Hosted in October at Savvy Verse & Wit
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The Rose Garden (audio) by Susanna Kearsley (my buy from Audible)
Bring Me Home For Christmas by Robyn Carr (my buy)
Midnight in Austenland by Shannon Hale (NetGalley)
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Author: Kathleen Flinn
Genre: Cooking; Memoir
Published: September 2011 – Viking
About: (back of arc) After graduating from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, writer Kathleen Flinn returned with no idea what to do next, until one day at a supermarket she watched a woman loading her cart with ultra processed foods. Flinn’s “chefternal” instinct kicked in: she persuaded the stranger to reload with fresh foods, offering her simple recipes for healthy, easy meals.
Inspired, Flinn rounded up nine novices from varying backgrounds who were insecure about their cooking skills. After kitchen “makeovers” and a series of basic cooking lessons where they learned to wield knives, trust their taste, and improve their food choices, the women found a common missing ingredient – confidence.
My take: I wish I’d had this book when my kids were young. I think I would have made more informed choices instead of opting for convenience. My food choices have been better over the years but there’s still room for improvement. This book is going on my kitchen bookshelf for quick reference. I’m also going to search out a knife skills class in my area. That seems to be the one aspect that all nine students valued most. It gave them confidence. Flinn explains what to look for in a chef’s knife: how it’s made, how it should feel in your hand, etc.
There are basic recipes scattered throughout the book and I plan to try most of them. After reading about specific lessons I feel like I can braise meats, make soups, sauces, vinaigrettes, and cut up or roast a whole chicken. Seriously, I have never roasted a whole chicken – but I will now! That’s a testament to The Kitchen Counter Cooking School – it made me feel like I could do this.
A few months after the classes ended Flinn visited the students to see how they were doing in terms of making changes in their cooking. It was interesting to see how they incorporated what they’d learned into their lives.
I recommend this book to fans of cooking, memoirs, and anyone who needs inspiration to make positive changes in the kitchen as well as the grocery store.
Source: Viking via Goodreads First Reads
Disclosure Policy: see sidebar
Author: Kristan Higgins
Genre: Chick Lit; Contemporary Romance
Published: October 2011 – HQN Books
About: (Pub. synopsis) Posey Osterhagen can’t complain. She owns a successful architectural salvaging company, she’s surrounded by her lovable, if off-center, family and she has a boyfriend—sort of. Still, something’s missing. Something tall, brooding and criminally good-looking…something like Liam Murphy.
When Posey was sixteen, the bad boy of Bellsford, New Hampshire, broke her heart. But now he’s back, sending Posey’s traitorous schoolgirl heart into overdrive once again. She should be giving him a wide berth, but it seems fate has other ideas….
My take: Sounds like another fun Kristan Higgins novel, doesn’t it? Well, it is that and more.
Higgins’ trademark humor and sympathetic heroine-with-a-wacky-family are definitely there but, in my opinion, the true star of Until There Was You is Liam Declan Murphy.He is not your run-of-the-mill former bad boy. Liam Murphy is a complex man. He is also a widower with a teenage daughter. He’s just trying to be a good father and make a home for his daughter. I loved that Higgins revealed his layers throughout the entire novel and not in one pat description.
Posey is an ordinary young woman who wants to find what seems so easy for her brother and cousin – someone to love. She is such a relatable character that it was easy to cheer her on. What she finds is that her impression of people and events (present and past) may or may not have been accurate. That knowledge makes all the difference to Posey and her life going forward. Until There Was You is charming and heartwarming. I really enjoyed it.
Recommended to fans of Chick Lit, Contemporary Romance, and Kristan Higgins.
Disclosure Policy: see sidebar
Author: Celia Rivenbark
Published: August 2011 – St. Martin’s Griffin
My take: If you like snarky and humorous essays with a southern perspective you’ll want to read this collection. It made me laugh – a lot.
From the one about Where will all those Chinese boys find wives when they’re ready to marry? to What if the Cash Cab joins the expected fleet of space taxis taking fares to some planet? – I enjoyed the giggle-fest.
Each essay starts with a kernel of wisdom and explodes into wacky hilarity. Having raised two daughters I loved the final essay: Teen Angel. It’s about raising teens in the texting/facebook era. Funny (and scary and true) stuff.
Source: Publisher via Goodreads First Reads
Today I’m pleased to welcome author Jodi Thomas. I’ve enjoyed her Harmony series so I’m anxious to read the latest installment: The Comforts of Home (on sale Nov. 1st). So, without further ado, here’s Jodi!
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As fall settles in around the Panhandle of Texas, I’m getting excited about THE COMFORTS OF HOME coming out Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2011. My favorite time of year is fall with the cool nights and sometimes rainy days. The perfect weather to curl up with a book.
When the people of Harmony began to sit down and tell me their story (in my head) I found one quiet woman fascinating from the first. At a time in her life when she was young and should have been going out on dates and having a ball, she was silently working at the post office without one person she called friend. The story whirls around with people falling in love, breaking up and living life, but in the corner of my mind, Ronelle Logan waited for her story.
People in general frightened her. One by one they were terrifying. Chapter 2, The Comforts of Home
In the opening of THE COMFORTS OF HOME she is about to meet a man who will petrify her at first and awaken her to life as they talk.
I love writing and plan to do it as long as stories come. Writing is hard work and I often think the story will never be as bright as it is in my mind. Then I remember that someone asked Mark Twain about his wonderful stories and he said “You should have seen it in my head.”
So, order, or borrow, or download my story, cuddle up in your favorite chair and come along with me on a journey that will make you feel at home in Harmony.
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Author: Sharon Galligar Chance
Genre: Short Story
Published: October 2011
My take: Summer Garner owns the Sweet Tops bakery. Her cupcakes are known for the effect they have on anyone who eats one – it’s magical! Summer senses that change is in the air so she’s not surprised when she discovers that customer Nick Wilson is a private investigator sent to check out her shop. What she doesn’t know is who sent him and why.
The Cupcake Witch is a cute short story. Sharon Galligar Chance’s descriptions created an exact picture in my mind of the shop, the characters, and the cupcakes. I seriously wanted to find a bakery and indulge my sweet tooth while reading!
The story itself is sweet and the premise is fun. As a reader I’d love to see it developed more – possibly as a cozy novel but for now it was a great way to spend time in a bakery without the calories
Source: I bought it
Her Royal Spyness Mysteries #1
Author: Rhys Bowen
Narrator: Katherine Kellgren
Published: June 2007, Berkley
About: The setting is England, 1932. Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie (Georgie to her friends) is 34th in line to the throne and her family money is gone. She needs a job – something unheard of in her circle. She heads to London to look for a job. During this time she stays at her family’s house. One day a man arrives with a note that says her family’s ancestral home in Scotland is his – the result of a gambling loss by Georgie’s father. A few days later that man turns up dead – in the overflowing bathtub of Georgie’s London house. The prime suspect: Georgie’s brother, the duke. Knowing it can’t be Binky (her brother), Georgie makes it her responsibility to find the real murderer.
My take: I was asked to read and review the latest in the Her Royal Spyness series so, not being familiar with it, I decided to read the first book. Even better, I decided to use my September Audible.com credit to listen to the first book. I’m so glad I did because Katherine Kellgren’s performance is delightful.
Rhys Bowen’s mystery of who killed the man in Georgie’s brother’s house is filled with amusing characters such as Georgie’s mother and her old school pal Belinda. There’s a flirtation between Georgie and Darcy O’Mara (an Irishman with a knack for showing up when she needs him) that I just know will be present throughout the series.
I enjoyed Her Royal Spyness and look forward to reading more of this series. Recommended to fans of cozy mysteries. If you like audiobooks I suggest you try listening to this book.
Source: I bought it.