Wednesday, May 27, 2020

The Easy Baked Donut Cookbook: 60 Sweet and Savory Recipes for Your Oven and Mini Donut Maker by Sara Mellas – A Book Review

The Easy Baked Donut Cookbook: 60 Sweet and Savory Recipes for Your Oven and Mini Donut Maker by [Sara Mellas]  Sara Mellas


Okay, I wouldn't usually pick up a sweets oriented cookbook, but donuts are my kryptonite. The word donut paired with easy and baked in this title immediately caught my attention. Sara Mellas sets you up for success in her first chapter, providing numerous tips for making sure your donuts turn out just right. The cookbook includes recipes for your classic favorites such as old-fashioned cake, apple cider, classic raised, and Boston cream. It also includes some fascinating sounding newer versions such as cannoli, Matcha green tea, and panettone. While the chapter headings Basic and Sugared, Glazed, Iced and Frosted, and Filled are to be expected, finding recipes labeled gluten-free and vegan may not be. The final chapter titled Savory takes donuts to a whole new level including recipes such as jalapeno-cheddar cornbread donuts and olive, fig, and rosemary donuts. There's even a doggy donut recipe to make sure no family member is left out. I am grateful to have received a copy of this cookbook from RockRidge Press in exchange for my honest opinion. I was under no obligation to provide a positve review, and received no monetary compensation.

The Ultimate Slow Cooker Cookbook: No-Fuss Recipes for Classic Dishes and New Favorites Edited by Linda Larsen – A Book Review

The Ultimate Slow Cooker Cookbook: No-Fuss Recipes for Classic Dishes & New Favorites   Linda Larsen


I have been using a slow cooker for over forty years, and still learned some tips for improving food quality while reading the first chapter of this cookbook. I love the convenience of using a slow-cooker, but tend to cook the same meals in it: beef roast and vegetables, stew, bbq, sweet potatoes, etc...I am so excited to see such a large number of recipes in this Ultimate Slow-Cooker Cookbook, and such a wide variety! I am especially anxious to try the Appetizers and Snacks chapter with our dinner club. The Breakfast and Brunch chapter has some new ideas to enjoy, many of which appear to be fairly low in carbohydrates. I am grateful that the recipes throughout the book are labeled as to whether the are low-calorie, vegetarian, gluten-free, or vegan. Even with lots of low-calorie options, there are a plethora of comfort food recipes to be found between the covers of this cookbook. Right now, with having so many Zoom meetings in the evenings, using the slow-cooker is almost as much of a necessity as when I was working, and with these amazing recipes it will be a lot more interesting. I am grateful to have received a copy of The Ultimate Slow Cooker Cookbook, and it is indeed the ultimate, from RockRidge Press in exchange for my honest opinion. I was under no obligation to provide a positive review, and received no monetary compensation.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Thunder Dog: The True Story of A Blind Man,His Guide Dog & the Triumph of Trust by Michael Hingson with Susy Flory – A Book Review

Thunder Dog: The True Story of a Blind Man, His Guide Dog, and the Triumph of Trust at Ground Zero   Michael Hingson  Susy Flory


A friend gifted me with a copy of Thunder Dog, and I am so appreciative. With a family member who is visually impaired, legally blind, I found this book to be a great encouragement regarding the quality of life blind people currently enjoy, although Michael Hingson does make a case for continued work on social integration into society at large. This book focuses on what blind people are capable of doing, achieving and enjoying rather than on their limitations. This outlook is supported by the inclusion of Kenneth Jernigan's Blindness: A Left-Handed Dissertation in which he draws parallels between blindness and left-handedness in their impact on daily living in society.

Author, Michael Hingson, became blind after over exposure to oxygen following a premature birth. Unlike many in 1950, Michael's parents chose to raise him at home rather than placing him in a residential center. Michael was always encouraged to do as much as he could, and to say that he was fearless is an understatement. He has continued throughout his life to test his limits, to assist the blind community with accommodations and encouragement. Michael's work and accomplishments may have been enough to bring him national attention, but he was rocketed there when he and his guide dog, Roselle, were among the survivors of the attacks on the World Trade Center, something that provided him with a platform for advocating for the blind community.

Even if the reader does not have a personal connection to someone with visual impairment or blindness, this memoir is one that will amaze and encourage everyone, and I would highly recommend it. I extend my gratitude to MaryAnne R. for gifting me with this thoroughly enjoyable read.

The Green Dress by Liz Tolsma - A Book Review

The Green Dress (True Colors)  Image for Liz Tolsma, click to learn more.


Barbour Publishing's True Colors series is a collection of novels, written by a variety of authors based on true historical stories of American Crime. Liz Tolsma's The Green Dress is the latest installment. It is a fiction piece based on the crimes committed against Sarah Jane Robinson's family, and which occurred in the years 1881-1886. In this story Harriet Peters becomes concerned about the illnesses and deaths of many of the family members of the family that took her in when she fled to Boston to avoid an arranged marriage. She enlists the aid of Dr. Michael Wheaton who becomes increasingly concerned for Harriet's safety. The Green Dress is a most wonderful addition to this intriguing series. It held me spellbound, and I believe most historical fiction and mystery fans will love it. I am grateful to have received a copy of The Green Dress from Barbour Publishing in exchange for my honest opinion. I was under no obligation to write a positive review, ad received no monetary compensation.

Masquerade at Middlecrest Abbey by Abigail Wilson – A Book Review

Masquerade at Middlecrest Abbey  Abigail Wilson


Set in 1815 southeastern England, Masquerade at Middlecrest Abbey is both a murder mystery and gothic romance with scenes that quickly move from sweet to eerie, from light to dark. Abigail Wilson sweeps her readers along, catching them up in the emotions of the story while carefully laying out clues for them to gather as they move along. I love that she carefully inserts these clues making the mention of them appear no more or less important than any other information presented, allowing her readers the space for their own deductions. She is truly a gifted mystery writer. I highly recommend this book as well as this author's previous works. You won't be disappointed. I am grateful to have received a complimentary copy of this book from its publisher, Thomas Nelson. All opinions listed here are completely my own.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

The Toughest Sudoku Puzzle Book by Cristina Smith and Rick Smith - A Book Review

The Toughest Sudoku Puzzle Book: 200+ Puzzles to Sharpen Your Brain   Cristina Smith


This is the first time I have been offered the opportunity to review a puzzle book, and as a Sudoku fan I couldn't resist. The book includes fourteen techniques to build your Sudoku skills, and with puzzles rated Tough, Tougher, Tear-Your-Hair-Out, and an Extra Credit section, those techniques are not only helpful, but for many necessary. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the techniques I already use weren't limited to basic, but also fell under the intermediate level. I am learning a lot from the advanced techniques. So if you are a Sudoku fan, even if you have been a fan for awhile, I believe you will find enough challenge to enjoy this book, and maybe even pick up some new techniques. Happy solving!

I am grateful to have received a copy of The Toughest Sudoku Puzzle Book from RockRidge Press in exchange for my honest opinion. I was under no obligation to provide a positive review and received no monetary compensation.

Everyday Healthy Cookbook: Recipes and a Meal Plan to Make Healthy Eating Easy by Kathy Hodson - A Book Review

Everyday Healthy Cookbook: Recipes and a Meal Plan to Make Healthy Eating Easy   Kathy Hodson


If you are fairly new to planning for and preparing healthy meals, this is the cookbook for you. If you have much experience in this area, you may not find anything novel here. I was a bit surprised to find early on in the book a page dedicated to rice, an ingredient we do not indulge in often as we strive to maintain a healthy diet, preferring to look for ancient grains. One feature that I especially appreciated was the chapter on No-Cook Meals, more so since summer is rapidly approaching. The chapter on 30-Minute Meals contributes to being able to serve healthy meals even with a busy schedule as do the One-Pot and One-Skillet meals. Icons appear at the top of each recipe to indicate if it is gluten-free, vegetarian or low calorie. I wish there were an icon for diabetic friendly. The recipes generally look quite appetizing and include many that are likely to appeal to the average American palate.

I am grateful to have received a copy of the Everyday Healthy Cookbook from RockRidge Press in exchange for my honest opinion. I was under no obligation to write a positive review, and received no monetary compensation.