Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Ruby Tuesday

I'm posting today over at Ruby Tuesday 2.


Taken in Red Square in Moscow Russia on May 9, 2011 Victory Day. You can read more over here.

All photography on this post at Junk Boat Travels are under copyright. If you would like to use any of my photographs please contact me first.

Monday, July 30, 2012

It's Monday! What Are you Reading?



 


It's Monday! What are you reading? is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. For this meme, bloggers post what they finished last week, what they're currently reading, and what they plan to start this week.

It was a light reading week with so many other things that we had on our schedule. This usually ends up being one of the busiest week's of the summer.
I won't be posting next week because we will be in Paris!!

FINISHED THIS WEEK:
A Perfect Evil (Maggie O'Dell #1)



Meh! I mentioned reading another of this author's books last week, with the same reaction. Last week I read number 7 in the series this week was number 1. At least number 7 had an interesting story line.
I'm not even going to waste any energy on this one.

ALSO FINISHED THIS WEEK:
Borrowed as an e-book from the library.
People Like Us
From the book jacket:
The way journalist Gus Bailey tells it, old money is always preferred, but occasionally new money sneaks in--even where it is most unwelcome. After moving from Cincinnati, Elias and Ruby Renthal strike it even richer in New York, turning their millions into billions. It would be impolite for high society to refuse them now. Not to mention disadvantageous. As long as the market is strong, there's absolutely nothing to worry about--except for those nasty secrets from the past. Scandal, anyone...?

This was most entertaining.  The characters are stereotypical old money New Yorkers not amused by all these New Money self-made "newcomers' elbowing their way into their tight lipped enclosed social circles. 
It boggled my mind that there are people who have so much money for so many generations that all they do is socialize all day every day. Every single evening is spent in getting dressed up and going out.
I will be reading more from this author.

STARTED THIS WEEK:
The Ottoman Motel
From the book jacket:
Welcome to Reception…
Simon and his parents arrive in the small town of Reception and check in to the Ottoman Motel. Then, while Simon is asleep, his parents disappear.
Are they lost? Has something terrible happened to them? Have they simply driven away and left him?
All Simon knows is that he is alone in a strange town. And, as a desultory police investigation begins, he realises he is unsure who he can trust.
The local police constable is kind; a B&B owner gives Simon a place to stay. The citizens of Reception have taken him in—but why does it seem as if no one is trying to find his parents?
The Ottoman Motel is not just an intriguing character-based mystery, but a moving study of fear and loss. With this assured and nuanced debut, Christopher Currie proves himself to be one of the brightest young novelists in Australia.


2012 books read (55 to date):
The Coast Road - John Brady
Still Midnight - Denise Mina
The Bulgari Connection - Fay Weldon
Good Bait - John Harvey
The Heretic's Treasure - Scott Mariani
Dead I Well May Be - Adrian McKinty
The Devil's Elixir - Raymond Khoury
A Darker Domain - Val McDermid
The Impossible Dead - Ian Rankin
GB84 - David Peace
The Emperor's Tomb - Steve Berry
Stonehenge Legacy - Sam Christer
Inquisition - Alfredo Colitto ABANDONED!
The Troubled Man - Henning Mankell
Nineteen Seventy-Four - David Peace
Faithful Place - Tana French
Dead Like You - Peter James
Brother and Sister - Joanna Trollope
The Forgotten Garden - Kate Morton ABANDONED!
A Beginner's Guide to Acting English -Shappi Khorsandi
The Snowman - Jo Nesbo
The Leopard - Jo Nesbo
The Stone Cutter - Camilla Lackberg
Miramar - Naguib Mahfouz
The Gallow's Bird - Camilla Lackberg
Nineteen Seventy- Seven - David Peace
Timeline - Michael Crichton
Millennium People - JG Ballard
The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins
Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins
Mockingjay - Suzanne Collins
Birdman - Mo Hayder
Clara Callan - Richard B. Wright
The Paris Vendetta - Steve Berry
Little Girls Lost - Jack Kerley
The Reutrn of the Dancing Master - Henning Mankell
Nemesis - Jo Nesbo
Dublin Dead - Gerard O'Donovan
City of Bohane - Kevin Barry
This Beautiful Life - Helen Schulman
The Copenhagen Project - K. SandersenPrague - Arthur Phillips
Fortunes of War - Gordon Zuckerman
The Cold Cold Ground - Adrian McKinty
Before the Poison - Peter Robinson
The Mozart Conspiracy - Scott Mariani
Dancer - Colum McCann
Pig Island - Mo Hayder
Old City Hall - Robert Rotenberg
The Paris Wife - Paula McLain
The Last Good Man - A. J. Kazinski
Homesick - Roshi Fernando
Black Friday - Alex Kava
Only One Life - Sara Blaedel
A Perfect Evil - Alex Kava
People Like Us - Dominick Dunne

Blue Monday


I'm linking up over at Blue Monday today.
This is the original site of McDonald's (owned by the McDonald brothers), which opened as the Airdrome in 1940 and converted to the first McDonald's in 1948. It was here that Ray Kroc tried to sell Dick and Mac McDonald a MixMaster in 1954 and ended up buying their name.
Taken in San Bernardino, California when we decided to take a drive down Route 66.




Saturday, July 28, 2012

Foto Finish

Foto Finish
Cat Patches hosts this weekly meme. Her theme this week is YELLOW.


This wall mural is in a section of Toronto called Leslieville. I took this photo in June 2012 while wandering around the area.
LESLIEVILLE began as a small village back in the 1850's. The village grew up around the Toronto Nurseries owned by George Leslie and sons, after whom this neighbourhood is named. 
The mural includes Leslieville's first public school principal, Alexander Muir, who composed The Maple Leaf Forever. Muir's poetic verse was inspired when a brilliant autumn maple leaf fell from a Leslieville tree onto his jacket. That maple tree is still standing today and has become Leslieville's most famous landmark, designated by an historic plaque at the intersection of Laing Street and Memory Lane. 
Chorus:
The Maple Leaf, our emblem dear,
The Maple Leaf forever!
God save our Queen and Heaven bless
The Maple Leaf forever!

Saturday Snapshot



 

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Alyce at At Home With Books.    

Age is mind over matter, if you don't mind, it doesn't matter. (Mark Twain)

Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow. (Mark Twain)

Photos taken on our driving trip to Branson Missouri in 2008.
The most notable reason to visit Hannibal is Mark Twain. The town is very proud of its relationship with him and has preserved many of the buildings. There are other reasons as well to visit and I'll post about those separately.

Museum properties includes eight properties: six properties are on the National Register of Historic Places, and two exciting, interactive museums whose collections include fifteen original Norman Rockwell paintings, Mark Twain's Oxford gown, and many priceless artifacts. A self-guided tour of the Mark Twain Boyhood Home Museum properties gives you the chance to explore the Hannibal of Samuel Clemens' childhood and experience the beloved stories he created as Mark Twain through the power of his imagination.
The exhibits are really well done. These are just a few of the pictures we took.










Thursday, July 26, 2012

Alphabe-Thursday

Jenny Matlock 

I'm posting over at Jenny Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday. 
Today's letter is J. 
I am going to feature some photos of Junk-boats that we took as we cruised the Yangtze River in China in 2009. I have not retouched any of these photos, so if they appear foggy it is because it is quite foggy as you sail along the Yangtze.






Places We've Stayed - Branson Missouri

In April 2008 we stayed a week at Silverleaf's Holiday Hills Resort in Branson Missouri.
We have stayed in Silverleaf resorts before in Texas and I am not a fan of them. They are not up to the normal RCI standard in my opinion. I did send a letter when we returned outlining my complaints about maintenance but never received a response.
According to their website:
Surrounded by the majestic Ozark Mountains and Lake Taneycomo, Holiday Hills Resort offers unlimited opportunities for vacation enjoyment. It's the ideal place for those who desire endless sight-seeing and activities or simple relaxation in one vacation location.
Only three miles away, Branson is known as the "Live Music Capital of the World" for its bright lights and spectacular musical entertainment, theme parks, museums, shopping malls and craft malls. Nature lovers can enjoy walking many hiking trails or driving the outskirts of Branson to soak up the beauty of the Ozarks. The city is a vacation within a vacation.

Regardless, it was a great spot in Branson. It was a two bedroom and the second bedroom could be "locked off" and serve as a studio with a microwave and a fridge. It is on a golf course.
You can read more about our trip here  and here.







Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Ruby Tuesday




                               
Tina's theme tis week is *wet*.
These photos were taken a couple of weeks ago in Toronto. This is the mural outside the OK OK Diner on Queen St. E that we often go to for breakfast.
It depicts a Toronto streetcar or Red Rocket. It was taken on a very dull muggy day a couple of weeks ago as it started to rain. 


Monday, July 23, 2012

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?



 


It's Monday! What are you reading? is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. For this meme, bloggers post what they finished last week, what they're currently reading, and what they plan to start this week.


This week I finally downloaded an app for my Kobo Vox ereader so that I can borrow books from the Toronto Public Library.
I am enjoying borrowing books from the library, I think the app works quite well once you get used to where things are put.

FINISHED THIS WEEK:
The Last Good Man: A Novel
Synopsis here.

I started reading this with great expectations as the storyline really appealed to me. Overall I liked the characters and the writing was good. However as it moved (slowly) along I got more and more bored. The execution of the story left a lot to be desired. As I neared the ending I was just plain disappointed. I just felt it was too trite an ending.

Also FINISHED THIS WEEK:
Homesick
From the book jacket:
From the winner of the 2009 Impress Prize for New Writers (U.K.) and finalist for the Sunday Times Short Story Award, a stunning debut novel about an extended Sri Lankan family--a kaleidoscopic view of contemporary immigrant life, by turns darkly funny, sad, poignant, and uproariously beautiful.

It's New Year's Eve 1982. At Victor and Nandini's home in southeast London, the family and their friends gather to ring in the new year. Whiskey and arrack have been poured, poppadoms are freshly fried, andbaila music is on the stereo. Upstairs, the teenagers have gathered around the television to watch The Godfather again while drinking pilfered wine. Moving back and forth in time, from the 1970s to the present day, and from London to Sri Lanka and back again, we follow Victor and Nandini's children: Rohan, Gehan, and in particular dyslexic Preethi--funny, brash, and ultimately fragile. We also meet troubled Lolly and her beautiful sister Deirdre; wonderful Auntie Gertie; and terrible Kumar, whose dark deed will haunt the family.

Homesick reads more like a collection of short stories that are tied together by one central family, Preethi's family.  Stories range from a wedding, would be terrorist, a rocky marriage, daughter trying to find her father, and so on. The stuff life is made of.
She does a remarkable reveal of the range of emotions and experiences of Sri Lankans in the UK and how their background still impacts the second and third generations. 
She writes beautifully and I am looking forward to reading her next novels.

ALSO FINISHED THIS WEEK:
Black Friday (Maggie O'Dell, #7)
From the book jacket:
On the busiest shopping day of the year, some idealistic college students believe they're about to carry out an elaborate media stunt at the largest mall in America. They think the jamming devices in their backpacks will disrupt stores' computer systems, causing delays and chaos. What they don't realize is that instead of jamming devices, their backpacks are stuffed with explosives, ready to be detonated by remote control and turning them into suicide bombers.
Caught up in a political nightmare, battling a new interim director and still mourning the death of her boss A. D. Cunningham, FBI profiler Maggie O'Dell must put her own troubles aside and fly to Minnesota to help figure out what's behind this terrorist attack--a massacre that is all the more frightening because no group has claimed responsibility.
The search becomes personal when a tip reveals that one of the college students involved is Patrick, Maggie's brother. Afraid and on the run, Patrick must decide if he can finally trust Maggie enough to help her unravel this horrifying nightmare.
Sifting through the debris for answers, Maggie is joined by Nick Morrelli, who has recently taken a job with a national security company that oversees security for the mall. Although Maggie and Nick have investigated several cases together in the past, they've never investigated a relationship with each other. Nick would like to change that.
When an informant confides in Maggie that there are other attacks on the secret agenda, she knows that she's running out of time. In less than twenty-four hours she'll need to figure out exactly when and where the second attack will take place, who to look for and how to keep her brother from becoming one of the casualties.
Meh, what can I say? I downloaded this from the library as a test of checking out a book that was immediately available.
The premise is good, bombs in the biggest mall on Black Friday, the busiest shopping day. I do like conspiracy theories as well.
I can't say any of the characters were more than one dimensional to me. Even the story needed more development.
ALSO FINISHED THIS WEEK:
Only One Life
From the book jacket:
It was clearly no ordinary drowning. Inspector Louise Rick is immediately called out to Holbraek Fjord when a young immigrant girl is found in the watery depths, a piece of concrete tied around her waist and two mysterious circular patches on the back of her neck.
Her name was Samra, and Louise soon learns that her short life was a sad story. Her father had already been charged once with assaulting her and her mother, Sada, who makes it clear that her husband would indeed be capable of killing Samra if she brought dishonor to the family. But she maintains that Samra hadn't done anything dishonorable. Then why was she supposed to be sent back to Jordan? Samra s best friend Dicte thinks it was an honor killing. A few days later Dicte is discovered, bludgeoned to death, and Samra's younger sister has gone missing.
Navigating the complex web of family and community ties in Copenhagen s tightly knit ethnic communities, Louise must find this remorseless predator, or predators, before it is too late.
At the start of this book the author refers to a Danish honour killing that actually took place recently. However, much more recently we had an even worse honour killing here in Canada. Four female family members were killed by thier immediate family because they wouldn't conform to the father's rules.

I enjoyed this book. The writing was good. At a few points I thought I knew who did it but was pleasantly surprised by the twists in the plot.
She does an excellent job of describing an immigrant teenage girl trying to fit into a Western society, family morals and issues, bullying and a host of other cultural issues.
STARTED THIS WEEK:
A Perfect Evil (Maggie O'Dell #1)
From the book jacket:
Nick Morrelli is the Platte City, Nebraska, sheriff who must be smarter than he appears, since there's a framed Harvard law degree hanging on his wall. Not that appearances don't count. The reader is treated to a number of descriptions of his sexy, lady-killer looks and his charismatic effect on even the most hard-bitten woman character in this somewhat muddled, serial-killer thriller. Nick is investigating the kidnap-murders of two young Platte City boys when FBI profiler Maggie O'Dell shows up and all but takes over the investigation. Several years earlier, the former sheriff--Nick's father--capped his own career with the arrest of the last serial killer in the neighborhood, who abducted and tortured three boys in an eerily similar crime spree. When Antonio Morrelli returns from retirement to meddle in the investigation, and when Nick's own sister uses her connections to advance his career, Nick hardly raises an objection. And that's the central weakness of what would otherwise be a good, first effort. 

I've just started it and am not impressed. This is another one I quickly downloaded when I was setting up the library app.
2012 books read (54 to date):
The Coast Road - John Brady
Still Midnight - Denise Mina
The Bulgari Connection - Fay Weldon
Good Bait - John Harvey
The Heretic's Treasure - Scott Mariani
Dead I Well May Be - Adrian McKinty
The Devil's Elixir - Raymond Khoury
A Darker Domain - Val McDermid
The Impossible Dead - Ian Rankin
GB84 - David Peace
The Emperor's Tomb - Steve Berry
Stonehenge Legacy - Sam Christer
Inquisition - Alfredo Colitto ABANDONED!
The Troubled Man - Henning Mankell
Nineteen Seventy-Four - David Peace
Faithful Place - Tana French
Dead Like You - Peter James
Brother and Sister - Joanna Trollope
The Forgotten Garden - Kate Morton ABANDONED!
A Beginner's Guide to Acting English -Shappi Khorsandi
The Snowman - Jo Nesbo
The Leopard - Jo Nesbo
The Stone Cutter - Camilla Lackberg
Miramar - Naguib Mahfouz
The Gallow's Bird - Camilla Lackberg
Nineteen Seventy- Seven - David Peace
Timeline - Michael Crichton
Millennium People - JG Ballard
The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins
Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins
Mockingjay - Suzanne Collins 
Birdman - Mo Hayder
Clara Callan - Richard B. Wright
The Paris Vendetta - Steve Berry
Little Girls Lost - Jack Kerley
The Reutrn of the Dancing Master - Henning Mankell
Nemesis - Jo Nesbo
Dublin Dead - Gerard O'Donovan
City of Bohane - Kevin Barry
This Beautiful Life - Helen Schulman
The Copenhagen Project - K. Sandersen
Prague - Arthur Phillips
Fortunes of War - Gordon Zuckerman 
The Cold Cold Ground - Adrian McKinty
Before the Poison - Peter Robinson
The Mozart Conspiracy - Scott Mariani
Dancer - Colum McCann
Pig Island - Mo Hayder
Old City Hall - Robert Rotenberg
The Paris Wife - Paula McLain
The Last Good Man - A. J. Kazinski
Homesick - Roshi Fernando
Black Friday - Alex Kava
Only One Life - Sara Blaedel