Friday, October 31, 2014

Review: Ikaria by Diane Kochilas

Ikaria is mythical, beautiful, enigmatic—and, as we learned after reading the New York Times article about it, a place where residents live unaccountably long lives. Part cookbook, part travelogue, filled with gorgeous photography, stunning recipes, and interviews with locals, and packed with the often quirky secrets to a long life that Ikarians are spoon-fed at birth, Ikaria is award-winning author Diane Kochilas’s ethno-culinary paean to this magical island.
Here, Kochilas will marry lore to lesson and recipe to interview: we’ll meet a 101-year-old weaver—the best on the island—and taste the combinations of herbs that he cooks with and that he believes give him life. We’ll learn about the life-giving benefits of delicious salads both raw and cooked, the gorgeous breads and savory pies that are a part of every meal, the bean dishes that are passed down through generations, and the seafood that is at the root of the Ikarian culinary culture. filled with mouthwatering recipes and remarkable stories, this book will introduce many Americans to food as life, as only the Ikarians know it.

I've heard about Ikaria before, so I was curious about this book.

In Ikaria, readers learn more about Ikaria, its culture and its food. Lots of recipes for Ikarian food are also included so that readers can try cooking them at home.

This book is what I imagine the child of a magazine and a cookbook would be like. The start of each chapter has a short essay on Ikarian food, and each chapter has plenty of information on Ikarian ingredients and cooking techniques. There's even a lexicon of edible greens and wild herbs.

The food photography feels lush and makes it seem like they were taken during an Ikarian feast or at your typical Ikarian home.

Everything about this book really does make you crave for Ikarian food. The recipes look delicious, and if you're a vegetarian or have your own garden, you'll probably be pleased to find out that a vast majority of these recipes feature vegetables. There are meat and seafood recipes too, of course, mostly of the goat and fish variety.

I think I've only tried Greek cuisine once or a few times before. There are Greek and Mediterranean restaurants in the Philippines, of course, but my family members like other cuisine more so we tend to skip them. Also, most supermarkets don't really have a lot of Greek ingredients in stock. You'll have to go to specialty stores for those. I think unless you live in a particularly cosmopolitan city, you'd have to go to a specialty store for several of the ingredients used in the recipe too. That's to be expected, I guess, since the book does try to be as authentic as possible.

If you believe you can get your hands on some Greek ingredients (like Greek feta or Greek kefalotyri) or you're pretty good at substituting one ingredient for another, by all means, try this book. I think it's worth a read.

Thanks to NetGalley and Rodale Books for the e-ARC.


  1. You learn a lot about Ikaria and its culture.
  2. You learn a lot of interesting cooking tips and trivia.
  3. The food looks delicious and healthy. 


  1. Some of the ingredients may be hard to get. 


  1. You're a fan of Greek or Ikarian cuisine.
  2. You are a vegetarian.
  3. You want to make healthier eating choices. 



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Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Match Maker by Karey White Book Blast

 Today on the blog, we are featuring The Match Makyer by Karey White.

Match Maker Book Cover

The Match Maker by Karey White (The Husband Maker #2)

(Summary contains spoilers if you have not yet read book #1 The Husband Maker)

It’s been six months since Charlotte and Kyle broke up, and the Husband Maker strikes again. Kyle is officially engaged, while Charlotte is still nursing a broken heart.

In an effort to get Charlotte out of her rut, she and her best friend decide it’s time for some good old-fashioned matchmaking. While Aleena arranges for Charlotte to meet up with a handsome Scottish tourist, Charlotte gets her two best friends together. But when sparks start to fly between Aleena and Angus, Charlotte is left feeling more alone that ever--at least until the charming Scotsman becomes more than just a safe, rebound guy and teaches her that maybe, just maybe, she can dare to open her heart again.
The Match Maker releases on November 1st
Order your copy Now!

Match Maker

Don't miss the Blog Tour hosted by I Am A Reader
November 4th to 21st
Tour Schedule

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The Husband Maker by Karey White

Charlotte’s a girl with nicknames. She may not love being called Charles or Chuck, but the hardest nickname to take is the one she was given in college, the one that’s followed her now for too many years. They call her “the husband maker” and sadly, it fits. Every guy she's dated since high school has gone on to marry the next girl they date. Not two or three girls down the road. The very next one.
Is she doing something wrong or is she just cursed?
When Kyle Aldsworth enters the picture and sweeps her off her feet, Charlotte begins to hope that maybe she's not destined to be single forever. A senator’s son with political aspirations of his own, Kyle's wealthy, handsome, and in need of a wife. Will Charlotte be disappointed yet again, or will she finally be able to make a husband for herself?
Karey White

Author Karey White

Karey White grew up in Utah, Idaho, Oregon, and Missouri. She attended Ricks College and Brigham Young University. Her first novel, Gifted, was a Whitney Award Finalist.

She loves to travel, read, bake treats, and spend time with family and friends. She and her husband are the parents of four great children. She teaches summer creative writing courses to young people and is currently working on her next book.

$75 Book Blast Giveaway

$75 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 11/23/14

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the publisher. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Ginnie West Adventures by Monique Bucheger Book Blast

 Ginnie West Adventures - collage

About the Books

Book 1: The Secret Sisters Club

The Secret Sisters Club - cover

Title: The Secret Sisters Club (Ginnie West Adventures, Book 1) | Author: Monique Bucheger | Illustrator: Mikey Brooks | Publication Date: March 18, 2012 | Publisher: True West Publishing | Pages: 238 | Recommended Ages: 8 to 13

Book Summary: Twelve-year-old BFFs want to be sisters. Tillie's divorced mom plus Ginnie's widowed dad could equal a lifetime of round-the-clock girl talk. Too bad Dad vowed to never marry again. Ginnie and Tillie come up with the perfect mission to change his mind: ‘Operation Secret Sisters.’

Before long, Ginnie suspects Tillie has turned ‘Operation Secret Sisters’ into a scam called ‘Operation Steal My Dad.’ Things get more complicated when Ginnie stumbles across her dead mom’s hidden journals. Ginnie can finally get to know the mother she doesn’t remember and Dad doesn’t talk about … until Dad takes the journals away.

Book 2: Trouble Blows West

Trouble Blows West - cover

Title: Trouble Blows West (Ginnie West Adventures, Book 2) | Author: Monique Bucheger | Illustrator: Mikey Brooks | Publication Date: April 13, 2012 | Publisher: True West Publishing | Pages: 234 | Recommended Ages: 8 to 13

Book Summary: Putting her body in motion before her brain is in gear creates a mountain of problems for 12 year-old Ginnie West. Ginnie is certain that defending her twin brother from the biggest bully in sixth grade was the right thing to do, but she soon finds out she couldn’t be more wrong.

Bullies don’t like being embarrassed by girls at school—especially when they are being abused at home. When Ginnie figures out Pierce’s awful secret, she switches gears and decides to be his ally, because he won’t let her be his friend.

Book 3: Simply West of Heaven

Simply West of Heaven by Monique Bucheger

Title: Simply West of Heaven (Ginnie West Adventures, Book 3) | Author: Monique Bucheger | Illustrator: Mikey Brooks | Publication Date: January 1, 2013 | Publisher: True West Publishing | Pages: 288 | Recommended Ages: 8 to 13

Book Summary: Twelve-year-old BFFs are matchmaking geniuses. They schemed to get Ginnie’s widowed dad to fall in love with Tillie’s divorced mom. Then Ginnie stumbled upon her late mom's journals, making life totally awesome sauce … until her dad confiscated the journals.

Ginnie is counting on Tillie's help to make Dad change his mind, but Tillie's not sure the ghost of Ginnie's mom will make a good addition to their new family tree. When a blast from the past shows up and makes Tillie go nutburgers, Ginnie is torn between helping her BFF and having her questions answered.

Book 4: Being West is Best

Being West is Best - cover

Title: Being West is Best (Ginnie West Adventures, Book 4) | Author: Monique Bucheger | Illustrator: Mikey Brooks | Publication Date: April 19, 2014 | Publisher: True West Publishing | Pages: 350 | Recommended Ages: 8 to 13

Book Summary: Twelve-year-old BFFs, Ginnie West and Tillie Taylor, are matchmaking geniuses. Together, they maneuvered Ginnie’s widower-dad into proposing to Tillie’s divorcee-mom. Sweet! Certain they are well on their way to sisterhood, each girl is floored when Tillie’s lousy-excuse-for-a-birth-father puts in an appearance after a six year absence. Too bad “lousy dad repellant” doesn’t come in a can.

Even though Tillie’s dad has sobered up and is determined to make amends, Tillie would rather he just disappear again. If he stays, “Operation: Secret Sisters” may need to be renamed “Operation: Not Gonna Happen.”

Amazon | Print Books Signed by Author

About the Author: Monique Bucheger

Author picture Monique

When Monique Bucheger isn’t writing, you can find her playing taxi driver to one or more of her 12 children, plotting her next novel, scrapbooking, or being the “Mamarazzi” at any number of child-oriented events. Even though she realizes there will never be enough hours in any given day, Monique tries very hard to enjoy the journey that is her life. She shares it with a terrific husband, her dozen children, sons-in-law, and adorable grandchildren, cats, and many real and imaginary friends. She is the author of the Ginnie West Adventures series, picture book, Popcorn, and plans to write plenty more.

Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Google+ | Goodreads

About the Illustrator: Mikey Brooks

Mikey Brooks

Mikey Brooks is an author/illustrator that specializes in children’s art. His picture books include the best-selling ABC Adventures: Magical Creatures, Trouble with Bernie and Bean’s Dragons. He is the illustrator of several picture books such as Popcorn by Monique Bucheger, Bongo Flo by Carolyn Quist, and Lucius and the Christmas Star by Jim Long. He is the author of The Gates of Atlantis: Battle for Acropolis, The Stone of Valhalla the best-selling middle-grade series The Dream Keeper Chronicles. You can find more about him and his books at:

*$25 Book Blast Giveaway *

Amazon 25 gift card

Prize: One winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card or PayPal cash (winner's choice)

Contest closes: November 27, 11:59 pm, 2014

Open to: Internationally

How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.

Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the Monique Bucheger and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com.
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Review: The Art of Eating through the Zombie Apocalypse: A Cookbook and Culinary Survival Guide by Lauren Wilson, Kristian Bauthus

You duck into the safest-looking abandoned house you can find and hold your breath as you listen for the approaching zombie horde you’ve been running from all day. You hear a gurgling sound. Is it the undead? No—it’s your stomach.
When the zombie apocalypse tears down life and society as we know it, it will mean no more take out, no more brightly lit, immaculately organized aisles of food just waiting to be plucked effortlessly off the shelves. No more trips down to the local farmers’ market. No more microwaved meals in front of the TV or intimate dinner parties. No, when the undead rise, eating will be hard, and doing it successfully will become an art.
The Art of Eating through the Zombie Apocalypse is a cookbook and culinary field guide for the busy zpoc survivor. With more than 75 recipes (from “No Knead To Panic Bread” and “Apocalypse Soup for the Survivor's Soul” to “Pasta Aglio e Oh No!,” “Down and Out Sauerkraut,” and “Twinkie Trifle”), scads of gastronomic survival tips, and dozens of diagrams and illustrations that help you scavenge, forage, and improvise your way to an artful post-apocalypse meal. The Art of Eating is the ideal handbook for efficient food sourcing and inventive meal preparation in the event of an undead uprising.
Whether you decide to hole up in your own home or bug out into the wilderness, whether you prefer to scavenge the dregs of society or try your hand at apocalyptic agriculture, and regardless of your level of skill or preparation, The Art of Eating will help you navigate the wasteland and make the most of what you eat.
Just because the undead’s taste buds are atrophying doesn’t mean yours have to!

Even if you don't consider a prepper, you'll probably want to keep a hard copy of this book in your house.

In The Art of Eating through the Zombie Apocalypse: A Cookbook and Culinary Survival Guide, readers are taught all sorts of useful tips and recipes that will come in handy if ever you find yourself in a situation wherein you don't have a working oven or a lot of your usual food options.

I was only able to read through a sampler copy, but from what I can see, this book is worth reading and keeping on hand. If you've got a good memory, it would be even better if you could memorize the important stuff too.

There were some interesting things here like a seaweed guide, so you have an idea how to harvest seaweed and which seaweed works with a particular cooking method, as well as tips for making MREs (meals, ready-to-eat) taste more delicious. There's also a handy guide for guessing the temperature of a makeshift oven or stove (there's also a tutorial of sorts for making these makeshift ovens) and how to adjust to get a certain temperature.

The recipes include how many servings you'll get per recipe. I liked that it included a Regular Joe serving (how many people can be fed if they were moderately hungry) and Hungry Survivor servings (how many people could be fed if they were starving). I don't know how likely you'll have on hand some of the ingredients but at least it's indicated if you can opt not to put in a certain ingredient.

Thanks to NetGalley and Smart Pop for the e-ARC.


  1. There are plenty of useful things in the book.
  2. It may come in handy even if there won't be a zombie apocalypse.
  3. The layout, font and illustrations match the mood and topic of the book perfectly. 


  1. Some of the instructions may be a bit overwhelming for newbies. 

In fact, if you have a shellfish allergy, you should not eat crickets, grasshoppers or cicadas. 

  1. You think it's possible that there will be a zombie apocalypse.
  2. You consider yourself a prepper or are thinking of being one.
  3. You want to learn useful survival skills.



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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

What I discovered was that it wasn't so much what people ate a generation or two ago on Ikaria, but it was more the fact that they simply did not eat very much at all.


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Monday, October 27, 2014

Review: FutureChefs by Ramin Ganeshram

A curated collection of 150 recipes drawn from the experience and kitchens of young cooks all over America, FutureChefs brings real, cooking-obsessed tweens and teens to the page as relatable
characters who span a diverse social and cultural experience. Here, in rich, inspiring detail, is the ethnoculinary America of the future.
Veteran journalist and trained chef Ramin Ganeshram has crafted profiles of serious young cooks
who run the gamut of experience, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds to create an inspiring prism through which readers might see what’s ahead in America’s food culture. Whether they’ve taken to it
because of necessity, inspiration, or sheer passion, these are kids, teens, and tweens who are very serious about food.
This is a generation more interested in hands-on cooking than ever, but they’re lacking material that treats them as a serious part of cooking culture; FutureChefs is the perfect vehicle.

If you're a fan of Masterchef Jr., you will love this book.

In FutureChefs, readers get to meet a lot of amazing and accomplished kid and teen chefs, as well as learning some of their signature recipes. A lot of the recipes featured are gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian or just plain healthy.

The book's recipes are divided into the following categories: soup/salads, appetizers/snacks, vegetables, pasta/grains, fish/chicken/meat, breads/muffins/rolls, sweets, and beverages. Basically, you can plan an entire meal from just this cookbook. Plus, since there are plenty of recipes here, you're bound to find something you like.

I've been on the lookout for recipes for healthy food that my toddler can eat. At the moment, he doesn't seem to have any food allergies, but even if doesn't the gluten-free, vegan and other healthy recipes here would still be something that I would want him to try.

Some of the recipes that I found interesting had ingredients that aren't available at my local supermarket, so I have to look for them at specialty stores. However, I still found some recipes that were interesting and had easy-to-procure ingredients. Number one on my recipes to-do list is the Zuchi Bread. The second would be Cruz's Organic Festival Lemonade. Although I'd probably substitute kalamansi for lemonade. Yes, as mentioned in the book, kalamansi is used a lot in cooking and is widely available here in the Philippines.

Aside from the recipes, I think the biggest value of this book is how inspirational the young chefs are. It gives you that feeling that, if they can cook and invent or modify new recipes, why can't you?

Thanks to NetGalley and Rodale Books for the e-ARC.


  1. The stories of the kids and teens are inspirational.
  2. The food all looks delicious and healthy.
  3. There's something for everyone to try. 


  1. Some of the ingredients for a few of the recipes may be difficult to find at your local supermarket.

  1. Your child likes eating and experimenting in the kitchen.
  2. You are looking for recipes that are healthy and delicious.
  3. You want to be more creative when it comes to cooking. 




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Sunday, October 26, 2014

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.


Secrets Beneath the Sea by Janet Gurtler
Original Recipe by Jessica Young
Dino-Mike and the T. Rex Attack by Franco Aureliani

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