Wednesday, June 24, 2015

42. Heartstopper - Joy Fielding

listened to audio cd on the way to Maine (and during some of my cross-country jaunt)
2007 Atria Publishing
387 pgs.
Adult mystery
Finished 6/26/2015
Goodreads rating: 3.68
My rating: 3
Setting: Contemporary Florida - a small town in Alligator Alley

My comments:  There were many things to like about this book and a few things to passionately dislike.  So which one should I talk about?  There are three major points-of-view in this story:  a high school English teacher, the chief of police, and the writings/braggings of the antagonist.  The setting, a small town in alligator alley in Florida, worked well. I don't like coming across teachers in books that are not good role models to the profession.  I'm appalled at the things that Sandy Crosbie allows her student to get away with - particularly being hugely mean to each other.  She wants her cheating husband back (he's a worm) even though he flaunts his new floozy right in front of her.  I have no respect for her at all, except, perhaps, in some of her parenting.  And then we have the chief of police.  What a piece of work he is!  It all come together, though, and even though I had a pretty good idea who the antagonist was, the mystery kept me enthralled for much of my cross-country journey.

Goodreads synopsis:  From the "New York Times" and internationally bestselling author of "Mad River Road" comes a spine-tingling thriller about a picturesque Florida town -- and the killer determined to prey on its teenage girls.Welcome to Torrance, Florida. Population: 4,160. As Sheriff John Weber would attest, the deadliest predators to date in his tiny hamlet were the alligators lurking in the nearby swamps. But that was before someone abducted and murdered a runaway teenage girl...and before the disappearance of popular and pretty Liana Martin. The pattern is chilling to Sandy Crosbie, the town's new high school English teacher. With a marriage on the rocks, thanks to her husband's online affairs, and a beautiful teenage daughter to protect, Sandy wishes she'd never come to the seemingly quiet town with shocking depths of scandal, sex, and brutality roiling beneath its surface. And as Sheriff Weber digs up more questions than answers in a dead-end investigation, one truth emerges: the prettiest ones are being targeted, the heartstoppers. And this killer intends to give them their due....
     Alternating between the chilling journal entries of a cold-blooded murderer and the sizzling scandals of small-town life, "Heartstopper" is Joy Fielding's most exciting novel of suspense yet.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

41. Mr. Cooper is Super! - Dan Gutman

My Weirdest School #1
listened to cd in the car with Ella
read by Andy Paris
2015 Harper Collins
112 pgs.
Early Reader - 3rd grade protagonist
Finished 6/23/15
Goodreads rating: 3.96
My rating: 3 (Ella says 4)

My comments:  I've read a few of the titles from the original set of these books (My Weird School), and found them funny and clever. (My Weird School), and found them funny and clever. (Perhaps because the others I've read were realistic fiction and this one was fantasy, and therefore unexpected?)   This one will be loved by young kids, I'm sure, but the story seems silly rather than funny.  However, since there's place for both with kids, this book will be quickly placed on my classroom shelf.

Ella's synopsis:  AJ and the gang (Alexia, Michael, Neil, and Ryan) watch Mr. Granite (their about-to-be-gone teacher) climb up a ramp and into a spaceship.  The class's new teacher is Mr. Cooper.  Mr. Cooper always dresses up like a super hero.  Mr. Granite comes back, but only to return the key to the teacher's lounge.

Goodreads synopsis:  With more than 8 million books sold, My Weird School really gets kids reading!
       In this first book in the hilarious new My Weirdest School series, part of the internationally bestselling My Weird School series, A.J.'s third-grade teacher, Mr. Granite, is retiring after a million hundred years. It turns out the new teacher, Mr. Cooper, is even weirder than Mr. Granite! One day he's Rat Man and he teaches about rodents. The next day he's Lava Man and he teaches about volcanoes. But what happens when a real superhero is needed? Will Mr. Cooper protect the school from evil, or just embarrass it to death?
       Perfect for reluctant readers and word lovers alike, Dan Gutman's hugely popular My Weird School series has something for everyone. Don't miss the hilarious adventures of A.J. and the gang.

Monday, June 22, 2015

39. Down to the Wire - David Rosenfelt

listened in the car
294 pgs.
Adult mystery
Finished 6-5-15
Goodreads rating: 3.74
My rating: 3.5
Setting:  contemporary New Jersey

First line/s: "If you're a corpse, you should get your name in the paper."

My comments:  A pretty decent story, the surprises weren't totally surprising but the whole plot kept you guessing...right, wrong, right wrong.....and I actually think the protagonist, Chris Turley was a little naive.  But it worked great for passing the time back and forth to school when I couldn't wait for school to get out.  Yes, I'd read another by this author.

Goodreads synopsisA reporter for the Bergen News, Chris Turley could never measure up to his father. Edward Turley, a combination of Bob Woodward and Ernie Pyle, was one of the last great investigative reporters and a difficult man to impress. While stuck covering press conferences and town hall meetings, Chris, his father’s legend in mind, has always dreamed of his own Pulitzer, however unlikely it seems.
          Then one day while he’s waiting to meet a source, a giant explosion takes out half of an office building next door. Shocked into action, Chris saves five people from the burning building. His firsthand account in the next day’s paper makes him a hero and a celebrity.
          And that’s not all. The source’s next tip delivers a second headline-grabber of a story for Chris, and suddenly his career is looking a lot more like his dad’s. But then it seems this anonymous source has had a plan for Chris all along, and his luck for being in the right place at the right time is not a coincidence at all. What seemed like a reporter’s dream quickly becomes an inescapable nightmare.
          Down to the Wire, David Rosenfelt’s shocking new thriller about an ordinary man who gets exactly what he’s always wanted at a price he can never pay, is an intense thrill ride that will have readers racing through the pages right up to the end.

40. Girls' Night Out - Kate Flora

a short story/ebook narrated by Holly B. Goe
listened on Audible...
2014 SheBooks
32 pgs.
Adult Mystery
Finished 6/21/15
Goodreads rating: 4.36
My rating:  5
Setting: Boston area - contemporary

First line/s:  "Getting a six-foot dead man into his SUV wasn't easy for a small woman in stilettos and a pencil skirt.:

My comments:  This was a highly entertaining quick read by an author I'm becoming quite taken with...will definitely read more!

Goodreads synopsis:  When the man who date-raped a friend is found not guilty, the women in her book group decide to take matters into their own hands. 

And here's a bit about Kate Flora that was included after the Goodreads synopsis:  Mystery and true crime writer Kate Clark Flora’s fascination with people’s criminal tendencies began in the Maine attorney general’s office. Deadbeat dads, people who hurt their kids, and employers’ acts of discrimination aroused her curiosity about human behavior. Her books include seven “strong woman” Thea Kozak mysteries and three gritty police procedurals in her star-reviewed Joe Burgess series. Redemption was the 2013 Maine Literary Award winner for Crime Fiction. Her Edgar-nominated true crime story, Finding Amy, has been optioned for a movie. Flora has also published 15 crime stories in various anthologies. 

When she’s not writing or teaching at Grub Street in Boston, Flora is in her garden, waging a constant battle against critters, pests, and her husband’s lawn mower. She’s been married for 35 years to a man who still makes her laugh. She has two wonderful sons, a movie editor and a scientist, two lovely daughters-in-law, and four rescue “granddogs,” Frances, Otis, Harvey, and Daisy. You can follow her on Twitter @kateflora or

This is a short e-book published by Shebooks--high quality fiction, memoir, and journalism for women, by women

Sunday, June 21, 2015

My Personal Quilt Shop Directory


     Meissner's Sewing & Vac  (6/2/15) mostly sewing machines, but a HUGE building - will take a class there in September, will hopefully get better vibes then.  Customer service was lousy. (2/5)


     The Gathering Place (6/3/15)  unbelievably huge.  I felt like the kid in the toy store that is so overwhelmed they leave crying without a toy because it was so overwhelming!  Lovely wooden floors and a huge selection of fabrics and patterns. (5/5)


     The Cotton Cupboard Quilt Shop (7/2/15 - with Fran)

     Choppin' Cotton (7/2/15 - with Fran)


     Sewing by the Sea


Fenton (SEW FINE) plate

     The Quilter's Garden (6/11/15) we spentt a lot of time in this wonderful shop.  Lots and LOTS of batiks, including rayons for clothing.  Great samples.  The owner was a little down because she says that local people don't appreciate the shop.  What a bummer!  We loved it.  5/5

Gaylord (GOT FABRIC?) plate

     Delphine's (6/10/15)  Wowzer, loved this store.  Two sides full of fabric, a stuff-a-bag for five bucks, samples, quilty gifts....and a great kitchen shop next door, where wonderful smells of a vegetable soup assaulted us as we roamed the aisles. Great pandora music as well...Delphine said she timed her Pandora to change every 15 minutes and we got James Taylor radio and Gordon Lightfoot radio as we perused.....5/5

     Au Sable Fabrics (6/10/15)  very small, not much fabric and much is out-of-date, woman worker/owner? sat quilting and did not even greet us as we walked in.  (1/5)
Ironwood (SEW BY THE LAKE) plate
     Fabric Patch (6/9/15) my favorite of the whole cross-country trip.  On the UP of Michigan, with not very much north, south, east, OR west.  Housed in an old brick warehouse, full of amazing fabric and wonderful people.  (6/5)


Duluth (SUPERIOR DAYS) plate from Hannah Johnson Fabrics

       Creations Quilt Shop (6/8/15) not in the best of areas (a little seedy) don't let the outside of the store fool you - it's full of lots of fabrics in multiple rooms.  4/5
      Hannah Johnson Fabrics (6/8/15) another quilt shop whose outside denies the greatness of the inside.  Lots of modern fabrics stuffed into a not-too-large space 4/5

Foley (I BR8K 4 FABRIC) plate
     Quilts on Broadway (6/8/15)

Sandstone (QUILTERS ROCK!)
     Quarry Quilts (6/8/15)


     Back Door Quilts (6/4/15) I've been here before, believe it or not!  Large quilt store in an awkward location, but lots of fabric and ideas.  We were tired, it was the end of the day, so we didn't spend too much time looking.  Very promising, though.... (4/5)


     The Enchanted Room (6/5/15) lovely, tasteful, very cool owner/employees.  they just opened a brand new gift shop/nursery across the street.  Very quiet-seeming town.  5/5


     Windy Moon Quilts (6/2/15) large shop, lots of machines to sell, some fabric, but either it was displayed poorly or their choices just didn't grab my attention, very few batiks... (2/5)

     Windy Moon Quilts (6/2/15) hugely different array of fabrics than their Reno store, much more to my liking.  Bright and fun.  (3.5/5)

Winnemucca  (EVERYTHING COZY) plate

     Comfy Cozy Quilt Shop (6/2/15) talk about the middle of nowhere!  So many people must be tickled to death about having this wonderful quiltshop here....and Nadine, the owner, is a hoot.  Looks likes lots of activities and classes, too.  Small but nice selection of fabrics. (4/5....10 for Nadine!)


Lebanon (QUILTR 4 EVR) plate

     Budding Star Quilts - in the front of a weirdly-shaped strip mall, hard to locate the shop because the parking is way on the other side.  They package their kits so that the fabrics are all cut to the sizes needed - very cool but, of course, very expensive.  One of the workers (owner?) was very bossy and the kind of person who uses minor insults as humor (heard her teaching the class out back).  Fabric...okay.  2.5/5


     Sip 'N Sew (6/5/15)  - a tiny coffee bar with a tiny quilt shop.  Not much fabric, but what they have sure must be appreciated in this tiny town!  Fun.  (2/5 for fabrics +1 for niceness and cuteness)


So. Amherst
     Quilting Kreations (6/11/15) all fabrics of the same color are displayed together, and I can't say I really liked this.  It's nice seeing collections together, especially since so many of the newer fabric lines are in coordinating fabrics.  Large amount of fabrics, though, just didn't see any that did it for me.....(2.5/5)

Stow (SEWK UP COLOR) plate

     Sew Deja Vu (6/12/15) Dede bought her new, wonderful sewing chair here.  Long, narrow, bright store showing a smallish collection of modern fabrics.  Very nice.  (3/5)


     The Gallery of Fabrics (6/12/15)  clueless worker didn't have much knowledge about the Row by Row, although they're part of it....nice collection of fabrics, but felt tightly packed in.


Ashland (CHEQUAMEGON BAY) plate (pronounced shi-kwan'-a-men)

     Ashland Area Fabric & Quilt Co. (6/9/15) small but very nice, and the shop owner was cool....lots of fat quarters, right ON Lake Superior! (3.5/5)

Summer of 2015 - A Week in New York

Day 1 - Monday, June 15, 2015
Train from Harrisburg to Penn Station
Check in at Holiday in, 57th between 9th and 10th, near Columbus Circle
Lunch at Lunch Box on 9th - delicious spinach & potato soup
Laura off to her conference at Fordham Law, Ella and I hit the sidewalk
Walked north along Broadway to about 72nd Street, stopping at shops
Began to POUR,  We got very, very wet.....
Dinner at Stardust Cafe (Beau was our singing waiter)
Times Square, M & M Store, Toys R Us, souvenir store
Cab back to hotel

Day 2 - Tuesday, June 16,  2015 
Cab to St. Patrick's Cathedral, lit a candle for Grampie
NBC store and LEGO store at Rockefeller Center
Grayline Bus tour, got off at Union Square
Lasagna pizza and mozzarella sticks at Rosa's Pizza on 14th St.
Letterbox outside Lion Brand Yarn shop
Looked for letterbox at Strand Bookstore - not there, but the bookstore was AWESOME!
Started to pour again - took quite awhile to get a cab, but we did, back to the hotel

Day 3 - Wednesday, June 17, 2015
Walked to the MOMA
Mostly checked out the fifth floor - Picasso, Van Gogh, Klee, Mondrian....
American Girl Store
Art Cart outside the New York Public Library
Found a letterbox inside the library!
Met Laura - did the Grayline DOWNTOWN loop, got dropped off near the hotel
Dinner near the hotel, pasta
Chocolate mousse cake at a deli before hitting the hay

Day 4 - Thursday, June 18, 2015
Swimming in the roof pool
Subway (big deal for E - no longer nervous!) to Battery Park/ South Ferry
Ferry  to Statue of Liberty
Ellis Island
Dinner at P. J. Clarke's (44 West 63rd St.)  - downstairs; cool decor, very overpriced

Day 5 - Friday, June 19, 2015
Train to Harrisburg
Picked up party stuff for Tristan's birthday party tomorrow
Mother-daughter pedicures!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Summer 2015 Cross-Country Road Trip

Day 1 (Sun May 31)     [103,508 at the start]
Tucson, AZ to Buttonwillow, CA (624 miles)
2 letterboxes - "I-10 Westbound, Out of Gas" just west of Palm Springs at the rest area
                         "McDonald's History #1: Big M" - San Bernadino, CA at the site of the first McDonalds....ever!
Motel 6 (fair)

Day 2 (Mon June 1)
Buttonwillow, CA to Novato, CA (329 miles today - 953 total miles from my house to Dede's)
3 letterboxes - "Eye 5 Series - Gruesome" (I-5 Lost Hills, CA)
                        "Eye 5 Series - Eye 5"  (I-5 Harris Ranch/Coalinga, CA)
                        "Survivor" (Bel Marin Keys, Novato, CA)

Day 3 (Tues June 2)
Novato, CA to Elko, NV (516.4 miles)
4 quilt shops - Meissner's Sewing & Vac (2/5) Sacramento
                        Windy Moon Quilts - one in Reno (4/5), one in Sparks (4/5)
                        Comfy Cozy Quilt Shop - Winnemucca, NV (4/5 but a 10 for Nadine)
Elko Motel 6 (fair)
pizza at The Blind Onion

Day 4 (Wed June 3)
Elko, NV to West Yellowstone, MT (453.8 miles)
2 letterboxes - "Blue Moon of Idaho" in American Falls, ID (roadside I-90)
                         "Massacre Rocks" in American Falls, ID (roadside I-90)
1 quilt shop - The Gathering Place, Rupert, ID (5/5)
Holiday Motel, West Yellowstone, MT (good)
salad bar at The Outpost

Day 5 (Thurs. June 4)
West Yellowstone, MT to Billings, MT (262.4 miles)
1 quilt shop - Back Door Quilts, Billings, MT
Billings Motel 6 (fair)
Sirloin steak at Texas Roadhouse

Day 6 (Fri. June 5)
Billings, MT to Dickinson, ND (350.6 mi)
FINALLY GOT TO STATE #48 - North Dakota !
1 letterbox - "My 50" in the National Grasslands outside Medora, ND
2 quilt shops -  The Enchanted Room in Glendive, MT (5/5)
                         Sip 'n Sew in Beach, ND (2/5 for fabrics, +1 for niceness & cuteness)
Dickinson - My Place Hotel (excellent with a glitch)
(Another) steak at Applebees

Day 7 (Sat. June 6)
Dickinson, ND to Bismarck, ND (185 miles)
3 letterboxes - "A Little Bit of New England in North Dakota" New England, ND
                         "The Enchanted Highway - Pheasants on  the Prairie"
                         "The Enchanted Highway - Deer Crossing"
Bismarck Hampton Inn (excellent)
Soup & salad at Olive Garden

Day 8 (Sun. June 7)
Bismarck, ND to St. Cloud, MN (373 mi.)
Buffalo Museum and the Giant Buffalo, Jamestown ND
2 Letterboxes - "The Big Buffalo" Jamestown, ND
                           this included a hitch-hiker: "Go Vols!"
                          "Regal Ruminant" Fargo, ND
St. Cloud Country Inn & Suites (excellent)
Chopped Chicken Salad at Boulder Tap House

Day 9 (Mon. June 8)
St. Cloud, MN to Duluth, MN (167 mi.)
1 letterbox - "Stopping for a Picnic" - found the 2nd of 2, and I really looked for the first....
4 quilt shops - Quilts on Broadway, Foley, MN (5/5)
                        Quarry Quilts, Sandstone, MN (5/5)
                        Creations Quilt Shop, Duluth, MN (4/5)
                        Hannah Johnson Fabrics, Duluth, MN (5/5)
Duluth Super 8 (a very good motel)
Pork burger with unbelievable onion rings, smashed potatoes, and hobo soup at the Duluth Grille

Day 10 (Tues. June 9)
Duluth, MN to Munising, MI (upper peninsula near Marquette) (312 mi.)
No letterboxes
2 quilt shops - Ashland Area Fabric & Quilt Co., Ashland, WI (3+/5)
                        Fabric Patch, Ironwood, MI (6/5) - Hexie flower row-by-row!
Comfort Inn in Munising, MI
Dinner in our room - late - turkey sandwich on Hawaiian rolls

Day 11 (Wed. June 10)
Munising, MI to Bay City, MI (outside Saginaw) (320 miles)
MACINAC BRIDGE - Lake Michigan
THE CROSS IN THE WOODS SHRINE - where I locked the car keys in the car
2 quilt shops - Delphine's Quilt Shop - Gaylord, MI (5/5)
                        Au Sable Fabrics - Grayling, MI (1/5)
Econolodge in Bay City, MI
Another 7oz. sirloin at Applebees

Day 12 (Thurs. June 11)
Bay City, MI to Amherst, OH (
FRANKENMUTH, MI: Bavarian town
          Bronner's Christmas Wonderland
          Zehnder's Famous Chicken Dinners
0 letterboxes - couldn't find the one in Holly, MI at a DQ where Dede indulged....again....
2 quilt shops - The Quilter's Garden, Fenton, MI (5/5)
                         Quilting Kreations, So. Amherst, OH (2/5) all colors together
Motel 6 in Amherst, OH
Subway in our room
Day 13 (Friday, June 12) 
Amherst, OH to Stroudsburg, PA (436.6 miles)
Cayuhoga National Park
Brandywine Falls
Jo-Ann Distribution Center/National Office Complex in Ohio
lunch at Winking Lizard, Peninsula, OH (wonderful - food AND place!)
0 Letterboxes
2 Quilt Shops - Sew Deja Vu; Stow, OH (3/5) Dede bought her new sewing chair here
                         The Gallery of Fabrics; Mercer PA (clueless but nice workers, 3/5)
Supper on-the-road (making time!) McD - Dede's such a good sport
Hampton Inn, Stroudsburg, PA

Day 14 (Saturday, June 13, 2015
Stroudsburg, PA to Long Island City (Queens), NY to Mt. Holly Springs, PA (317.0 miles)


4854 miles
3 National Parks
20 quilt shops
14 letterbox stamps
9 motels (4 Motel 6, 1 Super 8, 2 Hampton Inns, 1 Country Inn & Suites, 1 Econolodge, 1 privately owned (Holiday Hotel in West Yellowstone) and 1 My Place Motel)