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WELCOME HOME DINER: A Foodie Novel ~Peggy Lampman

Thursday, October 19th, 2017

Cousins Samantha and Addie are hoping that they have made a good bet on Detroit.  They are going into business together by purchasing an old diner and an old house in Detroit proper.  They are hoping that they can revitalize the neighborhood with good homegrown food and delightful delights from their Polish Grandmother’s wealth of yummy recipes.  Addie is handling the business end and Samantha is the cook extraordinaire.

Their garden plot, crusty neighbors and a church with a Gospel Choir surround their WELCOME HOME DINER.  The food is getting rave reviews from folks traveling in from the suburbs but they are not pulling in the locals.  Also someone is writing untrue reviews on YELP.   They hire local people to work and the diner is feeling very much like a family.  The products they purchase are locally made also and come with interesting characters to discover.

I loved the recipe for Potlikker Broth as that is a family recipe at our house as well, but we call it Potassium Broth (without Ham Hock) and it does cure what ails one, as the cousins will testify to as it helped to heal their conflict.  Home celebrated food with panache and I did not gain any weight.  Now that is win-win!

This is a fine story and just a cozy good read as these dynamic women work out success in their new environment and with each other.  New, old and modern problems are resolved and help readers to find new ideas that might just change their circumstances.  The writing is perfect for the type of story and I am sure this will make a successful gift during the holiday –winter season for the reader on your list.  Be sure to read before you wrap it!

Peggy Lampman was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama. After earning a bachelor’s degree in communications—summa cum laude—from the University of Michigan, she moved to New York City, where she worked as a copywriter and photographer for a public-relations firm. When she returned to Ann Arbor, her college town, she opened a specialty foods store, the Back Alley Gourmet. Years later, she sold the store and started writing a weekly food column for the Ann Arbor News and MLive. Lampman’s first novel, The Promise Kitchen, published in 2016, garnered several awards and accolades. She is married and has two children. She also writes the popular blog www.dinnerfeed.com.

RELATED:
Family Tree
The Restaurant Critic’s Wife
Fudge and Jury

tlc-logoTLC Book tours sent me a copy of this book for an honest review.

BEST LAID PLANS AND OTHER DISASTERS: A Novel ~Amy Rivers

Friday, March 3rd, 2017

BEST LAID PLANS AND OTHER DISASTERS is a companion story to WALLFLOWER BLOOMING, although both can be standalone stories also.  These are witty, warm and very fun reads about cousins who reside in Cambria, Colorado.  Wallflower is about Val a PR company owner and Best Laid Plans is about Gwen the new mayor of Cambria who also does public service work.

The young woman each find an opportunity to connect with their futures and for Gwen she is plagued with trying to figure out every angle by herself, before she will ask for assistance with her personal problems.   As mayor she is capable and enthusiastic and working full speed ahead with the council and the Governor.  At city hall one major problem reveals itself.   The female city manager has decided she does not care for Gwen and works to make her work difficult and not on course.  It is not surprising to see how woman can change their colors and become enemies very quickly.  One of the easiest strategies against resolution is getting two women competing with each other and manipulating their own truth.  Gwen does figure out how to overcome this particular problem while remaining true to herself and her values.

Jason, Gwen’s fellow, works in accounting for the city and this has become a problem to several people at city hall.  He takes a new job, which requires a great deal of travelling and a co-worker decides “to hitch onto his wagon”, another problem to resolve.   At the same time Gwen discovers she is pregnant and worries about rumors and how to tell Jason.

The story takes some nice dips into explaining emotions and the surrounding events and so we get some good backstory into family history and how to set oneself free from a family heritage that was not very supportive.  The childish emotions were being brought into contemporary living and finding new coping skills – maturing more into the authentic self.

Neither Gwen nor Val are simple characters, they have definition and smarts knowing how to use these tools.   They are intelligent and do not compromise what they know to be true.  These young women are sorting out complex issues and challenges and it is good to be privy to their thinking and resolving these solutions.  These are very enjoyable characters tucked into a good reading adventure.

There are even more unexpected problems, some are just plain fun and others are problems we all face in our lives.  Once again I will say this is a very good read, I think you will enjoy BEST LAID PLANS & OTHER DISASTERS.

“Amy Rivers was born and raised in southern New Mexico and currently resides in Colorado with her husband and kids.  She has a Master’s degree with concentrations in Psychology and Politics, two topics she loves to incorporate into her personal essays and novels.  Amy has been published in CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL, INSPIRATION FOR NURSES, NOVELTY BRIDE MAGAZINE, ESME.com, and SPLICE TODAY.  Her first novel WALLFLOWER BLOOMING was published in August 2016.”(Cover)

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TLC Book Tours  sent me a copy for review of BEST LAID PLANS &OTHER DISASTERS

Related:
Wallflower Blooming
Becalmed
Wrong Highway

The Face of Please Don’t Shoot Me

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

close up please don't (2)

One of the very nicest parts of a Memorial Service is the opportunity to see family members, who often live very far away.  I had a lovely visit with my cousin Cathie from Cincinnati, Ohio during the family dinner and an opportunity to get acquainted with her talented and wonderful children.

Cathie shared her recent work with me via photographs and I was so moved by her weaving that I asked if I might share her pictures and story with you here.

In 2001, a young man – a boy really – was chased by police and fatally shot when he reached to his waist to pull up his jeans and keep running.   He was just a boy in the wrong place at the wrong time, and innocent of any violation or crime.   What followed was 4 days of rioting over this injustice in the city of Cincinnati, Ohio.

My cousin was driving home and found herself caught up in the mob scene and had to creatively find an exit from the anger and rage.  As she turned a corner to get clear she saw a boy standing on the corner holding a sign which said, “PLEASE DON’T SHOOT ME.”

The image of the boy on the corner was stuck into her mind.

In 2010, Cathie heard about a fiber art exhibit which depicted a human face or form and she knew right away that she would use the image frozen into her mind that fateful day.   She spent 8 months working and designing the piece and over 250 hours weaving.

Here is the picture of PLEASE DON’T SHOOT ME:
please don't shoot me (2)

In Cathie’s own words of description:

“The piece did get into the YWCA exhibit downtown, opening April 15th 2011. The criteria were a piece of fiber art which depicted a human face or form. The name of the piece is Please Don’t Shoot Me: Portrait of a Young Man, as Witnessed by the Artist, Cincinnati Riots 2001. Woven 2011, Tapestry, wool.“

I was so moved by her story and her work; it just needed to be shared with you.

Fiber Artist:  Catherine Beckman Cincinnati, Ohio


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Related Reading:
Spite or Malice or Cat and Mouse
The Element by Dr. Ken Robinson
The Love Ceiling
What Should I Do With the Rest of My Life

I so enjoy your comments and hope you enjoyed this fine tapestry.