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

Sunday, November 13, 2016

The Sunday Salon and Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, but sometimes it isn't all fun and games...

Welcome to The Sunday Salon and The Sunday Post! It's that day of the week bloggers from all over the internet get together virtually in a large gathering place called The Sunday Salon and talk books!  And at The Sunday Post, which is a weekly meme hosted by The Caffeinated Book Reviewer, in which more bloggers share their bookish news!

It's a beautiful sunny day in Connecticut. It is November, so it's has cooled off a bit, but it's only in the 50's and that's okay with me this time of year. Lot's of things to start getting ready for... Thanksgiving! Christmas!?! and some interesting reads coming out for Fall. Today's roundup of reads highlights some literary girls that don't fit in your typical mold. Merry, who is like a black widow, charming and deadly (kinda), Skylark, who is trying to find herself among the teenagers she's friends with, and Penelope, who survives her hellish surroundings to eventually find love and acceptance. Here they are...

Razor Girl by Carl Hiaasen... From Kirkus Reviews: When Lane Coolman's car is bashed from behind on the road to the Florida Keys, what appears to be an ordinary accident is anything but (this is Hiaasen!). Behind the wheel of the other car is Merry Mansfield--the eponymous Razor Girl--and the crash scam is only the beginning of events that spiral crazily out of control while unleashing some of the wildest characters Hiaasen has ever set loose on the page. There's Trebeaux, the owner of Sedimental Journeys--a company that steals sand from one beach to restore erosion on another . . . Dominick "Big Noogie" Aeola, a NYC mafia capo with a taste for tropic-wear . . . Buck Nance, a Wisconsin accordionist who has rebranded himself as the star of a redneck reality show called Bayou Brethren . . . a street psycho known as Blister who's more Buck Nance than Buck could ever be . . . Brock Richardson, a Miami product-liability lawyer who's getting dangerously--and deformingly--hooked on the very E.D. product he's litigating against . . . and Andrew Yancy--formerly Detective Yancy, busted down to the Key West roach patrol after accosting his then-lover's husband with a Dust Buster. Yancy believes that if he can singlehandedly solve a high-profile murder, he'll get his detective badge back. That the Razor Girl may be the key to Yancy's future will be as surprising as anything else he encounters along the way--including the giant Gambian rats that are livening up his restaurant inspections.

Carl Hiassen's books are rollicking adventures and Razor Girl should be no different. I picked this up and am looking forward to cracking the spine for a fun time. Lots of great praise for this book.

Girl Defective by Simmone Howell... Skylark Martin lives above her family’s vintage vinyl shop that—like its merchandise—is an endangered species in their re-gentrified, forward-looking Melbourne suburb. In the five years since Mum left to “follow her art” in Japan, Dad’s kept the shop going, drinking homebrew and mourning the past (musical and otherwise). Sky, 15, and Gully, 10, aka Agent Seagull Martin, who wears a pig-snout mask 24/7 and views the world as a crime scene waiting to be investigated, hold down the fort. Sky harbors no illusions about their dreary status quo—Dad’s drinking, Gully’s issues, her own social stasis—but she does have dreams, recently ignited by a new friend, the beautiful, wild and fearless Nancy. Other agents of change include Eve, Dad’s old flame, and Luke, the shop’s attractive, moody new hire. Drawn, mothlike, to Nancy’s flame, Sky’s dreams are haunted by Luke’s sister, whose similarly wild lifestyle led to tragedy. The family business grounds Sky. Its used records and cassettes, like time capsules, store music that evokes the past’s rich emotional complexity for the Martins and their quirky customers, while the eternal present and frantic quest for the next big thing hold no appeal.  Funny, observant, a relentless critic of the world’s (and her own) flaws, Sky is original, thoroughly authentic and great company, decorating her astute, irreverent commentary with vivid Aussie references; chasing these down should provide foreign readers with hours of online fun.

I happened to stumble upon this book this week and read a bit of it. Reminds me of a coming-of-age novel, I enjoyed the writing I sampled and have put this one on my wishlist! It's YA and originally published in 2014. 
Ulysses Dream by Tim White... Through Penelope’s eyes we understand the experience of thousands of girls who are kidnapped and become statistics of human trafficking. With the courageous intervention of a young girl, she escapes and ends up living with other children in the Teguciligapa city dump. Her hero is Ulysses, a Nez Perce boy raised in the rugged Wallowa mountains in Eastern Oregon. He and his six brothers and their Beauceron dog have many adventures and are hunted by a monstrous bear. Ulysses and Penelope fall into a sweet teenage romance. When Ulysees is sent to Southeast Asia in 1968, his quest to win back his true love takes him through the horror of Vietnam, as well as the struggles of professional football and the Olympics. Penelope and her son Telemachus are left alone to work towards the miracle of US citizenships, all the while avoiding the retribution of the international gang to whom she once was a slave.

This book seems to have so much stuffed into one story. How do you combine human trafficking, a love story and the NFL into one book? And the book is only 207 pages? I'm not sure, but the story of a girl escaping her sex traffickers,  surviving and falling in love, and almost losing the happiness she fought so hard for makes me want to read this. It's at a bargain Kindle price of $4.99 if you're interested too.

What Literary Girls have you read about lately?

Enjoy your week! I hope you've found something to pique your reading interests! 

Happy reading... Suzanne

Monday, November 7, 2016

There's A Bumbie Under My Bed!... Blog Tour

Oh Yes, we've all had a Bumbie or two lurking under the bed when the lights go out! Here's a cute  look at the Bumbie's under a certain little boy's bed in There's A Bumbie Under My Bed by Bethany Ramos...

There’s a Bumbie Under My Bed tells the story of a boy who can’t go to sleep because of all the monster bunnies keeping him up at night. Told in the first-person narrative, the little boy delays bedtime, using his flashlight and hand to create scary and silly bunny shadow puppets on the wall. According to the boy, friendly, spooky characters like the Bumbie (bunny zombie), Were-bunny (werewolf bunny), Bunny-stein (bunny Frankenstein), and Count Hop-ula come to visit him in the night. At the end of the book, his mother comforts him to sleep by telling him to let his imagination rest — and put the flashlight away.

What Did I Think?! I loved it! Creative, imaginative and wonderfully illustrated, author Bethany Ramos along with illustrator, Emiliano Billai, gives us a peek into what lurks under the bed late at night when the lights go out... but it's the little boy's mother in the story that helps us learn how to deal with such a vivid imagination. I really thought it was wonderful at the end of the story that the mother tells her little boy, to "put your flashlight away and let your imagination rest. You'll see your friends again tomorrow night." It shows us that the Bumbie's are really our friends and that we can bring them out to play another time. Although I didn't spy a flashlight bringing the Bumbie's to life, there seemed to be light streaming into the room that did give life to those shadows. I also liked that the last two pages of the book show how to make our own shadow puppets (or Bumbies) with our own flashlight. A great way to help children learn to deal with their own Bumbies! (or other cute named monsters!)

There's a Bumbie Under My Bed is 24 pages, Published by Saturn Moon Press and is a Children's picture book.

About the Author...
Bethany Ramos is a children’s book author, editor, and blogger. She is a regular contributor to Bethany’s first children’s book, Lions Can’t Eat Spaghetti, was published through 4RV Publishing in 2016. Her second children’s book, There’s a Bumbie Under My Bed, was published by Saturn’s Moon Press, also in 2016. Her first chick lit novel, 5 Stages of Grief, was published by Black Opal Books in 2011; her second chick lit novel, Adventure to Love, was published by Soul Mate Publishing in 2013. Bethany works as Editor in Chief for Naturally Healthy Publications.

Here's Bethany's... WEBSITE ! You can follow Bethany on... TWITTER ! Like Bethany on... FACEBOOK!

Chick with Books is participating in today's Blog Tour courtesy of Pump Up Your Books! Virtual Book Publicity Tours! As part of the tour, I was given a copy of There's A Bumbie Under My Bed! to read and share my unbiased review.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

The Sunday Salon and What's Cooking?!... or 4 Cookbooks to Get You Back in the Mood to Cook!

Welcome to The Sunday Salon and The Sunday Post! It's that day of the week bloggers from all over the internet get together virtually in a large gathering place called The Sunday Salon and talk books!  And at The Sunday Post, which is a weekly meme hosted by The Caffeinated Book Reviewer, in which more bloggers share their bookish news!

Good morning everyone! Yes, we earned an extra hour of sleep this morning, the sun is shining brightly at 8am, but it's cold! Fall weather is settling quickly in Connecticut. We've gone from 80 degrees to 50 in a matter of a week or so. And with the change of seasons I think about getting the sweaters and gloves out, and think about stirring up some cold weather cooking in the form of hearty soups and homemade bread. Which then makes me think about cookbooks... and then about what new cookbooks have come out that may tempt my tastebuds and make me want to try something new. See all that logical progression?! There have been so many new cookbooks published recently, I thought we'd talk cookbooks...

First cookbook today is The Pollan Family Table by Corky, Lori, Dana and Traci Pollan. Yes, that Traci Pollan! And if that weren't enough, Michael Pollan, the guy who writes all those great books on food, is the brother (and son) to these women. Corky is the Mom to Lori, Dana and Traci and as evidence, this cookbook shows how they all grew up to appreciate good cooking. I met these ladies at a book signing and talk held at Bethel Library (one of the local libraries) and courtesy of the efforts of Byrd's Books of Bethel. It was a nice evening and you could tell how close these ladies were and how cooking was a big part of their family. The recipes in their cookbook are simple, well explained, and with ingredients we can find without any problems. I'll be reviewing this soon, but suffice it to say that it's a winner. Oh and the photographs in the book are gorgeous!

Cooking for Jeffrey by Ina Garten: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook... For America’s bestselling cookbook author Ina Garten there is no greater pleasure than cooking for the people she loves—and particularly for her husband, Jeffrey. She has been cooking for him ever since they were married forty-eight years ago, and the comforting, delicious meals they shared became the basis for her extraordinary career in food. Ina’s most personal cookbook yet, Cooking for Jeffrey is filled with the recipes Jeffrey and their friends request most often as well as charming stories from Ina and Jeffrey’s many years together. There are traditional dishes that she’s updated... and new favorites.

I just love Ina Garten. Her recipes have never failed me. They are always simple and delicious. I haven' looked through this cookbook, but it's been on my wishlist ever since I heard it was coming.

Appetites: A Cookbook by Anthony Bourdain... Appetites, his first cookbook in more than ten years, boils down forty-plus years of professional cooking and globe-trotting to a tight repertoire of personal favorites—dishes that everyone should (at least in Mr. Bourdain’s opinion) know how to cook. Once the supposed "bad boy" of cooking, Mr. Bourdain has, in recent years, become the father of a little girl—a role he has embraced with enthusiasm. After years of traveling more than 200 days a year, he now enjoys entertaining at home. Years of prep lists and the hyper-organization necessary for a restaurant kitchen, however, have caused him, in his words, to have "morphed into a psychotic, anally retentive, bad-tempered Ina Garten." The result is a home-cooking, home-entertaining cookbook like no other, with personal favorites from his own kitchen and from his travels, translated into an effective battle plan that will help you terrify your guests with your breathtaking efficiency.

Years ago I read Anthony Bourdain's, Kitchen Confidential and loved it. But I never really followed any of his other endeavors. Whenever I ran across his TV shows, I just thought he was too arrogant for my liking and turned him off. But, I ran across this cookbook recently and was fascinated. And after reading a few of the recipes shared in a sample I wanted to see more. He still has that same kind of arrogance (and he uses some expletives in some of his recipe anecdotes), but he really shares some great tips, techniques and good recipes. On my wishlist too!

Alton Brown: Everyday Cook by Alton Brown...  My name is Alton Brown, and I wrote this book. It’s my first in a few years because I’ve been a little busy with TV stuff and interwebs stuff and live stage show stuff. Sure, I’ve been cooking, but it’s been mostly to feed myself and people in my immediate vicinity—which is really what a cook is supposed to do, right? Well, one day I was sitting around trying to organize my recipes, and I realized that I should put them into a personal collection. One thing led to another, and here’s EveryDayCook. There’s still plenty of science and hopefully some humor in here (my agent says that’s my “wheelhouse”), but unlike in my other books, a lot of attention went into the photos, which were all taken on my iPhone (take that, Instagram) and are suitable for framing. As for the recipes, which are arranged by time of day, they’re pretty darned tasty.

It must be the year of the cookbook comebacks, because here we have another chef, Alton Brown, who hasn't written a cookbook in years, coming out with a new cookbook too. I'm happy though, because Alton Brown is another favorite chef of mine. He always teaches me something. In his very first cookbook he taught me the muffin method, and I haven't looked back since. His recipes never fail me either, although they tend to be more "complicated" sometimes because of the science you're learning behind it. This cookbook looks to be a winner too and it's on my wishlist!

Does the Change in Seasons mean a Change in Your Cooking?

I love cookbooks. I have way too many, but sometimes can't resist adding one to the shelves. With the internet now, so many recipes can be found online, but I still love opening one up and setting it on the counter with my measuring spoons and measuring cups.  Do you still use cookbooks? 

I hope today's post has inspired you to make something delicious! And I hope you've found something interesting too!

Happy reading... Suzanne
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