I have found myself recently going through a lot of bloggers-turned-authors new books. I guess I feel obligated to read them, to support the blogging community and also, to see what all the hype is about, to be honest.
I have been wary to share my reviews, out in the open (though my Goodreads friends have access to my recent ones) because I feel like my reviews have a definite air of negativity and I didn’t want to hurt people’s feeling or have readers jumping down my throat over my opinion. But then, the more I thought about it, the more I did want to share my opinions. Because unbiased, albeit negative, opinions matter. And maybe it’ll help you guys to filter through all the glowing reviews written by other bloggers and readers that maybe have a little bit too much celebrity clouding their vision.
Peas & Thank You
(Read & Reviewed August 2011)
As far as cookbooks go, it’s pretty entertaining. But that’s not really what cookbooks are about though, right?
As far as the actual recipes go, there isn’t anything really new or innovative. I was a little disappointed with how much faux meat and tofu were in the recipes. I’m not vegan, not even vegetarian, but I think if you are going to be, or even a flexitarian, it is important to focus on real foods – fruits, veggies, beans, whole grains. But that’s just my omnivorous opinion. I only bookmarked 3 recipes that really got my attention to try and if I am going to drop $25 on a cookbook, I want more than that to feel like I got my money’s worth so I’m glad I borrowed this from the library before investing in it myself, as much as I’d love to support a fellow food blogger.
The photos in the book bothered me and maybe this is just me being nitpicky. I found that many of them (namely the ones not taken by Ashley) were yellow-y and could have been better with a white balance adjustment. Many were also far too close to actually distinguish what the food was and thanks to huge full page and even double spread photos, you had to stretch the book out away from you to actually see the picture. I think the book would have benefited from a little bit more food styling and tablescape photos.
As far as the stories associated with the recipes were, as I said, entertaining. But like Mama Peas blog, I found myself losing interest after the fifth time a joke was made. I’m not fond of beating dead horse’s and there is only so many Tommy Bahama and lack of shower jokes this girl can handle. I’m sure many find it wildly entertaining, and maybe I don’t just because I don’t empathize with SAHM’s.
I did really enjoy the layout of the book, especially the introduction and the "peas pantry" sections. I also really liked the "peas points" tidbits next to each chapter but the extensive use of the "peas" cracks started to agitate me. I get it.
All that being said, it was one of the better blog-to-book’s that I’ve read so it gets 3-stars instead of the 2 I would probably otherwise give it.
Plate to Pixel
(Read and Reviewed July 2011)
I really enjoyed this book. I found it most beneficial to actually look at her pictures and the settings that she used to achieve that photo. The tone was very informal, which I appreciate. She’s obviously knowledgeable in food styling and photography. I did disregard a lot of the information, especially on artificial lighting, because I eat what I prepare and photograph and don’t have lengthy photo shoots. Reading this book did give me a little more confidence and renewed my desire for good photography for my blog. I found myself immediately wanting to try new things, acquire a few more props, and experiment more. While I borrowed this from the library, I feel like it is a book I wouldn’t mind having on hand to reference regularly. I made sure to follow her on twitter and added her blog to my Google Reader so I can pick up tips along the way.
The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels
(Read & Reviewed July 2011)
I really enjoyed the storyline of the book – city girl falls in love with cowboy is a classic. Ree’s humor that she displays on her blog is every present. The one thing that didn’t work for me was the flow of the first two parts of the book – they were clearly blog posts adapted for the novel but were in dire need of some editing. The segments, while they would work as posts that were read days apart, were nice insights into the blooming relationship, there was a certain repetitiveness that was annoying when you read it all in one sitting. The inundation of brand name dropping and references to the golf course/country club living that represented Ree’s previous life were off-putting after the tenth time and she certainly was rather self-involved but I suppose all bloggers a bit narcissistic. The third part of the book, the part not specifically written for the blog then adapted, was written and flowed better and was a sweet ending to the love story. Overall, it was a quick, light, and entertaining read that I know die-hard PW fans will (and probably already have) eaten up. (Pun intended.)
Carrots n’ Cake
(Read & Reviewed June 2011)
I was really disappointed with this book and the worst part is that I knew I would be when I picked it up. Actually no, before that. I knew I would be disappointed when I heard she was writing it. I feel bad but I really tried to be supportive of a fellow food blogger. She really just isn’t a writer. It wasn’t witty or funny, there wasn’t eloquent narrative, it is exactly like her blog which I have read off and on for the past couple years and lately, mostly off. And picking up this book reminded me why. I have outgrown that style of blog and apparently books of the same caliber.
There is nothing new or exciting, it’s just a recount of her life and how she lost and manages her weight. The sheer number of "I" and "me" in the first few chapters is a good indicator of her style of writing. I only completely read the first third of the book then skimmed the rest. The recipes looked fine but I didn’t feel the urge to try any of them. I know that she has received glowing reviews from other bloggers out there but I have a feeling they are more "star struck" than actually critiquing the work. Just my opinion…
Other blog-books I’ve read have been Operation Beautiful and Julie & Julia but that was pre-Goodreads and I don’t have written reviews.
So what are your thoughts on blogs-to-books? I know there are many more out there – any I should read? – and many more on their way to hit the shelves.
Filed under: Book Review |