Tuesday 22 August 2023

Popin' Cook'n Tea Party Cakes

This is probably the last Kracie Popin' Cook'n kit I'm going to do. While they can be fun to put together, they're pretty expensive, and some of them - like this kit - don't end up tasting that great.

In this kit you get several fruit and cake moulds, the cut off measuring cup, a mixing spoon, and all of the gelatin packets. It also comes with 2 small cookies to decorate.

I liked making the little moulded fruit. They looked good and tasted alright. The mix sets fast so you can only do one set of fruit even though there's enough gelatin for 2.

There was enough cake batter for me to make 2 of one style and one of the second. Which was nice, as otherwise the kit doesn't make that many cakes. They give a lot of suggestions for how to decorate the mini cakes, but there aren't that many, so you can only try a few designs. The mini icing bag was fun but the icing itself wasn't very good.

The cakes are cute, but weren't ones I'd want to eat again.

Of the kits I did, the Japanese food kit (with Ramune & mini bento/lunch foods) tasted the best.

Tuesday 8 August 2023

Book Review: Provenance by Ann Leckie

Pros: tons of politics!, several interesting alien species, excellent world-building

Cons: heavily character driven, so if you don’t like Ingray the book may be a slog

Ingray Aughskold has hatched a cunning plan to beat her foster brother and gain their mother’s notice - and perhaps be named her heir. Unfortunately for Ingray, that plan starts to unravel immediately as she discovers she’s broken the wrong man out of prison and it turns out her transport ship was stolen from aliens. Her life is about to change in many unexpected ways.

This is a heavily character driven story. I found Ingray intriguing, and wanted to know why she was making so many bad decisions. Seeing her owning up to her mistakes and try to make things right was satisfying. The side characters are also fascinating, with goals that often conflict with hers.

The world-building is excellent. Tyr Siilas station, the planet Hwae, the very alien Geck, and more recognizable but still alien Omkem. Each group has their own very different culture and language. One of my favourite parts of the book was towards the end where Ingray needs to use a translation software to help with a language she doesn’t know and it translates profanity as ‘fiddlesticks’ and complex phrases as near gibberish. Very realistic.

There’s a lot of politics in the book, which I loved. I find it fascinating seeing why people make certain decisions and how those decisions affect their world. It was especially interesting here as the politics crossed so many boundaries. Deeper purposes were constantly being revealed as Ingray learned more about what was happening and how the plans of others intersected with her own.

There are 3 (at least 3) genders, so be prepared for e/eir pronouns.

The book did feel a bit slow at times, I often have trouble maintaining interest in character driven books, wanting more plot to pick up the slack, but it was very enjoyable.