Saturday, July 31, 2010

What did Big Sister read in July?

No too much that improved my mind or challenged me, but they were fun, nonetheless!

The Bodyguard, by Cherry Adair - I ordered this 'cause of the author, but it turned to be a 3-story collection with the main male character being a bodyguard of some kind.  Not the best Adair story  I've ever read, but what can you do?

Ice Cold, by Tess Gerritsen - As always, a GREAT criminal procedural.  Some blood and gore tossed in to make it an exciting read.  I love her books and was not disappointed.  And she tossed in some cult references, too, another plot twist that always catches my attention.

Private, James Patterson - Co-written with Maxine Paetro, not one of his best, but it was a James Patterson mystery/thriller.  Shared it with Mom already.

Silent Scream, Karen Rose - This one threw me off.  I thought Rose's last book was in hardcover; why would this new one come out in paperback?  But I hadn't read it before; it was indeed a new story.  Fires set to cover murders.  Young teens being blackmailed into setting the fires.  One bad guy lurking in the background.  And when you find out how he makes them set these fires?  Well, suffice it to say that you will be VERY careful about what you say in public, say on your cell phones, or put out there over the internet...

The Search, Nora Roberts - Used to be a fan, until I saw an uncorrected manuscript and realized just how much of her stories are saved by her editors and proofreaders...  For some reason, though, I picked this one up and it was good.  It involved canine search and rescue training, a subject I like since reading so many Kay Hooper titles...  The story was pretty good, and I liked how the romance between the two main characters seemed more normal, not all romantic and sappy, but with more bumps in the road, and one liking one more than the other, and having to realize you are in love...  Sometimes it's just not all wrapped up in a pretty bow and recognizable as "love."  And I also like stories that take place in the Northwest...

Drop Shot, Harlan Coben - I love his books, and this earlier one was no less intriguing.  I like seeing Myron visit all these places in NJ that I know...

Live to Tell, Lisa Gardner - Love her books!  A mystery and a thriller all wrapped up into one.  And add in a feral girl, a woo-woo New Age "expert," and some other children committed to the locked-down pediatric psych ward, and DD Warren has a lot to figure out.

The Obama Diaries, Laura Ingraham - It's no surprise I'd like this book since I'm a registered Republican, but the most fun part of it was the made up diary entries by BO, Miche, Axe, Joe, Rahm, and a number of other political figures!  Since I lean toward agreeing with some of Laura's politics, it was an easy read for me, but like I said, the most fun was the format itself.

Criminal Minds, Jeff Mariotte - A Wiley book!  The author references episodes from one of my favorite shows and includes a brief summary of the real-life crimes and criminals that were the basis for the show.  Those real life murderers were mentioned by the characters when they were creating their profile for the TV killer.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Stieg Larsson - THIS is why I don't like to read books that are getting a lot of hype.  I started it a month ago, and I'm not even 1/2-way through.  I'm not liking the writing.  I'm not liking the characters.  I don't like the storyline so far.  Everyone and anyone who calls this modern literature has been paid off - it does NOT qualify as literature, modern or otherwise.  I will NOT be reading the next several books, and I rank this right up there down there with Twilight, and we all know how I feel about THAT piece of trash.  I'll try to remember to make mention of this one next month, after I've finished the book.  My friend seems to feel most people who liked it skimmed it until they found a dirty word, a reference to murder or sex, or something else that caught their attention.  But I read every word, and I.DON'T.LIKE.IT.

Monday, July 19, 2010

From my past...

I was visiting a blog I recently found, written by a single day with multiple children in his care, and he was mentioning his childhood, a childhood that started before the 1980s.  It got me to thinking, as I'm much older than he is, that there must be quite a bit I'd forgotten about...  Here are just a few things...

  1. Marlin Perkins & Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom
  2. The Wonderful World of Walt Disney
  3. Pilgrim8-7407
  4. manual typewriters and the race to get 1 of the 10 electric typewriters in Mrs. Costello's typing class
  5. riding in the back seat without a seat belt
  6. Channel Lumber
  7. Great Eastern Mills
  8. Kresge's
  9. Two Guys
  10. signing up at the Computer Lab to access a computer in college (OMG, I'm truly O.L.D.)
  11. Gino's
  12. American Bandstand
  13. Saturday Night Fever
  14. Abbott & Costello
  15. Korvette's
  16. Creature Feature
  17. Seaside Heights when you could walk on a beach without stepping on cigarette butts
  18. crabbing in the bay with Uncle W
  19. TV without a remote
  20. black and white TV 'cause that's all there was
  21. Romper Room
  22. The Bowery Boys
  23. Wonderama with Bob McAllister
  24. Captain Kangaroo and Mr. Green Jeans
  25. My Favorite Martian
  26. My baloney has a first name, it's O-S-C-A-R...
  27. Apollo 11
  28. the Manson Murders
  29. the birth of the bikini and the mini-skirt
  30. The Munich Massacre at the Olympics
  31. gas rationing and even/odd days
  32. Watergate
  33. Pope John Paul II
  34. The Me Decade
  35. the famine in Bangladesh
  36. life before the VCR
  37. bra-burning
and I could go on and on... this is just a few minutes of my afternoon, thinking about the 60s and the 70s and what I remember, first-hand.  The scary thing is, this is "history" to so very many people, but to me, it's just my childhood...

Restaurant Review: Halycon

I realized I never posted a review of Halcyon, a seafood restaurant in Montclair that L, J and I ate at last month. I was very excited to be eating here, since I harbor a simmering distrust of seafood in the desert, given that it has to be flown or, worse, trucked, in from somewhere else, so I was really looking forward to being near sources of water and seafood you could trust to really be fresh.

It was delicious! We were there on a Wednesday, and the place was not crowded, but L and J have been there on weekends when it has been packed (jazz combo in the upstairs lounge). I can understand why it would be, since the food was fantastic. We started out with the lobster 'cigars' and the mini crab cakes. These were the best crab cakes I've ever tasted--I wished they weren't mini!  And no grumbling that you don't like lobster, Big Sis; try this and you will. Outstanding. I'd be seriously tempted to just eat several orders of each of these and head on straight to dessert.

For dinner, I had the snapper (one of my favorite fishes), J had the giant prawns (and boy, were they big) and L had the swordfish. Again, each dish was outstanding, although I liked the swordfish better, and L liked my snapper better, so go figure. I thought the swordfish was just so succulent, the marinade or herbs or whatever it was cooked in so flavorful that it beat the snapper, which was very good, hands down. Two delicious bottles of a riesling were the perfect accompaniment (sweet, but not cloying, and wet enough that you wanted to just down your glass and have another like it was iced tea).

And of course, there were desserts. J, like me, always checks out the dessert menu first, so that you can order your entree accordingly. Why waste room on a veg that might be better filled by a fantastic sweet? L had the berries and cream (that's almost a health food in my book and not really a dessert), J had the chocolate mousse cake (delicious) and I had the bread pudding (outstanding). Three words: to die for.

Yea, pricey, but if you have anniversary or a special evening planned, Halcyon might be the ticket for you (especially if you and Mr. Special like sea food). I'm not sure if it was slow because it was a weeknight (because there couldn't be another explanation, given the quality of the food), but no one tried to hurry us at all. The decor is urban metro, elegant, but the waitress was very friendly and accommodating (we had to wait quite some time for L to come from the hospital), and none of that uber-metro snobbiness that can make me feel very uncomfortable in other restaurants.

Not into seafood? It's worth a trip for coffee and dessert. And the bathroom was nice, too.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Haven't checked in in a while. The dogs have been having upset tummies since Saturday--you know what that means. They're eating grubs and June bugs and I don't know what else out in the backyard, and while that shouldn't really bother them, I can't figure out anything else that might be causing the gastro-intestinal upset they and I have been living with.

I'm halfway through Murder in the Marias by Cara Black, and can understand how one reviewer made a comment about her character, Aimee LeDuc, being a superwoman--she pops her own dislocated shoulder back into its socket, and a day later is shimmying down the balcony and gutter outside her own office to surprise the person who broke in. That didn't bother me as much as her discovery of a 50-year-old fingerprint on the bottom of a sink in a formerly boarded up stairwell. I'm having a hard time picturing why a stairwell boarded up during the Nazi occupation had a sink in it to begin with, and I'm pretty sure fingerprints aren't visible to the naked eye. I assume it was a bloody fingerprint, but I don't remember it being described that way. And that, my sisters, is the downside to listening to an audio book--it's hard to scroll back to check a description or fact when running at 6 a.m.

Made a delicious corn recipe last night: esquites, modified with cilantro and queso fresco. I could have eaten all four ears' worth!

 Hmm, not sure why this is sideways, but even deleting and uploading this photo several times didn't make it load correctly. Oh well, it looks good sideways, too!

Thursday, July 1, 2010


Some of The Sisters are planning a day of being unplugged this Sunday. But I just downloaded a mystery to my new Nano, and want to listen! Why oh why did I suggest unplugging this weekend? It's 'Murder in the Marais' by Cara Black, the first in a series that takes place in Paris. But I do have P.D. James' 'Talking About Detective Fiction' in hardcover to read, so I can happily sit on my new wicker chair on the patio to read.

Yup, me, finally hitting the 20th century--a few decades late. But I'm having fun.