Friday, January 29, 2016

Food52 Vegan: 60 Vegetable-Driven Recipes for Any Kitchen

  • Series: Food52 Works
  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Ten Speed Press (September 22, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1607747995
  • ISBN-13: 978-1607747994
An essential collection of hassle-free, vibrant vegan recipes, from the author behind Food52's wildly popular The New Veganism and Vegan Lunch columns.

Omnivore or vegan (or anywhere in between), we’re all looking for memorable, flavorful dishes to cook for ourselves and the people we care about. If those recipes happen to be healthful, nourishing, and friendly to vegetarians and vegans, even better.

With her wildly popular New Veganism column on Food52, Gena Hamshaw has inspired home cooks  to incorporate plant-based recipes into their everyday routine—and even gained some nutritional yeast and cashew cheese converts. This vibrant collection of all-new recipes plus beloved favorites from the column—along with exquisite photography and helpful tips throughout—will show all of us innovative ways to cook with fresh produce and whole foods.

From Savory Breakfast Polenta to Cauliflower and Oyster Mushroom Tacos to Ginger Roasted Pears with Vanilla Cream, these recipes are delicious, dependable, and deeply satisfying. Cook from this book just a couple of times and you’ll soon find yourself stocking up on coconut oil, blending your own nut milks, seeking the sweetest tomatoes at the market, and looking at plant-based dishes in a whole new way.

My Impressions: 
I initially got this book for my family so we could all learn to incorporate vegan foods into our diet 3 days a week. We all have been wanting to go vegan,but felt we really needed to ease into it instead of going gun ho all at once and then backsliding. What we did not have our the resources and nohow to pull it off. That was until we got this little handy book. This was a god sent, literally. The recipes were easy enough for my teens  to help pull off and still allow my 9 year old to help out. My kids loved all the colors on their plates and the different textures of the foods. I really enjoyed the fact that most of the ingredients were things we had around the house or could purchase within our budget. My biggest fear was cost with going vegan and this book really helped us find some great recipes in all categories without having to sacrifice other bills to afford to make the recipes.

I loved that the index includes both ingredients and recipe titles that made life so much less complicated than it could have been. This was very convenient when making our shopping lists for things we needed to buy versus what we already had on hand. I also really enjoyed the tips that were thrown in scattered throughout the book.  Overall, we enjoyed most of the recipes we tried. There were a few the kids hated, but even the ones they disliked they enjoyed making, which in my book is a win for family time! Desserts were a huge hit, along with soups and salads though. I would and have already recommended this book to several friends who have an interest in eating healthier.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book through the Blogging for Books program in exchange for my honest review, which I have given.

Dead in Dubai (Lee Carruthers #2)


Why is CIA officer George Branson dead in Dubai? It looks like straight detective work, finding out what George has been up to and why he’s dead, but when former CIA analyst Lee Carruthers arrives in Dubai, she walks into a deadly war between two rival Merchants of Death vying for market share. She learns that George has worked for each man under a different name. With his own, that gives George three identities. Which man is dead? Has George really been working for the Agency, or has he sold out and, if so, to whom? Who are the men following her? And why does she keep finding diamonds?


Marilynn Larew will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, and a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn host. Additionally, Goddess Fish Productions will be awarding a $5 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn host. Don't miss out and enter below for your chance to win a copy of this amazing book!

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

My Review: 

One word can sum up this book....amazing! I loved every second. Filled with enough twists and turns, mystery and action to keep you guessing and your heart pounding.  I think I have a found another amazing author to add to my favorites list. “Dead In Dubai” is the 2nd book in the Lee Carruthers series published by Artemis Hunter Press and is not one to be missed. I did not get to read the first book, but honestly there was enough background given that I did not feel lost. I adored taking this walk through Istanbul with these characters and trying to unravel the mystery with them of international terror and criminal activity. The only thing I felt this book lacked with a good thriller is some actual violence, I was kind of disappointed on that front. Other than that, I would recommend this book for anyone that enjoys a fast paced page turner, that has tough female characters, with no sexual references. 

Enjoy this Excerpt: 

The cafĂ© on the first floor of the Luxe charged a king’s ransom for a hamburger and fries.

“It’s a good thing you’re getting paid in diamonds,” Fred said.

After lunch we strolled in the mall. Natalie’s travel agency was still closed, but workmen were putting in a new window. We decided we might as well walk on their beach while we could use it for free. We strolled to the waterline, past the tourists rubbing sunscreen on each other, past the lovers walking hand-in-hand, past the children building castles in the sand, the afternoon sun casting small shadows in front of us.

I looked up at the sound of a small plane, a private jet climbing west into the sun. It was a pretty little thing with a nose like an insect. I stopped to look at it, and as I watched, the little insect exploded into a ball of flame, and debris twinkled down into the Gulf like fragments of a spent firework.

Fred and I looked at each other, and instinctively I moved closer to him. He put his arm around me, and I put my face into his shoulder, shuddering. Sunbathers rushed to the water’s edge, the women screaming and picking up their children.

“I’ve seen a plane like that before, Lee,” he said. “It’s a Gulfstream. Natalie Malyakov owns a Gulfstream.”

Before all the debris had finished hitting the water, the beach was filled with people who had come from everywhere to stand and gawk. Disgusted, I turned away.

“Come on, Fred, let’s go,” I said.


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Marilynn Larew has had a lot of variety in her life. She lived in six states and two foreign countries before settling down in southern Pennsylvania. She went to twelve schools before she graduated from high school and two more before she finished her PhD in history. Moving around so much, she found the public library a refuge and her library card a magic carpet to foreign lands. She taught for some years in the University System of Maryland, courses such as US history, architectural history, the history of terrorism, and Vietnamese military history. She also worked in historic preservation and wrote two books of local history about Bel Air, the county seat of Harford County in Maryland.

She writes what she likes to read – thrillers that are located in foreign countries. She likes to collect cookbooks on foreign cuisines and often cooks from them.

She’s married, with two children, two grandchildren, and a new great granddaughter. She lives with her husband on the Mason-Dixon line in southern Pennsylvania in a two hundred-year-old brick farmhouse.

She’s a member of the Sisters in Crime, the Guppies, and the Chinese Military History Society.


Buy links:

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Goddess Fish. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

10 Things You Need to Know About Virtual Book Tours

10 Things You Need to Know About Virtual Book Tours

By Dorothy Thompson, CEO & Founder of Pump Up Your Book

By now, most authors know what virtual book tours are or at least have heard of them.  They’re that wonderful marketing tool that should be a must have in every new book’s campaign.  With each new book I write, I’m making a game plan before the book is even published and a virtual book tour is the first promotional venue on that list.

While most of us know what they are, there are still a few new authors who might have heard of them but have no idea what they involve.  I give you my top 10 things you need to know about virtual book tours so that you will know what to expect.
  1. Virtual book tours are the BEST way to get the MOST online exposure for your book. Not only are you presenting your book and yourself to thousands of people, all of your interviews, guest posts and reviews are archived which means months down the road, you’re still selling your book because of that one tour.
  2. Virtual book tours ARE a lot of work. Not only are you searching for the perfect blogs to host you, you are acting as the middle man between you and the blogger unless you are using a paid service such as Pump Up Your Book who will do all the work for you.  Even if you do sign up with Pump Up Your Book, there is still lots of work to do completing assignments – filling out interviews and writing guest posts unless you choose an all review tour.  Even though it requires a little bit of your time to fill out interviews and write guest posts, it’s well worth it.
  3. You will learn more about your book than you ever did. I had an author tell me that through the interviews and guest posts she had to complete, she never learned so much about her book which caught her off guard.  Now when she is interviewed on radio shows and makes television appearances, she is better prepared.
  4. Virtual book tours will build up your author platform.  No matter if you’re a fiction author or a nonfiction author, virtual book tours will build up your author platform using your key search words.
  5. Your reviews are guaranteed. Offline publicists while they mean well do it all wrong.  They query a book blogger, make arrangements to send the book, then that’s where it stops.  The review is not a guaranteed thing.  The reviewer can post the review anytime they see fit.  With virtual book tours, your review is guaranteed on a certain date unless the reviewer jumps ship which rarely happens.  I had an author tell me she signed up with an offline publicist who sent out many books and only one or two reviewers actually came through for them.  That was money loss for the author.  Books don’t come cheap these days so coming up with a date you and the reviewer can agree upon guarantees that review will be a given thing.
  6. Many reviewers now take ebooks which save you money. Thank goodness someone was smart enough to invent a device that automatically loads a book in a few seconds (no waiting to go to the book store anymore my friend) and makes it fun to read.  When Amazon lowered their price of the Kindle, sales soared and book lovers started talking about getting one.  What that means is that it opened up a wonderful way to get these books to the book reviewers quickly and less expensively.  Have you noticed how much books are and how much it takes to ship them?  Not saying all reviewers will take ebooks, but as time goes on, most will have an e-reader and, as a matter of fact, will prefer an ebook.
  7. More website hits, more blog hits, more Twitter hits and more Facebook Fan Page hits. All authors should have a website or blog and accounts at Twitter and Facebook.  No matter if you think they’re all a waste of time.  A virtual book tour will definitely give you more hits at all places as long as your links are in your bio.
  8. Going on a virtual book tour raises your Alexa rankings. What is Alexa?  Alexa measures how well you are doing in the search engines.  By going on a virtual book tour, and including interviews and guest posts during that tour, your website and blog links are included in every bio (or should be!).  Those are incoming links which Alexa uses to measure your ranking.  The more your website or blog link shows up on other sites, the more valuable your site is to them and thus, your rankings soar.
  9. You will learn how to sell your book through media exposure. Not all authors take advantage of their interviews and guest posts by gearing them toward their audience, thus luring them to their book and/or website/blog.  I’ve had many authors on tour and the ones who really take the time to make their interviews and guest posts effective selling tools are the ones who profit the most.  The key thing here is to make your audience curious.  One liners in the case of interviews may not cut it.  Of course there are only so many ways you can answer “What’s your book about?” but take your time and get your audience’s curiosity peaked so that they do make your way over to your website or your book’s buying link.
  10. Virtual book tours teach you how to connect well with others. There is no better way to learn how to network.  All these wonderful book bloggers who agree to host you are your new friends in your extended network and they will be there for you the next time you have a book to promote (unless they completely hated it of course).  You’ll also learn how to use the social networks effectively as you study how to get people over to your stops by persuasive wording.  Remember to talk to your audience, not at them.

There you have it.  10 reasons I feel you need to know about virtual book tours in a nutshell.  If you have a tour coordinator as opposed to setting one up yourself, she will walk you through it so that it will be a fun experience for all.  Your book will thank you for it.

Dorothy Thompson is CEO/Founder of Pump Up Your Book, an award-winning public relations company specializing in online book publicity.  You can visit her website at or follow her on Twitter at and Facebook at