Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Just to Let You Know..

Just to let my regular readers know that I am not disappearing off the face of the earth.

I am taking a little..or maybe a BIG... break from Blogland.
A few personal issues that have sort of left me without the heart or desire to post at the moment.

My thanks to all of you...your involvement and comments have meant the world to me.
See ya on the flip side!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Musing Monday...To Series or Not To Series, That is the Question.

Do I have a Muse? Sure I do!
We sure to check out the others talking part at  Should Be Reading...

Musing Mondays asks you to muse about one of the following each week…
• Describe one of your reading habits.
• Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).
• What book are you currently desperate to get your hands on? Tell us about it!

• Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.
• Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!
• Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let’s hear it, then!

I will admit it..I love a good mystery series.
In fact, I tend to get a little caught up in them sometimes.
Karin Slaughter..I read all 12 books she had written at that time, one after the other, over a couple of weeks.
Then there was Peter Robinson's Inspector Banks series. I was a bit less compulsive about that one, reading 12 of them..on my, 12 again...but interspersed with a few other books.
My latest is Donna Leon's Commissario Guido Brunetti Mysteries. You may not believe this, but I just started the 12th book of that series too. That number 12 again, but in this case, I still have almost another 12 to go.
Still, in all these cases, in order to have what I think is the best reading experience, I have read the books in order.

There is the question. How do you feel about series..especially BIG series...and about reading them in order?

If you are taking about a series of two or three or four books, it is not that much of an issue.
But for a series that has a dozen or more books...well, to start that is a commitment!
So what is an author and the reader to do?

We readers like series, at least in part, because we get to know the setting and the characters and we care about them. But an author that creates strong, interesting characters, with interesting lives, with things going on in their lives, writes a book that is hard to read as a stand-alone.
I am thinking of the example of Susan Hill's  Simon Serrailler series. My, so much has happened to Simon, people in his life getting killed, people dying, people leaving, that you really have to start at the beginning to understand what is going on.
Sure, the author can try to fill us in with the relevant facts about the character's past to the degree necessary but honestly, sometimes that can get confusing. Or they can make the characters personal lives not that important or not that interesting, but that takes something away from the books too, doesn't it?

Does an author who keeps writing book in a series at a certain point, maybe after the first few books, just discourage new readers?

Oh My...What to do?
Hey, I have to get back to reading! I have like another 12 Leon books to read!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Weekend Cooking...One Cup At A Time!

I love tea.
Yes, on occasion I will drink coffee, especially if it is from my beloved Tassimo single cup coffee
But tea is my first love.
It is calming, yet invigorating.
It is hot and comforting.
As the English know, ever situation is better with a cup of tea.

I like black tea. And if possible, made from loose leaf, not bags.
I buy it online, one of life's small pleasures.

But what if your tea purchase could have a positive effect on the world?
What if it could make the lives of a few desperate young woman in a desperate situation better?

According to a report I saw on Fox News, later picked up by the Huffington Post, it is possible!
The woman trying to do that is named Katrell Christie, the owner of a small tea shop in Atlanta, Georgia. She is the founder of The Learning Tea, an organization that, through the sale of tea from India's Darjeeling region and Indian dinners held at her shop.

While it’s not uncommon for people to find a new perspective while traveling, Candler Park resident and Dr. Bombay’s Underwater Tea Party shop owner Katrell Christie found herself in India during Summer 2009 with a growing new purpose and a strong determination to help better the lives of the children she’d met while spending time at both a Darjeeling orphanage and a elementary school, one of the oldest schools in Darjeeling.

For these Darjeeling children living in poverty, education is simply the only method of rising beyond their situation, which in most cases is dire. Darjeeling is world famous for its beautiful tea gardens and flavorful teas, but it harbors a darker side as the region’s hub for forced labor and sex exploitation, as well as child trafficking and child labor. Without education, young girls are forced into prostitution in the area, or even transported to work in brothels in other regions of India when they leave orphanages at 16 or 17, with no viable alternatives in the area without a university education.
100% of the profits from The Learning Tea will fund several projects for these children.

 Katrell committed herself in 2010 to fully fund the education of three orphan girls at a nearby Darjeeling university; for $800, each girl can receive one year of university education, room and board, food, and clothing; empowering them towards a much brighter future than the alternative available for the women that have left the orphanage before them. No girl from the orphanage has previously ever had the opportunity to attend higher education. It takes so little financially to make a huge difference in the life of these children. The Learning Tea is simply a catalyst for change, one cup at a time shaping their lives towards a much brighter future!

She started with those three girls, then went on to 11 young women as people in her shops gave donations and from used book sales. As you can read at their web site, they are expending as money allows, hope to open another site, providing food, clothing, a safe home, continuing education as well as computer classes, music lessons and other extracurricular activities for these desperate girls.

If I lived in Atlanta, I would certainly check out those book sales and frequent her tea shop, but since I don't, and most of you don't, what to do?
Well, if you check out the web site, you can see that Katrell is now also selling green and black Darjeeling, the “Champagne of Teas”, with 100% of the profits going toward the work with the girls. Check out the site. There is a great video, some great photos of the group of young interns helping out in Atlanta and some fantastic ones of volunteers in India.
I love those clever wrappers that will remind you exactly what your small purchase can do....One Cup at a Time!

This is my contribution this to this week's Weekend Cooking.
"Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend."
Be sure to check out the other entries this week. As always, hosted by Beth Fish Reads.

Friday, August 23, 2013

A Review of "Reese's Leap" [63]

Reeses's Leap by Darcy Scott
Published by: Maine Authors Publishing
Publication Date: March 23, 2013
Number of Pages: 216
ISBN: 978-1938883347

You want to help a friend out, be a buddy, right?
Darren's son died a short time ago in a drug fueled accident and he has been having a very hard time dealing with it. So against his best judgement, Gil accompanies his friend out to Mistake Island, where Darren's girlfriend and several other woman are meeting for their annual girls week on the private island. No phones, no electrics, no bathrooms....just a lodge and some rustic out buildings, Adria Jackman's family summer retreat.

Gil and Darren planned to head back to the mainland that evening, until the dense fogged rolled in. Then one of the woman brings a man she met wandering the island to dinner, an ex-con named Pete, who started going on about how his brother was killed on the island two years ago, and he is out to figure out what happen.
Throw in some tales of dead sailors and mysterious treasure, a dead body that soon turns up, and the realization that they are all trapped, seemingly the prisoner of a madman, and a great story is underway on the rocky Maine coast!

This the second book in Scott's Island Mystery series, and it is a good follow up to the first, Matinicus.
I must say I totally enjoyed the first and this is a worthy, if less complicated, follow up. But worry not, this one can totally be read as a stand alone. I think if you do, you will want to go back and read the first because out hero, Gil Hodges, is a fabulous character. He is a botanist, a half-hearted professor, a hard drinker, a baseball lover and a man who has the absolutely worse luck in woman in the entire world. Not that he does not keep trying whenever he can. Soon, he is going to have to learn this lesson.

The setting on this deserted Maine island is also a winner for me. Yes, I love all things Maine coast, but add in the fascinating history some of these places have, going back centuries, and the hard working, hard living people that live among them and you have a great place for a rather violent thriller. No, these are not cozies, between the drinking and a splash of sex and any number of violent deaths, these books have a bit of an edge. Happily, we have good-hearted Gil as our guide. He is a smart guy, good to have around in an emergency, but maybe he needs to be a little more suspicious of people, especially beautiful women and start thinking with his Big Brain and not with his...well, I will leave that for you to fill in, since this is not an R-rated review.
And as a botanist, specializing on the flora of these coastal islands, rich and sometimes surprising diversity due largely to migrating birds and the seeds they leave behind, he lets us explore a side of these islands I was not really aware of a pleasant addition to the murder and mayhem.

It seems there is to be one more book in this trilogy...yes, since it will be a trilogy....Gil back in an adventure that will take him back to Matinicus and I must say, I can not wait!

 DARCY SCOTT is a live-aboard sailor and experienced ocean cruiser who’s sailed to Grenada and back on a whim, island-hopped through the Caribbean, and been struck by lightning in the middle of the Gulf Stream. Her favorite cruising ground remains the coast of Maine, however, and her appreciation of the history and rugged beauty of its sparsely populated out-islands serves as inspiration for her Maine Island Mystery Series, which includes 2012’s award-winning "Matinicus" and the newly released "Reese’s Leap." Book three, "Ragged Island," is currently in the works. Her debut novel, "Hunter Huntress," was published in June, 2010 by Snowbooks, Ltd., UK.

Be sure to check out the other virtual tour stops
from the Partners in Crime Virtual Tour for other
reviews and a chance to check out a great excerpt!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Wordless Wednesday...By the Sea, By the Sea...

"By the sea, by the sea, by the beautiful sea! 
You and me, you and me, oh how happy we'll be!"






...and as always, for more Wordless Wednesday, 
check these out.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

A Review of "Night Film" [62]

Night Film by Marisha Pessl
Random House, ISBN 978-1400067886
August 20, 2103, 624 pages.

On a damp October night, beautiful young Ashley Cordova is found dead in an abandoned warehouse in lower Manhattan. Though her death is ruled a suicide, veteran investigative journalist Scott McGrath suspects otherwise. As he probes the strange circumstances surrounding Ashley’s life and death, McGrath comes face-to-face with the legacy of her father: the legendary, reclusive cult-horror-film director Stanislas Cordova—a man who hasn’t been seen in public for more than thirty years.

For McGrath, another death connected to this seemingly cursed family dynasty seems more than just a coincidence. Though much has been written about Cordova’s dark and unsettling films, very little is known about the man himself.
Driven by revenge, curiosity, and a need for the truth, McGrath, with the aid of two strangers, is drawn deeper and deeper into Cordova’s eerie, hypnotic world
The last time he got close to exposing the director, McGrath lost his marriage and his career. This time he might lose even more.

What to say about this great big book?
First, I ended up spending way too much time reading it.
But still, not as much as the author wanted.

It got off to a great start, grabbed me and pulled me into it's world. The author was a great talent for quickly creating a very creepy atmosphere, even though at this point, not a great deal of a creepy vein has actually taken place.
Don't worry, the really creepy, real or not is the question, is yet to come.
McGrath stars on his investigation, shortly joined by too young people, the rather mysterious Hopper, who, it turns out, knew Ashley from their time years ago, at one of those tough love wilderness camps for troubled teens. Seems that did not work for either of them. Then we have the more charming Nora, who latches on because she needs a place to live. Honestly, neither ends up very helpful or reliable and if are going to venture into the madness that McGrath does, you need someone reliable helping out.

But then the book fell into the very long, rather pointless middle section, a boring, series of road trips of discovery, long and short, that could have been drastically cut. Drastically.
I put the book down. I read a few pages. I put it down..I read a few more.
Finally, finally, the reader emerges, for what turns out to be a quite clever and interesting ending.
But by then I had almost lost heart.
And the desire to go on.

You may read a lot about this book in the press. It is full of all this non-bookish stuff, clippings from newspaper and magazine articles, photos, screen shoots from the secret Cordova web site, The Blackboards. I have read that in the finished book there will be links dotted throughout to web pages to explore, and as is only fitting since the book is already in production as a movie, the author has actually written scripts for all of Cordova's movies that are mentioned.

Was six hundred plus pages not enough?
Now I am suppose to spend additional hours explores the web?
Hey, I have other books to read you know!
The author, it seems, is trying to create something that is beyond a book, a mixed media..thing..and IHMO, ends up being too clever for her..and the book's..own good. Without question, she is very talented. If she were not, I would not be so disappointed at the miss. But sometimes talent needs to be restrained from throwing everything into the pot in order to end up with a successful dish. Looking to be something else, she missed at first creating a really good book and ended up with one that is attention getting but for this reader, less than fully successful.

My thanks to the publisher and Library Thing Early Reviewers for a review copy of this book.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Musing Monday...I See Venice in my Future.

 Do you have a Bookish Muse?
I do!
As always, hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading...

Musing Mondays asks you to muse about one of the following each week…
• Describe one of your reading habits.
• Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).
• What book are you currently desperate to get your hands on? Tell us about it!

• Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.
• Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!
• Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let’s hear it, then!

It is time to plan another trip. My passport is getting dusty.
So, as my Aunt Maura would say, "God Willing!" I will be returning to my beloved Venice at the end of this year.
I have airline tickets, hotel reservations...Winter in Venice, Christmas lights and acqua alta. Do they make packable high water boots?

So, in anticipation my reading too has turned to Venice.

In bits and pieces, I have been reading the Commissario Guido Brunetti books by Donna Leon set in Venice, so I purchased a few new ones for my Nook. First, was book number 10 in the series, A Sea of Trouble...

" ... offers a rare glimpse into the scrupulous Commissario's personal life. When Brunetti investigates the murder of two local fishermen on the island of Pellestrina, the small community closes ranks, forcing him to accept Signorina Elettra's offer to visit her relatives there to search for clues. Though loyal to his beloved wife, Paola, he must admit that less-than-platonic emotions underlie his concern for his boss's beautiful secretary. Suspenseful, provocative, and deeply unsettling, A Sea of Troubles is an explosive and irresistible addition to Leon?s marvelous series."
While I love these mysteries and especially their glimpse into life in Venice, at the heart of their appeal are the characters, especially Brunetti and his delightful family. Also, there are his co-workers, the good and not so good..and none is better than Signorina Elettra, clever and resourceful. To call her a secretary does not begin to explain her abilities. But Sea of Troubles left her in a terrible state as the book ended, having suffered a terrible personal loss, so, of course, I had to buy the next, Wilful Behavior, to see how she made out.
Relax, she is dealing with it OK...

"In Wilful Behavior, Brunetti is approached for a favor by one of his wife's students. Intelligent and serious , Claudia Leonardo asks for his help in obtaining a pardon for a crime once committed by her now-dead grandfather. Brunetti thinks little of it-until Claudia is found dead. Soon, another corpse and an extraordinary art collection lead Brunetti to long-buried secrets of Nazi collaboration and the exploitation of Italian Jews-secrets few in Italy want revealed."
As usual, both very good books, with more than a little ranting about how the Italian bureaucracy works...or doesn't...and now distasteful the tourists can be. Leon' books can be quite cynical, even angry at times, but I keep coming back for more.
And a have a couple of other books in my library I must look at again as I prepare my mindset, both following in Brunetti's path. There is Brunetti's Cookbook by Roberta Pianaro and Donna Leon ..
"In Brunetti’s Cookbook, Donna Leon’s best friend and favorite cook brings to life these fabulous Venetian meals. The recipes are joined by excerpts from the novels, four-color illustrations, and six original essays by Donna Leon on food and life in Venice. Charming, insightful, and full of personality, they are the perfect addition to this long awaited book."
I am hoping for some restaurants that the good Commissario might recommend.
And finally, we have Brunetti's Venice: Walks with the City's Best-Loved Detective by Toni Sepeda...
"Follow Commissario Guido Brunetti, star of Donna Leon’s internationally best-selling mystery series, on over a dozen walks that highlight Venice’s churches, markets, bars, cafes, and palazzos.."

I think I am all set!!
God willing!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Weekend Cooking...Bayou Birthday

Ok, it did not actually happen in the bayou.
It took place in NJ.
But it was a dish one might eat in the bayou, so close enough!

The Bro, the birthday boy, got to request what he wanted for his birthday dinner.
Seems he would have preferred a vanilla cake and got chocolate.
But it was delicious.

And somehow, something was lost in translation and his requested jambalaya turned into a creole.
Shrimp...rice...close enough!!
Once again, like a recent post, those tasty Rotel tomatoes with peppers came into play.
They were not in any recipe I saw, but I thought they would be a fine addition.
I scoured a lot of recipes and settled on one from Southern Food About.com with a touch of Emeril Lagasse thrown in for good measure.

Shrimp Creole
  • 4 lbs medium-size shrimp, peeled, deveined
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 3/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 2 large green pepper, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cans (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 1 can Rotel tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour mixed with 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon cajun seasoning
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • hot pepper sauce to taste
  • salt to taste
  • serve with hot cooked rice
Heat oil in Dutch oven and add onion, celery, green onions, green pepper, and garlic. Cook, stirring often, 15 minutes or more until vegetables are tender. Stir in tomatoes, tomato sauce and paste, salt, black and red pepper, bay leaves, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce. Bring to a boil. Mix the flour with the water to make a slurry and add, stirring well. Cover and reduce heat. Simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. 
Add shrimp and simmer for about 10 minutes more, or until the shrimp turn pink. 
Remove the bay leaves. 
Stir in parsley and serve over rice. Serves 8. 

It seems like a lot of ingredients, but is really just a fair bit of chopping and prep. Then they almost all go in together, and except for some stirring, it is good to go.
And as with many dishes with a sauce like this, even better the next day when all the flavors have 'married'. 


This is my contribution this to this week's Weekend Cooking.
"Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend."
Be sure to check out the other entries this week. As always, hosted by Beth Fish Reads.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Wordless Wednesday..A Guest Post from Japan

Did I mention I accidentally erased all my photos from this year....and could not get back the last few months worth? 
So when a co-worker returned this week from his first trip abroad...TO JAPAN...I thought he might like to share!


Osaka Castle

Is that hot dog sushi? Can't quite read it...

Sogenchi Gardens, Kyoto



Excellent job...must be that camera I sold you.
Thanks for use of the pics Keith!

...and as always, for more Wordless Wednesday, 
check these out.

Review of "The Beast" [61]

Book Details

Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Published by: Harper Collins/ William Morrow
 Publication Date: August 6, 2013
Number of Pages: 384
ISBN: 9780062121752
Purchase Links:    
"Throughout his years with the LAPD, Peter Decker has handled a number of tough cases and strange killers. But few of his previous assignments compare to his latest case—the most bizarre of his storied career.

When Hobart Penny is found dead in his apartment, the cops think that his pet cat—an adult female tiger—attacked the reclusive elderly billionaire. But it soon becomes clear that the beast that killed the eccentric inventor is all too human. Digging into the victim's life, Decker and his colleagues, Detectives Marge Dunn and Scott Oliver, discover that Penny was an exceptionally peculiar man with exotic tastes, including kinky sex with call girls.

 Following a trail of clues that leads from a wildlife sanctuary in the San Bernardino Mountains to the wild nightlife of Las Vegas, the LAPD detectives are left juggling too many suspects and too few answers. To break open a case involving the two most primal instincts—sex and murder—Decker wrestles with a difficult choice."

Follow the money...isn't that what they say? Especially if your murder victim is a very rich and, it's seems, a very nasty man. And as promised we have a large and interesting group of suspects. A very rich and slightly odd ex-wife who seems to have a few secrets, a couple of grown children, who to various degrees, hated their father. Then there is the director of a wildlife refuge who is very, very interested to see if her group is in the will and maybe just a little too desperate for cash. Then, when the dead man's very sorted past..and present..is revealed, a whole new reasons for some people to want him death come to light.

Granted, the murder, what with the tiger in an apartment and all, is a bit over the top. But if you can suspend your disbelief long enough to believe that someone could keep wild animals in a city apartment it is a fun read..and in reality it seems to happen at least once a year in New York City that they find someone keeping a lion in their efficiency apartment!

This is the 21st book in this series, and I must admit, I do not believe I have read any of them before. Which led to two issues for me with this book, one small and one a bit bigger. This is billed as a Decker and Lazarus and it took me awhile to realize who the Lazarus half of that equation was, Decker's now stay at home wife. She plays a small role in this installment, too small a role, apart from asking if anyone wants something to eat and a little parenting of their piano prodigy foster son.
The 17 year old foster son and his romance with a 16 year old girl is the second problem. Yes, since I did not read the previous book, I don't know their history together but still I think too much time was given to that story line to the detriment of the main plot.

All in all, a fun summer read, that I am sure fans of the series will be looking forward too.
And another series that I need to go back to the beginning of, because Decker and Lazarus are appealing characters.
But 20 books! Where to find the time?

Monday, August 12, 2013

Musing Monday...Ode to the E-Book

Monday, Monday...Musing, Musing..
As always, hosted by MizB at  Should Be Reading...

Musing Mondays asks you to muse about one of the following each week…
• Describe one of your reading habits.
• Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).
• What book are you currently desperate to get your hands on? Tell us about it!

• Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.
• Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!
• Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let’s hear it, then!

Yes, you read that right.
I, who once ranted about e-books, have come to praise them.
But I must admit, there are a lot of reasons to like these electronic vade mecum.
I credit this idea to my sister-in-law who brought this topic up in  a conversation, when she realized how much easier it is to read an e-book in bed, not having to bothering the Bro with a light on.

So lets made a list..

Pros of e-book-
  • Can carry many books on one small device.
  • Great for travel, whether to work on a bus or a trip around the world.
  • Can buy new books and download them in seconds.
  • Most devices are illuminated, requiring no outside light.
  • Built in dictionary, highlighter, note taker.
  • Books are cheaper than 'dead-tree' books.

  • You have to buy the device.
  • Limited battery life. What is worse than the battery running out at the best part of a book?
  • Can not give away..or except to a very limited degree with some devices...loan books.
Now, REAL books.

The pros-
  • They smell good. The older the better.
  • They are sometimes very attractive, with lovely covers, nice bindings. (of course, in reality, most are rather cheaply made trade paperbacks)

  • They are bulky, heavy.
  • More expensive.
I have to admit it, the contest seems to be leaning toward those Evil E-Books!
Do you have any pros or cans of your own to add.
Who do you think the winner is??

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Weekend Cooking...The Pimm's Cup

Perhaps we need just one more toast to the future King George!
So today we are going to make a Pimm's Cup, the most English of all summer drinks. Since he is a summer baby, it seems only fitting.
We are going to take a look at the Pimm's Cup.
It is made with Pimm's No.1...
So what is Pimm's?
From their web site..
"London's dandiest city gents loved to partake in oysters and gin. But with its bitter tang, gin was knocked back, not savoured. Enter shellfish-monger James Pimm and his famous central London 'Oyster Bar' in 1823. Patrons soon swallowed oysters with the PIMM'S 'house cup'. Flavoured with liqueurs and fruit extract, this more palatable long drink 'gin-sling' kick-started the great British PIMM'S story."
If you are lounging by the side of the Thames with a picnic, watching the rowers go by, or looking for some refreshment between matches at Wimbledon, you may very well be drinking a Pimm's Cup.

Let us gather our ingredients...

Since it is a gin based drink, you can drink it as is, mixing it with lemonade, lemon-lime soda or ginger ale. But for a little stronger drink, you can add a shot of gin as well.
And then there is the matter of garnishes, a very important aspect it seems. According to an article in the New York Times...
"The proper garnish has long been a point of contention in Pimm’s mythology. In 1949, Jim Moran, a wily New York marketing man prone to stunts, was enlisted to raise the liqueur’s profile. He hired two actresses to stage a fight at a Manhattan nightclub over the correct garnish for a Pimm’s Cup: cucumber or mint. It made the papers.

That dispute continues in earnest today. Cucumber is commonly in the mix, though some bartenders muddle it and others don’t. Mint is often seen. But any ingredient in your average fruit salad may turn up."
So first, the basic...

My favorite version, made with the very gingery zip of Ginger Beer


  • 1 shot Pimm's No. 1 
  • Fill with 7-Up 
  • 1 slice Cucumber 
  • Twist of Lemon peel
  • mint
In a highball glass add Pimm's No. 1 and twist of lemon. Fill with 7-up. Garnish with cucumber slice and mint.

Just to let you know, I muddled my mint!

But now that you bought that bottle of Pimm's, are there other drinks you can make with it? Of course!!
Replace the 7 Up with Champagne and you have a Royal Pimm's Cup. Replace it with ginger ale, or even better, spicy ginger beer, and you have a Pimm's Ragoon.
But there are bartenders out there coming up with all sort of other ideas. For fans of tequila, there is the...


  • 1 1/2 ounces blanco tequila 
  • 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice from 1 lime 
  • 1/2 ounce high quality triple sec 
  • 1/2 ounce Pimm's No. 1 
  • Ginger ale
Combine tequila, lime juice, triple sec, and Pimm’s in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake until well chilled, about 20 seconds. Strain contents into a Collins glass filled with ice and top with ginger ale.

And for a drink that can extend the Pimm season past the summer, how about a cocktail with whiskey?


"This rye-based Pimm's cocktail was created by Taylor Bense of The Post Office in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. We added a touch more lemon to our taste. Muddled cucumber adds a lovely freshness to the drink."

  • 2 half-inch slices peeled fresh cucumber 
  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup 
  • 3/4 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice from 1 lemon 
  • 3/4 ounce Pimm's No. 1 
  • 2 ounces Rye  whiskey
  • cucumber ribbon

In a cocktail shaker, muddle cucumber rounds in simple syrup until mixture is an even paste. Add lemon, Pimm's, and rye, and fill shaker with ice. Shake until well chilled, about 20 seconds. Strain into ice-filled rocks glass. Garnish with cucumber ribbon if desired. 

Or for something quite tropical...

The Kameleon 

  • 1 oz 151 proof rum 
  • 1/2 oz Blue Curacao 
  • 3 oz Pineapple juice 
  •  2 oz Orange juice 
  • 1/3 oz Pimm's No. 1 
Mixing instructions: Firstly, build ingredients in the order given in a collins glass over ice. Layer the Pimms on top. It will look sort of like a traffic light. When served, stir in front of customer and it turns lime green. 

I need to get some Blue Curacao.
Whichever version you try, Pimm's is a tasty liqueur and makes a light, refreshing summer drink!!

My, that goods good!

This is my contribution this to this week's Weekend Cooking.
"Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend."
Be sure to check out the other entries this week. As always, hosted by Beth Fish Reads.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Review of "The Cuckoo's Calling" [60]

The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith
Mulholland Books, ISBN 978-0316206846
April 30, 2102, 464 pages

Cormoran Strike has had better days.
He has broken up with his posh, rich girlfriend, is a bit broken hearted and finds himself homeless as well, since he had moved in with her. His business as a private detective is going down the drain and a large part of his day involves trying to avoid calls from the man who holds the loan he cannot pay. Then he arrives at his rather seedy office to find that the temp agency has sent another secretary, who he also cannot afford to pay. Not to mention the constant pain from the prosthetic leg due to his war injury by a land mine in Afghanistan.

But things take a decided turn for the better up when a new client walks in the door. He is a wealthy man, the adopted son of a well known family whose sister, Lula Landry, a very and very rich supermodel supposedly killed herself 3 months ago, jumping from her apartment balcony. But the brother does not believe that is what happened and is willing to pay Cormoran several times his normal rate, with a big advance, to find out the truth.

OK, so now Cormoran can afford to keep that secretary, Robin, which is a very good thing, for the investigation and for the book. See, it has always been Robin’s secret dream to be a PI and this may be her one chance to fulfill that dream as she interviews for some "real jobs". She is very clever in her own right, adding a balance of finesse to Cormoran's rather hulking presence. She is the Dr. Watson to his Sherlock, an excellent team that I hope we will see again.

Of course, I am sure you have heard that the real author of this book is no other than the very famous JK Rowling. That would make no difference to me, not being a fan of her previous work, if only because I never read them. Either way, I would still have very much liked this book and would recommend it.

The characters, especially Cormoran and Robin are very good, and their interaction is great fun. Not that Robin's rather prissy fiancé agrees. But many of the secondary characters are very good as well, painting an interesting view of the whole paparazzi/club scene/super model/fashion world. And yet, for the entire very modern scene, it is a book that has a rather old-fashioned feel. I would forget at first that Cormoran was a vet of a very present day conflict. Cormoran could easily have been an injured soldier coming home from WWI or WWII. I read that Rowlings is a great fan of the earlier classic mysteries of Agatha Christie and Dorothy L Sayers and wanted to write a book in that style. If so, she certainly succeeds, along with adding a very modern touch, a fair bit of humor, and a no doubt personal understand of the danger of fame and success.

A well written, well plotted, quite enjoyable 'debut' mystery, that I certainly hope is the first in a series.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Wordless Wednesday...On The Streets of Sorrento

Still revisiting Italy, this time along the Amafi Coast, south of Naples.





See the doggie?

..and this one was actually ON the street!

...as always, for more Wordless Wednesday, 
check these out.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Review of "Eva's Eye" [59]

Eva's Eye by Karin Fossum
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, ISBN
8/6/2013, 36 pages

A mother, Eva, and her daughter walk along the river and ,shockingly, come upon the body of a man in the water. Except the woman does not seem that shocked, and only pretends to call the police to report what they saw to placate her daughter.
How very odd.

Of course, someone else reports the body and the dead man is soon identified as Egil, a brewery worker who disappeared four months ago after he had gone out to sell his car to a mysterious buyer. And how odd that Eva was also childhood friends with another woman that was found dead in her apartment, murdered, just days before the man who was found floating disappeared. Also, what is it with her daughter's frequent comments about how they are now financially better off than they were a short time ago.
Any fan of good mysteries does not believe in coincidences and neither does a good detective like Inspector Sejer.

I have read several of the books in the Inspector Sejer series, but I must say this one, the first, at last translated and published in English, made more of an impression than some of the others.Yes, it is a bit of a pet peeve of mine, these series being translated out of order...
Happily now, readers can now start at the beginning and be introduced to Sejer properly, because this is a fine place to start. We find out how his beloved wife died, how his daughter just returned from Africa with her husband and a new grandson. He met his doggie and go skydiving with him, an interesting hobby.

In many ways this is a low key book, small facts being gradually revealed, connections becoming obvious, all moving to what is a rather sad but inevitable ending. Sejer is a man that understands such things. He is a very solid and believable man, someone you trust as the reader to do the best that can be done and yet allow justice to prevail.
Personally, I am off to check out some others in the series that I have missed.

A solid, well written, very enjoyable mystery.

My thanks to Amazon Vine and the publisher for providing a review copy of this book.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Musing Monday..What Tops The TBR Pile This Week!

 It's Monday and time to muse!
As always, hosted by MizB at  Should Be Reading...

No rants this weeks, for a change, so I will share with you a few books I recently got my mitts on.

First, there is Lighthouse Island by Paulette Jiles. 
Yes, I will admit that lighthouse in the title first got my attention...but it does sound interesting.
"The bestselling author of the highly praised novels The Color of Lightning, Stormy Weather, and Enemy Women pushes into new territory with this captivating and atmospheric story set in the far future-a literary dystopian tale resonant with love and hope.

In the coming centuries the world's population has exploded and covered the earth with cities, animals are nearly all gone and drought has taken over so that cloudy water is issued by the quart. There are no maps, no borders, no numbered years. On this urban planet the only relief from overcrowding and the harsh rule of the big Agencies is the television in every living space, with its dreams of vanished waterfalls and the promise of virtual vacations in green spaces, won by the lucky few.

It is an unwelcoming world for an orphan like Nadia Stepan... Abandoned by her parents on a crowded street when she was four, the little girl is shuttled from orphanage to orphanage, foster-family to foster-family. Nadia grows up dreaming of the vacation spot called Lighthouse Island, in a place called the Pacific Northwest. She becomes obsessed with it and is determined to somehow find her way there. In the meantime this bright and witty orphan falls into the refuge of old and neglected books; the lost world of the imagination."

Next is Accidents Happen by Louise Millar.
What if the one in a million is you?
Kate Parker has had so much bad luck in her life, she's convinced she's cursed. But when she tries to do her best to keep herself and her son safe, people tell her she's being anxious and obsessive.
Just when her life starts to spin completely out of control, an Oxford professor she meets offers to help. But his methods are not conventional. If she wants to live her life again, he will expect her to take risks.
When a mysterious neighbour starts to take more than a passing interest in her, Kate tries to stay rational and ignore it.
Maybe this, however, is the one time Kate should be worried.
Oh Kate, always be suspicious of mysterious neighbors!
Don't be rational..be afraid!

And last, here is one that I actually bought!
But after I read the recommendation on one of my favorite blogs, The Conversion Dairy I had to. I love her writing...seems she will have a book out in the near future...and she is so funny, I will quote what she wrote about the book. It made me buy it!
"Your life isn’t complete until you read The Long Ships by Frans G. Bengtsson....
My one complaint about The Long Ships is that it’s only 600 pages. When I reached page 280, I wanted to cry when I saw that I was almost half way through. A book like this should be no less than 2,000 pages. And, yeah, if you’re short on reading time it’ll take you a while to get through it. But that’s fine, since you won’t ever want to read anything else anyway. The book is an epic saga in the classic sense of the term. It covers the adventures of a Viking named Red Orm, from the time he’s a young man until he’s older. It’s a swashbuckling tale of Viking culture around the time that Christianity first made its way that far north. Reading the book is less like turning the pages of a manuscript, and more like sitting around a fire with rowdy Northmen, drinking ale and listening to them loudly chronicle their exploits.
Also, it’s hilarious. All throughout the book there is a dry, understated type of humor that often had me laughing out loud at one o’clock in the morning." 
"Your life isn’t complete..." well, I have to read that one!
As usual, I have some great sounding books waiting for me.
Now I just need the time to read them all!

How about you?
Is there one book you can just not wait to start?