Thursday, September 26, 2013

A Good Review and Apple Pie . . .

I had an unexpected message on Facebook. Sheila Staley, a book reviewer,  reviewed my book, Wanted, and liked it. 

She five-star liked it!!!

That is all sorts of awesome. Here's the review on her blog.
 
Thanks ever so much, Sheila.


 
So now with that important and joyful announcement, I'll move on to apple pie.

There in the corner of my backyard is a huge apple tree and this year it is loaded. Oh my stars! This tree only produced a few apples last year. It's made up for it. We have apples and apples and more apples.

Hubby and I have been collecting recipes and racking our brains over what we're going to do with all the apples. 


 In our search we found a recipe for apple pie in a jar. I got it from Our Best Bites cookbook, but you can also find their recipes on their blog Our Best Bites. 

I was a little skeptical, this would work, but decided to try it out. I didn't want to make pie crust, so Hubby bought pie crust dough. And did we have fun.

 Look what we did! You can't tell from the picture, but I cut out little dough leaves and put on the top of each one.

We cooked a jar up and talk about good. (It was almost as good as my five-star review, but nothing tops that.)  

And the best thing is . . . we have eleven more jars of apple pie in the freezer ready to cook when we want them. You really need to try this recipe. 

Have you found a recipe that surprised you and tasted better than you ever dreamed it would? 


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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Book Review - Rebellious Heart by Jody Hedlund

I enjoy reading books about the founding fathers of the United States. The brave souls who risked their lives to stand up to the mighty English military are inspiring and makes most every American very grateful for all that they did.

So what does that have to do with Jody Hedlund’s new novel, Rebellious Heart?

A lot.

The novel is set in Boston in 1763 right when the people in America were being put to the test by the Redcoats.

Susanna Smith, a woman with a quick mind and a saucy attitude, finds herself in a most difficult situation of doing the right thing by helping an indentured runaway woman and keeping her family safe from the repercussions of her actions. Trying to find a legal way to help the poor woman, Susanna turns to Benjamin Ross, a poor country lawyer, who tries to right the wrongs of the world around him.

Of course, Susanna and Ben are attracted to each other, but Ben aspires to marry a woman who he believes will help elevate his reputation and income. And Susanna’s mother wants her daughter to marry someone who will provide for Susanna in the ways she is accustomed.

 But as Ben and Susanna try to help the indentured runaway their attraction for one another grows. Through their trials, they develop rebellious hearts to fight injustice for the runaway, for their community, and especially for each other.

There are scenes I will long remember: Susanna and Ben meeting in the closet on the pretense of planning what to do for the runaway, yet each hoping for a kiss (great clean sensual tension, which Jody excels at); Ben asking Susanna’s parents if he could court her only to be rejected not only by them, but also by Susanna (breaks his heart and mine); and the pivotal moment when a sick Susanna storms into the courtroom to confess her part in hiding the runaway (Oh my stars!).

There are many more, but I'd have a very long post if I listed them all. And there were passages I loved. I think you’ll understand why once you read them.

 . . . She [Susanna] supposed not everyone would be ready to take a stand against oppression, that perhaps there were those who were content to live in safety rather than liberty. But could she sit back and do nothing, as she’d done for so long, or was she waking up to the need to fight for justice and freedom the way Ben had talked about? . . .

. . . There, framed in the open doorway and the swirling snow, stood Susanna. The wind had captured her cloak and swept the hood from her head revealing her loose hair. . . .

 . . . “Old Tom once told me that God hasn’t given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and love, and a sound mind.” She grazed the scratchy stubble on his cheeks that he’d neglected to shave. “I think with the two of us together we’ll be unstoppable, don’t you think?” . . .

Like her other novel’s, Jody used actual people from history to pattern her main characters from. In this case Benjamin Ross and Susanna Smith are fictitious characterizations of John and Abigail Adams. And Jody sprinkled the novel with actual places, situations, and people from that time era. That’s what I love about her books.

 If you like a good, clean romance with lots of sensual tension that unfolds against a backdrop of history, you’ll love Jody Hedlund's Rebellious Heart.


You can purchase the book here.
 
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Thursday, September 5, 2013

Austenland - Movie Review

It's been a while since I posted a movie review. The reason: I just couldn't find a movie that I liked or that I wanted to see that is until Austenland.

I'm a recovering Jane Austen fan. When I earned my English degree, I devoured her novels. As I studied the author, I learned that there was more to an Austen novel than what meets the eye, and of the many English authors I had to read she was by far my favorite.

Over the years, I've collected all her novels, in fact, in some cases I have more than one copy. I've watched the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth many, many times. I also have other movies based on Austen books: Sense and Sensibility, Persuasion, Mansfield Park, and the list goes on and on.

So you'd better believe when I learned that Austenland was playing close by, I went.

I loved it.

My daughter and I laughed most of the way through. And here's the fun thing, the plot had some unexpected twists and turns, which were delightful.

Austenland was directed by was Jerusha Hess. The story was written by another favorite author of mine, Shannon Hale.

Here's a little about the story:

Jane Hayes (Keri Russell) is obsessed with Jane Austen's stories and especially Mr. Darcy. In fact, every man she dates she compares with her hero, and they never measure up . She even decorates her apartment in old English style (think tea cozy and you'll know what I mean). She learns of an English resort  where women can live out their Jane Austen fantasy and become involved in a romance with a Regency-era gentleman. Jane spends her savings and then some to become part of this by-gone era. But it's not everything she'd hoped for, and yet, it's much more.

Other actors you might recognize are Jane Seymour playing Mrs. Wattlesbrook, Jennifer Coolidge playing Miss Elizabeth Charming, J. J. Feild as Mr. Henry Nobley, and Bret McKenzie as Martin.

If you love Jane Austen and you just want to kick back and enjoy yourself go see this film.

Here's the trailer . . .



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