22 Jul, 2019

What Am I Reading?

/ posted in: Reading

Chasing Cosby: The Downfall of America's DadChasing Cosby: The Downfall of America’s Dad by Nicole Weisensee Egan

“Bill Cosby’s decades-long career as a sweater-wearing, wholesome TV dad came to a swift and stunning end on April 26, 2018, when he was convicted of drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand. The mounting allegations against Bill Cosby–more than 60 women have come forward to accuse him of similar crimes–and his ultimate conviction were a shock to Americans, who wanted to cleave to their image of Cosby as a pudding-pop hero.

Award-winning journalist and former People magazine senior writer Nicki Weisensee Egan was the first reporter to dig into the story when Constand went to the police in 2005. Other news organizations looked away, but Egan doggedly investigated the case, developing ties with entrenched sources and discovering incriminating details that would ultimately come to influence the prosecution.”

New audiobook! 


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I picked up this one because I need a physical book to read while at the beach. I can’t take my iPad there. This was sitting on the counter.

America for BeginnersAmerica for Beginners by Leah Franqui

“A widow from India travels to California to learn the truth about what happened to the son who was declared dead shortly after he revealed his sexual orientation to their traditional family.”

That’s not a very good description of the book. I’ve got this one for a review in a few weeks. So far I’m really enjoying it.

Flamingo Quilt
16 Jul, 2019

Flamingo Quilt

/ posted in: Quilting

We have a finish!  I know, I know, I can’t believe it either.

I’m a fan of Elizabeth Hartmann’s animal patterns.  I’ve made the hedgehog and the fox and the whale.  I really liked the flamingo pattern too.   About a month ago it occurred to me that the neighbors across the street where having a baby.  They have two flamingo statues in their yard.  They are apparently really into 1950s decor, according to my husband who has talked to them.  They painted their front door a bright blue.  I realized this was a perfect excuse to make the flamingo quilt.

I made the small size with just 2 flamingos.

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One had to be pink to be traditional (or natural). I made the other one blue because they were having a boy.

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I quilted it with just straight (ish) lines in a varigated pink and blue.

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I was actually sad to see this one go. I liked it.

I made the husband deliver it. I’ve never even seen these people but he’s had conversations with them. Now I think I’m considered the Boo Radley of the neighborhood who only comes out to go to work and spends the rest of the time making quilts in the basement.

15 Jul, 2019

What Am I Reading?

/ posted in: Reading

The President Is MissingThe President Is Missing by Bill Clinton

“As the novel opens, a threat looms. Enemies are planning an attack of unprecedented scale on America. Uncertainty and fear grip Washington. There are whispers of cyberterror and espionage and a traitor in the cabinet. The President himself becomes a suspect, and then goes missing…”

I’m still listening to this because I need it to finish off a bingo card square but it is painful.  The narrator is a famous actor but his voice work is not strong.  Specifically, his female voices are robotic.


The Best American Food Writing 2018The Best American Food Writing 2018 by Ruth Reichl

““Food writing is stepping out,” legendary food writer Ruth Reichl declares at the start of this, the inaugural edition of Best American Food Writing. “It’s about time…Food is, in a very real sense, redesigning the world.” Indeed, the twenty-eight pieces in this volume touch on every pillar of society: from the sense memories that connect a family through food, to the scientific tinkering that gives us new snacks to share, to the intersections of culinary culture with some of our most significant political issues. At times a celebration, at times a critique, at times a wondrous reverie, the Best American Food Writing 2018 is brimming with delights both circumspect and sensuous. Dig in!”

I’m still working my way through this one.  The husband has picked it up too.  We’re leaving it in the bathroom so we don’t fight over who gets to read it when.


I’m needing to reboot my reading life.  I have to take everything back to the library and start over.  I’m scared to even look and see what my fines are at. In theory I want to read all the books I have out but realistically I keep picking up other books instead.  Time to let these ones go.

I have a lot of book tour reviews coming up so I need to get started on these books.  Here’s what I hope to get to this week.

Becoming Superman: My Journey from Poverty to HollywoodBecoming Superman: My Journey from Poverty to Hollywood by J. Michael Straczynski

“In this dazzling memoir, the acclaimed writer behind Babylon 5, Sense8, Clint Eastwood’s Changeling and Marvel’s Thor reveals how the power of creativity and imagination enabled him to overcome the horrors of his youth and a dysfunctional family haunted by madness, murder and a terrible secret.”


The Undertaker's AssistantThe Undertaker’s Assistant by Amanda Skenandore

“The dead can’t hurt you. Only the living can.” Effie Jones, a former slave who escaped to the Union side as a child, knows the truth of her words. Taken in by an army surgeon and his wife during the War, she learned to read and write, to tolerate the sight of blood and broken bodies–and to forget what is too painful to bear. Now a young freedwoman, she has returned south to New Orleans and earns her living as an embalmer, her steady hand and skillful incisions compensating for her white employer’s shortcomings.

Tall and serious, Effie keeps her distance from the other girls in her boarding house, holding tight to the satisfaction she finds in her work. But despite her reticence, two encounters–with a charismatic state legislator named Samson Greene, and a beautiful young Creole, Adeline–introduce her to new worlds of protests and activism, of soirees and social ambition. Effie decides to seek out the past she has blocked from her memory and try to trace her kin. As her hopes are tested by betrayal, and New Orleans grapples with violence and growing racial turmoil, Effie faces loss and heartache, but also a chance to finally find her place .”


The Taco Truck: How Mexican Street Food Is Transforming the American CityThe Taco Truck: How Mexican Street Food Is Transforming the American City by Robert Lemon

“Icons of Mexican cultural identity and America’s melting pot ideal, taco trucks have transformed cityscapes from coast to coast. The taco truck radiates Mexican culture within non-Mexican spaces with a presence–sometimes desired, sometimes resented–that turns a public street corner into a bustling business. Drawing on interviews with taco truck workers and his own skills as a geographer, Robert Lemon illuminates new truths about foodways, community, and the unexpected places where ethnicity, class, and culture meet. Lemon focuses on the Bay Area, Sacramento, and Columbus, Ohio, to show how the arrival of taco trucks challenge preconceived ideas of urban planning even as cities use them to reinvent whole neighborhoods. As Lemon charts the relationships between food practices and city spaces, he uncovers the many ways residents and politicians alike contest, celebrate, and influence not only where your favorite truck parks, but what’s on the menu.”

Cormoran Strike Series
10 Jul, 2019

Cormoran Strike Series

/ posted in: Book ReviewReading by J.K. Rowling, Robert Galbraith
Genres: Crime & Mystery, Fiction
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible

I’d been low key wanting to read the Robert Galbraith mystery books ever since it was revealed that they were written by J.K. Rowling.  I finally started them and then I couldn’t stop.  I’ve listened to the four books on audio one after the other.  Here’s why I think you should read them.

Great Characters

Cormoran is an ex-Army investigator who lost a leg in an IED explosion.  He is now a private investigator whose firm is failing.  When the first book starts he is breaking up with his toxic on again off again girlfriend of 16 years.  He’s also the illegitimate (and unrecognized) son of a major rock star and a famous groupie.  He grew up shuttling between a stable life with his aunt and uncle and a peripatetic life with his drug addicted mother.

Robin is new to London and newly engaged.  She is working at a temp agency who sends her to Cormoran’s firm for a week.  He forgot he signed up for a temp and can’t afford her but she makes herself too useful to get rid of.

Rowling is also still great at secondary characters.  Each person is unique and has a well thought out backstory.  They aren’t just a stock bad guy or witness.

Detailed Stories

Much like the Harry Potter books there is way more detail in these books than you actually need.  I think this is a good thing but I’ve seen some people complain about it.  I think if you are used to very spare mystery writing this will seem excessive.  There are definitely lots of red herrings and clues that never develop into anything just like it would be in real life.  Not everything is important to the story line.  That makes these books pretty long but I like that.  I like exploring the world that she is making and I don’t want them to be over quickly.

There is a TV show (if you like that sort of thing)

There is a film adaptation of the first three books.  The first book is three one hour episodes and the rest are two episodes.  I find them frustrating.  I think the main characters are well done but everything is so condensed.  Secondary characters are dropped.  Secrets that are hours in the teasing out on the audiobook are dropped casually in exposition.

I watched The Cuckoo’s Calling and the first hour of The Silkworm.

Everything you ever wanted to know about London transportation

Transportation is a major consideration in these stories.  That amuses me for some reason.  They are always running around the city but instead of just saying they went here and suddenly they are there, transportation problems are factored in.  The Underground is always used because they can’t afford cabs.  The time it takes to get anywhere is always discussed.  Having to walk far between public transit stops is a problem because Cormoran’s stump hurts and he has multiple untreated injuries during the series that make walking more and more problematic. 

What I’d like to see next

I’d love to see his father need his help.  Cormoran has met his famous father twice and neither time went well.  He has a little bit of a relationship with his father’s other children.  I want to see someone in the family get into trouble and need to come to him to sort it out.  Then he’d have to dive into all the family secrets and relationships whether they want him to or not.

 

 

Have you read any of these books?  What did you think?

08 Jul, 2019

What Am I Reading?

/ posted in: Reading

The President Is MissingThe President Is Missing by Bill Clinton

“As the novel opens, a threat looms. Enemies are planning an attack of unprecedented scale on America. Uncertainty and fear grip Washington. There are whispers of cyberterror and espionage and a traitor in the cabinet. The President himself becomes a suspect, and then goes missing…”

This is my new audiobook. I’m reading it for the Written by a U.S. President or First Lady square on my bingo card.


Hither, Page (Page & Sommers, #1)Hither, Page by Cat Sebastian

“A jaded spy and a shell shocked country doctor team up to solve a murder in postwar England.

James Sommers returned from the war with his nerves in tatters. All he wants is to retreat to the quiet village of his childhood and enjoy the boring, predictable life of a country doctor. The last thing in the world he needs is a handsome stranger who seems to be mixed up with the first violent death the village has seen in years. It certainly doesn’t help that this stranger is the first person James has wanted to touch since before the war.

The war may be over for the rest of the world, but Leo Page is still busy doing the dirty work for one of the more disreputable branches of the intelligence service. When his boss orders him to cover up a murder, Leo isn’t expecting to be sent to a sleepy village. After a week of helping old ladies wind balls of yarn and flirting with a handsome doctor, Leo is in danger of forgetting what he really is and why he’s there. He’s in danger of feeling things he has no business feeling. A person who burns his identity after every job can’t set down roots.

As he starts to untangle the mess of secrets and lies that lurk behind the lace curtains of even the most peaceful-seeming of villages, Leo realizes that the truths he’s about to uncover will affect his future and those of the man he’s growing to care about.”

I’ve loved all of Cat Sebastian’s books but I’m not really getting into this one so far. Hopefully it will pick up.


The Best American Food Writing 2018The Best American Food Writing 2018 by Ruth Reichl

““Food writing is stepping out,” legendary food writer Ruth Reichl declares at the start of this, the inaugural edition of Best American Food Writing. “It’s about time…Food is, in a very real sense, redesigning the world.” Indeed, the twenty-eight pieces in this volume touch on every pillar of society: from the sense memories that connect a family through food, to the scientific tinkering that gives us new snacks to share, to the intersections of culinary culture with some of our most significant political issues. At times a celebration, at times a critique, at times a wondrous reverie, the Best American Food Writing 2018 is brimming with delights both circumspect and sensuous. Dig in!”

Well obviously I’m going to love this one. It is perfect for Foodies Read. I just started it.

The Day The World Came to Town
05 Jul, 2019

The Day The World Came to Town

/ posted in: Book ReviewReading The Day The World Came to Town The Day the World Came to Town: 9/11 in Gander, Newfoundland by Jim DeFede
Genres: Historical, Nonfiction
Published by HarperCollins
Format: eBook
Source: Owned
Setting: Newfoundland, Canada

When 38 jetliners bound for the United States were forced to land at Gander International Airport in Canada by the closing of U.S. airspace on September 11, the population of this small town on Newfoundland Island swelled from 10,300 to nearly 17,000. The citizens of Gander met the stranded passengers with an overwhelming display of friendship and goodwill.

Goodreads

I had heard the story of a small town in Canada where many airplanes had to land on 9/11 but I didn’t know the details.  

The reason all the planes went there was because Gander used to be a major airport.  When planes had to refuel before crossing the Atlantic, they went to Gander.  Private planes still do.  The U.S. military had a lot of planes here.  Because of the history of military use, the runways are long.  This allows it to be listed as a secondary landing area for the space shuttle in case of trouble on takeoff.  

This book details the lengths that people went to when they needed to suddenly accommodate an influx of people on an island.  They weren’t allowed to get their luggage off the planes so medications had to be found.  Clothes and toiletries were in short supply.  Bedding was collected from houses all around the island.  People opened their homes to let travelers take showers.  

All kinds of people were stranded.  There were government and military officials who needed to help coordinate emergency response so they needed to get out of Gander.  An executive for the clothing company Hugo Boss was horrified to have to buy new underwear at WalMart.  Refugees settling in the U.S. were confused to find themselves in a whole different country.  

I was particularly interested in the stories of the animals on the planes.  There were two bonobo apes moving to a new zoo.  They weren’t allowed out of their transport cages but they helped out by cleaning their own cages for the handlers and entertaining themselves by watching the dogs and cats near them.  

I’d recommend reading this book to take a glance at a little known slice of history.


Next week I’m going to see the musical Come From Away which is based on this story.  I wanted to make sure I finished this book ahead of time so I could be properly obnoxious with stories of, “Well, actually, what had happened was…”  I’ll report back with how close the musical is to the real story.

02 Jul, 2019

June 2019 Wrap Up

/ posted in: Reading

I finished 14 books in June.

The books I read were:

  • 1 nonfiction
  •  2 audiobooks
  • Set in the U.S., England,  The Netherlands, and Germany
  • 1 reread
  • Honestly just Julia Quinn over and over

What were my favorites?


sign-up-post

 

Sign-up info

What I added in June:

 

What I’ve read so far in 2019:

  • Righteous by Joe Ide
  • Buttermilk Graffiti by Edward Lee
  • The Class by Heather Won Tesoriero
  • North by Scott and Jenny Jurek
  • Internment by Samira Ahmed
  • Tikka Chance on Me by Suleikha Snyder
  • Mrs. Martin’s Incomparable Adventure by Courtney Milan
  • The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan
  • Bury What We Cannot Take by Jean Kwok
  • Instant Indian by Rinku Bhattacharya
  • The True Queen by Zen Cho
  • Professor Chandra Follows His Bliss by Rajeev Balasubramanyam
  • A Rising Man by Abir Mukherjee
  • Spices and Seasons by Rinku Bhattacharya
  • Searching for Sylvie Lee by Jean Kwok

I’m aiming for 21-30 books to be at the tapir level.  15/21 so far

 


Reading All Around the World challenge from Howling Frog Books

  • Read a nonfiction book about the country – or
  • Read fiction written by a native of the country or someone living for a long time in the country.

I’d like to thank Jean Kwok for moving to The Netherlands so I can add that country after reading Searching for Sylvie Lee.

 

 


 

July 2019 Foodies Read
01 Jul, 2019

July 2019 Foodies Read

/ posted in: Foodies ReadReading

 

Welcome to July 2019 Foodies Read!

 

Need some ideas for books about food to read?

Free Food for MillionairesFree Food for Millionaires by Min Jin Lee

 

Vegetables and Vengeance (Peridale Cafe Cozy Mystery Book 17)Vegetables and Vengeance by Agatha Frost

 

Beau Cook's Food Porn: The Food Porn CookbookBeau Cook’s Food Porn: The Food Porn Cookbook by Beau Cook

 

 

 

Every entry is entered into a monthly drawing to win a gift card.  Once you win a prize you are not eligible to win for 6 months.

We had 32 links in June.  That is amazing!  The winner of the drawing for a gift card is Stephanie with her review of A Feast of Serendib.

 


You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


27 Jun, 2019

Randomly

/ posted in: Bookish LifeFamilytravel

I’ve been reading and doing stuff.  Honestly.  What I haven’t been doing is writing.  Since I don’t seem to have enough info for a full post about anything in particular here is a list of random stuff that’s been going on around here.

  • I’ve been reading a huge amount of Julia Quinn’s backlist.  I’ve finished a few of her series but I haven’t even started her big series that has about 18 books in it. Maybe that’s why I’m not writing reviews.  “Yep, that there was another Julia Quinn book….. stay tuned for the next one….”
  • I have fancy finger nails.  I always have pedicures but don’t do my fingers because nail polish doesn’t survive in vet clinics.  There is way too much hand washing.  My sister-in-law started selling ColorStreet.   They are sort of like nail polish made into a sticker.  (I’m sure that’s not the official explanation.)  They stay on for a least a week on me.  It is a miracle.

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I have watermelon right now but I think my favorites are the glittery ones. Here’s a link to her page if you want some.

  • My mom and I are starting a run of musical watching. I bought her some tickets to touring companies for Christmas.  We just went to see Dear Evan Hansen. (Note my glitter nails.  We were going to the theater after all.)

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Next up is Come From Away, about the town in Canada that hosted all the people whose planes were grounded on 9/11.  I have a book about that.  I should read that before I go see the play.  Those two were her Christmas presents.  We just added in tickets to The Book of Mormon in September.  

  • I’m going on vacation!  Not any time soon though.  We booked another Viking river cruise for next fall.  We’ll be starting in Germany and cruising the Danube to Budapest.  We may add on a few days in Prague before the start of the cruise.  
  • My poor garden is floundering.  It has rained everyday here for weeks.  Everything is stunted and sad.  I pulled off the mulch to try to get the soil to dry out.  Now we’ve had a few days of no rain and my tomato plants are trying to grow.  They are sad little things with about 6 leaves and 2 tomatoes on them.  I may pull the tomatoes that are starting to try to save the plants’ energy to put towards growth.  
  • I’m playing the Wizards Unite game.  My friend code is 9673 0870 8286 if you are playing too. 
  • I’m making two baby quilts.  One is bigfoot and one is flamingos.  I’ve been wanting to make the flamingo quilt and I’m using my neighbors having a baby as an excuse.  They have plastic flamingos in the yard.  I’ve never met these people but my husband talks to them a lot.  I need to get moving though.  I just had this idea and the baby is due in a few weeks.  The background fabric just showed up so I can get started. 

 

I think that’s about it for now.  What are you all up to?

I Have the Right To
21 Jun, 2019

I Have the Right To

/ posted in: Book ReviewReading I Have the Right To I Have the Right To: A High School Survivor's Story of Sexual Assault, Justice, and Hope by Chessy Prout, Jenn Abelson
on March 6, 2018
Pages: 416
Genres: Nonfiction, Personal Memoirs, Young Adult
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library

A young survivor tells her searing, visceral story of sexual assault, justice, and healing in this gutwrenching memoir.

The numbers are staggering: nearly one in five girls ages fourteen to seventeen have been the victim of a sexual assault or attempted sexual assault. This is the true story of one of those girls.

In 2014, Chessy Prout was a freshman at St. Paul’s School, a prestigious boarding school in New Hampshire, when a senior boy sexually assaulted her as part of a ritualized game of conquest. Chessy bravely reported her assault to the police and testified against her attacker in court. Then, in the face of unexpected backlash from her once-trusted school community, she shed her anonymity to help other survivors find their voice.

This memoir is more than an account of a horrific event. It takes a magnifying glass to the institutions that turn a blind eye to such behavior and a society that blames victims rather than perpetrators. Chessy’s story offers real, powerful solutions to upend rape culture as we know it today. Prepare to be inspired by this remarkable young woman and her story of survival, advocacy, and hope in the face of unspeakable trauma.

Goodreads

I heard of this story last week in a news article about her rapist seeking a new trial.  In the article it mentioned her by name which is not usual for a sexual assault case and especially one where the person was a minor.  Later in the article it said that she had gone public to bring awareness to her case so I was interested in reading the book.

Don’t pick this one up unless you are in the head space to get good and angry.  At this boarding school it was pretty much considered normal for the girls to be assaulted.  They were taught during orientation that if they needed to discuss anything with an adult that they should always say it was a hypothetical situation.  This was specifically to get the faculty around the mandatory reporting that would be required if they knew that a crime had taken place.  Sexual conquests were tracked publicly.  This was done so openly that a guide to the terminology used was published in the school newspaper. 

Chessy’s assault took place right before graduation weekend when she was a freshman.  She knew she was basically being hunted but he offered to take her to a forbidden location and she wanted to get a good Instagram picture there.  She didn’t think he would do anything to her.  She was 15 and stupid.  She admits this. 

Even after the rape she kept trying to keep up a good front even to the point of not trying to upset her rapist.  It took her a long time to realize that this wasn’t her fault.  The story of how she and her family were ostracized from the community once she went to the police is maddening. 

She pointed out a lot of ways that the system is stacked against survivors.  One that I hadn’t thought of was regarding news coverage.  Her rapist was 18.  He was always described as something like, “Prep school athlete so and so….” with a nice picture while she was “a 15 year old accuser”.  The stories were always about him because she was a minor and a rape victim so they wouldn’t publish her name.  That’s good most of the time but it lead to sympathetic coverage for him.  That’s one of the reasons that she came out publicly.  She was able to put a face to her story.

Another aspect of this story is the reaction of the school.  All of these activities were protected by the school under the guise of “tradition.”  Alumni paid for her rapist’s lawyer to defend the reputation of the school.  How do you make a school a safe place if no one cares?

 

Adventures in Women’s Fashion
20 Jun, 2019

Adventures in Women’s Fashion

/ posted in: Fitness

You know the fitness saying, “Don’t weigh yourself. Focus on how your clothes fit”? I tried that.

When I noticed my clothes getting tight I weighed myself and that’s how I found out I gained 30 lbs without noticing.

What kind of denial was I in to not notice that weight gain, you ask? How did I gain that much without outgrowing my clothes? My working theory is that I developed a small black hole that gained mass but didn’t get bigger.  If you have a better theory I’ll entertain it.

The point is, now when I’m losing weight I’m not having the joy of wearing smaller clothes.  I decided to try on clothes in my closet to see what fit and what didn’t in hopes of finding out that I was wrong about this. I had a bunch of old stuff so I got to try on different sizes.

We all know that women’s sizing is stupid but this was extreme. I mostly had 2 sizes. It was 50/50 if a pair of pants would fit regardless of what size it was.  What really made me mad was the two pairs of jeans I had of the exact same brand and style in different colors where I couldn’t come close to fastening the larger size but the smaller size fit fine.  That’s stupid.

I’m also trying out Stitch Fix.  It’s been weird.  I’m trying to be more adventurous.  I really am.  But I just can’t really do prints.  I told them to try to expand my horizons a bit.  Mostly it isn’t working.  So far I’ve kept one thing from each box.  Mostly I’ve kept the thing that I was sure I wouldn’t like.

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(The cat is sold separately)

From my first box I kept the bracelet.  Very brave of me.

The second box had the pink denim coat.  I liked it when I saw it. I knew it wouldn’t fit.  My shoulders and upper arms are too big for coats.  I tried it anyway.  Surprise, surprise… stretch denim!  The heavens opened and sun streamed down.

via GIPHY

Then next box had the jeans. They were supposed to be boyfriend jeans. That means sort of oversized. I put them on and they were… leggings. They were leggings in the largest acceptable size in my own personal head canon. (This really was the episode that tipped me over the edge to getting super serious about weight loss.) But the weird thing was that they actually looked really good on me as long as you didn’t realize they were supposed to fit differently. The husband tried out his man of the house patriarchal muscles and demanded that I obey him and buy them.

The last box had that plaid shirt. Both the husband and I looked at it and said, “No.” I have a strong bias against western wear that comes from years of showing horses. If you are wearing something like that I feel like you better be about to head into the ring or out to count the cattle. When you return something though you need to report how it fit so I put it on and it looked really good. We were both shocked.

So now I’ve made a whole outfit. It is the most expensive outfit I own since most of my other clothes came from thrift stores. I’ve also learned that I have no judgement when looking at clothes without trying them on.

Here’s the part where if I was a good blogger I’d try to have you sign up for Stitch Fix so I get money off. I‘m not a good blogger though Wait, found it!  If you want to try it out for yourself you can use this link to get $25 your first box.  That would get you the box for free if they aren’t being tricky somehow.

Instant Indian
11 Jun, 2019

Instant Indian

/ posted in: Book ReviewReading Instant Indian Instant Indian: Classic Foods from Every Region of India Made Easy in the Instant Pot by Rinku Bhattacharya
on October 2, 2018
Pages: 240
Genres: Cooking
Published by Hippocrene Books
Format: Paperback
Source: Book Tour, From author/publisher


Discover favorite foods from all over India with the first regional Indian cookbook authorized by Instant Pot!

Rinku Bhattacharya -- cookbook author and founder of Spice Chronicles -- has put together a collection of 100 authentic recipes that showcase the diversity and range of the foods of India, where every state and region boasts its own unique dishes. Whether you crave takeout favorites or want to be introduced to lesser-known specialties, this cookbook brings the best of India to your table in an instant!

The Instant Pot(R) lends itself perfectly to Indian recipes, making flavorful, nutritious Indian fare (like simmering-all-day dals, legumes and all manner of curries) in minutes instead of hours.
Instant Indian
features numerous vegetarian and vegan options, and nearly all recipes are gluten-free.

With step-by-step instructions and color photos throughout, Instant Indian makes Indian cooking easy and fool-proof using all the functions of this popular appliance.

Sample recipes:

Chicken Korma Kofta Pulao (Saffron Rice Pilaf with Chicken Meatballs) Goan Pork Ribs Vindaloo No-Knead Naan Kerala Shrimp Curry Parsee Steamed Fish with Coconut-Mint Chutney Cucumber Raita with Homemade (Instant Pot) Yogurt Hakka Noodles Tamatar Masala Anda (Poached Eggs in Tomato Sauce)

Goodreads

I received this book and Spices and Seasons by the same author for book tours.  I got Instant Indian first which sort of ruined me for a lot of the recipes in Spices and Seasons.  In my mind all I was thinking was, “Ok, but can you make it in an Instapot?”

I love Indian food but I don’t get to eat it much anymore.  My husband has developed an allergy to some ingredient in Indian food.  From process of elimination I think it might be fenugeek but the only way to test that is to feed it to him and see what happens.  He only broke out in hives from eating Indian food before but since he has another anaphylactic allergy I’m not inclined to push it.  So, I either need to eat Indian food when he isn’t around or cook it myself for solo meals.

I’ve been having fun making different flavors of rice.  I love making rice in the instapot anyway so getting combination of spices to mix in is an easy way to dress up otherwise simple meals.  

Another recipe I want to try is the version of channa masala that is in here.  I love chickpeas and tomatoes and this simple enough to make on a weeknight after work. 

This book contains full color pictures of every dish.  That’s something I want to see in all cookbooks. 

If you aren’t familiar with the different spices or ingredients used in Indian cooking, there are explanations of the purpose of and helpful hints of sourcing things that you might not already have in your pantry. 

This is a great book for anyone wanting to start making simple Indian dishes at home.

 

10 Jun, 2019

What Am I Reading?

/ posted in: Reading

Still listening to this one. This is going to cover the “Adult book by a children’s writer” square on my book bingo card.

Career of Evil (Cormoran Strike, #3)Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith

“When a mysterious package is delivered to Robin Ellacott, she is horrified to discover that it contains a woman’s severed leg.

Her boss, private detective Cormoran Strike, is less surprised but no less alarmed. There are four people from his past who he thinks could be responsible – and Strike knows that any one of them is capable of sustained and unspeakable brutality.

With the police focusing on the one suspect Strike is increasingly sure is not the perpetrator, he and Robin take matters into their own hands, and delve into the dark and twisted worlds of the other three men. But as more horrendous acts occur, time is running out for the two of them…”


I love Shanna Swendson’s other two series that I’ve read. I’m just getting started on this one. (Ahem, “Book with an animal on the cover” bingo square)

A Fairy Tale (Fairy Tale, #1)A Fairy Tale by Shanna Swendson

 

“Once upon a time, a girl named Sophie Drake danced with the fairies in the woods behind her grandparents’ Louisiana home. But she closed the door to the fairy world and turned her back on the Fae when they tried to steal her little sister Emily. Fourteen years later, Sophie heads to New York City on a desperate mission. Emily, now an up-and-coming Broadway actress, has gone missing. Only Sophie suspects the Fae.

Now Sophie has her work cut out for her. Emily’s abduction is part of a larger plot involving the missing Queen of the fairy realm. An upstart fairy is making a bid to assume control of the entire Realm, unite the fairies, and become master over the human world. To free her sister, Sophie must derail this power scheme and find the true Queen of the Realm.

That’s a lot for a small-town ballet teacher to tackle, but with the unlikely aid of her sometimes flighty sister, a pair of elderly shopkeepers with a secret, a supremely lazy (but surprisingly knowledgeable) bulldog, and a wounded police detective searching for his own missing person, she just might prevail–if she can force herself to confront her own past and face her true nature.”


I had to pick this one up. I’m a sucker for pastel book covers and this one works for Foodies Read. (I could claim it for the “Own Voices” bingo square too.)

I Love You So MochiI Love You So Mochi by Sarah Kuhn

 

“Kimi Nakamura loves a good fashion statement. She’s obsessed with transforming everyday ephemera into Kimi Originals: bold outfits that make her and her friends feel brave, fabulous, and like the Ultimate versions of themselves. But her mother sees this as a distraction from working on her portfolio paintings for the prestigious fine art academy where she’s been accepted for college. So when a surprise letter comes in the mail from Kimi’s estranged grandparents, inviting her to Kyoto for spring break, she seizes the opportunity to get away from the disaster of her life.

When she arrives in Japan, she loses herself in Kyoto’s outdoor markets, art installations, and cherry blossom festival–and meets Akira, a cute med student who moonlights as a costumed mochi mascot. What begins as a trip to escape her problems quickly becomes a way for Kimi to learn more about the mother she left behind, and to figure out where her own heart lies.”

 


I got this out again from the library for the husband. He’s been doing some reading on capital punishment and I felt like this was a good perspective to mix in. I already listened to the audio of this but I keep picking it up while it is laying around and reading again.

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and RedemptionJust Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn’t commit. The case drew Bryan into a tangle of conspiracy, political machination, and legal brinksmanship—and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice forever.”

With The Fire on High
04 Jun, 2019

With The Fire on High

/ posted in: Book ReviewFoodies ReadReading With The Fire on High With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo
on May 7, 2019
Pages: 400
Genres: Young Adult
Published by HarperTeen
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Setting: Pennsylvania

With her daughter to care for and her abuela to help support, high school senior Emoni Santiago has to make the tough decisions, and do what must be done. The one place she can let her responsibilities go is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks, turning her food into straight-up goodness. Still, she knows she doesn’t have enough time for her school’s new culinary arts class, doesn’t have the money for the class’s trip to Spain — and shouldn’t still be dreaming of someday working in a real kitchen. But even with all the rules she has for her life — and all the rules everyone expects her to play by — once Emoni starts cooking, her only real choice is to let her talent break free.

Goodreads

This is the follow up to Elizabeth Acevedo’s extraordinary debut, The Poet X.  I was thrilled to see that this book was coming out and extra excited to see that the story was about food.

Emoni is a senior in high school who loves to cook.  She wants to go to culinary school, which wouldn’t normally be a problem except that Emoni got pregnant as a freshman and now has a daughter to raise.  That limits her choices because she needs to work to support herself and her daughter. When she gets a chance to be in a culinary program at school she has to decide if she is able to fit it into her life.

Emoni is a character who I haven’t read often.  Usually stories with teen mothers tell the story of the pregnancy.  This is several years later when she is trying to juggle school, work, and a child.  It doesn’t make any of these seem easy or glamorous.  She has problems with the father of the child and his parents. She works when her classmates only have school to worry about. She knows that classmates make assumptions about anyone who found herself in her situation.  She’s pushing through and ignoring what anyone else thinks.

Emoni was raised by her abuela after her mother died and her father moved back to Puerto Rico.  I loved Abuela.  She is a woman who keeps getting pulled back into child rearing when she is ready to live an independent life.  First her son all but abandoned his daughter on her doorstep and then when she gets her granddaughter mostly raised, her granddaughter gets pregnant and now Abuela needs to help raise her great-grandchild.  I found her very realistic.  She’s doing what she has to do to make her family work but she’s starting to spread her own wings too as Emoni gets ready to graduate. 

Even if YA isn’t normally your cup of tea, I’d encourage you to pick up Elizabeth Acevedo’s books.  They are powerful. 

03 Jun, 2019

What Am I Reading?

/ posted in: Reading

Career of Evil (Cormoran Strike, #3)Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith

“When a mysterious package is delivered to Robin Ellacott, she is horrified to discover that it contains a woman’s severed leg.

Her boss, private detective Cormoran Strike, is less surprised but no less alarmed. There are four people from his past who he thinks could be responsible – and Strike knows that any one of them is capable of sustained and unspeakable brutality.

With the police focusing on the one suspect Strike is increasingly sure is not the perpetrator, he and Robin take matters into their own hands, and delve into the dark and twisted worlds of the other three men. But as more horrendous acts occur, time is running out for the two of them…”


The ProposalThe Proposal by Jasmine Guillory

“When freelance writer Nikole Paterson goes to a Dodgers game with her actor boyfriend, his man bun, and his bros, the last thing she expects is a scoreboard proposal. Saying no isn’t the hard part–they’ve only been dating for five months, and he can’t even spell her name correctly. The hard part is having to face a stadium full of disappointed fans…

At the game with his sister, Carlos Ibarra comes to Nik’s rescue and rushes her away from a camera crew. He’s even there for her when the video goes viral and Nik’s social media blows up–in a bad way. Nik knows that in the wilds of LA, a handsome doctor like Carlos can’t be looking for anything serious, so she embarks on an epic rebound with him, filled with food, fun, and fantastic sex. But when their glorified hookups start breaking the rules, one of them has to be smart enough to put on the brakes…”


I’ve signed up to do a Summer Book Bingo with a person I know in real life and her Facebook friends. These are a lot of type A people who are super competitive. Blood might be spilled.

via GIPHY

I’m the moodiest of mood readers but even I have made a bit of a plan. I’m not looking to make one bingo. Oh no, I’m going to cover the whole card.

via GIPHY

I’m probably not the only one with this plan. Book goddess help us when the nerds get their competition on.

via GIPHY

June 2019 Foodies Read
01 Jun, 2019

June 2019 Foodies Read

/ posted in: Foodies ReadReading

 

Welcome to June 2019 Foodies Read!

 

We welcome your reviews of any books about food.  What are some examples of books about food?

Save Me the Plums: My Gourmet MemoirSave Me the Plums: My Gourmet Memoir by Ruth Reichl

 

The Food Explorer: The True Adventures of the Globe-Trotting Botanist Who Transformed What America EatsThe Food Explorer: The True Adventures of the Globe-Trotting Botanist Who Transformed What America Eats by Daniel Stone

 

Graham's DelicaciesGraham’s Delicacies by Em Ali

 

 

 

Every entry is entered into a monthly drawing to win a gift card.  Once you win a prize you are not eligible to win for 6 months.

We had 29 links in April.  That is amazing!  The winner of the drawing for a gift card is Tina for her review of The Flatshare.

 


You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


31 May, 2019

May 2019 Wrap Up

/ posted in: Reading

I finished 16 books in May.  That’s a bit weird because it didn’t feel like a big reading month for me.  I guess that’s because a lot of these were romance books that read quickly.

 

The books I read were:

  • 2 nonfiction
  •  2 audiobooks
  • Set in the U.S., England,  and India

What were my favorites?


sign-up-post

 

Sign-up info

What I added in May:

 

What I’ve read so far in 2019:

  • Righteous by Joe Ide
  • Buttermilk Graffiti by Edward Lee
  • The Class by Heather Won Tesoriero
  • North by Scott and Jenny Jurek
  • Internment by Samira Ahmed
  • Tikka Chance on Me by Suleikha Snyder
  • Mrs. Martin’s Incomparable Adventure by Courtney Milan
  • The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan
  • Bury What We Cannot Take by Jean Kwok
  • Instant Indian by Rinku Bhattacharya
  • The True Queen by Zen Cho
  • Professor Chandra Follows His Bliss by Rajeev Balasubramanyam
  • A Rising Man by Abir Mukherjee
  • Spices and Seasons by Rinku Bhattacharya

I’m aiming for 21-30 books to be at the tapir level.  14/21 so far

 


Reading All Around the World challenge from Howling Frog Books

  • Read a nonfiction book about the country – or
  • Read fiction written by a native of the country or someone living for a long time in the country.

I didn’t add any place this month.

 

 


 

Garden Tour
29 May, 2019

Garden Tour

/ posted in: Gardening

I got all my plants into the raised beds and built the fence and it is working! No varmints have eaten anything inside the fence. Outside the fence it is a different story so I attribute the success to the fence.

I decided to make some videos to show what is growing around here and follow it every few weeks. (I filmed this on my phone so they are vertical because I wasn’t thinking. I will fix it next time if I remember.)

This is the main vegetable bed.

Since I filmed this the pea plants have decided to climb towards the trellis using the guide twine I put down and I’m so proud of them! Yeah, yeah, they’re plants. I’m still proud.

This is the area where I’m failing to grow berries.

This is my outdoor relaxation/reading area.

Resistance Women
28 May, 2019

Resistance Women

/ posted in: Book ReviewReading Resistance Women Resistance Women by Jennifer Chiaverini
on May 14, 2019
Pages: 608
Genres: Fiction, Historical
Published by William Morrow
Format: Hardcover
Source: Book Tour, From author/publisher
Setting: Germany

From the New York Times bestselling author of Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker, an enthralling historical saga that recreates the danger, romance, and sacrifice of an era and brings to life one courageous, passionate American—Mildred Fish Harnack—and her circle of women friends who waged a clandestine battle against Hitler in Nazi Berlin.

After Wisconsin graduate student Mildred Fish marries brilliant German economist Arvid Harnack, she accompanies him to his German homeland, where a promising future awaits. In the thriving intellectual culture of 1930s Berlin, the newlyweds create a rich new life filled with love, friendships, and rewarding work—but the rise of a malevolent new political faction inexorably changes their fate.

As Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party wield violence and lies to seize power, Mildred, Arvid, and their friends resolve to resist. Mildred gathers intelligence for her American contacts, including Martha Dodd, the vivacious and very modern daughter of the US ambassador. Her German friends, aspiring author Greta Kuckoff and literature student Sara Weitz, risk their lives to collect information from journalists, military officers, and officials within the highest levels of the Nazi regime.

For years, Mildred’s network stealthily fights to bring down the Third Reich from within. But when Nazi radio operatives detect an errant Russian signal, the Harnack resistance cell is exposed, with fatal consequences.

Inspired by actual events, Resistance Women is an enthralling, unforgettable story of ordinary people determined to resist the rise of evil, sacrificing their own lives and liberty to fight injustice and defend the oppressed.

Goodreads

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


This book chronicles the lives of different women living in Germany who find their lives and liberties slowly constricted as the Nazis seize control. They include an American expatriate married to a German man, the daughter of the American ambassador, a German woman trying to finish her doctorate, and a Jewish woman from a prominent family.

The author does a great job showing how people adapted to worse and worse conditions. It shows how people were squeezed out of their jobs. It reviews how the Nazis lied over and over to make people believe their propaganda.  This book could be hard to read and a few times I had to put it down to process it.  It could then be hard to pick back up because you knew that it was just going to get worse for the characters.

I’ve read almost all of Jennifer Chiaverini’s books to date but this is the first one that has strongly emotionally affected me. Reading this historical fiction account of the rise of the Nazi party and the descent of Germany into totalitarianism constantly reminds the reader of recent events in the US.   I hope that this book opens the eyes of people who may not be aware of the parallels between the history and current events. I think that is the wonderful power of historical fiction. It can draw in readers who may not be interested in reading a history book.  I was disappointed to read other reviews who are downgrading this book because they feel that she draws too many parallels between Trump and Hitler.  I’m writing this prior to reading the author’s note but I don’t feel that the text of the actual story does this at all.  She points out things that happened in Germany.  If your brain lights up because it sounds really familiar then maybe that should be a wake up call and not a reason to decide that she added things to try to make unwarranted comparisons.


About Jennifer Chiaverini

Jennifer Chiaverini is the New York Times bestselling author of several acclaimed historical novels and the beloved Elm Creek Quilts series. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame and the University of Chicago, she lives with her husband and two sons in Madison, Wisconsin.

Find out more about Jennifer at her website, and connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Spices and Seasons
23 May, 2019

Spices and Seasons

/ posted in: Book ReviewFoodies ReadReading Spices and Seasons Spices & Seasons: Simple, Sustainable Indian Flavors by Rinku Bhattacharya, Suvir Saran
on May 1, 2014
Pages: 373
Genres: Nonfiction
Published by Hippocrene Books
Format: Hardcover
Source: Book Tour, From author/publisher

Rinku Bhattacharya combines her two great loves--Indian cooking and sustainable living--to give readers a simple, accessible way to cook seasonally, locally, and flavorfully. Inspired by the bounty of local produce, mostly from her own backyard, Rinku set out to create recipes for busy, time-strapped home cooks who want to blend Indian flavors into nutritious family meals. Arranged in chapters from appetizers through desserts, the cookbook includes everything from small bites, soups, seafood, meat and poultry, and vegetables, to condiments, breads, and sweets. You'll find recipes for tempting fare like "Mango and Goat Cheese Mini Crisps," "Roasted Red Pepper Chutney," "Crisped Okra with Dry Spice Rub," "Smoky Roasted Eggplant and Tomato Puree," and "Red Harvest Masala Cornish Hens," to name a few. As exotic and enticing as these recipes sound, the ingredients are easily found and the instructions are simple. Rinku encourages readers to explore the bounty of their local farms and markets, and embrace the rich flavors of India to cook food that is nutritious, healthy, seasonal and most importantly, delicious.

Goodreads

 

This book is more than merely a collection of recipes.  It is a beautiful reference book for anyone interested in Indian cuisine. 

Types of commonly used spices are discussed.  Learn about the types of vegetables and beans that are valued in Indian cooking.  Find out the differences and similarities between regional cuisines.  Chapters are devoted to appetizers, soups, pastas/rice, vegetables, and meats.  Usually in a book that isn’t strictly vegetarian I feel lucky to find one or two recipes that I would be interested in making.  This book has many that I plan to make.  That almost never happens. 

The book is wonderfully illustrated with full color pictures of each dish.  I appreciate that in a cookbook.  It would be particularly useful if you aren’t familiar enough with Indian cuisine to know what each dish is supposed to look like. 

I was inspired by this book to add some spices especially for Indian cooking to my garden this year.  I have a pot full of mint and am waiting for my cilantro to sprout.  The author uses these herbs most in her cooking.  I look forward to making many of the recipes in here with fresh vegetables from my garden. 

 

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