Southern Solstice by Sarah Sadler

Ya’ll, this book is so much fun. I’ve been reading a lot of depressing novels lately (Hausfrau, My Sunshine Away, All the Light We Cannot See), and it was a breath of fresh (and much needed) air to pick up this witty and lovable book.

“As rich and distinctive as the Lowcounty itself, Southern Solstice presents a clever and charismatic journey of love, heartache, adaptation and emotional fortitude as told through a patina of family heritage. When twenty-four-year-old Larken Devereaux is left brokenhearted by her fiancé on the West Coast, she reluctantly returns to her charmed aristocratic roots in Charleston, South Carolina to rebuild her life and gain self-determination in a prominent southern family that offers everything and requires nothing.”

Sadler’s debut novel is a fast-paced book filled with captivating characters, beautiful writing and a plot that will keep you at the edge of your seat. You can practically feel the warm costal breeze on your cheeks and the moonshine on your lips.

“Charleston was in full blossom now. The first of many annual festivals celebrating blooming flowers were underway, and brightly colored window boxes draped wave petunias and lobelia down house fronts. A blanket of warm, salt water and gardenias perfumed the streets, intensifying with the unpredictable coastal breeze.”

Playful, sassy and endearing, this book encompasses love, family and what it means to be a strong Southern woman. If you are looking for a wonderfully light-hearted read for the end of your summer, look no further than this jewel. 

Southern Solstice_front cover_redhead-uncorked-nashville

 

Grill It, Braise It, Broil It by the American Heart Association

Grill-It-Braise-It-Broil-It-American-Heart-Association-Cookbooks-Weekend Reads-GregricaGrill it, Braise It, Broil It is a creative and healthy book filled with techniques that are both easy to make, and promote a healthy lifestyle. From slow cooking to grilling to even microwaving, this book by the American Hearth Association contains hundreds of recipes and resources that inspire delicious, but guilt-free eating.

“You can trust that each of the recipes not only tastes delicious but also follows the dietary recommendations of the American Heart Association.” — Chief Science and Medical Officer, Rose Marie Robertson, M.D., FAHA, FACC

Just like all American Hearth Association cookbooks, GIBIBI is organized by cooking method and contains a variety of meal choices such as apps, snacks and desserts. Having a sweet tooth myself, I can’t wait to try the Honeyed Strawberries with Almonds or the Easy Peach Crisp (check back later for my recipe review). But the book has main dishes as well, such as Baja Fish Tacos and Summertime Stir-Fry, that look tasty and easy for any night of the work week.

Like all cookbooks that I love, the book contains useful resources that compliment the recipes. The Heart-Healthy Pantry section is one, but they’ve also added cooking tips and nutritional charts, which take each recipe to a whole new level.

With that said, this book isn’t perfect. The lack of photography in the book was a real bummer. Though there are a few pages of photo inserts in the center of the book, the photography falls really short. As a reader, pictures are part of the cookbook experience, and I really missed that when reading this one.

Overall, it’s a great resource for all cooking techniques of healthy eating. Yes, you might not get all the bells and whistles, but the book is well-worth the investment.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Weekend Reads: Cookie Love by Mindy Segal

cookie-love-mindy-segal-redhead-uncorked-book-review-weekend-readsCookie Love by Mindy Segal (with Kate Leahy) is a beautiful compilation of tasty cookies, stunning photography and tested tips for baking. Segal, the pastry chef at Mindy’s HotChocolate Restaurant and Dessert Bar in Chicago, pulls her experiences from the restaurant to create this impressive collection of all things sweet. Whether you’re a seasoned baker or a beginner with a sweet tooth, this book is a great resource for all your creative-baking endeavors.

Some tasty-looking recipes included Oatmeal Scotchies, Smoky Bacon Candy Bar Cookies, and Peanut Butter Thumbprints with Strawberry Lambic Jam. Segal includes chapters on biscottis, drop cookies, egg-white cookies and thumbprint cookies — many of which will surely be bakers go-to-recipes in the future.

Segal’s book is also filled with great tips and baking basics that nonprofessionals can utilize in their own kitchen. These tips compliment recipes within the book, but they also can be useful for bakers looking to be creative on their own. Tried and true recipes (like caramel sauce or honey peach preserves), baking tools, and baking methods are included in this mecca of all cookie books.

The cookbook does has one turn-off. Some recipes call for specialized ingredients, which many amateur bakers probably do not have in their pantries. However, do not let that deter you. Segal’s recipes build on difficulty level throughout many chapters. So it doesn’t matter of you’re a seasoned baker looking for a challenge, or a simple baker learning how to perfect the chocolate chip cookie — there’s a recipe for both of you.

With a variety of cookies in all shapes and sizes, Segal embraces texture and imperfection, which makes each homemade creation attainable and enjoyable. Her love for cookies can be summed up with this:

“Life — for me, at least — is like a buffet of cookies. Some are crispy, some are gooey, some are burnt, some I still can’t make. They may not be perfect — and that’s a good thing. I will still take a bite out of each one.”

With recipes ranging from simple to advanced, Segal provides a unique twist on many of our favorites. It doesn’t matter if you love baking cookies, eating cookies or — like me — both, Cookie Love is a must-have for any kitchen.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.