Book Review : In My Dreams I Hold A Knife By Ashley Winstead

Things explode at a college reunion when dark secrets and friendships unravel until the killer of a classmate who never made it to graduation is revealed.

This one had a LOT going on in it. Every time there was another twist I looked to see how much was left in the book and then asked myself, “How’s the author going to keep this going now that we know this?” But she did! Because there were SO many secrets! There’s one line near the beginning of the book that made me sure I knew who the killer was, and while I ended up being right, the author made me second guess myself numerous times. Well done!

From Goodreads:

Six friends.

One college reunion.

One unsolved murder.

Ten years after graduation, Jessica Miller has been invited back to her university for a reunion and she is obsessed with dazzling everyone with her beauty and success. This time when they see her, it has to be perfect because she is perfect. Not the girl she was when she left campus, back when Heather Shelby’s murder fractured everything, including the tight bond linking the six friends she’d been closest to since freshman year.

But there’s more at stake than the delicious envy of her peers—not everyone is ready to move on. Not everyone can let Heather’s murder go unsolved. In fact, someone has orchestrated the whole weekend to trap the real killer. As the weekend unfolds and they get closer to the truth, the group finds there was more than murder hidden amongst them on campus.

Told in racing dual timelines, with a dark campus setting and a darker look at friendship, love, obsession and ambition, In My Dreams I Hold a Knife is an addictive, propulsive millennial thriller you won’t be able to put down.

Book Review: Bad Call By Stephen Wallenfels

Four high school seniors lie about going to a school-related activity over the weekend and go camping instead – without telling anyone where they’re really going. When a forest fire alters their course, they find themselves lost in the wilderness with no cell service, dwindling supplies, and a freak snowstorm that they aren’t prepared for. As they struggle to survive, one thing becomes clear – the elements might not be their biggest threat. Four go up the mountain. How many will come down?

This book has mixed reviews, but I really liked it. The characters, the plot, and the situation combine to create a perfect storm. I was expecting more of a kill them all high body count thriller, which might be what the disappointed readers were looking for, too. Instead, the author takes a more realistic approach, focusing on the characters and group dynamic rather than thinking up how many different ways he can kill someone off. I thought it worked well. No complaints here.

From Goodreads:

It was supposed to be epic. During a late-night poker game, tennis teammates Colin, Ceo, Grahame, and Rhody make a pact to go on a camping trip in Yosemite National Park. And poker vows can’t be broken. So the first sign that they should ditch the plan is when Rhody backs out. The next is when Ceo replaces him with Ellie, a girl Grahame and Colin have never even heard of. And then there’s the forest fire at their intended campsite. But instead of bailing, they decide to take the treacherous Snow Creek Falls Trail to the top of Yosemite Valley. From there, the bad decisions really pile up. A freak storm is threatening snow, their Craigslist tent is a piece of junk, and Grahame is pretty sure there’s a bear on the prowl. On top of that, the guys have some serious baggage (and that’s not including the ridiculously heavy ax that Grahame insisted on packing) and Ellie can’t figure out what their deal is. And then one of them doesn’t make it back to the tent. Desperate to survive while piecing together what happened, the remaining hikers must decide who to trust in this riveting, witty, and truly unforgettable psychological thriller that reveals how one small mistake can have chilling consequences.

Monday (Mini #BookReview) Madness

This week I read:

An Olympic hopeful gets injured, which leads to the discovery of an aggressive form of cancer, which in turns reveals that her parents aren’t biological. The modern day scenes alternate with scenes of two girls in a mental hospital and their exchange of letters afterwards. This one kept me guessing because I wasn’t sure who was who, and who was the bad guy. It made me think and feel and kept me off balance. Nice and twisty. A good summer beach read.

This book is a fictional account of what may have happened when Agatha Christie disappeared for 11 days in 1926. The idea itself is quite compelling – the mystery behind the mystery writer. It certainly kept me reading, but – perhaps because it was based on a real life occurrence – it wasn’t as twisty as I would have liked. Entertaining, but somewhat disappointing. I would have liked more from Christie’s character.

I just started:

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Monday (Mini #BookReview) Madness

This week I read:

I’m breaking the first rule – I’m going to talk about Fight Club! This was an interesting read. I saw the movie years ago and remembered the twist, which was unfortunate because I would have liked to have experienced the surprise while reading it. However, even knowing what happens, the way Palahniuk artfully weaves his web of in your face deception is fascinating. A great study in unreliable narrators for writers and entertaining to boot!

I just started:

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Monday (Mini #BookReview ) Madness

This week I read:

This book had a good premise, developed the characters well and created a solid group dynamic. It delivered the creeps and the scares, and if you want to know how, just read the name. I enjoyed the story, but doubt I’ll be reading more in the series.
This book is SO good! It has heart. It has horror. It has carnage. It’s both haunting and about a haunting. 😉 Stellar plot, creative and imaginative, and while it’s an old trope, it felt new. It’s the first book I’ve read in a while where I thought both, “Yay! There’s a sequel!” and, “Must read sequel immediately!” I’ll be very happy if the next book delivers as much as this one did.

I just started:

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Monday (Mini Book Review) Madness

This week I read:

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This one got off to a great start, full of mystery and suspense (which is what it’s categorized under at Amazon). But then it slowed until it dragged. Instead of a crafty plot, there was narrative heavy analysis. The second narrator works in the beginning to add intrigue and keep you reading, but these scenes lose steam until their sole purpose is to fill in (far-fetched) blanks. The ending felt rushed. Instead of a satisfying conclusion, there was the stasis of simply continuing to exist which for some reason is such a popular theme in literary fiction – because that’s what this is. If it had been a mystery, as I expected, I probably would have liked it better.

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If you’re looking for a teenage horror movie in a book, look no further – this is a slasher flick in word form. And I really liked the premise of this one: someone is messing with people in their own houses before killing them. At times, the execution left questions, and the secret haunting the MC is underwhelming when revealed, but this book provided a nice escape from reality. 

I just started:

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Friday’s Flavors: Hacked! Starbuck’s Egg Sous Vide Bites

Hey, Foodies! Happy Friday!

e4I’ve been working on this recipe for a while because:

  1. I think Starbuck’s Bacon and Gruyere egg bites are delicious.
  2. I refuse to buy a sous vide machine just to make them.
  3. It took me a while to figure out the details (cooking temperature, proportions, etc.) to reach both a flavor and degree of simplicity I was happy with.

The result of my labors is a tasty and easy version you can make at home using nothing fancier than a food processor (or blender) and a muffin tin. The best part is, because of the way the proportions turned out, there’s no fussy math needed if you decide you want to make 2 or 12.

Prep time: 5 minutes Cooking time: 15-20 minutes

Ingredients:

eggs (half as many as the egg bites you want when finished)

cottage cheese (Yep. Starbuck’s egg bites are more cottage cheese than egg.)

salt

bacon (the precooked, bagged, chopped bacon in the salad dressing section is fine)

cheese of choice (I used an aged gouda)

Preparation:

ePreheat oven to 325 degrees.

This is super easy. You use half as many eggs as the egg bites you want when finished, so if you want 2 egg bites, use 1 egg, if you want 12 egg bites, use 6 eggs.

Break the eggs into a measuring cup. Take note of the amount, then put the eggs in a food processor (or blender). Fill the measuring cup to slightly above the level where the eggs reached with cottage cheese (so if you’re using 1/2 cup eggs, use 1/2 cup plus a heaping spoonful of cottage cheese.) Add the e1cottage cheese to the food processor. Add a pinch of salt and mix together.

Spray oil in the muffin pan cups. Sprinkle bacon at the bottom. Spoon in egg/cottage cheese mixture until about 3/4 full. Top with a generous pinch of the cheese.

My oven runs a bit hot, but my egg bites were perfectly cooked after 17 minutes. I would suggest checking at 15 minutes, and keeping an eye on them until they’re done. Jiggle the muffin pan, and if the egg bites wiggle in the middle, they need more e4time. If you think they’re done, but you’re not sure, a butter knife inserted into the center should come out clean.

(Don’t worry if the tops puff up, they’ll settle as they cool.)

Allow to cool in the pan for a few minutes, then cover with parchment paper and flip. Using a butter knife, trace the edges of any egg bites that don’t come out on their own to free them.

Enjoy immediately, or allow to cool before storing and reheat when ready.

If you try it, please let me know what you think!

Check back next Friday for another recipe!

 

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