Hubert Keller's Souvenirs - Memoir and Cookbook

Think of Hubert Keller's Souvenirs as a delicious combination of cookbook and personal memoir. His work is recognized as some of the best cooking on the West Coast with his restaurant Fleur de Lys in San Francisco, and his grace shows through when he appears in public and on camera. I had the pleasure of meeting him many, many years ago at an event at the Ritz-Carlton when I was a lowly pastry cook just learning the ropes. While he would never remember me, I remember him and his commanding presence.

Read the review as well as some great quotes from the book.


Quilt and Art Book: Master - Art Quilts Vol. 2

This second volume quilt photography book showcases 40 art quilters from around the world. Artist commentary is sprinkled throughout with color images. Martha Sielman is the curator of this book and the first one in the series: Masters: Art Quilters, Volume 1. Since she is the executive director to the world's largest art-quilt organization, Studio Art Quilt Associates, her knowledge of quilting techniques and styles helps bring to life each artist through the selection of photos and the biography of each quilt artist at the beginning of each chapter.
Read the review of Master: Art Quilts Volume 2.

Beyond Words: A Year of Daydreams - Connect With Your Favorite Fantasy Author For Good Causes

Want to help a great literary charity organization (i.e., First Book and Worldbuilders) and connect on a personal level with a favorite fantasy author? Lauren Zurchin has the perfect solution. She is leading a Kickstarter effort to launch this into being, and there are only 5 days left to take part of this truly awesome (and shall I say historic?) project.

Details: Lauren Zurchin of Lauren Zurchin Studios is putting a photography calendar together with 14 fantasy writing authors. Proceeds of this calender will help these two non-profits: First Book and Worldbuilders. She initially had a $15,000 goal which she has amazingly reached, with a stretch goal of $25,000. The money will go toward custom made costumes, props, and travel locations to 12 different areas across the US.

What makes this special (not only for the charity element) is that depending on your pledge, you can have a personal skype chat with an author, signed photos of the authors, signed framable poster prints, and many more special items. Win win for everyone here. Love this idea!

Here's more from Lauren herself:

Here are the authors involved, and their works. A great way to connect on a personal level with a favorite author for a good cause.
  • Holly Black (The Spiderwick Chronicles; The Curse Workers Series)
  • Gail Carriger (Soulless; The Parasol Protectorate)
  • Cassandra Clare (The Mortal Instruments; The Infernal Devices)
  • Lauren Kate (Fallen) Gregory Maguire (Wicked; The Oz Chronicles)
  • The Merry Sisters of Fate- a trio of authors consisting of: Tessa Gratton (Blood Magic; The Blood Keeper), Maggie Stiefvater (Shiver; The Scorpio Races; The Raven Boys), and Brenna Yovanoff (The Replacement; Paper Valentine)
  • Brandon Mull (Fablehaven; Beyonders)
  • Lauren Oliver (Delirium; Before I Fall)
  • Christopher Paolini (The Inheritance Cycle)
  • Patrick Rothfuss (The Name of the Wind)
  • Brandon Sanderson (Wheel of Time; Mistborn)
  • Tad Williams (Otherland; Memory, Sorrow and Thorn)

What a great project. Here is a wrap up on this calendar, how to get more info, and where to go to pledge your support of this incredible project.


The Tortoise Shell Code by Frank V. Asaro


Off the coast of Southern California, the Sea Diva, a tuna boat, sinks. Members of the crew are missing and what happened remains a mystery. Anthony Darren, a renowned and wealthy lawyer at the top of his game, knows the boat’s owner and soon becomes involved in the case. As the case goes to trial, a missing crew member is believed to be at fault, but new evidence comes to light and the finger of guilt points in a completely unanticipated direction.
Now Anthony must pull together all his resources to find the truth in what has happened and free a wrongly accused man—as well as untangle himself. Fighting despair, he finds that the recent events have called much larger issues into question. As he struggles to right this terrible wrong, Anthony makes new and enlightening dis¬coveries in his own life-long battle for personal and global justice.
I love a good courtroom drama on television. Sometimes, though, reading it can be a little cerebral. But if the drama has good banter between the parties sprinkled with a little old-time jealousy between friends that ranges a lifetime, along with a love affair, some drug running, and corporate greed, then you have a pretty good book. All of this was inside Frank Asaro’s latest.
The Tortoise Shell Code had a tight story line with lots of twists and unexpected turns. For me, it was a page turner and hour burner as it was hard to put down once I started it. His experience of courtroom proceedings and the descriptions of the play between the two opposing sides made for riveting reading.

The only thing that had me scratching my head is floating throughout the book is a philosophical idea of ‘universal co-opetition’. It is hard to fathom that world leaders, current inmates, drug runners, and even South American resistance fighters all could grasp the meaning from reading the same book. It didn’t work for me entirely. Until I realized the author penned a non-fiction title of the same name; I guess there’s no harm in the author getting an idea out by weaving it in fiction.

In the end, I enjoyed the book. The scenes were well described and I had a good time reading it, start to finish. I especially enjoyed the San Diego references. My favorite character was Andrea, a surprise treat that had me rooting for her over the main character all the way until the end.

Book Information:
  • The Tortoise Shell Code; by Frank V. Asaro
  • Bettie Youngs Books; 2012
  • ISBN13: 9781936332601

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

This book was part of a Pump Up Your Book Virtual Book Tour.

Signature Styles by Jenny Doh

Inspirational book showcases 20 profiles of women entrepreneurs who share with readers their signature craft or design, with step by step color photos.

Signature Styles: 20 Stitchers Craft Their Look is a combination craft and style book, and a biography book. Author Jenny Doh has profiled some of the top women who take their craft to the next level, and each is successful in their own right. From sewing mavens to knitting gurus, this book touches on many popular forms of crafting and the women who make them popular.

The Women Crafters

The women profiled in this book each have their own signature style and medium they work with. Many have their own websites, blogs, or books they put out besides the many classes or designs they work on. The women give their sources for inspiration, and vital list of things they can't live without.
Think you're any different from them? That's the beauty of Signature Styles and the profiles in it. They are just like the average woman. All the women enjoy similar tastes and a way of life: they all pull their inspiration from the things around them, or things that bring comfort, such as handmade clothes made by a mother or antique jewelry found on an online auction. Reclaimed, vintage, and thrift store items are often the source of materials for their work.

The women profiled in the book are Heather Bailey, Serena Thomson, Meg McElwee, Elsie Flannigan, Rashida Coleman-Hale, Kathy Cano-Murillo, Betz White, Meg Allan Cole, Bari J. Ackerman, Erika & Monika Simmons (twins), Kayte Terry, Megan Hunt, Sonya Nimri, Megan Nicolay, Ruth Singer, Sandy Stone, Bonzie & Ger, Teva Durham, and Amy Tangerine.

Business Styles and Models

Readers will get a glimpse into the lives of the artists and designers, but also how they got their starts. Creativity seems to be the hallmark of all the women, but also hard work. Each of them reach for the people or things most loved for motivation and inspiration. Their business models are similar. What many of them found is that there is a fine line between hobby and business, and taking what you love to do to the next level requires work and determination to get projects done.

Fun Crafts Throughout the Book

Not only do we read about the women and see them working in their studios or homes through the many color pictures, but each shares what their signature craft is and how to do it. Step-by-step projects include purses and bags, baby pants, belts, appliqué t-shirt and skirt, and sewn accessories such as bracelets, headbands and a necklace made out of fabric and felt. Each project is simple enough for beginners to accomplish but also easily customizable for advanced sewers. Templates are in the back of the book for some of the projects.

Recommended for Inspiration and Ideas

While Signature Styles has loads of crafts to do, it is also filled with the women's prized wearables, or things they can't live without. Many of them list of their essence of style with detailed pictures showing them in their work spaces. Jenny Doh does a great job detailing the women and their work. And for those needing a little inspiration or even motivation to get their craft projects done, reading how these women found success doing just that will give anyone reading it just what they need.

Book Information
  • Signature Styles: 20 Stitchers Craft Their Look; by Jenny Doh
  • Lark Crafts, 2011
  • ISBN13: 9781600597916
  • Flexbound book, full color, 144 pages

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

Necklaceology - How to Make Chokers, Lariats, Ropes and More

Necklaceology by Candie Cooper is a gorgeously laid out beading book with loads of projects all dealing with the necklace. I mention the book's layout because the Book and Cover Designer, Pamela Norman, had me lingering on each page with a rich selection of color photos and illustrations.

Read the full review for Necklaceology.