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.

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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.

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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!

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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 

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