Tuesday 28 February 2017

Book ~ "Never Let You Go" (2017) Chevy Stevens

From Goodreads ~ Eleven years ago, Lindsey Nash escaped into the night with her young daughter and left an abusive relationship. Her ex-husband was sent to jail and she started over with a new life. Now, Lindsey is older and wiser, with a teenage daughter who needs her more than ever. 

When her ex-husband is finally released, Lindsey believes she’s cut all ties. But she gets the sense that someone is watching her. Her new boyfriend is threatened. Her home is invaded and her daughter is shadowed. 

Lindsey is convinced it’s her ex-husband, even though he claims he’s a different person. But can he really change? Is the one who wants her dead closer to home than she thought?

When Lindsey was 19, she met and fell in love with Andrew, who was a bit older, and a successful business owner.  They quickly got married and soon had a daughter named Sophie.  Andrew started off as a nice thoughtful caring husband but over time became increasingly possessive and eventually abusive.  Sophie started to plan on leaving him.  On the night she finally does, Andrew did something, was arrested and put in prison for ten years.

Over the next ten years, Lindsey and Sophie rebuilt their lives in a small town.  Lindsey had her own business, a new boyfriend and the support of friends.  Sophie, now in her late teens, missed having a relationship with her father and, unbeknownst to Lindsey, contacted him just before he is released from prison.  Once he had served his time, Andrew wanted to get to know his daughter and make up for all the hurt he had caused.  When Lindsey discovered Sophie had been seeing Andrew, she freaked out and assumed the strange things that were happening was Andrew getting revenge.

I've read a few books by this author and enjoyed this one ... it's pretty intense given the subject matter.  It's written in first person perspective from Lindsey and Sophie's points of view and jumps back and forth in time, giving you the back story.  The voices and time periods alternate by chapters but they are labeled so you know whose voice it is and when.  As a head's up, there is swearing and violence.

Sunday 26 February 2017

Book ~ "The Forgotten Girls" (2017) Owen Laukkanen

From GoodreadsShe was a forgotten girl, a runaway found murdered on the High Line train through the northern Rocky Mountains and, with little local interest, put into a dead file. But she was not alone. When Kirk Stevens and Carla Windermere of the joint FBI-BCA violent crime force stumble upon the case, they discover a horror far greater than anyone expected - a string of murders on the High Line, all of them young women drifters whom no one would notice. 

But someone has noticed now. Through the bleak midwinter and a frontier land of forbidding geography, Stevens and Windermere follow a frustratingly light trail of clues - and where it ends, even they will be shocked. 

Kirk Stevens is a special agent with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) and his partner is Carla Windermere, who is an FBI special agent.  Their latest case is the rape and brutal murder of a young runaway who was a train hopper.  As they investigate, they discover there are more than 25 unsolved cases of women who had disappeared or had been  raped and murdered along the train line in the Northern Rocky Mountains.

I liked this book.  Though this is the sixth in the Stevens and Windermere series (I've read them all), it works as a stand alone.  If you want to get to know Stevens and Windermere, you should read the previous ones to find out the history and dynamics between them because the author doesn't dwell on any of that in this story.  I liked the writing style and found the storyline interesting ... I didn't realize there was a train hopping culture.  It's written in third person perspective with a focus on the various characters, including the murderer.  As a head's up, there is swearing.

The book is dedicated to the memory of the missing and murdered woman of Vancouver, BC's Downtown Eastside and Stevie Cameron's book, On the Farm, was used as background for this story.

Saturday 25 February 2017

Wenona Craft Beer Lodge, Toronto, ON

Gord and I had supper this evening at Wenona Craft Beer Lodge (on Bloor Street W between Dovercourt and Dufferin).  We've been there just after it opened a couple years ago and haven't had a chance to go back.

Gord likes it there because they have an interesting selection of craft beer (no big beer companies).

They have changed the kitchen since we were there.  It's now Pork Ninjas.

The sides

Friday 24 February 2017

College Falafel, Toronto, ON

Today marks 30 years since I moved from Nova Scotia to Toronto.

To celebrate, I had an "east coast" donair for lunch at College Falafel (at Ossington Avenue and College Street).  I've gone by this place many times over the years and have seen the "East Coast Donairs" sign but have never stopped in until today.

Thursday 23 February 2017

beautybox five - February 2017

My February 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 $99US for a year.  Shipping is free.

Here's what I received ...

Wednesday 22 February 2017

Liberty Shawarma, Toronto, ON

I had supper this evening at Liberty Shawarma (on Atlantic Avenue at King Street W).  It's in my 'hood but I've never been there before.

I ordered a large chicken shawarma.

Beef and chicken

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.  The chicken was tender and had a nice spice.  It was tasty and fun and messy.

Superpoint, Toronto, ON

I love love love pizza and headed to Superpoint (on Ossington Avenue, south of Dundas Street W), which is in my 'hood, for a slice for lunch.  It has been open since October.

It's a small take-out in the front with a couple chairs and a restaurant in the back that's open later in the day.  I ate my slice there.

The pizza oven is as soon as you walk in

Tuesday 21 February 2017

Book ~ "Hannah's Moon" (2017) John A. Heldt

From Goodreads ~ After struggling for years to have a child, Claire Rasmussen, 34, turns to adoption, only to find new obstacles on the path to motherhood. Then she gets an unlikely phone call and soon learns that a distant uncle possesses the secrets of time travel.

Within weeks, Claire, husband Ron, and brother David, find themselves on a train to Tennessee and 1945, where adoptable infants are plentiful and red tape is short. For a time, they find what they seek. Then a beautiful stranger enters their lives, the Navy calls, and a simple straightforward mission becomes a race for survival. 

Filled with suspense, romance, and heartbreak, "Hannah's Moon", the epic conclusion of the American Journey series, follows the lives of four spirited adults as they confront danger, choices, and change in the tense final months of World War II.

It's 2017 Tennessee and Claire and Ron have been trying for years to have a baby to no avail.  When they decide to adopt, they discover their wait could be be years.  Her uncle hears of their situation and contacts her with a suggestion ... he can send them back to 1945 Tennessee where it's easier to adopt and they can bring a baby back to 2017.  Claire and Ron agree and plan to spend a couple months there.  Claire brother, David, goes back with them to help them out.  Though they settle into the community and become friends with their neighbour, Margaret, things aren't as straightforward as they had hoped.  In 1945 Tennessee there was racism and World War II was still going on so men were being recruited.

I like time travel books.  I find it interesting to see how people adapt and react when they go back in time where there are no cell phones, no Internet, etc.  I've read many books by this author and time travel is his focus.  Though it is the fifth (and apparently the last) in the American Journey series, you don't have to read the others to know what's going on as it works well as a stand alone.  The author wrote about 1945 well and I got a good sense of what it was like living in that time period.  It is written in third person perspective in Claire, Ron, David and Margaret's voices (the chapters are labeled).

Monday 20 February 2017

Book ~ "Gizelle's Bucket List: My Life with a Very Large Dog" (2017) Lauren Fern Watt

From GoodreadsLauren Watt took her 160-pound English Mastiff to college - so, of course, after graduation, Gizelle followed Lauren to her first tiny apartment in New York. Because Gizelle wasn’t just a dog; she was a roommate, sister, confidante, dining companion and everything in between.

Together Gizelle and Lauren went through boyfriends, first jobs, a mother’s struggle with addiction, and the ups and downs of becoming an adult in the big city. But when Gizelle got sick and Lauren realized her best friend might not be such a constant after all, she designed an epic bucket list to make the absolute most of the time they had left.

Bursting with charm, this unique, coming-of-age story of a girl making her way through life is a testament to the special way pets inspire us to live better, love better, and appreciate the simple pleasures. "Gizelle’s Bucket List" is the humorous, poignant lesson our pets teach us: to embrace adventure, love unconditionally, and grow into the people we want to be. 

Lauren's mother bought her a English Mastiff puppy on a whim when she was 19.  That puppy, Gizelle, grew into a 160 pound dog and became Lauren's best friend.  When Lauren went to college, Gizelle went with her.  Then they moved to New York together.  It was an adjustment for a huge dog from Tennessee to move to the big city and live in a tiny apartment but they made it work.

Everything seemed to be going well ... Lauren had a "real" job, her best friend was her roommate and she was dating a professional who loved her dog.  When Gizelle was about six, one of her legs starts bothering her and it was discovered that she has cancer.  Lauren was determined to make Gizelle's last days the best they could be, hence the bucket list.

I like reading stories about animals and that's why this one caught my eye.  Gizelle sounds like she was an awesome dog and a fabulous companion to Lauren.  It's always tough to say good-bye for our furkids.

I liked this book.  I liked the writing style of this book and I found the author made Gizelle come to life for the reader.  Gizelle was there for Lauren when she was dealing with her mother's drug addiction and alcoholism, her parents' break-up, looking for a "real" job, dating and more.  As a head's up, there is some swearing.

Happy Family Day!

Today is Family Day, a statutory holiday here in Ontario.

Enjoy and spend some time with your family!

Sunday 19 February 2017

Screen Queens: "Pee-Wee's Big Adventure", Royal Cinema, Toronto, ON

One of my favourite movies is Pee-Wee's Big Adventure.  I've seen it tons of times but never in a theatre on the big screen.  It was playing tonight at the Royal Cinema (on College Street and Clinton Street).  Gord's not a fan of the movie but knows I like it so offered to go if I wanted to go.  I bought the tickets before he could change his mind!


Screen Queens is one part Mystery Science Theatre, one part Drunk History, with a dash of Elvira and add lots of booze. Get ready to experience movies like never before.


The cartoonish and childish character Pee-Wee Herman goes on a big adventure for the first time ever when his beloved shiny new bicycle is stolen by his nemesis Francis Buxton, a fellow man-child and neighborhood rich "kid." And he sets off on an obsessive cross-country journey, determined to recover it.

$12 early bird while they last/$15 after




ABOUT US: Come join the one and only drag queen extraordinaire Allysin Chaynes for a cinematic journey through your favourite cult films. FULL movie, live and potentially very drunk commentary, special guests, performances, drinking games and plenty of surprises. This is a licensed event.

It wasn't well organized at all.  The doors didn't open until 7:45pm and the movie started at 8:30pm.  The line-up at the concession stand was so long they delayed the start of the movie ... had they opened the doors on time, they could have started on time.

The hosts were a couple drag queens.

Allysin Chaynes and Fisher Price
Allysin lip-synced to Bicycle Race by Queen

I knew ahead of time there were be "commentary" by the hosts.  I thought it would be like the Die Hard Quote-Along we've been to the last two years ... the host occasionally jumps in with comments.  Not here!  Allysin and Fisher babbled non-freakin'-stop the entire time and weren't really funny.  They were louder than the movie so it's a good thing the movie was closed-captioned because it was hard to hear what the actors were saying.  It was annoying but I was able for the most part to tune them out.  Plus I've seen the movie so many times that I could recite a lot of the lines.

There was an intermission halfway through the movie.  It was obvious Gord wasn't enjoying the movie either so we left.

Friday 17 February 2017

Toronto Rock 12, Georgia Swarm 13, Air Canada Centre, Toronto, ON

Gord and I are season ticket holders for the Toronto Rock lacrosse team games ... the Rock is a professional lacrosse franchise in the National Lacrosse League (NLL).  This is our fifth year going to the games and our fourth year having seasons tickets.   Gord's colleague, Roger, and Roger's dad, Ben, joined us.

The Rock were playing the Georgia Swarm.  Going into tonight's game, they were tied for first place in the east division.

It was Nick Rose (the Rock goalie) bobblehead night.  The first 5,000 fans in the door got one.  The four of us were there early enough to get one.  Sweet!

We were also early enough to watch the Rock players warm up.

 Scotty Newlands sang the national anthems.

Topbox - February 2017

My February Topbox arrived today.

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.

Here's what I received ...

Total value = $83.70 value

Boston Pizza, North York, ON

I had lunch today at Boston Pizza (Yonge/Park Home Avenue).  It's been awhile since I've been at a Boston Pizza.

I sat in the lounge area

It's been years since I've had a pizza at Boston Pizza as I usually order Broken Lasagna.  Today I ordered an individual Meateor pizza with regular crust.  It was really good and filling.  I'd get it again.

Thin crust is 520 calories and regular crust is 880 calories