Win the February ’16 bookshelf of signed thrillers!

February 1, 2016

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Happy February! Whatever the groundhog says, winter is always a good time for reading. I’m giving away some great books this month, all autographed by the authors. Don’t forget to check back…you never know when new titles will be added. To enter, go to the Win Books page. Best of luck!

FIND HER by Lisa Gardner is the latest entry into the terrific D.D. Warren series. Boston detective Warren has her hands full when she is called to the scene of a crime—a dead man and the bound, naked woman who killed him, and she has to determine if the woman is a victim or a vigilante.

Amanda Jaffe is back in VIOLENT CRIMES by Phillip Margolin. In this mesmerizing tale of suspense, attorney Amanda Jaffe becomes entangled in a murder case involving Big Oil, an estranged father and son, and the greatest ethical dilemma of her career .

Japanese antiques dealer and PI Jim Brodie goes up against the CIA, FBI, Department of Homeland Security—and a killer operating on both sides of the Pacific in PACIFIC BURN by Barry Lancet.

RIVER ROAD by Carol Goodman is the latest from the award-winning author of The Lake of Dead Languages. River Road is a chilling new psychological thriller about a professor accused of killing her favorite student in a hit-and-run accident.

From the author of Ruins of War comes an electrifying novel featuring U.S. Army criminal investigator Mason Collins, set in the chaos of post-World War II Germany in Spoils of Victory by John A. Connell.

ICE CHEST by J.D. Rhoades is a smart, sexy and hilarious heist novel about a crew of thieves who attempt to steal the world’s most valuable jewels from the world’s most valuable body.

Sinners, whores, and sluts beware–your time is at hand: a faceless menace is threatening lingerie models on a cross country tour, and Ethan Brodie is there to defend and protect in INTO THE FURY by Kat Martin.

SUMMIT LAKE by Charlie Donlea is a fabulous debut novel that Catherine Coulter called, “A gem of a mystery, fast-paced and suspenseful.” Steve Berry said, “An exciting debut, with all the right touches, captivating from the first page to the last.  There’s a bright future ahead for this newcomer to the thriller genre — definitely a talent to watch.”


You can win autographed copies of all these books! If you are new to the site, each month I run a contest in conjunction with the International Thriller Writers organization. We put together a list of books from debut authors to bestsellers, so you can win some of your favorites and find some new favorites.

What makes this contest really special is that all of the books (except eBooks) are signed by the author! Books with multiple authors will be signed by at least one of the authors.

Don’t forget, if you subscribe to the newsletter or follow this blog, you get an extra entry into every contest you enter. Check out the Win Books  page for more information on all these books and how you to enter this month’s contest.

Thanks for reading, and good luck!

Two book giveaway!

February 5, 2016

I’m super excited to offer up two new books for one lucky reader!

SMALL MERCIES by Eddie Joyce

WHY WE CAME TO THE CITY by Kristopher Jansma

small mercies

Click to purchase

Named Martha Stewart Living’s book club pick, Eddie Joyce’s debut novel SMALL MERCIES (Penguin Paperback; on sale February 9th) is the kind of book that will remind you why you love reading. Set on Staten Island (the most forgotten borough in NYC), it’s is a touching and familiar story about that most complicated and essential group–family.

An ingeniously layered narrative, told over the course of one week, Small Mercies masterfully depicts an Italian-Irish American family and their complicated emotional history. Ten years after the loss of Bobby—the Amendola family’s youngest son—everyone is still struggling to recover from the firefighter’s unexpected death. Bobby’s mother Gail; his widow Tina; his older brothers Peter, the corporate lawyer, and Franky, the misfit; and his father Michael have all dealt with their grief in different ways. But as the family gathers together for Bobby Jr.’s birthday party, they must each find a way to accept a new man in Tina’s life while reconciling their feelings for their lost loved one.

View Conversation with SMALL MERCIES author Eddie Joyce

Click to purchase

Click to purchase

WHY WE CAME TO THE CITY (Viking; on sale: February 16th), which has already been named one of 2016’s most anticipated books by Chicago Tribune, The Millions, Brooklyn Magazine, and Bustle, is an elegant and deeply moving meditation on friendship. 

With incredible magnetism, Jansma—author of the critically acclaimed novel The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards—chronicles the trials of a tightly knit group of twentysomethings, taking on post–9/11 New York City in the midst of the 2008 economic meltdown. When we first meet Irene, William, George, Sara, and Jacob, they have been in New York nearly five years. They are overworked, underpaid, and trapped in coffin-sized apartments. Yet somehow, through the bug infestations, the boozy late nights, and myriad uncomfortable dates, they have stuck together, ambitious young professionals on the verge of something bigger. None of them, however, imagined that that something could be a death that would tug at the very fabric between them until it nearly unspools.

View Conversation with WHY WE CAME TO THE CITY author Kristopher Jansma

To win SMALL MERCIES by Eddie Joyce & WHY WE CAME TO THE CITY by Kristopher Jansma, please send an email to with “Joyce & Jansma” as the subject. You must include your U.S. street address in your email.

All entries must be received by February 14, 2016. One name will be drawn from all qualified entries and notified via email. This contest is open to all adults over 18 years of age in the United States only. Your books will be sent by the publisher.

One entry per email address. Subscribers to the monthly newsletter earn an extra entry into every contest. Follow this blog to earn another entry into every contest. Winners may win only one time per year (365 days) for contests with prizes of more than one book. Your email address will not be shared or sold to anyone.


February 4, 2016
Click to purchase

Click to purchase

Rachel Getty and Esa Khattak Novels (Book 2)

This is the follow up to The Unquiet Dead, and features Canada’s Community Policing Section Detectives Esa Khattak and Rachel Getty.

Canada’s federal intelligence agency, INSET (Integrated National Security Enforcement Teams,) wants Khattak to help solve the murder of Mohsin Dar, an undercover agent who had infiltrated a local terrorist cell and was killed in a supposed hunting accident. It turns out the terrorist training ground is deep in the woods frequented by hunters.

INSET knows a major terrorist attack is planned for New Year’s Day, so the timeline is tight. Getty is sent to the small Toronto mosque that is home to the cell, which she easily infiltrates. INSET doesn’t want their involvement known, but the detectives are more intent on finding the murderer than keeping INSET secrets.

As Getty learns more about the terrorists, the motives for murder seem almost boundless. To further complicate the story, Khattak’s sister, Ruksh, has become engaged to the main suspect, one of the radicals.

Khan explores the Muslim faith and culture, making this an excellent study of diversity in these times of uncertainty and attacks.

Copyright ©2016 Booklist, a division of the American Library Association.

2/16 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

THE LANGUAGE OF SECRETS by Ausma Zehanat Khan. Minotaur Books (February 2, 2016).  ISBN 978-1250055125. 336p.



Guest Blogger: Michael Sears

February 3, 2016
Click to purchase

Click to purchase

I am delighted to welcome guest blogger Michael Sears!

I had the pleasure of meeting Michael when he was kind enough to participate in an author event at my library. He graciously offered up a few Advance Reader Copies to readers of this blog last month as well.

by Michael Sears
Though bound to secrecy during the reading and judging process, I am now free to share all the dirt, all the gossip, back-room wheeling-dealing, the bribes, the pressures from the big houses, the venality of all involved in the vetting, reading, and judging of the famed Edgar Awards for the Mystery Writers of America.  Unfortunately, if I did tell you all that, this would be a very short essay.
            A good friend contacted me and asked if I would join her team of judges for the 2014 Best Debut Mystery Novel for the Edgar Awards.  It would mean reading over one hundred books in about nine months (No doubt an easy task for Oline Cogdil or Pam Stack, but a herculean task for a mere mortal,) rate them on a scale of 1 to 3, and engage in a polite debate as to the books that really stood out.  Well, I was busy as Bourdreau’s one-legged pig at the time, writing SAVING JASON and caring for an aunt in mid-stages of dementia (she knew me, knew her name, but was capable of missing her birthdate by months, and the birth year by decades) so of course I said yes.
            The books arrived in waves.  There might be nothing for a week and then four would arrive in three days.  As I already have a house full of books – and an unfulfilled promise to my wife of “one in-one out” – tension mounted.  When my son came to visit he found his, as yet un-renovated, bedroom stacked with books.  He has a dry and wicked sense of humor and flayed me with it repeatedly.
            Early on, the judges made a soft commitment to read fifty pages of any book submitted.  The authors deserved at least that much from us.  This had unforeseen consequences, as the incentive for a publisher to send only the best work produced that year is nonexistent.  From their perspective, the shotgun approach is much more sensible.  As an ex-trader and student of game theory, I understand the incentives and the result.  As a judge, I found myself on more than one occasion thinking, “Who in the world thought that this book was in the same league with ____. (Name your Edgar nominee.)?”  There was not much we could do about it.  Mystery Writers of America screened submissions only for the criteria stated in the rules.  The book must be a debut novel.  It must be written and published by an American author in the U.S.  And it must have been published within the calendar year.  A few that violated one or another of these rules managed to slip through, but one of us always managed to identify the problem and we set them aside. 
            One of the more tech-savvy of the judges created a spread sheet website where we could all post our rankings: 1 for not a contender; 2 for maybe; and 3 for contender.  We also had a 0 ranking for the odd book that slipped in that did not fit the genre.  Some of the 0 ranked books were very good, they just weren’t good mysteries.
            Some of us kept notes on the side as to why we have voted as we did.  It was the first line of what was to become an ongoing debate.  By the time we were in the final two months, I felt like I was a part of the greatest book club ever.  Imagine reading a ton of mysteries with a group of authors you admire.   You hear their reasons for supporting a book and their reasons for dropping another from contention.  We encouraged each other to go back and look again at certain books, to give them a second chance, as we all championed different authors.
            Past judges had told me that the nominees become apparent at some point.  The cream rises.  That is true.  But we agonized over a final list of nominees that was going to be either too short or too long.  There were books that missed the cut that every one of us thought were a great read and that we would enthusiastically recommend.  They just weren’t as good.
            And it is, for better or for worse, a subjective call.  No one insisted that we include both male and female authors, yet we did.  No one pressured us to include (or ignore) entries from independent publishers.  We had the freedom to simply cast our votes for those debut books that we found most deserving of a nomination.
            Would I do it again?  Most assuredly.  Not right away; I have to get some work done.  It might be fun to tackle another category. Best non-fiction?  Best Novel?  I don’t think I would do well with Best Television Script – to my wife’s chagrin, I manage to fall asleep halfway through every show we have watched together in the last ten years – or Best Short Story – I rarely read or write them.  But I would gladly return to the last few weeks of debating good books with great minds.  It was a gas.

About the book

The latest Jason Stafford novel from Michael Sears, author of the highly acclaimed Long Way Down and Black Fridays.                                                                                                        
Jason Stafford used to be a hot Wall Street trader, went too far, and paid for it in prison. Now a financial investigator, he’s been asked to look into rumors of a hostile takeover of his firm, but he has no idea it will turn his whole life upside down. Suddenly embroiled in a grand jury investigation of Mob-related activities on Wall Street, and threatened by some very serious men, he is thrust into witness protection with his young autistic son. And then his son disappears. Has he been kidnapped, or worse? With no choice but to act, Stafford has no choice but to come out of hiding and risk everything to save his son, his firm, his pregnant girlfriend—and himself.

About the Author


Sears was a Managing Director for two different Wall Street firms, where he worked in the bond market for twenty years and, earlier, in foreign exchange and derivatives. Prior to returning to Columbia University for his MBA, he was, for eight years, a professional actor appearing at the Shakespeare Theatre of Washington, Playwritght’s Theater of Washington, New Jersey Shakespeare Festival,The Comedy Stage Co., and, in the course of a single year, every soap opera shot in New York City.

He is married to the artist and poet, Barbara Segal and is the father of two handsome sons. Born in New York City, he lived for more than twenty years on Manhattan’s Upper West Side and still misses it every day.





OPENING BELLE by Maureen Sherry

February 2, 2016
Click to purchase

Click to purchase

I love me a good play on words, and the title here really fits the bill. Set in 2008 just prior to the housing and credit bubble bursting, Isabelle – Belle to everyone – is a young woman living the dream. She’s a top trader at a small, prestigious brokerage house, married with three children, living on the upper West Side of New York City. Her kids are in the best private school money can buy, and her husband is a stay at home dad.

Belle works a lot of hours and there is some resentment that her husband doesn’t work and doesn’t take care of things the way she would like, but for the most part she seems happy, at least when she has a minute to think about it, which is pretty much never. Then Henry pops back into her life.

Henry is her former fiancé, who unceremoniously dumped her when she caught him cheating. He is now working for her biggest customer, and their day to day contact has him working overtime to get her back, but on his terms.

Belle’s work place is like a frat party on steroids. It would be hard to believe that in the 21st century women are still objectified in a work environment, but I know a woman in a similar situation – maybe not so much grabbing going on, but a definite boys club, with no girls allowed.

As the market heads towards its inexecrable crash, so does Belle’s world – her marriage, her job, everything she has been juggling for so long. But she is a not a professional for nothing, and her strong backbone stands her in good stead.

Interesting characters and a compelling situation make this a terrific read, with enough humor to lighten the load. I enjoyed this fast paced story immensely.

2/16 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

OPENING BELLE by Maureen Sherry. Simon & Schuster (February 2, 2016). ISBN 978-1501110627. 352p.



THE FORGOTTEN ROOM by Karen White, Beatriz Williams & Lauren Willig

January 30, 2016
Click to purchase

Click to purchase

Olive Van Alan, Lucy Young, and Kate Schuyler – three generations of women all connected to one grand mansion and a mystery that stretches through decades of war and change.

In 1892, Olive Van Alan takes a position working in the grand Pratt mansion. Olive, the daughter of the very architect who designed the building, is on a mission that involves finding evidence that her father was cheated out of his pay and career by the Pratts. But then Olive begins to fall for the youngest member of the Pratt dynasty. THE FORGOTTEN ROOM by Karen White, Beatriz Williams & Lauren Willig

In 1920, Lucy Young rents an attic room in Stornaway House. But Lucy knows the building as her mother did, as the Pratt mansion. Lucy doesn’t know her mother’s exact connection to the home, but taking a position at the law office of Cromwell, Polk, and Moore brings her one step closer to the answers she seeks.

In 1944, Kate Schuyler is a doctor working in Stornaway Hospital when young Captain Ravenel is brought in as a patient. Ravenel immediately recognizes Kate, or seems to, though Kate has never laid eyes on the man. What’s more, he calls her Victorine.

The connections between these three women and the stories that have led each of them to their current positions are all part of the tale, and it’s one that the three authors have woven together almost seamlessly. I’m impressed at how fluidly the narrative works – chapters alternate between the three women and I can only assume that each of the authors handled a particular character/story line a piece. And while each character had their own voice and personality, at no point did it feel as though the story had been penned by three different authors.

The Forgotten Room is highly enjoyable and definitely one I’d recommend to fans of historical fiction, WWII historical fiction in particular considering it’s Kate who kicks off the tale.

1/16 Becky LeJeune

THE FORGOTTEN ROOM by Karen White, Beatriz Williams & Lauren Willig. NAL (January 19, 2016).  ISBN 978-0451474629. 384p.

SHADE ME by Jennifer Brown

January 29, 2016
Click to purchase

Click to purchase

Merriam-Webster defines synesthesia as: a concomitant sensation; especially :  a subjective sensation or image of a sense (as of color) other than the one (as of sound) being stimulated

For Nikki Kill, her synesthesia manifests not only in the form of colors associated with numbers and letters, but with feelings as well. In other words, it makes her something of an emotional barometer for those around her. Not that she always understood that, though. And it certainly has made it hard to concentrate all her life, making her a not so great student. It’s while she’s supposed to be studying that she receives two strange phone calls. The first, from an unknown number, ends shortly after the caller says her name. The second is from the hospital where an unidentified teen with just Nikki’s number in her cell has been brought in after being found beaten unconscious.

The girl is Peyton Hollis, daughter of a famous Hollywood figure and his gorgeous wife. Not a friend of Nikki’s at all. In fact, the only thing they have in common is that they attend the same school. Nikki can’t possibly imagine why Peyton would have called her or why hers would be the only number Peyton has in her phone. But she soon realizes that Peyton seemed to have expected something of this sort to happen. And she’d been leaving clues for some time. Clues only someone like Nikki would be able to recognize. Nikki has no idea where the clues will lead her, but she’s driven to find out why Peyton singled her out and determined to solve the mystery of her assault no matter what.

Synesthesia may be rare but it is quite real. And it’s fascinating how it manifests in different people. They can see sound, feel or hear color, or, as is Nikki’s case, see colors associated with numbers and letters. Hers is a double whammy in that she gets to also see colors associated with the emotions of those around her. So she’s quick to realize that Peyton’s tattoo, photography, and even paraphernalia left behind in the wake of her injury are meant to spark a reaction from a synesthete. And since Nikki was the last person Peyton mysteriously reached out to, it’s obvious the synesthete in question is Nikki herself.

The clues introduce Nikki to the dark underbelly of her town. It’s a town full of elites and Hollywood types, but one not immune to crime and the list of suspects who could have attacked Peyton grows with every discovery. Turns out the teen had quite a few enemies ranging from her band mates, friends, family, and beyond.

Shade Me unfolded in a way that kind of surprised me. I couldn’t have guessed at the beginning how the story would end. Nor did I realize it’s the first in a projected series. It’ll be interesting to see just how Nikki’s story continues to play out, but this first outing is a great start for sure.

1/16 Becky LeJeune

SHADE ME by Jennifer Brown.  Katherine Tegen Books (January 19, 2016).  ISBN 978-0062324436. 448p.


January 28, 2016

Several Outlandish Reviews

The Outlandish Companion: Companion to Outlander, Dragonfly in Amber, Voyager, and Drums of Autumn.  In Which Much is Revealed Regarding Outlander, Dragonfly in Amber, Voyager, and Drums of Autumn (and Their Author), Including Detailed Synopses, Commentary, Controversy, Glossaries, Bibliographies, and Genealogies, TV Shows, and Other Useful Information.


The Outlandish Companion Volume Two: The Companion to The Fiery Cross, A Breath of Snow and Ashes, An Echo in the Bone, and Written in My Own Heart’s Blood. In Which Much More is Revealed Regarding The Fiery Cross, A Breath of Snow and Ashes, An Echo in the Bone, and Written in My Own Heart’s Blood, Including Detailed Synopses, Maps, Medical Procedures, Chronologies and Highly Opinionated Essays by the Author.

Outlander Season One

Click to purchase

I had the first one, so I was thrilled to learn that the original Outlandish Companion has been revised and updated. If you are a fan of the books, or the Starz TV series, and like me, both (!) then you need to buy these books. There is a ton of information and I have to say, I enjoy every page. But then again, I’m slightly obsessed.

I’ve read all the books more than once. I’ve also listened to the audio books, which I highly recommend. The reader, Davina Porter, is fantastic. Listening to a good audio book narrator truly enhances the book, and I got that with Jim Dale and the Harry Potter books. I am happy to say that Porter also does that, and I enjoyed listening almost more than reading them myself. To hear all the names pronounced correctly, and hear the Gaelic the way it actually sounds instead of how it sounds in my head, is a gift.

Click to purchase

Click to purchase

Finally, I wanted to mention that there is now a beautiful Outlander Coloring Book! For all you adult coloring fiends, break out your colored pencils and get busy.

Book 1:

#1 New York Times bestselling author Diana Gabaldon has captivated millions of readers with her critically acclaimed Outlander novels, the inspiration for the Starz original series. From the moment Claire Randall stepped through a standing stone circle and was thrown back in time to the year 1743—and into a world that threatens life, limb, loyalty, heart, soul, and everything else Claire has—readers have been hungry to know everything about this world and its inhabitants, particularly a Scottish soldier named Jamie Fraser.
In this beautifully illustrated compendium of all things Outlandish, Gabaldon covers the first four novels of the main series, including:

• full synopses of Outlander, Dragonfly in Amber, Voyager, and Drums of Autumn
• a complete listing of the characters (fictional and historical) in the first four novels in the series, as well as family trees and genealogical notes
• a comprehensive glossary and pronunciation guide to Gaelic terms and usage
• The Gabaldon Theory of Time Travel, explained
• frequently asked questions to the author and her (sometimes surprising) answers
• an annotated bibliography
• essays about medicine and magic in the eighteenth century, researching historical fiction, creating characters, and more
• professionally cast horoscopes for Jamie and Claire
• the making of the TV series: how we got there from here, and what happened next (including “My Brief Career as a TV Actor”)
• behind-the-scenes photos from the Outlander TV series set

For anyone who wants to spend more time with the Outlander characters and the world they inhabit, Diana Gabaldon here opens a door through the standing stones and offers a guided tour of what lies within.

Book 2:

More than a decade ago, #1 New York Times bestselling author Diana Gabaldon delighted her legions of fans with The Outlandish Companion, an indispensable guide to all the Outlander books at the time. But that edition was just a taste of things to come. Since that publication, there have been four more Outlander novels, a side series, assorted novellas, and one smash-hit Starz original television series. Now Gabaldon serves up The Outlandish Companion, Volume Two, an all-new guide to the latest books in the series.

Written with Gabaldon’s signature wit and intelligence, this compendium is bursting with generous commentary and juicy insider details, including

• a complete chronology of the series thus far
• full synopses of A Fiery Cross, A Breath of Snow and Ashes, An Echo in the Bone, andWritten in My Own Heart’s Blood
• recaps of the Lord John Grey novels: Lord John and the Private Matter, Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade, Lord John and the Hand of Devils, and The Scottish Prisoner
• a who’s who of the cast of Outlander characters, cross-referenced by book
• detailed maps and floor plans
• a bibliographic guide to research sources
• essays on subjects as wide ranging as Outlandish controversies regarding sex and violence, the unique responsibilities of a writer of historical fiction, and Gabaldon’s writing process
• a guided tour of the clothes, food, and music of the eighteenth century
• a Scottish glossary and pronunciation guide
• personal photos from the author taken on the set of the Starz Outlander series

As entertaining, sweeping, and addictive as the series itself, this second volume of The Outlandish Companion is a one (or two)-of-a-kind gift from an incomparable author.


Can you judge a book by its cover?

January 27, 2016

From today’s guest blogger, Notting Hill Press!

image001It’s interesting to see how the same book is marketed differently depending on where its fans are based. Michele Gorman’s Match Me If You Can is published by Avon (Harper Collins) in the UK and by Notting Hill Press in the US. Avon took the lead in designing the marketing package for Michele’s UK chick lit fans, with a pretty teal cover, fun font and firm focus on the online dating/romance storylines in the book.

Meet best friends Catherine, Rachel and Sarah. Yet to find Mr Right, they’ve been settling for Mr Right Now. But when Catherine, London’s finest matchmaker, gets the girls to join her dating site where they can rate and recommend their ex-boyfriends, they soon realise that anything could happen… There’s someone for everyone, right? These best friends are about to find out!image003

To complement the UK cover, we at Notting Hill Press designed the US cover using the same fonts and heart motif. But something started to bother us. Match Me If You Can is also about strong women. It’s funny, cheeky, poignant and realistic. The women join the dating website and recycle their exes but their lives – their friendship, families and careers – are at the heart of the book. And while both British and American fans are definitely romantics, American readers are also really partial to a feisty story about friends.

We had to admit it: our hot pink cover didn’t seem quite right for Michele’s US fans. So we had a rethink about it, and here’s the result!

Meet best friends, Catherine, Rachel and Sarah. They’re fun, smart and successful, and haven’t had a date worth booking a wax appointment for in ages.

image005Catherine runs London’s most successful matchmaking business with her silent partner and ex-husband, Richard, who’s just announced that he’s marrying his twenty-three year-old girlfriend. Catherine has bras that are older than Magda, and now she’s barging in on their business with her meddlesome demands and wedding plans.

Architect Rachel’s got problems of her own. At work she’s competing against her ex-boyfriend, James, to win their biggest project and the promotion that comes with it. So when she joins Catherine’s website,, where everyone brings an ex to recycle for the chance of an upgrade, she knows just who she’s going to trade in.

Homebody baker, Sarah, is in a rut thanks to family demands over the last few years. Reluctantly she joins, where she’s convinced that some minor adjustments will improve her chances. But as minor adjustments turn into a complete overhaul and dates start falling at her newly-pedicured feet, will her popularity be worth the sacrifices she’s making?

A warm, funny story of friendship, strong women and self-discovery. Match us if you can, guys, but if not then please step aside and we’ll get on with being fabulous.

We hope you love the new cover and blurb as much as we do!


Notting Hill Press



January 26, 2016
Click to purchase

Click to purchase

Comfort Classics, Freezer Food, 16-Minute Meals, and Other Delicious Ways to Solve Supper!

I love Ree Drummond. I love her story (read The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels–a Love Story) and her Food Network series. Her cookbooks are hugely popular; in 2015, she pulled ahead of mega bestselling cookbook author Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa, with three of the top ten best selling cookbooks. According to Publisher’s Weekly, Drummond sold about 750,000 cookbooks in 2015! Life must be good on the ranch.

Dinnertime is her latest. Filled with more than 125 of her signature easy, step by step recipes and lots of pictures, this is sure to be another winner. The table of contents:

Breakfast for Dinner
Salad for Dinner
Soup for Dinner
Freezer Food
16-Minute Meals (take that. Rachael Ray!)
Pasta Pronto
Comfort Classics
New Favorites
Veggie Sides
Starchy Sides
Quick Desserts

Drummond also includes prep tips, conversion guides, shopping tips, and other helpful ideas. I noticed there were actual pictures of brand name pantry items, so I’m guessing product placement is now a lucrative sideline.

What’s wonderful about her recipes are the step-by-step pictures that she includes. So when you make Greek Yogurt Pancakes, you don’t have to guess at the consistency of the batter, you can see it. Not sure how big to make Ready-to-Go Freezer Meatballs? Just check out the size in the palm of her hand. Afraid of Chipotle and want to make your own Burrito Bowls? There are 19 pictures to help you out – plus one more of her dog swimming. Lots of ranch photos are interspersed, just in case you forget whose cookbook you are reading.

Most of the recipes include variations you can try, and it seems like most make a lot of food, about 8 servings or more. I tend to cut her recipes in half for my family of 3, and that is still plenty. My friend Judy swears by her Cajun Chicken Pasta, but I wasn’t thrilled. I am not a fan of opening jars and bottles, so that leaves out a lot of her recipes. She also favors adding sugar to a lot of recipes, and with a diabetic husband, I avoid that, too.

While I am not enamored of this cookbook, I can certainly understand why so many people are. The Los Angeles Times selected it as one of 27 best cookbooks of 2015, and it was the Goodreads 2015 Choice Award Winner in cookbooks.

1/16 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

THE PIONEER WOMAN COOKS: DINNERTIME by Ree Drummond. William Morrow Cookbooks; First Edition edition (October 20, 2015). ISBN 978-0062225245. 400p.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 612 other followers