GIVEAWAY (12 WINNERS)! Zin Mignon and the Secret of the Pickled Pigs’ Feet {Michael Daswick}

When Michael Daswick reached out to tell me about his Zin Mignon book series, I knew this was a book series that my entire family would love! When book #1, Zin Mignon and the Secret of The Pickled Pigs’ Feet, arrived in my mailbox…I couldn’t wait to “dig in”! I’m so excited to host this amazing giveaway today where there will be 12 WINNERS!

Photo credit: Michael Daswick

Our family LOVES watching cooking competitions, especially when they involve children chefs. Food Network’s Kids Baking Championship is our absolute favorite and we have faithfully watched every single season. Over the summer, my daughter had a chance to attend a virtual cooking lesson from Valerie Bertinelli (the host of Kids Baking Championship) and it was so cool! Total once in a lifetime opportunity for her and she loved every single second. If you haven’t watched Kids Baking Championship, it’s such a wonderful show. Our other favorite is Be Our Chef on Disney Plus. Children chefs are amazing!

Best day. Valerie taught my daughter how to make an asparagus frittata!

Synopsis from Goodreads of Zin Mignon and the Secret of The Pickled Pigs’ Feet (Michael Daswick}:

11 year old genius Chef Zin Mignon is in a horrific pickle. He’s been kidnapped from Le Cordon Bleu cooking school in Paris by the mysterious Mustard Monks and spirited away to their ultra-remote mountaintop abbey. In time, he’ll be able to take their daunting Test. If he passes, he may join their secret Order and achieve the culinary success he’s always dreamed of. If he fails….

The tale of Zin Mignon begins at the bottom of a jar of pickled pigs’ feet in his father’s pathetic Brooklyn deli. A secret note sets him on a world-spinning adventure that takes him through the alleys of the homeless to the tables of billionaires, to discover who he really is and the greatness for which he is destined. As he sets the culinary world on fire, a mix of treacherous rivals feasts on the chance to make his dreams go up in smoke.

In the wildly appetizing first book of the Zin Mignon series, with the help of his family and friends, Zin is off to honor the solemn promise he made to his dad and to learn the incredible secret of his family legacy. With humor, amazing exploits and heartfelt compassion, Zin uses food and his kitchen to build a recipe that will lead him to his true identity. Can he cut the mustard, or is it all just pie in the sky?

My Thoughts on Zin Mignon and the Secret of the Pickled Pigs’ Feet {Michael Daswick}:

I absolutely loved this book and read it over the course of just a few days. I was completely engrossed in this story and in these characters.

This book has a bit of everything. A story of hard work, dedication, compassion, and patience? Check. A bit of mystery? Check. Most of all, this book has such beautiful themes… the importance of family, acceptance, having big dreams, and of always treating others with kindness and respect.

Warning #1: This book will make you HUNGRY. The food that Zin creates are nothing short of spectacular, and his ability to create these magnificant dishes from whatever ingredients he has available to him at the time is truly fantastic.

Warning #2: No matter how good of a cook you think you are, you will absolutely 100 percent doubt yourself when you witness the skills of this child chef. Seriously.

Zin Mignon is the type of book series that you can feel good about your child reading. I can’t wait for my daughter to read this! She is going to love the story, the characters, the food, and as a fun bonus she is going to love the celebrity names mentioned throughout! If I were still an elementary school teacher, I would so love to read this book to my class.

Thank you, Michael Daswick, for sharing Zin with me. I can’t wait to read book #2! I’ve got it sitting here on my desk and it looks wonderful 🙂

A Conversation with Michael Daswick, in His Own Words:

What ages would be the ideal readers for your book?

Zin has a wide crossover audience. The ZIN Series goes against publishing norms in that it’s not directed at a certain age group as much as it’s aimed at any reader who loves food and cooking, humor and mystery. Zin has readers who are eight years old, as well as many moms, dads and grammas who cook with their kids, or want to pass along the joys of food to their families. We have teachers reading these books to their third grade classroom. The books are crammed with pop culture, little jokes and references that only adults will ‘get’; but there’s also plot and many areas that junior readers will love. There’s something for everyone.

How did you create the idea for your book?

Many people know this story. Our daughter Sidney has special needs and uses a wheelchair. Over the years, she loved watching Emeril, Giada, and all the Food Network shows. That love for food led her to our own kitchen where she loves ‘helping’ me cook, directing traffic and making suggestions on her communication device. I’ve written stuff my entire life and one night we were all watching Food Network with Sid when it hit me: With all this interest in Food on TV, Cooking Channel, MasterChef, Chef’s Table and all that, how come there’s never been fictional Series about a 13 year genius chef? The food phenomenon is so big, how come it hasn’t spread to fiction? Well, now it has.

What audience would be most interested in your book?

Food fans, kids who cook, parents and grandparents who cook (or want to cook) with their kids. Readers who watch cooking on TV. ALSO, the books are just solid humor-filled mysteries as well. Anyone who wants a good, well-written story.

Where can your book be purchased?

Amazon, Apple, Barnes n Noble, Scrib’d, Kobo, and others. All the platforms. 

Use 3 adjectives to describe your book:

Original; Funny; Loaded with Humanity. Unexpected. 

Any additional information that you would like to provide about you or your book:


While people might think a ‘food-centric’ topic is light-hearted, these are sophisticated, detailed, very well written novels with great characters who inspire and bring out the best in each other. Family is crucial throughout ZIN. I won both of Columbia’s prestigious literary awards and take the writing business very seriously. 

***GIVEAWAY DETAILS***

Would you like to win a copy of the first book in the series? I have 12 copies (yes 12!) of Zin Mignon and the Secret of the Pickled Pigs’ Feet to give away!!!

There are 2 different ways to enter this giveaway:

  • If you would like to enter to win an ebook: Click HERE and enter your email address. EVERYONE who does this will automatically receive the first 3 chapters for FREE. From those who enter, 10 of you will randomly be chosen to receive the complete ebook sent straight to your inbox! **This option is open to US as well as international readers**
  • If you would like to enter to receive a hard copy: Leave a comment below (about anything)! I will randomly choose 2 people who will receive a signed hard copy. You must comment below to be eligible for the giveaway and you must comment here on this blog post (not on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram). **This option is open to US readers only**

Both giveaway options will close tomorrow (10/20/20) at 6:00 pm CDT and all winners will be randomly chosen and announced here on my blog on Wednesday (10/21/20).

Make sure you check the blog on Wednesday to see if you’ve won (you will have 48 hours from the time I post the winners to email me your mailing address if you are receiving a hard copy.  If I don’t hear from you within 48 hours, I will pick a new winner).

Good luck!

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Book Review: One Of Us Is Lying {Karen McManus}

I randomly came across One Of Us Is Lying by Karen McManus while searching through books online (man I miss doing that in person at the library).  I thought it sounded great!  I couldn’t wait to read it and to write my review.

Goodreads Synopsis of One Of Us Is Lying {Karen McManus}:

The Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little Liars, One of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide.

Pay close attention and you might solve this.

On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.
Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.
Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.
Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention, Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?
Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

My Review of One Of Us Is Lying {Karen McManus}:

(Disclaimer: I will never post spoilers in my reviews HOWEVER the comment section is completely fair game to discuss any and all specifics including spoilers)

I LOVE a good YA (young adult) book.  In fact, some of the very best books I’ve ever read have been YA (you can read my reviews on a few of these HERE, HERE, and HERE).

So this book was good.  It kept me interested enough that I wanted to see how it would end although I very much figured out the ending significantly earlier in the book then the author intended.

HOWEVER, this book was just a bit tooooooo YA for me.  Does that even make sense?  The language, the actions, the stereotypes of characters/scenarios, all of it.  I felt like I was reading a book MEANT for high schoolers which again, I understand that the typical audience of YA books is just that…young adults.  However, most YA books that I have read have been so well written and contained such deep messages that they appeal to ALL ages.  This book, however…was most definitely written for high schoolers.

Even the names of the characters just made me feel like I’m way too old to be reading this book.  Bronwyn?  Cooper?  Keely?  Maeve?  Janae?  Ashton?  I’m too old for this.

This book had a very “Gossip Girl” vibe.  I LOVED Gossip Girl…a very long time ago.

One Of Us Is Lying is the 1st in a series of 3.  Will I be reading the next 2?  Not unless they take place 25 years into the future, lol.

Bottom Line:

If I were 25 years younger, I would have LOVED this book.  Unfortunately, I’m not.

Xo,

Jenny

Did you read this book?  What did you think?  I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Click the image below to order the book through my Amazon affiliate link.  When you order through this link, I receive a tiny commission. Thank you for your support, Xo

This blog is my favorite hobby and I would so love your support!  Here are ways you can help my blog to GROW:

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The ultimate list of my top book suggestions can be found HERE

Why I Stopped Reading This Popular Book

This book is currently alllll over the book blogging community.  Everyone seems to be reading this popular book right now!  I was VERY excited 2.5 weeks ago when I found a lone copy sitting amongst our library’s newest releases.  It was the day before the quarantine started and I had a feeling in my gut that things were about to drastically change.  I had posted this on Facebook that day:

I left the library for the very last time that day with a huge stack of books in my hand and an uneasy feeling in my heart.

Of all of the books I brought home with me, this was the one I was most excited to read!

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Orla Cadden is a budding novelist stuck in a dead-end job, writing clickbait about movie-star hookups and influencer yoga moves. Then Orla meets Floss―a striving wannabe A-lister―who comes up with a plan for launching them both into the high-profile lives they dream about. So what if Orla and Floss’s methods are a little shady and sometimes people get hurt? Their legions of followers can’t be wrong.

Thirty-five years later, in a closed California village where government-appointed celebrities live every moment of the day on camera, a woman named Marlow discovers a shattering secret about her past. Despite her massive popularity―twelve million loyal followers―Marlow dreams of fleeing the corporate sponsors who would do anything to keep her on-screen. When she learns that her whole family history is based on a lie, Marlow finally summons the courage to run in search of the truth, no matter the risks.

Followers traces the paths of Orla, Floss and Marlow as they wind through time toward each other, and toward a cataclysmic event that sends America into lasting upheaval. At turns wry and tender, bleak and hopeful, this darkly funny story reminds us that even if we obsess over famous people we’ll never meet, what we really crave is genuine human connection.

My Thoughts:

(Disclaimer: I will never post spoilers in my reviews HOWEVER the comment section is completely fair game to discuss any and all specifics including spoilers)

I didn’t finish reading it.

I LOVE reality tv….like, LOVE.  I also love Influencers, bloggers (obvi), YouTube Stars, etc.  This book topic is riiiiiiight up my alley.

So what was the problem?  Why did I stop reading?

This book toggles between 2 different time periods.  The present day (well 2015 so close enough) which discusses the makings of an influencer and gives the “behind the scenes” of how influencers are “created”.  Loved reading about this!  BUT…the other storyline takes place 35 years into the future.  Robots, devices being implanted into people so they can “see” things in their mind, etc.

Aaaaaaaaand I’m out.

Yes, the future story revolves around a reality tv star and how the world watches her every move which I loved reading about!  However, reading about all of the technical futuristic elements wasn’t for me.  In fact, it made me not want to continue reading.

Also, the author kept eluding to things without explaining them which was both frustrating and annoying.  I’m sure there would have been a big revel at some point where everything would be explained but I just wasn’t invested enough in this book to stick around and find out.

I’ve learned that the #1 reason for me to decide to not finish a book is when picking it up is something that I don’t look forward to doing.  When my favorite bobby starts to feel like a chore, that’s when I decide I’m done.  Too many good books out there!  Moving on.

This book isn’t bad and I 100 percent understand the infatuation that people have with it!  The storylines were interesting, creative, and I was just beginning to see the clever way they were starting to connect…but….unfortunately, it’s just not a book for me.

Bottom Line:

If you love reality tv, influencers, and reading about the future, give this book a try!  If you don’t, this is NOT a book for you.

And just for fun, here are some of my favorite reality tv shows:

The Bachelor/Bachelorette (side note…I hate the pick for the new Bachelorette…)

Big Brother

American Idol (Jon and I used to watch this religiously but haven’t in a few years.  No better time to jump back in like when you’re quarantined!  My family has binged this entire season over this quarantine and as of yesterday we are officially all caught up.  It took a few episodes to connect to these new judges and new format but I’m ALL IN now!  It’s a perfect and fun show to watch as a family, my 8 year old daughter is loving it.)  GO CYNIAH ELISE!

Anyone remember Bridalplasty?  LOVED IT.

Fun Fact:  I used to own box sets of the entire Flavor of Love series and JUST sold them at a garage sale a few years ago 🙂

Keeping up With the Kardashians, Real Housewives, anything on Bravo (Newlyweds the First Year was AWESOME), Teen Mom, etc.

The list goes on and on and on and on….told you I’m reality tv obsessed!

Do you watch reality tv?  Which is your fave?  Have you read Followers?  I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Xo,

Jenny

Click the image below to order the book through my Amazon affiliate link.  When you order through this link, I receive a tiny commission. Thank you for your support, Xo

This blog is my favorite hobby and I would so love your support!  Here are ways you can help my blog to GROW:

*Please share this page with your book and blog loving friends!*

*Subscribe with your email address to my blog (scroll all the way to the bottom of this page on mobile devices OR check the top right of this screen to enter your email address)*

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New Family Heirloom, What I’m Reading, and My Porch Goose

I received the most lovely text from my wonderful cousin, Shari!  The very day that I posted this post mentioning that I was so happy to receive the 1st in the Little House series for my daughter, she texted me that she has the entire series and wanted to give them to me!  How amazing is that?!?  I just love my family so much.  She asked that I keep them in the family and pass them along to my other cousins when my daughter finishes reading them.  Jamie, these are coming to you next and you can then pass them along to Catherine!  Our new family heirloom 🙂

Would any of my local readers like to have this copy?  Just let me know, I’ll put it on my front porch for you. 🙂  If not, I’ll toss this little gem into a Little Free Library!

I find it creepy how the baby was partially edited out in the different covers.  Why not just edit the whole body out?  So weird, lol. 

My porch goose is all ready for winter.  Love.

I will finish reading this book today!  Full blog review coming soon!

So excited to start reading this one next!  It looks amazing.

I’m a huge fan of Rochelle Weinstein both as an author and as a person.  If you haven’t read Somebody’s Daughter yet, I HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend it.

Happy Friday!  What are you up to this weekend?  Ours will be busy and fun.  My kids have 4 (!) birthday parties, my son has a basketball class, and my husband and I are going to a fancy downtown dinner with his colleagues.  I hope you have a nice weekend!

Xo,

Jenny

Did you read this book?  What did you think?  I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Click the image below to order the book through my Amazon affiliate links.  When you order through these links, I receive a tiny commission. Thank you for your support, Xo

This blog is my favorite hobby and I would so love your support!  Here are ways you can help my blog to GROW:

*Please share this page with your book and blog loving friends!*

*Subscribe with your email address to my blog (scroll all the way to the bottom of this page on mobile devices OR check the top right of this screen to enter your email address)*

*If you already have a blog, please “follow” mine*

*”Like” my Facebook page (and please comment on, “like”, and share my posts)*

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Books, Books, Books!

As the delicious smell of Twisted Peppermint fills my living room, I have so many book related updates to blog about and share with you!

Last October, I was invited to attend a Midwest Writers Association meeting.  The discussion topic was “expressing your passion” and how a writer discovers and applies that passion into his/her writing.  It was such a wonderful experience (You can read about that night here). A few weeks ago, I was once again invited to attend one of their meetings as the topic of this particular meeting was blogging and using blogs to promote yourself.  I felt so honored to be included and I loved being able to share some of the knowledge that I’ve gained through writing my blog. 

The meeting was held at a local independent bookstore.  Oh how I just love local independent bookstores!

We met in their beautiful event room and I loved spending the morning in the company of such wonderful authors, bloggers, and writers.  Thank you so much for including me, Midwest Writers Association!  You can read more about this lovely group of people here.

Do you remember a few months ago when I happily took a few books from our local library book stand at one of our community buildings?  My kids and I were there dropping something off last week and of course we spent a long time looking through the current selection.

Unfortunately none of the adult books called to me so I didn’t take any for myself.  My kids, however, got some great books!

I told my kids that they were each allowed to choose 1 item.  My son chose a frog book and my daughter chose a brand new (factory sealed!) math bingo game.  I was DELIGHTED to find the first book in the Little House series for my daughter!  Oh how I LOVED this series, I can’t wait for her to read them.  I also grabbed The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby for her since it is written by the same author as her current book series obsession: Dogman!

If you follow me onInstagram, you saw that I found this classic at a Little Free Library a few days ago! I happily added this along with the Little House book to the box of classic books I’m collecting for when my daughter is a bit older.  Love.

Present for my Niece’s 10th Birthday:

She loved them. 🙂

As for me, I’m currently reading this book:

The release date isn’t until January and I feel extraordinarily lucky that I was able to receive an Advance Reader’s Copy.  I absolutely love Mary Kubica.  While you are waiting for The Other Mrs. to be released, I strongly recommend reading this one.   SO, SO GOOD. 

Check out these 2 gorgeous childrens books that have recently been sent to me. I can’t wait to read these with my kids! Full blog reviews (and giveaways!) coming to the blog soon!

And lastly, my daughter was in a play last week (she was awesome and I cried) and here are the flowers I bought for her.  They are full of glitter because she’s 7 and there’s not much cooler to a 7 year old than a bouquet of all glitter flowers.  #momwin

What are you (or your children) currently reading?  Please share in the comments below!

Xo,

Jenny

This blog is my favorite hobby and I would so love your support!  Here are ways you can help my blog to GROW:

*Please share this page with your book and blog loving friends!*

*Subscribe with your email address to my blog (scroll all the way to the bottom of this page on mobile devices OR check the top right of this screen to enter your email address)*

*If you already have a blog, please “follow” mine*

*”Like” my Facebook page (and please comment on, “like”, and share my posts)*

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