I am so mad at myself for never having reviewed a Tara Sivec book on R/E! Ok, so I’ve only read three at this point, but I’ve loved all three. I am a loser. But I’m a loser who makes you a savory sweet potato tart, so you can berate me after you eat and read.
Have you ever bought a book purely because you liked the title? How about if you liked the title because it reminded you of a kick-ass Dixie Chicks song from the nineties that you inexplicably liked even though you hate country music, because the video was so great? Am I the only one? Well, after this book, I doubt I’ll be the last.
What does this (admittedly an affiliate link) look like to you? Think hard, everyone.
That song–and now this book–kicks all the ass.
You see, I am one of the one-in-three women who has been a victim of domestic abuse. When I was 19, I had a boyfriend who thought my face was a punching bag. And like so many other women, I truly believed he was the best I could do. I thought that this was just going to be my life. Makeup, creative hairstyles, and hiding from loved ones. Because I deserved it.
But then, something awful happened, and it changed my life.
My best friend–a woman who was the fiercest creature you have ever met in your entire life–died of ALS, aka, Lou Gehrig’s disease. She knew about the asshole I was with. She definitely did not approve. I swear, if she had been fit, she’d have Dixie Chicked the fuck out of him. Instead, she talked to me. Somehow, she had me believing that I was worth more than what he thought I was worth. She told me I was infinite. Infinite. She knew her time was very finite. She was ravaged with a particularly fast disease process. But it never took her mind, and she wanted. She wanted so much. She DESERVED so much. And she took the time to make sure that I knew that I also deserved so much.
She died, and I left. I left where I was living, I left where I was in my mind. I left my past in the past. I moved on.
She was my Payton.
Payton is the MC of Jed Had to Die. She is uprooted from the big city when she gets a call about her childhood best friend, Emma Jo. Emma Jo is hospitalized after a particularly rough beating from her husband, the town’s golden boy, Jed.
Here’s the blurb.
The happiest day of Payton Lambert’s life was the day she graduated high school and watched Bald Knob, Kentucky get smaller and smaller in her rearview mirror. She wanted more for her life than a tiny town where everyone knows your business and you can’t find a decent cup of coffee for at least forty miles. Twelve years later, an unexpected phone call in the middle of the night has her packing up her life in Chicago and racing back home to the one person she ever regretted leaving behind.
Upon her return, she sees that Leo Hudson, the scrawny boy who followed Payton around like a puppy and could recite cow insemination facts in his sleep, is long gone. Leo is still hot on her heels, but now he’s wearing a sheriff badge and dead set on solving a murder that may or may not involve Payton…along with half the town. In a place where the biggest crime happened the day someone kicked a few of his cows, people are pointing fingers, rumors are spreading like wildfire, and Payton swears she’s only making out with the sweet-talking, studly sheriff to distract him from the secrets she’s keeping.
When you’ve been tased, peed on by a yippy dog named Bo Jangles, and can’t stop picturing what Sheriff Hudson looks like naked, it will be a tough job making everyone agree that…Jed had to die.
read this book.
To say it’s about love and domestic abuse is a gross oversimplification. This book DOES deal with some very heavy subject matter, but this book is FUCKING HYSTERICAL. It allows the reader to move through the narrative without being overwhelmed with sadness, but instead, allows the reader to become very worked up with righteous indignation–right after the laughing induced urination. How often does that happen?
I mean, seriously, they BAKE A TOILET CLEANER PIE. *This is like the third scene, so I’m not giving away any spoilers.
We all know how men love pie.
imagine how that would burn if it was toilet cleaner pie.
Technically, this book is a murder-mystery romance. But really, it’s a romp/jed really had to die so the mystery is less important so lets get to assuming the position with sheriff Leo/comedy.
The romance is a slooooooooooow burn, but as the love interest is also the sheriff trying to determine if the lady whose heart he wants 86ed the mayor–it’s to be expected. Capital murder is just such a difficult way to start a relationship, don’t you think? I mean, a worse way would be to find out he’s a Trump supporter, but let’s be honest, that’d be a deal-breaker.
The best part about this whole book though, isn’t the romance, it’s not the friendship between two women who are just so awesome as to make your heart explode, and it’s not the big “fuck you” to abusers…
It’s the insults to the next door neighbor’s dog.
“THAT’S RIGHT, YOU UGLY LITTLE RAT DOG! RUN AWAY BEFORE I PUNT YOUR SCRAWNY ASS INTO A TREE!!”–to Bo Jangles, the chihuahua. Love, Payton.
Who hasn’t thought that about an annoying chihuahua? There’s a naked chihuahua on my block that ALWAYS GROWLS AT ME. Like I insulted it’s ugly ass Cosby sweater or fucking ridiculous doggie New Balance sneakers. (Well, I guess I just did.) That fucking dog needs some damn prozac. Seriously. And better sweaters. COSBY SWEATERS WENT OUT WITH COSBY’S FAME. I mean good grief. Have some self-respect, buy a cardigan.
Honestly, though. Tara Sivec’s Jed Had to Die has to be read. It is the funniest catharsis you could ever imagine, and the characters and storytelling make it impossible not to love. Readers will delight in the romance, the relationships, and most assuredly the revenge in Jed Had to Die.
And because it takes place in Kentucky, and next week is THANKSGIVING!! I thought I’d bake a sweet potato pie. But, I’m so over sweet food right now. (close your jaw, I know it’s shocking.) So, I made a savory sweet potato tart with warming seasonings and herbs that will knock the socks off of your guests. It’s also VEGAN! And fucking simple.
What Goes In?
- 1 pillsbury pie crust
- 1.5 lb peeled and sliced sweet potatoes, (I used multiple varieties) sliced 1/3" thick
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 tbsp evoo
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp allspice
- 1 small pinch clove
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cracked pepper
- chopped chives or scallions
- preheat oven to 375F
- toss the sliced potatoes with oil, herbs, and seasonings.
- roll out the crust onto a cookie sheet dusted with corn meal or flour
- scallop the slices from the outside in, from 1/5" from the edge
- crimp the edges over the sides of the outer rim of potatoes as pictured
- lightly cover with foil
- bake 15 minutes
- remove foil
- bake additional ten minutes
- top with scallions