The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest (Millennium #3) by Stieg Larsson

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest (Millennium #3)
by Stieg Larsson

(Kindle Edition)

The exhilarating conclusion to bestseller Larsson's Millennium trilogy (after The Girl Who Played with Fire) finds Lisbeth Salander, the brilliant computer hacker who was shot in the head in the final pages of Fire, alive, though still the prime suspect in three murders in Stockholm. While she convalesces under armed guard, journalist Mikael Blomkvist works to unravel the decades-old cover-up surrounding the man who shot Salander: her father, Alexander Zalachenko, a Soviet intelligence defector and longtime secret asset to Säpo, Sweden's security police. Estranged throughout Fire, Blomkvist and Salander communicate primarily online, but their lack of physical interaction in no way diminishes the intensity of their unconventional relationship.

I enjoyed the Millennium trilogy, my favorite is still the second book in the series. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest was the least of my favorites only because the author spent more time explaining the political history which provided the background for the trilogy and the plot didn’t move along as it did in the prior books and I also found some of the chapters quite boring. The best part of the book by far is the ending, but also disappointing because of Larsson's untimely death, I’m going to miss Lisbeth Salander.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird
by Harper Lee
(Paperback, 323 pages)

Harper Lee's Pulitzer Prize-winning masterwork of honor and injustice in the deep South and the heroism of one man in the face of blind and violent hatred.  One of the best-loved stories of all time, To Kill a Mockingbird has been translated into more than forty languages, sold more than thirty million copies worldwide, served as the basis of an enormously popular motion picture, and was voted one of the best novels of the twentieth century by librarians across the country. A gripping, heart-wrenching, and wholly remarkable tale of coming-of-age in a South poisoned by virulent prejudice, it views a world of great beauty and savage inequities through the eyes of a young girl, as her father (a crusading local lawyer) risks everything to defend a black man unjustly accused of a terrible crime.

To Kill a Mockingbird is absolutely brilliant and truly deserving of its classic status.  It is a book about justice, race and bigotry, courage and cowardice, values of the family, and about humanity.  The novel speaks through the 8-year-old voice of Scout Finch, the youngest child of a widower, Atticus Finch. There are two stories being told, one is about Scout, her older brother Jem and their summertime friend Dill as they pass three summers together in a small town in Alabama.  The other is about the trial of Tom Robinson, a black man accused of raping a white woman in 1930's and Atticus is appointed to represent Tom Robinson.  The seamless writing of Harper Lee brings both stories together with characters you genuinely care about.

Motorcycle’s Keep us Young

By: Lisa Petrocelli

There was a scientific study done a year or so ago by Yamaha and Tohuku University, which showed that riding motorcycles helps keep drivers young by invigorating their brains. "The driver's brain gets activated by riding motorbikes" in part because it requires heightened alertness, Ryuta Kawashima said after his research team and Yamaha Motor conducted a string of experiments involving middle-aged men.

One experiment involved 22 men, all in their 40's and 50's, who held motorcycle licenses but had not taken a ride for at least a decade. They were randomly split into two groups -- one asked to resume riding motorcycles in everyday life for two months, and another that kept using bicycles or cars. "The group that rode motorbikes posted higher marks in cognitive function tests," Kawashima said. In one test, which required the men to remember a set of numbers in reverse order, the riders' scores jumped by more than 50 percent in two months, while the non-riders' marks deteriorated slightly, he said. The riders also said they made fewer mistakes at work and felt happier. "Our final conclusion is that riding motorcycles can lead to smart aging."

My theory is much simpler. Take a minute to reflect back on your childhood and recall how it felt when your parents announced they were taking you to an amusement park. Your heart skipped a beat and the excitement started to mount. The roller coaster was calling your name and you knew you’d be hopping on anything else you were tall enough to ride. Remember that feeling of anticipation? That is the same feeling bikers experience when they prepare for their next ride. Remember the sheer joy on your face when you’re riding that Scrambler and squishing your brother or sister in the seat next to you, laughing so hard you could hardly catch your breath? When riding with other bikers, notice the expression on their faces when they are enjoying their time in the wind. You will see 10-year old smiles on those 40-something faces and these words will ring absolutely true.

Readers will subscribe to whichever study or theories sound most logical to them. However, this author’s final conclusion is, “Who needs a face-lift or a fountain of youth? BUY A HARLEY!”

But I Trusted You: Crime Files #14 by Ann Rule

But I Trusted You: Crime Files #14
by Ann Rule

(Paperback, 464 pages)

Trust. It's the foundation of any enduring relationship between friends, lovers, spouses, and families. But when trust is placed in those who are not what they seem, the results can be deadly. Ann Rule, who famously chronicled her own shocking experience of unknowingly befriending a sociopath in The Stranger Beside Me, offers a riveting, all-new collection from her true-crime files, with the lethally shattered bonds of trust at the core of each blood soaked account. Whether driven to extreme violence by greed or jealousy, passion or rage, these calculating sociopaths targeted those closest to them -- unwitting victims whose last disbelieving words could well have been "but I trusted you...." Headlining this page-turning anthology is the case of middle-school counselor Chuck Leonard, found shot to death outside his Washington State home on an icy February morning. A complicated mix of family man and wild man, Chuck played hard and loved many...but who crossed the line by murdering him in cold blood? And why? The revelation is as stunning as the shattering crime itself, powerfully illuminating how those we think we know can ingeniously hide their destructive and homicidal designs. Along with other shattering cases, immaculately detailed and sharply analyzed by America's #1 true-crime writer, this fourteenth Crime Files volume is essential reading for getting inside the mind of the hidden killers among us.

Ann Rule is one of my favorite true crime authors and I have read all of Ann's books throughout the years. Her books never disappoint and I plan to continue reading them as long as she keeps writing them.

Thanks for visiting ~ Jovi

Boulder Tea Ride

Saturday a small group from the Mountain Shadow Riders battled high winds (40+ mph) for a trip to Celestial Seasonings in Boulder, CO (230 miles round trip). We took a tour of their facility where they make all their teas, this is the only plant in the entire world where they mix and package their teas. Celestial Seasonings is the largest specialty tea manufacturer in North America. They serve more than 1.6 billion cups of tea every year, and source more than 100 different ingredients from over 35 countries to create their delicious, all-natural herbal, green, red, white, chai and wellness teas.

After the tour we made our way to downtown Boulder to enjoy lunch at the Dushanbe Tea House. The Dushanbe Tea House was created as a gift to the city of Boulder, Colorado, from its sister city Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, in 1987. At the time Tajikistan was a part of the Soviet Union, as the Tajik Soviet Socialist Republic. Forty artisans from Tajikistan handmade the teahouse over a period of two years, took it apart, and then packed the pieces into about 200 crates to be shipped to Boulder. The trades used by the artisans were passed from generation to generation within families, such as the use of nature, and repetition of patterns, descendant from traditional Persian design. Also, no power tools were used in the original construction of the tea house. Since we enjoyed our lunch on their charming patio, I didn’t get many photos of the inside. More photos can be seen in my Flickr Collection, Mountain Shadow Riders 2010.

A much need break from the wind, a stop in Sedalia

Being silly in Sedalia (Me, Kelly & Taunya)

Celestial Seasonings Plant in Boulder, CO

Tea tasting, Teri & Carrie

Dushanbe Tea House

Part of the ceiling inside Dushanbe Tea House

Betty waiting for lunch

Thanks for visiting ~ Jovi

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

The Catcher in the Rye
by J.D. Salinger

(Hardcover, 277 pages)

Since his debut in 1951 as The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield has been synonymous with "cynical adolescent." Holden narrates the story of a couple of days in his sixteen-year-old life, just after he's been expelled from prep school, in a slang that sounds edgy even today and keeps this novel on banned book lists. It begins,

"If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth. In the first place, that stuff bores me, and in the second place, my parents would have about two hemorrhages apiece if I told anything pretty personal about them."

His constant wry observations about what he encounters, from teachers to phonies (the two of course are not mutually exclusive) capture the essence of the eternal teenage experience of alienation.

I really liked this book, and I’m not completely sure why! It's simply a rambling journey of 16 year old Holden-and his misadventures, it is not the most engaging and brilliant of stories. I think many who read it will find a piece of themselves inside Holden's thoughts. I was surprised that this book didn’t have a plot, per se, but it’s an interesting story while Holden searches for himself and his role in society. If you are interested in an honest representation of a youth's struggle with his impending adulthood, you should read The Catcher in the Rye, or just read it so you’ll know what everyone else is talking about.

El Paso County Search and Rescue

Colorado Springs Touring Club recently held its annual Charity Run for El Paso County Search and Rescue (EPCSAR). The EPCSAR is a mountain search and rescue unit dedicated to saving lives through search, rescue, and mountain safety education. The team is composed totally of volunteers and is available upon request to help mountain search and rescue problems anywhere in Colorado under the authority of the local county sheriff or in other states and countries under local authority. Most members are certified to the First Responder level, many are Emergency Medical Technicians, and a few are working paramedics or physicians. They are non-paid professionals and there is never a charge to find or rescue people in need.

A group from MSR participated in the charity run; the route was about 130 miles which took us south to Westcliff and then east to Pueblo Reservoir. It was a beautiful day to ride, no wind, no rain and a wonderful group to ride with. More photos can be seen in my Flickr Collection, Mountain Shadow Riders 2010.

My Harley Davidson 2005 Dyna Low Rider

Thanks for visiting ~ Jovi

Motorcycle Parade

Recently, Will Rogers Elementary (in Colorado Springs) celebrated 50 years of educating children and in the schools honor they had an outdoor ceremony. Each classroom made projects around the theme of "50", some children built fifty mini-rockets to fire off out in the playground area. The event organizers thought it would be great to get fifty motorcycles to ride in a parade around the school, the children will be outside to experience the motorcycle parade and all the "noise". The Mountain Shadow Riders were invited to attend the celebration.

On the day of the parade it was chilly and snowing (off and on), but a few brave souls came out and thrilled the children at the school. Our good friends and BCA supporters, the Zebulon Cruisers, showed up with 8-10 as well, 15 motorcycles total… which one MSR member said "The kids will remember it as a hundred..." The children were more excited to see the motorcycles drive up into their playground than the rockets they were firing off just before we got there. We did get a lot of smiles from the children and teachers at the school.

More photos can be seen in my Flickr Collection, Mountain Shadow Riders 2010. Thanks for visiting ~ Jovi

the Zebulon Cruisers

Rogers Rocks