Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Rainy Books: The Little Teashop on Main

THE LITTLE TEASHOP
ON MAIN
by
Jodi Thomas
Genre: Contemporary Literary Fiction / Coming of Age Publisher: HQN Publication Date: May 7, 2019
Number of Pages: 336 pages Scroll down for the giveaway!


A rainy-day ritual—a tea party between three little girls—becomes the framework of not only their friendship but their lives. Blonde, curly-haired Zoe is openhearted, kind and free-spirited, and dreams of becoming a famous actor in New York City. Shy Emily struggles with mental health but has the heart and soul of a writer. And Shannon—tall, athletic, strong—has a deep sense of loyalty that will serve her well when she heads off to military college. As Zoe, Emily, and Shannon grow into women—forging careers, following dreams, and finding love—they’ll learn that life doesn’t always unfold the way they want it to, but through it all, the one constant is each other and their regular tea parties. And when the unthinkable happens, the girls must come together to face the greatest test of all. A deeply moving novel about the family that raises us, the hearts that nurture us, and the great friendships that define our lives. PRAISE FOR THE LITTLE TEASHOP ON MAIN: "Heart-wrenching as well as heartwarming, the book reflects the experiences of these seven multifaceted and compelling characters as they journey through challenging years together." -- NY Journal of Books “A comforting treasure for regular Thomas readers who enjoy the easy flow of her writing, a little steamy romance to spice things up, and the development of vulnerable, realistic characters.” -- Booklist

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EXCERPT FROM THE LITTLE TEASHOP ON MAIN
by Jodi Thomas

Only when Mommy left, Shannon started crying, and the tea Zoe had looked forward to didn’t seem much like a party. One of her special guests was crying, and the other’s cheeks were still wet with tears. Zoe decided she was the worstest hostess ever.
“Are you sick?” Zoe asked, guessing if the new princess was sick, the party would probably be over.
Shannon shook her head. “My mommy left my daddy and me this morning.”
Emily whispered, “Is she coming back home? Maybe she just went to the store?”
“No. She packed her big suitcase, then slammed her keys on the table like they were too hot to hold in her hand. She didn’t even help me find my crown. She said she couldn’t look at me. It hurt too much.”
Zoe remembered what her mommy told her about being a hostess. She pulled off her crown and gave it to Shannon. “I have another one made of flowers. I’ll wear it and be the flower princess.”
By the time she got back from digging in her closet to find the ring circled with plastic daisies, Shannon and Emily were giggling. They’d put cherries inside the sandwiches and couldn’t wait to have Zoe taste them.
A stem stuck out between the slices of bread, but Zoe played along, acting surprised. Then she poured the lemonade tea, and they all tried it with a Hershey’s Kiss dropped into each plastic cup.
As the hour passed, the girls tried on each other’s dresses, traded crowns several times and ate all the goodies. They hugged goodbye, all begging to have a tea party every rainy Saturday.
Shannon’s father smiled as he knelt to lift up his daughter in one arm. “Come along, princess. I think you’ve got icing in your hair.” His big hand moved over her yellow curls, only smearing the blob of icing more.
She hugged him. “I was afraid you might not come back, Daddy. I thought you would pack your bag and leave me too. But Zoe said you were really a knight who lost his armor and you’d be back.”
The sergeant looked down at Zoe. “She’s right. I will never leave you. A knight is always there to protect his princess.” He nodded once at Zoe. “And, of course, her friends.”
“We are friends,” all three girls shouted. “Forever friends.”
He winked at Zoe. “Next rainy Saturday, I’ll have the tea party set up at our house, but you ladies will have to plan the food.”
All three five-year-olds giggled as they waved goodbye.

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With millions of books in print, Jodi Thomas is both a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over 45 novels and 14 short story collections. Her stories travel through the past and present days of Texas and draw readers from around the world.
In July 2006, Jodi was the 11th writer to be inducted into the Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame. With five RITA’s to her credit, along with National Readers’ Choice Awards and Booksellers’ Best Awards, Thomas has proven her skill as a master storyteller.
Honored in 2002 as a Distinguished Alumni by Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, Thomas enjoys interacting with students at West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas, where she currently serves as Writer in Residence.
When not working on a novel, or inspiring students to pursue writing careers, Thomas enjoys traveling with her husband, renovating an historic home, and “checking up” on their grown sons and four grandchildren.

 ║ Website ║ Facebook ║ Twitter  
║ Instagram ║  Amazon  BookBub 
║ Pinterest  ║ Goodreads 


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Friday, May 10, 2019

Rainy Thoughts: Fear

As of May 5, 2019 I have officially been married for a year. What?! I remember the day almost perfectly. Craziness, mayhem, nervous butterflies and warm love. And some anger because my DJ was not doing a good job the first 45 minutes and I wanted to bite his head off and throw him down a flight of stairs. But I digress. My life is far from perfect and I think my wedding day reflected that, but in a good way. I still enjoyed everything and was so happy that all my family and friends could make it.

So what does my wedding day have to with fear? Everything. I was nervous and scared that everything was going to go wrong. But my worst fears didn't come true. Everything went relatively well and people enjoyed themselves and I looked great and I didn't let that fear get to me.


Let me tell you, I'm scared of plenty of things. I'm scared of long flights, drowning, heights, human experimentation (that's another day), being alone, and going straight down on a roller coaster. I'm sure there are other things, but these are the first ones that come to mind. And though I am terrified of plenty of things, I try my best to not let them get the best of me.

When my husband and I went to Japan, the first three fears that I listed above were coming true. I was up high, on a long flight, above water and I was going to a whole new country where I knew no one (except my cousin on base) and I was pretty nervous. And when I'm nervous and really scared, I think of all the worst possibilities, such as the plane getting hijacked, the plane falling into the ocean and not being able to swim and being abandoned in a foreign country, you know, happy thoughts. Even though I thought of all these possibilities, I didn't let that fear get the best part of me and take away my experience.

I've been really using my Japan experience as a way to help me remember that I am greater than my fear and you are too.

There is this blogger that I follow that asked the question at the beginning of the year, "What is your word of the year?" As I thought of all the possibilities, I made my word Fearless. Fearless is my word of the year and I have been doing plenty of things outside of my comfort zone and I reminded myself on our anniversary just how fearless I have become.

Like I said, I am terrified of heights and going zip lining has always been something I've wanted to do, but have been afraid of doing. But there we were, me and husband, going all the way up the ziplining obstacle course and ziplziining backed down. My feet felt cold, but after a little push, it felt fun and I felt like a bird, kind of.

So my friends, don't be scared to be you. And I know the world is a scary place, but the world is also magical, so please don't be afraid to do the things that make you feel alive.

What's something you've done recently out of your comfort zone or put away your fears for?








Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Book Review: Gourmet on a Hot Plate by Judy Alter



GOURMET ON A HOT PLATE
by
Judy Alter
Genre: Cookbook / Cooking Tips / Tiny Kitchen Publisher: Alter Ego Press Date of Publication: November 6, 2018
Number of Pages: 132
Scroll down for the giveaway!





Gourmet on a Hot Plate is a collection of recipes and kitchen tips compiled after living for some time in a 600-square-foot cottage, with a tiny kitchen, no stove, no dishwasher, and barely any counter space. Given these limitations, Judy Alter developed a new approach to food, one that let her get in touch with the food itself. She does not have an Insta-Pot, an air-fryer, or a microwave. Her recipes call for using either a magnetic induction hot plate or a toaster oven. In the introduction, she explains her choices for making the best use of her tiny space. 
The collection begins with appetizers because that’s where Alter began her new cooking adventure. Gradually she branched out to main dishes, light suppers, soups and salads, and vegetable side dishes. Most recipes serve two or three. There’s a suggested list of cooking tools along with lists of what to keep on hand in your tiny pantry, your refrigerator, and your freezer, and a small section on condiments and cooking hints.
These pages will guide you to making your own spaghetti sauce—or brightening up a jar of prepared sauce—to making last-minute casseroles and simmer-all-day soups. Want Stroganoff but can’t afford the expensive beef? Alter shows you how to make it with hamburger. Love tuna? She’s got recipes for you. Sections on pasta, eggs, and appetizer trays offer practical and helpful choices for casual entertaining.
Above all, this is a practical guide for cooking with joy when you find yourself in a tiny space.

PRAISE FOR GOURMET ON A HOT PLATE:
Love cooking? Love the minimalist lifestyle? Your tiny kitchen doesn’t need to limit your gourmet dreams. Judy Alter’s Gourmet On a Hot Plate will inspire you with big ideas to satisfy everyone around the table. — Susan Wittig Albert, author of Queen Anne’s Lace Whether you cook on a hot plate or have access to a full kitchen, this gem of a cookbook contains great recipes for those of us who cook for one. – T.R. Thompson

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Without formal culinary training, Judy Alter has cooked her way through life, feeding family and friends at everything from casual dinners al fresco to elaborate meals for twenty. An award-winning author and publisher, she jokes she’ll come back in another life as a chef.
Today Alter finds herself cooking in a four-by-six kitchen where zoning laws forbid built-ins but allow anything that plugs in. So she cooks with a hot plate, toaster oven, and a large refrigerator/freezer. Given these limitations, she has developed a new approach to food, one that she says lets her get in touch with the food itself. By choice, she does not have an Insta-Pot, an air-fryer, a microwave. Her menu choices are dictated by her cooking facilities—and she loves it.
She shares her tiny kitchen tips and recipes, developed over the past couple of years, in Gourmet on a Hot Plate. Alter is the author of three previous cookbooks: Cooking My Way through Life with Kids and Books, Texas is Chili Country, and Extraordinary Texas Chefs,and a contributor to Bake, Love, Write and We’d Rather Be Writing. Her recipe for Doris’ Casserole has been included in so many books it’s almost an American classic by now.
Be part of her ongoing cooking adventure at the Gourmet on a Hot Plate blog, where she encourages discussion and welcomes recipes, comments, and questions.
 ║Website ║ Facebook Judy's Stew Blog  ║ Twitter Goodreads Amazon Author Page  Gourmet on a Hot Plate Blog


"I regularly burned things, even in the toaster oven, which set off the smoke alarm more than once."

This is definitely a different book than what I usually review. I actually have quite a few recipe books that I got when I moved in with my now husband. But have I actually used them? I usually just use Pinterest and Facebook recipes, but when I found out that this book was on tour I was all over it. One thing you may know about me (if you follow me on Instagram) is that I love cooking. So here's my review on the charming Gourmet on a Hot Plate!

I have to start this review off by saying how simple and minimalistic this book is. As the author states at the beginning of the book, all you need to follow the recipes are the actual food items and a hot plate and a couple of other minimalistic items.  As someone who doesn't like washing dishes, I appreciate all the dishes I don't have to wash!

Something that really stood out to me that makes this recipe book different from others is all the commentary and the back story. I so enjoyed getting to know Judy through her storytelling. Some people don't think that recipe books can be a form of storytelling, but they clearly haven't read Gourmet on a Hot Plate. Judy is great at giving little tidbits and backgrounds to her recipes and how they have evolved since she started cooking. 

This a little book that is easy to take out and look through. Some cookbooks can be really thick and a little overwhelming. You will not get that feeling with this recipe book. It's a great companion if you're going out of town, having a cooking night with friends or just want to look up something pretty quickly. 

Overall, I give Gourmet on a Hot Plate a 5 out of 5 stars. It's a charming recipe book that you can't find just anywhere. It really makes me want to keep looking at recipe books and give Pinterest a rest...for just a little bit.

"Garnishes: my mother, a fabulous cook, always told me food is half eaten with the eye."


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APRIL 24-May 4, 2019
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