Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The Book Tour Stops Here: A Review of the Novel "White Fur" by Jardine Libaire, Served with a Recipe for Strawberry-Peach Chia Seed Jam (& a Giveaway!)

I'm excited to be today's stop for the TLC Book Tour of the novel, White Fur by Jardine Libaire. Along with my book review, I'm offering up a recipe for easy and delicious Strawberry-Peach Chia Seed Jam--spread on toasted English muffins, inspired by my reading. There's also a chance to enter win a copy of the novel for yourself at the end of the post.  Happy Tuesday!

Publisher's Blurb:

A stunning star-crossed love story set against the glitz and grit of 1980s New York City

When Elise Perez meets Jamey Hyde on a desolate winter afternoon, fate implodes, and neither of their lives will ever be the same. Although they are next-door neighbors in New Haven, they come from different worlds. Elise grew up in public housing without a father and didn’t graduate from high school; Jamey is a junior at Yale, heir to a private investment bank fortune and beholden to high family expectations. Nevertheless, the attraction is instant, and what starts out as sexual obsession turns into something greater, stranger, and impossible to ignore.

The unlikely couple moves to Manhattan in hopes of forging an adult life together, but Jamey’s family intervenes in desperation, and the consequences of staying together are suddenly severe. And when a night out with old friends takes a shocking turn, Jamey and Elise find themselves fighting not just for their love, but also for their lives.
White Fur follows these indelible characters on their wild race through Newport mansions and downtown NYC nightspots, SoHo bars and WASP-establishment yacht clubs, through bedrooms and hospital rooms, as they explore, love, play, and suffer. Jardine Libaire combines the electricity of Less Than Zero with the timeless intensity of Romeo and Juliet in this searing, gorgeously written novel that perfectly captures the ferocity of young love.

Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Hogarth (May 30, 2017)

My Review:

White Fur was a journey for me--I wasn't quite sure what I had gotten into and whether I was going to enjoy it. It took me a while to get into the actual story, even longer to care about the main characters, their romance, and how things might turn out, but Jardine Libaire's visceral writing pulled me along like a strong current until I was caught up in this wild, whirling book and didn't want to put it down. Starting with the first page--set in a motel room in June of 1987 with Elise holding a gun pressed to Jamey's chest and him asking "Don't you love me?"--you know that it is going to be a crazy ride, then it heads to January 1986 when these two young people meet in Connecticut and learn how they got to that motel room eighteen months later. Most of the book takes place in New York City in 1986 and the writing sets a wild and gritty tone full of excess and dark passion. New York in the 80s--the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes almost becomes a character itself and was my favorite part of the book. Neither Jamey or Elise were easy people to like or connect with--she is tough, raw and defiant, from the wrong side of the tracks and quickly sets her sights on Jamey. He is rich, spoiled, and self-destructive and seems to want Elise because of just how much his family and friends will disapprove of her, and of him. These aren't people I would want to hang out with, but they are compelling and hard to look away from. If you are looking for a simply written story of sweet love, White Fur isn't for you, but if you want an edgy, gritty romance that pounds off the pages with messy emotion, it's a book worth reading.


Author Notes: Jardine Libaire is a graduate of Skidmore College and the University of Michigan MFA program, where she was a winner of the Hopwood Award. White Fur is her second novel for adults. She lives in Austin, Texas.

You can connect with Jardine via her website, Facebook, or Twitter.


Food Inspiration:

I was surprised at how much food was in White Fur. I had about four pages of notes of the food mentioned by the time the book was done that included New York restaurant food like pizza, sushi, chop suey, and Chinese food, escargots, potage aux pommes, oysters, steak tartare, New York strip, prime rib, lobster, salmon, filet mignon, profiteroles, Indian food, duck lo mein, dumplings, rack of lamb, iles flottantes, cabbage soup, lemon tarts, grilled cheese sandwiches, hamburger pitas, a cheeseburger, and a turkey club with fries. Like Jamey and Elise, the food ranged from rich and expensive to more common and inexpensive like a Balducci's order of French goat cheese, fresh squeezed juice, English muffins, lemon curd, rib-eyes, champagne grapes, fresh pasta from Italy, Perrier, romaine salad, shrimp with cocktail sauce, bagel and capers, contrasting with McDonald's Hamburger Helper, Christmas nachos with red and green peppers, Cheez-Whiz, bacon, egg 'n' cheese, macaroni and cheese, Pringles, hot dogs and Dr. Pepper. There was plenty of alcohol and a Puerto Rican feast of yellow rice, pork shoulder, green sofrito, and caramelized plantains.

For my book-inspired dish I was pulled towards strawberries that were mentioned a few times, in different ways--in a "story about strawberries and a sunburn," in strawberry ice cream, wrapped in an Air India napkin, and on the "English muffins toasted with cheap strawberry jam" that Elise eats with the Pakistani cabdrivers who hang out at a deli she likes. I got a sudden craving for English muffins with strawberry jam and decided to make some chia seed jam rather than use the cheap stuff. ;-) I added the peach to mix things up a bit and because I though it might give the jam a more salmon-ish color like the gorgeous cover.

Chia seeds are my favorite way to make jam as they thicken it without pectin and excess sugar. I have made and posted several varieties of chia seed jam on the blog--you can check them out by clicking on the jams/preserves tag on my sidebar.

Strawberry-Peach Chia Jam
By Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Makes about 4 cups of Jam)

3 cups strawberries, fresh (or frozen, thawed), chopped
3 peaches fresh, (or frozen, thawed) peeled, pitted and chopped
2 Tbsp honey or sweetener of choice, or to taste
juice of one lemon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
4 heaping Tbsp chia seeds

Place strawberries and peaches in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Simmer about 10-15 minutes, stirring and as the fruit softens, use the back of a wooden spoon or a potato masher to smash it against the sides of the pan to break them down, leaving some chunks as desired. (I like plenty of chunks.) 

Once fruit is broken down to the consistency you want, remove from the heat and stir in the honey, lemon juice, extract, and chia seeds until thoroughly combined. Leave jam to cool to room temperature and thicken/set. Once jam is room temperature, transfer to a jar or airtight container and refrigerate. 

Store jam, tightly covered, for up to 3 weeks in the fridge. 

I used this jam on toasted English Muffins, spread with a bit of butter. It is also good mixed into yogurt with granola, used in a PB&J sandwich, stirred into or as a topping for vanilla ice cream or rice pudding, or mixed into a cocktail. A great way to welcome summer.

Notes/Results: This is a happy little jam for summer-perfectly sweet and so tasty. The strawberry is the predominant flavor but the peach is there in the background, rounding out things out. As you can probably see from the photos, I like a very chunky jam especially for sandwiches or as a topping as getting those little bites of fruit are one of life''s little pleasures.  English muffin perfectly toasted, a little bit of real butter spread on top and this jam and you are set for a snack or breakfast. I have some pecan butter from the natural foods store that I am going to pair it with next. I would happily make it again.

I'm linking this post up to the Weekend Cooking event at Beth Fish Reads, a weekly event that is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share. For more information, see the welcome post.

Note: A review copy of "White Fur" was provided to me by the publisher, Hogarth, and TLC Book Tours. I was not compensated for this review and as always, my thoughts and opinions are my own.

You can see the stops for the rest of this TLC Book Tour and what other reviewers thought about the book here.

***Book Giveaway***
The publisher is generously providing a copy of White Fur to give away (U.S./Canada addresses only, please) here at Kahakai Kitchen.

To enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway below, leave a comment (Because I like to read them!) ;-) telling me your favorite flavor of jam or favorite summer fruit. 

There are a couple of other optional ways to get more entries to win: 1) Tweet about this giveaway or 2) follow me on Twitter (@DebinHawaii) and/or Author
Jardine Libaire (@Jardineraven), and/or Publisher Hogarth (@HogarthBooks) on Twitter. (Note: You can still get extra entries even if you already follow me, the author, or publisher on Twitter.)

Deadline for entry is 12:00 AM (HST) Thursday, June 15th.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Good Luck!


  1. What I want when home from traveling? Pizza. ��

  2. I love my mother's homemade peach jam.

  3. I love the idea of using chia seeds to thicken up the jam - brilliant!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour.

  4. I love strawberries so that recipe looks good.

  5. Lo9ve the food book connections. Have a great week. Cheers from Carole's Chatter

  6. I have this in print and audio -- I'm so on the fence about reading it. Good to know that it takes a while to get into the story, so I won't give up too soon. That jam looks awesome, and it's strawberry season around here!

  7. Very interesting on the chia seeds-thank you for that.

  8. Strawberry rhubarb jam!

  9. I love strawberry jam -- but only if it's homemade! Otherwise, I prefer grape.


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