Saturday, January 8, 2011

Moonlight Mile by Dennis Lehane

Moonlight Mile
Moonlight Mile by Dennis Lehane

The blurb:
Amanda McCready was four years old when she vanished from a Boston apartment in 1997.  Desperate pleas for help from the child's aunt led savvy, tough-nosed investigators Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro to take on the case.  The pair risked everything to find the young girl -- only to have Kenzie orchestrate her return to a neglectful mother and a broken home.

Now Amanda is sixteen -- and gone again.  A stellar student, brilliant but aloof, she is now destined to escape her upbringing.  Yet Amanda's aunti s once more knocking on Kenzie's door, fearing the worst for the little girl who has blossomed into a striking, bright young woman who hasn't been seen in two weeks.

Haunted by the past, Kenzie and Gennaro revisit the case that troubled them the most, following a twelve-year trail of secrets and lies down the darker alleys of Boston's gritty, blue-collar streets. Assuring themselves that this time will be different, they vow to make good on their promise to find Amanda and see that she is safe.  But their determination to do the right thing holds dark implications Kenzie and Gennaro aren't prepared for. . . consequences that could cost them not only Amanda's life but their own.

I'd seen several movies based on Dennis Lehane's books.  His Boston based work had always been of particular interest to me, but Moonlight Mile  is the first novel that I'd read.  The movies emphasize the action, detective work, and give a strong sense of location. But in reading Moonlight Mile, I got a better sense of the humor and characters that inhabit his writing. 

Moonlight Mile has the suspense, uncertainty and quick pace that I'd come to expect from his movies, but Kenzie and Gennaro are richer characters in Moonlight Mile than they'd appeared to me in Gone, Baby, Gone.   As we follow Kenzie's investigation into the second disappearance of Amanda McCready, we see the compromises that they've had to make over the years as well as their essential strengths, the things that have kept them the sort of heroes that we enjoy reading about.
Moonlight Mile is a funny, fast-paced, and satisfying detective suspense novel.  I am looking forward to the next Dennis Lehane "Boston" novel.

ISBN-10: 0061836923 - Hardcover $26.99
Publisher: William Morrow; First Edition edition (November 2, 2010), 336 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher.

About the Author:
Dennis Lehane's novels include the New York Times bestsellers The Given Day: A Novel, Prayers for Rain, Gone, Baby, Gone: A Novel, Mystic River,  and Shutter Island, as well as Coronado  a collection of short stories and a play.  He and his wife, Angie, divide their time between Boston and the Gulf Coast of Florida.

Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer

Eating Animals
Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer

The blurb:
Like many young Americans, Jonathan Safran Foer spent much of his teenage and college years oscillating between enthusiastic carnivore and occasional vegetarian.  As he became a husband and then a father, the moral dimensions of eating became increasingly important to him.  Faced with the prospect of being unable to explain to his son why we eat some animals and not others, Foer set out to explore the origins of many eating traditions and the fictions involved with their creation.

Traveling to the darkest corners of our dining habits, Foer raises the unspoken question behind every fish we eat, every chicken we fry, and every burger we grill.  Part memoir and part investigative report, Eating Animals is a book that, in the words of the Los Angeles Times, secures Jonathan Safran Foer "a place at the table with our greatest philosophers."

I'd never considered becoming vegetarian, but Eating Animals has made me consider my usual food shopping decisions.  In the book, Jonathan Safran Foer analyzes the production and consumption of animals on several different levels, each of which are disturbing.

He points out that much of the food that we buy in the supermarkets that we presume are healthy, such as turkey, fish and chicken, are not what we'd expect.  Much of the turkey and chicken available in the grocery stores have been bred for human consumption -- the fowl that we find are bred to grow fast, to have large breast sections (because US consumers prefer the white meat).  The animals themselves are so altered from their original species that they aren't expected to be able to survive in the wild.  Having been bred for consumption, these animals are dependent upon the feed, antibiotics, vitamins, etc. from the poultry farms in order to survive.  It's disturbing that the animals are so different from the original animals.  How healthy can it be for us to consume an animal that was fed so much hormones, antibiotics and vitamins? 

Foer describes his underground visits to poultry farms and to slaughter houses.  His account doesn't become excessively emotional but the details are disturbing.  Learning exactly how the animals are raised and cared for, imagining the pain and knowing the various attrition rates paints a disturbing picture and once imagined is hard to dismiss.   While I had expected the description of slaughterhouses would be disturbing, the degree of unnecessary cruelty that many animals suffer at the time of their death -- hurting for sport --and the absence of any effective supervision over the care of the animals is worse than anything I could have imagined. 

I guess Eating Animals has made me realize that I can't just ignore the impact of my food choices.  While I haven't become vegetarian, it's hard to enjoy meat the same way.   Eating Animals has gotten me to make more careful choices.  Have you read Eating Animals? If so, has it changed how decide what to eat?

ISBN-10: 0316069884 - Trade Paperback $14.99
Publisher: Back Bay Books; Reprint edition (September 1, 2010), 368 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher.

About the Author:
Jonathan Safran Foer is the author of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close: A Novel and Everything Is Illuminated: A Novel.  His work has received numerous awards and has been translated into thirty-six languages. He lives in Brooklyn.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Shopping at CSN Stores - from modern dining furniture to handy travel items

Various bloggers have featured CSN Stores for a wide variety of products.   I'd been communicating with CSN Stores to find something that would work well for my Brooklyn condo.  I spent quite a lot of time on their various stores, as they have a wide variety of items from modern dining room furniture to kitchen appliances to handy travel items.  Almost anything that you need or would look for in a big box store, you can find in one of their many stores.

I'd looked into items for my home office,  for my balcony garden, for our kitchen and to decorate our condo.   But procrastinator that I am, I've settled on travel items -- I'm heading for a long trip overseas to visit family and I figure a travel scale will come in handy.

Now that airlines have become strict with baggage allowance and impose whopping "overweight" luggage fees,  I figure a travel scale will help me from having to shift items from one bag to another  or from worrying about paying penalties for my luggage.  CSN has offered me a $15 gift certificate to use at any of their stores. 

I'm choosing between this cheery Heys USA eScale Digital Luggage Scale for $20.99.  It weighs 0.41 lbs and has dimensions of 2.5" H x 6" W x 1.75" D.

Another option is an old fashioned style, the Lewis N Clark Luggage Scale with Weight Indicator which sells at $12.99

The third choice is the Travelon Luggage Scale for $12.99

 A. Heys USA eScale

eScale Digital Luggage Scale in Blue

B. Lewis N Clark
Lewis N. Clark Luggage Scale with Weight Indicator

C. Travelon Luggage Scale
Luggage Scale

Have you used a travel scale?  Which one would you recommend? 

Friday 56: Week 63 How To Marry a Duke by Vicky Dreiling

* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions
on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of this blog.
Post a link along with your post back to this blog and to Storytime with Tonya and Friends at
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

How to Marry a Duke by Vicky Dreiling

How to Marry a Duke

Here's the blurb:
Tristan, the Duke of Shelbourne, is a man with a mission: find a wife he can tolerate as long as they both shall live.  Love is not not necessary -- nor desired.  But how to choose among a dizzying array of wealthy yet witless candidates?  Hire London's infamously prim and proper matchmaker.  Then pretend she's not the most captivating woman he's ever met...

Helping a devilish Duke create a contest to pick his perfect mate is the kind of challenge Tessa Mansfield relishes. Her methods may be scandalous, but she's determined to find the notorious bachelor more than a wife -- she'll bring him true love.  Yet when Tessa watches the women vie for the Duke's affections, she longs to win his heart herself. And after a stolen kiss confirms Tristan's desire, Tessa knows she has broken a matchmaker's number one rule: never fall in love with the groom.

Here's my Friday 56:
"I have more important things to do than dally in twenty drawing rooms next week."

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Pam at is celebrating her 2nd year Blogoversary with an amazing giveaway (Nook Color!!!)

 Pam at is celebrating her third year of blogging with amazing prizes for her readers (old and new).   If you haven't read her blog yet, drop by but be prepared to spend some time.  Between her book reviews and her vlogs, you're sure to find something you'll want to read.

The first prize in her contest is a Nook Color from Barnes & Noble.  The second prize packs are made up of fabulous gift packs from Harper Collins, Penguin, Simon & Schuster, Chronicle Books and Candlewick.  Each of the publishers picked out a special selection.  For instance,  Harper Collins donated a children's pack of Fancy Nancy books, a selection of middle school children and the upcoming hot YA titles.

You must be dying to find out how to sign up - just head over to   
Read more about the first prize at