Category Fiction

Turner Classic Movies: Movie Night Menus

Turner Classic Movies: Movie Night Menus
Tenaya Darlington & André Darlington
Running Press
Retail Price: $22.00
Amazon Price: $10.23

Book Description:

Looking for a great idea for date night or to entertain friends? Why not cue up Casablanca with some French 75s and a Moroccan-themed spread? Turner Classic Movies: Movie Night Menus spotlights thirty crowd-pleasing films from the 1930s through the ’80s, paired with signatures drinks and dishes that appear in, or are inspired by, each film’s setting and stars. Filled with entertaining tips and background on each film, dish, and cocktail, the book offers a unique culinary tour of movie history, including menus inspired by The Thin Man, The Philadelphia Story, Sunset Boulevard, Some Like It Hot, American Graffiti, Moonstruck, and many more.

Fully illustrated with luscious food photography and evocative film stills, Movie Night Menus provides the perfect accompaniments and conversation pieces to round out a fun-filled evening.

Review

If you are a classic movie buff you will love this book.  What a great concept for a small dinner party/movie night. And this book makes throwing on get together a breeze!  Each movie segment gives you an overview of the movie you will be watching to use as a discussion starter, a signature drink that was part of the movie, and  menu that fits right into the setting of the film. The food and drink recipes are well balanced between simple and complex, so you won’t find yourself overwhelmed.  You will also find tips on entertaining that I found very useful.  To top it all off the photography was beautiful and the book is very well organized from start to finish.  This would make a great gift for the movie buff in your life!

~Reviewed by Sara J.

    Dry Bones

    Product DetailsDry Bones
    by Craig Johnson
    Penguin Books
    Retail Price:  $16
    Amazon Price: $13

    Book Description:  The latest installment of Craig Johnson’s New York Times bestselling Longmire series—the basis for LONGMIRE, the hit drama series on Netflix

    Craig Johnson’s The Highwayman is now available from Viking
     
    When Jen, the largest, most complete Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton ever found surfaces in Sherriff Walt Longmire’s jurisdiction, it appears to be a windfall for the High Plains Dinosaur Museum—until Danny Lone Elk, the Cheyenne rancher on whose property the remains were discovered, turns up dead, floating face down in a turtle pond. With millions of dollars at stake, a number of groups step forward to claim her, including Danny’s family, the tribe, and the federal government. As Wyoming’s Acting Deputy Attorney and a cadre of FBI officers descend on the town, Walt is determined to find out who would benefit from Danny’s death, enlisting old friends Lucian Connolly and Omar Rhoades, along with Dog and best friend Henry Standing Bear, to trawl the vast Lone Elk ranch looking for answers to a sixty-five-million-year-old cold case that’s heating up fast.

    Review

    As a book reviewer, I’m always on the lookout for the next big thing, the kind of author with so much talent and drive that anyone who buys one of their works will be back the next day to buy the rest.  Craig Johnson is a new voice that I believe is the “next big thing” as is seen by his books being turned into a Netflix series.  I love the main character. Longmire is a likeable, gruff and very decent character and the reader is drawn effortlessly into his world.  Johnson skillfully immerses the reader in the rhythms and mores of the West, smoothly integrating history and folklore.  While this latest installment is Book 10 and can be read independantly of the others, I recommend reading the entire series.  You won’t regret it!

    ~Reviewed by Don M.

      Dinner with Edward

      Product DetailsDinner with Edward
      By Isabel Vincent
      Algonquin Books
      Retail Price: $23.95
      Amazon Price: $14.25

      Book Description:  When Isabel meets Edward, both are at a crossroads: he wants to follow his late wife to the grave, and she is ready to give up on love. Thinking she is merely helping Edward’s daughter–who lives far away and has asked her to check in on her nonagenarian dad in New York–Isabel has no idea that the man in the kitchen baking the sublime roast chicken and light-as-air apricot soufflé will end up changing her life.

      As Edward and Isabel meet weekly for the glorious dinners that Edward prepares, he shares so much more than his recipes for apple galette or the perfect martini, or even his tips for deboning poultry. Edward is teaching Isabel the luxury of slowing down and taking the time to think through everything she does, to deconstruct her own life, cutting it back to the bone and examining the guts, no matter how messy that proves to be.

      Dinner with Edward is a book about love and nourishment, and about how dinner with a friend can, in the words of M. F. K. Fisher, “sustain us against the hungers of the world.”

      Review

      Maybe it is the fact that I am well into mid-life and my parents have aged and I am dealing with the reality of loneliness after death, but this book reached deep into my very soul.
      It is touching, heart-felt, and endearing. It makes you realize just how precious life is and how important it is to cultivate friendships both now and as we age. This book is well written and the story is laid out in such a fashion that it is easy to follow. I liked that the chapters were short, which made it flow easily.  The characters were life-like and very approachable.  You took them into your heart and made them friends.  They were intellectual and charming.  If you are a foodie, you will love the food parts of the book as they are described in such a way that you may find yourself heading for the kitchen yourself.  This book was a pleasure to read and it touched my heart.  It will stay with you long after you read it.

      ~Reviewed by Rosie B.

        Rare Bird

        Product DetailsRare Bird
        By Anna Whison-Donaldson
        Convergent
        Retail Price $15.99
        Amazon Price: $12.60

        Book Description: 

        On the other side of heartbreak, a story of hope rises.On an ordinary September day, twelve-year-old Jack is swept away in a freak neighborhood flood. His parents and younger sister are left to wrestle with the awful questions: How could God let this happen? And, Can we ever be happy again? They each fall into the abyss of grief in different ways. And in the days and months to come, they each find their faltering way toward peace.In Rare Bird, Anna Whiston-Donaldson unfolds a mother’s story of loss that leads, in time, to enduring hope. “Anna’s storytelling,” says Glennon Doyle Melton, “is raw and real and intense and funny.”

        With this unforgettable account of a family’s love and longing, Anna will draw you deeper into a divine goodness that keeps us—beyond all earthly circumstances—safe.

        This is a book about facing impossible circumstances and wanting to turn back the clock. It is about the flicker of hope in realizing that in times of heartbreak, God is closer than your own skin. It is about discovering that you’re braver than you think.

        Review

        This is a great book of inspiration.  It is very thought provoking, and makes one wonder, is it a recount of a real event.  It is cleverly philosophical while being entertaining and enjoyable. It wrestles with some tough questions few dare to tackle about right, wrong, and the view you always had God. It doesn’t just tell you the author’s view, but leaves it open ended enough for the reader to journey with and wrestle alongside the main characters to their own conclusions. It is well written and a real page turner. This is one powerful read.

        ~Reviewed by Rosie B.

          In the Field of Grace

          In the Field of Grace
          By Tessa Afshar
          River North Fiction
          Retail Price $14.99
          Amazon Price: $12.48

          Book Description:

          Destitute, grief-stricken, and unwanted by the people of God, Ruth arrives in Israel with nothing to recommend her but Naomi’s, love. Her loftiest hope is to provide enough food to save Naomi and herself from starvation.

          But God has other plans for her life. While everyone considers Ruth an outcast, she is astounded to find one of the most honored men of Judah showing her favor.  Long since a widower and determined to stay that way, Boaz is irresistibly drawn to the foreign woman with the haunted eyes. He tells himself he is only being kind to his Cousin Naomi’s chosen daughter when he goes out of his way to protect her from harm, but his heart knows better.

          Based on the biblical account of Ruth, In the Field of Grace is the story of a love that ultimately changes the course of Israel’s destiny and the future of the whole world.

          Review

          A beautiful retelling of the story of Ruth, Naomi, and Boaz by author Tessa Afshar. Readers will be encouraged by the truth that God will faithfully provide for His children even when all hope seems lost.  The author paints beautiful word pictures in our minds as we read her work, bringing the story to life. Afshar certainly did her research! Through this story she shares her understanding of biblical culture and customs which more fully explains the impact of Ruth leaving her family to move back to Naomi’s home town. This enlightenment brings even more meaning to the story. It will inspire you to continue on in your life’s journey with a new perspective.

          ~Reviewed by Joan S.

            Hidden Blessings

            Hidden BlessingsHidden Blessings
            by Kim Cash Tate
            Thomas Nelson
            Retail Price $15.99
            Amazon Price: $11.95

            Book Description: 

            Diagnosis: breast cancer. Prognosis: terminal. Life: only beginning.

            Her diamond caught the sun’s rays and refracted glittered light about the room. She’d asked herself again and again: How could she be so blessed? Partner at a prestigious law firm, engaged to the man of her dreams . . . there was no doubt. God had smiled on Kendra Woods.

            But the moment Kendra is diagnosed with terminal breast cancer, her world collapses. Within days, Derek backs out of the wedding and the firm suggests a leave of absence during her treatment. Of all the roles Kendra has played over the years—daughter, sister, friend, student, attorney, bride-to-be—cancer patient seems the most unwelcome in the world.

            When her path crosses with youth pastor Lance Alexander, Kendra sees only the troublemaker she knew in high school. But Lance could prove an unexpected spark. In the darkness that covers her, will Kendra be able to embrace a glimmer of hope?

            Review

            This is a very moving story that will touch your very core.  Partly because this could happen in your own life.  You think you have everything you ever dreamed of and then, Bam!  It is all taken away.  The characters in this book are life-like and you go through their dark valleys with them until they come out the other side.  While this book has many sad elements, those are overridden by the hope and joy that the characters experience as God grows them during their trials.  The book flows very nicely and it was hard to put down.  It is a treasure.

            ~Reviewed by Janice B.

              Where Treetops Glisten

              Where Treetops Glisten: Three Stories of Heartwarming Courage and Christmas Romance During World War IIWhere Treetops Glisten
              by Tricia Goyer, Cara Putman and Sarah Sundin
              Waterbrook
              Retail Price $14.99
              Amazon Price: $11.24

              Book Description:

              The crunch of newly fallen snow, the weight of wartime

              Siblings forging new paths and finding love in three stories,
              filled with the wonder of Christmas

              Turn back the clock to a different time, listen to Bing Crosby sing of sleigh bells in the snow, as the realities of America’s involvement in the Second World War change the lives of the Turner family in Lafayette, Indiana.

              In Cara Putman’s White Christmas, Abigail Turner is holding down the Home Front as a college student and a part-time employee at a one-of-a-kind candy shop. Loss of a beau to the war has Abigail skittish about romantic entanglements—until a hard-working young man with a serious problem needs her help.

              Abigail’s brother Pete is a fighter pilot hero returned from the European Theater in Sarah Sundin’s I’ll Be Home for Christmas, trying to recapture the hope and peace his time at war has eroded. But when he encounters a precocious little girl in need of Pete’s friendship, can he convince her widowed mother that he’s no longer the bully she once knew?

              In Tricia Goyer’s Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Meredith Turner, “Merry” to those who know her best, is using her skills as a combat nurse on the frontline in the Netherlands. Halfway around the world from home, Merry never expects to face her deepest betrayal head on, but that’s precisely what God has in mind to redeem her broken heart.

              The Turner family believes in God’s providence during such a tumultuous time. Can they absorb the miracle of Christ’s birth and His plan for a future?

              Review

              This is a collection of Christmas novellas set in the WWII era.  Each story is well-researched so that it is authentic to the time period and all three are well-written and interesting.  This collection is a winner for anyone who loves novels set in WWII, have a touch of romance and is looking for a holiday read. Instead of separate novels, this is more like a collaboration as each story is related, as the main characters are all part of the Turner family.  While the storylines are separate, they interconnected and it makes reading each novella especially meaningful and interesting as you transition from one to another.

              ~Reviewed by Jan M.

                All’s Fair in Love and Cupcakes

                All’s Fair in Love and Cupcakes
                by Betsy St. Amant
                Zondervan
                Retail Price $12.99
                Amazon Price: $9.71

                Book Description: 

                Kat inspected rows of the same old cupcakes. They seemed to blink back at her, as if they knew she was capable of so much more. Kat Varland has had enough of chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry.At twenty-six years old, Kat is still living in the shadows of her family in Bayou Bend, Louisiana. Still working shifts at her Aunt Maggie’s bakery. Still wondering what to do with her passion for baking and her business degree. And still single.But when Lucas Brannen, Kat’s best friend, signs her up for a reality TV bake-off on Cupcake Combat, everything Kat ever wanted is suddenly dangled in front of her: creative license as a baker, recognition as a visionary . . . and a job at a famous bakery in New York.

                As the competition heats up, Lucas realizes he might have made a huge mistake. As much as he wants the best for Kat, the only thing he wants for himself—her—is suddenly in danger of slipping away.

                The bright lights of reality cooking wars and the chance at a successful career dazzle Kat’s senses and Lucas is faced with a difficult choice: help his friend achieve her dreams . . . or sabotage her chances to keep her in Louisiana.

                Review

                This was a sweet (pun intended) read that will entertain you and leave you with the “feel-good” warm fuzzies.  It not only kept me interested, but made me smile and laugh all the way through. While the romance was darling, I enjoyed the author portrayed the bake off, giving us a glimpse of what it is like to be in one of these contests.  All in all it was a quick, enjoyable read and great entertainment.

                ~Reviewed by Rosie B.

                  Nora Bonesteel’s Christmas Past

                  Nora Bonesteel’s Christmas Past
                  By Sharyn McCrumb
                  Abingdon  
                  Retail Price $24.99
                  Amazon Price: $18.62

                  Book Description: 

                  When someone buys the old Honeycutt house, Nora Bonesteel is glad to see some life brought back to the old mansion, even if it is by summer people. But when they decide to stay through Christmas, they find more than old memories in the walls.On Christmas Eve, Sheriff Spencer Arrowood and Deputy Joe LeDonne find themselves on an unwelcome call to arrest an elderly man for a minor offense. As they attempt to do their duty, while doing the right thing for a neighbor, it begins to look like they may all spend Christmas away from home.In a story of spirits, memories, and angels unaware, Sharyn McCrumb revisits her most loved characters who know there is more to this world than the eye can see, especially at Christmastime.

                  Review

                   

                  During the holidays I am a voracious reader and I like to find special holiday reads to make the season brighter. I took a gamble on this book as I have never read the author before, but the title and cover caught my eye so I decided to give it a try.  I am so glad I did!   Imagine my happiness when the book turned out to be a wonderful heartwarming story that makes you feel all warm and toasty inside!  It was a sweet holiday story about what is important at Christmas. I will be recommending this one to my book club!

                  ~Reviewed by Allie B.

                   

                    Both of Me

                    Product DetailsBoth of Me
                    by Jonathan Friesen
                    Blink
                    Retail Price $16.99
                    Amazon Price: $13.17

                    Book Description: 

                    It was supposed to be just another flight, another escape into a foreign place where she could forget her past, forget her attachments. Until Clara found herself seated next to an alluring boy named Elias Phinn—a boy who seems to know secrets she has barely been able to admit to herself for years.When her carry-on bag is accidentally switched with Elias’s identical pack, Clara uses the luggage tag to track down her things. At that address she discovers there is not one Elias Phinn, but two: the odd, paranoid, artistic, and often angry Elias she met on the plane, who lives in an imaginary world of his own making called Salem; and the kind, sweet, and soon irresistible Elias who greets her at the door, and who has no recollection of ever meeting Clara at all. As she learns of Elias’s dissociative identity disorder, and finds herself quickly entangled in both of Elias’s lives, Clara makes a decision that could change all of them forever. She is going to find out what the Salem Elias knows about her past, and how, even if it means playing along with his otherworldly quest. And she is going to find a way to keep the gentle Elias she’s beginning to love from ever disappearing again.

                    Review

                    I thought it was interesting that the author for this young adult novel chose a person with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) as a main character.  DID was previously referred to as multiple personality disorder or split personality.  It is a mental disorder on the dissociative spectrum that is characterized by having at least two distinct personalities emerging from one person.  In this book we get a look at the disorder from different perspectives. The author brings together Clara and Elias in an unlikely meeting and shows God’s hand in seemingly random acts.  The book is quite intense and has several twists and turns to keep you hopping.  I thought it read very well.  For a Christian book, it did have a few worldly things like characters swearing and dark thoughts.  So I would leave this book for the older teens.  All in all I think it was a good read.

                    ~Reviewed by Julius M.