Saturday, December 20, 2014

Book ~ "Lethal Rage" (2010) Brent Pilkey

From Goodreads ~ When an organized drug gang starts selling crack dyed black, Division 51 of the Toronto Police gets the brunt of the action and street cop Jack Warren and his partner face the ugly realities of crime in their city.

To gain experience, Jack, a young Toronto police officer, has recently transferred downtown to 51 Division, known for its drugs and prostitution.  A new crack (Black Crack) has been introduced by a drug dealer who is trying to take over the area.  It becomes the mission of the officers of 51 Division to find and stop him.

51 Division is a lot different than what Jack is used to but he's loving it!  His wife, Karen, and her parents, though, aren't.  Karen thinks 51 Division is too dangerous and wants Jack to transfer out of it.  Her parents have never made it a secret that they don't think Jack is good enough for their daughter.  Needless to say, this causes tension at home.

What attracted me to this book is that it's set in Toronto and makes no secret that it is.  As Jack and his fellow officers were racing around the east end of the downtown core, I knew exactly where they were.  Plus I like mysteries.

This is the first book I've read by this author (it's the first in a series) and I enjoyed it.  I liked the writing style ... it's written in third person perspective with the focus on Jack).  I thought the pace moved along well.  The author is a cop and had spent many years in 51 Division so writes from experience.  Even though the story is fiction, it was interesting to get the insight into the life of a cop, both on the job and at home.  As a head's up, there is violence, adult activity and a lot of swearing.

I liked Jack.  Despite what his in-laws may think, he is intelligent and driven.  He enjoys being a cop and making the city a better place.  It was interesting to watch him evolve to become more hardened the longer he was in 51 Division.  There are officers who are supporting characters and despite their different personalities and quirks, most were hardworking and loyal to each other.

I'd recommend this book and look forward to reading others by this author.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Wheat Sheaf, Toronto, ON

Sister Sarah and I met Gord for supper this evening at The Wheat Sheaf (King Street W/Bathurst), which is one of Toronto's oldest pubs (it opened around 1850).

We started with a couple orders of garlic bread with cheese ... it was delicious!

Ripley's Aquarium of Canada, Toronto, ON

Sister Sarah and I spent the afternoon at Ripley's Aquarium of Canada.

It's right next door to the CN Tower.

It was festively decorated.

There was lots to see as soon as we walked in.

St. Louis Bar and Grill, Toronto, ON (Bremner Blvd)

Sister Sarah and I had lunch today at St. Louis Bar and Grill on Bremner Blvd.  I love love love St. Louis' wings and their dipping sauce.

We got there just about noon.

Sister Sarah and I both ordered wings and fries.  She got hers mild saucy and I got mine medium dry.  They were good!

Book ~ "Duke City Hit" (2014) Max Austin

From Goodreads ~ According to Vic Walters, the secret to happiness is low overhead and few demands. Living rent-free in a modest bachelor pad behind his boss’s house, he has no debts, no entanglements and no expensive relationships. He works just a few days a month but his bank accounts keep growing.

Vic is a high-priced hitman with a legendary record of success. That is, until someone starts eliminating his marks before he can get to them ... until his manager puts him in the middle of a vicious drug-cartel feud ... and until a young man walks into his life with a big .45 and a startling revelation.

For Vic Walters, it’s time to step out of the shadows. Which means it’s killing time in Duke City,

Vic is in his fifties and he used to be a bounty hunter ... until he found he had a talent for being a hitman.  His life is very structured ... he has a rotating set of charcoal grey suits (one to wear, one in the closet and one at the dry cleaners), he eats all of his meals in restaurants because he doesn't like to cook and he has no close friends or relatives.  One day out of the blue Ryan walks into his life wanting Vic to teach him all he knows.  Vic's dilemma is to take him under his wing or get rid of him since Ryan knows so much about his occupation.

This is the second book I've read by this author and I really enjoyed it.  I liked the writing style and thought it flowed very well.  The story was interesting and I kept wanting to read more to see what was going to happen.  It's written in third person perspective, with a focus on whoever and whatever was happening at the time.  I liked the interaction between Vic and Ryan.  As a head's up, there is swearing and violence.

I would recommend this book and look forward to reading more from this author!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Amsterdam BrewHouse, Toronto, ON

This evening I met my friends, Deb and Liz, and family for supper at the Amsterdam BrewHouse.  Deb, Liz and I have been friends for almost 20 years (we used to work together).

Book ~ "Vengeance Road" (2009) Rick Mofina

From Goodreads ~ The murder of a broken-hearted woman and the chilling disappearance of her friend raise questions about their ties to a respected detective and lead to one journalist’s obsession to find the truth! 

The body of Bernice Hogan, a troubled young ex-nursing student with a tragic past, is found in a shallow grave near a forest creek. 

Jolene Peller, a single mom struggling to build a new life with her little boy, vanishes the night she tried to find Bernice. 

Hero cop, Karl Styebeck, is beloved by his community but privately police are uneasy with the answers he gives to protect the life - and the lie - he’s lived. 

The case haunts Jack Gannon, a gritty, blue-collar reporter whose sister ran away from their family years ago. Gannon risks more than his job to pursue the story behind Styebeck's dark secret, his link to the women and the mysterious big rig roaming America's loneliest highways on its descent into eternal darkness.

Jolene is a former hooker who has turned her life around and is moving to Florida to start a new life with her young son.  She tries one last time to convince her friend, Bernice, also a hooker to do the same.  But then Bernice is found dead and Jolene disappears, her bus ticket unused.

Jack Gannon is a reporter who had once had bright future.  He put his dreams on hold when his parents were killed in a car accident.  He missed his opportunity and is still a reporter for a newspaper in Buffalo.  He is investigating the murder of Bernice when he gets inside information that a hero cop named Styebeck is the killer and prints his story.  Refusing to reveal his sources or retract the story, Jack is fired.  Determined to find out what happened, Jack continues to investigate and uncovers some shocking information about Styebeck's past (which is interesting yet sordid).

This is the third book I've read by this author and I liked it.  I liked the writing style ... it was written in third person perspective with the focus bouncing around depending on what was going on.  Plus it goes back in time to give you some background (it's in italics so you know you've stepped into a different time period).  As a head's up, there are some F-bombs.

I liked Jack.  Despite being threatened with the loss of his job, he is honourable and trustworthy and doesn't give up his sources.   Jolene's mom trust hims and looks to him to find the truth when no one else would help her.  He seems to lead a lonely existence, though, because he has no friends, family, romantic interest or pets.

It is the first in the Jack Gannon series and I look forward to reading the others.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Donny & Marie Christmas in Toronto, Princess of Wales Theatre, Toronto, ON

Sister Sarah and I saw Donny & Marie Christmas in Toronto this evening at the Princess of Wales Theatre.

In the holiday tradition of the “Osmond Family Christmas” television specials, the legendary Donny and Marie invite you and your family to celebrate the spirit of the season in true Osmond fashion. 

With a dash of Christmas spirit and their trademark show-stopping production numbers, Donny & Marie Christmas in Toronto features Christmas songs and cheer plus hits from their illustrious careers all mixed with their irresistible chemistry that made them international stars. 

The posters outside the theatre give you a hint of what you're in for ...

And here we are before the show ...

Sister Sarah

It was an older crowd (Sister Sarah and I were among the youngest) ... the audience was about 70% women and 30% men.  It was a huge love fest for everyone ... the ladies practically drooled and swooned over Donny and the men were appreciative of Marie.  It was like everyone was back in their teens again.  Ha!

We were in row B (so ten rows back).  Both Donny and Marie have great voices and they can still dance.  They still banter at each other jokingly.  I imagine they have done this show and similar shows many many times but they seemed very relaxed and it was like they weren't rehearsed.  They were polished and professional enough to make it seem like it was all spontaneous.  There was a lot of interaction with the audience.  As they sang some songs, there were video montages on the screen behind them.

Sister Sarah loved it and said it was the best concert she'd ever been to.  I enjoyed it and had fun.

Wahlburgers, Toronto, ON

Sister Sarah and I had supper this evening at Wahlburgers (Blue Jays Way/King Street W) ... it opened about a month ago.

As you come in the door, you are warned you may be videotaped or recorded.

Island Foods, Toronto, ON

Sister Sarah and I had lunch today at Island Foods (Dufferin Street/King Street W), which is in my 'hood. She hasn't been able to find a decent roti shop in Halifax so this was on her list of places she wanted to go.  I've been going there since 1998, when I worked a couple blocks from it (my colleagues and I used to go on a weekly basis).

We got there about 11:45am, before the lunchtime rush.

We both ordered a boneless chicken roti ... and they were delicious!

The lunch rush started just after noon.

There was a line-up out the door when we left.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Mandarin, Etobicoke, ON

Sister Sarah and I had supper at the Mandarin on the Queensway.  It's been a lot of years since I've been (great idea, Sis!).

There's a lot of choice ... over 150 dishes ... and not just Chinese food.


Luxe Box - winter

My winter Luxe Box arrived today.

Sign up to receive 7 to 8 trial sized beauty and lifestyle discoveries every season.

The cost is about $27 a month.

Here's what was inside ...


Trius wine club - December

I picked up our December Trius wine club box today at the post office ... they'd tried to deliver it Friday but we weren't home.

Gord and I have been members of the Trius Wine Club for over ten years.

Every month, 2 bottles of our best wine will be delivered to your door along with Winemaker Craig McDonald’s tasting notes and Chef Frank Dodd’s recipes.

The cost is $46 a month and it's only available in Ontario.

Here's what we got this month ...

  • Trius Divine White 2013 ($19.95) ~ The recipe included that pairs with it is Fish and Prawn Stuffed Potatoes
  • Trius Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 ($14.95) - The recipe included that pairs with it is Fettuccine with Creamy Tomato Sauce