Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Have A Wonderful, Safe New Years Eve!

Jackie's Very Fond of This Colletion of Debut Authors from 2014

Click on the book to learn more about the book.

A Wonderful Book To Start The New Year With

The incredible journey of one man who sets out to circumnavigate the globe on a vintage motorbike fueled by kindness.

Follow the inspirational journey of a former stockbroker who leaves his unfulfilling desk job in search of a meaningful life. He sets out from Los Angeles on a vintage motorbike, determined to circumnavigate the globe surviving only on the kindness of strangers. Incredibly, he makes his way across the U.S., through Europe, India, Cambodia, and Vietnam, and finally to Canada and back to the Hollywood sign, by asking strangers for shelter, food, and gas. Again and again, he's won over by the generosity of humanity, from the homeless man who shares his blanket to the poor farmer who helps him with his broken down bike, and the HIV-positive mother who takes him in and feeds him. At each stop, he finds a way to give back to these unsuspecting Good Samaritans in life-changing ways, by rebuilding their homes, paying for their schooling, and leaving behind gifts big and small.

The Kindness Diaries will introduce you to a world of adventure, renew your faith in the bonds that connect people, and inspire you to accept and generate kindness in your own life.

Deb Perelman Offers Up A Tasty Treat For The New Year (They Are NOT Just a Holidays!)

A Holiday Recipe
Big Breakfast Latkes

Just about everyone who makes breakfast has a version of breakfast potatoes, be they hash browns or home fries or skillet-smashed potatoes. And just about all cooks make them their very own way—the way they think potatoes should be—and though they may tolerate other breakfast–potato formats, they secretly always think that their personal method, the one they learned from their mama/that diner on Main Street/their friend the chef is the best.

Personally, I just want to eat latkes all year round, and I maintain that if you're limiting your latke consumption to the eight nights of Hanukkah, you are missing out. The latke, at its base, is the ideal breakfast potato—humble russets and everyday onions, shredded, mixed with the slimmest amounts of egg and flour, and fried until brown and crisp on both sides. Latkes hold together better than hash browns, which allows you to make them bigger. And the bigger they are, the more ideal base they become for the other perfect breakfast, a fried egg.

Yield: Four large (5-inch) latkes

1 large baking potato (1 pound or 455 grams), peeled 1 small onion (1/4 pound or 115 grams), peeled 1/4 cup (30 grams) all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 3/4 teaspoon table salt 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1 large egg, lightly beaten Vegetable or olive oil, for frying Fried eggs, to serve (optional)

Preheat your oven to 250 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil, and keep in oven until needed.

In a food processor or on a box grater, coarsely shred the potato and onion. For longer, moplike strands, I prefer to lay the potato sideways in the chute of the food processor. Transfer the shredded mixture to a square of cheesecloth or lint-free dishtowel, and gather the ends to wring out as much water as possible. Let it stand for 2 minutes, then squeeze it out again.

In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, pepper, and egg together. Stir in the potato-onion mixture until all the pieces are evenly coated.

In a small, heavy skillet (cast-iron, if you have one), heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil until it shimmers. Drop one-quarter of the potato mixture into the skillet, and flatten with the back of a spoon to a 5-inch round. Cook the latke over moderate heat until the edges are golden, about 4 to 5 minutes; flip, and cook until golden on the bottom, about 3 to 4 minutes more.

Transfer latke to the prepared baking sheet in the oven. Repeat process with remaining latke batter in three batches, creating a total of four large latkes, being sure to add more oil as needed and letting it fully reheat between pancakes. Keep latkes warm in oven until needed. Serve latkes warm in four wedges with eggs or whole with a fried egg atop each.

Do Ahead: Latkes are a do-aheader's dream. You can also keep the latkes warm in the oven, on low heat, for an hour or more, if you're waiting for stragglers to arrive. If already cooked, they keep well in the fridge for a day or two, or in the freezer, well wrapped, for up to 2 weeks. Reheat the latkes in a single layer on a cookie sheet in a 300-degree oven until they're crisp again. Bonus: If you undercooked them a bit, or didn't get them as brown as you'd hoped, you can compensate for this in the oven.

Cooking Note: For neat edges and a thinner rostilike appearance, you can press each pancake into a 6-inch skillet and proceed to cook according to directions. For lacy, craggyedged latkes, form the pancakes in a larger pan.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The First Book In This Planned Series Hooked Jackie Right Away

In the predominantly Mormon city of Draper, Utah, some seemingly perfect families have deadly secrets.

Linda Wallheim is a devout Mormon, the mother of five boys and the wife of a bishop. But Linda is increasingly troubled by her church’s structure and secrecy, especially as a disturbing situation takes shape in her ward. One cold winter night, a young wife and mother named Carrie Helm disappears, leaving behind everything she owns. Carrie’s husband, Jared, claims his wife has always been unstable and that she has abandoned the family, but Linda doesn’t trust him. As Linda snoops in the Helm family’s circumstances, she becomes convinced that Jared has murdered his wife and painted himself as a wronged husband.

Linda’s husband asks her not to get involved in the unfolding family saga. But Linda has become obsessed with Carrie’s fate, and with the well-being of her vulnerable young daughter. She cannot let the matter rest until she finds out the truth. Is she wrong to go against her husband, the bishop, when her inner convictions are so strong?

Inspired by a chilling true crime and written by a practicing Mormon, The Bishop’s Wife is both a fascinating look at the lives of modern Mormons as well as a grim and cunningly twisted mystery.

Jackie says:
"I found this book to be fascinating in many ways. I have an BA in religious philosophy/history, but I have never been privileged to learn any inside information about Mormonism. This book, and my long talk with the author, answered so many questions for me. I would have loved the novel for that reason alone, but within the plot there are several mysteries brewing in the church ward for which the bishop is responsible. People are dying or disappearing, families are breaking up, and the bishop's wife Linda is trying to get to the bottom of it. I'm so happy to know that Harrison has written two more books in this planned series, with notes and intentions for several more. This is a great story, and I look forward to reading more from Harrison."

Fresh Ink: Spotlight on Debut Books of All Kinds

Luke Slade, a young Congressional aide, begins this business trip to China like all other international travel he's endured with "Lyin' Leo" buried under a slew of diplomatic runarounds, non-functioning cell phones, and humiliation from the Congressman at every turn. But on day two, a new challenge rears its ugly head: Leo goes on a drunken bender and disappears into the night. Unsure what dubious business his corrupt and buffoonish boss had planned, Luke must piece together the Congressman's lies while maintaining appearances with their Chinese contacts.

Amidst the confusion, a little bleary from jet-lag and alcohol, Luke receives a briefcase full of money from the mayor of a rural Chinese province. Luke accepts the "gift" in his daze, but when he later realizes his mistake and tries to return the cash, he discovers even more anxiety-inducing news. The mayor is dead.

As Luke tries to unravel the complex minefield of corruption he's tumbled into, he must also confront his own role in the events. Unwitting marionette? Fall guy? Or perhaps someone more capable of moral compromise than he would have liked to believe.

Last Days in Shanghai is an unforgettable debut by a writer to watch. It's both a hold-on-to-your-seat thriller and a pitch-perfect exploration of present day China--the country's rapacious capitalism, the shocking boom of its cities and the wholesale eradication of its traditions.

Read an excerpt HERE.

Read an article about the shaping of this book HERE.

Praise for the book:

"Walker's shockingly plausible literary debut...[is] an outrageous tale of embezzlement into a rollicking moral drama." ~Publisher's Weekly

"Slimy all-American graft oozes from beneath the economic aspirations of contemporary China in this witty, illuminating thriller.Walker's impressive debut novel is a post-millennial noir thriller in which the grubbier impulses of two superpowers intersect with life-altering results.…Though its observations about China's construction boom and the dismal state of American politics are as fresh as the morning news feed, Walker's novel also feels like a disquieting peek deep into the coming decades of global economic upheaval." ~Kirkus

"This edgy first novel delivers a scathing indictment of congressional politics as it follows a young aide on a business trip to China.…Walker’s smart writing on a host of issues, including China’s frenzied construction boom, which has paved over ancient traditions block by block, and the sorry state of American politics, gives this cautionary tale frisson." ~Booklist

"Last Days in Shanghai is both a comedy and a horror story about mistaken identity and moral inertia; it's also a dreamlike tour through the backalleys of Shanghai, a fever-bright landscape that corresponds to the mental labyrinth of fear and desire.The story is fabulous; the language will knock you flat." ~Karen Russell, author of Swamplandia!

"Last Days in Shanghai is about how easily we live our lives in thrall to our own evasions and how fervently we hope for redemption, and its protagonist, who imagines himself to be hardboiled but is really mostly softheaded, is one of those functionaries who helps our corrupt global system toot along despite being all confusion and hopeless compromise. For all his appeal, he presents himself as yet another Innocent Abroad for the same reason most of us do: to deny our complicity in the damage that follows in our wake." ~Jim Sheppard, author of Like You'd Understand, Anyway

Just A Few of the New Fiction On Our Shelves

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Monday, December 29, 2014

Dispatch From the Field: "David Leavitt's novel is well-paced, funny, sexy, and at times sad. Although his characters are in a very unique situation, he brings out the universal humanity in their story." ~Joe

It is the summer of 1940, and Lisbon, Portugal, is the only neutral port left in Europe—a city filled with spies, crowned heads, and refugees of every nationality, tipping back absinthe to while away the time until their escape. Awaiting safe passage to New York on the SS Manhattan, two couples meet: Pete and Julia Winters, expatriate Americans fleeing their sedate life in Paris; and Edward and Iris Freleng, sophisticated, independently wealthy, bohemian, and beset by the social and sexual anxieties of their class. As Portugal’s neutrality, and the world’s future, hang in the balance, the hidden threads in the lives of these four characters—Julia’s status as a Jew, Pete and Edward’s improbable affair, Iris’s increasingly desperate efforts to save her tenuous marriage—begin to come loose.
Gorgeously written, sexually and politically charged, David Leavitt’s long-awaited new novel is an extraordinary work.

Joe says:
"The latest from David Leavitt came out in paperback this year, and it is a book you don't want to miss. This is the story of two couples, displaced by the advancing Nazis to Lisbon, Portugal. Both couples are waiting for safe passage to New York. Pete and Julia Winters are Americans who were living in Paris, and Edward and Iris Freleng are wealthy bohemians. The two couples meet at a streetside cafe, and we follow the impact of their meeting through the eyes of Pete. Lisbon in 1940 was a city brimful of spies, expatriots, and refugees, biding their time waiting to leave by drinking and intrigue. This is a lively, sexy novel with lots of tableside drama as well as a dizzying affair in a city none of the characters really knows. 
Displaced, the characters' lives in this kind of situation takes on a new set of rules, at times thrilling and other times horrifying. David Leavitt's novel is well-paced, funny, sexy, and at times sad. Although his characters are in a very unique situation, he brings out the universal humanity in their story. This is not a novel easily forgotten, thankfully."

New Non-Fiction Books
“We lost the war in southern Afghanistan and it broke my heart.”

So begins Graeme Smith’s The Dogs Are Eating Them Now, and like all heartbreaks, this one happened despite the best intentions. Smith devoted more time to southern Afghanistan than any other Western journalist between 2005 and 2011, and his book offers a candid and critical look at the Taliban’s rising influence and the West’s continued miscalculations.

Smith was not simply embedded with the military: he operated independently and at great personal risk to report from inside the war, and the heroes of his story are the translators, guides, and ordinary citizens who helped him find the truth. They revealed sad, absurd, touching stories that provide the key to understanding why the mission failed to deliver peace and democracy.

For readers of Sebastian Junger, Philip Gourevitch, and Dexter Filkins, The Dogs Are Eating Them Now is a raw, uncensored account of the war in Afghanistan from a brilliant young reporter with unmatched compassion and a rare ability to cut through the noise and see the broader reality.

The first book in a major new trilogy, How to Live: How We Are, How We Break, and How We Mend

We live in small worlds.

How We Are is an astonishing debut and the first part of the monumental How to Live trilogy, a profound and ambitious work that gets to the heart of what it means to be human: how we are, how we break, and how we mend.

In Book One, How We Are, we explore the power of habit and the difficulty of change. As Vincent Deary shows us, we live most of our lives automatically, in small worlds of comfortable routine—what he calls Act One. Conscious change requires deliberate effort, so for the most part we avoid it. But inevitably, from within or without, something comes along to disturb our small worlds—some News from Elsewhere. And with reluctance, we begin the work of adjustment: Act Two.
Over decades of psychotherapeutic work, Deary has witnessed the theater of change—how ordinary people get stuck, struggle with new circumstances, and finally transform for the better. He is keenly aware that novelists, poets, philosophers, and theologians have grappled with these experiences for far longer than psychologists. Drawing on his own personal experience and a staggering range of literary, philosophical, and cultural sources, Deary has produced a mesmerizing and universal portrait of the human condition.

Part psychologist, part philosopher, part novelist, Deary helps us to see how we can resist being habit machines, and make our acts and our lives more fully our own.
Expanding on her viral post that has become an international phenomenon, a psychotherapist offers simple yet effective solutions for increasing mental strength and finding happiness and success in life.

As a licensed clinical social worker, college psychology instructor, and psychotherapist, Amy Morin has seen countless people choose to succeed despite facing enormous challenges. That resilience inspired her to write 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do, a web post that instantly went viral, and was picked up by the Forbes website.

Morin's post focused on the concept of mental strength, how mentally strong people avoid negative behaviors--feeling sorry for themselves, resenting other people's success, and dwelling on the past. Instead, they focus on the positive to help them overcome challenges and become their best.

In this inspirational, affirmative book, Morin expands upon her original message, providing practical strategies to help readers avoid the thirteen common habits that can hold them back from success. Combining compelling anecdotal stories with the latest psychological research, she offers strategies for avoiding destructive thoughts, emotions, and behaviors common to everyone.

Like physical strength, mental strength requires healthy habits, exercise, and hard work. Morin teaches you how to embrace a happier outlook and arms you to emotionally deal with life's inevitable hardships, setbacks, and heartbreaks--sharing for the first time her own poignant story of tragedy, and how she summoned the mental strength to move on. As she makes clear, mental strength isn't about acting tough; it's about feeling empowered to overcome life's challenges.

From ancient empires to modern economics, veteran journalist Andrew Lawler delivers a sweeping history of the animal that has been most crucial to the spread of civilization across the globe—the chicken.

Queen Victoria was obsessed with it. Socrates’ last words were about it. Charles Darwin and Louis Pasteur made their scientific breakthroughs using it. Catholic popes, African shamans, Chinese philosophers, and Muslim mystics praised it. Throughout the history of civilization, humans have embraced it in every form imaginable—as a messenger of the gods, powerful sex symbol, gambling aid, emblem of resurrection, all-purpose medicine, handy research tool, inspiration for bravery, epitome of evil, and, of course, as the star of the world’s most famous joke.

In Why Did the Chicken Cross the World?, science writer Andrew Lawler takes us on an adventure from prehistory to the modern era with a fascinating account of the partnership between human and chicken (the most successful of all cross-species relationships). Beginning with the recent discovery in Montana that the chicken’s unlikely ancestor is T. rex, this book builds on Lawler’s popular Smithsonian cover article, “How the Chicken Conquered the World” to track the chicken from its original domestication in the jungles of Southeast Asia some 10,000 years ago to postwar America, where it became the most engineered of animals, to the uncertain future of what is now humanity’s single most important source of protein.

In a masterful combination of historical sleuthing and journalistic exploration on four continents, Lawler reframes the way we feel and think about our most important animal partner—and, by extension, all domesticated animals, and even nature itself.

Lawler’s narrative reveals the secrets behind the chicken’s transformation from a shy jungle bird into an animal of astonishing versatility, capable of serving our species’ changing needs. For no other siren has called humans to rise, shine, and prosper quite like the rooster’s cry: “cock-a-doodle-doo!”
In her New York Times and USA Today bestseller The Plan, Lyn-Genet Recitas revealed what surprisingly "healthy" foods cause weight gain and a host of other health problems such as migraines, joint pain, and depression.

Now all those who follow The Plan, and have learned which foods to eliminate from their diets, can support their new, healthier lifestyle with these delicious recipes. Recitas includes selections for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, sides, and desserts, such as Panko Crusted Orange Chipotle Chicken, Brazilian Coconut Rice, Provencal Fish with Fennel, Lemon, and Herbs, Red Velvet Cupcakes, and many more. Who says a healthy diet can't be a tasty one?

The Folks at Scientific American Shares Their 2014 Favorite Books

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Friday, December 26, 2014

Lisa Bu: How Books Can Open Your Mind

Wendy Is Recommending:
In this instant New York Times bestseller, Misty Copeland makes history as the only African American soloist dancing with the prestigious American Ballet Theatre. But when she first placed her hands on the barre at an after-school community center, no one expected the undersized, anxious thirteen-year-old to become a groundbreaking ballerina.

When she discovered ballet, Misty was living in a shabby motel room, struggling with her five siblings for a place to sleep on the floor. A true prodigy, she was dancing en pointe within three months of taking her first dance class and performing professionally in just over a year: a feat unheard of for any classical dancer. But when Misty became caught between the control and comfort she found in the world of ballet and the harsh realities of her own life (culminating in a highly publicized custody battle), she had to choose to embrace both her identity and her dreams, and find the courage to be one of a kind.

Life in Motion is an insider's look at the cutthroat world of professional ballet, as well as a moving story of passion and grace for anyone who has dared to dream of a different life.
How do you catch lightning in a measuring cup?

Dominique Ansel is the creator of the Cronut, the croissant-doughnut hybrid that has taken the world by storm. But he s no one-hit wonder. Classically trained in Paris, responsible for a four-star kitchen in New York, and now the proprietor of New York s highest rated bakery, Ansel has become a modern-day Willy Wonka: the creator of wildly creative, extraordinarily delicious, and unbelievably popular desserts.
Now, in his hotly anticipated debut cookbook, Ansel shares the secret to transforming the most humble ingredients into the most extraordinary, tempting, and satisfying pastries imaginable. Dominique Ansel: The Secret Recipes reveals the stories and recipes behind his most sought-after creations and teaches lovers of dessert everywhere how to make magic in their own kitchens.
A breakneck race against time...and an implacable enemy.
An anonymous young woman murdered in a run-down hotel, all identifying characteristics dissolved by acid.
A father publicly beheaded in the blistering heat of a Saudi Arabian public square.
A notorious Syrian biotech expert found eyeless in a Damascus junkyard.
Smoldering human remains on a remote mountainside in Afghanistan.
A flawless plot to commit an appalling crime against humanity.
One path links them all, and only one man can make the journey.
From Andrew Dice Clay, the "Undisputed Heavyweight Comedy King," comes the unapologetic and uncensored autobiography fans have been waiting for.

Andrew Dice Clay's raw stand-up delivery has shocked and entertained audiences for decades and continues to do so to this day. When he released his debut album, "Dice," in 1989, the parental advisory label simply read "Warning: This album is offensive." His material stretched the boundaries of decency and good taste to their breaking point, and in turn he became the biggest stand-up comic in the world.

In The Filthy Truth, Dice chronicles his remarkable rise, fall, and triumphant return. Brooklyn-born Andrew Clay Silverstein started out at Pips Comedy Club in Sheepshead Bay and eventually made a name for himself a decade later with a breakout appearance on the Rodney Dangerfield HBO special "Nothing Goes Right." With that single TV appearance he became the new king of comedy, and Dicemania was born. He was the first and only comedian to sell out over three hundred sports arenas across the country to an audience of more than twelve million people. He was also the first comedian to sell out Madison Square Garden two nights in a row.

But Dice's meteoric rise and spectacular fame brought on a furious backlash from the media and critics. Billboards for his album produced by Rick Rubin and for his movie "The Adventures of Ford Fairlane" were defaced and ripped down as fast as they were put up. By the mid-nineties, though still playing to packed audiences, the turmoil in his personal life, plus attacks from every activist group imaginable, led him to make the decision to step out of the spotlight and put the focus on raising his boys.

The Diceman was knocked down, but not out. Taking inspiration from what Frank Sinatra once told him--"You work for your fans, not the media. The media gets their tickets for free"--Dice is now back with critically acclaimed roles in HBO's "Entourage" and Woody Allen's "Blue Jasmine," and is once again playing to sold-out audiences.

Filled with no-holds-barred humor and honesty, The Filthy Truth sets the record straight and gives fans plenty of never-before-shared stories from his career and his friendships with Howard Stern, Sam Kinison, Mickey Rourke, Sylvester Stallone, Axl Rose, and countless others.
The first definitive biography of Bob Hope, featuring exclusive and extensive reporting that makes the persuasive case that he was most important entertainer of the twentieth century.

Born in 1903, and until his death in 2003, Bob Hope was the only entertainer to achieve top-rated success in every major mass-entertainment medium, from vaudeville to television and everything in between. He virtually invented modern stand-up comedy. His tours to entertain US troops and patriotic radio broadcasts, along with his all-American, brash-but-cowardly movie character, helped to ease the nation's jitters during the stressful days of World War II. He helped redefine the very notion of what it means to be a star: a savvy businessman, pioneer of the brand extension (churning out books, writing a newspaper column, hosting a golf tournament), and public-spirited entertainer whose Christmas military tours and tireless work for charity set the standard for public service in Hollywood. But he became a polarizing figure during the Vietnam War, and the book sheds new light on his close relationship with President Richard Nixon during those embattled years.

Bob Hope is a household name. However, as Richard Zoglin shows in this revelatory biography, there is still much to be learned about this most public of figures, from his secret first marriage and his stint in reform school, to his indiscriminate womanizing and his ambivalent relationship with Bing Crosby and Johnny Carson. Hope could be cold, self-centered, tight with a buck, and perhaps the least introspective man in Hollywood. But he was also a dogged worker, gracious with fans, and generous with friends.

Hope is both a celebration of an entertainer whose vast contribution has never been properly appreciated, and a complex portrait of a gifted but flawed man, who, unlike many Hollywood stars, truly loved being famous, appreciated its responsibilities, and handled celebrity with extraordinary grace.
Fresh from a four-month stint in rehab for her "alleged" shopping addiction, Babe Walker returns home to Bel Air ten pounds lighter (thanks to a stomach virus), having made amends (she told a counselor with bad skin she was smart) and confronted her past (after meeting her birth mother for the first time--a fashion model turned farmer lesbian). Although delighted to be home and determined to maintain her hard-won inner peace, Babe now faces a host of outside forces seemingly intent on derailing her path to positive change. Not only is she being trailed by an anonymous stalker, but she's also reunited with the love of her life, a relationship that she cannot seem to stop self-sabotaging.

Babe's newfound spirituality, coupled with her faith in the universe and its messages, leads her all over the world: shoulder dancing in Paris, tripping out in Amsterdam, and hooking up in the Mediterranean, only to land her back in New York City, forced to choose between a man who is perfect in every way (except for one small detail) and a man who could be The One if only he didn't drive Babe to utter insanity.
Unapologetic and uproarious, Psychos is the send-up of the season--already as timeless as vintage Dior. 

This Book Has Everyone's Attention. Pre-Order A Copy Now.

"The most extensive review of U.S. intelligence-gathering tactics in generations." -Los Angeles Times

This is the complete official summary report of the Senate Intelligence Committee's investigation of Central Intelligence Agency interrogation and detention programs launched in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.

Based on over six million internal CIA documents, the report details secret prisons, prisoner deaths, interrogation practices, and cooperation with other foreign and domestic agencies. It also examines charges that the CIA deceived elected officials and governmental overseers about the extent and legality of its operations.

Over five years in the making, and withheld from public view since its declassification in April, 2014, this is the full summary report as finally released by the United States government on December 9th, 2014.

You can call any of our stores to pre-order this book.  December 30, 2014 it will hit our shelves.  Get our numbers HERE.