Tuesday, 30 June 2015

What kitties do on vacation

Gord and I are having a staycation this week.

We spent today at home getting some stuff done.

Morgan and Crumpet kitties were getting some stuff done too this afternoon ... snuggling and snoozing.

Monday, 29 June 2015

Book ~ "The Shell Game" (2014) Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg

From GoodreadsCon man Nick Fox is after Garson Klepper’s golden Peruvian relics. For Fox, convincing Klepper to hire him as security for the relocation of the relics to the Getty museum in L.A. was easy. 

Problem is, Fox wasn’t planning on Klepper also enlisting the help of the FBI. Fox also wasn’t planning on being paired up with rookie special agent Kate O’Hare. She’s smart, she’s tenacious and when she’s conned, she holds a grudge.

This is a short story and the prequel to the Fox and O'Hare series ... we find out how FBI Special agent Kate O'Hare and con artist Nicolas Fox first meet.

Nick Fox poses as security to ensure that some Peruvian relics aren't stolen ... when he's actually planning on stealing them.  The owners of relics asks the FBI for help and Kate O'Hare is assigned. It's her first case and she's determined that nothing is going to happen.  But it does.

I liked the writing style and it's a quick read.  I've read all in this series and enjoyed them.

Waterfront Trail, Toronto, ON

Today was a warm sunny day so Gord and I went for a long walk.

We took the Queen streetcar to Park Lawn Road and headed for home ... we ended up walking 6.5km/4 miles.

We briefly headed west to check out this bridge.

Looking north ...

Looking south ...

Sunnyside Pavilion Café, Toronto, ON

Gord and I had an early supper at the Sunnyside Pavilion Café.

Sunnyside Bathing Pavilion is a landmark public pavilion in the Sunnyside lakefront area of Toronto. Built in 1922, its original function was to provide changing facilities for swimming in Lake Ontario.  The Pavilion was renovated in 1980 to provide updated changing facilities and a café along the beach and a garden.

It was closed last year for renovations so it's good to see it open again.  It's on the beach and a great spot to people-watch.

We sat on the patio.

We'd been walking for a while so our cold beer tasted goooooood!

Gord ordered the Cali Club Wrap with no tomatoes or jalapenos with a Caesar salad rather than fries.  He said the salad was so-so but the sandwich was really good.

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Book ~ "Mayors Gone Bad" (2015) Philip Slayton

From Goodreads ~ Whether they’ve misappropriated funds, had cosy relationships with Mafia hoods, been caught with prostitutes or admitted to smoking crack, Canada’s mayors are a colourful collection: 

  • Peter Kelly, long-serving mayor of Halifax, driven from office by investigative reporting of ethical lapses
  • Gerard Tremblay of Montreal resigned in suspicious circumstances
  • Michael Applebaum of Montreal faces criminal charges of fraud
  • Gilles Vaillancourt of Laval also resigned and faces similar criminal charges
  • Alexandre Duplessis of Laval left after a hooker scandal
  • Joe Fontana was convicted of fraud and is under house arrest
  • Susan Fennell of Brampton was under police investigation for possible criminal use of city funds
  • Sam Katz of Winnipeg was dogged throughout his mayoralty by conflict-of-interest allegations
  • Rob Ford made headlines across North America as “the crack-smoking mayor of Toronto” 

But it’s not all bad news.  Philip Slayton writes about the “western triangle of mayoral goodness,” Nenshi of Calgary, Iveson of Edmonton, and Robertson of Vancouver. Also, Slayton features four foreign mayors who have made an impact: Jón Gnarr of Reykjavik, Boris Johnson of London, Michael Bloomberg of New York, and Anne Hidalgo of Paris. 

Aside from creating a rogues’ gallery of mayors, Slayton offers insight into the nature of municipal government in Canada and speculates about why people seek the office of mayor. Little real power is exercised by any mayor, but the abuses of that power are nonetheless significant. As well, Slayton provides a series of proposals to reform municipal government. 

Toronto suffered through the debacle of Rob Ford, who was our mayor until last fall.  This book caught my eye because it focuses on some loser mayors across Canada, including Ford.  There couldn't be worse mayors that Ford, could there?!

Eleven mayors from across Canada have chapters devoted to them.  The stories were interesting but obviously I was most interested to read about Rob Ford.  The author gave a really high level description of Ford's escapades and I'm assuming he did the same with the others ... I found it was too high level.  Someone who didn't know about the Ford scandal wouldn't be aware that he was photographed with known drug users, that he was videoed numerous times wasted, that he denied smoking crack but had to backtrack when a video (which was deleted) was found and most importantly that he had his mayoral powers removed.

I'm not political and I found the author gave me just enough background on how municipal politics work.

X-Nail & Spa, Toronto, ON

I needed a pedicure so went to X-Nail & Spa this afternoon, which is in our 'hood.  I've been there in the past and liked it.  Everyone is always friendly and chatty.

There were lots of colours to choose from.

Meep-Meep-Meep looked like fun!

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Sunny Morning, Etobicoke, ON

Gord and I had brunch this morning at Sunny Morning on the Queensway (near Canadian Tire).  We've been there before and enjoyed it.

Lots of others had the same idea as the place was jammed and we had about a ten minute wait.

I ordered Peameal Bacon 'n Eggs with home fries.

Gord ordered Bacon 'n Eggs with fruit.

Friday, 26 June 2015

Book ~ "The Liar" (2015) Nora Roberts

From Goodreads ~ Shelby Foxworth lost her husband. Then she lost her illusions …

The man who took her from Tennessee to an exclusive Philadelphia suburb left her in crippling debt. He was an adulterer and a liar, and when Shelby tracks down his safe-deposit box, she finds multiple IDs. The man she loved wasn’t just dead. He never really existed. 

Shelby takes her three-year-old daughter and heads south to seek comfort in her hometown, where she meets someone new: Griff Lott, a successful contractor. But her husband had secrets she has yet to discover. Even in this small town, surrounded by loved ones, danger is closer than she knows - and threatens Griff, as well. And an attempted murder is only the beginning.

Shelby is a young widow with a three-year-old daughter named Callie.  Her husband had presumably drowned a couple months ago, though his body had never been found.  They had led a wealthy lifestyle and Shelby is stunned to learn that it had all been a lie.  In addition to Richard leaving her millions of dollars in debt, she finds stacks of money, fake IDs and a gun in a safe deposit box at the bank.  She starts selling everything they own to pay off the debt.  Once it's manageable, she heads home to her family in Tennessee.

Richard had kept her isolated from her family and friends so she starts to rebuild these relationships.  She moves in with her parents, finds employment and meets Griff, who makes no secret that he is interested in her.  Dangerous things start happening ... Griff is run off the road, a woman is found shot in a parking lot, etc. ... and Shelby can't help but think they have something to do with her.

I thought this was an interesting premise for a story and for the most part I liked it.  It's is written in third person perspective.  As a head's up, there is violence, adult activity and swearing (lots of F-bombs).

It's a long book (500+ pages) and could have been shorter and tighter if some of the rambling pointless gossipy conversations had been cut out.  I imagine the author was trying to give us the flavour of hanging out in a beauty salon in Tennessee but I really didn't care that someone's second cousin had run off with someone else's fourth cousin once removed as it had no bearing on the story.

The Melody/Shelby rivalry storyline was pointless and had nothing to do with the main storyline and could have been deleted.  Again, I think the author was trying to give us the flavour of the area.

When Shelby returns home to Tennessee, it's obvious she comes from a closed knit family.  Yet when she met Richard, she let him isolate her from them.  Everyone keeps asking her why she had let it happen and I had wondered the same (I thought her explanations were lame).  She obviously wasn't happy with Richard yet she allowed herself to be under his will.  Her brother is a cop ... all she had to do is call him and say she needed help.

At one point, Shelby wasn't able to openly text so she texted while her phone was in her pocket and the texts made sense ... is that even possible?

I liked the characters.  Shelby had a great support system.  I don't usually like kids in stories but I didn't find Callie annoying (and she plays a big part in this book).  Maybe it's because she was well-behaved and cute all the time?  Griff was probably my favourite character.  He was a nice guy with a great sense of humour.  For example, when he would take care of Callie, he would assure Shelby that all was well and that they were playing in traffic or running with scissors.  The conversations between Griff and Shelby's cop brother were funny ... they were good friends but her brother was still being big brotherly about her.

Carl's Jr., Toronto, ON

When I walked to Yonge/St. Clair at lunchtime, I saw Carl's Jr. had moved into the area.  Apparently they have been there since March (I usually bring my lunch plus I haven't been in the office much this spring).  I'd never been to a Carl's Jr. (they just recently started opening up Ontario) so decided to try it.

Once you order, you sit down at a table and they bring it to you.

I ordered a Famous Star Burger without cheese, onions or lettuce , Crisscut Fries and a Diet Coke.

When I opened the wrapper around my burger, here's what I found ...

I know I didn't get cheese, onions or lettuce but my burger looked nothing like the fresh fun burger in the pictures.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Book ~ "The 5th Horseman" (2006) James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

From Goodreads ~ It is a wild race against time as Lieutenant Lindsay Boxer and the newest member of the Women's Murder Club, attorney Yuki Castellano, lead an investigation into a string of mysterious patient deaths - and reveal a hospital administration determined to shield its reputation at all costs. 

And while the hospital wages an explosive court battle that grips the entire nation, the Women's Murder Club hunts for a merciless killer among its esteemed medical staff. 

There are four members of the Women's Murder Club ... Lindsay, Cindy, Claire and Yuki.

Lindsay is a police lieutenant in San Francisco.  Young dead well-dressed girls start being found in fancy cars around the city.  Her department is strapped for resources and everyone is working extra hard to find the killer(s).

Yuki was Lindsay's lawyer and has become a friend and the latest member of the Women's Murder Club.  Her mother, Keiko, has a stroke and is taken to the hospital.  Despite being told that she was getting better, Keiko suddenly dies.  Yuki discovers that the hospital where her mother had been taken is being taken to court because there have been many mysterious deaths of patients in the last three years.  Lindsay stumbles onto the case because she discovers that the dead patients were found with buttons on their eyes.

This is the fifth in the Women's Murder Club series (and the sixth one I've read). Though it is part of a series, it does work as a stand alone.  This book was less about the Women's Murder Club, though ... the focuses were on Lindsay and Yuki. Cindy and Claire popped up occasionally.

I enjoyed the writing style and it went at a good pace. I liked the short choppy chapters. The point of view shifted ... it was first person perspective when the focus was on Lindsay and third person perspective when the focus was on everyone else ... but it was easy to figure out.  As a head's up, there is swearing, adult activity and violence.

I found the two storylines interesting but it felt like I was reading two different books because there was no connection.  I found it odd that 32 people had mysteriously died in three years and were found with buttons on their eyes yet the head of the hospital didn't think it was bizarre enough to tell the police.  Another thing I found strange is one of the characters gets on a plane with a gash in their head and their face bruised and bloodied.  Wouldn't Security at an airport stop and report them or take them to a hospital?

The whodunnits are exposed throughout the book (the last reveal comes very quickly at the end).  I would have liked more explanation as to why the killers did what they did.

I liked this book and will continue to get caught up in the series.

Monday, 22 June 2015

Book ~ "4th of July" (2005) James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

From Goodreads ~ In a deadly late-night showdown, San Francisco police lieutenant Lindsay Boxer fires her weapon and sets off a dramatic chain of events that leaves a police force disgraced, a family destroyed and Lindsay herself at the mercy of twelve jurors. 

During a break in the trial, she retreats to a picturesque town that is reeling from a string of grisly murders-crimes that bear a link to a haunting, unsolved case from her rookie years.

Now, with her friends in the Women's Murder Club, Lindsay must battle for her life on two fronts: in a trial rushing to a climax, and against an unknown adversary willing to do anything to hide the truth about the homicides-including kill again? 

There are four members of the Women's Murder Club ... Lindsay, Cindy, Claire and Yuki.

Lindsay and her former partner, Jacobi, are chasing a car.  When it crashes, their first thought is to rescue the two people inside.  Bad move as it comes back to bite Lindsay in the butt when she is charged with the killing of one and injuring the other.  She has to go to trial for the charges, which could mean the end of her career.

To get away from the media attention, she stays at her sister's house.  There have been some murders in this community and which have a link to an unsolved murder from Lindsay's rookie days.

This is the fourth in the Women's Murder Club series (and the fifth one I've read). Though it is part of a series, it does work as a stand alone.  This book was less about the Women's Murder Club, though, and more about Lindsay.  Sweet Martha, Lindsay's dog, has more face-time than Claire and Cindy (but I was okay with that).

I enjoyed the writing style and it went at a good pace. I liked the short choppy chapters. The point of view shifted ... it was first person perspective when the focus was on Lindsay and third person perspective when the focus was on everyone else ... but it was easy to figure out.  As a head's up, there is swearing and violence.

I thought the trial (and the fact there was a trial) was a bit overblown.  The facts and evidence clearly showed that Lindsay did what she had to do so I'm surprised that there was even a doubt she acted inappropriately.

Lindsay discovers whodunnit and the book wraps up pretty quickly after that.  The whodunnit was a bit of a stretch but I went with it.

I liked this book and will continue to get caught up in the series.

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Book ~ "3rd Degree" (2004) James Patterson and Andrew Gross

From Goodreads ~ Plunging into a burning town house, Detective Lindsay Boxer discovers three dead bodies ... and a mysterious message at the scene. 

When more corpses turn up, Lindsay asks her friends Claire Washburn of the medical examiner's office, Assistant D.A. Jill Bernhardt, and San Francisco Chronicle reporter Cindy Thomas, to help her find a murderer who vows to kill every three days. Even more terrifying, he has targeted one of the four friends. Which one will it be?

There are four members of the Women's Murder Club ... Lindsay, Cindy, Claire and Jill.

Lindsay is a police lieutenant in San Francisco.  She is jogging with her dog when a house blows up as she's passing by.  Three dead bodies are found inside, one is the owner of a company from which he had recently sold his stock, thus plunging the price down.  As more murders happen and more notes are found, the group taking responsibility want fairer conditioners for people around the world.  Joe, a deputy director from Homeland Security, is brought in to help the San Francisco police department solve these murders.

This is the third in the Women's Murder Club series (and the fourth one I've read).  Though it is part of a series, it does work as a stand alone.

I enjoyed the writing style and it went at a good pace. I liked the short choppy chapters. The point of view shifted ... it was first person perspective when the focus was on Lindsay and third person perspective when the focus was on everyone else ... but it was easy to figure out.  As a head's up, there is swearing and violence.  Out of the blue, domestic violence appears but it's nipped in the bud rather quickly (too quickly I thought).

I found this book a bit too political and as a Canadian, I didn't get some of the American references to things that have happened in the past.  I'd never heard of the Weathermen and there was no explanation of who they were and I don't really know what Homeland Security is.

I thought this was just okay and will continue to get caught up in the series.

Friday, 19 June 2015

Book ~ "Summer Secrets" (2015) Jane Green

From Goodreads ~ June, 1998: At twenty seven, Catherine Coombs, also known as Cat, is struggling. She lives in London, works as a journalist, and parties hard. Her lunchtimes consist of several glasses of wine at the bar downstairs in the office, her evenings much the same, swigging the free booze and eating the free food at a different launch or party every night. When she discovers the identity of the father she never knew she had, it sends her into a spiral. She makes mistakes that cost her the budding friendship of the only women who have ever welcomed her. And nothing is ever the same after that. 

June, 2014: Cat has finally come to the end of herself. She no longer drinks. She wants to make amends to those she has hurt. Her quest takes her to Nantucket, to the gorgeous summer community where the women she once called family still live. Despite her sins, will they welcome her again? What Cat doesn’t realize is that these women, her real father’s daughters, have secrets of their own. As the past collides with the present, Cat must confront the darkest things in her own life and uncover the depths of someone’s need for revenge. 

When she was younger, Cat was a partier.  She drank a lot and would wake up in the morning wondering what she'd done and where she was.  After a blackout, she wakes up in Jason's bed.  He is a recovering alcoholic and tries to get her to go to AA meetings.  Around this time, she discovers that her father wasn't really her father.  She visits her birth father in the U.S. but it doesn't go well because of her drinking.  Her real father is also an alcoholic so she now knows where she gets it.

Sixteen years later, Cat is a divorced mother of a preteen and going through the 12 steps of AA.  The ninth one means she has to make amends to anyone she has hurt.  She heads back to the U.S. to apologize for her actions in 1998 to her half-sisters.  One of them accepts her again as her sister and they move on in their relationship.  The other wants no part of her.

This is the third book I've read by this author and I enjoyed it.  It's written in first person perspective in Cat's voice.  I liked the writing style and thought it moved at a good pace. It was an interesting story.  It jumps back and forth in time but the chapter headings let you know what the time period is.  As a head's up, there is some swearing.

I liked characters.  Cat had made some mistakes but in 2014 she's older and more mature and trying to move on as a mother.  She's sorry she lost out on having a relationship with her half-sisters and depriving her daughter the opportunity to know her aunts.  She has some tough obstacles to overcome and she faces them head on.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Topbox - June 2015

My June Topbox arrived while I was out of town this week.

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.

    Total value = $20.83

    beautybox five - June 2015

    My June beautybox five arrived while I was out of town.

    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 $99US for a year.  Shipping is free.

     Here's what was in it ...

    Value = $18.27US

    Wednesday, 17 June 2015

    Book ~ "2nd Chance" (2002) James Patterson and Andrew Gross

    From Goodreads ~ "2nd Chance" reconvenes the Women's Murder Club, four friends (a detective, a reporter, an assistant district attorney, and a medical examiner) who used their networking skills, feminine intuition and professional wiles to solve a baffling series of murders in "1st to Die". 

    This time, the murders of two African Americans, a little girl and an old woman, bear all the signs of a serial killer for Lindsay Boxer, newly promoted to lieutenant of San Francisco's homicide squad. But there's an odd detail she finds even more disturbing: both victims were related to city cops. 

    A symbol glimpsed at both murder scenes leads to a racist hate group but the taunting killer strikes again and again, leaving deliberate clues and eluding the police ever more cleverly. In the meantime, each of the women has a personal stake at risk - and the killer knows who they are. 

    There are four members of the Women's Murder Club ... Lindsay, Cindy, Claire and Jill.

    After choir practice as the children are leaving, a gunman open fires on them, killing a young black girl and Lindsay investigates.  It seems like a random act until Cindy, Lindsay's friend and another member of the Women's Murder Club, tells Lindsay that the hanging of an older black woman and the killing of the girl may be related.  There is the same symbol at both deaths plus both have a connection to police officers.  Then there are more shootings ... one hits its mark killing the person and other just misses.

    As Lindsay continues the investigation, she has to deal to some of the most hardened criminals to get to the bottom of what's going on.  On top of that, she has a surprise visit from someone from her past.

    This is the second in the Women's Murder Club series (and the third one I've read).  Though it is part of a series, it does work as a stand alone.

    I enjoyed the writing style and it went at a good pace. I liked the short choppy chapters. The point of view shifted ... it was first person perspective when the focus was on Lindsay and third person perspective when the focus was on everyone else ... but it was easy to figure out.  As a head's up, there is swearing and violence.

    I liked Lindsay, Claire, Jill and Cindy.  They are very supportive of each other both professionally and emotionally.  There were a couple of dumb things that Lindsay did which put her in danger.  As a cop, she should know better.

    I liked this one and will continue to get caught up in the series.

    Hilton Garden Inn Saskatoon Downtown, Saskatoon, SK

    I spent Tuesday and last night in Saskatoon and stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn.

    Here was my room ...

    My king bed was comfy!