Have You Heard

Post date: Tuesday, January 8, 2013 - 2:19am

Have You Heard About... Love Finds You in Sugarcreek, Ohio

… the mysterious stranger in Sugarcreek, Ohio? In Love Finds You in Sugarcreek, Ohio, by Serena Miller, Joe Matthews has been accused of murdering his wife in L.A. He and his little boy, Bobby, are on the run and show up in Sugarcreek looking for a temporary place to stay. Rachel Troyer, who is half Amish and half Englisch, is the local cop. She is very protective of her three elderly Amish aunts who run the small inn where Joe and his son seek shelter. Being a good cop, Rachel is very suspicious of Joe as he won’t give her any information on who he really is and why he is in Sugarcreek. He looks and acts too refined to be just a homeless drifter as he proclaims.

The aunts adore Joe and hire him as a handyman until he can get enough money to get back on the road, much to the dismay of Rachel. It isn’t until over halfway through the book that you learn who Joe really is, which keeps the suspense high as Rachel starts to fall in love with Joe. When Joe’s father and brother turn up and a suspicious fire burns down the inn, you’ll be glued to your seat. The twists and turns in this book will keep you hooked to the very end as you laugh, cry and know that there is a happy ending that will surprise everyone.

Sugarcreek, Ohio, also known as “the Little Switzerland of Ohio,” is about an hour’s drive south of Akron, Ohio. Several places mentioned in the book really do exist, and I can highly recommend Beachey’s Country Chalet Restaurant. The food is to die for, but being in Amish country it is not open on Sunday.

*Love Finds You in Sugarcreek, Ohio, is part of the Love Finds You series of unconnected inspirational romance novels.

 

Reviewed by Terry (staff)

Post date: Thursday, January 3, 2013 - 2:15am

Have You Heard About... Weapons of Grass Destruction

… the country hits “Strawberry Fields Forever,” “Poison” and “Paint It Black”? Yes, they may have been rock hits when they were done by The Beatles, Alice Cooper and The Rolling Stones, but Hayseed Dixie has given them country and bluegrass makeovers on Weapons of Grass Destruction. The results are surprisingly good and wonderfully funny.

In addition to covering rock songs, Hayseed Dixie includes a few originals on this album. However, it really is amazing how well the genre change works. You have to listen to the lyrics to know whether you’re hearing a traditional piece or a song from The Sex Pistols or Mick Jagger.  Some of the covers work well as parodies, and some stand on their own as good adaptations.

 

Reviewed by Fran (staff)

Post date: Tuesday, January 1, 2013 - 2:12am

Have You Heard About... The Daily Cookie

… feeling like you weigh 500 pounds after reading a cookbook? The Daily Cookie by Anna Ginsberg has 365 cookie recipes, one cookie recipe for each day of the year. Ok, so you’re not going to make a batch of cookies everyday unless you’re planning to send them to our troops overseas or hosting a super gigantic family reunion. If you make a batch of cookies every three weeks, it will take you about twenty-one years to get through this book.

Start out with reading the basic how- to’s, and what kind of equipment and ingredients to use. January1 tells you in a little side blurb that it is New Year’s Day and that Pomegranate Swirl Cheesecake Bars are a favorite on this day. If you celebrate Elvis Presley’s birthday on January 8, you’ve got to try Peanut Browned Butter Banana Bacon Cookies. Sounds slightly disgusting, but the ingredients make sense. On January 13, the side blurb tells you it’s International Skeptics Day and that Sweet-&-Salty Corn Chip Candy would taste just fine. I made it, and it is yummy.

You can’t go wrong on April 30 if you make Old-Fashioned Oatmeal Cookies as it’s National Oatmeal Cookie Day. Since everyone likes junk food, why not try Double Trouble Chocolate & Potato Chip Cookies on July 21 which just happens to be National Junk Food Day. (If you’re a junk food junkie like me, why wait until July 21? You can eat these every day!) You don’t have to be Polish to enjoy Polish Kolaczki on National Polka Day which is August 9, because it’s also National Book Lover’s Day too. These are good anytime of the year and a personal favorite of mine. Did you know that October 17 is Wear Something Gaudy Day? Why not try the Colorful Confetti Cookies! Do you feel like a dictator? Well, Start Your Own Country Day is November 22 and Cranberry, White Chip & Ginger Cookie Bark will have your subjects eating out of your hand.

Needless to say, this is the only cookie cookbook that you will ever need! If the recipes don’t tempt you the pictures will. The side blurbs are interesting bits of trivia. Happy baking (and eating)!

 

Reviewed by Terry (staff)

Post date: Thursday, December 27, 2012 - 2:10am

Have You Heard About... Gone Girl

… the book that made marriage terrifying?  Gillian Flynn’s bestselling thriller, Gone Girl, tells the story of Nick and Amy, a middle-aged husband and wife who are about to celebrate their fifth anniversary.  On the outside, Nick is a handsome Husband-of-the-Year, and Amy is a doting wife with a perfectionist streak.  But then, on the day of their anniversary, Amy goes missing.  The police suspect that she’s been murdered and they’re keeping a close eye on Nick.  Nick is evasive and noticeably bitter, but he swears he is innocent.  But if Nick didn’t hurt Amy, then who did?  And where is she now?

In this spectacularly written novel, Gillian Flynn paints an ugly portrait of a marriage gone horribly, horribly wrong.  The first half is a well-plotted, suspenseful mystery that takes the reader through a twisted maze of lies and deceit, but the second half will take your breath away with its ferocity and its demonically dark plot twists.

What Gillian Flynn has accomplished here is not so much that she convincingly shows us the worst side of human nature, but that she makes us enjoy every minute of it.  I was manipulated, lied to, and deceived from the first page, and I simply can’t wait to read it again!

 

Reviewed by Katie (staff)

Post date: Tuesday, December 25, 2012 - 2:07am

Have You Heard About... Secret of the Wings

… Tinker Bell? Most people know she is the most amazing, most wonderful, bestest fairy of all, but if you haven’t already met her, this movie is a treat.

In the new DVD from Disney, Secret of the Wings, you will learn about friendship and the powerful bonds of sisterhood. Tinker Bell is a summer fairy who lives in Pixie Hollow with the fall and spring fairies. She is curious about the snow owls who come for the woven leaf baskets that the summer fairies make. These baskets are for the winter fairies in the Winter Woods for the snowflakes that they make, and that is strictly off limits to all of the summer, fall and spring fairies as their wings will freeze up, and they won’t be able to fly. Being the curious fairy that she is, Tink just has to try out the cold and snow of the Winter Woods, and of course she gets into trouble. But in this case, the trouble leads to her never-known sister, Periwinkle. What follows is pure Disney magic as these two sisters save Pixie Hollow from a cold snap.  This is a delightful movie for the entire family to enjoy over and over again. Be sure to watch through the credits or you will miss about 30 seconds more of the movie when two fairies are on a glacier.

Be sure to watch the rest of the wonderful Tinker Bell DVD’s. Tinker Bell, Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue, and Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure.

 

Reviewed by Terry (staff)

Post date: Thursday, December 20, 2012 - 2:01am

Have You Heard About... The First Love Cookie Club

… the charming series set in Twilight, Texas? It starts with Lori Wilde’s The First Love Cookie Club*.  Is it really romance, the magic of Christmas or something more?

Sarah Collier was a pudgy kid who got picked on a lot. When she was old enough, she left Texas for New York and is now a bestselling children’s author named Sadie Cool. She hates Christmas, and she’s down on romance when she is talked into going home for the holidays. Getting reacquainted with the people in her hometown gives you the warm fuzzies, and a very sick little girl will steal your heart. Will Sarah end up with the man she loves? This book is just perfect for holiday reading.

* Other books in the Twilight, Texas series include The True Love Quilting Club and The Welcome Home Garden Club.

 

Reviewed by Terry (staff)

Post date: Tuesday, December 18, 2012 - 2:54am

Have You Heard About... 4 Ingredients Christmas

… cooking with only four ingredients? In the new 4 Ingredients Christmas, by Kim McCosker, there are all kinds of “Simply Yummy Christmas Recipes” that require only four basic ingredients. Most are pretty simple, but a few of them require foods that might be a bit hard to find. If you have little kids, you’ll enjoy making Magic Reindeer Dust; this has only three ingredients, and it will help Santa find your house with no problems.

For breakfast, how about trying Chocolate Filled Crepes? They were easy to make and tasted delicious.

For a luscious supper, how about Citrus-Glazed Ham (the photo will have you drooling) or maybe the Roast Pork and Crispy Crackling, which has only 3 ingredients, and pair it with the Golden Roast Potatoes? Once you’ve eaten and relaxed for a while, it’s time for dessert. Why not try the very simple Brandy Custard? If you aren’t into booze and have no brandy, then try Creamy Custard, and you’ll find it will be just as tasty.

Special munchies during the holidays are a must. Why not try the extremely simple Cherry Baubles, Cinnamon Stars, Marzipan Marbles and the ever popular Reindeer Bark, which has only two ingredients?

To top off a perfect day, sit back, and have a Christmas Candy Martini.

 

Reviewed by Terry (staff)

Post date: Thursday, December 13, 2012 - 2:40am

Have You Heard About... Love Finds You under the Mistletoe

… two stories with a mistletoe connection in one book? There’s twice as much fun when Love Finds You under the Mistletoe*.

“An Appalachian Christmas” by Irene Brand is set in the 1940’s just after WWll. Julia Mayfield honors her dying sister’s wish to see that her two-year-old nephew gets to his paternal grandparents in the small hollow of Mistletoe, Kentucky. Julia is not used to children. Mistletoe is so far off the beaten path in the Appalachian Mountains that she has no idea what she is getting into. A kindly mailman helps her out by taking her to spend the night with Granny, a very wise older lady. David Armstrong, one of Granny’s grandsons, enters the picture in the form of a lot of help with decision-making on what to do with little Bobby when the paternal grandparents don’t even want to see him. Sparks fly between David and Julia when Julia decides to stay a while with Granny in hopes that Bobby will soon see his grandparents. The mountains work their healing magic on a troubled soul. The mistletoe that grows wild soon becomes a viable income for the ladies of the hollow thanks to Julia. Bobby’s grandparents finally come around after a miracle that will surprise everyone. David and Julia are headed for romance. See what happens when you read this wonderful story.

In “Once Upon a Christmas Eve” by Anita Higman, Holly Goodnight is all about Christmas. Her Christmas-themed store in Noel, Missouri, has just won an award for best Christmas shop in the USA. In the store is a mistletoe ball that was sent to Holly’s adoptive father shortly after WWll. Holly and her best friend Quig never seem to get under it at the same time. A famous writer named Van has somehow discovered that Holly was abandoned as a baby on the shop’s doorstep on Christmas Eve. He wants to write her story, and she reluctantly agrees. Holly’s best friend Quig thinks it’s a terrific idea until Van falls in love with Holly. Quig sets out to win Holly for himself. Will one kiss under the mistletoe ball help Holly decide who is right for her?

*Love Finds You under the Mistletoe is part of the Love Finds You series of unconnected inspirational romance novels.

 

Reviewed by Terry (staff)

Post date: Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - 2:33am

Have You Heard About... Holiday with Matthew Mead

… going crazy over the pre-holidays? Holiday with Matthew Mead is geared towards the clueless who really want to try something new but don’t have the money to do it. A few of his ideas are a bit over the top but can very easily be adapted to fit your needs.

Matthew Mead brings a new look, taste, and feel to timeless traditions. Craft ideas, a few very good and easy recipes to try out, and lots of pictures make this book a gem that you’ll want to check out.

 

Reviewed by Terry (staff)

Post date: Thursday, December 6, 2012 - 2:27am

Have You Heard About... Prep and Landing

…the elves who make sure everything is ready for Santa’s arrival on Christmas Eve? The elite Prep and Landing unit has the task of making sure everything will run smoothly when the big guy arrives – everyone is asleep, the child is on the Nice list, cookies and milk are provided, and all of the other details. Without them going ahead to take care of things, Santa would never have time to reach every house in one night.

Unfortunately, Wayne has been working Prep and Landing for a long time, and he’s getting burnt out. Instead of the promotion he expected, he gets a complete rookie for a partner. Lanny thinks that being on Prep and Landing is the best thing ever, particularly with a great partner like Wayne to show him the ropes. When their mission is nearly compromised at one house, the two must work together to make sure a little boy isn’t disappointed on Christmas day. In the process, Wayne remembers why his job is as important to him as it is to the children he helps.

This movie could have easily become yet another overly-cute piece of holiday drivel. Instead, it balances sweetness, snark, and genuine comedy. The characters are believable and varied, and the animation is very well done. Renew your Christmas spirit with Prep and Landing!

 

Reviewed by Fran (staff)