#Bookcook – Giant Donut Cake – I Kill Giants by Joe Kelly, J.M. Ken Niimura

Synopsis

Barbara Thorson, a girl battling monsters both real and imagined, kicks butt, takes names, and faces her greatest fear in this bittersweet, coming-of-age story called “Best Indy Book of 2008” by IGN.

Have you come to battle your demons, Barbara has, and I know I have? Oh wait, this is cake. Nope, no slaying of anything but a slice of this cake. So come with me on an epic and emotional heroes journey whilst slaying this bad-ass donut shaped cake from Epicurius.

I Kill Giant is a graphic novel based around a child slaying demons and giants. It is emotional and wonderful. You simultaneously cheer Barbara on and want to grab her into a huge hug. There is no thing as giants, right?


Giant Vanilla Donut Cake

Recipe from Epicurius.

INGREDIENTS

YIELD Makes 1 (23 cm/9 in) cake

  1. Cake:
    • 230 g (8 oz/2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
    • 230 g (8 oz/1 cup) caster (superfine) sugar
    • 4 medium eggs
    • 230 g (8 oz/1 3/4 cups) sifted self-rising flour
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • Pinch of salt
    • 2 tbsp whole milk (if needed)
  2. Pink vanilla bean icing:
    • 500 g (1 lb 2 oz/4 cups) icing (confectioner’s) sugar
    • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
    • 50 ml (2 fl oz/1/4 cup) full-fat (whole) milk
    • Pink natural food coloring
  3. Giant sprinkles:
    • 100 g (3 1/2 oz) fondant icing (shop bought is fine)
    • Natural food coloring in pastel blue, yellow, pink and lilac
  4. Special Equipment
    • 23 cm (9 in) savarin ring tin (mold)

Cake in all its glory. Photo from epicurious.com

PREPARATION

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF/Gas 4) and liberally grease the savarin tin (mold) with butter.
  2. Put the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and whisk until pale and fluffy.
  3. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, adding a spoonful of flour with each egg. Gently fold in the rest of the flour, baking powder and salt, trying not to overwork it. Add the milk if it seems stiff.
  4. Place the mixture into the cake tin and bake in the oven for 25–30 minutes, or until skewer or cocktail stick inserted in the centre should comes out clean. Leave to cool before transferring to a wire rack.
  5. Place the icing sugar, vanilla bean paste and half the milk into a bowl and stir.
  6. Gradually add the rest of the milk, while mixing, until you end up with a smooth mixture. Add a drop of pink food coloring. Mix together and set aside.
  7. To make the giant sprinkles, divide the fondant into 4 even pieces and color each one with each of the shades of food coloring.
  8. Using the palms of your hands, make small sausage shapes of around 1 1/4 cm (1/2 in) width with each of the colors. With a sharp knife, cut 3 cm (1 1/4 in) lengths from each sausage shape to make giant sprinkles.
  9. Turn the cooled cake out onto a stand or dish. Give the icing a quick stir then pour it over the cake. Be quick and confident with it—you don’t want it to begin to set before you’ve finished covering the cake, otherwise lumps will form. If the icing seems too thick, warm it up a little either in the microwave for a few seconds or in a pan on a low heat.
  10. While the icing is still damp, press the fondant sprinkles onto the cake in a random formation.
  11. Let the icing set before slicing up to serve!

Clashing Perspectives – The Beach by Alex Garland

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You ever look back at something you read 15 or 20 years ago and have that “A-Ha” moment.

Not the ridiculously good band from the eighties A-Ha (see above), but the mind-altering epiphanic moment when you realize that a plot point that was salient to the whole freaking novel zoomed right the hell over your head. Yup, I had one of those.

I read this book when I was right out of high school and entirely in love with the idea of a wild wonderland. A paradise filled with gorgeous people and no responsibility. I wanted to see, do, and experience that life. I still do now. However, those ideas are now tempered with age, trust, and hopefully, some integrity.  I think in the end, the soundtrack sealed it for me. Does anyone still like the group VAST? They are one of my favorites still to this day because of that movie. From that moment on I set out to read the book “It will change my life,” I thought. Maybe I could eternalize a little of this wild abandon that I so desperately yearned for.

After discovering a seemingly Edenic paradise on an island in a Thai national park, Richard soon finds that since civilized behavior tends to dissolve without external restraints, the utopia is hard to maintain.

Plot summary – goodreads.com

The problem was that when I read the novel, I was left unsettled and feeling dirty. It felt like someone had taken my brain and used it to scour pans for an afternoon. The book was like a beautiful Honey Crisp apple sitting on a shelf, but when you cut into it,

“Trust me, it’s paradise. This is where the hungry come to feed. For mine is the generation that travels the globe and searches for something we haven’t tried before. So never refuse an invitation, never resist the unfamiliar, never fail to be polite & never outstay the welcome. Just keep your mind open and suck in the experience— And if it hurts, you know what? It’s probably worth it.”

― Alex Garland, The Beach

the apple had a rotten core filled with maggots. It had not lived up to my fantasies. I felt cheated and weak.  What was actually weak, was my perspective and understanding of life beyond my hometown at the time.  “The Beach” has nothing to do with paradise, but the outlook on what actually constitutes a paradise, the darkness in people, and the lengths of which one would go to protect it.  It is a smart book, and subtle in its narration.  Its overall gravitas was not something I could appreciate at the time, but it is something that I can look back on now and understand.

One of the key things that garland does it keep the undercurrents flowing within the language of the everyday life of the travelers. He describes the day to day tasks that they need to accomplish; Fishing, farming, and partying. While subtly hinting at the darker parts of the characters psyches. Reminds me of a much less ham-fisted and more eloquent “lord of the Flies,” but for a much older audience.  In the end, the characters are scarred both mentally and physically.

“The first I heard of the beach was in Bangkok, on the Ko Sanh Road.” ― Alex Garland, The Beach

If you are looking for a book that tears you up inside a bit, look no further. It is worth the second read, especially if you have some life experiences behind you.

The Five W’s Book Tag

Books In Library
image courtesy of http://www.techcrunch.com

The Five W’s Book Tag

What a fun tag. I found this over at Thrice Read and loved the idea. So here we go.

WHO | WHO IS AN AUTHOR YOU’D LOVE TO HAVE A ONE-ON-ONE WITH?

Seanan Mcguire. There are a lot of wonderful authors out there. But, I have consistently loved her books, both Mira Grant, and as Seanan Mcguire and I think she would be a fun person to talk to.

WHAT | WHAT GENRE/STYLE DO YOU MOST OFTEN GRAVITATE TO?

Probably Science Fiction and Graphic Novels at the moment. But I do love fantasy as well. Most books have merit one way or another.

WHERE | WHERE DO YOU PREFER TO READ?

In Bed or bathtub. Gives me an excuse to take long baths.

 

WHEN | WHAT TIME OF DAY DO YOU PREFER TO READ?

All freaking day.

WHY | WHY IS YOUR FAVOURITE BOOK YOUR FAVOURITE BOOK?

That is an outstandingly hard question to answer. I think the Saga series really stands out for me right now. I have never been so shaken by writing in a graphic novel. It is superb.

BONUS: HOW | HOW DO YOU GO ABOUT SELECTING WHAT BOOK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I check my multitude of lists. Hey, everyone has neurosis. Find one that looks tasty and go for it.

 

Review of Zombies Hate Stuff by Greg Stones

 

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Image courtesy of goodreads.com

Who doesn’t like a good zombie yarn?

 

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Zombies hate Hippies. http://www.gregstones.com

 

Although I don’t fall in with the shambling masses, I have read World War Z ten times. Zombies can be scary or an interesting sociological construct like how they were written about in World War Z. But this fell seriously flat. I am not sure why this is a book? It has eighty or so words, and although the pictures are funny or ironic, once you “read” through the book the first time the reader is not coming back for seconds. There is no need to buy it. I can see this being an ongoing webcomic, single serving chuckles. But that’s it. Hate to say it, but don’t waste your time.

 

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Yup. A whole lot of this. http://www.goodreads.com

 

 

Review of Gravel, Volume 1: Bloody Liars (Gravel, #7)

I have read a lot of Ellis over the years. A whole lot. The guy is prolific as hell and he has his fingers in a whole lot of pies. For me next to Neil Gaiman, 6498172he is my favorite graphic novelist and Transmetropolitan is absolute genius. Transmetropolitan is a Hunter S. Thompson fever dream.
This makes me very sad to say but this was just eh for me.  Ellis’s writing is always good, and graphically this is well done. Which is loads ahead of most writers, but the story was flat. I felt absolutely nothing for the protagonist. It was as if GI Joe became a magician and killed lots of people in creative ways. Even if Gravel is a badass, as a person or human or whatever he is, he will have downtime moments. He will have moments of humanity. If he sees a kitten the appropriate response to the said kitten is not to shoot it. This is kinda the vibe I got from the story. I wanted to like gravel but he lacked the hook that made me empathize or understand him at all. Plus, combat magician is kind of a thing in urban fantasy right now and sorry to say they did it better. Gravel reminds me of Dresden and John Constantine but without Dresden’s heart or Constantine’s swagger.
It’s still a decent read. I don’t think Ellis can put out anything terrible. He is like pizza, even when it’s sorta bad it’s still damn good. I just don’t think it’s one of his best. I’ll continue with the series if I come across them in the library but I think that is as far as it goes for me. Excuse me while I go hug my Dresden novels.

ARC – A Literary Tea Party by Alison Walsh

36227307I received a DIGITAL Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I absolutely love the ideas in this book. I am a book lover, but also a lover of the ideas and scenes in books. Cooking can be a great storytelling tactic. Everyone has to eat, and many memories can be shared over tea or scones, or scotch eggs for example. Recipes whose sole purpose is to transport you back to a specific scene in a novel that you found evocative is such a fantastic idea. Many of the recipes are from well-loved children’s’ books. This opens up such a wonderful opportunity to share something special with your child and make a memory. The recipes are easy to follow, and the pictures are lovely and well framed. The writing is concise and easy to understand. I thoroughly enjoyed the ideas and writing in this book and look forward to testing out some of these recipes with my own daughter when she is older. For now, I will have to make some Winnie the Pooh Hundred Acre Tea with her and watch the movies.

ARC – Burn Bright (Alpha & Omega #5) by Patricia Briggs

I received this as an advanced copy from Netgalley.com for an honest review.

 

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Image courtesy of goodreads

When I first started reading this novel I felt pretty strongly that the story could have stood a trim and be better served as a novella. The plot felt too small and specific to carry an entire novel. This may be because I haven’t read books 2, 3, and 4 of the series and I am not as familiar with the characters as some. However, Patricia Briggs is, in general, a fantastic writer. I am a rabid fan of the Mercy books and pretty much anything she writes in that world. I didn’t think it would be a problem coming into the novel a little out of sequence, and it wasn’t. This is how I felt for the first 100 pages or so. It slogged a bit and the characters and setup just didn’t gel. Why is this plot important? Why do I care? What is the mystery that is trying to be solved? None of these questions came to much of a head till about 250 pages into the story. It is worth the wait. The climax of the story is absolutely worth the wait. But, I just don’t think this is one of her best books. It is heads above most writers out there, but all in all, it felt to slow for her normal pacing.