Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Top Ten Yummy Foods Mentioned In Books

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This topic is right up my (Lori) alley! I love food. I love reading about food. I love making food. I love eating food. I'm surprised I'm not 84,000 lbs.

1.  Food: A Love Story by Jim Gaffigan--This book is basically what it seems on its face: a comedian rhapsodizing on food. Yes, I think the American diet is horrible, but you can't deny that most Americans love their food. :)

2.  Life Is Meals: A Food Lover's Book of Days by James Salter and Kay Salter--The book is divided into 365 short entries, one for each day of the calendar year. Each entry has a note about entertaining or recipes or a variety of food related topics that helped make me a better cook and hostess.

3.  An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace by Tamar Adler--Filled with essays on food, this book forever changed the way I make scrambled eggs and boil pasta.

4.  Heartburn by Nora Ephron--Ths novel describes the end of Ephron's marriage to Carl Bernstein. It also contains a few recipes by Ephron, a known foodie.

5.  Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen: How One Girl Risked Her Marriage, Her Job, and Her Sanity to Master the Art of Living by Julie Powell--I loved this book! I love how Powell used cooking to change her life and pull herself out of a major rut. It's one I think of whenever I get a little blah about my life.

6.  Fannie Flagg's Original Whistle Stop Cafe Cookbook--This cookbook has so much yes. Full of amazing southern style recipes, it added a fantastic tweak to my already near-perfect fried chicken recipe and gave me my chili recipe (which has needed very few tweaks over the years). Highly recommend.

7.  100 Recipes Every Woman Should Know: Engagement Chicken and 99 Other Fabulous Dishes to Get You Everything You Want in Life--This is my go-to cookbook whenever I know someone getting their first apartment. It has everything. Yes, the recipe titles might be a little strange or creepy (Let's Make a Baby Pasta? Seriously? But it is damn good pasta, with a nice kick of spice!). It's very budget-friendly and has so many recipes that I always recommend it.

8.  Made in Italy by Giorgio Locatelli--I first heard of this cookbook in one of those celebrity reading lists. It's a huge book, with a pretty good-sized price tag, which kept me from purchasing it for quite a while. I finally found a good used copy. :) It is full of food porn and for that I love it.

9.  Audrey at Home: A Kitchen Table Biography by Luca Dotti--What a wonderful idea for a biography! Hepburn's son compiled photographs, details, and recipes that say so much about the beloved actress and humanitarian. I love the idea of using someone's favorite foods to tell their story! If anyone ever writes a biography about me, this is how I want it to be done!

10.  To Have and Have Another: A Hemingway Cocktail Companion by Phillip Greene--A book of alcoholic recipes related to the novels and stories of one of my favorite authors? Yes, please!

Honorable Mentions:
Cork Dork: A Wine-Fueled Adventure Among the Obsessive Sommeliers, Big Bottle Hunters, and Rogue Scientists Who Taught Me to Live for Taste by Bianca Bosker--I haven't read it yet, but it sounds fun.
Heat: An Amateur's Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany by Bill Buford--I love Italian food. Probably more than I should. This sounded like a good read.
Unprocessed: My City-Dwelling Year of Reclaiming Real Food by Megan Kimble--I've started and stopped this one a few times. Sometimes it delves a bit more into the science than I am really interested in knowing, but I love the idea of using my dollars to make a statement.


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Jana Seeks Recommendations for Gothic/Atmospheric Romance

Hi all! It's during this time of year that I start craving creepy gothic romances that are not going to kill me with the scareds. I love the atmosphere and the ominous happenings in these books, but I don't enjoy stories that are heavy on the supernatural or demon/ghost/etc. stuff. I'm happy with YA or adult, historic or contemporary.

Here's a few gothic and/or atmospheric books I really enjoyed so you know my tastes:

Compulsion (The Heirs of Watson Island, #1)

I'm reading Of Monsters and Men by Jessica Verday, and it's pretty meh at this point. It's not giving me what I want! So, help me please!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Ten Books With Fall Themes and Covers

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It's officially fall weather here where I (Jana) live, and this is when I love to whip out my fall reads and get cozy. The following books just scream fall to us. If you have recommendations for others, please tell us in the comments!

Lori says:

Swann's Way by Marcel Proust--This cover always reminds me of fall. It's a super vibrant and yummy red.

The Raven (Tales and Poems) by Edgar Allan Poe--Probably more Halloween-y and because of the subject matter, but this cover just screams fall.

Look Homeward, Angel by Thomas Wolfe--Maybe not specifically fall-ish, but I frequently find myself turning to this book in the fall. Probably just a me thing. :)

No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy--This cover looks like fall. And isn't it deer season when the novel starts? I don't know. Whatever.

Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places by Colin Dickey--Full confession: I haven't read this yet. But I can't talk about the fall without drawing in the spooky, haunted stuff, so here we are.

Jana says:

Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco - This book takes place in December, but the cover is beautifully fall and creepy for this time of year! And I loved it, so there's that too!

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater - A beautiful fall cover for a beautiful fall book! This story takes place in October and November, when the wind is chilly and the sea relentless. It's super fall and unique and atmospheric. It's the perfect read for this time of year.

The Caged Graves by Dianne K. Salerni - This gothic mystery/historical fiction novel is very fall and very creepy.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling - I always get the urger to read this series in the fall.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman - Such a creepy cover!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Top Ten Book Boyfriends

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Today we're proclaiming our love for those book boys we love so dearly! Do you agree with any of our picks? Who will we have to fight you for?

Julia's Picks

1. Remus Lupin from Harry Potter - I have no idea now why he was the one that I loved the most out of them. It must have had something to do with FanFics and being 15. I thought he was a stand up guy. Plus I loved recreating the Love Shack lyrics and making them the Shrieking Shack. Oh to be 15 again...

2. Colin Bridgerton from Julia Quinn's Bridgerton novels - I've always loved these novels, and I have always had an affinity for Colin. He's the funny one in the first three novels, and then when he gets his own, he turns into a dashing hero but while still keeping his character. All the hearts.

3. Legolas Greenleaf from The Lord of the Rings - Yeah, I am stretching here because my love for him didn't come solely out of the books... I mean it may have had something to do with Orlando and being 17.... maybe.

4. Tarver Merendsen from These Broken Stars - I really, really loved this book. And I remember really liking Tarver. Probably more than I like Lilac. So he wins a spot in my five.

5. The guy from the book I read as a pre-teen called, Both Sides of Time - This was one that I read again in college and even though it was middle grade, I still really liked it. This was probably my intro into the time traveling romance genre. I just loved it. 

Lori's Picks

6.  Rhett Butler from Gone With the Wind - I know. Me and just about everyone else who's ever read this novel. But! I love how he always called Scarlett on her BS. He didn't fit the mold of the perfect gentleman, yet he respected a true lady.

7.  Florentino Ariza from Love in the Time of Cholera - I love how he waited for his love, Fermina Daza. Yes, he went on his adventures and slept with scores of women, but he always held back a part of himself for her. Love.

8.  Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird - This is one that has come under fire in recent years with the publication of Go Set a Watchman. I get that. But this Atticus was the pillar of virtue. Yet he wasn't a total goody-goody. He was kind of Rhett Butler-ish, but a lawyer set in the 1930s...

Kimberly's Picks

9.  Valek from Poison Study - Ooooh. So swoon-worthy. He's clever, kind, and funny. My favorite combination. He also doesn't take crap from anyone--it's an attractive trait.

10. Elend Venture from Mistborn - I started off thinking he'd be the rich snob. Instead, he's smart and kind. He knows he loves *her (I'll keep the name out for spoilers). She's not an easy person to love. Some men would be resentful, instead he keeps working at his relationship. He's a fitting match for his love interest. He also later becomes an even more powerful character, instead of changing who he is, it just enhances who he already was!

Sunday, October 1, 2017

September Faves and October TBR

I know I say this every single month, but I cannot believe another month is drawing to an end! We're already entering the last three months of the year! I'm experiencing this weird paradox where time is simultaneously dragging and flying as I near graduation in December. Anyway, here are our favorite reads from September and the books we're most looking forward to in October...

September Favorites

Jana says...

Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco: This was such a beautiful, creepy, and romantic story! It takes place at Dracula's castle in December, and it's so atmospheric and amazing. Kerri's writing is beautiful. I loved it a million times more than Stalking Jack the Ripper!

Lori says...

How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran: It took me a while, but I finally finished this great collection of essays. Moran writes with such pointed humor that even when she talks about the inequalities and unfairnesses that should break my heart, I walk away with a smile and some hope. I have one more collection of essays by Moran--Moranifesto--and then she needs to get cracking on publishing some more. :)

October TBR

Jana says...

Renegades by Marissa Meyer: I'm on the blog tour at the end of the month, and I'm so excited to read Marissa's new book!

Lori says...

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley: Fiction hasn't so much been my jam lately because my time to read is limited. So I'm opting for something short. I even cheated by starting this on September 30. I'm looking forward to reading about this exploration of humanity and feelings of isolation and loneliness.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Top Ten Books with __________ Characters

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This week's post is a character freebie, and we didn't quite get our acts together this week so we will not be posting our character list. So sorry! However... good news!!

I, Jana, just updated the future Top Ten Tuesday topics for the rest of 2017, so you can start getting those ready before the end of the year/holiday craziness starts up! 

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Banned Books Week, September 24-30

Source: @BannedBooksWeek on Twitter

I always love Banned Books Week. I still find it amazing in our day and age that we even need to celebrate such an event, but the sad fact remains that books are still banned to this day. I mean, I guess I can see why. Books promote ideas. And what could be worse than people having ideas? They might change their life-views, expand their horizons, question the status quo, think for themselves! Horror!

It's one of the things that has truly shocked and disappointed me about my family dynamic. I grew up in a pretty sheltered, small environment. To be sure, my parents freely encouraged me to read and never really monitored what I read. I guess they felt that if I wasn't ready for something, I just wouldn't get it, but I wouldn't be scarred by the experience. And I think they were right. I am so grateful for that kind of freedom growing up. Then I went to college. Not only was I reading things, but I was discussing these things. I was no longer in a vacuum. I participated in the free exchange of ideas. And I changed. I broke off the shackles that fettered me to my parents' modes of thinking; in a way, I outgrew them. Eventually, I even became more vocal about disagreeing with my parents and questioning them and the status quo.

And it's like they don't really believe me. Like they think I'm going through some phase, like a rebellious teenager. If they even acknowledge it (my dad usually turns a blind eye and a deaf ear). This turn of events has certainly put a strain on the relationship. Mostly we can get along, but sometimes I just have to walk away or call bull-shit. Or pour another extra large glass of wine.

I wouldn't change it for the world.

I wouldn't dare go back to living a small-minded, closed-minded existence for the sake of familial harmony.

This is why we're here--to question, to think big, to dream big, to move beyond.

I am so grateful to books for giving me this medium to expand my horizons. This is so important in the current political climate. Books have made me question, books have made me wary, and books have made be fight.

This week I celebrate the perpetual quest for knowledge and growth by promoting open access to books. I hope you will join me by picking up something controversial and thinking about it. Maybe it will change your view, maybe it will reaffirm your view, but it will definitely change you and make you grow.

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