Hot Eats and Cool Reads: 2013

Dec 30, 2013

Slow Cooker Barbecue Cranberry Meatballs Appetizer Recipe

These Slow Cooker Barbecue Cranberry Meatballs are the perfect holiday or game day appetizer! The meatballs are homemade, but you could use frozen and the sauce is just 4 simple ingredients! This crock pot recipe is also great for dinner served over rice!



Dec 29, 2013

Book Review: Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah

It's been so long since I've posted a book review! I will be posting them more frequently again so stay tuned for more! :)



Book Summary from Goodreads:
Meredith and Nina Whitson are as different as sisters can be. One stayed at home to raise her children and manage the family apple orchard: the other followed a dream and traveled the world to become a famous photojournalist. But when their beloved father falls ill, Meredith and Nina find themselves together again, standing alongside their cold, disapproving mother, Anya, who even now, offers no comfort to her daughters. As children, the only connection between them was the Russian fairy tale Anya sometimes told the girls at night. On his deathbed, their father extracts a promise from the women in his life: the fairy tale will be told one last time - and all the way to the end. Thus begins an unexpected journey into the truth of Anya's life in war-torn Leningrad, more than five decades ago. Alternating between the past and present, Meredith and Nina will finally hear the singular, harrowing story of their mother's life, and what they learn is a secret so terrible and terrifying that it will shake the very foundation of their family and change who they believe they are.

My thoughts:
Why did I wait so long to read this book??

I'm not gonna lie... it took me quite a while to get into this book. It started off with alot of background info, but then eventually I was hooked. Anya has a powerful and heart wrenching story to tell and I love how much her story made a difference in her daughter's and her life after telling it. The ending was a complete surprise for me and I ended up shedding many, many tears. I'm such a sap lately when it comes to stories like these. This book does go back and forth from past to present day and I love that it was written that way.

I love any and all stories and accounts of WWII and this book provided some info on a different aspect of the war than what I've read before. Kristin Hannah always does a great job with her books and this one is no exception. This is a highly recommended read to anyone who likes WWII or historical fiction.

I rate this book 5 out of 5 stars!

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On the blog... one year ago: Shrimp and Crab Dip


Two years ago: Super Saucy Lasagna


Dec 26, 2013

Cheesy Italian Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms Recipe

Hey everyone!! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas! We spent Christmas eve and day with family as well as unpacking the house! I can't wait to get my kitchen in order! I bought some new super cute bar stools today and after a few more boxes, everything will be ready in the kitchen! So excited to test out some new recipes to share with you guys!

Here is a quick pic of the new bar stools! I love the splash of color they add to the kitchen! :)



Today's recipe would be a great New Years appetizer! It's no secret I LOVE mushrooms and cook with them often. These little bites of goodness are easy to prep and after a short time in the oven, they are ready to serve! So perfect for any get together, or a great addition to dinner!



Dec 23, 2013

Creamy Dill, Turkey and Vegetable Soup Recipe

If you have leftover turkey after the holidays, give this delicious cream soup a try! The dill and cream cheese give this soup a unique flavor and the potatoes and carrots make it SO hearty!


Creamy Dill, Turkey and Vegetable Soup



If you have leftover turkey after the holidays, give this delicious cream soup a try! The dill and cream cheese give this soup a unique flavor and the potatoes and carrots make it SO hearty! Also great with leftover rotisserie chicken!



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Dec 19, 2013

Candy Cane Kiss Muddy Buddies Recipe

Tomorrow is the BIG moving day! 

We close on the house late afternoon and will start moving stuff after that. It's a great feeling to be spending our last night in the apartment! 

We are so blessed to have this opportunity to purchase a home through Habitat for Humanity!

Last Saturday was our dedication ceremony. 

Habitat has this celebration to invite friends, family and members of the community to come see the house and meet the family. 

It was alot of fun! Here are some pics of our day!

Dec 11, 2013

Italian Sausage and Spinach Stuffed Shells Recipe

Are any of you ready for Christmas?? I have most of my Christmas presents purchased, but we won't be setting up the tree until we move. 9 days until closing! We are super excited!

I had a walk through at the house this morning with Habitat. They go through and teach you how to use everything, which is SO useful! Especially being a first time homeowner! We also have a dedication ceremony on Saturday where they invite volunteers and other people from the community to celebrate out house being finished. 

There's so much going on these next couple weeks and we are looking forward to every minute of it! Luckily I had all of these recipes cooked and typed up ahead of time so I can still share with you throughout this madness! :)



Dec 9, 2013

Homemade Chicken or Turkey Pot Pie Recipe

This delicious pot pie is a tried and true, comfort food family favorite! Perfect for a fall or winter Sunday dinner! Great with chicken, or use turkey breast leftover from your Thanksgiving or Christmas meal!


Homemade Chicken or Turkey Pot Pie Recipe



This delicious pot pie is a tried and true, comfort food family favorite! Perfect for a fall or winter Sunday dinner! Great with chicken, or use turkey breast leftover from your Thanksgiving or Christmas meal!


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Dec 8, 2013

Candy Cane Poke Cake Recipe

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A fun and delicious holiday treat! Full of peppermint goodness, it's great for any holiday celebration!


A fun and delicious holiday treat! Full of peppermint goodness, it's great for any holiday celebration! Candy Cane Poke Cake Recipe from Hot Eats and Cool Reads


I can't believe we are only a couple weeks away from Christmas. Time sure does fly. I have the perfect holiday dessert for you today thanks to my friends over at Eggland's Best Eggs! This Candy Cane Poke Cake is pretty amazing and your family and friends will love it! I really like the slight mint flavor from the pudding and the cream cheese frosting on the top is to die for! I have a feeling this will be on our menu at Christmas time from now on! My daughter is a huge mint lover, so this cake was her favorite out of any dessert recipe we make!


Candy Cane Poke Cake Recipe


by Sheena
Ingredients (9x13 cake)
  • cake:
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • cooking spray
  • pudding:
  • 3.4 ounce box vanilla pudding (plus milk to make according to package directions)
  • peppermint extract
  • green food coloring
  • cream cheese frosting:
  • 4 ounces butter, softened
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • green food coloring
  • candy canes, crushed
Instructions
Cake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray.
In a large mixing bowl, with an electric mixer, beat sugar and eggs together until combined, about 1 minute.
Add flour, milk, oil, baking powder and vanilla, and beat for another minute until the batter is smooth and creamy.
Pour into the baking dish and bake for 30-40 minutes until top is golden and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Cool for 10-15 minutes. Using the end of a kitchen wooden or plastic spoon, poke holes in the cake, all the way down to the bottom.

Pudding:
make pudding according to package directions. Stir in peppermint extract. (small amounts at a time to taste. I had ultra concentrated stuff, so my measurement won't be accurate for most of you.) Then stir in food coloring a drop at a time until you reach your desired color. Immediately pour the pudding over the cake poked with holes, and spread around with a spatula until the holes are filled with pudding and pudding is evenly spread over the top. Refrigerate for 2 hours, until pudding is set.

Frosting:
In a large bowl, beat together the butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer.
With the mixer on low speed, add the powdered sugar a cup at a time until creamy.
Beat in the vanilla, then beat in the food coloring one drop at a time until you reach your desired color. Spread the frosting on the top of the poke cake and refrigerate until serving.
When serving, sprinkle crushed candy canes over the top of the cake. Refrigerate any leftovers.
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A fun and delicious holiday treat! Full of peppermint goodness, it's great for any holiday celebration! Candy Cane Poke Cake Recipe from Hot Eats and Cool Reads

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A fun and delicious holiday treat! Full of peppermint goodness, it's great for any holiday celebration! Candy Cane Poke Cake Recipe from Hot Eats and Cool Reads

Kitchen items you may need:





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Dec 4, 2013

Banana English Toffee Cream Dessert Recipe

A delicious and easy dessert for the holidays or any occasion! Ready in minutes and such a crowd pleaser!


A delicious and easy dessert for the holidays or any occasion! Ready in minutes and such a crowd pleaser! Banana English Toffee Cream Dessert Recipe from Hot Eats and Cool Reads



Hello lovelies!! I hope you're having a wonderful week so far!! 

Today's recipe is such an easy and delicious dessert! Do you love Heath Toffee Bits as much as I do?? If so, this is the recipe for you! It takes a few minutes to whip up the cream, slice the bananas and mix it all together! 

Nov 28, 2013

Sausage and Veggie Egg Bake Recipe

Hello! I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Are you a Black Friday shopper?? Me... not so much! I'm gonna sleep in tomorrow, enjoy the day off, go grocery shopping and packing! We close on the house in 3 weeks... eeekkk!!

Today I have a delicious Sausage and Veggie Egg Bake for you! This is a great weekend breakfast or weekday breakfast for dinner! It's easy to prep and bake and it's so fresh tasting! I hope you enjoy! :)



Nov 25, 2013

Cherry and Strawberry Smoothie Recipe

I can't believe it's Monday already. These weeks just keep flying by! I'm super excited for Thanksgiving at my Mom's this year! She makes the best stuffing and I look forward to it every year. It's just not the same if I make it at home. It needs the "Mom" touch! What's your favorite Thanksgiving food??

Today's recipe is for a Cherry and Strawberry Smoothie... requested by my daughter! I love having frozen fruit on hand for recipes like this. Use fresh if you have it, but frozen works great! It's a wonderful on-the-go breakfast or a snack. Enjoy!



Nov 23, 2013

Ground Beef Wet Burritos Recipe

This copycat recipe from Beltline Bar in Grand Rapids, Michigan is a filling and hearty family meal! Similar to enchiladas, but with a kicked up sauce, these smothered burritos are freezer friendly and so simple to make! Great with ground turkey or chicken instead of beef. 


Ground Beef Wet Burritos


This copycat recipe from Beltline Bar in Grand Rapids, Michigan is a filling and hearty family meal! Similar to enchiladas, but with a kicked up sauce, these smothered burritos are freezer friendly and so simple to make! Great with ground turkey or chicken instead of beef.



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Nov 18, 2013

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup Recipe

Hello everyone!  It's Sheena's sister Shannon again doing a guest blog post for her!  Last time I shared my Strawberry Tapioca Salad recipe with you was August! I totally intended on blogging more for her while she's been preparing to move into her wonderful new home, but my photography business has been extremely busy this fall!  I haven't even had the time to update my Facebook page!  First I thought I'd share an image from one of my very favorite photography venues, a beautiful old farm!



So onto my recipe! One of my very favorite soups ever is Chicken and Wild Rice!  I had always heard how hard and time consuming this was to make so I totally shied away from it.  Finally, I made my first of many batches of this wonderful comfort food! As with most soups, there is prep time but it's definitely not hard to make.... and the taste of this definitely outweighs any prep time involved! Serve it with some yummy, crusty bread and it's sure to warm your heart!  I hope you enjoy this as much as my family did!


Nov 11, 2013

Beefy Tomato Macaroni Soup Recipe

This ground beef and tomato soup is pure comfort food just like Grandma used to make! It's easy, ready in 30 minutes and SO delicious! 

Beefy Tomato Macaroni Soup



This ground beef and tomato soup is pure comfort food just like Grandma used to make! It's easy, ready in 30 minutes and SO delicious! It's family friendly and affordable. Serve with a salad, sandwich or a chunk of crusty bread!


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Nov 2, 2013

Turkey Burgers with Lemon Dill Yogurt Sauce Recipe

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A fun, easy and delicious burger recipe that's great on the grill or stovetop! So healthy too!


A fun, easy and delicious burger recipe that's great on the grill or stovetop! So healthy too! Turkey Burgers with Lemon Dill Yogurt Sauce Recipe from Hot Eats and Cool Reads



Hello! I hope you're having a fabulous weekend so far! I'm at home today packing and then attending a fundraiser dinner for my daughter's school tonight! Tomorrow is cooking and more packing. Closing on the house is less than 2 months away! We are so excited!

Oct 28, 2013

Easy Strawberry Balsamic Jam Recipe

I hope you had a wonderful Monday! I spent the day at home resting and recovering from day 4 of strep. Hopefully back to work tomorrow, I've had enough being cooped up at home! I also need to get back in the kitchen! Recipes don't cook themselves and write their own blog posts! ;)

Today's recipe is for the EASIEST homemade jam ever! I'm not really sure why I've never attempted to make some before, but you can bet I won't be buying it from the store pre-made ever again! I had some frozen strawberries leftover from this summer so I used them in this great recipe. The flavors are so good and it's wonderful on toast or ice cream! You can refrigerate it for 1-2 weeks after making! Enjoy and have a fantastic week!!



Oct 23, 2013

Slow Cooker Teriyaki Pork Roast Recipe

Hello lovelies!! So sorry I've been slacking on the blogging! I normally get my recipes up on Mondays and Wednesdays, but not getting home until 8pm the last two nights has put the posts to a halt! Busy bee, I tell ya!

Today I have a wonderful slow cooker recipe for you! It's easy to throw together and the end result is flavorful and fall apart tender! The only way I make roasts these days are in the slow cooker! I just love how they turn out! Enjoy!!



Oct 16, 2013

Creamy Wild Rice Cranberry Soup Recipe and a Review for the Edible Twin Cities Cookbook

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It's started to get chilly here in Minnesota and that means... soup weather!! One of my favorite librarians recommended this cookbook called Edible Twin Cities and I found so many great recipes while browsing through the pages. This recipe for Wild Rice Cranberry Soup really caught my eye. I knew I had to try it since I love anything wild rice!

This soup turned out fantastic!! The sweetness from the cranberries adds such a delicious flavor and the rice makes it so hearty that you don't even miss having meat in the soup. I brought the leftovers to work with me the next day after making it, and my Dad and brother really liked it as well!


This is a perfect cooler weather soup! The cranberries add a great burst of flavor and Minnesota wild rice is the star! Creamy Wild Rice Cranberry Soup Recipe from Hot Eats and Cool Reads!


The one thing I really loved about this cookbook, is the variety of people who submitted recipes. They come from local food bloggers, restaurant owners, and even a farmer's market manager's mother! All of the recipes use fresh ingredients and the recipes are all so unique. It really shows how amazing the food scene is in the Twin Cities. I am so fortunate to live less than an hour away from all that goodness! This is one cookbook that I highly recommend and will definitely be purchasing it for my cookbook collection!

Oct 11, 2013

Hearty Chicken, Tomato and Vegetable Soup Recipe

Happy Friday everyone!! Sorry I didn't get a recipe up for you earlier this week! I was super busy working on the house and haven't been online much at all! I'm sure you know how those hectic weeks go. So ready for the weekend!!

Today's recipe is for a simple, but flavorful soup! I was too lazy to go to the grocery store, so this is one of those recipes where you just clean out the fridge and pantry, and throw it in a soup pot! Enjoy!!


Oct 7, 2013

Pan Fried Chicken Breasts with Apple Cider Gravy Recipe

A delicious fall dinner recipe using fresh apple cider!



I hope you had a wonderful weekend!! My daughter and I traveled to Wisconsin to visit a friend of mine. 

We had a fun and relaxing weekend, which was much needed!

Today's recipe is another one that takes advantage of the yummy awesomeness of fall apple cider! Have you ever used it to make gravy??

If not, here is the perfect recipe that you'll want to try! 

It has a slight sweetness, but not too much to overpower the dish. 

It's the perfect sweet and savory combo in my opinion! We loved it and hope you do too! 

Enjoy!


A delicious fall dinner recipe using fresh apple cider! Pan Fried Chicken Breasts with Apple Cider Gravy Recipe from Hot Eats and Cool Reads


Oct 2, 2013

Pumpkin Ice Cream Dessert Recipe

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Can one have too many pumpkin recipes?? I think not! 

Pumpkin is my absolute favorite fall flavor and I never get sick of it! My Dad makes the best pumpkin pies, and I look forward to them every Thanksgiving, which is usually the only time he makes them! Another one of my favorites is this Pumpkin Rice Pudding! It's so heavenly and very easy to make!

Today I have a fantastic dessert for you! I found the original recipe in a cookbook put out by our local newspaper, The St Cloud Times. Every year when I attend the local Taste of Home Cooking show, they provide one of these cookbooks to everyone who attends. It's always fun paging through the recipes, which are submitted by people from the community.

I made a few minor changes and both my daughter and I love how it turned out! It's easy to make, and would be such a perfect addition to Thanksgiving or any fall dinner!


Delicious fall treat! Full of pumpkin goodness! Pumpkin Ice Cream Dessert Recipe from Hot Eats and Cool Reads!



Sep 30, 2013

Ground Chicken Four Bean Chili Recipe

Fall is arriving here in Minnesota, and that always means it's time to make a huge pot of chili! The cooler weather makes me crave soups, stews and chili! I started making chili with ground turkey or chicken a couple years ago and just love how it turns out! You can always substitute ground beef if you wish, it's just a bit on the healthier side with chicken. I normally make my chili with butter beans since I absolutely love them, but the grocery store I stopped at didn't carry them, so I went without! This chili comes together fairly quick, and is always great leftover! Make sure you sprinkle tons of cheese on top when serving! It's not the same without it! :)



Sep 27, 2013

Sparkling Apple Cider Float Recipe

One of my most favorite things about fall is.... fresh apple cider!! I get super excited when I spy the first jugs have arrived at the supermarket! I picked some up at Aldi last weekend, and have been busy making recipes with it ever since! 

This Sparkling Apple Coder Float is fun, and so easy to make! My daughter helped me assemble them, and in no time, we were sitting at the table slurping them up. I love when the ice cream starts melting into the cider. It makes it so creamy and sweet. This is truly the perfect fall recipe. Enjoy!!


A perfect fall treat that uses fresh apple cider! So refreshing and delicious! Sparkling Apple Cider Float Recipe from Hot Eats and Cool Reads




Sep 25, 2013

Baked Tilapia with Tomatoes and Olives Recipe

It's been awhile since I've posted a fish recipe. Too long, in fact!

I had to take advantage of the yummy, fresh garden tomatoes we had a few weeks ago, so I decided to whip up this easy fish recipe! It turned out so good and moist! The tomatoes and olives go great with the mild tasting fish. If you love fish, then you'll love this recipe!

Fish is one of my favorite meats to make on weeknights. It cooks up so fast, and you can pretty much serve it with most any side! It's also a plus that my daughter loves it. I swear, she eats her serving and then comes after mine too! Love it!



Sep 23, 2013

Fun Halloween Pudding Parfaits Recipe

I have another fun Halloween recipe for you today! This is one recipe that is super easy to whip up. My daughter and I started making, and finished eating these pudding parfaits in no time at all! Delish!

These would be fun to make for any holiday, not just Halloween! The Dollar Tree always has cheap, holiday stuff which makes them so affordable. The pack of at least 10 skeletons were only $1! What a steal! Have fun and use your imagination! I'd love to know what you came up with, if you make these!



Sep 18, 2013

Halloween Skeleton Bones (Easy to Make Recipe)

I'm super excited to share this fun snack with you today! My daughter and I had a blast making them! 

Today's post is for Halloween Skeleton Bones! Since Halloween is coming fast, and my daughter is learning about the skeletal system at school right now, I thought this would be a fun snack to try! It's SO easy to make and perfect for the kiddos to assemble! These would be a great addition to a Halloween party or would look so cute in a Halloween snack gift baggie! Have fun! :)



Sep 16, 2013

Ground Beef Italian Style Stuffed Peppers Recipe

I've been wanting to try stuffed peppers for the longest time, but never got around to it! I recently bought some yummy white capsicum peppers from the farmer's market down the street and knew I had to use them to make stuffed peppers!

The stuffing consists of a yummy mixture of ground beef, pasta, tomatoes, and some spices It packs so much flavor into each bite! My daughter isn't much of a pepper fan, so she just ate some of the filling, and it was right up her alley, since she is a huge pasta lover! I loved this recipe too. It's super satisfying and I love how easy they are to make. This is one recipe we will be making again and again!



Sep 13, 2013

Pumpkin Spice Latte Recipe and a Review for The Recipe Girl Cookbook!





I recently picked up the "Recipe Girl" cookbook at my local library, and I was super excited to page through and check out all of the great recipes! The first recipe in the book was for this Pumpkin Spice Latte, and it immediately caught my eye! You see, I've had an espresso machine on my wishlist for a long time, but it's not something I've ever been able to purchase, since the one I want is spendy! That's why this recipe is so perfect! Latte with regular coffee and pumpkin?? I'm in!

Sep 11, 2013

Buttery Caramel Apple Almond Quick Bread Recipe

This delicious fall bread is packed with chunks of apples and topped with a delicious, buttery caramel almond mixture! Try it for breakfast, snack or dessert and enjoy every last bite! 


Caramel Apple Almond Quick Bread


This delicious fall bread is packed with chunks of apples and topped with a delicious, buttery caramel almond mixture! Try it for breakfast, snack or dessert and enjoy every last bite!



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Sep 9, 2013

Garden Fresh Tomato and Black Bean Salsa Recipe

Hi!! I hope you had a great Monday, today! I stayed home with my 1st grader today, who was running a fever since yesterday. We went to the doc and it looks like allergies and some type of viral infection. Glad it was not anything worse! I made some yummy chicken noodle soup to help her feel better!

I know it's September, but it's pretty much peak tomato season around here right now, and I had to share my favorite homemade salsa with you! This is so easy to whip together, and the black beans are such a great addition. This recipe is really just a list of ingredients. Put as much or as little of each ingredient until it tastes good! Easy peazy! It goes great with any Mexican themed meal, or just as a snack!



Sep 4, 2013

Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Cookies Recipe

These cookies are perfect for any cinnamon lover! Make for your next Christmas cookie exchange, fall party, or game day party! Great for lunches and after school snacks too!

Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Cookies



Easy to make and delicious too! Perfect for any cinnamon lover! Make for your next Christmas cookie exchange, fall party, or game day party! Great for lunches and after school snacks too!


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Sep 2, 2013

Ham, Mushroom and Swiss Breakfast Sandwich Recipe

Hey everyone!! I hope you had a wonderful Labor Day weekend!! 

I got started on some packing and spent some time with my bestie for her son's birthday. It was such a peaceful and relaxing weekend. 

Today's recipe is for a delicious Ham, Mushroom & Swiss Breakfast Sandwich. 

This sandwich would be a great breakfast, or weeknight dinner! Quick and easy. The mushrooms and swiss are a perfect and flavorful topping for the ham and egg. 

I am quite obsessed with homemade mcmuffins and this was one of my favorite variations so far. 

My other favorite can be found here. It's called "The Ultimate McMuffin" and has some turkey and avocado! Yum! 

I hope you love this as much as I did! Enjoy!



Aug 31, 2013

Book Review: All the Lovely Bad Ones by Mary Downing Hahn


Book Summary:
Travis and his sister, Corey, can't resist a good trick. When they learn that their grandmother's quiet Vermont inn, where they're spending the summer, has a history of ghost sightings, they decide to do a little "haunting" of their own. Before long, their supernatural pranks have tourists flocking to the inn, and business booms.
     

But Travis and Corey soon find out that they aren't the only ghosts at Fox Hill Inn. Their thoughtless games have awakened something dangerous, something that should have stayed asleep. Can these siblings lay to rest the ghosts they’ve stirred?

My thoughts:
Growing up, I loved reading ghost stories. Mary Downing Hahn has released some great young adult ghost story books over the years, and this one was great as well. 

The main characters are Travis and Corey. They are fun and mischievous kids, the type of characters your kids would love to read about. There is a slight spookiness throughout the story, but yet so entertaining.  This book also teaches some great lessons, and throws in a little bit of history. Perfect for any kid who loves a great story, especially with a supernatural theme.


I rated this book 3.5 out of 5 stars

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