Rathbone version is “excellent” – which says it all.

Sherlock Holmes and the Baskerville Curse on imdb.

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Crafty Tuesday–crochet scarf

crafty_tuesday

Exactly two years ago, in March 2011, I started crocheting a stole. You can see the progress of it here – that was at a time when I was still optimistic I would EVER finish that thing. However, it was not meant to be, and about a year later I unravelled the little I had. One of my problems was that it started out small and got wider and wider and every row took longer and longer until I saw no end of it – and started something else: a pet project of mine, a scarf.

Everybody knows I love DROPS. I found this great pattern for a crochet scarf at their website and started crocheting. Meanwhile the scarf has reached the impressive length of 20 cm. The photo of the scarf looks much darker than the yarn, but it starts out rather dark (inside of skein) and gets lighter (and more purple). Fun to work with. It is called “Bauerngarten” (Farmer’s garden) and is from the shop 100 Farbspiele.

Crochet scarf "Farmer's Garden"

It is really easy to make and I am determined to finish it this year (I can hear some of you laugh out loud now). Cross your fingers!

Have you done anything crafty lately? Let me know, I am always looking for inspiration.

 

This post is part of

Join us for Needlework Tuesday which is hosted by Heather from Books and Quilts.

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The new look is different, but I am totally happy with it. With all that snow and dreadful neverending winter I needed something spring-y and uplifting! And it reflects my current revitalized scrapbooking obsession. 

You like? 

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Blog overhaul

Just in time for Bloggiesta, even though I didn’t participate, I need to give my blog an overhaul ONCE MORE. Sorry to all the people who think I am insane and emotionally immature, but this theme does not work the way I want. Feature images don’t show and the line breaks still give me headaches. I seem to have been extremely unlucky with my recent themes. So this time I will be going with a theme by Automattic, which should work perfectly – I hope.

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Weekend cooking: Cooking from above–Baking

On my quest for new recipes I stumbled upon a book called “Cooking from above – Baking” by Marianne Magnier- Moreno (Original title: Mon Cours de Cuisine – Ma Pâtisserie).

baking_above

It is an absolutely beautiful baking book for visual people. The concept is that every recipe is accompanied by photographs of all the steps taken from above. Very helpful if you are not sure what the result of the various steps should look like. But whereas in most cookbooks the images of in between steps serve just an educational purpose and are often done in a rather uninspired way, here the aesthetic appeal is just as extraordinary as the culinary one.

baking1

Every piece of equipment is beautiful, vintage knifes, enamel spatulas, the stoves are just the size they need to be to fit the pot, it is just a pleasure to look at those images depicting the gathered ingredients (always neatly lined up) up to the finished product.

baking2

Apart from the visual pleasure you get a lot of delicious recipes. As it is a pâtisserie book it is not only about baking (the English title is a bit misleading). It covers desserts creams, sweet sauces, various cakes – from simple to sophisticated –, small pastry (among them maccarons and madeleines) and fruit cakes.

I recommend this to everybody who loves to browse through cook books and admire the beautiful food pictures, as well as to pâtisserie lovers. 


Product info and buy link :  

Title Cooking from above – baking
Author Marianne Magnier-Moreno
Publisher Hamlyn
ISBN 0600619982
I got this book from the library
Buy link Buy Cooking from above – Baking on Amazon as a used book

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? I would love to hear other opinions.

This post is part of

Weekend cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads. For the other weekend cooking posts please go there.

This isn't Fiction Reading Challenge Button

This post is part of the This isn’t Fiction Reading Challenge which is hosted by The Book Garden.

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Book beginnings on Friday

Boog beginnings on Friday

fortunes_favourites

My beginning today is from “Fortune’s Favourites” by Colleen McCullough. It’s the third book in the Masters of Rome series.

Though the steward held his five-flamed lamp high enough to illuminate the two recumbent figures in the bed, he knew its light had not the power to waken Pompey.

I am surprised that Pompey is the first person we read about at the beginning, but we will see where this goes.

What is YOUR book beginning today? To see more book beginnings go to Rose City Reader!