Spooky Movie Quiz – guessing closed

Halloween is upon us and maybe you need a scary movie recommendation.  Let’s see if you can identify these movies…

Leave your guesses in a comment.  Good luck!

No Googling or looking at other commenter answers.  Yes, we’re going by the honor system 🙂  Play every week or just one time, you are always welcome 🙂  It only takes once to be eligible for a prize. 

  1. IMG_4579The Shining
  2. nightNight of the Living Dead
  3. cCujo
  4. sSilence of the Lambs
  5. hHalloween
  6. eThe Exorcist
  7. tTexas Chainsaw Massacre
  8. eThe Omen
  9. 228 Days Later
  10. bThe Blair Witch Project
Answers to last week’s Cat quiz here.

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

fpoAnd Then There Were None. Finished 10-14-15, rating 5/5, mystery, pub. 1939

Unabridged Playaway read by Dan Stevens. 6 Hours.

First, there were ten – a curious assortment of strangers summoned as weekend guests to a private island off the coast of Devon. Their host, an eccentric millionaire unknown to all of them, is nowhere to be found. All that the guests have in common is a wicked past they’re unwilling to reveal – and a secret that will seal their fate. For each has been marked for murder. One by one they fall prey. Before the weekend is out, there will be none. And only the dead are above suspicion.   from Goodreads

“Ten little Indian boys went out to dine; One choked his little self and then there were nine.
Nine little Indian boys sat up very late; One overslept himself and then there were eight.
Eight little Indian boys travelling in Devon; One said he’d stay there and then there were seven.
Seven little Indian boys chopping up sticks; One chopped himself in halves and then there were six.
Six little Indian boys playing with a hive; A bumblebee stung one and then there were five.
Five little Indian boys going in for law; One got in Chancery and then there were four.
Four little Indian boys going out to sea; A red herring swallowed one and then there were three.
Three little Indian boys walking in the Zoo; A big bear hugged one and then there were two.
Two little Indian boys sitting in the sun; One got frizzled up and then there was one.
One little Indian boy left all alone; He went and hanged himself and then there were none.”

Eight strangers and a married couple on a deserted, cut-off island don’t even have time to get to know each other before they start to die one by one in creative ways similar to the rhyme.  It’s a slight book so at first ten seems like a lot of characters to tell apart, but since the numbers start to dwindle early on it isn’t much of  problem to know who’s who.  Just when you have a suspect in mind, it becomes an impossibility due to death or alibi and that’s what makes this a fabulous read.  There is a reason that this is the bestselling mystery of all time and not to be missed.  I don’t want to reveal too much because I do think that it’s best to go in with only that information so you can see how it all sorts itself out.

I think any lover of mysteries, Christie or the board game Clue should read this if they haven’t already.

I read this for my Classics Club Challenge.  My goal is to read these 50 classics by January 1020.  This is number six 🙂  Which one should I read next?

Mailbox Monday – October 26

mmb-300x282Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week.Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

It’s been a month? since I posted he books that came into my house. Ugh! Since Gage started school it seems I have had less time for blogging but I’m hoping that turns around.  October, our month of celebrations, is winding down and I’m thankful.  I’m also thankful for all of these goodies that arrived.


Texas Tango by Cynthia D’Alba and the cowboy wind chime arrived from the author after a win at Writerpsace.com

Dr. Caroline Graham is happy with her nomadic lifestyle fulfilling short-term medical contracts. No emotional commitments, no disappointments. She’s always the one to walk away, never the one left behind.

Travis Montgomery has one dream left—to build the ranch he and his wife planned before he lost her to cancer. There’s just one thing standing between him and the last bit of acreage he needs—a last living heir who has one traveling foot out the door…and an unusual request that challenges his determination to never again place his heart at risk.
Warning: This book contains a tortured widower who doesn’t want a wife and an independent doctor who doesn’t want a husband. Hot stuff between the sheets and failed efforts to avoid emotional involvements.  

You by Caroline Kepnes (audio) arrived from the sweet and generous Kathy 🙂

When a beautiful, aspiring writer strides into the East Village bookstore where Joe Goldberg works, he does what anyone would do: he Googles the name on her credit card.

There is only one Guinevere Beck in New York City. She has a public Facebook account and Tweets incessantly, telling Joe everything he needs to know: she is simply Beck to her friends, she went to Brown University, she lives on Bank Street, and she’ll be at a bar in Brooklyn tonight—the perfect place for a “chance” meeting.

Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson arrived from the lovely and generous Care 🙂

Winesburg, Ohio (1919) is Sherwood Anderson’s masterpiece, a cycle of short stories concerning life in a small town at the end of the nineteenth century. At the center is George Willard, a young reporter who becomes the confidant of the town’s solitary figures. Anderson’s stories influenced countless American writers including Hemingway, Faulkner, Updike, Oates and Carver. This new edition corrects errors made in earlier editions and takes into account major criticism and textual scholarship of the last several decades.

Monsterland by Michael Phillip Cash arrived from Red Feather Productions

Welcome to Monsterland – the scariest place on Earth. All guests can interact with real vampires in Vampire Village, be chased by an actual werewolf on the River Run, and walk among the dead in Zombieville.
Wyatt Baldwin, a high school student and life-long movie buff is staring bleakly at a future of flipping burgers. Due to a fortuitous circumstance, Wyatt and his friends are invited to the star-studded opening of Monsterland. In a theme park full of real vampires, werewolves and zombies, what could possibly go wrong?

The Hollow Ground by Natalie S Harnett was a birthday gift from my mom.

The underground mine fires ravaging Pennsylvania coal country have forced Brigid Howley and her family to seek refuge with her estranged grandparents, the formidable Gram and the Black Lung stricken Gramp. Tragedy is no stranger to the Howleys, a proud Irish-American clan who takes strange pleasure in the “curse” laid upon them generations earlier by a priest who ran afoul of the Molly Maguires. The weight of this legacy rests heavily on a new generation, when Brigid, already struggling to keep her family together, makes a grisly discovery in a long-abandoned bootleg mine shaft. In the aftermath, decades’ old secrets threaten to prove just as dangerous to the Howleys as the burning, hollow ground beneath their feet. Inspired by real-life events in now-infamous Centralia and the equally devastated town of Carbondale, The Hollow Ground is an extraordinary debut with an atmospheric, voice-driven narrative and an indelible sense of place.

Let’s Just Say It Wasn’t Pretty by Diane Keaton came from my mom too.

Diane Keaton has spent a lifetime coloring outside the lines of the conventional notion of beauty. In Let’s Just Say It Wasn’t Pretty, she shares the wisdom she’s accumulated through the years as a mother, daughter, actress, artist, and international style icon. This is a book only Diane Keaton could write—a smart and funny chronicle of the ups and downs of living and working in a world obsessed with beauty.
In her one-of-a-kind voice, Keaton offers up a message of empowerment for anyone who’s ever dreamed of kicking back against the “should”s and “supposed to”s that undermine our pursuit of beauty in all its forms. From a mortifying encounter with a makeup artist who tells her she needs to get her eyes fixed to an awkward excursion to Victoria’s Secret with her teenage daughter, Keaton shares funny and not-so-funny moments from her life in and out of the public eye. 

Cats Quiz

Meet Razzi and Sammi IMG_4474These two siblings came home yesterday, not even 3 months old yet or 3 pounds.  I’ve already had to take Razzi off my lap and the keyboard twice just as I’ve been typing!  In honor of the newest members of our household We’re going to have a cat quiz. Don’t feel bad if you only remember a few since I’m not giving you options this week.

Leave your guesses in a comment.  Good luck!

No Googling or looking at other commenter answers.  Yes, we’re going by the honor system 🙂  Play every week or just one time, you are always welcome 🙂  It only takes once to be eligible for a prize. 

  1. I belonged to Hermione Granger.  Crookshanks
  2. I love lasagna and hate Mondays.   Garfield
  3. I lived with Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.  Cat
  4. You might remember my sexy self from the Shrek movies, but I also had movies of my own.   Puss in Boots
  5. I have a love-hate relationship with that mouse Jerry.   Tom
  6. I caused some trouble in the movie Meet the Parents.  Jinx
  7. I was the cat in The Black Cat by Edgar Allan Poe.   Pluto
  8. Dr. Suess gave me a really cool striped hat.   Cat in the Hat
  9. I was killed by a truck in Pet Sematary, for a while.   Church
  10. My grin is famous!   Cheshire

Answer’s to last weeks Aging quiz here.

Gage turns 5 today!

I cannot believe my little man is 5 years old today.  He is funny, smart, loving, goofy, social, curious, and opinionated. He continues to surprise me with his progress. I spend a lot of (way too much) time worrying about the important day-to-day struggles but today I just sit and appreciate him and how far he’s come.  We had his (crazy) birthday party yesterday at the nature center where he went to camp and he had a blast.  I like parties and I like to invite all of Gage’s friends because I want anyone who wants to help him celebrate to come. We had 21 kids (and 2 newborns) plus parents.  It was chaos 🙂  The naturalist spent and hour with he kids, taking them on a walk outside to dig in the dirt for things to feed the center’s turtle and they were able to pet a snake.  It was when they came back in for the cake  that things got silly.  We started singing Happy Birthday and I realized I had only put 4 candles on the cake!!  I had to stop everyone and add one, jeesh!  So we sang again and a friend next to Gage blew out the candles.  Tears came and we relit the candles and sang AGAIN!  But he was upset and despite lots of moist blows could not get that 5th candle blown out (more tears).  But after that things went back to normal until the last few of his friends left and then he was sad 😦  My guy does not mind a crazy party!

Here he is through the years….




4th birthday4!




And his birth story is here 🙂

The Blind Side by Michael Lewis

fpoThe Blind Side. Finished 10-6-15, rating 4.25/5, sports, 320 pages, pub. 2006

Unabridged audio read by Stephen Hoye. 11 hours, 47 minutes.

When we first meet Michael Oher is one of thirteen children by a mother addicted to crack; he does not know his real name, his father, his birthday, or how to read or write. He takes up football, and school, after a rich, white, Evangelical family plucks him from the streets. Then two great forces alter Oher: the family’s love and the evolution of professional football itself into a game in which the quarterback must be protected at any cost. Our protagonist becomes the priceless package of size, speed, and agility necessary to guard the quarterback’s greatest vulnerability: his blind side.    from Goodreads

I loved this book, even the very footbally parts.  Many people have seen the movie that won a Best Actress Award for Sandra Bullock and are familiar with the rags to riches story of NFL player Michael Oher.  His upbringing was heartbreaking, but good fortune finally showed him some love by getting him off the rough Memphis streets and into a private Christian school in his teens and having the privileged Tuohy family adopt him as one of their own.  His transformation was inspiring and proved so many things about race and wealth and the importance of a loving family.

The Tuohy’s seemed too good to be true in this book (and that fact that the author and Sean Tuohy are old friends should be taken into account).  What they did was the epitome of charity, not just giving money, but charity of the heart.  They saw Michael had a need, housing and someone to look after him, and they stepped in, arms wide open.  When this large black man joined their Southern white Christian Republican family others may have had reservations, but the Tuohy’s paid no attention.  The miracles they were able to make happen for Michael showed great love.

At its heart it is a football book and alternating with Michael’s story is the history of the left offensive tackle position, the very one  that Michael would be called to play because of his size and athletic ability.  It all started in the 1980’s with Lawrence Taylor and Lewis managed to make even these somewhat dry passages come alive with humor.  It deftly explains why the position became so important and allowed Michael the privilege of becoming so sought after, essentially every college in the country making visits and calls to get him to their campus.

I did have my reservations about the way Michael was portrayed.  So many stories about his lack of understanding of basic things, while highlighting the economic divide also repeatedly painted him in an unflattering light.  He is still playing in the NFL and has recently talked about this in an interview.

“People look at me, and they take things away from me because of a movie. They don’t really see the skills and the kind of player I am.  This stuff, calling me a bust, people saying if I can play or not … that has nothing to do with football. It’s something else off the field. That’s why I don’t like that movie.”

As much as Michael may not like it, the glaring light shone on privilege, be it the privilege of race or money, is an important one.  The inner city public schools were, at best, negligent and the city not much better.  The story of Michael Oher shows one of the few that made it, his last NFL contract paying him $7M over two years.  And the story of the Tuohys show that with a charitable heart the world can change, one kid at a time.

This is a football book, but Michael’s story will appeal to anyone.  If you don’t like football, you can just skip those parts 🙂

Aging Bestsellers Quiz – guessing closed

Since it’s the week of birthdays around here I thought I’d see how well you can estimate ages.  I perused the bestseller list this week and found these authors.  You need to tell me which one you think is OLDER.  Easy right?  Leave your guesses in a comment.  Good luck!

No Googling or looking at other commenter answers.  Yes, we’re going by the honor system 🙂  Play every week or just one time, you are always welcome 🙂  It only takes once to be eligible for a prize. 

1.Harper Lee Nov07.JPGHarper Lee 89 or Margaret Atwood 75Margaret Atwood Eden Mills Writers Festival 2006.jpg

2.James Patterson.jpgJames Patterson 68 or Jan Karon 78

3.Lee Child, Bouchercon 2010.jpgLee Child 60 or Kristin Hannah 55KristinHannah

4.Lauren groff bw.jpgLauren Groff 37 or Anthony Doerr 42Anthony Doerr - Author - Peerie Profile

5.Karin Slaughter 2012.jpgKarin Slaughter 44 or Jo Jo Moyes 46Jojo-Moyes

6.Jonathan Franzen 2011 Shankbone 2.JPGJonathan Franzen 56 or Jim Butcher 43where I'll be No panels scheduled at this time.

7.McCullough I.jpgDavid McCullough 82 or Clive Cussler 84Clive Cussler is back on the list with 'The Striker.' Check out his ...

8.SueGrafton.jpgSue Grafton 75 or Iris Johansen 77 Iris Johansen (born April 7, 1938) is an American author of crime ...

9.Catherine CoulterCatherine Coulter 72 or Danielle Steel 68Danielle Steel

10.BillOReillySept2010.jpgBill O’Reilly 66 or Nora Roberts 65Nora Roberts

Answers to last week’s Old School Quiz here.

Happy Birthday to me!

Another birthday and a check-in with the bucket list I made when I was 40.  I did visit a new state and have managed to raise a pretty cool almost 5 year old and am getting ready to celebrate another year of marriage.  But I really need to pick something to mark off my list by next year!

1. Write and publish a novel.

2. Open my own bookstore.

3. Spend a night in an English castle.

4. Visit Ireland.

5. Meet a US president.

6. Learn to start a fire without matches. (this probably comes from watching too many seasons of Survivor)

7. Learn to play the piano.

8. Raise a happy and successful son.

9. Celebrate my 50th anniversary. (almost 17 in)

10. Make exercise a daily priority.

11. Get back to my wedding weight, just once.

12. Try a vegetarian diet for a year.

13. Drive across the country.

14. Visit all 50 states. I got to mark off Indiana this year when I spent time at the University of Notre Dame, giving me 23.


15. Stay in an overnight car on a train trip.

16. Fly first class.

17. Take Gage to Italy.

18. Ride a boat down the Mississippi River.

19. Trace ancestry to when all branches entered the US.  (we’ve been here a long time so this will take many more years of research)

20. Tour Napa Valley.

21. Live somewhere warm year round. (As a midwestern girl I love my seasons but I’d like to see if I’m missing anything :))

22. Volunteer on a political campaign.

23. Sit on a jury.

24. Buy only American for 1 year.

25. Have a library with wall-to-wall built-in bookcases.

26. Write and mail 1000 letters. These can include cards if I include a personal note.

27. Be an extra in a movie.

28. Watch a play from backstage.

29. Go skiing.

30. Attend a murder mystery dinner. 9/2013

31. Volunteer weekly.

32. Read all the books I own.  (I’d like to have no TBR pile just once.  I can give away books to reach this goal)

33. Start my own book club.

34. See all 4 tennis majors. (2 down, Wimbledon & Australian Open to go) A few throwback pics for fun.

US Open 2005

French Open 2010

35. Give blood.

36. Sleep under the stars.

37. Have a hammock.

38. Fire a gun.

39. Own a B&B.

40. Do a random act of kindness every day.

Old School Quiz – guessing closed

When I first started doing quizzes in 2009 I focused on classics so for this first quiz of the new round of quizzes (please join in!) I thought I’d go back to the Classics.  I’ll be giving you a one sentence review (I’m using the Webster’s Dictionary of American Authors) of past Pulitzer Prize winners and since it’s the first quiz of the round I’ll even give you the choices with the year they won the Pulitzer.  Leave your answers in a comment.

No Googling or looking at other commenter answers.  Yes, we’re going by the honor system 🙂  Play every week or just one time, you are always welcome 🙂  It only takes once to be eligible for a prize. 

Titles-The Age of Innocence (1921), All the King’s Men (1947), Beloved (1988), The Bridge of San Luis Rey (1928), The Confessions of Nat Turner (1968), The Good Earth (1932), The Grapes of Wrath (1940), The Old Man and the Sea (1953), To Kill A Mockingbird (1961), The Yearling (1939)

1. It concerns an old Cuban fisherman named Santiago who finally catches a magnificent fish after weeks of not catching anything.  The Old Man and the Sea

2. The work presents a picture of upper-class New York Society in the late 19th century.  The Age of Innocence

3. It takes place in a small Alabama town in the 1930’s and is told from the point of view of six-year-old Jean Louise Finch.  To Kill A Mockingbird

4. The story concerns the rise and fall of Willie Stark, a character modeled on Huey Long, the governor of Louisiana during the late 1920’s and early 1930’s.  All the King’s Men

5. A fictional account of the Virginia slave revolt of 1831, the novel is narrated by the leader of the rebellion.   The Confessions of Nat Turner

6. Set in the backwoods of northern Florida, the story concerns the relationship between 12-year-old Jody Baxter and Flag, the fawn he adopts.   The Yearling

7. The plot centers on five travelers in 18th century Peru who are killed when a bridge across a canyon collapses.   The Bridge of San Luis Rey

8. The work examines the destructive legacy of slavery, as it chronicles the life of a black woman named Sethe.   Beloved

9. Set during the Great Depression, it traces the migration of an Oklahoma Dust Bowl family to California and their subsequent hardships as migrant farm workers.   The Grapes of Wrath

10. [It] follows the life of Wang Lung, from his beginnings as an impoverished peasant to his eventual position as a prosperous landowner.   The Good Earth

The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar

fpoThe Space Between Us. Finished 9-29-15, rating 4.75/5. fiction, 321 pages, pub. 2005

Unabridged audio read by Purva Bedi. 12.25 hours.

Poignant, evocative, and unforgettable, The Space Between Us is an intimate portrait of a distant yet familiar world. Set in modern-day India, it is the story of two compelling and achingly real women: Sera Dubash, an upper-middle-class Parsi housewife whose opulent surroundings hide the shame and disappointment of her abusive marriage, and Bhima, a stoic illiterate hardened by a life of despair and loss, who has worked in the Dubash household for more than twenty years. A powerful and perceptive literary masterwork, author Thrity Umrigar’s extraordinary novel demonstrates how the lives of the rich and poor are intrinsically connected yet vastly removed from each other, and how the strong bonds of womanhood are eternally opposed by the divisions of class and culture.

from Goodreads

This is a tough one to review because I have such mixed emotions about the book.  I’ll start with where I picked it up, at a 2012 book signing the first time I met Thrity and thought she was smart and engaging.  So, it makes sense that I’m only reading my first book by her over three years later, right?  Sadly, it seems par for the course for me these days.  As I make more of an effort to read what I already have on my shelf I often start with the audio and pick up the book if the time allows.  This was such a perfect choice with this book.  For almost two years Gage had a play date/social group every week with Advi and during these two hours I got to know his mom, who is a doctor from India.  This group stopped meeting in August and listening to this perfectly read audio made me miss her.  The accents were uncanny in their similarity.  Anyway, this led to warm and fuzzy feelings about the narrator, Purdi Bedi and I resisted picking up the book just so I could listen to the whole thing.

This beautiful look at Bombay’s unforgiving class issues was at times slow, but always had me wanting to hear more.  Bhima, living in the slums with her pregnant granddaughter, was all old-school subservience.  Sera, living in comfort with her pregnant daughter and son-in-law, while more advanced than her friends, still harbored feelings of superiority toward Bhima even after all of their years and trials together.  The stark contrast of their living circumstances and intimacy of their working relationship lend both women to question where loyalty and friendship end and the status quo remains.  I wish Dinaz, the bright light for most of this story, could have provided a much-needed shot of happiness, but in the end, no one is unscathed.

The gritty reality of Bombay became almost another character.  I was there, thanks to Umrigar.  The city, the issues concerning women, friendship, class, and how you deal with heartbreak, all combine to make this story completely satisfying.  I wish there had been different fates for some, but that’s because I want everyone to have a happy ending.

Quality storytelling in the alluring city of Bombay is why  I loved this one so much.