Foodie Friday: Review and giveaway of CHEF Q IN PARIS: The Fall Collection by Didier Quemener



Title: Chef Q in Paris: The Fall Collection 
Author: Didier Quemener 
Publisher: Velvet Morning Press
Publication Date: August 25, 2016
ISBN: 099776760X
Number of Pages: 82
How I Got It: direct from publisher
Format: iBooks 
Publicist's Description:
A Parisian private chef shares his favorite fall recipes and anecdotes in this delicious collection with French flair! As fall arrives, let’s change more than just our wardrobes—let’s reinvent our cooking with seasonal products! Too difficult or time-consuming? Not with these tips and quick and easy recipes from chef Didier QuĂ©mener. Didier’s cooking is all about seasonal ingredients (no strawberries on Didier’s table in November). He grew up in the French countryside, picking fresh fruit and vegetables in his grandmother’s garden and preparing flavorful meals at her side. Today, Didier brings that love for seasonal products to his guests and to you. As a result, your meals will be tastier, easier to make—and less expensive. Is this a purely French cookbook? No! Didier, who’s traveled throughout the U.S., Europe and China, is greatly influenced by his voyages, and his cuisine is the perfect reflection of this. So if you like cookbooks with a seasonal and international touch, you’ll find this one especially delightful!

My Review:
Three things: cookbook, Paris, and fall. Yes, yes, and yes! This short collection of recipes is beautiful and delicious. A great way to transition into my favorite season. I plan on making a few of Chef Q's desserts ASAP! 

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***Disclaimer:: I was given a copy of this release in exchange for an honest review. I received no additional compensation. ***

Foodie Friday:: What We Eat When We Eat Alone: Stories and 100 Recipes by Deborah Madison and Patrick McFarlin


Title: What We Eat When We Eat Alone: Stories and 100 Recipes  
Author: Deborah Madison and Patrick McFarlin
Publisher: Gibbs Smith 
Publication Date: May 1, 2009
ISBN: 1423604962
Number of Pages: 256
How I Got It: personal collection
Format: hardback

Goodreads Description:
Renowned vegetarian cookbook auhor Deborah Madison set out to learn what people chew on when there isn't anyone else around. The responses are surprising--and we aren't just talking take-out or leftovers. This is food-gone-wild in its most elemental form.
In a conversational tone, "What We Eat When We Eat Alone" explores the joys and sorrows of eating solo and gives a glimpse into the lives of everyday people and their relationships with food.
The book is illustrated with the delightful art of Patrick McFarlin, and each chapter ends with recipes for those who dine alone.

My Review:
This little collection was fun and cute. I read it in a single evening and enjoyed reading all the different meals the people interviewed enjoyed when they were alone. Some liked the same thing every time and others mixed it up, some ate big meals and some ate very lightly. Some ate dishes that no one else in their family would like and some treated themselves in their family's absence. This book isn't about the ramen dinners many of us ate for numerous meals in our single years, but what we eat when we aren't at home with our family or out with our friends. I personally alternate a bit between meals when I find myself eating alone: I like to make a little feast of shrimp with angel hair pasta (because my husband does not like this dish) and the simple comfort of a grilled cheese sandwich. What do you eat when you eat alone?

Review: THE HOUSE OF HAWTHORNE by Erika Robuck


Title: The House of Hawthorne
Author: Erika Robuck
Publisher: NAL
Publication Date: May 5, 2015
ISBN: 9780451418913
Number of Pages: 416
How I Got It: direct from publisher
Format: paperback
Goodreads Description:
Beset by crippling headaches from a young age and endowed with a talent for drawing, Sophia is discouraged by her well-known New England family from pursuing a woman’s traditional roles. But from their first meeting, Nathaniel and Sophia begin an intense romantic relationship that despite many setbacks leads to their marriage. Together, they will cross continents, raise children, and experience all the beauty and tragedy of an exceptional partnership. Sophia’s vivid journals and her masterful paintings kindle a fire in Nathaniel, inspiring his writing. But their children’s needs and the death of loved ones steal Sophia’s energy and time for her art, fueling in her a perennial tug-of-war between fulfilling her domestic duties and pursuing her own desires.


Spanning the years from the 1830s to the Civil War, and moving from Massachusetts to England, Portugal, and Italy, The House of Hawthorne explores the tension within a famous marriage of two soulful, strong-willed people, each devoted to the other but also driven by a powerful need to explore the far reaches of their creative impulses. It is the story of a forgotten woman in history, who inspired one of the greatest writers of American literature.…
My Review:
How wonderful to imagine what daily life was like for one of America's greatest writers! Then to look even further "behind the scenes" at the woman behind the man. As most historians acknowledge and almost any woman will tell you, some of the world's greatest works would never have come about if the (male) artist had to shop, prepare dinner, care for the children, and perform all the other necessary daily tasks. Their massive amounts of time to create were available because someone was taking care of these needs. So what if the artist is/was a woman? Where is her time to create? All too often, as the case with Sophia, it is forsaken, even with the most supportive and caring of husbands. Regardless of how much I dislike this tricky dynamic of life, I loved the exchanges between Sophia and Nathaniel in House of Hawthorne. Erika Robuck has created a small sphere of an artist's life that is full of admiration and love.
***Disclaimer:: I was given a copy of this release in exchange for an honest review. I received no additional compensation. ***

Review: THE FIFTH AVENUE ARTISTS SOCIETY by Joy Callaway


Title: The Fifth Avenue Artists Society 
Author: Joy Callaway
Publisher: Harper Paperbacks
Publication Date: May 31, 2016
ISBN: 9780062391612
Number of Pages: 384
How I Got It: SheReads Book Club Fall Selection 
Format: paperback & Kindle
Goodreads Description:
An enthralling Edith Wharton-meets-Little Women debut about a family of four artistic sisters on the outskirts of Gilded Age New York high society that centers on the boldest—an aspiring writer caught between the boy next door and a mysterious novelist who inducts her into Manhattan’s most elite artistic salon. The Bronx, 1891. Virginia Loftin knows what she wants most: to become a celebrated novelist despite her gender, and to marry Charlie, her best friend, neighbor and first love. Yet when Charlie proposes to another woman, Ginny is devastated; shutting out her family, she holes up and obsessively rewrites how their story should have gone. Though Ginny works with newfound intensity, success eludes her—until she attends a salon hosted in her brother’s handsome author friend John’s Fifth Avenue mansion. Amongst painters, musicians, actors, and writers, Ginny returns to herself, even blooming under John’s increasingly romantic attentions. Just as she has begun to forget Charlie, however, he throws himself back into her path, and Ginny finds herself torn between a lifetime’s worth of complicated feelings and a budding relationship with a man who seems almost too good to be true. The brightest lights cast the darkest shadows, and as Ginny tentatively navigates the Society’s world, she begins to suspect all is not as it seems in New York’s dazzling “Gay Nineties” scene. When a close friend is found dead in John’s mansion, Ginny must delve into her beloved salon’s secrets to discover her true feelings about art, family, and love.
My Review:
I love the idea of artists' salons and was instantly interested when I read the description of this book. The main character, Virginia "Ginny" Loftin" is easy to love, since she loves to write. The rest of her family had me thinking of Little Women with each of their personalities. When Ginny's love proposes to someone else and the true reasons are revealed, it is frustrating to read only because everyone has been at the heart of a double standard before. But Ginny isn't giving up that easy! She pursues her writing and finds a few helpers and saboteurs along the way. There is also a dark understory that makes this novel so much more than a story about a persistent female writer of a certain time. Joy Callaway is able to tie gender roles, societal standards, sexual proclivities and orientations, romantic interests, and artistic endeavors into a truly wonderful debut novel.

***Disclaimer:: I was given a copy of this release in exchange for an honest review. I received no additional compensation. ***

Review and Giveaway: VALLEY OF THE MOON by Melanie Gideon



Title: The Valley of the Moon
Author: Melanie Gideon 
Publisher: Ballantine
Publication Date: July 26, 2016
ISBN: 9780345539281
Number of Pages: 416
How I Got It: NetGalley
Format: Kindle
NetGalley Description:
In this captivating novel from the author of Wife 22, a woman who feels lost in her own time stumbles across a California community that has, impossibly, been marooned in the early twentieth century—perfect for readers of The Time Traveler's Wife, Time and Again, and Sarah Addison Allen.
Lux is a single mom struggling to make her way when she discovers an idyllic community in the Sonoma Valley. It seems like a place from another time—until she realizes it actually is. Lux must keep one foot in her world, raising her son as well as she can with the odds stacked against her, but every day she is more strongly drawn in by the sweet simplicity of life in Greengage, and by the irresistible connection she feels with a man born decades before her. Soon she finds herself torn between her ties to the modern world—her adored son—and the first place she has ever felt truly at home.
My Review:
I loved the mix of science fiction and time travel in this novel. While the concept of time travel in contemporary fiction is often compared to Kindred or The Time Traveler's Wife, this was a bit different because the main characters can control some of their travel and it is linear, although it accelerates at varying paces. The theme of time travel may turn away a few readers looking for a "general" fiction read but Melanie Gideon weaves the concept into the story so effortlessly that I found it no different than most dual narrative novels. I really loved all the characters in this novel and they were extremely relatable. I also had *two* (not one, but TWO!) chills down the spine moments toward the end of the novel that pretty much cinched Valley of the Moon as a new favorite for me.



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***Disclaimer:: I was given a copy of this release in exchange for an honest review. I received no additional compensation. ***