Sporting Quiz – guessing closed

With the Olympics in full swing I thought I’d see if you could tell me what sport the following books feature…(Hint-no sport repeats)

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

This round will last til August 7.  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.

Leaderboard and rules here.  Last week’s Stephen King Mix-Up quiz here.

1. Playing for Pizza by John Grisham – Football

2. Forfeit by Dick Frances – Horse Racing

3. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein – Car Racing

4. A River Runs Through It by Norman Maclean – Fly Fishing

5. Gold by Chris Cleave – Track Cycling

6. Full Court Press by Mike Lupica – Basketball

7. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway – Bull Fighting

8. The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach – Baseball

9. The Champion Maker by Kevin Joseph – Track

10. Miracle on the 17th Green by James Patterson – Golf

Pinteresting with Gage

I finally got on the Pinterest bandwagon, at least I jump on every few days when I have minutes to spare, and my favorite discoveries are the ones I’ve found to share with Gage.  As he gets older I am sometimes at a loss as to help him develop and grow and I have found some great fun ideas. 

Here’s the first one I decided to try (the pin here and the orginal post here), the alphabet box.  I did a few things differently, but the idea is the same.

I started by finding the perfect box (this part was easy since I’m a box hoarder. seriously, stop by if you need some and I’ll hook you up).  I put the letters on the top using stickers.  This week we have just started the alphabet over so I’m showing you my A and B box.  Every night I put the letter of the day, 3 or 4 items that begin with that letter and a notecard with each of these items spelled out.  I then place the box the designated corner between the kitchen and family room. 

Since this is our second time through I will be trying to add at least one new thing for each letter.

After breakfast we go to the letter box and I sing the alphabet song.  After I’m done I ask him to point out or say letters.  After just 24 days he can tell you about half of the letters.

Then we open the box and see what surprises are in store.  He loves the excitement of discovering new things in the box.

I can tell you that this letter box generates happiness all day long.  He will take stuff out and when I find it I just put in back in the box for him to find later.  Before his bedtime story each night we do the same thing with singing the alphabet and going through the box.

When I first tried this I couldn’t believe how much he got into it.  Now he is OBSESSED with letters.  Frankly I am so over Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, but I am amazed at the learning that has taken place in a short amount of time.  Gage is 21 months old but I think this would work with any toddler around his age. 

Because of my success with this pin I’ve decided to join in Trish’s Pin It and Do It Challenge, Round 2.  I’m signing up as a Timid Pinner committing to 1-3 pins.  I look forward to seeing what other fun ways I can help Gage learn.+

Sorry for the funky formatting of the photos.  WordPress does weird things with pics and copy, no matter how many times I try to fix it!

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson – audio

SpeakSpeak by Laurie Halse Anderson. Finished 7-25-12, rating 3.5/5, Young Adult, pub. 1999

Unabridged audio 5 hours.  Read by Mandy Siegfried.

Melinda is starting her freshman year as an outcast after calling the cops at an end-of-summer party.  Lots of kids got in trouble and blamed Melinda.  Melinda didn’t mean to spoil everyone’s fun, she meant to report a crime, one that she has kept secret and has continued to haunt her.  Her friends no longer talk to her and the only one who goes out of her way is the new student Heather, who doesn’t know any better.  Melinda spends her year in a janitor’s closet, skipping school, and rarely talking.

The book addresses the aftermath of rape and it is a poignant story of how a young girl can lose herself when there is no one to lean on.  It is an important topic and one handled thoughtfully.  I can see why so many people like it.  High school is tough enough and having to start it with such a black cloud hanging over you is unimaginable.

There were a few things that kept me from loving this one, but it’s the way high school was depicted that bothered me the most.  Or maybe Melanie’s silence, which at first was easy to understand, but became less so as the story continued.  I had a hard time believing that not one person would talk to her in her high school.  An outcast she may have been, but schools are full of them and it seems like she may have found some solace with at least one of them. I totally sympathized with her depression, she was so, so young, my heart broke for her.  I hope that when this happens in real life there is at least one person who is willing to get to the bottom of what the problem is.  She didn’t have one person who cared enough.

Melanie’s voice, told in first person, was perfectly captured by narrator Mandy Siegried.  She captured the haunting and the hurt and depression just right.

I think I’m in the minority on not loving this one.  I don’t read a lot of YA, so maybe I’m being too harsh.  I did like it and think it is a perfect book to start a discussion with teens.

I checked this audio out of the library.

Bloodman by Robert Pobi

Let me start by saying that when I received this for the blog tour I couldn’t make myself pick it up even though I thought it would be a book I’d love.  Why?

BloodmanThis cover is seriously creepy and I had such a negative reaction every time I walked by it.  So, last week I took the jacket off and put it away.  Deep Sigh.  I was finally ready to read!

This psychological thriller has it all.  Jack Cole, FBI agent who investigates the worst of the worst killers in the country, doesn’t look or act the part.  He is covered in one big Dante’s Inferno tatoo from his neck to his ankles with an attitude to match.  Jake is one of the more interesting characters I’ve encountered in awhile.

In simple terms he solved riddles – it was as mundane as that.

The element of the otherworldly that his coworkers subscribed to was simply confusion in the face of a mental acuity they could not understand.  Like a musical or mathematical savant, Jake was able to tap into something that those around him could not and the result was that they were uncomfortable around him.  Some were even afraid.

Chapter 19

When Jake heads home to take care of his sick father, famous artist Jacob Coleridge, he is called in to help the local police solve a grisly murder.  The two victims had been skinned alive, not a sliver of skin left on the two bodies, just like his mother 30 years before.  There is also the biggest hurricane ever recorded headed straight for them, so time was in short supply.  More bodies pile up and disturbing works are found in his father’s studio.

Those are the only details you need. I stayed up until 1 am racing through this book.  I really could not put it down.  (I regretted this 5 and a half hours later when Gage decided to get up early) I went to bed disturbed, woke up disturbed and have mentioned parts of the book to Jason all day.  The end was a mixed bag.  The reveal was great, but the end was a little unsatisfying.

I recommend this book for grisly murder and horror lovers who don’t mind liberal use of the f-word.  I think you’ll race through this debut novel and look forward to the next one by Pobi.  I am.  And so is Oprah! “O, The Oprah Magazine’s August issue, on stands now, named Bloodman one of their “Titles to pick up now” and called it a “Very suspenseful novel”!

I received this book from Wunderkind PR as part of a blog tour.  Thanks so much – loved it.

Bloodman  Finished 7-24-12, rating 4/5, horror, 345 pages, pub. 2012

Stephen King Mix-Up quiz – guessing closed

I did this awhile back with Agatha Christie and think Stephen King will be easier.  I’m combining King titles with my favorite game on, Dictionary Devil.  This one is worth 150 points.

Part 1- Each line is a title of a King novel and the word choices will each be used only once.

Part 2-Once you have all the titles list then in order of publication date, starting with the earliest.

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

This round will last til August.  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.

Leaderboard and rules here.

Bag   Doctor    Girl   Lisey   Cell   Bones   Half   Under   Tom   Sleep Loved   Things   Dome   Talisman   Kid   Story   Needful   Colorado   Dark   Gordon

1984 The Talisman

1989 The Dark Half

1991 Needful Things

1999 Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon

1998 Bag of Bones

2005 The Colorado Kid

2006 Lisey‘s Story

2006 Cell

2009 Under the Dome

2013 Doctor Sleep (I apologize for my trick)

Sundays with Gage- Preston’s Hope

When you have a toddler in the house it is sometimes difficult to find enough to entertain the ball of energy and a few weeks ago we discovered the coolest park for Gage.  Preston’s Hope is a $3 million dollar park made for ALL kids, including those with disabilities.  And it’s free.  Click here and you can see the overview of the park and how massive it is.  Then let Gage take you through the place 🙂  If you have small kids in Northeast Ohio this is a must see.  It’s easy to spend a lot of time there and I just love what the park represents – ALL kids playing together.  Seriously, click here to see how big it is.  We are very lucky to only be 10 minutes away.  A perfect place for a bored child.

Beloved by Toni Morrison

BelovedFinished 7-18-12, rating 5/5, literature, 324 pages, pub. 1987

In Ohio seasons are theatrical.  Each one enters like a prima donna, convinced its performance is the reason the world has people in it. (p.136)

This is my fifth stop on my summer Ohio tour.  Toni Morrison was born in Ohio and this Pulitzer Prize winning novel takes place in Cincinnati.    I chose to read this because it was on my shelf, it was an Ohio book, and I could participate in Molly’s The Classic Bribe 2012.  Molly over at Quirky Girls Read is hosting this challenge to read a classic this summer.  If you do you can enter to win a $35 Amazon gift card.  Since I loved this book this challenge was a win-win for me.

This is the story of Sethe and the many people in her life.  Raised as a slave, she escaped with her children to Cincinnati where her mother-in-law was waiting and they all waited for Halle, Sethe’s husband and Baby Suggs son.  One day, Paul D from Sweet Home, came knocking at the door and brought with him unwelcome news. The story actually takes place in the years after the Civil War, but the flashbacks cover the years of slavery in the south.

I didn’t know anything before I started and I think the less you know the better.  This story about the black experience is told so perfectly as the many layers and years are slowly revealed.  All of the characters have their own story and their own contribution to the overall narrative.  A narrative that I loved.  Some was told in stream of consciousness that only enhanced the otherworldly quality of the book, a much-needed offset to the ugly subjects of slavery, bestiality, rape, torture and worse.

Sethe was my least favorite character and while that would normally doom a book for me in this case it didn’t.  The story revolved around Sethe, but it was the story of everyone around her too.  Baby Suggs, Denver, Paul D and others all contributed their experiences to the captivating tapestry.

I loved the prose and found it so rich and vivid that I only wanted to take my time reading it.  This is not one to rush through.  The story got off to a bit of a slow start, but the writing was so poetic that I didn’t care.  For me, it was a beautifully told story of heartbreak and triumph and I am so glad that I read it.  My words cannot do this book justice, so I’ll have to rely on Morrison herself.

Paul D had only begun, what he was telling her was only the beginning when her fingers on his knee, soft and reassuring, stopped him.  Just as well.  Just as well.  Saying more might push them both to a place they couldn’t get back from.  He would keep the rest where it belonged: in that tobacco tin buried in his chest where a red heart used to be.  Its lid rusted shut.  He would not pry it loose now in front of this sweet sturdy woman, for if she got a whiff of the contents it would shame him.  (p. 86)

Whitepeople believed that whatever the manners, under every dark skin was a jungle.  Swift unnavigable waters, swinging screaming baboons, sleeping snakes, red gums ready for their sweet white blood.  In a way, he thought, they were right.  The more coloredpeople spent their strength trying to convince them how gentle they were, how clever and loving, how human, the more they used themselves up to persuade white of something Negroes believed could not be questioned, the deeper and more tangled the jungle grew inside.  (p.234)

“A man ain’t nothing but a man,” said Baby Suggs.  “But a son?  Well now, that’s somebody.”  (p.27)  In honor of my Gage 🙂

Actors Turned Novelists Quiz – guessing closed

Quite a few actors and actresses have penned novels.  (well, some had help :)).  Do you think you can match the celebrity with a title of one of their books?  And no I’m not going to help you with who the celebrities are.  You don’t need to know their names anyway!  Good luck!

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

This round will last til August.  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.

Leaderboard and rules here.

1. Hugh Laurie  G. The Gun Seller

2.Steve Martin  C. Shopgirl  

3.  Carrie Fisher  F. Postcards from the Edge

4. Craig Ferguson  B. Between the Bridge and the River

5.Ethan Hawke  A. The Hottest State  

6. Gene Hackman  J. Payback at Morning Creek 

7.Meg Tilly   H. Porcupine

8. William Shatner  D. Star Trek:Captain’s Blood

9.  Pamela Anderson   E. Star Struck

10.Courtney Thorne Smith   I. Outside In


Politics. I’m almost afraid to write this post.

Mandy at The Well-Read Wife decided to start a book club.  She loves Michael Ian Black and he co-wrote a book with Meghan McCain, America, You Sexy Bitch.  These two political opposites decided to travel across the country together in an RV to see what they could find out about the state of our country.  Mandy generously offered the first 47 bloggers who responded a free book for her first book club.  I was happy that I made the cut.

Politics can turn people off and divide people.  I certainly don’t want to make this a political blog, but will give you my political background so that you know where I’m coming from.  I grew up in a Democrat house and called the party my own through my college years.  After college I considered myself an Independent, mainly because I didn’t want any party to think they had my vote just because I labeled myself one way or another.  This past spring I wanted to vote in Ohio’s primary and the only one that meant anything was the Republican ticket so I had to declare myself a Republican to vote in it. I am most certainly a RINO – Republican in Name Only.  So, there you have it, my own 20-some voting years as a little bit of everything.  I obviously consider myself a moderate.  And actually, being a moderate in Ohio during a presidential year gives me a feeling of inflated importance when I listen to any of the news channels.  Or listen to the robocalls.  Or turn on the tv and see any commercial/ad.

I am only a few chapters into this book but wanted to participate in Mandy’s discussion.  I like smart women who speak their minds so I had a general sense of liking Meghan McCain.  I really don’t know much about Michael Ian Black, but I did like him in the tv show Ed a few years ago.  I actually liked Meghan more before I started reading this book.  I found her to be more ideological than I thought she might be.  Michael, although calling himself a Democrat, didn’t seem to be trying to rally readers to his party.  These are my first impressions and they are subject to change.

America, You Sexy Bitch: A Love Letter to FreedomI’m choosing one of Mandy’s discussion questions to answer-

2. Michael’s Crocs? Hot or not?  (Michael wore Crocs and linen pants on his trip through Arizona)  I am choosing to answer this one because it is the easiest one of the five.  I love Gage’s Crocs and feel that Crocs are best on kids.  By best, I mean they should only be worn by children.  This may instigate more ill feelings than my thoughts on their gun control or “freedom isn’t free” discussion, but I’m willing to risk it.

I’ll be back with more thoughts as I read, but wanted to acknowledge Mandy and thank her for the chance to be a part of her first book club 🙂  If you have read or are reading the book you can be a part of the book club too!

Sundays with Gage – A Quest for Good Manners

Gage will be 21 months old this week, can you believe it?!  Every day I see his mind working in new ways and it is exciting and fun to watch and encourage.  (The encouraging part is also exhausting, but that’s another post)  I see some toddlers his age doing the most amazing things, like listening to their mamas, drinking from a big boy cup, NOT throwing their sippy cups to the floor, not throwing most things on the floor from their lofty perch in the high chair…Anyway, Gage has a lot to learn about manners.  In the past week or so he’s started saying please (or peas in Gage-speak) with some encouragement and I’m very excited about that!  So, it was a no brainer when I was offered to review the book The Quest for Good Manners by Karin Lefranc and illustrated by Hannah Neale.  I read it to Gage while he was eating breakfast this morning and he was surprising engaged.  I thought there might be too many words, but he was captivated by the illustrations and listened to the whole book.  We took it on our morning walk and I took some pictures of his reactions to the story and pictures…

A Quest for Good Manners follows Princess Rosalind and her pet dragon, Sparkler, on their journey to find good manners.  From the wizard Percival she learns how to handle a fork, from the fairy with purple wings how to say please, thank you, you’re welcome and I’m sorry,  and from Lady Grace how to behave at the dinner able and showing kindness and consideration.

It was the perfect amount of teaching with the perfect amount of story and with a beautiful full-page illustration on every page, this is an easy one to recommend.  Gage and I both loved it. I liked the lesson and I think Gage really liked the pictures.  A fire breathing dragon that burps is going to be a hit with any little boy I think.

I suggest going to the website where you’ll find fun, printable activities for the kids that follow the story.  Placements, coloring pages, connect the dots, and a quiz (you all know how much I love quizzes.  Poor Gage).

A Quest for Good MannersA Quest for Good Manners by Karin Lefranc and illustrated by Hannah NealeFacebook pageWebsite.

I’m giving this 5 stars!!!  Thanks so much to Karin for sending me a copy of her book.  It’s a hit in our house.