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Proberta Gerber "wine snob" RSS Feed (Sonoma, CA USA)

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Love is a Mystery: Six novels of love, laughter and lawbreaking
Love is a Mystery: Six novels of love, laughter and lawbreaking

5.0 out of 5 stars What can I say, they knocked me out., September 11, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I paid 99 cents for this bundle, and it was worth ten times that, twenty times! I've bought a lot of these bundles because they're a good way to discover new (to me) authors I might like. This bundle was such a success. I had read one of these books before, but all the others and their authors were new to me. What can I say, they knocked me out.

The styles run the gamut from noir to cozy to chick lit to straight up mystery. The romance level varies, and the depth of emotional involvement, as well. But there is really something for everyone in this bundle. My particular favorites were "The Zen Man" by Colleen Collins and "The Honeymoon Cottage" by Barbara Cool Lee, neither of which are what you would expect from their titles). In fact, I liked this bundle so much, that I'm taking the time to review a few of these books on their individual pages.

Give it a try, really. At this price it's pure gold.


The Hobo Chronicles
The Hobo Chronicles
by S.E. Schenkel
Edition: Paperback
7 used & new from $9.94

5.0 out of 5 stars A little noir, a little scruffy, but all good reading, August 28, 2014
This review is from: The Hobo Chronicles (Paperback)
Rockford Files meets Cold Case. Really excellent! Schenkel's characters are pitch perfect and sense of place vividly evocative, i.e., you feel like you're there. This novel, the first in the Acey Tapp series, opens with Acey unemployed, in danger of losing his apartrment and facing the imminent death of his mother. He needs to get his act together, get a job and, at 40-something, grow up. He applies for a job with an ailing P.I. named McMunn. Almost immediately, McMunn is hospitalized, near death, and Acey has to prove himself by taking over one of the man's cold cases. The mother of a teenage girl who disappeared decades ago wants to know what happened to her.

Then there's the body of a hobo found in a bin in a parking lot. What's his story?

Schenkel starts right out, showing us what Acey's made of -- gadfly, depressed drinker, lost child who never knew his father, yet capable of charm and wit. The story fascinated me, the way it meshed all the seemingly disparate elements and personalities -- some really fascinating personalities -- just superb. This is the book that introduces the team that carries through all the subsequent volumes of Acey's story and sets the standard for excellent storytelling.


Guaranteed Justice (Justice series Book 5)
Guaranteed Justice (Justice series Book 5)
Price: $3.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars No! Big fat NO!, July 19, 2014
Up front: I haven't read any of this authors other books, nor will I. I got this as part of a bundle.

To quote another reviewer: "Book has a surprising ending." I'll say, and an appalling surprise it is, as in, i can't believe she wrote that. And someone published it. Oh, wait. There is no publisher listed, so I guess this is self-pubbed. .

SPOILER ALERT

People gave this five stars? In addition to being amateurishly written, it is completely open about its message...Hey, the justice system fails you, it's okay to kidnap, torture and murder the bad guy.

Now, in another genre, i wouldn't agree any more with this sentiment than I do here, but at least it would fit that genre. Come on,.six women and two men, tho of them former and one a current police officers are all fine with knowing their "friends" did this? They even conspire to keep their friends safe from prosecution? I know, in spite of the common language, that there are cultural differences between US and UK mores, but...I'd say, "I'm speechless," but I've already been going on a bit.

END SPOILER

The characters, what can I say? The female characters are almost uniformly pains in the patoot in one way or another, didn't like any of them. The victims were so OTT damaged and wouldn't accept any help that I soon lost sympathy with them. If the crime that begins the book was supposed to be a clear case of date rape drugs, it sorely missed the mark. It looked more like the woman drank too much and was stupid (or drunk) enough to go off with some guy she didn't know. Doesn't excuse the crime, but it did set me off on a negative vibe with this book.

At one point, Fiona's (sister of the first victim shown) boyfriend says he has a plan to get even with the attacker, then...well, he vanished and so did his plan. The series protagonist, Lorne, seems a bit manic and unrealistic and a little too busy woman to really fulfill her responsibilities, always able to bully someone else into taking over for her. If someone questions her decisions or point sout potential problems, she just gives them the old "get with the program" and they cave. These are mostly the men in her life who are cardboard placeholders, until someone more dynamic comes along. The only one who seems to have Lorne's number is her sister Jade who has only a couple walk-ons in this book.

Nope. Sorry. Book has no redeeming virtues IMO. If only we could assign minus stars and knock off someone else's overeffusiveness.


Some Like It Charming (A Temporary Engagement Book 1)
Some Like It Charming (A Temporary Engagement Book 1)
Price: $0.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty darn good, June 28, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Somewhere between chick lit and womens fiction, Some Like it Charming is the story of a guy, Ethan Howell O'Connor, who is too charming for his own good and has left a string of broken-hearted women behind him. He tries to laugh that off, but it is really getting to him -- he doesn't like hurting people. All his charm is aimed at making people happy, but he makes them too happy for too short a time. Result: one more weeping, shattered woman.

He has a brainstorm, to wit, if he can get the one women who cuts him off at the knees every time he tries to be charming, Mackenzie Wyatt, to pose as his fiancee, he won't break her heart, but he will be protected and so will all those women who DON'T see through him. They are both fierce competitors, so when Ethan comes up with this great idea, he sells the deal by appealing to Mackenzie's need to win. She finally, if reluctantly, agrees. Basically the deal is that they will pretend to be engaged for six weeks, then she will dump him and they will go their separate ways, both heart whole.

She tries to control their enforced closeness by vetoing sex, even kissing, because nothing is harder to resist than a charming man who's good in bed and fun to be with, darn it. He wants sex to be part of the deal, but he doesn't want her to fall in love with him. Boy, does he not want that. Every time he thinks she might be softening up about him as a man, he feels a little sick. You see, he's tired of breaking hearts. He wants to get through one relationship, beginning to end, with no broken hearts, no tears, no regrets.

Can they each overcome their issues to see that they just might be perfect for each other? It's touch and go.

Helping from the sidelines are his grandmother, who wants them to wind up together, and his mother, who hates Mackenzie on sight...and the feeling is pretty much mutual. Mackenzie's long estranged father gets thrown into the mix, too, explaining a lot about why she is so anti-charm. There are no extraneous characters in this story, it all is pretty believable, taking the vast sums of money as placeholders for real life. I liked it a lot, would recommend it and will read more by this author.

That's actually four and a half stars, but Amazon doesn't let you do that. That half star got taken off because of the barely a lick and a promise that was given to the main background of the story. He's the president/owner of the company, she makes more sales than anyone in any of their branches...but WHAT DO THEY SELL??? Stocks? Real Estate? Software? Well, not the latter, but really. Every reference to the company or to sales etc. popped me right out of the story. If it's not worth telling us what the company does for its money, then it's probably not worth mentioning the company. My opinion.

Still recommend as a good solid, fun read with more emotional depth that a lot in its genre.


Klorane Baby Cleansing Micellar Water No-rinse Formula 500ml
Klorane Baby Cleansing Micellar Water No-rinse Formula 500ml
Offered by ParaDEM
Price: $35.45
2 used & new from $33.92

4.0 out of 5 stars Splitting the difference -- Klorane Bébé Cleansing Micellar Water No-Rinse Formula 500ml, April 16, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Wish I could say I loved this, but it just didn't agree with my skin. I bought the Bébé version, hoping for gentler, purer and so on.

It was fine on my drier areas, but that oily triangle in the middle of my face just went into hyperdrive. Twice as oily as usual. When you think about it, oil that you leave on your skin is still oil. Not washing it off might be great for Bébés or adults with very dry skin, but for the rest of us with combination skin, not so great. Pores will clog, and those still in the acne time of life will be breaking out with a leave-on product. Dirty skin is dirty skin.

I can see using this after an exfoliating mask, or a day at the beach when skin may be extra dry, or in a situation where you don't have running water, but I think for average skin, on a day-to-day basis, it's overkill. I can't give it a bad rating because it's not a bad product, just one with very limited uses, IMO. You know, this would be ideal for use on long plane flights, that dry air really does a number on your skin. But, oh, hey, it's a liquid, can't take it on the plane. Bummer.

I was going to give this only three stars, but then I remembered the one-handed pump dispenser, and increased it to four. If you've never used one of these, they're great -- less chance of contamination of the contents and easy to use if you have only one hand free, as, for instance, when you're diapering a baby. The lid pops us to reveal a slightly concave plastic disk with a hole in the middle. You simply put your cotton ball on the disk and press repeatedly until you have the amount of product you desire. This has been available in medical types of things for a long time, but this is the first time I've seen it in a cosmetic-type of application. Great choice of packaging.


Vogue Knitting on the Go: Vests
Vogue Knitting on the Go: Vests
by Trisha Malcolm
Edition: Hardcover
35 used & new from $0.17

5.0 out of 5 stars So glad i bought this book!, February 4, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Vests. Sounds dull, doesn't it? Well, I really liked that cover vest, only in my head it was in maybe a light blue with the color blocks in greens and turqouises and even pinks and purples...and maybe it had sleeves. You see, the beauty of vests is that they can easily become cardigans just by knitting sleeves for them.

I tend to buy knitting and crochet books for the variety of stitches/motifs in them, seldom actually knitting the garments/objects in the patterns. But this little book has so many different vests in all styles from classic mens, to cute for kids, high fashion, boho, you name it. I don't think there's a pattern in this book that I don't like. Some of my favorites are:
Red Vest with Lapels – yes, it’s just like a fitted waist suit jacket or blazer with a notched collar, but without sleeves
Baby Fair Isle – perfect way to test the Fair Isle waters with this tiny garment
Checkered Pullover – square neckline and knitted belt
Kangaroo Pouch Vest – just add a hood, although there is also a Hooded Vest pattern
Boys Cable Vest – not at all cutesy, so I think my friend’s nephew will love it

And that's just a few of them. If you like vests there's good variety in the shapes and styles and stitch patterns. If you're not so big on vests, just add sleeves! Either way you'll have some very wearable wardrobe additions.

Great book. If I wear it out, I'll definitely buy a another copy. ;)


The Country Cooking of Ireland
The Country Cooking of Ireland
by Colman Andrews
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $33.75
65 used & new from $3.99

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Kindle is not the place to render coffee table books, February 2, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is for the Kindle version of The Country Cooking of Ireland. Unfortunately -- where the blame falls is anyone's guess -- the Kindle version seems to be missing a lot of images, and what there are, are displaced by at least a couple pages from the associated text. That's my reason for taking off one star.

That said, I very much enjoy reading the historical and geographical information on each of the recipes. They are classic Irish country cooking, dishes that have been in the culinary repertoire of every home cook for, in some cases, more than a millennium. To those reviewers who complain that there's nothing new here, or the dishes are very plain, or their grannies cooked the very same things I say, "Of course. That's the point."

Ireland has had a grueling history with many very difficult periods for the common man. During much of its history it has been a subsistence economy. That means that people subsisted on what they could grow or raise themselves, like potatoes. And when the potato crops failed, people died. Being a northern island,. Ireland doesn't have the climate to grow a lot of the foods that would have made their cuisine more complex in the southern European style.

You will see a lot of butter, eggs and cream in these recipes because those are the things which even relatively poor families could provide for themselves. Ireland also has abundant fish and seafood while, until recent decades, meats were not as readily available, with the exception of pork -- if you earned income for your family by selling eggs, for example, you didn't eat the chicken, or supplied your family's milk and butter from your or your neighbor's cow, you weren't butchering the animal for steaks and so on. So, don't complain when the recipes don't have a lot of tomatoes, or beef or citrus or whatever. This is Irish country cooking, i.e., the cooking found in the Irish countryside. It is what it is.

That out of the way, Colman Andrews is known for well-researched books that give not only recipes but historical, cultural and social associations for those recipes. Each section is begun with an informative and sometimes amusing discussion of how that particular food fits into the context of Irish country cooking. Many, if not most, of his recipes were provided by the individuals who have been working to document and preserve Irish cuisine by returning to some of the old ways of preserving or preparing food, while giving them a 21st Century spin into the bargain.

The Country Cooking of Ireland is an informative and interesting book, as much a learning experience as a cookbook. I haven't yet tried any of the recipes, but I have read through most of them, and they look pretty accessible. Given Ireland's climate, many of them are what you might call warming, comfort foods. In fact, this book will be a great resource for winter cooking around my house, I'm sure.


Easy & Healthy French Recipes Volume 3: How to cook classic French appetizers
Easy & Healthy French Recipes Volume 3: How to cook classic French appetizers
Price: $2.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Some good ideas but not for the novice, February 1, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I was torn as to how many stars to give this book. For the novice cook, it will be difficult to follow a lot of the recipes, since much is assumed and some instructions are a bit contradictory or confusing. For example, one recipe using blinis as a base starts out heating the blinis if they are cold, then you top with the ingredients for that particular version and refrigerate. Why heat them? Also, crème fraîche may not be readily available in U.S. markets, but it is easily made from cream mixed with a little buttermilk and let set at room temperature until it thickens. Simple, so why didn't she include it?

Also, in the recipe for Gougeres, of mixing in the eggs, a crucial step, she says merely, "Incorporate one by one the 4 eggs in the batter." This needs to be done quickly and carefully so that the eggs are incorporated rather than becoming lumps of scrambled egg. Check any classic recipe for choux paste if you aren't familiar with the process.

There are recipes for verrines, those appetizers served stacked in little glasses which have become popular in the last few years, which is a plus. There are a number of hot and cold appetizers, but what kept my star rating from dropping lower is that they are interesting, had some new ideas I liked, and were mostly pretty easy to make. I'm always looking for new ideas. OTOH, there were several fried appetizers which consisted of cheesy/creamy mixtures in a coating which are probably more of a challenge than I'm willing to take on. But that's me. ;)

If you like contemporary French cooking or want to learn more about it, this is a good book for the appetizer aspect of it. But do realize that you may have to fill in some blanks for yourself or consult one of the classics to understand more about the processes involved.


The Encyclopedia of Fashion Illustration Techniques: A Comprehensive Step-by-Step Visual Guide to Fashion Design
The Encyclopedia of Fashion Illustration Techniques: A Comprehensive Step-by-Step Visual Guide to Fashion Design
by Carol A. Nunnelly
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.21
80 used & new from $0.15

4.0 out of 5 stars An great compendium for techniques and ideas, January 30, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I wouldn't call this an encyclopedia -- it's just not in that format. However, it is an excellent resource from the basics of the various media, how to use them, what they are best for, through color, texture, body - shape, movement, how to draw down to even hands and feet; rendering various types of fabrics, showing folds, depth and movement in garments, so much more. It's just a great resource.

I have a degree in Art, so I know the basics and beyond, but fashion illustration is totally new to me. I think this book is just what I need to get me going in the right direction. My only complaint and the reason I gave it four stars instead of five is that so many of the illustrations are really dated. Back to the 70s! The copyright date is post-2000, so I can only think the author/publisher pulled from a variety of periods to demonstrate the various principles. I found the dated images distracting but would otherwise recommend this book to anyone interested in a really good grounding in all the things you need to begin fashion illustration.


Vogue® Knitting on the Go! Crocheted Scarves Two (Pt. 2)
Vogue® Knitting on the Go! Crocheted Scarves Two (Pt. 2)
by Trisha Malcolm
Edition: Hardcover
35 used & new from $0.71

4.0 out of 5 stars Lots of fun things in here!, January 30, 2014
In the interests of full disclosure, I didn't buy this on Amazon -- I was on the Vogue site when they were having a sale and went for it.

The book starts off with some basic crochet instructions, with illustrations, including standard yarn weights and how to knot fringe, which I think you will agree is pretty much essential in a scarf book.

I really bought this book just to find a variety of motifs to play with, but I was pleasantly surprised to see a number of really fun and interesting designs which I will make. The cover image gives the impression that the designs are mostly kinda cute and vintage-y. Some of them are, but there are also some very sharp, up-to-date scarves that even your teenager wouldn't sneer at. A small book but with a lot of good options, for most tastes and most skill levels.


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