Ultimate Gluten-free Dairy-free Collection
April 26th, 2019 by diane92345

The Ultimate Gluten-free Dairy-free Collection is a huge assortment of both gluten-free and dairy-free recipes. Note that each recipe is both. They may also be nut, soy, and egg free as well as vegetarian and vegan.

The recipes look both tasty and gorgeous. However, most take at least an hour to prepare and contain expensive gluten-free and dairy-free ingredients. If you are only avoiding one ingredient, there are better cookbooks available. However, the Ultimate Gluten-free Dairy-free Collection is a boon for those avoiding both.

Price and/or time prevented me from trying any of these recipes (though the Tomato Tart looked particular yummy). The more than 200 recipes are categorized by meal (breakfast, lunch, weeknight dinner) and type (side dishes and desserts). There is a comprehensive index. But it is not sorted by diet type making this cookbook difficult to use quickly for those avoiding other ingredients. All recipes include a key defining their diet restriction, servings, and prep/cook time. Most have full color pictures. Unfortunately, none have calories or other nutritional information.

Overall, this cookbook is best for gluten-free and dairy-free cooks with at least an intermediate skill in the kitchen, time to cook, and a substantial food budget. 3 stars.

Thanks to Nourish and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Posted in New Books, Non-fiction Tagged with: , , ,

Hacking Darwin
April 25th, 2019 by diane92345

Hacking Darwin presents an evenhanded look at the future of genetic intervention from a non-scientist’s point-of-view.

The first “test tube baby” was born using IVF in 1978. The human genome was fully sequenced in 2003. CRISPR, a method to cut and paste different genetic code into DNA, was developed in 1988 but first used on human cells in 2013. The combination of these three advances will soon allow IVF embryos to be selected for freedom from disease, hair/eye color, and gender. The ability to select based on IQ, longevity, or personality styles (i.e., extroversion or agreeableness) will soon follow. Basically, our DNA will become an IT product that can be hacked in ways we haven’t even thought of yet.

There are many ethical issues inherent in this ability. Would only the rich be able to afford the cost of manipulating their offspring to be smarter than poorer offspring conceived the old fashioned way? Would one “look” be so popular that races are effectively wiped out? Would this allow an entire generation to be wiped out by a new disease for which they are not protected by natural selection? Will we trust artificial intelligence to make humans that are smarter than even they are?

Hacking Darwin is a thought-provoking treatise on decisions that will need to be made soon to achieve the best results in the future with genetic engineering.  The best part of this book is the author’s easy-to-read style. He uses examples of people in the future casually selecting their baby’s height and IQ. There is nothing so technical here that an average fiction reader cannot understand, or worse, have to Google.

Perhaps it is because I’m a book blogger but I think this book would be a great resource for writers looking for ideas for a plot. There are a lot of unspoken “what ifs” in here. Would the genetically engineered younger children dominate the naturally made older ones? Would the smarter children be able to outsmart their parents? Could a disease wipe out a world made up of Kardashian clones? I’m not even an author so imagine what a real author could think up. For that reason, plus this is just a fascinating and well-written book, Hacking Darwin deserves 5 stars! I can’t wait to read it in twenty years and see how close or far it is from the truth then.

Thanks to Sourcebooks and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Posted in New Books, Non-fiction Tagged with: ,

Mother-in-law
April 24th, 2019 by diane92345

The Mother-in-law is a fine domestic thriller that also touches on some hot button social topics.

Lucy’s mother-in-law, Diana, is not her favorite person though she adores her father-in-law, Tom. Diana is not demonstrative, even toward her two children, Ollie and Nettie. She is more concerned with her work with poor immigrants. When Diana dies, Lucy, and much of the family, is clearly the focus of the police’s inquiries.

The Mother-in-law was a good domestic thriller. However, I guessed the killer before I was 10% into the book. I sped through the rest of it to see if I was right and was irrational upset when I was. The killer seemed obvious to me but you may want a mystery that is easy to solve while on a vacation or relaxing before bed so 3 stars.

Thanks to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Posted in Mystery & Thrillers, New Books Tagged with: ,

A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World
April 23rd, 2019 by diane92345

I started by reading just the first chapter of A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World to see if it was something I would enjoy. I then spent every waking moment where I wasn’t driving, working, or taking a shower, reading it until it was over.

The world is ending with a whimper. Seventy years previously, mankind stopped being fertile and multiplying. Griz is one of the few teenagers left. Living with his family on a remote island off the coast of Scotland, Griz’ friends are his two dogs, who are siblings Jip and Jess. Jess is a rare female dog in a world where dogs were eaten for food.

Griz’s family includes his father, his brain-damaged mother, his older sister and brother. When a stranger, world-traveler Brand, lands on their island, he is welcomed suspiciously for the possibility of trading food for a much needed windmill motor. However, when Brand leaves like a thief in the night, he takes Griz’s beloved dog, Jess, with him. Griz decides that that act is his line in the sand that no one should cross. He takes the family’s boat to give chase to Brand and bring Jess home.

A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World is more Homer and less Walking Dead. There are no zombies in sight (thank goodness). It is a first-person coming of age quest novel. While I mentioned Homer, it can also be compared to several of the superhero movies so popular right now. There are clear heroes and villains. Griz is focused on his goal and is willing to put up with any challenge to achieve it. The ending is excellent too. While this has a rather slow pace, it is never boring. However, it has more of a literary fiction vibe and so may not be a good fit for thriller fans. In addition, the foreshadowing was annoyingly obvious. But it is definitely worth the time invested. 4 stars!

Thanks to Orbit Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Posted in Literary Fiction, New Books, Teen & Young Adult Tagged with: ,

Soul Remains
April 22nd, 2019 by diane92345

In Soul Remains, the hapless and unlucky accountant, Sloot, is still trying to save his beloved city, Salzstadt, from everything bad. Everything bad now includes the walking dead and goblin multitudes plus the increasingly bizarre inability of city residents to see that anything is wrong.

You can’t keep Sloot down. Though he was killed at the end of the previous book in this series, he is back as a ghost. That doesn’t stop Sloot from being just as willing (and unfortunately incompetent) to save his city and the Dominator, long may he reign. The Dominator, in the meantime, has disappeared.

Readers will either laugh along with the puns and humor here and have a great time…or not. The best way to tell is by determining if you think Monty Python and/or A Fish Called Wanda is laugh-out-loud funny. If so, you will enjoy this deep dive into the creatively weird world of Sloot and the Old Country as much as I did. Soul Remains is highly recommended to those who enjoy something completely different. 4 stars!

Thanks to Black Spot Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Posted in Fantasy, Humor, New Books Tagged with: ,