Pieces of Her

Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter

This book intrigued me with the idea of “How much do we really know about another person?” It made me think of Agatha Christie-and how she brings up that same concept.

Hmm…

Andrea is celebrating her 30th birthday, although she doesn’t have much to celebrate. She is working as a 911 dispatch operative-so boring with the endless crank calls. She lives in her mother’s home, well…the added room she made.

And to top it off, her mother is kicking her out. Life sucks.

But then–a crazy guy comes in dressed up as an outlaw and shoots his ex-girlfriend who dumped him because of his crazy, abusive behavior, and his ex-girlfriend’s mom. Seeing Andrea’s uniform and mistakeningly thinking that she is a cop-he starts to threaten her as he wants to go out in a blaze of glory-shot by a cop.

She is terrified and horrified, but then the unexpected happens. Her mother-cool and collected-steps in and steps in front of Andrea, disarms the gunman, and kills him.

That should be the end of it-except the gunman as the child of a famous lawman. Now everything has been spun against Andrea’s mother Lauren-and they are framing her as a murderer.

Andrea watches the video and while she knows her mother saved her she is just as shocked as everyone at how Lauren just decimates him.

Now Andrea is searching for the truth as to who, or what, her mother is.

Thoughts After Reading:

This had an interesting premise, but it was soooooooooooo boring!

Yeah, I do not recommend it.

For more Not in a Series Mysteries, go to Suitors and Sabotage

The Man with the Twisted Lip

July we always celebrate Sherlock Holmes as A Study in Scarlet was published July of 1888, Happy anniversary to our favorite detective!

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 “The Man With the Twisted Lip” from The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Thoughts Before Reviewing:

I grew up reading the short stories or cases of Sherlock Holmes, and I think my favorite collection growing up was The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. It just has so many good and memorable tales.

 

This particular story  is one of my favorites and I am glad to share it with you all.

A wife is worried for her missing husband and calls upon Sherlock Holmes to help her.

She was walking down the street when her husband was at work and looked up and saw him in the window above an opium den! She rushes up there as quick as she can but no husband is to be found, only a disgusting, dirty man.

She calls the police and as they investigate-discovering his clothes in the river, but no body or blood. They believe the man to have killed her husband but they can’t figure out what happened.

Sherlock is rather puzzled and looks into the history of the man, but there is little to be found. He moved there and makes good money is all that they know.

Hmm…

Sherlock believes the husband has been killed, but then a letter turns up in his handwriting with his signet ring. Sherlock is stuck until he goes to the bathroom and solves it by looking at a bar of soap.

Yep, soap.

Told you it was a good one!

Him

He goes to the jail where they are holding the man and force him to clean up, revealing that he is the missing husband.

It turned out he was a reporter and went undercover to write a story about beggars. He was a great actor and did so well at doing nothing, making way more money than being the reporter.

He decided to continue, thinking he had every last detail planned out, but was surprised by his wife; reacting quickly and not thinking of his actions. Sherlock makes him stop the begging as it is against the law, and the case is solved.

I just love how he solves it with soap. SOAP! Amazing!

For more Sherlock Holmes, go to The Boscombe Valley Mystery

For more by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, go to A Case of Identity

For more missing husbands, go to He’s Gone

For more short stories, go to The Tell-Tale Purr

Vegetable Tempura

So I found this book at the library, A Flash in the Pan: 100 Fast and Furious Recipes for Wok and Stir Fry by Shirley Gill and Liz Trigg. I had never had tempura before, but I always heard people ordering it in film or reading about it in books. So I decided to try it out.

“These deep-fried fritters are based on Kaki-age, a Japanese dish that often incorporates fish and shrimp as well as vegetables.”

Ingredients:

  • 2 Medium Zucchini
  • 1/2 Medium Eggplant
  • 1 Large Carrot
  • 1/2 Small Spanish Onion
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/2 Cup of Ice Water
  • 1 Cup of All-Purpose Flour
  • Salt
  • Ground Pepper
  • Vegetable Oil for deep frying
  • Sea Salt Flakes
  • Lemon Slices
  • Japanese Soy Sauce (Shoyu)

Directions:

  1. Using a potato peeler, pare strips of peel from the zucchini and eggplant to give it a striped effect. *Peeling strips of peel from the zucchini and eggplant will avoid too much tough skin in the finished dish.
  2. Cut the zucchini, eggplant, and carrot into strips about 3-4 inches long and 1/8 inch wide.
  3. Put the eggplant, zucchini, and carrot in a colander and sprinkle liberally with salt.
  4. Let stand for 30 mins, then rinse thoroughly under cold running water.
  5. Drain well.
  6. Thinly slice the onion from top to base, discarding the plump pieces in the middle.
  7. Seperate the layers so that there are lots of fine long strips.
  8. Mix all the vegetables together and season with salt and pepper.
  9. Make the batter immediately before frying: mix the egg and iced water in a bowl-then sift in flour. Mix briefly using a fork or chopsticks. Do not overmix-the batter should remain lumpy. Add the vegetables to the batter and mix to combine.
  10. Fry vegetables in wok or pan.

Thoughts After Reading:

So when I made this, all the mixture came off the vegetables and fell into the pan and burned to the pan. I guess my vegetables were too wet or something.

The ones that did fry tasted good, but the others were okay. If I were to do this again, I would dry them off with a paper towel.

For more recipes, go to Scottish Oatcakes

Hearts of Smoke and Steam

Hearts of Smoke and Steam Societyy of Steam) by Andrew P. Mayer

I hated this book. It was boring dull, and now that I’ve reviewed it I don’t have to see it again.

For more on The Society of Steam, go to The Falling Machine

For more steam punk, go to Emilie and the Sky World

Scottish Oatcakes

So I needed a regency-type recipe to go with Tuesday’s post. Hmm, where to look? I know! My sister blog! So like I said MysteriousEats.wordpress.com isn’t lazy, but if my older sister blog  JaneAustenRunsMyLife.wordpress.comhas already reviewed or posted something, I like to just copy and paste it here (usually without asking)

Haha!

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup of Rolled Oats
  • 1/3 Cup of Flour
  • 1/2 Tsp of Sugar
  • 1/4 Tsp of Salt
  • 1/4 Tsp of Baking Soda
  • 1/4 Cup of Unsalted Butter, Cut into Pieces
  • 2-3 Tbsps of Water
  • Honey (Optional)
  • Marmalade (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat Oven to 325 degrees F
  2. In a food processor fitted with metal blades, process oats to a fine meal.
  3. Add the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and butter.
  4. Process briefly to mix well.
  5. With motor running add 2-3 tbsps of water and process 20 seconds to form a crumbly dough.
  6. Add as much water as needed to achieve the desired texture.
  7. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface.
  8. Knead a couple of times to incorporate any crumbs, then form into a ball.
  9. Cut in half.
  10. Using a rolling pin, roll out each half into rounds 6 inches wide an 1/4 inch thick.
  11. Crimp edges with your finger and thumb to make a fluted border.
  12. Using a metal spatula, transfer the rounds to a baking sheet and cut into four equal wedges. separate the wedges slightly then prick the top of each one 3 or 4 times with a fork.
  13. Bake until pale and tan and no longer soft (about 25-30 mins)
  14. Transfer the oatcakes to a wire rack to cool.
  15. Serve with honey or marmalade, if desired.
  16. Makes about 8.

Thoughts After Baking:

These were fantastic! So good, and perfect with your tea!

I would ground the oats in the processor or blender, but when you get to the water just put it in a bowl and use your hands.  Otherwise, delicious!

For more JaneAustenRunsMyLife recipes, go to Earl Grey Infused Blueberry Smoothie

For more breakfast recipes, go to Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Smoothie

Suitors and Sabotage

Suitors and Sabotage by Cindy Anstey

So here at MysteriousEats.wordpress.com I wouldn’t call us lazy, but if my older sister blog JaneAustenRunsMyLife.wordpress.com has already reviewed or posted something, we just copy and paste it minus the Austen-y things as we concentrate more on the mystery.

So, my sister blog reviewed this mystery and I’ll be honest, I just copied and pasted it with a few deletes. If you want to read the whole post, you can hop over there. Otherwise, check this out.

Gracebridge Manor in Fotheringham, Kent -1817

Miss Imogene Chively has returned from her London season a success, or so her family believes. Imogene did not enjoy the parties, being on display, etc.

Hopefully, she will not have to go back as she has a suitor- a Mr. Ernest Steeple. He’s very, very interested in her and about to visit and stay a few weeks. Imogene is a very shy and not looking forward to him coming, but at least she will be home.

She an her friend Miss Emily Beeswanger (what a name!) are relaxing outside the ruins of the nearby castle, when Imogene’s dog puts himself in danger. They try to get him back, but he won’t listen! But in the end they are assisted by a handsome young man.

Hmm…

After he saves their dog, the man introduces himself as Benjamin “Ben” Steeple, the younger brother of Ernest. He has accompanied him, and the two arrived early. Mr. Chively, Imogene’s father, is monopolizing Ernest, so Ben decided to check out the castle ruins. Ben is studying to be an architect and could not pass up the opportunity to check it out.

Benjamin joins the ladies for a picnic and Emily sets her cap for the charming, flirtatious, dashing man. Emily went with Imogene for the London season, but did not have anyone interested in her. She’s feeling like a failure and this handsome man seems to be the answer to her wish to be married.

Or him

Imogene’s dog, Jasper, takes off into the old ruins, again, and Ben helps save him for Imogene. They end up bringing part of the castle down and destroying their clothes in the process (not like they are naked bit that those clothes can never be fixed to be in their previous condition ever again). Ben goes to change before dinner and encourage his brother. Ernest is over the moon about Imogene but feels disheartened as he is trying to spend time with her, but has only been spending time with the dad. He’s worried he won’t have anything to converse with her, so Ben tells him to talk about the artist, Joseph Mallard William Turner.

Ben tells Mr. Chively that Ernest likes economics and Mr. Chively spends the whole night talking his ear off about banking and interest. Ben, however, spends the night talking to Imogene and Emily and enjoys conversing with both women. He’s a major flirt and loves charming the ladies.

Imogene finds herself feeling uncertain as she is in a place she has never been before. She knows that Ernest likes her…but all this attention-could Ben have feelings for her too? Are two brothers fighting over her? But then Emily points out all the attention Ben has been giving her and the way he has been treating her. Could this be worse than she thought, could he like both Imogene and Emily?

 

After the two talk, Imogene becomes convinced that Ben is just flirting and charming both of them. Imogene is a little saddened at that, but Emily will not give up. She wants Ben and practices her best flirtations in order to win his heart.

The next morning, Ernest is taken off by Imogene’s father to go fishing, while Ben gets to spend the morning with her. He is doing his best to extol his brother’s virtues, but finds himself holding her hands longer than necessary and thinking more about her than his brother.

I know, right?

Wow, Ben, really? Your brother’s girl! You know he’s into her. And he’s your BROTHER!!!!!

Besides the Beeswanger family, and the Steeples, the Tabards are also staying with the Chivelys. Mrs. Chively, Mrs. Beeswanger, and Mrs. Tabard were very close friends, and relatives. Mrs. Tabard passed away and since then Mr. Tabard has been a ghost of the man he once was. His son Jake has become an incorrigible prankster-pairing up with Imogene’s older brother Percy.

Ugh

So Imogene finds herself in a quandry, on one hand-Ben makes her feel special as her family doesn’t care about art and he loves her drawings and wants her to give him lessons as he can’t draw!

Squeal!

But then she and Ernest finally have a chance to spend time together. Ernest tries to talk about art, but can’t. He admits he knows little of painting and that he is a…reader. Not of poems or essays…but…literature. 

Squeal!

Imogene finds herself falling for Ernest and Ben, but she can’t have both so which brother will she choose?

But before Imogene’s heart can tell her the path to take-some strange things start happening. Her jewelry is found in Ben’s room, then a burr is under his saddle and almost kills him, the castle starts falling down as well, and more. Someone is after Ben, but who?

 

To further complicate this midsummer nights comedy of errors; Ernest and Ben both like Imogene, Emily likes Ben, Jake seems to be interested in Emily, and Imogene doesn’t know which man she wants.

Here we go again…

And who is doing all these mysterious things? Could it be Percy or Jake, taking their “jokes” too far? Could it be Emily, who is after Ben-maybe trying to dissuade him from Imogene? Or could it be Ernest who wants to take Ben out of the running for Imogene’s heart?

Thoughts After Reading:

This book was pretty enjoyable for the most part. I thought the beginning and middle were really good. The parts that kind of turned me off was when the story began to drag on with the constant back and forth of Imogene trying to decide on a guy.

It really bothered me too how both men laughed off Imogene’s fear. I mean come on guys, there is too much happening for it be an “accident”. Seriously dudes.

There is also a weird part when Imogene accuses Ernest of doing all these things to Ben and Ben becomes furious. She is in shock about how “unreasonable” he is and hopes to never see that “unreasonable” side again. Ugh, girl please-you just accused his brother of trying to kill him. If someone said that to me about my sister I would have flipped a table at them. How dare you!!!

But really, whether you will love or hate this book will boil down to one thing-which guy you like better.

For more historical fiction, go to Weak Flesh

For more young adult mysteries, go to Airhead

For more not-in-a-series-mysteries, go to An Anonymous Girl

For more stolen jewels, go to Archie Andrews: Not So Private Eye

An Anonymous Girl

 An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

So if you have been falling me on Instagram you would know that last weekend I was reading this book and forgot it at the library where I work.

I had to wait until Tuesday in order to get it and finish it.

So I really enjoyed The Wife Between Us, and when I saw this book, just had to check it out.

Jessica Farris is a makeup artist. She came to New York City with the dream of being a makeup artist to Broadway.

But after an encounter with a certain director, she has given that dream up. Instead she makes a living working for BeautyBuzz-doing up older ladies on their nights out, graduations, weddings, etc. Every day is a struggle to pay the bills and send money home to her family.

One day everything changes when she overhears a client talking to her friend about a morality study. They have to take a “morality test” and then they get paid $500. The client, Taylor, is a total party girl who cares very little about school and doesn’t want to get up at 9 in the morning. She decides to blow it off. All Jessica can think is $500 and she wants to go.

I totally was clicked in at this point as the same thing happened to me. I once at University saw a study in which they paid $20 and I went, I wanted that money.

So the next day, Jessica pretends to be a college student, dressing down to look early twenties instead of late. She comes in and lies to the assistant, telling him that Taylor couldn’t come and she came in to take her place. She fills out the paperwork and enters a room with a laptop. Answering the questions posed on it.

She answers very vague at first but is told to give more information-deeper. Jessica does and begins to enjoy unloading to someone she doesn’t see or will see again. Jessica leaves and goes on about her day.

Dr. Shields knows Jessica lied to be in a morality test as Taylor called to cancel. She’s intrigued by Jessica as who lies in a morality test and then answers the questions truthfully?

She looks to be perfect for the real test. This whole thing was a ruse in order to select the perfect girl for Dr. Shield’s real plan. A test of her husband’s fidelity.

Hmmm…?

Jessica receives an email asking if she wants to be a part of an extension of the study, compensated very nicely for her time. Jessica just hears those dollar signs and is in. But what she doesn’t know is that she is thrust inside a giant tangled web between husband and wife.

Will Jessica survive? Or will she be torn apart by this couple?

Thoughts After Reading:

I figured out the mystery about the other patient early on, but I found the book extremely compelling. There is something about a character who you don’t know how honest they are with you, the reader, that keeps you reading.

For more about Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen, go to The Wife Between Us

For more Not in a Series mysteries, go to Dark Places

For more with cheating husbands, go to Death by Marriage

Apple Pie Smoothie

It’s the 4th of July so that means apple pie!

But it is too hot to bake and have your oven on…unless we are making a smoothie:

So this recipe I found on pinterest, but originally comes from The Lemon Bowl. I did change it a bit, but not too much.

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 Apple- Peeled, Cored, and Quartered
  • 1 Banana
  • 1 Cup of Vanilla Greek Yogurt
  • 1/4 Cup of Oats
  • 1 Teaspoon of Cinnamon
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Nutmeg
  • 1/8 Teaspoon of Ground Cloves

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth.
  2. Pour into a glass and serve.

Thoughts After Reading:

Make sure you peel the apples. The recipe doesn’t tell you to peel it, so I didn’t. But of you do not peel them, the smoothie does not work.

It was very good, I would definitely make it again.

For more 4th of July recipes, go to Flag Cake

For more smoothies, go to Earl Grey Infused Blueberry Smoothie

For more Pinterest recipes, go to Spinach Tortellini Soup

For more apple pie recipes, go to With the 4th of July comes Apple Pie

Airhead

Airhead (Airhead #1) by Meg Cabot

Emerson “Em” Watts is not what most would consider beautiful. She never wears makeup, prefers oversized-ratty clothes, is a total tomboy into sports and gaming, etc.

She is in love with her equally nerdy, but drop dead handsome best friend, Chris-but is unsure how to have him see her as more than just a friend or one of the boys.

She, Chris, and her little sister Frida (fashion queen), are going to SoHo Stark Megastore grand opening, as Frida can’t go by herself and has to see her crush, singer Gabriel Luna.

Him

When they get there, the face of Stark-Nikki Howard, collpses and so does Em.

When Em wakes up she finds that she no longer exists. Instead her brain was transplanted into the body of Nikki Howard and she is now expected to take on the role of the beautiful model.

Her parents agreed to the brain swap as it was the only way to save her daughter, and now she and the rest of the family are sworn to secrecy.

Em thinks it will be easy to be Nikki, but discovers being a model is more than just standing around and looking pretty-her beauty regimen, endless publicity events, fake relationship with Brandon Stark, the hots for Gabriel Luna and Chris, and actual modeling is a lot of hard work.

But even more than that, Em discovers that Nikki’s “brain aneurysm” was no accident. Someone wanted her dead as she has stumbled onto a secret that those would kill to keep from coming out in the open. Will Em discover the truth in time? Or will Nikki Howard “die” again?

Thoughts After Reading:

So this book had a few campy parts, but otherwise it was etralling and I had to keep reading to find out who was behind the murder plot and why!

For more model mysteries, go to Death Wears a Beauty Mask

For more Young Adult Books, go to Crash Landing!