Happy Friday! It’s the first week of June and the weather, despite a couple of thunderstorms, has been pretty nice! Our area of New York has been in Phase 1 of reopening and will be in Phase 2 by next week. That still hasn’t changed our going out/shopping habits as of yet. This weekend the weather is supposed to be beautiful. So, I hope to get some weeding and yard work done and possibly go on another outing with the family. Here are five from this week:
1. Orange County Arboretum – Sunday we took a drive up to the Orange County Arboretum in Montgomery, NY. It’s almost an hour north of us. But it was such a beautiful day and I wanted the family to get outside. This was the first time we visited this arboretum. It was beautiful and it’s one of those places that you have to visit every season to see how the gardens change.
2. New Dishwasher – Our dishwasher has been in the house since we bought it fourteen years ago. Dana has had to do repairs on it and it hasn’t been running very well recently. So, we finally purchased a new one. It was delivered this week, Dana installed it, and I am happy to report we have a new, running dishwasher! #itsthelittlethings
3. Reading – This week I finished Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore. It was a contemporary fiction/time travel book about Oona Lockhart, who travels to a different year of her life at the stroke of midnight every New Year’s Eve. It was just an okay read to me.
4. Watching – Dana and I finished the second season of Homecoming on Prime Video. We first got into the podcast when it first came out. Then we watched most of season 1 of the show when it first streamed on Amazon. Only when we heard season 2 was streaming soon, did we finally finish watching season 1. And then we quickly finished watching season 2, since it’s only 7 half-hour episodes.
I have been also watching The Big Flower Fight on Netflix. Sometimes the kids will watch with me. It’s a fun, competitive show about flower arrangements. I do love flowers, so this has been an enjoyable show to watch.
5. Justice in June – This past week has been a lot emotionally with the death of George Floyd, the peaceful protests, the riots and looting, etc. One thing I have learned is that I have so much more to learn. This Google Doc was created by Bryanna Wallace and Autumn Gupta. It’s a great resource for spending 10, 25 or 45 minutes a day becoming more informed and a better ally of the black community.
With a long, hot summer approaching, some of us may need some new book and television recommendations. It’s surprising how many television shows are based on books. I’m always a fan of reading the book first and then comparing how different the show or movie is. Many of these television shows have been streaming for awhile now, so you have probably watched some of them. But have you read the book(s) that they are based on? In this first edition of Read Before You Watch, catch up on your summer reading and watching with these books and the television shows that they inspired. While this list isn’t comprehensive, it’s a good start!
Read:The Black Echo (Book #1 in the Harry Bosch series) by Michael Connelly. There are 22 books in the series. Watch: Bosch on Prime Video if you like police drama and suspense. Season 6 began streaming in April 2020.
Read: Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng Watch: on Hulu if you like family drama. This show started streaming in March of 2020.
Read:Stealing Home (Book #1 in The Sweet Magnolias series) by Sherryl Woods. There are 11 books in the series. Watch: On Netflix if you like southern small town drama, friendship and romance. The show began streaming in mid-May.
Read:Normal People by Sally Rooney Watch: Normal People on Hulu if you like Irish coming of age dramas. The show began streaming at the end of April.
Read: Unorthodox by Deborah Feldman Watch: on Netflix if you want to learn more about Hasidic Judaism and one woman’s journey escaping her religious roots. The show began streaming in March 2020.
Read:13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher Watch: on Netflix if you like teen drama that deals with heavy topics like suicide and rape
Read: Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan Watch: on Netflix if you like action, science fiction and mystery
Read: Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty Watch: on HBO if you like family/friendship drama
Read: Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay (8 books in the series) Watch: Dexter, originally aired on Showtime. You can now watch it on Netflix if you like crime, psychological
Read: The Feed by Nick Clark Windo Watch: on Amazon Video if you like futuristic, dystopian, psychological thrillers
Read: A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin (7 books in the series) Watch: on HBO if you like fantasy, action-packed, drama
Read: Gossip Girl by Cecily von Ziegesar (13 books in the series) Watch: on Netflix if you like YA drama involving wealthy teens
Check out this week’s vegan meal plan. With pictures, recipe links and reviews, hopefully you will find something tasty to make! This week’s menu includes fajitas, pizza, pasta and more. There were so many tasty recipes this week that we recommend!
Sunday: 5 Ingredient Vegan Vodka Pasta – We were out Sunday and got home late. We thought about ordering takeout. But I had this recipe on our menu plan for the week and decided to cook instead. This is super quick and easy to make! We were eating it faster than if we had ordered and picked up takeout. The coconut milk gave the sauce a slightly sweet taste. It tastes a little different than non-vegan penne vodka….because heavy cream! But this was a tasty vegan version.
Monday: Vegan Bombay Potatoes – I made this for dinner a couple of weeks ago and my daughter loved it so much, she chose to make it again for her recipe this week. It’s easy to put together and very tasty! We served with Basmati rice and naan.
Tuesday: Sheet Pan Cauliflower Fajitas with Instant Pot Spanish Rice – These cauliflower fajitas were delicious and so easy to throw together. I made Instant Pot Spanish Rice from the same blog, but that didn’t come out as expected. First, note to self, read number of servings before preparing the recipe. I started making the recipe and when I saw I had to add 4 cups of rice, I knew it was going to make A LOT! If I had previewed the recipe first, I could have halved it. The rice came out a bit mushy, almost porridge like. It wasn’t bad, just not the consistency that we are used to.
Wednesday: Healthy Taco Salad– This was my son’s recipe of the week. There was little actual cooking involved. There were no avocados at the store when we did the grocery shopping, so we had to do without. But, they would have been a great addition to this salad. This is a light recipe. But even with chickpeas and black beans, we all felt hungry later that evening.
Thursday: Simple Summer Corn Soup with Beer Bread– Dana made this soup for dinner along with Beer Bread. We’ve been finding the corn at the supermarket has been super sweet. The soup was tasty and easy to make.
Friday: Vegan Zucchini & Hummus Flatbread – The original recipe that I linked to actually calls for eggplant. But since the kids aren’t big fans, I swapped it with zucchini. We made this into pizzas using dough from the grocery store. This was really good and we will be making it again!
Saturday: Veggie Burgers and Tater Tots – No recipe here. This is our go-to lazy lunch or dinner. I took some frozen veggie burgers and cooked them in a pan. I realized that we didn’t have any hamburger buns so I had my burger on a tortilla and everyone else ate theirs without a bun. We topped them with vegan cheese, lettuce, tomato and onion. This is a quick and easy meal that I served with some tater tots cooked in the air fryer.
Recipe recommendations of the week: 5 Ingredient Vegan Vodka Pasta, Sheet Pan Cauliflower Fajitas, Vegan Bombay Potatoes and Vegan Zucchini Hummus Flatbread.
Goodbye May, I can’t believe you’re over. I enjoyed a four day holiday weekend which was so nice! We found out this week that the kids’ last day of school will be June 19th, about a week earlier than originally scheduled. We also learned that the local day camp they were supposed to attend is canceled. It was expected, but now that it’s real, Dana and I are like, “now what?!” We work, so it’s going to be a long, hot summer for the kids! Since I skipped last week’s Five on Friday post, here are five from the past two weeks:
1. Baking – This past weekend I made 4-Ingredient No Knead Bread. I am not a baker. And this is something I would have never tried if we weren’t in quarantine. Thanks to my mom, who found yeast in Rhode Island and mailed me some, I was able to give it a try. I think I was pretty successful for my first time!
I had been wanting to make soft pretzels since quarantine started, which was the reason for my search for yeast. Last weekend I was so happy to finally get to make them! This Sally’s Baking Addiction recipe was easy to make and the pretzels were so good! Again, something I would not have been able to make without the yeast my mom sent and some free time on my hands!
My daughter also did some baking and made some homemade chocolate chip banana bread.
2. Watching – This week I watched almost the entire season of Sweet Magnolias on Netflix. It’s based on the book series by Sherryl Woods, which I have not read. But it’s a sweet, feel-good show about three friends living in a small town.
3. Reading – This week I finished Anna K. by Jenny Lee. It’s a modern, YA retelling of the classic Anna Karenina. I read AK several years ago and don’t really remember it very well, so I can’t tell how closely this book followed the classic.
I am currently reading The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary. It’s a light, romantic comedy that I’m enjoying.
4. Eating – This week the Peekskill Brewery hosted a small, vegan pop-up. Peaceful Provisions, Freakin Vegan and Gone Pie took pre-orders that were available for pick-up on Monday. We tried Freakin Vegan for the first time and ordered a Philly Cheese Steak, Porkless Mac ‘n Cheese and Sweet Corn Tamales. Everything was delicious and vegan!
5. Yard Work – Two weekends ago we spent both days outside doing yard work. We power washed the deck, did some major weeding, and stained the deck.
Since then, on nice days I’ve been able to read out on the deck.
With COVID-19 hitting the restaurant industry hard, it is hard to keep up with what restaurants are open. While we don’t live in Peekskill, it is a short drive away and offers so many different food options. I did some research and rounded up a list of Peekskill take-out and delivery options. Support local and order take out from one of these Peekskill restaurants and businesses. As always, please check directly with the restaurant for the most up-to-date information. Contact Nancy at NYFoodieFamily@gmail.com if there’s a restaurant that I have missed or the information below needs updating!
*Order and take-out in person. Cash or credit cards ($10 minimum)
Peaceful Provisions 47 South Water Street Peekskill, NY 10566 (Located inside the Peekskill Brewery)
Peaceful Provisions has recently changed their offerings to prepackaged sets including a Treat Box for 2, Doughnut Box of 2, Doughnut Box of 4, plus merchandise. The doughnut flavors and treats change weekly. They limit orders to one of each box per household.
Boxes range from $8-$18+ depending on the combination of doughnuts being offered that week.
Friday – Sunday: 8:00 AM – 10:30 AM
*Online pre-orders only! Ordering opens up Monday at 12 PM for Friday pick-up, Tuesday at 12 PM for Saturday pick-up, and Wednesday at 12 PM for Sunday pick-up. These doughnuts sell out FAST!!! So, set your alarms and good luck!
Menu They sell over 60 different teas as well as a variety of soups, quiche, sandwiches, salads and sweets.
Tuesday-Friday: 11 AM – 3 PM
Bridgee’s Food Truck is at Kathleen’s Tea Room Wednesday & Friday 11 AM – 5 PM They serve a variety of southern dishes including fried chicken, fried shrimp, mac and cheese, yams and more. You can pre-order on the Kathleen’s Tea Room online menu.
They have a limited food menu that includes wings, pizza, burgers, salads and more.
They have five family style takeout options (that feed four) including Mac N’ Cheese ($18), Family Wings ($20), Family Style PB Burgers w/fries (($60), Family Style Kale Salad ($16) and Family Style Kale Salad with Chicken ($26).
You can purchase single cans or six-packs of their brews as well as canned wines and spirits.
The coffeehouse reopened May 18th. Get your favorite coffee to go as well as crepes, paninis, salads and baked goods. They also sell bags of coffee beans, merchandise and crepe batter and crepe kits for you to make your own at home.
To-Go Menu Check out this Italian restaurant’s website. They offer a variety of specials including a customizable Family Dinner Pack for 4 ($40) as well as a $12 Pasta & Salad special and a $20.20 Dinner Duo.
Birdsall Market Pick-Up at Birdsall House Beer Garden 970 Main Street Peekskill, NY 10566
A collaboration between Birdsall House, Gleason’s, Exurbanist and Ride! Peekskill. Order one of their ten different boxes (including breakfast sandwich, craft beer, date night, fried chicken picnic and more. They even offer a plant-based vegan gyros box).
Friday pick-up/delivery between 1-4 PM Delivery to Peekskill, Cortlandt, Montrose, Buchanan and Verplanck only ($5 charge) Can pick-up at Kaia Yoga (Westport, CT) for $7 charge
*Must pre-order by Wednesday for Friday pick-up/delivery
Check out this week’s vegan meal plan. With pictures, recipe links and reviews, hopefully you will find something tasty to make! This week’s menu includes a pizza, ramen soup, a veggie burger and more….and a lot of fries!
Sunday: Nacho Pizza – Our Nacho Pizza was inspired by this recipe, but we really didn’t follow it all. Instead of homemade guacamole, we used prepackaged guacamole from Aldi’s. We topped the guacamole with the leftover quinoa taco “meat” from earlier in the week instead of using the taco meat recipe. We were due for a grocery trip and didn’t have many veggies left, so we topped it with some bell pepper and olives (on half – for Dana and me). Overall, this was just “eh” for us. It was more of a use-it-up recipe. However, with more toppings, I think it has potential.
Monday:Broccoli Stuffed Potatoes with Cheese Sauce and Avocado Arugula Cherry Tomato Salad – I chose these two recipes from the same blog. While the potatoes were baking, I made the cheese sauce and started the salad. I used frozen broccoli that didn’t roast very well in the oven. I recommend using fresh broccoli. The recipe made a ton of cheese sauce. The potato recipe was just okay. The kids don’t like sweet potatoes, but with the broccoli and cheese didn’t complain too much about eating it. The salad was a great complement to the potatoes. We all loved the salad and I see it being made a lot over the summer. I only used one carton of cherry tomatoes and one avocado, instead of the recommended two of each, and I thought the salad had enough “stuff.”
Tuesday: Spicy Sofritas Tofu Bowls – Have you had the Sofritas from Chipotle? This recipe is supposed to be a copycat of that. I was cautious in not making the sofritas too spicy, since I wanted to make sure the kids could eat it. I only used one chipotle pepper in adobo sauce and one tablespoon of the adobo sauce in the sofritas sauce. This ended up being the perfect amount of heat for them. I may have broken the tofu up too much, as it looked like mush. But it was very flavorful! I made rice bowls with black beans, lettuce, tomato and salsa. Guacamole would have been a great addition, but we used it up on the Nacho Pizza.
Wednesday: Asian Chick’n Wrap with Spicy Tahini Sauce – This was a quick and easy, barely any cooking type of recipe. The original recipe called for Beyond Meat “Chicken” strips, but I have never seen these at my grocery store. I used Franklin Farms Chickenless Seitan. We realized only when putting the wraps together that we should have gotten two packages. So, these wraps were heavy on the salad and light on the “chicken.” Shoprite was out of tahini when we went grocery shopping and we never made it back this week to try and get more. We made the sauce with peanut butter instead and it was still delicious. We served the wraps with fries.
Thursday: Coconut Curry Ramen – Dana took a trip to HMart this week and picked up the noodles, shiitake mushrooms and bok choy that I used for this recipe. While the tofu baked, the rest of the recipe came together. So, this was made in about 30 minutes. We have made ramen before, but the addition of curry powder gave this ramen a unique flavor profile. We all enjoyed this dinner!
Friday: Lentil Sloppy Joes – Dana chose this as his recipe for the week. Neither me nor the kids really like lentils. But, when it’s your night to cook you get to pick the recipe. Dana made this in the Instant Pot, but there are also directions for cooking it in a slow cooker or on the stove top. We do not have liquid smoke so ours were missing the smoky flavor. When we did the grocery shopping Shoprite didn’t have coleslaw mix, so our sloppy joes were missing that as well. These weren’t bad, but we weren’t raving about them, as 3/4 of us don’t like lentils. We had these with some kettle potato chips.
Saturday: Veggie Burgers – We have eaten A LOT of veggie burgers over the past couple of months. However, my son was the first of us to tackle making homemade ones. This recipe was easy to make with a black bean base. Since any diced veggies of choice can be added, we added sauteed onion and zucchini. The recipe says it makes 4-6 burgers. However, we only got 3 burgers out of it. Luckily, we had enough ingredients to double it, so we ended up with 6 burgers. The burgers are good. They are soft and were falling apart a bit. But, they were tasty! We served these with fries.
Recommended Dinners of the Week: Coconut Curry Ramen, Asian Chick’n Wraps and the Avocado Arugula Cherry Tomato Salad.
Check out this week’s vegan meal plan. With pictures, recipe links and reviews, hopefully you will find something tasty to make! This week’s menu includes meatballs, tacos and breakfast for dinner.
Sunday: Cauliflower with Chimichurri Sauce, Tostones, Sauteed Zucchini and Rice and Gandules. This was my requested Mother’s Day Dinner that the family cooked for me.
Monday: Vegan Burritos – This was my son’s recipe for the week. I helped him, but it was actually easy to make. He made the seasoned corn and beans while I made the pico de gallo. We used store bought guacamole and cooked the rice in the rice cooker. We did not make the sundried tomato basmati rice and used plain white rice. These were easy and tasty!
Tuesday: Vegan Cauliflower Meatballs with Pasta – My daughter’s favorite meal before becoming vegan was spaghetti and meatballs. I’ve tried a couple of different meatball recipes but still haven’t found, “the one.” These required a bit of prep work and I thought I’d be turned off by the use of oats. The kids said that it reminded them of stuffing, which was a result of the Italian seasoning blend that we used. Overall, these get a not bad. I served with pasta and marinara sauce.
Wednesday: Vegan Breakfast Hash – Another breakfast for dinner recipe! The only change I made was omitting the vegan sausage. This was easy to cook. Vegetarians can add an egg on top. I served this with buttered toast. Everyone enjoyed this.
Thursday: Sticky Orange Tempeh with Maple Thyme Roasted Vegetables – Dana had to run out to the store Thursday morning to find some tempeh for me to make this. This was an easy to make recipe for those who like tempeh. However, after tonight we won’t be making tempeh again. It has nothing to do with this recipe. I may even try the sauce on tofu. It’s just that we’ve already tried tempeh several times and finally agreed that none of us actually like it!
Friday: Quinoa Taco Meat– This was Dana’s recipe of the week. I have to say, I’m not a fan of quinoa, as I find it to be a bit mushy. But after the quinoa is cooked in this recipe, it gets baked, which firms it up a little bit. Plus, it gets mixed with salsa, which gives it some flavor. Once we added all the toppings, it was a tasty taco. He made a cilantro lime rice to go with it.
Saturday: Tofu in Indian Simmer Sauce (Vegetarian, Not Vegan) – So, we didn’t actually “cook” tonight. We simmered tofu in a store bought, jarred sauce. And the sauce wasn’t vegan since it contained milk. We served it with naan, samosas and leftover cilantro lime rice for a super easy, lazy weekend dinner.
Recommended Dinners of the Week: Vegan Burritos and Vegan Breakfast Hash
Happy Friday. Yes, I took a three week long hiatus from the blog….I have not been motivated to sit down at the laptop to write after sitting and working on it all day. And…..I needed a break. But I came back strong with three posts this week (who am I?!)! I do enjoy writing, so hopefully, I’ve gotten my momentum back. I did realize while typing this post that I didn’t take any pictures this week, minus dinner photos! I hope all you moms had a wonderful Mother’s Day last Sunday! Here are five from this week:
1. Celebrations – This week we celebrated my mom’s birthday, my brother’s birthday, my niece’s birthday and Mother’s Day. Unfortunately, none of my family lives nearby so we weren’t able to have any socially distanced visits. Just three zoom calls this week to sing happy birthday and catch up.
2. Watching – This week our family binge watched Upload on Amazon Prime. The show takes place in the future, where when people die they can choose to be uploaded into a virtual afterlife. Nathan has died and ends up forming a friendship with his angel, Nora. It’s part sci-fi, part comedy and even part mystery. It is rated MA and there’s some language and sexual references. But the four of us loved this show!
3. Reading – I think I’ve hit another reading slump. The last book that I finished was What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty. But that was almost a week ago and I am nowhere near finishing another book anytime soon. This is one of Moriarty’s older books that I hadn’t read. I enjoyed this book and have found that I like her older books more than her newer stuff.
4. Home Projects – So what have I been doing in the past three weeks? Well, we decided to tackle a bunch of house projects. My daughter decided she wanted to redo her room, which includes painting her walls. We are making her do it (with some help from Dana). In the meantime, Dana has been working on giving the kids’ bathroom a face-lift – some new paint, hanging some bead board, new trim, a new vanity, new lights, taking out the medicine cabinet that’s been there since we bought the house, etc. This has been a slow process since he is working during the day. But, it looks like we have plenty of time!
5. Podcasts – Recently, I have been listening to ALL the news podcasts: The Daily (New York Times), Start Here (ABC News), Up First (NPR), The Journal (WSJ) and The NPR Politics Podcast. I like information and facts. Social media is horrible and I’ve found that these podcasts keep me informed and up-to-date on the what’s going on in the world, usually in 30 minutes or less.
Our family has been vegan now for almost 5 months now. Way back when, I used to post our weekly meal plans. I’d share them a week behind, so I could post pictures and give a short review – did we like the recipe?, what changes we made, etc. During this pandemic, besides working from home, most of our time has been spent in the kitchen cooking. So, I thought that I’d start sharing our weekly vegan plan. With the current meat shortage, I feel like more people will be cooking meatless dinners a little more often. I am not here to convert anyone. We became vegan for health reasons. If you are already vegan, maybe you haven’t tried some of these recipes. And if you’re not, maybe some of these vegan dinners will appeal to you and make you want to try one for your next Meatless Monday!
Sunday: Mediterranean Vegan Eggplant Roll Ups – This meal was pretty labor intensive, which is why I chose to make it on a Sunday. I served it with a side of pasta. In my opinion, the end result wasn’t worth all of the effort. My daughter didn’t like the cauliflower rice (and she usually likes everything!). Not worth repeating.
Monday: Simple Crispy Vegan Falafel Bowls -This was my son’s recipe for the week. Our family loves falafel and probably have it at least once a month. This particular recipe called for red pepper flakes which gave the falafel a little kick. We cooked these in the air fryer. They came out crispy on the outside but a bit mushy on the inside. I think we may have to try frying the falafel to get them really crispy.
Tuesday: Vegan Caramelized Mac n’ Cheese – We are huge cheese fans, and it’s definitely one of the foods that I have been missing since becoming vegan. I’d rather omit the vegan “cheese” in a recipe since it does not taste anything like the real thing. This particular recipe intrigued me because it uses eggplant as the base of the sauce, with the promise of the sauce not tasting like the vegetable. Well, we did not agree. We all could taste the eggplant, which wasn’t bad, but it doesn’t pass for mac and cheese. The kids were not fans at all. Not worth repeating.
Wednesday: Vegan Bombay Potatoes – We have made a variety of different Indian inspired dishes since becoming vegan. This dish is made of chickepeas and potatoes in a spiced tomato sauce. I served it over rice with a side of naan. This was one of my daughter’s favorite meals of the week and she’s already asked me to make it again!
Thursday: Vegan French Toast – My daughter does not enjoy finding recipes, nor does she enjoy cooking….baking is a totally different story. We are such opposites! On her nights to cook she tries to find the easiest recipes she can. Breakfast for dinner has always been a hit with the fam. This week she chose french toast. Instead of the ciabatta the recipe called for, I had her use a regular loaf of white bread. While she cooked the french toast, I made sauteed apples that we served on top. This was the first time that we had french toast in months. It was tasty and we will be making it again.
Friday: Black Bean Vegan Empanadas – Dana chose this for his recipe of the week. The recipe made enough for each of us to have two empanadas….although we all could have eaten at least two more! These were really tasty and we can’t wait to try different types of fillings using the phyllo dough as the empanada dough. He served these with sauteed garlic spinach.
Saturday: Taco Pasta – I switched dinners on the meal plan mid-week and didn’t realize that I ended up with two dinners back-to-back with similar flavor profiles. I also didn’t realize when I went to make this that I was out of taco seasoning. So I used fajita seasoning instead, which definitely changed the flavor a bit. Overall, this was an okay dish and one of the few taco pasta recipes that I found that didn’t call for some type of plant-based “meat.”
Recommended dinners of the week: Black Bean Empanadas, Vegan Bombay Potaotes and Vegan French Toast.
Another month, another book link up. Once again, I’m sharing my April reads with Steph and Jana. This month’s reading was filled with books off my own shelf and kindle books. It was a pretty good reading month and while May has been off to a slow start, I hope to keep up the reading momentum. Here are my April reads:
Collision by Jeff Abbott – Ben Forsberg, a private corporate consultant, and “Pilgrim,” a former CIA agent end up working together to find out who has set the two of them up and tried to kill them both. While I enjoy fast-paced, action, thrillers, I realized that I would have enjoyed watching this as a movie, versus reading it.
Somebody’s Daughter by Rochelle Weinstein – Emma and Bobby Ross live with their twin daughters, in “The Ross,” the hotel that they own. The book opens on the night of their daughters’ 15th birthday party. On this night, they learn that a private moment between Zoe and a classmate was videotaped and has gone viral. This event has a tremendous impact on each of the family members as they try to recover and seek justice. I thought this book was relevant in portraying the dangers of social media and was an okay read.
The Other Familyby Loretta Nyhan – (c/o Netgalley) Ally Anderson is adopted. Her daughter, Kylie, suffers from severe allergies that may be genetic. In order to help her daughter, Ally takes a DNA test and discovers that she has an aunt that lives nearby. Ally and Kylie end up befriending Micki and her family, while Ally gets to learn more about her past and seek treatment for Kylie. I felt like there was too much going on in this book, with Kylie’s autoimmune disorder, Ally connecting with her biological family, oh and did I mention the divorce she is currently in the process of getting?!
Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson & David Oliver Relin – This nonfiction book follows Greg Mortenson from his failed attempt in the early 90’s to climb K2 to building over 50 schools, health centers and women’s centers. This book had been on my to read list for a long time. We have a mini free library at work and a coworker saw this book on the shelf and recommended I read it, which was the catalyst of me finally giving it a try. I did enjoy learning more about Afghanistan and Pakistan and I do believe Mortenson has good intentions. However, this book was way too slow for me and then I read about the inaccuracies and controversies of the book.
Before the Fall by Noah Howley – A private jet on its way from Martha’s Vineyard to New York crashes into the ocean. The only two survivors are Scott Burroughs, a painter, and 4 year-old J.J. who are both thrown into the spotlight as authorities try to figure out what happened. The story switches back and forth pre and post crash as well follow the different characters who were on board the plane. It was an engaging read that my husband, teen daughter and I have all now read.
The Best of Friends by Lucinda Berry – (c/of Netgalley) Lindsey, Dani and Kendra have been best friends since they were children. Now, they all have boys the same age. Except after a sleepover gone bad, one boy is dead, one boy is brain dead in a coma, and the only boy who knows what happened that night has become mute and is in the midst of an emotional breakdown. As the story unfolds, lots of secrets are revealed as the parents and police try to figure out what happened that night. There was almost too much going on and I felt the ending was unfinished. However, I found it to be an riveting read. I read an ARC copy of this book from Netgalley, which comes out in August. This was my first Berry book and I didn’t realize that she has written so many others. I will definitely be checking out some of her other books.
Long Bright River by Liz Moore – Kacey and Mickey grew up being raised by their grandmother, after their mother dies of a drug overdose. Kacey is a drug addict and lives on the streets. Mickey is now a cop, working the streets of Philadelphia while also trying to keep tabs on her sister. There’s a series of murders that Mickey is working on and when she realizes that she hasn’t seen Kacey in awhile, she becomes obsessed with finding her. As the story unfolds, there are so many layers revealed. It’s a dark and heavy, bu really good read!
Lucky Girlby Mei-Ling Hopgood – This is the autobiography of Mei-Ling Hopgood. She was adopted from China at 8 months by Rollie and Chris Hopgood. Her parents also adopted two boys from South Korea and they all grew up happily in Michigan. As a young adult, during a visit with Sister Maureen, the nun who helped facilitate Mei-Ling’s adoption, it is brought up that she can likely find her birth parents. Eventually Mei-Ling takes Sister Maureen up on her offer and is contact with her birth parents and family. What follows are trips abroad as she gets to know her biological family. I don’t know if this book was so compelling to me because, I myself am adopted from South Korea. However, I enjoyed seeing how Mei-Ling was able to balance both worlds and families.
On Dublin Street by Samantha Young – Joss Butler made a home in Scotland, after her parents and baby sister died and she was old enough to leave the United States. Ellie is looking for a roommate to share her beautiful apartment with and she and Joss become fast friends. Unfortunately, Ellie’s brother Braden happens to be very good looking and used to getting what he wants. Joss falls for his charm and the two end up in a friends with benefits arrangement. But will it become serious? I got this book way back when Fifty Shades of Grey was big and it’s been sitting on my shelf since then. I finally decided to read it and found it was an addicting, steamy, contemporary romance.