Saturday, December 24, 2011

Book 72 of 2011 Iron House by John Hart

Iron HouseIron House by John Hart
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Brutal. If I had to describe this book in one word, it would definitely be brutal. Two boys are found beside a creek and taken to an orphanage in North Carolina. While there the younger one, Julian, is brutalized by a group of older boys. The older brother, Michael protects him while he can, but isn't always there. Eventually the Julian stabs one of the boys and Michael takes the blame and runs away. Julian is adopted by a rich woman who arrives just as Michael is running away. She had come to the orphanage to adopt both boys. Michael grows up on the streets of NY and is eventually taken in by a mob boss and trained as an enforcer. When the old man dies, Michael wants out of the family because he is in love and his girl Elena is pregnant. The old man's son and his other enforcer aren't gonna let that happen.  Elena can't handle the brutality she sees in Michael as they try to flee NY. Eventually they end up at the home of Julian's adoptive parents. The brutality gets worse and the mystery surrounding the brothers increases. Michael finds more questions than answers and he's eventually drawn back to Iron House the orphanage.

While I enjoyed the story and the mysteries in this novel, the brutality almost turned me off. I've named my favorite genre 'sick shit', but this was over the top brutal and not in a good way. Maybe I'm getting soft in my old age?

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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Book 71 of 2011 Disturbed by Kevin O'Brien

DisturbedDisturbed by Kevin O'Brien
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Another new author for me. Another book about a serial killer. And another killer. A family falling apart. Revenge. Philandering. Debauchery. So...there was alot going on in this book. It all started when a student, Chris, saw the school counselor hugging another student and maybe kissing him on the top of his head. He told his step mom, she went with him to the principal. His dad and mom went a little crazy. Some students texted, tweeted, and facebooked about it. The counselor lost his job, his wife left him, his daughter ran away and the book begins with him being murdered by a person he hired so that his wife can collect some insurance money.

I liked this book alright, but I did have it all figured out pretty early on. I like a little more surprise in my mysteries, but it was good enough that I'll probably seek out other titles by this author.

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Book 70 of 2011 Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny

Bury Your Dead (Armand Gamache, #6)Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Great mystery by a new to me author. Will definitely be going back to read previous in this series.

I'm anxious to read the earlier books in this series. I enjoyed the Canadian setting and the side mystery of Samuel Champlain. I didn't know that his burial site was unknown. The politics involved in Quebec with the English speakers and French speakers was an interesting aspect of the book also. The flashbacks to the terrorist attack and kidnapping were extremely interesting. The secondary mystery of the reexamination of  a previous case made me want to know more. I kept wondering if these cases were in a previous book or if they were new to this one. Inspector Gamache seems a very complex and likable character.

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Saturday, December 10, 2011

Buffalo Chicken and Potato Casserole

I've been hanging out, wasting loads of time on Pinterest for awhile now. I've pinned many recipes, diy projects, crafts, decorating ideas and on and on and on. I've tried a few of the recipes and found some keepers and at least one that wasn't so great. Friday afternoon I decided to try this Buffalo Chicken Potato Casserole since I love me some Buffalo wings. It was good. I'll definitely make it again.

Recipe from : Holy Cannoli Recipes via Pintrest

1 1/4 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast cut into 1 inch pieces
1/3 cup buffalo sauce (I used Texas Pete hot sauce)
6 cups shredded potatoes (I used frozen hash browns)
1 cup Ranch or blue cheese dressing
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup cheddar ( I used more, cause you can't have too much cheese!)
1/2 cup panko crumbs

Preheat oven to 350° F., spray a 9 x 13 dish with cooking spray.  Pour the buffalo sauce over the chicken and stir it together. Put sauced chicken in single layer in your dish. In a bowl, mix together the dressing and soup add the potatoes then stir in the cheese. Spread this mixture over the chicken. Top with the panko crumbs. Cover with tin foil and bake for 30 minutes, remove foil and bake for another 20 to 30 minutes until the potatoes are tender.

I used the blue cheese dressing and it was good, but next time I'm gonna try the ranch dressing. I also used probably a cup of cheddar cheese and I had to kick the oven up to broil to brown the panko crumbs a little.

One other little tidbit...I learned today that to get that nice degree symbol up at the top of your number you hold the alt key and type in 0176. How about that?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Book 69 of 2011 Cross by James Patterson

Cross (Alex Cross, #12)Cross by James Patterson
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I don't know why I keep doing this to myself. The Cross books are certainly better than some of the others Patterson keeps churning out with his co-authors. That being said, they aren't as good as they used to be. I think I've come to the conclusion that all good series must come to an end and this one is another that is ready.

After many years, Alex and his friend Sampson are on the trail of the person Alex thinks killed his wife Maria, 'The Butcher of Sligo'. Alex quits the FBI and goes off on his own with his good friend John Sampson.  He and Sampson investigate a series of rapes in DC. Eventually they tie the rapes to murders that are being committed by the Butcher (a mob hit man) and to Maria's murder. So the Butcher is a hit man, he's killing folks for money, he's committing horrible rape/tortures, he's being chased by the mob (they want him dead) and the police AND he's playing at being a good daddy.

Alex is setting up his practice, helping a woman who is being abused by a police officer, worrying about his friend Kayla who has been stabbed, chasing a rapist/torturer and trying to come to terms finally with his wife Maria's death.

There was way too much going on in this book and none of so the book just touched on each story. Not enough depth for me.

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Thursday, December 1, 2011


Meatball Sliders

We wanted something a little different to eat and decided on these meatball sliders that I pinned on Pinterest a few days ago. They were super easy to make and hit the spot. This is definitely a keeper. A little confession, I didn't make these. My son was the chef last  night. Makes it even better.