Monday, 31 October 2016

Book ~ "What the Heart Remembers" (2015) Bette Lee Crosby

From Goodreads ~ Max Martinelli spent her junior year of college in Paris and fell in love. Julien was a wickedly handsome young man who was crazy in love with her, or so she thought. He was a free-spirited artist and she an aspiring architect - impressionable, young, and standing on the brink of womanhood.

That was over three years ago but the memory of him still haunts her. Max’s life is stuck on hold because she can’t stop wondering what would have happened if she had gone back. Was Julien simply part of the magic of Paris? Or was he meant to be her destiny?

After a New Year’s Eve party that ends in disaster and bad dreams, Max decides to find out once and for all. She is going to return to Paris and search for Julien. But will her search bring forever after happiness or a truth so ugly it will change her life forever?

Max is an self-employed architect in a small town.  Three years ago when she was a college student, she spent a year in Paris.  She met and fell in love with Julien, who was a struggling artist.  When she moved back to the States, he promised to follow her ... but she never heard from him again.  For the last three years, she wondered what had happened to him.  She feels he still has a hold on her heart and she is unable to move on with her live until she finds out why he never contacted her and if he is okay.  So she heads to Paris for two weeks to find him ... so her heart can either let him go or they can still have a future.

Though this is the third book in the Memory House series (there are five and this is the fourth one I've read), you don't need to have read the others as this works as a standalone.  There are characters from the other books in the series but there is enough background provided.  It is the eighth book I've read by this author and I liked it.

It is written in third person perspective in present tense, though some chapters are in first person perspective ... they are short and italicized and the name of the person is at the beginning of these chapters so you know who the focus is. This style worked for me as it let me get into their heads and know what they were thinking.

I am enjoying this series ... there are nice friendships between women.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema, Toronto, ON

Gord and I like the movie classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show (the original not the recent interpretation).  It was playing at the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema tonight so what better way to spend Halloween?

“Let’s do the Time Warp Again!” The cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show comes back to the Cinema for Halloween. As always, we’ll be presenting the film with Toronto’s own Shadow Cast, which will be performing their satirical, comedic version of the film for audiences during the show.

There were two shows tonight (at 7pm and 10:30pm) and both were sold out.


We got there about 6pm and Dixie was entertaining.  She was looking for "virgins" (people who have never seen movie before) and would put a "V" on their foreheads with her lipstick.


Eight virgins were called onto the stage and had a chance to earn a prize.  Then the best costumed people were brought up to win a prize.

El Furniture Warehouse, Toronto, ON

Gord and I had supper this evening at El Furniture Warehouse (on Bloor Street W at Bathurst Street).


It was fairly quiet when we got there just after 5pm.


It was really busy when we left an hour later.

KC's tree, Trinity Bellwoods Park, Toronto, ON

I went for an 4km walk this afternoon and as I cut through at Trinity Bellwoods Park, I stopped in to check on KC's tree.

We had a tree planted in the fall of 2011 in memory of our dog, KC.  When Gord and I were there two weeks ago, the leaves had changed and looked gorgeous.

I wasn't expecting there to be any colour or leaves and I was pleasantly surprised.

KC's tree is the smaller one with the orangish leaves
One last look as I head north

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Book ~ "Anatomy of a Song: The Oral History of 45 Iconic Hits That Changed Rock, R&B and Pop" (2016) Marc Myers

From Goodreads ~ Every great song has a fascinating backstory. In "Anatomy of a Song", based on the ongoing Wall Street Journal column, writer and music historian Marc Myers brings to life five decades of music through oral histories of forty-five transformative songs woven from interviews with the artists who created them. 

 Bringing readers inside the making of a hit, "Anatomy of a Song" includes the Isley Brothers' memorable song "Shout," Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love," Janis Joplin's "Mercedes Benz," and R.E.M's "Losing My Religion." 

After receiving his discharge from the army in 1968, John Fogerty does a handstand and reworks Beethoven's Fifth Symphony to come up with "Proud Mary." Joni Mitchell remembers living in a cave on Crete with the "mean old daddy" who inspired her 1971 hit "Carey." Elvis Costello talks about writing "(The Angels Wanna War My) Red Shoes" in ten minutes on the train to Liverpool. And Mick Jagger, Jimmy Page, Rod Stewart, the Clash, Jimmy Cliff, Roger Waters, Stevie Wonder, Keith Richards, Cyndi Lauper, and many other leading artists reveal the emotions, inspirations, and techniques behind their influential works. "Anatomy of a Song" is a love letter to the songs that have defined generations of listeners. 

This is an interesting book if you are a music lover.  The author has a column in the Wall Street Journal and this is a collection of some of the interviews he has done.  The 45 songs are a subjective collection of music milestones the author believes provides us with a greater understanding of the songs, the artists and the music's history.  They are stand-ins for the music's major turning points.

Each song has an introduction to explain its historical significance.  The interviews are with the singers, songwriters, producers, musicians, etc.  The songs are in chronological order starting with Lloyd Price's Lawdy Miss Clawdy from 1952 and ending with R.E.M.'s Losing My Religion in 1991.  The author stopped at 1991 because he feels a song isn't iconic until it has stood the test of time of a generation, which is 25 years.

It was interesting to get the background on how and why the song was written and what was going on at that time in the world and also in the lives of those involved.

Did you know that Midnight Train to Georgia was originally based on Farah Fawcett telling the song's composer that she was catching a midnight flight to Houston?  Read this book and you'll learn lots more!

"Crimes They Wrote", International Festival of Authors, Toronto, ON

I attended an event this afternoon at the International Festival of Authors (IFOA).

The 37th edition of Toronto’s International Festival of Authors (IFOA) is a celebration of words and ideas, of writers and readers. 

In 2016, IFOA welcomes over 200 Canadian and international participants to Toronto. The Festival brings together the world’s best writers of contemporary literature for 11 days of readings, interviews, artist talks, round table discussions, public book signings and a number of special events. The IFOA takes place at the Harbourfront Centre, where the city meets the lake, from October 20th to the 30th.


Pen Canada keeps an empty chair to each event representing a writer imprisoned for their views. This is Azimjon Askarov of Kyrgyzstani, a writer and political activist who has been in jail since 2010 for his writings on human rights issues within his country.


The event was called Crimes They Wrote.

Toronto Star‘s Book Editor Deborah Dundas will sit down with two extraordinary crime novelists, Linwood Barclay and Peter Robinson, for an interview about writing stories that keep readers on the edge.

The host introduced authors Peter Robinson and Linwood Barclay (I've read and enjoyed quite a few of his books) and Deborah Dundas, the moderator.

"Stories of Redemption", International Festival of Authors, Toronto, ON

Gord and I attended an event this afternoon at the International Festival of Authors (IFOA).

The 37th edition of Toronto’s International Festival of Authors (IFOA) is a celebration of words and ideas, of writers and readers. 

In 2016, IFOA welcomes over 200 Canadian and international participants to Toronto. The Festival brings together the world’s best writers of contemporary literature for 11 days of readings, interviews, artist talks, round table discussions, public book signings and a number of special events. The IFOA takes place at the Harbourfront Centre, where the city meets the lake, from October 20th to the 30th.


Pen Canada keeps an empty chair to each event representing a writer imprisoned for their views. This is Azimjon Askarov of Kyrgyzstani, a writer and political activist who has been in jail since 2010 for his writings on human rights issues within his country.


The event was called Stories of Redemption.

Darren Greer, Anosh Irani and Cordelia Strube present multifaceted and diverse stories about redemption and returning to face the past and/or the truth.  

Sheniz Janmohamed was the host.


She introduced the three authors, who read from their latest books.

Darren Greer read from Advocate ... I recently read it
Anosh Irani read from The Parcel

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Louis Cifer Brew Works, Toronto, ON

After Gord and I left the East Coast Comedy Show, we walked a couple blocks to Louis Cifer (a play on "lucifer") and had a couple drinks.  We'd been there for supper in the spring and liked it.


Their staff was in costume for their Creepy Carnival Halloween party.


For every drink you had, they gave you a ticket to spin the wheel to earn a prize ... like moving a cookie from your eyebrow to your mouth without touching it, keeping two balloons  in the air for 20 seconds, paper/rock/scissors, etc.  When I spun, I landed on having to hold two growlers for two minutes.

"Patricia", the hostess, was encouraging
Two minutes?  No problem!
I chose a couple of wine glasses as my prize

Then Gord spun the wheel and he ended up having to do the same thing as I had ... but guys had to do it for three minutes, rather than two.

East Coast Comedy Night 3, Social Capital Theatre, Toronto, ON

Gord and I went to the East Coast Comedy Night 3 at the Social Capital Theatre (above the Black Swan Tavern on the Danforth) tonight.

Our THIRD big year, with two big shows! For one night, in one room, we will pack as many comedians and performers from all over The Maritimes and Newfoundland to salute the East Coast. Nova Scotia-style donairs will be available at special comedy pricing and supplied by The FUzZ Box. 

There will be donairs, there will be Screech, there will be Acadians.

We went last year and it was a hoot!  Tickets were just $15 ($10 in advance) and the comedians and musicians were all from the East Coast.  I'm originally from the "East Coast" (from Nova Scotia).

East coast beer
The flags of Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, PEI and New Brunswick

We bought a couple Nova Scotia-style donairs from FUzZ Box for $5 each.  What is a donair, you ask?  It's dense spiced ground beef that is thinly sliced and put in a soft wrap.  But it's the sweet special sauce that makes it come together.  You could get them with veggies (tomatoes and onions) or without ... we got ours without.


Marcel St. Pierre was the host ... he was fun.

The Craft Brasserie & Grille, Toronto, ON

Gord and I had supper this evening at The Craft Brasserie & Grille in Liberty Village.  It's a great place if you are a beer lover as they have over 100 craft beers on tap.


Gord ordered the Mushroom Swiss Burger and replaced his side with the soup of the day, which was a bacon chowder.  Gord really enjoyed his burger and soup and would get them again.

Zoomer Show Toronto 2016, Toronto, ON

Gord got free tickets for the Zoomer Show from a fella he works with and we went this afternoon.

It is marketed as a lifestyle expo for the 45+ ... the attendees seemed to be a lot older (like 60+), though.


We walked around looking at the different vendors ... they ranged from financial services to memorial services to bamboo pillows to travel agents and things that will make you feel better and so on.  Simply Straight caught my eye and I checked it out.  It's a hair straightener that is a brush (I thought it was an odd product to be sold at this show).  I never do anything with my hair ... I wash it and brush it ... that's it!  Leeanna showed me how it works and let me try it and I was sold.

Boomerluxe Box - October 2016

My October Boomerluxe deluxe box arrived this week.

Five fun, unique and useful full size items.

Product categories include fashion, cosmetic, beauty, wellness and lifestyle items just for you.

An introduction to one or more emerging products that you won’t find on the shelves of your local drug store through our Women Helping Women mandate.

Each box is valued at well over your cost.


Subscriptions are $34.99  (plus shipping) for one month or $199.98 (plus shipping) for six months.  You can also subscribe to their new mini box for $19.99 plus shipping (save 10% using the discount code USATODAY)


This month's theme is Hello, Autumn.


Here's what I received ...