Elizabeth Is Missing - Emma Healey

Elizabeth is Missing Emma Healey

Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey is the only book I haven't finished in a very long time - which made me annoyed with myself as it's actually quite a short book. I picked it up as part of my reading quest (25 before 25) and as part of the Amazon 3 for £10 deal as part of a crime/thriller binge and it turned out to be completely not what I expected - teaches me for not reading reviews eh? (I can't count this towards my 50 books as it will remain unfinished :( )
This was sold to me as a crime thriller - 'How can you solve a crime when you can't remember the clues?' and I didn't expect it to be anything less, until I read the first chapter and was introduced to Maud, who has dementia, who's friend Elizabeth has gone missing.
I did read the first few chapters - the premise is, Maud has left herself lots of notes reminding herself of things, and her best friend Elizabeth has gone missing, but no-one seems to want to help. The book is interspersed with flashbacks of when Maud's sister Sukey went missing decades ago and was never found.
I feel like a horrible person saying this, but I just didn't have the patience for this book. It is written from Maud's point of view, and thus includes everything she forgets - therefore the story is very slow and resets every so often as Maud's mind does. I found the writing was a bit hard to digest too, as I found it a bit too descriptive and floundery - yes, I know something is shiny and blue, I don't need another 4 descriptive words on top of that.
It is scary in that it makes you realise that dementia can happen to any of us, and just how terrifying it would be if it does. The ending of the book itself is quite predictable though - I admit I skim read the last chapter to see if I was right (I was).
This isn't to say I wouldn't recommend this book, you'll just have to have more patience than me!
Have you ever read this book? What did you think? Tweet me!

A sunday stroll in Princeton, New Jersey

Okay, I say Sunday stroll, I was actually here on work for two weeks, but only got to properly explore during the day on Sunday. We did go to lots of restaurants in the evenings though so I got to eat quite a few proper American meals.

After leaving our hotel, my colleague drove us in our rented car to the middle of Princeton (such a small, lovely town!) where we found a car park and hopped out. As it was a Sunday, nothing opened until 11 (the US has Sunday trading hours too :( though they were open later into the evening) so we grabbed a cup of coffee each in Small World Coffee.

Princeton seems to just have one main street for shopping, with a couple of squares jutting off. Nassau Street runs straight down the middle, with the town on one side and the university on the other.

Hugging our coffee tight (it was so cold!) we decided to explore the university until the shops opened. I was struck by how different all of the university buildings are - they are some of the oldest buildings in the US, but they all look entirely different - like they've been lifted from different pages of a history book. Quite a few looked like castles, and there was lots of ornate gates and arches to walk through, as well as lots of different coloured trees - even though we went in the dead of winter, there were still lots of green and red hues to greet us!

 There are quite a few university shops, a couple of book shops, LOTS of restaurants and loads of running shops! One especially caught my eye though and I proceed to spend the next 30 minutes looking around like a child in a sweet shop. Papersource is absolutely stunning!

We also went to a couple of 'malls' - one was an actual mall, like a very small Westfields and the other was a massive retail park - this is where I came across Target for the first time and fell in love instantly. Target has absolutely EVERYTHING. I honestly think I found my spiritual shopping home.

Have you ever been to Target or Princeton? What did you think? Tweet me!

What Alice Forgot - Lianne Moriarty

What Alice Forgot Lianne Moriarty

What Alice Forgot by Lianne Moriarty is yet another book in my quest to read 50 new books before I hit 25 and yet another book from a splurge on the Amazon 3 for £10 deal.

I hesitate to admit, but also yet another one that I didn't read the description of - I thought it would be a psychological thriller, but it's actually a quite frank book about life and romance, and how people change.
I did pick up a Lianne Moriarty book before (The Husbands' Secret), but I didn't like how it was written and gave up a couple of chapters in. This one however is nice and linear and easy to follow, so I'm glad I gave Lianne Moriarty another chance.

In short, Alice, 39, hits her head at the gym and forgets the last 10 years of her life. When she is released from hospital (having lied about remembering), it turns out she has three children, her and her perfect husband are divorcing, her sister hates her, and she's become rather skinny. Obviously, all of this is an alien world to the 29 year old with the perfect life she thinks she is. As the book develops, the younger Alice tries to correct everything she sees as amiss, with those around her thinking she is crazy - 'once you get your memory back, you'll see'. Predictably at the end of the book Alice does indeed remember everything that was a myth to her, and it is interesting to see how she reacts!
This book hit a bit close to home as at the moment for me, everything is absolutely rosy, but I have no idea where I'll be in 10 years or how life will change me. It is quite interesting to see the contrast of how much Alice has changed and has been shaped by life events.
This book is actually on the longer side, at around 500 pages, but I still managed to finish it in two sittings. I would definitely recommend it if you want an easy, well written book to get lost in.
Have you read any Lianne Moriarty books? What would you recommend? Tweet me!

Rocket Cookies

rocket biscuits

When I make this dough, I'm never quite sure if the results should be classed as cookies or biscuits. I'm going to go for cookies as I prefer it, but it doesn't really make a difference. Anyway, I digress. 

Basically, I had a load of left over royal icing and a new rocket cookie cutter, so this was the result! (If a couple are wonky, I blame James as he wanted to help. Also, the cookie cutter was 85p from one of those random 'does everything shops - see what you can find at yours!)

rocket cookie ingredients

For the dough:
You will need:
1 egg
100g butter
275g plain flour
100g caster sugar
Teaspoon of vanilla

For the decoration, you will need:
Red, orange, yellow, blue and silver royal icing. (For some reason, the silver was a right pain to roll.)
Black decorating icing tube

biscuit dough

Melt the butter, and mix in the sugar until creamy. Whisk in the vanilla and egg. Stir in the flour until the mixture comes together into a dough. Roll out on a floured surface and use a cookie cutter to cut the shapes. Place on a baking tray in the oven at about 140 degrees and bake until light golden for 8-10 mins. (Below is pre oven - just showing you that you can get 15+ cookies from this recipe).

Roll out the silver icing on a surface dusted with icing sugar, Cut out rocket shapes and add to the cookies. I find a mixture of water and icing sugar, brushed over the top helps.

Roll out the blue icing and cut circles. Add these to the rockets and pipe black icing around the corners.

To get the flame effect, we rolled a long tube of orange, a tube of red and a tube of yellow icing and then twisted these together to get a marble effect. We then rolled this out and cut out the flame shapes.

rocket cookies

Tada! Some super cute and tasty rocket cookies! 

I'd love to see any cool cookies that you've made! Tweet me!

Moriarty - Anthony Horowitz

Moriarty Anthony Horowitz
Moriarty by Anthony Horowitz. Yet another drop in the ocean of my 25 before 25 quest.
I didn't pick this up in the Amazon 3 for £10 - James actually got it in Waterstones (almost full price, shock, horror!) but I think Amazon have since added it, so I'd definitely advise you to pick it up!
Oh, Moriarty. Where to start? I really really loved this book, right up until the final couple of chapters, and then I felt sad and tricked. I won't say what happens as it will ruin what is an extremely compelling book, but I definitely didn't see it coming, and I'm one of those people that always guesses the end of books.
 Everyone I know that has read this loved it, and I have a long line waiting to borrow my copy. I haven't read much Anthony Horowitz since I read all of the Alex Rider books when I was at school, and I definitely think this has made me reconsider - once my book pile runs out I may replace it with more of his adult work - he's not an extremely well regarded author for nothing!
I must say now, I read this because it was another Sherlock Holmes novel - on the cover it says 'Sherlock Holmes is dead...' but obviously you assume after the Reichenbach Falls he survived right? I'll let you read it and find out - you actually forget about Sherlock Holmes by half way through as there is so much going on with the character that are the focus of the book.
In short; Moriarty is also dead after the incident at the falls, and an American crime boss is moving into London to fill the hole he left. The UK police force are in tatters having relied on Holmes for most of their cases, so haven't really don't anything to curb him. A private detective from a US firm follows this crime boss over, and joins a detective in the police force who studied Holmes' methods meticulously. They team up and try and take the crime boss down...
Have you read Moriarty? Have you got any Anthony Horowitz books to recommend? Tweet me!