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Thrills and Chills

By Gini Rainey

Missing You

By Harlan Coben

With all the concerns about internet safety and accountability, this book, although fiction, should strike a homerun with anyone considering online dating sites.  Described as a writer who could “never meet a technological device he couldn’t turn into a riveting plot element,” Coben has created another thriller that is no exception.  This New York Times bestselling author takes us on one hairy ride with heroine, NYPD cop Kat Donovan, and doesn’t let us
get off the crazy bus until all of the psychos are either dead or locked up.

missing-youFrom the streets of NYC to the pastoral countryside of Pennsylvania, Kat not only works to ferret out the bad guys, but also reconnects with her one-time fiancé, and discovers who murdered her father.  She is a very busy cop, indeed!  With a computer whiz kid, whose mother has disappeared, in her hip pocket, Kat is able to crack into the dating website and open up a can of worms filled with multiple missing persons.  Add to this a slightly off-balance yoga instructor, and you have a full-fledged cast of people that Coben develops into some mighty interesting characters.

With at least three sub-plots in the works and Kat the connecting factor, this book was another one I had a difficult time putting down.  If you like to read books that have simple, easy to understand and easy to figure out plots, this one won’t be for you.  Coben delivers yet another one of his complex story lines that will have you guessing right done to the last page turn.  If you like books with happy endings, I’ll tell you this much – for some of the characters, yes, for others, not so much.  Should you read this book?  You bet, especially if you like complex mysteries with lots of action.

5 of 5

Copyright 2015 – Signet Books


Tangled – A Southern Gothic Yarn

By Phyllis H. Moore

You think your family has problems?  Well, you haven’t met the Kirkland’s, have you!  The first thing that intrigued me about this book, when approached by the writer to read and tangledreview, was the play on words in the title.  The second thing that intrigued me was how she managed to keep all her characters straight!  This family would be a genealogist’s nightmare to try and plot on a family tree!  I had to laugh out loud many times at the lengths Moore went to creating this zany group of folks.

Set somewhere, I think perhaps, in south central east Texas (how’s that for a definitive locale?), most of the action takes place in the magnificent Berclaire House that family patriarch Frederick built for his bride, Roberta.  However, as richly decorated and lavishly appointed as this house was, it was never a home.  Roberta, a lovely Creole woman from New Orleans, brought all of her voodoo and superstitions to the house and managed to make life a living hell for anyone who came through the front – or back – door of this house, and not just those in her lifetime.  If you don’t already believe in magical powers, spirits, hauntings, and possessions, you might just come a tad bit closer when you read Tangled.

While I did have a bit of difficulty getting started with this book and keeping all of the characters straight, it was because of Moore’s brilliance with character development and descriptive phrases that it wasn’t long before I was tangled into the Kirkland’s mystique and found myself once again caught up in a book I couldn’t put down.

This is the type of book I never thought I would read: animals being able to communicate with thoughts to their humans and vice versa, as well as with one another, voodoo potions, family secrets, and haunted houses.  Just imagine it, and I would bet you’ll find it in this book.  With all the twists and turns in Tangled, you almost think Moore would never be able to bring it successfully to a close, but she does and in a most brilliant way.

5 of 5

Copyright 2016 – Publishing Platform


Sharp Objects

By Gillian Flynn

The first novel written by the same author who penned Gone Girl, Sharp Objects also
explores the psychological factors behind murders in a small town in the Midwest.  Told from the perspective of Camille Preaker,  a newspaper reporter from the fifth largest sharpnewspaper in Chicago, you’ll find yourself being sucked right into the mystery and suspense that surround the murders of two young girls in her home town.

Once again I would like to say, if you think your family is messed up, just wait until you read about Camille’s.  Along with the intrigue around the murders, you’ll discover why it’s no surprise that she has just recently been released from a mental hospital and is very reluctant to return home for the sake of the press.

With nearly fully developed characters and dialogue that is amazingly spot on, Flynn proves
that she is more than an average writer.  I think that you will find the imagery in this novel extremely unsettling, and the dream sequences will leave you squirming.  With the painful revelations presented by Camille, it’s nearly impossible to not feel a great deal of empathy for her and hope that the end of the book will bring about some brightness and positivity.

A friend recommended that I read this book, and am I glad I did.  If you like to read a suspense novel that will keep you guessing right up to the very last page turn, then this book is for you.  The twists and turns that Flynn throws into the narrative could give the average reader whiplash, but she skillfully weaves a tale that will keep you riveted, and as short as it is, you’ll be able to finish it in no time at all and wish it would go on even longer.

5 of 5

Copyright 2007 – Broadway Books


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


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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