The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss by Max Wirestone – A NetGalley reviewed book

‘The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss’ by Max Wirestone
‘The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss’ is one of the maddest, funniest and most addictive books that I have read in a while. 
From the very beginning I was hooked on the character of Dahlia, I wanted, or maybe needed her to be real and to be her friend. Her character was likeable and kooky which in normal circumstances would mean she was odd and annoying, but in this book Wirestone manages to create a character that is relatable, yet quirky enough to be different. 
The situation is set up pretty quickly. She is hired as a detective to find the missing Bejeweled Spear of Infinite Piercing. This in itself is more bizarre than the obvious name of the object (and the fact that it lives in the online gaming world of Zoth), as Dahlia is having trouble getting a job. In normal circumstances I would probably have felt really sorry for her, but Wirestone doesn’t set her up in this way. She becomes a gutsy heroine very quickly, and with so many potential love interests it is refreshing that the book doesn’t take us down this route.
Every sentence is well crafted, clever and left me wanting to read on. The thief, and dare I say, murderer was a mystery to me from start to end which made the ending every bit as enjoyable as the rest of the novel. My only complaint about the book is that I can’t find out what happens to Dahlia next!

A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler – A NetGalley reviewed book

‘A Spool of Blue Thread’ by Anne Tyler
I was first introduced to Tyler’s work in my second year at university. Having been a ‘chick lit’ reader up to this point I was bit wary of reading something that was ‘different’ needless to say, I loved it!
‘A Spool of Blue Thread’ is all about a standard US family. There seems nothing controversial, nothing strange just an average group of Americans related by blood. Slowly though, Tyler teases out strands of difference within the group. 
Denny is the first character we meet who does not necessarily fit the cookie cutter mould. Throughout the book he becomes less elusive whilst simultaneously still a mystery. I felt that parts of the book with his character in were like breaths of fresh air. A break from the normality of the Whitshank’s lives.
Throughout the book Stem was portrayed as perfect. The youngest, the sibling who fitted the mould. Stem’s difference is revealed near the end of the novel and I can honestly say it was not something that I had even contemplated. I don’t want to say what his difference is but it made me like Abby and Red a lot more. It made me like him a lot more.
Jennie and Amanda seemed like bit-characters to me. Their only quirk was that they both had husbands called Hugh. This was the only bit I didn’t like about the novel, but I imagine Tyler was being very clever and moving away from a female focus!
The idea of a family not having history was something I didn’t find too odd. The way Tyler reveals that in fact, the Whitshanks were indeed a family with a history, and although not dark or particularly sensational, it made me wonder how much about previous generations of my own family were unspoken about or even unknown. 
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, in the same way that I have enjoyed her others. A twist on an ideal family idea.

Fantasy Coming of Age Stories

My best friend’s blog. If you’ve read my blog this is Queenie. Huge love for her!

the6fingeredblog

Welcome to my 6fingeredblog and thank you so much for reading!

Fantasy films can often be a ‘forbidden realm’ for many film buffs; a dirty word for consumers of an array of fiction. At its worst, Fantasy is about unpronouncable character names, over-complicated criss-crossing, four-hour story arcs and special effects at the expense of everything else. At its best, fantasy is about addressing reality in the friendliest possible terms.

So I’m going to focus on my preferred sub-genre of fantasy today; the coming of age allegory. The what? Let me explain…

On a basic level, all of the films which I have in mind are imaginative, tell a good story and are good fun for the kids. What’s even better, though, is when you revisit these films as a comparative grown up and realise that they can be read on a slightly deeper level… however heavy-handed that deeper level may…

View original post 965 more words

Ok, so maybe exercise isn’t all that bad for you…

I have just completed my 4th session with my personal trainer. Today we moved onto our outdoors stuff which consisted of a 60 second light jog, interspersed with a 90 second walk and I’m quite proud to say I didn’t keel over! All in all it was 6 minutes of jogging and 7 of fast paced walking but I did it!

Over the weekend it was my mum’s birthday meal (it’s actually her birthday today and I’m taking her out for the day) so regular readers of my blog will know we always cook a special meal for the birthday person, this weekend was no different.

As I’m trying to get a bit fitter I opted for a mezze board starter with a lie fat fruit roulade for dessert.

For the mezze board I made a feta cheese, cucumber, red onion and tomato salad with pastrami, prosciutto, humous (reduced fat), Mediterranean bread (from Tesco) and some fried halloumi. It wasn’t the healthiest option but was light and very tasty.

Excuse the poorly taken picture.

IMG_0724.JPG

For the dessert I followed this recipe to make a mango, passion fruit and raspberry roulade. it was beautifully light and I managed to roll it!

IMG_0722.JPG

IMG_0725.JPG

So, I take back my statement about exercise, but not about baking! Happy days!

Exercise is bad for you and baking isn’t. Fact.

In a desperate/enthusiastic attempt to get fit and tone up a little I decided to employ the services of my school’s PE teacher to help me to get fit and toned over the summer. I actually quite enjoy exercise, and I love going for walks and swimming but recently I’ve lost my enthusiasm to do these things. So paying someone to help me is the next best thing – plus he’s very good and knows what he’s doing!

Unfortunately, after my first session yesterday I now can’t walk up or down the stairs or sit down without it hurting. Yay for exercise! I decided to bake instead and my new victims were my husband’s new colleagues and my friend for her birthday. I decided on peanut butter cupcakes. I had to use a range of websites to convert from cups to grams and instead of buttermilk I added milk and then as I didn’t have peanut butter cups I used a chunk of dark chocolate and as splodge of peanut butter. For the frosting I mixed a tablespoon of reduced fat peanut butter with icing sugar and a splash of milk until it reached the required consistency. I then decorated with dinosaur sprinkles.

These were very sticky and didn’t feel too naughty!

Bank Holiday Feasts

It’s a bank holiday weekend here in the UK and although it’s half term for me, the extra day does feel a bit special.

We’ve just started to get our food shopping delivered so, this week, I planned a nice Saturday lunch. I ordered pastrami, turkey slices, Dutch maasdam cheese, lettuce and some sunflower seeded bread…

image
We already had gherkins and mayonaise in the fridge. We then began to work on our New York deli style sandwich…

image
Instead of gherkin mayo, this is mayo with sliced gherkins.

image
Cheese! You couldn’t really taste this, so next time I’d go for 2 slices.
image
Pastrami.
image
East River Tennessee smoked turkey slices. These slices smelled and tasted beautiful.
image
My sandwich! Served with some Phileas Fogg bubble chips.

My second make was meant to be a chocolate chip muffin cheesecake. Sadly, in my rush to order sandwich fillings I forgot the cream cheese. The events which followed were a sign of a well stocked kitchen, combined with someone desperate for cheesecake.
image
I present to you… Yogurtcake.

Ingredients
300ml crème fraîche
100ml vanilla yogurt
250g chocolate digestives
1 tablespoon of maple syrup
1 tablespoon butter
4 tablespoons (at least, add more for taste) of peanut butter
100g of chocolate chips
2 tablespoons of jam

The how to
1) Crush to biscuits into crumbs and add the mapke syrup.
2) Melt the butter in a saucepan gently and then pour into the biscuit crumbs and stir.
3) Pour/spoon the crumb mixture into an 8″ round cake tin and pat down.
4) Spoon in the jam and cover the base. Leave in the fridge while you create the next stage.
5) Stir the crème fraîche and yogurt together, add the peanut butter a spoonful at a time and stir until combined.
6) Shake in the chocolate chips and mix.
7) Pour this onto the base and put it back into the fridge.
8) I then decorated with strawberries for my sister and I and grapes for my strawberry hating husband.

It actually tasted pretty good!!
image

Happy bank holiday weekend.