Stacy's Books

books, movies, and boy

April’s 5 Word Movie Reviews

These are the movies I’ve watched this month and I’ve given each one a grade and 5 words to describe it.  I’ve seen quite a few since I’ve had to take it easy this month due to the babe.   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 always just comment 🙂

Heather at Gofita’s Pages has joined me this month (Yay!).

(2009.  Cast – Jeff Bridges, Lauren Graham) Grade B

Reclusive Author Talks to God?

Mediocre movie but interesting storyline.  (Heather)


(2007)  Grade – B

Rats in the Kitchen Unite.

Culinary rats? Superb Pixar recipe. (Hannah)

 Don’t watch on empty stomach! (Stephanie)

Least-favorite Pixar. Kinda boring. (Nolatari)

Rats Are Smart And Cute (Beth)

A truly exquisite dish, darling.  (Tony)


(2007. Cast- Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Ethan Hawke, Marisa Tomei, Albert Finney) Grade B

Warped Family Thriller.  Dark Drama.  


 

(2004. Cast – Bradley Cooper, Jason Priestley, Emma Caulfield)  Grade B-

Fun Spoof on The Bachelor.


(2009. Cast – Katherine Heigl, Gerard Butler) Grade B-

Predictable Love/Hate Romantic Comedy.


(2008. Cast – Kevin Costner, Dennis Hopper, Kelsey Grammer, Nathan Lane, Stanley Tucci, George Lopez) Grade C

Surprisingly Enjoyable Take on Elections.


(2010. Cast – Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes)  Grade C

Unremarkable Story of the Gods.

Best mediocre movie I’ve seen. – Stephanie

Great Effects but Original Better  (Beth)

Same movie but different names.  (Heather)

I discovered Gemma Arterton here.  (Tony)


(2002. Cast – Thandie Newton, Mark Wahlberg, Tim Robbins)  Grade C-

Uneven Thriller Set in Paris.

Mediocre mystery, mediocre Mark Wahlberg. (Nolatari)


(2008. Cast Will Farrell, John C Reilly, Mary Steenburgen)  Grade F

Two Hours Gone Forever.

Hated it. Ridiculous and unfunny. (Nolatari)

Ridiculous and yet still affecting.  (Tony)

April 30, 2010 Posted by | 5 Word Movie Reviews | | 33 Comments

Red Light, by T. Jefferson Parker

Red Light (Merci Rayborn Series #2) by T. Jefferson Parker: Book CoverFinished 4-28-10, rating 4/5, mystery, pub. 2000

Book 2 in the Merci Rayborn series

I always think a series should be read in order, but for the first time on my blog I’m going to say that you don’t have to read the first one to truly appreciate the second in this series.  Here’s my review of the first one.  I didn’t really care for Merci in Blue Hour, but I did like her in this one.

Merci is a homicide detective living with her young son and widowed father.  She has a new partner, after her last one (and the father of her child) was killed, a love interest, and a new case that threatens at least one of those relationships.  A prostitute is murdered and it looks like there is at least one cop involved.  Then Merci is handed a cold case 30 years old and it is also a murdered prostitute involving cops.  Could they somehow be related?  And why is someone trying to help her by providing evidence? 

Merci really did grow on me this time around.  She still has some issues, but the death of Hess a few years ago and the birth of her son has softened her a bit.  This is not one of those mysteries that wraps up everything with a beautiful bow.  Yes, all of the storylines reached a conclusion, but there were some difficult decisions to be made and Merci is just the gal to make them.  Life is messy and this mystery captured that.  Loved it.  My only complaint was the large cast of characters.  I sometimes had a difficult time remembering who was who.

I’m looking forward to the next one is the series.  This book came from my own library.

April 28, 2010 Posted by | 4 Star Books | | 12 Comments

Baby Movie Quiz

Thank you all for your best wishes on my pregnancy news.  Jason and I really appreciate all of your congratulations.  I decided to quiz you on a few movies that feature pregnancy and/or babies as a main storyline.  I’ve ranked these in the order I liked them best. 

Leave a comment telling me the # and the name of the movie.  No Googling or looking at other commenter’s answers – that’s cheating and no fun!

1. Diane Keaton was never pregnant, but she was a great mom in this 1987 film.  Baby Boom

2. Mia Farrow’s pregnancy was much more difficult than mine in this 1968 horror classic.  Rosemary’s Baby

3. This 2007 cautionary tale made Ellen Page a star.  Juno

4. In 1990 Tom Selleck, Ted Danson, and Steve Gutenberg made the best dad!  Three Men & a Baby

5.  Raising Arizona

6. Becoming a father and a grandfather at the same time kept Steve Martin on his funny toes.  Father of the Bride II

7. This 1988 John Hughes film starts Kevin Bacon as a new husband and somewhat reluctant father.  She’s Having a Baby

8. Keri Russell’s life was pretty bleak until the birth of her baby brought her real happiness.  Waitress

9. Not sure why this is in black & white.  Junior

10.   Knocked Up

11. Bruce Willis is perfect as the baby in this 1989 comedy with Kirstie Alley as his mom.  Look Who’s Talking

12. Hugh Grant becomes a bit freaked out when his girlfriend, Julianne Moore, becomes pregnant.  9 Months

Each movie title is worth 8 points.  You can earn an extra 4 points by adding a pregnancy or baby movie not mentioned here.

Answers to last week’s quiz.  The new leaderboard.

April 27, 2010 Posted by | Quizzes | | 42 Comments

After 14 years a pregnant pause

Jason and I have been together for over 14 years and we decided that we were finally secure enough in our relationship to move forward.  And the reason why I have been so absent from visiting you all regularly is that this step forward has made me sick for the past month, hence the pause in the title.  Obviously, I’m talking about the little one I’m cooking up right now.  Jason and I are just into our second trimester and couldn’t be happier!  Well, okay, once the morning sickness completely goes away I might be a little happier.  By the time this baby comes I will be 39.  I find that so hard to believe.  Where have the years gone?  We do not plan on finding out if it’s a boy or a girl, but we are always open to name suggestions 🙂

I had a dream about my Google Reader last night, so I will be trying to make some progress on catching up with all of you now that I’m starting to feel better.

April 26, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 98 Comments

Give + Take, by Stona Fitch

Finished 4-25-10, rating 3.5/5, fiction, pub. 2008

Cray is one of the last relatives I have left, but I can’t seem to muster up much empathy for him, even though I know he needs it.  He’s lost, just the same way I was when I was his age.  I should be helping him more.

After all, I’ve given stacks of money to complete strangers, but I’m almost incapable of being in the same car as Cray.  I wonder if I’ve become too solitary after years on the road or if I’m allergic to my family.

I don’t particularly want to explore out mutual history or the connections that make us relatives instead of strangers.  I just want to stop, shove Cray out by the side of the road, and drive away.

page 50

Ross is a travelling pianist and thief.  He uses his gigs to scope out women to take to bed and rob of their jewels.  He is an equal opportunity thief in that he also steals random BMW’s from the street and sells them.  What makes Ross a little odd is what he does with his windfall.  He gives it away to strangers.  He’d lived a life of high income and spending and reached the conclusion that it didn’t make him happy.  When his nephew is dropped at his hotel door for a month, Ross is reluctant to resume his nighttime activities, but soon enough Cray has opened up a whole new can of worms.

This was an interesting book, one I grew to appreciate.  I liked that it was original and had a lot to say about money and how we all relate to it.  I enjoyed watching Ross come out of his shell and learning his reasons for giving the money away.  I did feel that it took too long for me to really get into the book.  I started it, put it down and didn’t feel like picking it up for another month.  But, that being said, once I reached the middle I was into it and happy I read on.

This is a free book offered from Concord Free Press in exchange for a donation to a person or charity of your choice.  I donated money to The City Mission of Cleveland.  I won this book from Dawn at She is Too Fond of Books and will be mailing it to Sarah E tomorrow.  Once she has read the book she has agreed to make a donation to a charity of her choosing and log it on the Concord Press Tracking Page.

April 25, 2010 Posted by | 3 1/2 Star Books | | 7 Comments

My first challenge FAIL

Last year I signed up for only a few challenge and managed to complete them all.  Why sign up if you aren’t planning on succeeding?  Well, I was humbled by the 100 Mile Fitness Challenge that ran from January 1-March 31.  I got off to a slow start and due to a few challenges at home (which I will share with you next week) I came in at only about 75 miles.  Big fat fail.  So I decided to see how I was doing with my other challenges and promptly started to panic.

I let you guys choose 50 of the 55 books I signed up for and I need to get busy.  Of the 50 you chose for me I’ve managed to complete only 11.  I have started 3 others.  And of the 5 I chose from my shelves I’ve read 3.  So I’m 14 out of 55 for this challenge. So far my favorite book that you chose is Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen.Sign up for the 2010 A to Z ChallengeI flew through this one last year, but not so much this time around.  I have read 20 out of the 52.

New Author Challenge 2010I signed up for 35 and have read 12 new authors this year.  Just by adding the ones that you chose for me for the RYOB challenge I’ll add 17 more.  Beth Hoffman author of Saving Cee Cee Honeycutt is my favorite new find. 

The Color Challenge is to read 9 books with nine different colors in the title.  I finished one this week and am reading a second.

Looking for the Short Story Challenge?I’m supposed to read a short story collection every quarter and I’m on track.  Whew.  At least I’m caught up on one.

50 states of mindThe States Challenge is one I joined late knowing that it would be difficult to complete.  Since it includes Washington DC I’ve managed only 13 of 51 so far.  New York is my most read state since I re-read the Deadly series with 8 books.

So, there it is.  My reading has really taken a hit lately, as has my visiting your blogs.  Hang in there with me, more details next week…

April 24, 2010 Posted by | challenges | 6 Comments

The Blue Bedroom and Other Stories, by Rosamunde Pilcher

Blue Bedroom and Other Stories by Rosamunde Pilcher: Book CoverFinished 4-20-10, rating 3/5, fiction short stories, pub. 1991

This collection of 13 short stories had a few gems, but was mostly just average for me.  These were published in magazines in the 1970’s & 80’s and they seemed a little dated to me.  But maybe all of these stories of  life in English villages added this feeling.  I have read one Pilcher book and thought it was good but not great, so maybe she’s just not my taste. 

My favorite story was Amita.  This story of prejudice was told from the perspective of a young girl, a perspective adults should consider more often.  Kids don’t understand prejudice, unless they hear it from their family members or even peers.  This was the bias of the English against mixed marriages with Indians and the little English girl fell in love with the beautiful Indian woman who had married her neighbor.  We have different prejudices here, but aren’t all prejudices the same at the core?

I also liked Gilbert.  This was the story of a bachelor who married a widow with two young girls.  He was excited to have a ready-made family, but had yet to make a real connection with the older girl.  When Gilbert the goldfish died he had the chance to show his mettle.  The girl’s reaction the death and the idea of a funeral was the most funny part of the whole book.

Tea with the Professor was a sweet love story.  The Before Christmas Present was a great story about a woman finding her own power past that of a wife and mother.  These four stories were all a delight to read, but the only ones out of the 13 that I gave an A or B.  I’m guessing that if you enjoy Pilcher you would enjoy these stories more than I did.  And I’ll be offering this as one of my free books for May, so stop by on May 1st if you want a chance to win it.

This book was given to me by my friend Jessica years ago and I finally got around to reading it!

April 21, 2010 Posted by | 3 Star Books | | 8 Comments

Drew Barrymore was in that? Quiz

I really like watching Drew Barrymore onscreen.  She has such a fun personality and I think she’d be so fun to hang out with.  I’ve listed her characters in the order that I like the movies best with the name of a co-star.  Can you identify the movie?  Leave a comment telling me the # and the name of the movie.  No Googling or looking at other commenter’s answers – that’s cheating and no fun!

1. Danielle De Barbarac (1998) Angelica Huston played her stepmother. Ever After

2. Julie (1998) Adam Sandler was her 80’s love interest.  The Wedding Singer

3. Casey (1996) Neve Campbell was really the star of the show.  Scream

4. Josie Gellar (1999) David Arquette played her cool brother.  Never Been Kissed

5. Dylan Sanders (2000) Cameron Diaz played another third of this trio.  Charlie’s Angels

6. Lucy Whitmore (2004) Adam Sandler is back as her daily love interest.  50 First Dates

7. Gertie (1982)  Henry Thomas played her brother.  E.T.

8. Sophie Fisher (2007) Hugh Grant played her musical partner.  Music & Lyrics

9. Sugar (1995)  Val Kilmer was the star of the show.  Batman Forever

10. Rosie (2009) Robert DeNiro was my favorite part of this movie.  Everybody’s Fine

11. Casey Brodsky (1984) Ryan O’Neal plays her father.  Irreconcilable Differences

12. Sally Jackson (1998) Luke Wilson is the nice guy.  Home Fries

13. Nancy Kendricks (2003) Ben Stiller plays her boyfriend.  Duplex

14. Casey Roberts (1995) Chris O’Donnell plays her love interest.  Mad Love

15. Karen Pomeroy (2001)  Jake Gyllenhaal was the star of this head scratcher.  Donnie Darko

16. Lindsey (2005)  Jimmy Fallon was her feverish love interest.  Fever Pitch

17. Ivy (1992) Tom Skerritt played the naughty father.  Poison Ivy

Last week’s quiz here. Thanks for all of your wonderful answers!  I will be in the French spirit before I ever set foot in Paris 🙂   Current Leaderboard here.  Each correct title worth 6 points.

April 20, 2010 Posted by | Quizzes | | 36 Comments

Monday Movie Meme – Politics

Feature Presentation…All About Politics
Visit The Bumbles for other selections
I do take an active interest in politics and I actually like discussing it with people who are not so convinced that their view is  the only possible correct one.  I mean, come one, if one party was always right they would never get voted out of office!  I could go on, but the reason I don’t really talk about politics here is because people seem to get so crazy (and yes, sometimes that person is me!).  So, talking political movies is a great alternative.  Here are a few of my favorite political movies…
 
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) – Isn’t Jimmy Stewart the politician we all want on our side?
 
State of the Union (1946) – Spencer Tracy as the businessman turned politician shows us that the bought and paid for politician is not a new phenomenon.
 
All the President’s Men (1976) – Two reporters doing their job at great peril.  Who is Deep Throat and how cool of a name is that?
 
Hotel Rwanda (2004) – A cautionary tale that no matter how mad our politicians may make us we are still blessed.
 
And for a lighter selection…Protocol (1984) – Goldie Hawn as the clueless politician really made me laugh.
 
 

April 19, 2010 Posted by | Monday Movie Meme | | 14 Comments

War and Peace, by Leo Tolstoy

Cover ImageFinished 4-15-10, rating 4/5, fiction classic, pub. 1869

Most of have been following along as Molly and I have read our way through early 1800’s Russia.  I won’t bore you with trying to recap it all, but I will include links to all of my posts.

A few last thoughts…I knew very little about what to expect and still managed to be surprised by the human drama played out in this novel.  I think I called it soap opera-ish in some parts.  I enjoyed the battle scenes much more than I thought I would.  I love learning about strategy and history and it was told in an interesting way.  Tolstoy knows how to tell a great story and he obviously did his homework for this one.  I liked the book, but hated the epilogue.  It really did not seem to fit with the rest of the book and could have been left out completely, mostly.  It was nice to see what happened with the characters later, but even that was not told in the same way as the rest of the book.

There is much to enjoy and contemplate and it is definitely worth taking a second look, at least the parts I marked and there are lots of marked up pages in my book. 

War & Peace

Max is really into War & Peace

War & Peace & Loss

War & Peace & Natasha

Lots of War and a Little Peace

War & Peace & Moscow

War & Peace & Death

War & Now Peace

War & Peace – The Epilogue

Thanks to Molly for reading with me and thanks to all of you for coming along for the ride 🙂

This is from my personal library and was chosen by Jennifer, Laura, and Angie.  Here’s what they had to say…

“I have not read it in English, however, Tolstoy was a genius when it came to literature and this book will provide you with so many things to think about, this book goes beyond simply war, but happiness, life, and what is necessary.”  Jennifer

“I have had the goal of reading War and Peace since I was 8 years old and saw that Charlie Brown New Years Eve special where Charlie Brown was assigned to read that over Christmas break and had to wheel the book around in a wagon. But, I’ve never gotten around to read it. Maybe if you read it, I will be motivated to read it as well – a peer pressure kind of situation”  Angie

“This one’s on my “bucket list” of books to read before I die. It’s not about the story, it’s about accomplishing the reading task! I got a new hardback copy & Cliff’s notes for my birthday this year.”  Laura

April 16, 2010 Posted by | 4 Star Books, War and Peace | | 8 Comments