Category Archives: Book Reviews

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Dehydrating Foods by Jeanette Hurt – Review

A little while ago I purchased a food dehydrator from Amazon U.K.
Being new to dehydrating food, I also decided to buy a copy of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Dehydrating Foods, by Jeanette Hurt.


It is a great book and the recipes are very easy to follow.
The only downside for us in Europe is that it uses American measurements, but it is simple enough to scribble a quick conversion chart on the inside of the cover.
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I’ve been wanting a food hydrator for quite a while, and so far I’m impressed with everything I’ve dehydrated. I’m really pleased with my purchase.

Apart from dehydrating foods for my wife and I to enjoy, another reason for wanting, and purchasing a food dehydrator, was so I could make tasty and healthy treats for our two dogs.
Admittedly both of the dogs will pretty much eat anything we give them, but the dehydrated sweet potato is a favourite.

Here are some photos of my food dehydrating:

Onions, Mushrooms, and Tomatoes
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Oranges and Lemons
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Sweet Potato
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A Culinary Photo Journal: A Decade of Traveling for Food, Cooking and Culture By Nathan Gray – Book Review

The other week a copy of A Culinary Photo Journal: A Decade of Traveling for Food, Cooking and Culture By Nathan Gray arrived in the post.
I won it on the Goodreads website.
It is a photo book packed full of food photos. What I find particularly pleasing about this volume is the fact that the intro and captions are very short. No waffle (pun intended), just interesting food related photos.
Best viewed when you’re not hungry.
8/10
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Blog post by Richard Randall

A Hard Lesson by Charles J Harwood

This an an enjoyable enough read but I did find it lacking in parts. The gang are rather wimpish compared with criminal gangs from my past that I knew and do not reflect gangs of today. That aside is a an easy read and entertaining.
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Blog post by Richard Randall

The Crack by Christopher Radmann – Book Review

I gave up reading The Crack by Christopher Radmann at page 109. I found it plodded at such a slow pace, I could not really get into it. The writing quality was average, so not good enough to keep me turning the pages.
It starts on New Years Day, 1976 in South Africa and follows a couples decent into madness.
2/10
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Blog post by Richard Randall

The World’s Greatest Tanks by Michael E Haskew

A copy of The World’s Greatest Tanks by Michael E Haskew arrived in the post last week. I won it in an online competition.
I’ve had a flick through it, and it’ll make a fine blokey coffee table book. Something to dip into when there is nothing on the T.V.
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Blog post by Richard Randall
Total prize value to date: £1646 (from 1st September 2013).

Wald Vengeance by Jason Born

I’m a real sucker for sword and sandal yarns, and Wald Vengeance by Jason Born  (http://www.authorjasonborn.com/) hits the mark. It is a well crafted tale, centred on the Roman occupation of what is now Germany. It follows the uprising of the German tribes, and the defeat of the Roman army.
The main characters are well thought out, and you feel drawn to them, regardless of which side they are on. The plot is well paced, with good dialog and action scenes. This is the third book, and last, in the series, but it’s the only one I’ve read, and for me it is a stand alone novel in its own right. An excellent read.

8/10

Wald Vengeance by Jason Born

Blog post by Richard Randall
Total prize value to date: £1500 (from 1st September 2013).

BETRAYED by Jacqui Rose – Book Review

I won the book Betrayed by Jacqui Rose via a giveaway on the Goodreads website.
This is a very good fast paced read. When I first got the book I thought it was going to be a romcom/chick lit style novel, given the authors name, but it was a pleasant surprise because it is a London gangland novel with a strong storyline based on child sex abuse. While it is an unpleasant subject, this novel deals with it well, and it is a gripping read. Having said that, the ending is a little weak, and there are a few flaws in the novel, but none the less an enjoyable read.
My only real niggle with Betrayed by Jacqui Rose is the almost ‘nouveau riche’ use of product names like Gucci, Aston Martin etc. These I found gauche and unnecessary to the storyline.
I would be happy to read the next novel by Jacqui Rose, which is a definite thumbs up!

Rating 7/10
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Blog post by Richard Randall
Total prize value to date: £1143.50 (from 1st September 2013).

Mikyle Lowe: And the Parchment of the Emerald Ring by M.J.L

I won the book Mikyle Lowe: And the Parchment of the Emerald Ring by M.J.Lvia a giveaway on the Goodreads website.
Harry Potter, this is not. It is about a boy wizard and his adventures and that is where the J.K. Rowling influence ends, because the Harry Potter series are very well written and engaging.
Mikyle Lowe: And the Parchment of the Emerald Ring is riddled with poor grammar and spelling mistakes, which makes it extremely difficult to read. There is an author bio on Goodreads stating M.J.L was born in 1999 and had started this novel ‘years ago’ and plans to publish an edited version of Mikyle Lowe: And the Parchment of the Emerald Ring on 27th of June 2014. I just hope the new edited version includes a major rewrite and is proofread by a competent and educated adult before being released.

2/10 (I would have give a zero if the author was an adult).
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Blog post by Richard Randall
Total prize value to date: £922 (from 1st September 2013).

Liam Muir, Wannabe Author, Professional Idiot

Liam Muir sent me an email, via my blog, complaining about the review I wrote of his shoddy novel The Consultant. I have included the full contents of the email at the bottom of this post.

The fact is I was rather gentle in my review, I wasn’t overly critical as I believe everybody needs a chance to succeed when they are starting out, and because it is his first novel, and he is self published.
I did not mention that the writing was poorly constructed, lacking structure, narrative, and authority, or that the characters were one dimensional.
Nor did I mention the fake reviews that are on Amazon.com. To quote just two of them, “I have read probably the finest crime thriller on the market” and “I now prefer Liam Muir over Dan Brown and Tom Clancy“. I wonder who put those on Amazon.com ?
Liam Muir seems to think that I’m a ‘wannabe writer’. Nothing could be further from the truth. If I put pen to paper I am sure it would be complete drivel, and not unlike the words that flow from Liam Muir. The difference would only be that I have the good sense not to inflict that on the public, and then cry foul because people expressed their opinions and truthfully called my writing rubbish.
I’m not quite sure why Liam Muir felt the need to send me an insulting email. What my nationality has to do with it, I have no idea. Maybe Liam Muir loves stereotyping people, and simply liked the words he chose for his title, ‘British Pomposity’, or more likely his ego got the better of him and he wrote and sent his email to me before he’d thoroughly thought it through.
As for me being an ingrate, that’s completely incorrect. I was grateful to have been sent a copy of the book. I regularly receive books from various sources for review, and I enjoy exploring new authors and genres. Ninety percent of my book reviews are very positive.
I was also mystified as to why Liam Muir thinks that people who pay for a book value it more than those who receive it as a gift. That is laughable, in fact it did make me laugh, a lot. If I had spent my money on purchasing ‘The Consultant’ I would have been far more disappointed about the low quality writing, where as the book being sent to me complimentary, at least I hadn’t wasted my cash.
Liam Muir asks how dare I take the book for free, and then review it despite not reading it all. Well, I dare, because I am free to express my honest opinion. Why would I waste my valuable time by reading a book right through to the end, when I found it tedious. I read far more of the book than I wanted to, in the hope that it would improve; which it didn’t, and in order for me to be able to give it a fair review.
He also asked who I am to critique his book anyway? How is this relevant to anything? If I want to critique something I can, and will, and so can anyone and everyone else.
Then once again Liam Muir mentions that if I paid for his book I might have enjoyed it. That is illogical. Paying for something does not mean I will enjoy it more than if it was free. I think the opposite is true. Freebies are often slightly more enjoyable simply because they are free. 
Liam Muir also said that 90% don’t agree with my opinion of his book. If that’s true, why is he so bothered by my review?
Lastly Liam Muir quips ‘better still try writing it yourself’. Yet again, I laughed. That comment is immature. Maybe if Liam Muir put as much effort in to writing his book as he did writing his email to me ‘The Consultant’ may not have been a complete waste of paper.

Dear Mr. Liam Muir, Don’t give up your day job.

The email from Liam Muir:

If you have the balls to post this on your website, which I’m sure you don’t, here’s what I think of your so-called review of my book but you can also view it on my website blog, Facebook and Twitter, titled “British Pomposity” and of course on Goodreads.

Here is yet another review from someone who got a freebie on Goodreads. I guess those who pay for a novel value it as it has received more 5 star reviews than pans…at least on other platforms than Goodreads. I have heard that Goodreads’ reviews are often from wannabe writers who love to indulge their “hate envy.” This guy didn’t disappoint because he didn’t even read the book so how could he give it a review, but he did. Here is the ingrate’s review.

“I won the book The Consultant by Liam Muir via a giveaway on the Goodreads website.

Grrrrr. This novel is set in England and Scotland but it is written in ‘American English’ it is very annoying for a native Englishman reading it in England. Having ‘Police cruisers’ ‘Sidewalks’ ‘Back-Up lights’ etc. in England and Scotland is just plainly wrong.

I’m a big fan of this genre of novels but sadly not a big fan of The Consultant by Liam Muir. Americanisms aside I felt the story was lacking in depth and pace. I only managed to get half way through it, before calling it a day. This is Liam Muir’s first novel, so a lot can be forgiven and I hope his future output is of a much higher standard.”

Really?? Get a life! Who cares about the vernacular? The story is a good one if you had the Joie de vivre to finish it. How dare you take something for nothing and then have the bad grace to not to finish it but review it anyway. Shame on you! You may be a big fan of something but I think it is your bad attitude and big ego. Who are you to critique a book anyway? Pay next time and you might enjoy it. People always appreciate something they had to work for, or better yet try writing it yourself. 90% don’t agree with your critic observer pan of what aficionados of the novel genre believe is a very good first effort. Grrrr to you!

And good riddance to Goodreads.

Sincerely,

Liam Muir, Author (wishful thing on his part)