Literary Quote of the Month

"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies," said Jojen. "The man who never reads lives only one." - George R.R. Martin, A Dance With Dragons

Friday, July 30, 2010

First Lines...

"On the morning my husband left me, hours before I knew he would, I looked at the bruised March sky and recognized tornado green.

I'd seen that peculiar algae shade before--anyone who grew up in Ohio had--but my intimate relationship with storms was a bit of family lore.

When I was eight, I tried to touch a tornado."

...The Blessings of the Animals by Katrina Kittle

Thursday, July 29, 2010

NEW Third Generation Kindle Revealed!

Third Generation Kindle Revealed!

Late last night Amazon revealed the NEW Kindle! Word spread very quickly through the internet and Kindle forums. The photo above shows the new Kindle design on the left versus the "old" Kindle version on the right. One of the most anticipated and best feature is the latest generation e-ink screen called pearl. The new screen is sharper and has 50% better contrast than previous Kindle screens and "any other eReader". Amazon revealed earlier this month E-Ink's Pearl on the Kindle DX and I can tell you first hand after seeing it that the fonts are sharper and there is more contrast between the background and the fonts. Nice that Amazon decided to share this with their smaller Kindle! And speaking of smaller, the new Kindle has a 21% smaller body, but still retains it's 6 inch screen size. Here are some of the other highlights of the new Kindle...

  • 15% lighter... weighs in at 8.7 ounces, which is less than a paperback
  • Battery life... ONE MONTH if you leave the wireless turned off; 10 days if you leave the wireless turned on.
  • Double the amount of storage- you can now store up to 3500 books!
  • Improved PDF support, with a dictionary look-up and the ability to add notes.
  • Faster page turns
  • comfortable new soft-touch textured back
Some other design changes are the buttons for Menu, Home and Back, which were on the right side of the Kindle, are now located below with the typing keys. The Navigation button is now larger, and the number keys are not displayed, which means to access them you will probably have to shift keys.

What else is great about the NEW Kindle? How about the price! You have a choice...
  • Kindle Wi-Fi only, available in graphite grey.... $139.00
  • Kindle 3G plus Wi-Fi, available in white or graphite grey... $189.00
The Kindle is slowly inching towards that magic eReader $100 price point and beats Barnes & Nobles Nook (Kindles direct competitor) by $10! I can't wait to see one of these new Kindles in person! I'm particularly curious to see the new size. One of the things I liked about the Borders Kobo reader that I tried was it's size; the Kobo was smaller than my Kindle and the size was very comfortable to hold, especially with it's soft-touch quilted back. The new Kindle size is almost as small as the Kobo and it too has a new soft-touch textured back.

Well, what do you think? If you've been on the fence about getting an eReader this may be the final push you need. And does this mean prices even lower for Sony, Barnes & Noble and Kobo eReaders again? You can read all about the new third generation Kindles and all their features at . Pre-orders are being taken right now, with the new Kindles being shipped on August 27th!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind... A TLC Blog Tour & Review

"Trust Yourself and Believe, Whatever Happens Don't Give Up..."
...William Kamkwamba

The simple act of turning on a light switch... opening a refrigerator full of food... going to school... These are all things most of us take for granted, but in William Kamkwamba's life these things were luxuries. Surviving famine, cholera and political treachery, William Kamkwamba shares his heartwrenching story of life in Malawi, "a country where magic rules and modern science was mystery."

I had seen
William Kamkwamba on television being interviewed about his windmill. I was fascinated. How a small boy with a curiosity in how things worked was able to help bring electricity to his village was amazing. What I didn't know until I read the book The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, written by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer, was how far William had to travel, not by miles but by the determination to live & have a more stable life, before he could make his idea a reality. In this emotionally charged story, William Kamkwamba is "The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind". He was born into a family of poor farmers in a rural African village, with 6 siblings and the realities of a harsh African life, which included no electricity, or any other modern convenience, and living under a corrupt government that would rather see big profits than help the many small farmers that populated the country. Their livelihoods were wrapped up in the ability to grow their crops. They had to work around rainy seasons, dry spells and make the hard soil work for them. Then famine broke out, food became scarce, and people struggled to survive. Because of the famine, William had to drop out of school because his parents could no longer afford to send him. Though, he still had access to the library and used his time to keep his studies up. That library contained books on Physics and electricity donated by The American Institutes for Research. At the age of 14, with very little education, and not a very good grasp of English, William was inspired by the pictures in a book on windmills to see if he could build his own. A windmill could make electricity and bring water for irrigation. This could help not only his family, but his whole village...

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind will pull you in. It's a story of desperation and loss, but as the story continues, uplifting. The beginning of the book really opens your eyes to the harsh realities of the life of an African farmer. But you also get a sense of a simpler life, one filled with magic and storytelling handed down from one generation to the next. I got a sense of community among the people of the village, even though they had very little, people tried to help one another with what they had. As you learn more about William and day to day life in his village, you begin to see what a special young man he is. Of course the villagers thought he was crazy, going through the scrap yard looking for pieces of this and that to "build a windmill". We all know the ending- he did make his windmill, and The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is that story. There's also a wonderful "P.S." at the end of the book, an "afterwards" story entitled A Great Adventure that recounts some of the things that went on after the book was published. One of the wonderful things William mentions is meeting Dr. Mary Atwater, the woman who wrote Using Energy, the book that first inspired William to build his windmill. Dr. Atwater was "a black person in the American South during the 1950's, and she didn't have many great educational opportunities. It didn't help that she was also a girl, and a girl who loved science." But Dr. Atwater's dream came true through education, and she was "happy that I lived long enough to see that something I wrote could change someone's life."

William Kamkwamba will touch your heart. I felt such happiness when he was able to bring his dream to reality and help his village. But it doesn't stop there, because with worldwide attention, he's now helping to build schools and bring education into the communities of Africa. This is one very special story that will make you thankful for the bounty that you have, but also inspire you to follow your dreams, and to try and help others attain theirs. I would encourage anyone who enjoys inspirational stories to pick up this book. It's one story you won't forget.

Check out William Kamkwamba's Blog to learn more about him and his nonprofit organization Moving Windmills. I want to Thank Trish from TLC Tours for sending along a copy of The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind for review! William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer will be touring the blogs with their book until the end of August, here are the other stops on the tour!

And in the meantime, here is a video of William talking about "How he harnessed the wind"...

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Lucy Springer Gets Even by Lisa Heidke... A Virtual Book Tour & Review

Lucy Springer Gets Even by Lisa Heidke
Fresh & Funny,
it's the Perfect Summer Read
for all you Chicks out there!

Lucy Springer Gets Even by Lisa Heidke is pure Chick Lit! Lucy's acting career has been on permanent standby for a while (although there was the infamous broccoli commercial...), her love life just turned upside down, with her husband taking off to parts unknown without so much as a goodbye, and if that weren't bad enough, she has no kitchen, and the house is a disaster as it's in major renovations with workers who enjoy a good cup of coffee more than swinging a hammer. What's a girl to do? Call her Mother? Heck, that's part of the problem too! How about try and put it all back together with wit and good humor, and a bit of alcohol thrown in for good measure! Here's what the publishers say,

Lucy Springer thinks she’s got it tough. She’s living through renovation hell, her two kids seem more challenging than ever, and her once successful acting career has been reduced to the odd commercial.

Then Max, her husband, absconds to Bali with an unknown companion and things go from bad to disastrous.

But Lucy doesn’t give up easily. Juggling increasingly chaotic building dramas, bewildered children, her crazy best friend-slash-agent Gloria, her ever ‘helpful’ mother and chasing after Max, Lucy Springer is determined to get her life on an even keel – and more.

Lucy Springer Gets Even was pure fun! Lisa Heidke has a wry sense of humor that shines through as Lucy goes from the gutter to glory. And I loved the way Lisa Heidke wrote the book-starting with the first day of Lisa's story, Day 1, we get to experience each day as it's happening until Day 60. Like diary entries, it's unique and a great way for us to be swept up in the story, just as if we were there. Lisa Heidke puts us in the role of BFF as we watch Lucy try and juggle career, kids and her well meaning, but domineering mother, and I was rooting for her all the way!

Great writing, a fun story written in a unique way, and a good ending is what you'll find in Lucy Springer Gets Even. Women who want a lighter summer read with a resilient heroine will enjoy this book! And this book hits the bulls eye for Chick Lit lovers too!

About the Author... Lisa Heidke studied journalism at Queensland University, fled Brisbane and settled in Sydney where she worked in book and magazine publishing. After many years living in Sydney's inner west, Lisa woke up one morning to find herself married with three children and living on the North Shore. In 2006, Lisa's This Wife's Life was shortlisted for the Varuna/Harper Collins Manuscript Awards and then in 2007, Lucy Springer's Story was shortlisted. Learn more about Lisa at her website And read an EXCERPT from Lucy Springer Gets Even from her publisher, Allen & Unwin

Lisa Heidke has been on a Virtual Book Tour for Lucy Springer Gets Even, and Chick with Books is one of her stops. I want to thank Pump Up Your Book for sending me a review copy of Lisa's great book! It was a great escape!

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Disappearing Spoon by Sam Kean... It's not a "Memoir" this Monday, but it's True Tales of Madness, Love and History !

True Tales of Madness, Love and The History of The World From
The Periodic Table of The Elements

We're all familiar with the Periodic Table of Elements, it's that big chart in the science classroom that has all the known chemical elements arranged by atomic number. We can find Helium (He), Oxygen (O), and Mercury (Hg)...Great, right?! Sam Kean writes, "Probably the biggest frustration for many students was that the people who got the periodic table, who could really unpack how it worked, could pull so many facts from it with such dweeby nonchalance... People remember the table with a mix of fascination, fondness, inadequacy and loathing." Sam Kean was one of the people who got the Periodic Table, but his love of those chemical elements developed into a love of history, and in The Disappearing Spoon Sam Kean mixes science with our love of a good story and the final product is a wonderful adventure! Here's what the publishers have to say...

The Periodic Table is one of man's crowning scientific achievements. But it's also a treasure trove of stories of passion, adventure, betrayal, and obsession. The infectious tales and astounding details in THE DISAPPEARING SPOON follow carbon, neon, silicon, and gold as they play out their parts in human history, finance, mythology, war, the arts, poison, and the lives of the (frequently) mad scientists who discovered them.

We learn that Marie Curie used to provoke jealousy in colleagues' wives when she'd invite them into closets to see her glow-in-the-dark experiments. And that Lewis and Clark swallowed mercury capsules across the country and their campsites are still detectable by the poison in the ground. Why did Gandhi hate iodine? Why did the Japanese kill Godzilla with missiles made of cadmium? And why did tellurium lead to the most bizarre gold rush in history?

The Disappearing Spoon by Sam Kean is written like a short story collection. Contained within the pages are these great, interesting stories, written in a way that it's like your favorite Uncle telling you a story - enjoyable and understandable. This makes sense because that's what Same Kean enjoyed as a physics major- the stories his professor shared with him,

" I realized that there's a funny, or odd, or chilling tale attached to every element on the periodic table. At the same time, the table is one of the great intellectual achievements of humankind. Its' both a scientific accomplishment and a storybook..."

What does Shakespeare and the first virus ever discovered have in common? Why did the Parker Pen Company hire a metallurgist? You'll read about Lewis & Clark, Madame Curie, Mark Twain. The stories are relatively short and can be enjoyed in bits and pieces. Hey, while you're enjoying the "tales", you'll probably learn something too! Read an EXCERPT of The Disappearing Spoon and see for yourself if Sam Kean has what it takes to make science interesting to you!

I want to thank Hachette Book Group for sending along a review copy of The Disappearing Spoon!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Sunday Salon... Books to Movies

Welcome to The Sunday Salon! Relax, pull up a chair and grab a cup of joe! It's the day of the week over 500 book bloggers and readers sit down to enjoy each other's company and chat about books!

Last week, while I was vacationing, I got a chance to see The Girl Who Played With Fire, which is the movie based on the book by the same name by Stieg Larsson. I usually like to read the book before I see a movie based on a book, but in this case I hadn't quite finished reading it,
and being an "art house" movie I knew it wasn't going to wait for me! The movie was great! (So was The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo!) And this time seeing the movie first has not diminished my enjoyment of the book at all. The book has plenty of material not included in the movie. (wish I could tell you, but then I would be spoiling it on both accounts!) I do recall reading The Firm by John Grisham after the fact and not enjoying reading it because it seemed as though I was reading word for word what was on the big screen. That convinced me that if I wanted to read a book that was coming out in the movies that I should read the book first. Sometimes knowing what happens in the book will leave you a bit surprised in the movie theater because things are changed, such as when I went to see Jurassic Park (Michael Crichton) and they had changed the ending. Reading the book and getting to know the characters and THEN seeing the movie adapted from the book should be a treat. The big screen is suppose to touch you differently than the written word, what do you think?

All this got me to thinking about upcoming Books to Movies! What should we be reading now so that we'll be ready for the buttered popcorn and Junior mints? (BTW, a friend gave me a copy of Life's Little Instruction Book by H. Jackson Brown, Jr. and one of the instructions was to add Junior Mints to your popcorn and I have done it ever since) Here are some books coming to a theater near you...

Little Bee by Chris Cleave... I loved this book when I read it last year! And I'm really looking forward to seeing the movie. The book should lend itself well to an adaptation. Here's what Publisher Weekly wrote... "A violent incident on a Nigerian beach has tragic echoes in posh London in Cleave's beautifully staged if haphazardly plotted second novel. British couple Andrew O'Rourke and his wife, Sarah, are on vacation when they come across two sisters, Little Bee and Nkiruka, on the run from the killers who have massacred everyone else in their village—and what happens there with this unlikely encounter, is the mystery that propels the novel. Two years later, Little Bee, in possession of Andrew's license, shows up at Sarah's house..."Filming should begin in early 2011, in the meantime, you should have time to read this ahead of time! Here's my Review! *P.S. This Book is Kindle Ready!

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro... Kazuo Ishiguro is a very popular Japanese author who has won quite a few awards for his writing, including the Booker Prize. Here's what Never Let Me Go is about... A thirty-one-year-old woman named Kathy narrates this haunting tale, drawing the reader gradually into her recollections of her life at Hailsham, the idyllic boarding school where she grew up. She and her best friends, Ruth and Tommy, were encouraged by their teachers to create works of art from an early age, to collect cherished objects, and to take good care of their health. There are no parents in their world, only a handful of teachers, some of whom seem to be deeply troubled by their position at the school. Kathy’s friend Ruth is bossy and manipulative, while Kathy herself is gentle and self-contained. Both are drawn to Tommy, a boy given to explosive fits of temper. What is revealed, as Kathy’s reminiscences accumulate, is a life of preparation for a special role in a world that has begun to exploit the medical possibilities of genetic technology. This Sci-Fi offering is slated to be released Sept. of this year. *P.S. This Book is Kindle Ready! (at the bargain price of $8.69!)

Guardians of Ga'Hoole: The Capture by Kathryn Lasky... This is something for the kids (of course us adults should enjoy it too!) It will be animated and 3D! Kathryn Lasky is well known for her childrens fantasy books. Her Guardians of Ga'Hoole series is 15 books so far, geared towards readers between the ages of 9 - 12, with Warner Bros. adapting the first book in the series, The Capture, for this movie. Here's what Booklist writes about The Capture, "Soren, a barn owl still weeks away from fledging, is knocked from his otherwise loving family's nest by his nasty older brother. He is swooped up from the forest floor by a pair of nefarious owls who hold him--along with many other owlets of diverse species--captive in a kind of owl social reformatory. Lasky portrays an owl world that has more in common with George Orwell than with Brian Jacques, offering readers big questions about human social psychology and politics along with real owl science. Broad themes related to the nature of personal choice, the need for fellowship based on love and trust, and sharing knowledge with one's peers are presented compellingly and with swift grafting to the animal adventure story. Developmentally linked celebrations (such as "First Fur" and "First Meat"), methods devised for brain-washing (including the regimental marching of sleepy owls by moonlight), and the diverse landscapes in which owls makes their homes come to life here as Soren rebels against his captors, makes a friend, and executes the first stage of his planned liberation and family reconciliation." This movie is scheduled for a September release. *P.S. This Book is Kindle Ready! (at the bargain price of $4.79!)

And speaking of books to movies, there's a great book called Adaptations by Stephanie Harrison that has 35 of the short stories that some older big screen movies were adapted from. You can read the short story that inspired Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window, or the stories that inspired Memento, 2001: A Space Odessey, Minority Report and All About Eve.

So, what movies have you seen that you enjoyed both as a book and a movie? Which do you prefer movie first or book first? OR does seeing a movie that was based on a book, make you want to read the book if it was really good? Share what you think right here!

And wrapping up the week in the Books to Movies department, are you watching STARZ this week? The movie adaptation of Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett started this week, and will be running the next 6 weeks on Friday nights on STARZ premium cable channel! If you're a fan of Pillars of the Earth, you will want to watch it. If you've missed the first episode, I'm sure they will be replaying it, because this is a big event, with lush sets and headline actors. First episode gets a thumbs up from me. Did you see it? What did you think?

Would you rather listen to instead of watch your favorite book? If you missed it, I have a giveaway still going on until August 14th for Private by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro! Click on the link to read the details! And next week, I'll have a review and giveaway for the audiobook of Backseat Saints by Joshlyn Jackson, and if you enjoy southern fiction, this girl from Alabama will charm you! And speaking of giveaways, there's still time to enter the giveaway for a bit of reading romance during the time of Waterloo with Eileen Dreyer's Barely A Lady. Giveaway ends July 27th, follow this link for the details.

Hope you found something that piqued your love of reading this week! Happy reading... Suzanne

Friday, July 23, 2010

First Lines...

"I AM WHAT THEY CALL IN OUR VILLAGE "ONE WHO HAS NOT yet died" - a widow, eighty years old. Without my husband, the days are long. I no longer care for the special foods that Peony and the others prepare for me. I no longer look forward to the happy events that settle under our roof so easily. Only the past interests me now..."

.......Snow Flower and The Secret Fan by Lisa See

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Private by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro... An Audiobook Review & Giveaway!

The world's most powerful investigation firm,
takes on three twisted,
almost unsolvable crimes...

Giveaway Has Ended!
CONGRATS TO...Kathy, Jessica & Allison! They each won a copy of James Patterson's Audiobook Privat! Thanks to EVERYone who joined in on the fun by entering, blogging and tweeting about the giveaway!

Like your mysteries & suspense with a PI hunting down the bad guy?! How about a story packed with not one but three crimes?! Then Private by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro is for you! Great characters whose lives are so cleverly entwined, and 3 great cases that Jack Morgan and his investigation company, Private, is working on that will have you on the edge of your seats.

Jack Morgan runs Private, a large private investigation firm, where the rich and famous go, but also anyone who wants discretion... Jack and his investigators have a world wide network of technically savvy resources to help them solve even the most difficult crimes... and they're going to need it. First Jack begins investigating a high stakes NFL gambling scandal. Looks like the games are rigged somehow, and with lots of money on the line, Jack's firm is hired to investigate if it's even possible, let alone happening. At the same time, Private is asked to be part of the police investigation of the unsolved murders of thirteen young girls. The crimes seem related, but at the same time they look to have been committed by different people, but how? and why? Finally Jack gets a call from his best friend; it seems his best friends wife ( and Jack's former lover) has been murdered. The husband looks guilty, but Jack knows his friend would never do it, and as Jack investigates who else may have a motive, secrets start coming out of the closet that turn his perceptions of who his best friend really is and who his ex-lover really was upside down. The story starts out slowly, laying down all the players, their relationships and the scenes, but quickly moves to a faster pace, with twists and turns that make you want to keep turning the pages, or in my case, because I listened to the audiobook, keep listening by driving around the block a few more times! Having 3 crimes being investigated at the same time really holds your attention. The characters are well developed with intertwined histories that are interesting and create a whole other set of possibilities in the story as people are motivated because of their past with each other. And Jack sure has a "past" with quite a few of the ladies in the story, but I guess that's common among PI's, right?!

But my review is really for the audiobook version of Private. And as much I can tell you I really liked the story, (And I really did!) the narrator really has a big part in how well you enjoy an audiobook. Peter Hermann is the narrator and does an excellent job of holding your attention with his wonderful buttery voice. Hermann's credits are in film, television and Broadway productions. He has full command of his characters (and there are quite a few) and does a great job of separating them through subtle nuances with his voice. Good timing, an interesting voice, the talent of Peter Hermann and a great story to back it all up make Private a great audiobook! Fans of James Patterson will enjoy this, but also fans of Maxine Paetro who is gaining a following in her own right.

Want to listen to a great audiobook?! Private by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro is unabridged, on 6 CD's and is approximately 7 hours. AND Courtesy of Anna of Hachette Book Group, I have 3 copies of the audiobook Private to GIVE AWAY! Learn more about James Patterson! Then Listen to an excerpt of Private! And finally enter to win a copy of the unabridged audiobook of Private! Here's how to Enter...

Giveaway Has Ended!

To Enter this Giveaway...

*For one entry leave me a comment with your email address!

*Get an extra entry for following my blog! Just leave a comment letting me know you're a follower! ( Not a follower yet? No problem, sign up by clicking on the 'followers" button on the sidebar to the left! Just let me know you became a new follower!)

*Blog or tweet about this giveaway and leave me the link.

This giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents only (No PO boxes). The books will be shipped to the winners directly from the publisher. Contest ends 11:59pm EST on August 14th. I will randomly pick the winners the next day and email them! (please check your email.. winner must reply to me within 3 days! Thanks!) Good Luck!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Fix-It and Forget-It Cookbook by Phyllis Pellman Good... a Tasty Review (Recipe Included!)

"Food sustains us, both physically and socially. I want to make it possible to prepare food at home, despite our hectic lives, and to be able to share it together."
...Phyllis Pellman Good

Here's another great tasting book review today! Millions of people have bought Fix-It and Forget-It Cookbook's by Phyllis Pellman Good. And the reason is that Fix-It and Forget-It recipes are easy to put together (usually just a handful of ingredients), taste great, and are family friendly. Got a slow cooker? (aka Crock Pot) Then you're half way to a great meal. And in the Fix-It and Forget-It Cookbook Revised & Updated by Phyllis Pellman Good you have 700 Great Slow Cooker Recipes to choose from and after cooking from this cookbook myself , I know you won't be disappointed! Cook for yourself or cook for a family, slow cooker recipes are adaptable and are forgiving!

Slow Cookers have been around since the 1970's. They've gone in and out of fashion since then too. But our lives are busy, and slow cookers help put a great meal on the table with very little effort. Slow cookers have become very popular again, with many choices out there from many manufacturers, and The Fix-It and Forget-It Cookbook gives you tips on buying, using and adapting recipes for a slow cooker, in addition to recipes ranging from Salsa to Pizza Fondue, Stuffed Peppers to Lasagna!

What will you find in The Fix-It and Forget-It Cookbook? Recipes for Appetizers, Snacks and Spreads, Breakfast Recipes such as Cheese Souffle Casserole, Soups , Stews and Chilis, Beef & Pork Recipes, Chicken & Turkey Recipes, Pasta and Bean Recipes, Vegetarian Dishes, Veggies, Desserts and Drink Recipes. You'll find recipes for Turkey Chili, Pot Roast, Hearty Stew, Enchilada Casserole, Barbecued Ribs, and Chicken Parmesian. How about a recipe for Bread Pudding or Baked Apples with Raisins! There's plenty of variety in this cookbook. Great recipes for family dinners, pot-lucks and BOOK CLUB dinners!

One of the recipes my family really enjoyed from this cookbook was Darla's Chicken Cacciatore. Chicken Cacciatore is a hearty chicken stew, usually referred to as hunter's stew because it was an easy way to cook a rabbit or chicken outside while hunting. What's different and nice about this recipe is that it uses boneless chicken breasts that are cubed, so that there are little bites of chicken mixed in the sauce, and is perfect over spaghetti or even rice. With permission from the publisher, I am able to share this recipe! Here we go...

Darla's Chicken Cacciatore
Reprinted from Fix-It and Forget-It Cookbook. © by Good Books ( Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Makes 6 Servings
Prep Time: 5 - 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 8 Hours
Ideal Slow-Cooker Size: 4 Qt.

2 Onions
4 boneless chicken breast cubed
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 tsp. dried basil
1 bay leaf
2 15-oz. cans diced tomatoes
8 oz. can tomato sauce
4 oz. can sliced mushrooms

1. Place onions in bottom of slow cooker. Add remaining ingredients.
2. Cover. Cook on Low 8 hours.

How easy does that sound? I served it over spaghetti, but rice would also be a good choice. *Now a few personal notes on the recipe... I have a 6 quart slow cooker, so I added 1/2 more of the ingredients. (6 chicken breasts instead of 4 etc.) Slow cookers are adaptable and so when a recipe calls for 4 quart, it's easily adaptable to a larger pot and vice versa. ALSO, my slow cooker tends to cook fast for some reason, so I didn't go the full 8 hours on Low, I checked it at 6 hours and it was pretty much done. Always check your chicken or other meat to make sure that it's cooked through, and the more you use your slow cooker the more you'll know how fast or slow it compares to most recipes.

This cookbook will appeal to any person who would love to come home, after a day at work or play, to a home cooked meal! I want to thank Anna of FSB Associates for sending along this book for review! Not only a feast for the eyes, but for the tastebuds as well!

*Hey, I'm sharing this review on Cym Lowell's Book Review Party!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Reapers Are The Angels by Alden Bell... A Review

"The world is pretty much what she remembers, all burnt up and pallid - like someone came along with a sponge and soaked up all the color and the moisture too and left everything gray and bone-dry."

When I first opened the pages of The Reapers Are The Angels by Alden Bell I wasn't quite sure what to expect. I knew there were zombies, and I knew there was a young girl on her own trying to survive the post-apocalyptic world that the story takes place in. Were the zombies suppose to "lighten" the story up? There have been so many zombie mash-ups lately that I wasn't quite sure where this novel was going to fit in. I couldn't help thinking the story was Cormac McCarthy's The Road with a sprinkling of Zombies. But as I started reading I found out that this wasn't your average zombie novel. The Reapers Are The Angels is true Southern Gothic, that delivers a haunting story of survival and the longing for forgiveness.

This is the story of 15 year old Temple, who has always lived in this world where the meatskins, the disease carrying zombies, have over run the suburbs and the inner cities, and no one is safe. It's been 25 years since civilization had turned into a vast wasteland, and where the zombies amble along aimlessly, attacking any living creature they encounter. Temple has lived a lot in her 15 years. She has learned to survive with her wits and her knife. She's alone, traveling the roads by herself, and punishing herself for something she shouldn't really blame herself for, until she reaches out to a feeble minded young man, Maury, who reminds her of another innocent in her life. Maybe this time she can redeem herself for last time...

Alden Bell paints a vivid picture of a devastated world. Through Temples eyes we see the emptiness, the hopelessness, but the need to work together and move forward. It's eerie how whole cities seem untouched, yet no one exists there. And how some people have built communities in places that you normally wouldn't and have created "safe" zones in other places. Well written interesting characters whose instincts to survive and try to live a normal life are very realistic. The portrayal of what goes on in this world, and how Temple handles it all is what will keep you turning the pages. Temple herself has an interesting way of philosophizing about life that you wouldn't think a 15 year old with little education and who can't read would, but I chalk that up to having good common sense and having to grow up fast in order to survive her day to day life. The Reapers Are The Angels is gritty and harsh, but tempered with a young girls need for redemption.

The Reapers Are The Angels should appeal to people who enjoy dystopian fiction with a splash of the undead, but Temple herself may attract fiction readers who would enjoy reading about this one tough gal!

Thanks to Jason of Henry Holt and Company for sending along a review copy of The Reapers Are The Angels.
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