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Dirty Shame





This month’s cocktail inspiration is Fourth of July Creek  by Smith Henderson.  Named after the first of many bars in Smith Henderson’s Fourth of July Creek, the Dirty Shame takes its cue from the Dirty Martini’s call for olive juice, but I went with bourbon, not gin, because that’s what soaks the novel’s pages.  I wish I could've utilized the whiskey Henderson cites – Redeye – but that’s unavailable, so use Montana’s own RoughStock to evoke this fierce novel’s terroir.

Dirty Shame:
2 oz. RoughStock Montana Whiskey
.25  - .5 oz. olive juice (make it as dirty as you want)
.25 oz. simple syrup
1 full dropper Bittermens Hellfire bitters
Shake all – except olives – with ice and strain into an ice-filled old-fashioned glass.  Garnish with olives
(mine are jalapeno stuffed, but any will do).

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Tease by Amanda Maciel

Amanda Maciel's Tease is a refreshing and original take on how far bullying can go and the consequences that such harsh harassment can have on both the bully and the victim. Tease chooses a different route from most novels about high school bullying and focuses on Sara, the bully, rather than Emma, the victim. Sara's insecurities and willingness to go along with whatever the popular kids tell her to do make Sara an interesting main character as well as a heartless bully. Pushed to the breaking point, Emma kills herself leaving Sara and her friends to stand trial for their actions. Rarely does a book focus on the consequences of bullying, but much like Jennifer Brown's Hate ListTease showcases how bullying can be taken to deadly level.

Sara's unwillingness to understand why she stands trial is one of the most compelling pieces of her character. She's incredibly unlikable and impossible to feel sorry for, yet somehow you do. Her pliability stems from her lack of self-confidence which we can all relate to. Her need to fit in with the popular kids leads her to make hasty decisions and misguided choices. Her best friend, Brielle, is the only friend she truly has, and Brielle is the mastermind behind every viscous prank. Sara, in some ways, is also a victim. A victim of peer pressure, poor self-esteem, bullying on a minor scale, and the harsh realities of high school. I'm not saying that this excuses anything she does, but being that Tease is told from the perspective of the bully, as a reader I wanted to understand her and see her grow into a better person. We've all been bullies because we want to fit in, and we've all been bullied because with some groups we just don't. Tease digs deep into the complexities of high school bullying revealing that sometimes motives aren't as simple as they seem. Tease is an extraordinary novel that tackles real life issues in a way I've never seen before making Amanda Maciel a name to watch out for. 

-- Anna from Books Inc. Palo Alto 

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The Selection by Kiera Cass

The Selection is a work of art. No, it isn't an ACTUAL picture, but Kiera Cass weaves lifelike characters with humor and a touch of spunk to make The Selection unforgettable. The thing that makes The Selection different from other dystopian books is its characters. They are people that I could actually see as real people. In a lot of books, the female character either A. sits back and acts like a scrawny weak person, or B. wears revealing clothes, swears, and hates everyone. The Selection is a refreshing break from typical young adult literature. It doesn't have obsessive gore or spend the entire book focused on a romance with NO action whatsoever. The Selection does have elements of romance, but they are interesting and convert non-romance lovers, like myself, into obsessive fans.

The whole plot of The Selection is that 35 girls are competing for Prince Maxon's heart. We, the reader, see the entire book from the perspective of a teen girl named America. But America isn't your typical teenager. At first, she isn't even sure if she loves Prince Maxon. On their first meeting, she scolds and slaps him. In a way, America is sort of similar to Katniss from The Hunger Games. They both are strong woman, and don't like being told what to do.

I was pleasantly surprised by The Selection and would recommend it to everyone. Boys, this includes you too! There isn't that much more than kissing, with the exception of one or two sexual references. If The Selection were a movie, it would be rated somewhere in between PG and PG-13. But honestly, this book's age range is twelve and over. If you have a mature reader, I could see them reading it earlier. I read the book when was ten and still enjoyed it. The Selection is one of the best books that I've ever read and I would recommend it to anyone and everyone!

-- Anna Q. age 12

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Sea of Flames

This month’s featured book and cocktail inspiration is All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr.  Ten years in the writing, "All the Light We Cannot See" is a magnificent, deeply moving novel from a writer "whose sentences never fail to thrill" ("Los Angeles Times").

Sea of Flames
1.5 oz. Hendrick's Gin
1 oz. Byrrh
.5 oz. St. Germain
2 tsp lemon juice
2 dashes The Bitter Truth Jerry Thomas' Bitters
Stir all with ice. Strain into chilled glass.

“This one came together nicely - and I know I'm not supposed to say that about my own concoctions, but there it is! The Byrrh is a really lovely, red-wine based aperitif that was created in France well before WWII (the setting of the novel). The St. Germain is also French. The other story line begins in Germany, so I added the Bitter Truth bitters - a German product.” Enjoy!


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Twinmaker by Sean Williams

Twinmaker is great for kids who want pure science fiction. Reminiscent of the world-building in Uglies, people now use “d-mat” to transport themselves anywhere around the world. However, someone is sending out a message saying that, through the use of d-mat and a code written on a piece of paper, you can change things about yourself. The only problem is that many of those who use improvement end up dead. Clair’s best friend has used improvement and now time is counting down to her death. Clair must team up with an unlikely boy at her school to figure out what’s really going on. This book is fast-paced, descriptive, and exciting. We read it for book club and everyone really enjoyed it!

--Anna Books Inc. Palo Alto
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