September 11, 2016

central-park-5

No farewell words were spoken,
no time to say goodbye,
you were gone before we knew it,
and only God can tell us why.
It broke my heart to lose you,
but you didn’t go alone,
for part of me went with you,
the day God called you home.

~Author Unknown

5 Reasons to Celebrate National #ReadABookDay

1. It’s a valid excuse to get out of housework.
2. You can curl up with your cat (okay, fine… and dog…) to get some lap snuggles.
3. Pumpkin spice lattes are back. Reading+ PSL=Nothing Better (unless you add #2 to this equation).
4. Lots of big name authors have a new book getting published in September. Go pick up your favorite author’s latest book or discover a new author!
5. We all need a break from celebrating Labor Day yesterday. It was so…laborious!

Kitty getting ready to pounce!

Beware of bluestockings and demon cats that come a-knocking.

The captain's bluestocking mistressOkay, this book made me laugh. Perhaps not for the best reasons, but when you have a girl on the cover who is as sexy as this one, an invisible, forgettable wallflower is NOT how you would expect her to be described.

She smoothed out her skirts. It wasn’t the few extra pounds on her frame, or that she was an unrepentant bluestocking. Her lifelong curse was the unfortunate fact of being utterly, absolutely, one hundred percent…forgettable. (pg 7, ebook)

Granted, I know that the art department often takes a little leeway with covers, but I think this book would have been better served if you did not stare at such a stunning young woman with piercing eyes who is not at all plump as the book describes her. I just can’t believe that the men of the ton would not remember this young woman. They would be clamoring to meet her in Almacks or any other ballroom.

If I can get passed this discrepancy which I do not blame the author entirely for (hey, authors do have say in how the covers look, at least at my publishing house!), I did enjoy the book. It only took me a couple of hours to read, so if you want something to fill an afternoon, this is an entertaining choice. I especially enjoyed the antics of the cat (although I do slightly resent that it was characterized like a demon cat), but I did find great humor in the patterns that the main character, Jane, embroidered on all manner of items that the cat shredded.

Pros:

  • Lighthearted moments mixed with darker issues, like that of a soldier recovering from traumatic war memories
  • Quick escape with a bookworm heroine

Cons:

  • A bit of inconsistency within the text itself. The author loves to describe Jane as unforgettable. She even has a plain, forgettable name. People meet her numerous times and promptly forget who she is as soon as she walks away. However, near the end, we suddenly are expected to believe that 2,000 people know who she is and where she is sitting in a theatre?
  • Also, it is a bit far-fetched that Jane is beyond shy and can barely think in the beginning of the text when Captain Xavier Grey shows up at the theatre, yet she suddenly overnight becomes a confidant young woman setting out to seduce a man by showing up unexpected with a trunk at his cottage? That’s some courage, right there!
  • The author must be a dog lover (heaven forbid on this blog!) or have had the world’s worst cat to be inspired to create the cat character Egui.
  • New York Times really needs to be italicized on the cover. Sorry, as someone who works at a major publishing house, I notice that sort of thing. ^_^*

Overall rating: I like the book. I wasn’t bored but it wasn’t 100% believable for me. It was easy to set it down and then come back to it because I wasn’t dying to know what happened next. I guess it was slightly predictable, but that isn’t necessary a horrible thing since that’s why most people like romances. They are easy to read!

Three/Five Stars for Erica Ridley‘s The Captain’s Bluestocking Mistress. Book 3 of The Dukes of War series.

 

Let’s Zoo-It

It’s Labor Day weekend, so it is the perfect time for a hurricane to come and mess up everyone’s plans as they want to send summer off with one last hurrah.

On Saturday, two crazy friends, my mister, and I headed to the Bronx Zoo since we were not sure what kind of weather to expect here in NYC as Hermine headed up the east coast on Sunday and Monday.

DSC_1929I’ve never been to the Bronx Zoo. In fact, it was the first time I’ve taken the subway up that far into the Bronx. It’s certainly a different world from the one I live in in Manhattan–ahem, not as pretty. I’m sure if you actually got away from the subway tracks, there are some nice areas of the Bronx. However, from the subway car, I saw just very industrial, graffiti-tagged brick buildings and crammed apartment residences with the occasional trees to provide a burst of green. I found the architecture to be definitely lacking and thought it was quite interesting that a lot of the signs were in Spanish rather than English or a mix of both.

After getting off the Pelham Bay Parkway stop, we walked about half a mile to the Zoo entrance. Thankfully, we had herds of parents pushing strollers to follow because there was a definite lack of appropriate signage to point people in the right direction to the zoo from the 2 subway line.

DSC_1931For the largest zoo found within a city, the Bronx Zoo surprisingly was surprisingly much more nature-y than I expected. There was a Bronx River that greeted you near the entrance, which who knew existed? Definitely not this Manhattan-ite. I was also pleasantly surprised by the number of trees and foliage within the zoo itself. Oftentimes, it was like entering a secret world (or a nightmare filled with strollers and children) as you exited the main walkway to see each animal exhibit that was tucked out of sight behind massive trees and other dense plant life. For the sake of the animals, I’m glad that there were so many trees that helped create a sound barrier since it definitely could get loud–hello sea lions! Can we say “arf, arf, arf?” The trees also provided a luxurious amount of shade so that I surprisingly did not get overheated as we walked over 6 miles and still didn’t see the entire zoo. Here are some of my favorite pictures, though I sadly didn’t get to see the lions before they were tucked away for the evening.

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Would I recommend people making a visit?

Yes! The only real negative I had about this zoo is the bathrooms (not the most modern, clean feeling facilities), and the fact that the poor tiger and polar bear seemed very unhappy. It wasn’t a terribly hot day (low 70s) but they were pacing and pacing with their mouths open. The other animals seemed okay with their captivity. I thought it was pretty amazing that a lot of the birds were not even closed up inside some of the building exhibits–they could have technically flown out of their exhibit into the darkened viewing area, but they had no reason to do so (no food, water, perches, etc.) Later on,  when visiting the Congo gorilla habitat, a gorilla got pretty ticked off and banged on the glass wall, so of course the human animals on the other side started banging back in an effort to get him to do it again. That truly annoyed me since it is beyond rude to provoke an animal. If I ever had a child, I hope he would turn out like this little boy who had a conversation similar to the following with his parents:

Little Boy: Can gorillas kill people?

Parent: Yes, they can.

Little Boy: I think the gorilla should kill the people banging on the glass.

Me thinking to myself: Yup, we’re the animals. I totally agree if it wouldn’t get the poor gorilla killed.

The zoo definitely had a different feel from my home town zoo of Riverbanks Zoo and Garden, which is very nice but had a lot more concrete as a whole I felt like around the animal exhibits. It also gets quite hot in the summer heat. If you ever think about visiting the Bronx Zoo, I would definitely recommend buying the “total experience ticket” if available since a number of buildings and the shuttle required you to have this ticket if you want to avoid paying extra to see exhibits like Jungle World, home of the black leopard. You can get an extra 10% off of the $34 total experience ticket cost if you purchase ahead of time online.

I hope you enjoyed this post and the pictures. Comments are always appreciated! However, please don’t take photos without permission. Thanks!