Meet Clare Vengel, undercover Toronto cop

I am finally embracing my inner Oprah and giving everyone a FREE BOOK! You get a book! And you get a book! And you! And you! AND YOU!

Mind you, the book is on Wattpad… where all books are free. But it’s a really good free book so you should take me up on my offer.

Vengel_Dead_Politician_SocietyThe book is Dead Politician Society by Robin Spano and it’s part of her Clare Vengel Undercover series. She’s been releasing the book for free on Wattpad one section at a time. The rest of the Clare Vengel series is available on Spano’s site.

Clare Vengel is undercover cop extraordinaire. Well, that’s her dream anyways. Her supervisor considers her so green, he considers speaking to her “babysitting”. In Dead Politician Society, the left-wing Toronto mayor is murdered and a secret society at the University of Toronto is suspect number one. Clare lands her first undercover gig as a poli sci student. Remember, left-wing mayor — so this is pre-Rob Ford.

Spano’s writing is fast and fun — switching between a number of eccentric characters all with their own motives to get rid of the mayor. Clare is reminiscent of Deb from Dexter. She’s a fast talker, self-doubting and occasionally sleeps around. She’s also on an uphill battle to prove herself as a skilled cop. If I have one criticism for Spano is that there should be waaay more about Clare than the rest of the characters.

I was a political science major at the University of Toronto once upon a time so the setting of the book was eerily familiar. I’ve literally taken courses in these buildings Spano describes. Pretty awesome to see the campus come alive in fiction.

So there, go ahead — take home your free copy 😉


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To Subscribe or Not Subscribe

subscription_shoes4My parents’s first language is not English and sometimes they get words mixed up. My mother recently starting going to a chiropractor for her calves. Chiropractor is hard to pronounce so they wind up calling him Cleopatra. My dad fell on the driveway the other day and they were shouting “Call the Cleopatra”. Images of a chariots filled my mind.

But the my mother also confuses the words “prescription” and “subscription”. She told me that the Podiatrist had given her a subscription of shoes. It sounded ridiculous at first but then I thought, actually, I would LOVE to have a shoe subscription. I know plenty of other girls who would love to have a new pair of pumps sent to them every month.


What I REALLY wanted to talk about was book subscription sites like Scribd and Oyster which are being called the “Netflix” of books. Both charge under $10/month and let you read as many ebooks from their database as you like. Naturally, neither support Kindle but you can read on tablets. A site called Entitle just recently launched and it works a slightly different payment model but allows you to keep the books even if you unsubscribe.

All claim to have bestsellers and new releases. Scribd says it has “thousands” of books while Oyster says its collection is “100,000+” large. In efforts to stay one step ahead of competitors, publisher HarperCollins has already struck a deal with both sites.

Scribd and Oyster are a step up from taking out public library ebooks as you don’t have to wait for titles. But public library books are free — and it’s pretty hard to beat free. Both sites offer recommendation tools based on your previous books so they could potentially help you find your next read.

Book subscriptions will likely have opponents from the “I hate ebooks, give me dead trees” camp. And let’s not the forget the “How will authors make any money?” people. And like I said before, there’s still a large group of people who prefer to get their books free from the library.

I haven’t signed up because I have a ridiculous number of ebooks and paper books on my shelf that need to be read first. I also really enjoy browsing bookstores. But I am awful curious about the selection. How soon do they add new releases to their collections? Does anyone have a subscription? Do you love it? Please share!

My father has since started feeling much better after seeing the Cleopatra. And my mother’s shoe subscription continues to keep her walking.


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The Day My Devotion to Homeland is Finally Rewarded

homeland_season3A lot of my friends stopped watching Homeland in the beginning of season three because it was getting a little ridiculous. Carrie was running loose all over the place and then she was stuck in a mental hospital. And there were all these boring scenes of Saul talking to suits. Brody’s dreaded teenage daughter Dana also came back. It seemed like a season doomed to fail.

But I kept watching and at some point — perhaps five episodes in, Homeland started getting good again. Saul reveals why he’s been so mean to Carrie. Brody comes back and Carrie finally had her raison d’etre again. And the finale, oh the finale.

I’ve been calling for Brody’s death for a long time. I even posted several Tweets proclaiming “BRODY MUST DIE”. Everyone knows that wishing for something on Twitter means it will come true.

Homeland Tweet

The fact is, Homeland started off as an awesome spy show. I was intrigued by the surveillance cameras, the undercover assets, the internal CIA politicking. But then Carrie fell for Brody and it became all about them sucking each other’s faces off.


I don’t care how great of an actor Damian Lewis is and the fact that he won an Emmy. He only won that Emmy because Homeland was an awesome show. And that’s why he had to go.

Let’s hope Homeland gets back into spy business in season four — and that the romance between Carrie and Quinn never takes over the plot. For a killer good analysis of the finale read Ding, Dong, the Snitch is Dead from In These Times.

Episode 312

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I Love Mushrooms


There’s a new sushi place by my house called Mi-Ne that I’ve been frequenting. By far my favourite dish there is the mushroom soup. It’s served bubbling hot with an assortment of delicious mushrooms and dumplings. I’ll have to take a picture of it next time and show you because it’s SO delicious.

But I’m a big fan of mushrooms. I know some people hate them so much they will pick them off their pizza. I feel that same way about red and green peppers but I love mushrooms. For our five year anniversary, I asked my boyfriend for The Mushroom Hunters by Langdon Cook.

It’s all about the people who risk their lives looking for highly-valuable but rare mushrooms — like truffles. Mushrooms are amazing things if you think about it. Some will kill you. Some will heal you. And the very best of them, are delicious.

Photo credits:

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