Vegan Secret Supper: Bold & Elegant Menus from a Rogue Kitchen by Merida Anderson will change your perceptions about vegan food forever. Merida Anderson offers gourmet recipes that rival any elegant home entertaining cookbook.
Make no mistake, this is a serious vegan cookbook. Anderson offers comprehensive recipes for making your own vegan cheese from nuts, as well as how to use many other complex vegan staples. But there are also many recipes that take no advance preparation. Anderson uses Middle Eastern, Indian, European spices to create layers of flavour that will make your mouth water. She even has a decadent chocolate cake.
The recipes and menus are from her own Vegan Secret Supper Club, a private dining club that she founded and runs in New York. Vegan Secret Supper will forever dispel notions of a bland and heavy cuisine based only on tofu and beans.
This is an inspiring and accessible book for beginners and experienced cooks. I wish hotel chefs and caterers not versed in, but offering, vegetarian and vegan options would all get a copy.
Little Jars, Big Flavors by the Editors of Southern Living Magazine is a great book if you have ever wanted to try canning but have been intimidated. Or, perhaps like me, you are half of a twosome in a condo and don’t have the space or need for large-batch canning recipes. This handy little tome covers the basics of canning and preserving with small batch recipes.
It contains good selection recipes for pickles, relishes, sauces, and jams. There are even recipes for no-cook freezer jam, if hot water kettles make you nervous. I like the mix of homey recipes, such as bread-and-butter pickles and Asian-inspired slaws. This fun, accessible collection of tasty, colourful recipes will have you heading to the farmer’s market.
Tuesday’s Gone is the second book in the widely popular series by author Nicci French featuring the character Frieda Klein. Nicci French is actually the bestselling, English husband and wife writing team Nicci Gerard and Sean French.
Frieda Klein is a brilliant psychotherapist, but she is also a very lonely and repressed woman. When a social worker finds one her clients, a mentally ill middle-aged woman serving tea to a decomposing corpse, Frieda is called in to help find out what has happened and to help identify the victim.
DCI Karlsson, a police inspector Frieda has worked with in the past, asks Frieda to try to speak with the uncommunicative woman who is now incarcerated in a mental hospital. He hopes that Frieda can at least find out how the man came to be in the woman’s apartment, and who actually killed him.
As Frieda unravels the mystery of the victim’s identity she also uncovers a possible motive for his murder.
Tuesday’s Gone is a taut, tensely-written mystery. The authors slowly reveal complex layers of their characters’ psyches, along with the plot.
This page-turner will delight fans of sophisticated psychological thrillers, as Nicci French proves that mind games can be chilling.
Recipes and Dreams from an Italian Life is the newest cookbook from one of my favourite authors, Tessa Kiros. I adore her beautifully photographed cookbooks, full of family stories and remembrances.
All of her books have a charming old world look and flavour about them. Tessa draws us into her world and makes us want to cook her food in the hope that we, too, can create the same warm, heady memories she describes so well.
In Recipes and Dreams from an Italian Life, Tessa pays homage to the homemaking skills of her Italian mother-in-law. The book opens with photographs of sumptuous embroidered linens and a recipe for making lavender water. She also shares a recipe for limoncello. The book also contains a full range of Italian recipes from Tessa’s own family Many are unusual. I am dying to try the recipe for “truffle purses”, a tempting stuffed pasta, as well as the tuna-stuffed peppers that open the book. There is little in this book I would not try.
This is a beautiful book. It is simple enough for a beginner and beautiful enough to please a more experienced cook.
In Sex and the Single Fireman, Jennifer Bernard returns to the San Gabriel firehouse, the scene of her last book, Hot for Firemen. This time she brings together sexy female firefighter, Sabina, and a rugged training Captian Roman “Rock”.
Sabina and Rock have painful secrets from the past that keep them from finding love.
Sabina and Rock are drawn to each other from the moment they meet. It is inevitable that in the close confines of the firehouse, their mutual passion finally has to catch fire.
This playful romance is sure to please Bernard’s fans. Bernard beings back old characters and draws on events from the news to create a sexy romance that will please fans of firehouse romance.
In her quirky novel, Why Can’t I Be You: A Novel, Allie Larkin plays with the possibility of stepping into an alternate life to discover true passion.
Jenny Shaw heads to a work conference in Seattle a defeated woman. On the way to the airport, her fiancé dumped her for another woman. Suddenly, with a single blow, all of Jenny’s plans and sacrifices are meaningless. In addition, her so-called best friend is being snippy because she is jealous that Jenny was given the conference trip. And, as Jenny gets off the plane in Seattle her needy alcoholic mother begins calling with demands and complaints that just won’t stop.
So, when Jenny is mistaken for a woman called Jessie, she really can’t resist the chance to try one smokeless life. For a few days Jenny becomes Jessie at Jessie’s high school reunion.
It is a crazy premise that someone could impersonate a stranger with oldest friends no less, but Larkin pulls it off.
This unlikely tale is endearing and will resonate with anyone who has longed for a “do-over” or felt like misfit.
Lifesaving Lessons: Notes from an Accidental Mother by Linda Greenlaw is a riveting, offbeat tale of redemption. Bestselling author and swordfish captain Linda Greenlaw tells the story of how she became the adopted mother of a sexually abused teenage girl.
Linda lives on the small Maine island of Isle Au Haut, where she spends her time fishing, lobstering, and writing. She is single and forty when she meets a sullen and depressed teenaged girl. Mariah has come to the island with her uncle, a reformed drunk. He says he is her guardian and has taken her away from a troubled home in Tennessee. Mariah is quickly “adopted “by the island’s closely knit community of women, who consider motherless. Mariah becomes very close to an older couple who are close friends of Linda’s.
Mariah works the summer for Linda on her boat. Linda notices she is very bright and helps Mariah to get a scholarship to a good boarding school off-island.
The tale then meanders as Linda fill us in on life on the isolated island in winter. Greenlaw describes at length her new fishing ventures, mid-life crisis, writer's block, and her relationships with various family members and friends. She also paints a clear picture of a slightly-eccentric but caring community of islanders.
A year or two goes by and Mariah begins having problems at school. The holidays bring a crisis as a hysterical Mariah arrives at the door of Linda’s friends in the middle of the night. A visit to a social worker the next day brings out a disturbing tale of sexual abuse.
The rest of the book details the heartwarming, painful, and often maddening process of the two women becoming a family.
Greenlaw writes with disarming modesty and sensitivity in telling this personal and very moving story.
The Wisdom of the Hair by Kim Boykin tells the story of Zora May Adams a young mountain girl who uses her talent for hairstyling to break a generation of poverty and abuse.
Zora has grown up in a poor mountain community with a crazy, alcoholic mother, who gets drunk and brings home abusive men.
Zora finally gathers her courage to escape one night after high school graduation.
With the help of her high school English teacher Zora enrolls in beauty school and begins her new life. But first she must resist falling into the same trap that ruined her mother’s life.
As Zora settles into her new life in the small town of Davenport, she falls in love with beautiful but deeply flawed man. She also makes her first friend. To save herself and break free of her destructive past, Zora must learn that she is worthy of love.
What separates The Wisdom of the Hair from similar and forgettable chit-lit books is Boykin’s fresh and realistic voice. Even though Zora meets more than her share of helpful characters, Boykin doesn’t sugarcoat her rough upbringing or the mistakes she makes on her way to a new life.
The Wisdom of the Hair is a light, humorous story about a young woman climbing out of poverty and learning to stand on her own. The refreshing twist is that it is not a story about a young woman being rescued. Zora rescues herself.
The latest novel in the Brennan Sister’s series from Jane Porter, The Good Daughter, deals with dilemmas facing many single women today.
Kit Brennan is the middle sister in the vivacious Brennan family. She is also the peace-making, good-girl, middle child.
At almost forty, Kit has a few disappointing romances behind her and a demanding career as an English teacher in a Catholic school. Her sisters are married and her mother is battling a fatal illness.
Kit longs for a child. As her fortieth birthday approaches, she meets two men. One man is eligible and handsome, but Kit doesn’t like him. The other is dark and seems dangerous. Kit finds she is drawn to him.
Kit knows she desperately wants a child, but does she want a husband? Kit wrestles with what she really wants from life and what she thinks her family will accept from her.
This is a story that will deeply resonate with many women today. Porter has captured the conflict facing many women today as they struggle to find balance between other people’s expectations or good behavior and what makes them happy.
Astonished: A Story of Evil, Blessings, Grace, and Solace by Beverly Donofrio is a story of faith. Donofrio hit as a writer when she wrote about her transition from “bad girl” to mom in Riding in the Car with Boys.
In Astonished, Donofrio is ready to enjoy new found maturity and serenity at 55. She has moved to an expat enclave in Mexico and bought a house a lovely house. Life is good until a violent crime steals her peace of mind.
Donofrio becomes the victim of a perverted serial rapist of older women. She later helps to catch and convict the rapist, but she loses her faith. She feels God has deserted her.
The book chronicles Donofrio's attempt to regain her faith and find God after the rape that leaves her shaken. She visits five different monasteries and enters a convent where she spends four years as a Carmelite nun in her quest.
In this unique and often disconcerting memoir, Donofrio’s completes a modern biblical journey of redemption from whore to Madonna. Whatever your beliefs, her story is fascinating.