Observations of a bear.

“Prey” is about Angie Powell, a mountain guide, who is hired by Chad Krugman to take him and his boss on a bear hunting trip. When Chad turns out to have an alternative purpose for going on the hunting trip, Angie finds herself being chased down the mountain by a psychotic killer and a bear in a violent storm. Luckily for her, Angie’s business competitor and fellow mountain guide, Dare Callahan, is also camping on the mountain nearby and comes to her rescue. Angie soon finds herself falling for him despite the fact that his business is the one who will soon put her out of business.

I borrowed this book from the library because I was in the mood for romantic suspense. This is the first Linda Howard book I’ve read in years; and judging by its quality, I will think twice about picking up another one of hers. There was page after page of endless, mindless detail about every thought that went through every character’s mind. She even had the observations of the bear. Yes, you read that right..the bear. The chapter’s felt long and drawn out. It also takes nearly 1/2 the book to get to the point.

If you are a fan of Linda Howard’s and looking to waste time you can read this book. If not, find something else.


Under the Dome

I bought Stephen King’s novel “Under the Dome” when it first came out, but it has been gathering dust on my bedroom side table. The book is over 1,000 pages long and I just couldn’t bring myself to make such a commitment to start it (even thought I did buy it so it was a bit of a commitment there). Once I heard that the novel was coming to a television near me I knew I had to dig my heals in a read it.

“Under the Dome” is a story of a small town in Maine called Chester Mills that one day is suddenly cut off from the rest of the world with an enormous transparent dome. No one can come in, no one can get out. Is this some kind of government experiment? Aliens? A natural disaster?

The development of the Dome environment, the physical and mental mechanics of isolation from the world, is compelling. Sanity and resources gradually begin to shrink and we see the destructive nature of the community within. The novel boasts a large cast of characters that are sometimes hard to keep track of. King does his best to show the situation from as many characters as possible.

Stephen King never fails to entertain me. Now that I have finally finished the book I am looking forward to watching the show (which I have been DVRing) to see just how the characters appear in real life.

From her kitchen to ours.

I was finally able to spend some time cooking in the kitchen. With all that has been going on Mr. Sweet & I have been eating out a lot. It is a shame!

The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food from My Frontier” is Ree Drummond’s second cookbook. I have been a fan of Drummond’s blog “Pioneer Women” for quite some time now. Instead of giving you her background, you should take a look over at her blog. It is well worth it.

Food from My Frontier” is great for beginners and people who like step by step photos. Cooks can compare their dishes with the book and make sure they are on the right track. Another great feature was that many of the entries had a section called “Variations”. In them, Ree mentions possible ingredient substitutions, dishes that could be paired with the recipe and enchantments. There are recipes ranging from breakfast, appetizers, soups, supper, sides, canning and desserts.

Something you should know about this book: Some of the recipes are already on her blog and can be printed out for free. If I like the author enough I tend to spend the money so I can have the book, with all the recipes in one place, to enjoy at my convenience.

Note: This cookbook is not for everyone. Her food is very decadent with a lot of butter, oil & red meat – not for people who are on special diets or restrictions. This cookbook is not for vegetarians, vegans or others with allergies and or a gluten-intolerance. Unless you’re burning tons of calories working on a farm every day, these recipes are too high in calories for every day meals. Do enjoy them though on occasion and share with friends!

America’s sweetheart loves a Bad Boy.

In “What I did for Love” we follow a Hollywood love triangle which is taken straight from the tabloids. The story involves two TV actors, Georgie York and Bram Shepard who starred together for eight years in a wildly successful sitcom Skip and Scooter. Georgie is America’s sweetheart while Bram is the complete opposite who redefines Bad Boy.

Eight years later we find Bram with no career and Georgie coping with a very difficult and scandalized divorce. Bram follows Georgie to Vegas, they are drugged and find themselves together in bed with a wedding certificate. Not being able to face another scandal, Georgie convinces Bram to stay married for a year to help with both their reputations. Georgie aims to undo the damage the divorce has done to her heart and her public image, while Bram is wants a second chance at life and stardom.

Susan Elizabeth Phillips was going for the “hate-each-other-yet-made-for-each-other couple” but came up short. I felt more of the hate instead of the love. The plot moves in a predictable, yet slightly annoying trajectory. The conflict between the couple went on too long and was wrapped-up too quickly.  Misunderstandings fly, misunderstandings are cleared up and a happy ending ensues in just a couple of pages. The bickering in this novel was way over the top and by the end I was hoping that Georgie & Bram didn’t end up together. Unfortunately, they did.

“Eve” – First of a trilogy.

In Iris Johansen’s 11th Eve Duncan novel, the first of a trilogy, “Eve” zeros in on the kidnapper and serial killer who she believes years earlier abducted and murdered her seven-year-old daughter, Bonnie. In this story, we get a glimpse into Eve’s background as a teenager, the conception of Bonnie and Bonnie’s kidnapping.

Did “Eve” motivate me to read the next two stories (“Quinn” & “Bonnie”)? No. I am beginning to question if I still care to find out the outcome. I was very excited to hear that Johansen was finally writing a resolution to Bonnie’s story, but I was disappointed. The story ends with a cliff-hanger, leaving the door open for the next novel, “Quinn”. I feel many of Johansen’s recent Eve Duncan books are repetitive and that she has been dragging the Bonnie story line on for far too long. This book gave the impression that all would be revealed and instead it gave almost no answers.

Please note: If you have not yet read the last novel about Eve, “Chasing the Night”, you will want to read it before this particular novel, since it incorporates the same characters, and while the novel stands independently, you will understand it much more with the background information from “Chasing the Night”. I did not know this going into “Eve”.

Ahoy Matey! Shiver me Timbers!

My husband is a big pirate fan. You wouldn’t know it by looking at him.

So of course on our recent Baltimore trip, a friend and I decided to surprise Mr. Sweet with a “Bring Your Own Grog” cruise in Fells Point. Since 2008, Urban Pirates has been launching daytime family cruises and nighttime adult cruises on their 52-foot custom built pirate ship, “Fearless.”

We opted for the nighttime version, where you can board the ship with any alcoholic beverage of your pleasing. Once on the ship, you are fitting with a costume and serenaded with entertaining pirate soundtracks. The whole experience was a blast as we sang along with our fellow pirates, drank our grog and laughed till our stomachs hurt.

The entire cruise takes about an hour, as the ship leaves from Ann Street pier, sails along Tide Point, Locust Point, Federal Hill, and the Inner Harbor. Though, you won’t venture out onto the open seas, you can dress, talk, and play games like a pirate as you safely cruise around the harbor.

Be prepared to man the water cannons and blast away any enemy pirates!

Urban Pirates runs four nightly trips every Friday and Saturday. Tickets are $25 and many of the cruises book up early (we booked about two weeks in advance since it was their first trip of the season). The cruise is a really unique way to see Baltimore, from the waters view and I suggest it for kids and adults alike!

Urban Pirates
912 South Ann Street
Baltimore, MD 21231
(410) 327-8378

Blue Moon Café

Mr. Sweet & I have a friend. He is a lover of food. We have gone on dozens of trips with him and his girlfriend and never have been disappointed. He plans trips like no one I have ever met. We know when we are going away with him that we will come back with hilarious stories, full bellies and lots of memories.

He has yet to steer us wrong.

So when he suggested stopping by the Blue Moon Café in Fells Point, MD we were all for it – even with the hour wait.

The atmosphere is upbeat and welcoming with its eclectic décor of fireplace mantles, artsy knick-knacks and collectibles, Day of the Dead skeletons, and the hodgepodge of tables and chairs.

The menu offers classic dishes or house specialties all in generous portions. We each ordered something different so we could all have a taste of something unique. The huevos rancheros with chorizo, eggs, fresh salsa, cheddar and crisp corn tortillas were delicious, but the winner was definitely the Captain Crunch French Toast. Oh and the homemade biscuits and jams – Yumm! Cinnamon rolls the size of your head!

I am so happy we don’t live closer because I would want to eat here again and again.

Blue Moon Café
1621 Aliceanna Street
Balitmore, MD 21231

A visit to the Bronx Zoo.

This weekend Mr. Sweet & I decided to pop in the car with two friends and take the short drive over to the Bronx Zoo.  It was one of those perfect Saturday’s where there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, the temperature was in the 70’s with a cool breeze and you didn’t want to spend your time indoors.

With 265 acres of wildlife habitats and attractions, the Bronx Zoo’s size and impressive exhibits make it impossible to see everything in a single visit.  If you ever decide to go, don’t forget to wear sneakers.  You will be doing a LOT of walking.  You also have to go in with a plan, which of course we did.  We hit all of the major sites we wanted to see: Butterfly Garden, World of Reptiles and African Plains.  We then leisurely walked back to the gate we came from popping in and out of exhibits.

Ever since I was a kid I always loved visiting the zoo.  It isn’t simply an excursion to see animals from the wild, but also a way to learn about them and a way to feel inspired to help protect them.

If you are ever in the NYC area I suggest you take a trip to the zoo.  It is fun for all!

Note: Be aware that there are several exhibits and attractions that are not included in the regular cost of admission, including The Children’s Zoo, The Bug Carousel, the Butterfly Garden, camel rides, the zoo shuttle and the Congo Gorilla Forest.  We bought a VIP pass ($29.95) which let us into all attractions.