Monday, August 17, 2009

The Book Of Lost Things by John Connolly (finished)

I just finished The Book Of Lost Things by John Connolly.

The book is about a boy named David who lives in London during the time of World War II. After the death of his mother, David's father remarries Rose and has a child, Georgie. David misses his mom and has a hard time adjusting to this new life. Meanwhile, the books start to whisper to him and he is lured to another world, the world of fairy tales (kinda) when he falls into a crack in the garden of his new house.

In this new fairy tale world, he finds that all is not well. He meet many new people, some good and some not so good. He is also introduced to the crooked man, a truly evil person, in this new world. The fairy tales stories in this world are a little different than the ones that you are familiar with. The rest of the story is essentially David trying to find his way back home to London.

I thought the book was well written. The voice of the narrator was very much like the voice of Grimm's fairy tales. The story seems to be told in a 'far off' manner.

The pacing was good once you got to the fairy tale world. The first part, when David is in London, seemed to drag.

The retellings of the fairy tales were very interesting. I actually liked the twists.

The character in this story are very memorable and some were truly frightening as fairy tale monsters should be. Leroi, who is half man, half wolf is pretty frightening and a memorable character and so was the crooked man, the trickster.

I'm not quite sure who John Connolly wrote this for. It is essentially a fairy tale but this fairy tale is NOT for kids. It is violent and often a little disturbing. The book reminds me of the movie Pan's Labyrinth; it has the same flavor. I don't know if adults would really want to read this either because it is essentially a fairy tale. My guess is that most adults wouldn't really have a taste for it.

I thought the entire part about snow white and the 7 dwarves was a little out of place. There is a seriousness throughout the entire book except for this one part. It made the flavor of the book a little uneven.

I have no other conspicuous weaknesses that I can think of.

I liked the book once it got to the fairy tale world. The book had memorable characters, some brave and some disturbingly frightening. It is essentially a suspense/horror in the context of fairy tales. I thought it was well written. I would recommend this book keeping in mind that it is a little disturbing. Think, Stephen King meets Grimm's fairy tales. Well, I guess just Grimm's fairy tales in itself is pretty disturbing. Good times.

Drop a like or a comment if you read this. It blesses me. :)

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Saint Stephen's Green-A Restaurant Review

This is a review of Saint Stephen's Green, a restaurant in the Fairmount section of Philadelphia (which is a little north of the Art Museum). It is located on 1701 Green Street, Philadelphia PA, 19130. The closest intersection is Green and 17th street.

Saint Stephen's Green is an Irish pub restaurant.

The service was good. The waitress met our dining needs without being distracted. But we were there on a monday night so the place was pretty empty. I don't know how this place would have been if we were there on a weekend, when it is busy.

Both beers that were ordered were very good. I forget the names. Both were lighter beers, one was a wheat beer and the other was a lighter lager (the lager was the one on the beer page, 2nd from the bottom, listed right above the guiness).

The food was very, very good.

This is the Braised Open-Faced Chicken Cheese Steak. The fries were very good! And the Chicken Cheese Steak was OUTSTANDING. Probably the best I've had in the city.

This is the Grilled Curry Spiced Chicken Wrap. This was also very good. I'm a sucker for curry though so this may be biased.

1. The service was great
2. The food was great (chicken cheese steak was OUTSTANDING).
3. The atmosphere was good
4. The price was okay (about 10 to 15 bucks)
5. I highly recommend this place; I would definitely go back again.
6. I would rate this a 3.5. (1 is bad, 2 is okay, 3 is good, 4 is very good, 5 is best in the city)

Good times.

If you read this, drop a like or a comment. It blesses me. :)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Shark Handbook by Dr. Greg Skomal (finished)

I just finished The Shark Handbook, The Essential Guide For Understanding The Sharks Of The World, by Dr. Greg Skomal.

The book is about, can you guess, sharks.

Part One is about sharks in general, about their anatomy and conservation.

Part Two is about specific species of sharks. There are a couple of pages describing each major specie.

Overall, the book was very accessible and easy to read. This book is a great introduction and reference for sharks. It is jam packed with great pictures. The writing is both simple and engaging; very well done. If you are looking for a more technical book about sharks, you'll have to look somewhere else but if you are a novice, interested in learning more, this book is a great place to begin. I highly recommend this book. Good times.

Little known secret, one of my pastors at church is obsessed with sharks (in a good way). Can you guess who?

If you read this review, drop a 'like' or comment please. It blesses me.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Cuba Libre-A Restaurant Review

This is a restaurant review of Cuba Libre located in Old City Philadelphia near the intersection of 2nd Street and Market Street.

We went there on a Wednesday night. We drove around for a little while looking for street parking. We figured that i should be pretty easy to find street parking considering it was a wednesday night but not street parking was found. We had to park in a pay-parking lot for about $16 dollars (I think. And this reminds me, I still owe the drive money for parking. I feel like I am perpetually cursed with 20 dollar bills in my wallet--I guess that may be a blessing to some).

We were seated quickly; we had no reservations. I went to the restroom when the others were seated. Why do I mention this? Because I think one can tell a lot about a restaurant by the quality of the bathrooms. The verdict? The bathroom was roomy and clean. Good times.

The service was outstanding. The waitress was readily available without being intrusive--a rare combination. I was instructed by one of my friends to close my menu so that the waitress would know that we were ready to order. I closed by menu and said, "Does that really work?" Within 5 seconds, the waitress was at our table asking if we were ready to order. I laughed. :)

We were initially given flat bread and mango butter. It was okay. The bread was good (not too soft though; I like soft bread) but the mango butter was a little bland (not bad, but I was expecting something a little sweeter with a name like mango butter). This was complimentary.

I don't know the names of the appetizers that we ordered.

One was fried bananas that were sliced thin and, well, fried.

I felt that this was a little bland also. It was fun and novel but ultimately a little too bland for me.

I don't know the name of this appetizer either. It was a spicy patty. But again, this dish was a little too mild for me.

The mojitoes were outstanding (but on the expensive side, about 8 dollars if I remember correctly).

My friend ordered this sandwich. She said it was tasty. Don't know what it was called.

Another friend ordered this. Again I don't know what it was called. I did try some and it was pretty good. Tasted like cajan jambalaya.

I ordered this, plato cuba libre. It's essentially a sampler of all their most popular dishes. It had a small steak, a bisque and salmon. It was outstanding. Some of the best food I've had in a long time. I highly recommend this dish.

Overall, I thought the service was great, the atmosphere was cozy (a little dark though), and the food was hit or miss. My main reservation about this place was that the food seemed overpriced to me for what you were getting. If money is not an issue for you, I would recommend but if you are on a budget or fugal, I would look elsewhere. I moderately recommend the restaurant but I highly recommend the plato cuba libre. Good times, good times.

If you read this review, drop a like or a comment; it blesses me. Thanks.