Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Silkworm

This is the second mystery by Robert Galbraith (J. K. Rowling under cover) in the Cormoran Strike series. The first, The Cuckoo's Calling was just okay. I read it but apparently never reviewed it here. (?!?)


Good Reads' Synopsis: "When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. At first, Mrs. Quine just thinks her husband has gone off by himself for a few days—as he has done before—and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home.

But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine's disappearance than his wife realizes. The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows. If the novel were to be published, it would ruin lives—meaning that there are a lot of people who might want him silenced.

When Quine is found brutally murdered under bizarre circumstances, it becomes a race against time to understand the motivation of a ruthless killer, a killer unlike any Strike has encountered before..."

What I Thought: This was a bit too meandering for my taste, even in a mystery. I liked Strikes' interactions with Robin but they are a good pair anyway. I just didn't really care whodunnit and found the ending leaving me a bit underwhelmed.

Rating: * * 1/2

Monday, September 8, 2014

August Running Round Up

This heel pain is really cramping my running style. I need to go to the podiatrist but it seems mine is no longer practicing in the area. Time to find a new one as I was nowhere near my monthly goals for August.

8/2: 3.1 mi OUT, 28:18 
8/3: 5 mi TM, 44:40
8/9: 4 mi TM, 34:41
8/11: 3 mi TM, 27:49
8/13: 5 mi TM, 44:22
8/16: 3.3 mi OUT, 30:08
8/23: 4 mi TM, 35:33
8/27: 4 mi TM, 35:55

Total: 31.4 miles

Pathetic. Abysmal. Laughable. If only I weren't crying in the corner.

Must do better in September. Here's hoping a healthy dose of real shoes over sandals and flip flops plus a lot of yoga and stretching will make a difference.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Brew Ha-Ha

This past weekend, John and I ventured out of our comfort zone (read: the same 5 places we go when we go out to dinner) and headed down to Cincinnati for Brew Ha-Ha. Held at Sawyer Point, the Brew Ha-Ha is a 3 day beer and comedy festival benefiting the fight to cure cancer. The event was free but you paid $5 for a wristband to be able to drink and $1/taste. Throughout the day, there were local comedians performing sets on a few different stages leading up the the headliners at night.

Believe it or not, with over 100 beers to choose from, we had tried the majority of them. The rule of the day was not trying anything we'd had before. We had big plans to sample a lot but the rain had other ideas. We spent a lot of time seeking shelter under a tunnel and then later under a tree. P.S. Trees don't really provide shelter from driving rain.

Rainy view from the tunnel with 50 other people

Prior to the rain, I debuted my new knock-off sunnies. Instead of $170, I paid $14. You can get them here, thanks to my friend who is always looking out for me and now we are sunnies twins!

In the end, we only tried a handful before moving on to dinner but the award for Most Interesting goes to Shocktop's Spiced Banana Wheat. The nose was full on banana. The taste provided a typical summer wheat but a strong banana flavor came through on the finish. I wanted it to be spicier but it was still interesting.

We only got to hear a few short comedy sets before bailing. Some were funny, most were not. I think they must get funnier as the night wears on, and as you have more beer. The headliner was David Alan Grier but he wouldn't have gone on until much later and we hadn't planned on staying anyway. As it happens, the rain didn't let up all that much so the umbrellas we had left in the car wouldn't have helped. There were lots of food trucks where we could have found dinner but in the interest of exploration, we ended up here:

This is the Rookwood restaurant which is housed in the old Rookwood Pottery manufacturing facility in Mt. Adams. The interior still has all the original fixtures and woodwork. You can even sit at tables inside the giant kilns that are still intact, though, thankfully not functioning. There was a neat outside patio/deck area but again, the rain deterred us from sitting out there. I had a delightful garden burger and John got the pastrami sandwich. Prices were incredibly reasonable for sandwiches. The entrees were a bit more expensive but I'm sure they are worth it. My burger and John's sandwich got many Mmmm's from us throughout the meal. John even said he liked the garden burger which is a glowing seal of approval.

After dinner, we headed behind the restaurant to check out the view of the Queen City.

We considered picking up dessert closer to our house but in the end, made s'mores in the oven. My friends, if you are jonesing for a s'more but don't feel like building a fire, turn on your broiler!!! A couple minutes and you have a gooey, melty treat to be devoured. I didn't take any pictures of me eating said s'more because it wasn't pretty. It WAS pretty delicious though.

I'll chalk this up to a very successful adventure and hopefully it will inspire us to to continue to try new places, even if it means driving an hour south.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

All the Light We Cannot See

This new release from Anthony Doerr has been climbing the charts so I decided to check it out for myself.


Good Reads' Synopsis: "Marie Laure lives with her father in Paris within walking distance of the Museum of Natural History where he works as the master of the locks (there are thousands of locks in the museum). When she is six, she goes blind, and her father builds her a model of their neighborhood, every house, every manhole, so she can memorize it with her fingers and navigate the real streets with her feet and cane. When the Germans occupy Paris, father and daughter flee to Saint-Malo on the Brittany coast, where Marie-Laure's agoraphobic great uncle lives in a tall, narrow house by the sea wall.

In another world in Germany, an orphan boy, Werner, grows up with his younger sister, Jutta, both enchanted by a crude radio Werner finds. He becomes a master at building and fixing radios, a talent that wins him a place at an elite and brutal military academy and, ultimately, makes him a highly specialized tracker of the Resistance. Werner travels through the heart of Hitler Youth to the far-flung outskirts of Russia, and finally into Saint-Malo, where his path converges with Marie-Laure.

Doerr's gorgeous combination of soaring imagination with observation is electric. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, Doerr illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another. Ten years in the writing, All the Light We Cannot See is his most ambitious and dazzling work."

What I Thought: I wasn't sure how to take the short, snippet chapters at first but in the end, I liked that style for hopping back and forth between Werner and Marie-Laure. I found myself anticipating the part where they would inevitably meet up and what would happen after that. I loved Marie-Laure's independence and Werner's wishes to be back with his sister. I really Doerr's writing and the story. If you like historical fiction, especially during WWII, you'll like this one a lot.

Rating: * * *

Monday, August 25, 2014

Recipe Reblog - BBQ Turkey Meatballs over Cheddar Corn Quinoa


In recent months, I've done a terrible job of cooking up new-to-me recipes. I find them online and pin them all the time and then just never make them. I'm very consistent in gravitating towards the easier recipes I've made 100 times for quickness and familiarity.

I'm so glad I broke that cycle with this one.

BBQ Turkey Meatballs over Cheddar Corn Quinoa: This recipe is from Pink Parsley and I've made and enjoyed several things she's posted. In our house, we use ground turkey almost exclusively over ground beef for health and cost reasons. The flavor in these meatballs was awesome! I love incorporating BBQ sauce in non-traditional ways. I did use extra sauce for dipping. The quinoa was a much fancier side dish than the plain quinoa I normally make. I'm glad to have classed things up a bit. I did mix up the meatballs ahead and refrigerated them to save me time on a weeknight. I also ran out of scallions but I don't think anything suffered and I know John didn't notice. I will be making this one again soon, and you should too!

Remember back in 2011 where I made a new recipe every week? Maybe I ought to reinstate that challenge.

P.S. Blogger spell check thinks I spell quinoa wrong. Get with the times! It's only the hottest grain around. Sheesh.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Time Marches On

-That moment when you see a girl wearing something cute and you think about asking her where it's from then realize she's not even old enough to vote

-When you can't go up the stairs without your knees, ankles or toes cracking

-Being able to say, "I haven't watched this in 20 years....." (Kill me now)

-Knowing that extra glass of wine is most definitely going to give your morning an even slower start

-Forgetting how old you are and then having to do the math in your head while someone looks at you like you are a total nutter because you DON'T KNOW how old you are

-Spending a lot of time pursing your lips in the mirror to watch your smile lines disappear

-Being concerned with adding things like flax, omega-3's, supplements into your diet because you probably aren't getting enough of them anyway

-Making sure you turn on CBS Sunday Morning just as it starts and getting excited to watch the entire thing


Monday, August 18, 2014

The Interestings

Look! Another camp book that is actually about camp this time. Well, most of it. The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer has popped up on a lot of lists lately. I actually had it on hold for me at the library months ago but I was out of town and couldn't get to it in time.


Good Reads' Synopsis: "The summer that Nixon resigns, six teenagers at a summer camp for the arts become inseparable. Decades later the bond remains powerful, but so much else has changed. In The Interestings, Wolitzer follows these characters from the height of youth through middle age, as their talents, fortunes, and degrees of satisfaction diverge.

The kind of creativity that is rewarded at age fifteen is not always enough to propel someone through life at age thirty; not everyone can sustain, in adulthood, what seemed so special in adolescence. Jules Jacobson, an aspiring comic actress, eventually resigns herself to a more practical occupation and lifestyle. Her friend Jonah, a gifted musician, stops playing the guitar and becomes an engineer. But Ethan and Ash, Jules’s now-married best friends, become shockingly successful—true to their initial artistic dreams, with the wealth and access that allow those dreams to keep expanding. The friendships endure and even prosper, but also underscore the differences in their fates, in what their talents have become and the shapes their lives have taken.

Wide in scope, ambitious, and populated by complex characters who come together and apart in a changing New York City, The Interestingsexplores the meaning of talent; the nature of envy; the roles of class, art, money, and power; and how all of it can shift and tilt precipitously over the course of a friendship and a life."
What I Thought: This one had a lot of promise for me in the beginning. I enjoyed getting to know the characters as teenagers. It transported me back to a time when I could have pointed out a person in my life to fit every one of these kids. However, as they aged and their stories continued it just dragged on a bit. There was no real spark. I wasn't invested in their futures or where they ended up. I kept wishing Wolitzer had spent more time developing their stories at camp. It just felt a bit flat which was disappointing.

Rating: * * 1/2