Spring Break Fever Quiz – guessing closed

I’m guessing I’m not the only one looking out my window at a yard full of snow.  In spring.  (sigh)  It’s Spring Break time around here and most of the kids I know head south and don’t stop till they hit a beach in Florida.  So, let’s head to Florida.

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 (sometime in June).  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 Googling:)

1. Before Scout Finch there was Jody Baxter, the ten year-old hero of The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings.

2. Duma Key by Stephen King


3. ZNH’s eyes were watching from Florida.  Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

4. What J MacD series is set in the Sunshine State?  Travis McGee

5. Demi Moore showed off her implants on the big screen in this tease of a movie based on Elmore’s novel.  Striptease

6. Which one of Grafton’s alphabet series was is set in Florida?  B is for Burglar

7. This tragic novel of two desperate souls looking for a better life in Florida was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 1986.  Continental Drift by Russell Banks

8. This colorful Oprah’s Book Club pick from Quindlen way back when takes place in Florida.  Black & Blue

9. In Florida this home is a tourist attraction.  Who lived here?  Ernest Hemingway

10. Can you recognize this Florida son by his signature?  Carl Hiaasen


Last week’s Tall Guy Quiz here.  Leaderboard here.

A Gentle Rain, by Deborah Smith

Cover ImageFinished on 1-20-09, rating 4/5, fiction, pub. 2007

Shakey pointed a fake finger at me.  “You and that scar-faced mare?  You’re racin’ for all of us who are missin’ a part or two.  You probably won’t win, but at least you’ll get in the game.  You’re proof that God needs even the angels who are missin’ a wing.”

Chapter 20

Kara was raised as one of the elite.  Worth millions, with powerful friends in all the right places, she always felt inferior to her very successful relatives.  When her parents die she discovers she had been adopted and decides to find her bith parents.  Mac and Lily are still together and living on the Thocco Ranch.  Kara changes her name and heads to Florida where she ingratiates herself into the lives of everyone at the ranch. 

Ben Thocco has come up the hard way.  Born dirt poor he lost his parents at a young age and had to escape to Mexico with his younger brother so the courts would not separate them.  Now, in his late 30’s, he is a successful Florida ranch owner still caring for his younger brother who suffers from Down’s Syndrome and a serious heart condition.  His ranch hands are special needs adult who contribute to the ranch and form a makeshift family of society’s outcasts. 

This story of mentally challenged adults and a love between two people who need each other really touched me.  The theme of being different and being loved and accepted anyway is one that we should all be reminded of from time to time.  The book drew me in because of the people, but there was also so much story to tell.  Ben is fighting to save his ranch and his brother’s life and Kara is trying to come to terms with her wealth and what is best for her birth parents. 

I thought the last section of the book had more story than it really needed and I wish I could say more, but it might spoil it.  The end was too tidy and that is the only reason this didn’t rate higher for me. 

This book will appeal to many people.  Jane Austen fans will love the quotes sprinkled throughout the book.  Floridians, ranchers, and horse racing fans will enjoy the story.  Anyone interested in the emotional impact of finding out you’re adopted will not be disappointed.  And, of course, anyone who has someone in their life that is different will appreciate the story of the Thocco Ranch.

Naked Came the Manatee, Carl Hiaasen editor

Cover ImageFinished 1-17-09, rating 2.5/5, fiction, pub. 1996

This novel is a serial collaborataion of 13 of South Florida’s best writers and was originally written for The Miami Herald’s Tropic magazine.  David Barry writes the first chapter, passes it off to Les Standiford, Paul Levine, Edna Buchanan, James W. Hall, Carolina Hospital, Evelyn Mayerson, Tananarive Due, Brian Antoni, Vicki Hendricks, John Dufresne, Elmore Leonard, and Carl Hiaasen plays clean up in the last chapter.  A few of the authors’ serial characters show up- Buchanan’s Britt Montero, Standiford’s John Deal, and Levine’s Jake Lassiter.

A 102 year old woman rescues a man from the bay and he is in possession of a canister with shocking contents.  The canister is one of a pair, both containing the head of Fidel Castro.  There are chases, murders, confusion, and a multitude of characters, including Jimmy Carter and Fidel Castro.  And there is a very introspective manatee in the bay named Booger, who thinks of the 102 year old grandmother as his ‘ma’. 

This is an interesting experiment, but it is a hot mess of a novel.  There are characters that move in and out of the story with little or no explanation, each author wanting to add something new instead of trying to build on what’s there.  The last chapter where Carl Hiaasen tries to explain everything is pretty funny considering what he had to work with.  It was wacky in a good way, but it was probably best suited to it’s original form, as a weekly magazine installment.