Monday, June 30, 2014

Kitchen Confidence by Kelsey Nixon

Book Description:  Host of Cooking Channel's Kelsey's Essentials and fan favorite on season four of The Next Food Network Star, Kelsey Nixon shares the essential recipes, techniques, and tools that new home cooks need in their back pocket.

A young food star and new mom, Kelsey is an invaluable friend in the kitchen to everyone settling into their first kitchen of their own. Her recipes, which are broken down into simple steps, teach readers how to cook, highlighting key tools and basic techniques everyone should know. And yet her flavors are anything but basic; Kelsey gives everyone the confidence to start with the 2.0 version of a recipe instead of the boring standards. For example, she makes her house pilaf with quinoa instead of rice, and her addictive fruit salad is a savory first course instead of a lackluster dessert. 

 With 100 recipes and 60 color photographs, Kitchen Confidence brings home all of the energy and spirit of the Cooking Channel show of the same name, making it an excellent handbook for newlyweds, recent college graduates, and those discovering their kitchens for the first time.

My Thoughts: I love cookbooks.  I don't always love cooking but I love 
to browse recipes and look at the pictures.  Why, yes!  I do look for the easy did you guess?
Kelsey knows her food.  She has a TV program, Kelsey's Essentials, a wonderful  cooking program that teaches those of us in the "unknown" how to get around in the kitchen.  
This book is chock full of great recipes that college students and newly married or even singles living on their own would love to eat.  Well, for that matter families would love these foods . . . so basically a great cookbook for all peoples!                                                                             There are a lot of tips on cooking and pantry items.  The  basic pantry items were a great help to me.  And yes, I think most of the recipes seem fairly easy and doable.  And healthy.  Using quinoa in place of rice and using fruits instead of heavy calorie laden desserts.  
Gotta love good healthy eating!                                                                        This book makes a great present for the bride-to-be and so with all the weddings coming up this is number one on my list of giving.
*This book was provided for review by Waterbrook/Multnomah*

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Clarkson Potter (February 11, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0770436994
  • ISBN-13: 978-0770436995


COTT {Clash of the Titles} New Blood at COTT

Clash of the Titles is excited to announce that we're
 adding a brand new staff member to our leadership board. :-)

Everybody…we’d like to introduce you to Joanna Davidson Politano!

Welcome, Joanna!

With a journalism degree from Trinity International University, Joanna served as a medical writer in the pharmaceutical industry before branching into freelance work. She then accepted a writing and editing position with a Christian publishing company in Chicago, and currently serves as the editor for their Junior High Sunday school publication. She lives with her daughter and husband in Indiana, where she writes novels based on true stories.

Joanna is a current Double Genesis Semi-Finalist in the Historical category! Asked about her writing journey, this is what Joanna had to say:

"I’ve been writing since I could read, but I can pinpoint the exact moment I began novel writing. It was when my grandma shocked me with the story of our family’s past. How could this have happened in our traditional, predictable, church-going family? At the time, I worked for a pharmaceutical company writing package insert material, but this family story drew me to my computer every night for a year, rattling around in my head until I’d written out the whole novel. I simply couldn’t stop thinking about it. I eventually moved to a job at a Christian nonfiction publisher, but I still spent hours absorbing the stories of the shut-in elderly, or nursing home residents who had lived through eras in our history I could only read about in books.

Fascinated by World War II love stories, family secrets, and amazing stories of God’s sovereignty, I kept returning for more. But I was not just interested in finding book ideas. Honestly, what drove me to write these novels was more than a simple love for story—it was a tenderness I felt for people overlooked by everyone else. These fascinating stories came from nursing home residents who had no visitors, or people confined to their home by age or illness. They’d been brushed aside by everyone—even the families they’d raised.

After introductions and polite small talk, I delved into the question that transformed these visits into unforgettable experiences—“what’s your story?” Their faces lit as they told me stories so rich in detail and real-life experiences it beat out any movie or book.

So yes, I write novels. But really, I hear people’s stories and then write them down to be remembered long after the story teller is gone. When God called me into this life of novel writing, He didn’t promise publication or to impact thousands with the words I wrote. He simply wanted me to see the forgotten people He loved, and to appreciate their lives."

Doesn’t that make you want to know their stories too? Joanna also talked to us about her sweet family and what’s going on in her writing life currently:

"My husband has been my biggest supporter in the whole process. Mainly because he’s blunt enough to tell me exactly what’s great and what’s not, and because he pushes me to finish what I start. We currently live in our house in the woods with our new baby daughter Elena and will be celebrating our two-year anniversary next month. I have no doubt he’s a blessing from God.

I’m currently working on a novel about a finishing school teacher who teaches her students about men rather than elocution. When she realizes her students are headed for the controlling, male-dominated marriages that characterized the times, Orla sets out to teach these girls the truth about how to understand men and how they think. Armed with knowledge, they have a chance at choosing the right man—although not always the wealthiest, as the school boasts—and surviving marriage happily as part of an equal team. But this local expert on men is hiding her own complicated, broken love life to keep her job.

I can’t wait to dive into COTT. With all the contests out there, I love the uniqueness of having readers judge the work. After all, they’re our real audience! I hope to help further the mission statement of glorifying God and to make COTT even more helpful to those who love Christian fiction—both the readers and the writers."

We are so blessed and excited to have you on board, Joanna!

You can leave a message welcoming Joanna in the comments below. And feel free to check out her website at 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Adventures in Odyssey, Problems in Plymouth by Marianne Hering & Marshal Younger

Book Description:  The Imagination Station Adventures continue! Patrick and Beth’s next adventure leads them to Plymouth Plantation in 1621. There they meet William Bradford, Miles Standish, and Chief Massasoit, who are trying to establish peace between the Pilgrims and the Indians. Things are anything but peaceful, however, when a musket is stolen and the Pilgrims conclude the Indians are planning war. Only Patrick and Beth know who the real thief is—the traitor Hugh—and it’s up to the cousins to find him and stop him from causing trouble. When the cousins hear a gunshot during the first Thanksgiving feast, their worst fears are realized. They rush to the Mayflower and try to set right history, even as Hugh desperately tries to change it.

My Thoughts: While looking for a christian oriented book about Thanksgiving I found Problems in Plymouth.  This is a fiction history book for young readers but our whole family enjoyed this book.  We, though, love all things Adventures in Odyssey.  I guess one could say that we are Adventure in Odyssey fans! {smile}
There was much more to that first Thanksgiving than just turkey, Indians and Pilgrims as we found out in this fast paced read.  In fact, learning about William Bradford, Miles Standish and Chief Massasoit has never been more fun.  
Our family read this book first and then this book was read to a class of second and third graders at Children's Church and they loved it!  In fact, when I wanted to quit reading the children begged for one more chapter.  It's just that good!

  • Age Range: 6 - 9 years
  • Series: AIO Imagination Station Books (Book 6)
  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Focus on the Family (September 23, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1589976320
  • ISBN-13: 978-1589976320

The Redcoats Are Coming! (AIO Imagination Station Books) by Marianne Hering, Nancy I. Sanders

Book Description:  The first of a three-book story arc about the American Revolution, "The Redcoats Are Coming" follows Patrick and Beth as they assist the revolutionaries by waking up the sleeping citizens of 1775 Concord before the Redcoats come. In this adventure, the cousins meet Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, and John Hancock. They help smuggle musket balls, sound the alarm that the Redcoats are coming, and deliver a secret message to Paul Revere. Along the way they learn that most of the revolutionaries leaned on God's direction and even pastors helped in the cause.Christian parents and teachers will appreciate the historical facts as well as the biblical worldview training their kids and students will absorb. The kids will appreciate the excitement and tension of an America at war with England, and in some ways, with itself. A curriculum for Christian schools and homeschool families will be available.

My Thoughts:  The Redcoats Are Coming!  is the first book of three about the American Revolution.  Out family was excited about this "series" because first of all it's Adventures in Odyssey and secondly we are studying about the American Revolution as a family for the month of June, to get ready for our July 4th celebration.  This year we thought since our children were older it would nice if they knew "the why" of why we celebrate Independence Day each year.  This is a great read!  Filled with action, history and plenty imagination.  A great asset to any child's summer reading!  In my {humble opinion}  one just miss with the Adventures in Odyssey books!

  • Age Range: 6 - 9 years
  • Series: AIO Imagination Station Books (Book 13)
  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Focus on the Family (December 25, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1589977742
  • ISBN-13: 978-1589977747