The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
A sequel that really picks up steam about halfway through. Even though it doesn't feel like a whole lot of progress is made toward the conclusion of the quest, it's still incredibly fascinating to read. The depth of imagination and storytelling is well layered and the writing is so wonderfully descriptive.
Mastering the Art of French Eating: Lessons in Food and Love from a Year in Paris by Ann Mah
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I love reading about food, and this book has some tantalizing passages about food. Exploring the inseparably connected region and landscape in France, the origin, and the ingredients of each dish was fascinating and conveyed expertly. This book felt like a good meal and a bit of wanderlust wrapped up together. I skimmed over some of the more historical parts--I was more interested in the food.
I also really appreciated the way that she perfectly conveyed what it feels like to be a spouse in a foreign place, following after their husband/wife's dreams/career, and the lonely but incredibly valuable, adventurous, and self-defining experience that it is. Having had a somewhat similar experience, I was able to relate to the spot-on way she conveyed the feelings of those times. While this was well done, at times her exploration of these feelings was too repetitious, and in comparing herself to Julia Child and Abigail Adams, the tone became a little flat and complaining. With that exception, the blend of food and memoir was a success.