(Review) Sins of the Angel

Title: Sins of the Angels Author: Linda Poitevin
Pub Date: September 2011
Publisher: Ace/Penguin
Pages: 336

Source: I purchased a copy of this book

About The Book:
A detective with a secret lineage. An undercover Hunter with a bullet-proof soul. And a world made to pay for the sins of an angel…

Homicide detective Alexandra Jarvis answers to no one. Especially not to the new partner assigned to her in the middle of a gruesome serial killer case-a partner who is obstructive, irritatingly magnetic, and arrogant as hell. Aramael is a Power–a hunter of the Fallen Angels.  A millennium ago, he sentenced his own brother to eternal exile for crimes against humanity. Now his brother is back and wreaking murderous havoc in the mortal realm. To find him, Aramael must play second to a human police officer who wants nothing to do with him and whose very bloodline threatens both his mission and his soul.

Now, faced with a fallen angel hell-bent on triggering the apocalypse, Alex and Aramael have no choice but to join forces, because only together can they stop the end of days.

I have to send out a huge thank you to Tynga’s Reviews for introducing this book to me. Once I read her review of Sins of the Angels I knew I wanted to read it. The book sounded really good and the author was Canadian on top of that.

This is Linda’s debut novel and a first book in a series. I have to admit that I don’t urban fantasy but after reading this I must say I am curious to read more in this genre as well as Linda’s future books and I found out that in March the next book in The Gregori Series is Sins of the Son will be released.

I loved this book and I loved reading it. I loved the story, the characters and the setting.

Sins of the Angels takes place in Toronto. (Which is roughly 8 hours from Montreal.) and its about Alexandra Jarvis who is a homicide detective. She is a strong woman with a disturbing past and its slowly revealed in the book as the story progresses.

Alexandra is in the middle of a horrific serial killer case and the bodies are slowly adding up and she is not thrilled when she gets a new partner, Aramael. With each new body we can see Alexandra is remembering things from her own past that she is trying to deal with and when she thinks she is seeing her partner as an angel she is worried that she will end up like her mother, crazy.
Little does Alexandra know but Aramael is really an angel and he is back to catch a fallen angel before its too late and he is there to save Alexandra who will eventually discover that she is half angel/half human and she is in danger.

I have to say that I had a love/hate relationship with Aramael. He came off as a jerk but eventually I ended up loving him because even though he is a angel he is a angel with feelings and you could see that is was starting to care for Alexandra.

I am curious to see where this storyline will go.

(Review) Dreaming of the Wolf

Title: Dreaming of the Wolf (Bk 8 in the Wolf Series)
Author: Terry Spear
Pub Date: December 2011
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Pages: 384

Source: I received an ARC copy of this book for my honest and sincere review.

About the book:


Alicia Greiston is a no-nonsense bounty hunter determined to bring a ring of mobsters to justice. Her dogged pursuit of the crime family has forced her to avoid relationships— any man would only become a target for retribution. Luckily, Jake Silver is more than a man, and his instincts are telling him to stop at nothing to protect her.


However, the mob isn’t entirely human either, and soon Alicia must flee for her life. When Alicia and Jake’s passion begins to spill over into their dreams, Jake learns he will have to do more than defend her— he’ll have to show his mate the way of the wolf.

Dreaming of the Wolf is the 8th book in the Wolf series and there is a 9th scheduled to be released in March 2012 called A Seal in Wolf’s Clothing. Which I am dying to read because it sounds super good.

I am an absolute fan of Terry’s Wolf series of books. I can pretty much devour a book in a day if I am given the chance to sit and read for that long. Thankfully I got this book before my birthday and I thought that was a fantastic birthday present and the Sunday before my birthday was a me day and I made it a point that I was going to spend the day before my birthday reading and that this was the book I was going to read. I managed to finish it up in that day and refused to go to bed until I read it.

I loved this book. I think everyone I have spoke with lately I had to talk about this book and how you should it read. Even though its been a while since I read it I am still thinking about it.

I love that even though this is a series you can read them all as stand alones. So if you are looking for a great book to curl up with this holiday season or winter I have to suggest this one highly. I am sure you will love it just as much as me.

I am not sure what it is but I love Terry’s writing because she gives you details and descriptions that make it seem believable and that this story can actually happen. You can see all the research she has put into each of her books.

I fell in love with Jake and it was so nice to see that a good guy can win in love. I knew I was going to love Jake from the first moment I met him and I loved how it was Jake who was head over heels in love with Alicia and that he pursued her instead of the other way around.

Jake first spots Alicia when he is in Breckenridge, Colorado going to a art gallery to sell his photographs (which just happens to be closed at that very moment) when he spots Alicia taking pictures secretly of a licence plate. Not only has this action peaked his interest but also she has his attention.

He decides to follow her into the restaurant and at first he doesn’t see her so he sits down to order when he spots her. She doesn’t appear to notice him because she is too interested in watching two guys across the way from her. When she is threatened by a goon, Jake steps in and does what any person should do when a life is being threatened.

Jake finds out that Alicia is actually a bounty hunter and the two guys she is watching are mobsters and one is responsible for the murder of her mother and she is determined to bring justice.

I love how Alicia has had two failed marriages and has sworn of men and you can see the walls she has put up and that Jake isn’t coming off as a pushy guy and forcing is way he steps back and gradually you can see that even though they have fooled around she is actually starting to care about him and you want her to have that happy ending and find love.

But will she allow that to happen or is she just hell bent on having justice served no matter at what risk?

This is the other books in the series:

This is the 9th book coming out in March:

If you haven’t had the chance to read any of Terry’s books then I highly recommend you do because they are all fantastic and so worth it.

copyright 2010, Cindy (Cindy’s Love Of Books)
If you are reading this on a blog or website other than Cindy’s Love Of Books or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.

(Review) The Cats in the Doll Shop

Title: The Cats in the Doll Shop
Author: Yona Zeldis McDonough
Illustrator: Heather Maione
Pages: 160
Publisher: Viking (Penguin)
Pub Date: November 2011

Source: I received a finished copy of this book for review from the publisher.

About the book:
When Anna spots a cat in the yard behind her parents’ doll shop, she is excited. Then she realizes the cat is about to have kittens-even better! And Anna has something else to look forward to: her cousin Tania is coming from Russia to stay with Anna’s family. Anna already has two sisters, but she and Tania are the exact same age-eleven-and she imagines they will get along perfectly. But Tania doesn’t respond to Anna’s friendly overtures, and her sisters don’t seem to like Tania at all. Luckily, Anna finds a creative way to use her love of dolls and cats to bring everyone together.

I have to send out a huge Thank You to Diane for bringing this book to my attention because up until she mentioned it to me I have never heard of it and I am so happy that I got the chance to read it because it was so much fun to read. I am actually going to pass this book on to my son’s school library as I am sure the kids would love this story.
I haven’t read the companion book The Doll Shop Downstairs  yet but I am going to after reading this one.

I am always a little hesitant about reading a second book or a companion book when I haven’t read the first one because sometimes characters have been introduced or things have happened and the story continues but I have to say not this one. This can actually read as a stand alone and I really enjoyed it. I think the middle graders would too.

Anna’s family (Mama and Papa) own a doll shop (in New York City) where they make dolls that they sell to all kinds of stores (F.A.O Schwarz). Anna lives with her two sisters (Sophie and Trudie) in an apartment above the doll shop. She is a middle child.

In the beginning of the book the girls discover that their cousin Tania will be coming from Russia to stay with them for a year until their aunt can get anough money together to join her daughter. This is the first time they have met her and they are excited. Anna has imagined all kinds of things about Tania and is hoping that since they both are the same age that they will bond but once Tania gets here things aren’t like they were imagined.

Now if having a stranger coming to visit who couldn’t speak english wasn’t enough excitement lets throw in a stray cat that Anna spotted across the yard. This is just any stray cat but a stray cat ready to give birth anytime soon. The girls decide they have to take care of it especially after what they witness a neighbor doing. Thankfully their dad steps in and allows the girls to give it scraps but nothing else. They are from the old country and they didn’t have pets.

I loved how having a mouse in the house changed Tania because she bonded with the cat because the father allowed the cat to come in so that she could catch it or at least that is what we think happened.

I love reading stories that happen in New York City because it brings back so many great memories of my trip there and when Yona wrote about Ellis Island and when you came in from the boat you went right there before coming into the US. Having visited Ellis Island I can only imagine what it must have felt like to have been traveling weeks, months to finally hit land and see this amazing skyline in front of you and wondering what your future would hold.

Yona did a fantastic job because the story takes place during the Cold War and I can only image what it must have felt for Tania to be coming to a new place on her own and staying with strangers.

I also enjoyed the glossary of terms at the back of the book because there was a few Jewish words I didn’t know and to have them close by was nice.

Thanks to Diane once again for bringing this book to my attention and to Viking for sending it my way.

copyright 2010, Cindy (Cindy’s Love Of Books)
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(Review) The Joy of Spooking: Unearthly Asylum

Title: The Joy of Spooking: Unearthly Asylum (book 2)
Author: P.J Bracegirdle
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pub Date: August 2010 (hardcover) August 2011(paperback)
Pages: 320

Source: From my own personal library.

About the Book:
Joy Wells is fascinated by the strange noises coming from the old Spooking Asylum. She knows all about the famous legends that surround the place and is certain that she is hearing the guns of long-dead soldiers. But what if something more contemporary—and truly ghastly—is going on? When Joy’s pet frog, Fizz, gets away, Joy travels through the town’s old sewers looking for him, only to emerge above ground—inside the locked gates of the asylum. There, she uncovers a trail of greed and madness guaranteed to thrill her horror-loving heart!

This is the second book in The Joy of Spooking series and all I have to say is WOW!

I am always a little apprehensive when I start to read a second book in a series because I always worry that the second book won’t be as good as the first but in this case I had nothing to worry about because this book was just as great as the first one if not a little bit better.

This is the second book in The Joy of Spooking trilogy. The first book is Fiendish Deeds and the third book is Sinister Scenes. (I will be reviewing Sinister Scenes this week)

I should start off by saying that you don’t need to read the first book in the series to read this one but if you are like me you will probably want to read it just so you know more about the characters and the history behind the book.

Joy is not like the other girls who live in Darlington. She is the complete opposite of them and this is why I love the character so much. As the book opens up we see a slight change in Joy and I think that has to do with the fact that her brother, Bryon has a friend and I think deep down Joy would love to have a real friend and not just her per frog.  This change has worried her mother because in her eyes Joy isn’t like other girls. The other girls like to do girl stuff where as Joy would rather do the opposite. Her mother decides to take her to see a psychiatrist which basically didn’t prove much but it let her mother know that everything was perfectly fine.

Joy is still obsessed with her favorite author E.A Peugeot and is still determined to prove that he had actually lived in Spooking and that all his stories are based around Spooking although it seems that the E.A Peugeot society begs to differ and there is proof he actually lived somewhere else and that his stories are based on that town. Although I don’t think so because there is too many similarities. Will Joy be able to prove this theory that he actually lived there and that its all about Spooking?
We once again get to see Mr. Phipps and if you remember he is the mayor’s assistant and this time around he is still up to no good and is now eyeing the Spooking mental asylum. He thinks that if he can get the asylum  and if he can turn it into a luxurious spa things will be good. Although he soon realizes that more is going on behind the gates of the asylum and is determined to find out what is going on no matter who gets hurt in the process.

This time around we got to see a little bit more background into Mr Phipps and the reason he seems to be so bitter and revengeful. I liked having that little bit added. I think it added to the story and the character.

Before long Joy is added into the mix with her brother and friend, Poppy. No one knows what goes on behind the gates of the asylum but its peaked every ones attention. When Joy’s pet frog goes missing and ends up on the other side of the gates, Joy quickly sets a a rescue Fizz mission and stumbles into the mix of things. Will they be able to get out of there alive before its too late?

I started off not liking Mr Phipps but by the time the book was almost finished I ws growing to like him. Yes you can see throughout the course of the book its all about him and him making a name for himself but when push comes to shove and his friend needed him he was there and even though it was to late to save his friend he made sure that Joy got out of there safely.

I absolutely loved this book and I can’t wait to share it with others. This was a super quick read and I was constantly sitting at the edge of my seat wondering what was going to happen. This is another page turner and a fantastic middle grade book that I think boys and girls would both enjoy and the bonus part is that he is a Canadian (local) author.
I am dying to read the third book and I think I will be sad to see the series wrap up but I am looking forward to reading Paul’s future books.

copyright 2010, Cindy (Cindy’s Love Of Books)
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(Review) Blood Wounds

 Title: Blood Wounds
Author: Susan Beth Pfeffer
Pub Date: September 2011
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Pages: 256

Source: I received this from the publisher for my review.

About the Book:

Blood can both wound and heal…

Willa is lucky: She has a loving blended family that gets along. Not all families are so fortunate. But when a bloody crime takes place hundreds of miles away, it has an explosive effect on Willa’s peaceful life. The estranged father she hardly remembers has murdered his new wife and children, and is headed east toward Willa and her mother.

Under police protection, Willa discovers that her mother has harbored secrets that are threatening to boil over. Has everything Willa believed about herself been a lie? But as Willa sets out to untangle the mysteries of her past, she also keeps her own secret—one that has the potential to tear apart all she holds dear.

Susan Beth Pfeffer is no stranger to young adult fiction. She has written over seventy books. I have never read anything by Susan until now and I am pleasantly surprised and I am curious about her other books.
I knew this was going to be one book that I would have to take my time to read because it was a pretty intense story. I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to read or what to expect. I really enjoyed the fact that they added some back ground story to the story and it all seemed to flow perfectly.

Willa is your typical teenager (from the outside looking in). She lives with her mother, step father and two step sisters. They seem to have a loving and caring relationship except Willa has a secret that no one really knows about and that is she cuts herself. Its not something she does all the time only when she gets stressed.

In the blink of an eye Willa’s world is turned upside down when her mother’s friend, Faye calls and leaves a frantic message for her. When Willa tries to call her mother, she can’t be reached before long the Police show up and are questioning Willa. Willa realizes that there is more to the story then meets the eye and that live as she knows it is about to change.

When Willa was a young child her mother and her ran away from him and she never really knew why or if she did she kept those memories hidden. The only father she has ever really known was Jack her step father. Willa quickly learns that her real father is a murderer and has killed his wife and children and is now making his way to Willa and her mother. Now this is where I have to say I have an issue with the book because I thought there might have been more of a story line there but there wasn’t because it just seemed like they were protected by the police for a very short time.

We also learn that Willa is really isn’t happy with her family situation because she has two step sisters who get what ever they want at a drop of a hat and this is mainly due to their mother being rich and poor Willa is basically scrapping by and doing without because no one really seems to care about her or what she would like and I think this also one of the reasons she cuts.

Willa is never one to rock the boat but when she decides she wants to attend her siblings funeral it seems to upset everyone but Willa is determined to go and when she does she uncovers some hidden secrets that no one wants to relive. Willa also begins to remember some things from her past that she has forgotten and i think wishes she wouldn’t have remembered. I think uncovering this was good for Willa because before the book ended she became a stronger person and was willing to speak her mind no matter what anyone said or how they felt.

I have to admit I was left with alot of unanswered questions.

Thanks to Thomas Allen and Sons for sending me this book to review.

copyright 2010, Cindy (Cindy’s Love Of Books)
If you are reading this on a blog or website other than Cindy’s Love Of Books or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.

(Review) The Popularity Rules

 Title: The Popularity Rules
Author: Abby McDonald
Pub Date: October 2011
Pages: 480
Publisher:Sourcebooks Landmark

Source: I received an advance readers copy from the publisher for my review.

About the Book:

The meek don’t inherit a thing. Nice girls win nothing but regret. Virtue is wholly overrated.

If you don’t do it, some other girl will.

Kat Elliot has spent her life fighting against phony schmoozing—and it’s led her nowhere. A rebellious music journalist, Kat is down on her dreams when her ex–best friend Lauren swishes back into town. Ten years ago, Lauren dumped Kat for high school gold: popularity. Now Lauren wants to make amends by teaching Kat the secret to her success: The Popularity Rules, a decades-old rule book that transformed Lauren that fateful summer.

Broke and desperate, Kat reluctantly agrees to a total makeover—what does she have to lose? She’s gotten nowhere on her own. Maybe becoming someone new is just what she needs.

This is Abby McDonald’s second adult book that I have recently read. Her first one is The Liberation of Alice Love. She is the author of several young adult books and I have to admit that I have them sitting on my shelf waiting to be read. I am hoping to read them very soon.

Before I get to my review of the book, I have to share with you that i actually got my quote on her website. You can see it here: http://abbymcdonald.com/review-round-up. Thank you so much Abby I loved The Liberation of Alice Love and I have to say that I think I loved this one just as much.

When I was offered to read and review this I quickly sent the email with a yes please I would love to read this. I have had the book for awhile now but only recently allowed myself to read it. I knew if I read it right away that I would want to gush about it. So when I picked up the book I made sure that it would be during the week when I knew I wouldn’t be interrupted so on a recent cold and rainy day I picked it up to read and read it I did. I barely put the book down and managed to read it in a few hours.

WOW! I love the book and I feel as though I got to live vicariously through Kate while I read this book. I like the cover. This is one thing I love about Sourcebooks is that the cover of the advance readers copy is always the same as the finished copy.

I love reading chick lit and even more so when its from the UK. Not quite sure why that is, perhaps its knowing that the author is from the UK that does it for me. I mean who wouldn’t love to go and be in the UK? That is my go to destination one day. I absolutely love the UK and anything to do with the UK.

Each chapter starts off with a “If you want to be popular rule” and some of these rules are so funny. The one common thing in this whole book is if you want to be popular you basically have to be a bitch because nice girls don’t get anywhere. Honestly I kind of think that is true in some weird way. Each chapters tips were basically told like it is and it related to the story that followed.

I think Kate is very relatable character and she wasn’t so far fetched. I have to admit that I am probably a Kate and I could relate to her throughout the course of the book. Growing up Kate was always trying to fit in but it was always a struggle (which is for some many people). We see this with Kate.

Growing up she had a resentment for her then best friend, Lauren. It seemed like the summer that Lauren went away to camp she came back a whole new person and dumped Kate like yesterday’s trash with no real explanation. That effected Kate.

Then just when it appears the whole world is crashing down around Kate (she has just gotten fired from her job, she has no money, she is going to be kicked out of her apartment etc) in walks Lauren. You know this won’t be good news for Kate. Lauren offers to take Kate under her wing with offering her what she has. A life of getting everything and anything.

Kate figures what does she have to loose? Seriously if you were down and out and someone offered you a place to live (expense and rent free), showed you the ropes and bought you nice things, wouldn’t you jump at the chance to find out how to get it all on your own? I know I would.

As the book progresses Kate learns alot about herself. What its like to struggle for things and what its like to get things given to you.

I loved Ash at the beginning and so wanted the relationship between him and Kate to develop more. Not sure what it was that made me love him so much. They both had great chemistry and then later in the book I just wanted to throttle him. I think Kate handle the situation very well and I probably wouldn’t have done the same thing.

I think if you like chick lit you will enjoy this.

I am dying to read Abby’s young adult books and I know any future adult books will be read and devoured.

Thanks to Sourcebooks for contacting me about this book and thanks to Abby for writing such a fantastic book.

copyright 2010, Cindy (Cindy’s Love Of Books)
If you are reading this on a blog or website other than Cindy’s Love Of Books or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.

(First Wild Card Tour) The “What’s For Dinner?” Solution

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Harvest House Publishers (October 1, 2011)

***Special thanks to Karri | Marketing Assistant, Harvest House Publishers for sending me a review copy.***


Kathi Lipp is a busy conference and retreat speaker, currently speaking each year to thousands of women throughout the United States. She is the author of The Husband Project and The Marriage Project and has had articles published in several magazines, including Today’s Christian Woman and Discipleship Journal. Kathi and her husband, Roger, live in California and are the parents of four teenagers and young adults.

Visit the author’s website.


For many women, dread turns to panic around 4:00 in the afternoon. That’s when they have to answer that age-old question, “What’s for dinner?” Many resort to another supermarket rotisserie chicken or—worse yet—ordering dinner through a drive-thru intercom.

In The “What’s for Dinner” Solution, popular author and speaker Kathi Lipp provides a full-kitchen approach for getting dinner on the table every night. After putting her 21-day plan into action, women will

* save time—with bulk shopping and cooking
* save money—no more last-minute phone calls to the delivery pizza place
* save their sanity—forget the last-minute scramble every night and know what they’re having for dinner

The book includes real recipes from real women, a quick guide to planning meals for a month, the best shopping strategies for saving time and money, and tips on the best ways to use a slow cooker, freezer, and pantry.

With Kathi’s book in hand, there’s no more need to hit the panic button.

Product Details:

List Price: $12.99
Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (October 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736938370
ISBN-13: 978-0736938372


Girl Meets Kitchen, or Not

Necessarily a Love Story

“Happy and successful cooking doesn’t rely only on know-how;
it comes from the heart, makes great demands on the palate and needs enthusiasm and a deep love of food to bring it to life.”

Georges Blanc, from Ma Cuisine des Saisons

I was not the kind of kid who grew up at my mom’s knee, helping her chop carrots for Sunday night’s chicken soup. I never really helped with any meal preparation, preferring to turn my attention in the kitchen to baking. There was always some social event with friends or a youth group party where I needed to bring brownies. The one memorable time I tried to make instant potatoes? Instead of the specified one-quarter tablespoon of salt, I used a quarter cup salt. That incident happened over twenty-five years ago, and I have yet to stop hearing about it from my loving and encouraging family.

Suffice to say, I was a bit ill-prepared for the cooking adventures that lay ahead as I lived on my own for the first time. And to complicate matters? My first apartment was in Uji, Japan, approximately seven thousand miles from my mother’s loving embrace and her pot-roast recipe (as if I could afford beef in Japan).

The recipe cards were stacked against me. No cooking skills to speak of, living in a foreign land where most of the time I couldn’t identify what I was eating much less figure out how it was prepared, a kitchen the size of my coat closet back home, and an oven so small it made me long for the Easy-Bake one of my childhood.

I was terrified going to the supermarket without an escort and a translator. I didn’t speak the language (as a short-term missionary teaching conversational English, speaking Japanese was actually a disadvantage in my job), and as unfamiliar as I was with food shopping in the U.S., shopping in Uji was like watching a foreign movie without subtitles and then having to write a paper on the plot.

Oh, and eating out? So not an option. While my cooking skills were limited, my food budget was near nonexistent.

A few things were easy to recognize. The bread in Japan was amazing. It was buttery and flaky and perfect. And there was some really lovely cheese and ham. So, for the first three months of exploring this exotic new culture, I ate ham and cheese sandwiches every single night for dinner.

As I started to get to know some of my students and coworkers better, I had this urge to invite them over to hang out with me. But I had a sneaking suspicion they would want to be fed. I knew that my students would love some authentic American dishes. The question was, Who would I get to cook them?

Another short-term missionary, Diana, had a cookbook called More-With-Less. This wonderful little book produced by the Mennonite community had tons of recipes that used simple ingredients most cooks would have in their kitchen. While I didn’t have a lot of pantry staples in my four-story walk-up, I was now armed with a grocery list as well as an English-to-Japanese dictionary for my trips to the store.

I started to look for simple things I could make: salads, sandwiches, curries, and mini-pizzas out of English muffins and ketchup. (I promise, my culinary skills and taste have gotten better over the years.) As I grew braver in all things cuisine, I started to ask my mom to send some of my favorite recipes from back home.

In fact, when I threw a Christmas celebration with my friend Spenser in my micro-sized apartment, we managed to make a fondue-potless version of my mom’s Pizza Fondue. Shopping for the ingredients proved challenging, even for Spenser who spoke near-fluent Japanese. After several attempts to translate cornstarch into the native language (One would think corn + starch = cornstarch, right? Wrong. It’s pronounced korunstarcha.), we headed back to my kitchen and made one of the best meals I have ever eaten—lots of tomato sauce, some ground beef, loads of cheese, and just the right amount of korunstarcha.

Pizza Fondue
(Connie Richerson)

½ lb. ground beef

1 small onion, chopped

2 10½-oz. cans pizza sauce (I use marinara sauce)

1 T. cornstarch (or korunstarcha, if you prefer)

1½ tsp. oregano

¼ tsp. garlic powder

2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded

1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

1 loaf French bread

Brown the ground beef and onion; drain. Put meat, sauce, cornstarch, and spices in fondue pot. When cooked and bubbly, add cheese. Spear crusty French bread cubes, then dip and swirl in fondue. This is also delicious with breadsticks. Serves 4 to 6.

From that point on, I was hooked on collecting my favorite recipes. I bought my own copy of More-With-Less when I got back to the States, and when I got married a few months later, I received my very first copy of everyone’s favorite red-and-white-plaid Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book, with every recipe an emerging home cook could want.

I think most of us home cooks have a similar story to tell. OK, you probably didn’t have your first significant cooking experience in Uji, Japan, but I bet the first few times you got dinner on the table all on your own, you might as well have been in a different country.

Maybe your mom had you peeling potatoes before you could walk. Maybe you have a rich heritage of recipes passed down from your grandmother. None of our cooking histories are going to look the same, but we do have one thing in common: We all need to get dinner on the table.

I am not a professional cook. Tom Colicchio will never be critiquing my braised kale and chocolate with bacon foam on Top Chef. But over the past twenty years I have put dinner on the table almost every single night. And while my family still likes a pizza from the neighborhood shop, our kids who have left home really look forward to coming back for a home-cooked meal.

That is all the reward I need.

Why This Book?

So, you discovered my deep dark secret—I’m not a professional chef. I don’t have my own show on Food Network, my own brand of spatulas, and I’m not going to be appearing on any morning show making a frittata for Kathie Lee Gifford.

Still, I’m required to feed our large family almost daily. So when I come across a cookbook, I have an unnatural need to own it. I’m always looking for new recipes to keep dinner interesting at our house. I have an entire bookshelf in my kitchen for my ever-growing collection.

But to be honest with you, most of the money I’ve spent on those cookbooks could have been better spent on a good set of knives or a heavy iron skillet.

I have found that most cookbooks are aimed at the fantasy life many of us aspire to—entertaining regularly, having unusual and exotic ingredients on hand, and hours and hours in the kitchen to create these masterpieces, from scratch.

And then there is my reality. Yes, sometimes I like to spend a Saturday afternoon cooking up a big feast for friends and family. But most days? I want to get a delicious, healthy meal on the table quickly.

My test when I’m purchasing new cookbooks? I flip to a half dozen or so recipes throughout the book and ask myself, Can I imagine cooking this recipe in the next couple of weeks? If most of the recipes fail the test, the book stays at the store.

I want the reality. I want dinner on the table every night without being seduced by pictures of stylist-arranged food that—let’s be honest—I’m never going to prepare.

While those books offer up a lot of grilled-chicken-in-a-peanut-sauce-in-the-sky dreams, I need some reality. It’s not just about the recipe; it’s about all the aspects of getting dinner on the table.

By the end of this book, my hope for you is that you will be able to:

save time, money, and energy when it comes to
preparing meals
have less stress when it comes to shopping
get your kitchen prepared for battle
learn some stress-free ways to get dinner on the table
get out of your cooking rut
This book is all about the process, the how of getting dinner on the table. It reflects the collective wisdom of hundreds of women who don’t have prep cooks or a crew of interns trying out new recipes. We are the women who spend a significant part of our days thinking about, shopping for, and preparing dinner. And all these wise, wonderful women are going to show you a better way to get dinner on the table no matter what your cooking background or skill level.

This is the book I wish I’d had when I first started cooking, as well as when I was raising my brood of pint-sized food critics.

Don’t worry, there will be plenty of recipes. We all love to find that one recipe that is going to become a family favorite! But this book has much more than that. My hope is that you will be able to use the recipes you already have, the ones in this book, and the new ones you find along the way to set a big, bountiful table for your family.

If you are looking for the perfect gift for the teenager that is going into college/university or moving out on their own then I have to suggest this great little book because not only will it get them prepared but it will also allow them to get organized, teach them how to shop, and to cook some simple meals. I would have loved to have gotten this when I first moved out on my own.

I think Kathi did a fantastic job with this book because everything is explain plain and simple. Kathi even has chapters in the book on how to organize your kitchen (I have a tiny kitchen so having someone provide me with some info is always helpful), your pantry (this came in handy because it always feels like my pantry has way too much stuff in there and with this technique I felt like it was more managable and I twecked it to our family liking), your tools (is it just me or does it seem like we have to have all kinds of gadgets in the kitchen?), your food and your recipes. This might sound overwhelming for such a little book but its not because really we want to be in and out of the kitchen as soon as possible especially if you are a mom with a busy schedule and not spend hours upon hours preparing meals.

I know for me whenever I make something its gotta be done in less that an hour. Kathi gave me the solution to that and its prepare in advance so that I am not making multiple trips to the grocery store. Plus no book would be complete without some recipes and there are quite a few provided in this book. Which are really good because these recipes are great for freezing (so if I happen to see items on sale I can always make it in advance and freeze it and just pull it out whenever I need it) and there was also some for the slow cooker which is a favorite of mine to use in the colder weather.

One of the recipes I have made and made several versions of since getting this book to review is:

Garden Pasta
8 roma tomatoes seeded and diced
2 cloves of garlic minced
1/2 cup of butter
1/4 cup of chopped fresh basil
8 oz of dried angel hair pasta cooked **
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese grated

Combine tomatoes and garlic in a saucepan. Simmer for 15 minutes and then set aside. Toss pasta with butter and basil. Stir in tomatoes and serve with parmesan cheese.

** I have tried all different kinds of pasta.

I am looking forward to trying more of the recipes in this book. I also should mention that I made the recipe that was mentioned above.

copyright 2010, Cindy (Cindy’s Love Of Books)
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