Tag Archives: nonfiction

Toast and Jam: Modern Recipes for Rustic Baked Goods and Sweet and Savory Spreads, by Sarah Owens

27 Jul

33215775Format: e-ARC, 256 pages

Publisher: Roost Books

To Be Published: August 15, 2017

ISBN: 9781611803570

Genre: Cooking, Food & Wine

Back cover blurb: Rustic breads, scones, and biscuits paired with fruit-jams, jellies, nut butters, savory spreads, pickles, and more–from the James Beard award-winning author of Sourdough.
Bread and butter, toast and jam, scones and clotted cream–baked goods have a long tradition of being paired with spreads to make their flavors and textures sing. As a baker with a passion for plants, Sarah Owens, author of the James Beard award-winning Sourdough, takes these simple pairings in fresh new directions. Spread some Strawberry & Meyer Lemon Preserves on a piece of Buckwheat Milk Bread for a special springtime treat. Top a slice of Pain de Mie with Watermelon Jelly for a bright taste of summer. Lather some Gingered Sweet Potato Butter on a piece of Spiced Carrot Levain for a warming fall breakfast. Make a batch of Dipping Chips to serve with Preserved Lemon and Fava Bean Hummus for an inspired snack. Wow brunch guests with a spread of Sourdough Whole-Grain Bagels, Lemony Herb Chevre, and Beet-Cured Gravlax. The recipes here offer a thoroughly fresh sensibility for the comfort found in a simple slice of toast spread with jam.

My review: The simple title is deceiving, because this is book is far more than just one about toast and spreads. The breads are fancy, and the spreads include not only jam but also butters, pickles, and other preserves, plus how to make your own ricotta and creme fraiche. Every photograph is stunning, almost as if you could reach out and touch the grain of the bread or the sticky gloss of its topping.

I’d like to try the chocolate and orange sourdough, the peach and tea preserves, and the roasted banana and chocolate nut butter, but I’ll admit I’d never heard of some of the other ingredients. It’s definitely not a book for a beginner; more for the gourmets among us.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 4/5

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Food52 Ice Cream and Friends, by the Editors of Food52

4 Apr

33843312Format: e-ARC, 176 pages

Publisher: Ten Speed Press

To Be Published: April 11, 2017

ISBN: 9780399578021

Genre: Cooking, Food & Wine

Back cover blurb: A friendly collection of recipes, riffs, toppings, and serving ideas for ice creams of all styles.

In Ice Cream & Friends, the editors of Food52 unearth 60 recipes for everyday and special occasion frozen desserts—like coffee frozen custard, cinnamon roll ice cream, and grilled watermelon cremolada—and put their own spin on enduring favorites: spiced fudgesicles, cherry-mint snow cones, even a modern baked Alaska. There are also tips and tricks for reviving melted ice cream, getting even creamier scoops, and spiffing up the store-bought stuff, as well as homemade versions of cones, mochi, sprinkles, Magic Shell, and more.

My review: My daughter and I love making homemade no-churn ice cream, so this book was perfect to give us a few new flavour suggestions. As well as some old favourites, the editors of the Food52 blog have come up with some unusual combinations, including black pepper and feta or butternut squash and tahini ice creams, and tomato, peach and basil sorbet. I think we’ll definitely be trying the carrot cake ice cream, yummy baked alaskas, chocolate tacos, and the Brooklyn Blackout Semifreddo Cake, and will attempt to make our own Magic Shell, cones and sprinkles from their recipes. There’s even a genius tip for curing brain freeze, which will certainly come in handy!

The photographs are gorgeous and make your mouth water, and the instructions are clear and written in a chatty manner. I’m now keen to check out the authors’ other cookbooks and blog.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 4/5

4cupcakes

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Candy Is Magic: Real Ingredients, Modern Recipes, by Jami Curl

28 Mar

30780245Format: e-ARC, 288 pages

Publisher: Ten Speed Press

Published: 14 March, 2017

ISBN: 9780399578397

Genre: Cooking, Food & Wine

Back cover blurb: This game-changing candy cookbook from the owner of Quin, a popular Portland-based candy company, offers more than 200 achievable recipes using real, natural ingredients for everything from flavor-packed fruit lollipops to light-as-air marshmallows.

Jami Curl, candy-maker extraordinaire and owner of the candy company Quin has been called the “new Willy Wonka” by Bon Appetit. Her debut book, This is Candy, includes the recipes that have made Quin a favorite with local and national media, foodies, chefs, and bloggers. But This is Candy is not just a candy book. Instead, Jami’s approach to candy forms the foundation for a world of other confections–from bacon glazed with maple and black pepper caramel to a clever Chocolate Magic Dust that can be turned into chocolate pudding, chocolate sauce, and even a chocolate lollipop. Packed with more than 200 recipes for totally original confections like Whole Roasted Strawberry Lollipops, Bergamot Caramels, Fig & Coffee Gumdrops, and Pinot Noir cotton candy, as well as serious tips and advice for making amazing candy at home.

My review: I never thought I would be bored by a book about sweets but, sadly, I was. This wasn’t the cookbook I was expecting. Instead, the first quarter is a comprehensive technical explanation of the methodology and equipment needed for candy making, and then there are a series of recipes for infusions and flavoured sugars before we get to any real recipes. Even then, these all seem to be very similar variations on a theme, covering lollipops, marshmallow, gum drops and caramels. The same flavours are repeated for each type of sweet. I really would have liked a bit more variation and something a bit more “out there.”

Maybe there weren’t enough photos. I found the hand drawings a bit amateurish. The rabbit cake was certainly underwhelming. I know I didn’t need several pages devoted to making cinnamon sugar or how to put together cocoa powder and sugar to make a hot chocolate mix.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 3/5

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1,342 QI Facts To Leave You Flabbergasted, by John Lloyd, John Mitchinson and James Harkin

16 Nov

32813555Format: e-ARC, 368 pages

Publisher: Faber and Faber

Published: November 3, 2016

ISBN: 9780571332465

Genre: Entertainment, Nonfiction (Adult)

Back cover blurb: The sock-blasting, jaw-dropping, side-swiping phenomenon that is QI serves up a sparkling new selection of 1,342 facts to leave you flabbergasted.

My review: I love the TV show QI, so this book was a must-have when it popped up on Netgalley. Not surprisingly, I think I bookmarked every page because every fact is an absolute gem. Each one segues into the next along a similar vein, and all are backed up with the source and additional facts available at the book’s website: qi.com/1342. Some of the facts I knew already, being an avid fan of the show and trivia in general, but there were hundreds more I felt compelled to read out to anyone who would listen. Lots of fun and very educational. Now I’ve identified myself as a scurryfunge, and my whole family knows that Neanderthals are shown as slouching because the first one to be reconstructed happened to have arthritis. It came as no surprise that Stormtroopers from Star Wars Lego sets outnumber Earth’s real soldiers by 50 to one, but did you know 12 percent of Americans think USB is a country in Europe? Now that’s quite interesting (and worrying)!

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 5/5

5cupcakes

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Paper Hearts, Volume Three: Some Marketing Advice, by Beth Revis

7 Aug

30264733Format: e-ARC, 268 pages

Publisher: Scripturient Books

Published: December 31, 2015

ISBN: 9780990662693

Genre: Reference, Nonfiction (Adult)

Back cover blurb: Help readers discover your work.

Once your book is out there, you realize that the most difficult thing about publishing is actually getting read. For the novice author looking to find actionable methods of gaining exposure, this volume will provide a foundation for marketing that will help kickstart any writing career.

Practical Advice Meets Real Experience

After the book is published, your job as a writer isn’t done. Paper Hearts will help you:

-Find Balance between Art and Business

-Develop an Online Presence

-Examine and Exploit the Way People Buy Books

-Set Up Basic Tools for Communication

-Discuss Best Practices to Get Reviews

-Analyze What’s Worth Your Time & Money

-Develop Live and Online Book Tours & Events

-Host Live Events, Even if You’re an Introvert

…And much more!

BONUS! Includes a list of the most common social media outlets and the best practices for authors to use them and reach readers.

My review: Some more excellent advice from author Beth Revis for anyone who has written a book and doesn’t know how to market it. This volume covers topics from cover art to book fairs and speaking engagements. Again, I learned quite a bit and have bookmarked a few handy websites she recommends. As with the earlier volumes, Revis writes in an amusing and informative way about both traditional and self-publishing options. This series is highly recommended for any would-be or established author.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 5/5

5cupcakes

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Knitted Toys, by Jody Long

6 Jul

25497490Format: e-ARC, 112 pages

Publisher: Dover Publications

To Be Published: July 20, 2016

ISBN: 9780486802886

Genre: Crafts & Hobbies

Back cover blurb: Create a teddy bear, propeller plane, Russian doll, fire engine, and other cuddly toys with this easy-to-follow book. Knitters will treasure this guide to crafting 20 fanciful toys that appeal to boys and girls alike. Toys range from such traditional items as a bunny and a puppy to winsome versions of more unusual animal companions ― a snake, bumblebee, mouse, caterpillar, and other endearing creatures.
There are step-by-step directions for each of the toys — several with bonus accessories to knit — as well as color photographs of the completed projects. Suitable for knitters at all levels of experience, these toys make wonderful gifts and cherished keepsakes.

My review: I’m a sucker for a cute knitted toy pattern, so this book – full of 20 of them – immediately drew me to it. These are all so cute, and can be created by knitters of all abilities. I may just have to try all of them, although the fire engine, pig and cake, and gorgeous dog who reminded me of Gromit from Wallace and Gromit will be top of that list. The instructions are clear and concise and cover all angles. Overall, a lovely pattern book.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 4/5

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Paper Hearts, Volume Two: Some Publishing Advice, by Beth Revis

8 Jun

27984642Format: e-ARC, 284 pages

Publisher: Scripturient Books

Published: December 1, 2015

ISBN: 9780990662686

Genre: Reference, Nonfiction (Adult)

Back cover blurb: Launch the right career for you.

There are more options than ever to get your book published. But what’s the right path to a career as an author for you? Discover the different publishing paths, learn what’s right for your story, and use specific tools and activities to present your work in the best possible way.

Practical Advice Meets Real Experience

With information that explores both traditional and self publication, Paper Hearts describes:

-How to Pick the Right Publishing Path for You
-Basic Professional Advice
-Practical Information on Agents
-How to Write a Query Letter
-Dealing with Traditional Publication
-Developing a Book for Self Publishing
-Budgeting and Investing Money in Your Career
-Steps to becoming a Career Author

…And much more!

BONUS! Includes an actual query letter that snagged an agent, plus guidelines and models to write a query or book description from an author who has successfully published in both methods.

My review: Some excellent advice for anyone who has written a book and doesn’t know how to get it published. I’ve worked for the last half dozen years in the publishing industry and even I learned quite a bit, especially regarding self-publishing and the mysteries of the query letter. Revis writes in an amusing and informative way, and I’ll definitely be hunting out the other two books in this series. Highly recommended.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 5/5

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