Book Review: The Last Winter of Dani Lancing

the last winter of dani lancingI love a good ghost story.

On the surface, The Last Winter of Dani Lancing is a murder mystery, and a study of how different people react to grief. Twenty years ago, college student Dani Lancing was brutally murdered. The killer was never found. Her mother becomes consumed with the need for vengeance. Her father has conversations with Dani’s ghost. Her old beau, Tom Bevans, still pines for the girl he lost.

Naturally, they all have secrets, and each of them knows things about Dani that the others don’t. Can they come together somehow and solve a decades-old murder without losing each other in the process? Or is there a reason everyone has something to hide?

The ghost story aspect is fun, and not terribly overdone, though by the end you may find that it has a bit of a saccharine aftertaste. The mystery is a good one, and the ending didn’t feel like a deus ex machina, which can be difficult with a book like this. I’m interested enough to read more from this author.

Dinner’s on Influenster Tonight

I love free stuff. I mean, seriously, I almost don’t even care what it is, because: free! (I also feel this way about lasagna. Who cares what’s in it? It’s lasagna!) So it’s a nice surprise when it’s actually, you know, good.

My inaugural Influenster perk* was a free Annie’s Homegrown family-size frozen entree, which we devoured with glee.

2014-03-21 17.35.07-4Like I said, I am a fan of pretty much all lasagna, but this one was really good. WAY better than most frozen lasagna (*cough* Stouffer’s *cough*). I could actually taste the ricotta, and the meat sauce was yummy. The noodles were a little bit chewy, but that’s better than being too soft.

And – wonder of wonders – the kid LOVED it. He’s very much not a child who enjoys food of any non-pizza variety, so the fact that he wolfed down his portion goes a long way toward making me love this dinner.

The big downside? The Annie’s entrees are SMALL. The box says “Family Size,” but honestly it’s couple-sized. Two people could split one of these and be very happy. I suppose if I were supplementing with a big side dish it’d be fine for three people, but lasagna in particular isn’t really something that screams out for a big side dish, you know? Even with a salad and some crusty bread it’s not quite enough. (The suggested serving size is one cup, which…is not very much lasagna. According to the box, there are 3.5 of them in there.) If the entree were just a little bit bigger, I’d recommend it without reservation.

Oh and hey, want to try it? Here’s a $2.00 off coupon. (You may have to Like the Annie’s page to get it to display.)

*The deal with Influenster is that I get stuff to test in return for an honest review, which I’d do anyway, because no amount of lasagna** is worth turning my blog into an advertorial.

**Although, obviously, more lasagna is better than less. In general.