Jul 27, 2010

Teaser Tuesday: TGWTDT

Today I'm taking my teasers from THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO by Stieg Larsson, a book I'm sure you all are familiar with. It's such an engrossing story and I am really into it. So into it that I have already purchased the Kindle version of the second book in the series. Now on to the teasers . . .

With the appearance of Nils Bjurman, the declaration of incompetence threatened to become a troublesome burden in her life. No matter who she turned to, pitfalls would open up; and what would happen if she lost the battle? Would she be institutionalized? Locked up? There was really no option. ~ page 230

Thanks for stopping by and checking out my teasers. I hope it left you curious. For more teasers visit MizB at Should Be Reading.

Jul 25, 2010

Sunday Salon: Dystopian Fantasy

Hello and thanks for visiting today! After receiving a review copy of a new book the other day, it has left me curious. The book was unsolicited and of course, I was happy to receive it but isn't the type of book I would typically choose for myself. It is dystopian fantasy, which I rarely read and it got me to wondering if this is a genre that many of you read? I know we all have our own tastes and preferences where books are concerned and I'm really interested in your answers.

The particular book I received is WHO FEARS DEATH by Nnedo Okorafor. She is an accomplished and award-winning writer of young adult fiction, though this novel is her first foray into the adult genre. Being of Nigerian decent, she is known fo r incorporating African cultures into her science fiction writing. The title certainly grabbed my attention and I find the cover striking as well. After reading the book flap, I am actually really looking forward to reading it. For a quick synopsis of this interesting new book, click here to visit Penguin.com.

Aside from receiving this new book, I also got my 50th Anniversary Edition of TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. I'm so happy to have it and I'm planning to read a little bit each evening to savor it and to make it last. Just in reading the first few chapters, I feel like I'm visiting an old friend and I find myself smiling a lot while I read. Isn't it wonderful when a book can make you feel so good?

I posted my review of a book I loved this week. It was BACKSEAT SAINTS by Joshilyn Jackson. You can find the review here. I will definitely be reading more of her previous books and looking forward to new ones as well. I know this book is making it's way around the blogs and if you get the chance, you really ought to read it, especially if you enjoy Southern Fiction. It's well worth the time.

I also finished reading A RELIABLE WIFE by Robert Goolrick last week and will be posting my review in the next day or so. I'm happy that I finally read it, although it was a different sort of book.

This week I'm reading THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO by Stieg Larsson and I am really into it. I didn't know if I would like the whole financial intrigue aspect of it but I am loving it and hate putting it down. In fact, with the scorching temps we're supposed to have here today, I'm planning on staying inside reading all day. Are you planning to spend your day reading? If so, what has your attention these days?

Jul 22, 2010

Backseat Saints by Joshilyn Jackson

BACKSEAT SAINTS, Joshilyn Jackson's latest novel is the story of Rose Mae Lolley. But it's also Ro Grandee's story. The interesting twist is that they are the same person. Ro Grandee is the wife of Thom, son of the successful Grandee family of Amarillo, Texas. His family owns three large gun stores throughout the state and though Thom works side by side with his father, running the family businesses, Thom can't make a move without his father's approval or interference, in most cases. While Ro tries to keep her husband on an even keel so he doesn't take his frustrations out on her, sometimes Rose Mae Lolley has to take over. She's always been stronger than Ro and she knows how to handle Thom Grandee.

Here's a bit about the book straight from the author's website:

Ro Grandee is the perfect Texas housewife. She's determined to be nothing like her long-missing mother, the one who left her with only a heap of old novels and her father's fists for company, so Ro keeps quiet and takes her husband's punches like a lady. But Ro wasn't always this way. Underneath her pastel skirts and hidden bruises lies Rose Mae Lolley, teenaged spitfire, Alabama heartbreaker, and a crack shot with a pistol. Rose Mae is resurrected when a gypsy's tarot cards foretell doom for dutiful Ro: her handsome husband is going to kill her. Unless she kills him first.

Armed with only her wit, her pawpy's ancient .45, and her dog Fat Gretel, Rose Mae hightails it out of Texas. In a journey that is by turns harrowing and exhilarating, she uncovers long buried truths about her family and herself, running from the man who will never let her go, on a mission to find the mother who did.

My thoughts on the book:

The first thing that I was curious about was the braid on the front cover of the book. In the last week or so, while I've been blogging about this book, other people have questioned the braid as well. Last week, I featured this book in Teaser Tuesdays. Let me share with you the teaser I chose from this book:

I picked up the braid and walked back to the bathroom. I think I meant to put it in the trash, but I caught sight of myself in the mirror and stopped. I was ten pounds too thin and two shades paler than paper. My shorn hair hung around my face in a ragged tangle, longer on the right side than the left. I had kaleidoscope eyes, spinning with a hundred different colors of pure, naked crazy. For the first time in years, I was face-to-face with Rose Mae Lolley.

The symbolism of that braid speaks volumes. Domestic violence is at the center of this story. But even with such a serious subject, Jackson uses wit and smartly placed humor to talk about this disturbing issue that happens every day in our society. In the beginning, we learn a little about Ro Grandee and where she came from and how she met her handsome husband. Then there's the tarot-reading gypsy Ro meets in the airport at a seemingly chance meeting. Aside from the domestic violence in her life, Ro also had been living with the fact that her mother left her when she was a child. She always wondered why her mother didn't love her enough to take her with her. As you can imagine, Rose Mae never got over her mother leaving and it was interesting following her on her quest to find answers about this painful part of her life.

The characters in the book were very believably written. Some were a little scary while others were a little quirky. As the story continues, things turn more serious and the humor lessens as Rose Mae makes a plan and starts to take control of her life.

When I first received this book I didn't realize that Ro/Rose Mae had been a supporting character in Jackson't previous novel, GODS IN ALABAMA, which I hadn't yet read. That said, BACKSEAT SAINTS is a stand alone novel. I do plan to read GODS IN ALABAMA to learn about Rose Mae in her high school days and about her first love, Jim Beverly, who does play a part in this book.

I truly enjoyed Joshilyn Jackson's writing and I plan to read more of her books. I am a huge fan of Southern Fiction and this ranks right up at the top for me. While telling Rose Mae's story, she took me on an emotional journey from laughter, to heartbreak to joy to fear and I enjoyed it every step of the way. I can't encourage you enough to make the time to read this book. I'd like to thank Library Thing and Hachette Books for providing my review copy.

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Published: June 8, 2010
Pages: 352
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars (Highly Recommend)

Jul 20, 2010

Teaser Tuesday: 7.22.10

This week I'm reading A RELIABLE WIFE by Rick Goolrick. I've been wanting to read this one for quite some time and now that I am, I'm surprised at how different the story is from what I expected. I've received several comments from people who've read this book and their opinions vary widely. I have to say, most people really liked it, but still some didn't feel that way at all. Here's my teaser from page 116 . . .

She felt that she was being watched herself, so that reports might be sent to Truitt about who this Catherine Land was when she was away from the white wilderness. She was careful to reveal nothing, although she didn't know whether eyes were on her or not.

If you have a teaser you'd like to share or would like to read more teasers, please stop by MizB's Should Be Reading each Tuesday.

Jul 18, 2010

The Sunday Salon:

Hello and welcome to another Sunday Salon! Boy, I honestly don't know where this week went but it sure did fly by! It's hard to believe we're approaching the end of July already. Although it has been very hot here, it doesn't seem to be as unbearable as summers past. In fact, many days its been hotter in my home state of Ohio than here, which is crazy to me. Tuesday I had a scare with my A/C unit when it started blowing hot air through the vents. I've been living on borrowed time with the unit so I figured the time had come and it just wasn't going to work anymore. Then my Dad called and suggested that since my electricity had gone on and off several times a few days before during a storm, that maybe it tripped the breaker. So I flipped it off and back on again and suddenly I had cold air flowing again! Dad is a genius! I know I'm going to have to replace it one day soon, but its a relief to not have to do it right now.

As far as my reading goes, I had a pretty good week. I have not allowed myself to get involved in any of the new summer series on TV, because, for one reason, none of them really appeal all that much to me. And secondly, I've been loving all the reading time in the evening. However, I believe Mad Men starts again July 25th on American Movie Classics and I just can't resist that show. It's so smartly written and different than anything else on TV and the actors are all amazing.

But back to the books - I finished Joshilyn Jackson's BACKSEAT SAINTS and I'll be working on my review later today. But I will say now that I am such a fan of her work and I look forward to reading more from her. Last week I posted my review of Linda Castillo's SWORN TO SILENCE [Review Here] and I was surprised when I received her new book PRAY FOR SILENCE from the publisher on Thursday! This is the second book in this new Kate Burkholder series and it is fabulous! What a nice treat that was! So I'll be reading that one soon and posting my review.

Tomorrow I'm heading over to Books A Million to pick up a copy of the 50th Anniversary edition of TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. There was an online coupon and I just have to have it. I wish we had some independent book stores in my town but our only choices are two big chain stores. But I am very excited to get this book and to read it before the end of summer.

Right now I'm reading A RELIABLE WIFE by Robert Goolrick. I'm about a hundred pages in and I'm really getting into his writing style. It's very unique and the story is interesting right off the bat. After that I haven't decided what is next. I have so many great books to read: THE QUEEN OF PALMYRA, THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, LAST LIGHT OVER CAROLINA, PRAY FOR SILENCE... I could go on and on!

I'm planning to continue my leisurely weekend today by not doing too much of anything, except reading. The housework and laundry are all done, the yard is taken care of, so I can relax and not feel guilty about it. I will be keeping an eye on The British Open and nibbling on some grouper that we had left from last night's fish fry but aside from that, my nose will be stuck in a book. I hope you are able to enjoy a peaceful Sunday doing whatever it is you want to do as well. Thanks for stopping by and please come back in a day or two when I post my review of BACKSEAT SAINTS.

Jul 13, 2010

Teaser Tuesday: Backseat Saints

Today is Tuesday and that means another teaser from the book I'm currently reading. That book is BACKSEAT SAINTS, the newest release from Joshilyn Jackson, the author of GODS IN ALABAMA and THE GIRL WHO STOPPED SWIMMING, to name a few. I know we're only supposed to share two sentences as our teaser, but I've chosen a passage that I thought says a lot about Ro Grandee, the protagonist of the story.

From page 118 of BACKSEAT SAINTS . . .

I picked up the braid and walked back to the bathroom. I think I meant to put it in the trash, but I caught sight of myself in the mirror and stopped. I was ten pounds too thin and two shades paler than paper. My shorn hair hung around my face in a ragged tangle, longer on the right side than the left. I had kaleidoscope eyes, spinning with a hundred different colors of pure, naked crazy. For the first time in years, I was face-to-face with Rose Mae Lolley.

I am really enjoying this book of southern fiction. Although it is filled with sharp wit and ironic humor, it centers around a serious topic. That being domestic violence. This book is courtesy of Library Thing Early Reviewers and I feel lucky to have received it.

For more teasers, please visit MizB at Should Be Reading.

Jul 11, 2010

The Sunday Salon: Kindle Update

Welcome! And happy Sunday! It's going to be another hot summer day here in Florida, much like the rest of the country. The difference is, we usually get afternoon thunderstorms down here and if they come late enough in the day, it makes for a more comfortable evening. Right now though, I'm sitting here drinking my coffee, nibbling on some coffee cake I made this morning and enjoying this quietest time of day.

Since I've had my Kindle now for a couple weeks, I thought I'd let y'all know how it's going. I've had some really sweet comments from people wishing me well and giving me some great tips. I'm not a read-the-manual type of gal so I do a lot of trial and error learning so those tips have been very useful. I absolutely love the fact that I can change the fonts to suit me. The other big thing is that I can lie down and read now, whereas before, when reading a paper book, I could never get comfortable enough to hold the book and read, so I always sat up. It is so great that I can lay on the couch, hold the Kindle and turn the page just by clicking a button with my thumb! I know it sounds like a simple thing, but it is a big deal for me! I also like the sample feature that allows you to download the first chapters of books before you buy.

The first book I downloaded was Linda Castillo's SWORN TO SILENCE. I read it in record time (for me) and I think its because I enjoyed reading it on the Kindle, but also, the fact that I was able to read for longer periods of time without my eyes getting dry and tired. I have to be honest, it also probably helped that I was really into the book and I didn't want to stop reading! I posted my review the other day and you can check it out here, if you'd like.

I've also found some really great deals at the Kindle Store on Amazon. For instance, you may be aware that Christopher Reich has a new book out titled RULES OF BETRAYAL that is the third in the John Ransom series. I read the synopsis along with some great reviews and was intrigued by it. I did some looking and found the Kindle version of the first book, RULES OF DECEPTION for only .79! And the second book, RULES OF VENGEANCE for $5.00! It sounds like a great series and at those prices, you can't go wrong. Oh, I almost forgot - I found the Kindle version of another book I've had on my library reading list for a while now and I got it for only $2.56. The book is HOW TO BE LOST by Amanda Eyre Ward. I guess what I'm trying to say is that you can find some really great deals at the Kindle Store if you spend just a little time looking.

The book I'm reading now is not on my Kindle, but a review copy sent to me by LibraryThing. It's Joshilyn Jackson's newest release, BACKSEAT SAINTS. I had no idea I was going to love her writing so much. The pure southerness has completely stolen my heart. I'm not too far into it yet, but already I've laughed out loud several times at her clever wit and sharp tongue. I've never read any of her other books, but I really hope I get the chance to go back and read them, especially GODS IN ALABAMA. Apparently, the main character in this new book was a supporting chrarcter in that one and I want to know how she ended up in Amarillo, Texas, the setting for BACKSEAT SAINTS.

I did a little changing around on my blog this week, too. I was really tired of the old look and I noticed that blogger has come up with some new designs that are pretty easy to work with. Even though it's still a work in progress, I think I like the changes I've made. I hope you like it too.

Well, its time for me to go get some reading done. Since my boyfriend is out of town today, I'm looking forward to spending most if the day with my book. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you'll come back and visit again soon.

Jul 10, 2010

Recipe Review: Crunchy Oven 'Fried' Chicken

Hello and welcome to the weekend! Today I thought I'd do something a little different. I don't know about you, but I always see those thirty second commercials on TV, especially while watching The Food Network, that spotlights a simple recipe featuring a particular product. I've seen quite a few of them and always think, I need to try that one day. Well, I did just that and thought i'd share my results with you.
The recipe I tried was FRENCH'S(R) CRUNCHY ONION CHICKEN and the product they were featuring was the French Fried Onions. Since I am always looking for alternatives to frying foods, I was anxious to try it. Take a look at the recipe:

  • 2 cups (4 oz) French's Frid Onions
  • 2 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 4 (5 oz) boneless chicken breasts (Or you can use tenders)
  • I egg, beaten

Place French Fried Onions and flour into plastic bag. Lightly crush with hands or rolling pin. Transfer to plate.

Dip chicken into egg, then coat with onion crumbs, pressing firmly to adhere. Place chicken on baking sheet.

Bake at 400' for 20 minutes or until no longer pink inside.

See, I told you it was simple!! OK, now on to my results. First I'll start with the positives:
  • Like I said, its a very simple and quick recipe, especially for busy people
  • Very few ingredients. No need to purchase special stuff you normally don't use. (I hate that!)
  • If you have a toaster oven, like I do, you can use it instead of heating up a large oven, especially in this heat! And there's no splatter like when frying chicken on the stove top.
  • The onions did give the chicken a nice flavor
  • Easy clean-up. I used aluminum foil on my baking sheet so I didn't have to scrub baked-on coating from my tray.
Now for the negatives:
  • I thought the coating was going to be crunchy, like the title implied. However, it really wasn't. It certainly did't look like the picture, especially after slicing it the way they show in the photo.
  • Although it did have good onion flavor, it was a little too moist making it not stick to the chicken well at all. I even left my coating a little more coarse, thinking ahead that it would help with this, but it really didn't matter. I'm thinking the onions soaked up the egg too much and thats where the moistness came from.
  • The recipe didn't mention turning the chicken half-way through baking, but if I were to make this again, I definitely would because the bottom side coating was, I hate to say it, soggy.
  • Although the chicken did have some good onion-y flavor, I would definitely season it with at least salt and pepper, maybe some paprika or whatever you like before coating with the onion/flour mixture the next time. As you know, chicken is bland and really needs spicing up.
Well, those are my thoughts on this recipe. Even though I didn't love it, I wouldn't say I hated it either. I think I will attempt this dish again, making some distinct changes along the way. I like the idea of baking the chicken instead of frying, both for healthy eating reasons along with the cleanup points, but if you like your chicken crispy, maybe frying is the way to go. Your just not going to get that crunch this way, unless you leave the chicken in much longer, but then you take the chance of having dried out chicken when you're done, and who wants that?

To sum it up:

I will give this one another try. Hopefully, with the changes I will make, it will be better next time. FRENCH'S(R) has a great website where they feature this recipe and it even includes a step-by-step video. You can find it here. If you choose to try this recipe, I'd love to know how it worked for you. I followed the recipe the way they had it so I would have comparable results. All in all, if I were to use the same rating system as I do with my books, I would award this recipe 3 out of 5 stars.

This post is part of Weekend Cooking, a weekly event hosted by Beth Fish Reads. Please stop by and see all of the other food-related posts featured today. I hope you'll come back next Saturday for another recipe review!

Jul 8, 2010

Friday Finds: 7.9.10

This week I found my pick for Friday Finds while visiting the website for St. Martins Press. I stumbled across a brand new author and her book reached right out and grabbed my attention. Here's the 411 -

The book is called STILL MISSING and the author is Chevy Stevens. Here's the synopsis from the author's website:

On the day she was abducted, Annie O’Sullivan, a 32-year-old realtor, had three goals—sell a house, forget about a recent argument with her mother, and be on time for dinner with her ever-patient boyfriend. The open house is slow, but when her last visitor pulls up in a van as she's about to leave, Annie thinks it just might be her lucky day after all.

Interwoven with the story of the year Annie spent as the captive of a psychopath in a remote mountain cabin, which unfolds through sessions with her psychiatrist, is a second narrative recounting events following her escape—her struggle to piece her shattered life back together and the ongoing police investigation into the identity of her captor.

She's got a terrific website that you can check out right here. The book just came out and the reviews have been amazing. Since I love reading debut authors, I am anxious to read it for myself.

If you'd like to read about more Friday Finds, visit MizB at Should Be Reading.

Sworn To Silence by Linda Castillo (Kindle Version)

Kate Burkholder has been the Chief of Police in the small town of Painters Mill, Ohio for two years. Before that she worked for the Columbus PD in the Homicide Division. Kate isn't your typical small town cop. Part of the reason the town council hired her as chief was because she used to live there - but more importantly, she used to be Amish. Painters Mill includes a large Amish community and the mayor and members of the council thought it would work to their advantage to have an ex-Amish person on the force. Kate didn't let the fact that her hiring was a political move bother her - she's just wanted to be a good cop and do her job.

Kate's world was rocked when in the dead of winter on a frozen January night the body of a brutally murdered young woman was discovered in a field. With virtually no evidence found at the scene, Kate has to rely on her experience and small staff to solve this case. It quickly becomes obvious, once the body is autopsied, that there are disturbing similarities between this murder and several other murders that took place sixteen years earlier, known as The Slaughterhouse Murders. To make matters worse, more bodies are being discovered. As Kate scrambles to find answers, she is forced to open up a part of her past that she has worked hard to forget. Sixteen years ago, when she was only fourteen, she experienced her own kind of horror that changed the course of her life forever. No one knows her secret but when the bodies start adding up, she fears a connection and prays she can control it without jeopardizing the case. It's not only herself she's worried for, but her Amish family who banned her when she was eighteen.

My thoughts:

Linda Castillo is a master crime fiction writer. At no time during this book was there a lull in the story or even a moment that was not edge-of-your-seat thrilling. I'm not a huge murder mystery reader, but Ms. Castillo has lit a fire under me that leaves me excited to read more of her work. SWORN TO SILENCE was released in June of 2009 and is the first in the new Kate Burkholder Series. I'm excited to tell you that the second book, PRAY FOR SILENCE, just came out on June 22nd of 2010. I'm looking forward to reading it very soon.

Kate Burkholder is an original and interesting lead character that is so believable that I instantly became her ally in this quest to find the killer. She's tough, but not over-the-top. Bringing in the Amish element, not only to the general storyline, but into Kate's personal background was genius. I loved the contrast between the Amish and newer English ways of life. She does a great job of showing how two totally different cultures can exist side by side in a modern world. The supporting cast of characters are genuine and just as original as Kate's character. You can feel the bond these people have created in the short two years Kate has been their leader and you can sense the loyalty. That's not to say that all of the characters are on Kate's side. There is some conflict at play from certain other characters that gives the story a realistic feel as well.

SWORN TO SILENCE is first and foremost a story about serial murders, so there are some disturbing accounts regarding the brutality of the victims, but its not to the point that I had to skip over it. I don't like gore in the books that I read. Linda Castillo knows the perfect balance to ensure the reader gets the true feel for what the characters are dealing with without going too far. She even manages to bring in a physical attraction between Kate and another great character but smartly, doesn't veer too far from the main point of the book, which is solving these murders. Most of the book is told from Kate's perspective in the first person, but there are times when the reader is following John Tomasetti, a profiler brought in from another agency to help with the case, and those parts are told in the third person.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone, especially those who enjoy suspenseful crime novels. There is not one dull moment in this book. If you're interested in learning more about Linda Castillo and her books, please visit her website. You can also read an excerpt from the new installment. PRAY FOR SILENCE. If you've never read her books, I encourage you to give them a try. You won't be disappointed.

Author: Linda Castillo
Publisher: Minotour Books
Published: June 2009
Pages: 336
Rating: 5 Stars out of 5 (Highly Recommend)

Jul 7, 2010

W.W.W. Wednesdays

This weekly meme is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. To play along, simply answer the following three questions:
  1. What are you currently reading?
  2. What did you recently finish reading?
  3. What are you planning to read next?
Here are my answers:
  • What are you currently reading? I am currently reading BACKSEAT SAINTS by Joshilyn Jackson. I received this book from LibraryThing Early Reviewers so I feel pretty lucky to have snagged a copy. I've only just begun reading, but right away I could tell I was going to like it. It's southern fiction, which I love and the words are just flying off the page. I love the quirky main character, Rose Mae Lolley and I believe the story is going to be one of those that just keeps your mind jumping the whole way through. I've never read Jackson's previous gods In Alabama, where I believe Rose Mae has a small role, but I have a feeling I'll be picking that one up soon too.
  • What did you recently finish reading? SWORN TO SILENCE by Linda Castillo. This is a murder mystery set in a small Ohio town with a large Amish community. I really enjoyed the inclusion of the Amish lifestyle and Castillo's no nonsense writing style. I'll be posting my full review in the coming days, so I hope you'll come back and check it out.
  • What are you planning to read next? This is a tuffy. I'm torn between several books. It will definitely be one of these: A RELIABLE WIFE by Robert Goolrick, THE QUEEN OF PALMYRA by Minrose Gwin or THE LOST SUMMER OF LOUISA MAY ALCOTT by Kelly O'Connor McNees. I'll probably be dabbling in a couple of these at the same time but I'm really leaning towards THE RELIABLE WIFE. That one has been on my radar for quite some time and I just don't think I can resist the urge when it is staring me down daily from my book stand. Do you have any opinions or thoughts on any of these books? I'd love to know which one you think I should pick up next.

Jul 6, 2010

Teaser Tuesday: An Amish Mystery

As you probably know by now, Teaser Tuesday is the weekly meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading where we get the chance to tease other readers with a glimpse of the books we're reading. I always look forward to this event because it takes me inside of some really great books for a feel of whats inside. Here are the rules:
  • Grab your current read and let it fall open to a random page
  • Choose two teaser sentences to share being careful to avoid any spoilers that may give too much
  • List the name, author and page number your teasers were taken from so that others will be able to look up the book further
My teasers today come from SWORN TO SILENCE by Linda Castillo:

I'm an outsider here, a foreigner trespassing on sacred ground. The fact has never been more evident as I enter the world of my past. ~ page 84

Jul 5, 2010

Musing Mondays: Current Reads

Today's musing is: What are you currently reading? Would you recommend it? Is it part of a series? If so, which one? What are you thinking about it? What book(s) would you compare it to, if any?

My response:

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I'm currently reading SWORN TO SILENCE by Linda Castillo. This is a murder mystery set in the small town of Painters Mill, Ohio, which also includes a very large Amish community. The Chief of Police is Kate Burkholder, who was born into an Amish family and lived that life until she became an adult when events happened that she felt left her no choice but to leave. This is the first in a new series by Castillo, who is no stranger to mystery novels. This is the first time I've read her work but it certainly will not be the last. I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone looking for a great story. It can get a little dicey with the descriptions of the murders, but its not so bad that it completely grosses me out. I will definitely be looking forward to more in this series. Because I don't read a lot of murder/mystery books, I don't really have one to compare it with. The Amish twist in the story gives it an originality that I really like, although there has been a trend this past year of books centered around the Amish. Maybe it's because I'm originally from Ohio, near the Amish, that I am enthralled with this story. I've enjoyed the contrast between their way of life and the newer English ways. Also, having an ex-Amish female police chief is something I love about the story.

Another book I'm reading is EAT, PRAY, LOVE by Elizabeth Gilbert. I started this book last month while on vacation and while I am enjoying it, I needed to take a break from it for a few weeks. I typically only read one book at a time, but I needed something else while I read this one. This is a book that I will have to really think about before recommending to anyone. First, I have to finish reading it so my thoughts will be complete. But even now, being only half way through it, I believe it isn't for everyone. I believe it's the type of book that you either love or hate. I haven't decided yet, though I'm leaning in one direction. You'll have to come back at a later time and read my review to find out how I feel about this one.

For more musings, please visit MizB at Should Be Reading.

Jul 4, 2010

[TSS] Happy 4th of July!

I'm getting a late start on my Sunday Salon post today, but considering my weekend so far, I'm amazed I'm getting it done at all. July 4th weekend is always a pretty big deal for me and my family and friends. Not only do we celebrate our nation's birthday and all that that entails, but there's also a pretty big NASCAR race in Daytona, which is near where I live. My sister usually has a get-together at her place and its always a good time. Yesterday was no exception. We had good food, good people and great entertainment in the form of the Coke Zero 400. Even with the rain delay, we still enjoyed the race when it finally got started. One of my sister's friends from high school was visiting from out of town and it was a lot of fun catching up with her. It was a pretty late night so I am moving a little slower than normal today. In fact, I only moved from the couch to come in here and write this post! It's thundering and raining outside which makes me feel even more lazy.

Even though I did sleep in a little, I managed to get a good amount of reading done this morning. As you may know, I got my Kindle on Tuesday and I have had so much fun playing with it. The first thing I did was to download my free copy of LITTLE WOMEN because I've never read it all the way through before. The first book I purchased was Linda Castillo's SWORN TO SILENCE, which I am loving. It's a great story that I am having a hard time putting down. I've really only had about two days of good reading but I'm already half way through the book. Linda Castillo is such a great writer of suspense and mystery. I'd borrowed the book from the local library a couple months ago but had to return it unread and I always wanted to get back to it. I'm really glad I did.

Once I finish SWORN TO SILENCE, I'm going to read BACKSEAT SAINTS by Joshilyn Jackson that just came out early last month. You may remember that Jackson also released the very popular GODS IN ALABAMA in late 2007. Have any of you read that one?

Well, the clock is ticking and my Kindle is calling my name, not to mention, my cat, Jax, just walked across my keyboard letting me know it's his turn for some attention. I hope everyone is having a wonderful July 4th! Thanks for stopping by and please do come back soon!