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The House of Spices

My Daily Spices


Eating Out and Takeaway #16
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Lychee Fizz, BBQ Beef Flatbread, and Chicken Curry Shaker Fries from McD.







Green Tea Banana Blizzard from Dairy Queen. I loved it!







Fries, Beef Chili with Rice, Cheese Potato Pie, Homestyle Chicken Burger, and Pretzel Cheeseburger from Wendy's. I think McD is better.










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Reading Update
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Just a few days and I have a pile of book that I haven't reviewed yet *headdesk* I think I'll just write a short comment for each book so I can clear them out of my desk.


Whyborne & Griffin 5: Bloodline by Jordan L. Hawk -> Whyborne got a bit stupid, secrets were revealed, and I rather pitied Whyborne's father in the end. Entertaining read, though.


Bones 3: Bone Dry by Kim Fielding -> Bittersweet and poignant story with a happy ending. Great characterization with believable and heart-warming character growth.


Deputy Joe 3: Laying Ghosts by James Buchanan -> Very well-written and level-headed on the family part, the rest was good, although I skimmed the D/s sex.


SPECTR 1 & 2 by Jordan L. Hawk -> Awesome paranormal story with lots of actions/adventures, minimal drama, funny character, and somewhat threesome romance. IMO, this series is much much better than Charlie Cochet's THIRDS.


The Billionaire's Bodyguard by Erin M. Leaf -> Friends to lovers story with suspense/mystery element that was too souped-up and kind of stole the show. The MCs were likable enough.


Vanished by Carter Quinn -> A very creepy and angsty story with a cliffhanger ending. But the writing was good.


Cast the First Stone by Katherine Halle -> Needed more backstory, but overall, nice enough read with likable characters and hot sex scene.


Murder on the Mountain by Jamie Fessenden -> A sad murder/mystery and a quick but acceptable romance. It's an easy read and I'm more interested in Jesse's dad rather than the MCs.


Pilgrimage by Kim Fielding -> Another bittersweet story with a happy ending. Loved the characters and enjoyed their journey together.


Raising the Rent by J.L. Merrow -> An okay story but I think it needed the other MC's PoV to make the story more interesting.


The Paranormal Detection Agency by Anne Brooke -> Dropped. The author's writing wasn't for me.


Full Nelson 1: Secrets by Jeff Erno -> Horrible story with cartoon characters. It's a book that made me avoid the author's other books.


Skyler Foxe Mysteries 4: Foxe Fire by Haley Walsh -> Enjoyable mystery with some scenes that made me laugh. There's a relationship drama, but it didn't bother me. I'd like to read the next book ASAP.

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Murder in Hot Weather
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lada_hitam
Today, I went out for lunch, paying my bills, and grocery shopping since my snack cupboard had been totally barren. When I got home, I was overheated and I felt like taking a nap inside the fridge or the freezer. I didn't feel like stitching, so I just watched a bit of TV, chatted with my friends, and supported a friend who has just started reading Andrea Speed's Infected series *LOL*

Now, I'm in my room with the AC on, after showering and light dinner, and I feel like reading murder mystery/paranormal books. Here's my TBR list now:

1. The Sixth Sense 1: Unspeakable Words by Sarah Madison (re-read)
2. The Sixth Sense 2: Walk a Mile by Sarah Madison
3. Skyler Foxe Mysteries 4: Foxe Fire by Haley Walsh
4. The Paranormal Detection Agency by Anne Brooke  
5. Full Nelson 1: Secrets by Jeff Erno
6. The Glass-House Murder by T. Neilson
7. Dick Hardesty Mystery 1: The Butcher's Son by Dorien Grey (if this is good, then I'll have 14 more books to read)
8. Raising the Rent by J.L. Merrow (not mystery/paranormal, but the author is auto-read for me)


PS: There's this big celebrity wedding live on TV and one of my friends in the chat group asked if we're watching it or not. Then, the one who's reading Infected replied, "I'm not watching that celeb wedding. I've just read about Roan and Paris' wedding and now I'm crying again T.T".

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40ºC!
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It's too hot to think or even to edit and upload pics.

I'm just gonna read now.

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Tags: ,

Reading Update
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Human Rights by S.L. Armstrong had a great cover and interesting summary, but the actual story was short and flat. There's not enough spark and conflict between the MCs, which made the story boring.


I liked the first book in A Medium and an Extra Large series by Shannon West & Selena Cooper in spite of the instant love between the MCs, but I hated the second book, Tempest! The characters behaved erratically, the female friend of the gay MC became annoying, the story also featured MF romance, and, worst of all, there was graphic MF sex scene in the story! WTF?! If I want to read MF graphic sex scene, I'll read MF romance, not MM! I very much regret buying this book and I won't buy any book from these authors again.


Most of my friends loved this book, so I tried reading Resistance by L.M. Turner. And... I didn't like it at all. I couldn't feel the angst because I felt like Ryan was bulldozed and/or manipulated into realizing and admitting, even to himself, that he felt something for Jayden. Jayden also went hot and cold repeatedly, which I thought was distasfeful and didn't endear him to me. But, the thing I hated the most in this book was the meddling and obnoxious friends of Ryan, especially the stupid, ungrateful bitch Olivia.


After reading a couple of pages of Mending Him by Bonnie Dee & Summer Devon, I decided not to read it because it's not my kind of story.


I didn't remember much about the previous books in the series, but I devoured Holmes & Moriarity 3: The Boy with the Painful Tattoo by Josh Lanyon and I fell in love with the MCs, especially Kit. I won't say much about the mystery since I think it's not the main attraction of this story. The best thing in this story is the excellent characterization of Kit and J.X and their interactions with each other. It's very realistic and spot-on, and I totally could empathize with Kit. The character growth was clearly visible and it's not because the author forcefully pushed it to your face; it's something beliavable, something that I could see happening to myself. Also, if you're a fan of Adrien and Jake from Adrien English Mysteries, you can catch up with them in this book.


Finally finished The Gaslight Mysteries 3: To the Bone by Erin O'Quinn. I took a long time to read this because I got annoyed by so many erotic purple passages littering this supposed mystery. But, yes, there's mystery to be solved in this book and also, secrets were revealed. Honestly, after the first two books, I've had enough with the erotica and I only read this for the mystery.


Whitedell Pride 1: Jamie by Catherine Lievens was another book in shifter & their mate trope. What made this book quite acceptable was the fact that the author made an effort to justify the mating. And, I guess, having mad scientist for the conflict was slightly better than homophobic pride and/or pride politics and hierarchy.


Another Place in Time Anthology was a collection of historical short stories by six well-known authors. All the stories were technically good, but the ones I enjoyed were Introducing Mr. Winterbourne by Joanna Chambers and Whyborne & Griffin 3.4: Carousel by Jordan L. Hawk. Office Romance by Tamara Allen, Unfair in Love and War by Kaje Harper, and Deliverance by Aleksandr Voinov were too dull and depressing to my taste. And I was nonplussed by The Ruin of Gabriel Ashleigh by KJ Charles; I could only think it as plotty foreplay.


Everything I Know by Josh Lanyon didn't feel like it's written by Josh Lanyon, maybe because the setting of the story, which was very different than the usual setting for Lanyon's books. While this was a nice enough read, the very mature feel (as in the having or showing the mental and emotional qualities of an adult way, not in the NC-17 way) of this story and the fact that this story dealt with kids were a bit turnoff for me.


Okay, that's enough for now. I actually have 4 books and 1 series that I've read, but their review will have to wait.

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Home Cooking #16
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Green Tea Palm Sugar Steamed Cake. I subtituted yogurt with coconut milk, added two tablespoons of dried coconut flakes, tripled the amount of sugar, and also added some palm sugar. I prefer the pandan one, though.







Tuna Pasta. Super easy and quick to make, and tasty, too! I added a boiled egg I found in the fridge and a dollop of ketchup for the nose.







A simple Cheese Omelet. I loved its golden color! I don't know if it's the trick or not, but I barely mixed the egg using spoon.







Homemade Pork Breakfast Sausage. Still yummy although I mistakenly added dill instead of fennel.







Cap Cai or Indonesian stir-fried vegetable dish. For the meats, I used thinly sliced pork loin and fish cake. For the vegetables, I used carrot, cauliflower, Napa cabbage, Shiitake mushrooms, and green onions. I didn't use any recipe when cooking this, but if you've never cooked Cap Cai before, you can try this recipe, except that I don't like to add tomato and ginger to my version of Cap Cai.




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Reading Update
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A bunch of not-good/not-to-my-taste books:

Bad Things by Varian Krylov -> Dropped because I didn't have the patience for it. IMO, if you're a vigilante, then it's a single bullet to the criminal's head, not going undercover and collecting evidences for court like the police does.

The Year of the Moons 1: Chasing His Mate by Marie Medina -> DNF. Interesting summary and idea, but lame and half-assed delivery.

Consorting with Dragons by Sera Trevor -> DNF. Based on the prompt, I thought the story would be charming and funny, but alas, it's boring and instead of lots of dragon, it was lots of children :(

Mating Balance by Gina A. Rogers & Kyle Adams -> The horrible backstory the authors had created ruined the whole story! Also, the backstory and a lot of unimportant things took so many pages while the actual story, the romance, was rushed. And I just couldn't accept the mating!

Making It Work by Cari Z. -> A nice enough story, but it'd work better for me if there were more cute, oblivious, and jealous moments and if there wasn't the cliched female BF of the gay MCs + her daughter, too.

Wolf Creek 3: Hedgehog's Delight by Jade Buchanan -> A short story in which every scene was fast-tracked. Very poor quality compared to the previous books.


I feel like reading mystery/suspense books, but I don't know which one to choose. I guess I'll read A Medium and an Extra Large 2: Tempest by Shannon West and Selena Cooper while waiting for Sunday release of Josh Lanyon's Holmes & Moriarity 3: The Boy with the Painful Tattoo.

Btw, in case you didn't know, there's a new historical anthology, Another Place in Time, that featured great authors such as Tamara Allen, Joanna Chambers, KJ Charles, Kaje Harper, Jordan L. Hawk, and Alexsandr Voinov. It's only $3.99 for 77K words and all proceeds from the purchase of this anthology will be donated to AllOut.org in celebration of LGBT History Month, October 2014.

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Cross Stitch Stash
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In a year since I started cross stitching, I've spent IDR 6,692,208 ($550) to build my stash. I only bought 2 kits, which were disappointing, then I decided to stock up in fabric and threads, instead.


2x1.5 mtr. 14ct White Aida Korea (I've used a metre of it for various projects)
1x1.5 mtr. 14ct Cream Aida DMC
1x1.5 mtr. 16ct Off-White Aida DMC (used for Lavender project)
1x1.5 mtr. 16ct Ecru Aida DMC
1x1.5 mtr. 16ct Cream Aida Local (useless, because the fabric is very poor)
1x1.5 mtr. 16ct Yellow Aida Local (useless, because the fabric is very poor)
1x1.5 mtr. 14ct Cream Aida Local (better quality local Aida, maybe can be used for flowing tablecloth)
0.5x1.5 mtr. 14ct Ecru Aida Korea (used for Doorstop Cat project)
0.5x1.5 mtr. 18ct Light Blue Aida DMC
0.5x1.5 mtr. 25ct White Evenweave DMC
0.75x0.75 mtr. 14ct Navy Aida Korea
0.75x0.75 mtr. 14ct Iridescent Light Green Aida Korea
0.75x0.75 mtr. 14ct Iridescent Gold Fleck Aida Korea
1x1.5 mtr. White felt
1x1.5 mtr. Pink felt
1x1.5 mtr. Iron-on fabric/backing







A complete set of DMC Stranded Cotton ART 117. According to my count, there are 465 colors, including the variegated colors. For some colors, I have more than a skein. And for storing the threads, I prefer to use ziploc bags rather than plastic boxes with their plastic cards. I was inspired by this blog post.







DMC Light Effects/Metallics (incomplete), DMC Color Variations (I only have 6 skeins), Vaupel & Heilenbeck threads that don't have their DMC conversion, Anchor variegated threads (incomplete), a metre of DMC Aida band, crayons, paper clips for securing my fabric when stitching, pins, ice cream sticks for a future project, double tape, glue, and other items needed for craft projects.







Beads, bought in the traditional market. I need to buy more colors.  







Four cross stitch magazines, some printed charts, and small finished pieces that haven't been washed.







My stash also includes 7 frames and some colorful cardstocks.

Since I've spent that much money (although it's far far less than the money I've spent for buying books), I decided to limit my cross stitch expenditure. The rule is to spend less than IDR 250,000 ($20) a month and it started on August.

August spending = 0
Banked = IDR 250,000
September spending = IDR 401, 500 for 73 skeins of DMC threads to replenish my stash
Banked = IDR 98,500




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Reading Update
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Son of a Gun by A.M. Riley was a re-read because I'd remembered that it's a good book, but I'd not remembered the story. The story was a fast-paced and well-written mystery; a smooth and enjoyable read with bittersweet feel, a sprinkle of wonderful romance, and some action near the end of the story. I'd like to read more about this couple, btw.


I decided to not read In Darkness 1: In the Heart of Darkness by C.M. Torrens because in just a couple of pages, I knew that it's not a book for me (I don't like dystopian or post-apocalypse story).


Last year, I gave Claimings, Tails, and Other Alien Artifacts by Lyn Gala 4 stars (my review's here) and it's my most memorable sci-fi book in 2013. This year, I got a great surprise from the release of the sequel, Assimilation, Love, and Other Human Oddities. And it's an impressive sequel! I loved the MCs (but I loved Ondry more!) and I really loved the amazing world building with its rich and detailed alien psychology and culture. The story was truly fascinating, never a boring moment when I read it, the romance was sweet, and the kinky tail sex was hot. I want to read the next book ASAP! And if you haven't read this series, I highly recommend it!


I deeply regret buying Falling for Ramos by Sue Brown and I admit that I was mostly swayed by the sexy cover when buying it. The timelines in this story switched regularly, and after I knew what had separated the couple for a decade (a marriage to a woman and two children), I went past the chapters in the past and skimmed the chapters in the present. Anyway, I hated the characters, cowardy Ramos and doormat Colin, I hated the plot, I hated everything in this stupid story!


Fortunately, the next book I read was a good one. How to Train Your Dom in Five Easy Steps by Josephine Myles was a really fun read. The author has already warned the readers about "a high ratio of sex to plot" and that made me read every single page in this book. Yep, I didn't skip any sex scene and I even enjoyed reading the high ratio of sex. As you can guess from the title, this was a BDSM book, but one that was written in lighthearted, delightful, and hilarious manner. This was an entertaining sex journey and a lovely love journey of a happy sub and a confused Dom in a down-to-earth BDSM world. And after Ramos the coward, I really appreciated Jeff the brave. I also appreciated the Britishness of this story ;)


I added two (free) books to my TBR list: Mating Balance by Kyle Adams and Gina A. Rogers and Making It Work by Cari Z.

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Joan Elliott's Halloween #5
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I finished this pumpkin on Wednesday. Then, on Thursday, I finally sewed my cross stitch tablet sleeve (will post about this later). Today, I started on page 7 of the puppies.

Backstitch is a pain on the ass, but you can see the importance of backstitch by comparing these pics.







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Reading Update
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I like tentacle(sex) story and looking for one with some plot is super hard. That's why I read Kraken by M. Caspian as soon as I got it. Sadly, the story wasn't as good as I'd expected it to be. I'm okay with the tentacle sex, but since the MC, to my knowledge, wasn't tentacle porn enthusiast, I questioned his easy acceptance of having tentacle sex with his squid lover/monster. The dub-con and non-con were disturbing, but, honestly, I was more disturbed by the inconsistent and incoherent writing. I think the author had an interesting idea, but it failed in delivery.


The Rusted Sword by R.D. Hero was a short story about established couple who were having issues with their relationship. Lots of things in the story were hinted and while I got the idea, I'd prefer if those matters were told explicitly and used to build a longer story instead. Anyway, this was an okay read with a bit of D/s.


If Hidden Wolves 3: Unjustified Claims by Kaje Harper were an article or a blog post, I'd have replied, "tl;dr" (too long; didn't read). Yep, this book was super long (135K words) and I didn't really like the plot, which dealt with pack hierarchy and politics. The story was pretty realistic and the romance was wonderful enough. But, what I regretted the most was that I couldn't enjoy one of my favorite kinks, cross-dressing/lingerie, which was featured in the story because reading about the pack hierarchy and politics part has crushed my libido beforehand (the romance was rather slow-built, so the sex happened much later).  


The red thread that connected book 1 through 4 of Duncan Andrews Thrillers by Stephen Osborne was finally tied into a knot, so, here's my review of the whole series currently available (since the author said there's going to be more book in this series). The series was an entertaining read, kinda like Scooby-Doo but with more serious and adult matters like the angsty relationship between Duncan the human and Robbie his ghost boyfriend, and more interesting characters such as Gina the witch and Duncan's zombie dog. Although, sometimes, Duncan's approach to solve the paranormal cases was as silly and careless as Shaggy and Scooby's. In spite of its genre, this series was an easy and fun read, especially with its unique and likable characters, the lack of sex scenes, and the happy ending at the end of book 4.


Dark Nights and Headlights 1 by Bailey Bradford started as interesting, then the werewolf met the MC in his human form and the story went downhill from there. Lots of BDSM sex and again, pack politics, and it became another crappy werewolf/shifter story.


I've added Pilgrimage by Kim Fielding, Thick as Thieves by Tali Spencer, In Darkness 1: In the Heart of Darkness by C.M. Torrens, Champion of the Gods 1: The Last Grand Master by Andrew Q. Gordon, and Resistance by L.M. Turner to my current TBR list.

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Eating Out and Takeaway #15
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Gyoza, Tuna Salad Roll, Chicken Katsu Roll, Spicy Salmon Fried, and Kamameshi Chicken from Sushi Hana. The gyoza was good and I liked the Kamameshi, but the rest wasn't good.
















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Reading Update
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First of all, I finally moved 5 books that have been crowding my currently-reading shelf on GR for years to DNF shelf. They're:

  1. A Hundred Little Lies by Jon Wilson -> depressing historical, book with kid

  2. The 7th of London by Beau Schemery -> got annoyed by the alternate use of a character's first name and last name

  3. All Wrapped Up Anthology -> tentacle stories that're too sophisticated for my taste

  4. Skybound by Alexander Voinov -> depressing historical

  5. The Coil by L.A. Gilbert -> book with kid



I read Lone Wolf Pack 1: Pregnant with His Werewolf's Baby by Anya Byrne for a challenge. I finished reading it by skimming half of it. It's a crappy MPreg story with predictable plot and even though one of my favorite kinks, knotting, was featured, it failed to rouse my interest. Also, after I read the book, it literally gave me a nightmare! I dreamed I was pregnant, don't know who the father was, and I was totally horrified by it! I certainly didn't want to keep it, but I was also afraid of abortion procedure. In the end, I chose abortion and the last thing I remembered before waking up was going on a drive with my dad searching for an abortion clinic (since abortion is illegal in Indonesia).

Since the series is WiP, I checked Lone Wolf Pack 2: Knocked Up by His Werewolf Dom. I skimmed about half of it, then I dropped it because the plot was getting more absurd.


Duncan Andrews Thriller 3: The Scarlet Tide by Stephen Osborne was an enjoyable read, but since the series is not finished yet, I'll hold my review until then.


Enlightenment 3: Enlightened by Joanna Chambers concluded this excellent and romantic series marvellously. After a long emotional journey with so many ups and downs, one of the MCs, Lord Murdo Balfour, finally took a stand and dealt with the problems with perfect aplomb. So, yes, they got their HEA and I recommend you to read their story.


Nick Hoffman 1: Let's Get Criminal by Lev Raphael was pretty good, with engaging MCs who I could empathize with, clever quips and quotes that made me laugh, and mystery that kept me guessing until the end. Unfortunately, Nick Hoffman 2: The Edith Wharton Murders and Nick Hoffman 3: The Death of a Constant Lover weren't as enjoyable as the first book because the story dealt quite heavily with academic politics. The MCs also became judgmental and very whiny while doing nothing about their sinking career. The mystery was still difficult to guess, but since the MCs hardly investigated, the story soon became dull and I just trudged through it for the revelation at the end.


I still have four books that I'm currently reading, but there're other books that I want to read, too: Duncan Andrews Thriller 4: Dead End by Stephen Osborne, Falling for Ramos by Sue Brown, Mending Him by Bonnie Dee & Summer Devon, Hidden Wolves 3: Unjustified Claims by Kaje Harper, and Son of a Gun by A.M. Riley (Loose Id edition).

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Page 6 of Bath-time Puppies
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Finished page 6 on Tuesday. Wednesday, I took a break from stitching; I read and dealed with my yaoi mangas. Today, I started stitching Joan Elliott's Halloween #5.




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Home Cooking #15
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Grilled Ham & Cheese Sandwiches with Honey Dijon. Super easy dinner.







Nutella and Cheese Sandwich. Because we Indonesian love to mix cheese with chocolate ;)







Fried Taro Clusters with Sweet & Sour Sambal. A guilty pleasure because they're so crunchy and yummy, but they also contained a lot of oil.







Steamed Fried Rice with Pork Topping. I only used ground pork for the meat, but I added cauliflower, Napa cabbage, and carrot for the veggies. I actually steamed the rice in one big bowl, I just scooped a portion to my plate. The dish tasted pretty good.







Green Tea Pandan Steamed Cake. Because my family didn't like green tea in their cake, I made the cake into a pandan-flavored one with a few changes. Since I didn't have yogurt, I used about 1/4 cup of coconut milk. I also didn't use honey, only 1/4 cup of sugar because my dad has a sweet tooth. Then I added a few drops of pandan paste and sprinkled some raisins on the top. Because I was lazy, I steamed the cake in one regular porcelain bowl.




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Reading Update
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Life is too short to waste my time reading books that were boring and failed to engage me, so I dropped/DNF: Beloved Enemy by Star Noble, Nothing Serious by Jay Northcote, Liam Davis & the Raven by Anyta Sunday, and Beast by Allison Cassatta & Tracey Michael.


Even though the previous book wasn't to my liking, I decided to read Mahu 7.5: Accidental Contact and Other Mahu Investigations by Neil Plakcy because it's a collection of short stories. I enjoyed reading the short investigation stories (except for Alpha and Omega) because they fed my craving for good, solid mystery and there's no family drama involved.


Then I got a good surprise from reading Eddie & Shadow 1: Eddie by Skylar Jaye, which was a lovely slow burn romance with interesting and likable MCs, superheroes background, and classy D/s element. It was an engrossing read with a plot twist and full action climax at the end. I'm looking forward to read the next book in the series.


After such a good romance story, Jurassic Heart by Anna Martin was kind of a letdown because the romance was the MCs having lots of sex. Honestly, I cared more about the dig rather than the MCs' relationship. Anyway, the paleontology part was well-handled, the mystery was just a subplot, and the story as a whole was an okay read.


Since Section 13 Case Files 4: The Thirteenth Shard by J.L. O'Faolain was a part of WiP series, I'll hold my review until the series is finished. I just have to say yay! for Cole's new power and that I'm okay if it's gonna be a threesome romance ;)


Recipe: Strawberry Jam Cake
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lada_hitam
ritaxis posted a how I made a strawberry puree cake and I was really interested to try it. But I didn't have a pound and a half of strawberries, what I had was a jar of homemade strawberry jam. She also used creaming method to make the cake batter and I was too lazy to follow that method.

Therefore, I adapted ritaxis's recipe into my version of cake using the easy muffin method. And since my jar of strawberry jam wasn't even full, I halved the recipe. I loved the result! The cake was light and soft, although I couldn't really taste the strawberry. I think next time I'll try making the cake with mashed banana/pumpkin or apple sauce and cinnamon.



Strawberry Jam Cake






Ingredients:
3/4 cup Thick strawberry jam
3/4 cup Soy ginger skim milk or regular milk
1/3 cup Vegetable oil
1/2 cup Sugar
2 whole Eggs
1½  cup Flour
1 teaspoon Baking powder
1 teaspoon Baking soda
Powdered sugar and rainbow sprinkles (optional)


Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and oil an 8" cake pan.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk strawberry jam with milk. Add the oil and sugar, whisk until sugar is dissolved. Add the eggs one by one and beat lightly.
3. In a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and baking soda.
4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir only until the ingredients are just combined. Do not over mix the batter.
5. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 30 - 45 minutes or until a tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
6.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Garnish with powdered sugar and rainbow sprinkles if you want.





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Reading Update
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I really enjoyed reading A Tooth for a Fang by Liv Olteano, although I had to suspend some of my disbeliefs. The story moved very very fast and the world building wasn't complete, but the characters were great and had unexpected depth. The romance was surprisingly slow-moving, refreshing, and sweet and there're lots of adorable kisses and cuddles. I loved the interactions between the MCs; the bickering and witty banter and the respect for each other. The mystery was good, with layers and all, but the ending was a bit disappointing and left a wide open space for a sequel, which I'd like to read.


Save the Date by Kate McMurray had interesting cast of characters, but the story itself was rather boring. I couldn't feel the chemistry between the MCs and their supposedly romance story fell flat and unconvincing.


I almost dropped Mahu 7: Natural Predators by Neil Plakcy because on the very first page, the MCs were talking about having a child enter their lives! I continued reading it because I've enjoyed the previous books in this series, but honestly, I couldn't fully enjoy the story because the having-a-child thing kept popping up in between the investigation. I know that the child thing is my own pet peeve, but in the end, I was pretty disappointed with the direction this series took *heavy sighs* Anyway, if you're okay with child, this book's quality was still on par with the previous ones.


I dropped both The South Side Tour Guide by Shelter Somerset and The Next by Rafe Haze. The first because it contained children, the later because it's too literary and pretentious for my taste.


Books I've started but haven't finished yet: Timber Pack Chronicles 1 by Rob Colton, The Gaslight Mysteries 3: To the Bone by Erin O'Quinn, Scarlet Blade by Jez Morrow, Nothing Serious by Jay Northcote, and Human Rights by S.L. Armstrong.

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Eating Out and Takeaway #14
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lada_hitam
Mini Tofu Salad, Torisaucedon Set Menu, and Miso Nikomi Udon Set Menu from Ootoya. Loved the tofu salad, but the torisaucedon was a bit disappointing, both in taste and in portion. The udon was Rose's order and she was okay with it.













Cranberry Lemon Juice from BlackBall. It tasted okay, but I should've ordered a tea-based drink so I could compare it with the other brands'.







Ma Matcha Parfait and Strawberry Parfait from Gyokuro. It's alright, nothing really special, but I loved the corn flakes in the middle.




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Joan Elliott's Halloween #4
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I stitched and framed Halloween #1-3 for Halloween 2013. Now I'm stitching the rest (#4-6) for Halloween 2014. I stitched this in rotation with the puppies.




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