31 March 2015

Wordless Wednesday 335

Fungus, 2015

copyright www.BethFishReads.com

Click image to see full size. For more Wordless Wednesday, click here.

Click for more

Today's Read: A Fireproof Home for the Bride by Amy Scheibe

A Fireproof Home for the Bride by Amy ScheibeWhat if you unquestioningly accepted the fact that you were to marry the young farmer you've known all your life . . . until he shows you a dark side of himself you didn't expect. Would you go through with the marriage, set your eyes on someone else, or try to go it alone? In the late 1950s, Emmaline Nelson weighs her choices and their consequences as she tries to envision her future.

The day after her eighteenth birthday, Emmaline Nelson sat with her spine hovering a good two inches away from the straight, cold back of an oaken pew, her feet planted next to each other on the pine floor, knees pressed together as she'd been taught. Her wool serge skirt should have been cozy, but the nylon slip her mother had insisted she wear crackled like electric ice against her dark stockings from its contact with the charged January air. Her coat hung cold and useless out in the makeshift foyer, where her mother had made her leave it, even though the inside of the church was not much warmer than the air outdoors.
A Fireproof Home for the Bride by Amy Scheibe (St. Martin's Press, 2015, p. 9 [Chapter 1 opener])

Quick Facts
  • Setting: Minnesota & North Dakota, late 1950s
  • Circumstances: Emmy grows up in a loveless home and is destined to marry an older local farmer, who is far from sweet & gentle. Calling on her inner strength, she breaks the engagement, leaves her rural home town, and moves in with an estranged aunt to work at a Fargo newspaper. While starting her new life, Emmy not only uncovers some ugly family secrets but is exposed to new ideas and different ways to live.
  • Characters: Emmy and her family; Ambrose, her finance; Bobby an ambitious Catholic boy; various teachers, friends, and colleagues
  • Genre and audience: coming-of-age, historical fiction; new adult
  • Themes: family; love; small town vs. small city; faith; race and gender issues; independence; tolerance
  • Why I want to read this: Although some reviewers noted that Scheibe attempts to address a lot of issues in one story, all agreed that this is a winner of a novel. Emmy is easy to care about, the period details are excellent, and the issues are thought provoking.
  • Extras: Scheibe grew up in the area in which she sets her novel, adding authenticity to the story. A reading guide is available at the Macmillan/St. Martin's website. For excellent television interview with Scheibe (North Dakota edition of The Today Show), click here.

Click for more

30 March 2015

Man at the Helm by Nina Stibbe (Bullet Review)

Man at the Helm by Nina StibbeGeneral plot: In 1970, when Lizzie Vogel was just nine years old, her wealthy father left the family for first a man and then another woman. After the divorce and a move to the country, Lizzie is dismayed to find that the villagers hold them at arm's length. Her older sister, at the wise age of eleven, is not surprised, telling Lizzie that they won't be accepted until there is once again a man at the head of the house.

Thus the sisters create a "man list" of potential mates for their mother, dreaming up ways to get various village men--no matter their current marital status--to date their mom. In the meantime, Mrs. Vogel, who is "temperamentally unsuited" for anything practical, becomes unhinged, finding solace in drink and pills and in writing an autobiographical play. When the realities of her new life can no longer be ignored, Mom must find the strength to keep the family afloat.

General thoughts: Although my summary of Man at the Helm sounds a little bleak, Nina Stibbe's novel is actually full of charm and humor to soften the underlying story of a family lost at sea looking for a safe harbor. I was particularly impressed with Stibbe's ability to see the world through a child's perspective. Lizzie's voice seems utterly authentic.

from review aat www.BethFishReads.comEven in the darkest moments, Stibbe remembers her narrator is a just a girl. Lizzie's misconceptions of dating and adult relationships, her confusion over her mother's behavior, her mixed feelings about her father, and her innocent acceptance of her mother's attempt to self-medicate all ring true. These same things, however, are also the source of laugh-out-loud humor, especially as the sisters play matchmaker and attempt to take over laundry duty. Not to be missed: Their younger brother's brilliant scene of acting out in a restaurant during an outing with their father.

Time period: I wonder if younger readers will be put off by the notion of the girls thinking that their mother needs a husband, but many women born in the early 1940s were unprepared to earn the kind of living required to raise three children, and Mrs. Vogel is a classic example. Although times were indeed a-changing, change had not yet caught on in rural England. In addition, the freedom that Lizzie and her siblings had might also be hard to understand. But back then all kids were pretty much on their own during the day, with very little adult supervision. Stibbes nails the time period in other ways too, such as the easy access Mrs. Vogel has to Valium and the music the girls listen to.

Audiobook: Imogen Church read the unabridged audiobook (Audible Studios; 9 hr, 57 min) with great skill, nicely capturing Lizzie's personality. For more on the audiobook, see my review for AudioFile magazine.

Published by Little, Brown, 2015 (print)
ISBN-13: 9780316286671
Source: Review (audio) (see review policy)
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)

Click for more

28 March 2015

Weekend Cooking: The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook edited by Kate White

Weekend Cooking hosted by www.BethFishReads.comWeekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. 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. For more information, see the welcome post.

Mystery Writers of America Cookbook edited by Kate WhiteAs much as I love pop culture, art, and literary themed cookbooks, I generally accept that they're going to be fun to look through and read but not particularly useful in the kitchen. It was in that spirit that I accepted a review copy of The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook edited by Kate White.

Well mark me as totally wrong! This cookbook not only is a joy to read but is a welcome addition to my kitchen shelf. If you're a fan of mysteries, a lover of tried-and-true family recipes, or just looking for an everyday cookbook, then put the MWA Cookbook on your wish list.

The first thing I noticed when I opened the book is the noir/mystery theme: the colors are browns and blacks and the icons are cleavers and skulls. I love how each chapter opens with an old-fashioned manual typewriter with a message still in it (see the scan below).

The end papers list the dozens of mystery writers who contributed to the book, starting, in alphabetical order, with Beth Amos (who contributed a holiday grogg recipe, perfect for her bartender protagonist) and ending with Angela Zeman (who completes her grappa-soaked cherries recipe by telling the cook to take a bow). Here are some of my favorite authors to show you the range of recipes:
  • Alafair Burke: Ellie Hatcher's Rum Soaked Nutella French Toast
  • Harlan Coben: Myron's Crabmeat Dip
  • Mary Higgins Clark: Mary's Celebratory Giants Game Night Chili
  • Lydsay Faye: Valentine Wilde's Chicken Fricassee
  • Lisa Scotttoline: A Tomato Sauce for all Seasons
  • Joseph Finder: Doreen's Apple Crumble
  • Lee Child: Coffee, Pot of One
Each recipe comes with a story. Some are about that author's detective, some are personal stories, and all are worth taking the time to read. Because these are real recipes made by real people (not famous chefs or recipe developers), they all look dead (ha!) simple to make and have universal appeal. A few are gluten free and many are vegetarian, but most are just basic delicious-sounding dishes.

Oh, and while you're waiting for your dinner to finish cooking, don't forget to read the introduction and the sidebars, which talk about poisons, forensics, classic detectives, red herrings, and other fun topics that fit the theme of mysteries and murder.

Even better, all proceeds from the book go back the Mystery Writers of America, which works to promote "higher regard for crime writing and recognition and respect for those who write in the genre." Anyone can join the group, which sponsors the Edgar Awards. For more information, be sure to visit their website.

Award-winning author Sandra Brown, known for her stand-alone romantic thrillers, contributed the following appetizer/snack recipe. I think I'm going to have to try it. I'm so dang curious. What do you think? I may cut the recipe in half for a test run.

Mystery Crackers
Yield: about 40 servings
  • 1⅓ cups vegetable oil
  • 1 packet dry ranch dressing mix
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons cayenne (depending on how spicy you want them)
  • 1 (1-pound) box Premium saltines (all four sleeves)
1. Combine oil, dressing mix, and pepper

2. Empty crackers into a 2-gallon ziplock bag and pour oil mixture over them. Seal and toss to coat crackers.

3. Over the next 6 to 8 hours, toss periodically until all the oil is absorbed into the crackers. Despite the oil, they'll retain their crunch and won't get soggy. I don't know how it works. It's a mystery!

Brown says she keeps "them in the fridge of my office for snacking. If I'm in a lull, I can nibble a few to 'spice things up!' "

Published by Quirk Books, 2015
ISBN-13: 9781594747571
Source: Review (see review policy)
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)

Click for more

27 March 2015

Stacked-Up Book Thoughts: The Truly Random Edition

Stacked-Up Book Thoughts are my random notes about books I've read, movies I've watched, books I'm looking forward to, and events I hope to get to.

Original Intent for This Post

I so love Trish's idea of A Day in the Life event that I really wanted to participate. But this is just not the time of year for me to be sharing my day. From February to the middle of April my life is all about the editing: twelve-hour days, seven days a week. So, although I really do have a life outside of work, I didn't think a series of variations on the following photos would make a very good post. Here's my current life:

  • Coffee
  • Work
  • Coffee
  • Work
  • Walk (if possible)
  • Wine
  • Dinner
  • Collapse
Yeah. So fun. If someone reminds me, I'm going to do a Day in the Life of a Freelancer once I recover from spring editing. In the meantime, please, please click through the link and read about everyone else's exciting lives. I can't wait to get to know my friends a little bit better.

What I've Been Listening To

I've listened to a few audiobooks that I reviewed for other venues or haven't yet reviewed here. I'll get to them soon, either as full reviews or as part of a Sound Recommendations post.

Ali Smith's How to Be Both (Recorded Books; 8 hr, 29 min) looks at the fuzzy line between opposites: life/death, past/present, and male/female. So much to think about, and John Banks was a great choice for narrator. James Hannaham did a fab job narrating his Delicious Foods (Hachette Audio; 11 hr, 6 min), which mixes humor with a serious look at race, poverty, and addiction. Nina Stibbe's Man at the Helm (Audible Studios; 9 hr, 57 min) lets us see what happens to one family after a divorce changes their circumstances. Told through the eyes of an adolescent girl (and read by Imogen Church), this is funny, sad, and touching. Kate Mulgrew leaves very little out in her self-read memoir, Born with Teeth (Hachette Audio; 9 hr, 26 min). It's all about her journey from Iowa to acting fame. Fascinating.

This and That
  • Blogging platform: I've been following some of the Bloggiesta posts and chats this week. I really should do some blog maintenance, but I'll have to wait for this summer. I think it's time for a new design/template, and I've been toying with the thought of switching to WordPress, but I need to wait until work slows down so I can get bids from some designers. I want someone else to do the coding this time, and no way I'm moving all my photos, videos, linkies, etc. to a new platform by myself.
  • Reviews: I still love posting reviews, but I've decided to give myself a time limit for writing them. No more three hours of stewing over creating the absolute perfect review for the blog. Seriously, I spend way too much time on unpaid reviews. I have a few freelance writing gigs, and that's where I want to focus my energy. So expect to see more bullet reviews in the future.
  • Fun stuff: I'm getting a new Stitch Fix either today or tomorrow, so look for an unboxing next week. I can't wait to see what I got this season.
  • Comics: Thanks to Twitter friends, Comics February (again, too busy to participate), and especially Panels, I've gotten the comics / graphic novel bug bad. I haven't been reviewing them, but I hope to put together a few mini-review blasts late next month. My wish list continues to grow as I read all of your comics reviews.
  • A look to the future: I wrote a post for Book Bloggers International for April and did an interview with the blog The Things We Read. When those posts go live, I'll announce it here or on Twitter. I'm also really excited to be on a panel at the Audio Publishers Association Conference, which runs at the same time as BEA (late May in New York). I'm really looking forward to talking about promoting audiobooks.
That's about it for me. Did you participate in Bloggiesta this week? Read anything great?

Click for more

26 March 2015

Review: Nightbird by Alice Hoffman

Nightbird by Alice HoffmanAlice Hoffman is well known for her many best-selling novels, including The Dovekeepers and Practical Magic. Because I've loved everything I've read by her, I was curious about her latest book, which was written for a middle-grade audience.

• Quick take: The Nightbird is a magical story of family, friendship, love, and self-acceptance. It's set in modern times, but has roots in folk tales and legends of witches. Hoffman has written another winner.

• General plot: Twig Fowler was born in New York City, but when she was very little, her mother (Sophie) relocated them to the 200-year-old family farmstead in the Berkshires. Twig's father was left behind, but her brother (James) was secreted into the house under cover of dark, forbidden to ever venture outside or to be seen. The Fowlers stay to themselves, guarding their secrets well, until the Hall family moves onto the adjoining abandoned property, upsetting the very foundations of Twig's life.

• Characters: Twig—a tall, lanky twelve-year-old—accepts her mother's rules, understanding the importance of protecting her older brother, who is hidden from sight because of a generations-old family curse. Yet when she meets the neighbor girls, she cannot help but crave the pleasures of a true friendship. James is caught between his love for his family and his need to accept himself for what and who he is, even if no one else can. One night, however, he sees the older Hall girl from his window and begins to think about risking everything for the chance to meet her.

from Nightbird review by www.BethFishReads.com• Themes, audience: Although Hoffman had middle graders in mind when she wrote Nightbird, there is no age limit for loving this charming story. There is a little bit of magic and a witch's curse that must be undone, but you don't have to like fantasy to care for Twig and to be interested the quirky townsfolk. The main plot line focuses on the Fowler family's secrets, but as Twig gets to know Julia Hall, the two take it upon themselves to solve the local mystery of who's responsible for a streak of petty crimes.

• Discussion points: Nightbird would make a great book club choice for both young readers and adults. Besides the obvious topics of family, secrets, witches, and friendship, groups could also discuss environmental issues (a subplot to the novel), small town life, tolerance, and self-acceptance.

• Recommendation: As I said on Twitter over the weekend: Alice Hoffman does middle grade perfectly. Nightbird is many layered and emotionally engaging. More important, Twig is a character you wish you knew in real life, especially if she'd let you have a piece of one her mother's famous pies.

• Extra: Hoffman included an apple pie recipe at the end of the book. When apple season returns to central Pennsylvania, I plan to give it a try.

Published by Random House / Wendy Lamb Books, 2015
ISBN-13: 9780385389587
Source: Review (see review policy)
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)

Click for more

24 March 2015

Wordless Wednesday 335

Wooden Wall, 2015

For best effect, click image to see full size. For more Wordless Wednesday, click here.

Click for more

Today's Read: Mo'ne Davis: Remember My Name

Mo'ne Davis: Remember My Name with Hilary BeardWhat would it be like to be a world-famous athlete, to be featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated, and to be honored by the National Baseball Hall of Fame? Now think about what it would be like if you were a thirteen-year-old girl. Mo'ne Davis has lived this, and opens her autobiography with a list of just some of her accomplishments:

My name is Mo'ne Davis. Some people know me as the first girl to throw a shutout in the Little League Baseball Word Series. I am only the fourth American girl and the eighteenth girl from anywhere in the entire world to ever get to participate. Other people know that I was the first Little Leaguer and the youngest athlete to be on the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine. I was named SportsKid of the Year by Sports Illustrated Kids, too. And still others know me as the girl who read 'Twas the Night before Christmas with the First Lady of the United States.
Mo'ne Davis: Remember My Name by Mo'ne Davis with Hilary Beard (HarperCollins / Harper, 2015, p. 1)

Quick Facts
  • Setting: modern times
  • Circumstances: This is Mo'ne Davis's story. How a sports-loving girl from Philadelphia proved that girls can indeed play with the big boys.
  • People: Mo'ne Davis and her family, coaches, teammates, and friends
  • Genre and audience: nonfiction, memoir, autobiography; not just for kids, this is a book for everyone
  • Themes: work hard, practice your talents, keep your head about you, don't neglect your studies, don't lose sight of your dreams
  • Why I want to read this: Despite her fame and amazing athletic ability, Mo'ne remains a well-rounded, down-to-earth young woman who also manages to make the honor roll at her Philadelphia-area private school. Anyone of any age would be inspired by her story, and Mo'ne is a rock-solid role model for us all. Taking liberty with her now-famous slogan, I say, Let's see you try to throw like girl. I know I can't.
  • A little insight into her character: For her reaction to a negative comment from a college student, see this USA Today sports brief and this longer article from Philly.com.

Click for more

23 March 2015

Review: Where Women Are Kings by Christie Watson

Where Women Are Kings by Christie WatsonI don't usually review books well before their publishing date, but I need to talk about Christie Watson's Where Women Are Kings now.

This beautiful novel is both a simple story of a little boy who needs love and understanding and a complex look at cultural differences, love, family, social services, child abuse, and mental illness. It's achingly tender and horrifically realistic. It's hopeful and it's devastating.

Little Elijah knows two things: His mama loves him and a wizard lives inside him. He also knows that if he ever tells anyone about the wizard, he will never see his mama again. But the wizard is so hard to keep inside, and when it crawls out his nose or mouth, it does bad things.

I found it very difficult to write about Where Women Are Kings because it packs such a huge emotional punch. Some parts are almost impossible to fathom, such as learning about how seven-year-old Elijah, the son of Nigerian immigrants, came to the attention of the UK social services system. Some parts bring us hope, especially as Elijah begins to respond to his new foster parents. But Watson doesn't give us a simple dichotomy: There is love in the most terrible places, and there is fear in the most supportive.

One of the strongest aspects of the novel is Watson's sensitive portrayal of Elijah's mother, Deborah, who becomes unhinged after her husband's death, just months after their son is born. Paranoia, depression, and a mix of Western and African religions pull Deborah into a dark place with no chance of escape. Alone in London, she turns in desperation to a local spiritual leader, who ends up exploiting her fears, sealing her and Elijah's fate.

I won't soon forget young Elijah--with his love and hope, fear and scars. He will steal your heart. Where Women Are Kings is a powerful, stunningly real novel. Put Christie Watson on your permanent must-read list.

Published by Other Press, April 28, 2015
ISBN-13: 9781590517093
Source: Review (see review policy)
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)

Click for more

21 March 2015

Weekend Cooking: Homemakers by Brit Morin

Weekend Cooking hosted by www.BethFishReads.comWeekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. 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. For more information, see the welcome post.

Homemakers by Brit MorinWhen I said yes to a review copy of Brit Morin's Homemakers I didn't know who the author was. Perhaps you're hipper than I am (well, not if you use the word hipper) and are already familiar with the colorful Brit + Co. website.

Homemakers only partially fits as a Weekend Cooking post, but because the first two chapters of Morin's book cover the kitchen and dining room, I'm going to invoke the "even vaguely foodie" rule here.

Morin is all about creating and being creative, so Homemakers is not, as she says in the introduction, a traditional homemaking book. Instead it's a guide for living in the modern world: getting comfy and organized with some techie help and a little DIY power. The book takes us through an entire house, from the public spaces (like kitchen and living room) to the private areas (like bedroom and closet).

First, a note on the design: The text is set in easy-to-read chunks and broken by colorful graphics and photos. There is a lot of white space, which makes the book a pleasure to flip through, but I'm not sure if anyone will use the blank pages specifically set aside for notes. I like the feel of the heavy semigloss stock and appreciate the color-coded chapters and useful index.

copyright: Brit Morin, HomemakersNext, the content: For this review, I focus on the kitchen and dining room chapters, but the features I mention are found throughout Homemakers. Morin starts with the most basic of basics for each room, such as how to chop an onion and how to set a table. Next is a pretty graphic showing that room's essentials (see the image to the left for some of the kitchen tools). For the dining room, she suggests wine opener, tablecloth, candlesticks, cocktail shaker, and so on.

Morin then turns to gadgets and apps, which make up some of my favorite sections of the book. Although I'm not interested in all of the small appliances Morin features (no SodaStream for me), I liked reading her suggestions. I researched the apps from the kitchen chapter and found Foodily to be worth further investigation but discovered that Ziplist was already defunct (a risk with any app list).

The final sections for each Homemakers chapter are DIY and a look to the future. For the kitchen, DIY equaled simple recipes, but for the other chapters, Morin gives instructions for easy crafts projects, like etching glass, decorating a tablecloth, and using washi tape. The look to the future was intriguing: I'm not sure I'd buy a dining table with built in touch pads. On the other hand, I might stand in line for car that drove itself.

copyright: Brit Morin, HomemakersRecommendations: In the end, I found a few crafts projects I might tackle and some apps I might download. At my stage in life, I don't think I'd buy Homemakers for myself. But this book would make a great gift for college students and young professionals. Some of the decorating ideas look easy to duplicate with a minimal investment in time and money. I recommend you check Homemakers out of the library before buying. Or visit the Brit + Co. website to see if Brit Morin's style is right for you.

Photo credits: I scanned the images for use with this review. The images in the book look much better than these do and all rights remain with the original copyright holder: Brit Morin. Click images to see them full size.

Published by HarperCollins / William Morrow, 2015
ISBN-13: 9780062332509
Source: Review (see review policy)
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)

NOTE: some people are having trouble with Mr. Linky. If you're one of those people, just leave your link in the comments. :)

Click for more

20 March 2015

3 Short Pieces: Reading in under an Hour 2

Reading in under an Hour @ www.BethFishReads.comLunchtime is reading time for many of us. I used to spend my midday break with my current print/eBook or my audiobook, but lately I've gotten more pleasure out of shorter pieces.

Each day I pick a story or an article that I can start and finish before I turn back to my computer for an afternoon of editing. I've been sampling many kinds of short pieces, such as short stories, essays, magazine articles, and poems.

Here's a look at some of the shorts I've recently read.

FInd the Good by Heather LendeComing out next month, Find the Good (Algonquin, 2015, 9781616201678) is a wonderful collection of essays by Heather Lende, the obituary writer for the town of Haines, Alaska (population ~2,000). In "The Good News," Lende notes that one of her occupational hazards is thinking about what life has to teach us. After years of focusing her journalism on the dead, she's already come up with her own deathbed bit of wisdom: "Find the good." She has taken this advice so much to heart that her editor teases her about it. But because, unlike most obit writers, Lende is summing up the lives of people she knows, she is always looking for the positive. I love the casual, conversational tone of her writing and wholeheartedly recommend the collection.

Writing obituaries is my way of transcending bad news. It has taught me the value of intentionally trying to find the good in people and situations, and that practice--and I do believe that finding the good can be practiced--has made my life more meaningful. (p. 3)
I absolutely loved this February 25, 2015, article from Esquire magazine by Josh Ozersky: "Inside the Shop of the Last Great American Watchmaker." I was drawn to the story for a couple of reasons. First, the Roland G. Murphy Watch Company is located in my state of Pennsylvania and, second, my grandfather was trained as a watchmaker in pre-revolution Russia, so I've always had a thing for timepieces. Unlike the more popular and more status-bearing watches, a Murphy is made by hand with consideration for accuracy and quality. I think we should all embrace the watchmaker's philosophy:
Murphy doesn't build watches for himself or his buyer. He builds for an ideal: that things should always be better than what's necessary.
John McPhee's recent piece in the May 3, 2015, issue of The New Yorker, "On Writing: Frame of Reference" gave me a lot to think about. The central theme has to do with inserting cultural references in our writing, but of course, being conscious of our audience is important in many contexts. As an editor, I'm always aware of what McPhee calls dating a piece. His examples involve groups of famous people, but when editing, I have to check the provenience of much more, such as clothing labels, songs, and cars. There is truly no quicker way to age yourself than to make a reference to the pop culture of your youth; your younger friends won't be able to hide their complete lack of comprehension. Oops. Whether you're writing a book review, a novel, or a tweet, you won't want to miss McPhee's advice.
The last thing I would ever suggest to young writers is that they consciously try to write for the ages. . . . We should just be hoping that our pieces aren’t obsolete before the editor sees them. If you look for allusions and images that have some durability, your choices will stabilize your piece of writing.

Click for more

19 March 2015

It's Me, Hilary: The Man Who Drew Eloise (Film Review)

Photo Credit: Hilary Knight, 1969Who hasn't heard of Eloise, the fiercely independent six-year-old who lives at the Plaza Hotel? Although the author of the original Eloise books, Kay Thompson, was a famous actor and singer, the illustrator, Hilary Knight, is a much more private person.

Many a girl and her parents have been Eloise fans over the last half century, including Lena Dunham (Girls), who even has a tattoo of the character on her lower back. And it was because of her Eliose ink that Dunham and Knight got to know each other in person.

In the new HBO documentary It's Me, Hilary: The Man Who Drew Eloise (directed by Matt Wolf), we too get to meet the eccentric artist. Although Eloise is the work nearest to his heart, Knight has had a long and fruitful career as an illustrator of posters and magazines as well as of other books (some of which he wrote). The story of the birth and death of his collaboration with Thompson is at the heart of the short film, but we also get a peek at Knight's fanciful world, including a visit to his homes.

Courtesy of HBOHe is incredibly imaginative and almost always has a pencil or video camera in hand to capture the images in his head or on the street. I found Knight to be delightfully singular, and my heart went out to him in sympathy for the troubles that ended his association with the little girl he drew so lovingly.

New footage is supplemented with family photos and vintage film, giving the documentary an intimate feel. Besides hearing from Dunham, we are also treated to Mindy Kaling's and Fran Lebowitz's thoughts about Eloise. Knight's nieces provide additional insight into their uncle's life and his relationship with the spunky character he helped create.

At just about forty-five minutes, the documentary preserves Knight's privacy while giving him his well-deserved moment in the sun. Don't forget to mark your calendar for the HBO debut on March 23 at 9:00 ET/PT. This is a must-see film for all Eloise fans.

Courtesy of HBOFor more on Hilary Knight and his work, visit his website. For the air times and more information about the film, visit HBO's website.

Photo Credits: Eloise drawing--Hilary Knight, 1969. Used by permission of Simon and Schuster, Inc/Courtesy of HBO; photo of Hilary Knight--Courtesy of HBO; photo of Lena Dunham--Courtesy of HBO

Produced by Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner
Directed by Matt Wolf
Thanks to HBO for providing me with a screener.

Click for more

17 March 2015

Wordless Wednesday 334

Steeple, 2015

Click image to see full size. For more Wordless Wednesday, click here.

Click for more

Today's Read: Us by David Nicholls

Us by David NichollsHow would you feel if your spouse suddenly announced her discontent with what you thought was a perfectly fine marriage? Just to make it more baffling, there is no other love interest, and she isn't planning on moving out for a few more months. Middle-aged Douglas Petersen was blind-sided, but he holds out hope that he will win back his wife during their already planned grand tour of Europe with their seventeen-year-old son.

Last summer, a short time before my son was due to leave home for college, my wife woke me in the middle of the night.

At first I thought she was shaking me because of burglars. Since moving to the country my wife had developed a tendency to jerk awake at every creak and groan and rustle. I'd try to reassure her. It's the radiators, I'd say, it's the joists contracting or expanding, it's foxes. Yes, foxes taking the laptop, she'd say, foxes taking the keys to the car, and we'd lie and listen some more. There was always the "panic button" by the side of our bed, but I could never imagine pressing it in case the alarm disturbed someone, say, a burglar for instance.
Us by David Nicholls (HarperCollins / Harper, 2014, p. 5 [ARC])

Quick Facts
  • Setting: Modern times, England and various cities in Europe
  • Circumstances: Organized scientist Douglas Petersen is informed by his artistic, laid-back wife, Connie, that she thinks their marriage "has run its course." Douglas, not seeing any real problem, hopes that Connie will change her mind after they re-bond during their summer holiday with their son.
  • Characters: Douglas, a research scientist; his wife, Connie, and their son, Albie; Douglas's and Connie's families; various friends in England; fellow tourists they meet in Europe
  • Genre: contemporary fiction
  • Themes: parent-child relationships, marriage, self-discovery, love, family
  • What I loved: Douglas is so well-meaning but at the same time so clueless. He is a pragmatist, whereas Connie and Albie are flexible. Douglas likes schedules; they see travel (and life) as an adventure, as something to be discovered and experienced, not controlled. The story is told through Douglas's eyes, and his misunderstandings and misinterpretations are both funny and sad. A beautiful snapshot of the life of a family who loves each other but just can't seem to find smooth waters.
  • The audiobook: British actor David Haig, the narrator of the unabridged audiobook (Harper Audio; 14 hr 9 min), brought Douglas alive for me. Haig's sympathetic, expressive performance was a perfect match for this novel. (For my complete audiobook review, see AudioFile magazine.)

Click for more

16 March 2015

Review: A Double Take from Bill Willingham's Fables Series

Werewolves in the Heartland by Bill WillinghamWerewolves of the Heartland is a spin-off adventure in Bill Willingham's Fables series.

Bigby Wolf is scouring the country for a possible new location for Fabletown. When he comes across Story City, Iowa, he senses something is not quite right, but he doesn't act fast enough and is hit by a drugged dart. When he awakes, he discovers he has been captured by rogue werewolves, led by an old friend of his. Although most of the pack consider Bigby to be a god among wolves, others are bent on his destruction. Woe to those who think they are stronger and cleverer than Bigby.

Bigby Wolf has always been one of my favorite Fables characters, so I'm always happy to read an issue centered on him. In this installment, we learn a few secrets of Bigby's past and get a glimpse of his true powers and strength. Bigby is complex, and different sides of personality come into play in this volume. I'm fascinated with how he can be so kind one minute and so terrible the next.

This action-packed story doesn't add a lot to the main Fables plot line but gives us insight into Bigby's background. We also meet a new character, whom we're sure to see again. This issue was drawn by Craig Hamilton and Jim Fern, who did a great job, especially with rendering the transitioning werewolves.

Inherit the Wind, Fables 17, by Bill WillinghamInherit the Wind is volume 17 in Bill Willingham's main Fables series. There are three principle story lines that are interwoven throughout the book.

My favorite story (no surprise here) is centered on the Wolf family. Bigby, Snow, and the kids are at the home of the North Wind. A new North Wind must be chosen from the blood line, which means one of the Wolf children will take his or her grandfather's place as king. I loved the different personalities of the children, and the way the new wind was finally revealed. This was a fun story.

I was less interested in Bufkin's story. When we last saw him, he had escaped the Fabletown library and was on the run from the Nome King with a ragtag gang of fellow fugitives. After a promising start, they find themselves once again captured. This story ends on a kind of cliff-hanger. I'm hoping what I think happened, didn't really happen.

Finally, I'm following with interest the transformation of the new Ms. Spratt, former lover of Mr. Dark, who now goes by the name of Leigh Duglas. She is in training, determined to get strong and tone her new, lean body. She, of course, is motivated by evil intent and cannot be trusted. There is sure to be a reckoning when she's reunited with the other Fables characters.

This volume is illustrated by Mark Buckingham, who (as I've said before) is my favorite Fables illustrator. I particularly like how he drew the characters needed for the North Wind panels: the zephyrs and air movement were nicely done.

Werewolves of the Heartland published by DC Comics / Vertigo, 2013
ISBN-13: 9781401224806
Inherit the Wind published by DC Comics / Vertigo, 2012
ISBN 13: 9781401235161
Source: Bought (see review policy)
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)

Click for more

14 March 2015

Weekend Cooking: Ginger Shortbread

Weekend Cooking hosted by www.BethFishReads.comWeekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. 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. For more information, see the welcome post.

Bar Cookies A to Z by Marie SimmonsI already reviewed Marie Simmons's Bar Cookies A to Z, and here I am still using this treasure of a cookbook.

I had a very busy week at work and so decided I needed to relax with a little simple baking. I started flipping through the cookbook and didn't get past G. Crystallized ginger, simple shortbread. Yes, this was the perfect bar cookie for me.

The photo is a scan from the book (and all rights remain with the original copyright holder: Susan Marie Anderson).

Ginger Shortbread
24 bars

  • 2¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces and slightly softened
  • ½ cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
Preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly butter a 13 by 9-inch baking pan.

Combine the flour, brown sugar, ground ginger, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl. Add the butter and cut in with a pastry blender or 2 knives until the mixture makes fine crumbs. Add the crystallized ginger and stir with a fork to blend evenly.

With lightly floured fingertips, press the mixture into the prepared baking pan in an even layer over the bottom. Bake on the center rack for about 20 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned. Cool in the pan on a wire rack before cutting into bars.

Click for more

13 March 2015

Review & Giveaway: Public School Superhero by James Patterson and Chris Tebbetts

Public School Superhero by James Patterson & Chris TebbettsEverywhere you look these days people are talking about comics and graphic novels. And we all know that many middle-grade readers are particularly drawn to the medium. But because comics are geared to a broad range of readers, parents may wonder about which ones are appropriate for their young readers.

Fortunately, there are a lot of kid-friendly choices, and James Patterson's fun and funny middle-school graphic/illustrated novels are always a safe bet. Patterson's newest is Public School Superhero, which is written with Chris Tebbetts.

On the outside, Kenny Wright is a mild-mannered chess club geek who is finding it really hard to stay out of the way of the tough kids at his new school. But on the inside he's really Stainlezz Steel Man, defender of the weak and doer of good deeds.

Of course, Kenny knows he's not really a superhero, but a kid can dream, can't he? And in his urban neighborhood, it's a good idea to feel strong. Unfortunately, Kenny's image isn't helped by his watchful grandmother, who insists on walking him to school, even though he's in sixth grade--practically grown up already.

When, after a rocky start to the school year, Kenny is tasked with teaching chess to one of the tough kids, he is stunned. Unfortunately, he understands it's pretty much the only way he'll be able to navigate the roiling waters of middle school. Let's hope Stainlezz Steel Man can lend a hand.

Although Patterson and Tebbetts address a lot of important issues in Public School Superhero, they avoid being preachy. The humor and black-and-white illustrations and short comics (drawn by Cory Thomas) help keep the tone light, even while the story explores bullying, family, friendship, honesty, and helping others.

In addition, the book highlights some of the concerns that inner-city schools face on a daily basis, such as no gymnasium, antiquated technology, and overcrowded classrooms.

Even though every problem has not been solved, the book ends on an upbeat. Kenny, with the help of some caring adults and a vivid imagination, manages not only to make through the first couple months of sixth grade but to find his place at school and at home.

For more information about the book, visit the website for Public School Superhero and follow #PublicSchoolSuperhero on your social media sites. For more on James Patterson, visit his website, follow him on Twitter, and like his Facebook page.

The Giveaway: Thanks to Little Brown I'm able to offer one of my readers with a U.S. mailing address a fabulous prize pack of four books. One lucky reader will get a copy of Public School Superhero along three more of Patterson's middle school books: I Funny, Treasure Hunters, and House of Robots. All you have to do to be entered to win is to fill out the form. I'll pick a winner using a random number generator on March 20. Once the winner has been confirmed, I'll erase all personal information from my computer. Good luck.

Click for more

12 March 2015

Review: Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Seraphina by Rachel HartmanSometime in the past, in an alternate history, humans and dragons live together, keeping the peace under an uneasy treaty. Some dragons have chosen to live in their own lands, but others, the Saar, have learned to take a human shape and hold positions at court and as teachers.

As the fortieth anniversary of the treaty approaches, the murder of the crown prince of Goredd threatens to irrevocably shatter the tenuous bonds between the species. Popular human opinion has it that dragons are responsible for the death, and prejudice and hate rise to the surface.

The eponymous heroine of Rachel Hartman's Seraphina finds herself unexpectedly at the forefront of the unrest. As the eldest daughter of the treaty's author, Seraphina knows the law. But that's not why, at age sixteen, she has come to court. She is there to assist the royal musician and to provide lessons to the new heir apparent, Princess Glisselda. Seraphina, however, has secrets, and those secrets just might hold the key to a lasting peace.

It's easy to see why Seraphina earned so many awards and starred reviews. Although the idea of dragons and humans living in close proximity is not new, Hartman has given us a fresh take on the theme and a strong, smart main character. Seraphina doesn't always make wise decisions, but she doesn't approach life recklessly. She has talents, but she is also flawed and struggles with self-acceptance.

I chose to listen to the unabridged audiobook read by Mandy Williams. Despite being an avid audiobook fan, I think Serphina is one of those novels that should be read in print. Or perhaps it was that Williams was not a good match for Seraphina.

My primary issue with the audiobook is that Seraphina is old enough to leave home and work in a prestigious position at court. She is intelligent, thoughtful, and troubled. Unfortunately, Williams's voice sounded much too young for the character, which strained my ability to believe in the story. I often had to step back from the audio to remind myself that Seraphina was not twelve.

Although Seraphina is a fantasy, the novel touches on several deeper themes that resonate in modern times. The most important of which are prejudice against those who are different and the problems faced by people of mixed heritages. You see, Seraphina is an abomination and is thought impossible to even exist: her mother, who died in childbirth, was a dragon, but her father is all too human.

In one scene that would have been gut-wrenching in print, Williams fails to convey the depth of Seraphina's self-loathing and utter despair at the physical reminders of her dragon heritage. This same issue is found in the dramatic action scenes. Williams's narration is a little flat, and she would have served listeners better by increasing her pace and sharpening her tones to help us relate to Seraphina's fear and bravery.

Seraphina has a reputation of being a talented musician with an arresting singing voice, and I love that Williams, who has a nice voice, chose to break into song whenever Seraphina performs for an audience. This was a welcome treat, although I'd be remiss not to mention that when singing, Williams came out of character, sounding older and dropping Seraphina's accent.

Recommendation: Seraphina is a complex novel with a likable, smart, and flawed heroine. Rachel Hartman has created a unique, yet familiar world in which beings are struggling to understand each other and to find a middle ground in which both sides can embrace their differences. Even the obligatory love story is realistic and slow-building. Hartman has nicely balanced the action, the world building, and the characters' personal stories. Seraphina well deserves its awards and rave reviews.

Unfortunately, the audiobook does not do this novel justice. My suggestion is to stick with print. I understand that the print book contains a glossary and a list of characters. It's too bad these materials were not available as PDF downloads for listeners.

Note: Veteran narrator Justin Eyre has minor role in Seraphina. Her performance was well done. For a sample of Mandy Williams's performance, hit the play button in the widget below.

Print: Random House Books for Young Readers, 2012
ISBN-13: 9780375866562
Audio: Listening Library; 13 hr, 15 min
Source: Review (audio) (see review policy)
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)

Click for more

10 March 2015

Wordless Wednesday 333

Sparrow, 2015

© www.BethFishReads.com

Click image to see full size. For more Wordless Wednesday, click here.

Click for more

Today's Read: Bone Gap by Laura Ruby

Bone Gap by Laura RubyWhat if you were the only witness to a kidnapping but found you were incapable of helping the investigation? Although Finn O'Sullivan saw the abduction of his brother's girlfriend, he finds he can't identify the tall man who took her away. All the mug shots look alike to him because Finn suffers from a condition known as face blindness (prosopagnosia).

The people of Bone Gap called Finn a lot of things, but none of them was his name. When he was little, they called him Spaceman. Sidetrack. Moonface. You. As he got older, they called him Pretty Boy. Loner. Brother. Dude.

But whatever they called him, they called him fondly. Despite his odd expressions, his strange distraction, and that annoying way he had of creeping up on a person, they knew him as well as they knew anyone. As well as they knew themselves.
Big Gap by Laura Ruby (HarperTeen / Balzer + Bray, 2015, p. 1 [ARC])

Quick Facts
  • Setting: Midwest, small rural community, contemporary times
  • Circumstances: Roza, a beautiful young girl, is kidnapped and held captive by a tall man, whom Finn, the only witness, cannot ID. Besides being frustrated by his handicap, Finn finds himself slipping out of favor when the townsfolk begin to doubt his story.
  • Characters: Finn and his brother Sean; Roza and Priscilla, their girlfriends; the tall man Finn cannot identify; quirky neighbors and friends
  • Genre & audience: literary fiction, mixed with folklore, mystery, and a little magic; young adult
  • Themes: love, friendship, forgiveness, self-acceptance, family, women's strength, handicaps, being different
  • Miscellaneous: the story is told from multiple view points; we learn about the real condition of facial blindness
  • Early thoughts: I meant to look at only the first paragraph but ended up reading about a third of the book before I realized it. I love the writing style, deep emotions, and vivid characters.

Click for more

09 March 2015

Reading on Topic: Seven Orphaned Novels

Am I the only one who has noticed the publishing industry's interest in orphans? Over the last couple of years there's been an upswing in books with the word orphan in the title and in books that feature orphans as the main characters. I'm not sure what this means, but it's a trend that caught my attention.

Today's Reading On Topic covers seven books I've shelved under the general category of orphans. They range from creepy to thoughtful to light-hearted, so I'm sure there's a title that's just right for you. They all look great to me.

A Little Bit Scary

Sophie Hannah, The Orphan ChoirSophie Hannah, The Orphan Choir (Picador; ISBN: 9781250063755; 2015) Life in the city becomes unbearable for Louise Beeston after her young son leaves for boarding school and joins a famous boys' choir. It's not only that she misses her son but that she can no longer bear the noise of her neighbor's music and of the workmen who are sandblasting her house. After talking her husband into relocating to the country, Louise is distressed to discover she cannot outrun the ghostly choir that, apparently, only she can hear. As she begins a downward spiral, Louise tries to uncover the secret meanings behind the music. Recommendation: Perfectly spooky for readers who love psychological suspense.

Catherine Jinx How to Catch a BogleCatherine Jinx How to Catch a Bogle (Harcourt Children's; ISBN: 9780544087088; 2013) Ten-year-old Birdie loves her job with Alfred the Bogle catcher, especially because she knows how bad it can be for an orphan in Victorian London. Birdie and Alfred's services are required whenever a village child goes missing. But when the number of disappearances gets out of hand, the pair relies on friends to help them figure out what is happening. Quirky characters, plenty of action, and a surprising dilemma for Birdie perk up this fun start to a promising middle grade trilogy. Recommendation: Perfect for anyone who likes a engaging mix of mystery, fantasy, and folklore seasoned with a little creep factor. Don't miss the book trailer.

Friends and Family

Christina Baker Kline, Orphan TrainChristina Baker Kline, Orphan Train (William Morrow; ISBN: 9780061950728, 2013) In modern times, Molly, a troubled Native American teen, meets ninety-something Vivian when fulfilling a community service obligation. Eventually bonding over their shared orphan status, Vivian opens up to Molly about her experiences after being sent to the Midwest on a orphan train in the 1920s. Alternating between early-twentieth-century Minnesota and contemporary Maine, Kline takes readers on an emotional journey of survival, forgiveness, and self-acceptance. Recommendation: For readers who like stories of overcoming hardship, female friendships, and historical fiction. Based on a real policy for placing orphans in family homes.

Patry Francis, The Orphans of Race PointPatry Francis, The Orphans of Race Point (Harper Perennial; ISBN: 9780061950728; 2014) From a childhood friendship that was forged over a tragedy, Gus and Hallie's feelings blossom into love, only to be shattered around the time they graduate high school. Decades later, Gus finds himself once again caught up in violence, and Hallie is drawn back into his life, hoping to prove his innocence and recapture the closeness they once felt. This emotionally deep saga follows the two motherless children over almost thirty years and explores family, friendship, domestic violence, parenthood, and redemption. Recommendation: For readers looking for a heartfelt story of friendship, love, and loyalty.

Cathleen Schine, Fin & LadyCathleen Schine, Fin & Lady (Sarah Crichton; ISBN: 9780374154905, 2013) When eleven-year-old Fin is orphaned, he is uprooted from his mother's dairy farm to live with his much older, flighty half-sister, Lady, in Greenwich Village. Set against the backdrop of the tumultuous 1960s, practical Fin and the free-spirited Lady must learn to negotiate life both on their own terms and as a team. Schine brilliantly captures the inner thoughts of the young boy, from his initial adaptation to city life to his maturing reactions to Lady's sometimes questionable choices. Recommendation: For fans of family stories, coming-of-age tales, and the sociopolitical atmosphere of the 1960s.

Maybe Not So Orphaned

Jamie Ford, Songs of Willow FrostJamie Ford, Songs of Willow Frost (Ballantine; ISBN: 9780345522023; 2013) Twelve-year-old William Eng has been at a Seattle orphanage for almost half his life, but after a rare trip to the movie theater he is convinced that the star of the film is really is presumed-dead mother. Accompanied by a friend, the boy scours the city in an attempt to discover the true story of the actress Willow Frost. More than a tale of a young orphan searching for family, this novel explores Depression Era economic hardships, the plight of Chinese-American women in the 1920s, family, religion, and friendship. Recommendation: For readers who love historical fiction, family stories, and emotional journeys.

Paulette Jiles, Lighthouse IslandPaulette Jiles, Lighthouse Island (William Morrow; ISBN: 9780062232502; 2013) We all know the future of the world looks dark, but for orphans like Nadia, life is particularly hard. Remembering her parents' parting words before they abandoned her years ago, Nadia is convinced there is a haven from the overcrowded, drought-ridden existence that passes for normal. When she sees a chance to escape government control, she leaves the city for the uncharted wilderness to chase her dreams and find her parents. Nadia's journey is fraught with danger as well as unexpected alliances. But can reality ever match our expectations? Recommendation: This tale of desperate hope is perfect for lovers of adult dystopian fiction.

Which one would you read first?

Click for more

07 March 2015

Weekend Cooking: Sheet Pan Suppers by Molly Gilbert

Weekend Cooking hosted by www.BethFishReads.comWeekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. 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. For more information, see the welcome post.

Sheet Pan Suppers by Molly GilbertWe've already had one review of Molly Gilbert's Sheet Pan Suppers on Weekend Cooking and I bet we'll see even more as time goes on. That's because this is a great little cookbook with many ideas for busy people who like to cook but don't necessarily like all the fuss or cleanup.

The first thing you have to know about Sheet Pan Suppers is that the book also includes snacks and brunch and even dessert, so you'll put your sheet pan (rimmed baking sheet) to good use throughout the day. All you need is a good-quality pan (though a discount store brand works too) and some parchment or cooking spray.

Even before I started studying the recipes, I found a lot to like about this cookbook. The colorful boxes containing all kinds of useful tips caught my eye right away. Gilbert gives us information about ingredients (what exactly is Maldon salt?), provides helpful cooking tips (how to bake the best biscuits), and offers variations on a theme (focaccia flavors). I really love the "DYI or Buy" boxes, which help you decide whether it's worth it to make your own, say, blue cheese dressing.

But the heart of any cookbook is, of course, the recipes, and you'll be happy to know pretty much all of the dishes are accessible to the everyday home cook. The bulk of the work is in preparing the ingredients for the oven. Sometimes that means simply chopping and seasoning; other times that means mixing a sauce or forming patties or burgers. A few recipes, like an appetizer tart, require some fancier footwork in the slicing department, but there is nothing out-of-bounds difficult.

Sheet Pan Suppers by Moly GilbertOne of the best compliments I can give a general cookbook is to praise the range of flavors it incorporates. Sheet Pan Suppers helps us open our kitchens to global tastes, with Mideast falafels, Southwest enchiladas, All-American chicken, Asian-spiced pork, and Italian-inspired fish. There are meat dishes and vegetarian dishes and healthful fruit desserts as well as sinful indulgences.

A few notes: (1) Although there are plenty of options for busy weeknights in Sheet Pan Suppers, I think it has a kind of lazy weekend feel to it. (2) I'm glad that not all the recipes involve roasting: Some dishes cook under a broiler, and others are baked covered or in parchment pockets. (3) The scan (at the right) is of the Greek Stuffed Roly-Poly Squash (all rights remain with Gilbert), which is on my list to try.

One of the dinners I made was Philly Chicken Sausage & Peppers with Basil-Garlic Bread, although I substituted spicy Italian (pork) sausages. This was a quick meal to put together and perfect for a weeknight. We both loved it, and I know we'll have it again.

If you're looking for easy yet nutritious and flavorful dinners, snacks, and desserts pick up Molly Gilbert's Sheet Pan Suppers. You're sure to discover some new go-to dishes that will fit your busy schedule. And what could be less stressful for a casual company dinner than to pull out a baking pan of colorful deliciousness?

Instead of sharing a recipe, I've included the following short video in which Gilbert makes a simple salmon dish from her book.

Published by Workman, 2015
ISBN-13: 9780761178422
Source: Review (see review policy)
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)

Click for more


All content and photos (except where noted) copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads 2008-2018. All rights reserved.



To The Blogger Guide, Blogger Buster, Tips Blogger, Our Blogger Templates, BlogU, and Exploding Boy for the code for customizing my blog. To Old Book Illustrations for my ID photo. To SEO for meta-tag analysis. To Blogger Widgets for the avatars in my comments and sidebar gadgets. To Review of the Web for more gadgets. To SuziQ from Whimpulsive for help with my comments section. To Cool Tricks N Tips for my Google +1 button.

Quick Linker



  © Blogger template Coozie by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP