Books #54

I know, it’s been awhile. Life kinda got busy. I wasn’t reading as much, then when I was I didn’t feel like writing. But I finally do, so here are a few of my favorites from this summer:

1 – Malorie by Josh Malerman

I read Bird Box when it first came out and it was chilling and terrifying in a way I wasn’t expecting. It gave me crazy dreams, it made me think about it for a very long time. The movie done for Netflix was pretty good, and I loved Sandra Bullock as Malorie.

The sequel was great. Time has passed, Malorie, Tom and Olympia have survived on their own for 17 years. But something finally makes Malorie want to leave their safe place and go out into the world.

It was really well written, had some creepy parts like the first book. It was a satisfying sequel/conclusion and I absolutely loved the ending.

2 – Some Choose Darkness by Charlie Donlea

I was a little on the fence at first. It felt like the author was trying to make the main character “weird” to just be weird, instead of developing her character fully. I hate when authors just make their characters one-dimensional, but “quirky”. However, the book got better and I didn’t mind Rory. She grew on me. The story itself was VERY good. I liked it, did not expect the twists and turns and enjoyed how it was wrapped up. I highly recommend it!

3 – The Suicide House by Charlie Donlea

It’s about an elite private prep school, in the woods of Indiana. Mysterious murders, followed by questionable suicides, and while the killer has been caught, many people don’t think he did it.

Very good. I liked the story a lot. It kept me guessing, well written, great characters, great mystery, unfolded well. Only pet peeve is the author’s writing style of repeating things. It gets redundant and annoying. He needs an editor. But if you can get beyond that, it’s a great book.

4 – Well Behaved Indian Women by Saumya Dave

Very good book. I liked the story and the writing and the characters. I liked that it tackled some big topics–arranged marriage, the woman’s “place”, free will, women making their own destinies. I enjoyed the intertwining stories of the mother and daughter, showing some parallels. The double standards bothered me a lot, which was probably the point, and maybe it’s cultural–as an American feminist I kept getting angry at the Simran’s fiance having a hissy fit about things she did, when he did the same things….(no spoilers). But alas, I liked the way the book went and how it ended. Would definitely recommend!

5 – Once You Go This Far (Roxane Weary #4) by Kristen Lepionka

I didn’t love the previous book and felt like it went on a little too long, but this book caught my attention right away and kept me guessing the whole time. It was a really fascinating tale about cults and how people try and get others out of them. And in this book, Roxane was in the wrong place at the wrong time, a brief encounter with another hiker who ended up falling to her death, that lead her to her new case.

Roxane is a great character, flawed but not annoyingly so, and the storytelling is almost always well done. I like that she is not the cliched private eye, that her family and love dramas don’t overtake the whole story. Book was fast paced and satisfying.

6 – The River by Peter Heller

I didn’t even read the blurb of this book when I got it at my library, just started reading it. And thought, “This reminds me of The River Wild movie” and then of course, the review says it’s a cross between Call of the Wild and The River Wild. 

Jack and Wynn are young and have been friends for years. They love the wilderness, camping, the water, fishing and literature. They are unattached and decide to canoe a river in Northern Canada. Despite the serene start to their adventure, they reach terrible life and death challenges pretty quick. A forest fire, surviving on the wild river, saving a woman who’s husband tried to kill her, they are racing against the forest fire and quickly losing control of the situation–and running out of supplies and food.

It’s a book about friendship, survival and the wild. It was a fascinating read! The author has a very unique writing style, which is not for everyone and takes a little getting used to, but I enjoyed. (I also recommend his other book “The Dog Stars”–about a flu pandemic that kills most everyone!)

HAPPY READING!

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Eats

I started eating walnuts last year. For awhile I was eating them as dessert. I’d have fresh berries, walnuts and whipped cream. It was a good lower carb option for dessert for me. I kinda stopped doing that for awhile, no idea why, but I wanted to revisit the idea of eating “real food” more often.

Walnuts, especially, are really good food you. They are the best nut you can eat. Better than almonds, much better than peanuts. And I’ve been finding that they are pretty filling! The downside is that like all nuts, they are pretty high in calories so I have to watch how many I eat!

Last week my lunches were:

Green and red leaf salad with:

Steak

Feta

Walnuts

Carrots

Raw Peppers

Cucumber

Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing

The salads were really filling and I felt good after eating it. I will be doing a variation of this for my lunches for awhile I think.

Last Friday night, Michael and I also tried a pre-made cauliflower pizza crust. I got it at Whole Foods. It was really expensive (like $5.99) for a small pizza (4 slices total). But I wanted to try it as an alternative to regular dough. (We usually use the Trader Joe’s dough for our homemade pizza nights.)

The good thing about the cauliflower crust pizza, it’s lower in calories and carbs. The bad thing? It’s a pain in the butt to make, time consuming and doesn’t always work well. We had a LOT of failures when we first tried making it ourselves.

So how was the Whole Foods Cauliflower pizza? Really good.

We topped it with cheese, pizza seasoning, pepperoni, olives, Mamas Lil Peppers and baked it a little longer than it suggested. It was crispy and delicious and had great texture.

The pizza was great but it’s NOT low carb. It’s actually pretty high in carbs. But it IS gluten free, so that’s good if you need that. It’s low in calories, which is nice. But it’s also small. (Four servings total, so enough for 2 people.)

I’d like to try Trader Joe’s cauliflower crust pizza next.

Amazon currently has a deal on the Kitchenaid Spiralizer and we got one! We are really excited to try it out.  The deal is really good, so check it out before it’s done. I planted one zucchini plant in our veggie garden this year and I’m looking forward to lots of zoodles.

Finally, in meal prep land — for lunches this week I made this beef and broccoli:

Here is the recipe:

I am looking forward to having this for lunch (I also added some kimchi to it for lunch). I skipped the rice, too.

(UPDATE: It was DELICIOUS!! So good and very filling. Did not need the rice at all.)

QUESTION: Try any good recipes lately?