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Just In Time for Some Fall Reading


By Gini Rainey

“The Ladies’ Room”

By Carolyn Brown

Here’s a shout out to an author who has written a book that affirms the recovering ability of a woman who discovers that her husband has been cheating on her their entire
ladiesmarried life.  Instead of sitting around and having one giant pity party, which she richly deserved, Trudy took her life by the horns and turned it around.   A bit of gossip shared between her cousins and overheard in the ladies’ room during a funeral sparked Trudy into leaving her cheating husband. After twenty years of spoiling and pampering her husband and daughter, Trudy finally starts to think about herself for a change. As she spreads her wings and begins to fly, she finds treasures in the house full of “junk” her great aunt left her and in the man next door.

Brown did an amazing job of character development that makes the reader feel as though they are right there while Trudy takes that house, and with the help of Billy Lee, turned it into a home and her falling down life into one full of hope and promise.

With just the right touch of humor, this book had me hooked from the moment Trudy tried to pull her torn panty hose back up over her slightly over-weight body so she could gracefully exit the stall and walk, with some amount of dignity, past her snarky cousins.  Trudy’s straight-forward way of dealing with all of the strikes against her should be an example to all of us who constantly tippy toe around the people in our lives so as to not hurt their feelings while forgetting that we have feelings too.

This is not a heavy weight book by any means, but rather it is a light and satisfying read that will remind anyone who has lived in a small town where everyone’s business becomes everyone else’s business, right or wrong.  It’s also a story about the hidden strength that a lot people never realize they have.  It really is an positive affirmation of one woman’s inner soul and also one heck of a good read.  Be prepared to stay up late to finish this one!

5 of 5

Copyright 2012 – Montlake Romance


“The Good Wife: The Shocking Betrayal and Brutal Murder of a Godly Woman in Texas”

By Clint Richmond

If you like true crime stories, here’s one for you, and it takes place right in our own back yard – down Austin-way.  Written about a couple who were leaders in their church, this book tells the story of the brutal murder of Penny Scaggs and the trial of her husband, Roger.  I remembered reading about this murder when it occurred and when wifethis book popped up on my suggested reads, I had to know more.

Living in an exclusive neighborhood in the hills outside of Austin, one would have thought the Scaggs had it made and could have wished for nothing more.  Penny had earned a name for herself in the Christian community as being a highly respected teacher of young marrieds on how to create and maintain a happy home, while Roger successfully rose up the corporate ladder, took a lover and purchased expensive boats and planes.  But none of that mattered when someone (presumably Richards) took Peggy’s life through a brutal and violent act of passion, not just beating her with a lead pipe, but also stabbing her multiple times.

With a close attention to details, Clint Richmond followed the story of the murder, discoveries by the police and Roger’s trial, painting a picture of a senseless crime that no author of fiction could possibly top.  With incredible organization and attention to detail, he doesn’t judge or draw his own conclusions about the guilt or innocence of Roger Scaggs.  Rather, he lets the reader form his own opinions based on the overwhelming evidence presented.

The Good Wife is definitely a good read for those of us who like to see the inner workings of an excellent investigative police force and a thorough legal system.

4 of 5

Copyright 2007 – Market Paperback


“The Myth of Santa’s Beard”

By Sharon Thayer

It’s not too soon to start thinking about gifts for Christmas, and here is a book that will fit the bill for the little ones on your list.  This little book was the winner of the Bronze Moonbeam Children’s Book Award and EVVY Award from santa-book-cover-with-mb-minColorado Independent Publishers’ Association and is the first in a series of holiday books planned by Ms. Thayer.

The book has a back-story that explains how Ms. Thayer became the bearer of the Myth, while the meat of the book is geared towards young readers and read-to’s.  Although this book sounds like it would be perfect for the holiday season, it has a message that makes it worthy of being read all year long.  It encourages children to be good and kind and considerate, and when they are, Santa’s beard grows longer and longer until it gets in the way of everything the dear man does.  Without giving away the surprise ending, the elves and Mrs. Clause figure out the best way ever to handle this problem.

While geared towards children, this book will help children of all ages re-discover the magic of the season and while the story is delightful, the illustrations by Marci Chambers and Frank Pryor that fill the pages are absolutely lovely and magical.

Five of Five

Copyright 2016 – Carousel Publishing



Duck! Here It Comes!

By Gini Rainey

For those of you who have been paying attention to the general theme of my cookbook collection, you may have noticed a trend towards those written by or about celebrities and or famous people.  That was one of my initial criteria when I started picking them up and mostly still is, unless I come across one that’s weird, unusual, or cheap!  Every so often I’ll go to my favorite eBay store, thriftbooks, just to see if they have anything new that fits the bill.  The cookbook I have in front of me today is one of those.  It’s “Miss Kay’s Duck Commander Kitchen” by Kay Robertson with Chrys Howard and was published in 2013 by Howard Books and was written by a celebrity and was cheap!  Score!

So, then I got to thinking “whatever happened to Duck Dynasty.”  I was never a viewer of the series – but I have the T-Shirt that my husband picked up for me in West Monroe, Louisiana on one of his many treks to Florida. I did watch a portion of one episode at one of my daughter’s following a family gathering.  About all I can remember about it was her family never missed an episode and were really into it.  I think that particular episode had some bird-hunting/killing/plucking/slicing/ dicing/cooking involved in it.  My other daughter and her family (who just happen to be vegans) had a hard time sitting there watching all of the carnage and eventually turned to other things to do and talk about.

The Robertson’s have pretty some strong family values and have actually built quite a financial empire over the past 30 plus years with their clothing line – Duck Commander.  Even though she spent a great deal of her time working along side her husband, Miss Kay raised a family and filled them, not only with good food, but also a stern hand nicely blended with warmth and love.

Her cookbook is filled, not only with great, rib-sticking recipes, but also with quite a few biblical references, anecdotes, and family photos.  Sharing that she uses a cast iron skillet or dutch oven to cook most of her recipes, she explains it’s because they can either be used on the stove top or in the oven and they heat up quickly. It’s also not terribly surprising that several of her recipes call for Duck Commander seasoning!

Well, if you’re lucky enough to own a cast-iron skillet or Dutch oven, here’s a fairly easy recipe to try out on your family.  First, heat your oven to 275° and season about 1 pound of tenderized round steak (tenderized round steak usually comes 4 to a package and I generally cut those in half to make 8 pieces) with salt and pepper and lightly sprinkle both sides with flour.  Heat a small amount of vegetable oil in your cast-iron Dutch oven (or cast-iron skillet, or ovenproof casserole dish) and brown the steaks on both sides and drain off the excess oil.  Add 2 celery stalks chopped in large chunks, 1 onion chopped in large chunks, 1 chopped garlic clove, 1 bell pepper chopped in large chunks, 1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes and 1 8 ounce can tomato sauce to Dutch oven along with the browned steaks.  Cover and bake for 1 ½ hours and serve with steamed potatoes or egg noodles.  You may not be a Duck Commander, but this meal will have you eating like one!

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Programs Blooming at the Library

stanleys bbq tyler tx eguide magazine

New April Programs for All Ages at the Library:

Introduction to Finch Robots & Book Signing for “MOM LIFE: Perfection Pending”

The Tyler Public Library is located at 201 S. College Ave., Tyler. Most events are free. For more info call (903)593-7323 or go to


All storytimes will be in Taylor Auditorium.

  • Leeme un Cuento/Read to Me Storytime (children 3-6 years old), Mondays at 10:30am
  • Lap & Play Time (babies up to 18 months) features stories, songs, and playtime with developmental toys at 9:30am every Wednesday
  • Toddler Explore Storytime (children under age 3) is on Wednesdays at 10:30am
  • Read Aloud Crowd Storytime (children 3-6 years old), Thursdays at 10:30am

April 7th (2-4pm) – LEGO® Block Party – Children ages 3 and up, bring your imagination for an afternoon of building and playing! LEGO® and Duplo Blocks are provided.

April 14th and 28th (2-4pm) – Makerspace – This continuing STEM education for children and teens will feature April 14th: Introduction to Finch Robots and April 28th: We’re at the Maker Faire. This will be held in the Library Treehouse.

April 21st (10:30am) – Movie Matinees – Families are invited to watch a fun feature length films in the library’s auditorium. A different movie will be shown each day. Pillows, blankets, and carpet friendly snacks welcome.


Every Tuesday (4:30-5:30pm) – Teen Tuesdays – If you are in Middle School or High School you’re in! The Library will have games, activities, and fun just for teens. Earn volunteer hours completing special projects. Descriptions for weekly activities can be found at Events are:

  • April 3rd: DIY Calming Glitter Jars
  • April 10th: Intro to Coding with Finch Robots
  • April 17th: Robots cont. – Navigate a Maze
  • April 24th: Robots cont. – Draw with a Robot


April 7th (10am-12 noon) – EastSide Fiber Artists – An open gathering of all things fiber. Whether you quilt, knit, crochet, weave, spin, needle felt, etc. Bring your current or completed project and make some new friends.

April 13th (11:30am) – “Pass Along Plants” with Andie Rathbone will be presented as part of the Smith County Master Gardener Series.

April 14th (11am-12:30pm) – “MOM LIFE: Perfection Pending” Book Launch & Signing – Along with selling and signing copies of her new book during her stop at Tyler, Ethington will be discussing various parenting topics and opening up for a Q&A.


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Historically Speaking


by Gini Rainey

I was thinking this morning about all the incredible advances in technology that I have seen in my lifetime, and how much my dad would have loved all the gadgets we seem to have surrounded ourselves with the past 50 years. For example, just in my lifetime, I’ve seen telephones go from shared party lines with rotary dials to the incredible iPhone (virtually a computer in your hand) that not only can be used for staying connected, but takes a whole lot better photograph than my once treasured Canon SLR.

So, then I got to thinking about all the advances in the kitchen that have helped make the home maker’s life infinitely easier and how many of the old gadgets that I grew up with are now items of speculation in antique shops and vintage stores.  Sometimes just standing back and listening to people trying to determine their use is half the fun of spotting one “just like we used to have!”

Just for fun – can you name these gadgets?

So speaking of vintage, today I’m looking at The Martha Washington Cook Book and is the product of historian Marie Kimball who received special permission from The Historical Society of Pennsylvania to study the original manuscript that was used by Martha Washington for 50 years and then was passed down mother to daughter for nearly 100 years.  The original cookbook was published in 1940 by Coward-McCann, Inc., and the copy that I have was published in 2005.

With nearly 50 pages of historical background regarding the state dinners at the White House and the meals hosted at Mt. Vernon, Kimball has succeeded to paint a rather lovely picture of Martha Washington, who was the over-seer of all of meals prepared for family and dignitaries.  While we might not find many of the recipes included in the book to be something we might consider preparing, such as Marrow Pie, Lettuce Tart, Roasted Hare, or Stewed Calves’ Feet, Mrs. Kimball has fully adapted Martha’s cookbook for practical, modern use.  All the recipes have been proportioned to the current practice of a formula for serving six people, and she says that all of the recipes have been tested and taste great!

One of Martha’s recipes that jumped out at me was for apple fritters sounds absolutely yummy: Heat 1 cup ale and add ¼ cup white wine and the yolks of 4 eggs, the white of 1 egg, well beaten.  Mix together 1 cup flour, ¼ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, ¼ teaspoon cloves, and ¼ teaspoon mace and combine the two mixtures.  According to Martha Washington “Your batter must be no thicker than will just hang on the apples.”  A little more or less flour may be needed.  Cut the apples into rounds – or what ever shape you please – and deep in the batter.  Drop in deep fat and fry a golden brown.  Drain on a piece of clean linen, (I bet you can use paper towels!) sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon, and serve.  Oh, my, nom-nom!

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