Stacy's Books

books, movies, and boy

Children with High Functioning Autism:Parent’s Guide by Claire E Hughes-Lynch, PhD

Title: Children with High-Functioning Autism: A Parent's Guide, Author: Claire HughesFinished 9-18-16-16, rating 4.5/5, autism, 243 pages, pub. 2010

Children with High-Functioning Autism:A Parent’s Guide by Claire E. Hughes-Lynch has been on my shelves for a few years and that’s too bad because it would have been more helpful earlier in my autism journey.  There are so many books and so much information on the internet about autism that when you first start looking it is completely overwhelming.  And all the information tells you that time is of the essence when treating children on the spectrum, so hurry, hurry, hurry.  The author was a professor of special education before her daughter was born so clearly she had a good, solid foundation, but even she was overcome with too much information when she experienced it from a mother’s side.  So many truths in this book.  She is also very evenhanded in her research.  I appreciated that Hughes-Lynch could share both things she agreed with and things she wasn’t sure about, knowing that what is true and works for one family doesn’t for another. It’s up to the parents to weed through the information and make their own decisions.

What’s it about – She talks about autism from suspecting your child has it, through the new vocabulary and therapies to hopefully coming out the other side in a good place.  It’s a primer, of sorts, laid out in a way that would be useful for newbies.  She shares her own story throughout and provides understanding and hope.

What did I learn – Okay, I’ve been at this almost four years, so much of it wasn’t new ground,  but I did learn a little more about sensory processing disorder. There are a few aspects that I always struggle with understanding and she gave me new insight.

Who would like this – Any parent or family member who has recently had a child diagnosed on the autism spectrum.  As a matter of fact, I’m willing to mail this to the first person who leaves a comment with an email address.  Information is your friend.

December 8, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton

Title: Ethan Frome, Author: Edith WhartonEthan Frome. Finished 9-30-16, rating 5/5, classics, 181 pages, pub. 1911

Ethan Frome works his unproductive farm and struggles to maintain a bearable existence with his difficult, suspicious, and hypochondriac wife, Zeena. But when Zeena’s vivacious cousin enters their household as a “hired girl”, Ethan finds himself obsessed with her and with the possibilities for happiness she comes to represent.

In one of American fiction’s finest and most intense narratives, Edith Wharton moves this ill-starred trio toward their tragic destinies. Different in both tone and theme from Wharton’s other works, Ethan Frome has become perhaps her most enduring and most widely read novel.     from Goodreads

I’m amazed at how much Wharton was able to accomplish in such a slim novel.  I think I saw the previews for the last Ethan Frome movie that came out in the 90’s and thought it looked so boring.  The barren earth with unhappy people didn’t really inspire, but once I started reading this I was hooked.

The narrator of the story meets Ethan after the bulk of the story takes place and what a story of unhappiness to tell. Don’t let that scare you off though. Sit down with a cup of tea on a chilly day and read it all in one sitting.  It will make an impact.  Loved it.

This was my 11th selection for the Classics Club and I need to pick up the pace if I hope to finish 50 by 2020!


December 6, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | 8 Comments

I Dare Me:How I Rebooted and Recharged My Life by Doing Something New Every Day by Luann Cahn

Title: I Dare Me: How I Rebooted and Recharged My Life by Doing Something New Every Day, Author: Lu Ann CahnI Dare Me. Finished 9-22-16, rating 4.5/5, non-fiction, 220 pages, pub. 2013

Veteran journalist and cancer survivor Lu Ann Cahn was feeling angry and frustrated. The economy was tanking. Her job was changing. In a word, she felt “stuck.”

Something had to change. Her daughter helped convince her to start a “Year of Firsts.” For the next 365 days, Cahn made a point of doing something she had never done before, every day. Before she knew it, her whole perspective on life had changed. In this inspiring book, Lu Ann recounts how a new “first” everyday brought excitement and wonder back into her world. And more than that, she helps readers see how they can do it too.

• Participate in a Polar Bear Plunge
• Speak to a complete stranger on the street
• Zip-line across a crocodile-infested Mexican lake
• Spend a day in a wheelchair
• Learn to Hula Hoop                  from Goodreads

I Dare Me by Luann Cahn was the perfect choice for the early morning plane ride   This woman did something new EVERYDAY for a year and documented it.  One of the earlier chapters was about the things she’d done to conquer her fears and she mentioned flying. I found the book inspirational.

Her point, “You don’t have to run away from home to change your life” is one that resonated with me. In a way it relates to the 30 day challenges that Jason and I are doing this year (if you haven’t been keeping up with the other blog, I wrote a book last month!).  I might even make one of the months a Something New Everyday month, we’ll see.

Because she was a reporter she did have access to many firsts in her daily life that many of us would not, so it that aspect it might have been easier for her to find exciting things, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t all have things we haven’t done, big and small.  A few of her smaller ones (and she lists all 365) are drinking a Red Bull, learn to put on fake eyelashes, and eats desserts all day (she doesn’t recommend this one!).  Her list is just a starting point for inspiration.

Read this book, follow me in my 30 Day Challenges –  let’s live an inspired 2017!

December 5, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Sundays with Gage – Booklovers Advent Tree

Last year Veena posted an advent idea for kids and I made one for Gage and he loved it.  I put this year’s together in about 3-4 hours.


Starting at the top he opens a book everyday, including Christmas starting December 1.  There are small stickers on each one with the number.

Step 1-Spend and hour and a half at the bookstore browsing and then purchasing 25 books OR visit your library and check out 25 special books and do it that way. The kids only care about opening the books and reading them.  The keeping them is secondary.  You could always offer to buy them their favorite one after they’d read them all.

Since I bought these I went with the sales, buy two Little Golden books get one free, etc…Last year I bought too many Christmas books so I tried to only buy a few this time.  I want them to be read all year round.


Step 2-Buy one of those 3 packs of wrapping paper at a discount store and alternate. I did stack these by size so the wrapping went quicker and I could put the number stickers on right away.

Step 3 -Turn the wrapped books so that it resembles a tree.  Place some lights around it and a pretty new ornament on top and you’re done.

There are so many different variations that you can do so have some fun and give it a try using your own ideas. If you’ve done it, please send me the pic or the link to where I can find it🙂

We spent the last two days at a waterpark, but as soon as we came in this afternoon he went straight here to open his next book. We’re already read Bad Kitty and Zootopia multiple times.  Here he is with his first four, looking like he needs some sleep🙂







December 4, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | 7 Comments

Tinkers, Seven Spiders Spinning, Discovering Ohio

I read these three books during my 30 books in 30 day challenge in September.  Since they were all just okay I thought I’d group them together.

Title: Tinkers, Author: Paul HardingTinkers. Finished 9-25-16, 2/5 stars, fiction, 191 pages, pub. 2009

Tinkers by Paul Harding is a Pulitzer Prize winner and I did not care for it. I was mostly bored out of my mind, with a few pages here and there that gave me a half-hearted reason to continue. If I taken another book I would not have bothered to finish it.  But at 190 pages it was an easy plane book.

Title: Seven Spiders Spinning (Hamlet Chronicles Series #1), Author: Gregory MaguireSeven Spiders Sinning. Finished 9-23-12, 3 stars, young readers, 132 pages, pub. 1994

I read Seven Spider’s Spinning by Gregory Maguire Friday night after we were back to the room for the night (Boston trip).  I must have picked this up at a book sale after I read Wicked and it was a perfect, easy choice for the trip.  Seven huge, tarantula-type spiders escape and try to take out the girls at a local elementary school.  There were spiders drawn on the margins of the pages and it was creepy, but at 132 pages I wasn’t going to complain.

abad26Discovering Ohio. Finished 9-25-16, 3 stars, travel, 95 pages, pub. 2001

I’ve had this in my unread stack for years, at least since 2008 when I started taking a yearly picture, so it’s good that I finally got around to reading it.  I think, the problem for me at least is that when you read something about a place that you know and love you are overly critical.  The pictures were great and I do like how the author tried to paint a picture of Ohio through the years, all the way back to when white settlers came here, but she made a choice not to focus on the cities which I think does a major disservice to the state.  Columbus, Cincinnati, and Cleveland are top 50 cities in population. I know from living in Cleveland just how much history there is here.  Yes, Ohio is full of farms and mining and industrial places, but that is really only half of the picture.  Reading this I think you’d get a fairly one-sided picture of the state.


December 2, 2016 Posted by | 2 1/2 Stars or Less, 3 Star Books, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

November’s Movies & $ for Charity

Loved the first two movies!  What did you see that you loved this month?

Another month and another chance to contribute money to charity.  Add your 5 words (or less!) to mine in a comment and earn $1 for charity.  Once we get to $100 the person with the most reviews will choose the charity.  Click here to see the past winners, the charities they chose and the other reviews you can add to.  Anyone is welcome to join in at any time.

We’re at $36.

I hope that you will take a few minutes to participate when you can each month.  It’s fun for me and for everyone else who reads it.  I’m not looking for a critical review, just a few words about how you felt about the movie.  This is ongoing so you can leave your 5 words anytime.

Arrival, Movie Poster.jpgArrival, 2016 (Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker)    Grade A-

Time bending first alien contact.

The Accountant (2016 film).pngThe Accountant, 2016 (Ben Affleck, Anna Kendrick, JK Simmons, Jon Bernthal,  Jeffrey Tambor, John Lithgow)     Grade B+

Justice served with cold precision.

Doctor Strange, wearing his traditional costume, coming out from a flowing energetic portal, and around him the world and New York turning around itself with the film's cast names above him and the film's title, credits and billing are underneath.Doctor Strange, 2016 (Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejofar, Tilda Swinton, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong, Benjamin Bratt, Mads Mikkelsen)   Grade C+

Mystical struggle to rule Earth.


The Right Kind Of Wrong Poster.jpgThe Right Kind of Wrong, 2013 (Ryan Kwanten, Sara Canning, Will Sasso, Kristen Hager, Catherine O’Hara)                           Grade C-

December 2, 2016 Posted by | 5 Word Movie Reviews | | 2 Comments

So Much Pretty by Cara Hoffman

Title: So Much Pretty, Author: Cara HoffmanSo Much Pretty. Finished 9-21-16, rating 3.5/5, thriller, pub. 2011

Unabridged audio read by Aimee Bruneau. 9 hours, 55 minutes.

Set in a rural community steeped in silence and denial, So Much Pretty explores all parents’ greatest fear, that their child will be hurt. But it also examines a second, equally troubling question: What if my child hurts someone else? The disappearance and murder of nineteen-year-old Wendy White is detailed through the eyes of journalist Stacy Flynn and a host of other richly drawn characters, each with their own secrets and convictions. After Wendy’s body is found, Flynn’s intense crusade to expose a killer draws the attention of a precocious local girl, Alice Piper, whose story intertwines with Wendy’s in a spellbinding and unexpected climax.    from S&S website

I listened to this in September and I’m going to post what I wrote on my 30 Days blog because I do remember bits and pieces and certain feelings, dark feelings, but the details I remember would reveal way too much about the book. There were three points of view on one of them is Stacy from Cleveland🙂

I finished the audio at 11 pm.  It is totally messed up  (or is that me since that isn’t my first glass of wine?).  I would recommend reading instead of listening because there is a lot of jumping from viewpoints and different years.  Yesterday I read about the making of a terrorist and today I read about…well, I don’t want to spoil anything but it’s not too far off.

What’s it about – a reporter, a kidnapped young woman, and a girl live in Hayden, New York with a sad bunch of citizens.

What did I learn – although I know rape is something that happens often, this book really put it in context.

Who would love it – mystery lovers who enjoy the darker side.


November 22, 2016 Posted by | 3 1/2 Star Books | 3 Comments

Home by Harlan Coben

Title: Home (Myron Bolitar Series #11), Author: Harlan CobenHome. Finished 9-26-16, rating 4.75/5, mystery, 387 pages, pub. 2016

Myron Bolitar books  (1- Deal Breaker, 2- Drop Shop, 3- Fade Away, 4- Back Spin, 5- One False Move, 6- The Final Detail, 7- Darkest Fear, 8- Promise Me, 9-Long Lost, 10-Live Wire)

A decade ago, kidnappers grabbed two boys from wealthy families and demanded ransom, then went silent. No trace of the boys ever surfaced. For ten years their families have been left with nothing but painful memories and a quiet desperation for the day that has finally, miraculously arrived: Myron Bolitar and his friend Win believe they have located one of the boys, now a teenager. Where has he been for ten years, and what does he know about the day, more than half a life ago, when he was taken? And most critically: What can he tell Myron and Win about the fate of his missing friend? Drawing on his singular talent, Harlan Coben delivers an explosive and deeply moving thriller about friendship, family, and the meaning of home.     from Goodreads

I was so happy to pick up Harlan Coben’s new Myron Bolitar book.  I love many of his standalones, but it’s Myron and company who have my loyalty and since the last book of the series came out in 2011 I was craving me some Myron and Win.  This book does not disappoint.

Win, Myron’s best friend since college, asks for help in finding his cousin’s son who has been missing for ten years.  They start on the London sex trade streets and end up in an uber wealthy New Jersey neighborhood where the families have au pairs, not nannies. Or maybe they start in New Jersey and end in London, either way it’s a wild ride.

Coben always nails popular culture. Young kids know way too much about technology. They need to get outside and spend some time in the sun!  Of course, I say this as I sit here at my desk with my iPad and iPhone tempting me from my computer.  Moms are guilty too.

I think most everyone would like the series, but you’d have to start somewhere earlier. It wouldn’t have to be the first book, this one is #11, but maybe by 4 or 5 you should be on board.

November 21, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Sundays with Gage – Learning to read

Do you remember learning to read?  I sure don’t, although this isn’t really a huge surprise since I don’t have a lot of memories from my kindergarten years.  I don’t think it’s until I was in the third grade that I have a lot of real memories.

As a mom who loves to read I’ve been stressing out. Gage has known his letters since he was about 18 months and had a lot of sight words before Pre-K.  But reading? Not so much.  Even sounding out words is frustrating for him.  Memorizing words not a big problem but when you can’t sound them out and he has so many he can get easily confused.

Since kindergarten started he has made great strides.  Still a struggle, but not nearly as frustrating.  We were doing a workbook today and I realize just how many more words he knows and how he is finally understanding the process of sounding out a word.

When I went to the parent teacher conference they said he was at 1.5 level math (1st grade, 5th month) but in reading the test is a little different and he’s in the probable reader classification.  Kids on the spectrum can be just as smart as the next kid, but sometimes learning needs to be done in a different way and usually one on one.  I gave up Gage’s one on one tutoring over the summer and even that was only 2 hours a week for the previous year.  So, for now, I wait patiently.  And hope that there is such a thing as a reading gene and that it kicks in soon.  Yes, I realize that sounded less than patient.  I’m trying!

Reading to me tonight🙂


November 20, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | 10 Comments

31 Hours by Masha Hamilton

Title: 31 Hours, Author: Masha Hamilton31 Hours. Finished 9-20-16, rating 2.5/5. fiction. 229 pages, pub. 2009

A woman in New York awakens knowing, as deeply as a mother’s blood can know, that her grown son is in danger. She has not heard from him in weeks. His name is Jonas. His girlfriend, Vic, doesn’t know what she has done wrong, but Jonas won’t answer his cell phone. We soon learn that Jonas is isolated in a safe-house apartment in New York City, pondering his conversion to Islam and his experiences training in Pakistan, preparing for the violent action he has been instructed to take in 31 hours. Jonas’s absence from the lives of those who love him causes a cascade of events, and as the novel moves through the streets and subways of New York we come to know intimately the lives of its characters. We also learn to feel deeply the connections and disconnections that occur between young people and their parents not only in this country but in the Middle East as well.      from Goodreads

The realities of home grown terrorism is just as relevant today as it was when this eas published in 2009.  It’s such a tricky subject because so many things go into the making of a terrorist that if you focus on one part, say the Islamic aspect, then you might lose sight of the many other pieces to the whole.  Anyway, this thriller was well reviewed by friends of mine, but I just couldn’t get into it. I started it few months ago and had the same problem but this time I powered through finishing at 11pm last night 🙂

It’s the story of a young American, Jonas, who has decided to strap on a bomb and blow up himself and others in the name of Allah.  It’s told from the alternating viewpoints of Jonas, his mother, girlfriend, his girlfriend’s sister and a homeless man.  Jonas’s decision and how he reached it was important but the focus wasn’t on Jonas, it was on everyone he was going to leave behind.

I empathized with the homeless man who considered asking for money in the subway his job.  I empathized with the mother who knew something was wrong and blamed herself.  I learned that, as with any horrific act, there are people who need our support and understanding.

If you have any interest in martyrs or just like a good thriller this might be for you.


November 19, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | 5 Comments