For What It's Worth

Thursday, December 8, 2016

review: knives & ink:chefs and the stories behind their tattoos (with recipes) by isacc fitzgerald, wendy macnaughton

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Chefs take their tattoos almost as seriously as their knives. From gritty grill cooks in backwoods diners to the executive chefs at the world's most popular restaurants, it's hard to find a cook who doesn't sport some ink. Knives & Ink features the tattoos of more than sixty-five chefs from all walks of life and every kind of kitchen, including 2014 James Beard Award-winner Jamie Bissonnette, Alaska-fishing-boat cook Mandy Lamb, Toro Bravo's John Gorham, and many more. Each tattoo has a rich, personal story behind it: Danny Bowien of Mission Chinese Food remembers his mother with fiery angel wings on his forearms, and Dominique Crenn of Michelin two-starred Atelier Crenn bears ink that reminds her to do “anything in life that you put your heart into.” Like the dishes these chefs have crafted over the years, these tattoos are beautiful works of art. Knives & Inkdelves into the wide and wonderful world of chef tattoos and shares their fascinating backstories, along with personal recipes from many of the chefs. ~ Goodreads

Source: Purchased


I’m not a chef nor do I have (permanent) tattoos – but I sure do like to eat and have had fun using temporary tattoos. During my visits to NYC, I’ve been fascinated by how many chefs I see with gorgeous tattoos, usually of knives or vegetables for some reason, snaking up their arms. I always wonder what the story is behind the tattoo. Now I know at least some of those stories.

Knives & Ink is a “coffee table” book that’s both interesting and visually pleasing. Each chef profile is 1-2 pages with a drawing of the tattoo, the story behind the tattoo and occasionally a recipe.

The stories are deeply personal and range from funny to touching. They offer a peek into the mind of a chef and the the passion that fuels them through difficult times.

The recipes are fun but not the focal point. Not every chef has one. They range from simple salsa's to cooking a whole pig. This is not a recipe book. Those are just a bonus.

I was surprised that the tattoos themselves were shown as full color illustrations rather than photographs. In the forward the author explains that they felt a drawing would make the reader slow down and notice the details. I can understand what they were going for. The chef was drawn very simply vs the tattoo in great detail to make it pop. But honestly, I still would have preferred the photograph. I think the person and the tattoo are intertwined and enhance each other. Nevertheless the artwork was gorgeous and I enjoyed this book very much. Also, in this day and age of celebrity chefs, I was able to Google quite a few of them and see the real deal.

This would make a great holiday gift for the foodie in your life. Because of the short chapters, it could be a long leisurely read over many weeks (like I did), picking it up when you need a dose of something fun or breeze right through the whole book in a day.

Monday, December 5, 2016

review: the nerdy and the dirty by b.t. gottfred

27779274Pen Lupo is sick and tired of hiding who she is. On the outside, Pen is popular, quiet, and deferential to her boyfriend. On the inside, however, Pen is honest, opinionated--and not quite sure that she's like other girls. Do they have urges like she does?

His classmates may consider him a nerd, but Benedict Pendleton knows he's destined for great things. All he has to do is find a worthy girlfriend, and his social station will be secured. Sure, Benedict is different--but that's what he likes about himself.

When fate intervenes, both Pen and Benedict end up at the same vacation resort for winter break. Despite their differences, the two are drawn together. But is there such a thing as happily ever after for a nympho and a nerd? ~

Source: ARC provided by the publisher via ALA16 in exchange for an honest review


The Nerdy and the Dirty is a quirky little story about two teens that seem improbable together.

Benedict Maximus Pendleton is objectively handsome and the smartest person in any room (except when his dad is in the room – because then he’s THE smartest) and Benedict knows it. And let’s anyone in the vicinity know it.  He’s not an asshole, on purpose, although he is, he’s just straightforward and logical. Think Sheldon from Big Bang Theory. He’s waited until he was 17 to date – because his famous father, who writes self-help books, said to. But no girls seem to be interested in Benedict now that he’s ready to go. His best (and only) friend Robert finally lays it out to him – “We will never have girlfriends. We are losers. We are the biggest nerds in school!”

Benedict Maximus Pendleton refuses to believe this. Because he is the smartest person in the room. And objectively handsome.

Pen has the perfect catholic boyfriend and is popular at school because of him but she feels trapped. She thinks of sex a lot. She has sex with Paul but then the catholic guilt sets in afterwards. Pen is always holding a part of herself back, afraid to lose her boyfriend and friends, knowing people will label her a freak if they knew how often she thought of sex and masturbated.

Then, through a series of circumstances, Pen and Benedict end up vacationing with their respective families at the same place and start up an awkward friendship. Benedict doesn’t know how to talk to girls (or anyone really) but Pen finds his brutal honesty and self acceptance refreshing. She helps Benedict realize his personality isn’t something he should change but embrace. And Benedict’s logical side gives Pen someone she can be completely honest and open with without judgement. Even her sexual side.

They fall hard for each other until they are caught in the warming hut in a compromising position. Benedict’s father and Pen’s mother both freak out, calling Pen a whore and whisking them away.

Pen and Benedict have VERY screwed up parents that make them feel ashamed and inferior and on the cusp of being discarded if they do anything wrong. It leaves both of them pretty messed up.

I’ve seen a lot of reviews that mention the amount of sex in this book. I guess yes, it’s more graphic than most YA. It describes masturbating and oral sex, but I thought it was done in a very healthy, consensual way. Especially when it came to Pen. Not for shock value and it didn’t seem excessive to me. They’re horny teens – so yeah, it made sense to me. But might be too much for some readers.

As much as I enjoyed Pen and Benedict, I have a few quibbles with this book. It had a great build up but then felt rushed - they're madly in love and everything wrapped up neatly, leaving several important threads unexplored.

Benedict’s best friend Robert was in love with Pen so that’s something that should have raised more conflict. And Pen learns something pretty important about her mom that’s just glossed over.

There’s also some language that’s going to bother people like the use of the r word and fat shaming. I don’t have a problem with that if it’s said by people where you know it’s wrong and those people are jerks but when it’s said by the protagonist's ehhh. Not cool. They both realize they’re wrong later but…fair warning.

And Benedict is really hard to stomach at first but he has to learn how to communicate and he does. Give him a chance - he's really the sweetest!

The author did a neat little thing where he tagged the alternating Pen/Benedict chapters and changed Benedict’s name – becoming less pretentious as he evolved.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

review: the twelve days of dash and lily (dash & lily #2)

26258306Dash and Lily have had a tough year since they first fell in love among the shelves of their favorite bookstore. Lily’s beloved grandfather suffered a heart attack, and his difficult road to recovery has taken a major toll on her typically sunny disposition.

With only twelve days left until Christmas—Lily’s favorite time of the year—Dash, Lily’s brother Langston, and their closest friends must take Manhattan by storm to help Lily recapture the unique holiday magic of a glittering, snow-covered New York City in December. ~

Source: arc provided by the publisher via ALA16 in exchange for an honest review

Review: In the sequel to the beloved Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares, we catch up with Dash and Lily one year after they first met and started dating.

I’m really curious to hear what fans of book #1 think of this one because the tone is so…sad. Not only for Dash and Lily as a couple but also because Lily has lost her Christmas spirit. A lot of that whimsy of two kids traipsing around NY and falling in love is gone.

The Twelve Days of Christmas is more of a story about growing up and family – not a fun bonus holiday sequel to Dash and Lily’s romance.

If you recall, Lily was a rather sheltered girl in the first book and even after one year dating Dash she’s much the same. Her grandfather has a heart attack and Lily’s rose colored world comes crashing down. As the family makes difficult decisions regarding her grandfather and try to move on with their own lives, they realize their over coddling of Lily has left her completely unprepared to deal with real life. Feeling as if she’s alone, Lily pushes everyone away.

Dash is left struggling and confused as to how to deal with her and tries to pull her out of her funk starting with his twist on the 12 days of Christmas with mixed results.

Lily and Dash keep trying to connect emotionally but keep missing the mark. Although Dash is going through some difficulty with his divorced parents – this is really Lily’s story. She has to learn to cope with life when it’s out of her control and still love the people around her even when they aren’t perfect. She could get pretty frustrating at times with her high expectations for everyone and pouty behavior but it’s something she needed to go through.

There are a few fun NY adventures that, at times, felt cheesy, implausible, and way over the top, but very Dash & Lily. And there was dialogue delivered by various characters that felt like a * very important life message* and came off very heavy handed. The supporting cast of characters were lots of fun though and helped provide some much needed levity.

This is very shitty review as far as encouraging you to read this lol but seriously, I liked it a lot – it’s just probably not what readers will be expecting or want. Or maybe I’m wrong on that. It has pretty mixed reviews on Goodreads for the reasons I mentioned but I would love to hear what you guys that of it if you've read it - or if you plan on reading it.