Sunday, 30 June 2019

Mind Is The Ride by Jet McDonald

Mind Is The Ride by Jet McDonald
Published in the UK by Unbound on the 16th May 2019.

2019 New Release Challenge read and one of my 2019 COYER Summer Challenge reads

How I got this book:
Received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

When Jet McDonald cycled four thousand miles to India and back, he didn’t want to write a straightforward travel book. He wanted to go on an imaginative journey.

Mind is the Ride takes the reader on a physical and intellectual adventure from West to East using the components of a bike as a metaphor for philosophy, which is woven into the cyclist's experience. Each chapter is based around a single component, and as Jet travels he adds new parts and new philosophies until the bike is ‘built’; the ride to India is completed; and the relationship between mind, body and bicycle made apparent.

The age of the travelogue is over: today we need to travel inwardly to see the world with fresh eyes. Mind is the Ride is that journey, a pedal-powered antidote to the petrol-driven philosophies of the past.

Mind Is The Ride is an inspirational memoir of Bristolian Jet McDonald and his girlfriend Jen's epic cycle journey to India and back. Alongside a selection of travel anecdotes, mostly self deprecating, Jet uses this memoir to impart philosophical ideas about how we identify our places in the world and our sense of ourselves. The narrative is cleverly linked by way of each chapter explaining a particular bicycle part - the Saddle, the Head Tube, the Star Fangled Washer, ... - and how their connections can be seen to reflect society. I loved the gradual build-up of a bicycle diagram which ended each chapter. As each part is discussed, it is added to the diagram so, by the end of Mind Is The Ride, we have a completed journey and a complete bicycle.

I did struggle to understand some of the philosophical sections because I felt the book jumped around too much. It's perhaps ironic that a book which talks extensively about meditation and allowing our minds to focus more deeply, actually didn't do that itself. Trying to keep up the three narratives of the journey, the bicycle and the philosophy meant that one often seemed to me to be overly rushed. I do now have an extensive bibliography of other books to track down though. I did think some of the cycling metaphors were too forced, but several did get me giggling. I like McDonald's sense of humour.

However, I did appreciate the breadth of ideas that McDonald touched upon. Mind Is The Ride fits nicely in between other books I have recently read such as The Art Of Travel, Where The Wild Winds Are and In Love With The World. Most of all, I felt energised by reading Mind Is The Ride. McDonald's enthusiasm for cycling in all its forms from an alternative to the daily car commute, to a leisure activity, to a long-distance travel solution, is absolutely infectious. Personally my confidence levels put me far more at Danube cycle path level than Mumbai traffic warrior, but I'm now wanting to unfold my little bike and just get out riding somewhere!

Etsy Find!
by Temple Cycles in
Bristol, England

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Books by Jet McDonald / Philosophical books / Books from England

Saturday, 29 June 2019

Upperdown by David Brennan

Upperdown by David Brennan
Published in the UK by Epoque Press on the 27th June 2019.

Featured in Cover Characteristics: Blood, a 2019 New Release Challenge read and one of my 2019 COYER Summer Challenge reads

How I got this book:
Received a review copy from the publisher

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Things in the town of Upperdown are not as they seem. The Professor struggles with his devotion to proving the Riemann Hypothesis and he walks the streets seeking a solution whilst battling his own deeper preoccupations. The appearance of a stranger in town, the Piano Man, leads to the resolution of the long-term rat infestation but when the town's children start to go missing it is clear something darker has been set in motion.

I've loved previous Epoque Press publications including the incredible El Hacho by Luis Carrasco so I was keen to read their newest offering, Upperdown by David Brennan, a retelling of the Pied Piper fairytale. Retellings can be a bit hit and miss for me. However I didn't remember seeing a Pied Piper one before so was happy to try Upperdown.

The story is narrated in the first person by a maths professor. He speaks in a stylised 'olde worlde' way which took some getting used to but, once I did, I liked the effect especially in its contrast with the otherwise modern day setting. Upperdown itself is a large town beset with a terrible rat problem. The professor doesn't seem to mind the rats and, at times, almost seems to identify with them. He is a loner who spends much of his day simply walking around town observing its people or yearning for the attention of Beatrice Nolan, a younger woman with whom he is obsessed. I could have done with less of his agonising over this unrequited love! I did like the frequent inclusion of numbers in the narration. I didn't feel Brennan always gave enough focus to character development so this was a way to understand how the professor saw the world around him.

Upperdown diverges from the traditional fairytale into a delta of storylines which I felt had a good sense of atmosphere but, unfortunately, I didn't always understand what was going on. The professor's determination to crack the 'Riemann Hypothesis' (which is a real mathematical conundrum) was probably relevant but it makes no sense to me so I imagine I didn't pick up correctly on the frequent prime number references either. Having taken few dozen pages at the beginning to get into the style of the story, it was disappointing for me to then be bewildered by much of the ending. I'll be interested to read other reviews of Upperdown because the novel does have its good points, but maybe I just wasn't in the right place to fully engage with the story.

Etsy Find!
by Jessies Button Box in
Bristol, England

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Friday, 28 June 2019

The Body in Belair Park by Alice Castle + #Giveaway

The Body in Belair Park by Alice Castle
Published in the UK by Darkstroke Books on the 25th June 2019.

Add The Body in Belair Park to your Goodreads

Beth Haldane is on the verge of having everything she’s ever wanted. Her son is starting secondary school, her personal life seems to have settled down – even her pets are getting on. But then the phone rings. 

It’s Beth’s high maintenance mother, Wendy, with terrible news. Her bridge partner, Alfie Pole, has died suddenly. While Beth, and most of Dulwich, is convinced that Alfie has pegged out from exhaustion, thanks to playing with Wendy for years, Beth’s mother is certain that there is foul play afoot. 

Before she knows it, Beth is plunged into her most complicated mystery yet, involving the Dulwich Bridge Club, allotment holders, the Dulwich Open Garden set and, of course, her long-suffering boyfriend, Metropolitan Police Detective Inspector Harry York. The case stirs up old wounds which are much closer to home than Beth would like. Can she come up trumps in time to stop the culprit striking again – or does the murderer hold the winning hand this time? 

Meet the author

Before turning to crime, Alice Castle was a UK newspaper journalist for The Daily Express, The Times and The Daily Telegraph. Her first book, Hot Chocolate, set in Brussels and London, was a European hit and sold out in two weeks.

Death in Dulwich was published in September 2017 and has been a number one best-seller in the UK, US, France, Spain and Germany. A sequel, The Girl in the Gallery was published in December 2017 to critical acclaim and also hit the number one spot. Calamity in Camberwell, the third book in the London Murder Mystery series, was published in August 2018, with Homicide in Herne Hill following in October 2018. Revenge on the Rye came out in December 2018. The Body in Belair Park will be published on 25th June 2019. Alice is currently working on the seventh London Murder Mystery adventure, The Slayings in Sydenham. Once again, it will feature Beth Haldane and DI Harry York.

Alice lives in south London and is married with two children, two step-children and two cats. Alice is also a mummy blogger and book reviewer via her website.

Author links: 
WebsiteFacebook ~ Twitter

And now it's time for the Giveaway!

Win a signed copy of The Body in Belair Park by Alice Castle (Open to the 3rd July 2019, UK and US entries Only) 

*Terms and Conditions –US and UK entries welcome.
Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then RRR reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time RRR will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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Books by Alice Castle / Mystery fiction / Books from England

Thursday, 27 June 2019

Everything You Ever Wanted by Luiza Sauma

Everything You Ever Wanted by Luiza Sauma
Published in the UK by Penguin today, the 27th June 2019.

2019 New Release Challenge read, a Book with Vegan Characters, and one of my 2019 COYER Summer Challenge reads

How I got this book:
Received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A beautiful new planet
A meaningful new life
Are you ready?

You wake up. You go to work. You don't go outside for twelve hours at a time. You have strategy meetings about how to use hashtags. After work you order expensive drink after expensive drink until you're so blackout drunk you can't remember the circumstances which have led you to waking up in bed with your colleague. The next day you stay in bed until the afternoon, scrolling through your social media feeds and wondering why everyone else seems to be achieving so much. Sometimes you don't get out of bed at all.

Then you hear about Life on Nyx, a programme that allows 100 lucky winners the chance to escape it all, move to another planet and establish a new way of life. One with meaning and purpose. One without Instagram and online dating. There's one caveat: if you go, you can never come back.

But you aren't worried about that.

After all, what on Earth could there possibly be to miss?

Everything You Ever Wanted tells the story of Iris who, on the face of it, has a typical Millennial London lifestyle. Her job title is pretty meaningless and the hours are competitively long, but the pay is good and she's moving up the career ladder - successfully playing the game. She should be happy, but happiness is easier said than experienced and Iris has problems rooted far deeper than her superficial lifestyle will allow her to admit.

I felt strongly for Iris throughout Everything You Ever Wanted. Despite my now living a very different lifestyle to hers, I could understand how easily she had been sucked into what effectively was one constant hangover, psychological as well as physical. This novel is very well observed. It does get a little heavy-handed with its message at times, but I thought the characters and their relationships were utterly convincing. The mother-daughter awkwardness was especially well portrayed.

Life On Nyx is essentially a reality TV show with the hook, and the catch, being that it is set on a distant planet. Contestants can be sent there, but there is absolutely no chance of a return to Earth for the lucky 100. Sauma completely understands the modern predicament - our desire for a simpler and more fulfilling way of life, and our need to be seen to have succeeded in achieving it. For the social media generations nothing truly exists unless one's photo of it has been Liked many times. Life On Nyx offers personal fulfilment with the opportunity for global Like reach. Iris can't resist and I admit I was very tempted by the idea of Life On Nyx for myself, right up to the point where library access was limited to one book per month. Per Month!! How is anyone supposed to manage on that ration?!

Everything You Ever Wanted is a great reflection of contemporary aspirations. It's one of those sharply observed novels which holds up a mirror and demands we see just how daft and meaningless some aspects of our lives have become. Although the stories don't particularly resemble each other, I was reminded of how I felt reading Omnia by Laura Gallego and Individutopia by Joss Sheldon. If you liked either of those, I think you will love Everything You Ever Wanted.

Etsy Find!
by Hattie Boo Designs in
Warrington, England

Click pic to visit Etsy Shop

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Books by Luiza Sauma / Science fiction / Books from Brazil

Wednesday, 26 June 2019

The Storyteller's Secret by Sejal Badani + #Giveaway

The Storyteller's Secret by Sejal Badani

Category: Adult Fiction, 399 pages
Genre: Literary
Publisher: Lake Union
Release date: September 2018
Tour dates: June 3 to July 12, 2019
Content Rating: PG-13 (There are some non-explicit sex scenes)

An Amazon Charts, USA Today, and Washington Post bestseller!

From the bestselling author of Trail of Broken Wings comes an epic story of the unrelenting force of love, the power of healing, and the invincible desire to dream.

Nothing prepares Jaya, a New York journalist, for the heartbreak of her third miscarriage and the slow unraveling of her marriage in its wake. Desperate to assuage her deep anguish, she decides to go to India to uncover answers to her family’s past. Intoxicated by the sights, smells, and sounds she experiences, Jaya becomes an eager student of the culture. But it is Ravi—her grandmother’s former servant and trusted confidant—who reveals the resilience, struggles, secret love, and tragic fall of Jaya’s pioneering grandmother during the British occupation.

​Through her courageous grandmother’s arrestingly romantic and heart-wrenching story, Jaya discovers the legacy bequeathed to her and a strength that, until now, she never knew was possible.

To read reviews, please visit Sejal Badani's page on iRead Book Tours.

​Watch the Book Trailer:

Meet the Author:

​A former attorney, Sejal Badani left the law to pursue writing full time.

She is a USA Today, Washington Post & Amazon Charts bestselling author, Goodreads Fiction Award Finalist and ABC/DISNEY Writing Fellowship Finalist.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ​~ Pinterest ~ Instagram

Enter the Giveaway!
Win 1 of 3 paperback copies of The Storyteller’s Secret, another winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card
(4 winners / open internationally)
Ends July 20, 2019

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Books by Sejal Badani / Contemporary fiction / Books from America

Tuesday, 25 June 2019

My Past Is a Foreign Country: A Muslim feminist finds herself by Zeba Talkhani

My Past Is a Foreign Country: A Muslim feminist finds herself by Zeba Talkhani
Published in the UK by Sceptre today, the 27th June 2019.

2019 New Release Challenge read and one of my 2019 COYER Summer Challenge reads

How I got this book:
Received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

27-year-old Zeba Talkhani charts her experiences growing up in Saudi Arabia amid patriarchal customs reminiscent of The Handmaid's Tale, and her journey to find freedom abroad in India, Germany and the UK as a young woman.

Talkhani offers a fresh perspective on living as an outsider and examines her relationship with her mother and the challenges she faced when she experienced hair loss at a young age. Rejecting the traditional path her culture had chosen for her, Talkhani became financially independent and married on her own terms in the UK. Drawing on her personal experiences Talkhani shows how she fought for the right to her individuality as a feminist Muslim and refused to let negative experiences define her.

For all the fuss made in the UK about Muslim women's lives and choices, it seems rare for any to actually get an opportunity to put across their own point of view. Boris's casually misogynistic racism was widely reported, but responses from the women he insulted were not. This prevalent attitude is what, for me, made reading Zeba Talkhani's memoir such a refreshing experience. My Past Is A Foreign Country is open and honest - a Muslim woman speaking her mind.

Talkhani grew up within the strict patriarchal interpretations of Islam practiced in Saudi Arabia but, as she later learned living in Germany and Britain, assumptions of male privilege are by no means restricted to Muslim countries. Personally I would ask whether a woman who feels she cannot leave her home without covering her face with cosmetics is more free than one who feels she must cover her face with fabric. In both cases the question of individual choice should be paramount. 'I want to ...' rather than 'I must ...'. One of the most interesting parts of My Past Is A Foreign Country, I thought, is when Talkhani discusses what drives women to perpetuate discriminatory patriarchal systems. Her understanding of both social and personal pressures is certainly thought-provoking.

I hope My Past Is A Foreign Country is widely read and appreciated by women and men regardless of their faith or politics. Talkhani's feminism chimes strongly with my own ideas on the subject and I felt that a lot of what she has to say transcends divisions of gender, religion or nationality.

Etsy Find!
by Sootmegs in
Brighton, England

Click pic to visit Etsy Shop

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Books by Zeba Talkhani / Biography and memoir / Books from Saudi Arabia

Monday, 24 June 2019

Burton Blake by Robert Tucker + #Giveaway

Burton Blake by Robert Tucker

Category: Adult Fiction, 518 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Tell-Tale Publishing Group LLC / Wise Words Publishing
Release date: 1/06/2019
Tour dates: May 27 to June 28, 2019
Content Rating: G (Depictions of violence are minimal. No bad language, religious expletives, sex scenes, drug use or underage drinking.)

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In this sequel to the well-received The Revolutionist, the American journey of three generations locks the neophyte company president, Burton Blake, in a vicious struggle with corporate intrigue, financial greed, and social corruption. Born to a taxi dancer at the beginning of the Second World War, Burton’s father, Elias Blake, never knows his natural father, who is killed in the South Pacific. He is raised by his mother and stepfather from her second marriage who makes his fortune during the post-war real estate boom of the ’50s. Their untimely death by his business partner leaves the boy Elias in the guardianship of his mother’s best friend and her marine vet husband who introduces him to the macho culture of guns and hunting.

Elias’s youth is influenced by the adult world’s drive for personal material gain. Over the next decades, he expands his parents’ original real estate empire into the diversified multi-divisional, multi-national corporation that he leaves to his son, Burton. Upon his forced return from traveling and working with oppressed third world people, Burton learns increasingly more about the true nature of his deceased father as he undertakes the challenges of leading the company in a new direction.

Watch the book trailer: 

Meet the Author: 

Robert is published by Tell-Tale Publishing Group LLC / Wise Words Publishing under a multi-book contract. The author of four previous earlier novels, Robert infuses his books with unique dynamic stories and characters that portray social and cultural conflicts of their time. His career encompasses many years as a business consultant that have given him access to a wide range of organizations and an appreciation for people in all areas of society. His life experience is reflected in the literary quality of his work. Born and raised in the Middle-West, he has traveled throughout the United States and abroad.

Now retired, he resides with his wife in Southern California where he devotes full-time to writing. Robert is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara with a Masters Degree in Communications at the University of California, Los Angeles where he received the Samuel Goldwyn and Donald Davis Literary Awards.

An affinity for family and the astute observation of generational interaction pervade his novels. His works are literary and genre upmarket fiction that address the nature and importance of personal integrity.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook

Enter the Giveaway!
Win 1 of 4 ebook copies of both The Revolutionist and Burton Blake. One winner will also get a $30 Amazon GC (4 winners total /open to USA and Canada)
Ends July 5, 2019

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Books by Robert Tucker / Historical fiction / Books from America

Sunday, 23 June 2019

David P Abbott in The Open Court + #FreeBook

David P Abbott in The Open Court, edited by Katherine Nabity
First published in America in The Open Court magazine between 1905 and 1919. Collection edited by Katherine Nabity republished by Entangled Continua in 2016.

One of my 2019 COYER Summer Challenge reads

How I got this book:

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

From 1905 to 1921, magician David P. Abbott wrote articles for The Open Court. about the methods of fraudulent spiritualists. Unlike some of his contemporaries, Abbott focused on explaining the tricks of mediumship to his audience rather than haranguing the cheaters. Included are "Half Hours with Mediums," "The History of a Strange Case," and "The Spirit Portrait Mystery: Its Final Solution."

This collection of a dozen essays was a fascinating read for me. Abbott was a magician himself so publicly performed many of the tricks he was later to explain via his The Open Court essays. The difference, he is often a pains to point out, is that his performances are physical tricks and clever misdirection - with absolutely nothing supernatural going on at all - and he always stated this. At the time he wrote, spiritualism was very fashionable though. Convincing mediums, of whom there were thousands touring America alone, could make themselves very wealthy from presenting exactly the same tricks as true communications from the dead and it seems that deception without audience consent is what Abbott really disapproved of.

I loved the inventiveness and ingenuity of many of the illusions. In fact I am sure I've seen some being performed by TV and stage magicians over 100 years later, and still to great effect. In several cases I was more impressed by knowing the skill needed to convincingly perform a particular effect than I might have been just by witnessing the trick itself. I can only imagine the effect on an audience of true believers at the time. Abbott's essays aren't an instruction manual although they do give a good sense of each trick and I liked his authoritative but enthusiastic writing style. Abbott obviously thoroughly enjoyed deciphering the tricks just for the joy of knowing how each worked and it's wonderful that Katherine Nabity has taken the time to collect together and republish his writings on the subject.

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Books by David P Abbott / Nonfiction books / Books from America

Saturday, 22 June 2019

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
First published in America by Random House in 1965.

My 1960s book for the 2018-19 Decade Challenge (now completed!), a Classics Club read, and one of my 2019 COYER Summer Challenge reads

How I got this book:
Borrowed from a friend

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

On November 15, 1959, in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas, four members of the Clutter family were savagely murdered by blasts from a shotgun held a few inches from their faces. There was no apparent motive for the crime, and there were almost no clues. 

As Truman Capote reconstructs the murder and the investigation that led to the capture, trial, and execution of the killers, he generates both mesmerizing suspense and astonishing empathy. In Cold Blood is a work that transcends its moment, yielding poignant insights into the nature of American violence.

I only rarely pick up true crime books these days because I devoured so many not-so-well-written examples as a teenager that they quite put me off attempting any more. That said, a friend offering to lend me his vintage edition of In Cold Blood together with it being a Classic and of the right era to complete my current Decade Challenge - how could I turn it down?

Capote certainly did his research for In Cold Blood. I wasn't expecting such an incredible depth and breadth of information, and especially not for so many pages of small font (it's an old book) to grip my attention for hours. This is excellent reportage journalism of a kind I feel we rarely encounter any more (although I was strongly reminded of One Of Us: Anders Breivik by Asne Seierstad which I would happily recommend to other fans of In Cold Blood. Truman not only recounts in graphic detail the events immediately surrounding the Clutter murders, but also goes back in time to explore the culprits' pasts and follows the Dewey investigation until the ultimate conclusion of the court case. Extensive recounting of interviews and statements allowed me to feel as though I got a good sense of Holcomb town and of the main people involved in the infamous murder. In thinking about the murderers themselves, I am glad to be separated from them by thousands of miles and several decades. That kind of senseless violence is truly chilling to contemplate and I could understand how it was so destructive to the small town community, especially during the weeks in which many Holcomb inhabitants were looking to cast blame towards each other.

I appreciated Capote's level headedness throughout this book. He avoids sensationalist gimmicks and I never felt as though I was being manipulated towards a particular point of view in the way that present-day journalists usually do. Instead In Cold Blood came across to me as a masterpiece of  impartial factual reporting which I am glad to have read.

Etsy Find!

by Dolmen Graphic Studios in
Florida, USA

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Books by Truman Capote / Reportage / Books from America

Friday, 21 June 2019

A Feast of Serendib by Mary Anne Mohanraj + #Giveaway

A Feast of Serendib by Mary Anne Mohanraj
Self published in America in April 2019.

I linked this post to June 2019 Foodies Read linkup at Based On A True Story

How I got this book:
Received a review copy via Rachel's Random Resources

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A Feast Of Serendib

Directly From

The Author



Dark roasted curry powder, a fine attention to the balance of salty-sour-sweet, wholesome red rice and toasted curry leaves, plenty of coconut milk and chili heat. These are the flavors of Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka was a crossroads in the sea routes of the East. Three waves of colonization—Portuguese, Dutch and British—and the Chinese laborers who came with them, left their culinary imprint on Sri Lankan food. Sri Lankan cooking with its many vegetarian dishes gives testimony to the presence of a multi-ethnic and multi -religious population.

Everyday classics like beef smoore and Jaffna crab curry are joined by luxurious feast dishes, such as nargisi kofta and green mango curry, once served to King Kasyapa in his 5th century sky palace of Sigiriya. 
Vegetable dishes include cashew curry, jackfruit curry, asparagus poriyal, tempered lentils, broccoli varai and lime-masala mushrooms. There are appetizers of chili-mango cashews, prawn lentil patties, fried mutton rolls, and ribbon tea sandwiches. Deviled chili eggs bring the heat, yet ginger-garlic chicken is mild enough for a small child. Desserts include Sir Lankan favorites:  love cake, mango fluff, milk toffee and vattalappam, a richly-spiced coconut custard.

In A Feast of Serendib, Mary Anne Mohanraj introduces her mother’s cooking and her own Americanizations, providing a wonderful introduction to Sri Lankan American cooking, straightforward enough for a beginner, and nuanced enough to capture the flavor of Sri Lankan cooking.

I had never tried eating or cooking Sri Lankan cuisine before being offered this opportunity to review A Feast Of Serendib. There are similarities to Indian cookery in some of the cooking methods Mary Anne Mohanraj suggests so I wasn't completely at sea, but I also appreciated the distinctly Sri Lankan ideas and recipes I discovered in this extensive collection. I loved the clear colour photographs which helped me to understand how each each completed dish should appear, although I am still rather confused by accompaniment suggestions such as Stringhoppers and Pittu. I think I need to eat expertly made versions of these before attempting to create my own! However, the three dishes I did choose to make from A Feast Of Serendib were all resounding successes and I enjoyed my own not-so-little Sri Lankan Feast as pictured below:

My Sri Lankan Feast! 
I learned from Mohanraj's interesting essays, dotted through the book, that Sri Lankan cuisine is a real fusion of historic and geographic influences. It apparently does lean more towards fish cookery because of Sri Lanka's being an island so fish were in plentiful supply. As a vegan though, I still found lots of recipes here to inspire me, especially the new-to-me ways of presenting vegetables such as the Poriyal and Varai. I chose to make a Carrot Curry, a Brussels Sprouts Poriyal and a Green Bean Varai, and served them with steamed wild rice. Absolutely delicious! All three cooking methods were clearly explained with easy to follow instructions. Ingredients for these were easy to find too, in fact I already had the significant spices on hand.

I particularly liked the versatility of these recipes. Different vegetables can substituted depending what is in season and the three contrasting textures of the dishes I chose made for a very satisfying meal. The techniques are simple enough for even our caravan kitchen to accommodate, yet the results were rather impressive - if I do say so myself. Thank you Mary Anne!

Meet the author

Mary Anne Mohanraj is the author of Bodies in Motion (HarperCollins), The Stars Change (Circlet Press) and thirteen other titles. Bodies in Motion was a finalist for the Asian American Book Awards, a USA Today Notable Book, and has been translated into six languages. The Stars Change was a finalist for the Lambda, Rainbow, and Bisexual Book Awards.

Mohanraj founded the Hugo-nominated and World Fantasy Award-winning speculative literature magazine, Strange Horizons, and also founded Jaggery, a S. Asian & S. Asian diaspora literary journal ( She received a Breaking Barriers Award from the Chicago Foundation for Women for her work in Asian American arts organizing, won an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Prose, and was Guest of Honor at WisCon. She serves as Director of two literary organizations, DesiLit ( and The Speculative Literature Foundation (  She serves on the futurist boards of the XPrize and Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry.

Mohanraj is Clinical Associate Professor of English at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and lives in a creaky old Victorian in Oak Park, just outside Chicago, with her husband, their two small children, and a sweet dog.  Recent publications include stories for George R.R. Martin's Wild Cards series, stories at Clarkesworld, Asimov's, and Lightspeed, and an essay in Roxane Gay’s Unruly Bodies.  2017-2018 titles include Survivor (a SF/F anthology), Perennial, Invisible 3 (co-edited with Jim C. Hines), and Vegan Serendib.

Author links: 
WebsiteFacebook ~ Twitter ~ Instagram ~ Serendib Kitchen

And now it's time for the Giveaway!

The prize is an ebook copy of A Feast Of Serendib.
Open Internationally until the 5th July.

A Feast Of Serendib by Mary Anne Mohanraj cookery ebook giveaway

Search Literary Flits for more:
Books by Mary Anne Mohanraj / Food and cookery books / Books from Sri Lanka