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.

First World Problems.

First World Problems: 101 Reasons Why the Terrorists Hate Us” is a collection of short essays, rants, and personal accounts of what it’s like to live in the First World from Ben Nesvig.

I picked this up as a freebie on Amazon and finally got around to reading it while waiting at the hair salon the other day.

Several moments made me chuckle and was alarmed how true this book is to what middle class Americans see as problems. It puts certain things in perspective. Our problems are nowhere near the problems the Third World faces on a daily basis. This is what the author highlights.

This book can be read in short sittings or quickly read in a few hours. The concept was interesting and different; definitely not something to be taken too seriously.  I could have done without the “bathroom humor” part of the book, but all in all I enjoyed the concept.

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”.

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

Welcome back JT. It’s been a while.

After a lengthy seven year hiatus, Justin Timberlake finally returns to the music scene with 2013s highly anticipated “The 20/20 Experience”.

In “The 20/20 Experience”, Timberlake shifts between different styles – pop, soul, contemporary R&B and dance. The album feels lavish and retro. Jazzy and old school. Edgy and tribal.

The album is solid despite being a bit on the long side. BUT since each song is so lengthy, it almost feels like there are multiple songs embedded in each, which makes for interesting listening experience. “Pusher Love Girl,” “Suit and Tie” and “Mirrors” are all excellent. Track by track JT gave us a little more. He isn’t afraid to try something new and switch up the usual. It is a clean album with all the familiarity of typical Timberlake.

Justin delivered yet again. I liked the overall journey of “The 20/20 Experience”. I felt each song flowed and had its moments of pure JT ecstasy. Years later I still can listen and sing to every “FutureSex/LoveSounds” song. I have a feeling that will happen with this album.

Not such a vision.

“Vision in White” is the first in a series of books about a quartet of friends running a wedding business, Vows. This is the first story in the series. The Plot: wedding photographer, Mackensie “Mac” Elliot falls for a nerdy professor who is the brother of one of the brides.

Let me start off by saying I am a long-time Nora Roberts fan. I have read many of her books.

With that said – Wow, was I disappointed. The book was boring, bland and uninteresting. There was nothing exciting or fresh about “Vision in White” and it lacked the caliber of writing I normally expect from Nora Roberts.

The plot fell flat. It went on and on about the wedding planning industry. The love interest, Carter, was whiney and way too nervous for my taste. A leading man should be strong and I felt that he was constantly second guessing himself throughout the book. I think Robert’s was going more for a nerdy/self conscious endearing type but for me it didn’t shine through.

Unfortunately, halfway through the book I returned it to the library. This is actually one of the few books that I just could not finish. If you enjoy Nora Robert’s you can try it out, but don’t expect too much.