Sunday, 21 July 2019

Book ~ "I'll Be Watching You" (2019) Courtney Evan Tate

From Goodreads ~ Leah, a popular sixteen year old, is uncharacteristically apprehensive the night before her new school year begins. She decides to take a moonlight paddle at her divorced parents’ Florida beachside inn to take the edge off her anxiety. Moments later she vanishes in the water without a trace. The police assume death by drowning since sharks had been sighted nearby earlier in the day. They do a cursory investigation and that's it. The community comes out to give support but days later her mother Emmy is still wondering what happened to her beautiful daughter. And why is there no body?

In the days that follow, Emmy accidentally discovers pornographic images of her daughter on her laptop. Some appear to be selfies taken for someone else's pleasure. Others are clearly taken by a voyeur and sent to Leah. Shockingly, they reveal darkly tantalizing clues to an older man’s involvement. Emmy's heartbreak turns to deep rage as she sets out to unmask who this monster is who has stolen her daughter's innocence - and perhaps more. 

As her suspicion falls on various locals who, as unlikely as they may seem, may have lured Leah into risky, even deadly, behavior - the youth pastor, the long time resident in bungalow 3, his son who visits from New York - she trusts no one. Suddenly her once close knit community, itself its own paradise, has been invaded by evil, an evil that is still lurking in the shadows - one that she is determined to expose. 

Emmy and her 16-year-old daughter, Leah, live in the Florida Keys.  Nate, Emmy's ex-husband and Leah's father, lives in Phoenix but has a good relationship with both.  Emmy is running the inn that her grandparents, who had raised her, left her.  Emmy does well in school, is popular and has lots of friends.  On the night before school starts for another year, she goes for a night time paddle and disappears.  The police investigate and determine that she was the victim of a shark attack.

Unable to cope with daughter's death, Emmy closes the inn for a month so she can grieve.  That's when she discovers the daughter she thought she knew had a dark side.  Leah had been in a twisted sexual relationship with an older man and Emmy is determined to find out who he was to make him pay for taking advantage of her under-aged daughter.

This is the first book I've read by this author and, despite the subject matter, I liked it.  I liked the writing style.  It is written in first person perspective when it is Emmy's point of view and third person perspective when the focus is on others.  The first chapter is when Leah disappears in the water.  The chapters after that alternate between a month before her disappearance and days after her disappearance (they are marked at the beginning of the chapters) and this worked for me.  As a head's up, there is swearing and sexual activity.

There are a couple strong possibilities of who Leah was having a relationship with ... Derek who rents a cottage on the inn's property and is the father of Liam, one of Leah's best friends, or Hutch, the local pastor, who spends a lot of time with the local youth.  We don't find out until the end.

Rustic Cosmo Café, Toronto, ON

I had lunch today at Rustic Cosmo Café in Parkdale (on Queen Street W, just west of Dufferin Street), which isn't far from my 'hood.

I've walked by it about a million times over the years but have never stopped in.  For some reason, I thought it was just a coffee shop and I don't drink coffee.

I popped my head in today and discovered that they also serve food.

I ordered a BLT bagel (without lettuce) with homefries and a glass of milk.  The bagel was good.  It was toasted just right and was soft with a bit of crunch.  The homefries were really good.  They are apparently a family recipe and I could taste a fair amount of garlic (which I like).  I'd get this again.

Saturday, 20 July 2019

Smoque N’ Bones, Toronto, ON

Smoque N’ Bones (Queen Street W/Walnut Avenue) has been in my 'hood for about five years and I've been wanting to go ... I stopped in for supper this evening.  I sat at the bar.

I ordered Buttermilk Fried Chicken with a side of mac 'n cheese.  The chicken came with Carolina red slaw ... I'm not a fan of slaw so I put in a side dish.  The chicken was thighs and really good and tender (I took a piece home for breakfast tomorrow) ... it came with smoked sun dried aoili and BBQ sauce (I liked the BBQ sauce more).  The mac n' cheese was really good too ... there was a bit of a bite to it.  I'd get both again.

Get Bucked! A Downtown Hoedown, St. George by the Grange the Martyr - Courtyard, Toronto, ON

This afternoon I went to Get Bucked!  A Downtown Hoedown.

A day-long outdoor country cookout featuring a full Calgary stampede pancake breakfast in the morning and BBQ in the afternoon.

The sounds of live bluegrass and country music will play throughout the day in a warm and inviting outdoor venue on the edges of Grange Park.

All proceeds from this event will go to this year's two charities ... Regent Park School of Music and Street Health!

// FOOD //

🥞A Classic Calgary Stampede Pancake Breakfast ❄️☕️ courtesy HotBlack Coffee

🐖Afternoon POP-UP BBQ w Borobbq

// MUSIC // Four INCREDIBLE Local Country Bands and the Canadian PREMIERE of Vinyl Ranch

  •  Big Tobacco & the Pickers | (Classic Country / Toronto)
  • Nicolette & The Nobodies (Solo) | (Nu-Outlaw Country / Guelph)
  • The Hit Pickers | (Traditional Bluegrass / Toronto)
  • John Borra & Sam Ferrara | (Lo-fi Roots / Toronto)

// DRINKS //
  • Big Rock Brewery
  • Hey Y'all
  • Lonetree Cider
  • Eau Claire Distillery Caesars



This is a family friendly and fully inclusive event: EVERYONE IS WELCOME.

We're committed to accessibility. Please let us know if you have any accessibility needs.

We have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to racism, transphobia, homophobia, harassment, violence and general assholery.

No one turned away for lack of funds. Financial accommodations can be made for anyone on low or fixed income. Please contact us to plan for reduced and/or free admission.

I got there about 2:30ish.  It was a hot humid day and the cold beer from Big Rock (only $6!) was refreshing!

ZA Pizza Bistro, Toronto, ON

I had lunch today at ZA Pizza Bistro on Adelaide Street W (just west of John Street) ... it opened about a year ago.

Friday, 19 July 2019

Book ~ "Every Little Piece of Me" (2019) Amy Jones

From Goodreads ~ Ava Hart is the most reluctant cast member of a reality TV show based on her big city family's (mostly staged) efforts to run a B&B in small-town Nova Scotia. Every family has its problems but Ava has grown up seeing her family's every up and down broadcast on national television, after the show becomes an unexpected success for reasons that will take a heavy toll on the Harts. 

Mags Kovach is the charismatic lead singer of a struggling Halifax rock band hoping to be the Next Big Thing. For years she's managed to contain her demons and navigate the uglier aspects of being a woman in the music world but after a devastating loss, she turns her anger on the only person she can: herself.

As their private tragedies continue to set social media and tabloid headlines on fire, their every move subjected to an endless stream of public commentary, it will be their unexpected friendship that will save them. They will push back against the roles they've been forced to play, and take back control of something they thought they'd lost forever - the right to their own stories. 

It's 2009 and Ava is the eldest daughter of two married gay men ... she, her brother and sister were adopted.  When she was about 12, they were living in New York City.  Her dads receive and accept an offer for the family to be in a reality show ... they would be running a B&B in rural Nova Scotia!  What?!  Ava doesn't want to do it and does all she can to sabotage when they are filming.  She gets her wish when her younger sister, Eden, attracts the spotlight and Ava is able to blend more into the background.  She still resents having her family's lives constantly filmed and talked about on social media.

In the meantime, Mags and Sam are 15 and living in Halifax, Nova Scotia and dating.  Mags' mother had passed away a few years earlier and she is being raised by her alcohol and drug addicted older sister.  They have a falling out and Mags has nowhere else to go but to move (secretly) into Sam's family home.  Mags and Sam formed a band with a couple of friends with a goal of the big time.  Then Sam passes away at age 21 of cancer.  On the cusp of success, Mags turns to drugs and booze to help her with her grief so she and the band can carry on.

In 2014, Ava (now 18) and Mags (now 21) meet.  Both have their issues and their demons and they form a friendship because of their common bond of having to live and perform in the spotlight.

This is the second book I've read by this author and I liked it.  When I read the first chapter, which is when Ava and Mags first meet in 2014, it wasn't grabbing me and I wasn't too sure if I was going to get into the story.  But I kept going and I'm glad I did because I ended up liking it.  The first chapter is, as I said, when they meet, and then the story goes back in time to 2009.  The chapters alternate between Ava and Mags until present day, which is 2015.   Plus there are chapters of what social media said about them and their behavior.

I liked the writing style ... it's written in third person perspective with the focus on Ava and/or Mags.  I'm originally from Nova Scotia and live in Toronto, where the story at times takes place.  I'm not far from where Mags "lived" here in Toronto and am just east of Parkdale, where she "parties".  As a head's up, there is swearing.

The Burger's Priest, Toronto, ON

I had lunch today at The Burger's Priest on Queen Street W at Lisgar Street ... it opened about six months ago.  It's a small spot ... there is a ledge and four stools along the window and I ate in.

I ordered a double burger combo with mustard, ketchup and tomato.  The fries are freshly cut and were good (I'm not a big fan of fries).  The burger was tasty.  The patties were tender and flavourful and the bun was soft and just the right size.

Thursday, 18 July 2019

Jeff Lynne's ELO, Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, ON

When I heard a couple months ago that ELO was coming to town, I thought it would be a good concert to see.  I loved ELO back in the day (and still do!).  But then I kind of forgot about it.

Last month I found their 2017 Wembley concert on TV and watched it ... and loved it!  That inspired me to buy a ticket for tonight's concert.

Gord doesn't really know who they are and as it turns out, he's out of town this weekend starting tonight anyway, so I bought a ticket.  My seat was awesome ... I was one section to the left of the stage in the second row in the third seat.

Dhani Harrison, George Harrison's son, was the opening act.  Though I didn't know any of his songs, he was good.

At 9:15pm, Jeff Lynne and ELO came on.  Whoohoo!  Not surprising, it was an older crowd and everyone knew all the words to the songs!

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Book ~ "Dumped, Actually" (2019) Nick Spalding

From Goodreads ~ When Ollie Sweet is very publicly dumped by ‘The One’, his seemingly perfect world dissolves into misery, self-pity, and a bizarre rooftop meeting with a suicidal man in flip-flops. While most would seek out the support of loved ones at such a torrid time, natural-born journalist Ollie asks the subscribers of his website: how did they get over their failed relationships?

When Ollie follows some of their more extreme advice, chaos inevitably ensues, including accidentally exposing himself to some unsuspecting wildlife, jumping out of a perfectly serviceable aeroplane and suffering from an extremely painful bottom, courtesy of a maniacal Scotsman.

Of course, all of this goes down a storm with his online following, and Ollie soon finds himself the centre of everyone’s attention - whether he likes it or not!

With his eclectic collection of supporters to guide him, can Ollie mend his broken heart, heal his broken bottom, and learn to find happiness again? 

Ollie had it all planned.  He was taking his girlfriend, Samantha, to the opening day of an amusement park on her birthday.  They were going to be the first to ride an amazing roller coaster.  When they got off, there would be a jazz band playing and Ollie was going to get down on one knee and proposed to Samantha.  Well, things didn't go as planned including Samantha turning him down.

Ollie didn't see this coming and is heartbroken.  He just wants what his parents have ... the perfect loving marriage.  Ollie is a journalist for an online magazine and his boss suggests that he write about his experience and ask his readers how to move on.  He receives many emails and suggestions including get a makeover, go camping, find someone else, do meditation, skydive, etc.  Some suggestions he does use and these become the basis of his ongoing articles.  He is honest in the articles about his experiences and this begins to draw more and more readers and fans.

This is the fifth book I've read by this author and I liked it.  I liked the writing style ... it was funny and sarcastic.  It is written in first person perspective in Ollie's voice and it's as if he was speaking to me, the reader ("breaking the fourth wall").  The author is English and the story happens there so some of the references weren't common to me ... I had to Google what a Wendy House, for example, is.  As a head's up, there is a swearing and adult activity.

I look forward to reading other books by this author.

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Topbox - July 2019

My July Topbox arrived today.

For only $12 a month, you will receive a Topbox with 4 carefully selected, indulgent, beauty products. Then test the products in the comfort of your own home.

Here's what I received ...

  • Belif Aqua bomb jelly cleanser
  • Doucce Luscious Lip Stain (Passion Peach) 
  • Sf Peeling So Good SuperbHerb Peeling Pad
  • Kat Von D everlasting liquid lipstick (Vampira)
  • Monday, 15 July 2019

    Ipsy Glam Bag - July 2019

    My July Ipsy Glam Bag arrived this week.
    • 4 to 5 beauty products in a collectible makeup bag 
    • Monthly videos showing you how to get the Look 
    • Win free products in contests and giveaways

    Subscriptions are $10US a month or $110US for a year.  Shipping is free in the U.S. and $4.95US per month to Canada.

     Here's what I received ...

  • Make-up bag
  • DILLYDELIGHT Real Egging Pack 
  • PHASE ZERO MAKE UP Blusher (Making Moves)
  • BENEFIT COSMETICS Roller Lash Curling Mascara (Black)
  • GLAMGLOW Glowstarter Mega Illuminating Moisturizer (Nude Glow)