Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Guilty Pleasure #13 - Tim Horton's A Canadian Icon

There are a few other bloggers that are doing these Guilty Pleasure posts as well. It all started with C.J. Duggan and if you want a bunch of smiles, circle back to her site and see the comments to read other pleasures. Love to have you join the fun.

Large double double, Roll up the Rim to Win, Tim Bits, Always Fresh are all statements that are synonymous with a major huge Canadian Icon, Tim Horton's.

It doesn't matter how long the line up is. Whether it be the drive thru or in the store, people will patiently wait for their java fix. 

I have to put down Tim Horton's as my Guilty Pleasure because I will wait in that monster line anywhere up to three times in one day and spend a small fortune each week. 

There is such loyal customer base for Tim Horton's. It is comfortable and familiar. It doesn't seem to matter what city you visit in Ontario, the Tim Horton's is usually the same layout and design.  I only note Ontario because I've never been outside my province to confirm but I am pretty sure they look like the above picture (or really similar to) all across the country. 

Even when Canadians need to leave for awhile, the one thing we miss is Tim Horton's. I love this Tim Horton's commercial. It's one of my favourites. 
Besides their coffee, right now my favourite drink is the Ice Capp. My kids love these Ice Capps too. If I go out by myself and I happen to stop and get one, I need to make sure I drink it before I get home and get rid of the evidence. Oh they are so good. 

Ok this post has made me crave one so I'm off to go and get one. Do you have a favourite coffee house or fast food restaurant? If you moved away to Glasgow what restaurant would you miss. And if you just happen to be from Glasgow and you are reading this, pretend you are here in Ontario what would you miss back home. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tuesday Teaser - Contentment by Margaret Ethridge

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Book Blurb: Tracy Sullivan seems to have it all, a handsome, devoted husband, three beautiful children, a steady career, and the perfect suburban home; but she isn’t happy.
The petty resentments that have built over fifteen years of marriage surface when Tracy tells her husband, Sean, that she is no longer interested in sex, and their marriage threatens to implode.
For the sake of their children, Tracy and Sean agree to lead separate lives under the same roof. With the help of a healthy dose of adult-rated fiction and some gentle prodding from a good friend, Tracy begins to rediscover who she is, what she wants, and the reasons she fell for Sean once upon a time.
After two years of soul-searching, Tracy is finally ready to embrace her happily ever after having learned that while happiness may be fleeting, contentment can last a lifetime.

Marriage, and the fairytale implied therein, is a cosmic joke. A giant conspiracy propagated for the sole purpose of clinging to societal mores which should have been cast adrift long ago. Tracy snorted and bent to scoop up a pile of dirty laundry from her son Patrick’s floor. This was no fairytale, and from where she was standing, happily ever after seemed interminably out of reach.
Chapter one

Can I just add that this book Contentment is simply excellent. So many woman out there who have been married a bit can easily  substitute Tracy's name with their own. Ok well that's how I felt. 

Monday, August 29, 2011

What I'm Reading this Week

Last week I made a post asking for new book series suggestions. I really wanted to sink my teeth into another series that would grab ahold of me and take me away to my little fantasy world. You see I had recently finished the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning and loved it. I sooo loved it. 

Anyhow, an overwhelming result of votes came back to Larrisa Ione's Demonica Series. So I went out and used my gift card and bought the entire series. 

I haven't started yet. I had planned to but with all the Karen Marie Moning news about a movie deal with Dreamworks, I decided to re-read the Fever series. I am so glad I did because I was in such a hurry last time that there were things I missed and then there are things that make so much more sense now. I am just over half way on ShadowFever and I am equally loving it as much as I did the first time around. I just love when a series does that to you. Don't you? 

Do you have a favourite series that you look forward to re-reading? 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

To the Nines by Janet Evanovich

To the Nines

By Janet Evanovich

Book Blurb:

Stephanie Plum's got rent to pay, people shooting at her, and psychos wanting her dead every day of the week (much to the dismay of her mother, her family, the men in her life, the guy who slices meat at the deli... oh, the list goes on). An ordinary person would cave under the pressure.
But hey, she's from Jersey.
Stephanie Plum may not the best bounty hunter in beautiful downtown Trenton, but she's pretty darn good at turning bad situations her way... and she always gets her man. In TO THE NINES her cousin Vinnie (who's also her boss) has posted bail on Samuel Singh, an illegal immigrant. When the elusive Mr. Singh goes missing, Stephanie is on the case. But what she uncovers is far more sinister than anyone imagines and leads to a group of killers who give new meaning to the word "hunter..."
In a race against time that takes her from the Jersey Turnpike to the Vegas strip, Stephanie Plum is on the chase of her life.

To the Nines was an interesting storyline that involved dangerous on-line gaming, hilarious moments brought to us by Lula and teased the readers further along in the Morelli vs Ranger camp. 

Firstly let me discuss the dangerous gaming. Wow what a cool plot line. It was interesting following poor Stephanie along the investigation. Of course my favourite part was having Ranger and Morelli switch off being body guards. What a dynamic relationship those three have. 

This investigation took Connie, Lula and Steph to Vegas. Lula’s ranting on the plane kept me laughing so hard. I love that girl. I also thought it was hilarious to have Stephanie continuously searched by security. Although she was searched at random, you can’t help but wonder why she was picked. It may have something to do with how sexy she may have looked.

The way that Mrs Apusenja talks about Stephanie to her face left me wiping my eyes with tears. Calling someone slut to their face seems so humourous instead of the wickedness of talking behind one’s back. 

OMG, Lula’s meat diet  was to die for. I kept re-reading those scenes and even read them outloud to anyone who was near by. Having Bob attach her purse while she was carrying around pork chops was hilarious. Just as an added bonus, Tank saw it all. 

Okay so finally my favourite part of the Stephanie Plum books is the relationship of Ranger/Morelli and Stephanie. To The Nines continues to satisfy my hearty love triangle appetite. Janet does a really good job letting the readers know that there is a difference with the type of love that Morelli feels for her than what Ranger feels. It is actually laid out for the reader if they don’t get it themselves by Stephanie narrating that Ranger and her have set boundaries. Stephanie’s boundaries are physical and Ranger’s boundaries are emotional. 

It was really funny when Stephanie and Ranger are stuck in that apartment together with that mattress and all Stephanie can think of is how fast can she get out of there. She is certainly tempted. 
I know I discussed lots of Ranger but there was a bit of Morelli too. He obviously loves her and I would guess that Stephanie has more than 30% of him as Ranger claims. The little tidbit in the book about Terry Gilman returning was another great side story to insert. Jealous Stephanie is so cute. It is the only time where I can feel her vulnerable. 

Teasers wrestle naked Vaseline guy, wearing genuine fake tiger, Ranger and the L word, pregnant Valerie wanting to date Ranger 

Behind O'Grady‟s Pub by Stormy Knight

Behind O'Grady's Pub 
By Stormy Knight
A Sapphire Nights Dirty Bit

Book Blurb:
A woman escapes her home while rising flood waters claim the land. She finds herself stranded in the middle of a swamp without a cell phone or any way to summon help. Two sexy men rescue her and give her refuge in their pub. Do they want more from her than just being an overnight guest? Once the doors of the pub close to the public, everything is a secret—behind O‟Grady‟s Pub.

I have to admit, I'm a fan of the writing style of Stormy Knight. The beginning of Behind O'Grady's Pub was excellent. I really felt I was getting into an awesome story. When Cole Riley came into the picture saving her from her hydroplaned vehicle, I was loving it. What an excellent way to begin a romance story. Oh the possibilities. With all the detailed descriptions it was easy for me to immediately connect with Eve Denton's voice. I was thinking to myself that it was really quick for me to attach myself to a character as I was only a few pages in. 

That is where the story declined for me. Behind O'Grady's Pub is a menage story (which I love to read) but it didn't work for me here. The introductory bar scene where the newly introduced  character Ian had made her an Irish Coffee while flirting was great. However when the trio went out to the back room, the heat cooled for me. 

There was such a great connection at the beginning of the story that I almost felt cheated that the three of them immediately became intimate. I wanted a story. I wanted it to be more. I feel like I am almost scolding the author for being to good of a writing to turn this into a Dirty Bit story. 

As the story drew to a close and when Ian displayed some surprising emotions, I got turned off. He'd only met Eve for a few minutes and then started having sex. It was unwarranted. 

I know the premise of these Dirty Bits are to be short hot stories but I didn't feel the heat or passion and definitely wanted more of the romance story. 

Three-Way Games by Cheryl Dragon

Three-Way Games 

by Cheryl Dragon

Reviewed by my guest reviewer Julie Doner

Book blurb: 
When the lights go out secrets are uncovered. Steph has a phobia about the dark and runs across the hall into the arms of her gay best friends. This sexy pair of gamers have backup power and her naked form programmed into their latest video creation on a huge TV screen. Their secret lust for her revealed, the passionate exploration heats up. Safe in the dark with her men, Steph doesn’t care if the lights ever come back on!

Is there a woman alive who hasn’t fantasized about a three-way? When the lights go out one night, Stephanie Kissle has that and more with her best friends and neighbours, Nate and Elliot. She seeks shelter in their apartment, and that’s when the games really begin.

Stephanie soon realises that she bears a striking resemblance to the heroine in the video game the duo are creating. Let me just say that I LOVE the idea of the video game. If one such as this existed, I’d be the first in line to buy a copy. Or two.

Nate and Elliot are sexy, sexy men with brains to go along with their brawn. They quickly open things up for a night of fun, fantasy, and fire. And Stephanie is more than willing to go along for the ride.

In the light of day, it becomes apparent that it was more than a one-night three-way fling. Things quickly heat up again resulting in a satisfying conclusion.

This was a fun, light read, but I found it lacking in several areas. I craved more emotion in the dialogue. It was hard to connect with the characters when I couldn’t feel what they were feeling. There wasn’t enough depth or description. Reading particularly steamy scenes, I want to feel like I’m a fly on the wall, but for the most part I felt completely detached from the action. It was a very interesting premise; I just needed more build-up and intensity.
An entertaining read but not a page-turner.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

GUEST Guilty Pleasure #12 by Eve McFadden - Pass the Popcorn Please

There are a few other bloggers that are doing these Guilty Pleasure posts as well. It all started with C.J. Duggan and if you want a bunch of smiles, circle back to her site and see the comments to read other pleasures. Love to have you join the fun.

Today Another Look Book is pleased to welcome author Eve McFadden to our little Guilty Pleasure cast of guests. Who doesn't love a good movie? 

"You're gonna need a bigger boat."
"My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die."
"Looks like I picked a bad week to stop sniffing glue."
"You played it for her, you can play it for me!"

Recognize those? Movie quotes, of course–and the last is the actual quote, not the misquote one hears all the time (although the misquote, "Play it again, Sam," has its own charm).

Vintage Movie Tickets Sign
I love movies. When I get time, or even when I don't, I love to watch movies. Now, of course I love the classics: Casablanca, Sunset Boulevard, The Adventures of Robin Hood, and others. I love new movies, and older movies, and animated movies. I'm currently on a bit of a kick watching movies by the great Japanese director, Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away).

I have a special spot for old science fiction movies, or well, any science fiction movies. I have another special spot for film noir. Which makes my favorite movie Dark City, a mix of the two.

There's a nice, cozy feeling of settling down with an old friend when you pop in a movie you’ve seen before. You know the dialogue, you know what will happen, but that's okay. It's like reminiscing over the trip you took together. You know the shark is there, but you still jump when you see it. When Inigo tells his story, you want him to get his revenge on the Six-Fingered Man. Whatever Lloyd Bridges says it was a bad week to stop doing, you have to laugh. And Rick and Ilsa—what else do you need to say?
 Jaws (Two-Disc 30th Anniversary Edition)      Airplane! (Don't Call Me Shirley! Edition)     The Princess Bride (Two-Disc 20th Anniversary Edition)     Casablanca
Watching a new movie is like—I hope—making a new friend, or maybe going on that roller coaster for the first time. When I first saw Pink Floyd's The Wall, I was glued to my seat; the only thing missing was the glue (and I was sober). The animation, the spooky school kids in masks, Bob Geldof's missing eyebrows: they dared you to look away, and I couldn't. The only other movie that gave me that feeling was The Crow, although I had a lot less of the heebie jeebies once that was over.

Some people buy books (and I do), and some people buy shoes (I don't) and some people buy Beanie Babies (or they used to). I buy movies. A rack of $3 or $5 DVDs exerts something like a gravitational pull. It's pretty cool what you can get for that price, too; unfortunately, not the Miyazaki movies. Sigh. We've amassed a nice collection of Westerns, B&W classics, and others. And someday, perhaps I can even say I watched them all.

What are your all time favourite movies? Do you have a favourite genre? Can you remember those famous lines like "I'll be back"? 

Movie quotes—Jaws, The Princess Bride, Airplane!, Casablanca

Eve McFadden

Light and the Darkness can be found here

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Help Me Out with Book Suggestions

Ok book loving friends, I would love some book advice. I love an awesome book series. A lot. I love to get lost and only come up for air long enough to write a review and then disappear again. 

These past few months (past year really), I have discovered some amazing ones and I want to keep going. Pretty much every single new book love I have is because of a recommendation from friends. 

So this is my ask today. I was awarded a $100 Chapters Gift Card from work and since I need to buy actual books and not Kindle ebooks (frig) I can't use the gift card for my Kindle. 

I need you to give me some recommendations. I'll list here some of the book series that I am already in love with and then you can make me suggestions based upon what you think I would like. 

1. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon is my all time favourite book series. 
2. The Fever Series by Karen Marie Moning was one of the series that I recently devoured. 
3. Phy-Changling series by Nalini Singh - Read them all just a short while ago and love love loved them. 
4. Cat & Bones series by Jeaniene Frost. Counting down to Aug 30th. 
5. Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J.R Ward. Love!
6. Read all of the Janet Evanovich Stephanie Plum series. 
7. Read everything historical by Julie Garwood. 
8. The Phantom Corps. series by Lauren Dane
9. Rough Riders series by Lorelei James
10. Every single one of Cherry Adair's T-Flac series. 

I've read a ton more but those are my all time favourite series.  I would love to get involved with a series that is already done as I am not a fan of angst and having to wait in-between books....but not necessary. 

  • Please no YA books. 
  • Please no whimpy whiny heroines. I cant stand them.
  • Books must be in a series. (3 or more is considered series to me)
  • I have to be able to say the character's name. I HATE books where they live on the planet XHerto and the character's name is Bhrumbowico (you get my drift?)
  • AND please tell me why you think I would like the book series. It is because of something you read on my favourite list? 
Any questions? Thanks so much for your advice!!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Teaser Tuesday - The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
The Help  The Help by Kathryn Stockett

     I pick up a coffee cup, start drying it real good with my cloth. 
     "Do you ever wish you could...change things?" she said. 
     And I can't help myself. I look at her head-on. Cause that's one a the stupidest questions I ever heard. She got a confused, disgusted look on her face, like she done salted her coffee instead of sugared it. 
     I turn back to my washing, so she don't see me rolling my eyes. "Oh no ma'am everthing's fine."
    "But that talk in there, about the bathroom...."and smack on that word, Miss Leefolt walk in the kitchen.
page 10 of hardcover

I just finished the book and my review is just below if curious. Not my normal genre of book to read but there was just too much book buzz to ignore. 

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

The Help

The Help

By Kathryn Stockett

Book Blurb:
Aibileen is a black maid in 1962 Jackson, Mississippi, who's always taken orders quietly, but lately she's unable to hold her bitterness back. Her friend Minny has never held her tongue but now must somehow keep secrets about her employer that leave her speechless. White socialite Skeeter just graduated college. She's full of ambition, but without a husband, she's considered a failure. Together, these seemingly different women join together to write a tell-all book about work as a black maid in the South, that could forever alter their destinies and the life of a small town. 

I purchased The Help 100% based solely from book buzz. Way before the movie came out I had picked up this hardcover. I had seen it everywhere. Heck even right now I see it displayed front and center on my Amazon Associates tool bar. I got it and promptly put it on my bookshelf. I'm a cover girl and I really thought The Help had an unattractive cover. Then one of my Goodreads friends read it and awarded it a 5 star review. I heard of everyone going to the movies on Twitter and Facebook, so I thought it be about time I take it down from my shelf and read it. 

I also admit I was putting it off because I am uncomfortable reading about social issues that just make me so angry and ashamed. It's one of the reasons I love my romance novels. They are pretend and fantasy. The Help may have been fiction but it was based around true shameful circumstances of the 1960's. 

I love the layout of the book with all the different sharing point of views. A few of the chapters are written with a main character, Miss Skeeter then another few chapters was Aibileen (my favourite character) and another few were Minny. Each of the sections were broken up perfectly by allowing the reader to  absorb just enough of their life and their current situation. Each of the characters were apart of each other's book sections so they fit together like a masterfully planned puzzle.

Aiblieen and Minny are the maids (the help) and I felt Kathryn Stockett did a wonderful job portraying their individualism. They were most definitely different characters doomed to the same circumstance of being maids to white women. Miss Skeeter enjoyed a fortunate  upbringing that was provided by a wonderful maid and a caring role model Constantine. Even though the former maid Constantine is not an active participating character in the book, she played a major role in the foundation that allowed Miss Skeeter to be the confident woman she was. I like how Miss Skeeter was not portrayed as the white woman activist that saved the poor southern black maids but rather more a woman who enabled some less fortunate people to get their voices heard.  
There was a great parallel with Miss Skeeter/Constantine and Aiblieen/Mae Mobley the little girl she cares for. 

What a scary time 1960's was in the South. I don't know if I could have lived through it and held my tongue. I was born in the late sixties and to this day I've never really personally experienced this much racial discrimination from white or black. It was unsettling for me. It is important that those trying and difficult times do get read about so that we as society never forget.