The Murder on the Links, by Agatha Christie

Murder on the Links (Hercule Poirot Series)Finished audio 2-11-12, rating 4/5, mystery, pub. 1923

Unabridged audio 6 hours. Read by Hugh Fraser.

Belgian detective Hercule Poirot and Captain Hastings are off to France to answer a letter from a man in trouble, but they are too late.  Paul Renauld has been murdered and left in a shallow grave.  His wife is overwrought and his son is suspect, and what about his supposed mistress and her daughter?  There’s no shortage of suspects.

This is Christie’s third book and second with Poirot and narrated by Hastings.  Poirot grew on me a bit in this one.  I like smart guys and he wasn’t quite the insufferable know-it-all he was in the first (The Mysterious Affair at Styles).  This time around he had to outsolve the French Detective Geraud.

Hastings had a love interest and I wasn’t that crazy about his infatuation with the mysterious Cinderella.  The only other complaint I will make it about this cover and the title, really.  Renauld was found on the border of a golf course, but that is the only connection to golf.  Seems a bit misleading to me.

I thought the mystery was good and even though I had my suspicions about certain characters, the truth was so much better!  This was a fun audio book with a solid narration.

I read this for the Agatha Christie Reading Challenge, where I am reading all of her books in order.

Agatha Christie Quiz – guessing closed

I’ve seen lots of Agatha Christie reading around the blogosphere lately and thought I’d combine Christie titles with my favorite game on, Dictionary Devil.  Each number is a title of a Christie mystery and the word choices will each be used only once.  I’m seeing lots of guessing in your future 🙂

You have until noon Saturday to submit your answers as a comment.  Comment will be hidden until I post the answers.  No Googling!

This round lasts til the end of March and the person with the most points will win a B&N gift card (total $ based on # of total participants, so please play) and a randomly selected participant will win a fun prize from me.

Have fun and Good Luck!

Five     Pigs     Death     Appointment     Black     Coffee     Murder     Mousetrap     Then     Body     Elephants     Were     None     Easy     Death     Nile     Curtain     Little     Library     There     Remember

1. Black Coffee

2. Death on the Nile

3.  Appointment with Death

4. Murder is Easy

5. Curtain

6. Five Little Pigs

7. The Mousetrap

8. And Then There Were None

9. The Body in the Library

10. Elephants can Remember

Leaderboard here.  Last Week’s A Day Late and a Dollar Short quiz here.

Sundays with Gage – Eating is necessary, right?

I thought we all needed food for energy.  Not just adults, but everyone.  I mean when you have an infant it is a very big deal that they eat enough.  So, why is it that toddlers can take or leave food for days at a time and still run around the house like a whirling dervish?

We have been too reluctant to add lots of things to his diet because we weren’t sure of his allergies, but now that we know we only have to avoid dairy and peanuts I really have to get busy and find some good recipes.

Some days the biggest part of his calorie intake consist of oatmeal, cereal bars, and baked potato fries.  He went through a period of resisting soy yogurt but now he likes it again, but is off the chicken.  Sigh.  Getting him to eat has become the biggest frustration of my day.

Any tips from you experienced mothers out there?

Fave Film #17 – Under the Tuscan Sun

Under the Tuscan Sun2003

Cast- Diane Lane, Sandra Oh, Lindsay Duncan

Frances finds out her husband is cheating and to cheer her up her two friends offer her a 10 day vacation in Tuscany traveling with a gay bus tour.  Frances goes and falls in love with the house Bramosole which she impulsively buys and plans to restore, leaving her life in San Fransisco behind.  She throws herself into the renovation, making friends as a way to heal her broken heart.

Why I love it – This is a story one woman’s heartbreak and the strength that led her to healing.  I love Diane Lane, she can do little wrong in my eyes and this is one of my favorites.  She shows Frances’s emotions in a way that we can all recognize.  She was mad, hurt, sad, funny, endearing, and full of life.

Who hasn’t imagined (even just for a second) leaving everything behind to start over somewhere new?  And what better place to do this but in Italy?  I love the boldness of her decision, egged on by the exuberant Catherine who encouraged her growth at every turn.  It was the eagerness to live the life she always imagined that had me rooting for her happy ending.

I saw this after it first came out and liked it, but after our 2008 trip to Italy I saw it again and fell in love.  I don’t know if it was the beauty of the movie that took me back to the beauty of the country or if it was the few years of perspective that enabled me to see her choices as beautiful.  Either way, the scenery is breathtaking.

Loved the cast surrounding Diane.  Sandra Oh was perfect as her best friend and I loved Lindsay Duncan as Catherine and Vincent Riotta as the ever faithful Martini.  This was a true adventure story full of possibility.

I would normally show a clip of the movie, but instead here are pictures from our trip that I posted back in 2008.  Venice Florence Rome Parking in Rome (by far my most viewed older post) And if for some reason you want to scroll through my Italy posts as I was here you can do it here.  Since my blog was only a few months old I used it as a way to keep all of my family and friends up to date with our daily schedule.  It’s actually funny to go back and read it now (at least for me :))

A Day Late and a Dollar Short Quiz – guessing closed

See if you can tell me the name of the book or movie described below.  10 points for each correct answer and an extra 10 if you tell me the theme of the quiz.

You have until noon Saturday to submit your answers as a comment.  Comment will be hidden until I post the answers.  No Googling!

This round starts today and will last til the end of March and the person with the most points will win a B&N gift card (total $ based on # of total participants, so please play) and a randomly selected participant will win a fun prize from me.

Have fun and Good Luck!

1.  The Iron Giant (1999)

2. Barbara Hambly wrote this novel about the mothers of the men who founded America.  Patriot Hearts:A Novel of the Founding Fathers

3.  Patriot Games

4. The fourth book in Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Shadow series.  Shadow of the Giant

5.  The Patriot

6. So James meets up with these insects in a piece of fruit…  James & the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

7. This is the first in Ken Follett’s new Century trilogy.  Fall of Giants

8. Truly’s story of life in Aberdeen is heartbreaking.  The Little Giant of Aberdeen County by Tiffany Baker

9.  Little Giants

10. This is the most recent thriller in Dale Brown’s Patrick McLanahan series.  A Time for Patriots

Theme – Super Bowl teams  (Everyone gets credit for 10 since I had the author as Dan Brown for awhile (thanks for the heads up, Kay) and credit for #4 since I left out an important word!  Sorry about the goofs.)

Leaderboard here.  Last Week’s Boggle Quiz here (won’t have this quiz scored until later today)

Half Full:Meditations on Hope, Optimism, and The Things That Matter, by Mina Parker

Half Full Meditations on Hope, Optimism and the Things That Really MatterFinished 2-1-12, rating 3.5/5, 126 pages, pub. 2006

I don’t remember where I picked this up, but I remember why.  I loved the cover and the beautiful pages as I flipped through and I decided to use it as a daily boost.  I am not a morning person and I really need a jolt of positive energy to start the day or the fifth time (okay, the second time) that sippy cup gets thrown to the floor or the cereal laden spoon goes flying I tend to get annoyed.  This book was perfect for that daily reminder to look on the bright side.

Each page has a quote, a few paragraphs to read and a one line thought to see you through the day.  There are 42 photographs throughout the book that aren’t always recognizable but the colors are amazing.  It is a really pretty book.  The paragraphs aren’t always deep, but it was a nice, positive few minutes every morning.

One of later pages stuck with me and it uses Albert Einstein’s words as a starting point (The first line of the reading is “I am a know-it-all.” and that spoke to me a bit too much :))

Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand. 

This is a nice book of meditations that is full of positive energy and a nice change of pace if you usually read more spiritual thoughts.

This was from my personal library. 

Sundays with Gage- Are you ready for some…

football?  It may be Superbowl day but Gage isn’t really too excited.  A few weeks ago he had a double ear infection that took all 10 days of antibiotics to heal, followed by a week of fun, and now we’re into day 5 of a head cold for Gage and Mom, I think Dad’s on day 3.

Gage may be dressed for the game, but I’m not sure how much cheering we’ll all be doing.  Hopefully just a lot of recovering!

So, who are you all rooting for?

January’s 5 Word Movie Reviews – Join in and win $ for charity

It was a slow movie month for me, but I’m guessing most of you have seen at least one of these.

Every time you add 5 words of your own to one of these reviews then you donate $1 to charity.  What charity, you ask?  The charity is chosen by the person who has the most reviews once we reach 100.  (Last charity here)

We’re starting with a clean slate this week.  You can add reviews to any of my past movie posts here.

(2008. Dakota Fanning, Queen Latifah, Paul Bettany, Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys, Sophie Okonedo)                     Grade A-

Broken girl finds loving Queen.

Great casting does book justice. (Kathy)

Amazing group of talented women. (Kay)

Movie great, book even better. (Heather)

Touching, amazing with perfect cast. (Marce)

Excellent movie and fave book. (Staci)

(2003.  Renee Zellweger, Ewan McGregor, David Hyde Pierce, Sarah Paulson)   Grade B-

Fun throwback with weird twist.

Doris and Rock modernized tribute! (Stephanie)

(2012. Katherine Heigl, Jason O’Mara, Daniel Sunjata, Sherri Shepherd, Debbie Reynolds)   Grade C+

Passable but missing series oomph.

Grandma, Ranger casting was wrong. (Margot)

Dream When You’re Feeling Blue, by Elizabeth Berg

Dream When You're Feeling BlueFinished audio 1-31-12, rating 3/5, pub. 2007

Unabridged audio read by the author.  10 hours.

The three beautiful Heaney sisters are known as the Dreamy Heaneys.  They are the oldest of six in a tight-knit Chicago family in 1943.  As World War II rages on Kitty and Louise send their boyfriends off to fight Hitler and the sisters spend their nights at USO dances and writing letters to soldiers they’ve met.  Kitty finds herself compelled to aid the war effort and Louise is patiently waiting for Michael to come home so they can be married.  Their youngest sister just wants to make sure she never gets left behind and is in some ways more knowledgeable than her sisters.

This book has come at an interesting time for me.  My grandmother’s health is failing and listening to this book made me feel closer to her as I could so easily picture her life during her younger years.  Well, maybe not her life, but certainly the feeling of the country at the time.  Berg really drew me in and I learned so much about the girls who got left behind and what their lives were like when the men were off fighting.

I don’t read many WWII novels, just not my thing.  The only reason I chose this one is because I hope to read everything Berg has written, love her, and this was available at the library.  This is quite a departure from the other books but as I was reading I found myself thinking it might end up my favorite.  I loved the Heaney family and strong-willed Kitty, loyal Louise, and perky Trish.

Until the end.  Oh, the end.  I’m still trying to come to terms with it a day later.  I hated it.  I got what she was trying to do, but I hated it.  It made me dislike my favorite character of the book.  It was disappointing and, as you can see, I’m still ticked off about it.   As I looked at some of the reviews at B&N & Good Reads I know I am not alone.  I wasn’t even sure how to rate this book, a 4.5 for everything up until the terrible and rushed ending, which I’m giving a 1.

So, have you read it?  What did you think of the end?

I borrowed this audio from the library.

January Wrap Up and Free Book

I’ve decided to add a new feature to by blog and I hope you’ll like it.  It will replace my free books for the month post.  There is a free book in this post somewhere but you must read on to find it 🙂  They’ll be free book with each of these wrap-ups.

So, I bought this great planner because I decided to enter the world of the productive again instead of the “I’ve got a baby and I can’t get anything done” whine that I had been using.  I make monthly, weekly, and daily goals and I have a way to track them.  I get to check off goals and it makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something. I had 5 daily goals for the month: 10,000 steps (22/31), meditation reading (29/31), 8 glasses of water (keep in mind that I HATE water 22/31), a note to Jason (14/22), One Line Mom Diary (29/31).  I think I did okay and look forward to improving on these numbers in January.

I’ve added two more things to my daily goals for February.  One is a secret til the end of the month, but it is a true challenge and the other is this challenge…

A Month of Letters. This goes along with my bucket list goal of writing 1000 letters, so I’m going to give it a try.  Why not join in?  If I have your address don’t be surprised to find something in the mail from me this month 🙂 I want to thank Care for helping me find this one.

I have a friend named Molly, some of you may know her as the Bumble, and she has been doing a series of posts about lessons learned in Regina Brett’s book, God Never Blinks.  I have enjoyed this series and hope you are reading it too.  Regina is a local writer and has a new book titled Be the Miracle.  She will be signing books in the area this month and I plan on attending one of these events.  Would you like to win a signed copy?  Just leave me your email address in a comment.  I’ll accept entries until I attend the signing, but neither of us knows when that is so better do it now, the next signing is Sunday 🙂

Those are my thoughts for my January goals and a few of my plans for February.  Are you someone who needs a list to accomplish things, too?