Monday, 26 June 2017

Book ~ "Early Autumn" (1980) Robert B. Parker

From Goodreads ~ A bitter divorce is only the beginning. First the father hires thugs to kidnap his son. Then the mother hires Spenser to get the boy back. But as soon as Spenser senses the lay of the land, he decides to do some kidnapping of his own. 

With a contract out on his life, he heads for the Maine woods, determined to give a puny 15-year-old a crash course in survival and to beat his dangerous opponents at their own brutal game.

Spenser is a private detective in Boston and has been hired to protect Paul, a fifteen-year-old, who is in the middle of a custody battle between his parents, Patty and Mel.  Neither parent really wants him but neither wants to let the other parent have him.

To protect Paul, Spenser takes him in and helps him mature by teaching him boxing, exercise and weight-lifting and together they build a cabin.  In the meantime, Spenser has to figure out how to get Paul's parents to back off and leave Paul alone so he can figure out what kind of life he wants.

This is the seventh in the Spenser series (there are currently 46, with the last six written by Ace Atkins after Parker's death in 2010).  I've read many over the years (and have enjoyed the series) and have started reading them from the beginning of the series.

I liked the writing style ... I find it humorous at times.  Spenser is a tough guy with a wisecracking sense of humour.  Though this book was written and is set in 1980, it didn't seem as dated as the earlier ones.  It's written in first person perspective in Spenser's voice.  As a head's up, there is swearing.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Book ~ "Until it Fades" (2017) K.A. Tucker

From Goodreads ~ Twenty-four-year-old truck stop waitress and single mother Catherine Wright has simple goals: to give her five-year-old daughter a happy life and to never again be the talk of the town in Balsam, Pennsylvania: population two thousand outside of tourist season.

And then one foggy night, on a lonely road back from another failed attempt at a relationship, Catherine saves a man’s life. It isn’t until after the police have arrived that Catherine realizes exactly who it is she has saved: Brett Madden, hockey icon and media darling.

Catherine has already had her fifteen minutes of fame and the last thing she wants is to have her past dragged back into the spotlight, only this time on a national stage. So she hides her identity. It works.

For a time.

But when she finds the man she saved standing on her doorstep, desperate to thank her, all that changes. What begins as an immediate friendship quickly turns into something neither of them expected. Something that Catherine isn’t sure she can handle; something that Catherine is afraid to trust.

Because how long can an extraordinary man like Brett be interested in an ordinary woman like Catherine ... before the spark fades? 

Catherine is a 24-year-old single mother working in a truck stop and barely getting by financially.  She is driving home from a disastrous blind date one night when she comes across an accident.  The driver is dead but she is able to pull the passenger out of the car before it explodes into fire.  Because the passenger turns out to be a professional hockey player named Brett, there is a lot of media attention.  Catherine had been part of a scandal in the town when she was seventeen and doesn't want to draw attention to herself or her daughter.

When Brett meets Catherine to thank her for saving her life, they become friends and then more.  But Catherine's life is very different Brett's.  She's living paycheque to paycheque with government assistance.  Money and media attention has never been an problem for Brett since he is a hockey player whose team is in the playoffs.

I've read a few books by this author.  This is a departure of style for her (not as intense) and I liked it.  I liked the story and the writing style.  It's written in third person perspective with a focus on Catherine.  As a head's up, there is swearing and adult activity.

I liked the characters.  Catherine has had to endure some hardships ... raising her daughter as a single mother with very little money.  She had just gotten back to having a relationship with her family (there was a riff because of the scandal seven years ago).  Despite having a privileged childhood (his mother is a famous actress) and now being a star hockey player, Brett wasn't pretentious or annoying.  He seemed pretty down to earth and valued honesty.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Toronto Craft Beer Festival, Toronto, ON

This afternoon I went to the Toronto Craft Beer Festival, which was sold out.  I'd bought an early bird VIP ticket in January ($45 rather than $55) which provided early entry (noon rather than 1pm), a separate entrance, access to the VIP area (dedicated bathrooms, occasional trays of fruit and veggies, etc.), a six-ounce sampling glass, ten sampling tokens (sampling tokens were $2 each).  Regular tickets were $30 and you got a sampling glass and five sampling tokens.  It was the first time I'd been to this festival (it was its second year).


It was held yesterday and today at Ontario Place (from from 1pm 'til 10pm today).

The water levels are still high from all the rain we've had

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Book ~ "Enforcing the Paw" (2017) Diane Kelly

From Goodreads ~ When a case of he-said/she-said turns criminal, it s up to Megan Luz and her devoted K-9 to dig for the truth.

A TAIL OF TWO LOVERS 
When relationships go south, some people just can't or won't let go. When Fort Worth Police Officer Megan Luz and her pawed partner, Brigit, investigate a series of stalking incidents involving a couple who recently broke up, their detective powers are put to the test. Is this a case of a controlling creep who refuses to accept rejection or one about a woman scorned whose fury has been unleashed? 

WHO END UP IN THE DOGHOUSE?
As hostilities escalate between the former lovers, the situation goes from romantically dysfunctional to downright dangerous. He insists his former flame has become a crazy ex-girlfriend intent on vengeance. She alleges that he is a master of manipulation and lays blame entirely at his feet. Who s the culprit and who s the victim? Can Megan and Brigit sniff out the truth ... before somebody ends up dead?

Megan is a police officer in Fort Worth, Texas.  Her partner is Brigit, a German Shepherd.  The majority of their job is patrolling the streets and responding to calls.

They get a call from Adriana that someone has thrown a brick through one of her windows and she suspects it was her ex-boyfriend, Ryan, because he hasn't gotten over their break-up.  When Megan goes to Ryan's apartment, she discovers evidence that makes her suspect that it was indeed Ryan.  But Ryan says it's Adriana who is the crazy one and is trying to frame him.  Both make a strong case and Megan doesn't know who to believe.  As things happen and the situation escalates, Megan bounces back and forth thinking it could be either one of them.

In the meantime, Megan and Brigit are also trying to track down a thief who disguises himself in hospital garb, robs convenience and gas stations and only steals grape suckers.

I've read many books by this author and I liked this one.  Though it's the sixth in the Paw Enforcement series, it can work as a stand alone and you don't have to read the others to know what's going on (there is enough background provided).

I liked the writing style ... it was amusing at times.  It is written in first person perspective from Megan's point of view and third person perspective from Brigit's point of view (which is funny) and the Devoted One's perspective.  As a head's up, there is swearing.

I like Megan.  She's gotten more confident as time goes on.  Brigit funny and likeable and it's fun to get into her head.  Though she is a trained police dog, she can be naughty when she wants to be (especially if there are treats or squirrels involved).

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Book ~ "Mad Dog: The Maurice Vachon Story" (2017) Bertrand Hebert and Patric Laprade

From GoodreadsWho was Maurice the man and who was Mad Dog the character? 

Maurice “Mad Dog” Vachon was a gold medalist, a pro-wrestling legend and a pop culture icon - but he was also a son, husband and father. "Mad Dog" explores Vachon’s career and personal struggles with painstakingly detailed historical research and through both Maurice’s own recollections and those of the people who knew him best. 

As a young man, Maurice could have chosen a dark criminal path but then wrestling and family changed him. Chronicling his slow but steady rise to prominence across America and internationally in some of pro wrestling’s most important territories, this in-depth biography shows how Vachon’s life came to be defined by the words of Mark Twain: “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” Fiercely proud, motivated, and supremely talented, Vachon’s story is also the amazing tale of how a lifelong make-believe heel became a real-life hero outside of the ring.

Maurice "Mad Dog" Vachon (1929 − 2013) was a Canadian professional wrestler.  He started his career as an amateur wrestler, participating in the 1948 Summer Olympics and winning a gold medal at the 1950 British Empire Games.

Vachon eventually made the switch to professional wrestling and spent time in various promotions in the Canada and the United States and occasionally teamed with his brother, Paul.  He was one of the all-time great heels, known for his wild style and intense interviews.

Vachon retired from wrestling in 1986 and got involved in various things such as owning a chain of restaurants bearing his name, hosting a children's show and as a commentator at wrestling matches. In 1987, he was struck by a hit-and-run driver, resulting in the amputation of one of his legs.  Over the years, his health declined and he ended up with dementia.

I like reading bios and thought Vachon's story would be interesting.  I was into watching wrestling as a kid and recognized his name.  Over the years, he was influential in helping the careers of many famous wrestlers such as Roddy Piper and Hulk Hogan.  His personal life story was also interesting ... he was married three times and had six children he didn't get to see much because of his career.  Despite his crazy wrestling persona, it sounds like he was fiercely loyal to his family and friends.

There is a lot of detailed information about Vachon's career and it's obvious the authors spent a lot of time researching.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Topbox - June 2017

My June 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 ...


Total value = $30.15 value

Denny’s, London, ON

I had lunch today at Denny's in London.  It's attached to a rest stop on Highbury Avenue S, just south of the 401.


I ordered Baked Lasagna.  I love lasagna and this was just okay.  The noodles were overcooked and there was too much sauce.

Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites London, London, ON

I spent last night at the Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites London on Wellington Road South.  I've stayed here a couple times over the years.

Lobby

Here is my suite ...

A wet bar, including a mini fridge, is to the right
when you walk in