Posted in Blogging for Books

A gripping, modern Midwestern Gothic!

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel has arrived!!
roanoke-girls

Was this book written just for Ms. Pickett? It’s so in my wheelhouse! It’s ringing all of my bells! I’m here for The Roanoke Girls! Here’s why: that intriguing cover, a spookily labyrinthine farmhouse, seemingly idyllic small-town life churning with betrayals, a young woman’s struggle to break free of her own history, and the (really) dark secrets of the Roanoke family ….

After her mother’s suicide, 15-year old Lane Roanoke is sent to New Osage, Kansas, to live with her grandparents and cousin Allegra. Ten years later, Allegra has vanished and Lane returns to the Roanoke estate at her grandfather’s request. Chapters alternate between Lane’s indelible summer in Osage Flats (“Then”), and the fraught days following Allegra’s disappearance (“Now”). It all feels like standard girl-gone-missing fare until Amy Engel tosses a literary flash bang at the reader on page 32. Allegra’s own words are prophetic: “Roanoke girls never last long around here. In the end, we either run or we die.” It’s finding out why the Roanoke girls don’t last long that will keep you turning pages at a frantic pace even as the chills run down your spine.

This modern twist on a rural Gothic noir calls to mind some of my recent favorites: S•Town PodcastWhere All Light Tends to Go by David Joy, The Weight of Blood by Laura McHugh, All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda, My Sunshine Away by M.O. Walsh, and (from my TBR list) Let Me Die In His Footsteps by Lori Roy.

The Roanoke Girls is available now in the Ridley High School Library. Thank you to Blogging for Books for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review!

Posted in Blogging for Books

One Pan & Done!

One Pan & Done: Hassle-Free Meals from the Oven to Your Table by Molly Gilbert has just been served up in the Ridley High School Library! onepandone

Molly is the author of the ultra-popular Sheet Pan Suppers, and she’s back with more recipes that are big on flavor, but simple on steps! With this collection, her goals are ease, simplicity, and minimal dish pileup. One Pan & Done offers the best of all worlds: the flavorful, roasted goodness of sheet pan suppers plus the appeal of comfort foods like stews and casseroles. An introduction called “The One Pan 411” includes a helpful primer on pots and pans (complete with icons that appear throughout the book) and some “pantry talk” on how to stock a kitchen cabinet for success.

Chapters cover the essential cookbook categories: Breakfast and Brunch, Starters and Sides, Veggie Mains, Poultry, Fish, Meat, and Sweets. Numbered, step-by-step instructions walk you through each recipe. Helpful How-To’s are sprinkled throughout, providing tips on how to crack an egg cleanly, how to work with coconut milk, how to clean leeks, and more. Beautiful, full-page photographs accompany nearly every recipe, and they are just the motivation you’ll need to give these one-pan dishes a go! As always, a handful of recipes are especially eye-catching:

  • Herby Egg & Blue Cheese Soufflés
  • Radish & Ricotta Frittata
  • Fresh Berry Cornmeal Muffins
  • Crispy Tomato and Butter Bean Skillet
  • Roasted Shrimp & Chickpea Salad
  • Blackberry Oat Crisp

soufflesOne Pan & Done is available to check out today in the Ridley High School Library! Thanks to Blogging for Books for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review!

Posted in Library News

Don’t Dread the Blank Page!

A teacher once told me that nothing is more intimidating than a blank page that’s just waiting to be filled with words. Whether you dread the blank page or genuinely look forward to filling it with your original ideas, writing sometimes feels like really hard work. Is there a way to make writing easier? Yes! With more writing, and by writing more. That’s where this new addition to the library, Q&A a Day for Writers: 365 Questions for Creative Writers, comes in. The daily prompts in this journal are designed to challenge you through quotes, questions, and thought experiments that will help you hone your writing skills and unlock the benefits of writing every day. Here are some of my favorite examples:

  • Use a handwriting sample to inspire a character sketch.
  • Spend a few moments writing about a book that inspires you.
  • Pick a place and describe the first snowfall of the year there.
  • Describe a memorable person you met just once and will likely never see again.
  • If you could leave a note for yourself to read this time next year, what would it say?
  • Allow yourself a fan fiction moment, and begin a sequel to a beloved book.
  • What’s your sign? Find today’s horoscope and write about how true or false it is.
  • Write about a possession that was prized by you and is now lost.
  • Describe in detail the most recent person you’ve met.
  • What are your top five goals for your writing in the coming months?

q_aforwritersThis lovely, inspiring, and definitely non-intimidating journal is available to peruse in the library today! But please leave the pages blank for the next student who decides to page through it. Q&A a Day for Writers would also make a perfect gift for any aspiring writer in your life. Thank you to Blogging for Books for providing a copy of Q&A a Day for Writers in exchange for honest feedback!

Posted in Blogging for Books, new books

Knockout Quick-Fix and Slow-Cooker Recipes!

The kitchen timer just rang for SkinnyTaste Fast and Slow: Knockout Quick-Fix and Slow Cooker Recipes by Gina Homolka with Heather K. Jones, and it’s available to be checked out today from the Ridley High School Library! Gina Homolka is the founder, author, photographer, and recipe developer of the tremendously popular food blog SkinnyTaste.comHeather K. Jones is a Registered Dietician and wellness coach. In other words, these ladies bring serious kitchen credentials to this deliciously unique new cookbook!homolkaSkinnyTaste Fast and Slow is full to the brim with recipes that can be prepared in 30 minutes or less, combined with plenty of convenient meals that you can simply toss into the slow cooker to enjoy later. The authors keep it healthy and convenient with lots of whole foods, veggies, and in-season ingredients, all of which can be found at a general supermarket (no internship at an organic farm required!). The authors also provide some time-saving tips and tricks that will help you be more efficient, and have more fun, in the kitchen:

  • Make a meal plan
  • Cook in season (Less work + More Flavor = A winning equation!)
  • Pack your pantry with essentials like grains, canned goods, and seasonings
  • Fill your fridge and freezer with staples of the perishable variety
  • Learn fast cooking fundamentals and slow cooker secrets

The chapters are fairly standard (Healthy Mornings, Meatless Mains, On the Side) with one notable exception: Zoodles, Squashta, Pasta, and Sauce. This is where you’ll find some fresh twists on that same ol’ spaghetti. Skinny Scoops, Food Facts, and nutritional information for every recipe round out this fantastic addition to the library. Gina and Heather also incorporate SkinnyTaste.com‘s ultra-helpful Recipe Key within their collaborative effort:recipekeySkinnyTaste Fast and Slow will not only inspire you to cook and eat more healthfully, it will also give you the tools you need to follow through on it! Thank you to Blogging for Books for providing a copy of this book exchange for an honest review!skinnytastepic

Posted in Blogging for Books, new books

Please Pass the Veggies!

Look what just sprouted in the Ridley High School Library’s cookbook section! Martha Stewart’s Vegetables: Inspired Recipes and Tips for Choosing, Cooking, and Enjoying the Freshest Seasonal Flavors is the latest addition to our amazing collection of books for cooks.Vegetables.jpgThe editors of Martha Stewart Living have developed these recipes to help you prepare vegetables in sweet, savory, and generally delicious ways. The veggies themselves range from familiar to totally unknown. (What is a ramp, anyway?) To help guide readers along, the edible plants in this lavishly photographed collection have been divided into categories that double as chapters: bulbs, roots, tubers, pods, shoots, leaves, flowers, and even “fruits” (avocados, eggplant, and tomatoes). Each chapter covers the basics of seasonality, selection, notable varieties, storing, prepping, and cooking. This brief introduction is followed by a dozen or so recipes that run the gamut from simple to showstopper! As always, there’s a long list that I can’t wait to try, including:

  • Beet Risotto with Beet Greens
  • Yukon Gold and Sweet Potatoes Anna
  • Skillet Pizza with Greens and Eggplant
  • Spinach and Fontina Strata
  • Smoky Brussels Sprouts Gratin

Martha Stewart’s Vegetables is available to be checked out today! Thank you to Blogging for Books for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.

P.S. Not to worry if you prefer more protein on your plate; plenty of these recipes feature beef, pork, chicken, or fish in a starring role.

P.P.S. A ramp is a wild onion.

Posted in Blogging for Books, new books

Rad Women Worldwide!

Rad Women Worldwide: Artists and Athletes, Pirates and Punks, and Other Revolutionaries Who Shaped History by Kate Schatz has just arrived at the Ridley High School Library! The book’s forty mini-biographies, which represent all seven continents, describe the lives and accomplishments of truly radical women in lively, conversational profiles. Each chapter is accompanied by an iconic papercut portrait, created by illustrator Miriam Klein Stahl using paper, pencil, and an X-Acto knife.
radwomenCheck out the map on the book’s front endpapers to orient yourself to this journey through time and around the world:radwomenmapThen page through Rad Women Worldwide to learn more about contemporary women such as Malala Yousafzai, Venus and Serena Williams, and primatologist Biruté Mary Galdikas. Read up on Enheduanna (the world’s oldest known author), Hypatia (the first known female mathematician and scientist), Queen Lil’uokalani of Hawaii, and so many more. No matter what country or century they’re from, these women are passionate, purposeful, and powerful. Be sure to stick around for “The Stateless” on pages 94-95, a poetic ode to the world’s 60 million displaced people (almost 80% of whom are women and children).

One small complaint: if the map and Table of Contents included keywords such as Educator, Environmentalist, or Musician next to each woman’s name, Rad Women Worldwide would be even more accessible to browsers and researchers. Nonetheless, it will inspire you to read more, to learn more, and to be a little bit more rad! It’s a natural companion read to Schatz and Stahl’s 2015 collection Rad American Women A-Z, as well as Rachel Swaby’s Headstrong.

Thank you to Blogging for Books for providing a copy of Rad Women Worldwide in exchange for an honest review!

Posted in Blogging for Books, new books

The Curated Closet by Anuschka Rees!

I just made room on the shelves of the Ridley High School Library for The Curated Closet by Anuschka Rees! She’s got a degree in social psychology, and in this unique how-to book she pairs the science behind how we make decisions with her minimalistic approach to personal style. Whether you’re a long-time fashionista or a total beginner, this book will teach you to curate your closet, with a lot of fun and a little self-discovery along the way. curatedclosetThe Curated Closet philosophy is simple:

  1. Be selective.
  2. Be authentic.
  3. Aim for quality.
  4. Style trumps fashion.
  5. Put in the work.

Using these principles as a guide, Rees provides tips, techniques, exercises, and prompts designed to help you cultivate a strong personal style and build a functional collection of clothes that allows you to express yourself. “A great wardrobe is like a well-oiled machine,” Rees writes. “Interrelated parts work together, allowing you to mix and match freely and create a ton of different outfits that all suit your personal style.” Over the course of twenty-one brief chapters (complete with beautifully stylish photographs) she addresses discovering your personal style, building your dream wardrobe, and the art of shopping. I especially enjoyed the Closet Diagnostics flowchart, which directs the reader through a series of questions toward a particular tip and/or chapter to help cure what ails your closet. The Curated Closet will be especially beneficial for any student trying to figure out what to pack for college, how to fit everything into a tiny dorm-room closet, and how to maximize a limited budget. Don’t miss Chapters 11 and 14, on outfit formulas and capsule wardrobes; the two-week outfit plan (pages 146-147) will get you through the semester in style! You can also apply Rees’ minimalist lifestyle philosophy to other aspects of your routine. Remember, it’s not about having as little as possible. It’s about owning (and doing) the things that add happiness to your life!

Thank you to Blogging for Books for providing a copy of The Curated Closet in exchange for an honest review!