A Halloween Party by Tina Nykulak Ruiz – New Release & Book Review

My Review

I love Halloween, parties, and reading to my granddaughter, so it was a good bet that I would like this story. The character names gave the adults a chuckle as I read the story aloud to my granddaughter. We all loved the illustrations. The story premise was easy to relate to and what happens at the Halloween party was a lot of fun to read about.

Highly recommended. Nykulak-Ruiz is one of our favorite children’s book authors.

New Release Info

Illustrations by Ishika Sharma.

Every character has a name with a double meaning. Such as: Mr. Noah Lott, Mrs. Faye Ding, Mrs. Frieda Livery, Upton O’Goode, Adam Zapel, and Ella Vader, to name but a few.

Here’s a hint to help you solve the puzzle, Ed Zortails is his name really heads or is it tails? You’ll have to buy the book to find out.

Solving the double meaning of the words will be delightful for children and adults alike. On the off chance someone can’t unravel a name, Tina supplied a cheat sheet at the back of the book.

As with all of her children’s stories, there’s a moral at the end.

BUY LINK

Tina Nykulak Ruiz was born in Germany, but her family moved to Canada when she was in grammar school. She began writing children’s stories when her own were little. Through the years Ruiz wrote twenty-seven books. Most of those stories went into readers for the Canada Board of Education. Two did not. Mayor Shadoe Markley is a story about a ten-year-old girl who becomes Mayor for a Day through a contest at school.

Little did Ruiz know that story would “change the world.” The book came out at early January 1988. By the end of that same month, everyone was calling the mayor’s office at City Hall, trying to get the forms to fill out so their children could participate in the contest. Thirty years later that same contest is still runs at full speed. And not only in Calgary, but all across Canada. The Mayor’s Youth Council is now in charge of the celebrated contest and invites Ruiz to attend and meet the lucky winner. It’s usually followed by a hand-written thank you card from the mayor himself. Recently Ruiz was invited to be part of the Grand Opening of Calgary’s New Library where the mayor shook her hand and introduced her to the attendees.

Tina has worked in television and radio as well as being a professional clown at the Children’s Hospital. She lives in Calgary with her husband who encourages her to write her passion be it high-quality children’s books or intriguing romance.

Stay connected with Tina Ruiz on her Facebook group Tina Speaks Out.

Do you have a favorite Halloween story?

Thanks for reading!

Gina

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Middlegame by Seanen McGuire Video Book Review

Blurb

Meet Roger. Skilled with words, languages come easily to him. He instinctively understands how the world works through the power of story.

Meet Dodger, his twin. Numbers are her world, her obsession, her everything. All she understands, she does so through the power of math.

Roger and Dodger aren’t exactly human, though they don’t realise it. They aren’t exactly gods, either. Not entirely. Not yet.

Meet Reed, skilled in the alchemical arts like his progenitor before him. Reed created Dodger and her brother. He’s not their father. Not quite. But he has a plan: to raise the twins to the highest power, to ascend with them and claim their authority as his own.

Godhood is attainable. Pray it isn’t attained.

Author Biography

Seanan McGuire is a native Californian, which has resulted in her being exceedingly laid-back about venomous wildlife, and terrified of weather. When not writing urban fantasy (as herself) and science fiction thrillers (as Mira Grant), she likes to watch way too many horror movies, wander around in swamps, record albums of original music, and harass her cats.

Seanan is the author of the October Daye, InCryptid, and Indexing series of urban fantasies; the Newsflesh trilogy; the Parasitology duology; and the “Velveteen vs.” superhero shorts. Her cats, Lilly, Alice, and Thomas, are plotting world domination even as we speak, but are easily distracted by feathers on sticks, so mankind is probably safe. For now.

Seanan’s favorite things include the X-Men, folklore, and the Black Death. No, seriously. She writes all biographies in the third person, because it’s easier that way.

Thanks for watching!

Gina

Romantic Meals To Dine al Fresco by Sloane Taylor – Cookbook Review

Egg Drop Soup
Our first time making it at home, which is one of the reasons we love Taylor’s cookbooks; she makes it easy to try new recipes. This egg drop soup is less salty (much more pleasant) than any we’ve been served in a restaurant!
Photo credit: Nina Lackey
Oven-Fried Chicken
Lemon Garlic Broccoli
The chicken was tender and juicy with a delicious fried coating. We substituted gluten-free flour for the flour listed in the recipe and it was perfect!
The broccoli was tasty and easy for a weeknight dinner.
Photo credit: Gina Briganti
Oven-Fried Tempeh
Tempeh Salad
We eat mostly plant-based here and wanted to try the oven-fried recipe on one of our favorite proteins. The crunch was perfect and the recipe converted exactly as we would want it to, including the gluten-free adaptation.
We made tempeh salad with the leftover cubed tempeh by adding celery, chives, and mayonnaise.
We’ve made this a few more times and it’s on our family menu now.
Photo credits: Gina Briganti
Cheesy Cauliflower
Five-star flavor and so easy it amazed us! We subbed non-dairy ingredients and it was a one for one match. Taylor’s recipes are well researched and convert perfectly on the first try. No guesswork on our parts makes us very happy!
Photo credit: Nina Lackey
Sauteed Mushrooms
I had to snap a picture while they were in the pan because the aroma lured the family into the kitchen with forks in hand. Some made it into the serving dish. Next time we’ll make a triple batch.
Photo credit: Gina Briganti

We been enjoying our copy of the cookbook since it was released in June and have made a few recipes we didn’t take pictures of, but that we enjoyed and want to mention. The avocado salad is a nice blend of creamy and crunchy, with a light dressing. The fried shredded potato cake takes more steps than we usually spend on a potato dish but it was truly well worth the time and we will make it again.

Taylor has a secure place on our cookbook shelf and we’re anticipating her next book! We make more recipes from her books than any other cookbook author we have on our shelf or Kindle.

Click here to see my video review of Taylor’s cookbook, Date Night Dinners,

Which recipes interest you?

Thanks for reading,

Gina

Whiskey In A Teacup Video Book Review

A five-star book that feels like chatting with a friend, talking about life, kids, music, books, childhood, and recipes. I totally enjoyed it.

There is also a bit of Youtube channel news and a reveal at the end of the video.

The character from my Natural Gift series who I think would appreciate Whiskey In A Teacup the most is Brittany. Her book is No Yesterdays, where she (spoiler? I don’t think so.) and Carter finally get together. Brittany needs recipes to impress her chef boyfriend with, and these could do it.

Soul mates are being drawn together in numbers we’ve never seen. Gifts are unlocking faster than racing hearts, adding eight new people to the soul group. The group is growing, their energy blending in ways they didn’t know could happen. The big question is why is the soul mate bond in a hurry?

Brittany has been pining for Carter for years now. She needs a push.

Jack is stubborn personified and close to having Darah walk away, keeping her secrets to herself. They need a shove.

Jason is having the time of his life in college. All those beautiful women. Ha. Not the plan. Angelina can handle him.

Rowan is convinced that his soul mate didn’t incarnate with him in this lifetime. Surprise! This psychic finds out exactly why the women in his family told him his arrogance was blinding.

There’s no looking back now.

There are No Yesterdays.

Buy No Yesterdays to join in on the fantasy and the romance today

Announcements

I will be travelling for the next few weeks. There won’t be any new posts here on the blog until August 12th. It’s possible that I’ll be on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram because that’s where we like to hang out so if we’re not already connected there you can find me under my name.

How do you feel about breaks? Do you take them?

Thanks for watching!

Gina

*This is not a sponsored post.

Recipe Review – Snow Peas With Lettuce & Chives From Date Night Dinners by Sloane Taylor

Date Night Dinners

Amazon

snow peas with lettuce & chives
Snow Peas With Lettuce & Chives. Date Night Dinners by Sloane Taylor. Photo Credit: Gina Briganti

The third recipe I tried from Date Night Dinners by Sloane Taylor is Snow Peas With Lettuce & Chives. It was so good I had to remind myself to chew and swallow each heaping forkful. My plate was empty in a flash. I suppose this portion is meant for two but I will have to triple the recipe if I’m going to share it.

What attracted me to the recipe was the idea of those green flavors together. I eat them often but not in the same dish. They blend beautifully. It’s invigorating to look at and to eat.

I made two tiny modifications to suit my diet and palate – I didn’t include the pinch of sugar because I’ve been low or no sugar for years, and I used non-dairy “butter” because I don’t tolerate dairy well. If you have food intolerance you know that it’s a gamble as to whether you will pay for that bit of ________ if your body reacts.

The recipes in this book took my substitutions perfectly. Check out my other reviews of Date Night Dinner recipes here: braised pork Loin and spaetzle.

The reasons I purchased Date Night Dinners are: the array of recipes which range from the familiar to the unique; the stories and informative introduction to each recipe which make me feel like I’m having a chat with the author; the conversion charts in the back which are worth the purchase price of the book by themselves, the cooking tips you can only learn from another experienced cook, the author’s obvious passion for food, and because the portions are perfect for my household of three.

There are a few versions of this book available. I have the paperback Black & White Date Night Edition. I bought the paperback because I want to hold the book in my hands as I’m cooking. I rarely buy Kindle versions of cookbooks. When I do it’s because they are discounted.

Do you think this would make a great meal? Braised pork loin, spaetzle, and snow peas with lettuce & chives?

8afc5-sloane2btaylor2bhead2bshotAbout Sloane Taylor

Award-Winning author Sloane Taylor is a sensual woman who believes humor and good food are healthy aspects of our everyday lives and carries that philosophy into her books. She writes spicy romance. Being a true romantic, all her stories have a happy ever after. Taylor is also an avid cook whose recipes are featured in Divine Magazine.

Sloane was born and raised on the Southside of Chicago. She and her husband now live in a small home in Northwest Indiana and enjoy the change from city life.

Taylor currently has seven romance books, a Couples Coobook, and two free compiled cookbooks released by Toque & Dagger Publishing. Excerpts from her books can be found on her website, blog, and all popular vendors.

Stay connected on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+

As always, thanks for reading with me!
Gina 
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Recipe Review – Spatzle From Date Night Dinners by Sloane Taylor

Date Night Dinners

Amazon

I won’t keep you in suspense – this recipe is another winner! We gobbled it right up and left not one piece behind.

Watching, (okay binge-watching) cooking shows is one of my favorite hobbies so I’ve seen spatzle made many times by masters with special tools. While I’m sure those tools and practice make for more uniform pieces I doubt their recipes are better than the one I used.

I altered the recipe because I don’t tolerate wheat or dairy well, and it still came out perfect! Tantalizing. Tempting. We couldn’t wait to taste it and we wished I had made a whole lot more of it before it came out of the pan.

spatzle
Spatzle made from a recipe in Date Night Dinners by Sloane Taylor. Photo credit: Gina Briganti

My modifications were easy – gluten-free flour in place of all-purpose flour and plain, unsweetened cashew milk in place of dairy milk. I know to let gluten-free dough rest for ten minutes before cooking or baking to absorb liquid, so I did that.

This was a first for me, making spatzle. I’ve eaten it a few times and liked it. I’m a sucker for noodles fried in dairy-free butter. Imagine how thrilled I was to make a delicious batch on my first try.

Date Night Dinners has clear directions which are essential for me when I’m making a new recipe. That’s why I was excited to try another new-for-me recipe from a different section of the book. I served Braised Pork Loin for Christmas dinner. It was scrumptiously successful, and I’m excited and confident about trying more.

The reasons I recommend Date Night Dinners are: the array of recipes which range from the familiar to the unique; the stories and informative introduction to each recipe which make me feel like I’m having a chat with the author; the conversion charts in the back which are worth the purchase price of the book by themselves, the cooking tips you can only learn from another experienced cook, the author’s obvious passion for food, and because the portions are perfect for my household.

There are a few versions of this book available. I have the paperback Black & White Date Night Edition. I bought the paperback because I want to hold the book in my hands as I’m cooking. I rarely buy Kindle versions of cookbooks. When I do it’s because they are discounted.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about making spatzle, if you’ve made recipes from this book, or whatever you have to say about recipes, cookbooks, and cooking.

 

8afc5-sloane2btaylor2bhead2bshotAbout Sloane Taylor

Award-Winning author Sloane Taylor is a sensual woman who believes humor and good food are healthy aspects of our everyday lives and carries that philosophy into her books. She writes spicy romance. Being a true romantic, all her stories have a happy ever after. Taylor is also an avid cook whose recipes are featured in Divine Magazine.

Sloane was born and raised on the Southside of Chicago. She and her husband now live in a small home in Northwest Indiana and enjoy the change from city life.

Taylor currently has seven romance books, a Couples Coobook, and two free compiled cookbooks released by Toque & Dagger Publishing. Excerpts from her books can be found on her website, blog, and all popular vendors.

Stay connected on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+

As always, thanks for reading with me!
Gina