SUMMER READING ASSIGNMENT (The rest)

After finishing our first month of school, I’m reminiscing about my summer escapes.  I let the kids watch videos longer than they should, to savor a few more words (WTF: Wait ’til finished!)!  Sure, they read books, too, but books feel different when optional vs. requisite!

I’m excited to share this 2nd part of my Summer 2016 reading list. PLUS, one I’m cracking open tonight AND one already Amazon wish-listed – containing unforeseen twists even before creasing the cover. Click on the links to check out the books!

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The Choice by Nicholas Sparks

My reading pattern alternates between (or reading concurrently) heavy and light-hearted stories. I visited local Dave’s Used Bookstore and found another Sparks book! Though a fairly recent film release, my #BookBeforeFilm mantra insisted I read this one before watching the film that same weekend. Sparks also wove the characters’ pets into the story, for a warm-fuzzy touch to this heart-squeezing story.

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A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle

(Daughter’s summer reading assignment #1) – I finished this book with my daughter – 4 years after starting it with my son. I wish I’d read this when I was in elementary school because the technology mentioned wasn’t as real then and IT’s power may have been more frightening. Though, on the heels of another internet security breach, the fear feels real. Movie remake coming soon!

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Rumble Fish by S.E. Hinton

(Daughter’s summer reading assignment #2) – Mentioning S.E. Hinton’s name makes me giddy a) Because she is female, b) Successful in her teens, c) And, wrote The Outsiders – THE most amazing story and hunk movie of my teenage years.  I feel like Hinton’s characters speak their truth so well, that you can’t help but empathize and join them in their journey – blow by blow.

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Three Weeks with My Brother by Nicholas Sparks and Micah Sparks 

I’m always curious to read different genres of my favorite authors to compare story construction. I thought each chapter would begin “Dear Diary, Today we…” Instead, it revealed their adulthood as a result of their childhood – perhaps many of our childhoods, when kids ran free. It was also exciting for me – as a writer – to learn where his life inspired his books (A Walk To Remember) and how he presented those personal stories.


NEXT IN MIND:

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The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling

I mentioned starting this book on my Currently – September 2016 list.  Finally I’ll make an honest woman out of me, no kids, red wine, pjs, and grown up book by Jo sounds like the perfect reading environment!

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The Cuckoo’s Calling by Richard Galbraith

I salivate over juicy mysteries! This one starts in immediately with the author!  I’m the last person on the planet to learn that Richard is really Jo (see above)!  This set of 3  (and growing – named after the lead character/investigator), The Cormoran Strike series, are giving people chills and a thirst for blood pumping crime series!  

Here are the other two (don’t have to be read sequentially):

bookrgsilk2     bookrgcareer3

Though I can’t keep the summer reading pace during the school year, I hope to read one new one per “Currently” post. I want to hear what you’ve read in the comments below!

1st part of my list is HERE

What about you? What are you reading next?
Did you already know about Richard Galbraith?
Who is your favorite author?
What book is your guilty pleasure?
Are you a daily, nightly, weekly or sporadic reader?
Do you like when books change covers?

#Readabookday #NicholasSparks #MicahSparks #RomanceNovel #SciFi #Murder #Mystery #BookIsBetter #SummerReading #BookClub #TheCuckoosCalling #RobertGalbraith #JKRowling #MadeleineLEngel #SEHinton #Pseudonym #PenName #AWrinkleInTime #TheChoice #ThreeWeeksWithMyBrother #TheCasualVacancy #CuckoosCalling #Silkworm #CareerOfEvil #CormoranStrike #Detective

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SUMMER READING ASSIGNMENT

The last night before school started, both kids crammed to finish summer reading assignments.  Though I don’t get summers off, the reprieve from micro-momagering homework allowed me some personal reading time.  So, here’re my book reports (to check the books out, click on the book photos to be teleported to Amazon):

One With You by Sylvia Day

I bought this at Target while waiting to get tires fixed. I didn’t realize this book closed out the sultry Crossfire series. Briefly, I considered holding off on finishing this book to read the first few novels in the series. Honestly, I won’t… for a really stupid reason.  During all the hot scenes, there were lots of fantastic descriptors for the guy’s joystick but called the gal’s thunderdome her “sex.” Boring and irked me.

fg

Fast Girl: A Life Spent Running from Madness by Suzy Favor Hamilton 

One of my book-loving friends loaned me this book. This was a fascinating read braiding worlds I’ve never personally experienced: Olympic training, Bi-Polar Disorder and champion Vegas call girl.  I couldn’t put this book down. I felt like she was spilling her heart out to me over coffee so I couldn’t help but stay put and hear her out.

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A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks

Another book-loving friend loaned me this book when they saw my bullet-journal page I’d created tracking Nicholas Sparks’ books and the few I’d yet to read.  Not sure what took me so long to read this – perhaps because I prefer to read books before seeing the movie. To make up for lost time, I read the book and watched the movie the same weekend!  Those weren’t allergies making my eyes puffy! Very touching too, to learn the inspiration behind this story too in a later book by Sparks…

Night by Elie Wiesel

(Son’s summer reading assignment #1) – This book is powerful, yet the length makes you confident that you’ll survive it with your heart and humanity intact.  This was my 2nd time reading it, the first time after seeing Elie on Oprah.  I wanted to re-read the book to be able to discuss it with my son.  It saddened me to learn that Elie Wiesel passed away while his voice was in my head.

I’m amazed to report, there are more books from my summer reading pile!  Check back in a few days to see what else occupied my mind and to learn the inspiration behind A Walk to Remember!

What did you read this summer?
How’d you hear about the book?
Hard copy or Kindle?
Autobiographical or Fiction?
Books or Movies better?
If I ask you to list what descriptors you would have used in One With You, will that create a whole new set of Adult ads on my page?!

#Readabookday #NicholasSparks #Vegas #Crossfire #Target #BookIsBetter #SummerReading #BookClub #SylviaDay #OneWithYou #ElieWiesel #Night #SuzyFavorHamilton #FastGirl #NicholasSparks #AWalktoRemember #BookReport #TearJerker

GHOSTBUSTERS ANSWER THE CALL WITH A SMART REBOOT

Believe me, every time a new reboot appears my eyes roll, “Another 80’s movie makeover?! Why do studios insist on tampering with sentimental favorites that represent our prime years?  We love the generational inside jokes that bond us together. In most cases, the equation of bigger explosions + younger actors + less clothes – sprinkled with updated music and better special effects leaves me unsatisfied and worried for the next generation (of film-making). Reboots (or sequels) should add quality and depth to a franchise.

GHOSTBUSTERS answered the call providing us with what what I hope will be a smart, powerful (and insanely funny) film.  WATCH TRAILER!

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Photo from the Official Website: http://www.sonypictures.com/movies/ghostbusters/

  • Balancing the playing field: Throughout Hollywood, conversations lately focus on equality: Racial, Gender, etc.  Sony Pictures chose to listen to the movements and their celebrity leaders – Emma Watson and Geena Davis – who rally for more women in lead roles.  Four wickedly funny women lead as studious, outspoken women: Leslie Jones, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon and Kristen Wiig!  
  • Being known as a number: Did Sony choose these women to be politically correct? Call it a hunch, but I’m thinking studios operate a bit more on a number$ ba$i$. Bottom line, these women slay box offices and television. For once producers stood up to ANYSTUDIO executive* who said “This film won’t succeed without more male leads.”
  • Passes a test most others fail: If you’re not aware, the Bechdel Test  measures whether a film features 1) At least two female characters 2) Who speak to each other 3) About something besides men. Many films fail this test. Ghostbusters not only passes, but doubled up!
  • Eye (ronic) candy: The stereotype of men hiring attractive, lovingly ditzy assistants extends beyond the film industry.  These Ghostbusters kick so much ghost-ass, only this male marvel understands their work.  Secondary win: Chris Hemsworth in an outwardly more conservative, smart role, not just banking on the brawn (raises his appeal in my eyes).

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Photo from the Official Website: http://www.sonypictures.com/movies/ghostbusters/

TRUTH: The trailer inspired my instant 180-degree change in opinion (or flooded me with hope) about film-remakes. I truly know nothing else about the film. Now I’m going to stalk all social media waiting for additional Ghostbuster gems and the summer release that, now, can’t come soon enough.

*I’m not implying that Sony ever had any Negative Nellie executive – but it’s an industry-wide issue.  If you want to see my really-long Master’s thesis, let me know – It’s the longest thing I’ve ever written.

#HeForShe #IfSheCanSeeItSheCanBeIt #BechdelTest #Ghostbusters #WhoYouGonnaCall #AnswerTheCall #LeslieJones #MelissaMcCarthy #KateMcKinnon #KristenWiig #ChrisHemsworth #Sony #SonyPictures

WRITING CHALLENGE: Ellen Mulholland’s Extra Fun with Words

Through a fortunate chain of events, I stumbled upon a delightful author, Ellen Mulholland, with an amazing website sure to inspire budding writers.  I can’t say that I’ve read her books yet, but will report back when Amazon delivers the books to me this week! *(YAY!)*  Still, part of becoming a writer involves writing and she offers a wonderful section on her website called “Extra Fun with Words!”  This month she held a writing contest with a variety of writing prompts.

While I’m not between the ages of 12 – 18, I have a thing for writing prompts and accepted the challenge for my own practice. Since I am at least twice that age, I allowed myself twice the amount of words too. Below you’ll see the writing prompts I chose (In Purple) and the story that filled in the gaps. I welcome your feedback and for sure, share any additional writing challenge websites that I should try!

Photo borrowed from www.glamour.com

Photo borrowed from http://www.glamour.com

     She never loved winter, but it was different now since the events of the past summer. After feeling guilty for lying to family and friends, and being protective of the reason for it, she and her husband had announced her pregnancy.
     Due to her family history, her regimented summer and fall monitored everything she did or ate. She embraced the journey, carefully logging everything. Her husband provided unwavering support and, together, their confidence and excitement grew with each doctor appointment.
     Reaching the 36-week “full-term” milestone, on the winter solstice, gave her goose bumps. They found themselves in uncharted territory having never dreamed of making it this far. While hospitals urge parents to create one’s “Birth Plan,” she never put it in writing, so as to not jinx things. She rode this wave of energy like a chariot, pre-washing baby clothes, assembling bouncy seats, and decking the halls for waves potential visitors.
     Though their large family holiday celebration kicked off Christmas morning, they cooked a special multi-course feast together for their own Christmas Eve.
     “Babe, it’s our last Christmas as a couple!” She smiled to her husband, while artistically placing rosemary on the roast. “Will you still dream up meals like this after the baby comes?”
     He proudly held up her special celebratory juice spritzer. “Sleep deprivation may force me to buy a cookbook. An easy one with 3 steps or less.”
     “Delicious plan!”
After a relaxing dinner, and cleaning up together, she sent him to start the fire. She slipped into her nightgown, adding a large red satin bow around her tummy. She tried to massage out the stiffness in her back from the active week. Before leaving the bedroom, she mused at her reflection, draped in the nightie that had gone from short to scandalous as the fabric tried to cover her belly.
     Rejoining him in the warm firelight, one motive drove her. “Have you ever wanted something SOOO badly that if you don’t get it you may die?” She sat with her back to him on the couch, moving her hair aside, inviting a massage.
     “Keep talking.” He put the remote down, now that the screen displayed the warmest crackling flames. Gently, he worked on her shoulders.
     “Lower back, Baby, please.” She fanned herself with one hand while rubbing her belly with the other.
     He blew lightly on the back of her neck, to cool her off and heat her up. “What do you want me to do?”
     Her breath quickened and she leaned forward. As she threw her head back. “I need ice cream,” she exclaimed to the gods.
     “But it’s snowing…” As he wrapped his arms around her, a kick from the bottom of her belly punctuated the urgency.
     A low moan escaped from her lips. “Unh, I think the baby wants out!”
     “No fair ganging up on me!”
     “I mean it, we need to go!”
     “Fine! I’ll go!”
     “Us! To the hospital! Now!”
     He jumped off couch, immediately into upright position. “But what’s our plan?!”
     Between patterned breaths, she briefed him, “You get the car, we drive down Magnolia – there’s a 31 Flavors, and we go have this baby!”
     He raced to the bedroom, grabbed his wife some pants, and scooted her down the snowy path to the car. He ran back, grabbing his shoes, wallet and their suitcase, already packed. Nerves tied his feet together, stopping him at the door. Seeing his wife sitting in the car, still tied with the bow, he knew the gift of a calm husband was better than a plan for any new directions.
“Rocky Road!” She exclaimed from the car!
     He took a deep breath, exhaled, and walked out the door.

WORST END OF SCHOOL YEAR MOM EVER

Thank you, Jen Hatmaker, for making me laugh when I want to cry!

Whether you have kids in school or are in school yourself…

WTF?! When’s the finish? Counting down – 9 school days left….

MUST READ –>  Jen Hatmaker – Worst End of School Year Mom Ever.

Celebrate Saturday – because it’s not a school day!!

Ten Things I Really F’Ing Want for Mother’s Day

Moms, Dads, Grown up kids, start taking notes!

While wandering, I found one of the funniest mom blogs ever – Karen Alpert writing Baby Sideburns!

WT(F)F – Waaaay Too (F’in) Funny!

Link

GEMS I STUMBLED UPON – O YOU!

Since none of my high school girlfriends, nor I, had the opportunity to fly to Chicago to see Oprah’s show before it ended, today my friends (that I’ve known for almost 25 years!) and I attended the next best thing!  Oprah’s O You 2012 in Los Angeles!  I learned many gems and will share them in weeks to come!

O what a great group of women!

There were so many activities throughout the day, but our largest challenge was “You … in six words”
Mine life story in 6 words is: Make lasting impression, love all equally!

What’s yours?

Can you write your history in 6 words or less?
Click on photo for some great ones – Including Oprah’s!
Artwork (C) Harpo

All the experts (including Oprah) got on stage:  Her best friend, Gail, Suze, Dr. Phil, Peter, Dr. Laura B., Martha, Adam, Iyanla!  You too can win a set of Oprah’s amazing Swag Bag (Click on this link!).

I know they’re tiny, but they’re all there!
Lingering idea: It’s ok for women to put themselves 1st!

What a great way to celebrate women!   What a great way to celebrate my 1/2 way point with my first grad school class!

Where the magic happened! WTF: We’re thrilled, fantastic!

#OYou2012

PRICELESS GEMS

There are so many amazing lessons from this story, I couldn’t help but share it…
(In their honor I’ve created a new Category of stories:  Heroes Among Us)

Kids doing a triathlon

Kids living life to its fullest

Kid having larger challenges than anticipated out on the course…

Marines sweep in and make sure this kid’s dreams come true!

Life’s lessons:

Never underestimate what you can accomplish!

Victory is sweeter when you share it with others!

There’s a reason why Marines look awfully good in their uniforms – it’s because of the size of their heart!

Feel free to add to this list in the comments section…

Check out this story!

TODAY’S GEM SMACKS YOU SILLY

I do not watch this show but already know more than I would want to about this family. WTF – Way to fall (in love)!

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Being single myself, this reinforces tht there is someone for everyone! Thanks Michelle for sharing!

GEMS I STUMBLED UPON TODAY

“A river cuts through rock not because of its strength but because of its persistence!” –Jim Watkins

“Obstacles are those frightening things that become visible when we take our eyes off our goals.” –Henry Ford

Grand Canyon: Obstacles, what obstacles?
Think of the possibilities!
Photo by YoTuT

(thanks Karina Saenz-Gutierrez for dropping these two gems in my pathway today!)

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