Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Forgotten Bicycles, Missing Owners

I walk the streets of NYC often, going to and from jobs and I noticed many bikes chained to the bike posts the city has to offer. Then I see parts of bikes still chained to these posts. Then I see just the locks or the locks with a tire and no bikes. And I wonder what happened to the owners of these bikes. I don’t wonder about the bikes as I figured they’ve been stolen for the parts. I wonder did the owners move and forget, did they die or were incarcerated? It makes me curious.

For over a year, this one bicycle was locked outside the office of my freelance jobs in Brooklyn. And every Wednesday morning, I would look at that bike when I unlocked the gate to get inside. I thought about the owner and why this bike was left there. Nobody in the office (and they were there five days a week knew about it or cared). Then one morning, I go to the office and all that was left was the wheel chained to the post. I guess the owner wasn’t coming back. I mentioned to my fellow office mates and they are surprised; again not noticing it. It was right outside the front door! And then a few weeks later, not only was the wheel and lock gone, so was the post and the holes were cemented in. Guess what? Nobody in the office noticed that either. But I still wonder what happened to the owner of that bike? It was a relatively good bike.

Make me think of a trip to Isle of Palms in South Carolina my wife and I took last year. We rented an apartment (time-share, I don’t know?) on the beach and downstairs in the car port were these two bikes chained to the rack. Although you can’t see in the photo (I took it with my iPhone in low light), but the tires were flat and the bikes rusted from the sea salt. These bikes were forgotten. Did one of the owners of these time share apartments forget about them? Did they sell? Did their kids grow up and never came back? Doesn’t management wonder about them? Oh, the thoughts that run through my mind.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Cop Town by Karin Slaughter

Cop Town: A Novel

My thoughts
There’s a lot going on in COP TOWN. First, it takes place in Atlanta 1974 where a killer is assassinated cops. Second, female cops in that time it rough as the men were sexist and didn’t want them around. Third, the black population had it hard and the black cops even harder. Don’t get me started on the gay community. Karin Slaughter covers it all in this fast paced mystery that got this reader emotionally involved on a roller coaster of suspense.

The story centers around rookie cop Kate Murphy, a wealthy Jewish widow who keeps this a secret. She is partnered first with Jimmy Lawson, a loud mouth sexist who passes her off to his sister Maggie, who is also a cop and the family reject. When Jimmy’s partner is shot and killed, Jimmy fingers a black drug dealer and things don’t make sense to Maggie. With her instincts she starts to investigate (although she is not allowed) and Kate gets a quick course in how it is to be a cop in Atlanta.

I found this story to be intense to say the least!

Book Description
Atlanta, 1974: As a brutal murder and a furious manhunt rock the city’s police department, Kate Murphy wonders if her first day on the job will also be her last. She’s determined to defy her privileged background by making her own way—wearing a badge and carrying a gun. But for a beautiful young woman, life will be anything but easy in the macho world of the Atlanta PD, where even the female cops have little mercy for rookies. It’s also the worst day possible to start given that a beloved cop has been gunned down, his brothers in blue are out for blood, and the city is on the edge of war.

Kate isn’t the only woman on the force who’s feeling the heat. Maggie Lawson followed her uncle and brother into the ranks to prove her worth in their cynical eyes. When she and Kate, her new partner, are pushed out of the citywide search for a cop killer, their fury, pain, and pride finally reach the boiling point. With a killer poised to strike again, they will pursue their own line of investigation, risking everything as they venture into the city’s darkest heart.

Relentlessly paced, acutely observed, wickedly funny, and often heartbreaking, Cop Town is Karin Slaughter’s most powerful novel yet—a tour de force of storytelling from our foremost master of character, atmosphere, and suspense.

Disclosure: I received this book for review through netgalley.com. I received no compensation for my thoughts.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Baseball Cards Framed - A trip through Nostalgia

My wife and I were on a cruise for our tenth anniversary a few months ago and in one of the restaurants they had cards framed on the wall. I can’t recall what kind of card (I think golf players) but I liked the idea that I decided to do it with baseball cards. Now, I don’t collect baseball cards and actually have little interest in baseball now. But when I was a child and before my parents divorced, I was like every other little kid and collected them. Some were used to clip to the spokes of my bicycle. Anyway, I went to eBay and found three players that I recall and the year that I collected them – 1973. See, I am an old guy. Can you say nostalgic?

I bought the cards and bought a wooden frame and had mattes made and voila, I had my project. Now what do I do with it? Side note: This was a trivia question for our annual BBQ which nobody got because since I don’t follow baseball, why would I do such a project? Sometimes I get crazy ideas and just have to go with it.


Saturday, September 13, 2014

Mission To Paris by Alan Furst

Mission to Paris: A Novel (Night Soldiers Book 12)

My thoughts
Sounds like an interesting plot – It is 1938 when a Hollywood movie star travels to Paris to make a film and the Nazis want to use him for their own propaganda. Although a very descriptive Paris of that time but it becomes tedious as does the characters and the filmmaking. It just didn’t seem to flow, nor entice me to know or feel for the characters. It was an okay read from an author who has done better.

Book Description
Late summer, 1938. Hollywood film star Fredric Stahl is on his way to Paris to make a movie. The Nazis know he’s coming—a secret bureau within the Reich has been waging political warfare against France, and for their purposes, Fredric Stahl is a perfect agent of influence. What they don’t know is that Stahl, horrified by the Nazi war on Jews and intellectuals, has become part of an informal spy service run out of the American embassy. Mission to Paris is filled with heart-stopping tension, beautifully drawn scenes of romance, and extraordinarily alive characters: foreign assassins; a glamorous Russian actress-turned-spy; and the women in Stahl’s life. At the center of the novel is the city of Paris—its bistros, hotels grand and anonymous, and the Parisians, living every night as though it were their last. Alan Furst brings to life both a dark time in history and the passion of the human hearts that fought to survive it.

Disclosure: I received this book for review through goodreads.com I received no compensation for my thoughts.

Friday, September 12, 2014

This and That

I haven’t written in my blog for some time now. It’s been a busy summer. Not only have I’ve been working more, I’ve been traveling more and also dealt with the death of a close friend. And I have slowed down my reading and am not sure if I will ever catch up with all the books I have yet to review. I have notes all over the place regarding reviews of places I’ve been, things I’ve seen, photos I’ve taken and so much more. I’ve also started a twitter account and it seems to be easy to tweet a small message, contest or share a photo I’ve taken then it is to write a blog. Although each blog entry goes to my twitter account and my Facebook page, so they all seem to complement one another. There are times that I want to pull the plug on this blog. But I will continue to post entries in my blog and I hope to get back on some kind of schedule. So that’s where I am now and I hope you all come back to read my ramblings.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

flavaboom, NYC

My wife and I passed this place after having dinner and decided to try it out. I have not really had frozen yogurt before and they had eight or ten flavors that you can mix. You could even request a sample if you wanted to. We didn’t, but did see people come in request a sample, try and leave without buying anything (and it was more than one person)! Anyway, the real treat was the large selection of toppings you can put on your yogurt. I one of them was marshmallows like you get in Luck Charms. That had us sold. Now, if we only put less yogurt in the cup; we’d have more room for toppings. But enough was enough, and they sell it by the pound. When you go up to the counter, they put it on a scale, weigh and charge you that way. Okay, makes it a little expensive but it was worth the treat. The place was clean, the cashiers attentive, so I can complain,. They even had sitting areas so that you can enjoy your yogurt inside. I would certainly go again.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Hawaiian Sun Pancake Mix Assortment

Hawaiian Sun Pancake Mix Assortment 6-ounce (Pack of 3)

I purchased the three flavors of Hawaiian Sun Pancake Mix because I like to try new things and love all things Polynesian. First, these mixes are easy to use because all you have to do is add water and nothing else.

The first one we tried was the Pineapple Coconut and as soon as I opened the package I could smell the exotic fruits. And after cooking them, the flavor didn’t disappoint. Pineapple and Coconut go well together and certainly in these pancakes.

Next we tried the Lilikoi Passion Fruit. It was sweet and fruity but nothing out of the ordinary. Lastly, the Chocolate Macadamia Nut pancakes were up (not all in the same day). It had more of a chalky chocolate taste and the macadamia nut flavor was lost. Of course, there are no nuts since it is all in powder form.

All in all, they were different, but I have had other fruit and chocolate pancake mixes I liked better. But I will purchases the pineapple coconut one again.

Disclosure: I purchased these items to eat and decided to review. I received no compensation for my thoughts.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Remains of Innocence by J.A. Jance

Remains of Innocence (Joanna Brady Mysteries Book 16)

My thoughts
Liza Machett cleans out her mother’s home in Great Barrington, Massachusetts when she finds money hidden everywhere. All she remembers that they were poor growing up. Soon, the house is burned to the ground, her landlord is murdered and she is on the run to her brother is Bisbee, Arizona. But in Bisbee, the Sheriff, Joanna Brady is dealing with the death of a local who was found at the bottom of a hole. When Liza reaches Bisbee, Joanna hands her hands filled with more than the Sheriff’s department can handle.

This story is riveting filled with enough suspense to keep me guessing. And situations that move quickly and efficiently that I didn’t want to put the book down. I though the characters were well developed and the mystery of the money satisfactory. It is an enjoyable summer read.

Book Description
Sheriff Joanna Brady must solve two perplexing cases that may be tied together in New York Times bestselling author J. A. Jance’s thrilling tale of suspense that brings to life Arizona’s Cochise County and the desert Southwest in all its beauty and mystery.

An old woman, a hoarder, is dying of emphysema in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. In cleaning out her house, her daughter, Liza Machett, discovers a fortune in hundred dollar bills hidden in the tall stacks of books and magazines that crowd every corner.

Tracing the money’s origins will take Liza on a journey that will end in Cochise County, where Sheriff Joanna Brady is embroiled in a personal mystery of her own. A man she considers a family friend is found dead at the bottom of a hole in a limestone cavern near Bisbee. And now there is the mystery of Liza and the money. Are the two disparate cases connected? It’s up to Joanna to find out.

Disclosure: I received this book for review from the publisher. I received no compensation for my thoughts.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Sundance: A Novel by David Fuller

Sundance: A Novel

My thoughts
Most everyone knows that Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid were killed in a shootout in Boliva. But what if Sundance escaped? This is the premise of this novel. Harry Longbaugh (aka Sundance) was not killed in South America and under an assumed name was in prison for twelve years. After being released he searches for his wife Etta Place who is no longer at the boarding house, nor waiting for him any longer. He gets approached by a kid who knows who he is and wants a shootout. This naïve boy is killed and Sundance is on the run again. This time to NYC to search for Emma.

But the world is a different place now and Sundance is out of place in the hustle and bustle of the turn of the century city.

I thought this fictional account was portrayed with such attention to detail that I almost believed it could be true. What imagination the author has to build quite a fascinating work of fiction. II found it to be truly remarkable.

Book Description
Legend has it that bank robber Harry Longbaugh and his partner Robert Parker were killed in a shootout in Bolivia. That was the supposed end of the Sundance Kid and Butch Cassidy.

Sundance tells a different story. At the beginning of the twentieth century, Longbaugh is very much alive, though serving in a Wyoming prison under an alias.

When he is released in 1913, Longbaugh reenters a changed world. Horses are being replaced by automobiles. Gas lamps are giving way to electric lights. Workers fight for safety, and women for the vote. What hasn’t changed are Longbaugh’s ingenuity, his deadly aim, and his love for his wife, Etta Place.

It’s been two years since Etta stopped visiting him, and, determined to find her; Longbaugh follows her trail to New York City. Confounded by the city’s immensity, energy, chaos, and crowds, he learns that his wife was very different from the woman he thought he knew. Longbaugh finds himself in a tense game of cat and mouse, racing against time before the legend of the Sundance Kid catches up to destroy him.

By turns suspenseful, rollicking, and poignant, Sundance is the story of a man dogged by his own past, seeking his true place in this new world.

Disclosure: I received this book for review through librarything.com. I received no compensation for my thoughts.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The City by Dean Koontz

The City: A Novel

My thoughts
This is the story of Jonah Kirk, A child prodigy growing up in 1960’s Chicago. It is a time of turmoil and Jonah’s father has left the family. He befriends a neighbor (an older Japanese man) after he is threatened by a new neighbor, a woman upstairs who he has seen in his dreams. Jonah’s dreams may be foreshadowing terrible events that may soon affect their lives.

Jonah is the narrator of the tale, some forty plus years later. This is not a supernatural story, nor a real mystery or suspense story. It is a slow moving story of a young boy coming of age, of friendship and meaningful relationships. Koontz has created a cast of believable characters one which is the city itself. A very well developed story but not one you would expect from this author. Still enjoyable though.

Book Description
A young boy, a musical prodigy, discovering life’s wonders—and mortal dangers.
His best friend, also a gifted musician, who will share his journey into destiny.
His remarkable family, tested by the extremes of evil and bound by the depths of love . . . on a collision course with a band of killers about to unleash anarchy.
And two unlikely allies, an everyday hero tempered by the past and a woman of mystery who holds the key to the future.

These are the people of The City, a place where enchantment and malice entwine, courage and honor are found in the most unexpected quarters, and the way forward lies buried deep inside the heart. Brilliantly illumined by magic dark and light, their unforgettable story is a riveting, soul-stirring saga that speaks to everyone, a major milestone in the celebrated career of #1 New York Times bestselling author Dean Koontz and a dazzling realization of the evergreen dreams we all share.

Disclosure: I received this book for review through netgalley.com. I received no compensation for my thought


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