Sep 042017
 

Guy Fieri Family Food by Guy Fieri

Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: William Morrow Cookbooks (October 11, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0062244736
ISBN-13: 978-0062244734

The Food Network superstar and New York Times bestselling author dishes up flavorful All-American family-friendly meals for weeknights and weekends alike.

As one of Food Network’s biggest stars, Guy has taken America on a cross-country tour in Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. He’s challenged great home chefs at their culinary expertise in Guy’s Grocery Games. He’s shared his greatest hits in Guy Fieri Food, and went all out in the great outdoors in Guy on Fire. Now, in Guy Fieri Family Food, he brings fun to the table with delectable dishes everyone will love.

Family meal planning couldn’t be easier with Guy’s tips, fun-filled ideas, and best-loved recipes. Influenced by his Californian background, this full-color cookbook is packed with fresh, flavorful recipes, fabulous photos, and, of course, Guy Fieri flair. Every family favorite is here, from burgers and sandwiches to grains and greens to pasta and noodles. Guy even includes chapters like One for the Week, a budget-friendly big weekend cook “that keeps on giving through the hectic workweek”; All Hands on Deck, with Kebab Night, Pizza Night, and a Chili Bar that get the kids involved; and Under Pressure, where hearty dishes are made in the pressure cooker in a fraction of the time they usually take.

Whether it’s Turkey and Roasted Poblano Burger with Crushed Avocado, Fire-Roasted Fieri Lasagna, Buffalo Chicken Soup, Sweet Italian Pepper Poppers, Balsamic BBQ Short Ribs, or Deep Fried Ice Cream “Boulders,” Guy Fieri Family Food includes tasty, crowd-pleasing meals that make weeknights easier, weekends more fun, and everything more delicious!

Guy Fieri Family Food is illustrated with color photos throughout.

Thoughts
I love Guy Fieri. I’ve been watching him from when he first started out on tv. He’s funny, likable, and is very entertaining. I also love his books.

But…this book didn’t interest me much at all. I didn’t find many recipes that I wanted to try, and that shocked me. Was it  just the mood I was in? Maybe, but I love food so I don’t know. Was it the long lists of ingredients and too many steps? I like the opposite.

I did love the cooking info,  family photos, and the stories about his family. I may pick this book up again sometime in the future to try it again because I have loved every book by Guy before this one.

Aug 282017
 

Carrying Albert Home by Homer Hickam

Narrated by: Adam Verner
Length: 10 hrs and 39 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release Date:10-13-15
Publisher: HarperAudio

Big Fish meets The Notebook in this emotionally evocative story about a man, a woman, and an alligator that is a moving tribute to love, from the New York Times best-selling author of the award-winning memoir Rocket Boys – the basis of the movie October Sky.

Elsie Lavender and Homer Hickam (the father of the author) were high school classmates in the West Virginia coalfields, graduating just as the Great Depression began. When Homer asked for her hand, Elsie instead headed to Orlando, where she sparked with a dancing actor named Buddy Ebsen (yes, that Buddy Ebsen). But when Buddy headed for New York, Elsie’s dreams of a life with him were crushed, and eventually she found herself back in the coalfields, married to Homer.

Unfulfilled as a miner’s wife, Elsie was reminded of her carefree days with Buddy every day because of his unusual wedding gift: an alligator named Albert she raised in the only bathroom in the house. When Albert scared Homer by grabbing his pants, he gave Elsie an ultimatum: “Me or that alligator!” After giving it some thought, Elsie concluded there was only one thing to do: Carry Albert home.

Carrying Albert Home is the funny, sweet, and sometimes tragic tale of a young couple and a special alligator on a crazy 1,000-mile adventure. Told with the warmth and down-home charm that made Rocket Boys a beloved best seller, Homer Hickam’s rollicking tale is ultimately a testament to that strange and marvelous emotion we inadequately call love.

Thoughts
I loved this audiobook so much! It was a great story and I loved Homer, Elsie, and especially Albert.

The story is a bit of truth and fiction, all of it is very entertaining, and most of it is really funny. Who would think a simple trip from West Virginia to Florida would lead to all the encounters and opportunities they found themselves in. Each story was unique, and each one was rally good. I’ll be thinking about this story for a long time. I may have to listen to it again in the future, I really loved it.

Of the three of them, I loved Albert the most. He was a most unusual Alligator, but I’m assuming that since he was sent to Elsie very young that she helped mold him into the “little boy” he was. The rooster was also very amusing, I’d have loved to see him sitting on top of Albert like they were best buds.

The book is narrated by Adam Verner, who did a fantastic job!

I can’t say enough good things about this audio, it was fantastic!

Note:
There was one chapter that had a lot of the GD word in it. I definitely didn’t like that, but I don’t remember any other cussing in the book.

Aug 222017
 

Sweetbriar Cottage by Denise Hunter

When Noah and Josephine Mitchell discover their divorce was never actually finalized, their lives are turned upside down.

Following his divorce, Noah gave up his dream job, settling at a remote horse ranch in the Blue Ridge Mountains of northern Georgia, putting much-needed distance between himself and the former love of his life. But then Noah gets a letter from the IRS claiming he and Josephine are still married. When he confronts Josephine for the first time in months, they discover that she missed the final step in filing the paperwork and they are, in fact, still married.

Josephine is no happier about the news than Noah. Maybe the failed marriage—and okay, the botched divorce—was her fault, but her heart was shattered right alongside his, more than he would ever believe. The sooner they put this marriage behind them, the better for both of their sakes.

But when Josephine delivers the final paperwork to his ranch, the two become stranded in his cottage during the worst spring snowstorm in a decade. Being trapped with Josephine is a test of Noah’s endurance. He wrestles with resentment and an unmistakable pull to his wife—still beautiful, still brave, and still more intriguing than any woman he’s ever known.

As they find themselves confronted with each other and their shared past, old wounds surface and tempers flare. But when they are forced out into the storm, they must rely on each other in a way they never have before. Josephine finally opens up about her tragic past, and Noah realizes she’s never been loved unconditionally by anyone—including him. Will Noah accept the challenge to pursue Josephine’s heart? And can she finally find the courage to trust Noah?

Thoughts
I can’t imagine thinking you’re divorced only to be told that you are still married. This is a story that’s very different from anything I’ve read. The characters are well written and each has their own personalities.

Josephine and Noah are full of emotions and they each have good qualities and bad. They have to figure out where their relationship is going and work to get there.

The relationships we have throughout our lives still have an influence on us years later. I wonder how many of us would like to get a second chance.

Learning how to trust again and healing are a big aspect of this book.

Very good book.

 

Aug 202017
 

 

Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney

Written by: Kathleen Rooney
Narrated by: Xe Sands
Length: 8 hrs and 56 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release Date:01-17-17
Publisher: Macmillan Audio

It’s the last day of 1984, and 85-year-old Lillian Boxfish is about to take a walk.

As she traverses a grittier Manhattan, a city anxious after an attack by a still-at-large subway vigilante, she encounters bartenders, bodega clerks, chauffeurs, security guards, bohemians, criminals, children, parents, and parents-to-be—in surprising moments of generosity and grace. While she strolls, Lillian recalls a long and eventful life that included a brief reign as the highest-paid advertising woman in America—a career cut short by marriage, motherhood, divorce, and a breakdown.

A love letter to city life—however shiny or sleazy—Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney paints a portrait of a remarkable woman across the canvas of a changing America: from the Jazz Age to the onset of the AIDS epidemic; the Great Depression to the birth of hip-hop.

Thoughts
This book took me on a journey through Manhattan, a place that I love. I enjoyed traveling through 1984 Manhattan with Lillian, a very poised 85 year old woman.

Her journey takes her from Murry Hill to Herald Square where she spent her working years as an advertising executive for Macy’s department store.

I don’t think Lillian ever met a stranger. She had a knack for getting anyone to talk to her, and found quite a few diverse strangers during her New Years Eve walk to talk to. She also had a knack for getting out of what could be dangerous situations.

We learn a lot about Lillian as she walks. She talks about her marriage and son, and her years at Macy and co-workers. About the city and how it’s changed.

I really loved the time I spent listening to this audiobook. It’s narrated by Xe Sands who did a great job with Lillian’s voice. She sounded just like the woman described in the book. She also gave the other characters their own distinct voice.

This book made me fall in love with Manhattan from a different time. It’s an amazing city. There were parts that were sad, parts that were hilarious, and I enjoyed every word.

Aug 172017
 

Fist Full Of Love by Om Swami

Publisher: Black Lotus  (Sept. 24, 2015)
Category: Humor & Entertainment, Self Help, Psychology, Spiritual, & Motivational
Tour dates: Aug-Oct, 2017
ISBN: 978- 0994002778
Available in Print & ebook, 212 pages
A Fistful Of Love

A man was sitting with his friends in a local inn. After a couple of drinks, he asked his friends, “Do you love me?” “Of course, we do,” they replied. “So do you know what I need?” No one answered. “If you don’t know what I need then how can you say you love me?” To love and to be loved is the most basic human need. No wonder we are attracted to people who give us attention, care about us, and love us. Yet, love also remains the greatest challenge in most relationships. Why?

A Fistful of Love is a collection of insightful, thought-provoking nuggets of wisdom appreciated by millions around the world. This book is full of humor and narratives most beautifully woven into learnings of life that will make you stop and think.

Thoughts
Full of wisdom, this is such a thought provoking book. It touched me on so many different levels and gave me a peaceful feeling while reading it.

I found this book to be uplifting and nurturing. I’ll go back to it and read random chapters from time to time. I connected with so much of the book and know that if we all would think this way the world would be a much kinder and loving place.

I’m a positive person and it bothers me when I hear people complaining about things that I think are small, insignificant problems. So the chapter called “Problem Or Inconvenience?” was one of my very favorites. The author says, and I 100% agree, that you should know the difference between an inconvenience and a problem. If you break your neck, if you have nothing to eat, if your house is on fire etc., then you’ve got a problem. Everything else is an inconvenience. Also, “A lump in the porridge, a lump in the throat and a lump in the breast are not the same lump. One should learn to know the difference.” So true, some people think something small is a catastrophe. It isn’t. When a true catastrophe hits your life, you’ll know the difference. I also loved that the author threw in some humor, parts of the book were very funny.

This is the first book I’ve read by Om Swami, and I’m already trying to decide which of his books to read next.

Praise for Fistful Of Love by Om Swami

“This is a strong novel about love and hope and really gives you the tools you need to improve your outlook on life and relationships. I liked the way that this was set up, the writing style was well done and easy to follow.  There were many lighthearted and comedic things thrown in that keeps this novel light and spirited.”-Momma G, My Reading Addiction

“Om Swami’s voice is clear and true. He offers sage wisdom in easy to understand language. Knowing he is a younger monk with a contemporary background makes him very relatable.”- KerryPhilo, Amazon Reviewer

“The book is not only a delight and joy to read, but also so insightful and enlightening. Strongly recommend this beautiful book written in such an easy and clear style.”-Amazon Reviewer

“Precious words of wisdom narrated in a pleasant lighthearted way that inspires both mind and soul. The words of wisdom especially on love and relationship are truly indispensable.”-Rose, Amazon Reviewer

About Om Swami

Om Swami is a monk who lives in a remote place in the Himalayan foothills. He has a bachelor degree in business and an MBA from Sydney, Australia. Swami served in executive roles in large corporations around the world. He founded and led a profitable software company with offices in San Francisco, New York, Toronto, London, Sydney and India.

Om Swami completely renounced his business interests to pursue a more spiritual life. He is the bestselling author of Kundalini: An Untold Story, A Fistful of Love and If Truth Be Told: A Monk’s Memoir.

His blog omswami.com is read by millions all over the world.

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Note: This tour is being hosted by Garima Om, not Om Swami himself.

Aug 062017
 

The Sacrifice

The Sacrifice by Indrajit Garai

File Size: 567 KB
Print Length: 145 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: Indrajit GARAI (August 25, 2016)
Publication Date: August 25, 2016
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Language: English
ASIN: B01L2TII1K

In this collection, meet:
Guillaume, who gives up everything to protect his child; young Matthew, who stakes his life to save his home; and François, who makes the biggest sacrifice to rescue his grandson.

Thoughts
This is a collection of three short stories and it only takes a few hours to read the book.

The Move: There was a lot of sadness in this short story, a father trying to save the farm his family had owned for years, and doing whatever it takes to try and make that happen. He also wants to protect his son from any hardships. Very emotional.

The Listener: A story about Matthew, a boy who didn’t have the greatest home life, but did find solace in a forest, especially from one tree. Then men start showing up, marking some of the trees, and those trees start being cut down. Matthew does not want to loose his tree so he sets out to make sure it stays safe.

The Sacrifice: This story was about a boy who’s mother is in a drug rehab so he goes to live with his grandfather. Each look out for the other and do what they can to make sure the other is ok. The grandfather is a writer who hasn’t had good luck with his last 3 books, but since Artur, his grandson has come to live with him his writing has produced a book that could be a best seller.

I really enjoyed this book, all three stories left a big impression on me. Although the last story is called The Sacrifice, they all could be named that because all three have characters that make sacrifices.

This book was an emotional read and the stories will stay with me for a while. The characters were “real”, some were good people and some were bad. And together they made really good stories.

Would recommend this book for anyone who likes something different and/or short stories.

Aug 052017
 

Healthy Five Ingredient Recipes: Delicious Recipes in 5 Ingredients or Less

Healthy Five Ingredient Recipes by Hannie P. Scott

File Size: 2949 KB
Print Length: 68 pages
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1546720464
Publisher: Hannie P. Publishing (May 15, 2017)
Publication Date: May 15, 2017

Healthy Recipes in 5 Ingredients or Less!
Are you tired of complicated recipes with hard-to-find ingredients? Are you looking for delicious and easy recipes with only a few simple ingredients? Now you and your family can eat healthy meals with simple and delicious five ingredient recipes.

Healthy and wholesome ingredients Easy to understand, step-by-step directions 50 healthy recipes in 5 ingredients or less
Less is more because you will be spending less time shopping and cooking, and more time eating healthy foods with your family!

This cookbook was created out of necessity. I was tired of searching far and wide for ingredients that I would only use once every six months. Who wants to spend all that time and money on complex recipes you will never even cook? That’s what led me to create this cookbook full of step-by-step recipes that are easy to follow and simply prepared. Most importantly, they are healthy and your family will love them. All of the recipes only require 5 ingredients or less!

Check out some of mouth-watering recipes:
Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus
Buffalo Chicken Pieces
Grilled Orange Balsamic Brussels Sprouts
Zucchini Fritters
Peanut Butter Energy Bites
White Chicken Chili
Low Carb Broccoli Cheese Soup

Full-Time Mom, Best-Selling Author, and Lover of Food, Hannie P. Scott is a best-selling author that knows a thing or two about cooking! Cooking and experimenting with foods is her life passion. Driven by her desire for cooking for others (and herself), Hannie spends a lot of time in the kitchen. She enjoys sharing her love of food with the world by creating “no-nonsense” recipe books that anyone can use. You can find cooking tips, advice, and recipes on her blog.

FYI: The book is now on sale at Amazon for .99¢

 

Thoughts
This is one of the best cookbooks I’ve seen in a while. I love that there are only 5 ingredients or less and just a few simple steps.

At the beginning of the book there is a list of abbreviations, conversions, and an introduction.

Then this quote which I love:
“One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever we are doing and devote our attention to eating”
Lucino Pavorotti

All the recipes sound good, but here are two that I want to start with:

Pineapple Salsa Chicken
Servings: 6

2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 16oz. jar of tomato salsa
1 20oz. can of pineapple chunks in 100% juice, juice reserved
3 medium zucchinis, diced

Place chicken in your slow cooker and pour the salsa over them

Cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 6 hours

Shred the chicken

Add in the pineapple with 3/4 cup of the canned juice and the zucchini

Cook for another 30 minutes

 

White Chicken Chili
Servings: 4-6

6 cups chicken broth
4 cups cooked and shredded chicken
2 15oz cans of great northern beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups salsa verde
1 tbsp ground cumin

Place all of the ingredients in a medium sausepan over medium high heat

Bring to a boil and then cover and reduce heat and simmer for 20 min.

Note: You could also do this in the slow cooker using raw chicken.
Cook for 4-6 hours on low and shred chicken before serving

Thanks to the author for the review copy

wkendcookingWeekend Cooking is hosted @ Beth Fish Reads

Aug 032017
 

The Marsh King’s Daughter by Karen Dionne
Narrated by: Emily Rankin
Length: 9 hrs and 54 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release Date:06-13-17
Publisher: Penguin Audio

The Marsh King’s Daughter is mesmerizing psychological suspense, the story of a woman who must risk everything to hunt down the dangerous man who shaped her past and threatens to steal her future: her father.

At last, Helena Pelletier has the life she deserves. A loving husband, two beautiful daughters, a business that fills her days. Then she catches an emergency news announcement and realizes she was a fool to think she could ever leave her worst days behind her.

Helena has a secret: she is the product of an abduction. Her mother was kidnapped as a teenager by her father and kept in a remote cabin in the marshlands of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. No electricity, no heat, no running water, not a single human beyond the three of them. Helena, born two years after the abduction, loved her home in nature – fishing, tracking, hunting. And despite her father’s odd temperament and sometimes brutal behavior, she loved him, too…until she learned precisely how savage a person he could be.

More than 20 years later, she has buried her past so soundly that even her husband doesn’t know the truth. But now her father has killed two guards, escaped from prison, and disappeared into the marshland he knows better than anyone else in the world. The police commence a manhunt, but Helena knows they don’t stand a chance. Knows that only one person has the skills to find the survivalist the world calls the Marsh King – because only one person was ever trained by him: his daughter.

Thoughts
It’s been a while since I’ve read a book like this, and I’m glad I chose this book to get back into the genre.

I liked Helena, who has for years lived a normal life with a husband and two girls. Her husband had no idea about her childhood or who her father was, until the police came to their house.

I thought the book was going to focus on the hunt for her dad, but there was so much more to it. We learned about her mother’s abduction, her years in the Marsh and how her father taught her to fish, hunt and survive. Helena and her mother weren’t that close, because her father didn’t want them to be. Helena learned from her father and didn’t treat her mother very good, and her mother wasn’t affectionate to Helena. At times her dad treated Helena and her mom in horrific ways, but he was everything to her as a small girl.

There are some really white knuckle moments in the book, and some that made me cringe. But it all made me not want to stop listening.

This book was very good. It kept me excited to see where the story was going to go and how it would end. It was everything I wanted it to be, only better.

The way the author described the marsh and everything that happened was so vivid that I could see it in my mind like I was a bystander.

The book is narrated by Emily Rankin who did a great job! Her voice was calm and soothing and gave a great balance to the harshness of the story.

Jul 242017
 

Walking with Miss Millie Audiobook

Walking with Miss Millie by Tamara Bundy

Narrated by: Catherine Taber
Length: 4 hrs and 39 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Genre: Middle School Fiction
Release Date:07-04-17
Publisher: Listening Library

A poignant middle grade debut about the friendship between a white girl and an elderly black woman in the 1960s South.

Alice is angry at having to move to Rainbow, Georgia – a too small, too hot, dried-up place she’s sure will never feel like home. Then she gets put in charge of walking her elderly neighbor’s dog. But Clarence won’t budge without Miss Millie, so Alice and Miss Millie walk him together.

Strolling with Clarence and Miss Millie quickly becomes the highlight of Alice’s day and opens her eyes to all sorts of new things to marvel over. During their walks, they meet a mix of people, and Alice sees that although there are some bullies and phonies, there are plenty of kind folks, too. Miss Millie shares her family’s story with Alice, showing her the painful impact segregation has had on their town. And with Miss Millie, Alice is finally able to express her own heartache over why her family had to move there in the first place.

Tamara Bundy’s beautifully written debut celebrates the wonder and power of friendship: how it can be found when we least expect it and make any place a home.

Thoughts
Oh my goodness, how I loved this book! I fell in love with Alice, Millie, and Clarence. I loved how their friendship grew and how they ended up depending on each other’s company.

I felt for Alice, she really didn’t want to move from her home and friends, but Millie made that move turn into something wonderful and gave her memories she’ll never forget. There were some sad parts in the book, but mostly it was filled with kindness and love.

Millie also taught Alice some history and told her about her life in the past.  I loved listening to every minute of it.

Pam and her brother Jake were also characters I fell in love with. Pam was a kind girl and became friends with Alice and her brother Eddie. She wanted to learn sign language so she could communicate with Eddie, who was deaf. Jake was also a good kid, and he too became friends with them and learned some sign language. Pam and Jake’s other brothers were not so nice.

This is a feel good story about life in a small town where everyone knows everyone. It was short at just over 4 1/3 hours, but it’s really good and I’m sure I’ll listen to it again in the future.

It is narrated by Catherine Taber who did a great job with all the voices. I especially loved Pam’s voice. She made me laugh more than once.

I highly recommend this book to everyone.

Jul 182017
 

And We’re Off by Dana Schwartz

Narrated by: Lauren Fortgang
Length: 6 hrs and 25 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release Date:05-02-17
Publisher: Listening Library

 
Seventeen-year-old Nora Holmes is an artist, a painter from the moment she could hold a brush. She inherited the skill from her grandfather, Robert, who’s always nurtured Nora’s talent and encouraged her to follow her passion. Still, Nora is shocked and elated when Robert offers her a gift: an all-expenses-paid summer trip to Europe to immerse herself in the craft and to study history’s most famous artists. The only catch? Nora has to create an original piece of artwork at every stop and send it back to her grandfather. It’s a no-brainer: Nora is in!

Unfortunately, Nora’s mother, Alice, is less than thrilled about the trip. She worries about what the future holds for her young, idealistic daughter – and her opinions haven’t gone unnoticed. Nora couldn’t feel more unsupported by her mother, and in the weeks leading up to the trip, the women are as disconnected as they’ve ever been. But seconds after saying good-bye to Alice at the airport terminal, Nora hears a voice call out: “Wait! Stop! I’m coming with you!”

And…they’re off.

Thoughts
I enjoyed getting to know Nora, her mom Alice, and the other characters. I enjoyed the story and following along with them as they toured Europe, especially Ireland.

What I didn’t enjoy was the relationship between Nora and Alice. Nora wanted to be on her own, feeling grown up. Numerous times she screamed at her mother “this was supposed to be MY trip.” The relationship between them was awful. I felt bad for Nora since it was indeed supposed to be her trip, but I felt worse for her mom since she was going through a very hard time in her life and just wanted to get away for a while, and Nora was always mad and/or yelling at her.

There were a few times here and there when they did get along pretty good, but the whole tantrum throwing Nora did got on my nerves.

The book was narrated by Lauren Fortgang who did an good job with the voices, although I thought she made Alice’s voice a bit too hoity toity. I have the audiobook The Bookshop at Water’s End by Patti Callahan Henry which is narrated by Lauren Fortgang, and am looking forward to hearing how she does with the narration.

Overall, I’m glad I listened to this book, which is the author’s debut novel. I would like to read more from her.

Jul 082017
 

Goldy's Kitchen Cookbook: Cooking, Writing, Family, Life

Goldy’s Kitchen Cookbook: Cooking, Writing, Family, Life
by Diane Mott Davidson

Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: William Morrow Cookbook (September 22, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0062194046
ISBN-13: 978-0062194046

The beloved New York Times bestselling culinary mystery writer delivers a cookbook packed with more than 160 mouthwatering recipes and charming anecdotes about her writing and cooking life.

Diane Mott Davidson is the author of seventeen bestselling mysteries featuring caterer/sleuth Goldy Schulz, a woman who “took the lemon that life had given her and made not just lemonade but Lemon Chicken, Lemon Bars, Lemon Cookies and Lemon Meringue Pie.” Each Goldy novel includes recipes for scrumptious dishes from the adored character’s kitchen. Now, Davidson has collected these treasured recipes and some brand-new dishes in one volume for the first time.

Here are recipes for Appetizers and Soups, Eggs and Cheese, Salads and Starches, Meat, Poultry, and Fish, Breads, Desserts, and finally Low-Carb Recipes (how Davidson lost thirty pounds and kept them off). Most of the dishes came from “playing around with dishes tasted in restaurants.” Others are family favorites, some came from friends, and a few are “happy accidents.” At last, fans can enjoy delicious fare such as Bacon-Wrapped Artichokes with Dijon Cream Sauce, Diamond Lovers’ Hot Crab Dip, Sweethearts’ Swedish Meatballs in Burgundy Sauce, André’s Coq au Vin, Ice-Capped Gingersnaps, Damson-in-Distress Plum Tart, and Dad’s Bread.

Part memoir, part writing manual, part cookbook, Goldy’s Kitchen Cookbook combines the author’s gift for storytelling with her skills in the kitchen. She introduces the recipes with stories about how she came to create them, anecdotes from her experiences as a writer and home cook, and includes her joy at receiving a fan letter from the legendary French Chef herself, Julia Child.

Full of irresistible food, Goldy’s Kitchen Cookbook is a must-have book for Davidson fans, food lovers, and cooks everywhere.

Thoughts
I saw this book posted on someone’s blog, sorry but I can’t remember who it was, and decided to read it. I haven’t read the Goldy Bear Culinary Mystery Series (17 books), but I have a few hardcover copies of some of them and may read them in the future.

The book is full of great sounding recipes, and stories about her life. I enjoyed reading about her life, her books, and learning how she came up with these recipes.

The Contents are:
Acknowledgments
Introduction
Appetizers & Soup or How Do I Look? (And other stories About Food and Appearance)
Eggs and Cheese or My Agent Is Still A Vegetarian
Spuds, Salads, Etc. or My Editor Is Also A Vegtarian
Meat, Poultry, And Fish or The Heart Of The Matter
Breads or This Is Not Your Low-Carb Chapter
Desserts or This Is Not Your Low-Carb Chapter, Either
Enfin! Low-Carb Recipes or How I Lost Tiirty Pounds And Kept It Off
Epilogue
Index

My favorite stories were that her dad eased his stress by baking bread, and about a blizzard her family went through in 2003 where they lost electricity for a week. I could related to that. Although I don’t ever remember losing electricity from a blizzard when I lived in Ohio, we have lost electricity many many times since I’ve moved to Florida. Sometimes from lightening, sometimes from a hurricane. A few times we were without power for a few weeks. It’s not fun!

I’m a steak lover, and it just so happened that the recipe that went along with the blizzard story is Love Me Tender Grilled Steaks from The Whole Enchilade, book 17 in the series. I haven’t made the steaks yet, but I will as soon as I get to town and buy the steaks.

Love Me Tender Grilled Steaks
4 filet mignon steaks (6oz. each,1 1/2 – 2 inches thick & prime grade if possible)
1/4 cup garlic oil
Kosher salt and freshly grownd black pepper

Allow the beef to come to room temperature
Preheat oven to 350° and have meat thermometer ready
Pat steaks on both sides with paper towels until they are thoroughly dry
Heat an ovenproof grill panon the stovetop over high heat
Lay the steaks in the pan and reduce the heat to medium-high
Sprinkle the steaks lightly with salt and pepper
Cook for one minute and turn off heat
Using tongs, flip the steaks and remove the pan from the heat
Insert a meat thermometer into one steak, place the grill pan in the oven
Cook until the thermometer reads 125° (for medium rare)
Remove the pan from the oven & loosely cover the steaks with foil
Let sit for 5-10 minutes before serving

I enjoyed reading this book and would recommend it to everyone whether you read her Goldy series or not. There are some very interesting stories and the recipes sound good with not too many ingredients, or time to make them.

wkendcookingWeekend Cooking is hosted @ Beth Fish Reads

Jul 072017
 

Beartown

Beartown by Fredrik Backman

Narrated by Marin Ireland

Audible Audio Edition
Listening Length: 13 hours and 11 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Audible.com Release Date: April 25, 2017

From the New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove, My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry, and Britt-Marie Was Here, comes a poignant, charming novel about a forgotten town fractured by scandal, and the amateur hockey team that might just change everything.

Winning a junior ice hockey championship might not mean a lot to the average person, but it means everything to the residents of Beartown, a community slowly being eaten alive by unemployment and the surrounding wilderness. A victory like this would draw national attention to the ailing town: it could attract government funding and an influx of talented athletes who would choose Beartown over the big nearby cities. A victory like this would certainly mean everything to Amat, a short, scrawny teenager who is treated like an outcast everywhere but on the ice; to Kevin, a star player just on the cusp of securing his golden future in the NHL; and to Peter, their dedicated general manager whose own professional hockey career ended in tragedy.

At first, it seems like the team might have a shot at fulfilling the dreams of their entire town. But one night at a drunken celebration following a key win, something happens between Kevin and the general manager’s daughter—and the next day everything seems to have changed. Accusations are made and, like ripples on a pond, they travel through all of Beartown, leaving no resident unaffected. With so much riding on the success of the team, the line between loyalty and betrayal becomes difficult to discern. At last, it falls to one young man to find the courage to speak the truth that it seems no one else wants to hear.

Fredrik Backman knows that we are forever shaped by the places we call home, and in this emotionally powerful, sweetly insightful story, he explores what can happen when we carry the heavy weight of other people’s dreams on our shoulders.

Thoughts
At first I thought I wouldn’t enjoy this book very much because it was about a hockey team, but I decided to read it anyway because of how much I loved A Man Called Ove. I was surprised that I ended up enjoying it so much. The story grew on me and I fell in love with the town, the hockey team, and mostly the characters.

The book starts out with such a bang that I didn’t want to stop listening. I wanted to find out what happened, and to whom.  It was fully explained toward the end of the book, and what I thought had happened really had a completely different ending. Then there was another part that left me with a question that was never answered. So, I’m hoping there is another book that will explain it. I usually don’t like books that leave something unknown, but this time I’m ok. I’m left wanting more, but ok.  I do hope there is a Beartown 2 that will tell me what I’m wanting to know.

I’m not a fan of cussing but since this was a book with a bunch of teenagers, mostly boys, I expected some. I did think some of the language was a bit harsh, but that’s just me.

I thought the author did a great job with the characters. The teens were just like the kids who might live in your hometown, same with the parents.

I thought Marin Ireland did a fantastic job with narration.

There was a lot of emotions spilling out of this story, and I felt them all. It’s a book that will stay with me for a long time.

Jul 032017
 

The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper

The Curious Charms Of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick

Narrated by James Langton

Audio CD: 1 pages
Publisher: Harlequin Audio and Blackstone Audio; Unabridged edition (May 3, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1504739663
ISBN-13: 978-1504739665

In this poignant and curiously charming debut, a lovable widower embarks on a life-changing adventure.

Sixty-nine-year-old Arthur Pepper lives a simple life. He gets out of bed at precisely 7:30 a.m., just as he did when his wife, Miriam, was alive. He dresses in the same gray slacks and mustard sweater vest, waters his fern, Frederica, and heads out to his garden.

But on the one-year anniversary of Miriam’s death, something changes. Sorting through Miriam’s possessions, Arthur finds an exquisite gold charm bracelet he’s never seen before. What follows is a surprising and unforgettable odyssey that takes Arthur from London to Paris and as far as India in an epic quest to find out the truth about his wife’s secret life before they met — a journey that leads him to find hope, healing, and self-discovery in the most unexpected places.

Featuring an unforgettable cast of characters with big hearts and irresistible flaws, The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper is a joyous celebration of life’s infinite possibilities.

Thoughts
I loved this book from the first paragraph to the last and didn’t want to stop reading for even one minute! I fell in love with Arthur, and just wanted to give him a hug, many times throughout the book. He loved his wife so much, and wanted to know about her life before him, even if he was going to find out things he didn’t want to know.

Since she passed away, Arthur mostly stayed inside his house, so the idea of him taking off and traveling to so many places alone, was exciting to read about. He was very brave, more so than I might be at that age.

The story was very touching, the characters fun to read, and the adventure was engrossing.

This is the first book for me by this author, but after listening to this I got the audio version of Rise And Shine Benedict Stone and want to get to it soon.

Jun 282017
 

The Buffer Zone Diet: It's Not Just What You Eat, It's When You Eat. Harness Your Hidden Fuel for a Slimmer and Healthier You!

The Buffer Zone Diet by Fred Cuellar

WHAT’S YOUR LIFE WORTH?
When you’re drowning, the last thing you do before you go unconscious is take a breath. The carbon dioxide rises so much in your blood it overpowers the last few molecules of oxygen in your body. You reach your breaking point, then you inhale. I inhaled food my whole life and I reached my breaking point in my battle with weight loss.

Right at the moment I was ready to give up, I had some last thoughts:

What if there were things I believed that weren’t true? What if calories in and calories out had exceptions? What if we don’t all metabolize food the same? Why can’t we successfully lose weight and keep it off? I had to find out – my life depended on it. In my quest to break my weight loss code, the Buffer Zone is the space where I found my truth.

Important Sections include:
Top Ten Lies we’ve been told about our diet

Tips for distinguishing between emotional hunger and physical hunger

How to create nutrient-dense meals to keep physical hunger at bay

Science between weight loss and weight gain

Five distinct blueprints for designing the new and healthiest you

Strategies for breaking through weight loss plateaus

The Four Laws of Weight Management

And most importantly, the formula that regulates weight for the human body!

 

Thoughts
I enjoyed this book and think the author knows his stuff. This is an overview of what the author learned doing his own search to be healthier. I agree with a lot of what he say. There is no one plan for all of us to follow, instead he gives information on food, nutrition, and exercise.

What Cuellar means by “Buffer Zone” is the “space between the meals”. He says it takes ten hours of no eating before your body primarily switches to body fat to run your body.

Some of his wording was a bit hard to follow, and I had to go back over it a few times to “get it”. Taking notes would have helped I think.

I don’t know if I’ll follow this way of eating, but I’m still glad I read the book.

Thanks to Rebecca at The Cadence Group for this review copy

Jun 262017
 

Faithful

Faithful by Alice Hoffman

Audible Audio Edition
Listening Length: 8 hours and 27 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Audible.com Release Date: November 1, 2016

Growing up on Long Island, Shelby Richmond is an ordinary girl until one night an extraordinary tragedy changes her fate. Her best friend’s future is destroyed in an accident, while Shelby walks away with the burden of guilt.

What happens when a life is turned inside out? When love is something so distant it may as well be a star in the sky? Faithful is the story of a survivor, filled with emotion—from dark suffering to true happiness—a moving portrait of a young woman finding her way in the modern world. A fan of Chinese food, dogs, bookstores, and men she should stay away from, Shelby has to fight her way back to her own future. In New York City she finds a circle of lost and found souls—including an angel who’s been watching over her ever since that fateful icy night.

Here is a character you will fall in love with, so believable and real and endearing, that she captures both the ache of loneliness and the joy of finding yourself at last. For anyone who’s ever been a hurt teenager, for every mother of a daughter who has lost her way, Faithful is a road map.

Alice Hoffman’s “trademark alchemy” (USA TODAY) and her ability to write about the “delicate balance between the everyday world and the extraordinary” (WBUR) make this an unforgettable story. With beautifully crafted prose, Alice Hoffman spins hope from heartbreak in this profoundly moving novel.

Thoughts
I have been wanting to read a book by Alice Hoffman for a while. When I saw this book available on one of my audio apps, I decided to listen to it.

The main character is Shelby, a broken girl who feels responsible for the accident that changed her best friend Helene’s life forever. She loves Chinese food, dogs, bookstores, her friends. Sounds a bit like me! She feels responsible for what happened to Helene, even though it wasn’t really her fault. She isn’t afraid to be herself, and although she seems to be tough, she’s not.

I absolutely loved this book! Shelby was a fantastic character and I loved following along on her journey as she falls in and out of love, became the person she wanted to be, and finally ends up exactly where she wants to be.

There’s so much more to this book, it was fantastic. I would definitely recommend this book.

The book was narrated by Amber Tamblyn, who did an awesome job.

Jun 152017
 

The Broken Road

The Broken Road (Broken Road #1) by Richard Paul Evans

Series: The Broken Road Series
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster (May 2, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1501111647
ISBN-13: 978-1501111648

Chicago celebrity, Charles James can’t shake the nightmare that wakes him each night. He sees himself walking down a long, broken highway the sides of which are lit in flames. Where is he going? Why is he walking? What is the wailing he hears around him?

By day, he wonders why he’s so haunted and unhappy when he has all he ever wanted-fame, fans and fortune and the lavish lifestyle it affords him. Coming from a childhood of poverty and pain, this is what he’s dreamed of. But now, at the pinnacle of his career, he’s started to wonder if he’s wanted the wrong things. His wealth has come legally, but questionably, from the power of his personality, seducing people out of their hard-earned money. When he learns that one of his customers has committed suicide because of financial ruin, Charles is shaken. The cracks in his façade start to break down spurring him to question everything: his choices, his relationships, his future and the type of man he’s become.

Then a twist of fate changes everything. Charles is granted something very remarkable: a second chance. The question is: What will he do with it?

The Broken Road is the first book in a much-anticipated new trilogy by beloved storyteller Richard Paul Evans. It is an engrossing, contemplative story of redemption and grace and the power of second chances. It is an epic journey you won’t soon forget.

Thoughts
In this book we learn about Charles’s childhood and teen years, and how that leads him to become the celebrity he was. Due to an unforeseen circumstance, Charles decides to ditch his life and start walking Route 66 and see where the walk leads him.

I loved this book! Every chapter, every new subject, was so interesting I didn’t want to stop listening. It was so good I tried listening to it in bed before falling asleep. There were a few nights I fell asleep before turning it off. Then the next morning I’d have to backtrack until I found a place that I remembered listening too.

Charles doesn’t seem very nice at first, but the more you read, the more likable he seems and I grew to care for him. He still had his moments, but I still liked him.

I love they way Evans writes. Every book makes you feel “in” the story. If you haven’t read a book by him, I wish you would. His books have adventure, highs and lows of life, and have a way of drawing you in so that you want more and then more.

The book is narrated by the author, and he did a great job! His voice is very easy to listen to and I’m so glad I decided to listen to the audiobook instead of reading the print book.

The characters in this book had their own story to tell, and I enjoyed all of them. I can tell I’m going to love this series and can’t wait for book 2 to come out.

Jun 092017
 

Anything Is Possible by Elizabeth Strout
Narrated by Kimberly Farr

Listening Length: 8 hours and 25 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: Random House Audio
Audible.com Release Date: April 25, 2017

“As I was writing My Name Is Lucy Barton,” Strout says, “it came to me that all the characters Lucy and her mother talked about had their own stories—of course!—and so the unfolding of their lives became tremendously important to me.”

Here, among others, are the “Pretty Nicely Girls,” now adults: One trades self-respect for a wealthy husband, the other finds in the pages of a book a kindred spirit who changes her life. Tommy, the janitor at the local high school, has his faith tested in an encounter with an emotionally isolated man he has come to help; a Vietnam veteran suffering from PTSD discovers unexpected solace in the company of a lonely innkeeper; and Lucy Barton’s sister, Vicky, struggling with feelings of abandonment and jealousy, nonetheless comes to Lucy’s aid, ratifying the deepest bonds of family.

With the stylistic brilliance and subtle power that distinguish the work of this great writer, Elizabeth Strout has created another transcendent work of fiction, with characters who will live in readers’ imaginations long after the final page is turned.

My Thoughts
I think I liked this even better than I did My Name Is Lucy Barton. I loved the way the stories connected one to the other. I liked being introduced to these new characters and their stories.

One of my favorite characters was Tommy. I thought his story was really interesting and liked that he had such a good heart. I like that Strout used not so familiar names, and that her characters were so real, emotional, and vulnerable.

I’ve read a lot of reviews of this book where people said that they thought there were too many characters. I usually don’t like a lot of different characters either, and if the book had been one continuous story I might have had a hard time following along. But since it was a book of short stories that didn’t bother me. When one story ended, it was like going on to another book. I wish I could explain it better, but the point is it didn’t bother me at all.

Kimberly Farr did a great job with the narration. It was very easy to listen to.

I’ve loved both books that I’ve read by this author, and now I’ve added Olive Kitteridge to my “to read list”.

Jun 052017
 

Sweet Tea Tuesdays by Ashley Farley

File Size: 5050 KB
Print Length: 306 pages
Publisher: Leisure Time Books (May 3, 2017)
Publication Date: May 3, 2017
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Language: English
ASIN: B06XJZ21JN

From the author of the bestselling Sweeney Sisters Series comes a novel of friendship, family, and hope.

Three best friends met every Tuesday for twenty-six years. And then they stopped.

When new next-door neighbors Georgia, Midge, and Lula first assembled on Georgia’s porch in Charleston for sweet tea, they couldn’t have known their gathering was the beginning of a treasured tradition. For twenty-six years they have met on Tuesdays at four o’clock, watching the seasons change and their children grow up, supporting each other in good times and in bad. With their ambitions as different as their personalities, these best friends anticipate many more years of tea time. And then, one Tuesday, Georgia shares news that brings their long-standing social hour to an abrupt halt. And that’s only the beginning as unraveling secrets threaten to alter their friendship forever.

Thoughts
This book is about one of my favorite reading subjects…friends. I love the friendship that these women have and that they meet every Tuesday for so many years. They support each other, share things that they wouldn’t share with anyone else, but there are also secrets they keep. There are many emotions including happiness, sadness, shock, forgiveness, and humor.

The 3 main characters are like people you know in real life, and each are easy to like. This book is a joy to read.

This is the first book by this author that I’ve read, but I do have a few others on my Kindle. I plan to get to them soon.

 

Amazon

 

Ashley Farley writes books about women for women. Her characters are mothers, daughters, sisters, and wives facing real-life issues. Her goal is to keep you turning the pages until the wee hours of the morning. If her story stays with you long after you’ve read the last word, then she’s done her job.

After her brother died in 1999 of an accidental overdose, she turned to writing as a way of releasing her pent-up emotions. She wrote SAVING BEN in honor of Neal, the boy she worshipped, the man she could not save.

Ashley is a wife and mother of two young adult children. While she’s lived in Richmond, Virginia for the past 21 years, part of her heart remains in the salty marshes of the South Carolina Lowcountry where she grew up. Through the eyes of her characters, she’s able to experience the moss-draped trees, delectable cuisine, and kind-hearted folks with lazy drawls that make the area so unique.

 

May 252017
 


Prayers For Sale by Sandra Dallas
Narrated by Maggi-Meg Reed
Audible Audio Edition
Listening Length: 9 hours and 33 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Audible.com Release Date: April 14, 2009

Hennie Comfort is eighty-six and has lived in the mountains of Middle Swan, Colorado, since before it was Colorado. Nit Spindle is just seventeen and newly married. She and her husband have just moved to the high country in search of work. It’s 1936 and the depression has ravaged the country and Nit and her husband have suffered greatly. Hennie notices the young woman loitering near the old sign outside of her house that promises “Prayers For Sale.” Hennie doesn’t sell prayers, never has, but there’s something about the young woman that she’s drawn to.

What I Thought
I’ve had this book in print since it was published. I put it on my tbr shelf thinking I’d get to it soon, but like so many of my books, I never started it. Why why why do I wait so long to read/listen to books that I really really want to read? I guess there are so many books out there that I just get sidetracked.

A week or so ago I saw the audio of Prayers For Sale was available through Overdrive.  Since I’ve recently gotten addicted to audiobooks, I added it to my list and as soon as I finished the book I was listening to, I started it.

Let me tell you, I LOVED this book! I loved the story, the characters, and the way it made me feel while listening to it. The story took me on a trip to 1936 Middle Swan, Colorado. Hennie Comfort, who is 86 years young, has lived there since before it was known as Colorado. Hennie is in great shape for her age and can climb those mountains as good if not better than her friend Nit Spindle who is 17.

The two women meet when Nit stops by to see Hennie after seeing a “Prayers For Sale” sign outside her house. The two bond over quilting and a tragedy they both had gone through.

Nit starts to think of Hennie as a mother figure and Hennie is very fond of Nit. The two enjoy their quilting group, talking about life over cups of coffee, and their walks to town or up the mountains.

The book gave me many emotions. It had me happy, sad, and even worried how things would turn out. The characters seemed real as did the situations. I loved the writing and the way the people talked. I loved everything about it.

 I’m so glad I decided to listen to the audio of this book because not only is the book one of the best books I’ve ever read (and I am not a fan of historical fiction), but also because of the narration. It is narrated by Maggi-Meg Reed. I’ve always been very picky when it comes to narrators, but I loved her voice and she’s now one of my favorite narrators. I’ll definitely be reading more from this author, and from this narrator.

The ending surprised me so much. I never in a million years would have thought that it would end that way.

I loved this book from the beginning to the end, and will more likely than not listen to it again sometime. I definitely recommend this book!

May 092017
 

Novel Destinations,  2nd Edition

Hardcover: 392 pages
Publisher: National Geographic; 2 edition (May 2, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1426217803
ISBN-13: 978-1426217807

Follow in the footsteps of much-loved authors, including Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, Mark Twain, Jack Kerouac, Jane Austen, and many more. For vacationers who crave meaningful trips and unusual locales, cue National Geographic’s Novel Destinations—a guide for bibliophiles to more than 500 literary sites across the United States and Europe. Check into Hemingway’s favorite hotel in Sun Valley, or stroll about Bath’s Royal Crescent while entertaining fantasies of Lizzie Bennett and her Mr. Darcy. The fully revised second edition includes all of the previous sites—with updated locations—plus color images and an expanded section on all things Brontë. The book begins with thematic chapters covering author houses and museums, literary festivals and walking tours. Then, in-depth explorations of authors and places take readers roaming Franz Kafka’s Prague, James Joyce’s Dublin, Louisa May Alcott’s New England, and other locales. Peppered with great reading suggestions and little-known tales of literary gossip, Novel Destinations is a unique travel guide, an attractive gift book, and the ultimate bibliophile’s delight.

What I Thought
Like Novel Destinations #1, I loved this book. Included in the book are
Read ‘Em And See: Author Houses And Museums
Novel Dispatches: Writers At Home And Abroad
Literary Festivals, Tours, And More
Booked Up: Literary Places To Drink, Kine, And Doze
Journey Between The Pages

Two of the sections that I wold love to check out in person are Booked Up and Literary Festivals, Tours, And More. There are quite a few places near enough to me that I could visit, and one of the places I really want to check out is Hemmingway Days in Key West, Florida. It’s held annually in July.

How cool would it be to take a trip to all of your favorite literary destinations? This book, as well as the first one, are a book/travel lovers dream. I will keep both books where I can pull them off the shelf from time to time and check out all the places I’d love to go. Who knows, maybe I’ll actually get to see a few of them in person.

About The Author
Shannon McKenna Schmidt is also the co-author with Joni Rendon of Writers Between the Covers: The Scandalous Romantic Lives of Legendary Literary Casanovas, Coquettes, and Cads. After traveling full-time in the U.S. and abroad for seven years, she is once again living in Hoboken, New Jersey. For literary travel news and tales from the road, visit www.NovelDestinations.com.

 

 

 

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