Holiday Gift Guides — Books For All Ages

Books are such fantastic gifts. I love to give them as much as I love to receive them.

Below are fun books that will make great gifts.  There is one YA fiction and two awesome food-related books:


Weregirl By C. D. Bell ($17.99, on sale for $14.99) — This cool YA novel is the perfect gift for preteens up to adults!  I’m giving it to my (will be) 13 year old for Christmas.  She loves supernatural books!  The synopsis is:

High school junior Nessa Kurland is a cross-country runner with her eyes set on one thing: a college scholarship as her one-way ticket out of dying Tether, Michigan. Talented teammate Cynthia Sinise invites Nessa on a nighttime run through Tether’s overgrown forest trails. But she speeds ahead, leaving Nessa alone to discover a trapped wolf. Nessa tries to free the animal but is badly bitten, seemingly ruining her hopes for a strong fall season with the cross-country team.

Instead, Nessa’s freakishly quick recovery is followed by improved running times. All her senses are heightened. Nessa has transformed. She has become a werewolf.

In her new state, Nessa learns there are things about Tether that powerful people want to keep hidden. Why does a Nobel Laureate work at the small-town medical clinic? Are top college athletic scouts really interested in her emerging talent? Can she trust Chayton, the motorcycle-riding guide her friends have faith in? WEREGIRL’s Nessa must navigate her junior year and true human darkness, while making peace with her new, wild nature.

C. D. Bell’s WEREGIRL is a fast-paced teen thriller set in Tether, Michigan, a town on the brink of shutdown since it was stripped of its resources by corporate polluter Dutch Chemical.

Purchase at


Our Table
Our Table
Our Table by Renee Muller ($34.99 USD Artscroll) — A tavola in Italian means “at the table.”  The table is where we gather to talk, to socialize, to catch up, and most importantly…eat! At our table is where it all comes together because it’s not just about the food, its about stopping whatever we are doing and carving out some much-needed time to nourish our souls and bodies in the company of loved ones. Food stylist and recipe columnist, Renee Muller, invites home cooks to come to the table and partake in some her family’s favorite kosher recipes in her beautiful new cookbook, Our Table.  Renee’s recipes are refreshingly simple, distinctively delicious and crafted from common ingredients and vividly presented with beautiful full color photos.
Throughout the pages of Our Table, Renee walks readers through each recipe with subtle suggestions, insights and techniques that turn good food into great food.  Recipes are arranged in chapters such as: Appetizers, Soups & Salads, Fish & Dairy, Meat, Chicken & More, Snacks & Sides, and Desserts and Breads, providing everything needed to create an easy weeknight meal or a special holiday dinner. Some of the recipes in Our Table include:
  • Buttery Chocolate Scones
  • Mushroom Barley Soup Done Right
  • Crunchy Asian Salad
  • Silan, Lemon, and Mustard Salmon
There is also a special selection of recipes with links to online video tutorials, just as if Renee was right in the kitchen cooking with you!  “Many times while writing down recipe instructions, I wished I could just invite my readers to join me in my kitchen and cook with me.  That thought led me to create a variety of videos of some of the recipes so you can view them as you want and see some of the techniques I use when cooking my recipes.”
L.A.’s Legendary Restaurants
L.A.’s Legendary Restaurants
L.A.’s Legendary Restaurants by George Geary ($45 USD Santa Monica Press) — From Trader Vic’s to Perino’s, there are stories to tell and food to talk about. Best-selling cookbook author and chef, George Geary, takes readers on a journey to where the rich and famous ate in the golden age of Hollywood in his new book, L.A.’S LEGENDARY RESTAURANTS, an illustrated history Los Angeles’ landmark eateries. The book features over 100 celebrity favorite recipes, from classic eateries such as the Musso & Frank Grill and The Brown Derby in the 1920s, to the see-and-be-seen crowds at Chasen’s, Romanoff’s, and Ciro’s in the mid-twentieth century, to the dawn of California, chef-inspired restaurants Ma Maison and Spago. L.A.’S LEGENDARY RESTAURANTS is a celebration of where Hollywood royalty ate, drank, and played.
Geary gives us an insider’s tour of Hollywood through its restaurants, sprinkling in fun facts and trivia such as Bob Hope’s favorite place to enjoy a hot fudge sundae after hosting the Academy Awards, or where a table was sawed off to accommodate a pregnant Lana Turner, to the soda fountain where composer Harold Arlen wrote “Over the Rainbow” for The Wizard of Oz.  And what book on L.A.’s restaurants would be complete without tales of ice cream sundaes at C.C. Brown’s, cafeteria-style meals at Clifton’s Cafeteria, late-night breakfasts at Ben Frank’s, or mai tais at Don the Beachcomber?
Some of the restaurants Geary has featured include: Van de Kamp’s Holland Dutch Bakery, Formosa Café, Tick Tock Tea Room, Miceli’s, Coconut Grove at the Ambassador Hotel, Cyrano, Chez Jay, Hamptons, L’Orangerie, Tam O’Shanter Inn, Bullock’s Wilshire Tea Room, Zebra Room at the Town House of Lafayette Park, Don the Beachcomber, Cock ‘n Bull, Hollywood Palladium, Scandia, La Scala, Trader Vic’s at the Beverly Hilton, Dan Tana’s, Le Dome, and many more.  L.A.’S LEGENDARY RESTAURANTS provides an interesting history of each restaurant profiled, from their original address and phone number to who designed it and a few of their famous recipes.  Here are just a few of the over 100 iconic recipes included in the book:
  • Crab Crepes Bengal – Trader Vic’s
  • Crabmeat Cocktail – Ciro’s
  • Cobb Salad – The Brown Derby
  • Maude Salad – Chasen’s
  • Braised Short Ribs – Musso & Frank Grill
  • Coq Au Vin – Taix French Restaurant
There are also some classic cocktail recipes such as:
  • The Zombie – Don the Beachcomber
  • Irish Coffee – Chez Jay
  • Moscow Mule – Cock ‘n Bull
Most of the locations chronicled in L.A.’S LEGENDARY RESTAURANTS no longer exist, but George Geary has brought their memories and tastes back to life with updated recipes that remind us why customers kept coming back to their favorite haunts time and again.



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