#amonthoffaves2017 – books worth the hype?

amonthoffavesA Month of Faves is hosted by AndiTanya and Tamara

Fri. | Dec. 8 – 3 Popular Books Worth the Hype #AMonthofFaves

Oops a few days late with this one.

The Book of Dust – Philip Pullman

I know there have been some mixed reviews and I wasn’t entirely that into Lyra as an infant but I really loved being back in that setting. Daemons!

When Dimple Met Rishi – Sandhya Menon

A cute and fun YA romance read. Now if they’d just turn it into a movie.

Jane, Unlimited – Kirstin Cashore

I had fun with this book – a sort of “choose your own adventure” of sorts, with multiple possibilities and endings. Also, a main character who makes umbrella art. I loved this one. About the hype though? I don’t know.

Not worth the hype

Angel Catbird – Margaret Atwood

Was it because it’s Atwood that I was expecting more (a whole bloody lot more) than this? Yes yes of course. But I think even if this was by an unknown writer, I would have expected more. It was just too simplistic and it made me feel like she hasn’t seen how complex storylines and characters in well-written comic series can be (like Saga). Anyway, I think because it’s Atwood that I even gave Volume 2 a try. I can safely say I am not reading that series anymore.

Needs more hype

I don’t know if there’s very much hype about these books but whatever, they are great reads and they need more hype!


All the Rivers – Dorit Rabinyan

It’s only got 909 ratings on Goodreads so that’s a bit on the low side. This book, written by an Israeli writer, is about a relationship between an Israeli woman and a Palestinian man. She’s in New York for just six months and it’s a chance meeting with this man but can it work? Can it last? Lovely and thought provoking.


Cork Dork – Bianca Bosker

What a fun nonfiction read. I was constantly having to disturb the husband with a newfound fact about the wine world or sommeliers or fine dining. And that to me is what makes nonfiction enjoyable. Learning new things. But it was also very personable (it is after all her discovery and journey, learning about wine and the world of sommeliers) and it made me want to keep reading and reading.


The Strays – Emily Bitto

I loved this Australian novel set in the Melbourne art world (my review here) but haven’t really seen that much about it online – or perhaps I just am not aware of book hype these days…?


It’s Monday and the kids are back in school

Happy Monday! The kids are back in school this week and I couldn’t be happier (bwahahaha).

Really though, we had a lovely long Thanksgiving week. We took off for Pismo Beach on Sunday and spent three nights at the pretty Shore Cliff Hotel.

Sunrise on the last morning we were there

The first sunset we caught

I booked us a two-bedroom suite and each room had a balcony with an ocean view. It was just incredible waking up each morning to this breathtaking view. The kids had a wonderful time swimming in the pool – it was such a warm week we got to wear short sleeves and shorts!

And we took a guided tour of the Piedras Blancas light station at San Simeon. It was about a two-hour tour with some history and plenty of nature thrown in. We got to see sealions, seals, cormorants and pelicans, walk into the ground floor of the lighthouse and the grounds itself. Everyone had a good time.

Just a few minutes down the highway is the Elephant Seal Rookery and you can get a good view of the elephant seals sunning themselves on the sand.

Oh and when one is by the beach (albeit a beach with lots of sandflies) one must eat seafood, so we made sure to get to the Cracked Crab really early (yup we were there at 5!) and grab a crab boil.

On Thanksgiving Day, we had our usual hotpot. And I made an apple tart using a Smitten Kitchen recipe. It was pretty simple especially the filling – place the apple slices in pate brisee, brush with melted butter and sprinkle some sugar on top. No need to cook the apples beforehand or anything like that. I was a bit skeptical to be honest but it came out great. It wasn’t too sweet and it didn’t have that starchy texture that I don’t really like about some pie fillings. Definitely a keeper.
How was your week?  I can’t believe it’s almost December. Ok then again, we did just put up our (artificial) tree yesterday so we are already in that frame of mind!



Voyager – Diana Gabaldon


Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets read by Stephen Fry (listening with the kids in the car as we go to and fro from school and after school activities – first thing they say when I start the car is, “can we listen to Harry Potter?”)


A brown sugar lime bar we made over the weekend from a Bill Granger recipe (note to self, reduce the amount of sugar next time. It was a bit too sweet for me, but tasty)


Yorkshire Gold with milk


Braised slow cooker pork


Last week:

I read:

Victory of Eagles – Naomi Novik
Baking with Kafka – Tom Gauld
The Book of Dust Vol One La Belle Sauvage – Philip Pullman

badgeIt’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

It’s Monday and somehow I skipped last week

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

I feel like I’ve been reading less these past weeks. I definitely have been blogging far and far less often than ever. I feel like I’m reading blogs far less than I used to, resorting more to Litsy, Instagram. Is it about shorter posts? Less detail?

Anyway, last week we…

ate Pakistani food


visited Books Inc in Mountain View

went on a hike and saw lots of deer, as well as farm animals

made blueberry Meyer lemon muffins

and pizza

and olive bread

and the 6yo discovered a new chapter book series, Dragon Masters




I’m not sure why but I started watching The Walking Dead on Netflix. I watched it once and then stopped somewhere. So I’ve decided to start from the beginning.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, read by Stephen Fry. The kids and I have been listening to the audiobook as we drive around (school drop off, to after school activities etc). It’s been so much fun introducing Harry Potter to them!




Hot chocolate from a Christmas mug


Last week:

I read:

Squirrel Girl – Shannon Hale
Sweetbitter – Stephanie
Jane, Unlimited – Kirstin Cashore
I posted:

It’s Monday and it’s almost Halloween!

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
It was a fun-filled weekend!
More than just the weekend really. On Thursday it was the preschooler’s Pumpkin Patch field trip. Alas, it’s a parking lot patch, with lots of inflatables and bouncy houses and so not much about pumpkins at all. But he had a wonderful time and was hot and sweaty after. He did get to take home a pumpkin and painted it in the afternoon.
On Friday it was the first grader’s school’s Fall Festival. Lots of games for the younger set with silly little prizes like this bat ring that the 4yo won and refuses to take off.
On Saturday we drove out to Suisun City to see the Western Railway Museum. Not as many things to see as I hoped, but there was a little electric train ride and some old cars to wander around in.
Then we had to wait for the drawbridge to come down. And drove some lovely winding roads along the rivers and levees, and finally headed back down south to the outlet mall – always a must-stop for visitors from Singapore as the prices are so much better, especially for shoes.
Also, there is a Godiva store. While I am not really a big fan of their chocolates (I like Neuhaus!), I adore their soft serve ice-cream.
Then off to a Japanese izakaya for dinner. That was quite a day!




I discovered that The Lake House is on Amazon Video and while I did watch it when it was released (and also Il Mare, the Korean movie it was based on), I kinda felt like watching it. It was a 2006 movie! It makes me feel so old…


Leftover Godiva chocolate cheesecake – the one on the right. The Key Lime cheesecake is on the right.




Hmm laksa maybe.


Last week:

I read:
The Nakano Thrift Shop – Hiromi Kawakami
Roses and Rot – Kat Howard

It’s Monday and was that a #readathon or eatathon weekend?

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

An Ursula K Le Guin book spiral I created for the #uncannyOctober photo challenge I run on Litsy
My TBR stack for readathon. Of course I only read comics and part of an ebook!


Korean food for Saturday lunch


Homemade sushi and sashimi for Saturday dinner


It was readathon weekend but really it was more of an eatathon for me. I did manage to read three comics, go on a Costco run, watch Hidden Figures (again but my mum hadn’t seen it before) on Saturday.

And on Sunday, we tried out a brand new seafood restaurant in San Jose. EMC Seafood and Raw Bar had a beautiful and generous seafood tower! And the rest of the food we ordered (calamari, seafood pasta, hickory smoked salmon) was really good too.

Also in Santana Row is an Amazon bookstore. It was packed and people were actually buying books. It was interesting how all the books faced out which does mean fewer books on the shelves but also no head craning to see all the spines! I didn’t buy anything though.






Eating: This bar made of freeze dried strawberries, marshmallows and cream cheese that the 4yo and I put together. Of course he refuses to eat it. But I actually kinda like it.

Drinking: Yorkshire Gold with milk



Last week:

I read:


I posted:

#SomethingOnSunday (October 22)

#Readathon October 21 2017

Top Ten Yummy Foods Mentioned In Books

#Readathon October 21 2017

Hour 11

Wait. Hour 11? Already? I’ve barely read anything. Instead I’ve done a Costco run and gone out for Korean food.

Hour 0 – Opening Meme

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?

The San Francisco Bay Area.

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to? 

When Dimple Met Rishi

But there are just so very many books I’ve borrowed!

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?

Treats from Singapore like love letters and kueh lapis

But also the 4yo and I made some strawberry cereal bars (just marshmallows, cream cheese, cheerios and freeze dried strawberries) and they are tasty!

4) Tell us a little something about yourself! 

I always sign up for readathons despite knowing that I’ve got a lot to do on that day. My parents are visiting from Singapore so we will probably be out and about today. I will try as much as possible to read and be online (mostly on Litsy and Instagram).

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today?

Not sure! I’ll try to cheer on more people if I can!

Top Ten Yummy Foods Mentioned In Books


Top Three Yummy Foods Mentioned In Books (Does a character eat something you’d love? Or maybe the book takes place in a bakery/restaurant that makes yummy things? You could also talk about 10 of your favorite cookbooks if you don’t read foody books.)

Sugarbread- Balli Kaur Jaswal

Chilli crab. Tofu with peanut sauce. Chinese vegetables with plump stalks and juicy leaves. Hainanese chicken rice with sweet soy sauce and ginger chilli. Noodles – both thick and thin – with fish cake and pork balls. Red-hot South Indian curries served with sticky bread and milk tea. Durians, longans, rambutans for dessert. Chendol. Ice kachang.

Delicious! – Ruth Reichl

She had fed me a fluffy cloud, no more than pure texture, but as it evaporated it left a trail of flavour in its wake.

“Lemon peel,” I said, “Parmesan, saffron, spinach.” She held out another spoonful, and this time, at the very end, I tasted just a touch of something lemony but neither lemon nor verbena. It had a faint cinnamon tinge. “Curry leaf!”

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl

“What a marvellous smell!’ answered Grandpa Joe, taking a long deep sniff. All the most wonderful smells in the world seemed to be mixed up in the air around them — the smell of roasting coffee and burnt sugar and melting chocolate and mint and violets and crushed hazelnuts and apple blossom and caramel and lemon peel.”