Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Needlework Tuesday

It feels like it's been weeks since I did any sewing.  Well, it has been at least that long.  As I have mentioned, I've been working at clearing out my sewing room so that I can turn it into a bedroom for my niece who is staying with us for a few months.  While packing one of the many boxes, I came across the makings of a small quilt tucked into a large ziploc bag.  I set that aside and continued to work.

I found that bag again last friday  and determined to sew it up.  All the blocks were sewn together into strips and the sashing fabrics were in the bag.

I can't recall if I made the original double 4patch blocks.  I think that they were given to me to use in a charity quilt.  The first border is actually a lovely purple rose colour, in the photo it appears brown.  Measures 45 1/2 inches wide by 54 inches long.  I am thinking that I might do the quilting and use it to practice a new pattern.

I didn't get any knitting or crocheting done, though I did buy a copy of the latest Interweave Knits.  I haven't bought this one previously though I will definitely buy it again in the future.

Monday, 30 August 2010

NIght of the Living Dead by E. J. Copperman

All she wants is a fresh start for Melissa, her 9 year old daughter, and herself.  What Alison Kerby gets is a house on the Jersey Shore that seems bent on destroying itself, or rather, the ghost of the previous owner and that of the PI that was supposed to be protecting her that are destroying the house.  Now along with renovating her one hundred year old house, Alison also has the task of convincing the police to re-open their supposed "suicide" case.

Rest assured, this mystery has nothing to do with that current reality show that is set in the 'new Jersey Shore' on a boardwalk with a T-shirt shop.  This story is set  in the old area where longer term residents know everybody and their business and where the newspaper editor knows even more.

I would have read this book straight through with the exception that I couldn't keep my eyes open no longer.  Fortunately my camper is so tiny that there is no space for ghosts who might have tried to keep me awake otherwise.

Seeing that this novel is intended to be the first in a series, it is appropriately filled with a varied assortment of characters.  Along with Alison and her daughter, there is her best friend Jeannie and Jeannie's contractor husband Tony.  Meet Kerin Murphy, that perfectly coiffed mother who's on top of everything as well as working full-time and president of the PTSO, Parent-Teacher-Student Organization, arg, I just want to muss her perfect hair.  Police detective Anita McElone; I can't figure if she's one of the good guys. And finally there's Phyllis Coates, editor of the local newspaper, she knows everyones' business even before they do, I love this woman and see a big future for her in this series.

The story was spun out with such care and deception that I was thrown off the correct trails numerous times.  I'm usually fairly good at figuring them out.  I will be looking forward to Alison and Paul's (you have to read the book to meet him) next adventure.

E. J. Copperman is a pen name for unknown, famous author who is trying a new genre of mystery writing.

Thanks to Rob from Books Are Like Candy Corn for the copy of this book which I won from his site.

Other Reviews:
Rob from Books Are Like Candy Corn

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Recipe Thursday - Cake Keeper Cakes: 100 Simple Recipes for Extraordinary Bundt Cakes, Pound Cakes, Snacking Cakes, and other Good-to-the-Last-Crumb Treats by Lauren Chattman

I love to bake and my family loves even more to eat what I bake.  Can there be a better choice that a cake cookbook to get my attention.  Cake Keeper Cakes has been a special book at my household for the past two months.  It was impossible to select just two or three cakes to sample and we ended up baking and eating six. 

Over the course of a year, author Lauren Chattman developed recipes for and baked all one hundred cakes which she proudly displayed in an antique cake keeper on her kitchen counter.  Her reason for making cakes is captured in the following quote:
"Unlike Cookies, which are baked in many carefully watched batches, a simple cake requires little attention once it is popped in the oven."

This book contains updated version of many everyday cakes, that are good enough to serve company.  There are flavours and style to match any intenational meal that you chose to serve.

What I found most interesting is that the book is organized by the type of pan that the cake is baked in: 8" square, 9" round, 9" loaf, 12 cup Bundt, springform and angel food.  My luck, I have most of those pans (mom, buy me an an angel food pan please).

The "Poppy Seed Cake" is baked in an 8" square pan.  My grandmother always made us poppy seed cake with a thick rich chocolate frosting.  This recipe almost duplicates her cake.  I will be baking it for her next week and then again for my father's birthday a week later.

There are very good reasons to read the complete recipe and the author's notes before using any recipe.  If I had properly perpared my 9" round pan as instructed the cake would have come out in one piece instead of 8 million.  In the future, line pan with greased parchment when making the "Cream of Coconut Cake with Chocolate-Coconut Glaze".  It's appearance did improve somewhat with the addition of the glaze and it really did taste fantastic.  I have already bought more ingredients for this one.

My niece helped to bake the "Chocolate-Caramel-Banana Upside-Down Cake" for her mother's birthday.  We emailed her a picture since she lives far to far away to actually send her a piece.  This one was also baked in the 9" round pan.  First picture shows the banana slices in the sugar syrup.
"Cherry-Cornmeal Upside-Down Cake" was amazing.  I learned a few new flavour secrets.  I again used parchment paper on the bottom and the cake came out perfectly.  Another one that I have bought additional ingredients for.
I really like sweet potatoes and was intriqued at using it in pound cake.  The texture was so smooth that one piece was definitely not enough.  "Sweet Potato Pound Cake"
While I think that all the recipes in the book are most suitable to serve to company, I also wanted to try what I thought was the fanciest cake in the book.  I also like the fact that it was baked in a Bundt pan.  "Peanut Butter-Sour Cream Bundt Cake wtih butterfinder Ganache Glaze".  This was a show stopper when I took it to a pot-luck dinner.
This cookbook is bound to see a lot of use in my kitchen in the future.

Thanks to Tauton Press I have included the "Poppy Seed Cake" recipe for you to try.

Poppy Seed Cake

3/4 cup poppy seeds
1/2 cup boiling water
1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
14 tbsp butter
1 cup white sugar
4 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp almond extract
icing sugar for dusting

Place the poppy seeds in a glass bowl and cover with boiling water.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let stand until softened 1-3 hours.  Tranfer the seeds to a blender and blend to slightly crush.

Pre-heat oven to 350 F.  Grease 8" square baking pan and dust with flour.

Wisk together flour, baking powder and salt in medium bowl.

Combine butter and sugar in large bowl and beat with electric mixer until fluffy (3 minutes).  Add poppy seed mixture and mix on medium.

Add eggs one at a time, scrapping down sides after each addition.  Stir in vanilla and almond extract.

Stir in flour mixture till smooth.

Transfer to baking Pan.  Bake 45 minutes until golden.  Let cook in pan 10 minutes, invert onto wire rack and dust with icing sugar.

I'll admit that I had a bit of trouble with the poppy seeds in the blender and would probably just mash them a bit with my mortar and pestle next time, saves on cleaning the blender.

Thanks to Tauton Press for the ebook version of Cake Keeper Cakes for review.  Cover photo from Tauton Press.

Actual cake photos by my son Andrew Pearson and myself.

Additional Reviews for this cookbook can be read at:

Like to cook or read about food, be sure to visit Beth Fish Reads for her "Weekend Cooking" meme.  You are invited to join in the fun by adding the link to your food related post.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Rabbit, Run by John Updike

This is the story of Harry 'Rabbit' Angstrom.  Even though he is married and his wife is expecting their second child, he has not settled into adult life.  He still relives his success at highschool basketball and is trying to figure his place in life.  Not knowing what else to do, he run, he runs from the kids on the street, he runs from his job, he even runs from his wife and child.

I didn't like Harry. How could I, he ran away from his pregnant wife without a look back and then hooked up with another woman who he refused to let use birth control.  Eeks.  It made me want to run away from him.

This book is filled with imagery. 

The story is set in the neighbouring towns of Mt Judge and Bower.  They would have been one town with the exception of Mt Judge splitting the two.  Rabbit lives with his wife in Mt Judge and with his mistress on the other side.  This separation of the two groups of people in his life shows up frequently.  It is a long and diffucult walk from Bower to Mt Judge, when Rabbit choses to undertake it.

Running, always running, whether it's a physical activity or a mental one.  Rabbit is never where he thinks he wants to be or where he thinks he should be.  He runs away from his wife, from responsibility and from making a commitment to God, or Ruth or even his new job.

The other image that stuck with me throughout was that of Rev. Eccles always wanting/needing a fresh cold cup of water.  While he says that he likes Harry and that he feels he's a good man, to me this drinking of water could represent washing away what he finds distasteful.

This is a short book of 255 pages, yet it took me over two weeks to read.  It failed to capture my attention.  I kept plugging at it optimistic that it would get me; it didn't happen.  There are several follow-up books to this: Rabbit Redux, Rabbit is Rich, Rabbit at Rest and the novella Rabbit is Remembered.  Will I read any of these.  If they happen into my hand, curiousity of whether Rabbit ever gets his act together might drive me to start reading....

The video is a book trailer that was made for Rabbit, Run by IM McClerin.

The John Updike Society
Biography of John Updike found at Wikipedia

This is my 13th book for the Read, Remember, Recommend Fiction Challenge hosted by Bibliobabe.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Needlework Tuesday - Why am I not getting anything Done?

Ever have one of those weeks where you start out with the best of intentions, you are going to sew this, knit that and do a few other little items in between.  This was one of those weeks, and I have to admit that I only got one of those little things finished.

I grafted the stitches of one mitten that my niece is knitting.  Twelve little stitches.  Then I cast on the stitches for the next mitten, knit the first two rounds and handed it over to her.  That's it.  No other stitching of any sort.  More items got added to my mending stack and it is now tilting over to cover my sewing machine.  oh yeah.

In the same breath, at least I didn't start any new projects.  I did order yarn for a new circular scarf.  Actually, it was a set of yarn to make three of the scarf.  One for my niece, one for me and one I'll give to my sister, each having to stitch her own.  You'll get pics of this one but not until I have finished something else.

I'd better go now and contemplate plans for actual action for this coming week.
What do you do to get yourself moving when you've hit one of these low grooves?

Friday, 20 August 2010

Odd Hours by Dean Koontz

This is the fourth book in the journals of Odd Thomas.  He was on his way back to Pico Mundo from the monestary where he was staying during the events of  Brother Odd, went he felt a pull that directed him to the coastel town of Magic Beach.  He is working as a chef for retired actor Lawrence 'Hutch' Hitchison.  One night he feels compelled to walk along the boardwalk.  From that moment on Odd's actions and very life take a turn to the mystic.  He feels that this has to do with the reason he was called to Magic Beach. 

Right from that first moment on the boardwalk I knew that I had to keep turning pages, that I wasn't going to be allowed to put this book down.  The character of Odd was perfectly in keeping with his actions and thoughts in the earlier three books/events.  There is something about him that I just can't help but love.  It's sort of a protective mother like feeling, but not quite.  The following passage spoken by Odd is one that endeared him further to me:

But my heart tells me that the gift was given to be used, imperfect or not, and that if I deny it, I will wither away in despair and will earn no life after this one, no reunion with my lost girl.
Dean Koontz's website
Odd Thomas's website

Reviews of the earlier books in this series:

Odd Thomas
Forever Odd
Brother Odd

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Recipe Thursday - Chocolate Mint Cheesecake

I wanted to share with you the birthday cake that my son made for me last week.  What a great kid.  His favourite item to bake is cheesecake.  Usually it's an Oreo one, but I found him a new recipe.  It's from the I Love Chocolate by Mars website. 

 June 22, 2010 recipe for Chocolate Cheesecake.  you might have to sign up for an account for the link to work.  Note, the picture shown with the recipe is not for these instructions.  The picture above is correct.  I couldn't bring myself to buy a full bottle of creme de menthe, so I bought a bottle of non-alcoholic mix and it worked just fine.  I did buy the bottle of white creme de cacoa as it works well in the recipe for "Chocolate Martini" that I posted a few weeks ago.

Do you like to cook, try new recipes, watch movies about cooking etc..  Then click on over to Beth Fish Reads for her "Weekend Cooking" meme.  You are invited to add a link to your recent food related post.

ENDURrun 2010 - How to Feed a Runner

ENDURrun International: 8 days - 7 stages - 160 kilometres

Thats a lot of calories burned and they all need replacing.  Not bad if you have one athlete and several days of recovery. Now consider that you have approximately 75 runners and they are all running again tomorrow on another long and challenging route.  These people need recovery food within a half hour of finishing a race and they need to right kind of food and drink.  Also need to feed the 50 or so volunteers as well as the family and friends of the runners who show up every day.

While on the course we always have ample water and Gatorade, and gels when appropriate.  That's enough to keep them going for a particular course, but once they finish they need more.  Fruit is often their first pick.

Watermelon, grapes, orange segments, bananas and other melons in season are in high demand.  Fruit smoothies have been a big hit, with either milk/soy milk and yogurt/tofu added in.

After more recovery time comes the real challenge.  Most runners have their favourites when it comes to recovery foods.  Fortunately they tell us ahead of time what works for them and we keep notes.  Vegetables, hummas, potato salads, white pasta in all sorts of forms, and protein (often lunch meats and cheese).  We also strive to meet the dietary requirements of those with lactose intolerance, vegetarians and vegans.  It's been a challange to me to cook for vegans as my family likes cheese and tend to include it in quite a few meals.

Aside from my broccoli salad, which we served three times this past week, the biggest demand was for hummus.  The first day we served it, it was a small store bought container.  That was no where near large enough.  The next day I made a single batch and that dissappeared rather quickly.  From then on, I made a double batch each day.  Great tasting source of carbs.
This is my son and myself resting after feeding the runners after the fifth stage, which is the 25k hill run at the local ski club.
Hummus with Tahini

19 oz tin of chick peas (garbanzo beans) drained and rinsed
3/4 cups of tahini (ground sesame seeds)
2 - 3 cloves garlic crushed
juice of two lemons

Place all ingredients in a food processor and grind until smooth.  You will need to add water to get a nice consistancy.  Make it thick enough so that it can be scooped with a piece of pita bread.  You don't want it runny.

Serve with pita bread, natcho chips, or use as a spread on a sandwich.

Of course we can't ignore the sweet tooth of these runners.  They also wanted chocolate and a bit of sweets such as cake or muffins.  That's where I have fun.  I got to bake to my hearts content, which I love to do, but then I didn't have to eat it all.  This year I was reviewing a cake book so the runners became my guinea pigs.  From their comments and the few crumbs left on the serving plate, I'll say the book is a success.  Look for my review of Cake Keeper Cakes by Lauren Chattman next thursday.

With several vegans in the race as well as a number that are lactose intolerant, I wanted to try my hand at a cake with no dairy nor eggs.  A real challenge for me.  I found a suitable recipe in The Lactose -Free Family Cookbook by Jan Main. It called for eggs, but I substituted an equal amount of tofu and it worked wonderfully.  While this 1996 cookbook appears to be sold out, Jan has a newer book 200 Best Lactose Free Recipes: From Appetizers And Soups To Main Courses And Desserts that is still available.

Tropical Coffee Cake
1 cup each whole wheat flour and all purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp each baking soda and baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 ripe banana, mashed
1 cup undrained crushed pineapple
2 eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tbsp grated orange rind
Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease 10 inch bundt pan or spray with nonstick baking spray.
In mixing bowl, stir togethr whole wheat flour, all purpose floour, granulated sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
In spearate bowl, beat together banana, pineapple, eggs, oil and orange rind.  Add to dry ingredients all at once, stirring just until moistened.
Spoon into prepared pan.  Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until firm to touch and toothpick insierted in centre comes away clean.
I used 2 bananas as they were sitting on my counter and wouldn't get used for anything else. I did need to add a few extra minutes of baking time.  For the eggs I substituted 4 tbsp of silken tofu.
Photo Credits:
Race photos used with permission from Julie Schmidt.
Cover photo and Tropical Coffee Cake photo from Heather Pearson

Do you like to cook, try new recipes, watch movies about cooking etc.. Then click on over to Beth Fish Reads for her "Weekend Cooking" meme. You are invited to add a link to your recent food related post.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

One Tough Soldier - Corporal Nate Malton

This past week I had the honour of witnessing Corporal Nate Malton, a reservist with the Royal Highland Fusiliers, successfully complete a series of running races totalling 160 kilometres all while carrying his backpack filled with 40 pounds of gear. 

He was doing this as a fundraiser for  Wounded Warriors.ca.

Further details on Nate's run are available at the Wounded Warrior site along with information on how to donate to this worthy cause.

The first picture shows Nate on  Tuesday, August 10.  That day was a 30 k hill race at Bechtel Park in Waterloo.  For this stage he was joined by Major Paul Hale.

On Wednesday evening Nate ran a 16k hill race in Heidleberg, Ontario.  This area, just west of Waterloo offers a number of fairly extreme hills that are the site of many foot and bike races.  This fourth picture, taken about one minute before the finish line does no justice to the steepness of the hill.
The final day of racing was Sunday, August 15.  This was the marathon, 42.2 k in hot, humid weather.  The race started in my neighbourhood of Conestogo, proceeded to Kitchener along a meandering country route, then into Waterloo in the RIM Park area and finally a few more hills brought you back to the start in Conestogo.  Now repeat for the full distance.

For this stage Nate was accompanied by Vincent Lacharite (also carrying a full pack)  and on the second lap, Paul joined in once again. Waiting for him at the finish line were three miltary pipers and a growing crowd of well wishers.  Nate and Vincent crossed the finish line with an identical time.  

Vincent, Nate and Paul with two un-identified pipers.

Also running the complete race series  was reservist Maureen Pecknold
Congratulations Nate.

Photo Credits:  Andrew Pearson and Julie Schmidt

Needlework Tuesday - Snowflake Afghan

Sorry to miss you last week.  I was busy that day volunteering at a 30k running race.  By the time that was over I was exhausted from being in the heat and humidity.  Even though I didn't run a step, it was still tiring.  The races went all week and I have to admit that I didn't get a stitch done on this project.  The week before I got most of row three added.  I have set in place the sixth motif for that row. 

This project is coming along really well.   I'll have another update for you next week. 

I have also been working at clearing out my sewing room to turn it into a bedroom for my niece who is staying with us for a few months.  Today I found a baby quilt that I didn't even remember starting.  I have gathered together those pieces and plan to finish the top in the next while.  I will probably take it to one of my quilting friends and ask if she'll do the quilting and then she can donate it where she wishes.  She works with a group who do quilts for a children's hospital in British Columbia.  Yes, I will have photos for you.

bye for now.

Mandahla: Skippy Dies

Saw a review of this one this morning. Sounds like a perfect Back-to-School read.

Skippy Dies by Paul Murray

click the link below to go to the ShelfAwareness Review.

Mandahla: Skippy Dies

This book has been long listed for the Man Booker Prize.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

It's marathon day today.  I am leaving in a few minutes to man my water station.  It's at the 3k mark on the first lap, so I guess that would be the 24k mark on the second.  Big laps.

Cpl Nate Malton is still running with his 40 pound knapsack.  He's amazing.  Son has taken some pics this week of Nate and I will be posting them in the next few days.

I put a tiny link button for the Broccoli salad in the upper left of the sidebar.  Click and see one of the dishes that the runners have been enjoying post-race.

gotta go and do my water and Gatorade.

Saturday, 14 August 2010

ENDURrun International - Race 6

I knew my neighbour had changed the finish for the 6th stage of the Endurrun but when I came out my door this morning this wasn't quite what I was exptecting.  You can just see that my driveway is partially blocked by the finish gate.  Be careful what you wish for....  This is the shortest distance I've had to travel for a race.
I'm doing the water station at the 6k mark and will just squeeze out the drive.
Have lots to update you on food later today/tomorrow.  It's been such a busy week.  Hectic almost.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

My Volunteer Week - The ENDURrun International

It's here again.  This is the week where I volunteer at at the ENDURrun race series.  I have been volunteering for the past 5 or so years along with my kids and hubby.

 Today is the third day of racing, there are seven races covering 160k.  Sunday started out with a half marathon, followed yesterday by a 15k time trial.  This is where the slowest person starts last and then each minute another runner starts, until finally the fastest person starts last.  A very exciting race as you never know who will catch up with the runner ahead.  Today they are running 30k of hills.  This year there is a soldier running in full gear with a huge pack on his back.  He is running to raise awareness of the military and to raise funds for the Wounded Warriors Fund.  Click here to find out more about Nate Malton and his challenge. 

What do I do?  Hand out a heck of a lot of water and Gatorade.  This year they are about 75 participants per stage, and they sure are hungry when finished.  The night before each race I cook.  Last night was two dozen hard boiled eggs yet to become deviled eggs, hummas and a fresh potato salad (oil and vinigar dressing).  No single batches here, we're talking double and triple everything.  Lots of kitchen cleaning for sure.

Each year I also select a book to read in any moments of down time, of which there have been none this year.  I try to pick one with a running theme and have been able to do that again.  Currently reading: Rabbit, Run by John Updike.  This book is recommended by Radcliffe Publishing Course: 100 Best Novels of the Century. It will also count as a read for the Read, Remember, Recommend reading challange sponsored by Bibliobabe.com.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Hero: The Cat Star Chronicles by Cheryl Brooks

Romance, genocide, revenge, and justice.  All these mixed in with space travel, alien races, and steamy sex.  It just doesn't get any better.  Oh wait, I forgot to throw in the hot men.  Yep, that about does it.

Micayla has never fit in with her classmates, workmates or neighbours.  Considering that she has cat-like eyes, pointed ears and she can purr, it's not surprising.  The last thing her mother did before she was murdered was to give Micayla to a woman in spaceport and ask her to keep her baby safe.  Since that time she has never met another member of her race, what ever that might be. While working as a communications officer on Orleon Station she catches a glimpse of man that she feels compelled to find.  Who could he be and why does she feel she has to risk all to find him.

Trag has been working as a pilot for several years and once again finds himself docking at Orleon Station.  His shipmates have sent him to find "female" companionship even though he has publicly sworn to marry only when he finds a Zetithian female, knowing there are none left in existence.

This was a funny and totally entertaining book.  The love and denial between Micayla and Trag was almost predictable, though I couldn't imagine it happening any other way.  I enjoyed watching both these characters develop and learn more about their earlier lives.  This is the sixth book in the series and while I haven't read any of the earlier ones, Ms. Brooks did a great job of recapping and getting me up to speed with all the main characters especially Trag.

Genocide, revenge and justice play major roles in the second half of the book.  It's amazing the lengths that one man will go to to sooth his bruised ego.  All I have to say to that character is grow up, look to your self for your faults, stop blaming them on others.   As for the Zetithians, they take the highroad and show why I think that in future editions of this story they will have the strength to survive and possibly even thrive in what has until now been a hostile universe.

I look forward to reading more about this race and finding out their earlier history.  Note that this book contains material that is not appropriate for younger readers.

Thanks to Sourcebbooks for this review copy.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

First Nations Friday: Motorcycles & Sweetgrass by Drew Hayden Taylor

His mother is the band chief, his grandmother, a respected elder, is dying, and he's related to half the members of Otter Lake, Virgil doesn't imagine that life could be any more difficult for an Anishnawbe teenager.  That is, until a shiny red 1953 Indian Chief Motorcycle was driven into town by a mysterious blond haired, blue-eyed white man.  To further complicate matters, this stranger walks right into his grandmother's house and her bedroom as though he was family. 

Being a curious teenager, Virgil sneaks a look in his grandmother's window and spies the stranger kissing his grandmother in a surprisingly passionate manner.

Something is afoot in Otter Creek and Virgil is convinced that the motorcycle riding stranger is behind it.  with the help of his Uncle Wayne, a self styled Indian Martial Arts expert, he intends to get to the bottom of it and save his mother and family.

I loved every minute of this book.  I read it while camping, shortly after a brief visit to Curve Lake First Nations, Drew Hayden Taylor's hometown. At first I wanted to learn more about Virigil's grandmother Lillian, but as the story continued, I realized that those very details were mixed in with the stranger's story.  Turns out the stranger is....  Oh shoot, I can't tell you that.  Let's just say that mythology figures large in this story, though it appears in such a way I didn't question it, I just accepted it.

Two scenes remain in my mind: the members of the Otter Lake Debating Society sitting on their porch discussing the events that have happened, and that of Nanabush and his conversation with Jesus. 

This book is funny and serious in turns.  Every page kept me wanting more.  Even when I was finished I wanted more.  I for one am hoping that there are more stories coming out of Otter Lake.

The Night Wanderer: A Native Gothic Novel is also set in Otter Lake.

Other books by Drew Hayden Taylor that I've read:

Photo Credits:

"Nanabush giving the Racoon it's Colours" by Daphne Odjig from Cybermuse
1953 Indian Chief Motorcycle from Indian Motorbikes
Blue Bandana from Woof Creations
Indian Ninga from CGHUB

Friday, 6 August 2010

Jessica Z by Shawn Klomparens

Jessica seems to have it all.  A job in advertising that she loves, a neighbour who brings fresh brewed coffee to her door each morning and close relationships with both her sister and her mother.  Despite these pluses, she is not settled.  That neighbour with the coffee is her on again/off again boyfriend Patrick.  Her sister is planning to head off to the south Pacific to live on a boat and do research, and her mother appears to be the panicy type of mother who wants her children to rush home at the slightest hint of trouble.

Little does she suspect that her life is going to change.  A number of unsettling events are about to occur that will impact the people of San Francisco as well as the rest of the United States.  About that same time Josh Hadden, a visiting professor/artist, explodes into Jessica's life. He takes her to physical and emotional places she's never been and didn't know that she wanted to reach.

With each page of this story I was pulled further in.  Somehow, from its everyday start, it got better and better.  I liked reading about and following the relationships of the various characters: Jessica and Patrick/Josh,  sister Katie and her tall doctor, Patrick and Gertrude, and was intrigued by the PitchBitch Blogger.

This story could happen in any city, with any group of friends/neighbours/co-workers.  The randomness that occured in this novel is not something you can plan for nor can you seek it nor avoid it.  I think that is what kept me on the edge of my seat, not knowing where Mr. Klomparens was going to take me next.  I am definitely looking forward to his next book.

Also available from this author: Two Years No Rain

For additional comments regarding this book and author, visit the Facebook group I Bet We Can Make These Books Bestsellers.

Photo Credits:

Topographic Map - Lockport Park Pages

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

July WrapUp -

July was a good month for reading.  I ventured into a number of different genre and a few new to me authors.  Always good to try new authors.

Author Drew Hayden Taylor is a member of the Curve Lake Nation.  While visiting there I had to buy a book of one of his plays. 
Motorcycles & Sweetgrass by Drew Hayden Taylor (review posted August7, 2010)
The Bootlegger Blues by Drew Hayden Taylor (to be read)

Jessica Z by Shawn Klomparens (review posted August 6, 2010)

Why AC/DC Matters by Anthony Bozza (review pending)
Odd Hours by Dean Koontz (review posted August 20, 2010) I love the character of Odd and couldn't wait any longer to read this one.
Hero by Cheryl Brooks (just released, review posted August 8, 2010)

The Value of Nothing by Raj Patel (currently reading)

Dolly by Dolly Parton (to be read)
I bought this one while camping last week. I had read a short interview with Ms. Parton and was intriqued and just had to find her memoirs.

Turning the Tables by Rita Rudner (to be read). I bought this during the same camping trip. It is signed by the author.

While cottaging this weekend, we happened onto a street long yard sale.  Luck for me there were a few books. 
The Call of the Wild by Jack London (previously read and reviewed, bought for daughter)
Maneaters of Kumon by Jim Corbett (to be read) This was free at one of the houses.  The cover picture was interesting enough to make me want to bring it home.