Book Review: These Things Hidden

I’ve found another book worthy of the 5-star rating! Of the 12 books I’ve read so far this year, this is only the second book with this grade, the first being Ape House by Sara Gruen.

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The second book that got 5 stars from me? These Things Hidden by Heather Gudenkauf.

Each chapter focuses on one of four main characters: Allison, convicted of a terrible crime and recently released from prison; Brynn, Allison’s sister; Charm, a nursing student caring for her dying stepfather; and Claire, an adoptive mother and bookstore owner.

The plot is absolutely capitvating. Just when you think you’ve figured out the relationships between the four main characters, you learn something new that changes everything. I couldn’t put the book down. And I don’t think you’ll be able to either!

If you like Jodi Picoult books, you will love this book. It is filled with many of the surprise twists that are typical of Picoult novels, with everything coming together in the final few chapters.

What is the best book you’ve read recently?

Chops & Hops

The Chops and Hops event we attended two weekends ago was basically a local food-lover’s dream.

Of course, then I forgot to review it and share the fun with you! Better late than never, right?

Date: February 13, 2011

Location: Ithaca Beer Co. Tasting Room

The Event: Five local food companies provided samples of their products, paired with a sample of Ithaca Beer. Lots of fun!

The Companies:

The Piggery. We’ve been buying a lot of our meat from the PIggery ever since they opened a deli in November. I love that they raise heirloom breeds and feed them on pasture and GMO-free grains. Plus, the owners are just so friendly! (Side note: I currently have some of their smoked hocks cooking away in our crockpot for pulled pork. The apartment smells delectable!)

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Fingerlakes Farmstead Cheese. We loved their raw milk Schuyler (which is like a Gouda) so much, we brought some home! Mmmm.

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Cayuga Pure Organics sampled some unique bean dips. They weren’t my favorite, but I love the goals of the company!  

Purity Ice Cream. Hands-down, the best ice cream we’ve had in Ithaca thus far. We make regular visits during the summer… and even occasionally go in the winter! They offered a beer float (like a root beer float) and espresso beer cupcakes. Both delicious!

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Life’s So Sweet Chocolates. I’d never heard of the company before the event, so I’m especially glad they were there. Their truffles melted in my mouth, and I’d definitely get some again!

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And of course, Ithaca Beer. Each food sample was paired with a different beer from the brewery. It was fun to try some new flavors without having to buy a whole bottle!

Have you been to any fun local food events lately?