26 October 2016

Wordless Wednesday 417

Fall Bloom, 2016

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24 October 2016

Stacked-Up Book Thoughts: Reading Plans Gone Awry

Books to Read in OctoberWeekend Woots and Woes: Hope all of you who decided to participate in the Readathon had a wonderful time and have begun to recover. I had every intention of participating, but at the last minute decided to visit my mother instead.

That involved a road trip rather than a reading day, and because my husband thought it'd fun to join me, I didn't even get any audiobook listening done on Saturday. Oh well, gabbing with Mr. BFR and spending time with my mom were well worth missing my books.

In other news, I always bring work with me when I travel, and for the first time ever I left my laptop power cord at home. ARGH. How was I going to catch up with work and blogging? I tried a few borrowed cords, but ended up having to buy a replacement. Money I didn't want to spend, but now I have a backup with a variety of jack ends, so it should last me through a few more computers.

What I had planned to read: Here are a few of the print books I had on my Readathon pile:

  • Books to Read in OctoberGemina by Jay Kristoff (Knopf): I loved the first book in the Illuminae Files series so much I just had to preorder the new one so I'd get it right away. I love the graphics and the design of the books, and I've gotten invested in the characters' stories.
  • Coffin Road by Peter May (Quercus): I started this last week and am still reading. The Outer Hebrides setting is so vivid.
  • The Hidden Keys by Andre Alexis (Coach House): Five siblings are each given a clue to a large inheritance, leading to alliances and betrayals and a quest. I haven't started the novel, but it has promise.
  • Ashes by Laurie Halse Anderson (Atheneum): Don't you just love the cover of this book (bottom center in the photo)? This is the final installment in Anderson's awesome Seeds of America trilogy.
  • Nicotine by Nell Zink (Ecco): As you know, I have a weakness for Ecco books, and the themes hinted at in the summary of this novel interest me: generational clashes (baby boomers vs. millennials), culture clashes (conventional vs. unique), and personal choices.
  • The Red Car by Marcy Dermansky (Liveright): I really liked Dermansky's book Bad Marie, so I readily accepted a review copy of her newest novel. The premise: Through grief and second chances, a woman finds herself on the path to better self-understanding.
Books to Read in OctoberWhat I'm listening to now: My current audiobook is Every Single Second by Trica Springstubb (Harper Audio), which is a coming-of-age story that encompasses a number of engaging contemporary issues (family, friendship, community). I'm always drawn to books that explore the idea of how fate can turn in a split second, and the teen protagonists learns that life doesn't always go as planned. Arielle DeLisle is believable as our young hero, and I really like her dynamic performance.

Here are the audiobooks I packed for my drive: Michael Connelly's A Darkness More Than Night, Daniel James Brown's The Boys in the Boat, and John Sandford's Mad River. Alas the audiobooks remain in their plastic, their disks untouched. Perhaps I'll crack them open during our next trip.

What are you reading or hoping to read? What's in your audiobook queue?

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22 October 2016

Weekend Cooking: Ziggy Marley and Family Cookbook

Weekend Cooking hosted by www.BethFishReads.comWeekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book reviews (novel, nonfiction), cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs, restaurant reviews, travel information, or fun food facts. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page.

Review: Ziggy Marley and Family CookbookBeing a long-time Reggae fan, I couldn't resist the chance to review the Ziggy Marley and Family Cookbook. This great collection of recipes emphasizes organic, GMO-free ingredients and recipes that are family friendly and easy to make.

The first things I noticed about the cookbook were the thick matte paper, beautiful photos, earthy colors, and clean font. These features are the immediate hooks, but Marley's passion for good nutritious fare clinches the deal.

As you can imagine, Marley's culinary style is based in Jamaican tradition, but it has also been influenced by Rasta culture. More recently, Marley has found inspiration from his wife's Israeli-Iranian roots, which bring an international flare to the family's everyday dinner table.

The recipes range from a simple frittata to trendy smoothies and juices; from comforting grain salads to squash and leek soup and Caribbean coconut-flavored fish. Several dishes have caught my attention, especially among the soups and salads. I also have my eye on the roasted yam tart (made with puff pastry), spicy grilled jerked chicken, and especially the stout-infused ginger bread. All the recipes are geared toward family meals, though I doubt any guests would find room to complain if they were served such flavorful and nutritious food.

The Ziggy Marley and Family Cookbook has a lot going for it, but here are some things to note:
  • The Marley family runs a company called Ziggy Marley Organics and a few recipes call for one of their products. The good news is that substitutions are always noted in the ingredient list.
  • Some of the recipe directions seem a little light on the details. This doesn't bother me, but more inexperienced cooks may wish for better guidance when it comes to judging whether a dish has finished cooking.
  • Vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free people will find a lot to love, including gluten-free pancakes.
  • If you're landlocked, like I am, some of the fish dishes will be (excuse the pun) off the table.
  • Finally, I'm sorry Marley didn't contribute more stories to go with the recipes he included in the book. The chapter introductions offer hints, but not quite enough for me.
Recommendation: The Ziggy Marley and Family Cookbook will appeal to a wide range of cooks, especially confident cooks who have access to fresh seafood. If you are cutting down on meat, this book will give you fresh ideas. On the other hand, despite the word family in the title, I bet whole wild red snapper would be a hard sell for most parents. Bottom line: Look through the book at the store or borrow it from the library before buying, just to make sure the recipes will suit your family and your skill level.

Here's a quick and easy fall salad to grace your holiday table or to take to a tailgating party. (Note: scan and recipe are used in the context of this review. All rights remain with the original copyright holders: Tuff Gong Worldwide.)

Fall Quinoa Salad
Serves 2 to 4; vegetarian, vegan, gluten free
  • Review: Ziggy Marley and Family Cookbook1 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa, drained and cooled
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 large bunch cilantro, minced
  • 1 large bunch of mint, minced
  • 3 green onions, minced
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients together and serve chilled.

Notes from Beth Fish Reads: For my table and my tastes, I'd start with only half the mint and would most likely add some olive oil.

Published by Akahic Books, 2016
ISBN-13: 97816717754838
Source: review (see review policy)
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)

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20 October 2016

Giveaway: Lockwood & Co. by Jonathan Stroud

Lockwood & Co. books by Jonathan StroudAre you ready for Halloween and the spooky time of year? Do you and your family like a little supernatural fun and young heroes saving the day? If so (with thanks to Disney-Hyperion), have I got the books for you: the Lockwood & Co. series by Jonathan Stroud.

I've only just started this creepy series about the hoard of ghosts, specters, and other evil spirits that has descended on London. Of course, everyone wants the city to be free of the otherworldly beings, but it seems that humanity can be saved only by the young, who have the power to see their foes.

Among the many ghost-busting agencies that have sprung up around the London, is Lockwood & Co., a completely youth-run operation manned by Lucy, Anthony, and George. The trio takes up a variety of spooky cases that are part exorcism, part mystery, and always creepy. The kids have to outsmart the ghouls and rival agencies, while they learn from their mistakes and their relationships grow and change.

Thanks to Disney-Hyperion, you too can get to know the Lockwood gang through Jonathan Stroud's books. Here's a brief look at what they're all about:

  • In book 1, The Screaming Staircase (published in 2013), we meet our heroes as they are tapped to investigate a haunted house.
  • In book 2, The Whispering Skull (published in 2014), Lockwood & Co. comes into conflict with the rival Fittes agents while investigating a possible grave robbery.
  • In book 3, The Hollow Boy (published in 2015), the team gains a new member while they investigate a murder.
  • The newest book, which was just released, is The Creeping Shadow, which focuses on Lucy and her involvement with taming a legendary cannibal.
One thing I really love about Stroud is his sense of humor and how he uses it as a foil for the scary bits. To get a sense of both his style and the artwork that introduces each chapter, take a look at this scan of the first page of The Creeping Shadow (click the image to enlarge; to read the whole first chapter, click the link):

Lockwood & Co. books by Jonathan Stroud

To learn more about Jonathan Stroud and the Lockwood books, visit the official Lockwood website, follow Disney-Hyperion on Twitter and Instagram, and follow hashtag #LockwoodandCo on all your social media.

Giveaway Details

Lockwood & Co. books by Jonathan StroudThanks to Disney-Hyperion I can offer one of my readers with a USA mailing address the following awesome prize pack. Not only will the winner receive all four Lockwood & Co. books by Jonathan Stroud but he or she will also get this really cool pumpkin carving kit, complete with carving tools and a design book.

All you have to do to be entered for a chance to win this fantastic prize pack is to fill out the following form with your USA mailing address. I'll pick a winner using a random number generator on October 27. After the winner has been confirmed and the address has been passed along to Disney, I'll erase all personal information from my computer. Good luck!

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19 October 2016

Wordless Wednesday 416

Looking Up, 2016

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All content and photos (except where noted) copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads 2008-2016. All rights reserved.



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