Stacy's Books

books, movies, and boy

Scariest Character Results, RIP, and another winner

The results for last week’s Scariest Novel Character Quiz are in…

10. Big Brother

9. Count Dracula

8. Patrick Bateman

7. Sauron

6. Jaws

5. Demon

4. Pennywise

3. Voldemort

2. Norman Bates

and the scariest character is

1. Hannibal Lecter

Apparently I need to read It, especially since it’s sitting on my shelves,

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I completed Carl’s RIP challenge with 2 books…Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris and Buried Prey by John Sandford.  I’m listening to the Witches of Eastwick but am not going to get it done today.  I wish I’d had the time to read more for the challenge because I love these types of books, but there’s always next year.

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And as I finally mailed the last of my birthday giveaways I discovered I had 2 Godiva bars that didn’t have a new home.  I forgot to draw a winner for them!  So, without further ado,

Debbie (Wrighty’s Reads) you are a winner!!!!  Chocolate coming your way 🙂

October 31, 2011 Posted by | Quizzes | 5 Comments

Halloween with Gage

I’ve never really gotten into Halloween much.  Except for the candy.  In high school my friends and I dressed up as a 3 Musketeers candy bar one year.  See, candy.  Gage is too young to appreciate the candy so we were going to skip it this year, but as Halloween approached I started feeling like a holiday grinch.

On Thursday night we went down to my parents house for their trick or treating and Superman went to three whole houses before heading back to my parents house to help pass out candy. (It was cold!) He had so much fun watching all of the characters come up and talk to him. They must have had 100 kids come by.  Here he is with his zombie cousin, Lucy.

Yesterday Gage donned his superhero cape once again for My Gym’s Halloween party where he flew around spreading cuteness.

Tomorrow night Superman will trick or treat in our neighborhood before retiring.  Hopefully it will be warm enough for more than three houses and hopefully he’ll get lots of good candy.

 

October 30, 2011 Posted by | Gage | 21 Comments

Three Junes, by Julia Glass

Cover ImageFinished 10-22-11, rating 3.75/5, fiction, 353 pages, pub. 2002

One family, the McLeods, and three Junes, 1989,1995, 1999.  In 1989, we meet the patriarch, Paul, on a trip to Greece that he takes after his wife dies.  We learn about his life in Scotland through flashbacks.  In 1995 we meet his son, Fenno, after Paul has died.  Fenno is a gay man in New York who takes care of a neighbor and friend battling AIDS.  In 1999, we reconnect with Fern, from part 1, as she find herself pregnant and scared.

I liked Paul very much, but wasn’t really drawn into his story.  There wasn’t enough going on for me.  I loved the middle section told from Fenno’s perspective.  He wasn’t the most likeable character ever, but I thought the storyline was great.  The third section completely lost me.  I didn’t get it.  Fern was not nearly compelling enough for her own section.  I know it brought everything full circle, but it wasn’t enough for me.

The book was a mixed bag.  I liked the writing and the family drama.  I like the idea of what Glass was trying to do, but it felt like a gimmick that only half worked.  I would have liked the book a whole lot better if she’d just expanded the middle section to include the first part and then left the last third out altogether. 

I don’t know if I’m making any sense.  It’s a hard book to talk about even if I was willing to fill this post with lots of spoilers.  I’m glad I read it and will definitely give Glass another try.  This was her debut novel and is a National Book Award winner.

This was from my personal library and was chosen for me by Golda and Soft Drink.  Here’s what they had to say…

“I love this book.”  Soft Drink

“Not what I expected, but still good.”  Golda

October 28, 2011 Posted by | 4 Star Books | | 29 Comments

Earthly Possessions, by Anne Tyler

Earthly PossessionsFinished 10-22-11, rating 4/5, fiction, 200 pages, pub. 1977

My life has been a history of casting off encumbrances, paring down to the bare essentials, stripping for the journey.  Possessions makes me anxious.  When Saul gave me my engagement ring, I worried for months.  How would I hide it?  For surely I should take it with me; I could sell it for food.  But wouldn’t it tempt bandits as I lay sleeping by the roadside?  In their haste they might cut off my finger, and I carried no medical supplies.  I was glad when times got hard and we had to sell the ring back to Arkin’s Jeweler’s.

A husband is another encumbrance; I often thought that.  And children even more so.  (Not to mention their equipment: their sweaters, Band-Aids, stuffed animals, vitamins.)  How did I end up with so much when I had thrown so much away?

Chapter 3

Charlotte has lived a quiet existence in the small town of Clarion, Maryland.  We first meet her when she goes into the bank to withdraw money so that she can leave her husband.  Only she gets more than she’s bargained for as she’s taken hostage by Jake, a recent prison escapee.  They eventually end up in Florida after they’ve picked up Jake’s pregnant girlfriend up along the way.  The story goes back and forth between her life as a hostage and the life she’s led up until that point.

Okay, I usually start with what I liked about the book, but I must start with the part that gave me the most trouble.  The hostage plot device made me roll my eyes in annoyance for the first fourth of the book.  This book was published in 1977, before cell phones but certainly not before common sense.  It really isn’t until you get further into the book and had time to reflect that the things that annoyed me about her being a way-too-accomodating hostage were the same things that made her life story so interesting.

Charlotte is a woman who has never felt like she belonged anywhere and things seem to happen to her instead of her making any conscious decision herself.  She’s stuck in a life not of her choosing.  Her mom always told her that she believed that Charlotte had been switched with her real baby at the hospital and that was something that stuck with Charlotte, that she might have another life out there-her real life.  So, Charlotte spent her life always believing that one day her real life would show up and she’d be ready to go.

Charlotte is not a warm and fuzzy woman, really she’s not even sympathetic, but there is a realness to her that surprised me.  She is like a lot of people, stuck in a life they didn’t think they wanted.  Being taken hostage was the most exciting thing that ever happened to her.

I didn’t like this book as I read it.  It’s only 200 pages so it’s a quick read, and it wasn’t until after I’d finished and I’d had a little time to consider it that I realized how complex and great the story was.  Tyler has been hit or miss with me, but this one is a hit.

This was from my personal library.

Take a minute to vote for the scariest character s in literature

October 27, 2011 Posted by | 4 Star Books | | 10 Comments

Sprinkle with Murder, by Jenn McKinlay

Sprinkle with Murder (Cupcake Bakery Mystery Series #1)Finished 10-22-11, rating 3.5/5, mystery, 222 pages, pub. 2010

Book 1 Cupcake Bakery Mystery series

Melanie Cooper, Angie DeLaura and Tate Harper have been best friends forever and now they are in business together with Fairy Tale Cupcakes.  When Tate’s fiance is murdered by a killer cupcake the police are very interested in Mel’s relationship with Tate and the ingredients of her cupcakes.

I liked that the characters were fun and the relationships interesting.  Mel was a strong woman who followed her dreams and was comfortable in her own skin.  She still had her insecurities with men, which only made her more appealing.

I liked that it was a fast and easy read and a great set-up for the series.  This was a perfect first book for the read-a-thon.  Not my normal type of mystery, this was more of a cozy, but it was solid.  I chose it because I can now say I’ve been to Arizona in the States challenge.

I didn’t like Mel’s ridiculous cavalier attitude at the end.  She seemed to think that she could be a detective and put herself in dangerous situations.  I know lots of mysteries are this way, but nothing that Mel did made me think she was smart enough to stay alive.

I didn’t like that all I wanted to do after reading this was go buy a gourmet cupcake!

I checked this book out of the library.

Take a minute to vote for the scariest characters in literature.

October 26, 2011 Posted by | 3 1/2 Star Books | | 7 Comments

Scariest Novel Character Quiz

In March we did a different kind of quiz where you all voted on the best sports movies.  We’re going to try that with a Halloween theme.  You need to choose the 10 most scary characters in literature and list them in order (1 being the scariest).  I’ll be scoring each choice based on where it appears on your list (10 points for #1, etc.) and then you will earn points based on how well your list matches up with everyone else.  Sounds like fun, right?

You are welcome to write-in a candidate and once you do I’ll add him/her/it to the list of choices.  You have until Sunday and I’ll post the results on Halloween.  Please encourage your other bookie friends to participate even of they don’t do the quizzes.  We want this be scientific after all 😉

Don’t forget to number your choices 1-10

Alex (A Clockwork Orange)

Annie Wilkes (Misery)

Big Brother (1984)

Bill Sikes (Oliver Twist)

Count Dracula (Dracula)

Cthulhu (The Call of Cthulhu)

demon (Exorcist)

Grendel (Beowulf)

Hannibal Lecter (Silence of the Lambs…)

Jack (The Shining)

Jaws (Jaws)

Mr. Hyde (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde)

Mrs. Danvers (Rebecca)

Norman Bates (Psycho)

Nurse Ratched (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest)

Patrick Bateman (American Psycho)

Pennywise (It)

Randall Flagg (The Stand)

Sauron (Lord of the Rings)

Tom Ripley (The Talented Mr. Ripley)

Voldemort (Harry Potter)

White Witch (Chronicles of Narnia)

*

Answers to last week’s First Quiz (here)

October 25, 2011 Posted by | Quizzes | , | 19 Comments

Monday Movie Meme- This is the End

Feature Presentation…MONDAY MOVIE MEME
This week’s movie topic is all about Endings…
I have no intention of reviving the Monday Movie Meme again, because I don’t want to “jump the shark.” But I felt it wrong to just kill it off without giving
you the motivation behind things. After all, good movie murderers have an insidious past history that explains why they butcher teenagers in their path. I
thought you should know the reason behind the plug being pulled on the Monday Movie Meme. Here are our favorite endings in film.
If you want the whole story on why this will be the last Monday Movie you can visit The Bumbles.  She has been a great host for the 3 year old meme, but I know that having a baby at home is her main priority, as it should be.
So, for the last hurrah we are sharing our favorite endings…
Se7en (1995) Seriously, could there be a more perfect ending for a thriller?
The Usual Suspects (1995) I liked the film but didn’t really love it til the end.  This is Kevin Spacey’s second appearance already and in the same year. Busy.
Fight Club (1999) I wasn’t really that into the film, but the ending made me want to watch it again right away.
Glory (1989)  This movie based on the Civil War’s first black army could only end one way.  With lots of tissues.
A Few Good Men (1992) Who didn’t feel like cheering when Nicholson got led away in handcuffs at the end?
No Way Out (1987) This movie had me on the edge of my seat the whole time and the ending was perfect.
 I just realized that none of these was filmed this century!  What am I missing?

October 24, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | 9 Comments

Sundays with Gage – Mom who?

I wanted to participate in the Read-a-thon but couldn’t really ask Jason to do 24 + 6 (recovery sleep time) hours of dad duty so I suggested to my mom that she and my dad might like to come and help out for the weekend and being the awesome grandparents they are, they came.  Gage was having so much fun that he did not even notice that I was taking the day off.  

Jason was never that comfortable with me doing Sundays with Gage and I told him that I would only do it til Gage turned one.  But I’ve heard from so many of you via blog, Facebook, and email that you would like it to continue.  So, I’ve been thinking about it and decided that I’ll continue to feature Gage on the weekends in someway.  Maybe Weekends with Gage?  I’ll try to be little more focused.  Once a month I can do a weekend with books, one with a special baby or mommy issue, one with a special trip we’ve taken, and the last one is open right now.  So, Gage will continue to show his cute face for a while longer, maybe til his next birthday?  I don’t know.  I like having the weekly update.  I’ve been better about documenting firsts here than anywhere else.

Also, I haven’t really addressed his health scare from February (post here).  We weren’t convinced that it wasn’t formula related in some way and have had him on soy  formula since and we have been extremely (too) careful in introducing foods.  In July he spent another night in the hospital after I fed him a cracker with cheese and milk.  So, that’s where we are.  We are not feeding him dairy even though his allergy test was negative.  He has been the picture of health otherwise and I’m hoping that week in February will be the scariest week of his childhood!

 

October 23, 2011 Posted by | Gage | | 16 Comments

Read-a-Thon,8 am, I made it!

lg new readathonbutton borderThe time is here.  I turned 40 this month and I have a 1-year-old.  My parents are here to help with Gage, but there’s nothing I can do about an already sleep deprived body.  I hope to make it the whole 24 hours, but that’s just a goal and not one I’ll obssess over if I can’t make it.  I have lots of short books for challenges and 2 audio books for when my eyes need a rest.  I’m looking forward to 24 hours devoted to my favorite hobby.

I’ll update on this post every hour or two, but do any challenges on a separate post.

1)Where are you reading from today?  Cleveland, Ohio
2)Three random facts about me…  I’m short (5’2″ is pushing it), love to play board games and cards, have colored my heair since my early 20’s because of a gray streak.
3)How many books do you have in your TBR pile for the next 24 hours?  About 10 to choose from (all for challenges)
4)Do you have any goals for the read-a-thon (i.e. number of books, number of pages, number of hours, or number of comments on blogs)?  I want to make it the whole 24 hours.
5)If you’re a veteran read-a-thoner, any advice for people doing this for the first time?  I’ve only done it once and did make the whole 24.  Choose shorter, fast-paced books and have an audio book for those early morning hours so that you can move (laying on the couch at 6 am is a very bad idea!)

It’s 10:15 am and I’m 174 pages into my first book.  See if you can guess what it is (This is for One Librarian’s Book Mini Challenge)

 with

I’ve read the whole time except for kissing Gage goodbye and stopping to check in here once an hour.

It’s 12:20 and time for me to change into my bathing suit, step outside in the 50 degree weather, and sink into the hot tub with my current book, Earthly Posssessions by Anne Tyler.  Not loving it so far.  I finished Sprinkle with Murder, thumbs up.  Page count is up to 251.  I’ve participated in 2 more mini-challenges.  What a great day so far 🙂

Is it really 3:30 already?  I finished Earthly Possessions (that’s 2 books read) and have done some reading on a book I cracked open a few weeks ago.  I also listened to Roots in the car on my way to the martini bar where I sat and read Three Junes while I sipped in a cappuccino martini, a book and martini, not bad for a Saturday afternoon right?  Now I’m home and reading to delve more deeply into Three Junes.  I’ve read 460 pages and listened to about 25 minutes of Roots so far today.

It’s 7:25 pm and I’m getting ready to head out to find a place to eat and read that isn’t packed.  And I’ll be listening to Roots in the car.  Still reading Three Junes and am liking it okay.  I’ve done a few mini-challenges and think they’ve been really great this time around.  Happy reading everyone!

It’s 9 pm Mid-Event Survey:
1. What are you reading right now?  Three Junes, What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day, Roots
2. How many books have you read so far? I’ve finished 2
3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon? staying awake and lisening to an audio books so I can visit a few other blogs.
4. Did you have to make any special arrangements to free up your whole day?  Yep.  My parents came for the weekend to help with Gage.
5. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those? There is a baby in the house so there have been a few here and there, but nothing more than 5 or 10 minutes.
6. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far?  how much fun it is and I’ve enjoyed the mini-challenges as well.
7. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? nothing I can think of now.
8. What would you do differently, as a Reader or a Cheerleader, if you were to do this again next year?  Get a good night’s sleep the night before (that didn’t happen for me and I’m already tired).
9. Are you getting tired yet? Guess I gave away too much info in the answer above 🙂
10. Do you have any tips for other Readers or Cheerleaders, something you think is working well for you that others may not have discovered? I left the house twice, listening to my audio in the car and finding a place to eat and read.  A change of scenery is good.

11:30 pm and I’m listening to Roots so I can do a little blog hopping and let my eyes have a change of pace.  I finished Three Junes by Julia Glass, so that makes 3 books read.  I’m on disc 21 of 24 of Roots and plan to finish it sometime during the read-a-thon.  I’ll listen whenever I need to move.  I was also able to start What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day by Cleage and am enjoying it.  I think I might be able to finish it.  We’ll see.  I’m still hopeful I can make it all night.

2:30 am Still awake, but moving and reading a lot slower! Still listening to Roots and reading What Looks Like Crazy.   A Buckeye Girl Reads asks us about our pets and reading.  Some of you probably remember when Max read War & Peace with me last year…. Today we’ve had a busy place so haven’t seen much of him.  However, my cat Scout, cuddled me when I read in bed this morning.  She likes to rub her mouth on the books, making it difficult to read, but perfect for cuddling.

It’s 6:50 am and I’m still awake.  There were a few iffy moments between 4:30-5:30 and I was ready to head to bed, but I just wanted to finish Roots and What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day.  So I did and now I have enough of a second wind to get me through the last hour.  I finished 5 books!  I only had 5 cds of Roots to go when I started so really it’s like 4 and a quarter 🙂  I’m going to start listening to The Quickening on the Playaway I got from the library.  It’s my first time trying one. 

Oh, I’ve been doing quite a few of the mini challenges and I WON!  Little Black Dress by McBride is heading to Cleveland.  I’ll try and stop by for one more update at 8.

8am wrap up

I did it!!  I’m surprised and happy.  I completed 5 books and started a 6th.  I gave myself permission to leave the house and find fun places to read.  I could not have not participated if not got my awesome husband and parents.  I’m a lucky girl to have them.    So now I’m off to bed to get 6 hours of sleep before mommy duty commences once again.  The read-a-thon was a perfect mommy vacation.

  • Which hour was most daunting for you?  4:30-5:30 was rough
  • Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?  I think mysteries are good because they move fast and the shorter the better.  I remember last readathon I read a humor book in the wee hours and that was good.  Laughing wakes you up!
  • Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?  I thought everything was great.  All planners, hosts and cheerers were perfect.
  • What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon? I liked the mini challenges.  There was a good variety.
  • How many books did you read? 5
  • What were the names of the books you read? Sprinkle with Murder (McKinlay), Earthly Possessions (Tyler), Three Junes (Glass), Roots (Haley), What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinarty Day (Cleage)
  • Which book did you enjoy most?  Sprinkle with Murder for the purpose of the read-a-thon, but Roots for reading.
  • Which did you enjoy least? I don’t know.  I was underwhelmed by most of them.
  • If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders? Stop by often!
  • How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?  I would love to do this again.  My parents love any excuse to come up here for a visit.  I think I’d like to host a mini-challenge next time.

October 22, 2011 Posted by | Read-a-Thon | 44 Comments

The Secret of Everything, by Barbara O’Neal

The Secret of EverythingFinished 10-20-11, rating 3.5/5, fiction, 385 pages, pub. 2009

Tessa grew up a gypsy of sorts, moving from festival to festival with her father and her adult life followed the same path, as a guide for exotic tours all over the world.  When Tessa has a near death experience that brings with it confusing memories from her childhood, she decides to go back to where she spent those early years on New Mexico commune.  What she finds is an upscale desert town that asks as many questions as it does provide answers.

I loved Tessa’s close relationship with her father.  It was just the two of them and Sam, as a quasi-recovering hippy, was easy to like.  Some people grow up with two parents and still don’t have that much love and support.

I loved that the town of Las Ladronas was a town with a dog or cat for every resident and visitor.  They were expected at shops and hotels and there was no shortage of four-legged companionship.  It made me want to visit and hang out with all of the tail waggers.

I liked the beautiful town and laid back residents.  They each had something to reveal Tessa about her past.

I liked Vince, the sexy rescue worker with the muscular thighs (sorry, but that point was made more than once).  He was raising three young daughters and the volatile relationship between the two older girls made me thankful I was an only child.

There were two things that made the book fall a little flat for me. The story was told from way too many viewpoints.  Instead of just following Tessa and maybe one other character we followed quite a few minor characters who were interesting, but didn’t really add any momentum to Tessa’s journey.  Also, the end just seemed very pat to me.  I’m all for conclusive endings, but I don’t think every detail needs to be addressed.

I enjoyed this book and will definitely read more of O’Neal’s work.

This was from my personal library.  I picked it up (and way too many other books from my wish list) from Border’s for practically nothing.

October 21, 2011 Posted by | 3 1/2 Star Books | | 11 Comments