By C. Hope Clark
$14.95 Bell Bridge Books
From award-winning writer C. Hope Clark comes LOWCOUNTRY BRIBE, the first installment in the Carolina Slade Mystery series.
Carolina Slade, a manager for the U.S. Agriculture Department in the coastal Lowcountry of South Carolina, was brought up to believe that if you played your cards right you’d never get played. So naturally when she reports hog-farmer Jessie Rawling’s bribery attempt, she expects the wheels of justice to grind smoothly.
Enter Wayne Largo, the large-and-in-charge federal IG Agent and his well-meaning-yet secretive agenda. Slade soon comes to realize that he’s investigating more than attempted bribery and is focused instead on the recent suicide of an employee in Slade’s office which followed on the heels of another’s disappearance. Largo convinces Slade to be part of a sting operation, hoping to catch Rawlings red-handed, but when the plan goes south, so does Slade’s neat-and-tidy life. As if things aren’t bad enough, her contentious husband is always itching for a fight and her boss challenges her every chance he gets. But when Rawlings begins making threats against her, Slade begins to fear for her safety as well as the safety of her children and the sexual tension heating up between her and Largo causes her to question the principles that have always kept her grounded.
With a story that moves so fast you are sure to get a case of literary whiplash, LOWCOUNTRY BRIBE is almost impossible to put down. As a matter of fact, this well-crafted page-turner kept me awake for the better part of two nights. Southernisms dot the landscape of the page like so much Spanish moss, as Carolina Slade, who narrates the tale, carries us along for the ride through rough and righteous terrain. Written with grace and ferocity, Clark promises us more installments of the Carolina Slade Mystery series and I for one can hardly wait for a second helping of this unpredictably un-pretentious and hard-scrabble down-home gal.
THE BACK IN THE DAY BAKERY COOKBOOK More Than 100 Recipes from the Best Little Bakery in the South
By Cheryl Day and Griffith Day
$24.95 Artisan Books
There’s nothing I love more than down-home, finger-lickin’-good, fresh-baked confections. So when Cheryl and Griffith Day came out with their new cookbook THE BACK IN THE DAY BAKERY COOKBOOK, chock-full of tried and true recipes, I felt like I had found a couple of kindred spirits as soon as I turned to the first page.
The original Back In The Day Bakery has been a Savannah landmark for over ten years. Home of rustic artesian breads and “addictive” homespun desserts, its owners Cheryl and Griffith Day take great pleasure in treating the residents of Savannah to their “scratch-baking” goodies and other culinary delights. Located in the historic Starland district, the bakery boasts a vintage- industrial aesthetic which serves as a backdrop for the Day’s exclusive collection of dishes, the recipes for which have been handed down over generations from family members and friends.
Beginning with the baker’s tool kit and a peek inside her spice cabinet, Cheryl Day takes us on a step-by-step journey to the land of delicious, making it easy to recreate the tastes and textures of every recipe in this book. Of course, there’s no better place to start than Breakfast and included in this chapter are recipes for such mouth-watering confections as Buttermilk Biscones, Peach Cobbler Muffins and Ham and Cheese Pastry Puffs.
As you work your way through the seemingly-endless array of goodies like Plum Tartlets, Coconut Cream and S‘More Pies, you’ll surely be begging for more. And you won’t be disappointed when you get to the section devoted to cookies, my personal weakness, where recipes for tempting treats such as Molasses-Ginger and Chocolate Mint Cookies reside. When you finally get to Chapter Nine, Savories, it will be all you can do to not re-create every dish you see, from the Roasted Chicken and Vegetable Cobbler to the Bacon-Jam Empanadas, and then invite everyone you know to come over and join you for a feast.
The gorgeous color photographs peppered throughout this marvelous cookbook are accompanied by Cheryl’s running narrative, and reading about the history of each recipe is fascinating. What I really need to do now is hop in my car and head to Savannah, if for no other reason than to visit the place that started it all, and taste everything on the menu for myself.CHIC ON A SHOESTRING Simple to Sew Vintage-Style Accessories
By Mary Jane Baxter
$22.95 Perigee Books
There’s nothing better than leaving your house knowing you look like a million bucks, but when budgets are tight that can be hard to pull off. But fear not! Couture hatmaker Mary Jane Baxter rides to your rescue with her new book CHIC ON A SHOESTRING which can help you look fashion forward and fabulous at all times without breaking the bank.
Ms. Baxter’s theory is that everything we need to dress up our present wardrobe is right at our fingertips. Buttons, bows and beads, feathers, faux-fur and ribbon, among a host of other materials, are things we probably have laying around the house. And if not, such items can be purchased for a song at garage sales, craft stores and thrift shops. Then, once we have collected our treasure trove of little goodies we’re good to go.
Whether you are a novice or a seasoned seamstress, you need very little sewing experience to give your favorite pieces a lift. You can change out the buttons on a blouse or add a bit of lace or rick-rack to a jacket or skirt. Or lend some flower-power to an old sweater by adding some colorful cloth flowers. Strut your stuff in a whole new way by adding bows to your favorite pumps or glitter up that tired pair of sneakers with a bit of bling. You can create real change by making a nifty change purse out of an old tie, while making a sexy blouse out of a silk scarf is a breeze. Build-up your jewelry collection by re-assembling broken bits of old jewelry, or make a belt using ribbon, beads and a funky buckle. Anything you can dream up, you can pull off with a few odds and ends and the step-by-step instructions laid out in this easy-to-follow and fun little tome.
You can do anything you set your mind to with a little help from Mary Jane Baxter, a little bit of time and a whole lot of imagination.THE ONE The Life And Music Of James Brown
By RJ Smith
$27.50 Gotham Books
Over the years, countless books and articles have been written about James Brown who was, arguably, the greatest soul-singer of all time. But RJ Smith’s latest biography, THE ONE is definitely one of the best and most comprehensive biographies to come down the pike.
James Brown was dubbed the hardest working man in show business for a reason - he was. On a typical road trip, he and his band, the Famous Flames, would cover five cities in eleven days, doing five shows a day and a recording session. But when Smith traces the singer’s journey from the hard-scrabble days of his youth, it is easy to understand where Brown got his drive and determination and why he kept up this frantic pace until his dying day.
Born in South Carolina and raised in rural Georgia, Brown grew up amidst the rhythms of brutal poverty and neglect. No stranger to violence and danger, the scrappy kid soon learned that he had the ability to wow audiences with his larger-than-life presence and his determination to do so again and again served him throughout his life and career. Coming up the hard way, through the Chitlin’ Circuit, with a little help from his mentors, Brown soon rose to prominence on the Black music scene, eventually landing at the historic Apollo Theatre and the top of the R&B charts. But once he’d crossed over to the Pop charts of white America he never looked back, transcending class and culture by entertaining the hell out of each and every audience he faced. His later-in-life forays into civil rights and the political arena landed him at the center of many controversies, but it was his music that brought him into main-steam American culture, making his a household name
In this meticulously-researched and brilliantly-written book, journalist RJ Smith has left no stone unturned and there is no subject matter relating to James Brown’s meteoric career that is left untold here. From his legendary brand of music to the scores of women he both loved and abused, the singer’s success is neatly outlined here which, while describing a life and career that was anything but neat, makes this biography a tour-de-force.