The Lost and Found Bookshop by Susan Wiggs

I’m pretty sure I haven’t ever read a Susan Wiggs novel before this one. I was pleasantly surprised. Of course, this novel had me at bookshop (as they all do!) and even though I’ve had an ARC of this book for months, I finally decided to finish it today, after stopping and starting a few times a few months ago. 

I’ll confess I was cruising along with my books, and suddenly this past week I hit a wall again. Just couldn’t get through anything. So I am glad I picked this back up again, because I hit that magical place in the book that had me focusing in and forgetting about anything for awhile. Even though I didn’t do anything for July 4th but stay home and cook out, I was still feeling a bit of a holiday hangover today. After watering my flowers outside and getting laundry started, I was happy to just stay inside and read. 

This novel really is a nod to booklovers everywhere. Natalie Harper grew up in a bookstore; her mother Blythe operates a family bookshop in a building that has been in the Harper family for 100 years-a coveted building in fashionable San Francisco. After a horrible tragedy, Natalie returns to San Francisco and the bookshop, to take stock of its future, and to take care of Grandy, her grandfather. He’d recently fallen and broken his hip and was now showing signs of early dementia. Natalie had been successful at a wine brokerage firm and while she didn’t love her job, she was good at it. But it wasn’t hard to leave and return, if only to help her Grandy take care of next steps. 

Those next steps aren’t as easy as Natalie expects, when she finds out her Grandy owns the building and the bookstore, and will not sell, even after Natalie realizes they are deep in debt and behind on taxes. What’s a bookstore manager to do, but try and build up the business with a huge author event that could help pay bills and give the store much needed advertising?

Natalie also meets Peach Gallagher, a local “hammer guy” who specializes in fixing old buildings. Her mother had arranged for Peach to fix a few things in the building, and Peach is one good looking man. He’s also a really decent man, with an adorable daughter who frequents the bookstore. His friendly and calm attitude helps Natalie as she struggles between grief, understanding her grandfather’s failing health, and the tough decisions she has to make. 

So we’ve got a few things running through this story: the struggle to save the bookstore, an ailing grandfather, a potential romance, and a story that’s been handed down over the generations about a treasure that’s hidden somewhere in the building, left by Grandy’s grandmother, who died in the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Is it just a fanciful story, or is there treasure lurking somewhere-treasure that could save the business?

I read this novel pretty quickly, and enjoyed it very much. No surprises, just a gentle unfolding of the story. I loved all the book references, and the peeks into what it takes to run a bookstore. Definitely a good vacation book!

This book is out in the U.S. on July 7th in hardcover, ebook, and audio. 

Rating: 4/6 for an enjoyable novel about life when it makes a few sharp turns, the importance of family, and of course, the life changing magic of books. Some parts made me a little teary-eyed, so you may need a tissue! 

Snowpiercer – Film Review

South Korean science fiction film. Probably not a common export from the small country living in somewhat fear from their communist other half, but yet here it is.

Don’t let its origin scare you though, because although it is technically a foreign language film, roughly 80% of the dialogue is English, while the remainder is cleverly placed language barriers.

Staying clear of spoilers, Snowpiercer is essentially a post-apocalyptic story set in the future where a failed experiment to stop global warming has resulted in an ice age which nearly eradicates all life on the planet.

Our story centers on the last remnants of humanity, currently existing only within a train, which happens to be the namesake of the film. This train is fitted with a perpetual motion engine and has been running for seventeen years.

If this is new to you, it’s pretty self-explanatory, but it’s quite interesting and you can read more about it here:

(And if you’re Simpsons fans you may already be familiar with this:

Now, this plot itself is already crazy interesting, however, what makes it such a fantastic watch is how the last of mankind developed this really dystopian living within this train. Several castes has sprung up, where the elites live at the front of the train, while the quality of living goes further and further down all the way to the tail of the train.

And our protagonists happen to be living at the back of this train, that is, until a revolt. A revolt where they fight their suppressors and make their way to the front of the train. As they have never left the tail of the train, watching them make their way through each section is almost like going through several Terry Gilliam movies. It’s really cool and bizarre to watch.

It features an excellent ensemble cast of very different actors, all bringing their A game. Chris Evans (Sunshine, Captain America) plays the lead and gives what is without a doubt his best performance. He is joined by Jamie Bell (Billy Elliot, Tintin), Tilda Swinton (We Need to Talk about Kevin, Narnia), Ewen Bremner (Trainspotting) as well as the amazing Ed Harris (The Truman Show, The Abyss) and John Hurt (The Elephant Man, 1984) who has been proclaimed, and rightly so, as one of the best actors of all time.

As I said, the film also features Korean dialogue, which comes in the form of another two actors who round out the cast. In fact, I realized after watching this that I had seen them both before, in the only previous film I had seen of the director. That was the 2006 monster movie The Host which became a big hit.

Within the train, tensions are through the roof, and outside the icy landscape create a beautiful image of wonderful desolation. While the climax is perhaps a bit lackluster, the ending can be conceived as quite brilliant as we realize that the human race might not be at the center of things.

Originally released in South Korea in late 2013, Snowpiercer was released in the US in summer 2014 to critical acclaim. If this sounds interesting at all, then it’s definitely worth checking out. It’s out on Blu-Ray and DVD, and will apparently be arriving on Netflix this November.

Keep in mind, Snowpiercer is rated R.


Team USA Senior Men upset Kenya for World Cross Country Silver

Ben True (photo:Mike Scott/Milesplit)

The snow covered course had been trampled all day by the Juniors and Senior Womens races, but the Senior Men’s event would be the last chance for an American medal on the uneven grounds of Bydgoszcz, Poland, where the 40th IAAF World Cross Country Championships would take place.

The US Men would field a strong team, but one that would see Dathan Ritzenhein opt out due to his running of the NYC Half and both Matt Tegenkamp and Luke Puskedra having to bow out to injury. What could also be considered is Galen Rupp not participating due to his barnstorming indoor season.

The goal at this point had to be to get on the medal stand, but some breakout performances by multiple team members led to even more.

Ben True, hot off his USATF 15k Championship, would run the race of his life, and would finish a very strong sixth overall. He would also be the first non-African to cross the line. Chris Derrick would back up his strong win at the USA Cross Country Championships with a tenth place finish; one that would certainly fulfill his pre-race goal.

Beyond these two, things got interesting. Elliott Heath would finish 30th overall and hung there most of the race, but somehow, Team USA kept moving up the rungs each lap. They were fifth with three laps to go, then fourth with two laps to go, then third with one lap to go.

How did this happen?

Derrick, Mack, Vail, Strang, True, Heath

“Steady Eddies” Ryan Vail and Bobby Mack were slowing working their way through the pack and would finish 17th and 19th, respectively, to push Team USA past Kenya to second on the medal stand. A Silver medal; over Kenya!

Even James Strang, who was called in very recently, to replace the injured Tegenkamp, would run a very strong 37th, and finish ahead of Canada’s Cam Levins, to complete an all-around American fireworks show.

Ethiopia would take the win with 38 points, to USA’s 52 and Kenya’s 54.

Full results are here

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Review: Sothys Paris Hydra3HA Range

If your skin is in need of a hydration boost after this dry winter, you will love the new skincare line from Sothys Paris.

Sothys is an avant-garde beauty expert that produces products sold exclusively in beauty institutes and spas. This highly specialized brand has an extraordinary commitment to research and innovation, which is shown through its effective line of luxurious skin and body care.

The Hydra3HA Range uses hyaluronic acid and other quality ingredients to immediately restore moisture and protect the skin on a daily basis.

Hyaluronic acid is a substance that naturally occurs in the human body and helps cells retain moisture to preserve the health and radiance of our skin. However, it can decrease due to the natural aging process and exposure to pollutants and damaging elements such as UV rays. For this reason, adding hyaluronic acid to your beauty routine through skincare products infused with this hydrating ingredient is an effective way to add extra moisture and smooth out fine lines.

The Hydrating Youth Cream* and Hydrating Comfort Youth Cream* are moisturizers that can be used day and night to provide optimal moisture for youthful-looking skin. In addition to hyaluronic acid, these creams include 1055 Boletus Extract which is an exclusive, patented active ingredient from Sothys based on advanced research. It works in conjunction with hyaluronic acid to boost moisture flow and create a barrier that protects the skin from the elements. The creams also have a hydra-plumping complex for smooth skin.

The only difference between the two creams is the formula which is tailored for specific skin types. The Hydrating Youth Cream has a light, cream-gel texture that melts into the skin quickly. It is ideal for normal to combination skin. I like to use this cream during the day, and it may become my night cream during the summer months when my skin has more natural moisture. It keeps my skin looking fresh for hours and prevents dry patches around my nose. The Hydrating Comfort Youth Cream has a richer balm-like texture for normal to dry skin. I have been using it as a night cream and I always wake up with hydrated, plump skin. Both creams are non-greasy and have a light floral scent that is pleasant and non-irritating for my very sensitive skin.

Along with the youth creams, the Hydra3HA Range includes a Hydra-Smoothing Mask* that works to rejuvenate the skin with its combination of 1055 Boletus Extract and hyaluronic acid in free form. Sothys selected this form of hyaluronic acid for its surface protecting properties and water retaining action. I have been using this cream twice weekly after washing my face before bed. I apply a generous layer of the clear, gel formula and leave it on for about 15 minutes while I brush my teeth and choose my outfit for the next morning. When I rinse it off with water, my skin feels incredibly smooth, hydrated, soft, and refreshed. I really appreciate that it significantly improves my skin while remaining completely invisible and comfortable while I’m wearing it. I also have not detected a scent from it.

Overall, I am very impressed with the Hydra3HA Range and highly recommend it to anyone looking to incorporate hyaluronic acid into their skincare routine.

While Sothys products are a bit of a splurge, they are well-researched and created with care by experts in the field. They include innovative ingredient combinations that produce visible results. I have been using and repurchasing Sothys skincare products for the past few years and have never been disappointed. I consider them a worthwhile investment because they keep my skin at its best. In my experiences with the Hydra3HA Range, my skin looks and feels smoother, more hydrated, and more resilient to the winter elements. Also, the items contain a generous amount of product and a little goes a long way, so I only have to repurchase the ones that I use daily about twice per year.

For more information on Sothys Paris products, visit The Hydrating Youth CreamHydrating Comfort Youth CreamHydra-Smoothing Mask, and other makeup and skincare products are available at institutes and spas. You can call 1-800-361-3004 to find them in your vicinity.

Have you tried skincare with hyaluronic acid? Which items from the Hydra3HA Range would be a great addition to your routine?

Java J2EE Interview Questions

151 Checked & Unchecked exception
152 Use of throws exception
153 What is finally in exception handling
154 Vector class
155 What will happen to the Exception object after exception handling
156 Two types of multi-tasking
157 Two ways to create the thread
158 Synchronization
159 I/O Filter
160 How can you retrieve warnings in JDBC
161 Can applet in different page communicate with each other
162 Four driver Manager
163 Features of JDBC 2.0
164 Explain about stored procedures
165 Servlet Life cycle
166 Why do you go for servlet rather than CGI
167 How to generate skeleton & Stub classes
168 Explain lazy activation
169 What is meant by Java ?
170 What is meant by a class ?
171 What is meant by a method ?
172 What are the OOPS concepts in Java ?
173 What is meant by encapsulation ? Explain with an example
174 What is meant by inheritance ? Explain with an example
175 What is meant by polymorphism ? Explain with an example
176 Is multiple inheritance allowed in Java ? Why ?
177 What is meant by Java interpreter ?
178 What is meant by JVM ?
179 What is a compilation unit ?
180 What is meant by identifiers ?
181 What are the different types of modifiers ?
182 What are the access modifiers in Java ?
183 What are the primitive data types in Java ?
184 What is meant by a wrapper class ?
185 What is meant by static variable and static method ?
186 What is meant by Garbage collection ?
187 What is meant by abstract class
188 What is meant by final class, methods and variables ?
189 What is meant by interface ?
190 What is meant by a resource leak ?
191 What is the difference between interface and abstract class ?
192 What is the difference between public private, protected and static
193 What is meant by method overloading ?
194 What is meant by method overriding ?
195 What is singleton class ?
196 What is the difference between an array and a vector ?
197 What is meant by constructor ?
198 What is meant by casting ?
199 What is the difference between final, finally and finalize ?
200 What is meant by packages ?

And the experiment begins

I have two projects in the works right now, one a UF out on submission with my agent, and the other, a hardboiled romance, I’m debating what to do with. I bounce back and forth between wanting to try self-publishing with this title or pursing more traditional options. For the past year or so, I’ve been wanting to dig into the D.I.Y. elements of publishing that are now open to authors, and you can see by a post I made a couple weeks ago, that I’ve been pondering possibilities. Well, I’ve recently begun a piece of that possibility.

What I have written on Harbortown (about 50k) words to this point, I placed on Google Docs, invited about a half dozen reader/reviewer people I’ve connected with on twitter and feel could provide me with some honest feedback, and gave them the ability to comment directly in the document, much like you do with any Word document. The goal here is to work with a continuous feedback loop, using ideas/concerns/comments to develop the story into a stronger version than what I could normally on my own. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t have a very objective eye with regard to my writing, unless it sits for a couple of months before I look at it. The far more immediate feedback helps not only spur ideas and keep elements on track, what works well and what doesn’t, but it’s also inspiring to write more, when you have people involved in your work.

Given the scope of this story (I’m on pt 2 of 5, and currently at 50k), I will be doing this for a while, and may add some more commenters to the loop, depending on how well this turns out. It’s not exactly crowd-sourcing, but having interested people involved in you work, who you know will give honest feedback is a fabulous thing to have when writing. I know that some writers don’t like anyone to see their work until it’s done. They have worries that it will distort their process or stress them out or whatever the case may be. My brain doesn’t work that way, for better or worse. I thrive on the interaction, so I hope that this experiment will prove fruitful and I can build upon it. We’ll see how it goes.

Local Php Issue possibly related to Mac Upgrade?

I have some local sites for dev on my Mac that are the latest version of EE2. Not updated for years and clients for various reasons don’t want to upgrade to EE5. Fair enough.

Now they want some changes but when I go to access the sites I get a blank page – this is because I’ve upgraded to MacOS Mojave since last accessing those EE2 sites and it is running PHP Version 7.1.33.

I assume this is the issue. All EE5 sites work fine but I have a feeling that EE2 should work with Php7 – maybe is an add-on issue?

Any suggestions for troubleshooting?