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Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Sixth Man by David Baldacci

The Sixth Man (Sean King & Michelle Maxwell, #5)The Sixth Man by David Baldacci

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow!  This one is a roller coaster!  And, the ending was a total surprise!  When you begin this mystery refrain from thinking that you will have it figured out halfway through the story.  Then get ready to learn a lot about U.S. intelligence agencies, the complex business of data gathering and data analysis, and the quest for power in government.  There is enough substance here to keep you engaged through 80 plus chapters.

Edgar Roy is an amazing character.

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Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Silver Star by Jeannette Walls

The Silver StarThe Silver Star by Jeannette Walls

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Silver Star is a complex story told seamlessly by Jeannette Walls author of the memoir The Glass Castle.  Clearly, she drew upon her memoir to create the characters Bean, age 12, and Liz, age 15, for this novel. I am always amazed when an author creates children that are so authentic that you can remember thinking and behaving like them when you were a kid.  If I had to conjure these memories on my own, I would fail.  That makes it so sweet to have Ms. Walls do the conjuring leaving me to just enjoy them.

Above all, this novel reminds us that being a kid is not as easy as it might appear.  While their mother tries to find a career in music after a series of poor decisions in her small hometown that send her out on her own without much of a plan, Liz and Bean fend for themselves, existing on chicken potpies and going to school, during many long periods when their mother leaves them alone.  Liz is a creative girl who keeps her worries from her younger sister all the while distracting her with word games and make-believe.  She is the protector.  Bean, is smart and resourceful.  She idolizes Liz and depends upon her. She learns from her. The story allows us to watch as Bean and Liz subtly change roles.

I marveled at the unconditional love between these sisters. The characters are very well-developed.  I cared about them. The story is heartwarming and a joy to read.

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Monday, November 4, 2013

Halloween 2013

Halloween was so much fun this year. :)
Judy asked for help decorating her car for Grace's school "Trunk or Treat."  Rob suggested a ghost because her car is white.  Here is the concept that I developed.  Judy and I put it together in 1/2 hour!

If you ever have to decorate a car trunk for Halloween, this ghost is EASY, simple and elegant.
  1. Use binder clips to hang a white sheet from the trunk lid.
  2. Place a couple of battery powered lanterns inside the trunk and turn them on.
  3. From poster board, use a box cutter to carve out two oval eyes and a quirky mouth.
  4. Use large safety pins (I strung two big ones together above each eye) to attach the eyes to the sheet.
  5. Suspend the mouth from the eyes with fishing line. 
It was a bit like a mobile. The weight of the sheet and a gently breeze made it move.
We used ghost face plastic treat bags lined up under the bumper to hold the candy.  I found them in the grocery store.  It was unique!

Here are my favorite pictures from the day.