Friday, January 15, 2021

The Book Tour Stops Here: A Review of "Until We Are Lost" by Leslie Archer, Served with a Recipe for Roasted Cauliflower with Za'atar, Cumin & Capers

Happy Aloha Friday! I'm happy to be bringing another review this week as I am a stop on today's TLC Book Tour of Until We Are Lost by Leslie Archer. Along with my review, there's a recipe for Roasted Cauliflower with Za'atar, Cumin & Capers inspired by my reading.

Publisher's Blurb:

When Tara Peary’s twin sister Sophie goes missing, Tara dives into New York’s underbelly to find her. Sophie is the one person who’s ever truly understood her, and Tara knows her sister isn’t the only one who needs help.

Tara is also on the run emotionally from her complicated childhood. Her memories are threatening to overwhelm her emotions and derail the hunt for Sophie. A psychotherapist keeps her afloat, but when Tara begins dating her therapist’s young tech-millionaire neighbor, she risks losing the only lifelines she has left.

The more Tara uncovers about her sister’s disappearance and the dark side of the rich elite, the less certain of the truth she becomes. As Tara reaches the center of the mystery, spanning from her childhood home in Georgia to a Southern California beach, she has to decide whether the truth is a price she’s willing to pay.

Hardcover: 414 Pages
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (February 2, 2021)

My Review:  

This is one of those books that is difficult to review as I don't want to give away any of the twisty turning plot, so this review will be short and very vague. It wasn't what I expected and it's a bit bonkers in terms of the story. It also has a lot of dark subjects; sexual abuse and assault, family dysfunction, drugs, to name some of them. None of these subjects are glorified, and they are part of the story as the main character works through her past and PTSD with her therapist, but they can be triggers for some readers. At first I had a hard time connecting with the main character, Tara, who is fighting a lot of trauma and inner demons, but eventually I was rooting for her to find out the truth about her sister and hoping she could get to a good place. Not a light read but well written and it definitely kept me riveted and turning the pages to find out what was going to happen next, so it's a pick for me. This psychological thriller won't be for everyone but if you like a darker book with lots of unexpected turns, you should give Until We Are Lost a go.


Author Notes:  Leslie Archer is the nom de plume of a New York Times bestselling author of more than twenty-five novels.

Connect with Leslie on her website


Food Inspiration:

There was food in Until We Are Lost, mentions included cafe au lait, chocolate croissant, lunch at an Israeli restaurant with falafel sandwiches, beer, sushi, fried cod, yogurt, Chinese food, brown rice, pickles, buttered toast, a soup of slippery noodles and a dozen kinds of vegetables, champagne and tapas, brandy, Coke, espresso, coffee and Oreos, donuts, tacos, pastrami, corned beef, latkes, bagels and lox, coleslaw, sour pickles, chocolate egg cream, mezcal, tequila, caviar-filled puff pastry, smoked salmon on butter-slicked squares of black bread, minishrimp cocktails, steak, bourbon, Oolong tea, French toast and bacon, orange juice, raspberry jam, omelets with onions, mushroom and scallions, vodka martini, penne arrrabbiata, chocolate gelato, carciofi primavera salad, soda pop and funnel cakes, cold chicken, baked beans, and pastrami and rye.

I ultimately made the dish that sounded best to me and what I wanted to eat for my bookish recipe. Tara meets Figgy while lurking across the street from her therapist's house and when she first visits his plac, the air is "perfumed" by food, that she doesn't recognize with "exotic spices." "Cauliflower and pine nuts with cumin and za'atar," Figgy says. I love roasted cauliflower, and cumin, and za'atar, so that's what i wanted. I thought I had pine nuts in my freezer but I did not so I decided to add capers to the mix instead. 


If you don't know za'atar, it's a Middle Eastern herb blend. Bon Appetit says, "Za'atar is so multifaceted and dynamic because it's a blend of so many different flavors, textures, and fragrances. Even though it varies greatly depending on where you are in the Middle East (specific recipes are sometimes closely-guarded secrets!), za'atar is generally a combination of dried oregano, thyme, and/or marjoram (woodsy and floral), with sumac (tangy and acidic) and toasted sesame seeds (nutty and rich). And, as if that weren't enough, za'atar sometimes contains salt, dried orange zest, dried dill, or the wild herb za'atar (also called hyssop, it grows throughout the Levant and is the mixture's namesake)."

Roasted Cauliflower with Za'atar, Cumin & Capers
By Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Serves 2 as Main, 4 as a Side)

1 medium cauliflower (about 2-ish lbs) cut into florets
1/4 cup olive oil
1 Tbsp za'atar
2 tsp ground cumin
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 heaping Tbsp capers, drained (optional)
zest of 1 lemon + juice of 1/2 of the lemon 

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. Place the oil, za'atar, cumin, salt and pepper into a large bowl and whisk until well-combined. Add the cauliflower and toss well. 

Transfer cauliflower to a large baking sheet and place in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Turn the cauliflower over and return to the oven for another 15-20 minutes, or until cauliflower is tender and browned on the edges. Stir the capers, lemon juice and lemon zest into the warm cauliflower mixture, serve, and enjoy!

Notes/Results:  I think I could eat this every day/night. I love thethe combination of the cumin and za'atar combined with the brightness of the lemon and briny capers. It's exotic comfort food. Pine nuts would have been nice but I would still put the capers in the mix. I ate two small bowls of this for dinner and practically licked them clean. I will happily make it again.

I'm sharing this post with the Weekend Cooking event hosted by Marg at The Adventures of An Intrepid Reader. It's a weekly event that is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share. Here's a link to this week's post.

Note: A review copy of "Until We Are Lost" was provided to me by the author and the publisher via TLC Book Tours. I was not compensated for my review and as always, my thoughts and opinions are my own. 
You can see the other stops for this TLC Book Tour and what other bloggers thought of the book here.



  1. Oh wow. That cauliflower sounds awesome. I love all the ingredients. I have all the ingredients ... hum. I bet it would go well with the pork chops I have planned for tonight. :)

  2. Your cauliflower dish looks delicious! It’s such a versatile food. I’ve used a lot of recipes that include za’atar, most recently from Ottolenghi’s many cookbooks that feature many spice blends.

    be well... mae at

  3. We do like a roasted cauliflower! We have kept it plain so far but the original recipe we had included some Middle Eastern spices similar to this.

  4. I love Za'Atar and cauliflower, I think I need to make this! I am always looking for new ways to enjoy cauliflower, thanks!

  5. Thank you for being on this tour! I think this is one I'd really enjoy on a lazy weekend! Sara @ TLC Book Tours


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