Sunday 31 March 2013

The Samuel J. Moore, Toronto, ON

On our way home this evening, we noticed that a new restaurant/bar had opened up on in our 'hood (they opened about a month ago) ... so we thought we'd check it out.

Introducing The Samuel J. Moore ...

Samuel John Moore (August 3, 1859 – 1948) was a Canadian businessman, founder of Moore Corporation Limited. He was born in England and came with his family to Barrie, ON, while still young. When he was 12, he found work at the Barrie Examiner as a printer's assistant, later becoming local editor. He worked in Texas, then returned to found Grip, a satirical weekly journal, with J. W. Bengough. In 1882, Moore left to found Moore Business Forms (then called Grip Printing & Publishing Company), which sold books of sales slips with flip-over carbon paper. The company, later Moore Corporation Limited, went on to become a major supplier of business forms and printing services in North America. Other affiliated companies were formed in the United Kingdom and Australia. Moore also founded the Metropolitan Bank of Canada in 1902; it was merged with Scotiabank, where Moore served as president and chairman of the board. 

He played an important role in the development of the YMCA in Canada and was a major supporter of the Canadian Baptist Church being a member of Dovercourt Road Baptist Church in Toronto and Sunday school leader. He was one of the founders of Toronto Bible Training School, established in 1894 (in 1912 the name was changed to Toronto Bible College) with Elmore Harris another Toronto Baptist Pastor and others. Moore Corporation Limited merged with Wallace Computer Services in 2003 to form MooreWallace, which was subsequently acquired by R. R. Donnelley & Sons Company. 

The building this restaurant is in was the original West End YMCA.

Elmwood Spa, Toronto, ON

Today is Gord's birthday.

Rather than buy each other things we don't need, we treat each other at a spa.  Today I took Gord to the Elmwood Spa (Yonge/Dundas W).  We've been there before ... great place!

We started off with water therapies ... aka the indoor pool and hot tub.

We had an 80 minute couples' massage.  What this is is we are both in the same room getting a massage with our own massage therapist.  This was my bed.

Do you think Gord's ready for his massage?

My therapist was Andre and Gord's was Melody ... they gave us amazing massages!

Here's Gord with his massage hair afterwards!

Then we had a pedicure.

Happy birthday, Gord!

Saturday 30 March 2013

Book ~ "Making Him Sweat" (2013) Meg Maguire

From Goodreads ~ She's hitting below the belt ...

Round 1 
In this corner is admittedly romantic Jenna Wilinski, who's inherited a rather seedy boxing gym from her estranged father. With it, she can realize her dream of launching an upscale matchmaking business ... provided she can take on the very intimidating-and wickedly hot-boxer who stands in her way! 

Round 2 
In the far corner is former pro boxer Mercer Rowley. He's the only one who can protect his "home" - even if it is a little run down-from his determined and feisty little opponent. But man, once the gloves come off, his hands just want to touch her everywhere.

Round 3 
This matchup is too close to call. But no matter which contender comes out on top, the other is sure to enjoy every minute of it.

Jenna's father recently died and left her his boxing gym which is just outside the downtown core in Boston.  Her parents divorced when she was young and she hadn't seen her father in many years ... he hadn't made any effort to have contact with her over years.  She plans on shutting down which is in the basement and rent out the space while she opens a franchised matchmaking business on the main floor.

Mercer is a trainer in the gym and had considered Jenna's father his second dad. He runs the gym and took care of Jenna's father until he died.  When Jenna arrives and says she's going to shut down the gym, he hopes he can convince her to change her mind.

Mercer had moved into Jenna's father's apartment which is in the same building as the gym when her father got sick.  Since it's now Jenna's apartment, she moves in and takes over her father's room and Mercer has intentions to move out.  Sparks fly between Jenna and Mercer immediately ... so convenient that they are temporarily sharing an apartment!

This is the first book I've read by this author and it was a fun quick read.

I liked Jenna and Mercer and enjoyed their interaction ... it was cute and funny.  I did found it a bit unbelievable that they would "get together" within days of meeting and become as committed as they did.  Plus I'd be less than friendly to Jenna if I was Mercer considering she wants to shut down the gym given his history with the gym and it puts him out of a job.  Rich, the other trainer, is amusing.

As a head's up, the language and activity is mature at times.

I'd read other books by this author if I came across them and was looking for something light and mindless.

Book ~ "The Other Side of Us" (2013) Sarah Mayberry

From Goodreads ~ The best thing between Oliver Barrett and Mackenzie Williams is a fence. 

Ever since Oliver's new-neighbor gestures were met with unfriendly responses, he's decided to keep his distance. After all, he's in this seaside town to get his life on track again. That doesn't include working hard to get on Mackenzie's good side - no matter how intriguing she may be. His intentions are put to the test, however, when his dog becomes infatuated with hers. 

The two crafty canines do their best to break down the barriers between the properties. And where the dogs go…, well, the humans must follow! It doesn't take long for a powerful attraction to build between Oliver and Mackenzie. They soon discover that the worst of first impressions can lead to the best possible outcomes….

Mackenzie was in a horrific accident and has been spending the last year recuperating in her cottage outside of Melbourne.  She is a producer on a soap opera and her boss has brought in someone to replace her for the year she has been off ... unfortunately, he has been doing such a good job that they are considering keeping him on so Mackenzie will be out of a job.

Oliver discovers that his wife, Edie, has been having an affair with her ex-boyfriend for most of their six year marriage.  To get his head together, he heads to his late aunt's cottage to clean it out and get it ready to sell.  The cottage is next door to Mackenzie.

Mackenzie and Oliver's first encounter doesn't go well.  Mackenzie had just finished working out and wasn't feeling well so was abrupt when Oliver went over to introduce himself.  Their dogs, Mr. Smith and Strudel, though, fall instantly in love!  Mackenzie feels bad and invites him over for supper to make amends and their friendship grows from there. They help each other figure out what their new realities could be.

This is the first book I've read by this author and I enjoyed it.  It was set in Australia and written by an Australian so I was a bit concerned that the writing style would be different than I'm used to but this wasn't the case.  There were a couple words I had to Google, though, like "hard yard" and "harpy".  It is part of a Harlequin series but I found it didn't read like a Harlequin (the story was meatier with older characters) which I liked.

I liked Mackenzie and Oliver.  I enjoyed their funny and friendly banter and interaction and their honesty with each other (though attracted to Mackenzie, Oliver is still recovering from Edie's betrayal and let's Mackenzie know he's still messed up).  I love dogs and I liked that Mr. Smith or Strudel were a big part of the story but the author didn't make them over cute and in our face all the time.

As a head's up, some of the language and activity are for mature readers.

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

I don't usually pay attention to the cover of a book.  This one, though, really conflicts with the story.  Because of her accident, Mackenzie has had to have her head shaved and though her hair is growing back, she laments that it is still quite short. On the cover, it's long.  Oliver's hair was longer ... in fact, Mackenzie comments at one point that she's never dated a man before with longer hair than her.

Friday 29 March 2013

Toronto Rock 18, Buffalo Bandits 11

Gord and I went to the Toronto Rock game this evening... they were playing the Buffalo Bandits.

The Toronto Rock is a professional lacrosse franchise founded in 1998. They are in the Eastern Division of the National Lacrosse League (NLL).

The Rock cheerleaders and Iggy (wearing bunny ears) warmed up the crowd.

Here come the Rock!

Scotty Newlands sang the American national anthems.

Book ~ "Saving Grace" (2012) Pamela Fagan Hutchins

From Goodreads ~ Katie Connell is a high-strung attorney whose sloppy drinking habits and stunted love life collide hilariously in a doomed celebrity case in Dallas. When she flees Texas for the Caribbean, Katie escapes professional humiliation, a broken heart, and a wicked Bloody Mary habit, but she trades one set of problems for another when she begins to investigate the suspicious deaths of her parents on the island of St. Marcos. 

She’s bewitched by the voodoo spirit of an abandoned house in the rainforest and discovers that she’s as much a danger to herself as the island’s bad guys are. As the worst of her worlds collide, Katie drags herself back to the courthouse to defend her new friend Ava, an island local accused of stabbing the senator she’s been sleeping with.

Katie is a partner in a law firm in Dallas.  She is in love with Nick, one of the firm's investigators but he's not reciprocating.  She tends to turn to a bottle to drown her sorrows (her heart breaking and the recent death of her parents).  She takes a vacation and heads to St. Marcos in the U.S. Virgin Islands where her parents had died last year in a mysterious accident.  She falls in love with the island and is entranced by an unfinished house called Annalise.

After a disastrous court case, she quits her job and and moves to St. Marcos.  When her new friend, Ava, is arrested for murdering her lover, she does all she can to prove Ava's innocence.

I found this book started off kind of slow ... but after a few chapters it picked up.  I liked the writing style and it was well-paced and funny at times ... it kept me wanting to read more.  Set on a Caribbean island, I liked how the author casually explained phonetically how the residents spoke and that's how I heard them speaking in my head ... I was imagining the lilt.

I liked the characters and thought they interacted well and had a connection.  I could feel Katie's torment in trying to get her life together and find peace.  Ava had all the guys chasing after her and I found it believable.  I wondered, though, why Katie was so hung up on Nick.  He never gave her any encouragement and there was stuff about him that I as the reader didn't know but the book hinted at ... it felt like there was a book before this one where Katie and Nick's relationship was introduced and explored.

I liked this book and would recommend it.

Thursday 28 March 2013

Book ~ "Double Click" (2013) Lisa Becker

From Goodreads ~ Fans of the romantic hit Click: An Online Love Story will enjoy another voyeuristic dive into the lives of Renee, Shelley, Ashley, Mark and Ethan, as Double Click picks up with their lives six months later. 

Are Renee and Ethan soul mates? Does Mark ever go on a date? Has Shelley run out of sexual conquests in Los Angeles? Will Ashley's judgmental nature sabotage her budding relationship? 

Through a marriage proposal, wedding, new baby and unexpected love twist, Double Click answers these questions and more. Readers will continue to cheer, laugh, cry and cringe following the email exploits of Renee and friends.

Click chronicled Renee and her friend, Mark's quest to find "the one" on online dating sites.  When it ended, Renee and Ethan had just met and started dating ... six months later, when this book starts, they are still together, happily in love.

There's something going on with Shelley, though ... she is toned down a lot and isn't her usual frisky self.  Ashley has gotten pregnant and quickly gets married.  Mark meets Cassidy and she is included in their inner circle despite being a flake.

Like Click, this book is made up entirely of emails between Renee, Ethan, Shelley, Mark, Ashley, Shelley and occasionally Cassidy ("ha-lariously" most of her input is forwarding cat videos and pictures which drives Shelley crazy).  It does take a bit to get used to this style but it was an easy read once I got into the rhythm.

Click was fun with the escapades of Renee on her dates with the characters she had met online.  Though funny and cute, I found this one was more mature since everyone has settled down somewhat.

I enjoyed this book and would recommend it.

I received a copy of this ebook from the author at no charge in exchange for my honest review.

Book ~ "Heart Like Mine" (2013) Amy Hatvany

From Goodreads ~ When a young mother dies under mysterious circumstances, those she leaves behind begin looking for answers in the past - and find a long-buried secret they could have never imagined. 

Thirty-six-year-old Grace McAllister never longed for children. But when she meets Victor Hansen, a handsome, charismatic divorced restaurateur who is father to Max and Ava, Grace decides that, for the right man, she could learn to be an excellent part-time stepmom. After all, the kids live with their mother, Kelli. How hard could it be? 

At thirteen, Ava Hansen is mature beyond her years. Since her parents’ divorce, she has been the one taking care of her emotionally unstable mother and her little brother - she pays the bills, does the laundry, and never complains because she loves her mama more than anyone. And while her father’s new girlfriend is nice enough, Ava still holds out hope that her parents will get back together and that they’ll be a family again. 

But only days after Victor and Grace get engaged, Kelli dies suddenly under mysterious circumstances - and soon, Grace and Ava discover there was much more to Kelli’s life than either ever knew. 

Narrated by Grace and Ava in the present with flashbacks into Kelli’s troubled past, Heart Like Mine is a poignant and hopeful portrait about womanhood, love, and the challenges of family life.

Grace is 36 and never wanted children.  She is living with Victor, who owns a restaurant, is divorced and has two kids (Ava who is 13 and Max who is seven) who live with their mother, Kelli ... they have his kids every second weekend.  Victor proposes.  As a head's up, Victor lets Kelli know the week before he is going to tell their kids.

Kelli has always regretted asking Victor to leave and as his relationship with Grace got more serious, Kelli got more depressed because she felt no one would ever love her again.  As such, she leans a lot on Ava.

When Kelli suddenly dies, everyone's world is flipped upside down.  Ava and Max go to live with Victor and Grace.  Ava and Max are grieving for their mother.  Grace and Victor respectfully hide the news their engagement.  Grace is now a full time stepmother, something that was not part of her master plan.  Victor has to deal with running his restaurant, having his kids living with him now, and settling Kelli's affairs and packing up her house.  Plus did Kelli kill herself or did she die naturally?

This is the first book I've read by this author and I really enjoyed it.  I liked the writing style.  It is written from the perspectives of Grace, Ava and Kelli ... each chapter is dedicated to one of them (their name is at the beginning of the chapter so you know who's head you are in).  When it is written from Grace and Ava's point of voice, it is in the first person; it is written in the third person when it is Kelli's point of view.  It was an interesting style and I liked it.  Through flashbacks, we discover why Grace, Ava and especially Kelli are the way they are.

I liked the characters.  I could relate to Grace ... I've never wanted children for the same reason as Grace.  I felt for Kelli given her upbringing.  And as frustrating as Ava was at times, she was still just a kid dealing with things the best she could.  I found the interactions between Grace, Victor and Ava very honest and what I would imagine would be true-to-life.

I would recommend this book.  I look forward to checking out others by this author.

Wednesday 27 March 2013

GlossyBox - March

My March GlossyBox was waiting for me by my door this afternoon.
  • Stay up to date with current trends and discover new niche brands 
  • Every month, GlossyBox delivers a mix of 5 exciting product samples packed in a beautiful box for you to test at home 
  • Join for just $21 a month - cancel any time 
  • Delivery is free!

Book ~ "Between Micah and Amos" (2012) Alan Oakes

 From Goodreads ~ Like a flash, the discharge from the gun lit up the inside of the dimly lit, filthy trailer Ashleigh called home. Ashleigh sat curled up on the stained pink carpet next to the pull-out bed in the living area where she slept. The victim lay dead, slumped against the wall of the trailer. Ashleigh looked at the motionless body. She was petrified.

Meet Ashleigh Mae, a seventeen year old high school senior living in the small town of Micah, Texas. Her boyfriend, Billy, calls her a wild child. Her momma is always telling her she makes bad choices. No matter what, no one really understands her.

Ashleigh dreams of a life with Billy. Their love is true, she thinks. When her mother forces them to leave Micah in the middle of the night and move in with her momma’s old boyfriend, Casey, on the outskirts of a town called Amos, Ashleigh’s life is torn apart. 

This is her fight to get it back ...

Ashleigh's mother, Jo Lynn, is trailer trash ... she moves from man to man, getting abused by them, before moving on.  When the story starts, Jo Lynn has just moved in with Casey, a boyfriend from the past, into his dirty decrepit trailer.  Casey is on disability and is a huge A-hole ... he's happy to have Jo Lynn around because she caters to all his needs and likes to party.

Ashleigh has no choice but to stay with her mother.  She's only seventeen and has no other family.  She is in love with Billy and is brokenhearted to have left him.  She meets Manuel at her new school.  He is the son of a rich Mexican couple.  Jo Lynn is racist and doesn't want her daughter dating him so Ashleigh lets Jo Lynn and Casey think he's gay so they can hang out.  Manuel's parents aren't crazy about him dating someone they consider beneath him.

The book begins with things coming to a head one night and someone getting shot. The author then takes us back in time and gradually brings us forward to the present and the shooting.

I liked the writing style.  It was well-paced and kept me wanting to read more.  Some of the chapters are short and snappy, which I like.

I thought the characters were done well.  Ashleigh has no hope and is trying to do the best she can with the situation she is in.  We don't get to know what's going on inside Billy's head ... if we did, it would have given away some of the story.  Manuel is a sweet guy ... he falls in love with Ashleigh and naively believes that despite their different backgrounds, they can make it work and live happily ever after.

This is the first book I've read by this author and I really liked it. I would recommend it.

Sunday 24 March 2013

Loose Moose Tap & Grill, Toronto, ON

After Gord and I left the Toronto Rock game, we walked to the Loose Moose.

It was fairly busy and we were seated at a long communal table with some others.

We were feeling a bit snacky.  I ordered Jerk Dark Rum wings (eight for $12).  They were good ... sweet with a kick of heat.

Gord ordered fish tacos and liked them.

Carlene was our server and took good care of us.

Loose Moose Tap & Grill on Urbanspoon

Toronto Rock 12, Edmonton Rush 17

Gord and I went to the Toronto Rock game this afternoon ... they were playing the Edmonton Rush.

The Toronto Rock is a professional lacrosse franchise founded in 1998. They are in the Eastern Division of the National Lacrosse League (NLL).

Scotty Newlands sang the national anthem.

The Rock huddled to get psyched.  Go Rock, go!

The start of the game ...

Frankie's Bar & Cafe, Toronto, ON

Gord and I were watching Restaurant Takeover last Sunday and saw they were profiling Frankie's (Queen Street W/Ossington), which is a restaurant in our 'hood.

We'd noticed the change in the sign last year but assumed another restaurant had taken it's place.  No, it had just been made over.

In the eleven years we've lived here, we'd never been there ... so we went today for lunch.

It was busy when we got there ... but we managed to grab a booth (one of the ones they had to saw to make smaller to accommodate the bar).

Designer Montana Burnett had found some pictures of Queen Street W in the basement  and had them enlarged and hung on the wall.  Very cool to show the street's history!

Friday 22 March 2013

Sharing and snuggling

Crumpet spends a good part of her day on the pet bed that Sister Sarah's cats gave her and Morgan for Christmas ... Morgan doesn't get a chance to spend much time there.

Here they are this evening, though ... sharing.

Book ~ "Saving Casey" (2012) Liza O'Connor

From Goodreads ~ Having been diagnosed with cancer, Cass Goldman decides to opt out of any futile medical care and end her life. While she has some thoughts on afterlife, she never expects to reincarnate into the body of a seventeen-year-old girl named Casey Davidson.

When she awakens in a hospital, Cass discovers two disturbing facts: One, she is now inside the body of a troubled teenager, and two, the former owner of this body committed suicide but only Cass knows that. Everyone else believes Casey has survived but suffered a complete memory loss. Cass has two choices: to take on Casey’s life and turn it around or to confess the truth about her reincarnation and end up in a mental asylum. Given this second chance at life, Cass decides to take on the future life of Casey—the frightening ghoul-faced teen with short, black, spiky hair.

Every person around Cass has an ulterior motive and discovering the truth of Old Casey’s life is more complicated than the “new math” she is forced to learn in school. In addition, Cass has to contend with raging teenage hormones and the prior crimes of Old Casey, which she might not remember but everyone else certainly does. However, her biggest frustration concerns her feelings for her father’s rugged security specialist who sees her only as a teenager and doesn’t want to explore the mutual attraction between them.

Will her second chance at life prove to be worth the struggles she has to overcome?

Eighty-year-old Cass gets the news that she has an incurable brain tumour.  Rather than waste her time on chemo, she takes her beloved twenty-year-old dog, Jess, into the garage and closes the door, starts the car and overdoses.  She wants to die on her terms ... and she does.

She's very surprised to discover that she wakes up in the hospital in seventeen-year-old Casey's body.  Casey has just swallowed a bottle of Valium in an attempt to commit suicide.  Cass doesn't remember anything about Casey's life but is determined to make a positive impact with Casey's life. She gets quite a shock when she sees herself for the first time!

Upon settling down on the toilet, Cass noticed the floor to ceiling mirror facing her and screamed at the sight of the creature within it. Short black hair spouted about its head, black circles surrounded both eyes and fell like triangular knives down the cheeks. Black lips, stretched in horror as if in a nightmare. Pulling up her pants, she moved closer to the mirror.

She was a ghoul, an honest to God ghoul!

The door crashed open and her father stared at her, fear and panic clear in his eyes.

She touched her face. “Please tell me these aren’t permanent.”

His panic remained a second longer as her words filtered into his brain and then he pulled her into his arms. “Don’t worry, we will get them removed—if you want to …”

“If? Oh, I definitely want them removed,” she said.

How can I turn around my life if I look like the walking dead from a low-grade monster movie?

When Cass moves into Casey's life, she discovers that she has a nasty past ... shoplifting, crashing cars, etc.  No one at school will bother with her and the cook in the cafeteria spits in her food.  To turn her life around, she hits the books and starts the painful process of having the tattoos on her face removed.  She discovers what happened when she was thirteen that made her the way she is ... and sets out to fix it.

I thought this was an interesting premise for a story and I was curious to see how the author would do it.

I liked the writing style.  It was well-paced and moved along well.  As a head's up, the language at times is mature and a traumatic experience had happened in the past.  I did have a hard time buying that one person had so much power and influence, though, but I just went with it.

I liked Cass ... her intentions in turning Casey around given all the obstacles were heart-felt and honorable.  She is strong and tough and determined to right all the wrongs even when she is hurt and knocked down ... she never gives up.  Though Cass' maturity was obvious with her in Casey's body, both in actions and language, I wasn't hearing an 80-year-old's voice ... to me it was a younger person, maybe in their thirties.  She acted a bit too hip and accepting given how old she really was.

The ending gave closure to the story.   I'd recommend it if you are looking for something different.