Tag Archives: books

What’s On Your Nightstand? H.A.G. Reads for November

The Best Kind of People
Zoe Whittall
Ballantine Books (September 19, 2017)
448 pages

Links within the post are affiliate links (read full disclosure). Book received via NetGalley as an ARC.

Opening Line(s) of the Book: (after the Prologue)

Sadie turned seventeen years old on top of her boyfriend, Jimmy, in the Woodbury family boathouse.

Honestly. If you don’t love the first line, you might want to skip this one as the content, doesn’t get much easier. The premise of the book is do we ever really know another person? What makes a well loved, well respected adult, a suspect for a heinous act like inappropriately touching or talking to a young person? Did he actually do this? He is a father, a teacher, a husband, a hero who saved the school from a shooter years ago. But today, he is accused of these horrible acts on several young girls.

The book has come to print at such a perfect time to read about these characters, as we ourselves are immersed in the news of such well “known” and respected people who are not just good at their jobs but are also accused of such disgusting acts as forcible or coercive sexual acts with people with less power…It is a hard subject, but handled in a very realistic way in the book, leading the reader to understand that people have many sides to them. It is not enough to just say, “but he was such a great man.” He could be that, but also be NOT that.

What I like about the book is the many layered approach of innappropriateness: a helpful adult who isn’t all that helpful, but actually crosses the line himself in trying to comfort a young person; a gay teacher who befriends a young man and starts a “relationship” with him, that has never been seen as inappropriate until now; a field trip that has children with little to no supervision now accusing a teacher of touching them.

Lots of very real, very possible situations happen in the book, and I sort of wonder about the fact that it wasn’t tied up neatly. The ending is actually unsettling to me possibly because it could actually happen this way…the way I didn’t want it to. Or it was just poorly written and rushed. Only the author knows…

Favorite Line:

No one saw it coming.

Overall Take:

I liked it. I was kind of disappointed in the ending. I have to say, it left me wanting a bit. I was also confused with one thread that seemed to not get tied up in the end, which makes me wonder if it did get addressed, and I missed it? If I did, it wasn’t explicit- It sort of felt like she got sick of writing her own book and just needed an ending.

I literally wanted to get to reading this one- it was a page turner, the characters likable, and the story very compelling. With everything that is going on right now with the inappropriate touching, advances by older men to young women and men, I picked up this book at a most opportune time! I always try to put myself in the shoes of the characters of the book, and it was truly easy to do this. Her characters were very real and well rounded, but the way it didn’t quite come together completely in the end, takes it to a 3 out of 5 for me. Meh.

Recommend with reservations because of the ending. If she writes another book though, I am definitely picking it up.

My OTHER books being read:

Can’t finish: The Child, by Fionna Barton- just can’t get into it.

Still working  on: NW, by Zadie Smith- loving it, but it is right in the middle and dragging a bit.

Reviewing and not loving: The Four Tendencies, by Gretchen Rubin- I might be over self-help.

What’s on YOUR nightstand?


Links within the post are affiliate links (read full disclosure). Linked up with  Book BeginningsBookDateWhat’s on your nightstand?

“Food52 Mighty Salads”: A Book Review

Have you been eating salads like crazy with the bounty of veggies from your garden? Then you might be the perfect candidate for the cookbook by Food52 Team called, Mighty Salads: 60 New Ways to Turn Salad to Dinner. If you don’t know what Food52 is, I will tell you. It’s a food community site turned website and shop, which shares recipes from their editors and also runs contests for recipe contributions from their readers along with selling products and cookbooks that they put out.  I was lucky enough to receive a copy of the book from Blogging for Books, and now I want to share with you my take on this not-just-summer cookbook.

What I like:

Being a salad lover, and also very sick of my same old recipes for salads, I am totally inspired by the recipes in the book. Don’t these sound yummy?:

Caesar-Style Kale Salad with Roasted Onions
Shaved Asparagus with Burrata, Radish & Cucumber
Shaved Brussel Sprouts, Endive & Apple
Fresh Corn Cakes with Crab-Tomato Salad

The contents are depicted by types of salad to make it easy to find a lot of variety:

Leafy Salads
Less-Leafy Salads
Grain & Bean Salads
Pasta & Bread Salads
Fish & Seafood Salads
Meat Salads

There are a lot of dressings recipes which I just loved. Sometimes I just want a new dressing for my salads, and I made this salad {Spicy Chicken Salad with Rice Noodles} specifically because the dressing of Lime-Sriracha sounded so good- and it was good. Not amazing, but very good. I made it with zoodles though and I liked all the textures and color to the dish quite a lot.Spicy Chicken Salad with Lime-Sriracha Dressing

I am a big fan of pictures if the whole book is about one type of meal {salads}. There are lots of pictures of the meals here {all the photos are done by James Ransom}, to give you an idea and some inspiration for what looks great to eat. This leads to:

What Bugs Me:

The pictures are dark. The intention and style of the book is farmhouse-rustic, so they styled the pictures in a way that feels dark and artsy instead of bright and inviting. To my eye, the food looks flat in a way that makes me not want to make it. However…I showed my sister the book and she found lots of recipes that she would make and she loved the darker style of the pictures, so I think this is a preference that I have, over what everyone would feel.

On another layout preference, I thought that overall the font is smallish and the sidebar that lists the ingredients doesn’t separate the salad from the salad dressing as much as I wanted- I was squinting. I don’t wear glasses, but I am sort of old…so that could certainly be it, but for even older, and blinder folks, just keep your glasses nearby!

As far as a peeve about the recipes…they many and varied.  I don’t stock my pantry with more than half of the ingredients, but as I said, my sister was all about the recipes as being up her alley. I found it inspirational but not practical for my everyday cooking. I had a hard time picking a recipe to make with ingredients that I had on hand. I chose the Spicy Chicken Salad because I had 90% of the ingredients on hand. Most of the other recipes, I would have to go out and shop specifically for.

Who Should Get It:

If you are a huge Food52 fan…and I know there are many! Also, if you love salad and need some new  ideas for making your regular old salads into something more of a meal, than there is a lot of great stuff here- Not just for vegetarians, the seafood chapter is super interesting and if you are a meat eater, there is a plentiful chapter for you too.

The Deets:

Food52 Mighty Salads: 60 New Ways to Turn Salad into Dinner- and Make-Ahead Lunches, Too
Editors of Food52, Photos by James Ransom
160 pages with photos.
Ten Speed Press, April 2017
Amazon Hardcover: $14


This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you order from one of the product links, I’ll receive compensation. It does not affect your price at all. See my full disclosure page.

Review for Mighty Salads Food52

What’s On Your Nightstand? H.A.G. Reads for June…er July!

books I am reading this summerA little late to the party, eh?

Well, let’s just say island-time will do that to a person! I have been on va-ca-tion! {atleast mentally!} So I want to lay out my reads for you that I did in June and July. I can do that see, since I haven’t been reading a ton. You’d think that an underemployed librarian would read more, but then, it’s summer vacation and my kids are home. So there is laundry everywhere, crafts taking over my tables, puzzles laying around and general chaos, but not much time to read. This is the reality of my “relaxing” summer!

I want to lay out my 3 books for these months- yes, just three, but they were SO fun!

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive compensation. It does not affect your price at all. For more information, see my full disclosure page.

Into the Water, by Paula Hawkins

I read this because I loved Girl on the Train- super suspenseful and quick reading. I needed a book that I knew I would get through, and quickly! And I wasn’t disappointed with that part. It is a quick-read and draws you in and through with constant peeling of the layers surrounding a town that mysteriously has a history of women who kill themselves at the water’s edge. Not a coincidence, you think? Me either. That is the story that unfolds. The people involved and their history together. Small towns are funny like that. There are always stories behind the present day I think, and this mysterious book uses that fact to build suspense and intrigue very well. Recommend but not an absolute must-read.

The Women in the Castle, by Jessica Shattuck

I find that there is no shortage of WWII novels every year, and several are bestsellers and super popular. This year, Lilac Girls and Nightingale were on my list to read, but my TBB bookclub, June-partner, picked Women in the Castle as a suggested book. I am so glad that this was on the list. I just loved the perspective of three very different German women in the war. It has always been so hard for me to understand how if you lived in Germany during the war, you actually didn’t see how bad things were for people around you. How could this happen? How come they just swept in under the rug when it was over, like it didn’t happen? This book was a little window into explaining some of this, and it was told so beautifully and had a wonderful example of the fragility and beauty of women-friendships. Recommend highly for those who enjoy historical fiction.

The Brutal Telling, by Louise Penny

This is #5 of the Inspector  Armand Gamache novels that take place in the fictional, Three Pines, Quebec.  I love the town, the people, the fact that no crime happens in this small town except murder…too funny! This one features an unknown (to the town) person who is murdered inside their beloved cafe. But is he really unknown? Bits are revealed to tell us and I am midstream in finding out who and how the victim is intertwined with these lives. The characters are so fun and continue in the series, so you feel that you get to know them all a little bit. You must read these in order for the best telling of the story, so I would recommend that. I am working my way through slowly but surely and they are consistently good.

What are you reading? I’d love to know- Lemme’ know in the comments!!

Check out these nightstands at : 5 Minutes for MomBookDate, &  Booknificient along with the Blended Blog Virtual Book Club!


Just so you know: This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive compensation. It does not affect your price at all. For more information, see my full disclosure page.