Books: My Summer Reading List

In the summer issue of A Sweet Spot: Home Magazine, I included a couple of articles about what books are on my summer reading list.  This included both novels (and one non-fiction) as well as cookbooks.  Just in case you missed the magazine, (and if you did, please read it here!) here are the books that are currently taking up a little space in my Kindle:

1. THE WEDNESDAY DAUGHTERS | Meg Waite Clayton: I’ve not yet started this book, but this book had my attention when I read that it was a story about mothers, daughters, and secrets…and the fact that it’s set in England didn’t hurt, either. 2.  THE SILVER STAR | Jeannette Walls: With the massive success of The Glass Castle, I knew that The Silver Star would be a book I’d definitely be interested in reading.  This story about “an intrepid girl who challenges the social injustices of the adult world” promises to be a good read. 3. THE TURK WHO LOVED APPLES | Matt Gross: This is the book that I’m currently tearing through and I’m enjoying it so much.  As someone who would love to spend all of her time traveling and visiting new places, this book is really speaking to me.  4. WHISTLING PAST THE GRAVEYARD | Susan Crandall: I’m about one third of the way through this book and have found it to be a captivating read.  So much happens in so few pages, it has definitely kept me intrigued.  The book is told from the perspective of a child, which can make the story seem so much more heartbreaking in places, and more adorable in others.  A great read so far.

But as if those weren’t enough books to keep me busy, I’m also reading some other books to help me improve my skills in different areas.  Let’s call this my professional reading, shall we?

1. PLATE TO PIXEL | Helen Dujardin: I’ve been eying this book for months and months and clicked the “add to cart” button and ordered it.  It’s a gorgeous book filled with extremely helpful tips on taking beautiful food photography.  2. WILL WRITE FOR FOOD | Dianne Jacob: This book has actually been on my Kindle for months and months…it’s just that I forgot I’d ordered it.  While searching for a different book, I came across this one and started reading it.  It’s filled with great ideas for improving your food blog, your reviews, and even ideas for cookbook writing.  (Not that I have ANY interest in that at all…..*liar*….) 3. START. | Jon Acuff: This book was all the rage at Blissdom this year.  My Instagram feed blew up with images of the cover and at first, I thought, they’re just promoting it because they’re at Blissdom, and that’s just what you do.  Then I started hearing about people reading it who hadn’t been to Blissdom, and they were impressed.  So, I downloaded a copy and started reading.  It’s an easy read filled with inspiring ideas to help you escape being average and start being awesome, in all areas of your life! 4.  FOOD STYLING FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS | Linda Bellingham & Jean Ann Bybee: While I’ve only skimmed this book so far, I can tell it’s going to be a great resource book for me to keep on hand.  Filled with tricks and tips that will help the food you’re photographing come across better in the images, this book is a real asset to all food photographers.

I’ve also got some great cookbook suggestions that will be releasing this summer, but you’ll have to check out the magazine to hear about those!

Happy reading!

What I’m Reading: Thanksgiving: How to Cook It Well

It’s November and you know what that means…time to get ready for Christmas!!

Okay, seriously, even though the retailers would like us in full-on Christmas mode, and yes, I’m falling into their trap as I do every year, it’s important to remember Thanksgiving! It’s such a wonderful day, where everyone gets together, enjoys a terrific meal, and enjoys each others’ company without having to stress about gifts and the like…there will be plenty of time for that in December!

Last week, this book arrived in my mailbox.  Recently, I’d seen someone online sharing an advanced copy of the book and I knew immediately that I wanted my own copy as soon as it was released.

I was absolutely, completely, not even a little bit sorry that I did.  This book is about Thanksgiving, as it should be.  Thanksgiving is a holiday full of traditions like few others, and this book reminds you to embrace the tradition and enjoy it.

Do you feel like experimenting and trying out a new recipe that you feel really brings out the feeling of Thanksgiving? This book tells you that you absolutely should…..

….some other day.

Thanksgiving is about old staples, trusty standby recipes that we all look forward to year in and year out.  Does your family like the green bean/cream of mushroom/fried onion casserole? Then, make it.  If they all look forward to it, they should all have it on this special day.

This book gives you tips on how you can pull off a full Thanksgiving meal, and still enjoy the day.  No longer do you have to be a slave to your stove all day long while everyone else enjoys the parade and football games! You can be right in there with them, and still serve a delicious meal that everyone will love!

If you think it’s too late for you to order this book, read it, and prepare for the big day, which happens to be three weeks from today, think again! I started this book Friday evening, and finished it Saturday morning.  (And yes, I did get a full night’s sleep!) This book is small and loaded with recipes so it makes for a very quick read.

Honestly, I highly recommend this book for anyone who cooks Thanksgiving for their family, or anyone who just loves Thanksgiving.  This book will help you appreciate this wonderful holiday on its own merits, as opposed to just being the “Unofficial Start of the Christmas Season”!


What I’m Reading This Month

A while ago, I asked a question on my Facebook page asking for people to share any books they’d read recently that they particularly enjoyed…and if they were appropriate for October/Halloween, all the better.  A couple of people recommended the first two books of the The All Souls Trilogy, so I downloaded the first book, A Discovery of Witches to my Kindle and started reading…. 

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Let the Summer of Austen Begin!!

It’s time once again to share “What I’m Reading” and for the second time ever, I’m declaring this The Summer of Austen…meaning I will be doing my best to get through all the books of Jane Austen this summer. (Side note: The first ever Summer of Austen, sadly, was not a success.)

Just between you and me, though…I feel a little strange starting to read such lovely and distinguished books after I’ve just finished reading the Fifty Shades of Grey books…twice….

But, no matter, I’ve put those aside (for now) and have moved on to this……

Persuasion.  Why did I choose this book first? Honestly, because it’s one of the few Jane Austen books that I know very little about.  I know it was her last published novel, and I know what I read about it in The Jane Austen Book Club, (even though I don’t really remember much…) but that’s it.  This will be the first book that I’ve not already read or seen the movie, so it will all be a surprise to me, and I’m really excited!

Sooooo, without further ado, let the summer reading commence!!

Chime in and let me know if you’ve read Persuasion, or any other Jane Austen book, for that matter!

What I’m Reading: Fifty Shades of Grey

OK, I admit it…I did it…I read Fifty Shades of Grey.

I held off as long as I could, but the buzz surrounding this book finally got the best of me and I caved.  (As an avid reader, I HATE when a book is popular and I’ve not read it…I feel so out of it!) Now, since my site is a family friendly site, I’m certainly not going to go into any details in this book, but I’ll sum up my thoughts on the book briefly and with a PG rating.

Basically, I read, I blushed.  I read some more, I blushed some more.  I read even more, my jaw hit the ground.  And then I kept reading.

Here’s my two cents…

Good Storyline WAY Down Deep.  You’ve got to look for it, but if you dig around a little, I promise, you’ll find it.  The concept is good, but all the “extra” details seemed a bit of a distraction and unnecessary.  If Christian had simply been a man who had an inappropriate relationship with an older woman that left him scarred, there still would have been a great story there…even without his, shall we say, unorthodox preferences.  And I was a bit put off when I counted three instances where they so clearly took from the Bella/Edward storyline…I understand it was written as a Twilight fan fiction, but it went a bit far.

Unusual Writing Style. Ideally, I would have loved to have seen this book, that came from EL James idea, written by perhaps a more experienced writer, that could take her concept and expand upon it to make it more appealing to everyone.  Because most of the criticisms I’ve read have come from people who were disliked her writing style, an author with a few books under their belt may have alleviated some of the dissatisfaction.

I’m glad I read it so I don’t feel so out of the loop.  It was a quick read and the first book left me hanging enough to check out the second book, but I’m certainly not tearing through it like I did the first.

Now….how on EARTH are they going to make this into a movie???

If you’ve read the book, leave me a comment and let me know how you felt about it, but PLEASE keep your comments vague and rated PG!

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