Is it July already?! I can hardly believe how fast June flew by. We had a few weeks of sleeping in, Gage actually slept past 8am a few days, and this week he’s been going to nature camp three hours a day plus a few other usual activities. They actually took an hour and a half hike yesterday! Needless to say, he’s been sleeping well :) Onto the movies. I loved both new movies we saw at the theater.
Add your 5 words (or less!) to mine in a comment and earn $1 for charity. Once we get to $100 the person with the most reviews will choose the charity. Click here to see the past winners, the charities they chose and the other reviews you can add to. Anyone is welcome to join in at any time.
We’re up to $97!! We are so close!! Participate now and I can send off that $100 to a deserving charity.
I hope that you will take a few minutes to participate when you can each month. It’s fun for me and for everyone else who reads it. I’m not looking for a critical review, just a few words about how you felt about the movie. This is ongoing so you can leave your 5 words anytime.
Spy, 2015 (Cast-Melissa McCarthy, Jude Law, Jason Stratham, Allison Janney, Miranda Hart, Rose Byrne, Bobby Cannavale, 50 Cent) Grade A-
You can’t disguise funny.
Bawdy, naughty, lots of laughs (Mary)
More spy movie, less comedy. (Kathy)
Chris can protect me anytime.
Loud! Fun! Chris & dinosaurs rock! (Kay)
The Fault in Our Stars, 2014 (Cast-Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Nat Wolf, Laura Dern, Willem Dafoe) Grade B
Cancer can’t beat young love.
Great love story; bring tissues. (Kathy)
The Vow, 2012 (Cast-Rachel McAdams, Channing Tatum, Sam Neill, Jessica Lange) Grade B-
Will true love always survive?
Amazing story, pretty good movie. (Kathy)
Escape Plan, 2013 (Cast-Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jim Caviezel, 50 Cent, Sam Neill, Vincent, D’Onofrio) Grade B-
Badass prisoners in badass prison.
The Perfect Match. Finished , rating 4.75/5, romance, 439 pages, pub. 2013
Blue Heron series #2 (1-The Best Man)
Honor Holland has just been unceremoniously rejected by her lifelong crush. And now—a mere three weeks later—Mr. Perfect is engaged to her best friend. But resilient, reliable Honor is going to pick herself up, dust herself off and get back out there… or she would if dating in Manningsport, New York, population 715, wasn’t easier said than done.
Charming, handsome British professor Tom Barlow just wants to do right by his unofficial stepson, Charlie, but his visa is about to expire. Now Tom must either get a green card or leave the States—and leave Charlie behind.
I loved the first book if this series, but admit that of all of the Holland clan in Manningsport, New York, Holland was my least favorite, so when I learned that this second book was her story I wasn’t setting my sights very high. But in the hands of the hilarious and capable Higgins this story worked and I was surprised that I liked this one better than the first!
Holland is the most reserved and responsible of the Holland siblings that work on the family vineyard in the Finger Lakes region of New York and she has put up with a friends-with-benefits relationship for far too long. When her doctor tells her, “The years are precious. Egg-wise,” on her 35th birthday she decides that it’s time to go for broke and proposes to the man she’s been in love with for most of her life. Honor was rejected and then betrayed by the two people she cared for most and a catfight ensues.
Okay, I feel like I could go describing this book forever because I loved it so much. Here are a few reasons I loved it-
*The hero, Tom, was a man with a heart of gold and a flirtatious streak to match. He was very sexy.
*Honor’s grandparents are so hilarious. Fans of Stephanie Plum’s Grandma Mazur will find much to love here.
*There is humor on every page.
*Doog Dragul, possibly the worst online date ever, grows on you.
*Real life issues like abandonment, aging, toxic friendships, and trust were handled with care and love.
*I finished the last 50 pages or so while I was at the pool during Gage’s swim lesson and I had tears in my eyes during the climax. Seriously, this never happens and I was shocked. I didn’t realize that I had been drawn in so easily!
*I love the Holland family and their little town. I want to move to this fictitious town and be adopted by the Holland clan.
That is all. If you like romances told with a great sense of humor then this is the series for you!
I was surprised to find out last week that so many of my blogger friends still haven’t read this book or seen the movie. I thought I was all kinds of deficient in waiting as long as I did to read it. But I listened to the excellent audio and then watched the movie with my ‘no, that’s just the sun in my eyes and that’s not me wiping tears away with my sleeve’ husband. (hmm, sometimes he actually reads this blog…) We both had the same assessment.
The Story/Plot They both told the cancer-ridden story of two teens who fall in love against all odds and they were both spot on in that aspect. There were differences though. In the book there was more of an understanding of Hazel than in the movie. In the book we see her go to college classes, meet a friend at the mall, visit Isaac in the hospital, discover that Augustus had and ex-girlfriend (I will spoil no more about that), have more conversations with her parents. As for Augustus we missed a lot of his struggle at the end of the book (no more spoilers). The movie focused primarily on the love story, which it is at it’s heart, but it lacked the nuance and depth of the book. And I missed one of the more lighthearted scenes of the book about the swingset as it was left out of the movie. Thumbs Up- Book
The Visual I’ll give the props to the movie on this one. For one, I loved the visit to Amsterdam and want to visit someday. Also, in the book there was always Hazel with her oxygen tank and it was surprising how by the end of the movie I didn’t even notice it. It became a permanent part of Hazel and it wasn’t distracting and that illustrated that the beauty within a person shines through even if physical ailments exist. Thumbs Up- Movie
Characters vs. Actors I read the book well after the movie came out, so I was already picturing Shailene Woodley as Hazel and Ansel Elgort as Augustus. I was more familiar with Shailene’s work and she felt right in this role. She was a great Hazel. I loved the casting of Laura Dern and and Sam Trammell as the parents, I thought they were perfect. As for Augustus, well Ansel came so close that I won’t hold it against him. I think Augustus is such a difficult character because he was so everything, so perfect teen girl fantasy, so witty, so smart, so romantic. That is a hard role to fill. I think Ansel got about 80% of the way there for me and that’s saying a lot! Thumbs Up- Book, but barely
The Ending There were a few differences toward the end of the movie but the one that bothered me most was one I mentioned earlier, we missed some of Augustus and his struggle. I think the movie would have been better for showing it. Thumbs Up – Book
And the winner is…the book!!!!
Did you realize that John Green hasn’t written a book since? This article is from entertainment Weekly this month.
Other book vs. movie polls you can vote on (The Hound of the Baskervilles) (Gone Girl) (Jack Reacher) (Ender’s Game) (Carrie, the original) (Under the Tuscan Sun) (The Secret Life of Bees) (The Shining, the original)
By the Pricking of My Thumbs. Finished 5-26-15, 4.5/5 stars, mystery, pub. 1968
Tommy and Tuppence series #4 (1-The Secret Adversary)
Unabridged audio read by Alex Jennings. 7 hours.
While visiting Tommy’s Aunt Ada at Sunny Ridge Nursing Home, Tuppence encounters some odd residents including Mrs. Lancaster who mystifies her with talk about “your poor child” and “something behind the fireplace”.
When Aunt Ada dies a few weeks later, she leaves Tommy and Tuppence a painting featuring a house, which Tuppence is sure she has seen before. This realization leads her on a dangerous adventure involving a missing tombstone, diamond smuggling and a horrible discovery of what Mrs. Lancaster was talking about. from Goodreads
I discovered Tommy and Tuppence back in 2011 with their first book, The Secret Adversary, and loved their relationship and adventures. As much as I feel the need to read a series in order, there are five books and several short stories, this audio called to me from the library bookshelves before my Chicago road trip. It was refreshing to find out that T&T age as their series progresses and instead of 20 year old whippersnappers I found a married couple well into middle age and settled in their life together.
Tommy’s crotchety old aunt dies, but before she does Tuppence meets another woman at the same nursing home who says a few mysterious things that unnerve her. When the lady goes missing, Tuppence sets her mind to finding her to return a painting. As you might guess, the search leads to dead-end after dead-end until Tuppence is put in harm’s way and Tommy isn’t around. The plot is convoluted, and full of suspects and possible crimes. This book is creepy. Even with the picturesque countryside and small villages, there are dead children and dark characters I wouldn’t want to meet in real life.
Even though Tommy and Tuppence were separated much of the novel I really enjoyed their comfortable relationship and willingness to go off on adventures (well, Tuppence mostly). I haven’t read a lot of Christie, but I do plan reading the rest of this series. Loved it.
The Fault in Our Stars. Finished 5-19-15, 5/5, Young Adult, pub.
Unabridged audio read by Kate Rudd. 7 hours:19 minutes
Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.
What can I say about a book most of the bookish world has already read? You were right to fall in love with this bittersweet YA book that was worth every tear because for every tear there was a chuckle or smile or life affirming lesson. This book had everything that I’d been missing in the few John Green books I’ve read. The same connection that Hazel Grace and Augustus had to each other was the one that I felt to them and their story.
Hazel Grace with her Stage IV thyroid cancer and oxygen tank met her match in Augustus with his osteosarcoma and one leg. Their witty conversations were perfection. Augustus had a fear of leaving the world without ever leaving his mark and Hazel was afraid of being the grenade that blew up everyone who loved her when she died. These two teens were able to convey more about the fears of dying better than any other book I can think of right now. But their fears did not get in the way of living. They were both just trying to live the life they were given the best way they knew how, with a lot of strength and humor. A word about Hazel’s relationship with her parents. I loved this relationship and felt that it was so real. As an only child like Hazel, I understood the sometimes desperate responsibility she felt for her parents happiness. Perfectly told in every way.
I loved it and am only sorry it took me so long to read it, tears and all!
Claimed by Vicki
I listened to the audio on my drive to Chicago and had to keep stopping it so I could wipe away the tears that might have caused a wreck. The narration was perfection and I have an unopened MP3-CD that I won from my library for the first person who tells me they want it. Just let me know in a comment with a way to contact you for an address. I’ll ship it anywhere just because I love this book so much!
Mailbox 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.
What a week! Our computer decided to quit on me, so I called my geek squad, aka Jason, and four days later I have a new computer :) I feel back in touch again, but admit that four days without a computer made me so much more relaxed. But, now I can actually get a few things marked off my to do list.
Last week I only received one book, but it’s one that I’m very excited about!
Before I’ve always received an ARC so I was excited to receive a brand new hardcover this time. The official release is at the end of the month. If you are interested in winning a copy you can enter the giveaway on Goodreads until Thursday (here). Author Taylor Stevens and I go way back, lol, since I met her at the 2012 Bouchercon in Cleveland and then again when she visited town the next year. She is an accessible author who freely shares the tricks of the trade, especially if you sign up for her monthly emails.
This is the 5th book in the Vanessa Michael Munroe series and I’m excited to read about Michael’s latest adventures.
Vanessa Michael Munroe, chameleon and information hunter, has a reputation for getting things done: dangerous and not quite legal things that have taken her undercover into some of the world’s deadliest places. Still healing from a Somali hijacking gone wrong and a brutal attack that left her near death, Munroe joins her lover, Miles Bradford, in Japan where he’s working as a security consultant protecting high-value technology from industrial espionage. In the domesticity of their routine she finds long sought-after peace—until Bradford is arrested for murder, and the same interests who targeted him come after her, too.
Searching for answers and fighting to stay alive, Munroe will soon discover how far she’ll go to save Bradford from spending the next twenty years in locked-up isolation; how many laws she’ll break when the truth seems worse than his lies; and who to trust and who she must kill. Because she’s a strategist and hunter with a predator’s instincts, and the man she loves has just stabbed her in the back. (from Goodreads)
Any other Michael fans out there?
Gage is done with school and some of our tutors left us so, I get about two hours a day to myself (unless I beg my mom to come play with Gage so I can take a shower or accomplish something :)). So, I will be resuming the QUIZZES at the end of the summer when Gage will be going to school from 8-2:30 Monday-Thursday. I can’t even comprehend right now what I will do with all of that time! Tonight’s our second horseback riding session (last week his two classmates canceled so he had all three ladies to himself!)
Okay, now for what you really clicked on for, WINNERS! For the first round of 2015 we have a fourth time winner, her first since 2013….
Congratulations, Hannah! A Barnes & Noble gift card will be on its way to you shortly :)
Now for my randomly selected winner (it really was a random draw but my camera has been refusing to take pictures when I want it to so I missed Gage drawing the winner)….
A fun, bookish gift will be on its way to you shortly :)
Thank you all so much for playing along with me every week, your participation is what makes it fun. I actually have two quizzes started already, so be ready in late August to start again!
Now for an offer of a free book. It’s been on my shelf forever, but it’s never been read. I listened to the audio a few months ago and am not interested in keeping the book. The first person who tells me they want it can have it, free of charge :) Make sure I have your email address to contact you.
GIVEAWAY OVER! Claimed by Vicki!
Hope you all have a great Thursday :)
Mailbox 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.
I picked up these three books at the Autism One Conference. I was able to hear all three of these ladies speak. I picked up Our Greatest Allies by Maude Le Roux and Lauren O’Malley because Occupational Therapist Le Roux gave my favorite talk in my three days there about executive functioning. I’m looking forward to diving in. The second, The Hidden Connection by Kathleen DiChiara, is about how she healed herself and her family using the power of food. I Know You’re in There by Marcia Hinds is one that I’m also excited to read since her son is now an engineer at an aerospace company living a full life that she was told would not be possible for him. She and her husband was also very warm and friendly at the conference.
Witches Protection Program by Michael Phillip Cash with a few witchy goodies arrived from Red Feather Productions.
So, did anything fun arrive in your mailbox this week?
A few weeks ago I had the good fortune to attend the Autism One conference in Chicago. I was there for 3 1/2 days and came back with a renewed zest to heal Gage. This conference is for people who reject the notion that autism is a strictly psychological condition and treat it as a medical one. I’ve been on board with this approach for a year and a half and was ready for a crash course. I can’t cover everything I learned or already knew (by the way, this is why there are so few autism posts on here – I start writing and the post becomes unmanageable) but using Oprah’s book as a guide, I’ll just tell you the things I know for sure.
1)Kids on the autism spectrum are being recovered. I spent most of Wednesday listening to mothers who healed their kids and they are no longer on the spectrum. Do you want to know what the secret is? They all started by healing the gut. The brain issues that get a kid diagnosed with autism start because the gut is compromised and toxins spread to the brain. All of these mothers started with a casein/dairy free diet, no corn, soy or GMOS, and little sugar. With this new diet they also added supplements to heal the stomach and for some this is all it takes to be on the road to recovery. The trick is to find the correct supplements and diet that works for your kid. Because every kid is different and not every one is recovered. A note about the diet – once the child’s gut is healed some of these foods may be added back in.
2)Traditional doctors are of very little help. Most of the doctors who are DAN or MAPS doctors (docs with biomedical training for kids on the spectrum) now were traditional MDs who had a child with autism that set them off on this path of what kids with autism have in common medically. It’s quite a bit actually. Gage’s pediatrician has been of no help whatsoever, you will read more of her when I talk about vaccines. If a parent wants a recovered kid most of the work is on them.
3)Leaky gut is not something traditional doctors believe exist. And because they don’t believe it, they don’t see how things like toxins, medicines, vaccines can contribute to autism. I did not say cause I said contribute. Without the leaky gut these things could be eliminated from your body without a problem. So, is the leaky gut to blame? I won’t get into the complexities of the leaky guy here but I’d be happy to answer any questions if you have them.
4)Some of the talks were above my pay grade. I went to one about Vitamin B numbers being off with kids on the spectrum and I was ten minutes late. Those ten minutes must have been very important because I sat there for 5 minutes and had NO IDEA what he was talking about.
5)I’ve not talked about vaccines on this blog because it is a lightning rod for vile, disrespectful comments and if that happens I’ll turn the comments off. Feel free to email me if you want to talk about it. Okay, there were lots of doctors talking about vaccines at this conference and I listened to two panels. They pretty much expanded on my own views after the past year and a half of research. Let me tell you the one thing I learned. Nine months after Gage ended up on a ventilator and a dairy allergy was put on his medical record our pediatrician gave him a vaccine with casein in it without consulting me. This ushered in another round of severe head banging and it is also when he was diagnosed with PDD-Nos. Did his doctor know that the vaccine had dairy in it? I don’t know. As a parent it is your responsibility to do your own research. There are kids who should not receive vaccines at all and there are kids who shouldn’t receive certain vaccines.
6)Medical testing is vitally important and insurance rarely covers it. On the same note, traditional therapies are not properly covered either. Gage gets 20 ‘free’ OT and Speech sessions a year. These ‘free’ session cost me $60 co-pay every time. Thanks insurance, you’re a real help.
7)There’s more that I’m forgetting right now, but I’ve bored myself already! If you are interested in checking out any of the sessions (maybe I’ll recommend some next time), here’s a link to all of the videos .
I’ve been asked a few times over the years (even just yesterday) what a parent should do if their kid is diagnosed and I always say to start with a gluten free/casein free diet. It is not easy and to do it correctly the gluten has to be out for at least nine months, but it is the best place to start.
It’s time for another update on my music project. Last summer I started using this book as a guide to explore music with my son. Gage has been a party to some of the journey, but not all. I try to play at least parts from every album for him, except the explicit ones, and some he likes and some he covers his ears. He is probably more discerning than I am. This post is more for me than you because I know that these lists can get boring, but feel free to comment if I’ve listened to a favorite of yours (whether I liked them or not :)). Happy listening.
Simon & Garfunkel are responsible for 2 albums this round and have 7 of my all-time favorite songs. I was already a fan and loved hearing these albums again. Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme (1966) Scarsborough Fair, Patterns, Homeward Bound, and For Emily
I discovered new favorites, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and their album It’s a Blitz (2009), liked the whole album, but especially Runaway. The XX were new to me as was their XX (2009) album, VCR was probably my favorite song. The Flaming Lips had two albums and I really liked Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (2002), more so than The Soft Bulletin (1999) but I found them both so relaxing and look forward to listening to them again. And since I listened to a lot of Bob Dylan it makes since that I also listened to The Band, his backup singers, and their two albums on the list, Music from Big Pink (1968) and The Band (1969), enjoying the former more. Franz Ferdinand’s Franz Ferdinand (2004) was fresh and funky.
Somehow I’ve become a bit of a Neil Young fan which I feel good about since he is currently taking a stand against GMOs and the companies that support them. There were 7 albums on the list and I listened to 4 this time around. My favorite was After the Gold Rush (1970) with Tell Me Why being my favorite song. Tonight’s the Night (1975) felt more bluesy? but I liked it, especially Tonight’s the Night, part 2. Harvest (1972) was great too and I liked the personal The Needle and the Damage Done. And Neil Young and Crazy Horse’s Rust Never Sleeps (1979) album made the cut, with My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue) a thoughtful and beautiful song.
I also got a bit of a Bob Dylan education since 7 of his albums made the cut. I made it through five this go round and liked them more that I thought I would. Blonde on Blonde (1966) had the favorite Just Like a Woman and the fun Everybody Must Get Stoned. Loved Highway 61 Revisited (1965) and the classic Like a Rolling Stone. Blood on the Tracks (1975) was good but it was by this time I realized that while I could listen to the Beatles’ albums back to back, it didn’t really work for Dylan, but I did like A Simple Twist of Fate. The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan (1963) had the iconic and original Blowin’ in the Wind. Bringing It All Back Home (1965) and Subterranean Blues was probably a favorite.
Amazingly, at the age of 43 and 20 years after the album’s release, I became a fan of Tupac’s Me Against the World (1995). I liked his song to his mother, Dear Mama, Me Against the World, and Temptations, but my favorite was So Many Tears.
The ‘Boys’ were somewhere in the middle for me. The Beastie Boys had Licenced To Ill (1986) with the throwback Girls and Paul’s Boutique (1989) with Hey Ladies. While I liked Pet Sounds (1966) by the Beach Boys it wasn’t as upbeat as I thought it would be, especially for a group whose name screams fun in the sun.
And then there were the ones I just didn’t care for all that much. Surprisingly, I didn’t like The B-52’s (1979) by the B-52’s, just too over the top for me, I guess. Hot Rats (1969) by Frank Zappa and The Yes Album (1971), Close To the Edge (1972) and Fragile (1971) by Yes were a little instrument heavy for me. And as much as I loved Tupac, I very much disliked Dr. Dre’s The Chronic (1992). Any time you have to resort to having sex on an album it negates everything else (and I didn’t really like anything else anyway).
List of the albums we listened to from the book(The Visitors by ABBA, Back to Black and Highway to Hell by AC/DC, 21 by Adele, Pump and Toys in the Attic by Aerosmith, School’s Out by Alice Cooper, Dirt by Alice in Chains, Among the Living by Antrax, Tidal by Fiona Apple, Funeral by Arcade Fire, The B-52’s by the B-52’s, The Atomic Mr. Basie by Count Basie, Abbey Road, The Beatles (white album), A Hard Day’s Night, Revolver, Rubber Soul, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, With the Beatles by The Beatles, The Band and Music From Big Pink by The Band, Pet Sounds by the Beach Boys, Licensed to Ill and Paul’s Boutique by the Beastie Boys, Parallel Lives by Blondie, Boston by Boston, Station to Station by David Bowie, Crosby Stills & Nash by Crosby Stills & Nash, The Doors by The Doors, Blonde on Blonde, Blood on the Tracks, Bringing It All Back Home, Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, Highway 61 Revisted, by Bob Dylan, Eagles and Hotel California by The Eagles, Seldom Seen Kid by Elbow, The Marshal Mathers LP andThe Slim Shady LP by Eminem, Sweet Dreams by Eurythmics, The Soft Bulletin and Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots by The Flaming Lips, Rumours by Fleetwood Mac, Frampton Comes Alive by Peter Frampton, Franz Ferdinand by Franz Ferdinand, So and Melt by Peter Gabriel, Appetite for Destruction by Guns N’ Roses, Darklandsand Psychocandy by The Jesus and Mary Chain, Tapestry by Carole King, Destroyer by KISS, Tragic Songs of Life by the Louvin Brothers, Illmatic by Nas, In Utero, MTV Unplugged in New York, and Nevermind by Nirvana, Ready to Die by The Notorious B.I.G., Straight Outta Compton by NWA, Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd, Regatta de Blanc and Synchronicity by The Police, Elvis Presley by Elvis Presley, 2112 by Rush, Bridge Over Troubled Water and Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme by Simon & Garfunkel, Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim and In the Wee Small Hours by Frank Sinatra, Me Against the World by Tupac, System of a Down by System of a Down, Dear Science by TV on the Radio, All That You Can’t Leave Behind, Joshua Tree, and War by U2, Velvet Underground & Nico by Velvet Underground, Red Headed Stranger andStardust by Willie Nelson, Back to Black by Amy Winehouse, XX by The XX, It’s a Blitz! by Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Close To the Edge, Fragile and The Yes Album by Yes, After the Gold Rush, Harvest, and Tonight’s the Night by Neil Young, Rust Never Sleeps by Neil Young and Crazy Horse, Hot Rats by Frank Zappa) 90/1001
Linkup to my past posts