The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen – Book Review

The Wife Between Us

by Greer Hendricks, and Sarah Pekkanen

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Blurb:

A novel of suspense that explores the complexities of marriage and the dangerous truths we ignore in the name of love. 

When you read this book, you will make many assumptions.
You will assume you are reading about a jealous wife and her obsession with her replacement.
You will assume you are reading about a woman about to enter a new marriage with the man she loves.
You will assume the first wife was a disaster and that the husband was well rid of her.
You will assume you know the motives, the history, the anatomy of the relationships.
Assume nothing.

Discover the next blockbuster novel of suspense, and get ready for the read of your life.


My Thoughts:

Vanessa has problems. Now that she’s divorced from Richard, she can’t stand the fact that Richard has moved on. Not only is he his usual thriving self, but now he’s getting married to someone new–someone young and beautiful. It just so happens that this new woman reminds Vanessa of someone she used to be.

What is it about Richard? Was he a perfect husband? Is he truly a knight in shining armor? Was Vanessa a psycho and mentally unstable wife? Who’s to blame for the marriage ending and what role do the others have in this story?

I went in to this book super excited after reading multiple rave reviews about it from friends on Goodreads. It seemed like everyone was loving it, so I went straight to NetGalley and put in my request. After I started reading it, I didn’t want to put it down. I thought for sure I knew where the story was going. It felt slow to me, but I hung on until nearly halfway through when the first major twist was introduced. I was shocked! I was so very surprised and befuddled thinking that I’d skipped something or that I was lost. It seemed unique and interesting, but as time went on, I became disentranced and my mind began to wonder away from the story. The characters became confusing to me and the plot felt all over the place. It was like I wanted to get to the ending to see how things would unfold, but there simply wasn’t anything going on to captivate me. At times, I felt like there was too much information and in other places, simply not enough. I didn’t feel like it was horribly predictable as there were plenty of twists and a strange reveal at the end, but even with all the crazy twists, this just ended up being an okay read for me and it just didn’t feel like a thriller.

I did still enjoy it and feel like this is going to be a favorite for many people! I will still recommend this because I know many will love it. The title, cover, and blurb fit the story perfectly!

Thanks to Netgalley for this ARC of The Wife Between Us.

3 stars

3-stars


 

Find this book on Amazon and Goodreads

  • 352 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin’s Press (January 9, 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1250130921
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250130921

Continue reading “The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen – Book Review”

Wednesday’s Breakfast and a Book – Gluten Free Blueberry Pancakes – The Wife Between Us

Good day everyone! I have this awesome recipe to share with you today that is new and I just cooked it for the first time this morning. There’s also a new book to share. I hope you enjoy!

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A few months ago I had to revert to a gluten-free diet once again which is not easy in my opinion. Once you get used to using wheat in everything, it becomes hard to not have those food items anymore. Well, I found this flour at Costco a few days ago and thought I’d give it a shot!

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I used the recipe that’s right on the back of the bag which is also on their website with tons of other recipes. Here’s the original recipe.

Perfect Blueberry Pancakes

Note: This recipe must be made with blueberries to turn out right. For regular pancakes we recommend our Waffle & Pancake Mix.

Ingredients

1-1/4 cups Namaste Perfect Flour Blend
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1-1/4 cups milk, any kind
2 eggs
2 tbsp melted butter
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

Directions

  1. Combine dry ingredients in medium bowl. Whisk together the liquid ingredients in large bowl.
  2. Add dry to liquid, combine well. Preheat griddle or pan to medium heat. Pour batter by 1/3 cupfuls onto sprayed griddle. As with all pancake batter, batter may thicken as it sits. Add more liquid as necessary. Sprinkle with blueberries.
  3. Cook until bubbles appear and bottom is golden brown. Flip and cook a minute or two longer.

-I ended up doubling the recipe. Here’s what I did.- 

I added all the dry ingredients to a bowl and whisked it together. Then, I added all the wet ingredients and spices into my Vitamix and mixed it on low until incorporated. I used almond milk. I then added in the wet with the dry and whisked it up.

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Cook on low heat a few minutes each side. We ended up with some weird shapes because the batter was so thick, even with added almond milk!

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Once I flipped them, I realized it wasn’t going to be a big deal. They were cooking beautifully.

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These were surprisingly good! My kids even loved them! We also had some all natural sausage links from Costco with the pancakes. It was a delicious breakfast.

Continue reading “Wednesday’s Breakfast and a Book – Gluten Free Blueberry Pancakes – The Wife Between Us”

The Child Finder by Rene Denfeld – Book Review

The Child Finder

by Rene Denfeld

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Blurb: Three years ago, Madison Culver disappeared when her family was choosing a Christmas tree in Oregon’s Skookum National Forest. She would be eight years old now—if she has survived. Desperate to find their beloved daughter, certain someone took her, the Culvers turn to Naomi, a private investigator with an uncanny talent for locating the lost and missing. Known to the police and a select group of parents as The Child Finder, Naomi is their last hope.

Naomi’s methodical search takes her deep into the icy, mysterious forest in the Pacific Northwest, and into her own fragmented past. She understands children like Madison because once upon a time, she was a lost girl too.

As Naomi relentlessly pursues and slowly uncovers the truth behind Madison’s disappearance, shards of a dark dream pierce the defenses that have protected her, reminding her of a terrible loss she feels but cannot remember. If she finds Madison, will Naomi ultimately unlock the secrets of her own life?


 

My Review:

After witnessing many friends rate and review this book so highly, I had to read it! I was lucky enough to be the first in line for it at my library.

The story begins with Madison, a young girl who is in search for the perfect Christmas tree alongside her parents in Oregon’s Skookum National Forest. She’s only five-years-old and suddenly disappears. Her parents are distraught and search teams have come up with nothing. Madison’s parents find Naomi,  a private investigator with an interest in child finding. It’s been three years and Madison is now eight-years-old if she’s still out there. Her parents are desperate, having trouble in their marriage, and cannot move on until they know what happened to Madison and whether or not she’s still alive.

Madison Culver is a five-year-old girl. Her parents say she likes reading, writing, and going for nature walks. She was excited to get a Christmas tree. 

As Naomi begins to search, her own past comes into light and readers learn that Naomi was once a lost child too. The book flips back and forth between Naomi’s past and the present search for Madison and also another case, a missing baby.

In the dream it was night and she was again a naked child running across a dark field. She was ageless, shedding her name and false self the way she had shed her clothes. The fields were wet and black and sticky. her feet were churning, her naked knees rising, and she could feel the wind in her hair, on her cheek, and around her helpless, clutching hands. 

It took me forever to get into this book and I just couldn’t get used to the format and writing. When I first started reading it, I thought it was going to be so awesome. I liked all of the characters, but I wasn’t sure about how I felt about the story switching back to Naomi’s past.  Learning about Naomi’s foster mom and the love she instilled in her after she’d been found was heartwarming and fills you with hope, but I just couldn’t connect with it, and for some odd reason it felt out of place and seemed like the details were lacking. I felt the same with her relationship with Jerome. I liked the interaction between Naomi, Detective Winfield, and Ranger Dave, but it felt a tad underdeveloped to me as well, although I still enjoyed it.

As the story continued, I found it moving and even poetic. This book was definitely haunting and hard to read at times, but for me, this wasn’t a thriller until page 240. At that point, it was a race to the end. I’m really hoping for a second book to see if Naomi will solve her own mysteries and I’m definitely looking forward to reading more from this author.

I did enjoy this and my rating on it is 4 stars.

4-stars


Find this book on Amazon and Goodreads

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (September 5, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062659057
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062659057

Continue reading “The Child Finder by Rene Denfeld – Book Review”

Wednesday’s Breakfast and a Book – Rice Pudding Smoothie – The Child Finder – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Happy Wednesday everyone! I’m back this week with a new recipe and two books that I’m reading. I hope you enjoy!

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Rice Pudding Smoothie

Ingredients:

1/2 cup almond milk

1 Frozen banana (substitute ice for the banana if you’d like)

1 TB Vanilla

1 heaping tsp of raw honey

1 stevia packet

1/2 cup white rice (cooked and cooled)

1/4 to a 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Pinch of nutmeg

Directions:

Add everything into the blender in the order specified omitting the rice. Blend it smooth, then add in the rice and pulse a few times for 5 seconds or so. If you blend the smoothie too much, it will get very thick and hard to drink.

Here are some of the spice brands I like to use. I buy all of these from Costco.

 

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Ground cinnamon

 

 

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Pure Vanilla

 

 

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Sweetener made from stevia

 

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I buy whole nutmeg locally and store it in a jar.

 

I like to use a microplane to grind down my nutmeg and other whole spices. It’s so easy and fresh spices really make a difference.

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I ended up doubling the recipe to make a few servings. The key is to stick with the exact amount of ingredients. If you add to much rice, it will ruin the smoothie. Stick to the ratio in the recipe above and it’ll be perfect.

 

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I think it’s best with a little less cinnamon! I went with the full half tsp. Start with 1/4 tsp and then add more to taste.

 

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Continue reading “Wednesday’s Breakfast and a Book – Rice Pudding Smoothie – The Child Finder – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”

Throwback Thursday: October 12th – The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison

Throwback Thursday is a weekly meme created by Renee @ It’s Book Talk. This meme is an awesome way to share old favorites that were published over a year ago or even books that you’re finally reading after much time has passed. I have plenty of those to share! If you have your own Throwback Thursday recommendation feel free to jump on board, and you’re welcome to use Renee’s pic as well. Please link back to her@It’s Book Talk.

throwback-thursday

 

This Week’s Pick

The Butterfly Garden (The Collector Book #1)

by Dot Hutchison

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Blurb: Near an isolated mansion lies a beautiful garden.

In this garden grow luscious flowers, shady trees…and a collection of precious “butterflies”—young women who have been kidnapped and intricately tattooed to resemble their namesakes. Overseeing it all is the Gardener, a brutal, twisted man obsessed with capturing and preserving his lovely specimens.

When the garden is discovered, a survivor is brought in for questioning. FBI agents Victor Hanoverian and Brandon Eddison are tasked with piecing together one of the most stomach-churning cases of their careers. But the girl, known only as Maya, proves to be a puzzle herself.

As her story twists and turns, slowly shedding light on life in the Butterfly Garden, Maya reveals old grudges, new saviors, and horrific tales of a man who’d go to any length to hold beauty captive. But the more she shares, the more the agents have to wonder what she’s still hiding…

My Thoughts:

The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison is a captivating thriller. The collector a.k.a. “The Gardner” begins collecting girls and tattooing them with beautiful designs.  His plan is to keep them until they reach a certain age and then make them permanent fixtures in his garden for all to see. The girls know their fate, but it’s a mystery exactly how and when it will come about. Maya is one of those girls, and the brave one. The Gardener sees something special in her and it might be more than he can handle as she devises a plan of her own.

I liked the characters and felt they had good development. Maya is tough and the main character throughout the story as she’s interrogated by the FBI while giving her side of the story. The Gardener isn’t completely understood, but what serial killer is? Here we have a man who’s living a separate life in his fantasy garden, and it works. When reading the book, I had flashbacks to some of my favorites like The Silence of the Lambs and Kiss The Girls. 

I wasn’t sure if I liked the format of the writing, but still remained fairly fascinated with the story. I found it difficult to read at times and even nightmarish, especially when Keely comes into the picture. It’s definitely not a book everyone will enjoy as it contains rape, kidnapping, and other sick and twisted events, although it seemed that some details were spared and it wasn’t overly gory. There were many twists and turns and it didn’t feel predictable at all.

There is a weird twist toward the end, but unfortunately, the ending was too abrupt and I wasn’t thoroughly satisfied with it. I still give this one 5-stars for captivation and a unique story.

This is one of my favorites for 2016.

Continue reading “Throwback Thursday: October 12th – The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison”

Throwback Thursday – October 5th- Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Throwback Thursday is a weekly meme created by Renee @ It’s Book Talk. This meme is an awesome way to share favorites that were published over a year ago or even books that you’re finally reading after much time has passed. I have plenty of those to share! If you have your own Throwback Thursday recommendation feel free to jump on board, and you’re welcome to use Renee’s pic as well. Please link back to her@It’s Book Talk.

throwback-thursday

This Week’s Pick

Gone Girl

by Gillian Flynn

 

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Blurb: On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?

My Thoughts:

Nick and Amy Dunne are preparing to celebrate their 5th wedding anniversary when suddenly, Amy disappears and as the investigation unfolds, it appears that the marriage wasn’t as perfect as it seemed. Others begin to wonder if Nick could be the perpetrator and the book will leave you wondering what really happened to Amy throughout.

I loved this book, and honestly, I couldn’t predict what was going to happen because the plot was completely twisted. I went in completely blind and that’s what I would recommend to everyone else. You will more than likely be shocked. It’s one of the best psychological thrillers I’ve read, slow at times, but the story picks up and then you’re in for the ride. To me, the characters were fairly unforgettable!

I admire the way Gillian Flynn writes and I’m looking forward to reading more from this author. I mixed the book and audible for this one and I did enjoy the narration.

My rating on this one is 4 stars.

4-stars

You can find this book on Amazon and Goodreads

  • Paperback: 422 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books; Reprint edition (April 22, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307588378
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307588371

Continue reading “Throwback Thursday – October 5th- Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn”

Wednesday’s Breakfast and a Book – Unicorn in the Barn – See What I have Done – Dairy Free Biscuits & Gravy

Happy Wednesday everyone! I hope everyone is having a wonderful week so far. I have two new books to share and an interesting recipe for dairy free biscuits and gravy that’s quite delicious! 25-Inspiring-Happy-Wednesday-Quotes-To-Share-6338-9.jpg

This is a recipe that I can eat any time of the day or night. I’ve even made biscuits & Gravy for dinner recently and it’s always so delicious!

Let’s get started…

I learned how to make biscuits & Gravy from my Stepmother Laurie. Just a few weeks before she passed away, she told me she wanted to show me how to make her biscuits and gravy recipe so that I would always know how. I’ve made this recipe ever since and my family loves it. I’m going to give you both recipe versions so that you can choose which one you’d like to try.

Laurie’s Biscuits & Gravy Recipe

My Stepmom loved using Grand’s Butter Tastin’ Biscuits with her gravy. Her gravy recipe is as follows:

1 – TB Bacon Lard

1 tube of hot ground sausage

1 tube of regular ground sausage

1 cup of whole milk

1/2 cup of flour

Salt and Pepper

Additional milk for thickening

So, my version of the recipe is made the same way as Laurie’s biscuits & gravy, but using almond milk. I used to make this with traditional cow’s milk, and in my opinion, it does taste best with real whole milk and even a splash of cream. I’m always searching for dairy free versions when it comes to cooking because as I’ve mentioned before, I’m not supposed to be eating dairy and do much better without it.

My dairy free version…

Ingredients:

My favorite biscuit recipe which you will find HERE. (Omit the butter and use Crisco for dairy free! Also use almond milk which works great)

1 TB oil or lard – whichever you like

2 tubes of ground sausage of your choice (I like Farmland MSG Free)

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1 cup of almond milk (or milk of your choice)

1/2 cup of flour

Salt, pepper, and a dash of ground cayenne pepper to taste (Farmland doesn’t make hot sausage that I can find so I use a little dash of cayenne pepper)

Additional milk to use with thickening

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Directions: 

Heat your pan to medium and begin breaking up the sausage while frying until cooked through. I love using cast iron for this…

As the sausage is frying, prepare your milk by adding it to a jar or bowl. I like to shake my milk and flour in a jar because it makes it easy. You can also whisk it.

1 Cup of Milk

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1/2 Cup of Flour

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Shake it up real good!

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Once the sausage is cooked through – Drain the fat

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Now you’re ready to add your milk mixture to your drained sausage over medium heat. Pour it in and start stirring it up until it gets thick which is almost instantly.

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Add in more milk. I don’t measure on this. I just add a little slowly over time until I get to the desired thickness.

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Just keep stirring and adding in small amounts of milk over high heat. Once it starts to boil turn it down to a simmer. Don’t forget to add in your spices!

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This is why I love cast iron – It’s naturally non-stick as you can see in the picture below.

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After simmering for roughly 10-15 minutes, it’s done.

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Serve with your fresh biscuits!

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Delicious!

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Continue reading for this week’s books!

Continue reading “Wednesday’s Breakfast and a Book – Unicorn in the Barn – See What I have Done – Dairy Free Biscuits & Gravy”

Q&A with Justin Roberts – Author of The Policewoman

 

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I read The Policewoman this past May after reading a few reviews on Goodreads. People had good things to say about and it sounded like a unique story. I noticed that The Policewoman was even on Amazon’s Best-Seller list for awhile as you can see below. I gave it a go and was very pleased with the story. I originally did a post in May with my review, but after speaking with Justin Roberts, I thought it would be nice to learn a little more about him and share it with readers. You can see my review below, what a few other Goodread’s friends are saying about the book, and a Q&A with Justin Roberts.

 

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Continue reading “Q&A with Justin Roberts – Author of The Policewoman”

The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson

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The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson is a psychological thriller that will have you guessing until the end!

Just who are the kind worth killing?

If you haven’t read this book, I recommend skipping my review and blurb. There aren’t any spoilers here, but going in blind is probably the best…

The story starts out with Lily and Ted. The two strangers come together for a game of truth which turns into a plan for murder. Lily has a history and Ted has issues with his wife. Lily jumps in the driver’s seat and one thing leads to another. The two strangers plan an arrangement to wreak havoc, but what will be the outcome?

Of course, I went into this blind and had no clue what I was getting into which is what I recommend to others. EVERYTHING you think you’ve figured out, you haven’t.

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There are some major twists and turns which kept my interest from the beginning to end. The story fully grasped me and didn’t let me go. The absolute only issue I had was the ending which I both loved and hated. Give me MORE!

This is one of the best psychological thrillers I’ve read. I picked it up on audible and enjoyed all four narrators. I’d like to thank my friend Basia for recommending it!

stars


Blurb

From the author of the acclaimed The Girl with a Clock for a Heart–hailed by the Washington Post as crime fiction’s best first novel of 2014″–a devious tale of psychological suspense involving sex, deception, and an accidental encounter that leads to murder that is a modern reimagining of Patricia Highsmith’s classic Strangers on a Train.

On a night flight from London to Boston, Ted Severson meets the stunning and mysterious Lily Kintner. Sharing one too many martinis, the strangers begin to play a game of truth, revealing very intimate details about themselves. Ted talks about his marriage that’s going stale and his wife Miranda, who he’s sure is cheating on him. Ted and his wife were a mismatch from the start–he the rich businessman, she the artistic free spirit–a contrast that once inflamed their passion, but has now become a cliche.

But their game turns a little darker when Ted jokes that he could kill Miranda for what she’s done. Lily, without missing a beat, says calmly, “I’d like to help.” After all, some people are the kind worth killing, like a lying, stinking, cheating spouse. . . .

Back in Boston, Ted and Lily’s twisted bond grows stronger as they begin to plot Miranda’s demise. But there are a few things about Lily’s past that she hasn’t shared with Ted, namely her experience in the art and craft of murder, a journey that began in her very precocious youth.

Suddenly these co-conspirators are embroiled in a chilling game of cat-and-mouse, one they both cannot survive . . . with a shrewd and very determined detective on their tail.

Duration: 10 hours, 18 minutes


About the Author

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Peter Swanson is the author of three novels: The Girl With a Clock For a Heart, an LA Times Book Award finalist; The Kind Worth Killing, winner of the New England Society Book Award, and finalist for the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger; and his most recent, Her Every Fear. His books have been translated into 30 languages, and his stories, poetry, and features have appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction, The Atlantic Monthly, Measure, The Guardian, The Strand Magazine, and Yankee Magazine.

You can find him on:

Goodreads |Amazon| Website 

Other Books