A not-so-spooky October book

I read The Secrets We Keep for October book club with great excitement – it seems like an awesome, spooky October book:

A girl takes over her twin sister’s identity in this emotionally charged page-turner about the complicated bond between sisters.

I mean, spooky shit, right? I’m all about taking over identities and stirring stuff up. This could have been a super cool thriller. Instead, what we get is just a frankly weird story about a twin kind-of-accidentally taking over her twin’s identity after they are in a car accident, and everyone just being kind of “meh, get over it” about the whole “so your twin sister died PRETTY RECENTLY, bummer I guess.”

I couldn’t get cutthroat about this book given that it is for book club; plus, it was a pretty simple read (I think I started and finished in one day).

WHAT I READ:

The Secrets We Keep (Trisha Leaver), Book #106 of 2016

SNAPSHOT REVIEW:

On a scale of 1 to 5 generic characters, I give this 2 Bitchy Best Friends.

#FirstFifty Synposis:

Maddy and Ella are identical twin 17-year-old sisters who are drastically different: Ella is quiet and focused on art (and applying to art school); Maddy is popular and can get away with anything. Ella is finishing up her art school application late one Saturday night when she gets a phone call from Maddy to pick her up at a party. Ella begrudgingly comes, noticing that the vibe at the party is weird and her sister – who is, surprisingly, stone cold sober – seems to be angry at her boyfriend and her best friend. Ella is driving Maddy home (in Maddy’s car – important *pLoT pOiNt*) when they get into an argument, words are said about how much they hate each other, and then of course Ella accidentally plows into a tree and kills her sister. Casual first 50 pages.

HOW IT MADE ME FEEL

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NEED MORE?

In short, I wish this book was either A) MUCH more creepier (like, removing her sister’s skin to wear as her own, CREEPY. I WENT THERE) or B) had characters reacting in an appropriate fashion to trauma and tragedy. Everything was just treated much too casually for me to buy into it.

I complain more about it on my Goodreads, though.

Also, if you want to read about twins (I don’t know your life) read Fangirl instead. No spookiness but excellent portrayal of sisterhood. And also an excellent portrayal of my first year of college, minus me meeting a hunky and sweet Oklahoma (Wyoming? I forget.) boy.

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I Eat All the Pasta So You Don’t Have To: Carmelina’s North End

YOU’VE BEEN WARNED – this is very ranty. Hey, it’s my blog!

I had high hopes going into my dining experience at Carmelina’s in the North End. It’s one of the better reviewed places on the main drag in the North End and came highly recommended by two of my favorite people in Boston (and the world), Katie and Josh. Moreover, the Beyonce to Katie and my’s Michelle and Kelly (despite the fact that she hates Beyonce) was in town and the dinner promised to be a fun gastronomic adventure.

This lil lady in the middle! Of course she's in the middle. She's our Beyonce.

This lil lady in the middle! Of course she’s in the middle. She’s our Beyonce.

Our first hint that something was amiss at the restaurant was when we took a look at the special note in the menu…

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…I mean, okay, you’re a fancy restaurant and that’s fine, but just a little bit sassy, no? Of particular Sasquatch note, in my humble opinion:

  • “Please refrain from asking us to add or delete any item from a dish.” Why? According to your previous little sassy blurb you are carefully and conscientiously preparing each and every dish. Is it really so difficult to refrain from putting peanuts into mine if that’s my dietary preference?
  • “We do not accept credit cards for charges under $20, cash only.” REALLY?! Come on, people. This isn’t a little taverna in Greece run by somebody’s grandma. This is a major, high class restaurant in Boston. If I can use a credit card to pay for a 75 cent stick of gum at CVS, are you really telling me I can’t use a credit card for something that’s $19?

Anyway, as I said, that’s just fine. We were shown to our table and after a nice long wait (enough time for us to select the wine and our dishes and do the whole, “awkwardly making small talk while we wait for the waiter to finally come around” dance), the waiter swung by our table and hurriedly took our orders, assuring us bread would be on the way. I’m not going to string you along, gentle readers – the bread was not, in fact, on the way.

That was the theme of the night – we received minimal to zero service at our table, despite the fact that every other table around us did. We asked for the bread literally five times, each time being told it was on the way/in the oven/just a minute. About ten minutes after we got our meals (well, three of us did), the bread finally arrived… strangely enough, not piping hot and fresh from the oven, but lukewarm at best. Strange also is that every other table around us, most of which were seated after us, received bread almost immediately after sitting down.

Of course, someone’s dinner at our table arrived about 15 minutes after everyone else’s did. If you read the sassafras message from their menu, that is only to be expected,  capice? But you have to admit — 15 minutes (more than enough time for everyone else to finish their meal) is a bit much, especially considering she ordered the same thing someone else at the table did.

The icing on the cake was that at no point did anyone come around to refill our water or ask if we needed anything (which we did). After begging them for our check (to be fair to them, they did take the late meal off the check), the coup de grace was finding out they can only split the check on two cards – which apparently isn’t even true, as by that point we engaged in a conversation with the manager about our dissatisfaction and he told us that we were lying and could split the check on three cards (perhaps tell your staff that…?).

I was, most of all, SHOCKED by how they treated our concerns. They were rude and dismissive, stating that it was busy. I understand that, but if you cannot handle that amount of clientele, don’t seat that amount.  I was so shocked when, after the manager listened to our concerns, we could see him and his staff LOUDLY complaining about us and then he just threw the check back to us without another word. I didn’t want a gift certificate or something, but at least a polite if insincere, “I’m so sorry for your experience and I hope we can see you soon” would be normal human behavior – particularly when you are paying $16+ per entree, not to mention alcohol and extras.

Needless to say, I shan’t be dining here again. I took my complaint to Twitter and the Executive Chef Damien engaged in some back-and-forth with me, but never followed up with an email as he promised. Luckily for me, there are about fifteen thousand other places that serve exactly the same food. The hunt continues!

Thankfully, we got a lobster tail at Mike’s after, and all was right in the world.

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