Friday, April 13, 2012

Happy Friday the 13th! And other superstitions.


What is this?

A morbid fear of Friday the 13th!

And on this particularly supersitious day, I thought you might enjoy hearing about wives' tales from a few other countries.

Here goes...

If you are in Italy and a cat sneezes, you are in for some good luck.

In other words, go to Italy armed with a bunch of pepper. Then look around for cats.

If you are in England, make sure you slice your bread evenly. Otherwise, people will think you've been telling lies.

Or...make life easy on yourself, and buy pre-sliced bread.

If you happen to be in Korea the night before a big test, don't wash your hair. Or you'll fail the test. Because you washed away the memories of what you studied.

This could be a good excuse for a student in any country who fails a test. "Ooops. I forgot and washed my hair last night. My bad."

If you're in Turkey and come across a spider inside your house, you'll soon have guests showing up.

However, don't expect me to come knocking at your door. I'm not a big fan of spiders.

And last but not least, here's a superstition from my own homeland. If you happen to find yourself living in Canada, and a neighbor brings you a plate of food, return the plate dirty. Or else bad luck will befall you.

Apparently, this superstition only holds true for the Prairie Provinces. I'm from Ontario, and I've never heard of it. But I do like it; one less thing to add to my to-do list.

Disclaimer: I have no idea how accurate these superstitions are. And all the pics are from Google Images. Happy Friday the 13th!


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Book Review Club (April 2012)

Well, it's that time again! The first Wednesday of the month. Which means The Book Review Club is up and running. Please scroll below my book review to find links to the rest of the reviews. It's quite a varied lot this month. Our goal is to add to your to-be-read book pile. And make it dangerously high. :)


by Andrew Smith (older young adult)

The cover is probably enough to get you to read this book:
Two brothers. One psychopath. A beautiful girl. The road trip from hell.

In a nutshell: It's 1970, and Jonah (16) and his younger brother, Simon (14), are abandoned by their mother. They leave their ramshackle home in New Mexico to head to Arizona in the hopes of finding the rest of their family. They set off with a whopping $10, a backpack of clothes, and letters from their older brother who's doing a tour in Vietnam. Oh, yeah, they also have a gun. Jonah and Simon take a ride from Mitch and Lilly. Mitch is a psychopath. Lilly is pregnant and desperate. Things escalate from there. The book is interspersed with letters from the older brother. The story is fast-paced and told from multiple perspectives.

What I loved: The relationship between the brothers was authentic. They loved each other, but there was some some very real antagonism. The characters acted and sounded like teens. There's a ton of conflict in this book. A ton. At times, my stomach actually hurt. It was that good. And I always love a book with mutiple viewpoints.

IN THE PATH OF FALLING OBJECTS is pretty violent. I wasn't bothered by it, but I wouldn't give this book to a younger teen to read.

Here's Andrew Smith's website.

And now, ta dum, onto the amazing reviews below. Please click through.


Stacy Nyikos: JEFFERSON'S SONS by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley (middle grade)

Staci of Life in the Thumb: THE LIGHT (MORPHEUS ROAD #1) by D.J. Machale (middle grade, fantasy)

Sarah Laurence: THE STATISTICAL PROBABILITY OF LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT by Jennifer E. Smith (young adult)** includes an author interview **

Cassandra of Misadventures of a Teenage Writer: DELIRIUM by Lauren Oliver (young adult, dystopian)

Ellen Booraem of Freelance Ne'er-do-well: A MONSTER CALLS by Patrick Ness


Patti Abbott: THE LIFE BOAT by Charlotte Rogan

Linda McLaughlin: CRUCIBLE OF GOLD by Naomi Novik (fantasy)

Alyssa Goodnight of the Writers' Road Less Traveled: PERFECT ON PAPER by Janet Goss (women's fiction)

Jenn Jilks of Cottage Country: NOT IN MY FATHER'S FOOTSTEPS by Terrence Rundel West

Scott Parker: GENTLEMEN OF THE ROAD by Michael Chabon (adventure)



Note to Reviewers: Any errors (broken link, missed review, etc), just shoot me an email or leave a comment. I'm out of town today, but will have access to the internet at some point. Thank you so much for your reviews!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Road Trip! Campus College Tour 2012

I'm on yet another road trip! This time it's with Child #3, his friend, his friend's mother.

We're vising five California college campuses in five days: Cal Berkeley, UC Davis, Cal Poly, CalTech and Harvey Mudd. Whew!

Below are a few pics from our ongoing adventure.

Here we are driving to Berkeley. All the way from San Diego. It took FOREVER. We stopped too many times and stayed too long each time we stopped. We discovered a new brand of beef jerky, rented movies and visited a business Costco. WE HAD FUN!

Then, about 200 miles south of Sacramento, we hit a huge wind storm. Sand, dirt, and tumbleweeds were whipping across the highway. At times, there was zero visibility. And birds were even having trouble flying. The good news? The storm ended, and we made it to Berkeley.

We enjoyed a delicious brunch at Cafe M. Seriously, I had the best coffee I've had in about a month. Berekeley is very dog friendly. Here are two of our travelers petting a dog.

Child #3's friend and Child #3 go for a bike ride around the UC Davis campus. There are more bikes than people here. Child #3's friend was particularly taken with UC Davis.

We're back on the road in 10 minutes, heading to San Luis Obispo and a tour of Cal Poly.