Die Trying BY Lee Child

 

I was totally blown away by the first novel (Killing Floor) and was so looking forward to the second book but to get utterly disappointed by it. I am not too sure if it is my problem or just because the storyline was not captivating enough to keep me attached to the book. I tend to skip a few sentences or paragraph here and there while I was reading and I find it hard to continue reading halfway through it. Probably I read the first book and I have an expectation there so I tend to compare it with the first novel.

So here is a quick summary (adapted from the book): In a Chicago suburb, a dentist is met in his office parking lot by three men and ordered into the trunk of his Lexus. On a downtown sidewalk, Jack Reacher and an unknown woman are abducted in broad daylight by two men – practiced and confident – who stop them at gunpoint and hustle them into the same sedan. Then Reacher and the woman are switched into a second vehicle and hauled away, leaving the dentist bound and gagged inside his car with the woman’s abandoned possessions, two gallons of gasoline, and a burning match. The FBI is desperate to rescue the woman, a Special Agent from the Chicago office, because the FBI always – always – takes care of its own, and because this woman is not just another agent. Reacher and the woman join forces, against seemingly hopeless odds, to outwit their captors and escape. But the FBI thinks Jack is one of the kidnappers – and when they close in, the Bureau snipers will be shooting to kill…

If you have read the first novel, the first thing you will notice will be that Die Trying was written in a 3rd party narrative instead of a 1st party narrative. It makes all the characters looks a little distance. Overall, Killing Floor just prove how invincible Jack Reacher is with his years in Army and also how intensive Lee Child research on the type of guns and even going in-depth to the calculating the possibility of hit and also the velocity of the bullet hitting the target. However, I personally felt that the chemistry is lacking between all the characters in the book. It has a little unrealistic portion (especially the part where they are in the helicopter looking out for the truck with 130 bullets holes). Hahha, how can the Jack Reacher see 130 bullets holes from the helicopter!

Book Completed: December 2017
Rating: 2.5/5

 

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Sweet Coco Brownie

This will probably be my last post and my last bake of the year!

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Initially,  I wanted to bake the brownie in Christmas Tree pattern (similar to Starbucks) and pass it to my close friends and colleagues. However, I found out that it’s too much work! Hahahaha, so I decided just to make 1 for my family instead. And even this slab of brownie, I procrastinated for about an hour before really move my butt to the kitchen and start preparing. (Hahaa! I am good at procrastinating.. LOL)

Well, the brownie is not that hard to make and my kid did most of the works and I am there going WAIT, WAIT, LET ME DO FIRST.. >.< I used Dark Chocolate Couverture for the brownie which made it a little chocolatey and I am not too sure if it is because of this, the brownie is a little too sweet although I decrease the sugar. (PS: It still goes VERY well with vanilla ice-cream).

I use the receipt from: Bear Naked Food

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Ingredient (Cuts into 16 square pieces):

  • 250g)unsalted butter – cut into cubes
  • 200 g Dark Chocolate Couverture
  • 3 large eggs (60 g each)
  • 275g golden caster sugar (I reduced to 230 g)
  • 60g cocoa powder
  • 65g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 120 g semi-sweet (50%) chocolate chunks (I’m using chocolate chips)
  • 1 tsp instant coffee powder 
  • A pinch of salt

Instructions:

  1. Pre-heat oven at 160°C/320°F.
  2. In a medium bowl, add in unsalted butter cubes 20171211_183356and dark chocolate and melt in microwave for 1 min. Add in instant coffee powder, stir well and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream the sugar and eggs until it doubles the volume, pale and fluffy. Add in cooled chocolate mixture and fold gently with a spatula until combined.
  4. Sift in the cocoa powder, flour, baking powder, salt and fold gently until just mixed.
  5. Add in chocolate chunks and give it a final mix. Do not overmix or it’ll become dense.
  6. Pour into a 20 cm x 20 cm greased square tin lined with a non-stick baking paper.
  7. Bake for 40 mins. Pull tin out and gently shake it. If it wobbles in the middle, bake for another 5 mins.
  8. The top should form a shiny, papery crust.
  9. Let it cool completely in the tin before removing. Cut into desired squares and serve as it is or with a dollop of vanilla ice cream.

Capture

 

Mama White Snake Musical

It takes 10 lifetimes for a pair of soul to meet one another on a ferry boat
A hundred lifetimes for a pair of heads to lie on the pillow where their dreams afloat.

Went to watch W!LD RICE production: Mama White Snake last Saturday and blown away with all the choreography, costumes, songs, script.. Basically, EVERYTHING!

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Please note that MAMA WHITE SNAKE musical is ending on 16 December 2017! Do grab your ticket HERE before the musical ends! I could assure that you won’t be disappointed by it! It’s a musical for the young and old young at heart but thinks that the young might not catch some inner jokes as much as the young at heart! I believed everyone knows the story of White Snake and this musical is White Snake (part 2). HAHAHHAHA….

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For all his young life, Meng has dreamt of adventures beyond the confines of Emei Mountain. But his mother and aunt have always kept him close, warning him of the dangers and strangers lurking in the outside world.

Finally, Meng decides he has had enough of the creature comforts of home. Striking out on his own, he enrolls in a martial arts school run by the mysterious Master Fahai.

There, he finds new friends and new love… even as old secrets from his family’s past slither to the surface. Fahai soon realized that Meng has been kept in the dark about who his mother and aunt really are: the magical White Snake and Green Snake of legend!

What will Meng do when he learns of his true heritage? Will Fahai succeed in driving a wedge between Meng and his mum? And, as chaos breaks out between enemies old and new, can true love overcome ancient rivalries and family quarrels?

-Taken from the musical synopsis

Mama White Snake is directed by Pam Oei featuring the script by Alfian Sa’at and score by Elaine Chan with Glen Goei and Ivan Heng cross-dress as Mama White Snake and Aunty Green Snake. The cast also includes Siti Khalijah as Master Fahai, Zelda Tatiana as Madam Ngiao, Cheryl Tan as Mimi, Andrew Marko as Meng and not forgetting First Stage Kids.

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I last saw Ivan Heng in the Emily of Emerald Hill as Emily in 2002 and was amazed at his performance and I last saw Cheryl Tan as young Yehenara in Forbidden City Musical and putting all the great cast together they present you with Mama White Snake the MOST hilarious MUSICAL with a deep meaning to it!

Mama White Snake is W!LD RICE’s holiday season musical which was inspired by British pantomime by bringing together all the elements of family entertainment from slapstick comedy to catchy songs, fabulous costumes and even audience participation. It is encouraging to see how the casts encourage the audience to participate like the audience mentioned “Bukit Timah is famous for flooding” and another was that Mama White Snake asked if she should drink the “poisons drink” and there this kid shouted NO and Glen Goei replied  “If I don’t drink then there will be no more show already”.. HAHAHA

I did not keep up with all the W!LD RICE production ever since I got pregnant with my kid but after this musical, I told myself that I will try not to miss the W!LD RICE’s holiday season musical! They basically took it to another different level with all the amazing cast and to all the staffs behind the stage. The stage design was perfect and lots of attention was paid to the costumes and headgear too!

Do remember to grab the CD after the end of the show as $5 proceed from the CD will goes to Emma Yong fund!

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Chive Kimchi 부추김치

Did I emphasis how much I love Chives? I saw this Chive Kimchi (Buchu-kimchi 부추김치) from Maangchi’s website recently and I told myself that I AM SO GOING TO MAKE THIS! Omg, did I also mentioned that I went for Korean lesson at Ganada Lanugage Centre and I could read this 부추김치!!

I realised how easy it is to make this KIMCHI and I’m thinking if I’m going to make MORE different type of KIMCHI! Hahahah~ Stay tune ^^

I followed the measurement and everything other than the 부추 (Chives) which I think I bought lesser than a pound thus I ended up with lots of sauce~ Hahah!
Recipe (adapted from Maangchi)

Ingredients

  • 1 pound buchu (Asian chives a.k.a garlic chives) washed and drained20171202_204243
  • ½ cup fish sauce (or soy sauce for vegetarian version) – I used soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sweet rice flour (or all purpose flour) – I used all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ cup Korean hot pepper flakes (gochugaru)
  • ½ of a medium-sized onion, sliced thinly (about ½ cup)
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds

Steps:

  1. Cut the buchu into 2½ inch long pieces and put them in a large bowl. Add the fish sauce and mix by hand to evenly spread the fish sauce in the pieces
  2. Let it sit for 30 minutes, turning it over every 5 minutes.
  3. Mix sweet rice flour with 1 cup of water in a small pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon.20171202_204621
  4. A few minutes later when it starts bubbling, add sugar and stir for another minute.
  5. Remove from the heat and let it cool thoroughly. 
  6. Move the salty buchu into a strainer over a bowl so it captures any salty water drippings.
  7. There will be some salty liquid left over in the bowl. Add the cooled porridge and hot pepper flakes. Mix it well with a wooden spoon. CIMG2700
  8. Add onion, buchu, and the strained salty water drippings. Mix it all together gently.CIMG2701
  9. Sprinkle the sesame seeds.
  10. You can serve it right away with rice, or put it in an airtight container to eat later.
  11. If you want to ferment the kimchi, keep it at room temperature for a couple of days until it tastes a little sour, then put it in the fridge.

Here’s the finished product! ^^ My kid also joined in the COOKING!

 

KSL Weekend Stayover!

We got bored of Batam so for this year-end holiday trip with Joey’s family, we decided to head to our neighboring country (Johor Bahru) for a short 4 days 3 nights stay! We took the train again as it is really fast (just 5 minutes away) and traveling by train have different immigration counter when travel by BUS so it is WAY FASTER!

This time, we stayed in KSL instead of Holiday Villa! KSL hotel is located just right on top of KSL shopping center (about 5-10mins away from JB City Square).

I have asked Joey to inform them (during the booking stage) that we prefer the rooms side by side as we booked a total of 3 rooms (2 triple and 1 kind – for Little J & me). We got a connection room with Joey’s family and her Mother-In-Law & Sister-In-Law room is just a room away.

The best part of staying in KSL was that the wifi is stronger (as compared to Holiday Villa) and there is this Dinosaur Alive Water Park. Tada! A top view of the swimming pool and Dinosaur Water Park from our hotel’s lobby:

For hotel guest, entry to the water park is free! In my opinion, there is actually nothing much to WOW about, just that there are 3slides and a water theme play (something like POLW in Sentosa) but it’s FREE!

 


Some of the worth mentioning food we had during our STAY:

HAPPY BIG FISH (Located at LG-S30, near The Story Juice Bar)
They sell one of the nicest fish & chip! Tried the Dory Fish & Chip (RM12.90) and Snapper Fish & Chip (RM13.90). (Apologised that I did not take a picture of the Fish & Chip as I was busy eating and by the time I remember taking, it’s halfway gone). 

Dory Fish & Chip does not have those fishy fridge taste and instead of fries, they comes with thin sliced potato chips! They have a few sauces for you to dip your fish & chips on! Wasabi Mayo, X.O Cheese (recommended) and Cheese!

Meng Meng Roasted Duck 阿明帝王鸭 (Located at L2-132C)
If you like Dian Xiao Er 店小二, you will definitely like Meng Meng Roasted Duck. It is easy to recognize the store as it has a huge duck hanging there. We ordered a fishtail curry with the roasted combination (roasted pork, char siew and roasted duck) and some vegetables to go along.

Miam Miam Pasta!

I used to go to THREE at The Seletar Mall to satisfy my pasta fixed and after having one of the good Carbonara (at least to me) in The Daily Fix Cafe (Malacca), I am still searching for one that can BLOW my mind off!

So that particular Sunday, I have this craving for carbonara and sadly, Creation Cafe is closed on Sunday, I decided to pop by to Miam Miam @ Bugis to try their pasta (as my colleague mentioned that their pasta is not bad).

Before you read on, I need to re-emphasize that I am not a food blogger. HAHHAHA


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Miam Miam is a casual Artisanal French café-restaurant that brings together a mixture of French Artisanal Cuisine & Techniques with influences derived from traditional Japanese preparation & cooking arts.

[Extracted from their website: http://miam.sg/]

 

Since we are here for the pasta, how can we not order Spaghetti!

We started off with the Onsen Egg with Mushroom Soup as the appetizer. I know that it might be a little over-rated but it is new! Onsen EGG!!!CIMG2011I would say that the idea of having the Onsen Egg in the mushroom soup is new to me and I am VERY skeptical on the taste. HOWEVER, I need to admit that the Onsen Egg goes well with mushroom soup. I feel that it is not creamy enough as I could taste the stock used. I prefer French table (at least to me)!

Next up, our main! We order 3 mains for the 3 of us (The big guy, the small kiddo and me! I had their Carbonara Spaghetti:CIMG2016The Carbonara was not thick enough but I really need to give *two thumbs up* for their pasta as it was cooked to al dente! Overall, it was a little too liquidity and salty for my liking.

The big guy had Teriyaki Chicken Aglio Olio without Leek (they actually cook that with leek):CIMG2017The aroma of the roasted garlic just won me over. Al dente spaghetti with the right amount of oil and roasted garlic. This definitely taste better than my Carbonara. Although it is supposed to be Aglio Olio, but I could not taste the chilli (mMmm)..

Not forgetting kids meal for our little kiddo:CIMG2014I have to thanks their effort what was served looks almost the same as the photo in the menu. Even though it was for the kids, the kitchen staff also maintain the same standard and my kid actually finished the plate of spaghetti.!

How can we not order something to “close” off the dinner at Miam Miam!

CIMG2018We ordered their signature french toast with soft serve. (Do note that they require about 20mins to prepare this)! One of the best french toast I had. The toast was toasted with some burnt at only one side of the bread so there is this “crunch” on every slice of the bread (not sure if that is the norm or they just burnt my bread). The maple syrup was not too sweet when it goes with the bread and ice-cream. Overall, it was a nice dessert to end your dinner (without the heavy whipped cream – yes, it is heavy whipped cream as it did not “melt” after we finish the toast).

Total damaged: $70+ for this dinner ^^

 

 

THIS IS NOT THE END by CHANDLER BAKER

If you could choose one person to bring back to life, who would it be?
You only have days to decide.
Who do you need the most?

Seventeen-year-old Lake Devereaux is the survivor of a car crash that killed her best friend and boyfriend. Now she faces an impossible choice. Resurrection technology changed the world, but strict laws allow just one resurrection per citizen, to be used on you eighteenth birthday or lost forever.

For each grieving family, Lake is the best chance to bring back their child. For Lake, it’s the only way to reclaim a piece of happiness after her own family fell apart. And Lake must also grapple with a secret-an illegal-vow she made years ago to resurrect someone else. Someone who’s not even dead yet.

As Lake’s eighteenth birthday nears, secrets and betrayals new and old threaten to eclipse her cherished memories. Lake has one chance to save a life… but can she live with her choice?

Read on for my book review….


I went to the library to borrow my next LEE CHILD book but could not find it. Not wanting to go home empty-handed, I browse the “NEW ARRIVAL” shelves for a book to borrow. I was initially captivated by design of the book cover but the summary of the book won me over and the next moment I know I am walking out of the library with this book in my bag.

———–(WARNING: Minor Spoilers Ahead!)———–

The storyline as original and thrilling. I was pulled along Lake’s journey and decision and as I read on, I got to know Lake’s quadriplegic brother Matt better. Her boyfriend Will whom she is thinking to resurrect might not love her as much as she thinks it is and her best friend Penny is hiding a big secret from her. 

The book went from present to past and past to present by unfolding the characters and those little tiny secrets little by little. Initially, after the crash, Lake struggle with resurrecting Penny or Will, she decided to go on the scavenger hunt with Matt as she wants to know what Will has planned for her eighteenth birthday! Just when I thought what Lake’s decision would be, BOOM! there was this huge twist that totally caught me off guard! I bet that you will be thrown out of your chair too when you learned about the secret hold by the Devereaux’s family.

Personally, I thought the ending was quite alright as I thought it would happen otherwise. I felt that the ending compete with the storyline leading up to it (maybe cause of the scavenger hunt which brought Matt and Lake closely?)

I never regret picking up this book from the library. Maybe the only flaw in this book is the romance between Ringo and Lake which was totally unnecessary. I could see how Ringo role is required in helping Lake to decide on her resurrection choice but a romance that bloomed 23 days from the car crash which killed Will?!?! *WHAT!*

Book completed: November 2017
Rating: 4.7/5