Thursday, April 30, 2015

MOVIE - Danny Collins

R (1:46)
Wide Release 4/11/2015 - but very difficult to find
Viewed on April 30, 2015, while I played hooky from work on my birthday
RT Critic: 78   Audience:   82
Cag:  6/Awesome  
Directed by Dan Fogelman
Bleecker Street Films
Based on the book by

Al Pacino, Annette Bening, Jennifer Garner, Bobby Cannavale, Christopher Plummer

My comments:  I think I've found a new favorite here.  The members of the cast were all terrific names and did a splendid job, especially Bobby Cannavale.   There was heart, there was humor, there was battling demons and addictions, there was sickness and health, there was family and the lack of it, and there was a whole lot of John Lennon.  Most of the music was his, and the turning point in the life of this aging rocker was a long-lost letter from him.  I was really into it. I just love the way the story was told, unfolded, a little bit of something for everyone!

RT Summary:  Al Pacino stars as aging 1970s rocker Danny Collins, who can't give up his hard-living ways. But when his manager (Christopher Plummer) uncovers a 40 year-old undelivered letter written to him by John Lennon, he decides to change course and embarks on a heartfelt journey to rediscover his family, find true love and begin a second act. 

31. The Goblin Emperor - Katherine Addison

read on my iPhone
2014 Tor Books
446 pgs.
Genre/Audience: I've been calling it YA, but it actually may be considered ADULT Fantasy
Finished 4/29/2015
Goodreads rating: 4.10
My rating:    3/Liked it some of the time (see notes below)
Setting;  A fantasy goblin world

1st sentence/s:  "Maia woke with his cousin's cold fingers digging into his shoulder."

My comments:       I SO don't know how to rate this book.  I was reading it for my Young Adult book group, although even though it isn't, apparently, a YA, this was the chosen title.  I read it on my phone and got completely flummoxed after a very short time because the names of people and places are extremely difficult, long, and too similar to each other.  I went crazy!  So much of it wasn't making sense because I wasn't sure who the people were.  So at pg. 178 I started over and started taking short notes to remind who was who and what was what.  That really helped!
     I was happy to discover when my book group met, that I wasn't the only person who had difficulty with all the names.  And, I discovered that there is a sort-of-glossary at the back of the book to help with this.  Since I was reading this on my phone I hadn't a clue.  So when I checked it out, I discovered that my notes were WAY more helpful than the glossary, which doesn't clarify and differentiate enough between the characters to be anything more than superficially helpful.
     There are a zillion characters. The plot got more and more interesting. I ended up really, really liking Maia, the protagonist - what a sweet young man.  But I still don't know how to rate it, for I had too many ups and downs can't totally recommend it.  I can only partially picture this world.  Perhaps because this is only my first foray into this sort of fantasy?
     Okay....so 3 means "liked it."  I guess, all in all, that's what I'm going to have to say about it.

Goodreads book summary:  A vividly imagined fantasy of court intrigue and dark magics in a steampunk-inflected world, by a brilliant young talent.
          The youngest, half-goblin son of the Emperor has lived his entire life in exile, distant from the Imperial Court and the deadly intrigue that suffuses it. But when his father and three sons in line for the throne are killed in an "accident," he has no choice but to take his place as the only surviving rightful heir.
           Entirely unschooled in the art of court politics, he has no friends, no advisors, and the sure knowledge that whoever assassinated his father and brothers could make an attempt on his life at any moment.
          Surrounded by sycophants eager to curry favor with the na├»ve new emperor, and overwhelmed by the burdens of his new life, he can trust nobody. Amid the swirl of plots to depose him, offers of arranged marriages, and the specter of the unknown conspirators who lurk in the shadows, he must quickly adjust to life as the Goblin Emperor. All the while, he is alone, and trying to find even a single friend... and hoping for the possibility of romance, yet also vigilant against the unseen enemies that threaten him, lest he lose his throne – or his life.
          This exciting fantasy novel, set against the pageantry and color of a fascinating, unique world, is a memorable debut for a great new talent

Letterboxing #2 - My First Try in Tucson

Sunday, 4/17/15
Irish Bell
Tucson, Arizona

Gorgeous spring day, high 70's and super sunny, I headed down Pantano to Michael Perry Park - a small playground, a fenced baseball field, rest rooms, and access to the Pantano Wash bicycle/walking  path.  But it was on a short gravel path just beside the paved bike path where, under a pile of rocks at the base of some shrubs I found "Irish Bell."  Good directions other than one small glitch - the gate to go through is on the WEST side of the parking lot, not the east side as the directions claimed.  Took a few minutes to figure it out and try it anyways...so glad I did!
I settled down cross-legged, partially shaded by a different shrub, and stamped my book with the hand-carved Irish bell stamp and stamped their little book with my tree.  I've put all my stuff - and a bottle of water, into my black hiking bag and it worked out perfectly.  I plan to leave this in my car so that I'll always have it with me!
aa
I like that it was a short walk - only a little over 1300 steps - and that I actually found it!  The exposure to the sun was a bit difficult, so I'm thinking that now that summer's upon us, much Tucson trekking will kill me - if the snakes and scorpions and other various critters don't.  But I hope to try one or two more huntes before I leave for the summer!

30. Wonder - P. J. Polacio

Series information
Read on my iPhone through Audible
Audio read by Diana Steele, Nick Podehl and Kate Rudd
Unabridged (8:06)
2012, Knopf
315 pgs.
Middle School Contemporary Realistic Fiction
Finished 4/28/2015
Goodreads rating: 4.42
My rating:    (5) Awesome  
Contemporary NYC

My comments:  First let me say that I listened to this book, which gave additional voice to the four or five characters that had points-of-view. At times this was great, at others not-so-great. It gave a different dimension to the character of Auggie - a lightly gravelly tone that seemed to have a teeny, tiny bit feminine edge to it that every so often put me off.  August has (and will continue throughout his entire life) to see first hand reactions to a face that is grotesque, different, un-beautiful  in a world that has embraced physical beauty as a capstone. What would my reaction be when I came face to face with a ten-year-old with such a face?  OF COURSE I would want to get below the surface, but I am an adult.  I could go on and on with my thoughts about this, and that's what makes this book such a marvel.  It makes you contemplate deeply.  It makes you look at your own inner values and realities.  That is what makes this book stand apart from so many others that I've read.  And the best thing is that all this thinking comes packaged in a delightfully written story that is character AND plot driven.   A winner.

(This will have to be my primary read-aloud next year.)

Goodreads book summary:  I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse.
          August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He's about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you've ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie's just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he's just like them, despite appearances?
          R. J. Palacio has written a spare, warm, uplifting story that will have readers laughing one minute and wiping away tears the next. With wonderfully realistic family interactions (flawed, but loving), lively school scenes, and short chapters, Wonder is accessible to readers of all levels.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Hex-Crazy for 8 Weeks Now!

The quilt's getting bigger, and now I'm coming up with more and more ideas.  Whoa - why can't I do one at a time?  Never been that way!  And on I sew.....
What would I do without the back of my couch as a huge, giant pincushion?  SO handy!

So far:
43 flowers
1 triple flower
5 single flowers

1536 hexies made (up 106 from last week)
2167 edges sewn  (up 202 from last week)
Yup, my fingertips are a mess.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

YA Series

Bowman, Erin
Taken
1 - Taken
2 - Frozen
3 - Forged
Cast, P. C.
House of Night
1 - Marked
2 - Betrayed
3 - Chosen
4 - Untamed
5 - Haunted
6 - Tempted
7 - Burned
8 - Awakened
9 - Destined
10 - Hidden
11 - Revealed
12 - Redeemed

Charbonneau, Joelle
The Testing
1 - The Testing
2 - Independent Study
3 - Graduation Day

Chima, Cinda Williams
The Heir Chronicles
1 - The Warrior Heir
2 - The Wizard Heir
3 - The Dragon Heir
     3.5 - Dead to Me
4 - The Enchanted Heir
5 - The Sorcerer Heir

Clare, Cassandra
The Mortal Instruments
1 - City of Bones
2 - City of Ashes
3 - City of Glass
4 - City of Fallen Angels
5 - City of Lost Souls
6 - City of Heavenly Fire

The Infernal Devices
1 - Clockwork Angel
2 - Clockwork Prince
3 - Clockwork Princess

The Bane Chronicles
1- What Really Happened in Peru
2 - The Runaway Queen
3 - Vampires, Scones, and Edmund Herondale
4 - The Midnight Heir
5 - The Rise of the Hotel Dumort
6 - Saving Raphael Santiago
7 - The Fall of the Hotel Dumort
8 - What to Buy the Shadowhunter Who Has Everything
9 - The Last Stand of the New York Institute
10 - The Course of True Love (and First Dates)
11. The Voicemail of Magnus Bane

Tales from Shadowhunter Academy
1- Welcome to Shadowhunter Academy
2 - The Lost Herondale
3 - The Whitechapel Fiend
4 - Nothing But Shadows
5 - The Evil We Love
6 - Pale Kings and Princes
7 - Bitter of Tongue
8 - The Fiery Trial
9 - Born to Endless Night
10.  Angels Twice Descending


Collins, Suzanne
Hunger Games
1- The Hunger Games
2 - Catching Fire
3 - Mockingjay

Condy, Allie
Matched
1 - Matched
2 - Crossed
3 - Reached

de la Cruz, Melissa
Blue Bloods
1 - Blue Bloods
2 - Masquerade
3 - Revelations
4 -  The Van Alen Legacy
     4.5 - Keys to the Repisitory
5 - Misguided
     5.5 - Bloody Valentine
6 - Lost in Time
7 - Gates of Paradise

Jones, Carrie
Need
1 - Need
2 -Captivate
3 -Entice

Laybourne, Emmy
Monument 14
1 - Monument 14
2 - Sky on Fire
3 - Savage Drift

Lore, Pittacus
Lorien Legacies
1 - I Am Number Four
2 - The Power of Six
3 - The Rise of Nine
4 - The Fall of Five
5 - The Revenge of Seven
6 - The Fate of Ten




Mead, Richelle
Bloodlines
1 - Bloodlines
2 - The Golden Lily
3 - The Indigo Spell
4 - The Fiery Heart
5 - Silver Shadows
6 - The Ruby Circle

Meyer, Marissa
The Lunar Chronicles
1 - Cinder
2 - Scarlet
3 - Cress
4 - Winter

Murdock, Catherine Gilbert
Dairy Queen
1 - Dairy Queen
2 - Off Season
3 - Front and Center
4 - Heaven is Paved with Oreos

Noel, Alyson
The Immortals
1 - Evermore
2 - Blue Moon
3 - Shadowland
4 - Dark Flame
5 - Night Star
6 - Everlasting

Oliver, Lauren
Delirium
1 - Delirium
2 - Pandemonium
3 - Requiem

 Roth, Veronica
Divergent
1 - Divergent
2 - Insurgent
3 - Allegiant

Stiefvater, Maggie
The Wolves of Mercy Falls
1 - Shiver
2 - Linger
3 - Forever
4 - Sinner

Taylor, Laini
Daughter of Smoke & Bone
1 - Daughter of Smoke & Bone
2 - Days of Blood & Starlight
     2.5 - Night of Cake & Puppets
3 - Dreams of Gods & Monsters

Young, Suzanne
The Program
1 - The Program
2 - The Treatment
     2.5  The Recovery

29. Welcome to Shadowhunter Academy - Cassandra Clare & Sandra Rees Brennan

Tales from Shadowhunter Academy #1
Listened to on my iPhone via Audible
Audio read by Devon Bostick
(1:40)
2015 Simon & Schuster
78 pgs.
Genre/Audience: YA Dystopia
Finished 4/25/2015
Goodreads rating: 4.19
My rating:    4
Setting: Sometime in the future at Shadowhunter Academy

My comments:  This short(ish) story about Simon was a blast.  I've only read the first two Shadowhunters books and this takes place after many of the sequels, but it was totally enjoyable all the same.  It was actually really, really funny and I had no trouble following it, especially knowing many of the characters, even if I didn't know some of the changes in their relationships that took place in the books I haven't read.  Yes, it's very Harry Potterish, but as a Harry Potter fan I welcome reminders and extensions of that "lovely" world!

Goodreads book summary: After living as a Mundane and a Vampire, Simon never thought he would become a Shadowhunter, but today he begins his training at Shadowhunter Academy.

28. Boundary Waters - William Kent Krueger

Cork O'Connor #2
Listened on my iPhone through Audible
Audio read by David Chandler
(10:52)
book - 1999, audio - 2010
416 pgs.
Adult murder mystery
Finished 4/24/2014
Goodreads rating: 4.06
My rating:   4.5
Setting: contemporary Minnesota; late fall

My comments:  4.5 Interesting personalities and a semi-complicated plot with a bit of a surprise here and there made this book a great read (or listen-to).  I greatly enjoy the protagonist and I loved the way that the reader got to look at what was going on in three different places throughout the story. So.....excellent plot, characterization, and setting!

Goodreads book summary:  The Quetico-Superior Wilderness: more than two million acres of forest, white-water rapids, and uncharted islands on the Canadian/American border. Somewhere in the heart of this unforgiving territory, a young woman named Shiloh -- a country-western singer at the height of her fame -- has disappeared. Her father arrives in Aurora, Minnesota, to hire Cork O'Connor to find his daughter, and Cork joins a search party that includes an ex-con, two FBI agents, and a ten-year-old boy. Others are on her trail as well -- men hired not just to find her, but to kill her.
A           s the expedition ventures deeper into the wilderness, strangers descend on Aurora, threatening to spill blood on the town's snowy streets. Meanwhile, out on the Boundary Waters, winter falls hard. Cork's team of searchers loses contact with civilization, and like the brutal winds of a Minnesota blizzard, death -- violent and sudden -- stalks them.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

$14 to 14 Charities

Facebook post on March 26, 2015

I cannot believe it's been 14 years since I lost my husband and Brian and Laura lost their dad. The anniversary of the day he died is a tough day for us, but it is definitely a time to remember him - to celebrate his life, his energy, and his legacy. I wanted to do something a little different and special to honor him today, so I sat down and wrote 14 checks for $14 each to 14 different charities that he would've approved of, in his memory. If anyone would like to join me and donate $14 to the charity of their choice in his memory, I would be truly grateful. I'd love it if you'd let me know so that I can create some sort of memorial. 14 years ago I promised him he would not be forgotten. He hasn't been. And he won't be. (And thanks so much for reading this to the end.)



Here's where I gave:

Northeast Harbor Library - website
Camp Beech Cliff - website
UCC - Northeast Harbor, ME - website
Friends of Acadia - website
Ronald McDonald House - Bangor - website
Ronald McDonald House - Tucson - website
Pima County Public Library - website (asked them to put it towards a good mystery...)
Hermitage No Kill Cat Shelter - Tucson - website
Ben's Bells - Tucson - website
Heifer Project International (donated through Ella's GS Troop #10552) - Heifer website
JDRF - Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation - website
Project Linus - website
Soles4Soles - website
Donors Choose.org - website (this donation went to a 3-5 art classroom in Fort Smith, AR for quality scissors - Steve and I visited here on one of the hottest days in his life - 108 degrees - it was unforgettable)

That's 14!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Grandmother's Flower Garden - Week 7 Update

Three weeks since my last posting....including 10 days vacation on the east coast.  I took my hexies with me, but since I can only sew them together with my glasses off, this eliminated some of my quality work time.  I can baste them with my glasses on, so I got to do quite a few of them.  A lot of whip stitching happened on the plane - and because the quarters in the economy seats are so confined, I stabbed myself in the cheek!  Here's what I have completed so far:

I also started a pillow for Ella.  I've got the flower done, still have to turn it into a pillow.  That added another 37 hexies to baste and sew together...

I spread out on Laura's kitchen table (it was so wonderful to be there...)

The count, at the end of 7 weeks:

Completed flowers:  38
Completed kits (flowers ready to be sewn together): 12
Diamonds completed: 10
B/W Edge Rows of 10 completed:  2
Hexies for other projects: 40
Hexies waiting: 343

Total hexies:  1442
Total single edges sewn:  1965

Letterboxing Experience #1 - Two Fails and a HIT!

During Spring Break in Pennsylvania, Ella and I had one full day together, just the two of us.  Since she's almost finished Brownies and she's not yet earned the Letterboxing Badge, we decided to try it out.  I'd learned about Letterboxing a few years ago, but had never done anything but research it.  So she found a stamp she liked at Michaels (a pawprint) and gave herself the trail name "Puppy Power."
First, I used the Letterboxing site and found a short hike, close to Mt. Holly Springs, called Girl . Scouts Rule.  The day was ultra-gorgeous and perfect.  The hike was a lot longer than expected, but the trail was excellent, totally flat, and shaded the entire way.  However, there was no letterbox.  None.  We hunted hard.  Bummer. It was a disappointing walk back to the car, but we had some great conversations and cool rest stops.


Second, we headed up to King's Gap to find  "Gloria's Pepsi."  Once again we followed all the directions, and once again came up empty.  Double Bummer.


Undaunted, we set out to find "Beautiful Spring," which is at a rest stop on 81 North.  Eureka!  We found it!

I didn't have my own stamp yet, so Puppy Power was the only one who got to stamp inside the log.  Needless to say, we were both more-than elated!

Monday, April 13, 2015

MOVIE - While We're Young

Rating/Time
Wide/Limited release
Viewed date at
RT Critic: Audience:
Cag: 6/Awesome 5/Loved it 4/Liked it a lot 3/Liked it 2/It was okay 1/Didn’t like it
Directed by
Studio
Based on the book by

Actors

My comments:


RT Summary:

27. Twisted Innocence - Terri Blackstock

Audio read by Nan Gurley
6 Unabridged cds (&;28)
2015 Zondervan/Brilliance Audio
320 pgs.
Adult Mystery - Faith Based, I think you'd call it....
Finished 4/14/15
Goodreadsrating: 4.32
My rating: 2/It was okay
PBS trade
Setting; contemporary Panama City, FL

My comments: Three sisters - and three brothers (though one is deceased) - still trying to put away the drug lord that has paralyzed the family.  Cops, investigators, and lawyers, all rally around youngest sibling Holly as she tries to distance herself from her 4-week old daughter's father; Kathy as she tries to get her fiance a pardon from prison; and Juliet who is recovering from a bad marriage.  Then, all of a sudden, God is introduced, then slowly but surely the story includes talk of God and faith and gets a bit preachy - at least for me.  I actually don't think this was Ms. Blackstock's intention, but it became too overwhelming for me.  I believe there are a book or two that preceded this one, but I understood what was going on very well.  Some of the storyline just was a little unbelievable, but..... 

Goodreads book summary:  When Holly s secrets backfire, is the mess too big to unravel?
          Holly Cramer has worked hard to keep the identity of her daughter s father a secret, shamed and embarrassed by the one-night stand. But when the police knock on her door searching for Creed Kershaw, she realizes his identity isn t as hidden as she thought. The fact that Creed is a person of interest in a recent drug-related murder only increases her humiliatioWhen Holly s secrets backfire, is the mess too big to unravel?
          Holly Cramer has worked hard to keep the identity of her daughter s father a secret, shamed and embarrassed by the one-night stand. But when the police knock on her door searching for Creed Kershaw, she realizes his identity isn t as hidden as she thought. The fact that Creed is a person of interest in a recent drug-related murder only increases her humiliation.
          When Holly s and Creed s paths cross, Holly is unsure whether to be terrified of him or trust him. His tenderness with their daughter makes her want to believe his story that he had nothing to do with the murder. Then she discovers that Creed has a connection to Leonard Miller who killed both her sister s fiance and her brother-in-law, and kidnapped her nephews and things only become more complicated.
          Will Creed lead them to the man who has plagued her family, or become another of his victims?"
When Holly s and Creed s paths cross, Holly is unsure whether to be terrified of him or trust him. His tenderness with their daughter makes her want to believe his story that he had nothing to do with the murder. Then she discovers that Creed has a connection to Leonard Miller who killed both her sister s fiance and her brother-in-law, and kidnapped her nephews and things only become more complicated.
          Will Creed lead them to the man who has plagued her family, or become another of his victims?"

MOVIE - Home

Rating/Time
Wide/Limited release
Viewed date at
RT Critic: Audience:
Cag: 6/Awesome 5/Loved it 4/Liked it a lot 3/Liked it 2/It was okay 1/Didn’t like it
Directed by
Studio
Based on the book by

Actors

My comments:


RT Summary:

Friday, April 10, 2015

POETRY PICTURE BOOK - In Aunt Giraffe's Green Garden by Jack Prelutsky

Illustrated by Petra Matthers
2007, Greenwillow Books
64 pgs.
Goodreads rating: 3.50
My rating: 3
Endpapers: rusty red
Title Page: double page, with the title (etc) on the LEFT page - nice to model that anything goes
Illustrations: borders around each page, pages numbered

Here's a poem I'd model  to show that even silly poems need to make sense:

The Poodles Ate Oodles of Noodles

The poodles ate oodles of noodles,
the setters ate lettuce on rye.
A small Pekingese
at nothing but peas,
and a greyhound ran off with the pie.

Here's one that plays with colors:
In Amarillo, Texas

In Amarillo, Texas,
upon a yellow chair,
complete with yellow pillow,
sat little Willa Ware.

She at a yellow apple,
she ate a yellow pear,
while wearing yellow flowers
atop her yellow hair.

And of course I must include one that features Maine - and uses the wonderful word galoshes: (and gives kids the ridiculous notion that you can wander the beach and find a LOBSTER!!!! ...oh my, Mr. Prelutsky....)

There's a Lady in Galoshes

There's a lady in galoshes,
and her name is Jolly Jane.
How she loves to look for lobsters
on the rocky coast of Maine.

She can find them by the dozen
in the sun and wind and rain.
She's the queen of lobster ladies,
and her name is Jolly Jane.

T

My comments:  I love Prelutsky, but this isn't one of my favorites.  The illustrations are cool, but the poems are pretty young - too young, in most cases, for me to use with fourth graders.

Goodreads:  In this companion to The Frogs Wore Red Suspenders, a gardening giraffe, a contented bluebird, and poodles eating oodles of noodles are featured in a collection of 28 poems from the award-winning team of Prelutsky and Mathers. Full color.