KILLING FLOOR by LEE CHILD

After so many months, I finally got my hands on the Jack Reacher book! Before I started on his book, I read lots of review about them and it’s really a LOVE or HATE thing. In the beginning, I thought it was kind of bored but after the first few chapters, the pace started to pick up and it is then full of action and suspense.

Killing Floor is the first Jack Reacher series book and it introduces Jack Reacher for the first time.

I am sad that Jack Reacher’s brother (Joe Reacher) died in the first book as I feel that he and Jack Reacher will make a great team! BUT what! Jack Reacher just seems invincible with all the military skills, like, will he fail to kill someone or what!?!?

In quick summary, the book begin with Jack Reacher being arrested in the café while having his dinner and was accused of murder. As Reacher is the only stranger in town and a drifter after leaving the Army with no ID, this placed him in an unfavorable position, and he bound to get to the bottom on this to clear his name.

*Spoiler alert*


 In the midst of unfolding the truth, he found out that his brother who was working for the US Treasury Department died in the line of duty and he was almost killed in the holding cell. There is only one guy who could answer all his burning question, Hubble, who was brought in the holding cell together with him. However, Hubble is missing and the police chief and his wife are later found brutally murdered. Reacher also found out that the town shop owners are getting weekly PENSIONS (thousands of dollars).

I was blown away by how Lee Child describes the multibillion-dollar counterfeiting operation and how they go about doing the counterfeiting.


I love thriller and suspense book hence I would think Jack Reacher book suits my taste! 😀 I’m going to read his next book before deciding if I should just jump straight to his other books (as each stories exist on it’s own) or just read in order of publishing date or even read in chronological order. AGAIN, I might get bored of the writing style after a few books which might put me off from reading further, but till then, I would just continue reading the series. 😀

Book completed: October 2017
Rating: 4.4/5

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Track Records for my READING!

[Updates] I’ve decided to publish this post whenever I’ve update it so I won’t have to drag all the way to the bottom of the page to find this post. ^^ I’m currently addicted to “The Adventures of TinTin” so I’m going to keep track of that too..


I thought that this is a better way for me to keep track of the books I read till now and also save a copy in my google drive & dropbox so I won’t be buying the same book TWICE (yup, it happened to me once)! Well, it isn’t my full list as I didn’t keep track of those which I’ve already donate, but nevertheless, my list:

FICTION

  1. Icebound by Dean Koontz
  2. The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
  3. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
  4. Velocity by Dean Koontz
  5. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
  6. New Moon by Stephenie Meyer
  7. Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer
  8. Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer
  9. The Oxford Murders by Guillermo Martinez
  10. Shoot to Thrill by P.J Tracy
  11. The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown
  12. Angels and Demon by Dan Brown
  13. Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
  14. Digital Fortress by Dan Brown
  15. Deception Point by Dan Brown
  16. Blast From the Past by Ben Elton
  17. Snow Blind by P.J Tracy
  18. Two Evils by P.J Tracy
  19. Cut and Run by Jeff Abbott
  20. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
  21. Gone Girl by GIllian Flynn
  22. Killing Floor by Lee Child

NON-FICTION/BIOGRAPHY

  1. The Other Side of Nowhere by Danniella Westbrook
  2. Tuesdays with Morries by Mitch Albom
  3. Ugly by Constane Briscoe
  4. Have a Little Faith by Mitch Albom
  5. Sleeping Around by Catherine Townsend
  6. Empress Orchid by Anchee Min
  7. The Last Empress by Anchee Min
  8. Totto-chan, the Little Girl at the Window by Tetsuko Kuroyanagi
  9. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN

  1. The Seven Crystal Ball
  2. The Blue Lotus
  3. Tintin in Amercia

to be continued..

(PS: Newly read books will be highlighted in RED till the next update)

Our FIRST OctoBurst!

I’m glad that I brought my kid down to Octoburst! at Esplanade last Sunday. Octoburst it’s a children’s festival from 5-8 Oct 2017 (in conjunction to Children’s Day – I guess). I got to know that this isn’t the first Octoburst (why didn’t I know about this last year).

Find out more of Octoburst! here.

There are a series of activities and events and I’m glad that my kid completed most of the activities (as we need to go back home for dinner) and we even went for a musical performances in the Concert Hall!CIMG1719

We count ourselves LUCKY as are there on the FIRST Sunday of the month where Esplanade presents “Beautiful Sunday” where there’s a series of FREE concerts by homegrown music groups and everyone is invited as it’s open to ALL AGES (I’m definitely going every first Sunday from now!). My kid managed to sit there the full hour (with some fidgeting in the mid-way through).

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This year’s Octoburst! features Mother Nature and the environment where they teach you how to use dry leaves to create the mascot’s costumes. The kids are invited to colour on the dry leaves and then pin the leaves on the mascot using a pin.

The kid could also unleash their creativity by using plasticine and different type of beans to  replicate any reptiles or insects (or anything) and display it in the “Nature”. (See my kid’s snake – in blue on the below right picture and the snake’s house)

He then went off to draw the leaves using torch light and magnifying glass to look at vein of the leaf. (He looks like a professional!)

Just opposite of this leaves drawing area is the “My Little Story World” by Berries. There’s a total of 3 stories sharing. The stories were from the top three winners of the Children Chinese Picture Book Creation Contest held by Berries in 2016.

Last but not least, the last activities of the day (and I’m glad that we managed to get a slot for the last slot): “Grow a Garden” by Mrydette where they recycle the water bottle by creating a self-watering mini garden!

That’s how we spent about 3hours in Esplanade last Sunday and I’m looking forward to the next Octoburst!

Till then..~

 

Dumpling from SCRATCH

It’s kind of mind-wrecking when I started to make my own chives dumpling. Knowing how cheap and easy it is to make the dumpling, I was put off by how much those dumplings are selling outside. 50CENTS for a piece of dumpling without much chives! Hahahah.. T-T

I have been craving for chives dumplings for a while so I decided to make it (again) this time – making everything FROM SCRATCH with my KIDDO! Hahhaa.. I have already formed the production line in my head: HIM – rolling the dough to form the skin and ME – wrapping the dumplings.

(This time) I didn’t measure the all the ingredients, I just use estimation.. 😀 But according to the website measurement is as follows.
Recipe (adapted from thewoksoflife):

  • 7 cups all-purpose flour20171001_164323
  • 2 1/4 cups water
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/4 lbs ground pork
  • 1 egg
  • 7 cups Chinese chives, chopped finely
  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • salt to taste

I added some Shaoxing Hua Tiao Chew for the extra taste

STEPS:

  1. Put the flour in a large mixing bowl. Gradually add the water to the flour and 20171001_151153knead into a smooth dough. (This time, I used a spatula to mix instead of my hand. Previously, I knead it using my hand and it all the dough ended up sticking on my hand). Cover with a damp cloth and let the dough rest for an hour.
  2. While the dough is resting, prepare the filling. Start by adding the oil to a small pot over medium high heat. Heat the oil for about 7 minutes and allow it to cool. This “cooking” of the oil is supposed to bring out a nuttier flavor in the filling. (I find that you could skip this step if you’ve added the sesame oil as the filling gets too oily – too oily for my liking)
  3. Once the oil is cooled, add the ground pork to a large bowl, along with everything else and you’re ready to go! (So here is what the dough looks like, after an hour of “proofing” the dough is ready for rolling – dough in white bowl in the bottom right picture)

Do ensure that you have your hand and table top full of the all-purpose flour as things can get really STICKY. You can see how diligent he is rolling the dough and he doesn’t even want me to help him with it.  After he roll the dough to a big circle shape, I will try to fit in AS MUCH ingredient as I could in the small thin skin and then wrap it up in a BAO shape (sorry guys that it comes in a BAO shape instead of those JIAO ZI shape as it’s easier to wrap as a BAO).

We just REPEAT the same step over till we finished all the ingredients and the dough. Leave the “JIAO ZI BAO” in the freezer for it to harden up before transferring it to ziplock bag (to save space).

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We realized it is definitely CHEAPER and MORE ENJOYABLE to make our own skin but it’s more troublesome because of the rolling. However, my KIDDO enjoyed rolling than using pre-packed skin and I see us making more JIAO ZI using this “ROLLING” skin instead of pre-packed. 😀

If making everything FROM SCRATCH is too STICKY for you, you could click HERE for my post using pre-packed skin.

Till the next batch, we’re thinking to try making MANTOU..

Snowskin Mooncakes

I’ve always want to make mooncake and I’ve been talking about it for years.. This year, I decided to put my words into action! I went to google for snowskin receipe.

I use the receipt from: Domestic Goddness Wannabe

Below are basically what you need for the mooncake.
20170924_141437I bought everything from Kwong Cheong Thye even the filling. It’s basically like a one-stop place where you can get the paste, shortening, flour.. For the filling, I bought mango (my kid’s favourite), pu’er tea and also low sugar lotus.
Each kg cost around $18! Cause this is my first time making mooncake, so I got all the mould from there too!

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So we’ll need to roll the filling into the bowl which is smaller than the mould. (From top anti-clockwise: mango; pu’er; low sugar lotus; snowskin)
I’m really amazed at how easy the snowskin mooncake is made and my kid could even take part in this! Can’t wait for BATCH 2!!!

Tada, my final product turns out pretty well (Uhm, okay, it might not look THAT nice if you look closely..) and I did some extra to give to my colleagues, my kid’s current caregiver and also Mr K! I did “warn” them that it’s homemade and it might not taste nice.. >.<

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Ingredients

50g kao fen (cooked glutinous rice flour)
230g snowskin flour (Kwong Cheong Thye Pinpe Premix Powder)
50g icing sugar, sifted (I forgot to shift)
46g vegetable shortening
300g water (boil 500g water with 4 pandan leaves, leave to cool, and measure 300g water)
Some extra kao fen for dusting
Colouring (if required)

Instructions

  1. Combine kao fen and snowskin flour in a big bowl and set aside.
  2. In a pot, add the icing sugar and shortening to the water and stirring with a hand whisk, bring this to a boil until the shortening had melted.
  3. Pour this mixture into the bowl containing flour and use a spatula to stir the mixture until a soft dough forms. Set this aside to cool. Form the filling into balls of 25g each. Set this aside.
  4. Once the dough is cool, knead the dough until it becomes smooth. Add more kao fen if the dough is still too sticky.
  5. Add food colouring if you are using. You may want to divide the dough into portions if you are using different colours. Place the colour in the middle of the dough and knead until the colour is uniform.
  6. Divide the dough (21g each). Flatten each portion and roll into a round disc. Place one portion of filling in the middle of each piece of dough. Pinch edges to seal.Dust the ball with a little kao fen and press it firmly into the mould.
  7. Chill the mooncakes before consuming. (This is IMPORTANT)

    Adapted from thedomesticgoddesswannabe.com

Gone Girl BY Gillian Flynn

I borrowed the physical book from the library a month back but found e-book more convenient as I could just read it off my tablet while eating or on the bus without having to bring such a big book around. So, I went back to e-book after about a few chapters into the book. I’m OFFICIALLY hooked to E-BOOK! Is that something good or bad? 

 

SYNOPSIS (taken from the book):

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears.
Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge.
Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior.
Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?

Overall, the story keeps one engaged and you’ll be so immersed in the second half of the story that you’ll just want to know who is lying and who’s not. Are things really what it seems or not..

This book is definitely better than “The Girl on The Train” and I’m totally amaze at at how sly and psychotic Amy is. However, I feel that the ending falls out of my expectation.. I wasn’t expecting this kind of ending! I don’t want it to end this way.. (sad) I’ll still recommend to pick up this book and get ready for the roller coaster ride. 

Book completed: September 2017
Rating: 4.3/5

Next book: Killing Floor


*SPOILER ALERT*

First part of the story, we were told from Nick’s POV (point of view) and from Amy’s diary. From Amy’s diary, we could see that Nick wasn’t performing his #husbandduty while according to Nick, Amy was not sociable. They both lost their job in New York and moved back to Missouri to take care of Nick’s mother. From Amy’s diary, we know that suddenly, Nick tuns abusive and then BOOM, one day, Amy went missing on their wedding anniversasry….

Nick (as usual) becomes a suspect  because of his lack of emotion. Some other stuffs unfold like Amy was pregnant and it was known that Nick doesn’t want the kid and then Nick has a mistress who is way younger than Amy and there’s a huge spending on the CREDIT CARD!!!

However, at the 2nd half of the book, the story went for a 90 degree turn where Amy IS ALIVE and that she planned and staged the whole “murdered” case.. Is everything including her pregnancy fake? Then suddenly, here comes the ex-boyfriend Desi who helped Amy but because of his possessive natural, caused him to get hurt…

Will Amy and Nick get back together again??

I don’t wished to spoil it further. RECOMMEND to read it as it’s really a good book, just that the ending falls short.

Sunday Sunday @ Peranakan Museum

After his swimming lesson on Sunday, we went to Peranakan Museum as we have no idea where to go and we doesn’t want to go back straight after swimming. >.<

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Do you know on every second Sunday (from  1 to 5pm) Peranakan Museum has themed tour and activities where you could explore the colourful world of Peranakans. Make arts and crafts based on the museum’s collections, dress up with the whole family in a batik shirt or sarong kebaya, or read a book and discover the world of Peranakan celebrations…

  • It’s free admission for the activities
    Check the website regularly for updates on each month’s programmes

Last month’s theme was:
20170910_131509 (2)Straits Family Sunday: Strike a Pose
Where we are able to create our own frame to take home and there’s a special guided tour for children to learn about some of the famous Peranakans captured on canvas (which we didn’t join) and also to strike a pose in traditional Peranakan costumes!!!!!!

We reached before 1pm so we just went explore the exhibits and we didn’t managed to finish the whole museum (will come back again next month to visit the museum as I’m interested to see if it’s different from the Peranakan museum in Malacca) 😀

So in the small lecture room at Level 1 there’s 3 corners:

  1. DRESS UP Corner where the young and even the adults could dress up in the batik shirt or a sarong and kebaya. (Saw this group of adults and kid where they dress up in sarong and kebaya and takes lots of photos).
  2. READING Corner where you could read a book with your kid to know more about Peranakan culture and celebrations.
  3. ART & CRAFT Corner where you could make your own frame inspired by grand portraits.