Sunday, September 30, 2018


I just read The Very Crowded Sukkah by Leslie Kimmelman, and it had a really nice afterword that describes the holiday.  I include it here in its entirety:

"About Sukkot

     Jews all over the world celebrate the holiday of Sukkot for seven days in September or October.  It is a harvest holiday - something like a Jewish Thanksgiving.  Sukkot means "booths" or "huts," for the little huts Jews build in their backyards, where they enjoy their meals during the holidays.  It's a reminder of the days long ago, when Jews wandered in the desert for forty years, often building little huts at night for shelter.  Later, Jewish farmers also built sukkot during harvest seasons so that they could stay near their fields and protect their crops.

     Each hut, or sukkah, has three sides and a leafy roof.  The branches that cover the roof are thick enough to provide more shade than sun inside, but thin enough so that they sky -- or at night, the stars -- still shows through.

     The etrog (whcih looks like a giant lemon) and the lulav bouquet (made from date palm, myrtle, and willow branches) are symbols of the holiday.  With the etrog in the left hand, and the lulav bouquet in the right, special blessings are said on Sukkot mornings. The lulav branches are waved east, west, north, up and down, to show that God is Everywhere.  Thanks are given for the good food of the earth and for the rain that helps it grow."

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

MOVIE - A Simple Favor

R (1:56)
Wide release 9/14/18
Viewed 9/18/2018
RT Critic: 85   Audience:  77
Critic's Consensus:  Twisty, twisted, and above all simply fun, A Simple Favor casts a stylish mommy noir spell strengthened by potent performances from Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively.
Cag:  4.5
Directed by Paul Feig

Anna Kendrick, Blake Lively, Henry Golding

My comments:   This was a really cool, interesting movie that I liked a lot.  You knew right from the beginning that this was going to be bizarre, and it ended up being well acted as well as having an intriguing storyline.  I went to see it because of Anna Kendrick, but having Blake Lively and Henry Golding as the other protagonists made it just perfect.  Greatly enjoyed.

RT/ IMDb Summary  A SIMPLE FAVOR, a stylish post-modern film noir directed by Paul Feig, centers around Stephanie (Anna Kendrick), a mommy blogger who seeks to uncover the truth behind her best friend Emily's (Blake Lively) sudden disappearance from their small town. Stephanie is joined by Emily's husband Sean (Henry Golding) in this thriller filled with twists and betrayals, secrets and revelations, love and loyalty, murder and revenge.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

MOVIE - BlackKklansman

R (2:15)
Wide release 8/10/18
Viewed 9/12/2018
RT Critic: 95  Audience:  82
Critic's Consensus:  BlacKkKlansman uses history to offer bitingly trenchant commentary on current events -- and brings out some of Spike Lee's hardest-hitting work in decades along the way.
Cag:  5
Directed by Spike Lee
Focus Features

John David Washington, Adam Driver, Topher Grace

My comments:  So many emotions filled me as I watched this movie - outrage, disbelief, laughter.  I was so appalled because I don't want to realize the prejudices that some people feel so incredibly strongly.  It's........sick.  The movie was quite brilliant, but I thought it would be more of a comedy, not realizing how incredibly difficult it would be to watch.  Wow.  And I do adore Adam Driver.

RT/ IMDb Summary:  From visionary filmmaker Spike Lee comes the incredible true story of an American hero. It's the early 1970s, and Ron Stallworth (John David Washington) is the first African-American detective to serve in the Colorado Springs Police Department. Determined to make a name for himself, Stallworth bravely sets out on a dangerous mission: infiltrate and expose the Ku Klux Klan. The young detective soon recruits a more seasoned colleague, Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver), into the undercover investigation of a lifetime. Together, they team up to take down the extremist hate group as the organization aims to sanitize its violent rhetoric to appeal to the mainstream. Produced by the team behind the Academy-Award (R) winning Get Out.

Monday, September 10, 2018

92. Perfekt Order by S T. Bende

#1 The Aere Saga
read on my iPhone
self-published 2015
YA Fantasy
Finished 9/10/2018
Goodreads rating: 3.98 - 1395 ratings
My rating:  1
Setting: Contemporary Arcata, CA (Redwoods country, California)

First line/s:  " ' Cheese and Crackers.' Needles shot up my pointer finger."

My comments:   Probably one of the most ridiculous books I've ever read.  Period.

Goodreads synopsis:  All's fair when you're in love with War.
          For seventeen-year-old Mia Ahlström, a world ruled by order is the only world she allows. A lifetime of chore charts, to-do lists and study schedules have helped earn her a spot at Redwood State University’s engineering program. And while her five year plan includes finding her very own happily-evah-aftah, years at an all-girls boarding school left her feeling woefully unprepared for keg parties and co-ed extracurricular activities.
          So nothing surprises her more than catching the eye of Tyr Fredriksen at her first college party. The imposing Swede is arrogantly charming, stubbornly overprotective, and runs hot-and-cold in ways that defy reason . . . until Mia learns that she’s fallen for the Norse God of War; an immortal battle deity hiding on Midgard (Earth) to protect a valuable Asgardian treasure from a feral enemy. With a price on his head, Tyr brings more than a little excitement to Mia’s rigidly controlled life. Choosing Tyr may be the biggest distraction—or the greatest adventure—she’s ever had.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

MOVIE - Crazy Rich Americans

PG-13 (2:00)
Wide release 8-15-18
Viewed 9/9/18 at Carlisle 8 with Ella
RT Critic: 92   Audience:  79
Critic's Consensus:  With a terrific cast and a surfeit of visual razzle dazzle, Crazy Rich Asians takes a satisfying step forward for screen representation while deftly drawing inspiration from the classic -- and still effective -- rom-com formula.
Cag:  4.5 So much fun!
Directed by Jon M. Chu
Warner Brothers Pictures

Henry Golding, Constance Wu

My comments:  This is a fun movie that highlights the city of Singapore, making it look glitzy and decadent and over the top.  I wonder how much of this is real?  A very enjoyable movie with a lot of comic relief balancing out the decadence and snobbishness of the rich.  Ella enjoyed it a lot, and snuggled with me in the recliner throughout the movie, which was the best part of it all!

RT/ IMDb Summary:  "Crazy Rich Asians" follows native New Yorker Rachel Chu (Wu) as she accompanies her longtime boyfriend, Nick Young (Golding), to his best friend's wedding in Singapore. Excited about visiting Asia for the first time but nervous about meeting Nick's family, Rachel is unprepared to learn that Nick has neglected to mention a few key details about his life. It turns out that he is not only the scion of one of the country's wealthiest families but also one of its most sought-after bachelors. Being on Nick's arm puts a target on Rachel's back, with jealous socialites and, worse, Nick's own disapproving mother (Yeoh) taking aim. And it soon becomes clear that while money can't buy love, it can definitely complicate things.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

91. Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine

listened on Audible
2017 Thomas & Mercer
302 pgs.
Adult Mystery
Finished 9/8/18
Goodreads rating:  4.11 - 60,608 ratings
My rating:2

First line/s:  "Gina never asked about the garage."

My comments:  So much repetition, so much berating herself over and over and over again and then repeating the same actions that she berates herself fo.  So stupid.  Not figuring out her enemy when it was pretty darn clear.  And after disappearing eight different ties in four years, not doing so the first time she REALLY needs to?  This protagonist was so irritating, I can't believe I actually finished this book. 

Goodreads synopsis:  Gina Royal is the definition of average—a shy Midwestern housewife with a happy marriage and two adorable children. But when a car accident reveals her husband’s secret life as a serial killer, she must remake herself as Gwen Proctor—the ultimate warrior mom.
          With her ex now in prison, Gwen has finally found refuge in a new home on remote Stillhouse Lake. Though still the target of stalkers and Internet trolls who think she had something to do with her husband’s crimes, Gwen dares to think her kids can finally grow up in peace.
          But just when she’s starting to feel at ease in her new identity, a body turns up in the lake—and threatening letters start arriving from an all-too-familiar address. Gwen Proctor must keep friends close and enemies at bay to avoid being exposed—or watch her kids fall victim to a killer who takes pleasure in tormenting her. One thing is certain: she’s learned how to fight evil. And she’ll never stop.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

90. Jar City by Arnaldur Indridason

#3 Inspector Erlundur, 1st one published in English from Icelandic)
read on my iPhone, listened on Audio, AND watched the movie on Amazon Prime!
translated from Icelandic
2005 Minotaur - originally in 2000 in Iceland
275 pgs.
Adult Police Procedural/Murder Mystery
Finished 9/6/18
Goodreads rating:  3.8 - 19,061 ratings
My rating:  3.5
Setting: contemporary Reykjavik, Iceland

First line/s:  "The words were written in pencil on a piece of paper placed on top of the body."

My comments: I've had this book on my Kindle for years, and then got a cheap deal on audio, so had them both and finally decided to go for it.  Then I discovered it was hard listening to it because so many of the places and names in Iceland are almost incomprehensible for my weary brain.  But flipping back-and-forth between the text itself and the audio was really quite interesting.  And then I rented and watched the movie, made in Iceland with subtitles, an hour after I finished the book!
     Not only was this story/mystery itself incredibly dark, the setting was almost darker.  Although it was autumn, it was a dreary, constantly rainy autumn.  Erlunder, the detective protagonist, is a 50-ish, scruffy smoker, long divorced, with a daughter who is an addict.  She begins living off and on with him, and their relationship is ingrained into the story.  I'm not really sure how or why his investigation moves in the direction it does, but we immediately discover the dead man is a rapist, his few friends are criminal and crazy, and everything hinges around the death of a four-year-old boy 25 years previously.  The movie pretty much followed the book, though in a bit different order, but adding situations with the dead man's two accomplices that did change the story a bit.  Not sure how to rate this - I liked the setting and the characters, but the direction in which the plot moved so so improbable....

Goodreads synopsis:  When a lonely old man is found murdered in his Reykjavík flat, the only clues are a cryptic note left by the killer and a photograph of a young girl’s grave. Inspector Erlendur, who heads the investigation team, discovers that many years ago the victim was accused, though not convicted, of an unsolved crime. Did the old man’s past come back to haunt him?
          As the team of detectives reopen this very cold case, Inspector Erlendur uncovers secrets that are much larger than the murder of one old man--secrets that have been carefully guarded by many people for many years. As he follows a fascinating trail of unusual forensic evidence, Erlendur also confronts stubborn personal conflicts that reveal his own depth and complexity of character.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Great Friday Nine to Five Drive

Carlisle to:

ShippenStitch, 45 W. King St, Shippensburg, PA to:
     Checked out the shop for the first time, as well as their "EverSewn" machines

The Yarn Basket, Chambersburg, PA (which was, unfortunately closed for the Labor Day weekend) to:

Shady Grove Fabrics, 2900 Buchanen Trail East, Greencastle, PA ( a Mennonite shop, with mostly fabrics and goods for Amish/Mennonite sewing, with a few cottons for quilting to:

Itchin 2 Stitch, Waynesboro, PA  (my GPS took me about a mile down the road, next time, watch for the address and don't trust the GPS.  I didn't stop this time) through:

Gettysburgh, to:

Creative Ewe Yarn Shop, 11 N. 5th Street, McSherrystown, PA (Loaded down with yarns!!) and
     Golden Dragon Chinese & Japanese Restaurant, 7 S. 6th Street, McSherrystown and on through:

Hanover, PA and then


89. Sanctus by Simon Toyne

read on my iPhone/Kindle/Book/Audible
2011 Harper
486 pgs.
Adult Mystery
Finished 9/5/18
Goodreads rating: 3.81 - 7049 ratings
My rating:  2
Setting: Contemporary Turkey

First line/s:  "A flash of light filled his skull as it struck the rock floor."

My comments: I quite enjoyed this until the "revelation"" at the end, which made me roll my eyes...heavenward, lol...  I actually quite liked the writing, especially the descriptions, but the premise of the story was silly  So, liked and and disliked it....

          The certainties of the modern world are about to be blown apart by a three thousand year-old conspiracy nurtured by blood and lies …
          A man throws himself to his death from the oldest inhabited place on the face of the earth, a mountainous citadel in the historic Turkish city of Ruin. This is no ordinary suicide but a symbolic act. And thanks to the media, it is witnessed by the entire world.
          But few understand it. For charity worker Kathryn Mann and a handful of others in the know, it is what they have been waiting for. The cowled and secretive fanatics that live in the Citadel suspect it could mean the end of everything they have built – and they will kill, torture and break every law to stop that. For Liv Adamsen, New York crime reporter, it begins the next stage of a journey into the heart of her own identity.
          And at that journey's end lies a discovery that will change EVERYTHING …
SANCTUS is an apocalyptic conspiracy thriller like no other – it re-sets the bar for excitement and fascination, and marks the debut of a major talent in Simon Toyne.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

MOVIE - Beautifully Broken

PG-13 (1:48)
Limited release 8/24/18
Viewed 9/2/18 at Gettysburg Outlet Mall
RT Critic: 67   Audience:  94
Critic's Consensus:  There was none for this one
Cag:  4.5
Directed by Eric Welch
ArtAffects Entertainment
Based on a true story

My comments:  A tearjerker.  The retelling of the story of three families and the genocide in Rwanda beginning in 1994.  Two of the families are very religious, and there's a strong Christian belief-in-God that makes up part of the foundation of the story.  But even for a non-believer -- this non-believer in particular -- the story was more than righteous.  We can all help.  We can all make a difference in the world.  All it takes is a little love, a little compassion, a little understanding, and a dose of hope.  With or without religion, doesn't matter.  I love the way all three stories intertwined - and if it weren't true I would definitely say there were too many coincidences!  At the end, just before the credits, it explains what happened to the people involved in the story and then ends with a wonderful message from one of the protagonists.
Legacy Mission Village, First Presbyterian Church of Nashville.

RT/ IMDb Summary:  A refugee's escape, a prisoner's promise, and a daughter's painful secret all converge, causing their lives to become intertwined in ways they could have never imagined. As three fathers fight to save their families, they are led on an unlikely journey across the globe, where they learn the healing power of forgiveness and reconciliation.