This book is a must in any kitchen. It covers many of the basic recipes such as Chicken Stock, Vegetable Stock, Beef Stock and Fish Stock. The lists of ingredients are the kind that you should be able to find just about anywhere. Many of the recipes are time savers. This book does have recipes included that are more complex, and elaborate as well as variations for many of the recipes. She has included Salmon & Green Tea Soup, Chinese Chicken Noodle Soup and Onion Soup to name a few. She is descriptive and precise with her directions. Don’t be daunted by the list of ingredients, the recipes are actually really easy to make. It keeps with a normal format of telling you exactly what equipment is needed to complete the dish; to wonderful presentation photos of each dish, without going overboard on the number of pictures. Her tips that are included on recipes are helpful and informative. I loved her Onion Soup it was easy, the taste is fabulous and I can’t wait to try more of her recipes. This book a great asset to my kitchen, and it has taught me quite a bit. This world collection of recipes is phenomenal. Thank you so much Sibel for sharing!
Author Shirley McLain’s latest novel ‘Dobyns Chronicles’ is a historical fiction loosely based on the life and times of her grandfather Charles Kenly Dobyns. Charles or Charley to those close to him was the eldest son of Kennerly, an American cowboy and Eliza, a Cherokee Indian and was raised in a farm in Red River in Bonham near Northeast Texas. The book chronicles his life story from the late 1800’s when he was a young boy in a Texan farm to mid 1950’s when he became a great grandfather in McAlester, Oklahoma. The book paints a moving real life story about a young man’s resolve dealing with the various tragedies life threw at him while also caring for his two siblings, younger brother David and sister Viola. This novel presents a fascinating look at vintage Americana and will fill your mind with nostalgia about a simpler life led in much simpler times.
Right off the bat, the first thing that you are going to notice and that too barely a couple of pages into the book is the wonderful use of the English language. It has become almost a rarity in mainstream literature to come across such beautiful phrases and prose that make you stop and read a line twice just for the sheer literary pleasure it gives you. The next best thing about this book is the pitch perfect way in which the author has been able to portray the laid back and lazy times with the back breaking, difficult and adventure filled day in an old western town. It is so descriptive that the character’s spirituality, the numerous odd jobs done around the house, cattle drive and horse breaking somehow become second nature to you by the time you are done with the book. And for people of this century where everything is available to them at the touch of a button, this book will be a throwback to our older and harsher times when day to day living meant a constant battle with the various elements of the nature.
Blending the fiction seamlessly with the many historical and factual events of the late 18th century and early 19th century, Shirley has made good use of various events like the yellow fever epidemic, the great depression and the absurd tax laws to good effect and has used them strategically at various points in the novel to underline the emotions of her characters in that setting beautifully. The changes happening over time and the various developments too have been captured nicely; case in point is Charley staying at a hotel for the very first time. Shirley also seems to have a knack in getting children’s behaviour and their conversations right, the change in tone and content when the conversation moves from a child to an adult is always bang on target.
The entire book will tug at your heart strings and make you think about your own family, it will also make you reminisce about your childhood as you read about the childhood of the Dobyn kids. And even though your childhood may have been vastly different from theirs, you will still feel a connection to the various commonalities that affect us humans across time and different nationalities. The epilogue and the photographs at the end really get to you and even though a life that you have been witness to from a young age has come to an end, you are in a strange way left with so many memories of this man. And this is because of the way the author has captured these scenes and emotions, by taking you right into the lives and homes of these people instead of merely narrating a story.
Great authors have often talked about the secrets that make a book appeal to audiences everywhere. They stress upon having a standout first chapter to make the readers commit to the book, a good first page that will blow them away and a great first line that will stay etched in their memory forever. If they are right then Shirley’s book has scored a definite ace on all three fronts and has emerged a clear winner.
(The Tarkington Book 2)
The West punctures an opening into China in the 1790s
This story has all of the mystique, intrigue, danger, politics and clash of cultures as “Shogun” did (although it was about Japan). The author spent hours researching the history of these times and in an efficient manner so that it did not interfere with his story, he listed separately information about China and its history so that the reader has the background. Years ago I read that the English made a fortune selling opium to the Chinese, which surprised me because the movies were always about opium dens and I assumed the Chinese were providing it. This is far from the truth. This story basis is built on a segment of high Chinese officials who were purchasing opium clandestinely from the British and selling it locally through a network. There were others who were close to the Emperor, who is now an old man, with three sons, one of whom will inherit his power when he dies, and they knew that opium was destroying many Chinese and were attempting to find the source and destroy it. At that time in China, there were two main genetic people, the Manchurians who were beautiful, tall, very intelligent and ruled China. The other segment were the Han, who were smaller, flat facial features, and usually were the common people and laboring class.
China restricted each different western country trader to a certain small area not a part of mainland China so that they could not influence the Chinese. The story includes romance, murder, betrayal, beauty, and an insight into the Oriental mind, which even today, is hard for the Westerner to understand and accept.
I loved every moment of this page turner, absorbed the information it provided and would hope there is some way the author can market this so that it becomes popular. I believe it would make a great movie and I can only praise it.
I was given a complimentary copy for an honest review.
The Stone Justice Series, Book 1
Action packed, fast moving Western during Civil War times, and also an historical novel.
Colonel Tyrone Rafter was sent by his friend, President Lincoln, to find a man important to the Civil war in Mexico. Rafter was captured, his leg wounded so badly it was sawed off by a rather incompetent Mexican doctor and he was kept a prisoner for seven years, subjected to torture, starvation and terrible living conditions. He finally managed to escape, but upon returning home learned that his beloved wife Laura had been told he was dead and had remarried. Rafter became extremely bitter and hostile, never revealing to Laura that he was alive because of her remarriage. He remained mostly in Mexico and became so violent and dangerous that he was known as El Pata Fantasma.
He let President Lincoln know he was alive and Lincoln eventually sent for him to send him on another dangerous mission. Lincoln had been promised by a Mexican constituent a large amount of gold that had been mined by the Mexican and hidden. There were rumors of gold being in the Santa Fe, New Mexico area, but no proof. Rafter was to ascertain if there actually was gold available for the Union’s use.
Rafter spent two weeks with a minister who helped him adapt to the role of being a minister, and he was an atheist. He read the Bible in most of his spare time, adopted an abandoned dog, Dinger and visited all of the Methodist churches in the towns between Washington D.C. and Santa Fe to firm his role as Pastor Justin P Stone. Because his wooden leg was so tender, he purchased a buggy, which was his trademark. As the story proceeded, he learned that Laura died, his son Buck, a young man now, although in the military, had a terrible temper, and as he visited the different churches, was called upon to do weddings, funerals, sermons, and give solace and comfort to many. He began to question whether there was a God.
The story is filled with war, death, Indian attacks, romance, betrayal, love, hate and is a page turner. I truly enjoyed it and recommend it to anyone who likes Westerns, especially when it includes so much history.
I was given a complimentary copy for an honest review.