16 May 2015

Building Soil: A Down-to-Earth Approach: Natural Solutions for Better Gardens & Yards By Elizabeth Murphy


Overall, a really great read for anyone needing or wanting to learn more about the soil they have. After all, a healthy soil produces healthy plants, and a lush garden is more than just watering plants. A productive garden comes with the understanding that the soil is a living thing, just like the things that grow in it.



Read the full review of Building Soil over at Cultivate to Plate - I really liked this garden soil book.

Building Soil: A Down-to-Earth Approach: Natural Solutions for Better Gardens & Yards By Elizabeth Murphy.


03 May 2015

Shattered: Logan Book 1 by Valerie Davisson



Book Blurb
Meet Logan McKenna … fiercely loyal, and impossibly inquisitive. In SHATTERED, the first book in the original mystery series and stunning fiction debut with which Valerie Davisson lets us crave for more, Logan McKenna loses her husband, her illusions, the company they built together, her music, and now, probably her job. But that won’t stop her from digging into a murder investigation that keeps Southern California’s tight-knit artist community on its toes and law enforcement cluelessly guessing. At loose ends, and running out of money after buying a fixer upper on the coast, she decides to help out her best friend from high school, Thomas, a Native American artist, and his wife Lisa at their booth at the Otter Arts Festival, in the idyllic coastal town of Jasper, where she and her police-officer brother Rick grew up. When one of the talented, young artists is found gruesomely murdered at the festival, Logan is faced with the reality that her best friend not only lied to her, but may be guilty of murder. It’s up to her to find out what really happened that night, before the murderer kills again.
A good mystery is always good news, and the hint of a good series is always better. This is book one in a mystery series with a main character, Logan McKenna, thrown into the world of investigation. I loved her picking up and through all the clues. And Logan's own thoughts seemed to sum up why everyone is a suspect in a mystery, "Given enough provocation, anyone was capable of violence."

The story begins with a slow building of the main character's background to a highly addicting page turner. The scenery was detailed beautifully, and having lived in Orange County for a great many years, I loved every bit of her references to Southern California. It felt like I was back there. And I really liked Ben, her neighbor, and their relationship seemed genuine.

As you get into the story, it moves deftly between description and dialogue, and the back and forth play between characters was great. Logan has no formal crime investigation experience and I found myself thinking, yep, I'd probably do that, too. Her back story was tragic, but everything was believable. And when all things point to one conclusion, something engages Logan's memory and a new path is forged. Great mystery read, and a good start to a mystery series.



Book Information:
Disclosure: This book was provided by the author and any opinions are my own.


31 March 2015

The Dangerous Effects of Reading: Consumption vs Creation

Love this post!

From the blog Certain Extent by David Tate:
If you quiet your mind and allow yourself to stop judging everything you will find that you have more potential for innovation (at work, in the kitchen, in the garage, in the bathroom [this just got weird – bringing it back], with your hobbies, with your thoughts) than you thought before.  You were using the same brutal quality filter on yourself that you used on viral videos, talk radio, and blog posts.  You deserve better.
Read the full article The Dangerous Effect of Reading. All about how to filter junk and create.

Carrots and Cake by Tina Haupert


Carrots 'N Cake is Tina Haupert's book listing her journey to transform her life into a healthier one, and has over 50 recipes and many healthy eating tips.

 

The cookbook based on her blog of the same name, Carrots 'N Cake, is Tina Haupert's journey to transform her life into a healthier one through better eating and exercise. She shares her tips on staying fit and eating healthy, and emphasizes that having fun is her key to being her own boss and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

22 October 2014

Norway Forest Planted For a Future Library

Via Vice, artist Katie Paterson has planted a 1,000 tree forest with the intention of them all being used for a special library of books made one year, every year, for a 100 years.
Scottish artist Katie Paterson has turned what sounds like a nonsensical question into a reality. She's planted a Future Library of 1,000 trees in a forest on the outskirts of Oslo, Norway. She'll then invite a different writer every year for the next century to write a manuscript to be held in trust, unread and unopened, until 2114. Then the trees will be harvested and turned into a special anthology of books, the first of which is being written now by speculative fiction author Margaret Atwood.
Read the full interview, as well as info on the artist on Vice.com.

This Forest Will Become an Anthology of Books in 100 Years by Nell Frizzell.

27 July 2014

Three Great Baking Titles To Try: Puddin, The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Dessert Book, and Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread

The latest on the baking front for cookbooks. Included in these reviews: recipe for dark chocolate pudding, basic recipe for a gluten-free flower, and images of 4 different recipes from the Beekman farm cookbook. Click each link for the review on Cookbook Papers. Enjoy!

  • Puddin' is a handy one-topic cookbook to have on the baking bookshelf, with many things related to pudding to try. Recipe for the Chocolate Pudding with cocoa and 70% chocolate.

 

  • The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Dessert Cookbook is about as authentic as you can find when it comes to old-fashioned baking. The authors, Brent Ridges and Josh Kilmer-Purcell, divided the cookbook into seasons rather than baking chapters, bringing a bit of their farm life into their recipes. 4 different images of book recipes and photographs.



  • Gluten-free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread recipes are pretty straight forward and cover all the basic breads you'll ever really need. If you want to experiment with your own recipes, she gives quite a few to start off with. Below is her recipe for 'high-quality' gluten-free flour which includes rice flours and potato flour, potato and tapioca starches, xanthan gum, and a powered pectin, all doing their part to produce something similar to a gluten flour when baked.




16 July 2014

Saving Vegetable Seeds by Fern Marshall Bradley



Blurb:
This illustrated, step-by-step guide shows you how to save seeds from 20 of the most popular vegetable garden plants, including beans, carrots, peas, peppers, and tomatoes. You'll learn how each plant is pollinated (key to determining how the seed should be saved), how to select the seeds to collect, and how to process and store collected seeds. Grow the varieties you love, year after year!
Saving Vegetable Seeds: Harvest, Clean, Store, and Plant Seeds from Your Garden was a short read, but filled with all the basic information you'll really need to start saving seeds from your garden. Author Fern Marshall Bradley broke the entire process down by separating the steps into these three chapters: Getting Started with Saving Seeds; Seed-Saving Techniques; and Saving Seeds, Crop by Crop.

The beginning of the book, the basics of seeds are identified and defined, such as the cross section of a seed, the parts of a flower and how seeds form from them, and self-pollinating vs. cross-pollinating crops. In the seed saving chapter, she walks the reader through her five steps of seed saving: taking care of your plants; harvesting the seeds; cleaning and drying the seeds; packing and storing; and testing viability. Included is how to control pollination (important in open-pollinated types of vegetables), and how to hand pollinate.

Probably the most helpful for me as a gardener was how to test seed viability. I've saved lots of seeds from my garden over the years, but doing a test on the seeds viability was something I've never done. The vegetables Bradley details are beans, carrots, corn, cucumbers, lettuce, melons and watermelons, onions and leeks, peas, peppers, radishes, squash, and tomatoes.

Handy book if you are planning on doing some seed saving, with the varieties she details.

Book Info:



Disclosure: This book was provided by the publisher, and any opinions are my own.

15 July 2014

Jamie's Food Revolution: Rediscover How to Cook Simple, Delicious, Affordable Meals by Jamie Oliver

Learn something new and pass it on. That's the running theme throughout Jamie's Food Revolution. Jamie Oliver is on a quest to educate readers on the benefits of good food and simple preparation. And by teaching, he is hoping the newly educated cooks will pass on their knowledge with someone else ("preferably four").

Read the review to this lovely cookbook on the Cookbook Papers.

Jamie's Food Revolution by Jamie Oliver

http://cookbookpapers.blogspot.com/2014/07/jamies-food-revolution-by-jamie-oliver.html












28 June 2014

Salad Samurai: 100 Cutting-Edge, Ultra-Hearty, Easy-to-Make Salads You Don’t Have to be Vegan to Love



Cookbook of the Week: Salad Samurai by Terry Hope Romero

There are a few reasons why I love Terry Romero’s cookbooks: engaging text, downright delicious recipes, and the fact that you don’t even have to be vegan to enjoy what she makes. It’s actually included in the name her latest cookbook: Salad Samurai: 100 Cutting-Edge, Ultra-Hearty, Easy-to-Make Salads You Don’t Have to be Vegan to Love
For the review and recipe, read Salad Samuri on Sand and Succotash blog.

Amazon.com:




20 June 2014

Sewing: The Magic Pattern Book by Amy Barickman

Summer always inspires me to create. And with the help of The Magic Pattern Book, by Amy Barickman, creating simple summer wearables is simple enough. Start out with 6 basic wardrobe pieces and end up with 36 different looks. Pieces included: tank top, skirt, dress, a cardigan, a coat, and an accessory (3 different hats, a scarf, and two bags/purses). Which is the whole concept behind the book, to take a single pattern and completely transform it or piece it together in different ways to 'magically' create different looks.

Read the full review of Amy Barickman's The Magic Sewing Book.

01 May 2014

Mayim Bialik's New Cookbook: Mayim's Vegan Table


Mayim Bialik has been busy in the kitchen, and her new book Mayim’s Vegan Table is the result. With a simple layout and quick recipes, the book would make a welcome addition on the cookbook shelf for a home cook just getting into vegan cooking. For veteran vegan cooks, she offers ways to spice up the family menu.

Read the full review on Sand and Succotash, as well as try her recipe for Quinoa Salad with Veggies and Herbs.


19 March 2014

Born of Persuasion by Jessica Dotta

Book blurb:
The year is 1838, and seventeen-year-old Julia Elliston’s position has never been more fragile. Orphaned and unmarried in a time when women are legal property of their fathers, husbands, and guardians, she finds herself at the mercy of an anonymous guardian who plans to establish her as a servant in far-off Scotland.

With two months to devise a better plan, Julia’s first choice to marry her childhood sweetheart is denied. But when a titled dowager offers to introduce Julia into society, a realm of possibilities opens. However, treachery and deception are as much a part of Victorian society as titles and decorum, and Julia quickly discovers her present is deeply entangled with her mother’s mysterious past. Before she knows what’s happening, Julia finds herself a pawn in a deadly game between two of the country’s most powerful men. With no laws to protect her, she must unravel the secrets on her own. But sometimes truth is elusive and knowledge is deadly.
I liked this book, I really did, but the problem with series is that they sometimes end at awful times, such as this book. But that is the end and I'll start at the beginning.

The book is set in 1838, where women in society were considered property. Finding herself in a desperate situation at 17, Julia is easily manipulated. The mystery that surrounds Mr. Macy, a man who ends up her husband, was fun to read, and I wish I had all the books to finish the story at one sitting. People in Victorian society were easily judged, and I found reading this book (and others in this time period) not so forgiving of others.

Julia never speaks up or voices her opinion. She practically goes along with whatever she is told. It may sound frustrating now, but in the early 1800s, what was a girl to do in her situation: not much else. The story is a Gothic romance, and Dotta's writing style flows easily from scene to scene. Her descriptions of what life was like back then was great. I enjoyed the many layers that she writes about, and I will look for the other books as they come out.

Book Information:
Disclosure: This book was provided by the publisher and any opinions are my own.

02 January 2014

Yearly List of Book and Reading Holidays

Here are the major special days dedicated to reading this year. Enjoy.
  • Digital Learning Day - March 13, 2015
    From DigitalLearningDay.org:
  • "Digital Learning Day is about giving every child the opportunity to learn in a robust digital environment everyday, with the goal of success in college and a career."
  • Freedom of Information Day - March 16, 2015
    From FirstAmendmentCenter.org:
"National FOI Day is an annual, daylong program of speaking and discussion by specialists in various aspects of freedom of information."
  • School Library Month - April, 2015
    From the American Association of School Librarians (ala.org):
"School Library Month (SLM) is the American Association of School Librarians' (AASL) celebration of school librarians and their programs."
  • National Drop Everything and Read Day -"D.E.A.R. Day" - April 12, 2015
    From DropEverythingandRead.com:
    "D.E.A.R. stands for “Drop Everything and Read,” a national month-long celebration of reading designed to remind folks of all ages to make reading a priority activity in their lives."
  • National Library Week - April 12-18, 2015
    From ala.org:
    "Celebrate National Library Week 2015 with the theme, 'Unlimited possibilities @ your library'." 
    World Book Night - April 23, 2015
    From the ala.org:
"WORLD BOOK NIGHT is a celebration of literacy by publishers, bookstores, libraries and individuals who love books and reading." Fun!
  • Library Card Sign-up Month - September 2015
    From AtYourLibrary.org:
"[During this month] the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries all across the country are celebrating the value of getting a library card."
  • Banned Books Week - September 27-October 3, 2015
    From BannedBooksWeek.org:
"Banned Books Week is the national book community's annual celebration of the freedom to read."
  • Picture Book Month - November 2015
    From PictureBookMonth.com:
"Picture Book Month is an international literacy initiative that celebrates the print picture book during the month of November."

23 October 2013

Lichgates: Book One of the Grimoire Saga by S.M. Boyce


Book Trailer:
Kara Magari is about to discover a beautiful world full of terrifying things—Ourea.
Kara, a college student still reeling from her mother’s recent death, has no idea the hidden world of Ourea even exists until a freak storm traps her in a sunken library. With no way out, she opens an ancient book of magic called the Grimoire and unwittingly becomes its master, which means Kara now wields the cursed book’s untamed power. Discovered by Ourea's royalty, she becomes an unwilling pawn in a generations-old conflict—a war intensified by her arrival. In this world of chilling creatures and betrayal, Kara shouldn’t trust anyone… but she’s being hunted and can’t survive on her own. She drops her guard when Braeden, a native soldier with a dark secret, vows to keep her safe. And though she doesn’t know it, her growing attraction to him may just be her undoing.
For twelve years, Braeden Drakonin has lived a lie. The Grimoire is his one chance at redemption, and it lands in his lap when Kara Magari comes into his life. Though he begins to care for this human girl, there is something he wants more. He wants the Grimoire.
Welcome to Ourea, where only the cunning survive.
Book One of the Grimoire Saga starts out fast enough: Kara, seeking solitude after the death of her mother, enjoys hiking in the wilderness alone. Being in the outdoors is what they did together and nature soothes her. Her hike quickly turns her world upside down as she discovers a secret passage through the Lichgates. Literally into another world.

Little does she know that what she has now become, a Vagabond and ruler of a powerful book, is something that her supposed guardian has been searching for - for twelve years. I loved this story. The author transported me into another world, and I felt I was with Kara. And while I really liked Kara and her very quick thinking at times, I so felt for Braeden and his incomplete journey to the Grimoire.

Lichgates was fast paced and well-written for a fantasy tale. It is difficult to describe another world but Boyce does it smoothly. This is a series, and Lichgates is book one. There are four books in the series: Lichgates; Treason; Heritage (soon to be published); and Illusion (anticipated in 2014). If all the books bring the characters to life as the first one, this will be a great series to collect.


Book Information:
Disclosure book was provided by the author and any opinions are my own. This book was part of an ABG Reads Author Services Book Tour.

10 October 2013

The Book Publisher's Toolkit

Book Trailer:
If you are a self-published author who wants to sell more books, a new publisher looking for ways to market your content without breaking the bank, or a growing publisher searching for the latest tools to take your business to the next level, then "The Book Publishers Toolkit: 10 Practical Pointers for Independent and Self Publishers Volume 1," will bring you the hands-on tools and techniques needed to navigate an industry where the only constant is perpetual change.
Whether you want to jump-start your marketing efforts, expand your social media outreach, get how-to ebook tips and much more, you’ll find hands-on tools in these pages. Written by a wide variety of talented professionals who generously donate their time, energy and expertise to IBPA, the not-for-profit Independent Book Publishers Association, each piece originally appeared in the "Independent," IBPA’s monthly member magazine.
Publishing industry experts who contributed to this work are Kate Bandos, Kimberley Edwards, Joel Friedlander, Steve Gillen, Abigail Goben, Tanya Hall, Brian Jud, Stacey Miller, Kathleen Welton, and David Wogahn.
The experts putting this book or 'toolkit' together - just worked on what really matters in the world of book publishing. Rather than it being a how to guide to step by step publishing, it is a series of articles relating to the world.

The 10 article titles: Getting and Using Awards; Tapping Into Twitter Expertise; Let's Hear It for the Long Tail; Acquiring the Right Rights: Will Your Contract Keep Up with the Markets for Your Books; A Librarian Talks About Choosing Books to Buy; Build a Powerful Platform with a Simple Brand Audit; Marketing Plans for First Books; Why Authors Hate Social Networking, and How to Get Them to Promote Books Online Anyway; Growing Connections That Count; and E-book Conversions: Ten Pointers to Ensure Reader Enjoyment (and Minimize Ebook Returns).

As the titles suggest, just about everything is covered in a tips and tools sort of way. Hearing about the different authors firsthand account of writing situations made it much more valuable than if this were simply a do-it-yourself guide.

Book Information:
Disclosure: This book was provided by the publisher and any opinions are my own.