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Just in Time for Christmas Giving

stanleys bbq tyler tx eguide magazine

By Gini Rainey

Killing Kennedy

by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard

Written in his signature fact-finding/telling style, Bill O’Reilly has managed to condense hundreds of thousands of pages of information about the charismatic John F. Kennedy, his impact on our nation, and the loss we all felt when he was shot down in the prime of his life.

With over a million copies in print, O’Reilly traces JFK’s public life from the PT109 disaster to the horrific day in Dallas, while paralleling his life with the life of his assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald.  While many of us are more than aware of many of the “details” that surrounded this event, O’Reilly uses his clean-cut, signature style to present them in an unemotional and factual way that you will make feel as if you are living those days all over again.

While there are those who feel there is more to the story than we will ever know, O’Reilly’s re-telling of JFK’s life – the good, the bad, and the ugly – will keep you engrossed as not only his private, but public life are laid out for review.

Whether you embrace what is presented by O’Reilly and co-author Dugard, or are a skeptic who embraces one of the conspiracy theories, this book is a riveting retelling of an event that changed the course of history for our country.

5 of 5 – Copyright 2012 – Henry Holt and Co.


Dress Codes for Small Towns

by Courtney Stevens

Courtney Stevens is definitely making a name for herself in the Young Adult literary world with books that speak volumes to her readers.  Tending to write about accepting people who are viewed as different from the rest, her latest book follows the Hexagon, a group of closely knit friends, as they try to make a difference in their hometown, Otters Holt, Kentucky.

Delicately, but honestly, touching on many of the issues that the young adults of this generation are facing, many truisms are revealed.  With a grasp of small town politics and religion, Stevens, a former adjunct professor, youth minister, and Olympic torch bearer, ably relates to young people who are struggling with social identities through her writing.

With superb character building skills and a deep understanding of the issues that young people face on a daily basis, Stevens has written another book that will fill your heart with hope and keep you engaged until you turn the last page.

5 of 5 –  Copyright 2017 – Harper Teen


The Bubble Who Would Not Pop!

by Shelly Roark

A great gift idea for the children on your Christmas list is this delightful book written by Shelly Roark who has written for Focus on the Family, American Bible Society, and World Help to name a few.  Delightfully illustrated by Germany-based artist Simone Krüger, this book tells the tale of Billy Bubble who holds a little girl’s prayer inside his filmy body as he travels upward to heaven.

Although a charming tale filled with clever verbiage, this book carries a power message for its young readers that God is all around them and always listening to their innermost thoughts and prayers.

5 of 5 – Copyright 2017 – Little Lamb Books



Book Lovers Events: Hot Summer Signings & More

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From book signings to Meet & Greet’s, Tyler  offers every Book Lover a lot of fun things to do. Check out these events:

For more events, check out ‘s entire

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Reading the Kids Back to School

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By Gini Rainey

“Mischief and Mayhem: Part I of the Faerlands Chronicles”

by S. D. Nicholson

I think you know me by now to know that magical kingdoms and fantasy are not the usual genre of reading that I reach for.  So, when I was approached by the author’s publicist to read and review this book, I wasn’t even aware it fell into this area.  With that being said, I must admit that I have thoroughly enjoyed and been intrigued by the characters and tiny world that Mr. Nicholson has created in his first book.  Without a doubt, the main character, the tiny fae Ophelia, is every bit a heroine as are her six-foot tall counterparts.

I have no doubt in my mind that while the faes and faers of Nicholson’s book are In a struggle to preserve and maintain peace in their homeland, it is also analogous to the struggles we humans face on a daily basis while trying to attain a peaceful coexistence with the other inhabitants of this big blue marble.

The not so terribly hidden messages in Nicholson’s book came through loud and clear to me:  that if we spend quiet time by ourselves, we will be able to find and explore fully what our capabilities are, and additionally, fight for what we hold near and dear.  This is an outstanding read.  Not only will it capture your imagination, but it will also have you start thinking about what undeveloped talents and truths you might not have discovered about yourself.

I read the teaser at the end of the book and am anxious to read Part 2 of the Faerlands Chronicles!

5 of 5 – Copyright 2019 – Köhler Books

“Big Little Lies”

by Liane Moriarty

This book from which the HBO series starring Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman was adapted, is a pretty slow starter.  Working backwards from an event, the first third of this book was busy building strong characters, exposing bullies (adult-sized and pint-sized), failed and new relationships, and various points of view about the culmination of events.  As usual, Ms. Moriarty isn’t afraid to cooly broach hot topics: blended families, sexual assault, violence against women and children, all carefully tempered with unexpected humor and human emotions.

Set in a rather cliquish, upper-end Australian beach community, the human interests begin to develop by retrospect following a murder at the exclusive private school.  Liane develops some pretty interesting characters using her very successful skills and creating some of the most flawed people this side of Sidney.

Definitely worth the read for anyone with school-aged children as it brings together three moms whose only commonality is their kindergarten-aged children. While pointing out each of the character’s flaws, Moriarty gently has a couple of fingers pointing at the helicopter-parenting skills of modern-day moms that perhaps are creating our current crop of young adults who are clueless.

Without a doubt, this is yet another in a long stream of controversial topics that Liane Moriarty isn’t afraid of writing about and the plot twist at the end will keep you reading till the final page.

5 of 5 – Copyright 2014 – Berkley

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A Good Pounding!

stanleys bbq tyler tx eguide magazine

By Gini Rainey

Good grief, that’s exactly what I deserve.  I have been so over-whelmed with life in the past few months – okay, this year – that I have neglected to do what I love doing – writing!  So, apparently it took an email to our editor/publisher to get me off high center.  She forwarded this email to me on June 24th and it comes from an editor named Jess Miller who just happens to be associated with  Jen Reviews is the authority on everything food, fitness and home and has been featured in some mind-blowing (my mind, anyway!) publications such as Forbes, Fast Company, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, Cosmopolitan, Greatist, Reader’s Digest, MindBodyGreen, Livestrong, Bustle, Lifehacker, Wikihow, and oh my goodness, many many more. 

Jess email says “I was doing research on pound cake recipes and just finished reading your wonderful blog post: In that article, I noticed that you cited a solid post that I’ve read in the past:  We just published a delicious cranberry pound cake with orange glaze recipe complete with step-by-step pictures and detailed instructions. It is completely free and you can find it here:  If you like the recipe we’d be humbled if you cited us in your article.” 

The gauntlet was thrown and I tried it.  I baked it last night and it is yummy.  Of course, knowing me, you know I have to pull in a cookbook of some sort, and for those of you out there who don’t know where the name “Pound Cake” comes from, I pulled out my earliest reference that I have, which is a replica of “American Cookery” written by Amelia Simmons in 1796. It’s really interesting to leaf through this book and try to read some of the recipes.  It is actually a photocopy of the original and along with various spots and stains, the letter “f” is used in place of the letter “s.”  Originally, a pound cake called for one pound of sugar, one pound of butter, one pound of flour, one pound or ten eggs, one gill of rose water and spices to your taste. (Hence pound cake!) We are told to watch it well (remember – wood burning stoves/ovens back then) It will bake in a slow oven in 15 minutes. 

The recipe referred to by Jess is a bit different and perhaps produces a much lighter version than the 1796 version.  What you will need to do to make Jess’s recipe is to begin with a 350° pre-heated oven and a lightly greased and floured 12×4 inch loaf pan.  Then in a bowl, whisk together 1 ¾ cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder and ¼ teaspoon salt.  In another bowl, cream 9 ounces of softened butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1 tablespoon orange zest until light and fluffy.  Then slowly add in 4 eggs plus 2 yolks (at room temp), followed by 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar. Then alternating between the flour mixture and ¼ cup room temp milk, gradually add to the sugar/egg mixture.  Lightly dredge in flour 1 ¼ cups of washed and dried fresh cranberries (because fresh cranberries aren’t on the market at this time, I substituted rehydrated dried cranberries and I think they did well) and gently fold into the mixture.  Pour into the pan and bake for 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  For the glaze, combine 2 cups of powdered sugar with 2 ½ tablespoons of fresh orange juice, and using a small spoon, drizzle over the completely cooled cake. 

This is one yummy cake – the unexpected tartness is a wonderful compliment to the buttery richness of the cake and would serve you well at a winter holiday meal – or even right now in the middle of the hot Texas summer along with a bowl of home-made ice cream! 

stanleys bbq tyler tx eguide magazine
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