Monday, 23 November 2015

Auto 2 by David Wailing

Whilst Auto 2 follows Auto, it is more of a linear story as opposed to Auto 1's individual stories only tying-in in retrospect.

Auto 2 follows the stories directly from the first book with the distinct chapters telling the story from different character's viewpoint.

Joanna has lost Greg but nobody knew they were seeing each other.  Her sister, Siobhan, has come to stay with her own problems.  But there's an even bigger problem on-line.

I love these stories set in the early 2020s.  Seeing the youngsters in work tapping on their social media makes me think of how things will be just 5-7 years down the line.  In fact whilst reading this book on my kindle, I had to leave the house to go fetch a curry and made sure I synced it on my phone so I could read it whilst waiting for my order.  Each little thing makes me wonder how historical the Auto series will become.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

The Journal of Reginald Perigar by David Haynes

This is a shortish story by the Master of Macabre David Haynes, but it's back in his smoggy London that he evokes so well.

Basil Jenkins is an old widower who likes to visit Jacques' Emporium to collect ever more exotic trinkets.  This time, Jacques has something a bit different for him.

Considering this book is about reading a book about chess, it is filled with creepy moments. I was drawn in from the off with wondering what was going to happen.

I love this author's works so much I refuse to read any synopses, so I rarely have any idea what's ahead.  To me, this makes the reading experience even more exciting, like Basil's anticipation as he returns home.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Mini Interview with Rosen Trevithick

This person has made me a junkie.  A chocolate junkie.  But now I cannot have any old stuff, it has to be hand-made with love and a bit of swearing.  And chocolate smeared everywhere, especially my cheeks from when I stick my face in the mixing bowl to make sure there's no waste.

So here's a few words from the dealer.

What’s Chocolate Making Adventures, and in what way is it about an adventure?

It’s a cookbook that teaches you how to make chocolate at home. By chocolate, I mean actual chocolate – the brown (or white) stuff. It’s not one of the many books where chocolate can only be made by buying some then melting it.
It’s an adventure in two senses. Firstly, developing the recipes was an adventure for me. I didn’t wake up one morning and think, “I know, I’ll type up my chocolate recipes and publish them”. I had to develop each one individually, trying out every kind of cocoa butter, sweetener and milk product until I was 100% happy with the results. Two forms of chocolate – milk and white – took months to perfect. It’s also an adventure in the sense that the book sets the reader on a journey with endless possibilities. Once you learn how to make chocolate, you will want to do it again and again, creating all kinds of variations.

You got members of the public to test recipes for you. Did that really make a difference?

Absolutely. No matter how hard you try and follow a recipe to the letter, when you’ve written it yourself, it’s impossible not to fill in any gaps. Invaluable recipes testers such as yourself drew attention to parts that needed tweaking and further information.
The recipe testing programme also threw up issues such as to only use full cream milk powder, which I would have never arrived at without people trying unexpected permutations.
Thank you so much for testing so many recipes, Joo. I really appreciate it.

How do you respond to allegations that your methods mirror those of a drug dealer?

Admittedly, there are some similarities between hooking vulnerable people onto addictive drugs, and sending out small samples of cocoa butter by post. Had I known so many would rush out and buy further cocoa butter by the sack load, I’d have bought shares.

Chocolate Making Adventures: Create Your Own Chocolate by Rosen Trevithick

I was told this is one of the only books to show you how to easily make your own chocolate from raw ingredients.  I didn't really believe it, but on having a look online, it's true, there is very little information on actually making your own chocolate.  There's plenty of books and websites on how to melt chocolate to make new shapes but that's not this book's main selling point.

The book starts out with info on chocolate, then has the main recipes on how to make dark, milk and white chocolate basics.  

I volunteered and got involved with a facebook group to test out the recipes.  I am normally someone who avoids spending too much time in the kitchen, but I soon got addicted.  The ver first time I tried following the first recipe I didn't have a clue and didn't have half the proper tools for the job.  I had no idea whether I was doing things correctly as I didn't know how the ingredients would react.  Then I had to do it again and again and again as I wanted to get better.  My colleagues like my new hobby as there I make far too much chocolate for me to eat.  They always asked what liqueur I used, but it's just honey.

There are also recipes for the insides.  My particular favourites are peppermint creams and the clotted cream mousse.  Sometimes I'll make my own chocolate for the outside and sometimes I'll melt a cooking chocolate to make things easier.  None of the recipes have loads of ingredients.  They are really simple.  I do advise on reading the recipe thoroughly beforehand, especially whether to use teaspoons or tablespoons.  One recipe said up to 6 teaspoons of honey.  I used 4 tablespoons!!!

There is a lot more info and help in the book such as troubleshooting, alternatives to recipes, what ingredients and moulds to use.

As a whole book, this one seems to cover everything you need to know about making chocolate (and a note on how to best enjoy chocolate)  Be warned, it's addictive.  I am awaiting more moulds so I can make even more chocolates.
Here are some photos of my creations.

Monday, 9 November 2015

The Complex by Toby Zara

From reading the sample, I was hooked and wanted to read more.
This is a great little story introducing us to the character of Abigail who has no family and joins the space army.  She has special talents so immediately gets transported to a special unit.

Whilst this is aimed at young teens, I thought the premise was good and liked the technology in this sci-fi-lite story.  

This is a shortish book for me, but I presume plenty long enough to keep a teenager interested without boring them.

I look forward to finding more out about Abigail.