Sunday, September 30, 2012

Blue Monday




Taken in les Andelys France in August 2012.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Saturday Snapshot


 

Saturday Snapshots is hosted by Alyce at At Home With Books.



Copenhaven - Stoget Copenhagen taken in 2012.


The pedestrian street "Strøget" is a maze of several walking streets that runs from east - the Town Hall Square - to west - the Kings Square (Nytorv) and to Nyhavn. This pedestrian walking street - passes trough the central parts of the city as well as the old medieval city and Latin Quarters - and is connected to many large historical squares.








 
The busy - Frederiksberggade in 1929 - and long before it was turned into the longest pedestrian in the world - established as "Strøget" in 1962. Source

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Skywatch Friday






I'm linking up over here today!

Taken August 2012 in Giverny France where Monet's Gardens are located.



Friday Finds - Recipes



Hot wing mini cakes from Noble Pig these look absolutely delicious!!
P1340531x
Photo and recipe source

Slow cooker cashew chicken from The Girl Who Ate Everything

Photo and recipe source

Cranberry almond granola from A Feast for the Eyes

Photo and recipe source

The following recipes are from CBC Best Recipes Ever TV show:
The photos also come from the CBC website.

Broccoli and Cheddar White Bean Spread With Pita Wedges and Crudites
Broccoli and Cheddar White Bean Spread With Pita Wedges and Crudites 

Southwestern Chicken Bites
Southwestern Chicken Bites

My Recipe Box - Tzatziki

My husband found this recipe last summer and made it himself. It was from Kalyn's Kitchen.


Image source

Tzatziki (Greek Yogurt and Cucumber Sauce)
(Makes about 3 1/2 cups. You can cut the recipe in half, but it's so good, you really shouldn't. Recipe courtesy of Georgette.)

3 cups Greek Yogurt (or regular plain yogurt, strained as described above)
juice of one lemon (about 3 T)
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 medium cucumbers, seeded and diced
about 1 T kosher salt for salting cucumbers
1 T finely chopped fresh dill (can substitute mint leaves for a slightly different version)
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

If you don't have Greek yogurt, strain plain yogurt as described above. Peel cucumbers, then cut in half lengthwise and take a small spoon and scrape out seeds. Discard seeds. (If you use the small seedless or European cucumbers with few seeds, you can skip this step.) Slice cucumbers, then put in a colander, sprinkle on 1 T salt, and let stand for 30 minutes to draw out water. Drain well and wipe dry with paper towel.

In food processor with steel blade, add cucumbers, garlic, lemon juice, dill, and a few grinds of black pepper. Process until well blended, then stir this mixture into the yogurt. Taste before adding any extra salt, then salt if needed. Place in refrigerator for at least two hours before serving so flavors can blend. (This resting time is very important.)

This will keep for a few days or more in the refrigerator, but you will need to drain off any water and stir each time you use it.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?



 



It's Monday! What are you reading? is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. For this meme, bloggers post what they finished last week, what they're currently reading, and what they plan to start this week.


FINISHED THIS WEEK:

Turn of Mind

Synopsis here.

This book scared the wits out of me. It is a thriller but that's not what scared me. It is a grim story with no hope in sight for any of the characters.
The mystery is not as important as the portrait of the illness, what Alzheimers and other dementias do to the person, the personality.
Dr Jennifer White is a retired orthopedic surgeon,retired as she recognized that she was showing signs of developing dementia.  The entire book is narrated by her as she sees and remembers events through her changing brain.

The Buddha in the Attic
Julie Otsuka’s long awaited follow-up to When the Emperor Was Divine(“To watch Emperor catching on with teachers and students in vast numbers is to grasp what must have happened at the outset for novels like Lord of the Flies and To Kill a Mockingbird” —The New York Times) is a tour de force of economy and precision, a novel that tells the story of a group of young women brought over from Japan to San Francisco as ‘picture brides’ nearly a century ago.

In eight incantatory sections, The Buddha in the Attic traces their extraordinary lives, from their arduous journey by boat, where they exchange photographs of their husbands, imagining uncertain futures in an unknown land; to their arrival in San Francisco and their tremulous first nights as new wives; to their backbreaking work picking fruit in the fields and scrubbing the floors of white women; to their struggles to master a new language and a new culture; to their experiences in childbirth, and then as mothers, raising children who will ultimately reject their heritage and their history; to the deracinating arrival of war.

In language that has the force and the fury of poetry, Julie Otsuka has written a singularly spellbinding novel about the American dream.

The good news, it was a short quick read at 129 pages. The bad news I really wanted to get to know some of the women. 
It is written in the first person plural narration which was fine at the beginning but then really got on my nerves.
 I also found the ending was unsatisfactory for me. The Japanese are led away to the internment camps, which evoked memories for me of A Train in Winter which I read last week., leaving theirwhite neighbors to wonder where they went and then, slowly, to forget them. I would have liked to read what happened when sanity returned and the Japanese were allowed to go where they wished.

Swipe (Swipe, #1)

"Apocalyptic dystopian fiction at its best. Angler's sharp wit and dexterity with political themes are matched only by the thrilling suspense on every page." -Lis Wiehl, "New York Times" bestselling author and FOX News correspondent

Everyone gets the Mark. It gives all the benefits of citizenship. Yet if getting the Mark is such a good thing, then why does it feel so wrong?

Set in a future North America that is struggling to recover after famine and global war, "Swipe" follows the lives of three kids caught in the middle of a conflict they didn't even know existed. United under a charismatic leader, every citizen of the American Union is required to get the Mark on their 13th birthday in order to gain the benefits of citizenship.

The Mark is a tattoo that must be swiped by special scanners for everything from employment to transportation to shopping. It's almost Logan Langly's 13th birthday and he knows he should be excited about getting the Mark, but he hasn't been able to shake the feeling he's being watched. Not since his sister went to get her Mark five years ago . . . and never came back.

When Logan and his friends discover the truth behind the Mark, will they ever be able to go back to being normal teenagers? Find out in the first book of this exciting series that is "Left Behind" meets "Matched" for middle-grade readers.

OMG I just realized there is a second volume after this one!! 

Swipe is set in a world that is terrifying, innovative (even if the innovation is very scary) and fascinating!  Swipe is a MG/YA suspense/thriller which had me hooked from the start.

STARTED THIS WEEK:
Absurdistan
Synopsis from Goodreads.
Open Absurdistan and meet outsize Misha Vainberg, son of the 1,238th-richest man in Russia, lover of large portions of food and drink, lover and inept performer of rap music, and lover of a South Bronx Latina whom he longs to rejoin in New York City, if only the American INS will grant him a visa. But it won't, because Misha's late Beloved Papa whacked an Oklahoma businessman of some prominence. Misha is paying the price of exile from his adopted American homeland. He's stuck in Russia, dreaming of his beloved Rouenna and the Oz of NYC. 

Salvation may lie in the tiny, oil-rich nation of Absurdistan, where a crooked consular officer will sell Misha a Belgian passport. But after a civil war breaks out between two competing ethnic groups and a local warlord installs hapless Misha as Minister of Multicultural Affairs, our hero soon finds himself covered in oil, fighting for his life, falling in love, and trying to figure out if a normal life is still possible in the twenty-first century. 

Populated by curvaceous brown-eyed beauties, circumcision-happy Hasidic Jews, a loyal manservant who never stops serving, and scheming oil execs from a certain American company whose name rhymes with Malliburton, Absurdistan is a strange, oddly true-to-life look at how we live now, from a writer who should know.

2012 books read (79 to date):
The Coast Road - John Brady
Still Midnight - Denise Mina
The Bulgari Connection - Fay Weldon
Good Bait - John Harvey
The Heretic's Treasure - Scott Mariani
Dead I Well May Be - Adrian McKinty
The Devil's Elixir - Raymond Khoury
A Darker Domain - Val McDermid
The Impossible Dead - Ian Rankin
GB84 - David Peace
The Emperor's Tomb - Steve Berry
Stonehenge Legacy - Sam Christer
Inquisition - Alfredo Colitto ABANDONED!
The Troubled Man - Henning Mankell
Nineteen Seventy-Four - David Peace
Faithful Place - Tana French
Dead Like You - Peter James
Brother and Sister - Joanna Trollope
The Forgotten Garden - Kate Morton ABANDONED!
A Beginner's Guide to Acting English -Shappi Khorsandi
The Snowman - Jo Nesbo
The Leopard - Jo Nesbo
The Stone Cutter - Camilla Lackberg
Miramar - Naguib Mahfouz
The Gallow's Bird - Camilla Lackberg
Nineteen Seventy- Seven - David Peace
Timeline - Michael Crichton
Millennium People - JG Ballard
The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins
Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins
Mockingjay - Suzanne Collins
Birdman - Mo Hayder
Clara Callan - Richard B. Wright
The Paris Vendetta - Steve Berry
Little Girls Lost - Jack Kerley
The Reutrn of the Dancing Master - Henning Mankell
Nemesis - Jo Nesbo
Dublin Dead - Gerard O'Donovan
City of Bohane - Kevin Barry
This Beautiful Life - Helen Schulman
The Copenhagen Project - K. SandersenPrague - Arthur Phillips
Fortunes of War - Gordon Zuckerman
The Cold Cold Ground - Adrian McKinty
Before the Poison - Peter Robinson
The Mozart Conspiracy - Scott Mariani
Dancer - Colum McCann
Pig Island - Mo Hayder
Old City Hall - Robert Rotenberg
The Paris Wife - Paula McLain
The Last Good Man - A. J. Kazinski
Homesick - Roshi Fernando
Black Friday - Alex Kava
Only One Life - Sara Blaedel
A Perfect Evil - Alex Kava
People Like Us - Dominick Dunne
The Ottoman Motel - Christopher Currie
Even the Dogs - Jon McGregor
The Red Book - Deborah Copaken Kogan
Faith - Jennifer Haigh
The Salesman - Joseph O'Connor
The Last Hundred Days - Patrick McGuinness
The Girl Below - Bianca Zander ABANDONED!
Hocus Pocus - Kurt Vonnegut
Drowned - Therese Bohman
Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn
The Paris Directive - Gerald Jay
Criminal - Karin Slaughter
The Reluctant Fundamentalist - Moshin Hamid
The Good Muslim - Tahmima Anam
My Korean Deli - Ben Ryder Howe
The Ghosts of Belfast - Stuart Neville
Bad Boy - Peter Robinson
The Guilty Pleas - Robert Rotenberg
The Vault - Ruth Rendell
A Train in Winter - Caroline Moorehead
Turn of Mind - Alice La Plante
The Buddha in the Attic - Julie Otsuka
Swipe - Evan Angler

Friday, September 21, 2012

Pink Saturday

Beverly's PINK SATURDAY


I spotted this girl last summer on Queen St. in Toronto. I have absolutely no idea why she was dressed like this!


Saturday Snapshot and SOOC


Saturday Snapshots is hosted by Alyce at   At Home With Books.



These were taken at Newgrange in County Meath Ireland in 2007.


Since this makes reference to Stonehenge here is a link to my photos from there.

Newgrange was constructed over 5,000 years ago (about 3,200 B.C.), making it older than Stonehenge in England and the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt. Newgrange was built during the Neolithic or New Stone Age by a farming community that prospered on the rich lands of the Boyne Valley. Knowth and Dowth are similar mounds that together with Newgrange have been designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Archaeologists classified Newgrange as a passage tomb, however Newgrange is now recognised to be much more than a passage tomb. Ancient Temple is a more fitting classification, a place of astrological, spiritual, religious and ceremonial importance, much as present day cathedrals are places of prestige and worship where dignitaries may be laid to rest.

Newgrange is a large kidney shaped mound covering an area of over one acre, retained at the base by 97 kerbstones, some of which are richly decorated with megalithic art. The 19 metre long inner passage leads to a cruciform chamber with a corbelled roof. The amount of time and labour invested in construction of Newgrange suggests a well-organized society with specialised groups responsible for different aspects of construction.

Newgrange is part of a complex of monuments built along a bend of the River Boyne known collectively as Brú na Bóinne. The other two principal monuments are Knowth (the largest) and Dowth, but throughout the region there are as many as 35 smaller mounds.










Thursday, September 20, 2012

Sunday, September 16, 2012

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?



 



It's Monday! What are you reading? is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. For this meme, bloggers post what they finished last week, what they're currently reading, and what they plan to start this week.


FINISHED THIS WEEK:
Bad Boy (Inspector Banks, #19)

Synopsis over here.

I always enjoy an Inspector Banks story. This was no exception with no surprises  and the usual quality of plotting and suspense in this the nineteenth in the series. I've read all of these in no particular order.
The book starts with the investigation into a raid by an Authorized Firearms Officer squad that goes horribly wrong.
Banks is a deep character with many faults like the rest of us and his character has grown and developed.


The Guilty Plea
With The Guilty Plea, a gripping sequel to the international bestseller Old City Hall, Robert Rotenberg has delivered another sharp, suspenseful legal thriller with an explosive conclusion.

On the morning his high-profile divorce trial is set to begin, Terrance Wyler, the youngest son of Toronto’s Wyler Food dynasty, is found stabbed to death in the kitchen of his luxurious home. Detective Ari Greene arrives minutes before the press and finds Wyler’s four-year-old son asleep upstairs. Hours later, when Wyler’s wife, Samantha, shows up at her lawyer’s office with a bloody knife wrapped in a towel, the case looks like a straightforward guilty plea.

Instead, an open-and-shut case becomes a complex murder trial, full of spite and uncertainty. There’s April Goodling, the Hollywood starlet with whom Terrance had a well-publicized dalliance, and Brandon Legacy, the teenage neighbor who was with Samantha the night of the murder. After a series of devastating cross-examinations, there’s no telling where the jury’s sympathies will lie.

As in Old City Hall, Rotenberg’s gift for twists and turns is always astonishing, but his true star remains the courtroom: the tension, disclosures, and machinations that drive this trial straight to its unpredictable verdict. 


I had read his first book Old City hall and was really looking forward to this one. I enjoyed the further development of some of the characters from the first book mainly cops, lawyers and judges. I loved reading about my city, Toronto and his great descriptions. I also liked the history of our judicial system and its many customs.
I didn't like the ending, I'm not sure why. Perhaps because I had trouble believing the ending. I also felt it was rushed and could have been built upon throughout the story.

The Vault
Inspector Wexford is back! After being missing in action since 2009, former Chief Inspector Reginald Wexford returns from retirement in this standalone sequel to A Sight for Sore Eyes, Ruth Rendell's popular 1999 novel. Detective Superintendant Thomas Ede coaxes Wexford into active duty, using the lure of four recently discovered corpses and an unidentified culprit. Of course, unraveling interlocking mysteries is what Wexford does best. 

I've always been a huge Ruth Rendell fan. This is a quick read about a case that  is not particularly exciting,  it's the characters that make the book interesting, although they, too, have become somewhat set in their ways.
I, for my part, love the descriptions of the London neighbourhoods that Wexford is exploring as I am a huge lover of London. 
I was somewhat amused about Wexford venturing into cyberspace but thought this a little odd that he would not have learned to google etc. while still on the police force. he even sends his first e-mail.

A Train in Winter: An Extraordinary Story of Women, Friendship, and Resistance in Occupied France

They were teachers, students, chemists, writers, and housewives; a singer at the Paris Opera, a midwife, a dental surgeon. They distributed anti-Nazi leaflets, printed subversive newspapers, hid resisters, secreted Jews to safety, transported weapons, and conveyed clandestine messages. The youngest was a schoolgirl of fifteen who scrawled "V" for victory on the walls of her lycée; the eldest, a farmer's wife in her sixties who harbored escaped Allied airmen. Strangers to each other, hailing from villages and cities from across France, these brave women were united in hatred and defiance of their Nazi occupiers.

Eventually, the Gestapo hunted down 230 of these women and imprisoned them in a fort outside Paris. Separated from home and loved ones, these disparate individuals turned to one another, their common experience conquering divisions of age, education, profession, and class, as they found solace and strength in their deep affection and camaraderie.

In January 1943, they were sent to their final destination: Auschwitz. Only forty-nine would return to France.

A Train in Winter draws on interviews with these women and their families; German, French, and Polish archives; and documents held by World War II resistance organizations to uncover a dark chapter of history that offers an inspiring portrait of ordinary people, of bravery and survival—and of the remarkable, enduring power of female friendship.


This was a very hard book to read but I couldn't put it down. In 2012 we visited NuembergTerezin (a concentration camp), Budapest Jewish Interest Tour, and Normandy so this book was very relevant and provided me with the detailed history to fill in the blanks from these visits to these World War II sites.

While I found her writing a little cumbersome I could look past it as the stories of these women were so riveting. It is a little hard to keep track of each one's story as they blended together. However, the details of the horrendous existence they had to endure under the Nazis is mind boggling and heart breaking.
This book has some of the most explicit descriptions of camp survival that I have ever read.

STARTED THIS WEEK:

Turn of Mind

Is the perfect murder the one you can't forget or the one you can't remember?

Dr. Jennifer White, a brilliant former surgeon in the early grips of Alzheimer's, is suspected of murdering her best friend, Amanda. Amanda's body was found brutally disfigured — with four of her fingers cut off in a precise, surgical manner. As the police pursue their investigation and Jennifer searches her own mind for fractured clues to Amanda's death, a portrait emerges of a complex relationship between two uncompromising, unsentimental women, lifelong friends who were at times each other's most formidable adversaries.





2012 books read (76 to date):
The Coast Road - John Brady
Still Midnight - Denise Mina
The Bulgari Connection - Fay Weldon
Good Bait - John Harvey
The Heretic's Treasure - Scott Mariani
Dead I Well May Be - Adrian McKinty
The Devil's Elixir - Raymond Khoury
A Darker Domain - Val McDermid
The Impossible Dead - Ian Rankin
GB84 - David Peace
The Emperor's Tomb - Steve Berry
Stonehenge Legacy - Sam Christer
Inquisition - Alfredo Colitto ABANDONED!
The Troubled Man - Henning Mankell
Nineteen Seventy-Four - David Peace
Faithful Place - Tana French
Dead Like You - Peter James
Brother and Sister - Joanna Trollope
The Forgotten Garden - Kate Morton ABANDONED!
A Beginner's Guide to Acting English -Shappi Khorsandi
The Snowman - Jo Nesbo
The Leopard - Jo Nesbo
The Stone Cutter - Camilla Lackberg
Miramar - Naguib Mahfouz
The Gallow's Bird - Camilla Lackberg
Nineteen Seventy- Seven - David Peace
Timeline - Michael Crichton
Millennium People - JG Ballard
The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins
Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins
Mockingjay - Suzanne Collins
Birdman - Mo Hayder
Clara Callan - Richard B. Wright
The Paris Vendetta - Steve Berry
Little Girls Lost - Jack Kerley
The Reutrn of the Dancing Master - Henning Mankell
Nemesis - Jo Nesbo
Dublin Dead - Gerard O'Donovan
City of Bohane - Kevin Barry
This Beautiful Life - Helen Schulman
The Copenhagen Project - K. SandersenPrague - Arthur Phillips
Fortunes of War - Gordon Zuckerman
The Cold Cold Ground - Adrian McKinty
Before the Poison - Peter Robinson
The Mozart Conspiracy - Scott Mariani
Dancer - Colum McCann
Pig Island - Mo Hayder
Old City Hall - Robert Rotenberg
The Paris Wife - Paula McLain
The Last Good Man - A. J. Kazinski
Homesick - Roshi Fernando
Black Friday - Alex Kava
Only One Life - Sara Blaedel
A Perfect Evil - Alex Kava
People Like Us - Dominick Dunne
The Ottoman Motel - Christopher Currie
Even the Dogs - Jon McGregor
The Red Book - Deborah Copaken Kogan
Faith - Jennifer Haigh
The Salesman - Joseph O'Connor
The Last Hundred Days - Patrick McGuinness
The Girl Below - Bianca Zander ABANDONED!
Hocus Pocus - Kurt Vonnegut
Drowned - Therese Bohman
Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn
The Paris Directive - Gerald Jay
Criminal - Karin Slaughter
The Reluctant Fundamentalist - Moshin Hamid
The Good Muslim - Tahmima Anam
My Korean Deli - Ben Ryder Howe
The Ghosts of Belfast - Stuart Neville
Bad Boy - Peter Robinson
The Guilty Pleas - Robert Rotenberg
The Vault - Ruth Rendell
A Train in Winter - Caroline Moorehead