140 and Counting by Joanne Merriam

140 and Counting by Joanne Merriam is a collection of stories, poems, and other literary works using as many characters that can fit inside a single tweet on Twitter. Merriam is the editor of Seven by Twenty, an online magazine dedicated to works that fit inside a single tweet (140 characters or less) and using Twitter as its publishing platform. 140 and Counting is her collection of 141 of her favorites from the magazine divided into various categories: relationships, nature and the night, work, animals, seasons, science fiction and fantasy, and mortality. Contributors are listed in the back, and most have their Twitter address so you can follow them.

A quick read, especially for those guilty of enjoying tweets from strangers. And considering I use Twitter, I was amazed at how complete some of the stories and poems were from what the authors had to work with (limited characters and space to write the ideas).

Disclosure: This book was provided to the author by the publisher. Any opinions are the author's own.

StoryBranding: Creating Stand-Out Brands Through the Power of Story by Jim Signorelli

If you are a business, what do you stand for? and what is your story? These questions are what the focus of the book StoryBranding is all about (Jim Signorelli, ISBN: 9781608321452). Branding is important to any business and story branding is the process of developing a brand through stories, with the ultimate goal of building relationships with the customer. StoryBranding tells how to build your brand by identifying your story and listing ways to tell it.

Stories allow businesses and people to dress up a brand with something identifiable to others. What makes a 'good' story for a brand? One that follows the story branding process, not one that simply turns an ad into a story. Signorelli writes:
StoryBranding is not about how to convert advertising into stories. Rather, StoryBranding utilizes the way stories are and have always been constructed and applies it to the brand communications process.
Signorelli lists obstacles that come up when creating brand stories and how to deal with them. He also gives useful examples, and how to write an 'I Am' statement. StoryBranding has examples throughout of different brand stories, and ways to educate and sell your truth. As a business owner, I found the concept of story branding an important one, and StoryBranding a good read for anyone wanting to build their brand.

Book Information:

Disclosure: This book was provided to the author by the publisher. Any opinions are the author's own.

Now That We Are Married, What Should We Do? A Cookbook wtih Scripture, Prayer, Suggestions, and Praise

Now That We Are Married, What Should We Do? (Jackie Lucas-Buck, ISBN 0805966137) is a cookbook with both home-style recipes and scripture. All throughout the book there are Praise Breaks where Lucas-Buck gives her real life applications to various bible verses. In these, the author's personality blossoms and shines through.

The recipes procedures were all written out as though they were tested, but some of the recipes were unusual: Cool Whip Potatoes (mashed potatoes made with Cool Whip dessert topping) and Holiday Potatoes (savory potato side dish using sugar and white chocolate chips). 

Recipes include specialties for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. Her Ultimate Recipe is her plan for salvation. For those that enjoy home-style favorites and bible study, this would make a good combination.

Book Information:

 Disclosure: This book was provided to the author by the publisher. Any opinions are the author's own.

Feature and Follow 2

This Feature & Follow is hosted by two hosts, Parajunkee of Parajunkee’s View and Alison of Alison Can Read. Each host will have their own Feature Blog and this way it’ll allow us to show off more new blogs.

How does this work? First you leave your name here on this post, (using the linky tools — keep scrolling!) then you create a post on your own blog that links back to this post (easiest way is to just grab the code under the #FF picture and put it in your post) and then you visit as many blogs as you can and tell them “hi” in their comments (on the post that has the #FF image). You follow them, they follow you. Win. Win. Just make sure to follow back if someone follows you!

The Hosts and Featured Bloggers are listed below. If you comment on this question below, let me know you followed, I'll follow you back.

Have fun!

This Feature and Follow Question:

Q: Have you had a character that disappointed you? One that you fell in love with and then “broke up” with later on in either the series or a stand-alone book? Tell us about him or her.

A: This is a hard one. Not the question but the answer, and for the life of me I can't remember the book. I like crime dramas and spy thrillers, and I chose a paperback to read on the long plane ride from California to Hawaii for our honeymoon (I know, reading a book like that, on our honeymoon...but we've been together almost 20 years so I guess it wasn't so unromantic as it sounds LOL) and the main character DIES at the end. I was really into it and was hoping for a great ending but the guy ends up getting shot. So, yes, I'd tell the main character to be a little careful next time and where a bullet proof vest because you really disappointed me in the end by dying. What a waste of four hours on the plane. :)

Was there a character you really liked in a book that died suddenly like that?

America's Best Ribs Cookbook Review

My latest cookbook read is our family's latest obsession for dinner: ribs. America's Best Ribs: Tips and Recipes for Easy, Lip-Smacking, Pull-Off-the-Bone, Pass-the-Sauce, Championship-Quality BBQ Ribs at Home, Plus a Few Ribillicious Sides and Desserts (Ardie A Davis and Paul Kirk, Andrews McMeel, 2012, ISBN 9781449414139) has it all with gorgeous photography in between.

If the authors sound familiar - they are. Ardie Davis is the author of the books The Kansas City BBQ Pocket Guide, The Great BBQ Sauce Book, and Techniques for Grilling: 25 Essentials. Paul Kirk is the author of the books Paul Kirk's Championship Barbeque, Smoke It!, and The Big Grill. This isn't the first team project the authors have; The Kansas city Barbeque Society Cookbook has a special 25th Anniversary Edition.

Read the full review of America's Best Ribs.

Tweetsmart: 25 Twitter Projects to Help You Build Your Community

Twitter has become an important tool in business, for both business-to-customer and business-to-business relationships. So, let's say you have a brand new twitter account, or even a long neglected one - what do you do with it? Read #tweetsmart (J.S. McDougall, O'Reilly Media, ISBN 9781449309114) and you'll end up with 25 different and highly effective twitter marketing campaigns to try.

While #tweetsmart has great ideas for businesses to try for marketing, McDougall states in the beginning that twitter isn't so much a marketing channel as it is a community-building tool. This is an important distiction to remember because the key to getting your message out there is communicate it effectively, and providing a product customers would want or offering a service customers identify with. Twitter followers want to read, laugh at, sypathize with, and learn from fellow members of twitter.

All projects are simple enough to follow, and each has a QR code to recommend to your followers, too. Each campaign includes tips, notes, and cautions or warnings to consider. Each chapter is its own twitter project, and chapter headings include everything from Treasure Hunt and Twitter Haiku to Hashtag Games and Digital Hide and Seek; there is a project for every business type.

Overall, one of the better twitter guides out there. Recommended for anyone wanting to market their business, their product or their site through twitter.

Book Information:
Disclosure: This book was provided to the author by the publisher. Any opinions are the author's own.

Feature and Follow 1




This Feature & Follow is hosted by TWO hosts, Parajunkee of Parajunkee’s View and Alison of Alison Can Read. Each host will have their own Feature Blog and this way it’ll allow us to show off more new blogs!

How does this work? First you leave your name here on this post, (using the linky tools — keep scrolling!) then you create a post on your own blog that links back to this post (easiest way is to just grab the code under the #FF picture and put it in your post) and then you visit as many blogs as you can and tell them “hi” in their comments (on the post that has the #FF image). You follow them, they follow you. Win. Win. Just make sure to follow back if someone follows you!

The Hosts and Featured Bloggers are listed below. If you comment on this question below, let me know you followed, I'll follow you back.

Have fun!

This Feature and Follow Question:

Q: Fight! Fight! If you could have two fictional characters battle it out (preferably from books), who would they be and who do you think would win?

A: Well, since I read so many cookbooks, it would have to be characters who cook. Steven Seagal (forgot the character's name) as the military guy demoted to cook in Under Siege and the Soup Nazi on Sienfeld. Soup Nazi would have the upper hand at first, but in the end, the old Steven Seagal would win. What do you think?


Whatever Happened to Sunday Dinner? by Lisa Caponigri

I'm a sucker for old recipes, and when a new cookbook's inside cover is littered with well-used hand written ones, I feel I've struck gold. Whatever Happened to Sunday Dinner (Lisa Caponigri, 2012, ISBN 9781402784828) was written with the author's belief that "the family that eats together stays together." For families with busy schedules and uninspiring recipe boxes, the book makes it easy to create great tasting and complete dinners.

I list Caponigri's tips for making Sunday dinners easy on my blog, as well as include a recipe from the book: Pomodori Arrostiti con Aglio - Roasted Plum Tomatoes with Garlic.

Old Books for New Reads

Lucky me - I found two of Hope Hanley's needlepoint books for 50 cents each at the local Friends of the Library bookstore. While dated, the books show close up what the basic stitches are, and looking through them I recognize why they have been reprinted and collected over the years.

Read thoughts on these two books on my Sew Now Blog.

Sew Kawaii! - Cute Japanese Inspired Sewing and Crafts Book


Cute is 'in', and kawaii is the Japanese word for "cute". Choly Knight's Sew Kawaii! is a collection of 22 projects for cube purses, electronic cases (think DS and iPhones, and more), and funky pillows and quilts for the home - all with the kawaii theme in mind.
Read the full review on Sew Now This.

Metal Clay Fusion by Gordon K. Uyehara

Opening up Gordon K. Uyehara's book, Metal Clay Fusion, I felt like I was in one of his classes. The book also happens to be the debut book in the Metal Clay Master Class book series from Lark Jewelry and Beading. And if the rest are as in depth and engrossing as this one, I'm hoping to take many more classes at home with future books. While it is intended for intermediate to advanced metal clay artists, the descriptions, techniques, and color photos give a good foundation for beginners looking into the artform.

For the full review and more about the author, read it on my Sew Now This blog.

Saveur: Easy Italian - 30 Classic Recipes

More easy yet authentic classic Italian recipes are gathered in the latest Saveur recipe collection. Saveur Easy Italian: 30 Classic Recipes (Editors of Saveur Magazine, Weldon Owen, 2011) is full of tasty recipes and contains the typical mouthwatering photos so characteristic of Saveur magazine readers have come to enjoy.
The book has a little bit of everything. The chapters include Starters; Soups; Pasta; Main Dishes; and Sweets. The back of the book contains vital information to the beginning Italian cook: pantry ingredients (photos and descriptions), and information on Italian white and red wines.

Kim Laidlaw's Home Baked Comfort Provides Gorgeous Photography with Great Recipes

Kim Laidlaw's Home Baked Comfort has fast become a favorite read. Not only does she provide tips, and lists her favorite kitchen tools, all the recipes are enhanced with gorgeous photography by Eric Wolfinger. The photos alone are worthy of a book all to themselves. Laidlaw's Amazing Baking Facts You Might Not Know include quick and easy tips for baking.

The book contains all the basic recipes needed on any given day or holiday: Breakfast; Breads; Cookies & Bars; Cakes & Cupcakes; Pies & Tarts; and Custards & Souffles. The recipes include both sweet and savory treats. The author's recipes are intermingled with notable contributors: Bakerella's recipe for Mini Banana-Maple Pancake Muffins is included and Pearl Bakery's Blueberry-Huckleberry Grand Marnier Tart makes you want to leave for Portland, OR, to try it first hand.


For the full review, see Home Baked Comfort on the Pastry Sampler Blog.

Fine Cooking Cookies by Taunton Press


Making cookies is a holiday pastime for me and the family, and I have a few tried and true cookbooks I reference back to just about every season.

Fine Cooking Cookies: 200 Favorite Recipes for Cookies, Brownies, Bars & More contains great recipes to try for the holidays or any time of year. What makes it stand out for me is the pictures: I'm a visual girl and I love seeing all the studio photos. Tips are sprinkled throughout the book to make cookie making easier.

Read the full review on the Pastry Sampler Blog.