Stacy's Books

books, movies, and boy

Top Ten Tuesday – Otherworldly Classics

I love to see these lists on other blogs and have wanted to jump in for a while.  Today is the day!  The Broke and the Bookish host this weekly meme so hop over and see what other bloggers are talking about today.

I was inspired when I saw Wendy’s list (Musings of a Bookish Kitty) so decided to do a small tweak on hers.  My love of reading started with romances, but through some exceptional fantasy/sci-fi classics I have come to appreciate the genre.  And in recent years magical realism has been creeping into my reading too.

Top Ten Classics with an Otherworldly Twist. 

Title: A Wrinkle in Time (Time Quintet Series #1), Author: Madeleine L'EngleA Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle.  I remember loving this one as a kid and need a re-read before the movie comes out later this year.

Title: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Chronicles of Narnia Series #2), Author: C. S. LewisThe Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S.Lewis. Another one I loved as a kid.  I admit I never made it through the whole series, but I’d like to try with Gage.

Title: Watership Down, Author: Richard AdamsWatership Down by Richard Adams.  This story completely from the perspective of rabbits is a gem that shouldn’t be missed.

Title: Ender's Game (Ender Quintet Series #1), Author: Orson Scott CardEnder’s Game by Orson Scott Card. Another one I can’t wait to share with Gage someday soon.  Complex and exciting.

Title: Fellowship of the Ring (Lord of the Rings Trilogy #1 - Movie Art Cover), Author: J. R. R. TolkienThe Lord of the Rings:The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien.  Loved it when I read it in college and loved the movie just as much.

Title: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide Series #1), Author: Douglas AdamsThe Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.  Such a comic treat the first time you read it.

Title: The Time Machine: H.G. Wells' Groundbreaking Time Travel Tale, Classic Science Fiction, Author: H. G. WellsThe Time Machine by H.G. Wells.  Surprisingly gripping for such a slim novel.

Title: Beloved, Author: Toni MorrisonBeloved by Toni Morrison.  This story covers the aftermath of the Civil War.  The fact that there’s a ghost only adds to its mystique.

Title: The House of the Spirits, Author: Isabel AllendeThe House of Spirits by Isabel Allende.  My first foray into magical realism.

Title: Like Water for Chocolate, Author: Laura EsquivelLike Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel.  Sexy and magical.  Plus, there’s chocolate!

Have I missed one of your favorites?  Let me know 🙂

 

August 15, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | 13 Comments

The Buried Book by D.M. Pulley

Title: The Buried Book, Author: D. M. PulleyThe Buried Book. Finished 7-26-17, rating 4/5, fiction, pub. 2016

When Althea Leary abandons her nine-year-old son, Jasper, he’s left on his uncle’s farm with nothing but a change of clothes and a Bible.

It’s 1952, and Jasper isn’t allowed to ask questions or make a fuss. He’s lucky to even have a home and must keep his mouth shut and his ears open to stay in his uncle’s good graces. No one knows where his mother went or whether she’s coming back. Desperate to see her again, he must take matters into his own hands. From the farm, he embarks on a treacherous search that will take him to the squalid hideaways of Detroit and back again, through tawdry taverns, peep shows, and gambling houses.

As he’s drawn deeper into an adult world of corruption, scandal, and murder, Jasper uncovers the shocking past still chasing his mother—and now it’s chasing him too.  from Goodreads

Unabridged audio read by Luke Daniels. 12 hours 1 minute.

Poor Jasper has been abandoned by both his alcoholic mom and dazed father and he’s left at the doorstep of his uncle out in the country. Life on the farm with his aunt, uncle and cousin is hard, but full of support.  Jasper has a good life but cannot let go of the memory of his mother. He tries to find her, but falls into one dangerous predicament after another.  Jasper is a tough kid and a smart 9 year old.

I liked the slow moving story set in 1950’s Michigan.  It has a real sense of place and the mystery of Jasper’s mother moved the story along until the shocking, but appropriate end.  I liked this second book by local Cleveland author, D.M. Pulley.

August 14, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Marrying Winterborne by Lisa Kleypas

Marrying WinterborneMarrying Winterborne. Finished 7-17-17, 4.25/5, historical romance, pub. 2016

The Ravenels #2  (1-Cold-Hearted Rake)

Savage ambition has brought common-born Rhys Winterborne vast wealth and success. In business and beyond, Rhys gets exactly what he wants. And from the moment he meets the shy, aristocratic Lady Helen Ravenel, he is determined to possess her. If he must take her virtue to ensure she marries him, so much the better…

Helen has had little contact with the glittering, cynical world of London society. Yet Rhys’s determined seduction awakens an intense mutual passion. Helen’s gentle upbringing belies a stubborn conviction that only she can tame her unruly husband. As Rhys’s enemies conspire against them, Helen must trust him with her darkest secret. The risks are unthinkable… the reward, a lifetime of incomparable bliss. And it all begins with…    from Goodreads

We met the Ravenel sisters and Rhys in the first book of the series so the pairing was no surprise, but the thing that kept them apart, briefly, was a good twist. Rarely do you find such a distasteful character in a romance novel.  This second book introduces some new characters, but for the most part really fleshes out the ones we already know.  I would have liked to see a bit more of Devon and Kathleen from the first book, but there was so much going on that it’s easy to forgive.  Strong, independent female characters leave no shortage of future match ups for the series.

I liked this one more than the first and am looking forward to the third book.  I don’t want to rush too much since I know the next one won’t be out until next year.

August 3, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | 4 Comments

July’s Movies & Money for Charity

I saw some great films at the theater this month.  How as your movie month?  Anything I need to see?

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 $57.

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.

The Big Sick.jpgThe Big Sick, 2017 (Kumail Nanijani, Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter, Ray Romano, Adeel Akhtar, Anupam Kher)      Grade A

Laugh, cry, cringe, smile,  love.

Love beats out cultural differences (Kathy)


Dunkirk Film poster.jpgDunkirk, 2017 (Fionn Whitehead, Aneurin Barnard, Mark Rylance, Tom Glynn-Carney, Tom Hardy, Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, Harry Styles)   Grade A-

Overlooked WWII struggle that never wavers.


Baby Driver poster.jpgBaby Driver, 2017 (Ansel Elgort, Kevin Spacey, Lily James, Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx, Eiza Gonzalez)    Grade B+

Getaway driver tries straight life.


Despicable Me 3 (2017) Teaser Poster.jpgDespicable Me 3, 2017 (Voices-Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Trey Parker, Miranda Cosgrove, Dana Gair, Julie Andrews)   Grade C+

Not my favorite, but okay.

 

August 1, 2017 Posted by | 5 Word Movie Reviews | 3 Comments

Cold-Hearted Rake by Lisa Kleypas

Title: Cold-Hearted Rake, Author: Lisa KleypasCold-Hearted Rake.  Finished 7-1-17, rating 4/5, historical romance, 402 pages, pub. 2015

The Ravenels #1

Charming rake Devon Ravenel inherits an earldom. But the decrepit estate is deep in debt, and the late earl’s widow and three sisters still occupy the house. His drunken brother West rides the land while Devon seeks financing in London. Kathleen, still Lady Trenear, knows better than to trust a ruthless scoundrel like Devon. But their fiery attraction is undeniable.

I’m always looking for a go-to historical romance writer and I thought I’d give Lisa Kleypas a try.  I’ve seen trusted bloggers love her and the covers of this series are hard to resist.  I was not disappointed.

Devon, like most alpha males, rubbed me the wrong way at first with his rakish past and disregard for anything resembling hard work.  Kathleen, the widow, was so responsible and loyal to her new sisters that she was bound to go toe-to-toe with the new lord of the manor.  The sparks didn’t disappoint.

This was a great start to a new series.  The three sisters plus Devon’s brother West were all fleshed out in this one.  And the cliffhanger?  Well, I finished the second book a week after this and I just picked up the third from the library today.

Perfect for lovers of 19th century English romance.

July 24, 2017 Posted by | 4 Star Books | 7 Comments

Circling the Sun by Paula McLain

Title: Circling the Sun, Author: Paula McLainCircling the Sun.  Finished 7-1-17, rating 4.5/5, historical fiction, pub. 2015.

Unabridged audio read by Katharine McEwan. 12.5 hours.

Circling the Sun brings to life a fearless and captivating woman—Beryl Markham, a record-setting aviator caught up in a passionate love triangle with safari hunter Denys Finch Hatton and Karen Blixen, who as Isak Dinesen wrote the classic memoir Out of Africa.

Brought to Kenya from England as a child and then abandoned by her mother, Beryl is raised by both her father and the native Kipsigis tribe who share his estate. Her unconventional upbringing transforms Beryl into a bold young woman with a fierce love of all things wild and an inherent understanding of nature’s delicate balance. But even the wild child must grow up, and when everything Beryl knows and trusts dissolves, she is catapulted into a string of disastrous relationships.

Beryl forges her own path as a horse trainer, and her uncommon style attracts the eye of the Happy Valley set, a decadent, bohemian community of European expats who also live and love by their own set of rules. But it’s the ruggedly charismatic Denys Finch Hatton who ultimately helps Beryl navigate the uncharted territory of her own heart. The intensity of their love reveals Beryl’s truest self and her fate: to fly. 

-from Goodreads

I didn’t know what to expect when I picked this up, only that it was written by a Clevelander and someone mentioned that they liked this better than her other bestseller, The Paris Wife.  Little did I know that I would love this story of 1920’s Kenya so much.

Beryl’s upbringing was eccentric and because of that she was a fantastic main character.  Her English mother couldn’t handle her life in Kenya so she moved back to England with her son, leaving Beryl with her father.  Beryl was able to run wild as a child and was accepted by the local native tribe, at least until she was old enough to be sent away to school.  She was attacked by a tiger and lived to tell the tale.  She was fearless with horses and broke every mold a woman trainer could in the 1920’s.  Her unbridled nature led her to questionable relationships and choices, but she always maintained her independence and paid dearly for mistakes.

I don’t know how much this Beryl matches the real Beryl, but I am interested in finding out by reading Beryl Markam’s autobiography West with the Night.  I have never even seen or read Out of Africa, where Beryl is part of the tragic love triangle in this novel.  I need to rectify that soon.  She was an immensely flawed character, but that made me love her that much more.  And I loved learning about Kenya at that time as big changes were happening.

Highly recommend this one.  The audio was a wonderful way to experience this one.

So, for those of you who have seen or read Out of Africa, what did you think of Beryl?

 

 

July 20, 2017 Posted by | 4 1/2 Star Books | 3 Comments

I need your help!

Last year Jason and I started doing monthly challenges and created a new website to keep us honest, My 30 Day Challenges.  Last September I read a book a day for the month and, while difficult, it was fun.  This September I want to read a book a day and make it just a tad bit harder.  I want it to be a month of reading a biography or autobiography a day.  I don’t read enough of them, but when I do I always come away a bit smarter and definitely filled with more empathy.  But, because they aren’t my genre of choice I’d love to hear some suggestions.

I need biography/autobiography recommendations.  They can’t be too long (I only have one day to read them!) so let’s not go over 400 pages. 

For every recommendation in the comments (here on the blog – not FB) I’ll put your name in a drawing for my favorite book of the month 🙂

I’ll keep this open for a month, let’s say August 24th, so I have time to track down the books I’m interested in.

Thanks so much!!!

 

 

July 19, 2017 Posted by | Bookish Stuff, FREE | 14 Comments

The Mid-Year Freakout Book Tag

Originated at Maureen’s Books, but I first saw it at Carol’s Notebook.

I’ve read 31 books this year and I feel pretty good about that.

1 – The Best Book You’ve Read So Far In 2017

A Man Called Ove by Fredrick Backman.  I fell in love with Ove and his collection of merry wo(men) around him.  For every trouble he caused those surrounding him, at least one blessing was given out.  Ove was a man with a heart, who didn’t always play well with others.  I think everyone knows an Ove, some of us better than others.

2 – Your Favorite Sequel This Year

Waiting On You by Kristan Higgins, Blue Heron #3.   I love this series set in New York wine country.  The small town is charming, the people are eccentric and the dialogue is snappy.  As with the first two books I laughed out loud many times and was brought to tears at least once.  Higgins is so talented. I can’t wait to read everything she’s written.

3 – A New Release You Haven’t Read But Really Want To

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders.  I read his interview in Poets & Writers magazine and am eager to pick it up.

4 – Most Anticipated Release For The Second Half of the Year

Whatever the yearly Harlan Coben release is!

5 – Biggest Disappointment

Strange Bedpersons by Jennifer Crusie. I usually love her but this oldie was too dated and stereotypical.

6 – Biggest Surprise

Dream More:Celebrate the Dreamer in You by Dolly Parton.  I’ve never really followed Dolly Parton, but after listening to her narrate her book I’m a fan.

7 – Favorite New Author (Debut Or New To You)

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. Fantastic debut about something so important going on right now.  I can’t wait to see what she does next.

8 – Your New Fictional Crush

I had a little crush on Ove 🙂  He may have been a 59 year old curmudgeon, but I loved him.

9 – A Book That Made You Cry

A Man Called Ove, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

10 – A Book That Made You Happy

Good romances always make me happy and I’ve read several so far this year.  The Cold-Hearted Rake by Lisa Kleypas, When Beauty Tamed the Beast by Eloisa James, Waiting on You by Kristan Higgins

11 – Your Favorite Book To Movie Adaption That You’ve Seen This Year

A Man Called Ove was well done, subtitles and all.  Although the book and movie Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close were different, I thought they were both well done.

12 – Favorite Book Post You Published This Year

I loved having my first Bookish Wine Party and hope to make it a yearly thing.

13 – The Most Beautiful Book You Have Bought/ Received This Year

Of the books I’ve read I really liked Almost Famous Women

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14 – What Are Some Books That You Need To Read By The End Of The Year

I need to knock a few of my Classics Club list. I’m woefully behind.

 

If you want to have some fun, consider yourself tagged.

July 11, 2017 Posted by | Bookish Stuff, lists | 7 Comments

Temple Grandin: How the Girl Who Loved Cows Embraced Autism and Changed the World by Sy Montgomery

Title: Temple Grandin: How the Girl Who Loved Cows Embraced Autism and Changed the World, Author: Sy MontgomeryTemple Grandin. Finished 6-28-17, rating 4/5 stars, Kids Biography, 148 pages, pub. 2012

When Temple Grandin was born, her parents knew that she was different. Years later she was diagnosed with autism.
   While Temple’s doctor recommended a hospital, her mother believed in her. Temple went to school instead.
   Today, Dr. Temple Grandin is a scientist and professor of animal science at Colorado State University. Her world-changing career revolutionized the livestock industry. As an advocate for autism, Temple uses her experience as an example of the unique contributions that autistic people can make.
   This compelling biography complete with Temple’s personal photos takes us inside her extraordinary mind and opens the door to a broader understanding of autism.    (from Goodreads)

I love Temple.  I knew of her before my life in the autism world began, but now, she’s like a rock star.  The autism community is so lucky to have her be their spokesperson.  I’ve heard her speak in person twice, both different and inspirational.  I was looking for some books for Gage and saw this kids biography and picked it up for myself.  Over 100 pages with lots of pictures and Temple drawings and it captures her personality perfectly.

The book tells of her upbringing from the horror of her father’s distaste to the unwavering loved of her mother.  It shows the difficulty she had in school after elementary school, but also the friends she made and still has.  It showed that she was a workhorse, holding a number of jobs and never tiring, even now as she approaches 70.

This was a book that explained how she got to where she is today.  She is an autism champion now, but she started by designing cattle shoots.  And when she was rebuffed in the male dominated field of cattle she always found a back door and a way to succeed.  She is one tough cookie.

Temple does not represent everyone on the autism spectrum, obviously, but I would encourage those of you who don’t have a loved one on the spectrum to read this. Spend an hour and see what parents and grandparents see when they look at their kid.  All the possibilities are here and Temple embodies them.

 

July 7, 2017 Posted by | 4 Star Books | 5 Comments

June’s movies

How as your movie month?  Anything I need to see?

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 $55.

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.

Film poster showing a man in his underwear with a cape on his neck, standing on top of a building. A moon showing a silhouette of an underwear.Captain Underpants, 2017 (Voices-Kevin Hart, Ed Helms, Tomas Middleditch, Nick Kroll)                                      Grade B+

Misbehaving friends won me over.


Moonlight (2016 film).pngMoonlight, 2016 (Mahershala Ali, Naomie Harris, Janelle Monae, Trevante Rhodes, Andre Holland, Ashton Sanders, Jharrel Jerome)  Grade B-

Wanted to like it more.

Coming-of-age story about gay black man . (Heather)


LiloandStitchmovieposter.jpgLilo & Stitch, 2002 (Voices-Daveigh Chase, Chris Sanders, Tia Carrere, Ving Rhames)                                         Grade B-

Alien monster finds human family.

Heartwarming story of family and acceptance.  (Heather)


Movie poster Around the World in 80 Days.jpgAround the World in 80 Days, 2004 (Jackie Chan, Steve Coogan, Cecile De France, Jim Broadbent, Ian McNeice, Karen Joy Morris)    Grade C

Silly but entertaining Chan comedy.

July 3, 2017 Posted by | 5 Word Movie Reviews | 3 Comments