I'm thrilled to be starting a monthly summary of the books I've read (it still gives me chills to know that I'm READING BOOKS once again) - as well as any pertinent comments.

1. Brooklyn
Toibin, Colm

WHY: First book I borrowed based on library recommendation. Story of a young Irish woman moving to Brooklyn after WWII and her convoluted life possibly aggravated by her passive character.

2. Inferno
Brown, Dan

WHY: Because, occasionally, it's fun to read (and read and read; he sure loves to churn out the pages) books with improbable links to be found within religious symbols.

3. Smoke & Shadows
Huff, Tanya

WHY: Because I loved her Blood.... series, especially (royal) vampire police detective Henry Fitzroy, though I have very little familiarity with the new setting in Vancouver (having visited there only once). Also, one of my FB friends had recc'd the series.

4. Smoke & Mirrors
Huff, Tanya

WHY: Second of three books in the series. Oddly, I don't even remember Tony's character from the Blood series but I like his misadventures as a fledgling wizard.

5. They Found Atlantis
Wheatley, Dennis

WHY: I had a thing in the early 1970s for reading everything Wheatley had written. However, even though the paperbacks were very popular, they began disappearing (out of print). When I saw this title, I thought it was one I hadn't read yet; but, when I began reading it, I started remembering certain details (the cousins doing a switcheroo to deter fortune-hunters pursuing the real heiress; the immature American crooner turned movie star not understanding the moral code on Atlantis regarding sexual behaviour, also being greedy enough to steal some golden plates). The final reason? It had "Atlantis" in the title. Yeah, bite me! Oh, the positively, absolutely last reason (I promise) for reading other than seeking Atlantis, a former Naval Officer usually introduced as "the great McKay"!!!
PET PEEVE: I was intrigued to see how much more discerning I'd become over the decades. Upon first reading, I hadn't paid that much attention to the dialogue but, this time, I was horrified to see an illogical syntactical hodgepodge when spoken by the characters: the American cousins, a Romanian prince, a Norwegian count, an American crooner/actor, various bad guys including one who was an Oxford graduate. For my greater sensitivity, I credit reading fanfic ... especially bad fanfic. Who knew? Also, just being more worldly. DADT, okay???
And I had the gastric pain when I arrived home after 3. But, first, I had a delightful morning and overall celebration with Brian. I slept in until 6:30 (oh, the horror) as I didn't know whether I'd have bedhead. Luckily, my hair was completely bouncy. Yay! I chose my layered clothing (to avoid wearing a coat), selecting old leggings paired with very thin socks, loose draped dress with turtleneck underneath, capelet (obviously all black), along with my vibrant azalea, yellow, and mango top. To complement (not match) the top, I wore my ruby bee earrings and carried my (for realz) red Parisian purse with matching wallet. What was in the wallet? My debit card. Talk about travelling light!

My ride arrived shortly after 11:15 and we were flying through my Enchanted Forest (Rosedale Valley Road). I shared the minivan with a woman whose mother had been a jazz singer, so we had a great time talking about music and vocal cords). I was dropped off at the Windsor Arms Hotel (a small boutique hotel in the fancy part of town where I lived for 33 years) around 11:45. Okay, I'm early. I was ensconced in an armchair in the lobby by the concierge and treated like royalty. Me like. Naturally, Brian had to be a bad baby, making me worry that he'd be late. Oh, he wasn't late. He'd just diverted first to Whole Foods a couple blocks away. ::rolls eyes::

But, then, at 12:30 we were shown into the Purple Room (which we'd requested) and seated right in front of the real fireplace! The chairs were like velvet and had arms. What a relief. I started the "meal" off by ordering a Kir Royale. We both ordered Darjeeling tea. I decided we should eat the savoury items first, so we had a bunch of tiny sandwiches or tartlets. IMO, the tartlets were just too much pie shell. One of the most stunning items was beet risotto in a cucumber cup! Another really good one was spicy salmon. After that, Brian cut the desserts in half, so we had a truffle with caramel, multi-layered opera cake, a sponge cake, tiramisu (was that all?). As Brian had indicated we were celebrating our birthdays, our server brought out an oblong plate on which "Happy Birthday" had been written in chocolate with two birthday candles and two extra portions of tiramisu in transparent glasses. But, wait, we weren't finished yet. We'd left the heaviest items to the end, namely two scones each (one cream, one with currants?) along with the clotted cream, strawberry jam, and multi-berry preserve. OMG. I was eating on auto-pilot and only could finish one. So, I asked that it be wrapped up. Oh, it got wrapped up. In a pretty box placed in a hotel gift bag. Mmmmm.

Our server also took a picture of the two of us in front of the fireplace. I was thrilled that my good side was facing the camera (Brian's phone). I love the fact that I have proof of looking 20 years younger. Brian couldn't believe that was actually my hair because it was so poufy. He thought it was a wig! And, because I felt so good, he talked me into having my stylist pamper me each month, not only with a cut, but also with a professional colour and hair treatment. I so did not object. Feeling this fabulous is worth paying for (and she's certainly not charging downtown prices)!

Anyway, we were surprised to be finished within the supposed two-hour limit. We paid and then went out to the lobby where we waited for my ride to arrive. Luckily, we didn't have to wait long and then I was on my way with two gift bags (the second containing the Euphoria shower gel Brian had bought online on my behalf). And it was warm with the sun peeking out as the driver also took the Enchanted Forest. What a fabulous day. Which we will have to repeat next month. We'll be checking into other high tea places, too.

After forcing myself to swallow a bottle of ginger beer (good for what ails you) and spending a couple hours lying down (on the left side so that the pyloric valve remains closed), I felt a lot better. Enough to actually face the iPad. I d/l'd and installed the update. Then I checked my bookshelf on Overdrive. Imagine my shock (and delight) to find that both books were there and complete. So, it was ALL Apple's fault. ::giggles:: Anyway, it's getting late, so I'm going to take my evening supplements, read - just a titch - then slide off to happyland. More gorgeous weather and church tomorrow. ::beams::


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