Posts by Sharlene

Reader. Book blogger. Parent. Eater of foods aplenty. Tea drinker. Crocheter

Books read in June

In June, I traveled far and wide via my reading!

Some places I explored in books were Tahiti, Alaska, Korea, Germany, India, and some were set right here in California.

Peasprout Chen, Future Legend of Skate and Sword – Henry Lien
Moon Rush – Leonard David
The Professor – Charlotte Bronte
Save Me the Plums – Ruth Reichl
Unmarriageable – Soniah Kamal
My So-Called Bollywood Life – Nisha Sharma
The totally awesome Hulk. Vol. 1, Cho time  – Greg Pak
Kid Gloves: Nine months of careful chaos – Lucy Knisley
Tiare in bloom – Celestine Vaite
The Siren Depths – Martha Wells
If You Leave Me – Crystal Hana Kim
The Snow Child – Eowyn Ivey
The Aftermath-  Rhidian Brook
The Proposal – Jasmine Guillory
Sadie – Courtney Summers
A Fire Story – Brian Fies


It’s Monday



Happy Monday!

I’m sending the kids off to a Rocks and Minerals camp this week. Hope they learn all kinds of fun things!

Meanwhile here are some things we did last week:

Ate at a French bistro in Yountville – I had tomato soup and as my main course, rabbit


Bought pastries from Bouchon Bakery (it’s part of the Thomas Keller group). Lovely lemon meringue tart, fruit tart, chocolate eclair and what’s called “Oh Ohs” that wrapped chocolate cake at the back.

Made bread with the tangzhong method.


Food Truck Friday complete with kids play area (mini golf, table tennis etc). Tried arepas for the first time.


Lots of park and playground days as that’s what summer is all about!





The Priory of the Orange Tree – Samantha Shannon

(I’ll probably be done with this by the time this post is up tomorrow though!)




Stranger Things Season 3


Consider the Lobster and other essays by David Foster Wallace


Latest crochet project:


Homemade raisin scone for breakfast


Yorkshire Gold with milk


I’m about to make some pizza rolls for the kids for their lunches this week – just homemade pizza dough, some ham and cheese and tomato paste.

Last week:

I read:

A Fire Story – Brian Fies
Spider-Gwen Vol 1: Greater Power – Jason LaTour, Robbi Rodriguez
Spider-Gwen Vol 2: Weapon of Choice – Jason LaTour, Robbi Rodriguez
Black Widow Vol 1: SHIELD’s Most Wanted – Mark Waid, Chris Samnee
Record of a Spaceborn Few – Becky Chambers
Beijing comrades – Bei Tong

I posted:

#WeekendCooking Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie

Library Loot (July 3 to 10)

Sadie by Courtney Summers


It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date


#WeekendCooking Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie

I love chocolate chip cookies. I have tried several chocolate chip cookie recipes over the years. One of the best I’ve ever had is this one from Serious Eats – it makes for an amazing (seriously AMAZING) chocolate chip cookie – but sometimes I feel the need for an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie.

I don’t know, maybe I’m just trying to trick myself into thinking it’s a healthier cookie.

But I do also like that chewiness that oatmeal cookies have.

Anyway, the first time I made this recipe, the cookies spread a bit too much so I adapted the recipe slightly. Please refer to King Arthur Flour for the original recipe.

  • 227g (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 220g light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 50g whole-wheat white flour
  • 170g All-Purpose Flour
  • 120g quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt or 3/4 teaspoon regular table salt
  • 300g semisweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line several cookie sheets with parchment paper
  2. Using a mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until smooth.
  3. Beat in the eggs and vanilla.
  4. Whisk together the flours, oats, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and add to the butter mixture in the bowl.
  5. Mix until everything is thoroughly incorporated. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl, and mix briefly.
  6. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  7. Scoop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 1 1/2″ to 2″ between cookies.
  8. Bake the cookies for 12 to 15 minutes, until light golden brown, with slightly darker edges. 
  9. Remove the cookies from the oven, and when they’re set enough to handle, transfer them to racks to cool.



Weekend Cooking at Beth Fish Reads is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, beer, wine, photographs

Library Loot (July 3 to 10)

badge-4Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Sharlene from Real Life Reading that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.



Happy first Wednesday of July! And to those in the US, happy Independence Day tomorrow!



We spotted Pete the Cate posing for photos outside the library!

The boys reading while I browsed the adult fiction shelves.

Claire has the link-up this week.

Here’s what I got from my library:

I think I came across this via the Dublin Literary Award longlist – the cover art stood out!

The Invisible Life of Eurydice Gusmao – Martha Batalha, translated from the Portuguese by Eric M B Becker

Euridice is young, beautiful and ambitious, but when her rebellious sister Guida elopes, she sets her own aspirations aside and vows to settle down as a model wife and daughter. And yet as her husband’s professional success grows, so does Euridice’s feeling of restlessness. She embarks on a series of secret projects – from creating recipe books to becoming the most sought-after seamstress in town – but each is doomed to failure. Her tradition-loving husband is not interested in an independent wife. And then one day Guida appears at the door with her young son and a terrible story of hardship and abandonment. The Invisible Life of Euridice Gusmao is a wildly inventive, wickedly funny and keenly observed tale of two sisters who, surrounded by a cast of unforgettable characters, assert their independence and courageously carve a path of their own in 1940s Rio de Janeiro. A deeply human and truly unforgettable novel from one of the most exciting new voices in world literature.

Black Widow Vol 1: SHIELD’s Most Wanted – Mark Waid, Chris Samnee
They wowed you with Daredevil, now the Eisner Award-winning team of Mark Waid and Chris Samnee take Black Widow to new heights -by forcing her to go on the lam!
Natasha has a lifetime of secrets, and when some of the darkest ones are made public, nobody is safe. As S.H.I.E.L.D. turns on its once greatest asset, she seeks out her own answers in a knockdown drag-out tale of action and espionage! But will the Widow’s hunt for the Weeping Lion send her back to the one place she never wanted to go? And, when a S.H.I.E.L.D. funeral makes the assembled top brass an attractive target, it’s lucky for them that the Black Widow is still on their side, even if they aren’t on hers.


Isn’t that just a gorgeous cover?

Descendant of the Crane – Joan He

Princess Hesina of Yan has always been eager to shirk the responsibilities of the crown, but when her beloved father is murdered, she’s thrust into power, suddenly the queen of an unstable kingdom. Determined to find her father’s killer, Hesina does something desperate: she engages the aid of a soothsayer—a treasonous act, punishable by death… because in Yan, magic was outlawed centuries ago.

Using the information illicitly provided by the sooth, and uncertain if she can trust even her family, Hesina turns to Akira—a brilliant investigator who’s also a convicted criminal with secrets of his own. With the future of her kingdom at stake, can Hesina find justice for her father? Or will the cost be too high?

In this shimmering Chinese-inspired fantasy, debut author Joan He introduces a determined and vulnerable young heroine struggling to do right in a world brimming with deception.


The kids’ loot:


(The 6yo wanted to make sure his new flip-flops were in the photo. He wants you to know that there are sharks on them).


What did you get from your library this week?


This post contains affiliate links from Book Depository.  If you buy via these links it means I receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you). 

Sadie by Courtney Summers

This was a case of loving the cover art and not knowing much about the book – although of course it was a high likelihood of the story being about a young girl named Sadie.

And it turns out to be a book in a slightly less than usual format – a podcast. Now I’m not much of a podcast listener so I’m not entirely familiar with them but a friend did rave about the Serial podcast and explain a bit about it (but I still haven’t heard it) but the book’s synopsis does actually describe the podcast as “Serial-like” so at least I could pretend to know what it’s referencing.

Anyway the moment I got into the book, I realized I went about this the wrong way and should have tried out the audiobook instead. I don’t tend to listen to fiction audiobooks but this story seems like it was meant for that format.

Sadie is 19, and she goes missing after her younger sister, Mattie, is found dead. The police never found out who killed her but Sadie thinks she knows and is out to find him. She too was abused by this man.

And perhaps this may sound like more than one other story about girls gone missing but the author’s clever device is putting half of the narrative in the form of the podcast. One where West McCray devotes his show to finding Sadie. He talks to those who know her, trace her steps and while the reader already knows plenty via Sadie’s narrative, the podcast reveals more about Sadie’s family than what we see through her young, angry perspective. So what I thought at first as gimmicky turned out to be rather clever.

This book is a dark one. Not just because of the death of a young girl and the unknown whereabouts of another, but also because of the poverty, abuse, addiction that surrounds the lives of so many.

A quick read, Sadie is suspenseful and moving. This is the first book from Summers that I’ve read but now I’d love to read more.

It’s Monday and it’s July!



Happy July everyone! I know it’s officially been summer for a while already but it only feels properly summer when July begins.

Also, it’s my birthday month and I’m hitting a big one this year!

Anyway, over the weekend, we ate at one of my favourite places in Mountain View, Doppio Zero. Love their pastas, especially the Bottarga, and pizzas which are more Italian than American (thin crust).

The kids had fun at their space camp.










Stranger Things season two. Definitely a binge-watch!


No audiobooks at the moment



Last night, some homemade gula melaka coconut ice-cream




It’s a short week and I don’t have to prep lunches for camp this week so I’m figuring I’ll make up a big pot of bolognese and we can happily eat that.

Last week:

I read:

The Proposal – Jasmine Guillory
The Snow Child – Eowyn Ivey
The Aftermath  – Rhidian Brook

I posted:


Eating at Universal Studios Hollywood

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

Library Loot (June 26 to July 2)



It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date


Eating at Universal Studios Hollywood

Theme park food is generally pricey and junky. Hot dogs, burgers, popcorn, pizza, churros, ice-cream, all kinds of cold drinks and sweet things.

Luckily at the Wizarding World there is the Three Broomsticks

I went with the bangers and mash. I love how there was so much vegetables – peas, cabbage, grilled tomato and of course the mash.


The husband ordered the Sunday roast and that was a surprisingly large piece of prime rib. I felt that it could have used more salt though!


The building itself is a beautiful space!



And can you say that you’ve been to Wizarding World if you haven’t had a Butterbeer? It’s like a root beer with some butterscotch notes to it.

Right next to Wizarding World is Springfield and other than Krusty Burgers and Duff Beer (both of which are available for purchase!) the other iconic Simpsons refreshment is the Lard Lad Donut. It is humongous (the size of a cake really) and comes in several flavours but we went with the traditional pink with sprinkles. It was surprisingly light for a doughnut and so worked well with the frosting. Of course it was shared by six of us but we had a nice sized piece each.


There are quite a few options for food around the park, especially in the Springfield area – Cletus’ Chicken Shack, Luigi’s Pizza, Bumblebee Man’s Taco truck, Sud’s McDuff’s Hot Dogs. We ended up in the Despicable Me area, and ate at Gru’s Lab Cafe, which had rotisserie chicken, meatball subs and this noodle salad thing I decided on, which interestingly had banana chips, watermelon cubes, lettuce, peppers, sprouts.



Weekend Cooking at Beth Fish Reads is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, beer, wine, photographs