Monday, 24 April 2017

Book ~ "Grinder" (2009) Mike Knowles

From Goodreads ~ “You brought me back into this because you know what I am. I’m a grinder, I find out everything.” 

Bullets squared everything. Wilson left his old boss alive in exchange for a clean slate. Wilson held up his end of the bargain and stayed off the grid for two years. Two years of peace until a man came calling. The man brought a gun and a woman in his trunk. Thousands of miles from home, Wilson learns that the city doesn’t let go so easily. The city is more than bricks; it is a machine running on the blood of hard men and women. The hardest man in the city remembers Wilson and he will stop at nothing to get him back. 

A dangerous mobster’s nephews are missing and the only suspects are his lieutenants. Wilson is pulled back to once again work under the radar - to quietly find out who is responsible, so it can be settled with screams. Wilson is back to being what he was. He’s a grinder again. All bets are off and before he’s done - everyone will pay.

Two years ago, Wilson was working for Paolo, a mobster in Hamilton, ON.  He was a grinder ... he did what he had to do to get information out of people.  Some stuff went down and Wilson took off to start a new quieter life in Prince Edward Island.  He ended up getting a job on a fishing boat and kept his head down.  Two years later, two of Paolo's nephews have been kidnapped and he suspects it was done by someone within the "family".  Paolo sends for Wilson (not giving Wilson much choice) to find out who kidnapped his nephews.

This is the second (of six) in the Wilson series ... the first one apparently covers what happened two years ago that made Wilson run.  This is the first book I've read by this author and I liked the story.  It's the first time I've read a book set in Hamilton (I spent three days there a couple weeks ago).

It works as a stand alone ... though I haven't read the first one, there was enough information provided to get the gist of what had happened in it.  I'd like to read the first one to get caught up and then move onto the rest.

I liked the writing style.  It was blunt and to the point.  As a head's up, there is swearing and violence.  Despite his occupation and the characters he encounters, I found Wilson likable.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Trinity Bellwoods Park, Toronto, ON

It's a warm sunny day and Gord and I walked to Trinity Bellwoods Park.

We had a tree planted in the fall of 2011 in memory of our dog, KC, in the park and we visited it.

It's budding

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Book ~ "This Is a Book About the Kids in the Hall" (2016) John Semley

From Goodreads ~ This is a book about the Kids in the Hall - the legendary Canadian sketch comedy troupe formed in Toronto in 1984 and best known for the innovative, hilarious, zeitgeist-capturing sketch show "The Kids in the Hall" - told by the people who were there, namely the Kids themselves. 

John Semley’s thoroughly researched book is rich with interviews with Dave Foley, Mark McKinney, Bruce McCulloch, Kevin McDonald and Scott Thompson, as well as Lorne Michaels and comedians speaking to the Kids’ legacy: Janeane Garofalo, Tim Heidecker, Nathan Fielder and others. It also turns a critic’s eye on that legacy, making a strong case for the massive influence the Kids have exerted, both on alternative comedy and on pop culture more broadly. 

The Kids in the Hall were like a band: a group of weirdoes brought together, united by a common sensibility. And, much like a band, they’re always better when they’re together. This is a book about friendship, collaboration, and comedy - and about clashing egos, lost opportunities, and one-upmanship. This is a book about the head-crushing, cross-dressing, inimitable Kids in the Hall.

The Kids in the Hall is a Canadian sketch comedy group that formed in 1984.  I was a fan and watched their show in the late 1980s/early 1990s.  As such, I thought it would be interesting to read about them.

The book starts with the beginnings of the Kids and ends with what they are doing today (as of 2016).  In the 1980s, Mark McKinney and Bruce McCulloch were known as "The Audience" in Western Canada and Kevin McDonald and Dave Foley were known as "The Kids in the Hall" in Toronto.  When McKinney and McCulloch moved to Toronto, they connected with McDonald and Foley and the four become the Kids in the Hall.  Scott Thompson soon joined the group.

The Kids in the Hall performed regularly here in Toronto in the mid-1980s and eventually caught the eye of Lorne Michaels who helped them get their own show, which ran from 1989 to 1994.  When that ended, they made the movie Brain Candy and then went their separate ways and did various things.  They got back together years later and have done a short TV miniseries and some tours (Gord and I saw them on their 2015 tour).

It was an interesting book which The Kids in the Hall fans will enjoy.  It would have been nice to have some pictures of The Kids in the Hall throughout the years as the book is all text.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Nicey's Take-Out & Eatery, Scarborough, ON

I had lunch today at Nicey's Take-Out (Victoria Park Avenue/Morecambe Gate).

As its name states, it's a take-out restaurant.  There is a small table along the window and that's where I ate.

I ordered a jerk chicken dinner with rice and peas.  It was a heavy platter!  The rice and peas were good as was the chicken.  The chicken had a nice kick.  I wasn't fussy about the fried plantain but I'm not a fan of it anyway.

Nicey's Take Out Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Topbox - April 2017

My April 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 = $33.25 value

Ipsy Glam Bag - April 2017

My April Ipsy Glam Bag arrived today ... the theme is side show.
  • 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 ...

Total value: $32.86US (without the make-up bag)

Monday, 17 April 2017

Book ~ "Amazing Grace" (2015) Lesley Crewe

From Goodreads ~ Grace Willingdon has everything she needs. For fifteen years she’s lived in a trailer overlooking Bras d’Or Lakes in postcard-perfect Baddeck, Cape Breton, with Fletcher Parsons, a giant teddy bear who’s not even her husband. But Grace’s blissful life is rudely interrupted when her estranged son calls from New York City, worried about his teenaged daughter. 

Before she knows it, Grace finds herself the temporary guardian of her self-absorbed, city-slicker granddaughter, Melissa. Trapped between a past she’s been struggling to resolve and a present that keeps her on her toes, Grace decides to finally tell her story. Either the truth will absolve her or cost her everything. 

Grace is sixty, retired and living in a trailer in Baddeck, Cape Breton, with her best friend, Fletcher, and their cats and dogs.  When her estranged son, Jonathan, contacts her and asks for help with his rebellious teenage daughter, Melissa, she doesn't hesitate and jumps on a plane and heads to New York City.  To get Melissa away from the bad influences in her life, Grace takes her back to Cape Breton to her roots.

They spend time at the farmhouse where Grace spent her teenage years and Grace tells Melissa the stories from her past, stories of abandonment and abuse.  As Grace tells Melissa theses stories she'd never told anyone else, she feels a sense of relief and empowerment.  With a new sense of purpose, Grace moves forward, mending the past in order to fix her future.

This was an interesting and deep story at times and I enjoyed it.  It's written in first person perspective in Grace's voice.  The book jumps back and forth from the present ("Now") to the past ("Then") as Grace tells of her life in the past and what's happening now.  I lived in Cape Breton for a few years and I thought the author did a very good job in capturing the personalities of those who lived there.  As a head's up, there is swearing.

I liked Grace.  She's feisty and swears a lot but deep down, she does care about those around her.  Fletcher was a good match for her.  Though they have lived together for fifteen years and are best friends, there's never been anything between them.  They share their love of animals and a quiet life and it's obvious they care about each other.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Book ~ "Falling" (2016) Jane Green

From Goodreads ~ When Emma Montague left the strict confines of upper-crust British life for New York, she felt sure it would make her happy. Away from her parents and expectations, she felt liberated, throwing herself into Manhattan life replete with a high-paying job, a gorgeous apartment and a string of successful boyfriends. But the cutthroat world of finance and relentless pursuit of more began to take its toll. This wasn’t the life she wanted either.

On the move again, Emma settles in the picturesque waterfront town of Westport, Connecticut, a world apart from both England and Manhattan. It is here that she begins to confront what it is she really wants from her life. With no job and knowing only one person in town, she channels her passion for creating beautiful spaces into remaking the dilapidated cottage she rents from Dominic, a local handyman who lives next door with his six-year-old son.

Unlike any man Emma has ever known, Dominic is confident, grounded and committed to being present for his son whose mother fled shortly after he was born. They become friends and slowly much more, as Emma finds herself feeling at home in a way she never has before.

But just as they start to imagine a life together as a family, fate intervenes in the most shocking of ways. For the first time, Emma has to stay and fight for what she loves, for the truth she has discovered about herself, or risk losing it all.

Emma is in her mid-thirties.  She is originally from England but moved to New York about five years ago to get away from her upper class family's expectations of her ... to work until she got married, raise a family and then live the life of wealthy businessman's wife.  She was successful as a banker but took advantage of getting a package to change her life.  She moves to a beach town in Connecticut to figure out what to do.  She rents a rundown house from Dominic, a single father of a six-year-old son, Jesse, who lives next door.  Emma and Dominic become friends and eventually start dating and fall in love.

This is the fourth book I've read by this author and I liked it.  It's written in third person perspective with a focus on Emma.  I liked the writing style and thought it moved at a good pace.  There were lots of twists and dramas thrown in.  I liked the story line until towards the end when it took a turn which I didn't think was necessary.  As a head's up, there is some swearing.

For the most part, I liked Emma, Dominic and Jesse.  I found it inconsistent that Emma had been a confident successful banker and had no issues kicking men to curb yet was so unconfident at times where Dominic was concerned and jumped to conclusions about what was happening without talking to him first.  Also, she went on and on about not wanting the lifestyle her parents has expected of her yet she started to doubt whether she and Dominic had a future because they were so different.  Their parents were too extreme.  I thought Emma's mother was too snooty and old-fashioned, especially in today's day, considering her background.  I don't know why Dominic would allow his parents' abusive behavior in front of his son.