Happy Halloween :: Spooky Photography

Happy Halloween! I’m just a tiny bit bummed that Halloween is here already…the time leading up to the holidays is always the most fun, isn’t it?

Anyway, I LOVE spooky Halloween.  Not scary, but spoooooooky.  Like ghosts and fog and misty rain that seems to come from nowhere.  Keep the chainsaws and long finger-knife things away…that kind of stuff is just plain crazy to me and I’ve got no time for such things.

So, I browsed around on the ever-knowing, every-providing internet and found some gorgeous examples of spooky photography that will hopefully add a little bit of eeriness to your Halloween.

And, if you feel like diving in to an eerie book or two, here are my recommendations from the fall issue of A SWEET SPOT: HOME Magazine.

Have a great time tonight everyone, enjoy loading up on too many sweets…that is, until the inevitable stomach ache kicks in.  Ahhhhh, Halloween!

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Books: Callie’s Southern Biscuits and Southern Traditions

Now that fall is upon us, it’s time to switch up the types of food we’re making in our kitchens.  Gone for now are the recipes that can be thrown together without turning on the oven, gone are the light and fruity dishes that we enjoy during the summertime.  (Ok, maybe they’re not completely gone, but we’re definitely not preparing them as much as we do during the warmer months.) Now is the time for comfort food.  Delicious, homestyle, stick-to-your-ribs kind of foods, that’s what we need when the leaves turn colors and the weather turns cool.  Foods that are going to warm up our tummies as much as our souls.  Who better to turn to for comfort food recipes than our friends in the south? No one, dear readers, the answer is no one does comfort food like our southern countrymen.  If you’re like me, your stash of delicious southern recipes may be a bit sparse, but fear not….I’m here to share with you the cookbook that you’ll need to help you prepare delicious southern-inspired dishes that your family is going to love.

Callie’s Biscuits and Southern Traditions is the first book from Carrie Morey, the woman behind Callie’s Charleston Biscuits.  She started her business in 2005 with the goal of making her mother’s delicious biscuits available throughout the country.  That goal has been met and surpassed because now, her delicious biscuits and other tasty treats (may I recommend the Cheese Crisps?) can be shipped right to your door for you and your family to enjoy.

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This cookbook is so much more than just biscuits, though.  It’s delicious, tested, tried and true recipes that your family will enjoy now and for generations to come.  These are simple, hearty foods that will never go out of style.  These are the foods that people can enjoy around their dinner tables on a weeknight, or for entertaining guests on the weekend.  The ingredients can be found in even the smallest of grocery stores and won’t put a dent in your grocery budget either.

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More than just a collection of recipes, Callie’s Biscuits & Southern Traditions shares with you stories behind these delicious foods and teaches you all of the techniques you’ll need to flawlessly execute any recipe in the book.  Savory dishes, satisfying sides, and the sweetest of baked goods are all included in this amazing collection of beloved recipes.

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So, no excuses, jump on over and order your copy today.  I promise, your family will thank you for it!

Online Book Club Selection: October, 2013

For those of you who read the autumn issue of A SWEET SPOT: HOME Magazine, (and I hope that includes YOU!) you may remember that I announced that I would be starting an online book club and that the first selection would be announced in the winter issue.  I’ve been reviewing books like mad trying to select the perfect book for our little group and still had yet to make a decision when a lovely e-mail appeared in my inbox.

You may recall reading my interview recently for The Cheesemaker’s House.  (Click here if you want to read the review…but don’t if you’ll be reading along and want to remain completely unaware about the events that take place.) When the author of this lovely book, Jane Cable, e-mailed me and offered to provide our group with additional background information, do a Q&A session, and even possibly have a webchat with us, I knew that this would be a wonderful opportunity for my fellow bookworms to read a lovely story and gain a little inside information.  So, I polled you all…and the response was surprising.  I never knew how many fellow bookworms I had following along with me! So, for the month of October, we’re going to read (and I’m going to re-read) The Cheesemaker’s House.  We’ll chat about it towards the end of the month, and I’ll give you plenty of advanced warning so you’ll be able to read up before the discussion date.  The discussion will take place on my website in a blog post specifically generated for the purpose of discussing this book.  I hope you’ll ALL read along and enjoy The Cheesemaker’s House along with me.

Also, Jane has told me that her publisher will be willing to drop the price of the e-book to £2 (approximately $3.50) for us through the end of October.  I’m currently checking with her to make sure that those of us in the US won’t have any problems downloading our copies.  However, if you’re anxious to get reading and you’d rather go ahead and order from Amazon, you can find it here for $4.99.  I’ll keep you all posted!

Books: Bellman and Black: A Ghost Story

When I was given the opportunity to review the new book from Diane Setterfield entitled Bellman and Black, I instantly jumped at the opportunity.  Seriously.  I read the e-mail and immediately responded, “YES! YES! YES!” I wanted this book for one reason and one reason only.  Diane Setterfield’s previous novel, The Thirteenth Tale is one of my favorite books…ever.  It’s dark and beautifully written with a lovely storyline.  I’ve share it with people everywhere.  It’s my “go-to” book when someone’s looking for a recommendation.  So, obviously, I was interested in reading her follow up novel as well.

ONE MOMENT IN TIME CAN HAUNT YOU FOREVER.

Caught up in a moment of boyhood competition, William Bellman recklessly aims his slingshot at a rook resting on a branch, killing the bird instantly. It is a small but cruel act, and is soon forgotten. By the time he is grown, with a wife and children of his own, William seems to have put the whole incident behind him. It was as if he never killed the thing at all. But rooks don’t forget . . .

Years later, when a stranger mysteriously enters William’s life, his fortunes begin to turn—and the terrible and unforeseen consequences of his past indiscretion take root. In a desperate bid to save the only precious thing he has left, he enters into a rather strange bargain, with an even stranger partner. Together, they found a decidedly macabre business.

And Bellman & Black is born.

Mysterious, no? This little blurb had me instantly intrigued and I tore through this book like it was going to disappear if I didn’t read it quickly enough.  As anyone who’s read Diane Setterfield before will know, her greatest strength is her amazing way with words.  It’s not at all difficult for  the reader to visualize all that goes on in the story.  Just as beautifully written as The Thirteenth Tale, the reader will instantly pulled in to this story.  The only down side……..I didn’t care for this story itself nearly as much as I did The Thirteenth Tale.

It wasn’t bad, it was still a good read, but I just couldn’t get enraptured in the story.  I felt that while I read pages and pages about the characters in the book, I really didn’t know them or feel a real connection with them.  Mr. Black himself doesn’t make an appearance until the middle of the book, and when he makes his return, who/what he actually is was a bit unclear to me.  I have several theories, but can’t be sure which one, if any, are correct.  So, while I enjoyed this book, I can’t say that it will be making it onto my favorite books of all time list…thankfully, I still have The Thirteenth Tale.

A Sweet Spot: Home Online Reading Group

Did you catch the big announcement in the autumn issue of A SWEET SPOT: HOME Magazine? I’m starting an online reading group…again… To be honest, we started a reading group a while ago and while we had a few people who were enthusiastic, it never really took off like I’d hoped it would.  BUT…now, I’m extremely thankful to be able to say that A SWEET SPOT: HOME has grown quite a lot since then and with so many readers in our midst, I feel it has a better chance of taking off.  I’m already browsing through books that I’m reviewing trying to make a decision on the best choice for our first ever reading group selection.  One book in particular is catching my eye so far………I’ll keep you all posted!

 

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