City Book Review Shows You Why You Should Get Your Book Reviewed (cool video)

The folks at City Book Review have been doing book reviews since 2008, more than 20,000 reviews over the years. If you’re an author and need a review, give them a try.

Now that your wrote and published your book, next up is how to get your book reviewed by a professional organization. Many bookstores won’t carry a book that hasn’t been reviewed by someone, and there are fewer and fewer local newspapers that review books any more. So your chances to get reviewed are harder each year. Luckily places like San Francisco Book Review and their sister publications have stepped up to help authors with book reviews, marketing, cover design and SEO.

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The 30 Day Challenge Each Zodiac Sign Needs To Take In Order To Live Beautifully

Aries: Watch a movie each day challenge

Netflix is great, but how about expanding your knowledge and inspiration for the next 30 days with a movie marathon? A friend of mine took this challenge while he was studying to become an actor and spent a couple minutes each morning reviewing the film he watched the night before. This proved an excellent exercise to access not only great art, but also to nurture his curiosity, to enhance his thinking and to learn amazing pick-up lines (my point exactly). Make a list of the films youve always wanted to watch and never had the chance to, subscribe to local cinemas to stay informed about premieres or offer to host some movie nights at your place for your friends and their cinema aficionado acquaintances. Soon enough, youll have a complete new agenda to look up to!

Taurus: Living without social media challenge

This social media thing has invaded your life, hasnt it, Taurus? You spend your minutes before falling asleep with your phone rather than with your SO, endlessly scrolling newsfeeds and hopelessly spying on your current Instagram obsessions. Before superficially sighing again and letting your ennui grow stronger than your sense of humour, consider cutting your own access to social channels for one month. Wait, what, you work there? That doesnt mean you cant still do it. Create a separate Facebook profile (without adding ANY friends) if you need one for your work, and deactivate your main profile instead. Oh, I know, you think youre gonna die without your newsfeed tabloid each day, but whenever you postpone going to the toilet in the morning because you want some extra time spying your ex on Facebook, remember your bladder is not an infinite well. Other than that, youll be surprised how much spare time you will have access to. You might even want to pass this to your social media obsessed friend(s) next time their lunch gets cold because they HAD to Instagram it.

Gemini: Dance class challenge

This is a good time to work on your feminine/masculine balance and what better way to do so other than dancing your demons away while learning to actually synch with a partner? Takes two to tango, Gemini, and even if you do it just for you to learn to move your hips like Shakira, you can bet this kind of energy will make peace between your conflicted sides.

Cancer: Slow cooking challenge

If your diets been more vodka on the rocks and preheated meals this winter, Cancer, you might consider breaking up with your fast foodie knack and get yourself prepared a real, delicious and healthy snack. Even if youll find it boring and painstaking in the first week to actually move your ass to the market, analyze recipes and ingredients, spend time figuring how to mix organic avocados with goat cheese and chutney, doing so will make room for creativity in the kitchen. Plus, your body will thank you for that. From all its pores.

Leo: Learning a new skill challenge

It only takes 20 hours to become pretty good at something new. That means 45 minutes each day for a month, and a realistic plan to get you closer to your next dream job, fruition of a hobby or take-off of a business youve been long musing to kickstart. You might be surprised how fast your mind wraps itself around this new outlook and youll feel so much confident when youve touched first base with something youve always wanted to do but never considered yourself competent enough to actually do it. Now its the time!

Virgo: Deep cleansing challenge

Rest, eat, meditate, repeat. If youve been struggling with a difficult project, ran the mile to burnout at work or postponed washing your hair for a whole week (OR, even worse, slept in your make-up because you once read Kim Kardashian gets away with that which she totally doesnt, BTW), its high time to put a hold on your FOMO and workaholic inside and get a good and completely deserved rest. This means 9 hours of sleep each night, drinking lemon water each morning on an empty stomach, comforting your body with Swedish massage and eating healthy and vitamin reach meals three times a day, no exception. You might also want to swipe alcohol and caffeine while youre at it, and treat your body and mind the well deserved rest it needs.

Libra: Vippassana meditation challenge

For someone who finds it hard to sit down with their own issues and often forgets to shush and listen to others, a no-talking yoga camp with long meditation classes in the morning and spiritual engaging activities throughout the day may be a winning challenge to finally connect with your deepest desires.

Scorpio: Arts and crafts challenge

The creative adult is the child who survived. If youve been feeling disconnected from your hearts wishes and feel like your anxiety is the only thing standing between you and that big dream of yours, this is a good time to actively listen to your inner child, inner artist, inner voice, and give them some credit. Take a painting class, start scribbling your thoughts into poems, play with clay or take a graphic design course. Whenever I tell myself I cant do anything artistic because I lack the skill, I think of my friend who channelled her creative energy into 38 paintings over the course of 30 days (!) after she fell in love. And even if youre not in love, you might end up learning an important lesson about what you really love in life.

Sagittarius: Yoga mat challenge

Your body is a wonderland of sensations, Sag, and you need to work on your flexibility, especially if you want things to get wilder in the bedroom. Your epicurean spirit may find great comfort in taking a relaxing yoga class, while your body will thank you for releasing the blocked energies in your chakras. Take a deep breath and stick to it for one month, even if it seems pointless in the beginning, you will be surprised by your Jagger moves after this!

Capricorn: Be a tourist in your own city challenge

I know, we all love to travel and we get this fantastic high when were mingling with new people in different cultures. Then, back home, we find ourselves numbed and bored by the lacklustre of the city we inhabit, often forgetting the myriad of possibilities and attractions that make it so catchy for tourists each season after all. Take some time to sit with your mood while revisiting all the shows, galleries, museums and free activities your city has to offer. Rent a bike and explore the lesser known areas of your city. Book a nice dinner to a venue youve never stepped into before. Wear those beautiful clothes that you only sport on holidays (because you feel its tacky to dress nice for no occasion) and plan some getaways to local events with your close friends. You will feel tired but extremely happy and thankful for the energy boost your social life and your mind will get from this.

Aquarius: Surf camp challenge

Your body craves interactive sports that help you tone that beach body and boost your adrenaline in the same time. Take a month to relax and refresh your system while learning to surf with a hot instructor in a breezy resort. Lena Dunham just took one on the premiere episode of GIRLS season 6 and it made up for some good old soul searching too. Dont forget to SPF!

Pisces: Diary of dreams challenge

This is a fantastic way to connect to your subconscious and learn decoding the messages it sends to you while youre resting between the sheets. If youve been having nightmares, or if youre simply curious how your dream world relates to events in your waking life, you might start a dream journal. Get yourself a beautiful notebook and begin collecting your dreams each morning before breakfast, trying to be as explicit and detailed as possible. Reflect on the notes you made at the end of each week and soon you will be able to deconstruct your subconscious mind and connect in surprising ways to the aspects of your life that need improvement.

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Twitch launches Communities to help gamers organize around their shared interests

Twitchs push to broaden the scope of its video game streaming site to include more types of content continues today with the launch of a new section on its site called Communities. Designed to cater to users unique interests, this section initially contains hundreds of categories, someof which build on top of gamers interests as well as those that dont. Here, youll find dedicated sections devoted to topics like cosplay, drawing, painting, comedy, food, music and more. Plus, Twitch says users can set up their own communities, if they choose.

Of course, many communities will also focus on specific gaming titles, types of gaming, like retro, or activities, like speedrunning.

The launch follows a number of changes to the Amazon-owned streaming site over the last year or so, which have put an emphasis on catering to the gaming audience in new ways, while also attracting new users. In fall 2015, the company debuted a new channel calledTwitch Creative, which allowed gamers to show off theirartistic endeavours that is, their game-inspiredpaintings, drawing, songs, costumes and more.

It also dipped its toe into TV streaming, by offering classic programslike those from Bob Ross and Julia Child, as well as Amazons new TV show pilots.It even launched a social eating category to cater to its South Korean users, then more broadly opened up to vloggers through a new category called IRL.


Given the expanded scope of content on the site today, its not surprising that Twitch would now try to organize these many different communities to make them easier to find.

But the change is not just about enabling better discovery, users are also allowed to start their own communities, which are then added to the directory listing.

Weve heard from our streamers and viewers that they want the freedom to form specific groups, organizing around topics such as speedrunning, esports, cosplay, and painting, said Sheila Raju, Product Marketing Manager at Twitch, in a statement. With Communities, we are giving our users the power to create groups of their choosing, while providing creators with another tool to expand their audiences. If you have an interest thats shared among others, Communities is where that collective can live.


These communities can be personalized by their creator, each with their own specific rules, a customizable banner and avatar, and they can have their own designated Community Leader. The leaders will also have access to moderation tools for the channels in their communities, which gives them permission to ban or timeout channels that go against their communitys rules.

Inside the communities, theres also a stream wall which displays the live content from creators who are choosing to broadcast to the community. For broadcasters, associating themselves with a community could give them more exposure for their content, allowing them to pick up more fans.

The communities are all public, too, which means that viewers and creators alike can see the list of channels that are currently broadcasting at any time. This helps them to figure out if the community is right for them.

The new Communities directory is available today, in beta, to all Twitch viewers and broadcasters.

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13 Pioneer-Era Recipes That You Should Still Serve Up Today

Americans making their way to settle in new areas of the country back in the 1800s had little to rely on when it came to meals. They had to get creative with the meager options,but you’d be surprised how many pioneer-era recipes from back in the day still look scrumptious today.

That’s why looking back at how folks survived in that era, and again later during the Great Depression, is the perfect wayto find budget-friendly, yet still delicious, dining options for you and your family. In fact, you might even recognize a few of these as staples in your kitchen thatwere passed down in your family through the generations.

Either way, I wouldn’t mind chowing down on several of the pioneer-era recipes listed below! I also wouldn’t recommend looking at them on an empty stomach unless you want to hear your belly growl.

Have you tried any pioneer-era recipes that we missed? Let us know in the comments and be sure to SHARE with your friends!

[H/T: The Chronicle Of The Old West,]

1. Corn Dodgers


Similar to hush puppies, these were a great side with beans or to carry around for a snack while traveling.

2 cups cornmeal
2 Tbsps. butter
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/2tsp. salt
2 cups milk
1 tsp. baking powder

Start heating oil in a Dutch oven while you cook thecornmeal, butter, salt, sugar, and milk in a saucepan. Once it’s all mixed together, set the saucepan aside and allow to cool for five minutes, then add baking powder. Drop tablespoon-sized portions into the oil and let fry for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.

2. Spotted Pup


This sweet dish might have a strange name, but it’sa great treat that will stick to your bones.

Cooked rice
1 egg
1 dash salt
Sugar, to taste

Place the rice into a Dutch oven andpour enough milk to cover the grains and add a well-beaten egg.Next, add a dash of salt and as much sugar as you’d likefor sweetness, then the raisins, nutmeg, and vanilla. Cover with a lid and allow to heatslowly until the egg is fully cooked.

3. Soda Biscuits


These are a bit more dense than the fluffier biscuits we tend to make today, but just as delicious.

3 1/3 cups of flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt

With flour in a large bowl,add one tablespoonof milk at a time until the dough is stiff. In a separate small bowl, dissolve the baking soda into one tablespoon of milk, thenpour into the dough and mix. Add the salt and mix again, then roll the dough out into a thin layer. Use a cookie cutter to make circles and fry in a Dutch oven or bake in a standard oven until dough is cooked all the way through and the edges are brown.

4. Molasses Stack Cake


This super sweet cake should totally make a comeback, especially for birthdays and special occasions!

1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup shortening
1 egg
1 cup molasses
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 cups flour

Mix the buttermilk, shortening, egg, molasses, and baking soda, and add nutmeg and cinnamon to taste. Once fully combined, add the flour and mix until it forms a dough. Roll out the dough and use a cookie cutter to make circles, then bake on an un-greased cookie sheet.

Serve with applesauce between the layers and top with more molasses.

5. Mud Apples


Yep, this recipe uses actual mud. Butdon’t worry we would obviously never recommend that you consume dirt. You actually might want to substitute cinnamon and keep the skins on for a sweeter version.

4 large apples

Cover the apples in mud and place them directly onto the coals of a fire for about 45 minutes. Carefully remove the fruit from the flames and scrape away any coal. Knock the mud off and discard the apple skins for a sweet, mushy treat.

6. Winter Red Flannel Hash


This was often made with leftover corned beef that wasn’t enough for a meal on its own.

1 1/2 cups chopped corned beef
1 1/2 cups chopped cooked beets
1 chopped medium onion
4 cups chopped, cooked potatoes

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and heat in an oiled skillet until the bottom is browned and forms a crust. If it’s dry, you can add a little beef broth for moisture.

7. 1876 Cottage Cheese


Folks back in the day found the perfect use for milk that was about to go totally bad so it didn’t go to waste.

Heavy cream

Let the milk clabber, or sour and curdle slightly, and skim the cream off the top. Place the clabbered milk over very low heat and cut into chunks. Use a colander to press out the whey and wipe it away. When the clabbered milk is firm, rinse with cold water and squeeze out the liquid while forming it into a ball. Crumble into a bowl and add thick cream.

8. Chuckwagon Beans


This protein-rich dish was a staple for fireside meals that kept you full for long rides.

16oz. dry pinto beans
9 cups water
2large chopped onions
2 tsps. salt
1/2tsp. oregano
1/2tsp. garlic powder, or 2cloves sliced garlic
1/4tsp. pepper
1 Tbsp. brown sugar or molasses

Wash the beans and boil them in six cups of water for five minutes, then turn the heat off and let them sit for an hour. Add three more cups of water and bring to a boil again, then add the rest of the ingredients saving the sugar or molasses for last and adding more if you have a sweeter tooth. Let it cook for an hour before serving.

9. Jerky Gravy


Since it was obviously difficult to keep fresh meat while traveling, it was often cured into jerky that could be used in various dishes.

Chopped jerky
Fat or grease

There are no measurements for this as it depends on how much gravy you’d like or ingredients available. Fry the jerky in a skillet with fat or grease, then remove from heat and add flour, milk, salt, and pepper and stir until thick.

10. Velvet Chicken Soup


You may love chicken soup, but this “velvet” versionwas a pioneer favorite.

3 to 4 lbs. chicken
3 qts.water
1 Tbsp. salt
6 peppercorns
1 small chopped onion
2 Tbsps. chopped celery
2 cups rich milk or cream
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 Tbsp. butter
2 well-beaten eggs

Clean the chicken and cut into chunky pieces. Put in a pot with the water and a pinch of salt, then bring to a boil and allow to simmer until the chicken is tender. Remove from the pot andseparate the meat from the bones, saving it for other dishes.

Place the bones back into the pot and add the peppercorns, onions, and celery. Simmer until it has boiled down to about a quart of stock thenstrain. Add the milk or cream and bring to a boil again. Mix the cornstarch with cold water and add to the pot, followed by butter. In a separate bowl, pour one cup of the stock over well-beaten eggs, then pour that mixture back into the stock and allow to cook for two minutes while stirring constantly.

11. Currant Bread


Settlers from Wales brought this popular pioneer bread over the pond with them in 1856.

1 yeast cake
1/4 cup lukewarm water
9 cups flour
2 cups shortening
1 lb. raisins
1 lb. dried currants
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup molasses
3 halves candied lemon peel
1 Tbsp. nutmeg
1 Tbsp. salt
3 cups warm water

Mix the yeast in the lukewarm water to soften, then mix the shortening and flour. Add the rest of your ingredients, including the yeast but not the warmwater yet. Once it has been fully mixed together, add the warm water. Let the dough rise overnight, form into loaves, and allow to rise for another couple of hours. Bake at 350 Ffor an hour and a half.

12. 101-Year-Old Pastry


This recipe was the best way to make tons ofyummy dough without depleting too many ingredients. And though the name is “101-year-old,” it certainly was used much longer ago than that.

2 1/2 cups sifted flour
1/2 tsp.salt
1 cup lard or shortening
1 beaten egg
1 Tbsp. vinegar
Cold water

Mix the shortening with the flour and salt. In a separate bowl, beat the egg and add vinegar, then fill with cold water. Add about four tablespoonsof the mixture to the flour and shortening and save the rest for another batch. Mix until doughy and you’ll have enough for two nine-inch pie crusts.

13. Norwegian Fruit Soup


Scandinavian settlers shared this spin on tapioca pudding when they arrived during the 1800s.

1 cup water
2 prunes
1 Tbsp. dried currants
1 Tbsp. raisins
1 cinnamon stick
1 1/2 tsps. sugar
1/2 tsp. vinegar
1 1/2 tsps. quick-cooking tapioca

Place water in a pot over heat and cookprunes, currants, raisins, and cinnamon until tender. Then add the sugar, vinegar, and tapioca and bring to a full boil before removing from heat. Remove the cinnamon stick before serving.

Did we miss any recipes from back in the day that you’ve tried? Let us know below and be sure to SHARE with your friends!

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