Showing posts with label coffee. Show all posts
Showing posts with label coffee. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The Book Tour Stops Here: A Review of "I'll Have What She's Having" by Erin Carlson, Served up with Tiramisu Cream Clouds (And a Book Giveaway!)

Happy Tuesday! I am a sucker for a good romantic comedy and three favorite films on my Top Ten Romcom List are Sleepless in Seattle, You've Got Mail, and When Harry Met Sally. All are Nora Ephron films, so I am beyond excited and happy to be a stop on the TLC Book Tour for "I'll Have What She's Having: How Nora Ephron's Three Iconic Films Saved the Romantic Comedy by Erin Carlson. (It publishes today!) Along with my review, I have a recipe for some Sleepless in Seattle-inspired Tiramisu Cream Clouds and if that isn't sweet enough, there's a giveaway for a chance to win a copy of the book at the bottom of the post. 

Publisher's Blurb:

A backstage look at the making of Nora Ephron’s revered trilogy–When Harry Met Sally, You’ve Got Mail, and Sleepless in Seattle–which brought romantic comedies back to the fore, and an intimate portrait of the beloved writer/director who inspired a generation of Hollywood women, from Mindy Kaling to Lena Dunham.

In I’ll Have What She’s Having entertainment journalist Erin Carlson tells the story of the real Nora Ephron and how she reinvented the romcom through her trio of instant classics. With a cast of famous faces including Reiner, Hanks, Ryan, and Crystal, Carlson takes readers on a rollicking, revelatory trip to Ephron’s New York City, where reality took a backseat to romance and Ephron–who always knew what she wanted and how she wanted it–ruled the set with an attention to detail that made her actors feel safe but sometimes exasperated crew members.

Along the way, Carlson examines how Ephron explored in the cinema answers to the questions that plagued her own romantic life and how she regained faith in love after one broken engagement and two failed marriages. Carlson also explores countless other questions Ephron’s fans have wondered about: What sparked Reiner to snap out of his bachelor blues during the making of When Harry Met Sally? Why was Ryan, a gifted comedian trapped in the body of a fairytale princess, not the first choice for the role? 

After she and Hanks each separately balked at playing Mail’s Kathleen Kelly and Sleepless‘ Sam Baldwin, what changed their minds? And perhaps most importantly: What was Dave Chappelle doing … in a turtleneck? An intimate portrait of a one of America’s most iconic filmmakers and a look behind the scenes of her crowning achievements, I’ll Have What She’s Having is a vivid account of the days and nights when Ephron, along with assorted cynical collaborators, learned to show her heart on the screen.

Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Hachette Books (August 29, 2017)

My Review:

As mentioned in the intro, I love the three movies this book is focused on, romcoms, and movies in general. I am also an entertainment trivia junkie. It's not so much the gossip that I am interested in, it's more the behind-the-scenes glimpses of my favorite movies and television shows, such as who were the top contenders for the roles, how did lines end up in making it in, what scenes were cut and why, and who got along and who didn't. (OK, maybe there is a little bit of gossip girl in me!) I was convinced from the description that I would enjoy this book and it didn't disappoint me at all. 

Erin Carlson is an entertainment journalist and she writes in an engaging way that made me feel like I was on each set, watching the films being made. She gives us the background of Nora Ephron--interesting in its own right. Besides being a fan of her movies, I enjoy Ephron's writing having read Heartburn a few years ago and delving into I Feel Bad About My Neck more recently--so although I knew something about her background, it was interesting to learn more. But, at the end of the day, I was in it for the movies and there are plenty of interesting facts, details, and juicy bits to enjoy. I wanted to re-watch the three films as I read about them, but time was tight for me this month and I only managed You've Got Mail last weekend. It was fun to watch and look through the different scenes with this book in hand and I intend to repeat it with Sleepless in Seattle and When Harry Met Sally very soon. 

I think anyone who loves movies, especially romantic comedies, and who admires and appreciates the amazing talent that Nora Ephron was, couldn't help but enjoy this book. It's a tribute to Ephron, but it doesn't sugar-coat her cynical and sometimes difficult sides, or those of the actors and other notables that she chose to work with. The details and trivia are absorbing and entertaining and it's a fun and fascinating read--one of my favorites for August. If you'd like a chance to win a copy for yourself, don't forget to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway (open to U.S. and Canada readers of this blog) at the end of this post.


Author Notes: Erin Carlson has covered the entertainment industry for The Hollywood Reporter and AP. Her work has appeared in Glamour, Fortune, and the LA Times. She compiled and wrote an oral history of You’ve Got Mail for Vanity Fair. She holds a masters in magazine journalism from Northwestern, and has been profiled in the New York Times.
Follow Erin on Twitter.


Food Inspiration:

There were several food mentions scattered throughout the book--mostly from the movies and the movie sets, although I was pretty clear from the start that I would have to make something tiramisu-related from the well-known scene in Sleepless in Seattle where Sam (Tom Hanks) wants to know what tiramisu is from his friend Jay (Rob Reiner):

Jay: "Tiramisu," 
Sam: "What is 'tiramisu'?"
Jay: "You'll find out."
Sam: "Well, what is it?"
Jay: "You'll see!"
Sam: "Some woman is gonna want me to do it to her and I'm not gonna know what it is!"
Jay: "You'll love it!"

The book says, "Sleepless is the second in a trilogy of Ephron-scripted romantic comedies that combined old-fashioned romance with hilarious truths about contemporary relationships (one word: tiramisu) to shape ideas and expectations about love, however pie-in-the-sky."

So I have made Tiramisu before--both before the blog and once for it--Donna Hay's Deconstructed Tiramisu--which I love because honestly, I don't like the cookies or cake soaked with the coffee liqueur all that much. I find them a bit soggy--plus the lady finger biscuits can be both difficult to find and expensive. 

What I do really like is puffy clouds of mousse-like desserts and one of my favorites puffs of creamy mascarpone goodness is in Yotam Ottolenghi's Fruit Cream Crumble

I decided to take his mix of mascarpone, whipped cream and Greek yogurt and flavor it with dark coffee and coffee liqueur and layer it with chocolate shavings and make a pillowy tiramisu-flavored dessert--these Tiramisu Cream Clouds.

Tiramisu Cream Clouds
By Deb, Kahakai Kitchen, Inspired by Yotam Ottolenghi's Fruit Crumble Cream
(Serves 4)

1  cup / heavy cream
1/2 cup thick plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese (or substitute cream cheese)
1/4 cup strong black coffee or espresso (I used Starbucks Via Italian--one pack with 1/4 cup hot water
1 oz coffee liqueur 
2 Tbsp super-fine sugar, or to taste
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
about 3 oz grated/shaved dark chocolate flakes and/or unsweetened cocoa powder (I used a mix of both in my layers.)

Place all ingredients through vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl and whisk to soft peaks and a pillowy texture (taking care not to over-whip). Allow mixture to chill and firm for an hour or so before assembling.

To assemble: spoon a layer of the cream into each of four dessert cups or glasses and sprinkle lightly with the grated dark chocolate and/or cocoa powder. Repeat layers of cream and chocolate shavings until you reach the top of the glass. Sprinkle a later of the shaved chocolate on top. Chill for at least another hour before serving. 

You can serve with a favorite cookie and extra whip cream if desired. 

Notes/Results: I love coffee, chocolate, coffee liqueur, and anything mousse-like, so this was a winner for me. I purposefully keep it less sweet, but you could adjust it to have more sugar and more or less coffee flavor, depending on what you like. I like the little pop of the coffee liqueur, but you could leave it out if you want an alcohol-free version. It's nice to have something crisp to dunk in the soft pillows of cream, so if you find lady fingers, you can use those, or any crispy cookie you like. I used the Frappuccino cookie straws from Starbucks--the book notes that Starbucks flowed liberally on the Sleepless set and of course you get some glimpses in the movie. I was very happy with this dessert and would make it again.

I'm linking this post up to the Weekend Cooking event at Beth Fish Reads, a weekly event that is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share. For more information, see the welcome post.

Note: A review copy of "I'll Have What She's Having" was provided to me by the author and the publisher via TLC Book Tours. I was not compensated for this review and as always, my thoughts and opinions are my own.

You can see the stops for the rest of this TLC Book Tour and what other reviewers thought about the book here.

***Book Giveaway***
The publisher is generously providing a copy of I'll Have What She's Having to give away (U.S. & Canada addresses only, sorry) here at Kahakai Kitchen.

To enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway below, leave a comment (Because I like to read them!) ;-) telling me your favorite romantic comedy and/or why you'd like to win a copy of "I'll Have What She's Having."

There are a couple of other optional ways to get more entries to win: 1) Tweet about this giveaway or 2) follow me on Twitter (@DebinHawaii) and/or Author Erin Carlson (@ErinLCarlson)
(Note: You can still get extra entries even if you already follow me and the author on Twitter.)

Deadline for entry is midnight (EST) on Friday, Sept. 8th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Good Luck! 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Book Tour Stops Here: A Review of Fudge and Jury (& The Bakeshop Mystery Series) by Ellie Alexander, Served with a Mango Chai Latte & Chocolate Truffles

Today's TLC Book Tour stop has us visiting the quaint town of Ashland Oregon, where the local Shakespeare Festival and a family owned bakery are the setting for Fudge and Jury by Ellie Alexander, the fifth book in the Bakeshop Mystery series. Accompanying my review of this book and the series is a tropical Mango Chai Latte and some decadent Chocolate Truffles from the book.

Publisher's Blurb:

Welcome to Torte–a friendly, small-town family bakery where the pastries are delicious…and, now, suspicious.

It’s almost spring in Ashland, Oregon, and the town is preparing for the Shakespeare and the annual Chocolate Festival. Business is cookin’ at Torte, and the store is expanding as Jules’ team whips up crèpes filled with mascarpone cheese and dark chocolate. Torte stands a chance of being this year’s confectionery belle of the ball! Life couldn’t be sweeter—unless murder taints the batter.

Evan Rowe, of Confections Couture, makes a chocolate fountain that would put Willy Wonka to shame, and his truffles are to die for—literally? Yes, the world-renowned chocolatier has just turned up dead…right after sampling a slice of Jules’ decadent four-layer chocolate cake. Now all eyes are on Jules as she tries to find the mysterious ingredient in her own recipe. Can she sift out the truth before another contestant bites the buttercream?

Series: A Bakeshop Mystery (Book 5)
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks (January 3, 2017)

My Review: 

The Series: I love a cozy mystery, especially a foodie cozy mystery so I was excited to jump on the blog tour for Fudge and Jury. But, it drives me crazy to read series books out of order, so when I had the opportunity to review e-book copies of the first four books I was thrilled and I quickly immersed myself in the town of Ashland, Oregon and the delectable goings-on at Torte, the bakeshop owned by the Capshaw family. Juliet Montague Capshaw (she goes by Jules) has been the head pastry chef on a cruise ship since graduating from culinary school. When a betrayal of trust by her husband has Jules headed back to Ashland to think things through, she becomes caught up in helping her widowed mother run Torte and get involved in her first mystery when the newest board member of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival turns up dead in Torte's backroom. 

Jules is a likable character, loyal, a bit stubborn, a foodie and talented chef and baker. Supporting her are her mother (Helen), high school boyfriend and cop (Thomas), Thomas's detective boss, the crew at Torte, and her new friend, the OSF director (Lance). Ellie Armstrong sets a fun tone with with the characters, the other townspeople and tourists, and the town of Ashland itself. Growing up in Oregon, I spent time in Ashland and love its quirky charm. The mysteries are not too difficult to solve (typical in cozies) and they are accompanied by plenty of food--not just bakery and pastry items, as well as recipes for some of the dishes highlighted in the book. It makes for both fun and delicious reading. (And of course the titles are perfect!) ;-) If you aren't set on series books being in order like I am, you could certainly start with Fudge and Jury or read them out of order, however I really enjoyed learning Jules's backstory and watching her grow and change over the several months the books are set.   

Fudge and Jury: The fifth book in the series, Fudge and Jury begins in March, when Ashland hosts an annual Chocolate Festival and Jules and team are getting Torte ready to represent. They are also taking time to renovate the bakery and put in the new ovens that will help them keep up with the demand they hope will continue to increase. Jules is creating new chocolate creations and planning on moving into custom wedding cakes, so a good showing at the festival is important. Unfortunately, a famous local chocolatier appears to have a fatal allergic reaction immediately after trying a few bites of Torte's chocolate cake sample and Juliet is plunged into another investigation. 

The only thing better than baked goods are baked goods and chocolate and with the descriptions of the dishes Jules and friends make and eat, you won't want to read Fudge and Jury on an empty stomach. I liked that this mystery had a couple of small twists that I didn't see coming and that kept things interesting. In addition to the recipes and food descriptions, I like the little cooking and baking tips that the author peppers into the story. I consider myself to be fairly knowledgeable about chocolate but I picked up some good tips and ideas. I think Fudge and Jury (and the whole series) does a great job of balancing the food and characters with the mystery plot and keeps everything engaging and entertaining. I am looking forward to the next book, A Crime of Passion Fruit, (another great title) which comes out in June.  


Author Notes: Ellie Alexander writes the bestselling Bakeshop Mystery series for St. Martin’s Press, set in the Shakespearean town of Ashland, Oregon and featuring a romantic, artisan pastry chef, Juliet Montague Capshaw. Ellie is a Pacific Northwest native who spends ample time testing pastry recipes in her home kitchen or at one of the many famed coffeehouses nearby. When she’s not coated in flour, you’ll find her outside exploring hiking trails and trying to burn off calories consumed in the name of research.

Connect with Ellie on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram 

Food Inspiration:

There are so many delicious sounding dishes in these books like bakery treats including chocolate tarts, eclairs, chocolate cake, cookies, chocolate bark, marble fudge, and Torte's Chocolate Pasta with white chocolate sauce, hand-dipped chocolate truffles, snickerdoodles, brownies, buttery scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam, sausage rolls, banananut muffins, cheese Danish, peanut butter and jam cookies, and cherry almond shortbread 

On the non-bakery food side there was a squid-ink spaghetti and shrimp dish, a peanut butter and marionberry jam sandwich, rack of lamb, pork belly, meat loaf and smashed garlic mashed potatoes, meatloaf sandwiches, a composed salad, cheese and sausage quiche, gyros, sea scallops sauteed in butter, pancetta and leek soup, beer and cheese soup, and spring salads with lemon grilled chicken, dried cranberries and hazelnuts. And finally for beverages, there coffee drinks including a tropical-flavored latte, a classic double latte with just a dash of brown sugar, a chocolate slushy, Spanish coffees, and a potent martini.  

For my book/food pairing, I definitely wanted chocolate--preferably chocolate truffles so I decided to follow the book's simple recipe for them. I used a good dark bittersweet chocolate and flavored my truffles with a combination of almond and coffee extracts giving them sort of an almond latte-ish vibe. Although the author suggests playing around with flavors and toppings, I kept it simple and rolled my truffles into a European hot chocolate mix, giving the outside a bit of sweetness that was nice. 

Torte's resident barista Andy, is always experimenting with coffee and tea drinks and I was intrigued by his tropical Mango Latte. By intrigued I mean that I wasn't completely sure whether the pairing of the chai spices with the tropical fruit flavors sounded good or not--but I had to try--so I made the latte too. 

Ellie Alexander says, "Andy's tropical chai tea creation made with spicy Oregon Chai will have you dreaming of sunny beaches and warm, blue seas."

Mango Chai Latte
From Fudge and Jury by Ellie Alexander
(Serves 1)

3 oz chai tea mix (Andy uses Oregon Chai but any black tea blend will work)
1 cup coconut milk
2 Tbsp mango puree
1 tsp fresh pineapple juice

Heat chai and steam coconut milk. Mix the mango puree and pineapple juice in the bottom of your favorite coffee mug. Add steamed coconut milk and stir. Pour in chai tea. Can be served hot or over ice.

Chocolate Truffles with Coffee & Almond
Adapted from Fudge and Jury by Ellie Alexander
(Makes about 30 truffles) 

12 oz semisweet chocolate chips (I used Guittard: Sunset-a bittersweet dark chocolate)
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1 tsp extract (play with flavor combinations--vanilla, orange, coconut, almond, etc.) (I used a mix of almond and coffee extract)
Toppings (play with flavor combinations--toasted coconut, sprinkles, cocoa powder, powdered sugar, etc.) (I kept it simple with European hot chocolate mix)

Melt chocolate on low heat. Slowly whisk in heavy cream. Remove from heat once mixture is completely melted and add extract. Transfer to a glass or plastic bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to cool for two to three hours. 

Use a melon scoop or large spoon to form chocolate into one-inch balls. Roll balls in topping(s). Use your fingers to make sure the entire ball is coated with the topping. Then place in an airtight container. Refrigerate. 

Truffles will keep for up to a week. Be sure to remove them from the refrigerator one hour prior to serving. (Unless you live in a tropical climate--in which case 15-20 minutes is plenty.)

Notes/Results: The truffles were simple, rich and decadent--all important in my book. I just made a half-batch, which made about 15 truffles (probably would have made more without my 'sampling' throughout the process). The hot cocoa mix worked well with the dark chocolate and I liked the simple beauty of the lighter coating with the darker base. The chai latte turned out better than I expected. It is a little sweet for me to drink regularly but the mango and pineapple complemented the spicy chai flavors well. I tried it hot but think I might have to make and chill some as I think I will like it even more as an iced beverage. I would make both of these recipes again. 

Fudge and Jury is my first foodie book entry for the Foodies Read 2017 event. You can check out the January 2017 Foodies Read linkup, hosted by Heather at Based on a True Story, to see what everyone is reading this month.  

I'm also linking this post up to the Weekend Cooking event at Beth Fish Reads, a weekly event that is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share. For more information, see the welcome post

Note: A review copy of "Fudge & Jury" and the other series books was provided to me by the publisher and TLC Book Tours. I was not compensated for this review and as always, my thoughts and opinions are my own.

You can see the stops for the rest of this TLC Book Tour and what other reviewers thought about the book here.


Monday, October 17, 2016

The Book Tour Stops Here: A Review of "News of the World" by Paulette Jiles

Today I am excited to be a stop on the TLC Book Tour for the riveting historical novel The News of the World by Paulette Giles. Not only did I find this small but mighty book difficult to put down, it has been honored as National Book Award Finalist this year. So pour yourself a cup of strong, cowboy coffee and settle in for my review.

Publisher's Blurb:

It is 1870 and Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd travels through northern Texas, giving live readings to paying audiences hungry for news of the world. An elderly widower who has lived through three wars and fought in two of them, the captain enjoys his rootless, solitary existence.

In Wichita Falls, he is offered a $50 gold piece to deliver a young orphan to her relatives in San Antonio. Four years earlier, a band of Kiowa raiders killed Johanna’s parents and sister; sparing the little girl, they raised her as one of their own. Recently rescued by the U.S. army, the ten-year-old has once again been torn away from the only home she knows.

Their 400-mile journey south through unsettled territory and unforgiving terrain proves difficult and at times dangerous. Johanna has forgotten the English language, tries to escape at every opportunity, throws away her shoes, and refuses to act “civilized.” Yet as the miles pass, the two lonely survivors tentatively begin to trust each other, forging a bond that marks the difference between life and death in this treacherous land.

Arriving in San Antonio, the reunion is neither happy nor welcome. The captain must hand Johanna over to an aunt and uncle she does not remember—strangers who regard her as an unwanted burden. A respectable man, Captain Kidd is faced with a terrible choice: abandon the girl to her fate or become—in the eyes of the law—a kidnapper himself. Exquisitely rendered and morally complex, News of the World is a brilliant work of historical fiction that explores the boundaries of family, responsibility, honor, and trust.

Hardcover: 224 pages  
Publisher: William Morrow (October 4, 2016)

My Review:

I am a fan of historical fiction, but my tastes tend to run from the 1920s through WWII and I usually don't have much of an interest in westerns. Over the past few years however, I have tried to not get hung up on the genre or even the setting of a book, and let the description of the story draw me in. The idea of a former soldier turned news reader (someone who travels through dusty town after dusty town, reading the news for a dime a head) was intriguing, as was the idea of a young girl, kidnapped and her family killed by raiders when she was six, being raised by the Kiowa and returned to the U.S. Army at age ten. The idea of these two strangers traveling together to return the girl to her aunt and uncle, sold me on signing up for the book tour. The fact that it was 220-ish pages sealed the deal--if I didn't like it, the book would be a quick read. The reality is that I became quickly transfixed by this beautiful story and wished it could have gone on another 200 pages, just to spend more time with Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd and Johanna and to absorb more of the Texas landscape in the aftermath of the Civil War.

As much as News of the World is a Western historical novel, it transcends those categories and is really about the bonds that form between people put together in an unusual situation. One would expect a gruff elderly man, used to being on his own in the world since his wife died and his daughters grown and married, not to be able to relate to a traumatized ten-year-old girl who no longer speaks English, wants to be barefoot and live outdoors, and is desperate to escape back to the tribe and the only mother and family that she remembers. Captain Kidd is a man with depth and character, who is taking Johanna back to family as much for a favor to a friend than the $50 gold piece--most of which he spends on a wagon and supplies to get Johanna through the territory as safely as possible. His gruff kindness builds trust with the girl and it is a beautiful thing to watch their relationship unfold. Johanna is an amazing character too--smart, wild and brave, older than her years because of the traumas she has endured.

There is danger and adventure--it is the Wild West they are traveling through, but that isn't the focus of the story and there is a nice balance of action, relationship, humor, and poignancy. The first dozen pages in, I had to get used to the author's style of writing as the lack of quotation marks around dialogue was a bit disconcerting. But I quickly adapted and it seemed to fit with the story and characters and added to the uniqueness of the book. News of the World is the first Paulette Jiles book that I have read, but I have a feeling it won't be the last. It's a special treasure of a novel--there was even a map included in the marketing materials outlining the Captain and Johanna's journey (with old newsprint-style reviews on the back), which I found myself pulling out to consult as I read. Highly recommended, this is a beautiful and moving story that will stay with me. 


Author Notes: Paulette Jiles is a novelist, poet, and memoirist. She is the author of Cousins, a memoir, and the novels Enemy Women, Stormy Weather, The Color of Lightning, Lighthouse Island, and News of the World. She lives on a ranch near San Antonio, TX.

Find out more about Paulette at her website.


Food Inspiration:

I always look for the food in books of course and there was food to be found in The News of the World--starting with coffee, corn dodger (like a small pan-fried cornmeal fritter) and bacon, ground meat, a dinner pail of smoking barbecued meat, homemade divinity candy, black beans and bacon, roasted chicken, a German dish made of noodles, ground mutton and cream sauce with preserved cauliflower, sausages and cakes and flan.

I usually make a dish inspired by the book to accompany my reviews and unfortunately, this just wasn't the week for it as I am getting over some fun bronchial stuff and needed to sleep rather than cook. Had I the energy and the cornmeal, I would pair this story with a plate of corn dodgers like these, but instead I am having a cup of strong, black coffee--just like the Captain would have.

I'm linking up this review to the Weekend Cooking event at Beth Fish Reads, a weekly event that is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share. For more information, see the welcome post.

Note: A review copy of "The News of the World" was provided to me by the publisher, Harper Collins and TLC Book Tours. I was not compensated for this review and as always, my thoughts and opinions are my own.

You can see the stops for the rest of this TLC Book Tour and what other reviewers thought about the book here.


Friday, September 30, 2016

The Book Tour Stops Here: A Review of "Night Ringing" by Laura Foley: Poetry and a Cappuccino for Friday

I freely admit that most poetry intimidates me. I feel bad if I don't get it. But some times, and some poetry touches the heart and is good for the soul (and for a Friday). On today's TLC Book Tour stop, I am reviewing Night Ringing, a book of soul-filling poetry by Laura Foley, accompanied by a creamy soy cappuccino inspired by my reading. 

Publisher's Blurb:

“I revel in the genius of simplicity” Laura Foley writes as she gives us in plain-spoken but deeply lyrical moments, poems that explore a life filled with twists and turns and with many transformations. Through it all is a search for a fulfilling personal and sexual identity, a way to be most fully alive in the world. From multicultural love affairs through marriage with a much older man, through raising a family, through grief, to lesbian love affairs, Night Ringing is the portrait of a woman willing to take risks to find her own best way. And she does this with grace and wisdom. As she says: “All my life I’ve been swimming, not drowning.”

Paperback: 108 pages
Publisher: Headmistress Press (January 11, 2016)

My Review:

I am not one for critically reviewing books, I generally just give you my opinion--what I like and what I don't, what moves me, inspires me, makes me smile or brings a tear--and that's what I'll do with  this book of poetry. Night Ringing is a deeply personal and accessible collection of poems about the moments in life, both big and small. Even though the author has led a very different life than mine, I can relate to many of her feelings and many of these poems spoke to my soul. Incident in the Coffee Shop tells of a woman having her usual breakfast and an emotional moment when the waitress asks if everything is OK--only realizing in that moment that she meant the food. I can relate. Other poems capture moments at the doctor's office, the death of a parent, the end and the beginning of relationships, divorce, family secrets and issues, nature and different places. Emotions are expressed in clear tones and simple lines; the poems aren't  complicated and there is nothing to get or not get. It's a moving collection and one to savor. I kept the book by my bed and read a poem or two each morning, skipping around to balance the happy or peaceful emotions with the sad ones. If you enjoy poetry and poems about life, you will likely enjoy it and if you are new to, or intimidated by the thought of poetry, Night Ringing is a gentle place to start appreciating it. 

The first poem in the book, The Turtle, pulled me in with its beauty and simplicity and because I love turtles (honu in the Hawaiian language). Many of the poems in the book go very deep into emotions, happy or sad but this one easily captures the feeling and wonder of a turtle. I share it here, with a picture I took of a resting sea turtle on the beach at the North Shore.


Author Notes: Laura Foley is an internationally published, award-winning poet, author of five collections. She won First Place in the Common Goods Poetry Contest, judged by Garrison Keillor, who read her poem on “A Prairie Home Companion”; and First Place in the National Outermost Poetry Prize, judged by Marge Piercy. Her poetry collections include: Night RingingThe Glass Tree and Joy Street. The Glass Tree won a Foreword Book of the Year Award; Joy Street won the Bisexual-Writer’s Award. Her poems have appeared in The Writer’s Almanac, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Pulse Magazine, Lavender Review, The Mom Egg Review, in the British Aesthetica Creative Writing Anthology, and many other journals.
A certified Shri Yoga Instructor and creative arts facilitator in hospitals, she is the mother of three grown children and has just become a grandmother. She and her partner Clara Gimenez live among the hills of Vermont with their three big dogs.


Food Inspiration: 

There are a few mentions of food and several of coffee in Night Ringing like an aliigator burger--"Cajun-spiced and barbecued just right," ice cream, Chinese food, lemon chicken, pina coldas, a chocolate cherry, coffee beans, and a coffee shop with a breakfast of OJ, bialy, and eggs, poached easy. 

Since coffee shops were in a few of the poems, rather than make a dish, I took inspiration from My Own Hand, the last poem in the book and had a cappuccino from my favorite local coffee shop, made by one of my favorite baristas. It was definitely a cappuccino kind of day...

I'm linking up this review and recipe to the Weekend Cooking event at Beth Fish Reads, a weekly event that is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share. For more information, see the welcome post.

Note: A review copy of "Night Ringing" was provided to me by the publisher and TLC Book Tours in return for a fair and honest review. I was not compensated for this review and as always my thoughts and opinions are my own.

You can see the stops for the rest of this TLC Book Tour and what other reviewers thought about the book here.

 Happy Aloha Friday!