Friday, August 22, 2014

Vibrant Food ~ Kimberly Hasselbrink (arc) review [@TenSpeedPress @theyearinfood]

Vibrant Food: Celebrating the Ingredients, Recipes, and Colors of Each Season
Ten Speed Press
June 17, 2014
224 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depo/or Amazon

The vivid colors of fresh produce inspire this artistic collection of whole foods recipes from the creator of the acclaimed blog The Year in Food.

Kimberly Hasselbrink, photographer and creator of the acclaimed blog The Year in Food, invites you to look at ingredients differently and let their colors inspire you: the shocking fluorescent pink of a chard stem, the deep reds and purples of baby kale leaves, the bright shades of green that emerge in the spring, and even the calm yellows and whites of so many winter vegetables. Thinking about produce in terms of color can reinvigorate your relationship with food, and in this collection of recipes, Hasselbrink employs aesthetics, flavor, and texture to build gorgeous yet unfussy dishes for every season.

Recipes take you on a journey through spring’s Pasta with Nettle Pesto and Blistered Snap Peas, summer’s Berry–Coconut Milk Ice Pops, fall’s Turkey Burgers with Balsamic Figs, and winter’s Sparkling Pomegranate Punch. Featuring photo pairings that celebrate not only the finished dishes but also the striking ingredients that create them—plus a photograph of each and every recipe—this book reveals an artistic picture of whole foods eating.

If Saturday morning for you means a stop at the farmer's market, then Vibrant Food is definitely the cookbook for you. From Kimberly Hasselbrink the creator and photographer of The Year in Food blog proposes we be inspired by the color of our food.

There's no doubt that the recipes featured in Vibrant Food look like something you want. It truly is a book of vibrant food, Hasselbrink's photographs are gorgeous. If you like looking at cookbooks, then do not miss Vibrant Food and its gorgeous photographs.

That's not all it has, though. The recipes are arranged by season - Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter - each section then subdivided by feature ingredient (stone fruit, persimmons, tomatoes). It's a very logical and helpful organization. It also aids readers in one of the books goals: using in season produce and ingredients.

The paragraphs that provide an introduction and background to each recipe, let readers know what gave Hasselbrink the idea for the recipe or what makes it unique and special. Then come the recipes. While I tend to prefer those presented in list form (ie 1, 2, 3) I do like how these are done in paragraph form. It allows for more description of what to do (how to choose and prepare squash blossoms without damaging them, for example).

Vibrant Food is a gluten free cookbook. More common (for those not following a gluten free diet) substitutes are given in the introduction. Though, if you're unfamiliar with the gluten free options, it can be hard to know what would be the best substitute for a given recipe.

The ingredients that make Vibrant Food so appealing both visually gustatorily, can also make actually making them difficult. While the author mentions living in San Francisco and what is available there, some things - fresh sardines, millet, etc - can be hard for those in other areas to procure. At least those in areas less metropolitan or nowhere near a Whole Foods.

The recipes themselves are tantalizing enough, though, that I know if/when I am able to get the ingredients, I wan to try additional ones. If you want a cookbook where you can easily run to the nearest grocery store and have all of the ingredients available, Vibrant Food may not be for you. But if you like cookbooks that can inspire, are visually stimulating and may just push you to try something new, check out Vibrant Food. Even if you're not able - right now - to make everything, you'll love looking at it.

received from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Into the Grey ~ Celine Kiernan (earc) review [@Celine_Kiernan @Candlewick]

Into the Grey
Candlewick Press
August 26, 2014
304 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depo/or Amazon

A pacy, chilling ghost story from the creator of the internationally acclaimed Moorehawke Trilogy.

I think the fire changed us – me and Dom. I think that’s how the boy was able to see us. Though he’d been there for every summer of our childhood, we’d only been stupid boys until then. Stupid, happy, ignorant boys. And what in hell would he have had in common with two stupid boys? But after the fire we were different. We were maybe a little bit like him. And so he saw us, at last, and he thought he’d found a home…
"Pushed off the edge of the world into the grey nowhere . . ." (pg 114)

Set in Ireland in 1974, Into the Grey uses great setting (time and location) appropriate dialogue to really bring readers into the characters' world. While some of the words were not ones I knew (at least used as they were), nearly all were easy to decipher given the context.

Dom and Pat are two fifteen-year-old boys, twins, whose family is forced to move to their summer home by the sea after their home is destroyed. Without the carefree joy of summer, the boys see the differences in the house, the dust, how cramped it is.

But that's not the only different thing they see: there's also the goblin boy.

Soon, they find themselves pulled into a world they didn't even know existed.

The tone of Into the Grey is really fantastic. The closest thing I can think to compare it to is Help for the Haunted (though with more positive results for me). There are startling moments, spooky scenes and an overall creepy feel. Yet, it's that the whole thing is not a horror novel or a 'scary' story that made it so enjoyable for me. The focus is very much on the characters, whether it's the struggles within their family (extended, as well), caring for Nan after her stroke, adjusting to the new life . . . or if it's the possible, likely haunting of one of them.

Even as one brother struggles to save the other, to keep them all safe, he's learning, seeing countless things about his other family members he was unaware of previously.

Not only are the characters' relationships and their pasts something very interesting and compelling to read about, they help bring the whole story together. It was tricky, at first, to understand just how everyone connected, but that fit very well with how things came together for the characters. Once I had it figured, though, I loved it.

Into the Grey is a very rewarding story of friendship, brotherly love, familial bonds, war, death, ghosts and being found. Even if you don't usually read 'ghost' stories, this one is recommended.

Of the covers the different editions have received, this one from Candlewick is my favorite. It's not only eye-catching, once you've read (or are reading) the novel, it represents it so well.

egalley received through LibraryThing's Early Reviewers program from publisher and through NetGalley, for review

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Young World ~ Chris Weitz (earc) review [@lbkids]

The Young World (The Young World Trilogy #1)
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
July 29, 2014
384 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depo/or Amazon

After a mysterious Sickness wipes out the rest of the population, the young survivors assemble into tightly run tribes. Jefferson, the reluctant leader of the Washington Square tribe, and Donna, the girl he's secretly in love with, have carved out a precarious existence among the chaos. But when another tribe member discovers a clue that may hold the cure to the Sickness, five teens set out on a life-altering road trip to save humankind.

The tribe exchanges gunfire with enemy gangs, escapes cults and militias, braves the wilds of the subway and Central Park...and discovers truths they could never have imagined.

The Young World was an okay read for me. It isn't the most original concept (the Gone series, The Tribe show), but was the first time I had read it. In the two years since the Sickness killed the adults and young children, Jefferson's group has established a sort of society around New York's Washington Square Park. Many things are missing from the life they knew, but they have things pretty well figured. Things work.

Which isn't to say there isn't danger. From the trips outside to find food and supplies, the other 'tribes' that aren't as peaceful, even regular injury and illness now that the adults (and thus doctors) are dead, everyday holds multiple threats.

So, when there's the possibility of discovering more about the Sickness, even maybe ending it, Jefferson knows they have to go. Have to try.

Along with Donna (named for singer Madonna) and a few others from their group, Jeff sets out for a mission more perilous than he imagined.

I enjoyed the beginning setup where we learned about the Washington Square group and how they operate their little 'society.' That part of the story seemed very well imagined and thought through. I was also excited for them to leave, so we could see what was happening in the rest of the city. It was interesting to see how differently those in other areas fared. Based either on individuals' actions or perhaps on the life they had Before.

I did wish there had been more of an explanation on how things had gotten to the point they were at, in only two years. With one group, we receive more of an in depth explanation - that makes sense - than with anyone else, even those in Washington Square. Maybe I was just too curious. It would be find in a movie to just see the state of each tribe, but in a novel I wondered 'why' or 'how,' I suppose.

For the most part, I really liked the characters. Jefferson is a fun character, who - though he doesn't seem sure he wants it - is a natural leader. He has a story, hs past, what's happened to him since the Sickness that is really creative and great background for his character. Brainbox, Peter and some of the other secondary characters were also great additions to the novel. They were different from each other and I liked seeing how they fit into this new world while still being able to see how they fit into (or didn't fit into) the old world.

The romance parts of this novel didn't work for me. The characters started to feel like different people (Donna especially) when it came into play and there just wasn't enough chemistry.

When that was paired with the cruelty to animals (yes, they kill people but the parts with animals seemed more in depth, more described), the lack of much demonstration of the Sickness, something so much a part of their world, and the ending, it really was just an okay read. The ending seems to just happen. There are several parts that seem to come out of nowhere and it is definitely a cliffhanger.

Some aspects of the story - the action, the different groups - seem they would have worked better on screen than in print. There is just enough intrigue in the ending that I will, likely, give the second book a chance.

thank you to LBYR and NetGalley for my egalley for review

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Waiting On Wednesday

Waiting On Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine

My pick for this week: Talon by Julie Kagawa

published October 28th by Harlequin Teen
add it to your Goodreads/pre-order from Book Depo/or Amazon

Long ago, dragons were hunted to near extinction by the Order of St. George, a legendary society of dragon slayers. Hiding in human form and growing their numbers in secret, the dragons of Talon have become strong and cunning, and they're positioned to take over the world with humans none the wiser.

Ember and Dante Hill are the only sister and brother known to dragonkind. Trained to infiltrate society, Ember wants to live the teen experience and enjoy a summer of freedom before taking her destined place in Talon. But destiny is a matter of perspective, and a rogue dragon will soon challenge everything Ember has been taught. As Ember struggles to accept her future, she and her brother are hunted by the Order of St. George.

Soldier Garret Xavier Sebastian has a mission to seek and destroy all dragons, and Talon's newest recruits in particular. But he cannot kill unless he is certain he has found his prey: and nothing is certain about Ember Hill. Faced with Ember's bravery, confidence and all-too-human desires, Garret begins to question everything that the Order has ingrained in him: and what he might be willing to give up to find the truth about dragons.

Because it's Julie Kagawa. Also? Dragons.

What's your pick this week? Link me to your post and/or tel me in a comment!
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