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My Book Review Policy and Reviews of Midnight Crossroad and Sea of Shadows BUEP2

Bushnell Unscripted Logo

Bushnell Unscripted Logo

In this week’s Bushnell Unscripted Podcast, I talk about my policy regarding book reviews, and I include my book reviews for Midnight Crossroad and Sea of Shadows.

Below are just a few elements of the information available in the podcast. Note: Show notes are not complete transcriptions of the podcast show.

[typography font=”Smythe” size=”24″ size_format=”px”]My Book Review Policy[/typography]

I share my thoughts on five-star review systems, including what categories I believe deserve close scrutiny and warrant poor evaluations.

What are your thoughts on the five-star review system? Do you like it, or do you think it causes more confusion than it is worth? Is a simple thumbs up or down scale sufficient? Do you think people should be allowed to simply state that they couldn’t finish the book and that is a sufficient review? Let me know what you think!

[typography font=”Smythe” size=”24″ size_format=”px”]Midnight Crossroad by Charlaine Harris[/typography]

Listen to the podcast for my full review of the book!

Midnight Crossroad book cover by Charlaine Harris

Book: Midnight Crossroad by Charlaine Harris

Pages: Hardcover, 320 pages

Published: 2014

The Day Shift, book two in the Midnight Crossroad trilogy, will be published in Spring 2015.

Having stumbled across Ms. Harris by way of the television show True Blood, I quickly sought out her Sookie Stackhouse series and completed my feast with her other titles.

Midnight Crossroad is a tale of action, mystery, and intrigue! At the heart of the book is a great little town filled with interesting and comical characters who bond over their task of solving the mystery of what happened to the girlfriend of one their beloved citizens.

Let me say this: Midnight Crossroad is not about Sookie Stackhouse. I’m disappointed to discover that some readers are comparing this book to the Stackhouse series, and that is not a fair assessment. I’ll never understand why readers treat their beloved authors with such disdain when the author chooses to write a different series or create a new world or characters.

While there are elements of the supernatural and paranormal, the story doesn’t revolve around those elements.

Have you read it? What did you think of your visit to Midnight, Texas?

[typography font=”Smythe” size=”24″ size_format=”px”]Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong[/typography]

Listen to the podcast for my full review of the book!

Sea of Shadows book cover by Kelley Armstrong

Book: Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong

Pages: 392, paperback

Published: 2014

Empire of Night, book two in the Age of Legend series, will be published in April 2015.

Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong isn’t a book that I would normally have picked up, but I’m glad I did. This young adult, epic high-fantasy, supernatural, and paranormal read is just the ticket for anyone looking to step outside of their reading comfort zone and explore a new world.

Do you use certain genres as palate cleansers between other books? Paranormal and supernatural reads are genres I turn to to cleanse the reading palate. I typically read very heavy literary pieces back to back, and these fun genres give me an escape from those subjects and help free my mind.

I haven’t read any of Ms. Armstrong’s previous work, but I can say that if they are anything like this read, I’m sure to quickly devour them. I can’t wait to find out what happens next in the Age of Legend series.

Ms. Armstrong offers some great extras on her website that I encourage you to check out.

Thanks for tuning in again!

Keep love and kindness on repeat!

 

Music Credit:

Monkeys Spinning Monkeys Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

 

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Book Review: Afro-Vegan Cookbook by Bryant Terry

Afro-Vegan Cookbook by Bryant Terry

I’m pleased to present the review of and my cooking adventures with The Afro-Vegan cookbook by Bryant Terry. As a cookbook collector, I think the cookbook is beautiful. The plant-based recipes are southern with African and Caribbean influences.

In the words of the author:

Imagine if you removed the animal products from African, Caribbean, Southern, and other Afro-influenced cuisines, then meticulously cut, pasted, and remixed the food to produce recipes with farm-fresh ingredients as their heart and soul: that is Afro-Vegan.

As a fun element, each recipe has a musical soundtrack suggestion, and there are film and book suggestions on some recipes.

Afro-Vegan Cookbook by Bryant Terry

I know that many people shy away from a book like this because they fear the recipes will be too far outside of their comfort zone, or the recipes will require expensive ingredients that are hard to find. The ingredients used in the recipes won’t require a trek to a specialty store. This is very important to a lot of people, especially those who are new to cooking, and those who are intimidated by cooking recipes that seem foreign or confusing. I have a number of super fancy ingredient cookbooks, and while I love to look through them (because I do look through my cookbooks, even when I have no intention of making anything from them), the convoluted recipe list doesn’t inspire me to get in the kitchen. The recipes, photos, and ingredient lists in Afro-Vegan make me want to throw on my apron and get to work.

You need a bit of an adventurous palate for these recipes. The foundation of the recipes are based on solid pantry staples, but the manner in which Terry combines spices and introduces other ingredients into a dish may have you raising an eyebrow. Don’t fret. I made five of the recipes, and I enjoyed each of them.

The book isn’t heavy on images. A photo doesn’t accompany every recipe. I know some people like the idea of seeing every recipe photographed, but the images that are included are beautiful.

Smashed Potatoes made by Jeannie Bushnell

Potatoes are one of my favorite foods, and the smashed potatoes with peas, corn, and chile-garlic oil recipe is easy to prepare, and it will undoubtedly become a favorite menu item for your family. Don’t be afraid of the chile-garlic oil. If you don’t want it too spicy, cut back on the chile pepper. Remember, the mixture will have a great deal more spice when it is made fresh and will mellow out after it has been in the fridge overnight. Try it and see how you like it.

 

All Green Spring Slaw made by Jeannie Bushnell

The All-Green Spring Slaw is a great side for the smashed potatoes, because it calms the heat of the chile-garlic oil. This fresh and light dish can be paired with just about anything. The dressing has a foundation of silken tofu that can easily be whipped up and added to another favorite salad. I’m normally not a fan of slaw, but this green cabbage recipe features additions like peas, sugar snap peas, celery, and raw pumpkin seeds.

 

Glazed Carrot Salad made by Jeannie Bushnell

You may think you know glazed carrots, but I bet you’ve never had them quite like this. I make a sweet glazed carrot dish around the holidays every year (I am from Texas!), but this savory dish is a delightful twist on that menu favorite. This recipe will surely surprise your guests and palette, as the cinnamon, garlic, cumin seeds, cilantro, and peanuts propel this dish to another level. The roasted cumin seeds add a spice that is mellow and delicious.  This would be a great item to bring to a potluck or summer barbeque.

 

Collard Greens and Cabbage with Lots of Garlic made by Jeannie M. Bushnell

Collard greens have been a staple of my diet my entire life. Collard greens are easy to make and have many health benefits. This recipe calls for thinly sliced collard greens, and as someone that usually just roughly chops or tears the greens, this was new for me. The thin cuts combined with cabbage lightens the flavor of the greens and prevents the greens from turning into the large mush pile that so many people cite as a reason that they refrain from the vegetable. I was pleased to find bagged collard greens that were thinly sliced. If you are short on time, finding them sliced will help reduce preparation time.

I would never have thought to throw cabbage in with my greens, but I really enjoyed the extra texture and flavors. I love garlic, and this recipe calls for seven cloves! Again, if that is too much garlic for you, adjust the amount to fit your tastes.

 

Coconut Rice Pudding made by Jeannie M. Bushnell

Of all the recipes that I tried, this one took the most preparation. It requires  prior planning, as the raw cashews and basmati rice need to be soaked overnight, and the dessert needs to chill. The nectarines and peach puree add sweetness to the cashew cream and rice. Smooth and delicious, this pudding is already a favorite in our house.

Put the pudding in these little 4 oz. canning jars, and you’ve created a portable snack that is ready when you want it. You can toss them in your lunch sack or make them in advance for a weekend outing. They make a great snack any time of the week.

[typography font=”Just Me Again Down Here” size=”24″ size_format=”px”]The Last Bite:[/typography]

Seasoned cooks and newbies alike will benefit from this cookbook. Based on many well-known recipes, the mundane recipes you may have grown accustomed to are taken to new heights of flavor. The techniques used in the book are unlikely to confuse or overwhelm a new cook. Additionally, this book would make a great gift for anyone who is attempting to incorporate more plant-based recipes into their diet.

Interested in trying one of his recipes? Check out this recipe for Muscovado-Roasted Plantains.

Find Afro-Vegan in an independent bookstore near you!

You can follow Mr. Terry on FB and Twitter, too.

Disclaimer: I received this free book from Blogging for Books for this review. I’ve provided my honest opinion and experience with the book.