Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The House on Tradd Street - Karen White

Ah, a day off. Time to get laundry done, and make those cupcakes I've wanted for two weeks now, but have been afraid to try. Cause of the finger. But we have a new mixer now, a nice fancy one, so hopefully all goes well, when I get around to it. Also, I'm expressing my nerdy-ness by playing Star Wars Galaxies, a game which Mike got me into. Woohoo.

Anyways, last night, as for several nights, I've been experiencing insomnia. Didn't get to sleep till 4, and even then it was restless, fitful sleep. With odd dreams. But, on the plus side, I was able to finish a book (with my new LED book light, which is awesomely bright).

That book was The House on Tradd Street by Karen White. I've never read anything by her, and I just happened to pick up the book off the steps. My mom bought it on Amazon as part of their, "You bought this, so you'd probably like this" feature.

At first, I thought I was going to hate it. The main character is basically a Sandra Bullock type character. Single, almost 40, up tight successful business woman. And of course as skinny as a rail and can eat donuts without repercussion. Bah. But I stuck to it, because it gives me an ugly feeling to start a book and never finish it. I STILL think about a book I gave up on YEARS ago. But anyway...

The basic premise of the book is that this woman, Melanie, inherits this house from a man who's grandfather was a friend of her grandfather. Its an old house, which is what Melanie specializes in selling in the real estate world. But she hates old houses. Why? Cause she can see and talk to ghosts.

Before you scoff, she tries to hide this fact. And it's not overly ridiculous, like trying to watch the show Ghost Adventures or any number of shows like that. Every once in a while, throughout the book, she'll see someone no one else can see. But she tries to ignore it.

But she can't once renovations begin on this house she inherits. There is this long mystery attached to the house and the family, and all sorts of moving parts and whatnot.

What Karen White does well is creating this long line of suspense. Pretty much through most of the book, you're turning pages thinking "what'll happen?" You're just waiting for the break in the story, and for the characters to finally solve the mystery.

And part of my loves this book because I've always wanted an old house with mystery and intrigue so I could solve the ancient stories of the house. No such luck, yet...

Cons of the book: Melanie seems to have a turning point at the end of the book with another main character, Jack, who she keeps at an arms length through the whole book, but whom the reader is charmed by. But the publishers make the mistake of putting in the first few pages of a companion novel at the end, and she's right back to being her normal, stuck up self. So that was disappointing.

Also, there's another male character who you know is up to no good through the entire novel. And you except this big blow out. No. Only a punch in the jaw, and it's all over. I wanted an explosion. And the only explosion you get is one that crosses the line from mild fantasy elements to a full-blown spiritual spectacle, that I had a hard time accepting, because it was, shall we say "too easy."

But overall I'd say this book was pretty good and worth the read. Not all the characters are lovable, but at least she had the right frame of mind to put in a cute little fluffy dog, which no one can resist.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Story and Butter Chicken

It's been almost two weeks since my cooking accident. While trying to use an emulsion blender to mix butter and sugar for strawberry cupcakes (i already broke our mixer at this point) I stuck my finger in it to scoop out the butter and accidentally turned the thing on and got my finger stuck in the blade. I had to ride in an ambulance to the emergency room so they could get the blade out, and ended up with four stitches. I got the stitches out last week, and I'm still wearing this plastic thing over my finger to protect it, and I can't bend it.. yet. So right now, I have a fear of mechanical spinning blades.

But anyway, as I have not written in a while (finger makes it difficult... left index to be exact) I'll write about the kitchen success I had last night to balance out my finger accident.

Last night, after much searching, I found a recipe for Butter Chicken- Americanized. Apparently most butter chicken comes as an indian recipe with lots of curry, and this one doesn't have any of that.

It was super easy to make. You just take a couple of chicken breasts, soak it in egg, and coat it in a mixture of buttery crackers (I used wheat ritz crackers), garlic salt and pepper. I have this seasoning kit from Little Ceaser pizza kits, one of which is Garlic Pepper Pizzaz. Perfect for the mixture.

Then you put the chicken in the pan, and put little slices of butter around the chicken. Bake it for about 40 minutes on 375 and poof, delicious chicken that my very picky boyfriend enjoy, ate all of and took leftovers for lunch today! And I emerged from this cooking adventure with only a little burn on my finger from bumping the hot pan. Oopsy. haha. I can't leave unscathed.