All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda ~ #Fiction #Book #Review

23212667I saw a lot of mixed reviews about this book before I began reading it, and I can understand why. Most of the book is told in reverse, a countdown to the ‘event’, so to speak, which is fresh-ish and out of the ordinary, definitely interesting, but also exhausting! If you’re one of those readers who like to say on top of the plot and keep tabs on everyone/thing in order to solve the mystery before the reveal, it’s a lot of work. You have to take stock after every chapter, filing the new information away in proper chronological order. Not impossible, but it definitely takes more effort than a novel written in traditional form.

I liked this book. I enjoyed the ride (as backwards as it was), and had to stay up late reading  to finish it. This book made me want to checkout the author’s other novels, because she’s a fun writer to spend time with. 5 stars!

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon ~ Fiction Book Review

1618I usually don’t read books where I know something bad is going to happen to an animal, but I made an exception for this one, and was glad I did. From the very start I LOVED this book! So smart, yet so simple, there was something very elegant about it. I liked the main character, liked the premise, it was super fun, and then – And then.

The mystery is solved about 100 pages in, and then it ceased to be the book I loved and turned into something else. Not bad, but not what I wanted. You can’t give me a taste of the good stuff, and then try and give me your leftover Halloween candy you bought from the Dollar Store three years ago. I’m not saying I won’t eat it (don’t judge), I just won’t like it as much after tasting the good stuff.

I’m being a bit harsh, but only because the beginning was SO good, and then it morphed from mystery into life, with all its melted, mushy feelings and touching growth. 4.5 stars.

Blood Lines by Angela Marsons ~ Fiction Book Review

31820148This is the fifth installment in Marsons’ D.I. Kim Stone series, and so far I only have one problem – now I’m caught up with the series and have to wait for the sixth to be released. Quickly, Ms. Marsons!!! Write fast!!!

I can always count on this author to deliver a dark, seedy mystery full of thrills and chills! I can’t get enough! There’s always a series of clever twists. There’s never any unfair play, either – the clues are there, deftly woven into the framework of the story, you just have to read closely enough to catch them.

The development of the characters throughout the series is wonderful And the angst! I love spending time with D.I. Kim Stone, and can’t wait for the next installment. 5 stars!

Ooh la, la ~ Creme Brulee

wp-image-545739601jpg.jpgI always have been, and always will be a chocolate girl. Chocolate is quite confident about our relationship – it knows it has nothing to worry about. Which is why I am free to share the love; a gingerbread cookie here, a fruit tart there, and never one to discriminate against my French friends, creme brulee.

wp-image-1797215491jpg.jpgThe problem with creme brulee is that it is most often found at expensive restaurants, where they charge a ridiculous amount of money for the two bites they serve you. Which is why I was so excited when I saw a creme brulee kit on the clearance aisle as TJ Maxx. Thank you, TJ Maxx. Thank you, all the people who saw the kit before me who didn’t buy it. And a final thanks to my husband, whose sweet tooth never complains when I try something new.

wp-image-1554265934jpg.jpgBefore I even picked the kit up off the shelf, I had Googled a recipe to see exactly how much work creating the dish would entail. It didn’t seem too hard, so I gave it a try. I used a recipe for Vanilla Creme Brulee as found in the NY Times, shown below.

wp-image-409279096jpg.jpgNotes on the recipe: I doubled the vanilla. I saved the egg whites in tupperware for breakfast the next morning. Beating until light means until the egg mixture becomes frothy – it takes about 10 minutes when whisking by hand. Also, I used the mini blowtorch in the kit to caramelize the sugar instead of the broiler, because, yeah, like I’m passing that up. It turned out terrific! The only thing I would do differently is to use a bigger blowtorch!

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups heavy or light cream, or half-and-half
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • teaspoon salt
  • 5 egg yolks
  • ½ cup sugar, more for topping

PREPARATION

  1. Heat oven to 325 degrees. In a saucepan, combine cream, vanilla bean and salt and cook over low heat just until hot. Let sit for a few minutes, then discard vanilla bean. (If using vanilla extract, add it now.)
  2. In a bowl, beat yolks and sugar together until light. Stir about a quarter of the cream into this mixture, then pour sugar-egg mixture into cream and stir. Pour into four 6-ounce ramekins and place ramekins in a baking dish; fill dish with boiling water halfway up the sides of the dishes. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until centers are barely set. Cool completely. Refrigerate for several hours and up to a couple of days.
  3. When ready to serve, top each custard with about a teaspoon of sugar in a thin layer. Place ramekins in a broiler 2 to 3 inches from heat source. Turn on broiler. Cook until sugar melts and browns or even blackens a bit, about 5 minutes. Serve within two hours.

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware ~ Fiction Book Review

28187230This is a dark little mystery that took me on a wild ride, complete with a couple of plot twists that I didn’t see coming, which I absolutely adore experiencing.

I didn’t love the characters, but the cruise boat setting put a fresh spin on the locked room mystery, and I had to only mildly suspend belief for the ending. This author definitely does more right than wrong, and I can’t wait to see what she has in store for us next! (BTW, I LOVED her first book, In a Dark, Dark Wood).

Bottom line – fun, imaginative and suspenseful. Easy reading, and it managed to throw in a  turn that REALLY surprised me, which very rarely happens. 5 stars!