Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Pour One Out: Cocktail Odes to TV’s Most Dearly Departed by Chris Vola

Looking for a fun book that mixes new cocktail ideas with fun descriptions of characters from some of your favorite shows?  Pour One Out is the book for you!

My husband Ben and I enjoyed reading the book and trying out the various cocktails.  As described in the introduction, the golden age of TV started in 1999 with the Sopranos and TV viewing change for the better in this new era.  At the same time “New York Spirits Professionals” began to make “long-forgotten drinks and fresh ingredients.”  This book combines the best of shows deaths with the best of drinks to make to toast their demise.

Reading the character descriptions was highly entertaining.  My favorite description was on the dearly departed Tasha Yar from Star Trek:  The Next Generation. “For one intrepid explorer, space really was the final frontier - twice. . . So whenever you’re feeling down about your tactical officer always getting the short end of the futuristic stick, just teleport to your local watering hold for a different kind of subtly strong blond-hued beauty that will still be sipped long after we conquer warp speed.”

 Just the names of the some of the drink parings made me laugh out loud such as the drink “Dead Bastard” for Ramsay Bolton from Game of Thrones and “Puritan” for Maude Flanders from The Simpsons.  Our favorite drink so far is the Jack Rose for Margaery Tyrell from Game of Thrones.  “Tart, mildly sweet, and packing a 100-proof punch, the Jack Rose is the ideal companion to a woman whose three reigns though short, were nothing shy of impressive.”  We have plenty more beverages to try out!

Overall, Pour One Out is a fun book to read and to try out the beverages.  It will make a fun party book to discuss.

Noel Street by Richard Paul Evans

Title:  Noel Street
Author: Richard Paul Evans
Read by:  Helene Maksoud
Publisher: Simon & Shuster Audio
Length: Approximately 5 hours and 55 minutes
Source: Review Copy from Simon & Shuster Audio.  Thank-you!

I have found that Christmas just isn’t Christmas without a new Richard Paul Evans novel.  They are my Christmas comfort audiobooks.  This year, Noel Street was both a comfort and an intriguing Christmas Audiobook.

Elle is a single mother with a mixed-race child living in the small town of Mistletoe Idaho in the 1970s.  Her husband died in the Vietnam war and she is barely able to make ends meet.  When a handsome stranger comes to town with baggage of his own, will Elle be able to make her Christmas dreams come true? 

With the top two historical fiction books these past two years (according to Goodreads) being set in the 1970s, I’m starting to feel old.  The 1970s is the decade of my birth.  It is an intriguing time period with interesting social issues.  The issues of a mixed-race marriage and the Vietnam War brought an interesting depth to this story.

Narrator Helene Maksoud was fantastic. I loved the characters and the story. Elle tries her hardest to make her life with her new found “family” of friends raising her young son after her family threw her out due to her mixed-race marriage.   There were light hearted moments in this novel as well that I enjoyed, especially the “ketchup lady” that Elle has to serve at work. I also enjoyed that the book took the story to contemporary times at the end so you can see what happens to all of the characters. I couldn’t get enough of this novel and was really sad when it ended.

Overall, Noel Street is a great Christmas novel that brings together the spirit of the season with an intriguing look into social issues of the 1970s.  I love Richard Paul Evans Christmas novels and this is my new favorite of his novels.