The Doll Winner is…

The Doll (Vanessa Michael Munroe Series #3)is Kathy!!!  And I’ve decided to award the France journal to the runner up, Anne!!!!  Here’s how it went down

IMG_285088 possible choices

IMG_2851A pantless Gage reaches in to pick a winner

IMG_2853He draws the two names who had the most entries so I make him draw again between those two names.

IMG_2857He happily chooses Kathy and shows off the shiner he got today.  Never a dull moment with this one.

Congratulations Kathy and Anne!


Stained French Quiz & 2 giveaways – closed

This past week has gotten away from me, so I’m making this easy for you and me both.  I love visiting old churches.  I didn’t get to as many as I wanted to in France, but next time!  I’ve chosen 7 of the best pics I have from the stained glass that I found when touring.  The ‘quiz’ (a survey really) is that I want you to choose your favorite 3, in order.  I’m curious to see what your faves are.  I’ll tally up the votes and let you know what the favorites are next week.

IMG_2834I’m not awarding points this week, BUT I will be giving one lucky participant a pretty French journal.  Gage will draw a name next week.

The Doll (Vanessa Michael Munroe Series #3)I’m also drawing a winner for a signed copy of the Taylor Stevens latest. Hurry the winner will be chosen Wednesday at noon.  Click here for the details.

Here are your gorgeous choices. Just rank your top 3 in order as a comment.

Here is the order you ranked them in-

7.France 237

6.France 194

1.France 209

2.France 240

3.France 119

5.France 190

4.France 125



I hope you’ll click on them to see the detail.  Answers to last week’s quiz here.

The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley, spreading the love

The Winter SeaThe Winter Sea. Finished 7-24-13, rating 5/5, historical fiction, 544 pages, pub.2010

History has all but forgotten the spring of 1708, when an invasion fleet of French and Scottish soldiers nearly succeeded in landing the exiled James Stewart in Scotland to reclaim his crown.

Now, Carrie McClelland hopes to turn that story into her next bestselling novel. Settling herself in the shadow of Slains Castle, she creates a heroine named for one of her own ancestors, and starts to write.

But when she discovers her novel is more fact than fiction, Carrie wonders if she might be dealing with ancestral memory…making her the only living person who can know the truth of what did happen all those years ago – a tale of love and loyalty…and ultimate betrayal.

from Susanna Kearsley website

Satisfied. I finished this book tonight and I am completely satisfied.  I was drawn into the story right away.  Scotland, both now and in 1908, is an appealing setting and the idea of a successful woman being able to pick up and move anywhere in the world to world is exciting.  I admit to being a little confused in the earlier chapters by all of the people and politics of 1708, but I got a handle on most of them and dismissed the others until they became useful in the story 😉

I was rooting for Carrie and Sophia to find love and happiness. I was sure of Carrie’s fate and hopeful for Sophia, but I did get nervous.  I also kind of love that Sophia’s happy ending did not include everything she wanted.  I shed tears and that’s not something I do often when reading a novel.

My love of genealogy was celebrated and Carrie’s discovery of ancestral memory was a fun one to consider.  We all know we share DNA with our ancestors, why not the memories of them too?  It’s safe to say that we won’t come close to this romantic notion in our own experience, but it is fun to dream.

A book full of love, political intrigue, strong women, strong men, mystery, and both storylines were good.   I wish there’d been more of Carrie’s story but that’s because I’m greedy.  I didn’t want it to end!

I will definitely be reading Kearsley again.  I bought this for my Nook.



This isn’t Slains Castle or even Scotland, but it is a French castleFrance 054that’s close enough, right?  .(courtesy of Bookbath)

I know that! French Quiz – guessing closed

France 065Just a pretty day in the French countryside.  Beautiful isn’t it?

Since you all seemed to appreciate the ‘easier’ quiz last week I thought I’d not stress you out too much this week.  Just fill in these book titles with words you might associate with France.  I’ll give you a bonus point if you give me the author too!

I hope that you’ll try your hand at my (mostly) bookish quizzes every week, but it’s okay if you just want to play when the quiz interests you.  If you play you are eligible for a prize at the end of the round.  For all of the details, click here.  Submit your answers in the comment section – I will stop by and hide them throughout the week but try not to copy off anyone else :)   You have til Sunday to guess.

No need to know all the answers, one guess and you’ll be eligible for a prize.  No Googling :)

1. The Long Quiche Goodbye by Aames

2. I Am the Cheese by Cormier

3. The Elegance of the Hedgehog

4. Paris Trout by Dexter

5. How to Dine on Killer Wine by Warner

6. Champagne for One by Stout

7. Murder in the Bastille by Black

8. Anna and the French Kiss by Perkins

9. The Romance Reader’s Book Club by Cannon

10.  Murder After a Fashion by Carroll

Answers to last week’s quiz here.  Leaderboard here.

Don’t forget to enter my giveaway of The Doll by Taylor Stevens here.

Weekends with Gage – Caterpillar to Butterfly

This week Gage came home from summer camp  with a little caterpillar he’d made out of a milk carton and he was so proud of it.  When I say made I’m pretty sure he just put the green paint on, but he was excited about it.  We do read The Hungry Caterpillar by Eric CarleThe Very Hungry Caterpillar  so I thought it would be fun to make a butterfly to go with this caterpillar.  My mom cut out some beautiful wings and I collected some things to glue and stick on.  He was having a hyper day so I wasn’t sure how receptive he would be, but he saw the set up on the table and started saying butterfly and getting excited so I thought we had a chance.  He lasted about 5 minutes, but that’s okay.  He glued, stuck, and markered it up.  My mom and I put the antennae and cotton bodies on after.  Ta-da.  Crafts are not his favorite thing so I’m going to have to think of something more active for this week.

butterflythe set up Those cardboard rolls in the middle were going to be our bodies until we went with something simpler)

butterfly1Carefully placing a blue pom pom that he will try to move a few times.

butterfly2Having grandma make one too was part of the fun!

butterfly3And the finished product.  Can you tell which one is Gage’s?  I put his caterpillar above  it as a hint.

France 042There’s no butterfly here now but it would be the perfect place for one 😉  This was taken in a village in the French countryside. Sorry I don’t know which one.(courtesy of Bookbath)



Saturday Snapshot – Versailles

We took a train from Paris to Versailles.  I want to say that it took about 45 minutes, but don’t hold me to that since it’s been a few years.  When we arrived we started to walk over and were told that they weren’t giving tours that day because of the rain.  We took our time and walked over anyway and were pleasantly surprised that the official looking lady by the train station had been wrong.  The ‘home’ was over-the-top opulence as you would expect and the gardens were so perfect that even the intermittent showers couldn’t diminish them.  I wish we’d had a whole, sunny day to discover all the nooks and crannies.

France 082France 094France 225France 215France 228France 229France 088(don’t tell Jason I put this one in, okay?)

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Melinda of West Metro Mommy.  It’s easy to participate – just post a picture that was taken by you, a friend, or a family member and add your link on Melinda’s site.

(courtesy of Bookbath)

French Milk by Lucy Knisley

French MilkFrench Milk. Finished 7-17-13, rating 3.25, graphic memoir, 193 pages, pub. 2007

Celebrating her mom’s 50th birthday and her own 22nd, Lucy and her mom decided to visit Paris together for a month.  They rented an apartment in the fifth arrondissement and started touring the city in January of 2007 and this book is her travel journal.  Lucy, attending the Center for Cartoon Studies, showed her skills in this graphic novel.

I was drawn in right away by her humor and the way she told her story.  The photographs that were interspersed with the drawings made it feel more personal.  I felt like I was on the streets of Paris stopping in cafes and drinking lots of wine and eating lots of cheese and bread.  Her quirkiness was refreshing and I love the idea of doing something so fantastic with your mother.

She lost me a little bit about halfway through.  She became whiny and it was hard t o feel sympathy for her when she complained of missing home.  One month in Paris is such a wonderful gift!  I know I am saying that as a 40 something and Lucy had not yet turned 22, so maybe that was the problem.  I probably wouldn’t have appreciated it as much at 22 as I would now.  After she recovered from that mood the book became more about what they ate and where when I wanted more story.

Overall, this is a short, easy to read travel journal.  I think it would be a perfect read for anyone planning to travel there.  It’s perfect to get restaurant and shopping ideas., but for me it didn’t deliver enough about her relationship with her mother, and that’s what I was expecting.

This was from my personal library.

Traveling down the SeineFrance 154(courtesy of Bookbath)

Scrambled France Quiz – guessing closed

The last few Paris quizzes have been challenging, so I thought I’d make things a little easier this week.  Just unscramble the titles of these classic novels set in France. I chose them because I think you’ll recognize them all!

Just for some extra help here are the authors who wrote them-Camus, Hemingway, Dickens, Hugo, Collette, Dumas, Leroux

I hope that you’ll try your hand at my (mostly) bookish quizzes every week, but it’s okay if you just want to play when the quiz interests you.  If you play you are eligible for a prize at the end of the round.  For all of the details, click here.  Submit your answers in the comment section – I will stop by and hide them throughout the week but try not to copy off anyone else :)   You have til Sunday to guess.

No need to know all the answers, one guess and you’ll be eligible for a prize.  No Googling 🙂

1. IIGG – Gigi by Colette

2. A EALT FO OWT TIIECS – A Tale of Two Cities by Dickens

3. HET HETER EEESTRSKUM – The Three Musketeers by Dmas

4. EEAMMD VRYBOA – Madame Bovary by Flaubert

5. ELS SABLEMISER – Les Miserables by Hugo

6. TEH COTNU FO ONETM SITCRO – The Count of Monte Cristo by Dumas

7. HET BACKHHUNC FO NOTER DEAM – The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Hugo

8. ETH TOMANPH FO HET PRAOE – The Phantom of the Opera by Leroux

9. HET UNS SLOA ISERS – The Sun Also Rises by Hemingway

10. EHT RTSANGRE – The Stranger by Camus

Answers to the last two quizzes (French Actors) (Eiffel Tower)

Don’t forget to enter my giveaway of The Doll by Taylor Stevens here.

France 266For some reason I loved this image.  This was one of our hotels in Paris, the rooms were beautiful. (courtesy of Bookbath)

The Doll Giveaway!

So, I was able to spend some time with Taylor Stevens, the author of the Vanessa Michael Monroe series, last month and brought home a new, signed hardcover copy of the latest in the series, #3.  I decided to give it away this month since Taylor assured me that France is in the book 🙂  Although I haven’t read this one yet I can recommend this series for thriller lovers and those who love kick ass women.

The Doll (Vanessa Michael Munroe Series #3)The Doll, 2013

Haunted by a life of violence and as proficient with languages as she is with knives, Vanessa Michael Munroe, chameleon and hunter, has built her life on a reputation for getting things done—dangerous and often not-quite-legal things. Born to missionary parents in lawless Africa, taken under the tutelage of gunrunners, and tortured by one of the jungle’s most brutal men, Munroe was forced to do whatever it took to stay alive.
   The ability to survive, fight, adapt, and blend has since taken her across the globe on behalf of corporations, heads of state, and the few private clients who can afford her unique brand of expertise, and these abilities have made her enemies. 
   On a busy Dallas street, Munroe is kidnapped by an unseen opponent and thrust into an underground world where women and girls are merchandise and a shadowy figure known as The Doll Maker controls her every move. While trusted friends race to unravel where she is and why she was taken, everything pivots on one simple choice: Munroe must use her unique set of skills to deliver a high-profile young woman into the same nightmare that she once endured, or condemn to torture and certain death the one person she loves above all else.
   Driven by the violence that has made her what she is, cut off from help, and with attempts to escape predicted and prevented, Munroe will hunt for openings, for solutions, and a way to strike back at a man who holds all the cards. Because only one thing is certain: she cannot save everyone. 
   In this high-octane thriller for fans of Lee Child, Stieg Larsson, and Robert Ludlum’s Bourne trilogy, Vanessa Michael Munroe will have to fight fast, smart and furiously to overcome a dangerous nemesis and deliver her trademark brand of justice.

from Goodreads

Want to win a signed copy?  All you need to do is leave a comment with your email address.  I will count EVERY comment you leave on any of my posts this month as an entry.  Just make sure you leave your email on this post so I know you want it. I’ll tally previous and future July post comments for the drawing.  Open worldwide 🙂

Gage will draw a winner on July 31, so get to commenting 🙂

France 127I bet the super heroine, Vanessa Michael Monroe, uses these sidewalk gas pumps!  (courtesy of Bookbath)

Weekends with Gage – Gage and the Purple Crayon

Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson is a book that I have loved sharing with Gage.  It is all about imagination and that’s something I want to encourage in Gage.  The fact that purple is his favorite crayon color  and that there was a scary dragon in it made this an easy sell.  It is a little long, but Gage makes it all the way through.  I’d say It’s perfect for kids 2 1/2-5 and there are just so many activities to try with this one.  I decided to let Gage make his own. book.  Harold was armed only with a crayon, but Gage got stickers and a little help from mom.

For prep I folded 4 sheets of paper in half and then a sheet of white cardstock for the cover, collected purple crayons and stickers that could help with storytelling.  We very loosely used some of the scenes from the book.  Gage had fun even if I had to prod with the storytelling.  I will do this activity again and each time prompt more from Gage so I have to provide less.  I made the cover myself after he was done 🙂

purplethe set up

purple 1what should I put on the road?

purple 2sometimes one crayon is not enough

purple 3and sometimes I needed help.

purple 4I’m feeling proud.

purple 5the final productpurple 6purple 7I had so much fun with Gage I’m thinking of making one myself. I think this book is a must have for any kid.  Harold’s that is, Gage’s isn’t for sale!

France 041There’s a little bit of purple in here :(courtesy of Bookbath))