Sunday, December 30, 2018

Sunday Synopsis

InvisibleInvisible by James Patterson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Patterson is slacking. He is off his game. I don't know much about his coauthor for this book, David Ellis, but I feel like he did most of the writing. It's not Patterson's signature style.

The main character, Emmy Dockery, has been on leave from her assignment as an FBI analyst since her sister's death. She is convinced that her sister's death was not an accident but the work of a mastermind serial killer who is making the deaths look like accidents. She has no evidence for her theory. The only connection is they were all fires that took place in the room where the deceased was "sleeping."

Somehow, Emmy is able to find another connection and work out a pattern. They are led to the killer who has left them some audio diaries. This is the part I disliked most. The transcripts of the killer's recordings were extremely unbelievable. This aspect was more melodramatic than dramatic.

And I believe in some suspension of belief, but this storyline required complete suspension of belief in that the plot was so far-fetched. It did not keep me on the edge of my seat as Patterson's earlier novels have. The characters were not developed well enough to make me care one way or the other about them. There was one small twist near the end, but I actually saw it coming.

I'm disappointed, Mr. Patterson.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Thursday Thirteen Christmas Edition II

I'm linking up with Thursday Thirteen for the fist time in a long while.

Christmas is such a magical time of year.  I love the sights and sounds, the activities, the meaning, the cherished memories of Christmases past.

1.  Shopping - I love trying to find the perfect gift for family and friends.  Here I am outside of the mall near my home.

2.  Wrapping Presents - I found this cute Elf paper!

3.  And speaking of Elf, my favorite Christmas movie, I have also watched White Christmas twice and several of the Christmas movies on Hallmark.  Predictable, yes, but it's all part of the Christmas season for me.
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4.  Looking at Christmas lights!
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5.  Crafting!  Making ornaments, goodie bags, Christmas cards, gift tags, and even gifts!

6.  Homemade goodies!  They disappear quickly!

[insert mental image here]

7. Seeing all the pretty Christmas decorations when I'm out and about.

8.  I love attending Christmas Eve service at church.  

9.  Spending time with family is so important at Christmas.

10.  Decorating the tree.

11.  Hiding the pickle ornament.  Are you familiar with the Legend of the Pickle?

12.  Fun activities at school like the door decorating contest.

13.  Christmas music!  This is my favorite song.

I hope all of you have the merriest Christmas!  Wishing you happiness and health in the coming year.

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Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Random Tuesday

I'm linking up with Stacy.

My husband and I just returned from a quick vacation.  We flew to New Orleans and had a super nice dinner at Brennans, spent some time in one of the many bars on Bourbon Street, and stayed one night in the beautiful Hotel Montelleone.  

The next day we boarded a train, The City of New Orleans, and went to Memphis.  While in Memphis, we went to BB Kings for some food and music.  We also visited Graceland.  While at the hotel, we ran into some Rockets and took some photos.  This was one of my favorite things about the trip!  We watched the "marching of the Ducks" at the Peabody Hotel.We also ate BBQ ribs at Blues City Cafe and attended the Memphis/Houston basketball game.  This was also a treat, especially since we won.  More about all this later.

And now...

Thant's all for now!  Have a
great week.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Random Tuesday

I'm linking up with Stacy for some random fun.

I feel like Garfield does about Mondays.
Well, not every Monday, but today.  I don't know what it was, but it was quite a day.  It started with an 8:00 meeting.  Ended at 5:30 with another meeting.  Came home to cook dinner, eat, then out to pick up some Christmas gifts I ordered that were shipped to the store. 

I don't know why today was so... meh.  Maybe because the students complain about everything.  They don't want to do any work.  And their lack of skills, disappoints me. A sixth grader should know how to find the subject and verb in a sentence, right?  And how to write a complete sentence?  Ah well.  It is what it is.

Moving on.  Brighter note.  I love Christmas!  I love the religious aspect, but I also love the trees, decorations, songs... I love buying gifts for others.  I like making pretty packages. 

And Mr. Forgetfulone could live without Christmas.  He would rather take a vacation, so we're compromising.  We're going to New Orleans and Memphis in a few days.  It won't take the place of Christmas, which makes me happy, but he gets a short trip out of it.  We'll be flying to New Orleans and taking the train to Memphis.  I bet it's really cold there!

And now...
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This is a pretty accurate description of "Fall" in Texas.
This is soooo me!

Have a great week!

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Thursday Thirteen Christmas Edition part 1

Link up here for Thursday Thirteen! Spread the Word!

 I love the Christmas season! Have you ever wondered how some of our holiday traditions came about?

 1. Santa Claus - This holiday hero had his beginning in the 3rd century with a man named St. Nicholas who lived in Patara (present day Turkey). He made his debut in America in the 18th century. The name Santa Claus came from the Dutch nickname for St. Nicholas, Sinter Klass. There is actually a whole lot to the story of Santa Claus if you'd like to read it at the St. Nicholas Center website. 

2. Twas the Night Before Christmas - This poem was written in 1822 by Clement Clarke Moore as a gift to his three daughters. It was called "An Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas."
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 3. Rudolph - The most famous reindeer of them all! Robert L. May, a copywriter for Montgomery Ward (I remember that department store) wrote the story of Rudolph in 1939. The store sold over 2 1/2 million copies of the story. Years later, the story was written as a song recorded by Gene Autry and sold over 2 million copies. It has been translated into 25 languages.

 4. Christmas Trees - The Germans get the credit for the modern-day tradition of a decorated Christmas tree. It first became a popular thing to do in the 16th century among Christians.
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5. Wreaths - We have an evergreen wreath on our door right now. It provides a festive atmosphere at Christmas time. Long ago, people worshiped evergreen holly as a sign of eternal life.

 6. Stockings - In the days of the real St. Nicholas, it was said that he threw three coins down the chimney of three poor sisters. Each coin landed in a separate stocking that was hanging by the hearth to dry. Good fortune for everybody!
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7. Candy Canes - The first candy canes were actually sugar sticks that were bent to resemble the shape of a shepherd's crook. In 1670. the choirmaster at Cologne Cathedral gave his young charges these sticks to keep them quiet during long ceremonies. What was he thinking? The red stripes and peppermint flavor weren't added until the early 1900's.

 8. Christmas Cards - The first Christmas greetings were written by boys who had to practice their writing skills, but Sir Henry Cole, director of London's Victoria and Albert Museum, is credited with the first actual Christmas card in 1843.
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9. The 12 Days of Christmas song - Apparently, Roman Catholics in England were forbidden from openly practicing their religion during the years 1558 to 1829, so the song was created with hidden meanings in order to teach their faith without being discovered. Go to the Catholic News Agency website for the hidden meanings.

 10. Gift-Giving - This custom most likely originated in ancient Rome and Northern Europe when people gave gifts during year-end celebrations. The exchanging of elaborate gifts began in the late 1800's.
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11. Red and Green Christmas Colors - Green symbolizes the hope for eternal life that Jesus brings. Red symbolizes the blood of Jesus and the sacrifice He made for mankind.

 12. Christmas Carols - Victorian England is credited with the revival of caroling which, for a long time, was repressed since Christmas was not a widely accepted holiday in England until Victoria came to the throne.

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13. The Nativity Scene - The story of Jesus' birth is recounted in the Bible in Matthew 1:18-25 and Luke 2:1-20. But when did people begin creating the visual Nativity Scenes you see during the Christmas holidays? St.Francis of Assisi is credited with creating this scene as a way to share the Christian faith with those who could not read.

Join the fun at Thursday Thirteen!

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Monday, November 26, 2018

Random Tuesday

I'm linking up with Stacy.

It was so hard to go back to work after having a whole week off for Thanksgiving.  We celebrated at my mom's house.  My sister is usually on a cruise during Thanksgiving, but now that she is retired, they didn't have to go based on the school calendar, so they were able to put it off two days.  It was nice having her and her husband there.

Thanksgiving is my favorite meal of the year:  Turkey, gravy, dressing, rolls, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and of course, dessert!  My favorite dessert is anything with chocolate.  My daughter and her boyfriend make mint chocolate brownies.  We also had pumpkin cheesecake, apple pie, and pecan pie.  I tried some of the cheesecake.  Delicious!

Nothing matters this much.
Did anyone do some Black Friday shopping?  I did... from my home.  Going out in this mess?  No, thanks!  Most of the Black Friday sales I was interested in were also online, so I got a little shopping done.  I still have quite a bit to do.  Why is it always so hard to buy for the guys?  Husband, son, nephew, brother-in-law, sons-in-law... they have everything they need, and they don't easily share what they want.  It's a little frustrating, so if you have any ideas for awesome guy gifts, please leave me a comment!  I could use your help.

And now...
This made me giggle!
So true!

I wonder if this is a real book?
And this!  Hahaha!
Have a great week!

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Sunday Synopsis

Everything, EverythingEverything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

This book is a major motion picture which I haven't seen yet. I always like to read the book first. This is Nicola Yoon's first publication, and I must say, she did well! Author's first books are usually not great, with the exception of Grisham's A Time to Kill. But... I digress.

Everything, Everything is about Madeline, an 18 year old girl who has spent the last 17 years living inside due to a diagnosis of Severe Combined Immunodeficiency Disease, or SCID. Think "boy in the bubble" disease. Madeline lives with her mother. Her father and brother were killed in an accident when she was a few months old. Shortly afterward, she was diagnosed with her disease. She, her mom, and nurse Carla have as much fun as possible for someone who can't go outside for fear of death. Madeline does school online through private tutors, they play games, and she spends a lot of time reading.

One day, a family moves in next door. When she first lays eyes on Oliver, she knows that her life will never be the same. She will risk her life, which she finds out isn't really living, only surviving, to be able to truly live. And she will finally find out how here disease was diagnosed.

This book had a little more romance than I usually read, but overlooking that, it was a great story. The characters were well-developed and believable, for the most part. There were a few things that didn't seem to fit, but they were likeable characters which makes a huge difference. The themes presented were pretty deep, so I wouldn't classify this as just a young adult book. I think most adults would like it, too. The storyline was believable up to a point, but isn't that what books are for? Escape?

Something that bothers me a little about current young adult authors is that they try too hard to make their characters diverse. Instead of happening organically, it seems contrived, whether it's multi-racial characters or characters of color, characters with gender identity issues (not this book), characters who are atypical. I have no problem with this if it is important to the story, but Yoon said herself, she wanted to make it clear that her characters were of diverse backgrounds. I don't think it added anything to the story. The characters could have been of any race, and the story would have been the same. It seemed too obvious. I'd rather use my own inferencing skills to figure out how a character looks and behaves rather than being told. Just my little rant.

Everything, Everything was better than I thought it would be, having been given to me by a student, and I was pleasantly surprised. I can't wait to watch the movie.

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Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Thursday Thirteen - Thanksgiving Edition

If a fellow isn't thankful for what he's got, he isn't likely to be thankful for what he's going to get.
--Frank A. Clark

How about some lighthearted, "slightly" corny turkey jokes to relieve some stress today?

1. What did the mother turkey say to her disobedient children?
If your father could see you now, he'd turn over in his gravy!
2. How many cooks does it take to stuff a turkey?
One, but you really have to squeeze him in!

3. A lady was picking through the frozen turkeys at the grocery store, but couldn't find one big enough for her family. She asked the stock boy, "Do these turkeys get any bigger?" The stock boy answered, "No ma'am, they're dead."

4. What happened when the turkey got into a fight?

He got the stuffing knocked out of him.

5. Can a turkey jump higher than the Empire State Building?
Yes - a building can't jump at all.

6. Why did they let the turkey join the band?

Because he had the drumsticks!

7. Why did the police arrest the turkey?

They suspected it of fowl play!

8. Which side of the turkey has the most feathers?
The outside.

9. How does a Turkey drink her wine?
In a gobble-let

10. What do turkeys like to do on sunny days?
They like to go on a peck-nic.

11. What do you get when you cross a turkey with an octopus?
Enough drumsticks for Thanksgiving.

12. What did the little turkey say to the big turkey?
"Peck" on someone your own size!

13. What do you get after eating way too much turkey and dressing?
Dessert, of course


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