18 November 2017

Weekend Cooking: Dinner in an Instant by Melissa Clark

Review: Dinner in an Instant by Melissa ClarkNew York Times columnist Melissa Clark developed her love for the electric pressure cooker honestly. After having given the Instant Pot a try so she could "see what all the fuss was about," Clark was surprised to find herself turning to it again and again, even after her article for the Times had already been published.

The purpose of her Dinner in an Instant (Clarkson Potter) is to highlight the kinds of dishes the electric pressure cooker excels at. She wasn't interested in tricking the machine into overcoming its weaknesses (roasted whole chicken); instead she wanted to explore what the Instant Pot does best: transforming long, slow weekend treats into quick mid-week standards.

One thing to note right off the bat: The recipes will work in any brand of electric pressure cooker. Don't be thrown off if you own a Breville instead of an Instant Pot.

If you're relatively new to the pressure cooker (or are thinking of getting or giving one for Christmas this year), you'll be happy to know that Clark walks you through the machine's cycles and parts and suggests some accessories you'll want to have on hand. She also provides a number of great tips and tricks for getting the most out of your cooker. In addition, Clark includes recipes for all kinds of eaters: vegans and vegetarians as well as those who follow a paleo or gluten-free diet.

So what kinds of recipes will you find in Dinner in an Instant? Here's what caught my eye:

  • Review: Dinner in an Instant by Melissa ClarkDairy and vegan yogurts
  • Leek frittata
  • Osso buco
  • Mac and cheese
  • Moroccan chickpeas
  • Bone broth
  • Italian green beans
  • Maple sweet potatoes
  • Cheesecake
The recipes themselves are what you'd expect from a veteran cookbook author like Melissa Clark. The directions are clearly written and easy to follow, the flavors are varied (Thai, Italian, Mexican, African), and pretty much every recipe comes with serving tips. The collection includes a solid combination of familiar dinners (chicken and dumplings) and more exotic (Green Persian Rice with Tahdig).

Best of all, however, the recipes are adaptable, teaching techniques as much as specific dishes. This means that soon, instead of following one of Clark's recipes for steamed pudding, you'll be adapting one of your own favorites for the pressure cooker.

And that brings me to the heart of this book. Dinner in an Instant is geared to a specific audience: cooks who are still new to pressure cooking but who are now ready to expand their horizons. The book is not meant to be a lifetime kitchen companion (like Lorna Sass's books); instead Melissa Clark has provided a bridge from the basic to the wider world of possibilities.

I am happy to have bought my copy of Dinner in an Instant, but I think many of you would be satisfied to look for the book at your library, cook from it for a few weeks, and then follow Melissa Clark's pressure cooker recipes at the New York Times. I, however, am happy to have her recipes for steel-cuts oats, polenta, ricotta, and creme brulee sitting safely on my bookshelf.

Here's a recipe for citrus-infused carrots, which would make an awesome addition to any holiday table. (This is a scan from the promotional material, thus the missing page number for pressure cooker ricotta.) For a better view, click the image to enlarge it.

Review: Dinner in an Instant by Melissa Clark

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.

NOTE: Mr. Linky sometimes is mean and will give you an error message. He's usually wrong and your link went through just fine the first time. Grrrr.

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16 November 2017

7 Books for Speculative Fiction Fans

November is a great month for speculative fiction fans. Nothing is better than escaping to another world when pre-holiday stress gets to be too much. Here are seven recent and forthcoming fantasy and science-fiction books to ease you into the end-of-year shopping and socializing frenzy.

  • 7 Books for Speculative Fiction FansArtemis by Andy Weir (Crown, Nov. 14): The first city on the moon is dominated by the rich and richer, so what's a lowly porter to do? Jazz supplements her resources by smuggling and taking odd (illegal) jobs, one of which exposes her to information that threatens her life and could change the power structure of the lunar settlement.
  • City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty (Harper Voyager, Nov. 14): In the Ottoman Empire, family-less street urchins must get by as best they can, and Nahri earns her keep by reading fortunes, healing the sick, and indulging in a little thievery. She has plans for a better future, until she unwittingly awakens a djinn and discovers she can't escape her past or her fate.
  • The Complete Sookie Stackhouse Stories by Charlaine Harris (Ace, Nov. 21): Whether you're a fan of the original books or met Sookie through the HBO's True Blood, you'll love revisiting Bon Temps, LA, for more fun with your favorite not-quite-human friends. The ten stories are gathered into a single volume for the first time.
  • Jade City by Fonda Lee (Orbit, Nov. 7): In an alternative Chinese world, jade is the key to magical abilities, and families vie for control, especially after the development of a power-enhancing drug. This adult fantasy involves clan wars, family loyalty, and life outside the law. Kirkus made comparisons to the Godfather books.
  • 7 Books for Speculative Fiction FansOtherworld by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller (Delacorte, Oct. 31): Billed as a kind of Westworld for teens, this science-fiction thriller explores the future of full-experience gaming, in which players believe they face no limits or consequences. Instead of the Wild West, expect familiar fantasy elements, such as dragons and wizards.
  • This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada (Simon Pulse, Nov. 7): When a devastating plague hits a high-tech future world, a teenage gene hacker races to find, understand, and produce her late-father's potential vaccine. The lines between friends and enemies, truth and fiction blur in this action-adventure science fiction tale.
  • The Wild Book by Juan Villoro (Restless Books, Nov. 14): Who can resist a story in which books (literary) come alive, moving on their own and stealing from each other. This coming-of-age story for middle grade readers is set in Mexico and will appeal to book lovers and fans of magical realism.

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15 November 2017

Wordless Wednesday 472

Fall Reflections, 2017

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14 November 2017

Today's Read: A Hundred Small Lessons by Ashey Hay

Review: A Hundred Small Lessons by Ashley HayWhen you move to new digs, do you wonder about the people who lived there before you? As Lucy Kiss is settling her young family into their new house, Elsie Gormley is trying to let go of the place that holds most of her fondest memories.

It was early on a winter's morning when she fell—the shortest day of 2010, the woman on the radio said. From where Elsie lay, quite still and curled comfortably on the thick green carpet between the sofa and the sideboard, she could see how the sun coming in through the back door made a triangle on the kitchen floor. The light caught the pattern on the linoleum and touched the little nests of dust that her broom had missed under the lip of the kitchen cupboards.
A Hundred Small Lessons by Ashley Hay (Atria / Simon & Schuster, 2017, opening lines; eARC)

Quick Facts
  • Setting: Brisbane, Australia; modern times
  • Circumstances: Two women making new starts: Lucy is getting used to being a stay-at-home mom, being a homeowner, and living in a new city. Elsie is adjusting to assisted living and the loss of the house in which she raised her children. As each woman copes with changing circumstances, their stories begin to interweave.
  • Characters: Lucy Kiss and her husband and infant son; Elsie Gormley and her late-husband and grown twins.
  • Genre: literary fiction, women's fiction
  • Themes: family, motherhood, marriage, making a lasting life, coping with change
  • Why I want to read this novel: The answer to my opening question, for me, is yes. Every time I've moved, I've wondered about the people who lived in my home before me, especially if they've left something behind to give me a clue. I enjoy character studies and am looking forward to meeting Lucy and Elsie. I also like the idea that the two women are at opposite ends of their adult family life, yet are facing similar issues, such as loss of independence and changing self-images.
  • What reviews have said: Kirkus: "slow-moving, yet profound." Publishers Weekly: "a rich dual character study." Australian Book Review: "holds powerful truths, simply told."

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11 November 2017

Weekend Cooking: In Search of Israeli Cuisine (Film)

Review: In Search of Israeli CusineI had other plans for today's post, but after I stumbled across this documentary about Israeli food, I decided I didn't want to wait to share it with you. (Available on Netflix and Amazon)

In Search of Israeli Cusine, written and directed by Roger Sherman, follows award-winning chef Michael Solomonov (of Philadelphia's Zahav restaurant) on a journey through Israel to discover the defining flavors and dishes in that country's kitchens.

Let's start with the basic question of the film: What exactly is Israeli food? The word I remember most from the movie is complex. To say the country's food is global is a bit of an understatement. The cuisine has been influenced by thousands of years of indigenous peoples and cultures, by twentieth-century immigration, and by modern-day newcomers. The resulting dishes aren't what one would consider to be fusion, but something wholly different.

For such a small geographic area, Israel is a land of great diversity, from desert, to coastline, to lush hillsides and cold mountains, and each region has its own ingredients and traditions. In addition, you cannot talk about any aspect of Israel without taking politics and religion.

Review: In Search of Israeli CusineAs other reviewers have noted, In Search of Israeli Cuisine doesn't give us a definite answer, but through Solomonov's adventures and interviews, we discover the incredible variety of foods to be found throughout Israel. We visit cheese caves, wineries, tomato farms, fruit orchards, olive presses, and fishing villages. We learn the differences between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem and how cultural and religious traditions affect the food choices in those cities.

I particularly liked meeting the people, including growers / producers, chefs, food writers, and merchants. I was surprised to learn that religious dietary laws are not particularly strict and that politics and cultural issues can have a strong affect on the fate of restaurants. I hadn't realized that Israel was on the cutting edge of a new kind of global cuisine.

In some ways, Israel is not all that different from other immigrant countries: People bring with them the traditional foods of their homelands. Yet in America, cooking the dishes from home can be comforting, whereas in Israel in the mid-twentieth century, foods from Europe were a reminder of hardships, war, and persecution. Still, it's difficult to shed the culinary expectations set in one's childhood. Thus Israelis have a unique perspective on their country's cuisine or lack thereof.

Review: In Search of Israeli CusineMichael Solomonov has a relaxed, natural screen presence, which makes the film easy to watch. He doesn't have the slick, broad vocabulary of a Food Network star, and--frankly--I find that refreshing. We aren't subjected to a drawn-out assessment of each dish; instead Solmonov often gives us just a simple, "That's delicious."

The filming of In Search of Israeli Cuisine was nicely done, showing us the scenery, the food, and the people with equal attention.

Even though the search may have left more questions than answers, I can recommend In Search of Israeli Cuisine to anyone interested in how a country or region comes to be identified with a particular palette of flavors. Politics, religion, immigration, environment, and culture all play a part in defining the dishes coming out of Israeli kitchens. Here's the trailer:

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.

NOTE: Mr. Linky sometimes is mean and will give you an error message. He's usually wrong and your link went through just fine the first time. Grrrr.

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08 November 2017

Wordless Wednesday 471

November Grasses (from the archives)

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07 November 2017

Today's Read & Giveaway: Eaves of Destruction by Kate Carlisle

Review: Eaves of Destruction by Kate CarlisleImagine you're up to your eyeballs in contract work, getting ready for a major competition, organizing several work crews, and supporting your new hires. It's tough, but you think you've got it together . . . until one of the houses you're working on becomes a murder scene, and you and your employees are prime suspects. Welcome to Shannon Hammer's life.

I really love my job. But I've got to admit, some days are better than others.

I've been working on construction sites since I was eight years old and my father started taking my sister, Chloe. and me to work with him. Our mom had died a month earlier and it just made sense for Chloe and me to hang out with Dad after school instead of going home to a big, sad, empty house.

Chloe and I thrived around the construction workers, who took us under their wings. They bought us little pink tool belts and hard hats and showed us all kinds of cool stuff make.
Eaves of Destruction by Kate Carlisle (Penguin Random House / Berkley Prime Crime, 2017, p. 1)

Quick Facts
  • Setting: Lighthouse Cove, a fictional town in northern California; modern times
  • Circumstances: As Lighthouse Cove is preparing for its Victorian Home and Garden Tour, competition is already heating up as contractors, workers, and homeowners vie to win the coveted Best in Show award. Shannon Hammer has her hands full, juggling several projects, but feeling in control. Then one of her job sites becomes a murder scene and the authorities begin to suspect Shannon or her crew. After a second victim is found Shannon and her friends sort through the clues to find the killer before he or she can strike again.
  • Characters: Shannon is a well-respected contractor who has been around construction sites all her life. Her women friends include small business owners (of a B&B and a quilt store, for example), and then there's Mac, a famous thriller author who is becoming more than a friend.
  • Genre: Cozy mystery
  • All the good: One of the most important elements of a good cozy (besides the mystery) is its protagonist. Shannon is smart, tough, sane, and professional and a good friend to boot. She runs a profitable construction business that proves women belong in the trades as much as men. The details about old houses and dealing with renovations are fairly accurate and the characters are multilayered with believable personalities. Finally, the mystery itself (along with a few twists) is well plotted and fun to try to figure out.
  • Something to know: Although this is the fifth installment in the Fixer-Upper series, you can jump in here. As the opening lines prove, Carlisle fills in the background so you won't feel lost. Though once you meet Shannon and Mac, I bet you'll want to go back and read the other books in the series. (Thanks to Berkley Prime Crime for the review copy)
  • Wait, there's more! The Fixer-Upper series has been picked up by Hallmark Channel's Movies & Mysteries. The two movies made so far, Framed for Murder and Concrete Evidence, star Jewel and Colin Ferguson as Shannon and Mac. See the following video.
  • A few links: Kate Carlisle's website includes a brief introduction to the Fixer-Upper series. Kings River Life magazine has a great interview with Carlisle that focuses on the series and Hallmark movies. Finally, the Hallmark site has more videos, photos, and information about Framed for Murder.

The Giveaway

Thanks to the good people at Berkley Prime Crime, I have one copy of Eaves of Destruction to giveaway to one of my readers. All you have to do to enter for a chance to win is to have a U.S. mailing address and to fill out the following form. I'll pick a winner via random number generator on November 30. Once the winner has been confirmed, I'll delete all personal information from my computer. Good luck!

NOTE: Google forms is acting up. If there is no form, please provide your email address in the comments and I will make sure you're entered for a chance to win.

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06 November 2017

Stacked-Up Book Thoughts: Reading from the (Recent) Backlist

Reading from the BacklistEveryone get ready to repeat after me: Crazy Busy. Now say: Worth It.

That's because I'm getting ready for my annual five-day women's getaway to the Poconos. We spend the weekend eating, drinking, gabbing, and making lace! I may take my knitting this year instead of my lace stuff, but either way, it's a lovely, lovely break from real life before the holidays descend with a vengeance.

The downside is being too focused on catching up with and getting ahead on work to spend much (any?) time visiting blogs and hanging out on Twitter and Litsy. Ah well.

My New Gig

I mentioned last week that I had a new sideline job. I'm excited to announce that I am now a contributing editor at AudioFile magazine. I'm thrilled to have expanded my relationship with the magazine; everyone there is a joy to work with. Besides my regular audiobook reviews, I now have a column at the AudioFile blog. It's called "Take 5 with Candace," and my first post will be published on November 8. Stop by every other Wednesday to see which five audiobooks caught my eye that week and why. For my introductory post, be sure to visit the AudioFile blog on Wednesday and see what I'll be up to.

What I Read Last Week

Review: Rules of Magic by Alice HoffmanI finished Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman (Simon & Schuster, Oct), which I enjoyed but didn't love. It was fun to learn the backstory of Practical Magic and the Owens family, although I found some parts difficult to believe (and I don't mean the magic / witch parts). For example, the children have a crazy amount of freedom to wander around New York at all hours of the day and night. On the other hand, the 1960s details are recognizable, and the family curse seems to be running strong. In addition, the novel gives us domestic drama and a few surprises. I'm not a big fan of magical realism, but I do like witches and like seeing how their lives and abilities play out in more modern times. I listened to the unabridged audiobook (Simon & Schuster Audio; 10 hr, 58 min), read by Marin Ireland. Ireland varied her tempo, volume, and cadence, capturing my attention and enlivening the story. (review print copy from the publishers)

Review: Jason Reynolds's Long Way DownI read Jason Reynolds's Long Way Down (Atheneum Books, Oct) twice. Yes, you heard me correctly. This powerful novel in verse explores the perpetuation of gun violence and gang affiliations, as fifteen-year-old Will comes to terms with the shooting death of his older brother. Most of the story takes place in a second-by-second account of a one-minute elevator ride in which Will is confronted by the ghosts of family and friends who were also victims of gun violence. The words on the page hit hard, in their meaning and in their form, and you could stop right there and have much to talk about in terms of family, loyalty, and the difficulty of breaking dysfunctional cycles. I went one step more and immediately listened to the unabridged audiobook (Simon & Schuster Audio; 1 hr, 43 min), read by the author. Poetry is meant to be heard and (as Reynolds himself says) is best read by poet himself. Reynolds's performance intensifies the emotional impact of Long Way Down, bringing out the nuances of the characters and providing layers of context. Will's future hangs in the balance as the elevator slowly descends to the lobby, what will he do when he steps through those doors? Don't miss this book in either medium. (review print copy from the publishers)

What I Gave Up On

The Templars:The Rise and Spectacular Fall of God's Holy Warriors by Dan Jones. I've always been drawn to the story of the Templars, so I'm not sure why I just didn't feel the love here. I tried it in print (Viking, Sept), and I tried it in audio (Penguin Audio; 15 hr, 35 min). Argh! Neither medium held my attention. The book wasn't bad, so perhaps I just wasn't in the mood for Crusades and the Church, politics and battles this week. The audio is read by the author, who does an only okay job, and I found my mind wandering as the audio played on. (Thanks to the publisher for both print and audio review copies)

What's on Beth Fish Reads This Week

Because I'll be traveling at the end of the week, I will not be posting my usual weekly roundup. Instead, I have a giveaway tomorrow for a fun cozy mystery, a photo on Wednesday, and my usual Weekend Cooking on Saturday. I'm not sure I'll have Monday post next week, but we'll see what I have time for.

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04 November 2017

Weekend Cooking: Wd-50 by Wylie Dufresne

Review: Wd-50 by Wylie DufresneDid you know that Anthony Bourdain had his own imprint over at Ecco Books? Well he does, and his list brings attention to great chefs, great restaurants, great food, and cutting-edge culinary trends.

Wylie Dufresne's Wd-50 (named after his now-closed restaurant) is a book that embraces all four focus points.

Who is Dufresne? He's a James Beard Award-winning, Michelin-Star chef who is known for his innovative style of cooking. Some may call it molecular gastronomy, but as the chef himself notes, his style of cooking is not so much "mad scientist in the kitchen but "look what cooking can be."

Wd-50 is full of gorgeous photographs that show off the chef's incredible creativity and talent. Although I know I'll never cook from this book, I enjoyed reading about the art (pretty much literally) of plating, Dufresne's stand against salad, the yeas and nays of eating bread before the meal, how to make cubes out of Hollandaise sauce and noodles out of tofu, and the trick of creating edible eggshells, which are formed around balloons.

Review: Wd-50 by Wylie DufresneI love mix of fun and sophistication of Defrensne's dishes (see the photos; click to enlarge): The fried eggs in the skillets are made from carrots and a coconut-based puree. The little bagel is really a kind of frozen concoction similar to ice cream. The gorgeous brown ribbon dish is chicken liver pate with melon cubes, pickled onion, and more.

Finally, the chef's take on the s'more is much more complex than it looks: The marshmallow is formed from meringue ice cream; the flavors in one sauce are black current and mezcal; standing in for the candy bar are bitter chocolate with chili, crispy chocolate, and ganche; the base is a modern take on graham crackers; and the edible stick is made from beer. Each element is carefully layered and placed on the plate, giving us a very grownup version of a campfire favorite.

As I said, I will not be cooking from this book, but I absolutely loved reading it. Dufresne's style is friendly and personal and I almost believe I could pull off one or two of his tricks. Alas, I'm a lazy cook at heart, but I bet if you had the resources and were willing to invest in the uncommon ingredients you too could transform food into delicious works of art.

My recommendation is to borrow Wd-50 from the library. After you've had a chance to read all the techniques Wylie Dufresne has so generously shared, you can decide how far you're willing to walk down the path to becoming a kitchen scientist. For more on Wylie Dufresne, see this interview with GQ.

Photos: The photos were scanned from an advanced reader's copy provided by the publisher (Ecco Books) and are used here in the context of a review. All rights remain with the original copyright holder, likely photographer Eric Medsker.

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.

NOTE: Mr. Linky sometimes is mean and will give you an error message. He's usually wrong and your link went through just fine the first time. Grrrr.

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02 November 2017

5 Audiobooks for a Road Trip + Giveaway

Voices on the Road Blog Tour & GiveawayHello November! I can hardly  believe we're already on the verge of the holiday season. And you know what comes with holidays? Travel. Often lots of it.

Whether you're driving or flying, traveling across town or across country, nothing makes the time go faster than a good audiobook.

I used to consider the transportation part of a journey to be something to grin and bear until I got to my destination. Since becoming an audiobook fan (way back in the last century), however, I think of the journey as prime listening time. Car trips zip along, and annoying seatmates on a plane, train, or bus just melt into the distance when I become absorbed in my book.

As we enter the annual holiday and travel season, the Audio Publishers Association (APA) and 10 major audiobook publishers want to help you de-stress by getting lost in a good book. A good audiobook, that is.

Don't know what you want to listen to? Have no fear, I can help you find the perfect audiobooks for you and your family, thanks to the APA and their Voices on the Road Blog Tour & Giveaway.

  • Each day in November, one blogger will be recommending five audiobooks to brighten up your holiday road trip. You can find the list of participating blogs at the APA site.
  • In addition, each blog post will also include a chance for one reader to win a prize pack consisting of 10 audibooks from major audiobook publishers (details below).
Not planning to travel? No worries. Listen to your audiobook when wrapping gifts, when baking cookies, when dashing out to the store for more tissue paper, when addressing holiday cards, and when sipping hot chocolate with the kids on a Saturday afternoon.

So What Books Am I Recommending?

Here are five great audiobooks to take on your holiday travels. For more information about each book, click the link to my review.

Audiobook: About Alice by Calvin TrillinIf you have a short trip and like a true story, then you have to listen to About Alice by Calvin Trillin (Penguin Random House, 1 hr, 18 min), read by the author. Here's what I wrote in 2009:
[The essay consists of] Trillin's memories of his forty-year marriage to the brilliant, eccentric, and stunning Alice Stewart Trillin. In truth, it is the most personal and emotional love story I have ever read. Although sprinkled with Trillin's characteristic humor, the memoir is beautiful and heartbreaking.
I've listened to this at least 6 times over the years and break down in tears each time. Trip Tip: Listen in the car (preferably alone) so no one can see you cry.

Audiobook: Hausfrau by Jill Alexander Essbaum If you like a many layered novel with a secretive protagonist, then you'll like Hausfrau by Jill Alexander Essbaum (Random House Audio; 9 hr, 43 min), read by Mozhan Marno. Here's what I wrote in 2015:
The combination of Mozhan Marno's sensitive performance and Jill Alexander Essbaum's unforgettable story of a woman's struggle to understand herself and her place in the world make Hausfrau one of the year's best audiobooks.
The story is set in Zurich, and Marno handles the many needed accents beautifully. Trip Tip: For mature audiences; listen through earbuds on the plane.

Audiobook: Juniors by Kaui Hart HemmingsIf you like a realistic contemporary young adult novel without a love triangle, then you'll enjoy listening to Juniors by Kaui Hart Hemmings (Listening Library; 8 hr, 55 min), read by Jorjeana Marie. Here's what I wrote in 2016:
Marie does a fantastic job channeling her inner teenager, hitting the cadences and emotions perfectly. I loved her expressiveness and characterizations and that she made it so easy for me to relate to and root for Lea. Highly recommended.
I loved the Hawaii setting and that Lea's conflicting wants were so universal. Trip Tip: Listen in the car with your teenagers.

Audiobook: Child 44 by Tom Rob SmithIf you like a very creepy mystery / thriller you'll like Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith (Hachette Audio; 12 hr, 24 min) read by Dennis Boutsikaris. Here's what I wrote in 2014:
I loved everything about Boutsikaris's outstanding performance: the pacing, the tone, the subtle drama, and the characterizations. Because my grandfather was a native Russian speaker, I'm fairly sensitive about western Russian accents; fortunately, I found Boutsikaris's accent and inflections to be very believable.
The details about life in the Soviet Union in the 1950s were both eye-opening and fascinating. Trip Tip: Listen on a long car trip with your significant other; involves a serial child killer.

Audiobook: Dollbaby by Laura Lane McNealIf you like coming-of-age stories with quirky characters, then listen to Dollbaby by Laura Lane McNeal (Penguin Audio; 11 hr, 12 min) read by January Lavoy. Here's what I wrote in 2014:
Levoy's performance is nothing short of brilliant. I love her characterizations and that she changes her tone so we can tell that Ibby is growing up. I can't distinguish among Southern accents, but I think Levoy does a great job with the various Louisiana dialects.
The novel is set in New Orleans during the civil rights era and is an excellent period piece. Trip Tip: Listen on the train or plane with earbuds or in the car with teens.

The Giveaway

Thanks to the generosity of Galaxy Press, Hachette Audio, Harper Audio, High Bridge Audio, Macmillan Audio, Penguin Random House Audio, Post Hypnotic Press, Scholastic, Simon & Schuster Audio, and Tantor Audio one lucky reader of this post will receive a prize pack of 10 audiobooks (titles to be announced). All you have to do to be entered for a chance to win is to have a USA or Canada mailing address and fill out the following form. I'll pick a winner via random number generator on November 30. Once the winner has been confirmed, I'll erase all personal information from my computer. Good luck! And don't forget: for more chances to win, be sure to visit the other participating blogs.

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01 November 2017

Wordless Wednesday 470

Orange Tree, 2017

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