Weekly Reads | 8.3.2014

How was your weekend? I only got about an hour of reading in this weekend. Most of that time was in a bubble bath.

So this week, I’m continuing to read

Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf Mrs. Dalloway
By Virginia Woolf

If you’re interested in my thoughts as I read the book, check out my new Tumblr Totally Contains Spoilers.

In the car, I’m listening to

Our Lady of the Forest by David Guterson

Our Lady of the Forest (Audiobook)
By David Guterson
Read by Blair Brown

Recent Posts

Ten Authors I Own The Most Books From
What I’m Into | 7.2014
Major Book Buying Mode

What are you reading this week?

**Linked up with Book Journey**

Major Book Buying Mode

There was something about the month of July that set me on a book-buying binge.

It began early in the month when I got a coupon mailer from Half Price Books. The mailer was for 40% off ONE book, but I walked out with five.

Then, this week I picked up a handful more at my favorite thrift shop.

What all did I purchase? I thought you’d never ask!


From the top:

Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville

The Awakening and Selected Short Stories by Kate Chopin

Portrait in Sepia by Isabel Allende

The Living Great Lakes: Searching for the Heart of the Inland Seas by Jerry Dennis

No More Words by Reeve Lindbergh

Zenith City: Stories From Duluth by Michael Fedo

The Women by T.C. Boyle

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

What books have you purchased recently?

What I’m Into | 7.2014

While this post may not make it seem so, I’ve felt super busy this last month. Take a look at what’s been going on…

Read & Reading

Reading is a place I’ve excelled this month, finishing Zenith City: Stories from Duluth by Michael Fedo, The Uncoupling by Meg Wolitzer, Cartwheel by Jennifer duBois and Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead. My favorite read this month by far was definitely Cartwheel!

Currently, I’m not exactly reading anything. I finished Zenith City at lunch. I have a number of books queued up at home, but I’m not sure yet which one I’ll grab.

Watched & Watching

While Claire was with her grandparents lat week, we watched a few of the movies that we can’t watch with her. Prior to that, I think I just watched a ton of kids movies.

World War Z….I haven’t read the book and honestly probably won’t. The movie freaked me out. I like to think of my zombies as slow moving and easy to outrun.

Chernobyl Diariesjust don’t.

Friends with Kids…loved it! Jennifer Westfeldt did a good job writing and directing.

We also very quickly finished True Blood’s sixth season. It’s so much fun to watch!

We recently watched The Lego Movie and Rio 2. Both were a lot of fun!

Saving for Later

Treehouse, house in the trees...It's all a little tomato/tomahto to me when it looks like this.

Treehouse, house in the treesvery tomato/tomahto when it looks like this! Bonus: it’s built from a recycled barn! I’m pretty sure I found a new blog to follow!


I have no concept lately of what cooking is.

Obsessed With

I'm so obsessed with succulents and succulent arrangements right now.

My Pinterest board for a party I’m helping plan is full of various succulent arrangements. I love how they mix with rustic or more glam items!

I'm in love with the concept of capsule wardrobes.

Two words: Capsule. Wardrobes. I’ve been obsessed for awhile. So simple to get ready every morning. Now I’m thinking about how I can make this happen in my own closet. My goal will be to create a capsule of basics and add in some pieces of color and pattern. I’ve been pinning quite a bit. My favorites are ones that show the items and all the outfit possibilities.

What were you into this month?

**Linking up with Leigh Kramer**

Ten Authors I Own The Most Books From

I’m excited to participate in The Broke and the Bookish’s Top Ten Tuesday for the first time! I hope the topic this week (ten authors whose books I own the most of) will provide a fun insight into my bookshelves and reading life!


I have my stuff together more than this Christmas-time photo
might indicate. It was taken months ago!

Counting down, here are the ten authors I own the most books from with many ties:

Five –

Stephen Covey (2) I’m a business school graduate. Enough said!

Geraldine Brooks (2) People of the Book and Year of Wonders were both amazing.

Barbara Kingsolver (2) I haven’t read The Poisonwood Bible yet, but I really liked Small Wondera collection of post-9/11 essays.

Four –

Frank McCourt (3) I first read Angela’s Ashes in high school and fell in love. I quickly purchased Teacher Man and ‘Tis when they were published and mourned McCourt’s passing.

William Shakespeare (3) Why not?

Isabel Allende (3) – One of my favorite authors, I have Zorro, Portrait in Sepia and Daughter of Fortune.

Three –

Jon Krakauer (4) I will never climb Everest or do many of the things he’s done and written about, but I love Krakauer’s writing style.

Laura Ingalls Wilder (4) – Obviously, I should have more. I do have three Wilder-related books on my shelves, though.

Two –

 J.K. Rowling (8) The Harry Potter series, of course, and The Casual Vacancy have (and will always have) treasured spots on my bookshelves.

One –

Fraggle Rock Series (15) We found these for Claire at a garage sale. We all enjoy reading them!

Top Ten Tuesdays hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

**Linked up with The Broke and the Bookish**

Weekly Reads | 7.28.2014

With Claire visiting my parents last week, Nick and I got to work on some household projects. I didn’t have much reading time, but I took as much time as possible.

Beginning this week, I’ll be reading the second half of

Zenith City: Stories from Duluth by Michael FedoZenith City: Stories from Duluth
By Michael Fedo

On my commute I’ve been switching between the radio and

The Magician's Assistant by Ann PatchettThe Magician’s Assistant (Audiobook)
By Ann Patchett

I wasn’t sure I’d stick with this after the first few minutes, but, as usual, I’m glad I stuck with it.

If you’re interested in my thoughts as I read, check out my new Tumblr Totally Contains Spoilers.

Recent Posts

July Book Lists

Pick out your next read from these great lists.

A Review of Steve Martin’s An Object of Beauty

Not comedy, but Martin’s distinctive voice shines through.

What are you reading this week?

**Linked up with Book Journey**

July Book Lists

The month of July seems to have been ripe with lists of book recommendations. Here are just a few.

Sexy, scary, suspenseful: 11 books to put on your summer reading list
Today Books
If you need something suspenseful, this list should help you out.

The 10 Books That Made Debut Novelist Will Chancellor Want to Write One of His Own
Times Magazine
There’s something about the idea of listing out the books that made an author want to write that I find fascinating.

7 Books You Need to Read This July
Arts & Entertainment by Christopher Beha sounds absolutely fascinating to me.

A Review of Steve Martin’s Unusual An Object of Beauty

I don’t really know for how long, but I’ve been a pretty big Steve Martin fan. His quirky humor fascinates me, and I enjoy watching Planes, Trains and Automobiles every time I get a chance to watch it. When he wrote a novel, I knew I had to read it. Then he wrote some more, and I still hadn’t read it. It took a while for me to pick one of them up.

An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin An Object of Beauty
By Steve Martin


Steve Martin managed to create a character that I loved to dislike. Lacey Yeager was opportunistic, conniving and just plain rude, but I enjoyed reading her entire story as told by her sad sack guy friend from college.

Overall, Martin crafted an entertaining and unique story. The book is about art in that Lacey is an opportunistic art dealer and her friend a freelance art writer. Throughout the book we’re treated to color reproductions of the art mentioned in the story. I really enjoyed this because I didn’t have to either remember what a certain painting looked like or Google the ones I’d never heard of.


Writing 4 out of 5 stars

Martin has a particular writing style that was clear throughout.

Character Development 4 out of 5 stars

Lacey was very unlikable. As I mentioned, I liked that. I also enjoyed that I wasn’t quilted into liking her in the end. She wasn’t misunderstood. She didn’t have a rough childhood. She was just all-around very unlikable.

Storytelling 4 out of 5 stars

I found the story very fascinating. It flowed along smoothly, providing enough hints and revealing enough details to make me wonder how it would end, but still be in the dark about some of the story up until the end.

Total 4 out of 5 stars 

Have you read any of Steve Martin’s work? What did you think?

Weekly Reads: 7.21.14

Well, Nick and I have shipped our daughter off to Grandma and Grandpa’s house. We’re very nervous, even though it’s the third time she’s stayed with them. I do plan to get a lot of reading done, but also a lot of other stuff!

After I finished Cartwheel by Jennifer duBois, I repicked up

The Uncoupling by Meg Wolitzer

The Uncoupling
By Meg Wolitzer

If you’re interested in my thoughts as I read the book, check out my new Tumblr Totally Contains Spoilers.

What are you reading this week?

**Linked up with Book Journey**

New Book Spotlight: Everyday Celebrations with Maria Loggia

I’m a big fan of lifestyle cookbooks, and I’m very happy to share this spotlight with you!


Maria Loggia’s kitchen door is always open. Her home and garden are a gathering place for friends and family, who come to share her easygoing enthusiasm and generosity – and her inspired Italian cuisine. In this, her second book, Loggia celebrates the seasons with 16 sumptuous menus – from a spontaneous al fresco garden party to a slow-simmered midwinter feast and a traditional Sunday family lunch.

Everyday Celebrations with Maria Loggia is on a spotlight tour from July 14 to 18.

Author & Chef: Maria Loggia

Category: Non-fiction

Genre: Cooking, Food & Wine, 176 pages

Publisher: Cardinal Publishing

Published: Oct 1, 2012

Amazon.ca * Cardinal Publishing * Amazon.com


Try One of the Recipes!


Petto di Pollo Farcito con Uva e Noci

Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Grapes and Walnuts




For filling:

1 tbsp (15 ml) unsalted butter

2 tbsp (30 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

2 shallots, finely chopped

¾ cup (180 ml) walnuts, coarsely chopped

½ cup (125 ml) red seedless grapes, quartered

2 tbsp (30 ml) finely chopped fresh chives

2 tbsp (30 ml) bread crumbs

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

7 oz (200 g) soft goat cheese, cut in 6 slices


For chicken:

6 tbsp (90 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

6 bone-in chicken breasts, skin on

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

3 tbsp (45 ml) unsalted butter, softened

1 orange, cut into wedges

3 sprigs fresh rosemary, each cut in half

5 bay leaves

To serve:

Freshly squeezed juice of 1 orange


Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).

To prepare filling: Heat butter and oil in a large skillet and sauté shallots until soft, 1 to 2 minutes, and remove from heat. Stir in walnuts, grapes, chives and bread crumbs. Season with salt and pepper and set aside to cool slightly. Leave goat cheese aside for now.

To prepare chicken: Oil a 14-inch (35 cm) round earthenware tiella or roasting pan with 2 tbsp (30 ml) of the olive oil and set aside. On a baking sheet, season chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Make a lengthwise slit in each chicken breast, being careful not to cut all the way through. (This will form the pocket for the stuffing.) Rub remaining 4 tbsp (60 ml) olive oil into the chicken (including in the pockets). Divide stuffing equally among chicken breasts, stuffing it into the slit in each breast, and top with a slice of goat cheese. Pull the chicken skin over the filling and secure with toothpicks. Smear butter over the skin and season again to taste with salt and pepper.

Gently transfer chicken to prepared tiella. Scatter orange wedges, rosemary and bay leaves around chicken. Roast 35 to 40 minutes, or until juices run clear when the thickest part of the breast is pierced. Then broil 2 to 3 minutes, or until skin is crisp and golden. Drizzle with orange juice and serve warm with pan juices.

Serves 6

Tips from Maria:

Consigli di cucina (kitchen tips)

The chicken breasts can be assembled the day before, covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated. When ready to serve, bring chicken to room temperature and cook as instructed. Doing it this way allows the flavours time to meld together beautifully.

Che cos’è? (what is it?)

I’m convinced food tastes better when cooked in a shallow, glazed earthenware dish known in Italian as a tiella. I find earthenware dishes distribute heat slowly and evenly as the food cooks. Aromas and flavours are intensified and casseroles never stick or dry out.

To season a tiella: Before using your tiella the first time, immerse the dish in cold water to soak overnight. The next day, empty the tiella and wipe it dry. Rub the inside with olive oil and place in a preheated 300°F (150°C) oven for 1½ hours. Remove seasoned tiella from oven and place on a wooden board or thick tablecloth to cool. (If placed on a surface like granite or a cold, it will crack.) To clean a


Meet the Author


Maria Loggia is one of Montreal’s best-loved Italian cooking teachers. Her Tavola Mia cooking school in the village of Hudson is a warm, inviting place to learn about Italian cuisine. She also appears regularly on television, is featured in newspapers and magazines, and leads culinary tours in Italy.

Maria finds inspiration in her Italian heritage and draws on family recipes that go back generations. She founded Tavola Mia, her at-home cooking school in 1999. Through her study of Italy’s regional cuisines, which has included numerous sojourns back to her native country, she has acquired great expertise in the art of Italian cooking. Her passion, humor and dedication to excellence have made her an inspiring teacher. Using fresh local ingredients, Tavola Mia celebrates the seasons in authentic, irrepressible Italian style.


An Interview with Maria Loggia

Maria Loggia from Pierre Blais on Vimeo.


Enter the Giveaway!


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Thank you for supporting our authors!


Weekly Reads: 7.14.14

As I was reading Cartwheel in e-book format last week, a thought crossed my mind that I should check the due date. I forgot. The book expired one night when I was unable to put it down. 😦

Cartwheel by Jennifer duBois

By Jennifer duBois

So I picked up

The Uncoupling by Meg Wolitzer

The Uncoupling
by Meg Wolitzer

I’ll pick up Cartwheel tomorrow at the library, and I can’t wait to finish it! Then, I’ll gladly re-pick up The Uncoupling.

If you’re interested in my generally unfiltered thoughts as I read, check out my new Tumblr Totally Contains Spoilers.

What are you reading this week?

**Linked up with Book Journey**