Monday, January 13, 2014

Basic Book Reviews: What I Read During 2013: Part 2

Here's more of what I read last year, during the fall and winter in particular. Don't forget to check out my first 12 brief book reviews in Part 1.

I am so pleased to promote these books I've enjoyed. I always meant to draft a review immediately after reading each, but failed to do so. It's nice to publish a short series covering a year's worth of reading around the occasion of the end of the year.

13. Sister Mother Husband Dog: Etc. by Delia Ephron
I read this book written by a New Yorker on the way to Manhattan in October. Perfect. It reminds me of her sister Nora Ephron's writing and I enjoy both. Sometimes what she declares about life can be very true. My favorite part was, unfortunately, the excerpt I read previously, "Bakeries."

14. Blossoming in Provence by Kristin Espinasse
I had read Words in a French Life so I knew I would enjoy this one as well. Each chapter is a humorous little story followed by a vocabulary lesson.

15. The French Twist: Twelve Secrets of Decadent Dining and Natural Weight Management by Carol Cottrill
Since the author is firmly against the diet, she recommends twelve tips on how to maintain a healthy figure based on the French attitude towards food instead. This book has already helped me and I can see referring back to it even more in the future. For example, I now try to savor a square of Ghirardelli chocolate, 60% cacao dark chocolate at that, instead of consuming handfuls of cheaper chocolate. I felt like this book offered something different from the only other French (non-)diet book I've read, French Women Don't Get Fat.

16. Just Like Jack by Shirley Marks
This is a cute little romance novel that was cheap to buy on my Kindle. I was in the mood for this genre and to quickly read a book in a sitting or two.

17. A Taste of Romance by Roni Denholtz
Another cute romance I devoured in a sitting but I prefer this author's writing. I like the main character, a beautiful Italian woman. I borrowed this one for free on an offer with my new Kindle.

18. Lights of Love by Roni Denholtz

This one was fine, just not as good as #17. I never found out how it ended since the story suddenly stopped and then new text revealed an interrogation about plutonium! (I did report it to Amazon.) Oh well... I can predict exactly what would have happened.

19. Entre Nous: A Woman's Guide to Finding Her Inner French Girl by Debra Ollivier
I finally read this since the other French travel narrative and French lifestyle books I've read often quote from it. A French girl is very much herself and this is a wonderful book full of insights to channel that.

20. Coins in the Fountain by Judith Works
I started this book during 2013 but got distracted with other reads, so... I actually haven't finished it yet. Kindle reports that I am 75% through though. The sample had me intrigued by the author. She seems like a strong woman who has a different life every so often. This book is good so far, an account of living in Rome from an intellectual.

21. Forever Chic: Frenchwomen's Secrets for Timeless Beauty, Style, and Substance by Tish Jett
Even though I am not the target audience of a woman over 40, I found this book full of tips inspired by Frenchwomen of a certain age helpful. After all, a chic transformation is about taking good care of yourself and that's an important lesson at any age.

22. Rick Steves' Paris 2014 by Rick Steves
I'm using this, my go-to guidebook, in addition to so many resources on the internet and Elizabeth's input to help plan our trip to Paris. Less than 3 months to go! If you've read Rick Steves then you might know that he loves Rue Cler, considering the street quintessentially French. I'll find out!

23. How to Order an Italian Coffee in Italy by Sara Rosso
Since I only knew about the coffee I would like to order in Italy, this cute little guide was helpful to learn about other coffee drinks, different beverages and its accompaniments. It would be even more wonderful for someone who doesn't know anything about the subject yet and was planning a trip to Italy. Pronunciation and pictures embellish the brief descriptions.

24. Mastering the Art of French Eating: Lessons in Food and Love from a Year in Paris by Ann Mah
The author needed to find something to do in Paris while her diplomat husband was suddenly called away immediately after their arrival to a solo year in Baghdad. She's like Julia Child. In each of the ten chapters, she explores a particular French dish from a different area. She travels to the region it originated from in order to learn more about the signature dish. So authentic. Now, I'll have to try steak frites in Paris. I preferred her personal story to the dish education however, even though she describes her food experiences very well.

As you can see, I've read a lot about the French last year and am not about to stop! Hopefully all that will help when I channel "my inner French girl" in Paris during April. In addition, I'll have to start planning what I'll read on the plane rides and if there's any downtime while there.

I will try harder to promptly record my thoughts on each new book during 2014.


  1. Entre Nous was my first French inspired reading and I've re-read it several times. Forever Chic is on my Kindle right now and I've only just started reading this one. French Twist is on my Amazon wish list so I appreciate your comments on that one. Have you read the Jennifer Scott book Lessons from Madame Chic? Judging from your reading list you'll like that book.

    1. I own the self-published Lessons from Madame Chic plus the version from her current publisher. I'll often reread a chapter when I'm in between other books. I've followed her blog, The Daily Connoisseur, since she published a bit about each of the 20 secrets as a series. I'm a huge fan of her's. In fact, I just recommended the book to another blogger who wanted to simplify her life and entertain more. I think it's an important read and I look forward to her second book. Posting my capsule wardrobe is inspired by her.

  2. Wendy's Lookbook has a great video on youtube on how to maximize packing, and doing so in a thoughtful way. I loved it (although I didn't really succeed and probably never will) but it seems like something you'd like. :) Book #24 is going to be net on my Kindle. Thanks for the rec/review. btw, I don't know if you had already thought of it, but try to book tickets to the d'Orsay, Louvre, and Eiffel Towel (if you plan to climb it) well it advance online. I didn't have any problems aside from the Tower, as it seemed to be booked more than a month in advance. We lucked out, though, in the end and went up around 9:30pm, no line, no wait.