It’s Monday and I’m joining #boutofbooks



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’s Sunday night and the kids are in the library reading with their dad. Well at least the 6yo is. The 4yo is lounging on my bed asking me, “Mummy, when are you going to be done with your homework?” Then, looking at his baby photos on my dresser he asked, “did you throw away all my baby clothes? Did gege have my baby clothes? Was he three years old then became four years old like me? What’s this?”

It never stops!

It’s the last full week of summer vacation for the 6yo who starts first grade on August 30. The 4yo has been back at preschool pretty soon after we returned from Singapore and luckily he has been ok at going back. And last night, a whole week after we returned, he finally finally finally had a proper night’s sleep. It was improving gradually, but it was only last night that he stayed in his room, even when he couldn’t sleep. It was such a relief to sleep – and I really did sleep last night, from 10 to 620 (yup I still wake before 7 on weekends).

Anyway, I’m using this post to declare my intention to join Bout of Books this week!

Bout of Books

And my goal will be to finish these library books as well as the library e-books I’ve recently borrowed.


“Your homework is almost done right Mummy?”

Right. Time to put him to bed. Meanwhile some photos of our latest walk around Coyote Hills and some other stuff we were up to this week, including summer swim classes (Mondays to Thursdays) at the water park, brownie making and library browsing. Also mooncakes and what my zucchini plant was up to when I went away for three weeks.






A Court of Mist and Fury – Sarah J Maas



I decided to rewatch Downton Abbey!





I had chow mein and broccoli beef for dinner from our nearby takeout place.




I’m not entirely sure. The husband will be away for a few days so it’s just me and the kids next week so I don’t think I will need to cook much…!

Last week:

I read:

The Chalk Artist – Allegra Goodman
Hereville: How Mirka Caught a Fish – Barry Deutsch
Lisa and the Lacemaker – Kathy Hoopmann
I posted:

Yayoi Kusama exhibit in Singapore

Back from Singapore


Yayoi Kusama exhibit in Singapore

One of the things I definitely wanted to do in Singapore was see the Yayoi Kusama exhibition at the National Gallery. You may have heard (or seen?) her famous pumpkin statues or perhaps heard of her fondness for dots.

We went early on a weekday and it was nice to be able to spend time wandering around the strangeness of her mind.

Pumpkins. Dots. Mirrors.

My 4yo saw this and immediately ran and hugged it. Of course he wasn’t supposed to touch it… oops



More mirrors!

Loved this one. It’s a box with a few different holes for visitors to peer into and watch this infinity light show. The colours of the lights keep changing.

This was one of the free exhibits – it’s her Obliteration Room. Visitors can buy colourful stickers (we bought the kids activity pack which came with a sticker pack each) and stick them anywhere in the room.

The kids of course adored this. I would have loved to see it at the beginning of the exhibition, when everything was white, and compare it to when we were there, when it was already covered with stickers.

The same exhibit at the Hirshhorn Museum has a fun time-lapse video!

Back from Singapore

It has been four days since we arrived back in California. And finally there was some semblance of sleep last night. I gave up and slept with the 4yo in his single bed (my neck! my back! – luckily I am a back sleeper who doesn’t move much, but still I was wedged between a small being and the wall). And finally, he slept. He did get up before midnight, and he did get up when I got up to put the blanket on his big brother who had sneezed. He did stir and ask “is it morning time?” when I tried to adjust my sleeping position around 4 something. But at least today, at least there was sleep. There was not the wide-awake from 2 something to 4 something that I had been for the past few nights, woken perhaps by my own un-reset body clock, or perhaps from the boys talking in their room.

There is adjustment to be made. There is routine to get back to. There is the quiet quiet quiet of the night to return to again. No more whirr of the AC going full blast. Far less traffic noise. No more mynahs screeching outside in the morning. No more wrapped-in-your-own-personal-sauna heat-and-humidity the moment the door opens.

There is just me and the kids for almost the whole day until the husband gets back (he leaves the house before 630am). And it has been especially hard when the 4yo starts crying for his grandparents. Luckily he has been great at returning to preschool. There are meals to cook. There are dishes to wash. There are chores to do. But there are also sweet yellow cherry tomatoes. There are wonderful seasonal fruits at the farmers market. There will be hikes to walk. A recital to attend. And time to just sit back and enjoy the last few weeks of summer holiday.

There will be more blog posts to write. But for now, I am just trying to adjust.

TLC Book Tours: The Lost Ones

With so many thrillers/crime novels out there, it seems to be getting more difficult to create a unique protagonist, a different storyline.

But I must say that The Lost Ones opens with an intriguing premise. An early morning phone call. A meeting with some strangers at a cafe. Nora Watts, cautious, suspicious, because of her line of work and her own experience.

A married couple meets her to tell her their daughter is missing.

That Nora's daughter is missing.

The child she gave up for adoption as a newborn 15 years ago has disappeared. The police define her as a chronic runaway and can't be bothered. Her adoptive parents reach out to Nora as a last hope.

And Nora is suited for this kind of thing. She works as a receptionist/researcher for a private investigator. She has an ability to tell when people are lying – which obviously helps her in her line of work.

She also has a painful and violent experience in the past which has contributed to her inability to trust anyone – not her employees nor her sponsor – with the whole truth.

Nora at first is reluctant to be involved with this case – it digs up too much of her past. But she soon realizes that she's not the only one looking for Bonnie.

Nora is quite a character. She's got skeletons in the closet – perhaps more like demons than skeletons – and she's tough. She's the kind of person who doesn't give a damn what you think of her. She steals from a woman who is only just being kind to her. She's cold towards almost everyone except her beloved dog. And surprisingly – although on hindsight, maybe it's not surprising – violent.

And Kamal's Vancouver setting reflects that too. I've never been to Vancouver but have always thought of it as a picturesque, very wet city. So Nora's far more gritty and dirty version of Vancouver is intriguing, and completely apt.

The story is rather convoluted – perhaps a little too hard to believe at times – but it offers a rather exciting and thrilling read if you can suspend belief for a bit and sink into it. And that I did, and it was for an invigorating read, filled with all the grey and damp of Vancouver. It made me long to read this in chillier temps, snuggled under a comforter with a steaming hot cup of tea.

Strangely it is titled "Eyes Like Mine" in the UK.

I received this book from its publisher and TLC Book Tours in exchange for a review.

Check out the other tour stops here.

Pick up a copy from: HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Connect with the author:Website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

It’s Monday and we went hiking again!


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



The kids always ask on Saturday mornings: “are we going hiking today?”

So yes, we did.









Chemistry – Weike Wang


The Lost Ones – Sheena Kamal




The same – Bones and Gossip Girl. Although we just watched the first episode of the new season of Sherlock Holmes too.



Just had pancakes for breakfast


Yorkshire Gold with milk


The Millions’ most anticipated book preview (second-half of 2017) 

Review of Hello, Sunshine by Laura Dave (Beth Fish Reads)

Review of Epic Crush by Genie Lo (Huntress of Diverse Books)

Review of Joyride to Jupiter by Nuala O’Connor (746 Books)

Last week:

I read:

Batgirl Vol 4: Wanted – Gail Simone (Writer), Fernando Pasarín (Illustrator), Jonathan Glapion (Illustrator)
Silk – Alessandro Baricco

Master Keaton Vol 4 – Naoki Urasawa

Exit West – Mohsin Hamid


5 things this week

  1. The 6yo is practicing two songs for his piano recital in August. He’s very excited!
  2. He also attended a Mad Science summer camp and among the things they made is chalk, slime, a bouncy ball, and they’re growing crystals
  3. I can’t figure out if it’s easier to have the older boy in a full-day camp (i.e. 9 to 3) or half-day (usually 9-12). The 4yo attends half-day preschool so he finishes at noon. When his brother is around, the two of them are happy to play together – most of the time. But the 4yo doesn’t really enjoy playing by himself so he will always ask me to play with him and that really is quite exhausting!
  4. I have been reading books, but you really wouldn’t know it by the state of this blog.
  5. Something new is that I’m learning to crochet. I always lumped crochet into the “things grannies do” box but there is something kinda fun and fascinating about creating these pieces. Ironically perhaps (or not) I am working on a granny square blanket. I tend to be a rather fidgety person and a bit of a phone addict so working on this while helping the kids with piano/homework or while I’m listening to an audiobook or watching a show with the husband has helped me look at my phone less, keeps my fingers busy. And it’s kinda fun too.

It’s Monday and I’m getting old


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


Well, sort of behaving

It’s my birthday tomorrow and so my three guys took me out to a rare dinner out on Saturday. We ate super early at 530 but it was nice to sit with my family and enjoy some Italian food. And best of all, the kids were well behaved and they enjoyed their dinner out too. The husband had also ordered me a sinfully rich chocolate cake from a bakery not too far from the restaurant.

On Sunday, we met some good friends and their kids for a picnic in the park. Everyone had a great time. It was a warm sunny weekend but the picnic area is up on a hill and caught some nice breeze so it was very pleasant. The kids all ran around the two playgrounds, tired themselves out and fell asleep easily after bathtime!


And the books I bought at the recent Book Outlet sale finally arrived!








I’m kinda switching back and forth between Gossip Girl and Bones. Because you just don’t want to be watching Bones while eating lunch.


Nothing at the moment. Recently finished Dear Mr You and haven’t downloaded a new audiobook yet although I recently got some great recs on Litsy.



I had a slice of ciabatta and a tiny slice of chocolate cake. I emphasize the tiny because really, all that is manageable is a tiny slice. It is SO rich.


PG Tips with milk.


I am trying to figure out what to do with stew meat (beef) other than you know, beef stew. I would do a rendang  but my kids can’t eat spicy. I may try using this cut of beef to do a slow cooker version of stroganoff (which perhaps may defeat the purpose of doing a stroganoff? But maybe it’s worth a try)

The 6yo is in a full-day science camp this week (9-3) so I have to pack him lunch! Yesterday I made some ‘Hot Pocket’-like pastries, filled with salami/ham and cheese and some pizza sauce. So will pop one in his lunch bag later. And maybe a sandwich tomorrow, quesadilla another day. It’s good practice for when the school year starts and I have to actually pack him lunch!


Last week:

I read: