Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Murder by Prophecy by Gary Kassay Review & Giveaway

Welcome to my stop on the Murder by Prophecy tour powered by Innovative Online Book Tours. Below you will find a book blurb, author bio, online links, buy now links, my review and a 5 e-book international giveaway!


What would you do if you had been falsely imprisoned and if while in prison your wife and your children had been brutally murdered? Samuel Maxwell, the Prophet, decides to spend his time plotting out his plan for revenge against the greedy men responsible..

The Prophet stops at nothing to avenge the deaths. Will Inspector Duke Becker and his squad from Special Investigations Homicide be able to stop the Prophet and the reasons behind the killings before more die? 


Gary L. Kassay born on March 20, 1956 in the Bronx, New York.  He married his high school sweetheart, Eileen on May 6, 1978.  Gary & Eileen had two children, Jason Kassay born March 30, 1980 and Samantha Kassay born January 6, 1986.  Eileen Kassay passed away on May 14, 2003.

Gary worked as an x-ray tech for six years at Brooklyn Hospital and then joined the New York City Police Department, Transit Police. Hr trained for the K-9 unit and worked until injured in the line of duty forcing early retirement.  Gary then worked in the field of commercial photography. Starting in customer service, then becoming the assistant manager, manager and then with two partners buying Diversified Photo located on Long Island
Although retired at the time, worked Ground Zero after 9/11 for several weeks.

In 2004, Gary left the business to two partners and moved to North Carolina  where he met his second wife Raella. They married on September 10, 2005 in Maui, Hawaii. Gary worked for Homeland Security as a TSA officer, and then as a Lieutenant for Guilford County in charge of the Social Services Building. 

In 2008  he moved to Casper Wyoming where he currently resides.


Twitter: @GaryKassay


Buy Murder in Silence and Murder by Prophecy NOW!



My Review 4 Stars

When I first began reading Murder in Prophecy I was not aware that it was actually book 2 in the Duke Becker series. After reading chapter 1, I decided that I wanted to read book 1, Murder in Silence. I wanted to make sure that there would be no gaps in the story. While I now feel I could have read Murder in Prophecy without reading Murder in Silence, I was very happy that I didn't! It was very hard to put either book down, and I in fact had read both in 3 short evenings. I know that I will definitely be reading both books again, and soon I'm sure!

In Murder in Silence, Inspector Duke Becker of the Special Investigations Homicide team, is a single bachelor with no intentions of settling down. While trying to solve a case were officers are having their throats ripped out by any mysterious animal, he meets a very attractive veterinarian, Dr. Elizabeth Cunningham. Things seem to be going in the right direction when Duke is attacked just before he is suppose to meet Dr. Cunningham for a very romantic date.

Murder in Prophecy, takes place right were Murder in Silence leaves off, which I personally prefer. I hate when the book picks up 2 years later. Duke & Elizabeth have been happily wed and are enjoying their honeymoon on the beautiful beaches of Maui. But the real world is calling and Duke must return to work. It isn't long after Duke returns that Chief Rockwell, a hotshot from Boston, receives a mysterious letter.

Just four year prior Samuel had been falsely imprisoned, resulting in him loosing everything - his beloved wife and children. Samuel is now a free man and means to seek revenge on all those that are behind all his grief. Samuel has been coined The
Prophet from his artful letters. It is now up to Inspector Duke, and his team to stop Samuel before it is to late but it is going to be a hard job since the Chief won't cooperate. His team must figure out who Samuel is after, and why.

The Prophet is careful, meticulous in fact in all that he does. From the letters he writes, to his identity, to the murders. It seems that Duke and his team are always one step by The Prophet. Will they ever be able to get ahead? 

 As with Murder in Silence, Gary has left us with a great cliff hanger at the end, and boy is it a good one! I can't wait to see how the tale unfolds with Inspector Becker and his new life that awaits him.

Enter the 5 ebook international giveaway below and don't forget to enter my 1st Annual New Year's Giveaway for a chance to win a $20 Amazon.com gift card - ends 1/31.

DISCLAIMER: I was given a free copy of the book from the author for an open and honest review. All opinions - good, bad or indifferent are mine!


Friday, January 25, 2013

Homeschool Swapping Adventures

Looking for a fun and educational way to learn about other countries, or even other states? Come check out Homeschool Swapping Adventures on facebook. Each month there are Flat Stanley type swaps, holiday card swaps, funny fact post card swaps and more.

Yang's traveler is a giraffe named Zuri, in memory of the baby giraffe from the Cincinnati Zoo. Poppy's traveler is her favorite animal, an elephant named Elly. Owlet has the Gryndorf shield but isn't to interested in swaps. Each month we look for a swap partner. We mail our traveler, passport, journal page and questionnaire for the hosting family to fill out about the area they live in. 

Owlet & Yang with Flat Brittani & Princess Sophia
 Zuri's first visit was to Georgia. This swap was enough to make me throw the towel in but with some great support we carried on. In the end things turned out okay and Yang received a cute giraffe shirt! Zuri's next stop was Tennessee and she had a BLAST while we hosted Princess Sophia. We received enough photos to fill a small handheld photo album! Zuri got to visit the zoo, went shopping, to the dentist and out to eat. Our hostess sent us a cool snow globe magnet from the Knoxville Zoo, a postcard, and a magnet in the shape of a giraffe.
Zuri at the Knoxville Zoo in Tennessee

Right now Zuri is in the UK. She has been there since November and will return at the end of February. Most swaps are a month long, and international swaps are two months. It really is up to the pairs to determine the actually length of the swap.

Zuri took a trip around Europe

While Zuri is in the UK we are hosting Oshwott. He is a cute Pokemon then has been having a ball!

Yang and Oshwott during a birthday party at McDonalds

Steve sat in on Poppy online math lesson
Currently Elly is in Missouri and Steve has come to hang out with us for a while. This is both Elly & Steve's first swap. We attempted to swap Elly with someone in Alaska but unfortunately they Ellynapped her. After 2 months of our swap partner saying she was mailing us her traveler she was asked to return Elly and freaked out blocking the admins for the group and myself. Unfortunately, from time to time you will run across a bad swap. It really is sad because the adults set up the swaps and never take into consideration that children that have invested their time and heart are involved. I'm sure some are wondering why I would mention this. Well it is simple, it's the truth. I know when we first started that I never imaged that something like this would happen. Luckily, we have some awesome admins in the group that have recently done some revamping to hopefully weed those out that are not interested in participating.

I look forward to seeing where are travelers take us. It's fun seeing all the things our travelers have done while visiting other families and learning about their adventures.

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Monday, January 21, 2013

What the heck is a lapbook?

I've seen so many questions lately about lapbooks. What are they? How do you do them? What are the best places to get lapbooks? Are my kids to young or old to do lapbooks? The list really goes on. Never fear! I've not only asked these questions myself, I'm hear today to help answered some of the most common questions about lapbooks, as well as some advice and resources.

What is a lapbook?

A lap book, lapbook, layer book, flap book, or shutter book is a type of single-subject book created by a student, generally as a supplement to a curriculum.

A lap book generally consists of a paperboard folder such as a file folder with small pieces of folded paper glued inside. These folded papers may contain facts, diagrams, illustrations, etc. related to the subject. Lap books can be adapted for any subject and grade level. Teachers and parents who use lap books with students say that they enhance creativity and critical thinking while integrating subjects such as science, language, history, geography, and mathematics, depending on the subject of the lap book. ~ Wikipedia

In short, a lapbook is a review of a book you've read or a topic you've studied.

Where do I start?

Lapbooks can look very intimidating to someone who has never completed one. First of all, breath! Lapbooking is VERY easy as there are no rights or wrongs to it!!

First, find a book or topic of interest. You can search sites such as Homeschool Share, Hands of a Child, or Google with the name of a book or topic and lapbook (human body lapbook, Charlotte's Web labook). 

Next, you need to gather your materials

View ALL the pages of the lapbook BEFORE printing. Otherwise, you may end up with 40 pages you plan not to use. Some lapbooks are created for a wide age range and therefore what works for a 4th grader won't necessarily work for a 1st grader. Write down what pages you want to use and then print just those pages. 

Now for the fun! Read your book or study your topic you picked. Follow the directions on each page you printed and cut everything out. Complete all the questions, color all the pictures, do all your writing and staple or use your brass brads. Next, get your manilla file folder out and decide how you want to piece your lapbook together. Remember, there is no right or wrong way to do this. Before you cut your folders, lay the pieces from lapbook that you printed and cut out so you can move things around and decide how you want it to look. Once you have everything the way you want it cut your folders and then begin piecing you lapbook together.

Is my child to young or old for lapbooks?

In my opinion, NO! I've done lapbooks with children from pre-school to high school. It's all about finding the right lapbook. There are TONS of free lapbook resources at the end of your fingertips. You can even create your own lapbooks.

Adapting lapbooks for multiple ages?

It really is easier than you think. Most lapbooks are for a wide age range, and therefore what appeals or is suitable for a pre-schooler will not be so for a 2nd grader, or vice versa. I ALWAYS view the entire lapbooks file before printing. I sit down with a pad of paper and pencil writing my kids names down that will be working on the lapbook and what pages I need to print for them. Then I print, get my manilla file folders out and do a rough layout to see what all I have. Is there enough for each child for a good review of the lesson? If there is not I will search other sites for lapbooks on the same book/topic. If by some odd chance I still can't find what I am looking for, I will turn to Homeschool Share for their blank lapbook templates.

Do you focus on just your lapbook, or 
do you do other lessons as well?

It really depends. Age as well as depth and subjects covered should be taken into consideration. Did you cover at least the 3 R's? Reading, Writing, Arithmetic. Is your child able to stay focused and not get burnt out by doing more? How much time did you spend working on your lapbook today? Did you complete your lapbook?

If you have only covered one subject and worked for an hour or two then I would do additional studies. I have a few workbooks that I picked up for Yang from Dollar Tree - math, writing and reading comprehension. We do at least one page everyday regardless of what other work we do. We also practice sight words and do a fluency reader everyday. So once we've done our daily things and worked on our lapbook if there is still time and no one is burnt out we will do more.

Chapter Books

Chapter books can be daunting when it comes to lapbooking but really it's not. Just as with reading, break it down into smaller portions. If you are using a pre-made lapbook, read chapter one and then complete any portions of that lappbook that go with that chapter. If your children is older, or has a good memory you could read a few chapters before working on the lapbook portions.

When I decided to do this post I asked others questions or advice they had about lapbook. Here is one I received about chapter books:

·         For Charlotte’s Web my daughter has made a mini book that looks like a house and wrote about how Wilbur slept next to the stove. A mini book that looked like a bottle and wrote about how Fern took care of Wilbur. Then the next chapter she made a barn and summarized events in chapter two, plus she made a mini book that is tracking the main characters in each chapter, and the setting of each chapter. So unlike science where we wait till we are done with our lessons and use it as review, literature lapbooks are done with specific chapter pieces after each chapter is read.

·         Are most lapbooks done after a unit study?

Since lapbooks are a great way to go back and review a book/topic later, you most certainly can follow up a unit study with a lapbook. Most unit studies are setup so that you can turn it into a lapbook, and some even have a pre-made lapbook that goes right along with the unit study.

How much planning is involved?

There is actually very little planning. You need to check and make sure you have all of your needed materials on hand and gather any books or websites you will be using. 

Can lapbooks cover multiple subjects?
Yes, in fact there are many lapbooks that will have extensions to them that cover other subjects.

Last month I did a lapbook with Poppy, Yang & my two of my best friends kids on Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett that I got from Homeschool Share. We covered math that was in the lapbook, social studies when we discussed the difference in how we live today and how life was in the book. Geography - we talked about the origin of gingerbread. Writing - the older comes had to come up with their own gingerbread tale while Yang did copy work. Math & Science with measuring and baking gingerbread cookies.

Where so you store your lapbooks?

Hubby bought me a color coded (right up my OCD ally) 12 drawer caddy for Christmas. On the right there are 4 sets of 2 drawers per color. One the left there is a smaller width wise, but taller drawer that matches the color from the right. I have each drawer labeled and the colors go together. White is my lapbook section. I have my manilla file folders in my bottom drawer, completed lapbooks in the top drawer and the drawer to the left holds glue sticks, scissors, pens, pencils, colored pencils, box of crayons, single hole punch, brass brads and packing tape. 

Do you still have questions about labooks? Resources to share or suggestions? Comment below.

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