Maureen Johnson vs. Stephanie Perkins

I finally finished my challange.  I was challenged by two friends, Eden and Anne, to read both 'Girl at Sea' bu Maureen Johnson and 'Anna and the French Kiss' bu Stephanie Perkins.  I won't say who's who, but one of my friends loves one book and hates the other; the other friend loves the book hated by the first.  Still with me?  So I took the challenge.  Still, why are these two books compared?  It's partially because something as simple as their back descriptions.  They are drastically similar.  Let me boil it down for you.  

Both books have a female protaginist in her last years of high school.  She has a kind mother and a weird crazy father.  Her parents are divorced.  Her crazy dad sends her away somewhere against her will and she is forced to leave a potential relationship with a cute boy back home.  She is miserable.  Until, of course, she meets a new boy at her undesirable location, making said undesirable location seem really really great.  Adventures happen, people are confronted, and love prevails even when a departure is inevitable.

I'll be honest, I enjoyed both books despite their similarity.  However, I did like Girl at Sea a bit more.  I'm not sure if this is because I read it first or it was simply a better book.  I do believe it is a tighter story and has much more adventure.  I would recommend both books though.  Anna and the French Kiss was cool to read since I have recently been to France and knew of the places they were talking about first hand.  Girl at Sea is more adventurous and Anna and the French Kiss is more about unrequited love.  Chose your poison.  Or, read both and tell me your opinion!

I am getting slightly behind on my goal, and the could be becouse of this non-fantasy trend of the books I'm choosing for my '25 books in a year' goal.  I'm really out of my element here with all this realistic fiction.  The next book on my list is not different.  We shall see, my extremely slow reading is not helping either.

In other news, I have stopped counting my 'CATS faces' because I simply do not have the time to make time to do that.  That does not mean I'm done with makeup design forever, just this year for the most part. 

Books read: 6

Katniss' Lamb and Plum Stew

I'm not much of a cook but from time to time I'll try something new.  If you're a fan of 'The Hunger Games' then you might enjoy this dish!

The video explaining how to make the dish is here.

What you'll need:

A stove top and a crock pot
1 large onion (you'll use 3/4 of it)
1 Tb olive oil
1 lb lamb (neck or stew meat) 2 tsp red wine vinegar 2 C of water 1 1/2 tsp brown sugar 10ish prunes (dried plums w/out pits) 3 or 4 large carrots 3 or 4 potatoes 1 stalk celery 1/2 large red bell pepper salt and pepper 1 Tb rosemary 1/4 tsp Cinnamon 1/4 C Flour 1/4 to 1/2 C prune juice

How to make it:

> Cut the lamb into pieces 
> Then cut half of the onion up 
> Pour the olive oil and the onions into the sauce pan, turn on the heat to medium low and stir till the onions are caramelized.
> Turn the heat to med-high. Add the meat and red wine vinegar.  
> Brown the sides of the meat quickly. Do not allow it to cook all the way through. 
> Once you're done, put it all into the crock pot. 
> Add the water, dried plums, brown sugar, rosemary, salt and pepper.  Keep it on low for 4-5 hours.  

Then read a book as you wait!

> Three hours before you are ready to eat, cut up the carrots, the potatoes, the bell pepper, 1/4th of the onion and the celery (optional)
> Add the cinnamon now as well (also optional) and the veggies. 

> When you are ready to eat, it is time to make the gravy. Measure out your prune juice.
> Then start to heat it in a small pot.
> In a second pot, suck up all of the juices from the stew and add flour in small amounts, then whisk it together. 
> Then add the now-boiling prune juice and some salt and pepper.
> Pour back in with the meat. Stir and serve. 

Recipe adapted from here.

Books Read: 6