August 11, 2016

Cookbook Review: Modern Potluck by Kristin Donnelly #cookbook #bookreview #4star @kristinconfit

Title: Modern Potluck
Author: Kristin Donnelly
Publisher: Clarkson Potter
Genre: Cooking, How-To
Release Date: July 26, 2016
Source: Blogging for Books
Purchase: Amazon

Uncover the best dish

Modern Potluck is a cookbook and guide for today’s potluckers that delivers Instagram-worthy dishes packed with exciting, bold flavors. These 100 make-ahead recipes are perfect for a crowd and navigate carnivore, gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian, and vegan preferences gracefully. With beautiful color photographs and lots of practical information such as how to pack foods to travel, Modern Potluck is the ultimate book for gathering friends and family around an abundant, delicious meal.

This was a beautifully put together cookbook full of recipes and photos for almost every recipe. The recipes have many different ranges from dips to salads to main dishes and cocktails. However, when I view this book, I don't see "potluck". What I see is every day meals, some expensive to make and others maybe not so expensive. When I was growing up, a potluck involved meatballs, salads, brownies, just things that were simple and not so expensive to make. I don't think potluck when I see things made with lamb and the like.

So, while this book really isn't for me and my family, maybe its right up your alley.

Disclaimer: *I received a copy of this book for free to review, this in no way influenced my review, all opinions are 100% honest and my own.

Kristin Donnelly is a food writer and recipe tester and developer. Before launching her career as a freelancer, Kirstin was an editor at Food & Wine for eight years, writing about healthy eating and wine pairing. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and their daughter.

Find Kristin: Website | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram

July 10, 2016

Spotlight: Twisted by Hannah Jayne + #giveaway

Title: Twisted
Author: Hannah Jayne
Pubdate: July 5th, 2016
ISBN: 9781492605492

Guilty until proven innocent…

Bex has always been her daddy’s little girl. After her mother left, it was just the two of them. Sure he spoiled her with clothes and jewelry, but what father doesn’t dote on his daughter?

Except Bex’s dad is alleged to be a notorious serial killer. Dubbed “The Wife Collector” by the press, her father disappeared before he could stand trial. And Bex was left to deal with the taunts and rumors. Foster care is her one chance at starting over, starting fresh.

But Bex's old life isn't ready to let her go. When bodies start turning up in her new hometown, the police want to use her as bait to bring her father in for questioning. Is this Bex’s one chance to reunite with her father and prove his innocence—or is she setting herself up to be a serial killer’s next victim?

Hannah Schwartz lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and writes cozy mysteries, young adult fiction, chick lit, and grocery lists that she never seems to remember to bring to the grocery store. Hannah shares a house with two neurotic, feet-attacking cats and has Kryptonite-like weakness for donuts. Visit

Would you rather go through life unable to answer any questions or unable to ask any questions?
Aw, geez, I’m kind of a know it all, so no trivia nights?! But I know all this useless information because I ask A LOT of questions. Eek! Maybe no answers?

Bex Andrews surged forward, eyes pulled open wider than she ever thought they could be, heart hammering like a fire bell.
“I’m so sorry,” the soothing voice continued. “I didn’t mean to startle you. We’re going to be landing in a few minutes, and I need you to put your tray table up.”
“Oh.” Bex looked at her hands, her knuckles white as she gripped the tray table in front of her, then back to the flight attendant. She felt the familiar heat of embarrassment singe across her cheeks. “Sure. I’m sorry.”
The flight attendant straightened. “Thank you.” Her smile was as bright as a Crest commercial and her hair swirled behind her as she continued up the aisle, reminding the other passengers that they were landing soon.
Bex’s heart didn’t stop its relentless thump. “Excuse me,” she said, leaning forward in her seat. The flight attendant turned. “Mmm-hmm?”
“Do I have time to use the restroom?”
Bex made her way down the narrow aisle, wobbling with the rocking of the plane. She glanced away as people looked up at her, letting out her breath only when she escaped into the tiny lavatory and slid the little lever to Occupied. Under the glaring, yellow light, Beth Anne Reimer hardly recognized herself.
Her once white-blond, shoulder-length hair was blunt cut to her ears, the curls gone so that her new sandy-brown hair and pixie cut framed her face, hugging her cheekbones and falling against her darkened eyebrows. Her long bangs hung into her hazel eyes, and several coats of mascara made her short lashes stand out. She was wearing an outfit that made her look like every other teenager in the free world: tight jeans faded at the knees and fraying at the ankles, flip-flops, and a white zip-up hoodie with a surfer print. Instinctively, she pulled the hood over her head, and the fabric shaded her face and instantly darkened her cheekbones. Her bright eyes were suddenly small and menacing. She pushed the hood back. She was a new person, at the other side of her home state and about to start a new life. No way was she going to fade into her hoodie and let people think she was a serial killer just because her father was.
Not anymore.
That was Beth Anne Reimer. And she was Bex Andrews now.


Bex stared out the car’s passenger-side window as the scenery zoomed by. She had never been to Kill Devil Hills, though she had seen postcards and TV shows set here, but what was whizzing by her—nondescript strip malls, Target shopping centers, and fast-food places—made her feel like the puddle-jumper flight from Raleigh, North Carolina, had landed her right back there. If it hadn’t been for the woman in the driver’s seat who was chatting happily about something Bex couldn’t focus on, she would have wondered if this whole moving-across-the-state thing was just a big hoax.
“Does that sound good to you?”
The woman driving the Honda SUV smiled at Bex, her light- blue eyes sparkling even in the dim hint of twilight.
Bex felt her mouth drop open. “I’m sorry, what?”
Denise tucked a strand of deep-brown hair behind her ear. “I’m sorry, Bex. That’s such a cool name, by the way. I’m probably just talking your ear off. We’re just really happy to have you here. I know it can’t be easy for you…”
The familiar lump started to form in the back of her throat and Bex shifted in the car seat, working the seat belt strap between her fingers. Her grandmother’s face flashed in her mind, and the familiar smells of the house where Bex had lived since she was seven years old filled her nostrils—her grandmother’s powdery, lavender smell; the sweet, cloying scent of night jasmine when it wafted through her bedroom curtains; the earthy smell of hot grass as she tromped barefoot through it.
But that was a world away in another life. Her grandmother had passed seven months ago and Bex’s home had been sold. She’d been shifted into a “temporary care situation,” which basically meant she was stuck in a cross between an orphanage and juvenile hall until a foster home willing to take her opened up.
And when one did, it was across the state in the Outer Banks with Denise and Michael Pierson, a couple in their early forties who only knew that Bex had lived with her grandmother.
They didn’t know the truth.
They didn’t know that Bex’s own mother had disappeared when Bex was only five years old and still called Beth Anne Reimer. They didn’t know that Beth Anne was doted on by a father who lavished her with costume jewelry and funky purses.
They didn’t know that all the gifts Beth Anne’s father gave her had once belonged to women in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina. Women who Beth Anne’s father—dubbed the Wife Collector in the press—had murdered.
Allegedly. The word gnawed at Bex’s periphery.
It was Beth Anne herself, a shy, moon-eyed seven-year-old, who had pointed a chubby finger at her own father when the police came to her house. Yes, she knew the pretty blond woman from the photograph, she had said to the police officer. The girl had been with them for two days before getting into the car with Beth Anne’s daddy. No, she didn’t know where they had gone. All she knew was that the blond lady never came back to the house, never came back for the nubby scarf she had wound around Beth Anne’s neck, so Beth Anne had kept it for herself.
It was just a few days later that Beth Anne’s daddy was locked in that police cruiser and shuttled down to the courthouse. The newspapers and local news station splashed headlines everywhere and that single word—allegedly—seemed to grow smaller, to fade into the enormous text around it.
Jackson Reimer, Alleged Wife Collector Murderer, Held in Local Jail

a Rafflecopter giveaway

July 8, 2016

Cookbook Review: Home Cooked by Anya Fernald & Jessica Battilana #cookbookreview @anyafernald @jbattilana

Title: Home Cooked
Author: Anya Fernald & Jessica Battilana
Publisher: Ten Speed Press
Genre: Cooking, How-To
Release Date: April 5th, 2016
Source: Blogging for Books

A recipe collection and how-to guide for preparing base ingredients that can be used to make simple, weeknight meals, while also teaching skills like building and cooking over a fire, and preserving meat and produce, written by a sustainable food expert and founder of Belcampo Meat Co.

Anya Fernald’s approach to cooking is anything but timid; rich sauces, meaty ragus, perfectly charred vegetables. And her execution is unfussy, with the singular goal of making delicious, exuberantly flavored, unpretentious food with the best ingredients. Inspired by the humble traditions of cucina povera, the frugal cooking of Italian peasants, Anya brings a forgotten pragmatism to home cooking; making use of seasonal bounty by canning and preserving fruits and vegetables, salt curing fish, simmering flavorful broths with leftover bones, and transforming tough cuts of meat into supple stews and sauces with long cooking. These building blocks become the basis for a kitchen repertoire that is inspired, thrifty, environmentally sound, and most importantly, bursting with flavor. Recipes like Red Pepper and Walnut Crema, Green Tomato and Caper Salad, Chickpea Torte, Cracked Crab with Lemon-Chile Vinaigrette, Veal Meatballs, Anise-Seed Breakfast Cookies, and Ligurian Sangria will add dimension and excitement to both weeknight meals and parties.

We all want to be better, more intuitive, more relaxed cooks—not just for the occasional dinner party, but every day. Punctuated by essays on the author’s approach to entertaining, cooking with cast-iron, and a primer on buying and cooking steak, Home Cooked is an antidote to the chef and restaurant books that leave you no roadmap for tonight’s dinner. With Home Cooked, Anya gives you the confidence, and the recipes, to love cooking again.

For me, this just was not the book for me. I had had such high hopes for this one, thinking that it would be like things grandma had made, but this definitely was not anything like grandma made. With recipes containing hearts, tongue and squid, I must say that I have to pass on this one. However, the photos in this book were amazing and detailed the food wonderfully. The recipes were written wonderfully as well.

While this book may not be for me, it just may be up your alley. Why not give it a try?

Disclaimer: *I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books for free to review, this in no way influenced my review, all opinions are 100% honest and my own.

Anya Fernald is a sustainable food expert and the co-founder and CEO of Belcampo. She has appeared as a judge on the Food Network's Iron Chef America and The Next Iron Chef.                                                                                                                                                                                                       Find Anya: Website | Twitter

Jessica Battilana writes about food and the people who make it. A former cheesemonger, caterer and private chef (and East coast transplant), she now lives in San Francisco and spends her days chronicling chefs and restaurants, developing and testing recipes and otherwise messing around in the world of food. Potatoes are her desert island food, and she always chooses chocolate over vanilla.                                                                                                                                                                    Find Jessica: Website | Twitter

April 7, 2016

Cookbook Review: Country Cooking from a Redneck Kitchen by Francine Bryson & Ann Volkwein #4star #bookreview #cooking @francinebryson

Title: Country Cooking from a Redneck Kitchen
Author: Francine Bryson & Ann Volkwein
Publisher: Potter Books
Genre: Cooking, How-To
Release Date: March 29, 2016
Source: Blogging for Books

Few people know that national pie champion Francine Bryson got her start on the cooking contest circuit at age sixteen with a savory stuffed pork loin—that won first place. In Country Cooking from a Redneck Kitchen, Francine invites you into her home to share recipes for everything that graces her Southern table: chicken dinners, savory pies, Sunday suppers to serve the preacher, make-and-take casseroles, dips and other redneck whatnots, backyard barbecue favorites—and, of course, three chapters devoted to her celebrated baked goods, including her most-requested holiday sweets. Feeding people is what Francine loves to do, and here are simple instructions for 125 dishes with 60 color photographs to help you to bring her Southern charm to your table.

I grew up in the north, Michigan to be exact. I moved to the south in 2002 and started my southern trek between three states, starting in Texas, then Louisiana to Mississippi and finally back in Louisiana. I have been trying different southern foods, just trying to find the perfect southern food. I have learned how to cook different southern foods from friends parents as well. When I saw this book was up for review, I decided to give it a go and see what kinds of food that I haven't tried that might sound appealing. 

There are so many appealing recipes in this book, that I must say, I can't wait to try almost all of these. With Blueberry BBQ sauce to Blackberry Pecan Bread, to Squirrel Pot Pie (yes, you heard that right). Just so many options to try. There is definitely something in here for everyone.

The book is easily readable and understandable. With beautifully photographed recipes and well put together. I highly recommend this cookbook.

Disclaimer: *I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books for free to review, this in no way influenced my review, all opinions are 100% honest and my own.

Francine Bryson is the author of the bestselling Blue Ribbon Baking from a Redneck Kitchen, a Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance Book Award finalist and Okra Pick. She has won more than 200 local and national baking competitions and was the runner-up and crowd favorite on CBS's The American Baking Competition. Bryson, a member of the American Pie Council, lives with her husband in Pickens, South Carolina.

Find Francine: Website | Twitter

Ann Volkwein is a best-selling food-and-lifestyle writer based in New York City and Austin, Texas. Her previous collaborations include The Neelys’ Celebration Cookbook, The Arthur Avenue Cookbook, Chinatown New York, Mixt Salads (with Andres Swallow), and, with Guy Fieri, Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives; More Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives; and Guy Fieri Food.

March 23, 2016

Cookbook Review: Tasting Rome by Katie Parla & Kristina Gill #4Star #bookreview #cooking @katieparla @kristinagill

Title: Tasting Rome
Author: Katie Parla & Kristina Gill
Publisher: Clarkson Potter Books
Genre: Cooking, How-To
Release Date: March 29th 2016
Source: Blogging for Books

A love letter from two Americans to their adopted city, showcasing modern dishes influenced by tradition, as well as the rich culture of their surroundings.

Even 150 years after unification, Italy is still a divided nation where individual regions are defined by their local cuisine. Each is a mirror of its city’s culture, history, and geography. But cucina romana is the country’s greatest standout.

Tasting Rome provides a complete picture of a place that many love, but few know completely. In sharing Rome’s celebrated dishes, street food innovations, and forgotten recipes, journalist Katie Parla and photographer Kristina Gill capture its unique character and reveal its truly evolved food culture—a culmination of 2000 years of history. Their recipes acknowledge the foundations of Roman cuisine and demonstrate how it has transitioned to the variations found today. You’ll delight in the expected classics (cacio e pepe, pollo alla romana, fiore di zucca); the fascinating but largely undocumented Sephardic Jewish cuisine (hraimi con couscous, brodo di pesce, pizzarelle); the authentic and tasty offal (guanciale, simmenthal di coda, insalata di nervitti); and so much more.

Studded with narrative features that capture the city’s history and gorgeous photography that highlights both the food and its hidden city, you’ll feel immediately inspired to start tasting Rome in your own kitchen.

A very tasty look into Italy's culture. This one had my taste buds watering from start to finish. I am always looking for new adventures to take my family on, and with being pregnant (in my third trimester) it makes it hard to travel to exotic and cultural locations. This is one way I can bring culture to my family, in a very delicious My daughter is still in her picky phase, but I think this has something for the whole family to enjoy, even those picky little eaters.

Tasting Rome is beautifully illustrated with amazing photos and was put together quite nicely. I, for one, cannot wait to start cooking some of these amazing recipes.

Disclaimer: *I received a copy of this book for free from Blogging for Books to review, this in no way influenced my review, all opinions are 100% honest and my own.

“A fantastically detailed look into Rome’s most remarkable dishes… a new classic in the Italian food library.”  Saveur

“The kitchens of Rome come alive in this cookbook celebrating classic and contemporary dishes from today’s Roman table. In more than 85 recipes, food and travel journalists Parla and Gill bring their city’s characteristic cuisine to the home cook…[a] solid introduction to Roman cooking.” Publishers Weekly

“This book captures the beauty of artisan food! The combination of recipes and photographs make me feel as if I am back in Rome.”—Alice Waters, chef/owner of Chez Panisse and author of The Art of Simple Food

“In a time when food trends seem to change by the hour, Tasting Rome is a delightfully devoted to tradition. This cookbook is as much a feast for the eyes as it is for your dinner table and is bound to make everyone excited to sit down and eat.” —Grace Bonney, founder of Design*Sponge

Katie Parla is a Rome-based food and beverage educator and journalist. Originally from New Jersey, she has an art history degree from Yale, a master’s degree in Italian Gastronomic Culture from the Università degli Studi di Roma “Tor Vergata”, a sommelier certificate from the Federazione Italiana Sommelier Albergatori Ristoratori, and an archeological speleology certification from the city of Rome.

Kristina Gill is an Italy-based food and travel photographer and the Food and Drinks Editor at, where she produces the popular In the Kitchen With and Behind the Bar columns. A native of Nashville, Tennessee, Kristina lives in Rome, with her husband.

February 4, 2016

Cookbook Review: Koreatown by Deuki Hong & Matt Rodbard #4Star #cooking #bookreview @deukihong @mattrodbard

Title: Koreatown: A Cookbook
Author: Deuki Hong & Matt Rodbard
Publisher: Potter Books
Genre: Cooking, How-To
Release Date: February 16th 2016
Source: Blogging for Books

This is not your average soft-focus “journey to Asia” kind of cookbook. Koreatown is a spicy, funky, flavor-packed love affair with the grit and charm of Korean cooking in America. Koreatowns around the country are synonymous with mealtime feasts and late-night chef hangouts, and Deuki Hong and Matt Rodbard show us why with stories, interviews, and over 100 delicious, super-approachable recipes.

It’s spicy, it’s fermenty, it’s sweet and savory and loaded with umami: Korean cuisine is poised to break out in the U.S., but until now, Korean cookbooks have been focused on taking readers to an idealized Korean fantasyland. Koreatown, though, is all about what’s real and happening right here: the foods of Korean American communities all over our country, from L.A. to New York City, from Atlanta to Chicago. We follow Rodbard and Hong through those communities with stories and recipes for everything from beloved Korean barbecue favorites like bulgogi and kalbi to the lesser-known but deeply satisfying stews, soups, noodles, salads, drinks, and the many kimchis of the Korean American table.

Before I requested this for review my husband and I decided that it was time to start trying new foods. We really like Chinese food and thought that Korean would be pretty close to it, so we jumped at the chance to get this and review it. However, to us, it was anything but. With recipes for octopus and squid, we pretty much were done looking at it. But some recipes did catch our eye, mainly the ones that dealt with the Ramen noodles and Korean BBQ. 

This book was well put together, with a great introduction, a lengthy section about both authors and beautiful photos of the food. It even has a glossary in the back with translations of what food is, and above each recipe it displays its Korean name along with the American name.

If you are feeling adventurous or love Korean food, I would definitely say this book is for you.

Disclaimer: *I received a copy of this book for free from Blogging for Books to review, this in no way influenced my review, all opinions are 100% honest and my own.

 At 15, Hong worked as a line cook under Aarón Sanchez at Centrico in New York City before heading to the Culinary Institute Of America. After graduating near the top of his class, he cooked under David Chang at Momofuku Noodle Bar before two years on the line at Michelin three-starred Jean-Georges. A young, rising star chef, Hong is currently executive chef of the smash-hit Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong in Manhattan’s Koreatown. He's recently been recognized as an Eater Young Gun and named to the Zagat 30 Under 30 list.

For over a decade Rodbard has written magazine and online features about restaurants, chefs, drinks, music, cooking and travel. His writing has appeared in Bon Appétit, Travel & Leisure, Saveur, Men's Journal, Fodors and Tasting Table, and he currently serves as Contributing Editor at Food Republic.

January 16, 2016

Cookbook Review: The Chili Cookbook by Robb Walsh #5Star @robbwalsh #cooking #bookreview

Title: The Chili Cookbook
Author: Robb Walsh
Publisher: Ten Speed Press
Genre: Cooking, How-To
Release Date: September 29th 2015
Source: Blogging for Books
Purchase: Amazon

A cookbook devoted to the family friendly, tailgate party classic–featuring more than 60 tried-and-true recipes–from veteran cookbook author and Americana expert Robb Walsh.

Americans love chili. Whether served as a hearty family dinner, at a potluck with friends, or as the main dish at a football-watching party, chili is a crowd-pleaser. It’s slathered over tamales in San Antonio, hot dogs in Detroit, and hamburgers in Los Angeles. It’s ladled over spaghetti in Cincinnati, hash browns in St. Louis, and Fritos corn chips in Santa Fe.

In The Chili Cookbook, award-winning author Robb Walsh digs deep into the fascinating history of this quintessential American dish. Who knew the cooking technique traces its history to the ancient Aztecs, or that Hungarian goulash inspired the invention of chili powder?

Fans in every region of the country boast the “one true recipe,” and Robb Walsh recreates them all—60 mouth-watering chilis from easy slow-cooker suppers to stunning braised meat creations. There are beef, venison, pork, lamb, turkey, chicken, and shrimp chilis to choose from—there is even an entire chapter on vegetarian chili. The Chili Cookbook is sure to satisfy all your chili cravings.

Chili is a staple in our house. My daughter is always asking me to make my meaty pinto bean chili, a family recipe from my dad. She is a bit on the picky side, so some of these might not be for her in this book, but most of them are something that my husband and I will enjoy. I might even find one or two in here that she might enjoy, as picky as she is.

There are recipes in here that help you make homemade Chorizo, sauces, tortillas, cornbread, and con queso. With recipes for lobster chili, coney dog chili sauce and even a recipe for venison chili, this cookbook is a must have for everyone who loves chili.

Disclaimer: *I received a copy of this book for free to review, this in no way influenced my review, all opinions are 100% honest and my own.

A three-time James Beard award winner, ROBB WALSH is the author of five previous Texas cookbooks. A former restaurant reviewer for the Houston Press and the Austin Chronicle, Walsh currently co-owns a Tex-Mex restaurant in Houston with chef Bryan Caswell. Walsh is a cofounder and board member of Foodways Texas.  

The mission of Foodways Texas is to preserve, promote, and celebrate the diverse food cultures of Texas. For more information, visit

Find Robb: Twitter | Website | Facebook

January 13, 2016

4 Star Review: Crystal Kingdom by Amanda Hocking + #Giveaway #4Star #bookreview @amanda_hocking

Title: Crystal Kingdom (Kanin Chronicles #3)
Author: Amanda Hocking
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Release Date: August 4th 2015
Source: Publisher
Purchase: Amazon

Cast out by her kingdom and far from home, she's the Kanin people's only hope.

Bryn Aven - unjustly charged with murder and treason - is on the run. The one person who can help is her greatest enemy, the enigmatic Konstantin Black. Konstantin is her only ally against those who have taken over her kingdom and threaten to destroy everything she holds dear. But can she trust him?

As Bryn fights to clear her name, the Kanin rulers’ darkest secrets are coming to light… and now the entire troll world is on the brink of war. Will it tear Bryn from Ridley Dresden, the only guy she’s ever loved? And can she join forces with Finn Holmes and the Trylle kingdom? One thing is certain: an epic battle is underway—and when it’s complete, nothing will ever be the same…

Well, one thing is for sure, nothing was the same after this book. It picks up after Bryn goes on the run after being accused of treason against her kingdom. While she is on the run, she has an encounter with Konstantin Black and then everything changes. After forgiving him and once again trusting him, they go on the run to different kingdoms trying to rally up tribes to go against the Kanin Kingdom and the Queen.

While on the run, Bryn starts to develop a friendship with Konstantin. Which seems like maybe her old feelings for him are resurfacing. You can also see that Konstantin himself, has feelings for Bryn. While they don't act upon their feelings, you kinda secretly wish they did. Or at least I did. I really liked the idea of Bryn and Konstantin. But she held out strong for Ridley in the end.

As with the second book, there was a mild sex scene in this one between Ridley and Bryn. There was a little detail, but nothing too graphic. Also, there was an epic fight scene. I was a bit unhappy with the outcome, as two of my favorite people die. But some feelings were revealed, finally, and tears were shed.

All together, this was a pretty great read. I'm just sad to see it come to an end and wished the ending was different.

AMANDA HOCKING is The New York Times bestselling author of the Trylle trilogy and a lifelong Minnesotan. After selling over a million copies of her books, primarily in eBook format, she became the exemplar of self-publishing success in the digital age.

Find Amanda: Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

(2) Winners will each receive the Kanin Chronicles series, one will be a set of ARCs (excluding Crystal Kingdom which will be finished) and one will be a set of Paperbacks.

Winners must be in the US to enter. Winner has 72 hours to respond.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...