Stacy's Books

books, movies, and boy

Deadly Pleasure, by Brenda Joyce

Deadly Pleasure by Brenda Joyce: Book CoverFinished 1-23-10, rating 4/5, romance, pub. 2002

This is book 2 in the Deadly series (Book 1 review)

Someone grabbed her arm, hard.

Francesca whirled, knowing it wasn’t either of her parents.  A pair of black eyes met hers from beneath a huge gurtimmed hood.

For one instant Francesca stood there, shocked that someone would grab her and unable to to determine whether the person was a man or woman.  She was about to demand that she be released when the person said, “Miss Cahill?”

It was a woman.  Francesca relaxed slightly. “Yes?”

“Please.” The woman’s single word was an emotionally distressed plea.  “Please.  Please help me.” she said.

Chapter 1

Beautiful and wealthy heiress, Francesca Cahill, fresh off her success in catching a killer and falling in love with the new New York City police commissioner is now passing out business cards calling herself Crime-Solver Extraordinaire.  Life is looking good.  Rick asks her out, she has her first paying job, and her parents remain unaware of her college studies and most of her sleuthing.  But in the course of her investigation she catches her brother-in-law having an affair with a murder suspect and Rick confesses a devastating secret.  The dead body in this book is Calder Hart’s father.  Francesca hopes to mend the rift between the two brothers and needs to prove Calder innocent to do it.

I love the relationship between Rick and Francesca and there are so many great supporting chraracters like her perfect sister, snooty mom, and pickpocket assistant. 

If you like turn of the century New York, wealthy and powerful men and beautiful and smart women you should give it a try.  If you are sensitive to the way alpha males treat the women they love then this may not be the series for you.  It’s a favorite series of mine and they really need to be read in order.

January 31, 2010 Posted by | 4 Star Books | , | 12 Comments

My Monthly Movie Thoughts in 5 Words and an open invitation

These are the movies I’ve watched this month and I’ve given each one a grade and 5 words to describe it.  There are two ways to actively participate.  One, if you’ve seen any of the movies leave me your 1-5 words in the comments and I’ll add them to the post.  Or, if you are feeling ambitious and want to do this on your own blog leave me a link in the comments and I’ll add it to the bottom of the post.   Of course,  you can just browse and enjoy too 🙂

On the upper half of poster are the faces of a man and a blue cat-like alien with yellow eyes, with a giant planet on the background and the text "From the director of Terminator 2 and Titanic" atop the image. Below, is a four-winged animal flying across a landscape with floating islands during sunset, with the title "James Cameron's Avatar", film credits and the release date at the bottom.(2009.  Cast- Sam Worthington, Sigourney Weaver, Zoe Saldana, Stephen Lang, Michelle Rodriguez) Grade B+ (3D version)

Must see 3D.  Visually stunning.

See it on big screen (Jenners)

It’s my favorite for now! (Alice)

Loved every bit of visuals (Richard)

Evil Humans vs. Blue Natives (Stephanie)

A stunning graphic masterpiece. (Teddyree)

Amazing Alien Adventure, Awesome Action (Beth)

Unobtainium? Really? but visually stunning.  (Heather)

Sam Worthington proves he’s worthy.  (Tony)


 

(2009. Cast- Jamie Foxx, Robert Downey Jr., Catherine Keener) Grade B

Powerfully sad.  Heartbreaking mental illness.

Beautiful. Acting superb. (Heather)

Highlights  plight of the homeless (Kathy)

Great story, very sad movie (Richard)

Actually there’s two of them.  (Tony)

  Continue reading

January 30, 2010 Posted by | 5 Word Movie Reviews | | 17 Comments

Fave Film #87 – Pride & Prejudice

Pride Prejudice 1995 VHS PAL Rated U Double Pack.jpg1995 BBC miniseries

Cast- Colin Firth, Jennifer Ehle

Elizabeth Bennet, one of five daughters, is living in 19th century England where the only way to secure her family’s future is to marry well.  Her oldest sister, Jane, seems to have met a great prospect in Mr. Bingley, but Elizabeth cannot abide the pride and arrogance of his good friend Mr. Darcy.

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.

I watched this for the first time in September 2008.  You can read my thoughts here, but here’s the last thing I said-

Great miniseries, but don’t expect your husband or boyfriend to sit through it, unless he really, really loves you.  But, beware, you never know what he may expect you to watch.

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.

This is a must see if you are a fan of the book or the era.  You won’t be disappointed.

So, go ahead and tell us who has been your favorite Mr. Darcy (Laurence Olivier, Peter Cushing, Matther Macfadyen, Colin Firth) or tell me your fantasy Mr. Darcy.  Don’t worry, your secret’s safe with us 🙂

January 29, 2010 Posted by | movies | , | 20 Comments

In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote

Cover ImageFinished 1-26-10, rating 4/5, true crime literature, pub. 1965

In 1959 in a small Kansas town the Clutters still living in Holcomb were brutally murdered and the murderers got away without a trace.  The community was in a panic.  Was it one of their own who had murdered this upstanding family and, if so, why?  The last one to see the family alive was the boyfriend of teenager Nancy and he took a lie detector test to clear him.  As the months went by the town was still rattled by the unsolved murders.  At the same time we were taken on a journey with the killers, Hickock and Smith, as their preparations and escape became clear, it was still uncertain what the motive might have been.

This true crime literature reads just like a novel and I love Capote’s style.  I didn’t know much about this story before I read it, just some sort of vague memory of a family getting murdered, and the outcome of the book is told right upfront.  But, that doesn’t take away from the story.  It took me back to the 50’s in Kansas and a simpler way of life, where 12 year olds drove cars on old country roads and when murders happen every neighbor close enough to get there traipsed through the crime scene.  The alternating storylines and different time frames kept the story moving along at a good pace.  The sense of the setting was so real.  I felt the remoteness of the Kansas farm and the loneliness of the road as Hickock and Smith tried to find the a place worth stopping for.

I liked it a lot and loved Capote’s writing, but I didn’t love the book.  By jumping from character to character I wasn’t really attached to any one of them, so I felt a bit detached from the whole thing.  And the end dragged on a bit for me because the motive was unsatisfying and because of the focus on the killers.  Capote almost seemed to have sympathy for them and while I didn’t mind it, I didn’t really understand it. 

I admit that I prefer The Executioner’s Song by Norman Mailer to this one (different story, but considered true crime literature).  Yes it’s three times as long, but I got more understanding out of it and was ultimately more satisfied.  Of course, true crime isn’t my first or even fifth choice for reading pleasure, so I’m not the target audience.

I’m glad I read it because it is a part of pop culture and I and I do plan on watching the film.

This is from my personal library and cheerfully chosen for me by Kathy, Marie, JoAnn, Molly, Sandee, Piroska, and Wendy.  Here’s what they had to say…

“Capote invented a new genre with this one.”  Kathy

“A classic true-crime.”  Piroska

“An all time classic.”  Molly

“A true classic.”  JoAnn

“A true classic!  Read it!”  Marie

January 28, 2010 Posted by | 4 Star Books | , | 25 Comments

Digital Fortress, by Dan Brown

Cover ImageFinished 1-20-10, rating 4/5, thriller, pub. 1998

It is said that in death, all things become clear; Ensei Tankado now knew it was true.  As he clutched his chest and fell to the ground in pain, he realized the horror of his mistake.

first sentences of book

Susan is head of the Cryptology department at the NSA and very good at her job.  David, her fiancé, is a well-respected professor and foreign-language specialist.  The search is on for a hidden code that, if not found, will reveal all the secrets of the United States government to everyone that has internet access.  Susan is working at NSA headquarters in Maryland, trying to track down the programmer holding NSA hostage and David is sent to Spain to recover the code from a dead man.  Of course, it could not be that easy and both are faced with danger and deception.

This book is fast read.  It’s over 400 pages, but it will keep you reading, much like the other Dan Brown books I’ve read.  Alternating between the cerebral NSA code breakers and the action packed race to find a ring in Spain before the killer just behind you, worked and the tension was palpable.  It did get a bit melodramatic for me at the end, but that didn’t stop me from flipping the pages as fast as I could.

I recommend this for Dan Brown fans, thriller fans, and those who love technology and code breaking. 

This book is from my personal library and was recommended by Melody, Molly, Virginie, and Jason.  Here’s Molly had to say…”Very different from Dan Brown’s usual religious symbolism. I liked this one very much because it was not what I had become accustomed to from him. Guilty pleasure.”

January 27, 2010 Posted by | 4 Star Books | , , | 13 Comments

Common Thread Quiz

What is the common denominator in these book (and one movie) combinations?  Tell me the number and what you think the five books have in common,  Go ahead and take a guess – you could be right! If you are the first to get it right you will earn an extra entry in both of the giveaways I have going on right now.

1.Little House on the Prairie (Little House Series by Laura Ingalls Wilder: Book CoverSharp Objects by Gillian Flynn: Book CoverIn Cold Blood by Truman Capote: Book CoverSarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan: Book CoverPersian Pickle Club by Sandra Dallas: Book CoverSet in Kansas (Candice)

 

2.The Shining by Stephen King: Book CoverBeach Music by Pat Conroy: Book CoverCover ImageCover ImageCover ImageMain characters named Jack (Nise)

3.Cover ImageCover ImageCover ImageCover ImageCover ImageBooks made into movies starring John Cusack (Mark)

 

4.Northanger Abbey (Barnes & Noble Classics Series) by Jane Austen: Book CoverThe Original of Laura by Vladimir Nabokov: Book CoverPirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton: Book CoverA Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole: Book CoverLook at the Birdie by Kurt Vonnegut: Book CoverPublished after author’s death (Hannah)

 

5.Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen: Book CoverCover ImageCover ImageCover ImageCover ImageMagical Realism (Mary)

 

6.Cover ImageCover ImageCover ImageCover ImageThe IslandPirates! (Hannah) 

 

7.Cover ImageCover ImageCover ImageCover ImageCover ImageAuthors born in Ohio (Susan)

 

8.Cover ImageCover ImageCover ImageThe Castle by Franz Kafka: Book CoverEarly Autumn: A Story of a LadyFirst published in 1926 (Em)

9.Seducing Mr. Darcy by Gwyn Cready: Book CoverNot Another Bad Date by Rachel Gibson: Book CoverThe Edge of Impropriety by Pam Rosenthal: Book CoverOh. My. Gods. by Tera Lynn Childs: Book CoverTribute by Nora Roberts: Book Cover2009 RITA award winners (Mark)

10.Cover ImageCover ImageCover ImageCover ImageCover ImageOne degree of Kevin Bacon (Mark)

January 26, 2010 Posted by | Quizzes | , | 31 Comments

Monday Movie Meme

Feature Presentation…
MONDAY MOVIE MEME

Share on your blog the different ways you keep movie memories alive.  Visit the Bumbles to see how others share their movie love.

I do two things on my blog…I have my 100 Favorite Movie list and will review one on Fridays that I don’t have an author interview.  But more recently I started my monthly Movie Thoughts in 5 Words post and I hope that it becomes more interactive.  I post the movies I’ve watched for the month and choose 5 words to describe it.  If you’ve seen any of the movies and leave 1-5 words I’ll add your words to the post and a link to your blog.  Stop by and add your 2 cents (or 5). Dec. Nov.

We do use Netflix and I do rate the ones we’ve watched, but I’ve never used the friends feature where you can suggest movies for friends and get suggestions too.  I’ll have to look into this.

If  I’ve read the book I will get around to watching the movie, but I am usually disappointed.  Unless it’s Lord of the Rings 🙂

I do use IMDB as a resource and it is great.  They have everything you need to know there!  I should sign up so I can rate books there too.

How about you?  How do you share your thoughts on movies?

 

 

January 25, 2010 Posted by | Monday Movie Meme | | 9 Comments

Deadly Love, by BD Joyce (Brenda Joyce)

Cover ImageFinished 1-17-10, rating 4.5/5, romance, pub. 2001

Book 1 in the Deadly series

Francesca saw nothing amusing about the fact that her mother was determined to marry her off, sooner rather than later.  “How can you make fun of reform?  When there is so much poverty and injustice in our midst?”

“Connie ceased pulling on the corset.  She turned Francesca around.  “I am not making fun of reform, Fran.  I would never be so callous.  But you are so serious!  Study, reform, study, reform, study, reform.  It is funny.  You are funny!”

Chapter 1

It’s 1902 in New York City and Francesca, a 20-year-old bluestocking, openly works for reform while secretly attending Brainard College.  She is the youngest of three and still lives at home with her parents in what is called the Marble Palace because of its opulence.  Francesca is determined to get a journalism degree and become the first woman reporter for a major New York newspaper and her mother is just as determined to see her marry well.  Francesca is beautiful and wealthy and suitors have never been a problem, but she is known to be different from other girls her age, so her best friends are her sister Connie and her brother Evan.

Rick Bragg is the new police commissioner, appointed to clean up the city’s police department.  When Francesca becomes involved in a case he is working on, involving a missing boy, an interest is sparked on both sides.  Francesca has a lot going on, but it doesn’t stop her from dreaming of a future with Rick, although her mother has labeled him a bastard and unacceptable as a suitor.

Francesca puts herself in danger to try and save the neighbor boy and proves herself to be brave, smart, and vulnerable.  She struggles to become the independent woman she wants to be, while her family tries to make her the conventional girl they’d like her to be.

This book is a fun start to a series that goes in a direction that I never expected.  I think this one is the calm before the storm.

If you like romances, especially historicals, don’t miss this one.  I won an autographed copy of this on writerspace.com years ago and it was the first Brenda Joyce book I read and  now, countless books later, consider myself a big fan.

January 24, 2010 Posted by | 4 1/2 Star Books | 11 Comments

My Reread Project

I rarely read books twice.  As a teen I would read my favorites until they fell apart, but then I discovered there was a whole world of books I could love and stopped visiting my favorite characters.  When I posted my Favorite Movies list last year one of the ‘rules’ I made for myself was that I had to have seen the movie twice, how else was I to be a judge of it?  Maybe when I watched Rosemary’s Baby the first time I only liked it because I was watching it in the dark, alone, at 1 am?  Or The Breakfast Club only worked if I was watching as a teen?  I actually watched one movie on my list to do a review and decided it wasn’t a favorite after all.

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. 

I hadn’t decided which I was going to reread this year when I got an email from Brenda Joyce announcing that there would be a 9th book in the Deadly series out next year.  My decision was made.  I LOVE this series.  It is classified as romance, but there is always some mystery involved and I just can’t get enough of Francesca.  So, I’ll be reading the first eight books, one a week, until I’ve made it through.  Every Sunday, for the next two months, spend a little time with me, Francesca and her life in 1902 New York City.

This is part of the email from Brenda Joyce and I want to share it with you because it applies to so many of our favorite authors.

I would love to write 3 more Deadlies. Mira is interested, but it will depend on 2 factors. First, the level of enthusiasm in the coming six months when they try to “sell in” the books to the accounts (stores), and in 2011, the actual sales. I have no control over this; publishing is in a much greater, deeper recession than the overall economy. Books are only published when a publisher is actually willing to pay to do so! If Mira won’t publish these books, because of lack of sales, neither will anyone else. I want to be very clear. It is REALLY scary out there. Like all of you, I am interested in continuing to have a job. I cannot write 3 more titles if no one will publish them!

You can help! Give a friend an old, used book and get her hooked. Pitch the series to everyone, chat about it online in chat rooms and on reader websites. And of course, run out to buy those books when they go on sale!

I’m doing my part for the Deadly series because I love it, but we can all do this for our favorite authors and series.  As book bloggers many of us receive free books and it’s great, but if we’re not buying the books, who is?  So, don’t forget to sometimes shell out a little money to support your favorite authors.  I ordered the two books of this series I didn’t already own and can’t wait to delve back in to Francesca’s story!

January 24, 2010 Posted by | Bookish Stuff | | 11 Comments

Award Love

I am so behind in acknowledging some of the awesome awards I’ve been given in the last few months.  I am always so happy to receive awards and pass them along to other blogs I love.  Please take the time to visit the great bloggers who passed these awards on to me and the blogs I am sharing them with.

Carol over at Carol’s Notebook  passed along this award to me and I am honored.  Now, the rule is nominate seven other bloggers for this and then tell everybody seven things about yourself. 

I’m passing this on to Bonnie at Redlady’s Reading Room.  She is the first book blogger I’ve had the chance to meet and she is wonderful 🙂

1. I’m a night owl.  2.  This means I don’t like to get up before 9 am.  3. I can do this because I don’t have kids.  4. Or a 9-5 job.  5. I love coffee. 6. Right now I’m addicted to Seattle’s Best Peppermint Mocha Trio.  7. And I’m on my third cup.

Alita at Alita Reads passed along this award to me.  For this award, share 5 things you love to do and pass along to 5 bloggers.

I love to read, walk, eat out, travel, and go to the movies.

I’m passing this along to Molly at The Bumbles.  Molly is so great that she volunteered to read War & Peace with me in February, so look forward to out weekly posts 🙂

 

Carol over at Carol’s Notebook passed this along to me.

This award is to honor certain bloggers that are kindhearted individuals. They regularly take part in my blog and always leave the sweetest comments. If it wasn’t for them, my site would just be an ordinary book review blog. Their blogs are also amazing and are tastefully done on a daily basis. I thank them and look forward to our growing friendship through the blog world.

I’ll be passing this along to Melody at Melody’s Reading Room.  She often takes the time to comment and I love visiting her blog.  Check her out.

 

Jenny at Jenny Loves To Read gave this to me.

Here are the rules : Each Superior Scribbler must in turn pass The Award on to 5 most-deserving Bloggy Friends. Each Superior Scribbler must link to the author & the name of the blog from whom he/she has received The Award.  Each Superior Scribbler must display The Award on his/her blog, and link to This Post, which explains The Award.  Each Blogger who wins The Superior Scribbler Award must visit this post and add his/her name to the Mr. Linky List. That way, we’ll be able to keep up-to-date on everyone who receives This Prestigious Honor!  Each Superior Scribbler must post these rules on his/her blog.

I’m passing this along to Jenners at Find Your Next Book Here.  If you haven’t already discovered Jenners in your blog hopping you are missing out!

 

Thanks for all of the blog love.  I truly appreciate the three ladies who gave me the awards and all of you who take the time to read what I post here almost every day 🙂

January 23, 2010 Posted by | awards | | 10 Comments