Archive for 2011

In My Mailbox #14 – Christmas edition

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren. It’s our opportunity to get a sneak peek into what books everyone is received for review, borrowed from libraries, bought in bookshops and downloaded onto eReaders.

First off, I’d like to wish everyone Happy Holidays! I hope you have a great time celebrating and I hope you all got some great books as well. :-) 

Here’s my haul for this week:

Slide and Touch of Power – e-ARCs from Netgalley
Ordeal by Innocence – Christmas present :-)

Downloaded for Kindle:

I’d like to say a massive thank you to both Blake Crouch and Talli Roland for letting us download their books for free! :-) Miracle at the Museum of Broken Hearts is still free on Amazon US and UK so if you like a good romance/chick-lit, feel free to check it out. Thanks Talli!

So, this is my IMM for this week. What did you all get in your mailbox or for Christmas? xxx

Review: Saving June – Hannah Harrington

Title: Saving June
Author: Hannah Harrington
Publication date: May 1st 2011
Pub: Harlequin Teen
ISBN: 978-037321-024-4
Pages: 336 (paperback)
Genre: YA fiction

Order from Amazon | Barnes &Noble | Indiebound

Everyone’s sorry. But no one can explain why.

Harper Scott’s older sister, June, took her own life a week before high school graduation, leaving Harper devastated. So when her divorcing parents decide to split up June’s ashes, Harper steals the urn and takes off cross-country with her best friend, Laney, to the one place June always dreamed of going—California.

Enter Jake Tolan, a boy with a bad attitude, a classic-rock obsession…and an unknown connection to June. When he insists on joining them, Harper’s just desperate enough to let him. With his alternately charming and infuriating demeanor and his belief that music can see you through anything, he might be exactly what Harper needs. Except…Jake’s keeping a secret that has the power to turn her life upside down—again.

Hannah Harrington’s story has completely and utterly left me speechless in every possible way. With its loveable and easily relatable characters and gripping plot, Saving June is guaranteed to leave a lasting impression on every reader.

With her elegant and captivating style, Harrington makes sure to get the readers’ attention from the very first page. In addition to the fact that I enjoyed the story itself most of the time, what made this book as good as it is was the writing style. The story is told by 16-year-old Harper, June’s younger sister who -for me – made this book worth reading.

It turns out soon enough that Harper is just a failure for the family, who’s always the second best, no matter what she does. She knew she’d never live up to her sister so she says, why should I even try? She’s fed up with always being compared to her sister, with living in her shadow so she turns into someone who has problems with showing her emotions and who’s angry all the time. For me Harper’s vulnerability was something that made her even more relatable. Another thing I really liked about her and her best friend Laney is their sarcastic and witty humour. If there’s one thing they have in common it’s definitely their sense of humour, which was right up my street because I’m quite sarcastic myself.

The plot itself is good – I wouldn’t say it’s the best story I’ve read this year but it’s certainly entertaining. What I found quite strange is that it’s supposed to be an emotional read -a girl making her dead sister’s last wish come true and all that. Still, this element didn’t really come through for me. I found myself thinking, they’re going on a road trip, how fun! And I thoroughly enjoyed everything they’ve been trough on their way to California, for all the wrong reasons. So to put it simply, except for the last 20-30 pages, the emotional aspect of the story didn’t really work for me – it was a fun read that leaves you wanting more, and there were times when I even forgot why they’re going to California and kept thinking, I don’t want them to go home yet!

If there’s one thing Harper taught me, however, it’s that we can’t live our lives in a shell forever. We need to experience things and push beyond our comfort zone even if we don’t want to or if we make a fool out of ourselves in the process.

If you’re looking for an exciting and entertaining read, I would definitely recommend Saving June. Whether or not you connect with the emotional side of the story, I’m sure you’ll have fun reading it. I certainly did.


Traditional Hungarian Christmas cake recipe

Since Christmas is almost here, I decided to jump on the bandwagon and share one of the most popular Christmas recipes with you – Hungarian style. :) If you would like to surprise your families with a special Christmas cake or you feel adventurous, give it a go – I can guarantee it’s delicious!

Poppy seed and walnut rolls (Beigli)

Ingredients for the dough (for 4 rolls)

◈ 1 kg white flour
◈ 200 g butter
◈ 150 g lard
◈ 80 g sugar
◈ 3 tablespoons of sour cream
◈ 1 egg
◈ 10 g fresh yeast, started in 1 dl warm milk
◈ pinch of salt

In one bowl, combine flour, butter, lard, sugar, salt, and crumble them together.In another bowl, mix together milk, yeast and egg. Mix until smooth.Pour the liquids into the solids, and knead until you get a smooth dough. Do not overknead! Stop as soon as the dough becomes uniform.Once the dough is smooth, divide it into 4 equal parts, roll them up into balls, cover with cling wrap and let them rest in the fridge for a couple of hours.

Ingredients for the filling for 4 rolls:

◈ 300-350 g ground walnuts OR 300-350 g of ground poppy seeds, depending on which roll you’re making (we usually make 2 rolls of each one)
◈ 150 g sugar (adjust to your taste)
◈ 2 lemons
◈ vanilla extract
◈ honey
◈ rum extract
◈ ground cinnamon
◈ 1 l milk

Mix the ground walnuts (or the poppy seed – whichever you are making) with the other spices in a saucepan, and add enough milk to make a thick paste. Add the zest (scraped off rind) and juice of one lemon.  Don’t make the filling runny, or it will leak out of the dough later. Heat the mixture slowly, stirring continuously and carefully to avoid burning! Set aside to cool. (Alternatively, you can mix the dry ingredients in a bowl and boil the milk separately, then douse the dry stuff with the milk. Just be careful to achieve a thick consistency.) Remember: each of the two types of filling (walnut and poppy seed) will fill TWO rolls, to make a total of four at the end. So divide your walnut filling into two portions and your poppy seed filling into two portions.

Once the dough has been well rested in the fridge, use a rolling pin to create an even rectangle of dough. The width should be the width of the cookie sheet in your oven and make sure the thickness is even. Now spread the filling on the rectangle of dough, making sure to leave a quarter of an inch free around the edges. Fold the edges over the filling and press down on all four sides and roll up the dough along the longer side. Make holes in the top with a fork to let steam escape. This will help to keep the rolls from splitting along the top. Spread egg yolk on the top of the beigli with a brush. Let it dry. Then spread egg white on top of the beigli. Let it dry.

Put the rolls on a cookie sheet covered with baking paper. Put them in a pre-heated oven at 200C for 15 minutes, then lower the heat to 190C, and bake until golden and the beigli are firm to the touch, which is approximately an additional 15 minutes. So total baking time should be around 30 minutes, but this of course depends on your oven, on the thickness of your beigli, etc. Once they are done, wait for them to cool before slicing and serving.

Do let me know if you decide to give it a go! :) And I’d like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas! :) See you after the holidays xxx

Waiting on Wednesday #4

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating. 

My pick for this week is actually available on NetGalley and I got the e-galley the other day. I don’t know when I’ll have time to read it, but I’m definitely looking forward to it. :)

My pick for this week:

Heft by Liz Moore
ISBN:  9780393081503
Format: Hardcover
Publication date: January 23, 2012
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company 
Add it on Goodreads

Former academic Arthur Opp weighs 550 pounds and hasn’t left his rambling Brooklyn home in a decade. Twenty miles away, in Yonkers, seventeen-year-old Kel Keller navigates life as the poor kid in a rich school and pins his hopes on what seems like a promising baseball career—if he can untangle himself from his family drama. The link between this unlikely pair is Kel’s mother, Charlene, a former student of Arthur’s. After nearly two decades of silence, it is Charlene’s unexpected phone call to Arthur—a plea for help—that jostles them into action. Through Arthur and Kel’s own quirky and lovable voices, Heft tells the winning story of two improbable heroes whose sudden connection transforms both their lives. Like Elizabeth McCracken’s The Giant’s House, Heft is a novel about love and family found in the most unexpected places.

What’s your “waiting on” pick this week? xxx

International giveaway (Mid-Winters Eve blog hop)

Hello and welcome to the Mid Winter’s Eve Giveaway Hop! :-) It’s almost Christmas time and what better way to celebrate the festive season than with a giveaway to my gorgeous followers?

That’s right folks! I will be giving away not one but TWO books to one lucky winner. And to make it even better, it’s open INTERNATIONALLY! Woo hoo! So, what are the books up for grabs, I hear you ask.

Well, author Karice Bolton is giving away two paperback copies of her books, Awakening and Legions. (click on the covers to check them out on Goodreads)

Sounds good?

Teaser Tuesday #9

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly event, hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. Anyone can participate, just make sure to read the rules by clicking here.

My teaser comes from Saving June by Hannah Harrington.
Page 18

“The whole time Laney watches me cautiously, like she’s afraid at any moment I’ll collapse on the kitchen floor in tears. Everyone has been looking at me that way all day.”

This quote is from an e-ARC therefore it might have been changed in the finished copy.

I actually haven’t had time to start this one yet because I have an exam tomorrow, but it sounds like a fantastic read, isn’t it? As always, feel free to leave a comment with a link to your own Teaser Tuesday post so that I can check out your current read as well. :)

Musing Mondays #10 – Recommendations

Musing Mondays is a weekly event hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. Each week MizB asks a book related question and bloggers answer with their thoughts about the given topic. This week’s musings asks:

Hohohoho, you know this one, right? :) Being a massive Agatha Christie fan, I always recommend And Then There Were None to everyone. Seriously, it’s incredible.

Ten…’ Ten Strangers are lured to an isolated mansion off the Devon coast by a mysterious ‘U.N.Owen’. 
‘Nine…’ At dinner a recorded message accuses each of them in turn of having a guilty secret, and by the end of the night one of the guests is dead.
‘Eight…’ Stranded by a violent storm, and haunted by an ancient nursery rhyme counting down one by one… as one by one… they begin to die. 
‘Seven…’ Which amongst them is the killer and will any of them survive?

How about you? What’s your pick? Feel free to leave a comment below with a link to your own Musing Mondays post or your answer. Have a nice day folks! xxx