“A Kiss For Cadence” -a Book Review and a Valentine’s Day GIVEAWAY

I learned to read when I was four years old. One of my very favorite things to do then—and now—is to curl up with my dog in my cozy chair and lose myself in words.A Kiss For Cadence Review- GCG

When I was offered the opportunity to review Airian Eastman’s ambitious first novel, A Kiss for Cadence, I was flattered and intrigued. And, when the book arrived in the mail a few weeks ago, I was delighted to find not just one book…but two….a second paperback book to offer to you as a giveaway!

A Kiss for Cadence is the story of a young woman returning to her small hometown after her marriage twelve years before. We discover that the intervening years have not been happy ones for Cadence, and we learn much about her family relationships, her broken dreams—and a kindly man with smoldering eyes who re-enters her life.

Eastman, from Central New York State herself, does a lovely job describing Cadence’s hometown and surroundings. In my reader’s mind, I could see the sunsets, the comfortably furnished homes, the sparkling lakes; and I could feel the snowflakes on my cheeks, the sturdy church pews, as well as the even harder to portray close relationships between Cadence’s siblings.

Airian Eastman tackles some heavy subjects in this novel: spousal abuse and other family tragedies with the potential to shake relationships to their foundations. These sections were written thoughtfully and honestly. When the final chapter came to an end, I felt I knew the characters and had been involved in their lives. I’ll admit—the ending surprised me—and I was very happy to see that a sequel to A Kiss for Cadence is in the works.

Airian Eastman’s A Kiss for Cadence is just the thing to curl up with on these long winter afternoons. It’s a quick read, but not necessarily a “light” read. There are parts that will make you think, and wonder, and feel. It’s divided into chapters, so if you need to set it down for a while, you can easily find your place again—or you can read a few chapters and then come back to it—although I think once you start reading A Kiss for Cadence you’ll not want to put it down!A Kiss for Cadence Review GCG


So…about the GIVEAWAY –you can enter to win your own signed copy of Airian Eastman’s A Kiss for Cadence” in these ways:

  1. Leave a comment below this post. You might tell what intrigues you about this book, or why you’d like to win it—or just a bit about your reading habits…OR…
  2. You could leave a comment under the post on our Green Circle Grove Facebook page…..OR….
  3. You could share the Facebook post with your friends.

On Saturday morning, February 14th—Valentine’s Day—the random picker will choose the winner. I hope it’s YOU!

UPDATE!!! Chosen by Random Picker –the winner of the signed edition of Airian Eastman’s novel is CARRIE J., who entered on our Facebook page.  Congratulations, Carrie J., and thank you all for helping promote Ms Eastman’s novel!  Happy Valentine’s Day!


Now, if you can’t wait to see if you are the winner, you can purchase a paperback copy of A Kiss for Cadence, and it’s also available for your Kindle, HERE through Amazon.


And our disclaimer: Green Circle Grove was furnished with a copy of A Kiss for Cadence, but the comments and considerations are entirely unsolicited.


This post was shared with (mis)Adventures Mondays Blog Hop, February 2 and also with Thursday Favorite Things Blog Hop at Katherine’s Corner and From the Farm Blog Hop.

“Homestead Cooking With Carol” A review, an author interview, and a giveaway!

 I have been looking forward to this day for months! Really!  Well, two months, at least.  Two months ago, author Carol J. Alexander offered to let me preview her new book  Homestead Cooking With Carol – Bountiful Make Ahead Meals.  I read it cover to cover, and pronounced it the newest essential in my country kitchen!  I’d like to tell you a little bit about it.homesteading cooking with carol cover3 with border (427x640)

First of all, “Homestead Cooking with Carol” is listed as a cookbook, but it’s more than that…there are recipes included, but it’s actually more a comfortably written book of suggestions from a helpful, knowledgeable friend.  As you read, Carol becomes your guide in the kitchen—assuring, reassuring, looking over your shoulder in a kindly way as you fix make ahead meals, tackle the terrors of your first experience with a pressure canner, investigate grain mills. She instructs you to add a “tad” of this, perhaps a “shake” of that, and by the time you’ve finished, you feel like you could easily accomplish the task on your own.

“Homestead Cooking With Carol” is chock-full of little hints (how to keep water deposits from forming on your canning jars, for example) and big ideas, as well, (butchering and processing poultry).  From the first chapter, in which Carol helps the reader decide whether to can or freeze, through easy instructions for scrumptious desserts and whole meals that can be prepared months in advance for serving at a moment’s notice, to a comprehensive listing of equipment and supplies for the well-stocked homestead kitchen, through the last pages and appendices giving resources, this reference book is valuable to anyone who uses a kitchen.

You’ll want to purchase and download a copy of this book, and you can easily do so HERE.  Even if you are an experienced cook—or a beginner—you’ll find something helpful in every chapter of “Homestead Cooking With Carol”.

In preparation for this review, I interviewed Carol J. Alexander (thanks, Carol!). IMG_0282a (640x640)

I tried to ask the questions that I thought you might have –

GreenCircleGrove: “Homestead Cooking?  How is that different from any other type of cooking?”

Carol J. Alexander: Homestead cooks face different challenges than other homemakers. For the most part, we try to grow most of our food. The normal homemaker goes to the grocery and buys her tomatoes by the pound. The homesteader picks them out back by the bushel. Then, she faces the question of what to do with them. How will I use these tomatoes this year? She has to plan for a year at a time because that is how the food comes. The normal homemaker only needs to plan for a week at a time, if she wants to plan at all. My mother was known to stop at the grocery every-single-day on her way home from work to get what she felt like eating for supper that night.


GCG: “Who do you think this book will appeal to the most?”

CJA: I think that for the most part new homesteaders will benefit from this book. “Old timers” will know what’s in it. But, I think that even an “old timer” who is in a transition time like the empty nest will benefit from the planning section.


GCG: “Why?”

CJA: I think the new homesteader will find a treasure trove of information in “Homestead Cooking with Carol”. Not only do I give a blow-by-blow on cleaning chicken feet, but the appendices give invaluable resources for someone just learning her way around a homestead kitchen.


GCG: “Now, a little about writing: What made you take the step from cooking to cookbook?”

CJA: I’m a freelance writer by trade. My articles have been in “Grit Magazine”, “Hobby Farms”, “BackHome”, and “Urban Farm” as well as regional parenting magazines and various other places. After seeing that the food posts on my blog, Everything Home with Carol, were the most popular, it only made sense to write a cookbook.


GCG: “Do you write a little every day, or do your ideas come to you at odd times? (Or both?)”

CJA: My best stuff comes to me as I’m falling asleep.  I do write every day. But during the summer months, when I’m busy out in the garden, I’m known for repeating ideas, key phrases, or even paragraphs over and over to myself until I can get inside to a pencil and paper.


GCG: “Are you working on your next project?”

CJA: Absolutely. There is a book called “Write, Publish, Repeat”. I love that title as it explains exactly what a writer should do. If I snooze, I lose, right? Anyway, I’ve already started editing my “Lessons from the Homestead” series for second editions and I’m accumulating notes and doing my “head-writing” thing for my next homesteading book.


GCG: “And finally: The majority of Green Circle Grove readers are women in “mid-life” – experienced cooks with grown (or nearly grown) families.  Why should they purchase Homestead Cooking With Carol: Bountiful Make-ahead Meals?”

CJA: Again, I think any time women go through a transition period in life, they need ideas to help them along. Where the basics like how to make applesauce might not be needed for the mid-life cook facing the empty nest, the meal-planning section and the accompanying worksheets could be very helpful. Also, if a woman’s family is grown, but may pop in without notice with a couple grandbabies in tow, what better thing than to have meals in jars on hand?

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Now, if you have more questions—or you’d like to talk to Carol yourself, Sunday, March 16 at 9:00 p.m. EST, Carol is planning a teleconference on homestead cooking. It will be a time to learn the difference between cooking on the homestead and cooking off the homestead. She will share her thoughts then have a time of questions and answers. She would love for you to join. If you think you might want to, click here to sign up to receive more details. If you’re not sure that day and time will work for you, sign up anyway and then you can get the recording to listen to at your convenience.


Bonus time:  Would you like the chance to win a copy of Carol J. Alexander’s new book, “Homestead Cooking With Carol-Bountiful Make-ahead Meals”? You’ll need to do only two simple things: first, leave a comment here on this blog post and next, if you haven’t already, subscribe to receive our blog posts by email. Carol’s blog tour will wrap up on Friday, March 21st and on Saturday morning, March 22nd, we’ll put all your names in a hat and use a “random picker” to choose the winner. We’ll announce the winner here and on our facebook page as well.


This post is shared with Thursday Favorite Things Blog Hop 130, Simply Living Simply Saturdays Blog Hop and From the Farm Blog Hop

A Review — Vertical Vegetable Gardening

Vertical Vegetable Gardening: A Living Free Guide by Chris McLaughlin

Paperback: 288 pages

Publisher: ALPHA (December 31, 2012)

ISBN: 978-1615641833


This is the time of year that I curl up with my garden journal, my pencil and the pile of seed catalogs that have been packing my mailbox for the past few weeks.  This year, I have one more item on my desk as I begin the wonderful task of planning my garden

 I was given the privilege of previewing Master Gardener Chris McLaughlin’s newest book Vertical Vegetable Gardening. This well researched, smartly written offering has earned a place of honor on my shelf of gardening books.

Vertical Vegetable Gardening is divided into four distinct parts: the first section explaining exactly what, and how, “growing up” instead of the usual “growing out” entails.  I’m not a beginning gardener, but I’ve never tackled trellises, hanging gardens or arbors.  Tackle? Chris McLaughlin’s do-it-yourself directions and diagrams appear as easy to follow, as they are to read.  I think my favorite section in Part 1 may be the long list of possibilities for creating garden containers. I have been peering into the rafters of my garage and behind outbuildings, and I think I’ve discovered a gold mine—springs from an old crib and leftover wire panels in two sizes!

Section Two in McLaughlin’s book is a wonderful explanation of gardening basics. Soil is discussed, pH is defined, and compost is described in depth. This part takes those gardening terms that one may have heard: heirloom seeds, open-pollinated, hybrid, and makes them easy to understand. In addition, in Part 2 of Vertical Vegetable Gardening, McLaughlin talks about starting seeds and getting them ready for the garden. I can hardly wait to make willow water to use as a natural rooting product!

McLaughlin uses Part 3 in Vertical Vegetable Gardening to discuss growing and tending a healthy garden; she covers pruning, crop rotation, soil amendments and irrigation in a casual, yet knowledgeable way. Beginning gardeners will easily learn ways to nurture their soil and plants, while more seasoned gardeners will benefit from tips and advice sprinkled lavishly throughout.  Beneficial and predator insects are discussed in this third section, as are suggestions for pest control.  I have plans to look closely at insects I find in my garden this year—if there are predator insects, I’ll look for the “cavalry”, too!

The fourth section in Chris McLaughlin’s Vertical Vegetable Gardening is all about—gardening vertically! Vegetables like beans, cucumbers and peas that naturally grow up are discussed. Ideas for containers and placement according to sunlight needs are given, and suggested varieties as “best bets” are described.  Vegetables that don’t naturally grow up, the “vertically challenged” ones, are easily grown in containers, according to McLaughlin, or in the spaces vacated by climbing vegetables. The final chapters of this educational and entertaining book are about all the possibilities of vertically growing fruits and herbs.  I learned espalier is a noun as well as a verb, strawberries can be grown in an old kitchen colander (and don’t think for a minute that I’m not going to try this), and that herbs can be grown nearly anywhere, but prefer to grow everywhere.

I recommend Vertical Vegetable Gardening to the beginning gardener—you’ll learn how to build a garden from the soil up. For the more advanced gardener—Chris McLaughlin offers suggestions, tips and new ideas, and for other Master Gardeners—there’s always something new to be learned. Chris McLaughlin’s casual style of writing, peppered (pun intended) with bursts of delightful humor gives her well-researched newest book a prime spot on my bookshelf. It should be on yours, as well.

Vertical Vegetable Gardening is available at Amazon and all other major booksellers.   You can follow author and Master Gardener Chris McLaughlin on Facebook and Twitter or visit her website www.asuburbanfarmer.com.




You might like Chris McLaughlin’s other books, too:

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Composting

Hobby Farms: Rabbits: Small-Scale Rabbit Keeping

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Heirloom Vegetables

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Small-Space Gardening

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