Stacy's Books

books, movies, and boy

Book vs. Movie – The Blind Side

The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game(2006)vs. Blind Side(2009)

I LOVED both the book and the movie but they were different in many aspects.  Here’s what they had in common…

Michael Oher came along at the perfect time in the evolution of the Left Tackle position in professional football.  His size alone made him appealing to college coaches and his athletic ability made him a top star recruit.  But to get there he needed help.  Born to a mother who had drug problems and too many kids to keep track of, Oher had nowhere to go until a friend’s father got him into the Christian high school on the privileged side of Memphis.  After a rocky, homeless start Oher finds a family and a career.

The Story/Plot  The book had a lot of football history and the movie skipped over it, but I don’t think the movie suffered in the least for not showing why the Left Tackle position became so important. The plot was similar but the movie skipped over some really interesting stuff, like how complicated it was that Oher didn’t know his real name, that he really lived with rotating families for quite awhile, and how he really got his GPA high enough for the NCAA (it was NOT just hiring a tutor!).  I also enjoyed getting to know more about the make up of Memphis in the book.     Thumbs Up- Book

The Visual  I’ll be honest, for the most part, this category is really for the movie to lose.  I mean how often is the writing so beautiful and the screen so hideous that the book would be better?  But it happens.  Sometimes with movies like this, where there isn’t really anything special about the sets and the only thing that gives it a leg up is a favorite actor (Sandra Bullock).  I don’t know, I’m calling this a tie.  Thumbs Up- Tie

Characters vs. Actors  I love Sandra Bullock and thought her portrayal of Leigh Anne Touhy was fantastic as was Quinton Aaron’s as Michael. My biggest quibble is that Leigh Anne was a cast player in the book, often taking a back seat to husband Sean and, well, that’s not how the movie played it. Both were entertaining, only one was truly accurate.  I did LOVE seeing all of the real college coaches make an appearance in the movie, so for that reason alone I’ll call this one a draw.  Thumbs Up- Tie

The Ending  It’s hard to mess with the awesome story of Michael Oher since his is a true rags to riches story. The problem is that the movie wrapped it up with a nice little bow at the end, but it didn’t need it.  The movie could have accurately portrayed the book (leaving out the dry football parts) and been just as good.  The movie didn’t change the story, but it wasn’t really complete either.  Thumbs Up – Book

And the winner is…the book!!!  This was my toughest one yet because I loved both so much.  I don’t think you can really go wrong.

 

Other book vs. movie polls you can vote on (The Fault in Our Stars) (The Hound of the Baskervilles) (Gone Girl) (Jack Reacher) (Ender’s Game) (Carrie, the original) (Under the Tuscan Sun) (The Secret Life of Bees) (The Shining, the original)

January 15, 2016 Posted by | Books vs. Movie | , | 8 Comments

Throwback quiz – guessing closed

 

Enter a caption

No Googling or looking at other commenter answers.  Yes, we’re going by the honor system :)  Play every week or just one time, you are always welcome :)  It only takes once to be eligible for a prize. 

Here’s the deal- Tell me what each of the five books have in COMMON.  Let me give you so vague hints. 2 have to do with locations, 2 with movies, 2 with the covers, 2 with main characters, 1 with the authors, and 1 is a surprise :)  An example of past common threads-authors born in Ohio, magical realism and Edgar Award winners.

1.In Cold Blood: A True Account of a Multiple Murder and Its ConsequencesSarah, Plain and Tall 30th Anniversary EditionLittle House on the Prairie (Little House Series: Classic Stories #3)The Persian Pickle ClubSharp Objects

2.The Two Towers: Being the Second Part of The Lord of the RingsThe Subtle Knife (His Dark Materials Series #2)Catching Fire (Hunger Games Series #2)Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades Trilogy #2)Insurgent (B&N Exclusive Edition) (Divergent Series #2)

3.First FrostSleeping in Eden: A NovelThe Taste of Apple Seeds: A NovelEat the City: A Tale of the Fishers, Foragers, Butchers, Farmers, Poultry Minders, Sugar Refiners, Cane Cutters, Beekeepers, Winemakers, and Brewers Who Built New YorkThe Fiction Class

4.The ShiningKilling Floor (Jack Reacher Series #1)Beach MusicI, RipperGot the Look (Jack Swyteck Series #5)

5.The Rosie ProjectMarcelo in the Real WorldThe Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-TimeLove AnthonySomeone Else's Love Story

6. The Joy Luck ClubA Dirty JobDaughter of FortuneMurder on Nob Hill (Sarah Woolson Series #1)2nd Chance (Women's Murder Club Series #2)

7.Pride and PrejudiceA Confederacy of DuncesPirate LatitudesThe Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium Series #1)The Silmarillion

8.StolenArcadiaThe Butterfly and the ViolinThe Ice Queen: A NovelFate

9.Midnight in the Garden of Good and EvilHigh FidelityMust Love DogsThe Runaway JuryThe Paperboy (Movie Tie-in Edition)

10.Sleepless in seattle.jpgMixednutsposter.jpgA woman laughing. Below a woman with a finger in her mouth. The middle horizontal section contains the film title.Michael ver2.jpgBewitchedmovieposter.jpg

 

 

January 13, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | | 15 Comments

Web of Deceit by Katherine Howell

fpoWeb of Deceit. Finished 1-7-16, rating 4.25/5, suspense, pub. 2009

Unabridged audio 12 hours, 51 minutes. Read by Caroline Lee

When paramedics Jane and Alex encounter a man refusing to get out of his crashed car with bystanders saying he deliberately drove into a pole, it looks like a cry for help. His claim that someone is out to get him adds to their thinking that he is delusional.

Later that day he is found dead under a train in what might be a suicide, but Jane is no longer so sure: she remembers the terror in his eyes.

Detective Ella Marconi shares Jane’s doubts, which are only compounded when the case becomes increasingly tangled. The victim’s boss tries to commit suicide when being questioned, a witness flees their attempt to interview her and a woman is beaten unconscious in front of Jane’s house.

Ella is at a loss to know how all these clues add up and then a shocking turn of events puts even more people in danger.…

What a great way to start my listening year!  I won this last year or maybe even the year before but put off listening because I realized that it was the sixth in a series about Ella Marconi.  I don’t like to jump into the middle of a series, but I’ve been working on Mt. TBR and thought I’d give this one CD to win me over.  That one CD did the job and I was hooked.

The series is based on Detective Ella Marconi and her partner, but has a revolving door of paramedics in each installment.  I didn’t know this and I grew invested in the stories of Jane and Alex.  I’m still not sure how I feel about reading the next one if they’re not in it.  Ella was great and the characters of this suspense were excellent, not a stereotype to be found.  It was fast-paced and I love the way that the story came full circle by the end, excellent plotting.  I doubt that I’m going to go back and read the first 5 in the series, but knowing how good this one is I’m sad that I didn’t start with 1.  If  you are reluctant to start another series I should tell you that, according to Goodreads, there are only 7 in the series, so there is a set number and it’s not too high.

I thought this Aussies series set in the world of paramedics and detectives was really good and would recommend it to lovers of thrillers, mysteries or crime novels.

January 12, 2016 Posted by | 4 1/2 Star Books | | 11 Comments

Mailbox Monday – January 11

mmb-300x282Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week.Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

If you are interested in winning a book for your mailbox this week you can enter my blogiversary giveaway here.

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What Was Mine by Helen Klein Ross (from Simon & Shuster)

Simply told but deeply affecting, in the bestselling tradition of Alice McDermott and Tom Perrotta, this urgent novel unravels the heartrending yet unsentimental tale of a woman who kidnaps a baby in a superstore—and gets away with it for twenty-one years.

The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie (from Ryan for the Bookish Secret Santa)

Tommy and Tuppence, two young people short of money and restless for excitement, embark on a daring business scheme – Young Adventurers Ltd.

Their advertisement says they are ‘willing to do anything, go anywhere’. But their first assignment, for the sinister Mr Whittington, plunges them into more danger than they ever imagined…

Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman by Tessa Arlen (from Ryan again)

Lady Montfort has been planning her annual summer costume ball for months, and with scrupulous care. Pulling together the food, flowers and a thousand other details for one of the most significant social occasions of the year is her happily accepted responsibility. But when her husband’s degenerate nephew is found murdered, it’s more than the ball that is ruined. In fact, Lady Montfort fears that the official police enquiry, driven by petty snobbery and class prejudice, is pointing towards her son as a potential suspect.

The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino (Ryan was generous, yes?)

Yasuko Hanaoka is a divorced, single mother who thought she had finally escaped her abusive ex-husband Togashi. When he shows up one day to extort money from her, threatening both her and her teenaged daughter Misato, the situation quickly escalates into violence and Togashi ends up dead on her apartment floor. Overhearing the commotion, Yasuko’s next door neighbor, middle-aged high school mathematics teacher Ishigami, offers his help, disposing not only of the body but plotting the cover-up step-by-step.

 

 

January 11, 2016 Posted by | Mailbox Monday | 10 Comments

I turned 8 yesterday! And, yes, I’m giving books away.

IMG_5011This is the advent book tree I made for Gage this year and has nothing to do with my blogiversary, but I think it looks bookish and festive!  I don’t have any big insights to share of my eight years posting here.  According to my stats, this is my 1961st post!  Wow.  I had no idea how fulfilling and time-consuming blogging would be when I started and the years have flown by.  Seriously, it does seem like a throwaway to say that, but when I look at how long I’ve known some of you I can hardly believe it.

I usually give away something to mark the occasion and this year is no different.  My two favorite books that first year were

fpoStephen King’s On Writing.  This is what I said,  I loved this book.  I loved the mix of humor, truth, detail, and brevity.  I have been charmed by a horror writer and I’m not ashamed to admit it.

fpoOrson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game. This is what I said, I loved this book.  It was psychological, political, philosophical and just plain fun. 

I’m going to give them both away.  Just leave me a comment and tell me which one (you can say both) you want.  I’ll draw names at the end of the month.  Open internationally.

If you’ve already read these and want me to send them to a friend if you win that’s okay too.  Thanks for supporting my blogging habit over the years!  It’s only because of the friends I’ve made that I’ve made it this long :)

 

January 8, 2016 Posted by | FREE | | 21 Comments

Writers Lost in 2015 – guessing closed

This is always my first quiz of the year.  Let’s see if you can figure out what authors passed on last year.  Sorry I’m late!

Leave your guesses in a comment.  Good luck!

No Googling or looking at other commenter answers.  Yes, we’re going by the honor system :)  Play every week or just one time, you are always welcome :)  It only takes once to be eligible for a prize. 

  1. She has a famous sister and is famous in her own right, all of her 32 novels made it on the NYT Bestseller list. She died of breast cancer in September at the age of 77.
Jackie Collins
  1. This American writer of historical fiction won numerous awards for his writing.  I remember reading Ragtime, one of his 12 novels, in college. He died last July at the age of 84.

EL Doctorow

  1. This queen of true crime worked alongside Ted Bundy without knowing he was a serial killer and wrote a book about him.  She died in July at 83.

Ann Rule

  1. Richard Chamberlain and Barbara Stanwyck starred in the 1983 mini-series based on this Aussie’s best known novel.  She died last January at the age of 77.

Colleen McCullough

  1. Call him Sir.  This English fantasy author is best known for his series that consisted of 41 books, the last one being published last year 5 months after his death at the age of 66.

Terry Pratchett

  1. A Baroness who sat in the House of Lords isn’t who you might expect to write psychological murder mysteries.  She died last May at the age of 85 after suffering a stroke.

Ruth Rendell

  1. Considered by some an American West author, this novelist did set many of his 17 books in and around his native Montana.  During his 8 years suffering with multiple myeloma, he wrote his final 4 books. He passed away in April at the age of 75.

Ivan Doig

  1. This lawyer successfully prosecuted Charles Manson and later turned to writing, most notably Helter Skelter. He died of cancer last summer at the age of 80.

Vincent Bugliosi

  1. The 1990 movie Awakenings was based on the book he wrote about his work.  He died last August at the age of 82.

Oliver Sachs

  1. A two-time Pulitzer nominee and 5 time National Book Award nominee which he won in 1975 for Dog Soldiers.  He died last January at the age of 77.

Robert Stone

January 7, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | | 14 Comments

A year of firsts and a look at BG (Before Gage)

I joined Instagram.  Why would I join yet another time-sucking social media site (I mean really, when does it stop?)?? Well, I was thinking of taking one photo to capture the day for a whole year and then I joined and wanted a bit more focus.  So, it’s my goal to capture a year of firsts. Everyday.  It’ll be a challenge for sure.  You can follow me if you click on my link on the sidebar.

Now onto my other project for the year, one inspired by Kay’s Bookish Nostalgia.  I love her glimpses into her reading past and have been thinking of a way I could steal the idea but make it my own ;)  I think I have it.  I am 5+ year mother.  Due to many things (stay-at-home mom to a kid with medical mysteries and special dietary needs being the biggest one) I remember carefree reading and blogging days from afar.  So, I decided to choose the year Gage was born and revisit it every month.  If January is any indication, I think this will inspire me.

I loved looking back at January 2010, I was such an active blogger! I posted 30 days. That’s right, 30 out of 31 days. I went back and read them all and, if you don’t mind me saying, they were all pretty good.  I had just finished 2009 by reading 130 books and thought this might continue, lol.  I was giving away books monthly, posting quizzes, joining challenges.  I was also getting pregnant, but I didn’t know that yet.  I attended two author events (Beth Hoffman, Tracy Chevalier) and posted two author interviews (Beth Hoffman, Shirley Tallman). I would love to do more author interviews, but probably not this year, unfortunately, they took a lot of time.  I read Garden Spells and fell in love with all thinks Sarah Addison Allen.

My favorite picture from January 2010

b hoffman 009Bonnie (Redlady’s Reading Room), bestselling author Beth Hoffman and me.

Tonight  I met Bonnie from Redlady’s Reading Room for the first time.  We only live about 20 minutes from each other and we decided to get together and meet Beth Hoffman, author of Saving Cee Cee Honeycutt.  Bonnie is a fellow Ohio State grad and we had a lot of fun chatting before we headed to the library for the book discussion and signing.  I have exchanged a few emails with Beth and knew that she was sweet.  However, I think she was even sweeter in person!  She was full of charm and warmth and if you have the chance to meet her on her book tour, take the opportunity!  (tour locales here)  She was truly inspirational. 

I should note that before her discussion she talked to Bonnie and when Bonnie introduced me, Beth said, “Oh, Stacy,  Max’s Mom!”  Well, let’s be honest, I was floored that she remembered to mention him.  How cool is that?! 

Favorite PostMy Reread Project.  I’m not sure why I stopped doing this, but am ready to try again.

…What does this have to do with rereading books?  Well,  what I get out of a book is based on many things, not the least of which is what was going on in my life when I read it.  So, maybe if I read it five years later and I’m happier, sadder, more stressed out, whatever, I might have a completely different opinion of the book.  So, last year I decided to commit to rereading at least one book from my Favorite Books list every year.  Yes, if I only read one a year it will take me 100 years, so it is obviously not a perfect plan, but quite a few of the books on the list I have read more than once already….

Favorite BookSaving Cee Cee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman.  I continue to love and recommend this book!

…Okay, first book of the year and the one I’ll be judging others by since I’m giving it 5 stars.  This book made me cry and laugh and left me with a smile on my face, not something that happens very often.  CeeCee was a charming girl who had led a hard life to date and my heart broke for her.  I loved her and her mistakes were both funny and important, reminding me that she was still just a girl no matter how grown up she sometimes seemed…

Favorite new movie  Avatar 3D.  But I did also post about one of my all-time faves – Pride and Prejudice, the mini-series with Colin Firth.

Why I love it Um, Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy.  I know there are lots of other great reasons to love this movie, but if you take Colin Firth out of the picture, this is no favorite!  I thought Jennifer Ehle was a great Lizzie.  She had warmth, sparkle, and a quick wit.  The rest of her family was suitably annoying and ridiculous, but in a good way.

Now that I’ve read the book I can truly appreciate how closely this follows Austen classic.  The sets were perfectly lovely and not Hollywood in any way.  There were added scenes to let us see a bit more of Mr. Darcy and that made it easier for me to see him apart from only the times Elizabeth saw him, as was the case in the novel.

Well, the reason I’m reviewing this now is because Jason really, really loves me.  We watched an hour a night for a week.  It was so much fun introducing Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth to him.  He really didn’t get Mr. Darcy’s appeal, especially for the first half of the movie.  I kept telling him it was Colin Firth and that’s all he needed to know, but he still wasn’t convinced.  And I’m still waiting for him to come home with a 5 hour miniseries about the history of the stock market or 100 years of Michigan State basketball.

If you were blogging in January 2010, why not leave a link to your favorite post? I’d be happy to post it here and then we’d all be taking a trip down memory lane?


Nise from Under the Boardwalk chose this post as her favorite.  I looked over my posts of January 2010 and was tickled to see one about book shelves. Only one of the shelves has remained – I stack my library books on the steps in the order of their due date!  

 JoAnn from Lakeside Musing chose this post as her favorite.  After three attempts spaced over 25 years, I’ve finally managed to finish a Virginia Woolf novel. And not only did I finish it, I liked it. I really liked it…

 

 

 

January 5, 2016 Posted by | lists, Photos | , | 9 Comments

First Book of 2016

Welcome to 2016, friends!  My only new blogging goal right now is a new look for the blog so be on the lookout :)1st aI couldn’t resist joining Sheila this year in celebrating the first book I’m going to read this year.  I considered many but decided on one that I won from fellow blogger Lloyd.  It was his favorite of the year a few years back and it’s been sitting on my shelves for that long (this happened last year when I won Lisa’s favorite book and it took me years to read. I mention it only because it ended up being my favorite book last year! But no pressure Lloyd :)).

first bookI read the first few chapters last night and have a very good feeling about The Language of Flowers.  Have you read it?  What will be your first book of 2016?

January 1, 2016 Posted by | Bookish Stuff | 28 Comments

2015 Book Favorites and Stats

Books

I read 60 books this year. That’s one more than last year.  Next year’s goal will be 61 :)

44 Fiction , 16 Non-fiction

Of those 44 fiction books, 25 were written by authors new to me!

33 Female authors , 27 Male authors

It was a banner year for audiobooks with 27 and 2 where I both read and listened.

I continued with 6 series that I already read (Mrs. Pollifax, Jack Reacher, Lucas Davenport, Blue Heron, Vanessa Michael Monroe, and Tommy & Tuppence)

I read 8 books for the Classics Club.  I have 4 years to finish 42 more :)

My favorite cover

Oldest book read?  The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Conan Arthur Doyle, 1902

Shortest book? 84, Charing Cross by Helene Hanff, 97 pages

Longest book? The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins, 672 pages

Most read author? A tie! I read 2 Agatha Christie (And Then There Were None, By the Pricking of My Thumbs) and 2 John Sandford (Field of Prey, Gathering Prey)

 

My 5 favorite books this year

1.The Homecoming of Samuel LakeThe Homecoming of Samuel Lake.  This is everything Southern fiction should be.

2.fpoRoll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. More Southern fiction at its best.  Winner of the 1977 Newberry Medal.

3.fpoThe Fault in Our Stars.  It was worth all the hype.

4.fpoMe Before You.  Also worth the hype. I’m looking forward to the sequel and movie in 2016!

5.fpoThe Perfect Match.  Second in the Blue Heron series and my favorite romance this year.

BONUS FAVORITE

None of these books were published this year so I’m adding a 6th favorite, my favorite book published in 2015.

6.fpoFirst Frost. I love SAA and this continuing story of the Waverly family.

 

 

December 31, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | | 22 Comments

2015 Movies Faves and Stats

Movies

I watched 54 movies, that’s down 12 from last year!!!

I wrote 2 Book vs. Movie posts (The Fault in Our Stars and The Hound of the Baskervilles), wrote a few Friday film talks and continued my 5 word movie reviews asking for your participation. Please consider adding your thoughts to these reviews since they count towards money for charity, maybe even yours!

2015 was my most watched movie year with 15, followed closely by 2014 with 13.

The oldest movie I watched was The Hound of the Baskervilles, 1939

Favorite animated film was Cars, 2006

Best sequel was Creed, 2015

Cutest couple- Hazel and Augustus in The Fault in Our Stars

Favorite movie poster-Mockingjay Part 2 Poster.jpg

Hated-Snowpiercer. Violent and pointless.  I hear they are going to make a tv show based on it.  One I will not be watching :)

Most watched actor-supporting actor Vincent D’Onofrio with 4 movies (Run All Night, The Judge, Jurassic World, Escape Plan)

Most watched actress-Julianne Moore with 3 movies (Still Alice, Non-Stop, Hunger Games:Mockingjay, part 2)

My 5 favorite movies this year

1.Begin Again film poster 2014.jpgBegin Again. This was everything a great indie should be. Charming and romantic with a kick-ass soundtrack. Jason and I actually used an idea from this movie for our wedding anniversary this year.

2.PK Theatrical Poster.jpgpk. Jason and I are not familiar with Bollywood movies but this one was playing at our local theater and we decided to check it out.  It is so goofy and bizarre that it charmed us from beginning to end. It was also a packed theater and I hope to see more as our theater plays them.

3.Spy2015 TeaserPoster.jpgSpy. I loved Melissa McCarthy’s lead comedic role.  She was hilariously supported by the rest of the cast and I laughed.  And then I laughed some more.

4. The Imitation Game poster.jpgImitation Game. A great historical film about mathematicians trying to break the Germans enigma code.  Yes, I wasn’t too excited about the premise but the movie was very well done.

5. Selma poster.jpgSelma. I liked this movie about MLK Jr.’s fight for equality.  Not afraid to show him at his weakest or most calculating, I was fascinated by this portrayal of a man who fought for justice.

So what was your favorite movie this year?

 

December 30, 2015 Posted by | movies | | 13 Comments

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