Have You Heard

Post date: Thursday, January 17, 2013 - 1:43am

Have You Heard About... Kill Me Softly

… the people blessed (and cursed) by fairies? Kill Me Softly, by Sarah Cross, tells the story of Mirabelle, raised by her godmothers because her parents were killed when she was an infant. As her sixteenth birthday approaches, Mira becomes increasingly obsessed with her parents’ death and the town where she was born. She plots to go there without her godmothers’ knowledge, needing to find answers about her heritage. However, what she finds will endanger her life and change everything she thought she knew about herself and the world around her.

Ms Cross creates an intriguing world where some people catch the attention of fairies. They become fated to play out roles from various folktales — one girl lives with her stepmother, wondering when the woman will decide she is too beautiful and must be killed, a charming young man waits for the day when he will meet (and save) his princess, and the brothers with blue hair cannot be trusted by the women they love. The stories are varied, although they generally have European roots. More interesting is the question of how much free will an individual has to affect his or her personal version of a traditional role. The reader learns everything along with Mira, who is in more danger than her peers, due to her ignorance, but also has the opportunity to make her own fate.


Reviewed by Fran (staff)

Post date: Tuesday, January 15, 2013 - 9:37am

Have You Heard About... The Magic of Belle Isle

… the power of imagination and the inspirations of life? The Magic of Belle Isle is a story about a once famous writer named Monte Wildhorn, played by Morgan Freeman. He’s at an impasse in his life and in his writing, and he has taken to drinking. He’s also a bit of a philosopher. When he moves to Belle Isle for the summer, he gets acquainted with his next door neighbor, Charlotte O’Neil, played by Virginia Madsen. Charlotte has three daughters, one of whom makes up stories to tell her sisters. Monte tries to teach the middle daughter about writing and the inspirations of life, and he finds that with her observations of him he can become the writer he once was. Monte writes a children’s story for the youngest daughter, but Charlotte picks up on the fact that it is actually a love story of the two of them.

Monte and Charlotte have a very old-fashioned, courtly-mannered friendship that to me was very moving. Eventually, Monte stops drinking, and that’s when the magic starts to happen. This movie is a comedy, and although it seems slow moving at times, it really isn’t. It makes you think, and this is where the power of imagination and the believability of all things possible come in.  It’s a story that will have you crying and laughing at the same time.


Reviewed by Terry (staff)

Tags: Comedy, DVD, review
Post date: Thursday, January 10, 2013 - 1:22am

Have You Heard About... Thunder Dog

… a man who was born premature and became blind after they put him in a sealed incubator and pumped in pure oxygen until his lungs matured? That was the procedure used in the 1940s for premature babies.

In Michael Hingson’s memoir, Thunder Dog, you learn about his past and also about his guide dogs, particularly his guide dog Roselle. This story takes place on 9/11. Michael describes how he and Roselle survived such a horrible tragedy and how Roselle remained calm all the time even though people were screaming and panicking. Roselle guided Michael from the 78th floor through the stairs of the Word Trade Center with 12 floors above them already leaning to one side. You will learn about the strong bond between a blind person and a Seeing Eye dog. After reading this wonderful true story, people will have many different points of views and opinions of this story. Some people might focus on the blindness, others might focus more on the dog’s braveness, and others maybe only will be focus in how the events of 9/11 played out.


Reviewed by Esmeralda (staff)

Post date: Tuesday, January 8, 2013 - 1:19am

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 - 1:15am

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 - 1:12am

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 - 1:10am

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 - 1:07am

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 - 1:01am

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 - 1:54am

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)