Cooking with books1

Welcome! My name is Maureen, and I am a retired middle school language arts teacher, a lifelong reader, and an evolving blogger.  So kind of you to stop by!

I started this blog so I could keep track of all the middle school and young adult (YA) books that I  preview for my daughter, a 7th grade CORE teacher, to help her narrow her search for good books to recommend to her students. She has dubbed me her “book sommelier”.  That explains why most of the books I review are that genre. Just so you know and truth be told, I really do enjoy reading YA books. I believe there is a term for it, crossing-under. Whatever, there are some amazing writers writing YA books. The quality of writing, the depth of characters, and the complexity of plot in many of the books I have read never fails to amaze me. If you are past the YA age demographics (and I am way past it!) and haven’t already discovered the joy of reading YA books, I hope this blog will help open that door for you.

Another major section of this blog is where I keep track of my book club books and other books that I read just for myself. I have been a member of my book club for over fifteen years, and we have read some great books. Through this book club experience, I have expanded my list of favorite authors, and I have broadened the genres that I enjoy reading. When my club finishes reading a book, we get together at one of our homes to discuss the selected book over dinner (or brunch or high tea) with a menu inspired by the book. We have had some interesting conversations about the book that have revolved around the menu choices. In many instances, cooking actually helped deepen our understanding of the book. My only regret is that I didn’t think to chronicle those books and menus before now. If only blogging had been trending when we started!

I hope you like what you see and will come back and visit often!


My Rating System

  • 1/5 stars – I did not like this book; it is just not for me.
  • 2/5 stars – It was readable, but there was nothing about this book that stands out for me.
  • 3/5 stars – It was good, but not great. There were parts of it that I liked or appreciated. I would recommend with conditions.
  • 4/5 stars – One or more elements (characters, plot, writing style) stood out, and I was an enthusiastic reader all the way through. It was difficult to put down. I would definitely recommend it to others
  • 5/5 stars – I loved it! I absolutely could not put it down. It was an outstanding read in every way. I will keep my copy of this book and buy more for gifts.


  1. This is a great site. Wish your name was here so I could thank you personally.

  2. enjoyed this Maureen. Thanks for sharing it with us, your writers group. We support you along the way and enthusiastically await more posts!

  3. Have come across your blog through the lovely samanneelizabeth and look forward to reading more!

  4. I wanted to nominate you for the “Very Inspiring Blogger Award!” I’ve enjoyed following your blog the last few months and I’ve loved connecting on Goodreads!

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