Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Book Review: Daughter of Hope by Joanna Fay

I recently had the opportunity to review this book, Daughter of Hope by Joanna Fay. As part of receiving a product to review, I am supposed to give an honest review and that is what I'm going to do. Eek, I hate being negative, but hopefully my review will give you enough information that you can decide if this book is a good book for your personal reading style. 

I found this book to be a slow read... I was having trouble following the individual characters and didn't always understand what was occurring in the book. It was almost like I'd jumped midway into a series and missed all the background books. Various characters are followed in different chapters so it'll bounce around a bit. This isn't my favorite type of style so I don't like it, but I know some people enjoy this. 

I did end up reading only to about half way through the book and stopped because at that point, the main theme of the book seemed to be the incest among the main characters' racial group (species?) and the way another racial group looked down upon the incest. It seemed like some of the main characters were defending the incest relationships as being an important part of their culture and how they shouldn't have to adhere to the standards of other cultures. 

The incest isn't discussed in detail sexually, but is repeatedly mentioned as several characters are siblings and in romantic relationships. 

I stopped reading right after the very young daughter is molested by her father. Again, there's not a lot of detail, but it's not a topic I like to read about. It was at least tolerable when the relationships were between two consenting adults... But when it shifted to the rape of children, I was done. There wasn't enough of a draw to know what happens for me to finish it in spite of the abuse in the book. 

I don't want to say it's the wrong book for everyone... I hated Game of Thrones and found it slow as well (whoever created the "Guns don't kill people, George R.R. Martin kills people" memes made my day) so I didn't finish those books either. And hey those books are obviously a huge hit. Incest, rape, beheadings, extreme violence- not a fan. I love a happy ending, or at least a non traumatizing ending. The darkest my book taste gets is the Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss... which isn't rainbows and unicorns, but most of my favorite characters are alive and only manageably traumatized at the end of the books. 

I hope my review was helpful to someone looking at this book as a possible option for their library. Thanks for reading!  

Here's a link to the product if you're interested. This is an affiliate link so if you purchase using the link, you help support my blog. Thank you!


I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Review: Rumiano Organic Non-GMO Cheese

Review for organic non gmo cheese. VERY yummy!I had the chance to review this cheese which I found at our local MOMs Organic Market... I decided to try the pepper jack and I was really pleased with how it tasted. I always have a hard time trying to figure out which brand of cheese to buy because there are so many options. I love that this cheese was reasonably priced, organic, and non GMO. It has a great taste and has the squeaky chewiness of good cheese (or what I consider good cheese... I really enjoy that texture).  My husband was also impressed and he's picky so that says something. They offer several options for the cheese including: pepper jack, cheddar, mozzarella, and colby.

This was good enough cheese that I hope it eventually gets sold in my normal grocery store as I don't shop at the organic market very often (great place, but I already go to at least two different stores for groceries... don't want to add a third). So if anyone who can make that happen is reading... Harris Teeter... please. Thanks! That said, MOMs is conveniently located next to a liquor store so I can always go on cheese and wine trips.

From the Manufacturer:
Rumiano Cheese Company is the oldest family-owned cheese company in California dating back four generations.

Rumiano Cheese Company is committed to the organic and Non-GMO movement and continuing to produce the highest quality cheese inspired by their founding father’s recipes and cheese making techniques. In 2011, Rumiano launched their Rumiano Family Organic line, which is the first cheese in the US market to receive Non-GMO Project Verification.

Rumiano Family Organic cheese can be found in select Whole Food Markets, natural food and grocery stores nationwide.

Visit our store locator to find a store near you: http://rumianocheese.com/store-locator
I do recommend checking out the link to find stores that sell it in your area, but call ahead to make sure they have it. One store local to us didn't carry it anymore, but MOMs is a much bigger store and did.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Review: Fresh Fruit Vinegars by Mangé

Fruit Infused Vinegars and a Review... These make great gifts for the cook in your life!
Recently I had the opportunity to try these fresh fruit vinegars by Mangé. I received two 4mL samples of these vinegars- the Blackberry and the Mango. I've never used fruit infused vinegars before so I wasn't sure what to expect or really how to use them.

I tried the Blackberry out on my fresh-from-the-garden cucumbers and was really pleasantly surprised, especially as I'm not usually a fan of blackberries. These vinegars aren't quite as strong smelling as if you bought a plain balsamic, white, or apple cider vinegar. Instead, the fruit shares in the taste, subtly, which adds to the taste of whatever you season without overwhelming the food you're eating.

I decided to sneak the mango infused vinegar into our salad because my husband is generally not a big fan of strong vinegar and this might be a good alternative for him... I usually use balsamic on my salads, along with some mozzarella cheese (pictured below). It wasn't as strong so he did eat it and said it "wasn't bad"... he's more of a caesar dressing guy because he hates vegetables and needs to hide the taste, ha. He's like a kid trying to cover peas in ketchup to make them more palatable. So no, these will not cover the taste of your lettuce. Sorry. I love salad so that wasn't an issue for me.

I love that these are a healthier option to heavier dressings and offer a bit of variety. I like the idea of being able to cook with them as well, although I didn't attempt that because I was used these religiously for my salads. I think some of those recipe cards look really good to try, but it'd be nice to see a couple recipe cards with some very simple recipe options on them... for those of us who needs to keep it simple with two kids screaming in the background.

From the Company:
Fruit vinegar dates back to the 18th century when berries were preserved in vinegar. Today, Spivak is putting a modern twist on the classic with Mangé’s line of exquisite fresh fruit vinegars. Unlike infused or syrup-based fruit vinegars, Mangé’s fresh fruit vinegars are made using fruit that has been picked at its peak, puréed and preserved in vinegar. 
“Our process allows the vinegar to capture the true essence of the fruit’s natural flavor,” explains Spivak. “Each one of our vinegars starts with a flavorful burst of fruit and finishes with a balanced, acidic kick. 
Fresh Fruit Vinegars bring the true taste of fruit to your plate. Great for cocktails and meals giving them that extra fruit punch! 
Preserving fruit in vinegar is a tradition that dates back to the 18th century, modern fresh fruit vinegars are a product category that until now has been unavailable in the United States. Today, We are putting a modern twist on the classic with Mangé’s exquisite line of fresh fruit vinegars that are all natural, gluten-free, Kosher, and made without preservatives or synthetic dyes.

Simple to use and highly versatile, fresh fruit vinegars are light enough to drink from a spoon, yet strong enough to marinate a ceviche. 
From home cooks to professional chefs, Mangé’s full line of fresh fruit vinegars offer eleven flavors that are sure to please every palate, including: Blackberry, Blood Orange, Cherry, Fig, Green Apple, Mango, Passion Fruit, Pear, Raspberry, Red Pepper and White Peach. 
Unlike other infused or syrup-based fruit vinegars, Mangé’s fresh fruit vinegars are made using fruit that has been picked at its peak, puréed and preserved in vinegar. The process allows the vinegar to capture the essence of each fruit’s natural flavor, creating a brilliant burst of fruitful flavor that can be added to any appetizer, entrée, dessert or cocktail.

The company is currently running an Indiegogo campaign to get their business up and running so please consider supporting their efforts by following this link:


I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.