Thursday, 25 May 2017

Book ~ "Goodnight from London" (2017) Jennifer Robson

From GoodreadsIn the summer of 1940, ambitious young American journalist Ruby Sutton gets her big break: the chance to report on the European war as a staff writer for Picture Weekly newsmagazine in London. She jumps at the chance, for it's an opportunity not only to prove herself, but also to start fresh in a city and country that know nothing of her humble origins. But life in besieged Britain tests Ruby in ways she never imagined.

Although most of Ruby's new colleagues welcome her, a few resent her presence, not only as an American but also as a woman. She is just beginning to find her feet, to feel at home in a country that is so familiar yet so foreign, when the bombs begin to fall.

As the nightly horror of the Blitz stretches unbroken into weeks and months, Ruby must set aside her determination to remain an objective observer. When she loses everything but her life and must depend upon the kindness of strangers, she learns for the first time the depth and measure of true friendship - and what it is to love a man who is burdened by secrets that aren’t his to share.

Goodnight from London, inspired in part by the wartime experiences of the author’s own grandmother, is a captivating, heartfelt, and historically immersive story that readers are sure to embrace.

Ruby is a young woman living in New York in the early 1940s.  She's working as a writer for a newspaper and moves to London to work on a newsmagazine, quite an opportunity given the times.  This is during World War II when London is getting bombed on a regular basis, residents must carry around gas masks and nights are spent in bomb shelters.   Working as a writer, Ruby gets to see first hand the horrors of the war.

Ruby meets and falls for Bennett, a friend of her boss.  He is a soldier who tends to disappear and pop back into her life often.  When her boarding house is destroyed, Bennett moves her in to live with his godmother.

The premise of this story sounded interesting, especially because it was inspired by the author's own grandmother.  I thought the accounts of the war was interesting, reading about the destruction of London and England during World War II.  I found the writing and the characters rather bland, though, and it got worse as I progressed into the book.  I couldn't get into any of the characters and found them boring.  I got a little past halfway and I finally gave up.  I skipped ahead to the last chapter to see whether Ruby and Bennett finally got together in the end.  This author's writing style just wasn't for me, I guess.  That's too bad because I really wanted to like it because it was an interesting story to tell.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

beautybox five - May 2017

My May beautybox five arrived today.

Beauty Box 5 is a subscription-based, beauty sampling service that delivers 5 deluxe samples and full-sized products right to your door every month.

Subscriptions are $12US a month or $109US for a year.  Shipping is free ($3/month to Canada).

 Here's what I received ...

  • DeLaCruz Arnica Salve - 3.4 grams - $0.40
  • Cougar Beauty 24 Hour Liquid Lipstick (Rioja) - $12.99 value
  • Daily Concepts Exfoliating Body Scrubber - $5 value
  • Jersey Shore Cosmetics Mongongo Lip Conditioner (Vanilla Coconut Cream) ~ $10 value
  • Nanococo Jumbo Eye & Lip Pencil  - $5.50 value
  • Jelly Pong Pong Bare Necessities Highlighting Pencil (Vanilla) - $17.95 value

Value = $51.84US

Scaddabush Italian Kitchen & Bar, Toronto ON (Yonge Street)

Gord and I had supper this evening at Scaddabush on Yonge Street (south of College Street).

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Union Social Eatery, Toronto, ON

I had lunch today with work colleagues at Union Social Eatery (on St. Clair Avenue W, just west of Yonge Street).

I ordered Chicken Vindaloo.  It was okay.  The sauce had a nice bite.  The chicken was cold, though, which surprised me.  I wouldn't get it again.

Brent had a salad with rare seared bigeye ahi tuna.  He said it was good and he'd get it again.

Monday, 22 May 2017

Martin Goodman Trail, Toronto, ON

I wanted to go for a walk this afternoon to get my 10,000 steps plus to walk off the pancakes I'd had for lunch.

I headed to the Martin Goodman Trail.  I started at Budapest Park and walked to Sheldon Lookout and back.

We'd gotten a lot of rain a couple weeks ago (more than usual) and the water levels are high.

The walkway was flooded

Cafe Neon, Toronto, ON

After our float, Gord and I had brunch at Cafe Neon (Queen Street W/Ossington) in our 'hood.  Our neighbours said it was good so we thought we'd check it out.

I thought it was just a coffee shop
But if you go down the long hallway ...
There's lots more seating area

Gord ordered Eggs Benny with the Ontario rainbow trout.  He said it was good but he wasn't crazy about the scone.  I tried a couple of his potatoes and they were good!  Unfortunately Gord liked them too and didn't leave any behind (as he usually does).

Float Toronto, Toronto, ON

Gord and I went for a float this morning at Float Toronto on Queen Street W (at Beaconsfield).  It's been a while since we've gone (too long!).  We find floats very relaxing.

That's a lotta salt!

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Book ~ "I Found You" (2017) Lisa Jewell

From GoodreadsIn a windswept British seaside town, single mom Alice Lake finds a man sitting on the beach outside her house. He has no name, no jacket and no idea how he got there. Against her better judgment, she invites him inside.

Meanwhile, in a suburb of London, twenty-one-year-old Lily Monrose has only been married for three weeks. When her new husband fails to come home from work one night, she is left stranded in a new country where she knows no one. Then the police tell her that her husband never existed.

Twenty-three years earlier, Gray and Kirsty are teenagers on a summer holiday with their parents. Their annual trip to the quaint seaside town is passing by uneventfully, until an enigmatic young man starts paying extra attention to Kirsty. Something about him makes Gray uncomfortable - and it’s not just that he’s playing the role of protective older brother.

Alice has three children, three dogs and makes her living as an artist.  She finds a man on the beach who has nowhere to go as he has amnesia and no ID.  Alice feels sorry for him and takes him in and tries to help him get his memory back.

Lily is young and a newlywed.  She met her husband, Carl, in her home country of the Ukraine.  They fell in love and got married rather quickly.  She's been in London for three weeks when Carl doesn't come home from work one evening.  She has no friends or family in England to turn to so she goes to the police.  At first they don't take her seriously but then they discover that his passport is a fake and wonder who he really is.

The story also jumps back to 1993.  Gray and Kirsty were on vacation with their parents when they met a young man named Mark.  Though their parents had no issue with Mark pursuing Kirsty, there was something about him that Gray didn't like or trust.

This is the first book I've read by this author and I liked it.  I thought the premise sounded interesting and it was.  I liked the writing style.  It is written in third person perspective mainly from Alice, Lily and Gray's points of view.  As a head's up, there is swearing and violence.

I liked the characters.  Alice had her hands full as it was and she didn't think twice about taking in another stray and naming him Frank (the guy with amnesia).  She has questionable parenting skills and I liked her quirkiness.  I liked Gray and his family.

I look forward to reading other books by this author.

Spring Session of Toronto’s Festival of Beer, Garrison Common, Fort York, Toronto, ON

I went to the Spring Session of Toronto's Festival of Beer today ... it's the first time I've been to it.

I had an advanced ticket ($30 which included the sampling mug and five drink tokens).  Tickets were available at the gate for $45.

It was at Garrison Common at Fort York, which is a short walk from home.

There was lots of space and lots to do!  No one seemed deterred when it started to rain.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Toronto Wolfpack 70, Barrow Raiders 2, Lamport Stadium, Toronto, ON

Toronto Wolfpack is a Canadian professional rugby league club, based in here in Toronto, which began play in the 2017 League 1 season.  They are notable as being the first Canadian team to play in the Rugby Football League system, the first fully professional rugby league team in Canada and the world's first trans-Atlantic rugby league team.  Their home stadium is Lamport Stadium (aka "The Den"), which is just a couple blocks from where Gord and I live.

We were at their first home game a couple weeks ago and had fun.  This afternoon they were playing the previously unbeaten Barrow Raiders and we were there!

Here are Gord and I in our Wolfpack gear before the game started.

Here are the Wolfpack players warming up.

Book ~ "This Dark Road to Mercy" (2014) Wiley Cash

From GoodreadsWhen their mother dies unexpectedly, twelve-year-old Easter and her six-year-old sister Ruby are shuffled into the foster care system in Gastonia, North Carolina, a town not far from the Appalachian mountains. But just as they settle into their new life, their errant father, Wade, an ex-minor league baseball player whom they haven't seen in years, suddenly appears and wants to spend more time with them. Unfortunately, Wade has signed away legal rights to his daughters and the only way he can get Easter and Ruby back is to steal them away in the middle of the night.

Brady Weller, the girls' court-appointed guardian, begins looking for Wade, and he quickly turns up unsettling information linking Wade to a recent armored car heist, one with a whopping $14.5 million missing. But Brady Weller isn't the only one hunting the desperate father. Robert Pruitt, a shady and mercurial man nursing a years-old vendetta, is also determined to find Wade and claim his due. 

It's 1998 in Gastonia, NC, and Easter and Ruby are sisters ... Easter is twelve and Ruby is six.  Their mother has recently died and they are placed in a foster home.  Their only relatives are their mother's parents in Alaska and arrangements are being made to see if the grandparents would take the girls.  In the meantime, Wade, their father, arrives back in town after taking off three years ago and wants to see his daughters.  Wade, though, had signed away his legal rights to them.  So he kidnaps them in the middle of the night and leaves town with them.

Looking for them is Brady, the girls' court-appointed guardian (it's a volunteer position).  He is an disgraced ex-cop now working for his brother's security systems company.  Also looking for Wade is Pruitt.  Wade had gotten involved in something shady and Pruitt's boss had hired him to find Wade.  Pruitt, though, is also looking for Wade with revenge on his mind from an incident in their past (Pruitt is not a nice guy at all).

Everyone is a baseball fan ... Wade and Pruitt are former minor league players.  In the background of this story, is the Major League Baseball home run record chase between Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire.

This is the first book I've read by this author.  I thought the story and writing were okay.  It is written in first person perspective in Easter, Brady and Pruitt's points of view (the chapters are labeled so you know whose voice it is).  I didn't have an issue with this style of writing.  As a head's up, there is some swearing and violence (it's not described by alluded to later).

I look forward to checking out other books by this author sometime.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Liberty Shawarma, Toronto, ON

Gord and I had supper this evening at Liberty Shawarma (on Atlantic Avenue at King Street W), in our 'hood.

We both ordered large chicken shawarmas.  There are lots of ingredients you can have on it ... I had tomatoes, humus, garlic sauce and tahini.  After the shawarma was put together, it was put on a grill to heat it up.  Yum!