Wednesday, February 10, 2021

One Bear's Opinion: My Life in France

My Life in France by Julia Child and Alex Prud'homme

I grew up watching Julia Child cooking on tv, but never actually knew more than that about her. This was an interesting book, fun to read and full of little bits of things to learn about Julia Child's life. I was a bit disappointed that there was not much mention of her life in the OSS, but the War was over before she lived in France, so I can understand why it was not mentioned.

The story behind Mastering the Art of French Cooking made me want to get a copy, but then I wondered if I would be owning it own the book or owning it to actively use it. More thought is needed before I invest in any of Julia Child's books. But I can highly recommend My Life in France. It's one of those really nice books that is sectioned nicely for dipping in and out, like at restaurants where waiters will come by and bring food, or in waiting rooms where you may be called to the back at any moment.

One Bear's Opinion: Four glasses of French Wine with a hearty dinner of Boeuf Bourguignon shared with good friends

Happy Reading Everyone,


Tuesday, January 19, 2021

One Bear's Opinion: The Thursday Murder Club

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman

I saw promotion for this book, and it looked like something I would enjoy reading and as it turns out, it was. It was a very good book, very hard to put down once the action got moving. And the mystery was quite well crafted and intriguing as well. I was on the wrong track for a good while, solving along with the investigators in the book, which is always fun for me as a reader. The characters became friends, though I am still not sure what to make of Elizabeth.

The only pause I have in recommending everyone head out right away and get a copy it is that the author, while a seemingly nice gentleman, especially on Pointless and panel shows, has proven himself no friend of bears. This is a problem for my bear conscience. I want people to read the book, but I really don't want people to buy the book. So here's what my bear brain thinks is the best option: if you have a friend, see if you can borrow the book to read. Or if, like me, you have already bought the book, loan it out to as many friends as you possibly can.

One Bear's Opinion: Four (and a half) G&Ts from a can with a Lime Drizzle Cake

Happy Reading Everyone, 


Saturday, April 25, 2020

One Bear's Opinion: Sprinkle with Murder

Sprinkle with Murder
by Jenn McKinlay

I wanted to like this book. I really did. The mystery was fun and intriguing. I was on the wrong track until near the end. The problem was I didn't really like the main characters. They are people I'd talk to on the plane, just not the kind of people I want to have over for dinner or a movie night.

I wanted to like the book, because I wanted to like the series. Unfortunately, I do not really like the characters. I am sorry about that. I am sure there are plenty of other people who love this series, I am not one of them.

The mystery was really well crafted and quite engaging. And the book we well-written. Everything points to a book and series I should like. But I don't.

One Bear's Opinion: Three cups of diner coffee with a day-old cupcake

Happy Reading Everyone, 

Sunday, March 8, 2020

One Bear's Opinion: The Passion of the Purple Plumeria

The Passion of the Purple Plumeria
by Lauren Willig

I really enjoy the books in the Pink Carnation series, They are fun, exciting, and thrilling to read. I have a couple of issues with them. I wish the publishers had somehow made the current story more easily recognizable in the text, perhaps used a different font for the current story or numbered the chapters differently. I dislike the abrupt switch from one story to the other, but that's just my opinion as a reader, and I notice it each time I read one of the books in the series.

Running complaint handled, now to The Passion of the Purple Plumeria. Miss Gwen has always been one of my favorite characters, and I love that she got to tell her story. I'm not quite sure where the wandering over-arching plot is going from here, but I am excited to see how the author finishes up the story. She seems to have written herself into a corner with the main and familiar characters.

The plot was fairly easy to guess as I read it, and there were no real surprises. Well, there was one surprise, but I'll not say anything about it, lest I give away spoilers. Underneath it all, this was a love story rather than a spy story, but the Pink Carnation novels all have an undercurrent of love story to them. The spy aspect is a more a subplot than a main one.

I find them interesting as they are connected by recurring characters more than the main characters, and each book tells the story of a supporting character. It's a fun way to connect a series. The thread of the Napoleonic spies runs through the series, but the characters change in each installment. The ones who were main characters in one novel are relegated to supporting roles in the next. It's a fun concept, and I am enjoying it. I am sorry there are only two installments left. There are many friends in the series who deserve their stories to be told and I am sorry not all of them will get the chance.

One Bear's Opinion: Four glasses of lemonade with a plate of iced cakes while "watching" Artaxeres

Happy Reading Everyone,

Saturday, February 29, 2020

One Bear's Opinion: The Silent Speaker

The Silent Speaker
by Rex Stout

I've seen the Timothy Hutton production of The Silent Speaker, but it's been years, and all I really remembered was the wax cylinder recordings. And I remember thinking how much state-of-the-art technology has changed since the War.

So going in, I knew the wax cylinders were important, but not how or why. It was fun to rediscover the mystery. And it was fun to have an adventure with Archie. I can't say too much, but if you're a fan of Nero Wolfe & Archie's interaction, there is a fantastic scene in this book. It's worth it to read for just that moment.

It was a lot of fun to read, and now I'm going to have to go re-watch the television adaptation to see how well it was compared to the book.

One Bear's Opinion: Five bottles of beer, followed by a visit from Dr. Vollmer, because by then you'll need it

Happy Reading Everyone, 

Monday, February 24, 2020

One Bear's Opinion: Not Quite Dead Enough

Not Quite Dead Enough
by Rex Stout

Another collection of a couple of Nero Wolfe short stories or maybe novellas, I'm not exactly sure where the cut-off is, it seems to be a grey area to more people than just me. And another good visit with Archie. In these, Archie is a Major in the US Army. It's wartime and for the time being he's assigned to handle Nero Wolfe. It's an interesting assignment and I think Archie thinks so too, but he'll go with it. Good thing too, or there wouldn't be the short stories for this book.

I enjoyed "Not Quite Dead Enough" more than "Booby Trap," but both were interesting. It's a fun book and a fun visit with the gang in the brownstone on West 35th Street.

One Bear's Opinion: Four bottles of beer and a dinner with no discussions of business.

Happy Reading Everyone,

Friday, February 21, 2020

One Bear's Opinion: Black Orchids

Black Orchids
by Rex Stout

Any visit with Archie Goodwin is a good one. And this was a satisfactory visit with Archie. It was two short stories that were connected by the Black Orchids. Other than the flowers, there was no connection.

I always feel short stories are a teaser tasting, so it's nice to have a collection to savor, rather than just one short one to tear through quickly.

"Black Orchids" tells the story of how Nero Wolfe came to be in possession of the flowers, which was fun, because...spoiler alert...Nero Wolfe leaves his house! You know any time that occurs, something is bound to happen.

Individually the short stories were fun, together they made for a lingering visit with old friends.

One Bear's Opinion: Five bottles of beer, after a dinner of Saucisse Minuit

Happy Reading Everyone,